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Billy Bob Kane




You meet this girl, or if any females (or homosexuals) are reading this: you meet this guy. She's (or he's) really attractive, and has got it all in terms of what you look for in a significant other, and makes you feel, well, all tingly. You get where you need to be, you say things to see this girl's (or guy's) smile, and when you see that smile, you tingle again. It hits you; you need to see this person! This is a can't-miss! You get the number and set up a date and time where you know you can see this person and 'experience' this person. You do so, and the results are amazing. So amazing in fact, that every time you get to see this person, you are blown away by the amazing sights you behold, sights that you will remember forever.

And then of course, you realize something. You see this person too much. Every friggin' day, almost. And you, being human, being a creature that evolves and adapts to its conditions, do not feel the same way anymore. It's not your fault, you're not a slut (or an asshole), you just adapt! It is what has allowed human beings to survive! If you didn't adapt to certain phenomena that are in your physical world, you would not be living happily, you'd die the first time you went out in the sun because your skin wouldn't tan. This person, who was the best thing in the world to you, is soon, just one more thing in the world. Not even necessarily a thing you care to be near on a regular basis. And the worst part is, that becomes almost dangerous, because doing what you did to be with this person cost you more time and energy and risk than anything else you've ever known.

And so we have a throbbing, virile analogy of the ladder match in today's wrestling universe. Like that girl (or guy) who was amazing to you at first, if you are a wrestling fan in the year 2001, the ladder match is still worth the trip because what the hell, it's sex, right? At least, that's what it seems to be comparable to. You watch a ladder match because it's a ladder match, just like you have sex because it's sex. Why wouldn't you want sex? Sex is sex, everyone wants sex and gets sex because it's not something you pass up if you can get it. Doesn't mean it's the best decision at the time, but it is sex, if nothing else, and you'd be a fool to turn down sex. Right? Right?

And so it is true of the ladder match. You don't watch because the match or the people in it mean anything to you, or because the match had a spectacular build-up and was treated with the respect such a dangerous contest should be, you watch because it's a ladder match and you'd be a fool to pass up a ladder match. You watch it for the sake of watching it, like a roll in the hay for the sake of a roll in the hay. But like sex, just because it's a ladder match doesn't mean it's necessarily good, and someone usually gets hurt.

I am not an expert, although in the past I may have been accused of thinking I am. That being said, however, I am a paying fan. I put down my hard-earned (borrowed—stolen—whatever) money every month for WWF pay-per-views, and let me tell you something, I wouldn't do that if I thought I would be getting the exact same thing month after month. I don't need to regurgitate what the internet wrestling crowd has been spewing for the last two months, ladies and germs. I don't need to remind anyone out there that house shows are doing bad gates and drawing low attendances, and TV ratings are dropping lower than Pat Patterson's balls with a first-year 1985 rookie attached to them. I don't need to tell anyone that Jericho should have been turned eight months ago, that hotshotting the title back and forth is only going to water it down, that there's no "attitude" in the show anymore, and that RAW and SMACKDOWN! are quite simply stale as the milk in the back of Jake Roberts' fridge. These points have been made, people, and then made, and then made, and then made again. Times a thousand to the power of nine hundred and sixty three. What I do need to tell you is that the ladder match is not "attitude". It predates attitude. It is harder to execute than attitude. Any guy who thinks with his shaft (i.e. Vince Russo) can write attitude and any guys who think their shit don't stink can perform that attitude. A ladder match, however, is an extremely dangerous contest that can result in broken bones and snapped necks. Think of broken bones as herpes and broken necks as AIDS, getting back to the sex analogy. And a ladder match should be special. Much like sex.

I am a softy, if the truth be shouted out. I think sex should be special, and not just done for the sake of just being done. I think when it does happen, it should be something more than a last-minute decision, something more than 'ah, well I got two left in the pack so what the hell, mom'. It is important if not precious, and should be handled with care, because it is so dangerous and so rewarding at the same time, that someone could really get hurt if it were to be abused. Hell, many people have been.

