I have received many questions asking about the content of the new digital-only wrestling magazine Hooked on Wrestling, of which I am a co-editor. I thought this was an ideal forum to inform you of the need-to-know intelligence about HOW.....which you can purchase, by the way, at http://www.hookedonwrestling.com
I am the co-editor, along with Mr Patrick Lennon. Pat is the editor of Fightin' Talk in the Daily Star, the co-host of WrestleTalk TV and owner of the finest beard in British media. He's also a great friend of mine and someone I've wanted to work with for a very long time. Is it getting above my station to suggest that he and I, working for The Sun and The Star, are the two most prominent journalists in wrestling in the UK? Possibly. I truly believe we are the among the best, though. And I think we have some great stuff for you.
Our ethos is "It's Wrestling - enjoy it!" Too often in these seemingly open times the knowledge we possess can be dangerous, and we end up being analytical to a numbing degree. Nothing is good enough. We find ourselves watching and imbibing a product which to all intents and purposes we have forgotten how to enjoy.
That's where we come in.
We aim to provide a glimmer of light into the dark cynical world of wrestling; to treat with the respect whilst highlighting some of the more positive aspects. For we actually LIKE watching Raw. We look forward to watching Impact. We celebrating British wrestling. We appreciate the archives and look forward to the future. We like wrestling. And we're not afraid to say it.
WHAT'S IN ISSUE TWO?
We feature some words that Patrick got with WWE's Sheamus. He talks about his role in WWE, his pride in his Irish heritage and his thankfulness for working in the UK on the way up.
Everyone loves the Royal Rumble, don't they? We have an extensive preview of this year's Rumble match, detailing our list of potential winners. We have some Rumble memories about favourite matches and moments from our team, as well as guest contributors such as world number 16 dart player Paul Nicholson and acclaimed Scottish writer, comedian and actor Greg Hemphill.
We also have our "Fantasy Rumble" - Pat selected 30 wrestlers, across all eras, in their primes, and tasked me with booking a Rumble match. We have some fantastic pictures of them and some mouth-watering hypothetical clashes
Pat takes a look at the next month on store for TNA, including their visit to our shores for another potentially exciting tour.
In our "A Minute With" feature, where we ask a tag team questions about themselves and each other, we feature exciting British duo The Bhangra Knights - Darrell Allen and RJ Singh.
In this month's "Big Question", Pat and I answer the question "Is there a place for blood in wrestling in 2013?"
We place moments in wrestling history that are monumental into our Hall of Wow - and this month it's the moment where Stone Cold Steve Austin won the King of the Ring and uttered a phrase comprised of six letters, three numbers and a colon that would change his life - and wrestling forever. "Austin 3:16" was born.
We talk to Greg Lambert, author of the book Holy Grail: The True Story of British Wrestling's Revival.
Kurt Angle talks about his peers - see what he has to say about Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Samoa Joe, CM Punk, AJ Styles and Shawn Michaels. Which of them did he describe as "The absolute greatest of all time"?
Pat previews the visit of Dragon Gate to the UK once again, as they visit us in February for three more show. DGUK always provide some of the greatest matches you'll ever see live, and here we offer some introductions to some of their top stars and some video evidence of their greatness.
I watched Eastenders the other day. No really, I did. It had Kat and Alfie in it and everything. Weirdly, it made me think deeper about wrestling than usual. Read about why Eastenders' Christmas shows made me think about Wrestlemania, and what bringing old stars can mean for wrestling.
We welcome to the team Mr Dean Ayass, who British fans will know as a confrontational manager known as "The Twisted Genius" Dean Ayass. Dean pens his debut piece with a cracking essay on just Paul Heyman is a master of his craft.
We have some excellent photographs from around British wrestling - we aim to heavily promote the art of wrestling photography.
In our Recipe of a Wrestler feature we analyse the influences on a top wrestlers career. We look at the facets of other wrestlers that combine to make a top-notch worker. This month - Dolph Ziggler.
John Canton writes on the 20th Anniversary of Monday Night Raw.
Stand by for another bout of "Who, What, Where, When and HOW" - the most fiendish wrestling quiz you'll ever see.
And you have a chance to win WWE 13 on PS3 - SIGNED by CM PUNK!
And it's 99p. I think that's pretty fair, to be honest. It just takes about 2/3 minutes to sign up for a username and password and pay via card for the magazine, which you can view online. We hope soon to have apps available so that you can view HOW on your smartphone or tablet.
For now, please support our venture. Come on, 99p, eh? What are you waiting for?
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Friday, 4 January 2013
Thursday, 5 January 2012
It's the seventeenth ever edition of Monday Night Raw! Huzzah. We start with Our epic trio of Vince, Randy and Bobby, the latter looking fetching in the same bloody horrible lurid orange shell suit jacket as the week previous. We see some footage from the Special Olympics with Randy Savage and the Smoking Gunns on hand.
Vince says we have Razor Ramon on tonight's show. Also, he says Tatanka is on, and is still undefeated. That's interesting, as last week there was a plug for him fighting Giant Gonzales on Superstars. I wonder if they'll tell us (show us?) how that match went, or whether I'll have to google it. There's also an interview with Shawn Michaels and Kamala v Yokozuna says Vinny Mac.
