I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been watching pro wrestling for almost 30 years now. That’s a lot of wrestling and I’ve been witness to the evolution of wrestling. From Saturday mornings to Monday nights, I’ve seen a lot change and it’s about to change again because the WWE will start airing 3-hours of Monday night wrestling this month. Don’t get me wrong, I love pro wrestling but even I have my limits. Continue reading
CM Punk may be single-handedly saving pro wrestling. There was a time when wrestling performers took their characters seriously. The good guys weren’t seen with bad guys outside the ring, and the faces hugged the children while the heels slapped them. You knew it was all fake, but even then you weren’t quite sure where the storyline ended and real life began. That type of quality has been lost over the years but a recent storyline involving CM Punk is helping restore some credibility. Continue reading
I’ve been watching pro wrestling for about 25 years now and every fan knows that the quality of the product has be sliding over the past several years. I don’t expect things to stay the same after decades but recent changes really have me worried. Continue reading
Remember going to the circus? I remember going almost yearly when I was little and I was always excited, but then when we got there it was always a little disappointing. I guess it’s because I’m the video game generation and gas like a minibike in a sphere didn’t really amaze me. Thankfully though, as an adult there is another circus to enjoy – pro wrestling. Continue reading
I don’t write about wrestling much because there’s usually not a lot to write about. It’s pro wrestling. It’s the best/worst men’s soap opera ever. Always will be and I’ve been watching it most of my life. I’ve been there for the good times and the bad. Recently it’s been pretty bad but this week there was a chance for change. Continue reading
Working at a radio station poses some very interesting opportunities. I’ve already made my “debut” on-air as myself in an impromptu discussion about World of Warcraft, but this time I got jump into one of the best characters ever. Macho Man Randy Savage. Continue reading
Despite the current slump wrestling is in, going to a live show is still good entertainment. The WWE rolled back in to town recently for a taping of Smackdown and ECW, and once again The Pops and I enjoyed a Sunday together. Getting two shows for the price of one sounded like a really good deal, but after sitting – nay, suffering – through an ECW taping, you have to retract the assumed value. The previous live events I attended were all live Monday night shows, which are an entirely different experience.
There are three WWE wrestling shows on TV, Monday night (Raw), Tuesday night (ECW), and Friday night (Smackdown). Their popularity (and quality) starts with Raw as the best, and Tuesday night ECW as the worst…at least that’s what I’ve always assumed and the tapings that night proved that to be true. Smackdown was always second fiddle to Raw. I never gave Smackdown wrestlers much thought, but when you see an ECW show followed immediately by a Smackdown show, it’s easy to see how much better Smackdown performers are. Shy of a few faces like Tommy Dreamer and Finlay, ECW felt more like a local indie operation…kind of like when the flag football kids get to play during half time.
Smackdown had one thing I really wanted to see and had never seen before – the Undertaker. Undertaker has been on Smackdown forever and having always gone to see Raw always missed his matches. Thankfully this time Undertaker was healthy and, as usual, ended the show with a fight against the Big Show while also tombstoning Vicki Guerrero. But the setup for his match was the most interesting part of the night. The story went that Undertaker was after someone and he would “magically” appear in the ring when the lights go off and then come back on. On TV this always looks good because it seems so instant. In order to create the “magic” the wrestler has to wait under the wrestling ring and what we saw was that operation.
The lights in the arena went off between matches and they played a troop tribute video on the giant wall. Well, why the video was “distracting” everyone, a parade of guys came from the back escorting someone draped in black clothes and hood. They lead him around to the far side of the ring where he ducked and did not accompany the parade on the return trip behind the curtain. You wouldn’t think much of it had the clothed figure not been massive and 7-feet tall. Nonetheless, it was neat to see how they work and it really nailed home the theatrics wrestling puts fourth to make things look good on TV and to make things fun.
The night also featured Triple H and his best friend, the sledge hammer. He nailed the other 7-foot beat, Khali, in the gut during a run-in brawl. The night was bookended with some great fights. The first match of the show was HHH/Jeff Hardy vs. Someone else and Someone else…it didn’t really matter, honestly, you know who’s winning that one. And then the show ended with Taker. The middle matches…well, I honestly don’t recall anything stellar about any of those. One bad thing about getting two shows in one night is you then have to suffer through two chick matches as well. I totally wish they would just get rid of all that, it’s so ugly and boring. Let chicks be the eye candy and escorts, but don’t make them wrestle.
I’m not sure if I would go back to see Smackdown live again. It all depends what the roster is like. Right now Monday Raw isn’t very exciting either, so I probably wouldn’t go see that if it came to town. But there is a big difference between a live show and taped show, I must say. Wrestling is still wrestling…I just hope they figure something out to keep things fresh because it’s starting to get a bit stale. I have my thoughts on a solution to that problem, but that’s for another day.
