RAW: Damage Limitation

Alright. Let’s stop dancing around the inevitable. Punk is gone. He hasn’t been officially future endeavoured and there is a part of me holding on to the fact that this might be the most ballsy, elaborate work in history. But as he’s been pulled from pre-paid AXXESS meet & greets and assessing the bizarre atmosphere on RAW this week, we can assume that at the very least he’s having an extended holiday.

There was a definite air of damage limitation on this week’s RAW. Fan-made signs enquiring as to Punk’s whereabouts were confiscated by security. In the same way that Rey Mysterio was booed at the Royal Rumble simply for not being Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton’s words made no impact on the crowd, who were otherwise engaged in repeatedly chanting for CM Punk. Being a bit of a tough-nut, their disinterest in his moaning about his lack of…(umm, what was it again?) made no impression on him either.

Needing to pacify an already volatile crowd Steph and HHH appeared on the ramp to instruct Randy to stop whining. To curry favour with the audience even further, they warned him that they had the power to strip him of his ‘face of the company’ moniker. If he didn’t cool his boots they might be forced to make someone else their favourite. Daniel Bryan, maybe. HHH even joined the Yes Movement. Turncoat!

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Daniel Bryan, who in the space of a week has gone from their whipping boy to potential poster boy. You can’t help but feel that even what would have been Bryan’s eventual triumph over ‘the man’ has been ditched in favour of keeping people from turning off.

The Shield won a three-man tag against Big E. Langston, Kofi and Rey Mysterio, but the crucial part of the story came when Dean Ambrose (unf) and Roman Reigns squabbled over who should have taken the pin. Poor Seth Rollins. As if his comedic tumbling the previous week hadn’t been upsetting enough. Now mummy and daddy are fighting again. I wonder which of them plays mum and which takes on the role of dad. Let’s think about that for a moment. Anyway, the bickering soon ended and their broken pieces were glued back together when the Wyatts appeared on screen hoping to capitalise on their moment of collective weakness. They didn’t.

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It also seems there’s dissent at Camp Real Americans. After losing a place in the Elimination Chamber to Christian on SmackDown, Jack Swagger was given a rematch, only to lose a second time. You can always tell when Swagger’s in a panic. His bottom lip bursts open, like that kid in school who always got stress-related nosebleeds on class trips.  Zeb Colter made his disgruntlement known in no uncertain terms and even Antonio Cesaro dropped and shook his head in shame. Time to disband these guys and start hyping Cesaro, lest he go the same way as Hero. At least, let’s not allow that to happen before I can successfully attend any British shows he might be booked on. Selfish? Me? Absolutely. It already sticks in my craw that I don’t get to clap eyes on Chris Hero’s colour-of-a-cornfield mane when he’s in the UK at the end of this month.

In further attempts to placate the ready-to-riot crowd, the New Age Outlaws were forced to put the tag titles on the line against Goldust and Cody Rhodes. Oh and they were forced to do it *MOVIE TRAILER VOICE* inside a steel caaaaage. New Age Outlaws retained in a match that went on for far too long, never really got going and made little-to-no use of the cage. Hey, Hunter? Where’s Punk?

Thankfully this was followed by Batista’s arrival. Now, hold on. I know this doesn’t sound all that exciting. But the small detail I deliberately omitted in the name of building tension is that our Dave’s back in the double denim. Yes!

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And not just top and bottom denim, but a matching burnout tee. Cor! But beyond my predictable giddiness at Dave-denim, the real star of this segment was Alberto Del Rio. Dressed in less impressive single denim, the promo he ripped on Dave was so convincingly impassioned you might believe there was some truth behind it. I mean, why would the guy who’s been consistently great but never truly trusted to carry the company along with the big boys feel cheesed off that Dave’s waltzed back in to steal a Wrestlemania headline slot? It was the first time in many months I’ve really sat up and taken notice of Del Rio. Their scrap was fierce and Del Rio was so pumped he returned to the ring to retrieve his rather fetching black blazer, before catching glimpse of Dave’s face and thinking better of it.

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Speaking of those flying uncomfortably under the radar, Dolph Ziggler was teamed up with R-Truth and Xavier Woods to go up against the Wyatts. The match had all the bumps and jumps you’d expect, with Bray Wyatt pinning Dolph for the win. To match their video interruption earlier in the evening, The Shield made their own video based gift, with Dean Ambrose (unf) mocking the Wyatts’ scare tactics and his fellow warriors warning of retribution. This was met with the usual psychotic laughter in the ring. Standard but still pleasing fare.

This took us to a long main event between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan, the winner of which would become the McMahon-Helmsley’s favourite boy. It was a long and involved match where both gave a lot, but it was flat. It was missing something. Despite some interference from Kane, Bryan still won the match, but it didn’t have the shine it should have. It’s not enough just to give us what we want. We need the backstory to make it mean something. That’s where promoters get wrestling fans all wrong. It’s about the journey. I wonder if that’s the line they’d be following if Punk was still around. And the fact that Orton and Kane continued to pummel Bryan after the bell means it’ll all probably flip-flop back the other way quicker than a Westminster sex scandal come next week. It just didn’t make sense. Unless Kane interfered to make sure Bryan didn’t win, what was the point?

