March 29, 2012

Quarter Marshall previews Wrestlemania 28

This year's Mania seems to have a lot going for it, and I'm really excited to watch it this Monday after Alice gets home from school. I'm going to write a little about the build up for each match, who I'm rooting for, and who I think will actually win.

First I'd like to give an honorable mention to ROH, who have some pretty cool cards lined up for Friday and Saturday. It seems possible that their world title could change hands, which I'd certainly be in favor of. They have it set up in an interesting way- on Friday, there'll be a 3-way match for the title. On Saturday, each of the 3 competitors have a match lined up against 3 other guys. In other words, there are 6 guys who could wind up ROH champ this weekend. There are some cool storylines going on around the scenario, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how it plays out. But moving on to Mania...

World Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Sheamus

The build for this has been kind of different. A lot of time has been spent getting Bryan heat, and a lot of time has been spent establishing Sheamus as a powerful babyface, but very little time has been spent stirring up a feud between them, which is how it's usually done nowadays. I like that it's a little more oldschool like that, and I especially like that Daniel Bryan's been able to get as much screentime as he's gotten. On the other hand, I'm not looking forward to this match very much. I'm rooting heavily for Bryan, but am dreading what seems inevitable- that Sheamus will take the title. I like Sheamus, he's a good character and would make a decent champ, but Daniel Bryan's more fun, and is a way better wrestler. Also, it's interesting how AJ has been getting over as a babyface despite her relationship with Bryan, and I'm looking forward to seeing what role she'll end up playing at Mania.

Intercontinental Championship: Cody Rhodes (c) vs. Big Show

Cody Rhodes had a pretty cool match at last year's Mania with Rey Mysterio, but Mysterio and BS couldn't be any more dissimilar. For BS to make this match entertaining, he'll have to work harder than he has in years. Cody's got his work cut out for him. I do think it's interesting that the IC belt is on the line, though. It's hard to imagine BS with it, but it would definitely add prestige to the title whether or not Cody retains. Don't know who to pick to win for this one, but I'll be rooting for Cody Rhodes.

WWE Championship: CM Punk (c) vs. Chris Jericho

For the past several weeks, the build for this has not been fun. The idea that CM Punk could be depressed, incensed, or even fazed by schoolyard remarks like the ones Jericho's been using seems at odds with the coolness of his character. However, I am looking forward to this match more than any other non-Undertaker match on the card, since both guys are great wrestlers, and each have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. I wish that there was some kind of stipulation or something to give Jericho a seeming upper hand, making Punk need to overcome some kind of obstacle to retain his title. As things are, Jericho doesn't look very strong, but I don't think there's any way Jericho would take the belt after being gone from WWE again anyway. It will probably still be an awesome wrestling match. I'm rooting for CM Punk.

Control of TV: Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy

I like Teddy Long waaay more than John Laurinaitis, but I wouldn't want to see him run Raw any more than I'd want to see John L run Smackdown. I am still rooting for Team Teddy though, I do like that they're kind of that old "ragtag band of misfits" cliche. I was disappointed when the final members of the teams weren't ADR and Rey Mysterio, I had figured they were shoe-ins. This match will probably suck major ass, but the stipulation is pretty important, so it will force me to pay attention to it. My guess is that Team Teddy will get the win, getting a big happy noise from the crowd, and then John L will be on Raw the next night, making an appeal to the board for his position back. Or something like that. Or maybe Teddy will delegate a new GM for Raw. At any rate, I find it hard to believe that either guy would run both shows for any significant amount of time.

Battle For Who's the Most Angriest: Randy Orton vs. Kane

Today I found out that in the next "Marine" movie that WWE puts out, Randy Orton will be taking John Cena's place as the lead. That's pretty much what seemed to happen here- Orton replaced John Cena in his feud with Kane without much reasoning behind it except that he was just the next guy in line. I'll be rooting for Kane to win, I guess, if only to keep Randy's world title aspirations out of reach. Of course, there's no way that Kane won't get RKO'd at some point, but whether or not it's between the bells for the win remains to be seen.

Wake up Jerry, It's Your Favorite: Kelly Kelly and Extra Lady vs. Beth Phoenix and Eve

Wow, what a shitty deal. Beth Phoenix has been super-dominant for 6 months. Eve has a new character that's been well developed on TV, rare for a Diva. (In contrast, Natalya came out as a babyface on Superstars last week, no story, no nothin'.) They will probably lose to K2 and the lady from Extra, because celebrities always seem to go over at Mania. There's been about 5 minutes of build for this match on TV, and the first sentence about the match on reads: "Despite suffering two broken ribs while rehearshing for ABC's Dancing With The Stars, Menounos suffered two broken ribs." I guess no one cares about this at all. Except Jerry Lawler. Out of protest, I will be rooting for the heels to utterly destroy.

