I switched the topic of this week’s column at the last minute. I was all set to write about Michelle and Layla and the “Rise of LayCool”. I had completed the outline and had my hoodies all picked out. But something has been nagging at me for a few days…
In my last column I broke one of my own rules. Truthfully, this has been bugging me ever since I posted it last week. I promised myself when I started writing this column that I would try to be informative, insightful, and funny, all within certain boundaries. I would not go for the cheap laugh at somebody else’s expense unless there was some validity to what I wrote. At first I thought the joke was funny. The more I kept reading my column the more I began to wonder if the joke was as clever as I originally thought. After reading my column for the 457th time (hey, somebody has to read it!), I really started to sour on it because I realized I may have just gone for the cheap laugh. I am a little disappointed in myself because I know better. There is really nothing funny about hitting below the belt. I’m also not a fan of obvious humor (think Tiger Woods jokes, Monica Lewinsky jokes, etc.) Anyway, I spent a lot of time reflecting on this specific joke and decided that I needed to either 1) defend it or 2) apologize for it.
Before I do, however, I want to be very clear about how I define “smart humor” and “cheap humor”. My boy Mike Knox is actually the perfect person to use for this example. Here is something I think is funny: During his last few months in the WWE, the announcers would make a big deal about how Knox studied “kinesiology” and knew all kinds of special ways to hurt people and inflict pain. Personally I think he should have spent more time studying “how to win matches” because he didn’t do that very often. (Insert laugh track) Now that to me is funny, and it is also fair game based on the silly commentary and poor character development. (Note – If you didn’t find this joke amusing, I’m probably not headlining Second City any time soon.)
But what about this joke: “What is the difference between Mike Knox and a brontosaurus? One is slow, clumsy, and dim-witted. And the other is a dinosaur!” To me that is just childish and not very funny. I do admit that humor is subjective and I should keep that in mind. But in this case that joke doesn’t work for two reasons: first of all is not very clever, and second of all it is far from the truth. Mike Knox was never going to be a big draw for the WWE but for a man his size he could work. At times he was actually very fluent in the ring and his flying cross body block was sensational. That was a breath-taking move that required a tremendous amount of athleticism and practice. So digging at Knox’s in-ring character is OK in my opinion, but joking that the guy had no talent is just incorrect. Is it his fault the bookers didn’t use him right? Well…maybe, partly. I don’t know all the behind-the-scenes stuff. But it would appear they simply didn’t know what to do with him. If it were me, I would have shaved his head, stuck him with Luke Gallows, and then had CM Punk call the shots as these 2 monsters demolished people. I guess that made too much sense so they never did it. (By the way, I get bonus points for using Knox in a major part of my column this week. Try that at home. It’s more challenging than you think.)
Now you know where I am coming from. So here it is, the joke (I believe) I would like to take back:
Fast forward to 2010 and I find myself with a whole new appreciation for Sandra (Bullock). Her recent movies have been solid (The Proposal, The Blind Side) but what did it for me was when she accepted her Oscar for Best Actress (which at one time I thought was as likely as Martians invading Earth or Maryse wrestling for 10 solid minutes).
This joke is clearly a slight to Martians everywhere. In truth I have no doubt they are smart, organized, scientific, and fully capable of invading Earth. So there…I’m glad I got that off my chest. Me and the Martians are square now. Chest bump!
OK, OK…amateur hour is over. In that quote I obviously took a swipe at Maryse and her wrestling ability. Was it warranted? Was I completely off-base? Let’s dig a little deeper…
First of all, I like Maryse. Obviously I don’t know her as a person but given the fact that I am very pro-French Canadian, it is hard to imagine she isn’t a ton of fun to hang out with. I mean, who doesn’t love French Canadians?!? I would go even further and claim I have never met a Canadian I didn’t like. Honestly I can’t even think of anything I don’t like about the country Canada itself except for maybe the long winters. They have a beautiful flag, lots of moose, a great hockey tradition (thank you for Sidney Crosby), Molson beer, pleasant attitudes, Bret “Hitman” Hart, and the single greatest national anthem ever written. Singing “Oh Canada!” in a Mountie uniform is definitely on my Bucket List. God I love that song. “Oh Canada…we stand on guard…for…THEE!” Chills!!! I was happy every time a Canadian won an Olympic medal in Vancouver so I could see their cool maple leaf flag and hear that song.
Not a lot I don’t like about France either. Any country that is known for champagne, fine art, and good food is OK with me. Just one question – when you go to France, do they just call them “fries”? Anyway, combine the best of Canada with the French influence and I am pretty sure I would enjoy visiting Montreal. Maybe Maryse could be my tour guide. “Pourquoi”? Side note – I like Maryse’s theme song but I don’t know any of the words. Doesn’t stop me from singing loud and proud when she comes out. It reminds me of the song “La Bamba”. Everybody knows the intro and then just makes up the rest as they go: “Baba baba baba ba la LA Bamba!” I’m wondering if my editor will insert the following comment here: “Um, Dave, those aren’t the words either…” Details!
