Kleck Goes Daily! Day 7: Documentary Review- The Resurrection Of Jake The Snake
Feb 19, 2017 - 11:59:47 PM
Hello all and welcome to day 7. Wow, what a slow news day! After a few day span of utter madness it seems the wrestling world fell into a coma, so I took to Netflix to try and find some inspiration for another column- and I found it. This is an old documentary now, and many have probably seen this one already but it is worth a review. This topic is about the documentary on Jake "The Snake" Roberts titled, The Resurrection Of Jake The Snake. Here's my take on it...
Documentary Review: The Resurrection Of Jake The Snake
For the longest time growing up when I heard or saw anything related to retirement, most of it played out socially like it was a sad life event. People would put on those fake smiles- would hype up all the good to come, but their body language and facial expressions said it all for them. Their body was saying that everything to come was some second hand fate. Like the best days were gone, and it was essentially misery and sadness ahead. Pro athletes would all sob and thank everyone. Everyone watching would sob. Though it seems to play out that way no matter the profession. And truthfully, retirement itself as a notion is essentially just a big romanticism of a time now marked as gone. It was a curiosity to me growing up, because upon learning just what retirement involved, I was getting up at 6 AM every day at the latest to go to school. School where I had to sit through so much that would never apply to me ever again, in a jungle of irregular hormone levels and societal hysteria that mirrored that in the Lord Of The Flies.
And it didn’t get much clearer why in my twenties. In my twenties the jig was up- the fairy tale had ended and the real world began. A world filled with bills, insurance, responsibility, and work. Ughhh work. So much suck. All of that did not help me to understand how retirement was such a bad thing. Even slightly.
It took my dad retiring years later for me to start to see what the issue was. As when he was offered early retirement, which was a nice offer, he wasn’t as happy as I figured he would be- or maybe as I would be if I were in his shoes. I guess I always projected as I went through life, each step finding the reasons why I would personally love retirement. Through my dad though I saw what it was that makes it such a sobering life event. You are essentially no longer considered a productive member of society. It is the moment when we acknowledge that the world is passing us by.
Now that realization would be hard for anyone alive, but for some it is felt on a bit of a magnified scale- those in the entertainment industry and the public eye- and in this instance, those in professional wrestling.
When I watch Enzo & Cass from the WWE these days, it reinstills my faith in professional wrestling never dying. Just as wrestlers have done for countless years before, the Realest Guys In The Room whip the crowd up into an amazing frenzy. The responses they get chill me to the bones, and I’m just sitting in my house watching as a spectator. Imagine if those crowds were cheering for you, imagine how that would feel?
Though wrestlers like Enzo & Cass reassure me that wrestling will always be around, it isn’t the industry itself that has to suffer the slings and arrows of mortality- it is the performers that hold it up. And those performers, like Enzo & Cass, one day will retire from professional wrestling, and the spotlight. Humor me for a moment and imagine what that must feel like. To be cheered for and loved by millions, and then to walk away from that. And not just walk away, but to slowly fade from the public eye at the same time.
I’m sure many have seen the movie, The Wrestler, with Mikey Rourke portraying fictional character Randy “The Ram”. Imagine going from the crowd cheering you like they do for guys like Enzo & Cass, to the life of Randy “The Ram”- trying to patch bridges you burned in the past that burned while you were trying to succeed in an industry that has now left you behind; being estranged from most of your family for various reasons, including being vacant during your wrestling career, despite having the time and desire to no longer be vacant; being addicted to drugs for various reasons- including pain management, trying to temporarily escape a world that has seemingly forgotten about you, and depression; having to work remedial jobs and doing just about any kind of awful paying gig just in order to not be homeless, and to pay for medication, medical treatments for your nearly crippled body, and or drugs to dull the physical and mental pain. And the sad truth is that that is not uncommon for retired professional wrestlers, it is actually an accurate description of the majority of them.
These are the guys we cheer for. The guys we watch on TV every week through the years. The guys that spend their entire youth and body to simply entertain us. Most of them now dealing with the consequences, both physically and emotionally of doing so. And one of those men is Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
If you watch the documentary that is exactly what you will see. The side of the industry you don’t see on Monday Night RAW, Smackdown, or any other wrestling show. The side of the industry where former wrestlers are now addicts in a struggle for their life.
As the audience we are reminded of Jake’s massive level of success within the professional wrestling industry in the opening moments, and then we take a journey with Jake, from his last wrestling show, which he got extremely drunk before doing, mixed with his body being an absolute wreck, all the way through a transformation that is far from the norm for most guys in Jake’s current position. We went from seeing a then Jake, who could barely walk or move as he seemed to be loudly banging on death’s door, to a man with hope once more that this world would be whatever he made of it again.
As a fan of then WWF growing up, I can say that Jake “The Snake” was easily one of the very coolest wrestlers who ever lived. He had a smoothness and air of danger about him that made it impossible to be anything but mesmerized when he was on the screen. His finisher back then was amazing, a move he himself introduced to the wrestling world and perfected in the DDT- he had a quiet, reserved power in everything he did, and carrying around a massive Boa Constrictor as a dangerous pet certainly didn’t hurt his cool factor. Even as someone who doesn’t count Jake as their favorite of that Era, or someone who maybe saw Jake take their own favorite guys down a peg or two throughout his career, there is still no denying that he was one of the most fascinating, awesome, over wrestlers in professional wrestling history.
So to see him severely out of shape, constantly drunk, emotional and sobbing all the time, depressed, and practically physically crippled is a bit of a shock- like a punch to the gut that takes all the air out of you. We as fans typically only see these guys at their best, so watching documentaries like this is something I pretty much urge any person who considers themselves a fan of professional wrestling to do.
We need to see what the industry does to these people to remind us of the cost of our fandom. To remind us what happens when the spotlight dims, and the fanfare fades. But we also need to see things like this to appreciate what we have. Going to school sucks, work sucks, parenting sucks, responsibility sucks, but one day the world will leave us behind, and our romanticisms of an easier life will be only that, romanticisms. The reality is our bodies will be failing, our families will have their own families, and the world will be quietly ushering us into quiet little corners of existence, to fade away alone. I only realized that in recent years through my dad, The Wrestler, professional wrestling, and this Jake the Snake documentary.
