Did you see the interview with Triple H where someone asked him about intergender wrestling? His response was as follows: “It’s just shock value. You don’t need it. When it’s done right, I do believe there is an exciting moment when it can happen, but it doesn’t need to be the standard.”
That answer made me love him even more. Not because I’m this WWE apologist, it’s because I respect anyone who has common sense as a leader and a strong enough voice to express their reasoning.
Today’s going to be a little more conversational and informal, is that okay with you?
I was so happy he said this, too.
I’m writing this from a hotel room in Las Vegas, ready to help with a taping of Ring Warriors on WGN. And in addition to that, I have an online mindset coaching group for wrestlers and sports entertainers. Where we don’t just talk about moves and in ring psychology. But we talk about the hows and the whys.” The high level psychology. Why things work and don’t work. The mindset needed to succeed in wrestling as a job and as a career. Its a conversation that has been sorely missing in this industry, where for the most part, the prevalent advice at the local level is “say you have a lot of passion, starve, and hope someone takes pity on you and offers you a contract.” I like to put the power back in the talents hands.
And that’s what Triple H is doing here in this answer. Earlier on he says, “The women don’t NEED the men as a shock value thing to get noticed.” He’s empowering the women by saying they stand on their own without intergender a wrestling.
And the reason I brought up my group a moment ago, and why I’m so happy Triple H said something, is because the members of my group are vetted and we only allow serious professionals into it. And even then, a very spirited debate broke out about intergender wrestling.
A few weeks back there was a 13 year old girl who cleanly beat a grown adult man at an independent wrestling show.
As always, my question is, “Why? Who does that serve?”
Some people said: The fans. It was entertaining.
Others said: “It shows that wrestling is for anyone, including girls, and encouraging young girls dreams.”
Others told me: “Its sports entertainment and times have changed.”
Tell me… besides the pure spectacle of it, do you honestly want to live in a world where we lower our standards so much that WrestleMania 50 is a 13 year old girl vs Brock Lesnar? And the girl wins?!?!
People go, “Yeah, but Braun Strowman brought out Nicholas at WrestleMania.”
To that I say, “It was done right.” There was a build. Nicholas didn’t get physically involved. They didn’t present Nicholas as an unstoppable hero for children everywhere. In context, it worked.
The problem I had with the 13 year old girl is not that she loves wrestling, is not that shes training, is not that shes in or involved in shows, its not that I want to ruin her dreams. Good for her.
Its that the people booking that segment mistook “bad business and bad booking” for making some type of progressive statement.
I want to set the stage for you. Its not like this 13 year old girl was afraid of the grown adult male she was in the ring with. She didn’t act age appropriate. There was no interference to help her. There was no “shocking awesome moment.”
The girl literally became Stone Cold Steve Austin and beat this guy clean in the middle.
And its not her fault! How can it be?
It is the fault of everyone who didn’t know how to make that segment work.
If I’m the booker of a company, and someone says, “Hey, we have this girl. She’s training. People follow her. Shes got 10,000 social media likes. She’s 13. Can we incorporate her somehow as a favor?”
Of course I support that.
But what I support is doing it right.
There’s no way in hell I don’t veto the idea of her becoming a Steve Austin bad ass and whooping an adult male. Regardless of his flamboyant gimmick.
Maybe she’s a manager or something. Maybe she’s in a mixed tag like Nicholas and she’s protected until the finish, and its this big dramatic moment.
But excusing horrible booking and bad execution as “progress” and “the business has changed” is going to set the bar so low that you’re not even going to recognize the business at all in 5 years. You wont even be able call it wrestling anymore. It would be like some weird alternative performance art.
And the thing that makes me scratch my head is a lot of the people who advocate this stuff, at the other side of their mouth, say “I respect old school and WWE and sports entertainment killed the business. Support the territories and indi wrestling.”
It doesn’t make sense. There’s no actual standard they hold themselves to. They just attach themselves to whatever is convenient for them to say so they can justify doing whatever.
They’re “playing” wrestler.
I digress though. Going back to intergender wrestling in general, who does it really serve?
Do they put Brock Lesnar in there with the women at UFC?
“No that would be totally unfair.”
Then why do it in wrestling?
“Well wrestling is an art and we can do whatever we want.”
