Two great things stuck out of Shoemaker’s newest article. The first was how he structured his critique of Heyman’s monologue from Monday. Through footnotes, he was able to commentate without superimposing himself on the text. This is where pop-out footnotes on a website would have given it layout perfection.
The second was the line that summed up the entire article.
A paragraph from Heyman is better than a match from most wrestlers.
How is Stephanie McMahon? Has anyone heard from Stephanie McMahon? She’s in jail tonight. Stephanie! I have a message for you. I hope you can hear me. I’m gonna try to get a hold of you tonight and get some phone numbers, some guys who have gotten me out of some similar situations. Their names are sneaky Pete and Fat Tony The Good Guy. They’re…good at what they do guys, and they’ve helped me out.
See exhibit A on why WWE.com exclusive interviews are 1000% better than the ones they actually air on Raw.
Played originally during Sunday’s Battleground PPV, the Summerslam 2014 promo video exhibits a certain grindhouse feel. I originally tweeted that 2013 had it as well, but then I looked up last year’s video and found something altogether not grindhouse. The video package that opened Summerlam 2013 was absolutely grindhouse-styled, but for some reason I remember them doing videos leading up to the event using the motif. I can’t find any, however, so obviously I’m nuts.
Either there’s some laziness on the part of WWE’s production team (I’ve seen very little evidence of this in history) or they’re deciding to coat this show’s show with the same aesthetic. Cool either way.
Stealing the show? Check. And Dolph Ziggler stole the new Intercontinental Champion’s thunder to boot as well, knocking off The Miz in some well-deserved retribution after the underhanded Battle Royal elimination of The Showoff that returned the vaunted title to Miz’s clutches.
It’s been a running joke for a long time, but I think we can finally call it: being the Intercontinental Champion guarantees you will never win a non-title match.
There’s a giant four-month hole here that won’t get fixed. A whack of links are broken, the podcast is on hiatus/hibernating, and a great deal of IO’s 4-year history is missing. Still, Tumblr feels like home like nowhere else.
Zach Domer (@puregristle) joins Rich Thomas and Sawyer Paul to discuss the WWE Network and a ton of other topics. I’ll update this as I have time today, but wanted to put the episode up so people could hear it as soon as possible.
International Object (IO) is a blog about theatre, combat, and politics. International relations, human rights, choreography, and steel chairs to the head.
Last night, John Lilly, partner at Greylock and formerly chief executive at Mozilla tweeted and asked for recommended links about Crimea-Ukraine-Russia crisis that is unfolding in Eastern Europe. Instead of recommending the usual news bits-and-bobs, I shared some with him that give more context to the situation. Here is a list of seven I have found in past few days that I think are worth your time.
Bookmarked all of these for the next few days’ worth of reading. You might want to do the same.
Never comfortable in his role as a reporter, Wallace printed a preface to the Roche questions: “I’m not a journalist—I’m more like a novelist with a tennis background.” Wallace had a history of anti-credentialing himself both in person and in print, and while this reportorial and rhetorical maneuver may have disarmed sources it also created a calculus for Wallace to write under. He saw clear lines between journalists and novelists who write nonfiction, and he wrestled throughout his career with whether a different set of rules applied to the latter category.
I love Wallace’s non-fiction journalism more than his fiction, not because it was all true (it certainly wasn’t, by the majority of third-party accounts), but because it focused his creative process into something you didn’t necessarily need to study to enjoy. That’s not to say I enjoy them more because they’re easier—though that’s perhaps exactly what I’m doing—but because in there I find the exact kind of writing I like to both read and create. Most of my “non-fiction” writing is laced with a heavy dose of made up things, largely because I talk about made-up things in real life for the most part. I find I can’t talk about something like politics or pro wrestling while sticking with just the bare facts. Neither could Wallace, which makes me feel kind of good.
