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The 7 - Guest Columns - The Obtuse Experiment: So, Those Are Your Breasts? On PPV?
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Wolfram J. Paulovich
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#1 Posted on 1.3.03 1907.03
Reposted on: 1.3.10 1911.42

THE OBTUSE EXPERIMENT, part III
So, Those Are Your Breasts? On Pay-Per-View?
March 1, 2003

by Jeb Tennyson Lund
OnlineOnslaught.com/CitizenScholar.net

Crossover promotions are not going away, whether in sit-coms or professional wrestling. Sometimes they serve a noble purpose, such as giving TV's The Critic the ratings from The Simpsons' audience that it subsequently sorely needed. Other times, they heighten the excitement of both entities: when Mike Tyson refereed a match, he wound up in the public eye, without doing anything felony-related, while Stone Cold Steve Austin got to berate him and elevate the roughness of his character. But with Test and Girls Gone Wild, I'm not sure anyone is liable to be a winner.

There is a bar in Gainesville, Fl., called "8 Seconds." The building it's in is three-stories tall and covered in black-and-white cow print. It looks like a giant Gateway Computer box, and the atmosphere inside is little better than what you would expect from an inside-perspective of UPS ground shipping. There is an oddly lit and tacky marquee above the entryway, but no one pays attention to it because rarely if ever does it say anything other than "Line Dancing Fri-Sat; Cover $___; Karaoke ___" etc.

One particular night, late last fall, I did bother to look at it. In front of "8 Seconds" wound a two-block-long, serpentine line of Abercombie Zombies and Fitch Bitches. (You know the types: white guys, too much cologne, pointless thin gold chain, skin-tight v-neck shirt, abs slowly turning to gut, cell-phone so they can call other guys who look like them...; and white girls, snapping their gum, wearing midriff-baring shirts, skin-tight black lycra capri pants... three-inch high foam-soled sandals whose purpose seems only to be to increase the likelihood of falling down after jello shots....) The line was so full that it even folded back on itself. At least 300 people were standing outside, waiting to get in. Curious, I looked at the marquee, from across the street, as we trudged to our relatively quiet watering hole. It read: "Girls Gone Wild 2-Nite!!!"

Nowhere was there a mention of Test. Yet the clip shown on Raw this Monday was filmed in that very club, at that same event.

Girls Gone Wild is, itself, an interesting uncategorizable phenomenon, just like WWE wrestling. Yet, where Vince has created the term "sports-entertainment" to explain his product, Girls Gone Wild has none. It ranks somewhere above acceptable titillation and somewhere below the disgust or outrage of porn. Nonetheless, just as the WWE has broken all sorts of records for pay-per-views, Girls Gone Wild is the best-selling straight-to-video product ever.

Where Test fits in here is anyone's guess, but judging from what we saw on Monday, a good guess might be that he doesn't. "Wooden" is certainly an apt description for the watchers of these tapes, but it's not the most appealing description for an on-screen host. Test seemed sincerely and totally unaware of what was happening to him.

Test: So, you are going to show me your breasts? [Off-screen shrieks and wooos.] Those are your breasts. [As an aside] Look at those breasts.

I wouldn't have been the least surprised if he had looked straight at the camera and told me, "These girls have removed their clothes to show their breasts to the camera. And, do you know what? They are naked." Hell, even Lance Storm would have managed to make a joke in this situation. Am I the only one who while watching this suddenly heard the song, "Heeee's A Maaaan's Maaaaan!" in his head?

Test's almost clinical reaction to sexuality aside, you have to wonder how this cross-promotion is being handled. As said, the Girls Gone Wild taping that Test attended featured no advertising for him. (I saw nothing in local papers or local entertainment 'zines, either.) Although he is far from world famous, it's not as if he's dead to the world of celluloid. Why not promote Test? Maybe some girls unwilling to expose themselves for no specific purpose would have been willing to do so to meet a professional wrestler they liked (for whatever reason). The Girls Gone Wild people might have gotten a bigger turnout (and that's not a waist-band comment). After all, mentioning Test's appearance wouldn't have deterred the girls who showed up anyway: they were planning on taking their tops off and licking one another for the benefit of a nameless pudgy white guy with a camera and a blinding light. It's safe to say that even a low-level celebrity wouldn't have scared them off.

