Monthly Archives: March 2015

(Hello from 2016. This seems to be the only thing that anyone looks at on the old WordPress version of the site, so perhaps you’d like to see the what I thought about Wrestlemania 32? Maybe?)

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Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton

Man, this match. I guess it does have some sort of story attached to it, where Randy Orton has always been the #1 Golden Boy of the WWE’s evil ruling Authority, but Seth Rollins has emerged as the younger, faster, hairier model to usurp him. And I suppose this should end up being a good match, because Orton is like the game-manager quarterback who you’re never going to be excited to take the field, but who always makes sure it doesn’t turn into a disaster, and Seth Rollins is fucking amazing when given the opportunity. But Jesus Christ, this is a hard one to get thrilled by or even passingly interested in. Orton is boring in ways that I’ve never been able to figure out. It’s weird, like he’s not just walking around slowly and applying headlocks or whatever, but when I hear his boring music and see his boring face, I just get so bored. Like his Titantron video should just be a little kid resting his chin on his hands, sighing, and saying “ohh brother.” And Rollins is exciting and does flippity flops and KEWL MOVEZ and whatnot, but on, but he’s wrestling Randy Orton, and the WWE has done a really good job lately establishing Rollins as “the guy who always loses, often as a member of the heavy side of a handicap match.” The strongest he’s looked lately was getting kicked in the nuts by Jon Stewart, because at least Stewart understands wrestling and thought to immediately run away from the dude who theoretically should be able to unmake him.
(And on a side note, LL Cool J is the official Host of Wrestlemania 31 now, so get ready for that “kinda old, out-of-shape non-athlete guest star beats up Heath Slater and/or Curtis Axel” segment, because it’s comin’, y’all. Heath Slater once had a future, and Curtis Axel is Curt Hennig’s begotten son. We are lost.)

20140721_RGON_v1God damn it.

Anyway, I really can’t think of anything else to say about this one. Randy Orton is like the Thanksgiving turkey of internet-based OPINIONZ 4 U about pro wrestling, so I’m gonna need a nap now before I finish this one.

Best-case scenario: Seth Rollins Phoenix Splash attempt reversed into an RKO OUTTA NOWHERE

Worst-case scenario: Seth Rollins “flying nothing” attempt easily transitioned into an RKO OUTTA SOMEWHERE OBVIOUS

What will happen:

3709199304_20b880036d“Oh brother.”

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The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie) vs. The Frenemies (Paige and A.J. Lee)

Gotta start this one with some historical-type back story, leading into the OPINIONZ 4 U.

3709199304_20b880036d“Oh brother.”

Anyway, back in when I was a little kid in the 1980s, WWF women’s wrestling was treated as somewhat of a sideshow attraction, like midget matches or “Andre the Giant destroying ten guys you’ve never heard of” matches, but it wasn’t something that was particularly upsetting to watch. The wrestlers were actual trained and experienced pro wrestlers, and some pretty damn good ones like Judy Martin and and The Fabulous Moolah would show up from time to time.  And speaking of Wrestles Mania, people sometimes forget that when the WWF and MTV joined forces in ’84 and shit started blowing up, Wendi Richter was pretty much the #2 star behind Hulk Hogan himself. Sure, there were some problems, like Bobby Heenan spending the entirety of Jumping Bomb Angels tag team matches making ching-chong jokes, or that weird period where Rockin’ Robin and Sherri Martell feuded over the championship in matches you never saw on TV, followed by the belt just sort of disappearing and not being mentioned for like five years. But  overall, things were okay.

x240-WySI totally went to school with a dude who had Bull Nakano’s Megadeth shirt back in the day. He didn’t chop his up like that, though, because them shits were like $20 even back in ’91.

Then, the 90s hit, and shit was getting so crazy awesome with over in Japan that it spilled over into the WWF, leading to some sort of half-assed golden Age of WWF Lady Rasslers. The WWF made a deal with the AJW promotion to bring in some of their top talent, so every other week, imminent WWE Hall-of-Famer Alundra Blayze and Bull Nakano were having matches that Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels couldn’t top, and walking human hell-machine Aja Kong would occasionally try to give some lucky fan a fun souvenir by sending an opponent’s head flying into the audience, via spinning back-fist propulsion. Shit was nuts. And yeah, there were problems, like the aforementioned ching-chong joke-based commentary being spiced up with fat jokes for Nakano and Kong, and the fact that Bertha Faye was in her entirety a walking fat joke. But we got to see cool rasslin’ with people we had never seen before doing moves we had never seen before, so it was cool. And in hindsight as an internet-ruined wrestling dork, it’s fun to look back and go “Lioness Asuka and Kyoko Inoue were in the WWF? Word?”

