Friday, January 15, 2010

Bret Hart

I forgot to address Bret Hart's appearance on Raw. I'm a big Bret Hart fan, so it was a big deal to me. All of the other things in my update were just on my mind more recently.

Like Hoffa, I think Bret was underused a bit, but also agree that since he'll be around until Wrestlemania it's not a big deal. The Hart/Michaels confrontation was a huge markout moment for anyone who's been a fan for more than ten years or so. And man was that hug awkward! But, it was a good segment, though it couldn't help but be given the occasion.

The Vince/Bret confrontation was a bit underwhelming. Hoffa and I actually had a conversation about how I thought the ballshot was okay, since they needed to do something that would keep Bret down, without being anything so big that bigger moments down the road don't matter less by comparison. So, in that sense it worked. Not a great segment, but again, there'll be plenty of time for Bret/Vince fun between now and Mania. From the sounds of it, the feud'll be picking back up this coming Monday... let's hope they don't screw this one up!

Last week or so of wrestling

- Lot of ground to cover since last Monday night, so hopefully I don't ramble on too long...

- Trying to figure out what WWE is thinking from a business perspective can be taxing. Not only do you have Mike Tyson, a name that's still a draw, hosting Raw, he's also doing a match. Mike Tyson who hasn't boxed in years. Mike Tyson who is a character straight out of pro wrestling. You can advertise "MIKE TYSON RETURNS TO THE RING ON MONDAY NIGHT RAW!" the entire week leading up to the show, probably get coverage on ESPN, and draw a lot of eyeballs. Instead they announce the match about 30-40 minutes into the show in the middle of a backstage promo. Seriously, how can a wrestling promoter miss the fact that Mike Tyson having a wrestling match is a big deal and could make money or at least get some of the mainstream media attention Vince so desperately craves, if it were actually advertised in advance? This seems like the easiest booking decision ever, and they still messed it up.

- Of course, one of the other advantages of promoting the MIKE TYSON MATCH in advance would have been an opportunity to showcase some of your up and coming talent to new fans. Like, say, the new WWE Champion? Sheamus really isn't established with the fans yet, but since he's champion, the company should be focusing all of its energy on pushing him and getting him over; as an inexperienced guy, he needs all the help he can get. Any champion needs the full backing of the company. Sure, Sheamus was in the opening promo with Tyson and did a decent job, but that was it. He may have popped his head in after the number one contender's match for a staredown or something, but that's all. Even last week, where he cut a decent promo and squashed Evan Bourne, it was his only segment on the show. I don't understand why a company would put the belt on a guy and not push him. I try to avoid the glass ceiling/conspiracy stuff, but with WWE making decisions that make absolutely zero business sense, sometimes you can't help but wonder what other motivations are at play.

- Speaking of bad decisions, the Monday night Impact and return of Hogan were enough to get me to give TNA another chance. I don't think I've ever so much as mentioned TNA on the Stunt Granny; I rarely watch it. I generally find it to be a poorly presented product. Still, the return of Hogan/Bischoff is at least potentially interesting, and I'm curious to see what they do with the company.

- And right off the bat, they blew the Jeff Hardy debut. I think a pretty strong argument can be made that Hardy's been the top star in WWE the last year or so, and even if not, he'd certainly be in the conversation. That was the one really huge surprise TNA had, but they debuted him at the end of a nothing cage match. Then again, Hardy wasn't even mentioned on Impact this week (although I did do some fast forwarding), so maybe it was a one-shot deal. Even if so, you're telling me you couldn't come up with something bigger for one of your rival's biggest stars to do than randomly walk in on a dying match, then hang out in the back with a jobber PAINTING. I know I'm using a lot of CAPS but this shit is maddening.

- And let's not forget TNA's brilliant use of Ric Flair so far. Not like he has any name value or anything. TNA has Ric Flair show up on the Monday night Impact, walk into AJ Styles's locker room, come out to watch Styles's match for five minutes, then randomly head to the back, with the match still going on. Huh? But, sure, there was a lot happening on last week's show, so maybe save Flair's debut promo for this week, hype it up a bunch beforehand? No, he came out and sat in on commentary for the Styles/Tomko match, where he said he wasn't really familiar with Styles and Tomko's backstory (I'm not either, but way to put over the product), and said he had never met AJ before. Strange they didn't cross paths when Styles was in WCW for over a month near the end (and it's not like that was circa-1999 WCW with about 250 guys under contract). From the end of this week's show, it does look like Flair's leading Styles towards a heel turn, so I can see building up this angle a little bit. Still, TNA is just trying to seize some momentum off the relative success of the Monday night show... wouldn't you think one of the two biggest names in the last 25 years would maybe be somebody you could use in a prominent manner to garner some attention for your growing company?

