The year is 2019. I keep telling myself this because it seems like everything I see going on in wrestling is telling me otherwise.
Impact Wrestling recently held their TV tapings at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. Since it used to be known as the ECW Arena, plenty of wrestlers that were big in ECW twenty years ago appeared on the show in an attempt to boost attendance. Rob Van Dam, Sabu, Sandman & Tommy Dreamer were among the names. Don Callis, as usual, was on commentary. RVD & Dreamer had what was hyped as their last match against each other ever.
Do we believe them? Of course not. It’s only been eighteen years since the original ECW went out of business, they’re going to need something for the 20th & 25th anniversary ECW relaunches in various feds. As long as Dreamer is somewhat mobile & RVD needs some extra cash for weed, there’s always a possibility.
Impact Wrestling isn’t the only promotion to feature members of the Tribe of Extreme. Ring of Honor has one of them helping with the booking. Bully Ray’s been featured on TV for awhile now and is now using his influence to get Velvet Sky & Angelina Love booked for a late-2000s TNA re-hash.
Better them than Enzo & Cass, I suppose.
Even All Elite Wrestling features 1990s stars at the top of cards. Chris Jericho is the likely choice to be their first champion. Dustin Rhodes wrestled his brother Cody at Double or Nothing & will team with him against the Young Bucks at Fight for the Fallen. I’m willing to cut them some slack because Dustin had one of the best performances of the year at Double or Nothing, and Jericho always finds a way to entertain.
Oh, and they had Tommy Dreamer & GLACIER in the clustermess battle royal they aired on YouTube before the PPV started. I don’t know how Dreamer keeps getting work when he’s gotta be in worse physical shape than half the guys that are retired, but God bless him for it. The Glacier thing I see as a missed opportunity because they didn’t do his full entrance & have the Glacier mood lighting for the match. It’s 2019, but if you’re gonna do it…
“If you’re going to do it, go all the way.” – Jenna Jameson (not in 2019)
If you look back at my various assorted wrestling writings over the past fifteen years on various websites, you would notice some of my stances have changed. One that hasn’t: Nostalgia booking does nothing for me. If I wanted to see the stars of yesterday, I would get out my DVDs from when they were good. Heck, now that there’s a WWE Network, I don’t even need to do that.
However, Mohammed bin Salman sees things differently. I don’t seem to agree on much with that guy. He loves beheadings. I don’t. He loves starting wars in other countries to overthrow governments and send populaces into famine. I’m not a fan. He likes assassinating journalists that report the truth. I think that’s a bit problematic. He loves nostalgic wrestling booking. I don’t. Just two different mindsets, like Jim Cornette & Vince Russo.
The Saudi Arabia shows being heavy on old-timers working embarrassing matches makes it even easier for me to ignore them. As terrible as Undertaker has been since WrestleMania XXX, I’m more than happy to not watch his bad matches that he makes oodles of money to have. Anything I need to see for 411mania.com’s Botched! will be posted on social media in GIF form, so it works out great for both of us.
I just hope Goldberg got enough money out of it to justify the CTE.
Other than the possible physical damage, none of that stuff affects my emotions one way or the other. Shawn Michaels wants to work another match so he can buy a bigger house? Sure, whatever. It’d be easy for me to sit here and damn these guys for taking payoffs from an obviously evil source, but…I mean, it is the wrestling business and evil is all relative in this world anyway.
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Elisa looks great in her Chairshot gear.
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(Also, I’ve never been offered any money by the Saudis. Or Vince McMahon, for that matter. Not in 2019. Not ever.)
My main hope for the Saudi shows is that they feature a bunch of crap that I don’t have to bother with. That’s why I love all the Undertaker & Triple H matches taking place there. That’s why I was happy for Baron Corbin & Dolph Ziggler to get title shots there, as I hoped those feuds would end in the Middle East. Unfortunately, it seems that they won’t, and we’re saddled with that nonsense at least until they build something useful (hopefully) for SummerSlam.
One thing happened on that show that I can’t imagine anybody justifying. Oh, they will try. Justifying WWE booking decisions is quite the cottage industry. However, there’s really nothing anybody can say that will convince me that Shane McMahon beating Roman Reigns is useful and helps anybody involved.
Honestly, my main worry here is that Shane is going to die in the ring in 2019. Dude gets redder than the U of L Cardinal Bird when he’s out there. He sweats more than any wrestler I’ve ever seen, taking that title from Mike Rotunda/IRS. It doesn’t look healthy. Hopefully he’s getting the proper Wellness Tests and everything is above board, but a lot of us are worried.
Getting sympathy on Roman will be one excuse used. Come on now. If you can’t get sympathy on Roman Reigns for having leukemia, what the hell is his losing to Shane McMahon going to accomplish? Another excuse: Nobody could play Shane’s role better than Shane. Great. You’re telling me that nobody could play the role of Vince McMahon’s spoiled middle-aged son better than Vince McMahon’s spoiled middle-aged son. Some brilliant insight there.
Shane is over, though. Everybody I’ve talked about that performed twenty years ago is over. Undertaker. Goldberg. Triple H. Tommy Dreamer. Rob Van Dam. Sabu. The Sandman. Chris Jericho. They all get great reactions whenever they appear.
Heck, Velvet Sky & Angelina Love are so over as heels in ROH that fans are getting drug backstage so Bully Ray can yell at them for being angry at heels.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a selling point here.
Those of you who follow me on the social media know of my connection with the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. Not to draw the curtain too far back on that, but I can tell you that a large part of their marketing to fans has centered around nostalgia for as long as I can remember. The 1970s Big Red Machine teams are still all the older fans will talk about. Pete Rose, Johnny Bench & Joe Morgan are much more popular with these folks than Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez or Nick Senzel could ever hope to be.
2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the franchise. It’s been all about the throwback jerseys & the throwback hats. It’s nice that the team has been more entertaining than usual, but the attendance figure jumps up when there are old uniforms or bobbleheads of old players. Sure, Derek Dietrich is very popular with the female audience, but it’s all about the 150th anniversary and the old school.
I’m ok with this. This might surprise you since I’ve been all about younger wrestlers and putting the old guys out to pasture for the past fifteen years. Why would I be more accepting of nostalgia in baseball than in wrestling?
Because I don’t have to watch Pete Rose round second & slide head-first into third base in 2019. Barry Larkin won’t be playing shortstop during his bobblehead game this Saturday. Yet somehow, we’re expected to watch Undertaker try to tombstone Goldberg. We need to see Shane McMahon huff & puff his way through a match with Roman Reigns. The 2300 Arena should have more Dreamer vs. RVD matches. And we definitely need to see Triple H work nearly thirty minutes on every major show.
I’m all about milking any money we can out of the past. I draw the line at watching people that shouldn’t perform anymore embarrass themselves. If they want to do it for the love of their craft, or really need the money, they can knock themselves out. Hopefully not literally. I’m not gonna encourage it, though.