It's that time of year again! The G1 Climax is one of the most famous and respected professional wrestling tournaments in the world today and this year, I, D-Rock, was there live and in person (with my sister-best-friend Renee!) as the G1 kicked off in the U.S. for the first time ever with a very special Night One show in Dallas, TX. Now, as the G1 progresses and we see some separation happening in the standings, it's inevitable that we start thinking about who we could see meet in the finals of this prestigious tournament. There are so many stories to be told and so many great matchups to choose from (especially with newcomers like Moxley and KENTA in the mix), it was excruciatingly difficult to choose five (well, sort of...) but these are the five(ish) matches we here at Vundablog would LOVE to see in the G1 Final:
Part 2 of our epic time-spanning show where our champ D-rock leads us through the last act of the classic Wrestlemania 14 on VHS. As we also discuss/review Wrestlemania 35 and AEW's Double or Nothing. We even walkthrough the exclusive VHS press conference with Mike Tyson & Stonecold!
Prime time Friday night we react and celebrate some 2019 trailers and a bunch of crazy trailers from films all the way back to the 60's! For films like Beyond the 7th Door! The Vineyard! Children of the Corn! #ShakesspearesShitStorm! Ready or Not! The Night Child! Lady Frankenstein! and many, many more!
Here is a short advertisement/film/parody by Frank
-The first segment features AEW Vice President of Business Operations Nik Sobic talking about Tony Khan and the Madden shooting and the VAAC. According to Sobic, Tony Khan has had the idea for AEW in his head for over three years now, which I thought was pretty cool and interesting. Makes me wonder how the idea has evolved and what his vision may have been then and now and what Cody, Matt, and Nick may have brought to that vision.
Sobic also speaks a bit about the August 2018 shooting at the Jacksonville Landing where a gamer opened fire on fellow gamers in a Madden video game tournament, killing three (including himself) and injuring ten others. He talks about how it affected the Jacksonville community and how Tony lives just a few blocks away and how important it was for them to use the proceeds from Fight for the Fallen to give back to the Jacksonville-based Victim Assistance Advisory Council (VAAC), which, in the words of Tony Khan, "helped so many people during that incredibly tragic time."
-Next we have a short segment featuring AEW Associate Producer Michael Cullari (aka "the guy with the apple") talking about training with Brandi, including some nice clips of her training and looking pretty great in the ring. He particularly highlights that he's never seen her so motivated despite how busy she is as AEW's Chief Brand[i] Officer. Also, as if you needed reason to love Brandi even more: that Empire Strikes Back t-shirt omg y'all...
-The next segment is Hangman Page's response to MJF's video from a recent episode of "Being the Elite" (crap, am I gonna have to start watching that too? at least they're only like a half hour long instead of 3 hours every Monday and 2 hours every Tuesday ;D) of him "training" with a "perfect copy" of Page. It's honestly a pretty good promo. I dunno how much this might turn me around on Page--who I am kind of ambivalent about but admittedly haven't seen much of what he can do--but it was pretty good. I also thought it was interesting how insistent Page was here that his knee is 100% because that's kind of a dead giveaway that it isn't--because, logically, if it was, why would he want MJF to know that? However, the best part of all of this by a mile was: "First of all, if you don't like horses, well, f*ck you..."
-Finally, we close with a pretty epic hype video for Cody & Dustin vs. The Young Bucks featuring Tony Schiavone and Jake "The Snake" Roberts. Interlaced with clips of Cody asking Dustin to be his tag team partner after their match at Double or Nothing are clips of Jake and Tony hyping up the match Schiavone calls a dream match--and it really is for a lot of reasons that Schiavone points out: it's brothers vs. brothers, it's two top shelf tag teams (Schiavone takes great care to remind us of the amazing run Cody and Dustin had as a tag team in WWE a few years ago, taking on The Shield and The Authority, winning their jobs and Dusty's job back, and even winning the WWE tag titles), not to mention it's four of the best wrestlers there have perhaps ever been. Jake the Snake also gives some insight into tag team wrestling (which he hated, interestingly) and the importance of trust and connection in tag team wrestling which is the perfect way to build a brothers vs. brothers tag team match.
