Monday, April 29, 2013

Fake Fighting Weekly


So this is a fairly momentous occasion.  This past two weeks or so I was unexpectedly coerced back into the fake fighting universe by a somewhat serendipitous confluence of events.  It wasn’t the first time I decided to tune into WrestleMania out of sheer morbid curiosity--Stephen and I convened for last year’s WM as well but mostly because it was a stacked card and also because it was in Miami and because THE ROCK, THAT’S WHY.  This year it was much more about morbid curiosity than genuine interest.  


Then, the next night, something happened.  Raw was WAR again, if only for one night.  Apparently, the oodles of European and Northeastern smarks that tend to convene every year at the one wrestling event that seems worth paying money for anymore (if for no other reason than to cross it off your list of things to do before you die) stuck around to make this year’s “Post-Mania Raw” as special as last year’s.  And boy did they outdo themselves.  But we’ll get to that later.
The point is that as I watched the clips of the show and heard the echoes of “best Raw crowd ever” reverberating through the internet, I was reminded of why I used to love wrestling in 1998, 1999, 2000, and even a little bit in 2005 and 2006 (mostly TNA in those days).  Until now, the last time I watched a full episode of Raw was when ECW was making its initially brilliant and potentially glorious but ultimately horrendously bumbled return and the last time I watched an episode of Impact was right around the time Vince Russo took over and transformed it from a poor man’s ECW to a poor man’s WCW.

The thing about wrestling is that until you immerse yourself in it, it’s really hard to care about it, even if you love it (OK, that made more sense in my head).  In other words, until you start watching it every week and getting invested in the storylines and characters, it’s hard to muster up the desire to care about any of them, even (especially?) as someone who obsessed over it during the Attitude Era because every new guy just seems like a jobber or a douchebag until you actually get to know him.  I used to think Dolph Ziggler was the stupidest character ever until I actually started watching him work and realized how insanely talented he is.  I never really got on board with Brock Lesnar until I saw what he can do in MMA and then saw him work at this year’s WM.  The list goes on and on.  The point is, I have a lot of catching up to do and after this year’s Post-Mania Raw, I finally had the desire to do it.

All this is basically a roundabout way of saying that this blog will feature a LOT more fake fighting in the coming weeks and months (however long it takes before I once again grow tired of being constantly disappointed by wrestling) including (ideally, if I can stay on top of my shit) weekly roundups of WWE and TNA, posts about the ghosts of wrestling past (favorite matches of all time, greatest wrestlers of all time, awesome moments of the Attitude Era, stuff like that), and our brand new wrestling podcast entitled THE SPANISH ANNOUNCE TABLE featuring special guest star GORGEOUS GEORGE!  (No, not the real Gorgeous George, you idiot.  He’s dead.)  For now, let me do a little quick catching up before I start reeling off these weekly roundups...




IMPACT! 4/18/11

Aces & Eights: The New nWo
-FIVE SNEAK ATTACKS IN 90 MINUTES?! (Four and a half if you don’t count poor Joe Park as a whole one) I know I’m new to this but…do they, like, do other stuff? Oh yeah, yelling and revving bike engines. I forgot.

I missed you, X-Division
-As much as the current state of the X-Division is a hollow shell of what it was when I first started watching TNA, it’s still wildly entertaining and probably still some of the best in-ring work in televised wrestling.  The Canadian Destroyer never gets old and Petey’s springboard hurricanrana was BEAST.

You too, Samoa Joe
-Joe may have really let himself go but he’s still deceptively athletic and can still cut a promo like nobody’s business (although this episode made him look like an idiot–you mean to tell me he stops an As&8s beatdown, gets SO pissed at them that he challenges D-Von, and then, somehow, doesn’t bring any backup to that match?).  Sure, Joe is as much a shell of his former self as the X-Division but I still love him so and he looked better in the ring than I expected.

