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  1. #1
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    (YLC-RD1) Duality: Old vs. New

    Can it ever be better than the original? If wrestling has taught us anything, itís if it has new in the name, then itís going to suck. Of course, that wasnít true of the New Age Outlaws and the New Day, but then again there were never teams called the Age Outlaws or the Day, so they get a pass. But in wrestling, a business where everything is stolen, recreated, then stolen again, once you put new on the name, itís bound to fail. Because nothing can live up to the original. One of Ric Flairís genius move was to never call himself the New Nature Boy, but rather, he was just the Nature Boy, and to audiences across the nation, they quickly forgot there was ever a Nature Boy before him. Because in wrestling, whatís old is new again, well, until you remind us itís new, then itís destined to suck.

    For Vince McMahon, heís ran out of old to make new again. The only way Vince McMahon can survive is to make new. We should have known the current era was going to suck when WWE labeled this era, THE NEW era. Just like the New Generation, the New Era is seeing record low attendance, record low ratings, and after a couple of years of failure, a NEW competitor. Whatís old is new again, at least until AEW changes its name to the NEW WCW. If that happens, we must question all things Tony Khan in terms of sanity. Luckily for WWE last time we saw record lows in ratings, it was followed by the greatest boom in the wrestling business. This time, Vince McMahon already has the man whose ideas were stolen from, Paul Heyman, and the security of a 5-year deal to weather the storm. Maybe Vince does know that once you name something NEW, itís going to suck, so he secured as much money as possible. Of course, he wouldnít have had to name the era NEW if he had new ideas for a name.

    Vince McMahon vs. The New

    In wrestling right now, the Millennial Generation are the main audience, and the main generation which are performing age. By all accounts, the Millennial Generation is a very different generation than others. Often mocked, the Millennials are self-starters who will not stay in a workplace they donít feel appreciated. Vince McMahon on the other hand is a member of the Silent Generation, or Traditionalist. The Silent Generation are known for being a very hardworking generation, one which stays in their job throughout their life and is extremely loyal. The very nature of the Millennial switching jobs every few years is against the core belief of the Traditionist. Where as the Traditionalist look at their work place and try to find the next challenge to grab that brass ring, the Millennial are not afraid to question authority and set the goals they want for their work.

    Vince McMahon said, "this is a different group of guys and gals. It's Millennials. They're not as ambitious, quite frankly, and they're not trepidatious at all. I just don't think they necessarily want to reach for that brass ring." What Vince McMahon is looking for are wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin. Wrestlers who are competitive, willing to put in long hours, work-centric; which would describe their generation to a tee, the Baby Boomers (Shawn Michaels was only playing a Gen Xer on TV folks, true kayfabe). Well the Rock, Triple H, John Cena, and CM Punk are Generation Xerís, all of them fit the Gen X model of seeing through the game, understanding there is a system, being individualist, and resourceful. Though Gen Xerís were slackers, the Gen Xerís that ruled the WWE since the 90ís was still a breed of wrestler Vince McMahon fully understands. (But letís be honest, as many will point out, Gen Xerís were never slackers.) Fast forward to now.

    Millennials value many things, many things that AEW have made a point to focus on: Diversity, work life balance, creative freedom, team orientated, job mobility. WWE on the other have stay stuck in its ways, with Vince creating bass rings, limiting creative freedom, and trying to end employment mobility. Though itís called the New Era, Vince has run the WWE in a very old fashion way, one that doesnít relate to its employees. With the Millennial Generation making up most of the workforce, many of which were raised on WWF programming and dreamed of holding a WWE title, it is clear now that the WWE environment is not a place that Millennials want to work. The old ways of Vince McMahon are outdated, and even if you call something new, in wrestling, labeling it New, all new means in wrestling is it will suck.

