Home | Columns & Rants | Satire | Entertainment | Media | Archives | Forum

by Marx Rayner

Dear Paul Heyman,

Save us. Save us all. (n. Jericho)

I'm referring, of course, to WWE and their dictim of promoting a kid-and-family-friendly product. Every time I turn on Monday Night Raw (but remember, I don't watch it), I see John Cena, the poster child of this Disney-fed generation. I see Batista, who is a hero to little kids. I see storylines based not on bleeding, violence, sexuality, and terroristic threats, but on one-upsmanship, power struggles, comedy, and competition between over-the-top personalities.

I sit back and I wonder where it all went wrong.

I can journey back to 1994, when I bought my first XXL "ECW: Join the Revolution" t-shirt. I can remember getting three good years out that shirt before it became a halter top on me. But the other day, I pulled it out of my drawer, having not worn it in years. I was almost bowled over by the instant sensation of nostalgia and the odor of mozzarella sticks. I'm not sure if it was the musty onion-like aura or the flickering ECW film reel that began in my head, but I got misty-eyed immediately.

I mean, come on Paul, you know better than I do how amazing ECW was. From the time Shane Douglas threw down the NWA Title until the day the bankruptcy court said you can at least keep your house, it was a hell of a run. Think of the influence! WWE and WCW began loading up on table dives, sickening chair shots, fire, thumbtacks, ladders, cages, scantily-clad women, swearing, barbed wire, worked-shoots, and vulgar gestures....because of you. The same way that Billy Graham inspired Hogan and Ventura, the same way Old Country Buffet inspires yours truly, you inspired McMahon, Bischoff, and hundreds of promoters who didn't have your gift for scripted chaos.

But one day, long after ECW died and WWE was still milking your formula, they suddenly stopped. They no longer provided the anarchic fun that we looked forward to. The 18-34 male demographic that watched their product and wore their t-shirts were suddenly no longer catered to. Our replacement? KIDS!

See, I think I finally have it figured out. A couple years of go, my idol Chris Benoit had a bad weekend. Three people die, including himself, and the world gets into an uproar. People are screaming "he killed a seven year old!" and I'm just thinking "fuck, now who's CM Punk going to feud with?". I mean, it was pretty tragic at the time, I guess, but since Bryan Danielson had already surpassed him in terms of technical skill, it wasn't as bad as we'd feared. But in the aftermath, medical science proved to the world that Benoit's brain was damaged beyond its years. The culprit? Chair shots, bad landings, and generally exacerbated wear-and-tear throughout his 22 year career. So this sets off a warning bell in Vince's mind that says "Hey, maybe all of this excessive violence is a BAD thing. Maybe the workers need to slow down!".

So at that point, after they erased my hero from the archives, the pace of WWE's product began to chart a different course. So gradually, with the media up his ass over steroids and grueling travel schedules, he cuts out a ton of house shows. He revamps the wellness policy to help wean wrestlers off their cosmetic dependencies. This is all well and good.

But he kept going. Soon, there were less chair shots. Now wrestlers only swing a chair if they're in a very heated main event feud. Excuse me, how am I supposed to judge a midcarder's worth? Am I really supposed to appreciate Jack Swagger on his heel mannerisms and promo work? I want to see how hard he can swing a folding chair at Tommy Dreamer's head! And then BLOOD was curtailed! If you want to see what I'm talking about, look at Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels at last year's Unforgiven. For 20 minutes, they worked HARD to put on a match rooted on personal hatred, bitterness, and violent thoughts. Shawn wins by stoppage to cap off a near five star match. Except I subtracted a full star because....WHERE WAS THE BLOOD?!? I can't enjoy it if neither man bleeds! So I had to tag two of my favorite wrestlers with four measly stars. How disappointing.

