Jeremy’s One Paragraph Movie Review: Death Race 3: Inferno (2012)

DR3-dvdFifteen minutes or so in to this flick a fist fight breaks out inside an African mountain. Why? Because why the fuck not? In case that wasn’t ridiculous enough you get a blowtorch fight between scantily clad women in the same mountain. What does this have to do with car racing? Well, nothing really but then not much makes a lot of sense in this movie. The third movie in the Death Race, um, franchise moves the action to Africa as a new corporate owner, Dougray Scott (guy who passed on Wolverine), attempts to franchise Death Race globally. Yup, there is your plot. Even Ving Rhames barely shows up in this one. Of course he does so not sure if that makes it worse for him. The movie isn’t particularly good but it does provide a lot of vroom sounds and excuses to blow up just about everything. -Jeremy

Dusty’s Blog: Where WWE Went Wrong With Hell in a Cell

I think I’m getting too old for this shit.

So I went ahead and watched the WWE pay-per-view on Sunday night.  Hell in a Cell.  I was talked into watching it with my best friend till the end Keesh, because he was going to watch it himself and needed someone to bag on it with him.  So I thought what the heck, what harm could it do to spend my Sunday evening watching some grappling, just like old times.  But oh man, I wish I hadn’t.

I don’t know if it’s just because I’m so burned out on wrestling right now, but it was a very frustrating three hours for me.  I found myself constantly yelling at my screen, critiquing what was happening and making suggestions for what should have been done differently.  When I first started watching wrestling, I never did any of that, even though I have always been a know-it-all brainiac who thinks my own ideas are better than everyone else’s.  Used to, I could turn my mind off for three hours and take what I was watching at face value as mindless entertainment.  WWE nowadays simply does not allow me to do that.

What follows is some of the myriad things I found myself thinking as I watched the show:

Randy Orton needs to go. The guy is just treading water at this point.  One of the biggest residual problems from the late 90s Monday Night Wars is that WWE got into the habit of making sure everyone who means anything to the company is locked up for the long term.  Only completely fuck ups like Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy are allowed to leave on their own volition, for the most part.  How this relates to Orton is, I find his act to be completely stale.  He is serving no greater purpose by winning meaningless opening matches on meaningless pay-per-views.

I thought the outcome to that match was a no brainer.  Alberto Del Rio had to win, because he’s the one with any upside potential at this point.  Give him a win over the “name” guy and try to get something started with him.  Orton is a complete non-starter to me.  He’s won the belt umpteen times, he’s feuded with all the top guys, beating them sometimes, losing some other times.  It’s just all been done with him.  And he’s not an interesting enough character on his own to refresh himself.  He, like Christian before him, would just generally benefit from going away for a while and then coming back.

Now granted, there really isn’t anywhere to go but TNA, but fuck it, that’ll have to be it then.  It’s too bad WWE would never really consider doing anything like this, but I really think they ought to consider working out some kind of trade with TNA here.  TNA would salivate at the opportunity to obtain another “big name” WWE performer.  WWE could try to approach this in a couple different ways.  One would be to try to get face value for Orton, which would mean someone like Bully Ray.  Bully Ray would excel in the current WWE environment.  He’s probably my favorite act in all of wrestling for 2012.  He deserves one last WWE shot.

Or they could take the opposite approach and poach a couple prospects.  Guys like Magnus and Rob Terry, who would seem to fit in with the standard WWE prototype.  Either way, WWE needs to shake things up here, and I can’t think of a single better person to use to make that point with than Orton.  He does no one any good in the opening match spot.  His win was an empty token gesture based on past performance.  His presence is actually hindering WWE’s progress at this point, as I think the logical move would have been to move forward with Del Rio, who at least has more upside potential.

Comedy that isn’t funny. I’m beating that dead horse all the way to the glue factory, I realize this, but it drives me up the wall every time. The skit with Daniel Bryan and Kane backstage was fairly funny until it wasn’t funny at all.  “On a farm… Old McDonald’s farm! Here, let me sing the Old McDonald song! How long can I string this out?!”  If the WWE writers had written the script to The Sandlot, the famous line from that movie would have been changed to, “You play ball like a girl! Because you play ball in a very feminine way!  And people who are feminine tell to play ball at a lower level than those who do not play in a feminine way! Therefore, I am insulting your masculinity as well as your ability to play the game of baseball!”

