I have a confession to make.
It is going to be a difficult one to share with all of you.
Sometimes you have to take the controversial stance and admit to a truth: I like Saturday Morning Slam.
Yes that wonderful little show between Dragon Ball Z Kai and Yu-Gi-Oh! is one that I truly enjoy. Sure I get a little sick of its theme song and I could deal with less bright graphics, but I believe it is achieving important long-term benefits for the company and provides additional support to the lower card superstars that frequent the show. It is the little stand-alone show that achieves its goals.
My favorite criticism of this show is that it is too kiddie. Yes there is nothing like thirty something wrestling fans complaining that a wrestling show between two Japanese animes does not meet their entertainment needs. How dare they make a kids WWE show TV-G! How quickly we forget we were kids once too!
Didn’t we grow up with WWF Superstars, Mania and LiveWire? WWE needs to build a long-term audience and professional wrestling has been absent far too long from Saturday mornings. It isn’t that little kids cannot watch Raw and Smackdown, but the hours it is on or their access to cable limits them. Being on a network, even if it is CW, opens up an additional major audience that doesn’t have access to the main cable programming. Additionally, it is a much easier route to watch a thirty-minute show versus the unbelievably tough three hours that is sometimes Raw. The WWE has ignored this age for too long and this is a smart way to “get them while they are young”.
One of the only things I liked about the “New” ECW was the chance for lower card and newer wrestlers to shine in a low stress environment. As stated in a previous column, the WWE is too focused on its current/past stars to pay attention to its younger wrestlers. While they are doing some things right to gain their younger audience, they need a place for their stars to develop for their audience.
I believe NXT could do this, but for some reason they wish to severely limit availability to this show. And since SmackDown and Main Event can be glorified Raw Recaps at times that leaves one little show that could, Saturday Morning Slam.
One of my favorite things is the rotating commentators of Slam. We have had The Miz, Brad Maddox, Dolph Ziggler, Heath Slater, Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston to name a few. The art of commentary requires a lot of skill and improvisation; this show gives upcoming superstars a chance to practice this valuable skill. Getting comfortable speaking is going to be one of the major ways to get over with the audience and this commentary practice should not be so easily dismissed.
Neither should we dismiss the style of wrestling this show demands. I heard a lot of complaints about the lack of neck moves on this show. Sure it is weird (and weirder when they show the announcers repeatedly as opposed to in-ring action), but it also the development of playing to the audience. One of my favorite things of attending house shows are without the cameras on, the wrestlers will really practice the skill of playing to the audience. With limits on their move set, the wrestlers will gain valuable experience playing up the cowardly heel or the strong baby face. William Regal has played the cowardly heel well in some early Slam matches and he should be used as a valuable resource for young heels on this show in the future.
Speaking of valuable resources, Mick Foley is the new General Manager of Saturday Morning Slam! I remember his previous work as Commissioner and am very excited about this newest opportunity. Who has given more back to the profession he loves than Mick Foley? In his limited time on the Slam, he has interacted with Natalya , Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Damien Sandow, The Miz, The Primetime Players and Tons of Funk. These superstars are getting completely lost on the main shows and any interaction they can have with this Hall of Famer and his promo abilities is very valuable time for these superstars. If they get treated like jobbers on the main show, they get needed time to develop their characters here. Not too bad for a little kiddie show.
Mostly importantly, we got to see Daniel Bryan roll into a ball for minutes to prevent Tyson Kidd from pinning him. That makes any show worth watching. Daniel is also practicing the role of comedy in wrestling, but that is another column for another day.
John wanted me to introduce myself a little bit more. As I stated in the previous column, I am a high school English teacher. So much like my students, I expect a lot of nitpicking online about every single grammar and spelling error I potentially have. Trust me, it “never” gets old.
I have been a fan since about October 1998 and have enjoyed its highs and lows since those amazing days. I simply want a good escape and the WWE has done a wonderful job, most of the time, since I started watching during the height of the McMahon-Austin days. My favorite wrestlers are Mick Foley, Trish Stratus, Edge, CM Punk and Kurt Angle.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I plan to have a Twitter set-up in the near future.