Tea Party Patriots
I’m specifically not on twitter because I don’t care for the platform, but in a piece written on The Wrestling Blog, Tom Holzerman notes that, presumably obviously, there was a lot of mixed reactions on twitter. Something like Zeb Coulter’s character is certainly one that can be seen as racist and insensitive, but I think it’s one that is perfect for discussion.
First, my response to Holzerman’s piece that I wrote on his blog:
“I think it was well played because he specifically didn’t mention any nationalities or races of people. If that continues, this will be a great, nuanced gimmick. If he starts saying something as obtuse as “Mexicans need to leave,” or something about “the blacks,” it could get real ugly.”
The entire promo was gripping in the lack of detail. But let’s go even further…
The Tea Party was a political movement in the United States that was, from it’s inception, something that almost seemed like a joke. Their first major national action was to mimic the Boston Tea Party by throwing tea into the Boston Harbor on Tax Day, 2009, to protest first term Barak Obama’s “terrible tax policies.” The irony (or really the better word would be stupidity) of this action being that the tax policies that they would be protesting on that particular tax year were products of the Bush administration… something these affluent, white people never seemed to have a problem with. They only became enraged by the “runaway spending” and “high taxes” that they believed a black man with a “muslim name” was responsible for, which he was obviously not.
It only got worse.
While they were able to hide behind a strictly fiscal platform built upon “libertarianism” for a little while, the true motivations of this group became clear. Once winning many national Senate and Congress races in the 2010 election, many of these new politicians began to seek out non-fiscal issue problems, such as women’s rights and immigration.
It was non-issues like this coming to a real life head in the form of protests in support of a woman’s fucking right to choose that made me want to leave the United States entirely, which I have since done.
They were able to make a lot of headlines, but thankfully not change too much legally. However, the (for lack of a better phrase) fucking racist, misogynist bullshit that spewed from the Tea Party’s mouths changed the way politics work, even to this day, nearly four years later. Politicians can spout whatever idiotic idea they have about women’s reproductive organs and it becomes national news, and they are now “entitled to their opinion.” All thanks to the outrageous platforms the Tea Party took and stood behind without batting an eyelash.
The reason Zeb Coulter’s character is important (and I hope his name is a play on Anne Coulter, another racist / misogynist blowhard, excuse me) is because this group is finally dying, and they deserve to be parodied in this way. They deserve to become cartoon characters and to be stamped out of any serious memory we may have. Any group that makes my mostly liberal/totally Democrat oriented relatives say they “miss George Bush” is clearly an evil, evil fucking group of people.
I do hope they continue with this angle, because it’s important for people to deal with the reality of American politics today. Pieces of shit like this were practically in charge of the United States for a little while, and are still destroying it piece by piece today. People need to be confronted with that in a relatively safe environment like the organic theater professional wrestling and the WWE provides, whether they’re “comfortable” with it or not.
Stop Calling Wrestling “Theater”
I’ve been developing this on The Intercontinental Podcast for the past couple weeks. We all do our best to justify professional wrestling in an artistic sense. Professional Wrestling is art, simply put. If it were a perfect world and people were accepting of others’ interests, we wouldn’t have to go much further than that.
Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world. Roughly ten years ago, people called WWE a male soap opera, in a bit of a derogatory sense. We as wrestling fans have done our best to redirect that and make claims that professional wrestling (I’ll just keep writing professional wrestling, however, granted, a majority of my knowledge comes from WWE) is theater in most senses. I have begun to try to change that narrative on the podcast. I’ve been calling wrestling organic theater at the least.
As I stated one week, theater is the production of performances meant to be repeated. How many times has A Midsummer Night’s Dream been performed? How many times have theater companies given us another iteration of Death of a Salesmen? That is the core of theater: what is your vision of a play? You can do whatever you want with it, but the story is always the same. Even an independent production team trying to create new works will only turn serious profit when those works are bought and done by other theater companies. That’s fine.
