Posts Tagged ‘Sports Entertainment’

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Catchphrases NXT Edition

April 27, 2017

WILPW

The W slot was always going to be an edition of Why I Love Pro-Wrestling which is a regular feature here on the Wolf of Words. I have been thinking lately of how I connect to the business of sports entertainment and how it can inspire me. Most inspiring to me lately is World Wrestling Entertainment’s NXT show. It has always had a fresh and refreshing energy to it and the performers have gimmicks that are really fun to watch. So I started thinking about slogans (most of them on t-shirts) and I applied them to my own life.


#DIY – Nobody Will Do it For You

Setting aside the funny notion of having a tag team named “Do It Yourself”, I really like the energy of this team. Lately, in my life I have really started doing things for myself because they do not lie, nobody can make your life better than you can. I have a new job and I am about to graduate from my second stint in college. Obviously, DIY does not just mean actually going it alone. It is an energy where you initiate and act in a proactive manner. Also, I feel a little bit of myself reflected in the team composition of DIY. Tomasso Ciampa is known as the “Psycho Killer” while I have had a history of anger problems that I have largely gotten a handle on. Johnny Gargano is a talented, happy go lucky guy which I think is a big part of the other side of my personality.


“The Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger – The Numbers Don’t Lie

A little while back, Tye Dillinger started calling himself “The Perfect 10” and the crowd ate it up. He is also correct about the numbers not lying. Lately, when I start to doubt myself while I am applying to jobs, I start to think about my numbers. I have a 4.0 grade average in Legal Studies. The numbers don’t lie. I am good this. My self-doubt has to take a back seat to the reality that I have worked my tail off showing how suited I am to my new profession. Beyond the slogan, Tye Dillinger is a guy who has been around the company for years, always trying to catch a break. Recently, he finally made it to the main roster. That is inspiring. To watch somebody work and work and finally succeed gives me hope that eventually, I will get where I want to be.


American Alpha – Ready, Willing, and Gable

Goofy pun on Chad Gable’s name aside, I really like this simple slogan. That is what we all want to be, prepared for what lies ahead with the energy to do what needs to be done. Lately, I have been hitting the challenges in my way hard and it is paying off. I feel proud in knowing that while I am not the best, I am a hard worker who does right in the end. It is one of the most positive slogans in the WWE right now and it works because they are a really positive team. I always hope I can work with people as well as Jason Jordan and Chad Gable seem to. I try and sometimes I succeed.


Finn Balor – Summon the Demon

The anger problem I mentioned came from what felt like a deep well of rage that I could feel deep inside of me. You never really get rid of that. That is where “summoning the demon” comes in. As Finn Balor explains, the demon inside of you can have good uses. When I am doing a physical chore and I feel like I am at the end of the rope, focusing the anger in a constructive way really helps. Letting that anger lance through my brain when I am out of it and tired makes for better concentration as long as I keep it reined in. There are positive ways you can focus your anger if you only try.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Bayley

March 11, 2017


It is National Women’s History month and last Wednesday was International Women’s Day. I think it makes sense to pay tribute to the women of professional wrestling. Lately, the division has seen a more mainstream resurgence. Based on the female wrestling in Japan, the core of the WWE’s women’s division is taking things more seriously. For the most part, storylines are based on tests of skill rather than catty slap fights over a male or some other superficial reason for fighting. Today’s reason for Why I Love Pro-Wrestling is part of that core who are called The Four Horsewomen. That’s right! It’s Bayley! Arguably, my favorite member of the Four Horsewomen.

I have been a fan of sports entertainment and professional wrestling in particular for a long time. I love all the twists and turns of the various television shows and pay per view events. While the genre has enjoyed periods of popularity, it feels like it is in another period where it has drifted from the mainstream. It is not a popular topic of conversation among my friends and it is not something I mention that I like in public. I respect it a lot but I know that I am in the minority. I keep my commentary on the WWE and Lucha Underground mostly to this blog and Twitter. However, I still remember that first lightning bolt of excitement when I became a fan.


Bayley embodies that feeling. She is a fan of the business. While most pro-wrestlers were fans of the business before they got their own start, almost none of them talk about it anywhere near the ring. They mention it in podcast interviews but they are in character when they are performing. Bayley openly talks about how much she enjoys the business around her. When she debuted on NXT, she was practically asking for the autographs of the performers she was fighting and fighting alongside. When she recently teamed with The New Day for the first time, she eagerly declared how much she was a fan of theirs and how happy she was to work with them. She is that fan in each of us who just loves the product for what it is.


