Sunday, October 31, 2010

Boo!

Since it's Halloween, I figured I'd do a little look back at the 5 (intentionally) scariest characters in wrestling.  This of course is based on my opinion.  So here we go...

By the way, most if not all of these photos are courtesy of the WWE.  Found them on various websites, but I'm sure they all go back to the E in some way or another.


5. Jake "the Snake" Roberts:  Even before Jake came to the WWE or F in 1986, he was one of the most intimidating guys in the business.  He wasn't a big, bulky tough guy.  Instead, he was almost snakelike, hence the name.  Sneaky, cold, calculating.  I remember watching him in World Class when he teamed with Chris Adams and Gino Hernandez in their war with the Von Erichs.  Jake was truly a snake back then.  Probably one of the best ring psychologists in the history of the game.

Then he moves to the WWF and gets the whole live snake gimmick going.  Beating an opponent and then putting his pet Damien on him had to be a terrifying prospect for some of those guys.  Then in 1991 when he turned heel again and hoodwicked the Ultimate Warrior and crashed Randy Savage and Elizabeth's wedding with the snake elevated him to a new level of evil.  Of course the infamous cobra biting incident is one that is still talked about two decades later.  For these actions alone, Jake deserves a spot on this list.


4.  Kane: Early Kane of course.  When he first debuted in 1997, he was one of the most fierce and intimidating guys around.

I hate to admit this, but I actually remember having a nightmare when Kane first started wrestling.  For some reason, I was in the ring.  Then all the sudden the hell fire and brimestones started.  Flames shot up and Kane came down the ramp like he did every week.  In the dream I was paralyzed with fear.  Lucky for me, I woke up before he got to the ring.

Even now, they've returned Kane to his monster roots.  He's evil again.  I think that's how he should be.  Babyface Kane just doesn't work for me.  A guy like this needs to be terrifying people, not shaking hands and kissing babies so to speak.

3. Abdullah the Butcher: Look at that face, and tell me how you couldn't be afraid of this guy.  He topped the scales at well over 400 pounds and tore up anyone who got in his way.

His forehead resembles a road map with all the scars carved into it.  And that fork in his mouth wasn't for the post match buffet.  No, Abby would use that to rip the flesh from his opponent's noggin.

Most of my memories of Abdullah are from World Class.  I don't believe he ever wrestled for the WWF.  He had a stint in WCW when he battled the likes of Cactus Jack, Sting, and the Steiner Brothers.

Who can forget that Halloween Havoc (I think it was 1991) when they put him in the electric chair in the Chamber of Horrors match and "shocked" him.  I actually felt bad for the guy.


2.  Bruiser Brody:  Another face that only a mother could love.  Brody had some epic battles with Abdullah in Puerto Rico, Japan, and World Class.  Two scary guys beating the hell out of each other and not caring who got hurt in the process.

Brody was a big man, wielding a giant chain that he wasn't afraid to use against other big men like the Butcher or One Man Gang or Kamala.

Brody was a face and a heel, but it never seemed to affect his persona.  He was always a larger than life tough guy who beat the crap out of an opponent and did his "husk, husk" all the while.

I remember watching him live at the Kiel Auditorium wrestle the world champion Ric Flair.  Flair got DQed for throwing the big man over the top rope.  A no-no back then in the NWA.

Brody's life was cut too short.  As most of you know, he was stabbed to death in the locker room at a show in Puerto Rico.  He was only 42.  I often wonder what would have happened had he lived.  Would he have ever gone to the WWF?  If he had, would Vince have strapped him with some lame gimmick and rebranding or let him be Brody.

1.  The Undertaker:  It's been 20 years since the Undertaker first debuted at the 1990 Survivor Series.  If you would have told me then that he'd still be around today, and one of the biggest stars in the history of the industry, I would have laughed at you.

But the Undertaker gets the top spot for staying power alone.  It's a gimmick that has worked for him with a few alterations along the road.  The early days when he would stuff an opponent in a bodybag were intense.  Remember the attack on the Ultimate Warrior and leaving him in the coffin.

It wasn't long after that they turned the Undertaker face.  He was still intimidating and carried his urn.  He buried opponents like Kamala, Jake the Snake, and the Giant Gonzalez.  Just when you thought he was starting to lose his edge, he went heel again and became satanic.  That may have been his scariest phase, when he was leading the Ministry of Darkness.  Who can forget the attempted black wedding with Stephanie, the weird cross, and the hanging of the Big Bossman at Wrestlemania 14.  

Honorable mentions:  I started thinking of others as I was compiling this list and feel like they should be mentioned too.  Big Van Vader and Cactus Jack/Mankind.  I probably should have had Foley on this list and he was one of the best with the mind games too.  And his dive off the top of the Hell in a Cell at the 1998 King of the Ring is legendary.

I salute all those who have worked to create fear in the hearts of their opponents and the fans watching.  Happy Halloween.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Living on the Edge

Edge, Me, & Chavo Guerrero at Wrestlemania 24
So Edge is once again the number one contender to the world heavyweight title.  I'm not exactly sure how to feel about that.  It seems like more of the same old, same old from the WWE.  

Don't get me wrong.  I like Edge.  I like him a lot.  But I liked him better as a heel.  The Rated R Superstar.  But I guess when the company moves into a PG rated direction, it's hard to have a top guy on the roster with that nickname.  But I even liked him when he was with Christian and they were the duo reeking of awesomeness.  The 5 second pose was classic stuff.

But we are, where we are so let's talk about that.  The Smackdown roster is in need of faces as top contenders.  Kane has already taken care of Rey Mysterio and the Undertaker.  Christian is on the shelf for up to 6 months.  Personally, I would have liked to have seen him in this position.  And maybe he would have been had it not been for his injury.  Kofi Kingston would have been a good choice too.  He's held the Intercontinental and U.S. titles.  Why not give him a world title push too.  Plus, he fits that whole PG image the E is going for right now.

I'm surprised they didn't go with the Big Show.  He has a history with Kane, but really I'm glad they didn't go with Show.  Like I've said before, I think they really need to start developing more guys into the world title picture.  Not necessarily make them champions, but at least make them look like legitimate contenders for the title.

For the last several years we've been on a rotating cycle with John Cena, HHH, Randy Orton, Edge, Undertaker, and Batista being in the world title matches on pay per view.  Other than the brief and less than stellar runs from CM Punk, Rey, and Jack Swagger there hasn't been a whole lot of change in either brands world title pictures.

Now that Wade Barrett has worked his way in, I hope some of the fresh blood on Smackdown can start making a move too.  Alberto del Rio, Drew McIntyre, Cody Rhodes, Tyler Reks, and Kaval all come to mind.