We see the footage from last week of Shawn and Perfect fighting in the street, before the worst actor/commentator/interviewer/presenter in the entire world (Lord Alfred) greets us. Now I cannot do just to what he just said, so here is the entire transcript, and you'll have to imagine it said in a plummy English accent with an odd timbre to it.
"Vincent... (yes, he started with the word Vincent) I couldn't believe my eyes last week, but I certainly couldn't believe them this week. Something happened that you cannot imagine. I saw somebody here before we came on the air, IN DISGUISE! And shortly, you there, on Monday Night Raw, are going to be as surprised as I was, when you find out who it is."
Right, firstly, I take exception that this is a scenario that I "couldn't imagine". How stunted is your imagination if you can't even stretch to this. Second, does he mean they will be surprised to see someone, or surprised at his identity? Because if it's the first, then they won't be surprised because you'll just bloody told them, Alfie Boy, and second, if you just mean they will be surprised at who it is, HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO IT IS IF HE IS IN A FLAMING DISGUISE.
Sorry about that, I got a little bit unnecessarily angry there. It was just so badly done. It's actually quite a good idea, but the execution was terrible. Savage and Heenan sell that they want to know what Alfred saw, but it seems we are not going to find out yet. Firstly, we'll get The Smoking Gunns against some jobbers (Glenn Ruth and Tony Vajda, apparently. The last named sounds like nasty infection, to me.)
The Gunns dominate, as is the point of the match, and the comms chat about what Hayes may have seen. Heenan suggests it was Alfred's first girlfriend, and he can't believe she is 103. The match ends with an astonishing finishing move. Billy flips Ruth over for a back body drop, only for the jobber to be caught by Bart, upside down, and turned into a piledriver. Not a good looking one, either. Ouch. That was extraordinarily dangerous.
Time for another HBK in-ring interview. Shawn says he is a man of word. He told you he'd win the title, and he did. He said he'd defend it, and he did. He also told us he was better than Mr Perfect, and that he took Mr Perfect's best shot, and is still the champ. Vince says he is a reluctant champ, Shawn denies this. He says he fears no man, and will defend against anybody, anywhere, at any time.
At this point, into the ring hops someone in shorts, a hoodie and sunglasses. Shawn assumes it's someone from the crowd. The person disrobes a little and......it's Marty Jannetty! Actually that's a pretty cool surprise. Marty asks Shawn if he is a man of his word, and if he'll defend against him. Shawn is backed into a corner, and the match is set. Wow. I genuinely don't remember this, so I'm intrigued as to what will happen.
Next up it's Razor Ramon, and he'll be squashing which jobber this week? Oh my, it's "The Kid". Not "The Kamikaze Kid". Not "The Cannonball Kid". Just "The Kid". So I think I know where this is going. Let's just watch and see.......
Savage asks about what "The Kid"s name is this week, and after Razor throws the toothpick at him, Randy sarcastically suggests that this is the best he's ever done already. Razor just tosses The Kid around, and the announcers acknowledge how much Ramon is dominating.
Soon, Razor tries a splash in the corner, and misses. The Kid goes upstairs and hits a moonsault to a standing Ramon. It transitions into a cover, and he gets the (say it with me) 1-2-3. The crowd goes nuts and The Kid high-tails it to the outside fearing a reaction from Razor. Razor does freak out, but goes to remonstrate with the announcers. Savage tells Ramon "You got beat", while Heenan declares it was a fast count.
Back after a break, it's Tatanka v Scott Taylor. Yes, that Scott Taylor. He is presumably looking at Tatanka's ludicrous red mohawk and thinking "I can do better than that". Tatanka, it's worth pointing out, had been in WWF nearly 18 months at this stage and was still undefeated. He goes to work on Taylor, as Heenan talks about toilet paper. I'm not kidding, Bobby actually starts talking about how you fold your toilet paper.
To be fair, I don't blame him. I think anyone who looks back fondly on Tatanka is just sugar coating their memories. He is truly dreary to watch. The announcers actually do a lot of talking about Razor's loss and what a shock it was. That's great as it truly makes it feel like an event, like a big deal. They even start mentioning that he might now be called the 1-2-3 Kid.
Taylor makes a brief comeback on Tatanka, but only so that Tatanka can get tanked up and do his big comeback for the win. Off to Gene Mean for a KOTR report, and he too starts by exclaiming about the Kid's upset. Good stuff. He also tells us that as well as Hogan v Yokozuna, it's Bret v Razor, Duggan v Bam Bam and Luger v Tatanka in opening round matches. Shawn v Crush is a qualifier on Superstars, and Mr Hughes v Kamala will be on Challenge. Now I thought Hennig was in this tourney (I thought Bret wrestled him), so I'm interested to see how he gets worked in.
Next, it's Kamala. Now he might not have been much of a technical wizard, but the guy played his role to the hilt. Great mannerisms as he comes to the ring. He's up against Yokozuna here, who is being set for Hogan at King of the Ring, so don't expect anything other than a Yokozuna one-sided victory.
We start with a running collision of the pair, and Kamala appears to have the best of things, but Yoko soon gets the upper hand. With Kamala well placed for the Bansai Drop, Vince suggests Kamala is playing possum. Heenan says Kamala isn't smart enough to play possum. Guess who is right.
