The opinions expressed in CheapShots are uncensored and solely represent the authors’ opinion!
As I look down on fly over country from my mythical 30,000 ft. view, I see hundreds of thousands of black and white dots converging from all directions. Half of this huge checkered flag appear to be holding bright dots over their heads. This is among the strangest things I have ever seen. As I ponder the bizarre sight underneath me; a flight attendant walks the aisle. I stop her:
“What am I looking at?” I ask.
Her answer was only matched in curiosity by the sight itself. “Those are sheep masquerading as WWE fans, I fly all over and see this once a week.”
Before she could clarify her observations, she was serving cocktails across the way. As a wrestling fan myself, I wondered what would make her say such a thing. Can I jump in my DeLorean and find out?
When contemplating this possibility, several questions come to mind:
If WWE fans have turned into sheep, who was the shepherd and when did this phenomenon start? Sheep come across as passive. Wrestling fans surely are not that? As a kid, fans were loud, passionate and logical. At least as logical as millions of us can be when told our art form is not real, and we defend it anyway.
Wrestling was good versus evil and fans reacted to what they saw. For the most part, promoters stayed behind the scenes. Hell, most of us didn’t know who the promoters were until we were teenagers.
The hamster in my head is running furiously as I take the DeLorean back to 1996, outside the old Mecca in Milwaukee. Shawn Michaels was coming off the classic, if not oddly booked, Iron Man Match with The Hitman at Mania XII. Michaels and Bulldog worked on top. Undertaker and Mankind hadn’t even been in most of their brutal matches yet.
Steve Austin debuted in WWF in the two-month window between shows. After an aborted run as The Ring Master, Austin began using what would become the “Stone Cold Stunner” in the lead up to King of The Ring. Austin pinned Marc Mero clean and a “newly religious” Jake Roberts beat Vader by DQ to meet in the tournament finals. After a quick win to become King of The Ring, Stone Cold cut the “Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!” promo. Raw the next day saw a ton of Austin 3:16 signs in the crowd. Shirts would follow very soon.
After leaving that Raw, the DeLorean drops me off at Mania XIII in Chicago.
Bret Hart was a pro, but American audiences were slowly turning him heel and digging Austin’s realistic intensity. Hitman’s map-driven heel turn begins to congeal on the go home Raw, after shoving Vince McMahon after a cage match, screaming into a mic: “…Something isn’t the word for it. This is bullshit!” Austin wasn’t a submission specialist. The Mania Match was an “I Quit” match. Intentional or not, the double-turn in the states was sealed when Austin passed out bleeding rather than giving up.
A final trip in the DeLorean to find the reason for the sheepish nature of modern wrestling fans takes me to The Montreal Screw Job.
Bret was on his way to WCW and McMahon turned heel to insure Hitman would drop the belt. Okay, the owner/promoter turns heel. Who is his foil? Stone Cold Steve Austin. Don’t get me wrong. They had a great run. Beer bath, bed pan etc., two problems:
First, Austin’s promos were awesome, but fans started following along just like sheep. ‘WHAT?” So much so, “WHAT?” that I wish “WHAT?” he’d never said it “WHAT?” with a live mic. “WHAT?”
Second, a heel gets beat enough, eventually, they turn baby face, or GO AWAY! We know the owner ain’t leavin’ the territory, but Vince NEVER left TV. His temperament was just transferred to his children in a similar vein to Jerry Jones. Obnoxious with experience, just not as actively involved as before.
These two examples, plus fans’ knowledge of plans before they are executed are the main reasons marks are booing his hand-picked baby faces, drowning out promos, and sleeping thru everything but high spots and false finishes. Promoters, including Vince used to read the crowd and pay attention to reactions without thinking we were stupid in most cases.
My conclusion? Marks are following Steve Austin’s example because we’re as mad as Austin was. Except, in our case it’s not a work. Twenty Doinks would respect the current WWE circus and its patrons more than Vinnie and family appear to now. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must park the DeLorean.
