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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

the oh-no! DVD of the week: ‘WWE: Batista – I Walk Alone’

Oh no! So sad! He walks alone? Ah, the loneliness of the fake-sport superstar!

One of WWE’s most popular Superstars, Batista is truly a study in contrasts. On one hand, Batista is the smoothest of operators, known for his stylish appearance and laid-back attitude. He has the air and presence of a champion. Exploding with fury in the ring, however, Batista embodies his nickname The Animal. That power has served him well where he has won five world championships. For the first time ever, fans of The Animal can relive his storied career with this 3-DVD set that includes a biography of Batista’s life both inside the ring and out. In addition to this revealing look at The Animal, this 3-DVD set will feature dozens of the greatest matches and moments from Batista’s career.

I love how the copy just blazes confidently forth, secure in the assumption that everyone reading is inside the mass delusion that any of this stuff is real. As if this enigmatic mystery man weren’t entirely the creation of scriptwriters, and his “five world championships” weren’t completely staged. “Storied career” is right.



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  • JoshDM

    Angel Batista been workin’ out, yo.

  • LaSargenta

    If you just look at his face, it looks a bit like Robert Downey Jr.

  • Paul

    I love how he’s drawn attention to his belly button. Isn’t that just so adorable?

  • All right, buckle in, because I’m about to defend wrestling.

    No one thinks wrestling is real. Ok, maybe a very few people do, but some people also think 9/11 was an inside job. The vast, vast, vast, overwhelming majority of people who watch wrestling know it isn’t real. They watch it because it’s entertainment (hence the name “World Wrestling Entertainment”).

    Now you can quibble about whether it’s good entertainment, but dismissing it because it’s “fake” doesn’t make any sense unless all you watch are documentaries. Ya know, Dr. Who is also fake, and I bet a DVD you’d purchase of Dr. Who would also include a cover description of the plot without adding in an afterword reassuring you that it’s not actually real.

    As far as the wrestlers themselves? They’re athletes. They’re in amazing (though often, unfortunately, pharmaceutically-enhanced) shape, pulling off the moves they do requires them to be in that good shape, and coordinated, and that take a hell of a lot of practice. It’s not like I could just step in the ring and do what that dude does. And though it is, of course, staged, it’s up to the wrestlers to execute what they’re given. And they do ad-lib, and you don’t get to be made a champion without being very good at what you do. The fans need to be interested in you, as a good guy or a bad guy, and you need to be a proficient wrestler. They don’t just pick a name out of a hat to make them champion. If he’s won the belt 5 times, that means he’s had an enduring career, keeping people interested in him as one of the top guys. That’s not easy to do. I don’t see anyone criticizing, for example, Kate Winslet for getting attention for The Reader last year just because she was playing a character that was a creation of scriptwriters, and then some people decided she was good at it and gave her a little statue. She was given a role, she played it well, and she was rewarded for doing so. Batista did the same thing within the world of the WWE.

    If wrestling isn’t your cup of tea (and it’s not really mine, I don’t watch wrestling myself) that’s fine, but please don’t put it out there like watching wrestling is stupid because the idiots doing so must believe it’s real. They don’t, I assure you, and intelligent people do actually watch wrestling and enjoy it because they can separate fantasy from reality.

    There, that ends my defense of the WWE.

  • ashok

    Just what Count Shrimpula said. The commentary on the copy feels a little bit condescending there (and I’m not a wrestling fan anymore either). The copywriters know perfectly well that the overwhelming majority of the people reading it are well aware that wrestling is worked.

  • e

    We could generalize on the intelligence of wrestling fans, but while its scripted, wrestling takes a hell of a lot of skill/physical effort not to hurt yourself and others. Not to mention some charisma, which is why The Rock could transistion so well to leading man.

    I’ve always said its like soap operas mixed with sports, and that makes the soap opera elements “ok” for dudes to get into.

    None of this makes it any less ridiculous at times.

  • JoshB

    I’ve hated wrestling since I was a wee lad, but I have to admit that Shrimpula’s post is kinda convincing…

  • I’m a defender of wrestling too.
    Haven’t watched much lately cause they’re catering to the kids now adays, but I’m a fan.

