Youtube and other video-hosting web sites have allowed fans around the world access not only to countless wrestling matches, but to wrestling segments and interviews. For many Youtube users, however, it's not enough just to share these video clips, but to generate a bunch of unwarranted traffic and controversy based on sensationalistic, exaggerated, or otherwise misleading video titles. If you watch enough wrestling on Youtube, you'll end up seeing such attention-seeking labels in the "related videos" section that accompanies all videos on the site. Here are three such tactics used online to trick you into clicking on otherwise unremarkable content:
1. The "shoot" that's clearly scripted.
For some Youtubers and "smart fans," a shoot is not a real-life, not-in-the-script physical or verbal outburst by one wrestler on another. Instead, they will call any harsher-than-usual promo cut on an opponent a "shoot." For example, do you remember that "shoot" John Cena did on The Rock? The one where he stayed in character and advanced the storyline for the upcoming Wrestlemania?
Or how about this obviously worked "shoot" by Joey Styles which just so happens to set the stage for the upcoming One Night Stand pay-per-view and revival of ECW?
Here's a supposed shoot by RVD on Vince McMahon's recent ECW title win. Note to wrestling fans: if a wrestler expresses sentiments contrary to the interest of the company, that company tends not to go out of its way to include those sentiments on its home video releases. This promo is intended to build heel heat on Vince so that the people will want to see him lose the title back to a man who truly embodies all things extreme: Bobby Lashley(?!). And hear how vicious and controversial Van Dam gets: "It would not be incorrect to say that the very nature of ECW was anti-Vince McMahon." It would not be incorrect to say that anyone who thinks that RVD was getting away with anything here in this promo would probably fail WWE's Wellness Test.
Compare these scripted "shoots" to this one by Doug Gilbert, live on the air, which led to Gilbert being sued by Lawler:
Here's another legitimate shoot posted by yours truly in which the Macho Man tears into Hulk Hogan on a personal level, despite having been storyline friends and despite Vince's promotion of Hogan's new movie Mr. Nanny. The announcers ignore Savage's unscripted rant and carry on talking about the match and Randy's storyline with Crush.
2. The friendly "shoot." Other times, a wrestler will indeed speak out of character, but what he or she says is not controversial at all. Take this clip of Maria, for example. The title of the video, "Maria shoots on CM Punk," sounds like she's going to really tear into her ex-boyfriend. Instead, we get this:
"We got along very well..."
"I like that he's so strong in his beliefs. I like that."
"He's real, he's honest, he doesn't pull punches."
"He didn't try and convert me with anything, but he is definitely straightedge."
"He taught me a lot about wrestling."
But we finally get down and dirty when someone asks about Punk's "size." Maria's response: "He was a good size."
Wow, if I were Phil Brooks, I would be absolutely fuming right now and calling my lawyer.
In this clip, entitled, "Lex Luger SHOOTS on The WWE Hall of Fame," a reasonable person might expect some sort of outburst about how the Hall of Fame is a sham and makes a mockery of the sport with inductees like Drew Carey, Pete Rose, and Koko B.Ware. Luger's "shoot" instead consists of the following:
"[F]or me, it would just be a tremendous honor if someday, I was inducted into the Hall of Fame, but really we're here to give the honor and glory to God now with our lives, and serve others.... But, would that be an honor and something that we also hopefully could use as a platform to continue the ministry as well? I mean it would be wonderful, definitely."
Well, God was once booked to team with Shawn Michaels on pay-per-view, so you could spin this and say that Luger refuses to be inducted into the HOF unless God is also inducted. Quick, somebody on eWrestling News write a story on it! Right after you're done writing a story on how a wrestler "speaks out" about some topic he happened to mention in a conversation.
