Are You Ready For Some Wrestling?
No, the news makes us weep because as clever as we think we are at making up ridiculous items and posting them to our pissant little Web site -- and mind you, after a couple of gin fizzes, we think we're really clever -- the real world comes along and kicks us square in our collective ass.
Case in point: the news that the World Wrestling Federation, home of cartoon violence, soap-opera storylines and homo-erotic subtext, plans to start its own professional football league.
In our wildest moments, could we have thought up a prank where the WWF's Vince McMahon tires of putting on silly, pretend sporting events and decides to branch out into silly, real sports? At our most drunken, could we imagine the WWF vowing to succeed where the likes of Dick Ebersol, Ted Turner, the USFL and the WFL have all failed?
Not a chance. Too broad, our in-house comedy elitist bastards would sniff. Nobody would buy it. Now let's get back to work on that April Fool's parody site about monkeys.
But cruel fates and WWF genius McMahon have trumped us. By this time next year, the new XFL -- with the X standing for extreme, exciting, and several other words that don't start with X -- vows to begin playing football games where the outcome isn't even predetermined. And when that happens, McMahon says, viewers will clamor for the XFL's smashmouth, in-your-face attitude, ratings will soar and America will clasp the new league to its bosom tighter than an Nikolai Volkoff chokehold.
And, really, why shouldn't that happen? After all, folks scoffed at the idea of wrestling reaching a broad audience. And now? The success of WWF Smackdown! has pulled UPN out of its seemingly inescapable death spiral. People sneered when wrestling tried to extend its popularity across other media. And now? Both Mankind and The Rock have landed on the New York Times best-seller lists. The chattering classes dismissed professional wrestlers as sideshow freaks, unable to make an impact upon society at large. And now?
You want to handle that one, Governor Ventura?
So count us among the believers in the XFL. In fact, don't be surprised if wrestling's pageantry, drama and good, old-fashioned values start pumping some life into the buttoned-down National Football League. Why, in a few seasons, maybe the only difference between the NFL and the XFL will be that big ol' letter X.
And the steroid use.
In the ensuing years, here's what you'll see:
Additional contributions to this article by: James Collier, Philip Michaels.
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