Saturday, June 25, 2011

LIVE EVENT REPORT: CHIKARA IN CHICAGO

THE CASE OF THE BULLETPROOF WALDO
6:24:2011

The Logan Square Auditorium is pretty  perfect for wrestling. Hopefully other companies see the eventual DVD of this show and decide to run there. It's actually kind of classy looking. The section I was sitting in had 60 people or so in it. There were four sections that size, plus people on the stage, plus people standing, so I'd say there was maybe 300 people there. There were more kids and women than at the DGUSA show, which, as you may have read on my blog or rants elsewhere, is a huge positive when it comes to the wrestling experience. Women and kids make wrestling sooooo much better. I'm definitely bringing my wife and son next time. He loves CHIKARA and was super excited when I gave him a super awesome CHIKARA water bottle that I got him for a mere 5 bucks.

I'd also like to point out the tickets were just $20, and it was general admission. The CHIKARA rep that was letting us know how much longer we'd have to wait, and what the rules of the evening were(no swearing, video is no go, pictures are fine) made a joke that there is a stage and folks can sit on it, but they don't have to spend 75 bucks to sit up there, which was a fun crack on those wild DGUSA prices.

My seat was opposite the hard camera and the view was fine. I got to sit next to this dad who brought his son and daughter. They were cool and he bought them replica masks of Green Ant and Hallowicked. He also was sporting a Matt Classic shirt which made him extra neat-o in my book.

After a song from Gavin Loudspeaker about coming back to Chicago, and some changes to the card(GALLI guys didn't make it, neither could Ares for the main event) it was time for some WRESTLING.

THE THROWBACKS vs. THE BATIRI
Sugar Dunkerton is a great guy to have opening a show. He's pumped and has some fun offense. He did some 10-Count head bashes in the corner and has a spot where he dribbles one of the Batiri's heads off the mat. The crowd was really behind him from the get go. Matt Classic had his turn but rolled out of the ring which tagged in Dasher. Classic got angry and sulked over by the stairs where he basically did step ups the entire match. The Batiri are probably one of my favorite tag teams to watch. They're intense and move incredibly well. The make Dunkerton's armdrags look sick the way they flip into them.

Some highlights were Dasher knocking one out of the park and sliding into one of the Batiri's face. The ref  said he was out. Dunkerton and Classic had to step in and change his mind(us fans in Chicago wish they could come to every Cubs game and do the same we need all the help we can get). And some Matt Classic doing an INSANE DIVE off the apron onto his foes. It's worth the DVD alone.

Sadly, the throwbacks lose again, thanks to some selfishness on Matt Classic's part. He was angry because Dasher had tagged in again off of him hitting the floor, and the Batiri capitalized on the distraction, wiping the Throwbacks out and hitting classic with a Blockbuster for the win.

After the match Sugar was pretty upset that his team keeps losing.

OPHIDIAN vs. ISAIAS VELAZQUEZ
The GALLI guys couldn't make it, (I have no idea why not) and so Ophidian wrestled Isaias Velazquez who wrestles locally for Vanguard Wrestling All-Star Alliance. I know he's wrestled Marshe Rocket before, so I'd say that's probably how he got connected to the show. I honestly hadn't seen much of him but he definetly turned a few heads. He's a smug little guy and he's crisp in the ring. They had a fun story where Ophidian would go for the Cobra Clutch and Velazquez would back him into a corner to break it. Then on the third try Ophidian would use the momentum to swing Velazquez into the corner and keep the hold locked on. Decent bout, and I'm happy for the local guy having a good match. Maybe some of the folks who live around Chicago who came to the show and don't go to some of the local wrestling will look him up and give one of their shows a try.

FIST(Gargano & Taylor) vs. THE COLONY(Green Ant & Soldier Ant)
Lots of Chuck Taylor and Gargano fans in the arena. I love the Colony. The first DVD of CHIKARA I ever watched had the Colony on it(Worker Ant and Fire Ant, I believe) and they were probably the biggest reason why I kept watching on and off for the last few years. Oddly enough, I can't actually remember much about this match. Sorry. It's like there was too much awesomeness in the night and I couldn't hold it all in my brain, so this match got pushed out.. I know that they did a good job, though Chuck Taylor looked a little bored to be there, but I honestly can't say much about it.

Non Young Lion's Cup Match
FRIGHTMARE vs. HEIRACON
Frightmare is crazy. He's probably the biggest bundle of energy on the roster. He and Heiracon had an okay match. It seemed a little clunky in spots where they looked a little confused as to what they were going to do. Heiracon looked like he legit hurt his wrist, but it seemed okay towards the end of the match, so I don't know if that played into it. Frightmare took a nasty Lightning Spiral(Masato Yoshino's finish) from Heiracon. Couldn't believe he even kicked out, but he did, and was able to pull out the win.