Okay, what about Vince McMahon? He does sports entertainment.
“Vince isn’t true old school wrestling. Sports entertainment is killing the business.”
Then politically, the same people: “A man should never lay a hand on a woman ever.”
Which I totally agree with. So then why intergender wrestling, then, when a man can beat up a woman?
Why intergender wrestling, when a 13 year old girl is put against a flamboyant grown man?
Is it somehow “progressive” for LGBT to have one of their people beat up by a little girl?
I don’t understand the political stance on this at all.
Then they say:
“Its art we can do whatever we want. Its empowering.”
Right. So “empowered man on woman violence.” Empowered 13 year old girl beats up an LGBT guy. Got it. Makes sense. (Sarcasm)
So remind me… why don’t you like sports entertainment though?
“Because its unrealistic and killing the business.”
“…so why is it realistic for a 13 year old girl to beat up an adult male?”
“Don’t question us, its our art.”
I’m not arguing against intergender wrestling. I could care less. Vince wrestled Stephanie on PPV.
Ronda Rousey was in a mixed tag with Triple H.
Nicholas won the tag titles with Braun Strowman.
The difference is they all had context, a reason, and a payoff, and in most cases was a win win.
What I’m pointing out though is “standards” on the independent level are often a moving goalpost and people change their viewpoint just to justify whatever it is they’re doing and hide behind calling it “art” or “politics” because its easier to go for shock value than it is to actually be a master of your craft.
Ps: The best booked intergender segment for my money is when Ronda unloaded on Triple H in the corner at WrestleMania. Totally made her a star and it was done Smartly.
Because it was one moment, and not the whole match.
Is Kofi Kingston On His Way to The Top After WWE Elimination Chamber?
What does this recent push for Kofi Kingston mean?
Kofi Kingston is a man on a mission. Of course that mission is no different than any other WWE Superstar that wants to rise up and steal the show. Kingston is very accustomed to seizing his opportunities and creating moments that fans will never forget.
Now he has the chance to do that once again when he walks into the Elimination Chamber on Sunday, February 17. Kingston’s reputation as a dynamic highlight machine will be realized again and there’s no doubt that he will provide his fair share of amazing moments inside the Chamber. But will he do more than that?
This is the part where many WWE fans immediately begin shaking their heads. They already believe that Kofi’s inclusion in this match is nothing more than a filler. He’s a replacement for Mustafa Ali, who is dealing with injuries and cannot compete. So when the company has a spot to fill, they must fill it with a dependable Superstar that can deliver. Kingston is that Superstar.
Then there’s the fact that Kingston has been here before. Kofi was seemingly on his way up the food chain in 2010 against Randy Orton, but that rise never materialized. Many fans blamed Orton for stopping Kingston and not allowing him to move forward.
Others said that it was all too much, too soon for Kofi. The Superstar just wasn’t ready for the pressure that comes along with being a top guy and WWE had no choice but to pull back. Despite which side the fans took, the fact is that Kofi’s run was exciting and full of promise. But why was that?
The WWE faithful are suckers for a feel-good story and there’s nothing wrong with that. Some of the most memorable stars in the history of pro wrestling rose up from nothing and achieved success because they built a loyal fan following. Perception is reality in many cases. So when fans perceive a guy to be the well deserving underdog, then that belief becomes very real.
There’s just something about a rising talent fighting his way to the top that makes fans immediately feel connected to the moment. They invest in the run itself and before long, the talent in question gets white hot.
The only problem with Kofi is that fans have indeed seen him in this position before. They believed in him then and he showed some strokes of brilliance, if only for a brief time. Yet he was ultimately pushed backed down to earth. Kingston’s ascension was a tease. But maybe it was something more.
For WWE, it’s all about the experience. Just because a Superstar gets a break and hits a winning streak, does not mean he’s on his way to the world title. The company obviously sees potential in someone and the only way to cultivate that potential is to turn on the spotlight.
Once that happens, the Superstar’s strengths immediately shine through. Suddenly, the conversation shifts from “why him” to “is he the next big star?” That’s a completely natural conclusion and it’s reached from a train of thought that’s encouraged by the company along the way.
