Jake “The Snake” reviews RAW

jakesnake.jpegJake’s latest RAW review, for January 12, 2009

After some thought, decided to do best and worst of each show.

Although I’m sure that is subject to change.

Show starts same old way, but at least Stephanie fires Jericho. Just wish it would stick. But I’m sure with Father returning next week, just a bit of drama.

Regal and CM
Idea was if Regal gets DQ or counted out, still loses belt. In the day, this was a great stipulation if it had been worked properly. In this case, it stunk to high heaven. Began with no-nonsense chain wrestling which was great to see. Worked it into a headlock by CM. Steve goes for back suplex but did not give enough boost for CM to land on his feet. Which makes him stumble and fall out of position to shoot into corner, for high knee that Steve waited on toolong. Steve’s fault. Then, to make matters worse, CM it’s your responsibility to show guys how to take bulldog. Obviously you haven’t. So one stinker followed by another stinker. Then to make this match totally suck, referee DQ’s CM for low blow. Only problem … actually, there were several: 1, referee out of position to see it, 2, never happened, 3, when’s the last time you’ve seen a DQ? Give ME a break. You see folks, that is what happens when you go for something and try to produce an angle that should be simple yet in the past there is no DQ for anything other than lack of thought. This could have been a great thing, but I blame the wrestlers and the writers as time was not given to produce anything credible. Less than 2 minutes. Does that tell you anything about the investment they have decided to give to this angle? It does me.

Steve, OUCH. Hate to say it, but you brought yourself down on my ladder of respect with this performance.

Austin to HOF, and why not? Just announced Bill Watts. Sorry folks, I won’t be
there this year.

Thing w/ Orton, can anyone say “Tag Angle”?
Rhodes and Dibiase vs Manu and Snuka Jr.

Girls will be girls, period.

Wow, go figure. Champ signs next week for Royal Rumble–belt on line. But not
tonight. Don’t you hate it when a champ wrestles and belt isn’t on the line. You can always count on him losing, can’t you?

Cena vs Shawn.
Headlock takeover by Shawn was wrong and hurried. Love the forearm by Cena and the way Shawn sold it. Great stuff, it was solid like playing chess, and avoiding each others best moves. Actually made sense. Great chops by Shawn, although undersold by Cena. Shawn took great backdrop and worked hard at building Cena for his future. Only problem, Cena forgets to sell, all Shawn has given, which discredits the work done. Shades of Flair, with corner bump and figure four. Yet Cena won’t even register the damage. Oops, I was wrong. In fact, he oversells for 10 seconds, then forgets it. Cross face by Shawn, poorly applied and again Shawn producing spot for Cena to show his strength and power. Oh, well, then the break. Wonder where it will be when we get back…

Cena goes for the finish, Shawn hooking ropes. Smart move by Shawn and then the bearhug? Didn’t know that was part of Cena’s arsenal. Yet Shawn fights out, and sells better than ever, even goes to his trade-mark nip-up. They both go for finishes, used all of their signature stuff and then some. Superb false finishes, both men taking the time to do it right. Cena out of character coming off top (as I would be) thanks for the DDT, Shawn, don’t even have to say my name. Just use the DDT, that’s enough to make me happy. Cena ducking sweet chin music then hitting Shawn with his finish and a kick out. Shawn getting his kick in yet another kick out. Let’s apply the STF by Cena with JBL just gently leaning on the ropes, making it easier for Shawn to reach them. Great camera work, and idea. And Shawn is disgusted by JBL helping him. Shawn does not see the distraction by JBL, hits Cena with kick, and wins the match. Leaves ring immediately, leaving JBL, gloating over Cena. All to set up match at Rumble.

This, my friends, was one of the best Raws I’ve ever seen. Thanks mostly to the hard work and professional job done by Shawn Michaels. I enjoyed it and was proud to watch it. Thanks so much. Does anyone realize what a great job Shawn did selling everything he did? That is one thing Mr. Cena should watch and try oh so hard to accomplish. The proper way to sell makes the match and doesn’t waste the effort given. Wonderful.


