Why We’ll Never See the Attitude Era in the WWE Again

I hear a lot of wrestling fans clamoring for the return of the Attitude Era in the WWE, when Stone Cold Steve Austin’s beer-swilling and middle-finger-flashing mayhem reigned supreme, bra-and-panties matches seemed to happen on a titillatingly regular basis, you had porn stars and sex addicts as actual character gimmicks, and not a week would go by without DeGeneration-X finding some douchey new way to shock us.

Middle FIngers

Bring back the Attitude Era, they say. Get rid of today’s PG-approved storylines and content!

I recently came across the actual 2014 investor report for the WWE here. I’m still digesting it, to be honest, but some things just jumped out at me, and made me believe that for everything the WWE is doing right these days in being socially-savvy and attentive to its audience, we will probably never see the Attitude Era again.

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1.
Content will have to be smart, not shocking.

The WWE’s core audience today are the 50+ year-old baby boomers and flower children. They’re the single largest age segment, at almost 4 in 10 viewers. Despite the recent thrust for PG-friendly content, less than 1 in 5 are kids or young teens.

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Surprisingly, almost 40% of viewers are female. So we probably shouldn’t expect too much blood, lewdness, or foul language – yes, it has to be intelligent and mature content, but not shocking and titillating.

Especially since today’s millennial market – despite having lower purchasing power than ever before, at least for the US ones – will be the cornerstone of growth, at just over 1 in 5 viewers. They have a very idealistic, ambitious set of values and world view, and will likely not appreciate content as degrading or as shock-core as before.

Are we going to see the return of crotch chops and Jerry Lawler squealing over jello lingerie matches? Most likely not. Sorry D-X fanboys. The age of puppies ain’t coming back.

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2.
Big growth ambitions means they can’t slice small

They’re calling 2011-2014 as “Investing in the Future” years, investing in content and infrastructure, particularly in their movie-production arm and the WWE Network.

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But they’re being very specific in declaring 2015 onwards as a return to growth levels comparable to the Attitude years.

The WWE is smart; they know that they grew back in the late 90s by stealing the young adult male demographic away through more mature content, storylines, and characters that were a huge departure from the traditionally cartoony pre-Attitude Era WWE, where wrestling plumbers and garbagemen were actually a thing.

Duke

They can’t re-achieve that same ambition in today’s pop culture environment simply by catering to their existing loyal audience to increase their consumption value per capita. I don’t see today’s 50 year old daddy spending on eight more “Viper” t-shirts just because they look cool. The whole TapouT aesthetic just doesn’t work for that segment.

Randy

A growth vision this large can only be fueled by aggressive acquisition of a new mass audience – and that means we probably won’t see too much insider, meta programming epics in the coming year.

WWE doesn’t have the luxury of an HBO or Netflix, who know they’re creating content for mostly well-to-do, well-educated viewers, letting them go as intelligent as they want. So if we’re hoping for complex Sopranos-style storylines, we’re probably not going to get them.

3.
Content will have to carry across cultural barriers

The biggest key to this aggressive growth ambition? WWE Network roll-out to the rest of the world, particularly calling out Malaysia and Thailand in SEA as key growth markets.

It’s absolutely critical, since US TV rights revenues are pretty much a fixed source of revenue. International revenues are now a bigger part of their business than domestic live events.

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Of course there’s a higher operating cost involved to stage these, but given that their critical KPI’s seem to be revenue growth rather than profitability, that shouldn’t be a deterrent.

That means content will have to be meaningful and comprehensible across multiple cultures; the WWE will be making sure that they build storylines and characters around universally-relatable, broadly-relevant themes and tensions. They can’t write for the traditional US audience alone.

This matters especially since social is such a key part of WWE’s forward plan.

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Content has to be shareable, and by default that pretty much means it will have to be relatively safe. You’re not going to get a lot of conversations happening across platforms if its stuff that’s generally best hidden in brown paper bags or behind incognito browser windows.

4.
Casual fans are king; the smark audience won’t matter.

Only about 1 in 10 US fans are hard-core passionate fans – these are probably the smarks like me who surf the dirt sheets and Internet message boards for the latest news and gossip.

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The rest aren’t as involved, and it seems that their strategic value consumers are the casual ones.

Unlike a typical Game of Thrones fan drooling over every detail and nuance in each episode, they may miss episodes here and there, and won’t be as fastidious about catching up with developments on the WWE’s other platforms on what they missed.

Will we see more smarky “breaking the fourth wall” moments like CM Punk’s infamous pipebomb segment, or the 3-year-long chase and reconciliation between “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Elizabeth?

I doubt it.

