Blood, blading, the juice, call it what you will, but it has been a staple of wrestling for a very long time. Just take a look at Dusty Rhodes forehead. The PG era has seen the end of it in the biggest promotion, but smaller companies still use it. Is there a place for blood in wrestling, our wrestling expert Dmitriy Polovinkin believes so in this weeks opinion.
Let’s set the scene. Two wrestlers are engaged in a bitter rivalry, a lengthy feud. A real ‘barn burner’ with plenty of traded victories, sneak attacks and hatred. Imagine that we’ve already seen the standard match. It has been and gone. Now, we are at the stage of the feud where the participants detest each other. They want to hurt one another. It’s the culmination of an emotional war. I suppose one could say that they are ‘out for blood’.
Slight problem: the company that is promoting their ‘blood feud’ has a strict no-blood policy…. well that sucks.
Since 2009 the WWE has banned their superstars from indulging in intentional bloodletting. What are the effects of this? What impact does it have on the overall product?
There are tales of Vince McMahon taking the matter so seriously that he is prepared to fine people over $100,000 for violating the policy. Feel free to read about Chris Jericho’s experience of this in his third book, ‘The Best In The World – At What I Have No Idea’.
Of course there are arguments for and against the no blood policy.
WWE themselves would argue that crimson masks have no place in the current PG orientated direction of the company. They openly admit to promoting to a younger audience than in previous years. Their target demographic has changed and program content must change accordingly.
However, it is important to remember that the Hulkamania Era was also classed as PG. I distinctly remember Hulk Hogan getting colour in the main event of Wrestlemania V. I remember Ric Flair bleeding like a fountain during the WWF title match of Wrestlemania VIII. Why was it allowed then, but not now?
Here’s a typical WWE approved claim: Due to the age of the current audience, it is important to show appropriate content. Content that doesn’t carry the risk of negatively influencing young viewers via the glorification of violence.
Slight problem here – WWE, and everything they do, is centred around the glorification of violence. It’s people FIGHTING for crying out loud. Fake or otherwise.
It is very egotistical of Vince McMahon to think that WWE is such an influential force when it comes to the morality of youth. It’s almost as if things like Grand Theft Auto, free internet pornography and gangster rap music doesn’t exist, and it is WWE’s sole burden to protect young minds.
Now let’s look at the other side of the coin. What does the no blood policy take away from the product?
It is my belief that a crimson mask is the ultimate method of creating suspension of disbelief. We are watching a fake sport and we all know this, but when someone gets colour there is a subconscious block of this fact in the mind of the viewer. The fight seems very real. Juice is the best way for a babyface to get sympathy.
Recently there have been two matches in other promotions where blood was used effectively.
The first was EC3 v Rockstar Spud on Impact. The second was Fenix v Mil Muertes on Lucha Underground. As a viewer, I haven’t been so emotionally invested in a wrestling match as I was for these matches in a very long time. Without argument, the stories that were portrayed in these matches would not have been as emotional if the blood angles were not included. The matches were emotional because of the visual imprint left in the fans’ minds by the use of blood.
As a result, TNA and Lucha Underground made people remember. My friends and I are still talking about these matches a couple of weeks later. Compare that to a main event on Raw or Smackdown, which I would probably forget five minutes after it happened.
Before I say my farewells I would like to talk about a personal annoyance when it comes to WWE’s no blood policy… the Cage Match.
A cage match without blood is illogical. Combatants are surrounded by metal, and their faces get rammed into the metal. If I ram someone’s face into some metal, there will be blood. I promise.
Lack of blood in a cage match is an insult to the fans’ intelligence. It almost makes the purpose of a cage match completely redundant. I’ll be honest; I can’t even remember a Hell in a Cell match that happened after 2009, apart from maybe Rollins v Ambrose because it was the most recent. However, I do remember HBK v Undertaker. I do remember Brock Lesnar v Undertaker. I will probably remember them for the rest of my life because they weren’t just matches, they were WARS.
