Tag: Wrestling

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #015:  The first W in WWE stands for… What?

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #015: The first W in WWE stands for… What?

This past weekend marked the first, historic, monumental, astounding, amazing, never-happened-before* pay-per-view of all female­ talent in the world of professional wrestling sports entertainment. WWE Evolution was a rather enjoyable event that shined a positive light on one of the strongest brands in American television producing content today. The evening was chock full of messaging that spoke directly to little girls straight through to women to tell them that anything they want can be achieved. And in between these self-aggrandizing promos, there were some damn fine wrestling matches to enjoy.

But somewhere after the fourth or fifth of these interstitial talking heads, wherein the performer would choke up (rightfully so mind you) over the very notion that the ladies of the WWE would be given this time to shine… I began to sour. Again to be clear: not because the event wasn’t deserving of praise — but because WWE Evolution was not erected to right a wrong… it was a consolation prize for the WWE selling its soul.

For those who don’t religiously follow the ins and outs of the World Wrestling Entertainment company, allow me to spoil the surprise. WWE Evolution was created first and foremost as a PR move to appease the noisy internet smart-marks (think gatekeepers, only slightly less awful) who would rightfully (for once!) denote that the women of the WWE would not be allowed to perform with the company at the next pay-per-view event. One week after Evolution comes WWE Crown Jewel. Coming to you live this Friday from the King Saud University Stadium, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. And in case you didn’t know? Women are not allowed to wrestle or perform in that particular country.

I won’t dive into the recent history here, if only to sum it up succinctly:

Vince McMahon accepted a ten year multi-million dollar contract with the Saudis to bring to them his oiled-up carnival several times a year. And not only would he deliver a standard show from his cavalcade of Cro-Magnon cohorts, no! Vincent Kennedy McMahon would succumb to any whim that the Crown Prince so desires.  Dust off the Undertaker? Sure! Unretire Shawn Michaels? Here’s a dump truck of money! Give the Rock the championship back? Well, it’s been reported by several outlets it’s been under consideration. And as a fan? It makes me sick.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #015: The first W in WWE stands for… What?”

The Smarky Six: Week of September 24th

The Smarky Six: Week of September 24th

The Irish Lass Kicker ambushes The Queen during a photo session prior to SmackDown LIVE going on the air.

Copyright 2018 | WWE

Welcome back to the snark show! I’d apologize for not covering the landscape of the WWE lately, but let’s all be honest: it’s not been worth it to cover. I’ve been paying attention though… and with that, let’s go ahead and run though my top stories for the week… you pencil-necked geeks.

1. AJ Styles needs to lose the belt to Samoa Joe (AKA Daddy Styles). 

Look: I love the champ that runs the camp. Styles could wrestle a broom to a five star match. And, somehow, I’ve learned to tolerate his soccer mom haircut. But his championship run essentially has felt like “the dick punch trilogy with whatshisname” and now the “who’s your daddy” with whatshisothername. And either Samoa Joe or Shinsuke Nakamura are worthy top-level heel champions. Yes, I know they put the US Title on Nakamura, but seemingly it’s a paper belt at this point. I mean crap, Orton’s feud came to a point with Jeff Hardy at Hell in a Twizzler Cell while Nakamura surfed! But I digress. AJ Styles is too good a wrestler to be dealing with these Attitude Era Lite feuds. So let’s let the House That AJ Style’s Built be imploded, and let some new talent chase the title for a little while. Styles, here in what might be his second prime, could do well to chase from underneath while elevating some mid-carders in the process.

2. It’s always good advice in visual mediums to show not tell.

This past Monday saw Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre try to get into the head of a lunatic. And they attempted this with a line of worked shoot in-continuity jabs at Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Apparently, we have to believe that while Ambrose was getting surgery, treating a staff infection, and getting jacked at the gym… his Shield-mates never called or texted him. But to tell us this, in apropos of literally no actual evidence (or even a verbal retort from the Shield) sold the whole angle short. Since coming back from injury, Ambrose has never looked better. He’s changed his style in the ring, cleaned up his look, and is elevating the top stable in company — at least in theory. But Ziggles and Galloway’s one night at the improv here just felt like the WWE writers room attempting to make a story without actually giving us any legitimate setup. If anything… Dean’s reversal of verbal barbs back on the Scottish Terminator (dumbest nickname ever, athankyew) carried far more weight. So, is this what we’re building towards? A who will abandon their stable first match? Color me meh.

