Taste My Rainbow - 10 WWE Truths to Chew On (Snickers Edition)
Sep 27, 2013 - 11:00:28 AM
10 WWE Truths to Chew On
Right. Well let’s go ahead and tackle the obvious.
Splendid. Welcome back ladies and gentlemen to the bargain bin wrestling column that we should probably pay you to read - Taste My Rainbow (or TMR for those with short attention spans). Not so long ago, SkitZ conjured up an interesting list of wrestling tidbits which he feels is completely FACTional from top to bottom. Instead of lumping everything together however, I’ve decided to divvy up my WWE truths and post them
every 24 hours for the next 10 days sporadically at my convenience. Hopefully, doing so allows me to pay a little extra attention to each rather than breezing thru them as I do MAXIM Magazine at Walgreens.
Nonetheless, feel free to object.
#1. John Cena Has Saved Professional Wrestling
As much as we rag on Vince’s golden goose for the mere sport of it, Cena rescued WWE during a period when the product appeared to be heading for a nasty recession. Most of our heroes were gone and Stephanie’s rack was quickly becoming the only legitimate reason to tune in each week. That’s not necessarily a knock on studs like Eddie Guerrero & Kurt Angle as much as it is the company’s overall booking scheme circa 2003-04.
Whether fans were drawn in more because of the white rapper shtick rather than Cena’s actual in-ring ability (safe assumption there), the point still stands: The wrestling world clamored for the next mega star and the Franchise Player had created enough buzz to warrant himself at least a trial run. I’m sure if it were up to the IWC, there’d literally be a list of names mentioned before Cena’s. And hey who knows? Maybe the fact management passed over so many other capable talents in the process hurt Cena’s perception from the beginning and helped double/triple/quadruple his critics overnight. Regardless, whomever VKM placed in that position was destined to become the single-most scrutinized figure on WWE programming. Apparently, Vinnie Mac’s people did their research and felt confident that John Cena was best equipped to handle the pressure – and persevere in the long run.
WWE’s Poster Boy has repeatedly proven his worth since 2005 and thrived in situations which most would fall flat on their asses. Opinions of Cena generally range from negative to volatile; his appearance hardly ever changes, the goofball promos make me wanna pluck my pubes out, fuck his five moves of doom, refusal to turn heel, photo shopped images on cereal boxes, weak stabs at humor, topsy-turvy personal life, stupid hand gestures, his lame upstanding citizen act, spot hoarding, merchandise schilling, attention seeking, burial of co-workers in contention and his tired weekly routine. There’s plenty to complain about… and that’s exactly what makes Cena such a rarity.
The dude’s kept people talking ever since management decided to fully invest their money in him. Whether viewers are condemning the Franchise Player or throwing out an offhanded compliment, Cena is always a lightning rod for discussion. Mr. Hustle Loyalty & Respect emits enough emotion from each of us to generate buzz and, subsequently, heaps of varied opinions (some more descriptive than others) which is the definitive factor here. John Cena prompts a response from every Joe Shmoe and has for the last 8+ years which is a remarkable feat in itself. Cenation brings in revenue from sources other wrestlers fail to, he’s the goodwill ambassador that Miz aspires desperately to be, grants so many goddamn wishes that you probably know someone he’s visited and the jorts enthusiast constantly delivers MOTY efforts when there’s adequate motivation behind a feud. Plus, smarks need to pipe down for a second and give credit where it’s due.
Nobody really brings it up now but Cena will eventually be remembered as arguably the greatest talker in the modern era. When put to the test, Johnny B Badd has roasted every individual placed in front of him on the mic; from Rocky to Batista to Hunter to Orton to Edge to Bryan to Punk. Shit… even K-Fed. I challenge you to stand in the ring with a live microphone and thoroughly entertain me for 440 consecutive weeks. Yes I’ll be here waiting in seven months when you run out of material. The Franchise Player has done all that’s been asked of him and fuck tons more. Management hand picking him is irrelevant to the conversation. John Cena’s efficiently bridged the gap between the Attitude Era and where we are today. He saved us from a deep depression and the majority of us don’t even realize it.
John Cena could retire tomorrow, unveil his very own daycare center the following week and open up a chain by Christmas. Of course Dads/husbands would berate the CEO, discredit how the organization is run and complain obliviously about it being too catered towards children. But you know what though? Cena’s PG-approved conglomerate would fucking obliterate any competition in the tri-state area (and sell toddler tee’s at an unprecedented rate).
#2. The Internet Can’t Make You a Star…
But Mainstreaming Sure Will!
Is there any better evidence of this than the Bella Twins? Nikki & Brie have been universally panned by the IWC because of their coveted positions in the company. The Bella’s generous booking is directly attributed to their… erm… personal relationships with John Cena & Daniel Bryan (which irks most of us because of the Diva duo’s general sucktitude). If it weren’t for Twinsanity leeching off their boyfriend’s professional success, they wouldn’t be the primary focus of some shitty reality show on the E! Network. And it’s solely because of the Bella’s close ties to two of WWE’s biggest stars that Nikki & Brie aren’t subjected to wrestling extensively on Main Event (or being buried amongst the other Divas during backstage segments). Hot twins will always hold a place in our hearts… it’s just a shame they decided to fill out pro wrestling applications.
