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Thread: Bull From A Bulldog: The Part Time Problem.

  1. #1

    Bull From A Bulldog: The Part Time Problem.

    A part time columnist discusses part time wrestlers...

    As Wrestlemania season is officially started, so too has the main period of the year for part timers. Itís generally agreed on the internet that WWE rely too much on aging part time stars to sell their big events. There is a theory that WWE do this because they havenít created any big stars to fill the void the part timers create when they are absent. Then, once the part timers return, there are generally complaints that they bury the talent that entertain us week in, week out for the rest of the year.

    Is that true though?

    Without doing too much in depth research, letís have a quick check on a few of the part timers weíve seen in recent years.


    Undertaker
    Probably the ultimate part timer. I think itís safe to say the entire WWE Universe loves him. I donít really know if the rest of the world does though. Heís had the occasional part in a few movies & TV shows, but most of them were as The Undertaker. Thatís not necessarily a bad thing though, he comes from an era where wrestlers were known to the mainstream public. Most non-wrestling fans I speak to know of him but the significant point is they only know him as a wrestler. They arenít his fans from other media. For me, that makes it safe to conclude Undertaker doesnít bring non-wrestling fans in to the WWE Universe. He does however bring back lapsed fans, but considering a fair proportion of those lapsed fans would probably come back for Wrestlemania anyway, even his value there is questionable. For purposes of this column, I am assuming The Undertaker is fully retired from wrestling though, so although his value as a part timer may never have been as great as one would assume, I hope for his own health and safety that whatever value he had as a part timer has run itís course.

    Conclusion = Neutral.
    Always gets a good reception, contributes towards the increase of ratings at peak times of the year but possibly doesnít add growth to the business as a whole.


    Kane
    Takerís little brother, always a step behindÖ.except potentially in this column? Lets seeÖ.
    Glenn Jacobs has had a couple more acting jobs, actually playing other characters aside from Kane. However, most have been produced by WWE Studios and maybe werenít exactly major hits at the box office. Even so, itís a notch on the bedpost his kayfabe brother doesnít have so a couple of bonus points there.
    Heís also active in the world of politics. Thereís definitely an audience that WWE doesnít directly market to. Does it bring in extra viewers though? Doubtful. Media coverage though? Almost certainly, even if it is only in his local area. While I know very little of American politics at this level, I think itís safe to say it has very little impact on WWE viewership.
    From the WWE Universeís perspective though, things definitely take a turn for the worse. Unlike the Undertaker whose returns have been highly anticipated over the years, Kane has become known as the WWEís living embodiment of the glass ceiling. I donít think I need to discuss that further.

    Conclusion = Negative
    At present, Kane is a part timer we could happily live without seeing for a while. Maybe if heíd spent more time away and been used better when he appears weíd feel differently, but right now I believe he doesnít bring old fans back, doesnít contribute to the growth of the audience by bringing in any new fans, and probably actually has a negative effect by making existing fans switch off.


    Shane McMahon
    Lets face facts Ė Shane McMahon should not be allowed to compete in the ring. He is not a wrestler, therefore his presence in the ring serves only to make the wrestlers look weak when they sell for him.
    Does he add any value as a part timer though? Iíd have to say no. OK, heís had a few business jobs outside WWE, but they arenít jobs that build any kind of mainstream fan base.

    Conclusion = Negative
    I think itís safe to say he only brings 3 fans with him:


    HHH
    Iím sure HHHís in-ring comebacks bring back the occasional lapsed fan, but much like I said with Undertaker Ė those matches happen at events the lapsed fan is likely to return for anyway. He isnít known for anything other than his time with WWE, so he doesnít bring any new fans to the business either.
    What does he offer then? Think about it, how many feuds has he genuinely won since he got the corporate job? Aside from Sting, just about everyone heís faced has beaten him. That has to be a good thing.

