Welcome to my thread. As the title suggests, this thread is my take on the current state of the wrestling business. This won't be a one off thing, its something I will dive into and add onto from time to time, breaking down things like character development, storylines, scouting, building talent and so on. Before I do that, I want to give an overview on my take on what wrestling is and how it should work with future writings will focus on the issues I see with it. I'm no expert, I never worked for a promotion, I understand there are many things I will never know until I actually work within the confines of a promotion but at the same time when you watch something for 28 years I know enough about it to make a fair assessment on the product. So without further adieu, here we go: Much like many of you on these forums I grew up watching professional wrestling, specifically WWF, WCW and to a lesser extent UWF, AWA and Stampede Wrestling. To this day I still love wrestling, I still love to watch a good program or match but as a whole I don't love watching the current product whether it be WWE or TNA. I'm not too familiar with Japanese and Mexican wrestling, although I have tried to it just doesn't click with me outside of some matches here and there, but truth be told its really the over-the-top characters and storylines that really grab my attention. No matter how good the wresting is, no matter how good a certain promo is. The fact of the matter is if you don't have characters and stories the fans are invested in you really have nothing. Just like any other form of entertainment , if the audience doesn't feel it then they aren't going to watch the show every week, they may turn it on from time to time when they're bored but for the most part they don't care. The key to any great TV show, movie, or song, is to get the audience invested in the program, get them invested in the characters, and in turn, get the audience invested in the stories these characters are involved in. The first thing I want to say that I understand not every story and character has to be absolute gold, not every character has to be interesting, with that said the characters that headline the show sure have to be interesting and the stories that headline the show have to be interesting. The reason? Because they are the ones that SELL the show, plain and simple. Therefore, its an absolute necessity for the audience to have some investment in these main character's that sell the show. There's a reason why the WWE has made its most money during the Hogan and Austin Era's and there's a reason why guys like Bret Hart, who was a fantastic worker (and my all time favorite wrestler) didn't draw nearly as much even though you could argue his skills were superior to Hogan and Austin in certain categories. There's a reason why nWo was so popular and made WCW #1 for a time, there's a reason why people paid in droves to see Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair, or The Fabulous Freebirds vs. Von Erichs. The short reason why these angles and stars were so successful was because the audience cared about them and they cared about what they were doing. The whole basis of wrestling, is essentially take a guy who people love, take a guy who people think is a dick, you put them together, you give a reason to why they want to fight and then you sell tickets to it, there's obviously more to it than that but that's the basic idea. To make a good character that people want to see its important to make a character they can pull off with their certain skill set. For example, Andre the Giant was over 7 feet tall, 4 hundred pounds and was one of the biggest people you will ever see in your life, therefore making him flying, masked, luchadore wouldn't make any sense because it's not a good fit. On the other side of the fence it wouldn't make sense for Rey Mysterio to be a slow moving who relied on a basic move set and his power. Since Andre had characteristics that most suited a giant he played a giant, since Rey had characteristics that most suited a masked (since he looks like he's 12), flying man with an innovative and exciting move set. In order for a character to work it has to be pulled off in a believable manner by the talent playing it. Everyone has a different personality, everyone has certain positives, certain negatives and because of that its important to zero in on these things in order to make a character that best suits that person. Since there is no auditions to be The Undertaker you can't just throw a random character on someone and expect it to work, it has to be something they can work with. Outside of finding a character that the talent can work with, its important to decide what role you want that character to play. Are they a main eventer? mid carder? jobber? commentator? Are they going to be in that role for 6 months? A year? Multiple Years? Based on how the fans take to said character their roles can often change but in all cases they still have a role on the show. For characters that are planned on being headliners for multiple years (John Cena for example) its important for these characters to have depth. The longer a character stays stagnant and always doing the same thing the quicker the fans lose interest in said character, because of this these characters need to evolve over time, if they don't then the fans get sick of them, interest wanes and less people watch. These rules don't need to apply if the character is designed to be on TV for a few minutes here and there like the Brooklyn Brawler but for any talent that will be a significant part of the show (whatever their role is) then its important for these characters to stay interesting so they stay relevant. Character evolution