Sources For Chronology: Something to Wrestle With, Episodes 37 & 47
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MadMan: She’s Handing Out Blues Better Than A Namesake Will
Madman decided to follow his blue dragon back towards the titans! Let’s see what black magic he weaves in this edition.
Madman decided to follow his blue dragon back towards the titans! Let’s see what black magic he weaves in this edition.
I may not be in regular rotation, but when they give me a chair, I swing for my fences. As a decades-long consumer of the art, I don’t have many left. The only Home Runs WWE has placed within my scope, can be found in Women’s Division on both Monday Night Raw & SmackDown Live.
The year I began watching wrestling, some very interesting circumstances took place surrounding cable television. WTBS; (Atlanta), WAS the home of The NWA’s Jim Crockett Promotions. At least until “Black Saturday,” which ultimately saw Vinnie Jr. Hijack the famous 6:05 time slot. This nearly cause riots among cable viewers opposed to McMahon’s product and presentation.
Though the million dollar ransom The Crocketts paid to get their flagship spot back on the dial gave the head of Titan Sports the backbone to finance WrestleMania, which helped to wreck most of the territories. Hell, it can be argued somewhat convincingly upon its 30th Anniversary, Vince himself ruined his biggest display’s pristine intentions for two consecutive years with Lesnar beating the streak instead of Bray Wyatt; and, Sting losing his ONLY Mania match because someone else had the right bride on their marriage license.
Despite the objections of both smarks and sheep in certain cases, we must respect the history of this pop culture institution. IF WrestleMania is Woodstock, it is only appropriate that Tito Santana opened the show with a victory!
In recent years, there has been only one person on The Main Roster who has matched the swag of Santana’s initial accomplishment without even trying, and she wrestled in the last Mania Match I cared about. Finally got tired of giving fans The Blues. She’s ready to deal some out in the form of steel chairs and God knows what else.
“Cut Her talent LOOSE!” We kept screaming. “A REAL run with Gold, PLEASE?” Like a kid aching just before Christmas. As with Solis, she was a true pro, until the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in the modern art form washed over us.
Fans and insiders alike FORGOT about Social Media! Don’t get me wrong, it’s still here. Can’t get away from it. Hell, I’m doing a roll-in on the internet right now! If you’ve been fans of us long enough, you’ll realize that last sentence was not a botch! Seriously, this thing felt like the territories back in the day. No one knew a damn thing! Even some of those paid to know were flipping a coin every five minutes. Thanks for the constant stress, you ancient prick!
Come on folks. If you know my current wrestling HEART at all, you KNEW the last Chair Shot on her return was coming from her Super Mark in Middle America! When older dudes at this circus describe what true fandom is like; they’ll often say: “That’s bulls***, that’s bulls***, that’s bulls***, BUT THAT’S REAL!”
For her boatloads of fans and the woman herself, Christmas is here! The Stamford’s latest Blues enthusiast is very real, And WWE’s Black Magic Woman IS BACK! Line ’em up. they’re all falling. Charlotte & Ronda too. To The Man and those in charge of her Twitter Account, thanks for keeping the possibility top of mind when things first got weird. We never gave up, but you will! MISSED YOU LADY BANKS!
Mad Man’s Spinal Tap & 20 Questions
Back to back weeks we see the Mad Man come to play in our sandbox. Does this article go to 11? Are the retread concepts, just hollow nowadays?
Back to back weeks we see the Mad Man come to play in our sandbox! Does this article go to 11?
When you have decades of experience watching the art form, your eyes and thought processes change. It’s the reason my colleagues can break down pending news and angles we haven’t seen yet. Mr. Meltzer made a cottage industry out of it. A ton of people on The Internet are trying to follow suit. Then, there are fans like me. As much as I love twitter, Professional Wrestling fans were never meant to receive “spoilers” every day.