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Then, fuckin’ Sunny and fuckin’ Sable happened, and it all went away. The internet was becoming a thing, and it was in the awkward stages of shifting from a thing that shitty bald men used to talk about Star Trek to a thing that bored teenagers used to look at O.J. Simpson murder scene corpse photos, and then to its final form as something that bored teens used for jacking off. Pictures of Sunny, manager of champions, became the most-downloaded thing on the World Wide Web, and shit went south. The WWF realized that folks liked boobs, women’s wrestling effectively died in North America, and wrestling as a whole turned into a thing you had to watch in a room alone with a finger hovering over the button to change channels, because if your friends or family caught you watching it, they’d just automatically assume you were some sort of sad, twisted masturbation monster and send you away to be locked in a cage and poked with sharp sticks by “doctors.” The WWF mostly stopped hiring female wrestlers and started bringing in bikini and fitness models, (and according to legend, literally had boob job surgery as a required part of the standard contract at one point) and WCW and ECW skipped right ahead to the next level and were just going ahead and hiring ex-strippers and active porn stars.

valAnd I know we’re talking about ladies here, but let us never forget Val Venis: Wrestling Porn Star, and how much of the WWF “Attitude Era” consisted of stupid bullshit. (Val was good at the wrestling, though)

It was a really weird time, because wrestling was the biggest it had ever been, but simultaneously at its most shameful point where you couldn’t admit to watching it, because there was a closeup on some weird, plastic alien boob every five seconds. Wrestling matches got replaced by lingerie pillow fights and Thanksgiving gravy bowl matches. Women became branded as “Divas,” which if you’re into dictionaries, means that the WWE views non-Y-chromosome-havers as spoiled, shitty bitches by default. Vince McMahon crafted storylines where he got to make out with Torrie Wilson and then made Trish Stratus get on all fours and bark like a dog. Someone found out that Molly Holly loved Jesus and weighed over 110 pounds, so they bullied her about being a grossly fat prude on-camera until she quit the business altogether. The Diva Search happened, and people sat on pies and literally called each other “cum-sucking gutter sluts” on live TV. Kelly Kelly happened. Shit, I could go one like this for days. To sum everything up, the WWE hates women, and for about ten years, they went to extraordinary lengths to prove it. Then everyone got busted for steroids, Chris Benoit murdered his family, and the WWE decided to become a TV-PG kid-friendly show, so things eased up a little.

hqdefaultUhh… Thanks?

So here we are, in some weird state of limbo, where things could go either way. On one hand,things are terrible. No one’s had the heart to send Vince McMahon to an old folks’ home or the courage to seal Kevin Dunn inside a barrel and sink him into the immutable sea, so the show is at least still partially run by a senile old man who thinks women in athletic competition is unladylike and barbaric and another old fuckhead who just plain despises them in any form or function. The Total Divas reality show has kept the roster bloated with the worst sort of titty models who accidentally stumbled into wrestling, feeling themselves up on the way to the ring and then flailing around nightmarishly for two minutes until the match ends with a distraction leading to a surprise roll-up. The cast of WWE Diva characters runs the gamut  from “bitch” to “crazy” to “crazy bitch,” no one is clearly designated as being good or bad, and if they are, give it a minute, because it’ll be different by the end of the show.

file_188559_2_Alicia_Fox(2)In the time it took to type up this long-winded bullshit, Alicia Fox switched from fan-favorite to rule-breaker seventeen times.

Then again, things are also looking up: Women’s mixed martial arts has become a thing, and Ronda Rousey has shown the world that a woman can violence just as well as a man can when given the opportunity. Down in NXT land, the future WWE Divas are going goddamn bananas, and it’s become a common occurrence for Ric Flair’s daughter and Snoop Dogg’s cousin (seriously) to have matches that make the nerds yell “MATCH OF THE YEAR OMG” into their computer devil machines. Then, there’s the whole #givedivasachance Twittery-hash tag thing that happened, where the internet rose up in protest of two-minute matches with surprise roll-up endings. And it truly mattered, because Twitter hash tags are we get shit done nowadays, don’t you know. It’s how we managed to get Joseph Kony elected, how we mourned the loss of Larry Shippers, finally brought the fiendish Bruce Dackler to justice, and built that giant “Gamer Gate” that finally kept all the video game nerds from entering the country. Internets, y’all.

