BRM Reviews the 7/3/2020 Smackdown

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Big Red Machine
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BRM Reviews the 7/3/2020 Smackdown

Post by Big Red Machine » Jul 5th, '20, 17:39

MICHAEL COLE INTERVIEWS MATT RIDDLE- SOOOOOOOOOOOO F*CKING BAD!
Whatever material that is that Riddle is wearing, it’s distractingly shiny. Not enough to stop me from noticing the ridiculous number of times he said the word “bro.” I stopped counting after I got to fifteen and we only at about the two-minute mark. AT BEST, this was deliberate self-parody, which I think is a bad idea. At worst, he is reciting a script that Vince wanted written for him where he says the word “bro” almost compulsively. This was like a Hogan promo if each “brother,” “dude,” and “Jack” were all “bro.”
He’s also breaking into this really bad dance that he did last week. This was how I danced at my junior prom. The very next day I began making efforts to learn how do dance better. No one in WWE has apparently learned this lesson.
Cole asks him about wrestling barefoot, and we got a shot of Riddle’s feet… in his sandals, which kind of defeats the purpose of the shot if he’s not actually in the state you’re talking about, doesn’t it?
Riddle told a story of getting frostbite as a child because his parents were neglectful. That last part is my own commentary rather than something Riddle said, but what kind of parent lets their kid go running around barefoot in the snow?!
This was going so poorly that I was actually happy when Baron Corbin showed up because at least it would mean Riddle wasn’t talking for a while. I’m not even joking right now. I am honestly having trouble coming up with examples of how someone just talking to an interviewer could have gone worse without someone saying something racist or stumbling over their words or getting a basic addition problem wrong or something like that.
Corbin comes out here and starts demanding that everyone “bow down to the king” and cartoony crap like that. Corbin starts threatening Riddle and talking about a match so Riddle says okay. Corbin then tells him that his match will actually be with “this guy” and apparently John Morrison knew Corbin as talking about him. So did management book a match between Riddle and Morrison and not tell Riddle about it? Actually, this is Matt Riddle, so maybe they did and he was high and doesn’t remember. But the point is that it doesn’t look good.

MATT RIDDLE vs. JOHN MORRISON (w/The Miz)- 7.5/10
Baron Corbin was on commentary for this match, because whoever is booking this show at the moment apparently despises the audience. Shockingly, Michael Cole actually called out the thing I mentioned above and asked Corbin who is letting him make the matches. Corbin said he has “connections.” Role reminded us that when Corbin was in charge he “almost ran Monday Night Raw into the ground,” which just makes whichever decision-maker in WWE is kayfabe booking this show seem like an idiot for listening to anything Corbin has to say.
At one point Riddle came over to the commentary table and hit Corbin in the face with his shoe for absolutely no reason. What a dick.
Riddle won a match that was a lot more competitive than I was expecting. He was attacked by AJ Styles afterwards. AJ was attacked by Gulak to build up to their title match later, which, shockingly, was not in progress after we returned from a commercial break.

SARAH SCHREIBER INTERVIEWS THE MIZ, JOHN MORRISON, & BARON CORBIN- scary
They’re apparently pushing this “Corbin has connections” thing, and he says he is going to get the legs cut off of Riddle’s career. That’s worrying.
Then we went to the ring so the bell could ring for our…

WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH: AJ Styles(c) vs. Drew Gulak- 7.75/10
Yeah. Apparently that backstage segment was more important than an official intro for our IC Title match. The match itself was pretty damn great, though. At this rate, I’m just hoping we get match after match so that the bad talking segments don’t return.

WOMEN’S TITLE PICTURE SEGMENT- meh
Sasha and Bayley come out and make fun of last week’s tribute to Taker. They were eventually interrupted by Alexa Bliss! & Nikki Cross. Alexa and Nikki did comedy making fun of Sasha and Bayley being over the top.
Nikki told Bayley “your accomplishments have brought you success.” No, they haven’t. Accomplishments are proof of success. They don’t bring it with them. Barbs were exchanged and Alexa slapped Bayley, resulting in…

ALEXA BLISS! (w/Nikki Cross) vs. BAYLEY (w/Sasha Banks)- 4.5/10
Bayley wrestled in street clothes. Alexa already had her gear on, but she kept her t-shirt on anyway, I guess to not draw attention to the fact that wrestling in her gear gave her an advantage over the heel.
Bayley worked over Alexa’s hand. She eventually antagonized Nikki enough to the point where Nikki attacked her, causing Alexa to get DQed. I think you could have gotten to the same place by having Bayley beat Alexa cleanly and then have the Golden Role Models beat Alexa up and have Nikki chase them off.

