Recently, with the WWE issuing an edict to its wrestlers for not only forbidding them to use monetizable social media platforms like Cameo and Twitch, but overtaking them and getting a cut, the situation has made me think about what the WWE truly is: a marketing company. It is this format where over the years, my overall interest in the company has declined to the point where I barely keep up with news compared to my earlier years where I was obsessed.
Got through the second episode of the Chris Benoit tragedy and found the entire thing to be quite heavy and revealing too. There were some areas I either forgot (some situations where I did so on purpose) while others were new to me. Either way, I wanted to write this post to help me process the overall story and put my two cents on the events.
I haven’t written about pro-wrestling in a long time. That’s because I just haven’t felt the desire. Pretty much my interest in it has been super low or casual at best. The last time something caught my attention it was the entrance of Asuka and Kairi Sane. But as a fan of joshi puroresu, I felt it would be hard to get completely invested into them due to how the WWE would historically treat women like that. However, there is one female that has caught my attention as well as the attention of the world: Becky Lynch.
If you were a pro-wrestling fan during the 80s, it would be impossible to have missed GLOW in some format. Even if you weren’t into women’s pro-wrestling, at the very least, you may have encountered the anomaly that occurred for a brief stint that built up a sort of cult following and oddball subculture. So when Netflix announced that it was going to create a series around the federation, naturally someone like myself would be inclined towards giving it a shot.
Pro-wrestling has had so many shocking deaths over the years. A few hurt really hard for me since certain wrestlers meant an incredible amount to me as a fan, especially those I grew up with. Roddy Piper, the Hot Rod, certainly was one of the most influential wrestlers that impacted my life in a large number of ways and hearing his passing has stung me quite deeply.
I was bored the other night and decided to look for random things on the internet. Ran across missyhyatt.net and various videos, etc. related to Missy Hyatt. Looking over the site, I felt somewhat sad in some ways in missing the good old days of pro-wrestling. A lot of my life has changed over the years, especially in the past decade. So sometimes I’ll reminisce about my favorite aspects of my life growing up in nostalgia. With regards to pro-wrestling, I often enjoy finding images, articles, videos, etc. on older performers.
For a period of time, I became utterly fascinated with the world of Japanese female pro-wrestling. That led me to becoming more involved in Japan than I had imagined. But prior to all that, I was still a fan of some of the original pro-wrestling divas back in the 80’s. My favorite two of all time back in the day are Sensational Sherri and Missy Hyatt.
For me, Sherri will always be my #1. She had it all, the looks, the personality, the craziness and the abilities in the ring. I thought the world really lost someone special when she passed away. For myself, the tragedy of knowing that I would never have the opportunity to meet one of my favorites in this world was truly heart rendering. Whenever I see videos of Sherri posted, the REAL Sherri, she always comes off as genuine, spunky yet respectful of everyone. Her WWE Hall of Fame speech is an instant classic and immortalized the person that everyone has come to love. To me she seemed like she would be an incredibly fun person to hang around and it’s a shame that a jabronie like myself will never get the chance to really find out.
That leads me to my other favorite, Missy Hyatt. While Sherri was the professional wrestler improving herself in the 80’s, there were other divas who made a tremendous impact on us pre-pubescent kids watching Saturday morning wrestling. You had Miss Elizabeth (everyone’s perennial favorite). But her fame is known mostly through her association with the Macho Man Randy Savage and the WWE. However, I never really saw much in her except the quiet, country girl next door type. Besides her, you also had Baby Doll, Sunshine, Precious and Missy Hyatt. Baby Doll made an impression more through her size while Precious was a perpetual accessory that hung around Jimmy Garvin. I never really cared for Sunshine for some reason. However, she was always paired up in cat fights with Missy Hyatt back in the WCCW days.
I remember seeing one match with the Fantastics and her team (which included John Tatum and someone else I do not recall). I believe at one point Sunshine had grabbed an audience member’s chili hotdog and smeared Hyatt all over with it. The Fantastics jerkishly insulted, “Hyatt, you look so good!” as she threw a temper tantrum and egged her team to destroy the Fantastics. But I ended up siding with her (I found Missy to be far better looking than Sunshine). From that day onward, I became a Missy Hyatt fan and tried following her wherever she went during the 80’s and part of the early 90’s.
In my nostalgic runs, I discovered her various social networking platforms and started digging up stuff on her both current and older interviews and matches. I have to say one thing about her: she doesn’t hold back. Or if she did, then you wouldn’t be able to tell because she’s quite blunt about everything. Perhaps, part of her bluntness is her love for garnering attention. Perhaps, the other part is because she doesn’t need to hide anything. Either way, there’s a kind of respect that I have for someone who is forthcoming like that.
However, what’s sad is the comments people make about her. She’s very direct about her desire to make an easy buck and has no qualms about the way she’s doing it through her website. Yet people (presumably guys) often degrade her with names like “whore” etc. and knock her appearance (she’s not in her teens anymore people). But the same people will take her to bed given the opportunity and/or worship her early days.
That whole thing bothers me quite a bit. I guess when you’re famous enough, you’ll always be subjected to the masses and their opinions tend to be low unless you manage to live a completely pristine life. But even then people will find things to degrade you.
