Author: J.J. McGee

I'm an American expat who lives in Japan and spends most of my free time being painfully earnest about narrative, character development, and slippage between kayfabe and reality in wrestling.

September 14, 2017 /

The ancient Greeks used a specific word–kairos– to mean roughly “the ability to choose the perfect moment to act.” They used it, for example, to describe the gift of knowing exactly when to loose an arrow in order to hit the target perfectly. Wrestling is a constant struggle to achieve kairos, because any wrestling promotion is basically an intricate ecosystem of interconnected parts: feuds and wrestlers and venues and dates. It’s like finding the right moment to…

August 30, 2017 /

It’s early summer, 2015, and WWE is coming to Japan in a couple of months. We have tickets for one of the two shows, and to my delight, Kevin Owens, NXT champion and newly arrived on the main roster, is on the card. In preparation, I have gone to the stationary store and bought nice paper, the kind with gold threads woven into it, and a new pen. I sit down and I put the…

August 16, 2017 /

Kevin and Generico truly become a team–that is, two people working as a unit, as opposed to two individuals forced to work together by circumstance–in late 2005. After joining forces, they have a match in October, followed by one with Beef Wellington and Damian in January, closing up their IWS rivalry with victory. They only tag up once more in 2006, in CZW. They rarely meet up in the same ring that year, though they’re…

August 2, 2017 /

Some of the very best moments in wrestling are about redemption. Redemption is Miss Elizabeth throwing herself into Randy Savage’s arms; it’s Shawn Michaels saying “I’m sorry, I love you” to Ric Flair; it’s Daniel Bryan holding those two titles aloft in New Orleans. It’s those fleeting moments where something is lifted out of doubt and darkness and held up as worthy, as valued, as clean and bright and true. Wrestling fans, we love a…

July 19, 2017 /

Run-ins are the bane of anyone trying to look back and re-assemble a story in wrestling.  You could, for example, watch every single match between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in the WWE and never come across the first time they interacted on Raw–because it happened at the end of a match between Kevin and Neville, where Sami comes out and interrupts a post-match beatdown: Lots of feuds and alliances are born in unrelated matches,…

July 5, 2017 /

[Warning that there are gifs in here of Sami’s match with John Cena, which he fought with a legit injury.] My father was known for approaching life with teasing irony.  Nothing was as it seemed on the surface.  “Oh, these cupcakes are terrible, let me save you from them,” he would say while pretending to steal them away, to be thwarted by giggling shrieks of protest.  “Santa got lost this year, so there are no…

June 22, 2017 /

So let’s say you’re an inexperienced wrestling fan who’s made an unwise and hasty vow to watch everything two indie wrestlers have ever done over the last 13 years (let’s say you’re me).  This is kind of like suddenly being handed a huge bag of Lego blocks and told “Here it is, there’s a really cool thing here, but you have to do the work to put it together.”  You stare at all the tiny…

June 7, 2017 /

I am hating Kevin Owens. I know the grammar sounds wonky there, but believe me, it’s accurate.  It’s early 2015, I am in the passenger seat of a rental car driving down the Florida coast, and I am consciously, deliberately, and actively hating Kevin Owens. From the driver’s seat, Dan listens patiently as I list once more the new NXT champ’s offenses:  assault, title-stealing, repeated powerbombing, gloating, and generalized friendship failure are only the beginning…

May 24, 2017 /

Usually one wouldn’t describe a severed artery as a “lucky break” for anyone.  But this is wrestling, so sure, why not.   By mid-2004, the tireless work of IWS’s publicist, Michael Ryan, has gotten some IWS wrestlers spots in two East Coast promotions, Jersey All Pro and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW).  One of them, Sexxxy Eddy, slices his arm in the middle of a CZW hardcore match, hits an artery and ends up with a…

May 10, 2017 /

I’m watching wrestling while hiding under the sheets so my parents won’t catch me. Clarification: I am a grown-ass human being of full adulthood, and I’m watching wrestling while hiding under the sheets so my parents won’t catch me. This is because I still haven’t figured out a way to explain to my parents that it’s terribly important I watch Sami Zayn defend his NXT title against Kevin Owens; that I have in fact flown…