White Men's Burdens

It was only a matter of time.

Things were definitely headed that way the moment the painfully foreign Alexander Rusev debuted with the painfully incendiary Lana; not at the Royal Rumble, mind you, but that one random, pre-WrestleMania RAW in which they decided to come out and set everything in motion. Foreign manager presents foreign charge, the Denham trotting out her King Kong painted in a shade of Iron Curtain red.

Right, Rusev was Bulgarian back then, but it was inevitable that his true ethnicity would be washed out to fit the purpose of harnessing the surefire heat from geopolitics. No American in the crowd knows what to do when someone mentions Bulgaria, much less where it is on a map of Europe, so it might be easier—and it is—to just bill an Eastern European guy as being from Russia. Or as an honorary Russian. Whatever works.

On the other side of the field, always just close by but kept at a distance, were the xenophobes called the Real Americans. Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter would dabble in both meaningless feuds that they never won (in the tag team division, mostly) and meaningless decisions that would ultimately be taken back (recruiting Cesaro). They were once more fiery and venomous than Rusev and Lana, but their teeth were taken out by various controversies both inside and outside the ring. But the message stayed the same, even if a bit played out by this time: a sense of patriotism warped beyond reason by Tea Party beliefs. They never let up.

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ReasonaBole Doubt

Quick question: who’s the most polarizing man in the WWE right now?

Some of you might easily say Bray Wyatt, one of this era’s wunderkinds who’ll find himself at the top of the totem pole sooner or later. There are people who just don’t “get” him, however, and his schtick might be something of an acquired taste—either you buy his out-of-the-box creepiness, or you just fast-forward and move on to something a little more graspable.

Would you go for a safe answer, like John Cena? It’s already 2014, with already more than ten years on the odometer of Cena’s career, but people who like to argue that Cena “can’t wrestle,” is “stale and boring,” and bad for business overall still exist on the internet. They pit themselves against more level-headed fans who rue Cena’s dominance all the same, but acknowledge his talent both in the ring and on the mic and what he does for the company.

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Penny Dreadful

I don't spend as much time on the Web as I used to, so I was totally blindsided by Penny Dreadful, the new TV series from Showtime. Someone had just told me that it was good and that I should watch it. I didn't even bother reading up on it before hand. I figured that it’d be something like Grimm, or Sleepy Hollow; light, pseudo-horror, action-adventure-ish.

Penny Dreadful is NONE of those things.

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The SGP Podcast: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

This week on the SGP Podcast, Stan and Ro have the whole world in their hands as they discuss recent developments - from an awesome Intercontinental Championship tournament to an impending war at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view to the continued craziness that is Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family.

You can download this! Take it with you on your commute! Share it with your friends, whether they be mark or smark! Follow us on SoundCloud at soundcloud.com/thesgppodcast AND at Mixcloud at mixcloud.com/sgppodcast for our full archive!

 

The Middlemen

Allow me to present two important facts about two of the WWE’s mid-level championships. Facts only an ardent fan of wrestling would know. Not too deep and obscure, but something an outsider—the kind of long-lost childhood follower that mourned the Ultimate Warrior’s sudden passing last week—would not know, for it concerns the current product. The stuff they’ve stopped watching.

But, no matter; if you’re the kind who needs some catching up to do, consider this a primer.

First, the obvious: there’s a single-elimination eight-man tournament for the Intercontinental Championship going on. It began at last Monday’s RAW, a development that came out of almost nowhere in the hours leading to the show, officially explained by the fact that current #1 contender Christian was, again, out with an injury. Frankly, nobody seemed to know that Christian was indeed the #1 contender to Big E’s championship, but either way, a tournament is always welcome.

The brackets are littered with main event also-rans, those failed experiments of the Universe’s astrophysicists who have been pushed to superstardom too early, too fast, given style but spared substance. Guys like Sheamus, Alberto del Rio, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Rob Van Dam, and Mark Henry. Guys who have seen their faces reflected on the shiny gold plate of a world title, but are now shunted aside by December’s title unification in favor of electrifying young stars. They’re not bad, but they were flavors of the month that, for one reason or another, never lived up to be true bestsellers.

 

 

(Only one person in the brackets is untainted by that same failure, and while Cesaro seems to have nothing but the brightest of futures ahead of him, he also still faces the risk of being handled terribly, as all young stars do. But that’s a story for another day, for a time that hasn’t happened yet.)

The thing with this Intercontinental Championship tournament is, for what the title has become now, it is huge. There have been a couple of attempts to bring the title back to its old lofty prestige over the years (including the move back to the old white-strapped belt) but the initiatives have always been stop-and-go, depending on what the brass currently feels like doing with it. This might very well end up being the same thing.

But right now? This is great. This is very great for the championship.

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