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February 7, 2007 8:56 PM   Subscribe

Professional wrestling. Insanity. Apparently, The world loves this strange tradition.
posted by furiousxgeorge (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Needs some Andy Kaufman.
posted by vronsky at 9:35 PM on February 7, 2007


You do not need Andy Kaufman when you have Mr. Perfect.
posted by StopMakingSense at 10:12 PM on February 7, 2007


If you don't mind my asking, what's the significance of these videos? I mean, given all the legendary matches, enormous personalities, and bizarre (and often tragic) stories in the wrestling's long history, why these? What, no 70-year-old Abdullah the Butcher? (He owns a rib joint, [streaming .asf] you know.) How about living legend The Great Muta phoning it in against artless freak El Gigante? Or highlights from ECW or BJW [nsfw] or even regional wrestling? Etc. and so forth.

Never mind.
posted by milquetoast at 10:29 PM on February 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this post is sort of weak. Thanks for trying to save it, milquetoast.

Please forgive me if I'm mistaken, furiousxgeorge. I'm assuming this post isn't supposed to be about wrestling, so much as it's supposed to be about "LOL! People like wrestling!" Hulk vs. Andre in Japan was interesting, though.

I've been debating, for awhile, doing an FPP about the indie wrestling feud between Samoa Joe and CM Punk. Those were some very fascinating matches, and a great thing to show people who think pro wrestling isn't legitimate theatre.

I just worry about... you know.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:59 AM on February 8, 2007


I like Pro Wrestling. I also like NASCAR and Coca-Cola. I also like H.P. Lovecraft, hot tea, and Politics.

Am I odd?

Anyhow, this post is kind of weak. mliquetoast's links are what this post should have been.

On the topic however, I find Wrestling fascinating, it's better than the dredge you find on most television, and live wrestling is truly an experience. How many times can you go to a play and yell: "YOU SUCK!" and have the guy get off the stage, walk three rows back to you, and ask you to do any better.*

(*Actually happened at a WWE Live Show in Evansville, IN last December, I saw Bob "Hardcore" Holly get in some fan's face because the fan kept heckling him.)
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 1:20 AM on February 8, 2007


No, Cyclopsis, you're not odd. If you can't enjoy HHH vs. HBK one night and Stockhausen's Hymnen the next, you're not a fully actualized person.

Also: props to you for mentioning Bob Holly. That guy's the most underrated of the disaster that is the current WWE roster.

Also also: in regard to this post's title, one of the Fund's major claims in their lawsuit was that people were being caused emotional harm by visiting WWF.COM, thinking it would be the World Wilflife Fund homepage. One of the things they demanded was control of the domain.

Look what WWF.COM is now. Stupid lying environmentalists.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:34 AM on February 8, 2007


The problem with professional wrestling is that it's still largely run by insane people. In the late eighties, a long-dying carnie artform miraculously morphed into an entertainment powerhouse and a billion dollar industry, but most of the people in charge continue to behave as if their audience consists of a small pack of idiot rubes who need to be tricked into watching.

The result is that, even though some of the greatest athletes and entertainers in the world today grew up watching the WWF and have devoted their lives to becoming pro wrestlers, the actual programming tends to be intensely condescending and dumbed down. It's no wonder that the average American is baffled that people still watch wrestling - so is Vince McMahon.

My hope is that eventually, as the carnies retire and the business is taken over by a younger, savvier generation, Pro Wrestling will start to live up to its potential. At its best it really can be amazing television, a great blend of ridiculous hilarity, stunning athletics and shameless melodrama. I'd like to one day be able to watch it with pride, and not be afraid that people like furiousxgeorge think I'm an idiot.
posted by Simon! at 3:24 AM on February 8, 2007


A few examples of recent matches, just for kicks:

If you rolled your eyes when I said 'some of the world's greatest athletes', take a few minutes to check out some cruiserweight wrestling from Japan, Do-Fixer vs. Blood Generation. Even if you have no interest in anything else, the acrobatics are simply astonishing.

In the states, there are two upstart promotions right now: the embarassingly named TNA, and Ring of Honor. TNA's currently in something of a downward spiral, but a year ago they were on the rise and regularly putting on outstanding matches like this - the industry's current It Kid, Samoa Joe, against the man he replaced, A.J. Styles and the charismatic veteran Christopher Daniels.

ROH, on the other hand, has been red hot and making money hand over fist as of late, but seem to be very happy putting on shows in small gymnasiums and appealing only to their hardcore, devoted fans. Here's a solid example of their ultra-formal, technical style from Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness.

Meanwhile, the WWE continues to soldier on with their great but aging roster and questionable creative team. Here are two all-time greats, David Finlay and Chris Benoit, pretty convincingly beating the bejesus out of each other in the fashion of yore.
posted by Simon! at 3:58 AM on February 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


roll truck roll: Look what WWF.COM is now. Stupid lying environmentalists.
Surely the World Wildlife Fund wasn't responsible for turning that domain into a link farm, but has it always been like that? Why isn't it owned by WWF?

Also, great post milquetoast.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 4:02 AM on February 8, 2007


milquetoast: Or highlights from ECW or BJW [nsfw] or even regional wrestling? Etc. and so forth.

