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Archive for June, 2012

Celebrating 10 Years of Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect

The year was 2005 and I was in my second semester at San Diego State Univeristy.  I was living in a house with my two childhood best friends, working full time at an elementary school, and part time at Target. 

I had just broken up with my boyfriend, a wrestling fan, and I was mad at the world.  I guess you could say wrestling and I broke up as well. 

While working at the school, I did 6-6 care, reading groups, and lunch duty.  A young man, Alfred, started in our after school program, his family had just relocated here from Sudan.  He did not speak English and really did not speak at all. 

He had a rough adjustment period and my heart went out to him.  He was in a strange place, didn’t know how to communicate with anyone, and had a hard time making friends. 

One day, during homework hour, a scuffle broke out between him and another student.  He gets ups, waves his hand in front of his face, and flops down on top of the kid.  We break up the fight and my brain, thinks it has seen that somewhere before but I shake it off and we move on.

A week or so later, he pops up in front of me while I was doing paperwork, and waves his hand in front of his face and says “you can’t see me.”

Again, I dismiss it and move on.  A few days later, while working with him on his letters and numbers, etc.  He waves his hand in front of his face and says “John Cena.”

Finally, my brain puts it all together.  He is mimmicking John Cena. Duh.

I immediately dove back into wrestling.  Not just because I used to love it but because it gave Alfred and I some common ground.  We started working more on letters, specifically ones that spelled out wrestlers names and I found that he knew more than he let on.  We were instant pals.

Today John Cena is celebrating 10 years with the WWE.  Love him or hate him, the man has been on top for the majority of his career and that, to me, is impressive. 

His career has had highs and lows.  Sometimes you could barely hear “let’s go Cena” amidst the “Cena sucks” chants.  However, I liked the guy from day one and I have continued to be a Cena supporter.

I am not going to give a history lesson of his career or list his accolades, we all have access to Wikipedia, right?

Instead, I want to thank him for getting me excited about wrestling again. 

In 2008, my boyfriend took me to see the Extreme Rules PPV.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  I was on my feet pretty much the whole time.  We had really good seats.  There was just this excitement in the air.  I saw some many superstars that night.  It was the first time I had ever seen the Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Edge, etc up close. 

When John Cena came out, I may have gotten a tad excited, and my boyfriend said the look on my face was priceless.  Gone were the complaints about wrestling, how much the tickets cost, etc.  He said it was all worth it to see me light up. 

I want to thank John Cena for the last 10 years he has given us fans and non-fans, his dedication, and lastly, the common ground he provided for Alfred and I.


Lucid or Lunatic: Former Spirit Squad Member Speaks Out Against Cena

 

Normally, I would start of this post with a story, fable, lesson learned, funny tale of a young Ashley, etc. but seeing how I was freshly 21, living it up and on my own with the Spirit Squad debuted, I doubt any of the life lessons, stories from that era would be PG enough for our site :)

I was sitting at my desk, working and browsing the internet in search of entertainment, when I came across an interview with SEScoops.com (click the link to read the interview) did with former Spirit Squad member and WWE wrestler, Kenn Doane AKA Kenny Dykstra.

In the interview, Doane blasts Cena, claiming he broke up his engagement to former WWE Diva Mickie James by sleeping with her.  Not only does Doane claim Cena was sleeping with James, but another married Diva, groupies and fans he called “Cena rats.”

He also goes on to claim Cena wanted Orton fired in 2006 and in light of Orton’s recent suspension, probably wants him fired now too.

The mudslinging doesn’t stop at the interview, on twitter, @KennDoane, was eluding to his “pipebomb” of an interview and the allegations. 

He claims to have lost his job, relationship, and life due to Cena and backstage politics, citing the Matt Hardy, Lita and Edge love triangle that initially landed Hardy fired.

This is not the first time we have seen an outlandish interview/tweet storm from a former WWE employee and probably won’t be the last.  I always wonder when reading these rants, how credible are these claims? Is this truly a wronged ex-employee trying to set the record straight or is it a last ditch effort at a career boost?

If Doane hadn’t been tweeting up a storm of controversy about his former relationship with Mickie James, would anyone have even wanted an interview, let alone read this one?

Feel free to weigh in, I am still scratching my head.


Ramblings of a Wrestling Fan – TNA Is Better Than WWE

Hello, hello. Greetings fellow wrestling lovers. It’s been a while since my last post, but that’s mainly because I grew tired of complaining about things that will never change and decided to have a more open mind about the state of Sport’s Entertainment today. I mean, come on. Does Vincent Kennedy McMahon really give a damn what we think? He’s probably sleeping on a bed made out of all the money he makes each day which is, in all likelihood, more than any of us will ever make in this lifetime. So why should he care what we think? However, that does not mean I can’t resort to my trusty laptop and my fellow L.E.W.D chaps when I feel like whining about something or another.

I don’t know if any of you noticed it lately, but there seems to have been some dramatic shift in wrestling within the big two. I don’t mean some mass exchange of talent either. I’m talking about the quality of their programming. I never thought I’d say this, but I cannot stress enough how much better TNA Impact Wrestling programming is over WWE’s current programming of Raw and Smackdown. I cannot speak for Smackdown much because I rarely watch it. I might catch it once a month if that because I have a small life outside of wrestling. Either way, TNA “seems” to be on the right track in its own weird way while WWE is making me feel like I’m wasting hours of my life each week.

I’ll start with Monday Night Raw, the flagship of WWE programming. Honestly, who actually–as of right now–think three hours of Raw is a very good idea? If you’re looking forward to three hours of a snoozefest then either you’re being completely optimistic or you’re insane. Most L.E.W.D readers, with the exception of the few TNApologists we get, are often optimistic so we’ll go with that. And I hear your optimism. I have heard many arguments as to why three hours of Raw is a good idea.

For instance, some people are hoping the first hour of Raw is dedicated to FCW/NXT hopefuls that want to main event someday. That’s actually a good idea, but I don’t exactly see that happening. I feel like it will be the same “business as usual” attitude with Cena closing the show each week. No Way Out gave us jumbled up tag team match and the end result was a future title match featuring Young and O’Neil versus Kingston and Truth. I guess I could get behind the idea of this fresh new tag team, but WWE’s track record with tag teams as of late hasn’t led me to believe they are ready to get behind the tag team division full force. If that were the case, the Hart Dynasty would have never been “screwed”, The Usos may have had a strong push for the belts and Epico and Primo never would have lost the belts to begin with to two main event level superstars who were thrown together as a tag team. Why not use the tag teams you already have and let main event stars main event?

In the case of Jerishow, they had a purpose which was, and I am assuming here, to revamp the tag team division and it worked for a while, but like most everything in WWE these days, it fizzled out somewhere down the line. I will say though, that the hope–possibly false, but hope nontheless–lies in the fact that WWE currently has more tag teams these days. At No Way Out we saw the Usos, Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd, Epico/Primo and Young, O’Neil. There’s also Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks which I think they don’t often get the credit they deserve, but as you can see, there’s clearly some kind of tag team division forming. Does this mean we’ll get to see the tag titles defended on a regular basis rather than just as a random filler for pay per views? Well, during three hours of Raw there’s certainly plenty of time for decent tag team action.

Image

Cyndi: Better smile kiddo. By 2012, all of your accomplishments will be buried by no talent eye candy they call Divas. Just enjoy the moment…

From tag team action, we move right along to women’s wrestling which is actually what finally pushed me into sorting my thoughts. On last night’s Raw, we saw an appearance by none other than WWE Hall of Famer Wendi Richter along with Roddy Piper and Cyndi Lauper, her former manager. The crowd was absolutely dead for this segment. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen such a dead crowd since Nascar drivers attempted to guest host Raw. It was that bad. Some feel like Heath Slater saved that segment, but to be honest, I don’t think anything except Sweet Chin Music could have saved it. Shawn should have been teleported from his couch and sent in to superkick everyone in the ring, including the writers who thought this segment was a great idea.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am a huge fan of all those legends (including Lauper) who were in the ring, but the segment was just cringe worthy. Not only that, but it made me feel sorry for the ladies due to the fact that nobody seemed to care. The crowd popped BIG time for Vader, another person whom we haven’t seen on WWE programming in years and yet when Wendi Richter, another legend, makes her way to the ring there’s no pop. There’s nothing and it makes me think about how WWE has ruined everyone’s perception of women’s wrestling. In a nutshell–the Divas get no love, not even the ones who paved the way.

Layla and Beth Phoenix did a fantastic job during their match at No Way Out. I say fantastic by WWE’s standards because any smart “wrestling” fan knows that those women weren’t exactly tearing it up like Marti Belle or LuFisto. (Yeah I know who they are. I might not watch them often, but I do know them.) But for a WWE women’s wrestling match, it ranked up there with Michelle McCool and Layla’s match before McCool retired. I was entertained, people discovered Layla actually has moves, and they (Layla/Beth) got a great deal of time to tell a story which is what helps wrestling fans get into the match. When there’s no kind of story going on, it makes it hard–at least for me–to invest in that person. When I started watching wrestling, women were actually allowed storylines. They worked the mic–quite often–and even had decent length matches. Of course, they weren’t always five and ten minutes, but if there’s a good story going on, there is no need for a ten minute match each week. Segments are used to keep people interested and invested in that character so it all works out.

These days though, it is very hard. AJ Lee, who is currently the only interesting Diva in WWE programming right now, doesn’t get the mic very often. However, she IS involved in a major storyline and people are beginning to like her. Rose Mendez is a “manager” for Epico and Primo, but no one cares because she never speaks for them often. She doesn’t do the things women like Sherri Martel used to do. Only Vikki Guerrero is playing the part of the classic female manager. She doesn’t wrestle often, but you can bet her Dolph Ziggler is gaining a following. Not only that, but she gets a reaction. I just think it’s sad that the women are only seen as a bathroom break and that a legend like Wendi Richter got absolutely no love from the crowd. I would say, “Shame on you WWE fans”, but if WWE cared more about their women, so would the people who watch their programming.

From WWE’s hatred of women, we now turn to the main event scene. Punk and Bryan have been tearing up as of late. I’m sure it may not compare to their old Ring of Honor stuff, but by WWE standards it’s been great stuff. Even Sheamus has been kicking a whole lot of ass lately and yet that isn’t enough to make two hours of Raw and a three hour WWE pay per view exciting. In the case of No Way Out, I do not think it was a bad show. The match between Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler was very entertaining and had many wanting more. It was a great way to set the tone for the show and yet, as usual, WWE finds a way to ruin such momentum.

Cody and Christian’s match was sorta just there. It only got good near the end. It’s not Christian’s fault, but I don’t feel like Cody’s there yet. The crowd did not seem so hot for that match. The Santino match absolutely killed the pay per view. The crowd obviously, did not appreciate it for they shouted “boring” very loudly. I’m sure that gets edited out for the DVD copy, but that match had no business on the pay per view. Some folks complained about Ryback, but honestly, he didn’t kill the momentum–the Suits match did. The triple threat match was great and should have closed a sour show, but the Cena match closed it. While some people hated that, the crowd certainly popped for Cena so your opinions of Cena closing a show are irrelevant.

But despite No Way Out being watchable, TNA’s Slammiversary kicked No Way Out’s ass six ways from Sunday. Hear that TNA fans? I am openly admitting the fact that I enjoyed a TNA pay per view more than a WWE one and I’ll do you one better. TNA programming, as of late, is BETTER than WWE’s. Yes folks. We’re finally reaching the point of my ramblings. WWE programming seems to drag on and on from one show to the next in the span of two hours. By the time 11pm hits, I’m already half way asleep only having forced myself to stay awake long enough to see John Cena. If WWE is putting me to sleep in two hours, I have no doubt by 10pm, I will not be able to stand much more of it.

I am not, by any means, saying WWE sucks. That isn’t true. It doesn’t suck completely, but it’s mundane, mediocre and predictable. It’s the same old routine. You get your opening 10 to 20 minute promo, followed by a match that will have at least one commercial break, pointless backstage segments with random Zack Ryder, another match, a Diva sighting, a Punk or Bryan match to save the show and then Cena to close it out. Even the damn matches are routine. Its like each match is paced slow and methodically that I often find myself zoning in and out–even during the good ones–because there’s no quick action. No, I’m not saying each match needs that Rey Mysterio pace, but at least in TNA, we get a variety. The matches are not all the same. Not all of them are fast paced, but they don’t seem to drag either. You might get an Aries/Xion match to start things off followed by something a little less quick such as Abyss and someone else. Then you might get a Knockouts match which isn’t at all like a Divas match.

To be fair, I was concerned at one point, but after last week, it looks like things are shaping up again for the ladies of TNA. My point is that TNA has learned (or so it appears) that in a two hour live show, one must keep the audience’s attention and you can only do so much in two hours. Last week there was way more ring action than segments. WWE–that’s another problem. They tend to talk entirely too much during a broadcast and that’s going to keep me from watching, especially when its the same old people holding a mic each week.

I urge all of you to give TNA a chance. They’ve put on two great shows and a great pay per view, but don’t get the ratings to show for it. I actually QUIT watching TNA for months. I think I quit right around November of last year and only just recently got back into it. Even if you’ve never watched TNA, I guarantee you’ll recognize old WWE superstars. That is how I got into the show to begin with. I saw people that I recognized and decided to give it a shot. No, TNA isn’t perfect and God I despise Hogan.

