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Jim Raggi




If you can actually believe it, it was fan mail that brought me back to this place (and CRZ is chuckling at what I call enough fan mail to return, I'm sure!). I'm here a few times a week (my column made the history books at slash! Whoohoo!) reading this and that, but frankly, in the past year, I've watched wrestling on TV just a few times. I saw the last Nitro (Flair vs. Sting ending it all was the classiest thing I've seen in a long, long time). I saw Wrestlemania X-7 (it sucked, Benoit vs Angle was the only good match), and I saw one of the Smackdowns leading up to Summerslam.

Oh yeah, and I've been forking out ebay money and making deals to get things like a 6 hour Best of All Japan 1993-1997, All Japan Women Dreamslam, All Japan Women Queendom II, etc, etc.

Why am I not watching American wrestling?

It's because of the storylines, silly! They suck!

No, not because they are weak, not because this character is featured too much, and not because this wrestler is jobbed out and not used to their potential.

I'm not watching because there are storylines involving non-wrestlers, and storylines involving wrestlers doing non-wrestling things.

There should be four things seen on a wrestling television program (aside from outside advertising):
1- A wrestling match.
2- Wrestlers giving an interview talking about an upcoming match, a match they just had, or a title belt.
3- Commentators talking about an upcoming match, a match that just happened, or a title belt.
4- Video packages that feature wrestling, a wrestler, or a title belt.

That's it. And I mean, that's it.

No managers, no commissioners, no owners, no heel color commentators, no women with their tits hanging out, no disqualifications, no countouts, no outside interference, no chairs or tables or what have you unless in a stipulation match (which should be exceedingly rare).


Oh, you don't agree? That's not what you watch wrestling for? You *like* bullshit on your television screen? You like watching television for two hours so you can find ten minutes out of it that you enjoy?

There's the 'back' button, sports entertainment fans. You are not wanted in this column.

Wrestling needs one storyline. And it perpetuates forever.

Can wrestler/team A beat wrestler/team B?

The variations are endless, and the storyline does not go stale. Wrestler A defeats wrestler B. Can he defeat wrestler C, who just beat wrestler D? Who will win between wrestler B and D in the battle to get back into contention for the winner between wrestlers A and C?

And think of the sub stories. Wrestler F is a pretty average wrestler, but he's got a killer move. Can he get it on Wrestler A? If he does, can Wrestler A kick out of it? What if he does, what happens next?

Wrestler J has an 'injured' body part. Lesser opponents keep working on it, making it worse, but he beats them. But he has a match coming up against a tough name. Will that injured body part cost him his chance at victory?

A simple interview can inject a storyline. "Wrestler Y, you can't get your hold on me!" Boom, instant psychology. Or ruthless, brutal wrestler G always takes the offensive, but wrestler P has always beaten him when they meet, so now wrestler G is wrestling defensively.

Sound boring? Doesn't sound as exciting as those thrilling moments that the WWF has given us? Like the makes-me-oh-so-proud-to-even-be-reading-about-it moments like the Rock calling Kevin Kelly a hermaphrodite? Jerry Lawler squealing about the tits of whatever whore is out there at the time? (Jerry Lawler vs. Aja Kong, sign it NOW, ha ha... "Where's the puppies?" *uraken*).

What are you doing between those rare times that the bell has rung, anyway? Are you really watching wrestling because it is funny? Why? To me, that's like watching synchronized swimming because I wanted human drama. It doesn't make any sense. "Yeah, you know, if I found out that those two were screwing, but she was cheating on him with the coach, I sure would be more interested to see if they could swim around in perfect time with each other."

And while there's only so many times Chris Jericho can call Stephanie McMahon a slut, and wondering if this is the time when they'll just go at it in the middle of the ring, the question of 'Can Chris Jericho put the Walls of Jericho on his opponent?' is limited only by the number of wrestlers in the world for him to face.

God, remember when this was a cool angle for a match?
Challenger: "I'm going to take your title! I'm younger, and stronger!"
Champion: "No you're not! I'm more experienced and smarter!"

These days, it's more like this:
Challenger: "The owner of the promotion bought out the competition but is pretending that his kids actually did, and because the owner is angry, I'm going to beat you up!"
Champion: "I think the owner's kids are better than the owner are going to beat you up!"
Commentator: "What an exciting match this will be for the title!"
Champion: "Title?"

Or something like that.

Do you not see what these men are like? They are the type of people who spend hours a day, a DAY, in a weight room and pump themselves full of chemicals so their bodies are built bigger. And you want them to ACT? How many of your high school jocks would you have wanted to see as the stars in the drama team's production?

Who here really thinks this Hurricane Helms shit is funny? Who here remembers what Owen Hart got out of the "I'm a supehero!" gimmick?

Who here really thinks that that cigar smoking, beer drinking, card playing paid bodyguards with ancient occult Sumerian symbols on their tights really makes any more sense, or is any less an embarassment, than TL Hopper,Wrestling Plumber?

I can see what the appeal of a Torrie Wilson or a Trish Stratus might be to a 15 year old. But once you're 18, or hell, if you're 12 and Mommy and Daddy don't supervise where you go on the web, you can see real people being really naked and screwing the hell out of themselves, each other, or donkeys if you'd like. Explain to me what Torrie Wilson or Trish Stratus are doing with jobs again?

See, I love professional wrestling. I don't much like 'real' sports. I like the idea of man creating his own reality and then working within that reality. It's called imagination. Simulated sport is just about the greatest idea on this planet. And professional wrestling can give me the drama that comes with a closely fought, back and forth sporting match. EVERY TIME OUT. But no. It wants to do other things. People like to laugh, so sports entertainment wants to make you laugh, even if it isn't as funny as a proper comedy... and so on and so forth, won't beat that to death again.

I ask just one thing of you.

When you sit down to watch Raw on Monday, don't turn your brain off. Think about what you are watching and why you are watching it. Ask yourself: "Am I really enjoying this, or am I really watching this because it's the only approximation of what I enjoy that is conveniently available to me?"

Jim Raggi
Lamentations of the Flame Princess

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