Then McMahon began to tone down the swearing. He even does this on WWE 24/7, which I stream off uploaded youtube videos because hey, fuck $7 a month. I watch the old Raws from 1997 where Stone Cold would rant and rave. Except all I hear is BLEEP, BLEEP, and more BLEEP. That's just stupid. It ruins my entire experience watching the show. Then they took out innuendos and sexuality. The divas mostly wear long pants now! Where are the thongs and mini-skirts? And when they DO wear skimpier attire, they usually have fish-net stockings on so that you can't see their bare legs. Bull. Fucking. Shit. What happened to the days of Bra and Panties matches? Pudding matches? Women getting their clothes ripped off to enhance a feud? Oh, but now WWE tries to make women RESPECTABLE and have them get over on being role models with athletic merits and determination. Fuck that shit. If I wanted to appreciate women athletes, I'd watch the WNBA where 93% of the women are ugly. I'm a smark. If a woman is pretty AND talented, I can't respect her. Probably why I can't find a decent woman.

So what does that leave us with? It leaves us with a product that is sure to turn off the jaded 18-34 male demographic, but is something that children of either gender 9-17 seem to enjoy. Being a part of the 18-34 male demographic, I'm a fan who wants violence, half naked women, cheers technical wrestlers over characters, ignores the 85% of the show that's decent to bitch about the 15% that's bad, and doesn't spend any money on the product. Is Vince really willing to give that up in favor of kids who cheer the good guys, boo the bad guys, buy up all the action figures and DVDs to generate revenue, write fan-fics on forums about John Cena and Jeff Hardy, and get emotionally invested in the product? I get pushed aside for THIS? Absurd!

And so Vince made his decision. More John Cena for the teenage girls. More Jeff Hardy for the teenage girls. More primetime shows for families to watch together. More interactive video games and online content to pique kids' interest. More gimmicks to get kids hooked on the performers. More PPV's with special gimmicks to make them memorable. He's taken our violent, dangerous product and has made more accessible to the mainstream middle class. And you see why I'm looking to find a rope that can support all 350 lbs of me.

Paul, we need you. We need you start up something new. Doesn't have to be called ECW. Just something. A new revolution. We need to go out and find all the wrestlers like Raven and Sandman and Sabu that Vince doesn't want anymore because of their drug problems and piss-poor work attitudes. We need to get a bunch of female wrestlers that we can dress in booty shirts and mesh shirts so that we can ignore all their dedicated training in favor of whistling at them and chanting about blowjobs. We need wrestlers who aren't athletically gifted, but will staple their foreheads and fall through tables as if it was in their job description (can we use Monster.com for this? "Do you set your nutsack on fire? Would you like to MAYBE get paid for it, depending on the evening's gate?"). We need to stock up the program with undersized wrestlers who can do a ton of flips, but don't know how to transition between them like good performers. And if they don't have charisma? They can cuss like Denis Leary being poked with BBQ skewers! And they'll get over!

We need to book these shows not in brightly-lit arenas with HD cameras. Just 3 handheld cameras and bingo halls will do. I speak for smarks everywhere when I say that we don't care what the mainstream thinks. We could care less if a wrestling promotion turns a profit. We just care that the wrestlers nearly die for our amusement, so we can chant until our throats are hoarse. Sandman has two kids? If he can still play with them the day after the show, he must not have worked that hard the night before.

It's time to make a stand, Paul. Vince McMahon wants to book for families and kids? Let's book for the lowlife deadbeats again. The ones who don't have enough money after child support payments to buy the PPVs. The ones who don't even remember what DAY the PPV is to buy it in the first place! The ones who watch Mickie James take on Beth Phoenix in the hopes that one of them falls out of their top. The ones who boo when Randy Orton hits John Cena in the back with a chair because they know you can't bust Cena's forehead open that way. The ones who demand a product to their liking, but won't buy a tenth of the merchandise that's offered to sustain the product and pay the wrestlers' salaries.

These fans are the lifeblood of the business and should be listened to the most. Paul, we can do this. We know where the pulse is, even if Vince McMahon doesn't. Let's take wrestling to the extreme once more. And if someone dies, it only adds to the folklore of it.


Extremely yours,


Marx Rayner spends his days watching wrestling and bitching about it afterward. His nights are pretty much the same, except he bitches while watching it. His mavenism of the business has left him with no time for dating, social activity, or proper hygiene, but he assures us that this is strictly by choice. His myspace is http://www.myspace.com/pwn3dbymarx, and encourages you to be his friend. He'd do the same for you.

Bookmark and Share


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.).