This Week in Wrestling
The Return Edition
Months ago I decided to start a second column series, “This Week in Wrestling”. I had a lot of fun writing it but at the time it was just difficult to concentrate on both it and my other series, Real Talk. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from TWIW and many have asked when it was going to be returning, so here it is! Enjoy!
5. Europeans have gone absolutely crazy over Ring of Honor’s upcoming tour in the UK. Tickets have sold like wildfire since they were put on sale. I think this is pretty impressive and just goes to show how popular the United States number one indy promotion is overseas. I’ve talked to many people from the UK and other surrounding areas and they’ve all noted that there is a serious lack of big time wrestling events across the pond, seeing as many of the top companies are located here in the US.
I forget how lucky I am to live so close to Philadelphia, a wrestling mecca in its own right. It’s the home of ROH, and they’re returning July 15th. I plan on being at that show and checking out the live action for myself. It’s also the home of ECW. They’re coming to the old ECW arena on June 24th and I pray that I can secure tickets for that event. WWE will be putting on a Supershow in Philadelphia this summer as well. And I almost forgot to mention that TNA will be there live on June 9th. I certainly have my plate full this summer, but I’m glad that the UK is getting a little piece of the action when ROH makes their way over the Atlantic.
4. I’ve found Sting’s offers to Jeff Jarrett fairly entertaining over the past few weeks on Impact, but it seems odd to see the likes of Buff Bagwell, Lex Lugar, and Ric Steiner on TNA television. Those guys, added to the mix with Sting, Jarrett, and Scott Steiner make me feel like I’m watching old school WCW! Not to mention the Alex Shelley’s Kevin Nash interview that took place this week. I’ve always found big Kev entertaining and this was no exception. I do, however question his mentioning the X-Division as “just filler”. I don’t think many people would disagree that it is the best thing going today as far as TNA goes.
3. So JBL has the top spot again on Smackdown, headlining Judgement Day with Rey Mysterio. I hate to say it but it’s really a shame to see how much star power Smackdown has lost as of late. Rey is working injured, Batista still hasn’t returned, and we’re without Randy Orton and Kurt Angle at the moment. These are all main event wrestlers and should be headlining Smackdown each week but unfortunately they can’t.
It particular hurts me to see Kurt Angle gone, as most people already know that I’m a huge Angle fan. I just don’t know how much longer he can put his body through the hell he’s put it through, but I’m praying that he can hold out a little bit longer. I’m going to miss the Olympic Gold medalist when he’s no longer in the ring for good.
2. One of the hottest topics going around the IWC right now is the possibility of the DX reunion. Trips and Shawn Michaels have been throwing out crotch chops left and right and of course there was the stare down earlier in the week on RAW. A news report noted that DX was being advertised for a return at Vengeance, but the ad was quickly pulled.
To be honest, I’m not quite sure what to make of all this. I feel as if WWE is just trying to pull the fans in for a quick fix using some good ol’ nostalgia but at the same time I think it could be wildly successful. I can imagine Triple H and Shawn Michaels teaming up as a face-DX faction and reeking havoc on RAW. It could make for some great television and some great moments in the near future.
1. While the DX issue is huge, the number one thing going on right now is the return of ECW. This is absolutely huge and has everyone buzzing. The WWE hasn’t made any announcements about how the new ECW will take place, but I think it could be a pretty cool thing if done right. They’ve already announced a number of superstars who’ve signed a contract to work for ECW, but it will be interesting to see the final product.
I just hope they keep the show in the smaller arenas in order to get the most out of fan interactions. The fans of ECW were one of the things that made it so popular, and without them I’m not sure if this new promotion is going to work very well. Like I mentioned before, ECW is returning to the old ECW arena on June 24th and I hope that I’ll be in attendance. I’ve never had the opportunity to attend an ECW event before so I think it’s going to be a wild experience!
This week’s spotlight is going to be a mixed bag: Part commentary, part review, and part follow-up. In April of 2005 I wrote a piece entitled “Wrestling with Faith” and discussed the life changing roles that Christianity has played for a number of pro wrestlers including Shawn Michaels, Sting, and Ted Dibiase. This week, ESPN the Magazine, a mainstream sports weekly, picked up Dibiase’s story in particular. The article was entitled “Wrestling for Jesus” and was noted prominently on the cover of the magazine.
