Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dispatches from the Lake: Art from Adversity

WWE went and made Roman Reigns Jar-Jar Binks last night
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Remember the original Star Wars movies? Of course you do, because they’re great! There’s a charm and realness to those them that I adore. I could go on about them for hours, but I won’t. You’ve got a life to live.

One of my favorite things about the original trilogy is that George Lucas had to fight to get it made. The first Star Wars film is a monument to art from adversity. When you don’t have the money to throw at things to make them better, you need to find an elegant, intuitive, and simple solution. We don’t have the money for this? Alright, let’s all sit down and figure out how we can get it done.

That mentality went right out the window with the prequels. You’ve seen the Phantom Menace, dear reader. We all have. On that summer night in 1999, we all took in that plastic, nonsensical, downright depressingly bad hot circle of garbage and wondered what the hell had happened?

George had won. He had dump trucks full of money, absolute power over his productions, and no one who would dare to say no to him.

Sound familiar?

The image of Vickie Guerrero doused in vomit is not something I’ll soon forget. Roman Reigns has officially turned ‘WWE brand’ face by using the same questionable tactics as John Cena and Sheamus. Kane is presented as a threat despite not winning a big match in the last twenty centuries. And most annoyingly, Mr. Jorts himself is back in the WWE Heavyweight Championship title picture for the ka-jillionth time.

I don’t know what’s going on over at Titan Towers, but they can do better. We saw proof of that earlier this year. When CM Punk left, it threw the WrestleMania card into upheaval. The brass at WWE needed to figure something out, and figure it out fast. What did they do? They put together one of their best storylines in years. We got something new. For my money, we got one of the best WrestleMania’s of all time.

There needs to be pushback. There needs to be competition. Creative shake ups aren’t a bad thing. Is everyone at WWE so scared to speak up about what they’re told to do they’ll allow themselves to be constantly humiliated on TV? They’ll let logic and storytelling go to the wayside? Kane, a guy who’s been there nearly 20 years, can’t say, ‘Hey, if we’re going to keep foisting me on the roster as a major threat, maybe I should win a match every now and again’?

But there is no conversation. There is no critiquing. You’re handed a script that points a fire hose of vomit at your face, and tells you to make sure your mouth is closed. They can’t do better than this?! WE SAW THEM DO BETTER NOT THREE MONTHS AGO!!!

WrestleMania was like watching that first Star Wars movie. I was filled hope (a NEW hope, one might say) for the year ahead. The young new guys were spotlighted, and it seemed like a change was actually happening.

What’s followed hasn’t been Empire Strikes Back. It’s been Attack of the Clones.