How Star Wars can explain Vince, Roman, and their hate

I don’t think I’m breaking new ground when I say that people on the Internet hate Roman Reigns. A lot. To the point where Wikipedia has an article dedicated to what people think about him. That is a level of hate that I never thought possible. And as I thought about all this hate, a thought came to me, and the more I thought about it, the more it makes way too much sense:

Roman Reigns is the Star Wars prequels of professional wrestling.

Let me explain what I mean by this. I believe the Star Wars prequels are the most hated things on the entire Internet. Even with things like Nickelback, the Michael Bay Transformers movies, and Michael Bay himself, the prequels stand alone on their own tier of online scorn. Trying to say even one positive thing about these films is like climbing Mount Everest and then having to fight Braun Strowman inside Hell In A Cell when you reach the top.  When I saw what people have to say about the Star Wars prequels, a weird kind of Poe’s Law comes into play: when I see these people put these three movies to the sword complaining about things like Midochlorians, Darth Vader’s “NO!”, giving shitty backstories that ruin how you see anyone that could have been described in the original trilogy as “a mysterious badass”, an overabundance of CGI, or saying that the person sitting in their chair taking it in needs to just watch the original trilogy like a real fan, I can’t help but think “do this complainer really think that, or are they trying to obliterate the easy thing to hate so the cool kids can like them and maybe even invite them to sit at the cool kids table?” That’s what I feel when I see Roman Reigns hate. People bash him for what could be legit reasons (his booking from 2015, his mic skills, Vince’s insistence to groom him to be the next face of WWE).

That’s what I feel when I see Roman Reigns hate. People bash him for what could be legit reasons (his booking from 2015, his mic skills, Vince’s insistence to groom him to be the next face of WWE), although the vitriol makes me think that the Roman bashing could be so they wouldn’t get picked on by r/SquaredCircle and be invited to watch New Japan with them while they talk about how Big Bad Vince is keeping guys like Sami Zayn down.

And the more I think about this, something else came to me. If Roman Reigns is the Star Wars prequels of professional wrestling, Vince McMahon is its George Lucas.

The reason for this line of thinking is that George Lucas went from being one of the most beloved directors in Hollywood and creators of what could be the greatest universe ever to the man that was so stuck in his vision that he ran the franchise that’s loved by so many people into the ground.

Let me list my parallels:

  • The fact that any good booking (such as last fall’s Smackdown Live) brings up the idea that Vince had absolutely no involvement whatsoever is like George Lucas getting no credit for anything good that’s happened in Star Wars. Think about it, when was the last time a Star Wars fan had anything nice to say about George Lucas and/or his contributions to the franchise? When was the last time anyone had to say anything nice about Vince regarding the in ring product since his feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin in 1999? This may be a stretch, but I have more.
  • The complaints people have over Roman, like his mic skills and his 2015 booking leading to the seemingly never-ending push? Those are like the complaints lodged toward the prequels over the CGI and the Midichlorians. In both cases, the same complaints have been made numerous times.
  • Vince’s micromanaging and changing the booking at the last minute brings up the Star Wars special editions and Lucas’s constant alterations for these special editions.
  • You ever get that feeling that Vince does stuff that makes you go “Fuck This Company”, complete with the GIF? You know like not giving Sasha Banks a meaningful title reign, running CM Punk out of professional wrestling altogether, canceling Talking Smack, not pushing guys like Sami Zayn and Finn Balor into the main event picture, not making Bray Wyatt into the next Undertaker as many feel he has the potential to be, making the Undertaker’s last opponent Roman Reigns instead of John Cena, or just any booking that feels like it was done by Vince out of spite because he hates the fans and spends every minute he’s awake thinking of ways to give them both of his middle fingers? I may be exaggerating, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Star Wars fans felt the same way when it comes to not being able to see the original trilogy in glorious high definition Blu-Ray because the one called Lucas is a dick.
  • All the Vince hate gave me the morbid thought that people were waiting for Vince to die and hope something would change in the meantime. That’s like something else unthinkable but which actually happened: Lucasfilm and the Star Wars IP being sold to Disney, and George Lucas going away, and any future ideas he had being thrown into the garbage…and if HHH or whoever else is in charge puts Roman Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania instead of Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles in an epic storyline that involves The Club or Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE/Universal Championship or whatever dream match you can think of, that is a level of disappointment and betrayal that Star Wars fans once felt. They felt it when the Star Wars Expanded Universe was declared to be non-canon by the mouse, which led The Force Awakens to be accused of being a retread of A New Hope instead of a potential epic new saga rooted in the worlds and concepts introduced by those that wondered what happened after the end of Return of the Jedi.

I know that this is weird. I’m aware that this line of thinking will probably go over like a lead balloon. But at the end of the day, this line of thinking makes too much sense to me. Also, the complaints that have been lodged have become so common you can predict when they’re going to be presented. If I’m able to present a different way of thinking about the hate toward Roman and Vince and convince people about my line of thinking, I think I can consider this a successful post.