Can you say ‘state of flux’?

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N.B. This week, in an attempt to skip what I thought were just the ads, I watched RAW via the Sky Sports On Demand service. Unfortunately, I only realised after writing this that they’d cut out several mid-card matches, linking segments etc. I’ll have seen all the missing pieces before next week, but just a warning to those in the UK. It gives a skewed view of the show and I’m going to be complaining to Sky about it.   

Wallets at the ready!

If you don’t follow us on Twitter you might have missed the fact that I have been published in the first issue of the Fair to Flair Quarterly journal. If you’ve never visited Fair to Flair, you’re missing out. As soon as I finish writing this little nugget, I’m going to write a post about the Internet Wrestling Community and why its over-the-top and unintelligent reactions to wrestling events are giving me a dilemma to contend with. The guys running Fair to Flair are bucking the trend and changing the face of wrestling journalism, and I’m excited to be playing a small part in changing how wrestling is reported for the better.

My article is about how Stephanie McMahon and Triple H changed the way I watched and understood wrestling. I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t discover wrestling until the late 90s. This is the full story of how I fell in love with it. I thoroughly enjoyed writing the article and I’d love for you to read it. So why not scuttle your way over to the site and pre-order your copy of the Quarterly now. It’s available for just $20 (Canadian) until 16th June and $25 afterwards. It’s my birthday this month, so you’d make an old lady very happy if you bought a copy. But don’t just buy it to please me. The journal is full of fantastic long- form articles on wrestling, the likes of which you just won’t find anywhere else, and you’ll be supporting writers who believe wrestling deserves better. Bury yourself in the details….

  • Rachel Davies of Wrestlegasm looks back at the Stephanie McMahon-Triple H story and how it forever changed her view of pro wrestling.
  • Seth Roy of Wrestlespective writes about Bret Hart’s role in making Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon into the biggest feud in wrestling history.
  • Fake Vince McMahon of This Is Sports Entertainment argues that he saved pro wrestling from itself when he turned it into sports entertainment.
  • Daniella Porcano of Styles Clash shares how Cody Rhodes has been delightfully blending art and entertainment, always a tricky balance in pro wrestling.
  • Robert Dorman of Hitting the Mark writes about the intense pressure wrestlers and athletes face to keep going even when they are hurt.
  • Leslie Lee III of Dirty Dirty Sheets presents an international photo essay, with images of wrestling from Tokyo to Montreal to San Antonio to Philadelphia.
  • Paul Karnatz of Turnbuckle Zine finds parallels in the artforms of pro wrestling and opera.
  • Jason Mann of Wrestlespective writes about the hidden significance of Dude Love, the most short-lived and maligned character portrayed by Mick Foley.
  • Razor of Kick-Out!! Wrestling shows how wrestling is a little bit of every major form of entertainment.
  • Jason and Razor also debate the value of world championships in 2011 and whether fans should bother to care about them.
  • Danielle Stull of Cewsh Reviews comments on the difficulties faced by feminists who want to enjoy pro wrestling and recounts how WWE has portrayed women over the years.
  • Joe Drilling of On The Stick demonstrates why the fierce Magnum T.A. v. Tully Blanchard I quit match at Starrcade 1985 is one of the greatest examples of live performance.
  • Thomas Holzerman of The Wrestling Blog writes about Sean Waltman’s return as the 1-2-3 Kid at Chikara King of Trios and being a sucker for a good redemption story.

raw(lite): almost as important as my birthday

It’s been a busy week round these parts. The lofty business of higher education and facilitating the graduation of the kiddies under my wing has been hectic beyond any kind of hectic I’ve ever experienced.  An Everest type mountain of paperwork, so many digits my eyes started shivering, and almost impossible deadlines that were so tight they made my heart beat faster (not in a good Jeff Hardy in a falling towel sort of way – Thanks Adam & Matt). On the plus side, the chaos was punctuated by my birthday, which was made even better by the personal birthday card and message from my John. He even recorded a special message for me. Wondering why he didn’t say my name? He did. ‘Champ’ is his cute nickname for me. Listen…..

(click n play)

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I’m coming to get some, John. I’m coming!

Soooo, another event almost as important as my birthday took place this week. Yes, a special 3-hour Raw that wasn’t just Raw, because it had Smackdown and ECW matches on it too.  Like a Pay Per View, but not, ’cause it’s  free. Huh? Let’s give this strange hybrid a whirl, shall we?

It’s Raw, so who’s the first person out? Oh, Chris Jericho. According to Jericho, Raw has gone in to a tumultuous tailspin since he left. Well, I wouldn’t go that far, Chris, but……. Anyway, he couldn’t go on without insulting the crowd in his usual adjective heavy manner. This week’s Jericho Jibe is brought to you by the phrase “All of you [the crowd] are still the same ignorant, insipid, bulbous manatees you’ve always been.”

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Charlotte residents, according to Jericho. Cuter than Ric Flair, anyway.

