‘Sup, Lords of Pain? Mazza here once again to...
Wrestling Room 101 - April's Fool Edition (CPR Productions)
Apr 23, 2013 - 2:36:46 PM
JoeyShinobi: Maz, Maz, wait. We’re not ready yet. Chris is stuck on the phone, trying to get out of his April Fools hell. Chris posted this on Facebook three weeks ago...
...and is still dealing with the fallout. Tricks are for kids, people.
Mazza: I’ll honestly be surprised if he shows up at all. I’m glad to be here myself. I was certain that I’d end up in jail or the cemetery after my meeting with ‘Plan (you can check out the podcast >>>here<<<).
JoeyShinobi: You’re a far braver man than I, Maz.
Mazza: You wouldn’t be saying that if you saw me as I approached our designated meeting spot. Is Bear finished yet?
JoeyShinobi: No, he’s stuck on Skype to Mumma Bear. It seems she’s not fond of practical jokes.
ChrisBear: Mum...no, Mum...listen to me...it was a joke. A JOKE. Just...yes, you can still take me seriously...no...Mum...shut up...what do you mean, you almost got me on Jim’ll Fix It?
JoeyShinobi: We’d better crack on. After our last foray was a bust with that has-been Priest, we decided to go big this time. We thought we’d go for the most argumentative, self-assured columnist we could think of, and I think we’ve come up trumps. He’s not a complete dick, but he is PEN15. Welcome to Room 101, Pen.
Mazza: For those of you who don’t remember our first edition of Wrestling Room 101 or don’t know the original concept, here is a little recap. We bring in a guest, in this case Pen, and they get to nominate three things they’d like to see sent to somewhere where it shall never see the light of day again. They will explain why and then Chris, Joey and myself will decide whether we think it should go into the mythical Room 101. Clear? If not, I’m sure you’ll catch on. The first thing that Pen wants to see sent into the deepest darkest corner of Room 101 is the excessive amount of pyrotechnics and parts of the WWE sets.
Pen: While I can somewhat understand the need for a special entrance for the PPVs, I find that whether it’s Smackdown, Raw, or any PPV outside of Wrestlemania, all the sets are identical. There’s something to how low-key the entrance on ECW was from 2006-2008. I’m not calling for the return of the Fist Smackdown set, or the Old School Raw set, but if you’re not going to treat each show with its own identity, remove the excessive screens. There’s way too much going on, and blocking way too many seats.
On the same subject, they need to eliminate pyro. Not just cut down, but eliminate it. It’s such a useless expense. I don’t know anyone that goes to a wrestling event because of the pyro. While they add to the experience, they don’t sell or make money. It’s just a waste of money.
JoeyShinobi: Wait, isn’t this two things? I can’t really claim to be an expert on set layout or pyrotechnics, so I’ll just have to go with my uninformed gut on this one; I don’t see this as a big deal. I’ve never seen anyone say they won’t go to a show because of the pyro, and I simply don’t believe you if you say that pyro never adds anything, ever. I agree that it gets overused at times, but in the cases of Kane, Chris Jericho and Big Show, pyro adds something to each of their entrances. Previously, the likes of Edge and Batista used pyro in their entrances to add some theatre, and it worked. Is it expensive? Probably, but in terms of creating a spectacle, WWE has to put themselves on the same level as the NFL, and it isn’t as expensive as some things they could do.
As for set layout, I do see where you’re coming from, in terms of creating an identity for an event and providing some sort of physical background to form historical memories against. I do remember some of the sets from the early 2000s where they were all different (particularly striking were the swinging spikes on the Backlash set, and the brawl during the 6-man Hell In A Cell at Armageddon 2000 on the cars, for example).
Now they are only different in the positioning of certain screens and the graphic sequences displayed on them, and a token ambulance or a few chains or chairs suspended from the ceiling or something depending on the event. Why do they do this, rather than have a brand new set for each pay-per-view? I can only imagine it has something to do with cost, or the logistical challenges in lumping something like that across America while storing the other stuff. Now, someone was just going on about unnecessary costs...
I don’t agree that the screens are too big to the point of distraction, they aren’t blocking seats as far as I can tell, they’re just replacing huge swathes of curtain.
In short, this ain’t going in.