International Law on Russia's Ukraine Intervention
Russia’s invasion of Crimea provides the latest evidence of two recurrent themes in “use of force” law: That many of its concepts remain malleable on paper, and that certain forcible actions fall within the core understandings of those concepts, such that most credible observers would agree that those actions violate international law.
Deeks searches for reasons for Russia’s moves into Crimea under several laws and precedents, and comes up with this.
Other times, it’s as if a hole is opening inside you, wider and wider, pressing against your lungs, pushing your internal organs into unnatural places, and you cannot draw a true breath. You are breaking inside, slowly, and everything that keeps you tethered to your life, all of your normal responses, is being sucked through the hole like an airlock emptying into space. These are the times Holly Golightly called the Mean Reds.
I’m beginning to know more and more people dealing with depression. It sounds strange to say, but I honestly don’t know if I do or not. The way Bray writes, I feel like I do at times, but only at times, and I have an array of weaponry to combat it, and a stack of good content to help me through if I need to defend until morning comes. I feel it, but I also feel in control of beating it. I know other people don’t feel as lucky. I thought I’d share this piece, which I found on Tumblr looking through research, as it may comfort some of the increasing amounts of people I know in this situation.
Four people injured, two critically, after chairlift crash at B.C. ski hill
According to the hill’s general manager Mike Morin, an empty chair that was swinging back and forth struck the first lift tower along the double chairlift at around 11 a.m., causing it and the occupied chairs in front and behind it to plummet to the ground.
As someone who’s only broken bone was attributed to a chair lift mishap, this one hit close.
Rob Ford to guest on Jimmy Kimmel, go to the Oscars
Don’t expect Rob Ford to appear at any of Toronto’s Oscar parties. The Toronto Sun reported today that Mayor Ford has already fled town and is en route to LA where he’ll be attending the Academy Awards in person on Sunday night. No word yet on whether he’ll also be attending the Vanity Fair after party.
Whatever course the Russian intervention may take, it is not an attempt to stop a fascist coup, since nothing of the kind has taken place. What has taken place is a popular revolution, with all of the messiness, confusion, and opposition that entails. The young leaders of the Maidan, some of them radical leftists, have risked their lives to oppose a regime that represented, at an extreme, the inequalities that we criticize at home. They have an experience of revolution that we do not. Part of that experience, unfortunately, is that Westerners are provincial, gullible, and reactionary.
Like many of you I’ve been rapt by stories this month from the Ukraine. In case you’ve only caught bits and pieces, Snyder does an excellent job not only summing up the events, but spotlighting how tragic and fascinating some of the events have been.
Earlier today, I posted my first Newsletter of 2014. If Lattice were still going, the content inside this newsletter would have made up the February issue.
If you subscribed, you got the entire Heart is Raw Season 1 in the three popular digital reading formats for free. I put this collection together in the last month, and I just received the print proof yesterday. The book looks great, and it’ll be on sale on the site next week. This is only available for people who subscribed, and the people those people decide to share it with. If you missed out, you can get the bundle for only $4.99.
Subscribers also got two bonus articles, entire Heart is Raw articles exclusive to the Newsletter. One was about wrestling, and one was about True Detective. Again, those will be exclusive to the first newsletter for now. I’m sure they will pop up somewhere soon. The newsletter is increasingly going to be the place where people get first access to my work, so subscribe! You never know what kind of crazy shit I’m going to put in there from here on.
Near the end of the month, I’ll be releasing a collection of articles I wrote last year called The Heart is Raw. It’s going to be a short and small book, but I wanted it to have a unified look throughout. The general idea behind the articles is to open up your own guts and pour them out onto pop culture, and explore the space that exists there, so I wanted the art style to be coarse and broken. Throughout the book, there will be pages dedicated to this look, with quotes I’ve gathered from a Tumblr I seldom update called Maltese Suplex. Here’s the cover. I’d love to know your thoughts.
I know there are better Wacom pads you can buy. You can get bigger ones with screens and higher points of pressure sensitivity and I’m sure one day I’ll get to the point where I feel like it’ll really help my work to have. But for now, my favourite new tool is the Wacom Intuous S.