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But if you’re still with me, this is where we’re at; the Bella Twins vs. A.J. and Paige. It’s kind of being sold to the hash tag crowd as some sort of final battle between the Old WWE Divas division vs. a theoretical new one. The Bellas are the kind of models-turned-wrestlers that dominated things for the last… hell, twenty years? Christ. and A.J. and Paige are the “anti-Divas,” who are wrestlers first and eye candy second, and are here to save pro-damn-wrestling from the evil Sports Entertainment of Nikki and Brie. It’s one of those things that should write itself, but things are still all screwed up somehow. For starters, at some point, A.J. Lee and Nikki Bella switched places in the WWE Good Wrestler Heirarchy. Once the Unpleasantness surrounding her husband (CM Punk, in case no one’s told you, it’s CM Punk, you guys) got started, AJ Lee just kinda checked out, and it’s becomes more than apparent that she doesn’t give a single flying, drizzling zebra shit about wrestling anymore. She sleepwalks through matches, mouths off to the boss in real life on Twitter, and seems to have just accepted her fate as a temporary employee independent contractor of a company that’s not above firing her for who her husband is at any given second.  Meanwhile, Nikki Bella grew a whole bunch of muscles that she didn’t have previously all of a sudden and switched roles from Gyrating Titty Model to Lumbering, Face smashing Monster. Who… still gyrates a lot, but hey, baby steps, you know? Meanwhile, Paige is still Paige, the second-generation Superstar who screams and kicks people in their stupid faces and name drops Bull Nakano in interviews, and Brie Bella still sucks, but we like her, because she married Daniel Bryan.

bella-twins-cena-and-bryan-2164736…And we all hate Nikki for choosing to side with The Enemy.

 So as far a wrestling match is concerned, this would be way better off as a singles match with just Paige and Nikki, and since Nikki is the champ now, it would make more sense as a Wrestlemania happening, you know? Also, if you separate Paige and A.J., you don’t have to hear the announcers try to pound that “frenemies” bullcrap into our ears, as thought that is a word that people didn’t give up on turning into a word in like 2002. And hell, that’s just more WWE shit right there, where the “good guys” in the match have been pretty much in a constant feud over the last year, with seemingly no one designated as the one you’re supposed to root for. It’s WWE Diva World, where all women just sort of blindly hate each other because BITCHES BE CRAZY, AM I RIGHT FELLAS? Goddammit.

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Best case scenario: A.J. stops mailing it in and Brie steps her game up for Wrestlemania, the people in charge actually give this some time to develop, (rather than the normal Wrestlemania Divas match role of five-minute cool-down/bathroom break before the main event) and this match goes down as a classic that changes a lot of people’s minds about what women’s wrestling can potentially be. Over the next year, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Becky Lynch finally get called up from NXT, a new golden age begins, and in 2020, Hillary Clinton is elected to her second term, and Paige vs. Charlotte is the main event of Wrestlemania 36. Sadly, A.J. Lee gets fired for being married to CM Punk.

tumblr_n7niqyqJj51slkad2o1_500This is gross enough with us thinking Paige is forty years too young for Lawler to be creeping on like that, but then we remember that’s Jerry fucking Lawler, and he probably thinks she’s ten years too old for him.

Worst case scenario: The match is only given six minutes to happen, with entrances eating up three of those minutes. What little match actually happens is a disaster, with Brie Bella whiffing so badly on a dropkick that she flies over the top rope and has to be carried out by the medical staff, and A.J. misses the match’s pivotal hot tag when she finally gives so few shits about anything that she pulls out a Game Boy Advance – not a smartphone or even a 3DS, a fucking Game Boy – and starts hunting Pokémon, rather than participating in a televised wrestling match. Afterward, Vince McMahon is furious and declares that the WWE Divas division needs a complete retooling, to be overseen by longtime TV producer, Executive VP, and notorious woman-hater Kevin Dunn. Wrestlers like Paige and even Nikki Bella are pushed into the background, Charlotte and Sasha Banks are both released outright, and the division becomes more focused on traditional WWE talent, like Eve Torres, Cameron, and a recently re-hired Jackie Gayda. The WWE Divas championship is re-branded as the WWE Lingerie Gravy Bowl Evening Gown Jello Championship Presented by KY Jelly, and Gayda goes on to have an eleven-month run as champ, during which time terrorism runs rampant, mighty rivers begin to run dry, and faithful dogs viciously turn on their masters. When the first ever “loser gets completely butt-ass naked and rubs all over a buck-toothed WWE Executive” match is announced, the fabric of reality collapses under the weight of such pure evil, the Earth’s crust splits in twain, and all the power of Hell runs rampant over the surface world. Mighty armies fall, great nations are reduced to loosely-affiliated bands of screaming cannibals, and the cities that once defined them shall be as dust, as an unloving God destroys a world no longer deemed fit to exist. The air becomes poison, the water becomes acid, and the land becomes fire. When the screams of the tortured and dying have subsided the only sound shall be laughter of the demons, dancing atop the rubble of all that once was. At some point, A.J. Lee gets fired for being married to CM Punk.

