Flatlining – With Blair, CB, DaveDubya, Gepp, Gojira, Newbury, Rey and Swayze
Cast your mind back two weeks. Do you remember Mark Allen’s opinion/news piece that received 30 or so comments? One commenter, “Jeff”, said the following…
“I began reading Pulse wrestling a few years back and became a fan of the “old guard” such as Mark and Wheeler. When mark left, I felt that there was a void that had not really been filled. The only consistent, reliable weekly article was Wheelers, and now he’s not doing that either. The “new guard” is erratic and unreliable, and the articles are usually snarky and overly cynical. They just don’t seem to like much, or if they do, they use a hammer when a feather will do. Simply put, Mark is an excellent writer whose articles appeared at the same time each week and you knew what you were going to get. This is not the case anymore.
And no, this was not directed to any one person, but the direction of the site as a whole.“
To combat the cynicism, I came up with the idea for a round-table where we, the pulse columnists, talk about five things we do enjoy in modern pro-wrestling. Ten people said they’d be up for it and the deadline for submissions was set accordingly, only two submitted their “five things” at the time of writing (four by the time I submitted this to be published).
Dropping the round-table idea and writing something else was an option, but we’ve had yet another death in the family (third since December) and I have better things to be doing than brainstorming ideas for a column nobody reads. Cynicism? Sure. Some of the other Pulse writers already covered the unreliable aspect, so I guess this column is actually working towards proving that Jeff was right. This thing had to happen, so I also roped in some of the “Fistpump Screening Room” crew…
Blair A. Douglas (of MyDaughtersFuckingHulkHogan.com) presents: Five Things
Laughing at women’s wrestling. Matches where you really don’t know who is going to win.
2. Huge crowd reactions: Not Shaemus or Mark Henry crowd reactions, ACTUALLY strong.
3. Coming onto sites like this to see people’s reaction to stuff: It’s always good entertainment. It’s insanely unpredictable to see how people react to things, Sometimes I think I know what it’ll be and it’s the exact opposite.
4. Actual wrestling matches: With little to no overbooking, just wrestling that actually gets a live crowd hypedup. Rare these days, but it happens.
Shaemus. The occasional REAL moment: Flair’s WWE retirement, a cool Hall of Fame induction, things like that.
It’s hard to disagree with any of that.
Mike Gojira’s Stomping Ground: Five Good Things
1. Audience Involvement: It’s one thing to watch a TV show or sporting event and get emotionally involved, but it’s a whole ‘nother story when the performers actively acknowledge the fans in attendance. Whether it’s last Monday’s raucous Miami crowd or any time John Cena gets on the mic, it never ceases to amaze me how the spectators can actually affect the flow of a match or angle based solely on their reactions. Look at what happened to guys like Zack Ryder and CM Punk in the past year. Lame designations like calling us a “Universe” aside, when you’re at a live event there’s just nothing like it.
2. Emotional Roller Coasters: We know that most aspects of professional wrestling are scripted, but there’s no denying that the vast majority of performers are in this business to achieve a level of notoriety and respect from the fans and their peers. That’s why it’s so pleasing to us when guys like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Eddie Guerrero finally get the push we clamor for because we know they put all their effort into what they do and we appreciate them for it. The more of a fan you are of a particular wrestler, the more likely you’ll be hooked when that certain someone finally gets that big break.
3. Stealing the Show: Wrestling isn’t just about the characters or the storylines. Wrestling is about the matches themselves. We often overlook the fact that some guys are crazy enough to kill themselves over a bump just to pop the crowd, while others are limited by time constrictions, but one thing’s for sure: when two athletes who mesh well go out there and are given the opportunity to showcase their talents and tell a story in the ring, we’re all winners.
4. Nostalgia: Honestly, who DOESN’T get nostalgic for the days of yore when a wrestler from our youthful days makes an appearance? It happened when The Rock first came back as a guest host. It happened when Bret Hart made his big return to the WWE. It happened when the Four Horsemen were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame last week. Nostalgia acts bring in the casual fan and the fans who left for greener pastures, as well as give the hardcore fans a reason to keep tuning in.
5. A Break From Reality: Two full-grown men wrestle one another in spandex under hot lights for twenty minutes over a gold-plated leather strap. That may be an accurate description of gay porn (I don’t watch, so I’m not truly sure), but it also represents the gist of professional wrestling. Sprinkle in a dose of hostile takeover by guys who are trying to overthrow a company that pays them to commit these heinous acts, add a dash of supernatural persona, and mix in a heaping spoonful of suspension of belief: that’s wrestling in a nutshell. Why do we continue to watch the insanity? It’s an escape from the mundane.
Gojira has broken it down to the essentials. I’d say those are the reasons we watch wrestling in the first place.
5 thoughts on Pro Wrasslin’ from Hack Newbury (of Spinebuster.com)
1.WWE DVD releases.
