Wrestling: A Male Soap Opera"
April 6, 2005 by Rohit Ramnath
Time for my second article. This time I want to see whether wrestling is really the male soap-opera by comparing the past (WWF) and the present (WWE) with The Bold and the Beautiful. Yes, I did watch the show for a week just to do some research for this article. Yes it is quite boring. But if I wanted to compare then I had no other choice.
First point I note about the show is the storylines - long, convoluted, unexpected. There are stories which have been going on for years and years together. I got a friend to explain the story to me (thanks Sabrina) because it was stretching over 3-4 months of the show. The WWE today, what to say about that" The Cena-Carlito angle lasted 2 matches, 2 weeks when Cena was around and not healing injuries. The Randy Orton post-concussion syndrome story magically disappeared. The Reigns and Jindrak saga has suddenly been stopped (I know it's because of WM XXI but then they should never have started it). The WWF had a very long running storyline with Austin-McMahon, filled with Austin attacks, run - ins with beer trucks, McMahons' fight back, and a lot lot more. HHH and Rock feud ran for about 6-7 months with the Iron Man match etc...Corporate Ministry ran. In short, the WWF was similar to the soap opera while the WWE isn't.
Secondly, the characters. In soap operas they are clearly defined and have a lot of history behind them. The main characters have so much history it would take about 3-4 hours describing them. The characters in the WWE, what great history do they have" How much have they evolved" I know many of them are youngsters and require time but putting them in 3 week storylines isn't leading greatly to their evolution. Triple H, for example, has a long history in the WWF. A snob, then he drugged and married Stephanie. Then Steph turned on her father. The McMahons and Helmsleys united later and then became a huge heel faction. HHH's character also involved D-X, turning on HBK, and many other small feuds but we all know this history. After the WWE what happened" He has one line only. Leader of Evolution, World Heavyweight champ, the unbeatable one. See how his character has stopped evolving" Again WWF was similar to soap operas while the WWE isn't.
Thirdly, repetition. There's a saying which people often say, if I miss one episode of my soap I have missed a lot. Is that true with the WWE" Can people really not afford to miss one week" Would they leave work to go watch RAW or SmackDown!" No. Fans no longer care if they miss one week, for two reasons: it'll be shown on the next weeks show and it's nothing important. I don't think JBL trashing the turntable championship made that much of an impact. Neither did the pick-your-poison matches. Neither did the contract signing between Orton and Taker. Angle/HBK looks to be the only good angle only because Kurt is doing really great in promoting it. WWF though was special. Each week had tons of action which people couldn't wait one week to see. Austin's dousing of McMahon's in beer. Rock interviews. Foley's matches. Tag team action. Fans would sacrifice work for the WWF, not the WWE. Final similarity between soaps and WWF.
So what's the conclusion" Is wrestling the male soap opera or not" Successfully run companies are. Really boring one's aren't. I am not taking any other promotion into consideration only because I cannot watch them. The WWF was, the WWE isn't. To improve, they have to bear similarities to the soaps. Evolve the characters, extend the storylines, have stories with more than two people or two stables. Twist the plots; add unexpected turns and Oh My God moments.
Of course Vince doesn't care because he has a monopoly on the "sports entertainment" business but soon TNA will catch up because they are different and they are evolving, and that's what we want to see.
Again I am forever in the hope that WM XXI will be the start of the WWF way of wrestling, more soap opera styled stories. A little more dangerous style of fighting. Hardcore matches, some blood here and there, back to the roots.
by Rohit Ramnath..
Theddious Mayes Jr. wrote:
You are right in some way on this column about WWF/WWE. WWF had an affect on you to where you would skip and miss basketball games, football games, and any other show if it came on while Raw and Smackdown on on cause oh its storyline. The storylines, drama, characters, run-ins, surpise debuts, and many different fueds glued you to the TV and nothing couldn't put you apart of it. WWF wasn't just wrestling, it was amost a lifestyle for fans. The ROck could come in and wear a shirt, with some dress pants and the next day grown men and kids would dress like the Rock at school and at church. Stone Cold helped beer companys sell out cause whatever beer he had in his hands while stunning people or straying it on them fans would go out and buy beer like crazy. WWF had an effect on school kids. After D-X started the famous "Suck It" pharse, taking their arm and crossing it below the belt. Kids(including myself back then) would go to school and the teacher could give homework on a Monday night it was over for that teacher. It was great then cause WWF/WWE superstars where all on ONE show. The Stone Cold/Vince fued lasted so long cause not only was it entertaining but we could see it on Mondays and Thursdays.
WWE on the other hand took alot of stuff away from us cause of the brands Raw and Smackdown. WWF was focused on a group set of people whereas the WWE is trying to include everyone of their superstars. This is why we get the half ass storylines, quickie drama spots and lame fueds. Triple H was headed in the right way when he made Evoulton cause it was giving us that WWF feeling with a faction talking to take over the WWE. But the storyline couldn't last long cause once again the WWE writers want to include eveyone. Buld them up faster so fans once again get half ass shows. Now and days if a show is coming on that I want to see and WWE is coming on I myself watch my show cause I know what to expect when I watch the WWE. There isn't any passion in WWE anymore. I hate to say this but there wasn't a WCW/ECW out there to make the WWE realize that the fans aren't getting what we are use to which is a good entertainment..
Let me start off with tell me you didnt just say that" hehe sorry had to say it cuz frankly im a tad bit sick of people over analizing the WWE. Yes, its the main promotion being televised on national tv right now. BUT..... TNA is becoming (in my opinion) just like the WWE, simply because they have the same problem as what you have written about. They drop storylines alot faster than the WWE does. What happened to the KINGS OF WRESTLING" It dropped faster than the NWO angle that the RAW brand was trying to revive. My whole point to my rambling is that you can't always keep shoving a feud down your fans throats if it doesnt work or if the two wrestlers or factions aren't ready (in the case of Jindrak/Reigns). I, myself will watch Raw every week when i can simply because I want to see it succeed like it did last decade. The only suggestion I have towards any fan of wrestling is to give it time... If you get bored with it, turn it off or watch something else. No one is forcing you to watch the soap opera. Thank you for your time and effort in writing this article.
Jonathan Ayres wrote:
I couldn't agree more with your column, you've been thinking what i have for what seems an eternity. The main difference you missed to point out between the WWE and WWF is that the WWF was just one show, with one champion, one tag team champion, IC, Euro and Hardcore title. You got to see your stars twice a week, so WWF could build up feuds much better then they can now in the WWE. You had all your talent on one show so you could create a whole bunch of rivalries and evolve your wrestlers. Now what can WWE do, nothing! WWE seem to have forgotton what a story line is let alone a decent rivalry. Smackdown barely has enough talent to scrap up one dencent storyline. If WWE wants to be as popular as it once was, they have to make a big decision, put raw and SD back together and just have one show. Lets face it no one is goin to order a SD PPV, its a joke besides Angle and maybe Taker you dont really have any one. Raw is slightly better though nothing what it was a few years ago where you had such intence rivalries and good matches. So please someone tell Vince, put the whole thing together again, Then peole will be talkin about actual rivalries and wrestlers again instead of how crap the WWE is.
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