Shahid’s Blog: A Ride Down Memory Lane – WWE Network and An Appreciation of WCW

Robocop off duty Cage Destroyer with Sting

When WWE announced its plans for its own network, I was extremely skeptical.  With the current cable climate, a dedicated paid channel seemed outdated. The idea of watching old Raw and Nitros with bargain basement reality shows and the occasional documentary didn’t strike me as a scintillating product; using dubstep in its promo videos didn’t help either.  So of course Vince McMahon presents a revolutionary product – an internet only streaming service, combining its massive library with new material that may actually be worth a damn, plus every future PPV….for 9.99 a month.

I’ve been a wrestling fan for close to 30 years, and I can honestly say this is the most groundbreaking event in my fandom.  Being able to watch a 1992 WCW PPV in HD on my iPad?  Watching World Class on my big screen TV?  Getting WrestleMania and Summerslam for free? Not only would I save money on my cable bill, I could kiss the days of 12 part YouTube videos with crappy resolution good bye.  I won’t discuss the initial hiccups or improvements which could be made.  Right now, I’ll dive into a few things I’ve experienced so far.

One thing I’ve realized during my initial weeks of watching was the in ring quality of WCW.  Say what you want about their goofy and often idiotic booking – popping in a random PPV will usually be an enjoyable experience.  It’s not hard to see why, considering their talent base during the late 80’s to mid 90s – Sting, Flair, The Steiners, Ricky Steamboat, Rick Rude, Gordy/Williams, Steve Austin, Barry Windham, Pillman, Vader……it’s a murderer’s row of talented in ring workers and/or compelling characters.

What also helped was the excellent announcing of Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura, which gave it a sports feel and made every match seemed relevant.  Plus there is an added bonus of red hot crowds, which makes a huge difference to the enjoyment level – listening to Sting/Koloff vs Anderson/Blanchard would make you think it was WrestleMania. Although I could do without the inane stipulations from Bill Watts – how you can bring in someone like Jushin Liger while outlawing top rope maneuvers is mind boggling.

Even without the context of WCW Saturday Night, Clash of the Champions or other weekly shows, WCW PPV’s tend to hold up very well during that time frame…..at least until Hogan came and brought in the era of the Three Amigos (Hogan, Sting and Savage) running roughshod until the formation of the NWO.  But thats a story for another week.  And by the way, to hell with the Shockmaster, Robocop, Johnny Gunn and Paul Roma, Horseman. -Shahid

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News You Can Use: C.M. Punk, Sting & WWE Slam City

From misfits.cinderblock.com

From misfits.cinderblock.com

– A couple of stories struck me over the weekend. One being that Dana White was asked if CM Punk would fight in the UFC. It always reminds me that the majority of wrestling fans are dumb as bricks. CM Punk wears a Gracie Jiu Jitsu hoodie and incorporates mixed martial arts moves into his professional wrestling move set so that automatically makes him good enough to fight in the best MMA company in the world. I can’t wait to start playing hockey for the Pittsburgh Penguins because I wear their shirts often and have been known to use moves by Sidney Crosby & Evgeni Malkin on my nephews to score goals in bubble hockey. CM Punk was also in the news because he was on “The Talking Dead“. I guess that would make him an actor so he should immediately be one of the detectives on the next season of True Detectives.

Sting participated in a Q&A in England and was asked if he was going to face Undertaker at Wrestlemania 31. I’m glad that bricks can now speak or else I wouldn’t have content for the site. At least Sting was smart enough to say “I really don’t know. I can say that I would love for that to happen.” because that is as likely to happen as CM Punk capturing a title in the UFC.

WWE has teamed with Mattel to make WWE Slam City, a cartoon that will have 26 two minute episodes. They already have four episodes posted. It’s definitely for children so I’m not sure I can review it properly. I may watch a PG product about fake fighting but I have standards. I’ll have my nephews view it and give me a review for the site. I’m sure they’ll do that for their super cool uncle who happens to play for the Penguins. – Kevin

Thanks to Prowrestling.net for the news stories.