Again, nothing against Edge.  I just want to see something new when I tune in.  Seems like we're getting more of the same.  Maybe things will start to change in 2011.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Freak of the Week: The Boogie Man

Double your boogie pleasure
As a kid, who wasn't afraid of the Boogie Man?  Of course when I was growing up, we didn't know what the boogie man looked like exactly.  Not until a few years ago when the WWE dreamed up the creation you see above.

Not exactly what I had in mind.  But he was definitely freaky.  The thing I never really understood about the BM, maybe I should say Boogie Man, BM implies something else... was the whole giant clock and smashing it against his head.  He reminded me of the anti Flavor Flav.  Just sayin'.  Something else that baffled me, his mini boogie.  What was the point of him?  Was it just to combat Hornswoggle during Boogie Man's feud with Finely?  

Overall, I wasn't very impressed with the Boogie Man.  I thought the idea was okay, but never bought into the character.  Seemed like he did a lot of stuff for shock value and didn't get much done in the ring.   I saw him live at Wrestlemania 22 when he faced Booker T and Sharmell.   Booker and Sharmell ended up on the losing end and in less than 4 minutes, which in hindsight was probably a good thing.

Boogie Man never really achieved success in the E.  At least if you count success as winning titles and making an impact.  He had his worms and his broken clocks and mini me.  But I wanted to write up something about him in honor of Halloween.  Maybe at the right time in history, he and Papa Shango could have been tag team champions.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hard(y) to Say Goodbye

Wrestlemania 22.  I'm the only one still with WWE. :D

Sorry for the title, it' all I could come up with.  Also, sorry for the delay in this posting.  I was on vacation when Matt Hardy was finally released from the WWE.

I don't think many people were surprised by this firing.  He had basically been asking for it for some time now.  Was he justified in his actions leading up to his release?  You know, the erratic behavior, the bizarre Youtube videos, and tweets complaining.  I say yes.  If you're going to gripe publicly about your employer, then they're justified in firing you.  Of course it's something he wanted.

Matt Hardy didn't seem happy in the WWE.  At least not lately.  Of course in his heyday with brother Jeff, he was one of the most popular stars.  Or at least a member of one of the most popular teams.  Remember when the Hardy's were jobbers getting beat up on Sunday Night Heat by the APA?  They really did develop and became one of the tandems during the Attitude era.  Some might even argue of all time.

I liked the Hardy Boyz, but I always liked Edge and Christian better.  They reeked of awesomeness.  Just like me.  Ha.  Anyway, back to the Hardy's.  They held the tag team titles 7 times.  They had some classic matches with Edge and Christian and the Dudley Boys.  

After the team finally broke up, as all good teams do in the WWE, Matt clearly became the "Marty Jannetty" of the duo.  He enjoyed some independent success, like a run as U.S. champion and ECW champion, but it was nothing compared to Jeff.  The younger brother won the Intercontinental title four times, the World heavyweight title twice, the light heavyweight title and European champion one time each and Hardcore title four times.  

Matt had some memorable feuds.   He run against Kane, Edge, and MVP come to mind.  But he was usually on the losing end against Kane and Edge.  The series with MVP was more even contested.  But Matt won a lot of those confrontations.

His recent feud with Drew McIntyre was less than stellar.  I think by that point it was clear he was just going to be putting over the younger talent.  I think Matt had a hard time with that.  He never won the big title.  His little brother did.  Twice.  And I think that probably stung a little.  Again, as the blog name suggests, these are just my opinions, so feel free to rebut.

Now that Matt is gone from the WWE, many are assuming he'll show up in TNA.  Most likely he will.  And he'll fit in.  Many of TNA's guys are ex-WWE wrestlers.  How much of a push will he receive while there though?  

I really don't see Matt as a main event player, even in TNA.  Then there's talk of another Hardy Boyz reunion.  Jeff is the champ right now, and doing well as a singles star.  Would teaming up with his older brother again hurt his career?  

Matt accomplished a lot in the WWE in his 12 years with the company.  He should be proud of that.  What's next for him?  Only time will tell.  (cue the Nelson music) 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Keep Your Shirt On

One of the WWE t-shirts I own
Voters in Connecticut will not have to remove their WWE shirts, hats, or hoodies when they go to the polls Tuesday to vote.  Why would that even be a concern you might ask?  Well, it seems the Secretary of the State there, Susan Bysiewciz was concerned that if people showed up to vote in WWE merchandise they'd be campaigning for Linda McMahon.

Mrs. McMahon of course is the former CEO of the WWE.  She's currently running for the U.S. Senate.  Wednesday afternoon, a judge ruled that wearing items like a CeNation t-shirt or a DX do-rag would not influence undecided voters at the polls.  Ms. Bysiewciz wanted such items kept 75 feet away from the polling places, which is in accordance with Connecticut state law.  Vince McMahon filed suit Tuesday over the issue.  A judge ruled in his favor.

Clearly, this move to block WWE items was a political stunt and would not have been an issue with Linda McMahon had the same letter in parenthese behind her name.  (D) in this case.  I mean come on, Linda McMahon's face, likeness, image, etc. is no where on any piece of WWE merchandise I've ever seen.   So kudos to the judge for her decision.

Now on to the Stand Up for WWE campaign.  It's a good concept, but I think it's really only a part of the political machine.  Would we be seeing this if Linda McMahon wasn't running?  Or if she wasn't down in the polls?  I don't know, we'll never know really.

But I do think there is bias in this campaign in terms of how wrestling (the WWE specifically) and its fans are portrayed.    If Linda McMahon had served as CEO of the New York Yankees, would there be this much criticism?  Wrestling in general seems to be under a microscope more often and its fans are often stereotyped.

So by the judge laying the smackdown on this recent WWE merchandise ban is a victory for wrestling fans everywhere, whether you like WWE or TNA or ROH.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

McMahon vs. Benoit

Meeting Chris Benoit in 2007

Where to start, where to start...  This is a slippery slope in the wrestling world.  Guys in the prime of their life and dropping dead.  Is it the industry's fault?  Where does personal responsibility fit into it? Should the government take more control?  So many questions, so many opinions.

If you're reading this there's a 99% chance you're a wrestling fan already. So there's no need to go through the rundown of men and women who have died prematurely. Some were accidents. Some were overdoses. Some were heart conditions that may or may not be related to the use of prescription drugs and steroids. 


Right now, I'm going to focus on Chris Benoit and the tragic end to his life and the lives of his wife and young son. As you can see from the photo above, I met Benoit back in 2007. This was less than four months before he took his life and Nancy and Daniel's. 

Of course, when you're meeting a wrestling you're there because it's someone you like. Why else would we wait in line for hours on a freezing February afternoon? Anyway, Chris was running late that day due to a flight delay, but he still made it to the autograph signing. He was polite and shook hands, signed books, and posed for pictures with all the fans who attended. This probably made him late for the house show that night too. But like I said, he was very kind and spoke a few words to me as I got his signature and posed for the picture. 


