I'm so tired, guys. So, so tired. Putting TV together is incredibly fun and challenging, and the people I work with are so kind and so good at their jobs... but at this stage it's very time consuming and energy-draining...
There are four stories we need to tell, and maybe half a dozen other stories we'd really like to tell, and we've got six hours of TV time, minus commercials, between now and the November Tokyo Dome show to do all that telling. And, to be accurate, what we really want to do is show the stories, not so much tell them outright. There are some spoilers coming up, so if you wanna be surprised by what happens at the Tokyo Dome show, maybe skip the next few paragraphs. And, for heaven's sake, don't spread any of this around online:
Maybe the number one thing we wanna do is get Bret Hart across as a real threat to take the heavyweight title. We also wanna develop the rivalry between him and Choshu. We wanna keep Bret a babyface even though he is obviously an outsider, and we want to paint Choshu as the villain even though a lot of the NJPW fans think he's the coolest person in the whole world. And, we wanna do this while Bret is mainly working tags with Davey and Choshu is mainly making TV appearances in Tokyo. Ha ha! No problem, right?
Then, we need to build to a tag title match that will get everyone excited. Pretty much every team has some kind of issue we need to work around:
Hogan and Spivey: American Stars Hips: The issue is that Hogan just automatically assumes that every match should involve a hot tag to him and a clean axe-bomber finish. He seems genuinely confused and even a little hurt if we wanna go in any other direction. Also, Spivey is wearing lifts in his boots to play up the "Twin Towers" aspect of their gimmick, which makes him a little less mobile in the ring.
Fujinami and Hase: Dragon Hearts: They are perfectly willing to put anyone over, and will always make anyone they are matched with look like a million bucks. The issue is that it might be the best long-term decision to put the straps on them... so the one team that's ready and able to put other teams over is also the one team we don't want doing that.
Bret and Davey: The Bulldog Foundation: Right now, the booking is all about making Bret look strong and Davey can tell and he is being a good soldier about it for now... but it clearly bugs him a little that he's stuck playing second banana.
Nagata and Nakanishi: Saikyo Yaijin: Still kinda green.
Dos Caras and Sho Koshinaka (with Kato Kung Lee): Los Still-Pretty-Good-icos: The nostalgia factor works for these guys no matter how we book them, but you have to assume there will eventually be a breaking point where the fans start thinking of them as over-the-hill jobbers if they are constantly putting the younger guys over.
Chono and Kensuke: Masahiro Chono and Kensuke Sasaki: They don't have the greatest chemistry as a team just yet.
Road Warrior Hawk and Scott Norton: Big the Great Bulls: Hawk needs to be protected, and so far Norton understands that. Can Norton be more than a powerhouse role player? It's hard to see ow he'll get the chance to show that he can, in this stacked roster. Also, he's so huge that it sometimes looks goofy when he sells for much smaller guys.
Super Strong Machine and T2000 Machine: The Machines: It's pretty likely that we are gonna let them go after the January Dome show, and they know it. So far, they have been good soldiers, but can we keep them motivated while pretty much jobbing them out for three months? They are pros. We have to count on that.
Tenzan and Kojima: TenKoji: They are obviously not ready for the upper card just yet, but they have charisma and they have potential. How much can we push them at this stage?
Lance and 2 Cold Scorpio: Cannon Fodder: Can we get them over while jobbing them out? Maybe... Scorp's offense in particular can really pop the crowd. Lance is perfectly happy to play whatever role he's offered. It's kind of a shame that slightly more selfish guys like Hogan and Hawk are almost always gonna get pushed at the expense of take-one-for-the-team guys like Lance and Norton and Koshinaka.
The key to most of those issues is having the losing team look strong in defeat. Other than Hogan, Hawk, and sometimes Kensuke, everybody in the tournament is at least pretty good at letting the other guy shine. Hogan used to be great at that in his get-beat-down-then-Hulk-up prime.., hopefully we can find the switch to bring that out of him again.