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  1. #1
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Bulldog's Bottom Line: The Rock N Wrestling Connection (YLC-RD1)

    For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of two things: Rock Music and Wrestling. Throughout my life, both industries have matured through a similar path, inseparably linked with modern culture.


    The 70s:

    Wrestling at this time was heavily entrenched in the Territory Era, where wrestlers would tour from promotion to promotion gradually becoming known on a national basis. Guys like Bruno Sammartino and Harley Race already at their peak, this decade introduced us to the likes of Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair - all Wrestling Mount Rushmore contenders, many people consider this the greatest era of all time due to the amount of talent that was out there filling the rosters of multiple promotions.

    Music too was at a peak. Rock bands toured the world, building their reputation in the hope of signing a record deal. Looking back on the music scene of the era, most of the classic rock standards came out around this time. These are the songs that have stood the test of time; judging by my experience in a rock band artists like Queen, Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd and Status Quo are still the most requested today regardless of the venue we play or the age of the audience. That tells me there’s a good argument this was the greatest Rock era of all time.


    The 80s:

    At the start of this decade, MTV launched playing Video Killed The Radio Star. I don’t know if they realised at the time how true that prophecy would become; music gradually evolved from those bands of the 70s that had excelled on the live circuit to newer artists who were picked to looked good on television. This was also WrestleMania’s first decade, shifting focus from a smaller touring product to a larger highly polished production. Wrestler entrances and costumes became more and more elaborate, highlighted by Ric Flair’s robes and The Road Warrior’s shoulder pads.

    In previous decades, the phrase “Pop Music” had been used to describe anything that was popular. During the ‘80s, it became a genre in it’s own right. By this time, manufactured pop music had taken over the charts. The real bands still existed, but now they were a niche product. Similarly, some wrestling Territories still existed, but they too were a niche product in comparison to what WWF had become – a nationally televised promotion was now the focus.

    Rock music and wrestling both hit new levels of excess. Bands like Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue and Poison; wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Ted Dibiase all pushed the envelope with their presentation, so over the top they became caricatures of themselves.


    The ‘90s:
    Smells Like Teen Spirit set the tone for the 90s in the same way MTV set the tone for the 80s.

    Rock music had been around since the 50s, and had gradually evolved from the likes of Elvis to the Beatles to Free to Black Sabbath to Motley Crue, to name but a random few. It had always been a gradual evolution though. The bands of the 70s were still relevant through the 80s. When Smells Like Teen Spirit hit the airwaves in 1991, music changed overnight. The 80s rock bands disappeared into a virtual oblivion, grunge took over almost completely.

    Despite those changing times, WWF remained in their comfort zone, with a product led by Hulk Hogan continuing his run from the 80s. Time had moved on though, and wrestling had to change. WWF tried pushing the New Generation, but it never took off in the way they’d hoped. Wrestling had a brief lull until it finally found the gritty realism that modern culture and music had found a few years earlier. That gritty realism became known as the Attitude Era, a complete turnaround from the cartoon style superhero led product we’d had in the past. Instead of Hulk Hogan coming out to Real American, now we had groups like DX coming out to music heavily influenced by the more grungy style rock that became prevalent earlier in the decade.

    The timeline each industry took through this decade may have been different; music led the way changing almost overnight, Wrestling needed a few years to evolve, but the journey Rock and Wrestling took in response to modern culture throughout the decade was the same.


    The ‘00s:

    With the competition now wiped out completely WWF became WWE, settling into a long-running comfort zone and the era of the reality show star began. Rock music was now completely out of fashion, reality TV shows created paint by numbers pop stars. Wrestling introduced us to countless new stars who never truly broke through like Carlito, Mr Kennedy and Snitsky. Tough Enough didn’t create a single top guy aside from The Miz (who didn’t even win). Few genuine stars were created in either industry, but many short lived artists and wrestlers were tried and failed.

    That’s not to say all that was made during this decade failed, neither in music or wrestling. Genuine talent still shone through in both industries. Bands from this era like the Killers have become big enough to headline festivals, American Idol’s Kelly Clarkson is as big as ever; wrestling gave us the Class of 2002 as well as Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston, both recently becoming main eventers following several years of mid-card mediocrity.


    The ‘10s:

    Technology has taken over. Music and wrestling are streamed at will allowing a greater level of access than ever to products within both genres.

