A Pro Wrestling Newby Liveblogs Wrestlemania 33
April 4, 2017 8:12 AM   Subscribe

My former roommate watches wrestling religiously. He says it's the best soap opera on TV. It's a way for men to feel out their emotions while pretending it's about violence. Wilder gets this. Her comment about nostalgia being the biggest product of the WWE makes complete sense. Even from her descriptions alone, the description of the Undertaker losing his last match makes me slightly sad. Which is incredible. The writers for these stories do no get enough credit.
posted by Hactar at 8:40 AM on April 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

I've never watched more than three minutes of wrestling but this was a really fun read. I probably still won't watch any wrestling but I would read more of her recaps.
posted by Tevin at 8:50 AM on April 4, 2017

Some things she didn't quite get, but all quite forgivable. You'd have to be pretty deeply engrossed in the culture to really understand the "DELETE" chants (and other chants that follow them) and the (non-scripted) backstage drama that surrounds it all. It's all becoming a bit meta at this point.

Meanwhile, I'll leave this here.
posted by parliboy at 8:56 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wrestlemania is, generally, the show for the casual fan, or even non-fan. It's all about the spectacle, the emotional moments, and what actually happens between the bells is largely secondary. That, combined with the breathtaking hype packages (seriously; WWE promo videos are the best in all of professional sports) that tell you exactly who the players are and lay out the stakes so you have a reason to care, really helped this liveblog work, I think.

(That this year's show was also a good wrestling show is almost coincidental.)
posted by uncleozzy at 8:57 AM on April 4, 2017 [6 favorites]

Came in to say what uncleozzy said. Charlotte Wilder is only about one step of wrestling-familiarity down from what WrestleMania is aiming at. Those of us who already have WWE Network subscriptions and can tell you what Matt Hardy's boat is named are already going to get it, so Vince McMahon is trying to attract people who are vaguely aware that Brock Lesnar is also a wrestler, or remember liking that Goldberg fellow back when they were 14.

(Also, she may understand how devastating the Owens-Jericho story was, but she doesn't get just how devastating and perfect it was, so the fact that she picked up on that from just the video package is a testament to how good the people making those packages are.)
posted by Etrigan at 9:15 AM on April 4, 2017 [5 favorites]

I got a real Sarah Bunting nostalgia feel from this article
posted by Molesome at 9:16 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't like admitting this, but she was right about Seth Rollins.
posted by theredpen at 9:36 AM on April 4, 2017

I probably still won't watch any wrestling but I would read more of her recaps.

You might also like Looks Like Some Sort of Sidewalk Slam, a podcast in which two members of Canadian Internet content creation group LoadingReadyRun (previous) discuss WWE storylines for the benefit of us nonfans, starting from last year's Royal Rumble. Their Wrestlemania 2017 episode is Coming Soon.
posted by dialMforMara at 10:26 AM on April 4, 2017 [6 favorites]

I'm someone who was a *major* die-hard wrestling fan for a very large portion of my life, but stopped watching regularly about 10-15 years ago. This article was a lot of fun for me since while I may have more overall familiarity with some of the characters than the author, I was in the same position as her on Sunday, having to get up to speed on the story arcs surrounding the matches based almost exclusively on the video packages and storytelling by the commentators.

To get some idea of just how remarkable the Undertaker's run in the business has been: I first started watching him (as Mean Mark Callous) when I was still in high school. As he retired on Sunday, I am expecting my first grandchild.
posted by The Gooch at 10:31 AM on April 4, 2017 [11 favorites]

His opponent is Shane McMahon, who is WWE tycoon Linda McMahon’s son. Linda is now the United States’ administrator of the Small Business Administration because Donald Trump is the president, and Donald Trump shaved Linda’s husband Vince’s head at WrestleMania 10 years ago. In other news, we’ve officially gone through the looking glass.

Idiocracy was prophesy.
posted by photoslob at 10:42 AM on April 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

I didn't really like wrestling for a long time because it just got so... I dunno, serious? Nobody has gimmicks anymore, people are wrestling under their own names, it sucks. Then I discovered Lucha Underground on Netflix and hoooooly shit is that show great.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:52 AM on April 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

I don't watch wrestling, but that was a fun read. Thanks for posting this.

Nia Jax is the most intimidating human I’ve ever laid eyes on; she’s a formidable, close to 300-pound woman who is stunningly beautiful and probably eats the ground-up bones of her opponents for breakfast.

