Board logo

EVENT DISCUSSION: WWE Dirrrty Money in the Desert (November 2, 2018)
OORick - 10-31-2018 at 11:43 PM

I'm going out of town for a very long (read, "very drunk") weekend with friends, almost entirely off-the-grid, Thursday through Sunday.... so I figured, as much as some of us seem keen to pretend it's not happening, I should probably get this thread started for Friday afternoon's WWE show in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

But I don't really feel like going all in-depth with my standard style of preview, so I think I'll just leave it up to John Oliver to provide -- more or less -- the key things you need to know:



[Note: I set it to autoplay at the 3:05 mark, which is basically the punchline of a longer segment that has its ups and downs. But feel free to manually over-ride to watch the whole thing.]


Paddlefoot - 11-1-2018 at 12:23 AM

BOYCOTT! BOYCOTT! BOYCOTT! FOOKIN' SAUDIS!


SpiNNeR72 - 11-1-2018 at 01:52 PM

Have been away this week so only just back and caught up on RAW/SD and the news.

I think watching both those shows having avoided the internet made it even more surreal watching the promotion for a show while carefully never mentioning it's location, and the fact it got booed every time it was mentioned.

(Not to mention the collective groan for Takers "error" line)

Also, I actually laughed out load a little when he said "It will be slow, agonising, pain"


Given thier obvious attempts to distance themselves as best they can, it makes me wonder why they have bothered promoting it at all on TV outside of Saudi.

I predict in the future these shows will be more like Beast from the East type "Super house shows" with a few big matches but not integral to ongoing TV and angles.

I will be watching, on saturday with a few beers, partly because there are a few genuinely interesting matchups from a wrestling point of view, and out of morbid curiousity to see how it all plays out.

Feel bad for HBK - must be the most anticlimatic return from retirement of al time!

[Edited on 11-1-2018 by SpiNNeR72]


SpiNNeR72 - 11-1-2018 at 01:54 PM

Shit - double post

[Edited on 11-1-2018 by SpiNNeR72]


DKBroiler - 11-1-2018 at 09:05 PM

My sneakers were probably made in an Asian sweatshop. The veal I ate last week probably had a shitty existence. There will probably be 50 people murdered today across the globe in just as horrific ways. Itís not that I donít care, but I just donít care enough to have it ruin my day.

Iíll watch it eventually. Oh well.


the goon - 11-2-2018 at 12:12 AM

Dare I even offer up my predictions for this one?

Aw, what the hell:

Brock Lesnar vs Braun Strowman: I kind of feel like you have to put the title on Strowman here, just because the guy is like 0-5 lifetime in PPV matches for the Universal title. On the flipside, does the WWE really job Lesnar out two times in a row? Who the fuck knows, but I'll pick Braun Strowman to win.

AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe: I've predicted AJ to lose the title multiple times during his reign and it's never happened. But I really feel like Joe gets the win here, just because it's pointless to have him lose yet again to AJ (not to mention the cynic in thinks that it would be the WWE's way of saying "Hey Daniel Bryan, you don't want to work Crown Jewel? Well that's fine, we'll just put the WWE title on your replacement then!"). So I'm going with Joe to (finally) win the WWE title.

DX vs Taker/Kane: Under normal circumstances I'd be super excited to see my all-time favorite wrestler back in the ring, but man, this has turned into about as anti-climatic of a return as there could be. I'll go with the Brothers of Destruction to win and who knows where the hell this feud goes after this.

World Cup Tournament: Since I'm too lazy to get super in-depth here, I'll pick Angle, Lashley, Hardy, and Mysterio to win in the opening round. Then Mysterio and Lashley winning in the next round, and finally Lashley winning the whole thing.

The Bar vs The New Day: I'll pick the heels to win after some Big Show interference.


OORick - 11-2-2018 at 12:21 AM

For those treating this thread like a regular PPV thread, with predictions and stuff, here's a tidbit that I don't know if you know about:

Drew McIntyre is not anywhere on the listed card. But he's on the ground in Riyadh as we speak, despite WWE's desire to keep costs down by taking the least number of performers possible.

I'll just go out on a limb that he's not there to show up in Dolph's corner for a 1st round J-O-B. I'll go even further out on that limb and say he's not there to help Dolph win the tourney. So that leaves exactly one option:

Somebody's thinking about putting the belt on Brock for the time being, and running with Braun vs. Drew as a non-title feud. Or am I missing something?


GodEatGod - 11-2-2018 at 12:22 AM

Even beyond the geopolitical mess, the show itself kind of stinks. Like, Joe and Styles will be fine, of course, but their feud was already played out and I doubt Joe's got a chance at taking the title subbing at the last minute for Bryan. I don't care about either guy in the Universal title match (I don't hate Braun, he's just not my guy really). The tournament is a) meaningless and b) mostly old guys past their prime (and Bobby Lashley).

And I really don't care about DX/Brothers. Just...no.


GodEatGod - 11-2-2018 at 12:24 AM

quote:
Originally posted by OORick
Somebody's thinking about putting the belt on Brock for the time being, and running with Braun vs. Drew as a non-title feud. Or am I missing something?


