In the last few years of reviewing Pro Wrestling shows, particularly weekly episodic Television, I have come to find there are a lot of situations that are concocted throughout the shows to begin an angle or to continue an angle that are over used to an astronomical degree. Ever so prevalent in NXT, the WWE’s Developmental Brand often uses cut and paste techniques with their angles that are far too noticeable to my critical eye.
For example, the backstage attack. A few months ago, Roxanne Perez was embroiled in a feud with Blair Davenport. The feud was built off the fact Blair had been revealed as a lady who had been mysteriously attacking several female NXT Superstars week after week, and one such lady was Roxanne Perez.
In the weeks leading up to their blow off match, Roxanne and Blair’s angle only seemed to have one thing constantly taking place – and that was through the insistence of the Roxanne Perez character to find Blair Davenport backstage at every show, charging at her with heat of 1000’s suns, attacking her whilst screaming bloody murder, before they were split up by referees, security and backstage personnel.
Whilst I understand the characters sheer anger at what has happened to her and she is seeking to extract revenge, I find that style of angle to be a lazy way to continue to add layers to a story before a blow off match takes place at a NXT Special.
Fast forward a few weeks on the September 5th Edititon of NXT, and Blair Davenport starts off an angle – which is my main complaint that I will get to later, by randomly interrupting a segment with Gigi Dolin and Thea Hale, in which Gigi tells Blair to mind her own business. Blair would then later end up costing Gigi a win over Thea later that episode.
What transpires after this show is week after week of Gigi doing exactly what Roxanne did in the previous Blair Davenport feud, just charge at Blair at every single show in the backstage area and start fighting with her till it’s broken up. It’s a lazy cut and paste technique that I often notice.
One complaint I have about lazy cut and pasting that AEW does on it’s shows Dynamite, Rampage and Collision is good old “I just spoke to Tony.” Everybody has always just spoke to Tony and we take their word on it, when they announce that they are going to be facing off with a certain wrestler on that show or in the future, and I find that to be super lazy.
It’s just a short cut that’s being taken because Tony Khan isn’t creative enough to come up with a more interesting scenario to come to find out that a match is being booked, and the simple way of achieving that is to have a figurehead character who can make those matches, either after being visited in their office, or in front of the crowd, when they arrive to the building and get swarmed by an angry talent wanting a showdown with a current foe, there are plenty of ways to achieve these things.
I’m supposed to just take the word of a wrestler every time they say ‘I just spoke to Tony’? – whilst many fans out there may not see this as a big deal, after years and years of this; I find it annoying.
That is just a couple of examples of something that is over used in Pro Wrestling, but here today I wanted to talk about my prime pet peeve and that is the Backstage Interview interruption. It has been plaguing weekly episodic wrestling Television for years. Nobody is innocent in this, not WWE/NXT or AEW, even Impact Wrestling do it, and I even started noticing in dribs and drabs that you are starting to see it on NWA Powerrr. If anything, I think MLW may be the only company innocent of it, but then again, I don’t watch MLW Fusion so I am not entirely sure.
It’s the most over used and lazy segment that I see on TV. A wrestler is backstage with Renee Paquette, McKenzie Mitchell, Cathy Kelley, Kayla Braxton, Gia Miller, Sam Laterna, the list goes on – and I can almost pinpoint every time (usually about 10 seconds in to their answer of a softball question) and what do you know!
Somebody just waltzes into the shot and interrupts them, and the foe, or potential foe, just HAPPENED to be 15 meters away as the interview is going out live on TV, and they start confronting or antagonizing the wrestler being interviewed and I’m supposed to buy this? I don’t think so.
I have seen so many angles begin this way, so many angles continued this way, all I need is for a blow off to a feud end this way and I will put my head through a plate glass window.
Why do I dislike it so much? Again, because it’s lazy, it happens all the time and it has absolutely zero thought and creativity put behind it that even a 10 year old could write that segment. It doesn’t equate to pushing your creative boundaries, it doesn’t add any level of excitement that comes across organic and realistic, it is pure lazy BS.
It frustrates me because I remember what wrestling used to be like, and it would always be filled with situations and scenarios that you never saw before. They were always trying to do different things in different areas of the building in the Attitude Era and even in WCW and ECW.
They never hung their hat on these cut and paste techniques, and that’s where I want to challenge these companies to do these things seldomly. Treat your backstage interviewers as legitimate Broadcast Journalists like Kevin Kelly, Jonathan Coachman, Michael Cole, etc were back in the day, rushing around the building trying to get the scoop from the promoter or the talent on a certain evolving situation we need answer about.
Interruptions can be absolutely tremendous if done correctly. I know this isn’t a technique that has only been around a handful of years, but it’s just not being used correctly.
I remember one Episode of Monday Night RAW back in the day where Stone Cold interrupted Vince McMahon and the Corporate Ministry when they were in the ring. Pop. Business got done. Vince tried to over rule the co-CEO Stone Cold, and then Shawn Michaels interrupted as the Commissioner to over rule Vince and set the table for that evenings proceedings.
To go into details: They laid layers to the segment, and the interruptions. Austin climbs a Ladder because he’s set for a Handicap Ladder Match at King of the Ring at the time, and he cracks open a beer when he gets to the top and it got a reaction. Stakes were laid out there. There was purpose.
Vince ups the ante with Austin and his stipulations he’s put in place as CEO, HBK interrupts, we get another pop, he gets the recently fired Patterson and Brisco to come out with coffee for him, there’s another pop, and the segment finally sees it’s conclusion after Shawn Michaels finalizes the previously suggested stakes. Boy, the business was truly at it’s hottest back then. It was such a great segment, and it did so much to set the table for the evening and upcoming PPV.
That’s all I’m really asking for. Effort. The thought being put into everything so that the show is as original as it can be and not a carbon copy of the previous weeks proceedings, or as it’s become such a habit for these big pro wrestling companies, every episode feels like it uses the same formula with the same types of ideas being used over and over again, the cut and paste theory.
What would I do differently when it comes to these segments? I would attempt to not do one at all for a whole year and completely overhaul the interview process and the way we begin or continue angles.
I would go through everything with a fine tooth comb and ensure that each week, those kinds of scenarios are in a different area of the building, with a different way of getting that verbiage which is needed to continue to tell the story, out there.
That’s my dare for every Pro Wrestling company on a large scale. I double dare WWE, NXT, AEW, Impact, NWA, MLW to go a whole year without having this kind of lazy situation take place several times a show. I don’t think it would be too hard, you’ve just got to think a little bit.