Now even I will admit that The Miz is marginally talented… kinda in the same way a dog can clean its own ass without toilet paper. It’s no secret however that his casting in the tenth season of MTV’s Real World opened more doors for Mizanin than he probably deserved. The former WWE Champ is easy to despise as a heel. Almost too easy if you’re smelling what I’m stepping in. And by some divine intervention, Miz’s unspectacular face work has led to a talk show host gig, red carpet event perks and the starring role in a crappy WWE-produced action movie. If I can steal finishing moves from retired wrestling legends, say a lot without actually saying much at all, make everybody watching uncomfortable with bizarre facial expressions and survive JBL’s rookie boot camp hazing, please… sign me up. Like right now. Just hand me a pen and paper.
CM Punk and Daniel Bryan fall more on the internet fanfare end of the spectrum. Plenty of LOPers were privy to Brooks & Danielson’s abilities long before they joined World Wrestling Entertainment. The indy smarks have sung their praises from the beginning and it’s been as badass as sex in a hot tub watching both guys reach the pinnacle of WWE. But let’s be honest… it wasn’t this wrestling forum or any other website on the internet that propelled Mr. Sobriety and Goatface to superstardom. Crowd reaction is obviously a telling sign but its management who sees enough from an individual to pull the trigger. I absolutely love Punk & D-Bry and hope they continue knocking down barriers in wrestling’s top organization. But don’t get it twisted, folks. We didn’t make them stars… Vince and his people did. As much as internet fans tend to play head booker, a wrestler’s fate is completely out of our hands.
Remember how many folks were dangling from Dibiase’s nuts 3-4 years ago? I honest to God recall a couple writers suggesting how Ted should eventually challenge Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania… where are those dorks now? Fucking MIA. The ‘Fortunate’ Son was feuding with DX around this same time back in ’09 and now he’s on the unemployment line. Maybe Teddy can chat with Cody during the bachelor party and bargain a deal for his job back. WWE can always use tolerable commentators.
What would it say about me if I didn’t touch on Zack Ryder for a brief moment? The Long Island Iced Z is basically why this truth landed on my list in the first place. His web show should be commended for reaching heights that I guarantee you even Ryder himself never imagined possible. We cheered for the company to utilize Zack and they did… well sorta. Vince & Co. capitalized on the popularity of Z! True Long Island Story to benefit their YouTube channel and watered the weekly webcast down until followers could no longer enjoy its’ ridiculousness. The Creative Team then elevated Zack to fill a slot in the midcard and gifted him the United States Championship during the holiday season after he received about 26 shots at Dolph Ziggler’s title. Management whored out Ryder at every stop; manipulating the poor guy’s career push to put over the revamped Kane and Eve throughout her heel turn.
A temporary reprieve from our ongoing woes. If anything, VKM & Trips taught us a lesson while they sucked the life out of Zack’s limited potential. We expected Ryder to shine and our prayers to be answered… but instead, the internet sensation kept jobbing (just in a glorified manner); spending his Monday nights carrying Eve’s luggage and playing the shoddy mechanic.
#3. Dudes with Weird European Names
Don’t Pan Out in the Long Run
No need to worry… I’ve brought along with me plenty of circumstantial evidence to support my outlandish claim.
La Resistance. Timing-wise, the French heel stable were spot on. Unluckily for Dupree & Grenier however, it wasn’t 1990 anymore and succeeding in WWE took more than simply garnering heat from American crowds. Even though Rene & Sylvain were purposefully booked arrogantly and with cheesy French accents, the pompous duo still had viewers abusing their remote controls like a football addict during Sunday afternoons. And things really didn’t improve when La Resistance later went their separate ways (shocker, right!?). Dupree strikes me as a bloated clone of Screech without the Jew fro and Grenier is basically a French-Canadian version of the Miz; quite possibly the worst comparison imaginable and most terrifying mental image ever.
Santino Marella. I suspect some folks will argue me on this but in terms of maximizing his potential, you can mark down Anthony Carelli as a flop. Case in point, we’re still unsure (6+ years later) what Santino’s full potential even is because WWE has never allowed him to access it. Marella suffers from the Eugene treatment; he’s a shmuck who amuses others with self-deprecating humor, comically sells/delivers offense, cowers to lesser individuals and uses a fucking sock puppet to win matches. Santino’s performance against Daniel Bryan at Elimination Chamber 2012 gave us a sneak peak of what Vince & Co. passed up on several summers ago. Marella enjoys a banner night once in a great while but he’s also a walking contradiction of wrestling itself. Shit… in the grand scheme of things, perhaps that bitch slap from Cornette did Santino more harm than good.
Sylvester Terkay. Wait the dude’s actually American? And that’s a legit American name??? I call bullshit.
Vladimir Kozlov. Ah yes the Moscow Muter... dull fellow, was he not? I’d even lump Vlad’s heel run into the same category as selective Alzheimer’s (since seeing that shit made you want to forget things). Turning Kozlov into a comedic character soon became the only alternative and I’m surprised management didn’t flip the switch earlier. To his credit though (because I can sense the Khali similarities forming), the angry Russian could string together a decent effort pretty consistently and his headbutt looked menacing. Unfortunately, it only takes one poor outing to flush your career down the shitter and Vlad didn’t do himself any favors at Survivor Series ’08 whilst working with Triple H. Odds are Hunter stepped through the curtain afterwards, spotted Vince and immediately went
Antonio Cesaro. Premature? Pfffffft eighteen months is more than enough time to pass judgment on somebody’s future. I am far from Claudio’s biggest detractor. In fact, he’s one of RAW’s main pleasantries and seemingly brings something new to the table each week (i.e. that endless helicopter spin last night). It’s the Swiss Delight’s unbalanced booking that’s landed him here. Throughout last year and the first few months of 2013, it appeared Cesaro had the company deeply invested in his stock… until the market came crashing down on Antonio’s momentum.
