FORZESE FILES: OLD SCHOOL RAW

Posted November 19th, 2010 by Bob Ryder

By Jim Forzese

This was a show that reminded me why I became a fan of wrestling in the first place. I thought about it while watching and came to the conclusion that if the “new school” wrestling was what was around when I was a kid; I highly doubt I would still be watching today. The legends are what hooked me into wrestling and why I love the business all these years later. I fully understand why wrestling has a hard time keeping fans over the long haul nowadays. The difference was glaring Monday night. All the legends had character; the wrestlers were different from each other and stood out. Now it is all a bunch of same looking, like minded talents that are completely interchangeable. Give me the old school any day because those wrestlers believe their character and lived it and continue to live it with pride. They believed in what they were doing and made us believe that everything was real in the land of make believe. A talent and ability that cannot be done anywhere nearly as consistently with the new school group of talents.

One twitter user who praised Jim Ross’ return was Chris Jericho, who quipped, “The difference between Jim Ross and Michael Cole is the difference between Paul Newman and Paulie Shore…” I could not have said that any better myself. Again, if Cole was the announcer in my youth as opposed to Vince, Gorilla, JR, then again I do not know that I would have stayed such a huge fan all these years later. Cole is awful plain and simple and should be removed from the announce booth immediately. Cole truly ruins the overall presentation and when compared head to head with JR on Raw, that issue was glaring. Also Piper’s Pit was another cannot miss segment from Roddy Piper. I hung on every word and went on a roller coaster of emotions when Piper spoke. Then when Cena and Barrett spoke I went back to not caring nearly as much. Piper had me waiting with baited breath to hear what else Roddy would say, but when Cena spoke my attention span shrunk almost immediately. Again glaring differences between old and new school and how much better speaking ad lib and from the heart makes a promo.

Yes maybe I am being bias but really I could see the difference and wonder why Vince does not realize that certain old school approaches are exactly what is needed in modern day WWE. Not everything was perfect in the old school but the talent really seemed to care more about protecting the business and making the fans believe what we were watching. Yes the curtain has been pulled back and the secret is out, but that does not mean that the wrestler’s should not still go about trying to make us all suspend our disbelief. Raw was a fun show that had me very nostalgic for years gone by. Raw reminded me why I took to this business in the first place and why I love to write columns about the business for all these years. It brought out my inner child and it was a treat seeing my favorites getting the respect that they all truly deserve.

I would never say to go old school completely but certain elements could be implemented into the new school philosophy and that would make for a much better TV program. Why can Mean Gene give an interview where as both wrestlers respect Gene, and if a wrestler gives Gene attitude, Gene gives it back? Why does someone like Josh Matthews or others cower in fear? Nit picking? Maybe, but still it strikes me as odd that Gene is in your face at any age yet young guys, some even former wrestlers will fear being struck for doing what the interviewer is getting paid to do? Yes I know it is to make wrestler’s seem dangerous but really is that how it should be accomplished? Subtle change can be made right there that would look better for TV. Gene showed everyone in WWE how an interview segment is to be done. Why is it that no one has followed the way in which Gene has so successfully done it? Like I said Gene and JR to me anyway, really embarrassed anyone that tries to do the same job that both of these Hall of Famers have done so successfully for so many years.

Now I said I would book the Nexus, Cena, GM angle so here are my thoughts on that subject. I liked the way Raw ended in that Cena showed that no favoritism was going to be had come Survivor Series. Cena will live with the consequences of calling the match down the middle and live up to the respect that Piper spoke of. Come the ending of the match at the PPV, after a whole match worth of close calls and Barrett and Cena verbally feuding, Cena goes to strike Barrett but Barrett moves causing Cena to knock out Orton. Barrett grabs Orton and pins him. Cena looks on with shock and remorse. Nexus hits the ring to celebrate and make sure that Cena does not attack Barrett. Cena goes to Orton and helps Orton up only to put Orton in the Attitude Adjuster and slam Orton down hard.

Orton then goes nose to nose with Barrett and after a few intense seconds of staring, both Cena and Barrett smile and hug. Cena raises Barrett’s hand and is quickly given a Nexus shirt to adorn as Cena and Barrett climb the ropes with Nexus celebrating in the ring as the PPV goes of the air with Michael Cole cheering and Lawler wondering what the hell just happened. That is how I would book the ending at Survivor Series and move Nexus forward. Cena can then talk about not caring about the respect of fans that have disrespected him. Cena can talk about legends that he looked up to as a kid but have never shown him the same respect. The next step would then be to create a hero to rise up against this new power. That is where Miz comes in as Miz would be the perfect challenger to Barrett. I would start a feud that begins immediately and culminates at WrestleMania. Make Barrett with Cena as his enforcer, an unbeatable champion and Nexus a major force in the business. Eventually when Cena goes back to being a face, WWE can turn him without being the goodie, goodie superhero and more Austin-like and that can maybe help male fans cheer Cena going forward.

The GM will then reveal himself to be Michael Cole. Cole will have been hired by Vince only because Cole found Mr. McMahon misappropriating funds, or some other illegal funding for Linda’s campaign and Cole forced Vince to make him the GM. Cole did not want it revealed until the full Nexus takeover was in place. Vince cannot fire Cole because of what Cole knows and Cole, as has been seen for weeks now, has become corrupt with power which will only be getting worse. Eventually a power struggle will ensue that will relieve Cole as GM but that is further down the line, possibly a year or two away. I know Vince worries about merchandise sales if WWE turns Cena heel but that is the most ridiculous way to book wrestling, worrying about t-shirt sales. If the angle is hot then fans will buy the merchandise because it will be the trendy choice. These are just some ideas I have had for this angle since it was asked of me from a reader to give my take on booking this angle, I usually do not fantasy booking in my columns. Not saying I hit a homerun but just what I would have suggested in a creative meeting.

