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A few days ago, I was watching that P.O.S. movie "Road Trip". You know, the one that signaled the downfall of Tom Green's acting career and probably gave him cancer. Towards the end of the film, there's a character exchange between two guys in which one of the actors correlates the world of philosophy with the world of professional wrestling, eventually stating that Vince McMahon is the veritable Socrates of the philos-wrestling continuum. That utterance, of course, caused my ears to prick up considerably.

Now, as you have most likely noted, I am not your aggregate Internet wrestling fan, as deduced by the notion that I weigh less than 300 pounds, have firm employment and have actually kissed a girl before.

What really fascinates me most about the so-called IWC is that, in correlation to non-wrestling pursuits, they all seem to be in the same realms of interest: video games, Japanimation (wow, they REALLY hate it when you use that terminology), graphic novels, and bands that suck (Shinedown, I'm looking at you!)

Apparently, I'm the only person in THE UNIVERSE that can expound upon both the nuance of the 1993 Misawa / Kawada bout AND explain what a Heidegger Tree is. That revelation makes me sad. Very, very sad.

So today, I've decided to turn my vessel of The Rocktagon into something a little bit more educational. Consider this your cultural instilment for the afternoon, as today, we examine the TAO OF HEYMAN!

Paul Heyman, better known the world over as the pony-tailed asshole that doesn't pay people, is mayhap the greatest philosophical mind of the last twenty years.and I am not simply relegating that title to the world of sweaty guys pretending to hurt each other. Via his booking, actions and vision of what Extreme lengths promotions could traverse, Paul E. Dangerously laid out a fundamentally deep and thorough meshing of gospels, who's attitude and renegade nature speaks volumes about the human spirit, personal ascension, and metaphysical examination.

Don't worry, I assure you there's some dick jokes coming up pretty soon.

So, what can we learn, in regards to epistemological and ontological practices, via old tapes of ECW? As it turns out, you might just be surprised.

Accentuate the strengths, hide the weaknesses

The most fundamental of Heyman's tenets revolves around a simple mantra that one doesn't need be a totally satiated, "complete" individual; rather, one has allotted talents in one area, and instead of attempting to "strengthen" areas of weakness, the individual should focus on what he or she is "good at" and avoid placing him or herself in areas in which those strengths cannot be utilized.

Per, Eddie Van Halen should keep the guitar close by and abstain from entering pizza-eating competitions. In applied terms, that's why New Jack was never involved in twenty-minute chain-wrestling bouts.

The overall intent, I suppose, is this; for one to obtain ascension, he or she must fundamentally appear to be deft in specific areas. Note the Machiavellian emphasis on appearance rather than actuality. Let's face it; you thought Taz was a legitimate badass, too, even though he could duck his way under most turnstiles. The reason why you thought he could kill half of the UFC roster was because he was ALWAYS exhibited as being a one- dimensional figure (that dimension being that of much ass kicking). Since you never saw him in antithetical terms (like being one-upped in his domain), the mark brain equates product consistency with actuality. If all you see is ONE facet, that's the facet you believe. In Heyman philosophy, the maintenance of illusion is maintained not by what one accomplishes, but rather, what he or she abstains from. If you've never stepped on a football field before, technically, that still means that you are "undefeated", doesn't it?

Heyman booking: utilize it!

Heyman booking (n, adv) HAY-MAHN BUHK-ENG (1) A style of management in which one activity is initialized instantaneously following the summation of a prior activity, most usually as a means of masking the severity of the concluding act. The doctor utilized some good old-fashioned Heyman booking when he set off the fire alarm right after telling his patient that he had a terminal illness.

At some point in our lives, whether we are readily aware of it or not, we have cognitively used Heyman booking (or at least some ontological precursor to it) as a coping-method to alleviate the sting of an unfortunate departure. Remember when Betsy Heinclennegar broke up with you freshmen year, and you went out and gave Misty Neidhopper the old magic thumb later that evening? Congratulations, you just utilized Heyman booking.

