Sunday, January 31, 2016

The dynamics of a pro-wrestling match:

While the winner is determined in pro-wrestling and the matches are scripted, this does not mean that there is no legitimate fighting involved. Some pro-wrestlers such as Brock Lesnar apply real mixed martial art techniques to their pro-wrestling maneuvers. Many people including wrestling fans sometimes fail to understand how pro-wrestling matches go about. Pro-wrestling still goes by a logical approach in order to be entertaining and realistic. To start, a wrestler's skill is determined by his or her skill to make moves look realistic and painful without actually hurting an opponent. 

The rules to a pro-wrestling match are usually simple. Pro-wrestlers can win either by pinning an opponent or make him or her tap out through a submission hold based on a referee's decision. If a referee gets to a three count when an opponent is pinned, the match is over and the opponent pinned loses. If a pro-wrestler is in a submission hold, the referee will raise his or her arm and drop it until the count of 10. If he or she does not keep the arm in the air by ten counts, the referee will assume he or she is unconscious and therefore the loser. A pinfall or submission cannot be done under the ropes or if an opponent is touching them. Neither pro-wrestler can stay out of the ring too long. The referee will count to ten until one or both pro-wrestlers loses due to forfeiting the match. Illegal moves such as biting or low blows will result in a disqualification on behalf of the pro-wrestler.  

When pro-wrestlers enter the ring, they are presumably pumped up and ready to wrestle. They must be in a certain position as soon as the bell rings. If either one fails to react to attacks, this gives an opponent the upper hand to strike. The pace of the match is usually quick at first but slows down. Each pro-wrestler will continue to deliver blows, signature moves, submissions, etc. to wear down opponents and causing strain or injury to certain body parts. Ultimately, one pro-wrestler will execute a finishing move which will incapacitate his or her opponent thus allowing for the opportunity to win by pinfall or even KO.

What makes pro-wrestling matches exciting? There are many factors involved such as the size, power, strength, agility, experience, stamina, cleverness, unpredictability, and abilities of each pro-wrestler. Each of them can use almost anything as a weapon even gravity and momentum. There is no telling if a pro-wrestler will cheat to win or if outside interference will cost one the match. There's no telling if a pro-wrestler will flee from the match or continue fighting. The questions "How will my favorite pro-wrestler handle such a situation? How will he or she survive this?" lingers in the minds of the viewers. One weakly delivered finisher can cost a pro-wrestler the match. One slight miscalculation can lead to loss or worse, serious injury or death. Ultimately, there's no way to know how far each competitor will go to win. 

I've seen many pro-wrestlers perform the most outrageous and extreme moves just to win a match or a title. It's led me to the edge of my seat. It is for these reasons and more that makes pro-wrestling entertaining and intense for me. Most of all, what draws me is the passion and the will-power to thrive in the ring. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

John Cena does not suck

I hear alot of WWE fans say that John Cena is overrated, choking out new talent using corny gimmicks for children and that's more than enough reason to hate him. While this is true for him in modern WWE, it was not always so.

John Cena was a jobber in his early career once upon a time. He didn't intend on being famous. He only wrestled to push other wrestlers. It was only when the fans took an interest in him that WWE made the decision to push him. Because of this, John Cena was born and he won match after match, title after title, etc. Originally, he was geared to older audiences when he adopted the vulgar rap battle and later the soldier gimmick.

Now does he deserve all of the fame and championships? Yes. John Cena is main event material because he's a great entertainer in the ring and on the mic. He has an array of simple but powerfully devastating moves such as the FU and the submission STFU. He knows how to build up fierce emotional anticipation especially when he wrestled with the Undertaker in 2006. He was agile, aggressive, and about the same level of competition as the Undertaker. He knows how to build momentum when wrestling. He's also humorous in his promos. What the Undertaker and John Cena have in common is that both have faced popular superstars which contributed to the success of their careers.