Castagnoli’s on-air personality might not tickle the buttocks of everybody with an important opinion but his in-ring display is anything but boring. Those who doubt Claudio needn’t search any further than his indy-inspired duel with Daniel Bryan shortly after MITB – absolutely brilliant. Clearly for those who’ve remained on board, this is merely a matter of backstage politics because Cesaro’s abilities haven’t regressed whatsoever. I’m not saying the Swiss-Man needs to open wide and endure some facials from the big wigs but if his recent teaming with Swagger is indicative of where Antonio’s career is heading, he might as well tie off the noose now and drag over a stool. A road traveled by Zeb and his impaired ape is no path you wanna follow.
#4. Complacency Has Enveloped Captivation
FOREWARNING: Here’s the part where SkitZ predictably defends himself with events from the Attitude Era.
Much of WWE’s groundbreaking success throughout the late 90’s wrestling boom can be attributed to multi-layered storylines. WCW prompted the company to mix up their product on a consistent basis so we very rarely witnessed the same exact occurrence take place two weeks in a row (and if we did, there was a high demand for it). Yeah Steve Austin and Mr. McMahon were desperately trying to one-up each other but every confrontation produced a different result. The bitter boss/rebellious employee feud spilled over into skyboxes, parking lots, bathrooms, offices, press conferences, hospital rooms, etc. Stone Cold and Vince pretty much exhausted all options and as a fan, it entertained the shit out of me. Their infamous rivalry waged on for as long as it did because management (Vince Russo reference!) never relied on the same angle over and over again.
Therein lies my issue with today’s Creative Team. Currently sitting in Vinnie Mac’s lap is the most complete storyline that’s come along in AGES and as per usual, WWE reeled us in with a bang before switching everything to autopilot. Take Big Show for instance (your favorite topic I know). Eighteen months ago, John Laurinaitis had him sobbing like a chubby kid pummeling a malfunctioning vending machine. A heel turn, tweener run and random face change later, the World’s Largest Athlete is once again wailing away like a pregnant college bitch while an authority figure barks orders at him. The rinse and repeat formula is garbage; so is the way management has booked TBS for the past decade. Fans were interested in seeing the giant return to form an alliance with Henry and challenge for the Tag Team Titles. SkidMark then did what he does best – get injured – and the writers use it as an opportunity to rehash HBK’s “Bwah after 20 lucrative years working for this organization, I woke up yesterday morning broke” shtick from five years prior. How fucking innovative.
Now focus your attention on the guy responsible for all this recent pandemonium and Triple H’s crooked coalition rising up: Daniel Bryan. WWE pushed Goatface hard and he looked super impressive until the closing moments of SummerSlam. I totally understand the need to establish Hunter’s faction as an unstoppable force and repeatedly stack the odds against D-Bry. Leaving your #1 babyface (at the moment) in a crumpled heap at the conclusion of every major show however isn’t good for business period. How difficult would it really be to tweak the script each Monday so that Danielson’s constantly gaining on the stable but H’s establishment always lands the haymaker?
What I mean to say is… Bryan could trap The Shield in some confined area of the arena and zone in on Orton before The Game lays Goatface out from behind. Then the following week, D-Bry obliterates Ambrose/Rollins/Reigns with a chair, TKO’s The Viper with a kick to the head and corners the COO but Stephanie drops Danielson with a low blow. And so on and so forth. My ideas could use some work but it sure as hell beats the YES! Man falling prey to the same fucking attack week after week. Being burdened with stretching out this multi-faceted storyline until WMXXX isn’t cutting it as an excuse. There’s more than one way to please a woman with your skinny dick and the same principle applies in pro wrestling.
I’m afraid the monotony doesn’t end there either. The stagnant booking is speckled across the company from top to bottom. Dolph Ziggler, at this stage in his career, should be lighting up the World Title scene with show stealing performances and creating controversy on the mic; not jobbing to management’s flavor of the week because he can bump theatrically. Ryback, for all intents and purposes, should be an absolute beast right now who’s decimated the opposition, addressed the Goldberg chants with radiating arrogance, racked up PPV victories and garnered a hefty enough salary to purchase more flattering wrestling attire; rather than fading into obscurity because the company’s too pussy to put him over a big name. This should probably transition into a rant about Kofi now but honestly… who the fuck would care to listen?
Certainly not this little lady…
#5. Triple H Will Continue to Own Your Soul
Until We Reach the Ends of Forever
As I continue rummaging through this box of ancient IWC artifacts, look what hot item came a-tumblin’ out; a smark’s bestseller that’s nearly as old as this website.
Now before yours truly kicks it up a notch into Bloodthirst Mode, I’ll go on record by saying that Hunter offers the company more than enough experience/credentials/wrestling knowledge to warrant his current position in the company. We often give the guy shit and claim that Trips used Stephanie to further his career in WWE but let’s be honest with ourselves… thumping the boss’s daughter along the way was simply a perk The Game took full advantage of. H didn’t marry into the business based on a hidden agenda or because it would ensure The King of Kings a job with Vince for life (you’ve read the VKM reports over the years… who would wish for that???). Whether Hunter & Steph got hitched or the sly bastard just Randy Savage’d it a couple times, Mr. COO would be sitting in the exact same position today regardless.
