Closely related to last week’s column, today we’re looking at relationships between characters in pro wrestling. Romances, stables, friendships and families always seem to be extremely turbulent and unstable.
TODAY’S ISSUE: It’s 10pm. Do you know who your friends are?
I believe the obvious place to begin this column is with the Clan McMahon. Wow. Who is on whose side in THIS highly dysfunctional family? 10 points to the reader who knows the precise history of every turn, swerve, reconciliation, and betrayal these four lovable folks have experienced before our eyes over the past several years. If I’m not too much mistaken, it all began with Shane and Vince fighting over Stone Cold Steve Austin’s contract around Survivor Series 1998, although that turned out to be a huge swerve on the Rattlesnake. Then there was the whole Stephanie-kidnapped-by-Undertaker angle. Write me at email@example.com if you know all the other McMahon family issues, including Shane and Steph vs. Vince during the InVasion.
Why? Why must friends, family members and lovers always break up and target each other? Well, the probably-too-deep answer is that in a Shakespearean way, these tragic storylines are the most intriguing, and strike a chord within us all. Conflict is the essence of existence. However, the more-than-likely-accurate answer is that bookers know this common formula all too well, and rather than come up with something original, they keep shoving break-up angles down our throats.
When was the last time you saw a new tag team get a push and you DIDN’T think to yourself, “Boy, I hope these two put on good matches against each other when they break up…”? It has become inevitable that any alliance in pro wrestling is temporary, and it will end badly.
1) Tori was Kane’s girlfriend in 1999 (I think it was ’99), but she wound up being taken away for the weekend by X-Pac due to a match stipulation, and next thing you know, she was X-Pac’s love toy. She turned on Kane, and traded her black and red colors for neon green as DX’s new eye candy. Poor Kane… This one was hard to swallow, from a storyline concept. Tori was repulsed by X-Pac until their little weekend getaway. What the hell could he have done to win her over? Did he take her away for a night in Chyna? I’d have to give that one a thumbs down (gracias, Mr. Keith)
2) Conversely, here’s a love triangle that worked well, in my humble opinion: The Jericho/Trish/Christian love triangle that exploded at WrestleMania XX was effective in short-term shock value, catching many of us off guard. However, it also worked because it turned Trish heel, and one year later, she’s still one of the most effective and consistent heels on the Raw roster. It also established Captain Charisma as a true force, and helped Jericho get over as a face (again). Three for three, as far as I’m concerned. Thumbs up on this love triangle ummm… angle.
3) The third “side” of my love-triangles triangle is the Goldust/Marlena/Pillman angle. If Brian Pillman hadn’t died tragically when he did, it would have been revealed that Terri Runnels truly enjoyed being his “hostage” for a month, and she was going to turn on storyline lover and real life husband Dustin to run away with Pillman. Unfortunately, this angle was unable to proceed due to the horrible loss of Flyin’ Brian. Had it come off, I think it could have been well done, but you never know. Since it didn’t happen, I can’t rate it.
1) Modern pro wrestling fans must admit the Austin/McMahon feud could easily be the single reason that WWE is still on the air for 6 hours of original programming each week to this day, while WCW and ECW are both but a memory. When Austin suddenly sided with McMahon after years of intense hatred between them, it could have been a disaster. Creative was forced to write this angle carefully in order for it to not seem totally implausible. They displayed Stone Cold as a man on the brink of insanity, willing to do anything to keep the WWF championship. As such, he did the unthinkable; he got into bed with the bane of his existence, Vinnie Mac. Austin was, in his mind, forced to take drastic measures. Therefore, I find this to be a logical and meaningful new relationship. Thumbs up.
2) I talk about the nWo a lot, because so much of that angle made no sense, like their membership. How many different times was Paul Wight a member of the nWo? It was 3 or 4 at least. Last week I wrote about how Sting’s entire kayfabe world was rocked by the nWo. I can’t imagine any sane reason why he’d align himself with the WolfPac. Even if there was a decent storyline reason for Sting to join, the whole who’s in and who’s out saga of the nWo was quite absurd. Hollywood, WolfPac, A-Team, B-Team. The only way to distinguish yourself as a true individual during the nWo days in WCW was to never have been a member, much like DDP. He remained a lone wolf, which is why I find it peculiar that he and Nash are so likeminded suddenly over in NWA:TNA these days. Thumbs down say I, to the in-and-out-and-in-and-out again rotating nWo roster.
3) I recently touched on Alpha Male Monty Brown’s heel turn. I have no problem with an athlete changing his approach or his mindset in order to achieve goals that have been just out of reach. That makes sense. I do wonder how Brown and Jarrett will get along as stablemates, especially when the favor Jarrett owes Brown turns out to be a world title match between the two of them. We’ll have to wait and see how this all turns out. It could be executed well, and it might be worthy of our collective scorn. More to come…
Whether we like it or not the following will always apply in pro wrestling storylines:
a. Tag teams will break up and feud.
b. Family members will turn on each other and feud.
c. Lovers will leave each other and feud.
d. Friends will stop trusting each other and feud.
It’s inevitable, so I guess I’d better get used to it. All I hope for is that the writers construct the storyline in a logical, plausible way. And as long as I’m dreaming, I guess the next thing I should hope for is lower taxes, or free medical care!
We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.
p.s. – Why do people say “bye bye” (ciao ciao, in Italiano) but not “hi hi” or “hello hello”?