Monday, November 19, 2018

Thoughts on WWE Survivor Series 2018

Thoughts on WWE Survivor Series 2018

Going into this, I had issues with this card. I'm a very conservative booker and I didn't like seeing Ronda/Flair given away out of the blue, as I thought it was a possible Mania dream match and could have had months of build to it. I didn't like all the champion vs champion matches as it just makes it less important and I also didn't like the giveaway of Brock vs Daniel Bryan, which was also another possible Mania dream match.

Preshow 10 man tag match - Look, this was dead on arrival. This had no real chance of getting over without doing too much and that's what they did. I didn't like the pairing of faces and heels together either. The match wasn't that bad, but they certainly did too much.

Women's Survivor Series match - Kind of a strange one. Mandy Rose was put over for no real reason. Sonya Deville got a ton of offense out of nowhere. Sasha and Bailey lost some star power for taking part in this and it's just amazing to see how far Asuka's star has dropped in a year. I totally went "ugh" when they tried to kayfabe Nia getting booed for hurting Becky. I'm also just going to be honest and say how much I hated the red and blue shirts here and throughout the rest of the show.

Seth Rollins vs Shinsuke Nakamura - This was the match that never ends. Nakamura looked like a bellhop. I did some other stuff during this.

AOP vs The Bar - This was beyond infuriating. The AOP have totally been ruined. They went from being the New Road Warriors to being 1992 Rocco LOD in a matter of months. Not only does having Spud manage them hurt them. Not only did wearing Raw shirts hurt them - seriously, explain to me in kayfabe how anyone would have the balls to tell them what to wear. Then the cherry on the turd sundae - Spud pisses his pants. I was so pissed at this my chest was hurting. This totally ruined the show for me and only reminds me why I hate 2018 WWE.

Buddy Murphy vs Mustafa Ali - I turned off the show in protest for a bit after the Spud debacle. Anyone who's been coming to this site for a while knows how I feel about flippy stuff. I didn't even know this happened.

Team Raw vs Team Smackdown - The build-up confused me. Too many logic loopholes that didn't make any sense. Why would Baron Corbin want to win this and why would Steph even have him in it when it would be in his interest to lose? Nonsense.

Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte Flair - This was much much better than I expected, though it also went too long. I loved the shoot feel to this and they really made it look real. Really good work. One of Ronda's best performances yet and she is clearly the Rookie of the Year. Flair hung in well but this was another match messed up by the whole Becky Lynch ordeal. I'm glad no one took a clean pin here and I was surprised no one interfered. I thought Charlotte was a little reckless with the cane shots.

Brock Lesnar vs Daniel Bryan - As I explained earlier, I was still pretty pissed about the AOP thing. I thought Daniel Bryan took too much of a beating at times and that first suplex was way too dangerous. I didn't really believe DB had a shot due to it and this match made him look pretty weak. I thought the face stomps were a bit reckless too. This went too long.

Overall Thoughts - This was a long show with a lot of strange WWE booking. The AOP stuff ruined the show for me. I really hope they never do the gimmick where they have to wear those shirts ever again and I thought they gave away too much for a non-Summerslam and a non-Wrestlemania.

Thoughts on NXT TakeOver: Wargames 2018

Thoughts on NXT TakeOver: Wargames 2018

Note - I was doing something else while watching this, but I figured I might as well give some brief thoughts for the record.

2/3 Falls - Kairi Sane vs Shayna Bazler - This wasn't bad, especially since it was almost all smoke and mirrors, but it sucked they wasted a 2/3 falls gimmick on this. It definitely didn't need it and it robbed us of what likely would have been a classic without all the shenanigans. At least the interference is leading to something and isn't just people trying to get out of a booking conundrum. Shayna continues to be one of my favorite wrestlers on the roster and I am more hyped for Duke and Shafir debuting with her than anyone else.

Johnny Gargano vs Aleister Black - I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. Going into this, I did not like the Gargano heel turn and I'm still not quite sure why it was done. This could have been done the exact same way without it. I also really don't understand why they turned the hottest face in the whole WWE into a heel. These two worked together pretty well and I enjoyed this. If Black was only a few inches taller, he'd be such a huge star.