Eventually, she moved beyond being the doe-eyed fangirl she started out as. She was winning matches so, at some point, the fan rises to a new level. Having her be an ascended fan is such a good idea. For one, she has never forgotten what it means to be a fan. She formed a special bond with a real little girl who attended pretty much every one of her NXT matches. She handed barrettes out to the crowd and became known as the queen of hugs. She is just as thrilled at her own entrance as her die-hard fans are. She has the biggest smile on her face as she makes her entrance and it tends to reappear a lot even during her matches. Like she is still waiting for somebody to pinch her to make sure it is all real.


On top of that, Bayley resonates so well with a demographic that has eluded the Pro-Wrestling world in the past: little girls. Bayley is girly without being weak. While most male and female performers perform from a place of anger or seriousness, Bayley is a ball of joy. She obviously taps into the same energy that The New Day, Santino Marella and Dude Love found. I could not help but root for her in NXT when she was getting bullied by the meaner kids. I was overjoyed when she won the NXT title and started to come into her own. When she appeared on Raw, I got a warm and fuzzy feeling because I knew that it was her dream and her friends were already there. When she recently won the Raw title, I knew how much it meant to her because I know how much it would mean to me. That is why I will always be a big supporter of the Doctor of Huganomics, Bayley.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: The Lingo

September 17, 2016

WILPW

Since I started this part of my blog, I have used a certain language that is unique to the sports entertainment world. It is cobbled together from the early days of pro-wrestling and incorporates a lot of carny slang designed to confuse the fans if they overhear it. Gradually, as the internet became a thing, this language was learned and deciphered by the fans. I figure I have been using it enough both here and on my twitter that I should explain it a little for the layperson. Today we will explore two dichotomies that exist in the sports entertainment world.


Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are probably the best current example of Face vs. Heel

Babyface vs. Heel


Bayley is definitely a big time babyface.

These are probably the two terms I used the most when talking about sports entertainment. A babyface or face basically boils down to ‘good guy’. Although, it can be a little more complicated than that. A babyface does not need to be a good person or a role model. A babyface usually fights for what is right. More importantly, a babyface fights for the fans and earns their respect one way or another. There is a general code that babyfaces go by. In general, they shake hands, they fight hard and they do not cheat unless their opponent cheats first. Of course, there always exceptions to even these loose guidelines.


Ricky Steamboat was definitely another example of a white meat babyface.

There used to be something called a white meat babyface. They were paragons of virtue and always did the right thing no matter what. Hulk Hogan is probably the most well known example of this phenomenon. He told everyone to say their prayers and take their vitamins before it stopped being cool. Eventually, the business realized that nobody, not even fictional characters can be perfect. Now, babyfaces and other characters in sports entertainment are done in shades of gray.


Brock Lesnar: Total Heel

Heels are bad guys and usually the villains of the story. You cannot have babyfaces without heels just like you cannot have light without dark. Generally, heels are not card-carrying villains. It is important that they have a reason for doing the bad things they do. It does not have to be a good reason or even a logical reason. All that is required is that they believe that they are doing the right thing. They will fight against the fans because the fans just do not understand or, in the heel’s mind, the fans are cheering for the wrong person. Heels spend most of their time doing everything in their power to make fans hate them. We may love to hate them but we still hate them. The psychology of a match depends on the actions and reactions between the hell and the face.

Work vs. Shoot

We all know that wrestling is ‘fake’. John Stossel told us ages ago and Vince McMahon admitted it when the World Wrestling Federation became World Wrestling Entertainment. While the athleticism and bodily risk is real, the storylines are written in a collaborative system. A lot of people have a hand in creating a performer’s character and guiding their storylines.


Thankfully the Higher Power storyline was a work or most of the WWE roster would have been sacrificed to Satan by now.

When we say something is a work, we are acknowledging that what is being shown is make believe. It is all part of the planned and written storyline. For example, a worked injury is when a performer either fakes an injury or fakes the severity of an injury. For instance, sometimes they will ‘break somebody’s arm’ to allow them to leave the tour and get some shoulder surgery. Most storylines are a work. When something is a work, you can better control the crowd’s emotions and the performers’ actions.


The shoot angle in my example below actually happened.

