#1 – Parody Party
Guess who’s back?
Well kids, I know, I know – it’s been a while. I could give excuses, but well, I don’t have to. The main section of my column will do a lot of that for me. Either way, it’s good to be back doing something that I enjoy, and that’s writing columns. I’m going to try and at least get one of these out every other week. Hopefully, the change in format helps too. I’ve been thinking that The New Joint was getting rather old, so – I smoked it and started over. Enough about me though – let’s get to the wrestling!
Thinking about wrestling recently makes me ask the question – “What happened to wrestling?” When did it go from being something that was creative, and energetic to something that is a pale comparison of it’s former self? Actually, I shouldn’t say what happened to wrestling, I should say – what happened to the WWE? Sometime recently, they lost the joke. They stopped being what they were, and they’ve become a parody of themselves.
Here is what the Internet defines the word parody as:
· A satiric imitation of a work or of an author with the idea of ridiculing the author, his ideas, or work. The parodist exploits the peculiarities of an author’s expression–his propensity to use too many parentheses, certain favorite words, or whatever. The parody may also be focused on, say, an improbable plot with too many convenient events.
· Imitates the techniques and style of some person, place, or thing. Parody is used for mocking or mocking its idea of the person, place, or thing. Monty Python is an example of parody.
Now, when you watch the WWE compared to what it once was, it’s like watching the “Naked Gun: WrestleCadeHeaven Part 4.25” It’s feel like a lame attempt at recreating what used to be an awesome show with surprises, plot twists, and solid wrestling around every turn. Granted, even back in the day they had their moments of complete lunacy, it didn’t come off like it does now. When I watch wrestling now, it too often feels like a cheesy reproduction of what RAW could be.
We’ll use The Boogeyman as the first example, because it’s just so damn easy. Anyone remember Papa Shango? Papa Shango was the Godfather with a skull painted on his face, little bones around his neck, carrying a shrunken head to the ring. It was a rather funny gimmick, but it got played semi-serious, and successfully I might add. The gimmick was so successful that he was actually put in the main event of “Saturday Night’s Main Event” against Bret Hart in 1992. Now, can you ever see the same thing happening with The Boogeyman? Is he being built up properly so that he could theoretically challenge Kurt Angle for the title at an upcoming Smackdown only PPV? No, not even close! He’s eating moles off of Jillian Hall’s face and all around getting weirder and stupider each week. Where’s this guy’s edge? He’s not getting taken seriously because he’s not being put over as somebody that’s a serious character. It’s a parody – and I keep waiting for this guy to bite the head off a chicken and perform the voodoo dance of death to curse his opponent. Wait for it kids – it’s coming soon to an episode of Smackdown near you.
It’s not just Smackdown that’s craptacular lately though. RAW’s got its share of Mad Magazine candidates, and it starts right near the Main Event scene. Edge has recently turned into “The Rated R Superstar” but all I can think about is that Adam Copeland’s a cheap imitation of Randy Savage. “The Macho Man” and Miss Elizabeth were in many ways far ahead of their time, as gimmicks go. They had this strange dynamic, where Randy Savage was this stereotypical pompous and arrogant man who thinks he’s god’s gift to women, and yet, his manager is this wholesome girl-next-door type who roots him on and stands by his side. Now, we’ve got Edge and Lita – who really are only a little different. Lita’s of course, as Hacksaw reminded us tonight, is just a HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! But, she’s still a lady. I guarantee that if they thought they could get away with it back then, Vince would have had Randy pimping out Miss Elizabeth for favors from Gorilla Monsoon. Now, he’s able to push that limit and actually say that he thinks what Edge is doing “is admirable” on International Television. The Mr. McMahon character advocates prostitution, and there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it. Well, there’s on thing we can do, and that’s not watch anymore.
Everyone notice that you can’t spell “prostitution” without the word “tit”. Vince loves tits. He loves them on women, and well… he’s actually a fan of them on men. I’m of course talking about his penchant for the muscle-bound meathead that is the Hoss. This is where the parody really gets good. We’ll start at the top, because “The Champ is Here!” The Champ’s just a parody of Mr. McMahon’s favorite wrestler, Stone Cold Steve Austin. Of course, Cena’s black and Stone Cold was white. Wait. Did I just say Cena was black? No, sorry, I meant to say “urban.” Where Stone Cold was a redneck, representing everything that is life in the country. Hunting, fishing, trucks, light beer, and middle fingers. John Cena represents the “urban” youth, the hip-hop kids. You know – us kids that grew up with bus-passes, break dancing, graffiti, 40’s, Five-O and FU’s.
Vince didn’t just need to have Stone Cold back though, oh no. He also needed to have Hulk Hogan. Hogan was easy to recreate. This time though, they threw in a dash of The Ultimate Warrior too and came up with The Animal. If you over analyze Batista’s character, you can pick it all out easily. It gets easier though. Carlito and Razor Ramon. Chris Masters and Lex Luger. Sylvan and Rick Martel. Big Show and Andre the Giant. The Undertaker and The Undertaker. Shit, even Triple H is slowly but surely metamorphosing into Harley Race in front of our very own eyes!