    Whatís New Shouldnít be Old again


    All Elite Wrestling now has a market, and audience. One that is blindly following them. If you were to ask Jim Cornette who AEW should go after, heíd tell you the old southern wrestling fan that misses their old-time wrestling. He couldnít be more wrong. The audience AEW should target is the Millennial wrestling fan who once watched WWE weekly, but is disenfranchised with the product. If you ask a person born in the 80ís or early to mid-90ís (the Millennial Generation time span), theyíll be able to talk about either Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, the Rock, or Steve Austin, and a few even John Cena. Hell, my wife never watched wrestling, but she knows all of these. The trick for AEW is to be seen as new competitors to WWE, but never to been seen as the NEW WCW. The danger for AEW is for fans to see them as a southern promotion or trying to bring back old wrestling. Instead, this is AEWís time to innovate. Led by all Millennials, Tony Khan, Cody Rhodes, the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, they must put all their creative trust in each other.

    When WCW was at its best was when it innovated. Creating the nWo put WCW above WWF for years, and at itís peak it never seemed like WWF would catch up. With that said, when WCW copied Steve Austin and created Goldberg, even though they were different characters, the same look made people compare the two. New Austin wasnít as good as the original Austin, and since he looked like a New Austin, people compared the two. By the end of Goldbergís first run, WCW was behind WWF in the ratings and they would never catch up. For AEW to not repeat this, they must never be the new WCW, or a copy of WWE (see TNA). The WWE has never been more valuable. Their Millennial talent base wants out, and their Millennial fan base is already gone, ready for a new place to get wrestling content.

    In the end, we are at the crossRhodes of wrestling. The passing of old, and the emergence of new. But itís not WWE vs. AEW, they are just the vessels for this change. WWE can still change, the always do, and become new again. Right now, they have no choice.

  2. #2
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    This was a great take on a topical topic, loved this line:
    he’s ran out of old to make new again
    My only problem with it is that AEW aren't competition yet. At this moment, TNA and ROH are still WWEs nearest competitors. Give it a couple of years for it to settle in and for the hype to die down, then we can reconsider.

    The biggest issue AEW will have is that if they do market to the Millenials as you suggest, those Millenials will move on at the drop of a hat. You even acknowledge that. Once that happens and they are left without an audience, we'll see how dedicated their backers truly are and only then can we judge their success.

  3. #3
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DynamiteBillington View Post
    This was a great take on a topical topic, loved this line:


    My only problem with it is that AEW aren't competition yet. At this moment, TNA and ROH are still WWEs nearest competitors. Give it a couple of years for it to settle in and for the hype to die down, then we can reconsider.

    The biggest issue AEW will have is that if they do market to the Millenials as you suggest, those Millenials will move on at the drop of a hat. You even acknowledge that. Once that happens and they are left without an audience, we'll see how dedicated their backers truly are and only then can we judge their success.
    I never mentioned Millennials viewership habits, except they are leaving WWE. I should have touched on it, but millennials are very loyal binge watchers and love following long stories. Perfect wrestling viewers.

  4. #4
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    You also said how they are the generation that will switch jobs at the drop of a hat and don't have the loyalty of the older generation. Sure, they'll watch a box set, but how many do they give up on part way through?

  5. #5
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
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    I thought this was a bit all over the place, if I'm being honest, a lot of slightly incoherent thoughts cobbled together with a kind of sociological framework laid over the top. There were themes of old vs new, WWE vs AEW, and generation vs generation, but you never really stuck on one of them to really write something with depth. Truthfully, I'm not sure that WWE, or AEW needs to do something new, I think what they need to do is go back to what has always worked in pro wrestling: storytelling, characters people care about that are written consistently, carefully constructed angles that play out in a patient manner, and a little bit of edge to appeal to the over 12s. I think AEW have made a good start with that and it'll be interesting to see their TV product when it finally rolls around. I don't think the problem is Vince being unable to understand his performers, I think the problem is Vince's vision of pro wrestling basically being a soap opera with very little actual wrestling. He's gone so far down the "entertainment" side of things and is stubborn and dogmatic about that to the point of madness. But if you look at the millennials and Gen Zs attending indy shows, what you'll find is that they want WRESTLING and lots of it. Anyway, it's a complicated question, and not one that's probably possible to answer in a single column. I consider this very much a warm up round, so I'm sure you'll be back strong for column 2!

