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There are absolutely way too many gimmick matches being done.
Stolen Content Wrestling Boozeletter
GIMMICK MATCHES BY LANCE STORM
I’ve had a few people asking me about gimmick matches, and if I think there are too many of them in wrestling today. My answer is a whole hearted YES. (reprinted without permission from stormwrestling.com)
There are absolutely way too many gimmick matches being done. That being said, the sheer volume of gimmick matches isn’t even the real problem, the real problem, in my opinion, is that they are all being done for either no reason what so ever, or the wrong reasons all together. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve gotten to the point where I feel a lot of the people in this industry have com-
pletely lost sight of what this business is about. This business is about conflict and the battle to resolve that conflict. You take two people and put them in a ring to fight. To give that fight meaning you create a championship for them to fight for. They then battle to see who the better man is, to either win that championship or climb the ladder towards that championship. That’s it, that’s the wrestling business. That’s the steak; everything
else is just the sizzle.
Internet Favourite Lance Storm Father, husband, trainer, wrestler, writer and the only sane person in wrestling.
Not too many people want to eat just a plain steak so we add the sizzle. We add angles, characters, and storylines to make the steak more appetizing (the conflict more interesting). The concept of a gimmick match is to create an environment that might settle the conflict after the usual means (a regular match) has failed to do so. The gimmick match is supposed to occur later in an angle and needs to relate to the angle so fans are more apt to pay to see the gimmick match in hopes of it settling the conflict. Where this concept really got lost, was with the advent of the Hardcore Title. WWE started having hardcore matches just for the sake of having hardcore matches. Guys weren’t hitting each other with weapons and enduring unbelievable amounts of punishment because of a deep-rooted hatred developed over a long-standing feud; they were killing each other just because it was a hardcore match. There was no specific conflict to be resolved it was just a gimmick match for the sake of a gimmick match. Since then it has only gotten worse. Gimmick matches are used simply to extend feuds, but no booking effort is being
made to tie the gimmick match into the reason the conflict wasn’t resolved the last time out. There are even times (TNA in particular) where a “concept” gimmick match is invented and instead of building to it with the appropriate angle they just have it for the sake of having it. To illustrate the way things are supposed to be done, I’ll invent a scenario using Sting and Flair. Fans wanted to see Sting beat Flair for the title, so they booked a match and sold tickets. People showed up to see Sting win the title. Once Sting locked on the Scorpion Death Lock the Horsemen hit the ring and beat Sting up. Sting won by DQ but didn’t win the title. Fans still wanted to see Sting win the title, so they booked the next match and barred the Horsemen from ringside. Fans thought without the Horseman, Sting would definitely win the title (resolve the conflict) so they bought more tickets. This time out after getting his butt kicked Flair rolled out of the ring and got counted out. Again Sting wins but the title still eludes him. Finally they book a Cage match. Fans figure, Horsemen can’t get in, Flair can’t get out, this time the conflict will be resolved, Stings will win the title for sure, THEY BUY MORE TICKETS! We then have the match, the Horsemen don’t
get in, Flair doesn’t get out (so the gimmick match actually does what it is suppose to do) and Sting wins the F’N title. This isn’t rocket science. Today we, more often than not, get gimmick matches where the gimmick has nothing to do with why the feud is on going, or why the conflict was not resolved the first time. A great example of this is the Backlash Undertaker, Dave Batista rematch. WWE built up a great conflict between these two men, and fans watched WrestleMania to see the conflict resolved. The match had a clear and decisive winner; Undertaker won right in the middle with a Tombstone Pile Driver (conflict resolved). We then went to Backlash and they were booked in a Last Man Standing match. WHY? What does this gimmick match offer us that the previous one didn’t? How will this gimmick change the outcome? Was a Tombstone in the middle of the ring some how not a decisive enough win? I don’t get it. On the other hand the John Cena, Umaga Last Man Standing match earlier this year made perfect sense. Umaga destroyed John Cena in the previous match, but Cena managed a fluke roll up win, to save the title. Vince, wanting Umaga to beat John for the title then booked the
Last Man Standing Match. am not, and judging by doBased on how the previous mestic buy rates, neither are match went, this certainly a lot of other people. seemed like greater jeopardy for the champ. Fans would presumably buy tickets to see if the Hero John Cena could survive this new, greater threat! This doesn’t even begin to cover all the absurd, meaningless gimmick matches we’ve had to endure over the years. Remember Judy Bagwell on a pole, Viagra on a Pole? What conflict were those matches meant to resolve? How about every match on the card being fought inside a steel cage, because… well perhaps just because it’s easier to leave the damn thing up than it is to take it down. Or better yet, that atrocity on Impact last week with the X-Division guys. I don’t know what it was called, what the rules were, what the hell was going on during the match, or why it was the means by which to select 2 guys for guess what… another freaking gimmick match (a three way dance for the X title) being done for no reason what so ever! I guess if you can’t book an interesting angel, it’s easiest just to book a bunch of gimmick matches and hope people are willing to spend their money to see those. Sadly I
TNA IS A-OKAY
BY WADE KELLER
There are several things about TNA fans in St. Louis last night that drove me a bit nuts.
