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WHERE: The process of finding new stars


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As you know, WWE has had a shortage of new stars over the last five years, which one could partially attribute to everyone who gets over having their legs cut out from under them, but the truth is that the system just isn't producing the amount of talent it should be. It's amazing to me that WWE has ONE training facility in OVW. They've talked about opening one more, but really, there should be training facilities all over the US.


I do worry about wrestling's future in the US, if only because there are few guys today that made their name by starting out in territories and going to Japan and Mexico before coming to WWE and working their way to the top. I see the quality of work slipping because the guys will only have the know-how to work whatever the WWE style is, and I can't see the current system producing another Chris Benoit.


On the flip side, you could argue that WWE is in the business of creating Hogans and Rocks, not Benoits, and you'd have a point, but they've even done a bad job there. In the past 20 years, we've had three huge stars to usher in new eras -- Hogan, Austin and Rock. There have been other names to get established along the way that do well when business is good and poor when business is bad, but those are the three that have truly changed the face of wrestling.


My suggestion? I'm of the mindset they should have 10-12 training facilities scattered all over the US. Set up small territories in those areas, run them on the cheap and let the guys hone their skills. Too many guys are brought up too soon and given huge pushes before they're ready for them, and they end up falling back down the card. Here are the cities I'd suggest:


Los Angeles





St. Louis


Houston/Dallas/Ft Worth





That's 11 cities they have to develop talent, which makes getting noticed by the company tougher, which means the motivation to work harder will be there, because there are no guarantees you'll be called up. Cycle the talent in from city-to-city so they can learn under as many different trainers as possible and to keep them from getting stale in one area, and if it takes 5-10 years for someone to be called up, I don't see how that's a problem.


If WWE is really serious about developing a relationship with NOAH, that's wonderful news. Send the guys over there to hone their talent and give them experience working in a different setting. Allow them to adjust to a grueling schedule. The idea is that the performers who get called up are as seasoned and experienced as they can be while still being young and healthy.


If WWE continues under their current model, they will eventually run out of new talent, and the talent the system does manage to produce will be incredibly limited.


When I say talent, I not only mean wrestlers, but I also mean announcers, referees and even writers. Hiring writers fresh out of high school or college who are wrestling fans and want to learn about the product would produce huge dividends, sending them to all the territories, making them study wrestling history and teaching them to respect the talent. If you have someone booking in one of your towns and all of the sudden, their house shows start booming, that's a good sign that he should be called up to the big stage as well.


That doesn't even get into the profit the territories would eventually run if they occasionally sent a top guy from WWE there for a well-hyped title defense. There are too many advantages, and it's possible to do it and keep overhead relatively low. This is the sort of thing WWE should probably be investing in more so than WWE Films.

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Guest Bruiser Chong

What's the point? Hate to sound cynical, but honestly, WWE is and always has been extremely stubborn when it comes to creating new stars. Guys with great in-ring skills are usually not what they're looking for. Their insistence on going with guys who look like they ate their families has ensured that smaller guys won't ever really get the fair shake at the top they deserve.


And not to turn this into a HHH-bashing thread, but as long as he's around, anyone who's around him is going to be made to look inferior, so developing a new star will only prove to be counterproductive in the end.

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Well, you sure know how to make a guy feel shitty, Bruiser.


I know HHH is going to cut the legs off of anyone who's a threat to him, but do you think the company will die before he is physically unable to wrestle? The point is that even if you're not grooming every single wrestler to come in for the main event, HHH can't wrestle in every match, and he can't be the only guy around. I'm not even talking about this as a way to develop great wrestlers as much as I am a way to develop new talent, to teach them how to work a crowd and teach them how to do interviews. The main reason I suggested LA for a training facility is that they're likely to attract more of the bodybuilder types they tend to mark for by putting a facility there.


Creating new stars in wrestling isn't an experiment, it's a way of life, and it has to be done constantly to ensure that there are always fresh faces around and that there are always new people you can bring in. When I say stars, I don't just mean main eventers, I mean new midcarders, new tag teams, new women -- everything. Wrestlers get injured, retire, die and get stale all the time. Even if they don't all get over at the magnitude of Hogan or Austin or Rock, the system may produce another Undertaker or Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels or Ric Flair or Randy Savage. Even if they aren't pushed in main events after working hard and getting that good, because of whatever biases WWE may have, they're still going to be able to positively contribute to the final product in one way or another, and that's what's important in the end.