    In music, although the reality stars are still an issue technology has allowed many previously unknown bands to market themselves to the masses. In wrestling, the Independent Promotions that were previously unknown are now fully accessible using modern technology.

    Musically this has had the unexpected effect that the old concept of touring to promote an album (sales of which were a band’s main income) is no more. Albums are released to promote a tour, income from online streaming pales in significance compared to physical album sales making the live show a band’s main income. Bands from previous eras are making a comeback, reforming and touring to replace the lost income from album sales.

    In wrestling, the void that was left by the death of the Territory Era has been filled. Talented wrestlers are touring the world in Independent Promotions building their reputation. However, the previous main source of income (for WWE at least) in previous eras was PPV sales. With streaming and the WWE Network, that income has been lost. As television companies fight for new content against the likes of Netflix and Prime, the money paid to WWE for their weekly show has substantially increased, replacing that lost income.


    The Bottom Line:

    Both industries have had their ups and downs, both dually impacted by modern culture. While the primary marketed products of both industries may have become a watered-down version of what they could be, the unprecedented access we now have to Independent wrestling and unsigned musicians gives me hope that both can reach new heights in the future, albeit judged by different standards to the past.

    The Rock N Wrestling Connection wasn’t just a short lived gimmick, it’s a permanent fact.

  2. #2
    Interesting connection that I've truly never thought of, outside the 1980s WWF Boom. Both when their great ,play on the soul strings of humanity and represent the world they are in.


    It's a different world. And with social media and other outlets, maybe WWE are trying to capture this world, but are they capturing the spirit of it? More grimly, what if they are and my decline for them is my decline for this world. maybe, it's passing me by.


    But maybe the indies is capturing the spirit of the world better.


    Definitely, reality TV took over the 00's pitting music and wresting further back in line. And technology with its youtube sensations and such has risen. When you think of all the talent a musician has vs a reality star, that's sad. But music will live forever, because our spirit need it


    Good look, too, how wrestling and music have both been affected by technology but are both learning to benefit from it.

    Great eras we've been through with Rock and wrestling. This was really thought provoking. Nice read.

  3. #3
    Woah that's a fascinating connection especially as to how music has evolved over time and also extrapolated to wrestling theme songs!

    Really enjoyed the read Good work and I appreciate the theme!

  4. #4
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Dyno. Good stuff here, really solid. As I will for all columns I'm going to break things down into sections for feedback.

    STRUCTURE
    Firstly this has a very clear structure of breaking things up into eras which was a smart idea. While I feel like this could have been done without headings it was probably for the best to give a guiding light. It would also have been a great opportunity to use a pic to show what you are talking about - perhaps something that really emphasises the culture you are hinting at.

    I really like the way you adapted your structure within each era from your first draft so that things are woven together a bit more. It just makes for a more interesting read that way than breaking it up into YEAR-MUSIC-WRESTLING YEAR-MUSIC-WRESTLING. Having said that you achieved this best in the 80s and 90s where you seemed to have a lot more to say, than in the 00s in particular which seemed to barely rank a paragraph. I know you had a word count working against you but perhaps you could have completely got rid of those later ones so you could go deeper, personally I always prefer a more in depth look than a gloss over of a topic.

    I will also say that I loved how you introduced the 80s and 90s with a signature song that in so many ways sums up the way the decade would pan out for both industries.

    Overall for structure I think it is solid and clear and the way you have laid things out in general helped the piece. A real strength of your piece.

    CREATIVITY
    In terms of creativity I do think this was a creative take on the subject. Music and wrestling is not something that would immediately come to mind but it is something that clearly there is a lot to say about it.

    I do think you've missed a beat here in not being a little more verbose or having a few more linguistic flourishes. Music & wrestling are both topics that are so colourful and infinitely descriptive so combining them together could really have yielded some great results. I know that isn't really your normal way of writing but I think it would have been great to be a little more descriptive than what is really a pretty plain and dry style.

    Something as simple as changing:
    "The 80s rock bands disappeared into a virtual oblivion, grunge took over almost completely"
    to
    "The colourful excess of the 80s rock bands was crushed almost completely by the darker tones of the grunge movement."
    Goes a long way to add some flair to your piece.

    Maybe I'm in the minority but I like it when words dance.

    CONTENT
    This is undeniably your strength. These are two topics you are clearly very knowledgeable on and you have drawn a very convincing argument about how pop culture has influenced both of them.

