Post Secret Wars Marvel Universe

So for those who haven’t seen it, apparently preview cover art of all the new #1s coming out in October are floating around the Internet that shows us what the post Secret Wars Marvel Universe will look like.

Probably of the most interest to the Blog as whole is that CM Punk will be co-writing a Drax the Destroyer (ergo Batista’s character in Guardians) ongoing with Cullen Bunn

To me the one that looks most interesting is Ultimates with both Spectrum and Captain Marvel as members. That and Thing is now a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the post FF marvel universe.

Also of note Nick Spencer, who wrote the stellar Superior Foes of Spiderman, is getting the new Captain America title (with Sam Wilson in the lead) along with Ant Man. And Spider-Man legend Gerry Conway is writing a Carnage ongoing.

Anyway you can see all the cover art here:
http://www.bleedingcool.com/2015/06/30/retailer-posts-every-page-from-marvel-preview-book-out-tomorrow-marveloctober/

Post Razor, Pre NWO

Hey Scott, 

After reading your recent Monday Nitro reviews, I started wondering about Scott Hall; Specifically, if there was an alternate plan for his debut in WCW . 

From my understanding, he started talks before Kevin Nash. Was the invasion/NWO angle always the plan or was there something else set up for just him? The re-debut of the Diamond Studd, maybe? A repackage as a member of the Dungeon of Doom or Horsemen? 

​There was never a real plan talked about beforehand, no.  The assumption from most at the time was that they would bring him back as the Diamond Studd because the character was still known and pretty close to Razor Ramon anyway, but that was never anything actually discussed as far as I know.  That's part of the reason why the invasion deal worked so well, because it shattered expectations of what WCW would choose to do with them.  ​

Sporting News: Post Royal Rumble Mailbag Part One!

I felt like the "Wrestlemania location announced" post last week was so lame that I owed people a mailbag to make up for it.  
Also, because angry nerds = PAGEVIEWS.  Apparently this thing is hitting a nerve with people.  Who could have foreseen THAT?

Guest Post: Sports Review Wrestling PREDICTIONS!