I don’t know enough about this technology to even compare them, or say why it’s special. Basically, the pen feels perfect, and it moves along the surface of the tablet with a balance of friction and smoothness that’s leagues better than my old tablet. I guess this is a poor review, but I really just wanted to gush a little.
The Heart is Raw Season 1 is now available as a digital bundle
Earlier this month I announced a collection of my wrestling writing from last year on this blog. The Heart is Raw Season 1 is now available as a digital bundle for $4.99. The file contains a PDF, an ePub, and a Mobi file so you can read it DRM-free on any modern device (for those new to digital book files, PDFs are generally best for desktops/laptops, ePubs are best for Apple, Android and Kobo devices, and Mobi files are best for the Kindle). The book contains all 18 Heart is Raw articles from 2013, including both Wrestlemania and Summerslam essays, which nicely bookend the whole package.
Yes, of course, you can read each and every Heart is Raw article on my site, for free, as they arrive. I won’t be doing anything skeevy like taking the articles down or covering them with ads so that you’re forced to buy the book. Buying the book is 100% about supporting me, and showing that you like what I do enough that your $5 can become my $5.
For those holding out for a physical copy, that’s coming really soon. Maybe in the next two weeks. I’m ordering a test copy for myself first, and as soon as I can make sure it looks good, I’ll put it on sale. If you want to buy it through Paypal, you can actually donate $5 to me on my Works page and leave a note, and I’ll send along the bundle.
You can go to my Works page to buy The Heart is Raw Season 1, or below in this very blog post. Thanks everyone. I feel like The Heart is Raw has been my strongest work, and I want to thank everyone who’s helped me through it.
they say professional wrestling is just shakespeare with steel chairs but seriously why haven’t they adapted much do about nothing, with two wrestlers having their hearts all a-flutter because the rumor going around the locker room is that one of them just wants a match with the other at wrestlemania because they’re absolutely besotted
There will be (probably) no more link blogging on International Object
In order to pad out the periods of times between longer articles, International Object has almost always used links to others. I’ve done this for a number of reasons, but I think I’m going to stop. I can’t promise I’ll never link to another article, or want to quickly comment on someone else’s work, but I’m going to stop doing it regularly.
The reasons are twofold: I just don’t have the time to constantly update the site with new content, and other places are way better at doing it anyway. There still isn’t a place that treats it exactly as I do (either with the brevity or the respect to the original author), but there are so many places to get solid wrestling news and articles that it seems a bit unnecessary for me to add to the heap. While I think I was pretty good at curating, this frankly isn’t a skill in a lot of demand these days.
But the first reason is the big one. Taking time to post tiny things takes away what little time I have to make big things, and the big things are what my readers and I agree is the value to IO. The Heart is Raw, the Podcast, and articles pertaining to the structure of this art form should be what dominate this blog, and will from here on out. That does mean that it will absolutely be the norm to see a week with no new content, but it will also mean that when there is new content, it will (hopefully) be worth the bother.
Of course, I retain the right to change my mind tomorrow, just like I retain the right to change the name of the blog, where the blog is hosted, if any of the links actually work, and my own freakin name whenever I damn well feel like. Thanks for dealing with my craziness.
International Object Podcast 105: Brother Love on a loop forever
Scott T Holland, Rich Thomas, and Sawyer Paul discuss the WWE Network, how it may potentially change WWE’s narrative structure, how Monday Night Raw changed the major events in 1993, how difficult it must have been to work for WWF Magazine in the early 90s, how cheap PPVs were in the attitude era, how the Network doesn’t have any new wrestling shows (except for nXt and Main Event, which may in fact be new for some people), if we might get Ring of Honor on the Network, Network playlists and viewer-curation, and how to get new fans after the loop has closed.
WWE has released the first episode of its new podcast, with Renee Young interviewing Shawn Michaels (over the phone, it sounds like) about various matches from Wrestlemania.