And in wars…. men spill blood.
To us here at the Guild it is obvious that wrestling is on the precipice of another big boost. Especially with the rise of companies like Lucha Underground and Global Force Wrestling, as well as New Japan gaining ground in the US. We would therefore like to introduce our newest Guild member who will be adding his wrestling opinion on a regular basis.
C. Marry Hultman has given me the honour of writing a column about a subject that I love – pro wrestling.
First, allow me to elaborate on my lengthy relationship with pro wrestling.
I was six years old when I first discovered it. I had rented a VHS tape of WWF Wrestlemania V and was hooked forever from that point. My list of childhood wrestling memories is a heartwarming, nostalgic walk down memory lane;
Pretending to be the Ultimate Warrior in the playground by tying multicoloured shoelaces to my arms,
collecting WWF Hasbro and WCW Galoob action figures.
Getting suspended from school because I saw someone do a ‘piledriver’ on television and decided to try the move on my friend, cracking his head open in the process, a happy childhood.
Since those early days my interest in the sport has never diminished, 25 years as a wrestling fan – The Hulkamania Era, The Monday Night Wars, The Attitude Era, The original ECW, the attempted hostile takeover by XPW, the advent of ‘Ultraviolence’ and CZW, the rise ofthe next generation of independent promotions such as ROH, Dragon Gate USA and PWG. I’ve watched it all and I’ve loved it all. I’ve even worked in the industry in two different countries.
Therefore, it is with certainty and educated deduction that I confidently say these next words … WWE, in 2015, is BAD! It’s very bad. It is insulting to long time viewers. It is out of touch with the modern world. It is xenophobic and offensive to millions of fans outside of America. And on a less serious note, it’s boring. It’s VERY boring.
Do you remember a time when wrestling promos were between 30 and 90 seconds long? Somehow, the microphone masters of yesteryear managed to tell a story, explain a feud and show enough emotion to draw a crowd to subsequent shows…. in a 90 second promo! Why can’t modern WWE Superstars do the same, considering the average promo takes 20 minutes these days?
So what am I doing here? Is this the turning point of my lifelong fandom? Is this the part where I tell you that wrestling isn’t for me anymore? Absolutely NOT!
You see, there’s a little company called Lucha Underground, I suggest you watch it.
The number one wrestling company in the world must be doing something very very wrong if a life long fan like myself is looking forward to next week’s hour-long Lucha Underground taping with more anticipation and interest than Wrestlemania.
A few days ago Stranger Comics posted a pitch trailer for the animated version of The Untamed, with voice over work by Sean Bean. It looks very interesting as it is produced by Film Roma (The Simpsons, Hellboy Animated, Ultimate Spider-Man). Hopefully we will see this on the small screen very soon
Here at the Guild we strive to be as objective as possible at all times, but today I feel as if I have to be personal. Yesterday we were all saddened by the news of Sir Terry Pratchett’s passing and we were not alone in the world. Everywhere I turn on the social media outlets I follow I have witnessed an outpouring of grief, but also celebration of a man who influenced us greatly and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my relation to the man some referred to as Pterry.
I came to Pratchett’s work at the end of my teen years, yet I had heard of him a few years prior. Fellow Guild member Peylow Olsson was reading the Light Fantastic and would, with some degree of enthusiasm, regale us with some of its contents. At that time I was somewhat suspicious and was not immediately drawn to Discworld, most likely due to the name Terry, having been burned by the works of Terry Brooks so I waited.
In 1997, after graduating High School, I began working at the school library (ook?) while also substituting in various classes. One day I was called upon to watch over students as they took a four hour test. Having just finished reading a book I felt I needed something to do whilst watching over the youths so I perused the contents of the bookshelves. I found Men At Arms by Pratchett and decided I would give it a shot. The result was that I couldn’t put it down, I was enthralled from the get go and I am fairly certain the the kids who took the test that day could have cheated their hearts out without me noticing.