His golden age began in the ruthless aggression era as he was somewhat equally balanced compared to other popular superstars. Do i believe he's hugely overrated now? Yes. The arrival of the PG era has pushed him unnecessarily and made him appeal to family friendly audiences. WWE simply pushed him to the point where he became the backbone. I would not blame John Cena, i would blame the PG era and WWE's putting him on the spotlight far too often.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Rey Mysterio - childhood inspiration

When i was a kid, Rey Mysterio became one of my favorite wrestlers. I loved his entertaining high flying moves. Rey Mysterio despite being short proved that you didn't need to be tough or strong to compete. I also was inspired by his heart and passion for wrestling. He played such a great face even during his feud with Eddie Guerrero and Batista. Even after Eddie's death, Rey Mysterio continued his legacy. I loved Rey Mysterio for his agility, quickness, and cleverness but it was also because of his Mexican heritage. It's not everyday for a hispanic to accurately represent the Mexican culture in front of a wide American audience. He's helped inspire appreciation from Americans of Mexico. Rey Mysterio has competed well against American wrestlers and fits well with WWE. Being a Mexican myself and coming from a Mexican family, he was a folk hero. My father and i took a strong liking to him because of that.

Lucha Libre, the Mexican traditional of wrestling, is characterized by high flying maneuvers and agility as opposed to brute power. Luchadores rely on complex submissions and other acrobatic combinations of attacks usually done out of the ring. The masks worn date back to the ancient Aztecs and are symbolic. They bear the reputation of the Luchador and represent archetypes (gods, heroes, animals, nationality, etc.) When a wrestler is defeated, he must remove his mask and suffer humiliation.

Rey Mysterio reflects Lucha Libre very well in WWE while still having a good understanding of how American pro-wrestling works. Rey Mysterio also deeply loved his fans and built great fan interaction.

Rey Mysterio left WWE a legend and now continues to compete in Mexican wrestling promotions.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Reconciliation with a violent past

I suffered through many violent episodes in the past from suicide to angry fantasies. I was involved in politics, war, and many other societal problems. The evil in the world was overwhelming me and the pressure was too much to take. I've personally grown from being an individual plagued by violence and rage to one who is calm. I no longer the need to act out in vengeance be it through war or self defense. I have become more peaceful and artistic through pro-wrestling. Violence shouldn't exist in real life, only in art. Precisely why i chose to be ignorant to many national call to arms. Sometimes the real heroes are the ones who entertain others alongside those who fight to defend us.

Pro-wrestling has become an outlet for negativity. It's become a way to reconcile with the past. Pro-wrestling has become an escape from reality and the art that transforms violence into a creative form of expressing human nature.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Why i don't watch modern WWE

I grew up around the Attitude era and Ruthless Aggression era of pro-wrestling. You can call me an old timer. All i do is relive old pro-wrestling matches from the early 1900's and early 2000's. I love school wrestlers such as the Undertaker, Kane, Stone Cold, Raven, and some new school wrestlers such as Batista, Rey Mysterio, Jeff Hardy, the list goes on. My impression of pro-wrestling was going well until one day i saw a heavily sanitized match between Sheamus and another wrestler. It was plain boring and cringe-worthy. Moreover, i watched John Cena brutally attack masked Kane as he escaped through the crowd. I was shocked and very disappointed at how WWE completely ruined Kane's image. Kane would never in his entire career be reduced to that level. The last straw was seeing how much the popularity has gone down leading to Vince McMahon's decision to make WWE family-friendly.

That being said, there's a list of reasons on why i can't stand the new wrestling and why other loyal fans can't either. The first being is that matches are no longer entertaining. When i see wrestlers get in the ring, something is missing. I no longer feel the fire and the passion that once existed. It's as if wrestlers nowadays are just doing it to get paid. I feel an emptiness when i watch them battle in the ring. It's not entertaining. Occasionally i find some crazy stunts in matches such as the Lucha Dragons vs. the Dudley boys but most of the time, it's predictable. Wrestlers like Roman Reigns give off such a strong impression but when i see him in the ring - he is terrible! He performs a corny signature move called "the superman punch!" Most of his moves are typical and unimpressive. Divas such as Paige also lack talent despite looking great in appearance. Sure she has some good moves but she doesn't stand out. She gets tossed and slapped around in the ring like a jobber. Perhaps she has better luck in NXT or other promotions but not in WWE.

The other reason is that WWE picked writers who know nothing about wrestling. You cannot pick mediocre writers to create storylines exclusive to pro-wrestling and not expect to lose die-hard fans. The storylines are plain boring. Not to mention that there is no new talent being created. Instead, old school wrestlers such as John Cena and Triple H are being pushed too much. I dislike new school wrestlers such as the Lucha dragons but i also don't want the same old wrestlers to be WWE's saving grace.

