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Apr. 3rd, 2007

There's simply nothing I can say about the spectre of my girlfriend visiting me this weekend that Aileen hasn't already said in her journal. If you can read it, then go read it; I'm simply speechless at the thought that she was here, eating our food, sleeping in my bed, that we were playing football at my old high school... seriously, if you can read it, do so, and if you can't... sucks to be you. >:D

So instead, I'll make this post about... wrestling!

Those that don't know wrestling, but want to learn? Sit back, you're going to learn something. Those that do know wrestling well - Alex, Mark, and the two newbies - should enjoy this. The rest of you? Back to your Tales yaoi!

I watched Wrestlemania with Ai and my aunt Mary last (Sunday) night. Now, I don't follow the WWF (I refuse to call it that other name) like I used to, and only get sporadic updates from Terrell (who could not come; that's a story I prefer not to tell, because it makes me angry that the best paying league admin around here also happens to be a flaming idiot) and Mary. Of course, both Mary and Terrell are hyperactive Undertaker fans, so what I get more or less relies on who's doing what with Taker. "Dawg! Did you see Taker against Carlito?" "No, I don't even watch... hey, what's Cena doing?" "I dunno"

And after watching Wrestlemania, next night's RAW and the Royal Rumble match, I've seen enough where I can give a decent little state of the union on the World Wrestling Federation.

- The Money in the Bank match was won my Mr. Kennedy. I looked at Mr. Kennedy for awhile, and didn't think much of him; I thought he was another guy that was being pushed for having a good look (he's big and cut). But Mary was just saying "he's good, trust me". Then I saw his interview - a delightful interview completely improvised and completely devoid of those stupid catchphrases that Rock and Austin made popular - I said what Mary had thought for awhile: "He reminds me of... Hennig". Old time fans, Curt Hennig is Mr. Perfect. And he does remind me a lot of Curt.

- I can see what the WWF is doing with The Great Khali. They're trying to create another Andre the Giant, with the squash matches and all that. But they're forgetting a few things:

1) He doesn't even have Andre's moveset, which is saying a lot. Andre was a decent wrestler in the old days, before his body caught up with him. Khali has no real moves, and furthermore, the ones he does have are always an injury risk, he's such a clutz.

2) Andre the Giant had a personality just permeated out of him. Even with the language barriers that he had, he could entertain anyone and everyone. Khali has zero personality.

And most importantly...

3) The current era will never accept someone like Andre. See, Andre was legit because back then, kayfabe (the art of suspending disbelief with a worked sport like Pro Wrestling; more here) made people believe that Andre was LEGIT. He was really going to hurt someone, and therefore, the fans believed in it. One match between Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan - before he was even Hulk Hogan, at that, we're talking 1980 - filled Shea Stadium. Let's put that in perspective: Shea Stadium seats 55,000+ people. Back then, that was an EVENT, much like a big name boxing match.

But now, the fans are told, flat-out, that wrestling is a show, and not real. The internet gives those that want it the information from behind the scenes and motivations for certain stories (for example: a while back, Orton had to lose the title, fast. They played it off with a storyline, but in reality, he was being suspended without pay for his treatment of a female wrestler), and even the WWF itself brings it's fans behind the scenes; they once released a book with some great pictures and stories, where the wrestlers would talk about their lives before wrestling (Kane's story pretty much killed my teaching desires), life on the road, how to deal with injuries (no, Rey Mysterio! HGH doesn't count! Down! Heel!), and everything else that used to be so fiercely protected so much as 10 years prior. Back in the 80s, Hulk Hogan was going to destroy the Iron Shiek to defend America against the evil Iranian, and spawn Hulkamania! It wasn't "Terry Bollea is going to win a staged match again Hossein Ali Vaziri, after which Vaziri will reveal that Verne Gagne offered him $100,000 to break Terry's leg for leaving the Minnesota territory and bring the belt back to him, after which, he will embark on a previously unheard of marketing tour that will change the face of wrestling". And speaking of Mr. Bollea, people forget this now, but he's legit, because he had to be. In his first training session with Hiro Matsuda, Matsuda, after working him to exhaustion, intentionally broke his leg. Intentionally! BROKE it! Why? One, to weed out the mark (Mark = typical, dumb fan. This is inverse to "smart", someone that knows the ins and outs of the business; back in the old days, smarts that weren't IN the business were extremely rare, and the most prominent one, Dave Meltzer, could have gotten killed had he taken one wrong step. And then there's the term "Smark", which is so stupid, I don't even want to get into it), and two, should he want to keep going, to teach him respect for the business. And again, Hogan learned how to shoot wrestle until the Brisco brothers saw he was legit, and then educated him that it was staged.