It’s now been 24 years since the first Wrestlemania pay-per-view was held in New York. I was four years old. Now I’m nearly 30 and wrestling is nearly as fun as it was back when I believed every minute of it. This year I went to King Tom’s to catch the PPV with some other wrestling cohorts. I watch every Monday at home, but there’s nothing better than watching some wrestling with other guys that know the history and can still enjoy it. It’s the only time when my Great Muta references don’t go to waste.
I’m not going to cover the full show, as King Tom already did a good job over at his site. But what I will talk about is what has become the greatest type of match in wrestling: the ladder match.
Some of the best matches I’ve seen over the years have been ladder matches. It’s the best combination of stunt props and foreign objects. Only a ladder can serve as a ramp and a baseball bat. Last night’s ladder match was the best match of the night in my book. Out of the six guys fighting, half were of good fighting stock and the rest were just there to take bumps…and take bumps they did.
The other event of the night was the much-hyped “fight” between giant, The Big Show and boxing champ Floyd Mayweather. It was such an event, that even ESPN had it covered. As far as celebrity events go, it was pretty good and certainly entertaining. Of course, the celebrity won albeit with the help of some brass knuckles. No real surprises as history goes, but far better than I expected.
Overall, it was a half-half show. First half was really good and the latter half suffered from unexciting and disappointing spectacle. Makes me glad I just watched it with friends instead of seeing it live. Sometimes the TV ringside seat is the best.
Monday Night RAW came in to town again, but this time on a Sunday. Yes, instead of being live as always they were taping a show on Sunday for playback on Monday. Not sure why exactly, possibly because of tennis or a dog show or something stupid. I last saw RAW not that long ago with Jen and King Tom, but this time I went with the man who is responsible for all the time, money, and effort I’ve invested in wrestling, my dad. Call it one of those father-son bonding moments, but it was great fun all the same.
Our seats were really good, again. Last time our seats were near-floor but back aways from the ring, closer to the entrance stage. This time we were nearly on the 50-Yard line and in the lower bowl of the arena. It was perfect because it was high enough that you got a look down on the ring but still close enough that you can see everything you need to. And yes, you could still feel heat from the fire during the show opening.
I had read prior to going that the highlight matches of the night was going to be Umaga vs. Jeff Hardy and HHH vs. Carlito. Then in talking I heard of, but have not yet seen, a supposed list of wrestlers that will be getting “released” in the fallout of the Chris Benoit murders, due to the steroids. One of the wrestlers on that list was Umaga. That being known, when they entered the ring I figured that Umaga would lose the IC belt to the Hardy. But this is free TV…which is true, but it’s only the IC belt and if they need to get Umaga gone then have unload the belt. So we saw Jeff Hardy win the IC belt in a pretty decent match – although I really dislike Umaga, so I’m glad he’ll be leaving one way or another.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before the taping started there were three taped non-RAW matches. First was Val Venis vs. a Jobber, which was great cause I like watching Val Venis. Then it was Super Crazy vs. some Jobber, then it was Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. a Jobber, 2×4 and all, and then it was Lance+Murdoch vs. The New Age Bushwhackers…I mean The Highlanders. The Highlanders lost, but for a pre-show match this at least had two top-bill teams. After those then show began with a bang as always.
Unfortunately, the show had its share of chick matches. There were two and half matches. One full blown match that lasted all of one minute, which is fine by mean, and another inter-gender match which filled the mid-show slot perfectly, albeit a complete waste of time and talent — and film. Then some more tag action with the new age Rockers Hendrick+London vs. Shelton Benjamin and King Tom‘s favorite, Charlie Haas. Much to my surprise, Hendrick+London won and so they’ll face Lance+Murdoch for the belt at the PPV.
Then “General Manager” Stephan Regal came out to talk about Randy Orton and John Cena’s dad. See, the week prior Randy Orton beat up John Cena’s dad and Cena wasn’t too happy about that and, of course, wants revenger. Regal told Cena he’d have to wait until the PPV but Cena didn’t like that. So he came out to kick Regal’s ass. Conveniently enough, Regal is also one of the people on the might-be-fired list due to the steroids. Thus Regal made a clean exit from the spotlight as well. Two down…who’s next?
The other main event of the night was HHH vs. Carlito, which magically turned into HHH vs. Carlito+Umaga. This ended up be a DQ match quick but didn’t stop them from fighting. All in all, this was a “welcome back” match for HHH as before the match was over he had hit Umaga at least seven times with a chair and then went for the trusty sledge hammer. One good whack to the head and another to his back and Umaga is out for the count. So not only did Umaga lose the belt to Hardy but ended up a bloody mess as well — so long Umaga, don’t let the door hitcha!
