Suspending My Disbelief
August 15, 2005 by L. Freer
One of the key aspects to following pro-wrestling, and enjoying it week to week, is the ability to suspend disbelief when watching the show. After all, we may know deep down that the contest is rigged and the hated rivals are really friends, or co workers at least, but when we tune in we want to forget this and fall in to the world we are given on the show.
Unfortunately, it seems that on many occasions the wrestling promoters of the world have wanted us to do anything but. This column will highlight some of the things I find make this suspension of disbelief impossible, discuss why that is and list some examples of offending matches. Bear in mind this list is just things that occur in matches, not angles since if I were to include that I could go on all day...
No DQ/No Count Out tag team matches where the teams make tags
This one is first because in my eyes at least it is the single worst offender. It doesn't really matter if the match is advertised as a "No DQ match" or a "Tables" match or whatever, if there is no disqualification, why in the name of all that is sane does one member of each team stand on the apron and wait to be tagged" What is the referee going to do if you double team" Disqualify your team" Err, no. I understand that this is done to keep the action easier to follow, but it just makes the workers in the match seem stupid. Nasty Boys/LOD No DQ at SummerSlam 1991 or the tables match between the Dudley's and X-Pac, Road dog and Tori are good examples here.
The Royal Rumble.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love the Royal Rumble match as an event. I love the random entry rules and excitement and for the first couple of years I had no problem with it. Then the WWE(F) started allowing workers to not enter the ring when their number was called, hide under the ring for long periods of time and generally not enter at the right time. "The King" Jerry Lawler was the first to do this I think, but Vinnie Mac and others have done the same thing since and as far as I am concerned it ruined the rumble. Why do any of the workers get in the ring before all 30 have arrived if you don't get disqualified from the match for waiting at ringside" I know that would ruin the match but at the moment it just makes workers seem stupid for not taking an obvious advantage they have available. All this takes to fix would be a rule about any wrestler not in the ring when the next entrant arrives is eliminated by default to fix, but it won't happen as it is too restrictive so I guess my problems with the format will continue. For the best example, check out the Rumble won by Vince McMahon.
Ignoring the door in Cage matches.
In the amount of time it takes most workers to climb to the top of the turnbuckles and drop a move on the opponent they could walk out of the door. It really is that simple. Obviously, wrestlers never do this because it would ruin the excitement of the match.
Fine, padlock the door and say escape is only allowed over the top, but otherwise this is impossible for me to take seriously. In the old days of the Blue Bar cages, this was especially problematic since the door closing mechanism seemed to come open at random at times, leaving escape surprisingly obvious.
I can only assume that being in a match renders your sense of hearing useless, otherwise how come nobody ever hears the roar of the crowd and theme music when a worker makes a run in" Since the music is so loud and obvious, I can only assume the workers in the ring want to get blind sided, otherwise why do they not look towards the ramp to see what is happening"
Heels fleeing from a match cannot run.
Why is it that when a cowardly heel decides he will leave a match and get himself counted out, especially when his title is on the line, he becomes incapable of moving faster than an asthmatic ant carrying heavy shopping uphill" They will walk very slowly up the ramp allowing loads of time for the face to catch them and bring them back in to the ring. They can run in the ring, run at ringside but not run to the back.
Admittedly, this happened far more in the past than it does today but it has always caused me to stop and go "Oh, come on!"
I want to loose myself in the world wrestling shows present to me, but these things and countless others like them, constantly prevent that from happening
by L. Freer ..
Good points. Current wrestling "rules" have really become a shorthand version of what came before without a lot of rhyme or reason to it. I'll just comment on some of your points.
The unnecessary tagging during a no DQ tag match. What about the rest of the time" When the heel tag partner enters the ring and double teams the face, but the face tag partner waits outside and/or complains to the ref, which of course forces the ref to turn his back on the illegal activity. I'd rather the face just rushed the ring. No matter what rule you break these days, you get a 5-count to cease the activity so why not rush in"
Royal Rumble. I haven't seen any of the ones you mention but I'll add another pet peeve about battle royal type matches in general. One is the illegal elimination. When a wrestler who's not involved in the match runs in and throws out one of the legal men, who is then counted as eliminated. It doesn't make any sense. It's like pinning the wrong man in a tag match, it shouldn't count. Similar thing happened during the 6-man on Smackdown a little while ago, part of the Undertaker/Hassan feud. Hassan was not the legal man in the match at the time, yet when Undertaker chased him out of the ring, Hassan was eliminated by count-out, I guess. How can he be counted out when he wasn't even the legal man in the ring at the time" During a tag match, sometimes a tag partner will leave the apron but that doesn't mean his team is automatically counted out.
Ignoring the cage door. Yeah, you pretty much said it all. I'd just add the bit where someone gets to the top of the cage and rather than escaping, comes back into the ring to continue attacking the opponent. Most of the time this isn't properly motivated, the man would have to be really crazed to do that believably, otherwise he'd just win the match first and then re-enter the cage to attack the opponent some more.
Wrestler deafness. I'd certainly add referee deafness/unawareness. When an illegal man runs into a match and does something right behind the referee's back that goes unnoticed. My favorite was on a TNA PPV when Viscera ran into a match and hit a sit-down power bomb on one of the participants. The ref's back was turned but it only happened about 2 feet behind him, and with 600+ pounds coming down behind him, the ref bounced up about a foot off the mat, but didn't bother to turn around and see what was happening. He was too distracted by something at ringside.
The slow heel escape. Well, certainly this also conjures the memory of several slow ladder climbs. When a wrestler is climbing the ladder in a ladder match, he's about 2 or 3 rungs up the ladder, and the opponent is still laying on the floor outside the ring, the man on the ladder should be able to complete his climb in about 5 seconds and win the match. But he has to either stop and play to the crowd to kill time, or pretend he's doubled over hurt or sucking wind and can't physically climb the ladder. Of course he recovers just as the opponent makes it back into the ring and grabs his leg to pull him down.
Another one that bothers me more and more lately is the "abuse of power" stuff with authority figures. For example, Eric Bischoff's current campaign to strip John Cena of the WWE title. He can stack matches against Cena, he can even go so far as to assign a referee to the title match who freely admits he will deliver a loss to Cena no matter the real outcome. If Bischoff can do anything he wants without fear of censure by the WWE Committee, then why doesn't he just strip Cena of the title" Assigning a bogus ref is no more legitimate, so what's the point"
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