I don't know why I feel the need to continue to refer to my chest in these entries. I guess because I know deep down "Joshua Shea's Latest Post" makes me seem like my ego is even bigger than it truly is.
Quick plug for myself. My review of Mick Foley's latest book, "The Hardcore Diaries" has just gone up on PWInsiderXtra.com. For those of you that follow wrestling, you'll know it's the best site for real wrestling information. For those that don't follow wrestling, go read it anyway so you can have something to ask Foley about when talks about himself to you later this semester. You can find the review at: http://www.pwinsiderxtra.com/ViewArticle.asp?id=6064&p=1
I tried to link it, but I'm HTML illiterate.
Much thanks to those of you mentioning me in your blogs. I appreciate you making my entry the most popular one for a second week in a row. Maybe on the day I come speak, we can set up a table for autographs when the class is done.
I have to say, in the last week, I've thoroughly enjoyed the blog. Gone are the days of trying to compare minorities' roles in wrestling to TV shows of the late 70s like Good Times and The Jeffersons. Now, you seem to actually want to start talking about wrestling. It's about time. I must give credit to Carolina, Omar and Luis for delivering some of the best wrestling-based posts since this board started.
From what I've been led to believe, the class is set into two kinds of students. One is a comparative media studies student who probably doesn't know much about wrestling. The other is a wrestling fan that likely isn't a media geek. Interestingly, my major in school was media studies (not comparative though...I know the difference between TV and Radio) but I identify much more with that second group of people and it seems like the wrestling fans are finally making their voices heard.
This is terrific. Keep doing it. Help explain to the media people (most who will end up in real estate if they're men and marrying well and staying at home if they're women) why we like wrestling because they're never going to get it. And I'm not talking about the kind of appreciation we all have for art or music that is very on the surface and mostly taught in college (due to time), I'm talking the kind of appreciation where they know why you realize there are only 13 days to Wrestlemania.
As I was reading the responses to last week's post, I kept seeing people asking what I'd like to see in class. I'd like to see some straight ahead facts. Who were the last 5 men to hold the WWE Championship? Who are considered the great tag teams in WWF history? What are some independent organizations operating today? I think you can analyze the hell out of anything (and some of you have proved you can) but don't have a firm basis in the facts of what you're analyzing, it just comes across as bullshit, especially to those of us who have a solid background in wrestling. You may be able to draw a comparison to Midwest wrestling in the 70s and German food, but you don't understand the heart and the soul of wrestling. If you can't wrap your hands around the passion, you'll never really get it.
Here's a story....
My greatest memory in wrestling was when I was working for an independent wrestling group called EWA here in Maine. I had moved from being a heel commentator to being a heel manager. I got my guy (6'7" Canadian Hercules) into a loser-leaves-town match with Dave Vicious. This was largely a blow-off match to a feud Hercules and I had been having with Dave and his manager. Hercules couldn't talk worth a lick, so I did it for him. He had accepted an invitation to WCW's training camp and wouldn't be with us for a while. Before we went out, we all went over the match, and since this was the blowoff and I had more heat than Hercules, I was the one who would take the post-match beating by both Herc and Dave.
After Hercules lost, I came in the ring to help him, he turns on me and gives me a chokeslam like planned....except I landed wrong. I twisted in the air on my way down and landed on my hip. Our ring wasn't exactly soft or as springy as the WWE ring. I hurt, and I knew Dave was about to do his finisher on me and I would land on that hip again. I told Herc under my breath that I was hurt and I couldn't take Dave's finisher. He told the ref, the ref told Dave's manager, and Dave's manager told Dave. I think, much like in the game "telephone" that the message got lost along the way. While he didn't put his finisher on me, he did punch me in the gut (which I have to say I sold better than any punch I'd ever had) and he set me up for a piledriver. I'd never taken one, knowing that if performed incorrectly I could be seriously injured. Luckily, Dave kept me safe, but when I landed, I played dead. No opening the eyes, no obviously fake body twitching. Just laying there, not moving. The ref came to check on me and I muttered under my breath, get the stretcher.
The paramedics hit the ring and started screaming like I could have a broken neck. I refused to move or talk to them. Later I was told that Herc and Dave were backstage peaking through the curtain worried, wondering who had actually injured me. A couple of wrestlers broke kayfabe who were my closer friends, coming out to check and try to help. I told one I was okay, but to play along. The ring announcer let people know in a somber voice that it was the end of the show and they should leave (but check our Web sites for updates) but most people didn't. You could hear a pin drop even though there were probably 300 people there. The paramedics turned me over and collared me. They didn't have a stretcher, so they used an eight-foot table for the move to the ambulance. They got me on the table and by this time, my eyes had been shut 20 minutes and I was having a fun time guessing where I was and who was around me. If I'd been actually hurt, the amount of time and lack of preparation these paramedics showed would have really ticked me off. As I hear the fans mumbling and whispering, I was carried through the curtains and to the back.
I don't know who stopped the procession to the ambulance, but they set the table upright. I did the Undertaker sit-up, opened my eyes and saw 15-20 people with stunned looks. One wrestler, a legit tough guy, started crying. People looked like they'd been through hell...even if they all knew it was fake and planned. I just acted like a better corpse than anybody thought I could. I was amazed that most of the fans stayed, I was amazed my acting ability made people think I was actually unconscious, and most of all, I loved the fact we sent the fans home on a downer. Nobody ever did that, but it paid off as our next gate was pretty decent.
There's no other place in life I could have had that experience I listed above. You want to talk different media forms? I was involved with producing TV and radio commercials, running our Web site, and writing our souvenir programs at one time or another. That's aside from the live performance aspect.
You can phone this in if you want. I phoned in several art history/appreciation courses. But if you are, at least keep your BS fluffy posts short. And to those who are gaining a true appreciation or those who are wrestling fans and are simply putting up with the CMS students, share some stories. Go read Carolina's story about waiting for Wrestlemania tickets. That's the kind of analysis you should be looking at.
And I finally saw Lipstick & Dynamite. Good lord that was dull. Until next week.