Ben Roberts- Big Bens Bigger Opinion: 06/09/13
The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same……….. Legendary wrestling manager, Jim Cornette once said about wrestling storylines that “If it hasn’t been done in 7 years it’s new” With that in mind, everyone went crazy about WWE booking Cena vs. The Rock at consecutive Wrestlemaina’s despite billing the first clash as “Once In A Lifetime” well this wasn’t the first time this happened. Back before Wrestlemania had come to fruition, the Grand Daddy of Them All was NWA’s Starrcade, which first took place in 1983. At the second annual Starrcade in 1984, “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes challenged “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, for the NWA World Heavyweight Title in “The Million Dollar Challenge” which was hyped and billed as “Once in a Lifetime”. Ever heard that before?
The following year Starrcade ’85 was headlined once again, by Champion Ric Flair vs. challenger Dusty Rhodes and although the event was subtitled “The Gathering” due to Dusty’s now legendary “Hard Times” promo, it was also once again referred to on TV as once in a lifetime and “The Re-Match of the Century”. Sound familiar?
Did the fans kick off in a negative way like they did for the announcement of Rock vs. Cena 2? ……..Nope. To be fair the business was not as open by any means as now and the fans were not smart enough to know in 1984-5 that Dusty was the head booker and that if Starrcade ’84 drew huge (which it did) then there was always going to be a re match the following year, it made business sense, to not do so would have been throwing away millions in revenue. But today’s wrestling fan is too smartened up to what they are seeing, they know when they are being hoodwinked and they know what they would rather see.
To be honest Rock vs. Cena and Flair vs. Dusty is rather an unfair comparison in some respects, because the matches were far superior in work rate, intensity, believability and out right entertainment factor, as were the angles in 1984-85 than the stuff we saw from Rock and Cena. But the formula was identical. This is just one example of WWE rehashing old formulas and storylines. Daniel Bryan and the recent re-working of the Stone cold rise is yet another. But don’t simply point the finger at WWE. This has been happening in wrestling for decades we are just now old enough to remember seeing it before.
When I first saw Rick “The Model” Martel spray his self-titled “Arrogance” perfume in the eyes of Jake “The Snake” Roberts in 1991, to me it was truly original. However anyone watching wrestling some 40 years earlier would have pointed out that Gorgeous George famously blinded Don Eagle with his “Chanel No.5” perfume which he disinfected the ring with before every match just like Martel . It wasn’t until years later, when I became a student of the sport that I found out that in fact Rick Martel, Ric Flair, Adrian Adonis, Randy Savage and countless others ripped off or borrowed something from the pioneer that was Gorgeous George. My point is that WWE has come under fire for being unoriginal in recent times and rehashing old ideas and storylines but it has happened for decades. Let’s be honest, it’s a ring with ropes. four sides and an audience, there aren’t that many original things you can do with that scenario before you start repeating yourself and lets be completely honest, Pro Wrestling is physical theatre, it’s a morality play of good versus evil, when you strip it right down and all those stories have already been told by the Ancient Greeks, The Romans and Shakespeare. Are there really any more stories left to tell? Maybe, but they will always have elements of the ones told before. As the legendary French novelist Alphonse Karr famously said: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
I’m Big Ben and that was my Bigger Opinion….
Thanks for reading Warlings be good and if you can’t be good, be careful