However, I won’t quit watching while they’re trying. If everyone who’s always tooted their nose up at TNA gave it a shot, I think you all would be pleasantly surprised. In fact, you can watch full episodes of TNA on YouTube and looky here. I did you the favor of looking up last week’s show so you can enjoy it. Watch with an open mind and prepared to see wrestling and not that methodical, slow, boring, predictable stuff you see every Monday Night. When TNA actually does something right, they deserve to be watched. With WWE’s epic permanent move to three hours, it’s hard to see a bright future when they’re only advertising returning legends rather than the new generation while current shows are boring everyone to death. Dixie Carter, keep up the good work and with that, I’m finally shutting the heck up,

–T


The Color Commentator, June 2012 Issue

The only thing more amazing than the May issue of The Color Commentator (brought to you by the fine folks at Hit The Ropes) is that fact that I managed to set this photo/link post up correctly.  Wooo me!

But, uh back the lecture at hand (yes that was me quoting lyrics, 3 points if you can guess the song) I thoroughly enjoyed reading this month’s issue.  From Denim Millward’s Benoit article, to their interivew with Maria Kanellis and Mike Bennett, to Dragon Ball-Z characters and their WWE counterparts, there was fun for the whole family.

Shout out to Denim Millward for his thoughts on Chris Benoit.  Writing about the Voldemort (Harry Potter reference) of WWE, let alone presenting an alternate view point is risky busniess.  I feel he presented his case well and did a hell of a job.

Every month it seems the Hit The Ropes crew is improving and putting out better magazine than the month before.  Already looking forward to the next issue.

Want to read this fantabulous, journalistic juggernaut of a magazine? Click the photo above, you’re welcome.


Friday Night Fandom: PRODUCTION Matters!

Who’s ready for some Ring of Honor ACTION!!! BLEE!

We here at L.E.W.D. pride ourselves on our ability to enjoy pro wrestling in its many iterations around the world.  While we do take a decidedly particular interest in the WWE’s product (as if there were more prominent sites that don’t lean slightly towards a promotion more often than not…), we also regularly engage in light banter about  other promotions that most fans rarely speak of.

For example: The Nic Johnson’s affinity for Ring Of Honor wrestling is much more than a passing fancy.  In fact we all think Ring of Honor is pretty nifty; it’s wrestling, and as we’ve come to accept in this day in age, “wrestling matters.”

The one thing about ROH that provides me with unlimited amounts of consternation is the production quality of their product.  To put it nicely, it effing sucks.

Ever since ROH lost its deal with HDNet, the production quality of their product has seemingly taken one giant-ass leap backwards. Whether it’s a DVD or their weekly televised show, viewing ROH’s “wrestling” will immediately take fans back to a simpler time where women stayed in the kitchen and polio was the silent killer.

Things for the country’s third largest wrestling promotion don’t get any better as they also have to contend with a pesky iPPV problem that haunts them with more fury than herpes.

This is what makes it frustrating to watch anything shilled by ROH.  One would have to ignore the hobo-like quality of the product to enjoy the in-ring action. No offense to the great minds and athletes in ROH, but that’s simply ridiculous in 2012.

It’s like watching The Great Muta versus Tiger Mask through a keyhole covered with layers of butcher paper and Saran Wrap; after about two minutes you’ll say, “Eff it, where’s a Damien Sandow match?”

As it would happen, I found myself wandering the wide world of pro wrestling late last night/early this morning after yesterday’s Smackdown left me wanting a little more.

I ran across six smaller and independent promotions that have televised products (thanks YouTube!), and believe it or not,THREEof them have better production quality than ROH!

INCONCEIVABLE!!!!!

But hey, you don’t have to take my word for it; watch the videos and judge for yourself:

American Wrestling Federation (AWF) Saturday Night Slam – Ep. 85 – Hutchinson, MN


This 30-minute show from Minnesota tans ROH’s figurative fanny from the very beginning simply by being taped in hi definition!  That fact in and of itself is a win; they could showcase 22 minutes of the two announcers palavering over toothpaste and hair plugs, and it’d still look better than ROH’s stuff!

The other obvious fact is that the show was taped in a packed – I reiterate, PACKED – high school gymnasium.  Not only was the place packed, but the fans were also hot for the entire show!  Even the WWE and TNA have difficulty getting that type of momentum from their shows and fans regularly.

I also thought it was hilarious that Tony Denucci entered and excited the match with Batista’s music…it’s the little things, you know?  On to the next one:

NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood – Hollywood, CA

This guy! It also explains why he hasn’t been featured heavily in ROH lately…anyway, click the picture to watch the latest show.


Let’s be real: the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) is about as relevant to the average wrestling fan today as Ahmed Johnson.  Even in the midst of near irrelevancy a “territory” of the NWA can afford to produce a better product than ROH; that’s just plain sad.

It doesn’t appear that the show is filmed in hi def, but it still manages to look and feel big league and up-to-date.  Then again it would look poorly upon Hollywood, California to allow shoddy workmanship to creep from the dark alleyways of its gold brick paved streets (I’m looking at you Asherology…).

The biggest story here is the “Seven Levels of Hate” series that will see NWA World Heavyweight Champion Colt Cabana defend his title against former four-time NWA champ “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce.  An awesome series of matches with two solid ring workers filmed with something more advanced than Super VHS…can’t really get mad at that.

Moving right along…

NWA Mountain State Wrestling – Ep. 331 – Beckley, WV


Touted as the “flagship of the National Wrestling Alliance,” NWA Mountain State typically provides me with numerous reasons to be proud of my Alabama roots.  The wrestlers in this fed have more missing teeth than a box of broken combs.

Hillbilly jokes aside (and there are a bunch of them), it cannot be ignored or downplayed thatat leastyou can see all of this Appalachian glory in crystal clear clarity.  Even with no more than 25 people in the audience (rough estimation) and one camera (also a rough estimation), the show is taped as if it were Saturday Night’s Main Event.

For heaven’s sake the damn thing was filmed in the front of a store and it still comes off better than ROH’s stuff!!!

The big story coming from the hills of West Virginia is that the Mountain State Champion, Lance Erikson, wants to rise to the top of the Talk NWA Top Ten Rankings.  I could go more in-depth about that, but that would be unnecessary if you watched the video.  Here are the rankings:

  1. “The Temptation” Shaun Tempers
  2. “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce
  3. Damien Wayne
  4. Chance Prophet
  5. Tokyo Monster Kahagas
  6. Scorpio Sky
  7. Jason Kincaid
  8. Brian Fury
  9. The Mempho Mofo Mark Bravura
  10. Lance Erikson

The brass tax here is twofold, folks: there is much more to pro wrestling than TNA and the WWE.  If we expand out horizons just a tad we can witness some truly amazing and befuddling action depending on where we look.

On that same note, we can appreciate and expect more from the larger companies if we allow ourselves the opportunity to see what others are doing and can do.

To this analyst it’s crazy that a promotion that has a nationally syndicated product comes across as if it can only be seen on channel 69, only available to cable subscribers in the area surrounding Lake Chaubunagungamaug.

Then again when the focus of your product is centered on great wrestling instead of the presentation of great wrestling, filming with an 8mm camera doesn’t seem like that big of a deal….I guess…

Here’s to hoping that some day soon ROH will be able to at least make their product look like a million bucks.

Honorable Mentions (i.e. In-the-same-boat-as-ROH):

Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) – Ep. 669 – Jeffersonville, IN
NWA Anarchy Wrestling – Ep. 332 – Cornelia, GA
NWA Smoky Mountain – East Tennessee

 


Me Talking About Wrestling: SmackDown! 6/15/2012

“Spaceships don’t come equipped with rear view mirrors…”

–Andre 3000, International Players Anthem (I Choose You)

Greetings, fancy eating persons, and welcome to another edition of Me Talking About Wrestling, an episodic live review of professional wrestling programs where I take the time to bash every accomplishment, no matter how big or small, that the WWE or TNA throws at us.  You may call me Da Infamous DiZ, aka Young Jon Lovitz Jr., aka Craig T. Nelson, aka Captain “Your Promotion Sucks And I Will Continually Bash It In Any Capacity” Man.  Before you begin reading this, know that I hate the WWE AND TNA.  TNA is just an easier target, and I approve of cheap shots.

Now!  Time for another edition of a SmackDown! review!  We begin with a recap of Monday, where the pro wrestling Donald Trump questions John Laurinaitis’ continued employment, and two-ton heel Big Show “punches” McMahon.  Allow me to quote myself as I say this: “Recycled, retarded, rejected, NEXT SCENE!”

The funny thing is that SmackDown! is the better show for story in the WWE, but this is pretty weak.  As our good friend Money said before, the focus in terms of story should be on the title.  As Sir Quinn Gammon pointed out, after a minor debate where I conceded (won’t happen again) there is no show where the title is a focus.  I didn’t add the qualifier of “major storyline” but screw it, he would have won that battle.  Something else I will never concede.

Now here’s our resident crazy chick.  Disclaimer: she’s gotten SO MUCH SEXIER since she’s gone crazy.  She was sexy before, but notice how my pedophile jokes have COMPLETELY vanished.  And as if it weren’t sexy enough, here comes Vickie.  She talks about the new rise of Dolph Ziggler, and yes, I couldn’t be happier that this man is FINALLY getting the push he so deserves.  Our favorite one-time, unforgettable champion is getting a proper rise, and yes, as he just said, he IS better than what he’s been recently given.  Why Vickie and Ziggler came out during AJ’s set is beyond me, but I assume it’ll lead to a match between Ziggler and Punk in the near future.  As in very, very soon.  Like, tonight.

Ah, a smack by Guerrero.  That was a serious smack.  And AJ looks… pleased.  Is that a masochistic streak too?  Yeah… here’s Punk, with a microphone, and thank God because AJ just went into sexy overload for a second.  Settle down, me, you can focus on that later.  Now we focus on the master of the modern day pipe bomb.

Honestly, looking at Ziggler and Guerrero and Punk and AJ in the ring almost justifies the arbitrary mixed tag match required to keep the “global” appeal of the company going.  And if these four alone weren’t enough (and they weren’t I venture to say) here comes Daniel Bryan.  His “Captain Save-A-Ho” attitude has yet to wear thin but it’s quite humorous.  This isn’t the first time he’s gone down the pimp path; at one point he was singing the International Player’s Anthem with Hispanic and Asian women.  Two of them are unemployed and one of them is now the EX Knockout champ, losing to a woman who doesn’t deserve the title.  I guess Bryan was right:

And finally we have the last piece of the puzzle: Sheamus.  I still like Sheamus, but for the past 13 minutes we’ve had nothing but talking and big barking, the likes of which I haven’t experienced since Xzibit’s sorely underrated Weapons of Mass Destruction.  Sheamus calls for the match to start now, to everybody’s enthusiasm, and AJ announces she has old business to take care of, which is going after Vickie.  Sexiness at its peak again?  Check.  Commercials?  Welp, I’ll be right back.  Where’s that lotion…?

No, I’m joking, I’m not looking for any lotion; I’m just being a dirty young man.  Actually this all goes back to how significant this storyline is.  The focus isn’t on the belt – or The Precious as some people would unspeakingly like to call it (ADRIAN!) – but AJ is leading this story, and I can’t recall in recent history a woman who has even had such a prominent position.  You wanna say Trish Stratus though, don’t you?  Of course you do.  Go ahead.  Please comment on that in the comment section because I don’t remember and I sure as hell have no intention of doing any research right now.  AJ, however, literally went from the bottom of the totem pole to the top, and honestly they – the WWE – might benefit from putting her again Vickie in the second half.  It would be good for business, and it helps that females are privy to a slightly more significant role right now.

I’ll talk about that a little later (maybe): now we have our first match of the evening, the main event between the top champions Punk and Sheamus, versus their number one contenders Bryan and Ziggler.  You know what’s already special?  The fact that everyone in this match can WRESTLE.  That already calls for this match to be worth the watch, and it even carries the managers on the outside.  Visually this is nice.  The action is nice.  Even the personas of the wrestlers are showing here.  Punk and Sheamus are eager brawlers, the latter more so than the former.  Ziggler plays the role of the hungry man with something to prove and Bryan is the cowardly talented grappler.  AJ is crazy, perfect for headstrong brawlers, and Vickie is calculating, perfect for the others.  So this match should be great, right?

Well it is indeed very good.  Very back and forth, very clean, very impressive.  As we go to commercials again I’m excited to see what we get when we come back.  Punk’s suspended suplex alone, aside from being a subtle “fuck you” to TNA and X Division champion Austin Aries (I read between the lines), was very cool.

I have a second now so I’ll talk about the women.  First, TNA apologists, I need you to stop saying TNA has the best women’s division in pro wrestling.  That’s a lie.  Is it better than the WWE’s?  Yes, undoubtedly, but they’re not the best.  I just threw that in there to avoid any premature statements about “superior” women’s wrestling in the comments.  But in the WWE, there is a very subtle, very understated rise of the fairer sex in the shows.  If Layla was merely back to fill a void in the women’s division I would have just passed off this notion as a nagging feeling, but no, she’s shown TREMENDOUS improvement in her return and otherwise, and AJ is leading the WWE title story, which involves two former world champions as well as the current one, and she’s overshadowing them.

What.  The.  Freak?!

Back to that a little later again.  Match back and Bryan and Ziggler are in control.  And how quickly that can change.  We’re about to go into brawl territory, and even through this match is good, I have to wonder if Kane is going to do something in this match.  I still say that his very involvement in the WWE title hunt is suspicious, unless he’s leaving shortly (but that’s still suspicious) but nothing about his presence makes sense to me.

Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan defeat Sheamus and CM Punk

Okay, funny.  Ziggler running from Sheamus is hilarious.  Vickie about to fight sexy crazy AJ is funnier.  Vickie running is funny.  AJ looking hurt, not quite as funny.  Kane finally showing, weird.  I joked last time around that AJ kissing Kane introduced the lost sense forgotten feeling of arousal to the man but now I’m starting to this we have dark things erupting from the would-be Maleficent (I’m a Disney movie nerd too).

And this is why AJ is such a clever creation right now.  Lunacy gives rise to creativity, and with Laurinaitis being such a crafty bad guy (which I called, and correctly I might add) who is to say that AJ isn’t part of a grand scheme right now?  Kane’s clumsy obsession, Bryan’s lingering princess that got away, Punk’s confused relationship, and who is holding all the cards?  That’s right, the arousing little nymph that I used to make constant jokes about because of her youthful appearance.  Now she’s the queen bee, and she knows it.  We’re all under her spell and no, none of us are complaining.  Hell, I’m not.  You shouldn’t either.

This might be another innovation they’re testing out.  I honestly don’t think they meant for Bryan to be as big as he is now, and as a result I don’t think AJ was supposed to have the prominence that she does now.  I don’t think Kane, Punk and Bryan were supposed to be part of a twisted love quadrilateral with a woman who has yet to even say she has feelings for anyone currently.  But it works, and we’re intrigued. For those of you that say the wrestling should be more prominent, I ask you this: what is pro wrestling minus story?  The answer: a carnival attraction.  And like Austin Powers I hate carnies and nuclear war.

Wait no, I fear carnies and nuclear war.  Yeah, fear.

Preshow for No Way Out is Clay versus Otunga.  Who cares, right, nobody.

You know why I don’t care?  Because the Funkadactyls are out and Lord knows Booker T’s “shucky ducky quack quack” is appropo at their… entrance.  Overload, my friends.  Overlord.  We’re reminded of Big Show’s bout of ethnic cleansing a few weeks ago, where Clay was beat up.  He’s out here now, promo mode, talking while the sexy sistas to his left and right cosign.  That’s called winning.

Okay, I have a question.  Who’s wife did Heath Slater pork?  That’s the only explanation for him being a jobber with an entrance right now.  Losing to Ryback.  Losing to Clay.  Losing to Vader (LOVED that, mind you), and now he’s losing to Clay again.  And quickly.  Wendy’s pissed SOMEBODY off, and you know what?  Don’t care.  Never liked him.

Brodus Clay defeats Heath Slater

And here’s Otunga with the hit-and-run, which further confirms my thing about the ethnic cleansing.  Last time a black guy was working so hard for his boss in this company Orlando Jordan was… well, let’s not talk about Orlando Jordan.

Clay is on his back, after getting flattened out by David Otunga, and… again, why?  I appreciate the ass shots I’m getting of the Funkadactyls (I’m misogynistic and I don’t care!) but so what, Otunga gets an advantage in a preshow.  Again, who cares?  Minor stories are just that: minor, and they get worse when they’re smaller aspects of major stories.

I know this is random, but since I hear The Cosby Show in the background (I multitask; look out for Me Talking About Video Games, my video blog on Youtube) I have to say: Lisa Bonet and Bern Nadette Stanis were my earliest TV crushes.  Seeing Bern Nadette Stanis in, as I call them, “dem jeans” and Lisa Bonet’s quirkiness (and steamy scenes in Angel Heart) were just beautiful to me.  And still are.  They’d get, as the French in France might say, “da bidniss” with “da kwikniss”.

As we come back from commercials we have our super sexy Divas’ champ Layla (who I STILL pray will one day bear my children) on commentary while the women who have no entrances – Alicia Fox and Beth Phoenix – have a very brief battle.  Extremely brief.

Beth Phoenix defeats Alicia Fox (oh, big surprise)

Needless to say I want to see Layla win more than Beth.  I also want Mickie James and Kharma in the WWE, but I have to wait, right?  I don’t know why we came back from commercials if that’s all we were going to get at this juncture.  We’re still talking about the Big Show thing and we have to give it to the WWE—

*starting sarcasm now*

These guys know how to creatively edit to cover up a major faux pas!  You hardly even know that WMD didn’t connect with Vince’s face!  I am in AWE of this genius, as in awe as I was with Vladimir Kozlov’s original theme song, that lyrical masterpiece as it was!  Pootie Tang, sang Kozlov’s song for me!

*ending sarcasm now*

Back to the show, Hornswoggle’s little “My favorite things” segment actually is kinda sweet.  I like the Muppets too, and all of you under the age of 35 should have been able to appreciate that episode.  IT WAS KERMIT THE FREAKING FROG!

Here comes Big Johnny, sans scooter, and while I figured his salary or senior citizen’s status should afford him money for a new scooter, he’s delivering a stupid and very half assed apology for something he didn’t directly do.  Need I direct you to my piece about him being the criminal mastermind in this city known as the WWE?  I think I will, as a sign of my shameless plugging.  You see the links You know the score.

Interestingly enough, story is showing itself to be a big thing in the WWE right now; the problem is that its in spite of the titles.  Actually, no, let me rectify that: the titles should be the focus, but whether or not that’s a good or a bad thing is a matter of opinion.  If that contradicts that I said earlier then disregard that and focus on this.  When you have a pure wrestling company I can see the titles maintaining the most prominence, story or no, matches or otherwise.  But as I’ve said before, the WWE is a company trying to move into a more mainstream, multifaceted conglomerate.  This is Hollywood soap opera kind of stuff, and I’ve seen better stories on the Thursday night news, but it’s not a BAD story.  Laurinaitis’ attempt to take over the company is a sneaky story but it should be in the background, rising to prominence towards… let’s say Wrestlemania or, maybe, Summerslam.  I don’t know.

Big Show is talking, and honestly I love how he can talk to the crowd.  Whether he’s name dropping or offering minor ad-libs you remain engaged.  The funny thing is all the people he’s naming aren’t Grand Slam champions… BUT SHOW IS!  It’s significant.

But as fun as it is to listen to Big Show speak, if it goes on too long I lose interest, and with SmackDown! always being the show that possesses the greater capacity to bore me than RAW, I’m ready to go about my business and sip some beer, from my new Atari-themed pint glasses.  Sip your beer and…

Ah, John Laurinaitis and Big Show are stopped by Michael Cole, who is playing the role of stool pigeon by announcing John Cena’s “possible” arrival.  Another sidenote, Michael Cole’s announcement just reminded me of The Flintstones movie.  You know, that terrible POS film featuring a then somewhat unknown Halle Berry in a very, very skimpy leopard-print dress?  The one where we all wished it would hike up just a little bit?  The one where she should have flashed us as an apology for not only being in it but for all the people at the theater and on TV who watched it?  I like Halle Berry.

The “real” character is also making a rise in the WWE right now.  Big Show is a slick reflection of the current blue collar worker finally rising to white collar leisure after doing dirt.  Oh, damn, that’s part of the The Flintstones plot.  Yes, because Fred got to the top of his company by unintentionally using Barney’s test and, as a result, Barney was getting screwed and… yes, I watched the movie, okay?!  I know the movie, deal with it!  I was waiting for Halle to not be as sexy so I have to keep watching!

Our next match is – leave me along Adrian! – Christian, the Intercontinental champion and NOT inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame (it must be said), is going toe-to-toe with other former world champ, and unforgettable champion at that, Jack Swagger.  Again, two more good wrestlers, two former world champions, and in a match that may or may not have a purpose.  I’ve been wondering what they want to do with Swagger for a while, and he’s too talented (an admission I don’t like to make) to just be thrown around as a would-be underdog right now.  Christian, on the other hand, is the champion and I don’t know why.  Not complaining, mind you, just confused.

Swagger and Christian are capable of putting on good matches, and I enjoyed this fleeting battle for what its worth.  RIP Eddie Guerrero.

Christian defeats Jack Swagger

Cutting to another commercial, we pause.  Literally, I have nothing to say right now.  I’ll plug my weekly video game vlog once more.  It’s on Youtube, Me Talking About Video Games.  The title is confusing so I’ll be frank: I talk about video games.  Period.  The first episode is briefly speaking on MMORPGs (or mumorpugers, as the great man and imminent sage Yahtzee might say) and the free-to-play…

Oh Lord, here comes the Ryback match.  Ari Cohen and Mike Testa, I have to say their names now or I’ll never remember them.  In fact…

Ryback anally rapes Ari Cohen and Mike Testa (signs of anal bleeding are sighted)

With that being said, let’s sigh and relax as we watch another massacre.  To their credit, at least THESE jobbers don’t both look like anorexic Futurama rejects.  I still want to see the pyro, but as it stands, Ryback is one of my favorite current wrestlers but he’s also boring me.  Not him, but the fact that he’s still just beating up on jobbers.  I’m enjoying the fact that he’s committing acts of murder on little people and displaying his strength and skill at the same time, but the only non-nameless jobber he’s beaten is… Heath Slater.

IS HEATH SLATER THE NEW SHANNON MOORE?!

Hell, I miss the old Shannon Moore… screw that, I don’t.  I do miss Brian Kendrick though.  He was great.  Especially when he was THE Brian Kendrick.

I mean: Ryback, the point has been made.  Now please, feed him something hearty for a change.  You know, something that’s not a jobber, like Ted DiBiase, or Heath… Heath Slater.  Christ, I’m seriously sighing every time I say that name.  He’s fallen so far from grace!  Look at the people of the Nexus and/or New Nexus now.  Barrett is injured, Otunga is a sidekick to the major villain in the COMPANY, Skip is committing violent acts of murder on nameless foes (he actually knows their names, but we can’t know about his “kill list”), Gabriel is still capable of winning at least, so is McGuillicutty, the only one that can claim to be doing worse is Tarver, and that’s because he’s not in the WWE!  He’s probably winning in a third-party circuit!

Oh, and lookee here, Tyson Kidd.  And who is his opponent?  Damien Sandow.  Mr. I-Wear-A-Robe doesn’t amuse me.  I’m not amused.  Help me by getting into a match, you lazy bitch!  I don’t care about your three-dollar words; they don’t mean nothing when you get a fifty-cent ass whupping!

Good, we have a match.  I see this being another quick match, but not quite a jobber match.

Well, we can’t win em all… oh that cartwheel is so gay…

Damien Sandow defeats Tyson Kidd

So let’s backtrack right quick, as we have twenty minutes left on the program.  We’ve had six matches.  That rounds out to three matches an hour.  That’s good.  Good ratio.  Only a couple of them were worth the time, but at the end of the day, it was not bad.  Still not a fan of Sandow and his fruity cartwheels.

Hmm… you know, Michael Cole’s 1000 episode thing actually isn’t too bad.  He sounds sincere.  Might be a douche in real life (and I’ve no doubt he is) but that was a sincere sounding thing.  Kudos, dickweed.  Kudos.

So… we gonna get that Vickie Guerrero v. AJ match?  Fifteen minutes left, I’d enjoy it.  I’d also enjoy context with AJ’s mind control (or, to quote Ja Rule, It’s the power of the P-U-S… well, you get it) but I don’t mind waiting.  Waiting makes the release better.

And here’s John Cena, walking backstage down a hallway.  First to John’s office, which is empty.  I would’ve liked another Big Show sucker punch.  Those are always funny.  But we’re back at commercials.  Honestly, can we… you know, have less commercials?  This isn’t the NFL.  Speaking of which, NFL, can we have LESS commercials?!

I did a little research and yes, Tarver is the only ex-Nexus/New Nexus member NOT part of the WWE anymore.  And he’s probably still winning more than… Heath Slater.  Maybe I should put a picture of… that man next to one of Yung Berg.  In fact, let me get in contact with Big Ghostface and push for the one-man rock band (I assume that band is Hanson) to be one of the ten softest dudes in the game in the sixth annual edition.

Finally we come to another B.A. Star segment, and I still find the humor in David Otunga being involved so actively in it while he’s a heel, and as such, a bully.  A bad guy.  We saw what he did to Brodus Clay earlier.  Bully tactics.  Why couldn’t Stephanie McMahon and her fine ass (and I do mean fine ass (DAT ASS, SON!)) be talking to the kids?  They’d learn a lesson AND get a sight for sore, young eyes.  Sight for my eyes at least.  Misogyny, man, it doesn’t happen often so let me have my moments!

Sorry, Cena is in the ring.  Laurinaitis is coming to the ring (seriously, he should be able to afford a new scooter) and now we get ANOTHER Cena/Laurinaitis talking promo in the ring.  Dull.  Recycled, retarded, rejected.  Cena can go ahead and hit Big Johnny, I don’t care.  None of this matters  Big Show should win on Sunday, Cena should get his vacation, and now Cena has finally hit Laurinaitis and… I don’t care.

This episode of SmackDown! has been dull.  Very dull.  And uneven.  At least last week I kept my eyes open.  Where’s Big Show?  Where’s the excitement, Mr. Excitement?  The only fun was when AJ stepped up and took the stage.  As motivating as she is, she can’t carry the entire show on her own.  That being said, I give tonight’s episode a 2 out of 5.  Not abysmal but not too good.  Looking forward to next week… kinda.  It’ll be following a PPV, so good.

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the new purchased domain!  I’ll be your captain, of this vessel (not really).  Blee!


Interesting notes on TNA

As we approach TNA’s 10 Year Anniversary Survival – Slammiversary, I wanted to bring up a few interesting tidbits to take note of.

The Introduction of the TNA Hall of Shame Fame

A couple of weeks ago, it was announced that TNA would be inducting the first member of it’s “Hall of Fame”, at this evening’s “Slammiversary” PPV.