On the other hand, a shoot is when things get real. You see these performers might be playacting but they are also real people behind the costumes. They have real feelings and do real things. For example, say a performer sleeps with another’s girlfriend in real life. A shoot would be when that real life conflict is used in the storyline. Shoot can also refer to elements of a character that are also true of the real performer. Due to the nature of the business, it is hard to tell what is a work and what is a shoot for sure. However, a good indicator is the appearances of a storyline in actual news sources.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: January 4 1999

June 25, 2016

WILPW

I want to talk about two events that are so important to me as part of the sports entertainment world. They have been talked about elsewhere but I wanted to put them on the record here because I am fascinated by them and one of them is burned into my memory forever. On January 4, 1999, the Monday Night Wars were going strong between the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling. The WWF was now deep into the Attitude Era while WCW was in the middle of their New World Order Era. As I’ve stated before, I was a huge fan of the WWF and rarely watched WCW even if either was preempted. It was the days of brand loyalty before the existence of DVR or internet streaming. Still, I was kind of aware of what was going on over there.

The Attitude Era of the World Wrestling Federation was when I became a big fan of professional wrestling. I had been a fairly big fan during the mid-nineties but I mainly remember watching over at a friend’s house on Saturday mornings. When Raw premiered my interest heightened but I was still a bit young at age eleven to stay up and watch the show. When I got to middle school and high school, sports entertainment had become
extremely popular and fewer people sneered at it. It was during this period that I would stay up on Monday to make sure I watched Raw all the way through. It was worth it to be a little sleepier on Tuesday mornings in order to watch the twists and turns every Monday night.

Mick Foley had been one of my favorites since he popped up on my radar when he debuted on Raw. I heard about Mankind second hand but as I watched his career, I definitely got more and more interested. I was unaware of his earlier career but I knew how devoted he was when he was thrown twice off of the Hell in a Cell structure. Later that year, his character started to become more comedic and I loved him even more. Somehow it was easier to see the amount of thought he put into the character and I loved his feud with The Rock and the McMahons. In a lot of ways it complemented the story they were telling with Stone Cold and told it in a more humorous way.

Prior to the night in question, Mick Foley (as Mankind) had fought hard to face The Rock for the title and had knocked his opponent out. The title was not awarded to him because The Rock had never submitted and had simply passed out. On the January 4, Mankind used a real wrestling move to incapacitate Shane McMahon and ransomed the younger McMahon so that Vince would let Mankind have a rematch. They had their impromptu rematch and all Hell broke loose. While Rock and Mankind clashed in the ring, Degeneration X and The Corporation fought outside of it. The match was back and forth with The Rock doing everything in his power to keep his title belt and Foley refusing to give up. Finally, with an assist from Stone Cold, Mick Foley covered The Rock for the win. I had been laying on my belly as I watched by I jumped to my feet in quiet celebration since everybody else was asleep.

Meanwhile, things on WCW Nitro were busy failing completely as the company did its best impression of the RMS Titanic. I have since read about and watched some of the footage from this era so I am more aware of what was going on. The New World Order was initially a fresh idea but it had become diluted and WCW was having trouble getting anything to catch fire. Hogan, Nash and their cronies put out progressively worse main events and killed off any promising talent as fast as it could be generated. While the ship sank, the cruiserweight division were the musicians playing on the deck and kept their ratings from becoming a mass exodus. One of their remaining draws was Bill Goldberg who was a decent performer who the crowd loved because he looked unstoppable and had a huge win streak. Of course, WCW’s job near the end was to make chicken shit out of chicken salad.

Hulk Hogan had seen the writing on the wall which said “Fans Are Sick of You” and left active duty. Eventually, he went on live television and, with a straight face, announced that he was running for President of the United States. This was a much more laughable prospect than it is today but Hogan had to get his spotlight from somewhere. Meanwhile, Kevin Nash (formerly Diesel) held the heavyweight title and destroyed all challengers by hook or by crook. Enter Goldberg who showed up as a legitimate and believable threat to Nash’s title reign. The match was set for January 4 and I am sure that a buzz went through the WCW fandom that perhaps a new era was on its way.

On January 4, Goldberg made it to the arena but there was a problem. A ring valet by the name of Miss Elizabeth made an accusation against Goldberg. She said that Goldberg had made inappropriate advances toward her and Goldberg was arrested for “aggravated stalking”. Keep in mind that this was the nineties so having Goldberg get fake arrested by fake cops on a fake almost rape charge was not viewed as politically incorrect. It did not stop it from being a bad storyline even back then. So would Goldberg be able to beat the charges and make it back in time for his title match? Well, Elizabeth changed her story and then eventually admitted she made the whole thing up. Somehow, Goldberg still did not make it back to the arena in time. I mean, an establishing shot showed that the police station was across the street but whatever.

