Has Promo Taken Away From The Wrestling?
July 9, 2005 by Juan Cadavid
This is my first column (won’t be my last), I’ve never written one before so I’m glad my first one is about wrestling. Before I begin I want to stress that I am a fan of all wrestling and am not knocking any of the promotions mentioned, just voicing my observations and sharing my opinion with you the readers and fellow wrestling fans. So listen up peeps and feel free to hate or appreciate.
I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was 6 years old. I used to watch every wrestling show I caught on television. Most of which were all WWF shows because as we all know WWF was the biggest wrestling promotion on local and cable television. After watching Bret Hart beat Ric Flair for the WWF championship on prime time wrestling on USA network I was hooked. On wrestling that is, I couldn’t get enough of it, I used to even watch WCW at 6:05 on TBS Saturday nights. It didn’t matter to me, I just fell in love with it. This was a time when promos weren’t 85% of the show. They were 35%, maybe 40%. Even the old school classic green screen promos where the wrestler would talk to their opponents through the camera with their logo graphic in the background. The farthest they went with promos for storylines was the segment they had like the Barbershop, the Heartbreak Hotel, Piper’s Pit, Funeral Home with Paul Bearer or the WrestleMania promos with celebrity guests.
As time passed, the mic skill and promo became more part of the show. Now don’t get me wrong, a lot of the greatest moments and superstars in wrestling history have been created during promos, and promos are necessary for the storylines to develop. But nowadays the wrestling has taken a back seat to the promo. When I put on a show very rarely is there a wrestling match to begin the show. It always starts with a promo that lasts about 10 minutes and it’s the same boring speech we heard last week (JBL and Triple H). We only watch wrestling matches worth watching once a month on a PPV, and out of seven matches on the card there will be two or three that you can honestly say were good wrestling matches. I miss the old days when it was more about wrestling than entertainment. Now I know they come hand in hand but I’m sure
there’s a way to balance it out.
Mic skills, as important as they are, keep us from seeing great matches sometimes because one guy can be a great worker in the ring but have sub par mic skills, so because of that we the fans are robbed of great maybe even classic matches. Very rarely are two guys paired up to feud that have decent mic skills and are good workers. Angle and HBK are not the only ones, who wouldn’t want to see Shelton Benjamin and RVD go at it? WWE has tons of talent and we do see great matches (ex. Vengeance had some great matches) I’m sure as a fan we’d like to see these matches a little more often.
Take TNA, they have promos here and there but the one thing that TNA has is good wrestling. Not all of their matches are great but for the most part they have good wrestling matches. They perform moves I haven’t seen in awhile; have good spots, or even new moves that make me say damn, that was creative. Although, lately they have been getting away from that by wasting good air time on bad promos. (And I still can’t get used to that eight-sided ring).
I didn’t mention much about ROH because I have never seen any matches but I hear they put on a great show and will make sure to check them out.
Hopefully TNA, ROH and WWE can one day compete at a high level and bring out the best in each other and we the fans can once again reap the benefits, and the art and skill of wrestling can stay alive and not take a backseat to anything else. I’m sure all these wrestling organizations have more wrestling to offer then just chops, clotheslines and finishers. They have great wrestlers that can bring a lot to the ring and take us into the future of wrestling.
And last I just want to say ECW! ECW! ECW! had it all. ECW is the blueprint for great W-R-E-S-T-L-I-N-G! And it will live on in the hearts of those of us who saw it first hand and experienced its greatness every time they came to town.
by Juan Cadavid ..
Erkka Järvinen wrote:
After a nice column i thought i would pick on your last comment since there wasnt anything else to discuss. ECW had it all? Disagreed... What ECW had was passion, backyard wrestlers (no offense but they were as mad as those backyard wrestlers) and dedicated fan base. Some may say they had a connection to the fans and it might be true but i just dont get how ppl can love so ultra violent product like ECW. Now enough of ECW analysis. This one is related to your column. ECW damn sure didnt have good wrestling, it had good brawls. WWE sure has a lot better wrestling than ECW had and thats just my opinion.
Matthew Gunn wrote:
Great point to do an article on and great article. First off, when it comes to promos Triple H and his big F**K off nose are the worst.
I hate when the WWE shows start because it is always a promo!The only thing I look forward to is finding out who it is going to be because if it is someone who is heavily involved with something like HBK I would look forward to what he has to say.I agree with the Tna thing.They sometimes take stimpulations for matches over the top though.ROH do put on a great show.Last off all, I really diagree a lot about when you said that ECW was good wrestling?No offence but I think ECW sucks but some people like that style, that is just my opinion.I think one thing in one of JBL's promos was right when he said they just pick anyone and give them a kendo stick,but he is also wrong because look at the Dudleys,RVD,Rey Mysterio,Y2J and Eddie Guererro now.
Great Article.(This is only my second article reply so I will get a lot wrong).
Nice column, great topic. Yes, promos have taken a giant leap onto wrestling. Sometimes they're great and add intensity, sometimes they get boring and aren't very entertaining. It's come down to a point in age (for WWE) that in order for you to be a champion, you have to be a great speaker. Nevernind about being a great wrestler who is legitimately tough, who can have great matches with anyone, and who's been all over the world for years and years (like Benoit), you have to be a great speaker. WWE sees it as a way for the fans to see "why" the two people are fighting. They DO overdo it, big time. As in Batista's case. He's not a great speaker, but WWE loves big muscle-heads. (I am, by no means, a Batista-basher.)
As for TNA, they have more wrestling, but their storylines do tend to suck. I've never watched much other than a few matches (two with AJ Styles) and I wasn't really impressed as my friends thought I'd be. I'm not saying it sucked, I just haven't been able to sit down and watch a certain amount of matches. If TNA can get convincing storylines with a bit more promo time, then it may put butts in the seats.. or shows in the homes or whatever.
As for ECW, it had some great wrestling matches. No, not with Sabu, Dreamer, Raven, Sandman, New Jack, or Dudleys, but with RVD, Jerry Lynn, Taz, Benoit, Malenko, Rey Rey, and Eddie Guerrero. I'm not saying the previous names never had aby big matches, I'm only saying that the last seven I named had wrestling involved with a lot of their matches rather than a barrage of weapons and people jump all over the place.
Roy Spencer wrote:
Great article! This needs to be said over and over for a very long time until someone gets the picture. The day I watched a two hour Raw and got 14 1/2 minutes of wrestling (Yep, timed it and included backstage brawls) was the start of my great disillusionment with the WWE. The Invasion nightmare was the nail in the coffin, but that's beside the point.
I was surprised by the negative feedback you've received regarding ECW. "Backyard wrestling"? I wouldn't exactly call Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio Jr, Mick Foley, Bam Bam Bigelow, Terry Funk, Perry Saturn, RVD, and John Kronus backyard wrestlers. Maybe I'm strange that way?
Yes, ECW had their hardcore bloodbaths. This was a big part of their draw because it was different and it became a style that they identified with. But after a Sandman/New Jack bloody brawl ECW would head right in to Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero in a 20 minute mat classic, or a Rey Mysterio and Psicosis putting on a Lucha Libre jaw dropper. ECW provided a widely varied product with all sorts of styles and matches represented. They became associated with hardcore but offered much MUCH more besides. I wouldn't even call ECW "ultraviolent" as XPW and CZW were the ones who went that route.
I suspect that those who say ECW sucked and had backyard wrestlers either A) never saw an actual show, or B) think flipping people off, punching them twice, and giving a stunner counts as a classic wrestling match.
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