Definition of a Decade

Well, hello. As some of you may know, I write on-and-off for TWO – TalkWrestlingOnline.com and that little ol’ wrasslin’ site has reached the big 10 – double figures now, and finally, the training wheels off the bike! It’s been an eventful 10 years, perhaps one of the most eventful decades in the history of Professional Wrestling. Along the way, there’s been people that have risen above the industry, that have defined the business. Some in good ways, some in bad, but all of them in a way that ensures they won’t be forgotten easily.

For TWO’s tenth birthday, I figured I’d scrape the bottom of the barrel that passes for my brain and give you my list – in no particular order – of the 10 people I consider as the defining characters of the what I call “The TWO Years”… I get the feeling there’s gonna be arguments about this one…
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The Inno View of… Destination X

One man sits through TNA’s Destination X show… and wishes HE fell down the DANGEROUS PIT~~~!!!

OK, so I caved and watched TNA’s latest PPV, Destination X… and I was just gonna skim through it and post a couple of little tidbits here and there… but it took on a life of it’s own… and got bigger, and bigger, and bigger… so here’s my crib sheet of notes I made while watching this… this… abomination upon the world. Just… well, read it. It says it all.

:: Daniels looked to me to be phoning it in, like he doesn’t give a damn anymore.

:: Likewise for Kendrick (Has he even won a match since his TNA debut?) and Red was just… well, Red.

:: Kazarian strikes me as being the kind of guy who enjoys things when he’s getting the push, so he’s on his game right now.

:: Some of the ladder spots where the guys reset ladders into certain positions after every move just looked like amateur hour… the whole match just reeked of spot after spot after spot. Could and should have been so much more given the participants.

:: I really prefer to watch TNA on mute – the fans are bad enough with their idiotic clapping chant for everything, but Tenay’s nasally whiny voice drives me insane, and what the hell happened to Taz? When did he start to suck? I’m sure he was awesome on SmackDown… surely it wasn’t Cole having an effect on him and reigning him in? He just rambles too much for me now…

:: Remember when Victoria was awesome in the WWE? Me too. I miss it. She’s lost so many steps it’s unreal… Daffney is a lot better than I remember her being.

:: Rob Terry reminds me of Mr Hyde in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. And he still sucks. How that man has a championship of any sort id beyond me. He can barely walk without screwing it up. Get him off my TV, now!

:: MCMG get to speak, and they make the most of it. Sabin and Shelley for my money are the best tag team in TNA right now.

:: Generation Me look like they won a prize in a cereal box to take part in a match on a TNA show…

:: MCMG are just light years ahead of them. Double team moves should be a staple of tag team wrestling and nobody in the big two does it better than MCMG.

:: Having said that, the GM guys do have show potential… but you just know they’re gonna concentrate on doing faster, flashier, more spinny moves rather than actual working.

:: How high were Hall & Waltman?

:: I hate Mike Tenay calling Eric Young EY. It needs to stop. Now.

:: Pac looks the most mobile of NWO v374,582 – that’s like saying electrocution is the best form of death, mind.

:: Scott Hall does the worst crotch chop since Hornswoggle.

:: Change the fucking canvas rather than leave the Eric Young outline… sheesh… small time image or what?

:: Shannon Moore… just go to hell. Seriously. Hearing Taz trying to make him sound like a big deal made me chuckle.

:: Even the TNA inbreds are just DEAD for the Williams / Moore snoozlefest.

:: Shannon Moore is Scrappy Doo to Jeff Hardy’s Scooby…

:: Brick! BRICK! BRICK!!! I love my Brick!!!

:: Digging Doug’s speech about jumped up acrobats.

:: Bet Vince hates the fact that Matt Morgan slipped through his fingers. Dude can talk, and he’s improving in the ring. He looks the business, too.

:: Tag team champs that don’t get along? Been done tons of times, but Morgan’s obnoxiousness is off the scale. Playing that role REALLY well.

:: Bored of Mr Anderson already. Can only be a matter of time until he gets injured, anyway.

:: Having said that, the headlock sequence at the start of the Angle/Anderson match was really good to watch… and that back suplex out of the third headlock? Vicious!

