In the world of professional wrestling, you don’t get much better than AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. In the past, these two legendary performers worked together in Japan and put on epic matches that garnered accolades from fans and critics alike. So, when the two were both signed by the WWE, fans were excited about the prospect of pairing these two pros against one another again.
And after months of building up a storyline to have these two rivals compete against each other under the prestigious WWE banner, fans were treated to… well… this.
That’s right. Two of the all-time greats were reduced to the long-lost act of man gets hit in the groin with a low blow.
Now, mind you, they didn’t just do this once or twice. Match producers decided to use a low blow, no less than five times in the ring. And in a form of sports entertainment where the outcomes are predetermined, fans started to get a little testy about it. It got to the point where even the icon himself, Stone Cold Steve Austin, had to voice his opinions on the matter.
“Why couldn’t they come up with literally any other outcome?” fans started to complain. After all, these are two of the most gifted athletes and personalities to enter the squared circle. Surely, they had a million more tricks up their sleeve to entertain the masses.
And yet, the WWE seemed relatively unphased by the feedback.
The company went full steam ahead in their efforts to turn Nakamura “heel” by continuing to have him hit Styles with a cartoon-esque number of low blows. And for the better part of two months, WWE audiences -- individuals who are no stranger to using an active imagination -- took to the comment sections to voice their displeasure of something they considered “lazy booking.”
But this sort of ridiculous nature has us asking a very obvious question: Why the hell would the WWE even go this route?
The answer is pretty simple: While people prefer their low blows to be accidental for comedy, an excessive use of groin attacks require a journey to justify the hero’s use of them (even when used for self-defense).
For example, years ago, The Simpsons pretty much summarized our inability to laugh at accidental pain when they certified “Man Getting Hit By Football” as a surefire hit.
The movie, Jackass, numerous comedy films, and the occasional viral video of both idiots and helpless dads getting hit remind us there is a certain amount of controlled stupidity that we’ll allow.
However, when it comes to combat in entertainment, it seems that you really have to earn your groin shot.
Jean Claude Van Damme had to put in hours of training, the possibility of losing to a man who is willing to kill others in a Kumite, and the loss of his vision to truly earn the need to resort to the use of a low blow in the movie, Bloodsport.
James Bond gets tortured by a bond villain that essentially gives the order to his henchmen to use a series of low blows in Casino Royale — a scene that momentarily tries to play with Bond using a clever quip to try and hide the pain but becomes less and less funny and downright weird as the scene plays out.
Hell, even a cyborg cop showed they could be pushed to the brink of insanity.
Of course, these striking examples of the hero's journey remind us that in order to have a true payoff, there has to be a build and extreme circumstance. Which is why it was no surprise that finally, after three months of being victimized by Nakamura, Styles was finally allowed to get back at his nemesis at the WWE’s Money in the Bank.
How the WWE will continue to play out this storyline is anyone’s guess (as it seems they’ll likely continue with the low blow being one of Nakamura’s trademark finishing maneuvers). But of course, that air of unpredictability is probably why they’ll continue playing that angle up for the immediate future.
At the very least, if you’re going up against Nakamura, we’d at least suggest some strong protective gear.
- Tags: aj styles, history, Low Blow, low blows, professional wrestling, shinsuke nakamura, stone cold steve austin, wrestling, wwe