If you missed Chris Jericho’s recent interview with Mark Madden that I posted here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, you really need to go check it out. Jericho, always a good interview, provided some good insight to an informed host. Madden has been around the business for years, pens an online column and even worked for World Championship Wrestling.
There has been a major change in WWE’s philosophy or more specially, Vince McMahon’s philosophy over the past few years. Vince used to be “all or nothing” when bringing in talent. There were the exceptions (such as Shawn Michaels), but for the most part, if one wanted to work in WWE, they had to agree to work the WWE schedule. That meant live events, TVs and pay-per-views. Those that just wanted to come in to a work limited number of television tapings and select pay-per-views were by large part shunned.
As the business has changed, so has Vince McMahon. Jericho highlighted this change in his interview.
“I think the company has kind of changed their ways as before you had to give 100% of your time to the WWE… and now I think they are happy to have a guy like me come back whether it’s for a month or six months or whatever it can be.”
Brock Lesnar made history last year when he agreed to a multimillion dollar deal to work through Wrestlemania 29. WWE recently renewed his part-time contract for another two years through Wrestlemania 31.
The word making rounds is The Rock will work past Wrestlemania, although upon last check, he’s not being advertised for Extreme Rules as he was previously. Triple H, obviously under completely different circumstances, has a part-time performer’s contract of his own.
However, one thing Jericho didn’t say, but perhaps implied, is the philosophy doesn’t extend to everyone. In his quote, Jericho stipulated “a guy like me,” in which I take to mean top level names.
We heard John Morrison contacted WWE officials about coming in for a six month run beginning at Royal Rumble in January but Vince wanted at least a two year commitment. Clearly, he’s not willing to bend the rules for everyone and wanted to make an example by not caving to Morrison.
In the end people will ask me if I’m for or against these types of deals. My answer? I’m for having the most entertaining talent possible. The Rock, Triple H, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho and The Undertaker help Wrestlemania. Complicated to book, even harder to build but at the end of the day they increase interest.
The problem WWE has in bringing in part-time talent is what to do when they’re gone. While temporarily quelling the problem by renewing part-time deals, there’s going to be a time when new names are going to have to step up. There are those that are waiting to break out but it all comes down to taking an opportunity and running with it. Triple H is clearly focused on his future as the WWE boss by building up the developmental system and making sure they have as much talent as possible.
Talent development over the next five years will be a critical part of WWE’s success and is the reason for the new facilities in Orlando Florida (now under construction). It’s Hunter’s baby and the more prepared workers are, the better chance they have for success. I’m ready for the next breakout star and hope we see them sooner than later.
What’s your take? I would love to hear your thoughts on the pros and cons to part-time talent in WWE. Do the names I mentioned in this piece increase your interest like they do mine? Or do you think WWE is better suited to push the full-time talent they have? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.