NJAF Presents: Sports Entertainment?

Not Just Another Fan


Saturday morning I woke up and turned on the television to ESPN much like I do every Saturday morning. It was a commercial so I went into the kitchen to grab a bite to eat for breakfast only to find myself running back into the living room when I heard the Sportscaster utter the words, “What we are about to show you is possibly the worst thing I have witnessed in over 30 years of covering the NBA.” Ron Artest, a proverbial NBA (National Basketball Association) Bad Boy had gone into the crowd to attack a fan that had thrown a cup of beer at him. If you don’t know the story, I will just say that chaos ensued and after all was said and done the NBA had suspended 9 players for a total of around 140 games. Artest has been suspended for the remainder of the season (which just started) and will loose about $5,000,000.00 in salary for the remainder of the year. I wrote it out because writing the words “five million dollars” doesn’t seem to do that figure justice. Now you might be asking what this has to do with WWE or wrestling in general and if that is the case, I am glad you asked! By the time you get done reading this you will know why Really Cool People refer to me as Not Just Another Fan.

I don’t want to minimize the effect that things like this have on children, but I just had to laugh as I was watching the video of the fight described above. The cameramen kept showing clips of embarrassed or perplexed parents throughout the arena that were holding their crying children in their arms. PLEASE! This looked like something that was out of a cheap movie or a bad TV show…oh wait it was! I couldn’t help but draw huge comparisons to this event and other events that have happened like this to things that happen in the so called “fantasy world” that we call Sports Entertainment…formerly known as Wrestling.

More and more it seems that the world of “legitimate sports” in America has began to melt and mold into Sports Entertainment…or at least a hybrid form of Sports at the very least. I have heard it said that Sports Entertainment imitates Real Life. However, in the world that we live in today it seems that more often than not, Real Life is imitating Sports Entertainment.

A few weeks back we saw SmackDown’s Heidenreich go out into the crowd and attack several crowd members. He is now being forced by Theodore Long, the SmackDown General Manager to wear a straight jacket when he is not in a match in order to protect other wrestlers and fans.

More recently we have seen the Simon Dean character on Raw. He has been having in-ring “commercials” that turn into him verbally abusing several crowd members and usually physically abusing at least one of them each appearance.

Is any of this a coincidence? You might think that it is. I do not. I think that WWE has gotten so good at imitating Real Life, that there is almost no way to draw the line between the two anymore. That is another topic for another day though.

Please do me a favor. Go to the following web site when you get done reading this column and look at something for me: www.nielsenmedia.com

Once you get to the site I want you to click on the link “Nielsen Top 10 TV Ratings” than click on “Cable TV Programs”. As you look at the list you will notice something that is pretty amazing. Of all the top Ten rated shows in the last week only three of them were not cartoons. Two of them were WWE Raw. Check this every week…it pretty much stays the same throughout the year. Talk about how WWE is falling apart and how bad they have gotten all you want…it doesn’t change the fact that more people are watching their programming than most other cable TV shows.

Don’t think for a second that ESPN, Fox Sports Net and other networks haven’t notice. They have and they are doing something about it.

It doesn’t matter how unimportant a game actually is, there is a background story. Perhaps it is the fact that the star player for the home team was has been in rumored trade talks so you have to see how he will handle the situation or maybe it’s as simple as two huge stars going head to head. It is never Team A vs Team B with nothing on the line anymore. I have to attribute this partially to the effect that Sports Entertainment has had on our society. Every Game Has A Story. After all, without a storyline there is no point in watching…right?!

The incident with the basketball player attacking a member of the crowd was nothing short of a present to the American Sports Media. It is kind of like when a real life situation happens and it actually benefits a WWE the storyline. Just look at how the WWE writing team capitalized on the Kidman/Chavo Guerrero accident.

I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing. I will leave it up to you to decide. It is ironic that the very people who have made a mockery of the WWE over the last 10-15 years are the people that are copying the WWE’s practices today. What do you think about it…send me some feedback and let me know!

Not Just Another Trivia Question: I thought I would keep doing the “Old School” questions, since they seem to get the best response. If you know the answer please email me at feedback@notjustanotherfan.com and I will include your name in my next column if you are correct.

