Looking Back on… And as the ring turns… (WWE, 2002)

And as the ring turns… (This was written in early December of 2002, but it hits a lot of points regarding shit that was going on during the year leading up to this post, so it should be an interesting retrospective and viewpoint on my current views, if nothing else.)

Okay, so let me see if I’ve got this straight: Soap opera angles are the way to revolutionize the wrestling world, if I don’t like my TV being hoarded with necrophilia I’m obviously too stupid to know better, I really wanted to see Lesnar/Big Show, Stephanie and Bischoff making out is supposed to make ratings, yet another Kane-HHH match will bring in the fans, even though we know Kane won’t win, and Scott Steiner is SURE to make a huge impact, right after he learns how to wrestle again while not breaking another part of his anatomy. (Yes and apparently it still is, no considering they no longer talk about that, yes and I apparently wanted to see it a bunch more times afterward, no and they never ultimately did anything with that plot point, that was the plan but they actually used the Kane/HHH match to unmask cane because Glenn was getting tired of wearing the mask, and Scott Steiner was such a colossal fucking disaster that no one pretend that was a good idea anymore.)

Y’know, I just basically summed up the entirety of my rant in a paragraph, but in the interest of entertainment, let’s stretch it out a bit, eh? (Relative to your definition of entertainment, of course.)

If, by some random chance, Vince and crew are reading this (They absolutely were not.), take what I am about to say as the honest opinion of a true fan… not a casual fan, not an internet smart, and not someone out to piss all over wrestling in general. (I suppose I’m a “smark,” at this point, though I actually am friends with some wrestlers, either directly or vicariously, so I’m smart-ish? Whatever.) I like wrestling. The end. Wrestling is a great and wonderful pastime to me, and I enjoy watching it on a regular basis. (“Regular” is a bit of a stretch, but I still watch NXT regularly and I’ve been going back through old Liger and Nakamura matches on the New Japan streaming service so clearly I still enjoy it.) So, Vince and co, should you see this on your perusal of the internet, consider this an unbiased opinion of what a REAL fan thinks.

You all see that little button on the left that says “Wrestling Oratory”? Vince has one more PPV period to make me believe that there’s a reason to watch his product afterwards. If he, by accident, manages to make me say “I enjoyed that” I’ll give it some more time. If not, the button comes off, and all these rants go to the standard “Archives” section. (I think that I ultimately just stopped giving a shit for a few months and then kept ranting because other people wanted me to, whether I enjoyed it or not, so I kept the button until the site died.)

Reason? Because, honestly, while it’s a lot of fun making fun of stupid people, it’s not fun basically saying the same thing over and over again, in different ways. And to be perfectly honest, I sincerely doubt any of you care enough about Indy feds for me to write something about the JAPW shows I go to. (Jersey All-Pro Wrestling, FYI) (My mother had this big thing where she got into going to local shows, so we’d end up going to JAPW every month, mostly so that we could watch Slyck Wagner Brown lose every month to Homicide. It was mostly because my mother was friends with his then-valet/girlfriend April Hunter, so we supported the cause. I’ve long since worn out on the idea of going go indie shows for a variety of reasons, and Slyck and April had a… less than positive ending to their relationship, so mostly my mom’s friends with April now. I think. Last I heard she was married and now apparently she’s divorced and dating someone who’s less wrestling and more nerdy, so, hey April, if that doesn’t work out, gimme a call. Lord knows I’ll be less weird than Hyatte.) So, without something good to talk about, there’s no reason to write. It’s like watching Nascar: The first few laps are really interesting, but around lap 100, you realize it’s the same thing as it was at lap 1, but with different names.

Right, on with the pissing in the punch parade…

So, Vince has been “really high” on soap-opera style storylines for the past month or so, and seems to want the writers pushing in that sort of direction. (He never stopped being as such, but Stephanie was also largely to blame for this trend, with the general consensus being “that’s all she knows,” so.) Okay, this might SOUND like a good idea, but really, it’s a lot like trying to fondle a gang member’s girlfriend: sounds like a good idea, but the end result is nothing but pain. (I suppose, in this metaphor, Daniel Bryan winning the world title is akin to blacking out, in that the pain stops, and his subsequent injury is akin to being jolted awake when they stab you again.) How so? Consider the storylines we’ve been given:

– Trish and Victoria are feuding because Trish “stole” Victoria’s spot in the Diva lineup. Okay, first off, Trish has been in the WWE for over two years, while I never heard of Victoria until a month ago. You’re telling me TRISH deserves the blame for that one? (I think the argument was supposed to be something akin to Victoria being pissed that people like Trish would constantly get called up before actual wrestlers like her, and she took revenge on Trish due to her status on the card and what it would do for her as a person. Sadly, that character and Mickie James got over super big for their behavior, so nowadays the WWE just writes all their heel women as nutbars, because it worked twice a decade ago. Sure, whatever.) Why not beat Torrie or Stacy’s ass for that, as they DID come in later? (Because no one gave a shit about them save for how they looked, while, as Scott Keith once noted, if Trish were a man she’d have been World Champion for years.) And for the record, as improved as Trish is as a wrestler, the WWE might have considered that when you’re having Trish out there to defend her merits, you shouldn’t put her against someone who’s a better wrestler than she is. (Trish eventually became one of the best female wrestlers on the show unless you’re Brandon Stroud, and managed to hold her own perfectly fine toward the end.) Just a thought there. The only real upswing here is that their matches, while hardly MOTY contenders, are certainly watchable, and with a few more trained wrestlers, might actually be, god forbid, ENTERTAINING. (Trish ended up having a bunch of pretty good matches over the next few years with various combinations of Molly Holly, Victoria and a resurgent Jazz before Mickie James got called up in 2005, whereupon she bequeathed the “top babyface” role to James, as everyone else was gone or too injured to wrestle. James left not too long after, and we then sat through a few years of Kelly Kelly being the top female face before AJ Lee took off. Victoria mostly sat in the background of the women’s division until she was eventually released, went to TNA, and basically just kind of coasted there until they let her go. Molly left wrestling in general after being treated super aggressively weird for years, for reasons she still won’t discuss to this day. Jazz was let go and apparently works for WSU these days.)

– Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit being teamed up while hating one another would be entertaining, if not for the fact that we’ve seen that angle about a million times before, and it’s gotten kind of old. (Well, in WCW and ECW anyway; it was at least a mildly new storyline in WWE outside of Michaels/Austin and Austin/Mankind.) Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit WRESTLING would be entertaining, if not for the fact that we’ve seen that match about a million times, and it’s gotten kind of old, too. (I have to be kind of honest here: of the two of them, I would have figured Angle would’ve been the one to go super nuts and murder people. These days he’s just fucking weird and lies a lot.)

Aw hell, it’s still pretty entertaining seeing them wrestle.

– Kane and HHH. Necrophilia is just a bad idea. This angle is a million times worse. (Oooookay I guess I have to explain this one. Soooo Kane and HHH were going to have a match, for HHH’s World Title, and you’d think that’d be a good enough reason to feud, but you’d be wrong. Basically HHH came out after a Kane match one day and announced Kane was a murderer, which, in storyline, may or may not be actually true, since he might have burned down his family funeral home with his parents in it or something. Alas, no; this was a weird-ass quasi-shoot angle, where we were pretending Glenn Jacobs the person dated a woman named Katie Vick and she died in a car wreck with him. Conventional wisdom at the time was that they were using this as a way to bring in Scott Vick, AKA Sick Boy from WCW, but nope; instead, the feud literally jumped and sodomized the shark when HHH manufactured footage of “Kane,” really HHH in a mask, fucking “Katie” in her coffin, announcing “I just screwed your brains out,” and throwing spaghetti at the camera. It is, without question, the single worst angle I’ve ever seen, and was also one of about ten instances where HHH completely emasculated the face, then beat them in a match and turfed them out to the midcard forever. See also RVD, Booker T, Randy Orton, and so on.)

Need I say more? And while we’re on the subject… Vince, the reason people watch your show is, big shock, the WRESTLING. I don’t expect anyone out there to be a master thespian… spout your lines, say your catchphrase, then wrestle, for christsakes. (A lesson he still hasn’t learned over a decade later, if Roman Reigns is any indication.) There’s no science in that. We don’t need life spanning storylines, that’s why we watch Law and Order, or General Hospital, or The Sopranos, or any other show with better actors than yours. Stick to sports more than entertainment, and I’ll be happy. (Hilariously enough, Vince would occasionally compare WWE to The Sopranos for years, because he didn’t understand why that show was well received by the masses and his wasn’t. Maybe if you’d stop being embarrassed about the actual wrestling part it’d work itself out, man.)

And speaking of Necrophilia… never, and I mean NEVER EVER do this again. (Not only did they never do it again, they mostly pretend it never happened.) You want to know WHY your ratings dropped? I mean, REALLY? Well, here’s the God’s honest truth: the WHOLE angle FUCKING SUCKS. Period. This is worse than the Gobbledy Gooker. This is worse than The Fakertaker. This is worse than Men on a Mission. Hell, this is worse than the homosexual wedding angle. (Well, somewhat. It was worse from an artistic perspective, but at least fucking a corpse was just offensive. The homosexual marriage deal was outright hurtful to other people, even if it was less offensive in a vacuum, so we’ll call it a wash.) This is THE WORST, and I’ll say it again, THE ABSOLUTE WORST angle Vince has EVER put onto TV. (Still is.) It’s not funny, it’s being performed by two people with the delivery of a block of wood, and it’s honestly pretty damn raunchy at it’s best moments. Plus it’s freaking boring. (Yeah, at least weird Russo shit like May Young birthing a hand or Mark Henry fucking a trans person were entertaining within the confines of their own stupidity, this was just hard to watch.)

So I’m asking myself why I’m watching this absolute offense to good judgment and entertainment, and honestly, I can’t find a good reason. (Because when two talented wrestlers have a very good match, it makes it all worthwhile.) So it’s all come down to this: either the next PPV revitalizes my interest, or I’m done watching until something good happens. (They gave Angle the title and Benoit started getting yet another push that was ultimately aborted, though he’d be in a much better position this time the following year.) It wouldn’t take much, believe me.

All I’m asking for is a decent undercard, (I believe that happened.) a fantastic tag title match, (I believe that happened.) Brock retaining, (Brock wasn’t even champ when I wrote this so I don’t know what I meant here, unless the date I have attached to it is inaccurate, which it may well be.) and someone other than HHH or Michaels getting the belt. (That wouldn’t happen until Goldberg in the summer, I believe.) Hell, so long as Brock retains I’ll be happy as long as the rest of the card is tolerable. (I really think this was written in November, on reflection, though the date on the piece says December, in which case, none of the above actually happened at all.) I’m not asking for a miracle here, really… a couple of good matches, and a champion I’m not disgusted to see on my TV is all I ask.

And honestly, after the gay wedding, necrophilia, Austin being fired, (HOO BOY that one ended up being a bit more involved than I’d initially expected.) HHH 24/7, Steph being a face, and the rather unceremonious burial of the careers of every wrestler that matters, I think I’m fucking entitled. (lolnope)

So until the PPV, all I have to say is World Wrestling Entertainment needs an enema. (The next one will be a little more optimistic at least.)

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