Professional Wrestling does not do that. Ever. Vince McMahon isn’t going to “sell the script” of Austin v. McMahon, 1997, or Bret Hart’s Anti-Canada storyline, or CM Punk v the WWE - Money in the Bank 2011. The atmosphere for those periods of time in WWE will never be recreated. People will try to recreate Stone Cold Steve Austin (Mr. Kennedy in TNA c. 2010 would be an example, or CM Punk summer of 2012), but it will not work. The players and characters will not be the same, no matter how they try. Not only that, but the crowd will not be the same. We will never see another Money in the Bank 2011, and I don’t want to. I want to see where the story goes from there.
This is the crux of my argument that if anyone tries to make the claim that WWE/professional wrestling is “theater,” the word “organic” must be placed beforehand. The way stories are built can be pushed by scriptwriters and obviously there are many recycled ideas, but the way those ideas are remembered and truly develop is incredibly reliant on the audience’s reaction to the performer and “supporting cast,” for lack of a better term. The way the crowd accepted Mick Foley as a folk hero will not be exactly the same, ever again. No matter how much they try.
If we as wrestling fans are to truly claim ownership of the fact that we aren’t embarrassed to enjoy it, then we need to stop hiding behind trying to label it as something it’s not. Professional wrestling is not theater. It is better than theater. Despite how bad the show can often be, the reality is that professional wrestling is something we own. We are responsible for making memorable characters everytime we buy a ticket or write a blog post or twitter post and laud our favorite performer, be it Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, or even an emerging talent like Kaitlyn. The way their story progresses relies on us, and that is critically different from theater.
Mary and I Just Watched Smackdown Last Night, Here Are Some Random Soap Opera Thoughts
First, some groundwork discussion. As Brayton and I discussed on episode number 1 of The Intercontinental Podcast (which will have new episodes soon, two weeks ago I had family health issues and last week we had insane technical difficulties), AJ Lee is best viewed with the perception that her character is actually a teenager… maybe around age 18.
It makes sense if you think about it: during the love-triangle summer she had with Punk, Bryan, and Kane, she acted like and I believe was even accused of “just being a kid.” Her actions are almost always that of a troubled and confused younger person. Granted, it always seemed like she had a greater, more manipulative plan, but to my knowledge that plan has never come to fruition. And, if WWE really does have soap opera story writers, it only makes sense that they are utilizing a tradition that carries every television show in the history of the world and using 25 year old actors to portray 18 year olds.
So, if we’re assuming AJ’s a troubled 18 year old, it makes perfect sense that she was obsessed with John Cena and made him ridiculous hairpin trinkets. I dunno if any of you had an “alt” girlfriend in high school, but THIS IS SOMETHING ALT GIRLS DO. They did 10 and 11 years ago when I was in high school, and they probably do now. And John Cena was the dumb jock sports all star d-bag who accidentally, drunkenly made out with AJ at a party or whatever. It’s also why all of the “evidence” presented by Vickie, during that god awful accusation storyline she had last month, was from AJ: the bows or whatever, the voicemails that were in no way legally obtained, etc. And that’s why for the majority of their “relationship” the past month, Cena was embarrassed to be seen with her, and why he offered the excuse that she should always stay in the back, “for [her] protection.” It makes total sense, and while I still can never imagine John Cena the person/character being natural and romantic with a woman, it explains why he acted like such an asshole to her. It wasn’t classic WWE chauvinism or even classic John Cena douchey chauvinism, it was completely part of this character arc they have.
Getting to where we are now, on Smackdown: I read some disappointment that AJ is just “with” Dolph now, and that it continues some kind of slut shaming or whatever the moan-fest internet blog chorus is claiming. I don’t see it that way. Again, AJ is just a kid, she’s confused and surrounded by all of these egos. While Punk’s ego was attractive to AJ, and he cared about her a little bit, he didn’t care about her romantically. Plus, he was basically a more subtle version of Cena: he was mostly embarrassed by her. AJ was horribly mistreated by Daniel Bryan, which is unfortunately not only a far-too frequent trait of plenty of relationships, but I would guess more common to women in high school; women in situations like this often have yet to come into their own and boys of that age, who as I can attest from experience, are usually douchebags that apparently have an easy time controlling young women such as the AJ character.
