A problem plaguing wrestling todayBy thinksojoe · · 2 Comments
For some reason, I’ve always been facinated with Donald Trump, especially after starting my own business several years ago. I’d heard that The Donald only sleeps four hours a night, so that while his competition was asleep, he’d be up coming up with new innovations. Let’s face it, whatever the guy is doing, it works.
I happened to walk in to a discount book store a couple of months ago while my car was in for an oil change, and two books jumped out at me – “Tietam Brown” by Mick Foley, and “How to Get Rich” by Donald Trump. At the time, I still had a few books to read, but I bought them both. After finishing Chris Jericho’s “A Lion’s Tale: Around The World In Spandex,” I picked up Trump’s book and started reading. I’ve thusfar found it difficult to put down. I came across the following in a section (Trump’s book doesn’t really have chapters in the traditional sense) called “Cover These Eleven Bases (The Art of Public Speaking, Part II)” and immediately thought about the WWE and TNA.
“Notes can sometimes function as a useful reference point, especially if you’re speaking to a large audience. If you’re prepared, no one can tell that you’re using them. Ideally, you don’t want to read a speech. For some reason, no matter how good your delivery is when you read a speech, it’s usually boring. Everyone sees that you’re reading it and it’s never quite the same as delivering it off the cuff. Notes offer the best of both worlds: They keep you focused and moving in the right direction without turning you into a stiff.”
Now obviously, the wrestlers aren’t out there reading their lines off of a piece of paper, but they are essentially reciting them verbatim from the run sheets. Think about it. Think about the greatest talkers in wrestling’s illustrious history. Dusty Rhodes. Ric Flair. Hulk Hogan. Randy Savage. Steve Austin. The Rock. How many of them had their promos written word for word for them? I’d bet none.
This is a challenge to the WWE and TNA wrestling. Give your guys bullet points to hit and let them go out and get themselves over. If they can’t, back to the indies with them. If they can, championship gold and big money. Yes, you’re television entities, but that does not mean you have to script everything.
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You'd think with Vince's massive man-crush on The Donald (in the creepy, "Single White Female" kind of way), he would have read this.
Seriously, people forget how much theatre is involved in pro wrestling and always has been. Good promo guys are little more than good improvisational thinkers. I was only being a little sarcastic in my "Impact" review when I said that wrestling companies needed to hire an acting coach. So many wrestlers come from the athletics background, and have no clue about the performance part. Sure, even with help, some guys won't make it and, as you say, "back to the indies with them." However, improvisation is a skill that can be taught, and people can improve.
I was horrible at it when I got out of high school, and now, much less so. Improv isn't about comedy and making people laugh, it's a way of thinking. Some guys might do quite well with just a little bit of guidance, as opposed to trying to remember an entire script. In theatre, if you make a mistake, be it spoken or physical, you have to cover it and keep going and try to make it look like nothing went wrong. In wrestling, it's the same thing. In tv, not so much. Perhaps treating a wrestling show as a live theatrical performance rather than a scripted tv show would help the overall product.
What's up with this limit on post length?