Wrestling, by presenting the predetermined as real, is an utterly shameless industry by definition, and nothing, not global smartening nor corporate gloss, will ever remove it from its tawdry roots. At its rotten core, it remains an industry steeped in provocation, in heat. Anything to elicit a reaction is elicited, more often than not - especially in WWE, as this principle is cannibalised when the tired storytelling mechanisms are unable to elicit nought else but brain-melting apathy.
But, in spite of itself, WWE has in the past shown a respect towards the death. Well, not Eddie Guerrero, the hell-bound prankster ghost of whom haunted 2006. Or Paul Bearer, whose "ashes" CM Punk smeared over himself without, you absolute pack of b*stards, the knowledge nor approval of his family in 2013.
"Can we still do it?" somebody must have asked Vince McMahon. "Ooooohhhh yeeesssssss!" he said, before yuk-yuking and popping Michael Hayes.
To drum up interest in the Charlotte Flair Vs. Paige rivalry of 2015, Vince, already tiring of this progressive women's sh*t, thought "F*ck this, pal" and decided to desecrate the memory of somebody who'd never even performed on his stage. From "I need to beat you, Rock" to "Your brother died, lol", this hardly reached the pantheon of great WWE title narratives.
Really, since WWE barely bothers to post tributary, pre-credits tron graphics these days, this sort of thing is much worse - and it reached a Jim Nadirhart on Sunday...
5. LOL, That F*cking Natalya Vs. Ruby Riott Match
At TLC, Natalya sought to avenge the disrespect shown to her deceased father in a Tables match against Ruby Riott.
Ruby, in an attempt to get into the mind of the most fragile and hysterical performer on the roster (!), had broken a pair of Jim Neidhart's "sunglasses" before printing out a picture of him and superglueing it to a table.
On the show itself, Natalya was in no mood to cry. She was in the mood to slap the sh*t out of her tormentor, which she did. A nanosecond later, after saying "You wanna mess with my family, bitch?" and slapping Ruby full force in the face, Natalya immediately checked on the welfare of her opponent. This was the most badass thing she's ever done, and she apologised for it, in the most Canadian thing she's ever done.
Ruby then assumed control. "I want you to look at him, Nattie. He's ashamed of you, Nattie," Ruby said, as she pressed Natalya up against the table before sliding the table with Jim Neidhart's f*cking picture on it into the ring. Refusing to get put through it, because that would represent the most disrespectful desecration ever, Nattie instead ensnared Ruby Riott in the Sharpshooter and made Ruby look at him.
"Look at him! Look at him while I do his more successful old partner's move!"
This, for f*ck's sake, solidified his legacy as Bret Hart's less successful old partner. She could have at least bitten Ruby on the face before apologising for chipping her own teeth. What she did do was produce a table with Ruby's face on it, and put her through it while wearing Jim's old jacket, bloody hell. If she'd worn a goatee wig, it wouldn't have looked any dafter.
Thank you, Vince McMahon, for this wonderful farce. You are an insane, nasty old f*cker, and sometimes that's funny.