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Enter The Dream Realm Vol. 67 – The End Of The Innocence

NOTE: Every month in the LOP Columns Forum, there is a vote to determine which columnist had the best month out of all the writers in the forum. The winner of Columnist of the Month is then given the opportunity to post one of their columns on the Main Page. In August, the honor was bestowed upon Morpheus for the fourth time. The posting of his column was delayed a bit by the recent birth of his daughter, but here it is, better late than never. The winner of the September COTM contest is Shane, and he will be posting his column in the near future, hopefully without the same extreme delay that plagued Morpheus.


You go to LOP looking for more news regarding the new series being-pitched-by-slash-starring Hulk Hogan, so you can be sure to avoid the hell out of it, when you notice a new link in the Columns section. You recognize the name, and decide to click on the link to see what’s inside. As soon as you do so, your computer screen explodes into a dazzling array of colors, swirling hypnotically before you. After a few seconds, the colors seem to swirl together to form the shape of an hourglass, and you watch, transfixed, as it begins to turn over and the rainbow sand begins falling from the upper chamber. As the first grains hit the bottom, you feel yourself slip from consciousness as you once again begin to…

Volume Sixty-Seven

The End Of The Innocence

10/09/2010

Welcome, Dreamers, to the landmark Sixty-Seventh Edition of Enter The Dream Realm. I am Morpheus, Master of the Dreaming, and I will be your guide through this land of Nightmares and Dreamscapes. It certainly has been a good long time since the last time we danced here on Lords of Pain, hasn’t it? It’s been an eventful couple of years here in the life of the Dream Master. Having finally finished school, I moved with my new wife to Japan, where I am working as a Geophysics Professor, and she is working on recovering from having our first child just two weeks ago. That is right; the child spoken of in the prophecy has come. She has risen from the depths of legend to restore the balance between good and awesome. Hold your banners high and raise the fist of the Metal child!

Anyhow, it was actually her impending birth that inspired me to write again as the LOPNXT competition was wrapping up in the Columns Forum. That inspiration led to what I feel are some of the best columns I’ve ever written, and apparently other people felt the same way as they landed me here with my fourth Column of the Month win. I wish I could say “Record Fourth Win,” but that fucker Uncle Joe is still in the lead with those little trophies. However, it has been 5 years and 7 months since my last COTM, so I guess that sets a record for longest time in between victories. I don’t know if that’s worthy of praise, or just evidence that my ass is getting old, but I’ll take it as it comes. You can find the columns that landed me here at the following links:

So, six years after I started writing these things, here we are again. I want to simply say thank you to Current Big Thing, Deadman, Dr. CMV1, JDThompson, Mazza, OniBarubary, priest, Shane, and Uncle Joe for their votes of confidence. As some small measure of repayment, I have included a link to the latest columns by each of the above people which you can access by clicking on their names. Again, many thanks guys for making an old fuck like me feel like he’s still got it. Sometimes, at least. That’s enough banter. Hopefully you will find this Sixty-Seventh sojourn through the Dream Realm both enlightening and entertaining. So, without any further ado, let the Dreams begin!

- Over the last few weeks, mostly while my wife and daughter were still in the hospital, I have been watching the Royal Rumble Anthology. It was really cool to go from one event to the next and see how things changed from year to year. It also made me laugh to see the Dudley Boyz in the opening match like 5 years in a row. Most of them were a walk down memory lane for me, and a good one at that. A few of them, though, were first-time views for me, and that was also very cool. However, the Anthology stops at 2007, and now I’m kind of like a crackhead without a fix. Does anybody know of a good place where I can download the last three Royal Rumbles? Torrents or direct download links would be equally appreciated.

- Speaking of Royal Rumbles, while watching the 2005 event, I saw what is quite possibly one of my favorite wrestling moments of all time: the Heidenreich and Snitsky Pro-Homo Promo. Snitsky comes to Heidenreich with his plan to help him overcome his fear of caskets in his match against the Undertaker. This promo led to one of my favorite tag teams of all time: SnitskyReich. They were no BookDust, but they were awesome as hell, and were unique in that they completely ignored the brand split and went where they damn well pleased. This promo brought it all back.