But Kayfabe died in the mid 90s. It died because the fans were smartening up, and because the WCW and ECW forced the WWF's hand, and started to reveal the ins of the business and backstage politics. The first big death to kayfabe was the revelation of the New World Order in the WCW. The finishing blow was something called the Montreal Screwjob, in which Vince McMahon intentionally ended a match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart earlier than planned, for the purpose of protecting his top championship (there was a fear that Bret - who was going to WCW within a week of that match - would take the WWF belt with him). Then Vince Russo took over at WCW, and that was that. Now? Wrestlers will break kayfabe on camera, it's so weakened.

And that's why Khali will NEVER - and I mean NEVER EVER - catch on with the fans. The fans know he sucks. They know he's not popular in the back (and it's patently obvious he's not popular with the fans, either; you could hear a pin drop when he comes out). And they know better than to be legitimately afraid of him. A big wrestler with only a few moves will only catch on with most fans if he has a very strong personality, or a VERY good look; Khali fails in both those regards. Goldberg had a good look. Paul Wight had a personality to go with his size. Dave Batista (more on him in a bit) has a terrific look. Bobby Lashley (more on him too) has a good look, AND can go in the ring (he needs work on the stick). Undertaker has a good look, can sell anything he wants to AND he's underrated as a wrestler, Kane is the same way, and even stiffs like Kevin Nash could talk. Khali cannot do anything except be big. And that's why he will fail in the WWF. I don't know why Vince tries; his six minute squash of Kane was a joke (though Kane's hurt, I hear).

- The MVP match was... not great, but not bad; Benoit matches are almost formulaic at this point, even though he's one of my all time favourites. But Antonio Banks isn't bad. He has a shitty gimmick, but he's not too bad in the ring; he's went through a bit of a trial by fire lately (a pun!), and looked good. But he needs to work on his non-verbal communication.

And anyone that does 9 1/2 years in jail is legitimately tough. I don't care if he spent his entire time there with a dick in his ass. He's legit.

- I was a Batista fan coming into Sunday night. Not enough of one to hope he would beat Undertaker (and THANK GOD he didn't, or I'd be attending my aunt's funeral right now), but I thought he was better than he really is. But now that I've seen him recently? I'm NOT impressed. At all.

He blew up (was winded beyond usefulness) within five minutes; I could tell in how he was moving. And I noted this to Mary, but then said "At least he's not the Ultimate Warrior...". "Ohhhhhhhhh... just wait". Then... she had to show me what was going on, and hit me so hard I dropped a slice of pizza. There he was... shaking the ropes and screaming. OK! She wins! Dave Batista is now Ultimate Warrior V.2, and has... about as many moves.

- The less said about the ECW match, the better. Though I have to ask... was Sandman ever worth anything? He looks like shit! And in a match that Sabu features in prominently, that's saying a LOT.

- The Bald Billionaire match got attention because of Trump, Vince and that asshole Austin, but what surprised me was how good both Umaga and Bobby Lashley are. Umaga is basically a lighter Rikishi that can move. He's very good, and plays his part well; it's hard to believe that he was Rosey.

But Lashley is going to be a top flight wrestler. He's got a terrific look - 270 pounds of solid, natural muscle - a great background (fans are naturally going to lean towards a military background), was a legit amateur wrestler, and has a good moveset; once he learns what that magic stick that amplifies noise is good for in the WWF, he'll be REALLY good. But right now? To me, ECW exists solely to promote him; he's got a "World" Championship without having the pressure of the company on him, he can make the belt better and vice versa, and he gets a bit of an education on the business from guys like Hardcore Holly. I can't wait to see how he does soon.

