I've been a member of this site since July 2010 and, since signing up, I'm happy to say that my entire wrestling experience has changed largely for the better. While I now watch WWE and TNA programming with a much more discerning eye, I have a vastly deeper appreciation for pure wrestling skill, impressive moves and how those things interact inside a well-spoken character.
However, the considerable level of unfathomable hypocrisy after this past Monday's Raw episode has become too great for me to ignore any longer.
Let's lay our cards on the table.
In the Internet Wrestling Community, we see a wrestler lose a match, even if it's fair and square, and they're seen as "jobbing." They've basically laid down for another competitor as the result of nothing more than a booker's writing ability.
Some wrestlers try their hardest to get to the top, deserving a little respect and receiving nothing, while others who do basically the same thing with different approaches and gimmicks somehow garner more than their share of respect.
Here is a brief recap (because I really can't stand when people write a short article, 90% of which is recap, with only two lines of actual analysis):
Orton vs. Barrett for the WWE Championship, this past Sunday at the final (until it's brought back for promotional purposes) Survivor Series. The match focused on Cena's fate with the company.
Incidentally, he did NOT call the ending of the match down the middle. If he had, he would NOT have pushed Barrett, let alone made him vulnerable to an RKO, but that's another story.
The following night on Raw, Barrett gets another shot at the title per the GM, Nexus attacks Orton, Orton successfully defends with a busted wheel and Miz cashes in his briefcase to take the belt off Orton. Main facts, done.
Beginning yesterday, and probably even before midnight Monday night, this website blew up with people complaining about The Miz and how disgraceful it is that he's now the champion. He hasn't even been champion for a week, hell, not even a couple days and already people are writing it off, even going so far as to say HOW he won it was cheap and crass.
A recent example of the exact opposite response from Bleacher Report writers is seen in the results of the Smackdown ladder match at the inaugural Money in the Bank PPV, on July 18, 2010.
Short answer is...The Big Red Monster, The Devil's Favorite Demon, Kane, won that match.
Long answer is multiple part:
1) Kane defeated Big Show, Matt Hardy, Christian, Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler in order to EARN his briefcase, just as The Miz EARNED his briefcase by defeating Chris Jericho, Evan Bourne, Ted DiBiase Jr, John Morrison, Edge, Mark Henry and who else? One other guy, that's right...Randy Orton.
2) Kane cashed in his briefcase, the very night he won it, on Rey Mysterio...a guy (no disrespect to Rey) he could probably beat even if Rey had been 100%. However...
3) Rey had been feuding heavily with Jack Swagger (was Alberto around then, too?) and had even been out for a short time healing from injuries.
So, in other words, Kane took full advantage of Rey's weakness in order to win his latest major title. And guess what, in case many of you forget? The night after Kane won the World Heavyweight Championship, this website blew up, same as when Miz won the title two days ago...only Kane's response was massively positive.
Yet, the two of them basically won their titles the exact same way. Now, don't get me wrong, I fully acknowledge the fact that Kane's been in WWE longer and has earned his stripes in far more grueling matches than Mike Mizanin. I will admit that whole-heartedly, but...
I also fail to see how it's apparently different for one guy to pay their dues getting set on fire in Inferno matches, setting JR on fire and looking like a necrophiliac murderer and another guy to pay their dues playing the foolish role of a little kid with a faux-hawk, a boy in a man's world and hosting Smackdown and a Divas Search, basically looking like an out-and-out fool.
Exactly how is that different? Wrestlers have been paying their dues and earning heat in different ways for decades. With the six or so wrestlers that were released recently, we can truly see that if Mike Mizanin hadn't been receiving the response WWE wanted from their investment in him, they would've kicked him to the curb by now.
It should be fairly obvious to you readers by now that he's garnered enough fans to earn his place.
Glenn Jacobs' debut as the Kane character hit in mid 1997. For you math whizzes out there, that's about 13 years ago and for you history buffs, you'll notice that Kane did NOT receive the same "Decade of Destruction" promotion as his kayfabe brother, the Undertaker.
Since then, per the God of all knowledge Wikipedia, Kane's won 1 WWE Title, 1 World Heavyweight Championship, 1 ECW Title, the IC Title twice (which even I had forgotten, must not have held it long) and many tag titles.
Clearly, he's like me when it comes to having talent in his field. I'm a really good pool player, but when I get behind the 8-ball and the table's pretty clear, I tend to choke.
Looking back on the Money in the Bank response on this website, many were fairly pleased to see the Miz win the briefcase, acknowledging that he'd come a long way and for him to pull out a victory in such a chaotic, unpredictable match was impressive.
Yet, now that he's cashed it in and won the title, he's receiving this kind of negativity? Am I to believe that people were actually hoping that he would win a briefcase just to fail?