    Conclusion = Neutral
    I truly wanted to do the controversial thing and list Hunter as a Positive. HHH putting over the next generation of stars directly contributes to the growth of the industry. He helps to create the new generation of main eventers, who will become the next generation of part timers and who in turn will do their bit to attempt to maintain growth through whatever the future brings us. However, while I think his overall contribution to the industry can only be considered Positive, that is because of who Paul Levesque has become rather than because of who HHH is, so judging him as a wrestler against his part time peers, I have to leave him in the Neutral category.


    Batista
    For me, Batistaís return came too soon. OK, I get that it coincided with his first major starring role in a movie & WWE wanted to cash in on that, but I believe theyíd have been better off waiting until he became a genuinely bigger star.
    He also suffered from a certain problem named Daniel Bryan. OK, WWE changed their plans and Batista played a part in what is arguably one of the greatest Wrestlemania moments ever, but as a run it left a lot to be desired.

    Conclusion =Neutral
    Heíll be back. When it happens, heíll be a bigger star in Hollywood and theyíll (hopefully) learn from their mistakes during his last comeback. His next run will have a much bigger impact and move him up to a Positive.


    Goldberg
    If Goldbergís return last year proves to be all he ever does, it will have been arguably one of the best part time runs ever. It played excellently to all he was good at and he didnít outstay his welcome.
    What did he bring with him though? Obviously a lot of the old WCW fans would have worshipped him, so itís likely some of them came back. Does he have fans from his days in the NFL? I donít know for sure, but Iíd guess so. In other media he has apparently been in a few movies, but nothing particularly significant. He was also on The Apprentice. That would seem to be his highest profile appearance outside the wrestling universe, and may contribute to a mainstream fanbase that could follow him back to wrestling. Iíve also seen him appear in a guest slot on a number of car related shows, but I doubt that would bring many outside fans.

    Conclusion = Positive
    I have no doubt that he brought back some lapsed fans, but with Goldberg I believe the main winner was the WWE universe who needed someone to make Brock Lesnar interesting again. Talking of whichÖ.


    Brock Lesnar
    If Undertaker isnít the ultimate part timer, then Brock Lesnar is. He has a deal that most people could only dream about. Lots of money for doing what you want, when you want? I donít think there are many people who would turn that down.
    Does he add to the product? Tito obviously thinks so, as he counts weeks when Lesnar is advertised as an exception to his ďpermanently under 3 millionĒ prediction. And rightly so. It may have been a poorly worded prediction, but it was a good one. Without Lesnar (or other part timers) there to boost the ratings, Raw has definitely proven Tito right.
    To me, itís not surprising. Lesnar was very definitely the Next Big Thing in his original run with the WWE, but unlike almost every other wrestling star ever, he didnít outstay his welcome. He left while he was still on top and still comparably young. Even now, heís only 40 and probably has plenty left in the tank Ė especially as he only has to compete occasionally.
    What does he bring with him? Ultimate Fighting Credibility. You donít win a UFC title without being credible. Everyone he faces isnít facing just a wrestler, theyíre facing someone who could genuinely kill them with his bare hands. Even though itís scripted, that fact alone is more than enough to cause the suspension of disbelief vital to being a wrestling fan. Iím sure he also brings a lot of MMA fans to the table, as well as lapsed fans from his original run.

    Conclusion = Positive
    Ratingís donít lie. Lesnar is worth every penny WWE are prepared to throw at him.



    By my calculations, the scores are currently as follows:
    Negative = 2
    Neutral = 3
    Positive = 2

    Thatís pretty inconclusive so far. We need some kind of tie-breaker if weíre going to determine what the best course of action regarding part timers is.

    And thatís what the second part of this mini-series will discuss.

  2. #2
    Nice to see you writing and not commenting (which, by the way, I always appreciate the feedback). This was a neat format in evaluting the always popular conversation topic of part timers. I'd have to say though that HHH is a positive for me. He always brings a ton of passion and emotion to feuds and I generally enjoy just about everything he's done since not being full time. His feuds with Taker were awesome, loved the stuff with Seth Rollins. The only one I'd knock him on is Sting. I would say HHH, Goldberg and Lesnar are all worth the money as part timers. Personally, I think Goldberg provided the most return of anyone when it comes to ratings and Wrestlemania.



