I remember watching a shoot interview with Vince Russo where he said the booking of (then) WWF television before he started writing the shows was too predictable. Russo stated that everyone knew who was â€œgoing overâ€ in matches. Whatever people say about Russo, I feel he certainly played a part in the unpredictable, cutting edge, attitude era that saw a boom in the business as WWF ratings took over WCW ratings in the Monday Night Wars and I feel his comments about predictability were warranted. Now, well over five years after the Monday Night Wars officially ended with WWFâ€™s purchase of WCW, the company finds itself more predictable than ever. Now, not only do fans know whose going over, they also know how theyâ€™re going over. Granted, internet spoilers donâ€™t help matters as a lot of the time fans are privy to information about feuds before they have even started but even so, the outcomes of matches, TV shows and pay-per-views has become so obvious that thereâ€™s no need for Arielâ€™s tarot card reading skills to predict the happenings of WWE and ECW programming.
I took part in a predictions section on a website last week prior to SummerSlam. Out of seven matches on the card I got seven right! This has nothing to do with how clever I may or may not be, it is purely down to the fact that WWE has become so predictable. Further to â€˜knowingâ€™ the results, I also â€˜knewâ€™ that Rey would lose thanks to Vickie Guerreroâ€™s interference, I â€˜knewâ€™ that Batista would win the match but not the title from Booker, I â€˜knewâ€™ that Edge would find a way around the DQ loses the belt rule and screw Cena. Yeah there were one or two surprise such as Vinceâ€™s army but the outcome – a DX win – was still obvious. The only match I wasnâ€™t sure of was Foley v Flair, I was convinced Flair would win but I couldnâ€™t work out how Foley was going to quit. Fair play to WWE on that count but Iâ€™m only speaking for myself here, if thereâ€™s a lot of people out there who saw that coming apart from me then my point is proven even further.
I was chatting via messenger to a friend last night while watching RAW live. As the Hardy v Orton match started, I stated the obviousâ€¦â€œHardy will go over hereâ€ to which the instant reply cameâ€¦â€œyeah, Carlito will cost Orton the match leading to a match at Unforgivenâ€. Now, is my friend psychic? NO!!! Is he a genius? NO!!! is he over the age of six? YES!!! So it is understandable why he knew not only the winner, but also how he would win. WWE booking seems to be obvious to anyone in double figures in age. Given this, why do we go back and watch it again? Because thereâ€™s occasionally something entertaining on WWE programming. To be fair, the aforementioned Hardy v Orton bout was an entertaining one so itâ€™s like watching a film youâ€™ve already seenâ€¦you know the outcome and how itâ€™s going to end but the action along the way is entertaining. The problem is would we watch an entire film for 2hrs when if thereâ€™s a good ten minute scene in the middle? I donâ€™t think so. WWE manages to keep a lot of people hooked because nobody knows when or where the good bits are going to be.
WWE should bring back the unpredictably element. Think along the lines of when The Lightning Kid (123 Kid, X-Pac, Sean Waltman) beat Razor Ramon, when Hall & Nash showed up on WCW Nitro, when Lance Storm (super)kick-started the Invasion angle, when Mike Tyson was unveiled as a member of DX, even when Shano Mac walked into the last ever WCW Nitro. From memory, Iâ€™m sure all of these were major surprises at the time but off the top of my head, I canâ€™t recall the last time I was genuinely surprised by WWE to the point of literally sitting up and taking notice. Obviously the Angle situation over the weekend had that effect on me but Iâ€™m talking about on TV, where the unpredictable entertainment should be.
WWE needs to return to having surprise winners in matches, it happens in real combat sports like mixed martial arts and boxing, so why not in WWE? At the moment WWE is so far away from being cutting edge that it took ECW, the most cutting edge promotion in wrestling history and turned it into a shell of itâ€™s former self. I think WWE are scared to allow ECW to flourish under itâ€™s old style because it would leave WWE behind. When they announced the return of WWE I naively hoped that it would have the opposite effect. I hoped ECW would re-invigorate the WWE brands of RAW and SmackDown so the flagship shows had to be amazing to stay one step ahead of what was originally a non-WWE brand. Instead RAW and SmackDown have, for the most part, remained stale while Vince keeps ECW even staler so it doesnâ€™t show up the WWE shows. Iâ€™m finding it all so predictable at the moment that Iâ€™m even daring to contemplate how refreshing it would be to have Vince Russo back behind the scenesâ€¦and thatâ€™s something I thought I would never type!
Thanks for reading, feel free to share your opinions with me on this or any other wrestling matter. Also, check out The Squared Circle Radio show @ www.squaredcircleradio.com every Sunday at 7pm UK time / 2pm ET