This relates in part to the recent "Perry Saturn doesn't exist" thread.
I have noticed of late that whilst the wrestling phenomena known as "Kayfabe" was effectively killed off with the emergence of the NWO and Austin vs. McMahon its legacy still lingers on in more covert, latent ways.
Take for example Chris Jericho: At the moment he's not really in the title picture so they do everything to bolster his IC champ credentials and sleep on the fact that he was the World Champ.
History in wrestling has always been very selective.
Even on the Ric Flair DVD, the likes of Lex Luger and Randy Savage - both of whom are in the wilderness with regard to their relationship with the WWE - are side-stepped. I was very surprised to see Sting feature on the third disc, but notice how there are only 2 features in that section - Sting and Flair had hundreds of matches and feuds, was that really the best they could come up with??
Another little example is with my man here, Ted Dibiase. Now Ted hasn't been with the fed since 1996 and no outstanding grudges with Vince. Yet in the recent Playstation 2 game, where he is a "Legend" bonus character, he is referred to only as "Million Dollar Man". If you look at the track listing on the WWE Anthology Tape it is the same. Clearly there is an official line that only the gimmick can be referred to and not Dibiase himself.
What I am saying is that the WWE have very efficient and strict official lines. Even down to which wrestlers JR mentions and which he doesn't - you'll always hear him call an "Arn Anderson spine-buster" or a "Harley Race headbutt" but you'll never hear him refer to a "Randy Savage double axe-handle" or an "Ultimate Warrior gorilla press".
All this censorship and towing the company policy seeps into every pore of the WWE, no detail is left without an official line. What this amounts to therefore is a sort of modern Kayfabe whereby the average mark would only know his wrestling history through the rare instances of JR's name dropping, the (censored) bonus characters on Video Games and the Ric Flair DVD. Your views please...
The Mind is its own place and in itself/ Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heav'n" - John Milton, Paradise Lost
It is an interesting point that is often over looked.
The attitude era, that suggested truth over characters has become a sorta oxymoron. Oxymoron in the era suggestion "true pro wrestling" in that, as Steve Allen pointed out,"is it real, no. Is it fake, no. It can not be fake, because it doesn't claim to be real."
If it were truly the truthful era like it claimed, the former employees being mentioned would just be the truth.
Give this guy a break, he is an old school fan with a strong opinion. If we don't like the opinion, then ignore him. Although I must admit caIPtAlizAtioN is a pet peeve.
Originally posted by Guru ZimThis thread has been moved out of Banished so that SOK can reply to it. I hope it was worth it
Thank you, but my complaint was that this is indeed viable conversation, and seeing it moved to BANISHED didn't make sense.
Anyhow, to converse:
Is kayfabe alive and well...? I would have to agree. I mean, as long as we have Eugene (the challenged wresler) or Mordecai (the religious "leader") wrestling on TV, we'll have kayfabe. Elsewise they'd just be Eugene Dinsmore and Kevin Fertig, which are their real names.
Now, when it comes to kayfabe in history...I believe we'll see it, just as long as it suits the company. We'll read all about how Hulk Hogan was the power that drove WWF/E's popularity during the 80s...but how often did we read about how it was the phenominon as Hulkamania? Only when Hogan was employed by the WWE. How often has Hogan's name...or Hulkamania, for that matter...been stated on Raw, Smackdown, or on PPV?
Concerning the Million Dollar Man character in the last WWE game for the PS2...perhaps Ted DiBiase didn't want his name used for the game. He has spoken out against the WWE on numerous occasions over the past years concerning their storylines. The WWE owns the character, not the name.
Oh yeah...we have a name for the "Randy Savage Axehandle"; it's called the Eugene Sledge. Thank you, JR. I don't know if we'll ever call the Ultimate Warrior a legend...because it seems that most people that have been considered WWE Legends have been those mostly loyal to Vince throughout their career...I'm tempted to think Hulk, Savage, Warrior, Hart, etc. etc. won't get Legend status because they competed AGAINST Vince in WCW at one time or another.
I would say there could also be copyright issues involved.
