Randy Orton, Kelly Kelly and Why It Matters

Over the past couple of days the Internet has been awash with reaction to the derogatory comments Randy Orton made about Kelly Kelly’s personal life during an interview with a Phoenix radio station. In the interest of giving an informed opinion I’ve listened to the interview in full. The comments themselves relate to Kelly’s sex life, suggesting that she has slept with several of the WWE roster, to which the sex was regularly referred to as ‘method acting’ by Orton and the astonishingly obnoxious hosts. The alleged notches in Kelly’s bedpost became a running joke throughout the interview, with the hosts asking Randy if Kelly had “banged” almost every Superstar who came up in conversation, before collapsing in laughter.

There are really two main issues here – the unprofessional nature of Orton’s conduct and the double standards women are held up to with regard to sexuality, particularly in the WWE. Randy Orton certainly has form when it comes to unprofessional behaviour, but in the past it was when he was either on the brink of making it truly big or such a believable villain that it didn’t quite have the same impact that this incident has had. Previously his character suggested it was almost expected that he would be controversial in interviews. Orton is now the face of SmackDown; the brand’s number one good guy. When he’s sent out on these assignments he’s there to promote the company, the shows, the merchandise in a wholly positive light and as the newly loved World Heavyweight Champion. I think Randy Orton’s just found out that it’s not such an easy job being the good guy. He would do well to take some tips from John Cena, who continually oozes professionalism in interviews. Even more impressive is the Miz, who manages to be the man everyone loves to hate, yet comes across as utterly charming in every interview he gives.

Regardless of what you think of your colleagues and the standards by which you quietly judge their life choices, you simply cannot discuss their private lives in public. It’s not what I expect of someone representing a global business. It’s not what I expect of anyone. I once worked in an organisation where a colleague was severely reprimanded for quite modestly speaking ill of the boss, in the pub, after working hours. Someone reported the comments back to the boss and the colleague was punished. In the real world, people get fired for less than Randy Orton has said and I sincerely hope there have been some repercussions here. I cringe to think that young boys who idolise Randy Orton have listened to that interview and think it’s perfectly acceptable to discuss women in this way. Whether he wants to be or not, Orton’s a role mode and should conduct himself as such.

Aside from the fact that Randy Orton makes both himself and the WWE look painfully unprofessional during this interview, the matter he commented on could not be any less his concern. He had no right to report on Kelly’s private life so publicly and especially using such crass language. Our sexuality is ours to own. Whether we choose to have no sexual partners at all or a different one every night, we all make that choice for ourselves and don’t expect to be judged for it. The problem with the way female sexuality is viewed is that, the moment a woman does something even remotely sexual, it comes to define who she is in a way that just doesn’t apply men. CM Punk, for example, is alleged to be quite the lothario. It is mentioned in passing among wrestling fans but it never impacts how he is viewed as a wrestler or a human being. Fans and colleagues alike are currently fawning all over Punk following his glowing performance in what might possibly be the defining storyline of his career. Women (including the WWE Divas) aren’t afforded that same respect. Men are actually congratulated for sexual conquests, while women are considered ‘sluts’. Sexy isn’t a dirty word regardless of gender.

For example, I watched Beyoncé close the Glastonbury festival on television on Sunday night. I’m biased in that I’m a huge fan of hers, but I was incredibly moved by how she managed to woo 175,000 people with the most outstanding performance I’ve ever seen her pull off. The overwhelming response seemed to be that Beyoncé had taken the nation’s breath away. The following day on Twitter a female journalist I (still) adore and respect, Julia Raeside, boiled her performance down to this:

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Re Beyonce: she is professional, clearly works hard, all of the things you say. But she shakes her bottom for money.
27/06/2011 12:59

I was genuinely upset by Julia’s comment. As long it’s not all you think you have to offer, there is absolutely nothing wrong with displaying your sexuality. There is nothing wrong with going on stage in a leotard, heels and a spangly jacket. I see no problem with shaking your arse to music just because it feels good. It was as if Julia had bypassed Beyoncé’s operatically trained voice, her impeccable dance skills, her acting credits, her writing skills and her obvious humility because she had chosen to be sexy during some of the performance. If Usher had joined her on stage shirtless and grinding his crotch at the audience, nobody would have blinked an eye. Run the World (Girls) may not be entirely lyrically accurate, but if I had a daughter I’d want her to listen to it and feel she could run the world if she wanted to. I do think Beyoncé is a positive role model for young women. Her sexuality is just one part of her personality, which she sometimes plays up as part of her performance. This should be the case for the WWE Divas too.

The WWE itself isn’t totally blameless here. Smart, Sexy, Powerful is a good tagline to attach to the women on the roster, but I’m concerned that only one of those words is currently being fulfilled. If the business is trying to gear itself towards a very young audience, it should be trying much harder to define its female talent by more than just their sexuality. They get plenty of opportunities to appear sexy, but very few to display their intelligence and power in the form of clever storylines, long matches and equal billing. I don’t have a problem with the plethora of female photo shoots WWE pumps out so frequently. What I do have a problem with is that the male roster members don’t seem to be required to take part in them nearly as often as the women do. The net result of this is that the Divas’ sexuality appears that much more overt than that of the male Superstars and it becomes what they’re famous for.