I’m not surprised WWE has made a podcast, though they’re a little late to the party. What I am surprised by is that they’ve essentially outsourced the distribution and technology side of it to PodcastOne, a company who also hosts shows run by Steve Austin and Chris Jericho. Hosting a podcast isn’t all that difficult, and WWE.com runs on Wordpress, which is more than capable of podcast support.
Maybe I’m just not used to how PodcastOne does their shows, but I find it annoying. There’s no RSS feed for any of their podcasts (and they wouldn’t reply to my question about it), so simply grabbing the xml file and importing into any podcast app won’t work. You have to find the podcast on iTunes or PodcastOne’s own app. Their media is hosted on Castfire, which appears to be in the business of big-market monetization of new media, so I’m going to assume al the annoying things are there on purpose so I’ll click on more ads.
Get a free ebook copy of The Heart is Raw Season 1
At the end of the month, I’m going to release The Heart is Raw Season 1, a collection of all the major articles I wrote in 2013. It’s going to be the first actual published work of mine in over three years. It’s coming together really nicely, and I think people are going to love the finished package.
At the same time, I’m hoping to get this newsletter off the ground. I have the first post scheduled for early March, and it’s filled with sweet goodies, including an exclusive short story and a Heart is Raw you’ll only ever read inside of it (subscribers to Lattice will have a pretty good idea what to expect). It’s absolutely free to sign up, and you can do so here, or on my front page:
Sign up before the first newsletter goes out, and you’ll get The Heart is Raw Season 1 for free as an ebook package (includes epub, mobi, and PDF).
I don’t mean to be opaque; take that as an apology. When I first wrote this essay, I opted for plain speaking and clear understanding, and what I saw was a dry truth. Laid bare, easily understood and comprehended, it was forgettable. Obvious. This is the kind if thing that breathes the muddiness of metaphor, whose truth us only comprehended when the reader has to peak their head into the thrush, straining to hear.
I do not have the energy to argue directly. I am a hairy husk in minutes, emptied of ammunition and covered in tears. But because there is an argument, there is the threat of losing, and this is unacceptable because I am a male and she isn’t. I do not grasp that this isn’t against me, a with-us-or-against us. I do not see that she argues for us, because I understand only dichotomies. So I argue against us, even though that’s not what I want. A desperate man with nothing fair to wield will fling the dirty earth. I’ll use my strength, and my guilt, and my silence, and all three hurt her. I will get drunk and accuse. I will feel sorry for himself at her.
I’ve been in enough arguments to know when I’m building walls. My opponent argues with logic and reason, and so I find myself in a barracks full of dynamite, gunpowder, and gasoline. I kick sand in her face and run away. I tell her she has hurt me when she hasn’t. I grab her arm, which is strong but not like my arm, and tell her to come along. I have had enough with her argument and I am putting my foot down, as if that’s a thing I can do, as if I’m not a weak and feeble abuser with no spine or scruples. As if every single little thing is about me. I use the dynamite. It wipes out a year in our life.
The walls are built with institutions. Have you ever thought, for a single solitary moment about my responsibilities to my employers? I grab for history. I hold onto what I can. It’s movies, sometimes. A clip with an example. It’s how a man acts. It’s how we are supposed to be. I am better than the last guy. I am an improvement. I am nicer and more understanding and when times are good she finally feels like she’s with someone who gets her. But then I exhaust myself trying to keep up. I stay awake too long. I don’t sleep. There are not enough hours in the day to remain my best self and continue to be the man that once impressed her, might continue to impress her.
She was once a girl behind a counter. Then she was a girl sitting one seat ahead of me on a streetcar, looking back, asking me where I’ve travelled. We have both been to California and so we keep talking, and then one day she’s a girl sitting on my bed, leafing through the books on my nightstand. Then, she is a girl in my photographs, and on my couch, and in my bed, but now her fingers are in my hair. She is a girl in my life, increasingly, overwhelmingly, completely. I am in her life too. I am a boy she wants more of. I am a boy she wants to make plans around.
