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CRZ's Other Stuff

Super Bowls and PPV's



This column originally appeared on It was written 30 January 2000.

There's nothing QUITE so exciting as civic duty.

I'm sitting in the jurors' waiting room at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice, and - get this - I'm waiting.

I suppose fate has smiled upon me as I managed to find not only a rather plush sofa to sit upon, but also a nearby outlet to plug in the PowerBook charger.

Of course, were fate to REALLY smile upon me, I wouldn't be here *at all* for jury duty, but you take what you can get, I supppose.

A recording occasionally plays over the loudspeakers.

"There may be times when you will find yourself sitting in the jury room for long periods of time."

By golly, they're right!

The setup here is a little weird. Although there are two large rooms for us to sit in, the second one is pretty well obscured. You have to walk all the way through the absolutely full first one, almost tripping over folks in the process, find the doorway almost hidden at the right of the back wall, walk through and then voila! All sorts of empty space. Whereas there isn't an empty seat in the first waiting room, this one has a grand total of seven people in it.

The kicker is I'm probably STILL annoying at least two people with my (attempting to be soft, but failing at it) typing.

All right... to the wrestling bit.

Watching the Super Bowl yesterday, I was reminded that although many don't appreciate my attempts to draw analogies to wrestling from other stuff, I still can't help but point them out as I notice them.

Take Sunday's NFL Championship game. MAN, what a snoozer. If it had been any other game but the Super Bowl, you can damn well bet I would have changed the channel - or turned the set off entirely and visited the EmZee forum instead! (Jeremy, you owe me a nickel for that plug.) Only the promise of interesting adverts kept most of us around - and even THAT fell mostly flat. You KNOW it's a bad year when the even the ADS suck!

And yet...that last half hour... that last quarter or so was so full of excitement and last-minute thrills, right up until the very last play...

There's a very good chance that people will look back on this game as "one of the best ever."

These days, we tend to heavily judge the quality of pay-per-view events as if it were a Super Bowl - our opinions are largely based on the last thing we see - the main event.

Let me draw your attention to last year's "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" event, since we're coming up on its anniversary. Do you remember ANYTHING about that card besides the Steve Austin v. Mr. McMahon main event? I sure don't, and I'm guessing that if I don't, most of you don't either. And yet...if you ask folks how that PPV was, overall, chances are you'll get a good deal of responses along the lines of "great. You gotta see it!"

In the same way, a disastrous main event can severly sabotage a final grade for any event - witness the countless WCW cards over the past year that had at least three good-to-great matches, yet ended up derided amongst the fandom by the Usual Suspects clusterfucking away at the top of the card.

Is it fair of us to assume a football mentality when watching a pro wrestling event? If we can so easily dismiss the first two hours and thirty minutes of a football game, then why not do the same for a wrestling event?

While there may be several reasons, the main one is the fact that by ignoring everything but the main event, several deserving mid and lower card wrestlers don't get to factor into the final decision. In football, you have (usually) the same players for the fourth quarter as you do in the first and you are judging everyone's performance in the overall quality of the game. But to take the same tack with wrestling - you end up ignoring those who AREN'T at the top of the card, and enabling a continued residency in the middle of the card. Surely you can name off at least a dozen former midcarders who wouldn't have made it to that next level had their performances not been noticed - and praised.

So why do we do it?

I'm sorry to say it's the fault of the promoters.

Everything is based around the main event. All the hype, all the buildup, all the main events of all the television shows leading to the pay-per-view - watch them next time. They will all revolve around one issue, and it will not coincidentally be the main event of the card.

It's a vicious circle. Hype the hell out of the main event and the crowd sits on their hands for the rest of the matches. The executives watch and decide that only this guy and that guy can draw money, and so they put the hype where they perceive the money to be - and it starts all over again.

It's time for the companies putting on these events to retrain us. It's time to spread the hype around - make EVERY match seem important. It's time to recondition us to react to a PPV based on the entire card, and not let the greatness or awfulness of one match throw the overall reaction.

Last month's Royal Rumble was a step in the right direction. Although still heavily relying on Triple H and Cactus Jack/Mankind in every final segment on RAW and SmackDown!, they attempted to bring importance to the Rumble (Rock/Big Show), the tag team table match, Kurt Angle's mystery opponent - heck, even the bikini contest! Only the Outlaws/Acolytes match suffered from a lack of adequate buildup. Is this a trend? Or was it just so easy to do with such a small number of matches in this card that they'll probably revert back to three or four non-hype matches at No Way Out?

Finally, even if the hype DOES get spread around, will those who judge the cards - from the Keiths and Kunzes even down to those merely expressing their opinion on r.s.p-w, tOA or Delphi - find a way to keep from basing the entire show based on the last thing they see?

No answers from me - I'm just throwing it out there.




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