Also, it’s been widely discussed that, former TNA World Champion and current WWE Intercontinental Champion, Christian would be in attendance for the event (as part of a talent exchange for WWE featuring Ric Flair in their 2012 Hall of Fame, via the Four Horsemen).

What I haven’t seen is what I feel like is the most obvious connection between the two – Christian will be the first inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame. 

“Christian Cage” as TNA World Champion

If you notice… they had a prolonged shot of him as the final clip to roll while mentioning the TNA Hall of Fame, and when you real think about it – Christian is the most prominent, mainstream TNA Superstar. Also, the only Superstar I can remember ever going from TNA to WWE (I guess Booker T. counts…sort of).

Do I think Christian is the person who has done the most to make TNA the brand it is, today? No. Do I think Christian is the best name they could use to introduce the Hall of Fame? Absolutely. Anyone else who would be a viable option would be someone from the inside (Hogan, AJ Styles, etc…) that just wouldn’t bode well at this stage. Christian is the closest thing TNA has to a “retired” star, yet is unexpected enough to be a shocker when he shows up on the PPV.

TNA Running Live Events on Thursday Nights (BESIDES iMPACT!)

In what is only a continued testament to the phenomenal business acumen shown by Ms. Carter and the powers above – TNA is continuing to run live events on Thursday night, despite moving iMPACT! to a live broadcast on Thursday nights.

This Thursday, TNA is scheduled to run a live event in Belton, TX. Yes a live event, AT THE SAME TIME their product will be on national tv. Some of the scheduled matches are:

Garrett Bischoff vs. Gunner, Chris Sabin vs. Kid Kash, Douglas Williams vs. Rob Terry, Matt Morgan vs. Crimson and Knockouts tag match featuring Tara, Mickie James and Velvet Sky vs. Angelina Love, Winter, Sarita and Rosita. Robbie E. is also advertised to appear.

One can only shake their head at this matter – can you imagine John Cena and CM Punk floating around in Pawtucket, NJ while RAW is airing live in California? While these certainly aren’t ALL of the major players on iMPACT!, there presence will still be noticeably absent. It’s these sorts of decisions that will ultimately ground TNA.

I don’t think this is a long-term thing, but simply a matter of contracts and obligations that are still in place from before the seemingly overnight decision to begin running iMPACT! live.

The decision was made so quickly to shift the pre-taped Thursday night broadcasts to a live show that the usual production trucks weren’t even available and their normal crew (including cameramen) were not available, and what does TNA do? Throw caution to the wind, and run a live broadcast with complete unusual equipment, and crew.

Here’s to the next ten years! Cheers….


Me Talking About Wrestling: Boxing, PPVs and Wondering if its Really Still Real (Dammit)

“As a victim I invented low key, ’til the keyhole itself got lower than me…”

– Slim Kid Tre (The Pharcyde); Runnin’

(Yay, my first mini Me Talking About Wrestling post!)

Last night, or rather early this morning, I was gathered with members of my family to indulge in the age old sport of spectating.  In communion with these people whilst in the new home of one of them, we eagerly awaited the main bout that would occur following the game between Boston and Miami.  To most people’s disappointment, Miami won.  People were vocal about this.

But the wait for the pugilistic bout continued due to minor issues.  The challenger, Bradley, a scrappy specimen out of  California with a face I can only compare to my first created character in Saints Row the Third.  The champion, Manny Pacquaio, a golden boy in the world of boxing, considered by many to be the face of this generation of scrappers.  People made their predictions, waited patiently, and when the bell finally rung for the match to begin, we knew something after two rounds:

“This (expletive) Bradley gettin’ his ass whooped!”

Yes.  After two rounds it was clear that Bradley was not in Pacquaio’s league, and the only thing more comical than the slow transition the Philippine renaissance man made from serious to fun was Bradley’s trainer, who continually dropped f-bombs and tried to assure his fighter that he could still win.  A particular quote that stuck out to me came near the latter half of the fight where he said:

“One more round and you make history.”

My thought process was that the history would be his first loss; Diaz meant something more.  To the surprise of me, my family and quite possibly everyone with a mind large enough to process that two is more than one, the 12 round conflict came to a split decision in favor of Bradley.  Cell phones and tantrums alike were thrown.  Even Mr. Bradley couldn’t believe that he gained the victory.  As the new WBO welterweight champion, his first victory speech was filled with non-specific praise for himself and promises of looking over videos to see if he really won.  Simply lovely.

But what does this all come down to?  Is it a precursor to the fight we all want to see, the possibly record-breaking prizefight between Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather?  The answer is a resounding “possibly”, and that’s said with love.  Often people criticize professional wrestling because it is “fake”; while it is scripted, the whimsy and action throughout still provides a fun base for viewing and conversation, analysis and criticism.  This is partly due to the fact that it is scripted.  As a result, many people prefer the realness of boxing to the fakeness of professional wrestling.

Well call up a fat guy to cry in the stands, sweet science supporters, because you’re gonna need one to proclaim that it’s still real to you, dammit.  It’s no question that politics play a role in the world of big time, multi-million dollar bouts, so I can’t lie and say that I’m completely in awe at the fact that the better fighter got screwed, but there’s backdoor politics and then there’s not even trying to cover it up.  Yes, you need the perfect backdrop for the superbout I mentioned before.  Does this help?  We’ll see come November 10th, if Bradley still fools himself about being the victor.  That’s all to say that you boxing fans have a LOT to explain about the scripted behavior of pro wrestling if you still want to actively criticize after that match.  Boxing has a script to, everyone just isn’t aware.

Tonight we have TNA’s 10th anniversary PPV, something that was continually advertised after the fight along with a promo for the Urban Wrestling Federation.  Can’t say I’m too excited but I will watch.  Truth be told, that’s the true purpose of this little post.  The Me Talking About Wrestling things are separate and thus unequal from the realm of PPVs.  So don’t expect one for any PPV; I like to enjoy something I pay actual money for.  Tomorrow, however, I may talk about some matches or the dreaded TNA Hall of Fame, and I’ll even resist the urge to make those Hall of Fame jokes and/or barbs crude and/or explicit.  That being said, good night… er, good morning everybody.


Me Talking About Wrestling: iMPACT 6/7/2012

Yes, I am the inescapable, the irresistible, the unnegotiable, the unchallenged (who dat?!)

– Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def); Hurricane

What up, everybody?  It’s your boy DiZ, the Infamous One, aka Black Batman, aka Young Jon Lovitz Jr., aka H.R. Paperstacks, aka Ring King King, aka the Hand of Poseidon Almighty, aka D. Khushrenada, aka the Regular Immortal, aka Big Baby Hay Seuss, aka the Abstract Slickbacked Sideswipping Hero of Los Enigmas.  Yes, even TNA gets the live review treatment, and I’ll even try to forget about that horseshit hall of fame nonsense and remain completely objective throughout.

Coincidentally, I offer this disclaimer: the second it gets too hard to watch this beautiful mess I’m talking about Rockstar Games and how stupid you, yes, YOU (ADRIAN!) are for thinking there will be a new Red Dead and Bully.  That being said, let’s wait for the show!

And the wait is over.  Previously on iMPACT, marital infidelity (very “Born Again”, TNA) and the pictures and audio clips to prove it (very NOT “McMahon’s family incest”, TNA).  Help me, TNA people, what exactly IS going on in the world of TNA right now?  I’m having a hard time understanding.  Before you get all upset at me (any more, that is) know that I like the action in TNA.  It’s the stories and continuity that make me wonder where Carter is getting that potent ganja from.

We’re still recapping and waiting for Dixie to make a statement.  I’ll go out on a limb and say she reminds me of the wave of sexy Conservative women as of late; Palin, O’Donnell, uh… Palin.  Governor of South Carolina too, she’s quite a looker.  Not at all like those terrible games where… oh, Carter is out.  Boos abound.  Now chanting her name.  Go on and cry, woman, you know you want to.  You were slobbing down AJ (don’t worry, I wanna slob down an AJ too… the one on the other company, not TNA).  I have a thing for crazy chicks too, they’re a blast to be around, with and otherwise.

Admission of truth on deck, then the appearance of Daniels and Kazarian, two athletes with better things to do than this.  Where’s Scott Steiner when you need him?  He’d add some fun to this with his ethnically challenged humor and questionable headpieces.  In any case, I’m trying to determine just why there’s so much sexual innuendo in this company.  At least in the WWE it was – or is – blatant.  Having the woman in the corner on her ass, hounded by two dudes and begging, that’s all sorts of messed up.  My psyche is screwed.

Ah, and AJ has just been clocked.  I guess Carter’s husband is more mad at him than Dixie.  Again, confused.  Didn’t we get enough infidelity with the Angles and Jarrett?  Hell, that was real.  This is for entertainment purposes.  But I’m not entertained.  To quote Bender:

Of course when I say “we” I mean “me” and my various alter egos, especially the Regular Immortal, his face is priceless right now.  Bottom lip all poked out, eyes squinty, afro dirty and loose.  I don’t know where that crown he wears is but it’s somewhere lost in his hair.  He should have moved by now; there’s pizza, Pepsi and… sorry, I got off topic.  Not quite fifteen minutes into the show (technicality) and nothing of interest has happened outside of AJ getting punched and Dixie in what looked like a sexual assault situation.  Blame the televisions that raised me for that point of view but hell, if you heard the sound of a zipper you would have nodded and said the same.

The show is back on, and we’re recapping.  Since we started the show off with a recap I see this as wholly unnecessary, but at least we get to see Serge.  Serge?  Word?  Like Beverly Hills Cop Serge?  Serge Carter?

Whatever.  Christie Hemme calls in the combatants for the first match with her sexy self, first “The Undefeated” Crimson (wasn’t Samoa Joe undefeated at one point too?  Whatever happened to that…) and then the X Division Champion, Austin Aries.  First impressions: a resounding “Hmm…”  Austin Aries is one of this company’s best talents, and putting the scrappy underdog against the undefeated monster (and military vet) actually functions as a good move.

I’ve never really noticed before today, but Crimson has an interesting build for a big guy.  He’s lanky, kind of like Spike Spiegel, but decidedly more rigid.  Austin Aries is short and athletic, the kind of wrestler that wins world titles now.  Honestly I want Crimson to win, but a hard fought win.  At this point that’s exactly what it looks like is going to happen.

Crimson defeats Austin Aries

Samoa Joe comes out, interferes, looks like the poor man’s Bully Ray, and Crimson maintains his winning streak through Joe’s interference.  Now a Samoa Joe/Austin Aries rivalry has potential.  Crimson, on the other hand, sounds too cocky for his own good.  Actually, his undefeated streak leaves much to be desired.  Where’s his title belt?  I know he was a tag champ once but a sixteen month undefeated streak warrants SOME title around his waist.  That’s a waste of talent otherwise: he’s a king without a crown, and as far as I know he isn’t a Jewish emcee (bonus points to anyone who gets that reference).

I don’t know: Crimson is good, I like Crimson, but I don’t see what his purpose is right now outside of being a big, lanky war vet.  That reminds me: where did Amazing Red go?  He still in TNA?  As unforgettable as a lot of their stuff is I would never know.  Sorry, the urge to bash is hard to get over, I’ll be good now… so long as there’s no gratuitous display of mammary glands or female’s rear ends on my screen by the time the commercial go of… ah.  Never mind.

Back to the show, Hogan (Brooke, not the good one) is talking to the Knockouts, those in the four-way (no joke… NO JOKE!) match later.  Plenty of mammary glands and female rear ends… if I didn’t lust after Mickie James so much (it’s a Virginia thing; country cousins) I would find this to be a bit misogynistic.

No, VERY misogynistic…

No, a bit.

Hogan (Hulk, not the hooker-ish one) comes out, to tremendous love, applause and cheering.  Curiosity has me right now.  What does our GM want?  When he gets to the ring finally I’m sure he’ll let us know.  Any second now.

Any second…

Any second… half an hour in we’ve only had one match…

WAIT!  This is the ten year anniversary for iMPACT Wrestling?  Oh my God… who, the hell, cares?  All I’m taking from this right now is that the World Title will be defended next Thursday.  Would that, I venture to wonder, cheapen the World Title match come Sunday at the PPV?  I argue that that match was cheapened the second Sting was declared the new number one contender.  Whatever happened to that recount chant?  And why is Roode saying this is Hogan’s company?  I don’t care if he IS the longest reigning World champion in TNA history, I say “WHO THE HELL CARES?!” again.

Look, pro wrestling is story and action combined into one finely tuned two or three hour program.  There’s too much story right now; this is coming from a man who tells stories for a living. Bobby Roode wants respect.  Check.  Sting defends Hogan.  Check.  Sting is kind of superhuman now for some reason or the other.  Check.  Why are we more than half an hour in and there has only been ONE MATCH?!

Oh, T and A.  Lovely.  Commercials!  I’ll be back; I’m going to get some root beer and a Granny Smith apple.

Apple and root beer on deck, ready for the wrasslin’!  Well, first Penn.  Hi Penn Jillette.  Bye Penn Jillette.  Now Christie Hemme introduces the Knockouts once more, sexy voice and all, first is my not-so secret crush Mickie James.  Second, Velvet “What the hell are pigeons?!” Sky.  Third, Miss Tessmacher.  I remember her in the WWE, unlike everyone else.  And finally, the incomparable Tara.  Always have liked Lisa Varon.  Terrific wrestler.

