HOME IS WHERE THE HEEL IS
The home invasion perpetrated by babyface (?) Triple H against Randy Orton reminded us yet again that wrestling should keep its product in the ring. Inferior production, inferior acting, the action and violence muted by lack of a crowd – it flat-out sucked.
If Vince McMahon’s creative team had any legitimate talent for scripting, directing and producing that went beyond wrestling, they would be in Hollywood because A) it pays more, B) it’s more prestigious and C) it beats working for a basket case.
Measure the Triple H home invasion scene from Raw against the Gary Busey home invasion scene at the climax of “Lethal Weapon.” The two don’t compare, not even in any small way. Before you try to minimize my expectations for Raw, remember that Raw is a highly-rated national cable TV show watched by millions. The audience and sponsors deserve better. If you can’t deliver drama, deliver what you’re good at: A wrestling program.
Anyway, how does a wrestling match avenge assault on a spouse? Or a home invasion? Have two characters ever been any more one-dimensional than Triple H and Orton? At least Triple H’s lame comedy act has been shelved – not that reprising “The Shining” is much more compelling.
It all brings me back to Chris Jericho. Jericho is executing a wrestling angle. He’s not blurring the line between shoot and work. He’s not asking fans to buy the absurdly illogical. Jericho is using charisma, promos and execution to take something very basic and hit it out of the park time after time. It is, by far, WWE’s most over storyline heading into WrestleMania.
That’s because Jericho is a wrestler who knows his craft. As opposed to third-rate actors who don’t even realize what their craft is.
THE WRESTLING BUBBLE
In a recent interview, TNA’s Jim Cornette criticized "The Wrestler" because it didn’t have any balance. Because it didn’t show any of wrestling’s success stories, like (ahem) him.
That’s called living in the wrestling bubble.
Darren Aronofsky had no obligation whatsoever to provide balance. Aronofsky wanted to make an interesting, engaging movie, not tell both sides of the story because, for example, Jim Cornette’s story isn’t very interesting save his occasional liaisons with fruit salad. I don’t see how anyone can criticize "The Wrestler" after the unanimous acclaim it’s gotten. Who cares what a wrestling lifer thinks? It’s not a documentary.
Then Cornette criticized Vince McMahon for compromising because he aligned WWE with "The Wrestler" to try and make a buck. Well, surprise, surprise! That’s what wrestling promoters do.
I remember a promoter with a small territory who ripped WWE for years, but later partnered up with McMahon (to his territory’s detriment, I might add). Anybody remember that guy’s name? Let’s see, was it the same guy who said he’d NEVER work with Vince Russo again, but is now his subservient in TNA?
Hypocrisy carries a tennis racket. Cornette has the veneer of a wrestling purist, but he’s as full of crap as Hulk Hogan ever was.
Cornette said he tried to watch "The Wrestler" from the perspective of someone not involved in wrestling. That’s absolutely impossible for a wrestling lifer to do. I certainly know my share of those. Their perspective is permanently skewed. They don’t live real life anymore.
A lot of wrestlers I know hate “The Wrestler.” For the same reason Eddie Van Halen hated “This Is Spinal Tap,” I suspect.
BRICK BY BRICK
If I owned a wrestling company, I would hire Terry Taylor to help book. He has tremendous acumen for logical storylines and his aptitude for laying out ringwork is the product of years of experience.
Just don’t let him name wrestlers.
Terry wanted to create an evil architect: Bill Ding. I’m not kidding.
Several of Terry’s punny creations made the air in WCW. The best-known was Hugh Morrus, played by Bill DeMott. PerfectShawn, a/k/a Shawn Stasiak, was more fleeting.
Neither character was bad. Hugh Morrus,the laughing man, psychotically alternated between comedy and drama as per the traditional theatre masks. PerfectShawn was a hokey attempt to recreate Curt Hennig’s Mr. Perfect persona.
The problem wasn’t the characters. The problem was their names. Terry wanted them pronounced Humorous and Perfection. But no one did, not announcers, not fans, not other wrestlers, because that’s not how the names looked. Everyone said Hugh Morris (as in Morris Day and the Time) and Perfect Shawn (with a gap between Perfect and Shawn, and Shawn pronounced “shon,” not “shun”).
Neither ever got over, so problem solved. I did like Hughie’s finisher: No Laughing Matter, which I rechristened Fly, Fatass, Fly in honor of Kevin Smith. Poor Hughie – great worker, bad look, no charisma. Maybe he should have been Bill Ding instead.