BRAY WYATT VS. BRAUN STROWMAN VIDEO PACKAGE- As a video package, this was very good, but it failed to explain to us what a “Wyatt Swamp Fight” actually is. Also, the ending made me quite uncomfortable. Braun flat-out said he was going to feed Bray to some alligators. That’s f*cking MURDER right there!

KOFI KINGSTON (w/Big E.) vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA (w/Cesaro)- 7/10
Another great match, although one that definitely had some rough patches. Also, there was one sequence of “duck the kick” spots that almost looked like it was on fast forward. Nakamura won clean, which was the right finish here to build up to a title match.
Also, Big E. should never do that laughing thing again while he's a babyface. When he was kneeling next to the fallen heel and laughing in as high-pitched a manner as possible, the only thing going through my head was "this is something Jimmy Hart would do. Why is a babyface doing it?"

POST-MATCH SEGMENT- fine
The heels tried to put Kofi through a table, but Big E. made the save. We’ve got Extreme Rules coming up, but at least this was the gimmick will feel somewhat natural rather than announcing the stipulation and then doing a segment to set it up.
Or we could just announce that the tag title match will be next week. Okay…

SHEAMUS TOASTS JEFF HARDY- bad
Before this happened, Cole called it “pathetic.” On the one hand, he’s not wrong. On the other hand, it’s really hard for an announcer to say that without criticizing the promotion allowing it to take place, and especially if you’re letting Sheamus gussy the ring up like this.
So we’ve got a bartender and a bar in the ring Jeff comes out and tells Sheamus to just come out and get it over with. Sheamus then appeared on the screen from his house because he’s a coward. He cut his promo and said all of the stuff you’d expect. He told Jeff to start drinking again and the bartender shoved a drink in Jeff’s face. Jeff eventually dumped the drink on the bartender, which was fine… but then he viciously assaulted the bartender with a glass bottle and hit him with a Swanton, which was a ridiculous overreaction. This segment could have worked if Jeff stood there patiently to give Sheamus the benefit of the doubt and then beat him up when he started being an asshole, but to have Jeff beat this hired help up just didn’t work.


This was an episode of Smackdown with much better wrestling on it than I was expecting. The two segments at the beginning and end were big misses, but everything else worked pretty well for what it was.
Hold #712: ARM BAR!

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Re: BRM Reviews the 7/3/2020 Smackdown

Post by NWK2000 » Jul 6th, '20, 22:53

Big Red Machine wrote:
Jul 5th, '20, 17:39


MATT RIDDLE vs. JOHN MORRISON (w/The Miz)- 7.5/10
Baron Corbin was on commentary for this match, because whoever is booking this show at the moment apparently despises the audience. Shockingly, Michael Cole actually called out the thing I mentioned above and asked Corbin who is letting him make the matches. Corbin said he has “connections.” Role reminded us that when Corbin was in charge he “almost ran Monday Night Raw into the ground,” which just makes whichever decision-maker in WWE is kayfabe booking this show seem like an idiot for listening to anything Corbin has to say.
Unless he's bullying a Kevin Dunn esque dweeb matchmaker with physical harm unless he makes the matches he wants, which would honestly be a better use of Corbin than calling back to, arguably, the most upsetting time to be a WWE fan in history.
Up next on NWK Reviews
WWE Unforgiven 2006
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WWE Wrestlemania 21
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Re: BRM Reviews the 7/3/2020 Smackdown