He went on to diss Rey Mysterio which, of course, was answered but the playing of Booyaka-Booyaka-619! Good lord, I do love when Rey’s all fired up and angry. Raaaaawr! As soon as the bell tolled he tripped Jericho, leaped on to him and began the onslaught.  But Chrissy-boy was not over-n-out. I know people are getting a bit bored with these two together, but seriously, they are awesome rivals in the ring. AWE-SOME! Mysterio jumped from the top rope on to Jericho, but Chris managed to grab him and started pulling his mask off again. Worried about being exposed further, Rey grabbed at the mask and  lost his concentration, giving Jericho the cover.

vlcsnap-848244 copyKnow what I feel like now? A Josh Matthews and Randy Orton interview. Well, whaddaya know, here’s one right now. I love when I get what I want.  I’m not entirely sure what happened in the first part of the interview, because I was Googling ‘How tall is Josh Matthews?’ and was shocked to find out he’s 7″ taller than me. Which means that Randy would be REALLY EFFING HUGE stood up against me. NIIICE! If I ever get one of those “Please welcome my guest at this time…….” jobs, I’m gonna need a little box to stand on. Like when Vickie had to do scenes where she was stood next to Big Show.

Anyway, Randy was kind of mean and Josh being a sweet little thing, John Cena (fresh from recording my birthday message) came to the rescue. He told Josh to run along and took Randy on himself. John suggested that the WWE Universe would like to know why Randy is such a gutless, spineless, disrespectful Grand Wizard of the Baby Oil Boys’ Club. He also went on to suggest that, as Randy seemed to have forgotten there were FOUR people contesting for the WWE Championship now that Batista was out of action, maybe all the oil he rubs on himself was starting to rot his brain.

Ok, first of all, this whole scene =

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Secondly, Grand Wizard? Baby Oil Boys’ Club? Too easy, John. WAY too easy. But that doens’t mean I’m not gonna do this………………..

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Moving on, Mr. McMahon had an announcement to make and, apparently, it wasn’t to announce the new GM in the wake of Vickie G’s resignation. Ok, here’s where my timezone problem chimes in and stops me from getting the full impact of this whole thing. In theory, if I had avoided being on the internet for the whole of Tuesday, I could have watched Raw after work and experienced its dramatic events the same as everyone in North America. But asking me to stay away from the information super highway for  a full 24 hours is like asking Barack Obama to stop being charismatic for 24 hours. Ain’t gonna happen. So I’ll do my best to act surprised, but I can’t promise successful faking. K?

Vince McMahon, looking even more tangerine coloured than usual, appeared on the Titantron and announced that he had sold the Raw brand to a currently unnamed bidder.

Convincing performance? Send my Oscar via FedEx. Thanks.

Convincing performance? Send my Oscar via FedEx. Thanks.

Faced with the trauma of knowing that Raw had been sold to a mystery wealthy person, what else could they do but send out an ECW title match to refocus the mind. Christian (who is the owner of my fave theme music in the whole company BTW) made his way out, closely followed by current champion, Tommy Dreamer. Oh, right, I skipped Extreme Rules. He won the belt and a contract extension at the PPV. All caught up? Good. Christian put up a good fight, but Dreamer capitalised on Christian’s niggly ankle and pinned him, keeping the belt for another week.

Dave Batista successfully underwent major bicep surgery this past week to repair the injury he suffered at the evil hands of Randy Orton and a steel chair. Yah. That was it. Randy did it. He didn’t have the injury already. Honest.

Mmmm. Iodine-y.

Mmmm. Iodine-y.

But all this means the WWE Championship is up for grabs and so important is its capture that we were graced with a countdown clock leading up to the match. Phew! I would have missed it had I not had the clock on the screen. Mr. RKO, John Cena, Big Show and the newly returned Triple H batttled it out to take home the belt. Eight minutes after the bell ding-ding-dinged, Big Show was bearing the brunt of everyone’s attack and it looked as if John was going to pin Show for the title. But he hadn’t counted on Randy Orton slithering his way under the ropes. Randy slammed John in to the turnbuckle, put a beautiful RKO on Big Show and pinned him. He grabbed at the belt like a kid grabbing at his new Tonka Truck on Christmas day and triumphantly made his way up the ramp.

vlcsnap-87837 copyAlright, with the WWE championship in the hands of, well, anyone, it was time for Vince to tell us who he was selling Raw to.  It waaaaaaaaaaas *drumroll*…..

Donald J. Trump. Yep. Him. Billionaire dude. Legendary businessman. Head honcho on the American version of The Apprentice. Had it been Alan Sugar I might have been happy, but I was initially furious. Like I said in my last audio post, I like to see non-wrestling jobs go to people with a connection to the industry. It’s the wrestling tree of life. I was annoyed that someone with no connection other than a much publicised Wrestlemania Battle of the Billionaires which ended with Vince being scalped a few years ago, had been given such a high profile role. But, after listening to the business and marketing pitch on episode 3 of Kick-Out!! Radio this week, I concede that my stance was a little naiive. Must learn to engage my brain before speaking.

Donald Trump, who managed to look even more orange than Mr. M, will just be a figurehead for Raw. It’s not like he’ll be the GM, popping up on every show. He’ll appoint a general manager and things will swiftly move on. And, I wonder how Shane and Stephanie feel about this? Aren’t they heirs to the company? Will they be happy that daddy dearest sold off their inheritance? Doubtful. Actually this could be more interesting than I originally thought.

