Fight The Power

Nick Paglino

Fight The Power
by Mark Madden

When the nWo invaded WCW, it revolutionized wrestling – and, ultimately, ruined it.

Ever since, the main focus of wrestling has been THE POWER STRUGGLE. Who’s really in charge? Who’s got the stroke? It’s been one long revolting development.

Initially – with the nWo and with Austin-McMahon – it worked. Since then, not so much.

Impact’s doing THE POWER STRUGGLE. I think. Hell, who can figure out what they’re doing? WWE’s doing it. C.M. Punk against the family. Always THE FAMILY. Did Steph send the text? If she did, be sure of one thing: IT WASN’T A GOOD BOOKING IDEA. Nash went from the original rebel to corporate hitman in 15 years. It’s like when Tom Hayden got elected state senator.

Wrestling’s always been on a treadmill. The hamster used to chase title belts. Now it’s POWER. Power, or the resolution of a personal issue. THE BELTS ARE PROPS. Jesus, I heard Russo say that SO MANY TIMES.

But guess what? POWER is just a prop, too. On-camera events notwithstanding, VKM runs WWE as an absolute dictatorship, and there has not been a single moment in the past 29 years when that hasn’t been the case.

The personal issues are just props, too. Occasionally, the truth slips out, like when Punk said on my radio show that The Rock’s promos are out of touch and corny. But when the time comes, Phil and Dwayne will sit down and plot their match in civil, professional fashion.

AHA, you say, WHAT ABOUT WHEN IT’S A SHOOT? Well, that’s usually cause for grave embarrassment with no positive change to the bottom line. When Jeff Jarrett started screwing Karen Angle and Impact made that sad, adulterous fact into an angle involving Karen’s kids by Kurt Angle, everyone involved should have been ASHAMED. Human cockfighting. WHAT SCUMBAGS.

EVERYTHING is a prop. It’s ALL FAKE. The idea that televised lust for/abuse of power or the resolution of fabricated personal issues is somehow MORE REAL than the chase for championships is LUDICROUS and insulting to the viewers’ admittedly limited intelligence.

It hasn’t worked, either. Not recently. Look at the ratings. WWE, with no competition on Mondays, is in end-game Nitro territory. Smackdown is fading fast. Impact barely registers. Wrestling has always been able to imitate sport. But it can't do comedy and drama nearly as well as the professionals.

Punk, the flavor du jour until WWE finds an excuse to screw him, says something that rings true: I’M THE BEST WRESTLER IN THE WORLD. He’s not the son-in-law, or the dead man, or the movie star, or the Latino playboy who grins like an idiot. Punk’s claim to fame is RELEVANT. It REGISTERS. It’s reminiscent of when Flair said it, and we believed it. Make-believe, sure, but BELIEVABLE. What’s old always becomes new again. Does anyone really care how many cars Alberto Del Rio has? PUT THE MASK BACK ON.

A further word about the new WWE champ: He’s totally exemplary of WWE’s problems. He SUCKS, but he’s better than most, so the masses buy into him as a star – the ever-shrinking masses, that is.

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