Today’s Episode: Bad Investments
Before I get off on a rant, I want to say something very, very quick about the passing of Mitsuharu Misawa. Like Pulse Glazer, another fine writer at this site, I was able to see him live last year for the first, and only, time. At first, I felt that he was a bit of a shell of his former self, and could see the age wearing down on his body and demeanor. However, once the tag match with KENTA, Marafuji and Morishima got going, it became very obvious that he really was one of the best at this, and arguably the best of all time. Honestly, Glazer eulogized him far better than I ever could, and so I’ll just tell you to check out his modest blog, and learn more about the career of one of the all-time greats from one of the most passionate wrestling minds that I’ve ever encountered.
Now, onto some rambling about how the angle with Donald Trump purchasing Raw has the potential to be one of the worst things I’ve ever seen in professional wrestling.
Alright, to be fair, there have been truly horrendous things seen in this silly little pasttime of ours, and maybe it’s just me. After all, my rage could simply be due to unrealistic expectations that I had pertaining to a new general manager, and that Trump was not something that I anticipated or in fact, wanted.
Still, my mind raced with thoughts of who the GM replacing Vickie Guerrero could be, and I allowed myself to forget the cardinal rules of wrestling surprises: 1) the mystery person is ever as cool as you want them to be, and 2) the simplest answer is almost always the right one. The possibilities were varied and endless. There was the old standby of Ric Flair, as well as Ricky Steamboat if they wanted to bust the old legend out again. In terms of super, super long range, they could have had a one-off appearance by Bret Hart, or an angry Paul Heyman or, as I’ve heard many people suggest as of late, a rambling, nappy-haired Randy Savage. Admittedly, those last three are essentially impossible, but the mind races when wrestling companies try to do something secretive with a mystery member or something of that nature.
And instead, some video of Donald Trump is thrown out there to explain why Raw won’t have commercials next week. That’s interesting and all, but I just don’t see the point to this. It’s not like Trump is any great magnet for mainstream exposure when his show is barely on the air and he’s being seen as even more of a parody of himself than usual. Additionally, Trump isn’t going to be around long enough to become a full-fledged character, as I doubt he has the desire to commit to anything remotely close to a full-time schedule with the WWE as an on-air character. How many arguments can a plucky babyface have with a video screen before it gets old?
This is bad business, and breaks one of the most important rules that I hold as a wrestling fan: it insults my intelligence.
Am I supposed to believe that Vince sold only Raw, and not the company? How do you sell a show that’s so completely connected to the product as a whole? Does that mean Raw can go to a different network? Will the decor change to Trump’s typical gold plating for EVERYTHING? That would give at least the illusion of a true change.
But that’s all it would be, anyway: an illusion. Frankly, that’s all we’re really asking for anyway, but the insistence that every week will bring some great major change to programming is silly, and yet we still buy it, and are often happy to. The problem with Trump is that its an outsider coming in. Trump is not an active wrestler, or a manager, or a legend, or anyone that fans have any real connection to. Why else would people in the audience be chanting “We want Flair!” aside from having someone the fans love come to rescue them from the jealous, vicious, and incredibly over Vickie Guerrero?
(Side note: give the lady some credit, as she became an incredible character over time when essentially nothing was expected of her.)
Trump’s reveal was met with an almost palpable sense of apathy and disappointment. Still, I believe that most fans, like myself, believe that Trump’s place in the WWE Universe is going to be pretty short term, and that Vince will find himself unable to fully make the sale to someone that he despises so much. And we will all be happy.
But what Vince should do is invest in our nostalgia and love for the business. Flair would have been fitting, if predictable, as would a sale to Shane McMahon, who, now in a wheelchair, full of bitterness and jaded beyond belief, is the young buck kept on the sidelines and taking it out on everyone else. Couldn’t you picture the storylines with Shane a) starting out as a beloved face that tortures Orton, and then b) the frustration at his condition leads him to become more and more jealous of the superstars who he still believes he could beat if his ankle were in any decent condition, and c) the dark turn of Shane McMahon, becoming more like his father, obsessed with destroying careers and turning his position into something similar to that of a powermad owner, again like dear old Dad.
That’s just a theory. Right now, the use of Trump just adds a quality of surrealism, and not much more.
Still…commercial-free is good. Too bad we’ll be spending the last half hour watching HHH and Randy Orton have another snoozefest.
Tags: Misawa, WWE