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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Big Andy Mac comparies live ROH to taped ROH, and comes up with surprising results that challenge his own fandom. I know I’m going to get railed for saying this, but ROH has never done a single thing to impress me as a wrestling fan. They swing far too wide into the spectrum of “wrestling is a real sport” style, and it just doesn’t work for me.

Shawn is a generous giver of mp3s, and even better at themeing them.

Billy & Chuck & Larry

Adam Sandler has a new movie out that continues where Billy & Chuck left off – gay weddings. Both were disappointing, but for a specific reason that actually promotes homosexuality in low culture.

For those who listened to the last two weeks of cut up podcasts, I apologize. I’m not incredibly experienced doing full commentaries on pay per views. It’ll be better next time I pull that stunt. This week, I want to talk about three seeming coincidences. This week, I offer two different versions of this argument. The podcast version, which is scriptless, rambling, and forthright, is a great example of how I put an argument like this together. The article is structured more clearly and wraps up a few ideas I left to linger in the podcast. Enjoy both, or either. I’d love to hear people’s comments about this.

The podcast can be heard here.

The other day, I found myself locked out of my house. I had to get to work, but didn’t want to leave without locking the door. Perhaps stupidly, I thought I could simply crawl out my window onto the landing above my porch and just hop down. The weird thing about this and the way I put it together in my head was because of an incident last summer, when I found myself lost on a trip in South Korea. I had found myself in a garage of some kind and needed to jump off a giant fence to get out. It’s a long story, but I did it, and the height was similar to what was above my front door.

But I couldn’t do it. I don’t know, maybe I wussed out. Maybe it’s because I know what it feels like to drop 15 feet and didn’t particularly want to do it again. So the neighbors helped me down with their ladder. The ladder is what made me think of this column, which is weird, because of where this column is going to go. It didn’t make me think of homosexuals; it made me think of wrestling. I’m 15 feet high on a roof, coming down on a ladder. It’s not that weird to think of wrestling, I guess. But it wasn’t the ladder, really. It was the fact that I’d set myself up to do something memorable, and wussed out.

So last weekend I went to see Chuck & Larry. As soon as I saw the trailer for this movie, I immediately saw the similarity between it and Billy & Chuck, the ambiguously “gay” duo that won 2002’s Tag Team of the Year award. These are two instances of a pair of straight men pretending to be gay for their own personal benefit. In the movie, it’s about protecting one’s children through a loophole in the pension system. In terms of wrestling, it’s all about getting over. Both Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo were adrift at sea at the beginning of 2002, so they were put together as a vanilla undercard team. However, what grew out of that was a continuation of wrestling’s fascination with “gay” characters. Becoming more and more flamboyant as time went on, Billy & Chuck grew into an incredibly interesting storyline that culminated in a wedding live in the middle of the ring.

Now, this is where Chuck & Larry begin. The two of them get married to set off the conflict, but there are so many similarities that I think need to be discussed. It’s all the same story, really. It’s about how middle America perceives homosexuality, gay marriage, and comedy.

Chuck and Larry’s premise is all about getting one’s pension secured in case of a quick death (via the sky falling). It’s more about cheating the system than being gay, really. The running joke of course, is that these two are such good friends that everyone around them believes them without question. But beginning at the marriage is important, because 5 years ago, Billy & Chuck ended with a wedding. Chuck & Larry take this commentary further and end on a better note; where Billy & Chuck’s wedding was a disaster, the wedding that concludes Chuck & Larry is the kind of sappy, afternoon happiness that pervades all Adam Sandler movies. And that’s a big step forward in this case.

In Chuck & Larry, they also point out that if fate didn’t intervene and stop the “gay” stuff from happening, everything would have been fine. Which is the same for Billy & Chuck, because if that wedding hadn’t been ruined the way it was, those two likely wouldn’t have been wiped off the planet a month later.

The best thing about both stories is that GLAAD approved both of them (at least at first). The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation saw the benefit in reaching “Adam Sandler’s audience” which is a very key statement. Let’s talk about “Adam Sandler’s Audience,” for a minute. This audience is absolutely middle American, and I think we can safely include all of the stereotypes that go along with that. This audience is also professional wrestling’s audience. They share almost a complete common ground. And that’s a good connection, because we can begin to study patterns and progress here. So, in 2002, when Billy & Chuck were around, one could say that they faced this audience and lost, whereas Larry & Chuck has won.

Professional wrestling’s audience weren’t particularly happy about having a gay couple on screen for as long as they did. I remember the wedding, watching it live. The live reactions were really strange. As soon as Billy & Chuck denounced their homosexuality, the crowd cheered for the first time all night. They also cheered the beating the two received. Up until that point, the crowd sat on their hands, waiting for this display of “unnatural” love be showcased instead of animated violence.

Now, nobody was surprised when Billy “Mr Ass” Gunn “came out,” as it were, but Chuck was completely out of nowhere. He was simply a naïve rookie just out of WCW. Still, when they got together, it sort of proved “non fans’s” ideas of wrestlers “just being gay” anyway. This isn’t really part of my argument, but it’s interesting to see two gay characters portray villains in an arena where most people suspect just about everyone to be in some way homosexual (but that could just be the alpha-male insecurities pouring out). But the marriage really ramped it up, because although gay characters have been around forever, only in the last few years have marriages really entered the stratosphere of storylines.

The Billy & Chuck proposal wasn’t necessarily a natural step for the group, but the gay marriage issue was a hot button issue at the time, so they went with what they thought the fans wanted to see. I’d like to think that sometimes wrestling should push envelopes that other kinds of entertainment don’t necessarily go because they have the same kind of freedom as comedians do. They’re really allowed to get away with far more than they do, and they should use that. So it was nice to see that Chuck & Larry continued this story. It was nice to see that Adam Sandler was willing to play in this sandbox. But, of course, it was all for naught. Wrestling (and Adam Sandler) right at the pivotal moment just before they jump off the ledge, they both puss out. The reasons they do it are understandable, but it still makes them pansies.

Chuck & Larry wuss out at the end because the truth comes out. The same thing happens with Billy & Chuck, though the wrestlers did it in a way that I’m not sure would happen today (would hope not, anyway). So, the wedding happened live, and they blew it. The two of them came out all dressed up. The setup was perfect. Then, they get up to the mics and proclaim that they’re straight, and that they pretended to be gay in order to get publicity. And while this is the absolute truth, and that they did need to “come out,” it was still a disappointing train wreck of an ending. This spat in the face of everyone who thought that WWE was going to make a progressive statement about something that was going on in America at the time.

And while the ending for Chuck & Larry isn’t as disappointing, it’s still a natural reaction to want to see them go through with the setup. It would be nice, for once, to have a gay couple in low-brow entertainment that isn’t a mockery of some kind. Still, one could say that Billy & Chuck dipped into the zeitgeist of middle America in 2002 just as much as Chuck & Larry does in 2007, and when placed in a context like this, the disappointment dissipates accordingly. It’s a slow progression, but it’s definitely steps in the right direction. This explains the GLAAD approval, because I guess they see what I saw while wussing out on my roof. They saw a linear path that will eventually lead to acceptance and welcoming arms.

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