Thursday, September 19, 2013

Favorite ladies in wrestling

So I've been super interested in everything that's going on right now in WWE surrounding the women. And I"m not alone. Everyone is talking about the women again in a meaningful way, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It's no secret that I'm a fan of women in wrestling and I thought that since they seem to be on the rise again, now would be a perfect time to compile a list of my favorite ladies in wrestling. Bear in mind as you read this article, that I didn't start watching wrestling until 1998, just after WrestleMania XIV, and while I have seen quite a bit of footage older than that, my own experience is going to heavily influence how I rank the women in this list.

#5: Sable
I've got to start out this list with what I consider to be a bang. I mentioned that I began watching wrestling after WrestleMania XIV, and Sable's feud with Luna was the reason I began tuning in on a weekly basis. The Mixed Tag match they had with their male counterparts (Marc Mero & Goldust, respectively) told a fantastic story, and it single-handedly revived the women's division in the company. The Women's title had been having a spotty history. It was deemed inactive in 1990, and then revived in 1993, only to be vacated again in 1995. Sable & Luna proved that women's wrestling could be important again, and mere months after Sable delivered her first TKO to Luna, the company had taken notice, picked up a few more talents, and revived the title once and for all. Although she lost her initial bout with Jaqueline, Sable did go on to win the championship the next month, and in my mind, she remains one of the most important women ever to wrestle in WWE.

#4: Miss Elizabeth
Often credited as being "The Original Diva", Miss Elizabeth was the picture of how young women wanted to be seen when they grew up. She may have had her share of ups and downs with "Macho Man" Randy Savage, but through everything, Elizabeth always seemed to exude a level of class that elevated her near-royalty levels of admiration. In fact, she was wrestling royalty. She was always gracious, always smiling, and on the occasion that she did get into trouble (because, let's face it, that's the nature of the business), fans would genuinely be concerned for her, regardless of anything else that was going on at the time. She was the uncrowned queen of the WWF, and she will always be seen as a beacon of compassion & tenderness in an otherwise troubled universe.

#3: A.J. Lee
I remember vividly the night that A.J. became a star in the WWE. It wasn't when she won the Diva's championship. It wasn't when she was having a love triangle with Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, and Kane. It was before that. It was the night she first became associated with the American Dragon. She expressed she loved Daniel Bryan, and later on that night, we heard Daniel ask her, "How much do you love me?" Sensing that she would do anything for love, he brought her out ringside, and sure enough he was right. As the match unfolded, Big Show gave chase to Daniel Bryan outside the ring, and ran over this poor little girl that the world did not yet know would become the most important Diva of this era. That night, I turned to my friends and said, "That girl is the future of the Divas division." She has happily proved me right. She is the current Divas champion, having successfully defended that title on several occasions, and she has proved time and time again that she can dish it out just as well as much of the roster. She can trade verbal blows with the commentators, and she is legitimately The Girl To Beat. And she has a submission finisher, which is a rare thing to see amongst the ladies.

#2 Mae Young & The Fabulous Moolah
Alright, I admit, even I feel like I'm cheating on this one, but to be fair, I did come into my own during the Attitude Era, when you were hard pressed to find one of these ladies without the other. They were the women who paved the way for future generations of female wrestlers to follow their dreams and become the Divas and Knockouts that we know today. And they were tough old broads, too. They weren't just talking the talk, they could put their money where their mouths were any day of the week. Combined they have earned 11 singles championships, and 3 women's tag team championships. And that's not to mention their various other awards and accomplishments, including being hall-of-famers.

#1: Vickie Guererro
What??? I can hear you all clicking over now, but hear me out here. There is a reason that I love seeing Vickie Guerrero on my TV so much that I would dare to put her as my favorite woman in wrestling ever. I'll admit, when Vickie first began to work on WWE television on a regular basis following the death of her husband Eddie, I hated her. I wanted her to go away. She was SUCH a bad actor, and I didn't feel she added anything that someone else couldn't do better. Over the years, however, I've turned my opinion on her completely around. She's great at what she does. Although she might not be a wrestler, Vickie Guererro has possibly the biggest influence on the product than any woman I've ever seen. And it's not just her voice. It's how she uses her voice to elicit the appropriate response. And what a response! Even in the deadest of crowds, you can expect a deafening reaction when Vickie appears. And at this point, she has such a grip on that reaction, that on the off chance it isn't strong enough, all she has to do is throw a couple more "Excuse Me!!"s in to reach the proper decibel level. I was sad to see her fired from her Raw position, ecstatic that she was immediately appointed GM of SmackDown, and I hope she stays on my TV for a very, very long time.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Week in Wrestling: 1/7 - 1/11

I know it probably seems like I come up with a lot of excuses around here. I fell out of the blog for a long time for reasons I've already gone over here. One of my new year's resolutions was that I pick back up and get this thing going again, because I really love wrestling and I want to continue to share my excitement and near-undying optimism now that I've re-evaluated the way I interact with the IWC and the way I look at wrestling programming. And then, life turned upside-down and my father very suddenly passed away and I have to do a lot of coping with that. The bright side is, that I have some time off from work to have time to catch up. I just hope everyone bears with me while I try to re-discover my footing in life. But enough with bringing everyone down... here's the first post to get me towards catching up!

Monday Night Raw

1. Hey guys, shut up. Something is about to happen here. I think literally that's what I said at the end of this show when Punk came out to the ring and the first thing he did was take the logo off the microphone and toss it aside. It's a great signal to the audience: "You should listen to what I have to say because I'm not just reciting some lines off a script like everyone else does, and that makes what I say real and important." And that was the essence of the whole promo. That the fans are just sheep that will react however the company wants them to react because they're told this guy is the hero and that guy is the villain. That the talent will jump through hoops to achieve fame rather than greatness. That there are people on top who don't deserve to be there, and there are people who are completely ignored that deserve attention. It's easy to see when he comes out and says these things why he is held in such high esteem in the eyes of the IWC. And Paul Heyman is a great addition to this dynamic. Just his presence at Punk's side, holding the belt high over his head the entire five minutes Punk is speaking and occasionally affirming the testimony of "Best in the World" drills the point home that much more. It makes the crowds hate him more. It makes the smarks love him more. It makes my boyfriend squee like a little school girl, and that is something that is always fun to witness.

