Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Professional Wrestling & Me


So up until 9 months ago, I was a regular watcher of Professional Wrestling.   I stopped watching, because I lost interest years ago.  The main reason I kept watching was gone, due to the ending of a long relationship.  In my family, previous generations were obsessed with Professional Wrestling.  My Paternal Grandfather was huge into it.  He preferred the regional Promotions to the big Federations.  According to Family legend he was banned from live shows of Portland Wrestling, due to his over active enthusiasm.  I stayed with my grandfather at his home one spring and discovered his stash of Pro Wrestling Illustrated Magazines.  My Mother’s maternal grandparents were also avid Professional Wrestling fanatics.  My Maternal Uncle Bob used to watch NWA on TBS on the weekend when I was a teenager.  In my immediate family, Professional Wrestling was not that big.  I would catch it from time to time, but if another family member entered the room I was expected to change it.  I kind of knew the big names from WWF and NWA both would change their names to WWE and WCW respectively.  From time to time I would catch Portland Wrestling with Beetlejuice (Art Bar), Scotty the Body (Raven AKA Scott Levy) and Rowdy Roddy Piper in the late 80’s/ early 90’s.

When I met my Ex, she was into watching both WWF and WCW at the time.  I followed suit even played the video games (starting with WWF Attitude and Smackdown).  In the mid 2000’s we subscribed to WWE on Demand.  That is where my true passion found its home.  I got to catch up with the great wrestlers I never got the chance to see.  I became fascinated with Superstar Billy Graham, The Road Warriors, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jessie Ventura, Undertaker, Mick Foley, The Wild Samoan Family, Stone Cold Steve Austin, ECW, AWA,  Regional Promotion system, The Four Horsemen, Andre the Giant, Eddie Guererro, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, and so much more.  I got to see WWE live four times, Two house shows (one for Raw and one for Smackdown) and Two Live show Tapings (one Raw and One Smackdown).  House shows are untelevised shows. My favorite was the Smackdown house show; we were 10 feet from the ring. 

The last four years my interest has waned.  Partly due to the fact my favorite wrestlers are retiring or slowing down the amount of appearances they make.  Undertaker wrestles maybe 4 to 6 months a year, same with Triple H.  Stone Cold and Edge cannot wrestle due medical issues.  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has become a movie star and rarely wrestles.  There are new wrestlers, but I have found very few that I enjoy.  A many of my favorites have passed away, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guererro, Road Warrior Animal, Randy Savage, Test, Chris Candido, Umaga, and many others.  TNA has a lot of my favorites, but the production standards stink.  TNA’s writing also is lacking.  They use the rejects of WWE, WCW and ECW for the behind the scenes stuff.  I have become disinterested in Professional Wrestling; my reasons for watching have gone away.  I however still love finding DVD Collections of the old stuff from the 2000’s and earlier.

Yes, I know Professional Wrestling is usually predetermined, but that does not detract from the majesty of the Athleticism of it.  Today, it is more Entertainment than sport.  Professional Wrestlers though still risk their lives and Health to put on a show.  In many ways it is a glorified Stunt Exposition show.  The more risky the moves, the more excitement there is.  Some moves are banned by most promotions.  WWE only allows Kane, Undertaker and Jerry “The King” Lawler to perform the Piledriver and its variations.  Many wrestlers have died or been permanently injured by moves gone wrong.  Ask, Stone Cold and Darren Drozdov.  I loved watching it, but now I will stick to those that have stood the test of time as greats.  I will watch the old stuff.  That is My Not So Humble Opinion.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Morality versus Ethics


Now who would have thought that television has me question heavy subjects?  Thanks to recent television, I have looked into the differences between being ethical and moral.  Your stereotypical protagonist is both ethical and moral.  In opposition your stereotypical antagonist is Immoral and unethical.  In three of my favorite recent shows, The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, and Justified, they have explored a different dynamic.  First lest look at the definitions of Ethical and Moral.  The definition of Ethical is being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, especially the standards of a profession.  Moral is defined as the following: of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong.  In the Shield, Vic Mackey is Moral, but Unethical.  He does all the wrong things for the right reasons.  In the opposite corner we have Clay Morrow on Sons of Anarchy; he is Ethical, but Immoral.  Clay does all the right things for the wrong reasons.  Clay has a code of rules he does not break.  Those rules are outside the norm.  Both shows have these characters devolve as they break their own personal codes as things snowball against them.  The funny thing is Sons of Anarchy creator, Kurt Sutter was a staff writer on the Shield.  That is probably why we some of the same themes on both shows.  Let’s break down the two characters.

Vic Mackey is a hardboiled detective.  He is working in the world of Los Angeles street gangs.  This is not a world of black and white.  Vic knows drugs will never go away, so he tries to control things so the least amount of harm happens to the general public.  His control is an illusion, the more he tries to control the streets the more things get out of hand.  He finds himself so deep down the rabbit hole.  Like the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  Vic’s behavior cost him, lives, friendships, relationships and his reputation.

Clay Morrow on Sons of Anarchy has done some bad things, but he is a criminal.  He wallows in it.  He however is against drugs being in his club and town. Typical of both works, he compromises his beliefs and all that goes out the window.  He broke a big code years ago and the fallout form that leads to more chaos.  In Clay’s downward spiral he sacrifices everything he loves and believes in, his family, his club and his standing. 

What I like about theses shows and Justified, is that they deal in the moral and ethical ambiguities that our world is made up of.  There is never a clear action that is not going to compromise something.  There is never a clear right or wrong.  Also when something seems to be too good or too easy, it blows up in the faces of the main characters.  Life is never clean, easy or understandable.  Good guys do bad things and bad guys to great things.  People are never A or B, they are sometimes both in varying degrees.  That is My Not so Humble Opinion.