For years, the Internet wrestling community has largely blamed WWE's team of creative writers for the lack of dynamic output on WWE programming. Whilst the WWE product has grown increasingly stale, the creative team tends to be the focus of the IWC's displeasure. Most of us, including myself, would have to admit to possessing a pejorative perception of the creative team.
Yet, as I discovered this week, such disdain for the creative team is highly ignorant.
Many of you will be aware of David Lagana, a former creative writer for WWE. During his tenure of six years from 2002-2008, Lagana was the lead writer of SmackDown and later in his run the lead writer of ECW. Lagana was released in 2008 and since leaving WWE has worked with Ring of Honor.
In recent months Lagana has founded IWantWrestling.com, with the intention being to create a community of fans not scared to voice their opinions. Fans all over the world have been tagging their thoughts on Twitters with #IWantWrestling. When looking into the IWantWrestling movement, listening to podcasts and reading blog posts on IWantWrestling.com, it has become evident that the creative team should not necessarily be the IWC's scapegoat.
WWE's creative team is not always allowed to be creative. The creative team is not simply put in a room, given free reign and told to come up with dynamic ideas on how to take wrestling forward. It has to work within rigid parameters set before it. These may be political parameters, or it may be parameters in place due to Vince McMahon's occasional reluctance to try new things.
Over the past week, Lagana's IWantWrestling.com offered two great blog posts centred on two genuinely progressive ideas to improve the WWE product.
The first of these was a reform to the WWE Draft, where free agents would be up for grabs. They would be introduced to the WWE Universe in the weeks leading up to the draft via vignettes. Not only is this a great way to bring in new (and possibly old) Superstars, it is something new, fresh and (most importantly) real. The weeks leading up to the draft could see the general managers fighting over the likes of Chris Jericho, Richie Steamboat, Batista and Seth Rollins.
Whilst the current draft is entertaining, the random selection by a computer is a little far-fetched considering the consistency of selecting main event talents. It would not be objectionable to think that fans would be more invested in the draft if they saw the general mangers select much-hyped free agents as well as trading talents like they did at the beginning of the brand extension. This change would add a necessary air of authenticity.
Another great proposal by Lagana was in regards to changing WWE's current PPV programme, based on a strategy similar to UFC's. UFC's PPVs are built around one or two matchups or rivalries. Lagana's proposal was to apply this to WWE, distributing the main event talents and matchups across the year.
In UFC, not every big name appears on every PPV. This could be applied to WWE with feuds that have been built over a couple of months making up the show. One or two of these feuds would be main-event-calibre matchups and would be the focus. These performers would then not appear on PPV for the next couple of shows, giving other Superstars the chance to shine.
This would work on a number of fronts. First and foremost, it is something new, fresh and real. Secondly, rotating the entire PPV card allows numerous talents to shine, allows feuds to build over a number of months and creates more interest in the PPV to see the payoff of weeks of television.
It would also increase the worth of championship matches and reigns, as matches would be less common, more important and better built. Furthermore, doing this would increase the value of the larger shows such as SummerSlam and WrestleMania, as it would be an occasion to see multiple main-eventers on PPV.
Having every big star on PPV harms the current product. Feuds are rarely built properly, and seeing the same match two or three months in a row can get boring in many cases. Changing the system would allow fans to get excited about PPVs on a consistent basis, as you are not going to see a rehash of last month's show. The current PPV numbers illustrate that change would not hurt.
I, for one, would rather see a PPV where all the matches mean something than the repetitive programme of PPVs we tend to see at the moment. Selling the events based on the attraction of the matches is what PPV is all about. Events like Over The Limit: John Cena vs. CM Punk or Capitol Punishment: Randy Orton vs. Christian would be special attractions that embody what a PPV should be.
However, as you would expect, Vince McMahon shot this idea down and requested that UFC not be brought up in creative meetings again.
It sounds contradictory to say, but it is a shame that the creative team is not given the chance to be...creative. It is a common misconception that these guys are Hollywood writers who don't have the first clue about wrestling. The majority of these guys are fans. They know wrestling.
The purpose of this article is not to bash WWE's senior figures. Vince McMahon is a genius who has provided modern wrestling's very definition. WWE is the best in the world at what it does, and this will not change any time soon.
But it must be said: If WWE is going to progress, it needs to experiment with new ways of doing things. As important as it is to commit to new talents, it is equally important to commit to new methods of presentation in order to evolve. Maybe the WWE should allow the creative team to be creative and push the company forward.
For the time being the IWC should come together, join the movement and tell the WWE: