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" The Gravel Pit "
I am a Wrestling Fan
Posted by Nik Johnson on Aug 15, 2003, 14:29
I tried to send this e-mail to Joseph Mann, about his intriguing The Trouble With Snowflakes article, but since TSM's mail server is the WORST IN THE WORLD, I'm settling for putting it out here.
"Watching it again over the years I recognize now it's not a "good" match. I can understand how some might rate it ****, but for me the match is closer to **-**1/2. Now some might say I'm overrating it, giving the match only * or less. But that's okay, because everyone has thier scale as to what makes a match special."
About the Foley / Taker HIAC. If you think that it is a "good" match, then it IS a "good" match. If you want to give every match on Raw this week *****, then you are entitled to do that - there is no such thing as a right or wrong opinion, as long as you can back it up.
You shouldn't recognise that Taker / Foley is not a "good" match, because if YOU like it, then it is a good match. They went out there to entertain you, and if that is what they did, then it IS a "good" match.
Even if everyone in the world disagrees, you are still right.
I picked up Shawn Michaels: From the Vault and Mick Foley's Tietam Brown today, so look out for reviews when I get round to it.
I am a wrestling fan. I like watching two (or more) people go out and pretend to fight with each other. I can't explain why I like it, or what attracted me to it in the first place. All I know is that I have seen some excellent television over the last ten years, including some nail biting matches, extreme violence and awesome moments.
All that is coming to a close though. For years, I would religiously avoid Raw and SmackDown! spoilers (these are shown on a Friday and Saturday respectively in England) and sit down and watch them "fresh". Now I have stopped bothering. I check out Scott Keith's rant, as well as whoever is recapping it for TheSmartMarks on a given week, as well as TheSmartMarks.com's message board. This gives me a pretty good overall feeling for the show, and then I sometimes tape it. Sometimes I watch bits of the show, sometimes I don't bother at all. Rarely do I sit down for two hours and watch it all the way through.
Why though? Simply put, the characters I want to see aren’t getting enough TV time, and those that I don't really care about do get time. Lots of time. Oh, and there's the length and quality of the matches.
I've always been a fan of technical wrestling, more than punching and kicking. Bret Hart was my favourite for a hell of a long time, and now I'm a fan of Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. Apparently though, this contradicts Vince McMahon's view of a wrestler somewhat. His logic is that "if the guy looks big, he looks strong." I can half understand that point of view, but overall he's pretty much wrong – Shawn Michaels was a credible WWF champion, and still one of the best wrestlers in North America, whereas the tallest man in the Universe (or whatever it was), Giant Gonzales was a heap of shit.
Generalisations are a bad idea, and there's pretty much no correlation between a wrestler's height and how good they are. Sure, it may look impressive to be 7 foot tall, but it doesn't make me think they can automatically kick the ass of someone smaller. Kevin Nash is anywhere from 6'11" to 7'2", depending on the source, and Stone Cold Steve Austin is 6'3". I rest my case.
Moving on... I don't usually believe everything that I read in the wrestling press, but I saw this today and it ties in with a point I was going to make anyway:
There is fear that McMahon isn't going to recognize how over Guerrero is because Guerrero isn't the bodytype he normally sees big money in
Eddie is over with live crowds, internet fans, and everyone in the world loves to hate him. Eddie Guerrero is money. Pushing Eddie Guerrero to the top would be the smartest thing in the world to do, but it won't happen. Eddie is stuck in the other half of the upper card. The Bad half.
Basically, there are two groups of wrestlers in the mid-to-upper card. Firstly, there's those that WWE see potential in, and will be pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed, until they either get over and go on to fight for the title, or are sent back down for a little while, and are pushed again. An example of this? Test. He has been pushed pretty much consistently since 1999, and they've thrown everything at him to get him over: He won the Immunity Battle Royale at Survivor Series 2001, and was the one to eliminate Jericho from this year's Rumble. Over time, he has been aligned with Stacy Kiebler and Trish Stratus, and held the Intercontinental Title, one WWF Tag Title, one WCW Tag Title, the Hardcore title and the European title. Have I ever cared about him? No. Do I want to see him wrestle? No. And judging by the lack of reaction he pretty much always gets, I'd say I'm not alone with that. But WWE still push him.
Whereas the other group of wrestlers are "over, but WWE don't see any potential in them". This would be the two Chris': Jericho and Benoit. Because they put on great matches, and are well over, they will not be demoted. Yet they will never be fully pushed to the top. Sure, Jericho won the first Undisputed title, but he was always made to seem like a lame-duck champion, and was never given any decisive wins. In the title tournament at Vengeance, Vince helped him beat the Rock, and Booker T gave him the win over Austin. He then used every heel tactic in the book to beat the Rock at the Rumble, and the nWo helped him beat Austin at No Way Out. Then Triple H beat him cleanly (despite Steph's interference) at Wrestlemania. They then go into this silly "has been" gimmick, which is intended to make people think that Jericho "hasn't got it."
They then claim that the fans don't think Jericho has "it", and don't give him a match at Backlash. And then job him to Triple H in a Hell in a Cell. And then job him to RVD. And then job him to Ric Flair. And then FINALLY beats Flair.
The result of all this is that Jericho is given less TV time, and short-ish matches. The second Flair match lasted all of 6 minutes, which is about the same as the Molly vs. Trish match.
I don't want to see Molly vs. Trish on PPV. I want to see Jericho vs. Flair.
But anyway, back to my original point. I am a wrestling fan. I love the excitement, frustration, anger and surprise that comes with a match. I am NOT a Sports-Entertainment fan. While I like having background to a match; "these two guys hate each other because..." I don't like what WWE is doing. I don't like 20 minutes of talking to set up a match between two non-wrestlers. I don’t like them trying to get non-wrestlers over all the time. I don't like it when the talking and "acting" (such that it is) overshadows the matches. I don't like that wrestling is no longer the focus, and that storylines are.
This week's Raw contained a massive 21:23 of wrestling, and six matches. This comes to an average of about 3:30 per match. Why should I be expected to give up two hours of my time to see six 3:30 matches? How am I expected to get involved in, or care about a Dudleyz vs. La Resistance match that lasts for 31 seconds? In fairness here, I haven't seen this week's episode of Raw, but past experience has taught to expect fuck all.
Someone once told me that they don't watch Raw or SmackDown! for the wrestling. They watch it for the storylines, and then watch the Pay Per Views for good wrestling.
He was right.
Raw and SmackDown! aren't about wrestling any more (although some could argue that they have never been about wrestling.) They are two hour commercials for the Pay Per Views.
I have always tolerated the lack of wrestling on free TV, just because there was no real alternative, there was always the tease of a decent main event and sometimes the storylines aren't so bad.
For a while though, there's been a general sense of "nothing is going on". Seriously, there's very little happening at the moment – sure, there's feuds here and there, but one of the greatest things is when a feud is drawn out over a number of months with several PPV matches. I'm talking about Rock vs. Triple H, or Austin vs. Angle. Now it seems that a feud will last a couple of months at most, and then everyone moves on. Like Triple H has feuded with Steiner for two months this year, then moved onto Booker T, and then onto Kevin Nash.
Since then, there's always been "issues" between him and Nash, but there's been no great matches, nothing memorable about the feuds, nothing. And really, I don't give a fuck about either of them. Triple H is the champion, so he's all over Raw. Fair enough. But I personally do not like him as a wrestler. His matches are plodding and boring, and I don't have any desire to watch them. That simple.
If someone doesn't entertain me, I turn over. And as I said earlier, I've been doing an awful lot of turning over and fast forwarding. In fact, I'm skipping the shows more and more often.
The only things I am regularly watching are the PPVs, and thankfully a month long feud can be condensed into a three minute video package. So what was once a twenty minute long conversation, can be reduced to Michael Cole summarising in one sentence. I like that a lot. But I don't like that I like it. I want to watch the show, and I want to like it. But I can't.
And sure, politics or whatever can mean that my favourite wrestlers will never be right at the top (with the exception of Kurt Angle – but I'm sure people will even disagree with that), but as long as they are wrestling on PPV, and being given time to fight – I don't care. I don't care if the storylines are retarded, because I can avoid them. I don't care if Jericho is being made to look like a bitch all the time, because I only see it on PPV. I don't care if Eric Bischoff is in every segment on Raw, because I skip through it.
I am a wrestling fan, and I want to see wrestling. If Sports-Entertainment is more profitable, then go for it – show that. But it just doesn't hold the appeal for me any more.
Later this year, the UK will be getting an all wrestling channel. Ten hours a day, seven days a week, the channel will be showing:
NWA-TNA, Combat Zone Wrestling, The UK's Frontier Wrestling Alliance, Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling NOAH, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Major League Wrestling, Irish Whip Wrestling, XWF, CMLL, UPW and Women's Extreme Wrestling.
Also airing on the station are RF Video Shoot Interviews, and classic episodes of UWF, Mid-Atlantic, Memphis, Florida, as well as British Wrestling from ITV's World Of Sport archives. In addition, there will be a Classic Wrestling Superstars series featuring an assortment of 52 episodes of name talent in other promotions.
There is still no sign of any WWE programs scheduled air on the new channel.
(stolen from someone who stole it from a site that stole it from another site)
Once this goes live, I'm pretty sure that my weekly wrestling fix will be covered by that, and I'll be turning off Raw and SmackDown! for good.
I'll still watch the (free) Pay Per Views, but I'll probably stop even checking the TV results on the internet.
It's sad that it has come to this. I'm not talking here as a "bitter, jaded smark" or any of that bullshit. I'm a wrestling fan. Always have been, always will be. And Hell... I'll still have my tapes and DVDs.