I know there are a lot of stories about Chris being a monster at home and abusive. Maybe he was. I want to believe it's not though. Maybe that's my own ignorance of wanting to protect someone I looked up to. I consider his death a tragedy, same goes for Nancy and Daniel. It's so very sad.


But here's the question.  Is wrestling to blame? Chris' father, Michael Benoit, believes it is. He's been very vocal in the years after his son's death, but got even louder about it earlier this week in Connecticut, the state where former WWE CEO Linda McMahon is running for senate.  Was the attack politically motivated? Perhaps, but like I mentioned before, Mr. Benoit has been speaking out against the WWE since the events of June 2007, so I don't know that this is a publicity stunt.

It's believed that brain damage may be to blame for Chris' actions. After years of chair shots to the head and other concussions, Chris' brain was damaged. This isn't to say that everyone who suffers from hits to the head will murder their family, but I think it could be a factor. Chris was also said to be suffering from depression over the loss of his friend Eddie Guerrero, another tragedy in and of itself. That likely played a role in what happened that day too.

In the years since "the incident" the WWE has made changes. This of course is a good thing. Chair shots to the head of have been banned. Wrestlers are tested more often for drugs. And all performers, past and present are offered free rehab to help kick their addictions. While the government may not be breathing down the WWE's neck 24/7, I do believe they are making great strides to prevent future tragedies.


Not every wrestling death can be or should be blamed on the industry. I will admit there is probably some sort of liability involved.  For example, did he or she feel like they had to use steroids to look the part and keep their job? Even if they felt that way, unless they were forced to do the illegal drug, isn't it their personal responsibility.


I hope this all makes sense. I kinda feel like I'm going back and forth even as I write this. Bottom line, the industry was filled with lots of wrongdoing in the past, but I do believe that the WWE has also taken a stand in fixing the problem.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Impact Zone

The Impact Zone at Universal Studios: Orlando
My hiatus from blogging is over.  You can all breath again.  Ha ha.  I didn't intend to not blog for this long, but I was on a family vacation to Orlando.  Didn't have a WiFi connection where I was staying, so hence the absence.

We visited Universal Studios on Friday and Saturday.  Universal of course is the home of TNA Wrestling and the Impact Zone.  But other than that sign you see at the top of the page, and the TNA Taping on the calendar they have available at the front park, you wouldn't know there was such a thing as TNA at Universal.

This struck me as odd, as we went into several of the gift shops inside the park and along the City Walk area leading to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.  I didn't find one piece of TNA related merchandise.  No shirts, no hats, no action figures.  Nothing.  The only wrestling related items I saw at either park besides that sign, was a handful of John Cena t-shirts being worn by visitors.  

Maybe there is a legit reason for this.  But I can't imagine what that would be.  Every other attraction and feature in the park has memorabilia and paraphernalia in the stores.  There are kiosks and stands everywhere selling Simpsons stuff, Harry Potter stuff, Marvel Superheroes stuff.  You get the point.

I can only imagine if Vince McMahon had the opportunity to tape a weekly show inside a theme park with a captive audience and lots of spending money.  I could see tshirts, hats, action figures, bobble heads, breakfast cereals, books, DVDs, posters, etc. being hacked around the park.  

I was also disappointed "the Zone" was closed.  I'm not sure what else that building is used for, but if they only tape TNA shows in there, why not open it up and let the fans take a look inside.  Maybe on select days have some of the guys and gals there signing autographs, walking around the park, and meeting the fans.  Just a suggestion.

Like I said, maybe there are all valid reasons as to why this isn't happening, but to me it's a basic marketing 101 concept and is part of the reason why TNA still struggles to gain that global popularity that the WWE has had for so long.






Monday, October 18, 2010

Another POV

Over the last year WWE has changed the name of several of their B level pay per
views and branded them with a marketable concept. Unfortunately even though the
writers know these shows are coming up they fail to write logical storylines for the
specificness of the show. (But that's a rant for another time.) Elimination Chamber
features matches in the Elimination Chamber to crown the #1 contender for a
Wrestlemania title match. Night of Champions is a show of nothing but title
matches.  Well that was the original concept until this year. Hell in the Cell
features top matches taking place in a Hell in the Cell cage. And the PPV taking
place this Sunday is called Bragging Rights and features a Raw vs Smackdown 6 on 6
elimination style tag team match where wrestlers fight to see which show is better.

The match is esientially a typical match which was the concept for the Survivor
Series Pay Per View dating back to its inception in 1987.  The Survivor Series show
is still around, in fact it's the next PPV on the calendar. Though in recent years
there has usually only been one or two Survivor Series matches.  One of my biggest
questions is why have back to back Pay Per Views that have a similar concept?

In addition to the similarities, my other big question is what are the wrestlers
really fighting for? Back in 2002 WWE split its roster in half. One half being
assigned to Monday Night Raw, the other half going to Friday Night Smackdown.  This
was done in storyline when Vince McMahon and Ric Flair owned equal shares of the
company.  The idea behind the split was to create two separate brands leading to
each brand doing their own PPVs on alternating months while keeping the Big 4 (Royal
Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam, Survivor Series) shows as co-branded
presentations. The Brand specific shows lasted from 2003 until right after
Wrestlemania 23 in 2007. 

Now each PPV has matches from both Brands though rarely do the matches feature
someone from Raw vs someone from Smackdown. The only exceptions are Tag Team title
and Diva title matches. Those champions can appear on both shows. In theory the
Bragging Rights concept makes sense. In WWE reality it doesn't. 

Now days with the yearly draft, titles changing hands on a monthly basis and general
lack of focus by the writing team, wrestlers cross brands with such frequency you
need a scoreboard to know who's on what brand. Case in point, CM Punk had been on
Smackdown for the last year until two weeks ago when we was involved in a trade that
sent him to Raw and Edge to Smackdown.  Punk's first match on Raw was against Evan
Bourne to see who would be a member of Team Raw at Bragging Rights. First night on
the new show and Punk is put in a position where he's trying to defend a show he
just joined.  Sure you could say Punk's pride has him wanting to show Smackdown's GM
he was wrong to trade Punk, but I look at it as if Larry Bird had been traded from
the Celtics to the Lakers in 1987 and then when the playoffs came Larry talked up
the Lakers as being the best team. Something just doesn't feel right.

Why would a wrestler vow loyalty to a brand when the following week he could be
traded to the other brand? If WWE were serious about it, they would put a freeze on
any trades and even suspend the yearly draft for at least one year to stabilize the
brands. Of course part of the problem with today's WWE booking is they drag feuds
out for months (Undertaker and Kane are fighting on their third straight PPV) and
keep guys in a certain pecking order so the shows get stale and repetitive very
quickly.

