Batista (next to HBK) is the Best “Total Package” Wrestler

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2009 by ksuna24

Someone told me that Batista is the worst wrestler in the company. His ring skills are terrible. His mic skills are awful. He’s clumsy. He blows up real fast. He’s just no good. But Batista returned to RAW and received one of the biggest ovations I’ve heard in a long time. 

17,000 people cheered so hard for the return of The Animal, the zit on some kid’s nose in Idaho popped.

Coming off the heels of Wrestlemania 25 and one of the worst main events in history (Triple H vs. Randy Orton), I believe the internet wrestling community needs to reevaluate the way they feel about Dave Batista. He’s no Shelton Benjamin, but he’s far from awful. Batista has improved immensely since his debut in 2002. Triple H is praised for being able to carry any opponent through a great match. But after his stinker at Wrestlemania, I wonder if others are catching on. Triple H isn’t That Damn Good. 

So, reevaluating… was it really Triple H who made Batista stand out in their feud? Was it really Triple H who made Batista look good? Or was it Batista? Undertaker isn’t known as one of the better wrestlers in the company. But he was praised for carrying Batista through a solid feud. Was it really The Undertaker who made Batista look so good? Batista can’t outwrestle Shawn Michaels. Chances are, if you stick him in a match with a mediocre opponent, he won’t be able to carry the guy. 

Batista works best when he’s in a main event environment wrestling other capable talent. They work off one another. Batista works better when he’s with a better worker. Batista vs. Khali? Not so good. Batista vs. Jericho? That’d be a great match. 

One of Batista’s qualities is his incredible energy. It’s palpable. He’s almost Hogan-esque (while wrestling). A quick King Kong like slap on the chest and a clothesline — the roof comes off. What do the majority of internet wrestling fans hate about Batista? He’s popular and he doesn’t have to do a lot to be awesome.

The internet world wants Batista to be able to wrestle like Kurt Angle and talk like The Rock. Not gonna happen. But don’t hate the guy because he does a minimal amount of work in the ring and gets over. That’s (one of) the key(s) to success in this industry. Hogan did it best. That’s why he was able to wrestle for as long as he did. He worked smart, not hard. 

Unfortunately, Big Dave is injury prone, so he won’t last much longer. But his minimal effort delivers amazing matches. WHY? His raw energy. He’s got incredible mystique  — and when he talks, he keeps it short and sweet. 

You have to have more than natural ability to be a good wrestler. HBK is a prime example. He is the best wrestler in the world. He can talk. He can work. He can make a broom look good. Give Funaki a chance and I bet you he could put on a show-stealing classic. But he won’t get that chance because he doesn’t have “it.” He can’t work the mic (he can barely speak English), he has no hype and he’s got virtually no muscle definition. 

Batista has energy, power, size, and hype. Is he the best wrestler in the company? No. But that’s why I call him (next to Shawn Michaels), the best “total package” wrestler — because he’s got almost everything else.

(fantasy booking) Stone Cold Returns!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2009 by ksuna24

RAW, March 2nd, 2009

Chris Jericho attacks another Legend and continues with his anti-Hall of Fame protest. “3/2/09” flashes on the Titan-Tron during his promo. What does this mean? Fans are clueless.

Mickey Rourke comes out and tries to defend the legends. A scuffle ensues;  security personnel calm everyone down.

RAW, March 9th, 2009

Terry Funk opens RAW. He offers a brief introduction of himself to the new fans;  a video montage plays. He says,

“As you can see, I came prepared to fight. I’m not some old, weak, pathetic bastard. I’m Terry Funk, damnit. And Chris Jericho, I’m calling you out. And I’ll rearrange your face.”

Jericho enters in a suit and tie and begins to roll up his sleeves. An unsanctioned fight is about to go down. Funk and Jericho brawl in the center of the ring, but it ends minutes later with a Code Breaker.

Jericho cuts a promo and then “3/9/09” appears on the Titan-Tron. Cole and Lawler wonder what this means…

Jericho demands that someone explain what “3/9/09” means. And then, on the Titan-Tron, the words “NEXT WEEK” appears. Jericho becomes rigid, terrified, alert.

RAW, the following week

Jericho is on alert during the entire broadcast.

As the show comes to a close, the next HOF inductee is announced. Jericho cuts a scathing promo from the safety of his locker room. Security surrounds him at all times. Stephanie, assuming she’s “recovered,” demands that Jericho, if he has something to say, address the fans in public. His security follows him to ringside.

With five minutes left, Jericho attacks the legends of the WWE as fat, out of shape wrestlers who can’t fight back, can’t defend themselves, and try — poorly — to justify their place in the business.

