MITCHELL'S TAKE MITCHELL: The Rock - the Good News and the Bad News
Jan 21, 2013 - 11:57:57 AM
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PWTorch columnist Bruce Mitchell's latest PWTorch Newsletter-exclusive column appeared in last week's Torch Newsletter. Hard copies and PDF versions of the Newsletter are available for VIP members with their subscription. Find out to how to sign up by clicking here - PWTorch.com/GoVIP.
By Bruce Mitchell, PWTorch columnist
Pro wrestling always has, and always will be changing.
It started a hundred plus years ago as a legitimate contest, until money driven compromises, manipulations, the short con, and public demand turned it into a hugely popular embarrassment. It has changed, evolved, admitted it, lied about it, changed its name to protect the guilty, and even made its way back to being a legitimate sport and back again in all those years.
One thing has been consistent throughout all the eras of this sport and entertainment. The keys to making big money for any professional wrestling business in any era are simple:
*Be the major league.
*Have the big stars.
It doesn’t matter when in the genre’s history you look, the promotions that had those two components in place in the eyes of the general wrestling public succeed in the long run, and the ones who don’t, don’t.
When you have a promotion like you have in today’s pro wrestling world, one that defines every aspect of what pro wrestling looks like, sounds like, and wrestles like - and it does it in a way where none of its minor league competitors can even afford to resemble what the Bright Lights Big City version of professional wrestling they’ve created has become, and you bring in something new in the genre’s history– a Movie Star with a Capital M who is also a legendary Big Money Player from one of the Biggest Money Eras in professional wrestling, you have what we’ve seen in the last ten days.
It doesn’t matter that WWE, and thus the whole industry, has been mired in an endless three-hour creative, ratings, and financial rut, with a talent pool mix of stale we’ve-seen-their-all old acts and young pretty boys who’ll never quite pay their dues. It doesn’t matter that the company’s most popular good guy is despised by a substantial portion of the viewing audience.
It doesn’t matter that the 24 hour/7 day a week wrestling fan, judging by phone call after phone call to the Pro Wrestling Torch Livecast, is more perplexed by why the hard-bumping Dolph Ziggler keeps getting beaten by the Wrestlemania main-eventer on television than turned on by the game-changing star.
It doesn’t even matter that some of the game-changing star’s material is ice-cream-cake lame, and he might be making up the song lyrics as he goes along like a little kid singing a song to himself, that his cacth phrases aren’t so much as evergreen as past their sale date, or that despite a fight over year-long high stakes and a clear distinction between the two that’s business, or that maybe the big star and the champion don’t have all the chemistry they might have.
What matters is, people like the Rock, they want to see him, they want to see him show up annoying heels like Vickie Guerrero, Damian Sandow, and Paul Heyman, they want to see him take the WWE title from C.M. Punk, and they want to ride the Rock all the way to the biggest show of them all.
That likeability, that familiarity that only the biggest of stars have, makes it easy - easy for the Rock to sing his easy song, easy for fans to stay Monday nights for the duration, easy for the rest of the acts to do what they do (even the Miz). The Rock can be bad, he can be good, he can be great, he can be half-assed, and it doesn’t really matter. The fans are with him, and because of that the entire promotion is lifted, the Royal Rumble is going to do big business, and this year’s Wrestlemania has a real chance to break all-time box office record.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is, in three months The Rock is gone.
(Bruce Mitchell has been a PWTorch columnist since 1990. He hosts the PWTorch Livecast every Monday night in the hour before Raw with Travis Bryant. The weekly two-hour Bruce Mitchell Audio Show with host Wade Keller is a VIP audio staple for years. His column archives dating back to 1990 are available in the Bruce Mitchell Library at the PWTorch VIP website.)
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