Posts Tagged ‘ Wrestling ’

It’s Now or Never, Cena.

The ‘Road to WrestleMania’ began last night with the airing of WWE’s Royal Rumble 2012, and while there is currently only one match officially announced, and a few predicted, I’m definitely starting to get majorly amped up for WrestleMania XXVIII on April 1.

It’s a known fact that a big part of what makes WrestleMania easily the best pro wrestling show of the year is that every WWE SuperStar on the card gives 110 per cent.  Sure, most of these guys give it everything they’ve got night in and night out, but at WrestleMania… everything is left in that ring.

But you can still end up with a garbage show even if everyone gives it everything they’ve got.  For instance, I could have a spot on the WrestleMania card and give 110 per cent, but chances are people would be pretty displeased with what they were watching.

So far, the card is filling up with guys who can really bring it, and under the bright lights of WrestleMania, chances are pretty low that they’ll disappoint.  Sheamus is headed to the big show, where he’ll probably face Bryan Danielson.  Lots of potential for a great match there, as well as with Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk, another predicted match.  I would gladly sit through a 60-minute Iron Man Match between those two incredibly gifted wrestlers.

But obviously, the one match that every single fan of the business is waiting to see, is hands down the biggest match of this generation: John Cena vs. The Rock.

I realized last night that the WWE is doing the exact right thing with John Cena to set up this match.  Finally, after years of pretending it wasn’t there, John Cena and the WWE are acknowledging the fans who hate Cena and everything he stands for. They’ve even extended a hand to the Cena haters and given them a voice, offering a “Cena Sucks” t-shirt.

After watching the amazing, chill-inducing video package on Cena from the Rumble last night (below), I realized the genius behind these questionable decisions by the WWE. They’ve completely obliterated the heel/face aspect that is usually pivotal to any wrestling match, in order to get the eyes of every wrestling fan in the world on this WrestleMania match.

I didn’t realize the enormity of this match until last night.  It’s not just a blockbuster match for the sake of bringing in revenue, maybe even more-so this is a stage, in front of everyone, for Cena to silence his haters once and for all.

He’s stepping into the ring with one of the very best in the history of the business, and quite frankly, if he can go move for move, hold for hold with The Rock, he’ll have little left to prove to those who have been calling him out for years now.  And I, someone who dislikes Cena, think that’s exactly what he’s going to do.

April 1 the eyes of the entire pro wrestling industry will be focused on one match, but probably more on one man than the other.  For years now, I think Cena has been afraid to try and prove those who hate him wrong, for fear of failing to do so.  But if he can’t do it at WrestleMania XXVIII, he never will. I think we’re about to see a side of him we’ve never seen before.

And the haters… are gonna hate it.

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The Problem With The WWE.

The WWE, as most everybody knows, is the top dog in the Professional Wrestling universe. The WWE’s brand will be cemented in history well into the foreseeable future as the #1 Pro Wrestling company of all time. So how is it possible that the WWE is not the product that showcases the best wrestling?

Match of the Year?

You heard me correctly.  The other day I showed my mother the Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards match from Ring of Honor’s Best in the World 2011.  She posed a question that I think a lot of WWE fans would pose if they watched almost any ROH match: “Why don’t you see wrestling like this in the WWE??”

It’s a great question, with a simple answer: the WWE creates “Superstars”. The focus in the WWE is on creating entertaining TV in the same way that soap operas aim to create it.  There are simply not enough fans of the technique and skill involved in Pro Wrestling to put a company like Ring of Honor at the top of the heap, even if their wrestlers are putting on matches 100x better than anything you’ll see on WWE programming.

Is that to say that the WWE doesn’t have talented wrestlers? Absolutely not.  The WWE certainly has some of the most talented individuals in the game today.  The problem goes back to what I mentioned earlier; WWE’s top priority is turning these individuals into larger than life Superstars. Ask yourself why the entire world knows who Hulk Hogan is (even before Hogan Knows Best), and yet he was and is one of the least talented in-ring wrestlers ever.

Every wrestler that the everyday person knows about was created by the WWE.  The Rock, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart. In fact, most of those individuals are extremely talented, but it’s not their in-ring ability that they’re known for to most people.  “If ya smell what The Rock is cookin!”, middle fingers, crotch chopping… These are the types of things that non-wrestling fans latch on to, and it’s the type of thing that the WWE still tries to create, while the actual wrestling takes a backseat.

The other thing that the WWE really believes in is nobody out-performing their top stars.  So that means if you’re on a card with John Cena (and if you’re in the WWE, you almost always will be), you aren’t allowed to put on a better show than him.  And to be a wrestler like Bryan Danielson or Matt Sydal and have to tone your abilities down so much, must be an absolute nightmare. And for the actual wrestling fans, like myself, it is almost torturous to have seen what those two can do in Ring of Honor, and then watch their matches in the WWE.

The Briscoe Brothers

There’s been talk that the WWE currently has its eye on some Ring of Honor wrestlers, including Mark and Jay Briscoe, which is fantastic.  But if they bring guys like that over and plan to tone them down, then I will just shake my head.  It’s unfortunate that the only company that you can really make a name for yourself in is the one where you can’t display your full in-ring ability.