“I don’t like caskets either. But I do like you, John.”

*heavy breathing by both men as they step closer to one another*

“I… I like you too, Gene…”

- John Cena joining the Nexus is, to me, a damn good thing. Personally, I haven’t cared for anything this guy has done in years, and have found most of the time that he spends on my TV screen invokes feelings of unmitigated rage or intense apathy, depending on the instance and my blood alcohol content. However, this storyline intrigues me a bit. One of the things I hate most is the fact that Cena always comes out on top. Always. He’s never the underdog. Ever. Now, he’s stuck in a situation where his actions are being dictated by forces beyond his control, and it gives him a cornered animal quality that I find interesting. I hope it continues in a good direction, as there is the possibility that this is the story direction that will redeem Cena in my eyes.

- Edge moving back to SmackDown! is a good thing in my eyes. The Blue Brand needs a little extra firepower now as it tests the new waters of SyFy, and I think SD! has been lacking in heavy hitters for a bit. I like Edge, a lot in fact, and think that the move from RAW will be good for both him and for SD!. Hopefully, it will give Edge a little more breathing room at the top of the card, and set up a few intriguing feud possibilities in the new future. Plus, being on the same show as Christian has potential awesome written all over it.

- Goldust. Awesome. It was really good to see him go back to his roots with his taunting of DiBiase. Goldust of old, before he devolved into a comedy character, was one of the most provocative, controversial, and intriguing characters in wrestling history. If he can recapture some of that essence and use it to propel himself in a new direction, I will be really happy. As a talent, he has been criminally underrated for far too long, and I am hoping this leads to another chance for him to shine in the WWE spotlight for a while. It’s time for a new generation of WWE fan to remember the name…

The End Of The Innocence

I’ve heard it said many times over the years by many different people, but even after only two weeks, I can affirm the veracity of the statement: being a father changes you. I would imagine that being a mother changes a person as well, and probably moreso, but alas I cannot attest to this as I rock a wang. Although in many ways, I do feel like becoming a father has begun to slowly turn me into a woman. I’m much more sensitive to things, and find myself getting all teary over seemingly innocuous matters. I swear, it feels like I started to grow a vagina the minute my little girl popped out of Lady M’s.

I’m getting away from my point here, though it does relate. My own sexual re-engineering aside, becoming a father has changed me in more ways than I imagined when I first heard that phrase uttered. It’s changed my feelings about children in general, about family, and about my wife. All of these changes were expected, and did not come as any sort of surprise. My schedule, physical activity level, sleep patterns, and particularly energy level have all changed dramatically, which again was to be expected. What I did not see coming, though, were the changes to other facets of my life that I thought completely unrelated. It’s as if my entire perspective on life and everything in it has changed.

Involuntarily, I find myself thinking of everything now through a filter of how it affects or effects my daughter. It took me a couple of days to realize I was doing it, and once I noticed I was shocked at how effortlessly that filter was applied. Simple things like planning my work activity so that my schedule allows me to spend some time with her are no-brainers, but larger issues like fiscal responsibility, political action items, and religion also pass through my Kid-Filter. The origin of this filter, I think, is a primitive, instinctive protection mechanism design to shield the child from harm, but on a more intellectual level I think it goes deeper than that. It’s about more than mere protection and defense.

It’s about innocence.

Everything my daughter experiences now in life, she’s experiencing for the first time. Everything she comes into contact with through some sensory perception is a new experience for her, and right down to the core of my being, I want all of those experiences to be good ones. I know it’s a futile hope that can’t possibly be lived up to, but it’s a goal I have unwittingly set and which I will pursue with fervor for as long as I am physically able. That simple innocence that she has as a new child brought into this world is the closest thing to sacred I’ve ever had in my own presence, and it’s something that so many of us, myself included, lose bit by bit long before we ever should.

