As a male that grew up in South Carolina, let me start by saying that pro wrestling is ingrained into most Southern boys from an early age. I was born in August of 1979 and probably had a favorite "wrassler" picked out by early September.
Growing up in the South, we were fed a steady diet of AWA and NWA television. Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes and the Rock and Roll Express were staples of the wrestling product we were given each week. As a young boy, I was not familiar with the WWE's (WWF at the time) product.
It wasn't until I was a little older, 8 or 9, that I was exposed to the WWF for the first time. As you know, the product put out between the NWA and the WWF was completely different. The NWA was definitely more wrestling based while the WWF was all about presentation. I chose to more closely follow the WWF's product.
Fast forward 23 years and here I am today, still following the WWE. A lot has changed between the time since I first became a fan and now. I've seen the business skyrocket to really uncharted territory and experienced the lull that has seemed to plague the business for the last several years.
If we are supposed to learn from the past in order to make the future brighter, here are a few observations on what wrestling used to do that could be applied to today's product to make for better television...
1) Longer Storylines: While the Christian-Randy Orton feud has lasted several months, it is the exception to the rule with today's booking. Challengers for the Championship Titles are like a revolving door. On rare occasion does a feud last longer than two months. Gone are the days of the slow build to a match.
Just today, I was watching the Savage-Hogan Championship match from WrestleMania 5. That storyline began a full year earlier. I remember watching and wondering what was going to happen next. The storyline build was just fantastic.
That's something that needs to be re-established in today's programming. Giving the audience the chance to get invested in an angle is important to character development and it makes the possible "sub plots" that could branch off of the long-term storyline that much more important.
2) Make Titles Matter: When choosing my favorite wrestlers as a child, I always seemed to focus on what I know now as "the mid-card guys." Wrestlers such as Savage (before winning the WWF Championship), Mr. Perfect and Double J were the guys that I rooted for. I was a big fan of the Intercontinental Championship and the ability of the guys that held it.
Hogan dominated the 80s and the WWF Championship, but even as a child I could tell that the guys battling for the I/C Title were a lot more talented. If used properly, the I/C and US Titles could be the stepping stones some guys need to take the next step...eventually! The mid-card guys now (Ziggler, Rhodes, Dibiase, Bryan) could have sustained feuds for those titles while building to take the main event leap.
Re-establishing the Tag Team Championship should also be a priority. Without a tag team division, it is very possible for young talent (see Evan Bourne) to get lost in the shuffle. The young guys who are not ready to challenge for the mid-card titles need something to shoot for.
We saw this progression long ago with both Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. Tag Champion, I/C Champion, then finally World Champion. The formula is not broke, it just needs to be implemented!
As you have read, the ideas above are not ground breaking or revolutionary. They are the foundation of how federations should be run. By using the above ideas, talent is given the opportunity to find their niche, characters are given time to develop and storylines are story driven.
Thanks for reading my first Bleacher Report article. Feel free to comment. I'll use each comment to try and improve! God Bless!
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