I sincerely hope that the WWE is open to changing this in the future. It’s possible to keep the showmanship aspect that makes WWE #1, and also allow your talent to go out there and blow people away.  Look no further than the face of the company, John Cena; loved by people who want to see a larger than life Superstar, and hated by those who want to see a good wrestling match.

Time to change it up, WWE.

Sincerely,

A fan on the fence

So… You Want To Be A Wrestler?

As promised, here comes a review of The Wrestling Road Diaries.

I received the DVD last week, and have since watched it two times all of the way through, and have also been through the deleted scenes/extras as well.  The Wrestling Road Diaries stars Bryan Danielson and Colt Cabana, let’s be real here.  Is Sal Rinauro in the documentary more than anyone other than Danielson and Cabana? Yes.  He’s still barely featured, in both match footage and interview footage. And also his name is misspelled on the DVD cover not once, but twice.  Copy+paste is a great way to make sure you always spell someone’s name correctly.  It’s also a great way to make sure you misspell it multiple times.

The DVD clocks in at two hours and 40 minutes in length, with the deleted scenes tacking on over another hour.  So get your dinner on your lap, and a bucket to pee in because chances are you aren’t going to have any interest in pausing this DVD to get up off the couch; it is that good.

What makes this documentary so great, is sort of the same thing that makes Wrestling With Shadows so great; unplanned events that just happened to come together at the right time. Wrestling With Shadows would have been a good documentary if the Montreal Screwjob hadn’t happened; but it was an amazing documentary because it did.  In that same way, The Wrestling Road Diaries would have been a good documentary if it was just 10 days on the road with these indy wrestlers; but it’s great because it’s Danielson’s last 10 days on before starting with the WWE, and Cabana had just recently been released from the WWE.

What I loved most about the film was that it gave an accurate portrayal of being a professional wrestler working on the independent circuit.  Watching these three young men drive five hours to a town, wrestle a show, get back in their car and start over again, really allows the viewer to feel the tediousness of their living.  It’s a never-ending struggle for 99% of wrestlers working the indies.  All they have is that 1% chance of being good enough to make it to the big leagues.  Most never do.

The film follows the three wrestlers over a span of ten full days, as they travel from city to city, wrestling for the televised Ring of Honor shows, and also local community centre shows in front of crowds of about 50 people.  The documentary does a great job of opening your eyes to the fact that there’s really only the indies and the big leagues like the WWE or (kind of) TNA.  And guys like Danielson can spend over 10 years struggling on the indies, barely able to pay their bills, until catching a break and getting signed to the WWE.

As a wrestling fan, I found the film hilarious.  There’s just something very uplifting and motivating about watching these guys get beat up night after night and still maintain a sense a humour.  Cabana is the comedian of the group, but Danielson definitely has his hilarious moments as well.

I would recommend this DVD to any fan of professional wrestling, whether you’re looking to find out more about the indies or not.  It’s also a fantastic to pick this documentary up, as Danielson is currently sitting on pending World Title run, and Colt Cabana actually had a dark match at the Smackdown! tapings last night, so we could be seeing him back on WWE programming very soon.  I wouldn’t recommend this DVD to non-wrestling fans.  There are plenty of DVDs that I would show to a non-wrestling fan, that would have appeal to them, but this is not one of them.  You need to have a basic understanding of the business before popping The Wrestling Road Diaries in.

The Wrestling Road Diaries can be purchased online at Colt Cabana’s merchandise website ColtMerch.com.  $25.00 for the feature, and $35.00 if you want the deleted scenes as well (highly recommend).

The Wrestling Road Diaries was a fantastic watch for me, as we rarely get such an in-depth glimpse into the actual lives of professional wrestlers.  It’s great to be able to see where Danielson came from, and the struggles he endured for 10 years before catching a break.  This documentary is one of the best I’ve seen in a long while, and I would definitely recommend picking it up.

Poetry In Motion

"Trust me!"

This past Friday night, on WWE Smackdown!, Sin Cara put on his best performance to date, going one-on-one with Daniel Bryan.

This was Sin Cara’s longest match to date, and quite possible Daniel Bryan’s as well. But what took place in the ring between these two was nothing short of poetry in motion. An absolutely stunning display of technical precision, acrobatic prowess, and and unrivaled in-ring ability.

From start to finish, this was undoubtedly the single best wrestling match I have seen in many, many months, and definitely a breath of fresh air from what I was used to seeing from WWE programming. It has always been the standard that Monday Night RAW is the “entertainment” side of the WWE, while Friday Night Smackdown! is the “wrestling” side, with 15-minute matches and not a lot of focus on storylines. And this past Friday night was proof, bringing out a side of both of these performers that we’ve not seen in the WWE.

Without further ado, enjoy Daniel Bryan vs. Sin Cara from Friday Night Smackdown:

P.S. Shut UP, Chavo! Isn’t the height of your high-flying resumé a hurricanrana? Try getting the Frogsplash down before claiming you’re on the same level as Mistico.