And we also need to see documentaries like this to see that despite all of that, this world is still what we make of it even in those moments. Jake could have just given up and died early like many, countless wrestlers have done before him, or how people in general typically go after retirement, but he refused to allow societal standards, time, physical restraints, or addiction to define his remaining time in this world.
To see Jake transform with the help of another former wrestler, Diamond Dallas Paige, is awesome. To see Jake connect with a family that had no reason to take him back after his time and neglect as a professional wrestler, is incredible. And to see it all honestly- to see just how addiction isn’t some thing you just walk away from overnight, to see someone slip multiple times despite experiencing successes is heartwarming, and a lesson worth learning. We often don’t get to see that. In this documentary though you will see Jake fall off the wagon multiple times during his transformation. That showed me the real nature of a major recovery.
And DDP and his team didn’t kick Jake out, they tried instead to drive the point home that they were there to help him survive, because they cared enough to as they helped him back up. And underneath it all, we see issues that we can connect to as an audience. We start to see how easy it is to succumb to addiction. The underlying issue Jake dealt with his whole life was a breakdown in relationship with a family member. And the wrestling industry essentially filled that hole in his heart. Though in the process, the rigorous schedule and physicality of being a professional wrestler turned him into exactly what he hated.
And in his retirement, the hole only got wider, as Jake drank and did drugs even more, and started to slip away from the world faster. The physical and emotional pain brought him to a place he never wanted for himself- a place many people, even those who aren’t pro wrestlers, deal with daily. And yet Jake refused to spend the rest of his life being approached by “fans” who always asked what happened to him. He refused to be in a world with his family and kids and yet never get to see them, or connect with them, and he refused to allow his past to define his future.
This documentary isn’t just for those who were or are fans of Jake “The Snake”, or were or are fans of professional wrestling, because it deals with things that nearly every human experiences at one point or another. The underlying point is that no matter how bad things have become, or could become, as long as you are still breathing, it isn’t too late.
I’ll admit there were moments that made tears roll down my face- both happy and sad ones. Seeing Jake’s struggles early, and then seeing his “Resurrection” were very real, raw experiences. Seeing him reach a height he was positive only a short time before was completely impossible, and yet still seeing that touch of humanity in acknowledging that addiction would be a lifelong battle, despite such a dramatic turnaround, was as real and powerful as it gets. And despite knowing that, you could see in Jake’s eyes that this time he meant it, because there was only one way to go, and failing again would inevitably mean going the way countless professional wrestlers, and countless people have went before him.
This documentary shows not just the dark underbelly of professional wrestling, or the issues Jake “The Snake” had/has to overcome, but the darkness in all of our lives, and how we deal with or manage it. So if I had to recommend something to watch the next time you Netflix and chill, this is right towards the very top of the list. And as a wrestling fan, it will give you perspective into why these men and women self destruct the way they often do, as it shows you exactly what it helped to show me- that external things won’t make you complete. Fans cheering or booing you, drugs, alcohol, the path of least resistance, whatever addiction you have often only temporarily masks the pain, which is the true root of the problem. And oftentimes, it wasn’t something external you sought, but rather something internal that you needed to mend. And until you do, you could very well wind up like these men and women, or like many other everyday people that have been lost way too soon.
As you can see this documentary deals with much more then professional wrestling, as it connects with people from all walks of life in a very personal way. Though seeing Jake persist through his demons is one of the more inspiring things I’ve seen. I would recommend this highly to anyone who may not have seen it yet, as it might even teach you something about yourself. We all have addictions, just know that you can overcome them if you can read this. As long as you are alive, it is never too late. If there is one thing you should take from this documentary, and all of your knowledge of Jake “The Snake” Roberts, let it be that.
And if you need help, don’t be ashamed to seek it, because I guarantee there are people in your life that would miss you if you were gone. There are people in this world who will listen, and try to help. Count me among them. Send me an e-mail, PM me in the columns forum, reach out to someone if I’m not the one you feel comfortable with. Stop making excuses, and start taking responsibility. Take the control back, it starts by seeking help from someone. It has to start somewhere. And if it seems like it is too much- it isn’t. It won’t be easy, but if Jake can do it, you sure as hell can.
Well that wraps up day 7. Any comments or discussion? You know what to do. Until then I am Kleckamania, thank you for reading and hopefully I'll see you again tomorrow for day 8.
Hello all. What a rough couple days in the pro wrestling world. We've lost some legends. I decided if I did another tribute column in back to back days this would start looking too much like a daily obituary, so instead we will look at who I think was the Wrestler Of 2016 across all feds.
First though I wanted to acknowledge Ivan Koloff. He was mostly before my time, but I have watched a fair amount of his matches. He was a bit of a historic wrestler, having been the guy who broke Bruno Sammartino's world championship streak way back in the day. Though he didn't have a career filled with accomplishments like that, he was a heel in the days when faces ran the place (WWWF) way more then modern times. For instance, Bruno held the World Title for something like 11 straight years. And you guys think you're sick of Cena! Well back then the heels rarely were on top, and Ivan was one of the very few who could say he made it that far. And he did so by ending that streak! And yet he is still not in the WWE Hall Of Fame. It would be a shame if posthumous pleasantries were what finally got him in, but either way the guy is a part of the fabric that began modern wrestling, and deserves at least a little spot in the Hall if you ask me. Rest in peace Russian Bear.
2016 Wrestler Of The Year
Yes this is a bit delayed considering it is February, but when I initially planned on writing this life was just too chaotic to do much writing. Regardless this man deserves heaps of praise for the 2016 he had, and he didn't even do it in WWE.
Of course I am talking about Matt Hardy. A guy who I was tired of in TNA. I thought he and his brother Jeff were just existing on the TNA payroll, soaking up big paychecks but not really adding much to the product. There was a time when I thought they should be dropped so TNA would have more money to sign on some bigger current names in the industry. And I am so glad TNA didn't wind up doing exactly that.
