IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: Ask Al Laiman #9
By Al Laiman
Feb 21, 2013 - 9:54:50 PM
credit Tom Jenner
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IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: Ask Al Laiman #9
Subhodeep Dasgupta: What is your biggest gripe about the WWE? It could be about any wrestler, show or ppv or anything related to the company.
Lately, it's been the predictability.
I know there's always been a certain element of predictability to wrestling, as it's to be expected on some level. Chances are if it's 1999 and they're wrestling Stone Cold, they're going to lose.
But this year so far, despite having some very good wrestling matches, the results have left a bit to be desired, to say the very least. The Royal Rumble and the night after, faces went on a ridiculous winning streak. I'm all for sending the fans home happy, but with every single match result?
It's an interesting contrast, because they haven't been as strict on the PG rules, but they've been dialing it back in time and maturity on who wins matches. Last Monday Night RAW, outside of maybe the Miz winning, were any of the results a surprise to you at all? Maybe I'm just a little bit jaded, but when I've predicted every single result of the last few Pay-Per-Views, that's not what's supposed to happen.
I just want to be surprised by more than returns, but by some actual match results. Let's face it, there hasn't been a whole lot of that lately. That has been my biggest gripe as of late.
You can dub me as "Mr. UL" ... What, in your opinion, makes a good columnist, specifically a wrestling columnist?>
I'll answer this the way I saw it as a fan, since I have a bit of a conflict of interest.
It always took me a lot to get invested in a columnist. Since about 2002, there are four places that I go to read columns about very niche things, but I'll tell you about some specific examples of what got me into reading columns.
The first time I ever even knew what a column was resulted from discovering what "wrestlingheadlines.com" held. I read the Wrath of Tito, which is what first made me want to become a wrestling columnist, and I was invested because of the sense of humor, the running jokes, and because he echoed a lot of how I felt at the time. I soon also discovered DaveyBoy and the Wrestling Menu, and read it for a completely different reason. It was analytical, it was informational, and it was comparative. I couldn't wait to see how he rated the most recent Pay-Per-View, and where it landed on his scale.
I read Terry Pluto on the Cleveland Plain Dealer because I got into his books when I was a young kid, and from that point I was invested. He has the ability to write simply, clearly, and yet be elegant in his position. His colleague, Bud Shaw, is just snarky, sarcastic, and self-depricating.
What's the point? I have no idea what makes a good columnist from a reading point of view. I think it's the ability to keep someone invested, whether or not you agree with their opinions. Identifying with a writer makes you want to read on, and it keeps you coming back. But other than that, it's all in the eye of the reader. I'm sure there's a lot of different criteria we all subconsciously use.
@milkwiz: @AlLaimanLOP besides the shield, WWE is about to lose me. This seems like a lazy wrestlemania to me. Help me stay Al lol.
If you haven't noticed, I've been less than thrilled with the buildup so far myself, and I'm freaking going!
The Shield have been one of the biggest additions to the roster, and one of the best executed angles since... ever. Seriously, it's been a long time since just the hint of an entrance theme made you get that vibe of "Oh shit, someone's getting their ass kicked." Brilliant build-up, and they've stuck with it instead of taking the easy way out.
So far, the rest... Lazy is a good way to put it. Let's do once in a lifetime again. Let's make Jack Swagger anti-immigration and put him against the new Latino superstar. Anything else? No, because that's it so far. Shouldn't we by now know more bigger matches than that? Those main-events leave me feeling "meh." I'm hoping that aforementioned predictability is altered next week, but I don't think CM Punk's odds are good of getting inserted into the triple threat. Punk vs. Undertaker would intrigue me, but I didn't care for Rock/Cena I, and before anyone accuses me of having a bias, I did an entire 30 Thoughts column on how excited I was for that match before it happened.
Surprise me, get me invested! Predictable matches and the easy buildup might lead to dollars, and I'm only one person, but I'm not even excited about going to my first WrestleMania at this point. That's pretty sad.
George Garden: Do you think WWE would be more, or less, succesful if Triple H and Steph were in charge full time? Or do you think the dreaded "Status Quo" they've been serving us would continue? Also, can you wrote Dailys so we get a Daily dose of Jackie? even if the column is JUST a picture of Jackie?