Knockouts
-I was so happy to see that Mickie James is still around.  I still remember the great feud she had with Trish Stratus where she went all crazy lesbian stalker on Trish, culminating in MJ winning the Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 22 in one of the best female fake fighting matches I’ve ever seen.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen such excellent ring psychology from a female wrestler before.  But I digress.  Mickie still looks pretty damn good in the ring aside from that botched Lou Thesz press off the top rope.  Miss Tessmacher was impressive in her own right but this match got me wondering if there had ever been a Mickie James/Gail Kim feud in TNA before.  If not, someone needs to make this happen.  P.S. Brooke Hogan needs to stop talking forever.

Bad Influence and Dirty Heelz
-Bad Influence and Dirty Heelz were by far the best thing about this show.  Between Daniels prancing around backstage, Kaz singing the “Three Best Friends” song from “The Hangover” (I popped so hard) and the delightfully infantile (albeit vaguely homophobic) cut-down fight with Dirty Heelz, they made this show worth watching all on their own. My favorite part was after the exchange rate joke (“You’re Canadian, which means your opinion only counts for 3/4 of an American one.  It’s science!”), AA saying he’s 1 and 1/4 of an opinion so they both add up to two whole ones and Kaz going “THAT’S TERRIBLE MATH!”

Is Joseph Park the new Mikey Whipwreck?
-Seriously. He looks like a giant puppy dog and takes beatings with so much sympathy. I really thought he was going to cry like Bully Ray said.

-Matt Morgan?  Really? How is this guy still around?

Storm/AJ
-So apparently, AJ’s new gimmick (besides being the new Sting) is showing up for things and then symbolically walking away because...metaphors...or something. First he shows up last week when Hogan calls him out in order to basically say and do nothing before walking away.  Then this week, he shows up for a match that has been booked for a week and right as he’s about to step in the ring, randomly decides to walk away.  There’s this new thing called subtlety, TNA.  Not only that, but the show ends with a DOUBLE DEUCE: AJ walking away again as the a8Wo executes their fifth and final sneak attack of the night.  On the bright side, AJ’s new ground game to fit his new personality was impressive--especially the new submission hold he used to win the match...SICK!

SMACKDOWN 4/19/13

Fandango/Marella
-Wait.  Did I really just see Fandango sexually assault Lillian Garcia?  Worse yet, did she just almost swoon before he decided to drop her on her ass and insult her?  I feel incredibly unclean all of a sudden.  Thank god Santino Marella showed up to save the day.  “YOU ARE A VERY RUDE PERSON” totally made me lol and his impression of “fandangoing” was pure gold.  If WWE had any sense, they would put these two in a feud.

Del Rio/Swagger
-Good ring psychology early on with Del Rio going after Jack Swagger’s arm and Swagger going after Del Rio’s leg before Swagger gets the upper hand for the rest of the match and does a good job methodically working on the leg.

SHIELD Promo
-Boy can these guys can cut a promo.  Dean Ambrose is especially impressive on the mic.  The future is very bright for these guys, especially Ambrose and Seth Rollins.

Khali/Hornswaggle/whoever the fuck else
-Are you telling me this match is over a parking spot?  Have we really stooped to this level?  That’s three minutes of my life I’ll never get back

-I love how they show the clip of CM Punk walking out and then mention that Paul Heyman put out a statement deflecting what happened by shifting focus to Lesnar...and then they shift focus to Lesnar...

Show/Henry v. Sheamus/Orton
-Man would I love to see Big Show and Mark Henry become a permanent tag team.  The way the guys were talking about how great their teamwork was, it doesn’t seem like it’s totally out of the realm of possibility.

RAW 4/22/13

THE GAME IS HERE
-See, this is why I miss Jerry Lawler as the heel announcer--if he were still heel, as soon as HHH’s music hit, I bet he would have said “Wait, so why did he send him that email?”  (I realize that’s not really funny now because that’s what actually happened but for the couple minutes between HHH’s music hitting and him talking, it was pretty obvious that WWE wanted you to think Paul Heyman had been lying)

R-Truth/Cesaro
-Ron...the rapping thing was cool for like two minutes.  You will never get over with this gimmick.  You are talented in the ring and on the mic.  Stop this nonsense.

