Powered by LiquidWeb NEW SEARCH FEATURE! IT WORKS!
Search all of OO for news, columnists, and articles about your favorites!

 
News  -/-  Recaps  -/-  Columns  -/-  Features  -/-  Reference  -/-  Archives  -/-  Interact  -/-  Site Info
 

Donate to Online Onslaught!
CLICK HERE TO HELP KEEP OO ALIVE!
MAIN PAGE
NEWS
     Daily Onslaught
RECAPS
     RAW
     SmackDown!
     PPV
     NWA-TNA
     Heat
     Velocity
     Other 
COLUMNS
     Obtuse Angle
     RAW Satire
     The Broad
         Perspective

     Inside the Ropes
     OOld Tyme
         Rasslin' Revue
    
Circa/Dungeon 
     Title Wave
    
Crashing the
         Boards

     Deconstruction
     Smarky Awards
     Big in Japan
     Guest Columnists
     2 Out of 3 Falls
     Devil's Due
     The Ring
     The Little Things
     Timeline
    
SK Rants
    
The Mac Files
     Sq'd Circle Jerk
     TWiFW
FEATURES
     RAW vs. SD!:
         Brand Battle
 
     Cheap Heat 
     Year in Review
     Monday Wars
     Road to WM 

     Interviews
REFERENCE
     Title Histories
     Real Names
     PPV Results
     Smart Glossary
     Birthdays 
ARCHIVES 
INTERACT
     Message Boards
     Live Chat 
SITE INFO
     Contact
     OO History

If you attend a live show, or have any other news for us, just send an e-mail to this address!  We'd also love to hear from you if you've got suggestions or complaints about the site...  let us have it!

 
ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
A Few Newsbites, and a Flashback to the
Prophetic Wisdom of Chris Jericho 
February 10, 2006

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Color me motivated! Instead of taking the day off, I'll actually do one of my patented Columns In Two Parts. First, just a few tiny newsbites. And second, an OOpinionated Ranty Thingie.
  

But before we can do that, we have to figure out some way to get down past this blasted ad box.

Perhaps I can quickly mention that the best show on TV that you're not watching is "The Office," on NBC Thursday nights. It's lead-in "My Name is Earl" gets all the press (and gets the better ratings), but it's not nearly as funny a show. And the best part is that 

it keeps getting better as time goes on. Last night was no exception. Hilarious, with plenty of outright nincompoopery, but also featuring one of TV's most frustratingly-engrossing unrequited love stories since the Love Rhombus for all you ladies out there.

Then again, I'm a guy who watches and enjoys "Arrested Development." Which goes on a possibly-permanent hiatus after tonight's 4-episode finale on FOX, which has been helpfully scheduled up against the Olympics. Although: anybody out there mentally-stunted enough to stay glued Opening Ceremonies would probably have a hard time wrapping their heads around an intelligent sitcom that doesn't have a laughtrack to guide them. It's probably perfect counter-programming, actually.

Enough. Ad box has been defeated. Now, enjoy gOOdness in two parts for your weekend...

THE NEWSBITES

  • Not exactly the happiest of news to start off today...
     
    Matt Cappotelli, a former Tough Enough winner whose development down in OVW has been impressive, has been diagnosed with brain cancer.
     
    Cappotelli was the reigning OVW Champion when he was hospitalized with a concussion in December. The routine checks revealed the presence of a tumor. Another round of tests revealed the tumor was cancerous.
     
    At Wednesday's OVW TV tapings, Cappotelli vacated the OVW Title, obviously citing the need to focus all his energy on his treatment and recovery. WWE.com even featured clips of the speech, which will air as part of OVW's TV this weekend.
     
    For those who don't keep tabs on the OVW product, Cappotelli's main claim to fame to you will probably be the episode of "Tough Enough" where Bob Holly beat the crap out of him for no readily apparent reason, other than he's Bob Holly and he's a very bitter man. But truthfully, his prospects to make an impact on the main WWE roster grew by leaps and bounds during his time in OVW. By most accounts, there was no doubt that he'd join Johnny Nitro in breaking the "Tough Enough Curse" (all the other five TE winners besides Cappotelli and Nitro have been fired/released).
     
