Saturday, August 29, 2009

The WWE came on after the Yankees game ended, and I figured, since we are only allowed to watch sports here at the bar, we may as well leave it on. Now, I consider the WWE a "sport" in only the loosest sense of the word. And as I watched the panoply unfold before me, I got to thinking about wrestling.

First, the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) used to be called the World Wrestling Federation. Vince McMahon changed the name after an unrelated court case, in which opposing counsel asked him the truth about wrestling (it was not germane to the case, but Vince was under oath). McMahon had to admit the wrestling was rigged, with winners decided by script writers.

Which brings me to my first thought. How in the hell do you get a job as a script writer for the WWE? I've never heard of them advertising. And since they try very hard to get people to forget that the wrestling is faked, it's not like you can really advertise this kind of position anyway. What would you say? Wanted: script writer for rigged, faked wrestling promotion; must have typewriter? Do they promote from within? Do they go to established writers and offer them jobs? Is this what happened to Joe Esterhaus and Oliver Stone?

Next thought. Why do people still watch this crap? First of all, it's fake. It's basically a soap opera played out in the squared circle. Secondly, the weekly TV show is basically an hour-long commercial for the upcoming pay-per-view. All the posturing and the yelling and the shoving... that's all just to keep you up-to-date on the drama unfolding outside the ring. I had a friend and co-worker a few years back who was obsessed with the WWE. He followed every twist and turn of the plot. If you wanted to get into an argument, all you had to do was denigrate Rowdy Roddy Piper. It was hard not to get wrapped up in it all, and soon several of us found ourselves watching weekly.

Final thought. How in the hell do they come up with the gimmicks? Ultimate Warrior. The Undertaker. The Rock. Do they have some committee that decides "we'll make him like a cross between Rowdy Roddy, Andre the Giant, and the Flying Bulldogs, and we'll call him.... Braveheart!" Does the performer invent his own gimmick? Does he go down to wardrobe and pick out a bunch of shit, and present his idea to McMahon? "Nah," Vince says, "it's a little too Khalid, the Wacky Iraqi."

I wonder how the whole wrestling entertainment industry works. One thing, however, has been whispered about for years -- how they pick the winners; it's whoever "services" McMahon.

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