Sean O’Mac: PnP – Credibility, Cannabis And Code-Breaking

WrestleZone


Welcome to this weekâ<80><99>s edition of Sean O’Mac’s Pullin’ No Punches (PnP for short). Each week you’ll find Sean’s opinions on one or more topics in the WWE world as well as letters from readers. Remember that you, too, can chime in with your thoughts anytime. I like the props, but love the debates and disagreements too. Just keep them brief or I’ll be choppin’ ya down!

Credibility

Although my time as a journalist could qualify me as a news “veteran,” my time as a reporter and “editorializer” in the wrestling world is still quite young. I’m getting a feel for you, the readers, and for the business from a point of view other than as simply a fan.

One thing that is becoming all too clear, however, is that credibility in the online world can be much harder to establish and maintain than in the mainstream media. In the newspaper business, readers give you the benefit of the doubt most times until you make an error and prove them wrong. And, even then, with a simple apology and correction, they can be very forgiving.

Not so, it seems, on the Internet. But, that distinction may in fact be well earned. Let’s face it. Many more people can offer their insights, opinions, and their statements of “facts” on the Internet than have ever been able to do so in human history. And so, it seems – in contrast to the newspaper business – the burden is upon the credible journalists to prove themselves.

The point is easily demonstrated by a blog posting on Oct. 22 by a man in the wrestling business who I respect very much, Good ol’ J.R.

“I was asked what place ‘3rd Party Wrestling Journalists’ have in the biz and my answer is that they have a right to earn a living the same as any one else. They are not doing anything illegal or immoral and I am sure at times on certain subjects, keep the fans updated in more detail on the general state of the business than individual, company owned sites do. My issue, if one wants to call it an issue, is that many sites report things as fact, when in actuality, they are reporting rumors. I have been the ‘victim’ of rumors reported as fact on numerous occasions, especially when I was head of the WWE Talent Relations Department. Nonetheless, just as virtually any other site one can name covering any genre, there will be times when things one reads proves to be false, but thatâ<80><99>s not a revelation.”

You’re so right, J.R., in saying that false information can be found on sites covering any genre. But I hope that those who strive to bring integrity to online journalism help with the sour taste other not-so-responsible writers have left.

And, by the way, I can’t wait to visit your restaurant. Next time I’m in Oklahoma, I’m sure to swing in.

Cannabis

Well, we’re not actually talking about marijuana here, but using the name seemed appropriate to give this week’s PnP title a ring.

I wasn’t able to catch the show myself, but if you get the chance take some time to read the transcript from the CNN special “Death Grip,” which is posted in our Headlines section. It takes a few minutes to read, but does bring up some interesting points.

For instance, why does the media, and Congress for that matter, jump all over the wrestling business over the issue of drugs? While we can all agree that abuse of drugs is an important issue to address and correct in any realm, WWE is a business for entertainment. It’s a workplace that, like most others in the country, has a drug-testing policy in place.

Will Congress get involved if, for example, a reporter for CNN or Fox News, both huge companies, has a reporter die from drug use? I think not.

Now, say what you will, and I know that there are huge differences between the wrestling world and the comparison I just made. After all, reporters for the news networks don’t feel pressure – either from within or from others – to have large, sculpted bodies.

I still maintain my opinion that I wrote in another edition of PnP, however. Congress should stick with running the affairs of the nation and let businesses and individuals take care of their own matters. Blame the Libertarian half of me.

Code-breaking

So now the creative gurus at WWE want us to “break the code” in the SAVE_US promos that have been running for weeks. Like many haven’t already been trying to figure out what each digit means.

Well, I’ve looked them over. It certainly seems that some of the plans may have changed since the viral campaign began. But everyone is pretty sure that it’s the return of one Chris Jericho.

Listening to him recently, however, I have to say that there’s that part of me inside that wishes we didn’t know. That part of me that loves looking in wonder as a magician pulls off his tricks, and enjoys being completely oblivious to what’s inside the Christmas package I’m opening.

It’s a trick that’s increasingly hard to pull off these days, where information and speculation is available at the flip of a switch. It’s especially difficult if you want to draw things out and really get the fans worked up wondering what’s at the end of the riddle.

Despite being one of the guys who helps move that information along, the kid in me still hopes that there’s some twist or turn in this whole build-up that none of us sees coming. A few surprises here and there are exactly what keep the storylines in this business exciting. Not knowing that HBK is going to dish out Sweet Chin Music to Hulk Hogan, or that Evolution was going to turn on then-World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton, or other moments like this â<80>¦

It’s part of the magic that’s so hard to maintain – but even a reporter like myself, someone who in some small part contributes to those who like to peek at their presents, can’t wait for the next time we’re all completely fooled or surprised.

The Punching Bag

Itâ<80><99>s your turn again! This is where, each week, youâ<80><99>ll find e-mails and feedback from wrestling fans on my Takes and opinions. You’re welcome to send yours, good or bad, to wzseanomac@yahoo.com. But be warned – the WWE isn’t the only ones I won’t pull punches for!

Starting off, I need to pass a personal note to Mark A. who asked a couple of weeks ago about Ricky Steamboat. I’m still working on that one, so keep checking back.

Hello there Sean,

First off I’d like to compliment you on your column – its something I look forward to every week. I just wanted to know what you thought of the Internet Wrestling Community as whole.. personally I believe that they are a fickle bunch. While I do read spoilers and results on this site, I don’t take part in active debate with the community of Cena/HHH bashers on the forums of this site. Nothing that these superstars do is good enough – in fact nothing the WWE does is good enough. I agree with the fact that the whole product is not as entertaining as it used to be – but in comparison to TNA in my opinion, WWE does its level best in bringing through younger stars to take over from the aging ones.