I find myself reminiscing now about my days as a child growing up in rural New York and trying to remember how it felt living through those times. I remember a lot more than I thought I would, and in many cases I remember not only the events that happened in my life, but also how they made me feel at the time. So many things stand out as being so amazing at the time that are mundane and routine now. My first day of school, my first time ever eating pizza (changed my life), my first time riding my bicycle without any serious bodily harm, and my first time seeing a movie in the theater are all vivid memories that feel almost as real today as they did to me then. Perhaps one memory that stand out even above all these others, though, is my first time watching wrestling.

I remember watching wide-eyed and enthralled as these titans battled each other with both words and physical attacks. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before, and like nothing I have ever seen since. It evoked such a visceral reaction from me and struck a chord somewhere deep in my psyche that has stuck with me for over twenty years now. Awestruck and enthralled are the two most appropriate adjectives I can use to describe the experience.

But it didn’t stop there. The initial reaction I had to what I was seeing lasted for quite a long time. It wasn’t until all of the talk about wrestling being fake really started to multiply that the sense of wonder I had for what I was watching started to wane. I remember the arguments that kids my age would have about whether or not it was real, and I remember the feeling of sadness I had when I came to realize which side of the argument was rooted in truth. I still loved watching wrestling and continued to do so, but a little bit of that luster that it once had was gone.

A little piece of my innocence was lost that day.

As I got older and transitioned into my teenage years, I grew more aloof, cynical, and jaded, as is to be expected, and bit by bit the innocent affection I had for wrestling continued to crumble away. I didn’t see the superstars as larger-than-life figures as I once did, and while I had a healthy respect for their athletic ability and their gift to entertain, they weren’t the idealized role models to me that they once were. I still loved to watch wrestling, but the deeper meaning it held for me had waned.

Then I found Lords of Pain, and it seemed that last little shred of innocence that I was clinging onto so tightly for so long finally drew its last breath.

The internet is a double-edged sword as it concerns wrestling fans. Through it, we have access to just about any piece of information we could ever want about a particular wrestler, faction, or promotion, past or present. On the flip side of the coin, we have access to just about any piece of information we could ever want about a particular wrestler, faction, or promotion, past or present. We can find information on some of the great federations, wrestlers, and feuds that came before and thereby see things that otherwise we would only have been able to hear about second-hand, like legends passed down from generation to generation. However, along with this information, we are now privy to the inner workings, backstage politics, insider information, and personal lives of the people behind the characters we see on our screens, and I tend to honestly wonder whether or not this is a good thing.

Many people nowadays scoff at the kayfabe era, when everything was kept so tight-lipped and secret from those people who weren’t part of the inner circle. Wrestlers portrayed their characters inside and outside of the ring, and lived their personas in the public eye 24-7. Their characters may have been less realistic than some of the more modern wrestlers, but fans of the business could really believe that these people really were who they portrayed when the spotlights were on. Now, with the fourth wall clearly having been broken by this unprecedented age of access, this kind of awe and belief in the realism of the wrestlers’ personalities isn’t possible the way it once was.

No matter what my feelings toward him happen to be, it is impossible to deny that Hulk Hogan was one of the biggest phenomena to ever hit the wrestling industry. He was a media darling, and transcended his position as a wrestler to dominate other forms of entertainment as well. However, the one thing that never changed, whether it was in the ring, on the mic, on another TV show, or in the movies, is that Hulk Hogan was always The Real American; the role model that (almost) every kid looked up to, always reminding us to train hard, eat our vegetables, say our prayers and take our vitamins. In the kayfabe era, before the access provided us by the internet, we didn’t know anything about salary demands, creative control, booking decisions, and political maneuvering. We only knew that this man stood for what was right, and represented everything that made America great. There was an innocence that we as wrestling fans had in those times, and it served both us and him extremely well.

I honestly question whether or not someone like Hulk Hogan would have achieved the same level of success if the internet had existed during that time. Would we still have seen him as the larger than life hero for our time? Would he still have been the Immortal Hulk Hogan if we had access to his life behind the scenes? If we had access to videos like this?

