3.1. The Smarten Up Super Show

3.1. The Smarten Up Super Show

As we kick off our third season, we are going to dive deeper into specific topics that affect the wrestling world at a more structural level. In this episode, we discuss the decline of the house show and the corresponding rise of the super show, the affect of that shift on both the wrestling product and business, and how we see that trend evolving going forward.

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2.12. The Contrarian Reaction

2.12. The Contrarian Reaction

In this episode: at least Stefan and Drew get a reaction.

Wrestling is unique as a medium in that the reaction of the live audience can dramatically impact not just the performers involved but the trajectory of the story being told. Matches are booked and narratives written with a desired reaction in mind, but if the live crowd doesn't feel like going along with the script, the consequences can be unpredictable and occasionally disastrous. But why do some crowds boo the babyface and cheer the heels? Why are matches between talented wrestlers sometimes rejected altogether? And how does the wrestling promotion adapt its product to reflect or control the reaction of its loudest fans? In this episode, we dive deep into the contrarian aspect of the wrestling audience and its effect on the product itself.

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2.11. The Meaning of Independence

2.11. The Meaning of Independence

In this episode: Stefan and Drew take their destiny into their own hands.

WWE is the biggest American wrestling promotion, but it isn't the only one. In a post-WCW world, the independent wrestling scene has flourished, reaching audiences via digital distribution and differentiating themselves from the big dog. But what does it mean to be an independent promotion - or wrestler - in 2018, and is the industry's history of consolidation doomed to repeat itself?

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2.10. Promo Day

2.10. Promo Day

In this episode: Stefan and Drew talk.

There comes a moment in any wrestling story where the performers will take the time to stop and speak directly to the audience. This fourth-wall breaking tradition has its roots in traditional sports interviews, but over the last half century has evolved into a staple of the medium. In this episode, we explore the past, present, and future of the promo, analyze what separates a good talker from a bad talker, and discuss some of our personal favorites on the mic.

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2.9. Smarten Up At The Movies: "The Wrestler" (2008) with Special Guest Dr. Derek Long

2.9. Smarten Up At The Movies: "The Wrestler" (2008) with Special Guest Dr. Derek Long

In this episode: RAM JAM! RAM JAM! RAM JAM!

It's one of the most important representations of wrestling in mainstream culture of the last twenty years, but is 2008's Darren Aranofsky film The Wrestler really a "wrestling picture"? It's a question too big for Stefan and Drew to answer even in our tag-team configuration, so in this special Trios Edition podcast, we invite Dr. Derek Long, Assistant Professor of Media and Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and secret uncredited creator of Smarten Up, to join us in breaking down Mickey Rourke's big comeback.

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