    The only thing I would say here is that I almost want you to go deeper. I love music history and I love wrestling history and I think it is fascinating how the pair dovetail one another. In this way the word limit and the fact this is a tournament really worked against you, I almost feel you could turn this into a series and look at each decade in focus, highlight the different songs, matches and personalities that shaped them and that you can draw comparisons between.

    As someone who has read his fair share of music history and watched his fair share of docos I can certainly vouche for the accuracy of the piece too.

    The fact I want to know more tells me this is a real strength of the piece.

    INTANGIBLES
    Not a whole lot to say here beyond I think it could have used pictures to show what you are talking about.

    WHAT YOU CAN WORK ON
    I think it is fairly obvious from this feedback that I loved the content but you could work on a few more flourishes linguistically.
    Last edited by SirSam; 07-04-2019 at 07:46 AM.

  5. #5
    Mediocrity at it's finest kingzak13's Avatar
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    I'm not great with feedback but I enjoyed this. Really interesting to think of the parallels between music and wrestling, I never thought they would be quite so similar.

    I do have to take issue with you saying that the 00s weren't a good musical decade, the majority of bands that I listen to come from that time or peaked during that time frame.
    Creating the greatest card in Survivor Series history.
    Booking by Committee: Survivor Series

  6. #6
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
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    The duality between music and wrestling was an interesting one to explore - I always liked that people compared ECW to grunge, for example, as they came from similar sources: a reaction against the technicolour cartoon world of early 90s WWF and a reaction against hair metal and MOR respectively. That said, I thought the bitesize structure you adopted here did you few favours, as it came across a bit lightweight. I think you might've been better off choosing one era and writing all about that. I'd say your prose style can be a bit dry as well - try and liven it up a bit.

  7. #7
    Author of 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die Samuel 'Plan's Avatar
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    Hey man!

    I have a couple of big issues with your piece here that i want to address before I get to what I liked!

    The first is your use of the word count. 1200 is not a lot of words to be able to play around with, and it strikes me just how many you threw away by citing a needless number of illustrative examples, naming musicians and wrestlers and the like, most of whom I would imagine the majority of folks are already aware of. That sort of detail might feel necessary as you write, but when you're dealing with such a vast swathe of history with so few words you need to develop a strict sense of self-editing and be constantly asking yourself if you need to name that one, two, three, sometimes more examples or if you're better using the same words to expand upon your opinion.

    That last point is especially important. You were dealing with a lot for such a lean piece here, and most of it was left to be inferred. On the one hand, I love the fact that you allowed your opinions to come through your voice, with phrasing like 'real bands' letting me get a strong idea of your tastes and viewpoints on music for instance. On the other hand, I would have loved it more if I could read about what informs those opinions, where they come from and why you hold them so passionately. Otherwise you risk the tone coming off as presumptuously elitist rather than passionately combative.

    I know, I've already said - 1200 words isn't much, so having to do something like that in so small a column might feel impossible. That alone should force you into making decisions about structure, about planning it out, about self-editing ruthlessly so that there isn't a sentence in there that's progressing your argument. I know, I think, what you were trying to achieve by breaking the column into decades, but for what you were looking to cover and with what you were given to cover it with, for a more fulfilling read I think you'd have been better opting for a free-flowing structure developed out of what you have here - cut out the superfluous detail and re-purpose those same words for greater expansion either on your own beliefs, or on the connection between these two industries you clearly so passionately love.

    To put all that more succinctly, had your concluding paragraph been your introductory one, I think you'd have had magic on your hands.

    Having said all that, I do like the path you decided to travel with the topic you were given, and some of the parallels you draw between the two industries are extremely interesting. As someone who really loves analysing the patterns of history, it was certainly right up my street! With a little work on your sentence structuring - mostly making sure not to miss important commas from what I could see! - you could have a nicer, more lilting style of prose on your hands too.

    All in all, I think you had a fantastic concept based on a topic about which you wrote undeniably passionately, but I do feel like you tripped on a less than prudent structural choice in your execution.

  8. #8
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    This was a very interesting read on how wrestling and music has evolved. Looking through the history you've presented here it's clear to see the similarities. Musically, wrestling has evolved on a parallel level with the music industry. Whereas in the 80s the entrances matched the overall them if Rock music at the time, it's clear to hear the more modern influences on current entrances that use Rock music. I've also been noticing Rock music being used less and less. Also, with the heavy influence that Hip Hop has on the music industry, the newer stars are using more hip hop inspired entrances. I guess overall WWE is just changing with the times and almost try to parallel the music industry.

