I was simultaneously too old and too young for e-wrestling when it was a thing.
I was simultaneously too old and too young for e-wrestling when it was a thing.
The ‘dream match’ between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania 34 turned out to be a bit less than what we were sold. But this gallery on WWE.com in the run-up to the event was a nice touch regardless.
2018.05.16 // Filed under: Wrestling
Which is weird, as there’s an awful lot of good journalism being done about wrestling. Mind you, it’s not really being done by the likes of Dave Meltzer. There’s another question beyond this piece: about wrestling dirtsheets as a branch of entertainment journalism, not sports, and their closer relation to the kind of access and relationships between writers and PR in music and film. But I’d say the same about wrestling as I’d say about issues of potential compromise and conflict of interest in mainstream entertainment: ‘access journalism’ only gets you so far. Look how much it’s ruined political journalism in the US, after all.
Here's a good breakdown of tomorrow’s Greatest Royal Rumble (a glorified house show, no matter what people will try to tell me) and what it means, politically speaking. It’s no apologia for ‘cultural differences’, as if that’s some organic social contract and oppression of women and minority groups isn’t a top-down strategy for control.
I don’t agree with everything David Shoemaker says here about WrestleMania 34 last weekend (Ronda Rousey grumble mumble) but the central thesis is spot on, and it’s something I’ve felt for the longest time: WrestleMania 31 was the moment to make Reigns, even with such a disastrous set-up, then Vince panicked and broke him. He’s not beyond repair; Reigns more often than not really brings it in the big-match situation, and he’s compatible with more opponents than you might think. But his persona is non grata. Perhaps WWE should take inspiration from Reigns' former Shield teammate Seth Rollins as for what to do with him: redesign, rebuild, reclaim.
I’ll be honest, one part of me is like ‘OMFG 50-man Rumble!' while the rest is thinking ‘Wow, WWE’s really going all in with this Saudi partnership, hmm.'
WWE profiles indie darling, wrestling mega-nerd and NXT returnee Kassius Ohno. Thinking of Ohno as a player-coach, as Johnny Gargano comments here, seems like a perfect fit as this stage of his career.
Knowing the company’s reputation, this really is ‘so WCW’.
On a writer who understood wrestling as something greater than a mere ‘fake sport’.
It’s a rare modern wrestler that inspires such emotions.
David Bixenspan on DDT, whose streaming service I still need to give a shot, as soon as I’ve caught up on all the New Japan stuff I’ve missed over the past few months.
And I repeat: I can’t believe we’re talking about actual fucking Nazis in 2017, but here we are.
An honest piece by Ed Blair, here. Shibata joins Daniel Bryan in my list of people I never want to see wrestle again ever. And in general, I would rather wrestlers, whether my favourites or not, didn’t do this shit to themselves.
Ahead of tonight’s Backlash PPV, David Shoemaker over-analyses the Jinder Mahal ‘phenomenon’. But it’s strangely fitting, considering the ruckus his push has caused among wrestling Twitter, etc. My take? He’s boring, it won’t last, the end. And if I want to see a real heel in WWE, I need look no further than the conclusion to last night’s NXT TakeOver: a masterful presentation, not just by the wrestlers but the TV production side as well.
Bit late with this one, but howandever. Also, an odd choice to lead with a non-wrestling picture after the header, but that’s just the editor in me.
…and what it means for the future of ‘working stiff’. Headbutts and hard kicks to the head always make me queasy, anyway. What’s wrong with a good forearm?
In a week that saw even The New York Times get in on this wrestling thing, this is the most fun non-fan take I’ve read, capturing genuine enthusiasm — but also highlighting that feelings on some of the worst aspects of the show are shared by hardcore fans and more casual viewers alike.
It’s wrestlers talking so much of this is bullshit, but it’s the kind of bullshit I never tire of.
Wrestling, much like video gaming, is one of those geek cultural touchstones that runs deep among the Millennial generation, for lack of a better term. Speaking of video games and wrestling, Deadspin and Kotaku recently delved into the ‘weird world’ of wrestling video game leagues.
2017.04.07 // Filed under: Wrestling
Some quick notes on this past weekend’s WWE shows for WrestleMania in Orlando, fleshing out my tweets you might have already read as I watched things live from home.
I’m already looking forward to next year’s ‘Enchantment Under The Sea’.
He’s not wrong. WrestleMania weekend is here and I should be excited but that’s the wrestling fan in me, who needs to remember this is a WWE show, not a WWF show. Still, those parody videos by The Miz and Maryse are fantastic stuff.
“When it makes sense,” said Stephanie McMahon. Which translates as ‘probably never’. We’re not even at the point where, say, ‘Darren Young’ the on-screen character reflects Darren Young the real-life openly gay man. Maybe that’s because he’s a face? WWE tends to save its better character development for its heels.
