This is my fifth article for Geek Pride, taking a look at the success, failure and controversy of this year’s Showcase of the Immortals. Take a look and leave a comment!
This is my fifth article for Geek Pride, taking a look at the success, failure and controversy of this year’s Showcase of the Immortals. Take a look and leave a comment!
It’s almost the end of 2013 now so I thought it was high time to take a quick look at WWE and evaluate the company’s performance over the past year. I’m talking solely about the show. I don’t care about ratings, PPV buys or merch sales. I want to reflect on how things have gone in the on-screen world over the last twelve months. I’m going to go through division by division, so to speak. Let me know what you make of my musings by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page. Thank you! Also, forgive my goldfish memory while I try to take a decent stab at this.
It’s been a hot and cold year for the presentational aspect of their shows. In terms of General Managers, it’s been forgettable. Vickie is the only stalwart I can think of. She has been consistently getting legit heel heat as she always does in the arenas. It doesn’t really translate to me on my sofa though. I’m just beginning to get tired with the character and the annoying voice. I think Brad Maddox has been a revelation and I’d love to see some more of him. I think Booker was still around early on, and maybe Teddy Long was involved. Neither of those guys did a particularly fascinating job in the role.
As for the announcers, I’d say it’s been a very positive year. Michael Cole has reinforced his image as an impartial, play-by-play guy and done away with the infuriating heel stint he had previously. Much like Vickie, he got to the point that I couldn’t even admire him for getting heat. It was the wrong kind of heat, the annoying kind. He doesn’t annoy me anymore, except for when he blurts on about the app or Twitter, but I know he has no control over that with Vince in his headphones. JBL has been incredible as he always is behind the announce desk. Long may his stay continue! I love Jerry Lawler to bits and I was extremely shocked and saddened by his heart attack. Nevertheless, I would really like it if he stepped back from his role. He was a great heel announcer in his day, but as this watered down childlike figure on current TV, he is usually boring or irritating. Justin Roberts is great, but I am sad to hear him toning down his John Cena introduction.
The Divas division is shaping up rather nicely. It’s clear leader AJ Lee has been going from strength to strength. I think the whole wrestling “universe” was shocked by her being pipped to a Slammy by the Bellas. That clearly showed how fake and fixed the app voting system is. Nonetheless, she has performed brilliantly and is recognised by real fans. Her evolution in the ring saw the introduction of her devastating Black Widow submission, and her mic work has never been doubted. When she laid that pipe-bomb on the Total Divas clique, it was music to the ears of every real wrestling fan. She is joined by Natalya, Tamina Snuka and Kaitlyn in the ranks of good workers. Brie Bella is coming along okay, probably due to dating Daniel Bryan. The rest of the roster is mostly eye candy, but compared to previous years, I’d say there has been a notable improvement.
I’ve been lamenting the lack of a legit tag team division in WWE for more than five years, but the company has really booked it’s ideas up this year in that regard. Nobody can say that they haven’t tried, and it’s difficult to say that they haven’t succeeded. Tag matches are usually the most entertaining encounters on Raw every week. The depth of talent they have now is startling: The Rhodes Brothers, The Real Americans, The Usos, Prime Time Players. That’s leaving out the great three man factions they have introduced (e.g. The Shield and The Wyatt Family) and the incredibly exciting six man matches they have spawned. Some of the in-ring highlights of this year have been undeniably down to the hard work of great tag teams in WWE. They deserve real credit for this.
The mid card has been a real struggle for some time now. The guys involved in these feuds often seem secondary. It’s not usually their fault, but that of poor booking and direction. I think the unification of the US and Intercontinental titles would be the death-nail of any meaningful mid card in the company. They do have a good few up-and-comers in this area like Langston and Sandow, but you worry that they will languish there for a long time. You only have to look at guys like Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston. They appear to be taking a guy to the next level, and then they either give up on them or drop the ball. It just leaves the middle of the card looking like guys who were never quite there, and guys who were there a very long time ago.
