Discussion in 'Wrestling Forum' started by John Hancock, Apr 12, 2012.
Why on Earth do the WWE care about recruiting amateur wrestlers?
Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Alberto Del Rio, Cody Rhodes, Bobby Lashley,, the Steiners, Bret Hart, Ric Flair...
A lot of those are pretty tenuous links. Flair and Rhodes were never collegiate wrestlers, they were just high school wrestlers, which is pretty run-of-the-mill in America, Bobby Lashley was one of the worst things to ever happen to this plain of existence, Swagger's nothing to write home about and Benjamin was pretty much an abject failure in everything other than Money in the Bank matches to the point that he was fired. The only guys in the WWE who have been mega-stars off the back of ammeter wrestling are Hart, Angle, Lesnar and the Seiner Brothers.
Hulk Hogan wasn't a wrestler, The Rock wasn't a wrestler, Triple H wasn't a wrestler, Steve Austin wasn't a wrestler, Mick Foley wasn't a wrestler, Shawn Michaels wasn't a wrestler, The Undertaker wasn't a wrestler, John Cena wasn't a wrestler...
I'm not saying all ammeter wrestler's make bad pro-wrestlers, I'm saying why would the WWE concentrate on signing guys from a talent pool that doesn't particularly have any better a track record of producing great wrestlers than, say, American football does, or bodybuilding does?
It also annoys me because I'm assuming their talking about signing guys straight out of college and putting them in FCW, instead of signing guys who willingly sign up to wrestling school because they give a shit. It means the WWE keep ending up with guy's who don't particularly care about wrestling, and are thus way more likely to phone it in, or walk away as soon as they get bored, or a bit fed up, like Lashley and Lesnar. Hart had it in his family, and he was a pro-wrestler before he signed with the WWF, and the Steiner Brothers worked for a bunch of companies before signing with the NWA.
The only guy to come straight out of wrestling into pro-wrestling, with no pro-wrestling back ground, be great in the ring, get over huge, and hang around, was Kurt Angle.
Is that what you want, more Kurt Angles!? See what you've done!?
To be serious, its not about signing guys sight unseen with no interest in pro wrestling. Its just a general point about the recruitment process. A decade ago when Ross was running talent, Gerry Brisco went to colleges to scout the good amateur wrestlers that looked likely or interested. Jim Ross has his eye on college football. They found guys who were already athletes who wanted to be pro wrestlers and recruited them. Not every single signing, obviously you still recruit from indy wrestling and guys who look good and whatever else. But that is their way of tapping into a pool of top athletes. Amateur wrestlers can make good pro wrestlers (just like footballers can, just like bodybuilers can, just like indy wrestlers can). What is the process now? Ace picks girls out of magazines and guys out of gyms?
Thats the general point anyway. There's certainly no track record of failure in a policy of recruiting top college athletes. You can point and laugh at Lashley, but look at him. You tell me you wouldnt have signed him up? You cant tell in advance that a guy like that wont make it, and that doesnt mean the recruitment process was bad. It just meant one guy didnt work out. Not every guy will ever work out whatever your policy is.
I think it's just a problem with the developmental process, and the death of territories, and me being 97 years old. It seems a lot of the time now that guys are getting hot shotted into pro-wrestling from sports without experience and, sometimes, without even a particular interest in wrestling (especially with the women, as you said). It seems like they're missing something in the middle, like, off the top of my head, Angle and Lesnar are the only top, top guys who have gone from college wrestling to pro-wrestling and been great (and Angle came in through a completely different developmental process), everyone else I can think of has gone from college-wrestling, to something else, to pro-wrestling, I'm talking about guys like Hart, and the Steiners, and Flair, something else happened, and I don't know exactly what it was, but it was clearly something that FCW aren't doing right now.
I'm not saying don't recruit any college wrestlers, it's just that the problem with developmental, whatever it is, won't be fixed by just out-scouting MMA camps (which I think, without any evidence at all, is another reason they're going after wrestlers by the way), when the result will most likely be another Bobby Lashley (who I like to think I wouldn't have signed, if only for his scary baby head), or another Jack Swagger, or another Shelton Benjamin, who are all perfectly fine guys, with great athleticism, and absolutely zero star power, because star power is meaningless in college wrestling, and they all trot out with their Saliva theme tune, and their little shiny pants, and their hair cut, and they do the a finishing move that involves a sambo suplex or a fireman's carry, and no one cares.
I guess I probably reacted in the wrong way to the news they're signing college wrestlers, because it's not like I think, "Ergh, they're signing wrestlers, that will make things worse", it's more that I think, "Ergh, they're signing wrestlers, that won't change anything".
Now watch them sign the next Brock Lesnar and me pretend I never said that.
I think part of the problem with signing amateur wrestlers is that they rarely have charisma. I think, by and large, they're intense athletes who need to take their sport extremely seriously if they're going to win anything. That sort of training is a million miles away from what the WWE actually need, which is showmanship. I don't agree with this idea of scouting non-pro wrestlers and training them up, but assuming you did go down that road, why not scout actual entertainers? That's where you're far more likely to find the qualities which make a star in the WWE.
