Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of #WWE #Raw

A_Lot_Going_OnSo I have plenty going on these days. I got engaged for the second time. I traveled to one of the more pathetic 20th Reunions in the history of reunions. Good thing we had quality time with the family and a pair of friends I talk to every time I head back to Altoona. Then there’s the big announcement. It keeps getting teased but it’s almost ready. I promise. No more teasing, on to Raw. Let’s roll.

We get a replay of the opening and closing segments from Raw last week. Roman Reigns comes out. I did notice on Smackdown that they’ve tweaked Reigns outfit. Not sure I like it any better. Reigns didn’t exactly tear the house down with his first big mic time. He tried to have extra swag but he didn’t sell it to me. Reigns pulling out “Bitch” to Kane is the exact word you use for a reaction but you can’t sell it. Reigns had the early upper hand but Kane took over just before the refs and agents came to the ring. Reigns goes bananas on the agents and Superman Punches Kane. Good thing Dean Malenko got out unhurt.

The Wyatt Family in the form of Erick Rowan & Luke Harper appear in the ring with little fan fare. The Usos get to do their Haka dance still. Jimmy started against Rowan. Harper got things moving in the right direction for the Wyatts. Rowan scres up so that Jey can come in. Rowan makes up for it quickly. Mitchell Cool noted using the tattoos to tell the Usos apart. Shouldn’t you describe them? Because that is a good tip. The right arm is inked differently. The word “Fatu” down Jimmy’s arm. Pretty sure Jey has it also except he added tattoos around it to look like a partial sleeve. My favorite move is applied by Rowan when we come back from break. Stupid knuckles. Cool then pretends he forgot which Uso was in the ring. There hadn’t been a tag during the break. Jimmy does get the hot tag. Flying Jey takes out Rowan. Harper attempts a suicide dive but gets punched. Super kick by Jimmy only gets a two count. Harper crotches Jimmy on the top rope. Jey breaks up a sit down power bomb. One of the great rivalries is mentioned by the announcers. Harper hits the Clothesline From The Bayou for the win. Oh, they’re playing up the mix up. No wonder Michael Cole cut himself off. I’ll guess they didn’t tell him this angle was coming. (Next Day Note: It was interesting to see “Twin Magic” back fire since I’ve only ever seen it work.) Randy Orton is commiserating with Kane about having backs at Battleground. Seth Rollins picks up on the “solidarity.” Rollins stirs the pot by mentioning cashing in the briefcase. Everyone hates each other.

Nikki Bella is fighting Alicia Fox while both have one arm tied behind their backs. Fox ends up assaulting Nikki. JBL should be creaming Cool about the conspiracy theory. Instead, he only brings up Roswell. Alicia Fox has been snapping on TV for weeks now. Just say she’s been crazy for at least a month now. How hard is that? (Next Day Note: Would the producers tell the JBL not to go the simple route?)

Lana is cut off by RVD. Thank you. Rusev is around too. RVD hits a tornado DDT early. Rusev tosses him off the top rope. Rusev gives RVD the knees and fall away throw. Zeb Colter challenges Rusev to a match at Battleground. Rusev stomps on RVD. This match is confusing me. RVD winning does nothing for the Swagger feud. Isn’t part of the appeal that an American will beat the “Russian”? Rusev beating RVD means that he’s going to beat Swagger, right? RVD hits the side kick off the top rope. Rusev heel kicks RVD. Rusev locks in the Accolade for the win. Swagger has to be losing. (Next Day Note: RVD isn’t below Swagger in the depth chart, right? Still need to check the next day.)

sign

Randy Orton gets to take on Dean Ambrose again. Randy Orton got the early upper hand but gave way to some offense by Ambrose. Orton stops it with a big clothes line. Orton plays to the crowd too long. Ambrose tosses Orton out of the ring to take us to a break. Orton got to work over Ambrose’s shoulder during the break though. He continues to do so. Ambrose buys time with a DDT when Orton goes early for a back drop. Ambrose knocks Orton down. Ambrose locks in a Figure Four. Orton gets to the ropes. Ambrose comes up short on the jump. Orton tries to cover but even the announcers are trying to cover for it. The crowd is weird. I swear I’ve heard it loud but they weakly chanted “You fucked up.” Ambrose tosses Orton into the barricade. Ambrose starts playing with furniture. Orton tosses Ambrose bad shoulder first into the post. then over the barricade. Hanging DDT off the barricade. Ambrose barely beats the count. He looked like a fish flopping back into the ring. Ambrose goes for the sling shot clothesline but gets hit by the RKO. Fun match. That’s why I don’t understand the crowd apathy. Renee Young gets to look cute while talking to John Cena yet again. He is the biggest target in the WWE. He lives to be the target. Roman Reigns strolls in. He wishes him good luck. They have a nice little exchange. That’s more Reigns speed of segment. Just keep him in a more controlled environment.

