Building a website like “Pyro and Ballyhoo“, is something that I’ve wanted to do for some time. Even though writing gets extremely painful at times–-a writer HAS TO write. From late 1995 to 2012, I was involved in writing wrestling shows for three different companies. Throughout that experience, my love for writing really just turned into a “job” for various reasons.
First off, the load of content that you had to churn out was absolutely ridiculous. There is no television show on the face of this planet–-or, any other for that matter–-that writes AND produces at least ONE two-hour show—52 weeks out of the year. That schedule is ridiculous, and should have changed a long time ago. So with that–-a couple of things come into play–-I don’t care who you are–-you are NEVER writing your best material–-NEVER. There just is no time to craft, tweak, re-think, etc. It just becomes a race against the clock–-where the show has to get done. No other show in Hollywood is written with such great constraints and demands–NONE.
Add to that, you VERY rarely have the opportunity to write 100% the show you want to write. There is ALWAYS somebody else to answer to. So, you spend hours trying to write the best show you can, already under horrific conditions, than, when you finally get it done–-you usually have to get approval from “others” (and I’m NOT talking Vince McMahon OR Dixie Carter), regardless if whether from a creative standpoint–-they actually “deserve and have the experience” to have that input. So, at that point the red marker comes out–-and you have one of two choices–argue until you look like Violet Beauregarde–-or, just make the changes. Nine times out of ten–-I just made the changes. Why? Somewhere along the line I just lost my fighting spirit. And, in tune with that–-the clock was ticking so there was just ZERO time for argument.
So, as you could see–-the process wasn’t as much fum as one might think it would be. When you’re forced to work in that manner, under those circumstances, your love for something just becomes a “job” over the years–-and you just do the best you can do. But, deep down in the heart of a writer, there is always that longing to have the freedom to write about what you “really” want to write about, and most importantly–-your passions. THAT’S why there was always a desire for a “Pyro and Ballyhoo“. But, there was also yet another motive to my madness. For those that would elect to come to this website, I really wanted to take the opportunity to teach them as much as I possibly could as it pertains to the wrestling business. There is just so much that goes into what I did, and unless you were there and did it . . . you would just never really understand. Having my vantage point, I think that there are very few more qualified than me, who can now take a stab at . . . .REALLY . . . making you understand.
So, at this point, I will trow on my sports coat, and become Professor Russo. This will be our first class in “Wrestling 101″, and it will be called, “The Myth of the Turn”.
If you follow me at all, than you know that I recently opened a twitter account @pyroballyhoo. For years I have been scared to death of this “twitter” gimmick. I can remember YEARS AGO, and I mean YEARS AGO when “Cheerleader Melissa”, a great talent and human being, first told me about this “twitta thing”. At that time nobody was doing it, only a handful of people. I can remember Melissa really going into detail, and me just blurting out, “Why would anybody care what anybody is else doing 24 hours a day?!” I thought the concept was ridiculous! So here I am years later–-being as ridiculous as the next guy. Any way, as I was watching “Impact” this week, the discussion of the MVP “turn” came up. Many people felt that the “turn” came too soon, and that TNA should have held off on the “turn”. One guy even wrote me that MVP himself thought the “turn” was a bit premature. So, I listened, and I thought, and I soon realized:
“THROUGHOUT MY ENTIRE WRESTLING CAREER I HAD ACTUALLY NEVER “TURNED” A PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER.”
Yeah, you got that right–-that’s why I put it in bold type. Here–-I will say it again:
“I HAVE NEVER “TURNED A PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER”.
Not to be disrespectful to any one reading this, because that’s not my purpose at all–remember, I’m a Professor now, so I have to lead by example–but, I don’t think that the wrestling fan truly understands that a “turn” is not a “turn” at all, but rather a character “reacting” when faced with a certain set of circumstances, a certain situation–-or–a certain conflict. It’s that character –staying true to himself–at that point in time–under the cirmcumstances/situation given. In other words–-there is NO TURN at all–-the character is just reacting to what’s now been handed to him.
Let me explain–-and I’ll do it with MVP.
Upon his arrival in TNA as the “Director of Business Operations”, MVP clearly told us the story of his checkered past: life on the streets, his gang affiliation, doing time in jail for breaking the law, etc. MVP then went on to explain that he was given a “second chance in life”, and that he was very grateful for this opportunity in TNA.”
OK–-so from a storytelling POV (point of view) MVP has just explained to us his background–-his past–who he was at another time in his life.
So from there, MVP goes on and conducts himself in a professional manner as the Director of Wrestling Operations at TNA. He’s all about truth, justice and the AMERICAN WAY!!! All right–-now I have to play this following clip:
Getting back to MVP. So, MVP represents his job to the best of his capability–-until–-some how, some way, Eric Young becomes the TNA World Heavyweight Champion! The circumstances/situation is now changed. Now, at this point, one would have to think that MVP may be starting to get a little “frustrated” with his job. I mean, there’s been headache, after headache with Samoa Joe, then you throw Austin Aries into that picture–-you get the idea. MVP has to be asking himself—”is this what I really signed up for? I’M A WRESTLER!” Now–-add to that— “he’s a wrestler” with a CHECKERED PAST!!!
All of the above is called character development. Once a character is established–-the fun comes when you can really start thinking about–-what they’re thinking about. What would–so and so–do if put in that situation. And, you can put any name in there if you want–-take John Cena for instance.
Now, the way Cena has been booked over the years, one would think that he would do the RIGHT THING no matter what the situation–that’s how he’s been built for well over a decade. NOW–-if Cena were put in this position, and he would have taken the advantage of this situation–-which would have been totally out of his character–-THAT WOULD BE A TURN! It would NOT BE in John Cena’s make-up to do the “wrong thing”. But here–-we’re not talking about John Cena, we’re talking about MVP, a guy who grew up in a gang, went to jail, became a successful wrestler, took a job as more an authority figure, started getting frustrated in his job, saw an opportunity–-AND TOOK IT!!!
THERE IS NO TURN HERE, FOLKS!!!
MVP did EXACTLY what that “character” would have done based on his BACKGROUND and the PRESENT SITUATION that he’s in. THERE WAS NO TURN!!! Did “Rock” turn when he joined “The Corporation”? Of course he didn’t, Rock was wearing $500 shirts at the time, didn’t care about anybody else but himself, thought HE was the star of the Nation of Domination, finally broke away, was given an opportunity by Vince McMahon which involved POWER and MONEY–-so that “character” took it based on the “present situation”. He didn’t TURN–-he stayed TRUE TO HIS CHARACTER!!!
And that is what’s being lost in translation here–-STAYING TRUE TO YOUR CHARACTER IS NOT TURNING. It’s what you would do if put in a certain situation.
Would it be a Vince Russo TURN if all of a sudden I decided to blow up against Jim Cornette after years of him burying me? No, it would be years of built up anger, and finally having taken enough, that would LEAD TO THAT! That’s the groundwork that’s been laid for the past decade. Now, if tomorrow I went out and denounced Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior–-that would be a TURN!!! NOT in my character–-therefore–-NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!!
So, I hope all that clarifies for you the “Myth Behind the Turn”. I look forward to our next class, where perhaps we discuss—”Are Referees REALLY Stupid . . . or . . . .Are We Just Making Them Look That Way?”
Until next time–-class is adjourned!!!