Tomasso Ciampa vs Velveteen Dream - I'm not a big Ciampa fan, which I have been making clear for about 5 years now. He is just not real exciting for me. Dream is one of the best NXT creations to date and he's the complete package. I initially did not like the gimmick because Patrick was over just being himself on Tough Enough and I didn't see the need to change it. It took a few weeks to get over him being a totally different character, but it has paid off. This match was looking good at first, but they went way too long and did way too much. Halfway through, I couldn't wait for it to be over and even when I checked out of it completely for a bit, it was still going on to my surprise. I don't really understand Ciampa getting the win here. The only fresh match he has is vs Black but that's not a super enticing one, while a Dream run would have been fresh. In the back of my head though, I feel we are going to end up with one final Ciampa/Gargano match but this time with Ciampa as the face and Gargano as the heel.

Wargames - I thought it was too soon for another Wargames, especially since this one was really just kind of thrown together. The match resembled last year's, which I reviewed, with the same big dives, tower of doom spots and table usage. I liked the spot with the key to the holding cell being thrown, but it was silly how the refs didn't seem to realize it until it was time to get Dunne out. I'm not really sure I understood having the faces go over here. I still have the same critiques as I did before with this Wargames being more of an ROH Scramble Cage Melee than a real Wargames, but that's unlikely to change.

Overall thoughts - I liked the show, as I do most Takeovers. The booking was a little questionable, but it's more of a disagreement than sheer stupidity, which followed the night after.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Thoughts on WWE Evolution

Thoughts on WWE Evolution

This Sunday, the WWE will hold its first ever all-women's show named "WWE Evolution".

The idea is a neat idea, which has been done before by promotions like TNA and other indies. However, it was really doomed from the start.

The event was announced earlier this summer for the fall. I immediately was skeptical of the idea. Why? Well, there's a few reasons.

The first is that for a show which really should be something special, it was clear the WWE did not have enough time to give it the build it needed. 2-3 months is just not enough for what should be a landmark event. This shouldn't be just any old PPV. This should be an event to remember forever, like AJW Big Egg Wrestling Universe or AJW Dreamslam. If I were going to book this event, I would have set the gears in motion for it back in 2017 or at worst in early 2018. Then I would have time to build some feuds up, protect a few wrestlers and set the stage for a big show.

This didn't happen though, and that goes into the second reason of why I was skeptical of this whole event. WWE's Fall 2018 schedule is one of the most loaded schedules in recent memory. Not only would they have this, along with the usual 5 hours of TV, but they also planned Crown Jewel, the Aussie Supershow and the usual PPV's. For someone like myself, that could easily be a years worth of booking, yet it was all crammed into 3 months. I actually think WWE has handled it as well as they could, but it was obvious something was going to have to get lost in the shuffle.

What is really amusing is that two unforeseen issues ended up doing more to hurt WWE Evolution than the booking and the loaded fall schedule. As I talked about here, the Jamal Khashoggi and Roman Reigns situations caused a lot of controversy and through it, WWE Evolution ended up as only the 3rd most interesting story of the week.

I don't have high hopes for WWE Evolution. While I don't watch that much WWE and may not be the best person to gauge the booking, it doesn't look that enticing. This clearly isn't going to be Dreamslam and the only Big Egg we may see here is the one this show ends up laying.

I don't have much interest in Nikki Bella vs Ronda Rousey, and I don't think anyone seriously expects Bella to win. The more the match moves from a squash, the worse it is going to be.

Trish Stratus and Lita vs Mickie James and Alicia Fox has been strange looking from the outside in. Both Trish and Lita already returned at the Royal Rumble, so their return means a lot less than it should. Then whether it was on purpose or by accident, everyone was expecting Trish Stratus vs Alexa Bliss, which supposedly was never the plan and now can't happen as Alexa is injured and Alicia Fox will be taking her place. And all this would be enough of an issue on its own, but that doesn't even bring up that Trish and Lita weren't that great to begin with and this match is likely to be bad.

