The Decade That Professional Wrestling Died
December 31, 2019 11:53 AM   Subscribe

The demise of professional wrestling -- an ancient and storied, highly competitive, 100% legitimate sporting endeavor -- began with the Most Illegal Thing I've Seen in the History of Wrestling! in February 2011 (co-murderer Ophidian recently apologized for his heinous crime).

Professional wrestling had almost recovered by 2015, but then Joey Ryan killed it with the dick-flip (briefly dubbed the YouPorn-plex after Ryan signed an endorsement deal in violation of many laws restricting criminals from profiting from their crimes). Ryan would go on to play a minor role in the subsequent assassination of professional wrestling by Lucha Underground. However, in a shocking twist, professional wrestling may not have been dead yet, as the witness to its demise at the hands of Lucha Underground -- one Jim Cornette -- also declared professional wrestling to be dead nearly two years later due to excessive ballet dancing.

In the meantime, Will Ospreay and Ricochet slew professional wrestling (and the laws of physics) with "blantant acrobatics" (even though some conspiracy theorists claimed that "No, Virginia, Will Ospreay and Ricochet Are Not Killing Wrestling").

Earlier this year, professional wrestling was savagely murdered yet again when Priscilla Kelly used a tampon in a match. After its many deaths in the 2010s, professional wrestling has been so weakened that even "two 150 pound kids" can kill it dead.

Professional wrestling (1920-2019) will be missed. Surviving it are its siblings lucha libre and puroresu and BritWres, as well as many children (including a five-billion-dollar company airing weekly on Fox and a streaming service with 2 million subscribers, a promotion backed by a billionaire airing weekly on TNT (no, not that one, that one's very dead), a promotion airing weekly across 21 cable regional sports networks, three other promotions airing weekly on premium cable in the US, and dozens, if not hundreds, of independent promotions featuring great matches that can be found on YouTube and FiteTV and in bingo halls and VFWs all over the US).
posted by Etrigan (39 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
That first clip! Omg. ROFL isn’t an adequate summation. Nothing but pure shame shivers. I just can’t believe how dumb people are. Adult men said, “hey this is a thing we can do.” You know when someone says “I couldn’t look away”? Well, I had to. Just thinking about it as I type makes me laugh. Thank you for that alone. I’m sure the rest of this post is full of comedy gold, but it might give me an aneurism if I actually click through.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 12:12 PM on December 31, 2019


It never occurred to me that the announcers were there to sort of, well, direct your mind into the proper receptive stance for the complete tomfoolery that was going on within the ring but, double well, here we are and I can't even imagine any of these clips without said narration as being half as fun or interesting.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:23 PM on December 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY WILL SOMEBODY STOP THE DAMN MATCH
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:25 PM on December 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


Holy hell! Both the Ophidian hypnosis clip from 2011 and the Joey Ryan dick-flip clip from 2015 are pure comedy gold! I never really liked wrestling, but I have the utmost respect for this sheer hilarity.

As an aside, my kids and I just finished watching an anime about a pro wrestler who gets isekai'd but really just wants to start a pet shop, so the timing of something this absurd is simply perfect.
posted by mystyk at 12:28 PM on December 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


I was recently shown some Orange Cassidy videos and I don't think I've recovered to this day.
posted by rewil at 12:32 PM on December 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


Orange Cassidy is the fucking best. And I'd like to thank Etrigan for once again bringing some pro wrestling awesomeness to metafilter. If anyone is free on Feb. 26th in KC, I'll be at the AEW show. Drinks afterwards on me.
posted by Ipsifendus at 12:39 PM on December 31, 2019 [8 favorites]


And you know, while I'm at it...here's some stuff I liked this year. Cody Rhodes gives the promo of his life. Via twitter, Maxwell Jacob Friedman meets some fans after a show. Oh, and also, the aforementioned Jim Cornette resigning/getting his ass fired from his last job because he's garbage.
posted by Ipsifendus at 12:51 PM on December 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


Long live professional wrestling
posted by Reyturner at 12:57 PM on December 31, 2019


The only thing wrong with this post is that you made it in December instead of January so you couldn’t win the Best Post Contest.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:05 PM on December 31, 2019


I have read somewhere that WWE ratings are plummeting, especially among younger viewers. Maybe they just need better music.
posted by pracowity at 1:20 PM on December 31, 2019


.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 1:39 PM on December 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


obviously the only thing wrong with the lana-lashley wedding is it was on too late for the kiddos
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:40 PM on December 31, 2019




