In the episode this week we talk about who she was, the match of the show and who we thought was the MVP. Nick and Chris talk Impact Wrestling for 23 March 2017.
Nick and Chris talk about One Night Only: Rivals, Nick’s first pay per view experience.
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.
Even though wrestling doesn’t have any seasons, something that has been discussed extensively lately in different places around the internet, this week somehow feels like the beginning of a new season. It might be because TNA has been on hiatus since leaving Spike or that Lucha Underground has had a holiday break, but there is something in the air.
To me it has all been about anticipation, 2014 was about anticipation and expectation. Ever since Global Force Wrestling announced that they were making New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom 9 available to the world a new sense of excitement for wrestling was lit in my heart. Placing logs on that heap was the emergence of Lucha Underground. To many the show has been a welcome change to the tired and true format of main stream wrestling programs, even though of us see similarities with the long defunct Wrestling Society X.
The return of Chikara and the creative work that was behind probably one of the most advanced story lines in wrestling has also moved that product closer to a wider audience attention. After a stellar season 14 with King of Trios and an influx of returning rudos Chikara is even more interesting than before. Add to it that most of their roster has elevated their game and developed into great performers. They take their show to the UK in march and kicking the season itself off on 25th och January.
EVOLVE has also had an amazing year and has managed to show that they are one of the most interesting independent promotions around. They took their show to China for a tour and now bringing their number of event into the thirties. They have such a strong roster and product that few other companies can measure up to.
When it comes to WWE I have a hard time becoming excited about anything they are producing save for WWE NXT and that is mainly because of good booking and great former indie stars. The rest of it is of no interest to me with uninteresting and predictable booking, pushing dull performers and the bringing in of questionable wrestlers (The Ascension and Bo Dallas). The only way I would tune in for any Raw or Smackdown is if they brought up Adrian Neville, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Hideo Itami and Finn Balor.
Even if there is a lot to be excited about in the coming year I personally am excited about the premier of Impact on its new home Destination America. As I’m writing this the first episode of Impact has yet to air. I’m not going into a whole spiel about how TNA might change their product or what needs to happen, enough people have done that. What is important to me is that the TNA roster is far too good to be left off TV. While I haven’t watched Impact from the beginning, I have watched every episode for the past five years and love it. With a new home and new opportunities TNA is more exciting than ever and I can’t wait to see what they will treat us to.
With all this in mind, and the fact that ROH always brings a solid product, it is difficult to not become excited about what 2015 has to offer when it comes to wrestling. I feel that my hours in front of the TV/Internet will most likely double in the coming months.
If you are interested in what is in store in wrestling follow these links:
Lucha Underground airs every Wednesday on El Rey
Chikara kicks off its new season the 25th of January
EVOLVE opens up 2015 with shows on the 9th and 10th of January
Find where you can watch both Impact wrestling and Ring of Honor at the following places