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The Veterans
April 6, 2009 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Last night's Wrestlemania XXV received mixed reviews [SPOILERS here and elsewhere] - though at least Mickey Rourke did participate. But there's agreement that future Hall of Famers The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels put on "a once-in-a-lifetime match". [WWE is getting any YouTube clips pulled, of course. So you'll need to either order the PPV or torrent it. But here is Michaels' famous entrance at Wrestlemania XII. And here is The Undertaker's impressive entrance at last year's Wrestlemania.] (previously)
posted by Joe Beese (50 comments total)

 
Professional wrestling posts at MeFi.

What have I done to offend you, O Gods?
posted by sonic meat machine at 9:02 AM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


where are the wrestlers of your youth?
posted by robbyrobs at 9:06 AM on April 6, 2009


The surreal thing about professional wrestling is that I tend to pay attention to it once every five years or so, yet the same wrestlers I remember retiring when I was young are still there.
posted by mannequito at 9:11 AM on April 6, 2009


An army of Cena lookalikes? Didn't Eminem do that at the VMAs a few years ago?
posted by box at 9:12 AM on April 6, 2009


So something happened with some people last night, including a cameo, but we can't see it unless we pay money? Is this the macho madness I've been hearing so much about?
posted by furtive at 9:23 AM on April 6, 2009


Yesterday at Target I saw they are releasing a line of "classic" WWF/E action figures but the only one they had in stock was Andy Kaufman.

Really.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:24 AM on April 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


If it wasn't the Big Boss Man versus Hacksaw Jim Duggan, 8 year old me doesn't care.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 9:24 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been watching professional wrestling since ~1989, and I agree that the Undertaker-Michaels match was absolutely spectacular last night. The Undertaker nearly broke his neck at one point diving out of the ring, and throughout the latter half of the match I was in amazement how they could keep going, yet they did.

Regardless of the outcome (most people knew the Undertaker would come away with the win), it's great live entertainment. In my book professional wrestling is certainly more exciting to watch than NASCAR, baseball, or many other live sports.
posted by gushn at 9:25 AM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is Tojo Yammamoto stil rasslin'?
posted by Mcable at 9:28 AM on April 6, 2009


Who's wrasslin'? Bea Arthur's wrasslin'!
posted by furtive at 9:49 AM on April 6, 2009


I am going to hunt this down. Neither Taker nor Michaels have ever been favorites of mine, but the contrast in styles is interesting - plus, both of them are company men enough to work the hell out of it for WM XXV even after all the injuries/surgeries/etc. (And yeah, of course Taker won. Phooey.)
posted by catlet at 9:55 AM on April 6, 2009


Still waiting for Kendo Nagasaki's big comeback.
posted by jquinby at 10:07 AM on April 6, 2009


I was going to say -- is this still the same Undertaker? Wikipedia suggests it has been the same man playing Undertaker since day 1, just with various departures and re-introductions. I could have sworn 6 or more years ago there was some hubub about other people playing the Undertaker, could have sworn there was at least two or three of them.

Somebody more caught up on McMahon lore school me... ?
posted by cavalier at 10:10 AM on April 6, 2009


Stevie J is hell of serious about wrestling.
posted by boo_radley at 10:14 AM on April 6, 2009


cavalier: "is this still the same Undertaker?"

Looks like the same guy to me.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:15 AM on April 6, 2009


gushn's right: professional wrestling is totally awesome live entertainment. Every time I watch it I plan to be all hipster ironic detachment, but within a minute I'm totally excited and into it, loving every bit. Good stuff.
posted by Nelson at 10:21 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Flagged as what the fuck does this have to do with the internet.
posted by odinsdream at 10:36 AM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Snap into a Slim Jim?
posted by Smarson at 10:51 AM on April 6, 2009


I would have really liked to see that Undertaker/HBK match.

