A column sparked inspiration for what I would like to ask. Is it better for a product to be predictable or unpredictable? To truly sink my teeth into this column, I must ask a couple of questions....
a.) If you already knew how a history shaping moment in professional wrestling would play out, would it be as special as being oblivious?
b.) If the answer is yes, what part does innovation play in a predictable environment?
c.) If the answer is no, what makes the moment so shocking or history making?
Let's apply the line of questioning to a few instances.
1.) Hulk Hogan walks down to the ring at Bash at the Beach '96 and turns on Sting and Savage. Was it ground-breaking? Absolutely. Why? Because, up to that point, Hogan had never been a heel. Other superstars had played the heel part so he could remain a face for his entire career up to that point. If people had known he would turn heel, they wouldn't have believed it anyway.
2.) Mick Foley wins his first WWF Championship despite WCW revealing it would happen on live TV. Was it history making? Sure. Why? Because even though people knew it was coming, they switched channels JUST to see the title change, proving that predictability CAN be worked to the advantage.
3.) Triple H and Shawn Michaels reunite one night to reform DX only for Triple H to turn on HBK, creating the longest feud since Austin and McMahon. Had I known it was going to happen, it may have ruined my sense of surprise, but it might have compelled me to see it all for myself.
At the risk of sounding wishy-washy, I am of the belief that good storylines and innovations live OUTSIDE the realm of predictability. With good writing, innovative structures and wonderful talents involved, you can build something special even if the results are given out ahead of time. Going live doesn't mean the surprises leave either. I have to believe that writers, talents, structures, and production all coincide in a harmonious symphony REGARDLESS and the result is something that HAS to be seen firsthand even if you know how it all ends. If John Cena had turned on The Rock at last year's Survivor Series, reforming an nWo stable, it would be something you would have to see to believe, let's face it.
So which is better? As far as I'm concerned, I like to be surprised, but I also like to see exactly what I predicted. I say the jury is still out on this question, but I will say this, WWE is not doing anyone favors by putting the results out where the world can see before the card is put together. It's simply more difficult to make history when you're spending all your time thinking about the present and not how the business can be shaped by the effects of a major shift in thinking.