Friday, July 1, 2011

Counting Lights

Alright, this is going to be about wrestling so if you have no interest in that you might as well just skip this one, of course there is a better than average chance that this could veer off into something else like being absolutely joyless for the first time I can remember about 4th of July weekend or my unconditional love for Deadwood
But for right now let's just stay on wrestling.
Professor Horgan of the Northern New Jersey Wrestling Archives of Pompton Lakes is to blame for my continued interest in professional wrestling. Sure, when I was a kid I was caught up in the wave of 80's rock 'n wrestling and Hulkamania, Macho Madness and the 'power of the Ultimate Warrior' and kept watching into the era of the steroids hangover when smaller guys like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels starting headlining. But at some point, I guess I kind of grew out of it. It was hard to get interested in things like circus clowns and garbage men who just happened to wrestle as a side career.
I didn't get it anymore.
The option was watching the rival WCW but as you can see by watching this or this that it really wasn't an option.
But in a few years time WCW started pulling in some of the older WWF guys like Randy Savage, Mean Gene, Hulk Hogan and probably most tragically Bobby Heenan. After trying to re-tread what WWF had done in the 80's with guys who were 10-15 years older WCW finally had the brainstorm to turn Hulk Hogan into a bad guy here and what followed was the wildly successful NWO angle that put WCW on top and almost put WWF out of business until they let Steve Austin off the chain. Then the the Rock and eventually  things got bad in WCW when things like this happened and Vince McMahon bought WCW and ran it into the ground. Austin broke his neck, Rock went to Hollywood,  the Undertaker became a biker, Shawn Michaels retired, Triple H married the boss's daughter and Mick Foley couldn't be thrown off a cage every night. Without any competition things got stale and story-lines got, um weird. (I'm not going to post it but search for 'Katie Vick' on youtube. Actually, don't)

But over the last few years Professor Horgan still gets himself amped up for Wrestlemania season beginning with the Royal Rumble, the winner of which gets a title shot at Wrestlemania. Feuds build up for the three months in between until finally the payoff. However like most things in life the build up is usually better than the result but usually one match steals the show, be it expected (Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker at WM26) or unexpected (Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker at WM25).
The best thing on television the past few months, maybe even years has been CM Punk. (I have no idea what C.M. stands for). The WWE is now kid-friendly. Their television programs have a PG rating which may or may not be linked to Vince McMahon's wife running for Congress last year. In all likelihood it has to do with marketing to a new generation of fans who will stay with the product for the next 20 years. Kids like me in the 80's who stopped watching came back in the 90's to see Hulk Hogan, that old patriotic vitamin-eater, with a black beard acting like a jackass and hung around to watch Steve Austin cursing every three words, drinking beer and beating up his boss but they took that as far it could go.
So now we have John Cena who started off as a rapper and has turned into Superman carrying the Hogan-torch, and just behind him is Randy Orton, a maniac who punts people in the head because he hears voices. They're the top to stars in the company but the best all around guy on the mic and in the ring is CM Punk. Cena can cut a promo but his matches are boring and usually end with him overcoming insane odds to win. Orton can wrestle but he's stiff on the mic.
CM Punk is allegedly leaving the WWE. He's announced it and then went on to cut this promo on Monday Night Raw this past week. It wasn't 'real' but it was pretty impressive.  It was probably the most interesting thing in the WWE in ten years and they're letting him walk which is a shame and will probably result in me being done with this miserable sport/entertainment/tv show/thing that kids watch, at least until January.
Pro wrestling at it's best is stand up comedy and performance art; a bunch of maniacs throwing themselves at each other at lightning speeds and then calling each other names, controlling a crowd of people, most of whom are in on the joke.
Randy Savage died a few weeks ago and he was always one of my favorites.
His promos were insane and he always had exciting matches, easily outperforming Hogan and Warrior on their best days.
So here are a couple of those.

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