Can you believe it? I actually wrote a column again! Man alive, I wrote my last column in August 2001! Well, this isn’t as point-oriented as was my last column entitled “The Low Road,” which offered a look at how it was despicable how Jim Ross and the WWE faked a Jeff Hardy injury to try to desensitize their viewers to high risk maneuvers. This column, on the other hand, deals with one of the new WWE programs; it deals with WWE Confidential.
Understand me now – this is NOT a recap of the show! You want a recap of the show, either watch it yourself or find me a reporter who will do television reports on my site! But seriously, this is my take on what we have as fans with the new “Mean” Gene Okerlund hosted Saturday night show.
First and foremost, I will begin my diatribe by stating that I loved the show – everything about it. From the Shawn Michaels clips to Gerald Brisco talking about Montreal to “Mean” Gene’s dirty old man routine to watching Vince stumble out of Bret’s locker room, I loved every last bit of it. But there was a lot more to this show than what the hype brought it. Granted, many of the viewers were drawn in because of the sheer intrigue of what happened in Montreal, circa November 1997. Regarding that situation, perhaps the biggest bombshell dropped during the program was the fact that Shawn Michaels finally admitted to knowing about the screwjob that took place at Survivor Series. Is anyone else waiting to hear Bret’s retort in the Calgary Sun? I know I am!
However, putting all of the hype to the side, there was something else that I liked about the show. I liked the feel of the show. Finally, the WWE has removed their weekly recap programs! Superstars, Live Wire, Action Zone, Excess, and all of the programming before Confidential became the tried and true run of the mill recap programs. Inexpensive to produce, cheap to send out, and virtually no pain in the ass making an episode – how can anyone fault the WWE for producing these garbage review shows?
Confidential showed me something else. After watching the show, I saw something that the WWE is in dire need of right now – a new feel for the programming. In the past, I’d say that perhaps the most cutting edge show that the WWE produced was the original Live Wire on Saturday mornings where they had e-mails sent in and read on the air, phone calls during the show, and other such interactive features (that would eventually carry to Excess before they were shut down). You see, there is an inherent desire in the WWE fan base to know it all – to have it all brought to their plate. That was the danger with taking phone calls on the air because you never knew if you had a 30 year old who spends 90% of his day on wrestling websites and is trying to “expose” something or a young child who just didn’t know what he or she wanted to ask their favorite superstar.
To put this part of the discussion to an end, a minority of WWE fans wanted to know everything and look like heroes on the air while they ultimately brought down the feel that the WWE was looking for – namely a new type of show. Then we have the return of “Mean” Gene and his Confidential. Why did I like this show so much? Well, it had a grown-up feel. Perhaps the time slot of 11PM on Saturday nights is what gives them the ability to run a show where breast implants and graphic surgery are parts of the program or perhaps it is the fact that the weekly review show has run its course in wrestling, but whatever it was about Confidential that gave it that new appeal, it certainly worked.
Now, living in the internet age of wrestling I fully expect the internet community to find a way to bash this show (either in the minority or majority – someone is going to trash it). And why shouldn’t they? For the better part of the past year, everyone on the internet seems to believe that they are a better booker than people who do this and have done this for a living for over twice as long as most of the complainers have been alive! I digress from my Confidential applause, though, but I will make statements about the internet wrestling scene in a future issue of this column.
So in anticipation of the young or complaint-happy ripping apart WWE Confidential, I’ve decided to put together a little bit of what I think will make this new program one to watch:
- The WWE must keep “Mean” Gene Okerlund at this position. Gene brings an older feel to the show that wouldn’t be as intriguing if someone like Michael Cole or The Coach hosted it. There’s something about Okerlund that brings back memories of how it was and something about Cole and Coach that bring ideas of what it has become…that’s my take at least.
- There must be a continuation of this “Superstars at Home” series. Did you SEE Trish’s house? Wow! She must be making some pretty money to live in such a nice place. This is another thing that overzealous fans want to know – how their superstars act off the bright lights of RAW and Smackdown. Excellent segment.
- Continue speaking of controversy. This is what killed most of the “cutting edge” shows through out the years. Hosts like Sunny and The Coach don’t know how to react to something that is controversial, while Okerlund loves it! Other topics that ought to be considered for an in depth analysis in the future include things such as Hulk Hogan leaving the WWE for the first time and his historic signing with WCW (as well as the talent that followed him there), The Rock’s meteoric rise to superstardom that has essentially brought him out of the WWE to Hollywood, and the WWE’s battles in their fight against the government and public opinion in the early 90’s steroid scandal.
- Specialize some shows. While the format for the show as it is looks like it will bring me in again next week, I also wouldn’t mind specialized shows throughout the year or shows that correspond to certain historic events in that week of wrestling. For instance, when Labor Day comes around, perhaps they can do a part of the show looking at the insurgence of NITRO into the market place (since it debuted around Labor Day, 1995). During Christmas time, they could do a part of the program showing all of the Christmas clips from the WWE’s past (including things like the terrible angle with Xanta Klaws or the funny moment when Vader Claus beat the hell out of Goldust and Luna as they were reading Christmas stories to the crowd). A whole show need not be devoted to these clips, but if you have an hour to fill, why not give 10 minutes to something that is topical?
- Ivory needs to stay! I’ve always felt that the spunk that Ivory has for wrestling and the wrestling product is exactly the type of zest that all superstars should have for this genre of entertainment. She bubbles over with life and the segment that she was given at the end of Confidential was interesting (although a bit shallow integrally). I’d like to see Ivory be given a chance to give her thoughts on other issues. Now I know this is a wrestling show so I don’t expect a talk about the Middle East, but maybe she can give her opinion on this high risk maneuvers or maybe how she feels about the problems of alcohol after the shows are over. If you are going to give her time to talk about something – give her something to talk about!
I’m going to end this article now. My main goal was to show that I was impressed with the new program and that I hope that it continues to stay innovative and original. Thanks for staying with me (if you read down this far)!