Now before you get too into this match, those of you watching the replay because you were busy living your life instead of watching wrestling on Thursday evening or you were at that Foreign Exchange concert you really wanted to go to but didn’t have the money for) I want to say this: it is a misnomer for you, specifically TNA marks, to say that TNA has a terrific women’s division (I think it’s pretty good myself) and focus more on the T and A than anything else.  Go ahead, I’ll make you a bet.  You watch an entire Knockouts match without a single catcall, penis joke or sexual mannerism and I will concede that the division is exceptional.  As it stands there are plenty of talented women performing and put on great matches, but at the end of the day they come across as more athletic Divas.  Hell, a lot of them ARE athletic Divas, just under a different brand.  The Knockout champion Gail Kim, Mickie James, Miss Tessmacher (admittedly, she’s found her vibe in TNA), Tara, and the beat goes on (and the beat goes on (and the beat goes on)).

The match has an obvious focus on the one-on-one between Mickie James and whoever else is in the ring with her.  Gail Kim is on commentary, a Knockout champion in the same vein as the reign of Bobby Roode, and it helps because honestly not every woman in this match is fun to watch.  Mickie James, no question.  Tara, yes indeed.

Okay, I’ll say it: why is Velvet Sky here…?

That’s all I’m saying about that.  This match, to my surprise, hasn’t been too bad.  It’s just been that the actual action has been carried by the two who, ironically enough, made their names elsewhere.  I won’t comment on where that elsewhere is.  While this match has been longer than the previous one, it had to be on the basis of the number of competitors (fishing for rationale here, folks).  And now it’s over.  Yep…

Miss Tessmacher defeats Mickie James, Tara and Velvet Sky

Promo segment backstage with Bully Ray.  Pointless.  Immediately we go into Matt Morgan’s accidentally funny Direct Auto Insurance commercial.  Seeing a big guy try to act in that capacity is hilarious, in the same way Tommy Wiseau trying to do anything cinematically related is hilariously disappointing.  Be back when the commercials go off again.  Maybe hour two will have more excitement.

Hey, random tidbit: Tara’s theme in the WWE, back when she was Victoria, featured Nicki Minaj.  Who knew?

So as we start the second hour of the live program we recap the beginning of the show, again.  There’s a lot to be said of motif, but this is just pointless.  We go backstage to Hogan, on his phone, talking to AJ Styles.  Hogan was mad.  And next, on The Young and the Restless, we have a contract signing, okay, what the flying fuck?  The only joy I’ve gained so far, with the introduction of this “unbelievable” match, was someone in the audience screaming “WHAT?!” as our extra regular ass friend with the stuck-in-the-second-grade face described the first entrant to the ring: Bully Ray.

Credit where it’s due: Bully Ray is awesome.  He’s a true heel, managed to successfully piss off dude in the dark yellow Polo shirt we keep cutting to, and actually does keep you entertained both in and out the ring.  Now we bring out Penn Jillette again.

Hmm?  Oh, that’s not Penn Jillette?  Well who the hell is it?

An attorney, you say?  Abyss in a suit and tie?

Jokes aside, I know what this story is but I’m only interested because I want to see Bully Ray and Abyss beat each other senseless.  Everything else about it lacks sensibility.

You know, an hour ten into this program my head is still spinning from the fact that there have only been two matches.  Don’t get it twisted, I would gladly get on ANY show about this, but if I wasn’t so confident of the violence that would ensue from this contract signing I would turn the channel and talk about the Red Dead and Bully franchises.

Oh, for the love of the god and gods you don’t believe in, Penn Jillette, sign the goddamn contract!  THANK YOU!

Neat, it’s our old friend Abyss.

And it’s deathly quiet… THAT is power.  If I say NOTHING else positive about TNA, the way it got COMPLETELY quiet just now is just magical.  Touché.  Touché, TNA.  Fuck the fact that Bully Ray just beat up the master of prestidigitation, that was a magical moment!

We should have ended the show on that note.  We have two matches left, I reckon, maybe three, but we should have ended the show on THAT note.  Period.  No more matches, no more promos, nothing else.  THAT is how you make an impact, iMPACT.  TAKE NOTES!  You see what I’m doing?  I’m praising you.  I know this is a rare thing, you’re unfamiliar with the action, but it’s possible!  Please, don’t do ANYTHING to fuck up this high that you’ve achieved.

And with the announcement of the Hall of Fame the high is dying.  It’s worth noting that everyone of significance in that commercial was either from the WWE or is now, save for AJ Styles.

For the sake of you, reader, I’m going to spare you my feelings on the Gut Check thing.  It makes sense but it’s poorly executed.  Don’t blur the gimmicks and the realities unless you can do it properly.

Back to the action.  Christie Hemme and that sexy frame of hers introduce the challenger, Robbie E, accompanied by Robbie T.  Or do I have it backwards?  These Jersey jerks always confuse me anyway.  But who comes out next, accompanied by Young Bitch-Off himself, but the TV Champion (how many name changes has this title had?) Devon.  The prize: the TV Championship.  Remember how I said I wouldn’t question the racial elements behind Big Show beating up all the black people last RAW?  Well I won’t question the racial elements of Devon being the only champion to have to continue defending his championship each Thursday.  Not at all.

Goofy gimmick aside, Robbie E (or T) is putting up a convincing battle against the veteran Devon.  It’s a common theme throughout this program, youthful indiscretion versus veteran experience, but it ended exactly how I figured it would: Devon wins.  Or, officially:

Devon defeats Robbie E (or T)

The ensuing brawl was odd.  Madison Rayne’s name being used was odd too.  This wasn’t a filler match so much as a necessary evil because they didn’t want to call it filler.  Yeah, I said it.  Commercials again, and I’m bored.  You know the latest rumor is that Rockstar Games is going to do sequels to Red Dead Redemption and Bully.  I’m a big fan of both but neither seems feasible, the former due to chronology, the latter due to sociology.  See, John Marston’s long road to redemption, fully equipped with horses and the musical stylings of Jose Gonzalez, took place in the early 1900s.  The old west was already dying at the time; where would you take Jack Marston?  The next logical step would be to venture into the Roarin’ Twenties era but that’s slowly creeping into L.A. Noire territory, even though that game took place in the late 1940s.

Alternatively you have Bully.  We have kids hoping off of bridges to escape bullying right now, do we really want Rockstar to deal with that kind of heat?  I’m just thinking out loud.

As we come back to commercials we have yet another recap, this time between the champion Roode and the challenger Sting.  I already hate the match so I won’t talk about this anymore.    Hogan (the good one, not the one with breasts) is back in the ring, to make the announcement none of us heard he was to make earlier, and now Mr. Kennedy, I mean Anderson, has come out.  Why, I don’t know.  He’s an asshole anyway; the microphone thing was cool at first but years later its novelty.

Also: someone screamed “Kennedy” earlier.  I laughed.  It was amusing.

What the hell, is Kennedy, I mean Anderson, supposed to be the Cena in this company?  He even sounds like him.  And kind of looks like him.  I remember when bin Laden was declared dead, it was Anderson who did TNA’s announcement of it.  Difference is Cena is fu… no, Cena isn’t funny.  Anderson isn’t either.

Now RVD is in the ring.  Now Jeff Hardy is being called to the ring.  For shits and giggles, guess what the three wrestlers have in common.  That’s right: they’re all on the bong!  They ain’t smoking that ganja Dixie Carter must have but look at Jeff’s face and tell me it isn’t as potent.

To be perfectly honest I don’t like the concept of Jeff Hardy getting a world title match.  He’s overrated to me, a man who knows how to fall with style.  And with… Hogan, you okay?  You sound very hoarse.  Is that his real voice?  He sounds like he’s straining.  Someone give that man some water, he didn’t just drop that mic for effect, he’s screaming too much…

So a three-way (I’d make a gay joke, but we need to Eliminate the Hate) between Anderson, Van Dam and Jeff Hardy is set for the PPV.  Winner goes against the winner of the Roode/Sting match, on Thursday.  Does any of this make sense to you?

Really, it does?  Then help me, because I’m the guy that’s managed to decipher some of the most complicated stories in Xenosaga, and this has me sucking my thumb like a paradoxical conundrum.  Oh, where’s Vince Russo when you need him?!

Oh Lord, am I really wishing for the return of Vince Russo?  This is not a good sign.

With fifteen minutes left we’re left to enjoy Christie Hemme’s undeniable sex appeal and hypnotic smile and flowing, fiery hair and… sorry, my mind wandered there.  What I meant to say is that we’re left to “enjoy” this six-man tag match between Christopher Daniels, Kazarian and the World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode against Kurt Angle, AJ Styles and Sting.  How did the Nostalgia Critic say it when he was criticizing The Room’s scene… ah, that’s right: “Recycled, retarded, rejected, next scene!”

Seriously, my hopes aren’t high for this match.  It’s the equivalent of Super Smash Brothers, just taking your franchise players and throwing them into a match together for the sheer fun of it.  This isn’t so much fun though.  Kazarian and Daniels were almost immediately put into the Scorpion Death Lock and Ankle Lock, not necessarily respectively, they all look the same when they’re face down on the mat.  We can start the where’s AJ chants now but since the main storyline has AJ and Dixie doing the boxspring boogie he’s busy pulling a John Witherspoon right now.  You know, there was a woman at the job that had him… he had to reverse it… if you don’t follow Eddie Murphy or Mr. Witherspoon this might be wasted on you but I’m just saying Carter might be hiding something special in them jeans.  I wouldn’t even assume this unless TNA was a hotbed for T and A.

The match is back and Daniels has the match in hand, taking on Sting.  Again, talented men, Smash Brothers style match.  If anything I see this as a chance for Daniels and Kazarian to shine.  Sting and Angle are the truest definitions of vets; their role should be to put over younger guys.  Daniels, Kazarian, Roode, Styles, they can benefit from their skill.

Three minutes left and Styles has reappeared.  Don’t need an explanation (just check the front of his pants for a stain).  The match becomes a minor spot fest and Sting beats Roode with the Death Lock.

Sting, Kurt Angle and AJ Styles defeat Bobby Roode, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes iMPACT for this day, the seventh of June in 2012.  Did I like the episode?  You might be surprised to know I’m far from complaining.

Sure, the storylines are more and more nonsensical, and it comes across as entertaining in spite of the intent rather than because of it, but it was surprisingly consistent this evening.  Stupidity abounds but it was entertaining stupidity, and much like The Room, that’s all you need to get a decent laugh in every now and then.  On a scale of one to five, a three.  Good night everybody; see you Monday for RAW (tomorrow I’ll be with family).  Blee!


The Scholar’s Adventure to Her First WWE Event: WWE RAW World Tour: Birmingham, Alabama.

wwe raw world tour-2012-image

After roughly a year of being introduced to the WWE Universe, learning the characters’ personas, story lines, skills, and athletic abilities, The Right Reverend Showtime presented me with tickets to WWE RAW World Tour in Birmingham.

After a couple of months of anxious waiting, the night finally arrived. Mr. Banks and I arrived in our fan wear; he in CM Punk’s merchandise, and me clad with Alberto Del Rio’s t-shirt and necklace. The Rt. Rev. refused to tell me where our seats were. I was so excited to actually go see a live event that I honestly didn’t care if we were sitting in the nosebleeds.

Arriving at the BJCC was a spectacle. A line had already begun to form at the doors, and we filed in toward the front. As the fellow fans arrived the audience itself was a major spectacle to me. I understand L.E.W.D’s mission to strive to present wrestling fans in a…better, thoughtful light, rather than the heard of rednecks hooting and hollering outside. But, I have to admit I enjoyed the display of Alabama’s varying walks of life . . .and the four-year old with a sign that read “ Somebody call my Mommy.”

In line in front of us was a little boy with his dad, who was very excited and bouncing around, and realistically, I was just as anxious!

In such a natural setting at a live WWE event, the wrestling fan, upon seeing someone wearing their favorite wrestler’s fan wear, automatically exchange looks, handshakes, or other civil demonstrations of approval.

The doors opened.

The crowd applauded.

I still haven’t been allowed to see where we are sitting. When we went inside, I learned that we are sitting on the floor. I was so excited. So we’re sitting there four rows back from the ring. The building gradually floods with people. There weren’t that many good signs like on Monday night RAW, but the crowd was intense. I’m not sure what The Rt. Rev. expected of my experience, but I was quickly submerged into the crowd’s excitement and hysteria.

As the stars came out, though I can’t wait to experience a live Monday Night RAW, I was just as enticed as when watching the show. These characters come out dripping with their personas and gimmicks.  My attention was captivated, and it was even better in person.

The matches were an interesting concept in person. I was afraid that when the stars came out, the magic was going to be disrupted by fake, choppy realism versus the deception of camera. I was not disappointed. I could see the athleticism and skill it took to make sure no one dies during a match. I also entirely doubt the rest of the world’s comments about how “fake” wrestling is after watching in person. You can’t fake a huge man plopping down off of the top rope onto another, smaller man.

I’m a little hesitant to admit this next segment of my first live wrestling adventure: I joined in with the women and children chanting for John Cena during his handicap match with Big Show & Tensai.

Mainly, I just don’t like Big Show right now because I feel like every week for the past month has been him either 1) Crying/Whining about something or 2) Kicking everyone in the ass like a beast.

There’s no in between for him [ at least during my viewership] .

But, my point is that live wrestling crowds are wonderful. Being a part of that crowd that I’ve seen on T.V. was so much fun. The mass hysteria about these characters spreads like wildfire. Watching at home and deciding I don’t like a character is one thing, but to be in a crowd of people who don’t like that star either and will boo or cheer was empowering. In this audience, our opinions of them mattered. WE were the fans for which they perform.

My favorite match was a tie between the John Cena vs. Big Show & Tensai and the No Disqualification match between C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan. I hate Daniel Bryan because he looks like a leprechaun. I do not care how “great” of a wrestler he is, I don’t like his character.

