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mygif

All of my fond memories of the Rock are of his corporate heel run and of that period when he would just show up and sing about Sacramento being terrible or whatever. I either missed or forgot about him as a face, for the most part. Was it always this insufferable?

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I for one am shocked–shocked!–to learn that the great sport of professional wrestling might go out of its way to book matches between someone you like and someone you don’t like, in an attempt to manipulate your emotions!

Seriously, though, I agree Rock’s schtick is wearing thin, and his promo battle with Punk reminded me of Punk vs. Kevin Nash. But I still find him captivating and worth watching, just because he’s the one realistic guy (other than Punk) on the show. I actually think Rock means what he says, because it doesn’t sound scripted or phony–well, at least when it sounds phony it’s his brand of phoniness. When John Cena or Dolph Ziggler talk about whatever it is they’re fighting over, I don’t buy it. When the Rock makes fun of CM Punk’s scrotum, for better or worse, I believe this man is fascinated with CM Punk’s scrotum. And I’ll take that believability where I can get it.

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mygif

Let’s all be honest, without CM Punk, WWE would be an absolute train wreck. The smarks hate Cena, Rock is relying on his schtick from a frickin’ decade ago and they’ve done such a piss poor job of building up new stars, they have nobody who could dream of carrying the torch.

And that’s why, barring something amazing possibly happening, I don’t watch wrestling anymore.

As an aside MGK, did you ever check out TEW after writing that post about a wrestling sim?

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mygif

Sure, but if Rock didn’t come back we wouldn’t get awesome moments like John Cena walking to the ring, spending 5 minutes verbally eviscerating him, and then walking away, stopping only to drop the best insult line in wrestling history.

“Continue. Carry on trending.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW521N-Dw4I

Seriously, it was flat out scary last year how much better Cena was on the mic than The Rock. It’s too bad Cena doesn’t get to cut promos like that against anyone else, sticking instead to the same kind of homophobic, misogynistic, childish insults that The Rock does.

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Ian Austin said on January 16th, 2013 at 9:02 am

The Rock’s always had lame humour, though. Like genuinely odd, borderline horrifyingly disturbing jokes in promos. I can see it bugging people… but then surely it always did for those people.

Heck, Jericho was the same. Only one who didn’t make disgusting jokes in promos was Austin…

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mygif

First, the Rock is better at promos and wrestling than a lot of main eventers in WWE, so having him come back and make regular appearances is a good thing overall.

Second, yes, stuff like this is bad and it pisses me off. Rocky contributes a lot, but he contributes nothing when he says stuff like this.

Vickie Guerrero–the person, not the character–suffered a tragic loss in 2005. Following that, WWE put her on tv and turned her heel, giving the designated babyfaces in the company an excuse to make fun of her weight, her appearance, and all the things that she might have legitimately felt insecure about. I have been worried about the state of Vickie’s self-esteem for a long time, and no matter how good she is at getting heat I wish that WWE would turn her face just to stop her getting verbally abused all the time.

Paul Heyman said something a little while ago along the lines of “Oh, you say you want the Attitude Era back, but you get all upset when I pretend to have a heart attack!”

Okay, here’s the thing about the Attitude Era. It was better than what WWE currently does, but it wasn’t perfect and some parts of it haven’t aged well.

In 2013 there’s a much lower tolerance for misogyny than there was in the late ’90s, and rightly so. Female heels would get “slut” chanted at them. If they were in ECW, they’d be subjected to “She’s a crack whore!” chants.

In 2013 there’s also a lower tolerance for homophobia. I was reading a thread on the Freakin’ Awesome Network discussing Ring Of Honor’s “Final Battle” iPPV, and one person said something like “Did we really hear a ‘faggot’ chant in 2012?” That’s not cool, and these days a lot more people realize it isn’t cool. Gay jokes were common in the Attitude Era. They shouldn’t have been back then, and they definitely shouldn’t be now. But nevertheless, you have Rocky telling Cody Rhodes that he looks like he spends all day on Craigslist. (You know, because of the mustache.) To be fair, it isn’t just him. Cena’s done it. Miz has done it as a (lame) face. James Storm did it in TNA when he called Kazarian the boyfriend of Daniels or vice versa. Fuck that shit and fuck whoever decides to keep doing it. It’s gotta stop.

In 2013 there’s a lower tolerance for bullying. Not that you’d know it from watching WWE’s product. But as it pertains to The Rock: in the Attitude Era, one of the ways he got over as a face was by bullying the interviewers! I never liked that part of his persona, but lots of other people thought it was hilarious. I don’t know what people think these days, but if this article on Cageside Seats in any indication, a lot more people in 2013 realize that it’s not cool.