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This whole segment was followed by Mickie James vs Rosa Mendes. Rosa wrestles? Really? Good for her. If ever you thought WWE doesn’t care that much about the Women’s Division, your fears were confirmed when it created a nothing match and put it right after the biggest announcement in weeks.  It was almost like saying, we’ll put something on nobody will care about so everyone at home can have five minutes to digest and debate D. Trump’s “purchase” of Raw. Sometimes I feel like giving up on this crusade. But I won’t.  Mickie won, Maryse did a hair swirl, Mickie tried to kick her in the face and Maryse ran away laughing.

Feeling like the crowd needed some light relief, we returned to join Goldust and Hornswoggle in the ring, shooting t-shirts in to the audience with one of those mascot machine gun thingies. Aww. Nice guys. But they were rudely interrupted by The Miz, as per usual, so I went out to take a whizz. Which is why I’m not sure what else happened in this part, but it ended up with The Miz knocking Goldust out and shooting Hornswoggle in the knackers with the t-shirt missile launcher. I get the feeling this ain’t over.

imyrimytsAnyone else need a break from Raw? Yeah, me too. Let’s Down some Smack with Edge, Punk and Jeff.  There I was thinking that the two big events this week were my birthday and the Trump topic. But there was something else. Something really special I didn’t think I would be welcoming back so soon. Yes, it’s the majestic return of CROTCH WATCH. If you’re new here and unfamiliar with CROTCH WATCH, it all started when CM Punk started wearing some rather skimpy, lavender tinted trunks. So taken with them was I, that I began monitoring Punk’s choice of trunks on a weekly basis. Purely for fashion purposes of course. But, he soon stopped wearing the light coloured trunks and I took the hint that I was being inappropriate, putting that segment away in the back of my knicker drawer until he decided he missed the attention.

It appeared it only took two weeks for him to miss my perving and he came out this week in WHITE TRUNKS. WHITE! Everyone knows that people who wear white bathing suits (and wrestle trunks) WANT to be noticed in the groinal area. How lovely to know he really did enjoy being the object of my affections after all.

So. Yeah. There was a match too. It was actually the best match of the night. I love you, Smackdown. Despite all the ‘over-egging the pudding’ in the Raw storylines, Smackdown still managed to pull an awesome match out of the bag without a ridiculous fanfare. Beautiful.

Edge ran at Punk to try and take him out with a spear, but Punk did an amazing jump over his head and Edge took Jeff out instead. Punk threw Edge in to the turnbuckle, and was running at him when Edge managed to push him over the ropes, damaging his knee on the steel steps as he fell. The medics came to Punk’s aide while Edge and Jeff continued in the ring. Jeff stuck a Swanton on him and went in for the pin, but Punk managed to get back on his feet, dragged Jeff out and pinned Edge to keep his title. Oh my god. AMAZIIIING!

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Now a return to Raw. Or is it ECW? Oh, it’s both. The Hart Dynasty v Primo and Carlito. And we had the pleasure of listening to Rhodes and DiBiase at the announce table. They rendered the match pointless by interrupting it. What a waste of The Hart Dynasty. Was that the first time we’ve seen them outside ECW? I think so. Shame.

Know what else was a waste of time? The 16-man Battle Royal*. It was like they were saying, we’ve got loads of Raw guys who didn’t get a pop this week, so we’ll put 16* men in the ring and let Triple H win. He’ll only end up taking his revenge on Randy at The Bash anyway. But wait, the new boss-man has something to say. Trump decided that he didn’t want to wait for The Bash. Orton v Triple H would be on the next Raw. That gives me hope of something different for The Bash. My feelings of hope are often way off kilter though.

* I know it was 10. But there were so many faces I couldn’t keep up  with who was there. It was a joke that went over most people’s heads. It’s ok. I know I’m not very funny. Thank you to those who took the time to email me to tell me I got it wrong. I know. It was deliberate.

more adventures in audio

Yep, a week has passed already and despite not thinking I’d be doing another audio post for some time, I’ve done it already. Thanks to my brother, Cezza, not only for helping me figure out this technology stuff but also for being an awesome guitarist and allowing me to use one of his very own tracks at the beginning and the end of the post. You can follow him on Twitter right here.

I actually picked a topic this week that wasn’t, well, me! I was afraid I was turning in to Ron Burgundy. It would be great to know what you think about what I discuss in this post, so please get in touch once you’ve listened.

This was kind of a serious topic so I’ll make the next one more fun.  Feel free to email me with suggestions.

Here goes part two of my adventures in audio……….

Heroines Wanted: Apply Within

Back in the day, when my love affair with wrestling was at its climatic peak, there were three kinds of women in the WWE/F. These were the times when, in my eyes, it could do no wrong. Every twist and turn delighted me and I overlooked even the most ludicrous storylines. Ah, memories. As I said, there were three kinds of ladies back then.

1) Girls Who Look Like Boys (The Chynas)

You remember them, right? Overdeveloped, manly, muscle machines with chins that would put Edge to shame.  They usually got to work with the guys, because physically they were evenly matched. We’ll call them The Chynas.