I'm not completely sure of this, but I don't know if Vince can copyright names that were used before someone wrestled in the WWF. Plus, there's always the whole "workers who use their real name" and copyright issues.
It's probably a lot less hassle to just use "Character X" than "Character X Name."
Another big reason why the WWF only uses guys names (like Hogan) when they're working for them is that it's free publicity for either the company that Hogan is working for, or more leverage for Hogan when he wants to come back and is working out a contract, or both.
It's simply good business sense to not give any kind of a push whatsoever to someone who's working for a company that's trying to put you out of business, even if it is just a quick plug.
Vince can't trademark (not copyright) a name that he didn't come up with (or use) first, but he can tell the person he's hiring that he'll only hire him if he signs away the trademark to Vince. If Vince signs John Smith to the WWE, then until he gives up the trademark, Vince could use John Smith forever. John Smith could also use it wherever he goes because it's his real name, but Company X couldn't just put John Smith in it's video game unless John Smith worked for them at the time (I believe). I could put out a video game that had 'Steve Austin' (I know it's not his name, but whatever) in it, but I'd have to prove that the Steve Austin I used was a completely different human being that I have employeed than the one Vince owns the rights to.
I don't think that Eugene being 'slow' on tv means that kayfabe is still running. If he leaves the building and still acts like he's retarded, then yes, because staying in character 100% of your life was pretty much what the biggest part of kafabe was. As long as him, Kane, and others can take their stuff off and go to Subway for a low-carb special like a normal person, I consider them to be in the same group as soap opera actors.
Dibiase probably did request for the WWE not to use his name, but the rest of what I said originally still stands.
If JR called the matches more like a legit sportsd broadcaster as he used to - referring to the real histroy books, wrestlers who aren't contracted etc. - then, in my view at least, wrestling will get over as a SPORTS entertainment product again rather than just an entertainment one. The actual wrestling itself is improving (on the RAW side of things at least) and the Michaels/ HHH HITC is a good indication of where things are going but for the transition back to a more traditional set of values to be completed the commentry has GOT to improve.
For example, if the modern day JR and Lawler had called Flair/ Steamboat instead of Good ol' Jim Ross and Gordon Solie, the technical brilliance of the match wouldn't have been conveyed as effectively. This might seem like a redundant point but trust me, commentry is a vital part of the action - vital. Take for example the old Supertapes, why did they have such a crappy feel to them? Was it becasue every other match was Akeem vs. Hercules or any other such meaningless house show match? In part yes. But what was the real reason? There are two: Sean Mooney and Lord Alfred Hayes. Their 'it's so bad it's almost good' chemistry makes mainy of the old Coliseum Home Video releases seem distinctly sub-par. If it was Gorilla and Jesse there instead, talking about ring pyschology, tactics and treating the whole thing seriously then maybe they wouldn't feel quite so bad. I've seen some pretty ok matches on the Supertapes: Mr. Perfect vs Kerry Von Erich, Ted Dibiase vs. Big Boss Man, Rick Rude vs Roddy Piper.... But they are all undersold by Mooney and Hayes. And this is what I feel is happening in the modern product. I'd even say that Cole and Tazz do a better job of focusing on the wrestling than JR and Lawler.
I mean what has happened to Ross? Has he forgotten the encyclopedia of moves and wrestlers he used to have buried in that cowboy skull of his? It might just be time for him to retire, I mean watching some of the old tapes again I'd even say VINCE did a better job sometimes.
And this is all down to the modern "Corporate Kayfabe" that is so limiting in scope. JR has shown in the past that, when he is freed up and knows he's calling wrestling, he can call every move, wring every ounce of emotion and tension out of the proceedings - maybe he just needs the chance again.
(edited by Parvini on 18.7.04 1500)
(edited by Parvini on 18.7.04 1644) The Mind is its own place and in itself/ Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heav'n" - John Milton, Paradise Lost
Good list. I would actually have Bret-Owen at #1. Had a feeling Austin-Bret would take it though, and it is an excellent match. And yeah, I can certainly see why Taker's matches don't often make these lists.