You see Matt didn't win this by being a Hardy, so much as he won this by completely reinventing himself. The guy had always been the quieter, less flashy Hardy. Essentially the anchor in the tag team, like the Marty Jannetty to Jeff's HBK. This past year though he was given some creative freedom and the rest is history.
Matt didn't win this fake, meaningless award in the ring as much as he won this award for doing something nobody in the wrestling world was doing- telling a story. Granted there are feds like Chikara and Lucha Underground that immerse the audience in plots, but Matt brought a level of theatrics to it that was unmatched anywhere. This was something guys might do way back in the day, when market research, sponsors, and shareholders didn't have a death grip on the wrestling product. Matt's year was like one big throwback to times when guys could jump on the mic and say and do what they wanted.
Imagine if guys like Ultimate Warrior and Macho Man wrestled in modern times- a huge reason why they are so loved to this day would be gone. Their promos would have been scripted, their actions meticulously detailed down to the finite bits. There would be a level of artistry we would have never had the privilege of seeing. And Matt Hardy was the Wrestler Of The Year in 2016 because he channelled that kind of energy.
The industry partially became what it is today because let's face it, there are a lot of wrestlers who don't really have the creativity needed to excell without a script and some direction. Most of the talent needed to be reigned in, but what Matt did this past year was prove that pro wrestling companies should at the least keep an eye and ear open to suggestions made by some of the more talented ones. Let's be real- Matt Hardy saved TNA through his creativity, and ability to display it without a filter.
For years I thought he hindered the company, and he might have, but ultimately Matt is the difference between TNA still being alive or dead. It is no secret that TNA was a sinking ship, dealing with a littany of legal and financial issues one after another. Even as one of the biggest fans of the product, I could see that they needed a breakthrough to stay alive in late 2016-2017, and Matt Hardy was exactly that.
For the first time we got to see what Matt Hardy could truly do creatively, and it was abstract, light hearted, and hilariously outside the box. The guy made wrestling fun again, and in doing so extended TNA's life. He also extended quite a few fandoms. As a wrestling fan, I can't speak for everyone, but I had become downright bored with modern wrestling. There are practically never organic moments anymore, with everything so thought out and deeply scripted that the product is just so painfully predictable and transparent. The industry has become more of a business pitch then an artistic platform, which has made it so those bits of magic that happen in moments of unpredictability, the moments of true humanity, never are given the chance to shine through.
This is why Matt Hardy's year in 2016 was so important, and necessary. Not just important for TNA, but for all federations and fans of the sport. His year colored in a bit of the gray, and sparked the imaginations of many- which is exactly what great art is supposed to do.
Matt Hardy's 2016 was the pinnacle of his career to date. He took a little bit of creative wiggle room, and showed the world what we had been missing for so long, humanity in a wrestling product. Funny to think that considering how abstract and out there his character was, but his character was his own, and was allowed to be as obtuse, non-pc, and unfiltered as he wanted it to be. And that is a reason why he turned as many heads as he did, even from people outside of the TNA bubble, and caused TNA's popularity to explode, as everyone was interested and curious in knowing what he would do next.
Watching Matt in 2016 made me feel more alive as a wrestling fan then I had felt in decades. The closest thing to it was Daniel Bryan's seemingly organic rise to the top of WWE just a few years ago- when for the first time in years a push felt more like a wrestler taking what they wanted against the grain of the now new wrestling culture. It was exciting and invigorating. Matt made me feel like a kid again watching with baited breath and fresh eyes. It wasn't just TNA or pro wrestling that needed Broken Matt Hardy, my fandom needed him too.
So I guess he wins this distinction not through his actual wrestling, but through what his character meant to us in 2016- organic, spontaneous, free thinking artistic expression. Which I'd guess many fans needed more now then ever before. And hopefully the ripples his 2016 sent through pro wrestling's clear waters shows the industry as a whole that there is always room to think outside the box, and not just play it safe every single second of a products day. We don't always want or need the generic, by the numbers, bland booking formula. Sometimes that touch of humanity makes all the difference in the world, which Matt Hardy proved over and over again this past year.
And for those who typically don't watch TNA, or didn't have the opportunity to see Matt in action in 2016, all I can do is strongly suggest you go to youtube, and search for Broken Matt Hardy- particularly the Delete matches and the couple shows almost entirely dedicated to his character. If you enjoy cheesy hyper creativity, outside the box thinking, and artistic freedom with no filters then you will love this.
As a wrestling fan, I want to thank Matt for both making me a true fan of his for the first time, and awakening the childhood fandom in me that had been locked away in a slumber for many years. Your 2016 in professional wrestling brought me back to life as a fan, and for that I will never forget it. Thanks Matt! And thanks TNA for giving him the opportunity to have the year he did!
While some guys had better matches, arguably nobody had as much impact on their own federation, and the entire industry in 2016 then Matt did. And that is why I feel Matt Hardy was hands down the 2016 Professional Wrestler Of The Year.
Well that wraps up day 6. Any comments or thoughts? Did you think someone else deserved to be 2016's best? I'd love to hear about it and discuss it in the comments section below. Until then I am Kleckamania, thank you for joining me once again, and hopefully I will see you all tomorrow for day 7!
Hello all and welcome back for day 5 of Kleck Goes Daily. Today's topic was a last minute addition, as the professional wrestling world got some terrible news this morning. Here we go...
Remembering The Animal
I'm an 80s kid. I grew up watching ALF, Thundercats, and the Rock N Wrestling Era of WWF. Some of my earliest memories of wrestling involve George "The Animal" Steele- though back then he creeped me out.
George stuck out like a sore thumb, which was saying something considering most wrestlers back then were not the kind of every day people you'd see out in public or on the streets. And within that group of outcasts George made most of them look somewhat normal in comparison.
Back then all a young Kleck knew was George was this dense, non-sensical, mostly insane guy who licked everything, ripped turnbuckles off with his teeth just because, and he looked like he was wearing a carpet on his bare torso.