2. Honorable Mentions. Something has to be said for Dolph Ziggler's new faction with AJ and Big E Langston as well. I heard for a long time from a lot of people the opinion that he'd outgrown the need for Vickie, and he should just cut loose and be on his own. I agree that he's outgrown Vickie, but I like the fact that he's got some muscle behind him now. I think the muscle, oddly enough, improves Ziggler's performance. It doesn't make him look weak, because the fact is, he doesn't necessarily need Big E to do his dirty work. He's perfectly capable on his own, but the idea that he's got some backup means he can relax a little bit and improve by leaps and bounds, until, one day, he doesn't need them anymore and is perfectly capable of catapulting himself into the title picture without the aid of a Money in the Bank briefcase.

3. One Tough Call. It was hard to choose a Match of the Night from this show, as there were three very good contenders. One was the TLC match between Ryback and CM Punk, which really served the purpose of telling the story of their rivalry, including the ambush from the Shield mid-match. Then again, Hell No and Rhodes Scholars did a fantastic job emphasizing on ring psychology while also having a damn good match. Most of that was, I think, in favor of Rhodes Scholars. They work really well as a team, Cody has a great sense of trash talk, and Sandow is just fabulous when he plants a guy and then yells "YOU'RE WELCOME!" at the audience. However, I think, and maybe this will be unpopular, that the match of the night goes to Dolph Ziggler and John Cena. The match just flowed really well. The lack of commentary for the first half was a bit distracting (because I was busy trying to get a glimpse of the commentary table), but once I could get past that, these guys put on a pay-per-view quality match to kick off the first WWE televised show of 2013, and I found myself still exclaiming at a lot of the bumps and near-falls on second viewing. I knew John Cena was going to win, but the match was good enough that I didn't care, and a part of me even was still rooting for Dolph Ziggler just as much as I did when it first aired. Both guys put on their best performance, and that's what wins it for me.

TNA Impact!

1. That Escalated Quickly. The biggest development in a story on this episode was definitely the relationship between Brooke Hogan and Bully Ray. Brooke asked her father point-blank if he was going to re-instate her boyfriend. Hulk said no. And then at the end of the show, Bully Ray rescued Brooke from the clutches of Aces & Eights, and while Hulk knew he should be grateful, dammit he doesn't like the guy, so fuck him. So that led to Bully Ray showing Hulk good faith by proposing to Brooke in the middle of the ring. And as per tradition, the date & place is set right then and there. Where? In the Impact ring of course! When? Well, they are in love! They want to be married as soon as possible! Next week! Is that good for everybody? This wedding ought to be pretty amazing.

2. Better Dysfunctional Tag Team. I love Hell No as much as the next girl, but the chemistry between Roode and Aries as bitter rivals brought together through the common interest of getting the TNA Heavyweight Championship off of Jeff Hardy is, to me, even more entertaining. The major difference here, of course, is that Roode and Aries are both very intense intimidating wrestlers. Daniel Bryan is plenty intense, but there's much more of a silly factor in Team Hell No than there is between these two. They're both loud, egotistical, and they will both knock the shit out of you without a second thought or an ounce of remorse. Who needs anger management, when you can use your dislike of your partner to fuel your energy in the ring? Speaking of which:

3. A Tale of Two Heels. This episode's Match of the Night goes to the arrogant and cocky Austin Aries, and the arrogant and self-centered Bobby Roode as they battled against two of the most popular stars in TNA, James Storm and Jeff Hardy. Their match told an entire, beautiful story from each man wanting to monopolize the match, to showing off for each other, to the end where you almost expected the belt to tear in half from them playing tug-of-war with it. They have the same goal, so they hate each other. But at the same time, they enjoy putting on a show for one another that basically says, "Look what I can do. You can't do better than that." And the beauty of it all is that every time one man does something that he thinks will top every other move in the match, the other comes back with something just as awesome, or more so. And in the process, they're keeping themselves fresh without even really meaning to, and isolating Hardy from Storm. The problem came, of course, when they became too focused on showing each other up, and forgot there was actually a match going on, but even then, it didn't stop them from kicking ass. The match ended in DQ when Aries hit Hardy from behind with the championship belt. Because really, this match wasn't about winning or losing. This match was about making a statement for the upcoming pay-per-view match. And both Roode and Aries made one hell of a statement in that regard.

Friday Night Smackdown!

1. Zero progress. Since this was the last televised show before a pay-per-view event, there was literally no movement on any stories this week. This was a promo-heavy and exhibition-heavy show, which is to be expected. Out of five matches, three were squashes involving major characters that really served no purpose.  The only match that really even mattered was the World Heavyweight Championship match, but I'll talk about that in the final paragraph.  Since the show was so filled with promos, let's move on to that now.

2. Let's talk about the People's Dreams. The most major talkers of the night were, of course, your reigning, defending WWE Champion CM Punk, and his challenger at the Royal Rumble, The Rock. Both men put on a really good show to hype this match. As I was watching the first CM Punk promo again, I remembered having watched this episode the first time around.  I remember being very impressed with the Rock. I think CM Punk brought out his A-game. Or maybe the second half of his year-long rivalry with John Cena did that (you know, when Dwayne finally remembered he was supposed to be playing his pro wrestling alter ego). Either way, he was at his Rockiest Best, especially against Damien Sandow. And CM Punk, well, he was just as smarmy a heel as you would expect him to be. But the best promo of the night didn't belong to either of them. It was during Punk's second promo from Sun Life Stadium, when Paul Heyman took over talking, and the two of them walked forward slowly, and CM Punk just stared dead into the camera with that look of cockiness and confidence that just screams that he believes every single word of his own hype. And Paul was, as Paul always is, magnificent as he taunted the Rock and told him things he already knew (such as the fact that Punk is more talented that Rocky)... he tore the People's Champ down one side and back up the other and never stopped to look back. It absolutely took my breath away.

