As previously noted, pro wrestling and Teen Mom podcaster Vince Russo was recently a guest on The Steve Austin Show. Among many other things, the 'Attitude Era' co-workers talked about the current state of professional wrestling and shared some criticisms of today's product.
During the podcast, Austin suggested that WWE Superstars pointing at the WrestleMania sign on WWE programming is overdone.
"I'm trying not to watch as the grizzled veteran, 30 years or watch or 40 years or watching wrestling and go along for the ride, but when the ride's going too fast, and everybody is pantomiming, pointing at that f-ing WrestleMania sign." Austin continued, "it's like, 'dude, I get it, okay? April the 8th is right around the corner!' But if I get one more guy or one more girl coming out there and pointing at that frigging green sign, I get it! It's kind of like, 'hello? McFly? Do you not see that giant WrestleMania sign over there?"
Russo then pointed out the absurdity of so-called pro wrestling journalists critiquing the manner in which talents gesture to the sign, as he heard a podcaster making good and bad sign-points a topic of the show.
"He was critiquing the way Nakamura pointed to the sign compared to John Cena and he liked Nakamura's sign-point better." Russo said, "I'm like, 'are you guys freaking kidding me? Are you freaking kidding me?'"
On the subject of character development in pro wrestling, Russo opined that the modern style of wrestling has "killed" character because talent are too busy memorizing spots to have time to work on their personas.
"I saw this 10 years ago." Russo argued, "the style of matches is what [has] killed the character and I can tell you why, Steve. 10 years ago, when I was in TNA all these young guys started to come up. The Young Bucks were in TNA, The Motor City Machine Guns, [Chris] Sabin and [Alex] Shelley. The young guys were coming up and what I would notice, Steve, I would sit in the back and here's what I'm seeing all day. They're walking around by themselves, they've laid out the match and everything, but they're walking around by themselves all day. This is what I'm saying and here's the problem. Again, bro, where are the agents? Where are the producers? Here's the problem: because of the style of the match today, they are so consumed with memorizing the spots. Bro, they are so consumed with memorizing the spots the character goes out the window. Every character would sell differently. Every character would go on offense differently. That was all part of the character. When you are memorizing spot for spot for spot, the first thing that goes out the window is the character."
Russo went on to say that the pro wrestling business will never grow with the in-ring product being the focus of the show.
"Now, all-of-a-sudden, you have a roster full of wrestlers and the only people that are going to tune in to your show are 100% pure wrestling fans." Russo averred, "you're not going to expand your business because they don't like wrestling. All the people that we got to buy in because of the characters and the story, the casual television fans."
Austin echoed Russo's notion that character development has taken a backseat now that pro wrestling is driven by match quality.
"At the end of the day, going back to [Russo's] match analyzation, it almost turns into a video game where it's the red guy versus the blue guy and it's just movement, this way and that way. And the emotion is gone and if you don't have emotion… Yeah, the audience has been conditioned to say, 'this is awesome! This is awesome! This is awesome!' Man, I don't know. Is it awesome? Is it really?"
Just as memorizing spots hurts character development, Austin suggested that "they're trying to give those cats too much to say," as memorizing lines in promos takes talent out of character.
"When you give a cat, whether it is a guy or a girl, so many words to say, and you can see them trying to remember the promo, the first thing that leaves is the character and the emotion because they're trying to cut the promo verbatim per the writer, per whoever." Austin added, "I think it should go back to character development and not how many words they say because nobody talks in a monotone [voice] to deliver a message!"
When Russo remarked that there is no extra effort being made in WWE anymore, Austin explained that it is due to talent being overwhelmed with making additional content. While Austin said the situation was not because of laziness, some complacency is involved insofar as there is no more competition.
"I think they are so overloaded with work that that's all they can do, the three hours of RAW, the two hours of SmackDown, and everything else that they're doing within the [WWE] Network." Austin continued, "dude, those guys are shooting so much content it's unbelievable. The amount of work that goes into it is countless hours. So I know the passion's still there. I just think it's so much content and because there's not WCW banging on the door. Dude, the stakes aren't as high. I mean, you want the ratings to be there. I'm not crapping on the guys. I ain't crapping on the office. But the sense of urgency has changed and it's a little flatlined when it should always be like you're watching an [atrial electrogram] monitor on someone's heart that should have spikes and ups and downs. A straight line? Come on, man. I think it's too much content."
Oh, hell yeah! If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Steve Austin Show