Yeah, that mother fucker just said bizzomb. I’ll let that sink in for just a minute. Bizzomb. Can you imagine if the massive Hulkamaniac fanbase of the late 80′s and early 90′s had seen a video like this? I venture to say that it would have had a tremendous negative effect on the Hulkamania rage that was rocking the world at the time. This leads me to the question I have asked myself many times over the last several years: Is having so much access to the inner workings of wrestling really a good thing?

Has the internet brought about the end of our innocence?

Think about your first days as a wrestling fan; the first time you watched it on your television. Your first time going to a live event. Think of the spectacle of it all, and how you felt seeing it all unfold before your eyes. Now remember when you discovered the lauded Internet Wrestling Community. Did you see wrestling in the same light you once did? Did you find your feelings and opinions changing from what they once were? Did wrestling continue to hold that same magic it once did?

Every time I read wrestling news sites or posts in the forums, I am always amazed at the sheer amount of negativity I see regarding even the littlest things. No matter what happens on RAW, it sucked or it could have been better if they only had done *insert smarky opinion here*. TNA is just awful and needs a complete overhaul, or else nothing they do will be any good.

Ok, that one’s true. But it doesn’t change my point any.

Before you discovered the IWC, how many of you were actually concerned with things like workrate? How many of you even knew what that word meant? I constantly see people bashing John Cena because he has his Five Moves of Doom and doesn’t do much else. The same was true of Hulk Hogan 20 years ago, but people didn’t complain then because he was still the hero. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t chain wrestle and apply 50 different submission holds in one match, just as it doesn’t matter that Cena doesn’t today. You notice how it’s the children and young teens who are crazy for John Cena, and the older teens and 20-somethings who boo him at the live events? Do you think that age divide is a coincidence?

It’s right around the age that the internet kills off their innocence.

It seems that transitioning from a wrestling fan to an internet wrestling fan changes our perceptions of what we see in wrestling. Someone like John Cena goes from the Hero of the Day to “garbage being shoved down our throats.” Now, I am far from a fan of John Cena, but what the hell does that even mean? Shoved down our throats? Is there any other facet of life in which you have heard this phrase uttered?

Countless times I have seen people complain about how some wrestler isn’t “being used properly” by either TNA or WWE. What exactly does that mean? It seems to me that if wrestling fans on the internet had their way, no one would ever lose a match and everyone would be in the midst of a mega-push at all times. The laws of physics state that this simply isn’t possible, aside from being a completely ludicrous concept. The nature of wrestling is such that there has to be a winner and a loser. Well, except when Dusty’s got the book.

See? Even I can be smarky at times.

It seems to me that the access that the internet has given us to the inner workings of wrestling and the personal lives of the wrestlers has brought about the End of the Innocence of wrestling fans; an innocence that once defined an entire generation of fans and the industry itself. So often, I see people on the internet bashing the so-called marks for cheering who they are supposed to cheer and booing who they are supposed to boo, as if they are somehow lower levels of life form because they react the way they are supposed to. What so many of these smarks forget is that before they discovered the IWC, they too were marks just like these people.

It’s as if the IWC smarks somehow think they are better than the average mark, simply because they read and follow other peoples’ opinions on the internet. Are they… No. Are WE really better, though? It seems we are constantly miserable and jaded with what we are seeing, and perennially complaining, as though our bile will do anything to change what is. On the other hand, the marks of the world are tuning in every week and enjoying what they see, spending time with their friends and families and being entertained by the wrestling product they are being given.

I don’t know about you, but I want that innocence back.

It has been said that “the world as seen through the eyes of a child greatly resembles paradise.” When I watch wrestling now, I try to forget about all the IWC trappings and try to just enjoy what it is I am seeing. Honestly, I have started to enjoy wrestling again in a way that I haven’t in a very long time, and I am very excited about the prospect of introducing my daughter to my favorite hobby. If you haven’t tried lately, I encourage you to give wrestling a try again without the IWC filter. Stop focusing on workrate and five-star matches. Stop focusing on the negative, and try to see the positive. There’s a lot of it there if you just give it a chance to shine through. Don’t let what you’ve learned on the internet taint your opinions and completely strip you of your innocence. Try to see wrestling through the eyes of a fan once more, rather than the eyes of a jaded critic.

