What are the elements of the best storylines for WWE?

Discussion in '[Hidden] World Wrestling Entertainment' started by Radical, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. Radical

    Radical Championship Contender

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    A lot of fans talk about their favorite WWE matches, storylines and rivalries from the past and present. Everyone who has been a fan has ones they can think of that they really enjoyed for various reasons. Obviously, some storylines/matches/rivalries have been very memorable for all.

    The question is; what are the elements of a storyline that make it the best in WWE? "The best" would be defined as storylines that genuinely make interesting, intriguing, captivating TV and have satisfying results.

    Now, it's probably pretty hard to identify the elements of the best storylines without referencing storylines of the past (or present) but by doing so you can identify the elements that made it so great.

    So you can name great storylines in WWE history, do a brief summary of the characters involved, some major events and results.

    For example: Triple H (with Stephanie and D-X (Road Dogg, Billy Gunn,
    X-Pac)) vs The Rock (with Mankind involved)


    Late 1999 to early 2000 Triple H with DX on a tear and battling for WWF Championship supremacy. Triple H has DX at his side to do his bidding; ruthless attacks and match interference and so on. A great way to build up a heel stable. DX's Road Dogg and Billy Gunn also benefit with World Tag Title runs. This ruthless heel stable then naturally benefits beloved babyfaces like Mankind and The Rock as they get outnumbered, but often, then, get opportunities to overcome the odds! Also the heel stable has a certain amount of power of the babyfaces (in this case authority to make matches and stipulations, but even without that, just influence with numbers on their side). Classic good vs evil scenarios, but guess what? It often works!

    So what are the elements of success?
    - Heel stable with more than 3 members, tag team potential and a leader who has their eyes on the prize (WWF title)
    - Heel stable actually DOES heelish things; backstage attacks; ruthless dog pack attacks; manipulation; etc to get you to love to hate them and want to see the babyfaces win
    - Charismatic babyfaces that you want to cheer for and see overcome the odds
    - This heel stable tactics actually can affect any level of the card, which is also good, meaning it builds more room for developing angles and babyface alliances, if required
    - A result where the babyfaces get redemption; the WWF Title.


    Just one example.

    So what do you think are the elements of the best storylines WWE can offer?
     
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  2. vet712

    vet712 Dark Match Jobber

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    To me, the best stories MUST have 3 things. A face that you want to love, a heel you want to hate, and a goal you want the face to obtain. It's so hard nowadays, what with the internet, social media, dirt sheets, and all, to get all of those key elements. Faces are either bland, or the heels are actually really cool and you want to pull for them more than a face. The Daniel Bryan versus The Authority story line was very well done, because everyone (except for the few who come out of the wood-works online) loved Daniel Bryan. He was the ultimate under dog, literally speaking. Triple H and The McMahon's, who are known on the internet for having their guys in mind and sticking to only them, whether that be true, or not, are the ultimate villains to despise. Also, the goal was simple. It wasn't a morning segment on the Today show. It wasn't a WWE Studios movie. It was to be the WWE Champion. All of that organic and simple story telling is what it's all about in wrestling. A guy you want to win, being held back by villains you hate, only wanting to stand tall holding the major title and saying that he's the best. I hope we can see another story like that, because quite frankly, it was the last great one that I can remember. Anymore, we have random great matches, but bad, to mediocre stories.
     
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  3. No Count Pup

    No Count Pup Just call on me brother

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    Fluidity is the most important element. Storylines are better when the audience drives the direction of programming. The double-turn at WrestleMania 13 with Stone Cold and Bret Hart was so great because WWE embraced nuance. In light of the popularity of the NWO, it was apparent that fans enjoyed anti-heroes. WWE decided to give the fans what they wanted and suspend its traditional good guy/bad guy formula.

    Wrestling is fun when it gives space for spontaneity. Daniel Bryan was not supposed to headline WrestleMania 30. Corporate wanted the spotlight on Batista. However, the fans drove and changed MAIN EVENT plans. WWE had to do an about-face on the fly. The fans refused to see Daniel Bryan held back arbitrarily.

