Monday, March 26, 2012

It's Time For WrestleMania! Yay?

Note: This was supposed to go up later, but my main PC (with all the pictures for the toy review that was supposed to go up today) has a virus. Again. It doesn't really matter, because I can't imagine anything is going to happen on RAW or SmackDown that would effect what I wrote here.
Ugh. It’s WrestleMania week and I have to write something about wrestling.
Not even a year ago that wouldn’t have been a problem. I could’ve whipped up some kind of report on the events leading up to WrestleMania. Heck, last year I spent hundreds of dollars on WrestleMania-related things because it was right here in… Atlanta, Georgia! I was still excited.
But now that enthusiasm has gone away and televised professional wrestling is more like something I feel obligated to get through than something I genuinely enjoy. I still record RAW and SmackDown every week, but I barely pay attention when I play them back. I’ll be posting articles or organizing my music or counting the tiles on the ceiling of my office. Anything but watch WWE. Blech.

Let’s see if I even know who the champs are… CM Punk is the RAW Champion (whatever belt that is), Daniel Bryan is the SmackDown Champion (the other belt), Santino Marella is either the US or Intercontinental Champion. Maybe Cody Rhodes is the other one? And I have no idea who the tag champs are. Do they even have tag teams anymore? I mean other than main eventers teaming up.
CM Punk is pretty much the sole bright spot of the WWE for me. Everything he does is still good, whether it’s wrestling or talking. He hasn’t made me roll my eyes. Yet. I don’t know how he manages to conform to WWE’s standards and still be great, but he does.
It seems inconceivable to me that at a time when The Rock and Chris Jericho are back, and two Ring Of Honor alumni hold the major titles, and Booker T is at the announce table that I don’t care. But The Rock has been absolute garbage after his initial return. He’s stumbled on the mic and has hit all the wrong notes for me. His fire is not real. Heck, John Cena seems more genuine than Rock does and I’ve never bought that guy’s act. But thanks to The Rock’s uninspired delivery and hollow support of the business I’m pulling for Cena in their big match, something else I would have thought impossible. I’ve spent years loathing Cena, but I find that I can’t help but hold his respect for the business in a higher esteem than whatever the hell Rock’s reason for coming back is supposed to be. His performance of a terminally retarded 12-minute song on the last RAW I watched is one of the worst things I have ever seen. It was just as offensive as the Katie Vick bullshit or JR’s visit to the proctologist, but in a different, more subtle way. Rock has done nothing since his return to earn my cheers. As a matter of fact, he lost them. Because I was ready to hand them over, no questions asked, if he would just Bring It. And he hasn’t. He’s been exactly the Hollywood phony that Cena has claimed he is, only I don’t think that’s what the story was calling for because WWE does not have that degree of subtlety.
Having said that, I am definitely looking forward to this match. Whatever you may think of the men in it, they are consummate sports entertainers and this match will be WrestleMania worthy.
Chris Jericho has not been much better than The Rock since his return. The initial gimmick of keeping his mouth shut and not divulging his intentions worked, but now he’s in this terribly fucking hacky shtick where he’s doing tired, Aggression-era heel stuff like REVEALING PUNK FAMILY SECRETS! I don’t need any extra stank on a CM Punk/Chris Jericho match. THEY ARE TWO OF THE BEST PROFESSIONAL WRESTLERS THAT HAVE EVER WORKED. Just let them wrestle and talk shit. We don’t need a stupid story. Especially not one about Big Poppa Punk and Cindy Punk having alcohol problems. FUCKING YAWN.
And it’s funny, because Daniel Bryan and Sheamus, who are not known for their off-the-cuff, improvisational mic skills, kind of just are talking shit to each other. There’s not really any extra-curricular drama unless you count AJ, and that doesn’t really have anything to do with Sheamus (yet). Bryan has the belt and Sheamus wants it. Simple as that. I want to see that match.
And then there’s Big Show and Cody Rhodes and I cannot believe that I am interested in this match. When they first set this one up I literally laughed out loud at the thought of these two being on the card at WrestleMania. What a piss break. But both guys have done a great job with the story of Cody taunting Big Show about all his WrestleMania embarrassments. Granted, there is a huge flaw in that; because if Cody wins it just means he’s beaten the guy that always sucks at WrestleMania (a fact Cody has been bringing up ad nauseam for a couple of months now). But Show and Rhodes have both been very good in their roles and Cody in particular has been made to look like a strong heel. I’m very curious to see how this one goes and am impressed that two guys I wouldn’t have bothered to watch for free a few months ago have my attention now.
Randy Orton versus Kane is another match I never would have imagined I’d give a shit about. And I don’t. Kane’s return to make John Cena mean was a good idea that some moron heavy-handed into irrelevance. As soon as Kane said out loud that he was trying to unleash Cena’s hate so he could beat The Rock the story lost all meaning. We got it. And now Randy Orton is all full of hate and rage, presumably because he’s stuck fighting Kane at WrestleMania. This match is going to be the real piss break.
The women’s match features __________ versus ____________ for the pink vagina title and I could not care less about this horrible piece of shit Women’s Division that WWE is maintaining. The fact that they gave a talented woman like Nattie Neidthart a farting gimmick is inexcusable. Of course, that followed the gimmick of Nattie and Beth Phoenix proclaiming themselves (rightfully) the most powerful women in the WWE and then losing every match they wrestled.
The big tag team match is either going to be massively entertaining or a big piece of shit. John Laurinaitas and Teddy Long each chose six men to represent them in the match and the winner will be the General Manager of RAW and SmackDown. While I find the concept stupid – having one person in charge of both shows sounds stupid for shows that should be competing, not that WWE has ever really followed through on that in any meaningful way – the match itself could be good. Santino, Truth, Kofi, Zack Ryder, Khali and a Mystery Person will represent Long. David Otunga, Mr. Ziggles, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, and Christian represent Laurinaitas. I have grown to really enjoy a number of these guys lately. Otunga is amazing as Johnny Ace’s attorney, Mr. Ziggles is always great, Santino is on my good side right now, and Christina is Christian. If they use Khali sparingly (and they almost certainly will) this could be fun.
Undertaker versus Triple H is enough. Much like the Punk/Jericho match this one did not need any extras. But now they’ve gone and stuck Shawn Michaels in as the Guest Referee. To me, that almost renders the match meaningless. Any decision rendered in the Undertaker’s winning streak from somebody other than a WWE official is suspect. Maybe he’s has a special referee before – I’m not sure - but it’s too late in the game now. WWE has given the Streak significance that Undertaker’s WM wins did not have in the past. Now it all counts. Now it is all a Big Deal. Shawn Michael’s presence taints it. Make it a Triple Threat if he has to be involved. I don’t like this Guest Referee business. After the initial stages of the story went so well and made sense (well, enough sense for a wrestling storyline) it was just disappointing to have that thrown in.
All in all I’m still excited for the Granddaddy Of ‘Em All. We’re having our WrestleMania party again and I know it’ll be fun because that’s how we roll. But I wonder about next year.
Right now I’m a lot more excited to see the season premiere of A Game of Thrones Sunday night than I am WrestleMania. Check back in Friday for that post. It’s a doozy.
-Phantom

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