Hey everyone. We’re moving full speed ahead on the Road to Wrestlemania 32 in Dallas. WWE made a stop this past Monday in Chicago at the always raucous Allstate arena. And the city of broad shoulders definitely had a lot to be happy with. There was a great Owens-Neville match which led into Sami Zayn returning to Monday Night Raw, The New Day defending in the tag team against AJ Styles and Chris Jericho in a really strong opening promo with Vince and Shane. However , the Windy City had a lot to segments that felt like last-minute additions and character directions that came out of nowhere.

Case in point, Dolph Ziggler, who last week was battling the Miz trading wins. But now after one tweet that has been dropped in light of The Show Off versus The Authority again. This is a major problem for WWE around this time of year. The constant focus on the top players make everyone else, Dolph included, feel like that microwave burrito that has been in the freezer for far too long.

Now, before anybody gets themselves into a tizzy about complaining of an in ring talent being featured in a prominent storyline. I’m not I’m just pointing out something that is all the more evident once you look a little closer. What was the big push of this week’s show? Making you believe Shane McMahon and Dean Ambrose were viable as main event talent. The inherent flaw in that logic is that everybody else feels like an also-ran.

Take for example the US Champion Kalisto and Ryback, these two look to be destined for Wrestlemania. The Big Guy pointing out how small the masked superstar was. I get making the Lucha Dragon the underdog in the scenarios, but you don’t need to keep pointing out his size to make people want to root for him. The WWE fan base has seen this before it does not create more drama in the match. Especially, when it’s against a character as damaged as Ryback. My point being with all this, you can’t show so much neglect to these characters for the bulk of the year and then try to reheat them a month before the biggest show of the year. Good business says that it’s wise to have a backup plan in case something happens. WWE in its Attitude Era was so vibrant because it had people bubbling up ready to take the top spot if need be due to injury. Hopefully, with the recent string of luck the company will finally learn that you have 52 weeks a year to make somebody matter. It’s not just an eight week run to the finish line. It should be a yearly goal to make a new superstar a year. If they do that, maybe they would be in the position they are now.

WWE is doing their damnedest to push The League of Nations are a credible threat of the group. This comes after weeks of them constantly losing.. Perception is not reality in this case. Same thing goes for Lana and Brie Bella. As much as they want to Daniel Bryan sympathy to go to Brie, it just isn’t there. I’m not saying that she doesn’t work hard. But she’s not her husband. In fact a few months ago she was the reason for a change in the division. So again perception and reality are not really coming together well. And as I said last week I don’t see how smart it is to debut Lana in ring at the biggest show of the year. It just seems desperate.

And I’m not going to sit back and say I have all the answers. But you can definitely see that something needs to be changed in the way WWE creative things and uses their characters. Because let’s not forget that in the world of wrestling the fans bond with the personality and the person. It’s not like a character on a TV show there is a line that is blurred between fantasy and reality. And WWE needs to be more cognizant of it. You present their characters as strong personalities, hiding their flaws and accentuating the positives and it makes the world of difference.

 

Moving on to a character WWE put major time into in the 80s accentuating the positives and hiding the negatives. Hulk Hogan. He took the stand yesterday in his $100 million lawsuit against website Gawker over a sex tape that was published four years ago now. Now I’m not going to go a tirade about Hogan’s sex tape I did that last year.  Instead, I want to talk about Hogan’s testimony in regards to the man Terry Bollea versus the Hulk Hogan character . It was interesting hearing Hogan talk about the differences between himself and his on-screen persona. Putting over how Terry is insecure about himself but as soon as the red light goes on he becomes a different person the boisterous and gregarious man in red and yellow. We’ve heard that for years from different people in the industry that they go into their character when the show begins.

However, Hulk Hogan was not on the stand yesterday (if you want to read really great coverage of this , check out Mike Johnson’s write up over at PWInsider). it seemed like a very bewildered Terry Bollea. There was examination on interviews he did on television as the Hogan character where he made what can be seen as perjury on depositions regarding the tape in terms of cameras and knowledge of what was on the tape. The man that told a generation to say their prayers and take her vitamins was definitely swallowing a bitter pill. For years , in my opinion, Hogan the man and Hogan the character weren’t all that different. In fact, they were one and the same much like Ric Flair. They have lived the gimmick for so long they actually become it. Now when faced with a potentially life destroying life destroying lawsuit he wants to separate himself from character again. I’m not sure how effective this will be. Wrestling court cases dealing with gimmicks and storylines have not exactly had the best results in the past. Because in the wrestling world we are kind of an a fun house mirror. Where the outside world sees this as bizarre behavior and it is.

Truth be told, I don’t think Hogan even knows from time to time who he really is anymore. When you blur the line so much that you can’t differentiate between the two that is scary. Hopefully, future generations will take note and not lose themselves in their on-screen characters no matter how tempting that can be. Because if you are not careful you may lose sight of the truth not only in the world but in yourself.

Thanks for reading, see you next time.

 

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on PWpop.com.