So when it comes to this situation, booking Kofi Kingston in The Elimination Chamber may have nothing to do with the desire to elevate him to the WWE Championship. In fact there may indeed be no plan to do anything with him in the singles division after February 17. It could very well be that Kofi will do his part, lose the match and then go right back to stealing the show along with The New Day.
If that happens, then it’s really no harm, no foul. WWE gets what it needs and the fans get an exciting match they will talk about long after it’s over. To be fair, there’s really nothing wrong with that and the company is only doing what it must do in order to keep moving ahead. The show must go on.
But then there’s the other side of the conversation and that’s the side the fans live for. They believe they have the power to light a fire under a Superstar and they’re right. Stone Cold Steve Austin, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are all living proof of that. Yes, the talent and the hard work was definitely there.
But without the fans demanding more, WWE would perhaps have never used any of them on the main event level. The same is currently true for Becky Lynch. So if the fans believe that Kofi Kingston should rise up and they indeed begin supporting him, then the desire to see him breakout and achieve major success will be irresistible. Of course that doesn’t mean WWE won’t resist.
WWE is a land of many stars, but very few megastars. It’s just not how the company is built. So when it comes to elevating anyone, there’s only so much forward progress that can be achieved. To the company, Kofi Kingston is surely a valued hand who is well loved and respected on every level. But is that where his story ends?
It’s only a matter of time until The New Day splits. The group has been together since 2014 and they’re currently the longest running unit in modern WWE history. However that run won’t last forever. When the time is right, The New Day will come to an end. When that happens, Kofi Kingston may finally get his break. Or maybe he won’t. Whether or not that will make a difference to him, or to WWE, is unknown. Whether or not it makes a difference to fans will never be in doubt.
Heel or Face? Make Up Your Mind WWE
Heel or face? WWE can’t make up their minds!
WWE has shown little regard for heel and face alignment, and Carol Cassada wants the company to make up their minds!
Any wrestling fan knows that there are two types of wrestlers: the heels and the faces. Although, every once in a while you’ll have a tweener, someone who’s not a villain, but not a good guy. With WWE, they often switch a wrestler’s persona around to fit a storyline.
WWE has a history of flip flopping when it comes to a wrestler’s persona. One week they’re face, the next they’re heel, then all of a sudden they’re face again. Recently, WWE has been doing this with a bunch of their stars, which leads me confused on whether they’re heel or face.
First, let’s start with Dean Ambrose, who’s been portraying a heel the past four months. Yet, in recent weeks he’s shown signs of becoming a face again. After Monday night’s RAW in which he offered his former Shield brother Seth Rollins support in his match against Brock Lesnar, it’s safe to say that Ambrose is a babyface. Given the news that Ambrose is leaving due to creative differences with Vince McMahon, Dean would be seen as a face no matter what role he portrayed on television.
The next turn that had me questioning a wrestler’s persona is Alexa Bliss. The Goddess has been viewed as a heel as well as her partner Mickie James. But three weeks ago she and Mickie wrestled against the heel team of Nia Jax and Tamina. It’s very rare that WWE has two heels compete in a match, so it could mean that WWE is turning Alexa into a babyface like the reports suggest. Although, in a recent segments, she’s coming off as more of a tweener than babyface.
Another turn that had me confused is Nikki Cross. When the Sanity member made her debut on RAW a few weeks ago, she was a babyface teaming with Bayley and Natalya to take on The Riott Squad. But during the women’s tag team qualification tournament, she teamed with Alicia Fox to attack Bayley and Sasha backstage. But on the most recent episode of RAW, Cross appeared to be a face again as she faced Ruby Riott.
The last person who’s been flipping back and forth between his persona is Elias. Since his debut, he’s been more of a heel. But in October, WWE decided to switch things up and make Elias a face. Elias is a star who’s naturally over with the crowd, so it doesn’t matter what type of role he has. Yet, WWE must’ve felt the face turn wasn’t working because they’ve had Elias resort back to his devious behavior.
WWE likes to do spur of the moment stuff all the time, but having the wrestlers switch from heel to face one week from the next is becoming too much. It’s leaving fans confused on whether they should boo or cheer a wrestler. I know WWE likes to test the waters and see the audience’s reaction; however the constant changes to a wrestler’s role will not only baffle fans, but it may hurt the wrestler’s credibility.