I don’t spend too much time reading the wrestling sheets or sites. Partly because I actually want to be surprised when something happens on-air, and partly because there is just so much activity out there between “news” sites and blogs that it’s hard to separate the signal from the noise.
So it’s probably mostly luck that I stumbled across an opinion piece by Mark Madden on the WrestleZone site that touched on something I had meant to ask a year ago.
Mark says this,
Everyone is RAVING about the Piper’s Pit segment on Raw, citing [it] as evidence that old-school characters like Roddy Piper have it all over today’s crap performers.
Oh, Piper was BRILLIANT. He added more value to the WWE title by talking about it than any champion of the past 10 years has done by wearing it. He led John Cena and Wade Barrett around like dogs on leashes, and to great effect.
But the reason that segment sparkled was because Roddy’s lines weren’t scripted. He [knew] what to advance, and he advanced it within the context of the Roddy Piper character, which he knows much better than anybody else who could ever write words for that character.
I beat this drum A LOT, but it’s a drum that needs beaten. WWE (and TNA) do things that are NOT a matter of opinion, NOT thinking outside the box, NOT a reasonable alternative. They’re just WRONG.
Scripting promos word-for-word is WRONG. It sounds like everyone’s speaking in the same voice.
I haven’t read any detailed reports about the level that the interviews and segments are scripted in WWE. I remember reading what was supposedly a “leaked” Monday Night Raw script, but I wasn’t convinced it was actually real. It looked realistic format-wise, but I have a hard time believing that anybody would be able to memorize a 10 minute promo the day of the event and not screw it up.
I am also guilty of fast-forwarding through just about all the interviews on every wrestling program, so I would only be giving an opinion on the small number that I have heard (Piper’s segment was one of them). But for the sake of discussion, lets assume that the “creative” team actually writes out the dialog for every interview.
Why would they do this? I can see where they have some bullet points or guidance to provide because they have the angles and feuds mapped out probably 6 to 9 months in advance. They know when all the Pay-Per-Views are scheduled and they are trying to set the road map for the company. But why would they actually write out the complete dialog for someone to memorize word-for-word?
If you’ve ever read anything about the Larry David show “Curb Your Enthusiasm” or any similar improv-style program, you know that they just have an outline and a general direction and the rest is improvised. That sounds like the perfect model for wrestling. It works as long as you’ve got guys that can talk, and wrestling has that.
The workers are going to have better ideas about the words they should choose and the personality of their character than some ex-sitcom hacks that the WWE hired. Maybe “creative” should worry less about the intricate details of the promos, and spend more time preventing stupid decisions like making Vladymir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson babyfaces, keeping Kane employed, and having Microsoft Outlook be the WWE general manager.