Not even a year removed from the debut of AEW Dynamite — the weekly 2 hour wrestling program from All Elite Wrestling — I consider myself a full-blown convert. Each week, WWE’s stranglehold on the pro-wrestling (ahem… “Sports Entertainment”) industry slips further and further down. In fact, just this past week, their ratings continued to plummet. And while all TV ratings right now are not-great? The WWE has less of an excuse. They are still producing weekly entertainment. It’s just that in comparison to Tony Khan’s black-white-and-gold brand… WWE is looking a lot less shiny. So much so I’m not even watching DVR’ed episodes with any zeal. At best, I listen to results (and complaints) from YouTube reviewers a few days after episodes air. While the WWE is literally too big to fail for now? As AEW Champion (and former WWE staple) Jon Moxley might say… it’s time for a paradigm shift. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #068: The Nails In WWE’s Coffin Are Elite”
For any living under a rock, #SpeakingOut is a movement in recent weeks that has exposing a litany of professional wrestlers for their misogynistic behavior publicly calling them out to be dealt with. In the wake of everything occurring throughout the world, it’s a breath of fresh air to see those in the business who need action taken against them start to suffer for their behavior.
What we’re seeing is a systemic change; where allegations are being met instantly with action and repercussions. You might say that #timesup to live by the “wait and see” or “innocent until proven guilty” defense used by many who bear the brunt of the hashtag. But it’s clear by way of all that has come out:
Women will be believed. They will be heard. And those accused must deal with the ramifications. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #067: Speaking Out on Pro Wrestling”
Can I call you Corny? Probably not. I don’t know you personally. But I address you as such because you’re undeserving of a more formal address like Mr. Cornette.
I wanted to write you today to specifically respond to a few of your opinions you’ve infected the world with lately. Specifically these:
On WWE’s Becky Lynch (Rebecca Quinn):
“This is a multi-million dollar talent and she tells me she’s pregnant? What the fuck?” Cornette continues. “This is like one of the boys breaking his leg on purpose while he’s on top. You can control this, this is not like a fuckin’ injury. This could have been controlled. It’s not like I don’t never want them to have children, but when both of you have top spots where you can make seven fuckin’ figures a year and blah, blah, blah. Wait three years and have a fuckin’ baby.”
And on WWE’s Dana Brooke (Ashley Sebera):
“Her entire face looks like it was remodeled after somebody set fire to it and put it out with an axe. What the f**k has happened? Did she do that on purpose or was she in a horrible accident? What the f**k?”
Well, Jimmy? Let’s get a few caveats out of the way. You’re entitled to hold any opinion you want. You’re more than welcome to spread that opinion on any platform willing to present you. And folks who follow you have the right to agree with your musings. Cool? Cool. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #064: Dear Mr. Cornette”
Just in time for professional wrestling to implode, Pop Culture Squad is proud to present the pilot to Another Smart Marc — a pro wrestling podcast as part of our Pop Culture Squadcast Network!
Join PCS columnist SmartMarc Alan Fishman and his guest, singer/songwriter Jeremy Lieb as they breakdown the coming and (mostly) goings in the world of rasslin’.
The lads discuss the current empty arena shows — the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’re taking Friar Ferguson levels of ugly. And if you get that reference? Well my friend, you’re just another smart mark.
With the increasing pressure of the CDC, state governance, and… well… common sense, live entertainment may be on the verge of hiatus. I speak specifically of professional wrestling — with both the WWE and AEW continuing to produce shows weekly. This perhaps coming to no greater head than Wrestlemania itself. Let’s just unpack that, shall we?
Vince McMahon’s first ‘Mania was the gamble that paid off to dividends still reverberating today. The WWF of 1985 presented the carnival-tinged cavalcade of muscle-bound pugilists in a venue and scope that prognosticated future success to the tune of billions of dollars earned. Fast-forward to the COVID-19 stricken wastleland that is America at present. Wrestlemania 36 just ended it’s 2-night audience-less presentation. In spite of death-defying stunts, first-and-likely-last-time-ever matchtypes like the Boneyard Match between the Undertaker and AJ Styles, or the Firefly Funhouse match between John Cena and The Fiend… after 7 hours of grunts and prat falls to the echos of an empty warehouse, I’m astounded this was considered a good idea. At all. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #062: No Audience? No Wrestling!”
It’s been a while since I’ve written to you, my adoring public. But rest assured, I’ve been knee deep in content saturation; trying to find a specific hook to yammer on about on my little home on the interwebs. Well, since it’s been long enough since my last wrestling run-down, I felt it was time to return to the squared circle and once again wax poetic on the virtues of Cody Rhodes and company. Let’s do the thing:
The win/loss record makes inconsequential matches actually matter
When AEW gets into their mid-card, their simple system of tracking wins and losses (and soft resetting at year end) means every match has a purpose. By telling us presently-not-on-the-top-five Jungle Boy is facing off with 5th ranked Superbad Kip Sabian, even without a lengthy backstory, the match suddenly matters. A win over Sabian might mean Jungle Boy gets on the ranking board. But if Kip nips Jungle Boy in the bud, he’ll hold more wins than #4 on the chart, and suddenly his stock is skyrocketing. This makes every match have ramifications. It forces us, the viewers, to think of the predetermined contests as holding a narrative built around the sport between the ropes. This suspension of belief is what pro-wrestling used to be rooted in. Continue reading ““So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #059: How AEW has the WWE in a Rest Hold”
Greetings smart-marks! I’m back one last time in 2019 to put together a list of my personal bests-and-worsts that ran afoul in the pro-wrasslin’ business. The highs were higher, the lows perhaps never lower. And while I’m no doubt cross-pollinating with a large swatch of other smarky writers? I don’t care. I learned to not care from my cousin Maxwell.