2. I like that Daniel Bryan is adored by the fans.
3. We have lots of options on the indy scene. I don’t love any of them and actively dislike some, like current ROH, but, it’s good that there’s a tonne of choice out there.
4. Fit Finlay hitting the indys. While I haven’t seen much of his run outside of one match with Steen, he sounds like he’s pulling a run like James Gibson back in 2005.
5. iPPVs are a cool addition, but, I don’t quite think that companies have them put together right.
I miss Finlay. The “divas” division does too.
Rey Mundo’s Suspension of Disbelief: Five Things! Five Things! Five Things! Five Things! Five Things!
Heeeeere we go:
5. Randy Orton’s facial expressions: This man sells with his entire body, including his eyes, eyebrows, earlobes, femur, lymph nodes… They happen so quick that it’s incredible. Dig it.
4. Booker T’s old schoolisms: He said someone or other should be barred from ringside because they didn’t have a manager’s license. Loved it.
3. Mark Henry’s Improv: How is it that this man is a plodding “Read the cue cards, Mark.” promo guy, but when he’s yelling at opponents or fans he’s a master orator? Either way, I love it.
2. TNA: Because, God bless ‘em, they’re still trying.
But have you seen her ra…
1. The fact that, after being a fan for 25 years, I still have moments like at WrestleMania where I’m completely enveloped in what Hunter, Shawn, and ‘Taker were doing, and that, after The Rock got the three count I was literally shaking as I was trying to update Facebook and Twitter. I’m still a fan!
Not reasons I necessarily agree with (with the exception of Booker’s commentary and maybe the existence of TNA), but that’s Rey for you.
Five Things Swayze Likes About WWE Right Now
1. WWE is all into CM Punk.
2. WWE is giving up on Cena, finally.
3. Lesnar is all into being in WWE for at least a year.
4. Jericho seems to be getting back into his groove.
5. Everyone likes Bryan and nobody likes Shaemus.
Steven Gepp’s View From Down Here: Five Positive Things About Pro-Wrestling
1. Austin Aries and CM Punk: Two wrestlers in the so-called “Big Two” who are straddling that line between old school wrestlers who can actually, you know, wrestle, and modern day sports entertainers, who can talk and get a crowd into whatever it is they are doing.
2. Daniel Bryan, the heel: He can wrestle, we all know that, but the fact he doesn’t have to, but can play the conniving heel who treats his girlfriend like crap, and yet still get his “Yes! Yes! Yes!” catchphrase over and have people cheering for him while being the dickish heel is just awesome.
3. Bobby Roode vs James Storm: From their days as one of my all-time favourite tag teams to their break- up, to the built for their match at Lockdown, this has been 6 months of quite compelling story-telling. Even with Roode being a little bland on the mic, his actions and his attitude against Storm’s anger have been great, and yet it has not been overdone. They are not fighting one another every episode of Impact, they are just building to this potentially great confrontation.
4. WWE’s video library: The amount of DVDs I am getting hold of that tell another part of the history of wrestling, covering matches from all over the USA and from so many periods of recent televisual history is quite scaring, when I consider how much it all costs here in Australia. But, dammit!, I am hooked. I just want to see history DVDs about wrestlers, promotions, times, whatever. I hang out for each new one.
5. Riot City Wrestling: Well, what can I say? Best independent wrestling I have seen, not just in Australia, but anywhere, with the best women’s matches I have seen in years. A mixture of everything, and while not perfect (what is?), still the best wrestling I normally see each month. Sure, the PPVs from TNA and WWE might have some good matches, but the RCW shows, in general are better shows.
Good stuff, Steven, I’ll have to take your word on Riot City though. Chikara has the best independent wrestling I’ve ever seen, but I’ve only seen two or three of their shows (mainly their King of Trios series, which you should all check out).
Five Opinion-Facts from DaveDubya (of Wrestling Facts)
1. Lots of Canadians seem to be involved.
2. Cage matches.
3. Scott Stanford as the new Mean Gene.
4. Lance Storm’s World of Hurt.
5. William Regal.
Again, kind of hard to disagree with any of that. Have you seen the trailer for Piper’s version of World of Hurt? Absolutely amazing.
CB’s Slant – Five Things I Like About WWE
When KON told me about this idea to share five things I like about WWE, well, it wasn’t really that hard for me to put a list together. After all, I feel like I keep a pretty even keel about the folks over at Titan Towers, and some folks recently reminded me that I am one of the most upbeat writers that Pulse currently hosts.
I will say that while the glass is nowhere near rose-colored all the time when it comes to my thoughts on WWE, I definitely feel like I generally try to focus on the positive when it is warranted. After all, why watch if I can’t find SOMETHING — or things — to like?
With that said, here goes nothin’!
1. Production Values: I’ve said this for years, and I’ll say it again: When it comes to production values, WWE will simply never be topped. Every pre-produced video package to promote a big match or accentuate a feud is done to perfection by “the guys in the truck” and the producers at headquarters.
