WWE's Emotional Index (part 1): A Dwindling Stock

ChinmaySenior Analyst IIAugust 3, 2010


When a child I used to sit on my couch, biting my nails, anxious to see, what my favorite superstar is going to do next. I used to wonder whether Bret hart would beat his brother. I used to glue my eyes on that dark hero called Undertaker with a natural fascination.

At that tender age, everything used to seem real, seem human.

Few years later, somebody called ‘the Rock’ gave me goose bumps. His promos exhilarated me.  There was another fellow called ‘stone cold’ Steve Austin who inspired me to do something to my tyrant teachers (not exactly tyrant but understand the feeling).

Disagree with me here, if your heart did not skip a beat every time when HBK performed his Moon-assault.

Disagree with me here, if technical acumen of Flair, Angle or Harts ever ceased to amuse us.

Disagree with me here, if you never cringed, never exclaimed or never sighed during a match of your hero.

More than a decade later, things just do not feel the same way. Today I sit in front of TV, watching the same promotion. However, I do not bite my nails anymore. I do not hesitate while changing channels in between, neither do I shout at the person who changes my ever-loved program.

It is true that just like all of us, I have grown up too. My information about business has somewhat killed my curiosity. But, that is not the only factor that has changed my feelings.

There is a common element among all the ageless performers I have listed above, and many whom I have not. All those stars had something called ‘emotion’ in their every move. I have not seen pre-attitude era greats performing, but I have no doubt that they were also rich in the element.

All these artists had a flair to stir our emotions. Most of their moves had emotion behind them to light the ring up. All of them had a place in somebody’s heart as their character.

That is the exact element, which is missing from current crop of wrestlers.  I just cannot care less about half of the stuff that goes on in given 2 or 3 hours. Even the so-called Main Eventers of this generation cannot stay with me once the show is over.

Ortons, Morrisons, Miz and Sheamus and countless of their peers are indeed good performers (by current standard), but they are not artists of the square ring.

I would just clarify here that emotion does not only mean the ability to work up the crowd. It goes way beyond. It takes over you. It has longevity that a simple cheer does not have.

The recent example of how emotion can be portrayed is of two epics of HBK and Taker. The duels of these titans made us do everything, cringe, sigh, exclaim literally everything. They brought out forgotten realms of a wrestling fan’s heart. Their matches got over, but the feeling they gave us took days to wane. That is emotion.

However, this lack of emotion is certainly not only performer’s fault. More so, it is a fault of creative team. Of those who are supposed to write a script.

The greatest of actors are left searching for their penchant, when they have meek story or script to enact. That is why a proper script is so essential.

A pro-wrestling bout is more than few minutes’ business. It is much more than punches kicks and slams. It is supposed to be a story that unfolds itself in given time limit.

These days I have a feeling that creative team treats wrestlers as a business model, a product. That is why time and time again they come up with a formula, a script that has all but a story. Story-lines have become shallower and the backdrop much thinner.

Along with story lines, another equally important thing is characterization. A character represents traits of ‘human psychology’. Something that seems to be completely forgotten. How much I try, I just cannot connect with current characters.

Characters of HBK, Rock, Owen hart, even older Heel HHH had something that represented us. If anybody here is able connect with John Morrison, Miz, Sheamus or Ted and others, then please let me know. Randy Orton, the current heartthrob! Excuse me, I might be wrong but am finding him extremely robotic. The character these guys play is anything but them. And that is creative team’s fault.

That brings me to the Megastar. Every  Megastar of the generation had one thing is common. All of them were able to relate with their audience in some or other ways. Even Hogan had sociological factors that made him Hulk Hogan the Megastar. John Cena however is a curious case. But more on that in the next part.

I hope, so far you could relate with what I have said. Comments and Criticism are most welcome. I would like to have a good debate here. Your comments will certainly enrich second part, and will be given due credit. Thanks a lot for reading.