Anyway, Dolph and AJ are basically a “bad kid” version of Kevin and Britney from Daria (right down to Dolph saying to her, “earmuffs, babe,” during the MizTV segment Tuesday). Dolph is the perfect kind of arrogant jerk for AJ, but at the same time he has already been presented as a romantic character, based on his relationship with Vickie Guerrero. Cena, Punk, and to a lesser extent Bryan, have never been in any sort of “romantic” relationship on the show. It was confusing and was probably difficult to present their relationships as natural. Although, again, I think Punk and Bryan did a very good job with what they were given. Dolph makes sense as someone that could actually “sort of” have a relationship with AJ, especially considering he told her off and completely cut her down a few weeks ago. This is an action that a person like AJ would naturally be attracted to (heck, part of why I married Mary is that she’s completely honest with me and tells me if I’m being an idiot, which luckily doesn’t happen too often so she doesn’t have to do so very often… honesty is an attractive trait, and to some brutal honesty is even more so).
I think it would be to the betterment of everyone’s entertainment to try and watch at least this storyline through the lens of a more traditional television show, specifically any teen soap opera/DeGrassi. It will make a lot more sense and be a lot more entertaining… Unless you’re the kind of walking scum that has not seen every single episode of DeGrassi from it’s reboot in 2002 to roughly 2011 (hey, the new shit is simply terrible, I’m not made of stone).
Honestly, I want more of this from WWE. AND, this is why WWE is amazing. They have roughly two hours and forty five minutes of time to fill. The show has always been segmented, with different storylines that often never cross into one another. So why not try to present wrestling in a new way? Let one storyline be a bad soap opera / teen drama plot, as seen through the veil of Professional Wrestling. It’s not the main event at the moment, though with the kind of emotion it carries in subtext, it easily could be. I would still like to see more serious, “wrestling” plots come from guys like CM Punk, and hopefully now that he has gotten away from Ryback and will be focusing on the Rock, that can happen… but let the show evolve. Try something new. The Attitude Era is over. Wrestling is about destroying tradition and, as Paul Heyman pointed out, the “tradition” the Attitude Era created is becoming dangerous. This story line may not be edgy but it’s different, as far as I’m aware. Maybe now we can get a more emotional product, which to me is better than a more violent product. Give me a passionate reason for these guys to get in the ring, and I think it will only naturally be entertaining.
The whole controversy last night about Miz implying “Team Rhodes Scholars” (its painful typing that name) are gay has me thinking.
I wasn’t offended by the comments being anti-gay. It was playful middle-school taunting that I’ve heard actual gay men make against straight men who don’t realize how… [read on]
I still haven’t seen this episode, I’m about to put it on, but I think this is the reason why people are offended:
In comedy, there’s an adage or rule that you can make fun of people “up,” but you can’t make fun of people “down.” What that basically means, for an aged example, is that it’s funny to a village if a jester makes fun of a king. The king is powerful, and it’s populist to make fun of him. The king couldn’t make fun of the jester, or at least, it would never be funny “for real” for a king to make fun of the jester. The same goes for someone like Stephen Colbert making fun of George Bush, or even Barack Obama. Those Presidents are obviously powerful, and Colbert, while popular, is in no way as powerful. It would probably be difficult for Obama to make fun of Stephen Colbert and have be actually funny.
Extrapolate this to societal relations. It’s racist and unsettling when white comedians blatantly make fun of black people simply because of their race… this is obvious because black people, while technically gaining rights every generation, are still the underprivileged, and have been since the founding of the United States. It’s funny when Dave Chappelle makes fun of white people for their whiteness… it’s not funny when a white comedian does the same to black people (unless the person laughing is racist, I guess?), because if we’re being realistic, white people have the power in the United States.
The same goes for gay people. It’s funny for gay people to make fun of straight people (as you said, you have seen gay people make fun of straight people using similar slurs the Miz used). It is not funny for straight people to make fun of gay people because straight people are the powerful, dominant class of sexual orientation in the world, and always have been.