I don’t even know where the hell they came up with The Spirit Squad, but there’s no excuse for it and I hope it dies. I hope it dies a miserable fireball from the sky shot out of Randy Orton’s ass death. Of course, these stupid ideas aren’t just in WWE, and I can’t say that federations like TNA or ROH don’t have the same problems. They do it too. I mean, seriously, they’ve got a guy that’s dressing up like STING! Can you believe that!? Motherf***in’ Sting!
I’ve been a fan of the WWE for a long time. It’s been since Andre vs. Hogan at Wrestlemania III that I have been completely enamored with this federation. Sure, I watched WCW, and I even would watch some NWA before WCW existed. However, it was always World Wrestling Federation that I thought of as “the big time.” It was always Hulk Hogan, The Macho Man, and Andre the Giant that were the biggest stars in the world of wrestling to me. Later, when WCW rose to prominence, I still was more of a RAW guy than a Nitro guy. When the N.W.O. came in, I thought that maybe Vince McMahon had finally figured out a way to invade WCW. So, I watched them both. I watched to see what would happen, because the story drew me in and kept me asking more questions. Both of the major federations had one thing in common back then though. They both put on shows that were well thought out with a clear Main Event direction and an under-card full of talented, rising stars.
These rising stars were trying to develop fresh characters that would make them stand out from the norm, and not rip off another wrestler’s gimmick. That just doesn’t seem to happen very often. It’s only every now and then that someone shows up with something fresh. MNM feels fresh. Eugene as the wrestling savant feels fresh. Muhammad Hassan was very “current events” and could have been genius. JBL did turn out to be genius. They aren’t always wrong. It seems that when I watch WWE, I get this whole Mad Magazine – National Lampoon – Naked Gun – Scary Movie feeling all over me and I wonder if somewhere someone’s watching me watch wrestling and laughing their ass off that I actually think this is what WWE programming is.
But, it’s not a dream. It’s real. This is what it’s turned into. And, maybe I’m okay with that. I mean, I must be, because I keep tuning in, don’t I?
Maybe it’s that I want to see WWE succeed. However, at this point, I’m all too often left scratching my head and asking myself “why”? Why do I keep watching this? I want to be positive, and I want to enjoy it. Most of the time I actually do, but sometimes I have to sit and question – are they playing a joke on me? Does the WWE think I’m that stupid? Or, have they just gone into that alternate alternate reality, and I’m just supposed to laugh at the ex-referee that’s trying to kill himself because they meant it to be funny?
Well, the column’s changed format but there’s a couple things I want to keep. This section’s going to bring you something I want to show you each week, plus my pick for the “Hoss of the Week”, which I couldn’t just abandon!
Let’s go first with the “Download of the Week”. I wanted to bring this in at some point, and now’s a good a time as any. There’s so much out there on the Internet, and it’s our duty to share it with each other. The rich history of wrestling can only make you more of a fan. I think part of what brought the main section of this column on is the fact that I’ve been watching so much old stuff. I’ve also been watching matches from the Indy scene, and have become a big ROH fan, as well as learning about JAPW, CZW, and even OVW. There’s so much to see out there, that it’s almost a travesty that not more people are watching downloaded matches. I know there are some of you that haven’t seen Samoa Joe yet. So, here’s a treat:
Samoa Joe vs. Necro Butcher from IWA Mid South in a brawl that’s beyond stiff. There’s a couple of serious, legitimate, “Holy Shit” moments here. None of that TNA Impact Zone baloney Holy shit baloney. We’re talking “damn, did he just bust his f***ing skull open!?!” holy shit moments. Two versions here – one to just watch for those with a slower connection, and one to download for those that have the space and speed to keep the match.
As for “The Hoss of the Week” – I think it’s pretty clear. There are plenty of candidates, but only one man that really stepped up and was able to go over a veteran and former World Champion. That man is “The Masterpiece” Chris Masters, and a win over The Big Red Jobbing Machine will easily earn him the title of Hoss. This young kid is really getting more impressive each and every week. If he can figure out how to make his character more interesting than just “randombuffdude” he can be in the Main Event status for a long time. He’ll be jobbing to RVD next week though, so we’ll see where they’re going to go with The Masterpiece for Wrestlemania. I’m hoping into some inter-promotional action, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
That’s going to wrap up the inaugural edition of Viva La Lucha. I guess I should close with why I decided on “Viva La Lucha.” I have been wanting to change my column around, and when thinking of a title, I wanted it to be something that would maybe honor Eddie Guerrero and our shared heritage at the same time.”Viva La Lucha” directly translates as “Long Live Wrestling”, and I thought that was rather fitting. I’m hoping that this shorter format will allow me some more freedom and enable me to bust out a column more frequently than I have recently.
Thanks to all of you that came back to read something by me, I really appreciate you taking the time out. I look forward to your feedback on the new layout and your thoughts on the parody party that Vinnie Mac’s throwing at us nowadays. Whether you loved it, hated it, or vomited, email me at TheNewJoint@verizon.net and let me know.
Long Live Wrestling!
Viva La Lucha!
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