3. Last Man Sanding. Finally, we come to the match of the night. It's somewhat appropriate that this match is also the match of the week, because it's the final match that led us into the Royal Rumble. Booker T came out bragging that in 2013, he wasn't going to take a back seat to Raw, and the Last Man Standing title match he gave us between Big Show and Alberto Del Rio was a good start to that. I've been really tired of having nothing to watch the final week before a pay-per-view, and it's especially bad on Fridays because in many cases Smackdown can turn into "What You Missed On Raw". But THIS... this is the kind of thing I enjoy seeing to send me into a paid event. This is the kind of thing that I think makes people really want to buy the pay-per-view. And I think, Rock notwithstanding, it probably helped the company in that aspect. The match itself was pretty slow-paced, but the competitors made each and every impact count, and they made each one look devastating and painful. And the ingenious way that Del Rio kept Big Show down by pushing the announce table over on top of him was (especially as punctuated by JBL) a thing of pure beauty.

Edit: So it turns out that this week was NOT the week before a PPV. The author mistakenly thought that was the case due to the slow nature of Smackdown. I should have realized that it was just Smackdown being Smackdown... What can I say? I guess Booker T's initial campaign of "Anything Raw can do, we can do better!" went straight to the naive mark that still lives innocently inside my heart. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Week in Wrestling: 12/31 - 1/4

Happy New Year everyone, and welcome back to your regularly scheduled Girls Watch Wrestling report! I've got a couple of new things going on here this year. First of all, I've decided to pick out a match of the night for each show as well as a match of the week for each post. Also, as I mentioned before, I don't like being negative, so I will try to focus on more positive things in the shows, although I'm sure from time to time something will be so awful it can't be ignored. So, with the business out of the way, let's get to the fun!!

Monday Night Raw

1. Match of the Night. Monday night's match of the night was actually pretty tough to call. I have to give honorable mention to Ricardo Rodriguez for his impressive showing against the Big Show, even if his spurt did only last about a minute and a half. It's just good to see Ricardo actually wrestling. The Enzuigiri kick that started his momentum basically came out of nowhere, especially for people who don't realize Ricardo is actually an in-ring performer. So it comes down to two: The opening tag team match between Rhodes Scholars and Cena & Miz is the first contender. It was a surprisingly good way to start the show. If I was still doing my ratings, I probably would have given it a 4. However, the winner burst out from mid-show, and really ended up being the Intercontinental Title match between Wade Barrett and Kofi Kingston. I'm not giving this match of the week just because Wade Barrett won the IC belt, and deservedly so, but the finish to the match doesn't hurt. There was a lot of action here, all over the ring and outside of it. Lots of counters. Lots of pin attempts. Even though we were all spoiled on this one, it still managed to be somewhat suspenseful. Kofi put in a big effort, and Wade made him look good for it.

2. All Championships on the Line. I liked that we were having a special event on Monday when Vickie put all the championships up for grabs (with the obvious exception of the WWE championship because CM Punk is still walking around on crutches). I also liked that it was champion's choice, because that made for some interesting scenarios, and some of them even got tied together. Big Show took the obvious "fuck you I'm a giant" stance when picking Ricardo. Antonio Cesaro took the symbolic approach and beat Sgt. Slaughter. Wade Barrett basically bullied Kofi into choosing him. And Team Hell No had to go with 3MB as Plan B when The Shield was chosen to face Ryback, who would have been CM Punk's choice. The only disappointment of the night was that Eve declared herself winner by forfeit when a doctor declared Mae Young pregnant (no, I'm not going to talk about that, because of that whole being positive thing) and unfit to compete. I would like to have seen Vickie declare that Eve needed to choose another opponent, but with them both being heels, and with Vickie distracted by the whole debacle at the party, that never happened.

3. Talker of the Night. Well, it's no surprise here that I have to talk about Dolph Ziggler and how well he's doing on the mic. AJ still needs a little work, but I think this alliance might actually really work out for everyone involved. Since AJ latched onto him, and brought Big E. Langston with her, Dolph is finally starting to really look like a legitimate threat. So he can really be as condescending as he likes against anyone, especially John Cena. I'm actually pretty excited about this rivalry that's developing. Nothing will put Dolph over more than continually beating up the company's golden boy, and that's an important step towards being a legitimate champion once he finally cashes in his briefcase.

TNA Impact!

1. Match of the Night. Other than Hardy, who let's face it, isn't terrible if you can get past his personal issues, TNA does a pretty good job of putting the main event in the main event. This was good timing for Aces & 8s too, because Bully Ray and Brooke Hogan have been stealing a lot of the spotlight lately, and TNA doesn't want it to look like they've just given up on fighting this invasion. The fact that they were in the main event, and also the fact that there was finally another de-masking (Mike Knox! Haven't seen him since he was throwing a towel over Kelly Kelly...) puts them back on the front burner where they belong. The match was brutal enough, being in a steel cage. Samoa Joe was properly pissed off, which I always love. The only thing that I really take points off of here is Kurt Angle bleeding. I just feel like Kurt is beginning to take the Ric Flair approach to wrestling, and I really hope that it isn't a midlife crisis thing, or a desperate call to stay relevant, because he doesn't really need it. So, yes, good match that.

2. Hogan's Taking it Personally. Like I've mentioned, Brooke & Bully Ray's romance is turning into the other big storyline around here. I don't know if this is right, or proper, or popular, but... I'm enjoying it. I'm actually really enjoying it. The Hogans would be the only other family to be able to pull this off other than the McMahons. Yeah, it might be the rehashed "RAWR NO DAUGHTER OF MINE WILL DATE A WRESTER even though I totally brought you into this world and really it's kind of my fault this happened." I think it's working so far. I actually look forward to the next installment every week. Hogan really went of the deep end this week, though, by suspending Bully Ray. I wonder if he can complain to Dixie Carter, the way WWE Superstars can appeal to the Board of Directors? Hmm...

3. Coming soon! Maybe the only other thing to really note from this week is that the Joseph Park vignette was pointedly more positive this week. For several weeks now we've seen shots of Park being generally terrible at wrestling, to the point that he gets injured in the head (bleeding), and then he goes all Abyss suddenly, and the trainer is like, "Woah where the fuck did that come from??" This week, however, we saw a different story. Joseph has apparently applied himself so heavily that he's actually showing actual wrestling skills without having to be injured first. So it looks like he's going to be coming back to the show very soon.