    In sum, the best storylines have elements of realism, fluidity, and fan participation. An emotionally invested fan base has always been the foundation for success in wrestling.
     
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  4. sMark

    sMark Getting Noticed By Management

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    2 guys who can run their mouths very well, and who have REAL personal reasons to beat each other or know each other very well, with enough freedom of speach and who have chemistry in the ring (Bret vs Owen, Bret vs HBK, HBK vs Stone Cold, Stone Cold vs Rock, HHH vs Rock, HHH vs Batista etc).
     
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  5. Spidercanrana

    Spidercanrana Should've Reinstated The Fox
    Staff Member Moderator E-Fed Mod

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    Good storytelling is about wish fulfillment. What made Austin and Vince McMahon must-watch TV was due to how viewers at home wanted to kick their own boss's ass, but couldn't. Instead they could live vicariously through Stone Cold. There is also that human need to see the underdog triumph, or at least a working stiff pay his dues to get awarded in the end. Mankind, Benoit, Guerrero, Daniel Bryan, etc it goes on but the story is the same. Sure chemistry in the ring and the proper dynamic is important. It's essential for anybody to enjoy a match or two. But what makes fans come back is that wish fulfillment. Being good in the ring only gets you so far. There's a laundry list of good wrestlers who aren't selling out venues. What is more important is what that good wrestler represents and if it is something the current audience cares about.
     
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  6. HeenanGorilla

    HeenanGorilla Championship Contender

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    My favorites are the ones with unknowns. Greater Power, 3rd man of NWO, etc. Granted, the payoff is not always great. But something that makes me feel the need to tune in--that's the best. Most rivalries can be followed without watching each week. I like the rare feeling of looking forward to Raw. Sister Abigail was the latest, but that was another that ended up being a clunker. Still, I'll take weeks of interesting build up. The 80s and 90s had better payoffs, but that's what I like the most.
     
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  7. Psykohurricane55

    Psykohurricane55 Moderator
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    Personally, i don't really need that much. I well thought up build up with 2 characters that can are able to tell the story without having to wrestle each other every week and i'm going to be happy.

    Stories like Hogan vs Andre, Hogan vs Savage, Hogan vs Warrior or more recently HBK vs Jericho and Goldberg Vs Lesnar comes to mind when i think of what i think make a great storyline. Just have characters that are able to tell a Great story and have the right ending in the end, the match themselves aren't as important as what the outcome are.
     
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  8. Navi

    Navi With the safety off!!

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    For me personally a good storyline has to be one thing and that is entertaining. It depends a lot on the chemistry between the people involved. You can take the best wrestler's in the world, give them the bet writing but if there is no chemistry between the two then nothing will come of it.

    Spidey gave a great example of Austin vs Vince. I will never forget that scene where Vince was in the hospital and Austin was the doctor. Just the noise the bedpan made when Austin conked Vince with it is still enough to make me burst out laughing.

    Another example is Jericho and Owens. They were gold together and it culminated in one of the best things that ever happened on TV last year, The Festival of Friendship. Jericho with his lists and saying's were a perfect foil to Owens straight man.

    So I guess it doesn't matter what the story is, as long as the wrestlers involved are the right ones, anything than be made to look like a classic with very little effort. The chemistry is everything.
     
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  9. Vintage Punk

    Vintage Punk Pre-Show Stalwart

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    I agree with this. Some of the best storylines of all have been with charismatic figures who have mic skills and can cut decent promos. For me, there needs to be a sense of realism. Obviously we know its pro-wrestling so it's gonna be scripted but don't overly script it like they do now.

    Back in the day, guys that could cut promos would be given bullet points on issues of the storyline they needed to address but could do so as themselves or their character. Nowadays, many of them are just too overly scripted and sounds like robots with no emotion in them which comes off as boring and bland. It comes off like a bad scene from a B movie. They first have to get fans and viewers to either love or hate them and care about them. When this happens, then fans will be invested and care about the storyline.
     
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  10. Radical

    Radical Championship Contender

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    Lots of good ideas! Keep 'em coming!


