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Fear Mongering In Wrestling: How The News Can Affect Your Opinion

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Daniel Bryan WWE

We’re in a very interesting and precarious time in the world we live in.  There is a genuine question as to if the news that we’re receiving is legitimate or “fake”.  Now, more than ever, news is readily available faster and from more sources than ever. And as usual, reality is mirrored in our little safe haven we call wrestling.

I don’t have to tell you guys reading how weird of an entity professional wrestling is.  The athletes are playing a character doing choreographed moves with a script and determined winners.  Yet in the past 20 years, what’s going on behind the scenes of the machine has almost become more interesting than the action in the ring.  Surely this is a byproduct of Vince McMahon’s, and subsequently all of wrestling’s, admittance that the product is in fact scripted. This opened up a brand new door at a very familiar house.  “Why did this wrestler win?” “How was that wrestler picked to have a ‘push’?” “Why aren’t you doing what I want you to do???”

Obviously, I want to be as respectful as I can on this topic because I in fact work for a wrestling news site, so attacking the very medium I am tied to is very hypocritical and quite frankly incompetent.  Still, I have to address how wrestling news, and the way it’s presented, can affect your perception and opinion of what you’re seeing. And that conversation starts with Dave Meltzer, the most popular and accomplished wrestling journalist in the world.

Meltzer, of the Wrestling Observer, has created his own niche in the market of wrestling news and journalism.  He’s found a way to not only be successful, but he’s also found a way for his word to be more believable than what is often times shown on screen, which can be a dangerous notion.  If he reports something, the belief among us die hard fans is that its an unmitigated fact. If those reports, however, turns out to be wrong, the response is that “plans changed”. And while plans do change in wrestling, quite often in fact, that’s a total lack of accountability for the original news item.

I’ll give you an example.  Roman Reigns has been pegged to be “coronated” at WrestleMania 34 by Meltzer for a year, and the fans not only believed it, they swore by it.  Yet, here we are, two major Pay-Per-Views removed and Reigns is still not the champion. The response when asked what happened? “Plans changed.”  That process creates a dangerous rhetoric. Wrestling is so frenetic that feasibly, you can say anything that you want is going to happen and with the clout that somebody like Dave has, fans will believe it.  In fact, fans will go against what they’re being shown on television because of what the reports were. This creates a narrative that no wrestling company can effectively combat. This creates a version of fear mongering.

Now, I don’t mean to attack Dave Meltzer, and I don’t mean to accuse him of purposely trying to create that narrative in the eyes of fans.  However, if you look at some of the news items and stances he takes, it’s easy to question his motives. Let’s use two Daniel Bryan items for example.  Firstly, Dave Meltzer has publicly accosted WWE for having Bryan lose cleanly to Rusev on Smackdown last week, leading to Rusev being put in the Money In The Bank Ladder Match.  So much so that he’s said that Bryan should leave WWE when his contract comes up in September because WWE will never push or promote Bryan as a top level star again. This comes after Bryan’s officially been medically cleared and re-instated as a wrestler for a little over a month.  Also, this is Bryan’s first loss since returning. So now, some fans will most assuredly think, want, and clamor for Bryan to leave a company he’s been very clear that he loves. All because the main journalist in the industry created the narrative.

Subsequently, Sports Illustrated did an article and interview on The Miz.  In the interview, The Miz said “He (Bryan) doesn’t deserve to be in the ring with me.  He’s not at the level that I am.” SI used this quote as the headline for their article, and Dave responded with “It’s a sad day when an entity that is supposed to be real publishes a working quote like that, let alone highlights it.  What’s next, Thanos saying Drax is a pussy as a major sports headline.” Never mind the fact that Sports Illustrated has started covering wrestling in some form, his declaration is off base in a number of ways. First off, the overwhelming opinion is that Bryan is a much better worker than Miz, but it’s still just that; an opinion.  Secondly, attacking a legitimate sports magazine for not covering wrestling the way that you would want to is tremendously unfair and hinders the ability of that entity to cover what they want how they want. Lastly, wrestling is a very layered entity, as mentioned earlier. It’s a tough and selfish ask to want them to cover scripted entertainment and have them not cover it the way it’s presented.