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2) Pretty-Girl Wrestlers (The Trishes)

The women who seem able to maintain their femininity but still manage to pull off hot-shot, eye popping wrestling moves. Like Trish Stratus. We’ll come back to Trish later.

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3) The Fluff (The Keiblers)

I doubt this category really needs any explanation, but basically the girls who look drop-dead gorgeous but have extremely limited wrestling skills. Stacey Keibler:  Hot pins, bad at pinning.

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Fast forward to today’s bizarre state of WWE affairs and one category, The Chynas, has completely disappeared. Times have changed. Vince McMahon and his production staff’s job is to make money. They seek to pinpoint the most bankable trends in popular culture and apply them to their own product. We live in a celebrity obsessed world. For women, you’re not accepted if you’re not the perfect height, the perfect weight, the perfect amount of pretty, just the right amount of sexy. If you look like this……..

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…..you’re not marketable any more. Not to men or to women. That’s why these women have slipped away from the limelight. I haven’t lost any sleep over it. It always kind of bothered me that they were the only ones who got to hang with the boys anyway. Even back in the late 90s when overdeveloped female wrestlers were the norm, they still had to battle for recognition. I’m still not convinced that Chyna would have been involved in any main eventing had it not been for her dalliance with Triple H.

The Trishes, however, have soared. They fit the current bill. Gorgeous creatures that girls want to be and boys was to do. I’m talking Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim, Natalya, Melina, Mickie James, Michelle McCool, Maryse, Maria etc. (SIDENOTE: If I change my name to something starting with an M, can I join the Trishes?). Their athleticism is awesome and I will argue all the live long day that it is equal to that of the best performing men in the company. I would kill for just an ounce of it. In some cases their fitness is probably superior to some of the male wrestlers. Women are held up to different physical standards to men. It’s alright that some of the guys have a paunch. It’s never perceived as ok for women the lose their training grip.

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The Keiblers are still there.  Occasionally it bothers me, but not that much. It would be great if every woman employed by Vince McMahon had a fantastic, athletic, in-ring presence, but not everyone is made for taking bumps. They play their roles just like everyone else. The trend seems to be to get all women in to this middle ground of beauty and athleticism. Some just excel at being beautiful but can’t pull off top moves. And that’s fine. The fact that they’re out there trying and giving it their best to entertain makes me really happy. And who could possibly hate Kelly-Kelly anyway? She’s so damn cute. She’s like a cupcake with pink frosting and a cherry on top.

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Lacey, your boyfriend's not thinking about you right now.

I don’t even mind that guys drool over them. It would be wholly hypocritical of me to be insulted by that kind of behaviour, being that I have a segment in my Smackdown recaps which charts the weekly colours and contents of CM Punk’s trunks.

So what’s my problem? My problem is that when it comes to storylines, screen time and ring time, the women of the WWE are second class citizens. This is not a feminist rant. I just want to see the ladies getting a fair crack of the whip.  They are skipped over on several Pay Per Views, they have significantly less time in the ring, bearly enough mic time for us even to know what their voices sound like and non-existent storylines. It’s disappointing and an insult to the intelligence of those us interested in more than just the fact that Maryse wants a man who takes regular showers.

I sometimes wonder if the writers don’t give the women any storylines because they don’t believe anyone would care. Nonsense. People don’t care RIGHT NOW because there are NO storylines. Everyone knows that when wrestling/sports entertainment is good, the balance between dramatics and athletics is bang on. At the moment, there are NO female storylines and a tiny blot of athletics.  It doesn’t work.

A short while ago, Trish Stratus threw a cat among the pigeons when she expressed that the WWE Women’s Division is currently disappointing and that there are too many women on the roster all round. She also suggested they should concentrate on developing just a couple of women rather than spreading things too thinly over more talent. She’s got it partially right. I do NOT think, however, that there are too many women in the division. There are just too many women without a public persona or an identity. The matches have no context.  With no context, who cares who wins and loses? They’re just pretty, sexy girls grappling with each other. The pendulum is swinging all out of whack. There’s no balance between context and action, and no balance between the investment in to the men and the women. And by investment, I’m not just refering to financial investment. I mean, time and recognition too. The Women’s Division is not taken seriously at all. That’s a real shame, because the potential for business, sporting and entertainment expansion is huge, and completely untapped.

I’m going to use the Smackdown from 8th May as an example. Teddy Long, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho and Jeff Hardy spent 14 and a half minutes setting up a match between Jericho and Hardy to take place at the end of Smackdown. Almost 15 minutes of a two hour show, just talking. And it was great. It was entertaining and it began preparing the ground for the PPV matches between Mysterio and Jericho, and Hardy and Edge.  The entire Hardy/Jericho match on that particular Smackdown lasted almost 20 minutes, by the way.

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On the same show Gail Kim and Michelle McCool wrestled extremely well for five minutes. But that was it. No promo, no mic time, and with no purpose.  And that was a good week.

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Later in the same show, Cryme Tyme emceed an arm wrestle between Layla and Eve Torres. Why? It had no meaning. And apparently neither woman seemed allowed to speak. Cryme Tyme spoke on their behalf. It was infuriating and utterly pointless, and it was given just as much time as the McCool/Kim match.