:: Seriously, someone should slap those fans in the front row. Applauding the heel isn’t ironic, it’s fucking annoying!

:: The Angle Slam is such a weak looking finisher, it’s hardly surprising it gets kicked out of on a regular basis.

:: The last 5 minutes of that match seemed to be in slow motion… just brutal to watch. And not in the good way.

:: And the point of the Anderson post match promo was… to be shit? Success.

:: Abyss loves Hogan’s ring. Heh. Suppose Brutus Beefcake made a career out of it…

:: AJ just looks uncomfortable in this new heel role. Not that I don’t think he can be a heel, just that I don’t think he’s cut out to be a Naitch style heel… someone like Wolfe would fit a lot better for me.

:: OK, I admit… I love JB’s ring intros.

:: No Abyss! BAD Abyss! Don’t go for JB!!!

:: That little cut off bit of the ramp? Looks really dumb. Really.

:: Wowzer…. the suplex back into the ring from the ramp looked pretty good. Like that!

:: Crowd are just so dead…it’s a bloody PPV! Get into it! And I don’t mean blindly chanting “TNA! TNA! TNA!” everytime someone leaves their feet, or calling everything “Awesome” when it’s clearly not.

:: Ric Flair… shoulda stayed retired, sir. Much as it pains me, your act is annoying now. Saying “Woooo” repeatedly does not make an effective promo any more.

:: This match is just ass-backwards. THE MONSTER Abyss… is the good guy? And the small, fast guy is meant to be the big bad? Bull. Doesn’t work if both guys aren’t into it, and Abyss might be a good comedy face, but he ain’t a convincing face for the fans to buy into… and as I said, AJ doesn’t seem totally into the smug heel role.

:: Just realised, this is PPV, yeah? No RVD, no Pope, no Team 3D, no Sting (which is par for the course these days, to be fair) and no Hardy? Straaaaange booking, no?

:: Gotta admit at this point, I have seen the tail end of this match – in that superb YouTube vid “Oh No! Abyss created a dangerous pit!” – go find it if you haven’t checked it out already.

:: Wow, someone blew that spray-mace-into-the-ref’s-eyes spot. Ref was making burbling noises waiting for Flair to spray him for a lifetime!

:: Oh and here’s Hulky and Hebner to save the day.

:: Flair in a wheelchair pushed by Hogan… just seems like something that Vince would have done about the time of the Nacho Man skits.

:: Abyss is… Freaking Up? Abyssing up? Whatever, the synchronised “YOU~~~!!!!” was pretty funny 🙂

:: Aaaaaand now we enter shitsville… first sign? The hand from underneath the ring making the rip in the canvas bigger while AJ is lying in the DANGEROUS PIT OF DOOM~~~!!!

:: Ric Flair is wheels-a-fire coming down that ramp!

:: Abyss falls in the hole… sheesh. And Flair is out of the wheelchair and over acting like a demon… and now here’s Wolfe being used as a ping pong ball…

:: Jeez, this is just a fucking joke. THAT is how you end a PPV Main Event?

:: The TNA freak-a-zoids still think it’s awesome. Seriously guys, get a grip or get a life, either or. I’m begging ya.

:: If this was the plan all along, then I’m not surprised that TNA hardly promoted the show. Sheesh.

:: Just felt like an extended Impact rather than a big PPV show. Shocking.

Time is on my side… or maybe not.

Know what’s annoying about wrestling these days? Time. Everything is in a rush…

Know what’s annoying about wrestling these days? Time. Everything is in a rush… this guy is the next Rock, this guy is the next Austin, this guy is gonna be the new Hogan… it’s bull.

Back in the day when I watched wrestling most, there were 4 pay per view gigs a year in the WWF/E. Matches, feuds, personal issues – they were all built up over time. By the time the eventual PPV match came round, you’d actually invested some quality time into the problems between the two guys/teams, whatever. Gimmick matches were once in a blue moon, triple threat matches even more so.

There was no such thing as a match being made just days before PPV or even thrown onto the PPV as a result of a confrontation actually ON the PPV itself!