SHIELDCOPTER
-YES!

Somebody call my momma!
-Not to brag or anything but Stephen and I totally saw Funkasaurus wrestle with NXT when they came to the Dade County Youth Fair.  He tried to charge Stephen $10 to take a picture with him.
-CODY’S MUSTACHE *clap clap clapclapclap*

Zigglypuff
-Wait, did I really just hear that?  (Rewind)  Lord.  
-By the way, Ziggy admiring his title like it was AJ off camera and then panning over...MUAH.  
-Love seeing seeds of dissent being planted within Big E Langston (albeit in an unnecessarily creepy way).  I hope this leads him to the singles ranks because being Ziggy’s bodyguard makes both of them look weak.  
-It feels weird saying this but I’m starting to LIKE Vickie; it helps having Brad Maddox’s eyebrows around to do all the stupid shit she usually does but I used to cringe when I heard “EXCUSE ME” and the last two times I legit laughed out loud--especially this time.  That whole segment was high comedy that I really didn’t think WWE was still capable of.  Team Brickie!  Up top!

Believe In the Shield
-Another day, another EXCELLENT promo by The Shield.  I officially love these guys.

Zigglypuff/Jericho
-Other than a sick bump by Ziggy on the drop kick that sent him head first into the barricade, this was kind of a lackluster match.  The low point was a particularly bad no-sell by Ziggy on a Jericho clothesline that Jericho turned into a huge mess of a pin attempt.  The best part of the match was a run-in by none other than FANDANGO’S MUSIC (fitting considering it’s ten times more popular than Fandango himself).

-Wait so now Ryback has a title match at Extreme Rules?  Just like that?  No fucking foreplay?  No drama?  No storytelling whatsoever?  Well played, WWE.  Well played.  Remember when John Cena said attacking him is the wrong way to get a title match?

DIAGRAMS!!!
-Is this because we haven’t hugged in a while?

Ryback Rules
-Ryback cuts another excellent promo.  This guy is really growing on me.

Undertaker/Kane/Bryan v. The Shield
-Watching Daniel Bryan work with The Shield is mesmerizing.  These dudes can freaking wrestle and they can sell like a motherfucker.  By the way, how many times is JBL going to say “World’s Toughest Vegan!”?

Fandango/Regal
-Good God, William Regal’s body...

Divas Battle Royal
-Are we supposed to believe that Tamina knocks AJ out cold and doesn’t just, you know, roll her out of the ring?  Another storytelling win.

Ryback/Foley/Cena/Shield
-If I would have told you a month ago that Ryback would stand toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring with Mick Foley and totally hold his own on the mic, how completely out of my mind would you have told me I was?  By the way, to the fan that yelled ”HE SAID SHUT UP!”: You get an A+, sir.

IMPACT 4/25

-The calfkiller?  Seriously?  Obviously AJ’s new submission hold is a little too cool so they had to kill it with that name.
-James Storm is god awful on the mic.  Jesus.  Thank god for Bad Influence.
-Oh look, As&8s with a sneak attack.  There’s something you don’t see every day.  Just every week.
-JOSEPH PARK!  YES!  YES!  YES!  Ohhh dear...

Taryn Terrell/Tara
-Very impressed with both these ladies but I hate when one wrestler gets the everloving hell beat out of them and then their opponent “loses focus” or whatever and they randomly get a pin...

Rob Terry/Mr. Pectacular
-Rob Terry knows how much the ladies love a VASCULAR man...
-”Just launches him like a lawn dart--what power!” Yeah what power to guide a guy who’s flying through the air...

-How could you possibly not want Austin Aries in Fortune?!?!