CM Punk Gone From @WWE Or Just Another Angle?

angry-girl

Welcome to corporate America CM Punk. According to a report at TMZ.com CM Punk left WWE because of the way The Royal Rumble turned out and the plans for Batista to headline WrestleMania 30. He also disagreed with Daniel Bryan’s treatment and how he not only didn’t win the Royal Rumble but didn’t even appear.

Punk was livid when he learned officials scripted Batista to win the Royal Rumble … because he feels Batista isn’t in great wrestling shape and shouldn’t be featured in the title match at the upcoming WrestleMania.

So essentially, CM Punk wasn’t being recognized for his hard work and seeing others pass him on the corporate ladder pissed him off. This exact same scenario happens every single day in every office on the planet. I texted Kevin and said if this is all true then this is an absolute baby move by CM Punk. He doesn’t get what he wants so he takes off? He would have had a high profile, and logical, match with Triple H on the show. All signs pointed to CM Punk taking on Triple H for the last few weeks if not a month at the least. How was this a surprise? Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe the situation of not getting his WrestleMania main event finally wore on Punk. His interviews recently point that he was on the borderline of a total burn out so it makes sense.

I take back though that this is a baby move on Punk’s part. It is actually a rather impressive move to walk away from guaranteed money. How many of your friends do you hear bitch about their jobs and do nothing about it? Punk essentially told his boss to fuck off and left. He took his ball and went home if you will. Instead of stewing and continuing to waste away, mentally and more importantly physically, in a job he doesn’t enjoy then why not just go? Yeah he has a contract and yes he is letting people down but if he feels that this is important enough to take these actions then he should be envied.

For more on this story as well as Matt Hardy getting arrested as well as Sting to WWE rumor mongering make sure and check out Stunt Granny Audio #245 tonight. – Jeremy

Annual Sting to WWE jibber jabber has officially begun

Sting-in-Scary-Outfits-with-Champion-BeltSo here we go again with the Sting to WWE rumors and speculation. The first shot was fired by the incredibly proper and reliable Rob Feinstein’s Facebook page Sting has signed with WWE and will debut the Raw after WrestleMania 30. This should probably not be considered genuine but then if we did there would be very little to write about.  So there, story over. Ink is dry and now we just have to wait.

I was just informed Sting has signed a deal with WWE in the last 24 hours. I still think personally he will show up after Mania since it seems like Undertaker vs Brock is what they are aiming for. Reminds me when everyone thought Brock would debut in Miami but they waited for Raw
See, told ya. Making the story even more legitimate is this from Sportsrant.com who has the proverbial “reliable source” stating Sting has already agreed to a deal.
I have heard it from a good source that Sting and WWE have actually agreed to a deal, including a WWE Hall of Fame induction. The Hall of Fame induction may not come in 2014, but possibly 2015 as WWE may want to feature Sting and get the fan base familiar with him on WWE Television over the next year so that his induction is even more special. I anticipate a career DVD will also be in the mix later this year as well as a heavy presence of Sting on WWE Network.
The deal includes a Hall of Fame induction in 2015 so that audiences can get familiar with Sting. It wasn’t meant as a slap in the face of Dixie Carter and TNA but it sure was a slap in the face. I commend Anthony Dimoro for this statement. The average WWE audience now has no earthly idea who Sting is and why he will be treated as important.Introducing Sting to an after WrestleMania crowd will give him instant credibility with the longtime fans going nuts over the aging star. It also allows Sting the opportunity to get in some sort of in ring shape after years of wrestling with a t-shirt.Oh my god I am doing it. I am writing as if any of these reports hold any credibility.

Look, it is entirely possible Sting will end up in WWE. His TNA contract is up and they write him off TNA television, oops, spoiler.  When that happens everyone will know for sure. These type of signings always leak. If and when there is a confirmation then we can all start complaining or all start celebrating. Until then, let’s not start the cycle already. -Jeremy

@ImpactWrestling – Total Nonsense Analysis of #Genesis Part II

michelangelo_Sistine1_genesis27_Sun_Moon_Plants1

Michelangelo is rolling over in his grave.

– I know that showing Kurt Angle on top of the cage was supposed to be a tease, but I think it’s a bad decision. I say just go with the call and don’t even have a still picture of him there.

– The investors angle is so premature. Dixie Carter should have lorded over the company for longer than she has. I’m glad the lawyer wasn’t terrible. At least he didn’t look like a local wrestler which makes the part seem even worse than what it could be. We can leave the “EMTs”, “Security” or “Police Officers” to local wrestlers.

– I’m starting to think that James Storm is going to be wasted talent. He lost his match against Gunner, who had put up his briefcase that makes him the number one contender for the TNA Title. I really used to feel bad for Storm but he looked sloppy in the ring and could really use to tone up again.

– The dumb angle between Chris Sabin and Velvet Sky overshadowed Austin Aries recapturing the X Division Championship. Both of these matches have felt rushed too. Too short for what was at stake and to drive home a point from last week, these aren’t PPV quality or length matches. I thought Sabin & Aries did fine but it still wasn’t that length or quality. The dumb angle may finally be over. It made Sabin look ever stupider than he has been because he had Velvet bring a pipe to ring side. She ended up giving him a teddy bear. To make matters worse, Sabin looked at Velvet in full view of the referee and said “Where’s the pipe?” Wouldn’t the referee have to disqualify you then? Or was that his intention because he’d still retain the belt? We’ll go with the later to not make him a complete bone head. They haven’t been on the same page, why did you strategize around her? The other problem with this feud is that the X Division belt has been playing hot potato and been devalued. It’s no worse then the IC or US Belts.

– I dig #TheWolves segment. Sure, you could compare it to some of the Shield videos but I thought they gave it less terrorist, more Boondocks Saints style with how they were dressed. It also put Davey Richards in a much more comfortable spot. Eddie Edwards is better on the mic but benefited from the video package too.

boondock-saintsKurt Angle took a brutal bump from the top of the cage moonsault. Bobby Roode took entirely too long to get out of the cage after. He then went back out equally as slowly a second time. The match had been pretty good up until that point. For a third time, Bobby Roode took the hands first approach to going out the cage even though, duh, your feet need to touch first. It was supposed to be dramatic when Kurt Angle dropped off the side of the cage to the mat for the win but it just made the whole affair look silly. A third match that wasn’t really PPV level. Who ever was chanting “This is awesome” by himself shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce.

Ethan Carter the Third hyping up Rockstar Spud was kind of funny. I may have liked the addition of Zema Ion to the Bromans but this gimmick is feeling really dated during this promo. Even Taz called it #BadAnnoyingPromo. Eric Young rushes the ring. He gets his ass kicked then Abyss shows up. I had to get a laugh out of the TNA crowd chanting No! with a gentleman chanting Yes! even further back when Abyss decided not to choke slam EY. I’m just saying it’s not a good idea to put someone in your company in a spot where the crowd wants to chant those two words. I know they’re simple and used all of the time but they are owned by WWE & Daniel Bryan currently. The Samoa Joe promo was solid too. He only has intense in his bag of tricks but when he harnesses it, it works.

Samoa Joe wins in a squash match against Rockstar Spud as he should. Now, I didn’t read the spoilers for this show but I believe from reading some message boards that Joe ends up turning on Sting. If that is the case, I will say that they are doing Magnus a disservice. This match starts with fifteen minutes left on my DVR. Not exactly an appropriate length for a main event on a PPV. You gotta go twenty. Of course, the less of Sting we see in the ring, the better. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian of Bad Influence help out EC3 to attack Samoa Joe. He wipes them out. The Bromans then beat down Joe. Everyone then moves on to Sting. So again I’ll say, this is a main event PPV, right? Woof. Kurt Angle makes a super save. Magnus taps out when a referee is knocked out. Magnus gets the upper hand then Suplex Slams Sting who stays down for an inordinate amount of time for such a weak move. Wow, that segment was worse than I had imagined. No Samoa Joe turning but this still did no good for Magnus. If you’re not renewing Stings contract, good then he should do a clean job not this convoluted bull shit. – Kevin

@ImpactWrestling Total Nonsense Analysis

monkey-see– TNA is doing the same exact thing with Magnus that the WWE did with Randy Orton. Rockstar Spud & Dixie Carter should not be getting the heat for the new champion Magnus. At least in the WWE, people disliked HHH & Stephanie but they aren’t getting that kind of heat. I love the canned boos as the camera shows people talking to each other and sitting on their hands. Jeff Hardy screeching like a woman did not help himself look like a main event player. Neither did saying the title doesn’t mean anything to him is stupid. EC3 isn’t worthy of fighting a washed up Sting. That’s a pretty sad statement.