    A series of injuries slowed his progress to the main roster, and now this latest set-back is sure to be a months-long battle. I'm not doctor, but folks are saying Matt's cancer is Grade 2, and that Matt and those around him have a lot of faith that he can beat this thing.
     
    Not to be crass about it, but if and when he does, it might turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to the guy: WWE's sense of ethics and good taste lately will pretty much dictate that they'd promote the hell out of Matt upon any return to the ring, what with the gimmick of having beat the crap out of cancer.
     
    In all seriousness, though, I do throw my best wishes (and all yours, too, I'm sure) for a speedy and full recovery onto the voluminous pile.
     
  • More news that might not exactly be happy, but on this day, it falls more into the "well, at least they still have their health" category.
     
    The Heartthrobs have been released from WWE. In the macro, I can't say this comes as a shock; they simply haven't made any significant contributions to the RAW brand. Part of the problem is that their momentum was stalled almost immediately upon debuting, due in part to some personality clashes backstage... the duo never really got back on track after that.
     
    However, in the micro, the specific timing of the release is odd. This week's entire edition of "Byte This" was centered on the Heartthrobs as they (reportedly) worked out some new schtick. Two days later, they're fired, and that edition of "Byte This" is gone with it, as if it never happened. Strange.
     
    Don't know if there was some specific incident or anything that led to this, or if it might have been percolating for a while, or if it might even be the very earliest stages of the annual Spring Cleaning. But I also suspect that not many out there will exactly miss the Heartbreakers...
     
    It's too bad. I never got the chance to make jokes about how I didn't care enough to ever figure out which one was Romeo and which one was Antonio. Awwwwww...
     
  • New Japan President Simon Inoki was in Stamford, CT, this week, and visited WWE headquarters yesterday. WWE.com spun it as a visit about possible co-promotion... but given the on-going litigation between WWE and Brock Lesnar (who -- illegally -- won New Japan's IWGP Title, and is competing for the company in violation of his WWE No-Compete Clause), it doesn't take much of a leap of logic to figure out that there might have been more to the visit than that.
     
    I believe Lesnar and WWE are still pursuing the option of coming up with an out-of-court settlement, which would loosen some of the constraints on Lesnar (likely including permission for him to work overseas). WWE might be willing to concede this because at least they'd protect their domestic no-compete clause, which is something a judge might not do.
     
    In any case, I suspect the story will impact us fans just about the same as when TNA Co-Founder Jerry Jarrett visited WWE headquarters. That is to say: not at all. But it is an odd little curiosity.
     
  • Shelton Benjamin's Mama will be off TV for at least a few weeks to deal with an undisclosed minor health issue. So that's why she had the much more-serious pretend health issue on Monday.
     
  • The MTV wrestling pilot was taped yesterday. The deal was they brought about 150 hand-picked audience members to a big warehouse that was intentionally designed to look like a shithole. Because Grunge is so TOTALLY 2006!
     
    They taped three matches -- very fast-paced and at times garbagey -- and three live songs by Black Label Society. There wasn't a whole lot in terms of storylines or character development, but my understanding is that they'll also record stuff backstage to give it a "reality show" feel. Wheee.
     
    The fairest assessment I heard from the taping is that there probably will be a market for this sort of show, but it won't be made up of wrestling fans. It'll be made up of skateboarding, BMX-riding punks with the attention spans of gnats and a fondness for watching stuff like their friends crotching themselves on guardrails. It's not a show designed to be a good wrestling show, it's a show designed to appeal to a very specific subculture.
     
    We'll just have to wait and see, now, won't we?
     
  • A lot of people have been e-mailing lately, asking about Joey Styles' status with WWE...

    I gather the straw that broke the camel's back was a recently online commentary by former WCW 8th-String Announcer, Chris Cruise, which savaged Joey's ability to carry WWE's signature show. But others of you have also heard Michael Cole saying some of the same things (albeit more diplomatically), and have read rumors that Vince McMahon himself is displeased with Joey's work.
     
