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I was telling my brother about some comments I had made on a "what went wrong" thread at TOA, where I describe how mean-spirited promos and interviews are these days. I said I blamed The Rock and NWO for getting so much success out of being assholes, and so John Cena and everyone else has to do it now.

 

He reminded me that our whole society has shifted in that direction. Political discourse, reality tv, etc -- so much has shifted to a "must tear down the other guy no matter what" attitude. No wonder rasslin does the same thing. It's just an interesting comparison to a segment from USWA 1993 I just watched last night where Savage went down there and challenged Lawler. They spent time putting over each other's accomplishments before saying, "And that's why it'll be that much sweeter when I beat you." Whereas on RAW last week, Cena spent his whole time crapping on Miz and saying what a worthless human being Miz was.

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I was telling my brother about some comments I had made on a "what went wrong" thread at TOA, where I describe how mean-spirited promos and interviews are these days. I said I blamed The Rock and NWO for getting so much success out of being assholes, and so John Cena and everyone else has to do it now.

 

He reminded me that our whole society has shifted in that direction. Political discourse, reality tv, etc -- so much has shifted to a "must tear down the other guy no matter what" attitude. No wonder rasslin does the same thing. It's just an interesting comparison to a segment from USWA 1993 I just watched last night where Savage went down there and challenged Lawler. They spent time putting over each other's accomplishments before saying, "And that's why it'll be that much sweeter when I beat you." Whereas on RAW last week, Cena spent his whole time crapping on Miz and saying what a worthless human being Miz was.

This is silly. Mainstream political rhetoric was WORSE in days of yore, and "I hate yer miserable guts you lowlife scum!" was the wrestling promo template for most of history. Nastiness was with us since Ug told Ur his mother smelled like poop, and it will be with us indefinitely.
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I was telling my brother about some comments I had made on a "what went wrong" thread at TOA, where I describe how mean-spirited promos and interviews are these days. I said I blamed The Rock and NWO for getting so much success out of being assholes, and so John Cena and everyone else has to do it now.

 

He reminded me that our whole society has shifted in that direction. Political discourse, reality tv, etc -- so much has shifted to a "must tear down the other guy no matter what" attitude. No wonder rasslin does the same thing. It's just an interesting comparison to a segment from USWA 1993 I just watched last night where Savage went down there and challenged Lawler. They spent time putting over each other's accomplishments before saying, "And that's why it'll be that much sweeter when I beat you." Whereas on RAW last week, Cena spent his whole time crapping on Miz and saying what a worthless human being Miz was.

This is silly. Mainstream political rhetoric was WORSE in days of yore, and "I hate yer miserable guts you lowlife scum!" was the wrestling promo template for most of history. Nastiness was with us since Ug told Ur his mother smelled like poop, and it will be with us indefinitely.

 

You change "nonsense" to "silly". That was polite of you. ;)

 

I am willing to admit to some wishful thinking on the political side after being so burnt out by the rhetoric in the last 10 years. And you may be right about the promo template. But the BEST guys didn't do it that way. (and yes, I am aware that I might be slightly moving the goalposts - I am really upset aesthetically with the kinds of promos Cena delivers as the SuperFace of the promotion) Look at Piper. I was watching him last night with Santana on a 1985 Piper's Pit. He insulted Tito, but he did it so elegantly that it initially felt like a compliment. He didn't just come out and say, "Hey, Santana, you're beneath my contempt and don't deserve to even be on a wrestling show! I hate your guts, lowlife scum!" And besides, we expect him to be a jerk -- he's a heel. 80's Flair always communicates his contempt for his opponents, but he's never juvenile about it - even when implying to Savage on that 1/96 split-screen that he fucked Liz, it doesn't feel as crass as it would today.

 

Maybe that's my problem. Maybe the best insults and put-downs were just better-spoken in days past. Maybe I am not offended by jerks on the mic as much as I am by them being bad at it? Or maybe my biggest problem is Faces who act just like heels when on the stick. Edge, Cena, Orton -- all three are especially guilty of it. Then again, maybe I am also being fueled by a "all things in the past are better" approach right now. It's like, "Classic Movies are always better than current ones." Well, maybe, but that's probably because only the best ones have come down through history. Time has winnowed away the dross.

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You do have a point in that lots of guys Back In The Day were able to cut intense promos without making it sound like they thought the opponent was a glorified jobber. Flair was the master: his opponents were the best the world had to offer, and that's why being the champ was so important. It was the undercard brawler/blood guys who just talked trash, and it was appropriate in the context.

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I've always thought a good heel says "You may be good, but I'm better."

And that's just what I meant. I am willing to make some allowances for heels doing it another way, though I dislike it if not done skillfully.

 

But I especially don't like a Face doing it a different way.

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Well, this is something that started in two places:

 

* Hall and Nash doing their constant shooty shooty stuff in WCW

* WWE debuting those 20-minute back and forth promos which were just cheapshot after cheapshot and barely built to a main event on the same television show, much less something long-term

 

HHH learned how to do promos during that time period and spent the next decade saying really counterproductive things when building to matches with Booker, RVD, Jericho, Cena and probably others. Since then, it's just become standard operating procedure.

 

Before you say that's how everyone did things at the time, watch some Austin stuff as a babyface during that time. When they temporarily booked themselves into a corner and made Austin/Chyna the Summerslam '99 main event (yes), Austin said he'd just have an easier night. It would have taken him 30-45 minutes to beat HHH, and it would just take him a few minutes to beat Chyna. I thought that was great.

 

Also, Rock was king of the put down, but if you look at stuff he did with guys on the way up like Jericho and Lesnar, he stayed focused on building the match.

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I've always thought a good heel says "You may be good, but I'm better."

I think there is room for different sorts of heels on different parts of the card. On that same show that Macho came in to USWA, Scotty Flamingo came in too and did a little rap about what he was going to do with Jarrett that wasn't very respectful but it still made the crowd want to see Jarrett crush him. A much better example is chickenshit Brian Christopher who would call out Lawler and say that he was old and washed up and useless and that he'd crush him and then the second that they both got in the ring, Christopher bailed. That's effective too, because it proves things through actions, ones that contradict the words.

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