‘They can’t just stand there and wave at crowd,’ WWE’s use of legends criticized by former Executive Director of SmackDown Eric Bischoff
WWE has often faced criticism in past for relying too much on yesteryear’s stars in their programming. The Attitude Era was a boom period for WWE and Vince McMahon has often brought in superstars like The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Goldberg, Triple H, The Rock and Kane for their big shows, much to the chagrin of their die-hard fans. WWE have failed to create new megastars (if we leave out John Cena) and have to rely on a lot of legends of the sport for a boost in ratings.
When the ratings of Raw and Smack Down were dwindling down, a reunion episode was announced by WWE. A momentary boost in the ratings followed as a plethora of legends hogged the show. But the normalcy returned in the following episodes as ratings continued to dwindle.
Eric Bischoff was hired as Executive Director of SmackDown by WWE to bring about a change in the programming. But only a few months into his hiring, Bischoff was released by the company with Bruce Prichard taking his place.
In a recent episode of Pancakes and Powerslams, Bischoff talked about WWE’s use of wrestling legends and how they need to regulate their presentation on their shows.
“[The company] Maybe realizing that you can only go to that well so many times before it starts to diminish in the eyes of the fan,” Bischoff said. “I was at the RAW Reunion, and there were a lot of legends throughout the summer as well, and I think people realized you can only get so many bangs out of these bucks before it’s not that interesting.” (H/T to Wrestling Inc.)
“The other issue is so many of the guys can’t do anything. So many of them are so busted up from the years they’ve spent in the ring, that they can’t get involved in any physicality. If you’re on a wrestling show, even if you’re a legend, and you can’t really get involved in any physicality then you’re pretty limited in terms of what you can do. If you’re WWE how you can use them in an entertaining way? They can’t just stand there and wave at the crowd and expect people to get excited about that.”
Bischoff continued, “I’m sure the WWE will always use legends, but perhaps more sparingly, so when they do use them it means more.”
Bischoff is right in the part that WWE will continue to use legends in their programming but it would be interesting to see how they plan to involve them in their current storylines.