I’m not saying it’s right or wrong for Miz to use comments like these. I personally disagree with choices such as these and believe it’s possible to be more creative and mock someone like Damien Sandow in a more, for lack of another word, “populist” manner (one that would logically and “righteously” get him over with the crowd) by mocking Sandow’s use of ridiculously large words, often repetitiously, such as I have done in this entry.
While people may debate whether his comments are right or wrong, I do believe in the logic I have outlined in this response, and that it is a good construct for gauging how to effectively write and perform a serialized television program.
I’m not really sure what the contention is in this article…that somehow Ryback’s streak takes away from the way that wrestling tells stories, because it tries to present streaks as things that matter or something?
Ryback’s streak doesn’t even mean that wins and losses matter. If it was supposed to mark that wrestling, in the way it’s presented, should be treated as some sort of legitimate sporting competition, WWE would be counting it in the same way that WCW counted Goldberg’s.
Ryback’s streak is a handy tool to make Ryback like any other irresistible force. He’s on course to meet an immovable object in Punk. It’s a simple story, which is why it’s effective.
I feel like it is being treated in much of the same way that Goldberg’s streak was. Granted, it’s not as hammed up and I don’t believe they have listed an actual figure for number of wins, but it has been noted multiple times that he is undefeated and that this is why his character is important. If that is why his character is important, then isn’t that basically trying to shoehorn, subtly or not, the idea that wins and losses are the end all be all?
I do believe, yes, the forced relevance of a losses streak is exactly what they are trying to do, and just as far as where I feel like wrestling is now, it simply doesn’t fit.
Like you mentioned, wrestling is smart now and doesn’t even attempt realism anymore. I actually despise this. I wouldn’t enjoy it if every movie was unrealistic and winking at the audience, how 9/10ths of wrestling does now. Its the shitty WWF ‘92-‘95 all over again.
Its just really corny humor and its such a slap in the face to all of the classic wrestlers who really put effort into making you forget its fake, just like any great entertainer is supposed to do.
Not even Punk or Cena have that mature, masculine vibe that gets wrestling’s core audience excited about PPV main events. Wrestling is so focused on pleasing new viewers, wrestling-haters, women and children that they always alienate the fans who have been here their entire lives.
(sorry for blocking out some of your response, I just chose the meat of your counter argument)
I’m not sure how this era compares to 92-95 (really, I don’t have much knowledge about that era), but I really feel like where we are right now in wrestling history is something of a benchmark. Wrestling is beginning to make the next step in its evolution, just like it did with the Attitude Era, and I think that needs to be recognized. I think that 75% of the Attitude Era itself was about pleasing new fans or fans who were there simply because it was the cool thing to do. Wresting was huge then, but where are those people now? I think the smart money is building an audience that cares about the product, and I feel like the characters being developed now matter more than most I remember. And as I mentioned before, I’m not a masculine guy, and most of the people that I know that watch wrestling aren’t either, let alone my wife who watches with me, participates in discussions with me, and is a regular guest on my wrestling podcast. I hope this isn’t the case, but if the pro-argument for Ryback is that he is for masculine men, then that makes it even more so something I dislike.
Here’s what I’ll close with on the subject: someone like Daniel Bryan worked for over 10 years just to get to the WWE. He then got there and had every poor label possible thrown at him. Despite that, he gradually got over with wrestling skill and his good natured persona. We literally always said, he seems like an awesome dude that I would hang out with, but just enough more-so to make him impressive to watch. He exploded at WrestleMania this past year and has worked week to week improving his act, keeping himself fresh, changing his catch phrase just enough to remain interesting and entertaining. His act has finally (and I mean that somewhat jokingly) gotten stale in the past two week. Two weeks since April. Someone like Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, and, yeah, CM Punk can have the same pretty much said about them. These are performers that make me forget everything in my life, not just that it’s fake. I literally don’t consistently watch any other television. Professional Wrestling is my escape, and people like Ryback remind me of how ridiculous, bad, fake, and scripted professional wrestling can be.
