Do you remember the good old days? The days when you could watch a pro wrestling match, and not be bored by endless talking in the ring? The days when the wrestler would cut a passionate promo before walking out to that ring to take care of business? The days where actions spoke louder than words could ever be in the squared circle?
I ask this, simply because we all know those days are long gone, and we reminisce how great promos used to be back in the day. Today in 2016, we are subjected to long, drawn out promos that bore the WWE Universe more than get them pumped up for the match itself whether it’s for a PPV or the main event of Raw. While it is definitely not everyone, it’s a general problem that many of today’s talent have.
But, as many talents over the years have let on, that’s not exactly the Superstars’ fault. It’s well known that today’s promos are scripted with little to no input for the talent who has to recite them. The recent claim is from Brad Maddox, who stated that in fact the wrestlers recite someone else’s words, and therefore don’t know and don’t believe in what they’re talking about when cutting a promo.
If you look closely, it absolutely shows in many of the Superstars. The hesitation and the lack of emotion in their tone, it’s all there. Can you imagine how that feels? Knowing that the promo might bomb on top of uncertainty with your direction in a story? Many times, it does nothing for said Superstar or their storyline. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Talk about being in between a rock and a hard place. That is definitely nerve wracking.
When Dusty Rhodes, Legion of Doom, Arn Anderson, even Ric Flair in their heydays cut a promo before or after a match, it was passionate even though it was short and to the point. It was heartfelt, and they sold you primarily because it made you believe they had a fight ahead of them or they put in a good fight. It came from them, and it was from the heart. You were ready to fight with them and for them. You cheered them on to the three count.
We see great promo work today with talents such as The New Day, Enzo and Cass. Dean Ambrose does well on a good day. Bray Wyatt is perhaps the best promo guy in today’s generation. Never mind the lack of the attention to detail for a moment; with these guys their delivery and attitude they convey is key in WWE’s world today. Those are definitely the silver linings in all of this. Especially when a majority of us would groan as the Authority would come out, every week with a fifteen to twenty minute promo. They can get heat no doubt, but why does it take that long to get the point across? Say what you need to say and be done. Granted we are seeing less of that, but will it happen again?
Then on the flip side, Raw is promo heavy and clearly on the trend where they use their top of the hour for them. The last thing we need in Raw’s third hour is a timely promo, especially if the show was lacking the last two hours. But even if it isn’t, nothing kills Raw more than a long winded segment at the ten o’clock hour. The ten o’clock promo ought to have a punch to it, especially when the crowd and audience at home are getting weary.
But it’s worse when someone like Roman Reigns grabs the microphone. This is perhaps the best example of what Maddox was saying. I love Reigns all day, every day, but even sometimes I cringe when he tries to cut a promo. I’ve said this before, but you can tell that he is very uncomfortable when talking in the ring. The lines he had to say in the past were not him at all. It’s gotten a little better, and there is certainly room for improvement. Have you ever seen an interview of his outside the ring? He sounds completely different, because he is himself. Also, he is so much more laid back. Even though he is promoting the company, the pressure is off of him from a character standpoint.
There were promos over the years that were legendary, and you smile as you remember them. In recent years, there haven’t been near as many. That’s why when someone lays it down on the microphone; it’s a big deal because you don’t get those passionate promos as much anymore. Promos are the magic in a feud, a storyline. It drives the feud to new heights when it makes an impact.
While we are definitely in the shifting of gears in the company turn around, Vince and team ought to loosen their grip on the reigns of their talent and have them come up with their own material. WWE can only benefit from this. There’s no time like the present to test the waters. They just might be surprised at the results if so.