    Anyway, what I want to say is that your criticism is inaccurate, I’d imagine, because you haven’t seen wrestling in the last 10 years, if at all, which is fine.
    The DVD’s they are making now are actually true biographies. They don’t make them in fake (or kayfabe style in the industry).

    Most wrestlers now a days are “themselves” but more like a caricature of their real selves. Anyone that’s a character is either new and they’re breaking in or have created a character that is either too popular to change into that caricatured self or need a character because their “selves” aren’t interesting enough.

    As far as Batista is concerned, he does have a storied career business-wise because to be a “superstar” or top guy, usually takes a lot of agility, athletically. Batista is a guy who is pretty huge and not expected to be agile. That being said, the guy had defied odds of what he was expected to be and became a pretty entertaining wrestler and character before the injuries.

    Anyway, that’s my 0.02…

  • Accounting Ninja

    I’ve never liked wrestling. Just thought I’d throw that out there. But I’m trying to put into words why…
    I’ve never thought that anyone thought it was real. That’s not where my dislike comes from…
    I think it’s that, though there is “story” (rivalries, soap opera hijinks, etc.), it’s basically battles between two guys.
    Battles are only exciting to me when the outcome is unknown. When anyone could surprise you and pull a victory from the jaws of defeat.
    Just knowing it’s all planned and scripted…well, it really takes the thrill out of it.
    And it’s different from a movie where two guys duke it out according to a script. Because in wrestling, even though we all know it’s fake, it’s presented like a boxing match. It’s presented as though these battles and rivalries are real. I mean, even reading that DVD blurb! It’s unflinchingly presents it as real. Unlike, say, an ongoing tv show about wrestling, where from the get-go, you know it’s just a story people are telling. Nobody talks about the character’s “life in and out of the ring” or pretends they won “world championships”. Except maybe fansites :)
    I just can’t get too excited about the outcomes of these staged battles. But I don’t begrudge anyone’s liking it.

  • amanohyo

    I liked wrestling when I was a wee lad, back in the days of Andre the Giant and Mr. Perfect. I knew it was fake, but it was like watching a cartoon with real people in it. Like most, I stopped watching before I was a teen (although I still watched GLOW from time to time because I thought some of the characters were hilarious…and teenage horniness was probably also a factor).

    The reason I dislike wrestling now is that it’s just not entertaining. It combines the horrible acting and predictable writing of a soap opera with the machismo, latent sexism, and violence of boxing/MMA. It also presents unrealistic body images for men and women, but that doesn’t bug me as much as the fact that it’s boring, in the same sense that an episode of Dragon Ball Z is boring. An endless series of willy waving speeches and poorly choreographed action scenes performed in front of a live audience. No thanks, I’d rather just watch a good action movie.

    I understand that many of the performers are skilled and in excellent shape, but I don’t understand why adults find it so entertaining unless it’s childhood inertia or nostalgia. Saying you like professional wrestling as an adult is on par with saying you like Daneille Steele novels. Sure, there are plenty of other adults who feel the same way, but objectively speaking, the product that you are consuming is a shallow, unconvincing, mass-produced, and poorly made. But I won’t lie, as a kid I’d be totally psyched to the max to go to a pro wrestling match (and probably be bored out of my mind by 90% of this DVD).

  • Chris

    “…secure in the assumption that everyone reading is inside the mass delusion that any of this stuff is real.”

    For someone so intelligent and critically minded, this is the stupidest, most condescending and most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard from you. If you had ever looked for five minutes at who comprises wrestling’s fan base and why they enjoy it, you would know that. It’s called suspension of disbelief; you use it every day as a film critic. The WWE isn’t trying to fool all of us *stoopid* rednecks anymore than the BBC is trying with Eastenders. The reason I enjoy wrestling is the amazing athleticism, physical story-telling and spectacle. It’s like good dance theatre, but serialised, weekly and world-wide. I can understand not enjoying the skits and promos of the WWE, but please look at wrestling as a worldwide entertainment and art form. Please look at both male and female wrestlers in Japan, at the RoH promotion here in the US or classic wrestling by the likes of Ric Flair or Ricky Steamboat.

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