Tag Archives: WWE

Letters to the Internet

Dear Chaos Collage,

I’m so sorry I have neglected you for this long, but I simply could not find the time to write between my job, the fiction piece I am currently working on and the four hours of Street Fighter IV I play per day. Since we have so much to talk about I will do my best to keep this entry well organized and to the point, much like the wonderful entertainment section in my local newspaper.

I. Television

With Batman: The Brave and The Bold on mid season hiatus and new episodes of Battlestar Galactica a thing of the past, I have not been paying much attention to episodic fiction recently. What I have been watching (aside from wrestling) is the wonderful “reality” based programming on Spike TV. This includes such shows as Vice Cops Uncut (which is of course very cut), DEA and the new king of Discovery Channel style investigation, Deadliest Warrior. What historical investigation could be more satisfying than one focused on how adept different warriors from different eras would be at killing each other. Have you ever wondered how a Viking would fair against a Samurai? Me too! Finally, we have a resource to find out! What a relief.

II. Movies

…So, Drag Me to Hell comes out in May. Okay, so we aren’t in 2008 anymore and things have slowed down. I guess that writer’s strike finally hit cinemas. The aggravatingly disappointing Watchmen came as quite a downer, probably the first film I was truly disappointed with since before the release of Iron Man. Aside from a couple of decent comedies, it looks like things won’t be picking back up until the edge of June with Sam Raimi’s return to horror Drag Me To Hell. From there we have numerous films to look forward to such as Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, JJ Abrams’ Star Trek and Quentin Tarantino’s long awaited Inglorious Basterds (I know how to spell, that’s just the name of the movie). With these films on the horizon and promises of Iron Man II, Green Lantern and Stallone’s The Expendables for 2010, I’m sure we can make it through The Revenge of the Fallen and The Rise of Cobra. In order to keep hope alive, I will provide a trailer to watch and enjoy.

III. Those Comic Books that rot your brain and/or turn you into a Commie.

Bruce Wayne is gone and it is all Grant Morrison’s fault. He’s not dead though, just gone for the time being. I will not spoil  his replacement for the following reasons A) I think this story will be better if its integrity is kept intact and B) I have no idea who his replacement will be. What I do know, without ruining it for the TPB crowd, is it seems like it won’t be Tim. On the other side of the DCU, the lead-up to Blackest Night is picking up and boy does it look like its going to be good. Geoff Johns’ events lack the rarely deserved self importance of Mark Millar’s or the progressively less satisfying introspection of Bendis’ big story work. Both Morrison and Johns posses the rare ability to not only create inventive plots for beloved characters, but to distill what made us love them in the first place. It is this difference that has defined the best of DC in recent months. That said, Marvel has perhaps the 3rd best writer for this, Ed Brubaker. Both Daredevil and Captain America have rarely missed a beat since his run began and the stories are far from small.  On the Mighty Marvel side, Norman Osborn has taken control of the United States and things are not pretty. I mean this in both a philosophical and editorial sense. Yes, great books that deal directly with the issue are coming out (Thunderbolts being the strongest at the moment, though I have a soft spot for the in-continuity Punisher) but there are way too many stunt books or books that are becoming stunt books (Bad Avengers, sorry I meant Dark Avengers, Mighty Avengers, New Avengers, Avengers: The Initiative, Dead Avengers, X-Avengers, Bad X-Avengers, X-Forcevengers, The Secret Avenger-Defenders, The Force Works Avengers, Two-Gun Kid and His Westvengers, Iron Man and The Reb-Bot Avengers, Rick Jones’ Rockin Avengers and of course Kevin Smith’s Late Avengers Annual). Okay, I made most of those up, but you get my point. Yes, events are made to be exploited but when you can’t even keep continuity between books referring to the same events, you really need to slow down. Take that sales department! On a happier note, all three of the IDW GI Joe books are a lot of fun and should counter act the damage the upcoming film may do to my brain. Dynamite’s current licensed properties and Ennis’ The Boys are still kicking monthly.

IV. Rasslin’

WWE’s Wrestlemania was worse than the next night’s Raw, TNA is a joke and ROH appears to be rotting from the inside. I unfortunately have very little to say aside from that. I am seriously disappointed in both the E and TNA’s inability to create great product with fantastic rosters. In happier news, it looks like there will be a new Hart Foundation on ECW.