    Good stuff and good to hear from you maaaaaaaan!!

  3. #3
    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    Nice column and I like the way you've broken it down, although I would have liked to see The Rock and John Cena on the list too. Both now mainstream stars in their own right and both still part of the active roster according to the WWE website.

    Even though I know you have done your best to give a fair and balanced view here my feeling now is that not only are all these part timers past their prime the whole idea of the part timers is a concept that is also past its time. They were an element of the product that was required to maintain growth and bridge from the sudden, unexpected end of the Bryan and Punk era and having The Shield generation assumed the mantle of the true top stars, however to adopt Cena's line, your time is up, their time is now. Beyond this Wrestlemania I cannot see the need for these guys on the roster, their continual emergence at the four peaks of the year is now doing more to stifle the growth of the current generations stars than it is to help it. These guys no longer need the help of the older guys to lend credibility, they have built reputations that are now being held back when they have to stand aside for older stars and in the eyes of the fans they become secondary stars because it is these part timers that get the most responsibility when it comes to the biggest stages.

    The good news is that I think the WWE can also see this as is evidenced by the massive change in booking between Survivor Series and Royal Rumble. At Survivor Series the new guys were an afterthought, quickly eliminate and having no real effect on the result however at Royal Rumble it was the current stars that carried the night to one of the most enjoyed PPVs I can remember in a long long time.

    We will see what happens when Lesnar's contract is up, I hope to God the guy doesn't re-sign. He is a complete creative milestone and pulls down anyone who is forced to work with him instead of elevating them, the only person who came out if a Lesnar feud since Wrestlemania 31 with reputation completely unharmedis AJ Styles and he is the one exception.

  4. #4
    Broken Kleck Kleckamania's Avatar
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    This as a whole is fantastic.

    Great conversational piece, this kind of column is tailor made for the MP honestly, considering the average viewer up top.

    I don't really have much of anything constructive to add, as this is pretty polished. The only tiny, superflous things I can suggest is separating sections a little bit more, and making section headers bigger than the content. Secondary stuff, but more visually appealing to the average reader.

    You even addressed my curiosity of no Rock in this column by making it a two parter- seriously, I can't emphasize enough how much this little series would play up on the MP- tailor made.

    As for content, the only one I firmly disagree with is Shane McMahon. At this point long time fans know that when Shane is going to be in a match, it is going to have some crazy spots in it, and make for a wild match. That draws people in that maybe are tuning out of the product. I think he is a positive IF used sparingly.

    And as for Lesnar, I think your assesment was right up until a while ago, but he is definitely starting to drag the product down. There is only so much time a champ can be off screen without damaging the value of the championship, and fans are growing tired of the repetitiveness. He got cheers over most everyone when he first came back, now about 20% of the roster would get the bigger pop if they were in a feud. I can only hope Vince has learned and has Strowman go over Lesnar at Mania. Anything less is a complete failure imho.

    Great column, part time columnist

    Looking forward to part 2.

  5. #5
    The Brain
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    Very good idea for a piece here! I think I did something similar a loooong time ago. Let's see what we think:

    I think overall I agree with your analysis on Taker. I haven't had much interest in his matches in the past few years, but he is an old favorite and as you say he probably brings in his share of ratings spike. I most strongly agree with your hopes that he is done at this point, because I do think he was getting pretty hard to watch in his old age.

    I'm a massive Kane mark, but I've got to agree again, Kane is better served away from the WWE at this point. Attempting to take him seriously as a threat to someone like Strowman at his age is a losing battle at best.

    FUCK Shane McMahon, his shitty wrestling, and how much time he spends on TV! I know some still enjoy seeing the guy, but if I never saw him again I'd be ok with that.

