Thursday, May 24, 2012

Io Shirai and NOSAWA arrested

Io Shirai(Real name: Masami Ohdate) and NOSAWA were arrested for smuggling marijuana from Mexico through Narita Airport.

You know, I can understand making a mistake. It happeneds, and everyone should get a second chance. But this is downright stupid. Let's talk about Nosawa first.

Nosawa a longtime wrestler who's done or a show or two in almost any promotion you can think of. He's also wrestled in more countries than about 90% of all japanese wrestlers. Last year, he was arrested for stealing a car while drunk. Usually, getting arrested in Japan harms your career, where in America, it's no big deal. NOSAWA lost alot of his bookings and was finally starting to get his career back in order, and now this happeneds. I don't know what Nosawa was thinking. Really, I have no idea. He's going be blackballed now and worse for him, he's not going to be able to travel overseas anymore. He's pretty much toasted his career, for the second time. Dumb.

Io Shirai is one of the younger brighter stars in the joshi world. She debuted n 2007 with her sister, Mio Shirai and from the start was something special. Io's promotion MAKEHEN closed with a restaurant scandal that Io was accused of being involved in along with her sister. After her promotion MAKEHEN closed, she dabbed around in WAVE and some other promotions with her sister as a freelance act. Both joined up with Kana to form Triple Tails in 2010 and then joined STARDOM alone in 2011. Even though this is the first time Io has been in trouble, it doesn't make it better. Io obviously didn't learn from Nagisa Nozaki who got fired from DIANA last year for drugs. Nagisa didn't have it too too bad as she did get some WAVE bookings, but alot of it is due to her pretty face more than anything. Nagisa will probably be back just to get injured again shortly, while Io, I'm not so sure about. Obviously her Mexico bookings are gone and I have to think that she will be fired from Stardom. I think we are looking at atleast 1-2 years before she's let back in.

I've met both of these two in person before so I take it a little more personally that this happened, especially with Io who overall seemed to be a cool person. This was just stupid and I can't believe they thought they would get away with this. Maybe I should have seen the writing on the wall though with Io.

UPDATE: Both are blaming the marijuana they were busted with on fans who they say put it into a painting that was done for them:

I don't buy it and the cops don't seem to either.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

WWE Over The Limit 2012 Predictions

I have to be honest and say that I'm not really pumped for this card. WWE has seemingly lost all of the post-Brock and post-Mania momentum it had going for it and this card feels more like filler than anything else. WWE is definitely saving all of it's big stuff for Summerslam, so we get stuck with this. I can't imagine anything ground breaking on this show but I do expect a title change just for the heck of it. So without further adue...

Pre-Show: Zack Ryder vs Kane
- I really feel bad for Zack Ryder, I really do. He put in alot of work and achieved the hard task of getting over in the WWE environment. However, by doing this, he also doomed himself. WWE does not like wrestlers getting over without their help. See Daniel Bryan if you don't believe me. If WWE does not make you, you might as well not even try. Even though Zack got over on his own, he's paid for it. He was involved in the awful Cena/Eve storyline and had so much damage done to him during that storyline that I don't think he can eve recover from it. He's not as over as he was before that storyline and I don't think he will be again. Meanwhile, Kane is big and old. I'm picking Kane.


Women's title: Layla vs Beth Phoenix
- I'm not going to waste a paragraph on this. Hopefully Kong comes back and takes care of buisness.

WINNER:  Not the arena's water bill, Hopefully Kong, surely the concession stands' sales and possibly Beth Phoenix.

WWE Tag Titles - Kofi Kingston and R-Truth vs Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger
- Hey, these guys are actually going to be on the show? I'll believe it when I see it. It's kind of hard to pick between make shift teams in the purgatory that is the WWE's tag division, but I'll try. Either way, it really doesn't matter who wins and all of these people should hope they lose to get out of the sorry division.

WINNERS: Kingston and Truth(No New-Nation cracks please!)

World Heavyweight Championship: Chris Jericho vs Sheamus vs Randy Orton vs Alberto Del Rio
- I called this one actually. Okay, maybe I was wrong on one or two of the competitors, but I knew there was going to be a multi-man match of some sort. Basically, this match is here to keep everyone busy while the storylines are changed up after Mania. It's hard to pick a winner here as everyone except Jericho could use the W. Orton hasn't been relevant for a while, so something's gotta give there. Del Rio and Sheamus are both guys receiving pushes based on WWE's love for them, not the fans. With Jericho, we know he is going away, so it's unlikely he will win.