And despite my overwhelming positivity towards Trips in the paragraph above, I’m convinced he suffers as much as any professional wrestling figure alive from the repercussions of success: ego. Every top tier star experiences it at some point. It’s simply a matter of how that individual handles the spotlight. Some are eventually humbled, others throw bitch fits and then there’s Hunter; his own fucking genre.
Personally, I tend to shy away from the status quo. Criticizing H is like an inside joke that’s completely spiraled out of control over the past decade. Therefore, SkitZ typically aims his complaints elsewhere but the last three years have prompted me to attack The Game’s motives with a pitchfork in one hand and butt lube in the other. CM Punk’s verbal tirades in 2011 and the Daniel Bryan craze this year have been the hottest angles in recent memory. Both indy darlings had the WWE Universe chomping at the bit with their rags-to-riches tales and, lo and behold, where do we find Trips amongst the chaos? SMACK dab in the fucking middle of it all; an integral part of each story practically overnight. Hunter definitely put a damper on Punk’s ascendancy two years ago and whether the same happens with Danielson remains to be seen. But time and time again, The Game feels compelled to scrap money segments for his daunting 20 minute show-opening promos.
Lesnar’s booking his second go-around is another fine example of H’s attention-hoarding mentality. You lost fair and square at SummerSlam ’12 (bum arm is irrelevant), totally killed the crowd at WM29 and yet still found it necessary to headline the following pay per view with a cage match I fell asleep watching. Maybe Vince thought it might be unsafe to place Brock in the ring with lesser experienced guys after witnessing what Cena went through? Perhaps Trips wanted to ensure the former UFC Champ be put over correctly upon his return? Nonetheless, Hunter didn’t believe anybody else on the roster could generate the same results and benefited from Lesnar’s return to boost his own profile (when the push could’ve done wonders for Orton, Sheamus, etc).
H abuses his >INSERT ME HERE< button like I do the right trigger on my Xbox controller. And guess what? Mr. McMahon will inevitably kick the bucket so don’t take any of that nonsense about cryogenically freezing to heart. I mean modern medicine can’t fight off steroid psychosis forever. VKM is already in the process of passing the business down to Trips which should terrify any diehard fan who plans on sticking by WWE for the next several decades. For starters, imagine all the bottled water that will go to waste (the dickhole’s draining us of our natural resources!). Not to mention Hunter’s constant on-air presence basically guarantees that we’ll be subjected firsthand to Stephanie’s slow metamorphoses; from a beloved, big tittied MILF to some saggy. middle-aged business woman. Frightening, eh? Almost as much as the fact that H was a wrestler first so he’ll be inclined to get physically involved more often than even Vince did.
At this rate, I’d contemplate prepping for a home invasion.
#6. No RAW GM Will Ever Succeed
at Their Job (i.e. We Miss You, Eric)
Not only is the General Manager position on Monday Nights a thankless job but it’s a spoof suit & tie gig that automatically sets him/her up for failure. I mean what have we learned over the past twelve years since the company decided to modernize the term by referring to authority figures as GM’s rather than Commissioners?
1. Vince may very well despise RAW figureheads as much as his writing staff.
2. The boss historically treats his corporate employees as if they took Fundamental Gym all four years in high school.
3. VKM relishes in appointing undeserving individuals as the new General Manager and watching shit go awry (compelling TV I guess?).
4. Mr. McMahon’s undermined his own children on numerous occasions so if that’s any indication, you’re better off declining politely and giving commentating a try.
5. There’s a major shortage of big-breasted floozies (which could explain the brief tenures that’ve piled up since Bischoff’s stint).
Speaking of Easy E, why does WWE set awesome precedents with their latest concepts and then not give a fuck anymore when the next creative meeting rolls around? Bischoff’s 2002-05 campaign is a terrific blueprint and while it’s obvious certain GMs were chosen based on their rising popularity or comedic appeal, nobody’s come close. In any area of the job requirements. Considering how ridiculously one-sided Michael Cole & Co. are nowadays, you need an authority figure who behaves more consistently as a heel than face. This long lineage of villainous RAW GMs and fan favorite SmackDown GMs is tolerable but it takes away all the guesswork which is half the fun for wrestling marks. Storylines throw swerves at us on a regular basis and being able to predict an authoritarian’s ruling right off the bat is less exciting than protected sex.
Bischoff was comically biased for stretches when it benefitted an ongoing feud (ala Cena/Angle in late ’05). But the former President of WCW tended to call it down the middle during the product’s duller periods which is a characteristic every General Manager should boast (whether scripted or not). The shmucks who succeeded Eric were either severely unqualified or too power-hungry. There’s gotta be some semblance of balance God dammit or the experiment’s bound to fail at the starting line. If you’ve even loosely paid attention over the past decade, it’s not exactly a secret why each RAW GM has met the same tragic fate.
>>> Steve Austin --- Management needed to occupy Stone Cold with something while they were still mailing him those hefty paychecks. Worker’s comp, bitches!
>>> William Regal --- Violating the Wellness Program never looks good on someone’s resume. In the Brit’s defense though, he was never going to recapture the magic from his ’01 run as Commish.
>>> Mike Adamle --- The bastard couldn’t cut a squeaky clean promo if his life depended on it. I’m serious. Teleprompters, cue cards and Public Speaking for DUMMIES couldn’t spare Adamle’s dwindling reputation. Maybe stick to subject matter you’re familiar with?