What will happen: A lot of people are watching the WWE with a critical eye toward their on-camera treatment of women, so I doubt this will be the usual blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bathroom break match it would have been in a pre-Twitter world.  They’ll get enough time to tell a story, but this is the WWE, and the WWE could fuck up a wet dream, so I’m guessing a clearly-intoxicated JBL will say the word “frenemies” at least 100 times on commentary, half the runtime will be spent with the match shoved into a corner of the screen so replays of something from an earlier dude match can be shown, and the match will end with a surprise roll-up, probably after one or the other of Paige or A.J. turns on the other, because THEY’RE FRIENDS, BUT THEY’RE ALSO ENEMIES, GET IT? FRENEMIES! BITCHES BE CRAZY! Then, A.J. gets fired, because, well, you know.

GUyso

Anyway, Wrestlemania is this Sunday. There might also be some sort of tag team championship match, or there might not be. Either way, may God have mercy on us all.

(Hello from 2016. This seems to be the only thing that anyone looks at on the old WordPress version of the site, so perhaps you’d like to see the what I thought about Wrestlemania 32? Maybe?)

battle

Second Annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

“Creative has nothing for you” is what WWE guys used to be told a lot of the time before being told why they weren’t getting on TV – usually right before being fired – but Wrestlemania is a Special Time, so it’s kind of a tradition that they scratch and claw for any way to get everybody on the show somehow.  And starting last year, rather than trying to find some half-assed reason for Brad Maddox to walk by in the background while John Cena talked, they just decided to throw everybody into a big battle royal. And they actually hyped it up to mean something a lot more than what it truly was, by attaching the name of Andre the Giant (the King of Battles Royal, basically) to it, and having Hulk Hogan hype the shit out of it as a Thing of Great Prestige. Then, Cesaro, having broken up with his bad-guy tag team partner on the pre-show and becoming both a singles competitor and a good guy, heaved 400-something pound Big Show with almost unsettling ease, and god damn, it was a Wrestlemania Moment for the ages. The crowd went nuts, the world was on flame with love for the Swiss Superman, and a new star was born.

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Then, like with everything in the WWE, the rest of 2014 happened, and it was all ruined.  Cesaro was immediately and inexplicably made into a bad guy, paired with a manager who would stand in front of him and hype up a different guy who was never actually there, and instructed to not do his one cool move that made everybody like him in the first place.  Then, one of the most thorough on-camera career burials of a WWE Superstar ever happened, and by the end of the year, Cesaro couldn’t beat the guy with the t-shirt cannon. This was publicly explained by Vince McMahon as Cesaro not being able to connect with the fans, (despite that while he was losing hella matches, crowds would literally be chanting “King of Wrestling” – a callback to things that happened years before he was in the WWE for fuck’s sake) because he was “too Swiss.”  Vince is senile, you guys.

vincechairzg4“Damn millennials need to get outta my yard.”

Anyway, the plight of Cesaro (who is actually one half of the tag team champions now, which sounds nice, but their title defense isn’t actually going to be broadcast as part of Wrestlemania) kind of exposes the fact that the Andre the Giant trophy is definitely no gateway to Bigger and Better Things, and is just somewhere to shovel the Zack Ryders and Fandangos of the world, so they don’t mouth off on Twitter. So overall, there are not enough jerkoff motions and fart sounds to express how I feel about the Second Annual Andre the Giant Battle Royal. I guess Sheamus might be coming back. Eh, fuck Sheamus, though.

dennis_stamp

Best Case Scenario: Some WWE writer with a fun sense of humor and an Old VHS copy of Beyond the Mat jokingly suggests that the battle royal be renamed in honor of Dennis Stamp, the downtrodden wrestler who gained unintentional fame as the guy who didn’t get booked for Terry Funk’s retirement (lol) show. After all, this whole thing really is just an excuse for the lower card guys who couldn’t get booked in real matches to be able to get a Wrestlemania payday call their moms and tell them that yes, they’ll actually be on camera tonight. And somehow, mainly because WWE Creative doesn’t give a shit about any story element not involving John Cena or 40+ year-old men, it actually happens, and the Dennis Stamp “I’m Not Booked” Battle Royal becomes a reality. In the end, some random guy no one cares about wins, and Stamp himself steps into the ring to present the trophy. But then, in a twist worthy of M. Night Shamaylan, one of the shitty-ass announcers points out that only 29 Superstars have entered so far, and there should be one more guy, and Stamp himself dumps the guy over the top rope and claims the trophy for himself. The eliminated superstars then hoist him to their shoulders and parade him around the ring in a parade of victory, as the jubilant crowd chants “YOU GOT BOOKED! YOU GOT BOOKED!” and it is immediately announced that Stamp is the first member of the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2016. I dunno, he just seems like a nice guy, and after eating shit for like 40 years, something good should happen for him.

Worst Case Scenario: I dunno, Sheamus wins? Fuck Sheamus.

