Saturday 22 December 2012


Why is it that every wrestling promotion under the sun (well, the ones in North America at any rate) feels the need to clog up valuable minutes of air time with authority figures? WWE is the prime culprit. This year we've seen AJ Lee become the GM of RAW only to be fired a few months later for "inappropriate relations" with a talent, Booker T appointed as the new SmackDown boss with his assistants (Teddy Long and Eve) bickering and one-upping each other continually, and, of course, the entire John Laurinaitis saga. The latter was a holdover from one of last year's central stories.
While authority figure storylines are a WWE speciality they're not the only ones at it. Over the last few years TNA has become a pustule of unsightly continuity plots with match-making power tossed around seemingly at random between Sting, Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan and Dixie Carter. Not content to simply rotate established names through an existing job a new role was also created: GM of the Knockouts division. Designed exclusively as a way to get Brooke 'Hogan' Bollea onto television it's a move that hasn't improved Impact at all.
Even Ring of Honor, the company all about emphasising in-ring competition and downplaying frivolous stories (supposedly), has seen an above average amount of time dedicated to match-makers this year. Executive Producer Jim Cornette was the main rival of world champion Kevin Steen before being written off TV (because of his real life dismissal from the booking squad) to be replaced by Nigel McGuinness.
In 2012 there is no need for these figures to be featured so prominently. Yet they are. Their prominence is a holdover from the days of the Attitude Era, where the Mr McMahon character first gained notoriety and become a money draw. People had filled similar roles before, but never had they gotten over so well. Vince was so fantastically good at the heel owner shtick that the promotion’s writing team (which was installed during the Era’s latter years) became used to writing with such a character.

The man who started the trend

Authority figures have become a crutch to the WWE writers. They rely on them for easy storytelling and eliciting the desired reaction (usually boos or cheers) easily from fans. It’s a habit that needs to stop. Wrestling shows do not need weekly appearances from General Managers, Executive Producers, Managing Consultants, commissioners or any similar fictitious role.

That’s not to say that these roles should be done away with completely. There’s always a need for authority figures in wrestling. A GM, commissioner or owner is someone who can explain the storylines and book the matches on screen. It’s a good way of getting retired or limited performers (or over non-workers) onto television. They just shouldn’t be on every week talking for twenty minutes.

TNA, WWE and ROH are all just as guilty as one another when it comes to this. All three need to decrease the amount of time dedicated to these performers and start focusing on signing and pushing new acts whom they will be able to rely upon in the years to come. People won’t buy a pay-per-view to see matches being made. They’ll buy a pay-per-view to watch matches being wrestled.

No comments:

Post a Comment