Post by Serujuunin » Jul 7th, '20, 00:09

NWK2000 wrote:
Jul 6th, '20, 22:53
Big Red Machine wrote:
Jul 5th, '20, 17:39


MATT RIDDLE vs. JOHN MORRISON (w/The Miz)- 7.5/10
Baron Corbin was on commentary for this match, because whoever is booking this show at the moment apparently despises the audience. Shockingly, Michael Cole actually called out the thing I mentioned above and asked Corbin who is letting him make the matches. Corbin said he has “connections.” Role reminded us that when Corbin was in charge he “almost ran Monday Night Raw into the ground,” which just makes whichever decision-maker in WWE is kayfabe booking this show seem like an idiot for listening to anything Corbin has to say.
Unless he's bullying a Kevin Dunn esque dweeb matchmaker with physical harm unless he makes the matches he wants, which would honestly be a better use of Corbin than calling back to, arguably, the most upsetting time to be a WWE fan in history.
I’m almost tempted to say that it’s always an upsetting time to be a WWE fan. Kind of like my experience with Sonic fans. They love Sonic, but if you ask them about games or media they’ll often intensely criticize most of it, or point out small things in a sea of stuff that are gold but the rest isn’t so much.

That’s probably a really clumsy analogy, and possibly not even close to accurate (hence my qualifier of “in my experience”), but when I think about WWE (mostly the main roster but some of the things they’ve been doing in NXT lately have felt kind of silly), I can’t really think of a time span that I would consider to be objectively good. Most people have fond memories of the Attitude Era (myself included), but a lot of times when you watch it again years later, well... nostalgia-tinted glasses can only do so much.

I feel like we are kind of in a time like that right now. A lot of matches from RAW or Smackdown have been very good, but the stories and concepts and characters have been outrageous, silly, or outright awful (the “Monday Night Messiah” comes right to mind, as does “King” Corbin...) I even think they’ve run Bray’s new cool thing right into the ground and now it feels just as outlandish as the old Bray Wyatt. With that being said, when I have those types of characters in my mind... Riddle’s is perfectly enjoyable in comparison!

The Firefly Funhouse match, the Boneyard match, whatever’s been happening with Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong recently... I feel like I could think of a bunch more if I sat down and thought about it.

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Re: BRM Reviews the 7/3/2020 Smackdown

Post by Big Red Machine » Jul 7th, '20, 00:18

NWK2000 wrote:
Jul 6th, '20, 22:53
Big Red Machine wrote:
Jul 5th, '20, 17:39


MATT RIDDLE vs. JOHN MORRISON (w/The Miz)- 7.5/10
Baron Corbin was on commentary for this match, because whoever is booking this show at the moment apparently despises the audience. Shockingly, Michael Cole actually called out the thing I mentioned above and asked Corbin who is letting him make the matches. Corbin said he has “connections.” Role reminded us that when Corbin was in charge he “almost ran Monday Night Raw into the ground,” which just makes whichever decision-maker in WWE is kayfabe booking this show seem like an idiot for listening to anything Corbin has to say.
Unless he's bullying a Kevin Dunn esque dweeb matchmaker with physical harm unless he makes the matches he wants, which would honestly be a better use of Corbin than calling back to, arguably, the most upsetting time to be a WWE fan in history.
Except that this is WWE and the McMahons are always in charge. Even if they're not the ones directly running the show in kayfabe, they're the bosses and they're still responsible. If this is going on, then there is no excuse for them not knowing about it and taking action.

But, of course, that was the whole flaw with the original "blame Corbin" scheme, wasn't it? Even in kayfabe, Steph- and I guess Hunter and Vince, too- was still Corbin's boss, and there was no reason given for her absence, so at best she was crominally neglectful of her duties, and at worst was just as guilty as Corbin because she didn't put a stop to him sooner even though he was, as Michael Cole and Renee Young insisted to us every single minute of the show, "driving Monday Night Raw into the ground." Hell... Steph and Hunter were all over TV for Survivor Series the month before Corbin was fired, and they seemed to have no problems with the way he was doing things.

And they would have seen this problem if they thought things through for five seconds, but they don't. And it's the same in this situation. If the idea were supposed to be what you are proposing, they would have put it on the show. WWE is not very subtle with their storylines. But I will bet you that we weren't even supposed to think "hey! How come Corbin can book matches?"
Hold #712: ARM BAR!

