Friday, June 11, 2010
Lucky Cannon (formerly on Florida Championship Wrestling as Johnny Prime, a better name, in my opinion), 26, 6'5", 238#, is one of the "rookies" in development on SyFy's WWE NXT (forget that one of the other "rookies," sexy Justin Gabriel, has 13 years of pro ring experience).
In theory, I should love the WWE and WWE NXT. But somehow it manages to be "about" wrestling, or "quasi-about quasi-wrestling," without featuring a whole lot of wrestling. Perhaps the pay-per-view broadcasts are better. I don't know.
The last time I watched a whole program was, I think, when it was still the WWF. Even then the federation managed to be faker than kayfabe. And I love kayfabe, but the WWE goes past kayfabe to plastic. Back then, I thought the problem was the wrestlers, but some of the guys are great--hot looking, potentially nimble and aggressive in the ring.
The real problem seems to me now to be the WWE's corporate culture and its decision some time ago to replace wrestling action with an elliptical series of posed photo ops in the ring, surrounded by glaring stadium lighting, pyrotechnics, and a gigantic multi-image virtual wall monitor that dwarfs the flesh-and-bone players.
I tried watching NXT a few weeks ago, only to realize that it brings together the worst of two worlds, the wrestling-free "wrestling" of the WWE and the noisy, self-conscious unreality of "reality TV." I can be ironic with the best of them, guys, but after a while the "quote marks" (in print and in my head) get to be too much.
Anyway, I can't watch the show, but the pictures are sometimes nice.
(Almost as if to underscore my problem with the show, searching Google Images for "lucky cannon wrestling," "lucky cannon wrestling action," or "wwe nxt wrestling action" produces paltry results.)
It bothers me that so many indy wrestlers I like and read about aspire to wind up with the WWE. I guess I understand the desire. For years now WWE has been the only game in town. The big-name wrestlers pull in in excess of $1,000,000 a year, plus travel expenses, plus book deals and action figures, plus roles in big-screen motion pictures ... and on and on.
Who am I to poop on a young pro wrestler's dream?
... even if it violates the very fire burning in his belly to crawl into the ring, week after week, sometimes in front of a paltry and under-appreciative crowd, and put life and limb in jeopardy to put on the best wrestling show he can.