It may not look like it, but I am trying, really trying to like WWE. I'm handicapped, of course, by the fact that I have no television connection whatsoever--and haven't had for three years. What's available to me I have to pay for since McMahon and company keep a tight grip on their product. Precious little of it dribbles over onto YouTube or the cost-free Internet. Even after an embittering experience at the worst (positively the worst) live wrestling show I saw last year (WWE Raw's so-called "holiday tour"), I retain a glimmer of hope that, behind all the glitter, babble, and carny trickery (we're going to see John Cena wrestle isn't this exciting there he is he comes out and waves at the fans he performs a simple judo throw on an opponent even I could do and I'm totally out of shape he wipes the make-believe sweat off his brow and then vanishes in let's say three minutes it was so brief I didn't get the chance even to clock the time), there really is a wrestling show to be seen.
They most definitely have excellent taste in wrestlers. It's what they do with them that bothers me. The company has snatched up, renamed, and microchipped some of my favorite stars of the independent scene. My impression is that they order a 36-ounce dry-aged porterhouse steak, grilled medium rare on mesquite, and when it's delivered spitting steam to their table, they slather two bottles of Heinz ketchup on top and wash it down with Coke Zero. Right now I'm concerned about the fate of Adrian Neville, formerly known as PAC. I see pictures of him doing his scintillating tricks, flying off the corner ropes, unusually limber for somebody that jacked, more turbo-charged Slinky than human. I'm not huge on high-flying wrestling, but PAC was an exception--mesmerizing in his bounding grace and machine-like precision. I still remember fairly vividly the couple of times I saw him fight Ricochet for Dragon Gate. WWE has hitched him to Oliver Grey (oh, that pitch-perfect American ear for stereotypically British names! Everybody sounds like a character on Dark Shadows), formerly known as Joel Redman ("That name, I don't know, " Vince shook his head, "sounds Portland-ish"), another terrific UK wrestler that I can't help feeling is too good for WWE--but what else is there? If only the Japanese could take over the wrestling world as efficiently as they grabbed stereos and sedans!
What I want to know, what I'm asking those of you who watch wrestling on TV, is "How is Adrian Neville doing on WWE?" Is he, as I read somewhere, a sign of hope for WWE? Is he injecting new life into the promotion or is it only draining away his? I will say he looks wonderful in the still photos, gifs, and tiny bit of video I've seen of him. He seems to be faring much better than Seth Rollins or Antonio Cesaro are, much much better than poor Zack Ryder and Tyler Reks (all that talent and Liquid Sun Rayz precipitously vanishing down the tubes). Is he all right? And should I buy a DVD of something WWE has released in the last four months? Preferably something with Neville, Rollins, and Ziggler in matches that last more than five minutes. And if you think I should buy into the dream of the big show at least one more time, which disk would you recommend?