Greetings Maintainers! It’s my favourite time of year again. The grandaddy of them all. The showcase of the immortals. The Eurovision Song Contest is this Saturday! For those unaware, the Eurovision Song Contest is a continent-wide competiton organised by the European Broadcasting Union where member broadcasters submit singing acts with the entire continent voting on their favourite acts. It is absolutely no secret to anyone who knows me personally that I am a stupendously huge fan of the Eurovision Song Contest, have been watching it for over twenty years, and even attended it live last year in Stockholm. Hell, I even reviewed the British qualifers for this year’s contest on this very site earlier in the year! “But, David. what does any of this have to do with wrestling? The Eurovision Song Contest is not wrestling.” Aha! Well, that’s where you are wrong, The Eurovision Song Contest totally IS wrestling, and here’s ten reasons why…
1. It’s worked.
Well, not anymore, but in 1968 it was. Cliff Richard looked a surefire winner, representing the UK with the song “Congratualations!”. Forty years later, a documentary on the Spanish dictator General Franco revealed that Franco believed that Spain winning the contest would improve the public image of the regime and boost Spanish tourism. Cue the Spanish state-run channel RTE courting other Eurovision member states with promises to buy TV series and contract unknown artists from other Eurovision member states to ensure the judges voted for Spain. In the end, Franco would get his wish as Cliff would lose by one solitary point to Spain’s entry “La La La” by Massiel.
2. It’s got faces, heels and shades of grey.
Last year’s winner “1944” by Jamela was a perfect example of shades of grey booking. Ukraine’s entry very divisive song, many derided it as not fitting the Eurovision mould, while others praise for that exact reason. In addition, it was criticised for having a political agenda (strictly against the ethos of Eurovision, even if Russia have since been banned this year for political reasons, but let’s gloss over that) with Eurovision fans putting all those Indian Roman Reigns fans on WWE Social Media to shame with their vociferous chatter. Russia is always seen as a heel country due to the contest’s big following in the LGBT community and their tendency in the past to rank very highly due to block voting from their former Soviet comrades. Similarly, the U.K. tend to be seen as heels due to not taking the contest seriously, entering countless shit acts and now voting to leave the European Union (Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.) Every year, viewers will choose their favourite country and become emotionally invested in their plight.
3. It’s got pyro and ballyhoo.
And how. A metric shitton of pyrotechnics goes into the performances with fireworks, smoke and strobe lighting effects out the wazoo. Look at this performance from last year’s entry by Azerbaijan, with it’s incredible Goldberg-esque shower of sparks or Sergey Lazarev’s incredible levitation act for Russia, also in 2016. Eurovision are the masters of mental stage production and bombastic performances.
4. It’s got nonsensical booking.
But David, I don’t actually like proper wrestling. I loved wrestling when Vince Russo booked it into the ground with mental, nonsensical angles and Mike Tenay asked in a really loud voice what this ex-WWE star is doing showing up in the Impact Zone.. Ah, well, I have you covered there too. Look at last year’s final where that great European superpower AUSTRALIA (yes, the one with the Kangaroos and Neighbours) looked to be absolute deadset locks to win the competition midway through, only for the new voting system to deem Ukraine the winner and save me from having a mental breakdown at the idea of having to explain why they were in the contest in the first place to casuals, never won the damn thing despite being thousands of miles away from Europe. I mean, it was a cracking song, just a shame that it totally ripped up the atlas and defied all geographical perceptions.
5. It’s got people representing their country.
Remember Rusev’s original US title run? Remember Mark Henry crying at the national anthem, wanting to make his country proud? Imagine that, but with 42 sobbing Mark Henrys. That’s Eurovision. Each entrant receives overwhelming support from their home country, hopeful of bringing the trophy back home with them, using their songs to inject a bit of native culture including indigenous instruments, costumes and dance (sometimes). .
6. It’s got underdog stories.
Whether it’s Dana International defying conservative voices in her home country who deemed it unfit that a transsexual should represent Israel going on to win the whole thing in 1998 or Secret Garden ending a run of “nul points” finishes for Norway and breaking Ireland’s streak consecutive victories on the spin to take the crown in 1995 (simultaneously robbing the immortal Gina G of the crown that was so rightfully hers in the process), Eurovision is littered with underdogs fighting against the odds to win it all.
7. It’s exactly like Wrestlemania weekend.
Like Wrestlemania, Eurovision changes venue every year (with the previous winner hosting the next one) and turns whichever city it lands in into a week long festival of parties with semi finals, dress rehearsals and the grand final over the course of five/six days. Fans flock from around the world and from every participating country to cheer their favourites onto victory.
8. Ryback won it once.
Yes, before he was “The Big Guy”, Alexander Rybak took Eurovision by storm in 2009, winning the contest. Representing Norway with his song “Fairytale”, Alexander would tell the continent “FEED ME MORE” as he amassed a record breaking (until last year’s revised format resulted in the doubling of points available) points total of 387 out of a possible 492. Since then, Rybak has continued to fiddle away in between aborted pushes in WWE and releasing a series of nutritional supplements and crap self-help books.
9. It’s got swerves.
The semi-finals are a gold mine for illogical swerves that make zero sense. Every year, social media will be set alight with the fire of a thousand suns by incensed Eurovision fans as a potential winner is knocked out in favour of some shitarse Soviet country. This year, it was Switzerland’s poignant tribute to Robot Wars Series 8 champion Apollo. Last year, Norway and Iceland got the chop in favour of Georgia, a wretched epilepsy-inducing pound shop Kasabian strobefest and one of the worst songs ever to grace Eurovision. During the final, a high ranking Eurovision executive cut a shoot promo on Georgia saying that “if you hate Eurovision and everything it stands for, vote for Georgia.” The United Kingdom then proceeded to give Georgia the full twelve points. No wonder you guys fucking despise us.
10. It’s got ludicrous gimmicks.
You name it. It has everything. You want an Irish turkey screaming about Eastern European bloc voting to deafening boos? It’s here. You want some Polish handmaidens clearly dressed up to grab votes from the severely underrepresented-before-9PM Babestation demographic by wanking milk churners? Done. You want to see Ukraine cosplaying the Space Jews from that mental Ryuma Go match we all love? Your wish is my command.
So, readers, now you know. The Eurovision Song Contest is absolutely 100% pro wrestling and a must-watch every year. So before the big event this Saturday, stock up on Latvian rye bread and weird 90% Polish vodka, grab all your friends, wave your flags and stick on this playlist to get you in the mood for the greatest event in Sports Entertainment.