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X, marks, the spot

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I've been watching professional wrestling on-and-off for around 30 years.

At this stage of the game, it's pretty hard to get one over on me. That's not because I'm some gifted soothsayer or have inside "sources" who tell me what's what, but rather because once-indistinguishable patters became readily apparent after seeing them over and over again.

Every now and then WWE can still dupe me, like when Mark Henry (cough) "retired."

This is a work. There's no way he would ... oh wait a minute ... no, see, this isn't real. Oh shit ... is he crying? No way. Okay, here comes Cena. Da fuck? Omg I think this is really happening. Wait ... no ... did he just mention his kids? Oh no he's retiring. This is special. Goodybe big man. What a moment this --OMFG YOU BASTARD!!!!!

Then there's "The Streak," too.

Most of the time it's just the opposite, as I can easily dazzle my wife and kid by predicting what happens just seconds before it actually takes place. Beatdowns are the easiest. Wrestler X joins up with Wrestler Y to beat the stuffing out of Wrestler Z.

Sheamus should be hauling his ass down the ramp to make the save in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

[Cue "Written In My Face"]

How did you know?!?

I like today's product better, but I do miss the glorious days of full kayfabe. I remember when Ricky Steamboat had his throat bashed in by Randy "Macho Man" Savage -- via timekeeper's bell -- and couldn't speak, then eventually got to the point where he could only growl his way through promos.

I thought he was really hurt, and winced every time he took a bump for the next three months.

That's why I don't have a problem with WWE exploiting the "X" sign from referees or ringside officials, which in the old days was the gesture used to indicate to the crew backstage that someone suffered a legitimate injury during a televised dust-up.

Then the WWE "Universe" became privy to that information, so Creative has now opted to work it.

As a result, there was a spirited debate last Monday night on Twitter, after Seth Rollins took a nasty spill going over the top rope, immediately coming up lame and collapsing in the corner, clutching his knee. The fact that the cameras ignored him and various employees made a fast break for his direction, led many folks to assume his knee was destroyed.

Or was it?

Wasn't Dean Ambrose supposed to come running out of the back to intervene? Why was the ending to Monday Night RAW so disjointed and haphazardly booked? Was WWE forced to call an audible because "The Architect" lost the blueprint to walking upright?

All valid questions.

Unfortunately, this is a company that also broke up the duo of Paul Heyman and Cesaro with no rhyme or reason, then further muddied the waters by having ringside announcer Michael Cole casually mention that Heyman was "fired" because reasons.

o i c...

As for Rollins, I would find it peculiar that WWE would use a spot like a knee injury to put him on ice, when a spear from Roman Reigns or an Attitude Adjustment from John Cena would have served the same purpose and consequently benefited the storyline.

But again, WWE, where logic is illogical.

Either way, Rollins took a bump last Monday night and we're still debating whether or not it was a work or a shoot. I like that. I like not knowing from time-to-time. Because if every outcome is predictable, then pro wrestling loses the element of theater and becomes nothing more than choreography with chair shots.

Besides, don't we already get enough reality in the "Reality Era?"

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