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  1. #1
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    (YLC-Final 2) What We Don't See, We Can Still See

    I remember waking up and getting a call one night. My grandfather was in the hospital and they think itís a heart attack. I began to panic. I was shocked, because even at 90 years old, my grandfather continues to be a tough son of a bitch who still acts like a tough son of a bitch. An old steel mill worker for almost 40 years, he developed a friendship with all his co-workers. From fishing trips on the weekends, to late night outings at the bar, these men developed a bond that none of my grandpaís 3 wives ever could. (For the record, my grandpa was his first wife). Well now at 90 years old, my grandpa went to the funeral of the last surviving member of his friend group, all three of his wives are dead, and even 3 of his daughters, including my mom, have past away. My grandpa is the definition of tough old bastard, but on this day, he became very, very mortal.

    When arriving to the hospital, they looked for signs of a heart attack, yet they found nothing. My grandpa is still a very healthy and active old man, and thatís exactly what the doctorís found. What they did find though was he was in the middle of a panic attack. My cousin finally texted me at 3 AM, which I was still up because I was worried and couldnít sleep, to let me know my grandpa would be okay and it was a panic attack. You see, earlier that day he had gone to the funerial of his friend and when he went home it dawned on him, I am the last one left. The memories of all those late nights out, the fishing trips, the shared happiness of celebrating child births, grandchild births, all of that now was left with my grandpa. In that moment, he felt more alone than at any time in his life.

    A Special Bond

    In society, we talk about the special bond many groups have to each other. We can talk about the special bond women share, or minority groups share, or whose who have shared experiences. But one thing we never talk about is the special bond that men share. Listening to Kevin Nash talk about the bond of him and the Kliq, he simply said, ďyou see your friends more than you see your wife.Ē Well it seems that people perceive politically correct culture to ignore and villainize men and men socialization. Because of this, it is actually very important to explore how men socialize, and what that means, because when looking at friendship, this is the root of it all. You see, when a true friendship is on TV, even in the made-up world of WWE, the chemistry pops out and is noticeable. It makes the product feel that much more real and is a true enhancement. The bond two men have in real life can be what is missing from any performer. In todayís world, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens make each other feel that much more special. In previous years other friendships also enhanced talent, and even the mere mention of those friendships can make any promo feel real.

    This last week on Raw, Sasha basically told Nattie that her father is in hell. Itís cheap heat at itís worst. From Randy Orton telling Rey that Eddie is going to hell, to CM Punkís feud with the Undertaker, death is such a cheap ploy to get heat that most fans now roll their eyes, and many get mad on Twitter. Itís insulting to the fans. Yet, there is one promo that stands out more than any which hit me hard. When reading the topic of Friendship, this promo was the very first thing that came to mind. Maybe because of what had just happened to my grandpa, but the topic of Friendship triggered my memory of the Edge, Michael P.S. Hayes promo from Raw in 2005. Yes, it was a cheap heat dead promo, but it wasnít delivered like a cheap heat promo. Instead it was delivered to strike an emotional digger in the heart of Michael Hayesís heart. The art of bringing reality to a promo is an art, and this promo truly showed off this art.

    You know the promo, from the December 5th episode of Raw in 2005. It was the debut episode of the Cutting-Edge show, and Ric Flair was supposed to be the guest. Well instead Edge was showing Ric Flairís mugshot and used that to get heat in North Charleston, South Carolina. When it felt like it went too far, Michael Hayes and Sargent Slaughter came down. At first, I had nothing against Slaughter being out there, but Michael Hayes surprised me. Hayes never struck me as anyone who would be authority, instead heíd be against authority. I had no idea where WWE was going with this. Then Hayes said something that made me spit out my drink laughing coming from him. He said, ďYou donít care about anybody, you donít care about anything,Ē and I laughed because my first thought was, like a Freebird. Then he talked about Ric Flair, oh my this is highly unrealistic. At this point, to me, this killed all the heat Edge was getting on himself. Edge was putting on a master class in getting heat, then seeing Michael Hayes play an authority figure almost took me out of it. But then Edge did something that made the hair on my back stand up. After Hayes took the heat, Edge got it back in one line. Taunting Hayes, Edge simply said, ďyou donít have your usual back up, thatís right you donít have your friend Terry Gordy.Ē And there it was, the set up. Then the final blow, ďwhere is your best friend, where is Terry Gordy. Oh, thatís right Michael, Terry Gordyís DEAD!Ē There it was, the only time I ever saw a good use of a real death in wrestling. It wasnít cheap heat, it was deep heat. It was deep heat because it cut a wound and you could feel it.