Friday Night Smackdown!

1. Match of the Night.  Not to sound like a broken record, but Wade and Kofi put on another stellar performance on Friday. This time, we had the benefit of not being spoiled by Twitter, the website, etc. So the suspense was all in tact. I actually got really worked up the second half of the match by thinking they might actually throw the belt back onto Kofi for whatever reason. I'm really glad they didn't go that route, but even so, these guys upped the ante from Monday night's match by adding even more counters & near-falls than before. So, not surprisingly, this one is also going to have my pick for Match of the Week.

2. Women in Wrestling. I don't actually have a whole lot to say here, other than these two things: Firstly, does anyone know why Natalya is basically Khali's valet now? I was happy to find that the tag match was a 6-person mixed tag match, so we got to see Nat back in the ring which made me happy. And it also intrigued me to see Rosa allowed to wrestle. I know she used to be on NXT, but I've never watched her stuff so I don't know what kind of potential she possesses.  Second, finally some motherfucking Tamina Snuka. I've been looking forward to her finally getting back in the ring, and Layla isn't a bad start for her obvious push towards the title. Maybe I just wanna see the Divas title legitimized the same way Cesaro is doing for the US title. Tamina could pull that off. "I'm not a Diva, I'm a wrestler. And no fragile little Diva is ever going to take this from me." Oh, God, that could work.

3. Brace Yourselves... The Royal Rumble announcements are coming. I kind of forgot it was so close somehow. And then Randy Orton showed up and stated his intent to enter the Rumble. And then Sheamus interrupted him to do the same. Hold on tight, folks, there's gonna be a lot of those in the coming weeks.  I'm not sure why people have to announce their entry these days. I think the Rumble could probably do with a lot less of that. Talk about the Rumble, sure. Talk about it a lot. Tell your opponent you're looking forward to eliminating him. Spit at your rival that you hope he draws #1. Brag about pulling some strings to get #30. Hell, shamelessly promote yourself in an effort to buy off #27. But I don't need 25 promos that exist only for the guy to say, "I'm going to enter the Royal Rumble this year." Especially when it's guys like Randy Orton and Sheamus. Yeah, you guys are big time. We kind of figured you were going to be in the Royal Rumble. Leave those promos to your Heath Slaters and your Zack Ryders. Guys who clearly don't have a chance, but are nevertheless just as eager for a championship opportunity as anyone else. Let's make these Royal Rumble promos really mean something.

Actually, the thing I'm really looking forward to coming soon? Hall of Fame announcements! I've never been so excited about Hall of Fame announcements in my life. I'm really really hoping that this year will be Cyndi Lauper's year to be inducted, because that woman deserves that credit. But we shall see.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reviews update

I don't want to be another Negative Nancy on the internet.  I really love wrestling, and I want to share that love with the world. I want to be able to say WHY I love wrestling. There are times when it is difficult, and I've been going through one of those times.  I can't bring myself to write reviews at the moment, because I don't want to be just another profanity-laced complaint against the many profanity-laced complaints out there. People like to talk about what they didn't like. I like to talk about what I DID like. I like to be able to come here and say, "This worked really well", "That was funny", or "Oh God I hope this part never ends!" Unfortunately, I haven't been feeling that way towards WWE programs lately. I think that maybe there's too much of it. There's six hours in a WWE week now, with the addition of Wednesday night's Main Event. They're the Starbucks of professional wrestling now. And what I mean by that is that I think they may be overextending themselves.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I feel like TNA has the more solid product right now. Tuning in to Raw and Smackdown every week is starting to feel like a chore. I don't look forward to it right now. There are a serious shortage of things happening there that I care about. Survivor Series is tonight, and I'm going to watch, but I'm not excited about any of the matches. Like, at all.  TNA, on the other hand... I care about almost everything happening right now. I look forward to Impact every Thursday night. I get excited, and it's no longer an "I might get to see Zema Ion" thing. Now, it's "What happened last week? OH YEAH DUDE I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE HOW THAT DEVELOPS."

I will admit, I was a little bothered by the Hardy title win at Bound For Glory. But he and Aries put on a good match. And last week again at Turning Point, Hardy and Aries put on a hell of a match. And now, Bobby Roode has the next shot at the title, and I think that match has such great potential, and I can't wait to see it. I can't wait to hear what comes out of Bobby Roode's face in the following weeks as he begins to spew hate at Hardy. I'm even curious to see if they keep doing this, "Hey, did you forget Jeff's a drug addict? Here's an inner monologue in the style of someone tripping in the movies." Because let's face it, that shit was hilarious. Here's a nice, normal wrestling show, and suddenly we've been transported to the world of the surreal. Yes, part of me writing this post was just so that I could convey how utterly ridiculous that was, and how the more I replay it in my head, the more I'm in love with it in an odd sort of way.

Aces & Eights has been pretty hit or miss with me since it started. I loved it, then I hated it, then I loved it again, then I was indifferent to it... I've landed at the moment on curious, and not a bad curious. Aces & Eights has caused a lot of great development at least, and we need to acknowledge that. Bully Ray has done something that I didn't even know was a thing: a slow-burn face turn. Where the fuck did that come from? It was glorious, and it actually managed to flow very naturally for his character. Joseph Parks set out to prove himself a MAN (*punch*) and he did that, and now he's fixed himself on going to "wrestling camp". You know what else I have to say about Joseph Parks? I love this world that he & Abyss come from. Parts Unknown is such a black-and-white land. I'm envisioning a bright suburb with happy people who smile and wave to each other as they walk down the street. Sometimes in the evening there's a barbeque, and families eat dinner together and then play board games until it's time for the kids to go to bed at 9:00 PM sharp. At the edge of the town, there's a vast field, full of brightly-colored flowers, sparsely inhabited by bunnies and deer... but then at the other end of the field, there's a sharply contrasted border, and on the other side of the border, all the plant life is dead. The wind blows cold over the bones that litter the desert-like plain. The buildings are all wooden shacks that look like they might fall over at any minute. In the distance, there's a volcano that just oozes lava on a nearly-constant basis.

