Reality From Ringside #3
February 23, 2009
Reported By: Doug Lackey of

The Art of the Double-Cross

According to Wikipedia, the phrase ?Double-Cross? originates f rom the use of the word ?cross? in the sense of foul play or deliberate collusion to lose a contest of some kind. The phrase is used to describe either of two possible situations:

1) A competitor participating in the fix who has agreed to throw their game instead competes as usual, against the original intention of their collaborators ? one ?cross? against another.

2) Two opposing parties are approached, urging them to throw the game and back the other. Both parties lose out, and the perpetrators benefit by backing a third, winning party.

In the industry of professional wrestling, just as it is in soap operas and televised dramas, the double-cross is a vital part in storytelling and plot development. It seems to happen on a near-weekly basis in professional wrestling, and last month’s Royal Rumble was no exception.

The double shot of double-cross served up by the jovial bartenders of the WWE was very satisfying. Shawn Michael’s almost-apparent double-cross of JBL only to be dashed by his original intention through his Superkick to John Cena’s chin was our first layer. Although not as satisfying as the buzz we received f rom Matt Hardy’s double-cross of his own brother.

What makes the Hardy plot-twist so great is for two reasons. First, I don?t really think many of us who have watched professional wrestling for over 20 years could have predicted it. Sure, we were seeing it when Matt ran down to aisle to ?help? Jeff, but we could have predicted the double-cross to occur before it became apparent.

Secondly, how many of you believed the Internet rumor mill that Christian Cage would be returning and revealing himself as the assailant and costing Jeff the WWE Title? Vince has always had a certain flair for dashing every mark’s hopes and dreams and replacing them with a twist that makes everyone just pucker their lips and let out a curious and satisfying ?Oooooo?.

This is the art of the double-cross. It is the most tried and true plot-development device that keeps us coming back for more and more. It is also further proof that my girlfriend is right? professional wrestling is just a male soap opera, a drama with fists. I love her even more for making this statement while we watched the Royal Rumble:

?This is exactly like ?The Young and The Restless?, except I like how ?we? solve our conflicts,? she said.

After chuckling lightly, I replied, ?Oh yeah? How is that??

Her answer is absolutely priceless, ?You guys solve your problems through violence, that’s too boring and not as satisfying. We solve our problems through sex; Pleasurable for both parties but mentally excruciating for one.?

(Before I continue, I must say I need to marry this woman? any female who has the patience to watch professional wrestling with you for an extended amount of time, like five minutes, is one-of-a-kind and should be cherished as such.)

Hilarious as it sounds and as painfully true it might be, she was right. Professional wrestling is great drama, and it is because of the utilization of the double-cross that makes it great. We could always count on personalities like Triple H and Shawn Michaels to feed our insatiable appetite for storytelling. Whenever it seemed that the past weeks? productions felt stale or flat, it’s just that one slight-of-hand that causes us to have whiplash f rom jerking our neck back and watching in awe.

The only downside to these plot devices is that it often leaves the parties involved, the crosser and the ?cross-ee,? in storyline limbo. Does anyone reading this column honestly believe that this double-cross will actually further Matt Hardy’s long, strenuous, and often injury-marred career? A veteran of over 16 years is finally getting what seems to be his first and only ?main event storyline? push? Where will this leave Matt when this plot has finished developing? One can only assume that this might be Matt’s last hurrah before truly descending into obscurity. More important to the fact, how will all of the kids and pre-pubescent girls feel when Jeff follows Matt down into the same abyss?

All of these questions I?m sure will be answered in the weeks to come. I only hope that the most gratifying of plot-development devices turns into the least beneficial of career-development devices.