Isn't that hope coming from the same exact people who HATE it when WWE starts a storyline only to let it flop and disappear into the ether? Everyone who has complained about the Miz since Monday, you know you would've complained just as bad if he failed when cashing it in and you would've made a big stink about WWE dropping the ball on another potentially interesting storyline.
It's not even as if Miz pulled a full-on Edge and ran in at the behest of Vince McMahon, gave Randy a couple spears like Edge did with a bloodied and battered Cena (and then a second time on a similarly bloodied and battered Undertaker) and scored a pin within about 30 seconds.
Not only did Randy fight back this Monday and seriously make me think Miz was genuinely going to fail, but Miz swiftly and skillfully reversed the RKO into a Skullcrushing Finale and then scored a pin.
Why is it that The Viper can reverse Evan Bourne's Shooting Star Press into an RKO and everyone rewinds their DVRs to rewatch it a million times, but The Miz is crafty and savvy enough to take one of the most effective, and likely overused, signature moves in wrestling history (variations have been the Stone Cold Stunner and Diamond Cutter, if you recall) and reverse it with HIS OWN signature move within seconds, yet, he gets nothing in return?
To me, that shows a guy who's done his homework, a guy who's okay putting in the footwork of studying his opponent, rather than simply being an opportunist, a la Edge.
Again, don't get me wrong. I do acknowledge the potential this has to go badly. After all, Miz did basically place hold the US Title, uncleanly and for a long time, before Bryan took it and returned it to its former glory.
However, consider for a moment the fact that The Miz has a huge following among fans. Whether they're fans that wear the "Hello, my name is I'm Awesome" t-shirts, or closeted fans that silently chuckle to themselves when he goes "Really? Really?", it's undeniable that this guy is popular.
Additionally, take a look back to the night after Money in the Bank...in fact, here, allow me to show you exactly what I mean...please watch this...
When Sheamus held the WWE Championship, The Miz...tiny, little Miz with his tiny little haircut...walked right up to the Celtic Warrior, the very same one that put Triple H on the shelf for most of this year, stared him right in the face and did you see?
He intimidated a big brawler like Sheamus out of the ring with a threat and received laughs and cheers for it.
Cena, Hunter, and Orton? None of them can say they did that, but Miz can say it. Sheamus backed off of the first three for effect, playing mind games with them because he needed the edge. Miz? Sheamus was genuinely scared to lose to him, because he knew it was possible.
Look, I'm not saying John Cena, Triple H, Randy Orton and Kane aren't as good as the Miz. I'm merely trying to point out that, yes, he may have a ways to go when developing his skills as a wrestler, but check this out.
Mike Mizanin is 30 years old, meaning he has at least a good TEN more years of wrestling in him before he starts slowing down.
Triple H? He's 41.
Undertaker? Hell, he's about ready to retire as we speak.
All I'm saying is, give Miz a chance. As you saw with his confrontation with Sheamus and Alex Riley's hilarious playing up of the deplorable Pee Wee appearance weeks ago, The Miz has plenty of opportunity to become a face and a respectable one.
Yes, that will likely require him to score victories cleanly and I'll admit he hasn't had too many of those in recent years. However, like I said, give him a chance to change your minds before tearing him down as a useless loser.
His first major title reign is starting. Triple H is amazing, yet even he has had paper reigns. If Miz ends up being a paper champion, cheating to keep the gold? Fine, flame Miz for cheating and flame WWE for making him look like worse of a wrestler than he is. I'll likely even join that crusade.
Of course, the problem is pretty inherent, really. Let's say on some whim, Alex Riley gets taken out of the picture and Miz has to defend the WWE Title against Randy Orton on his own. Like I said in the title of this article, Miz's Championship victory is yielding exactly what I hate about the IWC. Care to know why?
Because if Miz were to wrestle in that match and win cleanly, the bulk of the IWC would be in an uproar that WWE made Randy job to Miz, not even acknowledging that it probably required skill to beat him in a real wrestling match and that Randy took Miz for granted and underestimated him.
So, if you think about it, Miz is already pretty screwed either way, thanks to you cynics out there. He won't get your respect by being an Edge-caliber cheater and he won't get your respect by winning because his victory will only be diminished by blaming the creative department and booking people.
Cynics here complain about bad booking, yet with the sheer magnitude of people on certain bandwagons that offer next to no wiggle room in their beliefs, it leaves little maneuverability for wrestlers to earn any credibility as entertainers.
I'll admit that The Rock was a huge superstar in his day, one of the biggest WWE has ever had short of Stone Cold and maybe Hogan, but here's a confession for you.
I thought he was massively annoying as the People's Champion and I was likely a closet fan who acknowledged how great he made WWE TV. Now that he's been gone for a while and the Rock craze has had time to cool off, I want him back on WWE TV real bad, because I can appreciate what he brought to the table.
When you can't win with people, I guess you just can't win.
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