Except now I’m a boy who sometimes makes her afraid. I have a temper and I am not as imaginative or alive as I used to be. My jeans are marked with the things I pocket. I am not new to her, but also myself. I used to surprise myself with what I could do with an evening and fifty lousy bucks. She has to try more and more to see through my walls. She is the wave crashing. She wants to get through.
I am describing a decaying. With every argument I lose, I feel less like myself and more the man she has to settle for. One day she will see me and know it is time to go. I will not have it in me to see the sun. And then she will leave.
I want meditation and medication and Mary Shelley to help temper the monster in me. It is wound tight from a mixture of perceived and real failures from the past, and how I fear the perceived and real failures of my future. It winds tighter because I have no belief system. I have a lot of trouble accepting the meaningless of the universe, and I’m exhausted by hope. I fear the next liar to come into my life might get the better of me. You’re right, I will say. You were always right.
I fight with my love for ground that doesn’t exist. I don’t know what I hope to gain by being so obstructive. A win is a win. It shouldn’t matter who was in the right. But it does, in the moment anyway. All I can hope is I’m in the right place at the right time, and I am mindful that she wants what is best for us, and that is essentially what most relationship arguments are about. But this is not a summation that comes easy, or at all. It is an unrealized truth that has to emerge slowly, after more mistakes, more hurt feelings, more leaps from high places. I hope this realization doesn’t come after one too many.
Because as of today, my walls are too high. I have built my empire next to the sea, so I can laugh from my throne as my enemy drowns. I come into arguments with a battle plan now, and I see her as an invading army. She’s coming to tear me down. She’s coming to tame me and fix me and make me better. She’s coming to improve and change and alter, to pick away. To simplify and remove. To curate. To organize my life until it works. But she’s not winning. I am getting worse.
This is a thing that befalls men. It is not that there is a monster in us waiting to get out, but rather a cloying for a past that never existed. With every argument for our future, we step further from our own expectations, and feel the tug of loss. It isn’t rational, and it isn’t fair, and it isn’t easy to explain. This isn’t even about men and women, and my struggle here isn’t real but imagined and exaggerated. Half of these things were lies, but they helped. I’m sorry if this was difficult, but it let me get to a crystalizing moment that wouldn’t have occurred without writing it out the way it is. I had to pull together a raft of lies in order to arrive at something outstandingly true about myself. But it’s something I can’t tell you. I’ll need a whole other raft for that.
Daniel Bryan is winning the 2014 <strike>Royal Rumble</strike> Elimination Chamber
Given the evidence, general momentum, and recent plot developments, I have to give my official prediction as Daniel Bryan. If he doesn’t win, I’ll be the first person to say I’m wrong. But he’s going to, just like he won did not participate in the Royal Rumble.
There are three candidates to win the 2014 Royal Rumble Elimination Chamber: Bryan, CM Punk Randy Orton, and Batista Antonio Cesaro. There are going to be 27 other people in the ring at some point but nobody else has been showcased as even dark-horse winners. Here’s a quick look at the trajectories of the three candidates.
CM Punk Randy Orton
After a lengthy rehabilitation from conniving villain into a shrugging hero, Punk Orton has finally exercised his middling foes and has been made to look very strong. He defeated the Shield Christian single-handedly on PPV. He isn’t an underdog. He’s a star. His 434-day 102-day run with the WWE Championship in 2011–2013 isn’t disputed as being anything but a very impressive accomplishment handjob. On paper, he’s the favourite, because he’s pretty much done everything in his career except win a Royal Rumble Elimination Chamber match.
On top of those things, he has had great matches with the potential champions: Orton Batista, Cena, and Lesnar, and none of these pairings have ever headlined Wrestlemania.
