Serious Eats: Drinks
Let's Get Drunk Watching: WWE Monday Night RAW
Someone once said that there are only two American art forms: jazz and professional wrestling. That someone was probably Vince McMahon, in an uncharacteristic act of shameless self-promotion. When Vince isn't bank-rolling failed senatorial campaigns or creating fake football leagues, he's mega-strutting on the most successful wrestling show on TV: WWE Monday Night RAW.
The Necessary Details
Some years back, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) changed their name to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) either to avoid all the pesky legalities of pretending to be a "sport," or to avoid the pesky legalities of getting sued by the World Wildlife Fund (the other WWF). In that time, WWE also purchased its two primary competitors, Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling and ultra-violent upstart, Extreme Championship Wrestling, leaving WWE the only remaining option for wrestling fans.
Since then Monday Night RAW has become the longest-running weekly episodic TV show; which is a lot like saying that 30 Rock is the best show on TV whose name includes a number and a Rock/Paper/Scissors option. WWE has more championship title belts than Jay-Z has problems so it would be pointless to run through all of them, as they largely don't matter. It is equally unnecessary to run through the names of the 75+ wrestlers, because 1. you and I don't have that kind of time and 2. you'll figure it out easily enough since most of the dialog goes like this:
CM Punk: I, CM Punk, am the best wrestler in the world.
Paul Heyman: I, Paul Heyman, as manager of CM Punk, agree that he is the best wrestler in the world.
*Music plays. Crowd cheers. The aforementioned either look/attempt to act befuddled, annoyed, or terrified.*
John Cena: I, John Cena, current rival to you, CM Punk, disagree with that sentiment. And to prove it, here are a few jokes about poop.
Basically, wrestling dialog has all the subtly of a steel chair to the face. If you feel lost, don't worry. Someone will explain to you who they are and why they're there inside of 30 seconds of appearing.
So what does one drink while watching this theater of the bizarre, absurd, and genetically modified? My suggestion is something light and most assuredly American. Any of the (not-so) great American beers will do, or Bottom Shelfer Will Gordon has some other suggestions. You can also opt for an Alabama Slammer, as it sounds close enough to a wrestling move and tastes close enough to drinkable to get you through all 2 hours (or 3 hours if its one of their monthly anniversary shows).
For sustenance, fried chicken sammiches are the way I'd go for proper cultural ambiance. I recommend Kenji's Chick-fil-A clone.
And what about our vegetarian/vegan friends? Well, my vote is to double up on the alcohol. If you're looking for something more "solid" and "not alcohol," I'm probably not the best guy to ask. However, I can (sort of) read and have no problem making unqualified recommendations: chili, vegan Frito pie, or deep-fried jalapeno poppers.
The WWE Drinking Game
For simplicity, I'm going to use simple drinking game tasks alongside Vinny's (patent pending) 3 Drinking Game Measurements: Sip, Swig, and Slam (finish your beer/take a shot). Also in the interest of avoiding a lawsuit, this game is tailored toward NOT killing you.* If you're looking to re-enact Leaving Las Vegas, adjust accordingly.
Take a Sip
1 Sip: Take one sip very time someone refers to themselves in the third person. Divide by 3 if that person is The Rock, because the Rock talks about the Rock in the third person a lot. The Rock.
1 Sip: Every pinfall attempt that ends at 2.
2 Sips: Every time a wrestler utters their catchphrase. Don't know all the catchphrases? Like I said before, they'll make themselves known. A caveat to this rule: while Daniel Bryan—he of gnarly beard and giant monster sidekick—starts chanting "No!" or "Yes!", drink continuously until he stops.
2 Sips: Every time announcer Michael Cole screams the same word or phrase more than once. Add an additional sip for every repetition after two, and add another if it is a person's name. For example, "It's Ryback! It's Ryback! IT'S RYBACK!" will earn you 4 sips. Drink up.
3 Sips: Any time someone's name, job title, or championship status is mentioned excessively (use your judgement or "more than once").
Take a Swig
1 Swig: Take one swig every time someone makes an obvious joke, and... *crickets*
1 Swig: For every appearance of an abnormally large or abnormally small person. This is by wrestling standards, not actual human standards.
1 Swig: For any interruption of a monologue or diatribe.
2 Swigs: Every time a wrestler screws up ("botches") a move. Reduce this to 2 Sips for any match involving female wrestlers.
2 Swigs: Every time the announcers or graphics brag about some meaningless fact or statistic. For example, "RAW is the number one rated weekly, episodic, TV show among 5-8 year olds that don't like pasta salad!"
3 Swigs: Every appearance of Vicki Guerrero. It won't make her tolerable, but it might help you cope.
3 Swigs: For anything (non-Vicki Guerrero-related) that makes you physically uncomfortable. E.G. A slam through a table, a fall off a ladder, or a 7-foot tall Indian man with a leprechaun best friend.
4 Swigs: If the announcers start using their serious voice and/or start talking like Geraldo Rivera: "Folks, an incident occurred earlier this evening..."
Slam Your Drink: If a wrestler talks for more than 5 minutes without getting interrupted.
Slam Your Drink: At any sighting of a man-thong. And don't stop until the memory has been purged.
Slam Your Drink: Immediately if anyone starts singing.
Drink for the Duration of:
Any make-out session and or dance sequence.
Stop Drinking If:
Any of the story/plot lines start making sense to you.
Have any suggestions for other WWE-watching Drinking Game rules? Any ideas for other shows to get drunk watching or other food and drink options? Feel free to join the no-holds barred Royal Rumble in the comments section.
*Drinking games presented for entertainment purposes only. Be safe out there, folks.
About the Author: Vinny Mannering is a red-bearded raconteur with a penchant for sarcasm, ice hockey and good beer. You can listen to him praise beer and loathe society on Twitter.