Mazza: Yeah, in terms of the pyro going in I am definitely against that. WWE’s excellent production and experience is one of their biggest strengths. They go all out to separate themselves from looking amateur and cheap and pyro is a big part of this. In a global climate where many companies are cutting costs, pyro would probably be the first things to go if the WWE was struggling but judging by last year’s Mania buys and the price of my ticket for a house show in Sheffield, that certainly doesn’t seem to be an issue. In fact I went to a show and there was no pyro for Kane, I’d probably be mildly upset. As for the sets, it’s honestly not something I’d noticed in recent times. Like Shinobi, I enjoyed the days of specialised ones for PPVs and would probably be pro each show and PPV having their own one. But I really don’t care as to how complicated or simple it is. Again this is probably tied into WWE’s strong production values and Vince’s desire to look the part all the time. So yeah, I have to stop this one from going in as well. Do we get a clean sweep, Bear?
ChrisBear: We sure do. Overuse of pyro does dilute the impact, but if we looked at ‘Mania, WWE proved that they can raise it for the big time. An entrance is integral to building a character in my opinion, from the theme music to how they walk to the ring, but pyro is playing a bigger part these days.
As for the layout, I don’t necessarily agree that it should be different per show, but I did like the ‘Mania layout, and would like to see a little homage to the city they are performing in in the set design, I’m certain it would help get the crowd involved more vocally. But in all honestly, I don’t care that much, so I’ll save it from going in.
SPECIAL SETS/PYRO - SAVED FROM ROOM 101!
Mazza: Maybe Pen will have a little more luck with the second thing he wants to go in. Certainly it has been a hot topic over this Mania period. Part Time Main Eventers, Pen?
Pen: I’m sick of it. While the theory of having them return to help boost the ratings and sales is great, WWE hasn’t executed the use of part time main event guys in anything but short term fashion. I originally had no problem with it, but I realized that it’s been much worse than I ever imagined for too long. CM Punk vs Undertaker wasn’t working out for many reasons, but a prime one is because even after 434 days as WWE Champion, a lot of people weren’t buying into Punk being a threat to the streak. This is because Undertaker has been involved with part time guys for the last 4 years, legends who are presented as bigger than the standard WWE roster. So now that a regular roster member was facing him, it wasn’t the same. A man who was champion for a record amount of time is suddenly not enough of a draw compared to the returning part time guys. Something is wrong here, and if the WWE won’t make new stars out of the old stars, stopping bringing back the old stars.
Mazza: In the case of Punk, there is no doubt that HBK and HHH have set the bar for the streak ridiculously high. I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of creative however when it comes to how Punk, even in kayfabe, looked like he had no chance of ending the streak. But that is not really what is in question here. I am a big fan of seeing part timers show up for huge matches, but I do have issues with the way WWE are using them at the moment. First things first is there are just too many at once. A couple is fair enough come Mania season but how they are used is just as important. If two part timers are going to lock up, it needs to be very special. A lot were against Trips-Taker III last year but in the end I think it took a logical direction. Trips-Lesnar this year? I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to it but I don’t think it really needed to be at Mania. Both men could have been raising the stock of guys like Punk, Ryback, Sheamus etc, even if they walked away with a victory, and now it seems we are going to get it again. Also, I don’t like the idea of them doing a couple of TV shows, getting the big payday and then disappearing. I really wish The Rock had been involved in more matches on TV in the build up to Mania this year. I’d love for Taker to drag himself to a PPV once Punk is fit again and repay the favour from Mania. If Lesnar and Trips are going to disappear again until Mania 30, why not have at least one of them viciously taken out on the post-Extreme Rules Raw, raising the stock of a roster regular. None of these scenarios are likely to play out and whilst I am not going to put part time main eventers in just like that, I would certainly be up for putting in the whoever it is that decides that the part time main eventers aren’t really doing much to help the regular main eventers and those on the cusp.
ChrisBear: YES. Get them in and throw away the key. The Punk thing pissed me off. There, we had a guy who was champion for a ridiculous amount of time, and won by any means necessary. Then he dropped the belt to a part-timer. Come Mania, the streak is bigger than the strap in my opinion, and having someone who wins by any means go up against the streak for the belt, would have added some believability to Punk’s chances of winning, alas, we knew he didn’t because Rock beat him, twice and once you look beatable, there was no chance of beating ‘Taker, ever.
My biggest issue is with The Rock, yeah it was cool when he came back, but I’m bored now, he’s far from entertaining anymore. It’s good to have Brock back, but he’s lost more than he’s won, I’m not scared of him, I’d fancy my chances.
