December 27, 2011

SCN v3i2: Rise Above You Suck

Greetings and Holiday Salutations Doinks and Doinkettes,

Thanks for joining us this week despite being a somewhat slow week in the wrestling world. The best rounded program this week was Smackdown, so let's take a look at what went on.

Smackdown started off with Big Show being boring on the mic. "Duh, I'm the Big Show, I lost my championship but I didn't want to." Then Mark Henry comes out and tells Big Show to take a week off, and then quit the business, schooling Show how to make being an idiot on the mic entertaining. Then Daniel Bryan joins the party and gives a great promo about how he's got nothing going for him except that he's a very good wrestler, and has the WHWC title. Daniel Bryan got over on Big Show in this segment as surely as if he'd pinned him all over again, with Mark Henry taking some shit from Bryan as well, but not in such a way that diminished his character. The trio of Show, Henry and Bryan is really interesting and kind of funny because the bigger guys seem like they don't know what to do with Bryan.
Later in the show, Henry and Show are in the ring for a match, and David Otunga interrupts to announce that Henry isn't cleared to compete. Pretty good opportunity for the heel Mark Henry to beat on him, right? WRONG. Henry just walks away while the babyface Big Show sucker-punches the lawyer while he isn't looking. Classy. Real classy, pro wrestling.
In addition to the great opening segment, there were two other highlights for Smackdown. The second was a backstage brawl between Wade Barrett and Randy Orton that couldn't be described in any other way but *classic*. Barrett selling the stream from a regular hose like it was a fire hose was probably my favorite part, but the rko on top of the car was pretty rad as well. Also, having Wade Barrett do almost all of the talking for this feud has been a really good idea.
The third highlight was the main event of Smackdown. Dolph Ziggler versus Daniel Bryan. Awesome! And every bit as good as I would hope. Uh oh, here comes Jack Swagger and Big Show, hold up playas! Teddy Long, as he is wont to do, makes the match a tag match. Think this slowed the action down? Negligibly, as the rest of the match unfolds to be as fun and dramatic as the beginning had been.

I didn't catch the beginning of Impact this week, I only saw the second hour. And while it's possible that the first hour could have been the best hour of pro wrestling television ever produced, I can say with certainty that the second hour was not. As a matter of fact, it featured 2 of the worst, most ill-conceived dopey ding-dong things I've ever seen on a pro wrestling show.
Ding-dong number one: Kurt Angle, dressed in an oversized cowboy Halloween costume, goes to James Storm's favorite bar, says "Hey, do you guys know James Storm?" gets the response "Yeah" and proceeds to beat everybody up. The only entertaining thing about this was thinking of jokes that could be preceded by "Kurt Angle walks into a bar..."
Ding-dong number two: The finish of the main event involved Sting setting up Bobby Roode on a table to get splashed by Jeff Hardy from the top rope, breaking the table and getting the pin. The problem with that was that Roode's shoulders were propped up by half of the broken table, making the ref's three count as inane and meaningless as a countout on a guy standing in the middle of the ring. TNA's fucked up a lot of things before, but when you fuck up THE MOST fundamental thing about wrestling, that a wrestlers shoulders must be pinned to the mat for 3 seconds, what is there left to fuck up? Something tells me they'll find something.

