Rare Is The Time When Wrestling Should Overthink 'Good vs. Evil'
Plenty of fans make a big stink about pro wrestling being too predictable. The smarks like to think, because they guess or predict a storyline they’re somehow in the know. The simple fact is, there’s nothing at all wrong with predictability in pro wrestling provided it’s executed properly. Far too often, folks go out of their way to criticize storylines simply because they’re formulaic. What they fail to realize is that pro wrestling has been giving fans, with great success, the same story for roughly 130 years. The battle between ‘Good vs. Evil’ is the oldest story ever told. It’s beauty is in it’s ability to be both simple and complex all at the same time. What I mean by that is, ‘Good vs. Evil’ is a story we all know very well, meaning it’s easily accepted by the masses, but despite it being such a simple idea, it remains complex in the infinite number of ways the tale can be told. Fact is, it’s been those times when professional wrestling has gotten away from the ‘Good vs. Evil’ formula that the quality of product has suffered.If you’re a Dus
ty Rhodes, a Ric Flair, a Randy Savage, any and all storylines become a viable main event angle. Their star power, their possession of that undefinable ‘it’ allowed them to entertain the masses for decades. True talent doesn’t need overthought storytelling to get them over. Think of all the greatest storylines Rhodes, Flair and Savage had throughout their careers and you’ll find that almost all stuck to the same basic formula: Good guy battles impossible odds to overcome the ultimate evil. Dusty Rhodes fought Flair’s Four Horsemen faction for years based around little more than everyone loved Dusty, and loved to hate Flair. Randy Savage worked both sides of the fence in the 80’s and 90’s, wearing the black hat in huge angles with Hulk Hogan and Ricky Steamboat, then putting on the white hat in a very underrated angle with Jake “The Snake” Roberts. The guts of each angle had different twists and turns, the highs and lows certainly varied, but the Point B was always the same: The good guy wins.
I bring all this up because of the recent angle between AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels/Kazarian, and Claire Lynch. For the last several months, TNA has been doing just about everything right. Aces & Eights has been great, Bobby Roode and Austin Aries has been very well done, Samoa Joe and Bully Ray remain at the top of their games, and Kurt Angle, Magnus, Brooke Tessmacher and much of the remaining roster continue to entertain each and every week. Then there’s this convoluted, silly, drawn out, uninteresting angle about AJ Styles and a pregnant woman who’s not his wife. I’m most pleased TNA appears to have wrapped this thing up because honestly, I’ve reached a point with it where the second I see Claire Lynch on my TV screen, I turn the channel until they’ve moved on to something else. It’s been that bad, and it’s due partly to her being an amazingly obnoxious, annoying character (please, go back to cookware infomercials), but also has a lot to do with TNA taking the whole angle into an area where it’s just absurd. The plot has been lost and AJ, Daniels and Kazarian are all deserving of so much better. It’s a credit to their talent that’s even been this watchable.
Not to get too nostalgic, but there’s a lot to be said for the more simplistic storytelling of old school wrestling. Rather than relying on a lot of Hollywood writing, talent was expected to carry the ball. Things like giving birth to hands, having sex with corpses, wrestling God in a tag match, drugging fellow Knockouts and making them your slave, and/or pregnancy angles simply aren’t the least bit entertaining. At their best, they’re ridiculous, at their worst, they’re completely insulting to our intelligence as fans. This is one of the reasons I wish guys like Jake Roberts and Scott Hall could keep their lives together. They're the type of creative wrestling minds needed to balance the sometimes silly Hollywood writer.
‘Good vs. Evil’ will always work provided the talented wrestlers involved are allowed to shine. Just book it and get out of their way. It’s them we’re all tuning in to see each week, not poorly conceived storylines based around hack infomercial actresses and 1,000 year old lady wrestlers. Every now and again, it’s perfectly okay to just put a couple of men or women in a ring and let ‘em beat the hell out of one another.