Breaking Holds – Episode Eleven

Today’s Episode: Beautiful People

Awhile ago I wrote an article on how important physique was in the wrestling business, based somewhat on how Randy Orton, despite mediocre talent and enough wellness and disciplinary violations to get himself executed, was not only still employed, but was a top level player, consistently in the main event despite having all of the charisma of a goal post and a moveset consisting 70% of chinlocks, 20% of really vicious chinlocks, a backbreaker and the RKO. However, one Pulse Glazer ended up responding to my claims with an article of his own which was well-written, and served as a fairly strong argument against the points that I ad made.

But tonight, I was watching Raw when two of my favorite wrestlers currently active today popped up, thus guaranteeing me a bit of entertainment, and it got me thinking about “beautiful people,” and how this gimmick has basically been around forever, and almost always manages to draw heat. Best of all, it’s something that great wrestlers and entertainers have been able to utilize to their advantage, by turning their great bodies or pretty faces into something to be loathed and derided by angry, oft overweight and socially awkward wrestling fans, their Cheetoh-stained fingers clenched into a fist of rage.

Right now, the most obvious example of “beautiful people” is, well, “The Beautiful People” faction in TNA, composed of Angelina Love, a strong women’s wrestler, Velvet Sky, an endlessly green if moderately capable women’s wrestler and, unfortunately, Cute Kip, who I wish to see catapulted off a building into a brick wall. While I originally had major issues with the original gimmick of the two girls, which revolved basically around what giant whores they were, it’s not evolved into “Mean Girls Gone Meaner,” as they’re viciously cruel to anyone who they deem less than perfect, which just happens to be everyone that isn’t them. While TNA has been unable to keep my attention the last few weeks that I’ve DVRed it (what has Rhino been REDUCED to?!), the Beautiful People are a great example of how to get attractive girls booed. Angelina and Velvet are despicable heels who every person in the Impact Zone would love to see brought down a few notches, even to the point where their little snit with Christy Hemme this past week may manage to actually turn the Rock and Rave Infection face, which could suffer the consequences of making them remotely interesting. Hemme has been a heel for, literally, years in TNA, and just by having her care for her boys, and having the Beautiful People get in her face and threaten her for the most absurd and superficial of reasons, Hemme is going to become a champion of the people, all of whom would love to throttle these girls, even if 95% of the men in the audience would give their left arms for an hour in the budoir with either or, dare I say, both of them. Me-ow.

It’s not just for women, though: referring back to Raw, John Morrison and the Miz have become two of the most entertaining guys on television, allowed to be self-aware and thriving in their self-centered dickishness. While the Miz isn’t really one to brag about having a great body or anything like that (although he’s certainly nothing to sneeze at in the athletics department), Morrison has the potential to be a huge star with an intelligent interview style, innovative moveset, and fantastic physique. Having these guys sell themselves as sex objects to an audience full of men, the vast majority of whom will never be in nearly good shape as Morrison or Miz, only reinforces their unique brand of evil. To tell the truth, that’s what’s so great about them: they’re not actually evil at all. Instead, they simply know that they’re better than everyone, and they’ve figured it out before everyone else has.

Also, I love how Morrison will sometimes respond to comments against him with, “Yeah? Well I have great abs!” And Miz’s “Are…you…FIFTY?” riff on DX tonight was bloody brilliant. Reminding the audience how many girls they get has a twofold effect as a) it’s probably not true, so the audience thinks the villains are lying gits, and b) if it IS true, then they’re tools for bragging about it so much. No matter your pecking order on the social scale, the men make themselves hateable, and that makes me happy.

What’s even better about this gimmick is that it alway suits talented wrestlers far more than talentless lunkheads that just look good. Case in point: a pioneer of the gimmick and one of the best of all time, Rick Rude was amazing at getting crowds to despise him, sporting airbrushed pants and a body that you could crush a car against. However, Rude was also an outstanding wrestler, and could back up his bravado in the ring with a great win/loss record, while remaining plenty entertaining throughout crowd anger and, at times, shock.

Counteractively, one could look at Chris Masters, who had more or less the same gimmick, but had no real wrestling ability beyond a few generic power moves and a finisher that hadn’t been a finisher since Wrestlemania III: the full-nelson. Of course, all he turned out to be was a putz on an obvious amount of steroids, and he’s quickly gone from a forced main eventer to a welcome footnote.

In theatre, there are certain stock characters that always appear, no matter what the plot may be. There’s always a less attractive but funny best friend, the dumb but attractive girl (i.e. the old Maria Kanellis, who I LIKED FINE as a lovable idiot, thank you very much, WWE), or a narcissistic man or woman who is simply aware of their own greatness. Wrestling is no different.

Some ideas just work.

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