Welcome to “New Rules”.
No full “Interinactivity” article this week. This is because I was foolishly going to do a one-off TNA recap last night as a surprise. I thought it would be fun, kind of for old times sake. Sounds delightful, wouldn’t you say?
Then I found out that the main event was Sting and D-Von. A few minutes later, Ken Anderson was back on TV. I knew I would see Matt Morgan at some point in the show, and just as I thought about that, Gunner showed up. Then, just as I was about to suffer through a Knockout match, a guy who’s apparently from Big Brother came in. The match that followed consisted of one girl too focused on making out with the Big Brother guy and the other girl talking on her cell phone. Literally. That was the match.
This all took place within 30 minutes of viewing the show. I mean, just… what do I even say to all of that. It’s unreal, man. Don’t let anyone ever tell you the show is improving. I watched 30 minutes and I can tell you without hesitation that it’s as bad now as it ever was. Don’t get me wrong, I probably could have gotten some funny stuff out of it, but there was no way I could get through it.
But, I did type up some New Rules for you all this week, so you still get that. So I hope you enjoy New Rules, an important part of my increasing effort to do just enough here to get by.
If you don’t like it…
New Rule #1: From now on, all of The Miz’s matches must take place in a gymnasium where all his opponents will wear a t-shirt that says “Coach”. And Miz can have a t-shirt that says “Differently Abled”.
New Rule #2: Speaking of my friend The Miz – if you’re going to do a documentary on CM Punk, it seems a bit cruel to include footage that Miz filmed saying such nice things about Punk if they were also going to use the footage where Punk says that Miz main-eventing WrestleMania should never have happened.
That’s right, a rare rule in defence of The Miz and criticizing the CM Punk DVD. Don’t get me wrong – the Punk DVD is great and Miz SHOULDN’T have been anywhere near the main event of anything. And if you want to throw Punk saying that in there, then great – it’s his DVD. But at least take out the footage of Miz going out of his way to put the guy over if that’s the case. Leaving it in there feels a bit like leaving a baby in a hot car – which is a metaphor that works, because The Miz looks like a baby that got left in a hot car.
New Rule #3: People have to stop being disgusted at the Hulk Hogan sextape and start being impressed that with his back, knees, hips, legs and age, he can still have sex at all. Especially with someone who’s the age and splitting image of his daughter.
New Rule #4: If Hulk Hogan wears a TNA t-shirt to anyone’s Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, then he’s not allowed to talk about how much he respects them.
New Rule #5: Wrestling fans need a better sense of pattern recognition.
Many people said The Miz would be a main-eventer for years to come after WrestleMania and he wasn’t. Many people said similar things about Shaemus, like how he would be main-eventing PPV’s by SummerSlam at the latest, and he hasn’t main evented a single one. As early as 2010, many people said that Cody Rhodes was soon to be destined for the World Title, and he wasn’t. Even Jack Swagger had people saying he was a welcome fixture in the World Title scene, and he wasn’t.
The examples go on and on, all the way back to 2004 or 2005 when many people swore Ken Anderson would be on the WrestleMania poster the next year. He wasn’t. And now, many people make the same grandiose “future of the business” claims for the same types of guys, like Damien Sandow and Ryback. Same goes for Wade Barrett, and how many shots at bat has he had now?
So people outright abandon their support of them as soon as they start to flounder, which is the case with everyone above. Or they’ll make excuses – “Miz was overshadowed by Cena and a guy who is barely on the show.” or “Shaemus is great, but he needs to be given better lines and a fresher character.” without addressing the obvious fact that if the guys in question were worth anywhere near what’s been suggested, they’d be able to overcome that. Or perhaps they should have solved those problems BEFORE they thrust these losers into such prominent positions. And this is the case until they start to get pushed again and start to come out of obscurity – like with Shaemus last year or Miz over the summer. Then they’re “improving” and “management is pleased with their work” and “they’re well-liked backstage”.
And yet, one of the things I’ve seen posted on the site in the wake of the Ryback thing is “who else if not Ryback can take Cena’s place?”
