Leprechaun: Origins Trailer

Move over Warwick Davis, you have been replaced. WWE is dipping their toes in the horror genre again with a reboot of the “Leprechaun” franchise.  Judging by the trailer the movie is your standard kids in the woods style elimination horror trope and that is fine. Stick with the basics and you can create a scary film. The Leprechaun franchise still has legs even if it has been on the shelf for some years. It grew its cult following by making films with an increasing goofy sense of humor on miniscule budgets.

This trailer though seems to be taking a much more serious approach and it can work.  The recent Evil Dead remake took that approach and did just fine in theatres. As long as WWE and Lionsgate used the key elements of horror films this will sell well. It is a smart move by WWE and Lionsgate as a horror franchise on a low budget can rake in the cash. It is curious why WWE or Lionsgate didn’t try launching this in theatres to see how it goes. The public will have no idea that the new Leprechaun is played by actual professional wrestler Hornswoggle. The stigma of this being another WWE movie can be avoided by burying the WWE logo. Sure this is not going to happen but by toning down WWE’s actual involvement in the movie will allow people to have a more open mind.  Yes, the WWE logo immediately turns people off. Pay attention in a crowded theatre when the logo flashes across a trailer and you will hear people groan or sigh.

The trailer for “Leprechaun: Origins” does do one thing that is both smart and astute. You never see the Leprechaun. His image is the make or break point of this franchise rebirth. If he looks ridiculous then it is over before the trailer finishes its ninety second running time. There will be the obvious comparisons with the original Leprechaun creation. It isn’t fair but look at the way Godzilla was treated in 1998. The image of whatever that thing was killed off all interest in the film. Rob Zombie was smart in the Halloween remake creating a “shape” that was close to the original mask.

WWE has a good chance here to make some serious money if this is even watchable. It cannot be any worse than any other low budget horror flick that plays on Chiller at any given time.  So here’s looking ahead to August 26 when this is available for legitimate viewing. Unless someone has a bootleg or something they want to share. -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.

The Art of Wrestling: Warhol Affliction

TNA thinks it's being creative. They're not.

jeremymaes: http://shoptna.com/velvet-sky-men-s-shirt.aspx
jeremymaes: http://shoptna.com/robert-roode—roode.aspx
jeremymaes: http://shoptna.com/roode—off-the-chain.aspx
jeremymaes: they are all the same damn shirt
jeremymaes: http://shoptna.com/wrestlers.aspx
jeremymaes: that makes it easier
difrango11: Why wasn’t Roode wearing these in the build up for BFG?
jeremymaes: shh, you make sense
difrango11: Yes, they’re all the same Affliction rip off shirt
jeremymaes: I mean just about everyone, save Jeff Hardy and Sting
difrango11: Jeff’s is even pretty tired with it being a Warhol rip off, which they acknowledge. When the WWE rips off designs, they alter them some and give it a different spin like Cena’s John Deere inspired shirt. TNA put Hardy in a stock Warhol painting
jeremymaes: dude, you know what is coming next.  post it. hell just that little thing here.
difrango11: I suppose they made it different since Marilyn Monroe’s face is on it and Hardy has his whole body in it. I was going to ask if you were bating me into a column
jeremymaes: yes I was but I noticed the same things

This exchange happened and finally got my ass in gear even though I started a column earlier this month about CM Punk’s Halloween package over at WWEshop.com. Jeremy said that I could just leave our chat alone, but I couldn’t. I feel the need to explain myself more. The anger of the issues presented here make me want to do this article more than the CM Punk Halloween package. I can break this column down to three parts.

Jeremy’s comment: They are all the same damn shirt. Click on the links, they pretty much are. They have some type ovular middle with wings of some sort sprouting off of them. Many people, like Steve Austin or Randy Orton, have the same theme over and over again. That is fine but they wait months in between bringing out the new design. Robert Roode has two of them come out at the same time. Let him wear the first shirt in the build up to Bound For Glory, which is so much of a no brainer TNA didn’t do it. After Roode wins the title, you have him wear the new shirt for a while then he busts out the new four months down the road. Of course TNA did the dumb thing, had Roode lose and then not even have him wear his shirt on the next Impact Wrestling. It’s mind numbingly dumb. Velvet Sky was wearing hers after her big title win (You got the meaningless title change right. Congrats!) as she should have been. It’s called advertising.

My comment: Yes, they’re all the same Affliction rip off shirt. For six of their top nine shirts as Jeremy helped clear up by pointing out the different style of Sting and Jeff Hardy’s shirts. It’s fine to have a template design like the Cena shirt mentioned above. Twist the design somehow by making Bobby Roode’s more about him. The first one doesn’t even have his name on it or a slogan of his. It is in no way identifiable as a shirt for him. Affliction can get away with doing that because they’re a brand of shirt. Roode is not a brand. He is a wrestler in the TNA brand. Roode got his name on the “Off The Chain” shirt but I don’t get the theme much like I was scratching my head when Randy Orton started using a gas mask for a symbol. Velvet Sky’s does have her name on it but doesn’t really make it hers. She has a fantastic assets that are curvy. One would think that you could use those to base your ovular design on but they didn’t.

My comment: Jeff’s is even pretty tired with it being an Andy Warhol rip off, which they acknowledge. I started to back track and I should have. I’m probably not going to ever argue that Warhol was the greatest artist ever. His paintings still have more depth to them than Hardy’s shirt does. Seeing as though Jeff fancies himself as an artist, I’m not sure how he’d say “That looks great!” unless he’s doing naughty things again. If you’re wondering about how I could say Warhol has depth with a lithographed painting, take a look at the painting of Marilyn Monroe then Hardy’s shirt. The images of Monroe are all different. On the left hand pair, her teeth are colored, her famous mole is the same as the background color and her skin color is consistent. On the right hand pair, her teeth are white, the mole is a different colored than the background and her skin color has different tones of the same color. There are other variations but I think you get the point. On Hardy’s shirt, the background color in the upper left hand corner is the highlight color in the lower right hand corner. The same is true of the upper right and lower left hand corners. TNA could have highlighted his necklace, earrings, hair or even his trade mark forearm socks to make it closer to authentic but they didn’t.

TNA ripped off Affliction and Andy Warhol with these shirts. Neither of these examples set the bar really high to be able to reproduce. TNA managed to still do a poor job of replicating them without putting a twist on them. Most people learn from their mistakes, TNA seems incapable of doing that simple task. -Kevin

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