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Pinc

The No Storyline Era

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Storylines don't seem to happen in WWE anymore. Rivalries and stuff happen, and you can occasionally trace them through a set of linear plot points. But it's very rare that it's anything other than a heel attacking a babyface unprovoked followed by a series of matches and rematchs, and even rarer that it entails anything that could be called character development.

The moments where characters do seem to develop seem all to be partly accidental (e.g. the unexpected Face reaction to Becky Lynch turning on Charlotte last year) or at least initially driven by the wrestlers themselves on social media (Drake Maverick and his 24/7 title chase).

More puzzling is that all of this seems to have been an intentional direction taken by the company - in part to help them expand into non-English speaking markets, and also to give fans the feeling that they can dip in and out over any given 12-month cycle and not feel lost. If no one's character ever develops, if nothing more complicated than Heel A attacks Face B ever takes place, then the viewer can keep coming back year on year for Mania season without any barriers to re-entry, the logic seems to go.

Another reason for it, in WWE if not elsewhere, seems to lie in the toxic attitude towards the product held by an apparent majority of the fans who attend the shows; most of whom appear to be hardcores at this point who seem to feel that actually reacting to the intended narrative of the show is akin to the company outsmarting them. And who only get invested in a story when they're convinced that they're supporting an underdog who the company wouldn't push without their vocal intervention - as in the cases of CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Becky Lynch and Kofi over the last few(ish) years.

You saw this when the company had Lesnar win the Money in the Bank briefcase. With both world titles held by underdog babyfaces it opens up loads of potential for fresh situations and a complete change to the dynamic of Lesnar's character. But the reaction in places like r/SquaredCircle (which sadly I think is fairly representative of 'proper' wrestling fans in 2019) was close to totally negative and unwilling to engage. And again the only bit that's gotten traction with live crowds is Lesnar adlibbing the Brock Party stuff, I suppose because the fans can feel like their reaction made it happen and they haven't been fooled into following a story by the writers (imagine!).

So do you miss storylines? Do you think they still happen and I'm just not seeing them? Do you have other suggestions for why they're seem to be dying out in WWE? Discuss.

 

 

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I keep pointing out that titles are utterly crucial to them at the moment because i you take away title matches and title "opportunites" there is nothing left. I wouldn't say there are no storylines but the few there are are either horrendous, like Usos/Revival, or just completely unexplainable, like Shane/Reigns.

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8 minutes ago, tiger_rick said:

I keep pointing out that titles are utterly crucial to them at the moment because i you take away title matches and title "opportunites" there is nothing left. I wouldn't say there are no storylines but the few there are are either horrendous, like Usos/Revival, or just completely unexplainable, like Shane/Reigns.

Aye I‚Äôve been upvoting you wherever I see you make that point Rick. Title opportunities are the only stakes that matches ever seem to have, and as a result of their over reliance on them it now feels like there are dozens of title belts. Was watching SummerSlam ‚Äė99 last night and thought about how simple the hierarchy¬†of about 5-6¬†belts was from lower card up to the World title and how much more explicable the shows felt as a result.

Now I genuinely don’t think I could name all the active titles in the company without looking them up. Makes the kind of hierarchical story telling that wrestling lends itself so well to really difficult to do.

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15 hours ago, Pinc said:

Aye I‚Äôve been upvoting you wherever I see you make that point Rick. Title opportunities are the only stakes that matches ever seem to have, and as a result of their over reliance on them it now feels like there are dozens of title belts. Was watching SummerSlam ‚Äė99 last night and thought about how simple the hierarchy¬†of about 5-6¬†belts was from lower card up to the World title and how much more explicable the shows felt as a result.

Now I genuinely don’t think I could name all the active titles in the company without looking them up. Makes the kind of hierarchical story telling that wrestling lends itself so well to really difficult to do.

Nobody will ever convince me otherwise, but I have always thought going back to 2002 that the same company having two "world champions" is just beyond stupid.

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On 7/4/2019 at 9:00 AM, JakeRobertsParoleOfficer said:

I'm old school

Return it to 3 belts, and give holding them a prestige again. 

I mean in the 80s between 84 and 90 4 changes, between 2012 and 2019 29 Inc the vacating. 

‚ÄúGo back to when I was a kid‚ÄĚ is never gonna work.

Brock Lesnar is the closest champion we’ve had to a Hogan title reign in terms of how long he had it and the televised matches frequency, and every cunt cried about him. But at least he’s a baddie. No babyface could ever hold a unified world title on the Hogan schedule for that long.

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On 7/3/2019 at 5:01 PM, Pinc said:

Storylines don't seem to happen in WWE anymore. Rivalries and stuff happen, and you can occasionally trace them through a set of linear plot points. But it's very rare that it's anything other than a heel attacking a babyface unprovoked followed by a series of matches and rematchs, and even rarer that it entails anything that could be called character development.

The moments where characters do seem to develop seem all to be partly accidental (e.g. the unexpected Face reaction to Becky Lynch turning on Charlotte last year) or at least initially driven by the wrestlers themselves on social media (Drake Maverick and his 24/7 title chase).

More puzzling is that all of this seems to have been an intentional direction taken by the company - in part to help them expand into non-English speaking markets, and also to give fans the feeling that they can dip in and out over any given 12-month cycle and not feel lost. If no one's character ever develops, if nothing more complicated than Heel A attacks Face B ever takes place, then the viewer can keep coming back year on year for Mania season without any barriers to re-entry, the logic seems to go.

Another reason for it, in WWE if not elsewhere, seems to lie in the toxic attitude towards the product held by an apparent majority of the fans who attend the shows; most of whom appear to be hardcores at this point who seem to feel that actually reacting to the intended narrative of the show is akin to the company outsmarting them. And who only get invested in a story when they're convinced that they're supporting an underdog who the company wouldn't push without their vocal intervention - as in the cases of CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Becky Lynch and Kofi over the last few(ish) years.

You saw this when the company had Lesnar win the Money in the Bank briefcase. With both world titles held by underdog babyfaces it opens up loads of potential for fresh situations and a complete change to the dynamic of Lesnar's character. But the reaction in places like r/SquaredCircle (which sadly I think is fairly representative of 'proper' wrestling fans in 2019) was close to totally negative and unwilling to engage. And again the only bit that's gotten traction with live crowds is Lesnar adlibbing the Brock Party stuff, I suppose because the fans can feel like their reaction made it happen and they haven't been fooled into following a story by the writers (imagine!).

So do you miss storylines? Do you think they still happen and I'm just not seeing them? Do you have other suggestions for why they're seem to be dying out in WWE? Discuss.

 

 

Heyman is back, so hopefully stories will start to come back.

Yes, stories need to happen in this fake sport. Without it it's just that, a fake sport. Probably 1 in a million there is a backstory between two competitors. It's like watching Ronnie O Sullivan vs Mark Selby, two great sportsman with charisma but no grudge between them. Wrestling provides that extra branch to connect the viewer. At least that's how I've always viewed it.

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