There's always the incredibly unlikely possibility of them inserting Drew into Brock/Braun and having Drew walk away with the belt, stealing it out from under Braun's nose. I mean, that's not likely, but I like it better than the other two options.


nOOb - 11-2-2018 at 10:38 AM

I figure the ending will be Heyman blinds Strowman, Brock covers, new champ. Then Hulk Hogan comes out to help Strowman for reasons, Heyman insults Hogan and calls for him to take an impromptu title match, Hogan goes in, Heyman accidentally blinds Lesnar, Leg drop, two new champs in one show. Because thatís probably as far as the audience has gotten as far as wrestling culture/history goes.

Also itís 5:40am CST and this event is still not cancelled.


CamstunPWG187 - 11-2-2018 at 11:50 AM

Hereís to hoping Cena and Daniel Bryan donít get car-bombed


DKBroiler - 11-2-2018 at 01:38 PM

quote:
Originally posted by nOOb
I figure the ending will be Heyman blinds Strowman, Brock covers, new champ. Then Hulk Hogan comes out to help Strowman for reasons, Heyman insults Hogan and calls for him to take an impromptu title match, Hogan goes in, Heyman accidentally blinds Lesnar, Leg drop, two new champs in one show. Because thatís probably as far as the audience has gotten as far as wrestling culture/history goes.

Also itís 5:40am CST and this event is still not cancelled.


I canít lie ... if this happened Iíd love it cause itís supposed to be entertainment. It never will happen but Hogan as a 4 day WWE champ would be funny as hell.


DKBroiler - 11-2-2018 at 01:39 PM

quote:
Originally posted by CamstunPWG187
Hereís to hoping Cena and Daniel Bryan donít get car-bombed


Yeah and this.


Paddlefoot - 11-2-2018 at 04:55 PM

Cena & Bryan should be safe. Saudis are restricting the use of high-ex for school buses in Yemen only these days. Thinking more right now that with WWE's total moral collapse, as shown by their willingness to accept money from arguably one of the worst behaving countries on the planet, that there is no reason anymore to keep the memory of Chris Benoit buried. If someone gives them enough cash to overlook everything from the Saudi involvement in killing 3000 people (mostly Americans) on Sept 11, 2001 to being the primary financial supporter and religious inspiration for ISIS to dropping JDAMs on Yemeni children, then putting some guy who had a Swiss-cheese brain from all the wrestling-created concussions he got into the WWE HOF even though he ganked his own wife and kid in a spectacular fashion shouldn't be that big of an ethical conundrum.

Ah well, it is what it is...

For a country that executes gay people, Saudi Arabia sure does love watching half naked oily men wrestle each other. #WWECrownJewel

— Marie Connor (@thistallawkgirl) November 2, 2018





[Edited on 11/2/2018 by Paddlefoot]


G. Jonah Jameson - 11-2-2018 at 05:49 PM

quote:
Originally posted by CamstunPWG187
Hereís to hoping Cena and Daniel Bryan donít get car-bombed


Probably nothing to worry about there. The Saudis know that the Pathological-Liar-in-Chief doesn't care about journalists, but he damn sure cares about organizations that put him in their hall of fame.


janerd75 - 11-2-2018 at 06:30 PM

If'n you ain't watchin' (I ain't), here's a decent live recappening:

https://www.cbssports.com/wwe/news/wwe-crown-jewel-results-live-updates-recap-grades-world-cup-start-time-highlights/

Spoilert: Meh, so far.


williamssl - 11-2-2018 at 06:37 PM

BROCK! (with assist from Corbin)


CamstunPWG187 - 11-2-2018 at 06:39 PM

Haha wow.

Vince really gung-ho with that WWE CHAMP/UFC CHAMP idea.


gbdulaney - 11-2-2018 at 06:39 PM

quote:
Originally posted by williamssl
BROCK! (with assist from Corbin)


WTF WWE???? Corbin with cheap shot and 5 F-5's. Say goodbye to the Universal Championship for months.

[Edited on 11-2-2018 by gbdulaney]


Paddlefoot - 11-2-2018 at 06:44 PM

quote:
Originally posted by williamssl
BROCK! (with assist from Corbin)



janerd75 - 11-2-2018 at 06:45 PM

Bork's the Champeen agayn, huh? Cool. Cool cool cool.



Thanks a lot, cancer.


CamstunPWG187 - 11-2-2018 at 06:45 PM

Just read the report!

Haha jesus fucking christ, they didnít even try to make Strowman look competitive. Say what you will, but he straight jobbed to Lesnar right there. I donít give a fuck how many times he kicked out. From the sounds of it, Strowman didnít get any offense in and will now feud with Corbin.

I know the supporters-of-things-that-are-mediocre-and-refuse-to-refer-to-Rickís-subOOrdination-is-cOOl-article will come out and claim that things are just great, but thatís a crock of shit.

Fuck you for saying this is good television.


First 9 - 11-2-2018 at 06:49 PM

I really hope Cormier forces WWE into the corner and publicly announces that he wants his match with Brock to be for both Titles.

Also, goddamnit please don't have AJ lose to Brock again at SS.


Paddlefoot - 11-2-2018 at 06:50 PM

quote:
Originally posted by CamstunPWG187Fuck you for saying this is good television.


Pretty sure that the last time anyone around here cheered for Lesnar was when Goldberg returned. And they were in the minority then too.


CamstunPWG187 - 11-2-2018 at 06:51 PM

Wow, that was fast. Itís like WWE doesnít even try to hide the fact that pro wrestling is fake anymore.