The questionable promotional aspects seem to widen when you look at what Girls Gone Wild and the WWE are planning. Thankfully, I have yet to hear of a whole video with Test in it; God knows what that would be like. (Two hours of: "You have made your breasts nude. I can see them," is my bet.) But apparently there will be a crossover pay-per-view with Girls Gone Wild's wild-girl-ness and Torrie Wilson and sundry divas.

The first misguided conceit is that both promotions each have a large audience that is unaware of the other promotion's wares. Ostensibly, many WWE fans have supposedly never heard of Girls Gone Wild and will be suddenly compelled to order the pay-per-view to see Torrie Wilson and other divas nude, alongside this mythical fringe-group of women who also enjoy nudity! (Nevermind that this mythical fringe group is routinely represented in Playboy, a magazine that will publish pictures of Torrie Wilson in a cross-promotional stunt that will cost significantly less for the nudity-inclined). Apparently, then, many WWE fans are dead people.

But WWE strategists also seem to hope that Girls Gone Wild fans have never heard of WWE divas, will be attracted by their buxomness and will want to tune into upcoming WWE programming. Nevermind that, in WWE programming, these divas never remove their underwear: apparently, there is some crossover segment of people who will pay pay-per-view dollars to see women naked, then repeatedly tune into two hours of TV to see them not naked.

The second misguided conceit is that Girls Gone Wild patrons are happy with a mainstream crossover promotion's attention. This is just silly. Part of the appeal of Girls Gone Wild is that it is porn without the shameful stigma of porn. Couched in the terms that "these are normal girls who just had too much fun and, whoops, there are their tits," many people can watch it without feeling as if they are contributing to an industry of exploitation or abuse. The very aspect of the possible-girl-next-door makes it seem not like an aberration but something totally normal: something the viewers might see themselves... if they just managed to show up in the right place at the right time. For most, it's not porn; it's just the college party they missed because they heard about it only the next day.

And lest you think I'm moralizing about it, let me say that I don't find anything objectionable about Girls Gone Wild. However, there is a reason why it sells so well, and that is because of its semi-innocent content and its anonymity. People who buy it do so over the phone or internet. It's their own little vice, something squirrelled away, under those sweaters they never wear, in the bottom drawer. (If a friend accidentally finds it while the owner of the video is sober, the owner will answer sheepishly, apologetically. When drunk with friends, he might bring his copy out with a flurry of excuses, laughs, and qualifications. But semi-porn will be heartily watched by all. Otherwise, it's a private affair; and any ownership display while drunk is tacitly agreed to be an off-limits subject for the future. And anyway, it's not "real pornography.")

Why, then, would these patrons flock to a well-tallied and publicized pay-per-view event that is bound to be as expensive if not more so than the things they buy in quiet comfort? Why be part of a calculated buy-rate for a live show (that must be taped) when you can wait to buy the thing on DVD, semi-privately? Why join in an event when the event is something generally "used" in solitude? Porn is, by and large, not a participatory activity: most people don't like a lot of fanfare.

The WWE profit line may be elevated by charging Girls Gone Wild executives for use of WWE pay-per-view rates and connections, but any crossover appeal from it will be negligible for the WWE. Torrie and other divas may provide one-time masturbation material, but no porn buyer in his or her right mind is going to desperately follow these divas during their clothed antics on Raw or Smackdown! week after week. The WWE presence alone, at this pay-per-view, will provide an unpleasant dose of prescriptively titillating non-reality. Divas are made-up, scrubbed to a high shine and ultimately artificial when compared to spirited non-publicized college girls. Who needs a marketing machine, when there are plenty of senseless sorority sisters who will waggle their chest for next to nothing every time the camera pans over them?

And what of Test? Even WWE fans will not be tuning in to see him. Those who don't know him will wonder why this tall and seemingly comatose man is lumbering in front of the camera, blocking the shot, and saying, "You are going to take your shirt off? Is that true?"

For a crossover campaign, the components are hopelessly awry: an audience that enjoys its sin in solitude; a group of women who might be naked, perhaps once, and never again; the most purportedly attractive of those women is set to appear in Playboy; college girls found virtually everywhere are naked without a price-tag; and, finally in front of them all there might be a horrible lummox for whom people don't have much sympathy... even when he's not stumbling between the girls and the camera.