Check out Jake’s MySpace Page

Jake the Snake posts on Monday’s RAW

jakesnake.jpegWrestling Legend Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts has been posting his reviews on WWE RAW on his MySpace account. After a small break, Jake is back and lucky us! Here’s an excerpt from his review of this Monday’s RAW, on the CM versus Randy Orton match.

CM vs Randy Orton

Before I get to this last match, I just want to know who the agent was previously employed that got fired after the Regal/Hardy abortion? DAMN! Sorry Ron, or Mr. Simmons, but now I know where you got your inspiration, because DAMN says it all.

Okay, I’m out of the bathroom, now let’s go for this last one.

Lumberjack rules. Lumberjack match is set up due to the need to keep normally the heel, in the ring to face his just rewards. Yes, Randy did a horrible thing to CM. But in this instance they did it to plant seeds for future confrontations, angles and a way out of this match. Normally what would happen as the heel would try to pull a Cody Rhodes and his chickenshit and run. And heels being heels would also try to obtain advantage over babyface by getting outside help. This started differently.

Orton fires CM out and when we all thought CM would be jumped by heels, he escaped and got back into the ring. AH HA!! A babyface is being created. Again creating impossible odds and having him survive. Good job, Randy, good idea. That smells of Steamboat or your Father. Or you’re learning. From there, the babyfaces’s screw it up. As you take your first trip out, and cheap shot Jamie Noble (which is impossible to do because no one cares). Hell, all of America hates Jamie Noble. You’re not a big man Jamie, nor do you have a great repertoire. What you do have more than likely is a 40×70 singlewide. And the tires are better on it, than on your car … Oops! Meant truck.

But for babyfaces to attack Orton and get all the cheap shots before the heels initiate, is just stupid. Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? I know who the man was, Randy, tag, you’re it. Watched you call the match and was impressed. Folks that is what a great worker does. Your Father and your Grandfather could have a great match with a
broom. Great workers have great matches even with decks stacked against them. Many can do a thousand moves but few in the right order. Watch your talking in the ring, though. But maybe that has to do with the inability to listen by others. Randy you sold perfectly and it was different. Seems you have finally found a style your comfortable with. Just hope that you have the same tenacity as stick to what you want to do. I was very impressed. It was a pretty damned good match and what was best about it, was the moves and countermoves and the pulling out the fire just in time, life saving counters. Randy, blocking his kick, okay, I get that. Simply because I was in the ring (not working with ) Kevin VonErich. and I don’t give a shit what kind of sauce or spices you put on a foot, they still don’t taste good. Seen you get one earlier but still you’re not a pretty boy.

I truly hope what I saw tonight wasn’t a freak. What I feel has happened in the past, you were being asked to follow someone else’s lead. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. At least they got the finish almost right, and Regal, you should kiss someone’s ass for this, because you distracting CM reduced the garbage I had seen before. Good finish, and a pretty darned good wrestling match. I’m sure the ref got his ass chewed, and he should have, and Batista too, because if the ref is in the way when its time for your thing, take that SOB out too. Orton going for kick and having to pause was wrong. And Randy, it wasn’t Batista’s fault, and it wasn’t the ref’s fault. If they aren’t there when they should be then you simply kick the SOB in the head again. Because that one wrong move took 50% of the hard work and toss it in the trash can. It’s that simple folks, it’s the little things. And the little holes that burst the dam.

It’s true the WWE these days–they end the show with 20 guys doing their highspots. Can I ask you a question? Whatever happened to anticipation? Whatever happened to mystery? And whatever happened to the unknown? And the biggest of all, and I know you guys don’t believe in it, whatever happened to leaving heat on a heel? You want people to buy tickets? Then create something that people want and make them pay for it on the PPV. But you guys create 10 minutes of heat in a show, and 30 minutes of killing it. If you tried this, maybe you wouldn’t need this shove it down your throat til you buy it, method.