So basically, it's like Wizards. If you haven't seen it, go find it. And then tell me that Joseph Parks isn't the Avatar to Abyss' Blackwolf.

I got very off-topic there, but I'm not going to go back now, because I'm far too proud of that description of Parts Unknown. As a writer, description is everything, you know. Anyway, the point is basicaly this: I think I'll probably have to stop reviewing WWE for right now, just to keep from being angry and repetitive all the time.  TNA makes me happy, so TNA is what you'll hear about from me. And if I feel like it, I may go ahead and continue to break down all pay-per-views anyway, but I'm not promising anything on that front.

One final note: Michelle watched the Wrestling is Fun Bananaversary last night. I wasn't watching with her, but I was hearing some of the commentary, and it definitely sounded fun to watch. Might be something I want to check out if it's possible. Because wrestling SHOULD be fun.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Week in Wrestling: 10/8 - 10/12

Monday Night Raw

1. Wade Barrett faced Sheamus. And it's about damn time he had a high-profile opponent too! I was really excited for the return of Wade Barrett when the vignettes began, but once he came back I feel like he's lost his momentum, and the problem along the way has been the booking. He's had to face random midcarders that almost never get screen time. And then one week, he took a huge step backwards from that by being put up against some random no-name local jobber. Why? When he left, he and Randy Orton were beating the everloving hell out of each other every week. He threw Randy Orton down a flight of stairs for crying out loud... are we just supposed to forget that? His return booking has had me extremely puzzled since he returned, but when I saw that he had a match against Sheamus literally the only reaction I could have was, "Finally!" Making the sudden jump here from guy with no name to World Heavyweight Champion might seem weird, but I think it is less weird than him squaring off against jobbers after his last opponent before his hiatus was Randy motherfucking Orton. Well, it's certainly preferable anyway. The best part here is that Wade wasn't totally buried by the champion. They fought an even match until Tensai decided to break up the party and force the DQ. Why Tensai, I'm not entirely sure...

2. No Seriously, Cassandra Face Eve is the Best. I just so badly want for everything that Eve says to be true. I want her to be a real advocate for the Divas division. I want her not to have any involvement in Kaitlyn's injury. I want her to start defending her actions in the ring as just trying to be a tough, competitive Diva's Champion, because dammit that's what the division needs right now. That's why she held on to Kaitlyn's ankle so long after the bell rang. It's not because she's really a vicious bitch. It's because she wanted to be sure that the Divas understood how much this title meant for the division, and how hard they would all have to work now to claim it. It's just what these women need right now. They need a purpose in the ring again. Don't get me wrong, Eve's no Sable, but I actually think that she's just the girl to put women's wrestling back in the spotlight where it belongs.

And of course, I want Teddy Long to be driven completely insane by the fact that when this is all over, he will have to eat his words.

3. The Punk Incident. So I guess I can't write this article and not talk about all the deliciousness that happened while Vince McMahon was in the house. I loved that Punk didn't waste any time interrupting the State of the WWE Address (have I mentioned I don't like politics mixed in my wrestling?). I legitimately yelled out loud at the TV in excitement when Punk slapped Vince. I squeed with delight while Paul Heyman played the part of Only Sane Man and tried desperately and unsuccessfully to avoid unnecessary confrontation. I like Vince McMahon so much more than I did two years ago, and it's because of the doses he comes in. The dose may be small, but you can bet your ass that he is going to get the most mileage out of it that is possible. I guess I just expected Vince to turn up Monday, be serious for no reason, and leave again. I keep forgetting... this is Vincent Kennedy McMahon. So of course that didn't happen. Instead, he showed up, got knocked down, issued a challenge to the champion, and then had a match at the end of the night. "Had a Match" is probably not an accurate description. It was more like a "Violent Charisma Ballet" and it was a thing of beauty. Vince dove over a table to tackle Punk. Punk put a headset on and yelled "WHAT A MANEUVER!" before slamming Vince's head into the announce desk. It was beautiful magic. And it was all derailed by some guys in Sacramento who were clearly high. Yes, I'm talking about the arena's security team. I'm pretty sure they were all sitting in a back parking lot somewhere, passing a joint around, and at one point one of them goes, "I feel like we're forgetting something" and then there's a serious pause as they all look around at each other before they finally burst into laughter because that's clearly the paranoia talking. Except they did forget something. A very important something. They forgot that the Champion was making an exit through the crowd, and that he's a super bad guy now, and that people are dumb and need to be protected from themselves. The result was that CM Punk ended up bashing a guy in the face after taking several shots from the fans. So Yeah, fuck those Sacramento guys. I hope they're all browsing the Help Wanted ads now.

TNA Impact!

1. Zema Ion: Livin la Vida Kayfabe. I'm pretty much in love with Zema Ion at this point. I think I've mentioned that he's a big draw for me to watch TNA every week. And a big part of that is that KAYFABE LIVES. Zema's big talking point as a heel is, of course, breaking Jesse Sorensen's neck. He lives it, he revels in it, and he never drops it from your memory. And funnily enough, that was actually the moment that I realized that Zema Ion was really good at his job. Not because he broke a guy's neck. Injuries are going to happen, and they're probably going to happen a lot more often to younger wrestlers. And I'm sure it was a scary moment for Zema. When he understood what had happened, I'm sure he was concerned that he may have ended a guy's career, and had a lot of deep thinking time between tapings after that. But while he was in front of the cameras, he was a Professional Wrestler, emphasis on the Professional. He never broke character, not for a split second. He immediately embraced this mishap as part of his story as a villain. He's not just effin pretty, he's pretty effin dangerous. And that was basically his whole point on Thursday. He's so dangerous, in fact, that he's eliminated his competition for the X-Division Title and has no one to defend against on Sunday... Well, I guess RVD will fix that problem. So... yeah... great.