After that we returned to the soap opera that is pro wrestling with the McMahons fighting about some bastard child and other uninteresting-yet-almost-funny plotline…well, what is a plotline only by definition. At that point the taping for RAW ended but there was one last match. Vince himself called out John Cena, who is still angry, to beat up Mr. Kennedy. And he did just that.
Another good WWE wrestling show that was worth the ticket price. Out of the three wrestling shows I’ve been to, I can safely say that none of them have been all that bad. I never felt like I got jipped or ripped off.
(Check the Flickr pages for more photos from the show)
UP-UPDATED: So now we know that Chris Benoit was a murderer. I really, really hope he was jacked up on so much drugs that he had no idea what he was doing. That’s not an excuse, but it’s just really hard to have someone you treated as an entertainment hero fall so hard, so fast, and in such a horrible way. And now people will no longer celebrate Benoit’s wrestling. Just like OJ, who was crazy good during his NFL days…but no one talks about that anymore, they just talk about his murder spree — of course, he didn’t kill a child. A man can build a million bridges all over the world, but he sucks one dick and he’ll be known as a cocksucker, not a bridge builder.
Benoit painted his own picture and it’s a tragic scene that really bums me out. So, like a dope, I will choose to remember him as one hell of a wrestler and stand by his performances and not his life. That’s all I can do to try and be unbummed. It’s amazing how fast you can totally screw up the lives of people.
UPDATED: Turns out the death of Chris Benoit is a murder-suicide. Reports have him killing his family then himself. Definitely an bizzare story that will only get worse as the day goes on and more info is released. WWE.com has details but cannot release them yet, so if you’re interested, check their throughout the day. Also a lot of details, photos, and videos from CTV.ca News in Canada.
I sat down to watch wrestling on Monday night and the TV guide says the episode is a special to continue their story line of one of the characters “death”. This was a new storyline that follows the very soap opera world of professional wrestling. But instead, the show that starts at 8:00p opens with “In memory of Chris Benoit” – WHAT?!
Chris Benoit was quite possibly – actually, nay – the best honest-to-god wrestler there was. I know people knock professional wrestling, but regardless of the claims, wrestling takes talent and heart. Chris Benoit was a pleasure to watch and he never disappointed you when he was in the ring.
He didn’t have the charisma of Hulk Hogan or the good looks of some of the others, but he had honest to god talent performing the stunts and fighting every night of the week, whether on TV or not.
Chris Benoit was one of the wrestlers I always looked forward to watching. Him and Chris Jericho were my favorite wrestlers because they had a great balance of wrestling and character performance. Some have all acting ability, some have only physical ability. It didn’t matter what the main event was, even if Benoit wasn’t in it, I would continually check the show to see if Benoit was wrestling. Even if he was fighting a jobber I would watch. He would always delivered a worth-while performance.
Not too long ago Eddie Guerro died from what was a result of a life of drugs and other problems. It was a shame to lose a good wrestler, but my emotions didn’t run very high when I heard. But this is different. Watching a 3-hour tribute to him now in place of the normal wrestling I’m actually tearing up. It’s just so sad, and not just because I really liked watching him wrestle, but his wife and young son were also found dead, all in their house near Atlanta. This isn’t a case of your heart failing from drugs or from a life of really poor choices, this is obviously something way bigger than the petty world or wrestling.
Benoit was found today (Monday) so there’s not much known right now besides the loss of a very talented and young man. Benoit was only 40 and had plenty of life in front of him, and I believe certainly at least five more years of good solid wrestling. He was recently shipped back to the ECW wrestling show, which is where he got his start in wrestling. This type of move usually signifies what could be a move towards retirement, or at least a less-active schedule. That in itself would have been a bummer, but I any fan would take that over this.
Benoit was a wrestler that you expected to live until old age and retire but be the old wrestler that would show up as a behind-the-scenes man, like Sgt. Slaughter. When you saw him in a suit you knew he was awesome back in the day and you would wonder what you would ask him if you had a chance to sit down and chat, knowing he could tell you stories you wouldn’t believe.
It’s just a truly sad and an awful happening. It might seem silly, all this sadness over a wrestler, but I don’t see any difference between a wrestler I’ve followed since I was a child and any other actor or athlete that has entertained me as long as I can remember.
Wrestling lost a great star and the fans lost one of the best professional wrestlers that ever entered a wrestling ring.
Thanks, Chris Benoit.