The most important factor in the business is of course the main event picture, and despite some false starts, I have to say it’s been a successful year in that respect. The part timers like Brock Lesnar and The Rock have been involved in some impressive marquee matches. The mainstays of the main event like Cena, Orton and Punk have all flourished at different times of the year. The most pleasing part of this year has been the rise of Daniel Bryan. I think everyone is disappointed with the way it’s been handled at times, but the fact that he has won the title twice and main evented multiple pay-per-views shouldn’t be underestimated. I think if he retired tomorrow, he would be happy to have gone far and above his logical expectations in WWE. They have made some mistakes with the main event picture, but in terms of names and star power, they have delivered. It makes me wonder how big they will go for Wrestlemania 30.
I would sum up 2013 with the word improvement. There have been definite mistakes and missed opportunities, as there always is with Vince’s company. But the successes have also been grand. They have introduced some great new talent, taken a lot of guys to the next level, and used the right stars of the past in the right way. The tag team division has come on leaps and bounds. The Shield are a home-grown faction of three certain future World Champions. Daniel Bryan has emerged as a main event player, and perhaps that has been the best thing about this year.
Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think sums up 2013 for WWE.
I hope everyone is having a pleasant Christmas day, and thanks for spending your sacred day with The Real Mid Card
Many wrestling fans cry out for the return of the famous Attitude Era. I was brought up on it, along with the rest of my generation. It was extremely entertaining! As time goes on, people seem to be acknowledging some of the drawbacks with it. I am one of those guys that loves to point those flaws out. So today I’m going to focus on the positives. There were a lot of them, but I’m going to try and identify those that were really valuable. Everybody would love to see a return of the hardcore division and senseless violence, gratuitous nudity and needless profanity. As entertaining as of all that stuff is/was, it’s cheap. I’d prefer to take a look at parts of the Attitude Era that could be just as useful in today’s WWE. Let’s see what I come up with.
One thing I tend to disagree with people a lot about is championships. I really liked the fact that back in the day you had a lot more titles on the roster. As I’ve grown up and started to look at the business with more empathy for the actual performers, I feel even more strongly about this issue. These days there is just not enough stuff for these guys to do, especially those in the mid or lower card. The hardcore title shouldn’t come back, but I don’t see why they retired the European, and with talk of them unifying the United States and Intercontinental, it’s going to be increasingly difficult for those guys not in the main event picture to do any meaningful work. King of the Ring was also a great way to elevate people, and it’s a big shame that they don’t do that anymore.
Creative freedom, or lack thereof, is a big problem in current WWE in my opinion. The lack of input that most guys have on their craft is not a positive. I see that only getting worse with the development of the new Performance Center. I can see the good in the facility, but it worries me that the monkey training system for promos will become even more predictable and boring. Seeing guys like Steve Austin and The Rock go out there with a couple of bullet points and stir up a frenzy was incredibly entertaining. Why they felt the need to hand so much control over to the creative team, I do not know. It just creates more work for them, and they have enough to do already. Not only that, if you’re not good at it, it often comes off very obviously scripted and staged – not good.
Despite my opposition to unnecessarily violent and brutal wrestling in the modern era, I do believe that there is excellent value in blood. As long as it’s used sparingly, and it’s stringently regulated in regard to the safety of the guys, I would be all for it’s return. We are greeted to a tiny bit of accidental blood in WWE quite often these days, but it really doesn’t have the same dramatic effect as a blade job. The classic example of it’s effectiveness, which is always passed around, is Steve Austin in the Sharpshooter with the blood streaming down his face. Remove the blood and his rise to the top may have never happened, or could have well took a lot longer. That defining moment helped build the foundations for his character, and it all hinged on the use of blood. Keep it medically safe and not overdone, and it can work wonders for an angle and/or a wrestler.
