Steamy’s Rants: Is Wrestling a Taboo word?


Back by popular demand! It’s Steamy’s rants bitches! First off, I want to thank all my Steamboats for the love, the praise and the constant support. I love y’all. Every time I post, I get flooded with emails, DMs, tweets and comments just telling me how great I am, how amazing my writing is and how it literally saves people’s lives. I talked to one man who was on the brink of ending it all because the ratings for his favourite show weren’t good and once he read my No Country For Old Men (Part 2), he understood how ratings are fantasy and immediately felt better. Ya boy is literally curing the world one column at a time.

And to my haters? I love y’all too. I love the fact that I’m so under your skin you’re pouring all these bottles of Hate-a-rade at me and I’m sending it back to you Golden Shower style, like Shawn Michaels in a hotel room full of more rats than the NYC subway. I know you are all reading this, already down in the comments section with your little half-assed attempts at flaming. The minute my name appears on your screen, your finger clicks. You have to read, because you know I’m right. You know you love me; your obsession is just so repressed that you can’t admit that Steamy makes your day. So, keep on commenting, keep up the lame insults, you’re just giving me more attention, more clicks and keeping Aaron in furs and jewels. He showed me his latest Pimp cup recently, 24K gold with conflict-free diamonds all around (because Aaron cares about the world). He’s sipping that Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grand Cru from 1945 sitting poolside in his mansion (it’s an indoor pool, what do you take him for a Nouveau Riche slob who can only enjoy his pool in the summer?) thanks to Uncle Steamy’s popularity. Hey Aaron, help a fella out?

I was thinking on what to write next after the smash runaway success of my last column, the critically acclaimed, Pulitzer-nominated “No Country For Old Men”. I know you all expect the best and I do not intend to disappoint, so I take my role as your wrestling sherpa, guiding you through the peaks and valleys of history, very seriously. I had started a new Steamy Files about The Death of WCW. I was about a quarter of the way through when I lost interest in it. I was going to do this whole shtick of a trial for the most commonly blamed suspects in the death of WCW (which was 23 years ago this week) but it felt like rehashing the past. What new light is there to shine on a story this old? People have posted columns, podcasts, YouTube videos and even books on the subject. While I had a twist ending in mind (Spoiler alert: it was Ted Turner in his office with a check book), I wasn’t feeling it.

Thank God for Twitter. While Elon may be many things such as a vapourware salesman, a liar, a conman, a bigot, a nepo baby and a low-key cult leader, but his stupidity led to him burning 44 billion dollars worth of cash to buy a toxic social media platform and somehow making it worse, and yet also better. Thanks to Twitter Blue and the priority placement, a lot of those marks paying 8$ a month for the “privilege” of having a blue check (never mind the fact that the reason the blue check was special is because it was reserved to only publicly known figures) are projectile vomiting their stupid takes and it lands right on my timeline. Writer’s block? Oh no you don’t, not when a revelation lands in my lap like so.

My last column talked in depth about ratings and why it’s bullshit. I knew it would probably fly over people’s heads, I even mentioned it in the column itself, but it fit into this idea I had of an obsession with arbitrary numbers. What I didn’t realize, is how selective Fed fetishists are with numbers. You see ratings=good number. Rating big? Good! Rating low? Bad! And if rating bad then show bad, rabble, rabble, rabble. If you try to bring an actual number to the table, though, such as the amount of time dedicated to in-ring action on a supposed pro wrestling show, oh then you’re a mark. Now it’s no secret that there’s a lot of dummies online, this comment section will probably feature a lot of them who didn’t even make it this far in the column (hi dummies!) and will go straight to hate in order to feed their little rage boners.

It got me thinking, however. Has wrestling itself become taboo? By wrestling of course I’m talking about the physical sport of professional wrestling. While wrestling is scripted and it’s not a competition, make no bones about it, it’s still a sport. Reading some takes online though, you’d swear some of these drones care about everything BUT wrestling. I asked myself why. When did it become taboo to like professional wrestling? Why is it that pointing out when a show that has “wrestling” in its name dedicates more time to everything but the wrestling, and it gets pointed out, all of a sudden it triggers an entire section of so-called fans? Well, I’m about to drop another truth bomb on your asses. I’ve dropped so many of those recently I should be on the FBI’s Most Wanted list at this point. It’s because of the Attitude Era.

The Attitude Era ruined wrestling. This might seem like a hot take, but hear me out. Some people will point out that the Attitude Era saw peaks wrestling never reached before and most likely never will again. That’s undeniable, but that’s exactly the problem. In order to reach that big of an audience, the WWF had to basically fill the air with non-stop segments, promos, angles and the likes, and the actual wrestling took a back seat. Go watch some episodes of RAW circa 97-98 and you’ll see that the in-ring action mostly sucks. The shows usually open up with a long promo segment and culminate in an angle to close the show. That’s why it reached the peaks that it did. It was a live-action soap opera that men could watch without having their manhood challenged. It had enough action and was edgy enough to seem cool and the larger-than-life characters drew people’s attention. When it came down to having these same characters actually fight and try to win matches? Nah, that was the phony stuff, they didn’t want that. Vince Russo pioneered crash-TV because it appealed to the lowest common denominator. People will watch anything that doesn’t require their full concentration or for them to use their brains. Just sit down with a beer, paint “Just bleed” on your chest and let the chaos ensue like you’re at a Monster Truck rally or Demolition Derby.