Best: MJF. Just everything about this guy this year tracks positive. Admittedly, like most of AEW stars, I had nary a clue who Maxwell Jacob Friedman was prior. But ever since that Burberry scarf sporting scallywag snarled on screen, I was hooked. He’s young. He’s cocky. I’ve yet to even see him in a full-on match. That I honestly don’t care I’ve NOT seen him in long-format yet is a testament to the worthy work he’s putting in. Part Million Dollar Man, part Internet Troll… he’s awaiting several beatings I can’t wait to see.
Worst: Sasha Banks. Let me preface my micro-rant: I did not watch her WWE Chronicle documentary about her taking time off. I didn’t because it’s unnecessary. Banks — a victim of WWE’s awful creative team (more on them later) — was dropped into a tag team program with her best friend around Wrestlemania season, and has yet to recover. Once seen as the rising heel star of NXT’s amazing women’s division… this year reduced to changing her hair color as a sign of reinvention. Honey? Call Chris Jericho. Take some notes. And maybe head back to NXT for some in-ring pointers while you’re at it. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #056: 2019 Year-End Wrestling Wrap Up!”
A while back — long enough that I no longer feel guilty for writing too much wrestling content — I’d written up some thoughts about the potential that Cody Rhodes’ All Elite Wrestling had to disrupt the professional wrestling landscape.
Well, a few months into their debut, I’m ready to say this much: if they continue to listen and learn? AEW will change that landscape enough Vince McMahon should invest in new trousers.
If I can clarify upfront though: the WWE may suffer in their ratings, ticket sales, and merchandise movement as AEW continues to gradually cement their base in the industry… but it will remain the leader in profit, size, and scope due to it’s sheer volume of talent and foothold in the zeitgeist.
What AEW has done better than any other lesser company in the space (NWA, TNA / Impact Wrestling, New Japan, etc.) is to clearly present itself as an alternative to specifically counter the programming of the McMahon empire — and doing so similar in scope. This means in essence they are attempting to zig wherever Stamford zags. They’re targeting medium sized arenas, and being judicious in their talent’s schedules. The company is being run behind the scenes by working talent, and as such, it more apt to make decisions with said talent in mind. See also: NXT under the WWE umbrella — as run (for the most part) by Paul Leveque (aka the WWE’s Triple H). But put a pin in that. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #050: All Elite? All Better than WWE”
This past weekend of August 23 – 25, 2019, PopCultureSquad attended the Keystone Comic Con at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA. It was an entertaining convention. There were high level celebrity guests and a good collection of comic professionals. Tom Holland was the big celebrity draw.
The “Artist Alley” set up was very well laid out, and even on a surprisingly busy Sunday, getting through the aisles was easily manageable. The amount of incredible creativity on display and produced was amazing. Unfortunately, we were made aware of some behind the scenes drama among the guests, which was not very pleasant. The show was not interrupted by any personal issues.
This show was definitely designed for all types of fans of pop culture. There were two types of gaming areas; tabletop and video. There was also a wrestling ring on the show floor for fans of the grappling arts.
The vendor areas flowed nicely around the guests and had a good variety of crafts, bargain comics, and high-end comic resellers. The food vending area had an interesting array of menu items and was appropriately sized for the population of the show.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable late summer show. We would be interested in going back. We would hope that the show would grow to the point that there would be a larger selection of comic pros, but that is what we hope from every show. Also, this relatively new show contended with FanExpo Canada in Toronto, and Wizard World in Chicago on the same weekend.
In parting, let us leave you with some excellent cosplay that we saw. Continue reading “Keystone Comic Con Review and Cosplay Pics”
Let me jump ahead here to be clear: I wasn’t in a place financially to allow the indulgence of AEW’s “Double or Nothing” pay-per-view. And whatever leaked dirt-sheet reports from the smarks bellowing on how amazing it was preceded this article or my decision to no longer contribute to the WWE Network subscriber base. Cool? Cool.
There’s a large part of me that wants to write directly to the smark community right now. To drop all traditional pretense to mansplain in the nicest way possible, the brief history and factual evidence that led my decision and what built this article in the first place. I want to set it aside so I can fill my column inches with pure vitriol and spite.
But I’m older, wiser, and the bitterness isn’t such that I need to level a rant that sadistic anymore. Because while I freely admit I hate-canceled my WWE Network subscription… it was done with a whimper and a sigh. Let me tell you all a tale. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #038: I quit the WWE (Mostly)”