Yoko wins, and after an All American Wrestling plug we have an Intercontinental Title match. Jannetty, as you might expect, starts like a house on fire. A nice reversal of a hip toss (he landed on his feet) is followed by well executed baseball slide and plancha. The crowd chant 'Marty' and we have a nice set-up.....
Marty stays on top, and Shawn does the old 'get the belt and leave' routine, but Mr Perfect appears to block his to path. After a break, Shawn is back in the ring and Marty is still on top. Michaels swings it back in his favour, and I make it four minutes left of the show.
Marty makes a big babyface comeback with a series of nearfalls. Perfect is looking on, as an interested spectator. Michaels counters with a superkick, and it's still strange seeing a time when that was not a finisher. Michaels turns his attention to Perfect, who throws his towel at Michaels. As Michaels flinches, Jannetty hits a small package (not perfectly applied, I have to say) for the three count. Perfect looks joyous as Marty celebrates and Bobby goes apoplectic on the mic.
To be honest, that was the kind of match that today we'd probably consider to be a slight letdown, but of it's time it was fine, and it had a good intensity to it, which kept the crowd going. They were into it and popped huge for the finish. Vince and Savage frantically round off the show as Bobby looks glum. Perfect v Doink in a KOTR qualifier need week, says Vince. Hang on, we've got six spaces filled and three matches to fill remaining two. Doesn't make sense!
I'm sure all will be revealed next time.......
Posted by Rob McNichol at 15:25
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Right, let's get something straight from the off. The hypothesis I am about to offer is not necessarily what I think WILL happen, nor is it what I WANT to happen. It certainly isn't what I think SHOULD happen.
But it COULD happen. It really could.
Recently, the hottest talking point in wrestling has been the series of quirky videos involving a small boy in a classroom talking about a major return on January 2. The smart money seems to be on Undertaker, returning for his annual run towards Wrestlemania, or Chris Jericho, who has been gone for some time and has been rumoured for a comeback.
I talked at length on my latest One Sided Ring Podcast about who I felt could be candidates, after I had seen the first video. You can listen to that podcast here - http://robmcnichol.podbean.com/2011/11/28/the-one-sided-ringring/ or on iTunes. The podcast also contains an interview with Ken Anderson.
But since I have seen all three something else has been whirring in my mind. Are we all missing the point? Is the wording so cryptic that it does not mean that someone we haven't seen for a while will return but instead, someone we are familiar with might have a change of heart?
What if this is the foreshadowing of a John Cena turn?
The first of these videos, entitled "It Begins2012" was advertised during Raw on November 21. The following week, when Raw pointed to the second of the videos (cleverly entitled: "Second2012") was the week when Rowdy Roddy Piper confronted John Cena about fans booing him. The commentators played this angle up on this week's show, suggesting that something in creative is putting this angle in motion, not just a one-week thing with Hot Rod.
My point is that although surely the videos will have been produced ahead of time, is it a coincidence that the two seemingly separate angles started only a few days apart?
Let's have a look at each video, shall we, and I'll point out what could be hinting at Cena turning heel on January 2.
"Come my people and shut thy doors about thee" - is this a reference to Cena addressing the unit of fans he has built up that are still loyal to him?
"A power shall come to punish the meek for their inequity" - Maybe this is Cena saying that he is going to punish those who didn't back him, after all he did for them in doing the right thing and being a good hero.
"A familiar force shall arrive to claim what is his." - He certainly is a familiar force. Is claiming 'what is his' the WWE title? Or maybe his dignity?
"The end of the world as you know it" is a line I'll come back to after all three videos.
Let's have a look at the next one.
To be honest, there is less in this one than either of the other two, but here goes.
"to claim what others have taken" could be a reference to the title belt or perhaps Rock 'taking' Cena's popularity.
"Those who are unjust, destruction will come upon them and they shall not escape" - More talk about those that have let him down.
Here's number three:
"Behold the power will come vengeance to render his anger with fury. The deception the meek have perpetrated will be castigated." More talk of getting back at fans booing him?
"The second day of 2012 the prophet will emerge and destroy the weak." Here is where the theory starts to gain traction. What if the 'return' is simply another part of Cena's psyche? What if it is a return of 'ruthless aggression' Cena? 'Emerging to destroy the weak' suddenly sounds to me like a man transforming his character. The 'heel' part of John Cena will finally emerge, after he has been holding it back, and the 'weak' it will destroy is 'babyface John Cena'. The weak is the 'Hustle, Loyalty, Respect' part of Cena,
The third video is called "Look within". That led me to thinking that the videos are not the heralding of someone who is missing but the metamorphosis of one we are familiar with. It could convey that we, looking for clues, must look within - and that the person in question has to 'look within' themselves and find their true self.
Going back to the first video, it is called 'It begins'. The most talked about subject for years in WWE has been the Cena heel turn. Perhaps that was signifying that this was the week it began - the following week was the Piper's Pit episode previously mentioned.
"The end of the world as we know it" - or perhaps the end of the universe as we know it? The WWE world that we know right now is dominated by Cena and his ethos. If he turns heel it means Punk takes over as number one baby. It could be the end of the 'PG world'.
Look, I don't think I really believe that this is the aim of the video. I still hold the impression that it's meant for Jericho, but if things fall through they can relate it to Taker.
