Who does this remind you of—so sly, slick, and subtle?
(Same tailor…. no lawSUITS)
The creators behind “Wrestlemania” (– now known as the WWE network) certainly knew “how to edge up” toward the suggestion of things while never quite “crossing the line”.
Back then in 1993…… this was about “the tail-end of the family-friendly” era, when wrestlers were larger-than-life super-heroes and kids waved little flags in the audience.
As it is, the realm “show-men”….. a sports entertainment circus that knows its ticket-holder “from front row” to the very back of the stamping, cheering rafters.
Very Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey– “playing it broad” for a stadium arena and all the fans watching at home. It marked the incarnation of flashy, colorful performers when “we’re the good guys” was practically a national religious fable, when you “just said NO to drugs” and believed simple, chipper truisms as say, an elementary school student citing The Pledge of Allegiance.
But as eras go…… even THE ROMAN EMPIRE had its time of rise, decline, and fall.
By then it was getting “pretty sugared-over and decadent” with rancid soft-rot as you wondered if America really needed A COLD WAR “to stay sharp & vigilant, if we’d otherwise noodle-off with a lower threshold of cheap, tawdry gratification.
Be this “hell on earth” and the throes of President Clinton’s first term….. “more K-Mart” than ever with sales of Huggies diapers and Wal-Mart bulk shopping unto toothless, juice-sipping domesticity and compromise.
Well, here was an evil, twisted clown-villain straight from the aisles of the video-store, like a straight-to-video production as kids waved cotton-candy and meek, depraved rural pedophiles & meth-heads were carted off to prison, to a fate “no one wants to think about”.
I guess it was that line between merely existing, “do no harm”—and outright criminality. How the pursuit of novelty and excitement “inevitably led to trouble”.
“The nightmare was inside”…… and what was professional wrestling, but a fun-house mirror of the seeping zeitgeist?
Power, symbolism, SUGGESTION—masters of mass crowd psychology. Like an astrological chart of light & shade, counterbalanced by a pantheon of heels & baby-faces and colorful streamers with pounding ringside entrances.
Sometimes “good” won. Sometimes not.
It was all very calculated.
The script-doctors knew “the deeper cuts” of the American melody, more out of necessity—the difference between poverty and the mother of invention with a traveling tent. A long-term strategy was in mind…..
Even if, by then—the company was increasingly “out-of-step” in the age of youthful cynicism and grunge-rock music, as a skeptical and withering look would cast questions in the popular mind of “credibility”. Be you poor, cheesy, and rural—YOU HAD “THE STINK OF DEATH” and the crowd felt, incisively it’s mixed-loyalties and need for self-conscious preservation.
THE CARNIVAL BARKER had to step back, and weigh the breeze It was good “to know a little bit about everything”.
Soon, the WWF would seek retrenchment, a rebranding—as you had the producers minding the console like the dead-eyed figure by the podium exits on the old Jerry Springer show, minding his notes like a sleepy gate-keeper, “on schedule”.
What “a cold, cruel world” and to accept the broad, uncensored facts of a crude, brutal business.
For the crowd was waiting back there……
Oftentimes wrestlers wouldn’t come out until somebody scoured the local parking-lot for a rock-of-meth to feel the uplift to strut-and-thrash-around under the arena roof.
Glycates, steroids, “the meat-shits”…… as long as it didn’t directly “poison you”, but probably mean a world of curb-side trouble. Sins of commission, sins of omission—you were part of the sludge, too.