So this is a nice surprise: an insider-ish parody of 1980s territorial wrestling by the current WWE roster, and one that gets the tone mostly right, being more affectionate than mean-spirited. The gags don’t always land but it’s funnier than it has any right to be.
When I’m no so overloaded on wrestling I’ll sign up myself and binge for a month, at least.
Shane Douglas is a fucking idiot. Can you believe he used to be a school teacher? I feel sorry for those kids.
Something to revisit when I’ve finished watching all these Monday Nitros.
Pro wrestling is all about exaggeration (all that stuff about a programme between the Macho Man and Shawn Michaels is case in point) but this match is one situation where they’re not wrong: it’s an amazing bout even by today’s standards. Randy Savage brought a playbook mentality to wrestling’s improv culture, and it paid off in spades. (Also, interesting to note they had a subsequent house show feud in chain link steel cages, not the notorious ‘blue bars’ cage introduced the year prior.) [c/o MetaFilter]
It’s from 18 months ago but it still holds in terms of explaining why I’m into wrestling. Though I have to say, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I persist when I’m not getting now what I got out of it in years past. That’s something for a longer post.
Chyna’s story needs to be told, beyond the exploitation of the woman, Joanie Laurer, and her memory. But what also needs to be said, amid all the historical revisionism, is that there’s a reason she was billed as ‘the ninth wonder of the world’: like Andre the Giant, she was booked as a novelty, a freak-show attraction. Any boundaries she might have broken for women are only in hindsight, or out of context. Few are willing to address that; wrestling remains deeply problematic.
Too easy to file this as another ‘why wrestling is great’ post, but it’s more about how wrestling helped change this writer’s mindset. I’m glad it’s doing for him what I wish it was doing for me; the ennui is strong.
Of course I LOLed. And then realised I’d actually love to see any of these happen.
I won’t say it’s not gratifying that more mainstream outlets are finally grokking what makes WWE so compelling, and not purely from a ‘business’ standpoint. I’m talking about investigating things often glossed over or even missed entirely by fans or fan media, like Vince’s compulsion to inflate attendance figures, or Shane’s friendship with noted fake memoirist James Frey. (Factual errors aside: Ali didn’t fight at the first WrestleMania; he was a guest referee, being already diagnosed with Parkinson’s.)
I was there! I forgot the ring was up on a platform. And I marked out like crazy when Vader won the title, even though he was a heel and I’d even brought a Sting sign on the night, because title changes simply didn’t happen on European tours, let alone house shows. By the way, this footage – and that of another match, between Rick Rude and Cactus Jack – was apparently recorded by British wrestlers Doc Dean and Robbie Brookside, the latter now a trainer with NXT.
WWE’s website does it again with a fitting tribute (and introduction) to one of the company’s bright new stars. If only their TV product did the same.
The headline overstates things a tad, but GIFs are an easy way both to share and digest cool stuff from the indies, Japan, etc.
It’s not much of a match; it’s sorely missing the context of Sawyer and Rich's previous battles and weekly TV promos. But it’s heartening to see WWE paying some attention to wrestling history by recovering ‘lost’ tapes such as this.
Here’s another one on Mr Omega, as Sports Illustrated goes deep with The Cleaner, at a time last summer when a lot of puroresu fans had written off his prospects in New Japan. I could see Kenny in a future WWE that prioritised variety over the outdated predilections of its chairman and his associates.
Amusing that this is published under ESPN’s WWE vertical. Anyway, I’m late to posting this one, it’s from a couple of months ago, but we’re on the eve of Omega’s biggest match in New Japan as he headlines the Tokyo Dome with Okada. Bonus content: NJPW World has a short documentary on Omega's life on the road (that I have yet to watch myself).
Good advice here. Shame I don’t have a promotion to go to locally, or one where I can have fun at any rate. But one day I’ll get to another RevPro show or few.
I need say no more.
GQ gets in on the Four Horsewomen business. But is the change they herald really a sure thing? With matches still being booked in the Divas-era ‘girly’ style (catfights with hair-pulling, basically), we’re a ways off yet.
I like Shoemaker but I don’t agree with the premise of this piece at all. When did SummerSlam become ‘the smart fan’s WrestleMania’? Isn’t that still WrestleMania? Also, it’s comical in hindsight, what with this year’s SummerSlam being such a drag, and the subsequent minor PPVs being stronger in both ‘workrate’ and entertainment value.
Do we need an anthropological analysis of wrestling? Well, why not? I’m not complaining.
There are variations of this kind of thing all over the web, and they’re indicative of a growing frustration with wrestling fandom that’s hard to articulate (in this case, the writer makes a category error in cleaving the fanbase between ‘casual’ and ‘smart’) other than saying that some people — the type who demand five-star matches, and only appreciate the ‘entertainment’ with ironic detachment — take things way too seriously.
This guy gets it.