End of an Era: Triple H vs. The Undertaker

Can't wait for this one. The build had nothing on what they did last year, but it doesn't really matter. They're going to try to steal the show, and they probably will. Taker all the way. I wonder if this will be his last match, as they seem to be hinting at by calling it the "End of an Era". I can't remember a wrestler of his stature who retired without a career stipulation match, but maybe it's more important to keep the streak unblemished. I'll be very interested to see if the issue comes up on Raw the next night.

Main Event: John Cena vs. The Rock

The build has been incredible. All the video packages and promo segments add up to two multifaceted portraits of the two men. Neither have been put above the other, so in the eyes of most fans, this one could go either way. I think that Rock's chance to win is slim, since he'll never be returning to wrestle year-round. However, if Cena is looking for some time off, a high profile loss would be a good opportunity for him to do that. The match itself should be incredible- they won't even have to do much to keep the audience rapt, but I'm sure they'll try to live up to the hype and put on a classic. If John Cena doesn't win I'll be as devastated as a little boy.

ADDENDUM (March 31st)
After some thought, I won't be too crushed if Cena loses. I might just be hedging my emotional bets, but it could actually be a good thing if Rock wins. If Cena wins, then what? Does he go after the title? Ride off into the sunset? If he beats Rock after this super-hyped build, where does he go? Where would his character fit in? It would SUCK if Cena loses to Rock on Sunday, but what about Monday and the year to come? A beaten Cena might round out his character, and make him a "cooler" guy to like and root for on TV. I'm still rooting hard for Cena, but I wanted to get that off my chest before Sunday, just in case things don't go my way.

March 25, 2012

Mat Classics: Ring Psychology (Punk-Lethal)

A lot of people online will tell you that ring psychology is a lost art. The funny thing is, many of these people are big CM Punk fans. Punk's skills as a promo master and solid technician are lauded all over the place, but I haven't seen many fans cite him as being the #1 best ring psychologist working today. Which he probably is.
I'm not going to smark out and say that Punk's heel personas have been more effective than his phases as a babyface, or that his matches in ROH were any better than his current matches in the WWE. I believe he's just as good or better on either front. That being said, here's an ROH match featuring a heel Punk against the great natural babyface Jay Lethal. I watched it last night, thought it was really smart, exciting and fun, and thought you'd enjoy seeing it also.

CM Punk vs. Jay Lethal, Death Before Dishonor (7/8/05), ROH

I haven't looked into what angles were going on at the time, so I'm afraid I can't explain the context of the match. They probably talk about all that in the commentary, which I haven't heard. (I was listening to music while watching.)

March 21, 2012

RR 3 21 2012

DBD and a kid i knew - 2003

Here is something i was surprised to find last night. It's from the relaunched Portland Wrestling back in 2003. I used to watch this show religiously on Friday nights while living in Gresham. I think i remember watching this episode when it aired. Dustin Snyder, the guy wrestling some loser named the American Dragon, is a kid i went to school with in Hood River. I remember watching the show and flipping out cuz i had no idea he wrestled and hadn't seen him for at least 5 years by this point. The American Dragon is a guy i vaguely remember from that show. He was on consistently but i didn't really care about him much. This show had so many big personalities that the real solid and talented wrestlers kinda got overlooked, by me anyway. It's funny to see how young DBD looks and how 90's his hair was. I was really impressed by this match then and i love it even more now. Super cool.

Spare Change Newsletter: The Bravest Little Warrior

Greetings all sick boys and angel babies,

Let's have a chat about some wrestling. Let's discuss the week in the world of sports entertainment. Loosen your corsets and blow your noses, and gather on round.

Smackdown was again a letdown for fans of its usual program, which is known to feature great wrestling matches. Instead, it was more concerned with building for Wrestlemania, which works for Raw, but the blue show doesn't have Cena, Rock, HHH, HBK, Taker, Punk, and Jericho to cut promos all night. Well, this week it had Jericho, but you know what I mean. As a matter of fact, this week's Smackdown gave cause enough to send me back into the soundstudio to produce another installment for the HOTS house...