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Re: BRM Reviews the 7/3/2020 Smackdown

Post by Big Red Machine » Jul 7th, '20, 00:45

Serujuunin wrote:
Jul 7th, '20, 00:09
NWK2000 wrote:
Jul 6th, '20, 22:53
Big Red Machine wrote:
Jul 5th, '20, 17:39


MATT RIDDLE vs. JOHN MORRISON (w/The Miz)- 7.5/10
Baron Corbin was on commentary for this match, because whoever is booking this show at the moment apparently despises the audience. Shockingly, Michael Cole actually called out the thing I mentioned above and asked Corbin who is letting him make the matches. Corbin said he has “connections.” Role reminded us that when Corbin was in charge he “almost ran Monday Night Raw into the ground,” which just makes whichever decision-maker in WWE is kayfabe booking this show seem like an idiot for listening to anything Corbin has to say.
Unless he's bullying a Kevin Dunn esque dweeb matchmaker with physical harm unless he makes the matches he wants, which would honestly be a better use of Corbin than calling back to, arguably, the most upsetting time to be a WWE fan in history.
I’m almost tempted to say that it’s always an upsetting time to be a WWE fan. Kind of like my experience with Sonic fans. They love Sonic, but if you ask them about games or media they’ll often intensely criticize most of it, or point out small things in a sea of stuff that are gold but the rest isn’t so much.

That’s probably a really clumsy analogy, and possibly not even close to accurate (hence my qualifier of “in my experience”), but when I think about WWE (mostly the main roster but some of the things they’ve been doing in NXT lately have felt kind of silly), I can’t really think of a time span that I would consider to be objectively good. Most people have fond memories of the Attitude Era (myself included), but a lot of times when you watch it again years later, well... nostalgia-tinted glasses can only do so much.

I feel like we are kind of in a time like that right now. A lot of matches from RAW or Smackdown have been very good, but the stories and concepts and characters have been outrageous, silly, or outright awful (the “Monday Night Messiah” comes right to mind, as does “King” Corbin...) I even think they’ve run Bray’s new cool thing right into the ground and now it feels just as outlandish as the old Bray Wyatt. With that being said, when I have those types of characters in my mind... Riddle’s is perfectly enjoyable in comparison!

The Firefly Funhouse match, the Boneyard match, whatever’s been happening with Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong recently... I feel like I could think of a bunch more if I sat down and thought about it.
I don't disagree with most of what you're saying, but I do feel the need to add a caveat:
The past eight years or so (I'll go with the change to Raw being 3 hours as starting point, but it's possible it started before that) have resulted in a change in the way WWE books their TV where they are giving matches a lot more time, which leads to (at least the opportunity for) better matches on TV on a more frequent basis. For this reason, I don't think it's necessary fair to compare the average Raw from this era to the average Raw from the Attitude Era or Ruthless Aggression Era or PG Era.
What I've learned from going back and watching the early Nitros with the Bryan & Vinny Show a few years ago and from watching some of 2001 WWF along with them now is that a better way to evaluate a lot of those matches is whether they way "good for the time they got" as opposed to whether they were over ***1/4 or whatever your threshold for good might be.
When push comes to shove I will certainly tell you that the show structure that allows for longer matches is better, but I think it's important to keep in mind that comparing the two products is not so straightforward. It might not be the proverbial apples to oranges, but I do think it's something like to comparing cooking apples to table apples. They are tools for different purposes. I think WWE has had some periods that were mostly good for what the business model and artistic model was at the time (some of the "WrestleMania Years" 80s stuff, 1997, and 2002 Smackdown immediately leap to mind. I also remember enjoying a lot of the early 2005 Raw that I've seen).

I definitely agree with your assessment of the current product (and the product that has been for the past few years). They've been using a talented roster and long matches to at least give themselves some good matches to point to as a distraction for the poor storytelling. They've hit on a few good ideas recently (and MVP in particular has been a true gem), but 95% of their output feels like stuff that could have been done a lot better.
Hold #712: ARM BAR!

