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WRESTLING COLUMNS

A Time To Feud, A Time To Wrestle
March 31, 2005 by Jasper


I recently have been watching both RAW and SmackDown! and a thought occurred to me during all this WrestleMania frenzy. What we have been seeing on TV (especially in the case of the inter-brand feuds) is that we have been seeing built up feuds over a decent amount of time. If you're not totally clear on what I'm saying, then see if you can follow this.

In the older days of wrestling before the Monday Night Wars, PPV's were few and far between so that feuds would build up with a nice mixture of wrestling and promos. This would lend a great hand to the storyline while also keeping wrestling from totally reverting to a soap opera fashion. However, due to the faster paces that the industry kept on inflicting on itself to gain ratings, more PPV's were added and feuds became faster.

So where does that leave us? We are now in a stage where the majority of the people watch the WWE brand of wrestling and prior to the brand division of their two TV shows, wrestlers were in feuds that lasted roughly a month as every pay-per-view occurred once a month. In my opinion, this was bad; not just for the wrestling, but for the storyline. Storylines were being replaced by more high risk matches. Certainly, some storylines were amazing and made it through, but I believe that a good majority just fell flat. There was nothing there to catch the spark.

Now then, we come back to the present. The brand extension for WWE has left about two months between each PPV to build up a feud. So, there are two hours a week for each brand, three to four times a month. So, there are eight hours per month if we go on the high end. Now then, since there are two months we have sixteen hours total to build up a feud before a PPV puts the period on the battle. Now we have to subtract time, so we'll take a case of a main eventer feud. So since a main eventer takes about thirty minutes a show, we now have four hours total between PPV to PPV. That's not much time to build up a feud.

So why does this thought occur to me now? Simple, because of WrestleMania. You see, right before WrestleMania, there is automatically a two month grace period for each brand because of the lack of PPV's in March. Also, take into account that the "Road to WrestleMania" begins at the Royal Rumble. We can increase that grace period to three months. Not bad, it's not a substantial increase, but it certainly does help for feud time.

So now we go to some of the matches of WrestleMania 21. We've been seeing Cena vs. JBL being built up at a decent pace, with a rare form of seriousness and intensity being exhibited from Cena and JBL doing a great job as a monster heel. On RAW, HHH vs. Batista has been more than building up for three months and is now coming to a dramatic conclusion. Win or lose, the end of this feud will be good. In both cases there have been wrestling and great promos. I also have to include the Angle/HBK match-up which promises to be more than brilliant. I am more than eager to see the conclusion of these feuds. Maybe it's just the air that surrounds WrestleMania 21, maybe I just haven't seen many PPVs in awhile; but I doubt I'm alone in the feeling.

What's my point in the article? I don't have a point, I have a question. With this type of fast-paced storyline we have in the present, where is the balance between wrestling and drama? Is it even possible to strike a balance anymore? Sure, some feuds are built up with little time and they are brilliant, but it takes a certain past history in order to make it click. We've seen HHH vs. HBK three times already; I admit I was a little bit sick of it the third time around but the matches between each were spectacular.

Do we need to see less pay-per-views and more time to build up? Perhaps not every feud is worthwhile and only a certain few have potential; after all, this is cream of the crop that every company wants to work with. I personally believe that we do need more time for feuds and that there must be a better way to strike a balance between wrestling and promos. It's also interesting because you can't have the two wrestlers automatically go at it from day one; it has to be built up over time and they can't wrestle each other in a serious match-up until the final match. I wouldn't mind sacrificing a few PPVs for an extended feud. Every feud has some potential; they just aren't given enough time. Look at the Cruiserweight division, they have practically no TV time and they are expected to give and pull the same ratings as any other segment? Not likely. I was watching the other day between London and Kidman, and London was doing absolutely crazy things in the ring yet the audience was totally dead. I mean the wrestling was brilliant, but there was no reason for the audience to get captivated emotionally because there isn't anything involving London or Kidman that invokes any sentiment. Kidman is supposed to be a heel, and the only way we really know how he's a heel is in the demeanour he carries himself into and out of the ring. We have seen no promos, no little vignettes, no nothing to show his character. Another example, when Spike Dudley became the "Boss" after winning the title, I expected a monster heel run from all three Dudleyz, but nothing came of it. They simply vanished and the next time Spike lost his title, it was with little fanfare.

Point is, we need more time to absorb, to feel, and to get connected. It is in a sense a relationship that needs to be built up with both action and drama and we need a proper mix of both. This is what defines it from being Wrestling the Sport or Wrestling the Drama and keeps it solely as Wrestling the Sports Entertainment.

by Jasper..


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