Case and point: The Miz’ WrestleMania 27 pre-entrance video package last year, to the tune of Diddy’s Hate Me Now, was absolutely amazing. The video highlighted Miz’ journey from the Real World to WWE Champion, and just made his WrestleMania moment feel even more special that it was.
Another example, of course, is my favorite WWE video package of all time, featuring the build to Undertaker vs. HBK II. It doesn’t get much better than that, as WWE has shown time and time again.
2. Zack Ryder: From the Chopping Block to the Mid Card: One thing about WWE is that every once in awhile, a guy can carve his own path that was never in the company’s original plans. Zack Ryder is the ultimate rags to riches story in WWE, and no matter how you feel about his currently storylines and/or his character progression, the fact that Ryder is still with WWE and firmly entrenched in the Mid Card is absolutely awesome and worth savoring. Santino Marella is another example of this, and I simply root for both Ryder and Santino as a result of their passion and willingness to entertain at all costs across all platforms.
3. Ricardo Rodriguez: Ricardo doesn’t get a ton of mentions lately since he’s been off the scene for a little while, but there is nothing that draws me into the WWE Universe more than a role player who steals every scene with just sheer brilliance. Ricardo is funny when he needs to be, pompous when he’s living vicariously through his employer Alberto Del Rio and on top of all that he takes some good bumps and sells other people’s finishers well. He is also Del Rio’s ultimate sacrificial lamb, yet he still remains loyal to ADR no matter how many times Ricardo is fed to the wolves on Del Rio’s behalf.
4. The Royal Rumble Match: We addressed this a few months ago during Royal Rumble season, but it’s worth mentioning that no singular gimmick match in WWE is better than the Royal Rumble match. I love that there is only one Rumble match per year and that it not only kicks off the Road to WrestleMania but also has an extremely important prize for the winner: a title shot on the biggest stage of them all. There are also always cool surprises in each Rumble match — The Cobra / Socko Connection this year, for example — and it’s just always a treat to watch the different portions of the match as they unfold, such as CM Punk’s mid-Rumble promos or Stone Cold going on a Stunner binge.
5. Make-A-Wish and Tribute to the Troops: The charitable side of WWE should not be ignored when discussing positive aspects of the company. Two big ways WWE gives back is by granting as many wishes as they can for the Make-A-Wish Foundation (thanks to John Cena granting more wishes than any other celebrity in the history of the Foundation) and by performing for military personnel every holiday season with their Tribute to the Troops event that has been broadcast on both U.S.-based military bases and other U.S. military stations around the world. You can’t deny how awesome that is for Vince McMahon and Co. to do things like this, and it’s something that really does stick with me as a huge feather of good will in WWE’s cap.
So, there you have it. I’m sure I could even name a few more, but that’s all I got this time around.
Thanks KON for being such a gracious host.
Thank you, CB. Now it’s time for…
The Martyrshow: For Jeff, by KON (that’s me!)
1. Developed Characters: Santino Marella reminds me of a time when characters could be funny, yet still taken seriously as competitors. Think about that Santino vs Swagger match and ask yourself who you’d really rather see hold a mid-card belt: The guy who’s entertaining, gets a reaction every time he walks down and has a move-set and gimmick that sets him apart from the rest of the roster, or Swagger? David Otunga is another guy with an entertaining character right now.
Mah Boy D-Bry right here has the whole wife-beating thing, a catchphrase and his own sort of in-ring style. Everyone on the roster should have those kind of things that you can point out.
2. Shoot interviews: Not exactly wrestling, but things like the Bret vs Shawn DVD set and the Legends Round-tables are bridging the gap. Nostalgia might factor into my enjoyment of these, particularly the Youshoot series, but the Legends Round-table show WWE does can often be quite informative and cover stuff from the AWA, WCCW and other organisations that I didn’t have the option of watching at the time (mostly due to not being born).
3. Longevity: As much as I hate Michael Cole’s kayfabed account of the record books, it does have a tiny bit of truth to it. Shows don’t often run for 19 years, most of the time they get cancelled just as you get into them. For the writers and the creative team, having decades worth of story-lines that you can build upon, call back to, reference or just rehash, that must be amazing. Think about how many story-lines you’ve enjoyed over the years, then think about what you’d be reading and watching if Monday Night RAW had been cancelled after 6 months due to poor ratings.
4. Discussions: I watch RAW with a chat-room full of good people. The worse an angle/match is, the better the discussion usually is. I got back into WWE (after a roughly 8 year long hiatus) during the Wrestlemania 27 weekend and if it wasn’t for the people in the chat, I would’ve probably given up shortly afterwards. A lot of the time, the discussion will be a lot more entertaining than the show it’s self.
5. All of the other reasons mentioned: It’s kind of hard to come up with something that hasn’t been said already. Blair, CB, Dave, Mike, Jack, Steven and Swayze all listed good things. Rey? Well, he listed things too. I’d like to thank the eight of them for taking part in this.
I’ll be taking a break for the next few weeks, but I’m sure you’ll find something else on Pulse that’s worth reading.