Fandango is on the head set. Alberto Del Rio is taking on Dolph Ziggler. Fandango has to put on his voice too much with a head set. Enziguri after Ziggler gets caught in the ring apron. The winner faces Sheamus tomorrow for the US Title. Layla is primping it according to Fandango. Del Rio pushes ziggler head first into the post. Del Rio then reverse suplexes him from the top. JBL implies there could be more than two women. DDT by Ziggler for a two count. Drop kick by Ziggler turns things around. Fame-Asser for a two count. Fandango starts dancing on the announcer’s table. Del Rio kicks a distracted Ziggler in the head for the win. Of course a heel would face the baby face champ. I hope Chris Calamita covers that. Stardust and Goldust are putting together some good weird stuff.

Fandango runs into Layla back stage. He only has eyes for her. You see him looking at Summer Rae who is awfully well lit in that random rear hallway. Jerry Lawler then gets to introduce Bret Hart. Canadians are so predictable. The crowd is eating it up. He is interrupted by Damien “Bret Hart” Sandow. Third World Country didn’t get the heat expected. Bret punches Sandow out of the ring. Sandow looks like Grumpy Cat. Sheamus comes out. He hugs Bret in the ring. (Next Day Note: I wasn’t the only one expecting Hart to be out there longer, right?)

Sheamus and Sandow start their match after the break. Sandow is in control. Sandow drops down a fore arm. Sheamus grabs Sandow’s beard. 10 Clubbing Blows. Canadians like to count too. Brogue Kick for the win. Yep, about what it deserved. Renee Young interviews the Miz who reads a letter from a fan. He lauds himself and runs down Chris Jericho. He gets thousands of letters like this one. What would the fans lose without his face? Wow, close up of his fist. Woof even for the gimmick.

My woman every time "Jeri" hits the stage.

My woman every time “Jeri” hits the stage.

Chris Jericho comes out for his match for the Miz. Jerry Lawler talks about Cleveland. Miz is protecting his face. Jericho drop kicks him off the apron. Jericho bull dogs him when they get back in the ring. Miz tosses Jericho out of the ring. Miz drives Jericho into the apron. Miz tries to wear him down. Double axe handle by Jericho from the top. Miz kicks Jericho in the face. Jericho dodges then hits an enziguri. Miz kicks out Jericho’s leg then DDTs him. Miz locks in the Figure Four. Popular tonight. Jericho gets to the ropes. Jericho whacks Miz in the face. Walls of Jericho for the win. Bray Wyatt wants Jericho to save us. He tells Jericho that the Jericholics aren’t behind him any more. Jericho wants a piece of Wyatt. Harper & Rowan show up. Stalemate.

We get replay of AJ Lee winning the Divas Title. Paige comes out. She introduces AJ Lee. It could be interesting of Paige became AJ’s new Tamina. Cameron won’t tag in to Naomi. Paige takes over because of the non-tag. Cameron starts putting on lip gloss. Paige comes in. They double clothesline each other. Cameron gets in. Paige Turner because she’s distracted. The Funkadactyls fight. Funk is on a roll. That pun needed to happen. (Next Day Note: I know Paige isn’t the intimidating presence Tamina was but I think she works better as a lackey.)

Paul Heyman introduces himself and Cesaro. The later acts like French Canadian is a crappy language. They’re trying to get him some boos. Kofi Kingston is his opponent. He drop kicks him out of the ring. Kingston slams Cesaro into the apron. Cesaro trips up Kofi on a spring board. Cesaro jumps on Kofi from the apron. Kingston gets caught by Cesaro. Press slam gut buster. Kingston rolls up Cesaro again for the win. Cesaro assaults Kingston. Big E comes out for the save. I’m so confused. Why? (Next Day Note: So you have Cesaro win the Andre the Giant Battle Royal in grand fashion then pretty much only dump on him after? Even Paul Heyman can’t help losing to Kofi in back to back weeks.) Seth Rollins comes in and tells John Cena he’s going to pin the best champion ever. Cena tells him not to get a big head with the brief case. He wonders if Rollins can still scrap.

Bo Dallas comes to the ring for a match against El Torito. Bo never ducks out of a challenge. Bo gets down on his knees. Torito slaps him. He head butts him in the stomach. Running Bo-Dog. The Streak is alive.