I think though, it just annoys me that people like Barrett, Kofi, Rhodes, Sandow and even The Miz, work their asses off all year and don’t make the card, when the reality is they could all make for a much more entertaining match than people like Rock or Brock.
JoeyShinobi: I agree with Bear to a point. The Rock is stale, and as a childhood fan it pains me to say it, because he is capable of so much more. As for the rest; I disagree with the volume of part timers and their position on the card, but I have no issues with the individuals as such, so long as they are delivering when they are around. Brock Lesnar certainly has, Undertaker always does. Chris Jericho always, always does. Triple H, in the twilight of his career is the same as he always has been; good, but not quite great. For the most part, they are choking the rest of the roster, none of Lesnar, Rock or Trips are putting anyone over who needs it. And boy, do some of them need it.
I don’t disagree with the principle, and I’m sure if someone like Batista wanted to come back, he’d be welcomed back with open arms too, because we all love a nostalgia pop. But more thought must be given to how these talents are used, and it shouldn’t be exclusively in the main event. I think I’m 60% in agreement here, so by rounding up, it goes in.
PART TIME MAIN EVENTERS - CONSIGNED TO ROOM 101!
Mazza: The final thing Pen never wants to see again is the 3rd hour of Raw.
Pen: I love the potential of giving more time to guys who deserve the spotlight. But let’s face facts here: it’s not happening. Guys that have received the benefits from the extra hour are now losing any and all momentum. I understand that the Road to Wrestlemania tends to switch the gears in order to concentrate on the top guys, but it’s having a negative effect on many of the guys that will be back in the spotlight after April 7th. On top of that, but every episode since the 3rd hour was added has been hard to get through. I’m a huge WWE and wrestling fan, and I can honestly say that my excitement for a 3 hour Raw is much lower than the 2 hour ones. I really suggest cutting the extra hour, and start properly using the 2 hours instead of filler in a 3rd.
ChrisBear: Two hours is enough, RAW is 50% crap anyway so another 30 minutes of crap isn’t welcome. I had high hopes but once I realised the extra time wasn’t being used in ring, I realised I was lucky that I wasn’t watching it live anymore. God love Foxtel IQ and its fast forward button.
I’d rather stick the 2nd hour of RAW in though, if I stuck the last hour in, we’d have no main events…
I’m SAVING the 3rd hour for this reason. Oh, for fuck’s sake...
JoeyShinobi: Saved on a technicality? I’ve thought for a long time that it doesn’t matter how long the show is; half an hour, an hour, 4 days; the core focus of any show should be about keeping the viewers invested from start to finish. However, that’s harder to do over a longer period of time. That’s why the NFL don’t make their matches longer, it’s why the Simpsons have always had 20 minute episodes, and why the decision to extend Raw to 3 hours was one of the dumbest the WWE hierarchy has ever made. For once I’m in complete agreement with Pen, and this can be locked inside a safe inside Room 101 for the rest of eternity.
Mazza: Raw never had any business being three hours other than on special occasions. For one it is just too much to watch. I usually catch Raw when I am home from work on a Tuesday evening and with a wife and kids to pay attention too, I can’t sit through that long a show. These days, once I have fast forwarded through the adverts, replays and any random Zack Ryder appearance, I am often watching for less than 2 hours. I think the issues with Raw are bigger than just the third hour but that has helped highlight it. The thing is it could be used for good, it just isn’t. I see Chris’ technicality but I won’t be that arsey about. Simply put... this one is definitely going in.
3RD HOUR OF RAW - CONSIGNED TO ROOM 101!
JoeyShinobi: What’s that buzzing noise?
Mazza: Bloody hell, is Chris on the phone again?
ChrisBear: But Mum... Mum... Ok mum... If that’s what it will take to put this to bed, fine. I love you too.
JoeyShinobi: All sorted, mate? Don’t tell me ‘I love you’ was all it took to get her off your back?
ChrisBear: I’ve got to go, lads. I actually have to go and get the missus pregnant now. Mum’s orders. No way out of it.
JoeyShinobi: Probably a good thing he’s not a giant panda then. And on that note, I think it’s time to end.
Mazza: A good idea. So Pen15 came today... Wow, I can’t believe I just wrote that. I need to get rid of that.
JoeyShinobi: No, don’t take it out...
ChrisBear: *stepping back into the room* That’s what she said, but it just kept falling out. It’s bloody hopeless. My mum will go mental at me...
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