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Stephen Rivera's 4th Fall

Session Eleven: Zebra

June 9, 2011

Something strange is happening. According to numerous police reports, a mysterious man has been lurking around my beachfront property. One eyewitness claims that on the night of June 4, 2011, this shadowy individual circled my lighthouse for hours before sliding an unmarked package underneath the front door. When the eyewitness approached him, the man wagged his finger at the air and sprinted away from the premises. He hasn't been seen since.

With clearance from the authorities, I rushed to the scene and ripped open the package. Inside was a striped shirt with WWE logo patches on the chest and sleeves. Attached to the shirt was a handwritten note, which read, You've made your decision. Now make it count. Put it on. At first, I was reluctant to obey the note as stripes are not in fashion this summer. In hindsight, perhaps I should have listened to my instincts. As my torso made contact with the black -and-white fabric, a slight gust of wind grazed my cheek. I did not regain consciousness until yesterday morning.

I feel light-headed. I am unable to count to eleven. A disembodied, guttural voice is screaming in my ear. Catty women have become rolling pins of shiny spandex and estrogen, taking their fights to the street and flattening me in the process. Inebriated basketball fans want answers in dark alleys, demanding to know why I don't call double-dribbling or travelling anymore. A mother needs to buy shoes for her youngest son. For the last time, I don't have size sevens in that colour, nor any sizes in any colour. "Could you look in the back? Maybe you should look in the back," she says in a patronizing tone. How about you look at your own back, madam?

You may call this a cursèd garment, or dress from the Devil himself. Under normal circumstances, I would agree with you, but I believe this shirt is a sign. As I write and you read, a wrestling official is running around out there, topless and aware of my pain. He can help. Actually, I will buy him a new shirt first. Then he can help.

- Without even wrestling a match, Kharma receives a year-long maternity leave? You have got to be fetusing me. For the entire run of this column, I have been expecting (most often a child). That's right — through the power of positive thinking, I have miraculously willed my masculine body to create, carry, and nourish a little one of my own. Do you see me taking a year off? I don't think so. Who is the unstoppable monster now, Kharma and Greg? This kid is coming out upwards via Jacuzzi birth. I am not ruining my figure, but watch me do my Kegels anyway. Watch me.

- You are too old to compete in the Summer Olympics. You are too young to complain about whippersnappers emulating your movements. You are one deli slice short of a Salamiversary sandwich, Kurt Angle.

You stormed into my art studio once as I sculpted a bust out of red clay. You insisted that I was making art in your likeness without your blessing. Get over yourself, Kurt. Clearly, I was trying to pay tribute to British action star Jason Statham. My sculpting skills are just not up to par yet. Don't ask me why Jason Statham's bust had an Olympic gold medal around its surgically modelled neck. It is called a design choice.

At a hypothetical Olympic Games, I think Jason Statham would most likely win a gold medal... for never storming into my art studio without an invite. As for you, Not Jason Statham, you would be nowhere near the podium as you have found yourself at the top of my charcoal grey list. Congratulations.

- Can you imagine Barack Obama having a press conference for Capitol Punishment? It would probably go a little something like this: No.

- The Internet Wrestling Community is certain that Vince McMahon does not want Jim Ross on his programming because Good Old Jimothy is neither young nor attractive. I do not second that motion. The real reason why Ross is not lead announcer on RAW anymore is due to all those instances in which he tried and failed to cover up his verbal mistakes.

Years ago, I asked Ross for an interview. He agreed to do the interview and told me to meet up with him during his vacation in "Modified Brazil." I went to Rio de Janeiro and spent three whole months searching through erotic carnivàles for him. He was in Argentina.

- The WWE production crew haven't opened the top of the ramp in many years. If they did, do you think they would find an emaciated Gangrel underneath the grates? I have a hunch that he is stuck inside of the ramp, drinking Surge from his chalice and jamming to "Smooth" by Santana and Rob Thomas on his CD Walkman. Quick, somebody set circular fire to the ramp to create an exit. He needs air.

- Can you imagine Barack Obama not having a press conference for Capitol Punishment? It would probably go a little something like this: ... . Can you imagine Capitol Punishment having a press conference for Barack Obama? Yes, very much so. It would probably go a little something like this: "I am a Pay-Per-View that can talk. No further questions." Can you imagine a press conference having a Barack Obama for Capitol Punishment? Sure. In fact, I can imagine that better than the previous proposed visual. It would probably go a little something like this: The press conference would walk up to the podium and ask, "Can you imagine Barack Obama having a me for a talking Pay-Per-View?"

- WWE should let me plan and host the next Diva Search. I am clued into the fans' entertainment needs. They like partial nudity and insincerity, but I can give them what they really want: a spirited, no-holds-barred, jai alai round robin. This tournament should separate the Divas from the Div-nahs.

You broke your xistera, Ckrystal3? Of course you did. You have a C and a K in your name, and you have a number at the end to boot. What's that? Your favourite wrestler is "'The Hulk' Hogan"? Our search continues. You will not be rescued. First elimination.

- If you wish to have a conversation with me in a fully furnished room, do not face me or sit on any surface you may find comfortable. Please stand right beside me in the middle of the room and awkwardly turn your head whenever you need to say something. A cameraman and his camera may or may not be involved, but I cannot tell either way because the area directly in front of me is my blind spot. This is also why I must engage in cheek-to-cheek stare downs with my enemies, like we are posing for a Baby-sitter's Club group photo.

- Please keep your negative criticisms of Johnny Curtis to yourself. Out of the three possible versions of Johnny Curtis we could have seen, WWE has graced us with the best one. Who deserves your support more? The passive Johnny Curtis who waits too long and ends up giving himself a fromage homage, the overactive Johnny Curtis who holds a cow over his head and hopes for the best, or the active Johnny Curtis who pours milk on himself like any normal human being would?

- Divas who come down to the ring with their arms around each other are not adorable in the least. They are sending a desperate, physical distress call for help. Simultaneously suffering from vertigo or longing to relive the glory days of the Barrel of Monkeys Recreation Society is no joke.

- Can you imagine Barack Obama having a press conference for Charlie St. Cloud? It would probably go a little something like this: "No one ever gets to see what could have been, which is I am skipping some minor, uneventful wrestling Pay-Per-View in June to watch this extraordinary feat of cinema with my good friend Stephen." Capitol Punishment? After President Obama watches Zac Efron's heart-wrenching, career-defining performance, more like Capitol Stunishment. Yes, he can.

- In case you are wondering why today's referees seldom search wrestlers for foreign objects, my kind and generous nature might have something to do with it. You see, I empathize with the wrestling referee who spends his life on the road, counting threes across the globe. Being away from your girlfriend or wife for weeks and sometimes months at the time is not easy. In order to assist them during these trying times, I used to stuff silicone breast implants into the boots and tights of passing wrestlers at ringside. Once the referee felt him up in the ring corner, he was awarded with a little thrill.

At the end of the day, is that so wrong? Is cheering up referees such a crime that I cannot borrow a crate of silicone bags from a plastic surgeon's office, then insert them into a professional grappler's gear without either party's permission? Let's say I catered to referees of a different lifestyle by stuffing sausages into wrestling attire. How many jail sentences is that worth? I wouldn't even be using the high-quality sausages. I would use cans of Vienna.


Stephen Rivera is the creator of The Swerved (2006-2010), Neon Ropes, and this column. He thinks he's pretty clever, doesn't he? You happen to know that every word in his column was published years ago. Perhaps he has read... the dictionary.

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November 2006


by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).