Saturday, May 18, 2013

Monkey Flip - NOVA 5/18/13

With a little more than a week to go before Smokin’ Aces, Alex is trying to take his mind off of the pressure he’s now only pretending doesn’t exist.  It’s there, just a lot different than it was a month ago.

Charlie Dawson, who is only Alex’s rival in his own head, will be competing in the tornado match, but in a lot of ways he’ll really be competing against his own father, the second of three generations who have made names for themselves in a wrestling ring.  Steve is competing tomorrow in the main event of the NWW card Carnage.  It’s a tag team match just like his son’s in a lot of ways, teaming with his old buddy Rob Holly in a reprise of the Thunder Mountain heel faction that was hot more than a decade ago.  Their competition is the team of Magnum and Jet Stevens.  Magnum is one of the hottest things going, while Stevens is another generational star, the son of “Shooter” Terry Stevens, one of the hottest heel wrestlers ever.  The funny thing is that Jet has taken a long way to discovering that he works far better as a face.  He and Magnum, as well as yet another generational star, Iron Henry, are doing far better than the new Thunder Mountain.  As the Untouchables, they’re the biggest act in wrestling right now.

If NOVA were that kind of promotion, he’d be worried about job security, wondering if his recent worries were really all about whether the market has the room for him like it seemed last fall.  Maybe this gig never really translate into a mass audience.  Maybe he’ll always be a niche sensation that’s doomed to consume itself.

NWW isn’t even the mainstream of fan interest.  It’s the mainstream’s main competition.  The mainstream is WPW, where the biggest card of the year, World Famous 22, was just a few months ago.  Terry Stevens had his retirement match, actually, on that card.  It was the match just below the main event, and the one just below that featured Paul Tugend, “Hustle,” who has the potential to become far bigger than the Untouchables could ever dream.  WPW has been a cluttered landscape, ever-expanding and suffering from the resulting growing pains, and it’s been looking for the new face of the company.  Tugend is that face.  Everyone knows it, but for some reason World Famous 22 looked toward the past, one last great push for Dean Reynolds (no relation to the newsman), in the last years of a comeback no one saw coming, a brilliant career that was sabotaged by politics and injuries.  WPW is holding its annual War Games tournament the same night as Smokin’ Aces (or perhaps it’s more truthful to say the reverse), which will feature many of the other bright young stars the company hopes will lead it into the future.  Tugend will be defending his Livewire title against Robbie Rhod, who is too brash for his own good, even in the world of professional wrestling.  You don’t need to know the ending is scripted to know Tugend will win that match, though Alex is one of Robbie’s few vocal supporters.

Still, there’s little chance that his opinions will influence WPW’s decisions.  That won’t happen for another five years, when Alex will be in the Tugend spot.

For now all he has to worry about is guiding Oliver Pine to making their match look good from the other end.  Last time it was all on him.  He didn’t trust Oliver at all, and that’s no way to handle things.  He’s been coming up with notes, suggestions on moves he knows Oliver can pull off and he can help sell.  Truth be told, Alex hasn’t always thought about how to sell to his opponents effectively, and now that’s exactly what he’s going to have to do, practice his bumping, the whole theatricality of it.  A few weeks ago he was worried about promos, making himself a character.  Now he has to put on a different kind of show.

In a lot of ways, the work he’s doing now isn’t so different from what fans can find in NWW and WPW.  NOVA may not be and may in fact never be the scale of its competition, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t reflect that kind of business.  The promotion’s fans and all the serious observers consider NOVA to feature, all in all, the best actual wrestling, and certainly the most dynamic, but sometimes that’s not enough.  Alex is only now realizing that, and this is what will set him on the journey to his greatest success.  The funny feeling at the back of his head is character growth.

A few weeks ago a lot of things were different.  He thought Colt Carson’s comedy act was holding everyone back.  Now he wants more and more to understand what Carson’s been thinking all these years.

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