I wasn’t exactly banging my drum for feminism when such a huge deal was made of Kelly Kelly’s appearance in this year’s Maxim Hot 100 list. I’m not sure it really achieves anything to ask adolescent boys looking for wank fodder to rate women according to their looks. I think it’s a ludicrous concept as outdated as beauty pageants. But lads’ mags are on the slide on the newsstand anyway, and I’d be surprised if any were still in circulation in ten years time.  For now, they exist and I know Kelly was pleased to be have been included, but it’s really worth no more than some free publicity for the company. Regardless, suggesting that Kelly’s appearance in the list somehow sets her up for derogatory comments is pretty pathetic, yet it’s an argument I heard in Orton’s defence.

Over the past 24 hours I’ve read some outrageous justifications and excuses for Randy Orton’s comments. It doesn’t matter which magazines Kelly’s modelled for. It doesn’t matter what she did for a living in the past. It doesn’t matter which characters she’s played in previous storylines. Pondering whether Randy’s punishment is adequate based on who the woman he humiliated is gets away from the fact that he made the comments in the first place. If you’re thinking he might have chosen his words more carefully if Kelly’s boyfriend was someone more powerful in the company, you’ve definitely missed the point. It doesn’t matter if you like her, find her attractive or enjoy her wrestling, there should be zero tolerance of this kind of behaviour and no room for compromise.

Randy’s an extremely well paid and (supposedly) media savvy professional. It’s not sufficient to say that he was just hanging out with ‘the guys’ and got caught up in a rowdy moment. He wasn’t in a bar bullshitting with his mates, he was on a radio show available worldwide. That should have been his first thought before answering every single question.  This is why his Twitter apology (in which he asked people to drop the subject for her sake) seems a little wet. Irritating and archaic as they were, it’s not as if the hosts held a gun to his head or coerced him into discussing Kelly’s private life. The words spilt out quite freely. Who on earth was Orton trying to impress? Randy Orton repeatedly mentioned his wife and daughter during the interview. A good rule of thumb should be ‘if someone were about to embarrass my daughter/wife/girlfriend/sister/mother with these words, how would I feel about it?’ If your reaction would be to punch the guy in the chops, show every woman the same respect you’d show the women in your life and keep your mouth shut.

If none of this seems important and you think it’s all a silly overreaction (particularly if you’re a woman) I urge you to read Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman. It’s the most fantastic, rich, funny, honest book you’ll find about being a woman and I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you disagree with what I’ve said here, I almost guarantee you’d take a different view on Randy Orton’s humiliation of Kelly Kelly after reading it – women and men.

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RAW(lite) – the wrestling N.Y.D

So, this post is kind of late in the week, but what with the mammoth Wrestlemania post and setting up the new site and, you know, normal life, this is the first chance I’ve had to write it.  The first Raw after Wrestlemania is always a strange affair.  It’s like the WWE New Year’s Day. The day after the biggest party of the year. Some are full of regret about what went down the night before, and others are brimming with excitement about the future.

We begin with Randy Orton. Awwww. His face hurts. Yeah, well, you know what? My brain hurts from that rubbish ending to Wrestlemania. But that’s not your fault, honey.  Christ, I’m calling Randy Orton HONEY now. I’ve changed.

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But let’s move on.    Randy Orton is one of the best heels around. Seriously, he reeks of creepy badness.  I love it…. and a week ago I never would have said that.  Vince came out in a shade of blazer no man should ever wear, shouting the odds in that unhealthy gravel he calls a voice and punching his finger at Orton with such force I’m surprised he couldn’t feel it up there on the ramp.

Orton spouted a tirade of abuse and challenged Mr. M to fight him, alone, on Raw, without Shane or Triple H to prop him up.  NEVER has the word SIR seemed like such an insult. AMAZING! After much lip-trembling and eye-popping we got a big fat “YOU’RE OOOOOON!” Loverly.

One of the things I miss  during PPVs are the backstage conversations that are ‘just for us to see’. That’s the theatrical shit that makes it work for me.  So, back in the office a 60-something multi-millionaire is taking his clothes off to take on a man young enough to be his son. His actual son is none too chuffed at what his old man has set himself up for. Can I just take a moment to say how much I LOOOOVE Shane’s grey temples?  When I first started watching wrestling he was this irritating, uncool kid. Now he’s quite the distinguished gentleman. Me happy girl. Shane couldn’t persuade daddy he was making a bad move…..’cause Vince, just…just….WANTS ‘IM. hehe. A silly scene, but it made me laugh.

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On to the Divas.  Smackdown Vs Raw, to be precise.  With the Draft coming up tomorrow, a big wrestlegasm in itself, it’s important that anyone who might be in the frame for a change of office cubicle gets an airing the week beforehand. Just so you know who they are. They pulled off some pretty nice moves in this match.  And how cool is Mickey James? She’s wicked! I kind of want to BE her. And I kind of have a girl-crush on Kelly-Kelly. But you don’t wanna know about that, do ya? Well, maybe another day.  In the meantime,  enjoy his picture of my heroine. Luv yaaaaaa!

