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Posted in: Just Business
Just Business: The Preview Side of the Pond – Wrestling Fans Are Allowed to Change Their Minds Too
By Samuel 'Plan
Feb 9, 2018 - 6:53:41 PM




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Don’t forget to pick up your copy of my book, 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die, from the LOP Store or Amazon today! Simply click here to find mine and a host of other books and merchandise on offer, all courtesy of LOP, or on the icon to the left to be taken directly to Amazon!




Just Business: The Preview Side of the Pond – Wrestling Fans Are Allowed to Change Their Minds Too


This week on The Right Side of the Pond, yours truly sits on the sidelines as Maverick and Mazza get together and discuss elements from pro wrestling’s past that, over the years, they have come to feel differently about. Whether it was something they once loathed and have since come to admire, something they once liked and have grown to love or some other change of mind, you can catch their confessionals on storylines, wrestlers and shows in just a couple of hours.

In the meantime, I’m here, as ever, to get TRSOTP’s Friday night kicking with a few of my own picks! Like my venerable colleagues, I’ve picked a show, a storyline and a wrestler that, over the years, I have come to change my mind about – and in a world so prone to folkloric myths and views of history that don’t necessarily ring true as pro wrestling is, and especially WWE, it’s always worth remembering that, as we Ponders confess to having done so this week, wrestling fans can change their minds about things too.

WrestleMania XI was a show about which I did just that. For quite a long time, and until relatively recently in fact, I bought into the widely held belief that WrestleMania XI is an unmitigated failure and one of the worst pay-per-views, if not the worst pay-per-view, WWE have ever staged. Then I re-watched it. When I did, my mind changed quite rapidly. Rather than being a show unfurling the supposed creative failings of the New Generation Era at their worst, WrestleMania XI in fact presents the strongest assets of that Era at their best.

Not only does its main event of Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Lawrence Taylor predict the critical and popular success of Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather many years later, but the card is rounded out with some seriously excellent in-ring action, specifically a trilogy of championship matches that knock the spots off of a lot of more recent ‘Mania efforts. Ramon and Jarrett wrestle a real unsung hero of an Intercontinental Championship Match; the strange bedfellow partnership of Owen Hart and Yokozuna is rendered inspired by some excellent historical character context; and Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels, for all its flaws, is a sterling entry in the annals of Mr WrestleMania.

Similarly, one storyline I came to change my mind on quite radically was John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt; a feud that, at the time in 2014, I like so many other wrestling fans of the day felt catastrophically disappointed in, and latterly angry about. Despite some apparently good ideas, it felt terribly disjointed and unfocussed with each successive entry in the saga becoming less comprehensible than the last. Then, and rather quite by chance, I revisited their inaugural confrontation at WrestleMania XXX and, when I did, my performance art approach to WWE came up trumps once again.

For the first time, I really heard the lyrics of Eminem’s track Legacy, that provided the backdrop for the pre-match hype package. It is a story told from the perspective of a Bray Wyatt, not a John Cena, the chorus clarifying that their feud was never about John Cena’s legacy; it was about Bray Wyatt’s. The Eater of Worlds sought to reveal the truth that Cena’s superhero act was a lie; that he was just a man and, in being just a man, at his best was a monster. The result, in Wyatt’s mind, would drive the legions of Cena fans into his arms and his legacy would become his crowning as the new world’s true and only hero. Their sequels benefit from this reframed context too. Wyatt’s journey sees him become the god of his own paradise crafted out of his mass conversions, but one frustrated in spite of his power because of his inability to understand the true nature of heroism. Conversely, Cena’s journey sees him learn that very lesson: that being a hero doesn’t mean remaining humble in the face of adulation, but remaining steadfast in doing the right thing because it’s right, even when they hate you for it.

And finally, I must confess I am glad I missed this week’s show because I can avoid the smug proclamations of my hipster column writing brother, Maverick. I do hate it when he’s right, but right about Marty Jannetty he always was. The Rocker that time forgot is considerably better than the demeaning moniker folkloric wrestling fan thinking has crowned him with. It is true enough that the man who so infamously kissed barber shop glass has had his fair share of ups and downs in his career, and that his accomplishments are more than eclipsed by that of Shawn Michaels. What is not true, however, is that Marty Jannetty was not a fierce talent in his own right, but one who was able to compile a series of great matches between the ropes to call his own.

In fact, the first 12 months of Monday Night Raw’s existence all the way back in 1993 at times watches like a straight shootout between the two Rockers to see who could have the better television bouts. Michaels tore the summer up with a series of sleeper hits – including a great double-tap feud with ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan of all people - before Jannetty would take his place as a mainstay of the brand throughout the back end of the year. Matches against Doink and alongside the 1-2-3 Kid opposite the Quebecers frequently tore the roof off the Manhattan Centre, and many of them – in a revelation that might explain my 180 degree turn on the man – watch like a scrappier, much more unpolished version of some of Seth Rollins’ televised work today. I have come to think that highly of the WWE Jannetty in-ring library. Even his heel turn some years later, though only brief, threw up a series of strong efforts from the man too.

For now, luckily, I can write this without fear of a gloating Maverick laughing in my ear; I really do hate it when he’s right. What a treat it will be, then, to hear about what he and Mazza were wrong about in WWE’s past later on tonight! What did they pick for themselves? You can find out in just a couple of hours on the next instalment of The Right Side of the Pond, airing only on Lords of Pain Radio to kick your weekend off right! The Right Side of the Pond airs only on LOP Radio every Friday night, 9pm GMT / 5pm EST, or can be listened to on demand at any time via BlogTalkRadio or on iTunes, so be sure to check it out!

Until then, if you have any thoughts on any of my rediscoveries, or any of your own over the years, let them be known in the comments below, over on social media or even by signing up to our own LOPForums, where TRSOTP and every other LOP Radio show has its very own discussion thread for you to throw some responses our way without the limitations of Twitter or Facebook; just click here to sign up!



The reason why I had to skip this week’s show was a result of having to work on my next CSI writing tournament entry! The Group Stage is in its final round and who goes through in each instance balances on the edge of a knife. It’s too late to sign up now, but you can still head on over for a read and maybe sign up to practice a little column writing in time for our next tournament! Just click here to sign up: The Columns Forum!




Don’t forget to pick up your copy of my book, 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die, from the LOP Store or Amazon today! Simply click here to find mine and a host of other books and merchandise on offer, all courtesy of LOP, or on the icon to the left to be taken directly to Amazon!





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