If the TNA fans want to be taken seriously when they express approval or disapproval of the product, they have to get their facts straight, be consistent from minute to minute, and not be so easy to forgive when they're thrown a meaningless stunt bump. In her interview with the UK Sun this weekend, Dixie Carter, in her nice way, mocked the fans for chanting "Holy sh--!" and "T-N-A" just two minutes after chanting "Fye-errrr Rooosooo!" at the last PPV. TNA fans have been misled, either through faulty assumptions or faulty reporting elsewhere, that the TNA product they are watching has much of anything to do with Vince Russo. Chanting "Fire Russo" at a TNA event is the equivalent of chanting "Fire Gewirtz" or "Fire Lagana" at Raw. This shouldn't be breaking
news, but only PWTorch Newsletter readers have been told this in the past several months. The anti-Russo people out for his spot on the booking committee have been doing a good job spreading anti-Russo propaganda for months, hoping the heat clears the way for their insertion or return to the booking committee. Russo, if he had control, might make the product even worse. Maybe it's taking a ton of effort by those with power and inﬂuence to keep him from making things worse. Or maybe he'd make it better. But what you see now is not a Russso product. Just as in WWE where it's Vince McMahon's show, in TNA it's Jeff Jarrett's show. He's the primary booker with 80 percent inﬂuence over the ﬁnal product, with another 15 percent going to Dutch Mantel, and 5 percent from Russo. Jarrett sets the direction for major storylines, he books the PPV line-ups, he's behind the gimmick-crazy format (which longpreceded Russo's arrival late last year), he's behind the convoluted ﬁnishes (which longpreceded Russo)... it's his product. At booking meetings, he presents Russo with what he wants and it's Russo job to do the grunt work
TNA Star Samoa Jones
Real Life Pictures Of The Internet Wrestling Community
You read their posts every day. Now see what they look like in the real world. Say hello to this months Interwebtardz. Top to bottom; Ed Ferrara, David Bixenspan and Vinny Verhei.
of formatting it into a script. Russo can't
chanted "This is awesome" at the latest stunt by Styles - a stunt which meant nothing in the context of the match - and another thumbtacks spot. This crap is not good for TNA or wrestling, and fans who are smart enough to see the disasters that preceded it shouldn't be so easy to "pop" for the latest stupid, dangerous, or meaningless stunt. It's easy to get wrapped up in the moment live, but it's unbecoming of any respect by those in power when that's what you're popping for. Styles risked his well-being, and for what? First of all, TNA's production crew couldn't be bothered to get the camera shot right even though they knew it was coming. Second, it looks totally fake since he just happened to get knocked off the cage right above where a bunch of wrestlers had congregated and happened to be ready to catch him. Third, the huge bump had no bearing on the match or the fallout from the match. It was thrown into the match like a biscuit tossed to a dog who's been otherwise neglected and abused all day. And the St. Louis fans snapped up the biscuit, wagged their tails, and embarrassed themselves in front of TNA management by showing how "easy" they are.
ALL IS WELL
say this outloud because he'd be implicating his boss, so he sits back and takes it. Good for Dixie to stand up for him in the UK Sun interview. But Dixie isn't going to take the vocal "smart fans" (an old-style term that is used derisively within wrestling to mock fans who think they know more than they do) seriously if they can't even get their facts straight. Secondly, quit chanting "This is awesome!" at a big spot that makes no sense, has no impact, is something we've seen all too often before, and involves a near-death experience for a wrestler for zero purpose in the match especially when it's thrown on the card by Jarrett to try to distract from the fact that he's not doing anything on his own worthy of pops or praise. Last night, the fans rightfully booed the ﬁascos that were the blindfold match (among the ten worst matches I've ever seen for a number of reasons) and the electriﬁed cage match. But then, minutes later, the fans
TNA’s Ratings Draw
The Hope of TNA
Top to bottom; Dutch Mantel wears a prophetic tshirt during his wrestling days. Jeff Jarrett’s wife should be dead soon enough for him to make a full time return soon. RVD is TNA? Mr. Thursday Night has been too stoned lately to realize how much TNA sucks. Look for his debut soon. Dude.