But there are a few reasons to think he won’t win. Considering he held is holding the title for as long as he did is, perhaps they need to give other people their turn. That’s one argument. He could be better utilized in matches not involving Randy Orton Cena, since they already wrestled at Wrestlemania in 201108. That’s another. But my strongest argument against CM Punk Randy Orton is that he simply doesn’t seem to want to win the Royal Rumble Elimination Chamber. He didn’t even sign up: Kane HHH did it for him. He hasn’t once proclaimed any interest, nor has he once challenged properly defended the title since losing winning it.
CM Punk Randy Orton would be better suited at Wrestlemania fighting just about anyone but the WWE Champion, and since there’s only one big gold belt now, that list is lengthy. Take your pick: Cena, Lesnar, Orton Batista, HHH, Batista Antonio Cesaro. Any of these pairings would be fun. In holding the title as long as he did, Punk Orton may have escalated himself to the top shelf of the WWE, where he doesn’t need a title to get to a main event. It’s ironic, because his entire reign was defined by his inability to do so.
Batista Antonio Cesaro
It’s damn near a Royal Rumble Elimination Chamber tradition to give the win to a returning (or debuting) superstar. The 1992, 93, 2001, 02, 03, 08, 10, and 11 Rumble winners were all just back from injury or brand new characters. And considering Batista Antonio Cesaro’s return was spoiled, it’s possible that this was in fact the original plan. But we all know how plans have a habit of changing.
I think people are far more curious than excited about Batista Antonio Cesaro. We kind of want to see what character he’s going to play. Good guy or bad? Animal, or douche bag? It’s wholly possible that he goes on to dominate and win the match, and perform with Orton or Lesnar at Wrestlemania (and no doubt, Lesnar vs Batisa Cesaro would be a big deal story). But though I guarantee there will be times when it seems he’s a lock to win, he won’t.
WWE has big plans for Batista Antonio Cesaro, but it’s unclear whether those plans involve him holding a championship or just starring in huge grudge matches, like they’ve done with Lesnar. I would suggest Batista Antonio Cesaro’s resigning is a confirmation that they believe they made a great call with Lesnar thus far. I’ve talked previously about this new tier in WWE, meant for the part timer mega-attraction. The roster on that tier has included the Undertaker, Lesnar, and The Rock. It now includes Batista Antonio Cesaro. Of those men, only The Rock held the championship, and he only held it after challenging for it six months in advance. A few weeks ago on Raw, Lesnar made a similar challenge: he would be the next number one contender following John Cena vs Randy Orton at the Rumble.
There’s a pattern here. Big star of yesteryear is reintroduced. He has one or two major attraction matches based on his name alone, and then they paint him into the title picture. That doesn’t mean they’ll never hotshot a title reign on a returning character, but they haven’t shown much interest in doing that.
These are all good reasons to suspect that Batista Antonio Cesaro’s first few months (through the Wrestlemania season) will be filled with personal stories. We likely won’t find out about his Wrestlemania opponent until Elimination Chamber (or the Raw following). But the biggest reason to discredit a Batista Antonio Cesaro victory is that WWE is in the middle of a much larger story. This brings us to…
If they hadn’t already done it half a dozen times, I’d suggest Bryan appears first, second, or third in the Rumble Chamber and goes all the way. But they don’t actually need to do that here. Because modern Rumble’s Chambers are often split into three acts, I wouldn’t even want to see him until the last 10 2 entrants.
The obvious reason that Bryan wouldn’t win is because he already fought Randy Orton on PPV in the last year, and WWE almost never headlines Wrestlemania with a match recently done to death. But if Orton was going to be champion until Wrestlemania, there’s simply no reason to have Brock Lesnar Batista make a challenge. Why put that piece down on the board, if Orton is the man to headline the big show?
HHH is the person who re-introduced Brock Lesnar Batista. He’s currently the end boss of WWE, and the man who has been holding Daniel Bryan down. It hasn’t been Randy Orton. It’s been HHH. And I don’t believe they’ve been sewing the seeds of discontent between Orton and HHH for no reason. It is all building to two WWE Championship switches: first, Cena defeating Orton at the Rumble (in a fair fight) Orton defeating Cena with outside interference, and Brock Lesnar Batista defeating John Cena at Elimination Chamber winning the Royal Rumble (in a grotesquely unfair one).
