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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Change Is Imminent
August 5, 2005 by Michael F.


They say "This isn't good or bad. It's just the way of things. Nothing stays the same." Well, in the profession of professional wrestling things indeed do change. It definitely is just the way of things. Rest assured though in a wrestling context this is absolutely good and bad. Unfortunately I must say that in my opinion, there is just far more bad than good.

Gone are the days of creativity. We live in a world where sex and violence seem to satisfy our appetite for enjoyment. Whether its reality based TV, cartoons, video games, or professional wrestling one thing is for certain: it doesn't take much to lure in our brains for this form of stagnant entertainment. It's like we won't dare to be creative. Wrestling is indeed a form of entertainment. Need we pollute it though with this senseless, irrelevant material" Yes, we do. Why" Well, because you as an individual allow it to be polluted. Myself included. We settle for this cheap fix because if we dare to be creative and actually expand our horizons and use our brains, or feelings for something a little more far fetched, we may face the possibility of failure. By now you're probably sitting there reading this article wondering "OK when will he get to wrestling" Who cares about this crap"" My point exactly. Don't run from it. Please don't. Care about this crap because if you do not, this vicious cycle will never end. I want to turn on the TV and see wrestling for what it is. That's a truly creative art form that goes beyond physical limitations and enters the world of psychology. I want to be able to come home from a hard days work, tune out the wife or girlfriend and any other problems I may face as a human and watch programming that allows me to escape a certain reality.

The era of kayfabe is long gone. No more will we be able to buy into wrestling characters that have depth. Now don't get me wrong, we grow up. We mature as people and therefore our ignorance is lost and reality sets in. I will never believe that two men can possibly reside from the Island of Tonga. Nor will I ever believe that someone can possibly reside from parts unknown. That's OK. That's not what I ask. I ask that you allow my mind to roam far from planet earth as possible. Allow me to dream. Allow me to wonder. Wrestling is not about Divas or flaming tables. Hell it's not even really about who can sell the best arm bar or wristlock. As much as I love the Bret Harts of the world, I never enjoyed watching the Hitman wrestle because he can snap suplex someone better than someone else. I enjoyed Bret because he was truly a hero. A man that against all odds will fix all that is wrong. Or at least try to. His wrestling ability was only an added asset that made him enjoyable. I enjoyed watching Hulk cup his ear and point to the big man upstairs in the middle of the ring because he made me feel like I was a part of him. I was a part of it. I was a part of something that no matter how big or how strong, no one can take away from me. I feel none of these emotions watching hot-dog segments or grown men stuttering. Nor do I feel anything when I see Bubba or D-Von spike piledrive a women through a table. Its cheap heat. I want to hate JBL because he's everything I'm not. A businessman. A man of great wealth. A man who bullies his way to his achievements. I want to hate Triple H because he's everything I'm glad I'm not. An intense selfish son-of-a gun who thrives on fear and intimidation.

Wrestling has changed so drastically from when I was a kid. I'm now forced to endure hard-core matches and Bra n' Panty matches. Forced if I want to see just the tad bit of wrestling as an art form that may slip through the cracks every Monday night or pay-per-view. People bash Hulk Hogan because he doesn't do spinning wheel kicks off the top rope. People chant boring when Val Venis wrestles the Conman Rob Conway because they didn't do any swanton bombs. I resent each and every person who falls into this category. Hot Rod Rowdy Piper never left his feet by more than 11 inches and that's what makes him a legend. He's a legend because he was smart enough and creative enough to mask what ever lack of wrestling ability or stuntman ability he had by grabbing a mic and showing us all the gift of gab. Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase is a legend because with a sleeper hold or "Million Dollar Dream" as he called it, he entertained me more than any death defying stunt these so called wrestlers do today. You can't place the blame fully on the wrestlers themselves because like each and every one of us they want to be employed. Nickelodeon writers (isn't that the biggest bag of sh%t you ever smelled) lousy color men (yes King I love you for what you did before not for how quick you can point out that you love puppies) terrible booking and greedy promoters can share a slice of this blame pie. There's plenty to go around. Most of all though, the people, the fans, the marks whatever we may be referred to these days are to blame. We sh%t where we eat. We're fed what keeps us full. What skill does it take for someone to come up with punch lines like "It wasn't my fault" or "You're going to have to kill me to take this belt"" If you ever get the chance I would like for you to go in front of a mirror and cut a promo about anyone or anything. Cut a promo for two or three minutes. Hmmm. Kinda hard huh" Thought so.