What can you say about Ryback? Sure he hasn’t been around long, but where can a character like that even go? This isn’t a show about fighting. It’s a show about wrestling. The two are completely different, and I think creating a video game character like this will prove to be completely ineffective in the long run.
What I think I really dislike about “Ryback/Goldberg”
I’ve been trying to think about this and how to properly word it for a long time, because I know a few people around here dig Goldberg, and inexplicably a bunch of people really like Ryback.
I guess I get that they are “an intimidating presence” and have a really intense look or something, but so do probably half the guys that walk in the door of WWE. Why not let Mason Ryan run roughshot over the roster?
This is the problem, in my opinion:
look, all of us are aware that wrestling is fixed. The results are predetermined, we all know it, and hopefully at this point, none of us care. It’s not even close to a secret, maybe thanks to the Attitude Era but mostly thanks to the fact that people are less gullible now or more jaded now or something than they were 40 years ago. So, why does it matter that Goldberg went 150 wins in a row? Why does it matter that Ryback is undefeated? It feels like whiplash: please completely suspend your suspension of disbelief and buy into the fact that this thing called wrestling contains nothing but 100% legitimate sporting competition while the other two hours of our show is filled with guys wearing a sock puppet jabbing his opponent in the face. OK.
And then there’s that: “sporting competition.” Basically that’s what we’re supposed to the buy into once we accept Ryback as someone that matters, right?… Except I hate sporting competition. This is why I watch professional wrestling. If I wanted sporting competition and win-loss records and other equally fake/unimportant stuff like that, I would watch MMA, and then I would watch Football, and then I would watch Baseball, and then I would go to Buffalo Wild Wings and kill myself. I don’t want to be reminded that “legitimate sporting competition”* exists while watching my weekly 3-5 hours (counting Smackdown) of fake/artistic fighting. I grew up being forced into sports by my parents (like any BOY growing up in America, I guess) and now I hate it all and that’s fine, because Professional Wrestling is cooler than all of that stuff anyway, but not when it then tries to BE that stuff. Please don’t remind me of the time that I tried to hit a ball with a bat and never successfully did it for three entire seasons between the ages of 6 an 8. Really.
Ryback seems like the exact opposite of everything the “CM Punk/Daniel Bryan/Cody Rhodes/etc” wave of wrestling has been working to promote in the past two-ish years. The new era of wrestling is exciting. I look back at the Ken Shamrocks of the past decade and I laugh. Wrestling today is smart. Today’s wrestling lets me go onto my facebook and actually just write something about wrestling with confidence, because I genuinely know, as a pensive adult, that if people got their heads out of their asses and tried it, they may like it, or at least understand the art of it. Ryback as a whole completely destroys that vision I hold of Professional Wrestling.
And don’t get me wrong, “big guys” always have their place and can be used so well. Big Show, Kane, Kevin Steen, etc are all big guys that are great monuments in Professional Wrestling. Even someone like Brodus Clay works/worked as a sideshow. I do not understand Ryback. He beats guys up. Fine. Please, don’t make him any more than that.
*-yeah, I get it, title belts are the wrestling equivalent to “competition” but if you really think this dialogue is about the WWE Spinner Belt you are reading the wrong blog
WWE Hires Soap Opera Writer
Written by Richard Gray on Apr 16, 2011 - 10:16:48 PMTom Casiello has been hired by WWE as a member of the creative team. Casiello confirmed his hiring today on his Twitter account.
Casiello is best known as a writer for “The Young And The Restless” soap opera.
I know this is old news, but I just wanted to say if this Casiello is not responsible for the Zack Ryder/John Cena/Eve and the current AJ/Punk/Bryan storylines, I’ll eat my hat.
These stories are also increasingly focusing on women. Obviously the first one ended horribly with Eve just becoming a “hoeski,” and even throughout she was more of a prop than anything, but maybe it was the first step in an evolution. The entire plot had a completely unique feel until they bottomed out and Eve became a whore and the show continued as “normal.” Given the reactions of everyone online as this one played out, it clearly had a slightly different feel to it than what we were used to.