What Will Happen:  jerkoff motion, fart sound

ictitle

Intercontinental Title Ladder Match: Bad News Barrett (champion) vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper vs. Stardust vs. R-Truth vs. Dolph Ziggler, possibly vs. more guys added at a later date

Then, there’s this bullshit. Dumping the Erick Rowans and Heath Slaters on your rasslin’ company’s roster into one big match is understandable; hell, it’s borderline clever. This match right here is fucking unforgivable. Here are six of the WWE’s top guys and R-Truth, and they’re all here together, because the WWE couldn’t find places for them in a fucking 4-hour show. This is what happens when you’ve got possibly the most stacked roster in WWE history, (with Owens, Zayn, Itami, Neville, and Balor waiting in the NXT on-deck circle – holy shit, you guys, HOLY SHIT) but you only focus on John Cena, Roman Reigns, and a bunch of part-time old-ass men.  Ziggler is a former world champion and should-be main eventer, Dean Ambrose spent 2014 establishing himself (despite the WWe’s best efforts) as a top guy, Barrett, Harper, and Stardust are all good enough to put on main event level matches, and Truth was pretty cool for a few months in TNA a decade ago. Oh yeah, and Daniel Bryan, who was like the sixth guy added to a seven-man match and the afterthought of afterthoughts, is the guy who carried the main event of Wrestlemania XXX and is the most universally-loved good guy in the entire stupid company. DANIEL BRYAN IS THE TOP GUY IN THE WWE RIGHT NOW, AND HE’S THE SIXTH GUY IN A SEVEN-MAN MATCH FOR NOT THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.

maxresdefaulghfdghdtSo yeah, this is never happening again, basically.

And it’s not like storylines are right goddamn there for a few of these guys. Goldust vs. Stardust was looking like it was going to get compelling as hell, with the former Cody Rhodes going slap-fucking crazy, while Goldust and Dusty Rhodes try to keep the family from falling apart. But Goldust is the only 40 year-old wrestler that the WWE seems to hate, so that got dropped. Dean Ambrose never did get revenge for Seth Rollins busting up the Shield, and hell, before they made Rollins lose every night and changed Ambrose from being an unhinged antihero to a fucking idiot who pulls WACKY PRANKS, that might have been hot enough to be the Wrestlemania main event. And oh yeah, there’s the whole thing where Daniel Bryan never actually lost the WWE title, the title is currently held by a giant monster who repeatedly is allowed to violate the 30-day rule that made Bryan have to forfeit it in the first place, and a match between Brock Lesnar and a scrappy underdog that everyone loves with all their heart would be way more compelling than Lesnar vs. a Large, Beautiful, Perfect Lion-Man that the crowd was badgered into despising.

VUqX3vNThis picture of Luke Harper just used up all the memory in your stupid smartphone, but I couldn’t think of anywhere else to put it, and I love it so much.

And hell, take those three guys out, and you’ve got a perfectly fine four-way match, even if you can’t be bothered to come up with anything for Barett, Ziggler, Harper, or Truth. A ladder match with two to four combatants can steal the show and be the best match of the night or even the goddamn decade, if done properly.  A seven-man match is just going to be a whole lot of “this guy punched me, so I rolled outside and am dead forever, at least until someone starts to climb the ladder, in which case I shall SPRING TO LIFE.” A whole lot of confusing bullshit, mixed with cringing when the guy that missed 2014 with a neck injury gets repeatedly thrown into or off of a 20-foot ladder.

Worst-case scenario: They keep adding guys to the match in the week leading up to Wrestlemania, until this becomes a ten-man affair with Kane, Big Show, and Erick Rowan or somebody like that tacked on. Daniel Bryan breaks his neck again and misses all of 2015, and whoever ends up winning inherits the Intercontinental Title Curse, where the champ just loses like three-dozen non-title matches before finally losing the belt in his first actual defense. Actually, now that I think about it, the Curse has already stricken down Ziggler, Barrett, and Harper over the last year, so I bet they’ll just try to lose on purpose.

truth

Best-case scenario: Fuck it, R-Truth wins. I know, he’s the out-of-place total jabroni in a match full of guys who should be wrestling in main events, and he’s really only been thrown in there so the WWE can say “hey, we’re not actually racist! There’s one black dude on our show!” But he’s the only guy whose standing in the WWE would actually be improved with the Intercontinental belt, and maybe the WWE’s half-assed desperation to not look like it’s staffed by former members of the OU chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon will have them actually let the IC champ win a few matches this time.  As a dude who’s been turned into a joke who yells “whoomp there it is” in 2015 and hasn’t been taken seriously since the first few months of Ron “The Truth” Killings being a thing, of all seven guys involved, he’d probably appreciate it the most, at the very least.

What Will Happen: Daniel Bryan wins, with the WWE hoping that a true main event guy holding the IC strap will raise its prestige in the eyes of fans. Then, they’ll just do the typical Intercontinental Curse thing to him too, and when people still don’t care about the belt, they’ll blame it on Bryan being a lazy millennial, and the WWE will inch closer and closer to death.

