Look, I realize I’m behind on the wrestling times. And I’m not bitter, but I am confused. Like when my grandfather used to watch footage from WWII on the History channel - what I see on the screen awakens something deep in my subconscious, but frankly that’s not how I remember Iwo Jima going down (or its wrestling analog, the Rikishi’s stinkbutt). You just had to be there.
The hard reality is that things have changed, and not necessarily for the better.
In my day, there were only a handful of ‘superstars’ and at least three of them were death-replacements for the Ultimate Warrior. Now there are literally dozens, and not one of them is Razor fucking Ramon.
In my day, women weren’t even let into the arena, unless they were either married to wrestlers or were about to have their marriage ceremony interrupted by Jake the Snake Roberts. Now we have wrestling divas whose marital status is totally unclear.
And don’t even get me started about the writing out of Grand Master Sexay.
But like I said, I’m not bitter, just confused.
Case in point - the latest Smackdown. Enter Triple H (nee The Connecticut Blue Blood). He’s working your standard opening mike job. The crowd is pretty into it, despite Triple H almost casually hyping his upcoming title defense. And not surprisingly, he’s interrupted by one of his PPV challengers, Shelton Brown, The Gold Standard.
And here’s where things just get sad.
The Gold Standard has arguably zero mike skills (like this bad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5MVsm2cpc0). The overwhelming vibe in the arena is one of complete apathy. Goldust (presumably a relative) only had to pull into the arena parking lot and he became the subject of numerous hate speech acts. The Gold Standard apparently pulls his weight around the WWE with concession stands sales.
The plot shittens. Enter MVP, or Montel Vontavious Porter. In his free time, Montel suffers from Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a medical condition that causes his heart to beat three times that of a normal individual, meaning at any given moment his heart could literally burst during a match. Presumably he became a professional wrestler after losing a bet to an actuary. Unfortunately, MVP also sucks with a mike. It’s honestly terrible. I’m pulling for the Wolff-Parkinson-White angle.
And that’s when Triple H -in what amounts to complete hypocrisy from a man once dedicated to decorum http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_r6vlsWF8g&feature=related – snaps kayfabe in two. Asking how long MVP and Standard have worked for the ‘company,’ he proceeds to break down the way to cut a promo – hype the PPV, get interrupted, trade insults, kick ass, set up the PPV. It’s brutally honest and clearly evident in what just happened. And I’m not sure the audience was ready for it. Maybe there was some guy there who was pumped that he could now cancel his Introduction to Screenwriting course at the New School, but the rest of us felt a little hollow inside. “I’m sorry Willy, but Searchlight’s/MVP’s heart had to explode to provide character closure and precipitate a dénouement.” Thanks Stone Fox, but leave me my illusions.
The rest of the night proceeded as planned. Diva Fight. Generic rapper sort you moves like a character in Capoeira Fighter 3. The Undertaker openly vows to murder Vicky Guerrero, detailing how the acrid smoke of her own burning flesh would ultimately suffocate her in a mahogany (he specified the wood) coffin. And yet, somehow I felt we never got past those first few minutes.
In my day, when Tugboat ended his longtime friendship with Hulk Hogan because Hogan failed to send him a Get Well Card during a hospital convalescence, we believed it. We all knew Hogan was illiterate, but we believed. So give the audience a break, Triple H – they paid their money already.
And they won’t even get to the see the worm.