Sometimes when you’re watching the world of professional wrestling, you wonder who is in charge here? Authority figures have been a staple of professional wrestling since its very inception with the NWA Board of Directors. However, in 1997 the concept of the authority figure begin to change it to an on screen role. The boss became the onscreen focus and the catalysts that puts the product forward into the forefront of pop-culture. Epic battles between Vince McMahon and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin symbolized the struggle of the workingman against the corporate overlords. WCW tried the same thing with Eric Bischoff and the nWo to some modicum of success. After these feuds saw their climax each company would attempt many different permutations on the same formula with evil general managers and commissioners There were some good roles during that time but often they just look like background noise. As time drew on it just felt more and more irrelevant.
This is no more evident than with the current Triple H corporate storyline in WWE. What exactly are the general managers doing except bending to the will of the current COO? What purpose do they serve? All it does is create artificial strife where there is none. Your heat should not be with the management itself, instead the focus should be your opponent. More often than not, the authority figure are the main antagonist of the show. And that doesn’t make any sense that means your babyface will never overcome the obstacle of his/her boss. Especially when one corrupt authority figure replaces another, and another and another.
If you need anymore example on why this is a bad thing, check out this week’s Smackdown in which Triple H again emasculates three of the top babyfaces in the company in the Miz, Dolph Ziggler and the Big Show. Every time the heroes seem to rally up against him he destroys their credibility by pointing out the flaws and making them look like complete incompetents. And it makes me wonder who is going to be the hero to come to the rescue? Are we going to wait for John Cena? Or is Stone Cold Steve Austin to return at Wrestlemania 30? Because you definitely established that the current crop of babyfaces are not up to snuff. TNA is not much better with seeming super na ve and out of touch with their own product. ROH seems to be the only company who gets it right with very minimal interference from matchmaker Nigel McGuinness. Even so, they’ve had their issues with pushy in ring authority figures in the past.
Maybe it’s time the on-screen authority figure goes away and we just hear from the Board of Directors from time to time. Perhaps we can also remove the twenty minutes opening promo starting every week’s television and let the grudges build themselves Let’s forget about these evil corporate overlords and just make feuds between two guys who don’t like each other. Sometimes it’s better to go back to the basics. This format has been around for fifteen years. Do you remember any TV shows that kept the same format for fifteen years?
It’s time for wrestling to evolve past the crutches and try something different. Because it’s just not relevant anymore.. Christian aptly said on Monday night those forget history are doomed to repeat it. These words cannot hit closer to home when it comes to today’s portrayal of the wrestling product. Hopefully they will focus on future endeavors and give the pink slip to the past.
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