By Adam Davey
I read a recent article that really hit home about the creative team in TNA which also got me thinking about the state of creative in WWE. Being a writer for either of these promotions is surely a thankless task. But, whoever is in charge of creative on either promotion should really stick to one simple rule, or if you prefer, one simple word - “reasoning”.
Let me expand on that. Not very much, but let's stretch that word out to give it more meaning. Every single match from curtain jerker to main event should have a reason. It's that simple. It really is.
If two guys or even for that matter 30 guys are in a ring, the audience need a reason to care. There was a match on Impact last year between Knux and Austin Aries which turned out to be a really good contest and made me appreciate the big guy for the first time. But why did it happen? Why were these two on TV for no apparent reason other than a random tournament?
Last night, Daniel Bryan faced Luke Harper on RAW.
Give me a reason to care! Please!
If the audience doesn’t cheer or boo the talent, then you are doing it wrong.
“But we only have 2 hours a week. We don’t have enough time to give everyone a story.” Fine, then don’t put the match on. Use that time to build someone else. And besides, that point is moot anyway, as both TNA and WWE have secondary shows such as Xplosion or like WWE, have around 6 hours of TV time each week (although I concede that at least 2 hours of that is reruns of things that happened earlier in the night). You don’t even need TV anymore. Look at what Spud is doing on YouTube.
So if it's so easy, why don’t you do it, Adam? Challenge accepted. Below is my list of 10 characters that can be enhanced with just 30 second segments per week.
I am not talking about the main event storylines as they are pretty well defined at the moment. I am talking about the midcarders and afterthoughts at the moment. And although Daniel Bryan is on my list, he is exactly that unfortunately – treated like a midcard/ afterthought in Wrestlemania season.
I should point out that they are getting some things right for a couple of people – take #Axelmania, for example. Well thought out but unfortunately spoiled by the way he gets squashed each week. He needs to win soon to give him any chance of ever being relevant.
Buckle up, people:
1. Knux – A better wrestler than people give him credit for. He came back after Aces and 8s with a mission. A mission to rebuild his family's carnival. Pretty hokey, admittedly, but he was fighting to get money to send home. Why not continue with this every week? A 30 second promo where Knux talks to Rebel and Steve about why he needs to win tonight's fight.
2. Crazzy Steve (and Rebel) – Why not call out Knux on his apathy towards the carnival? Easy to book feud with the whole Menagerie elevated.
3. Erick Rowan – Why oh why is he not feuding with…
4. Luke Harper? This is so easy to book, it's unbelievable. Why did they split in the first place? Why is Erick a face? Why is Luke still a heel? Do we know anything about either man other than they are odd? Throw in any backstory and it goes from there. Luke looked after Erick before they met Bray. Or, they grew up in an orphanage together. Or, they worked at Knux's carnival together! It doesn’t matter. Anything is better than nothing!
5. Jack Swagger – An old school heel gimmick that has been inexplicably accepted by the crowd. Racism is bad, unless it's against the Russians in which case we cheer. But that’s another article for another day. Nothing wrong with being a patriot but why is he still getting beat up by Rusev in a feud we all know he won't win? Zeb and Jack are a good pairing and with a slight tweak to their characters can be amongst the top babyfaces in WWE. Instead of “We the people (we hate non-Americans)”, it could easily be “We the people (we stand up for the bullied)”. U.S. title written all over it.
6. Gunner – Pretty similar to Swagger. The guy from the military who never left a man behind. The guy who sticks up for the little guy. To be fair, he should have been in the Mr. Anderson role in the EC3 vs Spud feud. Natural babyface.
7. Daniel Bryan – The forgotten man. Still the biggest star in the WWE but given absolutely nothing to do other than make Reigns “look strong”. Remember how over he was at the last Wrestlemania because of his refusal to kept down? Re-run that. Make him come out and state that he is going to main event next year by going through the roster and making them see he is main event caliber. It's already been done but they can play on that fact.
8. Jessie Godderz – Although I love the Bromans, the act is getting stale. I would like to see a feud with Robbie E eventually but due to the push that Robbie is getting on the back of his reality TV series with Brooke, Jessie has been left behind. I still think there is mileage in Jessie feuding with Robbie down the line (even over who is the biggest reality star) and mileage on staying with DJ Z (who incidentally could be on this list too) but for the time being, I would give him a Chris Masters type gimmick in having a weekly challenge such as the Masterlock Challenge. Yes, it's old school but it’s a good way to get him over and give him some screen time. Having said that, it has TNA Xplosion written all over it!
9. Wade Barrett – Current Intercontinental Champion who has been booked horribly. Why does he love his title so much? Why does it mean so much? Why should we care about his feud with Ambrose? Let's face it, the only reason to care about this match is down to the charisma of both Dean and Wade. But post feud, where does he go (and he will lose to the super over Ambrose)? Unfortunately, I have some bad news for Wade as he is likely to go nowhere if they continue to book him in the way they have during the reign. For me, he should be the IC champ for the whole year. Talk about how he idolised The British Bulldog and how he wants to emulate and surpass him. Give him and the belt some prestige and direction.
10. Samuel Shaw – Lumbered with an odd gimmick that was starting to get interesting when Brittany decided to leave. Genuinely loads of direction they could take him. Easy candidate for brainwashing at the hands of the Revolution. Continue his feud with Gunner that was forgotten about. Even give him a new love match in someone like Havok! TNA does vignettes well and this character lends itself perfectly to this.
So those are my suggestions for booking made easy. Feel free to let me know if you agree or if you have some other simple tweaks that you would like some of the above to make to become relevant again. Thanks for reading!
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