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  1. #1
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    May 2018

    The Pencil - Booking Jose Mourinho

    I honestly thought I was done with The Pencil as a series, but then on the way home from work today I had a thought: could the most controversial coach in contemporary football pave the way for the most significant use of a wrestling manager in the last twenty years?

    For those who don’t follow football, I am talking about Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese superstar who attracted headlines when he dubbed himself ‘the special one’. Like him or not, Mourinho has always been box office and there is something about the way that he sells himself which works particularly well in a wrestling aesthetic. The question, then, becomes whether or not his story would work just as well.

    In this column, I’ll be working on the assumption that the man to work with this for the best is Drake Maverick. I’ve seen so many comparisons between the former Rockstar Spud and the managers of yesteryear that it seems a natural fit – even before you factor in that he has a history of making chicken salad out of…. well, you already know what people make chicken salad out of, don’t you?

    I really think the Mourinho story begins in earnest when he takes over at Chelsea, coming in with a big reputation from Porto, with whom he won the Champions League. I think the way to replicate that is to let Spud – which is what I’ll be calling him here, though this is solely because old habits die hard – get on a big win streak with the Authors of Pain. To really hammer this home I think you need to brief the announcers talk about the strategy and the coaching that Spud offers his team, and have them make it clear just how important he is in their winning streak. If you can build that into the way a match unfolds, so that it is something we can see as well as hear about, so much the better.

    In moving from the relative obscurity of the Portuguese league to London, and the team owned by demanding billionaire Roman Abramovich, Mourinho moved into the spotlight. In contemporary WWE, I don’t think we can claim with a straight face that the spotlight involves the tag division, and so this increase in his profile has to be replicated by Spud taking on a singles client. This would obviously be dependent on who you wanted to get over at any given time, but purely for the sake of argument here I’m going to make this the main roster debut of EC3. There’s a natural fit between the two of them.

    Now the first two seasons of Mourinho’s reign at Chelsea were hugely successful – the number of matches they lost in those two seasons can be counted on your fingers – and again, you’d need to replicate this in some way. I’d have Carter barely lose a match in the next year, and if the AoP are still part of Spud’s ‘family’, I’d extend the success to them too. In essence, the message you have to sell is that Spud can do no wrong, that there is something ‘inspired’ about the way he approaches coaching his wrestling.

    Of course, if the Mourinho story ended there it wouldn’t be especially interesting; nor would I recommend it for a wrestling angle.

    After losing their championship and a tepid start to the following season, Mourinho departed Chelsea. If EC3 holds a championship the ability to parallel these two is increased – Carter could lose his belt, and after another quick defeat, he and Spud could part ways.

    The crucial part of the story is that these two must not feud at this point. You must keep your powder dry, because if you shoot your load at this point all you have is a redo of their TNA feud, with a few slight tweaks. However you manage it, the two must be kept apart. One obvious way to do that is to just have Drake disappear for a while or to switch brands.

    I prefer the latter because when Mourinho returned to management it was around nine months later, replacing Rafa Benitez, who was interpreted to have failed at Inter Milan. There’s some value in bringing Spud back in the same way, especially if he’s on another show. Say, for example, that Lio Rush is still managing Bobby Lashley – you could get several weeks of TV out of Lashley being unhappy with his manager and potentially shopping around for a replacement. Then you bring back Spud. The reason this works still better if Spud is on another show is that you can mirror Mourinho’s commitment to Chelsea by having Spud go on about how much he still thought of Ethan, and how he’d never manage a world title contender on that brand other than Ethan.

    The short version of Jose’s time at Inter Milan is that it was an unrivalled success, so while he is on Smackdown with – let’s just say it’s Lashley – you throw gold at him and any others wrestlers associated with him. Mourinho then moved to Real Madrid – and the only way to replicate that is to move him across to whoever is seen as the top star on the brand. For now, let’s say it’s Randy Orton.

    To replicate the conditions of Madrid this needs to be a more turbulent relationship. Spud needs to win more often than he loses, but Orton needs to be less obviously happy with the methods. If you can get some of the antagonism between the Madrid board and the coach, that would be even better. My suggestion would be to try and build it around Spud feeling unappreciated by the brand even as his talents dominate the roster. This friction needs to be the cause of Spud returning to the flagship show and his reunification with Ethan.

    A way to lead into this could be Carter having another manager of his own and this being unsuccessful, though such a close parallel is not essential. All that really matters is that around 3-4 years after the separation, the two are reunited. And at first, it’s glorious. All the old magic is there and the two quickly reoccupy the pedestal they had on top of the RAW roster.

    But far more quickly this time, things start to fall apart. Spud has less of the ability to motivate his man than he had in the past. Ethan loses the title and very quickly he is on a losing streak. After being berated by Spud publicly and losing to Wesley fucking Blake in a matter of a couple of minutes, Carter publicly fires Spud.

    And then the young Brit returns as the manager of another RAW heavy-hitter, breaking the promise he’d made all those months and years before. Because now Spud is in direct conflict with the dynasty that he’d helped to make.

