Monday, October 10, 2005

Confessions of a 'Rasslin Fan

I, Fredrick J. Batiste, of sound mind and body, confess to being a fan of professional wrestling AKA "'rasslin.'"

Now, let me clarify some things.

1. Wrestling is a sport. Wrestling is what Kurt Angle got his gold medal in the 1996 Olympics in, it's what the University of Iowa is best known for and it's one of Earth's oldest (and most basic/primal) sports.

2. " 'Rasslin'" is sports-based entertainment. It's what Mid-South Wrestling, Memphis Wrestling, Dallas-based World Class Championship Wrestling, Charlotte-based Mid Atlantic, the old NWA, the old AWA that used to come on ESPN when it showed sports used to be.
ECW was a 'rasslin' organization, although it had some violence in it. The upstart TNA promotion, now seen on Spike TV, is a blend of 'rasslin' and "sports entertainment."

3. Sports entertainment was the WWF and is the WWE nowadays. They're the ones that mass-marketed "Hulkamania" in the 80s, gave us Degeneration X and "suck it" in the 90s, "Austin 3:16," "Layeth the Smackethdown" and a bunch of other stuff.

Now, I grew up during the 'rasslin era, in which pro wrestling was territory-based. Folks in the A would watch Georgia/World Championship Wrestling on TBS while Dallas folk watched Mid-South and folks in VA watched Mid-Atlantic.
Back in the 'rasslin days, the wrestlers weren't as ungodly athletic as they are now, but they wrestled for no less than 30 minutes and talked less than the monologues we're inundated with today on cable TV. Back in the 'rasslin days a DDT would end the match or a well-placed steel chair would end the match. Nowadyas that just buys a little time.

ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) reminded me of the old-school stuff, although they had tables, barbed wire and other stuff. But the matches were long with an old-school pace and mixed in the athleticism now seen today.

WWE won out against Time-Warner susidiary WCW and picked up ECW's pieces when ECW went belly up. With no competition to make things better, WWE has been hella lazy, but "sports-entertainment" is supposed to be lazy.

See sports entertainment has half-nekkid women prancing around (which i like), a whole lot of talking and a lot less in-ring action. C'mon, you can give Paul Levesque, AKA Triple-H, AKA Boss's son-in-law, 15 mins to talk on a 2-hour show, but only put on 4 matches each Monday.

I know it's like Soap Operas for men, but it's down right disgusting nowadays. Who do I have to blame for it. Vince McMahon? No. I blame......THE NFL!

Back in the day, the NFL had this thing called "Monday Night Football." It was friggin' great man. Sixteen weeks of football, 16 great games. However, something went wrong, and ABC started putting on crappy games (with the exception of the mandated Jets-Dolphins thriller) every week and the male audience searched for an alternative. They went to sports entertainment.

NFL never recovered, they went from Howard Cossell, who was made famous by Muhammad Ali and didn't know jack shit about football--to Dennis Miller, who was made famous by Lorne Michaels and didn't know jack shit about football.

Madden on Monday nights? Only good on your PS2 or X-Box. Madden's quips don't get me going like back when he was on fox with Pat Summerrall. Al Michaels is good, but Madden-Summerrall was the best football play-by-play duo ever. So now NFL is moving MNF to ESPN, which really sucks, but probably won't prevent them from throwing crap up on the tube.

Thank goodness Ultimate Fighting is on basic cable!!!!