Saturday, August 27, 2011

I'm sorry I didn't get around to doing picks for CHIKARA's Young Lion's Cup show. Part of the reason is because Hurricane Irene is traversing the east coast and the show had to be shortened to one day (today) and there was no way to predict which matches would stay on today's card and which would be dropped. Part of the reason is because the last few days have been tough for me and I never got up the gumption to write or record anything. As it stands, this is the first CHIKARA event I haven't done picks for for quite some time. It will not happen again. I was also going to post a tirade about the current direction of WWE Monday Night Raw, but I felt that my opinions were more meandering than usual, and decided not to post it. Suffice it to say that I'm disappointed. But I really shouldn't have been surprised that I'd be disappointed; after all, it IS WWE. Anyway, I'll be back at some point to talk about...something. I'm sure a good topic will come up soon.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mini-Episode RE: Chikarasaurus Rex

Four days ago, Chikarasaurus Rex wrapped up. Today, I am in possession of the DVDs for both shows. CHIKARA really knows when to kick it up a notch in regards to releasing their biggest shows of the year quickly. I'm writing this now because I won't get a chance to watch the shows until Sunday. I also purchased the 2011 Todd Pettengill Invitational because I've heard good things about the tourney. So look for reviews of both shows soon.

By the way, you should all check out Speed Demos Archive because they're putting on a charity marathon for the Organization for Autism Research. They'll be playing through 50 games over the next three days. The show starts at 11 AM Pacific time. So in about a half hour. Please check it out.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Episode 22 - Jumping to Conclusions

Well, Money in the Bank has come and gone, and CM Punk left the WWE with the WWE Title. Then, Monday Night Raw rolls around. Now, I haven't watched Raw since February, I believe. That's close to six months. I tuned in because I wanted to see what the aftermath of this story would be. I was disappointed. Or, I should say, I was disappointed that night.

You see, as soon as Raw went off the air, I wrote a rather scathing comment on someone's Facebook page, saying that the show truly was all about Vince (seeing as how nearly the last half hour of the show had him on screen) and that the episode was awful because there was no appearance by one CM Punk. Now, after having had several days to digest this (as well as seeing another video which I will discuss momentarily), I realized that I had expected near-immediate results on the story instead of watching and waiting for it to build.

Now, I am going to bash WWE, but not quite in the way I did four days ago. I believe the reason I expected the story to move forward on Raw was because of the way WWE has done their storytelling over the past few years: a story that felt like it should grow over months ended up getting crammed into the space between PPV shows, and the whole story arc felt rushed. Now it appears that the CM Punk storyline is going to take a while, which at first threw me off. I was expecting an immediate continuation of the story on Monday night. What we got was the typical "He isn't employed by WWE, so Vince pretends he doesn't exist" deal that has been going on for decades, and a nearly 30 minute in-ring promo with Vince, John Cena, and HHH. I initially felt as though Vince made his own title even more pointless by pushing it to next week's show and taking up the time where they could be crowning a new champion to announce that John Cena was going to be fired. And when HHH walked down the entrance ramp, I knew he was going to be "taking control of the company." HHH hasn't dressed in a suit and tie for, what, five or six years now? It had to be a big occasion for him to dress like that, especially as a babyface.

Anyway, since I have had time to look back on that night, I realized that Vince is finally doing what I'd been complaining about for years: he's letting the story develop over time. He isn't rushing to finish the story arc before the next PPV. He's letting it build, and that is about the smartest thing he can do right now. Meanwhile, we're getting bombarded with images of CM Punk traveling around with the WWE Title. And then, yesterday, this happened:

There are other videos of this event out there with over 250,000 views, but this one has the best overall quality.

Now this is about as far into uncharted territory as Vince has ever gone. He's using this very scene between CM Punk and HHH to ignite even more interest in this storyline. And you know what? I'm actually enjoying it. I'm happy to see Vince branching out and poking his head out of that bubble that's been surrounding him for nearly thirty years. I'm glad that he's seemingly starting to let a storyline evolve outside the arena. I like it that this feels more organic, more spontaneous, more REAL than his storylines of the past. When you've got the guy who walked out of the company on top crashing a panel headed by the new boss of the empire, you've got some serious interest building.

