Until very recently the storylines in the WWE had become vacuous and stale. An ex wrestler, and new found buddy of mine brought up a pretty valid point. It seems that during the time the WWE’s ratings were dropping like fried insects from an outdoor bug zapper, Vince McMahon was trying to re-focus his attention on the “realism” of wrestling. This could have been a disastrous move. The WWE is a worldwide phenomena, but not because of the wrestling alone, not any longer.
It’s no secret that the WWE’s success comes from the malevolent rivalries and the often outre storylines; afterall, it is called sports entertainment. To try and go backwards, when wrestling was just wrestling is not plausible. Those times have long since died, and the outing of this type of wrestling as being fake is indelible. This is not to say that the grappling techniques, or the in ring action is fake, but rather the scripting of the storylines and the win/loss scenarios. Real fans of wrestling know all to well the strain that is put on these performers bodies on a weekly basis, it is no easy task to maintain the physical attributes neccessary to withstand the kind of punishment they take. One has to admire the Ric Flair’s, Hulk Hogan’s, Shawn Michael’s, and Undertaker’s in this business, all of whom have wrestled off and on for over two decades.
So, is it really that much of a shock that the near non existant storylines, and the mostly short lived, hollow rivalries didn’t fly among the WWE Universe?
To the Rescue!
In recent months, the creative team has saved face by producing several new storylines. The Orton vs. Mcmahons’ feud was a brilliant move, bringing back shades of the popular “attitude era” of the nineties and early 21st century. Even more impressive is the teams idea to pull a switch by turining the Mcmahons’ role face, and the antagonist (in this case, Randy Orton and Legacy) as the heel. It’s the Stone Cold storyline all over again, with a few variations. The Edge, Vickie Guerrero, and Big Show storyline also shows signs of the “attitude era.” Who could ever forget the Kane and Tori storyline, or the Kane, Lita, and Edge storyline, which then turned into the Matt Hardy, Edge, and Lita storyline? Better yet, who could forget the Trish Stratus and Vince McMahon storyline? Thats classic entertainment.
One of the storylines that hasn’t seemed to be as effective as others in the past, is the Hardy brothers betrayal storyline. It’s been done again and again. We saw it with Bret and Owen Hart and Edge and Christian, (who aren’t really brothers by the way) among many more. The Hardy Boyz are arguably the most popular brother tag team the WWE has ever seen, which is why I believe it isn’t working so well. However, I do think it could be the right call for a short term period. It will finally give Matt Hardy an opportunity to create a separate identity, away from his fan popular brother Jeff.
Overall, I’d say it’s a job well done. Kudos to you WWE creative team, we look forward to more entertainment!