The main event seems like a total waste. WWE's been doing these convoluted three-way matches for years, and they almost never work. There's no clear narrative.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:07 AM on April 6, 2009


Oh. Excuse me, it wasn't the main event.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:09 AM on April 6, 2009


cavalier, I remember in the late 90s they had different people portray razor ramon and diesel after they bolted to WCW. It was really weird and unpopular but it happened.
posted by PFL at 11:11 AM on April 6, 2009


I suppose we are way too politically correct to ever again see the likes of legends like Fuzzy Cupid or Sky Low Low.
posted by digsrus at 11:16 AM on April 6, 2009


I attended Wrestlemania 23 in Detroit with a friend of mine and had an absolute blast. It's probably hard for most non-fans to understand, but Wrestlemania really is a huge event that reaches across just about every socioeconomic strata and international boundary. We met several people from around the world, including two nice Irish fellows we stood in line with, and got to hang out with some genuinely interesting folks who weren't at all the sort of stereotypical rednecks the snarkier among us would imagine would pay for this sort of thing. I've sort of fallen out of my interest with wrestling ever since my friend moved away, but I still check in on it once in a while. It's really a unique spectacle, and there's nothing else quite like it in the world. Didn't get to see this 'Mania, but I'm sure lots of folks who attended it had the same feeling as me.

(P.S. On a side note, one of the highlights of my career so far has been meeting and interviewing Mick Foley, who is every bit as awesome as you could imagine.)
posted by HostBryan at 11:19 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I never liked pro wrestling, I was one of those "Ugh this is terrible" but when I watched Wrestlemania 21 I friggin loved it. Undertaker/Michaels was totally the match of the decade, imo.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 11:38 AM on April 6, 2009


After following pro wrestling a while, I have a deeper understanding of the State Department.
posted by hortense at 11:39 AM on April 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm a little upset that I missed this last night in favor of the MLB opener, but I suppose I can still catch it on PPV. I don't follow wrestling as regularly as I used to--I was at Wrestlemania XX at MSG, which was fantastic--but I've always had a soft spot for Shawn Michaels. He's a great showman. Not to say that the Undertaker isn't--he always puts on entertaining matches, too--but something about HBK makes me happy to be watching wrestling.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:40 AM on April 6, 2009


I love pro wrestling, all the moreso because I understand the "fake"-ness of it. These people are putting on a SHOW, not a SPORT, and the show is silly and immature and awesome.

Mania was almost entirely awesome, except for the way they totally buried the ENTIRE WOMEN'S DIVISION with the Divas match. God, they didn't even do introductions for the women who came out of retirement for that match. And, bad enough that I didn't even get to oggle the hotties for more than an eyeblink, but seriously... they turned it all into one very, very stupid joke.

A lot of the women they have are clearly only there as eyecandy (yummy, yummy eyecandy though they may be). But the last four women in the ring especially, and the few who came out of retirement, did NOT deserve to be part of a completely un-funny punchline.


Past that? Money in the Bank was, in fact, money. Cena-Show-Edge genuinely entertained me. Rey Rey deserved his props. I wanted Jeff to win, but I understand the feud must go on. And 'Taker vs. HBK was indeed one of the best matches I've ever seen.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:44 AM on April 6, 2009


I don't know much about wrestling, but I find wikipedia's list of professional wrestling terms to be fascinating. For example: kayfabe, push/bury, heat (see esp. canned heat), job, bump, no-sell, botch, and blading.

It blows my mind that there are some fans who still believe it's real, and there are other fans who like to follow the inside information of this industry and how they sell their product to the fans who think it's real.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:47 AM on April 6, 2009


Yesterday at Target I saw they are releasing a line of "classic" WWF/E action figures but the only one they had in stock was Andy Kaufman.

My god man, how could you not buy this?

