Greetings and salutations to the next stop on this month’s OWLS Blog Tour! If you are following along this month you will see that we have been extra busy and if you are following along you will have already read the lovely post from Shokamoka over on their blog! The growing number of bloggers joining OWLS has been amazing and this makes me really happy because it means I get to read even more awesome blog posts each month.
As soon as I read what the prompt was going to be for this month’s blog tour, I knew exactly what I was going to cover for it, but first, let’s have a look at that theme this month!
In honor of the 2018 Winter Olympics, this month’s topic will focus on the theme of ‘competition’ because the Olympics is where athletes from all countries join together to compete in sporting events. Through these events, we see how competition’ brings out the grit, the teamwork and the competitive spirit within athletes. This month, we will be exploring anime and pop culture media that discusses the good and the bad when it comes to competition and what it can teach us about ourselves and the world around us.
Pinned! is a western yaoi graphic novel released in 2005 with art by Studio Kosaru and written by Yamila Abraham. Regular readers of this blog should recognize the name as she is the yaoi author behind the crowdfunding campaign I posted about last month for her project My Magical Demon Lover. Yamila Abraham is not only an author with the company Yaoi Press but is also its founder! But I’m not here to gush and fangirl over one of my favorite western authors, (I will write a separate post for that later) I am here to write about this month’s theme of competition in a story about pro wrestling! But wait I hear you ask, how can there be competition in a sport that is completely scripted for television and audiences? Well, that’s what I am going to dive into in this part review part analysis piece for OWLS.
Pinned! tells the story of the up and coming professional wrestler Synn who has just made his debut as a pro wrestler after being scouted from grassroots wrestling. To those who do not know much about the world of pro wrestling grassroots is where a lot of wrestlers start off their professional career. It is where a lot of them learn the basics of the sport and perform in front of live audiences for the first time in ‘house shows’ which are untelevised events. Synn is very happy to be making his debut, he has even been able to get back in contact with his good friend he use to wrestle with back in grassroots and he has caught the attention of the top card wrestler of the company Renegade, who in my opinion has a striking resemblance to HHH back in the nineties. There is just one catch and it is a pretty big one that could make or break young Synn’s career as a pro wrestler before it even begins.
It would seem that Synn was brought into this world of pro wrestling for one purpose only in the eyes of the guy in charge, bossman. He was brought into the company to be a perk for the top card wrestler Renegade who wants Synn all to himself in more ways than one. Will Synn get a chance to become the pro wrestler he has always wanted to be? Can he put a stop to Renegade’s unwanted advances and as he gets to know the other wrestler do those advances stay unwanted? Well, you will have to read the graphic novel yourself to get all those answers but I will go into a few of them here so if you don’t want to be spoiled for the awesome story that this is you can purchase a physical copy or digital copy right here on Amazon.
One of the biggest themes in the story of Pinned! in my opinion, is the competition of ego between the wrestlers, especially in the second half of the story when the title belt comes into play within the story. As Synn and Renegade spend more time together both outside and inside the ring tensions and ego grow around the both of them for you see through all the competition inside the ring is scripted and played out for the audience what happens backstage is very competitive. From working out the upcoming story arc for the show to who gets the belt next, there are those who think they are more deserving of certain perks than others and this becomes very evident when Synn is taken into Renegades stable. But the biggest of these issues come up when it is decided that Synn will be winning the belt from Renegade. This one decision pisses off many of the older wrestlers who have been with the company longer than the newbie.
To add fuel to this fire there is also the problem with Synn’s friend Rae from grassroots who makes it very clear he does not like Renegade and outright tries to poison Synn against him with rumors of unspeakable acts between Renegade and his former wrestling partner. This makes Synn very wary of Renegade and even makes him lose trust in him just as they are getting close, but that is seriously that is all I am going to go into about this story because the final act is just too good to spoil.
So we have a battle of egos between all these wrestlers that shows some of the worst of bad sportsmanship. When the ego takes hold and someone begins to think they are so self-important that they can do anything well that is when we can see some of the worse behavior in people and characters. Now one could argue this can be seen in Renegade with his unwavering obsession with Synn, but for the most part, he really does seem to keep his ego in check. I mean let’s just say there is more gossiping amongst the wrestlers going on backstage than in an all-girls high school. This undermining of each other really makes for what seems like a toxic workplace, but this is what happens when you have so many big egos working together and this isn’t something that just happens in a sport like pro wrestling.
We see it time and time again in the news. Some big sports star is accused of some outburst out in public, whether that be a sexual assault charge, a brawl in a club, pub or some other night spot, caught speeding in a high power vehicle or even turning to drugs in their downtime. Their feeling of self importance and ego has been blown so far out of proportion that they seem to be in this state of mind where they think the law does not comply to them or they think that whatever code of sport they play for it’s ok the club will cover their asses so they can play in the next big game. It is a sad dark side to the professional sport.
I want to end this post on something a little bit lighter however and it is also something wrestling related. Growing up in the nineties I was a huge fan of pro wrestling with my siblings and mum. We use to watch the Monday night wars every week and being in Australia neither one (that being WCW and WWE) aired on the same night so we got to watch both. About ten years ago I lost interest in pro wrestling to the point where I had to watch it every week. But I do believe that a lot of my likes and dislikes today was shaped by watching wrestling as a kid and a couple of years ago, 2015 to be exact I got to meet one of my childhood heroes at a convention over here called Supanova!
Yep, that is yours truly Mistress of Yaoi herself with none other than Jake the Snake Roberts! Yes he was before my time of watching the wrestling in the 90’s but he still showed up as a special guest now and again and I always loved it! And below you will see one of my favorite moments from his career. Also, I must warn you, if you don’t like big snakes, you may want to not click on this video on how he cleared the ring during Royal Rumble 21.
Now that I have had my fun I will turn you over to Matt, who I am sure will have another awesome post for you to read in the near future!