While most wrestlers then appeared to be sculpted out of bronze, George looked more like my grandpa. And because of that I was so fascinated by him. Most of my time as a kid he was a heel, so me being fascinated was a compliment, as typically I only found interest in guys like Hulk Hogan, Junkyard Dog, Ricky The Dragon Steamboat, Kerry Von Erich, and Superfly Jimmy Snukka.
George was so different from everyone else though, which made it impossible not to be glued to the screen every time he was on it. I was curious about him, despite him being a heel he was so much different from the other heels, it seemed like he was so out of place compared to everyone else on the roster. There were times I definitely didn't like him because he was beating up on some of my favorite guys, but I still couldn't help but be a bit mesmerized by him. And sometime in the later 80s George had a match that I vaguely remember, in which his baddie friends abandoned him. The ever excellent Lou Albano was the manager of the face team and took pity on George, essentially adopting him to the face side, and the rest was history.
It was funny how when he was a heel, I hated when he would rip the turnbuckle pads off, but then as a face I loved it. I can only think of one other heel that turned face and I accepted them with open arms, and it was Macho Man. And now that I think of it, both characters were wildly interesting to me even before they about faced. And more humorous yet, I still wound up not loving either of them because of how they were around Miss Elizabeth.
Even as a young kid I thought Macho Man was mean to her, and when George feuded with Macho, I was so protective of Liz (I had a massive freaking crush on that woman!). George was nice to her but creepy, which made me root for Macho Man somewhat, though Macho was still kind of a jerk. So part of me wanted George to win, but for Elizabeth to get away from both guys. That was one of the first times I rooted for George that I can remember, even though I was nervous about what he would do with her if he did win.
In his last few years in WWF George was pretty much a babyface, and one of the guys I most looked forward to seeing on WWF television. I grew to love his mannnerisms and strength, his wild personality and the ripping of the turnbuckles, hell, even the licking! Looking back now I think I loved him the whole time, but as a heel I just couldn't stand to see him hurt the good guys. Once he was a face, I was excited to see him do the same things knowing how much he could hurt an opponent.
It wasn't until years later that I found out George was this extremely smart, articulate man who was a school teacher! When I found that out I initially thought there was no way, but once I realized it was true my thoughts on him changed so much. He was one of the first people in wrestling to show me that characters were exactly that, just characters- and the guys underneath were often much different. George played a big role in showing me the difference between kayfabe and reality. And when I found out The Animal was just a song and dance, and that the real man could speak eloquently and was a respected, genius teacher- I developed a level of respect and admiration for him that I felt all the way through to this morning. A big reason why when I found out he died my heart sank a little.
He was a wild, deranged, maniacal doofus in WWF, but a respected, intelligent devoted husband who was always striving to help people in the real world. He was one of the few guys in the industry who stayed out of trouble, didn't do drugs or sleep around, wasn't abusive or egotistical, he was through and through a good guy. And the older I got the more respect I've had for him, to the point where to this day I consider him one of the best people who has ever been in the sport.
So today when I found out he died, I felt like wrestling truly lost a legend. A guy who went above and beyond not only in WWF, but as a teacher, husband, and father as well. A true role model, which seems funny to say if you remember his character, but that is just part of what made the guy amazing.
Professional wrestling lost one of the good guys today, and hopefully those who remain can look back on his career, and at him as a person, and learn something from him. After all that would be one of the best things we could do to respect his memory, that even in passing he is still teaching us so much.
Thank you George, you will be missed dearly. We are all better people for having known you...
Thanks for joining me today. Any thoughts or comments? Let's talk about them below. Until then I am Kleckamania, and hope to see you again tomorrow.
Hello all and welcome to day 4 of Kleck Goes Daily! Today's topic has been on my mind for a while, and it seems like a good time to discuss it. Let's just dive right in.
Is Cena's WWE Farewell Tour Looming?
When Cena took a break last year to do stuff outside of WWE I really didn't think much of it. It seems like Superstars are always taking breaks to shoot small cameos in movies or whatnot. Though during that break reports started surfacing that WWE wasn't impressed with Cena lately, and that John wanted to branch out to Hollywood.
I didn't think much of those rumors, as often times time off gets misconstrued by dirtsheets to draw eyes with made up scandal. If you look at Cena, and you hear about his work ethic, even still to this day you see that the guy still loves wrestling, or at least takes so much pride in it that he's the first guy in the training centers and the last one out. But then in a 24 hour span, between Youtube and other internet sites, I noticed John Cena everywhere. I counted about 12 times that day alone where I saw John Cena in a commercial. And those commercials had absolutely nothing to do with professional wrestling.
And a funny thing the mind is, once you start noticing something, it starts to pop up everywhere. I then noticed a few recent movies that Cena played small roles in, saw commercials for Total Divas and Bellas with Cena in them, saw articles about Cena in non-wrestling publications, and even watched a couple podcast/interviews with Hollywood actors and actresses talking about John Cena. Suddenly, I realized the guy isn't just seen in the WWE Universe, he is visible everywhere!
I don't even remember the Rock or Stone Cold being this prevalent in mainstream media until years after they parted ways with WWE. I realized that Cena has become so mainstream, he has crossed over into pop culture so much, that he is nearly rivaling Hulk Hogan or Andre The Giant in terms of household recognition. Even my girlfriend asked during a commercial for the new comedy about Moms if that was that "wrestling guy from the shows you watch", and she literally doesn't follow pro wrestling in the slightest.
At this moment I started to wonder if there was a hint of truth in those rumors. And as I thought about it I saw 2 Bella Twins on their way out of professional wrestling for various reasons, and Daniel Bryan walking away to start a family with Cena's girlfriend's sister- so pretty much Cena's inner circle all leaving around the same time. And then of course if you watch wrestling you see Cena slowly dipping down the card, and showing up on wrestling shows less and less. I finally came to the realization that they are truly phasing the guy out.