In addition to wrestlers moving back and forth, at the beginning of the month when
Smackdown moved to the Syfy network, Michael Cole "the voice of Raw" was added to
the Smackdown announce team. This was done allegedly because Vince McMahon doesn't
think Smackdown announcer Todd Grisham is good enough at getting over the very
simplistic storylines currently going on in the WWE Universe. Now you have one
announcer who's on both shows but has a loyalty to Raw. Why?

Last year Smackdown won Bragging Rights. Though their victory was referenced maybe
two or three times until this month. So really what's the point of the show other
then trying to get $45 from fans three weeks after asking for $45 for Hell in the
Cell and 4 weeks before asking for $45 for Survivor Series.

By Chad Smart

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Freak of the Week: Luna Vachon

Courtesy: wwe.com

This post is meant as a tribute, not a slam at the late, great Luna Vachon.  The second generation star died a couple of months ago.  She was only 48.  It appears Luna died from an accidental overdose of painkillers and anti-anxiety medication.  I know the last couple of years had been rough for her.  May she rest in peace.

I remember the first time I saw Luna Vachon.  It was in a wrestling magazine.  Pro Wrestling Illustrated.  I used to buy a new copy each month when I was growing up.  Luna was managing the Blackhearts at the  time.  They wore masks and cloaks and wrestled on the independent circuit.  They were bizarre.  All three of them.  And until just now, I never realized Gangrel (Luna's eventual husband) was one of the Blackhearts.

But Luna had been involved in wrestling long before that article brought her to my attention.  Wrestling was in her blood.  She's the daughter of Butcher Vachon and the niece of Mad Dog Vachon.  Her Godfather was Andre the Giant.  Her ashes are actually scattered on the ranch Andre once lived on.  

From what I've read Luna started off in the business soft spoken and not quite so "freaky."  It was an angle with Kevin Sullivan that turned her into the character we all remember.  Her first main stream exposure came in 1993 when she showed up at Wrestlemania 9 as Shawn Michaels' valet.  Shawn and Sherri Martel had just "broken up" and HBK needed someone to have his back.  It was an odd pairing and it didn't last very long.

She soon took a shining to Bam Bam Bigelow.  The two were a match made in hell with all their tattoos and crazy markings.  They feuded with Doink the Clown and his little sidekick Dink.  The inter gender duo beat the clowns at Wrestlemania 10.  Luna also had a go with women's champion Alundra Blayze.  She never won that title.  

Luna left the WWF, but would eventually return.  She managed Goldust and the two had some very unusual costumes.  One that sticks out was when Goldie had pink or purple hair and wore some sort of wet suit and had a ball gag in his mouth.  Bizarre.  Around this same time I believe Luna was feuding with Sable.  

The two actually feuded a couple of times, as Luna eventually turned face and managed the Oddities.  No explanation needed there.   Sable played the snotty b*tch and Luna was the freak.  Classic high school conflict that everyone can relate to, whether you're the stuck up one or the freaky one.

Somewhere along the way too, she challenged Jeff Jarrett for the intercontinental title and beat him by disqualification.  Luna left the WWF and hit the indy scene again. Of course I glossing over some of her accomplishments and writing most of this from memory.  Some of it with the help of the "magic box."

Luna had recently lost everything in a house fire, so I'm sure that added to her stress and anxiety levels.  Again, may she rest in peace and thanks for the memories.  

The "Reality" Wrestling


Me & the Miz
I think few could argue the Miz has been the most successful "reality" star to cross over into the world of professional wrestling.  He's been a tag team champion, a two time U.S. champion, and is on the verge of becoming WWE champion.  It's just a matter of time.  Those who don't know, the Miz got his start originally on MTV's "The Real World."

Survivor star Jenna Morasca had a lackluster run in TNA last year.  I think she wrestled a handful of matches before being released by the company.  I don't know if an official reason was ever given for it.

Then there's Johnny Fairplay from Survivor.  He too had a run with TNA.  He's also done some work with Ring of Honor.  He has the personalty to pull off the role of a heel manager, but it seems like the big companies have phased that role out.


Courtesy: WFX
 The newest "reality star" to get a deal is Jessie from Big Brother.  TNA has apparently offered Jessie Godderz a contract.  He's already been in the ring as you can see.  The competitive bodybuilder turned reality star turned wrestler goes by the name Mr. PEC-Tacular.  I guess if I looked like him, I'd also call myself that.

Mr. Pec (I'll call him that to save time) has been wrestling for WFX.  I've never seen him in the ring or any WFX action before.  You can see in the picture, he's got former WWE superstar Eugene in quite a pickle though.

While he's got the "look", I don't know how he is in the ring.  But that doesn't always seem to matter.  David Otunga, I'm looking at you.  Who is, by the way, another reality star turned wrestler.  I do think he has potential.  He does pretty well on the mic, he just need to hone his in ring skills.

TNA also brought in reality vixen JWoww from Jersey Shore to confront the fed's rip off, I mean imitation of the show.  That confrontation airs tonight on Spike TV.  From what I've read though, this was a one shot deal.  It makes sense for WWE and TNA to use celebrities to give business a boost.  Or what they perceive to be a boost.  Will fans of the Jersey Shore who don't watch wrestling tune in tonight?  I doubt it, but hey, it's entertaining for those of us who watch both.

I wonder if more wrestling hopefuls will turn to the world of reality TV as they try to get a shot at the WWE or TNA. 


So far though, none of them is as awesome as the Miz.  Just sayin'... 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Spelling Counts

From tnawrestling.com



This is going to be a short and sweet post.  My job as a journalist has forced me to look closely at spelling, grammar, etc.  I know some of my posts sometimes have mistakes, so I'm not going to be overly critical of the photo above.
My friend Matt actually told me about it, and I found it on the tnawrestling.com website.  I'm sure you've all figured it out by now.  Therrrre Herrrre.  Okay, first off, there are way too many r's in each of the words.  But that's not my issue.  It's the world "there."  It should actually be "they're" you know, like they are here.  


I'm assuming this was created by a fan, but maybe it was Abyss.  After all, he's a monster and from what we know about Frankenstein and the other monsters, spelling isn't one of their (spelled right) strong points.

So while I find this humorous, I also enjoy the fact the TNA decided to use the photo on the front page of their website.  

Okay, that's it.  Sorry nothing real earth shattering there.  If you have suggestions for posts you'd like to read about, let me know.

Thanks!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Raw Thoughts

I know I criticize the WWE a lot, but I really am a huge fan.  I've been a faithful fan for more than 25 years.  So when I make posts like this, I'm doing it out of love.  Really. 