Simply put, this storyline is growing stronger by the week, and it's keeping me interested. Like I said a few days ago, I haven't been this intrigued by a WWE story in years. I think because Vince is seemingly heading outside his comfort zone, it's making me appreciate what he's doing. So maybe that situation I described a few days ago will happen, but it won't be soon.

I do have to complain about one thing, though. Otherwise, it wouldn't be an episode about WWE. I am disappointed with the WWE Title match set for next Monday night. Miz vs. Rey Mysterio? I was really hoping to see someone who hadn't been world champ in this match. I would have loved to see Kofi Kingston in this match, even though I gave up on him ever being a WWE world champ months ago. Still, it would have been nice to see a new face in the main event scene. But I'm pretty sure this title match will be irrelevant. Why, you ask? Because this is all just a storyline.

I believe now that this whole thing about Punk leaving was just the build-up to this story arc. The stories about Punk leaving because WWE wanted to trademark his name, all the talk of backstage politics...all just the setup. And now that I realized that, I have to give WWE credit for stepping into new territory (for them, anyway). Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and everyone who considers themselves a smart mark or a member of the internet wrestling community should have been smarter than they were. When MVP left late last year, he informed several sources that he was allowed to continue using the MVP gimmick because he was the one who came up with it. It was his intellectual property, and WWE let him keep it. I have to believe that the whole story about Punk wanting to leave because WWE wanted his gimmick is just a setup because his gimmick was created long before he entered WWE. But I don't mind now that I realize it was part of the story.

What I'm really enjoying most about this story, though, is that it's being doled out in pieces, like a jigsaw puzzle, and once you figure out how the pieces lock together, there's this sense of accomplishment. I'm really hoping that the story continues to unfold piece by piece, and not dumped on us at once. I'll be watching Raw again next Monday night, just to see where the story goes.

So I suppose that's all for the moment. Except for this SPOILER ALERT FOR SMACKDOWN: Apparently, Daniel Bryan Danielson announced that he was cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase at Wrestlemania 28. He'd be the first person to announce when he was cashing in his contract since Rob Van Dam. This, again, allows for months of build-up, which is just what Danielson needs. I'd love to see him get more time in the ring to show off his skills instead of getting the crap kicked out of him every week. I'm just happy he's got a world title match at Wrestlemania. He deserves it more than anyone else on the WWE roster, and I'm looking forward to the match, whomever his opponent may be.

Okay, NOW I'm done. Catch you all later, and remember to stay cool. It's about a thousand degrees outside.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mini-Episode RE: Money in the Bank

I don't have time for a full episode, but I must say something about the events of last night's Money in the Bank PPV show. I read the results of the show and, upon finding out how the show ended, as well as the results of two other matches, I found myself having to watch the show. So I *AHEM* "acquired" it and watched those three matches. I will say now that I was absolutely surprised at the results even though I had read them already. Those three matches? The Smackdown Money in the Bank match (which I predicted Mr. Danielson would win), the World Heavyweight Championship match, and, of course, the WWE Title match. While I definitely want to see what transpires on Smackdown, I have to say that ever since I started watching wrestling again in 2006, I have never been more curious as to how a storyline plays out than I am with the CM Punk story. Punk defeated Cena, won the WWE Title, and avoided being put in a match with the Raw Money in the Bank match winner, Alberto Del Rio. So Punk actually accomplished what he set out to do, something I doubt anyone who wasn't completely in the know could have predicted.

What really amazes me is how much this has pulled me back into watching WWE programming. I've been on such a WWE-hate trip for the past couple of years that it's oddly refreshing to look forward to Raw or Smackdown. I still cannot stand Michael Cole, and there were times where I was finding myself falling back into my old ways of yelling at the computer screen when Cole said something idiotic, breaking my concentration on the match and taking me out of the moment. But I'm going to watch Raw for the first time since February. Yes, that means I'm going back on my statement of never watching a WWE show again. But when you've got a story this intriguing that captures your interest as much as this does, I can't help but tune in.

On a side note, the Punk/Cena match will definitely be a Match of the Year candidate. Not just because it was a great match, but because the story surrounding it is fascinating and as entertaining as any WWE storyline over the past five years.