I understand that viewers don't want to stay in the past and tune into modern wrestlers but history is important. Do i think that WWE should go back to the Attitude era? No but i do think they should base their decisions based on what worked in the past and build the future accordingly. Perhaps they need to change how they market themselves and slightly change pro-wrestling to dominate other popular sports. I believe that embracing ancient history builds our identity and shapes our future. For that reason, i choose to watch the old wrestling because fans are ignorant of it. There's so many other promotions and wrestlers who's revolutionary talent go vastly unnoticed. There's so much to learn from the old wrestling that will help us better understand the new.

Several wrestlers and fans are also disappointed with how WWE runs things now. My hope is that promotions such as NXT will lead pro-wrestling into a brand new golden era full of creativity while still entertaining a new generation.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pro-wrestling taught me how to fight

While Pro-wrestling is mostly choreographed and pre-determined, the fighting aspects of it are real. Critics will say "oh it's fake! It's not based on any real fighting! It's too violent!" Tell that to the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar who are legitimate MMA fighters. In any case, i'm not here to write about whether or not wrestling is a realistic technical system of fighting. People argue that violent media may set a bad example for kids to follow but not for me. What truly inspired me as a kid was the message pro-wrestling sent. Before martial arts, pro-wrestling was the first to teach me how to defend myself. When i looked deeply into the art form, i realized how realistic it was from an abstract point of view. To the outsider, two pro-wrestlers feuding is full of meaningless jibber-jabber and drama. That's because they don't understand what exactly going on. In order to comprehend Pro-wrestling, you must look at it from an artist's perspective.

When two opponents stand face-to-face, this is where the real battle begins. It is not as many believe just for show. This is a test to see how brutal each wrestler is physically, mentally, and emotionally. They want to see how psychologically strong both of them are. They want to see if just one person will crack under pressure or show any sign of weakness or fear. They want to see just how far each of them are willing to dominate one another. A skilled fighter knows just how important psychological warfare is. Everyone has pride regardless of whether or not they believe in violence. Everyone has something to protect be it life, friends, family, a reputation, and so on. Everyone has enemies whether it's the Devil, the self, and so on. Pro-wrestling inspired me to stand up for myself and value what truly matters.

That being said, there will be pain and agony. There will be people who will try to steal what is rightfully yours. It is one of life's greatest tragedies. When i saw multiple opponents ganging up on one wrestler, one tag team partner betray his own for a title, cheating during matches, i realized how realistic it was. I realized that's how vulnerable we are to the circumstances in life. Ultimately, it is you who must fend for yourself because no one will always defend you. Do you realistically believe that security is going to step in between two wrestlers who weigh more than 300 pounds? How would you fight against multiple attackers in prison? How would you handle someone who bypasses the law and robs you? Pro-wrestling creatively depicts these situations because that's how life is.

People protest "I don't want to watch two men get it on in the ring! It's disgusting the way they feel each other's blood and sweat!" It should disgust you. Violence is brutal, bloody, cruel, painful, and depressing. Your are going to be hurt and you are going to be hurt bad! In any fighting competition, you are going to be badly injured and suffer the most tormenting agony. That is the reality of violence. No one wants to suffer. It's inevitable but that's not the point. The purpose of suffering is the choices we make in spite of it. Are we going to allow ourselves to be downcast, beaten, tortured, humiliated, and defeated? Or are we going to defy our own fate and embrace our destiny? This is what ought to inspire people to lift more weights than they did their last work out session and push themselves to their limits. This is one of the reasons i watch wrestling - to see how each competitor overcomes each obstacle in the face of excruciating pain and dismay. The real questions we ought to be asking is how far will each one of us go to succeed in life? How much will we sacrifice to grow and become what we are destined to be? Do we have what it takes to do more than just survive, but thrive as individuals?

And after we put our best in everything that we did, we win and reach our end goal. We reap the rewards in spite of what we've endured. We finally reach our utmost potential and continue to reach it because there is no limit as to what we can do. This is what is symbolized to world titles and battle scars. This is what inspired me to love pro-wrestling and carry these lessons with me to my adulthood.

Pro-wrestling is a vicious, violent, brutal, bloody, and dangerous sport but it is very rewarding. It is what entertains us but also what motivates us to accomplish what everyone said we couldn't. This is how pro-wrestling has taught me how to fight in all aspects of my being with passion, purpose, and power.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The beauty of mythology

Many people see myths as outdated fanciful tales debunked by modern science. Critics severely attack the historical inaccuracies within fictional works in movies, shows, books, and religious texts such as the Bible. Myths are shunned as superstitious fables that are meant to be discarded once and for all. This is all based on a misunderstanding of what mythology is.