Bottom Line:

I hope some newer fans got a true taste of old school and will try and understand what the landscape was like back then and how it has evolved over time. Better in some regards and much worse in others but time will do that. It never was a perfect business and it certainly will never be one going forward but try to enjoy what we have for a along as we have it because it is still the best entertainment going for my dollar. Old school Raw, thank you. You have just read another chapter of the Forzese Files and as always feedback is greatly appreciated.

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers.

Jim Forzese

forzesevire@yahoo.com

Category: Wrestling.

Tags: , , .

Comments

  1. By dave, posted

    best show of the last 10 years,now i know whats been missing…talent. wish i had a time machine

  2. By BT, posted

    Jim, I think your booking of the Cena angle is right on! I have been thinking the same thing. This is perfect for Cena as he is barely getting a 50/50 reaction from the crowd. He has always been about respect and this is a sure shot. I hope this comes true but wont be holding my breath…

  3. By FEDUP, posted

    I was thinking the same thing with Cena being Announced as the real Leader of Nexus.The Internet GM thing is the Most boring stupid angle ever GET RID OF IT

  4. By Dale, posted

    Jim,

    I agree so much with your column this week. The old scholl way had it’s flaws but it also attracted, Held, and maintained the attention of the wrestling audience. That is why it grew as it did.
    I like the idea of the booking for the Cena – Orton – Nexus angle. It would be a great way to turn Cena heel, elevate the level of Nexus and possible give a renewed interest in the Oton Cena feud. Miz could make a semi face/heel much in the way Orton has been as of late.
    Cole seems the obvious choice at the moment as the computer manager. I am not a Cole fan. I personally find his calling of a match to be distracting from good wrestling. In my opinion, The whole commentary on his part during the match he called alongside JR was just a waste of Jim’s time. I think Jim Ross should have been brought in to call the whole night. even if it were for the one match, they should have let him and Lawler go it alone.
    As to Merchandise Sales; The NWO sold alot of T-Shirts and Posters. Nexus can do like wise. Perhaps in taking a cue from the NWO, perhaps in 6 months or so, we could have a split in Nexus that results in a dividing line for people to join the Black and Gold or the Black and Red (or what ever colors you wish). Think BWO or LWO that served well as a means of continuing the angle in a different way for a short time. Just my two cents worth. Thanks for the column.

  5. By Matthew, posted

    Nice article. I really enjoyed the “Old School” feel of Raw, bu tI would have liked to see a few highlights of old Raw, Superstars, or Challenge matches to help build an even larger old school feel to it. Also my prediction for Survivor Series is this:
    Cena helps Barrett win the title to keep his job. When Nexus shows up to protect Barrett, they all turn on him(led by Cena) and beat him down. Miz then shows up and cashes in his MITB to win the title. Cena has the “new” Nexus to protect him from Orton, and WWE begins to build a Miz vs. Morrison title match for Wrestlemania, probably with a Survivor Series win for Morrison.

  6. By mike, posted

    Hey Jim i really like your ideas for booking this Nexus/Cena angle.I hope WWE really thinks on how they are going to push The Miz,he deserves a good push.He has paid his dues and has good potential and character.I don’t like the idea of Michael Cole being around for another year or two,that would be too much torture.Also, by him thinking he could commentate all by himself is ridiculous,he will never amount to the likes of The great Gordon Solie,Marc Lorance or Jim Ross.Well thanks again Jim for the good column and predictions.Keep it up!!!!!!

  7. By PAUL, posted

    Jim,

    Thanks for your quick response…I would love to see Cena turn heel but b/c of merchandizing worries I dont think Vince will go with it…..Cena needs to turn heel his act is getting old and hes already getting lots of boos anyway….The only change I would make to your scenario is i would elevate john morrison to be the “hero” to confront cena and nexus…i think its a good way to elevate him….i owuldnt change miz’s character at all hes a great heel…..he could still be part of the angle by tempting to cash in the money in the bank but def keep him heel….

  8. By anthony rivieccio, posted

    Great article . not to repeat the above agreeable statements but to expose on your idea a bit further?

    SLICK! A great entertaining manager

    I think once the old timers got over the shock and introduced him to their sons and daughters, slicks exit on stage (cheers) also makes me believe , as I have for a long time that the wwe should go back to managers

  9. By Frank, posted

    The booking of the Nexus angle is good. This is going nowhere if Cena is the same old aimed at the kiddies Cena when everything is complete. Either Cena is really part of Barret’s scheme, or Cena has a way to get Orton back the ti-ule (after Barret wins Cena clobbers him and Orton demands his rematch NOW.)

  10. By Jim Forzese, posted

    Thanks for all the feedback everyone it’s always very appreciated.

  11. By matthew, posted

    You cant say that your attention span shrank when Cena spoke on Pipers Pit. Cena acted very well in that segment, and yea, Piper helped that. Cena IS an ‘old school’ type of face, which I dont think will change. His acting ability in this Nexus storyline has been excellent. Please give him some credit, and dont just point blank refuse to give him any because of who he is.

  12. By PAUL, posted

    Im so dissapointed in SS last night…….does creative even really do anything these days…I remember when angles were planned for months ahead

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