Why I Quit Watching the WWE (Again)

I love professional wrestling.  However, following the recent Undertaker-Lesnar fucked finish, I canceled my subscription to the WWE Network.  Everything about the finish of that match screamed this story makes no sense, especially when a former UFC champion gets put to sleep by a move that looks faker than a politician’s smile.  I tried to explain the match to my 15 year old son and he just looked at me with the innocent, questioning eyes of a child and said, “why the fuck are you still watching that stupid shit?”

The (extremely limited) bad news for the WWE is that I haven’t watched a second of Raw since and I haven’t missed it at all.  Truth is maybe I love a certain kind of professional wrestling that is deader than most of the 1983 WWF roster.  The kind of wrestling I prefer is essentially long form improvisational theatre.  For the uninformed:

Improvisational theatre, often called improv, is a form of theater where most or all of what is performed is created at the moment it is performed. In its purest form, the dialogue, action, story, and characters are created collaboratively by the players as the improvisation unfolds in present time, without use of an already prepared, written script. (According to Wikipedia because real research is for pussies).

Now professional wrestling isn’t completely unscripted and wrestlers play characters, usually babyfaces or heels.  The nature of their characters should dictate how they approach every issue that confronts them with babyfaces taking the high road and heels cheating to gain an unfair advantage (as the great J.R. Ross describes heels).


That is the face of a man who has seen some things.

So, great actors (see below and do not see Suburban Commando) perform matches where the babyface is put in jeopardy and has to either rise to the occasion or be defeated (depending on how far along any given feud might be).


“I am to be and you’re not to be, brutha”

The audience should care about who wins the match.  That means winning and losing must have meaning.  The audience must care about the person put in danger.  Therefore, the characters must have some appeal and must not be stupid, either in terms of their motivations or their actions.  Simple?  Very.  To sum up, you fucking cried when E.T. died because you cared about him; so, you need to care and be outraged when a babyface is getting eye gouged by a heel.

Ok Retox, so? So what?

Fair enough, watching the WWE recently is more a tedious exercise in suspending disbelief than believing my wife has had a headache for the last 20 years.  Both babyfaces and heels routinely do asinine things, such as turning their backs on an opponent just because another wrestler’s music plays.  And who the fuck is playing entrance music every time someone heads out to the ring supposedly on his or her own initiative?

Clueless refs are an old standby, but we live in an age of video replay and it’s just foolish not to use it somehow.  Meanwhile, the babyface, the supposed hero, often does absolutely ridiculous things to cost himself a match.  The ref can be stupid, but the hero?  Doesn’t work for me.

hillbilly jim

Ok, not every babyface was smart .

  Also, the WWE is more talky and boring than Meet the Press.  A Raw segment starts with a wrestler taking about four minutes to walk 250 feet to the ring.  Then the wrestler or sports entertainer (a phrase makes me want to vomit) stumbles over his words like a 15 year old pretending not to be drunk (you stand indicted Mr. Reigns!).  More wrestlers or woefully incompetent management types come out and respond in a snarky, rarely funny and completely unrealistic manner.  This goes on for more than a third of an hour including commercials.  In the end, there is usually no resolution, but rather a match is hastily contrived, usually on the basis of faulty logic.  Yay, there are two hours and forty minutes to go!  Of course, all this could be accomplished in four minutes.  Fuck, I made three kids in a total of four minutes, so I know what can be accomplished in a short amount of time.


The announcers add nothing to the show because the underlying characters and stories are so poorly drawn that they spend most of their time showing they are as confused as the rest of us about the storyline and what they should be emphasizing.  Often, they resort to repeating the same thing over and over, like Michael Cole referring to Dean Ambrose and the Lunatic Fringe about 87 times per match.  JBL just flops around, changing his opinions quicker than a guy with a new dictatorial girlfriend.

the brain

Same thing we do every night, Pinky . . .

I can go on and on (and will in follow-up posts), but to me there is no longer anything compelling about professional wrestling.  Many of the wrestlers are amazing in terms of their in-ring skills.  The risks they take to entertain are all too real, but to me, they often seem unnecessary and actually detract from the overall product.  Insane risk, kickout, insane risk, kickout, rinse and repeat is mind numbing.  Plus, often the dastardly heel is overcoming obstacles and performing spectacular moves that are more worthy of cheers than the hero babyface.  Matches seem more like two guys try to show off cool moves than a competition, unless the competition is to see who can show off cooler moves.  If I want to see a dance moves competition, I’ll watch Zoolander again.


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