Today’s Co-Episodes: “Legendary” and “Off the Wagon”
There are two things that really caught my eye this week, so bear with me, as I explore two different ideas today.
I love Ricky Steamboat.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Last night, WWE did something that it should be doing every single episode: they acknowledged a notable piece of wrestling history and a typical wrestling practice, and seized upon it in a way that made it make sense without flaunting kayfabe or breaking it. As Chris Jericho came out to verbally abuse Rick Steamboat, arguably my favorite wrestler of all time, he let loose his typical spell of bile and vitriol, calling Steamboat, amongst a host of other things, a hypocrite.
However, unlike other writers on this site, I donâ€™t think it necessarily overshadows this yearâ€™s Hall of Fame class to have Chris Jericho constantly attacking them, although I imagine it will make for a very awkward appearance at this yearâ€™s induction ceremony. As long as this is progressing somewhere that I want to watch, and Jericho is on television, Iâ€™m generally happy.
Yet, what I found most interesting was how Steamboat pointed out that Jericho, when he first appeared in WWE ten years ago (!), he came in to rag on the fans. Then, he turned face. Then, he turned heel, and face, and heel, and so on. Then, with 30 years of career behind him, Steamboat spoke about how he never, ever turned his back on the fans, was always constant, and always showed them the respect that they deserved.
Now, saying those particular words is essentially meaningless, as itâ€™s all just character fluff. Yet, it rings true from him, as Ricky â€œThe Dragonâ€ Steamboat was one of the only wrestlers never to turn heel. He premiered a beloved babyface, and retired that way, one of the most respected and idolized men in the industry.
Iâ€™m sincerely hoping that all wrestling storylines will utilize the history of the business and the competitors to their advantage, with history used as a guideline that defines actions, as opposed to something completely forgotten a few months later.
That means that Maryse and Michelle McCool on Smackdown? Those two broads should still completely hate each other, not teaming together to face off against Maria and Eve (both of whom, by the way, are not wrestlers, and WWE should really stop pretending that they are). They havenâ€™t made up; Michelle McCool only turned heel. . That doesnâ€™t mean that her entire sense of morality changed, and had a complete mind-wipe thrown in to keep everything simple.
Because legendary storylines arenâ€™t simple. They are complex, breathing things that take a great deal of work to keep clean and flowing, and WWE cannot get lazy by simply forgetting where their characters have been and what theyâ€™ve done. Thatâ€™s why Steamboat and Savage were able to have their wars, and why anyone gave a damn when Jericho turned heel on Shawn Michaels in one of the best done angles of the last five years.
Hopefully, this marks some people in the writing team really taking notice of continuity and all of the lore that they have to work with.
Off The Wagon
Shockingly, Iâ€™m going to write about TNA Wrestling, something I rarely do anymore. For those of you who have been following the site for the last few years, I actually started out here doing TNA recaps, and was even worse with deadlines for that than I am now, when I only have to write something every two weeks. Still, I was occasionally entertained by cruiserweights flopping around and killing themselves for my amusement, but the main event scene left me thoroughly bored, even though Samoa Joe was a lot of fun, and I got to watch Frankie Kazarian have great matches with Christopher Daniels and stuff like that.
But, like all industries, the economy has hit TNA hard, and they find themselves releasing longtime employees, but theyâ€™re not doing it through a simple â€œfuture endeavorsâ€ announcement on the website, like our former Legacy member Manu got from WWE earlier this week. Instead, theyâ€™re incorporating it into a storyline, and Iâ€™m not sure how I feel about that.
The tag team Beer Money Inc., aka Robert Roode and James Storm, has this deal where they will put their titles on the line, but only if the challengers will put their careers on the line. If one of the challengers is pinned, then theyâ€™re out of the company, and Beer Money is made to look like evil despicable heels for doing this to these undeserving superstars.
So far, Petey Williams has been pinned by them on television (if you read the spoilers, you know that there are more to come), and so is out of the company. As everyone knows by now, heâ€™s already accepting indy bookings, and hereâ€™s hoping heâ€™ll do just fine, as Iâ€™ve always enjoyed his work. Heâ€™s a talented guy, and he deserves better.
And while weâ€™re at it, where the hell is Christopher Daniels? Who did he piss off to be storyline fired TWICE in the same angle for no discernable reason?
But I digress.
Petey is given a send-off of fans chanting for him, but when someone isnâ€™t retiring, but being released against their will, do we want to televise them in a losing effort to send them out with a stink of defeat on them? Iâ€™m not sure if itâ€™s a way to give exposure to people that are leaving to make them more marketable, or as sacrificing these hard-working guys to a heel team to make them even more despicable.
I donâ€™t really want any wrestler to fail in their chosen career (with the exception of JBL, as nearly every story that comes out only further solidifies him as a bully, jerk, and general waste of carbon), but it happens, and I understand it, and sometimes it is absolutely deserved. Still, I just hate to feel like TNA is trotting these guys out to be slaughtered, but I donâ€™t necessarily feel that way because, just maybe, the whole thing is actually a final little note for these guys to go out on before theyâ€™re scattered to the winds.
Itâ€™s just something I wanted to talk about, and Iâ€™d love to hear any input.
Tags: chris jericho, Petey Williams, ricky steamboat