A Wrestling News Report 3.14.02

I had a great spring break and a crappy Excess because of it. Let’s start off with some very big thank yous. I have not yet recieved all of the generous things you’ve sent, so the people I miss, you’ll be mentioned next week hopefully.

Thanks to Owen Conlan, Leng Ky, Michael Jordan, Chris Carter, Andrew Brown, Andrew Niehaus, M.C. Cavenaugh, Owen Conlan again, Mathew Horsman,the big HURTado, the most definately JAKKED Pat Brower, Steven Isett, Derek A. Jackson, Mark Augustyniak,Peter M Petruski, Christopher Wills, Louis-Martin Parent, Keith James, Joseph Rice, Kyle Harris, Christopher Petro, my mentor and my dream girl,Gary Holmes, George O’Connor, Joe Brodie (who has been there for me before in a noble but failed effort), and that’s it for now.

Oh, except for Scott Goldstein, who’s generosity exceeds all bounds. He gave something to my friend that my friend always wanted but could never get. Thank you.

You will all be remembered. Your kindness will not be forgotten. For example, despite my life long love of the Knicks, I am now a Wizards fan because of the kindness of Michael Jordan. Honestly, thanks guys. You ever need anything,, send an E-mail my way.

Well, I guess we go to news now. Anything else to say? Nope.

News!!!

JUNK NEWS!!! HUZZAH!

Triple H was on Opie and Anthony today where he talked about his injury and his match at Wrestlemania and spanked some girls. HHH did alot of laughing, which is one of the few times when Jay Mohr isn’t on that Opie and Anothony hear laughter.

Lance Storm has a terrible, terrible life, and he’s going to be fired in two weeks.

A bunch of junk shows did a bunch of junk ratings.

Fozzy has signed a new deal with Megaforce records. Look for it in a store near you soon, if you’re in to crappy cover rock.

This week’s Raw and Smackdown drew over 30,000 fans. Meanwhile, a small crowd formed around Vince Russo who was dancing for pennies.

3 black WWF employees will appear on BET tonight, while one white employee will appear on Conan O’Brian. Wanna have some fun? Write down all the possible candidates for both shows and see if you can find the ratio and probabillity… you want a beer? Me too.

Junk news! Huzzah!

SMACKDOWN WILL BE LONG AND TEDIOUS

Kurt faces Rob, Vince and Ric talk, Jeff faces Bubba faces Billy faces Bradshaw, Christian and Diamond talk, Lita and Trish talk, Vince and David talk, Al faces Big, Hulk and Rock talk, Booker and Test face Tajiri and Edge, Coach and Austin and Hall and Nash talk, Stephanie and Chris talk, David faces Undertaker, Triple H and Jericho talk. HARD SELL! HARD SELL!

HALL AND NASH HAVE BEEN SUCKING UP TO THE UNDERTAKER, Here is a transcript.

Hall: Yo, Mark! Hey, Mark, hold up.

Undertaker: Hey Scott. How’s it going?

Hall: Not bad. How’re you?

Undertaker: I’m doing okay.

Hall: How’s Sara?

Undertaker: Still untalented.

Both men laugh. Undertaker stops laughing, Hall continues.

Hall: STILL UNTALENTED! HA! HAHAHAHAHAHA! YOU ARE THE KING OF THE PUN, MARK!

Undertaker: Thanks.

Hall: HAHAHAHA! HEY! You know what, Undertaker? YOU’RE KILLING ME! HAHAHAHA! SEE, UNDERTAKER, KILLING ME?

Undertaker: I get it, Scott. Thanks.

Nash: Hey! Scott, Mark, what’s up?

Hall wipes tears from his eyes.

Hall: Not much, just cracking up as usual at Mark’s puns. Still untalented. HA!

Nash: Hey, you weren’t talking about me, were you?

Hall and Nash begin to laugh wildly. Undertaker stares in disgust.

Undertaker: No, I was talking about Sara.

Nash falls down on the ground, tears streaming out of his eyes.

Nash: YOU KNOW, HAHAHAHAHAHA! YOU KNOW, YOU ARE THE FUNNIEST DEAD PERSON I’VE EVER MET! HAHA! GET IT? DEAD PERSON?

Undertaker: That was a joke?

Hall: OH MY GOD! I NEED A DRINK! DEAD PERSON! YOU ARE TOO FUNNY KEVIN HAHAHA!

Christopher Lloyd enters dressed as the Judge from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Christopher: You idiots! You know what happens when you laugh too much! You’ll die laughing!

Hall and Nash pass away. Their ghosts float up to Heavan. Undertaker bows his head.

Undertaker: REST. IN. PEACE!

Paul Bearer: OOOOOH YESSSSSSS!

Kane: I now unmask myself!

Davy Jones: Then I saw Kane’s face! Now I’m a believer!

That is an actual transcipt. If you serious news sites want to use it, all credit goes to ME!

Well, I made my brother laugh. Screw you guys.

PLUGS!

You’d better Ask 411 if it’s Time for a Take of A Wrestling Tale. All 3 have Wrestlemania junk in them. I’ll do my Wrestlemania preview tomorrow.

SO YOU WANNA?

There is a site, www.soyouwanna.com, which tries to help people understand the basics of pro wrestling. Let’s see what they have to say. Also, I have a feeling this is from a long time ago, so let’s take a trip down memory lane.

The fake

The first thing you need to understand about wrestling is that it’s fake. We hope we’re not ruining anyone’s fun here, but those pro wrestlers are all just a bunch of big actors. What we mean by “fake” is that the outcome of each match is predetermined, the wrestlers cooperate with each other rather than compete, and the wrestlers are acting out characters, not their real personalities. Both the behind-the-scenes action and in-the-ring action are planned out and written ahead of time (though the wrestlers do some improvising of their own), and the wrestlers develop the characters they portray with the help of writers and executives.

The storylines, which set out the feuds and alliances that explain what goes on in the ring, are at least as important as the wrestling itself. The storylines are as turgid as any soap opera, containing “good” and “bad” characters, as well as characters that switch allegiances or team up against a third party. We’re surprised that amnesia and evil twins don’t play a stronger role. We’ll talk more about the storylines in a second, but the main thing to know is that watching pro wrestling is just like watching The Practice, only instead of lawyers in suits in a courtroom battling each other, the lawyers wear speedos and go mano-a-mano.

To many fans, the storylines are more interesting than the wrestling. The effective use of storylines to enhance interest in professional wrestling was pioneered and perfected by Vince McMahon, the best promoter in the history of the wrestling business. Pro wrestling is, to use a phrase coined by Mr. McMahon, “sports entertainment.” It can’t be called a sport, because nobody is really engaging in a competition (to bet on pro wrestling would be ridiculous, because the outcome is already decided); but it is an entertaining charade of what a sport might be like in a world of ridiculously obnoxious, melodramatic, aggressive people. The ingenious storylines present us with hilarious morality plays, absurd situations, gratuitous titillation, and good old-fashioned machismo.

Storylines are mostly composed of gimmicks, feuds, and angles. A gimmick is a wrestler’s, or a group of wrestlers’, story or theme that can be summed up in a sentence. For example, Stone Cold Steve Austin is a mean, beer-swilling s.o.b. from Texas who doesn’t take any crap from anyone. There’s more to his character than that, but that’s his basic gimmick. A feud simply describes the fact that two or more wrestlers are, at this point in the storyline, angry with each other and fighting frequently. For example, if Mankind and the Undertaker are continually talking about each other and fighting or interfering in each other’s matches, then they are feuding. The reason why they’re feuding is called an angle, and the angles are what make the storylines interesting. For example, at present, The Big Show is fighting The Rock because he believes that The Rock cheated in their match at The Royal Rumble. The only limits on angles are set by the writers’ and promoters’ imaginations. To sum up, a gimmick is who the wrestler is, a feud is who is fighting whom, and the angle is the reason for the feud. And yes, we do realize that the names are bizarre.