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Wrestlemania. The grandest stage of the them all. The highlight of the wrestling calendar. Millions of people watching around the world. And who won the Miss Wrestlemania contest? A man in a skirt and a wig with a chin strap. I get the joke. Really. I do. But what a waste. Santino Marella is a great comedian. He’s a natural. I’ve laughed with him at certain points through this whole Santina story. But seeing Beth Phoenix chasing him/her around for the past six weeks is a major let-down and a shameful waste of her talent. She is one of the most accomplished female athletes in the company and yet her skills are bearly tapped in to.

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Maybe the WWE believes that female fans wouldn’t support female superstars if they upped their profile and marketed the directly to women. There is this odd myth that all women hate each other and that ladies will only cheer for male wrestlers. That’s incorrect. Those women do exist, but I’d be unpleasantly surprised if they made up the majority. If the female fanbase really is 40% of the entire WWE Universe, give us the same role models and heels the male fans have. Build feuds. Create identities and heroines. Give us characters to look forward to seeing and discussing and supporting. There are some amazing women in the WWE. It would make my day to see little girls wearing Mickie James t-shirts. Those shirts don’t exist.  Little girls wear Jeff Hardy shirts because WWE promotes him to that market. Promote the women to women and young girls and I guarantee it will get a favourable response.  Allow young girls to see the female wrestlers succeeding in the same way and at the same level their male counterparts do and it will give them a work ethic to aspire to.

I can’t speak for any of the female talent. I don’t know them. I haven’t met them. Even if I did I highly doubt they would be so unprofessional as to air any personal grievances in front of fans. But it’s got to be frustrating for them, hasn’t it? As a woman, the lack or interest the WWE shows in its Women’s Division sometimes makes me feel like it doesn’t care about me either.  So, apart from the obvious, why should I keep coming back?

Rumour Mill: From the Mean Streets of Stamford

While my technology gets a grip on itself, I thought I’d give my opinion on a cute little story that came my way this week.

The word on the mean streets on Stamford, CT, is that  our John Cena is feeling restless. It’s ok. Don’t start doing a Jerry Lawler scream. He’s not restless as in “I wanna give it all  up to start a cake decorating business”. More, “I wanna hang out with my best bud and change my character a bit”. John Cena? A personality transplant? I’m not sure how I really feel about that, but I find the idea intriguing and more than a little arousing. And his request involves Randy Orton, which knocks the intrigue/arousal level up a few notches.

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In case you weren’t aware, John Cena and Randy Orton are best friends. They’re Bros. They love each other, in a kind of ‘if you had boobs and lady-bits I’d totally marry you, maaan’ sort of thing.  I know. It’s hard to believe, right? But apparently true.  Which goes to show just how good Mr. O is at acting bad. Or is it John acting good? No. Never. I cannot imagine John is an arsehole in real life. It must be Randy’s great acting skills. Phew! I cannot even entertain the idea that John Cena is not a nice guy. My brain rejects it.

When I first heard about it several months ago, I scoffed. No way. They are, like, ENEMIES! Randy almost killed JOHN’S DAD!!!!

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Ok, sometimes I get a little carried away with the storylines. But I didn’t quite believe it was true.  At the time Randy was getting in to all kinds of scrapes behind the scenes. At one point I thought he was in line for a big, fat YOOOOOOOU’RE FIIIIIIIRED! A real one. Maybe it was John who turned Randy around. Well that’s what I like to think anyway.They have actually been holding hands for quite some time.  They came up through OVW together. They turned their scrawny bodies in to sculpted masterpieces of manhood, together. They hoped but never expected to headline the grandest stage of them all, yep, you guessed it, TOO-GE-THAAAAAH! Awww!

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It’s kind of hard to find pictures of them together….especially recent ones.These are all I could find.

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John, I know you love Randy. As you say, he is the best performer of our generation. But there’s no need to kiss his ass. He loves you back already.  By the way, why is Matt Hardy watching?And what can he see from his side that’s putting such a big smile on his face? I need to know.

Even though there is no photographic evidence of it, I do like to imagine they split a chocolate protein shake, press their cheeks together and pout while Randy holds his camera-phone out in front of them for a quick-pic. (Pretty much like every teenage MySpace profile picture.) Kind of far-fetched but a nice little fantasy. ;)

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But to be serious for a moment (and to get back to the actual rumour) John has apparently approached the writing team asking if he can work with Randy Orton and Legacy. That’s right.  Work WITH. Not AGAINST. I’m trying to imagine it. Bad Bad John Cena. I dunno. I kind of dig the thought of him being mean and moody, but I’m not sure the production team would get on board with the wrestling equivalent of Superman turning heel. Remember  in Superman III when our hero became a baddie towards the end of the film? It didn’t fit. It feels all wrong inside.

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Maybe Randy will have to be a sweetie-pie for a while. He’s half-way to being a fan favourite anyway.  I mean, did you hear the cheers on Raw this week?  We’ve TOTALLY forgotten that we’re meant to hate him.  Observe……..