The crazy crash TV and adult comedy format that Monday Night Raw ran with during the Attitude Era really was entertaining. At times it was just insane and made no sense, but I think there are parts of that style that could be taken on board by the company in today’s world. As long as it isn’t offensive or overly crude, it could be very entertaining. After all, that’s what the business is supposed to be all about, in McMahon’s mind. You want unpredictability and cutting edge material on a show you intend to watch every single week, even if it’s silly sometimes. Mae Young giving birth to a hand, Crash Holly and The Headbangers fighting through a play area, and Stone Cold ploughing through the arena in a various heavy duty vehicles (see image). All of these things aren’t that dissimilar to the stuff you can see on WWE TV these days. If they were toned down, they could be acceptable to the current audience and wildly entertaining, in my view.
Last but not least, and most of all, I remember the wrestlers. That’s right, the workers. Every time you cry about the lack of barbed wire exploding ring matches, just remember that Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero were never doing them in ECW. They were just putting on wrestling clinics at every show. The WWE roster at that time was stacked with unbelievable talent. Some of their most memorable moments may be extreme or adult related, but that’s not what I remember them for. Those guys should be remember for their terrific wrestling. The company has a lot of great guys on the roster now, so I don’t see a problem with that. If they were going to take influence from the past though, they should be getting Lance Storm to train the guys in developmental, not showing them New Jack matches. The most important and entertaining commodity of that era was the guys who busted their asses in the ring every night. That is still the case today.
Thanks for reading,
Please note: This article was written prior to this weekend’s pay-per-view TLC. I was expecting John Cena to prevail, but of course Randy Orton left as champion. This may limit the possibility of some of these guys competing for the belt at Mania.
This week I would like to look at the intriguing possibilities for the title picture going into Wrestlemania. With this unification match coming up, there are a huge number of question marks over who will be involved. It’s certain that the show will have at least three or four big name matches, and a lot of the guys mentioned in this post will be involved in them. But who will be competing for the title? That’s a tricky one. I am fairly sure that John Cena will come away victorious next Sunday. I don’t know exactly where that leaves Randy Orton, but I don’t think he will be in the title match. I see a rematch at the Royal Rumble between the two of them, and that being the end of it. This would leave “The Champ” to meet one, or maybe more, of the following guys for the Championship on the grandest stage, but who?
Brock Lesnar: I am a huge mark for Brock, and always have been. I’ve loved his return wholeheartedly, and in my opinion, he has participated in some of the best matches of the last couple of years. The only thing his character has been missing is some involvement with a title. He was always the guy back in the day holding the belt, or chasing it. He has had some personal feuds now with the likes of Triple H and CM Punk, but I think it’s time he got down to competition. He could come back as the monster heel and, with the help of Paul Heyman, manoeuvre himself into a match with Cena at Wrestlemania. I would love to see this happen, but I don’t necessarily think it’s likely.
Daniel Bryan: This man has been the stand-out performer of the year. He has stole the show on Raw and Smackdown practically every week, made the main event of multiple pay-per-views and won the WWE Championship twice. He is surely set to be named Superstar of the Year at the Slammy Awards. Recently though, the office has made their real life issues with Bryan more transparent through their horrific handling of his character. There is however, a shred of hope inside me that says they will remember how great the Summerslam match with Cena was, and put these two back in there in April. It would be best for business, even if the suits don’t want to accept it. As for match quality, this would be the guy’s perfect chance to put himself in the history books, so I have no doubts that it would be a great encounter.
The Rock: Frankly I will probably vomit if this guy gets anywhere near the title picture. His mostly absent, phony reign earlier in the year made me very upset. Nonetheless, I am wise enough to not rule out such a move from World
Wrestling Entertainment. The rumours are already circulating about a return, and a possible Royal Rumble win. This wouldn’t surprise me, but it would sadden me. Once in a Lifetime 3 could be on the cards. I hope that it’s just hearsay, but you never can tell. He is the big name that they want on the marquee. He is the draw. I see him being involved in the show in one way or another, and I am worried that this may be that way.