I'll conclude this portion with a line you used to see on signs at wrestling shows: "Who booked this shit?"

- Meanwhile, some less rant-y positives:

- Miz really delivered with his promo on Raw. He really put some feeling into the portions about being hazed and taunted by JBL (his intensity describing it all sure had the ring of truth). Also good to see that a talented guy like Miz delivering something true to his own life is far more compelling than the same old scripted crap he and the rest of the roster have to spout every week. MVP's promo, while weaker overall, also peaked with some real-life stuff that was intense and sincere and also came off great. Both guys looked like superstars and showed more intensity than I've ever seen from either of them on the mic. I felt like that segment really elevated the US title, as well as both Miz and MVP.

- I've been really enjoying the Kane/Ziggler series on Smackdown, against all odds. The storyline has really elevated Ziggler, although I didn't like him taking the loss tonight. Hopefully this loss doesn't cut the legs off his push like the IC title push from a few months ago that just fizzled out. I haven't really been sold on him until now, but I think Ziggler has serious potential. He does all the little things right, and I'm really liking this college boy/thinking man's wrestler direction for his gimmick. I always enjoy the heel who doesn't necessarily cheat to win matches, but is just smarter and craftier, and maybe in some ways better, which makes you hate the dickhead even more. It's been a pretty successful style for Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho in the past. Hope it keeps up and he keeps improving, although remembering back to Nick Nemeth (a.k.a. Ziggler) back in OVW, I can't help but wonder if Ken Doane or Johnny Jeter, who showed a lot more potential back then, will ever get another shot.

- Nice to see Elijah Burke and Nigel McGuinness on TNA, though I was surprised Elijah beat McGuinness so quickly. It seems like Wolfe/Nigel's been booked like a legit badass, while Elijah/Pope is, while extremely entertaining, still pretty much a midcard gimmick, at least until he's more established. That's the only reason I don't get putting him over Wolfe in a short match, it hurts Wolfe more than it helps Pope. Oh well, good to see them both on TV. I never did understand why WWE gave up on Elijah.

- I've been on a big wrestling kick lately, so I've actually busted out some of my old tapes for the first time in a while. I'm in the middle of a fun Pro Wrestling NOAH show from 2002 right now, but what I'm most excited about is discovering that I can get LUCHA on cable at home! Really wish I'd thought of checking sooner (I did a few years ago but didn't get any then), but I'm looking forward to getting my first episodes on the DVR this weekend.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jeff Hardy TNA theme

Modest to the top
Modest at the top
straight to the top and then keep headin up
stars shine for why we shouln'd give a fuck
about what is real
and how real is still the only way to feel the pain it sometimes deals
in a way that survives the struggles we face
in this life there's alot of time can't erase
showcase the skills you were givin at birth
live your life here for what it's worth
show off the style you perfect in life
show all the way to make it right
make it to the top of mt. profession
rule it until you feel theres nothin more for you to do
or say none of you better get in my way
comin down if u do you'll be back on level ground
modest to the top
modest at the top
still modest past top

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bret Hart on Raw

An event so big that even the Stunt Granny didn't fast forward through it!

I thought Bret was underused, although since he'll be around through 'Mania, I'm not worried about it. Vince's kick to Bret's nutsack was pretty weak, though. I guess it gets across what a tool Vince's character is supposed to be, but it rivaled the 619 in terms of lack-of-impact.

Wish the Hart Dynasty would have been around, but they'll come into the picture soon as Bret's cronies, I bet.

I recorded TNA Impact for the first time since I realized they have a six-sided ring, and although I haven't read any detailed spoilers, it certainly seems like the show should be called OFW: Old Fart Wrestling. Impact.

Considering it's not a sweeps week, I find it odd that this huge comeback correlates with a giant All My Children reunion thing with Kelly Ripa, her husband and some other people I've never heard of. Ask my girlfriend for more details.

In other news - scored a copy of the AWA DVD from work for a few bucks. Add another onto the pile for when I retire/am buried with my possessions to enjoy in the afterlife.

Next up? Kane!