- The women's match was a fucking travesty. Neither girl could do shit, they blew the finish, there was a catfight afterwards for no reason, and they prominently featured a Playboy shoot for the challenger in the whole match. If they were smart, they would do two things: they would give the belt back to Mickie James (who doesn't even need Playboy! Apparently, there are enough pics from her softcore porn days to make Playboy look tame. XD), who can actually wrestle AND has a personality (Melina has a personality, but can't do shit), and give the training of the division back to Finlay the moment he retires again. And get rid of the do-nothing bitches, too. That would be fantastic.

- The main event wasn't quite five-star quality, but it was in the 4 star range. Definately a great match with everything you need: a good storyline (Cena winning while playing defence most of the match), great drama, and solid technical wrestling. Think people will start to respect Cena more? I wonder what the IWC has to say about Cena... since he doesn't do a German Suplex, I'm guessing they don't like him.

Overall, Wrestlemania XXIII was good; not memorable, but good. And I really like where the WWF is going nowadays.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
sorakh28
Apr. 3rd, 2007 11:21 pm (UTC)
Ah, I remember the good ol' days of Wrestling, back when Captain N were reruns, Zelda: LttP just came out and I was still being babysat by my aunt. All those teddy bear wrestling matches my cousin and I were just plain cool. And the Hart brothers were awesome. And Macho Man! Dude, all the memories were so awesome...

Wow, this makes me feel old. T_T
recession
Apr. 4th, 2007 12:53 am (UTC)
I haven't watched WWF since it was actually WWF [and not WWE], but damn. You know, I really miss seeing Bret Hart wrestle. Admittedly though, I was a big Triple H fan, and enjoyed the Degeneration-X era when it was the first time, and not the infinate rehash that seems to show up every few years just to try and push the numbers again.

I thought Shawn Michaels had a really, really bad back though, and that's why he stopped wrestling in general? Now he's back again? Wtf?
superbus
Apr. 4th, 2007 01:00 am (UTC)
There's two schools of thought: one was that he was able to fix his back up all while finding Jesus, and that he trained like a motherfucker.

The other is that he went into rehab.
burning_phoneix
Apr. 4th, 2007 01:20 am (UTC)
I haven't watched WWF since Summerslam 2002 (the triple H vs Shawn Micheals match).

OK! She wins! Dave Batista is now Ultimate Warrior V.2, and has... about as many moves.

The screwed Batista......? ;_;

- The women's match was a fucking travesty.

Who were the particpants? not those models paid to bitch slap each other in the ring?
samuraiter
Apr. 4th, 2007 11:15 am (UTC)
I've never been a fan of WWE / WWF / WTF? and all that, but I've got enough coworkers and friends who are into wrestling to know more about it than I should. (Than, and I love messing with character creation in the Smackdown games.) I miss Andre. :-( He did have personality. Other wrestling thoughts:

-- I'm glad Trump beat Vince. I mean, Trump's a world-class idiot, but Vince is a complete asshole. :-)

-- I've got no use for the divas. Seriously. I don't even find 'em attractive. More silicon derivatives in one of them than there are in my computer. ... Okay, I did like Lita, but she's out now.

-- Could somebody get the WWE to stop making movies?! They've all been terrible! (And don't get me started on the 'novels'.)
samuraiter
Apr. 4th, 2007 11:15 am (UTC)
*changes Than to That*

LJ Comment Edit? Please? It'd be a great feature. Blargh.
hinata19
Apr. 4th, 2007 07:30 pm (UTC)
Hee, your LJ cut text reminded me of the line, "Are they wrestling or undressing?" [something like that] during the Money in the Bank match when the Hardy Boys were taking off their shirts and you could hear the females cheering... 8D *SHOT* What?! D: XD

I remember watching it with my father and brothers, Ultimate Warrior, Brett Hart, Yokozuna, Hulk Hogan, Roddy Rod Piper, and when it was called WWF...man, times have changed [not saying that's necessarily bad, just that it's different now >.>]. *_* Granted, I don't follow it too closely anymore, I haven't seen that many PPVs, and I've always considered myself just a casual fan. Still good times, though. :3 I must say, it was educational listening to you and your aunt and reading this entry. XD

And yes, the weekend was spectacular. It was a true honor staying in your house and meeting everyone in your family. I can't wait for more like it~ :wub:
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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