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Re: BRM Reviews the 7/3/2020 Smackdown

Post by Serujuunin » Jul 7th, '20, 14:05

Big Red Machine wrote:
Jul 7th, '20, 00:45
Serujuunin wrote:
Jul 7th, '20, 00:09
NWK2000 wrote:
Jul 6th, '20, 22:53

Unless he's bullying a Kevin Dunn esque dweeb matchmaker with physical harm unless he makes the matches he wants, which would honestly be a better use of Corbin than calling back to, arguably, the most upsetting time to be a WWE fan in history.
I’m almost tempted to say that it’s always an upsetting time to be a WWE fan. Kind of like my experience with Sonic fans. They love Sonic, but if you ask them about games or media they’ll often intensely criticize most of it, or point out small things in a sea of stuff that are gold but the rest isn’t so much.

That’s probably a really clumsy analogy, and possibly not even close to accurate (hence my qualifier of “in my experience”), but when I think about WWE (mostly the main roster but some of the things they’ve been doing in NXT lately have felt kind of silly), I can’t really think of a time span that I would consider to be objectively good. Most people have fond memories of the Attitude Era (myself included), but a lot of times when you watch it again years later, well... nostalgia-tinted glasses can only do so much.

I feel like we are kind of in a time like that right now. A lot of matches from RAW or Smackdown have been very good, but the stories and concepts and characters have been outrageous, silly, or outright awful (the “Monday Night Messiah” comes right to mind, as does “King” Corbin...) I even think they’ve run Bray’s new cool thing right into the ground and now it feels just as outlandish as the old Bray Wyatt. With that being said, when I have those types of characters in my mind... Riddle’s is perfectly enjoyable in comparison!

The Firefly Funhouse match, the Boneyard match, whatever’s been happening with Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong recently... I feel like I could think of a bunch more if I sat down and thought about it.
I don't disagree with most of what you're saying, but I do feel the need to add a caveat:
The past eight years or so (I'll go with the change to Raw being 3 hours as starting point, but it's possible it started before that) have resulted in a change in the way WWE books their TV where they are giving matches a lot more time, which leads to (at least the opportunity for) better matches on TV on a more frequent basis. For this reason, I don't think it's necessary fair to compare the average Raw from this era to the average Raw from the Attitude Era or Ruthless Aggression Era or PG Era.
What I've learned from going back and watching the early Nitros with the Bryan & Vinny Show a few years ago and from watching some of 2001 WWF along with them now is that a better way to evaluate a lot of those matches is whether they way "good for the time they got" as opposed to whether they were over ***1/4 or whatever your threshold for good might be.
When push comes to shove I will certainly tell you that the show structure that allows for longer matches is better, but I think it's important to keep in mind that comparing the two products is not so straightforward. It might not be the proverbial apples to oranges, but I do think it's something like to comparing cooking apples to table apples. They are tools for different purposes. I think WWE has had some periods that were mostly good for what the business model and artistic model was at the time (some of the "WrestleMania Years" 80s stuff, 1997, and 2002 Smackdown immediately leap to mind. I also remember enjoying a lot of the early 2005 Raw that I've seen).

I definitely agree with your assessment of the current product (and the product that has been for the past few years). They've been using a talented roster and long matches to at least give themselves some good matches to point to as a distraction for the poor storytelling. They've hit on a few good ideas recently (and MVP in particular has been a true gem), but 95% of their output feels like stuff that could have been done a lot better.
That’s completely fair, and at the end of the day, wrestling is about wrestling, the story and characters (as much as I’m into it all as a writer) just supports it. Gives two people a reason to fight, gives someone motivation to do a thing, etc. I also think part of the reason why the Attitude Era feels so different is that as we’ve grown up between now and then, a lot of the stuff they did in that time is kind of bad taste, sometimes even outwardly offensive (even to me, who is so against the current snowflake cancel culture crap going on these days).

I will agree with you, as much as I really don’t like Lashley right now, MVP is straight fire with his promos. I did feel like the one from this weeks RAW was a little too over the top for me but hey, you can’t win them all.

