The Scizz: I am really not sure why I'm following up the Barrister's epic Tim Connolly post with this nonsense, but what the hell, I'm not a real journalist.
I understand their is assumably a strong contingent of our readers who either don't give a shit about professional wrestling, or more likely, totally despise it. 10 to 11 months out of the year you can qualify me into the former group. I usually tune in around March or April when their yearly spectacle known as Wrestlemania is about to take place. The $50 PPV is viewed by me at a non-home location because....well let's face it, the DGWU crew are moronic fascists and the idea of watching grown men beating each other up while we drink tall boys is too good to pass up.
However, over the past several weeks the WWE-Universe (as I have discovered it is now called) has grabbed my attention considerably with a Chicago-born former Indy wrestler named CM Punk. CM is a former ROH/ECW/WWE/World Heavyweight champion, tag-team champion, and Intercontinental champion. He is considered by many fans as the best actual-wrestler in the business, as well as the best "talker". As a hero he is loved, and as a villain he is loathed. When his heavy-metal screeching music hits, the crowd erupts in boos or cheers. He has dominated the industry wherever he has been, and brings a sense of old school attitude that reminds people of the past, me included. Oddest of all, he is an honest-to-God straight-edger (meaning no alcohol, cigarettes, prescription drugs, or anything of the sort). From what I have gathered, the guy is a gem in the wrestling world. So why is he leaving the WWE altogether after July 17th?
Before I dive further into the story and why it intrigues me, a bit of background on my pro-wrestling prowess. (Note: I will also not use the term WWE anymore after this, it is the WWF. Fuck Pandas.)
It is no secret that the DGWU crew has a nostalgic view towards wrestling. In the past several months, whether it has been here or twitter, we have referenced wrestling greats such as the late Macho Man Randy Savage, The Undertaker, Degeneration-X and of course, Duke "The Dumpster" Droese (I can neither confirm nor deny that last one). We love the old days. I specifically became a fan as a little "pipper-squeak" and very quickly decided myself to to be a "Hulkamaniac". Try to forget about Hogan dating a young chick that looks creepishly like his own daughter, and believe me when I say that growing up in that wrestling era was fucking phenomenal.
Soon after those times, I entered my bratty/awkward junior high school days. Mostly awkward. During this time wrestling was dead. Only sports, girls, and any music with cursing was cool to me and I could not be bothered with much else. This trend continued until 1998 when after viewing Sportscenter for the sixth time in a row, I became intrigued with a story about "Iron" Mike Tyson appearing on a wrestling show called Monday Night Raw. What I saw was childish, vulgar, and violent. Welcome back to the pro-wrestling world, Scizz.
You see, a young wrestler I used to adore named Shawn Michaels had branched out on his own, forming a group of degenerate wrestlers who mocked others with a now famous crotch-chop while uttering the words, "suck it". They terrorized the WWF organization with childish pranks, sneak attacks, and vulgar promos and then decided to bring in the king of degenerates Mike Tyson to be their enforcer. How could you not love this crap? In the same era, you had "Stone Cold" Steve Austin who mocked religion with his "Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass" catch-phrase, a porn star themed wrestler name Val Venis who once feuded with a group a small Asian wrestlers who threatened to "choppy-choppy" his manhood, and of course a former Olympic athlete who was nicknamed "Sexual Chocolate" that impregnated an 80 year-old former women's wrestler. Wow. I cannot believe I just typed that last sentence. Yet,I started watching wrestling again and was immediately hooked. I even remember May 31st, 1999 as a Monday night where my parents were away and I had several friends over during the playoffs for the ECF clinching game against the Leafs, however we spent just as much time flipping over to Raw. I know, I'm a little ashamed myself, but that was during the famed "Higher Power" story-line with the Undertaker and it was coming to a head. Forgive me.
These story-lines kept us fascinated. Every single week was unpredictable. Would The Rock help Mick Foley out of a jam or turn against him? Would Chris Jericho jump ship from rival WCW and start causing ruckus in the WWF? What would owner and CEO Vince McMahon do this week that would shock the world? The best part was that you NEVER knew what was going to happen. Every week there was a new shocking twist and I had not discovered wrestling websites yet, so I had no idea you could find out about "spoilers" beforehand. Sure I enjoyed talented wrestlers like Jericho and Kurt Angle, but the story-lines are what really had you coming back for more.
Let me take this opportunity to say that yes, I realize that pro-wrestling is fake. I get it. They don't really punch or kick each other and all the feuds and story-lines are pre-written, but isn't that true with most television? It is entertainment. That is all. If tens of million of people tune(d) into garbage like Two & a Half Men, and the atrocious writing of Glee is winning awards, then I cannot and will not accept the argument that wrestling is for idiots because it is fake and childish. Although I am an idiot so maybe that point doesn't hold up. Then again, I think it is hard to "fake" what happens in this video.
In the last two years I have only tuned into wrestling on purpose on three occasions. 1) Last year when I heard that the famed Bret "The Hitman" Hart was returning to WWF. 2) Later in the year when somebody sent me a clip online of a group of wrestlers called "The Nexus" tearing apart the RAW set (this looked like an awesome "realism" story-line that looked cool but bored me when I tuned in). 3) To catch up on new wrestlers this year when I heard the DGWU crew might be watching Wrestlemania 27. That's about it.
Yet a little over a week ago I came across this wrestling post on Bill Simmons' Grantland website and my interest in wrestling took off more than it had in years. Even more than return of my beloved "Hitman" to the WWF. The author, The Masked Man of Deadspin fame, wrote the following about the CM Punk/WWE backstory after his win on the last PPV event, Capitol Punishment.
"bit of backstory: For months, rumors have been circulating that Punk's contract was coming up, and due to a dissatisfaction with his place in the company — he was shuffled back and forth between headline feuds and curtain-jerking spots — and possibly his disillusionment with the wrestling industry at large, Punk was threatening to walk. Those rumors, of course, led to more curtain jerking and losses in big matches; if he was on the way out, the thinking goes, the WWE wouldn't let him leave on a high note."
Vince McMahaon and the WWF have been known for "burying" wrestlers after they have decided to leave the company or if Vince in general doesn't like them. For example, Jeff Jarrett was forced to lose his title to a woman (not being sexist, but in the wrestling world this was shocking), former world champion and behemoth Vader was forced to lose to guys 1/3 his size, and his now son-in-law HHH was once forced fight in "pig-slop" match because he broke character at a live-event. That is just a taste of stories you can find on the interweb about Vince screwing his employees. This is why the news that CM Punk is not renewing with the WWE is so interesting. In the past few weeks he has been on a, pre-written of course, win streak and now given a major title shot at the next PPV against kid-favorite John Cena (yes, the guy from The Marine....maybe the worst and most ridiculously entertaining action movie of the last 10 years). He has announced on-air that he plans on winning the title and leaving the WWF forever. But why would the infamous McMahon "push" a guy who is leaving the company? Is it all just part of story-line and Punk is actually coming back? Maybe this is Vince's final nail in the coffin and wants to get the fans' hopes up. All of this has piqued my interest, but I became totally captivated when I saw the following:
Yes, it is aaaaaaaaall scripted and only Vince knows the real deal, but count me in as fair-weather wrestling fan who wants to know how it all ends. I mean I have to do something until Hockey and Football starts.