Tag: WWE

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #076: “I’m Back.”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #076: “I’m Back.”

“August 13, 2005, I left professional wrestling. August 20th, 2021… I’M BACK.”

Buckle up. I’m not holding back the words this week, kiddos.

When the rumor mill said Phil Brooks, known as CM Punk, was coming to All Elite Wrestling… I snickered. You see, 7 years ago, Punk went to his best friend’s apartment and recorded a scathing indictment of sports entertainment. Over the course of his tenure at WWE, under Vince McMahon, Punk was ground into a nub of a human. His body? Broken down. By several infections treated by a blitzkrieg of Z-packs (Azithromycin) which shredded his insides. His mind? Mush. Fighting the powers that be for everything he earned as one of the top performers of the company. Never given anything without heavy-handed control by the writers’ room and ineffective bookers. His spirit? On life-support. Forced to endure idiocy like being literally fired on his wedding day, needing to sue the WWE and lose a best friend over it, as well watching part-timers be brought in to spike ratings and take championships needlessly. This was CM Punk 7 years ago. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #076: “I’m Back.””

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #070: Vince McMahon Can Twitch My Ass

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #070: Vince McMahon Can Twitch My Ass

As the seasons turn, and we remain locked indoors, awaiting the eventual end of the plague (either the coronavirus or Donald Trump’s presidency… I’ll take the end of either at this point)… I’m left once again watching professional wrestling. Since the beginning of the pandemic, both the WWE and AEW have chosen ways to bring back the crowds. AEW is selling a very small amount of tickets for socially-distant, attendee-testing-at-the-gate fans to enjoy tapings of AEW Dynamite in Daley’s Place (the amphitheater at the base of the stadium where the Jacksonville Jaguars play). The WWE has opted instead to drain Orlando of its power grid by way of their Thunderdome “stadium” — with the arena where the Orlando Magic play basketball now housing the ring, and an insane amount of LED boards where a virtual audience and piped-in crowd noise are filmed during their tapings.

This weird new normal has created some interesting times — if perhaps some less-than-stellar product. But some pro rasslin’ is better than none. I’m not apt to complain there. Something happened not long ago in the WWE though, that has caused me to sour that much more to their ever-dwindling-in-quality-product. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #070: Vince McMahon Can Twitch My Ass”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #068: The Nails In WWE’s Coffin Are Elite

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #068: The Nails In WWE’s Coffin Are Elite

Not even a year removed from the debut of AEW Dynamite — the weekly 2 hour wrestling program from All Elite Wrestling — I consider myself a full-blown convert. Each week, WWE’s stranglehold on the pro-wrestling (ahem… “Sports Entertainment”) industry slips further and further down. In fact, just this past week, their ratings continued to plummet. And while all TV ratings right now are not-great? The WWE has less of an excuse. They are still producing weekly entertainment. It’s just that in comparison to Tony Khan’s black-white-and-gold brand… WWE is looking a lot less shiny. So much so I’m not even watching DVR’ed episodes with any zeal. At best, I listen to results (and complaints) from YouTube reviewers a few days after episodes air. While the WWE is literally too big to fail for now? As AEW Champion (and former WWE staple) Jon Moxley might say… it’s time for a paradigm shift.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #068: The Nails In WWE’s Coffin Are Elite”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #067: Speaking Out on Pro Wrestling

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #067: Speaking Out on Pro Wrestling

For any living under a rock, #SpeakingOut is a movement in recent weeks that has exposing a litany of professional wrestlers for their misogynistic behavior publicly calling them out to be dealt with. In the wake of everything occurring throughout the world, it’s a breath of fresh air to see those in the business who need action taken against them start to suffer for their behavior.

What we’re seeing is a systemic change; where allegations are being met instantly with action and repercussions. You might say that #timesup to live by the “wait and see” or “innocent until proven guilty” defense used by many who bear the brunt of the hashtag. But it’s clear by way of all that has come out:

Women will be believed. They will be heard. And those accused must deal with the ramifications. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #067: Speaking Out on Pro Wrestling”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #064: Dear Mr. Cornette

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #064: Dear Mr. Cornette

Dear Corny,

Can I call you Corny? Probably not. I don’t know you personally. But I address you as such because you’re undeserving of a more formal address like Mr. Cornette.

I wanted to write you today to specifically respond to a few of your opinions you’ve infected the world with lately. Specifically these:

On WWE’s Becky Lynch (Rebecca Quinn):

“This is a multi-million dollar talent and she tells me she’s pregnant? What the fuck?” Cornette continues. “This is like one of the boys breaking his leg on purpose while he’s on top. You can control this, this is not like a fuckin’ injury. This could have been controlled. It’s not like I don’t never want them to have children, but when both of you have top spots where you can make seven fuckin’ figures a year and blah, blah, blah. Wait three years and have a fuckin’ baby.”

And on WWE’s Dana Brooke (Ashley Sebera):

“Her entire face looks like it was remodeled after somebody set fire to it and put it out with an axe. What the f**k has happened? Did she do that on purpose or was she in a horrible accident? What the f**k?”

Well, Jimmy? Let’s get a few caveats out of the way. You’re entitled to hold any opinion you want. You’re more than welcome to spread that opinion on any platform willing to present you. And folks who follow you have the right to agree with your musings. Cool? Cool. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #064: Dear Mr. Cornette”

Another Smart Marc Podcast — The Pilot!

Another Smart Marc Podcast — The Pilot!