So right off the bat I am predisposed to liking Maryse because of where she is from. This is not trivial. I contend that one day when I am a contestant on “Married Bachelor” I will eventually be sent home because the girl will not like the fact I come from York, PA. Nothing wrong with York…it is a great little town…but the other dudes will probably be from Miami, or Vegas, or San Francisco, or some cool place like that. In SF they have wineries, in York we have Peppermint Patties…where would you choose to live?? I must say I do think my calling in life was to be a contestant on the Bachelor. Or at least the host. And who wouldn’t watch “Married Bachelor” to see if the girl could pick out the married vs. single guys?!? Yes I stay up at night thinking about this stuff, which is probably reason #4,508 why it is challenging to be my wife. Poor Mrs. Glamazon. But hey, don’t feel TOO badly for her, I’ve given her 7 good years of marriage. Sadly we’re on year number 11. (She’s reading this right now and giving me a look I have seen before…right before sleeping on the couch. Ironically she and I don’t share the same definition of “smart humor”.)
It’s possible you don’t share my love for French Canadians, but I’m sure we can all agree on this: over the past year Maryse has established herself as one of the top-rated heels in the company. She consistently generates crowd reaction both in the ring and during her backstage segments, and she seems to have mastered what I call the “BIG” factor. When Maryse is involved, everything feels bigger. Everything feels more important. The match feels bigger. The interview feels bigger. I invented this theory for my friend Murph. When Murph shows up everything feels bigger. Everybody raises their game and knows it is going to be a fun day. Same goes for Maryse. She is a star and carries herself that way. Let’s face it; this business relies on stars just as much as it relies on solid workers. Maybe more. A complete roster really needs a mix of people, some who can carry a match and some who can put asses in seats. Sometimes they are the same person, such as Shawn Michaels, and sometimes they are not, but both types are essential.
In my opinion Maryse can carry a storyline when she is matched up with a solid worker because she is so effective at building the required drama and emotion. There is something visually interesting about watching her far beyond her stunning looks. She has developed an attitude, an aura, and a personality that is flexible enough to adapt to whatever WWE asks her to do. Her eyes are paralyzing and effortlessly swim between evil, psychosis, fear, foolishness, and craziness. She speaks French from time to time to grab your attention (I think she uses this effectively to add importance to certain storyline elements) and she delivers the best “wink” since my high school English teacher (which had to be seen to be believed).
Her recent program with Eve is a perfect example. When she smacked Eve with the Diva’s title and then took those pictures with the belt, to me that cranked the feud into high gear. Eve could not have generated that momentum by herself. I like Eve and think she is getting better as a performer, but Maryse is the spice in this salsa. Each Monday night you want to see what Maryse does next in her pursuit of the championship (although in the long run Eve will definitely benefit from the rub).
Combine her personality and star power with her blazing good looks and you have a very unique talent. I know looks are subjective, but is there a man alive who wouldn’t say Maryse is gorgeous? Just for fun, I’d like to see the girl who beat her in the finals of the 2004 Miss Hawaiian Tropic contest. I mentioned this to a friend of mine who said, “Yeah, Maryse is beautiful, but she’s not the kind of girl you want to bring home to mom.” I told him, “Well, just make sure mom isn’t home!” Simple enough, right? (See, I’m a problem solver.) On this week’s Post-RAW Show I said Maryse looked incredible Monday night and I got put in a corner because that is “old news”, she always looks great so there is no need to mention it. I disagree and “nobody puts baby in a corner!” I have been married a long time and my wife STILL wants me to mention when she looks nice, so it has been beaten into me to compliment beauty early and often.
In any event, none of this has anything to do with Maryse’s actual in-ring ability, which was the centerpiece of this column until I got distracted. I joked that Maryse couldn’t wrestle 10 solid minutes. But can she? What proof do we have to the contrary? Off the top of my head I can’t remember a match that made me think, “Wow, Maryse was really solid in the ring tonight.” For a more in-depth look I went back and watched her 2009 “Night of Champions” match when she defended the Diva’s title vs. Mickie James. To my surprise the match lasted almost a full 10 minutes. (I was there and I don’t remember the match being that long.) Anyway, I studied her performance that night and I was left feeling a little empty. Given the extra time on a pay-per-view, Maryse failed to produce a more interesting or dynamic move set. She did the usual: chasing Mickie around the ring, pulling hair, basic kicks, punches, and slaps. Even one of her signature moves, the seated reverse chin lock was unremarkable because she did it twice (not good for a wear-down hold). The pacing at the end of the match really suffered and by the time Mickie hit her DDT to win the title I was ready for it to be over. Like most of Maryse’s appearances in the ring, the actual match was over-shadowed by her glamour and persona. Crap.
I wonder how much Maryse really wants this. How much does she REALLY want to be incredible in the ring? She seems to be an entertainer first and foremost…a model, a designer, a celebrity. Does she have the grit to grow into a dynamic in-ring talent? We’ll find out soon enough, because the rest of the package is “c’est magnifique!” Still, I can’t shake the feeling that Maryse is the modern (and female) version of the Honky Tonk Man, a legendary figure whose in-ring skills never matched his excellent ability to entertain the crowd.
So was my joke off-base? Honestly, I’m still not sure. I guess Maryse proved she COULD wrestle 10 solid minutes, but now I find myself wondering if I really want her to.
But one thing is for sure, she will always “Be Sexy!”
— Mr. Glamazon
PS – Can you believe Maryse once managed Deuce n’ Domino?? Now THAT’S funny!!
PPS – Happy Memorial Day to all of the veterans around the world! I have personally seen the sacrifice these soldiers make, not only for our respective countries, but within their own families. They all deserve our respect.
PPPS – follow me on Twitter at @dlb19338. I am only 4,999,950 followers behind Ashton Kutcher!!