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The Written Wrestling Promo, 4-21
April 21, 2013 - Zach Baker
Wrestling is so different.
Or at least, that's what I've been told.
It used to be embarrassing when I admitted I was a wrestling fan, and had been one since I was 11. People used to tell me it was fake.
I kept watching. It's safe to say that my interest in professional wrestling from 1997-1999 helped me get through not having a football team in Cleveland. And though my interest in the current product certainly has waned (the WWE Universe bores me to no end), I still read the Wrestling Observer Newsletter -- I read as much by Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez as I do anyone else -- and I still attend house shows.
When wrestling has crossed over into my weekly column for The Advertiser-Tribune, the response I get from readers has been good.
For those people, and to satisfy an urge to do something different -- I am going to try a weekly wrestling column.
Before we start, this column, and all which follow, are dedicated to all the wrestlers who died too soon, and to every "closet" fan out there.
*** Time to start with a blanket statement:
I no longer watch WWE.
In my house, I have copies of the first 10 Wrestlemanias, and DVDs of numerous pay per views and compilations of matches.
Nowadays, my fix comes from TNA Wrestling, and from whatever old shows and matches I can find.
Don't get me wrong. TNA isn't good all the time either, and I'd argue it has as many problems as WWE. But at least TNA still promotes itself as wrestling.
About a year ago, though, WWE had gotten me interested again. The Rock and John Cena had done an angle which few thought could be pulled off in this day and age.
The pair managed to convince almost everyone that it really disliked each other, and even were shooting on each others in interviews.
I was caught up in the angle because The Rock has been a favorite of mine since 1997, and it really ticked me off when Cena would do interviews knocking Duane Johnson for bailing on WWE when he became a movie star.
Rock returned to WWE in 2011, and the two began a series of angles to build to a big match at Wrestlemania 28 in Miami. The buildup had some elements that Jack Brisco likely wouldn't have used, but the angle itself was old school:
All of this other stuff might be fake, but THESE two guys don't like each other. The fact that some WWE midcarders reportedly were upset that Rock was back to steal the spotlight, then run, only added to the realism.
Rock was always the babyface (good guy) to the fans, but Cena was the face to the boys in the back.
When Rock was killing Cena in an interview, and John came back accusing Rock of writing notes on his elbow to do his promos -- that was gold.
Again, simple as can be. These two didn't like each other.
Then the two wrestled. Rock won, sending the fans there into a period of genuine jubilation.
WWE kept me interested then by bringing in Brock Lesnar, a former WWE superstar who became even bigger as a legitimate star in UFC.
Lesnar came back not to take on Cena, but to take on, it seemed, the entertainment angle of the territory. In a sea of entertainers, Lesnar was a guy who didn't want to entertain you. He wanted to beat you up.
Can you tell I was into this?
The buildup to the match was good. In my mind, it was simple: Brock destroys Cena, destroys everyone, until he meets Cena again. This time, Cena is fighting for WWE's honor.
At least, that's what I thought they should have done.
Instead, WWE had Cena beat Lesnar in the latter's first match back.
I hadn't slapped my head that hard since the WWF/WCW invasion angle of 2001.
What followed was more of the same old WWE, and not in a good way. Even a rematch between Rock and Cena didn't hook me this year. The intensity was gone -- or at least diminished. I didn't even see Wrestlemania this year.
I still think there's potential for one more big angle that WWE can do to win me back.
But more on that later.
Until next week...