I thought about inducting Booker T's comment when he called Sheamus' forearm smashes "musical chairs", but I decided that I actually liked that, and plan to refer to that move as Musical Chairs from now on. Officially, I would like to induct the entire Kane-Orton segment from Friday, March 16, 2012 into HOTS, but I didn't want to replay it from start to finish (for obvious reasons). And that bit about "the great state of Kansas" on the end there was from TNA, so let me just...

...switch colors. That's better. TNA sucked incredible ass again this week, and I'm not going to watch Impact anymore. I'll probably still get it online, and skip through it for the things I do like, but there's no way I'm going to sit through it as though it's some kind of TV show that I want to see. Same goes for their PPVs. Victory Road this Sunday was boring and stupid and bitterly disappointing. Why am I disappointed? I shouldn't care that much by now, but I guess I did but now I don't. Fuck it. Say goodbye to the light blue text for a while. (I'll probably still write/talk about it, who am I kidding.)

I was afraid I wouldn't be using this forest green text anymore after a rumor spread online this week that WWE was going to shut down FCW, in order to move the entire developmental system to Connecticut. The rumor was shot down by WWE, but they did say that there would be an announcement about developmental after Mania. Whatever happens I hope that 1) the wrestlers don't have to move to frigging Connecticut and 2) that I can still watch them on TV. This week's program featured Kassius Ohno's great in-ring debut, as well as an excellent 15 minute draw between Antonio Cesaro and Richie Steamboat.

ROH was solid this week, featuring an always classic promo by the Briscoe Brothers, plus a solid Jay Lethal match. You know what I like about ROH? Their TV Champ (Lethal) has a good match on TV almost every week. Makes him a real TV Champ, y'know? You know what sucks, hold on.. You know what sucks about Impact? Their TV Champ doesn't make a whole lot of TV appearances. Their TV Champ shows up about once a month on TV, and then on PPV, out of the blue, loses the title to D-Von Dudley. Oh my brother, I testify that TNA is 90% imbecilic nonsense. (10% Bobby Roode, Madison Rayne, and Austin Aries.) But back to ROH, well, I guess I was done.

NXT, hey, there's a show that's generally pretty fun. NXT's latest program was all tag matches, which is cool in theory, but it wasn't "all that" as they say. A match was set up for this week that I'm looking forward to, though- a rematch between Kidd and McGillicutty.

With this week's NXT leaving something to be desired, Superstars came through with a superior tag match, featuring Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins against Kofi and R-Truth, who were dubbed the "Hip-Hop Express" by Scott Stanford, who should take Jerry Lawler's tired ass place as color commentator of Raw. He's funny and he knows how to put guys over, even though he does have an almost Phil Hartman-like annoying sound to his voice, I'm over it. Superstars opened with a Hunico-Justin Gabriel match, and that was good as well.

The wrestling matches on Raw were really something, because they were each so brief. I felt like it was on fast-forward for each of them. That being said, they were each pretty good for what they were, especially (like I even need to say it) the Daniel Bryan match. Other highlights included Cena's impossible-looking AA on Mark Henry, and the post-match shenanigans between Aksana and Vickie, and Teddy Long and Johnny L. I think my favorite non-DBD part of the whole show was when Teddy Long slapped John L, ran away, then danced on the entrance ramp. The heated altercation between Punk and Jericho that started the show was also good, Punk was terrific and Jericho was nasty. The goatee is a nice little detail to make him that much more villainous. I think their verbal sparring was a little more effective than the End Of An Era show-closer, but it doesn't really matter, since I'm expecting those 3 guys to steal the show at Mania itself.

Have you looked up Lord Tensai yet? I did, but I won't say anything about it. Not that there's anything to say, necessarily. I won't say a bloomin' word. My lips are sealed, I put them on a train and sent them to the Mongolian Desert, but that's just the kind of prince of a guy that I am. You're welcome.

March 17, 2012

Mom's list

My mom hates wrestling. She thinks it's stupid. When my dad and I talk about or watch it she laughs at us for being dorks. My mom is awesome tho, not judging us for watching wrestling, she just thinks it's dumb. Plus i have noticed that she hates sweaty dudes. James brown, Elvis, If the hates those guys she sure as hell aint going to be a fan of Tugboat and Earthquake.

So i was thinking about her hatred for wrestling when i got an idea. People on forums are always arguing about what wrestlers are household names. Who is known outside the world of wrestling. I asked her to list every wrestler she could and this is what i got.
Hulk Hogan
Andre The Giant
The Undertaker
Rowdy Roddy Piper
The Rock

She remembered one more but couldn't remember the name. It turned out to be Rick Flair. I also reminded her that she knew of the Macho Man and she said the did. She remembered hearing of him when he died.

