Angle #4: For Your Own Good

Bruno (of Beefcakes of Wrestling) woke me with the news:  ROH champ Tyler Black has signed with the WWE.  He asked me what I thought--is this a good thing or a bad thing?  I acted like I knew all about it and shot back a response, which was "bad."  Then I scoped the Internet for more information.  Though I am happy that Black is now up for the big bucks, movie deals, and massive overexposure a WWE contract can bring--the dream of every indy pro wrestler that I come across--I have my prejudices to deal with on this subject.  I am unhappy about what this move might mean for wrestling, especially if it's stage one in an assault on ROH to clean it of even more of its valuable resources.  According to the reports I see, Black won't be going straight to the WWE squared circle, but rather serve some time "in development," where WWE teaches the cheeseburger you love at the local mom-and-pop diner how to be a Big Mac® ... more bread and "fixins," less blood and flavor.  They will pack more muscle on the guy so he can compete with the 7-foot mastodons they'll pit him against ... and they will teach him how to talk ... talk a lot ... and glower ... in lieu of a whole lot of actual wrestling.  They will curb him of the habit of mat wrestling and condition him not to blink or flinch when fireworks explode within five feet of him.  No, as far as I can tell, the only good news is that Black, a wrestler I like a lot, is going to be rich ... but my reaction to the news is pretty much what my reaction would be if I heard that Trent Reznor had decided to be a contestant on The Apprentice.  Not good.  It would be great if I could go back to sleep and awake to find out that all this is just an elaborate ROH angle, that Jimmy Jacobs was being called in to intervene, to stop Tyler from making a move towards soulless celebrity, and to climb in the ring and teach Black a lesson for his own good.

In the For Your Own Good angle, a wrestler goes after another wrestler because he's trying to save the guy from himself in some way.  Perhaps the two are brothers or former tag-team partners, but one of them has gotten involved with a bad crowd--perhaps even a cult of some sort.  Neither has turned bad in this scenario, but the one is in serious danger of doing so.  The two part ways, but they are not rivals ... yet.  Every chance he gets, the "square" wrestler pleads with the "shady" wrestler to abandon the slippery crowd he's gotten involved with, but the guy is blind to the wiles of his new companions and ignores his friend's admonitions.  He is under the spell of the glamorous life the bad crowd has come to represent for him, and he is oblivious to the group's many treacheries, which are all too obvious to everyone but him.  Perhaps he even tries to coax his friend into loosening up a little and joining the bad crowd as well.  Ultimately, the good friend decides that the only way to save his wayward friend is to fight him, knock some sense into him, straighten him out.  After repeated efforts, he succeeds in getting the guy to sign on to a match.  Now the match and its outcome are unimportant to this angle--maybe the square wrestler wins, or maybe the shady wrestler wins.  What is important, however, is the aftermath.  At the end of the fight, the members of the clique gang up on the square wrestler and start kicking the crap out of him.  At this moment, the shady wrestler sees the light.  He sees the illegal and unfair tactics his new friends are using to crush his old friend at any cost, and now he realizes that his friend was, all along, trying to save him from a bad situation.  He turns on the new crowd and fights side by side with his old partner or friend or brother.  Maybe the two of them defeat the bad guys and stand triumphant arm in arm after they clear the ring.  Or maybe the bad guys beat them both up.  The important thing is that the two old friends are reunited, and a wayward wrestler is saved from turning heel.  (Of course, it's just as possible that the intervention does not work, and the match and its aftermath only establish that the shady guy has indeed turned heel, despite the best efforts of his friend. Sad.)


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