12 LARGE SUMMIT MATCH
ICARUS vs. SARA DEL REY
Icarus is HATED. So much that the crowd threw their support behind BDK member Sara Del Rey. I have to say, this was probably my second favorite match of the night. The heat was awesome and they worked really well together. They started off with Icarus being sexist douche and wanting to plant a kiss on Death Rey, but she taught him a lesson or two in respect. I'm always weary of inter-gender stuff, because making them feel competitive with out feeling phony is really hard to do. That's not the case here. Sara isn't a little super model, and Icarus isn't a big body builder so they match up perfectly.

The finishing stretch was pretty awesome as no one had a clue who was going to win. Sara countering Icarus' finish into a pin for the win made me jump out of my chair. Can't remember the last time I flipped out and sprung out of my chair, but there I was geeking out for Del Rey pinning Icarus.

Thankfully it wouldn't be the last time I geeked out.

INTERMISSION
Best. Intermission. Ever. Gavin just walked around, talking on the mic to people and pimping all the merchandise. The wrestler's were out interacting with fans and eachother, while some crazy music played. It was an intermission that felt like more show. Fans were hitting the ring to take pictures with Mike Quackenbush for free. I know one kid got was dancing with Ophidian. Jakob stole Gavin's mic at one point and pimped the BDK stuff, especially his Jakob shirt. Also, people in the CHIKARMY got to get in the ring at the end of intermission and take a picture with most of the roster. So that was cool for the fan club folks.

The whole intermission was really one of those moments where the CHIKARA crew shines. They feel genuinely happy to be there and interact with the fans in fun ways. It feels like a party and you get a strong sense of community - almost like going to a comic convention. The atmosphere they create is unlike any wrestling event I've ever been to. Truly awesome.

12 LARGE  SUMMIT MATCH
CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI vs. HALLOWICKED
Claudio is a physical beast. Check the back muscles, folks. They do some nice mat work for a good portion of it. The crowd was doing a lot "HEY" calls at Claudio, who kept telling them to shut up. It was kind of an odd match and for some reason I couldn't get into it. I'm not sure what it was. It may be because people were more into razzing Claudio than cheering Hallowicked, but this fell kind of flat to me. I honestly can't say why.

EDDIE KINGSTON vs. COLT CABANA
Colt was hilarious, throwing phony whirling backfists at Eddie, who wasn't amused by the shenanigans. Kingston kept trying to take it outside the ring and turn it into a brawl but Colt would have none of that, and tried to keep it inside. Cabana took some nasty nasty offense from Kingston during this and he even dished out a boot or two himself. It's a tough line to walk, being funny while still manging to look threatening, and Colt walks it really well in this. Also check out the Backfist at the end because Colt doesn't just take it - he steps into it. It made it look extra nasty and believable for the pinfall, which was a surprise seeing as how Cabana is a Chicago guy.

12 LARGE SUMMIT MATCH
ULTRA MANTIS BLACK vs. FIRE ANT
These guys THROW DOWN. The crowd was digging it, and pretty much behind the Black. This may be my favorite match of his, and it might be the best match of the night. I honestly don't know what to say about it, other than pick up the DVD and check out. These guys go nuts in the ring (and out) and bust out some pretty crazy stuff. Fire Ant was still holding on to his neck when I shook his hand after the show.

MAIN EVENT
DA SOUL TOUCHAZ vs. BRUDERSCHAFT DES KREUZES
This was special. I have been talking up Da Soul Touchaz for a long time. I've seen these guys wrestle in hole in the walls here in Chicago in front of 30 people, 1/3 of them were probably their friends. If they're on a local show, I will go, because they're worth it. So this was a special match for me, getting to see my guys wrestle in front of a big crowd, for a major indy, in the main event against the biggest heels in the company.

They started out brawling around the ring before settling down in the ring. Willie was on the receiving end of a beat down from those dastardly BDK(Jakob replaced Ares, who couldn't make it by the way). When he got the hot tag to Marshe everything went nuts. These guys were just on fire. Eventually Sara Del Rey came down and distracted Bryce all the way to the back, while Claudio came in with a lead pipe. Just as he was about to blast Willie with it, C-RED came down and stole it from him and started laying people out! I jumped out of my seat! C-Red coming back, and helping the guys destroy the BDK was freaking amazing. Then he helped Willie get his balance on the top rope so Da Bomb could do a  FLYING LEG DROP onto Jakob. The ring sounded like it was going to break and it looked like it killed Jakob. When the ref counted 3 I flipped out again.