Mythology is a collection of stories from particular cultures to explain nature, history, traditions, customs, and so on. Myths can exaggerate historical events or be truthful. Ancient story-tellers can include personification of nature, parables, allegories, and other literary devices in myths. However what is the ultimate of myths? To provide a behavioral model of how a culture ought to behave. Myths provide morals and other lessons that strength social bonds among people.

The ancient mind was not concerned with facts, but with morality and cultural tradition. What then is the purpose of exaggeration and distorting history? That is the art of story-telling. Each culture had it's own unique perspective of how the world came to be and how it will end. Exaggeration and other literary elements are what distinguishes myths from plain factual history. It is this form of story-telling that has thrived from the dawn of time to our modern world in the form of modern t.v programs, movies, books, and so on.

We know that Batman cannot physically avoid so many bullets and fly off rooftops with his grapple. We know that humans cannot survive in other planets as Star Wars depicts. We know of all the historical inaccuracies, violations of the laws of physics, and impossible features within modern myths but we don't care. Why then do we continue reading them, watching them, listening to them, and enjoying them? Because it is what unifies people. It is what breeds traditions, ideas, entertainment, and common interests. The beauty of myths is found within the ideas behind each impossibility. Batman's many gadgets and outrageous tactics represents his cunning strength, power, and resourcefulness. Seeing Luke Skywalker battle other villainous races wielding the lightsaber, the mark of a noble Jedi Knight, helps us connect with him. Without some sort of humanity within a film series such as Star Wars, no one would bother taking interest It is the characteristics of myth. Whether it lines up with the facts is besides the point. Mythology is a vital part of human expression.

The next time you read Genesis, Dante's Inferno, Paradise Lost, the Illiad, or watch any work of fiction - forget about your perceptions of reality. Delve deep into the symbolism behind the story. Reflect on the deeper meaning. Asses the hero's flaws, the villain's strengths, and how good prevails in the end. Contemplate the purpose behind every detail and why the author composed it that way. Meditate on the lessons embedded within the plot. When you do this, you will realize the beauty of mythology.

Friday, January 15, 2016

TNA's 6-sided ring - yay or nay?

As of late, TNA took a poll asking fans whether or not they wanted the 6-sided ring back. There was a resounding yes but several wrestlers like Lance Storm expressed their disagreement. He wrote in a blog that the 6-sided ring was difficult to work with as it was small and more likely to injury wrestlers. The camera had to constantly change perspective and couldn't get a clear shot as well as a 4-sided ring. The wrestlers had limited moves to work with. Nonetheless it appears that TNA will bring back the 6-sided ring to please loyal fans.

In TNA's golden years, the six sided ring was what made IMPACT unique. It has set TNA apart from WWE. The six-sided ring is what made TNA famous and created die-hard fans. After TNA decided to switch to the 4-sided ring, ratings dropped. Shortly after, TNA IMPACT was rebranded into "Impact wrestling" as the business decided to change it's direction in the way it runs things.

It is very difficult to please both sides. On one side, i see no valid reason for pro-wrestlers like Austin Aries to object. If they knew they would have to wrestle in TNA's six sided ring, why sign a contract to work there in the first place? However, i do believe that TNA should strive to make everyone happy.

In my opinion, TNA should focus it's efforts in placing a new type of ring. Perhaps a 5 sided ring or a circular one. In this manner, it keeps the fans happy as it diverts from the traditional 4 sided ring. Certain accommodations can make pro-wrestlers less likely to strain their bodies and easier to wrestle. The main problem however is not the ring type, but the main events. It doesn't matter what kind of ring there is if TNA cannot properly use it's talented wrestlers on the roster. Impact Wrestling has declined in it's usage of talent and instead pushed ex-WWE superstars, turning TNA wrestlers into jobbers. Impact Wrestling is simply rehashing WWE and this is one of the reasons for it's downfall. The 4-sided ring is proof of that.