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I see where Loss is coming from but I don't know if his plan is the answer. You can have territories all over the country but it just means you produce twelve Heidenreichs or Snitskys instead of just a couple. I think the real shift should be in the staff that evaluates talent


The real change needs to be a major shift in paradigms. The mindset should be to get away from bodybuilders to unique characters who can captivate the audience at home and in the arenas.


Look at the guys who really transcend the sport... Austin, Rock, Hogan, even Flair and Foley. None of them look like HHH or are built like Batista. Yet they could sell you on a match in their interviews and grab unbelievable heat in the ring (even if they had horrible matches). THAT is what the fed needs to focus on... not the workrate marks or the steroid freaks. They need someone who can put asses in the seats. Someone who is just a little off center or has unique qualities no one else possesses. More importantly, someone who can connect with the fans on some personal level. Right now, there are no wrestlers the fans can empathize with like Austin or Foley. There are no guys that fans would really want to emulate... like Flair or The Rock. No one on the roster is so unique that he could carry the weight of the Fed on his shoulders... like Hogan.


We bitch about the storylines and the writing staff and the angles but all of that is secondary to the personalities. As Crash TV and even the NWO angle proved... even when the writing sucks... you can still draw based on the personalities or the matchups. Meltzer was aaked on Between the Ropes recently if he felt wrestling was in trouble and he said he was concerned because there is really nothing new wrestling can bring to the table in the ring... unless they evolve into shoot fighting... and he saw no new stars on the horizon that could help the business get out of its current funk. I disagree with him since most of the guys who have changed the sport were accidents. You never know who can really affect wrestling's future but I do know it doesn't look like a HHH or Batista.

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Guest Some Guy

In the last five years the WWE has developed one real star, Kurt Angle, they've tried with JBL, Brock, and now Cena and Batista but they won't work out in the end either. Batista will win the title at WM and then lose it back to HHH and his heat will die with it (if it doesn't flame out while he's got the belt from poor booking or being exposed in the WM match) adn Cena is a shitty worker who's charisma is not good enough to overcome that.


Loss, I think your idea makes sense but I'd go with a facility in Calgary and one in Toronto as well, some very solid workers have come from those places and given WWE's popularity up their you'd likely get fans who want to work, and fans tend to care more and get better.


Beyond that they have the talent on the roster right now, they just aren't using it. I don't see another Rock there but they have a few potential Savage or Foley level stars.

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Guest Steffie

I think along with Loss, they should instill a better work ethic in the guys. Some of the new guys that come in give sh*t performances at house shows, saving everything for TV, and it screws the people who can't afford to take their families to a RAW or SMACKDOWN. In late 2003 I went to a house show, where it was mainly newer stars. No big names were there. The show was a complete waste of my money. I went to one last Sunday, and I'm still high as a kite over it. It was awesome, but you could still see, with guys like Chris Masters, and Hasaan, that while they're playing to the crowd, you can see they're not doing as much as they could. All Masters did was a few shoulder blocks, a few punches, a clothesline, a leg-twist, and then his rip-off of the Polish Hammer. That was it. The fans were like, "Oh, it's over? That's the end?" Other than that it was a good show.


Bottom line, these newer generation guys don't carry the same work ethic as some of the older stars. I think it is a reason for the downgrade in wrestling in the past 5 years. The older guys realize, while they still need to save SOME stuff for TV, that the poeple who can't aford to take their families to a RAW or SMACKDOWN or PPV, deserve to get their hard earned money's worth. That's what I think is wrong. Mor training facilities could help, but a better work ethic needs to be instilled in them as well.


ANother thing, why have Dr. Tom training guys? The highest he got on the totem pole was Zip of the Boddy Donnas, or one of the Heavanly Bodies. Use guys that have made it. Get guys like Benoit to go down their once in a while. HHH, Big Show (for the bigger guys) and do what they used to do on Tough Enough. have them come down and show some stuff to the guys. Make a week out of it. Say they have the week off of TV, and send them down for 3 days or something. Lance Storm is good for being down there, as would be Tommy Dreamer. They need to learn from the best, and most diverse westlers.

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

I think it would be cool to have an integrated, nation-wide development system. Depending on the costs, it could be an added revenue stream for the WWE. They could run it under the guise of being a WWE Training Centre, so guys would _pay_ to train there. Also, it would give job security to some of the older wrestlers like Flair/Taker/Michaels or injured wrestlers like Lance Storm. They could get paid much lower than they would as performers, and could possibly get paid based on the revenues from the territory rather than WWE head office. It would certainly change the landscape of professional wrestling in North America, and quite frankly, it needs to be changed.

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