If you look at the most popular restaurants in the world, it’s fast food. Why? It’s not because McDonald’s produces the highest quality food with only the best ingredients. It’s cheap, it tastes good and it can be mass-produced. It’s also fast and since you don’t have to plan ahead, make a reservation or even think about the menu, the service or the atmosphere; it’s extremely convenient. You don’t even need to have friends, just get in your car, shout into the drive-through speaker for your Big Mac and fries (supersized!) and within minutes you can stuff your hole full of grease and salt and be on your merry way. The Attitude Era was exactly the same. Another issue with the Attitude Era programming is that it spooked WCW real bad. Eric Bischoff started Nitro with a philosophy of being different, I’ve mentioned that many times in the past. The very first match on the very first episode of Monday Nitro was Brian Pillman vs. Justin Liger. In the transition period before the WWF ended up taking the lead in the dreaded “ratings war”, WCW was putting on some of the best wrestling ever seen on American television with the likes of Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Dean Malenko, Psicosis and Rey Mysterio Jr. amongst others. The main event scene was very hoaky and relied heavily on nostalgia but given that at the time the cruiserweights were mostly unknown to anyone who had never popped in an ECW tape, it made sense to lean on the stars of the past to hopefully showcase the bright stars of the future.

Then WWF adapted, took the ECW formula, sprinkled in a heavy dose of Jerry Springer and reality TV and boom, off they went, skyrocketing to better and better business until WCW was caught with its pants down and tried to copy that formula in the hopes of getting back to the glory days of those 83 weeks of paper dominance. WCW even brought in one of the architects of the Attitude Era in Vince Russo, but left to his own devices and with no one to filter his ADHD riddled booking, it became too much too fast and WCW imploded. Then, wrestling fans were fed a steady diet of shit for 23 years and learned to like it. Y’all fetishists are so full of it, your entire eyes are brown. Not just the iris, but the entire thing, just two big brown spots right in the middle of your face.

That’s why y’all hate AEW. You complain that “there are no stories” or “I don’t know who that guy is”, but what you’re really saying is “get this wrestling stuff off my TV and gimme some angles, promos and video packages”. You’ve grown so accustomed to everything being spelled out for you, pre-chewed and spoon-fed that you don’t know what pro wrestling is even about. I’ll give you a hint, it’s in the name…wrestling. The true art of professional wrestling is making people care about who wins or loses a match, it’s about suspending your disbelief and buying into the concept that this is a “real fight”. We all know it isn’t, but when it’s good, you just don’t care, you’re sucked into that moment and when the bell rings, you know you just watched something special.

Does that mean that angles and promos have no place in the show? Of course not. Wrestling is part sports, part show business. You need time to catch your breath, time to cool down before the action continues. UFC is a legitimate competition, but even they don’t just shove the next match in the Octagon seconds after the last one is over. They’ll interview the winner, sometimes the loser, show highlights and you’ll even have cage-side commentary. A great storyline between two characters can take a good match and make it great because you’re more emotionally invested in the outcome. However, the goal of a promo, the goal of an angle should always be to lead to a match. You can try to tell whatever story you want, shoot tons of cinematic-looking angles and put together these slick video packages, if the match sucks, then it didn’t matter.

Would you watch a Marvel movie just to see how good the costumes look on screen? Listen to a song just because the Auto-Tune reverb is just the way you like? Eat anything put in front of you as long as it’s plated nicely and you can take a picture for the Gram? OK that last one is true for a lot of folks, but that’s not the point. If you care only about camera shots, TV ratings or anything other than the in-ring action, then you’re not a fan of pro wrestling. Meanwhile, those of us who actually enjoy pro wrestling will rightfully point out that it seems you care more about everything but the actual in-ring product. Unlike your fake Nielsen ratings, percentage of in-ring time is a fact. Wrestling doesn’t need to be complicated; you take the best wrestlers and you have them fight to prove who is superior. When you ask “where’s the story”, what you’re really saying is that you can’t just enjoy the art form on its own, you need a bunch of bells and whistles on top to grab your attention like a toddler watching its parents jiggle their keys in front of its face. The men and women who compete and risk their health and well-being for your enjoyment are not actors, they’re wrestlers. They don’t go to Juilliard; they go to wrestling school to learn how to work. They go wrestle for 20$ and a hot dog not because of the way the camera shot is set up, not because they want their names on a chart for their quarter-hour segment ratings, but because they want to get in the ring and wrestle.

If you can’t appreciate that, then you know what to do,

Steamy Out!