I'm guessing Charlotte means the person who enters the ring at around 1:48 in this video? Seems like an apt description.
posted by zarq at 11:44 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

"Lucha Underground" is indeed fantastic, and as I read this article I kept wishing there was some way to suggest that the writer take a look at it, now that the first two seasons are on Netflix. I missed Wrestlemania this year, because in general the WWE's narratives don't do much for me. But we finished the first episode of Ultima Lucha Dos last week, and I plan to finish off the rest by the end of this week, come hell or high water.
posted by Ipsifendus at 11:52 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh, interesting. Nia Jax is The Rock's cousin.
posted by larrybob at 11:58 AM on April 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


...oh goddamn it. Not in Austria.
posted by frimble at 12:24 PM on April 4, 2017

Nia Jax is the most intimidating human I’ve ever laid eyes on; she’s a formidable, close to 300-pound woman who is stunningly beautiful and probably eats the ground-up bones of her opponents for breakfast.

I'm guessing Charlotte means the person who enters the ring at around 1:48 in this video?

Yep, that's Nia Jax. "A million-dollar smile on a wrecking ball" is the latest catchphrase the announcers are using.
posted by Etrigan at 12:28 PM on April 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

This is like reading Greek. I appreciate outsider insights, but I grew up in the south so I absorbed way too much WWE/WWF/rasslin in my youth and I can never get that brainspace back. BUT the link she puts in to the Tyra/Vaseline video is at least as insane as rasslin and I found it funny to make it 1/3 of the way through the video so this post has made me read/watch more about either subject than I ever expected I would.

Which is enough. Really. i'm good now. Lifetime supply.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:17 PM on April 4, 2017

That link on the Owens-Jericho story Etrigan posted above... wow. That's like a Brutus-stabbing-Caesar level of betrayal.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:02 PM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

So fun! I've been watching Wrestlemania for almost all of its 33 years (we couldn't convince Dad to buy 1 and 2) and last night's show was great and a good first show for almost anyone. I like that she gave it an honest, non-snarky go.

Signed, someone who was up until 2am after Wrestlemania 33 because she was too weepy about the Undertaker's retirement to go to sleep after the show.
posted by kimberussell at 4:17 PM on April 4, 2017 [5 favorites]

My one regret is that she probably didn't tune in tonight and witness the glory that is Shinsuke Nakamura.

(Who, for the uninitiated, is a wildly charismatic Japanese man who looks kind of like a Japanese Freddie Mercury mixed with a heroin lab chemist.)
posted by delfin at 6:36 PM on April 4, 2017 [6 favorites]

the glory that is Shinsuke Nakamura.

If you had told me two years ago that the one thing in a five-day glut of wrestling that would make fans lose their absolute shit the most would be the appearance of a guy who is not in any way a wrestler and is in fact just standing there with a violin, I would have requested some of what you were taking.
posted by Etrigan at 3:19 AM on April 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

Speaking of Nia Jax, she posted a swimsuit shot on Instagram today:
Posting a picture of myself in a bathing suit is VERY hard for me. I have never been one to show off too much skin, and it's not just because I'm a larger woman.
After this amazing #Wrestlemania weekend I had a chance to speak to a bunch of young women & men. Most, if not all of them, mentioned that my #BodyPositive mindset had helped them to be able to find confidence within themselves, which really touched me and even brought me to tears numerous times. Thankfully I have always had a family that has supported me and has always reminded me that my beauty comes from within, especially my mother. She constantly reminded me that "no matter how beautiful you are on the outside, if you're insides are ugly, that will be what everyone sees & feels." Don't get me wrong, there have been many occasions where I wished I could be thinner or have a different nose or hairline to fit in, but I realized that fitting in is not always as important as it seems; I realized that I love standing out in positive ways!

I love sending a message of self-confidence and getting to share that with people. Self-confidence also goes along with being healthy! I work out all the time, I eat healthy & try (emphasis on TRY) to get as much sleep as I can. There are obviously times where I love to pig out and enjoy myself, but I always make sure to never lose my focus on being healthy, because no matter what, your health is the number one most important thing in life. We aren't meant to look the same, but we are all meant to be healthy. We are all beautiful in different ways. Staying healthy adds to beauty. Even more importantly, it will increase your self-confidence. That's been my experience at least 😉. #JaxJungle #NotLikeMost #PowerOfBeingYou
Bear in mind, when she says that posting this shot is hard for her, that she was a professional model before she signed with WWE.
posted by Etrigan at 11:13 AM on April 6, 2017

discuss WWE storylines for the benefit of us nonfans

The How2Wrestling podcast is designed to do just that. It's a guy called Kefin, a wrestling fan, and his partner Jo, who wasn't before they met, but decided to learn via this show, which takes a single wrestler or concept or what have you, and goes deep for an hour or two.
posted by macdara at 8:05 AM on April 8, 2017

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