Entice, tease, encourage and anticipate on your TV shows then satisfy on your PPV’s. Why in the hell should anyone buy a PPV? When you kick everything in the nuts and piss on it before you ever get there.

Good to talk to you folks again.

Paul Heyman dissects wrestling today

heyman.jpgPaul Heyman writes for the Sun these days and has been producing a wealth of great wrestling articles. Heyman’s latest article not only summarizes the challanges facing wrestling today, but also showcases Paul’s genious for marketing wrestling. Here’s an excerpt from his article:

THE pro wrestling industry needs to wake up this morning and realise the audience is not only dwindling, it’s being chased away.

I would suggest it doesn’t take much to see the current format and themes and presentation are all in dire need of a complete overhaul.

Of course, this applies to the dominant global market share holder, World Wrestling Entertainment – with its previously-discussed “Audience of One,” and therefore it applies to the trickle-down creative theory of “we’re number two” – TNA Wrestling.

If you watched TNA IMPACT! this past week, you saw, yet again, a squandered opportunity at the counter-productive levels of WCW at its very worst.

To exacerbate the situation, this inexcusable momentum-killer was coming right out of TNA’s Bound For Glory pay per view in front of an awesome hot crowd in Chicago

TNA is just such a mess. Where does anyone who stands outside their lack of vision even try to begin? Hmmmmm… let’s see.

The “sure thing” Mick Foley seems uncharacteristically uninspired during his promo, and then promises to shake pro wrestling to it’s very foundation on the next show.

Nothing like over-promising. Unless Foley wants to re-institute the X-Division style match and “top everyone else’s performances …. EVER!”

I don’t know what Mick can do to live up to the hype.

I truly hope he does, but it seems the Through The Looking Glass mentality of the backwards world of TNA has lead me to become sceptical of even TNA’s mere desire to deliver the goods.

They have all the talent in the world. Sting, believe it or not, is at the top of his game. He may not have the youth and match-long physical intensity he had in WCW, but he’s a much smarter worker now and his promos have been so focused and good, they’re out of place on the lost TNA programming.

Kurt Angle is a man possessed. The demons inside Kurt drive him to compete with everyone in the known universe, and he hates himself with a passion every single solitary day of his existence that he can’t look in the mirror and say “I see the greatest wrestler in the history of this industry staring back at me.” Kurt is compelled to be the best, which is a strong weapon to have at your disposal.

Samoa Joe is a workhorse who takes great pride in his performances, only he’s booked and produced so terribly, the best thing for Samoa Joe fans to do is to plead with him to jump to WWE just for the chance to break away from the career-contaminating booking he’s suffering through now.

And then there’s the man who turned on Joe, multi-promotion main event star Kevin Nash.

On the television show following his big turn on Samoa Joe, where this now-sinister seven footer has betrayed the trust of the promotion’s biggest house-branded superstar, Nash took the mic and recited a well known Ric Flair promo from the 1980s.

If Nash is going to quote anyone, shouldn’t it be himself? It could have been as easy as “I’ve done it everywhere I’ve gone in my career. This place is no exception. I’m … taking …. over!”

AJ Styles rubs up against the main event, but the promotion sees him as an opponent more than an attraction. Team 3-D can work with anyone, p*** off any crowd, lose every night, and keep their heat. They know exactly what they’re doing.

So, with all this talent, what’s the premise of the show? What’s the theme? What’s the central hook for the next several months? Jeff Jarrett’s return? Kurt Angle’s unhealthy desire to mention Jeff’s family in every promo? Booker’s need to be a legend? Sting’s pursuit of respect from Samoa Joe? Joe’s need to demonstrate his youth yet experience against Sting? The TNA Championship itself?