I honestly can't explain how awesome it felt to see these guys get to tear it up, and I can't remember the last time I was so happy seeing some one win. If you watch the DVD and you see a dude opposite the hard camera  freaking out like the Cubs won the World Series, that's probably me.

OVERALL THOUGHTS:
CHIKARA is the best value for your wrestling dollar. Period. They've found the magical balance of carny and cool. Of comedy and serious business. The stories are pitch perfect, the characters are big and lovable(even Jakob!) and they seem to genuinely love their audience. No other company has such a genuine relationship with their fans than this company. I was just a casual dabbler, but this event has converted me to the cult.

One quick story that I feel sums it up: They had this 2009 poster they were raffling away, that had everyone's autograph. $1 = 1 Ticket. $5 =6 Tickets. The boy who was sitting next to me was eyeballing this poster all night. He was maybe 6 or 7. Anyway, just before the drawing, the extremely nice young woman who was working the gimmick table walked over to the kid and handed him a raffle ticket and said "Hey, I bought you a ticket, good luck."

The kid didn't win, but that was still freaking cool. That's who these people are.

On the way out from the show all the good guys were lined up down the stair well and shook hands with everyone. Some of them seemed genuinely moved that we came to the show. I told Mike Quackenbush this stuff was worth more than 20 bucks and he laughed. I kind of hope he forgot I said that, because I actually like the $20 price tag just fine. But really...yeah, as hard as these guys work at putting on a good show, they should be making a lot more.

I over heard some one asking Quack when they'd be coming back, and he said he had a good feeling that it would be pretty soon. I can't wait. This was the best live wrestling event, I've ever been to.

Monday, June 20, 2011

THE NEW GENERATION ERA PROJECT: RAW REVIEW WEEK 14

4:26:1993
Manhattan Center, New York

HE'S GONE!
That's right, we've ended an era of Monday Night RAW. No more Rob Bartlett. Now we've got BOBBY THE BRAIN HEENAN replacing him, which is awesome. I'm going to savor every moment of this until he leaves the company. Macho actually asks where Bartlett is, and Heenan says, "If you want to talk to Rob Bartlett, you know where to find him....he's in the same place Jimmy Hoffa is." Now I feel bad for Jimmy Hoffa.

MR. PERFECT vs. DAMIAN DEMENTO
There's a neat spot where Damian tosses Perfect through the ropes and Perfect flies straight into the camera man who was filming him. Perfect takes quite a nifty bumps. Like slipping through the bottom rope and falling to the floor on his neck. It sounds worse than it was, but it was still pretty cool looking. Damian Demento has never had a match as good as this one. Sadly, he's still horrible, and while Perfect gives him a lot, Demento doesn't have the presence to take advantage of it. He's a big guy, but he rarely looks tough. Still if you want to see the best match of his career, this is it.

NO HOPE WITH DOPE
After the match to cut to the announce table and there's a guy behind Savage with a "BRING BACK FLAIR SIGN." We then cut to Jasmine McNeill, who went to a school that Savage worked with or something. She's reading her essay in a dark room with a lone spot light on her. It's called "No Hope With Dope." and is a story written from the POV of a dead drug user in a casket looking up at her family members who are all so sad and angry that her life ended this way. She ends it with the title line "There's no hope in dope." Then THE GONG SOUNDS and THE UNDERTAKER emerges from the shadows and says, "There's No Hope In Dope." as his music cues up. TREMENDOUS.
DON'T BELIEVE ME?!


"THE NARCISSIST" LEX LUGER vs. CRUSH
Before the match, Heenan brings up that there's a couple in the front row, and the guy is planning on proposing. Heenan says he's going to make sure she says no. The guy's name is PAUL SOSNOWSKI. You've probably heard of him at some point if you frequent message boards or have watched a lot of Ring of Honor. You've probably seen him sporting some Green Lantern gear.

Luger and Crush both look amp'd. We start off with a little test of strength spot that Luger controls first before Crush comes back by breaking the hold and hoisting up Luger for Gorilla Press Slam.  He actually fits in a couple of military press reps before tossing him. Really impressive stuff. After the commercial break, Crush throws an awesome side belly to belly suplex, which is one of my favorite suplexes. He gets Luger up really high before swinging around and driving him to the ground.

