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The Tampon Spot

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On the "evolution of wrestling" front, I'd point to HUSTLE as maybe my favourite example of this.

HUSTLE was as absurd and cartoonish as any wrestling promotion has ever been, yet was booked by people with legitimate MMA backgrounds, who had worked for "shoot style" promotions, and they had a working relationship with PRIDE FC. 

I would say that HUSTLE formed directly as a response to the same evolution within wrestling that led to the formation of PRIDE. As the big shoot style promotions died out or evolved into legitimate (or pseudo-legitimate) MMA companies, and MMA itself grew in popularity, promotions that presented wrestling as shoot fighting declined in popularity, because MMA had supplanted it.

So while PRIDE took the sense that people want to see wrestlers in legitimate fighting contests to its natural conclusion, HUSTLE was the obvious, and I would argue inevitable, counterpoint to that - if wrestling can't compete with MMA in terms of presenting legitimate combat sports, then go in the complete other direction and present wrestling as an absurdist, character-driven performance.

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I'm reminded of that promotion that had the Great Muta blasting poison mist up Yinling's foof, leading to her giving birth to Akebono in a nappy for the next show. If that isn't considered legit, I don't know what is.

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