Tuesday, September 24, 2013
The Novas - "The Crusher"
So it's a Monday evening in July and I'm bored senseless. The volume of accounting work is slow slow slow, the mental numbness has creeped all over my brain. I don't feel like writing, reading, or watching Netflix. The newspaper has been read and the sun will be out for a while. I surf the channels on Comcast and come across WWE Raw. I stop to watch. The wrestling moves are the same as always, but I'm disturbed by the matchups. The people of color are either heels or getting beat up by multiple white guys. But then "The Real Americans" make their entrance and their manager runs down host city Brooklyn for being a melting pot. He also doesn't like foreigners who are sneaking their way into the country. His team faces the Usos, these high-flying Samoan dudes who wear war paint. The Usos win the match and immediately become my favorite babyfaces with their warpaint, chants, and high-flying moves. I'm hooked.
Next up is the smug Damien Sandow, who instantly becomes a favorite heel. He bills himself as "The Intellectual Savior of the Masses" (his entrance music is Handel's "Messiah") and repeatedly commands the crowd to "Silence!" His opponent is some nondescript guy named Christian, who I eventually deduce is a wily long-time veteran. This proves to be true as he outsmarts Sandow, gains a pin, and then runs out of the ring pointing to his forehead to indicate he also has the smarts that Sandow claims are his exclusively!
Also appearing that night were colorful characters like Alberto Del Rio, a heel who looks like a Hispanic Mitt Romney; weird backwoods cult the Wyatt Family (one guy wore a sheep's head mask); the fascist-looking Shield (three guys dressed in all black, boots and protective vests); and of course ANOTHER heel manager, Paul Heyman, insufferably smug in the best Bobby "The Weasel" Heenan manner. The WWE wasn't the AWA of my youth, but it flipped the AWA formula around. Classic AWA had boring matches - always a star beating up a jobber like Kenny "Sodbuster" Jay (he owned a landscaping business) and interspersed with brilliant over-the-top interviews where a star would interact with classic straight man Gene Okerlund. In WWE, the interviews are rare but the matches always feature name stars. The plan is to keep you interested in the ongoing storylines, hoping you will buy into their pay-per-view events.
And this all takes be back to being a child, when The Crusher was my wrestling hero along with many youth and adults across the Upper Midwest. Leave it to a Minneapolis garage band to pay homage to him on a 45. Listen up you turkeynecks!