Hulk Hogan, who had come to Nitro to talk about his totally for serious campaign, came out to the ring and accused Nash of orchestrating the whole thing. Nash came out and refuted the claim with extreme indignance. Hogan pushed the issue and somehow Nash agreed to a match for the title to settle the issue and prove something or other. The match began and after a moment, Hogan poked Nash in the chest and Nash sold it like he had been shot with a cannon. Hogan pinned Nash easily and then the two of them got up and celebrated together revealing that they had pulled the wool over our eyes the whole time. Hogan was back and was once again king of the mountain, solving nothing from a business or creative standpoint.

These two events aired the same night and they are like night and day to me. Foley winning his first Heavyweight Championship was an award for his long service in the business and his loyalty to the WWF and the fans. It was an extremely positive moment and not only because a babyface won a championship. Hogan winning his umpteenth title belt was more of the same stuff we had seen before. It was a negative moment because fans had been cheated out of a good, bad or mediocre title match in favor for stupid shenanigans. For better or worse, both companies have the word “Wrestling” in their name and that should be the first order of business. I have not even mentioned that the Raw that night was pre-recorded and WCW announcer Tony Schiavone spoiled the Foley moment for WCW viewers. He sarcastically said that it “should put butts in seats” and it ended up causing a huge amount of viewers to switch over to Raw to watch Foley win.

Why is this night personal to me? Well, I mentioned that Monday Night Raw was pre-recorded. It actually took place on my birthday December 29th. The memory of a guy who would become my hero achieving his dream on my birthday is a strong and positive thing for me. Not only that but there were a lot of great performers attached to that moment who worked together to make everything work. It was chaotic, it was messy but it ended up beautiful. On the other side of things, WCW was taking shots at their former employee (Foley) while putting out some of the worst written and performed non-wrestling in the history of the business. The juxtaposition of the events has burned them both into my brain and yet it is the Finger Poke of Doom that has become industry shorthand. Hell, I am wearing a Finger Poke of Doom t-shirt right now. It just shows how interesting Pro-Wrestling is and why I love it.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Mick Foley

January 10, 2016

WILPW

 

As I sit here wearing my brand new Viking Hall t-shirt, I’ve been thinking about the world of Extreme. Speaking of Extreme, we just passed an anniversary that’s very special to me at least in the way of the world of sports entertainment. We’ll get to that very special date in a bit. First, I want to start at the beginning. I want to tell you about one of my personal heroes and a legend in sports entertainment and in life. I’m talking about Cactus Jack. I’m talking about Mankind. I’m also talking about Dude Love. But really, I’m talking about Mick Foley. He’s one of the big reasons I kept being a fan through the end of the previous century and why I keep giving the WWE in particular the benefit of the doubt. But I said that I would begin at the beginning but that means the beginning of my experience.

 

 
I first heard of Mick Foley when he was performing under his Mankind persona. More specifically, I mean his heel role as a deranged basement dweller. My best friend Farris, who introduced me to watching WWE, told me about this guy he had seen premiere. He was crazy, he wore a mask, he ripped his own hair out and he couldn’t feel pain. I was intrigued. When I finally saw him out there in the ring I was even more intrigued. Pretty much every other performer out there was muscle-bound or lithe and fast. Here was a guy who was very rough around the edges and strange. Little did I know that I was becoming intrigued with something that Foley himself put a lot of work into. He read psychology and somewhat based his character on Hannibal Lecter. He debuted and almost immediately went after the Undertaker.

 

 
As he continued to fight in the WWF, I was interested but to be honest I wasn’t that interested. I was way into Shawn Michaels and Undertaker and soon enough Steve Austin and although he was interesting, he was a bad guy and I was in a period of my life where that mattered. Then the atittude era hit and wrestling became way more fun. It was no longer an exciting Saturday Morning cartoon. It was still exaggerated but it felt a little more “real” somehow. That feeling really hit home when Mankind sat down for an interview with the legendary Jim Ross.

 

 
That interview weaved together elements of the Mankind character with elements from Mick Foley’s own life. Never before had I seen a character in sports entertainment with so much backstory and heart. I had no idea at the time that a huge amount of that backstory was real and that Mrs. Foley’s baby boy was a guy after my own heart. From that moment on I was a Mankind fan and I was glued to Raw to see what happened next with him. What came next was that he got to evolve. He became his childhood creation of Dude Love. Who among us wouldn’t be thrilled to bring a childhood dream to life? Really? It was so different from what everybody else was doing.

 

 
Then he became Cactus Jack again but I had never heard of Cactus Jack before because I hadn’t watched WCW back then and I had, at that point, never even heard of ECW. Watching Mankind, Dude Love and Cactus Jack made it clear to me that Mick Foley was the real deal and could put on a hell of a match. This was still a tape world and I had no access so I stuck with his WWF career like glue. Mankind returned but he had now merged all three characters and he was even more entertaining to watch. Then the moment that shocked the world happened.