I'm getting one for everyone on my Christmas list!
posted by rokusan at 11:51 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


OK, coming out of the closet here. Between the ages of 11 and 14 I had the most hardcore crush on Shawn Michaels*, and as a result got really deeply into watching the WWF. I stopped watching after Mike Tyson turned up (convicted rapist = wtf Vince? I know there's a lot of morally dubious aspects of the industry, but wtf?), but I check back on the storylines every once in a while. If this is as legendary a match between the Undertaker and Michaels... especially if it's anyone near as good as the Iron Man match between Bret Hart and Michaels, it's very tempting to hunt down and watch. My only fear is that I'll enjoy it too much and pick up the habit again.

*Who is now married and a born again Christian :(
posted by saturnine at 12:25 PM on April 6, 2009


Re: Insider info & trivia:

I really dig some of this behind-the-scenes stuff. It makes the in-ring stuff all the more interesting to me, because it's a reminder that these are real people.

*Both Kane and Michelle McCool are former teachers. Michelle taught 7th grade science; Kane holds a degree in English lit, subbed for jr. high (kind of explains all that onstage anger), and writes a pretty interesting blog.

*Randy Orton received a dishonorable discharge from the US Marine Corps for going AWOL, disobeying orders & a couple other non-violent offenses.

*Kofi Kingston comes from a background in advertising.

*CM Punk, being a straight-edge type, has been known to watch other wrestlers' kids at after-PPV parties.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:48 PM on April 6, 2009


So something happened with some people last night, including a cameo, but we can't see it unless we pay money?

Pepsi Bruise sorry
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:14 PM on April 6, 2009


...though at least Mickey Rourke did participate...

USE THE LEG!!! USE THE LEG!!! USE THE LEG!!!


(I was THIS close to chanting that during the Necro Butcher fight scene in The Wrestler, I swear...)

posted by spoobnooble at 1:45 PM on April 6, 2009


I stopped watching professional wrestling a couple of years ago, but I honestly believe that it is one of the most interesting subcultures on the entire planet. While it's obvious that wrestling is scripted, there's a fascinating reality behind it that I don't think is studied to the extent that it deserves. As much as people sneer at the two industries in question, I've always believed the following:

Professional wrestling and porn stand alone in their ability to blur the lines between cheesily fake and horrifyingly real, and that makes them special in a way that other forms of entertainment can never be.

Take a moment to look at some porn (I know you know where to find it). What's real and what isn't? That woman is probably not a babysitter. She probably isn't an amateur who needs to blow some guy on camera in order to pay off her husband's gambling debts. This definitely isn't her first gangbang. So it's all fake, right? Except, she really is getting rammed by five big black studs. It's fake until it's not.

Wrestling is the same way. Obviously, it's scripted. No human being could survive the beatings that these guys appear to receive week in and week out. It's fake, and it can't not be fake. Except the blood is real. Yes, Ric Flair uses a razor blade to slice his forehead open rather than having it beaten open by his opponent, but that's his blood. Mick Foley lost his ear in a match, and kept the match going until the end. He's had his teeth knocked out and received concussions, and the bout keeps right on going. In what other industry does that happen? When Owen Hart died in front of a stadium full of people during a PPV, much of the audience assumed that they'd faked it. There were news outlets that believed that Vince McMahon's fake scripted death was real, and shortly afterwards believed that the real murder/suicide carried out by Chris Benoit was fake.

Wrestling and porn, low-brow as they are, blur the borders between what we believe to be real and what we know to be fake. I find that fascinating, and I'm not the only one.

Also, it gives me an excuse to look at boobies and guys hitting each other with chairs.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 3:17 PM on April 6, 2009 [15 favorites]


(P.S. On a side note, one of the highlights of my career so far has been meeting and interviewing Mick Foley, who is every bit as awesome as you could imagine.)

You should check out his autobiography if you haven't already. Fascinating stuff.
posted by inigo2 at 3:40 PM on April 6, 2009



Professional wrestling and porn stand alone in their ability to blur the lines between cheesily fake and horrifyingly real, and that makes them special in a way that other forms of entertainment can never be.


One of my friends, who is a wrestling enthusiast, to put it mildly, made this comparison, but he went on to say that professional wrestlers were far less likely than porn stars to believe their own hype.


