As I have proudly admitted in the past, I have been a HUGE wrestling fans since I was three. A year before I devoted my life to my cartooning dream, I first fell in love with the pageantry of professional wrestling. Back in the day, you never spoke of wrestling as a “fake” sport. Wrestling was so real that the wrestlers stayed in character whenever in public. If they had an injury angle, they sported that injury off the stage and into their own personal lives. If a wrestler was seen in the ring as a babbling idiot, that scenario was played out in public for the entire world to witness.
When I was a kid, wrestling was real to the fans and we would fight anyone who defied our beliefs.
Now, we knew it was not real, but when the television was broadcasting Mid-South wrestling late on Saturday night and early Sunday morning, rivalries were real. Insanity was believed. Monsters were no longer beasts of fiction. Managers stole the show. Most importantly, reality was suspended for a few hours.
I still love professional wrestling, but it is just not the same as in years gone by. Today, you are not going to see Bray Wyatt signing autographs in character…. Zowie wowie, that would be cool if he did. If I was in charge of the WWE or AEW, I would mandate that certain wrestlers stay in character. Oh course, you do not want the heels to be in total character. That would be bad for business. Heels get a pass to a certain degree.
Heels who would get a pass and not be expected to stay in character would be Baron Corbin, AJ Styles, Brock Lesnar, Eric Rowans, Asuka, Charlotte Flair, and Sami Zayn. To a degree though, some of their personas should be kept in tow. They can still take negatively towards their oppositions. Charlotte should be Wooing every so often and she should be dressed like the queen she is. Asuka should always be out in public with the green, dripping face makeup.
There are also wrestlers who need to go all out and keep the mystery alive. Bray Wyatt should always be in character… of which he has two. We should never see the demon in public. We should, however, always see his over the top Fun House character. He should be out signing autographs as the twistedly lovable Bray Wyatt. Becky Lynch should also be in character at all times. When she is doing interviews, she should be The Man. When she is out signing autographs, she should take that cocky, self-assured attitude straight to the fans.
A few years ago when Matt Hardy was “broken” in TNA… or “woken as the WWE claimed… it would had been awesome to watch him abruptly stand up and yell “Scribe!” and marvel as someone walks up to write down an epithelium Matt just dreamed up! I could see this moment in time captured on video and streaming as a viral video all over social media.
For the AEW fans, let’s take Le Champion Chris Jericho into conversation. Right now, Jericho is at the top of his game. He is a nasty heel and the fans LOVE Jericho. Chris needs to be drinking champagne during signings. He needs to embrace the cockiness. He should be talking down about the roster and playing up the heel. Fans would eat this up. Chris should have an assistant at his side who gets berated the entire time Jericho is signing autographs. If done correctly with humor, this could be extremely entertaining. Jericho is a pure showman.
My favorite wrestler currently in AEW is Kris Statlander. Out of the women’s division, she has the strongest, most marketable character on the roster. That is my opinion of course. She should use this “spacey” personality out of the ring and bring in more believably to her in ring character. Not only would fans eat this up, but AEW would benefit from the growth of Kris as a performer. What a better way for a young performer to perfect her character. Staying in character during meet and greets could help build AEW as a company.
The world is a different place that it was when I was a kid back in the 1970’s. Wrestling is very different. The world of professional wrestling has always been a business, but stakes are so much higher now. Profits are a kazillion times higher… but so are salaries. Marketing your wrestlers is a different animal these days. I miss the old days when wrestling was “real”. I truly believe that with today’s “all-seeing” technological world, wrestling could very well be believable once again.
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