We don’t know how many writers WWE has on staff for their “creative” team. Suffice to say to that no wrestling company in the history of Our Great Sport ever had more folks involved in the storytelling process than WWE now has.
But does an increase in contributors necessarily reflect more originality in the product?
Two recent storylines used on WWE programming mirrored those previously done by other companies. As a wrestling fan, you really don’t mind something borrowed as long as it’s entertaining. But if you’re supervising WWE creative, you’d have to wonder why you keep all those writers/writer’s assistants on staff if they’re simply regurgitating ideas conceived elsewhere.
We won’t even go into the question of copyright infringement; that’d be for a (good) lawyer to discuss.
But what about breaking the Sacred Unwritten Wrestling Rule regarding Gimmick Infringement? It should matter, but it doesn’t- as long as it isn’t plagiarism (See preceding paragraph). Right?
Exhibit A – The Man With 2 Belts
Jay Lethal already held the Ring of Honor TV Title when he challenged Jay Briscoe for the ROH World Championship on June 19 .It was a belt-for-belt match; Lethal won to become the first man to unify the titles.
When ROH Matchmaker Nigel McGuiness approached Jay (and manager Truth Martini) after the match, he asked which belt Jay was going to relinquish. Lethal responded: “I’m not going to give up either belt.” Lethal was then told it was conceivable that he may have to defend both titles in a single night.
Jay’s first “double defense” came at All-Star Extravaganza on Sept. 18. Lethal beat Bobby Fish to retain the TV title in the second match on the card. In the main event, he took on Kyle O’Reilly for the ROH World Championship. Obviously tired from working his second match of the night, Jay seemed on the verge of losing when Adam Cole interfered to cost O’Reilly, his former tag partner in FutureShock, the belt.
Lethal survived with both titles intact, at least for the time being. On the evening, he spent a total in-ring time of 28 minutes and 7 seconds.
Meanwhile, Seth Rollins was rolling along as WWE World Heavyweight Champion. John Cena was successfully defending his WWE United States Title. Cena then challenged Rollins to a belt vs. belt match for Summerslam on Aug. 23. Rollins won to unify the belts, but Cena exercised his re-match clause for the Night of Champions PPV on September 20 – the same night Rollins would be defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Sting.
Cena won back the US Belt at Night of Champions. Immediately after that match, Rollins had to wrestle Sting.
Fortunately for Seth, who was in the ring for a combined 30:53, he was wrestling Sting 2015 and not Sting 1997. Rollins managed to retain the world title.
Exhibit B – The Man With 2 Personalities
In 2012, TNA Wrestling gradually introduced a new character, Joseph Park, Esq., who was passed off as the brother of the masked Abyss. (It was really Abyss, kids.). Believe it or not, this hilarity lasted for almost two years, with Abyss and Joseph Park being billed as separate entities. Finally, when Eric Young unmasked Abyss during a match, the world learned that Joseph Park WAS Abyss. Shocking, indeed!
In WWE, Kane was The Demon Kane (under a mask) before he became Corporate Kane, playing the role of Director of Operations. After a hiatus due to a leg injury caused by Seth Rollins, Corporate Kane returned in September of this year. The Demon Kane also returned. Corporate Kane acts as if they are two separate people, even booking Demon Kane for a match against Seth Rollins that he (Corporate) was originally scheduled to be in.
But again, does the average wrestling fan really care? As long as the product is more enjoyable, does originality matter to 97 percent of the smarks? Generally, we think not.
On a TOTALLY UNRELATED note, Nielsen ratings for WWE Raw have fallen to the lowest levels seen in some time.
The first Raw following the Night of Champions PPV (where Rollins defended both titles) drew an average of 3.46 million viewers per hour- the lowest rated Raw of 2015. That record lasted seven days, as the Sept. 28 Raw (from Buffalo) dropped to 3.33 million per hour.
Oct. 5 saw the show rebound slightly to 3.38 million, but the Oct.12 Raw fell to 3.27 million viewers (a 2.33 rating), which was the lowest non-holiday episode since 1997.
Granted, Raw ratings drop every year when the NFL season starts, and the Oct. 12 show had the added competition of playoff baseball. Still the trend is disconcerting, to say the least.
Don’t worry- Creative will eventually find something that’ll you’ll be intrigued with.
Even if isn’t an original concept.
Sun. Nov. 8 – Victory Commonwealth Wrestling – Yuk Yuk’s, 235 Bayly St. West- Ajax, ONT, Canada – Time TBA
Sat. Nov. 14 – UPW – Eagle’s Club, 1200 Buffalo Rd. – Gates (Rochester), NY – 6 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 14 – PWR – Saga Club, Washington Ave. – Erie, PA – 7 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 28 – ESW – Frontier Fire Hall, 2179 River Rd. – Niagara Falls, NY – 6 p.m. 3rd Annual Ilio DiPaolo Memorial Cup Match!
Mon. No. 30 – WWE Raw – CONSOL Center -Pittsburgh, PA – 7:30 p.m.
Sat. Dec. 5 – Crossfire Wrestling – Merriton Community Centre, 7 Park Ave. – St. Catherine’s, ON, Canada – 5 PM
Sat. Dec. 12 – KDW – Pineapple Jack’s, Spencerport Rd. – Rochester, NY – 3:30 p.m.
Wed. Dec. 30 – WWE Live Event – Ricoh Coliseum – Toronto, ON, Canada – 7:30 p.m.
Follow @Wrestlevision on the Twitter….Watch exciting episodes of Victory Wrestling Showcase on TWC Ch. 20 in Suburban Erie County (Saturday at 4 p.m. and Monday at 11:30 p.m.)…….Coming sometime before the end of 2015 (we hope): www.ivantheimpaler.com