However, if everything possible goes wrong that can go wrong, would it be too farfetched to suggest that WWE should look at backing a dump-truck full of money to the Broken Skull Ranch and seeing if Steve Austin would mind coming out of retirement for a year?
Fascinating theory, but wrestling’s problems go deeper than any one star, organization, or television deal. Pro wrestling, as a whole, is a cultural dead rat. I love it. TH loves it. A whole lot of us love it, but it’s largely because we’ve been around too long. To entice new fans (and I don’t just mean the die-hards on Tumblr who make gifs everyday), wrestling has to evolve. It can’t keep doing what it’s doing. It can’t be what we know, or what’s come before.
If wrestling is to actually become a successful cultural thing, we pretty much have to let go of wrestling as we know it.
Simply put, it’s amazing what happens when you actually (!) give women characterisations and storylines that build consistently week-to-week. It’s almost like you give people reasons to care. Imagine fucking that.
WWE Universe, get ready for SummerSlam 2014 by watching Sunday Night SummerSlam on WWE Network! Celebrate The Biggest Party of the Summer by reliving the best events in SummerSlam history every Sunday evening on WWE Network.
There’s loads of things WWE could do to improve its library on the network (content, search, playlists, etc), but my no 1 request for improving the live channel is predictable programming blocks. Knowing what’s going to happen a few days in advance isn’t enough. I want know in the back of my head that if it’s Sunday in the summer, Summerslam is on.
We’re told there’s no bad blood, and Spike gave TNA such advance notice so it would have time to shop for a new TV deal.
People are going to look for all sorts of reasons why TNA is getting cancelled, but TMZ probably has it right here. There simply isn’t enough interest in TNA Wrestling to keep it going. Business is business.
As for what replaces it? ROH? NJPW? Chikara? Please. Spike is putting reruns on Thursday night.
Prior to signing with WWE, Devitt was widely considered one of the most highly touted free agents in sports-entertainment. Hailing from Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland, his path to NXT and WWE has been circuitous: Initially trained in England, Devitt honed his craft in the U.K. and U.S. independent scenes before entering the notoriously disciplined dojos of New Japan Pro Wrestling. He also competed in Mexico, though it was in New Japan that he rose to greatest prominence, under the name Prince Devitt.
In the 80s, WWE acquired its superstars through the AWA and NWA. In the 90s, they actively pursued WCW superstars. There was a lull there during the early aughts where they were forced to develop their talent from scratch. While that infrastructure still exists, there’s certainly been an upswing in the last few years of acquiring from the “competition” again, this time with New Japan Pro Wrestling.
A number of media sources have reported that Spike TV will not be renewing Impact Wrestling when the contract expires in just over two months. There were reports that Carter positioned to her staff at a meeting on Friday that they were leaving Spike on their own volition due to a lack of promotion, but others have confirmed Spike had told Carter they were not going to offer a new deal.
I have a feeling the WWE Network will have some new stuff next year.
They’re doing everything backwards with Sting. I’m not saying that because I think it’s wrong, but WWE has never introduced a character like this. Sting goes from the one major star in wrestling to never work for WWE to a guy who’s a) in a video game, b) has an action figure, c) has a t-shirt, d) does special appearances, all within the span of a week.
How it normally goes is a character will be introduced on Raw, on live television, as a huge surprise. Then, they roll out merchandise and live appearances. Why not here? Is it to stretch out the idea that Sting won’t appear in a WWE ring? Is it to stave inevitable disappointment if he doesn’t actually wrestle? I’m not sure.
Having rolled out the periphery benefits of being a WWE franchise, will Sting actually ever show up on Raw? Or is this all there is? Does Sting need to be on WWE television in order to really be part of the company? Or can he always lurk in the sidelines, popping up to shock and delight?
The first one was fairly well received (and surely read by more people who ever read me here), so I’m doing at least a few more. The next one will be about John Cena’s title reigns. Anyone you guys particularly love or hate about them? Do you have favourites? Do you hate any one of them more than the others?
I stayed in the ocean for hours that day, until the tide was almost fully in, and the waves carried me past the sandbar and into the shoal. I ate Thai takeout from a restaurant housed in a fancied-up trailer, and fell asleep with a half-finished glass of PBR on the nightstand and Chopped on the dinky motel television. It’s been a long time since I’ve slept that well.
If you’re not already in love with Danielle’s writing, this’ll put a fine end to that.
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.