When I was young, I thought you could achieve this by using an eraser.
The pacing of this is just spot on. Luger busts his ass and Crush looks really motivated. Everything just happens at the right moment, and the execution of some of the power moves are great. Crush really comes out looking solid. He got his Cranium Crush hold on and Luger couldn't get out. The only reason he escapes is because Crush gets distracted by that damn Doink who's up in the balcony. After a moment Doink points to the other side of the building where there's ANOTHER Doink! Luger takes this moment to nail Crush with the forearm, knocking the Hawaiian unconscious and out of the ring for a count out.

This is Crush's best singles match so far and probably Luger's(since coming in of course) too. They really clicked and this is worth finding. I'm sure dailymotion or youtube has it.

MR. HUGHES vs. JASON KNIGHT
Man, this card is stacked so far. We even get the World's Sexiest Man. Jason actually looks a bit bigger than the last time we saw him. Doesn't matter though. Mr. Hughes just throws him around like a doll. Pretty decent squash, but nothing more.

VINCE TALKS TO SHAWN MICHAELS
Shawn kicks things off by talking smack about New York city being the armpit of the nation. Some garbage is thrown at him. He says two guys in the audience look familiar and that he seems to remember seeing them doing some kind of march in Washington. I'm going to assume it was a bunch of gay people by the way people responded. If it were black people marching, things might get a little crazy. The crowd then starts a really loud "SHAWN IS GAY" chant. Heenan responds with, "If you only knew.... *pause* how sharp he is." BRILLIANT. They get tired of all the words and start chanting "HO-MO." Eventually Mr. Perfect comes out and chases Shawn to the back.

After the commercial they replay the Tatanka/Bam Bam Bigelow stuff from Superstars, which hopefully means they're going to forget about the Friar Ferguson stuff from last week on RAW.

TYPHOON vs. VON KRUS
Aw hell, I thought Typhoon was gone by now. The Future Vito gets to control a lot of the match, but he doesn't seem to have anything to do. Some eye rakes and punches to the head. He looks plain lost. Typhoon, after getting beat up for most of the match, comes back and hits the splash for the win. Forgettable. I wish Typhoon had something else to do.

PAUL SOSNOWSKI GETS ENGAGED
Heenan Interviews them before the guy proposes and it's RIDICULOUS.

Heenan: How many girls have you been with before her?
Paul: None.
Heenan: How many men have you been with?
Louise: None.
Heenan: How do you even know if you're sexually compatible?!
Paul: We've been going out for five years today.
Heenan: Her best deal is to go to a biker's convention for the weekend!

Madness. Heenan asks if they'll get married on Raw and they decline. He asks Paul how many Cracker Jacks he had to eat to get the ring. He's just crushing it tonight. Thank goodness Barlett wasn't running this thing.

OVERALL THOUGHTS:
This is actually one of the best RAWs of the year. The gaga stuff with Paul Sosnowski was entertaining thanks to Heenan, and there was some good wrestling. We got Damian Demento, Crush, and Luger's best matches in one night. We had some notable ECW alumni for jobbers and raucous interview with Shawn Michaels. Pretty awesome show, I think.

NEXT WEEK: HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN vs. SHAWN MICHAELS. I hope that's good. Also there,s some KOTR qualifying matches happening on Superstars and Challenge, that look awesome. Things are picking up, methinks.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

THE WEEKLY SMACKDOWN REVIEW: 6:17:2011

SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES
Some decent mic work and logical booking make this work. Sheamus has an argument for getting in the title match and Christian's spot is sealed. I'm not a fan of Triple Threats, but at least it makes sense to have one if Sheamus can beat both the contender in the champion in the past two weeks. Randy Orton having a concussion doesn't help a very limp main event scene. Hopefully he gets better before Sunday.

EZEKIEL JACKSON, SIN CARA & DANIEL BRYAN vs. WADE BARRETT, CODY RHODES & TED DIBIASE JR.

Man, all these guys in one match, what the hell are we going to do for the rest of the show? Christian/Sheamus might have to go an hour.

Sin Cara suffers a lot of beat down, and I think Ted Dibiase should be working with him more often. There stuff from last week and the time they get in this match looked good. Ted actually seems to be clicking a lot more in the past couple of weeks, though his character is a dud at this moment.

It sounded like the crowd was chanting 619, but the audio people were able to tweak it to sound like SIN-CAR-AH.

Daniel Bryan came in with plenty of fire, and I'm trying to figure out what happened with the finish. Ted looked like he got out in time, but the ref called it a three. I don't even remember Zeke being in the ring. Okay match, overall, weird finish, though.