WINNER: I'm thinking Sheamus will get the win over ADR in order to continue his push and to keep the even-steven booking going strong.

WWE Championship - Daniel Bryan vs CM Punk
- No, you are not imagining it. DB and Punk are going to be fighting for a world title on ppv. Okay, so they will probably be opening the show, but it's still a step up for serious wrestling. This one is kind of hard to pick. Bryan's still riding momentum from his sudden popularity and Punk is pretty established these days. I'm tempted to pick Punk on this since WWE is willing to do whatever it takes to get the crowd against DB and to kill his popularity.


Anyone who interferes is fired, and if  Laurinitis loses he is fired - John Cena vs John Laurinaitis
- Main Event time...seriously. It's 2012 and we are still doing authority angles straight out of 1997. I have to feel bad for Tensai here as I know this was his spot that got taken away due to him not getting over at all. It's really hard to recover from stupid gimmicks and Tensai is the latest casulty of that. This match is really just a backdrop to get Teddy Long back in the mix, so the winner is obvious:

WINNER: John Cena. I just hope they dont have Ace whoop on him like Cole/Lawler from last year's Mania.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Raw goes 3 Hours

John Cena has announced that RAW will now be a weekly 3 hour show starting 7/23.

RAW has had 3 hour editions in the past to little effect. A good portion of the audience(including myself) usually tend to forget that each show will be three hours and end up missing the first hour anyway. However, with RAW switching to three hours every week, I think that this trend will change. Sooner or later, people will remember when the show starts. It may take a while and I'm sure some people will still miss the first hour from time to time, but it can be done.

Once WWE gets the viewers to remember the time, the next question becomes, what do you do for three hours?

WCW seemed to have a pretty good handle on it back in the day. Get lots of cruiserweights, gets wrestlers from every country on the planet and get everyone who has ever been worth a penny in wrestling. Add in some hot storylines and you are good to go. The problem is, WWE has none of this right now.

WWE has alot of similar guys, working similar matches and playing similar roles. That won't cut it. For someone like myself, three hours feels like an eternity. I love wrestling, but even if every match is great, I will need a break about 70 minutes into it. I find the two hour shows tough to sit through, so trying to sit through three hours every week will be a tough task to accomplish. I think WWE is going to have a tough time keeping their fanbase for three hours each week when their roster and full-time star talent are at an all time low(notice, I said full-time).

Sure, Brock and Rock will be around from time to time and maybe they can even swing HBK a few times a year, but the rest of the time? It's going to be rough. The general population just does not want to see Dolph Ziggler having 20-minute matches every Monday. Sure, us internet fans do, but it won't be enough. WWE will have to do the one thing they've been having the most problems with and that's to book more long-term and to slow things down. The problem is, when you need more product and more ratings, how do you make it happen?

WWE has a tough task on their hands. Even Vince will tell you that the perfect time for a wrestling show is about 90 minutes, so doubling that is going to be a little rough.

Can WWE succeed with three hours? I think they can make a little more money advertisement wise and can give more wrestlers chances to shine which should be good. However, it's going to be tough to fill three hours from week to week. WWE is already having trouble filling two, so three should be more challenging. We will see, but even WCW thought three hours was hurting them more than it was helping them when they weren't so hot anymore. I can see WWE saying similar things once Brock and Rock are no longer available.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Reviewing the Undertaker/Austin/Kane saga from 1998

Kane vs Undertaker vs Steve Austin - 9/27/1998 Break Down: In Your House

Storyline: Vince has finally found the fool-proof plan to get rid of Steve Austin as the champion. Vince lines up a threeway between Kane, Undertaker and Stone Cold. However, it is not just any threeway. Kane and Undertaker are not able to pin each other, almost making sure Austin will go down.

I distincly remember this storyline from 1998. I don't have a ton of memories from the Attitude Era, but this is one of the ones that stuck out. I remember as a 10 year old, thinking Austin was finally stuck. I thought he had no chance of winning this, yet alone getting out alive.

To this day, I still find it to be a pretty good storyline. The odds are stacked so much against Austin that it's almost guranteed that he will lose. Sometimes knowing that something is going to happen in a storyline is not a bad thing. In fact, it made the match more interesting. I remember wandering how in the world Austin could get out of this and who would be the champion at the end of the night.

