The world of professional wrestling has gone through many changes throughout the years. WWE Hall of Famer Booker T talked about the various changes that happened in pro wrestling on his Hall of Fame podcast.
“We are in a different time right now. When we went to the PG era, that kind of flipped the script a bit. It went almost to a television show.
“I think we just got to go back to what wrestling was. What wrestling was, is characters like ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. That is organically made, you can’t create that, you can’t learn that in a school. Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig, you can’t manufacture something that is organic. Guys like Bret Hart, Sting, Ric Flair, those guys built their careers going around the world and getting worldly talent. The went all over learning their craft.”
According to Booker T, splendid promo work was a contributing factor towards making great characters. Booker added that due to the creative changes nowadays, the feuds in the current product are not as heated as they were in the past.
“What wrestling was back in the day was you put a camera in front of the guy, they have an issue and they voiced the issues,” Booker explained. “They did it in an articulate fashion when you go, ‘man, I like those guys, or I don’t.’ Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, you think you can give him a script and ask him to follow this script and say these words verbatim? That’s not going to happen.”
In the end, psychology is also a big factor when it comes to excellent character work. He says that there is no substitute for real-life experience.
“On the other hand, you got to have guys like Jake that can go out there and pull that promo off, make it believable as well,” Booker said. “A lot of guys in the wrestling business have never been in a real fight, so they don’t know how to react in these promos. Guys are really young guys. Guys back in the day had a lot of worldly experiences, they know what it’s like to have someone say something stupid and fight breaks out, the relied on real experiences.”
h/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.