There are some things in life that you just know and you try to convince yourself otherwise. It could be something spiritual, religious or something just plain concrete in front of you. You are either raised or just taught to believe one way but there is always some sort of lingering doubt that you?re wrong, that even though you would hate to admit it, things are just not quite the way you would have them be. One day you wake up and something just hits you smack in the face and shows you that despite all the time and emotion you invested in believing that way the truth was inevitable and you were wrong. I believed in something, hell I believed it when no one else at times did but I knew it was wrong but still I wanted to, needed to believe and this past week it hit me and now I am here in front of you to admit that I was wrong and just want to know why? Why does Vince McMahon hate professional wrestling? You?re reading “Wrestling Rumblings.”
Some people may read that and think I am going crazy; after all Vince is the biggest promoter in the world when it comes to professional wrestling but yet I feel over time he has eroded everything that was wrestling and has replaced it with something else. This past week was the final ever ECW show, I wasn?t the biggest ECW fan. I?ve never been to an ECW arena show, hell I have never been to an ECW show at all. I did enjoy the original ECW immensely though. Sure it was at times garbage wrestling and catered to a lot of internet fans but there were elements there, elements that went missing in wrestling for such a long time. Some would call it the ECW spirit but I would call it the spirit of professional wrestling. Hell for those of you longtime or knowledgeable wrestling fans the original ECW show bought back a lot of memories of those old mid south wrestling TV shows and while it did have guys who weren?t the greatest, it still was the breeding ground for many of the men that we would feel were the greatest of that particular generation. Men like Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio Jr., Chris Jericho, Dean Malenko, Rob Van Dam and yes even Chris Benoit. ECW in many ways was the last of the true territories as they would run the same venues month after month, week after week like many of the territories of days gone by. It was the link from the old generation to the new and this past week I saw Vince McMahon just attempt to snuff it out of existence. Make it into something that it wasn?t, have ECW become remembered as nothing more than a failed Sports Entertainment experiment. He might have succeeded, I hope he hasn?t.
You see I never had a problem with ECW serving as a breeding ground for the stars of tomorrow. The original ECW was just that if you ask me, even if no one at the time realized it. However Vince didn?t need to use the ECW letters to create another developmental territory, he did it because he could. He did it because he got tired of the chants; he did it because he hated professional wrestling and wanted to replace it with sports entertainment. Why else did we never see the ECW championship treated like a world championship on par with the World and WWE championships? Why else did we never have meaningful ECW angles on PPV? Why else did we even have the ECW champion compete in the Royal Rumble match? Why did we suffer through a period where Vince McMahon himself was ECW Champion? It’s simple, Vince wanted to kill it, he saw the wrestling fans try to resurrect the spirit and he wanted it to crumble to his god Sports Entertainment.
Sports Entertainment, what the hell is that? What’s wrong with the words wrestling? While we are on the subject what is wrong with calling the moves in the ring? Calling the championships titles or belts? Knowing the names of the referees or any of the other wrestling vocabulary Vince McMahon has got rid of in the past 20 years? I had a talk with someone earlier in the week about the Rock and I asked him if he thought the Rock thought of himself as a wrestler or as an entertainer and the reason I asked that is because I don?t think that the Rock has thought of himself as abandoning wrestling at all but that he always saw himself as an entertainer and wrestling was just another medium for him and he has since evolved into another medium. Rock is, was and always will be an entertainer and while there is nothing wrong with that he was never meant to last in this business. This business is for wrestlers, the guys who get dirty, the guys who play hurt, the guys who just can?t get it out of there system even when their body is trying to tell them 20 years too late that it’s over. Give me those guys and keep your Sports Entertainers.
Whatever happened to having a match and holding the crowd in the palm of your hand? It has been replaced by guest hosts and just overall silliness. I have heard our very own Hunter Golden refer to Monday Night Raw over the past few months as the Muppet Show. Well I can only speak for myself but I am too damn old for Muppets. I want athletes; I want the violence and drama that I can only get in professional wrestling. Yes I understand that there is a lot to compete with but just because Raw has a guest host doesn?t make it the Tonight Show to me? Just because you have wrestlers go and try poorly to do something akin to stand up doesn?t make it The George Lopez Show or any other sitcom out there. If I wanted 24, The Sopranos, or The Shield I?d be watching that, I want wrestling and well what’s wrong with that? Why Vince Why? Why are you trying to make the wrestling fan extinct? We have lined your pockets with cash for years and I will admit we will all probably continue to do so but what do you do? You spit in our face and you make us embarrassed at times that we even watch your product.
Even though wrestling is a worked sport we all have our favorites, our heroes that we all root for. Bryan Danielson would probably fulfill that role for many Ring of Honor fans and I think signing him was definitely a smart decision for WWE but WWE is more interested in making Ring of Honor fans feel stupid than they are in pushing Bryan Danielson, oh I am sorry excuse me Daniel Bryan. Why else would you change his name and then have him ?mentored? by The Miz? We are talking about a guy who was trained by one of the all time greats in Shawn Micheals and who has crafted his trade for over 10 years and actually has a fanbase without WWE’s influence and what do you do? You break him down and rebuild him all over again, why? Because he is a wrestler and you are looking for a sports entertainer that’s why. It’s ridiculous for lack of a better more colorful word. Why wouldn?t you want to capitalize on what this guy has done? You don?t, you just want to rebuild him in WWE’s image. You want to make wrestling fans feel stupid.
Of course Danielson isn?t the first, it’s been happening for years. Harley Race had to make an ass of himself as ?The King?, Dusty Rhodes was embarrassed with Polka Dots and don?t even get me started on Terry Taylor as the Red Rooster. They were wrestlers but that wasn?t what you were looking for Vince so you had to change it up and I will admit for every Polka Dot Dusty Rhodes you had a Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase but we are in 2010 now Vince does everything need to be a cartoon or a parody of the art of wrestling. Hey I will admit it’s not a sport but it is an art and the art is dying and you are the only person who can save it but you would rather eradicate it and build something else in its place.
I?ll readily admit I am a WWE fan but I am not the same fan I used to be and this is why. Forget Guest Hosts and silly skits. Leave the midgets at home and give me women who are athletes and not artificial pin up girls. Don?t give me your lame attempt at reality TV and give me men who compete and strive to be the best. Stop making championships jokes and elevate them and give them meaning again and make them something that is worth caring about. Give me wrestling; I?ve had just about enough of Sports Entertainment. I like many kids grew up wanting to be a wrestler but unlike other kids I realized pretty early on that I?d much rather be Vince McMahon. Not because you are rich but because you have the power to mold and create and you have used that power to give yourself an empire but for how long? The audience erodes more and more year after year and MMA has taken the place of wrestling as the thing to watch and you know why? Because it is what wrestling used to be and even though MMA is real and wrestling is a work I still feel wrestling has the advantage on it, if you allow it to Vince. You are the only one. Give me; give the wrestling fans something to believe in again.
I?m going to come down off my soapbox this week but if you have anything to say you can always hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org this wasn?t a good week for email as I was very busy and very under the weather so those of you that have wrote me I haven?t yet replied but I will this weekend I promise. Next week I will try to do better and until then I am out.