We all knew it was coming, but Cena had become such a staple of professional wrestling for so long, that as a fan of wrestling you start finding it hard to imagine a WWE wrestling product without him. He has been so prevalent for so long that many fans are tired of him, or just want to truly 'not see him' any more.
Fast forward to now and there are rumors swirling again on dirtsheets that Cena will be taking a bit of an extended absence from WWE programming after Wrestlemania to shoot a role in another movie, and work on other projects. And within about a month of tying Ric Flair's title record, Cena loses the belt and eats another clean pin only a few nights later in his Championship rematch, which was relegated to Smackdown no less (not a knock on Smackdown, but rather pointing out that it wasn't a PPV rematch). You start thinking about it and notice that him winning the belt over AJ Styles made little to zero sense if the plan was just to put the strap on Bray so soon after. And in hindsight when you notice that Randy Orton had been either feuding with, or siding with the Wyatts for about half a year leading up to his Rumble win, it becomes fairly obvious that Wyatt winning was WWE's intention for a while.
The more you go down that rabbit hole you start to think that WWE was rushing that Title record tie with Flair because Cena's time appears to be running out. Otherwise it would have made more sense for AJ to simply carry the title to Elimination Chamber and drop it to Wyatt. WWE is positioning Cena to break the World Title record on a limited time frame, and that in a nutshell is entirely why he pulled off that shocking win over AJ Styles. When you look at his booking from then to his loss at Elimination Chamber it is nigh impossible to draw any other conclusions. Cena holding that belt carried zero storyline importance or significance other than to tie Flair's record.
So this is really it? This is really the beginning of the end of Cena's full-time run in professional wrestling? Yes.
A cause for celebration for a lot of adult fans, but even though he is on his way out, he isn't done yet. You have to know WWE has every intention to have Cena break Flair's record, which means Cena will win a World Title once more before he officially retires. And while many people groan at that thought, I've become oddly at peace with it, and even slightly happy about it.
I used to hate Cena. He was force fed to us for so many years. Though my nephews, nieces, and other wrestlers in the industry changed my mind of him. I started seeing that the guy is this generation's Hulk Hogan for kids, which is of vast importance to the entire product. Hate that role all you want, but the guy that draws in kids is the guy that is the glue to the entire product. Without that character the company makes less money, which trickles down to every other aspect negatively.
Mix that with interviews from other wrestlers all saying that Cena is amazing, and the hardest working guy in wrestling and you start seeing a different human altogether. Cena has went above and beyond in his work ethic for WWE. This is a big reason why he has experienced so much success, because he worked harder then anyone else in the company for so long. You can deny that all you like, but you'd be effectively saying the guys that share a locker room with him are wrong, and let's be real- they know way more then we do about this profession.
A guy like that is hard to find. Which is why WWE has pushed him to the moon so much for so long. At my job I am surrounded by lazy ass people phoning it in daily- just there to collect a check, not really putting in nearly as much effort as they should. This happens in all work places, including professional wrestling. So when people scratch their heads and say "why does he get so much when he sucks"- that is a mark that thinks they're a smark talking. Make no mistake about it, John Cena is an absolute reliable workhorse. As a supervisor or employer, you dream of employees that dedicated. And whether you love him or hate him, you will feel John's absence when he is gone.
As they say, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"- this will hold true for Cena. Years from now he will show up randomly to do some part time work and fans will cheer wildly. Fans who once hated him will even be kind of happy to see an old familiar face back for a bit. We don't hate Cena, we just became decensitized of his true value because of his prevalance within the product for so many years. Many of us were sick of Flair too the last few years he wrestled, we've just conveniently forgotten about that.
So within the next year when Cena does come back and wins the World Title one last time, remember this, and try to enjoy it knowing that it is the last time. I know I'm not the only fan who loves Ric Flair, but the amount of hard work, sacrifice, and dedication Cena has put in kind of makes him deserve that record more than Flair. I know I'll draw some hate for that statement, but it is true. We love Flair, but let's be real- the guy was drugged up, drunk, and partying for most of his career. He didn't put in the amount of effort he should or could have many times. He was no role model, and he was average in the ring, but he was one of the largest personalities in pro wrestling history, which effectively makes him royalty to us fans. So we don't see or think clearly in the moment when we notice Cena is about to take his record. We just get mad, but Cena wholeheartedly deserves it. Make no mistake about it.
And as Cena proverbially rounds third and heads for home, I find myself enjoying him more than ever. I already know I'm going to miss him, though at the same time I'm happy to see new guys get a chance. We take people for granted many times in our lives, only to later realize how important they were. This one time put aside your pride to realize John Cena is one of those people. So later this year when Cena comes back and finalizes his farewell tour with a record breaking Title win, I'll smile, and be happy for him. The guy has worked his butt off his entire career to deserve that right, and I'll enjoy his now limited time before he rides off into the sunset. And when he does, I can only hope my favorite wrestlers will take a page out of his book and be as dedicated and hard working. If this world were filled with people with his drive, it would be an infinitely better place.
So yes, John Cena's farewell tour is upon us, and in this time I want to personally thank the guy for being so dedicated and hard working for so long in a sport I love so much. As a wrestling fan, for that, thank you John Cena. Despite being a huge Flair mark, I'll be one of the fans chanting "You deserve it" when you break that record, because you've truly earned it.
Well that wraps up day 4. Any thoughts or comments? Hate or love (probably hate lol)? I'd love to hear about it either way in the comment section below- let's discuss it! Until then thank you for taking the time out to read, and I hope to see you tomorrow for Day 5. Kleck out...
Hello all and welcome to day 3 of Kleck Goes Daily! Yesterday we broke down the Universal Title picture through Wrestlemania, and today I was hoping to peek in at the very interesting developments within the WWE Title picture, and try to guess where this is all heading by the time April is upon us, shall we?
A Viper In The Grass, Bray It Ain't So!
