One gets the sense that Alex Riley was a bully while growing up. He’s athletic, cocky, and his smile often twists into an arrogant sneer. He used to enter the arena in a letter jacket, like some kind of idealized football quarterback.
Probably a smaller redhead like Heath Slater would have been a frequent target for Alex and his teammates back in high school. Can’t you just see Alex and his buddies (such as the Miz) cornering poor, misfit Heath Slater in the hallway, knocking the books out of his hands, and yanking the waistband of his underwear up to about his ears?
But Alex isn’t the Big Man on Campus any more. He doesn’t even wear his flashy letter jacket these days. Ever since Riley has broken off his relationship with the Miz, he has become everybody’s punching bag. He’s like the star football player who dropped the big pass to lose the game, or was seen dating a fat Freshman, or told the other guys he likes to listen to Opera.
He’s lost his Mojo — he is out of the Club. Now he is being used and abused by all comers, passed from wrestler to wrestler like some kind of two-bit whore. On the 5/17/12 episode of Superstars, we see that poor Riley must even job for the likes of Heath Slater — what would the boys back at the Frat House say about this?? Slater is so… not awesome.
Here is Heath Slater’s chance to settle the score and get some revenge on the bully. Riley is reduced to a whimpering nerd as Slater chokes the bitch out, his metal-studded wristband pressed sadistically into Riley’s throat. “This is for all the times you pulled my hair and called me Ginger, you sunuvabitch!”
Some of the reasons Alex Riley is being punished these days were considered in earlier Blog articles on the “Punishment of Alex Riley” blogs (See Part 1 and Part 2). Alex has broken the Man-Code. He disrupted the sacred Pecking Order and severed his homo-social relationship with the Miz. Also, he is too attractive, and therefore potentially dangerous if he inspires certain feeling and passions that are forbidden in our patriarchal society.
But I believe another reason Alex is punished — and the reason we want to see him punished, is because he seems like a bully. We’ve all been abused, pushed around, or teased by cocky show-offs like Riley. We all feel sorry for regular dudes like Heath Slater. So a part of us sees Riley taking a licking from redhead Heath Slater, and we think: “GOOD! Teach him some respect! His pain and humiliation serves him right for the way guys like him treated me (or still treat me!)” Pro wrestling helps us work through some of our self-esteem issues that resulted from being bullied — by showing the bully how it feels…