WRESTLING WITH LOGIC
October 23, 2009
Wrestling With Logic... by Robert Zarp
Examination #1: Where's the “Wrestling?”
Hello, and welcome one and all to the inaugural edition of my new article, Wrestling With Logic..., an examination of what I find to be odd about pro wrestling. I know what you must be thinking, “What could be so odd about bad actors having fake fights that last two minutes before another actor interferes in the scene?” I'd then ask if you wrote for WWE, because that exactly seems to be their line of thinking over the last decade. In a previous top 5 list, I had mentioned one of the worst changes from the days of professional wrestling to the era of sports-entertainment was a deficiency of wrestling. “Where's the Wrestling?” I ask. No one answers. Maybe I shouldn't yell at Stamford from Philadelphia, but I figured if ECW fans believed Bischoff could hear them in Atlanta, that Vince could hear me up in Connecticut. However, the point remains that for a show still labeled as “wrestling” by cable directories and pay-per-view providers, there seems to be none presented whatsoever.
If you count the number of matches and their durations for an average episode of WWE Raw, there would be such a scant number of minutes dedicated to actual wrestling that the common fan may even be shocked. Or they wouldn't care, because they're just so casual, with their polo shirts and unpressed khakis...shameful. It seems that every television show produced by WWE is just an advertisement for a pay-per-view event, and the PPV itself is nothing more than a hard sell for the next show. I'm convinced that by next year, WWE may just broadcast entire shows from backstage, yet still have the ring set up to tease the fans in the audience. Why? Because he's Vince McMahon, damn it! Ok I just wanted to use that line; notwithstanding, WWE is on the cusp of eliminating any and all in-ring product. It's almost as if they forgot that professional wrestling is what actually brings in viewers to a wrestling television show. Who'd have thunk it? All I know is, in 2012, if WWE resembles a day of gameplay from WCW Backstage Assault, you were already warned.
To WWE's defense though, in the majestically exaggerated greatness that was the WWF “Attitude Era,” there were just as many backstage segments in many of the shows. To that point though, the segments were typically shorter, and at least they were trying to tie them into an ongoing storyline. A good example would be DX mocking the Nation of Domination. A horrendous example would be “Sammy” helping Mark Henry with his “clean & jerk.” Weight lifting. Hand jobs. Transexuals. Who said they missed Vince Russo? Ok, back on track now, the segments weren't the bulk of the show, although there were quite a few, they still managed to showcase matches on a consistent basis. Also, especially in the years following this era, many matches had actual finishes. Sure, there were run-ins and mooseheads being used as tag-team partners, but at least a good portion of the time there was a clear winner and loser to each match. Nowadays, matches are comparable to being asked to bang Snooki; it's short, abrupt, ugly, and always thoroughly disappointing.
Impact Wrestling, you aren't off the hook either. I'm not even talking in the good hip hop kind of way, either. Yeah, I went there, G. TNA has two hours to produce a show with a roster that could fill another two hour show for content, yet they try to manage to fit every single wrestler, on-air personality, referee, and hot dog vendor into each episode of Impact. I also expect TNA to put the belt on this unnamed hot dog vendor at some point, just because somehow it'd be an insult to Vince McMahon. Or something stupid like that. They try to feature matches for their women, their X-Division, their tag teams, and the rest of the bunch. What's worse than a two minute one-on-one match? A two minute, six-man elimination style match. Yeah, they've done it before, go ahead and check the 'Tube. I'll be waiting.
While we wait for those people to return, and let's face facts, they'll be too distracted with promises of accidental nudity to come back, I want to close this article on a good note. There is hope for WWE. TNA, there hasn't been much hope for them in many years, I'm actually just surprised they've maintained for this many years now. For WWE, they will be launching a network akin to the NBA and NFL networks, so maybe they'll wise up and bring their love of sketch comedy to that network to revive Tuesday Night Titans. Why not, right? TNT was so horribly corny that you couldn't help but love it, and it'd keep the skits off the main networks. This is optimism though, as realism would tell us they might resurrect TNT, but also increase the volume of sketches on Raw and SmackDown just to promote their show on their network. Until they do something else though, I'll be asking, “Dude...where's the wrestling?”
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Robert Zarp is a semi-active professional wrestler trained by Steve Corino, in money only, but in the ring mostly by Ricky Reyes. He has written for the former site Obsessed With Wrestling (now Online World of Wrestling) as well as competing for a writing spot on WrestleCrap. The self-proclaimed “Luchadork,” and a future champion...of something.
THE TWF "MENTAL WELLNESS TEST!"
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.).