Alternate Reality by Vin Tastic – Wrestling IQ…

Originally conceived in the early part of the 20th century by German psychologist William Stern as a proposed method to measure intelligence in children, the term “intelligence quotient” or IQ has come to be associated with one’s general smarts in a given subject, such as fashion IQ, dating IQ and rock-n-roll IQ. As with most entertainment genres, professional wrestling has its own ground rules and ways of approaching common sense. Some of the famous (or infamous) accepted notions of the “wrestling IQ” are so outrageous and lacking in common sense that they can be pretty tough to swallow.

TODAY’S ISSUE: Wrestling IQ.

In order to enjoy watching professional wrestling, the viewer must be able to suspend disbelief. After all, if one spent their time analyzing all the obvious logical inconsistencies and storyline plot holes, they’d be exhausted after one show. Why don’t wrestlers ever get bruises after absorbing multiple blows to the face? Why don’t referees ever take a look at the replay to learn what really happened? Why don’t these people ever watch the show on which they appear week in and week out? That alone would clear up loads of confusion between parties with simple misunderstandings. If the issue is that the show airs live (which most don’t anyway) and therefore they can’t watch it, why wouldn’t most pro wrestlers have DVR capability at home? If YOU were on TV each week, wouldn’t YOU go back and watch the show? It’s like Three’s Company – a mere 14 seconds of collecting oneself and taking a look what went down could avoid a whole lot of pain, blues, and agony for several people.

Why don’t people get arrested for interrupting, via a run-in, what is supposed to be a sports contest within which they aren’t involved? Could you imagine if the Phillies were playing the Mets and some Atlanta Braves player stormed the field, scored two runs for the Mets, and cost the Phillies the game, all without the umpires being aware because it happened “behind their backs” or worse, after they’d been knocked out cold by a Mets player? Ridiculous! But a pro wrestling fan must avoid asking that question and others like it or risk crossing a line and being unable to appreciate the art form at all. Unfortunately cheating and ref bumps aren’t going away, which is why Ring of Honor used to be such a special promotion, because that sort of stuff wasn’t allowed in ROH rings, resulting in a more pure wrestling experience for fans.

Why doesn’t anyone ever go to jail for trespassing (like Triple H recently did at Randy Orton’s “house”), assault, attempted homicide, or all the other crimes committed on a weekly basis in pro wrestling? Why are folks with no business at an event always so easily able to find their way to ringside whenever they want to be there? I couldn’t get past security if I were wielding an automatic weapon, but Stone Cold can be “barred from the building” and still Stunner anyone he wishes at the most inopportune moment. And what genius would chose to settle issues of this nature in the ring in lieu of the fictional “pressing charges” against whoever broke the law? We’re expected to accept that the pro wrestling universe is like the Wild West, where possession is nine-tenths of the law and anything one is able to do, he is authorized to do. The accepted rules of the genre sometimes make me question my own IQ.

Why should we fans buy that a devastating finishing hold like an RKO or Pedigree, which puts away most people most of the time, can be shrugged off by a focused opponent on pay-per-view, perhaps more than once in a single match? It’s bad enough that we have to accept the physics of the Irish whip (why not just stop running towards the ropes after your opponent releases your arm?) or the incredibly silly catapult into the turnbuckle, but when a combatant gets drilled with a move that often knocks people out for several moments, his adrenaline or desire to win can’t protect his brain from the concussive force of the blow.

The examples above are all about the fan’s intelligence, but what of the brainpower of all those performers? When the stars of the show are forced to act incredibly slow-witted and unintelligent, it really puts a damper on the fun, for example: how dumb must a babyface wrestler be to trust a heel who appears to have recently turned face and is suddenly on his side? Anyone who’s watched wrestling on television for at least six weeks since 1988 can tell you how that’s all going to turn out for the face, but still they trust and always pay for it. Stupid babyfaces…

Wrestlers often turn their backs on people they have a tenuous working relationship with in an elimination match, only to be eliminated themselves. Serves ‘em right for being so stupid. And I have no sympathy for a seasoned pro who is STILL dumb enough to lower his head too soon on a backdrop attempt, or chase a heel outside the ring then get caught coming back in under the bottom rope. When will they learn? And why would anyone be clueless enough to provoke the Undertaker into a striking contest, or trade chops with Roderick Strong? Morons!

On the other hand, some pro wrestlers are allowed to be incredibly shrewd and clever at times, like when a challenger tries to get inside a champ’s head by stealing his woman or messing with his family in order to distract him from the mission at hand by incensing him to violence. That’s a good move. It’s smart to marry the GM to get consistent and often unearned title shots too, but then again, it’s dumb to lose her to the Big Show. It’s smart to dress like La Parka and defeat the Macho Man, or to dress like Los Conquistadors and win the world tag team titles. Speaking of disguises, the Undertaker was smart that time he dressed up as Kane, and Jericho and Christian once eliminated Shawn Michaels from a Royal Rumble match by using a clever misdirection play involving Captain Charisma dressing up as Y2J. However, dressing up as Goldust is NEVER a good idea. Ever. Even for Dustin Runnels.

Within kayfabe, wrestlers, promoters, and authority figures often do stupid stuff, and wrestling fans who just want to enjoy the product accept stupid premises, physical improbabilities, inconsistent rules, and plot holes in order to stay with them and enjoy. Some things are better left unsaid, and fans who dig too deep aren’t going to like what they find. Even the smartest among us have to take the genre for what it is, or find something else to watch.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.

p.s. – “Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong.” – David Fasold