VLADIMIR KOZLOV vs. JINDER MAHAL
Awwww hell, the Kozlov is on the Blue Brand tonight! He's even rocking blue tights. Tremendous. This is certainly Jinder's best showing since coming in. He has a decent move set, with the jumping knees and the Russian Leg Sweep(On a Russian, no less), Mahal has a decent attitude and swagger, but it's not larger than life yet. I'm still willing to give him some time, because it took a bit for Drew MacIntyre to hit his stride and grow into a SUPERSTAR. Kozlov is really good, everything he does has great intensity and power.

Big Show remembers the time he and the Yeti raped Hulk Hogan.
THE BIG SHOW vs. MARK HENRY
So we ran out of guys, I guess, and we're spending time hyping RAW matches. Why'd they even move these guys in the draft - just bring their asses back to Smackdown.

I love the Big Show losing his shit, though I'm pissed that it came at the expense of Mark Henry. Mark Henry was doing some solid work since coming over and last week he wasn't on the show and this week he's cannon fodder to The Big Show. Still, this new Crazed Giant stuff is tremendous work from the Big Show.

They do a stretcher job for Henry....jeeze, Teddy is going to have to make some deals and get us some more guys to fill out this roster.

ALICIA FOX, ROSE MENDES, & TAMINA vs.NATTIE NEIDHART, AJ, & CAITLYN

All I know is that when AJ got in the ring, everyone disappeared while she got her ass beat. I have no idea where Natty went.

After the match, they go over the matches for the PPV and I just remembered Alex Riley is one of our guys.

THE USOS vs. HEATH SLATER & JUSTIN GABRIEL
This was a really good match. Slater and Gabriel are solid tag wrestlers. They've got great timing and always look like they're on the same page. The Usos dance schtick seemed poorly worked, but they were so fired up for the ending stretch, I let it go. Some nasty moves in this, too. Dug the assisted Flap Jack Samoan Drop and the insane powerslam on Gabriel.

COME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME ALBERTO DEL RIO!
Del Rio talks about rumors that he's negotiating his return to Smackdown. I hope this is true. Please let this be true. He says he's not afraid of a Giant, but I don't care. PLEASE COME BACK. Bring Rey Mysterio, Dolph Ziggler and Drew Mac with you.

THE HUMAN IDIOM IS COMING. BEWARE. BEWARE.
Del Rio talking about Ricardo's wife being a Deacon in his church and that he has the Fire of Montezuma, is amazing. Jeeze he's so good on the mic it's crazy. Big Show comes out to run him off, but Alberto is so fast. Big Show starts tearing down up all our stuff. What a dick. These RAW people have no respect for other brand's property.

Still, it all looked pretty cool, and it's probably the most exciting thing to happen on the show. It felt crazy and wild, and WWE doesn't feel that way very often.

CHRISTIAN vs. SHEAMUS
Heel vs. Heel for the main event. This is a pretty good example of why turning Christian was a bad idea in terms of the unbalancing the roster dynamic. I love him as heel, but we need him as face. With Orton out, and no strong face challengers, you get a pretty lopsided show, with no strong persona to cheer for. Of course this means it's time to begin something I like to call "Operation: Daniel Bryan, World Champion". You know you want it.

Christian basically works his regular good guy format, with some little cheats here and there. Christian really should have been put with some mid card faces during these past couple of weeks, so that he can hone his heel ring work. The finish looked NASTY. Sheamus looked like he legit ate that ring post.

After the match Sheamus gets PUNTED to end the show. Well shit, who the hell is going to wrestle on this show now? Mark Henry gets stretchered and Sheamus eats a punt.

I DEMAND A REDRAFT.

OVERALL SHOW: I'm sadly getting bored with the show now. This episode made it official. They've got some solid hands but no strong stories except for the Christian/Orton series. Alberto Del Rio and Big Show should seriously just come back. They improved the middle by a great deal. Throwing all the big name mid carders in the first match left some room for some others to get a spot on the show, but I didn't have enough in me to really care about the Usos or Kozlov, despite those matches being solid ones.

With Henry possibly out and Sheamus in the Punt Zone, maybe now would be a good time for Cody Rhodes to move up in a program with Randy Orton. I think it could be really good, and would hopefully lead to the first Dashing One Reign.

Zeke/Daniel Bryan/Sin Cara are three decent faces, but they really should come up with some more interesting stories to build the middle of the show around them. They should be able to carry the middle of the show while Christian/Orton book end it. Right now, WWE doesn't seem to know what to do with any one and what once was a show that had a strong direction has become directionless.