The human condition / corporate environment seems to spiral around this multi-layered scheme in which one places personal satiation / fulfillment (for example, not starving, pooing when you have to instead of holding it in and dying from septic shock, etc.) and external satiation / fulfillment (doing just enough work to not get fired at your job, managing all three of your girlfriends so that no singular party becomes aware of the other two, so on and so forth) at delineated poles, and the two simply are NOT to intermesh (I'd make an archaic line about the streams not crossing, but that's old hat and the franchise was overrated to begin with). Therefore, moral alignment and personal ascension never cross-reference one another, therefore, you shan't feel sorrow or guilt for being such a butthole all the time.

So, ostensibly, Heyman booking is nothing more than the emotional substitution method. Element A is no longer a viable option, so one takes emphatic notions of A and places those into Element B. This, fundamentally, is why people eat when they are depressed, alphabetize their bookcase and have a new favorite band every week.

It's also why Jerry Lawler "invaded" ECW right after Raven left for WCW, Raven subsequently returned to ECW just as The Dudley Boys were leaving for WWF, and is pretty much the basis for every multi-title switch night in company history. Broken leg or not, if the bed sheets catch fire, you have no option but to haul ass.

Build an "us vs. them" mentality

Proponents and haters alike often reference the followers of ECW as displaying a cult ethos. After some thorough, in-depth investigative journalism on my behalf (read: five minutes browsing through Wikipedia), I stumbled across a few articles pertinent to authentic cult brainwashing techniques. Here are just a few of the tactics sect leaders are known to utilize:

Repeated instilment and mass restatements, such as repeating chants and mantras

Development of uniform process, including designating "emblematic" clothing and apparel

The establishment of external "villains", having specific "outside threats" to bandy about as representations of heterogynous culture

Whether or not grape Flavor-Ade was furnished at ECW Arena has yet to be publicly addressed, however. This, in reality, is nothing new in the world of corporate marketing. Establishing inta-industry rivals as being the baby blood drinking scourges of the universe is practically a sacrosanct art form in the business world. It's a means of attributing value of the self with product utilization. Therefore, your favorite soft drink isn't just a menial preference.it's a definitive statement about who you are as a person; the notion of assessing internal worth of the individual via externalities. To better reiterate my point, do any of the following social experiments:

Go to a Broncos game wearing a Raiders jersey and holding a sign that reads, "John Elway gobbles donkey goobers".

Go onto an Internet forum dedicated to Nintendo and post a thread with the title "Sony is great and the Wii is not so much".

Slap the dog shit out of an Apple user for being such a pretentious prick as to think that what nerd box he utilizes elevates his cultural or societal stature.

And thusly, the entity derives his ideals based on the counter-ideology of the "enemy". Long story short, that's why the Orwellian "Minute of Hate" began every time Eric Bischoff was mentioned on ECW programming. Hmm. programming. An interesting term to use, huh?

Bite the hand that feeds you

Being a renegade, a rebel, is always awesome. Remember that one kid you knew back in high school that was emancipated at 17, drove a Camaro, and had his own loft? You thought that sumbitch was cooler than Miles freaking Davis. There's something about that tinge of independence.about not having to answer to anyone but his or her own, which is an incredibly desirable element. That's because, universally, the individual is indebted to someone, be he a sixteen-year-old kid pining for the freedom of parental abdication, a cuckolded mid-twenty something pondering his navigation in life as he toils away in substandard academia or a dead-and-buried middle aged domesticated male wondering where his rock and roll sentiments dispersed. Sometimes, the promise of relinquishment of responsibility is the most lustful object in existence.

So.if somebody else is paying the bills for your purported "independent venture".that kind of breaks the illusion, doesn't it?

Paul E.'s manufactured hatred of "The Network" is indicative of this "How dare you give me a job!" mentality. Being subservient.to any entity.is viewed as a subjective fallacy. That means you are tethered, you're obligated, and inevitably, someone on the food chain is higher than you. That's not exactly the most navigable route for someone to take, especially when he or she champions him or herself as not being a part of "the system" to begin with.

So, to hide the odors of one's own partnership and corporate amalgamation, who do you establish as one's arch-nemesis? HINT: It's the guy holding the spoon. That being stated.

It's OK to have a sugar daddy

Although one, empirically, is supposed to despise such mainstream, financially oriented sojourns, he or she may also advance one's self via the funding of the SAME entities. In fact, many of the most prolific, purportedly ardent and militaristic of "independent thinkers" (Paul Heyman, Tom Morello, Jhonen Vazquez, James Swift) have all been, contractually employed by the same "evil empires" they claim to rally against! So, how does one espouse pure venom towards a lone figure and then receive a paycheck from the same target of spite (as a WWF payroll Paul Heyman was quite fond of)?