    Well, to put your minds at rest: if you're mailing in wondering what the hell everybody's talking about because you LIKE Joey, you're not alone. You're just not realizing there's a distinction being made here, and it's not between "good" and "bad." It's between "good" and "the WWE way." 
     
    Sometimes, the two can intersect. But sometimes, they don't. And at the present time, Joey's doing a fine job as far as just about any fan at home could care about; he's on-task, he knows the holds, he explains the stories, and he can blend humor and seriousness just fine. But there are, apparently, little things that Only Those Privileged Few understand, and these are the things Joey's whiffing on.
     
    Making matters a bit more confusing is the simple fact that you never really get told what those specific things are. Cole, in particular, is exceptionally vague when discussing Joey's need to "improve." He'll say he had to learn "the WWE way" of doing things, but never spells out what that way is. Meantime, if you ask *me* to explain why Cole's a lot more tolerable now than he was 5 years ago, it'd be simple: he got comfortable, he got assigned a full time partner who was perfect for him, and the combination of those two things resulted in Chemistry. Which is more important to me than any laundry list of WWE Tricks Of The Trade.
     
    It's actually kind of funny that Joey could go over so well with the audience at large, but there could be heat on him for not doing minor technical things the correct way. It's almost the exact opposite of how -- oh, let's say -- the Boogeyman can't do hardly any minor technical things RIGHT, but as long as he can trick the audience into being amused, they'll leave him be.
     
    Or it could just be as simple as a whole industry rife with paranoid insecurities wanting to have a bunch of vague and possibly-paradoxical guidelines that exist to confuse outsiders and make them think the job is harder and more complex than it really is. No, that NEVER happens in wrestling.
     
    Anyway, my guess is that any of this anti-Joey stuff you're reading/hearing is just a case of people wanting to pick on SOMEthing, so they're misprioritizing and picking on the new guy. Cuz it's easier and bodes better for your future employment possibilities than picking on Stephanie McMahon. But then you wait a few more months, maybe Joey makes one or two mild adjustments, but mostly people just get bored and want to pick on somebody new, and despite no tangible change, Joey will be off the hook and you'll never hear about this again.
     
    Oh, and also: Coach is not Joey's fault. And any time the announcing, as a whole, has suffered on RAW in the last 4 months, the root cause, thy name is Coach.
     
  • Last news item is actually just a bit of a cross-promotional plug here. TNA's got a PPV on Sunday. It's Christian's first main event title shot, against Jeff Jarrett... is this the night where TNA will turn a corner and put its future into a new pair of hands? Or is Christian destined to come up just as short in his quest as the Dudleys did in theirs to unseat TNA's Tag Team Cornerstones last month? 
     
    These are damned fine questions. You'll get some attempts at answers courtesy of Jason Longshore and his OO Forums Posse, in the Against All Odds PPV Preview. Check it out...
     

THE PROPHETIC WISDOM OF CHRIS JERICHO

I talked about this briefly a week ago... thanks to the magic of A Functioning VHS Device, I've been enjoying going through a bunch of my old unlabled tapes. And last month, I ran across Chris Jericho's WWF Debut.

And was stunned at how a promo designed to be absolutely ricockulous heel blustering is now -- seven years later -- an eerily prescient and incisive analysis into the State of the Wrestling Industry.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me take you back to August 9, 1999, at Chicago's Rosemont Horizon (ironically enough, the site of this year's WrestleMania)... Chris Jericho made his debut, interrupting The Rock, and had a few things to say. These are excerpts (lovingly borrowed from CRZ's transcript of the speech so as to save me running back and forth between my computer and my TV to do it myself):

"A new era is what this once proud and profitable company sorely needs! What was once a captivating, trend-setting program, has now deteriorated into a clichéd - let's be honest - BORING snoozefest that is in dire need of a knight in shining armor! [...]