And while we’re here, let me not waste another bullet on these two hot takes:

A. Dean Ambrose can’t carry another belt right now, because RAW doesn’t have any other belt. So, stop making it look like he’s missing something he can’t have.

B. It sucks that Dolph and Drew are actually having an AMAZING run in their tag team bouts. Both versus the Shield at the last PPV and the Revival this past week; I wish that the WWE creative team would just lean into that instead. The problem is, of course, aside from the Shield, RAW’s only other face tag team is the B-Team. Someone shuffle the deck, please.

3. Someone send the Bellas back to boot camp.

Not to dog-pile on the topic (as I know most of the smark community already has), but let’s just make it clear: Between her suicide dives nearly making their namesake true, and her concussing of Liv Morgan… Brie Bella is not ready for prime-time, playa. The WWE has an amazing Performance Center. I say she packs up Birdie, gets a room at the swankiest hotel in Orlando, and shakes off every last ounce of ring rust before she and her sister do whatever it is they’re supposed to be doing at Evolution.

Oh, and while we’re on that subject? If you thought that Evolution was historic and being done for the right reasons? Please see Crown Jewel as the answer to that point.

4. R-Truth led an entertaining segment and wrestled a decent match this week.

I’m not sure this is real life anymore.

And since I’m stacking topics, let’s talk about that match for a second, shall we? First off? Daniel Bryan does better commentary than Byron Saxton. Big surprise. Did you hear his salient points about Miz’s in-ring work? He touched specifically on the execution of particular moves — his powerful front kick versus his weak hip-thrown kicks — and then lamented on his need to lean on the lowest common denominators to win matches. And then? Miz poked Truth in the eye behind the back of the ref, and nailed a mock Shining Wizard for the win. In-ring execution of a story beat. So tasty I ate the moment without a side-dish. Thank you WWE Smackdown writing staff, for doing your job correctly.

5. Becky Lynch is amazing. Period. 

Her clean win over Charlotte combined with this tweener “take no guff, give me my spotlight” attitude is exactly what the women’s division needs. Where Ronda Rousey will now sit on the RAW belt like a Lesnar-Lite (while actually doing a significant number of shows, so much harder to specifically bitch here…), Lynch is owning her fighting champion role. Giving a match to Lana, and decidedly whooping her up and down was just what the doctor ordered. Charlotte is also more a natural heel mind you, but her fighting back up the card to face Becky (be it at Evolution, the Rumble, or dare we hope for Mania) will give us the legit women’s bout that we deserve after years of forced storylines across both divisions of ladies.

6. And now, a litany of hot takes to ride off into the sunset with…

Drake Maverick in his AoP gear looks like an action figure. It’s silly, and doesn’t make Toka and Razar (zing!) look intimidating. It makes them look like they traded in their grizzled veteran manager for his cheap millennial replacement.

Meanwhile, Lio Rush — with his weird Barack-by-way-of-Peele affectation — actually sells me on Bobby Lashley. I mean, sure, I’m still bored to tears when Black Lesnar wrestles… But when Rush hypes him up? It gives me something to look forward to.

Kevin Owens is being wasted week in and week out. But I heard his contract doesn’t end for several more years. So, earn that money, Kev. You deserve better. But your kids deserve the best. So it goes.

Renee Young in the commentary booth is the best thing to happen to that booth since Jerry Lawler had a heart attack. Mean? Probably. But that’s the way the shucky-ducky quack quacks.

Baron Corbin is doing the best he can in the role he’s been given. I’d like to say something more here — fantasy book him into something interesting — but even typing his name makes me yawn.

New Day vs. The Bar? It’s sad when Shamus’s point about the same old jokes holds as much weight as it does. I’m not saying split the New Day up… but I’m saying it’s time to split the New Day up.

Hey Randy? I thought the “Ten” schtick was dumb too. Stop being right, and entertaining, damnit.

Rusev is being wasted with this angle. Milwaukee? Let me introduce you to Fish Ziggler.

And last but not least this week…. I don’t give a single care in the world that HHH is facing the Undertaker for the last time ever. At all. That their entrances alone may eat up 20 minutes before they slow-motion fight through their old high spots until one heaping pile of steroids foists his sweaty body on top of the other heaping pile of surgically replaced parts…. doesn’t excite me in any way shape or form. But boy howdy, that Saudi money must be glorious!

Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart (1955-2018)

Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart (1955-2018)

Continue reading “Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart (1955-2018)”

The Smarky Six #005: Week of July 30th

The Smarky Six #005: Week of July 30th

Image result for brock lesnar readingOh, I’m sorry. Was I supposed to write the top six stories that tickled my fancy, concerning the week in the WWE? I was just sitting here on my couch. Reading “Outdoors Heels Monthly”. Or was it “I’d Rather Be In UFC, But I Get Half a Million Bucks For Being Here Weekly”. Fine. Fine. Here’s your stories, jerks.

  1. Ignore. Ignore. Yell. F5. Choke out. Smirk. Yeah, that was well worth the money.

This is what constitutes story development these days in the WWE. They have a three hour show, and Brock Lesnar acts like an insolent child for 9/10ths of it. For this Vince McMahon needs to waste $500,000? While I totally get what the creative team was attempting — make Heel Lesnar Heel — frankly, I don’t want face Roman to get a pop because Brock is made to look annoyed. However… can I really complain? From Lesnar’s point of view, I’d be annoyed too. Against Lashley or Strowman? There’s story to mine. For his 807,957th battle with Rock-with-Rogain-but-nothing-else, we have no new angles to take. Is this the time Roman finally conquers the Beast? Are we seeing him train differently? Maybe attempting to expand his repertoire? No! He’s just same-old-cock-sure-snarky-Reigns.  Continue reading “The Smarky Six #005: Week of July 30th”

The  Smarky Six #003: Week of July 16th

The Smarky Six #003: Week of July 16th

Orton overwhelms his wounded rival.
© 2018 WWE

So “Extreme Rules” was… not half bad! Letting Dolph and Seth close the show continued the elevate the only mens title on RAW. AJ’s match with Rusev made both competitors look strong (but put a pin in that). And hey, the B Team getting the tag straps? They deserved it (clap clap clapclapclap).

Of course the week in episodic wrestling did much to spin the wheels out of Sunday and turn our focus directly to “the biggest party of the summer!”. Let’s unspool this ball of yarn and pull out six hard takes to carry us into the next week, shall we?

  1. Brock Lesnar loves the WWE like I love a good colonoscopy.

Oh, Paul E. Dangerously… I can’t quit you! But lord I can quit your client. I do not buy the poop you’re shoveling, Mister Heyman. Brock Lesnar doesn’t love the WWE. The Beast Incarnate is only about 4 things: Eat. Sleep. Extort promotions for an insane amount of money to see him compete, because, yes we all acknowledge he has both a look and prowess in combat sports that is mesmerizing to see, however ultimately he is at this point only delivering a repeat of the same tried-and-true by-the-numbers performance time and again, and his time with the WWE Universal Title has ultimately grown stale because of his inability to care long enough to sell us the match. Repeat. Continue reading “The Smarky Six #003: Week of July 16th”

The Smarky Six #002: Week of July 9th

The Smarky Six #002: Week of July 9th

“Extreme Rules” is tomorrow kiddos. And boy howdy am I excited! Actually? I’m not really. I’m not not excited. After a week of ups and downs (sorry, Simon at WhatCulture!), I wound up feeling like both RAW and Smackdown had one PPV quality match each on their cards, surround by “go home” chum. Let’s unpack the week with six observations I pulled out from Kane’s Pyro. Don’t worry, Daniel Bryan set them off for me.

Continue reading “The Smarky Six #002: Week of July 9th”

5 Reasons Pro-Wrestling Isn’t Cool Anymore… But Has Never Been Better

5 Reasons Pro-Wrestling Isn’t Cool Anymore… But Has Never Been Better

Professional Wrestling has lived through several golden eras up until now. The Rock N’ Wrestling era of the 1980’s saw the birth of Hulkamania, the rise of the Ultimate Warrior, and implosion of the Mega Powers. Soon Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, The Million Dollar Man, and Junkyard Dog became household names – if only in the mouths of young boys and their cantankerous fathers who watched with the same amount of love for the sports entertainment brainchild of Vince McMahon.

Continue reading “5 Reasons Pro-Wrestling Isn’t Cool Anymore… But Has Never Been Better”