Have a good weekend, and in case you forgot:

Friday, June 17, 2011

THE NEW GENERATION ERA PROJECT: SUPERSTARS REVIEW 4:24:93

SHAWN MICHAELS vs. DALE WOLFE
Shawn operates in slo-mo here, playing it pretty cocky and tossing in a couple of neat spots, like a clothesline off the apron to the outside. Dale Wolfe starts to make a come back but gets caught with the Super Kick(this is still before it was Shawn's finish) Shawn hoists him up like he's going to go for the Slingshot Suplex, but he decides not to. Instead he pie faces Dale Wolfe who falls over. Michaels covers him. After a pie face. That's the finish folks. Seriously.

STEINERS vs. RENO RIGGINS & BILLY JONES
Oh yeah, these guys get murdered. Reno Riggins was kind of lucky as Scott treated him okay. Just a backdrop driver, a pump handle slam, a belly to belly suplex and a frankensteiner. That's all. Poor Billy Jones got the rough stuff though. Poor Billy got clobbered by Rick's clothesline. It's becoming one of my favorite clotheslines. He always catches the guy with the bicep area of his arm, and it's meaty as hell. I'm psyched about what the Steiners will do against Money Inc.

SHERRI DOESN'T CARE ABOUT BAM BAM BIGELOW
Raymond Rougeau introduces Bam Bam Bigelow for some interview time and Sherri runs past him to the stage. Sherri says she doesn't care about him and that she wants to talk about Luna. She doesn't get far into her speech until Bam Bam gets in her face and tells her to take a hike during his interview time. Sherri tells him off and Bammer gets a little physical.....until......TATANKA saves the day. Oh man, this sounds a lot better than Bigelow and Friar Ferguson on RAW. Tatanka drop kicks Bigelow off the platform and then dives off of it on to Bigelow. It's kind of awesome.

"EL MATADOR" TITO SANTANA vs. LOUIE SPICOLLI
A true innovator.
This is kind of weak. I don't care for Tito in squash match situations. He's best when being competitive or working from underneath. Louie is a decent bump, but he doesn't have a whole lot to do here.

DAMIAN DEMENTO vs. K.C. CLERIC
Damn it, how much longer does this guy have? This is terrible. KC is a bad jobber and Damian is a stinky wrestler. The only silver lining is that I actually saw something I've never seen before. Damian takes KC's finger and sticks it in KC's mouth. He then squeezes Cleric's mouth shut so that he bites his own finger. THAT HAPPENED.

HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN vs. TIM PATTERSON
Before the match we got a SMOKING GUNNS vignette. They were riding horses and Billy said they were riding high in the saddle. I'm so excited about new faces that don't suck.

Hacksaw makes his way down, wearing Kurt Angle's singlet, and there's a girl at ring side wearing a blazer and a bra. That's it. Tremendous.

Duggan beats this dude up from pillar to post and everyone is totally behind him. He's got a lot of fire in this and keeps yelling "YOKOZUNA!" any time he's not doing a move. Much better than the last two squashes.

THE LUGER CONTROVERSY
Gorilla fills us in on the facts, as we finally learn that Lex Luger has a steel plate in his elbow, and that since it's considered apart of his anatomy, Jack Tunney can't do anything about it. I love the promo Luger gives in response to the situation. Check it out for yourself. He's so ridiculous.

TATANKA vs. STEVE VEGA
They play Tatanka's music twice but he doesn't come out. Turns out he's getting his ass kicked by Bam Bam Bigelow back stage. Bammer has a pair of scissors and starts threatening people with them while cutting Tatanka's hair. Steve Vega has to be asking if that's a forfeit win or what.

MR. HUGHES vs. RAVEN CLARK
Raven Clark. I want you to think about a guy named Raven Clark. What does he look like, to you? Close your eyes and really think about it.

Does he look like this guy?

Nothing like the pic he used on his Match.com profile, but he paid for dinner, so whatevs.
Mr. Hughes beats this dude down and we get an inset interview from Harvey Whippleman, who really wants to manage him. I miss managers. I love Hughes' finish, it's like a BossMan Slam, but he grabs them like a chokeslam. Some one should do that move today. I want to see Hughes and Bret wrestle eachother, that seems like it would be pretty awesome.

OVERALL SHOW:
Some weak ass squashes this week, but we did get a nice feud build between Tatanka and Bam Bam Bigelow. We also got another decent squash from Mr. Hughes and the Steiners. Could have done a lot worse.

NEXT WEEK ON SUPERSTARS: DOINK vs. MR. PERFECT in a KING OF THE RING QUALIFIER. Hell yes. I'm psyched about that one.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

THE NEW GENERATION ERA PROJECT: RAW REVIEW WEEK 13

4:19:1993
Mid-Hudson Center
Poughkeepsie, New York

Man, it seems like I keep getting interrupted with April 1993. Might need to hunker down and finish this month out. This show, like the last RAW, is in the Mid-Hudson Center, as they were both taped on the same night.

