Smart Marks 2.15.14: The Wrestling Sampler
Posted by Dino Zucconi on 02.15.2014
Shake off the Valentine's Day Candy Coma by talking about the Divas, MVP not being an idiot, and bungie matches!
Author's Note: During the writing of this column, I learned of the sad death of a friend of mine. I'd like to dedicate this column to his memory.
Rest In Peace, Tou'Saint Claiborne. You were loved, you are missed, and I'm sorry you're gone.
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Hello again, I'm Dino, this is Smart Marks, and I'm starting to think that we might have built a rapport by now. Isn't that wonderful?
Last week we discussed the (possibly) impending Angry Young Men tag team, the arrival of MVP in TNA, and my discovery that ESPN Classic is now airing some classic Global Wrestling Federation action!
We're going to keep it simple again this week, as there's nothing that's really got me worked up, and no huge news that I saw, either. So, a simple set of Marks to touch on this week. Let's get to it!
Something that has irked me for a while now is the overall treatment of the Divas Division in WWE. I'm not going to waste time talking about the skill level each Diva brings to the table, or even complain about how the E Network Divas get better treatment than the Diva Wrestlers. What really gets me with the Divas, is how at basically any given time, there are two (and only two) Divas that matter- the Divas Champion, and the #1 Contender to the Divas title. If the Bellas are not in one of those spots, then a special Third Place Importance position goes to them, because they're also super important.
However, there's this annoying cycle of one diva wins a 6 person / standard tag match. Announcers then start talking about that Diva (and ONLY that Diva) during her next few matches. Finally, the Diva will get a win over the Divas Champion (either in a non title match, or in another multiperson outing) that will then lead to a title match between the two. If the champion retains, the challenger Diva is reshuffled to the bottom of the deck. If the challenger wins, the two redo the feud, only with the roles reversed.
Kaitlyn, Brie Bella, Cameron, Naomi, Natalya... it's a constant cycle of lather, rinse, repeat. And you know what? Not a single Diva has gotten over. Is this the ONLY reason? No, of course not. But perhaps letting some Divas stand out as better than others would be a smarter decision than simply treating them as interchangeable pieces. An obvious example of this would be the current champ, AJ. She's over with the fans. And why is that? Sure, it started with Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, and being crazy. She kept it going with Dolph Ziggler. But she's been on her own for a bit now, simply the Divas Champion, and she still gets great reactions. And why? Because she's not just Diva 12B that they pluck out. She has a character. She has been a dominant champion. She's more than just a pretty face. More importantly, her presentation tells us that she matters. The Bellas have somewhat of the same thing going on, only they've been forced into a babyface role that doesn't work at all.
On top of that, the rumors that AJ's promo ripping the E Network Divas a couple months ago never led to anything because those Divas (including the Bellas) got butthurt at what was said only hurts them in the eyes of fans like us who read the gossip. If you don't understand that bad guys (and gals) are supposed to say mean things in order to get the good guys angry, then I really don't want to cheer for you in any environment.
As it stands, the division is stuck in this "AJ vs. Some New Chick for the Next Month" feud that it can't get out of. This needs to be addressed and fixed, and hopefully soon. There needs to be depth to this division. Not necessarily more titles, but can't some Divas feud with each other for PERSONAL reasons, and not just "Hey I'm next in line for a title shot!"
What do you guys think? Any ideas to revitalize the Divas? Any sexist takes you'd like to offer? Hit the comments!
The Smartest Man in TNA
I smiled a mile wide last night during Impact, during the backstage segment with Dixie, Rock Star Spud, and MVP. As MVP continues to make life miserable for the Weakest Heel Stable Ever, Dixie and Spud attempt to make with the legal threats, saying they'll have to get the lawyers involved.
MVP, however, doesn't play that. Paraphrased, his answer was "Lawyers? No one pays money to see lawyers!"
MVP: The Smartest Man in TNA (and Quite Possibly, All of Wrestling). I remember a while back doing a Top 5 here where it was Top 5 Pet Peeves in Wrestling, and the inclusion of "business" on the TV side of things was a common theme. Lawyers, authority figures, police officers, arrests, fines... none of this really interests us as fans. No one pays money to see a fake lawyer come out and hand out threats. Sure, it's one thing if you want to go all Crybaby Chris Jericho on it and bring out rulebooks and call out antiquated policies, but the Business Retrofitting of Wrestling is one of the worst things that's happened to our show over the last 15-20 years, in my opinion. It takes all the intrigue of the conflict away, and replaces it instead with litigious nonsense that the average fan doesn't care about. In WWE, it's even more aggravating, seeing as how they apparently want to market to kids. And as we know, kids LOVE them the finer points of contract law!
