The Stomping Ground: Writer’s Block (Courtesy of the WWE)

It’s about damn time the WWE pulled the trigger on this one.

I am speaking of the instating of John Laurinaitis as Interim General Manager of Raw, of course. This raises a few questions, but the most obvious one is something I’ll address this week:

Why the hell couldn’t they have done a better job getting the angle to this point?

For the last couple of weeks, the WWE has been lambasted on the Internet as having become stale, ludicrous, and boring. Hell, the “Walk Out” angle caused much controversy among the staff here at the Pulse. I suggested we approach the storyline with a wait-and-see attitude and I still maintain that stance. We need to see what kind of progress has been made in terms of the product itself as well as character development and worker elevation before it’s all said and done.

That doesn’t excuse the inane booking that was shoved down our throats this past Monday night.

There was perhaps no more than 20 full minutes of wrestling on Raw last week, and only TWO matches that ended without a disqualification or outside interference (six-man tag and Diva tag). I feel that the company should have allowed the Sheamus/Cena match to take place and wait until AFTER the bell for Vince to show up. Hell, keep Vince off TV and have Ace himself come out to make the announcement. By the time the match ended, we would have made it through an hour before returning to regular programming.

Some of you might say, “Wait. What about the rest of the Raw roster? With one hour left, what happens to all of them?” Well, take a look at how they were handled anyway and let me know if they fared any better.

1. Morrison jobs out to Christian (a Smackdown competitor) and takes a beating to show the hypocrisy of having Ace in charge. I get it. Morrison’s contract is nearly up and he’s being bitched out of the WWE. That’s all fine and dandy, but more air time was spent on the post-match beatdown than the match itself.

2. Randy Orton and Mark Henry took up a chunk of time just to promote another Smackdown rivalry (Rhodes/Orton). Why? We’re already pressed for time; we don’t need the Supershow concept this particular night.

3. The Divas had their standard five minutes. Nothing wrong there, as that wouldn’t have changed even if the show were its usual self.

4. The six-man tag was okay, as the company is obviously protecting Ryan and Otunga so we can’t see how green they are. However, what’s the point? Otunga is in the Clarence Mason role and the focus should be on Air Boom’s feud with Team Guerrero, not BatisTwo.

5. The reinstatement of Miz and Truth interrupted a singles match between Punk and del Rio and didn’t even have a concrete ending when the match was changed to a tag team bout.

I’m not defending the actions of Creative, but I think I know two reasons why things seem to be spiraling out of control: too many PPVs in a row and a poor job of storyboarding.

The first reason is obvious. The company has to hurry to build up ANOTHER PPV just three weeks after we were assaulted with Hell in a Cell. Storylines need to be rushed along to allow the company to advertise “exciting” matches. This PPV policy needs to change or else things will continue down this path.

The second reason has to do with a lack of creativity and an increase in laziness. Speaking as an English teacher, I always make sure that when my students write short stories they first develop a plot outline. You’ve got the Exposition (where the characters and setting are established), the Rising Action (a series of conflicts begins to affect characters), the Climax (the big moment where everything comes to a head), the Falling Action (what results from the major decision made during the Climax), and the Resolution (how the characters have changed as a result of the conflicts within the story). I instruct my students to jot down a timeline of sorts that pinpoints important moments in their stories which will then be fleshed out in their drafts.

Somewhere along the development of this corporate struggle angle, WWE Creative has decided to put all of their focus on the beginning, middle, and end of their story and not a damn bit of interest in how to reach those critical points. It sort of reads like this:

Step 1: Triple H takes over the company.
Step 2: ?????
Step 3: Johnny Ace is now in charge.
Step 4: ?????
Step 5: CM Punk is the new top guy in the company.

Do you see the flaw in this? It’s a great feeling to run into the writer’s room and say, “I have an awesome idea for an angle!” but then comes the period of depression where you realize, “Shit. How can I flesh this out?” At this point I think the writers are struggling to find ways to pull it all together.

Of course, there’s no excuse if these guys/girls are supposed to be professionals.

Let’s see if they’re ever able to turn this around.

Random Thoughts

*Raw opening was a great concept (No Cole!).

*Sheamus had a shitty excuse for siding with Triple H. Why not just say, “I’m a good guy now”?

*Still convinced this is an elaborate ploy by Vince to regain control (or Steph or Shane).

*Why is Smackdown a separate entity in this, yet SD guys are affected?

*Did JR just call Mark Henry the Calculating Colossus? Not looking forward to Big Show/Henry.

*I’m looking forward to Cody/Orton…as long as Rhodes doesn’t get buried…great line about cutting the head off a viper (maniacal laughter notwithstanding)…Cole said Rhodes bagged Orton…not sure he understands the terminology.

*That was a nasty power bomb to Bourne. If he’s not legitimately hurt, he’s quite the seller.

Mike Gojira’s Fave Five

1 and 2. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger: This team is really starting to mesh well. The past week and a half of wrestling has been sort of lax on the actual “wrestling” but these two are holding down the fort on both Raw and Smackdown.

3. Cody Rhodes: His line about cutting off a viper’s head was brilliantly done. His terrible “Doctor Evil” laugh almost knocked him off this list.

4 and 5. Air Boom: I like these guys as a thrown-together team. I’m glad they changed their music instead of the usual mash-up. Only JeriShow was able to pull that off (and, to some extent, ShowMiz).

That’s all from yours truly this week. I’m off to the NYC Comic-Con this weekend. I’ll be the guy who looks like a normal human being.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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