In other words, less is more.  If you feel the need to tell a joke, tell the joke.  Leave it sit.  It’s either funny or it’s not.  Know when enough is enough.  If you need to explain the joke or continue on the joke for too long, it wasn’t funny and the laugh wasn’t meant to be.  As a famous philosopher once said, it’s just tone deaf to do it the way they do it now.  I’m all for character building segments like that, but not when it comes attached to a joke that would make a record screech in a bad television sitcom.

Darren Young, Titus O’Neill and Justin Gabriel don’t belong on PPVs. Being on a pay-per-view isn’t a right; it’s a privilege.  You should have to earn your spot on the card, not be given it because there just aren’t any better ideas on what to do.  Basically this just speaks to the long time theme that WWE doesn’t care about their midcard and can’t be bothered to build it up enough to where people actually care about the competitors therein.  So what you get is jack-in-the-box title matches conjured up six days prior featuring someone who has no discernible character, and is just generally an indie guy who wears tights and does wrestling moves.

Every match on a pay-per-view should be meaningful in some way.  If it’s a non-title match, it should be between two guys who stand to gain something from a win.  Maybe a win gets them one step closer to a title shot.  Maybe they have animosity towards each other for some reason, and a win over the other would be exacting an amount of satisfying revenge.  But if the match is a title match, it simply cannot have six days build.  That’s not adequate booking in any way.  It’s simply not acceptable.  Title shots should be earned over the course of extended programs.  Not just, “Hey, we have nothing for this guy to do and the PPV is coming up.”  Justin Gabriel is a decent wrestler, but I have no reason to care about him.  I never had any doubt in my mind that he was going to lose that match.  That is simply not acceptable.  With title matches should come intrigue.

On the other side of the coin, I appreciated the idea behind the Young/O’Neill tag team match.  For one thing, you’re building up the tag team division, and for another, as I outlined earlier, perhaps a win there gets them a title shot.  It’s just that, like Gabriel, I really don’t see why I need to care about these two.  They’re being thrust into a position they’re not ready for, simply because everything in WWE happens too fast these days.  Gone are the days of the Rockers slowly, methodically working their way through the tag team ranks for a couple years before even being considered legitimate threats to win the tag team titles.  Now it’s just, win this match and you’ll probably be the number one contenders.  There’s no build and there’s no character building.  I have no idea why I should care about their plight.

Michael Cole seemed like he was in a coma the entire show. Granted, he’s never been any good, and this is yet another dead horse of mine.  But come on here.  Show a little bit of enthusiasm.  Do your job in a professional manner.  If you can’t handle it, you need to be replaced.  I need someone to explain to me with a straight face why Jim Ross and JBL couldn’t have called that show on their own.  I hate three man booths anyway, but especially when one of them is completely dead, and that’s the one that gets the bulk of the talking time.  There were several minutes at a time where Ross was completely silent.  In no way should that be acceptable.

It is often a telltale sign that the person isn’t listening to you when they simply repeat the last thing you said before you stopped talking.  JBL called Cole out on doing that a number of times at the pay-per-view.  If the announcer can’t be bothered to pay attention to what is going on, why should the viewer?  It is well past time to give the lead announcer role to Josh Mathews.  He is young, he is good looking, he is good at what he does, and he is dedicated to always getting better and learning more.  Pairing him up with Jim Ross would probably eventually turn him into a candidate for best announcer of all time.  Instead, we are stuck with the out-to-lunch, weiner looking Cole.

Ryback should have won the title. You want real change?  Then do something that’s really different.  It’s that simple.  By going back to the old Hulk Hogan formula, you will have enacted the exact kind of change needed to fit with these more kiddie friendly, PG times.  Ryback seems like he’s getting over enough that you can justify putting the belt on him.  And then, as the slogan goes, feed him continual opponents.  Move CM Punk down the card a step, where he can help ensure that the undercards are going to be high quality enough to counter the assuredly mediocre main event matches that will be over because the champion is over, not because of the ring work.  Find the balance there and go with it.

Utilize Ryback in the Hogan/Goldberg combo role that he was destined for.  In the meantime, you will have shown your fanbase in one fell swoop that things are different now.  This is a different kind of champion than Punk or Daniel Bryan or Cena, or really anybody in the recent past.  The other important part of this equation is that he needs to hold the belt a long time.  Like until at least WrestleMania long.  I would even hold out until the *next* WrestleMania, but you absolutely cannot trust WWE to have anywhere near that kind of discipline and long term thought.