  9. #9
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    This was an idea I'd had for some time. The original thought was going to be more of a personal story, relating to a selection of specific songs/albums that impacted me personally and comparing them to what was going on in the wrestling business at that point in time. I have no idea how that column would have looked outside of a few examples, and maybe it will get written in the future. When I saw the topic for this round of the tournament though, it had to be written now. Doing it in it's original format stood no chance of hitting the word limit though, and as noted in some of the feedback and the mentoring comments, even this format struggled to hit the 1200 limit. This is a topic that could potentially be investigated indefinitely.

    I'd also like to give a quick shout out to the mentors who fed into this, hopefully you all see something you suggested being fed into this.


    Ben:
    I'm definitely in a position where music is passing me by. I've had no real idea what's currently popular for well over a decade now. The only new bands I listen to are the likes of Blackberry Smoke and Cadillac Three, both well and truly rooted in the 70s. To be honest, I realise that probably shows here, especially when you get into the 00s section.


    DrayZera
    Thanks, good luck with your entry when the results come in


    SirSam
    That very first comment is one of the things that split the mentors 50/50. I liked it done that way, I always like things with structure, but half the experts thought it would be better as a single flowing piece. The first draft you saw was just that - a first draft. All my columns go through several drafts before I reach a point where I think they're ready for posting. Not sure how this would have ended up without the input from you guys, but I reached a point where I was happy with what I posted.

    I'm sorry though, I just can't do the sort of flourishes you asked for! Like you said, it's not my style. I deal with facts. My version of the facts admittedly, but facts nonetheless. I guess that comes from my profession as a business analyst; there just isn't any room for creative flourishes in what I do, accuracy and getting to the point is what matters.

    Watch out though, that series you mention (or at least a follow up column) may still happen one day.


    KingZak
    I did acknowledge not all through the decade was bad - I just don't see much of it still being played in 30-40 years time as you see with music from earlier eras. It's something I will more than likely be proved wrong on though, as time moves on and people like you get old that era will probably become classic in the same way previous eras have.


    Maverick:
    I totally agree the word limit restricted this. I don't think sticking to just one era would have truly highlighted the Duality between the two industries though, which was what I wanted to achieve. And see my comment to SirSam about the writing style, this is just what I do!


    Sam Plan:
    We're all agreed on the word limit - I have to take issue with your thought that I wasted words citing examples though. The early draft I sent to the mentors for feedback didn't have them (except the Nirvana & MTV comments). Including those examples was the only bit of consistent advice I got from almost all the mentors.

    Interesting that you thought the conclusion should have been the introduction though. I'd have thought that would be like announcing a new champion before a title match starts!


    Don
    The move away from using rock music for entrances almost exclusively is one of the things that first made me think of this topic. I've had the idea for over a year now, just waiting for the inspiration and opportunity to write it. I guess as modern culture moves more towards hip hop, given the conclusion I came to in the column I guess it's inevitable that wrestling would go that way too.

  10. #10
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Sam Plan:
    We're all agreed on the word limit - I have to take issue with your thought that I wasted words citing examples though. The early draft I sent to the mentors for feedback didn't have them (except the Nirvana & MTV comments). Including those examples was the only bit of consistent advice I got from almost all the mentors.

    Interesting that you thought the conclusion should have been the introduction though. I'd have thought that would be like announcing a new champion before a title match starts!
    I'll back Dyno on this, I told him to provide more examples to link and illustrate the themes he was talking about.

    I get where you are coming from Plan but just thought I'd throw in that it was something I at least encouraged him to do given his knowledge of the subject.

    Dyno I really love this piece and one day down the line would love to see if expanded upon, the more I think about it the more I think it is very fertile grounds.

  11. #11
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Thanks Sam

  12. #12
    You know who I am, but you don't know why I'm here
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    I've been looking forward to having the chance to connect more with your work. You've been around for a bit and I recall (correctly?) wanting to get you into my column writing workshop / Davey Boy Cup tournament a few years ago.

    This reminded me of my early work in the CF. Safe. Good. Smart. Well albeit too structured. I didn't get much of a sense of passion. Based on this piece, I'd give myself a 50-50 chance of coming back to read more at a later date if this was the first time I'd read your work.