Please correct me if I’m wrong, but this AJ storyline may be one of the most unique things I’ve ever seen in WWE. It has really comically entertaining similarities to a bad teen drama (made even better by Bryan and Punk’s confused and shocked reactions to being kissed by a woman), but it’s putting a woman in a (albeit confusing) position of power and control. AJ’s character has been quiet, yeah, but at times the deliberate nature of her silence is even more interesting than if she were to “explain herself” (and, really, what would be the point at this moment in the story? There’s still two weeks of television until the pay per view, and who says anything with her even has to be resolved then?)
I know some people may be overly cautious with this story, given WWE’s track record, but I think if you’re paying attention, this story is clearly in someone else’s hands right now. Let’s hope that continues.
Are you happy with the unbroken cycle of WWE programming that we currently have, where there is no off season or break?
Or would you like to see WWE take on the more common model of TV programming and start having a break/off season and every year is broken up into seasons (preferably starting two/3 months after Wrestlemania and then ending with Wrestlemania)?
My view: Personally, I’d like to see WWE adopt a model of breaking up their years into seasons…because it helps the writing staff more than the wrestlers, it gives them time to write without the short timeframe and pressure. It also allows them to plan out storylines better and give us a better payoff when it comes to PPV’s and Wrestlemania itself.
Anyway, would like to hear your opinions
I do feel like one of the best things about the WWE is that it exists on TV while it is so much not … of TV. Does this make sense?
I don’t really care about television. I maybe watch the Daily Show / Colbert (and, yep, these aren’t really shows with off seasons either), but in terms of shows I go out of my way to watch, I think WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown are the only things on TV that can claim my time in such a fashion. I don’t care about televised sports at all. I don’t really care about comedies. I really do not care about dramas. For all intents and purposes, I don’t like television shows.
I like WWE programming. After give or take fifteen years of occasionally loyal fandom, I think I have come to this conclusion: part of the bad writing is what makes it something I love. You know how people will rent I’m Gonna Get You Sucka just for the cheese value? Ok, maybe only I do that, but you know what I mean. Some people have niche value in bad entertainment. Isn’t this why KISS is still popular?
Half of the time, this is what I appreciate in the WWE’s corner of the professional wrestling world. The campy-ness of the entire endeavour. The other half of the time they get everything right and I love it for the sake of loving it. That’s where schlock like the aforementioned movie or band falls short. They’re just bad for the sake of being bad. Wrestling is the best of both worlds to me. Wrestling can create dizzying highs like characters such as the Rock, Mankind, Austin, Undertaker, MITB CM Punk, John Laurinaitis, Booker T as an announcer, etc… and it can create maddening lows like 4 months of Funk is on a roooolllll!, the Divas Division, the Rock, John Cena 60% of the time, 5/7/2012 CM Punk calling Big Johnny a “toolbox,” (I’m pretty sure only my little sister uses that insult) etc. It’s like a litmus test. Can you handle this shit? Can you really? Do you really want to watch this every week? We didn’t think so.
I’ve always felt privileged as a wrestling fan. When my friends are bored because Bones or whatever is on a break from May-October, I’m gearing up for SummerSlam in a month. When my friends talk about how the Office sucks and isn’t worth watching anymore, I think, “haha, more than half of Raw was fucking shit last week, can’t wait to see what they have in store next week!!” WWE isn’t television in my mind. It doesn’t play by the rules and I don’t think it should be judged based on those rules. WWE is above it.
NOTE: In terms of keeping the athletes healthy, I do wish some kind of time off could be afforded to the more active players. I definitely think something to keep the guys who could hurt themselves at any point they’re on my television screen (a fact that is exacerbated by the rigorous schedule) safe is something that needs to be explored and experimented with.
Revealing Your Hand/Disillusionment
Let me start by saying I really enjoyed Raw. Even the “sobriety test” segment was hilarious and continued with my belief that PUNK IS LOD 2000 (that entry wasn’t tagged and it seriously took me 10 minutes to find it). Usually I feel like three hour Raws drag on and despite a double showing of the Lesnar promo from LAST WEEK (I loved seeing it again in the first half of the show but showing it a second [third] time was wayyy too much), this episode had a great flow to it.
