USING NON-WRESTLERS IN PROPER WRESTLING ROLES

August 3, 2004
Frank Koenen

I know it's a bit of an oxymoron but really having non wrestlers in wrestling is essential. But Vince McMahon, and most other promoters have been completely misusing non wrestlers in all facets. The way they are all being used now, they are dead weight on the roster and pay roll. They could be used to their fullest potential and a better way of making money.

Valets: Let me say this first: Women wrestlers should not double as valets, valets should not double as women wrestlers. There are currently a large amount of females that could be used as valets and give a extra spark to different wrestlers but instead are being used to wrestle bad matches. NOTE TO WWE: IF THEY ARE NOT A WRESTLER DON'T LET THEM WRESTLE. Instead these women should be used as seconds to different wrestlers. The ones who can't really talk and are just there for T&A should be used as face valets because the WWE's core audience will almost automatically cheer a good looking lady. If they can talk, they should be used as a heel valet/manager because they can be T&A AND they can work over a crowd and get them to hate her. Currently the best potential for a heel valet would be Dawn Marie who did very good work in ECW.

Managers: Back in the 70's the WWWF almost ALL heel wrestlers had a manager from the Unholy Trinity of Freddie Blassie, Captain Lou Albano and The Grand Wizard of Wrestling. All of the men mentioned had a large stable of wrestlers. Now the closest thing to managers are Paul Heyman, Ric Flair, and Trish Stratus all of which combined have about 7 wrestlers under their tutelage, that isn't even enough for ONE good manager. In my opinion over two thirds, if not more, of all the heels should have a manager. Flair and Stratus shouldn't be managers or at least heel ones. Flair gets face pops and does nothing to help his proteges. HHH always does his own talking and Orton does the same now and Batista basically let's the two do the talking for him. Right now good potential for heel managers within the company are Teddy Long, Arn Anderson, Michael Hayes, Paul Heyman, and of the valets I mentioned above. Of course there are several people outside the WWE that could serve as good managers as well.

Authority Figure: First, a former wrestler no matter how great, will not make a great a good authority figure by default. If they want to use wrestlers who can't wrestle they have several other options. They can be a color commentator (if they can do it well), just let them stay home, fire them (hey, it's a harsh business), just them as trainers, use them as a manager and there are several other ways of using non-wrestlers outside of a figure head role.

Also, right now there is only one person who could make an effective heel authority figure, Vince McMahon. But, that storyline has played out and has become so over used that the evil boss just doesn't work and will always look like a shallow imitation of they glory days of the Austin vs. McMahon era. Right now they need a tweener authority figure that is only there to make business decisions or explain storylines like Jack Tunney was in the 80's and 90's. Really Vince is the best person for this job because everyone knows him as the owner of the WWE now. He can play face or heel well when he's limited in his appearances. Maybe in a few years when Shane, his wife, Stephanie and HHH when they legitimately take over the company a wrestler vs. evil boss could work if booked well, but until then, I'd stick to a tweener boss.

Announcers: First, to be a color commentator you DO NOT need to pretend it's open mic night every second. Jerry Lawler has become on of the most annoying characters in wrestling. Someone needs to tell Lawler to stop attempting humor or they need to get a better person to feed him lines (although I think it's Vince McMahon and he isn't going to admit he isn't funny). If you want someone funny get someone funny who knows the sport. Bobby Heenan worked well in this role for years but now he can't do it. Actually a person who may be able to be a comedic commentator if that's what Vince wants is Kevin Nash. He obviously knows something about the sport, he was really funny during those nWo Saturday Night segments, so why not give him a shot? I know a lot of inside fans hate him for being the lowest drawing WWF champion of all time and basically destroying WCW's last hope at a great draw but hell I'm not talking about booking or wrestling, I'm talking commentating.

Second, the announcers and backstage interviewers should be legitimate sports broadcasters or have some sort of background in that field. Obviously they need to know wrestling, WELL. I'm not saying hire your average sportscaster, give him mic and tell him to call wrestling matches. They need to audition announcers with a different approach.

Third, stop attacking your announcers and interviewers and having them involved in angles. It's become tiring and after a while it makes no sense because when someone turns they need to put them over and forget about previous altercations. Like in 2002, Jim Ross put over Triple H as a great wrestler and a great human being, three years after HHH broke his arm. Of course it goes beyond that as the WWE has more continuity mistakes than Ed Wood's movies combined.

These are, for the most part, the traditional ways of using non-wrestlers in different capacities. The WWE is simply mishandling all of the possibilities of the crew they currently have. All of these roles performed better could make bigger money and make for better TV, because we could still have the gorgeous ladies of wrestling without having to watch their ugly matches; managers could talk for wrestlers who have little charisma and draw in viewers where they may have been previously bored and changed the channel; the downplay of authority figures which now clutter the usual Raw and Smackdown would help from turning off viewers, like myself, who are sick of seeing the same rehash of angle from six years ago; and announcers who are always on, would not be pulling a Dennis Miller and turning off viewers who just can't stand listening to them for two hours no matter how good the product may be.

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