Raw was a pretty good show this week, with a few cool things worth mentioning and a few more worth forgetting about. The opening was excellent. Snappy dialogue not just from CM Punk but John Laurenitis as well, setting up the extended main event with interesting stipulations. I was really looking forward to the series of matches, especially since Swagger and Ziggler had been so great in the Smackdown main event, and I know Punk can put on great matches every week. I guess I was expecting Mark Henry to beat Punk and transition to Raw, which would have been disappointing to me, so I was doubly thrilled at the outcome of the match, which will guarantee Ziggler a shot at the WWE title next Monday. I have to say, though, despite the cool finish, I didn't think these matches were very strong.
As a matter of fact, I didn't think there were any strong matches on Raw this week. Cody Rhodes and Booker T was good, I might just be a little bitter about the finish. It was really exciting to see Tyson Kidd on the show, but unfortunately he didn't really do anything unique or memorable. And that's it. Three matches. Well, three finished matches-- there were two more that didn't have a proper finish. R-Truth came back to interrupt Miz's match with John Cena, and Mark Henry interrupted Big Show's match with David Otunga, which I thought was a horrible segment. Mark Henry didn't get revenge, Daniel Bryan came out but didn't do jack, and Otunga didn't get to show off any moves, he had no offense at all. Basically it was a fluff advertisement for Smackdown, but was so watered-down and sloppily put together that it came off as being slightly mocking of them.
I wish I was at my home pc so that I could include a picture of Alberto Del Rio's gaudy wheelchair, and Ricardo with his bow tied neck brace. That segment was hilarious and definitely picked the show back up again. Then the main event takes place, the crowd is going wild, and Kane comes out! The music, the fire, the new mask, whose ass is going to die? Then he gets on the mic and talks. And talks. And talks some more. By the time John Cena comes out, Chicago is almost ready to cheer him, just in the hope that they might see some action. But it's not to be. Kane stops Cena from approaching the ring by using his magic powers to make the ramp explode with fire. (There was actually a split second that I believed he'd legit blown up Cena with magic) Kane tries to make Cena sad, and Cena mopes a little bit and shuffles off. This segment will only have worked for me if Cena appears next week as Kane's disciple of hate. And now I'm really missing Photoshop.

Tune in next week for the return of the Marshall Matters Show! Who will be the mysterious 1/2/12 return? Will Brodus Clay ever make his Raw debut? How long can Daniel Bryan hold onto the WHWC title? What's up with Cole's great play-by-play announcing? How much worse can TNA get?

All will suffer,
Quarter Marshall

December 15, 2011

Marshall Says: WWE Year in Review: 2011

One of the main topics discussed among pro wrestling fans in 2010 was the eroding roster of main event talent in the WWE. With a large portion of big name stars leaving the company (Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels, Batista, and later Edge) and other A-Listers nearing in-ring retirement (Undertaker, HHH), the future of the main event scene in the WWE seemed threatened. The reigning question: who will take the place of these departing luminary personalities? With the invasion of the Nexus, and the championship reign of The Miz, it seemed like the whole title picture was being shaken up and redefined, with mid-carders and fresh faces alike being elevated very quickly to compete at the top tier. But what stuck? Despite his long reign, The Miz was never a dominating champion, and the Nexus dissolved relatively quickly. It seemed like as soon as Sheamus cemented his role as a viable up-and-comer in the main event scene, he was shot down with a long lasting losing streak. If 2010 was a year defined by it's confused main events, then 2011 was a year defined by a sense of returning stability to the championships, with thanks to the talent that stepped up to try and fill those open top spots.

Some of the guys to reinvent themselves have been around for a long time, as in the case of Christian and Mark Henry. Some have been in the WWE for a fewer number of years, but a while all the same, as in R Truth, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, and CM Punk. With less than three years logged in the WWE are Sheamus, Wade Barrett, and Daniel Bryan. Some of these guys have been excellent in lesser roles for as long as they've been around, and others have only just this year found their best character to date. All of them have substantially improved to the extent that the main event scene in the WWE doesn't seem too bleak any more.

Of course, the standout here is CM Punk, whose summer program with John Cena/ Vince McMahon was the hottest, most talked about series of events in pro wrestling in years, through which he became one of the most polarizing figures within the past decade. But beyond the mark-out value of CM Punk's success is the hope that his undeniable claim to be on the top of the industry could change the WWE's view on what should constitute a WWE champion. Now, this wasn't the first world championship Punk has won with the company, it was his fourth. It's also notable that his first reign as World Heavyweight champ was on the Raw brand. He isn't even the first WWE champ with deep indie roots, which is a distinction belonging to Rob Van Dam (2006). So what makes this time different? In my estimation, two things: context and money. Context because it was a recurring topic of his famous promos that the WWE almost exclusively pushes guys who've come up through their system, and have a bodybuilder's figure. His winning the title directly after pointing out these facts seemed to represent a consensual breaking of said habits. Reason two is money, which is what everything really comes down to in the end, and it's important in this scenario because CM Punk proved that he could move merch with the best of em. Sometimes it's hard to tell a genuine buzz from passing hype, but the staying power of Punk's popularity at the merchandise table sends an unmistakable message to the accounting department. Message reads: Paul Heyman was right.

