IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: Ask Al Laiman #10
By Al Laiman
May 12, 2013 - 9:07:36 PM
credit Tom Jenner
IN LAIMAN'S TERMS Facebook Page
Alexander Goodlive Author Facebook Page
Jaded Hope Facebook Page
Please like my three project pages on Facebook and follow me on Twitter! I'll give you ham (and a follow back) if you do!
WATCH MY FIRST SHORT FILM - STRAIGHT LINES!
What? Who the hell is this Laiman guy posting on LOP? Why it is I, Al, from my sunny vacation spot, which coincidentally looks the exact same as where I once (and will again next week) write 30 Thoughts on a little program called Monday Night RAW. Suffice it to say, from hearing the reactions, I'm not too disappointed that I took off for this Pay-Per-View cycle. Even Chrissss is down on Zack Ryder. You are tearing me apart, Chrissss!
So what's happened since we last spoke? First of all, I got into the University of Pennsylvania, so this column is now coming to you from an Ivy League man. My film, still linked above, took second place by three votes in the Hershey Public Library Student Film Festival, and I'm currently working on a feature-length sequel. The better half is still wonderful, finals are done and despite my GPA no longer mattering, I'm still hoping I ran the table on the semester again.
I needed the break from wrestling and writing though. The product was really starting to bother me, and as much as I enjoy making fun of the bad elements of today's RAW, I do try to not be entirely cynical. I took a hiatus from Jaded Hope too, and a new episode will be out for next week's return edition of 30 Thoughts. I was just hoping to put out a column here to work on getting back in the groove. I won't be watching Extreme Rules though. Hopefully things will pick up again, but if they don't, at least I'll have fodder for Game of Thrones and Battlestar references.
IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: Ask Al Laiman #10... From My Vacation in Caprica
@AlLaimanLOP What is the most unintentionally funny moment in wrestling history?
In the entire history of wrestling? I think we all know I'm not what one would call a historian. However, I can think of one specific moment that will go down as one of the most unintentionally funny moments. One that everyone thought would be a big, dramatic reveal, and what happened? It became a hilarious meme.
"IT'S ME, AUSTIN!"
If you don't understand what I mean, back in 1999, Vince McMahon and the Union fought against Shane McMahon and the Corporate Ministry, and it was a mess. The Corporate Ministry started referring to a "Higher Power" subservient to even the great Undertaker. Vince McMahon even snarked that if there was a power greater than the Undertaker, he'd sure like to meet him.
Finally, on an episode of RAW, the Higher Power was led out Taker-Druid style. Who appeared under the hood to proclaim the status of greatness? A cheesy, over-the-top, ridiculously-smiling Vince McMahon, who proceeded to belt out "IT'S ME, AUSTIN!" It was a letdown of epic proportions, and so silly that in hindsight, it ended up being really funny instead of the "WHAT A TWIST!" moment it was going for.
A close runner-up, in the same spirit of becoming a meme...
"I DID IT... FOR DA ROCK."
Can we call the entire Rikishi heel turn a failure? Rikishi was revealed as the man who ran down Stone Cold, despite not even being with the company at the time, and then delivered one of the most anti-climactic explanations of all time. The Rock himself even ended up mocking it before the six-way Hell in a Cell match by mocking him with the aforementioned quote.
Honorable mention goes to Randy Orton completely missing on an RKO on Chris Jericho, but I was there for that, and in my glorious hatred of Orton, I personally enjoyed that one for all the wrong reasons.
@AlLaimanLOP what one moment almost made you stop watching wrestling, or turned you off from it temporarily?
After WrestleMania 23, I wrote WWE a letter. Until that point, I never missed a Monday Night RAW from when I started watching until that night. That was the height of my John Cena hatred, which has since diminished somewhat. I really enjoyed him between Money in the Bank 2011 and just before winning the Royal Rumble in 2013, but everything is now back to the status quo. Interestingly enough, the trigger for both of my wrestling vacations.
Personally at the time, that WrestleMania bored me to tears, and as good as the match with Shawn Michaels was, I was just fed up with it. That was six WrestleManias ago, and to be perfectly honest, not a lot has changed at the top. Anytime someone comes anywhere close to John Cena status, they are pushed back down. That business model won't last forever. Unfortunately, I don't see it changing anytime soon, because despite the godawful WrestleMania season and decent-at-best WrestleMania itself, they did record numbers, so get ready for more of the same.
But the night after WrestleMania 23, when Cena made Shawn Michaels tap out, I'd had enough. After that, I got really into the indies for the next couple years and didn't watch a lot of televised wrestling. I came back around after being in wrestling changed my perspective on a lot of things. I don't think I'll ever be as into it as I once was, though. The more the product becomes less about wrestling and more about social media, product plugs, commercials, and what's trending, the less I can take it seriously.
Do you like pina coladas? And gettin caught in the rain?
I got caught in a downpour on Friday night. It wasn't as fun as that song would make it out to be. And I'd prefer a tall glass of Baileys or Dr. McGillicuddy's, personally. So... No, and no, but nice reference.