Don’t let the internet be the end of your innocence.

- I like the idea of title unification in some cases, and in others I am not so big a fan of the idea. In the case of the Women’s Titles, I think it was a good call. I also think that it was a good idea for the Tag Titles, but for bad reasons. If the division wasn’t so malnourished, I would prefer to have the two titles, but with the present state of things, even having the one title exposes the division for how anorexic it really is. So, I think these were good moves overall. What I don’t like is that they are deciding to retire the titles that have longest lineages in favor of those that are shorter-lived. This, to me, is a bullshit move. The history behind those titles is one of the major things that give them such prestige. I would think that a woman wrestling in the WWE would be much more honored to hold a belt won and defended by the likes of the Fabulous Moolah, Alundra Blayze and Trish Stratus then one whose most auspicious holder has been the Undertaker’s newest trophy wife.

- Linda McMahon is running for United States Senator in Connecticut? Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great idea, other than the fact that she’s running on the Republican ticket. In fact, I think many of her ideas are good ones, despite her party affiliation, and I think she could shake things up a bit if she wins. I would go so far as to say I would even vote for her if I lived in CT, despite the fact that she’s a Republican. (Quick – guess my party affiliation.) I just have a hard time with the fact that even after spending a decade in front of the cameras with the WWE, a Nationally broadcast television entertainment program, as well as her history serving in leadership capacities of corporate entities, she still sounds robotic whenever she is given the chance to speak. She needs to make more of a human connection and appear less rigid, because with the robotic demeanor she’s been presenting, she’s making John Kerry and Al Gore look charismatic.

- Linda’s son-in-law HHH has been campaigning for her in CT in a door-to-door campaign. This, too, I have no problem with, as I think it could possibly help her campaign. Watching the video of his campaigning efforts, however, took the wind out of my sails. I saw him actually discussing politics and shaking hands and such while wearing a well-tailored business suit. Personally, I was kind of hoping that he was going from house to house in his ring attire, busting through the front door with his sledgehammer like a juiced-up KoolAid Man, with Motorhead in tow, playing his entrance theme on loop, and forcing every over-eighteen member of the household to vote for Linda under threat of bodily harm. That would be the awesomest thing ever.

- Sometimes I find find myself thinking about TNA. Not often, mind you, but occasionally. Sometimes, these thoughts turn to what is wrong with the company. It’s a question that is sometimes difficult to answer. However, I think their latest Pay Per View poster highlights perfectly exactly what is wrong with the company in no uncertain terms.

Starting at the bottom of the poster, we have the World Title contenders. Notice how all three of them are guys who made their name and got their standing not in TNA, but in the WWE? Perplexing. Now let’s look up top. On the left, we’ve got Jeff Jarrett, who has never been relevant, nor has he deserved just about any of the accolades he’s purchased during his career. The guy just isn’t good. Period. On the right we’ve got Sting, whose fifteen minutes of fame should have ended when WCW did. The smartest career move he ever made was not going to the WWE where he would be exposed immediately for his inability to hang with the big dogs. And there, above it all, standing in the middle of this whirlwind of suck is the Grandfather of Godawful, Hulk Hogan himself. Do I really need to explain this one? Hulk Hogan is beyond being past his prime and is trying to suck every second of notoriety he possibly can out of his continued miserable existence. Someone needs to drop a house on this motherfucker sooner than later, before we have to invent a word that conveys the meaning “sucks so hard he could give titanium a hickey.”

- Speaking of Hogan, I wish now more than ever that I still had SkulletMonkey.org up and running. Between the abysmal videos he incessantly posts on his Twitter, his “revolutionizing” of TNA, and his new attempts to whore himself out as a brand that is in any way still relevant, I have a feeling there would be more than enough fodder to sustain the site for a long time to come. I’ll say it one more time for old time’s sake: Fuck Hulk Hogan. Fuck him right in his stupid, wrinkled up, orange-skinned, skullet monkey ass.