    I agree with many that mic skills and chemistry are really important. What would help, I think is more manipulative and ruthless heels, possible building bigger groupings or factions for strength in numbers which can lead to ALL sorts of interesting storylines with ganging up on babyfaces to gain fan support to trying to recruit new members and eventual betrayals and new alliances.

    Just a quick reference to Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

    ***SPOILER AHEAD***















    But what I'm talking about does remind me of in the scene where Kylo Ren and Rey are in the room with Snoke and his guards. Kylo Ren does a pretty shocking turn and kills Snoke instead of Rey, which Snoke wanted, and betrays Snoke, and joins Rey to fight the guards. Then, maybe people were thinking Kylo would join the light side, but seems he just did that to Snoke because HE didn't want to be bossed around and waned to be the Supreme Leader, but he also offers Rey to join him, Rey refuses and now Act 3 of this Star Wars will be very interesting.

    If WWE Creative could at least set up the ELEMENTS of that type of a storyline and keep those elements going they could keep more genuine interest on the product and have fans on the edge of their seats about what might happen next!



    Just for example, let me throw this out there using the Last Jedi elements towards a, let's say SmackDown Live storyline...

    Let's fast forward a bit to say the storyline with Daniel Bryan, Shane, Owens and Zayn has basically finished and whatever way it happens we are left with a big change of power and now VERY HEELISH Viper Randy Orton now CONTROLS SmackDown and he enjoys the power and making it difficult for others, say guys like AJ Styles and Nakamura and he has Owens as his main underling who he bosses around but in the process gives Owens advantages over his opponents and helps him in Championship situations (Zayn is around as another helper, mostly right-hand man of Owens) so... let's call what Viper Orton has going with his followers/underlings "The Apex Class", whatever, something like that.

    From just that set up with those involved (and of course more can be involved)... you have many interesting storyline possibilities:

    - While beneficial to Owens to do bidding for Orton, Owens can grow tired of being bossed around and seek to - when the time is right - betray Orton and gain the power himself or take control of the "Apex Class" and be Champion.

    - The deck gets stacked against AJ Styles and Nakamura and the guys gain fan support as they keep fighting back and, in small or large scales, they get dramatic victories.

    - Maybe Zayn will step over Owens and cause tension there by becoming more powerful and Owens has to decide to keep working with/for him or break free.

    - And, at any point through this, temporarily (like Kylo with Rey), a heel may join forces with the babyfaces in order to get what they want ... and they may offer the opportunity to the babyface to join them who could then decide to join or refuse.

    - All sorts of interesting matches could come of this such as: Owens vs Nakamura, Zayn vs Nakamura (on the main roster), more Zayn vs Styles, Orton vs Styles, Orton vs Nakamura, Orton vs Owens.


    I think if WWE look at certain key elements for good storytelling and pick charismatic talent to be in those situations, they will build more long term and genuine interest in the product rather than just maybe some good matches and lightly interesting storylines here and there each week.
     
    #10
  11. Vintage Punk

    Vintage Punk Pre-Show Stalwart

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    A storyline I would like to see and something that would help get Anderson, Gallows, and Balor back on track would be to all go to Smackdown to start Club faction along with AJ. At first, Balor has sights set on US title so all is well with AJ but then Balor heel turn on AJ claiming he was original leader of the Club and then it sets up Balor vs AJ for WWE title and for leader of the Club. Have Anderson and Gallows neutral (and SD tag champs might I add) and then have them either go heel and attack AJ siding with heel Balor or face siding with AJ and Balor recruiting 2 wrestlers for Balor Club to face the "disloyal" Gallows and Anderson. Yes alot of stuff needs to happen in between but the storyline is there
     
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  12. Radical

    Radical Championship Contender

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    Would like to see WWE give anything like that a real, legit chance. It would at least be SOMETHING more coherent in a long term storyline that can have many off-shoots instead of just this randomness every week and month.

    But, if anything like that is going to happen it does need to be focused around the WWE Title (I agree, like you said, the other titles can be part of it with other members of the club) but it has to about getting to be WWE Champion so this becomes a major feature of the show.
     
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  13. SmarkApologist

    SmarkApologist Dark Match Jobber

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    Agreed. With the right workers you could even turn a half hearted written story into a damned good one.
     
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