So I'm watching Raw. I'm hoping that the CM Punk story remains strong. If it does, I may finally change my opinion of Vince McMahon. Maybe he's finally evolving out of his draconian mental view of the sport. I sure hope so. Tonight might be a new dawn for pro wrestling. And if it is, I'm going to ride the wave, baby. Catch you all later.

P.S.: I loved the Chicago crowd chanting "Colt Cabana!" That, and the ridiculous pops Punk got throughout the match. It made the match just that much better. Okay, that's all.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Episode 21 - What the Future Holds For Us

I was going to make my next episode about the only TNA PPV I've ever watched (Destination X), but the more I think about it, the more this needs saying in public.

I'm really hoping that there's just the faintest chance in Hades that maybe, just maybe, Vince McMahon is FINALLY coming to his senses and starting to acknowledge other wrestling companies out there. Why, you ask? Because of CM Punk's promo on Raw a couple of weeks ago. If, by some fluke, you missed it, here it is:

Make sure to watch the whole thing before continuing with this episode.

So why do I think that Vince, in his ripe old age, has begun to acknowledge other wrestling companies out there? Well, for one, he allowed Punk to name both New Japan Pro Wrestling AND Ring of Honor during the broadcast. But that isn't all. In the last couple of days, it has come to light that three big names on the independent wrestling circuit have been holding out on signing new deals with their current company. Colt Cabana, Claudio Castagnoli, and Chris Hero all are apparently not in talks with Ring of Honor to sign new contracts. What does this mean? Well, for one, if all three leave, it's a huge chunk of ROH's drawing power gone. But there is speculation that Castagnoli and Hero are in talks with WWE to sign contracts. And with Punk name-dropping Cabana during the above promo, one wonders if he could make a return to WWE as well.

This whole business with the three indy stars holding out on ROH is also making me question Punk's apparently initial plans to leave WWE when his contract expires this weekend (holy crap, I just realized that the PPV was this Sunday!). I always feel like when a wrestler's contract expires the day of a PPV, something's a little fishy. It's even fishier when the wrestler actually talks about his contract expiring. At first, I was firm in my belief that Punk would win the WWE Title at Money in the Bank, then one of the Money in the Bank match winners would cash in his contract and take the title away from Punk, making sure that Punk wouldn't actually leave with the WWE Title (not that Vince would actually allow this to happen in the first place). But now, with the news of Cabana, Castagnoli, and Hero all potentially leaving Ring of Honor, I get the sneaking suspicion that Punk's expiring contract is all a ruse.

It's a vaguely similar situation to the Daniel Bryan Danielson situation from last year. Danielson was seemingly set for a run with the Nexus, but was supposedly fired for choking a man with his own tie on national television. Danielson got a ton of press, went to the indies, and a couple of months later, showed up back in WWE. Unfortunately, his lame non-gimmick character stuck with him instead of his badass American Dragon character he's had for a decade on the indies. I'd still like to see the American Dragon character on WWE television, just to see one of Vince's oldest stereotypes broken (that being that only the bigger bodybuilder-types can dominate opponents).

So where am I going with this? Well, the Punk situation parallel's the Danielson situation somewhat. Both stories involve internet wrestling community fan favorites leaving the company for dubious reasons (Danielson for the tie-choking incident, Punk because supposedly he doesn't want to give WWE the trademark for his name and character), both have next to no hints of returning, and both feel suspiciously like setups, even though WWE is playing them straight. Honestly, I am not sure what to think about the current situation with Punk, but if I had to lay some money on it (say, a dollar), I'd bet Punk isn't actually leaving the company. Before the news of Cabana and Co., I would have thought it a sure thing that Punk was leaving to go to New Japan or back to ROH. But now, there's an inkling that maybe, just maybe, Punk will stay, and bring Cabana, Castagnoli, and Hero with him.

