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Csonka: 3 Things I Want For Wrestling in 2019

December 21, 2018 | Posted by Larry Csonka
Vince McMahon WWE Finance

WELCOME back to column time with Larry! Today, I am going to discuss some things that I want or wrestling in 2019. Hopefully, you’ll share some of your personal hopes and wishes for the year in the comments section below. Anyway, I hope that you enjoy today’s column, and feel free to share your thoughts. It’s wrestling, we love it and will disagree. The only rules are “have a take, be respectful of other’s opinions and don’t be a dick.”

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More Tombstone and Less Wyatt Earp: In 1994, Kevin Costner starred in a film called Wyatt Earp. The film was a 191-minute epic, telling the entire life story of Earp; from his humble upbringing, his interactions with famous figures of the Wild West era, the good, the bad, and finally wrapping up with the famous Tombstone. It’s a great Kevin Costner performance, but the film was criticized for dragging along and trying to fit too much in, too much that people didn’t care about. On the other side of the coin, Tombstone was released in 1993, starring Kurt Russell. Tombstone only ran 130-minutes, and focused on, well, Tombstone. It’s Wyatt and family arriving in Tombstone, their rise to power, and the big show down and fallout. It’s the story everyone knows Wyatt Earp is famous for, they didn’t fuck around and tell you about his buffalo skinning days or any of that bullshit, we got to the nitty gritty, Tombstone, Doc Holiday and killing. Wyatt Earp isn’t a bad movie because it’s long, but it feels way too bloated, and it fails because it feels like its award seeking and trying too hard to be a classic. Tombstone avoids all of that bullshit, and while not heralded as the tour de force that Earp was, it was a well-received movie that connected with more people because it covered what people wanted to know about Wyatt Earp.

In 2019, I really hope that wrestling can learn from this. Not every main event needs to be a “35-minute epic,” because let’s be honest with ourselves, not everyone can do it, and even NJPW who has a good batting average with these matches still occasionally shits the bed with them. Sometimes a smartly laid out, paced, and executed 20-minute match is all that is needed and that’s just matches.

The same can be said for “storytelling” in wrestling. Not everyone is guilty of this, some companies can book long-form stories that make sense and make it look easy. But all too often I follow a story, it’s interesting, it pulls me in and then… just as we’re about to climax… it blows past it and keeps going. And then it keeps going, and by the time they end up ending the story, it’s long past its expiration date and has lost all effectiveness. Seize the fucking moment, read your audience, and stop trying to swerve people (and that’s what it is 90% of the time, bookers try to be too cool for school) and strike while the iron is hot. But that’s just matches and storytelling.

And finally, it hurts shows as well. There are so many times when I see a really good looking 7 to 8 match card announced, and then for some reason it blows up into a 12 match four-hour show for no real reason. Even worse than that are the smaller companies, that book what appears to be a great looking 6-match card that will be complete in around two hours and just looks to be fun. And then I start reviewing that show, and 5 matches in, I’VE ONLY REVIEWED TWO OF THE ADVERTISED MATCHES. And that short and tight show goes from 6 matches to 11, from –hours to 3.5 hours, and the worst part is that 95% of the time, the core of the show that was advertised was really good and all of the added bullshit wasn’t. In wrestling, I really believe less is more and that most of the time it’s for the best. MORE is always MORE by definition, but while more may be more, more doesn’t automatically mean better. I really hope that the word of wrestling can learn this lesson in 2019.

Basically, you don’t always have to strive to be Wyatt Earp when Tombstone is often more than enough.

