Category: Wrestling Theory & Criticism

September 26, 2017 /

Who are we, as wrestling fans, and what have we lost? It’s March 28, 1962, in Los Angeles, California. It’s a Wednesday night at the Grand Olympic Auditorium, just south of Downtown, the famous arena about which Charles Bukowski once wrote, “the gallery boys went ape and the fighters fought like fighters and the place was blue with cigar smoke, and how we screamed, baby baby, and threw money and drank our whiskey.” That night…

September 20, 2017 /

The great Bobby “The Brain” Heenan has died, and as such I’m reflecting deeply on his life and exceptional professional wrestling career far earlier than I had ever wanted. As I type, I’m watching an astonishing amount of universally glowing tributes pour in across social media in Heenan’s honor—each one equally sincere and well-deserved—from a range of fans, friends, and former colleagues, past and present. In one sense, I feel sanguine in knowing The Brain’s…

September 8, 2017 /

So I was deep into a post about the unique women’s narrative in a match between Ivelisse and Sexy Star inspired by Ivelisse’s Twitter misadventures of late, because as you know, Ivelisse is my spirit animal, and I too am the baddest bitch in the building I am in. Also, I just can’t abide by the Twitter police all the time—this shit becomes its own form of exclusion and tyranny. But then Sexy Star had…

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 3, 2017 /

On Sunday July 2, 2017, in his Twitter war with CNN, the president of the United States dropped a gif meme like an awkwardly-aimed missile, in which footage of him pounding on Vince McMahon at Wrestlemania 23 was altered so that McMahon’s head is the CNN logo. Behold: It’s so bizarre to be writing about this. I shouldn’t be surprised after the recent trajectory of increasing surrealism in the Trump storyline—the orb, covfefe, Reality Winner,…

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…

April 30, 2017 /

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this post for quite a while. This is deeply personal and highly sensitive, the sort of thing I’ve learned I’d best keep my trap shut about on the interwebz (lolol). But in light of recent events, I’ll just cut to the chase here: circa 1989-90, when I was in eighth and ninth grade, I had an intense, aching crush on Marty Janetty. Marty Janetty was my…

April 27, 2017 /

Once upon a time in Montreal… It’s October 2003, and Kevin Steen and El Generico are just nineteen years old.  Kevin has just come out of three years of routinized wrestling school into truly impromptu wrestling; Generico has been trained by a guy who took his money to teach him how to take bumps on frozen grass in the park.  Kevin’s been wrestling for IWS for a couple of months now, but only now is…

April 10, 2017 /

I am thrilled and honored to present this guest post by Tom Breen, from whom I very much hope we will see more in the future. It was Tom who just a couple months ago turned me onto Joey Janela, the indie talent whose brilliant carny antics have reinvigorated my love of professional wrestling in a major way. Tom articulated so much here about a wrestler whose work I’m just scratching the surface of how…