RAZOR RAMON vs. VIRGIL
What are you doing?
It started okay for Virgil, but he had a weird moment where Razor went back up against the ropes waiting to get Irish Whipped and Virgil went for a school boy. Think about that. Yeah, I don't know what he was thinking. Also Virgil has a terrible moment in a submission where he tries to get the crowd to cheer him on but no one wants to. It's REALLY bad. Just another awful performance from Virgil, who I thought was competent at one time.

GIANT GONZALEZ vs. L.A. GORE
Gonzalez comes out walking slow to his slow music, and then decides he needs to get to the ring faster and breaks into a trot. It's that kind of trot you do when you're at a cross walk and a car stops for you, and you decide you'll be nice and kind of walk a little faster so they can be on their way. That's what Gonzalez did. Some scary giant. Gore doesn't get to do much, which disappoints me. I feel like he should have made it big in ECW. Anyway, it's a squash and not a good one. Thankfully it was only a minute.

LUNA IS INSANE
Luna gets some backstage promo time to tell the story of her and Sherri's feud. Luna might be one of the best talkers in the company right now. Her voice and character or so refined and few of the guys sound as comfortable as she does talking. Just another awesome promo.

TATANKA vs. ART THOMAS
Art Thomas gets to work over Tatanka, and I gotta say, he looks like he really fits in. He's more snug than some of the job guys and has a decent look to himself. I tried looking him up to see if maybe he wrestled anywhere else, but apparently he has the same name as another more famous wrestler, Sailor Art Thomas who wrestled in through the 50's and 70's....so now I got know who that guy is. Stupid wrestling, there's too much of it. Anyway, this is better than the other two bouts. They keep it simple and have an easy story, but everything is done crisply. Tatanka is still a winner, and I wonder if they have any idea what they're supposed to do with him now that his feud with Shawn is over.

MONEY INC. vs. THE BEVERLY BROTHERS
The Beverly's control the early stuff and with a lot of arm work on Ted Dibiase and they even work in a couple of heel spots on Money Inc.   Ted worked quite a bit of the match, as I assume he's preparing himself to go hard with the Steiners. Some good work from Blake Beverly too. I wonder if Vince thought about keeping one of these guys before he fired them, because Blake wouldn't be a bad guy to have around.

While the story and ring work is solid, the crowd wasn't into two heel teams facing each other. The Beverly's had just turned but it still felt like a heel on heel match. Some decent work that gives me hope for the Money Inc./Steiner match, but overall it suffers from a lack of heat.

BRET "HITMAN" HART IN RING INTERVIEW
Vince introduces the Hitman, referring to him as THE PEOPLE'S CHAMPION, which Macho echos. Bret has a decent promo, first talking about being an underdog and then transitioning to his feud with Lex Luger. Bret has a lot of words in his brain and sometimes he doesn't know which ones he wants to say, so he says them all. "....The Hitman is coming straight, right, back up to the top to get back what is rightfully his....the World Wrestling Federation Title." Read that aloud. STRAIGHT. RIGHT. BACK UP. That's what he does with everything.


He does say, for the first time on RAW anyway, "I'm the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be." It's funny, I hadn't really heard him say that during his Championship run. The crowd loved that line. He should say it more often, I think.

BAM BAM BIGELOW vs. PHIL APOLLO
Money Inc. watching Sin Cara vs. Chavo at Over the Limit
Bigelow dominates. He's one of the best squash match wrestlers in the WWF. Doink, one of the other best squash match wrestlers in the company, comes out in the middle of this and then wanders back as he is wont to do. I have no idea why they did that during this match instead of during Tatanka's match. I'd be totally down for a Tatanka/Doink feud right now. Bammer crushes Phil with a senton before climbing up top to nail his flying headbutt. And then does it again after the match is over.

Friar Ferguson comes out to protect Phil Apollo....oh god no. Bammer decides to take a walk, as beating up Phil Apollo isn't worth this dumb stuff, and Friar drop kicks him in the butt to send him out of the ring. Oh man. Why is this happening to me?

OVERALL SHOW:
It started off rough, but eventually became a decent show. I kind of like the format of the show with the main event coming on second to last and then the last match kind of creating a little story for maybe next week. It's not the best, but it's kind of different and refreshing.

NEXT WEEK: CRUSH vs. LUGER. I'm actually excited about that. It could be good or really bad, and I'll have fun either way.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

THE WEEKLY SMACKDOWN REVIEW 6:10:2011

ICE IS BACK WITH MY BRAND NEW INVENTION
Vacation was great, thanks for asking. Went to Bowling Green Hot Rods baseball game. They're a Single A feeder to the Tampa Bay Rays. Every time a guy got hit by a pitch, which happened three times, the sound guy would play a clip of the Macho Man going "ohhhhhh yeah!" I got emotional.