2. And That's Pretty Much It. Yeah, it seemed like a slow week for TNA. Lots of random matches, getting ready for the Pay-Per-View. Austin Aries continues to be... ehhhh, I dunno, it just feels painfully forced, this heel turn. And I lost interest in Aces & Eights long ago when it became clear that no one was listening to my suggestion to make Jeff Hardy the leader. I just find myself not caring all that much about most of the roster lately, so I don't feel any need to write about their stories at any length.

Friday Night Smackdown!

1. Dolph Ziggler v. Kane. More specifically, Dolph Ziggler challenged Kane for this fight after his tag team loss to Hell No on Monday. It's just another step forward for Dolph Ziggler. He struggled against Kane for a while, because it's fucking KANE and he's a MONSTER as well as being the Tag Team Champions. And then Ziggler got a bit of offense in because he needs to look strong and Kane is a Boss at making guys look awesome. In the end, Dolph forced the DQ by hitting Kane with the briefcase, which only served to remind us that Dolph Ziggler is dangerous and cunning, and to make us realize that sometime very, very soon, he is going to be our World Heavyweight Champion.

2. Aha! A Clue! Aksana apparently brought a blonde wig to Kaitlyn and Layla, claiming she found it in Eve's bag. Pish-posh! And anyway, Eve points out, since when is it okay to go through other people's belongings? Oh, hey, since that's a thing now, Eve found a blonde wig in Teddy's bag so now she thinks Teddy did it. I'm not even going to ask why anyone would have purchased and worn a blonde wig to attack Kaitlyn weeks ago and not have thrown that wig out since then. Much less why there could be multiple blonde wigs floating around the roster. I'm certainly no one to judge what other people do in their time off. However, the wig does complicate matters, because it does mean that it could be literally anyone. It could have been Hornswoggle for all we know. I think we the viewers need to have a look at this security tape so that we can try to help crack this case! How's that for an interactive show? Don't forget, Eve is an angel and a saint and speaks only truth now. And none of this "I did it for the people" crap.

Week in Wrestling: 10/1 - 10/5

Monday Night Raw

1. I Now Have Whiplash. You know what? Maybe I should lay my name down on the "suing WWE" dogpile they've been forming lately, because goddammit I cannot care less about AJ as GM. I was so super excited when it happened. Yeah, it was random, but it had such amazing potential of being a fighting-against-the-odds story where none of the roster took her seriously and she had to work really hard to get the respect of the locker room as their new boss. But they didn't run it that way. I think they're trying to run it as a power-trip story, but it's not even working as that. The girl can be really entertaining, but unfortunately, she's usually scripted to be looking blankly into the distance to avoid dealing with the issues she has to face as a GM, having screaming fits when she actually needs to get the attention of a group of unruly superstars, and just generally being really sloppily written. If they're trying to write her as crazy, this isn't how you do it. Sure, she's annoyed at the notion of needing a coach to improve her job performance. There's no one on earth who wouldn't be, because we all like to think of ourselves as doing just fine on our own. The difference between a normal person being coached on the job, and AJ being coached on the job, is that a normal person realizes there's a reason that coach is there and at least tries to find a lesson to be learned. You know, listening to the coach, saying the right things at the right time, and looking forward to not being coached anymore. AJ had pretty much the exact opposite reaction, as she spent the entire night being an exceptionally horrible person, blatantly not taking the guy seriously, and then kicking him out three hours later. I'm pretty sure that's how you get fired in most workplaces. Now, to be fair, there was actually one thing that worked for it, and that was her insistence that Mr. Nobody can't possibly know how to coach her because he's never been inside the business. It was actually kind of a good point she made; it's just too bad it got buried underneath all the rest of that ridiculous bipolar mess.

2. How Will I Know If He Really Loves Me? See, in my head, that's the song that started playing at the end of the debate between Sheamus and Big Show as they stood face to face for that money shot that's needed for every championship match promo. I hate politics in my wrestling. The debate was a debacle. Sheamus is pretty much the worst person ever next to AJ. Big Show was actually kind of entertaining here. He delivered his opening statement perfectly, chose to defend his personal hygiene before his honor, destroyed a podium and asked for another, and took the issue of the World Heavyweight Championship much more seriously than Sheamus. Sheamus tried to say that he took it seriously. Words are great like that. You can say anything you want. Nobody said it had to be true.

3. Punk is Creepy and I Like It. JR Appreciation Night. CM Punk did his regular thing that he does now and he interrupted Jim Ross to try to get him to say that Punk is the best in the world. Inexplicably, JR expressed the same thoughts that everyone else has about facing John Cena at Hell in a Cell. (Incidentally, I am now seriously considering putting together and entire "Green Eggs & Ham" style poem about all the different ways Punk needs to beat Cana tentatively titled "Green Merch & Fans") Punk kicked him out of the ring, and then the most wildly creepy and awesome thing happened. JR turned to go back to the commentary table, but before he could make it two steps, Punk grabbed him by the arm and asked him, "Where do you think you're going?" You see, when the WWE Champion tells you to get out of his ring, you should say, "Yes, sir, which direction?"  I should honestly be very uncomfortable with Punk playing the abusive boyfriend part, but holy crap, it was so over the top that I can't even overanalyze it like that.

TNA Impact!

1. Bout Damn Time. Al Snow, after reviewing the contract with Bruce Pritchard, called Joey Ryan out from the back early on in the show. To avoid a lawsuit, the company apparently agreed to some demands from Ryan, including giving him a contract. Al tried to warn Joey before he signed it, but the Sleaze was so focused on having apparently won the war that he didn't listen until it was too late. The contract was only good for one night, so yes, we're going to get Joey Ryan v. Al Snow at Bound For Glory as Ryan fights for a chance at a full contract. The amazing part to me here was just how much heat Joey Ryan was getting from the in-house crowd this week. I now need to see Joey Ryan and Zema Ion team up in some form or another. They would be magical together.