The C.M. Punk match really got me riled up; because I love the matches where anything goes. Watching someone get hit with a chair in person is terrible. I had to close my eyes a couple of times.

I didn’t realize how much the crowd influences who wins these matches. Maybe the World Tour is a little different because they are swaying results based on what the people want, but I wonder about that theory in relation to actual live filming/pay per views/ WrestleMania.

How involved of a fan was I? Well, I was hoarse after the show and the next day. The experience was to die for. I can’t wait to go again, and have a chance to see a pay-per-view or Live Monday Night RAW or SmackDown. (Maybe I’ll actually get to see Alberto Del Rio one day).


The TNA Apologist: Ratings Matter vs zOMG! Tehh Rayteengs Thayyy Duuu Kn0t Mater!

Headline got your attention, eh?

I figured as much. Before all 15 TNA fans out there in the interwebs call for my balls roasted on a spit, let me start out by saying that this is NOT a TNA bashing column.

Recently my journalistic integrity was called into question, as is usually the case at least a couple dozen times throughout the course of one’s writing career. My analytical approach to wrestling was deemed “WWE biased” by the distinguished head of another wrestling site who also subtly laid down an accusation that all writers here at L.E.W.D. Central are cookie cutter variations of the same exact thing.

My answer to this has manifested itself in the form of The TNA Apologist, a weekly column that will see me attempt to dispel exaggerated rumors of my flagrant WWE bias and contempt for TNA and their product. While it is no secret that I am loyal and partial to my preferred brand of wrestling in WWE, I have never nor will I ever desire the immediate death of Dixie Carter’s chuga-chuga-choo choo train in Orlando.

Competition, as I have stated in numerous pieces in the past, is the catalyst for excellent businesses and products. In a truly competitive war between wrestling companies the ultimate winners are the fans, as has been pointed out ad-nauseum by proponents of the original Monday Night Wars between WWE and Ted Turner’s infamous WCW.

What many fans tend to mention briefly but ultimately overlook is the role that ratings played in the Wars. If you strip away all the talent coups, defections, potshots and other nefarious byproducts of this epic battle of wrestling promotions, the ultimate catalyst for change came in the form of ratings, with these wayward numbers being the one and only statistic that wrestling fans have ultimate and complete control over.

Vince McMahon and Dixie Carter can do everything shy of murder and pornography on live television (lest we overlook things like Orlando Jordan’s caution tape and Triple H performing staged necrophilia with a mannequin in a casket) to get viewers to tune into their weekly television shows, buy their PPVs and shill out cash for their merchandise.  Ultimately the fans are the ones that have to make that decision to switch over to the USA Network on Mondays, Spike TV on Thursdays and the SyFy Network on Fridays.

This is why both WWE and TNA so shamelessly plug social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and often make illogical booking decisions to please fickle fans.

When Vince McMahon made the statement that “Fans know what they like but they don’t know what they want”, he was giving a rare insight into why things are done in WWE the way they are done.

The one constant with McMahon’s empire is that he’s steadily taken calculated risks and rolled with the punches. For every failed dingbat project like the XFL, VKM has had a WrestleMania to remind everyone why he’s the king of the mountain in the professional wrestling world.

If you look on the infamous “dirt sheet” sites on the internet (there are hundreds of them), you’ll often see people like us here at L.E.W.D. Central analyzing and arguing things. While we remind ourselves and our readers often that we have nothing more than speculative knowledge and educated guesses, a frightening majority of these so-called journalists overstep their boundaries and try to pass themselves off as industry insiders because they score an interview or two or have “inside sources.”

People like Josh Isenberg, who literally exist for the sole purpose of doggedly finding at least three things to dump their asses all over for every show of every wrestling company putting a product out in the industry today.

Fans like him are one of the biggest problems we have in the industry. Fans that do NOT seek to be entertained but simply to have something to whine about. These people are excellent examples of the cliche statement “You can’t please everyone,” and should be treated as such.

How does this tie in with TNA?

Well, that’s where the title of this piece comes into play.  If you’ve stuck with me this long, I thank you profusely and ask that you lend me just a little bit more of your time as I take you on an odyssey into the mindset of a TNA Apologist.

The mindset of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling since their arrival in the professional wrestling industry in 2002. Also the current mindset of the product ten years later in 2012.

Aside from the blatantly insulting nature of this photo and the subsequent caption that goes with it, it’s hard to say that this isn’t a relatable example of the TNA mindset.

Outside of all the other criticisms of the product (and there’s plenty to be unhappy with), the most time tested flaw and one that hasn’t been addressed after ten years in existence is TNA’s inability to move ratings.

There are a lot of potential reasons for this but this is called the TNA Apologist for a reason so let’s delve into the opposing mindsets of a Wrestling Analyst vs an Apologist fan.

TNA Apologist: zOMG! Tehh Rayteengs Theey Duuuuu Kn0t Mater! (Spelling is not indicative of all TNA Apologists, just the majority of the more vocal ones.)

Argument: The Nielsen ratings system is an outdated set of statistics and is not indicative of TNA’s overall success as the vast majority of people use DVR to record the show or watch online via live streams.

Here’s the big problem with that apologetic mindset.

If I can’t say that TNA is struggling based on their ratings, you can’t say they’re succeeding based on DVR and internet streams.

Until someone comes up with a way to accurately track the average number of people who program their DVR features to record TNA Impact Wrestling and those who utilize the internet to catch the show because they don’t have TV sets or cable/satellite service, the entire argument is null and void.

In fact, the entire thing is as pointless as the endless debate to be had over TNA’s financial woes. If I can’t say the company is in debt because of their noticeably poor revenue strategies, then how can you turn around and tell me they’re succeeding? In the end, TNA is a private company with no public figures so it’s all a big stalemate.

The fact of the matter is that ratings do matter. I don’t need a set of financial records or insider knowledge to tell you that. Look at any TV show that is currently succeeding on the air today and you’ll see that the ratings are the measuring stick. A highly rated show is picked up for more seasons and continues to produce regular episodes.

A poorly written or produced show that doesn’t draw is deemed a failure and is cut to save costs. After all, why pay a bunch of money and spend preciously limited airtime on a show that isn’t paying off?

Want an example of how much ratings matter?

Fox aired a show about ten years ago called Firefly. This brilliantly produced Sci-Fi Western hybrid was a product from the mind of Joss Whedon, who I can say with much bias is an absolute genius. (If you’re unfamiliar with his work, he’s the mind behind critically acclaimed shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel and most recently directed the blockbuster hit The Avengers.)

If you have never seen Firefly, I encourage you to pick up the whole series at Walmart for 30 bucks and watch it, as it only ran for 11 episodes on TV (with three unaired episodes being included in the DVD package) despite being plotted out to run for seven years.

Despite being an amazingly well-written show and highly unique and original, Fox cancelled it on the basis of low ratings.

The largest reason for the low rating stemmed from Fox’s refusal to air the original one hour pilot episode that introduced and established all of the show’s main characters and their airing of the episodes out of order, leaving many fans who tuned in out of touch and disillusioned with what seemed to be a disorganized mess.

Fast forward years later and it has developed a cult following, as the show amassed a loyal fan base before its cancellation that only grew once people discovered the DVD set and were able to see the show in the proper order with the appropriate pilot episode.

In fact, Firefly is the only cancelled television series in history to receive a feature film, Serenity, entirely based on insistence from fans who wanted to see plot points tied up and completed.

To get back on track, Firefly is the perfect example of a good show that was killed off prematurely based entirely on ratings. Though that was a decade ago, that mindset has most definitely not changed as of this writing. Go ask anyone who works on a TV network that knows about the production of television shows and they’ll tell you: Ratings matter.

Despite this, TNA Apologists still regularly argue that ratings are a foolish way to judge Impact Wrestling‘s success or lack thereof.

At the end of the day, if nothing else I’ve said regarding this flawed mindset has convinced you, I need only point out that the second WWE scores a below average TV rating or when TNA puts out an above average figure, the argument is immediately flipped around and focused on.

Now for the opposing mindset. Should analytical fans of TNA’s product adopt this line of thinking over the apologist route, perhaps Dixie Carter’s company might be further along today.

Wrestling Analyst: TNA’s inability to move ratings coupled with their lack of a steady stream of reliable income and positioning on a fledgeling network should be cause for concern after ten years in existence.

It CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be argued that the IWC has a powerful voice in wrestling because simply put, it doesn’t. Wrestling companies are never going to book specifically for smart fans and analysts and the sooner people accept that, the better off they’ll be. Referring back to Josh Isenberg again, the only reason he has a writing gig with a wrestling website is because people that take themselves far too seriously treat his opinion as something that should be taken seriously.

I can only speak for myself but I’m fully aware that not only is my opinion reflective only of my own beliefs and likes but that I can’t expect WWE or TNA to please me every week because I’m not a casual fan.

The real target audience of these two companies will always be the casual wrestling fan who enjoys turning on the shows and watching the storylines. These fans (aside from the children) are almost always aware that wrestling is scripted but tune in for the drama and in-ring action and have a very kayfabe sense of analysis, as one would have with any other TV drama.

The fact is, most casual fans are either not aware of TNA Impact Wrestling or not interested in the show, largely due to any one of numerous valid issues with the execution of the product.

To argue that ratings are not important is a complete fallacy and if one wishes to call oneself a true wrestling analyst, it is that person’s responsibility to not blindly excuse a company’s faults and make excuses for their lack of progress.

It’s easy to blame TNA Impact Wrestling LIVE’s initial low rating (a 0.89) on the NBA playoffs and the new timeslot or what have you but at the end of the day, should the blame not be placed on TNA for poor timing in the debut of their live product? Between the Playoffs, the 2012 Summer Olympics and a longstanding trend of minimally low television ratings, was it the wisest move for TNA and Spike TV to make this big move during the summer season?

The smart money says no.

With a history of weak ratings and two huge sports draws occupying space at the beginning and for the duration of the summer season, it was definitely not a smart move to make such a major change with such stringent variables overshadowing it.

This was no more a smart move than it would be to air commercials encouraging people to purchase brand new racing motorcycles during winter in Wisconsin.

If you’re a true wrestling analyst and you really want TNA to succeed, stop making excuses for poor decision making. The only real way for TNA to get ahead is to get out and tour, to start earning money at ticket gates instead of having to use free admission because of placement at Universal Studios.  To graduate to a more profitable network with a larger viewership where the product can combine with touring to spread awareness and raise overall numbers.

At the end of the day, ratings DO matter. But TNA isn’t going to change diddly squat as long as there are fans out there that butter up turds and try to pass them off as tacos.

Much like the picture at the beginning illustrated, TNA is approaching their Ten Year Anniversary and it’s time for them to graduate to “High School” where grades (ratings) matter.

Until the poor writing and disillusionment with casual fans is addressed, you won’t convince people to stay tuned into a product that frequently gives mental whiplash, frustration and annoyance paired with solid ring work.

That’s just not a smart equation. Don’t be an apologist. Much like the ratings exemplified fan dissatisfaction with the WWE during the outset of the Monday Night Wars, so too is the case with TNA. If you want the product to improve than simply tune into Spike TV at 8pm on Thursday night and check out their live product and give your honest feedback.

Do NOT be a “Barbershopwindow” type fan.

Until next week, this has been the TNA Apologist and you’ve been schooled.


Me Talking About Wrestling: RAW 6/4/2012

Well, well… is that our little author?

–Lupe Fiasco, Shining Down

Welcome back!  Controversy and assholes aside (I’m talking to YOU, Adrian!), today we celebrate hitting 10,000 views!  WOOO!

Tonight’s Theme: One-Word Exclamations

Okay, now that the pageantry is out of the way, let’s get back to the wrestling.  9:02 PM and we’re talking about the Big Show’s violent display of violence, as well as a subtle sadistic streak.  Standard.  Not boring but predictable.  Cut to the live show and here’s Cole, in the ring, about to put on his best faux-Lance Storm impersonation as he talks about the Big Show and invites John Cena out, blaming him for the Big Show’s actions.  Meh, could be worse.  Could be better to.  At this point watching the WWE product is getting to be a would-be fun game of connect the dots.  I could be watching E3 coverage right now; subsequently Adam Sessler is one of my heroes, right up there with Morgan Freeman and the Green Lantern.  John Stewart Green Lantern, not Hal Jordan or Alan Scott.  You know Alan Scott was just revealed as gay?  He’s arguably the most powerful character in Earth 2.  That’s interesting.  I wonder how many hyper conservative… oh wait, Cole is still talking.

This dull.  Promos are an art form and I’m watching it get squandered.  Cole accuses Cena of mess, Cena drops some motivational, “Never say die!” lines and this has been done before.  I’m bored.  Let’s talk about E3 a little bit.  Microsoft had the first press conference, and I have to say: I was less than impressed.  It was okay but being a first party company they have to appeal to a wider audience with their reliable little black box.  Hence: media wonderland. Halo 4was given proper time and even looked a little impressive.  Later on we had the Electronic Arts press conference and I can say with total transparency that I cannot STAND Electronic Arts; not the Sports division at least, I… THEY’RE STILL TALKING?!  What the hell, it’s 9:09 and it feels like they’ve been going forever!  Cole is taking pot shots at Cena but who cares?  Yes, Cena’s heart isn’t in it anymore, you hope Big Show beats him up, big deal, big whoop!

Oh boy, here comes Big Johnny… still in his scooter.  To his credit, I love how he continually introduces himself with “My name is John Laurinaitis.  I am the General Manager of RAW and SmackDown” and I like how he’s still so wooden and deliciously (pause…) evil.  Cena can pick his opponent.  “Gee,” I say in my sarcastic voice, “who is he going to fight?”

