It’s a Work – Monday Night Wars II

This was to be a monumental week in wrestling thanks to this past Monday night’s head-to-head between WWE and anyone since the power play on WCW.

And for about a day and a half, I wanted it to be good. The birth of angles and stories are what make them compelling. Its in those first pages of a book that you connect with it and decide if your drawn in further.

Neither gave me a good enough story to make me think I was watching anything but the same old shit from both. I’ll give both writing teams some credit for trying- it looked like they did, but sloppy pens found their way into both companies scripts.

WWE’s writing team are TV writers- and they wrote a pretty good TV show Monday night, but it was just that- a tv show and as usual I turned off my television feeling as if I’d watched no wrestling at all.

I watched because I was drawn in by the return of Bret. But that drew me in way back on Saturday night. By Monday I was anxious enough for it that you could have roped me along for weeks and weeks to see its conclusion, but sports entertainment isn’t written that way and I got the whole story in flashy spurts between commercials of that two hour span. It makes money and I get it, but its not wrestling.

An idiot could write this one, so why won’t they just LET me?

WWE succeeded in that they got me to watch two hours of their product, which is all they wanted with me anyway. In doing that, the writers did their job.

TNA couldn’t even do that. I’m convinced Vince Russo’s ideas must come to him while he’s masturbating. What a total louse. When I meet people in wrestling, I’m often embarassed to tell them that I grew up on Long Island for fear they think I might know Russo. I usually then try and overcompensate by over-annunciating every word I speak to try and hide that horrible Long Island accent (mine slips out every time I’m angry or talking fast- sounding like an idiot or Vince Russo).

His pen helped knock down wrestling’s foundation probably more than anybody’s. Yes, Vince McMahon funded it- but what you have to love about McMahon is this. He swings and misses a ton, but when he connects- he scores with it and builds on it. Thats when he shines and you see the man is a fucking genius.

He woke up one day and invented sports entertainment and in true, Stan Lee-like mastery he envisioned an entire universe. He’s Larry Flynt meets Walt Disney and the most interesting character in that universe.

So he decided what he really wanted to do is make a weekly TV show with as much hours as he could fill and sell the SHIT out of it all over the world- and he started swinging.

Another day he wiped his and as he hiked up his chinos he thought, “Hey, I should have TV writers write my TV show! Why should some mark videostore owner write my TV show? Why are his palms always clammy?”. His dick got rock hard and he stomped a mudhole in the toilet handle- flushing the U.S.Grants he wiped with.

He pulled out his cell before washing his hands.

“Yeah, JR- what are you doing? Fucking divas? I knew it. Me? I just took a $200 shit, but forget about that- I have an idea.”

And so it was that Vince stepped off the plank of pro wrestling and jumped into his universe’s ocean of sports entertainment.

Russo is the same. A guy who wants to slither into that same business- that of turning wrestling into a TV show. But Russo had no talent so he churned out shit and sold it cheap. The kind of shit you have to give tickets away too.

But he had the McMahon machine behind him- working hard at reconditioning its audience since 1989. Enough of them were too lazy to look for wrestling and just kept tuning in- and half of them bred and now had their babies attending RAW like it was church. He sucked them in by inviting them inside to peek around too. They were wrestling fans and if he could keep them believing they were still watching wrestling, he was going to do it.

With the way his TV shows have even changed just our language- that wrestlespeak that your real marks speak, these fans further embraced wrestling as their own- and only at their level of high, studied understanding could a more casual fan begin to comprehend their wrestling.

 That little kid in the front row, yelling and laughing and running from the heels as they pass? She wouldn’t know a shooting star press from a tope-con-hilo and could never understand the subtle intracacies in that last promo as I do. And the foolish child got her parents to by her a ticket while I gained my vast knowledge here on my couch with my laptop resting warmly on my semi-erect penis.  

What I also love about Vince’s universe is that it writes its own history- and as it writes sports entertainment history, it purchases the remains of wrestling’s. Just as elements always found in pro wrestling are disappearing before us, in greater time more things will follow and be gone completely. Those sucked this far in- their kids, their kids’ kids, they won’t know the difference.  

I remember when wrestlers submitted without a “tap”. They just told the ref to ring the bell, and I knew the ref’s name. It was Earl Hebner.

In fact, the last time I remember a wrestler submitting without “tapping out” was a dozen years ago in Montreal. What a work.

– Chuck LeGrande

5 Comments Add yours

  1. chuck says:

    No, that was Vaughn saying HE is pale, green and out-of-shape. I’m pale-green and out-of-shape.

    Bates, Vaughn, Richard- thanks for reading.

  2. Excellent review, Charles. Direct, well-written and very clearly stated. Good wrestling writers aren’t as common as a lot of people think; I’ve been impressed with your output before, and this article confirms you’re still at the top of your game.

    Even if you ARE pale, green and out-of-shape!

    Keep it up, my friend!

    = Richard =

  3. Vaughn says:

    Enjoyed the hell out of that one 🙂 My two cents.. (if it’s even worth that much)

    Sometimes you have to look pretty hard to find good wrestling at indy shows, but it’s out there. So many indy promoters these days are just trying to emulate what they see on tv, because that’s all they know. Nine times out of ten the only good promotions are those ran by promoters who have been around the block a few times. Promoters who’s first impression of “wrestling” wasn’t the same watered down “wrestling substitute” that is fed to mainstream fans. Maybe they even remember that pro wrestling should be about feeding off the live crowd instead of mugging for the hardcam.

    I’m not saying there’s never anything good on tv. It’s just hard to come by. And you can’t always hold it against the guys in the ring. It’s awfully hard to feel the crowd with a referee constantly down your throat relaying messages from his earpiece. These messages, of course, coming from someone who’s not even in the ring. Rather, they are hiding in the back trying to tell you how YOUR match should go. Or, worse yet, you’ve already been spoon-fed your entire match by some producer before you even stepped out the curtain.

    So many guys on TV have no individuality because they are force fed everything. Let them evolve. Let them grow and become who they are to be in front of the crowd.. And if it’s done right.. if it’s “real”.. the crowd will grow and evolve with them. That’s where you find the emotional connections between fans and wrestlers that make for the greatest moments in wrestling.

    Thank god I’m pale, green and out of shape. Not a “WWE Superstar” and would never want to be. I am an independent professional wrestler… And nobody can take that name from me unless I let ’em!

  4. chuck says:

    Its sad if TV is the only place you look for pro wrestling. Both companies have a ton of talent and if you go to the house shows you’ll see it on display. Skip the tapings though if youre looking for the good shit.

    And of course, my humble home- the independents. Sadly many indy promoters follow the wrong path, but if you look you can find some great wrestling.

    We still have good wrestling, its just not on TV. Buy the ticket, take the ride and take the kids to an indy show. Their eyes will go wide unlike anytime they plunked down in front of the television (with the exception of the Diva matches) .

    And whats great about the indies is, if the show sucked you can usually find the promoter and tell him so. If youre not as confrontational as me, email him. I bet he answers you, but at the very least he will know he’s not doing a good enough job.

  5. BATES says:

    You’re a fucking genius too Chuck! great read. Remember way back when you didn’t tap but had to pass out from the pain to lose and put both wrestler’s over?
    Like Hart v. Austin at WM13. Hart gets the win,
    Austin gets pushed to becomes the 2nd greatest Babyface in History. If it doesn’t become Hart v. McMahon at WM26 then it was a tremendous waste. TNA had great workers before….now they got shitty story lines, worse writing and lots of egos to deal with while Angle and AJ continue their brilliant work ethic. Sad to see what has come full circle

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