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The 7 - Guest Columns - The Obtuse Angle: The Anticipation Isn't the Worst Part Register and log in to post!
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Wolfram J. Paulovich
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#1 Posted on 12.5.03 1505.49
Reposted on: 12.5.10 1506.39

THE OBTUSE ANGLE
The Anticipation Isn't the Worst Part
May 12, 2003

by Jeb Tennyson Lund
OnlineOnslaught.com/CitizenScholar.net

I won't be ordering this next pay-per-view.

Why am I talking about the pay-per-view already? I figure it's time to give in to my conditioning. Nothing tells me that anything matters but the pay-per-view. Even the build-up to it seems like an awkward and unwanted formality, like kissing a deranged aunt who wears too much powder on her face and calls you Joan even though your name is Jeff.

Matches between pay-per-views aren't the payoff or the purpose: they're the punishment for your patience. We all know deep in our hearts that nothing important happens during them, because they are — even with title victories or changes — the first shoe. The second shoe drops for forty bucks per view. So let's skip the obsolete formality of even considering whatever happens in those four abrupt weeks of broadcast flatulence between deciding shows. Let's talk about one of the monthly "greatest shows on earth."

Judgment Day is coming, and my greatest worry is that network television on that Sunday night might already be nothing but reruns — or that the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg shut down entirely. The sinister and unspoken WWE policy of responding to viewer apathy by reinforcing its assumptions is in full effect. Though I almost dared to doubt my "Why bother?" pay-per-view policy, I've already been given two steaming reasons to stick to it.

The first is naturally Brock v. Big Show. Without the benefit of the unique Elimination Chamber match as the other main event at Survivor Series, their original match-up would have generated the same sort of buy-rate you'd expect if you tried to sell razor-blade-laden Thin Mints at a diabetes clinic.

Perhaps someone can explain the appeal to me. I just don't see it. In simplest terms, a chiseled white-bread and verbally constipated oaf will battle a podgy (maybe vaguely ethnic) white-bread and verbally mushy oaf. One oaf is fast and essentially unvaried in his movement. The other oaf is deceptively powerful, slow and unvaried. That's a whole lotta oaf.

Why doesn't the WWE just set up some radar guns and two of those giant clock-like displays that say, "This is your speed," then set up a big display for the weight of impacts in the ring — you know, to honestly show us what this contest is really about? You'd love it. I'd love it. We can lay down some bets right now. I'll wager that Brock gets up to as many as 9 m.p.h., and Big Show gets up to 3 m.p.h. Maximum force against the mat?—1,200 lbs.

Screw the belt. Let's admit this a contest about speed and "heavy-osity." Show and Lesnar can bet on themselves, to mess with the purity of the wager a bit. (That would actually make one of them a compelling character, by having one of them possibly throw a match or blow the odds. I know it would make me passionate about them.) Odds can be broadcast on the titantron. I'm willing to lay a tenner down right now. Because, let's be honest, the only way this contest is going to mean one-tenth of diddly squat to anybody is if they have money riding on it.

The other pay-per-view main-event match amply justifies the "Why bother?" attitude as well. Let's call this one "Jerk v. Oaf." It promises to give Oaf v. Oaf a run for its money in terms of which match makes your hopes of being entertained plummet into the pit of your stomach faster. Worse, this match is going to be a bigger technical disaster than a mob of Luddites ransacking an Amish woodworking shop.

You know, I never legitimately hated Triple H. I liked other wrestlers, and he just frequently got in my way. My disinterest in him has, however, managed to blossom into a full-fledged scorn. But this is a scorn not informed by what he's "doing to people behind the scenes." Rather, it is a scorn fostered by what he's not doing on my television weekly. Namely, he's not stopping me from going in the other room and doing some kind of housework.

I think I would be happy if I hated him in the sort of knee-jerk way I am supposed to. I don't. Instead, I am weary of him. He's a disappointment not because he does not job, but because he's there again. When he cuts a promo, I go wash dishes. Triple H might be the world's most conniving backstage manipulator, but his TV presence is an excellent reason to scour saucepans or walk the dog.

If the WWE bestowed Indian names on their wrestlers, he would be Big Chief Wastes Your Time. Honestly, exit your house during one of his promos, drive 100 miles away, check into a motel, spend six and a half days drinking Rebel Yell bourbon and writing ballads about a woman named "Margarita," drive home, sit down in front of the next week's Raw, and he'll be saying the exact same damned thing.