    Flow in a 1200 word column is paramount to your work being engaging. Let it flow, sir...let it flow. I thought the structure made this feel like one of those columns that a good column writer writes because he/she feels obligated to write a column. If structure is your thing, then by all means write your column as you have, but then go back, make the transitions fluid without the headings, and add a few emotionally powerful, passionate points (I liked Sam's comment about linguistic flourishes).
    Author of The WrestleMania Era book series, author of The Doctor's Orders columns on LOP since 2010, LOP Columns Hall of Famer, former host of The Doc Says podcast on LOP Radio (2013-2018), former LOP Raw and WWE PPV Reviewer (2006-2007), and former LOP Smackdown Reviewer (2004-2006)

  13. #13
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Thanks Doc - Think my original posts here were about 2011, so yes, I've been here a while. Did spend a few years as just a lurker during that time though. The Davey Boy thing does ring a bell, there's a few times I've considered entering one of these tournaments but the deadlines part of them usually rules me out. I was assured this would give plenty of time for each round so thought I'd finally take the plunge and enter one.

    That structure is one that split the mentors 50/50. I think it's one of the few things that remained in place from my original draft I sent to them for feedback. Half liked it, half had feelings similar to yours. As noted in my original feedback response above, the original idea (which I ruled out due to the word limit) had the sections being headed by significant songs & albums rather than decades, maybe that would have given the impression of passion you're looking for?

  14. #14
    You know who I am, but you don't know why I'm here
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    Quote Originally Posted by DynamiteBillington View Post
    The original idea (which I ruled out due to the word limit) had the sections being headed by significant songs & albums rather than decades, maybe that would have given the impression of passion you're looking for?
    Probably. "Dry" was a description I saw another commenter use, and I'd agree with that too. I guess when push comes to shove, choose passion. In my mind's eye, I see the word limit dictating less headings and more specific examples instead as the focal point; that would've allowed you to remain committed to the original idea, but the timeline concept would've been deemphasized accordingly.
    Author of The WrestleMania Era book series, author of The Doctor's Orders columns on LOP since 2010, LOP Columns Hall of Famer, former host of The Doc Says podcast on LOP Radio (2013-2018), former LOP Raw and WWE PPV Reviewer (2006-2007), and former LOP Smackdown Reviewer (2004-2006)

  15. #15
    The Brain
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    I dig the tweaks I see here compared to the original draft and I think you came out with a strong piece overall. For me, the examples worked and enhanced the column. Good stuff Bull, you've already gotten a ton of feedback so I won't pile on but I definitely enjoyed this.

  16. #16
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Thanks Miz - that early draft I sent out was just that, an early draft. Pretty much anything I write here goes through at least a dozen incarnations before it's ready to be posted!

  17. #17
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    Very solid column here. I really dug the content; I thought your comparisons were natural and largely apt (with one exception in that I thought you were a little harsh and generalizing on the 2000s wrestling). Well-formatted with the color of the decades, although you should’ve used the same apostrophe on the 70s and 80s that you did on the rest of the decades.

    Like I mentioned, the bulk of your comparisons were very solid, especially things like the self-caricatures and the grandiosity in the 1980s, the grunginess of the 1990s, and the breadth of accessibility in the 2010s. I think for some instances, the culture of entertainment in general painted both music and wrestling with the same brush – but for others, the similarities are unique to the two fields discussed (particularly the 2000s). Either way, it didn’t feel to me like an inorganically forced comparison, which is always a trap when one does comparisons over a multitude of facets or time.

    I think the intro could’ve been better with a little more content. That’s really the only situation where it became transparent that you were dealing with a word limit, but it definitely popped out there. It felt rushed.

    Overall, quite well-written without being phenomenal. It had a good flow to it, read fairly smoothly and didn’t trip up anywhere. Grammatically, not too many issues – I think you would have wanted to add a “With” in the front of “Guys like Bruno Sammartino and Harley Race already at their peak, this decade introduced…”. And there were also times where you were inconsistent with capitalizing “Rock” and “Wrestling”. Not many major issues, though.

    Nice work.

  18. #18
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Skul, this sentence...
    Guys like Bruno Sammartino and Harley Race already at their peak, this decade introduced…
    ...did have the word "with" in front of it right up until the last minute. That put me on 1201 words though, it was the best option I could find for getting back down to the limit!

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