The High Spot: Reality Doesn't Bite
December 7, 2005 by Joseph Bachman
"We have been taught to believe that negative equals realistic and positive equals unrealistic."
Take a deep breath, metaphorically close your eyes, and laugh at the "sport" which we call professional wrestling. It's not very hard you know, critics have been doing it for years now even up to the tragic death of Eddie Guerrero. Go on though, indulge yourself in excessive giggling. Convulse in a 56 year old Intercontinental Champion, snicker at a man who weighs no more than 180 pounds and can single handedly flip someone 180 degrees into a Canadian destroyer, cachinnate at the thought of a world championship which originally was never even won, but awarded - with a gold plated spinning center. Has wrestling always been this ridiculous? Sure, but 6-7 years ago a real-life war was fought behind the scenes on both sides. It was believable that 3 egos such as Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and chiefly Hulk Hogan would take over their respective show, which eventually would signal its own doom. It was in character for evil to collide in an inferno match with Kane and the Undertaker, or that a near psychotic, anti-authority redneck in Steve Austin would be a world champion despite his white collar boss and enemy. Sex, violence, racy "shades of grey" made for a realistic show. Elements truly found in today's society whether behind closed doors or in your face.
As these characters played out who they were right before us it gave us that "edge" of realism in wrestling. As the reality slowly dripped from wrestling, so did the ratings. Triple H after an injury that ultimately slowed his ability down, was a dominant world champion afterwards, Kane finally took his mask off to reveal that - he was ugly, not scarred. Chris Benoit won the WWE Championship, which is real in my book for his wrestling ability and strength but is overshadowed by the alpha male of World Wrestling Entertainment Triple H and his feud with Shawn Michaels. In TNA Jeff Jarrett was doing the exact same thing and unfortunately seemingly still is as he controls the NWA world championship.
Vince Russo once made a valid point during an interview upon explaining his writing technique; that to write successful storylines and angles you must put yourself in that character. In other words, "what would his/her character do in this situation?" It's really the basis for all writers and a simple concept. Why is this concept so hard to grasp by WWE writers? It worked for Vince Russo and the WWF did it not? So let's venture into practical reality. Characteristically speaking, since we wouldn't know 100% realism unless the WWE turned into UFC or something like it. (In which case I don't know who would stop the Big Show or The Undertaker). Do the current storylines even fit their characters? I'll scan each show.
Yeah, like I'm going to bash TNA; me, Mr. "anti-WWE"... well, no, I'm not. Nearly all of their current storylines are realistic. Jeff Jarrett desperately trying to keep his top spot and world title as TNA grows and new talent arrives to threaten his world title reign. So realistic that could possibly really be occurring. Samoa Joe who has always been a brutal wrestler took it too far when he bloodied Christopher Daniels. A.J. Styles who is an all-American babyface stepped in and defended Daniels out of respect for him. 3 Live Kru who have been unsuccessful in the past year will likely be split up for the New Age Outlaws, a team that HAS had major success. Monty Brown was next in line for a world title shot at Jeff Jarrett until Christian stepped in and challenged that spot. So naturally they face off. When storylines make sense it makes logical people such as me happy.
Now on to RAW. We will start with Ric Flair's recent storyline with Triple H which makes no sense. Ric Flair, who is 56 years old wins the Intercontinental Title and Triple H considers him "soft"? Is it because "Flair turned into a good guy!?" as a mark would put it. It's not logical; furthermore Triple H who is obsessed with the WWE title has yet to go after an increasingly stale John Cena. Eric Bischoff; who in the past once almost put Vince McMahon out of business has been put across as extremely weak in the past few years, especially now as Eric grovels before King Vince. The Big Show and Kane, two monsters who have settled for the tag team titles in a near non-existent division. Two of the best talents on the show athletically and ability wise in Shelton Benjamin and Kurt Angle, hold no titles at all. Yet, Chris Masters has been in the main event of Raw. There is no logic in that. Along with the fact that the wrestling looks so fake and so predictable; and many former wrestlers and experts agree with that, RAW is absurd and infeasible to watch.
Smackdown! Is not actually bad at all contrary to its horrid counterpart. If the current world champion Batista competes in the time frame of his injury, I will fully expect him to lose the title. I am reminded of the Elimination Chamber at Summerslam 2003 where Triple H went into the match with an injury, let the 4 other wrestlers in the match do all of the work and then after Goldberg wiped everyone out (as if he deserved to) Triple H cheated and got the win over Goldberg retaining the title as Triple H would lay in the corner injured for a majority of the match. It was one of the worst matches I have ever seen in my entire life, and I hope history will not repeat itself. Other than that, thumbs up! Chris Benoit and Booker T are reliving their best of seven series which is realistic; they had some great matches in those best of seven and two wrestlers like Benoit and Booker T would do that. Randy Orton is the legend killer; he is still trying to take out the Undertaker, who is a legend. Makes sense to me! Even JBL walked out on Rey Mysterio during their tag team match against Kane and the Big Show. Yes! It's logical! Smackdown makes sense to watch! My only real complaint about Smackdown is that there is a lack of storylines in general, more so than RAW, but still lacking.
Is it too hard to be logical? I find it incredibly easy when you know what to expect out of certain characters. When you do this it makes it that much easier to create a storyline. Whether you like it or not TNA has just as much storylines in their one hour show than Raw and Smackdown combined in their 4 hour show! It starts with some simple realistic thinking, and it leads to great stories. The paradox in this is that upon speaking of realistic actions, the ones taking them are not realistic at all; merely playing characters on a show. It leads back to a writer's ability to imagine and create. It leads to us to either accept what the writer has created, or to challenge it. As a writer myself, I choose to challenge it, and this will never change.
by Joseph Bachman ..