John Cena ain’t gonna be John Meana (get it?)  so the best he can hope for is that the writers let him have a play-feud with Legacy. Kind of like getting your boss to work you on the same shift as your boyfriend at McDonalds so you can flip burgers together. Speaking of the writers, you may have caught ESPN’s brief profile of Vince McMahon on Tuesday.  If you’re not in the US (same as moi) you can watch it on every foreigner’s friend, youtube.  Anyone who’s seen the Mr. McMahon DVD won’t get any new info on our favourite boss, but those writing-room meetings they sat in on. OH MY GOD. WRESTLEGASM! We NEVER get to see that.  I kind of thought it might ruin the illusion. A bit like when you see the voices being recorded in Disney films. But it didn’t spoil it. It made it better. And it made me smile when Vince asked ESPN to leave half way through. Because there ALWAYS have to be SOME surprises. Fabulous!

Just a final thing about filthy rumours. I like to pretend I don’t listen when I hear of some tabloid story that has been manufactured to sound scandalous. I’m even sceptical when fans write hate stories about when they met their heroes. We don’t always have he full facts, ergo, no judging. But the stories about Triple H being dismissive to fans at WM25 really disappointed me. Even to the point where I took down my Triple H trading card and replaced him with CM Punk . These would be the cards I buy from time- to -time to have neat little photo-cards of the fellas on my desk at work.  Yes, I’m a grown woman who buys trading cards. No, I don’t play games with them, but I do lie and tell the smarty-pants person behind the counter they’re for my nephew if they make a comment. I don’t have a nephew. I’m so cool.  Triple H, you can come back out of my drawers when you learn how to be a good boy. Oh lordy, so many jokes about drawers, so little time.

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RAW(Lite): THE CHAOS BEFORE THE STORM

[This post was originally posted on http://buymyown.wordpress.com and has been imported in to wrestlegasm.com by the author]

Ok, so, my first proper wrestling post. I’ve been looking forward to this. This is actually my favourite week of the whole wrestling year- the week before Wrestlemania. I wish they would put this much effort in to EVERY week and not just before Wrestlemania.  Apparently they’re trying super-hard to be entertaining this time around to reach one million global PPV buys. Good luck to ya, Vinnie.

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My love of the WWE, or the WWF as it was called back in the days when I first discovered it’s greatness, is about a decade old. I was first seduced by bulging biceps back in 1999 and once you get sucked it, it never ever leaves you. It’s like a tattoo on your arse. You don’t want to admit it’s there but it is. And it’s not going away.  I remember my brother trying to kick me in the face shouting “SWEET CHIN MUSIC! SWEET CHIN MUSIC!” I needed to find out what the hell that meant, and I was VERY pleased with what I saw.

I know what folks think. It’s not real. They’re not actually hurting each other. They decide the winner in advance. Well,  a lil bit yah, a lil bit nah. Yeah, they decide who’s going to win waaaay in advance. They’ve got a whole team of writers who decide what path the characters will take. And that’s the point. They are CHARACTERS. It’s a soap – with good guys, bad guys, comedians, bitches, sexy boys, sexy girls, romances, bromances, back-stabbing, family feuds….I could go on but you see where I’m coming from, right?

It’s NOT ABOUT what happens in the ring. At least, not for me. I likes me some dramaz. And I LO-O-O-O-V-E the beautifully buff bods that go along with it all. In fact, it was The Rock’s glossy pecs that got me to stick around after the sweet chin music novelty wore off. But seriously, if it wasn’t for the Rock being such a smooth operator, I wouldn’t be boring you with this post right now. Ain’t life grand?

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Ok, look , they may not actually be punching each other in the chops, kicking each other in the knackers or cracking each other across the back with steel chairs (I personally think they’re made of turkey foil), but what they do to each other HURTS. It REALLY HURTS!  That ring is HARD. It’s not like the guy in the T-Mobile Flext ad where everything is soft and sqidgy.  Oh no.

THIS is what it’s REALLY like………………………

Oh My God, Paul. You are awesome. Can I please be your friend? See, I called him Paul ’cause that’s his real name and if we were buds, I’d be calling him Paul. See? Yeah, I know. I’m a loser.

That’s enough preaching for one day. The best brainwashing is ALWAYS done quietly and sneakily. So watch your back, I’m planting wrestle-love in your brain and it spreads like wildfire.  Now let’s see just what made my boat float on Raw this week.

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This one HAS to be good. This is Vince McMahon’s penultimate opportunity to persuade the public that they should spend their precious wages on his product instead of, you know, paying the phone bill and feeding the dog.

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I am a self -confessed Chris Jericho junkie. Not just a fan. He gets my motor running. Like Vrrrrroooooom! Not sure what it is. Probably the fact that he’s a Rock n Roll GOD. Probably the short blonde tresses and the extreme hotness. The fact that he’s a really lovely bloke, despite all that nasty ‘punched a female fan’ business. Those idiots were prodding and poking at him like was a caged animal in the zoo. The girl in question  spat on him and hit him. What, you think because someone’s famous you can get away with abusing them? Morons. Then there’s the humour. Ahh the humour, which  I am currently mourning the loss of.  Come back jolly-Jericho! I dig your heart-stopping stares and the flashy suits, but I miss the laffs. I  also dig that Canadian lilt. “You been hanging aboot the hoose today, eh?” Ahh. Tingles.

