On a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast, veteran WWE referee Jimmy Korderas returned and sat down with Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman to discuss the current state of WWE. Korderas first gave his thoughts on the image of The Fiend being burned alive at TLC.
“It’s tough because you talk about crossing a line and you talk about the Attitude Era and all the crazy stuff that went on there, I get toning it down. At the same time, I know you want to ramp things up, but for me, setting someone on fire is maybe just taking it a step too far,” Korderas admitted. “I don’t think they needed to go there.
“You could have alluded to the fact. It’s like what they did with The Undertaker for example where he was put in a coffin before set on fire. You didn’t actually see the person on fire. It’s a little bit different this time. I think that was a little much showing, regardless of whether that was The Fiend lying there or a dummy. The visual was there, and I think it was a little much.”
It has been reported recently that another gimmick match is planned for Randy Orton and The Fiend. Korderas admitted that he’s not excited for the match itself, but he is interested to see how far they take this feud.
“Yes and no only because it intrigues me in the sense of how far are they going to take this,” Korderas admitted. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, I’m looking forward to these guys getting back into it.’ It’s more like, ‘Okay, what is the next level that they can go to?”
Korderas noted that there is great talent in WWE, but RAW, he feels, is too formulaic. He also pointed out that three hours is too much content where there’s already so much wrestling in the week.
“I think it’s a bunch of little things as opposed to one big thing, but if you’re going to pick on one thing, I think they’ve gotten into this groove of, I don’t even want to call it a groove, it’s kind of like this formula where it’s the same every week,” Korderas pointed out. “Opening promo starts the show and you get into it. You set up what’s going to happen later. Change it up every once in a while. Change the formula. Open the show up, go right into a match.
“I think they’ve gotten into a rhythm that has gotten, for lack of a better word, stale. Don’t get me wrong, we’re getting some good matches. We’ve got some great talent on the show. That isn’t the problem. I think it’s the formula that is not working right now, and the fact that it’s three hours is tough, especially in a week where there’s so much wrestling on. Obviously, you don’t want to give up that extra hour since USA is paying for it, but at the same time three hours is a lot every week.”
Korderas reiterated that there is good talent on the roster, but there is a lack of intriguing characters to attract larger audiences. He highlighted Roman Reigns and Jey Uso as characters that can deliver great matches while also bringing compelling characters every week.
“You have some great talent in there and sometimes great wrestling matches alone don’t sell to the larger audience,” Korderas noted. “Obviously, it’s going to appeal to the wrestling base, but sometimes, the more casual fan wants to see some intriguing characters, and that’s the thing that’s kind of missing a little bit right now is that intriguing character that somebody can get behind.
“You mentioned SmackDown earlier. You look at the current iteration of Roman Reigns. That guy is hitting on all cylinders right now. He’s knocking it out of the park, and people are getting emotionally invested in his character as well as his matches. He’s been delivering as well, but you got to have both. Honorable mention, you got to mention Jey because he’s really stepped up in this program as well.”
SmackDown did great ratings on the Christmas Day episode as the NFL game that was on before the show proved to be a big help. Korderas gave his thoughts on why the show did well in the ratings.
“You’re coming out of a football game. So you know you’re coming out of a large audience and some that may have been wrestling fans that haven’t tuned in for a while, and the first thing you see when you tune in to SmackDown, somebody will say, ‘I’m going to leave it on here and see what’s happening,'” Korderas described. “They see the cage, and all of a sudden, they’re intrigued. And they go, ‘Oh, let me see what’s going on here.’ So they stick around, and then you get Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens delivering the magic delivered. It was smart booking in my opinion, very smart booking.”
Roman Reigns as Universal Champion has been a hit for many fans, and it is expected that he will defend the title at WrestleMania. Hausman asked Korderas if he thinks Reigns should lose the title at WrestleMania or not.
“See, that’s a tough one. Obviously, you want to anoint the next huge babyface on SmackDown, but who is that right now,” Korderas questioned. “Do you want to pull that plug just yet? Is there still more life? I think there’s a lot of life left in this character. Maybe a little too soon to pull that plug at WrestleMania, but then again, who knows?
“Maybe you start something different there where Jey Uso has enough and costs Roman Reigns the championship at WrestleMania, and then you could take him out of the title picture for a while. And he kind of has his issue with his family, the family squabble, and then he gets back to it. There’s so many possibilities.”
You can follow Jimmy on Twitter @JimmyKorderas. Korderas’ full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.