Simple. As long as the general public isn't aware of the economic suckling going on behind closed doors.it simply doesn't exist. It's that simple. Factuality only occurs when there are numbers to substantiate it.

Once again, we can return to the Machiavellian concept of one's ends justifying his or her methods of obtainment. Hell, there's even a passage in Philippians that, essentially, states the same notion, and that was written by Jesus. Or Shakespeare. Depends upon who you ask. Thusly, as a means of obtaining independence and goal-satiation, one is allowed to procure antithetical elements in order to reach that destination.

Ideals don't pay the bills, braugh.

The lost art of keeping a secret in today's blabbermouth world

In this day and age of Intranet messaging and cellular phone texting, words spread faster than Lita's ham hocks at a lucha libre show. In conjunction, one's ability to maintain secrecy, in regards to anything, is quite difficult in the 21st Century, as all that is necessary to bring down months of classified pre-planning is one nerd and his camera phone.

One of the pivotal elements in Heyman's arsenal was the near-Mafiosi level of tight-lippery he and his backstage cronies fostered. Being able to support and rely on friends that WON'T run around telling everyone about your weekend benders and utilization of company insurance dollars for your Clap screenings is just as paramount as having firmly assured capital. That's why ECW routinely and consistently wheeled out authentic, jump-out-of- your-chair mark-out surprises. Sometimes, it's not who you know, but who you know that won't run their mouths.

Subvert the paradigm, purge the monkey, and co-opt the culture

A couple months ago, I read about some church that, as a means of sucking in that vital youth demographic, began holding in-sanctuary Halo tournaments. Now, I'm pretty sure one of the Ten Commandments is "Thou Shall Not Kill dwarve-monkey looking alien guys with blue goo grenades", but whatever. The point is this: sometimes, to reel in new consumers, you have to do a little bit of finagling with the culture. For example, let's say you don't necessarily like "wrestling", per se. All of that sweat and rolling around on the floor.not my cup of tea.

That being said, you do like heavy metal music, though, right? Well, that means our performers will come out to REAL music and not that homosexual in- house nonsense. And just to further iterate the point, we'll even splice together our own music videos so that one correlates "Awesome song of the moment" with "in-ring product".

Hey, you know what I like? References to pop culture that suit my peculiar tastes. While the WWF featured clowns fighting garbage men, ECW utilized imagery and dialogue from Pulp Fiction to spice up the product. You mean there's an alternative out there that acknowledges and promotes literate, adult fare? I am pleased.

Oh, and we have boobs, Saturday Night Live references, MTV style editing, Rob Zombie tunes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre level bloodshed and KISS. Hey, we dig the same things you dig! Let's be friends!

And a new viewer is gained.

It's not "lying", it' "selective interpretation" (AKA: The Art of Bullshitery)

Paul Heyman, regardless of your own personal opinion, has to be one of the greatest used car salesmen of the 20th century. There's not even a bone of contention within the following statement: Paul E. is a big, fat, fat liar. That's not slander so much as it as scientifically irrefutable evidence. In fact, he'd probably be the first one to tell you that himself.

We've all heard the stories: booking talent on bereavement flights to save a few dimes; staying on the West Coast as the company folded, claiming to film a movie that stopped production months earlier; BEING ON THE GODDAMNED PAYROLL OF THE COMPANY'S NUMBER ONE COMPETITOR.

So, the corporate world is, veritably, an entanglement of deceit and self- propelling agendas. And if "lying" is an acquired workplace skill, than Paul Heyman is the undisputed world champion of bullshit.

Before we look at Heyman's "character", let's examine the intent of "lying". In the scope of epistemology, there's an entire sub-field dedicated solely to the form of self-acknowledged deceit, and all my years of metaphysical research, I have yet to stumble upon a microcosm as deep and confounding as the specific field. Seriously, it's easier trying to explain the existence of dark matter (or The Great Khali's push) than it is to get into the incredibly complicated measures the study of lying entails. To truncate an incredibly deep subject, let's state the following: People lie as a means of self-satiation, be it defensive or in the stages of stratagem. Therefore, when one lies, he is doing one of two things:

A.) Attempting to squelch an externality that would negatively affect the liar's stature, be it on internal or external terms (such as a notion that conjures up past failures/unresolved issues or makes one admit/examine conflicting integral convictions.essentially, a notion that would "expose" the liar as something he or she claims to not be a representative of)

B.) Attempting to advance him or herself by utilizing employed strategies to confound, coerce, or manipulate third parties into allotting the liar's pretenses (like, I don't know.handing out bounced checks or something along those lines.)