At this point, most of what Triple H has instituted has paid off well. Stephanie, not as much. When she's been head of creative, it has not been the most impressive storyline work we've ever seen. H, however, I see has the potential to bring us into a new era of wrestling success. Say what you want about Paul Levesque, but he loves this business and has put into motion many things to begin anew.
I don't think it's the status quo anymore. I'm really hoping this is just a transitional period, like WrestleMania 13, where some things might be awkward, but it's going to pay off in the long run. For the sake of my sanity, I hope that's the case.
As much as I love doing this and providing you with Jackie love, it's a stretch of time just getting these out twice a week. After WrestleMania, I might only be able to do the 30 Thoughts columns as Finals approach. I'd love to write every day, but I sincerely do not have the time. I'm grateful that you enjoy Jackie that much, and I hope that I occasionally have a nugget of entertainment in there for you. But since you asked so nicely, here you go.
@BornInTheSand: @AlLaimanLOP for you have a favorite and least favorite title belt? Any thoughts on the new one?
To be honest, I don't give a shit about what the title belts look like, as long as they don't have a ridiculous gimmick, like spinning. Otherwise, I never really paid much attention to what they look like. That's why I sounded a bit awkward talking abut the new one, and about all I could say is "Hey, it doesn't spin." If I had to pick a favorite, I think the World Heavyweight Title would be it. I think it looks the most like an actual championship belt, something worthy of respect and awe. The WWE belt looks like something designed to sell toys.
Sean Walker: Do you think that Kofi Kingston could ever win a world title in the WWE?
A few months ago, I would've said yes. Now, I don't think it'll happen til he gets a Voldemort/Booker T/Foley push later in his career to thank him for his endurance and longevity. But as an actual singles push designed to make him the face of the company, they've dropped the ball on it too many times. Sadly, I don't think it's going to happen.
Chad Walden: How does Big E. Langston's finisher hurt his opponent?
How does the Cobra hurt anyone? What exactly did The Worm accomplish? How does one People's Elbow defeat a guy who took five finishers in a match with Triple H?
It does take some suspension of disbelief, but it's just a matter of accepting that it's their finisher, and it puts someone away. That being said though, Arsenio really looks like he could jack someone up, and I think his size and intensity makes up for that.
Tom Jenner: Swagger's drug bust. Discuss.
@PopeJonHall: @AlLaimanLOP Obvious question: How would you discipline Swagger? What's next for ADR if Swagger is gone from Wrestlemania? #AskAlLaiman
Regardless of WRestleMania buildup, Jack Swagger should get RVD'd.
For those of you who don't know or remember, in 2006, RVD had finally become the WWE champion. On top of that, he was the ECW champion as well. Sabu was also in line for a major push. The night Greenwood and I were there in Philly, we learned that they'd been pulled over and charged with possession. RVD dropped the title that night, and Sabu was relegated to ECW's version of what Kofi Kingston is now, more or less.
If WWE is serious about their Wellness Policy, don't let storyline and buildup get in the way. This is a chance to back up what they're saying, and put health and well-being ahead of storylines. Yes, some steps have been put into motion for the ADR buildup, but at the same time, there's still enough time to alter the course. Is anyone that invested in Jack Swagger that they wouldn't buy WrestleMania if he lost his title shot?
WWE needs to send the message that no one is above the company, the policies, or the law. Signing a contract with WWE means you represent that company from a public relations standpoint, and the last thing a family-friendly company needs is am world champion getting pulled over for DUI and possession. They suspended Evan Bourne for synthetic weed for JBL's sake!
Jack Swagger fucked up big time, and at the worst possible time. How they handle this situation will go a long way in seeing how serious they are about holding true to their policies, or if they value storylines and matches more than that. I'm not saying he should be fired or anything, but he's not going to be world champion. It wouldn't surprise me to see Randy Orton take vengeance and get the title shot he almost had at Elimination Chamber.
Some have said that it might all be an angle, but that would be a stupid move on WWE's part, especially considering the image they're trying to portray as children-friendly. Take action. Now it's time to prove you mean what you say.
Thanks for everyone who submitted questions this week. See you Monday!
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