Let's go over the facts. Television ratings - downward spiral. Pay-per-view buyrates - plummeting. Mainstream acceptance - nonexistent. And reactions of the live crowd - complete and utter silence! 

And I know why you're silent! You're silent because you're embarrassed to be here! And the reason why you're embarrassed is because of the steady stream of uninteresting, untalented, mediocre 'sports entertainers' where you're forced to cheer for and care for - no wonder you're not cheering! You could care less about every single idiot in that dressing room. [...]

You people have been led to believe that mediocrity is excellence. Nuh uh...JERICHO is excellence. And now, for the first time in WWF history, you have a man who can entertain you! You have a man who is good enough for you! You have a man who can make you jump up off your chairs, raise your filthy fat little hands in the air and scream [...]
 
Thank you."

Of course, Jericho was met with thunderous boos, and upon conclusion of his rant, was mocked to the ground by The Rock. But that was the desired goal. Fans weren't silent (raucous sell-outs were the norm), ratings were ginormous (Jericho's debut drew a 6.8 quarter-hour rating for that segment), and the WWF of the day could not have been hitting more solidly on all cylinders as they delivered the Death Blow to WCW in 1999.
 
Six-and-a-half years later, though, Jericho could show up and deliver that same speech, almost verbatim, and fans would cheer him for finally pointing out the truth.
 
I mean: forget about a 6.8, today's WWE was settling for 3.8s on RAW going back several months and is practically creaming itself now that they've been over 4.0 for four weeks in a row. And remember: that 6.8 came head-to-head against Nitro, too. Today's 3.8s are being earned against "Yes Dear." Silence and disinterest from fans? Is now a real problem, especially on some of WWE's favorite "project" wrestlers (like Chris F. Masters). And hell, it's silence if WWE's LUCKY.... Project Orton over on SD! went a month straight of eliciting "boring" chants during his matches.

And then, right there towards the end, there was the line that grabbed me by the collar: "You people have been led to believe that mediocrity is excellence." Folks, if you've been reading me for ANY amount of time, you should be struck by pretty much the same thing I was that night.... that it was Jericho's mouth that was moving, but it was *my* words that were coming out.
 
I can't even make a half-joke about how Jericho might possibly have been one of the last great influences on my personality during the final stages of my Formative Years.... I honestly hadn't seen that speech in at least 5 years, and wouldn't have been able to tell you much of anything about it, much less remember specific lines. I arrived at my current level of assholitude all on my own, and I can't pretend otherwise in a lame attempt to create a forced kinship with Jericho.

But I can tell you that, sitting here today, the notion that we've become a nation of Mediocrity Huggers is one of the things that most annoys and frustrates me. There are people out there -- good, well-meaning ones, even -- who could be seeking out, participating in, and celebrating excellence (such as by basking in the Glory that is The Rick and OO), but who'd rather watch fricking "Dancing with the Stars" instead of take advantage of the opportunities afforded them.

And OF COURSE this extends over to wrestling. And especially to WWE. My notions of mediocrity are well-ingrained, but seeing Jericho bust out a beloved maxim of my own in a wrestling context made me realize how appropriate it really is. I've gone around a lot in the past year, distilling WWE's problems down to the fact that they "don't listen to the fans." But I think I have a new pet theory, now:

WWE is a culture of Forced Mediocrity.

The fans don't even figure into it at this point. The fans only come into the equation later. But before the fans, in a vacuum, WWE's true nature is as a company that is frightened and made insecure by displays of excellence, and which responds by creating an Institutional Mandate For Mediocrity.

Even before the creation of the "WWE Main Event Style" and the "slow-it-down" philosophy, wrestlers knew full well that their job was to go out there and be good. But not TOO good. Because anybody scooping the main event's heat would be in big trouble. It's telling that WWE hottest phase (1999-2001) is also the only time I can think of where this heuristic was relaxed, when nobody cared if the Hardys, Dudleys, Edge, and Christian went out and stole the show, because they still had the confidence and security that the main event would go out there and succeed on its own merits. Instead of succeeding because somebody made sure everything else before it was tepid and bland.

