THE FINE ART OF FEUDING
Talking to a friend about SummerSlam, how I wasn't really enthused about it. I couldn't really put my finger on why until I spoke to someone wiser, someone who doesn't write online (but probably should).
"Remember the top feuds of 99-00?" he asked. "Triple H and Rock, Trips and Foley, Hardyz and E/C, Hardys and Dudleys?" I replied yes. "And what made those feuds great, grasshopper? Let me tell you."
"Here's a story, oh green one. Back in the day there were feuds and long term booking. Sure, there were cases of hotshotting and stunt booking, but not as often as today. PPV matches, even the non title ones, were not forgotten. Win or lose, there were consequences. Nowadays, the results are talked about at the next Raw and mostly just fade away into the mist."
"For example, think about the Triple H/Rock feud. It started midcard, led to a fight for the IC title and eventually the World title. Rock was the golden boy, the blue chipper and Trips was the arrogant prick who would do anything to win. Trips/Foley? The prick who fought dirty enough to best the hardcore legend at his own game vs the fan's favorite, the underdog who made it despite the odds."
"Back in the day, you had the Hardyz/E & C/Dudleys fighting for tag team glory and bragging rights. Over who could outdo, outsmart and outlast the others. Beniot, Jericho and Angle were the new guys trying to prove themselves and make it up the ladder. Even Undertaker and Kane were in the mix. All had their followings, storylines and clear cut motivations"
"And that's what's missing, Sparky?", I asked.
"Yes, little pookiepants. Storylines that last longer than a week. Motivations that are clearcut. Remember the Chyna/Jericho feud? That lasted three months and was for the IC belt. Both were trying to prove themselves and were willing to do anything to do so. There was reason and emotion. Now we have feuds over shampoo. With Summerslam, the title match has some background. Brock won at King of the Ring and earned a title shot...but no one really knows him. You don't care about who you don't know."
"Good point, jabroni, but what else?"
"Much more, punk rock girly girl. So far, has RVD had a sustained feud? He's had runins with Jeff Hardy, Regal, Guerrero and now Beniot. Everything so far has been short term and forgotten quickly. The Benoit feud has more history and motivations since Benoit was a former IC champion, he's trying to make it back up the ladder after being sidelined. Why was Jeff Hardy fighting RVD? Simple, short term booking. Someone figured they'd match up the highflyers. There was no real feud, no belt, no underlying reason for the match."
"The WWE needs to remember history, both long and short term. A long term feud, if done correctly in terms of writing, characterization, and motivation can not only draw in new viewers but keep the old ones hooked."
The crusty bastard is right. Maybe the old ways were the best ways. And I have the writing gig, go figure.
Here's to Brock busting out the Shooting Star Press at SummerSlam.
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