Chair Shots: Falling Back on Tradition
Nov 20, 2012 - 10:30:37 AM
For those of you who celebrate it, Thanksgiving is just a few short days away. With the holiday season comes a lot of time honored traditions that you probably share with your friends and family. Whether it be football on Thanksgiving Day, or Black Friday shopping the day after, these are things that get passed down from one generation to the next. There is also a lot of tradition when it comes to professional wrestling, however as of late not a lot of it is being shown. These are simple things that just make the sport we love feel that much more special. From reading the forums, and talking to other fellow columnists, a lot of these things are shared by the wrestling community. Wrestling organizations today, primarily the WWE, like to throw these things out the window, but during the season of tradition, maybe it’s time we got back to a few of the simpler things. Let’s take a look at a few shall we?
Tag Teams should wear matching attire.
The Tag Team division in the WWE has gone through some rough times in recent years, but recently we’ve seen an increased effort in making tag team wrestling, and the titles important again. A lot of great teams have been put together, but if you were a relative newcomer, you’d never know most of them were established teams. Something as simple as matching ring attire goes a long way. It makes the statement of “We are a tag team, and that is our main focus.”
Currently in the WWE, only about half of the teams are doing this. Primo and Epico, the Prime Time Players, and the Uso’s (who we hardly ever see), all have matching ring attire. You look at these teams and know they are there for one reason, to compete in the tag team division. The one team that can really go a long way in similar attire is the team of Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio. Yes, they share the same color palette most of the time, but they should tighten up the rest of the outfit as well. Team Rhodes Scholars are a perfect example of not looking like a team. Cody Rhodes wears mostly plain colors, while his partner wears pinks and purples. They couldn’t look less like one of the top teams in the division.
Just because teams look different physically doesn’t mean they can’t dress similarly. Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart couldn’t have looked more different, but you knew that they were a team by their attire, and the nickname of the “Pink and Black Attack” stuck with them for years. Teams like The Dudley Boyz, The Hardys and Edge and Christian all shared similar attire and it meant a little something extra. So if the WWE is going to be committed to making the tag team division a priority, take it that one extra step, but maybe not quite this far.
If you are a champion, wear your damn belt.
There’s nothing more significant to a wrestler then winning a championship. So why then do so many wrestlers treat the belt that comes with it with such little respect? Over the years, wrestlers have gotten increasingly lazy with their gold straps, often times just draping them over their shoulders, or carrying them around like excess baggage. This is what they worked for. The belt is the thing that signifies that I am the best at what I do at this particular time. So why in the world don’t you show it off around your waist?
Ric Flair reveled in having his big gold belt. He’d come to the ring in his flowing robe, and as he undid the tie, his championship belt would be revealed around his waist. He’d pose, arms outstretched, as if to say “That’s right bitches! You want this, come get it!” I mean really, it’s called a belt for a reason. It’s supposed to go around your waist. It’s not a shoulder harness, or a carry-on bag. But what about wrestlers like The Big Show you ask? The belt won’t fit around his waist. There’s a simple solution for that really- make the strap bigger. It’s pure laziness saying he can’t wear it because he’s 400 lbs. There’s an even better solution to that though- just don’t give the belt to The Big Show, I think we’d all be happier.
Make the US Title and Intercontinental Title more than mid-card filler.
In the days of the NWA/WCW, the United States Heavyweight Championship was an important belt. The holder of that title was regarded as the #1 contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. It was a belt that was the stepping stone to being the top guy in wrestling. Today, the Intercontinental Title and the US Title in the WWE are nowhere near at that level. The current champions, Kofi Kingston and Antonio Cesaro, are not considered threats to either the WWE or the World Heavyweight Champion.
Despite the fact that Kofi Kingston is incredibly over with the WWE Universe, anytime he gets in the ring with a top tier star he is more often than not on the losing end of things, and a lot of times it isn’t even competitive. On the other hand, Antonio Cesaro is beating his competition pretty handily, but his name has not, and probably will not be mentioned in terms of the World Championship for quite some time, if at all. In this day and age, titles are more considered props to advance storylines than anything else, and that has to stop, because the fans will stop caring who holds the belt. The excitement of your favorite wrestler finally capturing the gold will become meaningless.
Champions should be introduced last-ALWAYS.
This is one of Tito’s pet peeves and I couldn’t agree more. At the Survivor Series PPV, CM Punk was introduced second during the Triple Threat match with John Cena and Ryback. It’s not like he even got the first introduction so he could get the initial crowd reaction. He was shoved in between the John Cena pop and the Ryback pop, thus making his entrance all but irrelevant. The champion, no matter what belt they have, should ALWAYS come out last. They’re the champion, they’ve earned it.
Coming out last makes the challenger wait. It makes the challenger antsy. It says to the challenger “I’m the champion, this is my time. You stand in the ring and wait for me to get there.” I don’t care if you’re John Cena, Randy Orton, Triple H, or The Undertaker- if you don’t have the belt, you come out first. So much of that now is determined by the entrance itself. The Undertaker, with his smoke, and lightning, and ambience is almost guaranteed the last entrance. But it shouldn’t be that way. The champion comes out last- no exceptions. And while we’re on the topic of champions….
The WWE Champion should always Main Event a PPV.
In the era of gimmick PPV’s, like Hell in a Cell, TLC, Money in the Bank, and Elimination Chamber, there have been many instances in the past few years where the Main Event of a PPV is NOT the WWE or World Championship. CM Punk has held the WWE title for one full year, but it’s only recently that he’s earned that Main Event status that he so rightfully deserves. Now the WWE is in a unique situation, because they have two heavyweight champions, but most everybody agrees that the WWE Championship is the #1 belt in the eyes of the wrestling world. That doesn’t mean though that the World Heavyweight Championship should be treated with disdain.
Let’s look at this past Wrestlemania. The World Championship match was actually the opening match on the biggest card of the year, and it only lasted 18 seconds. The Main Event of the evening wasn’t even for a title as The Rock took on John Cena. CM Punk and Chris Jericho was the match right before that, and quite frankly put on a better match than The Rock and Cena. With the emphasis recently being put on Punk’s 365 consecutive days as WWE Champion, we are starting to see Punk not only main eventing PPV’s, but also being in the final segment of Monday Night Raw more often than not.
So what do you think readers? Are these things important to you as a viewer? Are there any other traditions that you miss in today’s wrestling landscape? Sure, these are all pretty small things in the grand scheme of the wrestling industry, but sometimes the small things make the bigger things that much better.
Until next time,
Hit me up with your questions, comments, suggestions or death threats at the links below, or just leave me a comment after the column. You can click my name in the header and e-mail me as well. I love to hear from the readers!
Find me on Facebook:TripleR
Follow me on Twitter:@TripleRLOP