Monday, June 23, 2014

Instant Feedback: Goodnight, Sweet Princess

Gonna miss you, Vickie
Photo Credit:
I don't know Vickie Lynn Guerrero personally. I can't tell you how good a person she is, or how she deserves or didn't deserve to have her character suffer the slings and arrows of setback after setback with no hope of giving back those who'd bring her down, whether John Cena, Edge, or even the McMahon-Helmsley Regime v. 2.0. I won't glow about how she's a shining rose in a mire of feces and misogyny, because she, like everyone else in WWE, is more than likely one of the carniest carnies ever to live. She knew her role and seemed to play it without the ego. Sure, she had her job "only" because Vince McMahon may have felt guilty for her husband's death, and with that in mind, I wouldn't be surprised if WWE wrote stories for her in predatory fashion. But she got her paycheck. She's known around the world. I mean, I'm not saying I would let people humiliate me in a stage performance with this weird carnival code of pretending it was real for money, but I'm also not saying I wouldn't let that situation unfold either. It would depend on the amount of zeroes on the paycheck each week, I guess.

Still, even though she did pack her lunchpail and went to work every Monday and Tuesday and sometimes Sunday, I couldn't help but feel bad for her, at least the character. Everyone in the company at some point gets to have their moment in the Sun. Even Barry Horowitz won a match once. But Guerrero was always the punchline, never the puncher. Sure, every scripted drama has its eternal punching bag, but every time Guerrero was used as mean-spirited, flesh-and-bone comic relief, a little part of me cringed. John Cena set up hidden cameras in her office just so he could point and laugh at how gross Big Show was for wanting to touch her. Edge basically turned face by doing everything short of calling her a "cunt." She's had liquids poured on her, bodily functions spewed at her, and not once during the whole fray did she ever get a chance at a happy ending until one foot was out the door.

Maybe the crowd, which at times showed how awful at worst and Pavlovian at best could act tonight, finally reached its breaking point for Guerrero. If any situation would occur where cult-favorite Stephanie McMahon could break through and get a crowd behind her, it would have been berating Guerrero, whom said crowds over the year have been conditioned to believe was a dirty pig who only had a job because her husband died. But being Eddie Guerrero's widow only holds a benefit for your character when you're allowed to invoke him positively. The restraint by WWE in not allowing the synapse to fire on Guerrero's marital connections felt cruel at times.

But when Vickie Guerrero was finally allowed to memorialize her husband once again, not even the sly delivery of McMahon, who has morphed into one of the finest antagonists in post-Attitude WWE could win the crowd over. No character in WWE right now deserved the catharsis Guerrero was able to receive on the show tonight, and in a company where you show your entire ass on the way out the door, Guerrero was allowed to boot McMahon (and Layla and Alicia Fox and Rosa Mendes) in hers as a sendoff. That payoff hearkened back to a far more sexist day, when WWE only allowed women to compete seriously if some kind of liquid foodstuff (or in this case, natural human food byproduct) was involved, which made it gross and uncomfortable to watch. But watching McMahon flail in the pool for minutes rather than seconds while Guerrero did her late husband's shimmy up the ramp out of the company and into something new, something presumably better, felt like enough to wipe the slate clean.

Then again, maybe Guerrero had to leave covered in something to get her just leave out of WWE. She'd spent the last several years of her career getting people to hate her, to want her to be covered in everything from literal shit to liquid water, to leave the company clean as a whistle. WWE seems to love trolling its fans as much as its employees who aren't white males, so when the crowd finally ached to see her win, she had to fall in the pit before she could toss McMahon into it. Then again, the beauty in Guerrero's character was always that she made being hated sympathetic. She always had a pathos behind her eyes, because she knew that her evil plots would always end up being ineffectual anyways, and I will always love her for it.

Again, Vickie Lynn Guerrero the person is not someone I purport to know or speak for. But I found catharsis that she, the character, got to go out on a high note. Maybe dumping Stephanie McMahon in what I was supposed to believe was literal shit didn't make up for the years of figurative shit heaped upon her, but then again, in wrestling, perception is everything. A woman who usually got amplified hatred dumped upon her for saying two simple words was able to blow the roof off the arena with love and support in one fleeting moment. For a true doll of a performer to finally get the curtain call for her efforts instead of jeers is heartwarming no matter the context. I'm going to miss Vickie Guerrero, but I'm glad her last appearance on RAW was a big deal for her and not the person demeaning her out the door. No character in the history of the company deserved that curtain call as much as she did.