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So off the back of the whole Mickey Rourke thing, Y2J is taking on some of the legends being inducted in to the Hall of Fame on Saturday. He will, of course, lose. There’s no way the old statesmen will be defeated by a pip-squeak on their old-timers’ club trip to Houston. On Raw he took on Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. What the hell is this? Help the Aged? Only joking. Wrestling ain’t wrestling without you squalking all over it, King. LOVE YA! It’s all very well and good, and the Mickey Rourke angle will catch a bit of media attention, but after it’s over, give my fella a proper storyline, alright? Eeeeexcellent.

On to my other lover. Jooooooohn Ceeeeeena. Ohhh baby. Apparently he is getting married to a girl he’s known since they were kids. Pffft. Thanks, John. Why don’t you just rip my heart out and hold it in front of my face, eh? Anyway. Yes. Wrestling.  Ahem. While Chris Jericho does his mean and moody thing, John is tickling my funny bone. No, that’s not a euphemism. Although, he should consider it socially acceptable to tickle me anywhere he chooses.  He really is making me LOL. I love-love-loved his greeting card for Vicky Guerrero last week. In fact, I love it so much I think I’ll watch it again. Join me if you will……

Oh John. Why so cute? Anyway, this week it was all action. Vicky, Edge and Big Show went about their strange lust triangle and John kept his pretty eyes on the pretty prize – Edge’s World Heavyweight belt. Edge even tried to sweet-talk John in to teaming up with him so they could, you know, hold hands and defeat the unnatural giant that is the Big Show together at Wrestlemania. Cheeky, bugger. My boy declined. Of course.

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I’d be quite happy to loiter around JC’s locker room with a wide-lens camera a little longer, but it’s time to move on to the Undertaker / Shawn Michaels thing.  I’ m not a big fan of either. I like HBK when he’s doing DX with my third honey, but on his own I find him….. kind of… meh! [Sorry, Foster. Don't hate me] The other thing that’s winding me up about Michaels is that, from what I’ve heard, he has used his new-found religion to get out of doing certain things, and yet he is exploiting it in this current feud just for the sake of the story.  It kind of smacks of double standards.  Having said that, I’d like to see Taker lose, just for a change.  Apparently it’s illegal for Undertake to lose at Wrestlemania.

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Now on to the big one. The storyline giving me a total lady-boner. The match you ARE going to buy Wrestlemania for. Promise me? Your fingers better not be crossed.  It’s Triple H (+the McMahon Family) vs Randy Orton, flanked by his two errand boys (Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase).  OH MY GOD. Anything that involves Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in the same storyline makes me go in to total Cheshire cat mode.  And the fact that their marriage straddles that blurry WWE line between reality and fantasy confuses and delights me at the same time.

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After the  events of last week, I wondered how much more drama they could pack in to this story. Maybe it’s reached its peak? Orton handcuffed Hunter to the ropes, beat him up, dragged Stephanie in to the ring, knocked her unconscious and softly pressed his lips to hers while Triple H watched on in despair. Nice, eh?

So there’s Randy Orton, he of the shiniest thighs on the planet, in the ring telling us how fucking amazing he is. Ok, he didn’t F. But it was THAT strong! A shiny limo rolls up outside and, oh baby, now some shit’s gonna go down. What’s gonna happen? What’s gonna happen? AAAARGH! Tell me. Orton brings up the lights, calls out his errand boys and a gaggle of security dudes for protection. One again….. OH. BABY.

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We all wait for Triple H to appear. But HARK, who is that? VINCE. IT’S VINCE. OH MY GOD. AWESOME. No chance, that’s just what you got. Indeed, indeed, Mr. M.  By the way, what has Vince been up to in the gym while he’s been away? Has he had his skin replaced with an inflatable material that somone has to pump air in before he goes out in public? He looked….so…..well….INFLATED! Jacket comes off, tie flies off, sleeves rolled up, the old fella’s ready for a brawl I tells ya.

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A few seconds more and Shane appears. Oh God. This is too too too good. Who’s the third gonna be? Stephie? Linda? Baaaa0000m! Baaoom-Baaoom! TIME TO PLAY THE GAME. Yeeeeeeeey! Triple H. Standing sideways, looking livid. After much fierce staring (and my gasping for air for lover number three) The McMahon Men strode strongly towards the ring in unison. I swear to GOD, if there is such a thing as a Wrestlgasm, I had one.  A BIG ONE. OOOOOOOORGHHHHH!

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If you don’t want to cough up some cash for Vince McMahon after that, I don’t know what else will persuade you.  It all ended in giant punch-fest which, quite frankly, left me needing a cigarette. Observe……….

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Now I’m off to contemplate what might happen on Smackdown and to start googling mocktail recipes for my Wrestlemania party-for-one in the early hours of Monday. Oh timezones. Why must you torture me so?

ENDNOTE: NEVER let me Santino Marella in a mankini again. Ever, ever, ever. As if the fake uni-brow wasn’t hideous enough.  I’m just thankful he had shorts on underneath. Eesh!