The Work of Wrestling

EXPLORING THE ART OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING

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AN OPEN LETTER TO WWE ABOUT BROCK LESNAR

Dear WWE,

You have created a beautiful monster in Brock Lesnar.

Paul Heyman has created a beautiful monster in Brock Lesnar.

Brock Lesnar has created a beautiful monster in Brock Lesnar.

And now, the WWE Universe has created a beautiful monster in Brock Lesnar.

Last night, on the March 30th, 2015 episode of Monday Night Raw, Brock Lesnar made the first organic transformation into a top babyface we've all seen in a very, very long time.

Based on what we’ve heard Brock Lesnar say about re-signing a part-time deal with the WWE on SportsCenter, one would assume that his “suspension” from RAW is an attempt give him the time-off his contract dictates while simultaneously explaining his absence from television within the larger WWE-fiction. It is my hope that this "suspension" is your manipulation of your smarter fans, that you will have anticipated your fans seeing through this "suspension", that you will have anticipated the fan assuming Brock will now be gone for months due to his real-world contract and that you have a surprise in mind.

I hope that you can see that an extended Brock Lesnar absence is the worst possible thing that could happen to your company and to Brock Lesnar at this time.

Brock Lesnar is the transcendent star you’ve been searching for, and he's transcendent in a modern way, in a way that separates him from top guys of the past - he crosses over into the realm of real-sport, the uber-popular realm of MMA. He brings fresh eyes on your product, he brings a new, revolutionary perspective to your, at-times, cartoonish world.

Brock Lesnar is the ambassador of a true reality era where the WWE attracts an audience the WWE has completely forsaken the past thirteen years, an audience that wants to watch a WWE that presents the pro-wrestling fiction as reality, not “entertainment”. Understanding that distinction is the key to understanding today's television viewer. Understanding that distinction is the key to getting over in 2015.

The explosion of joy you heard last night from that post-Mania crowd, the chants “We Want Lesnar!” and “Lesnar! Lesnar! Lesnar!” are indicative of what your audience wants and what your company needs.

In Lesnar you have discovered your next Stone Cold Steve Austin, Rock, and Hogan.

In Lesnar you have discovered the ratings glory you’ve been searching for.

The only way to mess up this organic, revolutionary transformation is to keep Lesnar off television.

And by “keep Lesnar off television” I do not necessarily mean that the man himself needs to show up to every Monday Night Raw.

I mean that the crowd cannot be permitted to forget Lesnar.

Last year, and even leading into WrestleMania, Lesnar faded into the background. There were times, like around Survivor Series 2014, where Lesnar wasn’t really represented in any capacity. The issue wasn’t that he was a part-time champ who made occasional appearances - the issue was that there were Monday Night Raws where it seemed like Lesnar’s character didn’t even exist.

Lesnar must be the driving force of the WWE’s Championship story. Lesnar must always be on everyone’s mind, dictating and affecting the course of almost every RAW. And he must appear on the show at least twice a month (if that’s at all possible) during this incredibly important time. Whatever appearances are being saved for a later date deserve to be used up now.

The Raw segments involving Lesnar that I saw last night were simple, straightforward, and utterly satisfying. Lesnar didn’t do much, and he didn’t have to do much.

He literally just stood in place as Paul Heyman spoke, occasionally grimacing and bouncing up and down.

He caused chaos, knocked things over, and gave the F5 to anyone and everyone.

And it was all PG.

That is all Brock Lesnar needs to do in order for the WWE to experience a revival unlike any other. Brock Lesnar is your entryway into the realm of legitimate sport. Brock Lesnar is your chance to draw all those viewers you lost post-Attitude Era. Brock Lesnar is your chance to create an entirely new viewer.

But he can’t stay completely off television, he can’t stay completely off the minds of your characters, and his absence shouldn’t be explained by plot-points that the majority of your fans see right through.

If you “suspend” Brock Lesnar, if you attempt to come up with narrative excuses for why Brock Lesnar is gone then you will slowly but surely negate the audience’s enthusiasm for the character. You will teach that fan to go on lamenting Brock’s part-time status.

I ask that you do everything you can to preserve those cheers, to preserve this rebirth.

Brock Lesnar will become everything you need to succeed in the modern age if he simply shows up for five minutes every other week to give an F5 to The Authority until The Authority relents and gives Lesnar his rematch.

That’s all that needs to be done to create one of the most exciting, transformative, and lucrative eras in professional wrestling.

  1. Ten to fifteen minutes a month.

  2. Brock randomly appearing to dismantle The Authority.

  3. Paul Heyman explaining why Brock is doing what Brock is doing.

Think of how differently things might have turned out for Stone Cold Steve Austin if he'd never given a Stunner to Vince McMahon on Monday Night Raw. Those are the stakes. Lesnar cannot create the transformative, pop-culture icon he can if he's not on television to create it.

The WWE fans desperately want to rally behind a defiant spirit, an entity that represents how they feel about the company’s unsuccessful booking decisions. That's the way the modern pro-wrestling fan wants to live vicariously through the product.

You have that in Brock.

Let Brock carry out the fantasies of the modern pro-wrestling fans and you will see a return unlike any you have ever seen before.

Thank you for making me pop.

 

With respect,

Tim Kail

 

Thank you for reading. Check out the latest RAW REVIEW while you're here where I expand upon some points made in this letter! Be sure to subscribe to The Work of Wrestling podcast in iTunes, and feel free to follow me on all the usual social media gimmicks by clicking on the links below: