The Moss Covered, Three Handled Family Gredunza

The moss covered, three-handled family gredunza is the third of Chris Jericho’s 1004 moves, preceeded by an armdrag and armbar, and to be followed by an armbar and the Saskatchewan spinning nerve hold. It is a reference to the Cat in the Hat’s TV special.

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Wind updates everyone on internet radio and the advent of DRM-encoded streaming. For anyone who thinks this legislative issue is only about indie rock, you’re entirely wrong. It’s about internet broadcasting as a whole, for every genre, for every age group, and for every person who has ever been so sick of the corporate filth FM radio feeds us that they turn on their computers for some sweet underground freedom.

Wheeler is right: Ultimate X is too costly a match for it to be thrown away as an opening contest. I watched the match a few days ago and found it to be incredibly disappointing. Having the ten of those men in the ring in one match without a gimmick would have produced a much better contest and a smaller chance of idiotic injury.

Wrestlemania 3: A commentary, part 2

So I promised something lighter for this week, and we’re going to go right for the jugular with that one. I wanted to get as far away from Chris Benoit and all Chris Benoit-related stuff, so last night, I hosted a viewing of Wrestlemania 3. I invited a professor of mine who has been interested with wrestling since I began talking about it to her, as well as a colleague who watched wrestling in the late 80’s, but hasn’t really watched since. Along with them was one of my roommates, who is not at all a wrestling fan and thinks we’re all freaks for liking it (she comes in around the 10 minute mark). The idea was to have a fairly upbeat discussion about how wrestling is interesting and worth studying, not necessarily that it is horrible and a reason to incarcerate someone. And for this, there’s really nothing more suitable than the WWF in 1987.

Part 2
Part 2-4 of the podcast can be found here.

They all have equally sized mullets. Not everyone has a mullet, but those who do, they go big.

The figure four leg lock hurts, and it hurts a lot. In real life. With real people. Who try this at home. My work buddy has never wrestled apparently, but knows that a figure four hurts. This either says that he’s a liar, or that the reputation of the figure four transcends worlds.

I miss Heenan. It didn’t matter what was going on, he would have a great quip about it.

Brutus’ face turn was so incredibly not explained, but nobody seemed to care.

My proff thought Brutus had a nice but. Which is funny, because he at one point would be known as “The Booty Man” for about three months.

Adrian Adonis is weird just because of his name and his physical appearance. He’s not pretty, but he wants to be, so he puts on makeup and dresses and stuff. Nobody called this, but his character wasn’t altogether different from Goldusts’.

The flashback videos for explaining the back-story were definitely not as up to par as they are now. Piper’s “No surrender” interview was a little overblown, too. He was usually more eloquent.

My phone rang around here. I missed a few minutes. While I was gone, nobody said anything. This is interesting from a sociologist point of view. The guy who puts the DVD on has to do the narrating.

I’ve learned through this experience that I’m a crappy narrator. For the next few minutes, there would be laughter and realizations of crowd reaction, but little else of note. This is interesting, because the moment Piper “retires” and Beefcake is born as “the barber” has been immortalitized as a “Wrestlemania moment” but a room full of sceptics have nothing of note to say.

In order to make any kind of point, I had to bring up McMahon and Trump, an angle that culminated in McMahon being exploded in a limo. Why does every moment of this show remind me of Benoit? This really, really isn’t fair.

A random guy ran in during Piper’s exit, and security rushed him down in a flash. Even in the early 80’s they were right on top of that.

My roommate was incredibly surprised that people went to see this show. Her argument was that people could barely see. And during the first third of this show, she’s got a great point. The video screens weren’t on for the first bit, and it was way too bright in the arena to make anything out.

Jimmy Hart comes out at this point, wearing a Hart Foundation outfit, completely forgetting that ten minutes before he had the crap beaten out of him.

My proff is infatuated with my interest with wrestling. She thinks it’s the most fascinating thing, and part of that is my hero-obsession with Bret Hart. Weirdly, at WM3, he’s a jerk heel and not even particularly a great wrestler yet. Plus, not even she can argue why the Bulldogs were cheered more. It was the dog. It was always the dog.

Explaining the familial complications of the Bulldogs and the Harts was remarkably easy for me, sadly. And there’s the Dynamite Kid, the guy I was afraid of watching for this show. It is in fact coldly weird how much Benoit stole Dynamite’s style.

Is it unpatriotic to put one’s country’s flag on one’s ass?

Mary Hart is entertaining on commentary because she clearly knows nothing at all about wrestling but is still incredibly game to give it her all. She’s the quintessential opposite of Pamela Anderson. Pete Rose, she ain’t, but it’s still an appreciated commentary track. “Do they work out in those hot pink numbers?”

My proff brings up Benoit. Jeez. I mean, it’s fair for me to not expect anyone to understand how much this hits me, but damn. It’s like, every two minutes on this show I think of how a character affected Benoit or vice versa, or how just about every character on this show brushed by Benoit during their careers. It’s a very small family of people we’ve all watched through the years.

That there’s no off-season is insane. There is absolutely no entertainment or sporting troupe out there that isn’t given a lengthy break between seasons.

Cirque and wrestling are very close. Metaphorical fantasy, essentially. My roommate’s argument was that Cirque folks actually do things, while wrestlers at this point were pretending to do things. Times have changed entirely though. Wrestlers these days actually use wires (Ultimate X) and have become much more acrobatic. The whole point of the circus is escapist fantasy, and so is wrestling. “Wouldn’t it be lovely if it worked,” as my work buddy said.

I then shot myself in the foot by bringing up magic shows, and my roommate jumped on that. At that point, I didn’t have much to argue with her. Wrestling is like a magic show. It’s tons, tons more complicated because of audience reaction.

“A clothesline. Is that what that was?” Mart Hart continued to impress.

Part of the reason my roommate was talking the way she was because she didn’t find wrestling intriguing, and she did with the circus. But there’s just as much to study there, especially within the ideas of antagonistic theatre. Still, in order for the disbelief to work, you have to subscribe just a little bit first. Then the good stuff comes through. That’s in fact where the “get it” campaign came from. Even though everyone agrees that it’s ridiculous to an extent.

At this point, I’m not disagreeing with the porn analogy. My proff thinks that porn is used as an aid, but so is wrestling, exactly. But then we get the “don’t try this at home,” argument, and the whole thing breaks down. I have to say, “In porn, our actors are professionals. Unlike the people at home.”

But then again, porn doesn’t have the live audience aspect. However, the home audience is just as much in their basements as porn fans are. My work buddy brings up the idea that huge groups of people gather in bars and living rooms every month to watch this, and this does (we think) not happen as much in porn.

We, at this point, watch the infamous Bobby Hennan promo about Andre The Giant, and we spend it completely misquoting The Princess Bride.

I don’t remember much about Butch Reed. But to be fair, I don’t remember much about Koko B. Ware. My proff thinks the parrot was pretty cool. Watching this match, Koko really had nothing at all going for him other than that stupid bird.

My work buddy brings up the fact that he’s been called Koko, which is another notch on the racist belt of the show. But I guess, so is “Butch.”

Reed VS Ware was a match for absolutely no ages. In other words, we spent the next six minutes talking about my roommates’ economics test that was coming up, as well as my work buddy’s softball team. It was much, much more exciting.

About here, my roommate is audibly concerned that this will go way longer than she’d like. We talk about the clipping, which is handled incredibly smoothly to get rid of boring parts of matches and some intros. This was the first time so far as I know that they released a full version of the show (which we didn’t watch).

There’s nothing sillier than a drop kick.

But then, what about the small package? I mean, in a real fight, what scuffle accepts the currency of the small package?

Way more bad guys win on this card than good guys, so the argument that the good guys have to win all over Wrestlemania because it’s the “big” show is crap. There isn’t a single wrestling PPV more beloved than this one, and the bad guys have been owning.

It’s at this point the outcome of the Andre/Hogan match comes out, and my roommate is clearly distraught. “He loses? Man, now I have to watch it.” This is also a huge contrast to people who tape hockey games and feeling incredibly defeated in life if the score is told to them.