If I were a teacher, I'd give last night's show a solid C+.  Here are the things I liked and disliked about it.

Let's start with the good things:

The Miz beats John Cena.  I don't care if there was outside interference.  All that matters is the Miz will lead the Raw team into Bragging Rights.  The Miz is definitely on the upswing right now and I see him going to new heights from here.

Husky Harris & Michael McGillicutty as a team.  I like both these guys, but I still don't understand why neither of them use their father's last names.  They've acknowledged who they are, but whatever.  Hopefully they keep these two around.  I was a big fan of HH during NXT:2

John Morrison vs. Tyson Kidd.  These guys worked great together and John Morrison is improving every week.  Liked the way they finished that one.  A friend of mine questioned the use of Morrison's finisher as a finisher, but I was impressed.

Glad to see Santino get a win and added to the Raw team, but I'm not a fan of this love angle with Tamina.

Speaking of divas, the LayCool teasing other divas is getting old fast.  Here's to hoping Natalya beats them at Bragging Rights.

I guess we've transitioned to the bad now.

I love Daniel Bryan, but I'm growing sick of watching him get thrashed every week.  Sheamus tore him apart two weeks in a row.  What's the point of this?  Is there one?  Has Bryan picked up a win on Raw since winning the U.S. title from the Miz?  I hate how they make a champion look weak.

Orton taking out Justin Gabriel.  I didn't expect Gabriel to win, but I was hoping for a different ending.  And why didn't we see the Nexus?  Were they banned?  They might have been, I didn't catch the beginning of the match.  If not, it seems that sticking with the logic of the angle, at least someone should have been ringside.

RTruth and Eve.  Urgh.  Ted DiBiase should have won that match.  I don't like him always jobbing too.  This guy has talent, I hope they start using him better. I have a feeling after this Goldust angle, we'll get a little push for the Million $on.

I'm indifferent about CM Punk.  I think that's partly the E's fault though.  When he won the world title back in 2008, he was booked as a weak champion.  Mentioned it with Bryan, and I'll say it again.  If someone holds the belt, make them look strong.

I also don't like the speculation about where DH Smith was.  Was that supposed to be part of the eventually split of the Hart Dynasty?  I'm guessing so.  Again, really disappointed to see that happening.

Finally, Cena needs to just embrace this Nexus thing.  Stop coming out with your shirts and hats and banadanas.  He needs to be in a black Nexus shirt.  Then again, I don't know where this angle is headed, so maybe I should just shutup.

Overall though, the show was decent.  Cole's commentatory was annoying, but not as bad as it has been.  Then again, I did watch Raw on DVR, so I could zip through things.

I think I've hit everything.  Thanks for reading.  Please tell your friends.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"They" Need to Check the Calendar

Hey Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan, 1996 just called.  It wants its gimmick back.  Talk about coming up with lightning in a bottle ONE time and trying to ride the wave a decade and a half later.  As the late great Gorilla Monsoon would say, "Give me a break!"

By now if you haven't heard, TNA debuted who "They" are last night on the "biggest pay per view of the year."  Don't they say that every month?  Anway, "They" are Abyss, Jeff Jarrett, Jeff Hardy, Eric Bischoff, and are you ready for this... Hulk Hogan.  Yeah, the same Hulk Hogan who said he was not going to hog the spot light in TNA when he first arrived a year ago.  The same Hulk Hogan who can barely walk because of his bad back.  Yeah, that's him.

The buildup to all of this was quite lack luster if you ask me.  And you did, because you're reading this post.  Ha ha.  Of course in wrestling, anytime you have a buildup like this, the end result is usually a dud.  It's the anticipation that gets you worked up, then the event arrives and it's like ehhh. 

Of course I guess only time will tell where this angle is headed.  My friends and I have done some speculating.  Right now it's looking like the umpteenth version of the NWO.  My friend Travis pointed this out.  So Sting and Nash and now Pope have been running around like heels
telling us not to trust Hogan, and now Hogan is heel, so....are Sting/Nash/Pope all faces now? Good question.

My friend Chad pointed out that Angle had said before the match if he didn't win the title, he'd retire.  How soon before we see him again?  Chad summed up his feelings with a quote we heard back on June 6, 1996:  "Hulk Hogan, you can go to hell." 

So what do you think?  Can this work?  Will Hulk Hogan wrestle still?  Can Jeff Hardy pull off the whole "bad guy" thing?  Questions we'll have to wait and get answered Thursday night or whenever TNA decides to answer them I suppose.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Top 10

The Rock and Me.  Or is it?

Since it's 10/10/10, I thought I'd be real original and do a Top 10 list.  Clever, right?  Anyway, this is a list of my Top 10 favorite wrestlers of all time.  Not the best, just my favorites. 

1. "Nature Boy" Ric Flair: I've documented it before, but Ric Flair is in my opinion the greatest wrestler to ever step inside the square circle.  Those who've never watched his matches from the early to mid 80's, I highly recommend you do.  His promos were some of the most memorable from my childhood.  He was the guy you loved to hate.  Of course I witnessed his "last match" at Wrestlemania 24.  Watching him wrestle today just isn't like it used to be though.

2.  The Rock:  In the late 1990's, the WWF needed a superstar.  Man did they get one.  The Rock started off as a goodie two shoe baby face "Rocky Maivia."  That act didn't last long, and the ultra cool Rock persona kicked in.  He was entertaining to watch and helped lead the WWF to victory over WCW in the Monday Night Wars.  His time in the company was brief, but effective.

3.  Kerry Von Erich: Some of the first wrestling I remember watching was the old World Class Championship Wrestling.  The Von Erichs were the stars of the show.  The baby face brothers who fought the evil comers like the Fabulous Freebirds, Gino Hernandez, and Chris Adams.  It always seemed like their friends were turning on them though.  Chris Adams, Iceman King Parsons, and Brian Adidas immediately come to mind.  As a kid I looked up to Kerry.  He was as his nickname suggested, a Modern Day Warrior.  Of course, I was thrilled when he moved to the WWF and played on an even bigger stage, or ring.  I read recently that Vince McMahon had original planned for Kerry to have Bret Hart's role in the WWF, but Kerry's personal demons put an end to that.  I don't know if that's all true or not, but I certainly wish that story would have had a happier ending.  I am glad to say that I was on hand when Kerry and his brothers were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.

4.  Chris Jericho: I never really carried for the babyface Chris Jericho in WCW.  He was like plain vanilla icecream in my view.  But when he turned heel, he became much more entertaining.  His promos were slick and he worked great in the ring.  After reading his first book, I came to respect Y2J even more.  He also had one of the greatest debuts in WWE history.  The countdown and interrupting the Rock was classic.  The two worked well together with the verbal sparing and the battles they had in the ring.  Classic stuff.  I was sad to see him leave back in 2005, but understood he needed a break.  I rejoiced when he came back and thought the development of his new "character" was outstanding.  Even though he was the heel out there, he was speaking the truth.  Awesome.

