< Part #3
A rapid fire recap;
– Wrestling is still fun.
– The show has been great.
– Since the end of Del Rio/Sheamus, no one in the crowd cares.
That situation isn’t best solved by what I can only describe as “a tag match”. Some men were in it. One or some or all of them was black. Someone won. That’s not me being lazy, that’s the exact emotion of everyone in the crowd.
An air of fear has descended upon us all.
The first half of this show was relatively unpredictable. Not in it’s results, but in it’s quality, and, virtually consistently, it delivered. Everyone has been, again and again, pleasantly surprised. Technically speaking, the card has been going downhill from the first match, WCW style, but that’s like saying K2 is downhill from Mount Everest; it’s all been pretty f*cking high up.
The fear has come because, all weekend, there have been two statements that everyone has universally agreed on;
“I hope John Cena doesn’t win”
“I hope Triple H doesn’t win”
Pretty hot news for the WWE to have people universally hate both of their main event baby faces, but, that aside, these are the opinions of, honestly, over 90% of the people I’ve talked to/over-heard/been this weekend.
Time to deal with the first hope first; John Cena.
Cue you mouth to scream, “GOD, WE KNOW”, but, forgive me. I’m on the edges of wrestling culture, if I’m any part of it at all, since 2001, so a lot of opinions and observations that have become tired and cliched and still opinions I have an think about, and one thing I think every time John Cena comes out is, “Why do people think this is okay?”.
And not in the way you think.
John Cena is outdated, goofy, unlikely and woefully, almost painfully disconnected from his audience. He’s not, how you say, good. But that’s not my problem. I don’t like Hulk Hogan either. I don’t like Roddy Piper personally, and, in the late 90’s, I didn’t particularly like Steve Austin. Evidently, I’m an idiot, so my opinions on John Cena as a wrestler or a man or a husband or whatever creepy, overly personal analysis I’m supposed to be making is meaningless.
That’s not what I’m talking about.
What surprises me is that, even with the people who boo him, everyone seems to have accepted him for what he is, he that as a “controversial” baby face, or a sort of walking voodoo doll for you to stick verbal pins in in the hope that one of them will give Vince McMahon stomach cramps. But it seems to me that, somehow, everyone’s sort of okay with it. The hate is gone from the anti-Cena-ness. The people who genuinely thought, rightly or wrongly, that John Cena (or, more importantly, what he represented), and his position in the company, was bad for wrestling have, for the most part, myself included, left wrestling. The people left are either watching because of him, or watching despite him, or simply don’t care either way.
In a way, I’m glad that the hatred has gone, because it was, for lack of a better term, really, really stupid. I suppose I’ve allied myself with the Cena haters in the same way I feel ideologically allied to the Soviet Union in the Second World War. I’m no Commie, but I don’t like Nazis. In that same sense, I’m no Cena-hater, but I’m certainly no Cena-lover.
And it’s no even John Cena.
I’m rambling. I said, “Why do people think this is okay?”, but I never clarified what “this” is. By “this”, I don’t mean jorts, I don’t mean dumb caps, I don’t mean five moves, I don’t mean goofy insults, I don’t mean five move repertoires, I don’t even particularly mean John Cena or anything he, himself, does.
I stopped watching wrestling for the first time in either 2001 or 2002, I forget. I’d been watching religiously since 1997 and, in that time, there were maybe four or five face-of-the-company level baby faces; “Stone Cold” Steven Austin, The Rock, Mankind/Cactus Jack, The Undertaker and Kurt Angle. And you know what happened when they came out? People cheered. Lots of people. All the people. And they cheered very, VERY loudly.
I started watching wrestling again in 2006 (God knows why, I’ve been complaining about it ever since) and stopped again around 2010. In that time there was one face-of-the-company level baby face; John Cena. And you know what happened when he came out? Everyone booed, or most people booed, or everyone cheered and then they booed, or everyone just made a vague noise, or no one made a noise because they don’t care, or everyone did a Daniel Bryan chant because of whatever reason they felt like doing that at that particular time.
What the hell is that!? This is wrestling! This is a cartoon! Is it okay to boo He-Man because he’s a little bit gay!? No! If the fans are so, SO clearly, vocally unengaged with the face of your product then what the f*ck are you doing!?
It’s at the this point that all I can think of is a plan to somehow get into a WWE board meeting, stand up, show a video presentation of the past ten years and then, at point blank range, gut-scream “WHAT THE F*CK ARE YOU DOING!?” in the face of every single creative employee of the entire company.
Maybe I’ll have to become a writer. I’d have to write something Vince McMahon respects first, so not wrestling. Maybe I’d make movies, small budget at first, but I’d become a cult hero. In a few years, I’d be offered a big movie production, maybe a reboot of a long dead T.V. or superhero. I’d breath new life into it, I’d bring it into the modern world, making it smart, making it gritty, making it clever. I’d win Oscars, I’d win BAFTAS. I’d have free run of Hollywood, but what would I do? I’d shock them all, I’d head to the WWE! I’d pitch them a movie to save their studio and, you know what, I’d damn well do it! An old school action movie, with heart, and humour, and danger. The Die Hard of a new generation, small scale, claustrophobic, frantic, tough. Hollywood would gasp, I’d done the unthinkable. I’d parlay my hit into a new career, a writer for the WWE. Not the head writer, they’d offer me the position, but I’d politely decline. I don’t know the business, I want to learn. I’ll work my way up from the bottom. I’d be respected, trusted, liked. Vince McMahon would see me as the future of the WWE, as the future of wrestling, with the creative drive and modern sensibilities to start the next age golden age of wrestling. Despite my lowly position, I’d be given pride of place at every board meeting, and free reign to pitch or present anything I wanted.
“Clip one please Pat”
I’d present a video of John Cena’s entrance, but not of John Cena. I’d show them the crowd. I’d show them a mob of boos. Not hateful boos, nor passionate boos. Disinteresting, mostly seated, occasionally bored boos from disinterested, mostly seated, occasionally bored fans.
I’d end the clip and walk up to Vince McMahon. I’d get close. Uncomfortable close. VERY close. I’d put my hands on the arms of his chair so he couldn’t get up, and I’d bend down, so we were face to face, nose to nose, man to man.
“WHAT THE F*CK ARE YOU DOING!?”
“And still WWE Champion, C…. M…. PUNK!”