Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Return of the Big Men

Before I begin, let me just state that Mike Tyson was on Conan tonight, talking candidly about doing cocaine. Mind you, this is just 48 hours after he was inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame. Yeah, way to go WWE, Tyson’s a real kid friendly Superstar they can look up to.

For the rest of the week, I don’t want to hear another peep about Evan Bourne smoking the LEGAL K2. Ok? Good, let’s move on now.

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It was November, 2011, just about Thanksgiving time and right before Survivor Series, when the WWE posted the now infamous “Turkey” article. In it, they defamed many of their ex-wrestlers and several WCW alumni as “has-beens” “wannabes” and of course “stupid”. This was the second of two articles, the first coming that prior October, where they labeled several WCW and WWF light heavyweights as “moronic has-beens”.

Well some of those “has-beens” are Facebook friends of mine, and while some took it in stride (haters are gonna hate, Kori) others were offended, especially since the article went live as some of these gentlemen were sitting down to a family dinner. Within days, the article went viral, promoters questioned bringing in these names, money was lost and names were defamed. “Happy Thanksgiving!” Chided the WWE, not caring about the wrestlers ~ most of whom had NOT been a part of WWE for many years ~ or their fans.

Eventually the article did come down, but the WWE employees treated it as “I guess SOME people just can’t take a joke” putting the blame on those of us who don’t act like playground bullies.

This was it, the final straw for me. I had taken all that I could and I wasn’t going to take any more. I quit watching WWE. I was done.

Now since that day, I’ve endured much harassment. “You’re STOOPID! Don’t you realize that WWE is THE thing to watch?? NO other wrestling exists IT’S JUST A SHOW!!” The idea that I’m stupid because I am a female wrestling fan was drilled home.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love wrestling. It’s a part of me. I watch TNA every week. I watch the Indy promotions whenever I have the chance. My DVD and VHS library has more wrestling in it than I can count. It’s nourishing to me.

With that said, the WWE has not produced an actual wrestling show in many years. When I have to sit through an hour and forty-five minutes, to fine ONE wrestling match, something has gone terribly wrong with the booking, and I for one have better things to do with my time, than to sit still and swallow another 20 minute promo about children’s breakfast cereal.

Yet in still, many of WWE’s fans have invaded my inboxes, and have even gone so far as to track me down at different Indy shows, to bark in my face about the WWE.

The hateful ignorance did not let up……………….. until Sunday.

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Now I am not completely removed from the world. I have a computer. I have internet. I have a Facebook. And on my Facebook are some people who post about the WWE. So I fully understood that Sunday was WrestleMania. Considering how abysmal last year’s card was (and this is another story I can tell, but now now) I really could not have cared less. This year’s card didn’t even offer me much hope, but I still was able to make my predictions. Some of which came true. But this isn’t about Mania, oh no, I’m saving this story for another blog.

See, during WrestleMania, there were a ton of wrestling related rumors. But I discounted all of them. Why? Because it was April Fools Day, so I just naturally guessed that everything I read was speculation at best, but mostly jokes. For example, I heard that Hulk Hogan was going back to WWE. I heard that Stone Cold was going to do a run in during Cena’s match. I heard that C.M. Punk had been asked to do a voice over for a TNA DVD. See? None of this sounds very accurate, so I dismissed every single absurd thing I heard.

… In hindsight… that wasn’t such a bright idea.

So WrestleMania left a bitter taste in the mouths of my detractors, and I wound up enjoying a troll-free Sunday. Monday was Raw, and still I have no desire to watch, so I just figured they would let The Rock gloat, there would be fallout from the title matches, and that Brodus Clay would be forced to do something embarrassing.

Ok, I was at least half-right.

During the broadcast, I started seeing those rumors I dismissed creeping back up on my Timeline. Only, they were no longer rumors. They were real.

1. Lord Tensai was revealed to be the wrestler formerly known as Albert, Prince Albert, A-Train and Giant Bernard. A 6’7, rotund, Jewish White man, posing as a Japanese wrestler… which doesn’t sound 100% racist at all, right? Right??

*Cricket-Cricket*

Yeah. And it gets worse.

His “sidekick” is a wrestler named Sakamoto, a student of Taka Michinoku who was an FCW standout… who is now relegated to being Tensai’s “little buddy”. Oh and Tensai is Japanese for “natural disaster” and he debuted a year and a day after the earthquakes and tsunamis that hit Japan. Which is totally not racist or in poor taste, right??

*Cricket-Cricket*

Yeah. Well hey, if you’re offended by this storyline, the NAACP (which has in the past also handled Asian defamation pretty well) would love to hear from you. Here’s their contact information: http://action.naacp.org/page/s/contact

2. Brock Lesnar (6’3) returned to re-kindle a feud that ended abruptly with John Cena. To prove his point, Cena was given the F-5.

