Monday, April 22, 2013
Monkey Flip - NOVA 4/22/13
Fans of professional wrestling aren’t always predictable. Sometimes it can seem as if they’re never predictable. The reaction to the match at the time it was taking place appeared to be toxic. Alex was sure that his career was over.
Except the next day the reviews start pouring in, and they’re glowing! Perhaps having a little time to digest it changed their minds, or maybe they were too stunned while watching it to start the traditional “This is awesome!” chants.
What Alex has been failing to keep in mind is that he had been subverting expectations for so long that no one had considered that he would pursue any other route in the kendo match. Despite the misleading presence of a an entire kendo championship (Carson has also been floating the concept of a stretcher championship, and so far he hasn’t found anyone in the back willing to represent it), NOVA has been able to keep the reputation of being the latest indy mecca of pure competition, even with all of the attempts to integrate more of an entertainment factor to the matches themselves. As Alex has known from the start, NOVA is anywhere similar to Red Carnage Wrestling. It will never feature a death match.
Oliver has been distant all day, which is to be expected. Alex took a huge amount of liberties, and it wasn’t just the crowd that was taken by surprise. Carson threatened to fire him on the spot, which he expected, but instead took away his paycheck. Today Carson is singing a different tune, the telltale flipflop of his kind. He’s in love with Alex again. He’s already spitballing ideas for the next iPPV, Smokin’ Aces, maybe even a match between the two of them. It’s the first time the idea has even been breached. Carson has a manageable chip on his shoulder, and it’s most in evidence when he chooses who he’ll work with in the ring. He’ll never be a star anywhere else, but here in NOVA he considers himself a big fish in a small pond, even if wrestling observers are already calling the promotion breeding ground for the stars of tomorrow.
A match with Carson? Even in the headiest of days as kendo champion, when he allowed himself to believe he was the breakout star of NOVA, Alex never even considered it a possibility. He half-suspected that he’d keep the kendo title indefinitely so Carson would never have a reason to book them in the same match. Carson’s style doesn’t mesh with kendo sticks and probably never will. He’s comfortable. And yet for some reason he’s entertaining the possible of exactly that, because Alex proved last night he can step outside of his comfort zone. He’s proven to be versatile even in the confines of something he has had to adapt to everything else he’s been doing for his whole career. Even if he didn’t intend to.
The reviews are compelling like that. They don’t take into account the reality of it, but rather the show. Most fans are wise to the fact that it’s an act, but they tend to believe that everything is coordinated before the bell ever rings. It’s hard to believe that wrestlers will call shots during the match itself, although that’s exactly the tradition and what most of them, especially the experienced ones do and are expected to do.
Yet what Alex did last night was nothing like that. That’s the true nature of professional wrestling. There’s still a good argument that his reckless behavior should not be rewarded in any sense, that he put himself and Oliver in danger and that can’t possibly be ignored. And yet they’ve been given the thumbs up. Traditionally, in Rome the sign you wanted was the thumbs down. That was the positive indicator. It seems Alex is living it the right way again. He won’t be able to do anything like he did at Fluid Karma again. He’d be crazy to.
Fortunately, if Carson changes his mind and books a rematch between Alex and Oliver, there are two ways to go. One is the do that same match over again, give the people who didn’t get a chance to appreciate it the first time a second chance. Alex won’t even consider that. The other option is to let Oliver get his revenge. The benefit of this approach is that it will take the onus off of him and allow the rules to change completely. It will be up to Oliver this time, and he will be free to interpret his revenge any way he wants.
It’ll be interesting, watching all this play out. The buzz is already reigniting NOVA around it. Once again Alex finds himself at the center.