Just immediately booking Aj vs Lesnar again IMMEDIATELY.

Bleh


CamstunPWG187 - 11-2-2018 at 06:53 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Paddlefoot
quote:
Originally posted by CamstunPWG187Fuck you for saying this is good television.


Pretty sure that the last time anyone around here cheered for Lesnar was when Goldberg returned. And they were in the minority then too.


Iím referring to their defense of the product in general


gbdulaney - 11-2-2018 at 06:54 PM

just when I thought it couldn't get any worse....Shane O'mac is the best in the world????


Wickedfrost - 11-2-2018 at 06:56 PM

quote:
Originally posted by gbdulaney
just when I thought it couldn't get any worse....Shane O'mac is the best in the world????


This. Probably 100 other options to go with here and they choose this.

To add: Most of the talent came out despite the potential long term impact it may have on their lives and livelihoods. Maybe Miz was scheduled to win that match - but it's not like Ziggler couldn't run with that ball. Whose fucking cornflakes has he pissed in.

[Edited on 11-2-2018 by Wickedfrost]


Paddlefoot - 11-2-2018 at 06:58 PM

quote:
Originally posted by CamstunPWG187
Iím referring to their defense of the product in general


Can't condemn all of it just because some of it is crap. That's unfair to the performers who are trying hard to do the best show they can despite Vince's stupid ideas and priorities kicking them in the back of the leg when they actually get running with something good. When Bork comes on RAW I'll shut it off or mute it. When Rollins, Dean, Sasha, or McIntyre are on I'll watch it. That's really all I can do.

quote:
Originally posted by gbdulaney
just when I thought it couldn't get any worse....Shane O'mac is the best in the world????


Sigh. What a crappy day.

[Edited on 11/2/2018 by Paddlefoot]


CamstunPWG187 - 11-2-2018 at 07:01 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Paddlefoot
quote:
Originally posted by CamstunPWG187
Iím referring to their defense of the product in general


Can't condemn all of it just because some of it is crap. That's unfair to the performers who are trying hard to do the best show they can despite Vince's stupid ideas and priorities kicking them in the back of the leg when they actually get running with something good. When Bork comes on RAW I'll shut it off or mute it. When Rollins, Dean, Sasha, or McIntyre are on I'll watch it. That's really all I can do.

quote:
Originally posted by gbdulaney
just when I thought it couldn't get any worse....Shane O'mac is the best in the world????


Sigh. What a crappy day.

[Edited on 11/2/2018 by Paddlefoot]


Point taken, mate.

Edit: Just read about Shane winning a tournament he wasnít even in. How very WCW.

Nah, sorry, back to what I said originally.

Fuck you if you think this is good television.

[Edited on 11-2-2018 by CamstunPWG187]


First 9 - 11-2-2018 at 07:02 PM

quote:
Originally posted by gbdulaney
just when I thought it couldn't get any worse....Shane O'mac is the best in the world????


You know what? Fuck it, Shane is bound to get another WM match and WWE will want him to present as a legitimate top guy. Have him get a strong showing ere in this meaningless show and then get clobbered at Survivor Series and WM.


janerd75 - 11-2-2018 at 07:03 PM

In maybe not-so-inadvertent MetaWWE news, it kinda makes sense that a McMahon with this theme song would close out the show.



ETA: Oh right, I forgot about the old dudes.

Carny folk. Carny folk never change.

[Edited on 11-2-2018 by janerd75]


gbdulaney - 11-2-2018 at 07:14 PM

quote:
Originally posted by First 9
quote:
Originally posted by gbdulaney
just when I thought it couldn't get any worse....Shane O'mac is the best in the world????


You know what? Fuck it, Shane is bound to get another WM match and WWE will want him to present as a legitimate top guy. Have him get a strong showing ere in this meaningless show and then get clobbered at Survivor Series and WM.


I'm surprised it wasn't Vince winning honestly!


CamstunPWG187 - 11-2-2018 at 07:18 PM

WWE making the show so bad that SA wonít want them back.


Paddlefoot - 11-2-2018 at 07:35 PM

BAH GAWD! That's almost 300 lbs on the hoof, King!

HOLY SHIT, WHAT IMPACT!!!#WWECrownJewel pic.twitter.com/u7kgRWGwP8

— TGFish7 (@TGFish7) November 2, 2018



There's probably not going to be enough alcohol on the airliners back home to help the talent emotionally get over what they had to do for this show.

[Edited on 11/2/2018 by Paddlefoot]


janerd75 - 11-2-2018 at 08:12 PM

That Haitch-Taker sequence was positively Steiner-esque in its execution. What a maneuver.



In conclusion, I believe this event can be summed up thusly:


williamssl - 11-2-2018 at 08:13 PM

quote:
Originally posted by CamstunPWG187

Just immediately booking Aj vs Lesnar again IMMEDIATELY.

Bleh


In fairness, Survivor Series is champ vs. champ so the match was set, all that was missing was the name of the Universal Champion.


gbdulaney - 11-2-2018 at 08:18 PM

quote:
Originally posted by janerd75
That Haitch-Taker sequence was positively Steiner-esque in its execution. What a maneuver.



In conclusion, I believe this event can be summed up thusly:




AMEN!


Paddlefoot - 11-2-2018 at 08:31 PM

Maybe the Saudis will include a 200-round artillery strike on a Yemeni hospital as part of the fireworks or toss a dozen gays off a ten-storey building to celebrate the end of the show.


