Analyzing the Blueprints: Explaining the Absence of WWE's Success

Sulayman H.Senior Writer IAugust 7, 2010

Note: In an effort to better understand WWE’s impact on the pro-wrestling industry, I have kept the title of the article as such. It’s important to put the focus on Vince’s brainchild for a while because for better or for worse, wrestling will be forever associated with those three letters.

Any major wrestling promotion that’s in it to win it knows that their each and every move will be observed and criticized by the lesser known talents on the Indy circuit and by the wrestling legends of the past.

To a certain extent, promotions might try to adapt some aspects of the business model of the heads of the professional wrestling industry.

This is where the blueprints of the WWE’s success, or lack thereof, come into play.

After reading a bevy of articles on B/R that have extensively discussed different facets of the business and how the creative heads have no idea on what to do and with whom, I decided to write this piece in order to understand why there is no definite method to the madness that’s displayed by the figureheads of the trade.

With a wide selection of legends to work with, it comes as a surprise that the wrestlers who are yet to master the maneuvers of the squared circle do not have more assistance in honing their skills in FCW before being called up to the main roster.

What isn’t surprising is that the relatively green superstars are supposed to fend for themselves and get over on their own, some are given valets and some are given the ultimate rub (Vince’s Chosen One) but even then, those who don’t have it fail to make a lasting impression on the audience.

Of course, no one is going to do your work for you as it is a sink-or-swim mentality that prevails in the locker room that the grapplers of today occupy.

But where hard work and determination would be rewarded, it sometimes fails to be recognized in favor for political influence as is evidenced by the events of last year when a young prospect called Dolph Ziggler rose steadily through the ranks (whose rise is mirrored by the now christened ‘Dashing’ Cody Rhodes) only to be pushed down in favor of pleasing a distraught Rey Mysterio Jr., who was upset with what the creative team was handing him.

Imagine how Dolph Ziggler felt.

This one aspect of the business (political pull) has been both a blessing and a curse; with evidence of the latter obvious enough to question whether there can be any true growth of newly acquired talent.

With the WWE’s knack for now throwing random things against the ceiling to see if it sticks, the chances of a slow and steady build seem to be decreasing as promoters are now taking big gambles in the form of Sheamus and Drew McIntyre, who have been given the ball to run with and due to support backstage, have now ‘made’ it in WWE.

What of Evan Bourne, who was once mentioned in the same breath as company superstar John Cena?

That’s right; he’s nowhere to be seen around the likes of main-eventers. The same mistake that was made with Kingston’s rise against Orton in MSG is the same one made with superstars of high-flying caliber where they are given a brief moment to shine and are then relegated back to their old positions in spite of the fact that their 15 minutes ignited the crowd on fire.

It’s done, only if once or twice, to promote discussions among us and as evidence that WWE does care about its performers.

I can understand in Kingston’s case that he was put down by the flawed system of promotion that exists in pro-wrestling, but what did Evan Bourne do or say to cool his push?

But what of the hypocrisy within this system of passing the parcel of the sudden push where those who prove themselves worthy are pushed back and those who clearly need more work are given the proverbial gearshift?

This shows not only a clear lack of direction; it also shows an unclear mindset on the part of the writing team which mainly consists of a once no-name sitcom writer named Brian Gerwitz who just happened into becoming the head writer of Monday Night Raw.

It would thus follow that the segments, promos and interviews are all written by someone who would be better suited to tailoring mishaps and comical situations of everyday life.

Not only is this shameful, but it directly sends a message to the rest of the industry that not only is WWE is incapable of coming up with intriguing, enticing story arcs and characters but that they require the assistance of a writer who is not qualified to write for a wrestling program.

With TNA repeatedly being ‘on the cusp’ of greatness, such tactics are also employed by them. The use of TV celebrities, having multiple figures of authority and bringing in old talent; all these are examples of how TNA tries to mirror WWE but in the WWE’s case, it is promoting old talent, excessive use of nonsensical Hollywood style ‘comedy’ segments and having no real voice of authority. (Better known as authoritah)

To those who wish to have the ‘PG Era’ excuse for the WWE’s incompetence in creating attention-grabbing rivalries, all you have to do is look back at some of the short-lived yet enthralling feuds of 2009.

Professional wrestling is in a slump, creatively speaking, but it’s no reason to let the sport further fall out of favor with the fans that pulsate through the veins of the business.

In the case of the women’s division of pro-wrestling, progress is a process that seems to be going well outside of the major promotions, but once these talented women enter the reality-distortion field that encompasses everything that TNA and WWE believe a ‘diva’ should have, the problem starts there.

In this case, TNA mirrors the WWE as its Knockout division features women in skimpy outfits. The only difference between the two is that the ‘knockouts’ can match the eye candy with high-flying, adrenaline pumping action (or so it used to be).

To say that WWE and TNA do not have the necessary tools to succeed in this area is tantamount to saying that they can succeed anywhere else.

All that is necessary is to look back to the past and willfully making the decision to follow the blueprints of eras past to build, package, and set up superstars that will excite both body and mind (If at all, the first one is needed).

As for the impending death of tag-teams within the aforementioned reality-distorting field of what is and isn’t good for the business, it stands to reason that if WWE isn’t doing so well in the tag-team development, no one else is.

There is plenty of evidence to the contrary, but sadly this is the way it stands as the WWE is the most recognizable name in professional wrestling or sports entertainment, whichever you wish to call it.

While tag-team wrestling is showcased with random stars thrown together on Monday Night Raw and new teams form on Friday nights and are continuously active, it’s become apparent that wrestling’s tag team stars of old have been replaced by a mentality of developing singles stars.

It’s evident when taking look at PPV cards that where a tag team match might be placed, its position is now favorable for two singles wrestlers randomly thrown together for a one-off, feud-less encounter.

“Vince McMahon called the quarter "lousy" and said it was a "perfect storm" of problems, mentioning the volcano explosion during their European tour. He mentioned the departures, via retirement or injury, or Shawn Michaels, Batista, The Undertaker, Triple H, Randy Orton, and CM Punk, which impacted their business. He said he has never had a situation with so many major names retiring or getting injured at the same time.”
-Taken from

This shows that not only does Vince depend on old, established talent but subsequent comments seem to indicate that the return of The Undertaker and Triple H will improve the line-up.

For WWE, and in our case, pro-wrestling at large, booking on the fly, and the absence of a detailed plan for long term success is not just a coincidence.

It’s a choice.