Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Words Are Weapons

I love it when a show or a movie that I watch somehow correlates with how I view professional wrestling. By now, most of you who read my columns understand that I take a bit more of the positive perspective approach to creative criticism. This, however, is not always the case and a movie that I watched with my wife the other day – Chef – struck a nerve with me. We viewed the film expecting to be entertained by an out-of-the-box story, which it delivered excellently as I do recommend seeing the film. Inside that 114 minute span, the main character (Jon Favreau) delivered a statement to the critic (Oliver Platt) who scrutinized his work earlier in the film:

"You robbed me of my pride, of my career, of my dignity… And I know people like you, you don’t usually care about that kind of thing. But you should know it hurts people like me, because we’re really trying."

This statement alone does not describe the film, but it does surmise the opinion I feel when reading some of the commentary floating around on the dirtsheets. I am guilty in this regard, as far too often have I allowed snap judgments to shape my view of a product. Choosing to focus on pessimistic thoughts often defeats the purpose of what I truly set out to do when I make critical comments:  to explain what I feel would be a better choice. However, as I've matured I am now able to understand that what I find bland to my palate, others might enjoy with a remarkable amount of fervor. It boils down to the outlook we choose to view it from, seeing as how the common denominator in the equation is the product shown on television.

With that being said, I have discovered a nice little nugget after last week’s Impact. When The Wolves announced an 8-team tournament for the #1 contender’s spot to their titles, I quickly observed a trend on Twitter, with fans claiming "They don’t have 8 other tag teams; they’ll just randomly pair a bunch of wrestlers." I accepted the challenge to name 8 tag teams in hopes of making a fan eat their hat – they claimed they’d do so if anyone could name enough teams – and did just that with an ease that even a super fan like myself wasn’t anticipating.

The names that popped into my head were easily linked because of the creative team making ties between the wrestlers, without intertwining stories in a way to feel convoluted. A pairing of Samuel Shaw and Gunner in this tournament makes sense as they have been aligned for quite some time, even if they are teasing tension in their friendship. A few potential candidates, Bram and Magnus have been associated since Bram first appeared on television, even if we’ve seen both men on their own as of late. The idea of Melendez/Anderson was explained by the introduction and subsequent story told for Melendez. This tournament doesn’t feel like a hodgepodge of random pairings, and the credit goes to Dave Lagana and Matt Conway for how they have been using talent in storylines over the past 6-12 months.

Many of you are probably thinking, "What does your opening rant have to do with the tag team tournament?" Inside the movie, Chef Carl Casper explained to the critic that the food he prepared the evening of the review was a menu made by the owner of the restaurant. Finding a balance between what roles a character (the chef) might want to present versus the creative direction (the owner) of an entire show is not an easy accomplishment. Sometimes, compromises must be made for the sake of the show.

For those that called for EC3 to be given the title and shown for 60 minutes on Impact, you must consider how it affects other stories. The fall of Dixie Carter, the organic build to EC3’s persona, and even the rise of Rockstar Spud might have been limited by pushing EC3 straight to the title. Worse, he might have been included with this fatuous idea thrown about for so long with TNA – that they immediately strap WWE rejects, which would be a discredit to the talents of the man portraying EC3.

Mr. Anderson had an interview with Chuck Carroll in August. Carroll stated in the article that TNA is asking for suggestions from the talent, and that the wrestlers have been given the green light to pitch new storyline ideas to the writers. The creative staff writing stories for various characters and receiving input for ideas from those who created these characters is something that excited me. Admittedly, I am unaware if this was already occurring, but for me it is the concoction that might inspire that next big storyline for TNA.

Having the talent who feel that they are doing what they enjoy, whilst having the creative team interpret the overall direction might just breed new and fresh ideas heading into 2015. I'm excited for what's next, and I want to thank every member of the Impact roster that busts their ass to entertain me every week.

I am not telling you that your opinions don't matter, nor am I saying that you shouldn’t voice your critiques of a product you enjoy. I am simply saying that before you make that "oh so clever" comment on Twitter or in your vLog on YouTube, you should consider that these people are human beings who experience human emotions, even if their characters are not "real." Hopefully that one guy on Twitter will tweet a few pictures while consuming his hat, and that each bite will remind him that even the self-ordained critics are subject to critique.

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