Planet Starbucks - 11-2-2018 at 09:07 PM

I'm dumbfounded by Braun's booking this past year. When his push first started, he certainly wasn't an internet favourite and seemed to be just another big man who gave Vince a boner despite limited talent.

But then he formed a connection, improved a lot and got seriously over with the fans. I assumed Vince would be salivating and scrambling to put the belt on him - finally somebody he had chosen himself had been embraced by the ungrateful masses!

Instead, he has systematically cooled him off by jobbing him out in big matches and turning him heel to continue feeding project Roman. Now he's significantly less over and his pops have noticeably reduced. I just don't get it. He's not really one of my guys, but if he's not the best candidate (of the full timers) in Vince's mind to step in to Roman's spot then I don't know who is. These days I honestly cannot even begin to predict the direction that Vince wants to take moving forward.


Count Zero - 11-2-2018 at 09:20 PM

Y'know how, sometimes, you have to divorce the artist from their artwork? E.g. Michael Jackson did some awesome tunes, but was weird (among other things)?

The WWE is a case of divorcing the art from the artists. I like a lot of the performers and what they CAN do, I just end up hating what "Booking" -makes- them do.


nOOb - 11-2-2018 at 10:00 PM

So here's a question: is Lashley/Lesnar even a possibility at this point? I know that Brock is all "OMG FORMER UFC CHAMP~!" and all, but Lashley is probably a better fighter. I mean, yeah, Brock had the stomach issues and all, but he also had all of 5 wins, one of which was against a guy that specifically existed to showcase new fighters in Japan. And two of those were against fighters in their prime (Carwin and Mir). Lashley doesn't have any real name opponents, but he beat them all pretty easily and the few fights I saw of him he seemed to improve everytime and be good at everything. Maybe if Lesnar beats DC, they can have him fight Bobby Lashley for both titles?


CVD39 - 11-2-2018 at 10:24 PM

I donít know how to share an image but there was a sign in the crowd that said ďWe murdered a journalist and all we got was Crown JewelĒ with a picture of a Saudi ripping off a shirt. Wow.


First 9 - 11-2-2018 at 10:40 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Planet Starbucks
I'm dumbfounded by Braun's booking this past year. When his push first started, he certainly wasn't an internet favourite and seemed to be just another big man who gave Vince a boner despite limited talent.

But then he formed a connection, improved a lot and got seriously over with the fans. I assumed Vince would be salivating and scrambling to put the belt on him - finally somebody he had chosen himself had been embraced by the ungrateful masses!

Instead, he has systematically cooled him off by jobbing him out in big matches and turning him heel to continue feeding project Roman. Now he's significantly less over and his pops have noticeably reduced. I just don't get it. He's not really one of my guys, but if he's not the best candidate (of the full timers) in Vince's mind to step in to Roman's spot then I don't know who is. These days I honestly cannot even begin to predict the direction that Vince wants to take moving forward.


It's actually kind of fascinating for me because I don't remember the last time they cooled off on such an ideal ''Vince guy''. Kane and Big Show were fed to much bigger stars, Lashley had backstage issues, Ryback sucked, Sheamus was over but not top guy over, but Braun Strowman became the most over guy in the company and WWE slowly but surely took away his mystique.


the goon - 11-3-2018 at 02:25 AM

I just finished watching the show with my finger pretty heavily on the fast-forward button, but it seems like it was the same glorified house show that Greatest Royal Rumble/Super Show-Down were. Random thoughts:

-The Shane thing was just baffling. In addition to making zero sense, it was a total heel move that the babyface GM of Smackdown shouldn't be making (unless this somehow leads to a Shane heel turn, but I kind of doubt it if there's going to be a RAW vs Smackdown match at Survivor Series). And Jesus, you have Ziggler beat Angle and Rollins, which is pretty huge for him, and then lose to Shane fucking McMahon in the finals? The only consolation I can take from that is that winning the world cup tournament probably would have done as much for Ziggler as winning the Greatest Royal Rumble did for Braun Strowman.

-Speaking of Strowman, I actually don't have a major problem with how he was booked, just because he's pretty bulletproof at this point and he clearly got screwed over before the bell even rang for the match. The bigger issue is that he's now something like 0-5 lifetime in PPV matches for the Universal title, so at this point it's just going to seem anti-climatic if/when he does win it, just because he's had so many chances. And Brock Lesnar has to be the smartest man in wrestling, as three of his matches in the past two years have lasted about five minutes or less and he probably made a gazillion dollars from them.

-So with AJ's victory and the announcement of AJ/Brock for Survivor Series, that means he's holding the belt until at least December. Per Wikipedia, he needs 75 more days as champion to beat CM Punk's reign, so if he holds the belt until the Rumble, he'll do it. And everyone else's mileage may very, but I'm pretty psyched for AJ/Brock II.

-After the initial shock of seeing Shawn Michaels wrestle while bald, I don't hate it. The guy is 53 and has been covering up his baldness in way one or another for years...it was time to let it go. And I thought he looked about as good as could be expected, so I'm curious to see what he could do against someone who's not Taker/Kane.

-For what it's worth, I went 2-9 on my predictions.


williamssl - 11-3-2018 at 02:40 AM

Triple HHH is reported by wwe.com to have suffered a torn pectoral muscle.

