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The Luscious Truth: The Fallen Geniuses of Wrestling
Column Posted by Luscious Jonny F on 11:05:50 PM Aug 19, 2008
I questioned TWNP’s columnists to write something intriguing, something different. Writing frequent columns with RAW/Smackdown/ECW reviews or taking polls doesn’t make a great column. I mentioned the psychology of professional wrestling, mentioning the Chris Jericho/Shawn Michaels feud. We know these two have chemistry in the ring and on the mic. This rivalry has been long, drawn out and even a mega-star like Jericho is trying new things at a stage in his career where he need not. It’s been everything the Cena-Batista feud is not. Even Batista will tell you this could have been so much more. It’s about trying new things; coming from left field and doing things that are not stale.
Who else has caught our attention in wrestling by doing things we have never seen? Who are some of the fallen geniuses (don't make a Lanny Poffo joke) of wrestling?
Jake “Snake” Roberts
Jake went through a childhood no one should have and basically joined the business to prove to his father (Grizzly Smith) he could. While his father may have doubted him, being born into the business really helped Roberts be a natural. He invented the DDT and even out of his prime in the mid-90s, his religious beliefs/angle became the catalyst for Austin 3:16 and launching Stone Cold’s career. When Jake was in his prime there were few better in the ring and on the mic:
If you worked through Andre’s interview (and the fact that the big man said Frito Santana), Jake could really keep the intensity going. I thought (as a 5 year old, mind you) that Jake did not stand a chance against the Giant, but his words, his passion, his creativity made me believe that he had a chance to go toe-to-toe. Jake owned the audience and I knew few that didn’t respect him. He worked so hard in the ring and understood the psychology so well; he also partied just as hard. Jake’s “personal demons” have been so well documented, I won’t get into them, but it would be a great thing for him to stay clean and write some good storylines, for any organization.
Brian Pillman started off as a very innovative high flyer that was always reliable to steal a match. I always knew that luchadores and Japanese wrestlers could pull off the best highflying moves, but Pillman was the first American wrestler that amazed me as a Cruiserweight. The heel turn with Steve Austin to form the Hollywood Blondes was one of the few things that kept me watching early 90’s WCW and the loose cannon angle is now wrestling folklore:
Was Brian Pillman a big asshole that pushed everyone’s buttons to see what he could get away with or was he working everyone from the audience, the bookers to the fans? Many to this day still don’t know. That is the work of a true genius.
Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig
Much like Jake Roberts, Curt was a second generation wrestler who was bred for greatness, in his case perfection. After championship glory in the AWA, Curt moved on to the WWE becoming, argueably the greatest Intercontinental champion of all time. His Summerslam 91 match with Bret Hart still holds up to this day…and Mr. Perfect did it with a bad back. Rumor has it that the Mr. Perfect and Red Rooster characters were created in the same afternoon. There stood the chance the Hennig could have the been Red Rooster and Terry Taylor could have been Mr. Perfect. Everything happens for a reason, but what if Hennig got that lousy angle? Well he did in late 90's WCW as a West Texas Redneck and still pulled it off with the “Rap is Crap” angle. The idiots in WCW didn’t consider that their fans ( generally of Southern descent) would praise country music over Master P’s rap. Curt had the integrity to pull it off. He could do anything and the fans could believe it, he was perfect. Unfortnately, drug issues got the better of his life and to this day Curt Hennig is fondly remembered with a legacy in his son Joe (FCW developmental talent) as well as a retrospective DVD coming out in a few weeks (which I will likely pick up the day it comes out). That’s why he always said there can and will only be one, Mr. Perfect:
After watching a documentary of The Doors’ self titled album, the band mates came to one conclusion: self-destruction does not breed creativity. There will be only one Jim Morrison (not John, although he sure looks like him), they all agreed, the creative bar was set was off the charts, but ultimately, he was his own undoing. The same can be said of Jake Roberts, Curt Hennig and Brian Pillman. I sincerely hope the wrestling world can find new stars that bring something different to the table without self-destructing in the end (Ted DiBiase, I’m looking in your direction).
Originality and creativity seem to be a rare breed in the sports entertainment world, which trickles down to this very site. When I was in grammar school, we would sometimes do current events. I usually thought of this as an easy “A”, and put little work into it, most of the time reading the article as class began. When the teacher would ask, “So Luscious Jonathan, why did you pick this article?” I would reply, “Um, cause it was interesting.” Teachers hate that response. There’s reason to: it’s cheap, easy, little effort was put in and it shows. Where I’m going with this is that people write on this site ALL THE TIME that this sucks and that blows. I hear Raw is bore and Summerslam was a waste of money. I’ve watched this business most of my life (and I’m 25) and been a columnist and reader for quite a while. There is a reason the major leagues of professional wrestling dismiss the Internet Wrestling Community: there’s too much bitching going on about the product. When a columnist can actually find something good in the current product, it intrigues me and more often than not I watch the program or view video online. Whether I agree or disagree, it got me watching wrestling and reading said person’s column to see what astute or bonehead observation is going to be made next. When you tell me something sucks with a half-ass, negative run-down of the show it makes me not only dismiss the product, but also avoid your column for good. Not all is bad here on TWNP, though some of my peers made some interesting (there goes that word again) comments that I’d like to respond to publicly:
Christian Phoenix said:
“CM Punk seems cool now kids, but wait until a year from now. This guy is going to be in the John Cena 2006 position.”
I couldn’t agree less. Punk and Cena do have one thing in common; they live their gimmicks. This always makes the characters more believable. The difference is that Cena (check out my Cena Evil, Hear No Evil column for a full observation) is a hip-hop enthusiast and is a part of a fad that young kids can latch onto (which won’t necessarily last forever). I love hip-hop too (I loathe new stuff, however), but the jersey-wearing fad from a few years ago is not as strong as it once was. Cena’s marketability appeals to a certain sector of the audience right now: kids. CM Punk is a straightedge guy who has a lot of tattoos and can wrestle. I don’t think he is getting over as much as Cena did in the beginning and I don’t think Punk cares. He’s going to do his own thing, regardless. I also praise WWE for not ending his title reign, making him more legitimate, even if his popularity is not selling as many tickets.
Christian Phoenix also said:
“I really am anticipating (Jeff) Jarrett’s return. He in my opinion is one of the best heels in pro wrestling today.” At least there is another person in this world that agrees with Jeff Jarrett and Vince Russo on that quote. Although I must give you props for writing a positive column on TNA, something rarely done here.
The Mulch said:
“Who would be a worse GM than uhDAMNlee?”
Yes, he is referring to Raw GM Mike Adamle. Mulch, why do you continue to call him “uhDAMNlee”? The only way I would find that word funny was if I was in kindergarten…and still couldn’t read. Didn’t mean to sound harsh, but I found your bit on the Warrior to be humorous as a GM. We did have a worse GM on Raw, though. Maven. If you can vividly remember what Maven did on that Raw he was GM, let me know and I will give you, the reader, a personal shout out and praise your name to the world because I have no idea what happened that Raw as I was in a coma due to Maven’s voice.
Now, I by no means am attacking fellow columnists, I am simply giving an opinion on what they have posted. It’s something that made things more exciting around here and that was what some of the columnists used to do on the site (remember the Entourage, anyone?). Did you guys agree with my opinions? Who else is a fallen genius of wrestling? Also, I am aware of the formatting issues on my columns, it is because a use a Mac (don’t send hate mail on that one please), next column, I will bust out the old PC for that one. Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.