Posts Tagged ‘animals’
March 11, 2013 | Lists
We’re still baffled when we hear announcements like, “Leonardo DiCaprio has signed on to tour internationally with the WWF.” He’s too old to be one of those agile wrestlers who jump around a lot and doesn’t have the size to believably work with the bigger guys.
Then we recalled that back in 2002, the World Wrestling Federation, the WWF up until then, changed its name to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), presumably so nobody mistook it for an organization that would sweat the fate of the earless water rat. The World Wildlife Fund has been the lone WWF ever since.
Any ties between the two entities would seem to end there, but a closer look reveals how much they still have in common. Both are involved in great struggles, though one tends to employ more pyrotechnics and body oil. While the outcomes of pro wrestling bouts are predetermined, the same cannot be said for the fates of many species under threat on this planet (and maybe others, too — we just don’t know the science).
If the number of naked environmentalists spotted in public spaces is any indication, the WWF is losing its struggle. All sorts of species are vanishing and the environment is facing a crisis more epic than any Wrestlemania marquee, with the exception of the historic showdown between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant at the third installment of that event.
If the WWF is going to reverse this trend it needs to make drastic changes and for a role model it need look no further than the company it once sued for trademark infringement — World Wrestling Entertainment. The WWE may have roots in guys punching out drunk hillbillies in circus tents, but today it’s a global media conglomerate with major cable television deals and its own division dedicating to producing terrible films. The WWF may have once sued to avoid any association with the WWE, but the latter’s success shows which of the two groups has the winning formula. Here is what the WWF can learn from the WWE:
1. Villains Mean Money
In the WWE as in action films, the villains are usually more entertaining than the fan favorites. Seeing a villain torment a good guy and carry out dastardly deeds against him that would be considered felonious in most states is what draws viewers in and is the cornerstone of the company’s success. Hurting the WWF’s promotional efforts is the fact that the organization does not have any villains. All animals are, in effect, good guys.
The WWF should select a few animals on its endangered species list that would not be missed if they disappeared off the planet completely and actively campaign for their extinction. Red imported fire ants would be a good choice. These ants, according to the US Department of Agriculture, “cause significant economic losses in livestock and agricultural production and poses a serious threat to human health”. In short, who needs ’em, save for a small handful of sadistic members of organized crime syndicates looking to extract information? The WWF could enjoy wider public support for the animals worth keeping around by supporting the decimation of this species.
Referees in the WWE are a notoriously dodgy lot. As we mentioned in our Rules for Wrestling Refs, a storyline that has repeated several times over the years involves a referee making a biased call in a match to screw over the hero, resulting in him losing a major bout, his title, pension, etc. This sets up the inevitable confrontation when the good guy avenges his loss by pounding the tar out of the much smaller referee to the audience’s howling delight.
The WWF should take the shady practices of WWE referees as a warning about what can happen when power is placed in the wrong hands. While officials may give sweet reassurances at press events, behind the scenes they could be the very ones putting on bibs to chow down at the exotic animal cafe.
3. Name Changes Save Careers/Lives
Wrestling has proven time and again that species once thought extinct, like Hulk Hogan, can prove resilient and surprise everyone with many more lucrative runs (or tabloid scandals). All you have to do is change a person’s name or gimmick. After fans sickened of ten years of his catchphrases and horrible color red and yellow color combinations, the Hulkster became a villain, changing his name to Hollywood Hogan and taking on a darker appearance (notably, by applying something to his face more commonly used to tar driveways).
Similarly, the gray wolf was nearly hunted to extinction, but has since made a comeback. This has not been happy news for ranchers in the business of trying to get products to market that the gray wolf would rather devour. So while the wolf is back, it’s negative reputation has proceeded it. An easy way around this: change its name to “The Large Siberian Husky-Like Fully Grown Puppy”. Now even the most rifle happy rancher would think twice about training his sights on a creature with a name like that.
Every organization needs a public face. For the WWE that was once Hulk Hogan and is now John Cena, in both cases the most commercially successful wrestlers of their respective generations. The WWF has the panda, a disastrous choice in many respects. The WWE always has a backup in case their top star decides to jump ship to inflict a horrible movie on an unsuspecting world, and the WWF too needs a succession plan for the slow-witted, slow-moving panda, which has an ice cream in the hot sun chance of surviving over the long term.
As evolutionary biology has taught us (well, not us specifically – we’re too busy), more than 90 percent of all organisms that have ever lived on Earth are extinct. The panda is unlikely to defy these odds, considering it only eats bamboo and consuming only one thing, from an evolutionary standpoint, should ensure that this overgrown, lazy dichromatic raccoon chows down on its last shoot soon enough. (If the WWF really wanted to get attention and mess with people’s minds, it could turn the panda into a villain. After all, they are Chinese and some of the WWE’s most popular wrestlers have been jingoistic flag-wavers beating up foreign interlopers.)
The shark, by comparison, is a less discriminate eater than people who enjoy The Olive Garden, and more evolutionarily evolved than the panda. It’s also under threat, giving the WWF a cause people can rally behind and the possibility of having a far more kick-ass logo than the wimpy current one.
5. Music Matters
The WWE has been very effective with its musical endeavors. Witness The Land of 1000 Dances, none of which, thankfully, are performed by the wrestlers unless you count the Magnificent Muraco at 1:27 (see below). The track was featured on The Wrestling Album, which also featured Russian-speaking Nikolai Volkoff denouncing western music (he probably had a point here). Despite its questionable musical value, the album was a major success and the WWE has went on to even more popular ventures, such as Motorhead penning the excellent entrance music for Triple H.
The WWF on the other hand, put out No One’s Gonna Change the World, featuring liner notes by none other than Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, way back in 1969, about as uncool a contribution as one could imagine, and another benefit album in 2006. Music penned by and for environmentalists may be soothing and assist in one’s bathroom delivery, but it won’t make an impact on iTunes. Might we suggest that the company makes use of this piano playing elephant?
Two wrestling adversaries engaged in a long and bitter feud often have their final showdown in a steel cage match. Fans enjoy these matches because they don’t happen very often and when they do are sure to involve a shifty manager slamming the door shut on the head of the hero, wrestlers hitting each other full bore in the face on the top of the cage without plummeting to a broken neck on the floor and plenty of instances of body parts being bashed against steel. An enjoyable spectacle all around.
The WWF could make use of similar events, pitting the beasts they are trying to save against those who threaten their existence. For example, we could have Wealthy Hong Kong Fin Soup Eater Vs Shark in a closed aquarium death match, though a purist might argue that the odds would be unfairly stacked against the soup eater. Hemingway against all of the large mammals of Africa would have been a surefire moneymaker back in the day.