My final point might seem a little farfetched in modern day WWE, but hear me out. Vince McMahon may say that WWE is in the business of telling stories, but stripped down the truth is fairly clear; nobody develops a love for professional wrestling because of the story. The stories are integral to the product, but if the product wasn’t dudes and dudettes throwing each other around the fact is we wouldn’t be watching. Take the current Rusev/Summer Rae/Lana/Dolph Ziggler love rectangle for example. I’m yet to meet someone who is clamouring for the next instalment of their romantic woes, but Rusev and Ziggler going toe-to-toe? Count me in.
The Max Landis ‘Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling’ video was a blast and made a hell of a lot of sense to fans, but it also comes from a fairly defensive place, the continued need that wrestling fans feel to defend why they enjoy it. It’s high time that we just accept the fact that sometimes watching a guy throw another guy into something is fun. In their desperation to find some sort of modern legitimacy, WWE has forgotten that the reason fans stay so loyal isn’t because Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage argued about Miss Elizabeth for a year, it’s because they fought in the ring and seemed larger than life. Very rarely in wrestling does the story transcend the in-ring action.
Heck, more often than not what goes on in the ring is the story. One of the great things about New Japan Pro Wrestling right now is that their stories more often than not revolve around what happens in the ring. Tomohiro Ishii and Togi Makabe weren’t fighting because one spilt coffee over the other; they were grappling because one wanted to prove that they were tougher than the other. Simple.
We don’t grow up dreaming of becoming a WWE superstar to pretend to be king with a plunger and a bed sheet, we dream of becoming a WWE superstar because of how enraptured we are by the wrestling. By remembering what brought it to the dance in the first place, WWE could go a long way towards fixing its broken product.
Born in the middle of Wales in the middle of the 1980's, John can't quite remember when he started watching wrestling but he has a terrible feeling that Dino Bravo was involved. Now living in Prague, John spends most of his time trying to work out how Tomohiro Ishii still stands upright. His favourite wrestler of all time is Dean Malenko, but really it is Repo Man. He is the author of 'An Illustrated History of Slavic Misery', the best book about the Slavic people that you haven't yet read. You can get that and others from www.poshlostbooks.com.