And then, “3” appears on the Titan-Tron. Jericho stops talking. Jericho pushes up his sleeves, he calls for security to be alert.

“:” appears on the screen and Cole says, “Oh, OH YOU DON’T THINK!!”

“1” appears on the screen. Lawler says, “OH, COLE! I THINK YOU’RE RIGHT!!

“6”

“3:16”

STONE COLD! STONE COLD! Austin hits the ring. He takes out every security guard. Jericho watches in horror. Austin enters the ring. He marches past Jericho and goes to the turn buckle. The crowd roars, Jericho watches in shock.

Austin walks by Jericho… stops, turns around… Austin grabs the mic,

“Listen here ya’ meely mouthed sumbitch. Good ol’ Stone Cold’s been sitting back and hearing what you have to say for yourself and frankly, I think you’re fulla’ crap. You come out here and you talk about how the Hall of Famers are weak? Fat? Outta shape? Can’t defend themselves? UH-UH! STONE COLD DOESN’T AGREE WITH YOU! NOT ONE BIT, SON! So here’s what I’m fixin’ to do and you can see how it sits with you. If you like it, great. If you don’t, I don’t give a damn what you think.

Wrestlemania 25. My home state of Texas. I’m seein’ fit to put your sorry ass in check, Chris. I haven’t had a match in over five years. You know what that means? DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS? It means I’ve got this can. And this can… it’s been growing. And growing. And growing. And come April 5th, Stone Cold Steve Austin is gonna open that can. And out of it will come the BIGGEST ASS WHOOPIN’ STONE COLD HAS EVER SERVED. And the sorry bastard that’s gonna receive that ass whoopin? HIS NAME IS CHRIS JERICHO. So, if you wanna see Stone Cold beat the holy hell outta Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania 25, GIMME A HELL YEAH!”

CROWD: “HELL YEAH!”

Jericho is seething. Austin calls for a beer. Jericho hits a CODE BREAKER!

“If you people wanna see Chris Jericho prove his point that the Hall of Famers are weak, pathetic and out of shape, gimme a… well, all you have to do is open YOUR BEADY LITTLE EYES and look at your HERO. LOOK AT YOUR HERO NOW!”

RAW, March 23rd, 2009

As RAW goes live, the glass breaks and Stone Cold makes his way to the ring. He cuts a heartfelt promo on what it means to be in the HOF and then… he directs his attention to Jericho. He says once every so often, a wrestler will find himself in a situation that demands he come out of retirement. Maybe he needs money. Maybe he needs to hear the roar of the crowd. Or maybe, in Austin’s case, he needs to whoop someone’s ass.

Jericho comes out; they are face to face. Jericho lays Austin out AGAIN with the Code Breaker.

RAW, March 30th, 2009

A week before Wrestlemania, Austin is beginning to have doubts. Jericho has outsmarted him two weeks in a row. Flair appears and gives Austin a pep talk. Flair snaps on Austin, lighting a fire under his ass, like Flair tried to do with Carlito a few years back.

Austin becomes enraged. He finds Jericho backstage and puts the beating on him leaving Jericho in a heap. Stone Cold is back, but Stephanie won’t stand for it. She demands that Austin be escorted off the premises by the police. He’s handcuffed and taken away.

Jericho comes to just in time to see Austin placed in the police car and escorted away. He smiles. 

WRESTLEMANIA 25

This will be booked as a serious match. For the sake of keeping things credible, I would keep the Hall of Famers out of the story. Legends are not cheerleaders or wing men. We want to maintain our respect for their part in WWE’s history.

Welcome Back, Christian. But your re-debut sucked…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 21, 2009 by ksuna24

I get it. In theory, it even makes sense. ECW is dying a slow, agonizing death caused by poor booking, uninteresting talent and generally boring shows. So, they inject it with a hefty dose of Vitamin C and hope that he can reinvigorate (wait, was ECW ever invigorated in the first place?) the product. 

So what does the WWE do? They hire Christian back from TNA. Maybe they were bitter that he left, so they shoved him on the failing, embarrassment of a C-Rate show. Or maybe they had high hopes in Christian and thought he could deliver ratings to the much suffering ECW. If it was the latter, they sure didn’t treat him like a savior.

Where was the controversy? Where was the exciting, captivating return promo? Where were the hype up videos? No one watches ECW in the first place, so his unadvertised debut went largely unnoticed until it was flashed on WWE.com. Perhaps thats what the WWE was trying to do. Re-debut Christian on ECW without saying anything to generate a “anything can happen” sort of buzz and then the following week, when flocks of Christians peeps tune in, he comes out and really captivates the crowd. So, for the first time in almost ever, I watched an episode of ECW.