    Like my grandfather, Michael Hayes is the last of his group. The Freebirds were a brotherhood. In an amazing promo from World Class Championship Wrestling, the interviewer goes to Terry Gordyís van only to be yelled at by Michael Hayes. Hayes refers to the Freebirds as his brothers. Look at the chemistry, itís clear why. Their wars with the Von Erich brothers were legendary in Texas. You can see through the camera that these three men were close. If someone was to try Michael Hayes, there is a good chance Terry Gordy would not let anyone touch him. When Edge taunted Hayes for not having Gordy around, it hit a real nerve. In other acts, I donít know if Rowen ever had to defend Daniel Bryan in real life, or if Sid ever really protected Shawn Michaels, or if Virgil ever did anything for Ted DiBiase; but I can say with 100% certainty that Terry Gordy saved Michael Hayes from many ass whippings back in the day. I donít think weíll ever truly know the full Freebird story. Just like my grandpaís friends at the bar and on those fishing trips in Nevada, what happened when the boys are together will only be known to the men there. What has come from that time is a greater chemistry between them, and in the case of the Freebirds, we can all agree that this chemistry strengthen that act and made World Class Championship Wrestling a premier promotion in the mid-80ís.

    Can I Join the Kliq

    Kevin Nash talked about joining WWF in 1993. He was recruited personally by Shawn Michaels. Michaels was friends with Scott Hall, having a relationship from their AWA days. Hall also knew Nash from his time in WCW, where both were part of Diamond Dallas Pageís faction. Hall was known as the Diamond Studd, and even teamed with Nash when Nash was still Oz. When Hall left for WWF, Nash became Vinnie Vegas and took the role of DDPís bodyguard. This would be a role Nash would bring to WWF as Diesel. Nash talks about meeting Michaels for the first time, and Michaels let him know that Nash will ride with him and Hall; oh, and just a side note, everyone hates Michaels and Hall. It was at this moment Nash realized this bodyguard gimmick was a shoot. Nash would be with Michaels for the next three years, learning at first from the sideline, then becoming a world champion in his own right. The friend group of Michaels, Hall and Nash would add a few people along the years, as Sean Waltman joined the Kliq shortly after Nash joined, and then Triple H would join in early 1995. A lot has already been written about the Kliq. Unlike the Freebirds, there are many, many stories of all the backstage problems the Kliq had over the years. Instead Iíll focus on what truly stands out, how their friendship translated to the TV screen.

    If you watch wrestling long enough, you can tell who the friend groups are. It was clear that Michaels, Hall, Nash, and Waltman were all friends. The chemistry between them was off the charts. The way that they teamed, how smooth the matches were when they wrestled each other, the effort they put in trying to make their friends look good, all of it played well on TV. When they teamed up with each other in different combinations, you can tell the comfort level that they have. Shawn Michaels looked more comfortable doing a promo and teaming with Kevin Nash than he ever did with Marty Jannetty. The Kliq had its own style and when they worked a program together you can tell they planned out spots together. A lot gets written about the Kliq and how they only wanted to work with their buddies, but letís face it, they were at their best when they did work together.

    A common criticism of the Kliq was that they held down other wrestlers and all they wanted to do is wrestle each other for the title belts. In a time when business was down, I completely understand why Vince pushed members of the Kliq like he did. On screen, their interactions came off as genuine and authentic. You saw their best matches against each other, and when they teamed, you can see the friendship. In the past, tag teams in the WWF rarely felt like you had two true friends. You had the British Bulldogs and Legion of Doom which you can tell the teams liked each other. But many teams felt like they were just business partners, which is fine, but when you can have authenticity in your product then you must push that. To see Michaels interact with Nash, or Hall act like the big brother of Waltman, it all came off as true genuine moments between human beings. In a business where not much was real, the Kliq was very real.

    Today, some friend groups can have a role on TV and their chemistry helps the product greatly. Had Big E not gotten injured this year, you could have built to a heel turn against the New Day that would have rocked the industry. I feel WWE should let more true friends work together. When fans believe something is real, they are attracted to it. Friendship is just as real as rivalry. Vince is notorious for not putting friends and couples together. When you look at AEW, you can tell they are all friends. People want to see that. When WWE was at its lowest point drawing wise, it was a friend group that captured the imagination of the fans. Maybe there is another friend group backstage waiting to be notices today. One can hope, and with any luck the stories will be talked about for decades.

