I keep getting asked my thoughts on the the WWE’s critically acclaimed effort in providing a one night throwback to what I consider the greatest era in pro wrestling history. Sure many of you may jump at the opportunity to challenge that statement by calculating the money drawn over the last decade, the Monday Night Wars, and the elaborate set-ups that come in the sports entertainment package. There’s no denying that today’s product is more profitable than it was during the inception of the first Wrestlemania. But that’s not the point I’m here to prove. I’m measuring the era by the elements that shook me and provoked me to fall in love with the business many moons ago.
I’m a firm believer that less is more. And in the 80′s, the pro wrestling product focused more on the “realism” (yeah – I used that word when referring to pro wrestling) rather than on the entertainment value. Rather than tongue-in-cheek jokes for cheap pops, the product earned its reaction by mastering the psychology of pulling on the strings of human emotion. Workers fought tooth and nail up the ladder of contention for a shot at the title and the champions were literally viewed as larger than life. Those emotions were invoked by drama rather than comedy. Wrestling was a sport, more than it was entertainment.
When you look back at the “LEGENDS” – you have to look deeper as to why they are considered legends, what their “gimmick” brought to the game, what elements did they individually and uniquely hold to make them memorable household names, and most of all, why are they still remembered and cherished today. How many moments were forever etched in history because of simplicity?
Today, the business isn’t the same that I fell in love with. It’s too much, too flashy, to unorganized, too inept, – it’s just too much, too soon. the art and the magic are gone. It’s like being married for 20 years. She’s not as slim, doesn’t cook as good, and not as kinky as she was when you first met her. But does that mean you love her any less?…. Ok, don’t be so fast to answer that. The point that I’m trying to make is that everything changes so it can continue to live. Pro-Wrestling has changed with times. It’s evolved from a territorial side show to a global business. And unlike Hollywood – who is stinking up the theaters and pissing all over a host of cinematic classics with these turds misinterpreted as “remakes”, pro wrestling has managed to keep a change with the times and flow with the pulse of modern society. Unfortunately, I can’t let go and part with my fond childhood memories. It’s hard to accept that Randy Savage looks more like Santa Claus in 2010. It’s a tough pill to swallow knowing that a large percentage of my heroes are no longer alive. And those that are – are frail shells of what they once were.
I guess the biggest problem I have is that I don’t see too many of today’s stars who will earn that legendary status 10, 15, 20, 30 years from now. Sure Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, and Triple H are exceptions to the rule. But do you honestly think that Wade Barrett or any of those other toddlers in Nexus will be remembered? Guaranteed, half of them will get their “Good luck in your future endeavors” within the next 18 months. I have a 5 year old son, and aside from John Cena and Randy Orton – who else will he have to refer to when talking about the greatest of all-time…or at least of his generation? These guys have no track record. Do you think Shamus is going to blow the roof off the house when he appears on Old School Raw in 2035?
I guess the old school R&B group Boys II Men said it best with their smash hit in the early 90′s – “It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday”. But after watching Old School Raw, it may be time to. At this ripe age of 35, my job now is to educate my son and smarten him up to the business. My job is to show him where to find the true art form and how to identify a real legend by his skills and integrity rather than by his tights and ring entrance.
I will say this – if you take out the old timers and incorporated some of the old school elements wisely, it could strengthen the product. Remember, SIMPLICITY. Need an example?….. Well I’d love to give you one, but if the WWE (and TNA for that matter) need some consulting on how to strengthen their products, the owners are going to need to break out their checkbooks because I don’t work for free. To quote Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight – “If you’re good at something, never do it for free”.
With that said, if I want to play Marty Mcfly and jump into Doc Brown’s time machine, I’ll just enjoy my subscription to WWE’s 24/7 On-Demand channel. It’s the greatest wrestling gift I could ever give myself. This month has a REAL old school card from 1987 at the Maple Leaf Arena featuring Hulk Hogan vs. Kamala in a steel cage, Jake Roberts vs. King Kong Bundy and The Hart Foundation vs. Davey Boy Smith and Junkyard Dog.
Goodbye yesterday. You’ll never be forgotten. And I can only wish that the powers that be can do a better job today so my kids will have real legends tomorrow.
This article is provided by Elliptical Reviews
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