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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
On Monday, as I was watching a fairly exciting Raw telecast, preparing for this week’s episode of PTBN Main Event, I found myself struggling to stay awake. As I reflected on why one of my favorite hobbies was putting me to sleep, especially a program that had a few hot segments building up the main storyline of WrestleMania, my first thought was to blame the length of the episode. The three hour programs always are a struggle for me to get through, even if I speed through them on the DVR, and this week’s episode approached the 3½ hour mark. The production assistants at ringside agreed with my initial hypothesis, as they were begging HHH to go off the air as the 11:30 mark rapidly approached. Upon further reflection, it was not one episode of wrestling causing my boredom and sleepiness, but a wider problem. I’ve been watching so much wrestling over the past month, I’m starting to burnout. As the WWE Network approaches its first full month on the air, how fans consume wrestling, and for me, at least, other media, has changed completely, and the biggest winner is the WWE itself.
For the first couple weeks of the existence of the network, the amount of comments on the live chats for PTBN were in the hundreds per day, as everybody was binging on their favorite events and moments. I also attended three live events and went on vacation during that time span, and I found myself lying on the couch in the hotel, catching snippets of NXT and Starrcade as my family slept. I had been previously enjoying the 37th relaunch of Impact Wrestling, but I stopped watching. Twice now, I ran out of time to watch the main event on the Ring of Honor website. My DVR, which records movies and non-wrestling shows, is at capacity, and my stack of unread magazines, comics and books has increased to the point where I’m getting dirty looks from my wife. On Monday, even though it was a newsworthy episode, I wanted to stop watching Raw. Though I’m currently satiated from wrestling, I have no desire to purge, so perhaps I have the newest psychological malady: Binge Wrestling Disorder.
So why is the WWE the winner in all of this? The first products to get shoved aside were Impact, Ring of Honor, and my recently purchased Chikara compilations, and it’s the latter that I enjoy the most. That didn’t stop me from watching the entire 1988 Tower of Doom match with my friend Andy (SHAME!), and my bizarre need to watch events in their entirety led me to go through hours of bad house show matches from the ‘90s (GUILT!). Even during my desire to turn off Raw, the WWE feels no effect, as I’ve already dropped the sixty dollars for the first six months of the network. The first hit was free, and once that week was over, you’re hooked for life.
I’m in the process of locating twelve-step programs in the area (First step: admit you enjoy 1993-94 ECW); any other advice from loyal readers is welcome. If nothing else, maybe I can kick the WWE habit and move back into the designer drugs of the indie feds I love so much (I hear that the kids are really freaking out on the AAW). Maybe I just need to take a break from television and electronic screens for awhile….what’s that? It’s March Madness time? SIGH.
- Get Ready to Do Some Pitying: Various sites broke the news Monday afternoon, and that night on Raw WWE conformed that Mr. T is entering the Celebrity Wing of the Hall of Fame at long last. No disrespect to Refrigerator Perry, Pete Rose or Drew Carey, but celebrity wrestling in the WWF was at its peak during Mr. T’s run at the first two WrestleManias. Next stop: Cyndi Lauper. Also being welcomed into the Hall of Fame is Carlos Colón, promoter of the WWC in Puerto Rico who, as a youngster, participated in the 1993 Royal Rumble. Colón will be inducted by his sons Carlito and Primo, as well as his nephew Epico (spoiler: this last pair are actually Los Matadores). There’s no word yet on who will be inducting Mr. T, but if it’s not Hulk Hogan this author might eat his hat.
- True Life Horror: Rock n’ Roll Buck Zumhofe, WCCW & AWA star and WWF jobber, has been convicted of twelve counts of sexual assault for raping his daughter numerous times from 1999 to 2011. He had previously been convicted of raping two different children in 1986 and 1989. After the verdict was read in the most recent case, Zumhofe attempted to flee the courthouse and was quickly apprehended once again. We can only hope that his victims can find some peace after all of this.
- Feeding Frenzy: Various business news outlets have reported that WWE would be a hot commodity should Vince McMahon decide to sell the company. Business experts have apparently been speculating on Vince’s eventual retirement as the cause of an eventual sale, apparently unaware that he’s been creating infrastructure and slowly (slowly) handing off responsibilities to his successors for years, including Stephanie McMahon’s management of the writing staff and Triple H’s increased involvement in the NXT “minor league” program. While one must never say never in the world of multinational megacorporations, this seems like a pointless kerfluffle, and may actually be part of WWE’s own plans to boost its financial standing in advance of the renegotiation of its TV broadcast contracts later this spring.
- A Movable Object?: The Pontiac Silverdome, site of the most important event in the history of professional wrestling, has already begun its transition into whatever form it may take in the future, as there will soon be an auction of stadium seats, game clocks, restroom fixtures (indeed), and other memorabilia. Seats can already be bought directly. The Silverdome was most recently home to the Detroit Mechanix of the American Ultimate Disc League.
- It Will Be a Happening: For fans attending WrestleMania in New Orleans, Jim Ross will be performing his one-man show at the House of Blues on the night of April 3rd.
- Someone Find the Lightning: Ring of Honor and New Japan will be running two joint shows this may, bringing Jushin “Thunder” Liger back to the US and to ROH. The shows will occur on May 10th and 17th in Toronto and New York City respectively, meaning that my High Spot life-partner Steve will not get a chance to see him live this time.
- ?! ?! ?! ?!: Those who shape the future have two choices: give in, or burn. They have tried to withstand the consequences of resistance thus far, but Their vengeance is undeniable. One cannot hold back the rising tide by force of will. The rest of us are not mere bystanders: many of us are pieces of the mechanism by which these punishments have been meted out. Should They meet anything less than full cooperation with Their magical crusade to create a universe more to Their liking, we can be coopted to deliver these punishments anew. There is no deus ex machina coming to save us. We have no Moses coming down from the mountain. We know not what we do. And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward New Orleans to be born?