June 22, 2007
The Devilís Advocate:
Pro Wrestling is Still Fake
The first thing I would like to do is thank Graham Cawthon for giving me the opportunity to write this column for his site. The second thing I would like to do is explain to you what this column will be about. For far too long, the wrestling news sites have presented their stories with a negative bias, which has always annoyed me. Some criticism is justified, but everything is negative according to them. Judging by the number of people who watch and enjoy WWE shows each week, I figured I wasnít alone in rolling my eyes at the negative editorial comments included with the news. So I started a blog (which you can visit here) where I attempt to debunk the negativity and present the positives. This weekly column will focus on one major story and how it is being covered.
So why donít I start with, quite possibly, the biggest story of the year. Yes, that would be the Mr. McMahon exploding limousine saga. Youíll notice how I called him ďMr. McMahon.Ē This is because that is the name of the character you see on TV every week. Vince McMahon is the real life person. Itís a little confusing with the whole same last name thing and all. I know itís not as easy as understanding the difference between, say, Steve Williams and ďStone ColdĒ Steve Austin. But I donít think itís that hard to get. Nonetheless, there seemed to be some misunderstanding there, as many initially reported (and some still do) about the ďVince McMahon death storylineĒ (like here and here). I know I am nit-picking here, but if the Internet wrestling reporters can do this to WWE, I can do it to them.
I mean, no one is trying to convince anybody that the real life Vince McMahon is deadÖat least not from WWE. A thorough examination through the section WWE.com has put up containing all of the stories related to this storyline (here) finds only one mention of the word ďVinceĒ and itís what a fan wrote in the memorial outside WWE Headquarters (here).
And hey, if fans want to do that, thatís their business. They either really care about the character, or are having fun with the storyline. If you are not those fans, then you have no idea what they are thinking. So donít speculate or judge them on their actions. Of course this didnít stop Dave Scherer from engaging in said speculation though (here). Man, he really cares about us I guessÖ. I wonder if we will all be getting Christmas cards from him.
There were also many people, such as Bob Ryder of 1Wrestling.com that spent the entire week calling out WWE for the ďrealnessĒ of the angle, such as including moments of silence, and 10 bell salutes. While I understand how some would find these aspects of the storyline a little edgy, you have to remember you are watching a scripted television show. I borrowed the title of my column this week from a Wall Street Journal article because I think people are forgetting that wrestling is scripted or something (here). If a character dies on a show, such as Smallville, would Bob Ryder be offended if they had filmed a wake and funeral for the deceased? And better yet, if WWE didnít do the salutes and moments of silence, would people be complaining that the storyline canít be taken seriously if WWE doesnít treat it as if it was genuine?
So yeah, WWE is scripted. But they have an argument for that too! According to Ryan Clark, who credits Dave Meltzer, itís apparently hard for people (and the FBI) to tell WWE is scripted because they donít run writers credits at the end of their shows (here). Where do I even start on that one? Iíve spent the last 15 years of my life hearing ďyou know that stuff is fakeĒ when I told (and still tell) people I enjoy wrestling. But now, all of a sudden, everyone forgets that itís scripted because WWE doesnít run credits at the end of their shows? I donít buy it. And, quite frankly, if our FBI doesnít know the difference between a scripted television show and reality, Iím actually a little worried for my own well being.
So, for all the complaining, all the negative statements made by so many wrestling reporters and fans, and all of those stupid feedback articles they run on every website, what happened? Well, Raw did a 4.2 the week after the explosion, up from a 3.8 the week before. Iím glad all those offended people tuned out! But donít worry, Dave Scherer had an excuse for this too. You see, we canít use that number to judge the June 11th show yet (despite the fact that they do that for every other weekly rating number and use it to justify their response from the previous weekís show). And also, according to Dave, we canít use this coming Mondayís number either since thatís a post pay-per view Raw, and the rating, he says, jumps because of post pay-per view interest (despite the fact that this hasnít happened all that much recently). So we canít judge rating numbers for the Mr. McMahon storyline for another 2 weeks (here). Iíd like to point out, that the ratings for Smackdown! four days after the explosion were flat (please visit my blog for more on that) and it automatically meant the angle failed (here). Just some more of that double standard I hate so much in the wrestling media.
Personally, I think itís a great storyline. And hey, some people agree with me, like Lance Storm (here) and respected sports business analyst Darren Rovell, and heís even got statistics other than ratings to back up his argument (here). People complain about repeated storylines, so here is something new. Plus, itís got suspense. Itís got a cliffhanger. So if you donít like it, stop watching. And if you are a reporter who is personally and morally offended by it, like Bob Ryder (doesnít he work for TNA or something?), stop collecting a paycheck by reporting news about WWE. And since that wonít happen, Iíll be watching and calling out their biases Ė someoneís got to police the police.
Feedback is always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org (and I have a feeling I will be getting a lot) and if you enjoyed my column, please visit my blog at kurtangle520.blogspot.com for more of the same all week long!