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The Baffling (to me at least) Idea of Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey.

Rowdy Ronda Freakin’ Rousey.

As a WWE fan, all I have to ask is…why? Why now?

For all those unaware, Ronda Rousey is rumored to enter a program where she and three of her MMA buddies known as The Foursewomen of MMA will take on Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Bayley, The Four Horsewomen of WWE will feud and have a match at Survivor Series, which will result in Ronda going over and entering a program at WrestleMania where she’ll take on either Charlotte or the heir to the company, Stephanie McMahon. From what I’ve seen, this has become a rather infamous rumor because it’s blatantly obvious that this is a ploy by WWE to ride the wave of MMA popularity to a point where they can gain some mainstream cred. Allow me to vent my thoughts now that probably won’t be read or made fun of that’s this platform’s equivalent of getting downvoted to oblivion on Reddit.

For starters, my main question is “why now”? I wouldn’t have a problem if this was building off her appearance with The Rock at WrestleMania 31, when she was the undisputed greatest female MMA fighter in America, where she regularly beating her opponents in under a minute to the point where people were genuinely wondering if she could kick Floyd Mayweather’s ass. Nowadays, the biggest thing I remember about her was the rapid decline in her popularity following losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes. It’s been nine months since she last stepped into an octagon, and those two losses have killed any chances she had to come into WWE where you could credibly call her a formidable threat that laid waste to all who challenged her in a different field of combat. Or in layman’s terms, any chance you could book her like a female Brock Lesnar is in the toilet.

I’m not against the idea of Ronda Rousey being a WWE superstar completely. Hell, if you give her a manager akin to Paul Heyman, you could work with something, even do something about those two losses. But does it have to be this Horsewomen thing? Not only are people calling this a blatant push for Rousey, but you have what many consider THE GREATEST four women to be involved in WWE, if not the professional wrestling industry, and you’re having them job to an MMA star because…Vince needs that mainstream cred. If this bombs, all we have is a bitter fanbase that’s going to do nothing but bash WWE to no end and look at New Japan or Ring of Honor to see women’s wrestling and wishes for Vince McMahon to die so HHH can take over and make Becky Lynch a star with at least decent booking, Sasha Banks a champion with a meaningful title reign filled with successful five star defenses, and Bayley is rehabilitated into the crowd favorite that she was back in NXT…until you realize that he’s orchestrating some Charlotte/Ronda program for WrestleMania, worse, a program that puts him in that great April spotlight again, whether it’s a match between Ronda and Stephanie that features Hunter in his wife’s corner, or a mixed tag match which has him and Steph going up against Ronda and The Rock.There could be a chance that my pessimism is unfounded and this program will not only come to

There could be a chance that my pessimism is unfounded and this program will not only come to pass, but be really great and everyone involved looks like champs. However, I’m not convinced that that’s what’s going to happen. The MMA community has moved onto the next big thing in Conor McGregor, and WWE is trying to pursue him as well, if Enzo Amore’s antics were any indication. And now, you’re going to try to push a star that was at her peak two years ago and perhaps use some of the fans’ most beloved stars as fodder to achieve this objective and shake up the women’s division. I have no idea how many buttons of the fans this pushes, but I really fear that this’ll go belly up and the dumpster fire will be nothing but a point and laugh show for the fine folks at r/SquaredCircle.Please give me something resembling hope that I’m wrong.

Please give me something resembling hope that I’m wrong.

Some Wrestling Thoughts

So, last night I was listening to a podcast about the Women’s Money In The Bank ladder match and the aftermath of it on the following Smackdown Live. I recommend listening to it because it’s pretty informative even if it’s not what you call professional. I’ve never really been much of a podcast fan and the only one I know is RowdyC (here’s a link to his Twitter). But that being said, it got me thinking about some things I feel is going on regarding the WWE product, and what one could say is what “ails it”:

-The only way for a wrestler to get over is for some meta reason.

Take for example Braun Strowman, in my opinion, at least 50% of the reason he’s as loved as he is involves the fact that he has beaten Roman Reigns to the point where he hasn’t shown up on TV multiple times (yes, I know it’s all fake, but you gotta have a story going). And during one of these beatdowns, there were crowd chants of “YOU DESERVE IT” and “THANK YOU, STROWMAN”. Why? Because those fans are sick and tired of Vince McMahon pushing Roman Reigns as the future head star of WWE to the point where he’s main evented the last 3 WrestleManias and was the one to retire The Undertaker instead of the original one to it: John Cena. Go on the YMMV page for Roman Reigns on TV Tropes,  and you will see a shitload of entries talking about how Roman Reigns retiring The Undertaker is an unforgivable offense and any chance of him being a beloved face is gone forever. And as a result, Roman Reigns MUST turn heel for him to have any salvageable likability. Braun Strowman beating up Roman Reigns is what one could say is a rejection of the Roman push into space and beyond what we know in the cosmos. Every time Braun pummels Roman, those fans probably feel like they’re putting their anger at the current product and its biggest face into a monstrous heap of flesh and just laying waste to the evil McMahon machine, like some weird Spirit Bomb.