There is no central theme to the TNA show. No focus. Everything is so structured to get to the next segment and simply “not lose a viewer,” the promotion has lost sight of the necessity, let along the genuine value, of the long term build.

I’m not picking on TNA. To be blunt, they have a wealth of talent at their disposal, strong financial backing into the tens of millions, and a cooperative network. If I sound envious, it’s because I’m looking at the advantages they are simply blowing by narrow-casting and aspiring to be nothing better than WWE Lite.

I actually think WWE deserves more criticism for the falling overall interest level because if anyone should have the forethought to move into the future, it’s World Wrestling Entertainment.

The moneymaking juggernaut is such a strong corporation, yet the directive of and to the creative is weak and antiquated. It’s time for Vince’s vision of sports entertainment to be updated. Check out the new generation of kids watching the shows. What music do they listen to? What styles resonate with them? With whom can they identify?

D/x vs Miz and Morrison. Is it going to be the changing of the guard to a new D-Generation of punks? Or will it be a short term “HHH and HBK rule the WWE universe” demonstration like D/x did with Team rKo already?

Kenny “Doane” Dykstra is 23 years old. Why isn’t he living in the studio, watching how shows are edited, so he learns the mindset of what WWE is looking for in a television product? If you’re a race car driver, wouldn’t you know how the car runs, not just how to drive it?

Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes are excellent in their roles, but can you name anything about their presentation that screams “young and new and different than anything you’ve seen before” instead of just “we look, dress, and wrestle like 35 year old men who are veterans.”

No new style, not even an attempt at a different approach to their marketing and presentation. Think of it this way: While the announcers can tell us all ad naseum how young DiBiase and Morrison are, how many 13 year olds look at that tag team and think they’re younger and more successful than Miz and Morrison?

When I first broke in as “Paul E. Dangerously,” I hated when the old timers would just complain about how good wrestling was in their day, and how it all sucks now, and how back in the good ol’ days blah blah blah.

Let’s be clear on one thing. I’m not talking about the good ol’ days. I don’t want wrestling to look back on old concepts. I’m begging the industry to realise the present style of writing, producing, and presenting wrestling television has simply run its course.

Bill Banks Random Story: Finishing Another Company’s Angle

billbanks.jpgWe wish this had happened. Another story from Bill Bank’s MySpace:


There were certainly an abundance of crazy ideas that were hatched during my time in WCW. At one point, Vince Russo and Bill Busch considered offering OJ Simpson one million dollars to take a polygraph exam live on Nitro, but Turner management nixed it. My all-time personal favorite idea from WCW that was discussed, but never came to be, would be a first in wrestling history – finishing another company’s angle.

Shortly after I went to WCW, the WWF had a major storyline going where Steve Austin had been hit by a car, but the identity of the driver remained a secret. They kept the mystery going for several months before they concluded it. At the same time, Steve Austin was dating Debra.

During a car ride, Russo, Ed Ferrara and I discussed during the highpoint of the “Who Hit Austin?” angle that we would reveal the driver’s identity on a Monday Nitro broadcast. After a week of promoting it (so WWF wouldn’t have much time to react) we would air a sitdown interview with Steve “Mongo” McMichael, Debra’s former husband, who would take credit for hitting Austin out of jealous rage (live from jail since he had turned himself in). No one would know who it was until we did the live interview that night. It would have been perfect timing, and although Mongo had been out of the wrestling spotlight, he was still known to fans.

The idea never progressed because no one could find or get a hold of McMichael, who basically disappeared entirely by that point. Still, it might have been interesting if it happened.

Ebert talks about ‘The Wrestler’

thewrestler.jpgMickey Rourke is back. The legendary tough guy in 1980s movies like “9½ Weeks,” “Barfly” and “Year of the Dragon” has never been away. He’s been working steadily, with 16 movies just since 2000 — but his title role in “The Wrestler” is arguably his best career performance and could win him an Oscar nomination. The film, playing here at the 33rd Toronto Film Festival, arrived after winning the grand prize at Venice, and is drawing turn-away crowds. It came to Toronto without a distributor, but was snatched up for $4.5 million by Fox Searchlight.

