Sunday, February 20, 2011

The WWE needs a creative writing course

The following was originally published on my blog, The Reaction Zone. I've edited it just a tad, since it was written on 2/18.
Six nights ago on Smackdown, the world found out the worst kept secret on the show. It was Dolph Ziggler who'd ambushed Teddy Long in his office 4 weeks ago, and Long himself returned to force the confession from Ziggler's co-conspirator and soon to be ex-lover, the covetous Vickie Guerrero, who claimed Dolph dreamed up the plot.

Now, Dolph (Nick Nemeth) is a sharp cookie, being a college graduate and all, but even he knows better than to assault his boss, knowing what the consequences would be. Vickie lied to have Edge "fired", a desperate act to give her boy toy the World title when Ziggler couldn't win it on his own. That didn't even last the night, and Ziggler goes into the WWE's record books as another 5:00 champion (think Jillian Hall a couple of years ago after cheating Mickie James out of the Divas title), but he shouldn't be.

Let's go back and put this into perspective.

On January 21, Long confronted the Corre (Wade Barrett/Ezekiel Jackson/Heath Slater/Justin Gabriel). During a match between Alberto Del Rio and visiting Raw superstar R-Truth, Long is ambushed in his office. The first responders? Vickie Guerrero & Dolph Ziggler, the two people who stood to gain the most from Teddy's prolonged absence. With Vickie's track record, Smackdown was in trouble. Vickie would stop at nothing, with no one to checkmate her, to screw her "ex-husband", Edge, out of the World title. She might've succeeded, too, if not for Long's timely return. Like, did you really think they'd hold him off until they came to his home city of Atlanta for Wrestlemania? Hmmmm, well.......of course not.

Guerrero immediately threw suspicion onto the Corre, who of course denied it. For once, Barrett & his crew were innocent. Perhaps sensing that Long would be returning soon, Guerrero got desperate, and concocted a tall tale about having evidence that would prove Edge did the deed. Unfortunately, as any fan of mysteries would tell you, Vickie had actually given away the real culprit. Her motive was obvious to everyone.

That brings us to Friday. A 12 man tag was scheduled as the main event, but was bumped to the curtain jerker spot so Vickie could continue with her power abuses. That was the wrong way to book the show.

Instead, the correct booking would've been for Vickie to be out to open the show. Edge would then come out, categorically deny any involvement, and his proof would be in the form of the returning Long. It would take about 5 minutes for Guerrero's plot to totally unravel. She'd accuse Ziggler, as we saw, but if the writers had any sense at all, they'd let Ziggler speak for himself and dump Vickie, revealing that it was her idea all along. Long had already figured out the motive. The power-hungry widow wanted the GM's job back, but couldn't openly plot against Long.

Also, unless Ziggler is either moving to Raw or being assigned to Tough Enough (which has begun taping), creative took the wrong person off the show. Guerrero should've been "fired" in answer for the irrational, "wrongful termination" of Kelly Kelly two weeks ago. Expect Kelly to return tonight at Elimination Chamber or next Friday, unless she too is involved in the new Tough Enough. Vickie's daughter, Shaul, is in training at FCW, and from what I read, Vickie came off as a babyface at a recent show. As a heel, her act is stale, and she has no redeeming value. What better way for her to be sent down to learn how to adopt a face persona than to get her comeuppance once and for all, disappear for a few months, then return as Shaul's manager. Of course, the temptation is there for Vickie to retain some heel characteristics, but that would be the wrong way to go. Vince McMahon has too much invested in Vickie to pull her off television at the moment. Problem is, that's the direction they need to take right now. The "nuclear" heat that Vickie generates on a weekly basis could easily become "X-Pac heat" if it goes on too much longer. The fans see her as being a teflon heel, someone you can't get rid of, no matter how hard you try.

However, there is an opening. Say Ziggler shows up tonight, hat in hand, asking Long for an opportunity to tell his side of the story. Remember, going into Friday, Smackdown had 2 faces (Edge & Rey Mysterio) and 4 (now 3) heels in the Elimination Chamber. Dolph could turn face by handing up Vickie as the brains behind the whole scheme, which everyone already has figured, since it appears creative isn't interested in a face run for Drew McIntyre just yet. Since Vickie threw Ziggler under the bus, why not return the favor? Unfortunately, the creative teams the WWE employs lack the proper training to craft a proper storyline from beginning to end.

The solution is real simple. Hire someone to put the writers, most of them Hollywood rejects and/or comics geeks (i.e. Brian Gewirtz), through a complete creative writing course. For some, it might be a refresher course, but the only other alternative is to go old school and let the wrestlers collaborate and create their own storylines. Triple H, an old schooler at his core, could be the man to bring about that sort of change if/when he steps in to succeed the creatively fading Vince McMahon, and that can't come soon enough.

As it is, I had Vickie & Dolph pegged 4 weeks ago. It just played out like an ordinary television show. Smackdown---and Raw, for that matter--aren't ordinary television shows. From a creative point of view, however, they are designed like they are, and that is the WWE's biggest problem. One that Vince McMahon insists on ignoring, but can no longer afford to do so.

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