WWE’s Skewered Storytelling

Discussion in 'Articles & Columns' started by ABMorales787, Aug 27, 2018.

  1. ABMorales787

    ABMorales787 Lord And Master
    Staff Member Administrator

    Sep 18, 2009
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    Summerslam was just last week. It was a pretty eventful show. One of their better outings on PPV this year after many blunders. However coming out of the show, most people aren’t talking about it’s quality. No, what most people are talking about is WWE’s storytelling. See, Summerslam showcased how WWE views it’s “carefully crafted” stories by various degrees. There’s two extremes to it. “Roman win’s the Universal Championship” and “Charlotte win’s the Raw Women’s Championship”. Two top stars are crowned the same night. But their stories are very different. How so? Let’s take a look.

    Roman’s Careful Booking

    Roman Reigns. What can be said about one of the most misused top stars in the history of the WWE? After 4 years of attempts and “not feeling it” he finally defeats Brock Lesnar. But the circumstances of how it was done was quite the slight of hand on WWE’s part. Early in the night Braun Strowman almost literally kills Kevin Owens and now appears before the Lesnar/Reigns match and proclaims he will cash in. As such, he takes the attention of crowd who go from “Mostly mad about Reigns and Lesnar” to “Hey, we might get a cash-in” before the match starts. Braun acted as a lightning rod for the fans. And mid-match, Lesnar attacks him and throws the MITB briefcase away. Roman wins the title and in less than 10 seconds they go off the air with no cash-in.

    “Roman wins, yay-Ohnowegottagobye!!!”

    WWE cuts off before things go sour. An amazing slight of hand on their part to both get Roman as Champion while also keeping the attention away from him to avoid most of the hate. It also gets things going for their potential next storyline involving The Shield and Braun. It shows quite the level of care for their top stars.

    Charlotte and Becky’s Sloppy Booking

    But now we look at the other side of the coin. What happens when WWE doesn’t really care much? We get the Becky Lynch heel turn. To take a page from Bryan Alvarez, let me tell you a story:

    The plucky underdog fights her way up from the bottom and after many victories, she gets a Championship match by beating the Champion. Then her superstar best friend returns after several failures to defeat the current Champion. She immediately gets a match against the Champion, wins and is added to the match. The plucky underdog decides she will not give up, she will face this new obstacle and come out on top despite all odds. To defeat the evil Champion and the superstar best friend. Come the match she seems ready to win but the superstar best friend snatches the victory from behind. The plucky underdog is overwhelmed. She tries to cheer her best friend on, but no. She attacks her best friend in anger. After trying so hard, people jump over her and claim the prize she fought so hard for and she’s fed up and stands up to those who cut in front of her.

    A tale of standing up for yourself and not letting others step over you is presented to us. .........right? This is not some alternate interpretation. This was in fact the story dictated on TV by the commentators. However right after Summerslam, Becky Lynch was treated as a heel, exclaiming the fans “never truly supported her”. Of course, this hilariously backfired. To the point that Smackdown head writer Road Dogg tried to defend it and just fanned the flames even more. Polls have been placed about it. “Did you support Becky Lynch”. Only to get a VERY resounding YES with 95% votes. Oops.

    How The Stories Play To The Subject

    Now, why did the Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar idea work while the Becky Lynch vs Charlotte one blew up in their face? Well, there’s several reasons why. The level of attention that was paid to each varied. How did such obvious storytelling details go through the cracks regarding Becky Lynch? Well, that’s because Becky Lynch never truly mattered. The end goal for her was to be an opponent for Charlotte. As such, her turn and the details behind it, were never really given much thought. “But then why did she win so much?” Well, how else do you fill 6 weeks of TV? The only victory that truly mattered to the creative team was the one over Carmella, the Champion. Which both Becky and Charlotte shared. Don’t believe me? Here’s Road Doggs defense when accused about this story.

    Now why would Road Dogg say “they had to climb the same mountain” when we clearly know that’s not true? Easy. To him and the creative team, as I already said, only one victory mattered. The 5 weeks of Becky submitting Billie Kay, Peyton Royce and any other heel on the roster were just filler to them and when they were reminded that they didn’t pay attention to their own TV, they tried to gaslight the situation.

    In contrast, the Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar match was already going into 4 years of misfires and WWE was clearly tired of that minefield. So to solve it, they laid out a very meticulous plan. Having Braun Strowman dominate a former Universal Champion in Kevin Owens. Having him appear before the match to announce he’d use MITB after it. Lesnar attacking him and tossing out the briefcase. Cutting the show early. They went through extreme lengths for the sole purpose of finishing this ill-fate rivalry with as little backlash as possible. And to add to it, The Shield followed the very next day.