The real

Now, in the midst of all this fakeness, it’s important to give credit where it’s due and learn what is real about pro wrestling. The moves the wrestlers do to each other don’t hurt as badly as the wrestlers pretend they do, but they’re still no picnic. And the wrestlers really are, to varying degrees, athletes who are performing difficult stunts. Of course, there are some steroid beasts who just wander around the ring looking dangerous, but most of the wrestlers are incredibly acrobatic and talented at what they do.

Though the results are always predetermined, what happens in the match is not always perfectly scripted ahead of time. Good wrestlers can improvise most of what happens during the match. Some matches are choreographed and practiced move by move ahead of time, but most just have the outcome and some of the major happenings decided in advance. For example, two wrestlers might go into a match knowing which of them will win, who will start out dominant, who will interfere in the match, and what move will finish off the loser. The wrestlers will make up the rest of the match as they go along, in accordance with their skills and how the match is going. The wrestlers will often whisper moves to each other during the match, and they generally cooperate to make the match look good.

It is also real when wrestlers bleed. They rarely use fake blood (there are obvious exceptions, such as Gangrel’s “blood baths,” in which his opponents have gallons of blood-like substance dumped on them) in matches. The most common way for wrestlers to make themselves bleed is to keep a razor blade taped up on their wrists, hands, or fingertips, which is then exposed when it’s time for them to cut themselves. When a wrestler cuts himself it is called “blading,” and when he then bleeds it is called “juicing.” These occur when a wrestler’s opponent has landed a supposedly devastating move on him. He will quickly cut himself across the forehead, which will produce enough blood to give him a convincingly battered appearance. They almost never cut themselves anywhere else, as doing so would be extremely dangerous. Wrestlers also, occasionally, bleed from actual contact. They try to pull their punches, but they really do hit each other, and accidents happen. This way of bleeding is known as “hardway,” and we’re pretty sure it’s less than popular among the wrestlers.

As we’ve stated repeatedly, this is meant to be pure entertainment. The fact that the wrestlers aren’t actually pummeling each other into oblivion doesn’t interfere with most fans’ enjoyment of the phenomenon.

World Wrestling Federation (WWF)

World Championship Wrestling (WCW)

Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW)

There are many wrestling promotions, but we’re not going to go into all of them. We’re just going to talk about the three biggest and most popular promotions — the WWF, WCW, and ECW — and let you pick which one you’re going to watch. The two biggest, the WWF and WCW, are in fierce competition with each other, and it’s difficult not to pick a side in the struggle and watch that one exclusively. ECW doesn’t demand the same allegiance, so you could, conceivably, watch it in addition to one of the other ones, but just how much wrestling do you wanna watch?

World Wrestling Federation (WWF)

The WWF is the king of the wrestling world right now, and we won’t even try to hide our belief that this is appropriate. The WWF is known as being the most creative wrestling promotion with regard to its characters and storylines, and this happens to suit our tastes in wrestling. Run by the iron will and creative innovation of Vince McMahon, the WWF combines colorful stories with entertaining wrestlers. If you want to experience good quality in both the creative and athletic aspects of pro wrestling, the WWF is probably the choice for you.

The WWF is one half of the Monday night wars. Its main show is “RAW is WAR” on Monday nights, and it has wrestled for wrestling ratings with WCW’s “Monday Nitro” since WCW started airing its rival program in 1994. WWF also has a primetime show on Thursdays called “Smackdown,” and many pay-per-view events.

