Friday, August 19, 2011

"Kill is going to Debra you."

I just finished watching my first episode of Everybody Loves Raymond in many, many years and, for that half an hour, I felt like I was sixteen years old again. Peter Boyle - God bless him - was one of the greatest and most under-appreciated TV Dads of all time. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One and one makes three

There are three players in the most talked-about professional wrestling angle this year - the COO, the Hustle, Loyalty and Respect and the Cult of Personality.

In the past few weeks, HLR has seen his fan base heavily thin out and has had his credibility hit as the 'fake champ'. The only good to have come of this for him is that he has - credit to him - kept a straight face (pun intended) through the carnage that the Cult of Personality's 'pipe bomb' has created.

On the 8/8/11 RAW, HLR made three notable points - one, he admitted that he's never going to win over Dwayne's 'millions' or the Cult of Personality's 'followers'. Fake champ or not, that's a huge concession for the company's top face to make and the resigned air with which he said it made it hard to believe that, somewhere in his heart, he doesn't think it's true. He said, however, that he's going to continue to do what he does - referring explicitly to his lack of work rate, his 'too PG' persona, his similarity to Hulk Hogan and his 'five moves of doom' - because there's merit in standing by those who've believed in you all these years.

Second, assisted by the COO, he accused the Cult of Personality of being a hypocrite (though they used the word 'phony' during the promo, ostensibly because the PG crowd doesn't know the meaning of 'hypocrite') because, for all his 'voice of the voiceless' shtick, he held out (kayfabe) for a better contract and more perks, like a selfish, money-hungry opportunist.

Third, he asked the Cult of Personality if he had any idea how much pressure there would be on him going into Summerslam - sure, he's taken the ball and run with it of late, but, in reality, all he's done is beat HLR once and if he can't do it again with everything on the line, he'd be just another one-hit wonder.

What the Cult of Personality said in response ought to be recorded as part of a highlight reel of how to build a character in professional wrestling.

He began by breaking the storyline wall (I distinguish this from the traditional kayfabe/fourth wall, though the two may overlap on several occasions) about the archetypal 'world title contract signing segment', while also poking some subtle fun at their moniker as 'entertainers'. I believe this was done for two reasons - it grabbed the attention of the smark like nothing else would have under those circumstances and it solidified his commitment to being a wrestler rather than an entertainer (those two categories, contrary to the storyline wall/kayfabe wall distinction, are notable for how they don't overlap, especially in this feud).

He then crafted a response to HLR's second point around two ideas - one, that it was human to do what he did ("do I want an ice-cream bar with my name on it? You're damn right!") and two, that it's a bit rich for COO and his Johnny (again, pun intended) to talk about being phony when they don't have the guts to fire people in person - shouting out to Vladimir Kozlov, Harry Smith and Chris Masters by name - and, instead, choose to do their dirty work over the phone (and hence are, quite literally, phony :p).

His response to HLR's third point was pre-emptive, in that HLR's 'one-hit wonder' spiel came after the Cult of Personality said what he had to say. What he had to say was that (moving beyond his own personal motivations or others' equally human reactions to similar situations) HLR calling him a phony is only to be expected because he's been on top for so long that it has skewed his perspective. When the Cult of Personality first became ECW Champion, HLR's patronising 'I almost gave up on you' revealed such a loss of contact with reality that he could not help but hold a grudge against him for saying such a thing. If anything, HLR was the one who 'gave up' on being a bodybuilder and decided to become a sports-entertainer instead. And now, HLR's going to leave Los Angeles - where he won his first championship seven years ago - with nothing.        

Then followed the skirmish that saw, as Kendra Bunyon noted in an excellent report this morning, "Laurinaitis take one to the head". When the Cult of Personality bailed out of the ring only to turn around and find HLR and the COO standing side by side in the ring, he yelled "is that the way it's going to be - this little company picnic right here? [Is] this a fix-in? [Is] this a fix-in Hunter? Are you two going to stand there in the ring and look at me?"

And in that very moment, his words from the epoch-shifting 6/27/11 RAW came hurtling back to mind - "I don't hate you John, I hate the idea that you're the best because you're not - I'm the best...[T]here's one thing you're better at than I am...and that's kissing Vince McMahon's ass."

There's always the possibility, of course, that HLR doesn't have it in him to play the part needed of him to produce another great wrestling match at Summerslam. Perhaps even greater is the possibility that the COO's involvement as referee will open up a range of sub-optimal possibilities which will usher Creative into making a lazy, unimaginative booking decision on Sunday night in Los Angeles. But, right now, it is impossible to disagree that this is making for some absolutely captivating television.

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Two Homes

Off to Delhi in a few hours. About time it all starts coming together.

It also strikes me that I now have at least two places to call home. I've never had my attention split this way before and I'm not sure if I'm going to like it.

Currently overdosing on Noel Gallagher's "The Death of You and Me" - too similar to "The Importance of Being Idle" (which, in itself, carries heavy influences from at least two songs by The Kinks) to be appreciated as a genuine creative piece of work, but it never ceases to amaze me how he's able to write entertaining lyrics for songs that otherwise sound almost exactly the same. And I love the blue girl in the video. 

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Diamond in the rough

I have long been a vocal critic of the heavily contrived, poorly informed, overtly opinionated, lowest-common-denominator pap that the wrestling pages of The Bleacher Report churn out almost every minute, but a few minutes back, this caught my eye:

"[...] Evan Bourne continues to sit there, just like a child on a swing set, waiting for that push he was promised so long ago."

I'm not sure if there's a point to this story but I'm going to tell it again.

My photo
I've been wilfully caught up in the self-defeating quest to get to know myself for years. I've never expected anything beneficial to result from such a quest. I tend to evoke extremely polarised reactions from people I get to know in passing. Consequently, only those people who know me inside-out would honestly claim that I'm a person who's just "alright." It's not a coincidence that the description I've laid out above has no fewer than, title included, eleven references to me (make that twelve). I'm affectionately referred to as "Ego." I think that last statement might have given away a tad too much. Welcome Aboard.

IHTRTRS ke pichle episode mein aapne dekha...


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