Ugh, why did I just watch your nsfw link. What the fuck is that shit? Is that real?
posted by afx237vi at 5:56 AM on February 8, 2007


I just saw a documentary on Mankind and his famous match against the Undertaker, holy shit that was insane. I'm not a fan of wrestling but you have to appreciate how good they are at doing crazy ass stunts.
posted by Vindaloo at 7:17 AM on February 8, 2007


There are a number of problems with prowrestling in America, but most of them start with the word "Vince." I was a huge fan during the resurgence in the late 90's - early 00's, but a few years back I just gave up on it again (sometime after WWF went to WWE, I think) because I just couldn't take it anymore. In the mean time, UFC books its shows and builds matches the way the prowrestling shows SHOULD, and now outdraw their PPVs in huge dollar amounts. You'd think that when you have complete creative control over what goes on in and outside of the ring, you'd be able to create compelling content, but you'd be wrong.
posted by papakwanz at 7:51 AM on February 8, 2007


That BJW video... pretty gnarly stuff. I've got a few tapes sitting around somewhere of the Japanese Hardcore stuff. I hear that in Japan, a lot of those hardcore wrestlers are like sumo wrestlers in terms of the kind of respect and awe they receive from the public. American wrestlers usually blade right at the hairline, so that the scars can't be seen. Japanese hardcore wrestlers usually blade right in the middle of their foreheads, and often times it's part of the match (the other guy cutting his opponent's head open with glass or a serrated knife, both of which I've seen a few times). They develop these medallions of scar tissue on their forehead, and it's like a badge of honor.

Some of the hardcore stuff just gets too mindnumbingly boring, though. The best ECW matches, for example, combined hardcore spots with good wrestling and in-ring storytelling. It does remind me of a documentary I saw a few years ago about backyard wrestling that was pretty crazy. Those kids were very, very dumb. It's one thing to do it on TV for a decent paycheck (although some may argue its still dumb). It's another thing to do it in your backyard thinking one day you'll make it big and getting severly injured in the process.
posted by papakwanz at 8:08 AM on February 8, 2007


I stand corrected. From wikipedia:

On August 10, 2001, a British court ruled in favour of the Wildlife Fund. The World Wrestling Federation filed an appeal in October 2001. However, on May 5, 2002, the World Wrestling Federation changed its Web address from wwf.com to wwe.com, and used an automatic editing override to replace every "WWF" reference on the existing site with "WWE," as a prelude to changing the company's name to "World Wrestling Entertainment" and its stock ticker from WWF to WWE.

[...]

The abandoned "wwf.com" domain name was purchased by a third party. In November 2006, the World Wildlife Fund's attempt to secure the rights for the wwf.com domain was rejected by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

posted by roll truck roll at 9:07 AM on February 8, 2007


It's another thing to do it in your backyard thinking one day you'll make it big and getting severly injured in the process.

actually, that's how my favorite wrestler got started, according to legend.
posted by jonmc at 10:23 AM on February 8, 2007


One more clip, for fans of John Stossel.
posted by milquetoast at 11:26 AM on February 8, 2007


"Discovering that wrestling is 'fake' isn't the end of appreciation for the sport; It's the beginning."

and like the wrestling maxim goes: You can't fake a chair shot.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:59 PM on February 8, 2007


I have enjoyed wrestling for many, many years. I remember watching Christ Benoit, Brian Pillman and Owen Hart when they were in Stampede wrestling. I remember seeing Andre the Giant wrestle live and standing in line to meet Hacksaw Duggan. More recently hanging with my buddies at the sports bars - hoisting pints, eating wings and watching Hogan vs the Rock. Wrestling has given me a lot of cherished moments throughout my life.

I enjoy the comedy and insane stunts - I further appreciate that I see new content all the time - my other sports (or pseudo sports) interests leave me with an off-season that Pro Wrestling does not have. In many ways, Wrestling is height of spectacle if not escapism and I have to avoid laughing when people decide to point out to me that it is fake -- real fighting or hand-to-hand combat with its 10-minute scissor holds doesn't interest me in the least. If reality was the criteria for a valuable form of expression, I want no part of a life free of non-documentary movies or fictional novels. A few years ago through a buddy of mine I received front row seats for a WWE event, and for the brief moment when I high-fived Rey Mysterio I was 12 years old again. I can assure you that is a hell of an experience and not one I am going to attempt to relate to one who wants to point fingers at those they perceive to be of lesser intelligence and lower class than oneself.

Today I admit wrestling is not the same but I still watch it. Based on the magazines I read as a 12-13 year old, Vince McMahon ripped cool ideas off from regional promoters and gave them national exposure. Currently the WWE monopoly on the business means those regional guys are now really small time and don't produce much or have a lot of talent to work with (like in the past really, but previously there were enough monkeys at the typewriters that they sometimes found gold) so Vince doesn't have the same wealth of audience tested material and what he shows today is pretty hit and miss. But fun, watchable, and a part of my life.
posted by Deep Dish at 6:07 PM on February 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was actually very drunk when I posted this, so I'm glad some worthwhile linkage and discussion came from it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:25 AM on February 12, 2007


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