TNA reminds me of the old WCW in a way… but I’m getting off the point. My belief is that if these people have such a problem with the WWE and the way things are run… stop watching!! It’s about time the IWC got off its damn high horse and appreciated wrestling for how it is nowadays – the past IS the past. As a lifelong WWE fan, it sickens me to see the barrage of insults that are thrown in the way of superstars such John Cena and HHH – when they live breathe and sleep the business they work for.

Now that I’ve got this off my chest – keep up the good work and I’ll look forward to reading your column each and every week.:)

– Andrew

Wow. Talk about a question that could potentially get a member of the Internet wrestling community in hot water! But, I was hired to offer straight-up opinions and that’s what you, the readers, deserve.

First, it looks like your comments are directed more at those who post in forums and such. While a segment of those posters may indeed be a “fickle bunch” as you put it, we have to remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion, even foolish ones. It’s true, however, that some will never be completely satisfied. There will always be Cena haters, HHH haters, Orton haters, every Superstar is going to have those who love and hate them.

My own hands aren’t clean – in offering the readers my opinions on Raw, Smackdown! and PPV events I’ll often praise or be critical of specific wrestlers. But, for the most part, I try to give each one an equal chance at earning my kudos or thrashings.

Well – maybe not Big Daddy V and Khali – but who’s gonna blame me there?

My best advice to you is continue enjoying what parts of the IWC you currently prefer, try your best to just blow off those you regard as the “fickle bunch,” and dive in with those who share your opinions. Keep looking, Andrew – they’re out there.

Let me start off by saying, Love the column keep up the good work.

During Eric Young’s “interrogation” with Kurt Angle he said “He’s the Shockmaster & he’s gonna shock the world”. Am I the only one who remembers that same promo being used back in the old WCW days when Sting’s mystery partner was none other than The Shockmaster aka Typhoon, Tugboat, etc. going up against the team including none other than Booker T. Just found it a bit funny. What are your thoughts?

– Rich

Honestly, Rich, I focus on the WWE and rarely have time to catch TNA – although I will if I know Sting is going to be heavily involved. If what you say is true, however, then yes I would find that amusing.

Ok, I don’t get why so many people are saying this was the best raw in memory. I personally found it subpar. The only things that saved it for me was the Santino/Austin promo, the Moolah video and the first DX promo (I could do without big dick johnson). Is it just me or is Santino becoming one of the best heel talkers on Raw and WWE in general? My only beef with the DX thing was the chop to coachman. Yes it’s nit-picky but that same chop has knocked OUT Batista, UT, and many more but Coach was able to get up from it?? Does not make sense. I agree that the WGTT/Hacksaw/Crazy match was stupid and pointless. What was up with the back to back squash matches? They’ve already established the glamazon as the most powerful women’s wrestler, she doesn’t need to face Kelly Kelly to prove it. Put her against Mickie James or Victoria if they want to prolong her feud with Candice. I’m sorry but Snitsky just is not going to get over with the fans. People will always remember him as the guy in the horrific “Kane/Lita/baby” angle. Ok, thats my rant.

– Billy

Well, Billy, as I said earlier we are all entitled to our own opinions. From a showmanship perspective, I thought it was an excellent show. I was disappointed with the in-ring time, but you can’t have great storylines with an overload of ring time, nor can you have the opposite. It’s been a while since I can remember Raw putting on such an episode as we saw this week, and while I look forward to more matches next week – my hat’s off to them for this one.

I will agree with you that Santino Marella is becoming much better as a heel on the mic. I wasn’t sold on him as a heel in the beginning, but he’s improved and it will be interesting to see what they do with him now that the SCSA angle is most likely concluded.

The chop to Coachman – yeah. So wrong.

And yeah, I’m not sold on Snitsky either. But Vince seems to be high on him, so I guess we’re going to see what he can do either way. I hope, actually, that they come up with a good angle for him.

First off, I love the column, it took a while to grow on me, but now I can’t miss it.

I gotta say, I loved the shout out to the attitude era that we saw on Monday, but I can’t say I was as happy as you were. The episode was fun, yes, but very predictable. Who didn’t see a stunner and beer coming? Plus, DX won, no strings attached. I just wish WWE would bring back some shock factor that they used to have.

I mean the biggest suprize I saw on Raw was Maria’s clothes stay on.. and that was a sad suprize.

– Andrew

Well, Andrew, glad you stuck it out and became a fan. I love the job, but gotta have readers – whether they love me or love to hate me – to keep it.

Try not to be so picky, though. Of course we all knew when SCSA came out that he would be dishing out a stunner to Santino. It didn’t make it any less fun to watch in my book! Personally, I was looking forward to seeing it, knowing from the beginning that Austin would show up and “open up and can of whoop ass” eventually. Yeah, I’d like to see some “shock factor” brought to the show as well. But as Chris Jericho said recently, it is hard to surprise the fans with the flow of information and spoilers these days.

I too was saddened to see Maria’s clothes remain, but we’re all entitled to our fantasies, right?

Sean “O’Mac” McGuinney’s day job is as a newspaper editor. He has been a journalist for nearly 10 years and has covered everything from government to sports. The wrestling? Well, that’s just been enjoyed since he was a kid. Don’t ask how long ago that was.

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