Even though Punk rocked the wrestling world, and owns the top three mark-out moments of 2011, I think what may actually be this years most significant, lasting effects on pro wrestling originated from a much humbler and unlikelier source. With his popular weekly youtube show, Zack Ryder has changed the game forever. The saturation of Twitter in WWE programming, as well as two weekly streaming shows and exclusive interviews were all going to happen anyway, so it's not so much that Ryder found success online as much as that he found success by himself. The opportunities youtube and Twitter afford to self-promoters are unprecedented, and Ryder has proved how effective they can be for generating both interest and revenue in pro wrestling. This goes back to the point I made earlier about genuine buzz versus passing hype, and the difference being defined by the bottom line. Zack Ryder is the first of a kind, and may one day be remembered as the grandfather of self-promoting Superstars.

These are the three things I feel define the past year for the WWE. The number of guys stepping up their game, the recognition of CM Punk's value (and the appropriate platform), and Zack Ryder reinventing the wheel of how to get over. Each of these elements have scads of further potential for the year to come, and beyond. If Kane's masked arrival this week is any portent, I'd say things are looking good that WWE programming may indeed soon be roundly appreciated by it's oft disgruntled fans as being "fun again."

December 13, 2011

SCNewsletter v3i1: Mark Resurrected

Greetings all,

The Marshall Matters Show will be off the air for the rest of the month, as the production supervisor and the mix artist have eloped and won't be coming back until January. In the meantime, those of us remaining in SCN Canada will be putting together S. C. Newsletters just like the good old days of October. Unfortunately, the mix artist was also our picture editor, so these posts will be drably unillustrated. Please bear with us.


...started with Cody Rhodes taking Booker T's place at the announce table after beating him up. I had to wonder if he was going to be using his normal voice or that affected shaky voice that he uses for most of his promos. Thankfully, he kept the theatrics to a minimum, but the real kudos goes to Josh Matthews who had the responsibility of keeping Cody and Cole on topic and talking about what was going on in the ring.
In the first match-up Wade Barrett took out Ezekial Jackson with a Black Hole Slam, which Cody called a Lost Man Slam, which sounds cool. Barrett used the same move again later on Randy Orton during Orton's main event match with Dolph Ziggler. The finish of this match was awesome- and who doesn't love a countdown clock on the screen during a pro wrestling match?
But stealing the show: ma man, Daniel Bryan. He delivered an incendiary promo in Michael Cole's direction, taking advantage of all of that uptapped heat that I talked about last week. This was a red-hot, awesome segment that seemed to me to once again demonstrate that DBD isn't only Mr. Match of the Night, but also The Man overall. He is on a hell of a roll both match-wise and promo-wise, and has been the best thing about pro wrestling for the past two months.


I might've just been in a good mood this week when I watched Impact, but I actually enjoyed it. There were some good promos and some good matches,and was a good overall show that set up Sunday's PPV pretty well. I didn't get the chance to watch the PPV start to finish, I only had time to skim through it. It looked like a solid show with a series of quality matches, even if plots and feuds were undercooked or dull. All titles were retained, and it didn't come off feeling like anything important happened, especially if this week's Impact features the same feuds being drawn out, as is usually the case. The only stipulation which will have an effect on this weeks show with certainty was the stip that if Jeff Jarrett lost to Jeff Hardy, either he or Karen would be fired from TNA. Jarrett did lose, and the decision on who will be leaving will be announced by Sting on Thursday. My guess is that Karen isn't going anywhere. If it happens that the feuds that led into this PPV are "settled", and they use this week to shuffle up the guys a bit, I think it would be a good thing. I'm looking forward to seeing where they go from here, and trying to be optimistic.


I'm bummed that I won't be able to watch ROH in the next few weeks as they lead up to their big iPPV Final Battle later in the month. When I get back home I'm going to go back and watch them all before I watch F.B. It's not like the show's been phenomenal, it's been decent but not outstanding, but I do feel like they've been doing a good job of building up to the PPV with a few of their key storylines. The highlight of this last show was a stellar match and promo by the Young Bucks, who are milking their business rep as being disrespectful punks.