Chavandez/Dirty Heelz
-Great, now there’s dissention within Dirty Heelz.  I wonder if that might affect their match...
-Uh, so why exactly is Kaz just standing there next to Daniels doing commentary?  Kinda creepy.
-Excerpt of Taz’s script: “[INSERT GAY JOKE ABOUT BAD INFLUENCE]”
-Oh look, Bobby Roode is distracted by Bad Influence and Austin Aries is pissed.  FORESHADOWING!!!
-Wow that was some of the best work I’ve ever seen in a sequence whose main goal was to demonstrate how bad the teamwork of both Dirty Heelz and potentially Fortune are.

-Matt Morgan doesn’t understand the difference between supply and demand apparently.

Velvet Sky/Mickie James
-TNA may be even more wildly inconsistent these days than WWE but one thing is for damn sure and that’s that Knockouts beat the hell out of Divas.
-OK, I know there has to be a certain degree of suspension of disbelief but I can’t ignore a pinfall where one person’s back is literally touching the ropes...

-Am I the only one that thinks that the only way this Hogan/Bully Ray confrontation ends well is if it ends with Hogan joining Aces & Eights?
-OK, I admit, I popped for Sting.  That was a very WCW moment but...fuck it...I dug it.  At least they’re showing tension between Sting and Hogan and not just having him swoop in, no harm, no foul.

SMACKDOWN 4/26/13

Swagger/Del Rio
-¡SI! ¡SI! ¡SI! ¡SI! ¡SI! ¡SI! ¡SI!  (Guess Del Rio is gonna have to feud with Daniel Bryan pretty soon)
-Damn that sweet ladder dropkick to Swagger’s face shoot busted his lip.  This is a really well-executed No DQ match.  Lots of good spots, creative use of weaponry.
-”Swagger has now beaten both his opponents at Extreme Rules” (so obviously he’s not going to win the match at Extreme Rules)

Aksana/Layla
-OK, I’m not the biggest fan in the world of female wrestlers and I’m starting to realize more and more that that’s kinda unfair and that there are some seriously talented female wrestlers out there (like Emma from NXT) so I’m gonna try really hard to care about this.  Let’s see what happens.
-Yeah.  No.

-Oh, god no.  Divas reality series?  In the name of all that is holy...why?

NEW SHIELD PROMO!
-”I’m gonna do what no one in 21 WrestleManias has been able to do: I’m gonna beat the Undertaker tonight!”  And...what...pretend it’s WrestleMania?  Yeah, that’s totally the same thing.

Fandango/Gabriel
-Oh shit, Fandango just went metta--he just “fandangoed” before his big leg drop.

Sheamus/Big Show
-One problem I have with WWE in Britain is that people there actually like Sheamus.
-Sheamus really wimped out of that bump on the steel steps.  He just kinda kneeled in front of them and pushed them over.  Although I have to admit, hitting Show with White Noise was impressive.
-At first I questioned putting Sheamus in a match with Big Show while Randy Orton fights Mark Henry but after seeing how it ended it makes a little more sense because it develops the Henry/Sheamus feud while also developing Show/Henry as a tag team.

Barrett/Regal
-UK fans are stoked to see Regal job to another heel to put him over as a heel.  I guess you take what you can get although having him job to Barrett in under a minute was considerably less popular.

Orton/Henry
-Orton truly gives no fucks anymore.  Even when Sheamus cost him the match, he got mad for like 2 seconds and then was like “whatever” and did an RKO.  Dude is on autopilot.

Undertaker/Ambrose
-So.  I guess that’s probably the last we’ll see of the Undertaker until WrestleMania XXX.j

I know, I know, that was way too freaking long. Don't worry. Now that that's out of the way, these will be much more readable from this point on. See you next week!
 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now all you need are reviews of...
WWE Superstars
WWE NXT
WWE Main Event
WWE Saturday Morning Slam
ROH TV
and more!

Gotta catch em all like pokemon!