?
posted by sjswitzer at 3:10 PM on December 31, 2019


I haven't kept up with wrestling since Gordon Solie and Championship Wrestling from Florida went off the air, but I saw the Osirian Portal hypnosis a few years ago, and MAN, that's AWESOME.
Love the sheer damn craziness of it.
NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR EGYPTIAN HYPNOSIS!
posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 3:24 PM on December 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


This toddler (the child of two wrestling-murdering Lucha Underground stars) started trying to destroy the sport before she could even talk.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:36 PM on December 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


ctrl-f "fake" = zero hits.

well, that's settled.
posted by philip-random at 3:57 PM on December 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


If you haven’t read it, check out Brandon Stroud’s year to year list of matches that defined the decade of NXT, which, for my money, is one of the things that kept the idea that wrestling can be a joyous celebration of the marriage of strong character development and jaw dropping acrobatics. They are just training wrestlers, they’re building epic stories, creating nuanced arcs with meaning that set up fantastic payoffs with callbacks that reverberate years later. NXT is the shit, and it gives me hope for a future without Vince.

And then, if Stroud is new to you, just keep reading, because his writing is funny, insightful, and passionate, and centered in the deeply held belief that wrestling can and should be good, and is tortured by how often it (WWE) isn’t. The birth of AEW and the prime-time-ening of NXT have been for him (and many of us) a balm to a tortured love of a product that all too often doesn’t love us back, or actively mocks us for caring.

Also, Fuck Jim Cornette.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:06 PM on December 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


And, also, if you haven’t seen it, further evidence in the trial of those who murdered wrestling, look no further than this epic match between Kota Ibushi and Yoshiko.

Keep in mind, Yoshiko is a literal blow up doll, and Ibushi might be the best living wrestler out there. And the blowup doll kicks his ass. It’s a fantastic demonstration of the absolute craft of wrestling, and the fact that comedy is, and always has been a fantastic part of wrestling.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:12 PM on December 31, 2019 [9 favorites]


To understand why some people love pro wrestling, it can help to listen to The Mountain Goats' 2015 album of songs about the sport, Beat the Champ. It's not kitchy or tongue-in-cheek; like all MGs music it is serious, heartfelt, and intensely empathetic toward the characters the songs are about.
posted by Orlop at 5:02 PM on December 31, 2019 [6 favorites]


Wrestling died for me in the early eighties when I found out it was fake.Then someone dug up the corpse and stabbed it again when WWE came out.

After that, we’ll ... I just can’t watch.
posted by drivingmenuts at 7:18 PM on December 31, 2019


ctrl-f "fake" = zero hits.
well, that's settled.


This internet post says wrestling is 100% legit, and as we all know if it’s on the internet it must be true.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:37 PM on December 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ophidian was a panelist at a panel at PAX Unplugged that talked about the intersection of RPGs, LARPing and pro wrestling, and he talked a bit about the viral hypnosis clip. One thing to remember is that CZW at the time had a rep for more violent over the top "death match" style. The owner of CZW at the time had beenkind of a snippy jerk, and told the Osirian Portal in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS, there would be NONE OF THAT HYPNONSIS CRAP, because CZW was VERY SERIOUS.

So of course Ophidian and Amasis spent the rest of the afternoon getting everybody else in on the idea of hypnotizing the team they were fighting, then the reest of the locker room on board... and then, much to the owner's dismay at first, became one of the most viral pro wrestling videos on the 'net.
posted by ShawnStruck at 7:48 PM on December 31, 2019 [8 favorites]


And ironically, Ophidian’s last major Chikara angle of the 2010s was as leader of the Crucible — an MMA-inflected group of non-goofy non-gimmicky “pure” wrestlers.
posted by Etrigan at 7:57 PM on December 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


Wow Etrigan, you sure waited for the very last minute for the post of the decade!
posted by joedan at 8:52 PM on December 31, 2019



Wrestling died for me in the early eighties when I found out it was fake


The fakeness is what makes it possible for me to be a fan.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 9:33 PM on December 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


so is professional wrestling dead yet
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:46 PM on December 31, 2019


so is professional wrestling dead yet

Baw gawd, wrestling kicked out! The ref said it’s a two count! Soulless killjoy can’t believe it, pleading with the ref to ring the bell! They just can’t seem to put wrestling away! What a slobberknocker!
posted by Ghidorah at 11:46 PM on December 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


It's still real to me, damn it!
posted by The Hamms Bear at 12:58 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


etrigan you have filled me with joy by posting word of ophidian to this blue web-site
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 1:38 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


Speaking of dance, have we not looked at the miraculous work of Sonny Kiss, Aubrey Edwards, and Steve West from 3-2-1 Battle last summer?

