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As a creative writing graduate and a wrestling fan, it has long been a dream of mine to write compelling wrestling storylines. Thanks to Adam Ryland, over the years I’ve been able to do that in the virtual form with his Total Extreme Wrestling Series and to good effect I might add. So when I tune in to WWE or TNA and see what they’re doing with talent, a little part of me dies.
I’m pretty certain that its not as easy as it seems and I’m sure there are other factors that we don’t get to see that prohibit things happening all the time, but seriously, how hard is it to write for wrestling?
I’ll start with the big boys, WWE. They have an awful lot of talent on their roster yet half of it goes unused every week. Perhaps this is to rest and rotate, which is a smart move I guess, but then you stop and start momentum time and again. The company has recently unified the two title belts, another smart decision if you ask me, but there is also talk of unifying the US and Intercontinental straps and that, I’m not sure about.
Sure, Dean Ambrose the current US Champ hasn’t defended his title in what – six months? But I concur that if the storylines were given more of a push, they’d have plenty of competition for both belts. Because that’s the crux of the matter, there is a large roster and by only having two singles titles, it doesn’t give everyone a chance to shine.
Back to the writing. I’ll focus on the Daniel Bryan/Bray Wyatt storyline. We saw Bray attack Bryan and that was it for a little bit, CM Punk got involved and then Bryan wanted revenge and Bray wanted to recruit him. Little bit of an odd start but then things got really interesting when Bryan caved and joined the Wyatts. The universe, so white hot behind Bryan, still gave him their support and after a week with the Wyatts, Bryan turns on them and is a good guy again.
What a shame. Bryan as a Wyatt should have gone one of two ways. Bryan continues to not get the results he wants or recognition he deserves under the leadership of Bray but Rowan, Harper and Bray start taking all the spoils. Bryan becomes the black sheep which sees the Wyatts having to teach him the hard way. PPV speciality match for Bryan who only wins with Brays help. Eventually things turn around and Bryan starts getting the wins, all thanks to the hard work of Bray. Enter World Title Shot, Bray wants it, Bryan wants it. Fight!
I don’t know, that’s just off the top of my head. The other way would be for Bryan to go on a hot winning streak until he gets the title shot again and Bray turns on Bryan. Simple and effective to get the job done. With longevity in storylines, the audience gets more of a chance to get involved and emotionally invested. It makes for a more satisfying payoff and more PPV buys.
It’s my belief that all wrestlers should be involved in a story at some level or another. I don’t want to tune into Raw or Smackdown and see two wrestlers that have no reason to be in the ring together. Why would I want to see Jack Swagger taking on Kofi Kingston? They have no history. Now if Zeb had made a speech about Kofi not being American or Kofi was fighting for his rights, then fine. But there is no foresight into that.
The tag division is a whole other area that annoys me, but I won’t go into great detail with that one. There are so many good teams out there – I could hope for more gimmicky teams if I’m being honest – but again there is nothing there for them. They fight between themselves and there is no desire, no talking, no angle to get the belts. I enjoyed the Rhodes Dynasty winning the belts off the Shield despite them just being cobbled together, but now the New Age Outlaws are back and going straight for the titles? Why not the Usos or the Real Americans? Where have Los Matadores gone?!
Jumping ships, lets look at TNA. There are so many bigger problems in that company than the writing, but when I saw the AJ Styles v Magnus match I was dismayed. This was the chance for AJ to say thank you to TNA for all the years of service, it was a chance to have a real fantastic match between the two as a final blowout for Styles but instead we get this clusterfuck of a “match”. I don’t think I saw any wrestling, just run in after run in and beat down after beat down. It was like they just wanted to bury AJ Styles and if I was him, knowing that was my last match, I’d never had agreed to what happened.
Again the tag division needs some work in TNA, well, they need talent. New talent, home-grown talent they can turn into a superstar. Magnus deserves his world title but there is a real lack of contenders, face competition anyway. The X Division needs to go back to its roots of face paced, no fear, high flying and TNA need to look more towards the ring than the talking.
Considering the UK are pretty much keeping TNA afloat, it’s curious then that Impact is so badly edited over here. We haven’t seen anything from Bully Ray and Mr. Anderson, the whole Aces and Eights fallout has been kept off our screens. It seems if there is a bit of intensity or violence, that we don’t get to see it. Which could be problematic if TNA heed my next piece of advice.
TNA needs to focus on PG-13 and take a leaf out of the Attitude Era. Get a bit more adult, fire up some intensity and get a wider audience in to the show. This should surely make the writing process easier too?
I’ll reiterate, I’m sure it’s more complicated than I’m making out, but at the very least some new ideas could be introduced in both companies and get everyone involved in some sort of story. If you’re reading WWE or TNA and want to hear some of my ideas, get in touch.