I’ve had the idea for this post for quite a while now and I’m finally getting around to actually writing it. I’m not quite sure where its headed, but I’m guessing it’s going to be a bit of a rant. For those readers that aren’t in the mood to listen to me bitch about what’s wrong with the wrestling feel free to move along.
Still with me? OK… here goes. In no particular order.
Mandatory Retirement Age
Now before you get your panties in a bunch realize that I’m not talking about a literal “happy birthday, you’re fired” retirement age. I’m talking about that point in time where the wrestling business has passed you by. Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair & Sting… I’m looking directly at the three of you. You guys are legends of the wrestling business. In fact, you’re probably (arguably) 3 of the top 5 or 10 wrestlers of all time. But it’s over. Please go away. Don’t step in the ring. Father time has caught up with you and you simply cannot “bring it” any more. If you want to stick around the business in some non-performer role I’ve got no problem with it, but your days cutting promos, blading and trying to hang with the young guys are over.
Specifically talking to Flair and Hogan here. Guys, you’ve ruined your legacy. Note that I didn’t say “you’re ruining your legacy.” Nope… that would imply that there’s a chance of NOT ruining it. You’re both well beyond that. You’re not only shells of your former selves, but you’re downright embarrassing at this point. I’m sorry to say it cause I’ve got nothing but respect for you, but you’re pathetic.
And before you think that this is only an anti-TNA rant the WWE has its share of guys that are WELL beyond their prime. The Undertaker is my all time favorite wrestler… but hung on way too long (though he only works about 3-6 months a year). Bret Hart keeps trying to roll his way to the ring. Kevin Nash finds himself in the middle of the main program. Fucking Jerry Lawler main evented a PPV last year and made his FIRST WrestleMania appearance. I hate the term “youth movement” but in this case it’s necessary.
Less Titles That Mean More
Ever since WWE purchased WCW (and essentially ECW) there are just too damn many titles. WWE has the WWE Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, US, Intercontinental, Tag Team, Divas, and pretty soon (in all likelihood) Internet. TNA has the World Heavyweight, Television, Tag Team, X Division, Knockout, and Knockout Tag Team. In 2 federations, that’s 13 titles. It seems like every match on every PPV is for a title. They’ve been WAY watered down. The WWE should combine the US & Intercontinental and the WWE and World titles. TNA has no need a Knockout Tag Team title. There’s too many titles and because of that they don’t mean shit.
Back in the day it MEANT something to be the Intercontinental Champion. Honky Tonk Man was one of the best heels in history when he held the IC strap. Why? Cause the title meant something and he cheated to hold onto it. Bret Hart and the British Bulldog main evented a PPV for the Intercontinental title in one of the best matches of all time. These titles are nothing more than props at this point… they’re swapped with such regularity that it becomes difficult to even keep track of who’s champ. The WWE championship and the TNA World Title have changed hands 6 times so far this year. The WWE & IC titles 4. Those “prestigious” titles just simply should be swapping that often… it diminishes them. I’d absolutely LOVE for Alberto Del Rio to hold onto the title through WrestleMania this year. It’d make his match absolutely HUGE regardless of who he’s wrestling. But if history is any indication… he’ll drop it in a PPV or two.
Push More Talent
I understand that some people sell more merchandise than others. I understand that there will always be talent that rises to the top and thus gets more airtime that others. I understand that this is a business and the feds are in it to make money. But Jesus Christ… if I’ve got to hear that damn John Cena theme song one more time I’m going to shoot someone. If I need to watch Eric Bischoff roll down to the ring to babble for 20 minutes with Hulk Hogan (brother) I’m going to puke (brother). There’s a whole SLEW of talented guys that are relegated to secondary shows (Smackdown) or worse yet Internet or house shows. We always hear about how both WWE and TNA are cutting back their rosters. Back in the day both the WWF and WCW/NWA rosters were huge. You know why? Cause there were jobbers. There were guys on the roster who’s only reason for being employed was to lose. To make the stars look good. The Iron Mike Sharpe’s and Barry O’s of the world are no longer there. That’s a very bad thing.
Not only did we have jobbers, but the shows weren’t based around 1 or 2 top guys. In the “Attitude Era” damn near every guy on the roster could win on any given night. Damn near every guy could and would main event a show. Part of that is that there was an overload of talent in the wrestling business at that time. But another BIG part of it was the fact that they’d had enough TV time to build their characters and people knew who they were… and cared about them. Sure, there were guys that stood out and had more TV time (Rock, Austin, Hogan, Hall & Nash) but those shows didn’t REVOLVE around them like WWE does Cena and TNA does Hogan/Bischoff these days. Note to TNA, please see point #1 above.
The drug testing policies in both the WWE and TNA are complete shams. I don’t care what Vince McMahon and Dixie Carter say, it’s not being addressed. Just in the last couple of months, Kurt Angle, Jeff & Matt Hardy, and Sin Cara (off the top of my head) have been linked to issues. These aren’t “isolated incidences” as we’re lead to believe. Here’s the most comprehensive list of dead wrestlers I could find… 261 of them. Sure, not all of them were drug related, but quite a few of them were. Not just quite a few… more than quite a few. Like, a shit ton more.
Just since the year 2000, check out this (very partial) list:
- Gary Albright (heart attack age 34)
- Bobby Duncam Jr. (drug overdose age 34)
- Yokozuna (heart attack age 34)
- Terry Gordy (heart attack age 40)
- Russ Haas (heart failure age 27)
- British Bulldog (heart attack age 39)
- Curt Hennig (drug overdose age 44)
- Miss Elizabeth (drug overdose age 42)
- Road Warrior Hawk (heart attack age 46)
- Hercules Hernandez (heart attack age 45)
Seeing a pattern yet?
- Big Boss Man (heart attack age 42)
- Eddie Guerrro (heart failure age 38)
- Bam Bam Bigelow (drug overdose age 45)
- Test (drug overdose age 34)
And that’s just the names most people would know. Folks… it’s an issue. Plain and simple. There are just WAY too many heart issues for folks that are that young and in that good of shape. Hell, if all these people are having “natural” heart attacks in the shape they’re in… I’m fucked. Institute a mandatory drug testing policy with mandatory penalties. 3 strikes and you’re fucked. Go home forever. See you on the “Where Are They Now” DVD in a few years.
I’ve got a few more, but I’ve already ranted and rambled for over 1,200 words so I’ll stop with these. I’m very passionate about this stuff because regardless of how much crap I take for it, I love professional wrestling. I’ve enjoyed it for 3 decades and plan on enjoying it for many more to come. I just really think that if some of these changes were made not only would I enjoy it more, but more wrestling fans would return or find it for the first time.
What do you think… Am I off base? Comments welcome!