We've already seen Flair/Lynch and Sane/Bazler. I expect both matches to be good, but neither is anything to get hyped about, especially since we've seen Flair/Lynch multiple times already.

I don't really need to cover the battle royale or the throwaway trios match, do I?

The match I find to be most interesting - Toni Storm vs Io Shirai also has its issues. Neither girl is a WWE product and will only remind people of how unevolved WWE female wrestlers are. But even worse, anyone who doesn't watch NXT or the Mae Young Classic will have no idea who they are, so even if they do put out a good match, there's a good chance the crowd might be completely silent.

But none of it matters. No matter how good or bad this show is, we are will hear about how big of a moment this was for years to come and the truth of the show will be buried in corporate confabulation.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Thoughts on WWE Crown Jewel and Roman Reigns' Leukemia

I wanted to talk about these two things today.

I'm sure you know this, but WWE is running WWE Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia. They are getting paid big bucks by the Saudi government to run there to make Saudi Arabia seem more legitimate.
If you also hadn't heard, Saudi Arabia also killed a journalist recently named Jamal Khashoggi, who may or may not have had some American government backing and a questionable history.

We all know what Saudi Arabia is like. We know who is the boss and we know what can happen if you break their rules. This isn't new information.

I'm not really surprised by what happened. Saudi Arabia is one of the last places I would go do journalism work in next to North Korea, other Middle Eastern countries, China and Africa. Why everyone else is so surprised by this is beyond me. This isn't news and Saudi Arabia does this stuff to its enemies everyday.

What is news though is WWE getting patsy'd for doing a show there. There's many companies that do business there and in other questionable places and no one has asked them to stop. There's also a whole list of countries that do questionable things that no one is trying to organize any boycotts over. America may even be one of those countries.

What people need to realize is that WWE is a business and businesses exist solely to make money. Businesses are not your friends and they are not your family. Their lights don't stay on due to good PR or 5 star matches, they stay on with cash. Hopefully this is a reminder to large portions of the population that this will always be the case.

I don't blame WWE for taking the cash. Any good businessman would. I also don't think WWE should be patsy'd here when there's a million other examples of similar things happening and no one caring.

I personally can't wait until this event is over. I'm tired of hearing about it and I'm tired of various non-political media becoming politicized.

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Next, I'd like to discuss Roman Reigns being re-diagnosed with Leukemia.

I don't particularly like Roman as a wrestler. He's a more generic version of John Cena and compared to Cena, Cena looks like an all-time great. He doesn't have much fire, nothing he says ever feels genuine and his matches are just standard WWE fare. As a person, I only know him through what he has said in public interviews, and that person has been a lot like the one that has been on TV all these years. He has blamed the fans for his shortcomings and has done little to fan the flames that people have thrown at him.

With that being said, I obviously don't wish leukemia on him, but I'm not going to miss him and I'm one of the few who has enough guts to say that. I wish him the best and hope he recovers, but I really hope he finds a passion for something else as he recovers.

The IWC however, has not been so honest. I've seen hundreds of posts from people wanting him to go away for years and now that he finally will be going away, these same people are pretending to be his biggest fans. This is dishonest and I know if he turns out to be okay soon, these same people would go back to hating him again.

I'm interested to see where WWE goes from here. They've spent the last 5 years on this guy and they've hurt the careers of people like The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Dean Ambrose and Braun Strowman to get him over. To me, the obvious answer would be to push Braun Strowman to the moon. He is every promoter's dream and he's a rare mix of being a Vince favorite and a fan favorite. He may not be the greatest worker, but neither were most of the top draws in wrestling, which shows you how little that means. I hope WWE doesn't go with someone like Drew McIntyre to take his place like rumors have stated. Drew is not only not that interesting of a worker, but he's even less interesting of a worker. I also do not want to see Seth Rollins take the ace role as while he is a decent worker and a good face, he just doesn't have enough character or promo skills to carry the company.