You have to give WWE credit regardless, they are definitely making things interesting on all fronts as we approach Wrestlemania. This past Sunday Bray Wyatt shocked the world by winning the Elimination Chamber match and thus, the WWE World Title- then only a few days later on Smackdown, Randy Orton comes out and states that he will not challenge Bray Wyatt for the belt at Wrestlemania, despite winning the Royal Rumble- Before I go further, am I the only person a bit mystified by WWE making it seem like if Orton chooses not to challenge for the WWE Title, that he has no other options? I mean I get he is on the Smackdown roster, but for the longest time if you won the Rumble you could go after either belt. Does this signify that that has changed since the brand split? And if it does, then why doesn't WWE just come out and state that, or did I miss it? Sorry, venting a bit.
So if this does truly mean Orton can only challenge for the WWE Title, then it seems pretty freaking obvious where this is going...
Randy Orton- Legend killer; Viper; Sneaky; Finisher is always "out of nowhere"; Takes pride in blindsiding people; He fought against Bray and his family multiple times; Suddenly aligned with Bray and forfeiting his chance at glory because Bray is his new pal... Hmmmm. Seems fishy. And even though I know that as a viewer, I'm still engrossed. WWE might be going down the obvious path, but damned if they aren't entertaining the hell out of me along the way!
I think what interests me most is seeing that exact moment when Randy plunges the knife, as I wonder how these fools keep falling for this?!? From a character perspective, the world existed before today, and in that time Randy Orton stabbed like a billion dudes in the back. Though this is exactly why this storyline works so well right now, and is so captivating, because Bray Wyatt believes in his heart that he can control other people if he wants to. And he is convinced he owns Randy Orton.
It is kind of like watching the now older animal documentaries- and seeing various animals in their natural habitat hunting their prey. You can clearly see Orton in that tall grass about as obviously as the guy in Life Of Brian putting a lampshade on his head to hide in a room, but Bray implicitly trusts not in Orton, but in his own self.
It seems obvious that sometime from now until Wrestlemania Orton will wind up being put in the WWE Title match, but how?
Well Talking Smack seemed to clarify a bit by saying on next week's Smackdown, there will be a battle royal to determine who faces Bray for the belt at Mania. On a side note, this is a huge deal. Such a massive opportunity, which makes you think whoever gets that win is at least somewhat in WWE's good graces recently. And whoever it is would probably need to be someone that makes Bray feel like he needs Randy's help. To me only one wrestler ties that all together in a neat little bow- Luke Harper. Luke was in the family, and is now currently feuding with Bray, so it's not much of a stretch. He and Orton have bad blood as is evident from their match on Sunday. It fits.
This makes me happy for Harper, as he's always been a top tier talent in the company, but I never thought he'd get the push he deserves. He is deceptively good in the ring, and the guy has a lot of natural, unspoken charisma. If it is him, I'm thrilled he is being injected into such a big Mania match.
Though what happens to two of the guys after Mania? It seems like we are heading for a Triple Threat match at Wrestlemania for the WWE Title between Bray, Luke, and Randy- and only one man can win that match. Creatively where does that leave the rest?
I'd like to believe Bray would retain at Mania, mainly seeing as how he just barely won the title after years of laying on his back for WWE, and also because I'd hate to think it is the other thing- him losing.
If he loses, not only did he only have the title through one PPV cycle, but as a character it will confirm that he is kind of a joke. He thought he had control of Orton and Orton twists the knife? Bray looks like a fool. It strips his character of any power it had left. In loss, he would only be salvagable at that point if Orton doesn't turn on him.
Bray is really the only one with anything to lose, as Orton has been there many times, and has the kind of career already that most people can only dream about, and it is thrilling just to see Luke be put in this type of match, knowing that it could very possibly lead to more spotlight, and more high profile matches for him. Bray on the other hand is supposed to be this mind controlling warlock demon thing, and yet he never wins, and everyone he "controls" beats him up, along with everyone else.
Seeing Bray win the belt at Elimination Chamber was thrilling because it seemed like maybe WWE was finally giving the guy his due. And he has pinned Cena clean two matches in a row- you'd have to believe that means WWE isn't just setting him up for another colosal failure/depush. Though it also feels like based on how Orton and Wyatt's feud is shaping up, it won't be resolved at Wrestlemania. So Bray wins with Randy's help or lack of resistance and we continue watching the predator stalk its prey, or Randy twists the knife and wins at Mania.
I guess ultimately this match will be the most up in the air, but if Bray loses and it doesn't quickly lead back to the title again, I don't think I can invest in his character any longer personally. And that's from someone who has loved his gimmick from the start. This would just wind up being the latest fumble of his character, and the biggest fumble at that, which up until then could have arguably been his loss to Cena at Mania a few years back.
So I think Wyatt will lose the belt at Mania, but regain it in the feud with Orton. I need to believe that is how things will pan out, because otherwise it is Wyatt being completely defanged. If he loses and just tumbles back down the ladder, it just lends to the notion that he is purely a novelty act, which is kind of sad.
Though who knows if WWE will go the obvious route. Which is why I'm trying to remain optimistic. And I do think it is a sign that Bray has turned a corner by this past few days' success. So between that and a very compelling, developing story now, looking too far into the future could only hurt a fans enthusiasm. So whether there is a Viper in the grass or not, it is simply nice to see Bray Wyatt succeed for once- even if it becomes merely a glimmer.
Well that wraps up day 3. Any comments or thoughts on the topic? Let's talk about it in the comments section below! Until then I'm Kleckamania, thanks for reading, and hope to see you tomorrow for day 4!
Welcome back for day 2 of Kleck Dailies! And on Valentine's Day no less, wooooooo. Quite possibly the worst holiday known to man whether you are single or in a relationship. I've been on both sides of the fence on past V-Days, and I think being in a relationship on this day is the worst case scenario. In fact, being a boyfriend on Valentine's day just made the list!
Why? Even if your gf/wife/significant other tells you they hate this day, if you don't give them gift(s) there will be blood. Then you have to dress up and spend extra money for the small glimmer of relationship sex hope there is. And relationship sex, particularly among parents, is not nearly as glamorous as it sounds. It's often a race to finish before your child/children walk in and thus become scared for life, or worse, you have to explain to them what they just saw. Then there is the cuddling with your Valentine- which is great except for the slowly developing dead arm. Followed by a cold evening without covers, as your gf/wife has gator rolled them all up. And this is literally a best case scenario. Add in about a 90% chance of at least 1 argument somewhere within said enchanted evening and yep, Valentine's day soooooo makes the List.