I was expecting a big promo. I was expecting Christian to do something shocking to mark his official return to the WWE. But he didn’t. He appeared backstage for such a brief period of time that I flew by it as I fast forwarded the DVR recording. 

And then, the match sucked so much I had to think for a second about who won it (even though I had only watched it 20 minutes earlier). 

So far, Christian’s return has been about as exciting as terminal cancer. If the WWE’s intent was to punish Christian for defecting to TNA, then his re-debut on ECW makes plenty of sense. But if Vince’s idea is to build ECW around Christian and make him the star of the show, they’d better start improving on his character. 

You’re probably saying, well, how would you have booked his return? I’d keep it under wraps much like the WWE did. No hype up videos, no “CHRISTIAN RETURNS” logos flashing up on the screen, no interviews on WWE.com. 

And then, as No Way Out neared, I would announce that Jack Swagger would defend the title against Finlay. But the match would be much like the old ECW events. No rules. No disqualifications. Anything goes. And I’d keep Hornswoggle from the match because remember, we’re trying to build up ECW around Christian, not a goofy little… goof. 

As the match nears its close, Swagger plans on wrapping up the match after crushing Finlay with a chair. The lights go out. Golden sparks rain down from the rafters and on the stage, Christian’s old music (see Waterproof Blonde) blasts over the speakers. The fans are stunned silent for a few seconds. The man on the stage wears a big hooded jacket, so the fans aren’t 100% sure it’s Christian until… he pushes the hood off. At this point, the announcers, Striker and Grisham, lose their minds instead of the almost silent and morose reaction Christian actually got when he re-debuted on ECW. 

He hits the ring and the fans are going crazy. Swagger is blown away, but charges at Christian. Christian sidesteps Jack Swagger and lays him out with a right hand. Christian hits the top rope and delivers a flying head butt. Swagger drags himself up on the ropes and eats an Unprettier. As the commentators lose their minds over what is occurring, Christian pins Jack Swagger and wins the ECW Title. What a surprising return!!

Now, the fans who have ordered the PPV have just been given an incredible surprise. It is announced on Monday that Christian will debut on ECW this Tuesday. During the two days leading up to ECW, the buzz will sweep through the internet like wildfire. Christian is back! Christian is back! Everyone will tune into ECW to see this controversial man make his return to the WWE! And he didn’t waste any time — he won the ECW Title in his shocking return during the Anything Goes match at Sunday’s No Way Out. 

As ECW roles around on Tuesday night, Christian makes his triumphant return to the ring. But instead of making fun of Jack Swagger’s lisp as every wrestler has done, he will grab the mic and say something different. He will say he left the WWE a few years ago because he was tired. He was burnt out. He needed to recharge his batteries and find his passion again. 

Then, he saw Jack Swagger win the ECW Title and he thought…

“I don’t like this guy. He annoys me. He drives me crazy. Someone should shut him up. NO, NO, WAIT. I SHOULD SHUT HIM UP! So I called Teddy Long and I asked him to draw up a contract. I wanted to come to ECW and put Swagger in his place. Teddy Long called me Sunday afternoon and said, The contract has been processed, all you had to do is sign it. So I flew to Washington State Sunday afternoon and signed the paper work. And then Teddy Long said, Let’s send you to production and put together a return promo package. And I said, No. Christian debuts tonight. Christian makes his mark TONIGHT. CHRISTIAN INTERJECTS HIMSELF INTO THE ANYTHING GOES MATCH.  TONIGHT! He said, Why do you want to do that? And I said, BECAUSE THAT’S HOW I ROLL!!”

Well, at least that’s how I’d have booked it.

WWE Fans: You Can’t Please ’em All…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 16, 2009 by ksuna24

I apologize for my brief absence. I’ve begun the final stages of publication on a book I’ve written about the restaurant industry.  Now, onto the business at hand…

If you’re 18 or older, chances are you’re not a John Cena fan. Maybe you don’t like him because he’s marketed to children or you don’t like him because he always comes out on top and is nicknamed Super Cena on internet forums, overcomin’ the odds in title defenses week after week, month after month. You grow tired of the product. It’s predictable.

So what does the WWE do? They go for shock and awe, something we didn’t see coming. They throw a major swerve. The Elimination Chamber at No Way Out last night featured six men on Smackdown battling for Edge’s World Title. The second Chamber match featured six men on RAW battling for Cena’s WWE Title.

Everyone knew John Cena would win his Chamber match. Jericho was his only challenger who even posed a threat (we’ve seen Cena vs. Jericho before). So it was decided: Cena would win the Chamber and on RAW, Orton would challenge Cena for the title at Mania.