But now I'm back, I've caught up on the last couple of weeks of Smackdowns and I'm ready to rock and roll with this week's. Lots of interesting developments coming in, like Christian smacking Randy Orton with the belt, Cody Rhodes and Daniel Bryan feuding, and...Jinder Mahal using a full nelson slam for a finish....which they replayed multiple times. WHAT-A-MANEUVER!

Let's kick it..

TO THE EXTREME I ROCK A MIC LIKE A VANDAL
Christian's heel character has always been better than his face character, and he does a great job here by justifying his heel turn and his disdain for the fans. It's a natural evolution, and I think the addition of him not talking to the fans anymore, is a fun schtick. Using Michael Cole to add heat to fire, is a decent use of the character that defers the heat to a wrestler instead of keeping it on an announcer.

THE CORRE vs. ZEKE & THE USOS
The whole rhythm is off. This is booked as a way to get the Usos some screen time, but they're honestly kind of clunky. They've got a good energy about them but their pace is jittery. Heath Slater is great as usual. When you watch Heath, whether he's got 8 seconds or 8 minutes, he's going to work his ass off like his life depends on it. His bumps are some of the best, and he keeps a strong consistent character even when he's not the focus. It's a bummer that he and Gabriel are kind of goons in this whole scenario, but they perform it so well. The tease of a CORRE break down is nice, as Wade continues to save his own ass. Still, a weak match overall.

JINDER MAHAL vs. TRENT BARRETA
Barreta is another guy like Heath Slater who busts his ass in the ring, but this match isn't anything special. Jinder isn't grabbing me the way that Alberto did in his first couple of weeks. He's not bad, he just hasn't had to do much, so I can't give a big opinion on his ring work. I'm not a big fan of his finish though.
I'm killing your brain like a poisonous mushroom.

TAMINA vs. AJ
Who the hell are these people? None of them are Layla, so I'm not sure why this is actually happening. I like AJ's gear. Nothing really offensive but I straight up don't care about any of these people.

KEEP MY COMPOSURE WHEN IT'S TIME TO GET LOOSE
Randy Orton and Christian play well off of each other, and Christian is really getting into his role. I love him mocking Teddy and asking the fans what they think. I really hope he wins at Capitol Punishment, just so this can continue and he can rub it in people's faces. Regardless of the outcome I'm looking forward to match #3 between these two. They just click so well. Christian drove off in a car, which means he's totally showing up during the Main Event.

DANIEL BRYAN & SIN CARA vs. TED DIBIASE JR. & CODY RHODES
This was a singles match between Teddy and Sin Cara, which wasn't all that bad for the minute that it was. I'm glad they changed it to a tag because it meant they got to change the lights back to normal. Announcing was awful as they spent a huge chunk of time talking about anything else. It was like an episode of Nitro. I will say that Sin Cara was mostly forgettable. Actually the same could be said for the whole match. Daniel Bryan
is still great, but he's wrestling in a holding pattern until he's got something more interesting to do. As of right now, he's just the glue that can hold these matches together for Sin Cara.

RANDY ORTON vs. SHEAMUS (NO DQ)
Turn off the lights and I'll glow
There's a really great pacing to this match, that I think is worth noting. The in ring action in the first half is really good, and just when they heat things up they kick it up a notch with the stairs. The powerslam on the steps was nasty looking and a great bump from Sheamus. My only problem is that Sheamus doesn't really sell the stairs, but then again he doesn't sell a whole lot. It's kind of his character, but really it doesn't play that way, it just feels like he forgot it happened. The Christian run in was expected and played out well. Overall a strong match and another great performance from Randy Orton, who really is the top dog on Smackdown.

ANYTHING LESS THAN THE BEST IS A FELONY
Overall, this was a pretty weak show. From an in-ring perspective, the only real highlight was the main event. Everything else was either a squash or a disappointing tag up. In terms of story lines, Christian and Randy are carrying the show. I don't think the WWE is exactly sure where they're going with Cody Rhodes or what they're supposed to do with Sin Cara, and their semi-feud feels aimless. The Jinder Mahal/Khali story was a strong story, but now that Khali has turned we need to know where we're going. Is Khali's brother coming back? Is KhaliJinder squashes people."

Also, there was no Mark Henry. So that's another strike.

So while it's not an awful episode, it's probably the weakest show since the draft.

 DJ.....play me out.