If Daniel Bryan wins the Royal Rumble Elimination Chamber, the main event of Wrestlemania will be Bryan vs Lesnar Batista. It’s a fresh, star vs star match, and nearly guaranteed to be a blockbuster for all three types of wrestling fan. That’s nice, but that’s not why he’s winning.
Daniel Bryan is winning because the fans made him the only choice they could take. WWE took a chance on Bryan in the summer, and, in the fashion we’ve become accustomed, decided to really test us. Since the moment after he won the WWE Championship at Summerslam, Daniel Bryan has been put in front of us and beaten. He’s been tested. He’s lost. And lost. And lost. He’s lost in ways they’ve never had a character lose before. He’d been given his “last” chance against Randy Orton the night after TLC 2013, and Orton cheated him out of it. He’d given up, and finally caved into the darkness that surrounded him. Or did he? Two weeks before the Royal Rumble Elimination Chamber, he shook off his disguise and pummelled his demons. He sat atop a steel cage while the entire arena stood with him, in unison.
The tests are over. WWE has listened.
Historically, the winner of the Royal Rumble Elimination Chamber has dealt with distracting bullshit leading up to the show. They sometimes like to hide the winner in plain sight. In 1993, Yokozuna was dominant, but he wasn’t beating anyone of real value. In 1997, Austin was embroiled with Bret Hart. In 1998, he was embroiled with McMahon. In 2000, the Rock was tagging with Mick Foley against The New Age Outlaws of all people. About a week before the 2001 Rumble, Austin was still fighting with William Regal. The list goes on. That Bryan was busy with the Wyatt’s was about making it seem like he was a million miles away from winning.
Punk Orton gets to “win” at Wrestlemania if he gets a bigger opponent than he had last year. That’ll be tough, but there is one guy in a suit that owes him.
Batista Antonio Cesaro will win if he gets a spotlight and gets to destroy someone.
But Bryan has been on a path. He’s had the trajectory. He’s been part of the same story they’ve told year over year. An authority has power until the Rumble. Daniel Bryan is winning the Royal Rumble Elimination Chamber because that’s what happens next.
What the WWE Can Learn from Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl Ad
Michael Muhammad Knight:
This makes for a strange time to be a wrestling fan. Two months away from WrestleMania XXX and less than a month from the launch of the WWE Network, WWE has chosen to wage an obstinate battle of wills against its customers.
It’s a leap to suggest that WWE has done something wrong in regards to CM Punk. The fact of the matter is, nobody knows why Punk went home. I do, however, know this: nobody wants CM Punk around for Wrestlemania season more than WWE.
Storytelling Lessons from World Wrestling Entertainment
Sam Ford, writing for the Harvard Business Review:
For those unfamiliar with WWE, let me give you some background. Pro wrestling is perhaps the only 24/7, 365-day-a-year fictional storytelling machine alive. The “story world” of the WWE is the real world. Some of the wrestlers compete under their real names, or—even if they don’t—often incorporate various aspects of their real lives into their characters. Because their TV episodes play out on live television—and the full-time WWE wrestlers tour several days out of each week—they are “in character” all the time. The wrestlers run their own Twitter accounts, which become a fascinating blend of their “real lives” and their fictional ones. In short, pro wrestling is the world’s largest “alternate reality game.”
The Ring of Honor influence: How one small wrestling company impacted WWE
Over the past 10 years, as more and more Ring of Honor alumni have found their way to the broad spotlight of Raw and SmackDown, there has been a noticeable shift in the wrestling style and type of stars that have risen to the top of WWE. But how did one company that never even aired on basic cable change sports-entertainment? We spoke with many of the men responsible to find out.
