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STUDENT BLOG #1: A Review, and Defense, of "Wrestlemania 25"
April 14, 2009  | By David Bianculli
Mickey-Rourke-after-knock-0.jpgWhile working on the book, I've had several professional TV critics and reporters as guest writers. Today, as an experiment, I'm presenting an amateur. But an informed one.

Since I'm now teaching TV full-time at Rowan University, I thought I'd give a student or two a chance each term to write a review from his or her perspective, on something aimed squarely at the youth demographic. The first of these is a subject that always claims one or two passionate students per term: TV wrestling.

I asked (dared?) Peter Gilgiotti, one of my students, to explain and defend his passion. He agreed, and chose the pay-per-view event Wrestlemania 25 as his subject. Here is his review...

Wrestlemania 25, With Mickey Rourke

By Peter Gigliotti

The 25th anniversary of Wrestlemania was a good show that everyone should see. There were two matches that EVERYONE needs to see.

The first of these matches was Chris Jericho vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, and Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. This match was a showcase for superstars both young and old. I remember wondering, at prior pay-per-view events, what would happen if two wrestlers from different eras went up against one another. This match, during which Jericho beat all three veteran wrestlers, probably was the closest I will ever get to my answer.


As if that weren't enough, Mickey Rourke was in attendance for the event. Rourke and Jericho have been going back and forth on shows like Larry King Live about getting into a match. The closest thing to an in-the-ring Rourke/Jericho "duel" occurred after Jericho's match against Piper and company, when Jericho saw the star of The Wrestler in the audience at ringside.

Jericho called Rourke into the ring to face him like a man. Rourke obliged, and after some posturing, caught Jericho with a left hook, decking him with a single punch. Rourke then posed with Ric Flair, which was a great moment for a fan of The Wrestler, and of pro wrestling in general.

As good as that match was, the show-stopping match featured The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. That match had many "oh my god" moments, and that was only in the first ten minutes. The pin attempts were all close and the action was fast paced. If I got this down correctly, there were 14 pin attempts (including the one used to win), seven finishing moves used, and a broken camera.

This is one of those matches you have to see to believe. I have seen many matches from all over the world. These matches span from the 1970s to today. I can honestly say that this is the greatest match I have seen, ever. Even if you aren't a fan of pro wrestling, watch this match and it may change your mind.


Peter Gigliotti is a junior Radio/TV/ Film major at Rowan University. He is the creator and writer of The 450 Splash, a professional wrestling blog. For a more in depth analysis, you can read his full review at www.450splash.wordpress.com.




ceolaf said:

Seriously? I applaud him for his courage, but he did an exceptionally poor job.

He's writing as though this was a live competitive sporting event, as opposed to live scripted action drama.

I'm sorry, but this is unacceptable.

1) There might nor might not be a need to descibe background and history for a live competitive sporting event. In that case, the action and the performances speak for themselves. But with a scripted drama, the characters, plot lines and histories are critically important.

2) He neither explained nor defended his passion -- which was the assignment he was given. He wrote about what he liked, but he did not give the reader a reason to sign on. Why does he love wrestling, and how did Wrestlemania 25 exemplify those characteristics? As a fan, what was he expecting, and how were those expectations met -- or not met? Heck, how were his expectations set?

3) He literally challenges me as a non-fan to watch this to see if it will change my mind, but he's made no attempt to meet me where I am. He's putting the onus on me, rather than accepting responsiblity for understanding my view and leading me to reconsider it. But why should I bother? What is in it for me? How is wrestling unlike so anything anything else that it might fill a void in my life?

4) He writes like he's talking to a friend who already loved the show, and saying "I loved this. I loved that. I loved the other thing, too." Where's the set up? Where's the explanation? Where's the feeling? Where's the journey? You need to show your students "The Chris Farley Show," and explain to them that that is not the goal.

5) Contrast this review with the Ed Martin review of the Damages finale found on this blog at the end of March. Well, actually, it wasn't a review, but rather a preview. It conveyed *why* I should watch and *how* I should watch. Given that your student wrote that "EVERYONE needs to see" this show in his first paragraph, and tells his audience, "Even if you aren't a fan of pro wrestling, watch this match" in his last paragraph, he's got a duty to make the case. Mr. Martin made the case.

I hope that he redoes this review, and sends you a later version of it down the road. (Bianculli here: The lesson here, though I clearly marked Peter's effort as an amateur entry, is that readers to this site expect the highest of standards, and will be critical of anything less. The remarks offered here, to Peter, are not harsh for the sake of it, but take the time to point out where the piece may have fallen short or delivered too little. That's the heart and soul of true, valuable criticism, and Peter, if you're reading this, please accept it, and respond, as such. I've learned a lot from the readers of this site, and you can, too. -- David B.)

Comment posted on April 14, 2009 1:08 PM

T said:

I hope that when you have finished school and are doing what you want, you will look at your review and the merciless review of it by ceolaf and smile.
If you learned from it, that's a reason to smile.
If your skin developed an extra layer so that subsequent uninvited pile-ons didn't have the same abrasive effect, that's a reason to smile.
If you continued to put your best work out there, knowing for every vocal dissenter there is at least one person you connected with, that's a reason to smile.
Can't please everyone. Can't be perfect early on. Can keep smiling and learning and getting better.
Congratulations for taking the chance to put your ideas in front of strangers. Should you be pointing in the direction of a journalism career, this has been an almost-priceless experience of how to react to your readers. Nothing close to what you need to know to deal with editors, but heal these bruises before you walk down that avenue. (What a great message, and a great lesson, to impart. -- David B.)

Comment posted on April 14, 2009 7:32 PM

Tim said:

This was not a review. Was not useful, not informative, not engaging, not descriptive. Why was it written?

Comment posted on April 16, 2009 6:39 PM
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