Tuesday, March 14, 2006

E-mail

I got an e-mail this morning from someone that made a lot of points that I hear when I am taken to task for my criticism of Raw. Since I addressed many of the common points, I figured I would share my response here. Everything below is my response, and I included in quotes the original e-mail I am responding to in its entirety.
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I appreciate the thought put into your e-mail, but I think you get it wrong on a ton of counts. As one sort of larger level thing before I address your individual points, it's bad logic to just lump a group of people into one mindset, like everyone on the internet criticizing WWE has the same opinion. There are common opinions I agree with and common opinions I don't agree with. Of course feel free to criticize me for opinions I state. But it's wrong to criticize me for surmised opinions I have never stated.

"Dude, you need to settle down, ITS WRESTLING. I thought Shawn throwing piss on Vince and Shane and the whole drug test in the ring was funny."

Yes, it's wrestling. Wrestling can be good or can be bad. If throwing pee on someone is your type of humor, fine. I think it's lame, and particularly lame for a headlining program, not to mention the other problems I mentioned. "It's wrestling" is an unbelievably weak argument though, because it can be used to justify absolutely anything.

"Here's my question to you, why are they so"incompetent?" Hasn't WWE's business been on a slight upswing over the past 5 months?"

I go over it every week. Long and short of it is that they push all the wrong guys, they book the programs all wrong, they bury guys who have potential, they have no long term planning and they don't run with guys who have the potential. WWE's business has been on the upswing, but that is 100 percent due to international business. The domestic business continues to collapse to all time lows. All the indicators are in decline, it's just that they have found new revenue streams. That isn't a signal of a good product. There was also a slight business increase when Edge was made champion that tailed off after they took the belt off him because HHH needs to get his title back.

"As someone who watched wrestling all the time from around1990-2002, and watched far less from 2003-2004, I can say I've enjoyed WWE's product over the past year to the point where I look forward to watching it again on Monday's. I find Smackdown boring and rarely watch, but Raw is usually interesting/funny enough to keep me tuning in each week."

To each their own. I actually do enjoy Raw a lot recently, but for all the wrong reasons. But let me tell you, I get a shocking lack of e-mail defending the product when I defend it. I think fans enjoying the show for the most part are in the distinct minority. Doesn't make them wrong, by the way.

"push Shelton Benjamin more"

Sure.

"push Rob Van Dam"

Sure.

"treat Flair like god"

No. He's too old.

"have more Cruiserweight matches"

Maybe. "Cruiserweight" has a stigma, so I don't think I would advertise "cruiserweight" matches. As far as pushing smaller wrestlers, it depends if they have talent. I would push people based on talent (charisma, wrestling ability, marketability, freshness). If those guys happen to be smaller, fine.

"less "comedy,""

Comedy is fine. It just has to be good comedy.

"longer matches"

Maybe, maybe not. They need to have people that can wrestle. The length of matches isn't the problem so much as the wrestling they have is mostly bad.

"never change the titles"

I think WWE does a good job with that, actually. They have just about the right amount of title changes.

"and never have a gimmick match unless you spend 6 monthsbuilding towards it"

Now that's silly. You don't need to be *that* cautious about those things, but certainly don't announce cage matches 30 minutes in advance as a middle of the show gimmick!

"Those ideas sound good on the surfaceand I agree with a few of them (Shelton, RVD, Cruiserweights), but you haveto remember that WWE is producing a TV show each week that has to keepviewers interested and not flip the channel."

How am I possibly forgetting this? The point is specifically that they should be doing stuff that will keep viewers interested. Like book long term storylines that make people tune in week after week to see where they are going. Keep undercard guys strong so fans will be waiting to see them rise up the card. Book people on top that they care about rather than the McMahons and their family and friends. Of course building an audience is the goal. And WWE is failing miserably given business has been in a steady decline for 5 years.

"They have to switch titles, have gimmick matches, do ridiculous stunts like throwing urine on each otherto keep their fans interested."

As far as switching titles and gimmick matches, it's always a balance. Of course you do those to gain interest. But you do it too much and it is meaningless. It's just finding the proper balancing point. I think WWE for the most part does a good job on both ends. The cage match Monday to me was bad, but not necessarily part of a longer trend. As far as ridiculous stunts, I couldn't disagree more. Sam Mushnick didn't need to use urine to sell angles. Paco Alonso doesn't. Inoki and Baba didn't. Vince Sr. didn't. Barnett didn't. That type of crap is stupid in any context and is completely unnecessary.

"In your world I'm sure Shelton Benjamin wouldwrestle a 20 minute match every week"

That would get monotonous.

"and his "mama" would be not be aroundbecause that will "prevent him from ever being a top draw."

Ding ding ding.

"But in your world Raw would be doing a 2.5 every week."

I thought WWE was fantastic in 1999-2001, and business was a lot better! Bring back that stuff, and bring back the 6's! I'm not anti-WWE. I'm anti-crap. Get rid of the crap and the ratings will go back to those levels. It was the departure from basic logic in booking that led to the decline. I'm not asking for some bizarre alternative universe. We have a model that I think is pretty damn good and WWE was using during its point of greatest success. Use that.

"It's always funny how all you Internet know-it alls"

Yes, because EVERYONE on the internet has the SAME opinion.

"always love to say how a wrestler like Shelton who has a comedy gimmick will never be able to "be a top draw"in the future because of it. Interesting, because many of the WWE's top draws (Rock, Austin, Jericho, Vince, Angle etc, even Taker around 1999) over the past 8 years have played ridiculous over-the top characters with a comedic edge to them at one time or another. "

Give me a break. None of those guys have had such a one-note undercard comedy gimmick, which is the reason they got over. Can you imagine Austin's matches being built around his mother? Or a recurring character of Rock's mother, who chastises him and the heels call him a mama's boy? Can you imagine Rock getting over with THAT gimmick? Can you imagine ANYONE getting over with that gimmick? And Angle's ridiculous comedy was what kept him from getting over to the next level. What you say is right. A *comedic edge* can be great. Absolutely. There's a difference between a comedic edge and being a one-note joke. Shelton doesn't have a comedic edge. He's just saddled with a one-note lame gimmick.

5 Comments:

Blogger brian said...

Yep, pretty much agree with all that. WWE doesn't need to book for the "internet fans" (and the argument can be made that they'll tune in no matter how crap it gets) it just needs to bring some common sense back to the shows.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous masterbater said...

Agree with you Todd WWE is just horrible I don't even watch Raw anymore I just read your Raw Report just to see if anything has changed.

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Josh said...

It ain't Shelton Benjamin's mama that's gonna keep him from ever getting over - it's his utter lack of charisma and mediocre ring work.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Red said...

i think that shelton benjamin is so hot and when hes on the ring he always pops a boner

10:31 AM  
Blogger red said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:37 AM  

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