  6. #6
    Author of 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die Samuel 'Plan's Avatar
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    I'll get a couple of criticisms out of the way first.

    I tend to find myself rubbed the wrong way by any writing that doesn't, even if just in passing, acknowledge nuance in argument. Both in your column and in some of the comments that have followed, there are some horribly sweeping assumptions being made based, even if unconsciously, in a sense of universality that simply doesn't exist. But this is really just a minor bug-bear of my own.

    My bigger criticism would be a milder version of Mav's. While I wouldn't say I thought it to be all over the place, it did feel like you got easily distracted on a couple of occasions. Specifically, I think you could have easily truncated your explanation about the generational divide quite considerably, and I'm not sure you needed to waste so many words on an odd Austin-Goldberg comparison - odd in terms of it being given such attention so late in the piece. I guess this amounts to me saying I thought it quite baggy, with several passages might have been better removed and replaced with more on point observations in the context of your chosen take.

    I did really like that take though, possibly the most original approach of the entire round I think. You obviously have the technical discipline to succeed in any tournament too, the odd small error aside. You write with intelligence and impressive confidence, which in turn breeds authority that lends itself well to repeat reading, and while some of your opinions aren't ones I necessarily agree with, that you fervently believe them is without doubt.

    A baggy but ultimately impressive effort, for my liking.

  7. #7
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    The problem with the new, like you've mentioned, is that it's not new at all anymore. Everything in wrestling has become recreations of storylines of the past and perhaps the lack of viewership could boil down to predictability because of that. I'm sure it has to be extremely difficult to come up with something brand new in the modern pro wrestling world. The best bet would be to rehash the old and invent innovative ways for how those old stories play out.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Don Franc View Post
    The problem with the new, like you've mentioned, is that it's not new at all anymore. Everything in wrestling has become recreations of storylines of the past and perhaps the lack of viewership could boil down to predictability because of that. I'm sure it has to be extremely difficult to come up with something brand new in the modern pro wrestling world. The best bet would be to rehash the old and invent innovative ways for how those old stories play out.

    I think...making the stories gimmick/character driven instead of forcing people into plots is the key to that

  9. #9
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Hey man, before I say anything I'll say I really enjoyed this read. I think it is kind of crazy how this generation that so many older wrestlers and Vince himself have 'no drive' are the ones that are giving it their all to take him down ironically enough using a lot of old ideas to bring in a new audience. It's something that is certainly worth writing about and I enjoyed your take overall. But lets get into your breakdown.

    STRUCTURE
    This had a pretty clear structure, your intro, talking abotu how Vince's current model was failing and then how AEW can potential fill that gap. It's straight forward and makes sense.

    That said I didn't quite get your point for a little. I'm a big fan of very clearly introducing your main subject in the first paragraph if not the first sentence of your piece. It's not a hard and fast rule but for 90% of columns I think it is best. You can still go on and provide a little context or flesh but I always think having a subject upfront gives those extra parts context and makes it clearer why you are talking about, for example, people using the title 'the new' and why that would be bad for AEW. On first read it took me a long time to understand what you were talking about.

    CREATIVITY/STYLE
    Not a whole lot to say here honestly, your style is pretty straight forward, it is to the point and I liked that.

    I don't think you needed the headings, you could have remove them and I think it would have flowed just as well. Typically I only think you need headings for when you are going a proper list, doing an event review where you need to break it down by event or if your piece is so big it needs to be broken up. Not a huge quibble but something to think about.

    CONTENT
    As I said at the start I do agree with your general premise here that Vince McMahon's ways are out dated and it is ironic that the people he dismissed are the ones that are challenging him. However as Plan said you made some pretty big statements that I don't think are totally true.

    First thing you said is that the main audience for wreslting is millenials. This in particular is not actually true, a quick Google shows numerous articles that show that the median age for WWE fans is 54, a long way from the millenial generation you said is the main audience. Of course they millenials do tend to dominate the online discourse but it is not the majority that we often think it is.