>>> Vickie Guerrero --- Heat-wise, the fiery widow was in a class of her own. And hey the Guerrantula has improved leaps and bounds since being thrust into the spotlight seven years ago. Her decibel works perfectly as a valet but stretching it across a three hour show? Instant migraine.
>>> Anonymous the Trusty Laptop --- This colossal waste of time ended with Hornswoggle being relevant again for ten seconds which should speak volumes about its effectiveness. The idea should’ve suffered enough punishment from Edge’s temper tantrum to die and never return.
>>> John Laurinaitis --- Easy to hate but lacking in too many critical areas. Besides despising his smoker’s cackle and dry demeanor, People Power never seemed to gel quite right. Based on the bullshit we’ve been fed in recent years, I’m not sure advertising yourself as the head of Talent Relations is the wisest career move.
>>> AJ Lee --- As an on-air personality, she fits the bill. But no matter how you slice it, a mentally unstable chick with whorish tendencies and anger issues in a GM role is ass backwards. Shame on Vinnie Mac for his weak stab at a ratings spike.
Aaaaannnnnnnnd that brings us to WWE’s current project - the unsuspecting Brad Maddox. Definitely a random promotion snagged straight out of left field (or so the company would make it appear). Management’s been grooming Maddox for this spot nearly a calendar year which is equally confusing. What insurance policy is there on this guy? Perhaps Vince has overrated just how much folks detest Brad? Is it that difficult to realize Maddox’s crowd reactions are more groans of indifference than legitimate heat? Did the CEO spot a Bischoff lookalike and foolishly try cashing in? Whatever the reason, Brad Maddox is a fad that’ll pass with the season change. The RAW General Manager shtick might be the biggest gimmick in all of professional wrestling.
Now of course, Brad and his 90210-inspired haircut could ultimately prove me wrong… but I highly doubt it. Unless he drops everything, starts completely from scratch and goes the Teddy Long route (that dude lasted forever!).
#7. WWE Completely Butchers the Art of Comedy
Twenty-five years ago, I’d have had a tough fucking time making a convincing argument in this department. Since the company changed its name and presentation however, WWE’s as susceptible to public scrutiny as any other misguided program on cable television. If wrestling itself is being placed on the backburner in favor of talk show inspired segments, social media, “compelling” storylines and character development, then so be it. But if that also encompasses humor, the product had better deliver and keep generating laughs to justify its superiority over the show’s basic premise. Otherwise, what’s the fucking point? Vince & Co. really have no business attempting comedy in the first place with their shunned-from-Hollywood writing staff. If it weren’t for a handful of awesome road agents playing a part in the creative process, Mr. McMahon’s evil empire would’ve gone under years ago. I still have night terrors about Hunter and Freddy Prinze, Jr. shooting the shit backstage.
[adult swim] and Comedy Central produce head-scratching comedy at an alarming rate so what makes RAW or SmackDown any different? Because WWE is supposed to be a nonstop display of tough guys and finding out whose left testicle hangs lower. Humor should sit at the bottom of the list; smushed between Diva Dealings and Title Importance. And it isn’t like management tosses in a joke here or there sparingly. Nah if something catches on or draws attention on YouTube, we’re guaranteed to see it crammed into a 3-hour show on five or six separate occasions. Modesty? What the hell is that?
The company notices a trend, either pounces on it late or by accident and then runs the shtick straight into the ground. It’s a weekly program so there’s bound to be some monotony but that style of comedy doesn’t work unless you can access variety on a smaller scale (i.e. the multitude of ways in which Kenny dies throughout South Park). VKM Enterprises squeezes out every drop and then keeps trying to milk the same fucking cow. In the beginning, fans were obsessed with Hornswoggle and his general tomfoolery during Finlay’s matches. It took smarks what… Less than two years to completely sour on the Little Bastard? Well that’s what happens when an inept midget is biting wrestlers on the ass one day then rapping, writing proper emails and posing as Vince’s illegitimate son the next. Personally, I tossed ‘Swoggle in the shit box as soon as he gained more importance than Finlay (here’s hoping your severance package is weighty, Fit).
I hate to throw AJ and Kaitlyn under the bus since they recently put together one of the strongest women’s feuds in ages but those fat jokes are absolutely ridiculous. The chubby suits, oink noises and wise cracks towards stomach flub are comical in the wrong sense. Mainly because none of these women would be constantly promoted on TV if they were in fact fat. WWE’s big wigs are shallow motherfuckers and if anyone thinks they’re above releasing a bitch because she’s a valued customer at Taco Bell, SPOILER ALERT: there’s a strong probability your girlfriend’s cheating. All of the company’s female talents are gorgeous and fantastic physically. No one looks at Kaitlyn and thinks Honey Boo Boo so running that angle for seven consecutive weeks is like going 0-9 in a fifteen inning baseball game.
Besides, Kaitlyn’s the type of girl I’m slipping a roofie to at a house party – not AJ. SkitZ would be guilty of chubby chasing way before he ever contemplated necrophilia.
How many goddamn times must Fandango and his NXT cheerleader interrupt a segment with their tired dance number before some sane soul explains to management that Johnny Curtis is actually more useful wrestling than channeling the spirit of Patrick Swayze? Who keeps handing The Miz a live microphone without short circuiting it beforehand? How come a sniper hasn’t been hired yet to take out both of Khali’s legs? Why would somebody tell Randy Orton that he can convey any emotion imaginable without ever changing his facial expression? How long until Vinnie Mac stops protecting his precious Michael Cole and lets JBL just annihilate him for 185 minutes straight? Should we be anticipating a Prime Time Players split so WWE can slap Darren Young on the butt and send him through the curtain with Rico’s old gimmick? A masterful promo worker such as Paul Heyman flanking Curtis Axle is sweet irony, is it not?