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Re: BRM Reviews the 7/3/2020 Smackdown

Post by Big Red Machine » Jul 7th, '20, 16:58

Serujuunin wrote:
Jul 7th, '20, 14:05
at the end of the day, wrestling is about wrestling, the story and characters (as much as I’m into it all as a writer) just supports it. Gives two people a reason to fight, gives someone motivation to do a thing, etc.
I'm... not totally sure I agree with this statement. Once you get out of the early days of wrestling where you were just trying to make money by cheating gamblers and marks, and especially once you hit the 80s with the advent of the "build to a really big show where you pay off your angles" formula, I think wrestling- or, perhaps, rather, booking- really matures into a true art-form (basically, whenever the idea becomes "if this idea catches on, I'll blow it off at this target show here" rather than just keeping on doing f*ck finishes and holding off on doing a blow-off until the houses start to go down to wring as much money as possible out of each storyline).

Wrestling is the premise, but I think there always does need to be a story, even if that story is as simple as someone seeking wins to advance up the rankings. Without that framing, it's just pointless fake fighting.


Serujuunin wrote:
Jul 7th, '20, 14:05
I also think part of the reason why the Attitude Era feels so different is that as we’ve grown up between now and then, a lot of the stuff they did in that time is kind of bad taste, sometimes even outwardly offensive (even to me, who is so against the current snowflake cancel culture crap going on these days).
This is totally true, and not just in terms of good taste. Even if one takes the concept of good taste out of it, a lot of the undercard stuff was illogical utter dreck (especially when Russo was booking). In a promotion that is theoretically trying to be raunchy and doesn't mind playing with stereotypes (like some sort of HoodSlam-equse thing maybe), Choppy-Choppy Your Peepee could be fair game as an angle and I could make the artistic argument in its favor... but the logic and storytelling failing involved in the way things actually played would need to be addressed first.

It really is true what people say about the main event being your lasting impression of things. WWF had bad undercards and great main event matches so people looked at it a lot more fondly han WCW, which had great undercard action and terrible main events.

Ian Riccaboni did make an interesting point on Between The Sheets a few months ago that Sable's stuff was actually a lot more progressive in hindsight than people give it credit for because she always had agency (contrast that with the "just booka bikini contest" era we'd get later on)
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Re: BRM Reviews the 7/3/2020 Smackdown

Post by Serujuunin » Jul 8th, '20, 22:57

Big Red Machine wrote:
Jul 7th, '20, 16:58
Serujuunin wrote:
Jul 7th, '20, 14:05
at the end of the day, wrestling is about wrestling, the story and characters (as much as I’m into it all as a writer) just supports it. Gives two people a reason to fight, gives someone motivation to do a thing, etc.
I'm... not totally sure I agree with this statement. Once you get out of the early days of wrestling where you were just trying to make money by cheating gamblers and marks, and especially once you hit the 80s with the advent of the "build to a really big show where you pay off your angles" formula, I think wrestling- or, perhaps, rather, booking- really matures into a true art-form (basically, whenever the idea becomes "if this idea catches on, I'll blow it off at this target show here" rather than just keeping on doing f*ck finishes and holding off on doing a blow-off until the houses start to go down to wring as much money as possible out of each storyline).

Wrestling is the premise, but I think there always does need to be a story, even if that story is as simple as someone seeking wins to advance up the rankings. Without that framing, it's just pointless fake fighting.
You're not wrong, but I also think that wrestling has evolved recently (especially in WWE... they're always behind on the times I feel like), where the focus is on what happens in the ring. It's this weird thing where you can't really take away the story because it becomes, like you said, fake fighting, but you can't take the fighting away either because the story most of the time can't stand on it's own. And a lot of the story can, and should be (in my opinion), happening in the ring. That's what separates it from MMA. It's not a straight up contest, they're trying to further an idea and tell a story while at the same time showcasing the athletic abilities of the wrestlers.

I think I'm not really articulating my thoughts quite right, but that's also why I have such a hard time explaining to people why I watch wrestling lol.
Big Red Machine wrote:
Jul 7th, '20, 16:58
Serujuunin wrote:
Jul 7th, '20, 14:05
I also think part of the reason why the Attitude Era feels so different is that as we’ve grown up between now and then, a lot of the stuff they did in that time is kind of bad taste, sometimes even outwardly offensive (even to me, who is so against the current snowflake cancel culture crap going on these days).
This is totally true, and not just in terms of good taste. Even if one takes the concept of good taste out of it, a lot of the undercard stuff was illogical utter dreck (especially when Russo was booking). In a promotion that is theoretically trying to be raunchy and doesn't mind playing with stereotypes (like some sort of HoodSlam-equse thing maybe), Choppy-Choppy Your Peepee could be fair game as an angle and I could make the artistic argument in its favor... but the logic and storytelling failing involved in the way things actually played would need to be addressed first.