Evan Bourne had his first match since coming off WWE probation with a loss against Epico, which makes (as-yet-unnamed-Puerto-Rican-faction) two for two in singles competition against the members of Air Boom. Epico's finisher is the Backstabber, which was Carlito's finisher; Carlito being Primo's previous tag partner. Deja vu?


I digitally taped Raw off my In-laws' TV, and watched it this morning. It missed the first few minutes, so the first thing I saw was some Slammy award being contested in the ring between Cole and JR in a "rap off". Lately I've been getting nervous when JR is out because he's been degraded so much, and he seemed to be getting set up for just such an occasion, but he seemed to be having a really good time, and didn't even seem to care that he couldn't remember the words to his rap song, or that he had a tough time getting vertical after his JR-a-roonie.
Barrett had an awesome entrance, cutting a killer promo like a pro on his way down to the ring. Road Dogg was excellent to see on TV, and clearly hasn't lost his way with words that made him one of my favorite Attitude Era personalities. The Pipebomb video package was hilarious, and CM Punk's acceptance speech with the Johnny Ace video was even funnier. Kelly Kelly, whose nomination video was the only of the Divas' which didn't feature a wrestling move, won the generic, meaningless Divas award. Incidentally, the presenter for the Divas award,Lita, was arrested for DUI last week, and she might look good on TV, but her mugshot was horrific.
I really liked the idea to have a 4-way contest to see who could trend most during a match. The match itself was kind of awkward, but it did have some great spots, including the finish. Jerry Lawler announced the winner with a sealed envelope, which took some of the credibility out of the idea that the award was decided within the last 10 minutes. I have a feeling that the Superstar of the Year award could have been a similar fix, but it's all good because the right guys got their recognition.
Christian's speech was really funny, but the Game Changer award was a bogus excuse for John Cena to come out and kinda/kinda not rip on The Rock. The big tag match set up the main event of TLC really well, as well as add fuel to the fire of Orton and Barrett's feud. Gene Okerlund is the second legend (after the Iron Sheik) to be revealed as being involved with Legends House. Jinder Mahal showed up to get kicked in the face by smilin' Sheamus.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the Royal Rumble. Who'll be favored to win by then, what the overall tone will be like, but most of all who will be making a surprise appearance/return. Rey Mysterio was at the top of my list of guys I'd have loved to see come back like that, so I was a little disappointed that he came back to deliver a Slammy award, but I wasn't so disappointed that I didn't get really happy and excited that he was presenting the biggest award of the night.
There was another one of those rad, cryptic videos touting the coming of somebody or somebodies on January 2nd. My guess that it'd be a female was wrong, as this video featured a monologue by a boy saying something along the lines that there would be a woman that would signal the coming of the man. I guess that'll mean that a duo will be coming in, the female half of which will be kind of a manager, and the guy will be the wrestler. These videos are really different for the WWE, and I love them. I wonder if it won't be a comeback, as many people are expecting, but a brand new face. Can't wait to find out.
Of course, the buildup for Kane's return came to fruition at the end of Raw! Didn't see that coming. Kane's over-the-mask mask looked like a brushed metal version of Jeff Hardy's new mask thing. If you didn't know about that, look it up. Anyway, The new Kane look is extremely cool from the neck up. The jury is still out on the tights, I've gotta see them in normal lighting. And how did he grow that much hair so quickly? When he first came out I was convinced he was somebody else because I didn't think that hair could possibly be his. Maybe it's just a really convincing wig. Speculation.

Thanks for joining me for this week's work shoot run-at-the-mouth review. Check back soon for my own recap of the pro wrestling highlights of 2011.

December 06, 2011

Marshall Matters Show 120611

Greetins cretins, here's your weekly heapin helpin of smarky malarky.

December 01, 2011

MMS #22b

Today's special accompaniment to the Marshall Matters Show is a link to another website I made on blogger. This is my third. As you may know, in addition to this wrestling blog, I also have an art blog, and now I have a wrestling art blog. I remember a few shows back I mentioned that I was experimenting with drawing pictures while watching classic matches. Well, after filling two 100 page sketchbooks, I thought I'd call it a "project" and kind of formalize it. Here's the link: and here's my personal favorite. It's from the Punk/Cena Money in the Bank match.