Again, the WWE fans voiced their displeasure. They cried and whined about the obvious: Cena retaining his title.

But the WWE had a trick up their sleeve. Edge lost his World Title earlier in the evening in a shocking five minute upset. But The Ultimate Opportunist struck again when he took out Kofi Kingston minutes before the RAW Chamber match began. And then, Edge just took Kofi’s spot in the match. No one saw that coming.  Proving that the WWE can still drop blockbuster surprises, Edge won the World Title.

But what happened? Cena haters, who cry every time he overcomes the odds, suddenly started bitching. “The loss to Edge, who just an hour earlier lost his title in five minutes, made Cena and the RAW roster look bad.”

Why can’t WWE fans be happy? You got what you wanted: You wanted shock and awe. You wanted something unpredictable. WWE delivered and you bitch and moan.

Why? I fail to see how this loss makes John Cena look bad. He got a Codebreaker from Chris Jericho, fell into the ropes, got a 619 from Rey Mysterio, stumbled to his feet, turned around, got Speared by Edge who then pinned and beat the champ. It took three big moves, back to back, to beat John Cena. If Cena had kicked out of the three finishers, fans would bitch that Super Cena made the finishing moves of Jericho, Mysterio, and Edge look weak.

You might not want to hear this, but the fact is, Kane is a joke. Kofi hasn’t been around long enough to be considered a credible contender for the title, nor has Mike Knox. And Mysterio is hardly a threat to the title these days. So right there you’ve got four men who aren’t threats. How does this make RAW look weak when you’ve got four non-threatening men going into the match? Of the six, Jericho and Cena are the only two main event superstars in the entire match.

So you take out Kofi, replace him with the hugely popular (at least among the internet fans) Edge and suddenly Edge’s Ultimate Opportunistic victory makes RAW look bad?

WWE FANS: You wanted something unpredictable. No one saw Edge winning the World Title, and what is more exciting? — no one knows where this is going. Is Edge going to join RAW? What will the main event title matches be at Wrestlemania?

For the first time in a long time, the WWE is unpredictable. And for that, we should be happy.

The Greatest Intercontinental Champion of All The Times…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2009 by ksuna24

The Intercontinental Championship. When was the last time that title had any meaning to it? Sure, prominent superstars held the belt on occasion from Randy Orton to Jeff Hardy and Chris Jericho, but the title always seemed to be an afterthought. Did the WWE think tossing a title no one cares about on someone people like would suddenly give the title meaning?

Well, it didn’t work.

Such a shame. That title used to mean you were one step away from superstardom. It was the company’s second most prestigious title. But it became an afterthought in 2002 when Eric Bischoff got rid of the title during his reign as GM. The WWE had no interest in a mid-card title.

The title was resurrected a year later and passed from wrestler to wrestler, often with no rhyme or reason. I don’t know about you, but I frequently forgot who the IC Champion was.

And then something amazing happened in the summer of 2008. Santino Marella won the Intercontinental Championship for a second time in his career. This time, it meant something — not only for him, but for the championship. For the first time in a long time, the IC Title was getting face time on TV every week. The braggadocios Santino Marella decided that he would beat the Honky Tonk Man’s 64 week reign as IC Champion.

We had the pleasure of seeing Santino each week, announcing that he was one week closer to breaking the 64 week record. His promos were a riot. Santino was on his way to becoming the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all the times!

But something awful happened. William Regal, a man who every wrestling fan should respect for his skills, won the title. Any other day, this would be no big deal. But what is Regal going to do with the title? 

What was the point of taking the title from Santino?

So Regal could win the title in England in front of his home crowd?

So Regal could be the champ for  two months and not even defend the fuckin’ thing?

Only in the last few weeks has the title been defended on RAW. Before I wrote this, I couldn’t even recall the current IC Champion. I had to look it up on WWE.com.

I don’t get it. We had something GOOD with Santino. And it was taken away. For WHAT? Santino was actually doing something with the IC Title that hadn’t been done in YEARS. Santino had the ability to make the second tier title important by bringing fame and respect. 

“Santino Marella is champion of all the land masses that protrude above sea level… also known as the continents. Which means, Santino Marella is the champion of… PLANET EARTH!”

The WWE is building towards a CM Punk vs. Regal feud. The feud will deliver, no doubt, but it could’ve been done without the title. Before Santino had the belt, the championship didn’t matter. So what makes the WWE think it will matter for this feud? Will it add credibility to the feud? Will it add interest? Based on the last eight years of IC Champions, no. This afterthought will be no different with Regal vs. Punk…

Meanwhile, we’ve got Santino and Beth Phoenix, the Woman’s Champion, who could have easily been on their way to becoming the most engaging power couple since Triple H and Stephanie McMahon; dare I say even better?