can happen at different speeds and work with different methods but overall the evolution needs to be there, if it isn't then that character isn't staying over with the fans for too long. After the character has been established now its time to decide what this character is going to be doing. Often wrestlers with simply wrestle every week and say few words but what really drives these characters forward is the stories they partake in. Whatever the story any character is involved in (whether its a rivalry, back story or a one off segment) there are some things that have to be accounted for: The story must seem real within the realm of the the wrestling universe. If someone named Liu Kang came along within the universe we all live in and started talking about saving the world, fighting warriors from different realms and hanging out with the god of thunder chances are he would be committed, within the Mortal Kombat Universe however, it's completely allowed and makes Liu Kang into a hero instead of a insane person. The story must garner some interest. If the audience isn't interested why would they watch every week? The story must progress logically. If an important part of the story makes no sense and makes the audience roll its eyes then its that much easier for the audience to stop caring. The story must fit the characters in the story. The story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. New volumes of the story can be added down the line but before a new volume is started the previous one has to be wrapped up. A story can go down a million different avenues, it can last weeks, months or even years but in order for a story to work and to keep people invested every week the rules above need to be followed. The best stories follow the above rules in at least some fashion and they are stories that fit the characters within those stories. At the end of the day stories are the building blocks of the show and the building blocks of the characters on that show, its what keeps people interested in these shows/characters and all it takes is one boring, illogical story to cripple a great character. Of course there is one major thing that hasn't been talked about much yet: The talent in question. When it all comes down to it, it's the TALENT that is the most important part of the show, they are the ones that carry the out the vision and mindset of the show, they are the ones that get the show over, they are the ones that bring in the fans and without them, there is no show. Character aside, a wrestler needs to be able to do the job well enough to make the fans buy into what's going on, a wrestler needs to be able to put on a coherent, believable match and a wrestler needs to present themselves well enough to make their character and story work. A wrestler doesn't necessarily need good mic skills and a good look to succeed, Andre didn't have good mic skills Bob Backlund didn't exactly have a good look but both guys were able to wrestle and both guys did what was necessary to get the character they were portraying over. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter how you accomplish these things, all that matters is that you accomplish them. Wrestling is a show of variety, not everyone needs to have the same strengths, not everyone needs to put on 5 star matches, not everyone needs to give a golden promo every time they get the mic, they just need to get over and they just need to be able to do the wrestling well enough that the audience buys into it. If those 2 things are accomplished (and you aren't a complete nightmare to work with) then you're golden, simple as that. The last thing I want to talk about today is the wrestling itself. As said above, all a wrestler needs is to be competent in the ring as long as they have other traits that can get them over but much like a story, the wrestling itself has to be believable. Without the wrestling everything falls apart, there's no reason for these characters and stories to exist if there in no wrestling to support that. Without the game of baseball The Red Sox/Yankee's rivalry doesn't exist, without basketball Chamberlain vs. Russell doesn't exist and without wrestling, Austin vs. McMahon doesn't exist. Although its the characters and stories that bring the people in its the wrestling that ties it all together, its the wrestling that drives the show and every wrestling match should have a certain goal in mind whether its to put someone over or to push the story forward. Much like how a story has to be believable in order for the audience to buy into it, the wrestling being portrayed has to be believable enough to keep the audiences interested. We all know the winners and losers are determined before the bell rings, we also know magic isn't real but its easy to forget that when you see a car levitate off the ground. The illusion is what ultimately makes people forget what is real and what is fake. If you see a car levitate and have no idea how it happened then the illusion of magic is still real, if you see a car levitate and see the hidden crane to lift it then the illusion is dead, the magic is dead, and the interest is gone. In order for wrestling to work many things need to be accounted for. The characters, the stories and the wrestling itself all come together to create an entertaining illusion that can be enjoyed by millions across the globe. When its done right and taken care of, good things happen, when its not done right, shortcuts are taken and the details are ignored, those good things disappear faster than a Turkey at the Wild Samoans Thanksgiving dinner. Next time we will start diving into the current product, the state its in, why it happened and suggestions on how it can be fixed. Thanks for reading.