Rob Scribner wrote:
Yeah, I agree, somewhat, with the premise, but you just sound like another "grass is greener on the other side" advocate....everything is better than WWE, but in the end we all know the outcome...TNA will get stale as well and fall victim because it's only for men....there's no reason for women to watch (they televise their women once a month and none of the guys are overly attractive)...there's no reason for kids to watch (as if their parents would let them with all the senseless violence)...so you're left with men...sure it's wrestling for the wrestling fan, but so isn't ROH and other indies. So enjoy your TNA while you can. And don't get me started on Samoa Joe and how he takes on those tough 150 lb people each and every week...yeah, that's fair....at least the WWE doesn't put Big Show up against Juventud and Kid Kash every week. If you want to be objective, do so...but don't convince me to have a love affair with TNA...In real life, all the smaller guys would gang up and beat up Samoa Joe if they were so worried about their "code"...are you telling me AJ Styles is the only one that cares about this "code"? Is he on an island when he makes a promo about the "code" and how Samoa Joe broke it? You bring a small paragraph on TNA and 4 paraghaphs on WWE....yeah, real unbiased.
You have to be kidding? Your points against Raw don't make any sense, not at all! Let me explain.
1.The Triple H and Ric Flair story line. Why does Triple H consider Flair soft, because he's now a face, and by doing so he has betrayed Triple H who is a heel, a story line that has been done before. Remember Kane vs. the Undertaker leading up to Wrestlemania XX.?Kane said he felt betrayed by the Undertaker when Undertaker became a face. Triple H also said that he has gotten tired of Ric Flair and wants to retire him to preserve his memories of Ric Flair legacy which he, Triple H feels he has tarnished ever since he, Triple H left Raw after his feud with Batista. In other words Triple H feels it is now time to retire Ric Flair.
2. Why hasn't Triple H gone after Cena for the WWE title? Simple he's been to busy trying to finish off Ric Flair and like Triple H said, "When I want some,( the WWE title) I'll take it." Same as in TNA, Abyss wants the NWA Heavyweight title but is to busy fighting Sabu.
3. Eric Bischoff has been made weak over the past cause now he is under Vince McMahon authority, before he had been able to do what he wanted against McMahon. Now McMahon has the power to humiliate Bischoff for almost putting him out of business.
4. Big Show and Kane are tag team champions right now because they know as a team no one can stop them. Ultimately their own thirst for power could break up the team.
5. Shelton Benjamin and Kurt Angle who are two of the top wrestlers on Raw, both have no titles because one, Benjamin is on a losing streak, which is typical in wrestling story lines, second Kurt Angle can't dethrone John Cena for the WWE title. Challengers who have repeatedly gone after the title only to lose in the end has happen in mostly every wrestling organization. In simple terms Cena is on top and no can beat him. Just because Benjamin and Angle are top wrestlers doesn't mean they should automatically be champions, their more elements in wrestling that determine whose should be champion and who should not.
6. Why is Chris Master headlining Raw? Because he's a new rising superstar who has powerful submission, the Master Lock, aka the Full Nelson which as we all know has been used and broken before. That angle has been done for decades! You seen with Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle at one point, but with Angle it was more about his submission move than him being a new superstar.
I know your anti WWE and all, but if your going to insult the WWE don't leave yourself wide open with one sided examples like these for some one to come back and attack you, I have never written and article before but that is basic knowledge. Last Benoit won the World Heavyweight title, not the WWE Championship.
Nancy Dalton wrote:
First and foremost, let me say this...TNA, unfortunately, will be around as long as Vince wants it to be. It actually makes good business sense to have some competition. I, personally, like what TNA is bringing to the table right now. They are utilizing some good talent and are showing some good matches and storylines. What wrestling fans need, to be honest about it, are WCW and ECW back. If Vince ever does decide to do anything with the trademarks and copyrights that he bought, it just won't be the same. It will surely have that hint of his control.
Secondly, as far as the storylines that everyone is talking about, you need to understand that everything we see on WWE programming is what we are intended to see. The storylines often revolve around the needs of the wrestlers. Sometimes a very qualified and experienced veteran who actually deserves to hold a major title simply does not want to. You have to remember that the title belts are just "props" and do not mean that the wrestlers are paid more or recieve any other special benefits. On the other hand, if a wrestler does hold a major title, it adds to his personal workload for the company as far as main eventing at house shows and televised shows and PPV's...some veterans just get to that point where they still want to wrestle, but don't want the extra work that comes with a title or a main event storyline. It's kind of like "taking a little break". At the same time, as long as a veteran is still wrestling, whether in a "good guy" or "bad guy" storyline, they are still selling their merchandise, which is where alot of the wrestlers make a good portion of their money to start with.
No matter what your taste in wrrestling is...if you love or hate WWE, if you love or hate TNA, which are the two big dogs in the business right now, remember that storylines come and go. Some are good, some are bad, but they are all done for one thing, to get us, as wrestling fans, to watch the show. If Vince notices that his ratings for Raw and Smackdown are decreasing while TNA's ratings are increasing (please note that I said "if") then we may see the storylines improve on the WWE front. And if WWE's storylines and the quality of the show improve then TNA will have to step their storylines and programming up....that's how it has always worked. In that situation we, the fans, are the benefactors......I just hope that happens.
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