Rourke plays Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a pro wrestling superstar in the 1980s, now reduced to shabby local clubs and rented school gyms where the dressing room is a children’s classroom. He won’t retire. He can’t. His best friend is a lap dancer (Marisa Tomei) who he has to pay for her time. He still puts on a good show, although his body is taped together. I know — pro wrestling is scripted. But the scripted stuff they do is brutal. Say you get thrown over the ropes and land on the floor. It’s in the script, but how would that feel?

The film is also a comeback of sorts for gifted director Darren Aronofsky, whose “The Fountain” (2006) was a box office and critical bomb. That film was a confusing exercise in visual fantasy. “The Wrestler” is meat-and-potatoes filmmaking, anchored by a strong story and sharply defined characters. Rourke, who has done pro boxing, looks like he does the wrestling falls himself. If he does not, I don’t want to know. When a guy does things for real, people assume “special effects.” But with Rourke, you just never know.

Aronofsky and Rourke talk about ‘The Wrestler’

Phantom Lord on TNA’s woes

stingjeff.jpgPhantom Lord from www.wrestling-edge.com posted an article on August 31st, 2008, that’s a good read on TNA. The article is titled, “The Rant Of The Week: Fire Jarrett”, which gives the reader an idea where he’s going…

Here’s an excerpt;

I’ve been watching TNA from their start and they had so much promise to fill the void left by WCW and ECW. What they have managed to do in those six years sense is cause nothing but fans to wonder if TNA ever plans on really becoming a success. There is a huge core of fans out there that WWE does not have and TNA really has no excuse not to be going after them. All TNA is doing is just trying to cipher off fans from the WWE and as we’ve seen according to the ratings and buyrates it’s not working.

TNA is run by Jeff Jarrett and basically he is trying to recreate WCW from the year 2000. The big angle they are building is basically going to be New Blood vs. Millionaires club. Now normally an angle like this would work, but not the way they are building it up. Basically what it’s really building to is a match between Jeff Jarrett and Sting. Nothing to get over anyone involved, it’s just a way for Jarrett to fluff his ego and his own sense of self worth. I’ve always said TNA’s biggest problem is they booking their shows like they are still a company in Nashville. Jarrett’s superman act might have worked for Jerry Lawler in Memphis in the 80’s, but for 2008 it just sad to watch (which by the way I am convinced that’s all his doing…emulating Lawler).

It’s not that I hate Jeff Jarrett the wrestler. As a wrestler he’s pretty damn good and more then capable of putting on good matches. His only problem is he has this delusion that he and he alone is TNA’s top draw and EVERYTHING has to revolve around him. For the last couple of years since I really started taking TNA to task I’ve raised this point over and over and over and after this week I think I’ve finally reached my breaking point with TNA.

Sting finally broke his silence on Impact and he gave a some what rambling promo about why he did what he did. Basically the younger generation of stars can not be trusted with taking the company into the future because they have no respect for those who came before them.

Ok that right there is good enough for an angle. Through out the history of wrestling the most heated angles have always been between the legend who demands respect and the upstart youngster who wants to put said legend out to pasture. The greatest one was Bruno Samartino vs. Larry Zybysko which ended with a huge steel cage match in Shea Stadium in front of over 30,000 people where Bruno kicked the shit out of the youngster and beat the respect into him.

TNA could easily do this with say Sting and AJ Styles since that’s where they are obviously building to. The one problem is with Vince Russo molding this angle it will make no sense as all ready evident by Sting’s rambling promo. See Russo has always wanted things to be like a shoot. Up is down…left is right…black is white. Everything is gray so to speak. It can’t simply be a heel taking on a face. There has to be something else to it and as we know that just confuses the hell out of everything. Nothing can ever be simple when Russo is involved.

