It says a great deal about the presently uninspiring state of professional wrestling that the hottest copy in circulation concerns an ex-wrestler, ex-promoter and an ex…
We’ll begin with Brock Lesnar’s crass, petulant and utterly exhillarating post-fight promo at the expense of UFC, its sponsors and the fee-paying audience. It hardly smacked of professionalism but I’d wager Brock is more that a mite tired of time and again justifying his existence. His original decision to leave WWE was an idiotic, emotional outburst. His subsequent attempts to crack the NFL, whilst tenacious and gutsy in the extreme, were hardly the acts of a genius. Nevertheless, the fight in Lesnar never subsided and after a brief association with Antonio Inoki (never a good thing in the long-term) Lesnar did what Kurt Angle never has (and never will) and threw in his lot with the fastest growing sporting fad in the world, Ultimate Fighting Championship.
For Lesnar, avenging the intial, Frank Mir-shaped black mark against his record will have restored pride and affirmed the immense self-confidence that courses through his veins. Brock has taken UFC by storm and, in the process, erased what little remained of his former, McMahon-generated self. Given Lesnar’s astonishing physical gifts and aptitude for all things wrestling it hardly qualifies as astounding that Brock has succeeded in the physically compatible world of UFC. All the same, the speed and manner in which he has run riot over the cream of Dana White’s crop takes the breath away and shoots it between the eyes.
If you know anything of Brock Lesnar you’ll know that his status as a physical specimen is equalled only by his rottweiler-like charm. If ever any man had earned the right to be called a “very mean bastard” it would be Brock. Watching him pulverise Frank Mir was quite the bloody spectacle. Brock may not possess the versatile arsenal of a seasoned fighter but his savvy will only increase with every fight and another year from now it will take a pre-haircut Samson to halt his charge. The so-called wrestling Judas has a whole new Kingdom to rule and I doubt he’ll expend much thought on those who childishly condemned him for being what he is: an untamed animal. If that post-match outburst proved anything it proved what the more observant of the spandex community knew all along: Brock Lesnar doesn’t give a shit.
It’s somewhat ironic then, that as Brock Lesnar staddles a world apart a man who knows him well drops a little reminder from the world outside looking in. Paul Heyman was one of wrestling’s sharpest minds; a maniacal and feverishly creative chap who conjured images of high balconies and Adolf Hitler. His expulsion from the industry was a huge blow to the health of pro-wrestling as a whole. On several occasions subsequent to this Heyman has railed against WWE and TNA for celebrity pandering, the hiring of mindless hacks and allowing (in perpetuity) the crreative stagnation of the business.
Although I think the move is intriguing in a narrow, short-sighted way the use of “celebrity hosts” on Raw is precisely the type of silliness Heyman speaks of. This whole “stars in their eyes” short-termism is rising in frequency in both WWE and TNA. It is one of the many reasons why professional wrestling enjoys credibility roughly equivalent to Joe Lieberman in most circles. The form is being sold-out in order to attact an audience who’s interest (and financial expenditure) is fleeting at best.
The greatest irony here is the ideologies of both Paul Heyman and Jim Cornette are now virtually in sync. These two old enemies are the living embodiment of an insidious truth that Fascists and Communists, opposites of the ideological spectrum are, when taken to their absolute extremes, destined to result in the same eventuality: totalitarianism. Basically, these two old warriors who love the business may have expressed that sentiment in radically different ways but, either way, they both love the business. I for one would love to know how much money the Hollywood types are making for their one-off appearances. Chances are they’re taking a certain mug to the cleaners. Richly deserved…
Finally, we have Karen Angle. No one can deny she’s a stunning looking gal with a modicum of talent to boot but her taste in men is undeniably questionable. Only in wrestling could you go from a drug-addicted Olympian to a mid-forty something hick who, I can only surmise, is hung like a gilded stallion or something. Jeff Jarrett’s sudden and unceremonious removal from TNA TV is indicative of his almost total impotence within the company he founded (with his dad) whilst at the same time, Kurt Angle’s omnipotence.
The talk doing the rounds is Angle might have a hankering for the book and if he doesn’t get it he’ll walk out on TNA in just over a month’s time. The proof that Angle is truly crazed is in his unpredictable rashness being the only predictable thing about him. You give Kurt Angle all the Pyramids in Egypt and he’d still want a castle. TNA’s latest WCW tribute act on PPV, coupled with Jarrett’s removal and the impending contract negotiations make him virtually invicible within the walls of TNA. Jarrett, for all his “Mr. TNA” tub-thumping, is a pawn of Dixie Carter-Salinas and can be moved as such. His decision to become involved with Kurt Angle’s ex-wife threatens the (already precarious) mental well-being of the top star of TNA; a man who in six weeks can open negotiations with your almighty rival. Jarrett has been sidelined indefinitely (on Carter’s say so) to quite possibly appease Kurt Angle. Whether he has the book or not, Angle is the only Mr. TNA the company values. The meat in this particular sandwich remains very tasty indeed…
Not that I’d expect many a wrestling fan to understand this concept but as wise Englishmen once said: “It’s always the bloody women”. If I was Jeff Jarrett, I’d be be giving that pearl of wisdom a little spit and sparkle right about now. Until next time boys and girls.
Daniel R. Browne.