Shaft In Africa (1973)

Richard Roundtree makes his presence known once again as the rugged New York City Private Detective John Shaft in this third film in the Shaft Trilogy that would spawn a short-lived television series later this same year. Shaft is beaten, drugged and kidnapped by the henchmen of a wealthy African Aristocrat who has gotten wind of Shaft’s reputation and wants to hire him for an important job, and with a young hottie like the one chosen as his associate, how could a man say no? Shaft is sent undercover to Africa, posing as a native in order to infiltrate an African cartel that is sending black men to Europe in a form of modern day slavery. The goal of his assignment is to find out who the leaders of this ring are, and expose them and their operation to put an end to the exploitation of these poor African natives for the white man’s ruthless gain. And of course, get him some sweet lovin’ along the way, if you know what I’m sayin’.

This is a fine ass film, if I do say so myself, and was certainly one of my favorites in college. The flick had its campy moments, but Roundtree manages to pull out a stellar performance as the Black Private Dick that’s a Sex Machine to all the chicks once again. While the story to this one may not be in keeping with the original concept of Shaft as well as the first two films did, it was still a great plot, and there was plenty of action to boot. What gave this film its real edge though, were some of the one-liners and casual conversation scattered throughout, such as:

“Where did you learn stick fighting, Mr. Shaft?”
“Conducting the New York Philharmonic.”

“A cat named Shaft ain’t gonna be bad with a stick.”

“Brighten my day.” *The chick starts sucking the dude off.* (My fuckin’ hero.)

“How long is your phallus, Mr. Shaft?”
“My What?”
“Your cock.”
“Baby, by now it’s shrunk down to 20 inches.”

All around this was a very entertaining flick, and a must see for any fan of the blaxploitation genre. This is one of the few flicks I made sure to bring with me from the U.S. Every single damn one of you needs to check out this movie, ya dig? The Dream Master has spoken, Daddy. Solid.

  • Here’s to hoping that CeNexus > CeNation, though as it stands I think I’d still prefer CeNothing.
  • Don’t let the internet strip you of your innocence as a wrestling fan.
  • I cannot stress enough how much I can’t stand Hulk Hogan. Really, I can’t. I think I need help.
  • I’m just talkin’ ’bout Shaft. Can you dig it?

As you slowly return to consciousness, the last whisperings uttered from the lips of the Dream Master encourage you to check out three particularly outstanding columns in the forums:
Current Big Thing – The Current Big Column: Lucky Sevens
Shane – Shanetime Presents: Wrestling Needs An Avatar (Part 2)
da_shee – Green Eyes #32: Deadly

This brings to a close this special LOP Main Page Edition of Enter The Dream Realm. Any feedback you have, as always, would certainly be greatly appreciated and can be sent to me via email at morpheus@thedreamrealm.net. Thanks again to all the faithful Dreamers out there who stuck with this shebang, even during my hiatus over the last couple of years, and mad crazy props to Steve-atollah for bringing me on back to the Dark Side for the LOPNXT competition which, of course, my rookie (Stinger) won. It’s been an honor and a privilege to be able to post this here once again, and I hope that those of you that haven’t yet will take the time to check out some of the great writers we have in the LOP Columns Forum. Thank you all again, and until next time, sleep well, and I’ll see you in your Dreams!

TheDreamRealm.net – Open For Your Viewing Pleasure!

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Saturday, October 9th, 2010 at 4:05 pm • ETDR, WrestlingRSS 2.0 feed Both comments and pings are currently closed.

5 Responses to “Enter The Dream Realm Vol. 67 – The End Of The Innocence”

  1. Leona says:

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  4. [...] fit in. This is a topic I touched on in my COTM offering about a month back, which you can find at TheDreamRealm.net, and it is one I am very passionate [...]