Just in time for professional wrestling to implode, Pop Culture Squad is proud to present the pilot to Another Smart Marc — a pro wrestling podcast as part of our Pop Culture Squadcast Network!

Join PCS columnist SmartMarc Alan Fishman and his guest, singer/songwriter Jeremy Lieb as they breakdown the coming and (mostly) goings in the world of rasslin’.

The lads discuss the current empty arena shows — the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’re taking Friar Ferguson levels of ugly. And if you get that reference? Well my friend, you’re just another smart mark.

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So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #062: No Audience? No Wrestling!

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #062: No Audience? No Wrestling!

With the increasing pressure of the CDC, state governance, and… well… common sense, live entertainment may be on the verge of hiatus. I speak specifically of professional wrestling — with both the WWE and AEW continuing to produce shows weekly. This perhaps coming to no greater head than Wrestlemania itself. Let’s just unpack that, shall we?

Vince McMahon’s first ‘Mania was the gamble that paid off to dividends still reverberating today. The WWF of 1985 presented the carnival-tinged cavalcade of muscle-bound pugilists in a venue and scope that prognosticated future success to the tune of billions of dollars earned. Fast-forward to the COVID-19 stricken wastleland that is America at present. Wrestlemania 36 just ended it’s 2-night audience-less presentation. In spite of death-defying stunts, first-and-likely-last-time-ever matchtypes like the Boneyard Match between the Undertaker and AJ Styles, or the Firefly Funhouse match between John Cena and The Fiend… after 7 hours of grunts and prat falls to the echos of an empty warehouse, I’m astounded this was considered a good idea. At all. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #062: No Audience? No Wrestling!”

“So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #059: How AEW has the WWE in a Rest Hold

“So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #059: How AEW has the WWE in a Rest Hold

It’s been a while since I’ve written to you, my adoring public. But rest assured, I’ve been knee deep in content saturation; trying to find a specific hook to yammer on about on my little home on the interwebs. Well, since it’s been long enough since my last wrestling run-down, I felt it was time to return to the squared circle and once again wax poetic on the virtues of Cody Rhodes and company. Let’s do the thing:

The win/loss record makes inconsequential matches actually matter

When AEW gets into their mid-card, their simple system of tracking wins and losses (and soft resetting at year end) means every match has a purpose. By telling us presently-not-on-the-top-five Jungle Boy is facing off with 5th ranked Superbad Kip Sabian, even without a lengthy backstory, the match suddenly matters. A win over Sabian might mean Jungle Boy gets on the ranking board. But if Kip nips Jungle Boy in the bud, he’ll hold more wins than #4 on the chart, and suddenly his stock is skyrocketing. This makes every match have ramifications. It forces us, the viewers, to think of the predetermined contests as holding a narrative built around the sport between the ropes. This suspension of belief is what pro-wrestling used to be rooted in. Continue reading ““So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #059: How AEW has the WWE in a Rest Hold”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #056: 2019 Year-End Wrestling Wrap Up!

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #056: 2019 Year-End Wrestling Wrap Up!

Greetings smart-marks! I’m back one last time in 2019 to put together a list of my personal bests-and-worsts that ran afoul in the pro-wrasslin’ business. The highs were higher, the lows perhaps never lower. And while I’m no doubt cross-pollinating with a large swatch of other smarky writers? I don’t care. I learned to not care from my cousin Maxwell.

Best: MJF. Just everything about this guy this year tracks positive. Admittedly, like most of AEW stars, I had nary a clue who Maxwell Jacob Friedman was prior. But ever since that Burberry scarf sporting scallywag snarled on screen, I was hooked. He’s young. He’s cocky. I’ve yet to even see him in a full-on match. That I honestly don’t care I’ve NOT seen him in long-format yet is a testament to the worthy work he’s putting in. Part Million Dollar Man, part Internet Troll… he’s awaiting several beatings I can’t wait to see.

Worst: Sasha Banks. Let me preface my micro-rant: I did not watch her WWE Chronicle documentary about her taking time off. I didn’t because it’s unnecessary. Banks — a victim of WWE’s awful creative team (more on them later) — was dropped into a tag team program with her best friend around Wrestlemania season, and has yet to recover. Once seen as the rising heel star of NXT’s amazing women’s division… this year reduced to changing her hair color as a sign of reinvention. Honey? Call Chris Jericho. Take some notes. And maybe head back to NXT for some in-ring pointers while you’re at it. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #056: 2019 Year-End Wrestling Wrap Up!”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #038: I quit the WWE (Mostly)

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #038: I quit the WWE (Mostly)

Let me jump ahead here to be clear: I wasn’t in a place financially to allow the indulgence of AEW’s “Double or Nothing” pay-per-view. And whatever leaked dirt-sheet reports from the smarks bellowing on how amazing it was preceded this article or my decision to no longer contribute to the WWE Network subscriber base. Cool? Cool.

There’s a large part of me that wants to write directly to the smark community right now. To drop all traditional pretense to mansplain in the nicest way possible, the brief history and factual evidence that led my decision and what built this article in the first place. I want to set it aside so I can fill my column inches with pure vitriol and spite.

But I’m older, wiser, and the bitterness isn’t such that I need to level a rant that sadistic anymore. Because while I freely admit I hate-canceled my WWE Network subscription… it was done with a whimper and a sigh. Let me tell you all a tale. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #038: I quit the WWE (Mostly)”