And at the risk of comparing two things that may not be particularly similar in the grand scheme, I like my ladder matches the same way. Thought-out, intricate, and memorable. Sure there's always the risk of great physical harm, but that doesn't enhance anything. Danger doesn't make something mean more, if you ask me. A blowjob doesn't become anymore exciting by virtue of the fact that if her knee slips and she falls she could circumcise you. That's just part of the game, part of the pleasure, a risk we take.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where I'm going with this one. Too much sex leads to many things, not the worst of which are flappy, worked-in vaginas that no man wants to touch with a twenty-nine foot pole with a condom on the end of it. Other risks are herpes, little dirty scabs that latch onto your meat for a lifetime and stay with you. You could rub ointment on them, you could try shaving the damn things, but the shit sticks to your organ for life. Not to mention burning sensations while you pee. Blisters appearing around the genitals or rectum? Does that sound like fun to you? I don't know, sounds pretty awful to me, but you had to have your fun, and now look what it's caused. The blisters then break leaving tender ulcers that take two to four weeks to heal the first time they occur. The worst part of it all, is the fact this last part of the herpes condition sounds like it has something to do with a ladder match. "Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months after the first, but it almost always is less severe and shorter than the first episode. Although the infection can stay in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to go down over a period of years."

How about that? Another outbreak can occur weeks or months after the first, but is supposed to be less severe and shorter than the first. It sounds like the WWF has it backwards. The ladder matches seem to get more and more severe every time. And the number of outbreaks is supposed to go down, not more. It sounds like the WWF got herpes, then got it again and again.

Well enough is enough. Ladder matches are fun, but they are too dangerous to throw away at a moment's notice. The WWF did one a year until 1999, and then decided that they should be standard fare. I disagree. In 2001 we have had at least four I can think of, at the Royal Rumble (Jericho/Benoit), Wrestlemania (TLC III), Smackdown (TLC IV), and Summerslam (RVD/Hardy). As well as heavy ladder use in the RVD/Hardy rematches on TV, and scary ladder bumps on Raw and Smackdown a few times over the last few months. Now, I am not sure on this but, Rumble is in January, 'Mania was in April, the Smackdown throwaway was in May, RVD/Matt Hardy on Raw was in August and 'Slam was in August. Is it just me, or did they throw away this dangerous type of match 5 times in eight months? Does this bother anybody but me?

The worst part is the fact that the ladder match isn't even being used as the blowoff for feuds anymore. They rushed into a ladder match for RVD and Hardy, and that wasn't even for a title that means anything. If any belt can be won by Crash Holly 12 times or by the Big Bossman at all, it doesn't mean shit and it doesn't deserve a ladder match. The only belts that should be given such a contest are one of the original three (IC, Tag, World) because they either mean something or used to mean something a long time ago. And they should only be used to end feuds. That's what a gimmick match is for, ladies and gentlemen. This isn't rocket science. If two guys are against each other on three consecutive pay-per-views that means you have three months they are against one another. With approximately four weeks in each month, that's twelve weeks, and with two major free shows a week, that is twenty-four shows you have to keep that feud fresh. Not easy, so to make it interesting, the first PPV match is a one-on-one, the second is likely a one-on-one with a stipulation, and the final one is a gimmick match (chain, cage, ladder). This is wrestling 101.

Edge and Christian have just started feuding, and their build for their match last month was half-hearted at best. No Mercy, their second PPV match together, should have been a one-on-one with a stip and heavy psychology. Hair V.S. hair for example. With the way those two look there's no way people wouldn't put down cash to see one of them balded. Then, when one of them has a bold new look (the bald one) have whomever this man is go over in a ladder match on their third pay-per-view meeting and make it the blowoff. Seems simple enough to me, and at least next months PPV is a big one for Canadians. (Survivor Series)

My only hope here is to establish that ladder matches, like championships once upon a time, used to mean something in wrestling. If we fix it so that they don't matter anymore, what's next? Hell in the Cell? I mean, you've got no value in any of the titles, you've got no value in ladder matches and cage matches have been dead for a long time. How long until the Hell in the Cell itself becomes pointless? They very nearly killed it with that last six-man at Armageddon last year with the ridiculous flatbed truck bump. How long before it's on TV every week for preliminary matches like Chuck Palumbo V.S. X-Pac? How long before we have Undertaker on top of the Cell to open a delayed Smackdown up against a Friends one-hour special and the seventh game of the world series and Michael Jordan's final retirement game, throwing Tajiri and RVD and Booker T and Angle and everyone else he tried (is trying) or will try to bury? A show, of course, coming out of a core market like Biloxi, Mississippi! Not long, I'd wager, not long.

Let's calm down, WWF. Like someone who can get sex whenever you want, you've taken ladder matches for granted. But they are important, like sex, and should not be taken lightly. I only file this complaint because I care, and if you keep going the way you're going, metaphorically speaking, you're going to have scabs on your dicks for life.

Billy Bob Kane

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