But enough of that! Today is also about love and friendship! And Jericho was on to something last night when he put together quite possibly the best festival I have ever seen on WWE programming- though I don't think there's ever been another festival, but still, it was pretty majestic. And due to the absolutely dastardly actions of a particular Kevin Owens, some possibilities have blossomed from that rotting soil. I figured today we could discuss what those possibilities are...
A Festival Of Possibilities
There are a growing number of people who are concerned that WWE is about to put the Universal Title around Bill Goldberg's waist, and I think the events that transpired last night point to some clarification. The big question is, which feud match does WWE think needs the World Title belt the most, Kevin Owens versus Chris Jericho or Bill Goldberg versus Brock Lesnar?
Well those who have watched for a while know that Vince loves the spectacle matches, that is to say, the larger than life matchups. That match this year is undeniably Bill Goldberg versus Brock Lesnar. These are the 2 part time monster veterans who could both be considered legends, so this is the marquee matchup for this year's annual spectacle. This match on it's own merit would draw in casual viewers, whereas Kevin Owens might still be a bit too new to draw in as many eyes in his match against Chris Jericho. Well today, that might be a blessing in disguise for Kevin Owens in my opinion.
Though I don't work for WWE, so I can only truly speculate on what goes on behind the curtains, but after watching for years I've noticed that WWE attempts to build big cards in similar fashion. Typically the marquee matchup are the guys who draw in the casual viewers regardless of what is on the line, whereas often times, especially in recent history, the match(es) that spotlight the full timers on the rise have a prop like a title belt on the line to add intrigue and pull in more eyes. Based on this line of thinking, it seems like Kevin Owens will carry the Universal title belt through Fast Lane, and into Wrestlemania for his inevitable feud match with Chris Jericho. Though this is where a fan can either think WWE has painted themselves into a corner, or created an unpredictable scenario.
The underlying issue is both matches have wrestlers that are set to go on break either immediately after Wrestlemania, or shortly thereafter- Goldberg reportedly only signed on through Wrestlemania, while Y2J is set to go on tour with his band Fozzy very shortly after Wrestlemania. This makes either man winning at Mania a very unlikely scenario, especially in the match with the World Title on the line.
We also know that Brock Lesnar is on limited dates, so unless he is going to go on hiatus like he did with the title a few years ago, it seems unlikely he will be carrying the strap out of Mania. All of this makes me feel confident that Goldberg vs. Lesnar will not be the World Title match.
Now if we look at character motives, what is likely to happen in the Bill Goldberg vs. Kevin Owens match at Fast Lane? You have to believe at least Chris Jericho will interfere. After the absolutely cold blooded beat down Kevin Owens gave to Y2J at the Festival Of Friendship of all places! Interference motives become interesting in this match, as if Owens wins, Jericho gets a World Title match at Mania, and and if Goldberg wins, Lesnar gets the same- so realistically, in character, both Jericho and Lesnar have a solid reason why they would actually want their respective bitter rival to win at Fast Lane.
This makes me think if Lesnar interferes at Fast Lane, he does so to ensure that Goldberg wins the World Title- ie laying Owens out for Goldberg, which would be a pretty badass moment if they booked it right (I envision Lesnar F5ing Owens right in front of Goldberg as the ref is distracted by Heyman, and then Lesnar tells Goldberg to pin Owens' lifeless body). The recurring issue though is on limited dates, it is unlikely that Lesnar shows up to Fast Lane at all. Whereas Jericho is already scheduled to be at Fast Lane, and he had promised Kevin Owens that he would retain the World Title against Goldberg. How ironic would it be if Jericho helped Owens this time just to ensure he got a crack at taking the World Title from his ex-bff at Wrestlemania? The story just kind of writes itself, doesn't it?
All of this to me just screams Owens vs Y2J for at least the Universal Title, if not both that and the US Title at Wrestlemania. And based on how they seem to want Kevin Owens to be perceived by the crowd, and Y2J's upcoming hiatus, I think it is safe to assume Owens will win while "injuring" Jericho to add insult.
If the US Title is also on the line we could get a period of time where Owens' heat ratchets up, and an opportunity for a new challenger (maybe a returning Finn Balor?) could come along and take one of those titles away. I suggest Balor because I believe he is set to return fairly soon, and he has reason to be in the Universal Title hunt. It all seems to fit so well, which makes me wonder if WWE knows that, and will alter course simply to avoid being that predictable. This seems to be why their booking is sometimes illogical, so that it can remain somewhat unpredictable.
Regardless I think it just makes too much sense to go that route, which is why I think Owens will retain through Wrestlemania. Which is a thought I enjoy, as it is really nice to see Owens get an extended run with the strap to build his legacy. Regardless though I think we as fans are about to get an extremely compelling feud through Wrestlemania, so truly we all win. I am already grinning at the thought of Owens and Jericho building their match, the promos should be spectacular!
Well now that you've seen my Festival Of Possibilities, what do you think will happen? I'd love to discuss it below in the comments. Until then I am Kleckamania- thank you for reading and hope to see you tomorrow for Day 3! And in the meantime try to enjoy the remaining minutes of this lousy holiday! :)
Hello all, long time no see! As many wrestling fans who have been at this silly sport for decades know- breaks are necessary for sanity. Sometimes you just burn out, and it can be for a myriad of reasons. Though no breaks from my kids, so the sanity struggle remains real! Regardless, I’m back! I’ve been gone too long though, and I have so many topics I want to touch, so this is your notice- I’m going daily until I get all those topics out, and it might be a while…
Today’s topic stems from last night’s WWE PPV, Elimination Chamber, with my general thoughts on the PPV and a closer look into a particular moment from the night. With that said, let’s get to it!