69wejpxOUTTA NOWHERE

NEXT TIME:  Seth Rollins tries to make the world care about Randy Orton, and AJ Lee gets one step closer to being fired for marrying CM Punk.

(Hello from 2016. This seems to be the only thing that anyone looks at on the old WordPress version of the site, so perhaps you’d like to see the what I thought about Wrestlemania 32? Maybe?)

cenarusev

United States Championship:  Rusev (champion) vs. john Cena

On one hand, this match should be really good, possibly the best of the night, depending on how that weird Intercontinental title ladder match goes, and whether or not they just throw Seth Rollins and Randy Orton into that match instead of letting them go on their own. On the other hand, as far as stories and characters and dramatic elements and whatnot are concerned, everything about it has been put together completely backwards. On the surface, John Cena is the good guy, fighting for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, or if you’re into branding, Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect. Meanwhile, Rusev is the prototypical Evil Foreigner, a throwback to the Ivan Koloff-inspired Evil Russian characters of the Cold War, with the addition of his manager Lana in the role of Ludmilla Drago from Rocky IV. But is it really like that?

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First, despite crushing everything in his path and waving the Russian flag everywhere he goes, Rusev is not a bad guy, in the wrestling heel/face structure. Not at all, not one little bit. He’s displayed no villainous traits at all. He wins all his matches cleanly, and he seldom attacks his opponents outside the context of a wrestling match unless they’ve attacked him first.  Sure, it might be said that he’s backed down from a threat or two, but what you might see as cowardice, I see as him being a goddamn professional who’s saving it for the official match.  Since he’s been called up from NXT to the main WWE roster, he’s cheated in a match exactly one time, when he kicked John Cena in the nuts at Fastlane a month ago. And you know what? Who cares. WWE good guys cheat constantly. John Cena kicks people in the balls all the time. He kicked me in the balls this morning. And I’m still here, hell, I’m jumping around. And really, in WWe storyline terms, just look at Rusev as a human being. A poor Bulgarian nobody who met a girl he liked a whole lot, so much that he left home and moved to Russia to be with her. From there, he used his skills as a Bulgarian Super Athlete to become the hero of the Russian Federation and wrestling champion of the entire United States of America. That’s not a villain’s origin story; that’s the fucking American dream, just taking place in a different country.  For fuck’s sake, Rusev and Lana are even totally down with Willie Nelson, Woody Harrelson, and Kris Motherfucking Kristofferson:

Lana-Rusev-celebs

If you still consider Rusev to be a villain in any sense, it can only be because you’re a terrible, awful person. And speaking of terrible, awful people, let’s talk about John Cena.

7122 - chain hat john_cena josh_mathews royal_rumble wwe

The official party line is that John Cena is a True Blue American Hero, the living avatar of the traits of Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect, which are themselves a modernized version of Hulk Hogan’s training, prayers, and vitamins. But the reality is that he’s none of these. He’s an overgrown bully, a woman-hater, a spoiled-rotten whiner, an opportunist who gladly steps over the bodies of his fallen allies to get what he wants, and despite his avowed opposition to the Authority of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, they always seem to bend over backwards to give him exactly what he wants. Hell, the whole reason he’s getting this rematch with Rusev is because he viciously attacked the dude and locked him in the STF until Lana was left with the choice of either giving him a title shot or watching Rusev die. If I was one to give the WWE Creative staff too much credit, I’d say this was some next-level subversive social commentary, presenting John Cena as the twisted and horrible version of a “hero” in the modern dystopia that is the United States. But honestly, I don’t give them any credit at all, and I have to take into consideration that the WWE is run by legitimately awful human beings like Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn, so this is probably what the WWE powers that be truly think a heroic dude is supposed to be like. We’re all doomed, you guys.

Best Case Scenario:  John Cena wins, (of course) but rather than the typical Cena vs. Whoever story, where he just plows through them and destroys their career in real life (Heath Slater once had a future, you guys) they go full Rocky IV with it, in a crazy-ass epic battle, where both men are half dead by the end. And since is is pretty much the only actual good guy in the WWE, Rusev takes his defeat in stride, offering a handshake of GODDAMN RESPECT to John Cena, who accepts it, and that whole “If I can change, and you can change, we all can change” scene plays out, Apollo Creed sheds a single tear in Heaven, and the two straight-up join forces, like Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff back in the day. Soon, the Bulgarican Connection is the hottest thing in the land and revitalizes the WWE’s garbage-ass tag team division. And from there? World Peace.

Worst Case Scenario: At some point, the Rock makes a surprise appearance, and calling back to that fight they had a few moths ago, he just hits Rusev with a whole bunch of Rock Bottoms, pauses to call Lana a whore, then yells gay slurs at Rusev until the crowd decides that he doesn’t matter anymore. Then, at some point, Cena wins.

