Wrestlemania is just around the corner and you know what that means. Itís Party Time! Casual fans who have been gone all year are now back to watch Wrestlemania 19. PPV Homes are filling up like synagogues with ham and cheese Jews on High Holy Days. As a public service, Iím going to explain how to behave at a wrestling PPV Party.
It can be described in one simple sentence, ďDonít be an asshole.Ē But, Iím trying to milk a whole column out of this topic, so please bear with me.
Hosting a PPV:
A Friend in Need:
Manny was my friend back when we were 6 year-olds. Then we went to different schools and lost touch. We met up again in High School when we were 16. We sat together at lunch and talked about wrestling everyday. I was glad to have a table because in High School the worst way to eat lunch is to eat alone. People hid in the library during lunch hour to avoid the humiliation. At lunch weíd talk about upcoming matches and even bet on the big events. He won the Mania 6 bet because my first rule is to never bet against Hulk Hogan. My second rule paid off however when the Twin Towers beat the Rockers. The second rule is when Wrestler A weighs over twice as much as Wrestler B, Wrestler A always wins. This rule may not work anymore, but it sure used to.
For that Wrestlemania, he had mentioned that he was ordering the PPV, but he neglected to invite me to his PPV Party. I came anyway carrying two wrestling magazines as gifts. (Magazines make the best gifts, because as long as you donít spill food on them you can gift them after youíve read them.) It was a great Wrestlemania.
Anyway, we soon went our separate ways as we attended college. When we were 24, I came back from college and met up with him again. This was the Wrestlemania that the Undertaker got his first real title shot against Sid. My PPV Party plans had fallen through and I asked him that Saturday if I could watch Wrestlemania at his house. He answered, ďIím sorry. If only youíd told me earlier. I already made plans and a lot of people are coming over. There isnít any room.Ē I understood. I wouldnít want to make his parents buy an extra couch or anything.
Letís just say that this event ended whatever friendship we may have had. Last year we had our 10 year High School Reunion. I was really hoping to see him there, just so I could ignore him. He never came. People who no-show their reunion are such losers.
The point is that when you hold a PPV party, you shouldnít exclude people. Iím willing to invite the entire internet over to my place for Wrestlemania. Everyone in the New Jersey area is welcome to attend. Everyone except Manny.
Food Not Bombs
Another piece of advice; when inviting people into your home, donít rip them off. I was watching Summerslam 98 at my friend, Alexís house. He told two of his other friends that since we needed food they should go out shopping and weíd all pay them back. He made an agreement by speaking on behalf of everyone. Only instead of going to a supermarket these goofs went to an overpriced 7-11. They came back with one bag of chips, one bottle of Soda, and a bunch of other junk I had no use for. At the end of the night the bill was totaled up and Alex wanted $10 from everyone. There were 5 people there, the PPV cost $30, and the food cost $20. (I put in $20 because I felt I should pay for my friend Jamal. I invited him, it was his first PPV with us, I drove him there, and I worked with him.) I could not believe the price of the food so I looked at the bill. I saw some Soy Chips, Ginko drink, Pinapple Soda, a six pack of videotapes, and batteries. I was in shock. These guys were trying to get me to subsidize their grocery bill. I only used about $2 worth of food. I paid to keep the peace, but this was bullshit. At least I didnít have to pay for his cable bill too.
Attending a PPV:
Who pays the Piper?
In the old days the piper would play some music and everyone would dance. The person who had told the piper which tune to play would have to pay the piper. It was similar to putting money in a jukebox; everyone gets to listen, but only the decision maker pays. By this theory, the host should pay the entire cost.
According to this economic theory, once the host calls the cable company and orders the PPV, he pays $35. That $35 is a sunk cost and he will not recoup that money in the future. So it doesnít matter whether 2 or 10 people show up to watch the show, the cost is the same. The marginal cost of each additional houseguest is $0. The next person who shows up to watch the show adds $0 to the cost, so he doesnít have to pay any money. (By the same token, movie theaters are not cracking down on kids sneaking into additional shows. As long as seats are empty, they are not adding any additional costs to showing the movie. So I donít feel bad for the theater because these kids arenít costing them any money.)
This reasoning isnít widely accepted because it is seen as unfair. Go figure.
The bill is split equally among all attending. Everyone who danced to the tune must pay the piper. This is the most commonly accepted viewpoint. It has only one exception. People who show up late may want a discount, but they shouldnít get one. It is quite common for guys to show up late to the PPV. They will show up any time between 7 and 10. As long as you see the main event you should pay the full price for the show. The one exception might be the girlfriend who tags along.
Leave the Girlfriend at Home
Some guys use the ďI donít have to pay for my girlfriendĒ argument. Their main point is that the girlfriend is not a person as much as an accessory. She comes with the boyfriend and should be treated the same as his cell phone. (Think of an annoying cell phone that is too loud.) I say as long as the girl takes up space, she pays too.
The next argument for not paying is that the girlfriend doesnít get any enjoyment out of watching the PPV. You may ask why she attends when she doesnít like wrestling. It is the same reason she buys shoes that hurt her feet and then continues to wear them. Women are irrational creatures. I think if she doesnít enjoy it, she should pay double because she is dragging down everyone elseís enjoyment.