The Match: The match had a good start. I loved Austin trying to take out the Taker early. It made a ton of sense. Austin also portrayed it well. He did quickly and was aggressive. That is exactly how one would want to do this if it were real. Austin gets the upperhand on Kane and Taker comes back for revenge. This leads to the middle portion which dragged for a while. Lots of punches and kicks with little value. Austin did beat up on Brisco which got the crowd involved again, but it was mostly dead until near the end. Towards the end of the match Taker and Kane finally let go of the truce and prevent the other from winning. This gives Austin a shot and makes the match more exciting. Austin makes a great come back and is then stopped again. Kane and Taker work together a little more and finally put Austin down for the 1-2-3. The only problem is, both of them pinned him. This means that in fact there is no decision. Vince comes down to take the title before anything else can happen and flips off Austin to end the show.

Thoughts: Matchwise, it wasn't what it could have been. I would have liked to have seen more of a story develop between Taker and Kane both trying to win. You could have had them really try to take each other out while forgetting all about Austin. This could have led to an Austin come back and might have perked the match up a little more. They could have even got the stooges(Patterson, Brisco, Slaughter) involved a little more and had them try to put Austin down.  The match also needed to be shorter. Too many slow portions without much going on.

Rating: ***. The match was pretty basic and really not that much above a typical match. However, the match made alot of sense and had some good stuff.

I was planning to stop here, but hey, I'm procrastinating from doing other things so let's coninue on!

Since both men had pinned Austin, the title ended up being held up. McMahon tried to declare both of them champion but Austin attacked him by driving a zamboni through the arena in a famous and pretty cool moment. Vince ended up turning on Kane/Taker in the process and getting his ankle crushed. Then the next match was set:

Kane vs Undertaker for the WWF title with Steve Austin as the referee - 10/18/1998. Austin must declare a winner or get fired.

I actually had confused this with the match above prior to checking the match above out.

Match: The crowd is going crazy for Austin. This is one of the bigger pops I've ever heard for Austin and JR even mentions it. Austin makes it a point to flip off both wrestlers before the bell rings.

Taker gets the early advantage and goes for the pin. .0.77777777 Austin won't even count the one count!

The match then gets pretty boring. Kane's never been much of a worker and Taker was not a great worker at this time. Later, Austin gets thrown into Taker and then gets chokeslammed by Kane. They both then beat him down. Paul Bearer enters with a chair and hits Kane to no effect. Taker then chairs Kane and goes for the pin but, Austin won't count it!

Austin then stuns and chairs Taker and both Taker and Kane are down. Austin counts them both down and stops the match! Austin declares himself the winner then goes on the hunt for McMahon. Austin eventually finds himself back in the ring on his search and McMahon reveals himself in a press box.

Vince goes to speak and gets nailed with a sign from a fan. Awesome! Vince fires Austin and Austin promises to return.

Match thoughts: Bad match. Taker and Kane were never good together especially without any gimmick. I would have liked to have seen more done with Austin and more of Kane/Taker nailing each other with stuff.

Storyline thoughts: The storyline shows the best and the worst of the Attitude Era. Alot was going on and it kept me interested but at the same time, things were burned through at a record pace. Overall it was a pretty interesting storyline. It would eventually continue with a memorable Austin/Undertaker buried alive match at Rock Bottom: In Your House while Kane would fade out for the next few months.

Thoughts on REINA's demise


In the current dying joshi landscape, REINA is the next to go. Honestly, I'm surprised it's taken this long.

REINA is yet another Yumiko Hotta led promotion which seemed like a bad idea from the start. Just to show you what a bad idea this was in advance, I'll break it down:

1. Joshi and wrestling's overall situation - Worldwide, wrestling is in a rough state right now. It's not drawing and aside from Wrestlemania, it's not going to. The same thing applies to japan and even more so applies to joshi, which is a niche of a niche. Starting a promotion at this time seeks like a risky venture and is not one I would consider trying, unless my name was Rossy Ogawa and I was running Stardom.

2. Bringing in mexican wrestlers to anchor your cards - I like Lucha. I think it's great and when luchadores are brought into other styles, it can work out really well, but let's face it, chances are it's not going to draw. Unless your name is Mil Mascaras in Japan, it just isn't happening, and even if it is, you are probably looking at Shin Kiba tops. For those of you who have never been to Japan, Japan isn't cheap. You are looking at a $1,000+ plane ride then expensive hotels and other things with the keyword being expensive. Why bring in a random midcard woman wrestler from CMLL when you could bring in an Aja Kong who is atleast a name that might have value and will save you thousands of dollars in expenses? And let's remember here that they didn't just bring in one foreigner who is expensive in their own right, they brought in sometimes 2-5 a show. That's a minimum extra $2,000 and for what? Nothing. No one cares about  Marcela in Mexico and no one cares about her in Japan.