Ouch.


Ortonmustdie - 11-3-2018 at 04:00 AM

Shawn-luc Picard did well, but you can definitely tell he hasn't really done much cardio lately.


ulsterphil - 11-3-2018 at 11:25 AM

quote:
Originally posted by williamssl
Triple HHH is reported by wwe.com to have suffered a torn pectoral muscle.

Ouch.


Oh noes, that probably puts him out of action well past Mania. What ever will we do without old man Helmsley taking up a large portion of it?

Unless he harvests some of Cenas stem cells, in which case he will win the rumble. Again.


DKBroiler - 11-3-2018 at 12:18 PM

God damn some of you guys take this nonsense too seriously. I watched it last night, laughed at how awkward a lot of it was and enjoyed a few hours of TV. Iím glad Shane won. It was unexpected, funny, and clearly pissed off enough of you who act like cunts about how other people chose to be entertained. I hope Shane wins 10 pay per view matches in a row now just to piss off this group of fan cunts.

TLDR: take a few hours to stop jerking off on your Kenny Omega action figure and jam it in your own ass if youíre going to shit on what other people find fun just to be a cunt. I liked it. I donít give a fuck. Get bent.


First 9 - 11-3-2018 at 12:51 PM

Is DK following DX's lead and also going old school by turning into 2009 DK Broiler?


Planet Starbucks - 11-3-2018 at 01:05 PM

quote:
Originally posted by DKBroiler
God damn some of you guys take this nonsense too seriously. I watched it last night, laughed at how awkward a lot of it was and enjoyed a few hours of TV. Iím glad Shane won. It was unexpected, funny, and clearly pissed off enough of you who act like cunts about how other people chose to be entertained. I hope Shane wins 10 pay per view matches in a row now just to piss off this group of fan cunts.

TLDR: take a few hours to stop jerking off on your Kenny Omega action figure and jam it in your own ass if youíre going to shit on what other people find fun just to be a cunt. I liked it. I donít give a fuck. Get bent.


Yeah, it's not your behaviour that's loud and obnoxious, it's everybody else.

CUNT!!!!! CUNT!!!!! Look at me Ma, I can shout swear words!


SpiNNeR72 - 11-3-2018 at 01:36 PM

quote:
Originally posted by DKBroiler
God damn some of you guys take this nonsense too seriously. I watched it last night, laughed at how awkward a lot of it was and enjoyed a few hours of TV. Iím glad Shane won. It was unexpected, funny, and clearly pissed off enough of you who act like cunts about how other people chose to be entertained. I hope Shane wins 10 pay per view matches in a row now just to piss off this group of fan cunts.

TLDR: take a few hours to stop jerking off on your Kenny Omega action figure and jam it in your own ass if youíre going to shit on what other people find fun just to be a cunt. I liked it. I donít give a fuck. Get bent.


AMEN!

Once again I agree 100% - sure, the beer and fireball help but thats been a damn fun start to my saturday.


denverpunk - 11-3-2018 at 03:26 PM

So the proper response to people taking wrestling too seriously is to take their responses too seriously. Got it.


punkerhardcore - 11-3-2018 at 06:04 PM

Looks like those cunts at OO did it again. What a bunch of cunts.


Wickedfrost - 11-3-2018 at 07:57 PM

quote:
Originally posted by DKBroiler
Iím glad Shane won. It was unexpected, funny, and clearly pissed off enough of you who act like cunts about how other people chose to be entertained.


Except that the moment he came out it wasn't unexpected and shitting on Ziggler like that isn't particularly funny. I mean if this and brony porn are what you choose to be entertained by perhaps you ought rethink your life choices.

This was objectively stupid beyond wrestling stupid. Unless this leads to Omega and the Elite invading, or Jericho or Punk vs Shane then there's no compelling story reason for the disrespect.


CamstunPWG187 - 11-3-2018 at 11:44 PM

Hey guys, remember this classic?

By Rick Scaia


So, in the week leading up to WrestleMania, Carlito was called into duty as Randy Orton's designated replacement for a bunch of interviews and media appearances. This was because Orton's name had recently been widely circulated as part of the on-going steroid scandal being investigated by Sports Illustrated, and WWE didn't want a noted dimwit like Orton having to try to answer questions about that controversy.

So, they sent Carlito out to hype WM23. Despite the fact that Carlito was not scheduled to perform at WM23.

In what should be a shock to no one, some more intelligent reporters decided that'd make a good question: "Hey, Carlito, how's it feel to be out hyping WrestleMania when you're not even wrestling on it?"... and the answer was that Carlito thought it sucked, that he considered it "disrespectful" on the part of WWE to leave him off the card while -- and he called these matches out specifically -- the Great Khali and Diva Search Ashley got spots on the show. He made it clear that his anecdotal evidence was that fans didn't really care to see either of those two, but always seem to enjoy watching Carlito.

In the same interview, he also said it was stupid for WWE to be booking him as a babyface and that he hates working that style.

Needless to say, this got Carlito in some pretty big trouble. He was already dealing with some political heat because of a perceived lack of dedication and work ethic, and now, he's bad mouthing WWE in the media in the week leading up to the biggest show of the year. Granted, in that interview, he also tried once or twice to smooth things over and backtrack, going so far as to say "I don't want to get fired, or anything." But you wouldn't know it from some of the things he let slip out....