World Championship Wrestling (WCW)

WCW has experienced a bit of a downturn lately, as the WWF has begun to win the war for ratings on Monday nights and to capture yet more of the wrestling audience with its “Smackdown” show. Time-Warner and WTBS own the WCW, so it has all the billions of Ted Turner behind it, but it consistently fails to match the creativity of the WWF. Where WCW does excel, though, is in its wrestlers’ ability to make it happen in the ring. WCW wrestlers are well known for being, throughout their ranks, better wrestlers than WWF wrestlers. The WWF has some great wrestlers, of course, but WCW does more to emphasize and promote wrestling talent. WCW might not develop their wrestlers’ characters as much when they get them, but they can still afford to recruit the most talented and athletic wrestlers available. If your top priority is to watch high-flying, acrobatic, talented wrestling, then you should probably check out WCW.

WCW competes with the WWF for Monday night ratings, and also presents many pay-per-view events throughout the year.

Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW)

ECW wrestling is just what it claims to be: extreme. This smaller federation has been around since 1992, and has made a name for itself with its amazing stunts and aggressive style. If you like to see blood and painful-looking moves executed by fearless lunatics, ECW might be the choice for you. ECW has a TV show on Saturday nights and some pay-per-view events (not as many as WWF or WCW) throughout the year. The great thing about ECW is that it doesn’t enter into the wars between its bigger cousins, so you can easily watch it in addition to whichever of the other two you’ve chosen. Of course, you might find, after watching ECW, that all other wrestling is too tame for you, and you’ll be a hardcore ECW fan.

Booker

Faces and heels

Heat

Jobber

Kay Fabe

Over

Push

Selling

Work

Booker

A booker is a person who decides who will win a wrestling match, and thus has a lot of control over the storylines and the careers of individual wrestlers. Booking is done on a number of levels, according to a hierarchy. Typically, there is someone who controls the overall direction of the promotion (Vince McMahon in the case of the WWF and a rotating parade of underachievers in the case of WCW). Then there is a lower level of booking that decides the outcomes of the major matches in accordance with the wishes of the head booker, and the other bookers who control the outcomes of smaller matches.

Faces and heels

Wrestlers are mostly divided up into good guys and bad guys. The good guys are known as “faces,” which is short for “babyface,” while the bad guys are known as “heels.” A given wrestler will often change from heel to face and back again a number of times during his career. When a face changes to a heel, it is called a “heel turn,” and when the opposite happens it is a “face turn.” Watching these changes of virtue take place is one of the most interesting and hilarious aspects of wrestling. The announcers are often divided up along heel and face lines, too, with one face announcer and one heel. If the heel announcer starts to say complimentary things about a face, there’s a good chance that the wrestler will do a heel turn in the near future. Watching the events that set up this turn can be extremely amusing.

Not all wrestlers are faces or heels. Some wrestlers don’t have enough of an identity to be either (see “jobbers” below), while some are just somehow caught in between. Appropriately enough, such wrestlers are called “tweeners.” Some tweeners are legitimately not billed as either a face or a heel, and it’s up to the audience to figure out how they feel about the wrestler. And some wrestlers get cast as heels, but the audience like them so much that they react to them like faces. That’s not such a bad thing for the promotion and it can be great for the wrestler. However, if a wrestler is being cast as a face and the crowd reacts to him as a heel, it’s usually bad for both the promotion and the wrestler. Most wrestling fans are pretty malleable, so if you can’t convince them to like a guy, it means they really, really hate him.

Heat

Heat is the measure of how much excitement a given wrestler or match-up elicits from the crowd. The more heat, the better, as far as a wrestler is concerned. Heat is not reserved for faces alone. There is face heat, which is approval and cheering, and there is also heel heat, which is booing and dislike, coupled with a veiled approval for how good the wrestler is at being a heel. These are both fine, because they mean that the wrestlers are doing their jobs and getting a reaction out of the crowd that is appropriate to the kinds of characters they’re portraying. Heel heat is altogether different from “bad heat,” which is the negative reaction drawn by wrestlers the audience is just sick of seeing. For instance, people are just plain bored of “Hollywood” Hogan and his tired old shtick, and they boo him because they want him to stop appearing, not because they are going along with the evil character he’s portraying.