V. Music

Typically I isolate an aspect of music or the music industry through an artistic lens, but for this entry I figured being more practical would be better. What I would like to note is the amazing amount and quality of live music hitting the New York/ New Jersey Area in the next few months. Aside from the big guns like Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello hitting the road, the area (which is the home of both writers on this blog) will also be hosting such acts as Jenny Lewis (Music Hall of Williamsburg, June 9th), The Get Up Kids (Blender Theater, May 1st) on their reunion tour and hometown boys done good, The Hold Steady (Bowery Ballroom, June 8th & 9th-Music Hall of Williamsburg, June 10th and 11th). Even Green Day will be playing a theater show this spring (no, I don’t know when and I can’t get you tickets). In addition to these exciting travelin’ troubadours, local act The Neutron Drivers will be hitting the Big Apple’s famed Knitting Factory on April 30th. I hear there’s even a free sandwich and cheap beer for the die-hard early crowd.

Well, that’s it for now. Hopefully I will come up with some amazing insight for my next piece.

Love,

Vinny

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Plan-amania 25

Professional wrestling does not need to be saved. This is evident in the aisles filled with WWE action figures and the dollars drawn by promotions both small and large across the United States. However, Pro-Wrestling does have its fair share of problems. WWE television is not pulling nearly the ratings it once did and its pop culture relevance is starting to fall. The days of Hulk Hogan, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock are done. This is not to say that there is a lack of talent in pro-wrestling, the WWE maintains a roster of some the most talented wrestlers in the world. If it’s not a lack of interest or talent, what is pro wrestling missing that it once had?

I don’t believe that there is necessarily one key to improving the state of the WWE, but there are a few points that seem to be logical moves to enhance the future of the promotion and in turn the entire industry.

My first suggestion is unification of the major titles. By this I mean unifying the WWE title with the World Heavy Weight and the ECW Title, the World Tag Titles with the WWE Tag Titles and the Divas Title with the Women’s Title. I would assume the reasoning behind this split was to provide separate main-eventers for each brand, but it has become clear over the years that the brands are almost meaningless in their current state. Instead, this split essentially creates the impression that there are no “real” champions. Sure, Triple H may be a top competitor and may hold the WWE Title but where does that leave Edge with the World Heavyweight Title? If the WWE/World Champion is supposed to be the best in the world, even a worked industry can’t have two #1s.

Next, keep the brand split. What the WWE has the opportunity to do is capture updated versions of its two biggest eras. Raw should be a tribute to the Attitude Era. A show where even the faces aren’t the shiny superheroes of the past and that is (now this is important) constantly focused on violence, sex and comedy. This show would deserve the parental warning it would surely garner. Smackdown! should become a tribute to the Hogan Era. Feed the public’s desire for working man superheroes fighting over the top villains. Bright colors, masks and face paint should streak across the screen every Friday night. ECW and the upcoming Superstars would serve another role. Here you could watch some of your favorite superstars from both brands take on new and exciting talent. This is also a great opportunity to once again give televised try outs to prospective talent. Let the fans have a say in who their future superstars should be.

What I’ve said is all fine in theory, but I am compelled to explain a bit more of the story-telling functionality of this proposed arrangement. First ECW/Superstars serves, to connect the WWE to the rest of the wrestling world. That’s right, connection is a good thing. The WWE is the top promotion in the world. They have no competition so acknowledging the bigger world of independent wrestling not only allows newly signed talent to bring their characters and past with them, but enhances the perception that the WWE is the only company with valid World Titles and that the wrestlers who make it in the WWE truly are the greatest wrestlers that the world has to offer.

On Raw and Smackdown, the absence of a show specific World belt would allow the shows to put the US and IC titles in the spotlight. Other plotlines could deal with battles for Undisputed title shots, creating not only opportunities for main event quality matches without belts, but also a sort of championship class; a larger group of popular competitors who could all be viable World champions. This type of system would also provide the sorely missing Tag Team circuit. With competition focused on who is worthy of a shot at the champions, you could have multiple tag matches per night, all of which would be relevant in the “rankings”. In addition, a wrestler’s “home” show should be determined by the direction of the character at the time. Heel/Face turns could be perfect opportunities to change not only a characters storyline, but the environment in which they would compete. When the World champions would interact with the talent on the show, you could adjust their personas to where they were. That should be taken care of by whatever storyline they are involved with anyway.

There is nothing that I have outlined here that is out of the WWE’s grasp, most of these changes would only take weeks to implement after the writing staff outlined the directions of the top competitors. This plan also ignores the politics that Pro-Wrestling is notorious for, but it does not necessarily conflict with it either. I only hope the best for the future of this art form.

-Vinny

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