The trick, ladies and gentlemen, with comedy in pro wrestling is to be subtle. I’ll give Creative their due credit for the anger management skits involving Kane & D-Bry. Historically though, most of the bells and whistles that’ve caught fire with rasslin’ audiences originated from the on-air personality him/herself; an insignificant quip created to enhance an individual’s character. Taping into effective humor isn’t as difficult as WWE makes it appear. For instance, you could book Sandow to cash-in/capture the World Heavyweight Championship and lose every match afterwards but retain the belt by miraculous means whenever it’s on the line. Fans would crap on the pattern but if Damien always lost unconventionally and did so in an entertaining manner, viewers would damn sure hop aboard. Only problem there is… Ziggler already exhausted that option a couple months ago (yikes).
#8. There is But One Chief
World Championship in VinceVille
Any casual fan who’s hung around since WWE debuted the big gold belt as their second Heavyweight Title has witnessed its’ prestige regress with each passing year. Hell there’s been stretches where teenagers with fuckin’ Styrofoam replica belts, trampolines, dumpster furniture and reluctant female volunteers have treated the hardware more prominently than Vince & Co. (I speak from experience). When you consider some of the all-time greats who’ve smudged the title with their oily fingers – Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho, etc. – it begs asking how the World Heavyweight Championship became such a laughing stock over the course of a decade. I mean when management discovered said accessory in their WCW scrap pile (Sean Stasiak incidentally as well) and presented it on television, you’d swear the company had just revealed an absolute equal to the WWE Title.
But perhaps therein lies the problem. Nothing that ever came from WCW when Mr. McMahon purchased the company could ever hold up against Vince’s product historically. VKM has proven that theory true on countless occasions and it could very well explain why he’s repeatedly discarded the strap like a crusty condom. It may leave many people shaking their heads and taking aim at my integrity (ha! like any exists) but could we have avoided all this trouble if Vinnie Mac hadn’t been such a cheap fucker and just ordered a completely new title to begin with? Didn’t the WWE Championship recently undergo a facelift? I haven’t heard anything about the World Heavyweight Title receiving an upgrade (another telling sign that Goldie Yawn’s no more than the neglected step brother of its superior).
Even after acknowledging the legendary names who are forever linked to the World Heavyweight Championship, it’s clear that said belt is no more than merely a consolation prize. It’s maintained just enough distinction to consistently be mentioned in the same breath as the WWE Title but really carries about as much importance as the company’s IC strap. There’s no definitive argument anyone could make today that would elevate SmackDown’s top prize above second-tier status. The small traces of credibility sprinkled throughout its lineage aren’t enough to combat the World Title’s experimental aura; a trial-by-error theme if you will. It’s a bailout, halfway home of a championship belt that literally serves no purpose besides reflecting light and drawing attention to one’s crotch region.
Maybe if company officials didn’t run the World Title scene like a goddamn orphanage for strays and outcasts. You wanna know why that shit’s in the trash? It’s because WWE placed the belt on an immature punk named Randy Orton who was way too much of a douche bag (get it?) to present himself accurately as a fan favorite. Because the company took advantage of Eddie Guerrero’s untimely death, the grieving Hispanic population and slapped the belt on Rey Mysterio’s ill prepared ass. Because Edge suffered a torn pectoral muscle which prompted management to toss the title out their second story window… and it just happened to land on Khali. Because WWE’s inner circle found amusement in booking CM Punk stronger as ECW/Tuesday Night Heat Champ than World Heavyweight Champion and totally castrated his push. Because some dork on the Creative Team thought a lisp-riddled Oklahoman kid with disproportionate arms and a heatless personality would sell tickets. Because Ziggler’s whole character is built around being passed over/undervalued so he’s finally gifted the World Title and then sent directly to slaughter.
Because WWE doesn’t take the belt seriously when push comes to shove. They did at one point during the Bush administration but those days are looooonnnnnng behind us. Trends can be telling. Ever since WrestleMania 24’s main event featured the World Heavyweight Championship, the strap’s been steadily demoted down the card. There’s a reason respected veterans such as Big Show & Mark Henry were rewarded with the World Title… they’re second tier stars. That’s why the Randy Orton’s & John Cena’s are always lurking around the WWE Championship like strung out crackheads.
So kudos to Christian for temporarily shattering that glass ceiling. Amen for Daniel Bryan using the shiny hardware to raise his overall stock in the company. And good for Kane being commended with a lengthy title stint following thirteen years of fierce dedication to his craft. The World Heavyweight Championship’s swift decline doesn’t tarnish any of their accomplishments… it just doesn’t stand up in Smark’s Court against the WWE Title. There’s a difference between the CEO patting you on the back for a courageous effort and getting your dick sucked by the boss’s daughter. So I guess going along with that line of thinking means the World Championship is for virgins.
For what? Your fifteen seconds of flawed fame?
#9. Violating the Wellness Program Opens
Up A Roulette Wheel of Possibilities
Michael Cole: Hello there, folks! Glad you could join us for the Emmy-abominated game show that every fan loves and every wrestler dreads – Choose Your Career Path! As always, I’m your host Michael Cole coming to you live from the recently renovated basement of Vince McMahon’s palatial estate in Greenwich, Connecticut.