However, I feel like the subtlety that was brewing in WWE storytelling was thrown out the window. Yesterday, the International Object posted an entry that suggested the WWE was allowing us to choose our own meanings in stories. At the start of the show, I was getting myself excited, talking with Mary about how many contradicting elements there are in the Cena Lesnar storyline… people still want to dislike Cena, but he is being put in such a sympathetic role. The audience is in a state of adoration over Lesnar as the returning hero. But, the role they saddled the Rock with for the better part of last year and this past year (the guy who left and is dubiously “returning”) is much better suited with Lesnar. He’s a bad guy. He’s a dick in every sense of the word AND he’s associated with Big Johnny…. but he’s gonna get cheered, no matter what. Cena will continue to get booed, and people can do what they want with the story. Fantastic.
My disillusion with the idea that the WWE was starting to embrace subtlety started with the Beth Phoenix match. I had read that she was injured so I made sure to not skip the divas match to see it for myself. As the action played out during the match, I watched the injury unfold and felt terrible for Beth. The attempts to roll her into the ring after the injury were difficult to watch and I just kept thinking that she’s really sacrificing herself for the Diva’s Division. “Can you imagine what kind of misogynist bullshit would erupt if she had to stop the match… she;s probably making her injury a million times worse by continuing but with the position on the show the women are in, if the top competitor had to stop mid-match, I can’t imagine what ‘people (dudes) would say,’” I commented to Mary.
After the roll up, there was a doctor to come and assist Beth. Normal. What wasn’t normal was the “ACTION NEWS” camera in your face coverage of the care. The WWE doesn’t do that. The longer it went on, the more I became disillusioned. I’m not here to be one of those guys that goes, “NO GUYZ REALLY IT WAS ‘FABE BROZ IT WASNT REAL.” But the whole thing had me sucked in so hard until then. But when someone is injured, they don’t do sympathy close ups. Why did they have to do that? Maybe it’s a subtle thing, but even Mary who is on her computer for a good 30-50% of every WWE event remarked, “no, wait, they never show people after they’re injured… why are they doing that? Is this fake?” They oversold it.
The second instance of overselling came during the Lesnar promo. Now, yes, everyone was talking about how “terrible on the mic” Lesnar was, but honestly I didn’t feel like it dragged on any longer than the HHH/Undertaker segments leading to Mania. The problem with it was how heavy-handed it was to make Lesnar the “bad guy.” I guess having a “good guy” and a “bad guy” in every match is WWE’s thing but not really…. they didn’t really have a “bad guy” at Cena/Rock. It was an instance, as I.O. wrote, where the audience could make up their mind. How do you feel about Cena? and the Rock? Cheer whoever you prefer and we’ll see what happens.
I thought that would continue. With Cena’s “ambiguously heel” character going into Mania (I mean, has any “good guy” ever gotten as many boos as Cena does?) and coming out of it, I really thought they would keep this theme going. The beginning of Raw had me more genuinely interested in a John Cena story since Mi.t.B. 2011 (and I was more interested in the Punk side of that angle,obviously). They were doing an amazing job of building Lesnar up as the world’s biggest douchebag. The southern prick that inexplicably everyone likes who could care less for the appreciation. The guy who could beat you up if he felt like it just for fun and would forget about it halfway through his burger from McDonalds he got 5 minutes later. The dude was fucking real in the saddest imagination of a high school/freshmen year of college memory possible.
The illusion came apart at the end of Raw. Lesnar went into full “business guy,” “I want more money and more power,” etc, to heavy handedly manipulate the audience (who has been conditioned, in a good way, to boo power hungry characters thanks to the likes of Johnny L.) to turn on him. And as if the sledgehammer hadn’t pounded you hard enough, Cena came out with his Tough Guy big chain and lock. The final confrontation was fine, but for me, the damage to the illusion was done. I’m interested to see what happens on Sunday, but unlike Money in the Bank 2011, I’m not excited, on the edge of my seat. I want to be, though.