And more than a few within the WWE power structure would have been happy to oblige Carlito, and fire him on the spot for his seemingly on-going attitude problem. But then that didn't happen. Carlito even got to wrestle a pre-show dark match at WM23, and won (though I gather that tag match was more done as a gesture to Carlito's partner, Ric Flair, who was also upset about being left off the show).

Why the lenience? Well, in my heart of hearts, I'd like to think it means that the less-vocal, less-sycophantic minority within WWE's power structure is speaking up and trying to point out that maybe Carlito's right about most of the things he said.

But more likely, it's just a simple matter of dollars and cents (the same thing that does NOT exist when TNA decides it can easily discipline curtain jerker Austin Starr). No matter what personality clashes exist, Carlito's still scary-good at what he does, he still has stronger fan reactions than the vast majority of the WWE roster, and firing him would be gift-wrapping another top star for TNA. Carlito's probably still got his job just for those selfish reasons; afterall, WWE can always try sticking him on Heat for 3 months, and see if he still gets fan reactions after that! And if not, THEN they can fire Attitude Boy and feel a little bit better about it.

Sadly, that thought process is yet another case of WWE's Institutional Retardation. But after I pondered it for a while, I decided it's also a symptom of WWE's Institutional Mandate For Mediocrity (which we talked about over a year ago in one of my more favorite columns).

To summarize for those who don't want to go back and get up to speed on a true Rick Classic, the short version is that WWE has created a culture in which -- through horribly over-writing their shows to rob intelligent and charismatic performers of the chance to shine, and through limited movesets and making even the most proficient in-ring workers use the generic "WWE style" -- all performers are seen as equal in the eyes of many fans. The problem is, they're only creating an environment in which they are all equally mediocre and forgettable.

To bring that thesis up to the present issue, I opine that a guy like Carlito intimidates the hell out of a lot of people in WWE. He's ultra-good at what he does, and he does it effortlessly. All while WWE retains more than a few people (be it in management, creative, and of course, on the active roster) who have to bust their ass and work their hardest to to approximate mere competence. To somebody who finds it really, really hard to turn out work that is barely acceptable, there is nothing scarier than being confronted by somebody who does his job, does it great, and doesn't appear to be having to try very hard to do it.

In "WWE Think," the solution isn't to change the culture and to start stockpiling Excellence. It's to browbeat your few truly excellent employees until they stop being excellent and showing up everybody else. It's to get them to do it "The WWE Way," so that they no longer show off any of that unique spark that gets them noticed and which makes performing such fun. Or, failing that, it's to make showing up for work enough of a chore that they get pissy and just decide to leave the company.

So far, WWE has tried to tell Carlito that he's lazy, that he doesn't work hard enough, and that he shouldn't be loitering around catering shmoozing when he OUGHT to be glued to a monitor watching the latest Chris F. Masters match or Vince McMahon cock-related skit. They even turned it into a brief TV angle between Ric Flair and Carlito in the hopes that somehow the "ritual humiliation" of being outted on national TV would cow him into being more humble and subservient. Apparently, this didn't really work, and Carlito still doesn't quite understand what he's going to learn about ringwork from watching Chris Masters or what he'll learn about storytelling by staying glued to whatever C-grade tripe is churned out by WWE's c-grade fine arts school graduates.

I, for one, don't blame the guy. WWE's attempts to "motivate" Carlito to "show more respect" and do things the "WWE way" or whatever is pretty much the same thing as somebody asking me to religiously read every precious word coming out of Dave Meltzer's keyboard so that I can learn more about how to really write the correct way. Objectively, it's just a stupid and pointless thing to ask me to do. And on a personal level, I'd probably feel annoyed and insulted that you'd even ask, and start acting like an even bigger asshole than usual, simply out of spite.

Carlito's controversial interview only strengthens my opinion that he's probably a more naturally perceptive student of Sports Entertainment than the vast majority of people making decisions for WWE. Shitting on the Khali and Ashley matches may have been kind of a dick thing to do, but it doesn't change the fact that he's right. I'm not saying there's anything inherently noble about acting like a dick if it can be avoided, but I'm always ready to grant leeway to the rare dickhead who is a capable dickhead who happens to be right. And going back to the example above: I also totally understand if Carlito just feels kind of insulted by the whole ordeal, and is acting this way out of kneejerk spite.

WWE doesn't see it that way, though. Instead of valuing Carlito's input, instead of giving him the freedom to contribute more, and instead of creating an environment where he's surrounded by other excellence and actually might feel motivated to do something other than act like an asshole, what's WWE do? They get all defensive, and make sure the handcuffs stay firmly in place so that Carlito (and guys like him, as there are more) don't really get to shine, and don't get to make boobs such as Khali look any less coordinated or less charismatic than they already do.

It amounts to WWE using phrases like "respecting the business" and "doing things the right way" to hide behind the fact that all they really want out of today's talent is "don't show me up by being noticeably better than everybody else." It's an easy way for the borderline-competent to feel better about themselves -- no matter which part of the business they are in -- to create their own decision heuristics that have nothing to do with isolating and nurturing talent and ability. Among wrestlers, this manifests itself in guys like Bob Holly, who are convinced that by sheer nature of tenure, he should somehow be a main eventer, despite said tenure being spent with fans not giving a shit bout him. In the creative department, it means hiring a phalanx of writers so unremarkable that they can't even get work on a shitty sitcom, and lamenting how it takes 12 people working 80 hours a week to do a job that should be relatively fun and easy for somebody who isn't trying to trick the world into thinking the job has mystical and complex elements above and beyond "giving fans stuff they can care about." In the front office, it means being Johnny F. Ace, and basing all your decision on what you think Vince McMahon wants to hear, because you figure if you do that, it doesn't matter who notices you are incompetent, because Vince will like you.

