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  1. #1
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Bulldog's Bottom Line: My name is Gary, but what am I?


    The three topics given to us for the first three rounds of the Young Lions Cup unexpectedly struck a nerve with me. It wasnít a nerve I had anticipated being struck, but the first two topics led me towards what would have become the third column had the time constraints of real life not got in my way. Although that lack of time gave me the opportunity to repost my old ĎLegend Returnsí column, one which Iíve always been proud of because itís so far outside my usual comfort zone, I still wanted to investigate my own personal identity crisis as a wrestling fan that those first two columns had bought on Ė especially after Bearís column on a similar topic, which directly influenced this column.

    In round one, my Duality column noted that music has in many ways passed me by, leaving me listening to the music of my youth. Back in my younger years, music was such a large part of my identity that I couldnít imagine how someone could not be constantly up to date with the current music scene. Today however, the majority of the music I listen to consists of bands like Iron Maiden, Guns N Roses, AC/DC and Motley Crue, none of which could be considered current at all Ė and all of whom came from before 1991ís overnight change that I discussed in that other column. When I think of some of the artists I listen to that I consider to be Ďmoderní, I find myself talking about bands like My Chemical Romance. Then I remember they peaked over 10 years ago and split up over 5 years ago.

    I occasionally end up listening to something more recent when visiting friends, and I hear nothing that even makes me curious to know who the artist is. A few years ago, on a guitar site I frequent occasionally, I posted the following analogy:
    • What you listen to = Heavy Metal
    • What your parents listen to = Classic Rock
    • What your kids listen to = An Awful Noise.


    At the time, it was meant as a joke. ďAn Awful NoiseĒ is how my parents used to describe the heavy metal bands I loved, but in recent years Iíve come to the realisation that I donít listen to heavy metal any more. I listen to classic rock. The bands themselves havenít changed, theyíve just moved into that other category.

    When I listen to modern day heavy metal I hear nothing that interests me. It especially saddens me that my beloved heavy metal has pushed itís own boundaries so far that when I make occasional visits to the Kerrang channel I find most of the recent bands I discover are making an awful noise that I canít bear to listen to.

    I have become my parents.

    In round 2, my Binge Watching column reminisced about the days when wrestling moves actually meant something without the excessive use of finishers etc we see today; when high flying moves were a rarity that few wrestlers could do and when hardcore matches actually ended long running feuds. As I discussed, in the same way heavy metal has pushed itís boundaries beyond what I enjoy, in many ways so has wrestling.

    When I surf the WWE Network, randomly picking out an event to watch, rarely do I choose something from this century. Two particular favourites are the Royal Rumble and SummerSlam from 1992. OK, sometimes Iíll go to WrestleMania 21 from 2005, but the main highlight from that is when Hogan comes out to see off Mohammad Hassan Ė so even that originates from 20 years earlier.

    My current WWE viewing is limited to Pay Per View events only, and whilst for the most part I enjoy them, more and more they are becoming full of the type of thing I wrote about in my Binge Watching column. A column I called Generation eXcess for two reasons. One, I fall right in the middle of the Generation X demographic. Two, wrestlingís current generation has taken the excesses too far.

    In that column, I used the Gargano/Cole match from Takeover 25 as the example Ė a match that was perfectly entertaining, until it made itself into a joke through the over use of finishing moves and kick outs. The trouble is, that match is a long way from being alone, it was just one of the worst recent examples. Many matches in todayís product use false finishes beyond the point where they are believable. It seems the art of storytelling has been lost Ė it has become all about constant shock and awe.

    When I first started watching wrestling, long term storylines were common place; guys like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage were true heroes (OK, so Savage played the bad guy too, but I'm happy to gloss over the generalisation), followed briefly by Ultimate Warrior. Then my all-time favourite, The Undertaker came along. Although it was a few years until he earned his place as my all time favourite, the shock and awe that surrounded his character was a long term story, today shock and awe is merely yet another kick out from a move that should have killed both wrestlers.

