MITCHELL'S TAKE MITCHELL: The New Old Boom Cycle - The time has come - the boom is here
Jun 13, 2012 - 6:28:15 PM
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By Bruce Mitchell, PWTorch columnist
The day Hulk Hogan predicted has arrived.
Hulkamania. The New World Order. Stone Cold! Stone Cold! Stone Cold!
The cycle has come back around. The time has come again. The boom is here.
For the first time in years Monday Night Raw showed an appreciable ratings increase over the last several weeks. That’s even with an extra hour start to hold it down, and without the help of a big-time movie star. Even more impressive, all things considered, TNA drew a real house in a real market for their tenth anniversary show Sunday night.
That’s not one sign pointing the way, but two. That Mayan Calendar nonsense stands on less.
All we need now is a catchy name for this new epoch. The only problem is, I haven’t got a clue as to what to call it.
I can identify some common elements between the two, but I’m at a loss as to what to make of them. Both include:
•Really, really rich people: The participation of company owners Vince McMahon and Dixie Carter was key in both shows. In an era where the top (economic) 1 percent are celebrated in sports and entertainment culture as never before, the industry is once again taking advantage of a shift in the Zeitgeist. As F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said, “Rich people are different than you and I.”
And let me tell you, rich people don’t get any different than the funky Mr. McMahon and the gushing Ms. Carter.
•Really, really rich people used to their strengths: WWE Creative cannily put their best asset up to what he does best – threatening, putting down, and stepping all over his talent roster. The stroke of Creative genius came when, just when it looked he was about to do the right thing, he changed his mind and didn’t do what everyone wanted.
TNA knew exactly how to pitch to their still-attractive leader, too. Before giving her the chance to high-heel it in the ring to thank her family by name and to pay tribute to her all-time favorite professional wrestling Icon, the Man Called Sting, Creative booked her in what seems to be an adulterous affair with a married younger wrestler.
“Who aired that footage!” she demands, and like with “You’re fired!” fans just can’t get enough.
•Old people: 47 year old Dixie Carter, 46 year old John Laurinaitis, 53 year old Sting, 58 year old Hulk Hogan, 66 year old Vince McMahon, 52 year old Bruce Mitchell.
Sometimes the best thing for a Creative entity is to ride the Zeitgeist, sometimes they beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into Vader Time.
•Really, really rich and old people doing things that have little or nothing to do with wrestling matches: Whether it’s accepting non-existent plaques, hanging out in motel doorways, riding scooters, dancing like a dad interrupting a teenage party, or stringing together corporate slogans, fans love old people doing old people things.
Sure, they may do some of these things while inside a wrestling ring, but clearly the thing fans are least interested in is watching old people wrestle. I mean, did you see Sting actually try to have have a match with that young man? Dixie Carter cower in front of that bald guy? Big John Laurinaitis eat the ring apron? Big Van Vader try to stand back up? Vince McMahon take three seconds to fall from an alleged Big Show punch?
“Who aired that footage?” “You’re fired!” That’s what fans want.
So, to sum up: Today’s new generation of wrestling fan wants to watch old, rich people doing things old, rich people do.
Hell, you name this boom period. I named Even Steven, DDMe, and Todd Champion.
I’m tired. I need a nap.
(Bruce Mitchell of Greensboro, N.C. has been a PWTorch columnist since 1990. The majority of his current columns are available exclusively here in the PWTorch Newsletter. You can also hear him every Monday night live on the PWTorch Livecast and listen to him and Wade Keller for two hours exclusively for PWTorch VIP members on the Bruce Mitchell Audio Show. )
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