Take, for example, Kofi vs. Orton – as I write this, already they’re planning (or that’s the road it seems to be going down) a one v one match for these two. The problem between them started, what, two-three weeks ago?

Orton vs. Cena has been going on for months, and personally, I’m tired of it. Why? Because they have been fighting on every PPV once a month at least in ever escalating gimmicks, higher stakes, loser leaves town, last chance at the title, mother on a pole, you name it matches. It’s overkill.

Edge vs. Cena was the same – total overkill. What’s the next big money match on the horizon? Where’s the next Rock vs. Austin? When Edge comes back from injury, he’s gonna be thrown into a feud with someone he’s probably already fought hundreds of times before. Cena and Trips and HBK hit the nail on the head with their little throwaway promo on Raw – they’ve all beaten each other so many times, that personally, I don’t care anymore.

Yes, I know wrestling is pre-determined (never use the word fake, trust me) and that these guys are all good buddies “in the back” – but you know what? It’s about suspending belief for that period of time that they are on your screen, in that ring. For example, I know that the characters in House and Bones are acting – doesn’t stop me becoming engrossed in the stories they tell. I know that Guybrush Threepwood in the Monkey Island games is just a collection of pixels, but it doesn’t stop me getting involved in the next chapter of the game.

All these things… they tell stories. Wrestling is all about telling a story. It shouldn’t just be a case of “I’m a good guy, you’re a bad guy, let’s have a fight” and they fight on and off for 6 months and end up pretty evenly matched in wins and losses. What does that prove?

Look back at the last time you got excited about a title change. For me, it was Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit. Why? Because they were the underdogs. They clawed and scratched and dug their way to the top based on the fact that got in the ring and told actual stories that drew the punters to them. It doesn’t matter that they weren’t particularly well supported “backstage” or that they sold lots of merchandise, or whatever.

The people that count, the fans – that’s you and me, brothers and sisters – invested in these guys. They bought into the story they were trying to tell. It didn’t matter how The Powers That Be tried to alter things so that peeps were buying into the magical cash cows that sold shirts. Those guys won the belts because of fan power.

It’s the exact same reason why Hogan, for example, is a multi time champion and still a huge deal, even at his age and with his level of performances. It simply doesn’t matter that he’s not the greatest wrestler to ever lace his boots up – I highly doubt even Hulk would argue with that. The fact is that Hulk is amongst the best at understanding the bigger picture.

Hulk gets it. He gets that to be successful, fans have to want to see you. Whether it’s to see you get your ass kicked from Albuquerque to Parts Unknown, or to see you finally get your revenge – if the fans don’t buy into the character, the story… then it’s gonna come off as half assed and forced… See Cena, John for an example of that.

Can anyone seriously say they give a damn about John Cena vs. Randy Orton part 15 when you know that it doesn’t matter what happens, they’ll be fighting again next month? Don’t just keep throwing these guys together because Cena is the “top face” and Orton is the “top heel” – give them a real, genuine reason to be at each other’s throats.

Kofi and Randy has the beginnings of a story like that, but this being the WWE and post-Russo crash TV era where everything has to be resolved within a month, they’re more likely to blow that than do the right thing with it… I sincerely hope they don’t. Kofi is a unique talent in the WWE – he does things in a different way to almost everyone else. If we could just stop Michael Cole saying “Controlled Frenzy” when he’s wrestling, that would be even better…

Show me the feud just now that’s on a level with Randy Savage taking issue with Hulk Hogan; show me the match that has the fans buying into it like Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart; show me the personal issue that’s festered for as long as Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer… Hell, even something like Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy should have been a lot more epic than it actually was… but it all felt rushed and hastily pieced together.

There are people in the business today that have the capabilities to make people buy into them, hell to DEMAND that you watch them, to invest in their “character” – but do the creative powers that be have the guts to let them do it? Or do they just want to throw them into a short feud so they can throw on a gimmick match to try and spike the buy rates on the next PPV, just 3-4 weeks after the last one?

And you know that these are the same people that will make excuses to their shareholders that the business just isn’t the same these days… and they’re right. It’s not. And it’s definitely not for the better.

Have Fun, Go Mad…