2. AND THE DOOR'S LOCKED, TOO! Well, pretty much the best part of the night was Bully Ray making his case to Sting, who, by the way, I misunderstood as also being against the rules like Hogan last week. However, apparently, Sting is cool to wrestle the biker gang, so now he just needs a partner. Bully's case, by the way, is that Aces & Eights are the reason he's not in the title match, so he wants them worse than anyone else on the roster. Sting's insanity mixed with Bully Ray's entertaining-as-fuck-heel-so-deal-with-it-ness played off of each other really well, and the segment ended with Sting telling Bully to go find someone to beat up, because "I NEED A BULLY! I'M PISSED!" Unfortunately, I was pretty exhausted on Thursday and ended up having to give up and go to bed before the big match. It looks like he won his match, Hogan and Sting still picked Mr. Anderson anyway (for no apparent reason), Anderson got attacked backstage before he could come to the ring, and Bully Ray slid in there and took the spot anyway. Seems kind of pointless to have the fake-out choice there, but whatever. It's TNA, I don't question it.

3. Bruce Pritchard is a better GM than AJ & Booker combined. Much like AJ, he doesn't really do much of anything. But much like Booker T, he wants there to be accountability for the insanity that has been happening in the ring. Here's the difference, though. Booker T is going to hear both sides of the story and go, "Well this is tough, I need to think about this, I don't know what to do about it", and wander off, trying to figure out just what it is exactly that Teddy Long does. Bruce Pritchard knows the full job description of every backstage employee and goes, "DO YOU SEE THIS? THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. GO FIX IT RIGHT THE FUCK NOW." We saw it last week with Al Snow being berated for hitting Joey Ryan, and we see it again this week, as D'Lo is asked, "HOW THE FUCK DID MATT MORGAN MAKE IT TO THE RING? YOU NEED TO STEP UP YOUR GAME RIGHT THE FUCK NOW." You really get the feeling that these guys are Bruce's unruly teenage sons who keep getting in trouble with their wild pranks, even though they know better because their dad is chief of police and it's pretty much a given that there will be an extreme scolding as soon as they walk back in the door.

Friday Night Smackdown!

1. All Aboard the Del Rio Train! So Mike is the one who got me on this bandwagon. I didn't start out liking Alberto Del Rio, and I don't necessarily get all giddy when he shows up like my dear boyfriend does, but I have to admit the boy has a point. Del Rio is pretty great when he's allowed to be. He's been so stifled for so long being forced into an unnatural an uninteresting feud with Sheamus, the World's Blandest Champion, that I'd kind of forgotten what it was that made Del Rio so great in the first place. The man can actually be really entertaining, as we saw when he came down the ramp to Randy Orton\s music, called him a dog (which he needs to never stop doing), and even struck Orton's pose, probably better than Orton does it. This would have been greater if Otunga hadn't been addressing the WWE Universe in his underpants first, which was a dead giveaway that this was all just leading up to a match. I need to see Otunga start wearing his trunks under his lawyer pants at all shows now, because he's had too much experience now with, "I'm not even scheduled to compete tonight!" and there's something silly about Otunga just walking around backstage in his gear without a match to look forward to. Otunga is a professional, dammit, and he should wear a suit and sip on his coffee thermos at all times that he is not wrestling.

2. Booker's Terrible GMing.  So this is what I was getting at before when I was talking about Bruce Pritchard. I realize that Bruce is not the GM of the show, but GM appears to just be a decorative title these days, and no one holding that title seems really worthy of it. In the case of Booker T, I would have said a couple of weeks ago, well at least he's trying... But he kind of really isn't trying. He's making a show to make it look like he's trying. Listen, I'm a manager at my job, and I get that it can be difficult if two of the employees don't get along, but I'm generally being pretty proactive about talking to the different parties, getting their sides of the story, and trying to make a plan that will work to resolve the dispute. Here's Booker's take: He walks in on Teddy accusing Eve of having Kaitlyn attacked and giving her the "If I was in charge" speech. Booker's GM brain's first priority, remind Teddy who is in charge around here. Here he knows he has a problem and he should try to address it. He also has enough courtesy & sense to know that he shouldn't reprimand one employee in front of another employee, so he asks Eve to leave the room. And then, instead of the proper response of, "Teddy, is everything alright, man? Talk to me; tell me how you feel." he instead accuses Teddy of acting jealously, doesn't really let Teddy respond to the accusation, puffs out his chest and declares that bickering is strictly forbidden, and then forgets the next step in Respectful Workplace 101 and takes the easy go-to route of, "I gots bid-ness to attend to." exit stage left.

3. I Hear You, I Just Don't Care. That was the final message from CM Punk this week. Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone is telling him he needs to face John Cena, the fans want him to face John Cena, King Mo wants to see him face John Cena. Therefore, he's not going to face John Cena. I realize that there was probably a lot of stalling going on here as well because of Cena's surgery, but I actually like the consistent refusal of the match here. I like it a hell of a lot better than Brock Lesnar's thing from this summer, anyway. Then again, we all knew Brock was a temporary commodity, and of course he was going to eventually agree to the match, but in this case, we don't know that from Punk. He might still get pushed over the edge at some point. Whatever. We are patient. We can wait. And when CM Punk speaks, we will listen.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Week in Wrestling: 9/24 - 9/28

Monday Night Raw

1. These Pairings Made No Sense.  So there was a lot of randomness on this episode of Raw. The Miz was paired against Ryback, because Ryback disrupted his show I guess, but then Ryback came out victorious, which upsets me because the Intercontinental Championship has a purpose, and that purpose isn't for the champion to have to lose to unstoppable monsters. I like Ryback just fine, but I love the Miz, and I fear for the prestige of the undercard titles because Miz is a step in the right direction, but I don't get the feeling that WWE cares. Meanwhile, Wade Barrett squashed Tyson Kidd... why? Why is Wade motherfucking Barrett being relegated to jobbers suddenly? When he was injured he was in the middle of feuding against Randy Orton. Wade Barrett should be barreling through the likes of THE RYBACK and shouldn't have to go to the back of the line. These designated jobber squashes are doing more harm that good for me. I mean, how hard is it for them to show us footage of Wade Barrett throwing Randy Orton down a flight of stairs to establish, "Don't fuck with this dude, he's a bad dude." He's not even making a promo here about how this match is beneath him, because it totally is. Also, Big Show interrupted a match between Brodus Clay and Tensai. Because Big Men.

