It’s a Work – Storytelling

 

Before I get to the meat of things, a thought on Vince Russo. If I had to guess, I would that when he was a schoolboy, he was the smartass kid gigglng as he did his homework assignment while sitting on the floor outside the classroom door with the schoolbell blaring above him, moments before it was due. 

This is how he now writes TNA.

 I really do love storytelling. I think it may have been the strongest factor in getting me to drop my inks and brushes and step into the ring when I was a barrel-chested lad.

They said I was too old for Drama Club. 

Storytelling, when its done well, sparks imagination. I get shit from friends about not watching current wrestling, and to answer all of them- its because there’s no story keeping my interest. 

I’m trying though. 

Wrestling’s internet presence makes this effort seem futile, because its among the sport/business/industry’s biggest proponents that imagination becomes impossible. 

I used to love watching those early pay-per-views with my friends, but watched them alone if I had to. For weeks as they’d let the stories unfold, my mind would race with the thought of who might face who at that next big event, or who would be next in line for a shot at the title. Like great books, they didn’t tell me EVERYTHING, but left something to my imagination.

Without getting into all the ugly details of what happened, I will say- those days are gone. 

I don’t watch TV wrestling but the Monday before last I did, and the names that got my interest were Hogan and Bret. Sadly, neither could keep it and its not the fault of either of those names- they are great. I can’t pinpoint why in so few words, but I know it’s the writing and can tell you my set stayed off. Is it the novel I’m working on? Maybe- it is a far better story, but I’d turned off my laptop hours before RAW.

 TNA? When the fuck is it even on? And what channel? I guess that Monday night edition was to try and throw a tree-branch in the spokes of McMahon’s Huffy? Well WWE is coasting safely and TNA is lost on my dial somewhere. 

 I don’t know who runs or owns or rules over the shit-storm at TNA- I’m sure one of you proud internet smarks does though, just like you know the main event of the next three Wrestlemanias, or at least that’s what you posted on wrestleforum.cum, but someone tell TNA they’re being cheated by a scagbaron named Vince Russo. You’ve known him for years, but he’s ripping you off.

 I lied my way into wrestling too, but I got better and smarter as time passed.

 One reader posted that last week’s “Its a Work” failed somehow as a journalistic nod to HST. I didn’t know I was nodding, but it seems the Steadman drawing I used for a thumbnail to link it on Facebook suggested I was. I smoke too much pot to paraphrase, so here: 

Troy S Kenneson I’m gonna get flak on this but I didn’t find it that great.If this Chuck guy was going for a Hunter S thompson style of journalism then he didn’t do the best job.It wasn’t bad but it’s no Gonzo work.The way HST wrote he made a simple ball game turned into the biggest political scandal since Nixon took office.Maybe Chuck isn’t going for that but the picture told me otherwise.On a side note-Vince McMahon was only a genius in business and of thieving others ideas and turning it into his own.If that weren’t the case then WWE would be doing amazing business today.It doesn’t take a genius to make a great wrestling show.It just takes a genius to steal and make it appear original.January 8 at 12:50pm 

No flak here; I’m sure Troy’s a good man. He’s a Thompson fan and a Mikey Whipwreck fan, but the latter makes him a wrestling fan as well. Most would realize comparing a few-hundred word essay on sports entertainment to ‘Fear and Loathing’ is absurd. There was nothing in the subject matter to dress up. I could have mentioned I was high while I was watching, and that Jesus knocked me back down onto my couch when I rose to reach for the Ritz so that I wouldn’t take my eyes off of the gray ghosts filling the Total Non-Stop hexagon or whatever the fuck they wrestle in is, but who would be surprised by that? 

I’ll accept Troy’s journalism critique, but have to object to the rest. Genius nowadays is a very subjective term and I’ll agree, I use it very informally; what Troy describes though is an artist- and Vince McMahon is that. Every artist of every medium is a thief, and yes, conceals the crime with creative changes. Find me one that doesn’t. Further, there is no shame in it, nor should there be. That’s art.

 Troy’s last spiel is just erroneous. Running a wrestling show is not easy, but Vince McMahon doesn’t run a wrestling show anymore- not a wrestling TV show anyway (and I don’t think he’s booking the house shows), but like many other courageous viewers who have hung in there, you see a wrestling ring and assume you’re watching a wrestling show (as one might see a link with a Gonzo painting and assume he’s reading gonzo journalism).   

I don’t need to google or wiki or subscribe to anything to know WWE makes money and in this economy, that’s amazing business. 

– Chuck LeGrande 

Thanks to Mikey Whipwreck for re-posting last week’s edition, and please go to www.nywcwrestling.com for info on that great pro wrestling company.                 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Stephe says:

    Interesting comment from Troy. I’ve never seen a Steadman drawing and automatically thought HST. If that were the case, I’d start the evening off with a bottle of Flying Dog beer and end it in an ether stupor.

    I’m not sure about Troy’s comments regarding WWE being amazing without Vince, either. Without Vince, there’d be no WWE. Vince had the vision and moxie to create a national wrestling brand. Sure he’s an egomaniac who’s ultimately done more harm to the industry than any one person before him, but he is just as big a part of its success. Personally, I dislike the guy, and I think the show he puts on TV is crap. The backstage bits and in-ring rants slow the show down, almost to the point of unwatchability.

    And it does take genius (or at least imagination) to make a great wrestling show. Someone has to have a feel for the talent at their disposal and a knack for getting the most out of it. Pitting superstar against superstar isn’t the no-brainer it might seem to be.

    I think something Chuck needs to address is the roll of the internet in the erosion of storytelling. In the days before the internet, a loser leave town match used to be suspenseful. What are the chances of doing that kind of match nowadays? The second it gets promoted on-air, a dozen bloggers will chime in with news that one of the participants just signed a new contract with TNA. So much for that angle.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Vaughn says:

    Another great write-up. I feel like we have seen glimpses of genius on TV over last last few years, but absolutely nothing consistent. I felt Hardy vs Punker told a great story AND had the matches to back it up. Aside from that I can think of Flair’s retirement angle and Jericho vs HBK. Beyond that, I’m grasping for straws.

    As far as TNA goes, they have some of the greatest talent in the world… But a fast car without a good driver is never going to win any races.

    Keep them coming Chuck! I missed these!

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