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The W - Pro Wrestling - Interesting Article about AJ and women in WWE
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DirtyMikeSeaver
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Since: 19.5.02
From: Toronto

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.05
This is from Grantland.com. I actually don't agree with it (I still think AJ has been portrayed as an easily abuse woman to a manipulative beyotch), but it was written well:

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8077091/wwe-diva-aj-brings-depth-cm-punk-daniel-bryan-kane-feud-female-characters-pro-wrestling





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dwaters
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Since: 16.10.02
From: Connecticut

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.25
I've been reading these Masked Man articles and I feel like I should be liking them, but there's just something too hyper analytical about them. It's like reading a college thesis about a program featuring a dancing funkasauraus and a guy with a cobra sock on his arm. Why so serious?
odessasteps
Scrapple








Since: 2.1.02
From: MD, USA

Since last post: 44 days
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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.94

Agreed. It seems like anything Shoemaker writes has to tie into his "new reality" quasi shoot theory about the WWE.

I know he grew up watching wrestling as a kid in Texas and Memphis, but I can't see past his "Booklyn hipster" gimmick.



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RUSSIAN FLAG BURIAL - an examination of 1984 mid-south



MonteCarl
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Since: 21.1.02
From: Saginaw, MI

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#4 Posted on
He lost me when he puts Sunny in the "I don't know what she's doing here, but hey, at least she's hot" category with Kelly Kelly and The Bellas



--Monte N
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JustinShapiro
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Since: 12.12.01
From: Pittsburgh, PA

Since last post: 1 day
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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.74
Third'd. This isn't blanket anti-intellectualism or "it's just wrestling so it can be whatever," but there's no deeper analysis to be found in pro wrestling. It's completely surface level. Especially WWE storylines, which are more or less made up on the spot. No offense to the guy but he's writing fan fiction.
JayJayDean
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Seattle, WA

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.14
Wait, so I can't be the only one who generally likes Shoemaker's columns, right? I'm not sure I am with him on his larger point in this case, but I find most of his work entirely inoffensive. (Possibly because of our shared love for World Class.)

I was thinking that maybe he's shooting for a "too intellectual"-thing, but he's really not that different from Stroud and his Best & Worst on WithLeather.



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Dionysus
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Since: 10.7.11

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.89
Good article. I can't comment too much on it, since I wasn't watching during the Elizabeth era.

I was hoping it would touch more on the Everyone Loves Stephanie Era and the HHH/Stephanie/Angle(and sometimes Jericho) love triangle.
CruelAngel777
Frankfurter








Since: 7.4.02

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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.54
I totally agree with the "I don't know why she's here but she's hot" generalization of The Bellas, Kelly Kelly, and Sunny but would like to add on Alicia Fox mainly because there was/has been hardly any evolution of their characters or ring work.

Not saying that some of those women didn't try hard. In fact I've stated the Bellas were nothing but Raw Guest Host escorts (not that kind of escort) but I'll admit they were entertaining with the small bit of creativity they were given. The WWE will always pedestal the sexuality of the Diva's first and foremost, and there will always be the strictly eye candy divas.
TheOldMan
Landjager








Since: 13.2.03
From: Chicago

Since last post: 30 days
Last activity: 27 days
#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.66
    Originally posted by JayJayDean
    Wait, so I can't be the only one who generally likes Shoemaker's columns, right?


Can't be. And you're not. The way I see it, Shoemaker comes at his columns like a long-time fan who is trying to put this particular corner of pop culture into perspective for the readers who aren't as hardcore fans as say, this lot here. Simmons started a pop culture/sports site, he's a wrestling fan, he needed someone on the WWE beat.

I think his theory on the parallel Cenaverse and Non-Cena WWEverse is a great retro-fit explanation of the past year... that has only survived this long by the (coincidental) whim of Vince McMahon. And like I said once Big Show was beat and Ace apparently vanquished - what do they do with Cena now? There's a rumor that we're getting Punk/Bryan/Cena next.

Going back to the WWE Title match at No Way Out, my problem with what came out of that night wasn't the wrestling, rather that the match was built around the question of "Whose side is AJ on?", and it wasn't paid off. AJ's involvement in the Triple Threat was minimal, and the closest you got to angle advancement was a quick smile back to Punk as Kane carried her off.

Any thought that we had something like a reveal was shot down Monday night, which gets me back to Shoemaker's article, where he gives us a possibility that I hadn't considered. All this time, I've seen and participated in speculation on who AJ is really 'working for'. I never considered that AJ might be the mastermind herself.

This would be awesome, only it works against everything I know about WWE going back to 1980. My guess is that AJ was added to Bryan because the office figured DB needed help getting over as a heel. After doing a great job playing Elizabeth to Bryan's obnoxious boyfriend, they came up with the 'driven crazy / crazy chick' angle, which AJ is playing magnificently.

But I also think that the bookers have as much of a idea where this is going as they knew who the anonymous GM was, or even who was supposed to be the "higher power". If they find a way to tie this all together and show that AJ was "crazy like a fox" all along, I'll mark for it. But I don't have expectations that there is suddenly long-term booking going on, I'm just enjoying the ride.