(Sadly not included in the video: Steve West dropping kayfabe in-ring to talk about how much he admires Kiss and Edwards and then leading the crowd in a fist-pumping chant of "Fuck Jim Cornette!")
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:22 AM on January 1 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, I can no longer locate video of Dick Togo blowing up Michael Nakazawa's ass with a bazooka in a DDT event's Anal Blast opening ceremony.
posted by delfin at 7:48 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


Wrestling died for me in the early eighties when I found out it was fake.

That is a serious accusation. I hope you have some evidence to back up your claim.
posted by incster at 7:54 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


delfin, I think if you check you'll find that the man's name is actually "Michael Naka, Naka, NAKA, NAKAZAWA!!!!!!!"
posted by Ipsifendus at 10:19 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


It never occurred to me that the announcers were there to sort of, well, direct your mind into the proper receptive stance for the complete tomfoolery that was going on within the ring but, double well, here we are and I can't even imagine any of these clips without said narration as being half as fun or interesting.

I had the tremendous good fortune to watch Joey Ryan dick flip an opponent, live, up-close and personal, just two months ago. I assure you narration was neither supplied nor required.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:03 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


It never occurred to me that the announcers were there to sort of, well, direct your mind into the proper receptive stance for the complete tomfoolery

See, that’s the issue with current WWE announcing. Good announcing should guide the viewer, creating a stream of information (or misinformation, we’ll get into that) to help explain the match and it’s place in the narrative. A good announcer should be able to explain the reason there’s a match in the first place, be able to clearly and accurately describe the action taking place and the name of the moves, and most importantly, know when to shut the hell up. Just as important, the, uh, dyad of the heel announcer and the face announcer is key. The heel announcer is there to advocate for the bad guy, to explain why the oh so obvious villain is actually the hero, and how the villains dastardly actions are a valiant, even brilliant attempt to overcome the cheating, vile hero’s constant rule breaking.

Where WWE fails (okay, well, one place) is that the announce team (or maybe just the lead announcer, not sure) wears earpieces so that Vince McMahon can tell Michael Cole what to say at pretty much all times. You take an increasingly out of touch (we’ve been saying this for at least two decades now, by the way) man in his 70s, whose carny-like contempt for his marks is never far below the surface, and whose idea of humor is making fat jokes about women (one of whom, Alexa Bliss, has talked publicly about eating disorders) and, sigh, a long running interracial cuckoldry story that has now switched into a lesbian angle, you take that, and add in Michael Cole’s increasingly bored, contemptuous delivery, and it’s honestly terrible. There’s nothing quite like being told what you’re watching is stupid, and that you’re stupid for watching it. Sadly, Corey Graves seems to be on the rise, and is even more of the same, just oozing contempt for pretty much everything.

And it doesn’t have to be like that. Going back to Bobby the Brain Heenan, there’s a perfect example of heel announcing that elevated everyone involved, that helped to tell the story, and maybe one day we’ll get to that. Recently, WWE has been going through nearly constant turnover on the announce teams, clearly looking for some sort of chemistry. They haven’t found it yet, but one thing they have shown is that there is a number of wrestlers who’ve taken on the role due to storyline or injury who can do the job right, Samoa Joe being only the most recent.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:24 PM on January 1 [5 favorites]


I used to give my little brother a hard time whenever he'd tune in for his wrestling fix, rolling my eyes and sarcastically exhorting him to enjoy his "little dance recitals," as I condescendingly described them.

Then, of course, when I left home and got a job as a stripper to keep a roof over my head, I thought my naked Twyla-Tharp-meets-Laurie-Anderson-with-a-helicoptering-erection-and-big-Fosse-gestures routines would be exotic and entrancing to a late-night audience of drunken middle-aged men overcoming their shame, but this was not the case, and that's how I learned how difficult it is to tailor a performance to a very specific and focused audience, just like wrestlers do. It was a good lesson.
posted by sonascope at 3:26 PM on January 1 [4 favorites]


Sometimes you just have to bow down to the legendary asshole of Jushin Thunder Liger and go from there.
posted by delfin at 3:56 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]


Lucha Underground had the best color commentary ever. I miss everything about that promotion (except the crappy way they treated a lot of their talent) but I miss Matt Striker and Vampiro most of all.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:56 PM on January 1 [3 favorites]


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