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redsoxnation
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#2 Posted on 1.3.03 1920.12
Reposted on: 1.3.10 1925.18
You first have to remember that the wife swapping Gold Club member Uncle Eric is the executive producer for the GGW PPV, thus another connection in the cross promotion.
This current cross promotion makes very little sense. Since Torrie Wilson is already going to appear in Playboy, why cut into any money that would provide by having her strip on video before her pictoral comes out. Also; considering the economic downturn that dates back to the Justice Department busting Microsoft on Black Friday in March 2000, why have any WWF/E fans spend additional PPV money on a product that is not WWF/E. This is especially surprising considering the WWF/E is expecting a PPV buyrate that is more than double the average buyrate for the previous quarter for the upcoming Mania PPV. If the fan bases ancillary income has decreased, why dilute it even further.
This GGW cross-promotion will probably be a flop, much like most other non-wrestling ventures the WWF/E has involved itself in the past two-plus years. But as long as Uncle Eric finds a young college girl to give to his wife, at least someone will come out of the PPV happy.
Excalibur05
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#3 Posted on 1.3.03 2230.19
Reposted on: 1.3.10 2230.48
It's Test because of the very reasons you said it SHOULDN'T be Test.

Casual wrestling fans watching the PPV are sure to see him and say, "Oh, it's Test. Well...Whatever." Not exactly thrilled to see him there, but not offensively hating the fact that he's there either.

Non-Wrestling fans see some guy who is out there who is big and tall and some kind of wrestler and think nothing of it. After all, Snoop Dogg did it too, why not some doofy looking wrestler?

This way, if the PPV becomes a PR disaster, nobody is really hurt. Test isn't a huge star who is going to have his reputation crushed, and the WWE can just say that they sent one of their minor guys down there to give Eric Bischoff a hand with one of his endevours.

Besides, if you think Test is a turn off to the viewers you obviously haven't met some of the guys who are running these shows (which, oddly enough I have). Trust me, in most of the cases, Test is an improvement.

So I mean, best case: The WWE gets a little bit of publicity among horny college students and some other males aged 18-35 (their target audience anyway), worst case senario, the PPV bombs, but everybody but us forgets about it a few weeks later anyway.

As for your assumption that people won't care to see hot clothed women (the Divas) after seeing hot naked women (the college girls), I think you're WAY off. I'm a guy, you're a guy, and let's face it. We like seeing hot women. Period. Clothed, unclothed, whatever. Just because I've seen a girl naked, doesn't mean that I'm not still attracted to her when she's clothed. So, let's say Torrie takes her top off at the PPV (which she won't, you KNOW she's just there to MC like when they truck out actresses for the MTV Spring Break contests), does that mean I'm not going to want to see her rolling around in a thong every week? I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean that at all.
Cerebus
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#4 Posted on 1.3.03 2319.22
Reposted on: 1.3.10 2320.30
This is somewhat off subject...

Test lives here in Tampa Fl., did you know this? There is a club called the AMPHETHEATRE that he and Stacy has been spotted in numerous times. I know a guy named Jim that bounces there and he says Test likes to walk in past the line cause he "...a big time WWF Superstar, and he deserves special treatment." The funny thing is that Stacy, while she may be a fabulous dresser, can't dance worth shit. Jim's told me that she gets up on these boxes they have with poles and does the WORST stripper impersonation he's EVER seen. This, and evidently, Test is a GREAT tipper to the bartenders, usually $5 or more per drink, of which he drinks Corona or Sky Vodka.

Just an interesting aside, you may carry on now.
Net Hack Slasher
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#5 Posted on 2.3.03 2248.05
Reposted on: 2.3.10 2252.46
I agree with the article, I just don't get it. The only reason I could see WWE getting into this is a favor for Bischoff, other then that I see very little positive in cross promoting something that is even more underground then wrestling.

As for the side topic of how it will effect a diva (Torrie) being involved. First I don't think she's stripping on the GGW. But I do think going naked could hurt a diva in the long run and take away some of her mystic once she shows the full goods especially someone like Torrie, Can you go back to bikini shoot after a full nude layout, I guess we'll find out.
Shem the Penman
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#6 Posted on 3.3.03 0910.03
Reposted on: 3.3.10 0910.52
Test's relationship might explain why he's so curiously unenthusiastic about the vast tracts o' land -- if your girlfriend looked like Stacy, would you want her to see you on TV slobbering over a bunch of seminude women who aren't her?

Besides, if he's dating Stacy, he's probably not a chest man anyway.
Santa Sangre
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#7 Posted on 4.3.03 0030.45
Reposted on: 4.3.10 0031.23
JTL- I just wanted to tell you that that was one of the funniest posts I've seen in a while. I know that since Test is such a goof the material must write itself, but you went to the time and effort to write all that stuff, good job.

