By Jim Forzese
In recent weeks WWE has purged the creative team of many of the writers who had been with the company for awhile. WWE wants fresh blood in the creative chairs to help write compelling new storylines, mainly for Raw, going forward. Here is the interesting part though, new creative team members should have no history of professional wrestling and not be up to date on the current WWE storylines. WWE wants Hollywood writers to come in with absolutely no experience or knowledge of wrestling and write storylines based upon the TV and movie ways of doing what these writers know. Based upon these criteria I will never be capable of getting a job in WWE creative and quite frankly that has always been a dream of mine. I have become unqualified to be hired by WWE as a creative team member and that makes me very sad.
However I do not think the idea of no wrestling knowledge is without some merit. I honestly believe that the reason that Smackdown is an all around better show than Raw is because former wrestler Michael Hayes is the head writer for Smackdown and Hayes possesses the knowledge of how a wrestling program works and what the fans want. That being said, I can see what WWE is attempting to do and I do not fully disagree. WWE wants to stop the tendency to rehash old storylines and create something never before seen on a wrestling program. WWE and TNA are very guilty of reusing old storylines and hoping that these storylines will work once again with today’s audience. Not a crime but certainly not very creative.
The problem, as I see it, is will Hollywood storylines work in the wrestling landscape? Certainly some things will but there are a lot of things done in movies that will not translate to a wrestling program. Murder, love stories, crime, war, things of that nature will never be able to be done in the confines of a wrestling ring and nor should they. So what Hollywood writers can create that is new and will work is beyond me but I am not opposed to let them try. I do like that there will be zero reliance to dip back into the archives and hot shot a rehashed idea since the new creative team will have no knowledge of what those past storylines are. Although the vast video library can make it easy for these new writers to quickly find out and steal from while pretending the idea is original. Small concern but not a major issue whatsoever.
Obviously the creative team on Raw has not been great for awhile now. They have come up with some very good ideas but have never been consistently great. I have no problem with changing over the team but truth is does it matter? As long as Vince wants all shows written to his single vision and changes take place hours before the show goes live, what chance does a creative writer have in being a major success? I know stuff happens but WWE needs to write for the long term and make changes as it necessitates due to certain issues. My hope is that Hollywood writers will write a storyboard that has a beginning, middle, and end and that the story plays out over the course of months like a TV series would. That would make the shows much better in my estimation, but that does not mean that the shows will be great.
The problem still exists that Hollywood writers with zero wrestling knowledge may not know how to fit these storylines into a wrestling context. If the storylines does not begin and end within the squared circle then it will not matter how strong the story is. Yes agents can help with how to accomplish this and that would be a big benefit to creative team members. Let someone like Pat Patterson teach the creative team how to incorporate their Hollywood stories into a wrestling context. Pat or Steamboat or IRS could be a major help in guiding the story in the right direction. Like I said there is some merit in this new creative team idea.
Hopefully the new creative team would not be wasting valuable TV time on something like the Michael Cole angle that has no chance of helping in both ratings and or money. The focus needs to be on the wrestlers and never should the focal point of a show be on the announcers. That is a cardinal sin as far as I see it and most fans seem to agree with that. The one aspect I feel Hollywood writers could do well is in creating both the heel and face and doing so without it being so cartoonish one way or the other. Hollywood writers have the ability to create the evil heel and the lovable but vulnerable hero. Shades of grey on either side that make viewers actually invest in both characters because there is intrigue on both sides. Success is all about connecting with the audience so that the fans invest in both time and money. That is something Hollywood can do very well.
What I am not sure on is how Hollywood writers will be able to make championships mean something again. Rarely in Hollywood does a title belt be what two people are battling over. I suppose the creative team can pretend it is a woman and then just substitute title belt instead but this is where I just do not know how it will work. This is where having no wrestling knowledge can be tough for the writers because almost everything needs to revolve around title, someone holds them, and everyone else wants them, plain and simple. Again this is where Hollywood writers may need some assistance because title belts are worthless props right now and the title belts need to be brought back to prestige.
I am trying to stay positive with these new developments in creative and trying to see the pros and not just focus on the cons. Yes I see issues with this concept but I am willing to see how it goes before I crucify it. Yes it makes me upset that I could never hold a creative job in WWE based upon this criteria but I probably would never get hired anyway so it is not a real issue. I just hope that these new writers can actually create storylines that have not been seen on a wrestling program before. I am willing to give it a chance and see what happens but if Vince handcuffs these new writers as he did with almost all past writers then it will not matter anyway because at that point, no one will be qualified. You have just read another chapter of the Forzese Files and as always feedback is greatly appreciated.