The limitation of 24/7 Characters

I have been thinking about the limitations of pro-wrestling characters. A few months ago I hear Joe Drilling talk about how wrestlers protect themselves as performers in the way no actor does. He said that in a play, he would never tell a director that he won't play a character the way a director asks. All the time wrestlers refuses to play their characters in the way bookers ask all the time. Joe Drilling being a indie wrestler, it sounds like this happens on all levels not just at the WWE and TNA levels.

I think one of the reasons is because pro-wrestlers are 24/7 characters. If a wrestler goes on some a TV talk show and is not in characters, wrestling fans look down on them. I think wrestlers have a real problem putting their characters down. As an actor in a play, people do not expect you to act like Tybalt after the show. You can talk about the acting process with out "exposing the business."

The other big difference is if you play Tybalt in this performance, people will not look at you strange if you are Romeo in a future performance. An actor can even play Romeo in the very next performance. In wrestling you cannot change your character this quickly. That character stays with you a long longer. Some wrestlers characters in indie promotion effect the characters fans will expect in big promotions.

I can understand why wrestlers tried to protect themselves when it comes to what bookers try to do with their characters. On the independent scene, if you have any following, you need to be a consistent character for your fans because you do not have a lot of time to get over the changes in your character.

In the WWE and TNA Impact the things your characters do stay with your characters for a long time. I hear people in the pro-wrestling bloggers talk about the past all the time. They have a hard time putting away the past. Fans are invested in the wrestling they watched in the past. Wrestlers can turn from heel to face, but if that happens too often the fans have a harder time caring about the character.

The best example of people having a problem with a character is Kane. Kane is a character that has changed slightly with story lines. Some of these stories have been outrageous, so recovering from these story lines that don't work is really hard. Glen Jacobs and the WWE has to either change the gimmick all together or limit the stories they are telling. This means the current creative staff is caught

I think these aspects of characters in pro wrestling limits on the stories that can be told. The characters often have to play so much to being authentic that moving away from the characters they have shown can be hard. This is something that performers, writers, and directors in other art forms do not need to worry about.

In the past few years the WWE has felt stagnate. Right now there seems to be little in terms of innovation happening at the highest levels of pro-wrestling. I feel the limitations of 24/7 characters is a large part of the problem.


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