To quote one of my heroes, ďIíve
had all I kin stands, I canít stands no moreĒÖ.
Over the last several years, Iíve
returned over and over to the question, ďWhat would it
take for me to stop watching professional wrestling?Ē I
suffered through the gradual degradation of everyoneís
wrestling skills, to the point that there isnít an actual
wrestling hold in most televised matches. I held on after
two of my all-time favorites, Arn
Anderson and Ricky
Steamboat, retired early due to injury. Smoky Mountain
Wrestling went under, and I kept watching. Most of the
worldís major talent came and left ECW, and Iím still
there week after week. The WWF put Mark Henry in a ball gag, and I came back for more. Over the last
couple of weeks, I think Iíve found it. It came from the
man whom I should have expected itíd come from, Vince
Russo. But the method behind the madness was something I
Everyone has to play a part in a
professional wrestling show. The in-ring performers are
there to give the impression of violence, which is committed
as part of a story which plays out in and out of the ring,
or just for its own sake. The booker comes up with how the
story will play out. The ring crew is there to set up this
theatrical stage. The production people add to the enjoyment
of the audience in attendance with light and sound displays
to accompany the theatre. The role of the TV announcers is
to fill in story gaps when actions alone donít quite cut
it, and to communicate the action in the ring. In that
regard, itís the same role that announcers play at other
sporting events. But itís also like the narrator in a book
or movie, who acts as a tour guide, as it were, through the
events that are taking place.
Not only have many of WCWís events
recently been nonsensical and misguided, but Tony
Hudson and Mark Madden are guiding me straight into the nuthouse. Itís not
their fault, personally. Contrary to the beliefs of some,
wrestling announcers do not have free reign, no more so than
the wrestlers. What they say, and how they say, is monitored
by the booker and promoter, to ensure that what they say is
in lockstep with everything else that the promotion is
doing. So when Scott Hudson says that ďTorrie
Wilson is turning heel on Kidman,Ē
heíd be quickly and strongly corrected for using that
phrase if it wasnít Vince Russoís idea in the first
place. The three-way finish at the last PPV further
evidences this, where Goldberg
didnít go along with a powerbomb and instead walked out of
the ring. Russo put the announcing crew in an impossible
spot there. There is no fine line between doing the role of
a wrestling announcer, and communicating what just happened
at that time. So
Schiavone and crew sounded like the worst smarks of Bill Wattsí nightmares, talking about Goldberg shooting, refusing
to cooperate, and walking out.
The whole thing smacks of an ego so
completely run amok that he feels the need to remind the
viewers, as often as possible, that thereís someone
writing this stuff. The
WWF has admitted the nature of the beast, but they donít
talk about who is booking what, and I believe thatís
contributed to their success.
Normal TV shows donít confuse the boundary between
their imaginary set and their real lives, and why would
possible sense would it make to put an interview with Matthew
Perry in the middle of Friends, where he talks
about how the writers have done his relationship with
Monica, and perhaps plug his new movie?
In WCWís world, not only do they do that; they then
turn right back around and go back to the story!
For what possible benefit?
The only thing I can figure is to feed
Russoís ever-growing need for respect and acknowledgment
of his skills as a wrestling writer.
Which makes him the biggest mark Iíve ever heard
of, and believe me, Iíve met plenty, both in and out of
the wrestling business.
If he reads this, and being the mark that he is,
Iíll bet he loiters around various Web sites, probably
doing searches for his name in printÖwell, Iíd love to
hear from him. See
if thereís another answer to my question.
If anyone wants to try and help me figure it out, my
E-mail is email@example.com.
If you want to call me, drop me a line and Iíll
give you my phone number.
If your intentions are good, Iím serious about
this. I want to
During his time with the WWF, the
opinions and ideas of Jim Ross, Bruce Prichard,
Pat Patterson and others balanced Russo, with the
final ďyes/noĒ coming from the watchful eye of Vince
WCW, thereís no balance.
The man has final word over everything.
The result is not only the least watchable wrestling
program Iíve ever seen, but also one of the most confusing
shows in TV history.
Since my parents first got cable TV in
1981, Iíve been watching the WWF and the corresponding
show on TBS, starting with GCW, moving through the Crocketts,
and now on to the Turner era. For 20 years, I was always partial to the Atlanta stuff.
it was just burned into my mind, but they were a wrestling
company, whereas Vince McMahon called himself ďsports
like wrestling. I donít like the garbage I see on TNT and TBS now.
Itís a strange coincidence that one of the men I
associated with everything good about professional
Solie, passed away as all of this mess was coming down.
Now that Gordon is gone to a better place, one less
link exists to the wrestling shows I used to know and love.
One less link in the chain that has bound me to my TV
set since I was six years old.