The lost art of the backstage interview

Hey, it's DSM, "The Whole Football Show" and YOUR 2012 Fantasy Football League of DOOM! World Heavyweight Champion


We talk a lot about the stale and uninteresting guys on TV nowadays, and I feel like a big part of that is the death of the backstage interview. Sure, they still exist, but it's pretty much a formula of Striker or Mathews or whoever throwing out one question and then the wrestler just cutting his own promo with little regard to the interviewer. It's not an "interview" because there's no back-and-forth. I feel like in the past, this is where we really got to know the personas; whatever memories I have as a child of Hogan or Savage in the early 1990s was not them cutting a Main Event Promo in the middle of the ring, but their coked-out exchanges with Mean Gene, who would question and banter and basically be an equal part and character to the whole segment. 

What got me to send this e-mail was from when I dropped the El Dandy reference in the Bret DVD post; that's a great interview because we see Bret's weasel-y antics of giving a title shot to an underserving (yes, I doubt him) El Dandy (on RAW, that would be the GM's job and Bret would be incredulous just for having to actually wrestle) and has a great back-and-forth with Mean Gene, who is appalled at both Bret's attitude and failure to remember Psychosis's name. I think the last time we had this sort of thing was The Rock and Coach, who killed it every time, with Rocky pretending to be chummy with Coach then forcing him into something embarrassing like doing the Charleston (the best one was the "Bessie" promo, with Rocky's hilarious expression when Coach kept interrupting him and Coach unable to keep a straight face as Rocky was slagging him). 

I think it's a very useful tool in the arsenal to clearly define someone outside of a Main Event Promo that goes almost unused nowadays. If a guy wants to just do a quick 30-second promo about how he's gonna kick someone's ass, they should just bust out the old-school picture-in-picture on-the-way-to-the-ring technique for that. I know Matt Striker is no Mean Gene, but I hope there is a time they utilize the backstage interview, along with bringing back vignettes (which strongly helped Los Guerreros and Dashing Cody Rhodes), as a way to bring more definition to their guys so that we can give a crap about them. It's certainly more beneficial than the eight 60-second squashes we get on Monday nights.

WHO ARE YOU TO DOUBT EL DANDY?!
C'mon, you knew it was coming.

Anyway, using the Rock as an example is kind of unfair to every other interview in the history of wrestling, but definitely it's a tool that could be better utilized. I wish they'd do more Rumble buildup on the shows now, like the old "picking a ball from the tumbler" spots that are such easy character development.  They have been doing drop-in promos, though, and anything that makes Orton slightly less boring can only be a good thing.