If you’re going to do something, you’d better do it right. If I’m going to create character charts for every gimmick in WWE, maybe we should define what a character chart is first, and what sort of information I’m going to be looking at.
Character charts are a device writers use to fully mold a character before trying to insert said character into the plot of their story. My first introduction to such a device was actually in training for theatre, as ensemble members of productions were instructed to create character charts so their dialogue-less interactions on stage followed a through-line. Character charts themselves can be nearly novel-length, as they literally include every conceivable piece of information about a character. Obviously, I’m not going to bore you with every known details about a performer, but I’m going to try to include the things that would be important to know when trying to book them.
The most important thing I have to consider is whether or not to work inside kayfabe. (If you’re a loyal reader – and thank you – you already know how I feel about kayfabe.) As the gimmick’s exist inside kayfabe, I’m going to have to work mostly along those lines, but I am going to include information about the physical strengths/weaknesses of a gimmick – which means that actual athletes themselves.
Knowing that, here is the list I’m working with now. Some of them don’t require explanation:
2. Status (injured, off-TV, active, etc.)
3. Title history (NOT counting current championships)
4. Current Face/Heel status
5. Team/faction (if applicable)
6. In-ring style
7. Current affiliations – these are legitimate alliances, and not just tag team partners that have been forced on them
8. Past affiliations – other gimmicks they may have legitimate beef with
9. Promo ability – a performance-based analysis of promo work
10. Weaknesses – what is currently holding them back (not counting external obstacles, like bad writing)
11. Strengths – what makes this character someone that people want to watch
It’s going to be hard not to consider current storylines as I begin to dig into each character. But what we’re really looking for here is how the character is on their own, how the character reacts to the individuals around them, and what about that character is appealing to an audience. Knowing those things means we know utilize the character to create the most compelling storylines.
We can’t, of course, compensate for what we don’t know – when someone is going to get injured, when someone might be working on something new to add to their repertoire, or when something might happen outside the world of WWE that directly affects the appropriateness of a storyline. But (for now) these are my basic parameters.
What do YOU think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts on my list, or even a suggestion for who you’d like to see charted first.
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!