    Becky? Never really a priority. But Roman. Clearly he is one. As such every single step involving him for Summerslam was carefully planned out. While’s Becky’s was not and because of that a massive detail ended up ignored. To the creative team, Becky’s rise and fall was meant to make her a fresh antagonist for Charlotte. But because of careless storytelling and match producing (Charlotte literally stabs her in the back to win, remember?) it all backfired.

    In The End………

    Obviously it all comes down to the mad ramblings of one man. Vincent Kennedy McMahon is the one who has final say in everything. He’s shown nothing but love for Roman Reigns, so obviously he would go to great lengths trying to push him. But for Becky? “Whatever. Set her up as a heel for Charlotte”. You could say the same thing happened with Daniel Bryan. As details of storytelling kept falling through, fans grew more and more discontent. Resulting in them not just turning on the product, but straight up boycotting it. Could something similar happen with Becky Lynch? Maybe. But in general, it could happen with anyone.

    Then again, I’m praising that whole Roman/Lesnar deal from Summerslam, but at the same time, they were digging themselves out of a 4 year ditch they made themselves there. Careless writing is what this all boils down to which is quite astonishing it happens as often as it does nowadays. Sure, there’s no major #2 promotion hot on WWE’s trail. But I would expect this company that is signing million dollar TV rights to put their best foot forward to justify said earnings. Guess not.
  2. Jack-Hammer


    Mar 26, 2009
    Likes Received:
    In my opinion, what WWE has ultimately done in regards to Roman Reigns is essentially taking something that was incredibly simple and made it incredibly hard. It stands to reason that IF fans weren't genuinely feeling Roman Reigns, the logical thing to do would be to take him out of that spot and give someone else the opportunity. I mean, that's how wrestling companies have always operated: insert a wrestler into a spot and if it doesn't work, take them out and try someone else.

    The thing is that WWE is no longer "just" a wrestling company, the company is a friggin' corporate juggernaut that keeps getting bigger and bigger each year. WWE's influence continues to expand into new markets and countries and they've continuously broken their own revenue records for the past 4 or 5 years, which have grown by leaps and bounds. Last year, they took in just over $800 million in revenue and the first two quarters of this year show a combined $470 million in revenue, so they're well on their way to breaking the record again. Once their new TV deals kick in, WWE's overall revenue will probably exceed the $1 billion mark. Even taking our their current TV revenue, which currently sits at about $235 million per year, that still leaves a whole lot of money WWE is making from the fans via house shows, WWE Network subscriptions, ppv attendance and merchandise. On top of all that, WWE's stock, as of Friday, was over $82 per share and the market cap is somewhere in excess of $6.5 billion, around $3 billion of which Vince owns.

    What's the point of all the number crunching? Just that WWE doesn't have to listen to fans. That simple fact is something that frustrates internet fans, smarks and dirt sheet writers to no end. All Vince has to do is point to those numbers and say to the critics: "This is what my business did last year and what it's doing this year. Nobody else in this industry can come remotely close to bringing in what we do; probably all of them put together still couldn't come close to pulling in what we do. There are about 325 million people in this country and I'm one of the 500 or so wealthiest. Let the critics and keyboard warriors gripe and complain all they want but World Wrestling Entertainment sure is making a whole lot of money for a company going under." Quality is always subjective and in spite of all the online complaints and general smarkiness there are obviously a shit ton of people who enjoy WWE enough to give the company their attention, time and money...including us and numerous other of their "critics." We can justify it and make all the excuses that we want, but it changes nothing. Sometimes, and I'm guilty of this along with pretty much everyone else, we're just talking out of our asses. All Vince has to do is point out those simple, undeniable facts and it takes a lot of the bite out of any real counterargument you can go up against because he's laughing his ass off all the way to the bank. It doesn't mean that there aren't legitimate criticisms that get brought up and that there are things WWE can do to improve things, but much of the harshest criticism does get undercut by cold figures.

    A lot of fans, which don't include us, also don't spend time analyzing, overanalyzing, critiquing and just generally going over every single little aspect of everything with a fine toothed comb. When I say a lot, I mean somewhere that's probably well into the 90%+ range, though I do think WWE can change certain aspects of itself that fans would enjoy and could possibly bring in more fans. WWE is generally the trendsetter in pro wrestling, whether that's always accurate or inaccurate isn't necessarily relevant because WWE = wrestling in the consciousness of numerous wrestling fans in America and all over the world. As a result, I think it WWE marketed itself in a more serious way, such as giving the impression of being actual competition, I think fans would get on board,
    Monster Amongst Men likes this.

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