And of course: the handcuffs are probably worse today than they've ever been. Think WWE doesn't have the horses to blow the pants off of just about any workrate-dream-match TNA can serve up? You're wrong. But I couldn't blame you for thinking that, because the horses so rarely get to run at full speed. Or even at a gallop.

It's not just about in-ring ability, either. It applies to the character/personality side of things. Seven years ago, a talented, charismatic performer was rewarded for his abilities... it was a sink-or-swim environment, where Vince Russo and Ed Ferrera "wrote" two hours of TV per week, but did it by not scripting every second. Instead, they give you the idea, and if you can figure out how to say it in your own voice and get it over with the audience, you'd find yourself with more and more TV time to duplicate that feat. A truly talented performer THRIVES in that environment; and the less talented (remember Steve Blackman?) would be doomed to fail.

Forget about that in today's WWE. Everything is carefully scripted by a phalanx of Hollywood Writer Monkeys, who themselves represent the epitome of mediocrity. With a half-dozen or more people doing the work of two, talented performers and untalented ones alike are handed very specific material. The effect is just like the "slow it down" philosophy in the ring: it's a pair of handcuffs on each and every talented, charismatic performer who would be better served speaking in their own voice than spouting off the material of the Monkeys.

You want an example: John Cena. By all accounts, one of the most likeable and naturally personable guys on the roster if you meet him. But on TV, he could not come off as more of a face-slappable pussbag. Because on-screen John Cena is a creature of the writers (and of a marketing department that got the wise idea to try and sell some CDs), and represents THEIR vision for him. And that vision apparently includes a lot of poop jokes, a strange blend of homophobia and possible-gay-tendencies, and a lot of petulant brattiness. It'd be interesting to see what would happen if you could take today's John Cena and put him in 1999's WWF... if nothing else, in 1999, he wouldn't be 3 years behind the Cultural Relevance Curve when it comes to being an annoying wigger. Throw in the freedom to evolve and roll with the punches and NOT be a one-dimensional Marketing Creation, and who knows?

Something else....

Just as much as WWE's Culture of Mediocrity restricts the truly talented and tries to keep them from shining through, it also accommodates the less-talented.

I'm sure you could talk to some WWE muckity-mucks, and they'd tell you things have changed and are lots different today than they were 20 years ago (and maybe, just maybe, under Jim Ross' watch as head of Talent Relations, it was sorta true)... but if you get right down to it, WWE's moves in the last 2 years indicate that we're right back to the mentality that if you give them a good body/good look, they can teach you enough to turn you into a superstar.

And that is so demonstrably false that I wouldn't even know where to begin.... perhaps, as a pertinent analogy, I'll mention that there is an adage in basketball that "you can't teach 7-feet-tall." Which is true enough. But 7-feet-tall doesn't count for jack-shit sometimes. Yeah, you got the body of the basketball player, but maybe, just maybe, you suck at basketball. I'm not saying I'm currently experiencing the horrifying truth (and resulting pain) of this scenario, but there's probably a reason why the example leapt to mind. A quick check of Dayton Flyer Box Scores would probably quickly reveal to you that we do have a 7-foot-guy and he's currently averaging about 2 minutes per game. With good reason. What a load of Cripe he turned out to be.

But since basketball is "real" and you can't put Suck out on the floor without an uproar from the ticket-buying public, we've made that adjustment here in Dayton. First, the guy's out of the starting line-up. Then, his minutes are reduced. Now, he barely sees any action. But in WWE? It's not "real," so apparently, you don't have to be good at anything except having the right body, because who wins and loses is decided by a writer, not by your ability. And thus, Chris F. Masters is averaging significantly more than 2 minutes of TV time per week, despite being demonstrably less capable than 80% of his co-workers in every single facet of performance except for "looking buff." And although there's no "uproar" from the ticket-buying public, the deadly silence Masters inspires would make Chris Jericho proud of his 1999 Prophecy.

