Kevin’s Blog: The English Premier League Review Show

On my Twitter feed Monday I saw a bunch of tweets about a fantastic goal that was scored by Pajtim Kasami during the Fulham at Crystal Palace soccer match. I looked forward to seeing it since I have the English Premier League Review Show set on my DVR. I don’t care if you like soccer or not. If you don’t like the athleticism displayed in the video clip, do me a favor and cease watching sports. After watching the goal last night, I knew I needed to write a post that I’ve wanted to write about this show.

The first order of business is the fact that you never, ever see the announcers. I’d be fine with seeing them as they came in and out of segments but it’s really not necessary. I want to see highlights of the sports that I enjoy. Not Bob Ley. Or Kenny Mayne. Or even a super short skirted Hannah Storm. The EPL Review show delivers by having a voice over guy do the work. He is recognizable and does well transitioning from game to game.

The main point of this article though is the dismal state of highlights show in the US. I used to watch CNN for the highlights at :28 & :58 on the hour. Then I moved on to Sportscenter for a long time. For the last several years, I’ve been looking at recaps online because Sportscenter decided that interviews and behind the scenes pieces were more important. I had some hope that when NBC re-branded Versus into NBCSports that I’d have some luck. I did for about three months when they aired “The ‘Lights” but it hasn’t aired since the Stanley Cup Finals. “The ‘Lights” did employ the unseen host which made me mourn it’s possibly temporary demise. I had some hope earlier this year when Fox Sports 1 was launched. My thought process as always “Let’s give Fox Sports Live” a chance. Unfortunately, they didn’t even give me three months of pleasure.

Hannah Storm

The EPL Review Show fills the void that is left by the sports world in the US. I don’t feel like getting into who’s the blame for this phenomenon, whether it’s the mother ship ESPN (chicken) or the people who clicked out of what I enjoy (egg). So the show doesn’t have a host and shockingly enough, shows highlights for the 46-52 minutes of programming that are left after commercials. I love it. They show highlights of every game in the league that week but they’re smart enough to air less highlights if the game was a snoozfest even if one of the teams is a marquee name like Manchester United. If two teams like Fulham and Crystal Palace, near the bottom (Fulham) or at the bottom (Palace) of the table, end up having a highlight worthy match, they get 10 minutes of match highlights like they did on last night’s show.

I know people might refer me to Red Zone for the NFL as a comparative show but I don’t like just seeing the scoring. These highlights show slick plays that may have resulted in a shanked kick that should have been a goal. Or a good move at midfield that may not have had an impact on the score line at all. I like to think of it in a similar vein as what the Tuesday Morning Quarterback Gregg Easterbrook calls “Hidden Plays” which are “Hidden plays are ones that never make highlight reels, but stop or sustain drives”. Well, some of those plays do make the highlight reels in the EPL Review Show because they dedicate the proper amount of time to the game they are covering, not the people in the game they are covering.

I can praise this show all I want, but I get an odd feeling that TV executives at NBC, ESPN or Fox aren’t going to be listening to my carping. That’s okay because I’m a glass half full guy. What I’ll do is sit down every week and enjoy highlights from the most fantastic soccer league in the world. I’ll also get to see a second highlight goal from Steve Sidwell in Fulham, not long after Kasami’s goal of the year candidate. – Kevin

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Dusty’s Blog: Dusty answers five random questions

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You know, every week we get so many cards and letters here at the Stunt Granny Headquarters, it’s just ridiculous. Normally we just completely ignore them, because we are so much better than all you readers out there. Sometimes Jeremy will take a letter into the bathroom with him if we are running low on toilet paper.

But now I have decided in the interest of creating content, to change all that. Every week I will be answering five random questions from you, our lovely loyal readers. Without any further ado, throw your mittens around your kittens and away we go:

1.) What are your thoughts on the Repo Man? – Dusty G., Fond du Lac, Wisc.

Yeah, that’s an interesting question, Dusty, I was just thinking about the Repo Man. Like, have you ever wondered who drives the Repo Man to the place where he is repoing the car? Because he always just hot wires the car and drives away with it, right? So, like, is a friend dropping him at the house so he can repo the car? Is he taking public transportation, like a bus or a taxi cab to get to the place to repo the car? Perhaps there is a never ending stream of repo’d cars that serve the purpose of leading him to the next house to repo the next car. Maybe he lives close by and just walked.

The point of the matter is that Repo was completely awesome and I always felt like if a bunch of the guys had teamed up to eliminate Yokozuna at the 1993 Royal Rumble, that match was Repo’s for the taking. See what I did there with that sentence? Why am I asking you the questions?

2.) What are your thoughts on the whole Jimmy Hart/Nasty Boys/Natural Disasters/Money Inc thing? – Dusty G., Fond du Lac, Wisc.