What is the best and worst decisions WWE and TNA have made in the last year?
I can't speak to TNA, as I haven't watched them since 2009.
The best decision WWE has made in the last year is a slam-dunk... The booking of The Shield. Three new faces that became a sensation overnight, and have been booked to be unstoppable. In the age of John Cena and then the rest, WWE really needed this. The Shield have been consistently booked, continue to get better, and have a world of potential. I hope the WWE learns their lesson from the Nexus and doesn't appoint a veteran as their leader. They need no leader. I wouldn't mind seeing Corey Graves or Kassius Ohno join them, but that's just my own personal hopes for seeing two of my favorites on television.
The worst? I mentioned it earlier. The product continues to be less and less about wrestling. While RAW when I first started watching wasn't necessarily good all the time, everything mattered, and everything came to a climax inside the wrestling ring. It was about matches, storylines, promos, and pay-offs, not about hashtags, movie trailers, Twitter polls, and Touts. They continue to find ways for fans to pay attention to distractions rather than what's going on in the ring, and then are completely mystified when a crowd would rather chant for wrestlers that haven't been around in years than what's going on in the ring. Get back to basics: Wrestling fans are fans of wrestling because they like wrestling. Give us matches, stop interrupting them with commercial breaks, make the titles mean something again, and make us want to buy the Pay-Per-Views to see the pay-off matches, not because we can get a wrestler's name trending. When someone's too busy Tweeting to watch what's going on in the ring, the wrestlers are doing it for nothing. Yeah, they might trend, but that silence they get for everything but the finish speaks louder than any brief Twittersplosion.
@AlLaimanLOP How much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could Chuck Norris?
What's one thing you'd like movies do more often of or what they haven't done before to do?
I'm a big fan of character development, dramatic tension, and well-placed action. I don't watch nearly as many movies as I watch one-hour shows. Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica, The Newsroom, Hell on Wheels, Smallville, Rescue Me... Those are all shows I still watch regularly. Movies lately seem more interested in continuing to either remake, or draw more blood out of the stone than they need to.
For example, I saw Iron Man 3. The first one was good, the second one was worse than watching Jackie Gayda against Kelly Kelly in an Ironwoman match. The third one was... Well... The Dark Knight Rises with snark. If I have one problem with Marvel movies, it's that they play it too safe. At no point in that movie did I feel any of the main characters were in any real danger. The Avengers was a lot of fun (Hello, Cleveland!) but even in that last half hour, did they seem to be in any real danger whatsoever?
As I look at the movie posters that hang on my wall... Inception, V for Vendetta, Lord of the Rings, The Boondock Saints, Brick, The Last Samurai, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Hanna... I don't know what it is that grips me about a movie, because I can be rather selective. Like in wrestling, I like the characters that are developed and interesting, not just the ones that blow shit up and are one-dimensional. Plus, it'd be nice to see more than one movie at a time that isn't either designed for Twi-tards or Fratboys.
@AlLaimanLOP do you think ROH could have been a rival to at least TNA if the talent hadn't left i.e. Punk, Bryan, Joe, Aries #AskAlLaiman
For a long time, I really thought they were going to be. They certainly had the roster, as you mentioned. When ROH was stacked like they were, I think they missed the boat. ROH is a different concept, wrestling-based, and I've always loved the honor system. It makes it seem more like a sporting event, and it was more inclusive without having to dick around with Twitter and Tout. I loved it because it was about the wrestling. Would it have competed? I don't know, but I truly wish it would have.
How does the past of wrestling impact the future?
It gives it a sense of continuity. Being able to remember what made wrestling successful in the first place should help the business continue to evolve, but unfortunately right now, it's changing for the worse.
Wrestling on its own can sell, and with the right storylines and matches, wrestlers other than John Cena can become superstars. The biggest thing that wrestling can learn from its past is that the times in which they were most successful...
A. They knew when to pass the torch.
B. They knew that every hero was only as good as his villain.
Does anyone even remotely believe that John Cena has a villain that could better him at any time? CM Punk was the closest one to do it, but they chose to close that out in favor of the snoozefest rematch. I hope they can right that wrong eventually, but they missed the boat. One man alone at the top of the mountain, no matter how many kids love him, is not sustainable. At points, he had an Edge, someone who could believably overcome him, but then they made sure that he came right back. Cena has overcome everything, and with both The Rock and CM Punk gone, no one is even close... Except for The Shield.
The Shield may be the saving grace, as nobody can touch them, but there's only so long they can fight off a version of the Justice League before they need to progress. Someone needs to be equal to John Cena, definitively. Cena is at his best when he is vulnerable. One man being invincible has grown far too tedious for far too long.
I'll be back from vacation very soon! Thanks to so many of you who have sent out kind words during my break! I appreciate them all, but trust me, I needed this break. Thanks again, and I'll see you soon!
IN CASE YOU MISSED JADED HOPE #107