CM Punk: The man who held the WWE Championship longer than anyone in my lifetime could, has been poorly booked since he lost it, in my opinion. His personal feud with Paul Heyman, however good, was played out for far too long. Since then he hasn’t had a real clear direction, and now he and Bryan are both booked in handicap matches and couldn’t seem further away from the title fold. However, the office know that Punk is someone who they can rely on, someone who draws and someone who would be a worthy contender for a match with Cena at Wrestlemania. I can picture the vignettes now. The great matches they had in the past, Punk’s lengthy title reign, their respective journeys. It would be perfect, but is it a little too perfect to actually happen?
Sheamus: When the Irishman first emerged in the WWE, I marked out for him hard for years, regardless of whether he was working babyface or heel. That changed dramatically during the last year of his run, before he was somewhat fortunately injured. His character got so stale and annoying! Luckily he has given us all some time off from him, and he will be re-introduced soon (probably in the Royal Rumble match) to a much more welcome response. I know he has already won the thing, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they let him do it again and bring him back in a big way to take on Cena. I would think that is a little too much of a hot reintroduction, but WWE (and particularly Hunter) have shown how high they are on the guy. This may be one of the less likely ones, but I wouldn’t count it out.
Thanks a lot for reading my musings. Why not leave a comment and let me know who you think will be in the title picture, or indeed who should be?
Hello and welcome to my mind. Today, I’m going to lay out my dream card for Wrestlemania 30. It’s a four hour show, so I think ten matches is more than doable. I would want to have as many top quality guys on the card as possible, without watering it down with gimmick battle royals. It’s a half realistic ensemble, depending how you look at things. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment!
Dean Ambrose(c) v Seth Rollins v Roman Reigns (Triple Threat Match for the United States Championship)
All three of these guys can go, we know that. I would love to see their journey culminate in a triple threat match on the biggest stage in the business. They have had an insanely good run as a unit, but it seems to be coming to an end now. One of the main focal points of their group has been gold, as I talked about in my recent editorial post. Now that the tag belts are gone, I would have Ambrose continue to be cocky and give them a hard time. Let the resentment set in, and you have one hell of an angle. There are so many story routes you could go down in that match. Those guys would make a classic opening encounter look easy.
Chris Jericho(c) v Wade Barrett (for the Intercontinental Championship)
This one is a bit from left field, and is heavily influenced by my own personal favouritism. I would bring Jericho back in the new year, give him a red hot push and put the Intercontinental Title back on him. At the same time, I’d be building up a worthy contender in Wade Barrett. This could be the chance for the Brit to get that launchpad Wrestlemania moment that he unfortunately missed out on a couple of years back through injury. It would also give him a helluva mountain to climb against one of the best champions in the company’s history.
The Usos(c) v Primo & Epico v Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara (Triple Threat Match for the Tag Team Championship)
I would put the title belts on The Usos in early 2014. It would be cool to see this happen after some kind of tournament. They never do those anymore! That could build up the team as a worthy one to face the Rhodes Brothers. That shock win could be the catalyst to break up those two. As for the others, I’m not entirely sure how I would make it happen, but I would just want to showcase a high octane, intense action, wrestling match for the fans. I would drop the Los Matadores gimmick, and opt for realism over silliness. Primo and Epico, along with Team Luchadores could help make this match really special. The Usos are always capable of putting together an exciting match and would be worthy champions, in my opinion.
Goldust v Cody Rhodes
After a solid run as champions, I would these two up. I went over this in more detail in my post about the Rhodes brothers recently. Everyone wanted to see this match when Goldust returned and they clashed during the Royal Rumble match. I’m loving the feel good factor of seeing them together now, but I think that could make the feud even more powerful. I would have Goldust get jealous and resentful, then turn heel on Cody. This program could be the final push the latter needs to get to the top level as a babyface. It would get heat and get people invested, and I’m sure the two of them would have a great match.