And when he does lose, it needs to be in a significant, impactful way.  Having him at this point, in the way in which he lost, now ensures that he will never have the kind of momentum again that he had going into the show.  This is a classic old school WCW move that cuts the balls off someone who was on the verge of making something happen, all to appease the status quo.  It ensures that nothing will ever really change, and that no upswing will happen for the foreseeable future.  But hey, we sure were swerved!

Dirty finishes. Again, in the interest of being repetitiously redundant, this has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time.  WWE has it exactly backwards in how they book their matches.  They put the dirty finish matches on the pay-per-views, and the clean, feud ending finishes on free television.  I don’t know how much money pay-per-views are now (I, uh, forgot how much I paid for this, yeah), but it’s a lot of freaking money.  And people should expect to get quality bang for their hard earned buck.  Instead, we got a disqualification solely on the basis of Kane kicking everyone’s ass, and a heel ref sequence that made Nick Patrick roll over in his grave.  Enough of this crap.

Put that kind of stuff on Raw if you insist on doing it at all.  I dare WWE to put on a pay-per-view that consists solely of matches ending in clean, decisive finishes.  They simply do not have the discipline to do that.  They think that’s not entertaining enough.  They think all the bells and whistles are what people tune in for, not realizing that if they did enough of everything else right, the clean finishes would be exactly what the people want and expect out of shows like this.  They continue to insist on going from point A to point B by going through points C through Z first.

Or maybe I’m just too old for wrestling now.

In any event, you can read more about Keesh at thefullpint.com.  You can read more about me at shamelessplug.org.

Stunt Granny Audio #190

A three (and a half) hour tour…

Join Kevin and Dusty through a magical odyssey of life and pro wrestling in this latest edition of Stunt Granny Audio! Kevin is planted firmly in the middle of a domestic dispute between one of his roommates and their baby momma. In classic Howard Stern fashion, Dusty drags it out on the air to entertain people. And then they focus their attentions on pro wres and the happenings of this week’s Monday Night Raw. Vince McMahon is the strangest human being in the entire world and desperately wants you to think he’s a stud who is hip and with it. What is greater: Vader’s age or Vader’s weight? Poor Sin Cara didn’t get his trampoline entrance. Poor Curt Hawkins didn’t even get an entrance. Can CM Punk shape the future of pro wres? All that and a whole lot more and it’s only going to cost you about 5o minutes of your measley life, so listen now dammit!

Stunt Granny Audio Show #190

Stunt Granny Big 11 (or so) Week Ending 6/4/11

1. Kharma – She had the most memorable segment of the week. It sucks that she won’t have a chance to make the women’s division relevant until next year. Kharma cut a well spoken, articulate promo that got Jim Ross in a little bit of hot water. Later in the week, she said that insult was the reason she has made it in wrestling so everyone won. congratulations on the pregnancy, Kharma. -Kevin

2. Brand Amnesia – Since the WWE thinks we’re all a bunch of idiots who don’t pay attention, I’d like to note that in my Blog and my follow up article that Alex Riley was going to Smackdown. Just over a month after he got drafted, Alex Riley got signed by the anonymous Raw General Manager on Monday. Teddy Long needs to be fired for letting any talent go because Smackdown has got nobody and Riley was at least on the radar unlike Ted DiBiase. -Kevin

3. Imitations – TNA has got more problems than I care to catalog but this week alone they trotted out Miss Tessmacher who is a rip off from Superman, Mr. Anderson continued to imitate the young Sting, Crimson is trying to do Goldberg, Eric Young impersonated the Great Muta, Abyss continues to make believe he’s Mankind and lastly, Impact Wrestling imitated a wrestling program. -Kevin

4. Christian – All of these kneejerk jerks online who poo-pooed Christian losing the somewhat-coveted World Heavyweight Title only a few days after he won it might rest comfortably knowing Christian’s still in the main event given this week’s Smackdown angle. Oh, I’m sorry, making main-event money isn’t good enough and he should have to lug around a huge championship belt everywhere he goes? Some people are dunces. -Eric

5. Ultimate Warrior – Warrior is making waves online by calling out Hulk Hogan for blocking Warrior fans (Destrucians?) from Hogan’s social media platforms. Well, if people really want to make an impact, maybe they shouldn’t hide behind their keyboards and make smart-ass comments like a… bunch of… tough guys…… oh. -Eric

6. Chyna- Porn. Chyna is in a new porn movie. A new porn is being made starring professional wrestling’s Chyna. (Sorry that this entry is so redundant, but our posts about Chyna and porn have gotten us a lot of hits lately. We’ll piggyback off that trainwreck any day!) -Eric