Content will have to be bite-sized and punchy, more appetite-whetting than deeply-involving. Sadly, it will most likely have to cater to the lowest common denominator; more Friends than Breaking Bad.

Content can’t be TOO clever, since a large bulk of the market aren’t as hard-core invested as the smark crowd, so don’t expect storylines to be too long, complex, or drawn-out. Expect a lot of snappy resolutions and pocket storytelling.

5.
The next big star of the WWE has to be a conventionally-acceptable face – and that’s good for Roman Reigns and Dolph Ziggler.

A common thread among today’s internet wrestling crowd is that John Cena is tired, over-exposed, and stale. Elevate new faces! Down with Cena! Feature our internet darling instead!

But one thing I noticed about the investor report – they use Cena a hell of a lot throughout the deck. You wanna know why? Because’s he’s presentable.

John Cena is damn handsome.

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Seems like if you want to be the face of the WWE across all its forums, you need to look broadly acceptable, relatively clean-cut, and well-put-together by mainstream standards – not too rebellious, not too non-conformist. That didn’t bode well for CM Punk, and probably not for guys like Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, or even internet-darling Daniel Bryan either.

To be honest? They look weird.

I love Daniel Bryan, but he looks like a hippie activist .

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No wonder Roman Reigns has the rocket strapped to his ass. He’s a good face to insert into corporate decks, and is an incredibly presentable face for public relations.

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So you know who stands to benefit the most from this thinking? WWE may be over-pushing the hell out of Roman Reigns to eventually be the face of the company, but they are not going to overlook their greatest existing asset, presentation-wise: The Show-Off, Dolph Ziggler.

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I mean seriously, we all have a little bit of a man-crush on him, right??

More importantly, they’re both good guys. They seem affable, approachable, and benign. They may not necessarily be as complex as Dean Ambrose’s “Lunatic Fringe” persona, or as intriguing as Bray Wyatt’s cult leader “Eater of Worlds” schtick, but that’s a good thing for them.

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So in summary, the big theme for WWE in 2015 will be intelligent content to fuel global growth and get casual fans more invested in the product. That doesn’t sound like Attitude Era programming to me.

1. Content will have to be smart, not shocking.
2. Big growth ambitions mean they can’t slice too small.
3. Content will have to transcend cultural barriers.
4. Casual fans are king; smarks don’t matter.
5. The next big faces will have to be conventional, popularly-conventional faces, and that’s a good thing for good guys like Roman Reigns and Dolph Ziggler.

A majority of viewers are relatively more intelligent and mature, but will have sensitivities towards extreme content, so expect a moderate sophistication of content moving forward. Lapsed fans are one of the greatest opportunities for growth, so expect a healthy mix of throwback/nostalgia-driven content to balance off investments in newer, younger rising stars, the most important of which will be Roman Reigns and Dolph Ziggler.

They will invest in strongly building up the international markets, both through more live events and Network roll-out, Southeast Asia included. So expect content that translates better and less problematically across cultures; edgy and controversial doesn’t seem like it will work.

Sorry, folks. No “Rated R Superstar” live sex celebrations in the offing.

We’re not going to see the Attitude Era again.

And honestly? That’s a good thing.

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MDJ’s Three Weeks As A Pro Wrestler

Could MDJ make it as a PWR wrestler?

He Says, Zee Says

MDJ Says: MDJ has been a wrestling fan all his life, but does that mean he’s got what it takes to actually make it as a professional wrestler? He took a crack at it with the Philippine Wrestling Revolution, and this is how his little adventure went.

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Professional wrestling: A childhood dream

MDJ: I’ve always loved that sweaty, spandex-filled spectacle known as professional wrestling. I wanted badly to be a pro wrestler when I was a kid. I knew it was just a dream though.

Because here’s the thing. I wasn’t a particularly sporty kid. I’ve been fat, pudgy, and uncoordinated for as long as I can remember. I suck at any sport you can think of, especially those that involve one or more of the following:

  • Athletic skill
  • Coordination
  • Reflexes
  • Cardiovascular endurance
  • Talent

It’s funny how I ended up with Zee, who’s got sporty germs sprouting out of every…

View original post 2,509 more words

Some Jokes Just Write Themselves

 

I love GSK.

I grew up on Fluarix, Ambrolex, Panadol, and Virlix.

But some jokes just write themselves.

GSK

 

Two possibilities:

  1. Everything they sell is placebos
  2. They’re giving everything away for free. Libreng gamot, amirite?

This made my day.

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How To Wrestle

It’s no secret that I love wrestling.

I’ve been a wrestling fan for 22 years, and an honorary member of the Baby Oil Boys’ Club since 2010.