Who was the Special Enforcer in the Classic Undertaker/Yokozuna Casket rematch at the 1994 Survivor Series?

I had 41 people correctly answer my last Trivia Question correctly. They were:

Mikey Jones, Anthony Mangafas, Shane Barry, Matt Koivu, Gavin Langdon, Michael Bishop, David Ridenour, MR Delaney, Luke Golos, Matt O’Brien, Jose Garcia, Henry Chen, Mike Mowat, Tommy Hall, Blair Farthing, Luke Golos, Brenden Walsh, Ron Sneller, Daniel Lawson, Cole Hosak, Jose Capetillo, Michael Cook, Justin Tamblin

Doug Noftall, Christopher Westrup, Louie Mart, Justin Hipple, Ardanies Nealy, Gregg Purcell, Francis Schaeffer, Scott Maxwell, Michael DiBiasi, Chris Fitzpatrick and Ian moss (I would have made a single file list but it would have been longer than my column!)

The Question was: “Can you name Survivors from the Ultimate Survivor Series Match in 1990?”

The Answer was: Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior

Bi-Weekly Top 10 – My Rankings list has gone through yet another overhaul. I am now going to include separate rankings for all 3 Major programs: RAW, SmackDown and TNA. I base my rankings on Championships, current storylines, pushes and in-ring action.

RAW:

1. Triple H – Whether you can stand him or not, he brings something to the table that no one else does. The fans HATE him. He is the most over heel I’ve ever seen.

2. Randy Orton – His popularity is rising. It’s funny how he went from heel to face in what seemed to be one of the oddest transitions in memory…but now it just feels right.

3. Chris Benoit – He is staying on top of the pile for now. I am glad it was Regal and Eugene with the gold instead of Benoit and Eugene. That would have been wrong.

4. Edge – Finally he is doing something right! I knew he had it in him…I was just wondering if he would ever break loose. He will get his title shot…and win in time.

5. Batista – Did you hear the crowd chanting his name? I can’t wait until the day we see him set free from Evolution. It brought him to the game, but he doesn’t need it anymore.

Honorable Mention (6-10): Chris Jericho, Shelton Benjamin, Christian, Trish Stratus and Regal & Eugene

SmackDown:

1. Kurt Angle – He is above JBL because he is the biggest star and best wrestler on SmackDown. I love his cocky attitude and it’s only a matter of time before we see him with the belt again.

2. Eddie Guerrero – He is also on a higher level than JBL. I don’t mean this as a slight towards him at all…Eddie just has “that thing”.

3. JBL – He had good matches at every PPV and he is getting Orlando Jordan over. I look for him to finally loose the belt at Armageddon, but not get pinned or submit so he doesn’t look weak and he has something to complain about.

4. The Big Show – I want to know why he hasn’t destroyed JBL yet. Oh wait…that would be realistic and we couldn’t have that!

5. John Cena – He is so popular it’s crazy. I’m so glad that WWE didn’t move him to RAW after last year’s WrestleMania like many thought they would.

Honorable Mention (6-10): The Undertaker, Booker T, Carlito Cool, Heidenreich and Spike Dudley

TNA:

1. Jeff Jarrett – I do not like him. I never have. I do recognize though, that without Jarrett NWA would not be where it is. I think he need to go into the background soon.

2. Hall & Nash -I have friends that have not watched wrestling for years that are watching TNA now…just to see them. I’m not sure if that is good or bad for TNA in the long run.

3. A J Styles – He is in a Main Event level feud and no one can deny that he deserves it. I think it is in his best interest to get away from Jeff Hardy ASAP though.

4. Petey Williams – I have only seen him fight twice…but both matches were amazing. His Canadian Destroyer (flipping piledriver) is one of the craziest moves ever.

5. Raven – He is doing in TNA what a lot of fans thought he should have doing in WCW and WWE. He is an integral part of each weeks program. I like him and DDP feuding.

Honorable Mention (6-10): Monty Brown, Americas Most Wanted, The Amazing Red, Abyss and Chris Sabin

Summary:

This week has been a great week to be a fan. TNA is making some waves and WWE is on track in my opinion. I hope you enjoyed my column. I will be back next week…like it or not! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

John Wilson

Not Just Another Fan

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