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Posted in: Column of the Month
LOP Columns Forum July 2017 Columnist of the Month: Purple Phase (The Brand with No Mass Appeal) by Skitz
By LOP Columns Forum
Aug 11, 2017 - 8:05:26 PM

Each month in the Columns section of LOP Forums, we hold a competition to determine who was the best of the previous month. In other words, the Columnist of the Month. The winner earns the right to present you, the Lords of Pain main page audience, with an example of their work, laying the foundation for what will hopefully, eventually be a permanent spot on the LOP Columns roster.

We've got ourselves a few noteworthy things going on this time around. The winner of Columnist of the Month for July is Skitz. If you're keeping track at home, you'll note that this makes his third win in a row. This accomplishment marks only the second time in the almost 16 year history of Columnist of the Month that someone has won three in a row. The only other time it's been pulled off is when Morpheus did it from November 2004 through January 2005, which has been held for over 12 years as an achievement that wasn't likely to be repeated. But records, as they say, are made to be broken. This win also makes Skitz only the fourth person to ever reach the 6 CotMs mark. He's now tied with 'Plan and myself (YourAyatollah, aka Steven Bell) for second place all time, with only mizfan having more awards to his credit with 10.

I believe it safe to say that Skitz is the hands down best columnist in the CF at this given point in time. Period. Can he maintain his stranglehold? Will a call up to the main page stop him from yet another repeat? Or will someone or someones step up to take the August contest? I suppose it remains to be seen. Either way, there is now absolutely no disputing his position as one of the greatest columnists in LOP history, as though there ever were.

If you would like to write for Lords of Pain, maybe take your shot at knocking this dude off his high horse, the path to doing so starts with the Columns Forum. You can visit it and begin your own journey by clicking the image below.

Purple Phase
(The Brand with No Mass Appeal)

While that last column was intended to pull the shades down on my Color Chronicles series, I just couldn’t close the curtain on such a depressing note. Not when we’re forced to stare at Bayley’s sad ugly mug on a weekly basis. RAW has deflated her cheery disposition quite considerably, wouldn‘t you agree?

If I can be serious for a moment though, it seems like everyone thinks 205 Live is nothing but a roster full of Lance Storms and that’s simply not the case. Rumors regarding the show’s potential cancellation have reached a boiling point and I recently spotted Tito adding fuel to said fire on the Main Page. Well that old man needs to settle his kettle because I for one have not burned out on the Cruiserweights. Yeah the division has cooled off to almost chilly temperatures since the CWC ended last summer but it’s still managed to spark my interest over the past couple months. So much in fact that, since April, the purple brand has become my favorite of WWE’s four primary programs.

205 Live may not be supported by many but I’ll sure as hell stand up for it. The show is similar to the CF in that it’s a niche product which only caters to a small audience. Neither has any mass appeal but that doesn’t make them worthless. Like the Columns Forum, I believe a lot of the best work is currently being done on 205 Live. It continues to go unnoticed though because viewership is so woefully low. We do the little things right here and so do the Cruiserweights. The majority of them are ridiculously talented. It’s simply a matter of being handed opportunities and having a forum in which to properly showcase them.

As solid as the performances typically are, my favorite aspect of the purple brand is how often the heels cut in-ring promos before their matches. Whether it’s Neville, Drew Gulak, Ariya Daivari or Brian Kendrick, everyone’s given a couple minutes to enhance their characters and build heat for the forthcoming match. Are they anything groundbreaking? No but it lays the foundation for something beyond just two high fliers randomly facing each other on another throwaway episode. And the majority of the fans in attendance probably still don’t give a fuck but at least they’re given a choice rather than no reason to care whatsoever.

It’s a simple minded show and that’s why it’s so effective in my eyes. 205 Live doesn’t suffer from over saturation like RAW. Or guys being miscast like they are on SmackDown Live. Or struggling to find adequate screen time for everyone like NXT. The Cruiserweight Division is a relatively small sample size of wrestlers but one that if you examine close enough, shows room for potential growth. Every feud on 205 Live lately has exceeded my expectations; whether it be Gulak/Ali, Dar/Alexander, TJP/Swann or Kendrick/Gallagher. And likewise, my time spent here in 2017 has rivaled anything that’s come before it. This stretch from April to August has been more satisfying than I ever could’ve imagined. Winning back-to-back COTMs was quite literally a dream come true. In the midst of digesting all this however, I’ve reached a fork in the road and it‘s the same dilemma Vince is chewing on with 205 Live. Should I stick with it or move on?

After discussing it with Doc, he’s put an interesting proposition on the table; to fill the void left by Rob who just returned to the CF. The offer of a shiny columnist position on LOP’s Main Page has the tendency to blind any aspiring writer fixated on accomplishing great(er) things. Have I reached the end of my rope here? Could I be leaving any loose ends behind? Would I be better off hanging around this neck of the woods instead? Will another trip to the MP result in career suicide? Is Vince prepared to cut his losses and sever 205 Live from WWE’s weekly programming? The Cruiserweights are an acquired taste and so am I. Aren’t Main Page readers more apt to spit me out than willingly stomach what I have to say? Perhaps they’d skip my colorful discourse altogether.

The challenge is certainly enticing though. Tweaking my style to reel in more casuals than it repels. 205 Live’s fate appears to be dangling by a string just like my attachment to the CF following this thread. Vince is hovering overhead with his pruning sheers but the show’s been cut down to size enough already. I think what the purple brand could really use is a different timeslot. My first thought was to take the Nitro route by having the Cruiserweights go on before SmackDown rather than after it. Assuming most people watch 205 Live at a later convenience like I do however, that might not be such a wise move (especially with fans still complaining tirelessly about RAW being three hours long). Then NXT creeped into my mind. I entertained the idea of 205 Live being held each week in a smaller venue like Full Sail and also airing on Wednesday nights. Unfortunately, that sort of switch seems logistically impossible and even if done, WWE would merely tape the episodes; rendering the show’s title meaningless.

Another issue with the purple brand is that it’s current complexion pales in comparison to the success of the Cruiserweight Classic. At this point, it seems highly doubtful that 205 Live can live up to the lofty standards of last year’s tournament. And likewise, I feel like this run of mine over the last four months is bound to lose its steam as soon as I reach the Main Page and cross that threshold. I managed to catch fire and streak through the record books but at this pace, burnout is inevitable. It feels inevitable; making the leap to the MP all the more daunting of a task.

I should be thrilled about the prospect of taking my writing game to the next level… so what’s with the mounting apprehension? Is it because I’ve seen this movie before and know how the ending plays out? Well judging by how WWE’s handled their Cruiserweight Division in the past, the future looks pretty fuckin’ bleak for the current crop of high fliers. It took the company all of two months to silence the buzz created from the CWC in 2016. The birth of 205 Live clearly wasn’t Vince’s idea because he immediately aborted the Cruiserweight movement and turned the show into this generation’s Velocity. It’s become as much a failed endeavor as the Austin Aries experiment because WWE didn't put in the work necessary to give the program grander appeal.

My aim as a wrestling columnist should be the same but it couldn’t fall any further off the beaten path. Much like the purple brand, what I offer is so niche that it turns off a good portion of the mainstream audience. And history’s shown my Main Page stuff to draw crickets just like 205 Live does every week. It’s a shame because most folks don’t realize what they’re missing (in regards to both the Cruiserweights and the average MP reader). So to quote whatever meme Gene invented it, "the struggle is real". Even though I’m the one who initiated the conversation with Doc, my conscience is having seconds thoughts and needs a third party to help sway my decision. Therefore, I’ll pose the same question that The Clash did: Should I stay or should I go?

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