And Another Thing: Internet Writers Suck: Reason #64
Posted by Hyatte on 01.01.2000
You don’t need to Internet to know whether to like a match.
Ever have one of those times where you really, really enjoyed something you saw on TV, but felt like a moron after reading someone explain why it wasn’t any good?
Of course you do, or else I wouldn’t get mail.
Well, it happened to me once too, but instead of sending an e-mail that would go ignored, I talked about it in a column.
F*ck Wade Keller.
(originally presented January, 2001: 411 wrestling)
Last week, I felt like an idiot.
Someone made me feel like a complete, non-informed, brain dead, big mark loser.
All because of one wrestling match.
On last week's Monday Nitro, I watched two wrestlers have a match. Mike Modest and Chris Daniels. Two independent wrestlers getting a shot on big time TV. For Modest, it would be his second WCW try-out, having appearing on the show a year or so ago. During that brief run, he even managed to win the Cruiserweight belt for a few minutes before WCW underwent some big political changes and he found himself swept aside and back to obscurity. Even his high profile role in the Beyond The Mat documentary wasn't enough to ride out the changes WCW was going through at the time. For Daniels, who had earned a respectable reputation as the premiere Indy worker, it was his shot at finally showing the world what dirt sheet writers and those in the business already knew... that the "Fallen Angel" had the goods to succeed in the big leagues.
The storyline was a real life drama tweaked only slightly for television. Everyone on the Internet knew that this was a try-out match between two unsigned wrestlers. On camera, WCW set it up fairly close to reality. CEO Ric Flair's top henchman, Mike Sanders, sold the match to Cruiserweight champion Chavo Guerrero (and the audience), as two unknown challengers facing off with the winner getting considered for a cruiserweight shot. The stage was set, both on-air and off, these two workers would get an opportunity to shine as bright as they possibly could and impress those who mattered. Who actually won the match was an afterthought, both men knew this.
The match had it's own mini-drama early on. Coming fast off the ropes, Daniels attempted a second rope moonsault ala Chris Jericho. He slipped, and instead of flipping himself on top of Modest, he crashed nearly perfectly on the top of his head. Basically, it was what a piledriver is supposed to look like without someone to actually perform the move. Daniels was visibly shaken, as was the audience. Modest gave his opponent a few seconds to recover before digging right back in. Luckily, Daniels turned out okay and the match was able to continue.
Eventually, the match turned into a spotfest. Both men knew that they only had a few minutes to sell themselves, so they turned it up. Like BMW salesmen, both men showed off their best attributes to the consumer, hoping like hell that what they have stocked is enough to get themselves sold. Daniels and Modest displayed their best attributes to us, showing off every weapon they had. In a nice show of sportsmanship, both men helped each other execute their big spots, then traded up and returned the favor. Unfortunately, actual selling of those moves went by the wayside as both Modest and Daniels quickly bounced up after each spot, with not so much as a shrug. It became clear that this was not a match, it was a display. A display of abilities from two men who badly want to be a part of WCW.
As a fan... as a pure, unbiased, unashamed, wrestling fan, I loved it.
One of Eric Bischoff's strengths is his ability to make WCW seem important. Even though the audience, the Internet, the marks, the sheet writers, the Indy promoters, and every single locker room from Key West to the farthest corner of the Pacific Northwest know that the WWF is the true pinnacle of sports entertainment, Bischoff has a way of making a shot on Nitro seem like an huge deal. I truly doubt there isn't a wrestler out there who doesn't dream of the day he picks up the phone and hears Vince McMahon say, "Pally, have I got a deal for you!", but Modest and Daniels made me think that WCW and Nitro were just as important. These two guys gave their all and the "match" transcended kayfabe and became something more. It became real. It also made WCW seem more credible in the process.
Of course, the non-match ended abruptly once Scott Steiner ran out and beat the snot out of both men before getting on the mic and having a scripted temper tantrum. Reality went back into the shadows and kayfabe re-asserted itself.
It was too bad because I was actually fascinated by these two men. I bought their moves. I liked what I was seeing. I wanted to know how this ended. I wanted to see who got the shot, who got the rub. It was amazing, WCW sparked my interest in their product for the first time in years. Because of the nature of what I do online, I've grown very jaded on the sport. All the same people doing the same things under the same angles... it can get very boring sometimes. This match, between two brand new faces who were doing whatever they could to get noticed, reminded me just why I love the sport. Mike Modest and Chris Daniels poured their hearts out on national television and showed their nervousness through some missed spots. I cheered for both men to make a good showing. I marked out for them. They made me a pure fan of wrestling once again.
According to Wade Keller, this makes me an idiot.
The day after last week's Nitro, the Torch's Wade Keller wrote:
I'm baffled by the high praise Christopher Daniels and Michael Modest are getting by many based on their match that aired on Nitro last night. Both exhibited virtually every bad quality that typically makes veterans groan while watching a tryout dark match on a monitor in the backstage area. In fact, several WCW wrestlers were groaning and even chuckling backstage while watching the match.
Daniels and Modest may very well be better than what they displayed on Nitro last night, but people judging them on that match alone should not be impressed. And the two wrestlers certainly shouldn't be offered contracts on the basis of that debacle.
Match psychology (telling a story within the ring) isn't usually the highest priority of indy workers trying to make their mark.
Keller then proceeded to dismiss the match as nothing but a collection of blown spots, sloppy executions, and clueless pacing. He scolded WCW for putting these two in this position to begin with and finished by saying that Steiner should have ran out earlier "gonged" them out of the ring sooner. To be fair, he also said that both Modest and Daniels shouldn't be judged on that bad match alone.
So, Wade Keller says I shouldn't be impressed with what I just saw, and that many wrestlers backstage were "chuckling and groaning" at these two guys failure to "tell a story".
Right, and WCW workers are masters at telling stories in the ring. Nobody "chuckles and groans" at what these "professionals" do each week on Nitro.
Give me a break.
With one small column, Wade Keller just showed us why 99% of all Internet "Smarts" suck.... plain and simple. Who is he to tell me how I should enjoy a match? Who is he to explain to me why watching two guys work their asses off and making mistakes just like every other person on the planet, then applauding them for the effort, makes me a fool? Who made him the "Great Educator" of all things Wrestling?
Oh, right. He writes a dirt sheet. He's on the Internet. He's in the know. No wonder I felt like an idiot.
The good news is, after remembering who the source was, the feeling went away after about three minutes. Then I remembered what I saw and how these two guys actually did "tell a story". They told a story of two men gave their best to get a shot at the big time. That's the real story. All you have to do is read between the lines a little and see beyond the standard "angle".
Apparently, Mr. Keller is incapable of doing this.
Look, opinions are what makes the world interesting, and everyone’s entitled to one. If you thought the match stunk, and agreed with everything Mr. Keller said, hey... good for you.
Me, I choose to disagree. I choose to be able to admit that sometimes, I can just be a mark and cheer for a wrestler or two.
It's okay to do that, you know.
This is Hyatte too.