On a Saturday night in November of 1985, I began a guilty pleasure driven love affair with the world of professional wrestling. When the romance started, I mainly watched televised matches featuring the biggest superstars soundly beating wrestlers who had absolutely no chance of victory. Those losers (some lovable) term of endearment was (and is) jobber – as it is their job to make the superstar look as good as possible on their way to victory.
The following year, I learned that the monthly event at Madison Square Garden was shown live on Long Island Cablevision. It was an opportunity to see matches that were significantly upgraded from the Supertar-Jobber quality. You may have even seen a chapter of a feud, one that was taking months to play out on television, happen right then and there. Because of that, you knew that you were getting to see a show that was not being watched a high percentage of the country at that moment.
And that made Madison Square Garden special.
In 30 years, I have seen a Wrestlemania, RAW & Smackdown tapings, a WCW pay per view, televised squash (Superstar-Jobber) match tapings, and various house shows, usually at the Nassau Coliseum. But I never saw a show at Madison Square Garden.
That is, until Friday March 25, 2016 on the #RoadToWrestlemania.
A great seat fell into my lap on the lower bowl at a reasonable price. Plus it was the MSG debut of The Phenomenal AJ Styles.
Long story short, this evening of sports entertainment made me giddy… Childhood giddy… Used to wrestle with friends on the front lawn giddy… Made me wish I had neglected collegiate studies and ran away to join the traveling caravan giddy… Made me wish I grew up to be @WWE creative giddy.
All weekend long on my Instagram, I put together eleven reasons why I wish I was WWE Creative. Here now, are those reasons in blog form:
Why I Wish I Was WWE Creative, No. 1…
The Character of Women. @sashabankswwe & @beckylynchwwe are both winning the audience over in their own unique way. The former had the best match of 2015 at #nxtbrooklyn. The latter is the most quirky and genuinely likable female to step foot in the squared circle. They’re just getting started on the main stage and are involved in the match I look forward to most at #WrestleMania.
Why I Wish I Was WWE Creative, No. 2…
Having unlimited possibilities when a phenomenal talent like @ajstylesp1 arrives on the scene.
Why I Wish I Was WWE Creative, No.3…
Playing with allegory & stock character types through storytelling. You may always want David to defeat Goliath, but Goliath has to beat Tom, Dick, & Harry along the way.
Why I Wish I Was WWE Creative, No.4…
History, Tradition, Family Lineage, & Talent equal deeper Audience Investment. @natbynature & @charlottewwe continue to put on clinics that keep crowds believing things are not as predictable as they seem!
Feeding Into an Audience’s Guilty Pleasures.
Yes, #sportsentertainment may be an all encompassing guilty pleasure, so I will admit here that a guilty pleasure subset of mine is @MikeTheMiz. Maybe because @jenillo watched The Real World – New Orleans, but mainly it’s because there’s a deeper level of genuine commitment. Whether it’s being a #MustSee champion, selling us on his moneymaker, or having a stunt double. Hosting the #ToughEnough aftershow on @officialwwenetwork will show you just how good he is off the cuff on a mic.
Why I Wish I Was WWE Creative, No.6…
There is nothing better than to create with the performer-audience dynamic in mind… The less the connection there is, the less entertaining it is.
Why I Wish I Was WWE Creative, No.7…
Because I like handing off the ball and seeing how people run with it. @xavierwoodsphd @wwebige & Kofi Kingston have been running for a little over a year. The payoff is that they are basically the hottest act in the building. They can get a trombone over. They can make #Booty a franchise (#bootyoscereal).
ps Xavier Woods pretty much earned entertainer of the night at #WWEMSG
Why I Wish I Was WWE Creative, No.8…
Larger than life, extraordinary characters with super objectives are the most fun to develop. These qualities makes Kevin Owens such an incredibly engaging character. #fightowensfight #KOMania
Why I Wish I Was WWE Creative, No.9…
The incorporation of legacy characters for the development of news stars. The Dudley Boys returned to the #WWEUniverse last fall – I see them as the smashmouth football players of the 1970’s taking on players who look for a flag if they’re brushed the wrong way.
Why I Wish I Was WWE Creative, No.10:
Roster depth is one thing. Character depth is another. Dean Ambrose can practically do no wrong in the eyes of the fans mainly because they know they’ve only seen a fraction of his range as a character and are excited by the possibilities. There’s no reason for him to get stale in the next several years. O the places he can go.
Why I Wish I Was WWE Creative, No.11:
Love him or hate him, @tripleh has always been a big picture guy, as was evident when he introduced his trademark entrance. When you see the big picture, you get to play it smart and take risks – sometimes those risks blow up in your face, and sometimes they hit big. That’s the fun when you get to play in the world of a spectacle. And there’s few greater spectacle than the WWE Universe.
There have been many, many nights and many, many tweets where I have lamented over the decisions made on wrestling programming. But they will never get a 100% right with 100% of the fans. When you have invested time in a product, one of the biggest fears can be that all has been for naught and that time has been wasted. But then you spend a night like this one and you remember why you love it so – and why it will continue to corrupt my time in a similar fashion.