This is NOT a “Back in my day…” thing. My eyes have changed too. However, I am focused more on WWE’s calendar when watching Stamford’s offering. If I think about wrestling. it’s very simple. My suspension of disbelief is gone for very few performers. In fact, I would say it’s gone for most fans. If we know it’s a work, why are scripts and outcomes still based on the assumption that we don’t? If I have seen a gimmick before, I am VERY hard to impress. Make me believe you can beat somebody; and stand out doing so, or I will chew you up and spit you the Hell out.
For those who say I should keep my mouth shut because I can’t perform and never have, I DON’T CARE! Saint Dave gets a pass, and y’all still watch the current product like his lap dogs and clones, despite “knowing’ the outcome? I don’t watch for the outcome anymore. Based on character development and pushes, I can see that coming. Call me a hypocrite and I will play 20 Questions with you. Can you get me to the finish line without looking like an idiot or a laughable copy of someone else?
Su Yung is 5’6’’ish. Marks and sheep world wide are transfixed and petrified? Make up aside, why? She is impersonating three legends with no unique move set and doing it very badly. Without her zombies, can she beat anybody? Mr. Calloway used druids. He was 6’10’’ and did not need them to kick your ass. Mick Foley put himself and you through HELL before using The Mandible Claw. You had no choice but to take it. The Great Muta was arguably the best Rising Sun performer of all time. He had a move set most American fans had never seen before. The Mist was believable in his hands because audience and opponent were spinning trying to keep up with him. Where is Su Yung’s Mysticism? As much as fans love her, there are no OMG moments in her matches, and her gimmick is predicated on them.
She is far from the only example. Twitter went crazy about a month ago because a top name on the indies put something in her opponent’s mouth during a match. Outside of a prison fight, when would this EVER HAPPEN? Why is this necessary? If this is a work, why would any girl allow someone to do this? Tell me why either woman gets hired again without the parrot response? Same question applies to Joseph. Dude ain’t pickin’ up anybody like that in real life. I dare him to pick my wheelchair up with his finish. He would be in traction.
Tony Schiavone is our crazy wrestling fan uncle. Our memories of him when we were kids and teenagers all ROCK! He is without question one of the best to ever call the action. God Bless Conrad Flair for bringing him back to the art form. Among other fun stuff, he now does commentary for MLW. With tongue firmly planted in cheek; I must say, I have a slight problem with him. I understand that it is his job. He continues to put MJF over because?? I get the gimmick. It’s just OLD! He is ripping off The Miz. One look at him, and you can see that. “I have more money than you.” So did DiBiase. And if you did, you wouldn’t need the $50.00 a night you made before Tony started calling your matches because you’d be paying him. Just wait until Mike retires before you go to New York.
Finally, we arrive at the biggest tent. Vinnie’s circus was on The West Coast in The House of Hot Rod & Billy Jack Haynes. Sheep under 25 are now asking a three-worded question. The only help you’ll get from me is to say that he may have been the father of Modern Independent Wrestling. Sometimes, it wasn’t his choice, and he is still fighting demons today.
Back to this week. Didn’t Spinal Tap all stand in the Center Ring around a month ago and do a babyface promo? “It’s our fault. We’ll do better for you. This is YOUR product.” First, I believe Stephanie as a babyface as much as I believe Saint Richard as a babyface. Shut up and go home as a shoot. Second, as big a moron as Vince is, he’s NOT leaving the person carrying the big top out of WrestleMania! Outside of the obvious, Becky’s leg is a work. SHE WAS LIMPING ON THE WRONG ONE ON MONDAY! Seth Rollins is hurt as a shoot. He WASN’T at Monday Night Raw. If Becky wasn’t cleared, she wouldn’t be on either show. So WHY is everybody going apes*** over this?
Sometimes, I can’t tell which group is Spinal Tap?
Is it the group on stage or the sheep who believe what they’re watching? I truly wish this art form was treated more like real competition.
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