Off the top of my head, the only former wrestler with genuine charisma is Kurt Angle and he has always wanted to be an actor. I don't think this idea of taking people who want to be seen as serious athletes and putting them in a pro-wrestling ring is necessarily the right idea. They rarely have the required personality for pro-wrestling, despite their athletic ability. At the end of the day, if the WWE have both a poor wrestler who can talk and a poor talker who can wrestle, it's not rocket science as to who they should pick. Amateur wrestling ability might be a nice little gimmick, especially when they've been really successful, but in the vast majority of cases, it's not going to draw money. A genuine personality and affinity towards entertainment is much more suitable for what the WWE want.
Like I said though, I don't really agree with this idea at all. There is enough good talent around in wrestling already and scouting non-wrestlers reeks of desperation. They should just what they've got.
I dont think guys who wrestled in college have any more or less charisma statistically than any other group of people. I think trying to turn the argument around and say that wrestlers arent suitable for wrestling is really overreaching when we can agree with the basic point that at the end of the day they're only good candidates if they're good at pro wrestling, and that goes for anyone recruited from any field (and that goes for indy wrestling as well).
If anything, I think the basic idea is that if you get guys who have wrestled in college they at least know physically how to wrestle, and lets assume that they're interested in becoming a wrestler as well, and you have the foundations set. And if they have charisma they'll have all the tools and will go places.
And even if they dont, I mean, you're all bagging out Shelton Benjamin, but whats wrong with Shelton Benjamin? Seriously. The guy had an 8 year career, won loads of midcard titles, made the highlight reels, and so on. He didnt have the charisma to be a major star, but once again, not everyone can be a major star. The world needs Shelton Benjamins too.
Anyway, I'm down with the argument that college wrestlers dont make much better candidates than other areas, but I dont think its fair to say that they make for worse ones either. I think any negative reaction to this story is just way overreacting. They're not dropping everything and putting the future into the guy who wins the NCAA. They're just making a step towards doing something they used to do as part of a successful recruitment program a decade ago. You didnt care when they did it then, you wont care now. Its not a big deal.
Shelton Benjamin - the 99%.
The death of the proper territories really kills the ability to train up someone without the exposure. It's been faiurly clear the WWE want to find the next set of stars to help blend the transition from the HHH and Takers into the Cena's and Punks and want them soon. I may be talking out my ass but it feels like there have been a lot of "new faces" or new gimmicks which have been dropped into TV only to disappear, more than I'd expect anyway.
I've wondered why WWE don't simply franchise out the WWE name to maybe 4-5 different territories creating WWE-lites in a similar way to Ring Ka King and TNA where the link is there and obvious but it's not pushed as being the same thing. Get local TV deals like Memphis Wrestling used to allow an influx of talent. I'm sure there are promoters and bookers who could make the franchises at least balance their books which is all they'd need to do and then WWE simply cherry picks someone when it's clear they've got "it" or at least have been able to prove they can get their own gimmick over with the crowds.
I really like the Franchise Idea, it's a good way of exposing young talent to small time wrestling and then seeing if they have the attributes for the big leagues.
But as many people have mentioned the death of the developmental territories is the big problem and the fact that WWE do not have any links with AJPW/NJPW/NOAH. With the failure of the territories and the fact that WWE have no links outside the U.S what it the point of signing new talent and nurturing existing talent when you only have one style.
But on the aspect of amateur wrestlers, I see no problem with WWE recruiting them and aggressively searching for the next big thing, but the stumbling block will come over money. When Brock was signed he was offered a guaranteed £250,000 per annum for his services. In 2012 WWE recruits at FCW earn £500 per week. Unfortunately unless you are chasing the WWE dream then no educated college amateur wrestler who probably holds a degree in something is gonna be shipped to some developmental league for nothing.
The problem is, Vince likes only one style. And that's the WWE style.
They should just run a bootcamp style week long course, make them learn promos and deliver them, and whoever can display skill on the mic, looks in decent physical shape and can put on a decent match gets put through to the next stage.
Kind of like a sped up Tough Enough without the cameras etc...
That would work. An intense one week course would sort the wheat from the chaff
and whittle it down to the ones who are serious
damn, get Vince on the line!
Is there the possibility that Vince hasn't got what it takes anymore?
I disagree with this. I've spent years and years around proper fighters, because I've done boxing, Muay Thai and one of my best mates was a amateur wrestler, and they're very intense and serious people. I think the attitudes that you need to have in regards to fighting, diminish any sort of natural jovial and charismatic personality.
There are exceptions, obviously, but on the whole I think fighters are quite a bit more serious which doesn't make for a good TV personality.
not read more than 3 or 4 posts in this thread yet so excuse me if it's been said already, but I'm pretty sure Foley has quite an extensive amateur background. Beyond High School I mean.
He wrestled in high school, but I'm pretty sure he didn't in college. My girlfriend's brother is actually one of the wrestling coaches at the high school he wrestled for (Ward Melville out on Long Island), and whilst he's the pride of that wrestling team for fame related reasons, he wasn't a particularly great wrestler, and I'm almost sure he didn't get a scholarship with it or anything like that.
That actually isn't the problem, at least not if you consider that it's NJPW's problem working a Puro style. If there was an issue with WWE style then WWE would be a failure. It isn't and people need to get over "Vince only likes big guys" syndrome and realise that actually a roster full of 5'9 guys doesn't actually sell a product better than a product full of 6 footers.
Hmm, that wasn't my point, but nevermind.
What was your point then? Because I interpreted it the same way Omega did.
Separate names with a comma.