Koko B. Ware is “just a dick with a parrot,” according to my work buddy. He’s totally right. Ventura calls him “Chico” and I’m pretty sure he called Reed a “Negroid” earlier, and somehow none of this came up during his election campaign.

Steamboat VS Savage. Finally. The one match just about everyone in the world loves. It’s a great fight. The storytelling is crystal clear. There’s very few matches that can compare, even today.

First of all, the doctor isn’t a real doctor. He’s not even a real actor.

Savage is wonderful on the mic, as usual. “History beckons the Macho Man, yeah!”

The theme music for wrestlers here are all post-grunge crap now. My favorite theme song of today? Black Machismo’s remix of Pomp and Circumstance.

Steamboat’s interview was fun, and actually reminded me of porn more than anything in the night. It’s kind of weird that the porn analogy comes in as much as it does this night, because WM3 was just about as kid-friendly as the WWF ever got.

I throw meaning on matches like this that nobody else sees. I mean, the wrestlers aren’t seeing it, the audience isn’t seeing it, etc. It’s not the same thing as studying a paragraph in a novel and finding meaning that the author never intended. Wrestling isn’t as deep as I’d like it to be. It’s a tough struggle for me, this case.

The Honky Tonk Man reminds me of Benoit. How? Well, what was the first thing we heard about Benoit? He began to believe his character so much that he didn’t know the difference. Is the Honky Tonk Man any different? He still has those sideburns. He still probably can’t play the guitar. It’s not as lethal a combination, but it’s still sad in it’s own disillusioned way.

The scene with Volkoff and the national anthem with Hacksaw Duggan interfering is exactly the same thing Austin did to Hassan at WM21.

The background of how Hogan VS Andre came together was another great example of how Hogan was a selfish jerk who wanted everyone to fall behind him. If this angle happened in 2006, Andre would totally be the good guy, especially after Hogan’s Khan-like acceptance of the challenge.

Hogan’s match is impeccable. “I’m not concerned about the 90,000 people on the inside of the silverdome. I’m worried about the 90,000 people on the outside.”

The main event was amazing for a reason that few people have recognized. Besides the iconic nature of the moment, the match can be summarized in one word: sadness. Andre’s stance the entire time was that of being incredibly beaten. Andre was sad because he was near the end of a career in the prison of professional wrestling. Nobody let the audience know that he was captive in the ring more than Andre. Because of his body size, he’s more or less forced to do something in the circus life, and this can create a sadness that isn’t attained in other walks of life. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, think about this: What does Andre have do gain from winning this match? If he wins, he wins a championship belt, and he’s forced to keep wrestling. This should be viewed as Andre’s swan song (even though he wrestled for two more years). Much in the same way that Mick Foley’s Mankind character was a sympathetic cry for help about the wrestling business, Andre here eschews a portrait of defeat.

My work buddy brings up the fact that these people are employees that work for a company and they have to do their job. He mistakes the business sense of WWE right now and every other kind of wrestling (including WWF in 1987), where if Andre didn’t want to lose, he wasn’t going to lose. This happened because wrestling is still essentially a carny operation.

My dad used this match as an example as to why wrestling is a cruel thing. And he has a point. It’s cruel having to watch Andre be forced to wrestle at this point, and it’s cruel to watch him to lose. He’s a giant defeated, but he’s a gentle giant that only wanted freedom and life. Wrestling kept both from him.

This theorizing is, of course, essentialist melodrama. None of us know everything about the motives in terms of happiness. But at this point even my proff has lost herself to the point where she feels sorry for Hogan after suffering the bear hug (and this was her second viewing of this match).

The same can be said for my roommate, who began the night making fun of the video, and by the end (before she fell asleep) she was cheering Steamboat on and appreciating match quality.

In conclusion, Wrestlemania 3 was a snapshot of the positive effect that pro wrestling could have on the general populace. It is worth commenting on in retrospect aside from being a nice escape from all this Benoit news. In addition to learning and theorizing tons of new things that will no doubt give me lots of column ideas (and a chapter or two in the book I’m going to write), it also gave me new respect for people who do full commentaries on a regular basis. It’s hard to keep up with the action, even when they’re moving at 1987 speeds.

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