But if you want to look closely enough, as I have done, you can find clues for Vince, Shane, Steph, HHH, Batista, Brock Lesnar, JBL, the NWO or many others. That's why the videos are so terrific, because they have so many possible answers.
I've read some of the comments under the videos on Youtube, and people have heard Cena's name mentioned, seen DX logos on the kid's buttons, heard a part of Vince's music, noticed faces in the clouds, deformities in the girl's face, seen the letters NWO written down. They have worked out the Roman numerals of DX and worked out how to do a sum which gets you to the year the Walls of Jericho came down. One person even posted that "It Begins" is an anagram of "I BE STING".
You can find what you like in these videos. I still think that if clues are to taken then more point to Shane than anyone, but he ain't coming back, so I don't think it's him.
Anyway, roll on Monday when we get to see a new video - and all of our theories go out of the window once again. I love it.
Posted by Rob McNichol at 16:31
Friday, 21 October 2011
Here are my 'as-live' notes as I watch TNA Bound For Glory....
- Could Tenay sound any less excited at the start? IT’S YOUR BIGGEST PPV OF THE YEAR YOU IDIOT! Sorry, that’s harsh on Mike, who is a good guy, but even Michael Cole tries to sound excited about where he is.
- I would suggest that starting your biggest PPV of the year with Kendrick’s stupid music is a horrific decision.
- POP for Aries. With TNA’s knowledgeable audience, it’s always going to be staggeringly difficult for A-Double to boo him. He is too good, these people know that.
- The arena is dressed well, but the high-angle crane shot makes it look very obvious that the hard camera side has barely any seats at all.
- Terrific match. Aries is fantastic in every manner. His mannerisms and confidence in his character – he gives the impression he knows he is a star – are awesome. Kendrick’s in ring work was very good indeed, but I just feel his character is not connecting with anyone, so it felt a little awkward that the crowd were cheering Aries.
- That said, the pace of the match, the storytelling, the execution were all very good indeed. The crowd made a big noise for the false finish of Aries getting out of the pin cover after the Sliced Bread. And the right man went over too. Good start.
- Talking about Jerry Lynn and Rob Van Dam, at the very moment where Taz said that the two men ‘haven’t missed a beat’ they messed up two spots.
- Another quote from Taz: “I feel like I’m going back in time” – he didn’t mean it the way I do, but I agree 100%. We should be going forwards, not back.
- I detested that match. Hated it. It made me feel sick. If I want to see Jerry Lynn and RVD fight (this wasn’t wrestling) I’ll get an ECW DVD from a dozen years ago. I don’t need to see all this again. Especially not when both guys are miles off of what they used to be.
- Much of this match made me feel physically sick. The suplex spot (which I assume was basically botched) was appalling. Why are people doing this in 2011? This match wasn’t going to make either guy’s career? Why would you do that to yourself?
- Have two wrongs made a right in this triple threat? Typically you don’t put two babyfaces in a three-way match. TNA have, but the crowd want to cheer for Joe anyway.
- After a series of big moves to the outside, Phillie are so into Joe/Crimson/Morgan that they chant ‘You Screwed Bret’ at Hebner.
- Crimson is so perfect for a heel turn right now. Similar to when Rock was pushed heavily in 1996 and no-one bought it.
- I sort of like that Taz is acknowledging that the fans aren’t towing the line.
- Nah. Not a great match. Not a terrible one, I suppose, but nothing seemed to click. Joe worked really hard with the two big fellas, but nothing about the match flowed, for me. Crimson was the obvious man to go over, and it was no surprise that he won.
- Good, sensible decision to have Bully Ray trash Philadelphia.
- I’ve been trying to work out for ages who Bully Ray reminds me of. It’s the One Man Gang. That’s a compliment, by the way.
- Shots to the head? Fuck me. Pardon my French, but oh my goodness. What is going on here?
- Unless you are positioning Joe as a wuss, or Anderson as the toughest guy in the world, how can someone kick out of a piledriver to concrete and not an ordinary looking spear.
- This won’t surprise you, but I hated that too. No place for crappy garbage wrestling in 2011.
- Pretty awful call by Taz, I thought, at the end of the match. ‘Anderson called an audible’ he said. Well what the hell has he been doing the rest of the match? Calling a match as an athletic contest, that didn’t make sense.
- I wonder if whoever made Madison Rayne’s music deliberately made it terrible and annoying, or whether he thinks it’s a good song.
- It’s weird calling Madison the ‘Queen Bee’ and having her come out to ‘Killer Queen’ when Karen is positioned as The Queen, too.
- OK, she gave her tiara, that makes more sense.
- Genuinely laughed at Taz calling that the KO title was upside down.
- Sorry, but the girls four way bored me to tears. Too many moving parts, as Taz might say. That was all about Karen, not about the wrestlers.
- This is a big match coming up for Styles and Daniels. There last match, in my mind, was a let down. They have a legacy to live up to, they are supposed to be two of TNA’s franchise guys. This needs to be good.
- Murdered? MURDERED? Daniels is actually talking about KILLING someone. This is bleak, now. I feel very uneasy watching this.
- OK, so next time I’m in an I QUIT match, I should just walk to win with a gun, right? Point the gun. If they don’t quit, shoot them. That should do it.