  2. #2
    Author of 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die Samuel 'Plan's Avatar
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    I think a trend has emerged in your writing over the course of the tourney, L - when you keep yourself concise and strictly on-point you flourish, but you can sometimes start tripping over yourself by bouncing between two many examples or trying to find a way into your point through narratives that the column doesn't need. I don't know if that comes naturally from you or perhaps from efforts to marry up advice but I think you're at your most effective with a strict no-nonsense approach that tackles the topic analytically. I think this piece was a case of the latter of my two points - a bit of a jumble where the underlying point too often seemed to get a little lost.

    To illustrate what I'm driving at, I feel like this would have been better if written with a more concise article specifically about your view on the Kliq, their relationship and the manner in which it translates rather than bouncing to that through personal narratives and analyses of unrelated promos. If you keep your focus strictly on-point and dig deeper into the one point you're really making with each column, I think you'll tap into the consistency of brilliance you clearly have in you.

    This was a solid effort, and I think better than last round in terms of its polish, but ultimately a little bit of a jumble of ideas for me.

  3. #3
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    Please delete this post. Accidentally double posted.
    Last edited by LWO4Life; 09-01-2019 at 12:44 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel 'Plan View Post
    I think a trend has emerged in your writing over the course of the tourney, L - when you keep yourself concise and strictly on-point you flourish, but you can sometimes start tripping over yourself by bouncing between two many examples or trying to find a way into your point through narratives that the column doesn't need. I don't know if that comes naturally from you or perhaps from efforts to marry up advice but I think you're at your most effective with a strict no-nonsense approach that tackles the topic analytically. I think this piece was a case of the latter of my two points - a bit of a jumble where the underlying point too often seemed to get a little lost.

    To illustrate what I'm driving at, I feel like this would have been better if written with a more concise article specifically about your view on the Kliq, their relationship and the manner in which it translates rather than bouncing to that through personal narratives and analyses of unrelated promos. If you keep your focus strictly on-point and dig deeper into the one point you're really making with each column, I think you'll tap into the consistency of brilliance you clearly have in you.

    This was a solid effort, and I think better than last round in terms of its polish, but ultimately a little bit of a jumble of ideas for me.
    I will say, it is funny how few 2000 words are. LOL. You might be right. I might have put the wrong pieces on the editing floor.

  5. #5
    The Brain
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    The story of your grandfather really connected with me, funny that you and Scott had some similarities in that part of the story. Hope he's doing well. I like the analysis of the chemistry between some of the more successful groups of the past and present, and I like that you touched on how society can villanize men who are too close to each other in their socialization. I think you lost me a little with the Edge/Hayes thing, because I don't see how it's very different than any other bad example of real life death exploited in a lame and distasteful attempt to further a wrestling story, but I did appreciate your look back at the Freebirds. As usual the content is there and great, I'm always around to give feedback on how to touch up the small details of the writing!

  6. #6
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
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    I donít agree on the Marty vs Nash comparison by the way...from what I understand TheRockers got on great until it became obvious that Shawn was angling for a singles run. And no one will ever convince me that Two Dudes With Attitudes were a better tag team than The Rockers, good lord.

    Anyway, just had to get that small disagreement out the way!

    This was nicely written and a good trip down memory lane, with some interesting discussion of friendship in pro wrestling. The personal stuff in columns is a very CF thing that I have truthfully never been a fan of, but thatís down to personal taste.

    I liked this - very readable.

  7. #7
    You know who I am, but you don't know why I'm here
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    This was solid. Less is more. If it suits you to write a 1300 word column, go for it. I liked your work in the earlier rounds better, and each were capped at a fairly succinct word limit. Just because the limit increased doesn't mean you have to use it. Go with one powerful example that illustrates the point you are trying to make and then maybe use the lesser examples as window dressing.
    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)

  8. #8
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Doc View Post
    This was solid. Less is more. If it suits you to write a 1300 word column, go for it. I liked your work in the earlier rounds better, and each were capped at a fairly succinct word limit. Just because the limit increased doesn't mean you have to use it. Go with one powerful example that illustrates the point you are trying to make and then maybe use the lesser examples as window dressing.
    I reread this after I posted it, and I have to agree. I didn't write enough for a full Kliq column, or a full Freebirds one. So trying to merge them into one I think felt forced. Even if it was shorter, having just one would have been better than forcing the two together. Thanks for the feedback, because I have to fully agree.

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