Although Mickey Rourke as definitely crossed a line. It seems like he became the character he was playing, but completely missed the point of the film in which he starred.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:42 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


...teeth knocked out and received concussions, and the bout keeps right on going. In what other industry does that happen?

It happens in MMA. Just watch as Tim Sylvia get his arm broken due to an armbar. What the clip doesn't show is how upset Sylvia was that they stopped the match.
posted by Sailormom at 8:48 PM on April 6, 2009


Although Mickey Rourke as definitely crossed a line. It seems like he became the character he was playing, but completely missed the point...

I think he just likes money, actually.
posted by rokusan at 11:33 PM on April 6, 2009


Finding out that wrestling is "fake" isn't the end of appreciation for it: It's the beginning.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:30 AM on April 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


I was about to comment on how Lucha Libre is infinitely superior. I will refrain. But is is infinitely superior.
posted by dirty lies at 7:27 AM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


And if you want to fight about that, here I am, at the office, waiting for you.

Yes, that is how I write my code.
posted by dirty lies at 7:38 AM on April 7, 2009


Uther Bentrazor: "Finding out that wrestling is "fake" isn't the end of appreciation for it: It's the beginning."

I couldn't have said it better.

As a kid who took wrestling at face value, I found Bret Hart kind of dull. But after watching the interview on his DVD with an adult knowledge of the realities of his chosen business, I not only understand his greatness for the first time - but he's also become one of my heroes, strange to say.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:20 PM on April 7, 2009


It happens in MMA

Yeah but the WWE matches (and porn, for that matter) are works. They are scripted forms of entertainment with a predetermined outcome, MMA is an actual competitive sport. People break limbs playing football too.

The Shawn Michaels/Undertaker match was amazing. The Michaels backflip to faceplant and undertaker front flip to headcrunch perfectly sum up Parasite Unseen's post: yes that was scripted, but fuck me both would have hurt. See also: the ladder match at the start of the PPV.

Pro wrestling is like an optical illusion, sometimes there are two completely different things gioing on in the same space, but you can see them both simultaneously.
posted by nudar at 5:32 PM on April 7, 2009


inigo2 - I have actually read all of his books so far. He was actually nice enough to sign my copy of "Have a Nice Day!" The first one is by far the best, especially for the non-fan, the second (Foley Is Good) is good but entirely too much time is wasted calling out the Parent's Television Council (they're jerks, yes, but it's the sort of thing that would have been more appropriate on the WWE's website), and the third (The Hardcore Diaries) offers some deeper insight to who Foley is and what his life is really like. In a lot of ways, it seems like wrestling is an afterthought in that book, despite the fact that's the whole reason it exists.
posted by HostBryan at 12:22 PM on April 8, 2009


I've only read the first; I'll try to check the others out (didn't even realize he had a third), thanks.
posted by inigo2 at 12:47 PM on April 8, 2009


entirely too much time is wasted calling out the Parent's Television Council (they're jerks, yes, but it's the sort of thing that would have been more appropriate on the WWE's website)

That's interesting. I sort of felt like, on some level, that was the whole reason why he wrote the book. The entire essay was carefully researched and footnoted. I got the feeling he wanted to use his "bestselling author" status to legitimize a criticism of PTC that would have looked less legitimate on a website. The first 300 pages of Foley Is Good aren't bad, but they didn't feel like what the book was about at all.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:02 PM on April 8, 2009


nfb ca/film/hitman hart wrestling with shadows
posted by hortense at 10:30 PM on April 8, 2009


Oh, man. When did the NFB website get so great?
posted by roll truck roll at 10:38 PM on April 8, 2009


I dunno, but I have not yet watched the link I posted, just saw it while watching the Leonard Cohen Doc. :-)
posted by hortense at 10:54 PM on April 8, 2009


Definitely check it out. I saw it on the Discovery Channel years ago (in what I think might have been a shortened version?) but always wanted to see it again.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:21 PM on April 8, 2009


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