- Jeff v Jeff in the type of pull apart brawl which we see EVERY week on Impact. Isn’t this a PPV?
- So the big gimmick going into Hogan v Sting is that the referee is on Immortal’s side. He’s Eric’s boy. So then, was it a good decision to already have a crooked ref deal earlier in the night?
- Hogan is so good at branding he did a signature taunt of one of the biggest factions in the rival company’s history. Great work, Terry.
- “It’s not like the referee’s going to do a damn thing to stop it because it’s Bischoff’s kid”. Erm, isn’t it No DQ?”
- That could have been a lot worse. Really it could. I didn’t enjoy it particularly, but I can’t fault it too heavily, I guess.
- It’s the Rock/Hogan match, basically. That’s the booking of it, just with a few different personnel. As I queried on the Ministry of Slam this week, they needed a way that Hogan could carry on with the company, and the babyface turn does it.
- You know what? This wasn't terrible. I didn't necessarily enjoy it, it's not my thing, but it served it's purpose. It got an awesome reaction. It told a story. It's another example of something that would work so much better if there wasn't two matches on every show which had outside interference or a brawl.
- I'm going with a broad thumbs up for the match because it was actually a pay off. Months of Sting talking about finding the Real Hulk Hogan. Eric Bischoff getting his. Dixie getting the company back. That's a long term storyline (a year, really) which has let to a pay off. So I shall commend them for that, and for not trying to do too much.
- I could have done without about the blood, but that's a personal thing, and I can understand why it was just another bell or whistle to distract from the fact that Hogan v Sting would actually be a dire match if it was just a straight up wrestling bout.
- Why did JB do the ring announcements as Roode and Angle were en route to the ring? Do you think the show is running over?
- This must be running over. I'm near the end (I think) of Roode v Angle, because it’s into near fall sequences, but it felt like ten minutes of the match were missing. There was no build at all, it was straight into the action.
- Taz said something about Kurt pulling his groin in training, perhaps that wasn’t a kayfabed comment.
- Wow. They ended their biggest PPV of the year, their WRESTLEMANIA, with a screwy finish. AGAIN.
- I feel bad for some of the guys, because sometimes it happens, but there were enough major spots missed that they built up during the night to make TNA look bad. From a sloppy RVD/Lynn exchange mid match (and a missed bump from RVD which is amongst the most stupidly dangerous things I have ever seen) to Anderson missing the finish to his match to the finale of this one. Not only was a bad decision to have Angle CHEAT to win, but Brian Hebner basically got the count wrong (he hit Bobby Roode's foot and the crowd thought it was a two count). I'm not bashing Brian, who's a good dude and good at his job, it was just a mistake and they happen. It was just a rotten time for it to occur.
- I thought this was a staggeringly underwhelming show. The opener was the best match of the night by far. The main event was fine, but ‘fine’ is not good enough for Bound For Glory. It was cut way too short to be believable or star-making. I could live with Roode losing if he lost to Angle straight up. If we are supposed to be believe that Kurt is the best wrestler ever, and to back up Bobby’s quotes, why would he cheat to win. Having him win clean wouldn’t hurt Bobby – actually it would make him look better if he wins down the road.
- This was a mess. An overbooked, overhyped let down of an event. I'm frankly left a little bit physically sick at it. I can live with bad booking decisions (Angle/Roode) and ordinary matches (most of the card) but to have a cop out finish in two of three biggest matches on the card as well as a MURDER threat, unprotected shots to the head and career/life threatening bumps, this show unsettled me greatly. There was only one match I felt was of a high enough standard, and that was the opener. I feel hugely let down.
Posted by Rob McNichol at 00:45
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Decided to offer some thoughts on Impact this week. The last few weeks have been fairly decent, and I'm intrigued about Bound for Glory.
- I didn't think the wide shot of the arena in Knoxville at the start of the show did them any favours. I thought it looked a bit small time. Don't get me wrong, I like them being in arenas and outside of the Impact Zone, but it was obvious this was a small crowd.
- Great decision, though, to start with their most over act (Beer Money) in one of their home states (Storm's) - got the crowd up.
- I didn't like Storm's promo. Probably not his fault, as I doubt he scripted it. But there was way too much of the insider stuff like 'we're in the semi-main event', 'we're going to have a great match', 'we're being held back by the old guys'. I think Storm is better than that.
- I particularly hate it when they mention having a great match. You wouldn't hear footballer saying they HOPE they have a good game. They want to be 4-0 up at half time and to cruise to victory. The promo picked up.
- TNA have done a GREAT job with Roode. Fans genuinely want him to beat Angle.
- The Hogan storyline has been, in contrast, awful. Every time I see him on my TV I feel the need to scream "YOU'RE A HEEL!". It's so confused. Why are they running celebrations of this bloke who has been a heel in the company for a year and has ousted Dixie Carter through nefarious means. Do we cheer for Sting? Are we supposed to want Dixie back at all? I'm ok with Gunner going over Kaz. I honestly think Gunner has more upside right now.
- The decision reversal was way too quick. Post match attacks happen all the time. Why reverse it for this one? And why was Gunner so happy after the match? If all he was interested in was hurting Kaz, why didn't he just get DQed from the off? Shouldn't he have been pissed off that he lost the match? After all, that's what is supposed to count.
