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  1. #1
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    [KOTC Rd.1] Sir Sam's Court: Say YES!

    It was about this time in 2014 that I started watching wrestling again.

    Having not seen anything beyond the odd piece of news since 2010, hearing about the rise of Daniel Bryan and sudden departure of CM Punk piqued my interest enough that I thought I might check it out.

    At the time my life was busy being turned upside down. I had moved cities for my wife’s mental health which for a year had been on the decline and hit rock bottom towards the end of 2013 when she told me she wanted to commit suicide but was scared to die.

    Throughout 2013 as my wife’s health has slowly deteriorated and as hospital visits increased a nagging feeling had been growing inside me that something would have to give. Change is tough though, I had a life I was living, a community of friends I was involved in, a fairly new job in a career I was looking forward to exploring. I thought we had momentum behind us and I hoped we would be able to stay the course.

    To paraphrase something Triple H once said, “in life and in this business change is inevitable” and when someone you love says that they are sleeping with a knife under the bed it plants a pretty huge roadblock in your life. You have no choice but to truly stop what you are doing and change course in a pretty radical way. Other priorities fade into the background and you scramble to put everything into place, find a new job, find a new house, find new support, start to build things back up. When you look back on it you can see how it all fell in place but at that moment it feels like you've opened a pandora's box and everything and anything could happen.

    I had stopped watching wrestling in the second half of 2010 when what was happening on TV just felt utterly directionless. Turns out I tuned back into the WWE at the right time, I picked up as the Yes Movement was starting to truly gain the irresistible momentum that forced Vince McMahon’s hand into changing everything he had mapped out.

    Vince had his plans of course: a grand main event between the WWE’s latest Hollywood export done good, Batista, and their long time golden child Randy Orton to celebrate the thirtieth iteration of his greatest brainchild, Wrestlemania. For the longest time it looked like he was going to stick to those plans. The pairing of a Hollywood box office name and company main eventer was a strategy that had made his previous two Wrestlemanias two of his most successful ever. Changing course would mean going against the roadmap that had built a dynasty. Ten years ago he had taken a punt on a short technical wrestler instead of just going with his two biggest stars and look how that had ended.

    But still the crowds kept chanting for one man and one man only. The groundswell behind Bryan was intoxicating, an everyday man fighting tooth and nail against the historic precedent of an entire dynasty. How could you not get lost in that? How could you not get carried along by it all?

    The forces of McMahon’s vision and the crowd’s passion smashed against each other and the momentum that the crowd put behind Daniel Bryan meant he won out.

    And so just as the crowd was chanting YES! YES! YES! Vince McMahon had to say yes to change. Scripts were torn up, promises were broken and Daniel Bryan was given the nod to not only main event Wrestlemania but become the focal point of the entire night, taking on Triple H in the first match and winning the WWE Heavyweight Title in the main event. It is a storyline we will remember for many years to come, a story that wrapped us fans in a fervour that has rarely been seen since, a story that had a deep impact on me.

    I came back to wrestling looking for an escape but took the lesson of Daniel Bryan’s story into my real life. I said YES! I believed a little nugget who wasn’t supposed to be a champion could become one and as I cheered him on, I cheered myself and my struggling family as we tried to kick start our lives again. I fed off the momentum of Daniel Bryan as I went to work, I was inspired by him when I pulled an extra shift to pay for my wife’s counsellor's appointments. We had huge problems to overcome but once we got rolling nothing could stop us.

    And for a while things were great, five years later my life has turned around substantially. My wife’s life has been saved, we now have a daughter, a new community of friends, this year we hope to buy our first home and I have achieved success in my career that I simply would not have if I had never moved and never had to struggle the way we did.

    However just a few weeks ago my wife had her first panic attack in years. She admitted she was not dealing well with the pressures of being a mum and just like that so much of the momentum I thought we had gained was gone.

    Unfortunately Vince was very quick to forget the lesson of Wrestlemania 30 too. For a number of years now he has been fighting a growing tide of fan frustration by obstinately sticking to his own narrow minded idea of what stories and characters the WWE should invest in. Sadly it has always been most obvious at this time of the year, the time when our passion as fans is highest. Instead of riding the momentum generated by wrestlers like Bryan again in 2015, Dean Ambrose in 2016 or AJ Styles in 2017 he has said NO! to fan sentiment and stuck with wrestlers that simply do not compel the kind of upswell that helped change my life in 2014.

    But things may just be starting to turn the corner. There were baby steps last year but this year, for the first time since Wrestlemania 30, it feels like the WWE is wholeheartedly saying YES! to hitching their wagon to performers that have some steam built up.

    Both Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins spent last year building the kind of momentum in the ring and on the mic that has made them undeniable. The WWE’s recognition of that at The Royal Rumble is a great sign that they may be finally heading in the right direction. It takes courage to change things up though. It took courage back in 2014 for them to hand the reins over to Bryan and only a few cowardly, ‘safe,’ decisions could derail this entire train. It would be particularly easy for them to justify Ronda Rousey taking a win at Wrestlemania, she is the mainstream star after all and has run roughshod over every other wrestler she has faced. However watch the crowd reaction to their promos on Raw this week and try to convince me that the crowd want to see that.

    No, the time for turning back is over. Mr McMahon, like you did to Daniel Bryan it is time to say YES!

    And once again I need you to say YES! As I fight for my family I need to feed off the momentum of Seth Rollins as he fights to finish his redemption by finally slaying The Beast. I need to feel the energy of The Man as she railes against Rousey as I rail against the anxiety that threatens to consume my wife.