part, then maybe Dixie would conThe point of the match was to establish a new no. 1 title contender and to see if Jarrett could be trusted. When the match was over, Jarrett had just given Sting the title shot (proving from a storyline standpoint that he "could be trusted after all," but also devilishly sending the message to fans that he could have won the match and thus was the top star of the match). On camera after the match, Joe and Sting appreciated Jarrett's move; Angle seemed upset (and we don't, yet, know why). But Styles's bump? It's already part of TNA history, except for the highlight clips of it on Impact later this week. The stunt bump Styles took is meant to appeal to bloodthirsty, stunt-seeking fans who get off on seeing a talented wrestler whose craft is being completely underutilized by an inept booking team - risk his well-being for a ﬁve second adrenaline rush that means nothing otherwise within the stories TNA is telling. Jarrett gets the spotlight on him after doing almost nothing. He's the last in the match. He throws a couple dropkicks, yanks down a couple weapons, and books himself in the glory spot of magnanimously handing Sting the win he himself earned for his team. Styles? He gets to be the stunt man who takes a risky dive for no reason other than try to prop up a promotion that is being built around a wrestler who made his triumphant, heavily-hyped return to PPV only to be met by complete silence. If the TNA fans knew their stuff and weren't chanting "Fire Russo" instead of "Fire Jarrett" or a more generic "This sh-- sucks" chant, and if they weren't so easy to forgive whenever a completely underutilized talent is used as a human sacriﬁce to distract from the fact that Jarrett has booked himself into a glory spot with little or no effort or skill being required on his sider the silence in the arena when Jarrett's music stopped and he was cleaning house in the ring as a sign of something - like, what everyone has been saying for years - which is Jarrett is not a top level act and he's holding the company back with shoddy, selfserving booking that Dixie is simply not experienced or savvy enough to detect. Instead, Dixie can write it off as ﬁnicky fans who are unpredictable and uninformed. TNA fans, if you want a better product, stop popping for meaningless stunt bumps and get your facts straight about who's to blame for what you personally don't like. Discourtesy of pwtorch.com Hi Wade.
So what’s next for Hulk?
HOGAN DOES KNOW BEST BY BRYAN ALVAREZ
The big Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Wight show at the FedEx Forum in Memphis on Friday night could best be considered a cautious success. As most of you are aware, the idea was to do Hogan vs. Jerry Lawler based on a match from 20 years ago where Lawler beat Hogan via countout. Clips of the match, minus the countout, have aired on Memphis TV forever, with the idea obviously being to claim that Lawler won via pin. In the middle of last year, they began building towards a Lawler vs. Hogan rematch, which most ﬁgured would never happen. But amazingly, the match was signed, the wheels were put into motion, and then, due to a major fallout between Vince McMahon and Hogan just weeks before the show, Lawler was not only strongly advised not to wrestle Hogan, but all WWE talent was pulled from Memphis television. Promoter Cory Maclin, who had been told that WWE would pay him back for the deposit he put down on the FedEx Forum (originally the show was supposed to take place at the much smaller Mid-South Coliseum, but the building was not up to code), refused to back down and insisted on running the show.
Hogan, though greatly upset with the turn of events (as was Lawler, though he had to politically put on a happy face), called his old buddy Paul Wight, formerly the Big Show (who Hogan broke into wrestling), and asked him to be the replacement. Lawler didn't end up coming to the show at all. The show drew at most 6,000 fans (this was the consensus from most reports, though others said there was no way 6,000 were in the building, and Bubba the Love Sponge on his radio show surprisingly claimed 2,500). The FedEx Forum seats 19,000 for basketball, which means for a wrestling indy show with no stage, ramp, etc., you could likely ﬁt 20,000 in there. With that said, WWE has run house shows and done nowhere near 20,000, and in fact not much more than Hogan drew this evening. This was also 6,000 fans drawn for one match -- one man, in fact -- as nobody was there to see Wight and they didn't even release a full card until the night before (and upon seeing the card, it could be argued that the lack of a card might have helped ticket sales). I'm told from folks in Memphis that once Jerry Lawler was pulled from the show interest plummeted greatly, so had he worked the match with Hogan they could have realistically put upwards of 9,000 or 10,000 people in the building. If you look at this from the perspective of it being an independent wrestling event, it was a pretty damn big success. In fact, you could argue that Hulk Hogan himself drew 6,000 fans or so on his own, which is very impres
sive. Hogan ended up doing over a dozen media appearances the day of the show, which likely helped walk-up quite a bit. The gate was likely in the $250,000 range, so Hogan probably made around half of that for his appearance, a pittance when you factor in what he'd make for a typical WWE PPV. However, this clearly was not about the money; the whole thing was taped by VH-1 for Hogan Knows Best, and if anything it was a video resume to hopefully get him a job with McMahon again. Reprinted without the permission of the EMPIRE~! f4wonline.com
STAR OF THE MONTH
Here’s why the markz are creaming their shortz about this dude.
“he's got way more of a
presence than Kennedy” -B.A. Lynnwood, WA
“He can eat 50 eggs” - Sweet Daddy Paddy
“MVP is definitely fabulous” - DVDA Dude
“I'm on the MVP bandwagon”
-Dave Keller WrestlingTorch.com “Anyone who posted in the MVP and CM Punk threads are shitheads. So fuck you, I'm out.” - Nut Bunnies on F$W BBS.
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