- Mr Anderson's promos are just classless now. He's had a poor year. "swinging off nutsacks" and innuendo about Bully Ray's chain and his penis. The asshole thing has totally run it's course. Bully Ray, on the other hand, has had a great year. But I have zero interest in seeing these two wrestle.
- Hang on, Mike Tenay just said that Anderson v Bully Ray is signed for Bound For Glory, and then Bully Ray started to deny that he would fight him. After the promo, Tenay said 'challenge issued' and then in his next sentence said something to the tune of 'these two will meet at Bound For Glory'!!! It's just too confusing.
- Why are wrestlers shown doing press ups before a match? Is that really a pre-match workout? Shouldn't they be stretching?
- Hey, it's the march of time and TV shot in HD, but Bischoff looked OLD in that backstage interview.
- If you saw Kendrick and Aries build to a real fight (MMA, boxing, whatever) would you even consider that Kendrick had a chance?
- The five knockouts involved in this match (Mickie, Velvet, Angelina, Madison, Winter) I think do good to great jobs with their characters. Winter's one is a daft concept, but she does a good job with it.
- I would have liked to have seen Velvet get a better build to her challenge. I think she could be a great lead babyface for the division for a while. She is undeniably attractive, but also very charismatic and likeable. I'm not saying she is a great worker, but her character is strong enough to carry her through in what is a weak wrestling division right now.
- I just typed about six sentences explaining how I thought it was possible that Angelina could be plotting to get the belt off of Winter and onto herself - then I realised she isn't in the match. I'm a clown.
- I liked Hardy's other theme music. "Modest to the Top" doesn't make sense. "Another me is what there will never be. Another like like this you will never see" is absolutely what Hardy is. I thought it was perfect.
- BOOM! 'Pave the way' is said. Take a shot. Whoa, and 'drop the ball'. Wow, it's cliché central tonight.
- I didn't care for Hardy attacking Bischoff. For one, it does nothing to sell the PPV next week, and secondly it didn't exactly solidify Hardy as a sympathetic character who is trying to make himself better. He just attacked when provoked. He is the same, impetuous guy he has always been. And everyone attacks Eric anyway, so it means very little.
- Big piped cheers for Crimson. People don't want to boo Joe.
- Another great video package showing why we should care about Bobby Roode. They have done a brilliant job on those.
- Tenay, at the start of Roode v Storm, like a colossal idiot, said that 'both men are one step ahead'. How the hell does that work, prey tell?
- What is the justification for making Daniels v AJ Styles an 'I Quit' match?
- Speaking of AJ, I wonder if he ever bitches and moans about guys like John Morrison stealing his moves? Or I wonder if Kurt Angle ever sounds off in Storm's company about Randy Orton nicking things from him. Because Storm is very blatant about some of the moves he used. Not only does he use Carlito's backcracker and Jericho's Codebreaker, but he's worked Randy Orton's draping DDT into his arsenal.
- Good match. I didn't understand Angle's interference to help Roode, but I'll let them off that as I assume it will be explained next week. I didn't particularly think it was necessary, whatever the storyline motivation. Would it have really have killed them if Roode simply beat Storm?
- Huge "Hogan" chants. This is ego driven. It's awful business to turn him de facto babyface by spouting platitudes and pandering to the people. It's noticeable that Bischoff has done all the slimy stuff of late. But are we still trying to sell Sting v Hogan? I think Sting will get booed. I really do. And that's awful business.
- If Hogan's story is that he is retiring from the Wrestling business, they haven't explained who is going to own TNA. They showed a clip of Hogan telling Dixie earlier this year that he owns 100% of the company. So who is he giving it to?
- I obviously typed all of the above before the final revelation. Actually, I think it was quite a good idea. That's a good way to reinforce a heel. Build up some reasons to cheer someone so you think they are turning back babyface, then pull the rug out from underneath the fans. Good booking. They have extra reason to hate Hogan now, because the anger you feel when someone makes (or tries to make) a fool of you is very potent.
- That said, I hated the big Hogan blow up. Firstly, the look on his face - the hand over the mouth - was ludicrous. It was so hammed up. It was the kind of moment where you might have the wrestling on while your buddy is in the room and they turn to you and say "you watch this shit?".
- And here's the other thing. Hogan is a heel. He wouldn't care about his word. Hell, he just lied to the fans trying to convince them he is retiring. So it wouldn't bother him to go back on his word and say that he withdraws the stipulation he mentioned to Sting. It's hardly binding, is it? If Sting had come out with a contract, and goaded Hogan to sign it, only to reveal to Hulk that there was a stip Hogan hadn't read that said that control would go over to Dixie, then I'd be ok with it. It would be a nice callback to the way Hulk and Eric stitched Dixie up in the first place. But Hogan has an 'out' here. Why would he not sneak out of it?
- I know I've complained a lot here, but all in all this wasn't bad at all. They've done an AWESOME job of selling their BFG main event. That's very crucial. So I can't get at them too much because their central storyline is so good. But there was plenty of stuff I turned my nose at. I didn't care for most of the talking segments, actually. The in-ring work, though, was pretty good.
