AS I SEE IT - 12/12/2001
I wish I'd thought to save all the e-mails I received about last week's column
on the contrast between "wrestling" and "sports entertainment". It
would have been useful to send them to Vince McMahon, or one of his staff.
It was clear that I'm not the only one who is getting tired of seeing Comedy Central on Monday and Thursday nights, when I'm trying to see professional wrestling.
It would be helpful to all of us if those in Titan Towers remembered that the middle initial of their company stands for WRESTLING. What is supposed to appear on Monday and Thursday nights isn't Broadway. It isn't The Comedy Store. It's supposed to be episodic television that will interest us enough to tune in to the next show...or buy the next PPV...or go to the next live show.
Take a look at the two wrestling TV programs most noted for their quality of episodic television: Bill Watts's UWF and Paul Heyman's ECW:
Watts's Mid-South/UWF was a week-by-week "action adventure" (translated: testosterone soap opera) just as much as Vince McMahon believes his programming to be. So was Heyman's ECW, before his attention got distracted by business concerns. The UWF and ECW both created interesting characters in conflict with other characters, which developed into ongoing storylines. They featured occasional bits of comedy. Sometimes, they even surprised you.
Most importantly, they made you want to see what would happen the next time you turned on your television to these characters.
I don't think the death of kayfabe or Internet spoilers (as Linda McMahon once suggested) are the reason people aren't turning their sets on as much as they had been 2 years ago.
A more likely reason is the lack of storylines that were and are well-thought out from the beginning to the middle to the end. Another reason is the continual emphasis on comedy and McMahon family skits for so much of the content of RAW and Smackdown, rather than a week-to-week storyline that made some sort of sense. With the phasing out of Shane and Stephanie, some of that may change..although we're seeing more of Vince to make up for it, it appears.
I was pleased to be proven wrong on one thing from last week. Jim Ross did (in a passing way) mention the passing of Calgary media and Stampede Wrestling legend Ed Whalen, during a cluster@#$& at one point during RAW by referring to it with Whalen's trademark "malfunction at the junction" line. But I'd guess that I should expect that of Jim Ross, if no one else in Stamford.
Speaking of "wrestling", here are two examples for those of us lucky enough to live within traveling distance of the Philadelphia area.
First, on Saturday, December 15 is the debut of Combat Zone Wrestling at the historic ECW Arena, with a scheduled 8:00 pm belltime for Cage of Death III
Available tickets are $15. For ticket information, call (856) 848-5070 or (856) 468-9147
Scheduled matches are:
CZW Heavyweight Title Match - Cage of Death: Justice Pain (Champion) vs. Wifebeater
CZW Iron Man Title 3-Way Dance: Nick Berk (Champion) vs. Adam Flash vs. Nick Mondo
CZW and BJW Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Ruckus (Champion) vs. Trent Acid
Johnny Kashmere vs. Menace
6-Man Elimination Match: The S.A.T. vs. Brian XL & Divine Storm
For Control of CZW: Zandig vs. Glen Osbourne (with Lobo)
Old School vs. New School: VD vs. Chris Ca$h & GQ
CZW Debut: The Overboyz vs. Mike Thunder & Paul London
Then, on Sunday, December 16th at 7:30 PM at Renegade Wrestling Academy on 1840 County Line Road, Huntingdon Valley, PA in the PWF "International Ironman Challenge"
Featured are Zero One's Shinya Hashimoto, NWA HammerLock's Gary Steele, Steve Corino, and the Premier Wrestling Federation's "High Profile" Dylan Night.
Featured in the Tag Team Ironman Challenge are from NWA East "The New Era Horsemen"Paul Atlas & Jimmy Angel, from PWF "The Damned" Mad Dog & Draven, northeast independent standouts The SAT, and from PWF/Zero One, The Amazing Red & Naohiro Hoshikawa.
Tickets are $20 for ringside, $15 for general admission, and $12 for standing room only. Call 215-793-9797 for tickets or stop by Dimension Collectibles in Ambler, PA or the Renegade Wrestling Academy in Huntingdon Valley, PA.
Directions for International Ironman Challenge
Take Betsy Ross Bridge to Philadelphia. Take exit off of bridge onto I-95 northbound.
Continue on I-95 until you reach exit for Woodhaven Road (Route 63). Continue on Woodhaven Pike to US 1. At the end of Woodhaven, continue through intersection to Byberry Road.
Take Byberry Road for about 2 1/2 miles to Bustleton Avenue (Route 532). Take right onto Bustleton Avenue. Continue on Bustleton Avenue for about a mile until you reach County Line Road on your left.
Make a left, and continue on County Line for about 5 miles. The building is located at 1840 County Line Road in Huntingdon Valley.
Take above directions if in northeast Philadelphia, or:
Take Old York Road (Route 611) northbound to Willow Grove. In Willow Grove, take right from Route 611 to Davisville Road.
Continue northbound on Davisville Road 4 about 1/2 miles to end of road, and take a right on East County Line Road. The building is about 1 mile down on County Line Road.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)