When I saw the last Royal Rumble PPV, Alexís roommate brought back his girlfriend after a night at the movies. As soon as she walked in this girl started ragging on the PPV. ďItís all FAKE you know! This is so Stupid! Why are you watching this crap?Ē It was the typical holier than thou anti-wrestling shtick. Even if she was seriously interested in a debate on whether or not wrestling has value as an entertainment form, this was not the proper time. Not when we had paid money and the clock was running on our dime. It was not my role to tell her to shut up. That should be her boyfriendís job. He brought her home, itís his responsibility to clean up after her.
Besides, how is she the arbiter of good taste? This girl just spent an hour and a half watching a movie about a talking hip-hop kangaroo. This kangaroo steals money and farts on people. They didnít even use a real kangaroo, it was all mechanical and CGI-animated fakery. But, you wonít see me going into the theater just to make fun of it.
This ainít your living room
Get your feat off the coffee table. Donít wake the neighbors and donít break the furniture. Youíd be surprised how often this last rule gets broken. No matter how upset you are at Wreslemania 17ís ending, throwing a chair at the TV set is not acceptable. Iíve seen a simple headlock end up breaking a dinette set. This is why those ďDonít Try this at HomeĒ commercials wonít work. If guys in their 20ís canít follow the warnings, what hope is there for our children?
- Donít point out the obvious. We are all watching the same TV. Donít point out what we can all see for ourselves.
- Donít speculate on stuff that wonít happen. You will never see Brock Lesnar perform a shooting star press. Get over it.
- Donít dominate the conversation with irrelevant comparisons. The Benoit/Booker T best of 7 series in WCW was great. But, they arenít wrestling each other on this show, so it ainít relevant. Stay focused on the current product.
Attending a PPV at a Bar:
This is a touchy situation many wrestling fans find themselves in. They are desperate to see the PPV, so they go to a local bar and are like a fish out of water. Here are some guidelines to follow to make the night go smoothly.
1. Donít sit near the bar. If you do the bartender will keep asking you to buy more and more drinks. They will expect a 2 drink minimum in addition to the cover charge.
2. Donít tip the bartender. Your goal is to get him to leave you alone. Order bottled drinks not on tap so they come spit-free.
3. Donít dress up. You want to look like a cheap college student so people there wonít ask you for money.
4. Donít dress down too much. Leave the wrestling shirt at home. Wearing a shirt saying, ďAPA: Always Pounding AssĒ will not make you cool.
5. Donít try to make friends. This ainít Cheers. Unless you are a regular alcoholic these guys donít like you. They donít want to be your friend.
6. Donít take someone elseís seat. That seat isnít really empty, that guy just went to the menís room. Seat-taking will cause trouble. Stand in the back and donít draw attention to yourself.
7. Donít talk to the dancers. They earn a living by convincing men to put cash into their cleavage. Once they get you started, youíll be dishing it out like an ATM. Stay focused on the wrestling.
8. Donít touch the dancers. If you followed the previous rule you wouldnít have to worry about this one. The dancers donít like to be touched, though they donít much mind being ejaculated upon. There is an unwritten rule that if you touch one of the ladies, the male bouncers would be fully justified in beating the shit out of you. I doubt this rule would hold up in court, but I wouldnít want to test it out.
Generally I enjoyed this column. I would however take issue with one thing as being a bit overly general: - Donít dominate the conversation with irrelevant comparisons. The Benoit/Booker T best of 7 series in WCW was great. But, they arenít wrestling each other on this show, so it ainít relevant. Stay focused on the current product. I really think you need to gauge the type of crowd you're watching with. The people I watch with tend usually to be long-time hardcore fans who have seen everything, so the discussion will take on a tone akin to that of watching boxing and reminiscing on great fights you've seen. For Wrestlemania however I agree all conversation should be confined to grunts and yells of pain and anguish and cries for more alcohol.
Iím making generalizations based on my own limited experiences. Donít take them too seriously.
Sentonbomb: I think most people donít tip the bartender. (If I did tip, I wouldnít have to worry about him spitting in my drink.) Next youíll be telling me I should be tipping the coat check guy and the valet parking guy too.
I was referring to Ba Da Bing (from the Sopranoes) aka Satin Dolls. Youíre from Jersey so you might know about it. It is a bar on Route 17 South in Lodi, NJ. I saw the 99 King of the Ring there; itís true.
Spf: Iím sure you are comfortable with your own group of smarkish friends. Many times Iíve seen people act too smart for their own good. ďDonít dominate the conversation.Ē is good advice in any situation, especially on a message board.
My point about focusing on the match can be shown in the following example. Imagine watching a match between Golddust and Ric Flair and hearing this conversation.
ďThatís not Golddust, thatís Conquistador #1...Whoís Conquistador #1?...Remember that tag team in the 80's...Remember when Flair fought Dusty Rhodes and he had to kiss a muleís ass...remember Flair/Garvin...Remember Rugged Ron Garvin in the WWF...the hand towel...the fists of steel...his finisher was the heart punch...no, it was the figure four...blah...blah...blah...Ē
People should focus on the match at hand instead of nostalgia. Just like I want announcers to talk about the in-ring action instead of hyping future matches.
I always bring it back to, "Yeah, but is it funny?" I think in most cases, mocking the death of Hennig or Miss Elizabeth is tacky. But, if someone could find the one way in which taking potshots at it would be hilarious, I'd applaud them.