 

 
I watched Mick Foley fall twenty feet and then get up and fall about fifteen and then keep going. On purpose. For a match. I loved Foley and I was a huge fan before but at that point I was a Foley fan for life. I followed his career even closer at that point and I loved every step of it. Finally he became a babyface, an odd term applied to a guy who was missing teeth. He became more of a comic character but he still fought with heart and I loved him more and more. He had one of my favorite feuds of all time with The Rock and it was the first real experience I had where I loved both the babyface and the heel. It is here that we reach the anniversary of Mick Foley winning his first Heavyweight Championship. It happened on my birthday (December 29, 1999) but it wasn’t broadcast until about a week later. I felt like it was the greatest birthday present in the world.

 

 
It was around this time that he published his first autobiography and I grabbed it up. It was here where Mick Foley became a personal hero. His life, in his own words was an inspiration and I still have my first copy which fell apart from re-reading it over and over. It was here that I learned who Mick Foley was and how I connected to him not just as a character on television but as a human being. It was also here that I learned about ECW and his days in WCW. I tried to get footage where I could but it was still hard to do in 1999. I have since watched a lot of it and enjoyed every minute of it. I enjoyed his run in TNA as he wasn’t just the same old Foley in a different pond, he adapted. It seems he’s more or less retired from the big spotlight now but he’ll never be forgotten.

 

 
I’m still a big Foley fan but I follow him these days more as a writer than a performer. His insight into the writing and performing part of the business is invaluable. He’s so good at adapting and evolving with the times that he knows just the way to use new and current talent. I would watch him perform again in a heartbeat but I have a feeling he knows he’s better applying his mind to the business and elsewhere.

Derek Porter

April 4, 2015

<A spotlight hits the top of the ramp and unfamiliar music starts up as moving lights start to sweep around the audience, the ramp and the ring.>

Tom Harper: Who’s music is that? We didn’t have any new guys scheduled for tonight. Rachel! You usually know what’s going on. Let us know what’s happening.

Rachel Wyatt: I know about as much as you, Tom, as frightening as that thought is.

<Derek Porter steps into the spotlight and he’s wearing a blazer with no shirt and wraparound sunglasses. He looks seriously at the audience and then busts into an arrogant smirk before heading towards the ring. >

Tom: What is Derek Porter doing? What’s this music and where’s his brother?

Rachel: Shh he’s about to talk.

<Derek held up his hand as soon as he got halfway down the entrance and he pulled a microphone out of his pocket. He looks around and then speaks as she makes his way into the ring>

Derek Porter: My name is Derek Porter and you think you know me. You all think you know me but I’ve been lying to you and I’ve been lying to myself all this time. I’m not a smiling, high fiving Porter boy. I should never have been a member of the Crash Brothers. It was a dumb idea and it was the stupidest tag team in the history of this company. I did it to make my dad happy but you know what? That was a mistake.

My dad. Jerry Porter. Legend. <Said with some sarcasm> So much of a legend that he never won a single belt. At least my brother and I won the tag belts a few times. My dad never amounted to anything in his whole career. I’ve only been here two years and I’ve gone farther than he ever did. There’s just one obstacle in my way. My brother. Like my dad, my brother doesn’t even have half my talent. Without him in the way, I can take this company by storm.

The Porters are done as a tag team. I am the future now. My future includes holding every belt I can get my hands on. Now, I want management out here so we can start planning the future. My future.

<Instead, his brother Jerry Porter Jr. stomps through the curtain and makes a bee line for the ring with no music playing. He looks understandably angry as he rolls into the ring and grabs a microphone>

Jerry: Have you lost your mind? Dad taught us everything we know. I can’t stand back there and here you run him and me down. Either we go to the back and talk about this or you and I throw down right here and right now.

Derek: I’ve got nothing to say to you. I’ve said just about all I’m gonna say.

Jerry: I don’t want to hit you, Derek. We’re brothers.

Derek: Well you know, that’s interesting. Do you want to know why that’s interesting? It’s because – <Mid sentence Derek belts his brother hard with a surprise right, sending him sprawling to the canvas. He rolls out of the ring and grabs a chair and climbs back into the ring. As Jerry starts making it to his feet, Derek blasts him in the back of the head with the chair leaving Jerry in an unconscious heap in the middle of the ring. Derek tosses the chair aside and leaves the ring with a microphone>

Derek: I have no brother. You know what? I think I’ll find the management myself.