Triple H v Big Show
Three huge main events? Try five, with a Divas filler match! This is an easy sell. Build the ongoing feud between the two of them over time, getting Show off TV for weeks on end where necessary, until the two of them come together to finally settle it at Wrestlemania. Vince McMahon could offer Big Show a new contract if he got the win, which I would have him do. This is actually something that will probably happen: the match, not Hunter doing the job.
John Cena(c) v Randy Orton (for the World Heavyweight Championship)
It may seem a bit wacky to have the biggest full time performer in the company on fifth from last, but if I’m running the show, it’s my rules. I know that we have all seen this match a thousand times, but it’s been a while since they have had a high level program. With Orton back at his heel best, and Cena coming back the hero again, I think this could be just the thing to rejuvenate the World Title. The rest of the card is stacked enough for Cena and Orton to not look too out of place so low down it.
Daniel Bryan(c) v CM Punk (for the WWE Championship)
I doubt there is a wrestling fan on the internet who wouldn’t want to see this match at Wrestlemania, with THE title on the line. I would build this with no face or heel. The Eddie and Benoit of today wouldn’t need heat or gimmicks. What happened to two guys going in there and giving everything simply for the belt? Punk doesn’t need to kidnap Brie Bella for this to be emotional, intense and simply glorious. The two best wrestlers in the business putting on the match of their lives – a guaranteed show-stealer!
AJ Lee(c) v Lita (for the Divas Championship)
The people in the arena need to get food or use the toilet. The people at home need to get a beer, roll a joint or grab another bag of chips. There is no shame in going out there and giving people the chance to do that. Joking aside, I would love to see Lita get one last run. I know WWE don’t exactly love bringing in women over 21, but with the success of Rob Van Dam and Goldust, maybe they would take a chance on this. It could be the feud to elevate AJ Lee to the moon, and give Lita one more chance to do her thing. A ten minute match full of risks, dives and hair pulling – well worth a spot on my card!
Goldberg v The Rock
The final two matches would be the place to milk the financial cow. Four huge name part time, or former superstars! I would go first with a feud which took place originally back in 2003. I don’t think they got anywhere near enough out of that, much like the majority of Goldberg’s run in general. Give me another stab at it, and I think this could be great. Two huge babyfaces battling it out for ultimate respect. Again, no underhanded tactics or heat needed. If you’re telling me that you couldn’t just book these two in a match and draw money without a heated feud, you’re naive. That’s exactly what I would do! Put their two faces on a poster, with the words “Goldberg v Rock” on it and prepare to count the cash.
Undertaker v Brock Lesnar (Hell in a Cell match)
I would end the iconic 30th edition of Wrestlemania with The Undertaker’s final match. The streak has become so much more important than any of the titles or feuds on the card in recent years, but they continue to downplay it every year. The fans know how big a deal it is, and they would want it to finish off the night. This match also wouldn’t need heat, but with Brock Lesnar a consistent heel, there is an easy way to draw it here. This is another feud which came about originally over a decade ago. It was a personal, heated rivalry. WWE are top notch when it comes to vignettes. Using the video gallery, and appearances on Raw, they could build this into the most intense match of the year. Everyone would want to see it. They would pay to see it. I would definitely pay to see it. This one may also happen, but that’s not clear yet. I think it could be the perfect way to close the show.
You may notice that I didn’t include Hulk Hogan. I hope all of the speculation amounts to nothing and he doesn’t show his face there. If it were up to me, he wouldn’t be allowed in the building. One more thing. I don’t have a big problem with ‘Mania being in New Orleans. It’s the place I’d like to visit most in the entire world. If it were up to me though, I would have gone for Madison Square Garden purely for the nostalgia and the grandeur, but I understand the decision from a money making perspective. Leave a comment and let me know what you would do differently. Remember, this is just my dream, not reality.
Thanks for reading.
This week I’ll be looking at the classic quintessential wrestling documentary: Beyond The Mat. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it. I’m sure a lot of you have seen it. I have many times. I sat down with a pen and paper and gave it a real going over, and here are my thoughts.