As much hate as we rightfully give Vince Russo, in the end he is only a messenger. Jeff Jarrett is the one putting all of this stuff together. Russo just has the unfortunate task of turning it all into a two hour show each week. But together they are a lethal combination and add into that Dutch Mantel and Jarrett’s other lackeys and toadies and its no wonder at its best Impact is confusing and at its worst it’s a train wreck.

I think when it comes down to it; Jarrett hates it when anyone tells him his booking is crap. It’s been documented all ready that Jarrett tells people to go take a walk if they confront him on the illogical nature of the layout of the show.

TNA has such a great roster and there really is no need for all the bullshit they do. People keep wondering what can be done to fix TNA. Some people have this crazy notion that if TNA hired Paul Heyman he could stop the bleeding and fix everything. Well Paul is smart enough to not get onto a sinking ship. As long as Jeff Jarrett is in charge of things it does not matter WHO is writing the shows. Ultimately as the writer you are at the behest of the producer and since Jarrett is in charge what he says goes.

If you want change that’s all you have to do. Remove Jarrett from a position of power within the company. Then and only then will TNA maybe have a chance to start over fresh. Bare in mind though, just because I think Jarrett should be removed from power doesn’t mean I think they should get rid of him as a wrestler. Like I said I like Jeff Jarrett the wrestler. Of course if he can’t put himself over he’d probably quit anyway. But with Jarrett making his grand return since he is a pillar of the wrestling business and the savior of TNA(watch the video they did on Jarrett on this weeks Impact if you don’t believe me) don’t expect that to happen any time soon. All I know is I’m just counting down the days till Jarrett/Joe is announced and Jeff takes the TNA title once again because as we know the first 780 days of his title reigns were such huge successes for them.

Go Shiozake becomes FIP World Heavyweight Champion

go-shiozaki.jpgOn August 23, 2008 at the FIP Heatstroke 2008, Go Shiozake defeated Erick Stevens in Crystal River, Fl to win the FIP World Heavyweight Title in an epic match of the year candidate. Shiozaki’s first major title victory has apparently generated considerable coverage in Japan and ‘Sweet & Sour’ agent Larry Sweeney took full advantage of the hype to demand to ROH officials to have FIP Title defenses in ROH.

Pro Wrestling NOAH star Go Shiozaki not only took a title, the following Monday he had a tryout dark match with WWE before RAW. Go Shiozaki defeated Carlito in less than three minutes. The wrestling observer newsletter reports that WWE is passing on Shiozaki after watching him work the match, with Vince McMahon apparently stating that Shiozaki is “Too Asian”.

Nothing comes easy for 26 year old Shiozaki, out of Japan. Shiozaki has been building a career on valiant efforts and perseverance, so don’t think WWE first impression of Shiozaki is the end of the line.

Go Shiozaki entered the NOAH dojo in 2003 and became a protégé of legend Kena Kobashi. The two teamed together to great success, the biggest match the two had was winning against Kensuke Sasaki and his protégé Katsuhiko Nakajima, a match that received critical acclaim. In 2006 Shiozaki fractured his jaw against KENTA and began to lose in a series of valiant efforts against the biggest names of the company. Go Shiozaki’s break to upper midcard talent came after pinning Ricky Marvin.

Shiozaki premiered with NOAH’s sister promotion, Ring of Honor during ROH’s August 2006 tour of England. Since coming over to ROH, Shiozaki made a series of unsuccessful bids for titles- against ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness, one bit for the World Tag Team championship in a one night tournament and a second unsuccessful bid against McGuinness.

Shiozaki joined Larry Sweeney’s Sweet N’ Sour Inc. faction on June 28, 2008.