If The Miz were truly such a future superstar who holds the crowd in the palm of his hand, and especially if a babyface turn would make the crowd “electric”, as some believe, then why is he not being turned and put up against Punk? If Shaemus were truly such a “cornerstone” who’s only problem is a bland character who’s being fed bad lines, then why not freshen him up and continue his superhero push to fight Punk? If Cody Rhodes is such a future superstar, shouldn’t a babyface turn be well within his wheelhouse? Same goes for Wade Barrett if he’s truly “improved”.
And if you’re going to say that these gentlemen already had things going on, you’d be right. Except that what Miz had going on before this was a program WITH Ryback, which they obviously had no problem abandoning. And what exactly do Shaemus or Cody Rhodes have going on currently that would be so damaging to let go? And how about everyone’s “he can actually wrestle” flavor of the year, Dolph Ziggler? He’s been carrying around a factory-installed “in” to this storyline for months, and yet, he doesn’t get the spot either.
The reason they weren’t chosen is either the same reason that their push to the top went over like a lead brick, or it’s the same reason they never made it there to begin with. It’s because most of WWE’s “youth movement” attempts to make stars over the past 6 or 7 years have failed and these are the situations where they realize it. People got mad at Kevin Nash for saying it would fail, but it’s true – it has. And when Nash, who typically has nothing in his system before 8 PM besides three bottles of wine and a taste for heckling fans, is the voice of reason – you’re in trouble.
Take a look at newer starts who the fans have taken to and stuck with, and you probably won’t find either of them to be part of the cookie-cutter “movement” type of wrestler. Trust me, if they had thought that Miz, Shaemus, Cody, Barrett or Ziggler were a better fit or were “destined” for megastardom, they’d have been put in the main event against Punk – or would have been close to it already.
Don’t get me wrong – Ryback was picked because he’s had a decent build, and because the audience has responded to him. But that’s exactly the point – sad as it is, he probably IS a better choice than anyone from the “youth movement”. None of those other guys would have worked, and they know it. Because they either know that it failed already and would again, or WOULD fail if they tried it the first time. So over all of the guys that have been “destined”, they picked the guy who was widely considered to be the worst wrestler in Nexus.
By the way, before you start – yes, he is a horrible wrestler. And just like Miz and Shaemus, people make excuses for his ringwork – “if they keep him in shorter matches” or “if they can hide his weaknesses”. And if you’re saying “we haven’t seen him in a longer match yet so we don’t KNOW and can’t judge” then you forget that a couple years ago, we did see him in longer matches. Those matches speak for themselves.
And if you’re going to say “maybe he’s improved” – then sure, maybe he has. In theory, at any given week a wrestler could improve – but that’s an argument along the same lines as needing to watch EVERY week to KNOW for sure that someone hasn’t “improved”. And just like a Skip Sheffield match, that argument speaks for itself. Sex sustains the human species, but you don’t fuck EVERYTHING unless you’re Edge.
I’ll give credit where it’s due – the way they have him packaged does help. But given that their plan seems to be “Goldberg was cool, we should make a wrestler like that.” then I suggest that WWE also hire some Pokemon characters, as they were popular in 1999 as well.
Will Ryback be another example of people buying into someone simply because WWE is pushing him? Too late for that – he already is. More importantly though, WILL Ryback fizzle? Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. That depends on a few things. Just because he’s horrible doesn’t mean he’ll fail – not in WWE. There’s every chance they could just keep pushing him even if it doesn’t work out the way they want. Shaemus has yet to produce any real value for the company, and they’ve stuck by him. I would say Shaemus has fizzled because he hasn’t got much of a crowd, especially when you consider what they’ve invested in him – but there are some that would say he’s succeeded simply because they haven’t abandoned the attempt. I don’t agree with that, but they could very well do the same with Ryback and some people would say he’s succeeded as well.