My point is that there’s stuff about the Attitude Era that should be brought back and other stuff that’s best left in the past. Some things in Rocky’s shtick should be left in the past.

Btw, if you’re interested in good wrestling and you want to look somewhere other than WWE or TNA, you could do a lot worse than Chikara. That promotion’s past season wasn’t one of their best (briefly: head booker Mike Quackenbush made the same mistake that TNA is making with Aces & 8s by bringing in a group of invaders and then jobbing them out, and where his character frequently broke heels’ bones and expected fans to cheer him as a good guy when a lot of fans were going “Holy shit dude, that’s going too far.” ), but they’ve got a lot of great talent, and Quack is capable of better booking than that as he proved with the BDK storyline.

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Kyle Casey said on January 16th, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I agree with what you’re saying, MGK. I just want to add that if WWE really gave a crap about women’s wrestling, doing something like that clip you showed would be the perfect way to get it over with the fans, Meaning, do some kind of tournament and throw in one or two of the better female workers (and NOT as a joke entry either). Even if whoever (let’s say Kaitlyn, since she just won the Divas Title) just lost in the first round, if you book the match in a way that shows that the Divas really can hang with the guys, they would get over with the fans as more than just T & A.

Or, you know, stop referring to them as Divas, and give them more than 2 minutes to work a match. That’d work, too.

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Candlejack said on January 17th, 2013 at 6:45 am

Unfortunately, Rob, I think there’s still plenty of tolerance left for all those things, even as much as they’ve improved.

(I remember a while back being out at my parents’ place and getting to watch the Very Special Anti-Bullying episodes of Last Man Standing and Malibu Country. Last Man Standing suggested that bullying is something boys do to girls because they like them, and that girls do to boys because they think boys don’t like them. The take-away of Malibu Country was that school administrators are hyper-sensitive morons; as a bonus, a b-plot had a hot girl interested in a boy because she thought he was a bully, and she lost interest when she decided he was a wimp. Great anti-bullying message, guys! Granted, these are maybe not the most progressive shows, and they do get some points for at least trying to give an anti-bullying message. They could be, you know, Ben Shapiro.)

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mygif

Chikara may be showing women hanging with men, but last I heard TNA isn’t even allowed to have the guys touch women. And if that’s on SpikeTV, I’d bet USA has a similar rule for WWE. That last time I can remember any serious physical contact(more than just AJ jumping on Khali’s back for example) between a woman and a man were Royal Rumbles with Beth Phoenix and then Kharma. When Big Show accidentally collided with AJ last year he was considered terrible.

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@Candlejack: That Shapiro piece amazed me. At first he’s saying (to paraphrase) “Oh, Dan Savage is a meanie who isn’t civil,” and then later on he says “We can’t afford to be civil.” Okay buddy, nothing at all hypocritical about that…

Anyway, I think the situation is at least improving and there’s more awareness, which is why I say that there’s less tolerance for misogyny and homophobia and bullying instead of no tolerance.

@Jason: Actually, a while back there was a match between Jesse (Tara’s boyfriend) and ODB where they slammed each other and shit. While that’s far from the norm in TNA, it indicates that maybe Spike has eased on on those restrictions.

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Candlejack said on January 20th, 2013 at 3:11 pm

I agree, things are improving. I just think we’re probably still some years away from there being enough angry fans to force a change. I could be–hope to be–wrong.

(Regarding Shapiro, I think simple overwhelming hypocricy is probably the defining trait of any Republican shill, but he’s really impressive at it, isn’t he?)

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mygif

Speaking of things we should have no tolerance for anymore, is A-Train still pretending to be Japanese?

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mygif

A-Train was never pretending to be Japanese.

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mygif

Yeah, the performer went to wrestle in Japan for a while, and he returned to the WWE as “Lord Tensai” with Japanese face tattoos, a silly ninja mask, and a little samurai mustache.

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But he was never actually pretending to be Japanese. The WWE was quite explicit about it: he went to wrestle in Japan, kicked ass while he was there, and adopted some of their customs. But they said over and over again “he’s not Japanese.”

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WWE announcers never mention Lord Tensai by his Albert or A-Train aliases, just that Tensai is a “former WWE Superstar” who went to Japan, and kicked ass. Even when the fans are chanting “Albert, Albert” – and it’s not a smark thing; Albert has a distinctive look – WWE can’t just say “Albert went to Japan.” That bothers me more than Tensai’s gimmick, which is just “I kick ass, I went to Japan, I have kanji on my face.”

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mygif

Rock has yet to do one single, solitary thing that has grabbed my attention since coming back.

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mygif

Ehh, I only saw him as Tensai on TV once, and they didn’t really make it clear then. It’s still bullshit cultural appropriation.

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