MICHAEL COLE?!  Sarcastic gasps all around.  Jesus, I really COULD be watching E3 stuff or playing The Witcher.  I have to say, that’s quite a game.  Difficult as all hell.  Wait, Cole is crying.  Begging for Johnny to save him but Johnny did kind of just leave him with a metaphorical “piss off” just now.  Touche.  Johnny Ace maintains his status as one of the few consistently interesting things about the WWE right now.

Commercials.  That’s a pause from writing.  If you didn’t catch on yet, I write these in real time, hence the swiftness and conversational humor.  Sidenote: why did the match up cards have Kane’s on fire?  I understand the why mind you but it was so out of place and tacky.  I don’t know about you, but tacky is something I don’t do, a result of my affiliations.

Ah, and at 9:19 we’re back, and Johnny Ace is still an ass.  Cole is still screwed.  Funny, but meh.  Meh is to me what “Hah?!” is to Kanye West. Anyway, welcome to the scene, Lady Guerrero.  While I eagerly await the RAW or SmackDown debut of her daughter (*drool*…) I can still drool at Vickie’s fine ass as she continues to manager Ziggler as we go into the match between him and World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus.

Like the SmackDown from Friday, I’m impressed by the physical matches that they two are capable of creating; I was certainly pleased as you can tell from the previous one.  Ziggler manages to properly support the monicker of “Show Off” as he gets out of situations and around trouble.  Sheamus sells his role as a brawler and, possibly, short tempered.  I say possibly because Vickie would drive a lot of us to losing our temper; how that would manifest is anyone’s guess (I know how it would manifest with me, HAH?!) but Sheamus’ character is meh.

If I didn’t say it before I will now: I really appreciate the “kid with something to prove” angle they’re playing with for Ziggler; I KNOW I said he’s probably who I want to see in the world title hunt more than anyone right now.  It gives his talent a proper backdrop and Sheamus is a perfect challenge for that right now, one hand because he’s big, one another because he’s the champion he’ll likely have to face in the near future (at least I HOPE near future) and he comes across as a little engine that could… can… does… did… meh.  Wait, let me Kanye that up: MEH?!

And with a relatively smooth White Noise from Sheamus the match is in the last stages.  A deadly foot to the face lays out the scrappy competitor and Vickie screams in disappointment as the Show Off takes another L.  Great job, Yung Berg…

Sheamus defeats Dolph Ziggler

On his way out, here come the Mexicans.  Del Rio and Rodriguez ambuh the living jar of mayonnaise and the former tries to dismantle the champion’s arm.  The crowd boos, Rodriguez stares suspiciously hard at Del Rio’s chest and we have the referees tend to a fallen champion.  Yawn worthy, sarcastic “meh” worthy.  You know we’ve seen it all before.  As we come to commercials again, let’s talk E3 a little more.  You know what really looked smooth to me?  Splinter Cell.  Never been much of a fan of the series but when that game is played as crisply as it was on stage… it’s HAH?!  and MEH?! worthy all at the same time.  Tom Clancy has to be a very rich man.  Besides that, the game doesn’t seem to be falling into this new trap of every game having co-op.  I’m not against it but adding multiplayer to games that are traditionally single-player campaigns.

Actually that reminds me of Kane and Lynch.  Terrible franchise thus far.  Making a movie.  Bruce Willis is signed on to play Kane.  You won’t believe who is supposed to be playing Lynch.  No really, you won’t.  Here’s your hint: same guy starring in Django Unleashed, a new Tarantino flick being developed as we speak.  Go ahead, true gaming believers, check it out.

Show’s back.  Don’t know who Tattoo is over here but Johnny and Otunga are speaking, McMahon is apparently returning to RAW next week to evaluate Laurinaitis’ job performance, Cole is trying to justify his match through it and now we have our buddy Sin Cara coming out, again in red, NOT again with an opponent who is already out.

Oh lookee here, it’s Hunico and the Samoan.  Who remembers the Sin Cara v. Sin Cara rivalry from before?  I do.  I like how well this match can go even more.  These two aren’t apparently friends (citation needed) but they’re both excellent competitors.  This match is  already a thrill to watch, and it goes along with my point of Sin Cara needing opponents that can help his talent show.  He does a lot of Hurricaranas for my taste, mind you, but… well, you know my personal Kanye-ism.  The faceless one wins again, against his old doppleganger, and despite Lawler’s lie about Sin Cara having many moves (might be very well true but I haven’t seen em) we can say with total honesty:

Sin Cara defeates Hunico

Next match is going to be Ryback again.  That means someone is about to be defenestrated through an invisible window and somewhere, in the annals of cyberspace, someone else is planning on making a fake Ryback entrance video with Goldberg’s WCW music and adlibs.  I suggest John Williams’ orchestral sound geniuses be interspersed throughout the video and the sound of pyro be replaced with the wilhelm scream.

Back to the show, kind of.  Who else is stoked for the 1000th episode of RAW coming up next month?

No one?

Just me?

Yeah, that’s right, I’m excited.  Then again, I’m excited for everything.  Introducing two skinny sacrifices to the ghost of Goldberg past: a man of alliteration for a name and a straight Jew (check the nose; joking, it’s the name).  Ever read The Last Werewolf?  Yeah, Ryback’s nameless opponents seem like the people Ryback eats.  Another two-on-one match; I can say I miss the backstage segments where people watch these segments in shock and awe.  Now the sadist in all of us is just being fed more and more.  The double clothesline was fun to watch, as is the march, but I’m slowly starting to get bored by this.  I think the point has been made: he’s an unstoppable monster that eats emaciated amateurs.  Now he can be developed as an unstoppable monster that eats mid-card jobbers.  I see Zack Ryder amongst these unfortunate jerks.

Someone asked me after the last piece what my problem with Zack Ryder is.  I was honest; he’s to me what Damian Sandow is to another writer on this great blog.  Nothing about Ryder sticks out to me outside of the fact that he’s second fiddle to someone better, usually a champion.  John Cena.  Santino Marella.  We all love Santino and his submarine sandwich antics, but when you’re playing second fiddle to him you KNOW something is up.  Nothing but love for the man, mind you, but still…

Nearly 10:00 and we have our first main event (that’s what I call it) with CM Punk and his match with the incomparable (…meh…?) Kane.  The funny thing is I think a proper one-on-one between CM Punk and Kane can be very good.  Daniel Bryan’s arrival, complete with the patented “YES!  YES!  YES!” chant pleases me, and if he’s going to be on commentary I’m overjoyed.  No?  Just taking the microphone and talking shit?  Equally good.  Question and Answer Time with Daniel Bryan?  Yes.  About AJ?  YES!  YES!  YES!  Let’s add another one-syllable exclamation of being to the fray, shall we?  We got “Meh?! from me, “Hah?!” from Yeezy and “Yes!” from Bryan Danielson.  Maybe that’s the theme for this piece.  It’ll go up there near the top when I’m finished.

Oh, Bryan IS sticking around, commentary questionable.  In any case, we must remember that since the last match ended in a DQ, this match is a rematch that “must have a winner”.  Now since the last match was a WWE Title match and then this one should have to be as well, right?  Wrong.  There just must be a winner.  Way to keep continuity in check, Creative.  I mean, ADRIAN!

Like I said in the paragraph before the last, these two can put on a great match and they’re putting on something worth watching right now, so in the most basic (and let me stress that: BASIC) sense, that makes the show something of a big-budget ROH.  The action in ROH is always top notch, high quality, near perfection and all that but the stories and all are… I’ll go with “meh”.  “Hah” is too excitable and “Yes!” is a contradiction.

Allow me to say that it is funny to see Kane put a leg scissors on something smaller than him too.  On that note we go to commercials.  10:08, I’ll resume writing when the show comes back on.  Stay tuned.  This is live action writing as its most competent!

10:12.  Back.  Kane in control and I’m still hyped off of E3, reading on the Sony (another first party developer) highlights on a live blog.  Check it, I still don’t know what Kane’s role in the WWE Title hunt is, but I still don’t like it.  I’d rather he was just a regular opponent for the Straight Edge competitor.  We’re winding down.  The tribute to Randy Savage (my personal favorite wrestler ever) lands but the match continues (not familiar in the least; insert sarcastic “hah”) and Daniel Bryan comes in and messes with Punk.  Okay, that was “Yes!” worthy.  I missed AJ’s appearance but Lord knows I didn’t miss her twice.

Kane turns around, finally someone with the nerve to use the Titantron to their advantage and stalks the woman.  Bryan intervenes, adding that perfect dimension of confusing love to the story.  And AJ’s suddenly wet panties properly establishes her as being turned on by guys that beat up other guys.  There’s a name for that, but I don’t want to reach for the Lita angle, if only because implied rape wouldn’t fly in this PG era of the WWE; circumstantially, neither would a woman falling for a bully.  But hey, Be A Star!  Oh, sorry, forgot the bold.

Kane defeats CM Punk

This is quite the love triangle/angle/circle/line/dot thing.  Bryan is a dick who doesn’t know how to love (*cue awful Lil Wayne track*), Punk is just a guy that digs crazy chicks (hey, we’re all guilty of it…), AJ is a sadomasochist and Kane is the confused junkyard dog who doesn’t know anything outside of eating, fornicating and executing violent acts of viciousness.

Back to the show, crazy AJ is being interviewed by a man who I thought was dead and gone.  Scratch that sadomasochist bit, she’s in the same category as Eve: she’s just very aggressive… and still crazy.  What’s this?  Arousal?  Yes, arousal.  AJ has me aroused; and no, that’s not just some sexual term, I mean I’m literally intrigued and attracted to this character.

Wait, pause… what the fuck is this?  Why is Michael Cole doing a heartfelt “Save the Babies!” telethon type of mess?  He has a match with John Cena, and while none of us want to see this, it happens.  Let’s go back to sexy AJ and her aggressive and crazy behavior.  Makes me happy.  Should make you happy too!

Big Show Interview (Controversial Words, Part 2)

Come on.  Lesnar did it and he was kind of funny.  They even use the same line: “I am NOT an entertainer.  I’m a (insert noun here).”  Maybe this is leading to something greater, I don’t know.  Doesn’t matter right now.  Our next match is a tag match with our tag champions R-Truth and Kofi Kingston (and Little Jimmy (?)).  Kofi Kingston is probably number two on my list of guys I want to see in the main title hunt.  A Punk/Bryan rivalry between him and Ziggler might be very interesting.  They have contrasting styles and tremendous talent, the both of them, so now, with the top stars in the company about to take their vacations (or suspensions (or arrests)) this could be a perfect time for Ziggler to shine.  Kingston is still deeply intertwined in the tag division.

Oh, show is back and the match is already on: guess that means the champs are destined to win.  The opponents are Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins.  Kofi Kingston is getting a nice reaction from the crowd and Truth does too, when he dances.  I feel like this match is a throwaway, so let’s enjoy the commentary between King and Cole while we watch the actual match.  Cole’s pleas for the match to be canceled have me smiling (about halfway to “Hah?!”) while the actual match has me “Meh”.  It’s no secret I’ve never been too big on tag team conflicts; they have to be very interesting to keep me totally entertained.

Wow.  That was quite a decent back and forth.  This actually has been a decent good match.  Again Kofi nails the Trouble in Paradise again, which looks as deadly as the Broque Kick when it needs to.  Bravo.  Prophecy fulfilled.

Kofi Kingston and R-Truth defeat Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins

And now we only got one more to go: Cena and Cole.  Yawn worthy?  Probably not.  But in the meantime, Sony’s E3 press conference has had a couple of hits.  HTC is announced as the company’s first non-Sony partner, some classic games are getting the Vita treatment and I stand by my claim that Sony NEEDS to get exclusive content for their versions of games so things will sell.  Don’t recall where I read it but apparently the Xbox accounts for half of all current gen consoles being played right now.  That means the Wii is in second and the PS3 is on the tail end.  Guess that hesitation to drop the price really came back to bite you in the ass, eh Sony?  Yeah, Far Cry 3 is getting exclusive content but guess what: Xbox is still gonna sell without it.  I contend that Sony’s true strength lies in their homebrewed characters and franchises.  God of War, Sly Cooper, Uncharted, InFamous, THOSE are the big names you lean on, not trying to boost sales based off of losing to the Microsoft conglomerate.

But we’re at the last match.  Not sure when the Big Show is gonna show up but here’s Cena and here’s our friend in the scooter again, who has been “thinking” about this match.  Now its No DQ and here comes… Tensai.

Remember how excited you were when you forgot that Lord Tensai was on the roster?  Sorry, now its just Tensai apparently.  We didn’t give the slightest shit about Tensai when he was Albert or A-Train so why should we care now?  His skills have improved but he’s still Albert with new tattoos and a Japanese worshiper.  Sakamoto’s interventions have more personality, and calling the dude Sakamoto is already pretty racially insensitive as it is.  Not as racially insensitive as, say, having a big white guy obliterate three black people based on the sheer fact that they had a match after his initial termination, but hey, what do I know? The dude ain’t in Paris but he’s going gorillas, HAH?!

You know what?  That IS fun to just scream out loud in a nasally voice.  Go ahead, give it a try.  Take the following terms and scream them out in a loud comically exaggerated voice.  “HAH?!” “WINNING!” “BOOTY MEAT!” It’s fun, I promise.

To New Albert’s credit, he plays the scary big man well, but I don’t feel like he’s getting over with the fans.  I don’t see him winning this match (its 10:53) but with John Cena–

OH!  Cole smacked Cena, THAT was the hit of the night!  That was hilarious, and perfect, and Cole is right, a lot of us DO want to do that to Cena.  Foolish move yes, but I’m entertained!  HAH?!

