Welcome to the High Spot, Place to Be Nation’s weekly pro wrestling update. Steve Wille (@SteveWille34) will take you through the biggest story of the week in the world of wrestling, adding in a unique view to help put the story in perspective. Glenn Butler (@glenniebun) then takes a quick look at other important stories of the week. If you have any tips or story ideas, please contact us at email@example.com!
In my day job, I occasionally teach kids how to properly take deep breaths to calm their anxiety. Most adults do this incorrectly, breathing too far up in the chest. If you watch a baby breathe, the breath comes from the diaphragm, lifting the belly out, then back in. Why in the world am I starting a wrestling column with such an anecdote? Because it’s time, wrestling fans, time to put your hand on your stomach and take a deep, relaxing breath. It certainly seems as if CM Punk is gone from wrestling for the long term, WrestleMania isn’t lining up exactly how most want it, but y’all need to calm the heck down.
Over the last few weeks, and definitely after the March 3rd edition of Raw, any mention of CM Punk on a wrestling-related internet or social media site completely blew up the comments section, rapidly devolving the conversation into vitriol towards either the WWE or Punk, himself. One set of vocal fans views Punk as a martyr, leaving his career behind as a rebuke of his employer’s methods, standing up for himself and his peers. Others see him as a crybaby, a turncoat who abandoned his job while under contract. The High Spot touched upon this in a previous issue. Similar sentiments arise when discussing the potential fate of Daniel Bryan. Despite being presented as the current number one babyface in the company, there is considerable concern that he won’t win “the big one” at WrestleMania, and fans are looking at any conceivable slight against him as proof that the company dislikes him.
There are legitimate gripes against the current storytelling in the WWE, and there’s written and audio proof that I certainly can’t predict what the management is working towards. But there’s an easy way to avoid some of the heartache of having wrestling as a hobby: react to what’s on the screen, not what’s “reported” ahead of time. The negative response to CM Punk not appearing at Raw was exacerbated by wrestling sites implying that his return was likely, then other cut-and-paste chat pages misrepresenting the original vague statement as fact. Looking back at the last couple months of the Wrestling Observer, Daniel Bryan has been linked to at least four possible opponents at WrestleMania (Sheamus, Triple H, Batista, Orton, or any combination thereof), which means that the experts from that site will be wrong more often than not. So why get so worked up over the gossip? Why spew hatred and over-generalizations over something that may not happen? After the event is over, go ahead, critique, fantasy book, mark out, but think before you speak and, for the love of God, don’t spread a fan manifesto online. And by all means, remember to breathe.
- Take a Trip on the Dark Side: This week’s announcement for the 2014 class of the WWE Hall of Fame is Paul Bearer, longtime manager/father of The Undertaker, Kane, Mankind, The Executioner, and Vader. (Before being introduced to the WWF audience in 1991, Percy Pringle had had an extensive managing career, traveling through Florida, Texas, and other territories in the 1980s.) This is another example of WWE inducting someone once he’s dead, as Pringle died last year, though once assumes that was only because they never knew when they’d bring Bearer back for another angle–he had made sporadic appearances and returned for some extended runs from 2004 to 2012, last seen being wheeled into a walk-in freezer by Kane. As Undertaker tends to skip the Hall of Fame ceremonies due to devotion to kayfabe, Kane seems the obvious choice to give the induction speech, but if there’s going to be any exception while Taker remains an occasionally semi-active wrestler it should be this one.
- That’s the Stuff: Former six-time WCW Tag Team Champion and star of Terror Tract Marcus Alexander “Buff” Bagwell has resurfaced in the world of high-end male escorts. As far as non-wrestling yet still body-dependent careers go, he could certainly do worse. TMZ has some of the more lascivious details, should you want to check out the going rate for spending some time with Buff and/or would like things phrased in a more judging tone. My goodness, you’d think it was an article about Chyna. Or you can listen to Kevin Kelly’s excitement over these developments and possibly even bringing Buff into ROH as well!
- Unlock My Cage, Say You’ll Love Me Again: In a rare wrestling event you can’t see on the WWE Network, TNA presents Lockdown this Sunday from the BankUnited Center in sunny Miami, Florida. The card includes a steel cage match for the TNA World Title between Magnus & Samoa Joe, a steel cage match for the Knockouts Title between Madison Rayne & Gail Kim, a steel cage match between Gunner & James Storm, a steel cage match between Kurt Angle & Ethan Carter III, a steel cage match between Mr. Anderson & Samuel Shaw, a steel cage Lethal Lockdown match for control of TNA Wrestling between Team Dixie (Bobby Roode, Austin Aries and something called The BroMans) and TeaMVP (MVP, Jeff Hardy and The [nationality to be determined] Wolves), and a six-man tag-team steel cage match pitting Bad Influence and Chris Sabin against Tigre Uno, Seiya Sanada and…The Great Muta? The Great Muta indeed. No lesser Mutas will be tolerated. A partnership between TNA and Wrestle-1 brings the legend back to US pay-per-view, which ought to be a boon for old-school fans.
- ?! ?! ?! ?!: You may well consider me mad. You may wonder why I know so much about Them, or why I’d keep pushing, keep risking a total mental break just for uttering the name of Daniel Daniel Daniel Daniel Daniel Bryan did not win the Royal Rumble.
But I know They’re here, and I know They’ve taken something from each of us. Look deep enough and you’ll see it in your own life: a gap, a hole, a need you don’t want to admit. For me it’s my brother–I’m not sure exactly how they took him away, but I think he was getting too close to exposing a servant of theirs, Mr. Johnson. My brother’s not been seen in his home in the Cenation for almost two years now. They’ve been at this longer than any of us, and we’re not ready.
Look deeper. Deeper still. You will see. From near and far come tales of tassels and sad tidings–you cannot ignore them all. Do you not feel their weight (and Their weight) bearing down on you? You can’t hide; you cannot merely hope the seas will swallow Them. If only our seas could!