Ask PWTorch WEDNESDAY’S ASK PWTORCH STAFF for 11/26: Which WWE wrestler would you repackage? Why did Ambrose’s Dirty Deeds move change? Is Sami Zayn overplaying underdog fighting from behind schtick? Are ads on WWE Network a mistake?
Nov 26, 2014 - 12:54:24 PM
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PWTorch reader David C. asks: If you could repackage any wrestler, who would you choose and how would you go about it? Personally, I'd take the Adam Rose character and make it so he turns into Leo Kruger when he wrestles. Adam Rose is his persona out of the ring, because the non-stop party lifestyle provides a distraction from his inner demons, allowing him to feel some sort of happiness. However, between the ropes, because he's removed from the Exotic Express, leaving him alone, his demons slowly take him over, where he becomes vicious and much darker, ergo, Leo Kruger.
PWTorch columnist Greg Parks answers: I think Kofi Kingston is in desperate need of a change of character. Hopefully he gets it with the New Day group.
PWTorch assistant editor James Caldwell answers: I would pick two candidates - Cesaro and Sheamus. Both have tremendous upside as tough, rugged fighters, but WWE has depended too much on stereotypes and common knowledge about both men's international backgrounds. Sheamus's character is a one-dimensional Irish brawler who (unsuccessfully) tries to crack jokes and Cesaro has gone through numerous looks tapping into his Swiss/European background. Neither has connected at a main event level.
This applies to almost everyone on the roster, but WWE needs to get deeper into the characters. What is Sheamus's motivation? What makes Cesaro tick? WWE needs to bond these characters to the audience beyond their surface-level characteristics, along the lines of what you suggested about Adam Rose getting deeper into the character's background. WWE seems hesitant to do so because they want the product to translate to all audiences - casual, curious, uninformed, U.S., international, hardcore - but I think they underestimate the audience's ability to connect with characters that are deeper and more nuanced, rather than cartoony, one-dimensional characters.
PWTorch reader David B. asks: I have been watching a lot of Sami Zayn matches recently, from ROH, NXT, etc... One thing I noticed is that for as great a worker as, he is Sami seems to constantly go to the storyline of being hurt and "gutting it out.” We have seen it already countless times in NXT and it was a constant thread in ROH. Is this crutch of his limiting Sami? Keep up the great work, guys.
PWTorch columnist Sean Radican answers: I don't think the ability to sell a beating and get sympathy is a crutch. It's a time-tested method to get sympathy from the widest possible audience as a babyface. It worked for Shawn Michaels, and Seth Rollins showed the same traits as well when he was in ROH. Heck, look at Dolph Ziggler's amazing selling at Survivor Series and hopefully that match helps him go a long way. I think Zayn's ability to sell will help him, but there's a fine line there. He can't always lose matches using that tool and maintain interest in his character.
PWTorch assistant editor James Caldwell answers: It's kind of who Sami Zayn/El Generico is. On the independents, his character was essentially a generic wrestler over-achieving. Obviously, he's not a generic wrestler, as he one's of the best wrestlers on WWE's roster, but the character was a classic underdog, setting up the underdog story of "gutting it out." Translate that to WWE, where they view pretty much everyone who's "under-sized" as an underdog who has to fight from underneath, get "injured" because he's under-sized and more susceptible to punishment from opponents, and "gut out" matches. The formula is a bit tired, but I wouldn't say it's limiting Zayn, as he executes the formula really well. It's just kind of who he is and what kind of match he will typically have in his career.
PWTorch reader Gary H. asks: Love the app, guys. Maybe someone can shed some light on this one. The question is twofold. First, why did Dean Ambrose change his finisher to the double arm DDT? Second, why are the announcers still referring to it as “Dirty Deeds.” It obviously changed and I think that annoys me more than anything else. I might be expecting to much from the current announce team.
PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill answers: (1) Dean Ambrose changed his finisher because there are too many other wrestlers using the headlock driver, and the Double Arm DDT (popularized by Kobashi and Cactus Jack) was wide open. (2) Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn are huge AC/DC fans, so WWE is keeping the name. Given how awful WWE is at naming big moves, "Dirty Deeds" works for me. I doubt Cole & the gang care one way or the other.
PWTorch reader Michael S. asks: Do you agree that the timing of the WWE announcement about adding advertisements to the WWE Network was ill advised. You would think that at a time where they are trying to build their base numbers, this would be a big negative. I will think twice when my six months are over? Do you agree?
PWTorch audio host Travis Bryant answers: I don't the timing of the ad announcement was ill advised. This is 2014, I expect faceless, multinational corporations to figure out a way to advertise to us in our dreams. When you play “Angry Birds,” there are ads on the silly game. That is life as we know it now. You are probably in a minority that cares as much as you do. Most folks don't even notice ads, which is the point in a way.
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