Petty but Pretty
A sign of the times? Perhaps. When I stopped at the gas station this morning I saw quite a disturbing sight. A woman walking inside in front of me placed her cigarette in the outside ash tray. She then proceeded to go inside, buy a couple of five-hour energy shots and left, but not before she grabbed her cigarette out of the ash tray, stuck it back in her mouth and hopped into her car to speed away like the maverick she is. Yes, people are so pinched for money these days they will take their old cigarettes out of public ash trays to get a few more puffs. I don?t mean to knock smokers. After all, if smoking didn?t kill you I would smoke a carton a day, but as I saw this girl putting God knows what in her mouth, I thought about how I just wanted to skip work, go home and watch Summerslam 2004.
That’s right, the sight of a girl smoking a dirty cigarette made me want to watch Randy Orton vs. Chris Benoit.
We can go back and forth about whether or not wrestling is art, but the fact of the matter is, like any other form of art, wrestling is an escape for us. It is not a male soap opera, but a Greek tragedy. Think about it, you have larger than life heroes bursting through the curtain to wage their wars against the greatest of enemies. There is heartbreak, triumph, and blood, and we can allow ourselves to get lost in it.
While I want to delve deeper into that aspect, this week I want to talk about our heroes and enemies making their entrances to the coliseum. When a wrestler makes his ride into the arena, he shoves his importance in the face of fans. He says he is here to entertain and he is the reason you wondered to the arena, stood in line with some of the strangest people alive, and then sat for hours in an uncomfortable seat, paying $8 for a beer, and waiting for just the right match that signals ?BATHROOM BREAK.? I would love to hear f rom all of you out there as to which wrestler makes the most memorable entrance for you. Which hero or villain comes out onto the catwalk like no other as you hang on their every movement?
My favorites: Randy Orton’s Evolution entrance back when he was the I-C champ and Taz f rom the old ECW. Orton had this graceful way of posing in front of a wall of fire before he made his slow, methodical entrance to the ring. He made you feel like he could beat anyone just by his ring entrance. As for Taz, as he plodded to the ring with a towel over his head, you always knew someone was about to get messed up.
As for the catwalk, I have to say I have grown tired of WWE’s ramp. I know it sounds petty, but the same old stage and ramp that they have had since 1997, along with Raw’s ugly red ropes, have really put a damper on my enjoyment of the product. I realize that this is only my second column and I have already become the Andy Rooney of WV, but I seriously feel this way. Wouldn?t it be great if WWE used the old WCW and ECW ppv idea of having the stage that extends all the way to the ring? That kind of entrance way would perpetuate this idea that the wrestlers are more intangible and mythical because you cannot touch them, they are above you. It would also allow for some really cool match spots.
The large screen has to stay for reasons of replay and excessive backstage segments. However, I miss the old guard rails. I really don?t care for the blocks they have used for the past ten years. I really like the idea of giving TV shows a stripped down feel. Just have the old curtain, aisle and guard rail for the shows. After all, the main show is called Raw, so make it raw. Make it a ballsy, in-your-face wrestling show. Then WWE could use the extended stage and fancy setups for the pay per views. This would give a more significant feel to the big shows instead of making them feel like extended Raw’s and Smackdown!’s
Last and probably least, the ropes. We have seen the same old red ropes for years and years. They are stale. I feel nostalgic every Great American Bash when we see the old red, white, and blue ropes, but if we were to see that every week again, it would grow stale very quickly. I understand that red is the color of Raw, so if they must keep the ropes red, so be it, but let’s go back to making all pay per view ropes black to help distinguish. The only exceptions would be GAB and Wrestlemania. GAB could have the flag colors and WM could use all white.
These changes would set the stage for our heroes when they make their way into the arena for their next war. It would change up our perspective of what these shows should mean to us as well as what the wrestlers themselves mean. I know this sounds incredibly petty, but it’s true. Look back at your favorite show setup and think about how it made you feel about that particular show. I know it does for me. It is just all a part of the escape. Whenever I see a woman pulling a cigarette out of a used ash tray, when I go through my house looking for every last penny so I can afford a gas station cappuccino, or when my wife tells me she stole sugar f rom the science lab at school to put in her coffee, I think about Randy Orton making his entrance to defeat Chris Benoit for the World Championship, and the lasting impressions a wrestling show makes on me.
If you would like to contact me and tell me how you will never understand how I got a position as a columnist, or if you would like to tell me my column is the greatest thing that has ever happened to you, or perhaps you just want to know brand of cigarette that girl at the gas station was smoking, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time, this has been Notes f rom the Nosebleeds.