If TNA wants to be restored to it's former prestige, Dixie Carter must make some changes beginning with the ring.Even if it makes little difference overall, it still helped boost ratings. The other way to improve is to stop being so dependent on ex-WWE superstars and start developing original TNA talent. In summary, taking a different approach would be best for TNA and the ring should be a symbol of the company's uniqueness from WWE.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

My only problems with Lana Del Rey

I deeply love Lana Del Rey as an artist but there are a few flaws that i wish she could improve on. I consider her to be underrated compared to other mainstream artists and has so much potential as a talented individual. When she dropped "Ultraviolence", she reached the height of her musical maturity in her career. What saddens me is that she couldn't keep it consistent. That being said, i list the following problems i have with her:

* She reps other races - She's stated that she's a mixture of hispanic and other races aside from being white. While it may be true, critics are bashing her for it. I can totally understand why. Her intentions may be good but culturally appropriating other races is disrespectful. If she wants to be multicultural, i feel that she ought to demonstrate it. Simply speaking in Spanish will not automatically make her a cultural Cuban. She must show that she completely understands different cultures if she wants to gain more influence and respect.

* She's insecure - Dan Aucherbach, her record producer, lectured her before releasing "Ultraviolence." After he left, she went back to being lonely and insecure. I feel one of her flaws is that she lets others negatively influence her too much. I can see it by comparing "Ultraviolence" with her other releases and notice a big difference. "Ultraviolence" is her ideal sound. It is her voice. She doesn't need to experiment anymore with pop, trying to find who she is. With the pressure to make new music and competing for success, it's easy for her as a young woman to be swayed by it.

* She's a horrible girlfriend - Reading her bio, listening to her music, and learning about her past ex-boyfriends - she's toxic. My gut tells me she unhealthily dates guys with no intention of marrying them so she can write a love song about them later. Worse, she picks the men who are abusive to her. I'm concerned more about her emotional and mental well-being than listening to her break up songs. I feel she could do much more writing songs about one successful relationship while still carrying the past with her.

Other than that, she's an amazing artist. My hope is that she would realize where her flaws are and grow as an individual.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

How to get into pro-wrestling

If you are interested in getting into pro-wrestling but have no idea how to start, this guide should help. It might surprise you to know that when i was younger i used to have a love/hate relationship with pro-wrestling. I thought it was nothing more than senseless violence. I thought "what's the point in watching this?" until i learned more about it and ended up loving it.

What are some things that make wrestling unique?

* Theatrical performance - Unlike a movie or a show, it's not scripted. Sure the promos and backstage segments are, but not the action. No stuntmen, dialogue, etc. are given in the ring. It's all done by improvisation. Pro-wrestlers must rely on their creativity to entertain the crowd. Unlike other sports, pro-wrestling on gimmicks, dialogue, and other entertaining features.

* Fan/wrestler interactions - The downside to many t.v programs, games, and movies is that you have no control over what goes on. If you dislike an ending, you must deal with it. In Pro-Wrestling, you have a say on what goes on. You vote for who you want to be the next champ to hold a title and the wrestlers entertain you. In a live wrestling event, you can get close enough to touch your favorite pro-wrestlers. You interact with them. This doesn't happen as your seated in a cinema.  

* Never ending storylines - Movies and shows eventually come to a close. Pro-wrestling is forever. For as long as a wrestler lives, the storyline will continue until he or she dies. After that, a new generation of pro-wrestlers will appear on the screen. The cycle continues and that's what makes it so great.

* Real violence - While most actors practice safety first, wrestlers don't. Sure, much of what you see in wrestling is exaggerated but injuries still occur. There's also a diversity of match types and entertaining situations (ex. tag team matches, hell in a cell, last man standing, etc.). There is also much at stake such as careers, championship titles, streaks, etc.

Unlike most programs in which you must watch season after season to catch up with the story, you don't have to watch pro-wrestling every week to be devoted to it. You can choose to watch as little or as much as you want - period. Here's three easy steps to get into pro-wrestling.

1. Find a spark of interest - Research something that might interest you. Perhaps it's a favorite band, a wrestler, blood, politics, women, etc. Find a pro-wrestler that appeals to your tastes via fashion, personality, entertainment, etc. Pro-wrestling has a diversity of cultures, modes of fighting, and races so take your time exploring.

2. Distinguish fact from fantasy - It's easy to heed myths on pro-wrestling and get discouraged from watching it so it's important to discover the Truth for yourself. Do your research on whether pro-wrestling is real or not, the mechanics of a match, the ring, and so forth.

3. Build a suitable environment - You can choose to watch pro-wrestling on sites like YouTube or subscribe to WWE Network. Be sure to also connect with other pro-wrestling fans by socializing. Over time, you will want to keep up with wrestling events. No matter who you are, there's always a place for you when it comes to pro-wrestling.