But really, this isn’t about Ryback. Ryback being pushed to the top instead of Miz, Shaemus, Cody, or Barrett is simply another piece of evidence pointing towards the undeniable fact that most all of WWE’s attempts to make stars in the past 6 or 7 years have failed. And it’s hardly the only evidence. This is just the latest example.
Take a look at guys who get the strongest reactions today and compare it with who WWE has tried to push. It’s not like what happened to Punk and to Bryan was some master plan – what it did have to do with was the crowd. They got pushed because of the crowd. And because of the crowd, they leapfrogged a bunch of guys who were in front of them. Miz and Shaemus are perfect examples of guys who got leapfrogged by Bryan and Punk.
And while on the topic of guys who are leapfrogging, take a look at the top card of WrestleMania and compare it with top card of WrestleMania 5 years ago and before. How many guys do you see on the current card that are part-timers, if not one-timers, who are booked well ahead of the regular performers? The Rock is booked on top of the entire company and he’s wrestled 2 matches in almost 9 years. Brock Lesnar is getting millions of dollars and he’s wrestled 2 matches this year. The Undertaker works once a year and Triple H hardly wrestles anymore either.
Do you honestly think that if Miz, Shaemus, Barrett, Dolph or Cody were panning out the way that WWE wanted that the matches they’re in would be booked into oblivion under the part-timers? Of course not. Rock, Brock, HHH and Undertaker would be on the show regardless to bring in eyes and dollars, but if Miz, Shaemus, Barrett, Dolph or Cody are a really big deal, shouldn’t they be beating or at least working with these part-time performers or SOMEONE of value at SOME point? I mean, these guys ARE the future of WWE right?
The moral is that you don’t have to buy into someone’s hype just because WWE tells you that they’re now a big deal. I realize that many of you say that’s not the case, but let’s just say I find it a bit coincidental that most of the talk starts when a guy like Damien Sandow debuts, Miz returns, or Shaemus starts getting a babyface push. Just like I find it coincidental how the talk dies out immediately after someone like Miz or Shaemus drop off the face of the Earth. It’s one of the things about wrestling fans that confuses me the most since getting involved in writing about it. I just don’t get it. At all. It’s like how a bunch of people thought that Punk would never get up to where he is today, and many people actually said that he never should. Some even said that he sucked. Then after last summer, everyone jumped on the bandwagon and talked about how they knew it all along and how they were all such huge supporters.
If Shaemus can’t get on WrestleMania and you don’t care whether you see him or not, then why bother caring when WWE starts pushing him on SmackDown, against Mark Henry of all people? And if you were his fan all along, why did you stop caring when they shotgunned him down the card? If you know that The Miz’s push that you were behind already failed and you don’t care now that he’s being jobbed or not on the show at all, then why do you now suddenly care when WWE tries to flog the dead horse one more time? And if you were a fan all along, then why was there virtually no outrage about Miz being jobbed out for months on end?
Figure it out yourselves. You don’t have to like the ones you’re told to like. Support the wrestlers you enjoy watching no matter where they are on the card or how they’re being booked. If you like The Miz, then stick with him when he’s jobbing to Brodus Clay. If you like Kofi Kingston, then stick with him through the years of being booked at the bottom of the card. It’s not like it’s his decision what he goes out there and does. It isn’t for any of these guys.
Besides, if you go by the odds over the past 6 or 7 years, then WWE telling you that someone is going to be a big deal is actually some pretty compelling evidence that the exact opposite will turn out to be the case.
Good luck Ryback!
Number 5 was easily my longest “New Rule” so far.
Just want to state for the record that this isn’t targeted at any one person or any group of people in particular, and in fact, isn’t even just about stuff I’ve seen on Pulse. It’s all over the place. It’s about an attitude that I’ve seen from modern wrestling fans that I just don’t really understand. If you’re reading it and thinking “hang on, I don’t do that!” then you’re probably right, you don’t, and in that case, rest assured, it’s not about you. But you can’t tell me you haven’t seen a ton of this around in present day and over the past few years.
As always, all comments are welcome, or you can shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This has been “New Rules”. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.
I’ll be in my trailer.