(thanks wikipedia)

Joey Styles on Stevie Richard’s release from WWE

6390318.jpgA runaway WWE budget and an angry stockholder’s response has resulted in the release of WWE talent, including Stevie Richards. Richards, praised by agents for his ring work, was a poor politician backstage. Dave Meltzer reported that Richards struggled to distance himself from being labeled an ECW wrestler. Richards often rubbed people the wrong way by being ‘overly aggressive’ when offering creative ideas. By the end of his run, it had become obvious he would never climb the ladder within WWE

Stevie’s release affected some more than others, Joey Styles being one who took the news hard.

Joey Styles on Stevie Richard’s release from WWE

August 15, 2008

“World Wrestling Entertainment has come to terms on the release of ECW Superstar Stevie Richards. WWE wishes him the best in all his future endeavors.”

In my seven and a half years with the Original ECW and 2 and a half here at WWE, I have read these announcements at least one hundred times. I think we all become somewhat callous to these announcements because people being fired from their places of employment are common occurrences and just an everyday part of doing business.

However, Stevie Richards and I have been friends for over fifteen years and I and followed his painful quest to continue his dream of wrestling for a living through a broken neck and subsequent throat surgeries to repair a severed vocal cord as a result of the initial fusion of the vertebrae in his neck. In fact, earlier this year I interviewed Stevie on television about his painful surgeries and love of wrestling which kept him from retiring despite doctors’ reccomendations.

As I finish my blog for this week, I know that if ECW Original, Stevie Richards decides his future endeavors will include continuing to wrestle, then it shall be.

Joey Styles

We’ve heard from our sources that Stevie Richards will be reuniting with The Blue Meanie and Mike “Super Nova” Bucci as the Blue World Order for a signing at the Legends of the Ring convention in New Jersey on October 11. We also have heard talk that Stevie Richards may be headed for TNA.

Should Sports Entertainment Be More Realistic?

Vince McMahon Dies in Fiery Car ExplosionBoris Milman posted a blog at Prowrestling.net and brought up a point that’s so obvious, it’s easy for jaded fans- especially internet fans- to overlook. Here’s an excerpt from his post, which we think is worth passing on.

The John Cena and JBL car angle from Raw last week, which was immediately bashed all over the internet, made me think about a problem I’ve had with wrestling commentary on the internet for years. The bulk of the criticism of the angle was that the situation was not realistic and thus ruined the viewer’s suspension of disbelief.

While I do acknowledge that the angle was silly and not the best work the WWE has done in recent weeks, I strongly disagree with the specific criticisms mentioned above as well as with the general idea that the problem with the angle was its lack of realism. As a general rule, I believe that complaints about realism in pro wrestling are almost never valid and I will try to explain why in this post.

The problem is somewhat difficult to articulate but I will try my best. Those people who follow the wrestling business closely on the internet know better than anyone that what they see on television every week is not real in any way. They can enjoy a good match or an entertaining promo but they never really suspend their disbelief in any real way while watching. Thus, their perspective is completely different from that of the more casual fans who constitute the vast majority of WWE’s television, pay-per-view and live audience.

Having been to a few WWE shows in the New York and Boston areas over the past couple of years, I can definitively state that most of the fans who show up to the live shows have no trouble suspending their disbelief for even the most preposterously illogical angles, provided the angles involve characters that the audience has a strong connection to and that those characters act in ways that is at least somewhat consistent with the way they have been portrayed on television.

The internet fans and journalists argue that the Cena and JBL angle was bad for business because it ruined most fans’ suspension of disbelief. In criticizing angles for their lack of realism, the internet wrestling fans and media are speaking for an audience that cares about realism in professional wrestling, and that audience doesn’t really exist. Those people who follow the business closely already understand that everything they see is ‘fake’. There is no point to making wrestling more realistic to please them, because they will never see it as real anyway.

In this particular case, the “smart” fans know full well that JBL isn’t trying to kill John Cena but they are criticizing the WWE for presenting the angle because they claim it ruins the viewing experience for the vast majority of fans. These fans theoretically get angry at the nonsense on their television screens and refuse to buy PPVs or watch Raw or go to live shows.