More Than Just Stability For Impact Wrestling: When it comes to the history of TNA/Impact Wrestling, people like to put on the earmuffs and pretend that everything is ok and that nothing is ever wrong. But despite people wanting to blindly think nothing is wrong and everything will work itself out. Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t work that way. Before the overly sensitive Impact defenders get all upset and think that this is an attack Impact Wrestling thing, you couldn’t be more wrong. While far from perfect, I felt that Impact Wrestling had a good 2018 under D’Amore and Callis. The TV is constantly solid to good, they are running Twitch specials, live events and One Night Only tapings in conjunction with other small companies, which gets them out there, gives the wrestlers a fuller schedule and minimizes their risk in terms of live events. They trimmed the fat, PPV was much better, and for the most part, they are using the best talent available to them right now. While the company hasn’t hit a lot of home runs, they have stabilized a company that was filled with negative press, poor morale, and taken a feeling that absolutely no one cares and have made people take notice of the change. But while attaining stability is nice and slowly rewriting years of bad will with fans and wrestlers, it’s just not enough. It’s 2019, NJPW is taking more of a US market share, WWE is stockpiling talent, and MLW & ROH are more aggressive than ever in locking guys up and of course they all have various TV outlets. And for that stability, I really believe that Impact needs to get away from POP TV and find a more viable TV partner if they can. I know it’s easier said than done, and that if they had the chance they’d be on a way better network already. The profile dropped when they went to POP, but in the company’s defense, they needed POP as a life preserver. But the timeslot switch and POP airing Aro Lucha commercials looks to mean that the relationship has soured. This doesn’t come from a state of superiority or that I’m right and most certainly not from an LOLTNA place. I have talked about this before, but not only have I been with TNA/Impact/whatever since day one, but I have repeatedly stated that the company helped to save my fandom I just want the best for them, I want more than stability, I want the company to thrive and grow like never before. Hopefully 2019 will be that year for Impact, the year things finally all come together, go right, and they can grow and not worry about 100 other issues.

For WWE Raw to Become a Watchable TV Show Again: I am not an attitude era truther I will not claim that the Monday Night Wars were perfect, quite the contrary, the crash TV habits and throwing away things with next to no build still have a lasting negative effect on wrestling to this very day. But while Raw and Nitro were FAAAAAAAR from perfect, I will never say that I wasn’t excited to watch them or that there wasn’t a level of excitement. But today, Monday Night Raw has slid into a quagmire of absolute shit, with almost redeeming qualities. The show is three-hours long and you have to be a fucking member of Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush to find the tiny nuggets of good that exist in the show.

You have absolutely no clue how much I hate to say that, because I pride myself on being really excited about going into every show because I can always see the positives going into a show. On Smackdown it’s Styles, Bryan, Lynch and more, on NXT UK I love British Strong Style, on 205 Live it’s Ali, Murphy, & Alexander, while on NXT it’s a lot of different people. And those are just the WWE produced shows I cover, but Raw….

The show is sterile, formulaic, lazy, and simply exists to fulfill the TV contracts. You almost have to admire WWE for making so much money off of show with diminishing ratings, quality, and interest. The show always starts with an overly long talking segment that rarely accomplished anything, the wrestling can be extremely poor, and rarely me a anything. And then on Monday’s WWE Raw, Vince McMahon made his triumphant return to try and answer the ratings slide. It was a calculated move. Because this week’s rating may be fine, but then he gets to write off the next two weeks as “just the holidays.” And then when January starts, Monday Night Football is over and the build to the Rumble begins, and that always starts a traditional ratings rise.

While Monday’s Raw was better than most recent shows, it was still far from good. was a reset show, lots of talk about changes, shakeups, empowerment and listening to the fans. It all sounds nice, but its just talk until they actually put it into practice. Bringing in fresh names is nice, but when they don’t effectively use the talent they have, I don’t exactly have high hopes. It’s only week one, but right now it’s just a bunch of talk to try and stop the bleeding until they actually put things in motion. So while there were no grand or sweeping changes nor did I really expect any, I actually found Raw to be a solid show.

But instead of trotting out the McMahon tribe and doing a big show of power with what feel like empty promises, here’s an idea. Take ownership, admit the show sucks, but instead of the McMahon circle jerk hour, just fucking fix the show. Don’t tell me you’ll fix it, just fix it. Talking about change is all well and good, and maybe we will get change. But will it be sustained? But I doubt it because at the end of the day, we have a 73-year old mad man with the attention span of a garden gnome in charge, and, and until he’s gone or removed from power, nothing will ever truly change within WWE.

– End Scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”