Every Friday, The Spinning Lariat brings you Trent Zuberi’s observations on the latest developments in America’s other major wrestling company, TNA.
Everybody loves a comeback story. We love when the underdog wins and we get to brag to everyone about how we “believed in them the whole time even when no one else did.” We love being able to say that we were there when it happened or we saw it live as it occurred. It’s natural. We as human beings want to be connected to historical moments that don’t even directly involve us, for if we can link ourselves to them by merely watching them happen, that’s almost just as good.
Professional wrestling is one of the most popular outlets where such a phenomenon occurs. I as a fan am guilty as charged when it comes to this. I find myself almost bragging about how I was there or I saw it happen live when someone won a title or had an epic match on a very regular basis. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’m sure the same bragging goes on in all the big money sports as well but the difference between a wrestling nerd and a football fanatic, the wrestling nerd can tell you every little movement, including what boots a wrestler wore on a certain night, that happened for the last three months leading up to the match being mentioned. The football fan can tell you who won. Big difference.
This past week’s special presentation of TNA Impact Wrestling’s Destination X show ended up being no different. The big moment at the end of show left me with yet another bragging rights moment. On a very special night themed around the X Division and Chris Sabin moving up to the main event, I was left speechless and extremely happy as Chris Sabin, the guy that no one ever thought could be world heavyweight champion, won the title from Bully Ray.
(If you’re wondering who Chris Sabin is and what the X Division is, read these two write-ups I’ve previously done on them: http://www.heavemedia.com/2013/05/24/the-spinning-lariat-detroit-muscle/ and http://www.heavemedia.com/2013/07/12/the-spinning-lariat-x-marks-the-spot/)
I won’t forget that moment for a few reasons. For one it was a great match with amazing storytelling and perfect execution. Second, it was built up really well. But the biggest reason I won’t ever forget it is because it shocked me. I never thought I would see that happen and the fact that it did and I saw it live immediately gives me those bragging rights. Yes, the water cooler talk will be running rampant with this one, folks.
We live in an era where in wrestling secrets are exposed weeks before they even take place, thus dulling the response we would normally have if we see them unfold without preconception. Nobody saw Sabin winning the title this week. Everybody’s reaction was “oh he’ll have a good match but lose” and we’d carry on with Bully as our champ. That element of surprise is so valuable to have because in a time where everything is out in the open, we clamor for these things that we don’t expect. You leave a program thinking “well, they got me today” and you leave entertained and that’s what it’s all about.
Wrestling is constantly fighting the ‘fake’ stigma on a daily basis. It’s the most dismissed form of entertainment because it’s predetermined. The biggest thing people fail to mention is that despite the predetermination, we still don’t know how they get from point A to point B, and that’s the fun of it. When an outcome makes you jump out of your seat as I did with the Sabin victory, you know they’re doing something right.