In case you forgot how we run things on C.Y.C.P. or happen to be a first-time viewer, no need to worry. The concept is so mind numbingly simple that even our greased-up stage monkeys can follow along without any trouble. Our colorful group of contestants have all violated the company’s Wellness Program at some point or another and Mr. McMahon decided he would seal their fates to the enjoyment of every person watching. One WWE superstar at a time will step up and spin the roulette wheel. The arrow will eventually land on a random letter which corresponds to a card in the stack sitting beside me. Each card holds an obligatory fate which I will withdraw from the pile and cast upon the spotlighted individual. Will dreams be realized tonight? Or does this ridiculous contest merely ruin lives and divide households? Find out right after this nine-minute commercial break!
Michael Cole: Welcome back ladies and gentlemen! We have an interesting development here as RVD receives the jobber entrance. Historically, that doesn’t bode well for the Violator on trial. Rob spin kicks the wheel and it lands onnnnnnnnnnnnn… ‘M’!. Let me see if I can locate the right – yep. Here it is. Yikes it would appear that untimely marijuana mix-up with your boy Sabu is going to leave a sizeable impression, my friend.
Rob Van Dam: Cole… we were never friends to begin with.
Michael Cole: You will drop both the WWE & ECW World Championships on back-to-back shows and suffer a betrayal from Paul Heyman in favor of Big Show. If being passed over for that 500-pound sack of shit isn’t a humbling experience, I’m not quite sure what is.
Rob Van Dam: Well can I at least have my weed back then? Or is somebody gonna reimburse me?
Michael Cole: Additionally, management will drop you a couple pegs down the card as punishment. And when your contract’s nearing its expiration next summer, we’ll make a conscious effort not to mention it in hopes that you leave and never return. I bid you farewell, RVD.
So whose head is on the chopping block next? Why it’s none other than the Masterpiece Chris Masters! Two strikes already, Chris? At such a young age? Ha! Why did you even bother showing up today?
Chris Masters: I thought it was mandatory? Also, I heard something about unlimited catering.
Michael Cole: Animal. Well in any event, thanks for losing us an extra couple 100,000 viewers in the last five seconds. I’m sure the producers are thrilled. Alright give that roulette wheel a pull. She’s spinning and the magic letter isssssssssss… ‘S’! Mmmmm just as I feared. WWE’s going to release you, re-sign you two years from now, slap you with a God awful pec dance gimmick, reward you with an 11-match winning streak on Superstars just to fuck with your confidence and ultimately release you yet again a year later after months of inactivity.
Chris Masters: (stares blankly) Are you serious?
Michael Cole: As serious as your addiction to pain pills. Who’s our next guest? Ohhhh put your children to bed, mothers and fathers. It’s the Samoan Bulldozer Umaga!
Umaga: You wouldn’t happen to know where I can score any opiates, do you?
Michael Cole: What a charming fellow. Let’s keep in mind this is a family friendly program, buddy. Why don’t you stop losing us sponsors and spin the damn wheel? There ya’ go. Around and around annnnnnnnnd… Umaga’s stumbled upon an ‘H’! Damn according to this note card, you’ll not only continuing jobbing to the stars and start speaking perfect English but losses will come in all shapes and sizes. The strength of your booking is set to suffer a fatal blow from the looks of it.
Umaga: Hey as long as I don’t have to keep talking like the fucking Tazmanian Devil, I could really care less.
Michael Cole: To each their own I guess. Next I’d like to welcome out a shell of his legendary father The British Bulldog. Everyone give it up for D.H. Smith!
D.H. Smith: Thanks for fitting me on the show, Michael. I’m a huge f-
Michael Cole: Shut up. I was given specific instructions not to let you speak. Why don’t you be a good sport though and send that wheel into spin cycle, eh? ‘Atta boy. And Smith’s special letter is none other thaaaaannnnnnn… ‘L’. How symbolic. David, judging by this card, your second generation shtick will be scrapped as we tuck you away on ECW to be forgotten about. Eventually, you (along with Tyson Kidd) will be gifted a lengthy stint as Tag Team Champ at Bret Hart’s behest because of his redundant complaints regarding Canadian ring technicians being held back, the pride of Canada being at stake, paying your dues, yada yada yada. I can hear the twitchy bastard now. Getting back on track however, the joy ride will end with WWE kicking you to the curb and pushing Kidd singularly because Tyson’s obviously where the talent lies. Plus, he can do flips and cool tricks.
D.H. Smith: Uhhhhh…
Michael Cole: Please leave the stage immediately. Now it’s time to pick up the pace a bit as we usher in the Rainbow-Haired Warrior Jeff Hardy!
Jeff Hardy: (greets Cole with whimsical hand gestures)
Michael Cole: … Very well. Go ahead and set the wheel in motion with those awkward arm movements of yours. Jeff reels in aaaaaaaaaaaaaa ‘W’! An errand boy just handed me a card that’s supposedly straight from Vince’s office. And I quote “We here at WWE value your heroic contributions to our product. And you sell droves of merchandise so we’re willing to sweep this matter under the rug if you promise to behave moving forward. It’s not every day an artistic emo comes along and sells out arenas like a rock concert. Because of that, we commend you.”
(Carlito suddenly appears from behind a curtain, marches towards Cole and stops a few feet short of the podium)
Michael Cole: No need for me to shuffle through that pile, pal. SPOILER ALERT: You’re a dick. I’m confident you’ll get shit canned soon enough.
