WWE Generating Excitement: Making PG Work

Nathan WintersContributor IIIAugust 1, 2010

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JULY 11:  Actor Chris Jericho poses at the Crown Royal suite at the ESPY Style Studio at the Mondrian Hotel on July 11, 2006 in West Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Chad Buchanan/Getty Images for Crown Royal)
Chad Buchanan/Getty Images

The WWE's PG direction is neither good nor bad; the reality is , it's here. 

For the most part, the WWE has always been a "PG" product. 

The problem doesn't lie in the idea of a kid friendly format. It lies in the WWE's ability, or inability, to produce an exciting program. 


4. The Chase

Where is the chase? Ten years ago, you had 5 people chasing a championship. The field was packed and the characters were motivated. Today, not so much.

A wrestler or two, if we're lucky, will show interest in a championship. After the first failed attempt to win a title, the storyline is quickly forgotten. 

This makes championships seem less important and the roster like a vast, almost empty landscape. Here lies the an inability to generate heat, and with zero build-up or follow through, there's little interest. 

Generating excitement doesn't need to be mature. Fans get excited about superstars chasing championships, building towards matches, generating heat, and fighting and scraping their way to the top.


3. Labels

Or rather, removing labels. Take the "The WWE Universe ," for instance.


What happened to the fans being called "the fans" and the wrestlers referring to them as "you guys?"

It sounds impersonal, formal, and completely like something the Apple Corporation would do. iUniverse?

It puts a label on something that simply doesn't need it, And more importantly, implies a level of control or influence over it's fans—something fans don't like. 


2. Super-heels

Back in the day, much of the excitement was generated by the chase. Yet chasing a championship was only part of it; chasing the super-heel who had taken the title hostage was the other half. 

Today, heels are the butts of everyone's jokes. They come off as silly, unintelligent, and often completely blind with either ignorance or arrogance. They always seem to fail to execute a clever plan without power in numbers. 

In the not too distant past, heels were cunning and clever; they were driven and motivated. Lying, cheating, and stealing weren't things that just Mexican wrestlers did. 

Today the focus is strongly on the concept of the Super-face. From John Cena to Randy Orton to The Undertaker. Powerful, intelligent, dominate, super-hero like figures who are designed to re-enforce the values and notion that the good guys always win. 

But in reality, the greatest villains always defined the greatest heroes. 


1. The Glass Ceiling

Some time yesteryear, or it could have been in the days of yore, existed this theory of the glass ceiling.

Long story short, one young, hungry performer would stand out from the rest. Talented, athletic, and charismatic with an established record for delivering high quality matches. 

In 2001 it was Chris Jericho. An exceptionally talented then 30-year old, who by 2001's Royal Rumble had won the Intercontinental Championship four times. 

By 2004, it was Edge. At 31, Edge had already cemented himself as one of the greatest tag-team wrestlers of not only his generation, but in WWE history. 

Despite these accomplishments, the driving factor remained that both had came so close to gaining main-event credibility, yet would never receive the ball to run with until this point. 

They were driven, motivated, and hungry. They had the fan's respect, and in turn, the now "WWE Universe" yearned for the day the glass would break singling the rise of the next superstar. 

Nevertheless, in those few months prior to the first shards beginning to break away, these were exciting times. A feeling of youthfulness and change would fill the arena when these superstars would entertain in the ring. 

That same feeling the kids on the Sunset strip felt in early '87 as Guns N' Roses packed it's small smoke-filled, booze-soaked clubs. That same feeling felt a few years later when Nirvana planted the first seeds that would define the 1990s. 

Just knowing change was coming was enough.