Now I'm branching off into full-blown fantasy here, but would it not be simply amazing if we see Punk win the title, lose it to the Money in the Bank winner, then show up the next night on Raw with Cabana, Castagnoli, Hero, and Danielson in tow, declare WWE theirs for the taking, and proceed to rampage across both shows, proclaiming the indy scene to be the best in the world? We see Punk win the WWE Title, Danielson win the World Heavyweight Title, Hero and Castagnoli the Tag Team Titles, and Cabana both the Intercontinental and United States Titles, and just run roughshod over the company. Or maybe get a sixth man (Low Ki?) to hold one secondary title so Cabana isn't a double secondary champion. I know it's entirely a fantasy, but if I was running WWE, that's probably how I'd book the next year of storylines: the indy scene invades WWE and takes over.

Now, you may say, "But that's almost exactly the same thing that happened with the Nexus last year HURF DURF *eats shoe*" Well, Mr. Shoe Eater, unlike the Nexus, having these four, five, or six guys destroying the WWE roster is actually believable. Instead of eight "rookies," we have between four and six guys, all with at least a decade of experience each and more wrestling knowledge than the entire WWE roster put together (except The Undertaker, obviously). I can imagine Danielson, Castagnoli, Hero, Low Ki, Punk, and Cabana actually beating this shit out of guys like Heath Slater and Mason Ryan. Hell, I'd like to see every former indy guy/current WWE employee join in on the fray. Get Evan Bourne and Sin Cara involved, and bring up Jon Moxley and Tyler Black. With ten guys, this could be the greatest faction in wrestling history, and it would truly bring about a new renaissance in the wrestling industry.

Now, I know that the last two paragraphs were me basically giving myself a good strong wank, but honestly, if you were as fed up with WWE as I was six months ago, you'd take notice of Punk's promo and start wondering what might just happen. On the less pleasant side, Punk could just lose his match at the PPV this Sunday to John Cena and leave the company in a huff. That would be the worst case scenario, one I pray does not happen. They can't let this much build sputter and die just like that. With as much heat as he has, Punk can run with this for months, and, as I said earlier, bring about a new age in wrestling. Though that may just be the smart mark in me talking.

I hope you enjoyed this little diatribe of mine. I'm going to continue to think positive about this situation and hope it goes similarly to how I imagine it going. It's too bad not everything can be positive, though, as I must do a review of TNA's Destination X PPV. On the positive side again, CHIKARA has finally released their June shows, and I ordered them the day they came out, so I'm hoping they'll arrive in the next few days. That way, I can get to talking about Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Sequel, which is coming up in just a couple weeks' time. So until next time, keep cool and stay awesome.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Episode 20a - The Two-Part Three-Show Coverage Continues!

So I left you all hanging yesterday halfway through today's CHIKARA card. Let's finish up today's card and cover Sunday's show as well.

And now, the conclusion of...


Incoherence (Hallowicked and Frightmare) vs. F.I.S.T. (Johnny Gargano and Chuck Taylor)

I stated yesterday that I thought F.I.S.T. would win their match against The Colony. And I haven't looked at the results, because I like to find out when I watch the shows rather than the minute they're over and done. So I don't know who won that match, but if F.I.S.T. did, then they'd be poised for another victory today. If any team could pose a serious threat to the current Campeones de Parejas (besides the BDK), it'd be F.I.S.T. I'd love to see Quackenbush and Jigsaw take on Gargano and Taylor. Though that may not be for a little while, as Jigsaw is on the shelf with an injury. Still, winning today would give this incarnation of F.I.S.T. two points towards challenging for the Campeonatos, and I'd like to see this matchup take place. So I'm picking F.I.S.T. to win again today.

The Colony (Soldier Ant, Fire Ant, and Green Ant) vs. The BDK (Ares, Claudio Castagnoli, and Tursas)

Hoo boy, talk about your major main event attraction! The past two King of Trios winning teams take on each other to see who is the better team. The BDK certainly has the size advantage (with the mammoth Tursas and the chiseled Claudio Castagnoli), but The Colony has the boundless energy of Fire Ant and the baffling strength of Green Ant. Green managed to bodyslam Tursas, which is impressive considering Green weighs half what Tursas does. It appears that getting his arm broken last year was the best thing to have happened to Green Ant. So which team will I pick to win? That's a tough choice. The BDK is still going strong six months after I thought they would dissolve, and The Colony is better than ever after their King of Trios victory. I think, though, that this time, size does matter. As much as it pains me to say this, I think the BDK is going to win this match.