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Shane is still stressing behind the scenes, so he turns to his brother-in-law for assistance. God, I love watching them talk to each other. I know this is ‘for TV’ and they obviously have a lighter convo style in real life, but I like to imagine them talking to each other on Christmas Day like that. By the way, best man-hug-moment I’ve seen in AGES.

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On to the All Star Tag Team Match – Raw Vs Smackdown. Good Lord, I think I might combust. Chris Jericho, John Cena, CM Punk, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Edge, Big Show, Kane, Rey Mysterio and Ricky Steamboat all in one match. Shit. What a combo. My pants thank you.  By the way, I am TOTALLY falling in love with Punk. It’s the Chicago thing, I think. It tipped me over the edge. Also, one of my favourite moments of the night – Rey Mysterio giving his mask fringe to a random kid in the crowd. Awww. Bless. I predict that kid will be on Raw 15 years from now telling the story of how Rey inspired him to be a wrestler. I guarantee it.

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Only the day after Wrestlemania would we see this many main eventers in one match. That doesn’t normally happen. We don’t even see these boys all on one SHOW, let alone in one match. They usually spread the top talent out.  What a TREAT! Every time a new hand slapped that of someone in the ring, I got a lovely little buzz of eeeeeeeeee-xcitement. I gotta say, how freakin’ awesome is Ricky Steamboat? This man is older than my dad! He’s 56 years old, for god’s sake. I agree with the chanting crowd. “You still goooot it!!!!”. And I love how much everyone hates Jericho at the moment. I laughed out loud when Chris came in to do some damage to Steamboat and Michael Cole blasted “Here comes Jericho like a VULTURE! Chris Jericho’s a VULTURE.” But a really hot vulture, yah?

I can’t tell you much more about the match, other than it left me feeling very fulfilled. To be honest, they could have ended Raw right there and I would have given it a glowing report.

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On we go….Triple H, in a battle of the noses,  was unable to persuade daddy-dearest that scrapping with Orton was just silliness, and we were joined in the arena by Vicky Guerrero. I know it’s her job to be annoying, but bloody hell, that voice. Urgh! And the way she pronounces ‘Orton’ winds me up. Vicky, it’s OR-TON. OOOOR-TTTTTON. So, she has opted to be Raw general manager in preparation for next week’s draft. Curious.Veeery curious.  I kind of skipped the Santina thing. I watched it but tried to block it out.  It makes me want to punch my fist through a wall.

In no time at all (wow, that was a quick Raw) we’re at the main event of the evening. Mr. Vincent Kennedy McMahon against Randy Orton….or Randy Orrrun as Vicky calls him. I wasn’t expecting much of the match.  I figured Legacy would be back on the scene, having been so rudely left out of Wrestlemania. And I supposed that Triple H and Shane would retaliate. But what actually happened was totally unexpected…at least to me. I HATE spoilers with a passion. Maybe others knew it was going to happen, but I like to see things as they play out. Otherwise, where’s the excitement?  Oh, yeah, I haven’t told you what happened. Duh! Ok…….

As predicted, it was a complete mis-match. Shane couldn’t take it any more, flew in to the ring and started pummelling Orton. I love watching Shane fight. He still seems like a little boy to me. Cute little thing that he is. Rhodes and DiBiase joined in to save their leader from a further ShaneOMac-attack, Orton joined in and then The Game put his oar in. Of course. Everything’s going just as I had anticipated. With all the McMahon brood under the cosh, they needed some assistance. But who’s gonna be their hero?

Some VERY loud guitar chords blast in to the arena.  Only regular wrestling viewers will understand this, but you know when someone hasn’t been around for a while….maybe because they’ve been injured…… then they return unexpectedly. The music hits and you know the music, and the cogs in your brain start revolving to figure out who it is. It only takes a second. Maybe two. But I love that moment where you realise who it is. THEY are wrestlegasm moments.

So, who was it………..

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OH MY GOD! It was so amazing.  Even though I’m kind of in Orton’s camp since WM, Dave looked so bloody cool. He picked Legacy off one at a time and got all three to scamper off up the ramp. I repeat, SO. BLOODY. COOL. And a TOTAL wrestlegasm moment. Seeing him with his old pal and Shane up there in the ring made my week.

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But the best moment of all was when Vince, lying outside the ring in his black smock, said……………………………………………

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Randy Orton was beside himself. Devastated. So now we have a brand new feud on the go. Just like that. That’s why I love this nonsense.

FAVOURITE CROWD MEMBER OF THE SHOW

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This lady, who seemed absolutely MORTIFIED that Primo and Carlito had taken the Tag-Team belts. I cannot imagine how involved she got with the more interesting stuff. Now THAT’S DEDICATION!

FINAL THOUGHTS

I am super-excited about tomorrow’s draft. I loooooove the draft. A spot of Spring cleaning is always refreshing. And a few surprises are always very welcome.

I’ll do a quick Smackdown recap tomorrow morning (BST) to bring everything nicely up to do date. This long Easter weekend is proving to be very handy.