So that's her list. I thought it was kinda interesting.

March 13, 2012

Spare Change Newsletter: Rhymes with Chickenshit

Greetings all Ziggs and Ziggettes,

It's that time of the week yet again, so please join me now in waxing nostalgic about pro wrestling's recent happenings. I didn't make any clever pictures, so enjoy some random old wrestling screenshots I've taken instead. Here's a Ricky Steamboat:

Smackdown was not its usual strong wrestling program this week, focusing more on gimmick matches probably meant to hype Wrestlemania. Santino and Swagger in the steel cage was the early high point of the show. I wonder if that was Santino's first cage match. Drew McIntyre's rehiring was another plus, and I did get some sick satisfaction out of his beating the hell out of Hornswoggle. Most of the show focused on the GM feud, and the Orton-Kane feud, which doesn't even have a storyline. I think I'll take that as an opportunity to make one up for them. OK, so this is what's up: Kane became bitter after losing his own gimmick match to John Cena, and he started feeling like maybe he wasn't embracing the hate enough. He looks at Randy Orton and thinks "There's a guy who's embracing the hate, he's got some serious anger management issues." So he gets all jealous of Orton and decides to reinflate his self esteem by besting him in combat.

If you think that's a good idea, you'd have loved Impact this week, cuz it was FULL of good ideas. Garrett Bischoff was in the main event, and indeed was the focal point of the main event storyline. There were two title matches on the show, both were heel versus heel, both had DQ finishes. Eric Young proposed to his tag partner/girlfriend ODB in the ring (prompting a heavy make out session) after winning the Knockouts tag titles together. Yup, EY is a ladies champ. EY is a ladies champ, and Garrett Bischoff is a wrestling megastar in the making. What a crock!

WWE shits out better shows than TNA can muster, as proven once again by NXT this week. It wasn't the best episode ever, but it was decent. I'm really enjoying Johnny Curtis' new character, he cracks me up every time he's out. His gimmick is basically that he's a creep. He's got this somewhat off-putting body language that I'd describe as a full-body leer, also he's often seen wearing an open leather jacket, rubbing Jergen's lotion on his chest, and last week on commentary it was revealed that he drives a brown 1982 Astro from arena to arena. That's a good character. He's solid in the ring too, as illustrated this week in match against Yoshi Tatsu.

That all being said, the real gem of WWE programming this week was Superstars. I was impressed with the strong opener of Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater, followed by a fairly cookie cutter Mahal-Dibiase match, but stealing the show and then some was a match between Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler that was nothing short of epic! You would've thought it was the main event of a PPV the way they were working. If you skipped Superstars this week, I'd highly recommend putting this match on your list of things to watch. I think I just talked myself into rewatching it. Okey, I just made sure it was saved on my computer. It was 18 minutes long! That's a long match for WWE TV, the crowd was totally into it, too.

FCW was decent this week, nothing too special.

ROH the same, although their next iPPV is shaping up to be a lot better than their last one.

Raw was very different this week, it was interesting. Cena says "boobies", chickenshit (!), and suggests that the Divas have had plastic surgery (really?) HBK and Taker shake each other down with some pretty harsh words, Jericho takes Punk down a notch by exposing his "loser alcoholic" father to the audience, and Rock ended the show with a smile and a wink as he sung a song about how he was going to give it to Cena's mom so hard that she wouldn't be able to walk. No wonder they had Brodus Clay make a return to lighten things up a bit! I mean, I love a healthy side of shit-talking with my pro wrestling, but this show was full to the brim with it! I'm not saying I hated it, I liked each segment on their own, it was just a lot to digest right before bedtime. It was actually pretty great, but my favorite part of the show was still the Punk-Miz match, which was short but sweet. I'll always take a wrestling match over a promo, even a 4 minute match over an hour of promos. But they all served their purpose, they each built some more interest into their respective storylines, and deepened the feuds a bit more. Wrestlemania seems like it's going to be really incredible this year. I am glad, by the way, that John L and Teddy Long aren't going to wrestle each other like I thought they would.

That's this week's news as I see it, thanks for tuning in. I didn't do a podcast again because it takes way more time to make those, and I have things I'd like to get done today. Imagine that! Take care, condition your hair, woo woo woo you know it.

