Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I've been doing a very good job of ignoring WWE's RAW program ever since The Jericho Dare concluded this past August (see the two columns below this for details). The fact is, I rarely think about RAW. Contrarily, I make a point of recording ROH on HDNet every Monday. While that show is far from perfect, at least what they're doing for an hour holds my attention. I also don't feel like a chump for watching.
It was through sheer boredom and nothing else that caused me to stumble and fall over RAW a couple of hours after ROH finished last night. It was well into the program. My stay in WWE-land wasn't destined to be long ... truthfully, it was decidedly short. (Given the topic at hand, this turns out to be a really bad pun, something I try to studiously avoid).
When I tune in, the refuse-to-leave-and-never-come-back team of Trippie H and The Windbreak Kid (Triple H/Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Shawn Michaels/The Heartbreak Kid, together known as DX/Degeneration X) is wildly over-emoting in an exuberant display of amateurish acting. They must decide whether or not to go under the ring together. Putting aside the sense of unease THAT mental image creates, it's impossible to dismiss the boys' ridiculous antics. Migawd, the facial expressions and exaggerated performances are so outrageous and beyond the pale that even fans of early slapstick comedy must be demanding that they turn it down several notches.
(Edit: after looking around online, I've since learned the explanation for their dilemma, such as it was. It seems that Hornswoggle, the leprechaun, wants to join up with DX as their mascot. The two men masquerading as teenagers reject him outright, going so far as to nail the Little Lep with Trippie's Pedigree finisher).
Stupidly, I choose to wait and see where this is all leading. After all, when it comes to the "writing" in WWE, anything is possible with no questions asked. Absolutely anything. Just ask Mae Young.
The two stooges finally resolve their hissy fit. Am I wrong, or is Trips always the guy that wants to plunge ahead and his partner is the reluctant one that needs convincing? Eh, who cares?
Anyhoo, having come to some sort of an understanding, DX quickly stoop down low and plunge forward beneath the ring. Rather than banging their fool heads on tables and ladders and stacks of chairs (which always seem to be conveniently housed beneath the ring as a weapons repository), they instead find themselves standing up to their full height in a long hallway. Ah, of course. Why didn't I see that coming?
The "exceedingly close friends" aimlessly wander towards a sign tacked up on a door that reads "Little People's Court." The over-sized and over-cooked hams enter, and I finally catch onto the reason for DX's earlier debate. (Remember, I hadn't read the background story yet).
Continuing to watch just to see where this is going, I gather that DX has incurred the wrath of the little people ... at least the little wrestling people. A jury of six midgets sit in a makeshift jury box. (Is the word midget now considered politically incorrect? I have a difficult time keeping up with such rules as laid down by those that can't wait for opportunities to jump in and smugly tsk-tsk, thus "lending proof" of their own ultra-high levels of sensitivity. It should be bloody obvious that I mean no offense to anyone of any size).
Back to the show: a whole lot of noise, as everybody seems to be talk-shouting at the same time, with the voice of that most evil of leprechauns, Hornswoggle, floating just above the rest. I'm guessing that he's supposed to represent the prosecution or maybe the judge in whatever the case is about, but I'm not sure. Nor do I care one little bit. Hell, I care more about the frog I saw earlier in the day. Squashed flat in the gutter it was, the poor little ex-hopper.
Anyway, my sense of self-preservation kicked in at this point and I don't remember much more, except the two goofballs are found guilty of something or other. They then come sliding back out from beneath the ring. Was the poor edit intentional? Criticize them all you want, but WWE is usually very polished and professional when it comes to production values.
I guess it's a good thing that DX manages to safely escape the "hidden world of little people" ... the same mysterious place we all suspect actually exists, despite our knee-jerk denials.
Seriously, just how much longer will today's wrestling fans be willing to dine at this horse trough? When will it finally be enough for WWE's loyal customers to scream as one, "STOP THE INSANITY! WE SHALL NOT PUT UP WITH THIS CONSTANT DUMP OF STEAMING HOT FERTILIZER ANY FURTHER!"
Just how far does the E need to sink before people stop tuning in and accepting their puerile fantasies as a natural part of wrestling? With the news of a possible return of the New World Order faction to TNA come January 4th, 2010, can the current pro product possibly sink any further? (Former NWO member Sean Waltman has supposed been signed for this purpose).
The sad part is that I recall asking the same question last year. It frightens me, this bargain basement stuff I just saw. (And that was but a few minutes of 2-hour-plus show, the reviews of which have been seemingly unanimous in their scornful dismissal). I'm already dreading the thought of what that head-to-head confrontation becomes on January 4th. Will the two most watched wrestling companies do their best to out-embarrass each other, only to give themselves a hotfoot? The prospects are utterly dispiriting.
And on that joyous note, I want to send out my wishes for a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and an equally enjoyable and reflective New Year to all who visit one or both of my websites. My gratitude especially goes out to those who have purchased the book, A Fool for Old School ... Wrestling, That is. Some of you have taken the time to send along your thoughts on what you've read. It truly warms this old heart to know that you care enough to honestly and fairly offer your compliments, corrections and critiques.
To put my optimist's hat on (if only momentarily), I want to believe that someday soon, a person or a collective with the necessary background and funding gives us a promotion devoted to the concept of pro wrestling as sport, rather than a comedy/action/grade-school-level TV show. An oasis, of sorts, for the fan who is beyond sick and tired of the non-stop arrogance, the contempt, the ridicule, and the abject stupidity they receive several times a week from the two primary sources.
This mentally proposed television show eschews pyrotechnics, skits and individuals whose behavior equates the maturity level of a 12-year-old approaching puberty. The unnamed WRESTLING program will be laden with well-developed matches and sensible storylines.
Yes, this WRESTLING company will make sense, dadgum it, relegating ref bumps and outside interference to genuinely surprising rarities. Logic will reign supreme! As a general rule of thumb, clean finishes will become the calling card, while contrived bullshit, nonsensical swerves and meaningless switches back-and-forth from baby-to-heel and vice versa will become naught but a distasteful memory.
I'm really not kidding, folks. In the past, I once took a certain amount of pride admitting to having worked in the business. Now, unless I'm exchanging views with fans and people who have or had been involved in wrestling, my connection remains unspoken. It becomes just too much work trying to explain the differences between what the territorial system of the past was selling (and I include both the good and the not-so-good circuits), as opposed to the pointless and pale imitation dubbed sports entertainment.
For further analysis, consider ordering my book. For now ... I think I'm gonna go egg nog myself into oblivion. And I HATE egg nog!