As I stated earlier, I realize that I work for a wrestling site noted for its news and opinion pieces.  The one thing, however, I’ve tried to do in my work since I started writing 8 years ago was to not only be transparent and honest, but to be accountable.  I’ve made the majority of my “notoriety” by being a voice for people and fans who don’t like the overt negativity some fans seem to have. I’ve disagreed with a majority of IWC opinions, and I’ve been a “contrarian” to the thought process that WWE sucks.  With that, I realize that as small of a voice that I have, my voice does have a modicum of power. All of our voices do. That’s the reason the first amendment was enacted; to allow the average citizen to feel comfortable having an opinion and to be themselves.  So, I’m not trying to attack Dave Meltzer or any other wrestling journalists. I’m definitely not trying to call him out. I’m trying to remind people that news, no matter how true it may be, can be unfathomably biased. The news you read is intrinsically tied to your stance on whatever the news item is.  So if you don’t like WWE, you’re more likely to read news that is anti-WWE, and it’s more likely to be more news that is anti-WWE that will be reported.

We all love wrestling.  It’s why you’re on this site, (hopefully) reading this column.  So let’s not let external forces affect how we view and perceive it, m’kay?

Stay woke guys.

FIN


Always Use Your Head and visit the official Pro Wrestling Tees store for The Chairshot All t-shirt proceeds help support the advancement of your favorite hard-hitting wrestling website, The Chairshot!


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Opinion

The Case For Ronda Rousey To Lose

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Ronda Rousey WWE Lose

“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey may be one of the hottest commodities in wrestling right now but she should lose her first title match.  I know this is a very hot take but I think the best thing the WWE can do for Rousey’s character development, if she plans on joining the roster full time, is to lose to Nia Jax at Money in the Bank. I’m not saying by Pinfall or Submission, as that could hurt her character, but a well executed DQ finish. More on that later.

If, and most likely, when she beats Nia at Money in the Bank, she would become the third fastest WWE SuperStar to win a premier title at 141 days. The fastest being “The Dirtiest Player in the Game”, Ric Flair. He accomplished this feat at the 1992 Royal Rumble by eliminating Sid Justice and becoming the only one to win the Heavyweight strap by doing so. This was 113 days after he debuted but “The Nature Boy” was a 9 time Heavyweight champion at this point, 8 times in the NWA and 1 WCW reign. She has her accomplishments to this point, former UFC/StrikeForce Women’s Bantamweight champ and two Olympic medals, but this is Professional Wrestling. As much as I like “Rowdy” Ronda, she is not even on the same playing field as Flair was when he earned The Strap so quick. If Rousey beats Nia Jax it would slot her between Sheamus, at 116 days, and Brock Lesnar, who at 126 days beat The Rock at SummerSlam ’02. She and Lesnar have similar pedigrees, but the difference is we actually saw something in the ring from Lesnar first. All we have gotten from Rousey is a gimmick match at WrestleMania, which was great by the way but a gimmick still, and NO singles matches. Don’t get me started on the mic skills.

Ronda Rousey WWE

I think the only way to end this and still leave credibility for Ronda Rousey’s character is to have her loose by DQ. Be it by Alexa Bliss having a “Moment of Bliss” and trying to regain the trust of Jax after the “bully angle’ or whatever the “Road Dogg” throws together over there at Titan Towers.With this angle we would get the hype, like we have had with the Styles/Nakumara feud of late, and they could even finish in a cage match at Extreme Rulez. Imagine “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey winning her first WWE Women’s Title in the cage. That would make for good TV.

