Friday, April 4, 2014

Rant #1,179: To the Mat

Thank goodness it is Friday.

More to the point, I will "thank God" when this day is over and it is the weekend. Friday is not a good enough pull for me to "thank God" yet.

Whoever came up with that TGIF thing was always one day short, I thought.

Anyway, once this day is over, and we move into the weekend, it will probably be a regular weekend for most people.

Most people will go about their weekend chores, watch a ballgame (yes, the Yankees finally won their first game of the season last night!) and do what they have to do until they have to start the work week all over.

But millions of others will do the same thing, but on Sunday night, they will watch professional wrestling's own World Series, Super Bowl and Mardi Gras mixed up all together in Wrestlemania, the 30th edition of which comes to New Orleans this weekend.

Wrestlemania is wrestling's really big show--or "shew," if Ed Sullivan were still alive, and you know he would cover it on his show if he was--and it has really gone mainstream, with coverage by various legitimate media, legitimate press conferences, and legitimate big dollars associated with the event.

Wrestling and TV have always been welcome bedfellows since the dawn of the televised medium and the days of Gorgeous George and Bruno Sammartino, but today, it really is as mainstream as the major pro sports, baseball, football, basketball and hockey.

Well, almost as mainstream, let's say.

It is entertainment, mixed with athleticism. Yes, there are storylines, and yes, the outcomes are pre-picked.

But millions of millions of people in this country, and the world, watch this stuff, and will pay to watch this stuff.

And now, with the WWE Network, the multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry really has pushed itself into the forefront of media gazes, because as the first network of its kind, people are watching to see if an all-online network will make it or break it.

If it makes it, you can bet your bottom dollar that you will see other networks just like it popping up during the next few years, and a few are already being talked about in their early stages.

Anyway, this weekend, due to the network, millions will watch the Undertaker take on Brock Lesnar as the former tries to extend his Wrestlemania unbeaten streak against the latter, a brute who probably is a real pussycat inside.

It should be a fun watch, and my son and I will be watching, as we have the WWE Network, have the requisite dongle and HDTV so we can project the computer image on a bigger screen, and are paying $9.99 a month so that we can watch this and the other monthly pay-per-views offered on the network.

There has been some controversy, because some providers now refuse to carry the pay-per-views as a separate offering, at $50-$60 a pop.

They feel this former cash cow is diluted because so many people who would pay for this now have the network, and they aren't seeing a cent of that money, and they are right about that.

But for those who simply want to watch Wrestlemania, the option is there to spend all that money in one sitting.

Me, that is what my subscription costs during the next six months for the network, so I am actually saving money on this stuff in a funny way.

Whatever the case, my son and I look forward to the four-hour show, which regularly features twists and turns and mainstream and non-mainstream stuff. Even non-fans would be intrigued by this.

So, while most people will be preparing for another dreaded workweek on Sunday night, my son and I will push that aside and watch Wrestlemania for the first time that we have ever seen the event live.

All I can say is that hopefully, the network won't crash, as millions more just like us will be tuning in.

It better not crash, because if it does, the WWE will have to answer a lot of questions having nothing to do with the action in New Orleans on Sunday night.

The only crash I want to see on Sunday night is when one wrestler slams the other into the mat.

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