Yeah, that’s an excellent question. I was just thinking about this recently. See, it all goes back to Mr Fuji in 1990. In early ’90 Fuji managed the Powers of Pain. And then in like February, he debuted the Orient Express. Everyone put up a stink about what an obvious conflict of interest this was, and so Fuji ended up selling the Warlord to Slick and the Barbarian to Bobby Heenan, so he could concentrate all of his energies on managing his new, completely inferior team. It was tremendous booking.

So now Jimmy Hart in 1991. His Nasty Boys win the tag belts from the Hart Foundation at WrestleMania so that they can drop the belts to the Legion of Doom at SummerSlam and break up the Foundation so that Bret can finally get a big singles push. The problems start right before SummerSlam when Jimmy unveils his new tag team, the Natural Disasters. At SummerSlam, LOD should have beaten the Nastys, and the Disasters should have beaten the Bushwhackers. And then you *have* to turn the Nastys face. You cant really split them up since they’d be crap on their own, and you can’t keep them with Jimmy since he now has a new team. So that Survivor Series match (Rockers & Bushwhackers vs Beverly Brothers & Nastys) would have to be changed around, but I’m not trying to be a completist here. I’m talking about one specific line of booking.

So then you have LOD beat the Disasters at Royal Rumble 1992, shortly thereafter Jimmy unveils another new team, Money Inc. At this point, the Disasters have to turn face, since they would be clearly butt hurt about Jimmy favoring his new team over them. Maybe you wait until after WrestleMania 8, though, where you could have LOD over the Disasters and Money Inc over the Nasty Boys, if you so wanted.

There could be many different ways to achieve that same goal, but the point is they didn’t do any of them. They keep the Nastys with Jimmy all the way through SummerSlam 1992, which was logically ridiculous and clearly defied the hallmark they themselves had put into place a couple years prior. It just honks me off like a goose!

3.) Some idiot recently said that Ultimate Warrior was the worst main eventer in history. Your thoughts, please? – Dusty G., Fond du Lac, Wisc.

Very good question. Yes, he is an idiot, first of all. Second of all, it’s not really close to true. This subject was recently batted around on Facebook and a lot of people got lost in the tall grass, arguing that Warrior was a horrible worker. It might or might not be true, but it’s completely besides the main point.

See, Diesel was the worst drawing WWF Champion in history. So since he came *after* Warrior, that automatically makes him worse, no? He was no great shakes in the ring, either. Bret got a good match out of him, but Bret could get a good match out of the couch. Diesel was atrocious, didn’t draw a dime, and he was just really terrible.

Another matter is that Warrior was completely sabotaged by Hulk Hogan every step of the way. Follow me here on a history lesson. They debuted Earthquake by making him friends with Dino Bravo and having the two attack the Warrior. Before his Mania win over Hogan for the WWF Title, Warrior was beating Bravo at house shows. Therefore, all of that would lead perfectly, one would assume, towards Warrior feuding with Earthquake post WrestleMania. It should stand to reason that the number one face should be feuding with the number one heel in the company. (Please note that I’m not slagging Rick Rude at all by saying this. It’s just that he was a step or two below Quake on the totem pole at his point.)

Instead, Hogan got the A-match at SummerSlam and all of the hype leading up to it, with the injury angle, the get well letters campaign and the guys in the corner stuff. Warrior got the second most hyped match. And then, even more ridiculously, Warrior had no feud whatsoever going into the Survivor Series. He was pasted into a survivors match that he nothing to do with (Perfect vs. Tornado, Demolition vs. LOD). And then by Royal Rumble ’91, he was already losing the belt.  Hogan, meanwhile, carried the Earthquake feud through the end of the year, won the Rumble, and then beat Slaughter for the belt at Mania. There was never really a point during Warrior’s title reign that you couldn’t plausibly argue that Hogan was still the top star in the company.

So what I’m saying is, other than the workrate, you could conceivably blame every one of Warrior’s failings as top dog in the company on Hogan. After that he started flaking out and no showing stuff and trying to hold up Vince for more money and all of that, and I would argue that you could trace all of that back to Hogan sabotaging him in 1990.  But I mean, it’s not like Hogan has a history of doing that, or anything.

Also of note is that guys like Jack Swagger and the Miz are much worse main eventers as well. It is actually embarrassing that guys like that were allowed to hold the title. It’s a byproduct of today’s environment, where the name WWE sells the tickets and it doesn’t really matter who the champion is, and everyone gets a turn with every belt anyway, and there’s 5 million belts anyway, and nothing means anything, but man, do those guys suck. Especially Swagger.

Also of note is that workrate doesn’t mean shit in professional wrestling.