    Sigh... Triple H is a tough one to judge. I can see arguments for the positive and negative. He does usually put people over now, though sometimes he seems to do more harm than good (that Roman feud, christ), and sometimes it's all about him winning the title again in his old age or something that I can't get into. I also find his insistence to go close to 30 minutes regardless of his opponent extremely obnoxious, and a major detractor to a lot his matches. Honestly, the only truly positive 'Mania appearance I feel he's made in recent years is putting over Bryan, which was genuinely well done on every level once you got down to the actual day in question. I guess I can buy him as a neutral, though on a personal level he's definitely a negative.

    Poor Batista. I do hope he gets another run, his first one was essentially ruined through no fault of his own. I think he can be a positive down the line, if used better (shouldn't be hard!).

    Goldberg is another tough on for me. He was a clear positive to a lot of people and brought in some old fans, but he also made the entire current roster look like a complete joke, dismantling Lesnar with ease repeatedly after every star under 40 failed miserably and completely. So I guess it's nice that he provided some interest with Lesnar, but I still don't believe he was the right guy to do so, and I feel like more harm than good was done overall, especially as now the luster of Lesnar is less than ever and WWE has tried to compensate by having him run over a number of hot acts in an effort to build him up again.

    And that leads us to Lesnar himself. While he does provide some draw, a close look at the numbers indicate it's less than you might expect based on the sweet deal he has, and his ratio of shitty matches has grown worse over the years. True, you get the occasional gem, but overall I honestly think Lesnar has done considerable harm to modern WWE, providing both a lazy out for the company many times over and an essentially unbreakable glass ceiling for younger stars.

    Looking forward to sharing more thoughts on Part 2!

  6. #6
    Something that always gets me about this place - at time of writing, this column has 149 views and only 4 comments. Does that mean you guys all came back 37.25 times each? Any lurkers reading this, get involved!!!

    Anyway, the second part is nearly ready so it's time for some feedback:

    Type:
    First thing, thanks for the vote - think it's the first I've ever had!! Shame you did either the wrong column or the wrong month... This column wasn't posted in January, it was the Legend Returns column that I posted last month!
    Regarding HHH, I agree that he's mostly a positive in terms of the general booking. What I was judging here though is the impact on increased ratings etc. I don't believe he brings any new fans to the WWE. And he really shouldn't have beaten Sting. To me, that was just Vince's last chance to remind us that WCW lost the Monday Night Wars. Maybe now he can get over it & move on.

    Sam:
    I deliberately excluded The Rock. He's the biggest star on the planet, how could he be anything but a positive? Plus, I really don't believe he'll be back for another match after he got injured last time & had to delay filming for one of his movies.
    With Lesnar, I think once Reigns has cleanly beaten him at Wrestlemania as Vince intended a couple of years ago, the problem will rectify itself. Unfortunately at the moment Vince wants Lesnar to look unstoppable to make his pet project look good. I hope he signs again and gives us some of the dream matches we know he's capable of. If he keeps going as present, I fully agree with you.
    I'm not going to reply to the rest of your comment until after you've seen the second part.

    Kleck:
    The trouble with Shane's crazy spots is that we've seen them all before. Watching a match purely to see a middle aged man attempt to kill himself doesn't entertain me. I read a column several years ago relating to the slippery slope of hardcore wrestling and for me he is the embodiment of it. The crazier the stunt, the less impact following matches have. He has to do an even crazier stunt next time. The more matches Shane has, the more likely it becomes he will die in the ring.
    See my reply to Sam for my Lesnar thoughts - I agree with what you say, but I'm optimistic that it's a temporary issue.

    Miz:
    Poor Batista indeed. Don't get me wrong, it made for one of the best Wrestlemania Moments ever which almost certainly wouldn't have been as special if Bryan had won that Rumble match, but he definitely didn't get what he signed up for. I can understand HHH being a negative as well - I knew he'd be one to split opinions!


    General:
    Many thanks to you guys for the read & feed. I appreciate all the work you put in to your columns and considering the quality and volume of your output, I'm amazed you can find the time to focus on other people's columns as well! I struggle to knock out the amount of columns I do so give much respect to the lot of you.
    Last edited by DynamiteBillington; 02-07-2018 at 01:12 PM.

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