...AND MARKING OUT
Self-Indulgence: You know, as my friends and I walked back to the car after RAW in Baltimore last Monday I kept thinking that maybe I didn't enjoy the show because I've gotten too Smarky. CRZ had advised me, afterall, to just take blurbs during the show so I could ensure that I was there to have fun. And I DID try. But afterwards, I felt gypped. I felt like I had, for the first time in years, wasted money on the WWE. Was I too jaded? Too concerned with detail? Did I need to have another beer? So I asked Chris what the crowd sounded like to him and I watched my neighbor's tape and then I watched SmackDown! and decided: RAW was not good. Not good meaning not as good as the past few weeks, but probably better than a month ago. Previously I had always gone to SmackDown! tapings and thought "man, wouldn't it be AWESOME in the WWE came here for RAW just ONCE?" Note to self: be careful what you wish for.
Leftovers: Feedback from my Rey Mysterio question:
The longer answer: The WWE has had dealings with luchadores in the past when setting up the Super Astros shows, so they probably were aware of the implications of what they were asking. Curiously, they asked wrestlers to actually UNmask back then (including El Hijo Del Santo, and if you're not a lucha fan, I'll just say that this is astronomically crazy), because they believed it would make them more marketable.
Now, maybe because they believe the mask will distinguish Rey and get him over, or maybe they figure they can make some bucks selling masks (or both), but whatever the reason they asked Rey to put it back on. Now, in a perfect world, the WWE would have thought "we don't want to put Rey in a tough position, so we won't ask him to wear the mask." But as you and I know, it's not a perfect world. I guess you could blame the WWE here, but it's like getting mad at a fox when he raids a henhouse. I mean, what did you really expect out of them?
As far as Rey, ultimately its his decision. Word has it that making it to the WWE has always been his dream, and perhaps putting his mask back on was a step he was willing to take. Rey's a big boy, and he knows that there will be consequences for his actions should he ever want to return to Mexico. For his sake, I hope his WWE tenure is a successful one.
Feedback Question of the Week:
Contemplate the DEAN RASSMUSSEN question: Who is the better wrestler? Rank Angle, Benoit and Eddie from best to slightly not-as-best (1-3). Try to be brief, but give some reasons. This is a tough one. Are your brains, tape libraries and VCRs up for it? We'll see.
Welcome to another 10 minutes inside my brain. Enjoy the ride. Or not.
So, there I am in front of my TV enjoying last season's re-runs of the West Wing and the light bulb goes off. Wrestling is SO similar to politics that it isn't even funny. The political process mirrors the wrestling push in ways I'd never thought about before. Consider the following:
A new guy with considerable upside is identified and recognized by senior members of his party. He's mentored, groomed, and then packaged. He slowing is introduced into the political arena. He begins with small challenges: a local city council seat, and mayoral run, usually followed by a governorship. If not state governor, then maybe a seat in Congress. Along the way, his party as much as possible protects the blue-chipper-he doesn't speak until he's ready and when he does, his responses are carefully scripted, down to the word, projected emotion, facial expression and body posturing. Throughout this process the party leaders constantly survey the political landscape, looking for voter trends and hot issues to be leap upon and ridden like Pacific waves. Finally, when the party feels that the time is right they make a big run for a major office such as the White House.
Do think for an instant that Bill Clinton or Bush, Jr. haven't been manufactured to strike when the respective irons were hot? Clinton was constructed as a Joe-cool everyman: Southern enough to be honest and approachable. Man enough to be a whore and make mistakes. Likable enough to be forgiven. Comfortable enough to feel "close." Cool enough to have a Black best friend and play the saxophone on the Arsenio Hall Show and still be white and southern. He was charisma and hope bundled in the same way that Reagan was good looks, hard work and promise. And it worked.
It worked because after being hammered with an idea for so long, the public usually wanes and gives in to the idea. It's the ultimate snow job. It's the ultimate Jedi mind trick. These ARE the droids you're looking for, if you will. Do you honesty think that Bush is any more intelligent now than the first time you heard him bumble his way through an interview? Is Clinton any less a whore today versus three years ago? I'd say not, but the spin-doctors would tell you differently. They want you to have the utmost faith in their "product" so they spend hours thinking of new ways to tweak the public persona of these people in order to get the most bang for their political buck, measured in Gallop polls and popularity contests.
Wrestling is no different. Guys are packaged with gimmicks. Their promos are scripted. Their weaknesses are protected while their strengths are showcased and they are pushed down our collective throats until we accept them or the powers that be acquiesce. But voters and viewers have a choice. If you feel a political candidate is unworthy, you'd just as soon not vote for him, right? Well, you vote for your favorite push-of-the-quarter wrestler by watching when he' son screen. If you aren't buying what McMahon is packaging then you need to channel surf or turn off the TV. If you don't, then you're sending the wrong message. Just as you wouldn't vote for a candidate you didn't like, don't support a wrestler whose push you don't accept. Do your personal part to help the Neilson rating go down for that quarter hour if it means that much to you.
It's really all up to you. Don't create your own prison. If you find what you're watching to be unbearable, rise up-or rather, raise the remote-and cast your vote! Buy into the political hype if you want, but stand up against it if you don't. Everybody has a voice. Everyone should be heard, and your time on the floor is fast approaching. Brock Lesnar has been identified. He is being polished. He has been protected. He is being pushed. He's making his big run for the biggest spot in the WWE. Do you buy it? Is he worthy? Is he ready? You're going to have to make a choice. Come this fall, the vote is yours.
Come this fall, it's Brock or BUST. What's your vote going to be?