The entrances for John Cena & Seth Rollins allow me to nearly catch up. Rollins gets Cena in a pinning predicament early. Break. A flipping reverse DDT by Rollins only gets a two count. Cena with a side slam. Sit down power bomb by Cena only gets a two count. Rollins catches Cena going to the top with an enziguri. Rollins misses a splash.  Five Knuckle Shuffle. Rollins flips out of an AA. Cena turns it into an STF.  He pulls Rollins away from the ropes. Kane comes out. Randy Orton attacks from behind. Roman Reigns music hits. Superman Punch to Kane. And another for Orton. Rollins nails Reigns and Cena with the brief case. Rollins calls for an official. Dean Ambrose attacks Rollins. I don’t feel like the WWE has had this kind of set up before with the MITB holder. AA to Orton. Spear to Kane. The baby faces stand tall. – Kevin

Shahid’s Blog: Cracked Glasses of Nostalgia – An Adult’s Walk Down ECW’s Memory Lane

ecw I remembered being depressed after moving from Philadelphia to Atlantic City during my high school years.  Separated from my family, friend and comfortable surroundings for a dump of a coastal city was a jarring experience.  WWF wasn’t helping either – Friar Ferguson and Beverly Bros/Money Inc main event matches would turn any smile upside down.  On a random Thursday evening, I stumbled upon a new wrestling promotion.  Gritty, small, loud and realistic, it instantly drew me in.  Regardless of the fact that I was watching a plodding match featuring Tully Blanchard, I was enchanted by the promos, violence and music of what was known as Eastern Championship Wrestling.  I can vividly recall talking to like minded individuals about how ECW was actually real, instead of that scripted crap of the WWF.  Seeing Sandman, a fat drunkard with a cigarette with Woman or Missy Hyatt on his arm just seemed authentic on some visceral level.  Hearing adult promos from Cactus Jack, Steve Austin and Shane Douglas made WCW and WWF seem quaint and childish.  State of the art matches from Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho,  Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit…..violent brawls from the Public Enemy, the Pitbulls, Terry Funk….Sabu vs Taz…Raven terrorizing Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman…..sexy females with scant clothing and even less decorum.  ECW was a teenager’s dream.  Hearing the Gangstas come out to Natural Born Killers to engage in a blood bath made a Bret Hart match seem boring as can be.  I can remember waking up at 1 am to watch an ECW episode consisting of a pissed off Steve Austin just spitting venom at Eric Bischoff, Dusty Rhodes and WCW.  In a pre screw job, pipe bomb, real name era, it was as if someone had a peephole behind the magic rasslin curtain.  By the time they invaded Monday Night Raw to promote their first PPV, I was a full-fledged ECW acolyte.

Now, I’m sure there are many individuals in my age group that share similar joyous memories of ECW.  Even with One Night Stand and a brief resurgence led by Paul Heyman, it still felt hollow and empty, missing that rebellious fire of the 90s.  So when the WWE Network arrived, ECW was the first area delved into, due to an adolescent fondness. Even though it lacked the music and didn’t have the weekly shows, I was excited to see how well it held up.  So I watched a few ppvs and weekly shows and then watched a few more.  I tried jumping around during various time periods, hoping to shake this nagging sensation.  After a week of watching, I had to admit to myself that ECW, like many teenage passions, didn’t age well.

I won’t use revisionist history and proclaim ECW an overrated vanity project and minor league system.  It was enjoyable and revolutionary, and I will always cherish those teenage memories.  But watching it now is borderline painful.  Seeing the Sandman no longer brings feelings of awe and admiration. Now, I witness a slovenly bum who was a perfect example of smoke and mirrors.  Instead of rooting for the underdog story of Mikey Whipreck, I scoffed at the notion that he could ever beat Steve Austin in a match (side note – him pinning Austin killed any notion that ECW wasn’t predetermined).  I can understand the reasoning and logic behind pushing individuals like Tommy Dreamer and Justin Credible, instead of superior talent such as Chris Benoit and Rob Van Dam.  But as a fan today, I have little tolerance of watching Eddie Guerrero in the midcard, for fear of being snatched away by WCW and WWF.  For all of the wonderful long term angles pulled off by ECW, there were too many instances of inconsistent referees, match stipulations, and haphazard PPV’s.  If WWE tried to pull the ol “Let’s announce two matches, and we’ll work out the rest of the details later” style of booking, they would get crucified. I almost forget, they did try that…it was called December to Dismember, and it was universally panned.

The biggest issue with ECW is the same factor which added to its popularity – the extreme violence.  Seeing someone kick out from a power bomb through a flaming table with thumbtacks, only to get rolled up due to seeing the 34DD’s of Francine seems asinine today.  The constant one-upping of finishing moves led to many negative habits, not only by ECW, but by WCW and WWF. WCW was rightfully mocked for taking the piss out of ECW concepts, featuring hardcore matches with cotton candy used as a weapon.  But as an adult, I prefer that approach more so than WWF, which raised the bar to an extremely dangerous level i.e. Hell in a Cell with Undertaker-Mankind, and the myriad TLC matches.  Classic events, but considering the mark left on many of the individuals, something that is watched with trepidation.  But nothing makes me cringe more than the chair shots to the head.  When I first saw Tommy Dreamer plaster Raven square in his hipster face, I remember screaming like a girl at a Bobby Brown concert.  But after current knowledge of concussions and long term damage, I can’t help but cringe. I won’t even touch upon the menace known as New Jack (that’s a column for another day.)