The first thing you notice is that it’s not like other wrestling films. It’s not WWE created for one. It’s also not low budget and independent. It’s a legitimate full length feature film, more in the mould of Bowling For Columbine than a regular wrestling movie. It grossed £2m in the box office (4x it’s budget) and received/was nominated for various awards at small film festivals. The movie wasn’t a success with a lot of mainstream critics, but that’s because it doesn’t condemn Vince McMahon, pro wrestling or any wrestler as being a psychopathic, evil force.
The film gives you a real true insight into the world of the WWF during it’s hottest period: The Attitude Era. This must have been down to an extraordinary level of cooperation from McMahon. The freedom with which Barry W. Blaustein is allowed to tell this story makes for captivating viewing, and let me tell you, it’s bum bags (fanny packs, for you Yankees) galore!
But it isn’t all about the big league guys. You get a good look at a small independent promotion and in particular, a couple of their up and coming stars. The boys go for a try-out with Vince and wrestle each other on the opening match of a Raw card, which I imagine must have been dark. They do pretty well, and seem to impress the host of creative talent watching backstage. What talent do I speak of? Jim Cornette, Vince McMahon and Jim Ross all watching their match – probably the three best minds in the business, in my opinion. That was cool to see.
It was also cool to see the ever modest Mick Foley (my hero) being supportive of the guys after their try-out. Now there is a man who knows what it’s like to be random enhancement on a TV show. At least these guys weren’t being fed to Ryback like today’s locals, or doing squash matches against The Bulldogs like “Jack” Foley once did. On one such occasion, he was clotheslined so hard by Dynamite Kid that he couldn’t eat solid food for several weeks, or so the story goes.
The film mainly centres around three people and their separate, yet often parallel paths through life as a professional wrestler: the aforementioned Mick Foley, the living legend Terry Funk, and the misunderstood Jake “The Snake” Roberts. All three of these guys bring a certain hard hitting, challenging aspect to the movie, but some of their tales are more tragic than others.
Terry Funk was well past his best by this point, but was volunteering his services to help get ECW off the ground. By wrestling on their first ever pay-per-view, he helped put them on the map. He continues to give it his all, leaving parts of his anatomy, his sanity and his future on the line working for them during this film. The real story with this though is, when would Terry get out of the business, for the sake of himself and his family? Now we know that he went on to “retire” about a dozen times after, but when this came out, he genuinely seemed to be having his swansong. A final match against Bret Hart would be his last, as part of some kind of WWF/ECW agreement they must have had. “The Funker” plays a big role in this film, that’s for sure, and he’s one of the greatest!
My favourite wrestler of all time – Mick Foley – also plays a central role. A lot of his input centres around the famous “I Quit” Match with The Rock, when in my opinion, his opponent overstepped the mark and hit him with far too many chair shots to the skull. Some would argue that it was those extra shots that made the match so memorable, but I think it went past the point of what was necessary. Knowing Mick as the best selling author and incredibly articulate ambassador for the business that he is today, it’s quite shocking to hear a recorded answer-phone message that he left for Barry, in which he sounds like Scott Hall at his most damaged and incoherent.
You get a real analysis into the career of Foley, and a real prophecy about his future. It’s easier to watch this now, knowing that he did stop doing all the crazy spots early enough, he did get out of the business full time, and he has happily raised what seems to be a great family. Seeing his little daughter crying during that match at ringside was hard, but I just had to remember seeing how normal she was on his DVD that came out recently to see that everything worked out alright in the end for him and for her, it seems.
Jake Roberts is probably the most haunting and most memorable subject. His chilling, depressing fall from grace is enough to make you want to stay inside the house forever. You get to see right inside his struggle with demons. His family issues, his daughter, his drug and alcohol abuse. It gets said so often, but it’s another thing that reminded me of The Wrestler. This guy is that character! Like Foley though, knowing he is now (along with Scott Hall) doing extremely well and working hard to put his life and body back together, makes this all a whole lot easier to watch.