What Will Happen: Cena wins, then proceeds to beat him at least ten more times over the next several months. As a result, by this time next year, Rusev is in the annual Wrestlemania Sorry You Didn’t Get Booked Battle Royal.

braytaker

Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker

A year ago, this would have been a dream match, and a lot of us Internet types were openly talking about how cool it would be to see the Old Supernaturally-Themed Guy fight the Young Supernaturally-Themed Guy. In the end, Bray Wyatt got fed feet-first into the buzz saw that is John Cena, and The Undertaker used up his yearly match against Brock Lesnar, where things didn’t end well. And here we are, with Bray Wyatt as a cult leader without a cult to lead, who the WWE made sure to let us know doesn’t stand a chance against top guys from the 2000s, and our freshest memories of the Undertaker are of him as a tired, defeated old man, hiding behind a thick layer of Just for Men, Grecian Formula, and some of that unnaturally orange fake tan he borrowed from the Bella Twins.

Undertaker loses at WrestleMania XXXWelp.

And the biggest problem here is what, if anything, the Undertaker is going to be able to do here. Because all of that stuff I said about Sting in the first post can apply to the Deadman. He’s not technically a senior citizen the Stinger is, but he’s still 49, and has a legit 6’9″ frame with a whole shitload of cumulative damage on it. The WWE hasn’t had to resort to pasting his head on someone else’s body for a DVD cover yet, but they are still using headshots from 5-10 years ago for promotional materials. Sure, there’s a good chance that most of the problem with the Brock Lesnar match last year was an apparently pretty horrible concussion, but still, he was 48 then, and he’s a year older now. For every story you hear about him running marathons, you see that picture again of him at the airport, looking like a less young and vibrant version of Jimmy Valiant, and the thought of him having to hold up one end of a Wrestlemania featured match gets scarier by the day. I know they really want to give him a big sendoff next year when Wrestlemania is in his hometown, but man, the Streak is over, there’s nothing left to prove, and they might want to just let it go after this one.

Bray-Wyatt-and-the-Undertaker-WWE-Raw-665x385From the darkest hell-fueled forges of Death Valley, the Undertaker screams “FUCK YO ROCKING CHAIR, NIGGA, FUCK YO ROCKING CHAIR”

Best Case Scenario: FELL MAGICKS. fuck it, you guys, this is Wrestlemania, and it’s time to go big or go home.  The Undertaker is a guy who’s been doing bizarre mystical magical shit since the first time he straight-up died in 1994, and Wyatt has been doing creepy voodoo shit ever since they decided to stop calling him Husky Harris. So you’ve got the Grandest Stage of Them All, you’ve damn sure got the budget, and you’ve got the two guys that wrestling fans would tolerate this sort of thing from. I wanna see fireballs, I wanna see lightning bolts, I wanna see possessed voodoo children, and fucking crew members running around on fire. Wrestling is inherently stupid as hell, but this is an opportunity to get STUPID AWESOME, like Kevin Sullivan conjuring Mark Lewin out of the immutable sea in the name of Satan, King Curtis telling us about Kamala hunting the rare white Bengal tiger by the sacred river Gangee, or Undertaker and Kane having a dang LIGHTNING FIGHT back in ’98. We NEED this. Wrestling has been boring as shit lately, and it’s stupidity has been of the anti-fun intelligence-insulting way. I want my intelligence completely bypassed by two men trying to literally kill each other in the final battle to prove whether Satanism or Voodoo is the supreme form of Dark Sorcery in professional wrestling. And for Gods sake, if you do have The Undertaker lose this bout, make damn sure you have the announcers sell it like he is literally physically dead, and you goddamn sure better have a grip of druids to somberly carry him off like those penguins did for Danny DeVito in Batman Returns.

yR2zwwTR.I.P. Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot – He just wanted to be pure.

Worst Case Scenario: The Undertaker shatters both hips while attempting to walk to the ring, and the WWE’s doctor informs Executive Vice President Triple H that there’s nothing that can be done. Triple H, knowing what must be done, takes the Undertaker to a quiet spot behind behind Levis Stadium and feeds him an apple, as he fights back tears, reassuring him that everything’s going to be okay. When the time is right, he takes aim and puts a single bullet in the back of the Undertaker’s head, ending his earthly suffering. As he drops the rifle and falls to his knees, Vince McMahon appears, and the two embrace. “You did  what needed to be done, Paul.  you did what was right, and you’re a man now.” Triple H wipes the tears from his eyes and gazes into the clear night sky, wondering that if somewhere up there, the Undertaker is looking down, smiling on them both. Men aren’t supposed to cry, but he lets the tears fall anyway, because gosh darn it, the Undertaker was truly his friend, and the best Lord of Darkness that a boy ever had.