It really is true what people say about the main event being your lasting impression of things. WWF had bad undercards and great main event matches so people looked at it a lot more fondly than WCW, which had great undercard action and terrible main events.

Ian Riccaboni did make an interesting point on Between The Sheets a few months ago that Sable's stuff was actually a lot more progressive in hindsight than people give it credit for because she always had agency (contrast that with the "just booka bikini contest" era we'd get later on)
I can see where you're coming from about the main event. I guess that's why there is so much more effort put into it than into the undercard, because that's the part people remember (also why it's so much more harmful when a main event goes poorly, I guess). It also kinda fits perfectly into WWE's model of "Superstars" versus wrestlers.

I did kinda find Sable to be in bad taste even at the time (probably because I'm a woman), but I did appreciate, even when I was younger, that she had complete agency over her actions and wasn't forced into doing something (on screen, I don't know anything about her backstage politics at all and I'm not sure I even want to go there). It is kind of sneakily empowering to women while being disguised as misogyny. It would be different if she had the mindset of "well, I'm never going to be a superstar as an athlete, so I guess I have to do this", versus her mindset of "well, if you got it, use it". But that's also the kind of thing that you can appreciate more in hindsight, I think.

When you look at wrestling as a cultural phenomenon, it's so captivating. The gender and societal norms and effects on society and stuff, it's so weird.

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Re: BRM Reviews the 7/3/2020 Smackdown

Post by Big Red Machine » Jul 9th, '20, 15:05

Serujuunin wrote:
Jul 8th, '20, 22:57


I can see where you're coming from about the main event. I guess that's why there is so much more effort put into it than into the undercard, because that's the part people remember (also why it's so much more harmful when a main event goes poorly, I guess). It also kinda fits perfectly into WWE's model of "Superstars" versus wrestlers.

I did kinda find Sable to be in bad taste even at the time (probably because I'm a woman), but I did appreciate, even when I was younger, that she had complete agency over her actions and wasn't forced into doing something (on screen, I don't know anything about her backstage politics at all and I'm not sure I even want to go there). It is kind of sneakily empowering to women while being disguised as misogyny. It would be different if she had the mindset of "well, I'm never going to be a superstar as an athlete, so I guess I have to do this", versus her mindset of "well, if you got it, use it". But that's also the kind of thing that you can appreciate more in hindsight, I think.


Hindsight is definitely a factor here. What Sable was doing at the time was so different from everything we'd seen in wrestling before, and I think that it needs that sort of "T&A just for T&A's sake, even within kayfabe" of the era that came after to have the contrast to make it worthy of some reexamination.

For the record, the argument isn't that there wasn't misogyny involved. Looking at the principal architects (McMahon, Russo, Kevin Dunn) and what they've done at many other points, I don't think it's deniable that there was misogyny involved. The fact that it came out the way it did is more of an "even a broken clock is right twice a day" thing, with the desire to get Sable's boobs on TV combining with Russo's "everyone must be involved in some sort of storyline" ethos (which would often strangle shows to death but made him popular with the undercard wrestlers) combining to create a situation that, when looked at through the lens of history, was actually more empowering than the era that came after it, which is usually seen as tamer and thus erroneously assumed to be less bad.



As far as Sable backstage, there are, to my know knowledge, no stories of her doing anything untoward, though once her push started, she did develop a Shawn Michaels-esque "I'm the big star around here" and "I don't want to do a job" attitude. The theory is that the ridiculous title change where she lost the belt to Debra in an evening gown match even though she won but Shawn came out and announced Debra as the winner because he liked the fact that she got her clothes ripped off was actually a screwjob and this was the only way they could get the belt off of her (which they felt they needed to because she was already on the outs with the company and her contract was expiring soon).
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