Monday, July 21, 2014

Instant Feedback: Beginnings

This interaction may not lead down a satisfying path, but at least it was a memorable sight to see
Photo Credit:
How many times have you watched RAW, seeing blossoming potential unfolding before your eyes? How many times did your mind race, fantasy booking the endgames of those stories to places with artistic, satisfying endings? The glory and wonder of a story just beginning is unmatched in any medium, but since wrestling is an art steeped in violence and bombast, those beginnings have a bit more oomph behind them. Because WWE has a production budget unmatched by any other company in America, an unprecedented roster, and more television penetration than even "legitimate" fighting companies that people swear are direct competition, the kickoffs to its stories tend to pop just a little louder.

However, because those first chapters are so bright and memorable, the disappointing follow ups are even more demoralizing. How many times has a story gone awry? The Nexus leading to Wade Barrett being buried under chairs, only figuratively getting out just now by bearing bad news? Kofi Kingston's Madison Square Garden Boom Drop turning into a dead end in just a couple of months? The Summer of Punk II becoming a setup for Triple H vs. Kevin Nash? Every time WWE gets the fanbase's hopes up, a crash is usually around the corner. Maybe one sperm gets by the ovum wall and fertilizes a baby every once in awhile, but as unreasonable as it might seem to observers everywhere, if WWE can write the beginnings of tales so well, then why isn't the company following through on a greater clip? Why do the MVPs and Barretts of the world grossly outnumber the Steve Austins?

Everyone knows the reason is that somewhere along the way, the creative team drops its focus inexplicably, and the angle collapses into a sea of eternal unfinished business, LOL CENA WINS, or a rushed ending that comes after weeks upon weeks of the same matches being booked ad nauseam. Some of the long cons end up paying off by hook or by crook, sure. Even though cruel fate took Daniel Bryan away from his fans, he still made it, one could argue after a four year story that started with him stating his goal to main event WrestleMania on the first episode of NXT.

So what beginning from RAW this evening has the best chance of turning out for the best. Is it Paige viciously turning on her former frenemy AJ Lee and proclaiming RAW to be her house? Would anyone care to wager at this new Nation of Domination led by Dr. Xavier Woods as the new hotness? Can Antonio Cesaro finally break through as a minion of The Authority? Or will Brock Lesnar's ostensible final reign as WWE Champion have that all-time feel to it? These questions are difficult to answer, and it's entirely possible that when WrestleMania XXXI rolls aorund, none of what happened tonight will have a lasting effect on the big event.

That scenario would be par for the course for WWE, a company that has so many hooks to keep its fans and none of them being cohesive, artistic longterm storytelling. But then again, are the moments of genesis themselves enough to keep people, namely me, invested? Well, I have been a fan of the company for almost 30 years now. Maybe I'm a sucker. Or maybe these moments can stand alone, even if they don't lead to anything. All I know is that night The Nexus tore down the ring with John Cena and Punk still inside of it resonates more than the flaccid manner in which the story ended.

Of course, none of the firestarters were on the same scale as that fateful June night in 2010. However, above the hope given, they all provided some kind of spectacle viewing, which on some level is what wrestling is. Even if the stories don't make sense, the spectacle can be enough to keep me glued to the show, no matter how crazy things get. Because who knows what week WWE will decide to spring the next big beginning on everyone.