Let’s start with a question.
Why has it taken me almost two full years to write a new Balrog Babblings column?
A few, brief thoughts. First, many of you know that I own TBLWrestling.com as well as a variety of other websites, including TNAStars.com. Well, my last Balrog Babblings column was written in June 2009, which was right about the time that I began to really put in a lot of time designing a then-yet-to-be-opened TNAStars.com. Opening TNAStars.com was initially a fun side project for me, but it eventually became a really great online passion that I currently spend the bulk of my “online time” working on.
Second, I’ve been saying and writing for years that I don’t watch WWE. I just don’t watch it, period. All of those years ago when I saw how Triple H manipulated the system to keep himself on top of the promotion (with or without a championship, with or without a victory, with or without fan support), I began to really sour on the product. Granted, Triple H has gone away for the most part, but he ruined the unbelievable respect and admiration that I had for WWE as a company. Not a wrestling company, mind you, but a company that I believed was well-run and worthy of my time and money. In fact, I was so fed up that I sold my stock in the company, I stopped watching their shows, I stopped reporting about them on the websites that I owned, and I generally gave up on sports entertainment (until I got hooked on TNA Wrestling, but that’s another story).
And that gets me to the point of this column. This is a somber column to write, actually, but coming out of WrestleMania 27 I was motivated to put some thoughts together on the show. And what a show it was!
What an absolutely mediocre, bland, anything-but-electrifying show it was…
After watching WrestleMania XXVII – the first full WWE show that I’ve watched in about five years – a few things are now obvious to me. First, the vast majority of WWE fans on social networking sites (Twitter especially) are blind marks. Remember, I think the word “mark” is a good term because it means you’re a fan of something, it means you appreciate what the performers are doing, it means that you enjoy watching the sport of the entertainment – I think it’s a term to generally be proud of as a fan. However, there is such a thing as a blind mark and that’s not as good of a term. A blind mark cheers for a wrestler or a promotion no matter what they produce. And, unfortunately, after reading hundreds (literally, hundreds) of post-WrestleMania 27 tweets, Facebook updates, comments on blogs, and chatter it is blatantly apparent that many of the members of the “WWE Universe” are blind to what they’re seeing. I was reading comments about how the Triple H vs. Undertaker match was a Match of the Year candidate.
Anyone who believes that this match was a Match of the Year candidate really needs to break out of the sports entertainment mold and watch an AJ Styles match. Go over to Ring of Honor (you can find them on YouTube) and watch any of their matches. Do some YouTubing and find some of Japan’s latest matches. Better yet, see if you can find some of the Beer Money vs. Motor City Machine Gun matches from TNA Wrestling in 2010. You want to talk about entertaining matches and performers that are worthy of being a Match of the Year? Watch some of those matches!
But to say that Triple H vs. Undertaker was worthy of being a Match of the Year candidate is insulting. It’s insulting to professional wrestlers and sports entertainers. In fact, I’d say that it is as insulting as the completely overblown post-match “suffering” that The Undertaker performed after being attacked by Triple H. It was too dramatic, too overblown, and too much to even mean anything. But that’s Triple H’s influence on the bookers over the last decade – he doesn’t mind losing the match as long as he’s the perceived tougher guy and winner in the end.
It’s a joke. An absolute joke.
Was WrestleMania 27 a bad show? Of course not. It was good. In fact, I’d say that it was a really solid two and a half hour wrestling show stretched out over an agonizing four hour period with a piss poor ending to the main event. Was it worthy of 10 out of 10 stars? Not a chance. The exorbitant and unnecessary length of the show alone disqualifies it from a perfect score. Was it 1 out of 10 stars? No way! At its lowest, I’d give WrestleMania 27 some 4.5 out of 10 stars. At its highest, the show was no better than 6 out of 10 stars. Shorten the show by about an hour and a half and remove the Triple H bullshit and I can add another star and a half onto either of those ratings.
That’s about as a fair an assessment as you’ll read anywhere on the internet about WrestleMania XXVII (my opinion is skewed, of course). And that’s what gets me to the title of this column – my fears have been proven true.
Many years ago when WWE bought WCW, I (along with many other wrestling fans) feared that WWE’s monopoly on mainstream wrestling would lead to many bad, unintended outcomes including the possibility of a generation of zombie fans who praised everything that the company produced for lack of a viable alternative. Reading those hundreds of post-WrestleMania 27 complimentary tweets, comments, and updates did nothing more than confirm my fears about about a WWE-only mainstream wrestling world. That is – the crap that is being put out by WWE is being held up and heralded as the best that this business has to offer.
WrestleMania XXVII was not the best that professional wrestling (or sports entertainment for that matter) has to offer. It was not historic, it was not monumental, it was not groundbreaking, it was not electrifying, it was not showstopping, it was not memorable – it was simply a good show. And the fact that the WWE Universe went absolutely crazy over the show proves my fears of a zombie fan base true.
More importantly, though, it proves to me that my choice to stop watching WWE programming some five years ago was the right decision. And that, my friends, is pretty disheartening for this professional wrestling fan.
For more thoughts on WrestleMania, check out this column by Mark Littles on TNAStars.com: A Mark’s View #5 – Wrestlemania vs. TNA Impact