Mr. McMahon, were you afraid that the ever increasing popularity of a second rate champion would overshadow the far less entertaining John Cena? It’s too late to unleash the Honk-a-Meter again, but next time you have a shining star doing something meaningful with a secondary title, build on that success!

Mixed Bag

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2009 by ksuna24

I used to like Mr. Kennedy. But somewhere during his injuries and months off to film a movie, his stature diminished. His voice now rings of arrogance. He’s not as funny. The endless plugs for his movie are annoying.

MVP is on his way to a huge face turn. I have a feeling fans will grow to feel sorry for him. The more depressed and sullen he becomes, the more they’ll cheer him on. Of course, he’ll have to end his embarrassing losing streak soon, because the sympathy and encouragement of fans will only last so long. If you saw Smackdown, you heard the huge pop he got when he tried to hit Kizarny with the Play Maker. It’s only a matter of time before the crowd will complete his catch phrases for him. 

His first promo after a victory could have him acknowledging the powerful support that comes from having the fans on your side. If he had known how much their support meant psychologically, he would have befriended them sooner. Meanwhile, the people he thought were his real friends were only sticking around because he had money. 

Is anyone else reminded of Ahmed Johnson when seeing Ezekial Jackson? Other than the fact that they’re both huge Black guys, wear red trunks, boots and knee pads, they both have common lasts names and unique first names. And their finishers, although different, both showcase their brute strength.

Has Tazz turned into a wuss or what? “Oh, I wouldn’t wanna get in the ring with Kozlov, I can tell ya that much! ha ha ha!” Come on. TAZZ?! “The One Man Crime Spree” — AFRAID OF KOZLOV? Are you KIDDING me? Sheesh. “Kizarny’s got a lot of ink. I can tell you from experienc e, that’s painful.” WHAT? Tattoos painful to a man once known as “The Human Wrecking Machine”? A man who had his NECK BROKEN can’t stand the pain of being tattooed? 

Smackdown is quickly becoming a little kid’s show. All the matches are character driven. Khali and Finlay teaming up screams heavy marketing to kids, especially with Hornswoggle running around. Their bright outfits and happy-go-lucky theme music would work on me…. if I was eight. Kizarny’s music reminds me of Doink The Clown’s. His weird mannerisms attract the eyes of little kids. But he flat out sucks. Jesse and Festus: Am I the only person tired of these two? Again, kids will be drawn to them and their goofy theme song. Festus responds with force only when the bell rings and then returns to a sedate, emotionless figure. Kid stuff. 

Triple H doesn’t make a funny face. I guess his fat jokes work on kids, but I prefer the bad ass heel with the leather jacket, ripped jean vest look. You can appeal to kids without alienating your adult fans. RAW does a good job at that. You’ve got John Cena pandering to the children and then you’ve got Jericho and Orton playing to the older fan base. Batista is neutral. Almost everyone seems to like that guy. 

Unfortunately, on Smackdown, the only draws for older fans are Jeff Hardy and The Undertaker. And I fear they’re turning Jeff Hardy into a marketing device for children as well. Kids might find the “Hardy Party” to be cool, but it’s really lame.

Smackdown must appeal to kids and adults at the same time. Give kids Finlay and Hornswoggle. Give them Khali, Jesse, and Festus. But give the adults a reason to tune in too. Give us MVP, Kennedy, and Jeff Hardy. Even Edge isn’t as controversial as he used to be. 

WWE, help Smackdown find its neutral ground.

The Wrestler

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2008 by ksuna24

rourke_thewrestler

I never thought there would ever be a serious film about wrestling and I never thought a movie about professional wrestling would be seriously reviewed. 

I don’t write movie reviews. When recommending a film, I try to be succinct. Stuff blows up. It was funny. It was sad. Go see it. Don’t. That sorta’ thing. Instead of a review, I will tell you what The Wrestler did for me.

I wanted to see The Wrestler as soon as I heard Nicholas Cage would not be playing Randy “The Ram” Robinson. Offering the role to Mickey Rourke was pure genius.

Ready to Rumble starred just about every wrestler employed by WCW (even the greatest WCW Heavyweight Champion of all time — David Arquette). But professional wrestling in America is not taken seriously. It’s laughed at by everyone who doesn’t understand how physically demanding, emotionally draining and lonely the life of a wrestler can be.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how famous one is — the only place you feel accepted is under the bright lights in front of people who understand you. One of the best characters in the film, played by Todd Barry, represents every person who has ever mocked professional wrestling. if you’ve been dragged to this film by your friend who watches wrestling and you tease him, you (along with everyone else in the theater) will grow to dislike Todd Barry. You will learn just how painful it is for someone to have their passion mocked. 