At this juncture, I'm half-motivated to go into another tangential riff about how this Culture of Mediocrity has ESPECIALLY hamstrung the women's division in WWE. I single Masters out because (a) it's easy, (b) there is no defense to any criticism I make, and mostly (c) he gets so much effort and TV time put behind him that it just underscores and amplifies how un-ready he is for the spot. But in the last 2 years, the women's division has become populated by almost EXCLUSIVELY a bunch of mini-Masters.

You give WWE a body (read: you give them a pair of fake boobs; and fakeness IS a must because the stone cold truth is that the best rack to pass through WWE in recent memory belonged to Molly Holly, and t'wasn't nothing fake about it), and they figure that a mix of some clunky in-ring basics and a LOT of mind-clouding, deficiency-hiding Bra and Panties Matches will make it possible for them to turn a girl into a credible wrestler.

Bzzzzzt.

Even if you can teach "having a D-cup" (well, not "teach," but "install") more than you can teach "7-feet-tall," it still doesn't fricking matter in the end if there's not a little something extra to work with there. And it shouldn't be hard to scout out that "something extra," either. 

I mean, obviously you have "real wrestlers" like your Victoria's or Molly's who only got their jobs because they were wrestlers. You can see it in their performances, and you can hear it in their interviews. They aren't talking about growing up watching wrestling and a vague desire to do it themselves. They (and this is fresh because I just read a new Molly interview) talk about their athletic background and knowing early on that they had a strongly developed sense of kinesthetics.... or some word that sorta-looks like that: I can't get my spell-checker to agree with any variations I can think of, but I know it basically means "balance and body positioning," because it came up once when I had Erin untangle the issue of the "Extra Gravity" of Lita and Ric Flair and the "Anti-Gravity" of Rey and RVD for us.

You still need repetitions to make the in-ring performance smooth, which are sometimes tough to come by for the girls, but there's also something visibly different between watching a Molly Spot where she'd confidently move around the ring knowing that she'd hurt neither herself nor her opponent, and watching -- oh, let's just keep picking on her, since I already just mentioned her -- Lita.

But Lita's not the problem, here. If we've learned anything, it's that WWE sometimes catches a break with the women they hire. A model like Trish Stratus just catches the Bug, and decides "I don't need to take pretty pictures for a living, I can DO this," and she does. Spaz did the same thing (and got fired for it). A lot of people say Maria might be a promising prospect in this regard (although if she caught a bug, it might just be something from CM Punk; good lord, is there a bigger scuzzbag-looking-guy on the planet?).

The problem is trying to have an entire division made up of mini-Masters who just don't have the heart or the desire or the ability to be really good, and can just scrape by in the ring. The one example I'd hold up would be Stacy Keibler, who has (pretty universally) a reputation of not wanting to train or learn or break a nail or something on a Friday night in Louisville.... but she knows if she turns it on for the camera and doesn't outright-suck, her position is safe and nobody will really complain. If Candice Michelle was speaking the truth on Leno this week and ends up getting a women's title shot at WM22, I can also assure you that I'll come back and revisit this rant just so I can single her out as being another example of "the problem" of hiring a body, and hoping against hope that you can turn that body into an even vaguely-compelling performer in this unique genre of pro wrestling.

So that's kind of my piece, as inspired by a distressingly-relevant Chris Jericho promo from 1999.  WWE handcuffs the truly talented, to bring them down to the level of the mediocre. WWE seeks out and accommodates the untalented and tries to put them through the motions enough times that they can approximate mediocrity when put on TV.

An aggressive campaign of limiting the good and polishing the bad creates a situation in which the talented cannot upstage the untalented, and the untalented can believably share the stage with the talented. *This* to me is the defining characteristic of Today's WWE.

Not to get all over-archingly theoretical on your or anything here as I close up the column, but it bears saying (actually, it bears repeating, since I'm sure I've said it before).... the biggest fallacy of our society is the Founding Fathers' notion that "All Men are Created Equal." Sacrilege, I know! But also true.