This is still the company that does things like totally forget to write-out Eve (off shooting some reality show, apparently) as the "People Power" era came to a crashing end, and a new backstage power struggle angle kicks off.



odessasteps
Scrapple








Since: 2.1.02
From: MD, USA

Since last post: 44 days
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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.00
    Originally posted by JustinShapiro
    Third'd. This isn't blanket anti-intellectualism or "it's just wrestling so it can be whatever," but there's no deeper analysis to be found in pro wrestling. It's completely surface level. Especially WWE storylines, which are more or less made up on the spot. No offense to the guy but he's writing fan fiction.


I respectfully disagree.

I there is plenty of academic writing to be done on wrestling (having done it and read plenty of it in the past).

But that has more to do with cultural criticism and studying it as an artifact to examine the popular culture zeitgeist than actually writing about it itself.

(that was one of the original goals of the Russian Flag Burial site. I wanted to examine Mid-South as a cultural touchstone from 1984, given what a big year it was in American popular culture history - Cold War, Olympics, electronic media, etc. But it didn't happen.)



Mark Coale
Odessa Steps Magazine presents



RUSSIAN FLAG BURIAL - an examination of 1984 mid-south



JustinShapiro
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Since: 12.12.01
From: Pittsburgh, PA

Since last post: 1 day
Last activity: 38 min.
#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.74
    Originally posted by CruelAngel
    like to add on Alicia Fox mainly because there was/has been hardly any evolution of their characters or ring work.


Hers is a story as old as time itself. Wedding planner plans wrestling wedding, then finds wrestler to manage at a European rave, then ... hangs out for a few years.

    Originally posted by odessasteps
      Originally posted by JustinShapiro
      Third'd. This isn't blanket anti-intellectualism or "it's just wrestling so it can be whatever," but there's no deeper analysis to be found in pro wrestling. It's completely surface level. Especially WWE storylines, which are more or less made up on the spot. No offense to the guy but he's writing fan fiction.


    I respectfully disagree.

    I there is plenty of academic writing to be done on wrestling (having done it and read plenty of it in the past).

    But that has more to do with cultural criticism and studying it as an artifact to examine the popular culture zeitgeist than actually writing about it itself.

    (that was one of the original goals of the Russian Flag Burial site. I wanted to examine Mid-South as a cultural touchstone from 1984, given what a big year it was in American popular culture history - Cold War, Olympics, electronic media, etc. But it didn't happen.)


We actually do agree -- as anthropology and cultural criticism, absolutely 100%. I meant in terms of reading some kind of thematic meaning into what they're doing. There's no there there.
odessasteps
Scrapple








Since: 2.1.02
From: MD, USA

Since last post: 44 days
Last activity: 10 days
#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.00

yeah. It would be one thing if the company was intricate in their their booking as say, Chikara.

But when they constantly change things on the fly.

The only thing you could likely say is they want to be as "safe" as possible during Linda's Senate campaign.



Mark Coale
Odessa Steps Magazine presents



RUSSIAN FLAG BURIAL - an examination of 1984 mid-south



Reverend J Shaft
Liverwurst








Since: 25.6.03
From: Home of The Big House

Since last post: 22 days
Last activity: 7 hours
#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.52
    Originally posted by JayJayDean
    Wait, so I can't be the only one who generally likes Shoemaker's columns, right? I'm not sure I am with him on his larger point in this case, but I find most of his work entirely inoffensive. (Possibly because of our shared love for World Class.)


I really like his columns, too, if just for the nostalgia of how he relates past and current angles. Though, I do think that if Vince (or any of the WWE writers) were to read his columns, they would have a hearty chuckle at all of the analysis Shoemaker does, knowing that their motivations or reasoning behind all of the storylines in WWE weren't nearly as insightful or complicated as Shoemaker makes them out to be.


    Originally posted by JayJayDean
    I was thinking that maybe he's shooting for a "too intellectual"-thing, but he's really not that different from Stroud and his Best & Worst on WithLeather.


Now, I liked Stroud at the start, but now he's just too preachy in his explanations of why or why not I should like a wrestler or angle. My reactions aren't nearly as thought out or calculated as his.
Dr Unlikely
Frankfurter








Since: 2.1.02

Since last post: 18 min.
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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.30
Re: the writing of/critical analysis of Wrestling: The Television Product, I agree that the mistake is to assume that there's an intentional narrative thrust that can be anticipated, because they simply don't (whether it's because they can't or because they won't) work that way. There are times where "The Story" imposes itself even when it wasn't intended (the story of Hulk Hogan from Wrestlemania III to Wrestlemania VI actually works as a pretty self-contained whole, however it happened, as does - against all odds - the story that ends up being told in retrospect from Wrestlemania XII to Wrestlemania XIV for Austin/Hart/Michaels/McMahon, and we know they didn't plan that).