    And as a fan I implore you to say YES too, allow yourself to be swept away by the momentum of these two performers. We’ve been hurt before, particularly at this time of year. Expectations have gone unfulfilled and we have been frustrated so we have built up a defence mechanism and decided to hold the product at arms length.

    I know changing course, taking a ride in a new direction and leaving yourself vulnerable can hurt. However think back to your favorite memory as a wrestling fan, I guarantee you it wasn’t when you were coldly observing but was when you let yourself get swept up in the momentum of it all.

    Say yes to love!
    Say yes to pain!
    Say yes to being hurt!
    Say yes to never letting out fandom’s flame!

    Say yes to new!
    Say yes to change!
    Say yes to those banging on the door!
    Say yes to letting go of those who have reached their range!

    Say yes to Becky!
    Say yes to Seth!
    Say yes to boldly going all in!
    Say yes to letting us cheer them until our last breath!

    Say yes to stories!
    Say yes to the magic still being real!
    Say yes to letting go!
    Say yes and Wrestlemania may heal.

  2. #2
    You know who I am, but you don't know why I'm here
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    Sorry to read about your wife, Sam. I hope she's on the road to a sustainably even keel.

    As for the column, I thought it was good. Writing a column is basically telling a story from your perspective on a topic, and you do that very well in terms of engaging your readers with well-flowing prose.

    One thing that still stands out to me to this day about your writing is your use of punctuation, and at times the lack thereof. I wondered about the USA vs. Australia aspect enough to research it before offering my feedback, and I didn't see anything about the use of the comma or semi-colon in there. On the main page, I don't think it matters. As long as your work coherently establishes a position on something that people care about, you'll get reads and feeds and such is the point. You more than coherently establish your position. Here, though, in this environment, that punctuation stuff stands out to me. I still believe that you regularly have at least one grammatical error per piece, so if I get to judge you for a good stretch here, I'm going to use it to clean that shit up (cursing stated with lighthearted but emphatic emphasis).

    Comma for short pause, semi-colon for a longer pause that continues the previous thought
    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)

  3. #3
    HUGE Member TheLAW's Avatar
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    Crushed it with a capital Y, my friend!

    I love your D-Bry Columns. Always good reads!

    I echo Doc's comments about the Wifey, that shit is tough my man.

    Not much else to say here, I feel like you nailed the hell out of it

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    I say YES!

    I'm so sorry to hear about everything that has been happening with your wife man and I hope you guys can pull through. The shittiest part about life is that just when you think you've gained momentum the wind gets knocked out of you. But I wish you the best of luck in that regard.

    As for the column, I wholeheartedly agree that change should take it's course in WWE and I'm cautiously optimistic that change is coming.

    Good luck in the tourney!

  5. #5
    I already told u how much I like this, even more so than my own column. It’s down to your hope for the future versus my winding dark rabbit hole. I suspect the scores will come down to what the judges personally prefer, since both columns are personal and yours have more wrestling references.

    I am happy your Wife is doing better now.

  6. #6
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    I don’t intend to feedback too much given the judges are still deliberating but I would just like to say a heartfelt thanks to the fellas here and also those who messaged me.

    I have a really good support network in my ‘real life’ but being able to really let it all out here and have your support is incredibly cathartic. My wife and I are fighting through this and even in the last few weeks since she realised she needed to change things up we have been able to get a new Post Natal councelor involved and tweeked her meds which is working.

    Still I need all the fight I can get, the days are long at work and looking after our little girl. Writing and wrestling are my two big escapes so I’m really fortunate to have this community to be a part of.

  7. #7
    Just want to say happy to read that things are improving and thanks for sharing such an impassioned, personal column. My sister has dealt with (and is dealing with) with similar problems, it can get really tough. Glad to hear you have solid support.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    First of all, beyond any column or competition or anything, I want to wish the best for you and your wife. Very glad to hear that things are better than they were, but still giving positive thoughts and wishes.

    Now, speaking strictly about the column in terms of the competition, I’ll say that this was a very good piece, but I think it fell short of tremendous. Your overall message did the trick. Carry the momentum of the performers with the hot hand, and don’t let fear or caution act as speed bumps. Excellent stuff. The personal message regarding your support for Daniel Bryan acting as the catalyst for your re-entry into WWE fandom also felt very genuine and connected well. Speaking of being genuine and personal, obviously the pieces that spoke about your wife’s struggles and your support for her are very touching. Really spoke to me and, again, you have my support and well wishes. That said, from a strictly writing standpoint, I don’t know that the analogy between the two struck me, as a reader, as being perfect. Felt just a touch of disconnect between the analogy.

    I love your title. Not only does it convey your focal message well, it’s simple, and also, I felt, a bit of a wink to your avatar. You’ve chosen to be portrayed by half of the Revival for quite some time now, so a column title that is extremely similar to an opening lyric of, “Say YEAH!”? I dig it!

    The smoothness in the column proper is A+. The column opens well, flows well, and has nary an issue with structuring. There are a few small issues with commas. But the pacing feels organic and well fleshed out. That said…I’m not crazy about the poem at the end. There’s certainly nothing objectively wrong with it, and I think I feel where you’re coming from – it acts as a bit of a rallying cry to charge forward despite obstacles – I just think a couple of powerfully concluding sentences might’ve done the trick.

  9. #9
    The Brain
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    Man, there’s a hell of a personal touch to this. Very nice, it can't have been easy to dig deep. I appreciate the idea of embracing the wrestling you love, though I’m not a big fan of finger wagging at the end that fans need to get more “swept up”. Sometimes not feeling it is a valid response. But I get it, it's natural you want others to enjoy the same things you love, and the passion shone through. Good stuff Sam, as always.

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