Thursday, March 22, 2007

another screwjob comment

I'm glad to hear the Bret and Vince have made up recently. To be honest, the more I think and read about the 'screwjob.' the more I think it was beneficial across the board-- it became an exploitable event, used to strengthen both Hart's legacy and to increase WWE ratings and interest.

Sam points out in his article, "Eventually, fans began to suspect whether Wrestling with Shadows was really a documentary at all or whether is was an elaborate scheme by the WWF. After all, fans posited, what is the possibility that a documentary crew happened to be backstage during this event and captured the happenings so perfectly, if Hart was not aware of what was going to transpire?" While I'm not sure I would go so far as to say the whole thing was staged, it does seem like it worked out very well for all involved. As Ismael discusses in his post, the moment of departure for a wrestler from the industry or organization is ripe with opportunity to either solidify or stamp his legacy and firm up an image of his reputation. I think Hart and Vince both used this moment to its full potential, making the split dramatic and historic.

I would also say that the reason why the screwjob is so compelling, even today, is that it demonstrates a moment where the true and fake boundary is blurred completely, even for those seasoned fans and analysts who could normally read the real-fake boundary pretty well. It is obvious that there are actual hard feelings involved, but there is still a sense of entertainment value. The spitting in the face scene, being replayed over and over on WWE, seems too emotionally charged and outrageous to be fake, yet the simple fact that it is replayed over and over in the WWE format promotes this moment exactly as a performance, one played out so well that it is worthy of repetition.


Sam Ford said...

Kate, very good points. As we mentioned in the talk with J.R. tonight, WWE is a business where a wrestler can get accused of road rage and then have it worked into the plot of the show, since their character IS them in a way that it doesn't happen in any other place.

And, as you say, even if Bret spitting on Vince was a "shoot," it becomes part of the performance in which, no matter its scripted-ness, it's still "part of the show."

Peter "The Malcontent" Rauch said...

I'm reminded, reading this, of J.R.'s comments about Jerry Lawler and Jim Carrey on Man on the Moon; that the whole thing was rigged, but Jim was being such an ass that it perhaps wasn't entirely fake.

I think that, even assuming all of Wrestling With Shadows was a setup (i.e. with Bret in on the joke), there were certainly some real feelings involved, especially by the end. After all, the reviewer noted that, if fake, it's the best performance Bret ever gave.