I was excited when I noticed this, and hoped to read a fairly unbiased report on Dibiase and his ventures since becoming a Christian. The article did in fact trace his rise to fame in the WWE and eventual conversion, but the main focus of the article was about his wrestling promotion, “Power Wrestling Association”, or PWA.
The PWA is part wrestling, part ministry. It has, in the past, fetured wrestlers such as Shawn Michaels, Sting, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Teddy Hart, and Buff Bagwell among others. It seemed to be a large mix of current superstars making occasional appearances such as, HBK, old timers who are trying to hold onto a small piece of past glory, and young indy wrestlers trying to break into the business. The shows usually takes place in churches. They begin with a wrestling show and end with Dibiase, among others, ministering to the crowd and calling them to ringside to accept Christ.
A skimming of the article would make one believe that this was an objective report; however a closer examination leads me to believe otherwise. The topic itself contains two factors which people love to mock; Religion and pro-wrestling. As a columnist, a platform is provided to interject opinion into what one writes, but a journalist’s job is to provide information in an objective way. I’ve found time and time again that with the issues of Religion and wrestling, this just doesn’t seem to be the case. It is a rare occasion when a “main stream” sports writer treats wrestling with any sort of respect. It usually provides the butt of a joke rather than an objective piece of reporting. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the author of the Dibiase article, Allison Glock, did such a thing in a very open manner, but it rather seemed to be implied throughout the piece.
As someone who considers himself both a Christian and an avid wrestling fan, I was a bit taken aback by the article. Dibiase has taken two things that he is very passionate about, wrestling and Jesus, and combined them. The author of the article goes on to question his intentions, implying that his true aims are to make money and get a television deal. Maybe Dibiase’s past persona as the Million Dollar Man has tainted the author’s view of him. Maybe it is too hard to believe that this man, a pro at presenting a “false” persona to the public, could genuinely be concerned with something other than money and fame.
Glock is quick to point out that many fans are far from Christian. She mentions some being drunk while chanting insults and curses at the wrestlers while screaming for more violence. I think this may describe a typical wrestling audience at any show, yet the author uses this to imply a sport of hypocrisy on the part of Dibiase and his “Christian” organization. Glock does the same in noting that many of the wrestler’s public and personal lives do not reflect the Christian values Dibiase preaches. (Yet to the author’s credit, she does note that non-Christians can wrestle, but only certain wrestlers can share their testimonies at the end.)
It is strange, I’ll admit it. Men being the hell out of each other, followed by a mock crucifixion staged by actors, and lastly a call to ringside to be saved. I find it so strange because it seems to foreign to any live event I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve had the chance to go to countless pay per views, live shows, and house shows. These events usually never present anything like your typical Christian atmosphere. Because of this I have trouble visualizing the coupling of these two entities.
Everyone has a right to a personal opinion on the matter, but I disagree with the author’s choice to use this particular piece to present her thoughts and disagree in the manner in which they were presented. I’ll be the last, unlike the author, to question Dibiase’s intentions and dedication. Dibiase has put his heart and soul into this business and I find it disappointing that the presentation of his work, both the wrestling and religious aspects, needs to be done under the guise of an objective article while a mocking and condescending tone underlies it all.
Next Week, the Spotlight will feature a twenty question interview with Pro Wrestler and TNA star David Young.
This section is combination Column Corner/Cheap Plugs for this edition of TWIW. I’ll be speaking about a great Column Event coming up that I hope many people take a part of, but in the end it is really a Cheap Plug for something I’m involved in! I hope you’ll still read.
Wrestlezone.com has always been known as one of the top main page sites for columnists on the net. Now, we want YOU to be out next main pager. Starting Friday, May 26th, WZ will be accepting applications for new main page writers.
Here are the details:
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-Joe Pritchett of “Joe Pritchett’s Real Talk”
will judge your efforts during the month long trial period. Exactly one month after you submit your application, these five main page panelists will vote on if you are worth to join them as a WZ main page columnist!
Panelist’s considerations will break down as follows:
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The window to apply for a main page spot will be open from May 26th to June 26th!
Feel free to email me at JPRealTalk@yahoo.com