The point I'm trying to make here is that we settle for such shallow entertainment. There's no art and skill in what is presented to us anymore. I'm not denying the physical punishment these men and women go through to entertain us. The human body wasn't designed to do what these wrestlers do. As much as I recognize this I'm sorry if I can't respect it. Hogan is the perfect example to go by. There are more Hogan haters in this industry and in this world than I can think of. Is he old" Yeah. Should he not lace up those Red and Yellow boots" Honestly no he shouldn't. We know this. But damn it give credit where credit is due. He never claimed to be this highflying, daredevil stuntman that many would like him to be or think he should be. That's not what determines greatness. People say "oh well Ric Flair is great and better than Hogan because he's a 16 time world champion." No, he's not. Ric Flair didn't win any belts. Just like Hogan didn't either. Those belts were given to them and anyone before or after them. They never won anything. What makes Flair great is his longevity. The fact that he's been entertaining people since people were dropping acid and having unprotected sex in the 70's. Hogan is great not because he won belts or because he outwrestled people. He's great because he fought for what he believed in. Well, let me rephrase that. He presented a character that fought for what he believed in. He took simplistic morals and values and applied them to everything he did inside the squared circle. He took these lessons and values and attempted to instil them into many young children across the world. "He's old and never took bumps." Yeah he is. Yes, he never could. Well, Christopher Columbus robbed and pillaged Indians and women along the way to discovering America. Even though that's a whole other topic that can be dissected the fact of the matter is everyone has their flaws. It's all about turning those flaws into assets or making something positive out of them. Wrestling today is presented on shallow ground. Shallow ground that we won't walk on. Its given guys love half naked women and flipping people the bird. Some women do to. So therefore they go for what is granted. They know it's a sure thing. Well, if we never took risks and always went for the sure thing then life would be pretty boring no" I mean what's wrong with well thought out gimmicks and allowing a wrestlers creativeness to really shine through" There's nothing wrong with it other than the fact that people will probably boo them out of the building if it doesn't incorporate any of these simplistic angles. So from a business perspective why in the world would Vince want to risk that"

From Ric Flair to Hulk Hogan to Dusty Rhodes to Nikita Koloff all these men gave us much more than met the eye. For that I thank them. For that many of you's bash them. It's the world we live in today. It's killing the wrestling business as we know it and the majority of fans sit back and are blind to see it. The younger generation isn't at fault. It's all they know. Funny thing is though the audience that is targeted is the 18-to 30 yr. old demographic. You would think that we would reject that and demand creativeness or demand a product that's actually worth watching. But we don't. In turn we cheer it on. We crave for more. We get on our knees and beg for that spoon full of sh%t. Again myself included. I can easily change the channel or easily pop in my old school tapes and get the craving that I want. I choose not to. I accept full responsibility for that. Its time everyone else does to.

We read a few books or watch a few shoot interviews and all of a sudden people act like they know wrestlers personally or know what's best for business. Not saying we don't know what's best for business. Hell we are the consumers. We are fully capable of making that assumption. But to ridicule Hogan or Flair or Triple H because we read they play politics is unfair and ignorant. We have never worked with these gentleman first hand so how the hell can we assume these allegations are true" Speak from experience not from hearsay. I just can't grasp why we settle for face value. Doesn't anyone have self respect for themselves anymore" I always hear that gimmicks and characters insult people's intelligence. They are not believable. I'd rather deal with gimmicks than have someone assume all it takes is naked flesh and blood and guts to make me feel I got my money's worth. That's insulting! I wish wrestling was fun again. That's what it was built on. The fun. It's not fun anymore and nine out of ten times doesn't make any kind of damn sense. As long as we get our dose of sex and violence it should keep us full until next Monday night or the next PPV. IM calling all true wrestling fans or at least the ones who claim to be to research where this business has come from. Rent old WWF tapes or NWA or Mid-Atlantic tapes and watch and appreciate the art form and skill of real wrestling. Hey you never know. You may become a better person for it. Or something even greater than that. You might actually be able to consider yourself a true fan. Kayfabe for Life.

by Michael F. ..


Erkka Järvinen wrote:
Fan is a fan, you cant tell someone that he is not a real fan. It doesnt matter if someone likes flaming tables, cruiserweights or women, he is a fan. There is an old saying that goes "If you think someone is better than you, try to improve to his level. If you think someone aint as good as you, look down to your soul and think"
SemSmada wrote:
amen. i totally agree. im not a Hogan fan but i still respect him for what he helped do for this business. i watch so many matches now and feel detached from the whole thing. at least he knew how to get the crowd involved in his matches. im also sick of hearin the crowd boo (in WWE and indy shows) when two wrestlers are in the ring workin their asses off just b/c they havent gone aerial or used a chair. dont forget people this is supposed to be WRESTLING.
Patrick Guthrie wrote:
Uhhh.... You don know that Tonga is a real place, right"
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