This movie serves many purposes but its most profound message will promote respect for wrestlers. I doubt the woman I sat next to will become a WWE fan. But she will become more aware of people who choose this profession. 

High school friends playfully teased me for watching wrestling. “It’s fake.” “It’s for kids, when are you going to grow up? How can you watch that crap?” One word: passion. I wish I had a career that I felt as passionate about as Randy “The Ram” felt. My passion for this industry is as unending as The Ram’s desire to do what he loves. But it’s not my job. Oh, how I wish it was.

I didn’t think my high school buddies would want to see this film so I was surprised when they said they did. I figured I’d see it with my wrestling buddies. I wanted to ask everyone in the audience if they were wrestling fans. Maybe they were as children, but something told me few audience members were actually fans today. So what made them attend this movie?

A few months back, I received a pass to attend a sneak preview of The Wrestler which included a Q&A segment with Darren Aronofsky after the film. I wanted desperately to attend and ask him if he was afraid of the negative stigma attached to pro wrestling and if he felt that would prevent people from attending the film? I was unable to get my shift at work covered and couldn’t attend the advance screening. 

When I attended The Wrestler last week, it seemed the stigma of pro wrestling was shattered just by the attendance. The theater was jam packed. When the WWE released The Condemned staring Stone Cold Steve Austin, they expected every pro wrestling fan to turn out in droves. They didn’t. The movie did so poorly WWE Films decided to release all forthcoming films straight to DVD. If a movie staring a real legit pro wrestling superstar flopped, why would The Wrestler — the story of a fictionalized pro wrestler — do any better? Because it starred real Hollywood actors? Marisa Tomei? Because of the rave reviews? Because Mickey Rourke appeared of the cover of The New York Times Magazine? I’m not sure why this movie did so well.

When  the credits rolled at the end, my friend, the one who used to tell me that wrestling was fake said, “Well, I think I’ve learned a thing or two about wrestling.” I smiled so wide it looked like I had slept with a hanger in my mouth. You know how people say, “If I can just reach one person…” I never thought they meant that. I thought they always wanted to reach millions and would be disappointed to reach just one.

But my friend got it. This film reached one person that I know and changed one mind. Reaching one person really is great. My friend is a a violinist. Seeing The Wrestler would be analogous to me seeing a powerful story about a violinist. He finally understood why I watch this. It’s what I love. We all want our passions to be respected.

Wrestling fans have always put up with mockery and ridicule. The Wrestler has reminded people to find something you’re passionate about and stay devoted.

Someone asked if the movie was good. I responded, If you were so poor that your dilemma came down to eating or seeing The Wrestler, I’d say go hungry.

People thank the actors, the directors and the producers for making powerful films. Do we ever thank the writers? Robert Siegel took a controversial subject and wrote an insightful and moving script.

Thank you, Robert Siegel, for your movie. 

Ruck Fules

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 26, 2008 by ksuna24

ruckfules1I usually agree with just about everything JR has to say. I checked his blog recently and I found myself questioning this statement:

“As I have said many times, I am all for freedom of speech unless it crosses the line in the form of signs that essentially profanely scream, “please look at me.” The “Cuck Fena” sign that was wisely confiscated in Toronto is a good example of crossing the line. It’s akin to the “Tuck Fexas” shirt some here in Oklahoma wear. Bad taste…not cool. There was a time when that sort of material was actually encouraged and marketed in the WWE but that attitudinal ship has sailed.”

Reading his post, I’m reminded of a scene in Old Skool. Vince Vaughn says, “Ear Muffs” to his son so he can say something inappropriate around his friends…

This is where the pro wrestling cycle (https://ksuna.wordpress.com/2008/11/26/the-cycle-that-is-pro-wrestling/) gets a little difficult to pull off without offending someone at some point. As the attitude fans become a dying breed and the kids step up to the plate, there’s bound to be some old school fans not yet ready to let go. I always cringe when I’m at RAW and  fans drop the F word around kids. Not because I’m against cursing, but c’mon, in front of kids?

Here’s the thing… how is Cuck Fena any worse than the t-shirt I recall John Cena rocking a few years back? Even then Cena was marketed to kids. It’s not like the fan or his sign actually said, “Fuck Cena.” Most six year olds won’t realize that if you switch C with F, you spell something naughty. And since when is the WWE the moral arbiter on what is appropriate for kids?