I hate it when people dismiss wrestling as being “fake.” You know what’s fake? “Gossip Girl.” Now THAT shit is fake. Go drown in your Haagen Daaz, women. I also hate it when they deride it as a showcase for “sweaty men in spandex rolling around in each other’s arms.”

There’s a technical term for that, you know. It’s called a gogoplata.

Kinky AND sweaty!

Kinky AND sweaty!

Growing up, I wanted to be a wrestler. I dreamt of being the first ever Filipino WWE wrestling champion, the Manila Mauler. So every once in a while, I tune in to this YouTube channel called “How To Wrestle,” and try to pick up tips on how to pull off the fabulous, death-defying stunts I get to see the likes of Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk, and Daniel Bryan do on a weekly basis.

It’s cool stuff, but I really do feel sorry for these guys.

They claim to be professional wrestlers. But how seriously are we supposed to take their lessons, when one dude looks like Seth Rogen’s midget doppelganger…

Seth Rogen

The World’s Least Intimidating Hairy Man

…and the other looks like Daughtry?

The World's Least Intimidating Bald Man

The World’s Least Intimidating Bald Man

I’m happy they’re out there pursuing their dreams in such a public way. More power to you, guys, and may you be fruitful and multiply.

But seriously. If we’re setting the bar this low for professional wrestling trainers, then I might as well be publishing tutorials of my own.

Now where did I put those damn Speedos…

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Mission: Back To Medium

A wall decal at Fitness First, where I work out, says the following:

“Motivation is what gets you started.

Habit is what keeps you going.”

I’m sure a lot of us Big Boys can relate to this.

It’s easy to get all excited about starting a new program at the gym. You buy awesome new sneakers. You organize a new iPod playlist. You check out BodyBuilding.com for the nouveau vogue workout of the month. You meticulously research on low-fat, protein-loaded meals to help build muscle and lose fat. You download MyFitnessPal onto your phone, so you can keep a calorie log of your daily meals.

How-to-count-caloriesMonth 1 goes by. So does the first 10 pounds.

Month 2 hits. You lose another 5 pounds.

And then you hit the wall. Your once-a-week cheats devolve into once-a-day binges. You start to forget the excitement and motivation that got you started, and reason to yourself, “Hey, I’ve been a good boy… I deserve this.”

That’s called “backsliding.”

That’s where I am right now. Still loving going to the gym, but losing the first burn of excitement that hit me when I signed up. A workout that used to take me a 45 minutes now drags out to an hour and half, mainly because I stall in between sets, or drag my feet around looking for an empty Internet station or an unoccupied easy chair to read a newspaper in.

Times like this, when the passionate first spark starts to fade, there’s just one thing that can keep you going.

Willpower.

It’s time to order myself, “I will do this. I will make a better me. I will no longer be an XL, but a gosh darned MEDIUM.”

Willpower.

As the classic poem “Invictus” goes, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”

I will do this.

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MDJ vs. The Man-Boobs

Those would look awful even on a chick.

Even worse than love handles, the most painful part of being an XL Dude like me are the man-boobs.

Man-boobs, or “moobs,” as they’re popularly (or unpopularly) called, are the unfortunate fat deposits that form over your pectoral muscles and inevitably lose the battle with gravity, causing a dude to look like a Baywatch star, and I’m not talking David Hasselhoff.

Sir Isaac Newton – 1, XL Dudes – 0.

Obviously, the best way to lose fat is to burn it, so part 1 of winning the Manboob Battle is to have a light salad once in a while, and do 25-40 minutes of good cardio 3-4 times a week.

But have you ever seen how a balloon looks when you let all the air out of it? It’s saggy, droopy, and all stretched out. That’s exactly what happens when you lose your pectoral fat, but don’t invest a bit of effort into shaping the underlying muscle.

That’s where lifting weights can help.

This is the chest workout I’m using to burn off my giant, gelatinous manboobs.

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1. Incline Bench Press

This exercise targets the upper pectoral muscles – roughly the area between your collarbone, and halfway down to your nipple. Building this area allows you to “cheat” having a great chest, especially when you’re in a t-shirt – it creates a “cliff” for the fabric to hang off of, giving the impression of mass and shape.

Normally, people like doing these towards the middle part of the workout, but given my terrible manboob affliction, I’ve decided to put it up front, so I can work my upper pecs hard and heavy, while I’m still fresh.

I normally do a quick warm-up set of 18-25 reps with a very light weight, then do three sets of 12-10-8 reps, adding additional weight each set (or, as Joe Weider calls it, “pyramiding”), working to fatigue each time. On my last set, as my upper pecs fatigue, I quickly drop off 5-kilograms on each side to be able to pump out more reps, then keep on progressively dropping more plates as fatigue hits, until I’m sweating and grunting for my 25th repetition with a naked bar.

It gives a fabulous burn, and makes you feel like a Greek god when you pull on your Spider-Man t-shirt afterwards.

You can do this with dumbbells too – it’s a bit trickier because you have to balance both sides individually, but gives a great stretch.

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2. Flat Bench Press

This is the bread and butter of any half-decent bodybuilder, and helps give overall fullness and mass to the total chest area, with a bit of impact on your front deltoids and triceps.

There really isn’t much to this exercise other than to just go for it.

I’ve seen a lot of dudes cheat on this exercise, not even letting the barbell all the way down for the sake of looking like they have a big bench. Don’t fall for that macho alpha male poser fluff – if it isn’t a weight you can’t comfortably allow to descend all the way to a finger’s width of your sternum, it’s too heavy.

One tip that helps me get through my final reps on each set, as I feel my pecs faltering is to squeeze the bar as hard I can. I read somewhere this recruits more muscles to help you keep pumping out the last few reps, and I’ve found it to be extremely effective.

I don’t do a warm-up set for this anymore, since I’m still pumped from the incline bench press, but still stick to the 12-10-8 pyramid sets.

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3. Decline Machine Press

It’s hard to find a gym that has a decline bench, so I’m stuck doing machine presses by default. But I think that works better for me, since I’ve always felt a bit awkward and wobbly doing barbell presses on a decline bench.

This is a really delicious exercise to be doing, since the machine guides the motion, so you can really just savor the push of each rep, and getting a really amazing squeeze at the peak of your press.

I like to go really, really slow on the decline machine press – each push lasts about 2 seconds, the squeeze on top lasts about a second, and I really slow down the descent to 3 seconds, just feeling the resistance pushing against my muscles.

Most dudes ignore any movements that target the lower chest, but I strongly advise against that. A well-developed lower chest is what gives separation and fullness from your ribcage, just like a WWE wrestler.

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4. Incline Chest Fly’s

This is the only sculpting exercise I do on my chest, since I feel that detailing moves like cable fly’s won’t do me much good until I’ve lost a significant enough amount of fat for the striations and veins to pop out form my chest. This particular motion gives an extra pump to the part of your chest connecting to your shoulders and armpit, and is probably my all-time favorite chest exercise.

I tend to go light with this exercise, partly because my chest is just on fire by this point, and partly because I like to get a really good spread at the bottom. I want to be able to control the weight all throughout, so I don’t tear up my rotator cuffs or anything.

I’ve seen guys struggle with this exercise, doing it completely wrong – they turn it into a press (pushing upwards motion), instead of a fly (sweeping squeezing motion). The best tip I read says that to perform this exercise properly is to imagine yourself hugging a giant tree.

I make sure not to clang the dumbbells at the top, too – that relieves your muscles of tension (which is not the point of working out!), and the momentum might cause you to go too fast on your downward motion and rip your arm off. Instead, I bring them within a millimeter of each other, and give one good squeeze before the descent.

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I hope to have some decent pictures of my chest to post in a couple of months. My manboobs aren’t exactly fit for public consumption just yet.

“M” is for “Manboobs,” apparently.

Got any other anti-manboob exercises you’d like to share?

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Willpower & Weight Loss

We all know that feeling – telling yourself, by gum, I’m on a diet, I’m suffering a great amount of emotional distress, but I’m sticking to it!

Sometimes, you have to be your own watchdog.

Five minutes later, someone peeks in through the door. “Hey guys! Free pizza!”

Away goes all the discipline, and you end  up wolfing down five slices of pizza in a span of fifteen minutes.

(This is a true story, by the way, and I’m not naming names, but if anyone asks if this is an autobiographical experience from four days ago, my only answer would be a very subdued “No comment.”)

And then you spend the rest of the day wallowing in anger and remorse, chastising yourself for that one moment of weakness that completely offset the muesli you had for breakfast and the 2-hour gym session from the night before.

This is the kind of moment where I need to remind myself of the one amazing piece of advice a friend gave me when it comes to dieting:

“The only thing worse than suffering… is regret.”

Remember: “XL” is the default when you’re weak and impulsive. “Medium” only comes with discipline and self-control.

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One Pound of Fat

I admit, I get depressed when I hop onto my deluxe Conair digital weighing scale (I know, I’m overcompensating, but please cut me some slack – fat boy on a mission here!), and see that I’ve only lost one pound.

I see that a lot on Twitter or Facebook too – friends who’ve invested two months of their lives into some fancy-pants fitness routine like CrossfitPlana FORMA, or TRX, and only lost one pound.