What Will Happen: Undertaker wins, because he’s pushing fifty and and a part-time wrestler, and in the WWE Universe, that adds +25 to all your stats. Nothing is gained by either wrestler, and by this time next year, Bray Wyatt is in the annual Wrestlemania Sorry You Didn’t Get Booked Battle Royal.

dean

COMING UP NEXT TIME: A bunch of dudes no one bothered to book in real matches risk life-destroying injuries for a championship belt no one cares about, and a larger bunch of dudes who couldn’t get booked in real matches risk not much at all for a trophy no one cares about.

(Hello from 2016. This seems to be the only thing that anyone looks at on the old WordPress version of the site, so perhaps you’d like to see the what I thought about Wrestlemania 32? Maybe?)

I haven’t made any overt mentions of it around in here in a while, but I’m a pro wrestling fan, and have been on and off since about 1986 or so.  With some notable exceptions, wrestling is a terrible thing; it’s stupid, violent, racist, sexist, and eventually destroys everyone who gets involved with it sooner or later. It’s a Very Bad Thing, and there’s no good reason for anyone to watch it, but after this long, I doubt I’ll ever be able to get the brain-damaged, steroid-addled monkey off my back. The disease is inside of me, so don’t cry for me, I’m already dead.

Anyway, I grew up watching the WWE, (or WWF, as it was back in my day) and for better or worse (spoiler alert: worse) I’ve always been a WWE guy. No matter what cool stuff has been going on in Japan or the U.S. indies or whatever, the WWE has been what I’ve paid the most attention to. And this is the time of year that’s traditionally the Best Time to watch the WWE, the period between January and April that they call the Road to Wrestlemania. There’s no more competition for viewers with football, so things get ramped up to eleven. Storylines that have been slow-burning for a year come to a head, friends betray each other, rivals clash, superstars rise, and all scores get (presumably) settled at Wrestlemania. Wrestlemania is the ultimate pro wrestling spectacle; a giant show in a giant stadium, where giant dudes do giant things. The production is a little bigger, the wrestlers try a little harder, and everyone involved will stop at nothing to make it the best show of the year.   It’s basically the Super Bowl of sports.

And it’s gonna suck real bad this year.

smackdownIf you listen closely, you can hear Daniel Bryan’s brain psychically screaming “I WON THE MAIN EVENT LAST YEAR”

Wrestlemania 30 last year was amazing, and the buildup to it was what made me actively start paying close attention again after a long layoff induced by various overdoses, suicides, double-homicides, and Diva Searches. Daniel Bryan had become the most universally loved wrestler since Steve Austin, Brock Lesnar actually seemed like a threat to end The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania winning streak, the Shield was awesome, the Wyatt Family was creepy in really fun ways, I hadn’t yet been back in the loop long enough to be sick of John Cena, Cesaro looked like they were finally on the verge of doing something with him, and none of us yet knew that CM Punk was never coming back, and what better time than Mania? And in the end, the show was awesome, the Streak that was never supposed to end was ended, Cesaro had his Wrestlemania Moment, the nostalgic Hulk Hogan-based parts of the show were fun and didn’t overshadow the present day parts of the show, and Daniel Bryan won the world title in the most awesome Wrestlemania main event since [name redacted] won in eerily similar fashion at Wrestlemania 20.  And aside from Undertaker or CM Punk fans, everyone went home happy.

Daniel-Bryan-Wrestlemania-Championship-CelebrationDon’t know what you got, till it’s gooooone

Then, the rest of 2014 happened. The Ultimate Warrior died three days after his Hall of Fame induction. Daniel Bryan was stripped of the title and was gone for close to a year, following career-threatening neck/shoulder surgeries. Brock Lesnar disappeared for most of the year, even after winning the championship. CM Punk’s exit became terrifyingly final after he went on Colt Cabana’s podcast and dropped The Final Pipe Bomb, throwing accusations at the WWE ranging from trying to withhold his merchandise royalties to trying to kill him by refusing to treat a staph infection. Every five minutes, there was another public controversy about racism, sexism, or trainees in the WWE NXT minor league system getting physically or mentally abused. The WWE Network became a financial disaster that burned up a third of Vince McMahon’s fortune in a single day. The WWE fired Alberto Del Rio essentially because someone else had been racist to him, and he reacted like a pro wrestler. For something like the thirtieth year in a row, Kevin Dunn DIDN’T get fired. Storylines got stagnant, championships got more and more devalued, and it started to seem like Vince was actively seeking to punish every wrestler under the age of 39 for the crime of being below the age of 39. Because of all of these factors and more, the WWE now prepares to limp into Wrestlemania as a multi-million dollar dumpster fire that no one wants to see. AND NOW, LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THAT DUMPSTER FIRE!

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