2. Dolph Ziggler momentum. So the climb continues. Last week you'll recall I wasn't all that thrilled at Dolph Ziggler facing Santino, and this week I was slightly less blase about his match with Kofi Kingston. Having a bit of time to mull it over, I guess I am liking the fact that his climb is starting with guys who have recently lost titles. It's definitely a good way to get him some momentum towards that cash-in and a credible World Heavyweight Reign. It really feels like they're setting up for that sometime soon-ish.

3. Wait, is this a Divas Storyline? Yeah, the Night of Champions thing is definitely setting up a story in the Divas division that could potentially be really intriguing. Here we have a clear Who Dunnit? scenario with Kaitlyn's attacker, and it turns out Kaitlyn's attacker is a blonde. I am really really hoping it's Raquel Diaz, because she'd do great to come on the show that ruthless, just taking out random Divas because she doesn't like the way she's dyed their hair or whatever. I would also be okay with Natalya, because Natty is fucking BOSS and I wouldn't put it past her to manipulate her way to a title shot.

TNA Impact!

1. Welcome to Championship Thrusday! ... Which has almost nothing to do with the championships! Seriously, I was expecting an "every title defended" kind of deal with that name. Then again, this is the same company that hyped a Star Wars-themed show where the only mention of Star Wars was a trailer for the new re-release IN 3D. I was highly disappointed here. There was a non-title singles triple-threat match between one half of each of the tag teams competing at Bound for Glory (and I expect we'll see the other half of that match next week). There was a #1 Contender match for the Knockouts Title (which featured one half of the Knockouts Tag Champions). There was a tag team main event where the World Champion and challenger fought on the same damn team... The only title that was contested on Championship Thursday was the Television Title, which is pretty much only because Devon left and the vacated title needed to be filled.

2. Hogan is Slow, and Sting Never Gets the Point. Aces & Eights basically kidnapped Hogan & Sting this  week, which I suppose was the only way they were going to get to the clubhouse (seriously, what were they gonna do? Get in the car and use a divining rod to reach their destination?). Then the gang proposed a deal: They will pick two, and TNA will pick two of their best men, and they will fight for custody of Joseph Parks. At first Hogan and Sting assume that they are TNA's two best men, but the leader patiently reiterate to them 3 more times that they are not getting it. Eventually, Hogan gets it and agrees to the deal. However, when they're dropped back off, Sting is still yelling about how it's going to be him. Sting, this is why your career flowchart is a circle. Because you're a dipshit.

3. Your NEW Television Champion! Through a series of eliminations a la Open Fight Night, Hogan narrowed down the applicants to the vacated TV title down to two men: Mr. Anderson and Samoa Joe. I was very heavily leaning towards Samoa Joe, as I'm sure many people were, and I was happily not disappointed. I've been pulling for Joe ever since his losing streak during the BFG series LAST year and the consequent "JOE IS PISSED" semi-storyline that followed. So yeah, I was really happy to see him win the TV title here. I was even happier to see him win by submission when he CHOKED ANDERSON THE FUCK OUT. The beauty of this finish was that when he was handed the title, he was able to make a little tribute by making the "Go To Sleep" sign at the camera. As if to say, "I can also knock men out, and I also have a title." Life made, really.

Friday Night Smackdown!

1. Holy Crap, Thank You WWE. So here's the thing. It's been released that Beth Phoenix has asked for her release. She's got personal issues she's got to deal with, and it's understandable, and so before she leaves, we're being treated to quite a bit of the Glamazon being a badass bitch. Obviously someone in the back likes her, and it's also obvious that our prayers have not fallen on deaf ears. On Friday, we were treated to something truly special in the realm of WWE: a real-life wrestling match between Beth Phoenix and Natalya, These ladies are wrestlers first. Not models, not fucking exotic dancers... WRESTLERS. So it starts with a handshake, and I was already cautiously excited. I expected a quick expose of basic wrestling maneuvers, but I got a lot more than that. I've heard people denounce this and go, "This wasn't a great match. It was mediocre and you people are making it out to be better than it was." No, I'm making it out to be fucking AMAZING considering the source. This is the company that has given us women taking their clothes off on a weekly basis. To see an actual match between two women who actually know what the fuck they're doing is absolutely FANTASTIC. The submission spot when Natty had Beth in the Sharpshooter was probably the best submission I've seen in a while, because Beth sold that spot with everything she had. I just don't have enough good things to say about it, and if you didn't like it, it's probably because YOU got up to pee and missed it, you biased prick.

2. Did He Just Say.. Single... Elimination... Tournament?!? He did!! We've been happily watching the resurgence of the Tag Team division over the last couple of months and now finally there are enough that we can truly focus on it and bring it back to prominence. The Tag Team Championships are in the best shape of any championship right now, and I'll tell you why. First, there's the compelling story of the current Champions. We want to see them succeed because they're so dysfunctional and it just WORKS for them, and they're both entertaining as hell to watch, and I don't think anybody could have predicted that Daniel Bryan and Kane would have this much chemistry together, but they are amazing. Second, there is an entire pool of hungry tag teams, almost all with either matching gear or catchy names, who really really want to break the barrier and take those titles and be able to call themselves the best. Remember how I said I wanted Sandow & Rhodes to become a regular thing and go after the titles? Well, guess what? They competed in the first match in the tournament, and beat the Usos to advance to the second round!

3. Do I have to talk about the WHC picture? I suppose it's kind of the only other thing of note from Friday's show. Turns out Big Show's big entrance on Monday was setting him up to demand a World Heavyweight Title shot. So Friday he got a #1 contender match with Randy Orton, which didn't sit well with Del Rio, who attacked Orton backstage before the match. But Orton competed anyway, because HE'S A MAN, and of course Big Show knocked his lights out and now he's going to face Sheamus at Hell in a Cell. I would have rather seen Orton win, personally. He's one of very few faces I like, and I haven't liked Big Show in a while because lately Creative can only book him as "OMG LOOK AT THIS MAN HE IS HUGE HOW IS [insert wrestler name here] GOING TO OVERCOME THIS." And that just gets kind of old, really fast.