Not only mentioning another current wrestling promotion, but actively promote its influence on the product while interviewing people who don’t even work for WWE? Just break all the rules all at once why don’t you.
I’ve got four updates I wanted to share with everyone today. Usually when something is new on the site I just tweet about it, but these are pretty big.
First up, I’m going to be leveraging Squarespace’s commerce platform for payments from here on in. The first available new thing is a donations button. Between my novels and blog posts, I give away a ton of content here. If you feel this site is valuable to you, or if you’ve enjoyed one of my works and would like to send me some sweet, sweet donation cash, I will now totally accept it. Just click the donation button on the Works page. If you don’t have a credit card, you can still donate via PayPal.
Secondly, I’m going to be sending out Newsletters more regularly. There will be exclusive short stories, essays, and blog posts. These works will eventually show up on the site proper in some fashion, but the newsletter will be the place to get things first (and in some cases, the only place to get those things for free). My plan is to have a newsletter every 6 weeks with at least 30 pages of fresh writing. You can sign up to the newsletter on the Home page.
Third, a compilation announcement. The Heart is Raw Season 1 will be released February 25. It will contain every Heart is Raw article from 2013, as well as a selection of Maltese Suplex entries. It will be available as a PDF, ePub, and Mobi for Kindle, and Print. It will cost $5 for the digital and $8.99 for the print. If you review it on your blog or podcast, I will happily send along a free digital copy. I’ll also be giving a few signed print copies away in a contest (likely in the Newsletter. Subscribe!)
Last, I’m going to be temporarily returning to the original format for the International Object podcast. Every week or two, I’ll have a new guest on the show. If you’d like to be on, send me an email and we’ll work out a time.
I love seeing predictions from a long time ago. This thread was written in 2003, and each forum member has some fun ideas about where WWE would be today. Here’s my favourite:
I’m going to promise you guys something: Barring any career-ending injuries, John Cena is going to be the new Rocky by WM 25. That guy has so much undiscovered ability and they haven’t pushed him down our throats ala Lesnar who climbed to the top of the mountain before he actually got over (as a babyface, even.) Linda, Hunter, and JR can go on about Randy Orton all the fuck they want. I guarantee Cena will be massive in a few years.
Because apart from a few specific occasions — namely, at the Gay Games — pairs and ice dance are a mandated heterosexual performance. The rules are grounded in tradition, but perhaps also fear; it’s easy to imagine how threatening same-sex partners, displaying this level of physical connection, could be to heterosexual norms: a dazzling, undeniable example of two becoming one. The pairs practice is, and will remain, the most striking thing I see all week.
Young made headlines last summer, when he revealed to TMZ reporters that he is gay. As the first active, contracted WWE Superstar to come out, “Mr. No Days Off” joined host Ellen DeGeneres to discuss his decision to reveal his sexuality, as well as the support he’s received from his fellow Superstars, the company and the WWE Universe.
Ice Dancing is a sport with an artistic component performed in strictly opposite-sex pairings. Pro wrestling is an art with a sport component performed in strictly same-sex pairings (in the mainstream, anyway). Both have gay and lesbian performers, but neither have really addressed the issue. WWE is beginning to change. WWE! The hell is stopping the people in charge of ice dancing?
I have a weird categorization system that only got weirder when I jumped from Tumblr, then to Wordpress, then to Squarespace. Instead of tagging posts with a specific performer or story, I tag based on a loose thread I like to follow. I’ve been slowly rebuilding these threads for the four years of content on the blog, but that’s going to take a while. Today, I finished one: Left and Leaving. Essentially, these posts are all the major beats of CM Punk’s tenure since leaving WWE became his signature quality.
I have a feeling there’s going to be a few more entries before the book is closed on this one.
Austin speaks entirely from a business standpoint, which is not what I’d like to hear from him regarding this issue. If Punk’s reason for leaving is anything like Austin’s was in 2002, no amount of money is going to make a difference. These guys are artists, and they have the temperament to go with it. After a certain point, creative satisfaction trumps a payday.