Elimination Chamber Overview
What do you guys think of the PPV last night? Personally, I thought it was great. As a long time fan, part of why I burn out these days is how insanely predictable WWE tends to be. Even a few weeks back when Orton won the Royal Rumble match there was a level of predictability within that unexpected choice. WWE tends to stick with guys and girls that fit the pedigree, and have experience at the top. So even when they’re being “unpredictable” they are still putting the top prizes on predictable people who have been there before many, many times.
This is a big reason why I walked away from last night’s PPV (and now tonight’s Bayley title win on RAW) feeling thoroughly entertained and refreshed though. WWE took big steps last night by rewarding two individuals with a couple of WWE’s top belts, individuals who had never experienced that level of success before despite being on the roster for years, and often both experiencing their fair share of losses along the way no less. Of course I am talking about Naomi and Bray Wyatt, who collectively won the Smackdown Women’s, and WWE World titles. Add in Bayley’s big win tonight and you can see that WWE is trying to build some serious interest in the upcoming Wrestlemania.
It also seems that they are rewarding hard working individuals who have grinded for them for years with pretty much nothing to show for it. That is a big reason I was completely thrilled to see both Naomi and Bray finally reach their respective mountain tops last night. Long overdue and well deserved for both of them if you ask me.
Though some might say that Bray’s win was more predictable considering Orton won the Royal Rumble, though considering how Bray is often booked you’d be hard pressed to find someone who wholeheartedly thought he’d pull it off. I figured for sure we would be seeing Cena retain despite how well it would work storyline wise for Bray to win, so when Bray delivered Sister Abigail to Cena and got the 3 count my heart was pounding! I felt like a kid again knowing I was in uncharted waters, considering either man left was an unpredictable, non-establishment Champion. Add in Naomi winning, and I was just thrilled to be along for the ride last night, as not much in recent times booking wise makes me feel like I have no idea which direction WWE is going in. I don’t know if they read these articles, but if they do- thank you sincerely from a fan who’s been watching since Hogan vs Andre.
Another moment that made me feel like a kid again while watching was the great Tag Team Turmoil match. I was entertained from start to finish, and even loved the little nuances within the greater story. Seeing Slater and Rhyno do so well early was wildly enjoyable, and seeing the Uso’s do what they did to American Alpha after the Uso’s were eliminated was a great touch. As a long time fan I knew where it was going as American Alpha lay demolished and Connor and Vicktor came down the ramp to the ring, but I also knew it would be the kind of psychology in a match that would amaze any kid watching. It reminded me of watching the Rockers as a kid. I got goosebumps just thinking about American Alpha pulling off the “impossible” just like Marty and Shawn used to. And seeing WWE go all in on this young tag team is great, as Jordan and Chad are an outstanding team that fills me with nostalgia- it almost feels like I am watching a young Steiner Brothers tag team again for the first time. Comparing American Alpha to teams like The Rockers and The Steiners is possibly one of the highest compliments I can pay them, and they deserve that praise and more in my opinion. I only hope WWE keeps them together for a long time, and doesn’t try to force them apart to push one or the other as a solo competitor too soon. Give us fans some years of American Alpha history first! It is sorely needed for the tag division.
A Strong Tantrum After A Loss Isn’t Enough
Okay. Now that I have gushed about the majority of the Elimination Chamber PPV, here comes my one gripe from last night, and it is a big one- how they booked Baron Corbin. I was happy to see Baron in the chamber match, even though I was nearly positive he wouldn’t win. It seems WWE hasn’t known how to book Baron for the majority of his run up top, so seeing them elevate him to the top tier of matches on the card is nice to finally see happen. Granted, I’m not necessarily a big Baron Corbin fan, but the guy has a look, build, and charisma that just screams top of the card bully- reminiscent of a young Diesel. Seeing him in the match, along with how he has been booked recently made me think WWE would have him be the guy that took down multiple competitors before catching some bad luck. So when he came out of the pods 2nd to last, I figured we were in for Baron Corbin’s essential break out party. Boy was I wrong. The guy was 2nd to last out, and was eliminated first…. First! I couldn’t have been more disgusted.
And of course WWE had him throw a tantrum after he was eliminated, leading to a destroyed Dean Ambrose getting pinned right after, but it wasn’t enough to make up for what WWE did. Nobody can take a top bully heel seriously if they eat losses. If Rusev was losing regularly during his first US title run, the whole angle wouldn’t have been anywhere near as effective, or attention worthy. Just like Sheik or Sergeant Slaughter, or any heels of that ilk in the past. Last night was WWE’s chance to build a new monster on Smackdown, and in my opinion they failed miserably. Going in to the match, I expected Corbin to eliminate 2 to 3 competitors in an “eye opening” performance, that was only cut short by being caught off guard, or ganged up on by the men left. So when I saw Ambrose schoolboy him for the first elimination, I was negative impressed by WWE’s booking team.
If WWE wants fans to feel anything but complete apathy towards Baron Corbin, they have to book him wholeheartedly, and it has to start immediately. This half assed pleasing everyone booking crap will not work, and it will relegate Corbin to zero crowd reaction, and eventual jobbing status before he winds up permanently on Superstars, before his ultimate future endeavor. Beating guys up before and after he eats losses is not enough! He has to start racking up wins and playing the part if WWE gives a damn about him at all, and even if they don’t, they are squandering an opportunity to build up a true future top monster heel. And that is coming from someone who isn’t even a fan, but even I see the potential written all over the guy! If WWE makes many more missteps with Baron like they did last night, he will be finished before he has even started, which would be a crying shame, as the guy has a hell of a lot of potential!
So it appears even on a good night of booking not everything will be savory, but aside from that drastically massive misstep with Corbin, WWE delivered a fantastic PPV worth checking out if you haven’t. And if you haven’t, then why in the world are you reading dirtsheets?!? Go watch it and stop ruining your fandom!
Well that wraps up day 1. Tune in Tuesday night for day 2. What will it be? Not even I know that yet lol, so let the suspense build! Until then, thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear your take on anything discussed in day 1 either in the comments, or via email by clicking my name up top. Until then thanks for stopping by!