We will have to wait and see what the future holds, but one thing is for sure - WWE is going to be looking a lot different without Roman Reigns and for the first time in over a decade, the IWC does not have someone they hate being pushed down their throats.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

W*ING 6/4/1995 Scramble Bunkhouse Death Match - Jason the Terrible vs Boogie Man vs Grave Digger

W*ING 6/4/1995 Scramble Bunkhouse Death Match - Jason the Terrible vs Boogie Man vs Grave Digger























Boogie Man gets eliminated

The finish
Grave Digger beat Jason with a baseball bat choke at around 20 minutes. This was not good at all. No one did much of anything except baseball bat shots for 20 minutes straight. There wasn't even any good punches or anything like that. Just baseball bat shot, a forearm club from behind and more baseball bat shots. Digger also took off Jason's mask for some reason during this. The crowd was completely silent for most of this and for good reason as even I couldn't wait for this one to be over. The only real highlights here were the pre-match skits with each guy, which were really cool, but this just didn't deliver.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

UWFi 1/16/1995 - Big Van Vader vs Gary Albright

UWFi 1/16/1995 - Big Van Vader vs Gary Albright














The finish
Big Van Vader got the win over Gary Albright with a choke. Disappointing match that never really matured into what it should have been - Albright throwing Vader around, Vader throwing Albright around and both men pounding on each other. Instead we got a slower paced match which is fine, but the payoff never came. The few strike exchanges we did get were pretty cool and the crowd wanted to see Vader get thrown, but it just didn't happen. The mat wrestling part wasn't even that bad, but it needed another 10 minutes.


CMLL 9/24/2018 Review

CMLL 9/24/2018 Review

I've been watching a lot of CMLL lately. LA Park will always be awesome and between NJPW being stuff I'd have to download to watch and WWE being dreadful usually, this is the best option.

DIAMANTE AZUL, KRÁNEO Y VOLCANO vs SANSÓN, CUATRERO Y FORASTERO

Kraneo and Volcano are pretty worthless dudes. Volcano has a super ugly costume as well. Diamante isn't bad at all but he's in the wrong place for being a big bulky dude who throws germans. Sanson's crew are sons/relatives of Cien Caras and are clearly gonna be stars. They are all young, lighter skinned, toned and actually work as a team which really sticks out compared to all the random pairings on a normal lucha show. They also just have so much more life to them compared to many people who seemingly phone it in all the time. I really liked their triple teams and the crowd was into them, so of course they lost here. I think these dudes can be the future of CMLL and I can't wait to see them lock horns with Rush and company down the line or La Parka.  These are guys to watch. None of the faces really looked good and even Diamante got brought down by the rest.

CARÍSTICO Y SOBERANO vs NEGRO CASAS Y LA BESTIA DEL RING

This was only one fall and was short but was pretty good. Bestia and Casas didn't waste much time and were doing some really fun aggressive brawling. Soberano got some time to shine and really came through looking like a young star in the making. What can you say about the former Caristico except that he went from being the man to being nothing special. We even had a little bit of mat work here and this was real fun.

L.A. PARK Y EL HIJO DE L.A. PARK vs RUSH Y CAVERNARIO

They went all out for this one. The Park's brought the scissors out and had their masked ripped right off. I didn't like that though as it really ruins the fantasy of Park being a skeleton when you see that he is just a middle aged Mexican guy. Cavernario and Hijo blew through every spot they knew in a few minutes, but the brawling segments were a lot of fun and the crowd was really into it. Even though it did get a little spotty, this was easily one of the best CMLL matches I've seen in a long time and it felt like something special. Rush and Park are such a good match and I left this wanting more. The finish was pretty neat. Rush went for a missile dropkick and nailed the ref hard when Park moved out. The ref refused to count due to it and Park low-blowed him in the tamales while the ref fast counted him. It was a cheap ending but it was done so well that I enjoyed it.

Overall thoughts: This was one of the better CMLL shows I've seen in a while and I left wanting more, so this gets a big thumbs up for me.