It's not just something that frustrates me as a fan, it's something that is ultimately irresponsible if these people view themselves as guardians of a business that they'd like to leave stronger than it was when they joined it. This culture in which anybody can rise up to reach his or her level of incompetence, and is then permitted to enforce a rule that states "Nobody may be better than me," is simply not healthy.

I realize WWE is far from the only entity around that has this sort of insecure/defensive mentality... and I'd warn that if you ever bump into it elsewhere in your life, you instantly consider it a red flag there, too. Anytime you see the higher-ups talking about "breaking somebody down, and then building them back up OUR way," or "respecting our way of doing things," or anything else that amounts to them trying to make their jobs seem more mysterious and complicated by insinuating that you could never do the job properly without checking your brain at the door and doing what you're told, it's a danger sign. It's not just an indicator of Institutional Insecurity, it's a sign of an institution that -- by definition -- will stagnate, because it becomes impossible to ever churn out a next generation of employees who are anything other than "exactly as good as what we got now." Maybe that's fine for the military, where there are literally life and death implications for a soldier in the field doing EXACTLY what he's been taught and ordered to do, but this isn't a matter of life and death. It's a matter of entertainment and expertise; if Mark Henry gets snuffed out by metaphorical sniper fire because somebody happens to outflank him and beat him to the target, instead of holding back and patiently covering for him like the assclowns in HQ says, trust me, nobody's gonna be too upset.

The chances for an institution to evolve and improve disappear the second that the inherently more-gifted are "broken down" and "remade" (or if they are just scared off to find another, more satisfying, place to ply their trade) to meet the low standards of the least common denominators who are already entrenched.

WWE, in the past, has had periods where they've been an evolving institution. In the early 80s, Vince McMahon broke just about every standing rule of promoting wrestling, and had his elders terrified that he'd ruin the business forever. Of course, it turned out that Vince was right, and the business moved forward and grew. Of course, it also turned out that from this point on, Vince was pretty much convinced that his way of doing things was the only right way of doing things, and in less than a decade, the company was stagnating badly, and by 1997 was taking out large loans to avoid bankruptcy.

But at the same time WWF/E was getting that influx of cash, there was also an influx of desperation from another source: from WCW, which had clearly overtaken WWF/E as the #1 wrestling company in the US. This created a new culture in which Vince had to accept the input of others, since what they were already doing was obviously not working.... from that desperation and openness to good ideas came another massive overhaul and an evolution that led to wrestling's most successful years ever, and the creation of the vast majority of stars who would carry the industry for the next decade.

Then all of a sudden, it's 2001, and WWE buys WCW, and has spent six years without a single real competitor. It was OK for a while; sure Vince fumbled the WCW Invasion story out of sheer dunderheadedness, but business was still good, and TV was still consistently watchable for a couple of years. But as the sheer necessity to be a nimble, agile, open-to-change company faded into the past, the lack of competition resulted in the company's top figures fortifying their positions and reverting back to the "my ways are the only ways, and please, nobody smarter or more talented than me is going to be welcome here" philosophy. By 2004, you had a completely remade creative team, you had top lieutenants like Jim Ross and Pat Patterson being phased out for being ornery sumbitches with opinions of their own, and you started to see the outflux of bankable talents (like Jericho, Christian, etc.) who simply stopped getting gratification from performing in an environment that had suddenly started this radical new Mediocrity Fetish.

And that's where we stand today. With WWE hiding behind all sorts of cliches and defensive insistence on everybody having to do things "the WWE Way" if they're ever going to be any good... which simply isn't the case when you have a roster full of guys with talent levels that vary wildly between where Carlito is at, and where Gene Snitsky is at.

However, instead of trying to seek out, hire, and encourage that effortless kind of talent while shedding the deadweight, WWE gets upset with those who dare to be more capable than average, and tries to embarrass them with pointlessly petty storylines on TV, and even toys with firing them.

But ultimately, they can't do that. They'll keep trying to browbeat him into mediocrity, and he might willingly leave the next time he has a contractual opportunity to do so. But they won't fire him. Nope, they'll keep running him out there to milk every easily-milked penny they can out of him, all while telling him that he sucks and that he's doing it all wrong.

Obviously, Carlito's recent Civil Disobedience and the trouble it stirred up backstage at WWE is the main inspiration for this piece, but he's far from the only one who is kind of in the same boat. Although most of WWE's more talented performers are willing to suffer silently, we cannot dismiss the Case of Rob Van Dam, who's star power and bankability is undeniable, but who has also done things like pretty much call Johnny Ace an inept buffoon in front of anybody who wants to listen. So with RVD's contract expiring this summer, guess why RVD has yet to be negotiated with in good faith by WWE? Not because there's any question about his talent and ability, but because he happens to know he's talented and able in a company where he's surrounded by retards.