<Derek threw down his microphone and walked toward the back>

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: CM Punk

November 4, 2014

WILPW

I think enough time has passed and I’m finally ready to talk with calm emotions about a subject that rocked the world of sports entertainment and is still a sore spot with some people.  In some ways it actually turned out to be less of a big deal than it originally felt like.  Now it’s just a wave of what will become nostalgia for one of my favorite performers of all time.  Of course, I am talking about the departure of CM Punk from the WWE.  At the time, it was more of a blow but now I’m pretty chill about it.

In January 27, 2014 Phillip Brooks aka CM Punk walked out of the WWE, declining to perform as a sports entertainer from that point on.  The word was that he was tired and burned out and displeased with his position in the company.  There’s no real way to know the truth as CM Punk has remained mostly silent on the matter.  At first, I celebrated the move because who among us has not wanted to quit a job we were no longer happy with?  I always loved his character and of course I sided with him. I wanted a better position for him in the company.

As the days stretched into weeks and then months I started to think he was selfish for violating his contract and taking his ball and going home.  I wondered if he was ever coming back and then he finally announced that he had retired from the business.  I felt oddly good about it.  Sure, I was disappointed that his last match was the Royal Rumble.  However, finally getting some solid news provided closure.  Over time I realized that he didn’t owe anyone an explanation.  On top of that, he was able to retire on his own terms without a life-threatening or career-ending injury being the reason.  Months later he started to make appearances outside of the WWE and I found I was just as much a fan of Phil Brooks as I was CM Punk.  I still am.

That said, I will always love and respect CM Punk for the contributions he made to the WWE and the world of sports entertainment at large.  From life in Ring of Honor to Total Nonstop Action to the top of the heap of the WWE, CM Punk was larger than life.

You could read a rundown of his career all day from various sources so I’ll just talk about my personal fandom.  I first saw Punk when he showed up on the “ECW on SyFy” show and I was instantly curious about him.  He came out to ring to some of the coolest punk/metal music and was covered in tattoos.  Most prominent of those tattoos was the symbol for Cobra.  You know Cobra, they fought GI Joe all throughout the eighties and a bit in the nineties.  The other major tattoos were the Pepsi logo and his straightedge tattoos.

I have never indulged much in drugs.  The barely interested me and I always had other  things to do.  I have dabbled here and there with alcohol but I was always worried about its effect on me.  I was always worried that alcohol would help my anxiety too much but also I was worried how it would mix with my depression.  Eventually my reluctance left me with a very low resistance to alcohol and made me a “lightweight” or “cheap drunk”.  At one point, since I wasn’t really indulging much anyway I thought about just going straightedge like my hero CM Punk.  I decided against it but I still think about it from time to time.

Punk was always a great performer both in the ring and out.  He innovated both his character and his in-ring style depending on whether he was a good guy or a bad guy.  He was one of the few performers where I did not care if he was a good guy or a bad guy.  I was always happy to see him out and performing.  I was always glad to hear his <entrance music> which was instantly recognizable.   He became a welcome sight even when the rest of the show was mediocre.  He elevated everyone around him and seemed to be a wrestling luminary even at a young age.

He also was able to highlight a lot of the inequities in sports entertainment, an opportunity that management actually afforded him.  From the Straightedge Superstar to the Straightedge Savior to the Voice of the Voiceless to finally being Best in the World.  To me he really was The Best in the World with very little sarcasm.  I’m glad that I got to see his great career but I’m also glad that I got to see him retire while he was still relatively healthy.  At least we will always have our memories of his great career and, hell, he’s really funny outside of the business too.

Why I Hate Pro-Wrestling

August 24, 2014

Just kidding, I love it but there are some things I hate about it.  Let’s talk about them from time to time. Shall we?

WILPW

Dangerous Behavior

Last episode I talked about sports entertainers purposefully putting themselves in potentially career-ending or life-ending situations.  This can be exciting and, in the right arena, it can mean a higher box office or ratings.  (I exclude pay-per-view buyrates because under the current system they barely still exist.)  I worry about the performers when they do this but I know that they plan these things out and should be alright as long as a mistake isn’t made.

The problem is that an accident isn’t the only way somebody can get hurt in or out of the ring.  When a performer gets injured the industry suffers, the performer suffers and we all suffer.  When Dolph Ziggler suffered a concussion he spent months recovering and all that time the company was down one talented performer.  The same thing happened with Daniel Bryan’s ongoing neck surgeries.  His momentum was killed and we’re left wondering when he’ll be back.  That is if he returns at all.

Edge (Adam Copeland) had so many neck surgeries he had to retire in his late thirties but at least he was still walking.  Darren Drozdov was injured and left in a wheelchair for life.  Owen Hart fell several stories to his death in the middle of the ring because of a stunt gone wrong.   The lists of performers goes on and on those are all just from accidents.