    I lost touch with both wrestling and music during the early 90s (hence why it took some time for Taker to become my true favourite). At that time though, I lost touch with reality for the most part Ė I may not have a problem with binge watching today, but in those days I most certainly had a problem with binge drinking. To cut a long story short, at my lowest point towards the second half of the decade I was an out of work, homeless sofa-surfing alcoholic Ė but by the very end of the decade Iíd found work, rented a room from one of the people who let me sofa surf and early in 2000 (April 14th to be exact Ė last year I got a tattoo to celebrate the 18th anniversary) I quit drinking. Iíve been sober for over 19 years now, have a well-paid job and own my own home (albeit still with a mortgage).

    It was as I was rediscovering myself during those later years of the 90s that I also rediscovered wrestling. Much like the child in me had been in awe of the cartoon characters from Hoganís era, the rebel in me related to many of the characters in the Attitude Era; in addition, my tastes in literature had always tended towards the fantasy genre (although I could never claim to be an expert on the subject) which drew me in to some of the darker storylines with the Ministry of Darkness etc.

    Then as both the Wrestling product evolved and I settled in to my new lifestyle, I finally found that one wrestler I could truly relate to. Many donít appreciate the Undertakerís Biker persona, but it came right around the time I turned to riding motorcycles as the main outlet for my own personal rebelliousness; replacing the drink and drugs Iíd left behind. It was around this time Taker truly became my all-time favourite.

    I never really found the musical equivalent of the Undertaker though. My favourite artists were still firmly rooted in those Ď80s bands that I still listened to Ė if anything, I was moving the other way as my search for new music led me more and more to the 70s, discovering the artists that had influenced my own favourites.

    It is often said that things move in circles. The journey of my musical tastes eventually led me to start listening to a lot of Lynyrd Skynyrd. However, the majority of Lynyrd Skynyrd fans would tell me the band I listen to is not Lynyrd Skynyrd, because the music of theirs I prefer is from the line up fronted by Johnnie Van Zant, younger brother of the original singer who died in the plane crash that ended the original band. Those Ďtrueí Skynyrd fans consider the real band to have finished the day the accident happened, but thatís not what Iím here to discuss.

    What I am here to discuss is the fact that my discovery of Lynyrd Skynyrd led directly to my discovery of bands like Blackberry Smoke, Cadillac Three and Whiskey Myers; all of whom have solidified themselves as contenders for my all-time top 10 favourite bands list. They also all came to prominence in the past 10 years, so for the first time in almost 30 years I can finally claim to listen to some modern music. OK, so itís modern music that is most definitely created in an older style, but as that older style becomes more prominent it becomes the fashion again, and it is becoming more and more mainstream.

    Despite being known by all my peers as a music fan, the truth is it has taken almost 30 years for me to find something new to listen to since my favourites all faded to comparative obscurity. Less of my peers know me as a WWE fan, but it has also always been there, always reinventing itself to keep my attention. No matter how much WWEís current product is pushing me away, so far I havenít left, even though Iím still waiting for that next Undertaker, that next character which truly grabs my attention and makes me a fan again.

    It took music almost 30 years. Itís also almost 30 years since Undertaker debuted. Maybe thatís a sign that the two are linked in a way I didnít foresee in my Rock N Wrestling Connection Column. Maybe my new favourite wrestler will make himself known soon.

    Part of me is ready to walk away. Part of me has seen the way the product has evolved and realised it is no longer a product for me, in the same way heavy metal evolved and became something I couldnít relate to. Part of me has already been lost.

    But thereís another part of me. The part of me that knows something is always around the corner, something to grab my attention and pull me in for a while longer. I donít know what it is yet, and it may take me a while to realise it once Iíve seen it, but history tells me it will be there somewhere. I also know that if I walk away from wrestling, I will never find it.


    The Bottom Line:

    My name is Gary, and Iím a fan of Rock Music and Wrestling.