4.) Who are your top five SportsCenter anchors of all time? – Dusty G., Fond du Lac, Wisc.

Such a great question. I would have to go like this…

1 – Keith Olbermann

2 – Dan Patrick

3 – Kenny Mayne

4 – Scott Van Pelt

5 – Charley Steiner

Speaking of SportsCenter and ESPN, isn’t it weird that Chris Berman is, as Bob Ley once called Steiner, a “professional putz” when he went to Brown University and graduated with a degree in history? You would think he would be more serious, like Ley, instead of being Mr Sound Effects and guy-who-gives-everyone-a-crummy-nickname guy. Then again, him graduating college in the late 70s does explain his shitty taste in music.

5.) Who could it be now? – Dusty G., Fond du Lac, Wisc.

Not sure.

Stunt Granny Big 11 Week Ending 8/27/11

1. Matt Hardy – Pointing out that he has made yet another mistake is just getting old.  Can he please do something that proves us wrong? Crashing your Corvette in to a tree isn’t going to do it. – Jeremy

2. Ken Doane – There has been a Ken Doane sighting, friends. He was announced as another member of The Wrestling Revolution Project. You may remember him, with a groan, as Kenny Dykstra. He should be on par with Dolph Ziggler or The Miz by now but oh well. – Jeremy

3. Todd Grisham – So he was wished a fond farewell by William Regal on NXT. Is this a joke? Grisham is going to ESPN? This has to mean he is covering soccer for the network right? Not sure I can take him seriously as an anchor on Sportscenter. Then again anyone doing Sportscenter is hard to take seriously. – Jeremy

4. Colt Cabana – Colt joins the aforementioned Ken Doane as a) a member of the new Wrestling Revolution project and b) another guy I was going to hire for my wrestling company as soon as I won the lottery. Dammit.– Eric

5. Ric Flair – Man, he got skewered by Grantland.com (and honestly so). The thing is, Flair would probably remove the skewer and try to use it as collateral.– Eric

6. Dr Pepper 10 – Sorry, with Matt Hardy dominating the news, there are very few wrestling-related things to talk about. So I’ll just promote the cool, refreshing taste of Dr Pepper 10; even with only 10 calories, it tastes just as much like regular Dr Pepper as Diet Dr Pepper. *kschkschchhh* *gulp* Ahhhhhhh… – Eric

7. CM Punk vs. Kevin Nash vs. HHH vs. John Laurinitis – Still plenty of speculation going on in this little storyline. I’m digging it. Good old Johnny is the main text sending suspect in my book but I’ll let it play out. It helps that Punk is still killing it on the mic. Bigfoot could give Pipe Bomb plenty of TV time, even more than a championship reign could bring. – Kevin

8. North Carolina Indy Wrestler – Sure, I might be piling on with Matt Hardy news but this dude needs to stop being a chickenshit. NCIW obviously enjoys being invited to the annual Hardy Holiday Party and partaking in the booze and the pills, so to not get himself uninvited he goes anonymous with his letter. Be a man, step up and say who you are. If you know Matt’s friends are enablers, why do you want to go to the parties anyway? – Kevin

9. Rey Mysterio – He’s gone for a while, kids. ACL surgery is going to put him on the shelf for at least six months. Heal up and come back for one last go around before your knees are completely shot. – Kevin

10. Ivory – There is a small island in the Pacific Northwest with a population of around 8,000. One of those 8,000 people is former WWE diva Ivory. Every year at the county fair they have what is called “Trashion Fashion,” which is where people use recycled materials to make costumes. This year, Ivory entered the contest. Her costume? Using discarded pet hair to make a poodle costume. You can watch video of this here (http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/sanjuans/jsj/entertainment/128023363.html). So if you’ve never met a furry, now you can say that you have. – Dusty

11. Hulk Hogan – He apparently still hates Vince Russo after all these years:

Apparently at the last PPV, when Hogan found out what the finish was for Sting vs. Angle, he blew his stack and cut a promo on Russo saying that he didn’t know anything about wrestling because he was never a wrestler. As if you were a wrestler it makes you immune from not getting how to book wrestling . And if you weren’t, it immediately drains your IQ to where you think the only guy in wrestling who makes sense and knows what they’re talking about is Ultimate Warrior. Well, given that most who watched the show had the same reaction as Hogan, groaning over the finish, it has nothing to do with being a wrestler. But at TV, they were back to at least giving the idea whatever heat was gone.

I hope you can get past just how awful Dave’s writing was there. In any event, as someone on a message board pointed out about this, I wonder what Hulk thinks of Eric Bischoff and Dixie Carter. Also, you’d think he could use his stroke to push Russo out of the company. It’s almost like he’s full of shit or something. But… that… can’t… be… – Dusty

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