7. Front Row Kid- At the 48 minute mark, or so ,of Impact Miss Tessmacher gets in the ring. On the lower left hand side of the screen there is a blonde woman looking to her right at her son. He has to be about ten-tears old. He is fake applauding. Miss Tessmacher then pulls off her skirt showing off her tight ass. In the background the kids jaw falls open as he raises both arms in the air in stunned celebration. This is the only genuine reaction I have ever seen on a TNA broadcast. –Jeremy

8. Impact Wrestling- So wrestling matters? Um, the show starts with talking, followed by a brawl, then more talking, somewhere there is a three minute match then more talking, something with Don West, eventually a Matt Hardy match so that doesn’t count as wrestling, then talking, tits, an actual match wrecked by bad booking then it ends with talking. One positive, I have become a marksman with the dvr controls. – Jeremy

SG Poll: Which rumored WWE Hall of Famer would you have liked to see inducted?

As always, leave comments, but more importantly, don’t let this poll get in the way of some good audio; check below for the first three parts of Jeremy and Kevin’s WWE WrestleMania 27 previews, and stay tuned for the rest!

Who would YOU like to see Undertaker wrestle at WrestleMania 27?

This, of course, assumes Undertaker is physically able to wrestle, or stand there, or whatever. As always, leave a comment below to explain your brilliant choice! Otherwise, how else are we going to discuss this?

Eric’s blog: My own WWE Power 25 on the Road to WrestleMania

"Well, mon, at leest dis gurl likes me, yah."

As a ticket-holding ticket-holder for WrestleMania XXVII (well, as soon as I pay Jeremy, anyway), I’m concerned with the somewhat-thin WWE roster leading up to the company’s biggest annual event. Do I think I’ll see an entertaining show? Absolutely. Do I think it’ll be one of the most star-studded WrestleManias of all time? God, no. With the threat of injuries that might not completely heal and potential special guests who might not be able to appear, I’m left wondering who’ll show up, what those people will do, and who WWE will try to dig out of the woodwork to make this year’s WrestleMania feel as special as the rest (except WMXI).

With that, I want to take a look at the top 20 WWE wrestlers who will make the most impact at WrestleMania (in part to show how sad the lower half of this list is), and suggest five acts that would help boost the perception of 2011’s showcase of the “immortals.”

Babyfaces:

1) John Cena. WrestleMania tickets would sell out without Cena on the card, but that’s because tickets go on sale so far in advance of the show. However, a modern-day WrestleMania without John Cena wouldn’t draw more than 600,000 pay-per-view buys. Watch that hip, Cena!

2) Randy Orton. He’s the second-most wildly over babyface on the roster, and he’s in the title mix. Having Orton at WrestleMania is an absolute necessity.

3) Undertaker. Over the past 4-5 years, Undertaker’s win streak has arguably been WrestleMania’s biggest draw. Without the threat of that streak ending, WrestleMania loses a major, major point of interest.

4) Triple H. He’s been gone long enough where his return will feel special. And he’s such a respected veteran that his presence is practically required at this show, given the lack of grizzled old-timers on WWE’s roster. Pardon the strange analogy, but Hunter is to WrestleMania now what Andre the Giant was 20 years ago: a special attraction.

5) Edge. The World Heavyweight Champion is No. 5 on my list, but that shows the lack of importance of that belt on this year’s show. We’re all so worried about Miz entering WrestleMania with the WWE Title that anyone could hold Smackdown’s big belt and no red flags would rise. But Edge is another veteran (is it just me, or does he still not really feel like one?) who must be counted on to put on a fine match at WM27.

6) Big Show. You’d think Big Show-to-Andre the Giant would be the more appropriate analogy here, but I like the idea of Triple H-as-spectacle (and let him fade away) and Big Show in a real feud here. That said, his mini-feud with Floyd Mayweather was a big draw for WM24, and I could see WWE digging up someone special for Show to face this year.

7) Rey Mysterio. WWE will already have burned through Rey’s feud with Alberto del Rio by this point, and without the proper build of a potentially awesome opponent like Tyson Kidd or the recently released Kaval, I don’t know who he’d wrestle that would set the world en fuego.

8 ) John Morrison. Obviously WWE is behind this guy, and the crowd reaction for him continues to grow. I think his station in life is perennial Money in the Bank challenger, especially this year, but we’ll see if he’s ready for a singles match come WM28.

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