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!
In this supposed PG-era of sanitized professional wrestling, the general consensus that some of the more salacious storylines of the Attitude Era were a thing of the past. But, over the last month, a disturbing trend has started to reemerge. After the character of Fandango unceremoniously dumped Summer Rae over Twitter, picking up a new romantic partner in Layla, the two girls started feuding. It’s bad enough that the two Divas are fighting over arguably the most sleazy character on the roster, but they took it a step farther, as Summer Rae attacked Layla backstage, dumping milk and cosmetic products over Layla, clearly in an attempt to humiliate her. WWE has a history of this type of action before (gravy matches, slapstick pies/cakes in the face, etc.), but it seems to have faded over the years. The one thing that these sketches generally have in common: the victims are usually women. Now, maybe the theory is that the female character can’t get their comeuppance in the violent manner associated with wrestling, but I truly believe something more disgusting is in play. My fears were confirmed the following week, as Layla retaliated, not solely with milk, but with kitty litter. Yes, kitty litter. As an avid reader of the Wednesday Walk Around the Web, my tag-team partner Glenn Butler taught me the truly disturbing nature of that substance.
Now, I’m all for suspending disbelief, I mean, we’re talking professional wrestling here, but do you realize how much creative license was used for this segment?
Imagine Layla’s thought process: “You know, Summer dumped that milk on me. Cats like milk. We’re kind of embroiled in a cat fight. What do cats do? Lick themselves? Take ridiculously long naps? Relieve themselves in litter? BINGO. I’m going to attack her with cat litter. Okay, I can’t carry that onto the plane without paying extra baggage fees, so I’ll need to take the rental car out to Target and pick up a small 30-lb. container. Do you think anyone will notice that I’m lugging around this giant container of litter around the locker room? Summer’s going to be so embarrassed when I dump this ridiculously oversized box of litter on her. Sure, it’s made of fine clay particles that covers everything around it, and I’ll likely be just as destroyed as she is, BUT IT WILL BE SO WORTH IT. Wait, what’s my motivation for this again?”
Outside of the WWE and Jerry Springer, I’ve never seen women get into an argument over a man which ended in food fights or other, umm, unsavory entities dumped on one another. Perhaps the metaphor they’re going for is a “catfight,” but to me, it’s some male on the writing staff taking out his issues on women by humiliating them on live television, treating them as a literal dumping ground. And I’m still confused why Summer Rae is going after Layla when Fandango is the one that broke up with her. She’s even jumping in the ring kissing him to make Layla jealous.
The last couple paragraphs were essentially going to be a bullet point, but the misogyny continued over the last two weeks, as outgoing performer Vickie Guerrero, long the butt of these types of “jokes” was doused with fake vomit, leading to the return of the time-honored tradition of pudding wrestling on Raw this past Monday. Sorry, it looked like pudding, but the announcers led us to believe that it was sewage or excrement. This segment, in which fans were expected to cheer for the hour-long face turn of Vickie Guerrero before her final appearance led to five women being unceremoniously dumped into the mess. I guess that the silver lining was that the boss, Stephanie McMahon, partook in the segment.
Initially, I wondered who backstage was getting excited by these segments. And it’s definitely that kind of excitement, because otherwise we wouldn’t be having this on virtually every episode for the last month. Then I saw the reaction of the crowd to the unveiling of the pudding bath and realized the pathetic truth. It’s virtually the entire male adult audience of the program. And though, through PTBN, I’ve felt more positive about being a fan of wrestling, the shame I felt watching this dreck makes me question what I’m doing with my spare time, and understand why others look down on me for doing so.
- All of This Has Been Announced Before, and All of This Will Be Announced Again: Global Force Wrestling, the world leader in announcements of exciting announcements, has announced a new partnership with New Japan Pro Wrestling in which both organizations will trade talents for events on both sides of the Pacific, similar to GFW’s deal with AAA. What slate of talent GFW will have to trade, and what events they might be putting on with their stars of the US and Japan and Mexico, we do not yet know. We must wait for further announcements to know when more announcements will be made.
- A Three-Hour Tour: Speaking of international wrestling, TNA will reportedly hold their Bound for Glory pay-per-view event in Tokyo, Japan. Like some of the guys on the Main Event podcast said, TNA has had a relatively strong international presence over the years, and this could be good for them.
- Leashed and Unleashed: Batista has indicated that he will indeed return to action once he’s done with the promotional tour for Disney Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, a real movie film coming soon to a theater near you. It’s odd to think of where he was just six months ago, but at this point he’s badly needed to fill a top heel slot.
- Whoooooooops: Speaking of a heel slot that needs to be filled, Wade Barrett reportedly injured his shoulder at the SmackDown taping this week. While we don’t know the severity of the injury, it’s disappointing to see Barrett slowed down when he’s really been gaining momentum lately, and he’s now developing a history of injuries that may brand him as unreliable. (Also, even putting aside the lack of top-level heels, the last thing WWE needs is another injured champion. At least with the Intercontinental Title they can just leave the belt on Barrett until he’s back, if he’s going to be out for a while.)
- Future Endeavor Imperfect: Recently in The High Spot we looked at a batch of talent cuts made by the WWE. Reports are swirling thatg there was another cut made this week, and it’s a moderately surprising one: Josh Mathews, who had been with the company for over ten years through Tough Enough and various roles as an interviewer and commentator, has been wished well in his future endeavors. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising, considering Mathews’ transition away from the backstage interviewer role and some of the other niches he filled, but he was very recently the moderator for WWE Network’s pre- and post-show roundtables, which had seemed like a secure position. Hopeuflly he lands on his feet soon, and at least one report says he was present backstage at a TNA show already, because he can definitely contribute. (Perhaps all announcers but one will soon be cut. Michael Cole will soon be calling the action in every moment of your life…or am I the only one hearing that?)
- Get With This: R-Truth recently revealed that he will be making a new rap album, to be released by the WWE. Given Truth’s previous creations for his own entrances — including “What’s Up,” a paean to the interdependency of all people and the importance of collaborative subjectivity, and “Right Time to Get Crunk,” the twenty-first century’s answer to “turn on, tune in, drop out” — culture-watchers are waiting with bated breath to see what revolutionary ideas Truth brings to the discourse of modern music this time.