I mean, seriously, they promote violence for a living. A curse word or some blood isn’t any worse than the vicious assault John Cena unleashed on Chris Jericho a few weeks back. Kids curse a lot now. They play violent video games, watch adult cartoons, etc.

That fan’s sign was no worse than the “asshole” chants. The bottom line is, you can police signs like the Gestapo, but what are you gonna do when 20,000 people start chanting asshole at someone? Throw them all out? Maybe Tony Chimmel can politely suggest, before the show goes live, that kids are in attendance so be on your best behavior.

But that’s an oxymoron. Best behavior at a wrestling show when people are beating the holy hell out of each other? If the WWE wants to be a clean family friendly product, then just ditch wrestling all together. Beating someone to death isn’t family friendly.

Ultimately parents must decide whether kids should be allowed to watch wrestling. Parents can explain that WWE is just pretend, that these wrestlers are highly trained to perform these ‘acts’ and the naughty words they hear cannot be repeated. Nor can you go around body slamming people! 

But know that when you’re at a live event, you will hear cursing or see a sign that says “Cuck Fena.” If WWE parents the children of the world to ensure they’re not seeing anything offensive, they’ll be out of business.

Signs which offer ethnic or religious slurs should be confiscated.  A “FUCK CENA” sign could be tossed out… but when John Cena himself wears a “Ruck Fules” shirt, well… who’s contradicting themselves?

The Rock Starring as Dwayne Johnson

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 20, 2008 by ksuna24

The movie was supposed to be a one time deal. The Rock was the most talked about name in professional wrestling in a long time. Toss him in an action flick, and the millions… and MILLIONS of Rock fans would turn out to support him. They did. In 2001, he starred in The Mummy Returns which drew 202 million dollars.

In 2002, he starred in the sequel but Rock was cutting back on his WWE schedule; the fans knew something was up. Gross sales for The Scorpion King was just over 90 million. Disappointed fans were already turning their backs on The Rock. He had abandoned his home.

In 2003, he starred in The Rundown. The People’s Champion was finding another avenue for income; wrestling had become an afterthought. The Rundown pulled in 47 million. What a drastic drop from his 202 million debut in The Mummy Returns.

Walking Tall,  2004, pulled in 46 million. Doom, 2005, netted a devastating 28 million.

Okay, Rocky, your action films aren’t doing too well. Why not? Well, there are a few reasons. One, WWE fans feel jilted and heartbroken that you’ve left wrestling. Two, regular movie goers don’t want to see The Rock star in a movie because in their minds, you’re a wrestler. Three, no one is interested in poorly conceived action films.

Wrestling fans have turned their back on you. Action films don’t seem to be doing well unless they’re epics like Batman or James Bond.  There has to be a target audience. A group of people who don’t know you. A group of people who have never seen you inside a wrestling ring.

But who?

Who in the WORLD doesn’t remember seeing The Rock lay the smackdown in 2002? Someone born in 2003. That’s who. And THAT is the reason Dwayne Johnson disappeared from wrestling. He distanced himself, not because he’s ashamed of where he came from, but because he wanted to reinvent himself.  Not as a wrestler turned actor, but as an actor plain and (not so) simple.

Kids love Dwayne Johnson. They support him because they’re not bitter wrestling fans who feel that he sold out. (For the record, I don’t think he sold out, but that’s a different story.) Kids love Dwayne Johnson because he’s a nice looking, goofy guy with a charming attitude and big muscles.

His abandonment of wrestling to reinvent himself plays into my idea of the Pro Wrestling Cycle. What Hollywood is doing, intentional or not, is brilliant. They realize that Dwayne Johnson’s fans who supported him when he was The Rock aren’t helping.  (We were angry with him, but we’re over that. We don’t care about his agenda anymore, we just want him to come back once in a while to say hello).

The plan was to take a WWE superstar and create a mega Hollywood star. Capitalize on the The Rock’s popularity as a pro wrestler and transfer that success into blockbuster Hollywood action flicks. Hollywood thought they could pump out action flicks left and right and WWE fans would follow their favorite wrestler.

When that plan failed, Hollywood sought a younger fan base. Four year olds don’t know The Rock. They know Dwayne Johnson.

And when the little kids who flocked to The Game Plan in 2007 ($90 million!) and Get Smart in 2008 ($130 million!) grow up, so too will Dwayne’s movies. And the kids who once packed the theaters for his goofy Disney films will now, as teenagers, see his action packed, violent and aggressive flicks.

In March of 2009, Dwayne Johnson will star in Race to Witch Mountain. Who knows how much money he’ll draw. Three months after that, Rock will star as, you guessed it, The Tooth Fairy.