- I'd like to see more from Angle next week. It's been great to see Roode built up, but we need a strong Kurt next week to give us an idea of who Roode is trying to beat. Perhaps some clips of Kurt's best TNA matches, major moves and moments.
Posted by Rob McNichol at 16:27
Monday, 3 October 2011
After the Hell in a Cell PPV we can now be sure that the Miz/Truth/HHH conspiracy storyline is THE major storyline in the company. The mass confrontation and the strong characterisation of Miz and Truth (particularly Miz) is where the focus is, and the build is that Triple H cannot keep control of his own company.
Posted by Rob McNichol at 23:33
Saturday, 17 September 2011
Sting v Hulk Hogan
Samoa Joe v Crimson
AJ Styles v Daniels (add a stip)
RVD v Jerry Lynn
Bully Ray, Gunner and Scott Steiner v James Storm, Mr Anderson and Jeff Hardy
Mexican America v D-Von & Pope v British Invasion v Ink Inc
Austin Aries v Jesse Sorensen
X-Division multiman Spotfest match
Mickie James v Velvet Sky v Winter
Posted by Rob McNichol at 18:23
Sunday, 11 September 2011
This is a very off-the-cuff, unscheduled blog, based solely upon an idea I had whilst doing my regular stint on the Ministry of Slam podcast tonight.
Posted by Rob McNichol at 22:12
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
I've got my check shirt on and my chopper in hand (ooh, hello) because it's Lumberjack time! I will work all night and work all day to provide you with up to the minute coverage of, erm, something that happened eighteen years ago.
Anyway, it's Raw and it's the scheduled rematch between that tedious oaf Hacksaw Jim Duggan and the staggeringly brilliant Shawn Michaels. Both of whom are going into the same Hall of Fame class. No justice, is there?
Michaels starts the show chatting to Lord Alfred saying that Duggan is going to find out why he is the IC champion, when a blonde chap in a sports coat attacks. Hoorah, it's Curt Hennig, who blasts Michaels into the door of what appears to be a parked taxi. Nice. He follows this up with a modified hip toss as various New Yorkers look on at an incident the likes of which they have probably only seen three times that day. A group of people eventually try to break the fight up. To begin with they look like civilians, but eventually more and more of them have ties on and I spot Tony Garea who I'm sure broke up more fights in a suit than he had matches.
It's quite a cool visual and an interesting segment as it was very different. It felt like chaos, which was what they were trying to get across. After the fight is broken up we have the annoying theme song and then it's Vince signing in, with Savage 'ooh yeah'ing all over him. Heenan completes the comms trio, wearing a lurid orange jacket.
McMahon excitedly plugs the lumberjack match. The combination of a crowd chanting something I can't quite work out (egged on by Savage, so perhaps something offensive to Heenan) the announcers shouting and the annoying siren make this a very hard opening to watch/listen to. Heenan says Duggan paid off Perfect to do that. He says that Yokozuna will be one of the Lumberjacks. Savage says Perfect will be too.
His yammering is interrupted by the strains of "bam bam" and Mr Bigelow's uninspired theme music. Bammer is facing Typhoon - Vince says there is more than 700lbs in there, not including the official. What an odd qualifying statement.
Speaking of qualifying, this is a qualifier for the King of the Ring. It probably ought to be Prince of the Mints or Lord of the Cheeseboard, really. These two hefty fellas exchanged some shoulderblocks and slams, and I can't help but notice that the ropes look really slack. I don't know if that is due to girth or because I'm not used to seeing matches from this era.
As we get a nip slip on live TV (don't get too excited - it's Typhoon coming out of his his singlet a little. Ugh) Vince says that he thinks that the Intercontinental Title is going to change hands tonight. Oh well, that's Duggan's dreams dashed already. Unlucky, Jim. Might as well not bother since Vince "Kiss of Death" McMahon has proclaimed you champion elect.
Bigelow takes control of the match, keeping Typhoon on the outside, while Heenan rightly points out a huge gash in Bam Bam's head. Typh mounts a comeback just as we go to break, and when we return, it's a slugfest which the former Tugboat wins. However, he misses an avalanche to the corner, and Triple B nails him with a pretty awesome looking Samoan Drop. He goes up for a top rope headbutt and it's over. BBB in the KOTR.
Great call by Vince, by the way. Bam Bam is feuding with Tatanka at this point, and McMahon points out that Bigelow used Tatanka's finishing move in that match. More piebald horses and cacti herald another Smoking Gunns vignette, and Vince says they'll be on "Saturday Morning Mania" this week. Bobby stands up to get a good look at the bikini-ed up ring girl, who appears to have a killer body but also eyebrows like Groucho Marx's moustache (oh, just Google him).
Next, we have a man to make Bam Bam and Typhoon look like Victoria Beckham on one of her skinny days, it's Yokozuna. He's facing PJ Walker, which is of course Justin Credible/Aldo Montoya in a former life. By the way, if you enjoyed Bigelow and Typhoon plodding around, you get Yoko v Kamala next week.
Yoko obviously annihilates Justin Montwalker in short order, but it's really impressive. I sorely miss these type of squash (literally in Yoko's case) matches as it does so much for a character. This took about 90 seconds of TV time, tops, and the announcers did a good job of talking up his upcoming match with Hogan at King of the Ring.
