Preface: This is a post about stupid things in pro wrestling. You may find it enjoyable. You might not. Either way, you’ve been forewarned. Terms not familiar to the layperson explained at the end of this post.
There’s been some truly head-scratching moments in recent days for pro wrestling fans. If you’re anywhere near the business, you can smell the stupid coming off major companies and those with decision making authority. The smell, of course, isn’t pleasant.
Guilty Party number one is Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, or Impact Wrestling. Currently under new management with Anthem Sports, a division of Canada’s “Fight Network,” TNA is going through the difficult measure of figuring out who to hire and who to fire in an effort to save the struggling promotion.
One target no one saw on the chopping block were the Broken Brothers, Matt and Jeff Hardy. Veteran tag team wrestlers, Matt recently revived his career with the “Broken Matt Hardy” gimmick that turned him into a wealthy lunatic with a Mexican gardener, a menagerie of zoo animals containing the souls of great warriors, and a lake that revived wrestler gimmicks long retired.
Broken Matt would feud initially with Jeff, who he called “Brother Nero,” in a singles program for the rights to the Hardy family name. The two would then team to face a group called “Decay.” Finally, an entire episode of Impact Wrestling with incredible amounts of lunacy was taped at the Hardy compound in Cameron, North Carolina.
These three bits, “The Final Deletion,” “Delete or Decay,” and “Total Nonstop Deletion” are best termed pro wrestling’s “Sharknado” trilogy. You will love them or hate them, but the general consensus is each is so bad it’s good. Regardless, each of the segments produced impressive ratings for a struggling pro wrestling promotion on Pop TV.
Contract negotiations didn’t go well with the Hardys. They felt so insulted by Anthem’s offers they didn’t even counter. They just finished out their dates, offered to drop the TNA Tag belts at a taping*, and then moved on to Ring of Honor, where they quickly won the Tag Titles.
Anthem countered by serving the Hardys with a Cease and Desist, claiming intellectual property rights in all of the Broken gimmicks, and demanding the duo cease using the Broken gimmick immediately.
This is not a good look for Anthem or Impact Wrestling, as Matt’s wife Reby Sky recently pointed out on Twitter. Among the organization’s egregious sins, “Senor Benjamin,” the gardener in the Broken universe, is Reby’s real life dad and was never under contract with Impact or Anthem. Asking him to stop being himself or threatening him with legal action is just plain stupid.
Matt’s more than likely ready to fight this should Anthem decide to make good on the threats of a lawsuit. He’s probably coaching Jeff on what to do in case something goes south. Jeff knows a thing or two about the legal system, so safe bet is he’s not exactly scared of a lawyer.
Anthem, back off. Get some sense. And rid yourself of the owl logo. That suggests wisdom, and picking a legal fight with the Hardy Boys doesn’t display much sense.
Guilty Party Number Two is the big dog in professional wrestling, WWE. In preparation for the Showcase of the Immortals, the organization announced on Twitter today the Undertaker would face Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 33.
This is a hard level of stupid to measure, because it deals with an iconic WWE star, someone the federation has tried to get “over”** with the fans with no success for some time, and a Wrestlemania tradition called “The Streak.”
The tradition at Wrestlemania is the Undertaker never loses. For some reason, The Deadman is able to up his game at the company’s biggest yearly show and come away with a W. That would change on April 6, 2014, when former UFC World Heavyweight Champ and former NCAA Heavyweight Champ Brock Lesnar would end the streak in the New Orleans Superdome.
Ever since that year, the Undertaker has beaten his Wrestlemania opponent. Lesnar remains the 1 in 23 and 1, but Vince McMahon, the WWE’s top dog, wants Roman Reigns to get over with fans badly. He wants “The Big Dog” to get some sort of traction with the WWE Universe***, and it smells like Vince is considering asking ‘Taker to “do the honors”**** for Reigns this year.
If that happens, there will be riots. If there’s a person liked less than John Cena in WWE, it arguably has to be Roman Reigns. If there’s one person the WWE fanbase resents having shoved down its throats repeatedly, someone who can’t cut a promo without a Hollywood script writer handing him his lines hours before airtime, it’s Roman Reigns. A win over the Undertaker at Wrestlemania does no favors for Reigns or WWE.
First, it tarnishes Brock Lesnar’s beast-like credibility. Part of the beauty behind Lesnar’s status as the 1 in the 23-1 is that Brock is such a huge animal of a human being, he could have legitimately “gone into business for himself”***** during that match, beaten the piss out of the Undertaker, and cemented a legacy he shouldn’t have.
After the conclusion of their match, The Undertaker stumbled through the curtains before passing out. He left with Vince McMahon in an ambulance to a nearby hospital for concussion testing and an injury evaluation. Vince didn’t return to the Superdome that evening and watch the finish of his show. That’s unprecedented.
If Reigns defeated the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 33, doubling the Deadman’s losses, it doesn’t give Reigns any extra heat******. It just makes Taker look a little bit older and ready for retirement. It also takes the wind out of the excitement normally reserved for the Undertaker’s moment at Wrestlemania. He doesn’t make many appearances beyond that date, and fans pay good money to see him work.
WWE is on the verge of doing something very stupid with Roman Reigns and the Undertaker. I hope for the sake of the company, the boys in the locker room, and those who shell out their $9.99 a month they don’t double down on stupid.
*”drop the belts”=losing the titles to a team the promotion wants to have the belts
**”over”=successfully getting a desired reaction with fans. If you are a good guy, being “over” is getting cheered. Bad guys are “over” when they’re booed.
***WWE Universe=the name the promotion gives its fans
****”do the honors”=lose to the other wrestler
*****”going into business for himself”=deviate from the expected finish with the express intent of making yourself look good at your opponent’s expense.
******”heat”=forward momentum, alternately negative reactions to things you say or do.