Jobber

Whenever a wrestler loses, it is called a “job.” This applies whether it’s a superstar or an unknown wrestler; every loss is a job. A wrestler who loses every time or almost every time becomes known as a “jobber.” It is not a compliment to call a wrestler a jobber, although many jobbers are talented wrestlers. They just don’t have the microphone skills, the looks, or the personality to become stars, so they serve to make the stars look good.

Kay Fabe

“Kay Fabe” is a term for the secret that wrestling is fake (note that this is also sometimes spelled “kayfabe”). Of course, this is not a secret to anyone older than four years of age, but the wrestlers and promoters still talk about it as if it were real. This is because they are keeping Kay Fabe, the myth around the wrestling business, alive. Keeping Kay Fabe also requires that the secrets of the business be kept from the public. To break Kay Fabe means to reveal the fact that the wrestling business is scripted and fake. You won’t hear this term on a wrestling TV show, but you could hear it in a conversation with other wrestling fans or read it in a magazine or web site about wrestling.

Over

For a wrestler to get “over” means for him to become popular. Wrestlers get over by drawing heat, by developing their characters, or by getting a “push” from a booker. “Over” can also refer to a move that is particularly popular with the crowd, probably because of its tendency to put the wrestler who performs it over. And finally, “over” can be used as a verb, to refer to the actions of a booker or the effect of a match that puts a wrestler over.

Push

A “push” refers to action(s) taken by the bookers to put a wrestler over. This could mean giving him a series of wins, or it could mean simply putting him in matches with quality opponents. Anything that is calculated to make a wrestler more popular is a push. Of course, just because a wrestler is popular does not mean he has been pushed. Many wrestlers are chosen by the fans, and become popular despite not being pushed.

Selling

“Selling” refers to the acting a wrestler does to make it look as if the moves being performed are taking their toll. This means, of course, that the wrestler must flinch or wince when struck and move his body appropriately. It also means that the wrestler must begin to act more and more exhausted and woozy as he receives more punishment. Some wrestlers are very good at selling, while others seem completely fine until they are suddenly unconscious at the end of the match. So if you hear someone say, “He didn’t sell that very well,” you can nod and scrunch up your eyebrows like everybody else. But you’ll actually know what it means.

Work

It’s appropriate that our alphabetical ordering of terms has left this one for last, because it is one of the most commonly used terms in wrestling. It means many things:

· First, any wrestling match is called a “work,” and the wrestlers involved are said to work the match. This means that the fight was choreographed and the outcome was predetermined. A real fight is called a “shoot”: this is the sort of thing that Lennox Lewis does. You won’t be seeing a shoot on pro wrestling programs.

· “Work” also refers to the time a wrestler spends in a match performing moves and maneuvers rather than lying around on the mat or in a “resthold.” A resthold is a headlock or other stationary wrestling hold that is lightly applied and allows the wrestler to rest. The active part of the match is the work, and the more action there is in a match, the better the “workrate” and the better “workers” the wrestlers involved are. You will often see this term in a forum in which wrestling is discussed.

· Finally, a “work” can refer to any trick the promoters are playing on the audience. Any time they’re pulling the wool over our eyes, they are “working” us. Now, this might sound like a rather generally applicable term in wrestling, given that it’s all fake. However, they’re pretty good at this game, and there are often events that look like they might be “real” which are actually works.

Now that you’re a wrestling expert, find yourself a big-screen TV, some friends who like to shout and gesture, some beer, and enjoy the wrestling program of your choice. Don’t be bashful about your newfound enthusiasm for wrestling; we like it, so you’re in great company.

Well, that was fun. Nice people. Go to www.soyouwanna.com and have some fun. Until tomorrow, then.