Tuesday, October 18, 2016

It's about time for another random appearance of this guy in WWE

For someone who had a WWE career that lasted only a few months and was most famous for eating worms, Marty Wright has had impressive longevity with his creation that brought him into the biggest wrestling company in the world. He has reappeared numerous times for the company since he left, and seems poised to become a Halloween tradition for the company if they choose to make him so.

Image credit: WWE.com.
While I am always more a fan of scientific wrestling than anything else, I cannot pretend there isn't a place in any company for characters like The Boogeyman. His brand of weird brings a levity to any promotion, even if I can only watch a guy eat so many worms.

With Raw following on Halloween night this year, what do you think the chances of a Boogeyman return will be?

Monday, October 17, 2016

The New Day must wrestle this team!

As the New Day gets close to breaking the record and becoming the longest reigning tag team in WWE history, they have toppled pretty much everyone they can topple. The Club, The Dudleys, The Prime Time Players, The Usos, The Wyatts, etc., etc. No one has been able to beat the Power of Positivity. But if they truly want to be the greatest tag team in WWE history, they have one essential pair they must conquer to make it happen.

Who are these mystery men? I'd think it would be blatantly obvious.

Image credit: The Hannibal TV on Youtube.
Their names are Ax and Smash, but most folks just know them as Demolition. Right now, they are the longest reigning tag team in WWE history. And although their heyday was 24 years ago and they are now 68 and 57, both men still make in-ring appearances in make-up, even if they aren't quite the muscled brutes of yesteryear. A one night appearance by both men, preferably on the Raw before The New Day reach their historic title reign in early December, would be a perfect way to culminate The New Day's position as the preeminent tag team of the modern era.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I don't get the hatred of David Otunga

Look, we all know the ideal Smackdown Live! announce team would be Mauro Ranallo and Corey Graves. We all hoped for it. It didn't happen however. Instead JBL made the move, and the recent replacement for Jerry "The King" Lawler became a full time member of the announce team.

But while the show has brought some great storytelling back to WWE television, I hear way too much about David Otunga and how terrible he is. Look, we can all agree Otunga isn't exactly the world's number one announcers. But I see no problem with him. He's perfectly capable of telling the story in the ring. He creates a good counterpoint to Ranallo's over-enthusiasm and JBL's constant push for the heels.

Sure, he will never be the perfect member of any announce team, but neither is he the abomination the internet seems to think he is. Let's give the man a break and focus on the real problems WWE needs to fix: the lack of midcard depth on Smackdown or Raw's inability to get any new stars not named Kevin Owens over.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tommy's Take on WWE No Mercy 2016

Hey all, I have returned nearly a month after my first post.

My time management sucks.

Credit Heavy.com
For what it's worth, my thoughts on Raw's Clash of the Champions, in a nutshell? Smackdown blew them away.

Now we're on to the second Smackdown PPV, No Mercy. Again, this is not a comprehensive recap. For that, there are better writers to seek out. These are just my thoughts on the show.

Kickoff Match: American Alpha & The Hype Bros. beat The Ascension & The Vaudevillains.
WWE World Title Triple Threat Match: AJ Styles (c) retained against John Cena and Dean Ambrose by pinning Cena.
Nikki Bella pinned Carmella.
Smackdown Tag Team Champions Heath Slater & Rhyno stopped The Usos.
Baron Corbin toppled Jack Swagger.
Title vs Career Match: Dolph Ziggler pinned The Miz (w/Maryse) to become the Intercontinental Champion.
Naomi beat Alexa Bliss.
Bray Wyatt pinned Randy Orton.

 My thoughts:

  • Miz and Ziggler steal the show...again. Dolph Ziggler versus The Miz wasn't just a great match, it had emotions. The fans bought into Ziggler's struggle and The Miz needing to be taken down a peg. This was a better match than Backlash, if only because Ziggler was selling both the desperation and his leg (more consistently than last month, anyway). The key, of course, is what happens next. Fans care about Ziggler again, and Miz is still on fire...but aside from the mandatory rematch, what happens to capitalize on this? There's not a lot of heel depth for Ziggler to feud with (aside from revisiting his feud with Baron Corbin, which nobody wants). Maybe Luke Harper or Bray Wyatt, intertwining Ziggler with Orton?
  • Welcome back. It takes a lot to really get me to mark out these days, and I had become convinced that Wyatt versus Orton was going to end with Orton punting Bray Wyatt into the WWE history books. Instead, we got the return of Luke Harper, and it gives me (foolish) hope for the future of The Wyatt Family. Orton and Bray had a good match, but the crowd was dead and even I never felt like Orton was ever in any real danger until Harper showed up. That's what two and a half years of booking Bray as a punching bag for the top stars will do to "The New Face of Fear". I have seen calls clamoring (again) for a Harper vs Wyatt feud, but let's be honest: It will be a long time before that feud will ever do either man any favors. Let them run roughshod. Heck, at this point I would be happy with Harper and Wyatt as tag team champions.
  • Poor Ms. Bliss. I felt, going into this show, that Alexa Bliss was in no way a threat to Becky Lynch, and that Lynch was probably just treading water until Eva Marie returns. I like Bliss, as she's very athletic, has a great look and is promising on the microphone (it just seems like her comfort level isn't quite there yet)...and so Lynch's mysterious injury seemed like a perfect opportunity to begin building her as a proper threat. I got nervous when she came out and cut her promo, because that seemed like the perfect set up for the arrogant heel to get squashed (I was almost expecting an Asuka debut). Instead we got Naomi. What followed was a sloppy match that seemed like it was telling a story (Alexa Bliss working the arm in response to Becky's own Dis-Arm-Her)...and Naomi squeezing out a lucky win. If you want to make Alexa seem like a legitimate threat to the title, that wasn't the way to do it. Instead she's been repeatedly overshadowed by Eva Marie and Carmella, the former of whom is a notoriously bad in ring worker and the latter of whom hasn't been able to draw a crowd reaction on the main roster as a face or a heel. Hopefully they bail Bliss out before she become another NXT also-ran (like most of the Kickoff show's Superstars).
  • The pacing of the show. I enjoyed the show. I even understand putting the World Title match on in the beginning because of the Presidential debate. That said, the pacing was just a little weird, especially when the pacing peaked with the Intercontinental Title Match and the last two matches were largely performed in front of dead crowds...and this wasn't even a Raw/WrestleMania/Summerslam effect where the fans had been sitting through a show that was just waaaaay too long. Obviously, it doesn't help when someone as popular as Becky is taken off the show at the last minute, but Miz hasn't wrestled in front of a dead crowd in years, and he and Ziggler stole the show last month, so they should have been the obvious choice to end the show if the World Title Match was going on first.
  • Faces and heels are officially dead. Jim Ross said on his blog today that he didn't understand AJ Style being booked to cheat when he was clearly the crowd favorite. Unfortunately, Jim Ross and I both need to come to grips with the fact that faces and heels are dead. There are several examples of this in WWE right now, but when The Miz and Dolph Ziggler are getting split "Let's go, Ziggler!" "Let's go, Miz!" chants, it is time to stop worrying about who is getting booed and who is getting cheered once and for all, and just focus on who elicits a crowd reaction and who doesn't. ESPECIALLY when a certain segment of the audience loves to voraciously boo babyfaces until they turn heel...then cheer them to the point that they turn them back into babyfaces...at which point they are booed again. Stop worrying about it. That goes to you, me, Jim Ross and WWE Creative. The wrestling audience has morphed into a whole other beast, for better or for worse.
  • Stop being too smart for your own good, WWE. WWE matches have been having lots of creative spots and finishes these days...and it's not necessarily a good thing. Some things (like Luke Harper appearing in the ring, but not actually touching Orton, so as to not cause a DQ) aren't bad. Other things (like Cesaro and Sheamus fighting to a draw in a Best of Seven Series, or AJ Styles tapping out to two men, and so the match carries on as if nothing had happened) are pretty silly at best, or make you feel like you wasted your time at worse. This is made doubly bad when it seems like cutesy finishes like these are popping up on every major show now. Possibly the only thing that annoys me more at this point are all the false finishes that pop up in just about every match, especially all the finisher kickouts. Heck, the biggest highlight I've seen on regular TV in months was Ambrose pinning Cena with a sunset flip, because it was a non-finisher pinfall, which made non-finisher/interference/weapon pinfalls look possible again.
Thanks for reading, and I'll try to manage my time better to post new thoughts sooner.

The ballad of Shane Hollister: SCW 'Wicked Ways' in review

Image credit: Jennifer PV Logsdon.
I could talk about a lot of things in relationship to SCW's Wicked Ways event on Saturday night. Marek Brave went full heel and debuted his fashionista gimmick in Scott County Wrestling. Angelus Layne made her debut for the promotion to hand Violet Parker her first loss. Adrian Alexander grew a beard and changed his name to Xander Killen. The tag division securely set a three way feud for the months ahead. Overall, it was a very good show with a bunch of solid matches.

But the real story was the loss to the wrestling world of one Shane Hollister. Hollister announced the event would be his retirement just a few days beforehand, though he made no secret that his days in wrestling were numbered. With a significant other and children in his life, he was leaving wrestling behind to be a provider and a father. It's a decision you have to respect from anyone that toiled his way around the independents for over a decade.

That doesn't make it any less sad for me though.

I first discovered Shane Hollister through Chikara of all places. Before that, he was a name at a few NWA No Limits shows I never saw, but little more. But he made exactly one appearance for my favorite promotion: a loss to Trik Davis in a first round match during the Young Lions Cup. I'm not sure what there intrigued me about the young star (probably the announcement of his Iowa origins), but I saw potential in the young Shug.

I watched him in AAW matches, celebrated as he won pretty much everything you could win in his trainer Danny Daniels' little Midwest indie that could. An AAW Triple Crown champion, he held the Heavyweight title for over a year, beating two far larger men with far more fame now than him: Michael Elgin and current WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens. He had a huge 2013 with amazing matches as he added sporadic CZW appearances to his career path.

An injury derailed him in late 2014 and though he would return to his home promotion of SCW (where he's also a Triple Crown winner) and AAW, it seemed clear that his months away from the promotion changed Shane's approach to the squared circle. His appearances were far more limited now, and it seemed clear he was rethinking ten years on the independents without a sign of interest from WWE, TNA or even Ring of Honor.

But on Saturday night, Shane wrestled a true classic against Marek Brave. When Brave tried to take the shortcut and use a chair, it became a no disqualification match. The two men brutally assaulted each other with the chair and the stairs. Both men got in some of their finest work I've seen in any SCW match. In the end, Brave used the chair and a handful of pants to get the win and retire Hollister once and for all. It was an epic contest and a great way to send a superb talent home just short of his thirtieth birthday.

Maybe not everyone knows the name Shane Hollister. Heck, outside the Midwest, he's probably still someone no one heard about. But his excellent combination of strikes and submissions made him one of the most exciting wrestlers to watch anywhere. Sure, he was small even by wrestling standards, but as I watch the Cruiserweight division take off on Raw,

Go out and watch some Hollister matches. You can find a plethora of them on Youtube. And let's never forget a great name in wrestling, even as he moves on to a new stage of his life.