Seeing MVP come in as the guy trying to clean up TNA, and trying to do so via fair competition (and NOT bullying boss tactics) may actually be the deepest breath of fresh air one can find in wrestling right now. That's right, in TNA! While we have to deal with the Authority, the DOO Kane, and probably a returning Vince McMahon each and every week, TNA seems to have decided to make an angle out of it all, with a cruel dictator having nearly ruined her territory with selfish rulings, and now she's forcefully having her power diluted for the benefit of the product.
In the land of Bic Attacks and Every Longterm TNA guy taking a sabbatical/throwing a tantrum, it's a nice change of pace to see at least ONE person with "stroke" who actually cares about the WRESTLING part of the wrestling promotion. TNA's desire to present itself as a full TV show has grated on me recently, so I can appreciate MVP coming in and being like "Uh guys? The money is in the ring!" Don't get me wrong, backstage segments where Dixie kicks one cameraman out because "this is private" and then ignores the FOUR OTHER CAMERAMEN in the room sure tricks me into thinking I'm watching something cutting edge, but I'd much prefer just being handed wrestling action instead.
Settling issues in the ring? Making sure the best wrestlers are getting the best opportunities? Keeping Dixie relegated to backstage skits where she's owned by MVP repeatedly? I can definitely get used to this. Thank goodness we're keeping the lawyers out of it for the time being. We've all really needed the break.
Agree? Disagree? Enjoying MVP so far? Hit me up below!
Every week, I like to end the column by saying that "It's all wrestling. It's all stupid. We all love it." I like to end with that phrase because I feel that, far too often, we as fans seem to forget that it's stupid. We like to instead complain about the stupid crap instead of embracing it, acting like ONLY (insert the fed you hate the most) does stupid crap. We argue "logic" at all times, even though wrestling is usually devoid of it. Instead of just enjoying it for what it is, we try to make it into something it isn't. Why? To avoid having to say we like crap? Well, screw that. I like crap!
And thanks to the ESPN Classic channel running episodes of Global (as I mentioned last week), I was able to recall one of the absolute stupidest matches in wrestling history. No, it's not the Hog Pen match. Nope, it's not Dixieland. It's not even Vince Russo's War Games. It's the ever famous BUNGEE MATCH!
Contested between Global stars Chaz (son of Tug Taylor) and Steve Dane (who is known as Tex Luger amongst my buddies and I for his appearance as a cut rate Lex), the match put the two inside a small cage that was suspended high in the air. The two had bungee cords connected, and the winner was crowned when he could push his opponent out of the cage, where the man would then fall, bungee style. It really was that simple.
After a short time in there, Chaz ended up getting the duke. Enraged, Dane then pulled the bungee cord belonging to Chaz, causing him to topple out. The announcer goes wild as "the crane has been lowered!" and is thus not safe for Chaz to be falling out of. Luckily, no one died.
What's amazing is that the second I realized I had Global in my house each and every week again, I immediately flashed back to the ridiculous bungee match. It's so stupid. Like, heartbreakingly stupid. How does one even consider an issue to be "settled" by simply pushing a guy out of a cage where he then bungee falls? And still, I love it. I love the utter stupidity of the whole segment. I love the feigned terror. I love Mike Davis eventually getting his bungee on, and returning with a moon rock. It's just all so unbelievably stupid, that it couldn't be provided by anything else but pro wrestling.
This mindset should always be considered when one (myself) goes off on how "stupid" something was. I know the TNA Defenders HATE hearing that something TNA did might be stupid, and will immediately point out something someone else did that was just as stupid. But really, why defend it? WWE has THE UNDERTAKER. It has KANE. These are stupid characters. They're still beloved. WCW had the White Castle of Fear, and the Dungeon of Doom. Horribly stupid. It's wrestling. It can't help but be stupid. Just accept it, and don't worry so much about it when someone thinks a segment you enjoyed was dumb.
Here, I'll even share the match with you. It sucks. It sucks really, really bad. And like I said... I love it.
Feel the stupid. Embrace the stupid. Tell me your favorite stupid crap down in the comments!
That should do it for this week. I hope everyone has a nice weekend, and that you enjoy your WWE, your TNA, your Lucha, your Puro, and your Indies.
It's All Wrestling. It's All Stupid. We All Love It.