Katz Files: Three Weird WWE Storylines

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz

Three Weird WWE Storylines

The Kingfish Arnie takes a closer look at three ridiculous current WWE plots.

No one expects sensitive, realistic adult drama from professional wrestling. Or if they do, they shouldn’t. You have to question the intelligence of someone who watches Boogeyman, the Great Khali Kiss Cam or Undertaker rise from the dead and then wonders how Randy Orton can threaten lawsuit due to termination.

Sometimes, though, the storylines aren’t just wild, but actually stupid and irrational. Right now, there are at least three such stories running in WWE. The next time someone at WWE gripes about something “exposing the business,” you can hit them with this trio.

Hardy versus Hardy

Matt Hardy’s heel turn and attack on his brother Jeff is the least objectionable of the three storylines, which tells you something about the other two.

It’s true that WWE feuds brothers Undertaker and Kane, but the circumstances were radically different. Both Taker and Kane had established themselves as singles wrestling stars, the hostility between them was carefully inserted in show after show before it erupted into matches and fans knew that Kane and Taker weren’t actually brothers.

Admittedly, the Owen vs. Bet Hart feuds is more similar to Hardy against Hardy. I don’t recall the fans liking that one too much, though the actual in-ring confrontations were great.

Heel heat is vital to professional wrestling. It sometimes seems like fans would rather boo than cheer. Yet the tone of the feedback on Hardy-Hardy is not negative excitement, it’s revulsion. A lot of fans aren’t expecting to boo Matt; they are so turned off that they may well avoid watching altogether.

WWE needs to watch Smackdown’s ratings very closely. If the company keeps at it, relentlessly, they may convert fans, but they also need to watch for defections.The Wrestler, a serious and moving film that is likely to get quite a bit of mainstream recognition and approval. It has completed the revival of Rourke’s dead acting career, begun with his voice-actor role in Sin City.

Mickey Rourke

The idea that Mickey Rourke will wrestle Chris Jericho, possibly with Ric Flair in his corner, is appalling. If it happens, though, Rourke himself should get the bulk of the blame for not forgoing this demeaning payday.

Mickey Rourke has given an incredible performance in

So now Mickey Rourke has won a “Best Actor” Golden Globe and is surely going to be nominated for others. The actor definitely merits such accolades and deserves them all. Yet he is apparently about to do the one thing that virtually guarantees that he will win nothing; something that will hurt his marketability going forward.

If Mickey Rourke wrestles at WrestleMania against Chris Jericho, he will not only lose out on the possibility of an Oscar, but prospective employers will think of him less as a guy who turned in a magnificent performance in The Wrestler and more as a beat-up pug who tumbled into am ideal, typecast role. That could have a drastically negative effect on future roles unless Rourke plans to specialize in over-the-hill combat sports practitioners.

I don’t know Mickey Rourke, but I hope the people who do know and care about him will convince him to stick to acting. (Yes, I know Rourke did some boxing, but this is a different, very specific situation.)

McMahons Uber Alles

I predicted that Shane McMahon would be coming to RAW once his dad returned and he did so on the (1/26 episode. What I didn’t predict, because I didn’t think WWE was this delusional, was that Shane would demolish all three members of Legacy.

Somehow, against all evidence, the folks at WWE have got it in their heads that the McMahons aren’t just heavy stockholders in WWE, but are little tin gods possessed of miraculous powers.

Here’s a bulletin for WWE: Fans think of Vince, Stephanie, Shane and Linda as a rich family from Connecticut who inherited the family business and made it even more successful. I imagine the heirs of Levi Strauss got pretty powerful in the business world, too.

They’ve lost the thread of reality. Vince McMahon is still a major character in the wrestling show, whether heel or babyface, so it makes sense to use him in essentially non-wrestling roles or as the helpless target of someone like Randy Orton.

To a lesser extent, the same is true for Stephanie. She still needs to lose the rest of the pregnancy weight, though those eyes look gorgeous now, but at least they haven’t had her challenge Beth Phoenix for the title.

And now we come to Shane McMahon. Here’s another bulletin: Shane is a middle-aged man with almost no athletic experience and no obvious skill as a wrestler. Those matches in which he would do one scary bump were tolerable, but him beating three of the company’s top wrestlers in a one-on-three situation is not.

Any of the three should be able to tie Shane McMahon in knots and, worse, the fans know it. If Orton, DiBiase and Rhodes can’t destroy one sedentary graybeard, then how are fans going to feel when these guys face actual wrestlers. If Orton can’t beat Shane with that kind of help, they’ll have to let him carry a taser into the ring when he fights Cena.

Shane McMahon is not a superman or a wrestler. I think Mickey Rourke could win a shoot. If Shane is to lead the fight against Legacy, he should be more like a manager with plenty of capable allies.

The next time the writers get together for a “think” session, how about doing just a little more thinking? With plots like these, the Spring Slump is assured.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I hope you’ll come back then – and, please, bring your friends.

— Arnie Katz
Executive Editor
[email protected]
(1/28/09)