Or how about the fact that the biggest pop at the Men’s Money In The Bank ladder match came from AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura going against each other on the ladder because those in attendance at least my age know they absolutely killed it in Japan and once they realized that they were both going to be on the same show, only one thought came into their minds: “these two MUST be the main event of next year’s WrestleMania. They are guaranteed to put on the GREATEST match in WrestleMania history. It will have ALL THE STARS! It will be greater than the first Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels match and John Cena vs. CM Punk at Money In The Bank 2011 combined.” (Note: this is also true about the matchup of Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn). Also, between that and wanting Finn Balor, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson to create the Bullet Club, does it seem like people want to recreate New Japan Pro Wrestling in WWE?

The other thing the podcast talked about was the fallout that saw the women get a second ladder match this week after constant pleading to Smackdown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan. Here are my thoughts on that:

I agree that things would be much better if a rematch came from someone coming out and challenging Carmella to a match for the briefcase. The one example being used is Becky Lynch (full disclosure: she’s my favorite wrestler on the roster, male or female, and the featured image I’m using because it’s my blog) because she’s the one who’s character is most likely to do something like that. I also agree that Carmella is in a position where she can lose her heel heat in a way that is was gift wrapped to her and then pissed away because…people who calculate how much time the women get on their respective shows each week will get upset the women are being made to look bad.

-What I disagree with RowdyC on is that Becky Lynch is one of the faces that are just going through the motions of “I’m just happy to be here”. Becky Lynch is a pure face that really doesn’t get much love nowadays in WWE. I think she just needs motivation in a heel that can serve as a great antagonist to her. Carmella can be (or could have been) that antagonist. I really want Becky to succeed, she’s doing her best with what she’s given.

-In terms of faces and heels, I agree that the heels are more entertaining than the faces. They’re funny, they’re a “cool” kind of evil, and they seem to justify what the Nostalgia Critic said about supervillains in his review of Suicide Squad: that supervillains are by definition the most motivated people in the world.

-Everything all three people on that podcast said about Bayley, I agree wholeheartedly. To me, Bayley SUCKS. It’s like a parody of the Boy/Girl Scout hero archetype, and shows why people hate it: they’re two goody-two-shoes, too perfect, to morally just, and no shades of gray that would make someone with an edge or a risk of going dark and/or to the side of villainy like Batman, Becky Lynch, or Sasha Banks seem more interesting if you subscribe to that line of thinking.   Bayley’s gimmick is that…she hugs people. I don’t get it. Even when watching clips of her NXT days, I didn’t get it. The only thing I could make out of it was that she was trying to do the “cool big sister” gimmick, but that doesn’t work for me because I didn’t watch NXT or any of the NXT Takeover shows, and I’m not 7-10 years old, which seems to be the explicit age range that Bayley’s gimmick seems geared towards. At least John Cena and Roman Reigns don’t give promos straight out of an afterschool special. And while I’m on the subject, to all those who wanted to see Bayley vs. Sasha Banks compete in a match for the Women’s title at SummerSlam in a match that’ll be like their NXT Takeover: Brooklyn in that it’ll go down as one of, if not THE GREATEST, women’s division match in WWE History because you realized it wouldn’t happen at WrestleMania: you may not get it.

-RowdyC said that real sports are providing storylines than WWE (doubly so because they’re unscripted), and I think he’s right. While I’m kind of confused as to how WWE can resemble and generate feelings like a real sport, I will say that the last 18 months or so have given some great storylines and characters:

  • My favorite soccer team Celtic achieving an unbeaten treble.
  • The Warriors/Cavaliers rivalry in the NBA that’s being pushed as this generation’s Lakers/Celtics.
  • The Chicago Cubs winning a World Series for the first time in 108.
  • Leicester City winning the Premer League at 5,000-1 odds. One British gambling (I think Ladbrokes) said they would never offer those types of odds again.
  • Chelsea regaining form under Antonio Conte.
  • Lavar Ball being a real life Paul Heyman when it comes to talking about how great his son Lonzo is.

Rowdy also talks about the pain that comes from your favorite team sucking is 10 times worse than bad booking decisions. To that, I can see where he’s coming from. With everything Lavar Ball says (such as saying the Lakers will make the playoffs with Lonzo minutes after the boy is drafted), I told myself I would never complain about a promo again before I saw how this is like a real world Paul Heyman. In terms of criticizing WWE, I can’t be too hard on them. And I can’t get too angry about anything WWE does with its booking and characters and anything involving The Authority and its derivatives, especially after watching this video.   In fact, if you don’t like the state of WWE, just watch any of UrinatingTree’s lolcow videos and know that things could be much worse. At least Vince McMahon knows how to keep things stable.

So while I feel I don’t know enough to talk WWE with other people, I will say I have opinions, and my Twitter and this blog are my places to express them.