By the way. How do you go about writing so much in such little time? Inquiring minds want to know.
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#8 Posted on 4.3.03 0902.26
Reposted on: 4.3.10 0909.45
This, and evidently, Test is a GREAT tipper to the bartenders, usually $5 or more per drink, of which he drinks Corona or Sky Vodka.

Canadian hospitality, my friend. Test is representin' Whitby! This does my heart good. Good to hear.

I thought Test was really funny in the bits we saw, but I'm biased. :)
DrOp
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#9 Posted on 5.3.03 0422.03
Reposted on: 5.3.10 0423.37
Nice work, Jeb.

Brew--Biased doesn't even BEGIN to describe your insane feelings about Test.
sentonBOMB
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#10 Posted on 7.3.03 1422.45
Reposted on: 7.3.10 1429.02
The first misguided conceit is that both promotions each have a large audience that is unaware of the other promotion's wares. Ostensibly, many WWE fans have supposedly never heard of Girls Gone Wild and will be suddenly compelled to order the pay-per-view to see Torrie Wilson and other divas nude, alongside this mythical fringe-group of women who also enjoy nudity! (Nevermind that this mythical fringe group is routinely represented in Playboy, a magazine that will publish pictures of Torrie Wilson in a cross-promotional stunt that will cost significantly less for the nudity-inclined). Apparently, then, many WWE fans are dead people.

i have heard of girls gone wild. i've seen their videos advertised on tv. i was in new orleans this week for mardi gras, and saw the girls gone wild crew at work.

HOWEVER, during none of those instances of my exposure to girls gone wild, did i EVER hear about a pay per view special. the only time i ever heard about the girls gone wild pay per view special was when it was mentioned during wwe programming. so maybe it was worth it for them to promote during wwe shows. i'm still not sure how it benefits the wwe, though.
Wolfram J. Paulovich
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#11 Posted on 9.3.03 2336.05
Reposted on: 9.3.10 2341.56
Thanks, everybody. (Sangre: as for writing all of this in a small amount of time... a lot of the ideas had been floating in my head for months, like the Lesnar and Steiner pieces. Probably two or three paragraphs of each were written in my mind already. I just put them on paper. I also type very fast and edit while working.)

Matt: I think you are overthinking the strategy behind Test and GGW, but I can't fault the good theory. Test definitely makes more sense in light of your analysis of the possibilities, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if the WWE brain trust had put no thought into this at all.

As for the "you're a guy, I'm a guy" argument. No, that reasoning doesn't work for me. Keep in mind that I am not a big fan of the divas in the first place. (My attitude is that, if I'm going to see silicone-laded women acting badly, I expect to see them have sex later... not wrestle. But maybe I've seen porn too much.) I can take them or leave them.

But the GGW thing is a tease, as is every bra-and-panties match. However, the GGW thing will "break" the tease, showing us some chests or whatnot. Now, once you give up on the tease, you can't go back to it. Men who got to see these women's breasts are going to want to see them again. Strippers don't take their tops off, dance around, then put them back on and dance some more: crowds would go nuts. I really don't think interest in divas will increase after they take off their tops: I think interest in them taking off their tops again (and maybe taking off their panties) will increase. But if they are just eye-candy, clothed eye-candy will seem pretty second-rate after we are told that it is possible for them to be naked eye candy again.
Excalibur05
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#12 Posted on 10.3.03 0340.35
Reposted on: 10.3.10 0341.10

    Originally posted by Jeb Tennyson Lund
    But if they are just eye-candy, clothed eye-candy will seem pretty second-rate after we are told that it is possible for them to be naked eye candy again.


So if you have a girlfriend, and you've seen her naked, you won't ever be attracted to her again?

This whole "once you've seen it all, there's nothing else to see" arguement doesn't ever really hold water for me.

Take for example, Pamela Anderson. Everbody and their mother has seen her naked, but there are still a trillion people that would tell you that she's the hottest thing ever (then again, not me. But then again, I didn't think she was all that good looking BEFORE she was naked, so I'm a moot point).

Most of the WWE Divas are good looking to great looking girls. Trish, Stacy, Torrie, Dawn etc. They're not going to get any less hot if they're naked, and that's not going to take anything away from the fact that, when clothed, they're still hot. They've just provided an extra..."visual aid". Need a wrestling example? Kim Page and Beulah have both done spreads, that doesn't mean I wouldn't want to see them parading around in their underwear.

I'll stop now before I alienate myself from the female contingent of the board any further...
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