Tag: WWE

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #038: I quit the WWE (Mostly)

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #038: I quit the WWE (Mostly)

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)”

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 #028: The Ninth Wonder of the World

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #028: The Ninth Wonder of the World

With WrestleMania season slowly descending upon us (and go ahead and pencil in a column about that the week of the event, smart marks…), the roll out for the WWE’s Hall of Fame began this week with the news that Degeneration X would be the first of the class of 2019. Entering the hall for the stable will be Triple H, Shawn Michaels (his second Hall of Fame ring), “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn, “The Road Dogg” Jessie James… and Chyna. The news was mostly accepted with some fanfare. DX was the WWE’s answer to WCW’s NWO stable — and was instrumental in eventually helping McMahon’s company to topple the competition at the end of the Monday Night Wars.

In short: the smart marks have their panties in a bunch over the accolade specifically because Chyna herself hasn’t been inducted alone, as the singles star she was for the company. Many feel that this is a backhanded compliment to the late Joanie Laurer (Chyna’s real name) to let her in to the hall without truly recognizing her contributions to the WWE at large. Further to that point, Paul Levesque (WWE VP of Talent Relations and semi-retired professional wrestler Triple H) when asked year after year why Chyna has fallen to the wayside with a Hall of Fame induction, often cited Laurer’s complicated personal issues as muddying the waters to grant her with the tribute.

And with the fanfare of the announcement of induction-by-way-of-stable comes the controversy. And who would I be if I didn’t have an opinion to share on the matter?  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #028: The Ninth Wonder of the World”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #023: MOSTLY IN On AEW

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #023: MOSTLY IN On AEW

The siren’s song of Pro Wrasslin’ hath grabbed me again, and I’m unable to think about much else pop culture wise these days. The groundswell amongst smart marks such as myself is reaching a fever pitch over the announcements concerning AEW — All Elite Wrestling. Financially backed by the Shah family, helmed in-part by Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks, with a growing talent roster highlighted by “Mr. Highlight Reel” himself, Chris Jericho. In short? AEW, more than any other promotion in the states, has the potential to be viable competition to the McMahon empire.

It’s not been this exciting as a fan since the Monday Night Wars… maybe, kinda, almost, hopefully.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #023: MOSTLY IN On AEW”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #020: The Year in WWE… The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #020: The Year in WWE… The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In 2018, The WWE was up, down, and all around. As I skirted towards canceling my WWE Network subscription several times… I never mustered the courage enough to say “no more”. I’ll even freely admit the only times I used my subscription was to watch the PPV’s — save, of course, for Crown Jewel and the Super Showdown. It seems the 5 hours of program I pay for otherwise via my cable bill tends to give me enough content in a given week. Such that I’ve never felt a desire to burden myself with NXT, 205 Live, or any other original programming the McMahon family wishes to inundate me with.

With that being said, I still consider myself to be a fan. I follow RAW and Smackdown Live every week, and typically watch more than enough YouTube shows on the subject than I care to admit. With the end of the year upon us, it’s time to do what so many (too many) of us smart marks do; make a list of things to argue about with one another.

I present to you now, without any further needless banter, my 2018 year in review. And because I believe in ending snarky things with a smile, we’ll go in reverse order.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #020: The Year in WWE… The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

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!

The Smarky Six #007: Week of August 13th

The Smarky Six #007: Week of August 13th

Image result for summerslamIt’s the biggest party, err event, err pay per view, err…. Summerslam is Sunday, OK? Rather than cover “stories” this week, I’m going to break down the entirety of the card with my predictions! Someone (not me) should keep track of how I do. Maybe for the next PPV we run a contest where one reader predicts opposite me, and loser does something silly. No, I’ve never heard of Cultaholic, why do you ask? JOIN US.

Continue reading “The Smarky Six #007: Week of August 13th”

Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart (1955-2018)

Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart (1955-2018)

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

The Smarky Six #006: Week of August 6th

The Smarky Six #006: Week of August 6th

Related imageHello and welcome back to yet-another listicle on pro wrestling! I mean Sports Entertainment. With only 2 weeks until the biggest party of the summer upon us… well… we got a whole boatload of wheel-spinning! Yippee. Let’s go over the week in the WWE, and see if we can separate the wheat from the chaff. Or the Rock from the Rocky as it were. The Stone Cold from the Ringmaster. The Undertaker from the Mean Mark. You get me, right, playa? Holla if you hear me. Actually, on second thought? Don’t.   Continue reading “The Smarky Six #006: Week of August 6th”