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!
Is it already that time? When stagnancy sets in during the fall months, doe-eyed wrestling fans look to prognosticate, focusing on the road to Wrestlemania. This year is no exception, as even we here at the High Spot are guilty of it. Much to Steve’s dismay, the discussion quickly turns towards returning legends. The constant Undertaker vs. Sting rumors, started after Vince McMahon bought WCW in 2001, have lasted for so many years that it’s now long past the point of satire.
Now that Undertaker lost to Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania XXX, fans need a new name to grab on to, and over the last couple weeks, we’re hearing rumors of a Steve Austin comeback at Wrestlemania 31. Much of this talk reeks of wild speculation, including talk that the WWE has ordered merchandise for Austin and recent advertising of his podcast on television (though we would suggest that has more to do with Michael Cole and JBL’s upcoming announcements regarding radio and podcasting). Wrestlezone noted Wrestling Observer’s reports that Austin is “training very hard lately,” but it’s no secret that he’s continued to stay physically fit since retiring in 2003.
This isn’t the first time Austin’s name has been bandied about for an active Wrestlemania spot. During 2011, Austin and CM Punk engaged in a war of words on the Twitter machine, leading some to speculate that the two would battle at Wrestlemania 29. Austin’s beer-guzzling character would seem to be a perfect contrast to CM Punk’s notorious straight-edge persona.
Perhaps the High Spot seems too negative regarding a potential Austin return, but it’s important to look at the reality of the situation. Austin will be 50 years old at the time of Wrestlemania, and, at that point, he would be inactive for twelve years. Remember how much ring rust affected the Rock’s returns, and keep in mind Johnson’s younger age and physical shape. There would be no time for Austin to enter the ring in front of live crowds for tune-up matches, as it would ruin the special attraction of the bout itself. While the thought of an Austin return gets our sense of nostalgia burning brightly, do we really want to see the end game – an actual match? And if he did return, who would he face? Outside of a returning Punk, which looks highly unlikely at this point, there doesn’t seem to be much of a spot for him, unless he’s able to put over a younger superstar. What are your thoughts? The High Spot wants to know your opinion regarding whether you’d be interested in a Austin return and, if so, who you’d like to see him face.
- Who Announces the Announcers?: In one episode of WWE’s Legends of Wrestling Roundtable, Jim Ross tells a story about investing a considerable sum of money into the rights to sell, in his home state of Oklahoma, a closed-circuit supershow main-evented by Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki in an unforgiving steel cage. JR knew what a huge star Inoki was in Japan, and that for many Inoki-Ali was a dream match, so he was eager to invest. The show proceeded to be a complete flop, because pretty much nobody in Oklahoma knew who Inoki was. (One assumes the subscriber base for wrestling magazines of the time was not large enough to provide a buying pool.) This week, word leaked that the closest thing to an actual show put on by Global Force Wrestling will occur on January 4th, the same day as NJPW’s WrestleKingdom show at the Tokyo Dome. The obvious speculation is that GFW will be bringing the Japanese show to the shores of these United States; thankfully for Jeff Jarrett and company, more people are aware of Japanese stars and promotions these days than in the 1970’s. Airing the show live from Japan would place it around 3 AM on the east coast of the US, with a rerun at a more typical time later in the day. While it remains to be seen what effect this GFW-NJPW partnership might have on New Japan’s relationship with Ring of Honor, the real story here is that Global Force Wrestling, world leaders in announcing future announcements of enticing announcements, neither announced this development itself nor made any statement teasing the impending release of any intermediate bulletins or communiqués. We truly live in thrilling times.
- A Company That Desperately Needs Some Announcements: TNA announced that a new deal will provide televised homes for Impact and Xplosion…in Malaysia and Singapore. Dixie Carter said that TNA is targeting Asia as a growth market over the next twelve months, a strong indicator that she expects to continue producing wrestling programs for the next twelve months. (Including Xplosion! Y’all, Xplosion is still on!)
- I’m in The High Spot, Gotta Love Me: The world of online dating sometimes takes a turn toward niche interests. There’s a dating site for Doctor Who fans, and a dating site for radical capitalists; the latest among these special-interest sites is Tag Me a Date, a new hub for the wrestling aficionado looking to form an indomitable tag team. (Or a highly domitable one; who am I to tell you how to live your life?) When your humble author took a look at TMAD, I was confronted by these and only these profile fields:
- Gender: Man / Diva
- Seeking: Male / Diva
- Seeking age
- Favorite Wrestler
- Favorite Finishing Move
- Favorite Catch Phrase
- Favorite Entrance
- Favorite Tag Team
- Favorite Manager
- If You Could Be Any Wrestler Who Would It Be?
- How many weeks in a month do you watch wrestling? 0 / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / There should be more weeks in a month to watch wrestling!
- What Days Of The Week Do You Watch Wrestling? (check all that apply)
- Do You Follow Independent Wrestling
- Do You Watch Pay Per Views?
- Ever Been to a Live Pay Per View?
- If Yes, Tell Us About It!
- What is your earliest wrestling memory?
A few things stand out here. First, the obvious: I’ll show you my favorite finishing move baby, heh, heh heh, heh. Second, the “seeking” field uses check boxes, allowing users to select either or both options, which is a more advanced function than many dating sites you’ll find out there. Third, unless there’re a lot more profile fields that open up once the site goes completely live, you’re going to be trying to forge deep relationships with a person’s favorite finishing move as a starting point. Fourth, this brand-new site will be instituting a pricing structure after the end of the trial period, and if there’s one thing that free dating sites want you to think/know, it’s that you don’t need to pay for a dating site.
There’s an urge and a tendency to mock niche interests, and online dating, and particularly online dating centered on niche interests. We’re losers, right? Okay. But consider: each and every human being is totally alone in our own minds, and that loneliness can be crushing. Creating a bridge between human beings can be a more complex undertaking than managing a billion-dollar multimedia roadshow, and is devoutly to be wished. Don’t begrudge people the connections they manage to make just because of how they manage to make them — hell, if two people both select “There should be more weeks in a month to watch wrestling!” they probably do have quite a bit in common. And you know what? Personally, if someone in my locality wanted to go out for a nice dinner before watching NXT together, I’d watch NXT a lot more regularly.
I’m in a closer position to things like this than a lot of other PTBN writers, many of whom have spouses and children and lives, including my dear Mr. Wille. I shall embed myself within this site and peruse its inhabitants, should it turn out to not be a scam, and should it include other living souls within a reasonable distance of my location (the mortal peril of new & small dating sites). Wish me luck, readers, in life and love as well as in the ring.