From here on out, to effectively gauge the quality of the liar's character, the subjective viewer has to rely on the school of philosophical doctrine he wishes to establish further assessment. Nietzsche would likely say that Heyman is simply utilizing the Will to Power on a subjugated class and that his means of advancement are, integrally, valid. Ayn Rand would say that since the wrestlers allow themselves to be coerced, then Heyman is abdicated of any wrong doing simply because of eugenics. Dr. Phil would probably say some stupid shit about corn dogs. Regardless, the method of interpreting "the lie" as a form of personal progression depends solely on whom labels which moral assessment as what objectively.

That being said, Paul Heyman still gets to eat dinner at night while Chilly Willy is most likely digging through dumpsters for his next meal. You tell me who's conning who here.

Don't even have the box around to think out of

One of the essential ingredients to the goulash of so-called "success" is a little thing called "ingenuity". To make considerable progression, one must be open to new and ever-changing options and ways of management. That means, as the old adage goes, thinking outside the box.

In Heyman's mentality however, one shan't even have the box in the equation. To make pioneering success within a field, one must absolve himself from the industry altogether; if you think like Vince McMahon, you're going to produce like Vince McMahon.

Think of it like this: You like zombie movies, right? Of course you do, you're alive. You're all time favorite zombie movie is Dawn Of The Dead, because you're a decent person. Let's say that, one day, you decide to make your own zombie movie.

Now, will the ensuing movie be of your own design, or will you spend the entire filming trying to imitate and recapture that solidified essence of greatness? Exactly. Instead of aligning yourself with similar entities, draw inspiration from non-industrialized sectors, and whatever you do, DO NOT put yourself side by side in comparison with the competition. Akin to the football field, if you're not in "direct competition", you can't lose to them, now can you?

If all else fails, just copy the Japanese

What's the difference between coming up with an original idea and stealing the idea of another person, getting all the credit for the advent and having the originators never take action?

There isn't.

The Japanese, and by correlation, pretty much ANY non-American entity, is open game for "creative adaptation". This is because the American fabric is SO insulated and national-centric that pretty much any non-domestic flavoring can be utilized and passed off as a "new concept". See "The Ring", "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire", "American Idol" and even good old E C freaking W for the Americanization of esoteric concepts.

You do know about IWA and FMW, right? You know, the Japanese promotions that prided themselves on adult-centric storylines, extreme violence and weapon- tinged brutality? The ones that have been in existence, in some formation or another, since the late 80s?

In that estimate, ECW was nothing more than their round-eyed facsimile. Whether or not the integrity of being chronologically first is a factor or not, we can at least state one thing that is universally evident: We're not tuning in every Tuesday night to see the bastard reinterpretation of Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling, are we?

And finally, money doesn't matter. No, seriously, I can prove it!

Bounced checks. Bankruptcies. A line of wrestlers outside your house waiting to kick your ass. Short term, yeah money matters a lot. Just ask Paul E.'s butthole for further validation.

But in the long run.long after the money of five years ago has been burned, the glowing embers of influence still shine as brightly as a nova. Legacy is a far more valuable commodity than fiscal obtainment. If one's namesake remains viable, and beloved, and powerful, and untainted.that's something that supercedes temporary financial satiation. Paul H. realized this. That's why, no matter how much money the E and Ted Turner had to throw around, despite all of the decadence and freshly uncovered falsehoods.the memories of ECW remain untainted.

When was the last time you heard a "WCW" chant? Or a "WWE" chant, for that matter? Yeah, they have/had money, they have/had influence, but ECW.

They had our hearts. And last time I checked, love kicks the shit out of money EVERY single match-up.

To conclude this treatise, I think I speak on behalf of all neo-Kantians when I resound the most venerable of philosophical mantras: "Thank you Paul! Thank you Paul!"


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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.).