However, in reality those casual fans don’t even think about wrestling deeply enough to give much thought to the question of whether JBL is trying to kill Cena. To them, Cena and JBL are in the middle of a feud, and within the context of that feud, the two of them should do all kinds of terrible things to one another. I have a friend who watches wrestling casually and his response to the angle on Raw was that it was “cheesy but pretty cool.” He wasn’t complaining that Cena should be dead or that JBL was not arrested for attempted murder because that would “make sense.”

He also did not complain about the cameras being present to record the whole scene. The reason for this is that he has no reason to worry about these silly details and there is no point for the “smart” fans and journalists to worry on his behalf. Even the most naive fan knows that if everything goes according to plan, no one will get hurt during a wrestling show and that everything they see is entertainment.

The main point I am trying to make is that criticizing professional wrestling in 2008 for its lack of realism is intellectually lazy. Literally every single second of what is on WWE or TNA television today could easily be broken down and shown not to make sense on some level.

(source: www.prowrestling.net)

Thoughts On iMPACT 7/24

tna_wrestlingahhw.jpgTNA is doing a great job of building hype for iMPACT! and the ‘Hard Justice’ PPV.

The main event at ‘Hard Justice’ will be a FMM cage match between Samoa Joe and Booker T. The negative on this is that the props are going to take away from actual wrestling and we can already see paying fans getting another overdramatic ‘cliffhanger’ ending to the PPV. The positive side is the amazing job Booker T and Samoa Joe are doing to build up this feud.

Consequences Creed is great talent. Creed’s tribute to Ali and Apollo Creed from the Rocky movies is bolstered by his natural high energy, flexibility and strength. Creed getting time to shine two weeks in a row may mean that TNA feels the same way and is ‘pushing’ Creed.

The tag team strap match and the six-man table match were handicapped by the props being used. TNA should steer away from doing prop matches so often, it diminishes their novelty.

Matching Taylor Wilde against Velvet Sky and the Beautiful People is a good way to get the crowd behind Taylor. TNA has been concerned that they pushed Taylor too fast and by putting an unknown in front of the crowd, have effectively killed the Knockouts momentum. If you didn’t watch the matchup, the storyline was top shelf. Taylor pins Sky in five seconds, then stepped back into the match to pin Sky in twenty five seconds, then steps back into the ring when Angelina Love promises five thousand dollars to Taylor if she can step back into the ring to win a third time. The Beautiful People are great heels and when Velvet Sky took the mic after the first pin to whine that she wasn’t ready for the match and it wasn’t fair, she got great heat from the crowd. The only problem with the matchup is Sky’s skill in the ring. Sky wrestles about as well as Kelly Kelly from WWE. We love everything else about her- especially her entrance- but, if Sky could have stepped up a little more to get Taylor over, this would have been a great success. The Knockout champion needs opponents she can sell her skills with. Still, we enjoyed the match, especially ODB coming out with a turkey leg in her mouth.

Karen Angle’s new segment is basically a TNA Rough Cut with Karen guiding the interview instead of Mike Tenay. We feel the segment is good, as Karen gives the interviews a more personal feel. Kaz being interviewed by Karen after tenuring his resignation convinced us this is an angle. There is logic to this storyline. Kaz is a great wrestler, but, he needs to connect with the audience to get to the next level. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and we think- provided we’re right and this is a Russo fake shoot- that the angle will work. We want to say we prefer the new match title ‘Steel Asylum Match’ to ‘Terrordome’.

The Sting angle is an example of hyping vapor. Is Sting a heel or a face? Teasing us with this after every commercial break is annoying. We might not get the answer until ‘Hard Justice’. We continue to cross our fingers that Sting won’t get between Booker T and Samoa Joe again at ‘Hard Justice’.

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