Tag: Wrestling

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #067: Speaking Out on Pro Wrestling

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #067: Speaking Out on Pro Wrestling

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”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #064: Dear Mr. Cornette

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #064: Dear Mr. Cornette

Dear Corny,

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”

Another Smart Marc Podcast — The Pilot!

Another Smart Marc Podcast — The Pilot!

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.

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So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #056: 2019 Year-End Wrestling Wrap Up!

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #056: 2019 Year-End Wrestling Wrap Up!

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!”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #050: All Elite? All Better than WWE

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #050: All Elite? All Better than WWE

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”

Keystone Comic Con Review and Cosplay Pics

Keystone Comic Con Review and Cosplay Pics

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”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #035: WTFWWE

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #035: WTFWWE

As warned last week, I’m gonna get knee-deep in some WWE opinionatin’. Strap in, slapnuts, we’re about to break it down.

Wrestlemania (35, but who’s counting) was a sordid affair that outstayed its welcome by a little over 2 hours. The never-ending pay-per-view delivered one match for the ages (Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston), a few we’ll certainly remember (Brock Lesner being taken to dick-punch-city losing to Seth Friggin’ Rollins and Becky Lynch kicking ass and chewing bubblegum), and the rest a mostly-forgettable mash of who-cares. Following Mania came the always-odd RAW and Smackdown post-shows; each delivering their fair share of follow-up angles, new debuts, and ultimately (a week later), a pair of “superstar shake-up” episodes to reset the rosters and kickstart the next year of programming. Rather than figure a way to create a single cohesive thesis to tie my waning thoughts about all the back-and-forths… I figure it behooves me to listicle out each errant bon mot and wax poetic before moving on. Allez cuisine!  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #035: WTFWWE”

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)”