3. Trying to use rookies who have histories of quitting or just plain sucking - Everyone deserves a second chance. Some girls like Akira Hokuto ran away 3 or 4 times from the dojo back in the day and still ended up okay, but Aoi Ishibashi and Natsumi Kawano are not nor ever going to be Akira Hokuto. Let's not even talk about using BASARA who may have the distinction of being the worst decision maker in all of joshi, and you are setting yourself up for problems.

4. Buying stupid things - Not only would I not waste my time on some of those girls, I also wouldn't waste my money on them by buying a dojo to train them in. Seriously, Mariko Yoshida trains girls, send them to her. Heck, even send them to the Ice Ribbon Dojo where they can get a more regular schedule.

Taking a look at these reasons and it's no surprise REINA is getting ready to close already. While I did think some of their ideas like pushing Ayumi Kurihara were good, a niche of a niche of a niche wrestling promotion was overall a bad idea. Had they just stuck with Kurihara and the rest of the IBUKI crew while trying to get some new younger talent, they might have delayed the process a little longer.

According to my sources, REINA may stay alive but will get rid of the japanese talent minus the IBUKI crew and will keep the mexican girls since the owner's wife likes them. Seems like a waste of time to me, but when making money is not your goal, I guess it really doesn't matter. The big question out of all of this is what happeneds to the Chiba Blue Field training facility. That should never be the biggest question when a promotion is dying.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

HHH vs Cena - Who's reign has been worse?

Someone recently brought up memories about HHH's never ending title run in 2003. This prompted me to bring up Cena's current run as "the man" and it made me think, who's has been worse?

John Cena:
John Cena has been the man in WWE since about 2005. While he may have been surpassed by Batista for a brief period of time, he's been the guy for the better part of 8 years.

John Cena is quite the interesting guy. He went from having the majority of the internet fans praising him to the majority of the internet fans hating him. He's probably the first ever star who has been consistently booed and cheered everywhere for years on end. As for his ringwork, it's been largely the same throughout his career. He still cannot execute a believable STF to save his life and his overall execution, promos and comebacks are generally laughable(minus temporary adjustments).

What can you say about HHH. The next in line to run the company, the ego-maniac and the career killer. He's been WWE's version of Ric Flair for years. He's mostly been seen as the man in WWE up until around 2006 when John Cena started to overpass him. His biggest reign came was from his return at the '02 Rumble until about halfway through his DX run with Shawn Michaels through 2006-2007.

HHH is not as interesting. He's a typical WWE main eventer who may for years has been public enemy #1 until John Cena took over. He's mostly average all around and like Cena, has not changed much over the years.

Let's compare the two reigns shall we:


John Cena's reign of terror has mostly featured feuds against Edge, Wade Barrett/Nexus, Randy Orton and the Rock. While the matches with all of these guys were pretty good, none of them really were that interesting except for his feud with the Rock and Nexus, until they screwed up Nexus.

HHH had a more varied list of foes and fueds. HHH has feuds with Goldberg, Scott Steiner, Batista, Undertaker and Randy Orton.

I would say that Cena's feuds have been less harmless but also less interesting. I would say that HHH's feuds have been more harmful and to a degree more interesting due to HHH's many various opponents over the years. HHH also benefits from Evolution and his good storytelling feud with Batista. I would give HHH the edge here.

HHH = 1, Cena = 0


John Cena's main problems have been believability, selling and knowing when to switch roles. Cena has all the tools for good promos, but really only puts it all together twice a year. Cena had some of the best promos and interviews during his original heel run, but those days are so long forgotten that it's hard to count them as relevant.

HHH's biggest fault as a promo man are the length of his promos and the fact that his promos usually hurt his opponent's drawing power. HHH's feud with Cena in particular was a good example, as he made a bad situation worse and was one of the biggest instigators in turning the crowd on Cena. Whereas Cena suffers from believability, HHH suffers from being too believable.

Who should I give the edge to here? It's really a tough call. I can believe an HHH promo, but I can't believe a Cena promo. However, I'd rather sit through a Cena promo as it will be shorter than an HHH promo. I have to call it a draw.

