Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Of All the Bone Headed . . .

Of all the Bone headed . . . .

Usually I spend my time talking about whats truly important to me in regards to professional wrestling. Why a storyline is working why it isn't. Who is performing out of the stratosphere and who needs to step it up. I try and remain removed from the rumor mill and watch this with some objectivity. I treat it like it's a stage play, a concert, a ballet or any other artistic endeavor. I rate quality of performance, fluidity of script, story and levels of effectiveness, crowd response or lack thereof. The only time I allow myself the forbidden pleasure of delving into the behind the scenes or personal instances of the people portraying these characters is when it directly effects their performance. The difference between understanding yes we should talk about Tony Romo having a busted finger, no we should not be discussing the fact that he's dating Jessica Simpson. One is very crucial to his performance the other we like to cloud up just for the sensationalism of it. Stretching it to seem like it is crucial to his performance. It isn't. And knowledgable sports writers and casters may use it tongue in cheek for a quick laugh, but will never use it as the basis of a legitimate argument for the success or failure of the quarterback himself. In fact they use it as a joke to point out how ridiculous it is. Giving it validity only gives power to the entertainment vehicle that seeks to use this finger into another industry to boost it's own. The acknowledgement by the leeched entity only gives validity to the leecher. Jessica Simpson was having a hard time selling skin cream before she started dating Tony Romo, you do the math.

Now that I've laid my groundwork. I found myself reading and rereading the official release by the WWE in regards to the Darren Aronofsky movie "The Wrestler". For the record I have not seen it yet but I plan on seeing it and when I do I'm going to watch it for what it is. A dramatic story told in the media of cinematic film. I will not make direct comparisons to any particular wrestling organization or brand. I will not as one Sports Illustrated journalist who will remain unnamed in this piece did and have the bad taste and judgement to actually compare the fictional character to a living breathing professional wrestling icon seated near to him. I'll watch a movie and rate it as a movie. I'll ask myself if Mickey Rouke was believeable and if the directing was great, if the story was intact. I'll consider it a fictional work because even when a movie is based on a true story, Hollywood takes a little something called artistic license because first and foremost the bloody thing has to be entertaining.

Culpability is a very tricky and curious thing, ask any attorney. Through implied culpability someone can seem beyond reproach innocent or guilty as sin. By denouncing this movie so thoroughly the WWE has in fact endeared a certain level of culpability. TNA wisely left the film in the vein it was intended as, a very compelling FICTIONAL work. So I sat and said truly the powers that be cannot be quite so foolish in regards to a simple public persona issue. Is it really believed at this stage of the game the general public is foolish enough to believe such a statement at face value. Of course they did this in some twisted vie to gain more viewership by inadvertedly implying that there is some truth to the claims of this film. More people watch the movie, more people watch wrestling, is plausable. This ill advised attempt on the the part of the originally leeched component to leech back as it were. The real issue is that the statement released claiming that this movie is not a reflection of how business is truly conducted with professional wrestlers yells loud and clear: Yes it is and we're now doing damage control because they know. And that statement will eventually be ratings death. There is much to be said for preemtive striking, I am an avid believer in it. There is also much to be said about patience and letting the thing play out. When you are the main provider of a product, when you have the formula and everyone knows you have the formula it is in your best interest to publically ignore all that claims to also have the formula. Lay low, check it out see if they really have it and if they do then do your damndest to pretend that it does not exist because when you start paying attention to it, everyone else does too. They know you're worried and it's for a reason.

Professional wrestling is a tricky thing, part act, part script, part improv, part stunt, and everything else is very, very real. Like most things that can't be really labeled as one thing it's misunderstood. Until someone comes along and teaches people who aren't fans how to deal with it, it always will be. And in a lot of ways the fans need to be educated as well. Most days I think that it's for the best that it is misunderstood. Takes a certain kind of person to do it for a living and a certain kind of person to understand why. It is a very hard thing to negotiate in something as limited as language can be sometimes. But those days of letting it be a mystery are over. Bottom line, the public image for professional wrestling is horrible. There is no way around that. Due to the success of the WWE it has become a whipping boy for a slew 'proprieties' types that would like to regulate it so that they can get thier piece of an ever growing pie. In the end someone is going to get their piece or they will tear it down. Very simple. Very few industries get to establish enough political pull to regulate themselves. And when they do its through religious lobbying and briefly allowing other entities that they are in cohoots with to oversee the regulation. The WWE is bereft of cohorts in this avenue and it's starting to show. What is needed is a persona, an actual public face that is not associated with any wrestling organization and seemingly has nothing to gain but seeking and sending out the truth. This entity has to present itself as always looking out for the best interest of the business and ALL involved, period. With established ties to other industries outside of professional wrestling it will become a trusted source. That is how industries become the masters of their own culpability. Undisclosed funding of a reputable source. Cause no one is going to throw out there the media bear trap of wondering how things are being paid for, too many other people would have to air their dirty laundry as well. It just makes sense that if it is truly just entertainment, they should take the benefits of always living in a fictional sense by never claiming reality.