    At this point, all the pieces are in place. You’ve got Ethan against Spud’s new client, with both of them looking to get back to the top of the mountain. If nothing else there’s a little Mexican stand-off between those two, and whoever holds the heavyweight gold. But more to the point, this has to be a new version of Spud. The previous incarnation has to be cocky, and one that perhaps wins some of the crowd over with his infectious charisma – if arrogance doesn’t put you off, you’d be a fan of the earlier Spud. It works even better if you book his wrestler’s so that they don’t have to cheat to win.

    But by the end game, Spud needs to be an angry, vindictive Spud. One who feels he doesn’t get the respect that he deserves, and one who honestly feels like he has been let down by some of the wrestlers under his charge. He cannot own his mistakes and must insist at every turn that people always blame him whenever anything happens. This Spud needs to be more of a straight heel, one that inspires little affection in anyone.

    Of course, Jose Mourinho is in charge of Manchester United as we speak. We don’t know how this story ends, and so we wouldn’t know whether Spud Mourinho would end up vindicated or leaving the WWE kicking and screaming. One thing I do know is that the effective use of managers is something I’d love to see return to the WWE and if you are going to follow that path, you could do a lot worse than look to ‘the special one’ for inspiration.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  2. #2
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Interesting concept - I always like the idea of Managers & the feuds being between them. Doing it in the style of a football manager though? Surely that would involve the manager taking over then buying in new players (or in this case, replacing the wrestler with a better one)?

    Entertaining piece of work though

  3. #3
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Anything with Spud is going to be a win for me, and I think this could be an enormous success for him if it played out the way you imagine. It puts me in mind of some of the classic manager break ups of the past, but with some really fresh twists and turns. All of a sudden WWE seems to want managers consistently for the first time in years, so could we possibly see something actually like this? I'm not holding my breath, but it's a great idea. I really enjoy the Pencil, Pete, and I'm glad inspiration brought it back!

  4. #4
    Okay, Jose Mourinho. The manager at my favourite football club. I like the parralel you made linking Mourinho's career to a wrestling. Mournho could defintely be a divisive manager but he has had more success than not. I agree with all the parralels except his time at Man Utd. Yes, you've mentioned that Spud and his client would be looking to get back to the top of the mounting but I think you understated how far Spud's client should have fallen and how much he would be struggling to reach his former glory. And because Spud's new client just can't seem to reach his former heights, Spud gets antagonized. Spud becomes defiant and says everyone is out to get him. Paranoia or truth? Seems like truth to me because Spud's client's former manger took him to heights never seen in his division before and because he cannot live up to former glories Spud takes the brunt of all the criticism.

    So what does Spud do? Spud puts a spotlight on the poor performance of his client and this causes a rift between them. However, this also causes his client to want to be a better wrestler and push toward a former glory that seems so far away. I would liken this to Mourinhos hevay criticisms of Luke Shaw and and Anthony Martial who are now both starting every match and putting in great performances. We don't know how Spud's story will end, but what we do know is that someway he has to push his client to the top because his client's legion of fans demand it.

    Dude, you could have written The Pencil on Mourinho's time in Man Utd alone as there is so many different factors that come into play. I really enjoyed this has I have in the past.

  5. #5
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    May 2018
    Love this concept for columns and while I don't know too much about Jose, other than his name it is an interesting story and he is obviously an interesting personality to replicate this story off. I can only really ever see these kind of things exploding in the protagonists face when their hubris comes back to bite them. I wonder when it will finally happen for Jose and how that would look in wrestling.

    Im not I'm sure if I said this before or not but I have a 'the pencil' like idea for John Cena's next world title which will put him above Flair's record and either track it to Mark ztsylor equalling Don Bradman's Australia high score of 334 and declaring thus enhancing both records or map it to Sachin Tandulker's 100th 100 which I believe he chased for a whole year, failing angina and again despite being one of the best ever.


  6. #6
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Billington - It's been a while since I've done one of these but in the past I've stipulated that the idea is you take it as far as it works with professional wrestling. So y'know, you don't have to map it on exactly with transfers and the like. It's more like a model to follow than a set of hard and fast rules. With that said, managers have done angles in the past where they have traded for contracts and people have 'bought' wrestlers before (DiBiase buying Andre from Heenan jumps to mind) so it's not out of the realms of possibility that you could even match it up that closely, if you wanted to do that.

    Mizfan - I have the same opinion as regards Spud. Anything that can get him front and centre and pulling a big part of the show, I'm on board with. And the psychological depth of real people's stories as the basis for these things rather than fairly stilted existing narratives has to be a good thing.

    Don Franc - what a great reply. Yes, the closer you get to the story I'm sure that there are more and more nuances that you can pull out, and more ways of seeing the angle than just one. You could argue that to really follow sporting precedents if you do it well there'd be a way to see the story from a variety of different perspectives, rather than the fairly prescriptive way the WWE usually operates.

    Sam - Thanks for checking in man, glad you liked it even if Jose isn't the most familiar name to you. You definitely did mention the cricket idea before, I remember us discussing it in a previous feedback. Short version of what I said then is I could definitely see those ideas working!

    Thanks to everyone who has read and replied.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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