Those kids will grow up and become fans of the WWE. Hollywood will catch on and we’ll get our wish when they realize they can tap into thousands more viewers if Dwayne Johnson reverts back to the worlds’ favorite jabroni beatin’, pie eatin’, trail blazin’, eye brow raisin’, people’s champ THE ROCK. 

(thanks to my friend, D.C.’s Champ for his vast knowledge of The Rock.) 

Jeff Hardy: The Modern Day Shawn Michaels

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2008 by ksuna24

We watch in wide eyed amazement at the physical size of these guys. Batista. John Cena. They are a sight to be seen. But sooner or later, we realize that it’s impossible to look exactly like them. And so we focus on the smaller guys who manage to defy the odds. After all, they’re the real heroes – the ones in this industry who break all the barriers. They knock down the signs that say, “You Must Be This Tall to Ride.”

I was a child when I first saw Hulk Hogan in the ring. He had just bodyslammed Andre The Giant and I decided then and there that I wanted to follow in his footsteps to become a professional wrestler. Kids dream. They think they’ll fly if that’s the super power they want to emulate. Eventually we grow up. I did — but that didn’t stop my aspiration to become a professional wrestler.

I watched in wide eyed amazement at the physical size of those guys. Hulk Hogan. The Ultimate Warrior. They were a sight to be seen. But I could never be Hulk Hogan. So I focused on smaller guys who managed to carve their niche, who said don’t count me out just because I’m smaller. In the land of the giants of the early 90s there were few small, charismatic show stealing guys to admire. And then Shawn Michaels splashed onto the scene; I had my idol. I thought, if someone like Shawn Michaels can find a home in the land of the giants, so can I. 

When I was thrown over the top rope and botched my fall at the Chaotic Wrestling Training Center in Andover, MA, I knew something was wrong. For the first time in 15 years, I had doubts. Did I really want to be a wrestler?  Damaging my back didn’t help. But I had gotten that far, which suffice to say is farther than most dreamers. And all the while, I had the guiding light of Shawn Michaels in the back of my head. If he can do it, I can too.

Somewhere, a few years ago, a little boy sat in front of the television and watched in wide eyed amazement at the physical size of John Cena. He knew right then and there that he wanted to be a wrestler. And unlike most childhood dreams that fade, this one wasn’t going anywhere. The problem is, this little boy knows he will never be as big as John Cena. He just… he just needs someone that he can relate too. Someone that isn’t as big as Cena or Batista. Someone who can stand up in the face of adversity and knock down the walls. Someone who can defy the odds. 

Jeff Hardy is that someone for that little boy.

Is Jeff an acceptable role model for kids? Some think not. He was a drug addict with a lackadaisical attidude that cost him his job in the WWE and TNA. But he buried his demons, went to rehab, got his shit together and returned to the WWE in 2006. That is reason enough to call him a role model. Jeff’s reality check helped him confront his problems. He developed a healthy focus and drive. His new motivation and hard work were rewarded. He became a nominee for  2008’s Superstar of the Year. Hardy became a hero, one who after self-examination, realized change was needed, and accomplished that change. 

Would Shawn Michaels have been a terrible role model for children? In the mid 90s, his backstage attitude was nothing to be proud of and rumors of drug abuse circled around him. The internet (in my household) wasn’t as prominent as it is today. What I knew about Shawn Michaels was what I saw on television. But like Jeff Hardy, Michaels was able to turn his life around in positives ways and that is admirable. 

Shawn Michaels made his professional debut (that is to say in the WWF) in 1988. In 1996, eight years after his debut, Shawn Michaels won the WWF Championship. While the WWE likes to say that Jeff Hardy has been with the company since he was 16, the truth is that his career with the then WWF began in 1998. Ten years later, Jeff Hardy is the current WWE Champion. 

Now let me be clear. I am not saying that Jeff Hardy is the new Shawn Michaels or has even replaced him. There will never be another Shawn Michaels, much like there will never be another Jeff Hardy. They are unique. The fact is that they share many things … a long, tumultuous career occasionally marred by controversy, a high risk, show stealing style of wrestling, mesmerizing personalities. You can’t argue the similarities. 

It took Shawn Michaels eight years before he landed his first Heavyweight Title in the WWF.  While many say that Jeff Hardy cannot be considered a break out star (he’s been around for 10 years), it’s not impossible to believe that Hardy will be around another 10 if he chooses

Who knows what the future holds for Hardy? The fact is, after 10 long years, much like Michaels’ eight years, his wait has paid off. Jeff Hardy is the new WWE Champion. And somewhere a little boy wakes up today knowing that because of Jeff Hardy, he too can become a World Champion.