Off to Gene Mean for a plug for a ICOPRO dressed up as a KOTR preview. He mentions Hogan v Yoko, then tells us Bret, Luger, Razor, Duggan and now Bam Bam are all in the tournament. Doink v Perfect is on for Wrestling Challenge and Tatanka meets Giant Gonzales on Superstars, says Gene Mean.
Back to Raw, and it's one of the deliberate unattractive, plumper ring girls. "Is that Knobbs or Sags?" says Bobby. Mr Perfect, for it he who is up next, starts to flirt with her, tenderly grabs her face and shapes to kiss her - then puts his gum in her mouth. Lovely. She liked it, though.
Jobber of the Millennium Iron Mike Sharpe is the opponent for Hennig, cast and all, and Vince calls him a veteran. The announcers talk about the upcoming Lumberjack match, which Perfect will be on hand for. Vince said last week that it's the first ever Lumberjack match, but Heenan says he has been in them before and they hurt.
Heenan says he is bored of watching Mr Perfect, and starts playing with his TV monitor like he did last week.
Again, I assume this is to prove WWF is live. After some standard action, Hennig wins with the Perfect Plex. Coming next is another 'Mr'. It's Mr Hughes.
Heenan attempts to get a (slim, attractive) ring girl's number, whilst in the ring I think I spy 'The Kamikaze Kid' aka X-Pac waiting to be jobbed. We get ICOPRO and Slim Jim ads, then we are back with Mr Hughes and Harvey Whippleman. McMahon did say last week that Hughes was being eyed up by managers, it seems old Bruno got him. Meanwhile, Sean Waltman is advertised as "The Cannonball Kid", which is different to last week. I wonder if they'll make anything of that.
Aha, yes they do. Vince calls him the Kamikaze Kid, then corrects himself. Savage points out that he was called the Kamikaze Kid the week before. Hughes is again wrestling with his sunglasses on again. After a big boot which Vince oversells, it's a Boss Man Slam variant for the win.
A commercial airs for All American Wrestling. In it, Gene Mean and Heenan mention Paris, France (That's not All American) and Mars (Neither is that). Back in the arena, Vince and Bobby hype Crush v Blake Beverley for the next show. Oooh, that's a hook, isn't it? (Note sarcasm)
Here come the Lumberjacks! First out is Terry Taylor, and he's got red and black checks on, pure lumberjack style. Oh, actually, they all have. They haven't entered to music, they've just wandered out, so I'm trying to pick out who they are. Mr Hughes is back, as is Yokozuna (no checks for him). I think I see Typhoon again. Bigelow, too.
Hacksaw Jim is out to his 'hoooo' music, and he runs into the ring.....then out again to punch Yoko to the floor. Good move, Jim, anger the biggest Lumberjack. That'll work.
Michaels arrives on crutches. He is obviously suggesting he can't wrestle. Perfect sneaks up behind him, punches him, and throws him in the ring. At this point Shawn is obviously ok, and as a true American hero, Duggan attacks Shawn from behind. Shawn goes to the outside, and Perfect throws him back again. I think I see Tatanka and Bob Backlund as lumberjacks, too. Michaels is dressed in jeans and cowboys boots, by the way.
This is now a virtual re-run of last week. Slow, dull offence by Duggan, "Shawn is Gay" chants from homophobic idiots in New York, pointless "U-S-A" chants to follow (they are both American, you spanners) and Shawn desperately overselling. Can you tell I'm not enjoying it?
At one stage, Shawn tries to leave, but Perfect and Backund bring him back. Shawn has had no offence for the entire match so far, which is probably about six minutes. Duggan misses a legdrop, and when he stands, Shawn has taken off his boot and nails Jim with it. Ref knocked down and didn't see it. Duggan to the outside, but the heels roll him in.
We go back and forth with this for a while before HJD takes over, and hits his three-point-stance clothesline which knocks Shawn to the outside. Stupidly, WWF go to break at this point. Are you kidding? We had to sit through that then a finisher hits and you go to commercials? Wow.
We're back, though, and now Shawn is on top and looks fine. Michaels misses a splash in the corner, and Bam Bam pops up onto the apron. Duggan is distracted, Shawn knees him in the back and throws him to Yokozuna. The big Samoan chops and legdrops Hacksaw then rolls him in. Shawn places one foot on Duggan for a pin, but on the count of two Perfect runs in and smashes Shawn. So it's a DQ. After all that, it's a DQ and Shawn wins. Vince says 'there's going to be trouble here' and we go to....Macho Man in a pretape plugging action figures. Random. Back to the ring, and Bam Bam is inside it and pacing about. Shawn comes running back in and attacks Perfect. Then all the Lumberjacks (except Yoko) come in and start a mass brawl. Duggan swing his plank at everyone and they scarper (hey, was that Iron Mike Sharpe?).
And that's your lot. A mess of a show that. No action to truly speak of, and an awful main event. Next time, we have Kamala v Yokozuna to look forward to. Oh joy..........
Posted by Rob McNichol at 22:20
Monday, 5 September 2011
I have a brand new podcast now up with an 80+ minute interview with former WWE and ECW star The Blie Meanie - check it out - http://robmcnichol.podbean.com/2011/09/04/the-blue-sided-ring/
Posted by Rob McNichol at 10:58