Thursday, January 24, 2013

Whatever The Rock was cooking, it has burnt.

"NO NO NOOOO!!!!" I protested, clutching my pillow while doing my very best Daniel Bryan impersonation. My younger brother had awakened me from my slumber, to inform me that Hulu had just picked up Raw.

Now understand this. I have seen precious little of the WWE since the "Turkey" incident on their website. Since they had then and continue to make fun of their ex-wrestlers on various postings and videos, I decided a full-on boycott was in order. It's bad enough the writing went straight to the toilet, but it's worse when you're outright trolling wrestlers.

So with that said, since September I've seen a few clips, several weeks worth of NXT and almost a full episode of Raw. (We all pulled for King that night.) But not much more that isn't on Botchamania.

"But Kori you gotta see this!" My inbox is usually full of these messages, but usually it's not coming from my own brother, who joined the boycott shortly after learning what a Funkasaurus is. But he's a very open minded, positive young man, so if he insists on me seeing something, it has to be pretty important.

"What is so damn special about Raw??" Considering that my Facebook feed was still full up with angry comments about Mae Young giving birth a second time on live television, I figured it was way too early in my day for Creative's usual flavor of BS. At least let me have a cup of coffee before handing me a Russoism.

"THE ROCK AND C.M. PUNK!!!!"

"...... Ok I'm up."

If you haven't guessed by now, I'm a sucker for anything to do with C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman. So I arise from my bed and head out to where the Roku box is.

So I watched the promo between The Rock and C.M. Punk. I probably shouldn't have to repeat what I heard, since the video is all over the internet now, but I couldn't help but notice that The Rock just couldn't keep up with Punk, vocally. In fact, he couldn't keep up at all. I heard two words fall out of his face that I hadn't seen since Will Smith was a childless Fresh Prince:

Cookie Puss.

... Cookie Puss??

Cookie Puss..

When you hear an out-of-date term like that, you just have to tell somebody about it. It trended on Twitter for just 20 minutes, because everybody was trying to figure out where Cookie Puss came from.

Now growing up, I always heard that most of The Rock's best materials were written for him, but when he first challenged Cena the January before Wrestlemania 27, I thought that maybe it wasn't 100% true. I see now though that true or not, there was just no way for him to take out a man who thinks on his feet. Like it or not, Punk has the phrase "pipe bomb" associated with him for a valid reason.

If you look closely into The Rock's eyes, they tell the tale. He realized Punk was not about to back down, so the following week, I figured that he'd come back with a better promo, or better yet, have a match. Because you know.. it's like sports and stuff. So I waited a week to see if my brother would wake me again for the Hulu-cast.

... I slept in. Uh-oh.

Well judging by the moaning and groaning on Facebook, not only didn't The Rock cut an even better promo, he poked fun at pictures, using out of date music references, and then sang a song using a 12 year old's vocabulary. I swear it feels like Russo works there again.

I've since seen all of the instances where The Rock appears on camera for this feud. And there's something missing, outside of a better promo.

The crowd.

Oh sure you hear them, but it's sounding piped in. When you see the footage from the actual crowd, you see a handful of adults playing along, but the kids look bored. That thunderous *POP* I once heard is missing.

Now alot of people (read: over 25) have openly confessed that they too felt let down. This week for example should have hyped everyone up for the Royal Rumble, but instead it fell flat.

But these same people want to know why. Why aren't the kids getting into this? Why is everyone so down on The Rock and his feud with C.M. Punk? This "could be" earning Raw a 4 in the ratings, instead, they're struggling to rise above a 2, what gives?

Well it's all very simple, let me break this down with one small, itemized list.

1. The first problem is an easy one. You booked Rock vs. Cena a year in advance for Wrestlemania. So right now, Rock should do what he's done the last two years, take pot-shots at Cena while the heels tease him about getting his ass kicked again for round two. Instead, he's picking on C.M. Punk.

2. C.M. Punk honestly gets the crowd to embrace him, until he says something heelish. The Rock has to work for that reaction. How does he do it? He bullies Punk and Heyman. So much for The Rock Being a STAR there. And don't get me started on what he said about Vickie. True I hate her character, but she has her own storyline right now. It makes no sense to allow her into this. But I digress. The Rock is a bully, and HE'S the GOOD guy?? The drug-free guy who everybody likes is the BAD guy, and the jock bully is the GOOD guy. WHAT??