One other interesting tidbit was Schiavone talking about how this match might be a bit more grounded than the Young Bucks might be used to. He allows that if it starts getting fast paced, Cody and Dustin might not be able to keep up with the Bucks but says that if they go in with a strategy to keep the match grounded, it will definitely be in their favor. So already we have a TON of great setup for both the story and the psychology of the match itself which, if they follow through on it (and why bring it up here if not to follow through on it?) will make for a really great, compelling match in Jacksonville next month!
Today's episode of the Vundacast will be a special one where the Blockbuster Guy Frankalong with Microsoft's chosen one Dom leads Jeff and Autumn to discuss and react to Bethesda and Microsoft's E3 presentation!
-The first segment is Brandi Rhodes announcing that All Out sold out in 15 minutes and 137,600 people tried to buy tickets which is pretty impressive even if it is mostly ticket seller bots buying the tickets. Bots aren't buying up New Japan tickets in those numbers, for whatever it's worth. Brandi also announces that the AEW Women's Championship will be unveiled at All Out--interestingly, she didn't say a champion will be crowned at All Out which makes sense considering the AEW champion wouldn't even be crowned yet if they did that. Should be very interesting to see whose names start being brought up for the women's title. Of course you have to think Awesome Kong, Nyla Rose, Britt Baker, and Kylie Rae are at the top of the list. Riho and Yuka Sakazaki might well be in the conversation depending how their match with Nyla goes at Fyter Fest. Brandi also has a match with Allie at Fight for the Fallen two weeks later so expect to see their names in the mix. Now that I'm looking at it, that's eight names right there--just enough for a small tournament!
-Next is a feature on CEO owner and founder Alex Jebailey. I started out kind of ambivalent toward this until I realized that the purpose of this--beyond selling people on CEO with some history as well as introducing Jebailey and his personal story--is to hype Jebailey's hardcore match with Michael Nakazawa on the preshow of Fyter Fest. I'm still not quite sure how I feel about the owner of CEO being on the card to promote the partnership between AEW and CEO but they did some interesting stuff about his training and fighting through a ruptured achilles tendon to get ready for this match so I'm definitely open to seeing how the match plays out before passing judgment.
-Next we get a nice, succinct backstory of the relationship between Christopher Daniels and Cima to promote their match at Fyter Fest. Nothing particularly inspired here but a good piece to put over Cima and his importance and legacy in Japanese wrestling and generate some interest in the match by setting him up as a sort of measuring stick for Christopher Daniels to gauge whether he can still hack it as a singles wrestler. Definitely looking forward to their bout.
-This week's episode closes with a lengthy backstory video with a tag team I've never heard of called Private Party which was great and definitely accomplished the goal of not only putting these guys on my radar but making me interested to see what they can do in AEW both as wrestlers and characters. A couple particularly effective moments were hearing them put over their trainer, Amazing Red--who is one of those guys I always heard a lot of hype about during his days in Ring of Honor but never actually got to see wrestle and it makes me wonder if they're putting this much effort into putting him over here, might he be making an appearance in AEW at some point, perhaps even as a competitor?--and also the moments of them talking about their connection and heaping praise on each other. They clearly have great chemistry together and a really good relationship that seems, in some important way, unique from the toxic masculinity of typical male tag team relationships as well as of their upbringing in Brooklyn--at least based on how they describe it. Very much looking forward to more from Private Party.
We're trying out a new feature here on Vundablog--possibly temporary or perhaps rolling into an eventual weekly feature once AEW on TNT premieres--where I (Derrick) will be doing some short little breakdowns of the AEW "Road to..." videos. I've been following these pretty much from what I would deem the official beginning of the AEW canon timeline, beginning with "The Road to Double or Nothing." Those videos were excellent, if you want to go back and watch them on the Nightmare Family YouTube channel. I especially can't recommend highly enough episode 13 where Dustin Rhodes is revealed as Cody's opponent. Just brilliant stuff.