March 10, 2012

Mat Classics: Tatsumi Fujinami and Kerry Von Erich

Here's a terrifically bad-ass match comin atcha from 1986. In the corner to my right- Tatsumi Fujinami. The technical prowess of this guy was a top prize of NJPW for many years. In the corner to my other right- Kerry Von Erich. One of the best remembered wrestlers of his time, whose time came to an unsettling end, as with so many others of the Von Erich family. The athleticism and intensity of this match speaks to the legacy which the Von Erichs imparted onto the wrestling world, as well as to the remarkable quality of entertainment that was coming out of Japan at that time.

Tatsumi Fujinami v. Kerry Von Erich, NJPW, 05/16/86

March 06, 2012

Spare Change Newsletter: Old Marks Rising

Greetings all broskis and hoskis,

SCWO Canada has prepared this week's edition of fan-boy schlock in long form, as our host and great leader Quarter Marshall is a little sick and doesn't feel like running his big mouth.

It was nice to see Sheamus have a good match against Dolph Ziggler on Smackdown this week, as I've gotten so used to him just doing cookie cutter matches on Raw. Big Show and Mark Henry had a surprisingly good match as well, I thought it was bad-ass and fun, but I wish Big Show hadn't kicked out of the World's Strongest Slam, cuz that move was a destroyer only a few months ago.

Impact was so-so, there are still some really dumb things going on in TNA, but one good thing that came out of this week was Austin Aries' status being elevated somewhat with his newfound friendship with Robert Roode, which is a cool plotline because A) It's logical B) More screentime for Austin Aries, and C) great matches, as evidenced by the great main event of Impact this week.

The main event of the ROH iPPV Young Wolves Rising was another great match this week. It was certainly the best match for the iPPV, as most of the other matches on the card failed to stand out. I watched the whole damn 3 hour thing, and have very little to say about it except that the production was distractingly bad. A combination of bad camera work and bad editing led to many moments of missed action which would take me out of the match immediately. What's really frustrating is I know that ROH used to excel with these seemingly simple things, like in the '07 match I posted here a few weeks ago. The only other thing I wanted to say about the iPPV was that in between every match, and even during some matches, the crowd would chant "Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" and you could see everyone in Hammerstein Ballroom pointing to the sky with both arms a la Daniel Bryan. One wrestler- Kevin Steen, even prompted the crowd to do it during his match, and he even joined in for a moment, so that would be my personal favorite highlight from ROH this week.

NXT was a solid show this week, featuring a flat out awesome match between Tyson Kidd and Michael McGillicutty. This one might actually be my pick for match of the week, even with the strong main events of Impact and the ROH iPPV. There was also a decent divas match on NXT, which was the main event for the program, and was made all the more entertaining by Johnny Curtis and Derrick Bateman cracking wise at the announce table.

Raw was awfully chatty this week, but that's fine. It was all pertinent to building anticipation for Wrestlemania, which is shaping up to be a hell of an event. And I'm thinking now, "what can I say about Raw? What happened on Raw?" And the only thing I can think of is "Wrestemania's coming!" I don't even remember what happened on Raw, I've just been brainwashed. Good thing I took notes. Alright, so Santino won the Superstars championship, but most of the heat in this match went to Johnny Laurinaitis. Call me crazy, but I'm really looking forward to a Mania match between Laurinaitis and Teddy Long. I don't know why myself, but they've been so awesome in displaying such contempt for one another, they're really showing up some of the younger guys in their ability to sell a feud. If Mania's gotta have that "non-wrestlers" wrestling match every year (Lawler-Cole, McMahon-Hart) this one might actually be worth it.
The Punk/Sheamus v. Bryan/Jericho match was solid, if a little short, but the show was stolen by John Cena, whose main event promo absolutely ruled. It was the reverse of last week, with Rock interrupting him and retreating, and Cena shone even more this week than he did last week, showing up Rock on the mic for a second time. He was even able to win over some of his long-lost hometown crowd by eliciting a "Tooth Fairy" chant. Part of me feels like this is a work, and that Cena's dominance on the mic is a carefully planned part of the story, but the other part of me doesn't care if it is or isn't, and is just loving it. I've been dogging on the Rock for a few weeks on the MM Show, but really, I think he's earned the right to come back whenever he wants, and if his return to the ring warrants a main event Wrestlemania match, then so be it. He's paid his dues and then some, he's a legend. I just run him down sometimes because I'm behind John Cena in this feud, and I get carried away with it sometimes, like the perfect little mark that I am. That being said, Let's go Cena, Rocky sucks!