Performers can hurt each other or themselves for a multitude of reasons and none of them are good.  I like my Pro-Wrestling more fake than real so that the performers that I enjoy get to have long, fruitful careers.  Here are some of the horrible reasons that wrestlers get hurt besides accidents.

1: The performers are angry at each other in real life

Most performers seem to be alright with keeping their emotions in check while they are in the ring.  Most of the time when performers hate each other, this sort of combat is done outside of the ring.  The only way we hear about it is through rumors or years later when they do documentaries on it.  It probably happens a lot more in the independent promotions where conditions are worse.   Since it’s easier to get fired this way, most people seem to decide against scrapping backstage or just don’t report it.  Besides, it’s embarassing for people to find out you lost a real fight.

Bret fought Shawn for real backstage and even ripped some of his hair out.   

Jacques Rougeau punched Dynamite Kid’s Teeth out.

Blue Meanie was given a hellish blackeye by JBL.

2: Trying to prove their worth

Trying to hold onto your spot seems to be one of the hardest things to do in wrestling.  The only thing harder is trying to get to a higher spot on the card.  This causes young performers to try their hardest to nearly kill themselves for a shot at the big time.  If they don’t get too injured it sometimes works…. unfortunately.  When these tactics work, it encourages the next young guy or girl to nearly kill themself for their big break.  It worked for the examples below but it probably did not for countless others you will never hear about.

Mick Foley took the Nestea plunge onto concrete

Chris Jericho wrestles with a broken arm

JT Smith intentionaly screwed up moves for attention (No video)

3: People working stiff

Some performers are known for “working stiff” which means that their strikes and maneuvers are done as real as possible.  When they work this way means that they are actually laying into their opponent pretty much as hard as they can.   Most of them do it because it looks better or because they want to test their opponent.  This has a tendency to make the other person work stiff to keep from being steamrolled.  This turns a fake fight into a real one really quickly.  The business tends to give these guys a pass because they legitimize the product but it’s still dangerous.

Vader and Misawa being Stiff as Hell

Mick Foley getting a ligament torn in his jaw

Ultimate Warrior also worked stiff

Candi Darling Promo

August 1, 2014

<Candi Darling is seen walking backstage, carrying a baseball bat, her championship belt and a microphone.  She doesn’t look too concerned, especially given that opponents of the Wolves get ambushed constantly. It is important to note that she is completely alone. She looks right at the camera and stops in her tracks.  She pauses for a moment just giving the camera a curious look as if she had never seen one before.  As usual, she looks and sounds completely unbalanced.  She slowly walks to the camera and grabs hold of it for a big close-up.>

Candi: I think people deny what they really are. We are who we are.  We are the new normal.  You hurt her. You made us unhappy.  We want to be happy.  We have spirit, yes we do.  We have spirit, how about you?  <She has gotten uncomfortably close to the camera by this point>

<Suddenly, Candi lets go of the camera and looks to her right at an interviewer who is not there. The cameraman slowly backs up to reveal this>

Candi: I’m so glad you asked. Everybody is so fired up and I want to do my best.  Sure, there will be blood… but I think we’ll all have a lot of fun with it.  This?  This is my favorite bat.  <She admires the baseball bat for a few moments of silence.>

<In walks Michelle Ross who still has her arm in a sling from Maggie Sinclair’s attack.  Candi stops and turns and smiles at Michelle>

Michelle: Um… <Afer a beat of staring silence> Candi, you do know that you’re facing Maggie Sinclair tonight.  How do you feel about facing one of the Wolves?

Candi: She’s a wolf?  I thought she was a girl.  I guess that changes things. Yes. Yes.  Yes…. Yes.

Michelle: <After a brief beat> Maggie Sinclair is absolutely vicious. <She touches her bad arm gently with her good arm.> Aren’t you afraid to be facing her tonight?

Candi: Oh Meesh, Meesh, Meesh, Meesh, Meesh… <She gently presses fingers against Michelle’s sling. The gesture is somehow very intimate. Candi’s words are calm and almost playful.> I’m vicious too. I’m brutal. I’m violent.  <She gently pulls Michelle in close by the sling. Michelle whimpers slightly> I understand.  She hurt you… but I’ll make sure she never hurts you again.  Never hurts anyone again. <She pulls her even closer, their faces inches from each other> Never again. <She suddenly smiles at her before skipping off toward the ring, baseball bat still in hand. Michelle just stares after her, stunned.>

Announcer 1: Wow… what was that?