With Men At Arms done I went looking for my next Pratchett fix. The library was of no help, but I remembered seeing copies of The Colour of Magic in the book depository of the English Language Department. So, having been entrusted with keys I made my way into that treasure trove of literary goodness. I grabbed a paperback Colour of Magic and never looked back, it is still in my collection today.
From that day forward Sir Terry would become an intricate part of my life and I plowed through the first four books quickly, sinking deeper and deeper into the Discworld. I started looking for Clarecraft Design figurines and read up on everything related to Pratchett and his creation. I realized that I had to pace myself and decided to make a Discworld book every other book I read, which worked out great once I started studying Literature at the University.
Today I am a teacher at a high school and I have tried to influence my students to read Pratchett all through my career, from analyzing his short stories to reading Small Gods in class, at the moment I have a group reading Wyrd Sisters as part of a Shakespeare Project.
Sir Terry has followed me for close to twenty years now and though I never met him in person I feel as if I have come to know him somewhat. Not only through his books, but through his interviews and the documentaries Living with Alzheimer and Choosing to Die and I have shared his strife. It has been so easy to immerse oneself in his world and at times I feel as if Ankh-Morpork is my home. I have read all the calendars and almanacs, the storybooks, the cookbooks and mythology surrounding it. I have followed Sam Vimes from a drunken wreck to a family man reading Where’s my Cow to his son, listened to Dave Greensalde’s From the Discworld and been excited by the apperance of Tiffany Aching and can’t wait to read about her adventures to my daughters.
It takes a special person to touch as many as Terry Pratchett has and to most of us the loss of him feels so very personal and we will all deal with it by somehow re-immersing ourselves in his creation, weather it will be by reading, listening or watching something.
The world has lost a brilliant mind, but his legacy will live on in us all.
C. Marry Hultman
Legenderry: Green Hornet
Writer: Daryl Gregory
Artist: Brent Peeples
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
In the wake of Bill Willingham’s Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure we find ourselves back in this elaborate world of fantasy, steam, adventure and pulp figures. Dynamite Entertainment announced a while back that they were releasing three spin offs from the initial series and that they would be Green Hornet, Vampirella and Red Sonja, these would continue the storyline and take it in very different directions.
The story opens on Undertown where we are introduced to a young man enlisting the aid of the street gang The Velocikings. What his agenda might be is shrouded in darkness, but it becomes clear in the end that he is in league with a figure by the name of Tin Man. At the same time he seems to be waging a war on the boss of the underworld; The Veiled Lady, the woman who married the demonic Blackmass in the original arc. This comes to a head early on as The Velocikings go head to head with the lady’s gang The Toffs.
While this is going on Britt Reid, Green Hornet himself, meets with the new millionaire in town; Chesterfield Grimes. Grimes seems to be interested in where Reid’s alliances are and this, naturally, causes suspicion in the mind of the Hornet.
There are a lot of things going on in the first issue of Legenderry: Green Hornet, which isn’t unusual for Dynamite Entertainment’s stories. The original Legenderry had so many characters introduced in each issue, without creating any back story, that it was more confusing than fun. Green Hornet on the other hand is paced differently, even though the reader is treated to three, seemingly, separate side tales the setup of these stories aren’t so confusing. As a reader one is treated to three varied cliff hangers all creating a desire to see where this is going.
Green Hornet proves that the three Legenderry spin offs just might be the ticket to further what was a very good story to begin with. The fault with the original arc was that it never really felt that it came to a resolution and there were just too many questions left unanswered.
The artwork, though not as clean as in Legenderry, creates the right amount of grit and sharpness for this steam punk world. Gregory also does well at keeping up the language and feel as was started by Willingham, but with a little bit more tongue in cheek and glint in his eye, cutting some of the seriousness out of the violence and mayhem.
Tina Conolly is now the third author in the Six by Six Kickstarter group to reveal the cover of their new short story collection. The name of the collection is Scales and other transformations and it now seems like all the books will see an April release.
To find out more about Tina Conolly and her work go here