5.  Chris Benoit: I'm working on a full length blog about Chris in the coming days.  Right now, I'm going to make my comments brief.  What he did at the end of his life was horrendous.  But what he did in his career can not and should not be ignored.  He's probably the only guy on this list who didn't work the mic well, but inside that ring he was one of the best.  More comments on that coming soon.

6.  "Stone Cold" Steve Austin:  Once upon a time, SCSA would have been higher on my list.  But there was that incident back in 2002 or 2003 when Austin took his ball and went home.  I know there was a lot of circumstances that lead up to Austin's leaving, but as a fan I felt a bit cheated.  I had always been a fan of Austin's, even back in his "Stunning" Steve days of WCCW.  He seemed like a natural heel.  Cool and cocky.  Then, shaving his head and donning the black tights and bad ass attitude made him a star.  Stone Cold, whether a face or a heel was always entertaining to watch.  He really started the way for the attitude era of WWF I believe.  There was always an air of unpredictability when Austin was around.  The beer baths, the damage to Mr. McMahon's vehicles, and the fight with Mike Tyson all come to mind instantly.


7.  The Honky Tonk Man:  I can't explain why, but HTM is in fact on this list.  He was one of those guys people loved to hate.  Or maybe they just hated him.  For those who don't remember, when he was first brought into the WWF, he was a face, and was supposed to be there to help Hulk Hogan.  This was sometime in 1986.  Well, the fans didn't buy into his Elvis impersonating gimmick and quickly booed him.  I remember him coming on to Superstars each week, asking the fans to stop and cheer for him.  Eventually he snapped and hired "Col." Jimmy Hart to be his manager.  It worked.  Shortly after that, he became the Intercontinental champion.  Not only was he the champ, but the longest reigning, ever.  A record he still holds some 23 years later.

8.  "Rowdy" Roddy Piper: The whole "Rock 'n Wrestling" connection would not have worked without the genius of Roddy Piper.  I've read several times that Hulk Hogan takes a lot of the credit for the surge in wrestling popularity back in the 1980's.  He deserves credit, some of it.  Not all of it though. You can be the greatest hero of all time, but without the right nemesis, you're nothing.  Piper and his antics drove the fans crazy.  Kicking Cyndi Lauper.  Smashing the Grammy on Lou Albano's head.  Cracking the coconut on Superfly Snuka's skull.  All heinous acts and all things that I love about Hot Rod.  Then there's his work on Piper's Pit.  The man was a genius on the mic.  He made you want to hate him even more.  But like all good heel's, eventually they turn them face because the fans start to dig the act.  Piper was great and I still go back and watch the Pit from time to time.  That stuff is timeless.

9.  The Miz:  I debated if I should put the Miz on this list or not, since he is so new to wrestling.  But his character has developed quickly and really grown on me.  His work on the mic is outstanding and he's improving in the ring.  I've talked about the Miz before and my meeting with him earlier this year.  He's ultra cool and truly is awesome.  I think that's another reason I've added him to the list so early in his career.  He's definitely destined for greatness.  This is only the tip of the iceberg for him.  His future is bright.

10.  The British Bulldogs: I know technically I'm naming 11 wrestlers here, but it's my list and I'll do what I want.  Ha ha.  My favorite tag team of all time was the Bulldogs.  Their work inside the ring was amazing.  Dynamite Kid was a head of his time with some of the stuff he was doing.  He's the guy Chris Benoit modeled himself after.  And of course Davey Boy was the powerhouse of the team.  Sadly, when the Bulldogs left the WWF and went back to Stampede they split them up.  Davey Boy enjoyed a great singles career before his death in 2002.  Dynamite is confined to a wheelchair now after all the years of wear and tear on his body.  But when they were peaking in 1985 and 1986, they were among the greatest tag teams of all time.  I wished they would have been around when the Road Warriors and Steiner Brothers ventured to the WWF.

This is just a list of wrestlers.  I don't feel I can post it without mentioning my all time favorite manager, Bobby 'the Brain' Heenan.  I had the chance to meet him back in 1999 when he was with WCW.  He was just a funny in person as is his on camera.  He took some hellacious bumps as a manager when his guys were feuding with Hulk Hogan, the Big Bossman, and Andre the Giant.  So Brain, here's to you too.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What a Rush!

Hawk vs. Typhoon at a WWF house show in Cape Girardeau (1991)

I've talked before about the dwindling world of tag team wrestling, especially in the WWE.  Back in the day, and by day I mean the 1980's, it would be hard to deny that the most dominant team was the Road Warriors.  They were tough, intimidating monsters who pulled no punches.  Crazy haircuts, spiked shoulder pads, and fierce makeup made them one of the most memorable duos of all time.  Their manager, "Precious" Paul Ellering escorted them to the ring, carrying his rolled up copy of the Wall Street Journal.  The thinking man and his thugs.  There were a force to beat in the Georgia area in the early 80's.

The first time I remember watching the Road Warriors was when they were in the AWA in 1984.  They steamrolled all over everyone.  Hawk & Animal had just captured the tag team titles from the Crusher & Baron Von Raschke.  They wore the belts for just over a year, dominating everyone they faced.  Then it was the unlikely duo of Steve Regal (not the WWE wrestler) and "Gorgeous" Jimmy Garvin.  Of course, there was outside interference in the match, as the Warriors had turned face and were the good guys going into the match.

The Legion of Doom as they were also known as, left the AWA and headed to Japan.  They also wrestled for the NWA.  It didn't take long for them to be the team to beat there too.  They captured the tag team gold there and feuded with teams like the Midnight Express, the Four Horsemen, and the Powers of Pain.  Both Hawk and Animal even had singles matches against world champion Ric Flair during the Great American Bash series of matches.

The Road Warriors teamed with Dusty Rhodes and held the NWA 6 man tag team titles too.  Belts that were rarely defended.  Finally, the two snapped and turned on Rhodes and became heels again.  They would soon flip back to the side of good and lose their tag team titles to the Varsity Club (Mike Rotunda and Rick Steiner).

Really, this was probably the beginning of the end for the team as we knew them.  Sure they stayed together for the years that followed, but in 1990, they jumped to the WWF.  And things were different.  They came without Ellering.  Another change, their black spiked shoulder pads were replaced with orange ones.  Why?  IDK... And most importantly, they were no longer the Road Warriors.  Now, they were simply, the Legion of Doom.  They were still fierce and tough, but it was not the same.