– Oh my goodness, Dixie Carter cut herself off with a commercial. Why did someone think this segment was a good idea? Gunner getting the title shot is a head scratcher to me. You just crowned a new young champion in Magnus. Give the shot to an established star who can help raise the new champion’s stock even if he cheats to win said match. Plus, Gunner is terrible on the mic and not so good in the ring. James Storm is a hard head for not accepting Gunner’s help. Having Storm winning the case would be a perfect tonic. Dixie Carter, no one cares that you’re stringing along this “major announcement.”

– The double DQ for James Storm and Gunner is a feud extender but I don’t care because they’re both stuck in this all too familar to TNA weird grey zone. James Storm bitched like a girl about Gunner selling him out at the bar and tossing him out of the way for a title shot. Gunner is defending himself but he’s not good enough verbally to dig himself out of the accusations.

Brooke Tessmacher calls out Bully Ray so that he can get some creepy horror movie music. “It’s going to get a lot worse for everyone.” So it’s going to be worse than you “Almost taking down TNA” within the past year if I’m to believe what they told me on TV? What’s your plan, get TNA going like a cockroach after a nuclear winter? Thanks for adding to my material to mock.

– The second video for Magnus was much better. He’s putting a little heat on himself with the Main Event Mafia conspiracy. He could feud with Samoa Joe. I wouldn’t argue in the ring.

– I like the Joseph Park character more than the Abyss character. But how long can you keep running a gimmick that has a timid man who can’t wrestle? He has been good enough on the mic to fill a manager role but is that what the person playing him wants? I have my doubts. They could re-imagine the Abyss character too and make him a hybrid of his current characters or a have him flip between the personalities. I’ll give this angle a chance.

– I liked the third video package from Magnus too. He showed spine which he hadn’t done for months. The looming specter of Rockstar Spud and Dixie Carter makes this an angle that could turn into a train wreck if his personality can’t stand out from those two bafoons.

– I know I’m not breaking any new ground with this statement but Lai’d Tapa is super green. Having her in there with ODB, who isn’t exactly a technician herself, makes for a tough match to watch. Even Lai’d Tapa’s facial expressions are bad.

Magnus video number four credited Dixie Carter for seeing his brilliance. Hit the brakes Mr. Engineer!

– Holy Shit Snacks as Pam Hoovey would say. That was Dixie‘s announcement? The Bromans are joining Rockstar Spud & EC3? That isn’t a big announcement. I wasn’t paying attention to Dixie’s “announcements” already. If you’re going to make terrible announcements like that, I’ll be sure not to pay attention. Nothing about the Bromans should concern Sting or Jeff Hardy especially since it’s a tag match. 4 Chumps vs 2 Main Eventers.

– While watching the match, Mike Tenay reminds me the announcement was the coronation of Magnus as champion was the big announcement. Whoops. It’s still not going to make me pay attention to her big announcements because that’s just standard wrestling procedure 101. I’m pretty sure I just heard the wreck. The engineer didn’t brake in time. Speaking of that tactic book, EC3 rolling up Sting with a handful of tights is classic heel move 101 and is the best thing they’ve done for him so far. Too bad he still sucks. Jeff Hardy is gone until light shines on this kingdom. Very Jeff Hardy like announcement. He may not be as good as he was in the WWE, but I still think he’s kept his act fresh with the talk over videos and little tweaks to his character. Hardy toned down his in ring act enough to stick around. Whether it’s an angle or real, (I don’t remember reading anything on the topic) this isn’t a good time for Hardy to be skipping town. – Kevin

News You Can Use – Christmas Bounty, Dixieland, Jim Ross and Total Divas

news_listing_headerMy woman is just so excited about Mike “The Miz” Mizanin movie “Christmas Bounty” airing tonight on ABC Family. She watches some of the most horrific movies that I’ve ever laid eyes on. To put this into perspective, I’ve sat through the entire run of Mystery Science Theater 3000, CSI: Miami and Hawaii Five-O (The new version) and have gotten all kinds of laughs. Do I know all of these shows are terrible? Yes I do. Are they horrific? No. So stay tuned for a short synopsis from the Queen of Cheese-tastic Christmas movies.