Kevin Nash, on the other hand, makes me think of doing laundry. When I see Nash walking around backstage, I get up, sort the lights from the colors (like the southern school system I was part of), dump a load into the washer, start the washer running, come back, and Nash has finally made it to the ring. Other things to do while Nash walks from the arena to the ring: hard boil an egg, finish a crossword, call your parents, chat agreeably with a telemarketer about a loan.

Nash makes my fianc้e think of conditioner. So does Triple H. So much feathery hair and so few split ends! I believe this is a large basis of their appeal. Triple H, I am told, obviously uses mousse to add body. His hair is thinning in parts; the body obscures that. Nash has a full head of hair. Apparently, he probably just uses a deep-conditioning formula. Triple H is a walking how-to manual for obscuring slight hair loss. Nash is an ad for "Mane 'n' Tail." This is really the most significant work done by either man. Their wrestling work is far less technical.

This Monday's Raw has made that realization much more disheartening. That night, Nash and Triple H brawled like two late-stage chemotherapy patients. (Perhaps that accounts for Triple H's hair worries.) They bashed and sauntered languidly up the ramp. They fell to the ground in easy, ponderous manners.

Triple H lifted a lighting rig and devastatingly let it fall a foot away from Nash — prompting a brilliantly sarcastic "Holy Shit!" chant from the crowd. Aside from the chant, the only amusing part of this Pleistocene-Epoch-long battle was Triple H playing Grand Theft Auto: Halifax, stealing an SUV, and speeding off into the vast and fertile plains of Total Storyline Lunacy.

I was awfully mad and frustrated after seeing this, so I searched around for a positive opinion about the match from someone I knew and trusted. Only one person liked it, a female friend of mine. I asked for details about why she liked the match, and she finally broke down and admitted that she was twisted halfway out of her gourd on Jagermeister when she saw it. It was thus that I managed to further clarify Nash and Triple H's appeal: not just women who like hair, but rather "drunk chicks."

Maybe I'm being too harsh. It's not at all unreasonable to say that these men gave their all in this match — or at least, all they could give for the type of match they can have with one another. Will they be able to deliver the same caliber of performance at the pay-per-view? Will they find a way to suck it up and somehow deliver a finer, more complex and more entertaining performance? Will any of it be worth forty dollars?

I wouldn't bet on it.

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asteroidboy
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#2 Posted on 12.5.03 1533.04
Reposted on: 12.5.10 1533.39
From Tom Zenk last week, regarding the HHH/Nash match:

"Both guys are so limited in the ring that maybe pulling each others hair would make a great spot, like a couple of Miller beer broads in a cat fight."


Entertaining column, Jeb. Top notch metaphors.
Wolfram J. Paulovich
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#3 Posted on 14.5.03 0118.33
Reposted on: 14.5.10 0129.02
I think they were mainly similes, but I appreciate the compliment nonetheless. I was sort of strapped for "big ideas" and I cheated and fell back on the Dennis Miller theory of "making things entertaining by relating them to obscure nonsense."

Thanks for reading it, AND liking it!


Edit: I looked 'em over. You were right. Metaphors. My bad. And thanks again.

(edited by Jeb Tennyson Lund on 14.5.03 0515)
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#4 Posted on 15.5.03 0936.40
Reposted on: 15.5.10 0943.09
Whether I do like HHH or not, I really don't give a rat's ass about the PPV either. I haven't felt this much disdain for a WWE PPV in... EVER. Okay, No Mercy 2002 also counts. I'm just not caring. Considering that after this month the hard split starts, they'd make a bigger deal of it. Or at least add something of historical significance to it. But none of that happened. I can't say I disagree with most of what you said, Jeb. I'm hoping that by this time on Sunday my ten hour All Japan Women tape will be here. If not, I can always watch Judgment Day......2000.

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#5 Posted on 15.5.03 1123.33
Reposted on: 15.5.10 1129.05

    Originally posted by Jeb Tennyson Lund
    I think they were mainly similes, but I appreciate the compliment nonetheless. I was sort of strapped for "big ideas" and I cheated and fell back on the Dennis Miller theory of "making things entertaining by relating them to obscure nonsense."

    Thanks for reading it, AND liking it!


    Edit: I looked 'em over. You were right. Metaphors. My bad. And thanks again.

    (edited by Jeb Tennyson Lund on 14.5.03 0515)



Whew. I was about to start re-reading the column for "likes" and "as's"

Best Miller reference that I can remember right now:

"That's gonna raise more eyebrows than Eminem teaching kindegarten on the planet Vulcan."
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