    You also made some sweeping generalisations that it is millenials who challenge authority while 'traditionalists' - Gen Xers and Baby Boomers who made up the previous generations of wreslting talent didn't. It fits with the typical trashy pieces that come out about how Millenials are hard to employ. I think this narrative is wholy false in work and is one pushed by Gen Xers and Baby Boomers who are worried about their authority being challenged. In wrestling in particular thinking guys like Stone Cold, Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels didn't challenge backstage authority is absolutely crazy. All three are notorious for how they constnatly pushed back at what they thought was misguided creative, not being paid what they thought they were worth and not being featured how they thgouth they should be. That doesn't even touch WCW where the lunatics psuhed so hard they were given the keys to the asylum.

    It also doesn't give credit to guys who have gone the 'traditionalist route' and are happy just to take their paycheck, guys like Dolph Ziggler and Kofi (until recently) immediately spring to mind. There is also Xavier Woods who perhaps embodies millenials more than anyone with his side hustles that the company allows and endoreses. Then there are guys like Roman and Rollins who are very much leading the millenial brigade and seem to absolutely be company men through and through.

    Basically what I'm getting at is that while I agree with a lot of what you are saying I think some of the things you have brought up aren't as water tight as you think.

    INTANGIBLES
    Nothing much to say here.

    WHAT YOU CAN WORK ON
    As I said I actually really liked this piece and liked your style. Two things I'd like to see:
    1. A clearer introduction, have a clear subject written down 'this column is about.........' and have some sort of intro to that topic in your first paragraph if not your first sentence.
    2. Fact check what you are saying. I actually agree with what you have had to say but I can poke a lot of holes in the arguments you put forward.

    I'm also happy to read over a draft if you want me to before you post, that is what the mentors are here for.

  10. #10
    You know who I am, but you don't know why I'm here
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    This was my second favorite column of the round. Mid-way through, I was thinking, "I'm going to ask him if I can post this on the MP" because I think it would be a good generator of discussion. So, while I don't disagree with the other judges that it could use one more coat of polish, so to speak, I thought anything that it lacked in technical skill it more than made up for with its engaging topic and your ability to emphasize the core stance of that topic throughout.

    Advice: once your draft is finished, read it through twice - once after a good night of sleep and the second within hours of posting.
    Author of The WrestleMania Era book series, author of The Doctor's Orders columns on LOP since 2010, LOP Columns Hall of Famer, former host of The Doc Says podcast on LOP Radio (2013-2018), former LOP Raw and WWE PPV Reviewer (2006-2007), and former LOP Smackdown Reviewer (2004-2006)

  11. #11
    The Brain
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    Rook!! I'm hurt you didn't send this to your old pro for a once-over... but I think it came out quite well! Some good feedback above here but overall I really did enjoy this. Your ability to draw on interesting information outside of wrestling, such as talking about the traits of different generations (in very general terms, but still) is a major advantage for you in my book. Really excited to see more LWO columns... and by the way, where is the next entry of Undisputed??

  12. #12
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    Overall, I thought this was quite good. I love the immediate example of Ric Flair calling himself the Nature Boy, not the New Nature Boy – perfect example to immediately cement your argument. I did feel like your argument was getting a little repetitive in its outright statement (how many times you said the word “new”, for instance). But you were able to complement it well with examples, so at least there was some excellent showing along with the telling.

    I wasn’t a fan of the generalizing, for example, “their Millennial fan base is already gone” or “the WWE environment is not a place that Millennials want to work”. There’s a difference between saying “many” and implying “all”, especially that there exists easily found and substantial evidence that implying “all” for either of those statements is incorrect. I honestly think that’s more of a matter of wording – more a matter of the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law – but still something to keep an eye on when you’re writing.

    Past a number of typos (“bass ring” instead of “brass ring”, “it’s” instead of “its”, “Millennial are” instead of “Millennials are”, etc.), this was quite well-written. The headings were a nice touch – simple, not unnecessarily gaudy, but still very effective in their purpose. Nice introduction. Nice conclusion. Not much to dislike about the structure and pace of the column. Good stuff.
    Last edited by Skulduggery; 07-11-2019 at 03:07 PM.

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