When I look at Missy (or people in a similar position), I think about my own situation right now and begin to realize that at a certain point you have to make sacrifices to move ahead with your life. Certainly, there probably are times when she did things that she didn’t feel too proud of. But anyone trying to climb up that ladder has their own demons; that’s simply how you move forward in life. In Missy’s case, she was physically blessed and decided to use those attributes. Honestly, if put in a similar circumstance, I would do the same and not have any shame about it.
Despite all that, I tend to ignore the so-called fanboys and smarks and focus exclusively on the person. In Missy’s case, I was listening to her discuss Luna Vachon and I think the way she described her relationship put a slightly different light on Missy for me. I think most people perceive Missy just as a money grubbing bitch who uses men to get to the next level. That could be true but there is also a human with feelings like anyone else. I appreciated her sentiments about Luna as it showed what little we really know about the pro-wrestling business, especially about the people involved.
My feeling is that at this point in her career, she’s immune to a lot of things like the pettiness of the internet and is more focused on using her legacy to continue to press forward. Some people feel that she looks terrible but I mean for her age, she still is doing quite well.
The way I look at things is that I feel fortunate she’s still around. Hopefully, one day I’ll be able to meet her. It would be nice to have a real date with her, just talking about her life in retrospect to see how things were compared to now. The thing is that you gotta do these things while people are still around and appreciate them before it’s too late.
I used to blog quite a bit about the pro-wrestling scene. For over a year now, I’ve pretty much stopped watching all current pro-wrestling. The problem is that I simply dislike the products heavily and find nothing compelling anymore. I do have a few people that I like, but I simply do not want to spend more time watching a product that I’ve lost a great deal of passion for.
I still like pro-wrestling but I’ve pretty much limited myself to older shows from the 80’s, 70’s and some early 90’s. Although I can appreciate the athleticism of the current generation of pro-wrestlers, I feel that the art of pro-wrestling really has been lost. Instead, most people are pretty bland with generic interviews, generic moves and generic grievances. The emotional part of pro-wrestling is pretty much lost on me and I feel as though I no longer am watching a competition nor something where unique characters really have a chance to define themselves.
I think the worst part about the current climate of pro-wrestling is the booking. There’s very few people you can latch onto because the development times are too short and you don’t see the gradual growth of anyone. Probably the only last person that seemed mildly interesting was CM Punk, but the matches are not what I would have liked to have seen in his feuds.
In watching the evolution of pro-wrestling, I think back to some great insight Bobby Heenan had described in a few interviews about the major issues with the industry. The most salient point he made was saying how the people on the inside had screwed up in allowing the general public to know how their tricks had been done. Although various TV shows had exposed pro-wrestling as being scripted and that the general public pretty much knew this as fact, the big thing was that the people on the inside for the most part continued to guard the tricks in pro-wrestling. With movies like The Wrestler, the Montreal Screw Job and even the little DVD interviews with wrestlers, you pretty much have little left to protect.
At this point, the industry pretty much is nothing more than a live stage show with (disposable) stuntmen. The wrestling itself, while more acrobatic, really isn’t “wrestling” any longer. You don’t see how someone locks on a hold and their opponent figures out how to reverse it. If the reversal does occur, it’s more like a cliche because there’s little thought really put into how these reversals are done, except on the fanciness of a flip. But none of it looks “realistic” and most matches end up boiling down to a series of trading moves. In fact, if anything pro-wrestling looks more like an arcade game than anything “real.”
I remember watching a youtube video with Al Snow and how he partly blamed Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania 3 as being part of the slow decline in pro-wrestling in terms of moving from just selling tickets to showmanship. I can partly see where he’s coming from but I don’t really consider that the true precedent. For me it’s just not being able to believe in anything anymore. Even knowing that the pro-wrestling wasn’t real, the draw to me is always the characters, the growth of people and the storylines that make me engage in the wrestlers. The stuff that exist today lack these elements. You don’t have the Roddy Pipers, the Jesse Venturas, Bobby Heenans, Jim Cornettes, Arn Andersons, Tully Blanchards, Ernie Ladds, etc. anymore.
Part of the problem seems to be that the wrestlers aren’t allowed to control the image they want to present for themselves. I think that element has hurt the industry more than anything and you can definitely blame the WWE on that aspect. When there were more than a single dominant company, one of the fun things to see was when a wrestler jumped ship and seeing how they could survive in the other federation. Like when Ric Flair came to WWE for the first time or Kerry Von Erich challenging Ric Flair for the NWA title or when the Road Warriors entered the NWA.
I write this after reading the recent TNA TV taping results and seeing the most recent PPV. Although by comparison the PPV was one of their better ones, the elements I described above made me glad that I stopped watching. For instance, Hulk Hogan buried Robert Roode and praised James Storm. Next thing you know Robert Roode lost and Storm won the title. I don’t get why Hogan would publicly state these things. It simply makes TNA look terrible and pretty much spoils the product as well as revealing the obvious bias in booking. But again it goes back to how Heenan mentioned that the people inside the business are the ones destroying it simply because they’re revealing their own tricks. Well, it’s a real shame because this just demonstrates that the posting of results are more important than watching them. So I guess until these elements are fixed, I’ll simply stick to my older pro-wrestling videos.