HHH = 1, Cena = 0


Cena can usually convince people that he is a good worker due to the crowd being into his matches. Crowd heat can make any match good and WWE has somehow convinced the internet that being booed and turning off fans means you are a good worker. Like I said earlier with Cena, he has all the tools but just can't pull it off. It makes me think that Cena watched alot of attitude era stuff without understanding anything that build up to it. Cena's timing is good but his execution, believability and selling and suspect. Cena's best matches was his MOTY with Umaga and his soon to be MOTY with Brock Lesnar

HHH on the other hand does have alot of the basic things down and HHH has had a fair number of good matches. However, HHH never really shows any versatility or ways in which he can change his role. HHH's best matches include the Benoit/HBK/HHH rematch and his matches with Flair.

I would actually give Cena the edge here. Alot of his stuff is inoffensive and he's been involved in alot of good matches, but he's never going to have the basics down. HHH kind of suffers in this department as his best stuff was not during his reign as #1.

HHH = 1, Cena = 1

Overall buisness and their contributions to the state of wrestling:

For this part, I want to cover HHH first. HHH's reign was before Cena's and therefore, alot of problems that came from HHH's reign continued over to Cena. It should be noted though that when WWE had one of the biggest periods talent wise, HHH was on top and buisness was not doing well. Yes, it was alot of Attitude era let off, but the fact is, HHH wasn't what the people wanted. HHH also killed alot of people including Booker T, Goldberg and RVD.

Cena has basically been the placeholder. He's not the Hogan or Austin that WWE wants. He keep things at a certain level, that is under what they should be doing. He may have also been responsible for driving off alot of fans with his neverending run.

What this comes down to is, who would I rather have? Would I want to have the man who is mostly unbelieveable but a placeholder or someone who slowly failed and hurt alot of careers?

It's hard to say and I'm not sure I would want either one of them. Cena benefits from the fact there is no one else and HHH benefits from not completely killing the buisness. Cena has brought in a different fanbase but has also driven off a nice section of the fanbase.

Overall, I can't give a great answer either way. Neither are great at building buisness but both have their own ways of being bad at it. I'd have to score this one a draw again to finish it off with:

HHH = 1, Cena = 1

I think Cena is probably safer overall but HHH is more appealing to everyone.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Decade of Randy Orton (4/25/02-4/25/12)

As of 4/25/2012, Randy Orton has officially been in the WWE for 10 years. Since it's been 10 years, I thought I'd take a look at his debut.

Randy's first WWE televised match was against Hardcore Holly on 4/25/2002. You can check it out here:

It as a decent debut. Nothing special to be honest. Randy was still a little akward at this time. He definitely looked a little nervous out there. I think the biggest thing here is how old and how much bigger Randy has become. He really looks like a completely different person. The funny thing is, aside from some polishing and confidence, I don't think Randy has changed too too much.

In ten years of Randy Orton, I think he had two big peak periods. His first peak was on his road to winning the title first time. His personality shined and he had alot of heat. He also had a few good matches leading up to it including a nice battle royale win.  He was a great fit for Evolution and they did a great job with booking him up until he won the title. We all know what happened there with Randy getting jobbed out to HHH and having to be a kissing babies and drinking milk face. It took him a while to get his momentum back, but once he did it ended similarly...

Randy's second peak in my opinion was around his Royal Rumble win in 2009. Randy and Legacy were starting to build some steam and things were looking up. Legacy for the first time started to feel like a real group, then, HHH returned. Randy got into a downright silly feud with HHH with HHH doing a home invasion on Randy. Their feud continued to be overbooked until they had an absolute stinker at Wrestlemania. The match felt like it took forever(especially in person) and it was something I was not really interested in seeing. Fortunately, it's been mostly forgotten.

Currently, Randy is probably the second or third top face in the company. He's protected for the most part, but he's obviously never going to be the man. He had his chance but it was a little too late, and I don't think anything is really going to interfere with Cena's push and heat. However, he's really well established, will probably hold the belt a few more times and is always an available main eventer, so things aren't so bad. He definitely needs something to get him going again, but aside from a Brock or a Rock match, I don't know what it could be. Unfortunately, no matter if he gets either one or not, he didn't get the first crack at them so it will mean alot less.

Overall, Randy's been a pretty good performer for WWE. I don't quite think he ever evolved to where he should have, but he's shown flashes of greatness from time to time. Like most people in the WWE, Randy needs good continuinous booking. I just hope that I'm not writing another one of these in 2022.