There's critical analysis to be done on WWE, but it's on the "how it gets made" side, which nobody capable is doing because they don't have access to it. I've said it before here, but the thing I'd love to read/listen to is a "showrunner interview" with someone involved in creating things after each Wrestlemania to talk about what they had planned for that year vs. what actually happened, how things changed and how they reacted to fan reaction. WWE won't be embracing some kind of "new reality" movement until they actually consider doing something like this, and it won't happen because it's an insane business that's run by incredibly weird, insular, distrustful people.

In the meantime, though, instead of trying to force narratives and bend storylines into them, I'd enjoy someone splitting the difference into talking about what they do "know" of the changes going on backstage and what we're actually getting on TV. It would require people who both enjoy the product and have some insider knowledge, which is probably the problem. But the threads here where people do touch on that kind of thing (particularly when people bring up what the plans were for Wrestlemania and trying to predict what they're going to change to in the winter) are, typically, the most enjoyable and interesting ones.
Matches
Haggis








Since: 23.9.03
From: Cleveland

Since last post: 765 days
Last activity: 667 days
#15 Posted on
Yes - the WWE is not that clever, or if they are, they don't believe the audience is clever enough to understand clever.

The author is lending way too much credence to the idea that they actually have a plan or have HAD a plan with AJ's character. The WWE, as we've learned from its handing of Cena, Punk and Bryan, plus HHH, doesn't DO subtle. It doesn't DO nuance. It took a little while for Spurned, weak AJ to turn into CrAyJ. And there was no development there, it was just one week she started acting weird. And in case we didn't notice she was acting weird, every one of the announcers started TELLING us that she was cuckcoo for cocoa puffs. Punk told her to her face she was crazy and that he kind of dug crazy chicks, and a couple weeks later was making the universal index-finger-wagging-in-a-circle-around-my-temple gesture for "Yeah that girl is nuts" to Sheamus in the ring.

So week to week there's little rhyme or reason to what she's doing. She turns the crazy on and off at will and there's no way to make heads or tails of it. It's fine, and I think she's doing great with it, but in the words of that professor from the movie Pi, "There's nothing there!"

If there's something there, they're not doing it all that great. Had they not force-fed us that AJ-is-crazy commentary right when it started, I would have bought the following. 1.) AJ starts acting a little nuts because of her breakup with Bryan. 2.) Punk calls her crazy and says he likes crazy chicks. 3.) AJ, who subconsciously desires him because he's pitted against Bryan, ratchers up the crazy quotient in effort to win his favor. 4.) You could go anywhere from that point and it would make sense, instead of where they are, where barely anything makes sense week to week. Either she costs him some matches and is labeled as a curse, or she helps him out a bit, causing Bryan to "rethink" the breakup and woo her back, pissing the world off in the process, etc.

Whatever it is, can she wrestle? I really liked the aspect of Daniel Bryan mentoring her in the ring but we only so maybe 1 or 2 matches of that in the ring. Somewhere along the line, if they're actually trying to tell a story here, she needs to be redeemed as more smart than crazy, get her comeuppance on Bryan, and move on to better things, or completely turn and wreak some legitimate havoc.
CRZ
Big Brother
Administrator








Since: 9.12.01
From: ミネアポリス

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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.39
    Originally posted by Matches
    It took a little while for Spurned, weak AJ to turn into CrAyJ. And there was no development there, it was just one week she started acting weird. And in case we didn't notice she was acting weird, every one of the announcers started TELLING us that she was cuckcoo for cocoa puffs. Punk told her to her face she was crazy and that he kind of dug crazy chicks, and a couple weeks later was making the universal index-finger-wagging​-in-a-circle-around-my-temple gesture for "Yeah that girl is nuts" to Sheamus in the ring.
I have suspicions that you may not watch Smackdown, where she had several (well, at least two or three) backstage confrontations with former BFF Kaitlyn to help cement her crazy turn.



Matches
Haggis








Since: 23.9.03
From: Cleveland

Since last post: 765 days
Last activity: 667 days
#17 Posted on
    Originally posted by CRZ
      Originally posted by Matches
      It took a little while for Spurned, weak AJ to turn into CrAyJ. And there was no development there, it was just one week she started acting weird. And in case we didn't notice she was acting weird, every one of the announcers started TELLING us that she was cuckcoo for cocoa puffs. Punk told her to her face she was crazy and that he kind of dug crazy chicks, and a couple weeks later was making the universal index-finger-wagging​​-in-a-circle-ar​ound-my-temple gesture for "Yeah that girl is nuts" to Sheamus in the ring.
    I have suspicions that you may not watch Smackdown, where she had several (well, at least two or three) backstage confrontations with former BFF Kaitlyn to help cement her crazy turn.


Smackdown's still a show?

In all seriousness, it does say something that I missed a couple weeks of it and didn't even realize it. I usually DVR it and fast-forward through the bits (75%+) that don't interest me. I dig AJ, so those scenes would not have qualified, so maybe I was out of space and decided SD wasn't worth the 2 hours it would take up for a those weeks. I stand corrected.
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Not quite. I mean, let's say a guy came down to the ring, and then to show everyone what a strong heel he was, dropped his pants and urinated on the first two rows.
- If I was a rich man, Smackdown! 9-18-03 (2003)
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