10:55, five moves of doom time, Cena’s inevitable victory, Cole’s minor punishment and finally Big Show’s appearance to punch Cena in the face.  I think that’s what’s going to happen.  Since I write this in real time I don’t backspace so if I’m wrong I keep writing.  Play by play time!

10:57 Cole tries to run through the crowd.  Cena catches him.  Give him a noogie.  Cole goes flying back over barricade

10:58 Thrown back into ring.  Cole has microphone.  About to beg for his life.  Cena looks amused.  We (and by we I mean me) are not amused.  Reminds me of Ernest Miller v. Bam Bam Bigelow.  “YOU MY HERO!”

10:59 Cole wanna shake hands.  Now he’s puffing his chest.  Taking off his tie.  Got a De Niro thing going on.  Somewhere I swear Cole sees Big Show, I swear…

11:00 Cole pokes Cena’s chest.  Cena says he’s gonna kick Cole’s ass.  Smacks his chest.  Cole’s pants are gone; none of us are pleased by this.

11:01 Cena stomped Cole’s nuts.  Still not pleased.  Cena about to smack Cole again.  Referee himself looks surprised and in pain by it.  Cena validates Lawler.  Making Cole apologize.  Cole does apologize.  Cole is such a bitch…

11:02 Cena making Cole apologize to Good Ol’ JR.  Since I like JR I appreciate this.  REALLY taken back to Cat vs. Bam Bam.  “YOU MY HERO!”  Wait… making Cole say he likes JR’s BBQ sauce… that’s lame.

11:03 Lawler has bottle of JR’s BBQ sauce just arbitrarily around.  That’s kinda weak, but okay… Cena hits Cole with the microphone.  Now Cena wastes perfectly good BBQ sauce on a human being.

11:04 It was hot sauce.  Okay?  Cena has fire extinguisher.  Sprays Cole.  Still not amused.  Intrigued but not amused.  Time for the Attitude Adjustment.  Cena has BBQ sauce on his back.  Tensai comes back and kill Cena.  Technically match isn’t over.

11:05 Cole pins Cena but only gets a two count.  Now we have a match going on… why?  Cole takes fire extinguisher.

11:06 Misses.  Cena gets Attitude Adjustment off.  Cole dead.  Cena wins two matches in a row (pay attention to these things).  Haven’t seen Big Show yet so I’m sad, but screw it.

11:07 Lawler talks us out.  Reminds us of McMahon’s return on RAW next week.  Cena sprays Cole some more.  Still no Big Show.  Lame…

And there’s RAW, June 4th 2012 edition.  On a scale of one to four, I say between three and four, closer to the four because of the in-ring action.  Story wise nothing was pushed along really.  Tensai’s appearance was stupid and unnecessary but when has he been necessary in the last few months?  And in Albert’s case: years?  Good night everybody!


Me Talking About Wrestling: SmackDown 6/1/2012

Sheamus talks about Laurinaitis and Alberto Del Rio, and again, I’m un-enthused.  The match has potential to be entertaining but the promos leading up to it have been dull.  SmackDown is the better show in terms of… okay, I don’t think SmackDown is the better show, but it’s worth noting that while RAW is going to be three hours standard, SmackDown always feels like it’s three hours long, and I’m not sure if that’s boredom or action packing.  Nearly an hour in at this point (I’m writing this in a very non-linear fashion) it feels like I’ve been watching for an hour and a half.  Can’t say I’m looking forward to a WWE Title match between CM Punk and Kane.  I don’t see the point…

Oh well, let’s get to me talking about wrestling.  Tonight’s theme: Ethnic Cleansing.

Sin Cara defeats Heath Slater

Is Sin Cara an acquired taste?  I can’t deny that the man is talented but I compare being a fan of him to being a fan of Nicki Minaj.  She’s pretty, has the potential to rap and has undeniable appeal, but I’ve just never been one to get behind her.  I can’t get on the bandwagon.  My feelings are the same with Sin Cara.  He comes to the ring in red attire, the trampoline is gone, and he easily defeats Heath Slater with lucha libre that looked more like a collection of hits than a coherent piece.  I suppose the biggest disappointment was the ending, but what do you expect?  He shows no signs of ring rust so much as unfamiliarity with the WWE style of wrestling.  Normally I’d applaud this, but watching it play out, I can say I appreciate the way they push said style on new people when they come in.  End of the day, I like Sin Cara but I don’t know when he’ll impress me.  Maybe when he’s given a proper opponent again.

Oh, and P.S.: Slater isn’t getting entrances.  What’s up with that?

Damian Sandow defeats Ezekiel Jackson

Credit where credit is due, Ash: Sandow bores me.  Not his character: the gimmick CAN work, but when I’m watching his matches I find myself… not watching.  I don’t like his color scheme.  I don’t like his contradictory attitude.  Why be a wrestler when you don’t want to dirty your hands with the unenlightened?  And more than that, why does he seem to only pick on ethnic minorities?  Asians.  South Americans.  Soon enough it’ll be your mother, and then shit is gonna hit the fan.  The match was blah.  The ending was standard.  Sandow still looks like a fruitcake when he does his stupid cartwheel and maybe it’s only appropriate that he seemed to have a little boner after being on some of another man.  Maybe it was just the pink and purple.

Fruity pants…

You’re welcome.

Ryback kills defeats Ryan Shelton and Chris Lyons

What’s the point of pyro when everybody can’t see it…?  Anyway, Ryan Shelton and Chris Lyons, University of Alabama idiots in LSU country, were swiftly murdered by New Goldberg.  What’s there to say?  All we’ve been given lately is Ryback leaving jobbers in pieces, and you know what?  I love it.  He’s a straight killer with a limited vocabulary and a tendency to get rid of waste.  “FEED ME MORE!” is going to be as catchy as “YES!”, or even… “WHO’S NEXT?!”  Hell, it’s damn near the same thing.  Meh, what do I know?  I’m just talking about wrestling.

RAW Flashback: Big Show’s Ethnic Cleansing

Okay, I’ll be the conspiracy theorist: the Big Show beat up two black guys and an African on RAW last Monday while two fine sistas were in the ring cowering and hugging each other.  Big Show beat up Brodus Clay first, then the first new arrival of Kofi Kingston, then the final arrival of R-Truth, leaving them all in a mess where the commentator’s sat.  I won’t call this a Klan moment, but I will say it’s suspect that all the black people are victorious or dismantled at the same time when it comes to the WWE programs. I’m just saying…

Oh, and I’m not looking forward to Big Show v. John Cena in a Steel Cage.  I contend that McMahon always likes a big monster character, but Big Show in the role bores me.  Meh.

Sheamus defeats Dolph Ziggler

Gasp.  Dolph Ziggler is finally getting his time in the sun.  There are a few mid-card stars I’ve been waiting for to get this push, and Dolph is one of them, arguably the top one.  It’s so easy to forget that Ziggler is a one-time world champion once (for 11 and a half minutes) but with the suspensions and injuries and old ages of the top stars right now, it’s time to let some of the new guys and mid-cards shine a bit.  Ziggler.  Kingston.  Rhodes.  You know, people that could benefit from the absence of Superman and the Punisher.

The match itself is impressive; that surprises me.  When not distracted by Vickie and, to paraphrase Rich Boy (who?), dat ass, the Superstars in the ring are putting on a terrific back and forth where Sheamus displays the qualities of a brawler and Ziggler the qualities of a show off with a chip on his shoulder.  At the same time, he looks vulnerable and sneaky.  Story wise, it’s good that Ziggler is becoming a character out to make a name for himself.  Conspiracy wise, it’s interesting that he’s going between Mexicans to get his breaks, but again, I’m not a conspiracy theorist.

This match is getting time, good time, which I honestly didn’t expect.  The top rope X-Factor was actually very, VERY beautiful to watch and did add drama to the match.  Sheamus’ win was hardly surprising, but what Swagger’s interruption added was validity to Ziggler’s growing status, and the Broque Kick that dude caught (and sold) was vicious.  Kudos.  On a scale of one to five, I give this match a four.  Not that it matters.  This is like Whose Line.  The points don’t matter.

Santino Marella and Zack Ryder defeat Titus O’Neil and Darren Young (Primetime Players (or Playas (or Playaz)))

Again, I am NOT a fan of Zack Ryder.  I don’t see the appeal; unlike Sin Cara, however, I can take or leave Long Island Iced Z because he’s a whipping boy for no reason.  He represents making a name for yourself with literally nothing and then getting blasted and sent back to the minors like a Major League extra.  He’s well enough in the ring but I don’t care–

Okay, I didn’t even finish that paragraph before the match was over.  Not surprised.  Stupid match and–

Big Show!  He comes out, beats up Santino and as he stalks Zack Ryder, I’m reminded of when Kane made Ryder his bitch much like Lesnar made Shannon Moore his bitch.  I’m a praying man, and I’m praying that Big Show makes Ryder have to travel in a wheelchair and stormtrooper equipment again.  Ah, good times.  Good times.  Go ahead, Show, destroy Ryder.  Punish him as a herald of Vince Galactus, who obviously has some kind of beef with the guy.  I don’t like Ryder but I’m not destroying him and trying to give him gonorrhea either.  You can get that from administrating head, right?

And now Marella.  I guess destroying a champion is more significant that a peon.  I don’t know why Big Show is going around beating people senseless; I think the tragic villain angle would be much more fulfilling, but I don’t know and at this point words are wasted on the creative team of the WWE.  I have a better question: where’d Primetime Players (Playas(Playaz)) run off to?  Just like black people, running like Cryme Tyme did, that’s some ol’ bullshit…

Time Out for Gaiden

A gaiden is a sidestory.  Now you know.

Wow.  You know Daniel Bryan’s mind games with the lunatic AJ might be the most interesting thing in the WWE right now.  It’s almost scary.  I enjoy it.  You should to.

Cody Rhodes defeats Tyson Kidd

Another unfortunate character who didn’t get an entrance.  Tyson Kidd is a talent but oh well.  With Christian at ringside, we have the concept of more story, but what’s more impressive is the actual decent match going on here.  Far from a long match, and far from predictable, Tyson Kidd and Cody Rhodes did put on a respectable back and forth that established further that Rhodes wants his belt back.  Christian, in his best Indiana Jones sidekick attire, has no issue standing toe to toe with the American Dream’s night terror.

Hey, you know what else is cool?  Christian is a Grand Slam champ.  Edge isn’t.  At this point I’m not even sure if he had the opportunity.  You know it’s worth considering: it’s like Al Qaeda in a… oh, show’s back on.

CM Punk defeats Kane

Okay, why are we even having this match?  It’s stupid; we’re all dumber for watching it.  You know something is bad from the start when the champion comes out first, I’m still struggling to comprehend what that’s about.  The match itself doesn’t seem to make sense, but the title being on the line sucks all logic out of the room like… see here?  This is me resisting a fellatio joke.  This is me passing over an Eve joke.  This is me watching this match right after the commercials and feeling very yawn.  Yes, feeling very yawn.  Not the actual match: it’s sound so far.  The rationale behind the match is even sound, if narcissistic.  Being the General Manager (of RAW (and SmackDown)) has that advantage.

I think what this match lacks, in all honesty, is focus.  It’s hard to focus on it because it itself lacks focus.  There’s no rationale behind the lead up to it, and with fifteen minutes to go, you have to wonder why this match matters in the least.  I offer two ideas.

One: adding Kane to the WWE Title hunt.  I know, it sucks, but with Kane getting chair shots from Bryan and chair shots from Punk, they have to have some idea for what to do with him.  At least he’d have more direction that the Great Khali though, who is literally just a placeholder.  Like I said earlier though, you always need a big bad guy.  Kane is the red one.  Big Show is the blue one.  That doesn’t have anything to do with shows.  And…

Two: honestly I don’t remember two.  Kane hasn’t had any purpose since getting Batista-ed way back when.  Why not just throw him in a big picture hunt?  Remember that movie Good Burger?  Abe Vigoda, best known as Salvatore Tessio in The Godfather, was in that movie.  Didn’t know that, did you?  Why not?  Because he was just there; I’m convinced he walked onto the set and they gave him a costume for a free actor.  All in all, Abe Vigoda is awesome.

And enter AJ.  While certainly sexier with her crazy, I mirror Cole’s words when I say that whenever she shows up ringside, things happen.  Usually bad things happen.  Let’s see, 9:53.  Bravo, Punk, terrific chokeslam counter, it was smooth.  Commentator mode active.

Why is this match so long…?  Why did it take so long for Bryan to come out and do nothing?  And why… did Kane just kick out?  Hello interest.  My name is DiZ.  We haven’t spoken in a while but that’s because SmackDown doesn’t do it for me much.

Ah, brief interest.  Our favorite Yes! Man double dropkicks the two competitors, screaming “Yes!” with each and every strike.  While he could easily be a spokesman for a condom brand, Kane’s double chokeslam did more for me and this whole thing than the backstory behind the match.

Oh, and here’s Big Johnny.  On his scooter and brandishing his secretary whore.  And there’s the announcement of the triple threat match.  Now friends, tell me: did Bryan or Punk pull a Ryder?  Did they piss McMahon off too?  What did they or we, the fans, do to deserve a triple threat match when the one-on-one conflicts between Punk and Bryan are already so damn good to watch?  Introducing this third element is just weird.  No one wants it.  You could hear the boos in the crowd.

Overall, my love for SmackDown is still on shaking ground, thin ice and whatever else you might call it.


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