3. The Rock hasn't earned squat. True, he WAS a champion a few times, but his last reign was in 2002. That's 11 years ago. Since then, he's made a career of promising to stay for the long haul, only to bolt the next time Disney wants an ethnically nondescript guy for a film.

If this was any other wrestling company in the world right now, they'd use him as a special guest and NOTHING more. He'd jump in the ring, thank the crowd for coming, collect a paycheck and LEAVE. Instead, you hand Mr. I-Can't-Count-On-You a title shot??

That's not only a slap in the face to the fans, who already know he's going to let them down again, that's a slap to all the other people in the back, who are going through pay-cuts right now, so this guy can pad his pension.

Oh sure, everyone is pretending right now, that adding a big name like The Rock will magically add funds to every bank account, starting with the champ and ending with the guy driving the ring truck rental, but it's not the truth. These guys are not earning any more with or without him. They're getting a PPV bonus and that's all. The Rock is eating up a salary in three months, that a Dolph Ziggler or a Kofi Kingston would have to work a YEAR to obtain.

Don't believe me? Ask any member of La Resistance how much money they NEVER EVER SAW when Rocky had his second comeback from Hollywood while they were being pushed to the background. I'll take the word of a man who actually worked there over any website, any day.

4. Time. Remember, raunchy or not, they're still mostly aiming this at the kids. Mostly the 5-8 year olds in the crowd, who after a long, hard day at school, just want to sit, relax, crack open a cold one and watch some wrestling.

But remember what I said before. The Rock's last title run was in 2002. 11 years ago. These kids were NOT alive back then.

Worse? These kids never knew him as "The Rock". They know him as the Derpy dad in "The Game Plan" or the dumb cab driver in "Race to Witch Mountain" or the out of touch moron in "Journey 2". These kids have no clue who The Rock is, but they all know who the Tooth Fairy is, and the mere thought of that pajama-wearing FREAK ever being able to take down Cena or Punk, saddens them.

On that note, I can totally sympathize. I remember being a kid. I remember when one of my favorites (Bam Bam Bigelow, may he rest in peace) had to job to L.T. I got an epic beating at school for sticking up for Bam Bam. But hey, at least L.T. was a full-time football player back then. Can you imagine the Hell that awaited the youngster last year, who championed John Cena ~ and then had his whole class watch him get beaten by the TOOTH FAIRY???

So how does WWE fix this? By re-releasing several of The Rock's best matches onto Netflix. That'll get them pumped, right?

Wrong.

You see, all of the matches have a time-stamp somewhere on the screen. And kids are really good at math. The ones who aren't have calculators in their phones.

With that said, they understand that 1998 was a really long time ago, and not exactly "recent".

Another issue is that The Rock logically, never wrestled himself. He wrestled other people. Here's how the kids see those "other guys":

The Undertaker: The old guy with the Mohawk that shows up once a year. Like Santa Claus, only he knocks out out, doesn't give you toys, makes you bleed and doesn't seem to get hit by cars.

Triple H: The loud, old guy with the big nose and the legs made out of silly string, who The Undertaker knocked out last year.

Stone Cold Steve Austin: The old guy who yelled at people on Tough Enough and drinks Daddy Juice.

Kurt Angle: The bald guy on TNA that keeps getting injured.

Brock Lesnar: The creepy guy from UFC.

The kids don't know these guys or The Rock as active, full-time, WWE guys. So you show them this footage, and they acknowledge it as what it really is. History.

Oh sure, you can whine and scream and complain all you like. You can name-call and pretend the kids are the "ignorant" and "disrespectful" ones. But you should know better by now.

The kids already know that this is ancient history, and when it comes to televised "sports entertainment" it's all about what Janet Jackson sang about in the 80's. ♫ What have you done for me late-lyyy ♪ I'm sure The Rock remembers that one well.

We bitch at the kids that ~ they ought to be thankful for the little things ~ but little things are all Rock seems to give ♫ (Yeah, I went there.)

They're already old enough at ages 5-8 to remember this guy up and leaving at the drop of a hat, and they know that he's really all about his own agenda. Not the company, not the other "good" guys, not the belt, and certainly not THE MILLIONS (and millions) of the people, who spend an entire paycheck on just 2-3 tickets to one of these shows.

The kids expect better.

Shouldn't you?

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