But we won’t get this. The same “Marks” who BOO Roman Reigns will cheer to the high heavens when Ronda wins from a premature, undeserved push. Roman deserves it. He has been around for awhile now and even came up through the NXT system. But because he comes from a wrestling family, The Anoa’i Dynasty, and has the proverbial “Machine” behind him the fans don’t give him the time of day. Or, maybe it’s because he falls in the “MAN” category (more on that here)  That’s a discussion for another day. We will most likely see her become a Brock Lesnar type champ, with part time appearances and this guy as her mouthpiece.

Make sure to tell me what you don’t like about my opinion on TWITTER @james_callear


Always Use Your Head and visit the official Pro Wrestling Tees store for The Chairshot All t-shirt proceeds help support the advancement of your favorite hard-hitting wrestling website, The Chairshot!


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Opinion

What Happened To The Heels?

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Ric Flair Heel WOOO

Where have all the good heels in professional wrestling gone? Why aren’t there characters like the ones from my youth that struck fear in me while watching the NWA on Saturday mornings with my father?

Granted, I am a bit older than I used to be and I know what professional wrestling is now as opposed to being seven years old. Still, the heel wrestler has been eliminated like the “Loser Leave Town” matches from the days of territorial promotions.

After finally watching ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary on Ric Flair, it has occurred to me there will never be a heel as solid as the “Nature Boy” and a generation will never know what “real” wrestling was about.

I will need a moment of silence to get over this pain I feel.

Back in the day, when Kayfabe was alive and well, Kevin Sullivan terrorized my mind at night with his cryptic messages on Championship Wrestling from Florida. The Wild Samoans scared fans in the stands at Madison Square Garden. Gary Hart and his band of Japanese heels proved to be evil. They were just a few of the “bad guys” fans hated with a passion. There was no blurred line. Heels were hated, babyfaces loved. It’s a phenomenon that is scarce in WWE or TNA or even ROH.

We can thank Vince McMahon for that and the creation of Sports Entertainment. The name on the marquee used to be “wrestling” and that is what superstars did, helping to create my childhood memories of Dusty Rhodes and Sullivan, Dory Funk, Jr. and Jack Brisco.

Blake Oestriecher of Forbes.com wrote a story recently about the deficiency of heels in WWE. He makes a valid point, addressing the issue of fan support for the bad guys while the scales are tipped toward the babyfaces on both Monday and Tuesday nights. This would never have been the case if McMahon had just let wrestlers wrestle and honored the traditions of 1970s grappling.

Those days are gone forever.

“Overall, WWE has a lot of depth on the heel side. There are quality villains on Raw in the form of Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin and Jinder Mahal and on SmackDown with guys like Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe, and The Miz,” Oestriecher writes. “It’s not the number of heels that is the issue. Rather, it’s WWE’s presentation of those heels and the creative team’s inability to establish them as bona fide superstars in that role that have really hurt the quality of WWE’s programming.”

Oestriecher hits it out of the park with that one paragraph.

Mahal is as close to a throwback heel you will find in WWE. His look, his gimmick, the venomous dialogue he spews and takes heat from the fans. It’s a perfect combination. Mahal, who has become a fringe main event star, would be successful in the 1980s NWA with Rhodes championing the cause of fighting good versus evil.

Other than the former WWE champion, who else besides Brock Lesnar, who is back hibernating with the Universal Title under his pillow, is there to fill that role? Even Lesnar, who by all accounts is a heel based on his gimmick, his look, and his mouthpiece Paul Heyman, is cheered simply because of size, power and his ability in the ring.

“Now, with Brock Lesnar, who is widely viewed to be WWE’s No. 1 heel, apparently not set to wrestle again until at least July, WWE finds itself with a gaping hole on the heel side of Raw,” Oestriecher adds. “There is not one particular thing that will make up for the loss of Lesnar, who many still consider to be WWE’s biggest draw, and doing so on Monday nights won’t help the blue brand.”

This might be a case of fans learning to deal with deficiencies in booking, that creative writers don’t see three steps in front of them and the bad guy is really the good guy and the good guy is really bad because he doesn’t have the qualities fans want in today’s business. If that is the case, then why is Roman Reigns so hated by the wrestling community?