Those three main protagonists are separated by a scattering of introductions to some other familiar faces. We got to see the not-well-documented femininity of Chyna, New Jack go to a casting audition, and Droz throw up into a bin on Vince’s command in a board meeting. These sensational and sometimes heart warming stories were topped, for me, by Vince checking if Mick was okay, while having some stitches put in his own head, after a brutal match – another example of why he is the best promoter of all time. He isn’t afraid to put himself through pain or humiliation for the sake of making money. Before anyone else has a go at him, they should ask when the last time Eric Bischoff, Vince Russo, Dixie Carter or any of those other fools had bloodbath matches with Stone Cold.
The film doesn’t glorify Vince, his product or the industry itself, but it doesn’t just bury it. That’s probably why critics from mainstream publications and news networks tried to shit on this movie. It’s real, it’s honest and it’s balanced. It reminds me of why I loved the Attitude Era, why I still and always will love the business, and why Vince McMahon is still probably the first person I would meet if I could pick anyone. It did all that, but it reminded me of the pitfalls, the tragedies, and the problems. On the whole, it entertained me.
Thanks for reading, and check out the movie!
I’ve decided to shoot from the hip with this week’s editorial, so I won’t be referring to any planning or notes of any kind. I’m giving myself a 600 word limit, in the hope that this will be concise, and not too ramble driven.
Now this isn’t a big tirade on how much I despise people who love the Attitude Era. I grew up on it myself. There are many, many things that I loved about that period. I also have a number of close friends who feel the same way. My only problem is with those people you encounter who refuse to accept anything new. Granted, they are often casual fans. Often times they are TNA fans. Most of the time they can’t provide a legitimate answer as to why they hate the current WWE product, but can only harp on about days gone by.
Now one issue is clearly the PG rating, and the lack of blood. I enjoyed the hardcore division. I loved the brutality of the Attitude Era. It also wasn’t even close to the top of the list, in terms of why I watched wrestling. Guys like Eddie, Jericho and Benoit proved in ECW that high quality competition can be much more enthralling (and overall more easy to respect) than barbaric matches that don’t make sense. Again, that’s not a pop at ECW. I absolutely loved the product. It created some of the best talent we had at the time, and a lot of those guys are around the business now still making a really positive impact.
I just feel that sometimes people don’t want to accept anything else. Another issue I always seem to find is that certain people won’t watch WWE because “There’s no Rock, there’s no Stone Cold, there’s no Undertaker, wah wah wah” – Do you see Argentina fans saying “I don’t fancy following the national team anymore. I liked it when that Maradona was around!” – It’s ludicrous! If I wiped your memory clean, and showed you a six minute Steve Austin match from Sunday Night Heat in 1998, you wouldn’t be saying “I will only watch wrestling if this guy is in it” – Move on!
Wrestling is all about cycles. Characters, styles, feuds, storylines – they are cyclical. The new and improved Corporation storyline is proof. Just because those guys you loved when you were a kid have some respect and go and do other things (unlike Hogan and Flair) doesn’t mean wrestling is ruined. It means that by stepping aside, those legends are allowing a new breed of future icons to replace them. A few years ago, I would have understood that there may be some concern over those replacements, but now?! With Bryan, Punk, The Shield, Dolph Ziggler, John Cena, Randy Orton – the product is doing just fine. The matches these guys are having will be seen in the same light as those that Michaels, Triple H, Taker, Austin etc had back in the day, if you give it a few years and let that nostalgia kick in.
If you want the nostalgia now, and don’t want to see the present, there are other companies who are happy to let old thieves of the past headline over their young and more talented superstars. If all you care about is blood, there are promotions who will provide nonsensical, pointless barbarism, with no class. If you want Austin and The Rock, go to the cinema. If you want the best overall product (despite it’s shortcomings, which of course it does have), stop being ignorant and give today’s WWE superstars a chance to impress you.
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment and let me know if you disagree with me. If you agree, that’s great too. Hit ‘Follow’ for daily wrestling articles!