Where Have All the Feuds Gone?
May 2, 2007 by Blake L.
Editor's Note: The author of this column can be contacted via the OWW Forums, where this submission was first posted. Feedback can be posted automatically by clicking
here - but remember you must sign up for the forums to post feedback on a column. Thanks you!
It is no secret. Most people feel that wrestling just isn't what it used to be. Then there are those who love today's product. No matter what your feelings on the state of pro wrestling are at the moment, you can still enjoy the battles that take place inside the ring. You can appreciate what each man puts into their matches and you can appreciate the entertaining feuds that are provided. However, feuds have changed, just like the product. We no longer get the Sammartino era feuds, or even the Hogan in his prime type feuds. We still get feuds and storylines between superstars, but they last about as long as a Great Khali match. So, the question is, where have all the feuds gone?
Let me first define what I mean by a "long" feud. I don't mean a feud that lasts a month or two. We still get some of those feuds, and some of them are effective. But it would be great to see a feud last for several months and lead to a final match that actually means something. A feud that lasts a month doesn't give the proper time to actually build up the hatred between the superstars that are taking place in the feud. It also doesn't allow enough time for the reasons behind the feud to set in to the audience. To me, an effective feud allows enough time for the feud to go back and forth and make the audience care. But still, it doesn't seem like we are getting a large amount of quality feuds these days.
There are many factors that can play into this. Perhaps it's the size of the roster. Without a doubt, the closing of ECW along with the buying of WCW changed the landscape of the WWE product. Those who were employed by WCW and ECW eventually made their way to the WWE after their respective companies no longer existed. So this eventually led to the brand extension, and the size of the roster expanded a great deal. And this factor would make sense. McMahon now has more people to please and keep happy. This leads to shorter feuds, so more people can eventually have their place in a storyline. Although I still think it's possible to have longer feuds, it seems as though the powers-that-be feel as though feuds should last no longer than a month. Like I've said before, a month just isn't doesn't provide enough justice to a feud.
Now, I will give credit where credit is due. From early January last year, to basically around Unforgiven of last year, the WWE did have a very effective and lengthy feud. The ongoing battle between John Cena and Edge for the WWE Title was very entertaining. And it kind of felt like the old days. It felt like a real feud. It didn't feel forced on us, it just naturally progressed throughout the months, and was capped off with an excellent TLC match at Unforgiven. While these two didn't fight each other at every pay-per-view for nine months straight, we still felt the tension and hostility between the two superstars. In my opinion, this was as close to what a feud should be than any other feud we've seen in a while.
It's also possible that the superstars themselves are to blame for the short feuds. Several years ago, there were superstars that are considered legends of the squared circle. The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, The Undertaker, Mankind, and Shawn Michaels were all in the company together at one time. If you compare that list of names to the headliners of today's product, there doesn't seem to be that same type of list. John Cena and Batista are really the only men in the WWE today that have that same type of appeal and marketability. Don't get me wrong, there are still other guys who are marketable and can keep a feud interesting for a while. But the superstars today haven't really been able to get that "it" factor that these men had several years ago. While some superstars today mesh well together, the number doesn't seem to be as high as it was a while back. And I suppose you could actually place most of the blame on the WWE creative staff for this. Some people will argue that everything has already been done in professional wrestling, and that all the ideas are gone. I find this statement to be ridiculous. They found a way to make the superstars several years ago marketable and able to create an excellent feud that had longevity, so they can find ways now.
We can even go a little deeper in determining the factors that have led to the shorter feuds that are taking place these days. Perhaps the fans have something to do with it. Wrestling fans today seem to have a shorter attention span than they did years ago. It seems as though fans are more worried about getting themselves or their signs on television than what is actually going on inside the ring. But I'm not placing the entire blame on the fans for that. Wrestling fans today can go online, and find spoilers for what is going to happen within the company. So this makes sense that the WWE really can't drag a feud out for several months as the fans would probably find it stale after a month or so. And well, the business is meant to please the fans, because that's where the money comes from.
I'm not saying that we should have year long feuds or anything like that, because that would likely not work in today's era of pro wrestling. This isn't the kayfabe era of wrestling, which could allow for extremely long feuds due to the factors that surrounded the business in that era. There was no internet. There were not 75 superstars on the roster. It was just different. Even with these factors though, it's still a possibility that a very length feud can happen. As the saying goes, anything is possible.
I'm sure there are many other factors that have played into the shortening of feuds. These seem to be the ones that make the most sense to me. Even with these factors, I think that there is still reason for hope. As I mentioned earlier, the Cena-Edge feud was something special. We know that because these two men are still in the main event scene as we speak. And we still see the hatred that takes place between the two. The storylines and feuds are what make wrestling what it is. Without them in today's society, there would be no professional wrestling. Hopefully the creative staff can find two guys that fit well together, and let them have a long lasting feud. I may be asking for too much, but I think that an effective feud would help bring back more traditional wrestling fans. While I don't expect a 10 year feud or anything like that, I do think that we will see a lengthy feud in the near future.
by Blake L. (View/Submit your feedback here)..
© 2007, Black Pants, Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective holders.