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WRITING UNDER THE INFLUENCE

By Drew Kannegiesser

Punks and Pussies.

We live in a scary time to be a wrestling fan. For the first time in my life, I don't want to see any wrestler I like win a title. Because in every single federation, the belt doesn't mean anything anymore. Yeah, we've heard these arguments before, especially after David Arquette won the only gold of both his careers in WCW. But like a poison spreading from one limb to the whole body, the malaise and indifference of companies towards their champions has resulted in the audience doing the same.

I think the first sign of trouble was Mysterio. I saw WMXIII with my roommate at the movies, and we were the only people over 13 and under 45. It was weird, but I marked out pretty hard when Rey won the belt. Yeah, the match was rushed, and yeah, it jerked the curtain for a divas match, but it was pretty cool. The same case applied to Punk, first winning Money in the Bank and cashing it in on Edge. Even though it was the EXACT SAME BOOKING as Edge's previous two shots, and Petey Williams' win over Jay Lethal, it worked because Punk was beating Edge at his own game: being an opportunist. It should have been sweet, but went sour in a hurry.

With Mysterio, Vince found it sensible to highlight his small size, and have him lose three straight non-title matches to fat jobbers, suggesting he couldn't beat someone of 'normal' size. He lost another non-title to Angle, and pretty much developed a Mikey Whipwreck vibe until Chavo turned back heel. I always thought it would have been great if Chavo turned right when Rey won the belt. Then he may have advanced his career a little, and not just his hairline. Now, Rey is injury prone and struggling to be identified on the Raw midcard.

Punk...where to begin? His whole reign has been built on fluke victories. Two DQ finishes with Batista, the guy who kicked the shit out of Edge, and an out of nowhere win against Regal...now he's relegated to the back burner while Cena and Batista argue who will walk out of Summerslam with the belt. Not a good sign, considering he's the one who has it. It looks like his reign will end, despite him being hugely over, because he has been booked to look like a weakling and a joke, who can't hold his own...against guys bigger than him.

Part of me is paranoid and thinks H is using politics to hold down both Punk and Edge...have Edge job out to a guy made to look like a loser before giving the belt back to BIG DAVE, or Cena. Either way, H and one of his pals would have both the top titles, with Affirmative Pan-Folder Henry reppin' the E. Why wouldn't they just give the guy some sheet metal and have him fold his own belt? I mean, it's not like he'd have to open a cage or anything. But essentially, if this were the case (the title picture, not Henry's arts and crafts), then a new Kliq would emerge...and explain H's move to Smackdown: he wouldn't have to share the spotlight with anyone. Is it paranoia, or is it just bad luck? I'm not so sure.

ROH is just as guilty. Nigel McGuinness, though I love him to death, has been a bust as champion. His opponents are cheered, not because Nigel plays the heel well, but because they just want to see someone, ANYONE take the belt off him. There was that awkward phase about a month after his win that the fans just started shitting on him (pro bono, no less) a la Rocky Maivia, but they tried to get him over as a face for too long. I'm reminded of Jim Cornette, who said "You can't sell steak to a vegetarian audience." Then again, he also said "Let's give this Morgan guy a shot."

And even the big man in the little pond, Samoa Joe, has been booked like a Samoan Joke lately. He beat Angle in one of TNA's most competitive and best booked matches in years, and since then has been barely escaping matches with Booker T and Sting, two forty year olds who passed their prime befor Thunder debuted. Dixie Carter must have masturbated to Eric Bischoff or something, because everyone in TNA's head office seems to think WCW was the pinnacle of wrestling. Or more realistically, they're the most famous people TNA can afford. But no matter how much you hype it, bringing in someone like Goldberg or Booker simply reminds the audience of everything TNA is not, and what they are aspiring to be. Considering the catastrophe that was 2000-WCW, I don't think anyone who recognizes that can expect long term success from the Panda.

But think of this: if you were making an advertisement for your business, would you use a photo of the clean cut career type yuppie or the narcoleptic meth head who works in the mail room? You'd want your representative to look strong, right? Well the title is exactly the same, where the belt says you are the best in that league, and by extension, one of the best in the world. When the champ is a lucky weakling who relies on DQ finishes, it devalues the roster, and it devalues the whole company. Maybe this interfederation title suck is a brief phenomenon, but if it is not corrected in a hurry, then Russo's claim that all belts are meaningless props will become scarily real.

 

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TWF FLASHBACK

November 2006

SATIRE: DISCONTINUED WWE XMAS PRODUCTS!

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.).