But I saw something today that made me realize that there is nothing “only” about losing one pound of fat. Behold:

Isn’t that nasty?

Just think of that next time you’re whining about how lame it is to be losing “just” one pound at a time. It isn’t as insignificant as it seems.

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I happen to be an expert on fat.

Some interesting facts on fat:

  • 1 pound of fat gained is roughly equivalent to 3,500 excess calories. A grande-sized Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino with whipped cream contains 400 calories. So if you have one thrice a week (and I have friends who do this), that’s over 16 pounds gained in a year! On the other hand, dropping your daily can of Coke (which is about 140 calories) means you lose over a pound a month! It’s really the small things that make a difference, so don’t get discouraged for one-time cheats on your diet!
  • 1 pound of muscle is much smaller than 1 pound of fat. Don’t believe me? Drop by the butcher’s section at your favorite supermarket, and ask them to slice you a pound’s worth of lean meat, and compare it to a pound’s worth of fat. A pound of fat is approximately the size of half a loaf of bread, while a pound of lean meat is about the size of a hamburger bun.Your scale may not be reflecting that great a drop in weight because you’re losing fat, while also gaining muscle – but visually, you’d appear to be leaner and trimmer. So don’t let the weighing scale be your guide – base your progress on how you fit into your clothes!
  • You can’t target a specific area of your body from which to reduce fat. So don’t believe that just doing endless crunches is going to give you abs, while ignoring the rest of your body covered in blubber and lard. You’ll be toning your abdominal muscles and making them pull tighter into your body, but if they’re still covered with fat, they won’t be visible. Losing fat is a full-body proposition, so don’t fall into the trap of focusing on just one area. You’re just fooling yourself with an optical illusion.

And that’s all I have to say about fat. I should know. I’m an expert, based on my years of extensive, intimate, personal (and occasionally tragic) experience with it.

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KFC’s Double Down Returns

Men are all about protein.

And bacon.

And cheese.

Carbs are for sissies.

And we do love our fried chicken.

You don’t know how happy I am that KFC brought back its legendary Double Down, a majestic, man-sized creation of chickeny goodness KFC Philippines describes on its website as “an all-meat sandwich with two Original Recipe Chicken fillet, two pieces of bacon, cheese and mayo.”

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I repeat: An all-meat sandwich. With two chicken fillets. And bacon. And cheese. And mayo.

I guess that makes it paleo-approved?

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It’s all good for just P120 a pop, a la carte, or P160 with fries and a soda.

For less manly men with lesser appetites, they also have the Junior Double Down, which is much smaller, and is the fried chicken equivalent of saying you have a small penis.

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I wouldn’t get one, even at just P80 a la carte. I’d just go for the man-sized bigger version. It’s symbolic – everybody knows, after all, that the size of a man’s penis directly relates to the size of his fried chicken.

I love the Double Down. It’s a man-sized burger for a man-sized appetite.

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And believe me, it’s taking all my willpower not to pick up my phone and get about 14 of these bad boys delivered…

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Disney Prince Throwdown: Prince Eric vs. General Shang

The never-ending debate: Who is the hottest Disney Prince ever, Prince Eric or General Shang?

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Prince Eric

On the one hand, you have The Little Mermaid’s Prince Eric, a rugged outdoors-y Richard Gomez lookalike who rocks a deeper v-neck than a 15-year-old hipster.

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The good points:

  1. Full-blooded royalty yet very close to his unwashed masses.
  2. Loves dogs
  3. Swims well
  4. Romantic first date
  5. Obviously very brave (face it, Ursula is one scary sea-bitch to go up against)
  6. Glorious sun-kissed complexion
  7. Great kisser (He breaks magic undersea spells with his kisses! What a dude!)

On the downside, he does have his sordid past as a male go-go dancer to live with.

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General Shang

On the other hand, you have Mulan’s exotic Asian hunk, General Shang, leader of men, bad-ass drill sergeant, and owner of the broadest pair of shoulders among all of Disney’s leading men.

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His good points:

  1. Mega-buff
  2. Elite horseback-riding ability, especially when armed
  3. Commands the loyalty of his men
  4. Respectful of the elderly
  5. Great fighting skills
  6. Magnificent singing voice
  7. Bad boy asshole appeal

He did however spend half the movie in awkward homosexual tension with the dude he thought Mulan was, which probably costs him about -12498 dude points (DP).

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He also has the unfortunate misfortune of having Donny Osmond cast as his singing voice, a man Weird Al Yankovic once described as “the whitest nerd I know.”

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So girls, speak up: #TeamEric or #TeamShang?

 

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