There have been times when nobody saw an event in wrestling coming. I’m sure you can think of a few right away off the top of your head. While I’ve got mine and I assume you have yours, I imagine some are shared. Hulk Hogan’s turn at Bash at the Beach was probably on the top of plenty of lists. Hornswaggle being the “Anonymous” Raw GM most likely is not. What I’ve observed over the past few months that WWE has had success with, is keeping major stories from getting to too many people. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at a few in just the last 3 months…
The first and foremost shocker needs no introduction, The Undertaker’s loss at Wrestlemania 30 to Brock Lesnar. Now, this is not about whether or not it was a good decision to break The Streak. What I noticed here is that only a handful of people knew it was going to happen and that didn’t even include the referee. As we all saw, there were plenty of memes floating about on the internet of the shocked faces right after the three count. While we all have our opinions on the actual outcome of the match, I believe that only having a handful of people know was the only way for the match to happen. If the outcome had been leaked months earlier or even a week early, then the match would be boo’d out of the building because nobody would have wanted to see it happen. This is a perfect example of keeping staff on a need to know basis and it worked perfectly.
The next event happened just recently on Raw, Seth Rollins turning on The Shield. I’m sure we all know that The Shield had to disband at some point. There’s just too much talent waiting to be unleashed between the three of them. The best part of this again, was the fact that there were plenty of people in the back that were surprised by the turn. I think the plan for a long time was to have them implode and all turn on each other. Whether this was Vince’s call or HHH’s, I think it was great because if it were Ambrose it would be too predictable. Ambrose already has the nickname of the “Lunatic Fringe” so everyone was expecting it to be him to turn on the other two. Considering that Rollins was Tag Team Champions with Reigns makes it that much more surprising. While this is nowhere near the magnitude that ending The Streak was, it was still rather shocking in the way that it went down.
Whether it’s for shock factor or it’s a logically planned story that takes quite a bit of time to build, we should still feel that jolt when we watch it all go down. I think this is what’s missing from WWE right now and they’re just starting to figure out how to integrate it into story lines again. The Attitude Era was full of shock factor so if you are a big fan of that era, it makes sense why the PG era has received some criticism. I know he caught plenty of flack from multiple people in the industry (including one of my favorites: Jim Cornette) but this is something that I feel Vince Russo was good at. Considering he wasn’t from the traditional “wrestling” side of booking, he was able to think in a different way that helped create quite a few great stories in both WWE and WCW. I understand he is not without his faults but when a story was over the top ridiculous, I place that as much on Russo as I do the person who was running the promotion he was working for at the time.
Now, this may all sound hypocritical considering I write for a website that provides you Backstage News if you are a premium member. I very much enjoy getting all the news going on behind the curtain that Richard puts out and I thank him for what he does. With all that said, Richard didn’t even know that The Streak was going to end. When news is kept from someone who has those kind of connections to people in the industry, then it’s going to have a major impact if it hits television before word can spread about it. This all comes back to something I said in my last post about putting in the effort to make us care about the product and the performer. People LIKE The Undertaker, people LIKE The Shield. I consider myself a big fan of both, so I was very invested in their story lines. What’s missing is the magic of not knowing what’s going to happen. If you had the privilege of watching when you were a kid, you know the feeling that I’m talking about. Vince, Hunter and Stephanie all have the power to keep knowledge of events to a minimum and I think it’s in their best interest if they continue down this path.
What do you guys think? Do you like being able to call what’s going to happen a mile away? Or is it more fun to be surprised or shocked? Sound Off below!!