Announcer 2: That’s a determined competitor headed to the ring for her match.

Announcer 1: Or a psycho.

Announcer 2: A little bit of both.

Robert Storm/William Cardona/Cass Calloway Promo

July 11, 2014

I posted a little bit of this before but I have a huge project that I have spent a lot of time on.  I created my own fake wrestling company with an ever-expanding roster.  I love writing pro-wrestling promos and exploring characters.  I do realize that my characters owe a lot of their inspiration to the entertainers and story lines I always loved.  I don’t care.  Actually, some of the characters I wrote appeared in my head before I saw performers just like them.  For instance, I wrote Paige before I saw her on NXT.  Well, not exactly but close enough.

*                            *                                  *

<With no fanfare or announcement, William Cardona, Esquire steps out onto the stage with a microphone in hand and starts down the ramp and towards the ring>

Cardona: Ladies and Gentlemen, if I could have your attention just for a little while.  I know this wasn’t scheduled and I will try to keep this brief.

<A chorus of boos and chatter make it so anything the young lawyer would say would most likely be inaudible.  Cardona, who is now in the middle of the ring, gives the crowd a ‘Really?’ look and rolls his eyes.  He mocks checking his watch and taps his foot.  He finally makes the ‘Wrap it Up’ signal with his hand.  The boos grow louder.  Cardona seems to signal something to the timekeepers area and speaks into the microphone which is now louder>

Cardona: That’s about as warm a welcome as I can expect in a place like Miami, I guess.  I can’t wait to get out of this town so I can take a long, long shower and feel clean again.  <More boos>  Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes.  I William Cardona Esquire, as a duly appointed representative of Storm Industries, stand before you in your time of need.  Believe me, your troubles have not gone unnoticed and our heartfelt sympathy is with you.  This situation with these ‘Wolves’ is bad.  If you think that a weak-willed boss like Ms. Trisha Cowan can manage damage control then I’m afraid you are sadly mistaken.  However, you can all start writing your thank you letters now because I have the perfect solution: my client, Robert Storm.

<Cardona points up the ramp as the lights go out and a single spotlight picks out a man in a suit sauntering into the light before fireworks go off and Robert Storm raises his hands in the air like a homecoming hero. Cardona applauds in the ring as he watches his client walk down the ramp and try to shake hands but the audience isn’t really buying it>

Storm: That’s right. I have returned. <Boos> You. Are. Welcome!  <He raises his arms in the air to more boos>  I have returned to save this company from those wolves at the gate and I am not asking for one thing in return. Trust me.  I hate to point out that I told you. I told you. I. Told. You.  You cannot trust Adam Wolf.  Well, I’m here to reassure you that I have experience with Adam. I can offer my expertise and my help. I don’t even want anything in return. Nothing at all. <Storm and Cardona share a look where they all but wink at each other>

<Storm and Cardona look up sharply as their time in the ring is interrupted by the music for Cass Calloway. Cass is carrying a microphone and as the music fades down and the crowd quiets back down, he speaks.>

Cass: I’ve got one question for you, Storm, with all due respect, of course.

Cardona: All questions, especially from inferior wrestlers, should be addressed in writing to Mr. Storm’s legal counsel first.

Storm: I’ll make an exception this time, William.  I’m feeling generous.  Ask your question, Cass, I won’t even complain about how rude it is to interrupt.

Cass: Alright, who asked you?  Who asked you to come and “save” us?

Storm: Nobody asked me to.  I just decided that I owed it to the good people who enjoy the product and services we provide.

Cass: Sounds generous but I think you’re just upset about the Wolves crowding in on your territory.

Storm: My territory. Cass, the only thing I’ve ever wanted was fair and honest competition.

Cass: That’s funny. That’s really funny.  Paul Storm, you’re a bully and a cheat and a liar.

Cardona:  Mr. Calloway, you are crossing the line into actionable slander.

Cass: Again, apologies, I wouldn’t want to get sued.  Everybody out there knows the truth anyway <He points out at the crowd>.  Though, if you’re looking for a fight, you don’t have to look any further than me.
<Suddenly he was in Storm’s face and Storm didn’t shy away>

Storm: If I have to prove that I’m the man for the job then yes. The match is on. I could use a warm-up match.

Cass: You and me. In the center of that ring and you know what?  Let’s make it right now.

<Cardona tries to say something to Storm off microphone but Storm waves him off>

Storm: You’re on.  Get a ref down here! <Storm starts to strip off his jacket and dress shirt as Cass Calloway’s music hits and he and a referee start heading towards the ring. Cardona scurries out of the ring quickly>


susanne matthews

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