(Evan Bourne then jumps on stage to prevent the altercation from intensifying)
Evan Bourne: Whoa guys. Remember the cameras are rolling.
Michael Cole: Ugh who are you to play peacemaker, repeat offender? You want a fortune? I was chatting with Hayes the other day… yeah they should be able to throw you a storyline on Main Event somewhere in the next 2-4 years.
(Bourne’s normally cool demeanor dissipates as he lunges over the podium at the show’s crooked host; prompting security to rush forward)
(Sin Cara wanders out aimlessly while Cole resituates his tie)
Michael Cole: They left you for last, huh? Dammit I hate ribs! (sighs) Whatever man. Give the wheel a flick. Try not to injure yourself in the process. Ah congratulations. Your insignificant letter is ‘T’ and as for the note card… An impostor will surface during your absence and actually do a much better job portraying Sin Cara than you do. Then you’ll put together some botchtastic classics, injure yourself from… surprise surprise… botching a move! And in an ironic twist of fate, Mysterio will attempt to take you under his wing despite owning a body constructed somewhere in Mexico by Erector set parts. Tough break, amigo.
Sin Cara: Espero que no esperando que regrese al programa después de esto.
Michael Cole: Our ESL guy is on vacation this week.
#10. ‘Suspend Your Disbelief’
Is An Outdated Term
"There's Suspension Of Disbelief and then there's insulting my fucking intelligence."
— The Spoony One on the Wing Commander movie
So basically, kayfabe is this magical world in which dreams come true with startling regularity, towering giants are commonly perceived as laughing stocks rather than unstoppable monsters, bizarre characters can control the arena’s lighting without a remote control and the same group of individuals fall victim to the same predictable shenanigans week after week. Such is the world WWE lives in and such is what you and I have been accustomed to for several years. There’s clearly nothing wrong with that approach as it’s kept us around (wavering loyalty or not) and netted Vincent K McMahon ungodly amounts of money. Kayfabe however is routinely linked to the suspension of disbelief and that’s where I draw the line because well… the term doesn’t fit professional wrestling any longer.
[The story-maker] makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is "true;" it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside. The moment disbelief arises, the spell is broken; the magic, or rather art, has failed. You are then out in the Primary World again, looking at the little abortive Secondary World from outside.
— J. R. R. Tolkien
Somewhere along the line, you alternate from being a diehard fan to a skeptic and suggestionist. At the risk of sounding dramatic and contradictory, discovering the IWC kills a sizable chunk of your fandom; whether it be small pieces broken off on a daily basis or massive boulders free falling at the most inopportune moments. And as is the case with most addictions, this place keeps us dialed in while also mining away at our smarkish innocence. There’s an influence at play and we feed into it for the latest spoilers, social media craze, hires, releases and managerial activity. Fans plead tirelessly for a specific scenario and then concern all their energy into how the angle will fail and what possible outcome will lead to its demise. Where’s the satisfaction? That’s like begging your lady friend to do anal and when she finally gives in, annoying her with eighteen different ways in which you could potentially get shitted on.
I know you’re meant to suspend your disbelief in a horror film about what is survivable and for how long, but watching a man with a gushing head wound – i.e. a knife straight into the brain – stumble around for a while and still have the mental capacity to utter "fuck you Bruce Willis" before he falls down dead is the point where I say "fuck you movie."
— Critical Dave, "Scream 4: The Good, The Bad and The Meta"
We’re all familiar with this song and dance. Time, more than anything, has shown that things more or less stay the same. Could it be that you and I have become the irritating motherfucker in the theater who explains every scene throughout a movie and completely ruins the experience? I’m afraid so. And when did knowing every minute wrestling detail in the known universe become hip or trendy? It’s morphed into something visceral which cannot be changed back or overruled. And on top of that, we’re a thankless bunch so there’s really no surprise too big and no storyline payoff grand enough. Perhaps in 1997 but definitely not today. We typically treat swerves with swirling optimism before suddenly shutting ourselves off from them like a scorned Asian lover. I mean I would know… (eat a dick you heartless bitch).
Suspension Of Disbelief doesn't throw away all logic. It just allows me to believe there are people who can run really fast or aliens that can shapeshift living among humans.
— Linkara, Atop the Fourth Wall
Marks, smarks and n00bs don’t watch the product as if it’s real events happening in real time. Twitter, YouTube and the internet in general have collectively put an end to that aged fantasy. Fans are now granted access to these superstars 24/7 which has effectively broken the magic spell and destroyed the untouchable aspect of sports entertainment. The line between them and us is more blurred than it’s ever been which I believe could eventually pose a problem to WWE’s self-exuded invincibility.
It's just you and the audience - hundreds of people - and you've got just one chance, just once chance, to convince them that it's real. There's a magic moment where you can make them believe anything because they already want to. They're there and ready and you just have to take them the rest of the way.
— Ben Cato, The Dreamer
The results themselves are a foregone conclusion and we’ve mastered the playbook to the point where our contributions are far more programmed and systematical than genuine. Suspending your disbelief is something that benefits action movies and children’s books – not pro wrestling. The only shred of disbelief that ever floats to the surface is when a guy drops an expletive on live TV or so-and-so pulls out a move that you didn’t even realize he or she could execute. The majority of the IWC are realists and with that comes a landslide of doubts and excess analyzing. How can someone suspend their disbelief for a brief period when said individual is already three or four steps ahead mentally? Once the child inside dies, there too goes the carefree observer.
TMR_ Satisfaction Notwithstanding
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