The Spectacle of Excess Posts

April 22, 2014 /

I once heard a piece of internet folklore from some chick in a random internet forum, not wrestling related, could it have even that feminist message board I used to haunt? Anyway, she swore this was true. Once her dad went into a Denny’s to eat. He’s on the road, traveling, it’s that kind of Denny’s. And he’s got with him to read of all things Gravity’s Rainbow. And who just happens to be sitting…

April 21, 2014 /

Back around junior high I was mesmerized by Ultimate Warrior’s energy and his epic hero-sounding soliloquies, like Henry V or somebody, only older, more tribal, a Beowulf or Gilgamesh, or maybe or one of those young upstarts in Greek Mythology who charges in to fight the monster and conquers despite all odds. For his gimmick was, on the face of it, a little difficult to take seriously. But what of it? He fucking shook those…

April 19, 2014 /

“Over” is interesting.  “Over” is what happens when you finally get there.  You’re over when you succeed, when you’ve won the support of the crowd.  Triple H, who my smark friends think is killing wrestling, has actually worked “over” into his gimmick.  He’s called “The Game”, and his entrance video says “Game Over”, inverting that phrase into a new definition, away from its video game, Aliens 2 meaning of “Game over, man!  Game over!”  As…

April 18, 2014 /

A couple of months after 9/11, I lined up for over an hour in Times Square at “The World” (then WWF’s now defunct restaurant) to get Diamond Dallas Page’s autograph during a period when my markish zeal was burning particularly hot. Cute boy Christian (back then still working on his solo gimmick, trying to get over by throwing hissy fits in the ring if somebody kept kicking out of his pin) had actually been the…

April 17, 2014 /

I know exactly when professional wrestling evolved into text for me. It was a late summer evening in the mid-nineties at a WWF house show in Indianapolis with one of my college professors, who was prepping a pop culture course called “Good and Evil in Professional Wrestling.” He saw wrestling for its literary goodness – a stadium spectacle rich in metaphor and conflict allegory, a coming together of archetypes rooted in the deeper traditions of…

April 14, 2014 /

Jeff Hardy’s T-shirt captured our attention over the past few weeks.  It was old, well laundered, sleeves cut off, with a picture of himself from his early days as a wrestler.  Why invoke the past, we wondered, as brother Matt Hardy surges forward in his new gimmick: “Matt Hardy Version One: Mattitute!”  Meanwhile Jeff sinks deeper into his body-painted, black-lit alternative gimmick, descending, as Mr. Devin Andrews noted, into an almost aboriginal aesthetic.  (Who knew…

April 14, 2014 /

The Daniel Bryan of 2014 is among the more nuanced characters in wrestling’s Stephanie era, an era in which so many winding threads of complexity have morphed the WWE’s metaphoric narrative from sideshow gladiator sport into finely tuned, formidable cable drama. In much of this wrestler’s early career he sported well-tended short hair and often a clean shave, but this current Daniel Bryan look is sloppy, with a scruffy beard and a mop of overgrown…