Thursday, June 29, 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Saga Sunday: Obi - Wan Kenobi Vs Darth Vader HD

70's lightsaber fights move nice and slow. Not like the fast lightsaber based lifestyles of today. -Stephen 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Kliq Bait: Derrick's Top 10 Wrestling Matches of All Time

There are so many things that go into making a wrestling match great. The workrate, the psychology, the story, etc. Every serious wrestling fan has opinions about what those things are and which matches are the greatest. Some are purists who think the wrestling stands on its own. Some care more about the stories being told than anything else. For me, it's a delicate balance between several factors:


One of the things that makes kayfabe professional wrestling unique is its ability to tell stories in a way that no other art form really can. It is one of the most heavily physical forms of storytelling, with so much having to be communicated with mere movements and facial expressions. It is also one of the most improvisation-based forms of storytelling, with so much of what the wrestlers say and do in the ring being unscripted. It has all the rich, compelling narratives of all the major competitive sports and--at its best--orchestrates these narratives in the most compelling and dramatic ways in order to engage its audience.

For me, the story leading up to the match and the story being told within the match are equally important and have to be logically consistent. Really, everything has to be logically consistent. I think it was Ted DiBiase whose advice to the younger talent was something along the lines of: every single thing you do in the ring (and outside it, for that matter), you have to be thinking about WHY you're doing it. Characters and their motivations have to be clearly defined and every single action of those characters has to be logically consistent with both their character and their motivations.


While I firmly believe that a wrestling match can't be truly great without a good story, the opposite is equally true. After all, at the end of the day, it is all about the wrestling. But what goes into "good wrestling" and what does it look and feel like? Certainly most wrestling fans are familiar with the usual indicators of "good" wrestling: workrate, move set, technical ability, athleticism, selling. But there is so much more that goes into making a wrestling match great and I feel like a lot of it is much more subtle stuff that the average wrestling fan doesn't necessarily notice, at least not consciously.

Perhaps the most important of these is realism--that is, how much does this look like a real athletic contest (or a flat out fight, depending on what you're going for) within the rules and logic of the match and how hard do the wrestlers appear to be trying to win (or just beat the shit out of each other)? Selling is a big part of this but there's more to it than that. It's also related to workrate in a way--how much do the wrestlers stay on each other, do they look like they're going 100% on every move or can you tell they're holding back, how diligently are they trying to win the match and how well are they using the logic and rules of the match to their advantage, how stiff are they working? Kayfabe wrestling, at its very best, should legitimately look as much like a real fight happening in real time as possible.

There are also other elements that are often underrated if not overlooked. Timing is a major one--the ability (and the chemistry between wrestlers) to put your body and your movements in exactly the right place at exactly the right time (and for the right reasons). Visual imagery is another one--how the moves and the spots look, the fluidity of motion, the creation of images and "moments" and telling of stories using only movements and facial expressions (and sometimes words that the audience can't hear--although with modern television production technology, those words are able to come across more and more). Psychology is a bit more well known, though more complex than perhaps many realize--particularly the importance of wrestling in character even when doing so doesn't look like "good wrestling."


This is a category that can be easy to overlook but that I think I place more emphasis on than most. So much of modern kayfabe wrestling is about "moments" and, like the major sports, legacy is incredibly important. One of the things that can really tip the scales to certain matches in favor of others is when those matches contain important moments in the canon in which they exist. A first championship of a legendary wrestler, a match that launches someone's career, even the culmination of a truly all-time great story are moments that live forever. And then sometimes (well, once, as far as I know) a match transcends professional wrestling and becomes something more.


Some people might object to this criteria and that's totally valid. Great matches have certainly happened in front of terrible crowds before. Just look at Chris Benoit v. Dean Malenko at WCW Hog Wild 1996--which took place at a motorcycle convention, for some reason, and featured a crowd that had absolutely zero interest in watching wrestling happen unless Hulk Hogan was involved. Still, I have to admit that a big part of what makes a match great is the crowd's reaction to it. For one thing, connecting with a wrestling crowd in order to elicit a specific response is an art and one that is a whole hell of a lot more difficult than it might seem. When they do it right, there is an energy it creates that is like nothing I've ever seen before. When they don't, things can get real ugly, real fast. But there's nothing better than a great match where the crowd is completely jacked and popping huge for big moves and chanting "this is awesome" and biting down hard on nearfalls. There's nothing like it in the world.

So, then, what do I think are the ten greatest wrestling matches I've ever seen?

Morphin Monday: Billy Morphs into the Gold Zeo Ranger

It should've been forever. -Stephen host of the Vundacast

Friday, June 16, 2017

Filmmaker Fandom Friday: Desperado - Ten Minute Film School

Robert Rodriguez is a film god around these parts and this Ten Minute Film school has captured my imagination for so long. -Stephen

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Get Stuff Done: Any Given Sunday Al Pacino Pre-Game Speech

Now for a moments inspiration. Al was recently cast as a football coach, but this is the type of coach I will always remember him as the best Miami Sharks head coach in history. - Stephen host of the Vundacast

Wednesday, June 14, 2017