EDITOR'S NOTE: Eric Benner is SLAM! Wrestling's regular Friday columnist.
Friday, January 22, 1998
Think about your enthusiasm
I had interesting timing on this particular realization. I just sort of woke up this morning and thought "huh?" And minutes later, I am here, writing my column. I know what you're probably thinking. Either I'm about to rag on wrestling or I'm just plain out of my mind. You'd be wrong either way. Trust me and read on, and if you don't have at least a minor version of my epiphany while you do, then tell me so.
First of all, let's define wrestling, as it is meant when uttered here. It has two meanings, of course. The first is the sport of wrestling; the definition, if you will. A form of sport in which the opponents struggle hand to hand, attempting to throw or force each other to the ground without striking blows. You know the drill. It's like Olympic wrestling, or David Flair's recent occupation. Let us not forget the more apt definition of wrestling, which might be: a form of sports entertainment in which the opponents struggle hand to hand, sometimes with the aid of foreign objects, attempting to throw or force each other into humourous and painful situations without the risk of injury. Admittedly, that second definition is pretty shabby. That's what our wrestling is in relation to real wrestling, at least. A better definition might be a popular form of sports entertainment in which two or three-hour shows are devoted to the goings-on of a wrestling organization. Well, something like that.
Enough with the vocabulary lesson. I can see that you are not convinced yet. Let me take a different road. You like wrestling, right? Right. Well, what else do you like? Do you like Seinfeld? The X-Files? Touch football? I don't know you personally, just pick something on those lines that you like and remember it.
Now tell me, why is it that you're on the internet, right now, reading a column about wrestling, when you could be out wrestling, or watching wrestling, or doing any of the other things that you like? What is it about wrestling that makes you want to expand your knowledge and enjoyment of it into other spheres? And now here's the link for me - why do I write a column about wrestling, as opposed to Seinfeld, the X-Files, or touch football?
Think about it. It doesn't make sense. Certainly, it is worth going out of our way to do all of this with respect to wrestling, that's not what I'm asking. What I want to know is why we don't do it for anything else? Wait, let me rephrase that. There are certainly other things which enjoy as much extracurricular enthusiasm as wrestling: NHL hockey, Star Trek, and so on.
So what is it about these things that make them so much more worthy of outside efforts than anything else? And what makes wrestling a part of them? These questions are not rhetorical, I want you to think about this and tell me what you think. I'm inclined to think it's an arbitrary snowball, so to speak. Someone decided, for no particular reason, that this was worth covering as much as any sport, and he started a website, and other websites popped up in his image, and then some news sites started to carry it because of the interest they perceived. I don't, though, see any reason that distinguishes wrestling from any other such thing. If you do, let me know.
Here's this week extra-big mailbag.
*I like the column...but didn't you notice that Nitro had only 1 match it's first hour and forty five minutes? That really pissed me off. I got to see too much promo or other tapings....it was too boring!*
Brian Matthews, from email@example.com, writes:
*WCW needs to cut their program back to 2 hours. 3 is simply too much and the quality of the program is suffering because of it.*
Hbh12345@aol.com (aol people never have names) writes:
*WCW: I would very much like to see the original NWO just destroy the WCW, the way they did in 1996. Everyone was taken by storm and WCW, became a hotbed once again. The NWO is really cool and if they are not over exposed they will bring the ratings back up to the point where the WWF will get nervous. Also I want to see Randy Savage utlized much better this year and maybe even become a champion, WORLD CHAMPION. The same for GOLDBERG, but not yet. Let him see what it is like to be the hunter.*
lefty, from firstname.lastname@example.org, writes:
*The most important factor I almost left out which would certainly put a lot more viewers in on TV is to revamp the commentary. Get rid of Schiavone, Zybysko and Tenay and stop making jibes at the WWF. The twosome of Bischoff and Heenan with Steve McMichael dropping in sometimes worked so well 3-4 years ago and WCW should re-unite them. Just please get rid of Schiavone.*
Kim Tran, from email@example.com, writes:
*The bottom line is that WCW must realize their potential stars and create much more better angles and follow them through.* The WWF gives their viewers what they want to see, an episode of RAW is almost equivalent to an episode of Jerry Springer.* Until WCW does things to change their organization, I will be perfectly content watching the WWF*
martin lastrapes, firstname.lastname@example.org, writes:
*In the WWF, I would like to see the disbandment of The Corporation and the whole Corporate angle for that matter. I would like to see Steve Austin in a feud with an actual wrestler. I would like to see The Rock become a legitimate Main Eventer by winning matches without interference.*
I could not have said it better myself, Martin.
Everyone has their own opinions for the coming year, and for this past year in wrestling. I think the truly bottom line is that more and more people are paying attention, and as they say in marketing, there's no such thing about bad publicity, so even the harshest criticisms are a good sign. Thanks to everyone who mailed in! I couldn't post them all, unfortunately, even though most of them probably deserved it.
Thanks for reading, thanks for writing, have a great week in wrestling, I'll see you in seven.
Send email to email@example.com.