One of the things I (and many others) find so compelling about these short webisodes is that they are, to some extent, the first real preview we've gotten of something like what an AEW television show could look like. Of course, the actual show could very well lean more toward a conventional pro wrestling show format with not quite as much behind-the-scenes content (which is showing up less in the "Road to Fyter Fest" videos than the "Road to Double or Nothing" ones) but some of the promos and video packages have been exceptionally well done and the behind the scenes stuff has definitely been getting a lot of good feedback and more than a few people have been saying they'd love to see the AEW TV show be a little more like this. It should be very interesting to see how they transition from these videos into the weekly episodes on TNT but either way these videos are extremely compelling.
We begin with the episode that was released today: "The Road to Fyter Fest - Episode 2" followed by a quick rewind breakdown of episode 1 (videos behind the cut):
Hosts: Stephen & Danielle
with the Midnight Hounds: Xena, Duke, Rusty and Morty
Continuing our analysis of what could influence the themes and cinematography of Episode IX we watched the 1978 film Midnight Express, written by Oliver Stone. A still from the film was found Vic Mahoney's office wall. She was the 2nd unit director for The Rise of Skywalker and her moodboard has provided quite a bit of material about the film.
Dani and Stephen assemble all the spoilers in Avengers Endgame and express their dissatisfaction with the new Marvel Studios masterpiece by the Russo Bros, armor up Marvel zombies this is our Festivus and we start with the Airing of grievances!
Dani and Stephen are back from Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019, and we have some stories to tell, experiences to share, and so much swag now. With in this show is our 1st reaction to The Rise of Skywalker Teaser Trailer and our experience as VIP's and being in the front row! In this Rebel Order Replay on the Vundacast, with an intro we could not have spoken about on the Rebel Order.
Dani and Stephen are back from Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019, and we have some stories to tell, experiences to share, and so much swag now. With in this show is our 1st reaction to The Rise of Skywalker Teaser Trailer and our experience as VIP's and being in the front row!
Welcome to Part 1 of our very special WrestleMania Weekend preview of a piece I have been working on for months upon months now: my top 50 wrestling matches of all time. It's going to be a WHILE before this beast finally comes to fruition as it is currently still in the research stage (I have a pretty good idea of what the top 50 are going to be, there's just a few matches I still want to watch before I start the writing process) but I'm so excited about it that I wanted to give folks a little sneak preview and with WrestleMania Weekend upon us, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so in a way that also simultaneously celebrates the biggest weekend of the wrestling calendar.
All ten of these matches will be featured in the final version of the top 50--and some of them might be higher than you think! It's staggering to think about the fact that NXT has only been around for five years and has only done about 30 TakeOvers (and one Arrival) and yet they've already put on 10 matches that I would consider among the greatest in wrestling history. The incredible storytelling combined with world class wrestling has put NXT in a class of its own these past five years, cementing it as easily one of if not the best wrestling promotion in the world today. These matches are the best of the best...
OK. So. As much as I'm dying to get into parsing this entire segment line-by-line (some of which is cut out of this video but, thankfully, not the important parts--which is especially significant because when WWE edits these videos, they only leave in the specific stuff they want you to focus on and all the best, most layered stuff I'm going to discuss is in it), I should probably start from the beginning...
The Rebel Order podcast journeys into the mystical realm of The World Between Worlds introduced 1 year ago by Star Wars Rebels. We discuss what it means for the Star Wars universe, what it could mean for Episode IX, and beyond.
Our Hollywood Holocron of the week is Dave Filoni director of the 2008 the Clone Wars, creator of Star Wars Rebels, and Star Wars Resistance! And he is directing the pilot of the Mandalorian!