    Last edited by DynamiteBillington; 08-07-2019 at 10:46 AM.
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  2. #2
    Man, you've been on a roll. I've never liked when people do the "let me tell you about myself" thing before they do a column, instead of sucking me in. I've always thought, if you want to do that then write a column about yourself.

    And man you did that here and tied it with rock, wrestling, and subject matter, perfectly.

    I thought your rise from the bottle and your discovery of new bands was particularly inspiring.

    Hopefully, you find wrestling the way you have music. I prefer mostly older school wrestling myself, but try to get the most out of whatever I watch.

    I'm sort of interested in where this new NWA show is going to go. Sounds like they are reaching out to the old school audience. It could be good, but I'll have to wait and see.


    Good read

  3. #3
    Do I shit in the woods? BEAR's Avatar
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    Wonderful. Very glad you did this, even better that I kind of weirdly inspired it!

    Much more enjoyable than my own due to my self imposed time restraint

  4. #4
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Ben:
    I guess the biggest problem with finding new wrestling is that I don't want to have to go searching for it. I know if I trawled the internet and signed up to this, that or the other I could find all the other main promotions, but to be honest if it's not on regular TV I can't be bothered. I already have the WWE Network and Netflix, I'm not about to sign up to anything else. I was initially excited when ITV brought back WOS, but although there wasn't much wrong with it, it never grabbed my attention. I'm purposefully not getting too hyped up for AEW, but as that is on a free to air channel I'll certainly be attempting to give it a fair try.

    Glad you enjoyed the column though, and thanks for saying I've been on a roll. I guess that was partly due to actually having some time restrictions due to entering the competition, but without wanting to blow my own trumpet too much I thought the entries I did for the first couple of rounds were particularly good. I know the judges didn't show it with their scoring, but the comments I got certainly indicated the rest of the community liked what I did. From the perspective of what I like to read, I felt my Duality column was the best of the bunch in the first round and the Binge Watching column was definitely solid - maybe not the best of the round (that was definitely Scott) but certanly in the top couple.



    BEAR:
    You definitely influenced the title and some of the structure. A lot of the content though was primarily influenced by the columns I wrote for the first two rounds, it was those that made me realise I was beginning to question whether or not I was still a wrestling fan or not. Following those this column was always going to get written eventually, the topic for the Third Round being Identity Crisis made it destiny that it would be my next column.

    In a way it's a shame I got busy at work with some tight deadlines so it couldn't be the official tournament entry, on the other hand I don't know how the column would have ended up had I written it a couple of weeks sooner. Until I read your column, I didn't have the conclusion a column needs to get to, I only had an idea to question my own fandom.
    Last edited by DynamiteBillington; 08-09-2019 at 03:15 AM.
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  5. #5
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Mate, I'm so glad you asked people to read this. I'm sorry it has taken me a little while to get to it but boy am I glad I did. This really sucked me in and flowed effortlessly.

    I'm in a bit of a different boat to you as I'm a rocker who has managed to find some green pastures in the modern age. There are some great bands out there and things have never been more accessible but there is a lot of garbage out there too so you need to look for a while to find things.

    Likewise with wrestling I have a fine line I am happy to talk with the excess of today's generation so while I love something like Okada v Omega or WALTER v Dunne I found Cole v Gargano or Gargano v Ciampa a bit much, particularly on the false finish. I'm not 100% sure what it comes down to but I think counters comes into it a lot. In my head cannon just like with sports becoming more athletic, so has wresltling so while I can't believe people kicking out of a powerbomb onto concrete and continuing to fight for a further 20 min (that actually happened in Garagano v Ciampa), I can buy incredible counter sequences that avoid finishers and those huge moves that really should be game over.

    If I could make a few suggestions given the music part feels like it is in my wheelhouse. What Will I Do When The Fire Goes Out or The Good Fight by Gang of Youths and Strangest Thing by The War On Drugs. Both are absolutely kick arse modern bands very much fueled by classic rock. If you like either three of those then the albums they come off are incredible (or at least I think they are). As a bonus What Will I Do When The Fire Goes Out is kind of apt given the subject matter.

