Has wrestling lost its appeal?
June 21, 2000
By Fritz Capp
Is wrestling really worth watching anymore?
I have talked to a lot of wrestling fans in the last few weeks and a common theme continues to crop up. That is whether or not pro wrestling is even worth watching anymore. A lot of people I know are becoming more and more disenchanted with the current product, whether it is the WWF, WCW or even ECW.
The general consensus is that no matter which federation you watch, the majority of the time when you're watching a main match, it invariably ends with a run-in or screw-job finish in one form or another.
In the WWF you can count on the fact that if anyone in the McMahon/Hemlsley faction is involved in a match, there will be a run-in by all members, thus totally destroying any chance of the opponent getting a victory. The same holds true in WCW when the "New Blood" are concerned. In ECW it is the same story, just a different channel.
This is starting to turn long time wrestling fans away from the current theme that all federations are currently using and that is "soap opera wrestling".
While it is true that today’s wrestling product will invariably use story lines to keep the fans as opposed to actual wrestling, my take is just a tad different than those of the people who I have talked to. Personally I like it, to a point anyway.
Maybe it was because I saw first hand just how effective wrestling story lines could be in the early days of ECW. Back then, Paul Heyman could write an intriguing story that kept you salivating for the next installment. His best work in my mind was the "blinding of the Sandman" angle where it appeared that Tommy Dreamer had blinded Sandman, thus ending his career and having Tommy swear to wrestle each match for the Sandman. The culmination of this angle was Sandman appearing in the ring and showing the ECW fans that it was all a ruse while he caned Dreamer in the ring. To tell it as I just did does not do it justice. The angle, as it played out over time, was outstanding work played out by all parties involved.
WCW did it best with the early incarnation of the New World Order. Eric Bischoff was the recipient of the old adage, "in the right place at the right time" and capitalized on it. Kevin Nash and Scott Hall did help show the world that there was another wrestling federation worth watching other than the WWF. When Bischoff had Hogan turn heel and form the "New World Order" with compadres Hall and Nash, the wrestling world sat up and took notice. Everyone wonder what the upstart NWO would do next to destroy WCW.
The WWF may have peaked with the McMahon/Austin feud, although their numbers today wouldn’t show that. The Austin/McMahon feud was without a doubt wrestling story line writing at its finest as it not only catapulted Steve Austin to mega-superstar status, it had the wrestling fans truly hating one Vincent K. McMahon. But be it they liked Austin or hated McMahon, they tuned in to watch each and every week, giving the WWF astronomical numbers where ratings are concerned and sent WCW into a ratings tailspin that they have yet to recover from. Sad to say that most of today’s WWF angles while making you want to watch are nothing more than rehashed "Austin/McMahon" angles with different names.
While I do like the new style of wrestling for the most part, I too sit and wonder about the current state of wrestling though. With the myriad of screw-jobs finishes and always having that "do or die" situation crop up each week, how much longer will the average wrestling fans continue to be intrigued by the same angle or scenario? After a while the "do or die" scenario becomes old and predictable. Predictability is the kiss of death to any wrestling promotion and all three at this junction in time are very predictable. When I see 10-12 year old children telling each other what is going to happen next on a "live" broadcast, there is a definite problem in the booking or how that booking is being perceived by the general public.
There is such a thing as too much production, and pro wrestling may be standing on the precipice of this very scenario. It could be time for the wrestling moguls to just sit back and let actual wrestling tell the story some of the time. Or better yet how about a clean finish now and then?
And with that I am outta here. Remember wrestling is nothing more than it appears to be.
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