Jim Ross had this to say about Big E Langston and Roman Reigns because of some of his Twitter followers

Some fans need to exert a little more patience while young talents such as Reigns and Big E evolve to the next level.

Ross had mentioned this after not liking Big E’s promo. I’m not sure who these fans are because I haven’t seen too many complaints about either man online. I feel like this is code for Jim Ross wanting to bash the WWE writers. How exactly is Big E going to get over on the mic if he doesn’t have mic time? The same can be said about Roman Reigns. His in ring work got featured on Raw but the Shield wasn’t in a solitary backstage segment. How about the WWE show some patience and not team Big E with Mark Henry then have the announcers speculate about a new tag team? You just gave him the Intercontinental Title last week on Raw. Show some patience and give him more fodder to defend the belt. Jim Ross is good at selectively picking who he responds to in his blog.

According to Zap2It.com (by way of Prowrestling.net) Total Divas has been renewed for another season. When I informed my lady that it was renewed last night I got a groan and maybe a grunt. I barely talked her into the column for the second half of this season. I may need to pay her to do it next season. We’re making a profit, right?

I finally got around to reading the “Dixieland” article on SI.com which she referenced on last week’s Impact Wrestling. I had to laugh at a couple of points which the writer made. The first point was about getting on Spike TV:

Getting onto a visible cable platform allowed Dixie and TNA to lure away some of their competitor’s bigger stars. Jeff Hardy, a wildly popular WWE wrestler in the late 90s and early 2000s with his brother Matt, under the moniker “The Hardy Boyz,” joined TNA in 2004. Two-time Olympic wrestling gold medalist Kurt Angle joined the company in 2006. Steve Borden, a.k.a. Sting, signed with TNA in 2003 and is widely considered the most popular pro wrestler ever to never work for the WWE.

That is full of entertainment. TNA allegedly lured away Jeff Hardy and Kurt Angle by supplying them with drugs before finally cutting them off. I can’t argue with the point about Sting so one out of three correct isn’t too bad. The bar is set pretty low for the media these days. Dixie had her own whopper:

One of the continuous hurdles she’s had to overcome is the perception that one has to grow up in the wrestling business to be good at it. It’s believed that Dixie is the first and only female pro wrestling owner to not have any familial ties to wrestlers…That’s all any business is,” said Dixie. “You don’t have to know wrestling. You’ll know wrestling eventually, but business is about making good decisions, putting good people around you and managing them.
I agree with her in that you don’t need to grow up in wrestling to be good at it. None of us grew up in wrestling but we can totally book better than anyone who has ever written wrestling. The entertaining part is about making good decisions, good people and managing them. Dixie hasn’t made good decisions (Putting herself on TV), hasn’t brought in good people (Eric Bischoff & Hulk Hogan) and she hasn’t managed anyone as far as I can tell (Except for her dad to keep putting money into the product). The last point is peppered through out the second half of the article but AJ Styles sums it up quite well:
I think we have to think outside the wrestling box.,” said Styles. “That’s the most important thing we need to do. Wrestling’s been done a certain way for so long and I think if we can go outside that thinking and change the way we do things, storylines and what not, that will separate us from the WWE. We can’t be like them — we have to be the alternative. We need to be something different.
TNA and Dixie Carter have been saying for a decade that they need to be different than the WWE yet they’ve provided us with a watered down version of the Attitude Era with many of those stars for that same time period. I can’t wait for another decade of ineptitude since they aren’t selling the company. At least they’ll let me do the same blog that every other wrestling fan does. – Kevin
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