12 Large Summit match - Mike Quackenbush vs. Ophidian

CHIKARA's founder takes on the venomous, vile serpent from the Nile. Ophidian took Amasis' place in the 12 Large Summit, so he's got something to prove. Quackenbush lost to Hallowicked in the first match of the round robin tourney, so he's got something to prove. This will be an excellent match. Both men are adept at the high-flying, and both are great submission wrestlers as well. Their styles should mesh quite well. I can't remember them facing off one-on-one before, so this should be a unique experience to say the least. However, I think one major point will be the deciding factor here: this is Ophidian's first match in the tourney, and Quack's second. Quack needs a victory to keep in the running, while Ophidian can muster a loss and still stay in the hunt. So I'm going to pick Mike Quackenbush to win.

12 Large Summit match - UltraMantis Black vs. Eddie Kingston

I hate to say it, but even the great and devious UltraMantis Black can't stop the momentum of one Eddie Kingston. I picked Mantis to win yesterday, so he can suffer a loss and be even with just about everyone. Eddie Kingston wins.

And now, for Sunday's show showdown...I present to you...


Sugar Dunkerton vs. Ophidian

Sugar had one of my favorite matches of the year last month against Archibald Peck. It was definitely a surprise and a sleeper hit for yours truly. Ophidian I've already discussed. Sugar hasn't had much success as a singles wrestler, but damn if he doesn't give it his all every single time. Sadly, I don't think that Sunday will be his day to win. Ophidian needs the win after his predicted loss on Saturday, and he'll get it. Nevertheless, this should be a damn fun match. Ophidian wins.

Four Corner Elimination Match - The Olsen Twins (Colin and Jimmy) vs. Los Ice Creams (Ice Cream Jr. and El Hijo del Ice Cream) vs. The Dark Army (Obariyon and Kobald) vs. Aeroform (Louis Lyndon and Flip Kendrick)

You know why I hated WWE multi-man or multi-tag matches? Because they were always one fall to a finish. CHIKARA does it right by having these epic elimination matches. We FINALLY get The Olsen Twins back after months away, as well as the unreal team of Louis Lyndon and Flip Kendrick. I first saw these two a couple of years ago in the Fray match that opened a Dragon Gate USA show, and I instantly became a fan of both. Lyndon is thoroughly unique, and Kendrick is ridiculously athletic. Both men can go like nobody's business. Then, we've got Los Ice Creams, the closest thing CHIKARA has to jobbers, and two members of The Dark Army, who are seemingly everywhere. Now, one of these teams could potentially walk out of this match with the three points necessary to challenge for the Campeonatos de Parejas, provided they win all three falls against their opponents. To my knowledge, that has not happened since I began watching CHIKARA. But who knows? It could happen on Sunday. We can probably count Los Ice Creams out, since I can't remember the last time they won a match. And, unless they're planning to become a more constant fixture, we can count Aeroform out (though an Aeroform/F.I.S.T. could be intriguing since Johnny Gargano teamed up with Aeroform at King of Trios 2010 before becoming part of F.I.S.T.). So that leaves us with The Olsen Twins and The Dark Army. Obariyon and Kobald have, to my knowledge, not teamed together as a regular tag team, while The Olsen Twins...well, I think you can figure that out. For this match, I'm honestly going with my heart here and picking The Olsen Twins to win, though I don't think they'll get all three points necessary to challenge for the Campeonatos. But they'll get the final fall.

Cheech Hernandez vs. Jakob Hammermeier

If Jakob survives his match with The Throwbacks on Saturday, he's got a tough cookie in Cheech to contend with on Sunday. Cheech is a guy I haven't seen too much, but I've enjoyed what few matches I've seen him in. He's got great sway over the crowd and a great attitude. Whether he can stop the apparently unstoppable Jakob Hammermeier is another story. Jakob's matches usually go as such: he gets the crap beaten out of him only to have someone distract or take out the ref long enough for another BDK member to destroy his opponent and drape him (Jakob) over his opponent's unconscious body and pick up the victory. Since the BDK has plenty of members on hand this weekend, it's likely that will happen yet again. My apologies, Cheech Jakob Hammermeier wins.

