Dear Vince, Hunter, Stephanie, WWE Writers, whoever the hell else:
Can you please stop with the whodunits, the mysteries, the grassy knoll type nonsense? In my years of WWE fandom, I’ve never seen one of your mysteries have a compelling conclusion. Most of the time they don’t even make sense, even by soap opera standards. So just cut the shit. I would give you the benefit of the doubt and say don’t ask a question without knowing how you’re going to answer it, but I don’t trust you to do that.
The WWE’s latest “re-branding” doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Much like how Kentucky Fried Chicken became the more simple and ambiguous “KFC”, World Wrestling Entertainment will henceforth be known as “WWE”. The purpose of this really-not-so-radical change is the elimination of the word “wrestling”, though I don’t know anyone outside of the established fanbase who actually calls it World Wrestling Entertainment. Most common folk still say “WWF”. Furthermore, I’ve never heard anyone say: “Hey look guys there’s action soap opera on the TV.”
This site is called “The Closet Wrestling Fan” for a reason. It’s embarrassing to admit to normal, intelligent people that you enjoy pro-wrestling. “Pro-wrestling” is a taboo word. No doubt about that. But is the term “wrestling” really the culprit? Or is the issue more deeply rooted? It’s not embarrassing to be a hockey fan, after all. Staging fights in a rink? Canadian. Staging fights in a ring? Redneck. What about all the people between the Great White North and the Dirty South? Will WWE’s latest re-branding make any difference to them? Or is it just selling crap by calling it Your Very Own Pet Crap (TM)?
I hope I’m wrong. I’d love to be wrong. But the past few Raw's have been weaker than a Tusken Raider's piss stream (you know, because they live in the desert and are chronically dehydrated). I haven't posted anything lately because of an increasingly hectic work schedule, so I'll just sum up the past few months by saying I've been mostly entertained by the WWE. Things were getting better. The Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber were good shows. I loved Dolph Ziggler’s rise to main event prominence. John Morrison came into his own. CM Punk has been on fire.
Then something went amiss…
Writing a weekly wrestling blog can be difficult—mainly because the hulking battleship known as the WWE moves at a maddeningly slow pace (as least in the context of the enormous amount of weekly programming they air). Realistically, pretty much every scripted television show has to have “filler” episodes to drag a storyline out. It’s the nature of the serialized beast. Oftentimes with WWE however, I find myself watching entire episodes of Raw and feeling like nothing really happened at all, aside from a whole lot of treading water, creatively speaking. How many times have Nexus beaten down John Cena now? Can a battleship tread water?
Last night’s Raw—“the first Raw of 2011” was how they billed it—was excellent. Very little filler going on. This was mainly due to an amazing opening match that went for an unprecedented 30 minutes, and a pretty good closing match. I guess it goes to show that if you start strong and end strong, everyone forgets about the time-wasting ::cough cough:: Santino/Koslov segments ::cough cough:: in the middle.
More after the jump.
Hello again wrestling fans (…at least those of you who read obscure blogs.) I haven’t posted a Stream of Raw Consciousness in months, if you haven’t noticed. But I’m back now.
There’s certainly been a lot of stuff that’s happened in the WWE over the past six months or so that I didn’t bother to write about, so I’ll just sum up the major things as quickly as possible so I feel like I have a comprehensive blog going here.
In a time of many terrible things happening all around over the world, from earthquakes and tsunamis and radiation leaks to conflict in Libya to CBS rehiring Charlie Sheen, one of the greatest things to happen in the life of a neurotic, closeted wrestling fan… happened. I’m not referring to the return of The Rock or Steve Austin. It’s not Snooki being involved in a match at Wrestlemania or Drew Carey taking his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame. I’m referring to Netflix uploading a shit-ton of WWE DVDs on their streaming service. As the world literally collapses around us, I’ll be huddled in my cave slurping down radiated Five Hour Energy’s for sustenance and watching The Rise and Fall of WCW.
Yes, wrestling fans, life is pretty good.
This review has been a long time coming. Unlike a normal video gamer reviewer, my time for gaming is severely limited. Curse the day job that prevents me from tearing through a new game in a couple days. I wish I could. Oh, I do miss college.
On the other hand, there’s a benefit to my being Late To The Party. I’ve spent over a month now tinkering with all the modes and features of Smackdown vs Raw 2011. As such, I’m in a pretty good position to give it an honest, comprehensive appraisal. Now, I’ll confess right off the bat that I haven’t finished all the Road to Wrestlemanias...but I’ve seen what I need to see. I’ll get around to completing them in time, but ultimately, my review isn’t going to be about the quality of the game’s stories, but rather how the game plays, how it feels, how it depicts the WWE, and how it compares to the wrestling games that have come before. Realistically, I know that most everyone who is interested in the game has long ago decided whether or not to buy it—or finished with it and sold it off to Gamestop. I’m not anticipating changing any minds here. In that sense, maybe this isn’t as much a review as it is a retrospective opinion or something.