The LOD feuded with Demolition, a team many thought were a Road Warriors rip off.  After about a year in the WWF, they captured the tag team titles from the Nasty Boys.  Then about six months later, Money Inc (IRS aka Mike Rotunda again & Ted DiBiase) beat them for the belts.

Then things got weird, even for the WWF.  LOD brought Paul Ellering back into the fold, but he came with a dummy (wooden one) named Rocco, who was supposed to inspire this once destructive duo.  It was a lame gimmick and by the end of the summer of 92, Hawk had left the WWF and went to Japan.  Animal stayed behind and teamed up briefly with Crush, who had been a member of Demolition a few years before.

It was much longer that Animal left too.  The Warriors reunited and jumped back and forth between WCW and the WWF.  One run in the WWF had them billed as LOD 2000, with Sunny as their manager.   Sadly, Hawk died in 2003, truly bringing an end to one of the greatest tag teams in the history of the sport.  Animal (and the WWE) tried to keep the legacy alive by creating a new version of the team with John Heidenreich.  It flopped too.  Animal would also team with and then feud with Matt Hardy.  He has since left the WWE and does some work in the independents still.  His brother still works for the WWE and Animal recently worked a FCW show (a company operated by the E).

Hopefully one day, the Road Warriors will make their way into the WWE Hall of Fame.  It would be the right way to tie up the legacy of the Legion of Doom.  And as Hawk would say, "WHAT A RUSH!"

Friday, October 8, 2010

Freak of the Week: The Original Animal

Courtesy: WWE

Long before "the Animal" Batista or Road Warrior Animal, there was another wrestler with that moniker.  George 'the Animal' Steele.  And he's this week's freak of the week.

The first time I remember seeing George was on an old WWF show back in the summer of 1983.  This was before I was a fulltime fan of wrestling, and everything was still "real" to me.  I was 10 years old at the time and remember being freaked out by the Animal.  He had a green tongue, bald head, and covered with hair on his torso.  He was a monster back then.  He didn't do a whole lot of talking, he just tore his opponent apart in the ring.  If I remember correctly it was either Mr. Fuji or Classy Freddy Blassie was managing him at the time.  He truly was an animal.

George was a heel most of his time in the WWF.  Then in 1985, shortly after the first Wrestlemania, George was teaming with tag team champions Iron Sheik and Nikola Volkoff against Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham, and Mike Rotunda on Saturday Night's Main Event.  George was left alone in the ring.  His partners wouldn't tag him, and Steamboat ended up rolling him up for the pin.  Of course Sheik and Volkoff were upset and attacked the Animal after the match.  Capt. Lou Albano, who was managing Windham and Rotunda at the time, came into the ring and helped George.  The two were then paired up.

I remember the old skits on Tuesday Night Titans where George went through therapy to become "normal."  But it never seemed to work.  George did become a kinder, gentler wrestler.  He was still tough as a $2 steak (sorry JR), but he almost became a cartoon character.  This was of course during the rock 'n' wrestling era where the WWF was marketing to kids.

When Albano retired in 1986, George received "help" from a stuffed critter he called "Mine."  See the photo above to understand more of this.  During his run as a babyface, George feuded with Macho Man Randy Savage for Elizabeth's hand.  I remember one match on SNME that if George won, he'd "get" Elizabeth.  Of course he lost, and his poor heart remained broken.

Besides the green tongue and the stuffed animal, George was also known for his crazy walk/dance motions in the ring.  Almost like a primate moving around.  And after his matches he would tear open the turnbuckle and "eat" the stuffing inside.

George is a WWE Hall of Famer and now retired.  I remember being somewhat disappointed when I saw him in a commercial and he wasn't as wild and  crazy as he was in the ring.  He was a real person afterall.

The character though went from being a crazed lunatic to a lovable human teddy bear.  That seems to be the trend in wrestling.  Turning these violent guys into cuddly creatures.  Makes them more marketable I suppose.

So let's rip open a turnbuckle and salute this week's freak, the original animal.  "MINE!" 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Things That Make You Go, "Huh?"

Pro wrestling and logic.  Two words that do not go together, or at least not often enough.  My "wrestling roundtable" friends and I have been discussing this for years now.  Today, I'm going to site a few examples from just this week alone.

Since I always seem to pick on WWE, I'll start with them.  Although, I'll credit Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler for pointing this out during Monday's RAW.  Why in the world did the WWE roster not gang up on and eliminate John Cena and Wade Barrett from the battle royal?  Or at least try.  I don't recall any of the E guys going after Cena.  Logic would tell you to eliminate the biggest threat in the ring.  Cena was obviously odds on favorite to win, so why not gang up on him?  Even when the Nexus numbers were dwindling, you still had Miz and Morrison and RTruth and Dibiase going at it.  I know they're all feuding, but if the Nexus is really supposed to be this great threat and after all the beatdowns they've handed out, why not gang up on them.

Okay, got that out of the way.  Now on to TNA.  And I'll admit, I do not regularly watch the product.  I read a lot of the results and news and even follow Bischoff on Facebook.

My posse was discussing this morning that RVD's return to the ring comes on the same night that 3 guys are going to be battling for the title he held before it was stripped away from him.  Why on earth did they strip him of the belt in the first place?  Why not have him lose it in the ring and then suffer the injury?  Instead, we've waited for how long to get a new champ when the former champ is already back in the ring.

My friend Chad also pointed this out.  "RVD's beat down which resulted in internal bleeding and ruptured organs kept him out of action for a shorter period of time than the Pope's legit ankle injury."  Yeah, you want to write the guy off the show for a bit, but why make his injuries seem so extraordinary?  Wrestler suffer real injuries all the time, surely they could have come up with something not so severe that would still require some time off.  Just sayin'.

So Impact is live tonight.  I still won't watch, mostly because I record Jersey Shore.  I will tune in for a little bit though.  Curious to see how they build up to the rest of Sunday's big pay per view.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

He's Golden, Baby

Goldust at a house show in Cape Girardeau in 1996
In the mid to late 1990's Goldust was one of my favorite characters in the ring.  He was definitely ahead of his time.  His debut in late 1995 was well before the Attitude Era.  This was a time when the WWF was still in that PG, sugar sweet era.  We had the New Rockers, the Godwins, and "Spark Plug" Bob Holly gracing the squared circle.  Goldust and his androgynous behavior was something the fed hadn't seen before.  He was more over the top than predecessors like Gorgeous George and "Adorable" Adrian Adonis.

His buildup to the match with Razor Ramon was classic, with Goldust playing the ultimate mind games with the man "oozing machismo."  It did exactly what it was intended to do.  Put Goldust over as (one of) the company's top heels.  Fans hated him.  Homophobia was running wild.  Goldie finally won the Intercontinental championship.  His run though was lackluster.  Lots of disqualification losses.  The title was held up once after a match with Savio Vega.  Goldie won it again by pinning Vega.  I don't remember all the circumstances behind that one though.

