November 30, 2006
Change is good?
By "Hotshot" JOHNNY DEVINE - SLAM! Wrestling
If you have been a wrestling fan for any amount of time you know that the wrestling world is cyclical, as in what goes around comes back around. There aren't too many angles, gimmicks, characters or moves that haven't been seen or done somewhere else before you have seen or done them. But once in a while we still get surprised by a move or character that never caught on before but now has the world enthralled like the second coming of you know who.
Take for example the reforming and popularity of Degeneration X. I, back when they first debuted the gimmick, was a HUGE DX mark! Granted, I had been a Shawn and Hunter supporter for some time, but this edgy, funny and on-the-pulse-of-the-people bit was over like gangbusters. They could do no wrong. I was glued, like many others, to the TV for the Monday night wars and their "attacks" on WCW and the "oldtimers." This was great TV. Now flash ahead to 2006 and the return of DX. Shawn is born again. Both he and HHH are well over the 30-mark and people are just not buying it like they used to. The edge is gone. Pardon the pun. What gives? Why are they not the draw as DX that they used to be? This is by no means a shot at their respective drawing power, as both are proven top performers and have long success records. But why isn't it working so well now?
We each have our own opinions as to why or why not something is or isn't successful. I will let you draw your own conclusions but while you think on DX let me throw another scenario at you and see if this doesn't confuse you some more.
Remember the Nation Of Domination? Los Boricuas? The whole WWE gang era? Well if you do, good; if you can't or are too young to know it, look it up. But now look to TNA and LAX. LAX is basically of the same mentality as the Nation or Boricuas but is 10 times as over and controversial. Now on one hand being that I am backstage and see a lot of what goes on I can attest to a lot of this having to do with the brilliance of Konnan. The man has pushed this idea for some time and has more than run with the ball. But back on subject, LAX is over like gangbusters. They are the cool heels, where people who aren't Latino like to say they are 1/10th Latino just to be like LAX. Why is this gimmick/angle so effective right now? Is it today's social climate? Is it that the Latino nation is the fastest growing sector of the U.S. population? Or is it just because there is a brilliant mind behind it and two very, very good wrestlers putting in the work required to get it over? For those of you who may not know, Konnan has some medical problems that prevent him from wrestling and I am positive that if he were healthy LAX would be even more devastating and popular than they already are.
But I digress; it's an angle we have seen before. But it's obviously the right place, right time for them. What goes around comes back around. Wrestling cycles.
The business of wrestling, in its cycles, has its high and low points. The Austin era, the Hogan era, the NWO, these were high points in the wrestling business. Popularity was up. Mainstream appeal was up and wrestling fans didn't hide their love of the sport.
So what are we in right now?
I put it to you out there -- is this a high or a low era? Mainstream appeal is fairly high with the Rock and Cena and others doing movies and TV. But what about business-wise? House show numbers are down. Ratings are not what they once were and the companies are not "raking it in" like they used to. Does it have to do with the new-found popularity of MMA taking business? Does it have to do with the fact that there are no Rocks, Austins or Hogans right now? (Personally I think the over-population of the indies is a big factor.) What's the deal? If you know, please tell me!
As always feedback, questions or concerns can be sent to email@example.com and I will read and reply to as many as possible.
On a personal note, Johnny Devine is going through some changes right now. Feeling that I have not been as effective as possible in my current role I have begun a bit of a transformation, if you will. You will see a new Devine in the coming weeks if you haven't already and I urge you to stay tuned as I will be showing a VERY different side of myself that 99.7% of you have never seen, unless of course you happened to be around when I lose it. I hope you enjoy it as I already am. Serotonin is good for you.
All booking inquiries can be sent to the same email as above.
In the mean time, and in between time. That's it. Another Edition of Devine Intervention. Bye Now.
EDITOR'S NOTE: "Hotshot" Johnny Devine's column will run on Saturdays (or whenever he delivers) on SLAM! Wrestling. Be sure to visit each week!
For more on Devine's career, see his biography in our Canadian Hall of Fame.