3. The WWE decided that after losing in a few seconds (literally) to Sheamus (6’4), Daniel Bryan is no longer worthy of a rematch for the SmackDown-Heavyweight-WCW-Rip-Off-Belt, so Alberto Del Rio (6’5) is taking his place.

4. The WWE has off and on been interested in bringing back Batista (6’6).

5. The Rock (6’2) has teased that he is here to stay, and may even try for the title soon.

Adding to this, there is talk yet again that WWE COO HHH wants to bring back the Cruiserweight division.

Are you seeing it now? You should. You’re not being shown new wrestlers being pushed or even veterans being given respect. What you’re seeing is something a little less magical, maybe even sad to a degree.

This ladies and gentlemen, is the end of the little guy regime, and the re-launch of the era of the Big Men. Gone are the days of the plucky mid-carder suddenly getting a t-shirt line and a title reign. We are now returning to the days of the Attitude Era, where only the Stone Colds, HHHs and Rocky Maiavias of the world can gain access to the main event, while "Shorty" is relegated to "Little Buddy" status.

And it’s something I’ve been eluding to in blogs past.

The WWE has never liked or respected the champions that don’t fit the mold. To be successful, have more title shots than you know what to do with, you have to fit:

The Mold:
Must be 6’1-6’5 in height.
Have a look that is marketable, yet not too over the top. (No Mohawks.)
Smart enough to work the crowd, but not so smart as to badmouth the WWE outside of a scripted promo.
Choice of dress is relegated to either standard black shorts with matching pads and boots, or jean shorts, gym shoes and socks. (Stone Cold has worn both.)
Able to work on a Sports Entertainment level, but not technical enough to keep up with William Regal.
Number of monthly Pay Per Views guaranteed to main event or hold a title during per year: 10

The Loudmouth:
Must be 5’9-6’0 in height. (With boots)
Must have a scrawny build. Skinny like a carrot, but still tone enough to look like you’ve seen the gym this week.
Must be able to TALK LIIIIIIIIKE THIIIIIIIS EVERY… SINGLE… TIME… YOU CUT… A PROOOOOMOOOOOOO and use the word “Me” a lot. (Think Miz)
Must be able to spin-doctor every problem as being someone else’s fault, even as a Face.
Must wear skin tight clothing and be willing to let slip a non-PG phrase every three weeks. (Think HBK)
Number of monthly Pay Per Views guaranteed to main event or hold a title during per year: 2-4

The Giant:
Must be 6’8 or taller.
Must be willing to dress either like a Halloween character or in clothes picked out by a clown. Tarzan-style singlet is optional.
Must be willing to eat a regular sized meal. Carrot sticks need not apply.
Must have at least one off the top rope move, but not as many as a Luchador. (One elbow drop or plancha is permitted every six months.)
No technical moves. (Exception, Undertaker.)
Number of monthly Pay Per Views guaranteed to main event or hold a title during per year: 2

Those who do not fit these molds typically have title reigns that last under 6 months, if ever. And most of these reigns end under questionable circumstances.

Examples you can look up on YouTube:
Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna and then Yokozuna vs. Hulk Hogan, Wrestlemania 9.
Eddie Guerrero vs. JBL July 15, 2004.
Rey Mysterio Jr, Great American Bash 2006.
Christian vs. Randy Orton May 6, 2011

Most of the time, once the “outsiders” are no longer champion, they have to fight to make their way back to the top of the card, and all will spend more than a reasonable amount of time in dark matches, usually designed for new or rookie wrestlers. They are treated as though their title reigns never existed.

It’s well known that the WWE has never been as ready to push their non-molded champions as others, but more so they have always help a grudge against the 5’9 and under crowd. These are the wrestlers that have had to deal with the worst storylines and the harshest of fights before ever climbing up to main event status, and even once they obtain the title, none are guaranteed a main even positions at the major PPVS. This year and last, the SmackDown belt was relegated to opening card status at WrestleMania. Not too curious to figure out, once you see that Edge was the champion last year, while Bryan was this year. Neither wrestler fits the mold.
(Edge later retired after spearing Brodus, just a short time after WM27. Think about it.)

With the return of these larger wrestlers and the talk of the Cruiserweight, one thing is certain. If you are a fan of the 5’9 and below crowd, be prepared to only catch their Cruiserweight defenses on the internet only Superstars. Just as it was once on the last time the division had a belt. These shorter men will be guaranteed to never be able again to reach for the main titles, should this continue.

The Era of the Big Men has returned.

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