There are apparently some fans who consider any non-scripted remark by a wrestler, in any context, a "shoot." I supposed this means that inactive wrestlers are "shooting" 24 hours a day, whereas even the busiest wrestler still shoots 22 hours a day when they're off TV. When Ryback complains to Daniel Bryan that food from Panera Bread isn't filling, is he shooting on Panera? If Dwayne Johnson gets interviewed about his new movie, is he "shooting" on it when he responds? If Jake Roberts wonders what a stain is doing on his shirt, is he "shooting" on his clothes? If a wrestler gets married and promises his wife that he will remain faithful to her, is he "shooting"? No, the first three instances are simply called "real life," and the last instance is the wedding chapel-equivalent of kayfabe.
3. The corpse buries the gravedigger. Perhaps the most pathetic of all these annoying conventions of Youtube wrestling videos (and news sites) is the idea of the burial. In the strictest sense in wrestling, to bury someone is to make them look bad so as to stop their momentum and bring down their "stock" in a wrestling company. It's usually done by the booker, forcing a wrestler to lose key matches to establish them as inferior stars. In a broader sense, one can bury someone by criticizing them harshly outside of the ring. The common thread in both definitions, though, is that the "burial" is done by a person in a position of power against someone lower in the pecking order, causing serious damage to the person's star power or success in the wrestling business. For instance, when Vince McMahon punished Triple H in 1996 for breaking kayfabe by booking him to lose every single night, he was burying him.
On Youtube, however, the word bury gets tossed around like HBK in a Summerslam match with Hulk Hogan. The term gets used to describe any sort of strong criticism against someone in the wrestling business, no matter how powerful the person being "buried" or how pathetic the person doing the "burying." For example, Gregory Helms, the former boy-band member and superhero whose greatest accomplishment in the past five years is a series of alcohol-related arrests, cannot possibly bury WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, AKA Mr. Wrestlemania, who is living a comfortable retirement augmented by DVD royalties and occasional high-profile appearances on WWE television and pay-per-view.
Likewise, podcast hosts cannot bury any wrestler, company, or event for the simple fact that nobody cares what they think. They can vent, they can criticize, and they can ridicule (like I'm doing right now), but unless they're booking their own promotions or running the cable services that carry TNA pay-per-views, their opinions will not affect anybody, negatively or positively.
Speaking of TNA, Dixie Carter's company cannot "bury" the wrestling juggernaut known as WWE, especially not at a house show in a city where WWE could sell out arenas in minutes. When Brother Ray (so-called because WWE, having bought up most every now-defunct wrestling company, owns the name "Buh Buh Ray Dudley") tells the fans, "This is about 100 times better than any WWE crap!" he might elicit applause, but most of those same fans watch WWE every week and buy more-expensive tickets to WWE events that are supposedly 1% as good as TNA's. After ten years, a wrestling organization is far from the first thing to come to most people's minds when they hear the name TNA, and most people hearing Ms. Carter's name would think she was the actress from Designing Women. Capitalizing every letter in BURIES doesn't make the uploader's case any less risible.
Most pitiful of all, though, are no-name fans who claim to "bury" the stars of wrestling whom they don't like. True, Ric Flair makes poor financial decisions, spends money foolishly, and regularly sells out his dignity to pay his bills, but no smark will be able to tarnish the reputation of the 16-time world champion. No wrestling promoter is going to watch a vlogger's rant and decide not to book the Nature Boy -- if Flair's history of not honoring commitments or loans isn't enough to deter them, a fan-made promo-styled rant impossible to distinguish from parody is not going to change their minds.
So-called burials on Youtube can't get any less credible than this last video. No matter how bad a wrestler Kevin Nash is, no fan can bury the former WWF and WCW champion, especially when the fan uses a voice synthesizer to stick it to Big Sexy and his poor "mick skills."
That does it for me today. I would like to thank you all for reading the blog, and I would like to congratulate myself for writing an entire post on "shooting" and "burials" without mentioning Brian Pillman or The Undertaker. [Nah, on second thought I think I'll stick pictures of them at the beginning of the article.] I will be continuing my Raw reviews shortly, barring a Hurricane Sandy-related power outage, pushing forward into the year 1994. If anyone could hook me up with the Raw episodes of 1995, it would be much appreciated.