In RVD's case, Ace's sandbagging is being offset by a concerted effort from an increasingly-vocal Shane McMahon, who thinks it'd be stupid to let a top star leave for something that petty... and maybe some day, Carlito will be the beneficiary of the same sort of politicking (or maybe he already has?). But it's still gonna take a lot more than a small minority of progressively-minded and intelligent folks to change a corporate culture that has been so effectively constructed by those who are most directly involved in crafting the product we ultimately see on TV.

I don't know how much influence I could possibly have, but I know as far as WWE employees reading OO, it's not zero. So maybe my closing wish is that -- in the absence of competition from the outside -- somehow we foment controversy and competition on the INSIDE of the company. Encourage a vocal minority to speak out. Encourage guys like Carlito to not buy into the "doing things our way" bullshit. The whole nine.

The goal, obviously, is not to create a sort of corporate bloodbath that ends in massive firings because the Fortified Regime of Mediocrity has the power to do so; that'd be counter-productive.... the goal is to take things just far enough to at least force a Genuine Debate, and to get new ideas out there on the table (quite possibly for the first time in 3 years or longer) and discussed in a meaningful way.

Long live ability, intelligence, and effortless displays of genuine talent! Down with mediocrity, insecurity, and trying to make yourself look better by convincing people your job is more difficult and complex than it actually is.

Then again, keep in mind that the ONLY TIME I ever got in any trouble in high school (the only "demerits" I ever got in four years, actually), was when two friends and I used a Top Ten List to take a veiled shot at our incompetent new principal during our senior year. We were all given one day suspensions for "insubordination." It was, in fact, the only real trouble ANY of us had ever gotten into, as our trio included the class valedictorian (not me) and two other smart guys, all of whom now hold at least one post-graduate degree. In fact, I'm pretty sure we were all so valued as Smart Guys that none of us had to pay for said graduate degrees, either (I know I actually got paid to get mine)..

Anyway, when our parents heard about Attitude Problems, they just thought it was funny as hell, and so the three of us got to spend our "suspension" day screwing around and going to the movies. The principal? Fired after two years.

Winner: us.

Needless to say, the lesson that Insubordination is Cool was instilled in me at a very young age. Your mileage may vary, but it's my long standing belief that if you're smart, able, and right most of the time, you really don't have to put up with any bullshit from people who tend more towards dumb, incompetent, and wrong. My own damned opinion, anyway....


Flash - 11-4-2018 at 07:29 AM

quote:
Originally posted by Planet Starbucks
I'm dumbfounded by Braun's booking this past year....


Vince has always had a weird booking approach with some guys; Kinda push them to the moon to start, then cool them off, then rebuild... Strowman is just another victim of that approach.

I think he'll be fine in the long run, but it has been kinda deflating... you get really into a talent and want to see them have that big moment but then they deny you and go so far in the other direction that it's more why am I watching this crap kinda vibe... Then they win and your connection with them is often less.


SpiNNeR72 - 11-4-2018 at 11:10 PM

To get back on track with what IMO is the saddest thing wrestling-wise about this whole shitty situation.

We just saw one of the best ever return to the ring after 8 years, and step up to carry a match after the relatively regular guy gets injured.

HBK wasn't his former self for sure, but he was still fucking awesome at what he did.

Michaels deserved a Wrestlemania reaction, but instead we we got a guy doing his best for a good friend on a complete wash out of an event.

Its a fucking shame an I hope he wrestles at least one more match to get the ovation he deserves.

Oh yeah, and in case you didn't watch him, he might not be Ricochet, but he could still have a fucking awesome match with AJ, Bryan, Joe, or, best of all, as a Canadian Heel against a returning Owens.

Even in America..


Frank Lloyd Wright - 11-5-2018 at 04:16 PM

I enjoyed Crown Jewel based on the fact we got a heck of a lot of wrestling. It wasn't perfect, by any means, but still good. The Shane-O Mac win was a bit baffling, but I'm sure it will somehow be tied into Survivor Series.

Loved seeing Michaels in the ring again. He still has something left in the tank. It would be nice to see him in a match with a guy like AJ Styles. But even if he winds up going against Taker and retiring him at Wrestlemania, I would be good with that.

I rarely agree with Kevin Nash, him being a hardcore lefty aside, but what he said regarding this event and the WWE made sense: "Honor it's contract. It's entertainment not a UN summit."


Paddlefoot - 11-5-2018 at 05:07 PM

Not singling anyone out here but it's damn sad that an actual great PPV like Evolution only gets two pages worth of comments but a piece of shit drain-circler like Crown Jewel is up to three pages.


GodEatGod - 11-5-2018 at 06:17 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Paddlefoot
Not singling anyone out here but it's damn sad that an actual great PPV like Evolution only gets two pages worth of comments but a piece of shit drain-circler like Crown Jewel is up to three pages.


It's hard to believe the same company produced both within the same week.


CCharger - 11-5-2018 at 07:11 PM



"Why? Because we can. Because you'll keep giving us your money no matter WHAT we do or HOW we do it or WHY we do it or WHO we do it with. That's because you're what we call in the business a 'mark'."


Flash - 11-5-2018 at 09:25 PM

Talk about there literally being no better set of circumstances in which to bring back Hogan... I mean they're going to get shit on no matter what... Maybe the WWE just found a reason to continue with the Crown Jewel crap; just line up every potential bad headline and unleash them on that day and few will notice.