That’s another column for another time and place.

No matter what WWE does to try and correct its problem, there will never be a viable solution. The present and future dictate the company sticks to the script of uneven booking. And until the problem is eased – not fixed – we will all wonder whatever ever happened to the “real” heels of professional wrestling?


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Will ‘All In’ Be All The Smarks Want It To Be?

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Young Bucks All In

So the biggest thing the wrestling world seems to be talking about is All In, the one off indie show that Cody (Rhodes) and the Young Bucks have put together and are saying that it’s sold 10,000 tickets. If this is true, it’s quite a feat and would make it the first non-WWE show to sell that many since WCW folded in 2001. Since this news came out on Monday, smark fans have trumpeted this a the salvation of pro-wrestling because it’s supposedly a shot against WWE’s monopoly on the business, but is it really? Or are the smarks so desperate to prove their coolness that they’re ignoring some issues with this situation?

I’m going to preface the following by saying that I have nothing against Cody or the Bucks. I’m not a fan of either him or the Young Bucks and have no intention of watching All In, but I wish them luck on this thing. However, I feel the need to point out the problems I see with this whole thing.

1. The Lack of a Card. I realize that it’s a little early to be griping about the lack of a card, and if it were an actual promotion, WWE or not, I wouldn’t be, but the fact that as of right now, the only match on the card is Cody vs Magnus/Nick Aldis for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship is a little concerning to me. The Young Bucks, Rey Mysterio, Kenny Omega, Okada, Skrull, Tessa Blanchard, Pentagon Jr, Fenix, and Deonna Purrazo are going to be involved in some way, but there’s no other matches lined up.

2. The Title Match Itself. This is based on what I’m reading about the title match. Nick Aldis is actually scheduled for an NWA title match against PJ Black (Justin Gabriel) before competing at All In, though the article didn’t say when. Which means, if Aldis loses, All In’s main event will be a ‘Special Non-Title Match’, which is nice, but doesn’t have the same drawing power as an NWA Title Match. Do I think Aldis will lose to Black? No, but given that it’s the only match on the card so far, it’s a big risk to take.

3. The Emphasis on Cody and the Bucks. I’m willing to admit that I’m not into indie wrestling. I watch WWE and I used to watch TNA back when it was good, but even not knowing a lot about a lot of the people scheduled to appear, I’m worried about what the back up plan is if Cody and/or the Bucks get hurt, which is a distinct possibility in the wrestling business. Do they have a backup plan? We’ve all seen WWE have to throw out almost an entire WrestleMania card because of a rash of injuries, and that’s with a roster of around 50 guys. What do Cody and the Bucks have in reserve in case s**t happens?

4. The Lack of a Plan to Build On It. I think this the think I find puzzling about this whole thing: Is there a long-term plan for this? Does Cody have a plan of building on this, maybe making deals with other promoters and making it the WrestleMania or Starrcade of the indies? Given Cody’s background, I assume he wouldn’t do this without some kind of plan for the long-term.

5. What Kind of An Event Is This?  I ask this because as I was looking through the people who are scheduled to appear during All In and I noticed that there are a lot of Legendary performers listed. In fact, it seems that there are more people making appearances than are scheduled to wrestle on the show. So that begs the question: Is this a wrestling show with a fan convention attached, or a fan convention with a wrestling show attached? I will give Cody props for having the good sense to BAR Vince Russo from the Starrcast event.

Again, I’m not knocking this event, if Cody and the Bucks can actually pull this off in September, kudos to them, and I understand that fans who are not necessarily hardcore WWE fans are wanting to bask in the moment of somehow striking back at WWE, but let’s not get so caught up in the moment that we ignore the issues.


Always Use Your Head and visit the official Pro Wrestling Tees store for The Chairshot All t-shirt proceeds help support the advancement of your favorite hard-hitting wrestling website, The Chairshot!


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