    Dunno as much about a wrestling match. As my tastes are fairly modern I don't know if you'll enjoy however I would suggest giving something outside of the WWE a try. New Japan has kept me a wrestling fan this year and while I don't know if you would like that specifically I use it as an example for myself. Maybe MLW which has Cornette involved in it and seems to be getting some awesome buzz. I know Mizzie would be able to tell you more about them.

    Anyway, great read that certainly spurred something in me. Love your work mate.
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  6. #6
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    Your conclusion is why I stick with wrestling. I mean, I, like Bear, will always have love for wrestling, and yet also like you, I feel as if Ive grown out of it a bit. I mean if you watch wrestling for decades it is nearly impossible not to have an evolution in taste- a refined palate. But at the same time, like a roller coaster, once you know its dips and turns, it is never the same. Like drugs or alcohol- you are always chasing that first high. The first few years of fandom are what carried us to this day, and people have to decide if they want to keep chasing that high, or move on.

    I applaud you for moving on from alcohol. I'm glad you kept giving music a shot. I'm also a major fan of music, my kids will love music one way or another- Im essentially their DJ for hours each week. I always am open to the new stuff. Each year I tend to find a few songs or artists I can appreciate or enjoy. A reason I tend to stick to wrestling. I know I will find new people I will like- like Shayna Baszler, or even Keith Lee- it's my love for both wrestling and music that will keep the scenes evergreen, though not as vibrant as they once were I suppose. I'll still always be able to submerge myself into those artforms and find something I can enjoy. Though I will say, I do not like the band that is ripping off Led Zeppelin. It is a point to your comment on the past circling, making old things fashionable. Their style is old school, but its like they forgot to be themselves in their love of the Led.

    Great column.


  7. #7
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    I guess the judges etc didn't take the hint about letting me know how they'd have judged this column, so I guess it's time for some feedback to those of you who've taken the time to comment - something that's always appreciated. It's something that always bugs me about this place - at time of writing, this column has 236 views, but only 5 comments. Even counting for people looking at it multiple times, there must still be dozens of people coming here & not participating even if it was just to say thanks for writing.

    Anyway, moving on....


    Kleck
    I'm guessing you're talking about Greta Von Fleet? Apparently they claim Zep had no influence on their sound whatsoever! They've done a couple of OK songs, but not enough for me to want to buy their albums. Then again, I was never that into Led Zeppelin anyway - for every good song they did, there was about 3 crap ones.

    Talking of bands ripping off their heroes, have you heard anything Airbourne have done? They're exactly like ACDC. They're even Australian and formed by a pair of brothers!


    SirSam
    Got to say, none of those songs really did anything for me. What will I do when the fire goes out started kind of OK, but seemed to go backwards from a promising intro which felt like it was building up to something, then it just didn't.

    The other two songs seemed like odd recommendations to give to someone who is mostly into 70s and 80s rock music - rather than having any big rock guitar riffs they were just atmospheric ballads. Afraid to say both bored me enough that I skipped through them and never heard anything that made me want to look up more of those band's music.
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  8. #8
    Congrats on being sober for so long.

    I can't blame you for being disinterested in the current WWE product. There are few wrestlers today who truly have star power, and the ones who do don't appear regularly. But you're right, if you give up on WWE all together, you'll never find the next thing about the product that will interest you.

    Regarding the overuse of false finishes, I think it's because fans have become conditioned to know what moves will and won't end a wrestling match. It doesn't matter how much punishment a wrestler suffers before hand, he will only lose to a finisher, a roll up or a weapon shot. But I agree storytelling still needs to be a regular part of the matches.

  9. #9
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Bossman:
    The trouble is, most of those false finishes do follow a finishing move. It's been done so much there is no shock value left when someone does it. Thanks for the read
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