Keep The Competition

Johnathan McDonald


I guess you could say I subscribe to the Jim Cornette school of thought when it comes to professional wrestling. Some of the tenet's of Cornette's booking philosophy include: catering to the "hardcore", or passionate, fan; having realistic matches; as much as is possible, protecting the business, and; pushing people who look the part. This is what I mean when I use the word "wrasslin".

I recognize that there are other schools of thought on professional wrestling, and that these other schools of thought have many fans, and that these other schools of thought draw money. These other schools of thought include: Vince Russo-esque Crash TV, Young Bucks Dive City, and current WWE. This is a rough categorization, but I think you can follow along.

And though I love lots of different things from those other three categories, Wrasslin is still the stuff for me. I'd like to see a lot more of it, and so would a lot of my friends, and a lot of people I interact with online. I'd be willing to pay money to see more of it (or as the cool kids say these days, "consume more content"), and so would many other fans. And so, I write not to advocate for solely relying on wrasslin to the abandonment of everything else, but, rather, to suggest some very simple ideas that would increase wrasslin content wherever WWE decides to implement it, be it SDLive, NXT, or a yet-to-debut program.

Cash is king. Gorilla Monsoon taught me at a very young age that the wrestler who wins the match gets the winner's share of the purse. It's a very clear, easy-to-understand motivation, that can infuse any match with an added dose of storyline. The most recent time WWE used the story of a wrestler wanting to win in order to make money, Heath Slater's "I Got Kids" gimmick, it got over in a hurry. Proof that fans can relate to wrestlers who simply want to do better, to earn more.

Wrasslin requires competitors to be upset when they lose a match, and thrilled when they win. Finn Balor's recent bout of Smile-A-Mania would not fit in, nor would WWE's obsession with 50-50 booking (why get upset when you know you'll get a rematch, and likely a win, next week). Ever see Ric Flair's backstage promo from January 1987, after he escaped a war with Barry Windham with his title still in tow? Now that is a man who is over the moon to still be champion. And fans recognize and appreciate that.

Perhaps it was best said by a gentleman at an NWA convention years ago, in a moment that became one of wrestling's first memes: It's still real to me, dammit!