It was a few months later the mind games continued, this time with Ahmed Johnson.  But the tricks didn't work, as Ahmed was victorious and ended the reign.  At least for a few years.  Goldust would eventually turn babyface and feud with Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna.  

Then by late 1997, Goldust would split with his valet Marlena and acquire the services of Luna Vachon.   
Vachon and Goldust were a match made in hell.  They were bizarre to say the least.  He even dropped the golden look and at one point I remember him with a gag ball as part of his getup.  In 1999, he'd go back to the golden makeup and hair and won the IC title for the third time by beating the Road Dogg.  A couple of weeks later he dropped it to the Godfather.

Goldust would come and go from the WWF(E) for the next several years.  He's been brought in most recently to put the younger guys over.  I believe his program with Sheamus last year really helped make Sheamus the star he is today.

Now, Goldust is back in a storyline, which I love.  He was revealed last night as the "stalker" of Ted DiBiase and Maryse.  I think this program can really work, and ultimately my guess is that DiBiase will get the upperhand.  But still, it's good to see Goldust on TV.  

You and I'll remember of the name of Ssss.... Goldust!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday Morning Booker

Reading over the results of Hell in a Cell, sounds like most of it went down the way I thought it would.  Don't believe me, then read Thursday's post.

For some reason I thought the Cena-Barrett match was also in the cell.  Not sure why I thought that.  Maybe because of the title of the PPV.  Hell in a Cell.  So there were only two matches inside the cell.  Okay.

Anyway, Cena is now a part of Nexus.  Apparently, so are Husky Harris and Mr. Not So Perfect Joe Hennig, I mean Michael McGillicutty.  Or that's who it's speculated as being the guys who helped Barrett secure the win.  So where does this angle go from here?  Will Cena attack other WWE Superstars and join in on the beatdowns?  He's already beaten most of the Nexus members on his own, so it can be assumed he'll be unstoppable against the rest of the WWE lockerroom.  Right?

I'm glad to see Daniel Bryan beat the Miz and Morrison.  But as I mentioned last week, I would have been happy with any of these guys winning.  I think this victory gives Bryan even more validation.  I would suspect since it wasn't Morrison who technically lost, the storyline continues between these two.  That should make for some good matches in the future too.  And by future I mean tonight on Raw.

Orton over Sheamus, no surprise.  Not even sure why that one was in the cell.  I mean, the Cena-Barrett one would have made more sense as to keep the outside interference down.  But I digress.

Kane beats the Undertaker with the assist from Paul Bearer.  Sorry, I saw this coming a mile down the road, as I'm sure most of you did.  Kind of a weird way to beat the 'Taker though.  Have him blinded by the light of his own urn.  Talk about a gimmick living it's life.  Think about it.  The Undertaker gimmick may be older than some of you reading this.

I think Natalya should have gone over on Michelle McCool.  I'm guessing we'll get some kind of rematch at Bragging Rights followed by a diva cluster at Survivor Series.

Swagger vs. Edge:  Huh?  Not sure what's going on there.  But again,  I missed Smackdown, so that one might have made more sense to me.

So, we're less than 3 weeks away from the next PPV.  What will we see at Bragging Rights?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In the Land of Giants

Big Show confronts the Great Khali (Raw after Wrestlemania 24)


I've always been a believer that wrestling "giants" need to stay on their feet.  Be monsters.  Not be tossed around like a rag doll.  Just my opinion.
I've been wanting to write something about this for a while, but after reading about last night's Smackdown (my DVR didn't record it), now is the time to write about it.  For those who missed it, apparently the Big Show was attacked by Nexus and had little to no defense.   I get that they are trying to build up Nexus and make them strong.  But it's not just that incident that bugs me.

Andre the Giant (at least according to Vince McMahon) had never been bodyslammed until his fateful match with Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 3.  It was the slam heard around the world.  But doing research, I discovered Andre had been slammed by Harley Race, Kamala, and Stan Hansen too.  Then the Ultimate Warrior did it after Hogan.  This was toward the end of his career and Andre was clearly not healthy and on the downslide.

Fast forward to the late 90's and Bill Goldberg was running all over the competition in WCW.  I remember seeing him jackhammer the Giant (now the Big Show).  I didn't like that either.  Then he got jackknifed by Kevin Nash.  Then in the WWE, Cena did the FU to him.  I think he's been speared.  And he's tapped out too.

The Great Khali is just an oversized jobber.  And while he's not near the athlete Andre or the Big Show were, he's still a giant.  You can have these guys get defeated, I just don't like watching them beaten senseless, sometimes by a single person.  Which is the case many times with the Great Khali.  

And while we're on the subject, why do all the monster heel big guys eventually get turned into some sort of goofy babyface?  Big Daddy V became a PJ wearing playboy.  Khali is doing the kiss cam with the divas.  Kozlov has become Santino's sidekick.  And Mark Henry is a happy go lucky guy who's smiling all the time.

It seems like Kane and the Undertaker are really the only "monsters" left in wrestling.  Or at least in the WWE.  Perhaps it's just another step in the rated PG direction...  


Friday, October 1, 2010

Freak of the Week: Isaac Yankem, D.D.S.

Photo courtesy: WWE
This week's selection is a request from my producer, Weston.  Does the guy in the picture look familiar?  No it's not Dr. D David Schultz.  It's a different doctor.  A dentist to be exact.  

Isaac Yankem, DDS was the WWF's evil resident dentist.  He was Jerry the King Lawler's personal dentist and the King had brought him in to help with his feud against Bret Hart.  There were vignettes featuring the mad dentist inflicting pain on his patients.  He said he'd do the same to his opponents, but I think he caused fans more pain watching this gimmick. 

Most of his matches were squash ones.  The feud with Bret never got IY over.  Instead, the former champ came out on top.  I came across a video of IY vs. the Undertaker.  Ironic don't ya think.  15 years later the two are preparing for battle again, just under a different gimmick.

It really didn't get over and never lasted long.  The man behind the floss and toothpaste was Glenn Jacobs.  Shortly after the IY gimmick ended, he became the fake Diesel.  Again, that one didn't last long either.  But in late 1997, Jacobs raised all sorts kane, when he became the Undertaker's burned up and deranged baby brother, Kane.  

It doesn't take a genius (shout out to Lanny Poffo) to figure out Kane was without a doubt the right move for Jacobs to make.  He's one of the longest lasting gimmicks in the WWE.  Who would have thought that bumbling dentist with the crooked teeth himself would go on to become the world champion.

Rinse and spit and let's honor the Freak of the Week: Dr. Isaac Yankem.