As far as the adult content, what seemed risqué as a teenager comes off as misogynistic and trashy today.  Shane Douglas cussing every 3rd word makes him come off as an uncouth doofus. For every great promo from Raven or Cactus jack, there was some nonsense from the Pitbulls, or some foul mouthed diatribe from Rhino. And it wasn’t restricted to the wrestlers – hearing an arena full of angry men chanting crack whore or she has herpes doesn’t seem cool anymore.  I’m definitely not a prude, and I specifically remember the eye candy of ECW very fondly.  Between Beulah, Missy Hyatt, Woman, Francine and Dawn Marie, ECW definitely upped the sex appeal factor from the almost quaint days of Missy Hyatt and Sunny.  Today – well, seeing a skinny broad with some silicone enhancements taking a pile driver just seems unclean.  Any doubts to ECW being a mainstream entertainment vehicle vanished with my wife’s utter look of disgust after hearing a Dudley Boys promo.  My “it was a different era, baby”  didn’t hold much weight.

Regardless of my experience, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to traverse down memory lane with a more mature point of view.  ECW will always have a fond place in my heart, and I am grateful and cognizant of its effect on professional wrestling.  However, next time someone complains about Vince’s asinine booking and longs for the halcyon days of Paul Heyman, gently remind them that Steve Corino and Justin Credible were ECW World Champions, but Rob Van Dam and Stunning Steve Austin weren’t. And then tape their expressions for YouTube. -Shahid

Daniel Bryan WWE “YES! YES! YES!” T-shirt available at Hot Topic, punk kids rejoice (and stink)

No one who shops at Hot Topic is built like this.

I was walking around Merle Hay Mall in Des Moines, Iowa, the other day, you know, cruising for chicks, when I glanced inside Hot Topic, a store where I used to shop all the time in high school and college (where else was I going to get my Manic Panic blue hair dye and my copy of NOFX “Maximum Rocknroll”?), and what did I see hanging on the wall of overpriced T-shirts? The cotton-poly tee featuring the pro wrestling chant that’s all the rage: Daniel Bryan’s “YES! YES! YES!” shirt!

Now, let’s connect a few dots here: A Google search for Hot Topic yields this paragraph:

Hot Topic specializes in music and pop culture inspired fashion including body jewelry, accessories, Rock T-Shirts, Skinny Jeans, Band T-shirts, Music T-shirts, 

Yes, “skinny jeans” is one of their primarily sold items. (And what wrestling fan is going to fit into skinny jeans?) Now then, what about the Wikipedia entry for Hot Topic?
Hot Topic is an American retail chain specializing in music and pop culture-related clothing and accessories, as well as licensed music on CD. The majority of the stores are located in regional shopping malls.[4] The first Hot Topic store was opened in 1988 by Orv Madden, who retired as CEO in 2000 and was replaced by Betsy McLaughlin, who helmed the company until 2011. Lisa Harper assumed the position of CEO in March 2011. The company went public and began trading on NASDAQ in 1996. In 2006, Hot Topic was placed 53rd on Fortune 500‘s Top Companies to Work For list.[5]
No wonder this place is referred to by jaded 20-something borderline hipster punks as “Hot Profit.” I can tell you that, for a place that sells Rancid 7-inches and My Chemical Romance screenprint shirts, they aren’t afraid to put life-size Justin Bieber and “Twilight” cardboard cutouts in their store fronts.
So basically, Hot Topic is a store with an identity crisis, and somewhere through the cracks slipped a WWE-licensed Daniel Bryan T-shirt. As if one of these fat emo-goth chicks or acne-ridden not-punks would actually buy this shirt, what are the odds that, when they do, the receipt reads “John Cena”? -Eric

Stunt Granny Audio #187

Oh snap mother truckers, it’s Stunt Granny Audio #187 with mah d*ck in ya mouf, foooooo! Anyway, Dusty and Eric discuss the news of the day, including Big Show, and that’s about it for the news of the day. They also talk about the booming metropolis of St. Cloud, Minn., where Eric was that night and Dusty was a few years back; Bill Cosby, Gene Wilder and “Fat Albert” characters; Mustafa, New Jack and old ECW shows; and whatever else in the world comes to mind. Check it out!

Stunt Granny Audio Show #187

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