All men (and women, and transgendered entities) deserve to be treated decently and fairly, and I will defend (to whatever extent that I reasonably can) those rights that should be afforded to all. But let's just cut out this "created equal" crap. We've all stood in line waiting to renew our Driver's Licenses, and we all know that "created equal" is a damned dirty lie. There's a shallow end to this gene pool.

And while I'll defend those people's rights to lack teeth, publicly abuse their children, fail to comprehend anything about Current Events that didn't happen on American Idol, and wear tank tops and have belly piercings despite weighing in excess of 300 lbs., I refuse to rape, defile, and twist the definition of "equal" so as to include them with myself. Have some life, have some liberty, and have all the happiness you can as we co-exist here together on Spaceship Earth.... but don't pretend like we're cut of the same jib, OK?

And once we can make this (rather mean and nasty) leap of logic, we can have a society that doesn't feel the need to operate at the level of the Lowest Common Denominator, out of some altruistic desire to "protect" the LCD or some ass-hatted belief that it's just plain polite to put the same limitations on me that you put on Cletus down at the trailer park.

And once we accept the general overriding fallacy of "created equal," we can end a three-paragraph digression and get back on task by applying it to WWE.

Because in a company where you have very talented people being handcuffed and less-capable people being shoved into the spotlight, we have a clear-cut case of a misapplication of the "Created Equal Principle."

The institutional belief that goodness must be muted (so as to protect the badness) and that badness can be trained (so as to almost look kinda sorta good) is a crippling problem facing WWE. Not only does it affect the on-screen product in a way that leaves us fans silent and un-caring about the next sports entertainer to walk through the curtain.... but it even sends some of those sports entertainers scurrying away from the company, when they fall out of love with the business because of these handcuffs and mediocrity fetish. The performers who've left WWE of their own accord in the last year -- to pursue less-frustrating, more gratifying hobbies -- include some of my favorites and some of the most mis-utilized talents ever. Tajiri. Molly. Christian. And yep: the man who unintentionally prophesied this situation 7 years ago, Chris Jericho.

We can't know the mind of Chris Jericho, and he's a crafty bastard who'd never admit it even if we guessed right. But a man who once thought to castigate fans for mistaking mediocrity for excellence -- and who, 2 seconds later, declares himself to be a rare example of excellence -- leaves a company where that's started to happen for real.... well, you can kinda make a few inferences. Seven years ago, it was just something ridiculous to say to get boos. But lately in WWE, its remarkably true. And why should excellence have any desire to continue consorting with mediocrity after he's made his point?

On a related note: you people are just damned lucky that I'll never get tired of making fun of the rhetorical and intellectual weakness of Keller and Meltzer. I shan't be run off by mediocrity as easily as your Paragon of Virtue, Chris Jericho! Unless I suddenly have a chance to be in a money-making rock band, anyway....

I digress. Here's my writer-y End Game:

There are always going to be intelligent, interesting, clever people in this world. Sometimes, they might intersect with physically-capable, hard-working, coordinated people. And at this intersection, you will find a goodly number of WWE's existing employees.

There are always going to be be dim, boring, uninteresting people in the world. Sometimes, they might intersect with some sort of chronic uncoordination or lack or work ethic or something. And at THIS intersection, you will ALSO find a WWE employee or two. Although the ones at this intersection will at least be guaranteed to be PRETTY wastes of space.

Yet, through the Magic of Marginalization, WWE is able to present both these classes of employees (and the ones who are trapped in the middle of the Ability Continuum) as being Equal. 

Equally Mediocre.


  
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
 
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: 18 Seconds? NO! NO! NO!
 
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
 
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
 
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
 
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
 
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Backfired!
 
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
 
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Destiny Do-Over
 
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
 
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
 
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: In-BRO-pendence Day
 
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
 
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: #striketwo
 
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
 
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
 
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: You're Welcome
 
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Needs More Kane?
 
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Lady Power
 
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
 
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
 
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
 
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
 
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
 
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: No! No! No!
 
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
 
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
 
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 
 
E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.