Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Piece of my Mind May 17th 2009 by "The Big Cheese" Sal Corrente

In our business today, finding and developing real main event talent has become a very perplexing problem. It is clear to the McMahon’s that they have a depth problem both corporately and on the talent side. The best chance that the WWE has is if Vince McMahon turns into Benjamin Button tomorrow.

There are certain business principles that just don’t make sense if your goal is long range success. You can’t “hot shot” a territory and expect it to last forever. You can’t just expect talent to just constantly appear on your doorstep. If you have a rare situation where some mid card player advances up the ladder before your eyes then consider it a bonus not an entitlement.

The WWE is running a training school in Tampa Fl. The men running the school are good men. All are talented in their own right and bring value to the table. They are all deserving of the job but the company should be taking a different approach. You are asking future wrestlers to attend a school that has no formal succession plan in place. You go there, make a minimum of five hundred dollars a week, and hope that “creative” has something for you. The long term prospects are speculative at best. It is a tough world out there and choices have to be made with intelligence and the future in mind. There are few John Cena success stories out there so how can someone bank on a chance in WWE. It’s a business that is kill or be killed.

How can WWE believe they are getting the best prospective future main event stars? I have stated before, and I believe now more than ever, that the best way to develop talent and maximize your dollars spent would be to have the school run shows on a daily basis.

The current system is not productive at all. The money goes out but there is no way to bring money in. The main event stars are not pouring out of the system. The best we are getting is “B” list talent. This is a simple concept to grasp. If you ran shows you could also get some people a break from the A shows that you are running. The company could intertwine some of the talent and give the young talent a chance to work with some veterans.

If you are a real wrestling fan you want the WWE to be something it doesn’t want to be. You are looking for it to be a wrestling company. They don’t have answers at the WWE offices. They are looking for Hollywood writers to script out wrestling shows. That one fact alone is enough to tell you that the WWE will never be what old school wrestling fans want it to be.

The good news is that everything that is wrong with the WWE is totally correctable. It doesn’t take much except some humbleness and a correction in business direction. When you think about real companies they make or attempt to make corrections all the time. The WWE is a very successful company and can operate as is for a long time. The problem is that what you and I see as huge success is not success to the McMahons. They will keep striving to take WWE to the next level. It remains to be seen what will happen but one thing is clear they are looking for the next Rock or "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

I want to be fair and say that the school system did bring Randy Orton to the WWE. I am sure he would have made it there one way or another with a father like “Cowboy” Bob Orton. Even if you give the system a pass on Randy Orton the successes are too few and far between and Hollywood writers can’t write wrestling.

I am sure many people would find this column to be negative but it really isn’t negative. If you are a Yankee fan nothing else will do except for the Yankee’s to be in the World Series every year. This column is more about venting than anything else. We just want Monday nights to be exciting again. The fans want to attend sold out house shows. We want the cheers for the company star to practically shake the foundation of the building.

In this world when you are successful it opens you up to ridicule and criticism. The McMahon family and the WWE are a huge success with top notch production and all the amenities. When people stop criticizing what they do they are really in trouble. The smart money says that the WWE goes on as long as the McMahons want it to. They have brilliantly branded the company. All we want is some writers that understand wrestling. The next thing is why doesn’t someone tell John Cena “ Hey we couldn’t come up with anything go out and talk about Edge for five minutes.

When you hear about the bad that WWE does understand there is probably a random act of kindness that offsets it but gets no publicity. When you are in the positions the McMahons are in you can’t worry about everyone with an opinion. But you do have to watch the numbers closely. That’s what should dictate your decisions. The numbers don’t lie so we shouldn’t lie to ourselves about them. No matter how good business is wouldn’t we all want it to be better?

This picture is a candid shot taken at WrestleReunion 1 in Tampa. From Left to Right it's Virgil, Stan Lane and The Warlord.

This has been a piece of my mind