Eddie Kingston vs. Hieracon

Kingston was originally scheduled to face Brodie Lee in the main event of this show, but due to Brodie's knee injury, that match will not happen. It's too bad, too, because that would have been one hell of a main event match. Instead, we get poor Hieracon getting thrown to the wolves. Or, in this case, The War King. We all know Hieracon can take some punishment, but something tells me he won't be pinning Kingston's shoulders to the mat for a three count. Look for a serious beatdown being laid out by one Mr. Last of a Dying Breed. Eddie Kingston wins in convincing fashion.

Dasher Hatfield vs. Tursas

I do not envy Dasher one bit. Tursas has been defeated only a few times since his debut last year, and since adding a TOP ROPE MOONSAULT to his repetoire, Tursas is scarier than ever. Dasher is one of those guys who can take about as much abuse as anyone can dish out, but I just cannot see him winning this match. He may have defeated Brodie Lee last year, but Tursas is another monster entirely. Tursas wins.

The Spectral Envoy (UltraMantis Black and Hallowicked) vs. The BDK (Ares and Tim Donst)

The whole UMB/BDK thing began before I started watching CHIKARA, and I keep meaning to go back and read more about the story between these two. I've read some, but it's a very complex and detailed story. Safe to say that UMB and Ares have unfinished business, and it's even more complicated with Sinn Bodhi in the mix, though we haven't really gotten to hear much of the story unfold as of late. I'd like to know if someone is in league with someone else, or if all three factions are working for themselves, or who knows what else? Anyway, this should be one hell of a fight. But UMB is fighting a two-pronged war, and his resources will be depleted more than Ares'. I'm giving this win to the BDK. Damn, why am I picking them to win so much?

Young Lion's Cup Championship Match - Frightmare (c) vs. Kodama

Kodama earned this title shot by pinning Frightmare last month during a trios match. Frightmare is trying to be the first Young Lion's Cup champ to hold the title for an entire year. The only person who came close to that was Shane Storm, now known as STIGMA, who held it from YLC II to YLC III, which were eleven months apart. I will give Kodama some credit: he has gotten better as the months pass. But I still think he's a little behind Obariyon as far as in-ring polish is concerned. Kodama probably botches moves more than anyone on the CHIKARA roster, but that isn't a huge insult considering how polished the entire roster is (especially when compared to companies like CZW). I can't imagine him winning the YLC from Frightmare. Not this close to the next YLC tourney. Frightmare wins and retains the Young Lion's Cup.

The Colony (Soldier Ant, Fire Ant, and Green Ant) and "Lightning" Mike Quackenbush vs. F.I.S.T. (Icarus, Chuck Taylor, and Johnny Gargano) and Vin Gerard

As it says on CHIKARA's website, RELEVOS ATOMICOS! I have no idea what that means, but we've got an eight-man tag team match, and you will never hear me complain about that. Poor Vin Gerard is trying to pick up the pieces of his career after being forced to split up after losing to 3.0 last month. Oddly enough, we haven't seen 3.0 since then...anyway, Gerard will get a chance by teaming up with F.I.S.T. to take on the 2011 Kings of Trios and one half of the Campeones de Parejas. We're getting another rematch of the King of Trios final match, which I'm totally cool with. Add Gerard and Quack to the mix and it's a recipe for insanity. Atomicos matches tend to get out of hand, and they're usually famous for their multi-person submission sequences. I hope at some point we get eight guys with seven submissions chained together simultaneously. Hell, if the first guy being made to submit manages to get a hold of the eighth guy and have a crazy circular eight-man submission, I could die happy. Anyway, this should be fast, furious, and fun match to watch. And I want to see the weekend end on a positive note. So I'll pick The Colony and Mike Quackenbush to win. Better luck next time, Vin.

And so ends another insane three-day weekend spectacular in CHIKARA. Makes me want to try to get a job with them so I can go to these shows instead of experiencing them on DVD. Anyone know if CHIKARA is hiring? *wink*

Okay, that's it for me for now. But I'll be back for CHIKARASAURUS REX weekend, if not sooner. Keep cool in this unbearable summer heat, kids.