Sports Review Wrestling Predictions into 1998…What They Were And Why They Weren’t As Ridiculous As You Might Think. Took some inspiration from the ongoing WWF Magazine recaps on the BOD, and remembered that I had this in my possession (not for long…as of this writing you can purchase it from my eBay store at jmfabianorpl, with other wrestling goods and more!  Jeter421 on Half.com has even more great items.  Anyway…) http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NjQwWDQ4MA==/z/zPUAAOSw~uhUmvC8/$_57.JPG Back when I started being a wrestling fan, I had to have EVERYTHING related to the sport.  The action figures, the books, videos, I had to be around when anything even resembling wrestling was on television and I watched it ALL.  And of course, there were the magazines.  Like others, I started with the WWF Magazine, but then as I discovered other companies on TV, I took notice of other titles on the newsstand…especially those coming from Bill Apter and “TV Sports.”  Yes, the trinity of The Wrestler, Inside Wrestling, and Pro Wrestling Illustrated especially…though I liked many of Apter’s side publications such as Wrestling ‘8x/’9x, Wrestling Superstars, and why I am here today, Sports Review Wrestling.   SRW really didn’t have anything that jumped out at you like the other Apter mags did…for example, Inside’s strengths included One on One (a phone conversation between rivals); Top 15 rankings, instead of the usual 10, for the major companies and a roll call of champions; and a “Where are they now?” page.  PWI had arena reports, “breaking” news, and full-color centerfolds.  SRW seemed to mostly be straight news most of the time.  Wrestling Superstars, while one of the B-listers, still had monthly dream matches, complete with storylines (such as a masked Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake assaulting Sting and Davey Boy Smith; El Gigante taking Andre the Giant’s mainstream popularity, causing the latter to get in bodybuilder’s shape for one big blowout; and the Road Warriors having a singles match competition for a car, ending inevitably in them facing each other).  However, more often than not, the other magazines would get something interesting, and the September 1988 SRW was no exception, as you can tell from the cover.  For this issue, the writers would attempt to guess what way the wrestling world would go in the next 10 years.  I am a sucker for this kind of thing, and love revisiting the fans’ predictions in the year-end PWIs.  So I had to have a look at this article and some of the things it foresaw.  I expected far-fetched weirdness and got some, but I must tell you…some of SRW’s predictions actually weren’t as far off from the truth as you may think… C:UsersStaff.INTERNALDocumentsJames folder151___12IMG_8209.JPG So, we start out with the bold prediction that a major corporation would take over the NWA by 1993, helping it compete with the WWF and even surpass it.  Coca-Cola (which would have lost Columbia Pictures years ago) and MCA (which would lose Universal in a couple of years) are named…BUT…we know how things really went down.  As the NWA would be purchased by Ted Turner, rebrand itself WCW, and would of course become a part of Time Warner eventually.  Now the article is 5 years off with the year of the purchase, which would actually be coming within months.   However, think about this: 1993 was when Eric Bischoff came to power, and though it took some more time, he would be the one in power when WCW did overtake the WWF.  And hey, the article is off by just one year as far as when that really happened.  You could even stretch things and say 1995 was the debut of Nitro, which was a catalyst in WCW becoming number one.   Next prediction involves “Sean” McMahon, Vince’s son (typo?  Misinformation?  DIDN’T KNOW BUT CAME REALLY, CLAIRVOYANTLY CLOSE?!!?), taking over the WWF by 1997.  Either that or you can say another Sean (or Shawn) was practically family with Vince by then, of course, being favored in the Montreal Screwjob and pretty much being allowed to get away with anything and, well, practically running the joint.  Name play aside, the dates again are still not that far off, and competition with WCW would indeed push the WWF harder, all the way into the Attitude Era, as the prediction states.  As for the prime-time comedy-drama, isn’t that one of the things they insist/insisted Raw and Smackdown are?  Then again, the XFL was pretty unintentionally comedic…but that was years off anyway.  This column also predicts that “Sean” will make WrestleMania 14 the first to be held in outer space…yeah, let’s pretend that SRW was actually seeing Steve Austin beginning the company’s rise into the stratosphere for the next 3 years.   C:UsersStaff.INTERNALDocumentsJames folder151___12IMG_8407.JPG C:UsersStaff.INTERNALDocumentsJames folder151___12IMG_8211.JPG OK bear with the blurriness here.  We have Michael Jackson signing a 10-year contract with the WWF in 1992 after doing an album of standards with Frank Sinatra.  MJ would be getting $50 million and by 1994 would primarily serve as a manager who loads his sequined glove to pass to his wrestlers.   I could simply say “no, but both would be dealing with PR scandals at the time.”   The Road Warriors were predicted to break up in 1990 and become singles wrestlers, only to feud when both Animal and Hawk wanted Paul Ellering for a manager.  They would have a one-on-one match at Great American Bash ’91 or Starrcade ’91 and cripple each other, ending both their careers, so the article said.  Now, any LOD partings in the ‘90s happened with whimpers (their split in 1992 when Hawk left the WWF; the teased feud in 1998 that was abandoned for the formation of LOD 2000…sup, Russo?).  Interestingly enough, Bash ’91 did feature a grudge match between the former members of a long-standing NWA/WCW tag team in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express.  And Starrcade of that year ended with a confrontation with ex-friends Sting and Lex Luger, in the Battlebowl finals.   Steve DiSalvo will be NWA world champion in 1993, managed by Harley Race, and he’ll run rampant until losing the title to Owen Hart in ’94.  The closest level of infamy DiSalvo achieved was becoming the first, or one of the first, IWC internet memes in 1991.  But a dominant world champion in NWA/WCW, managed by Race and dominating throughout 1992-94, sound familiar?   Also, Owen DID use the Sharpshooter/Scorpion Death Lock as a finisher, like someone’s arch rival during his tenure in WCW.   C:UsersStaff.INTERNALDocumentsJames folder151___12IMG_8408.JPGC:UsersStaff.INTERNALDocumentsJames folder151___12IMG_8214.JPG When making a predictions article, Apter always loved to throw in a tease that Hulk Hogan would be turning rulebreaker.  This was no exception, as the writers saw Hogan beating Brutus Beefcake for the Intercontinental Title in ’93, then going to the NWA…to join the Four Horsemen.  Again, SRW was a few years ahead, but we all know that this basically happened with Hogan returning to his heel roots with a new elite group in the company.  And hey, Hogan did leave the WWF in 1993, although it took time for him to first show up in WCW.   Other predictions made in the column included: Larry Zbyszko getting his own talk show on WWF TV and beating the Ultimate Warrior for the I-C title; Elizabeth beating Wendi Richter in a 26-minute classic in ’94 to become WWF Women’s Champion; and Nick Bockwinkel coming out of retirement and regaining the AWA title in the mid ‘90s.  (Well, the latter can be likened to a certain legend winning the #3 company’s world title, on their first pay per view…) So Sports Review Wrestling…second coming of Nostradamus, or not worth the $1.75 it cost?  You decide…

Best Survivor Series match post 2000

Hi Scott,

You recently mentioned that you enjoyed the Survivor Series matches from 87. Is there anything more modern that you may have also enjoyed?

Thanks.


I literally couldn't name a single Survivor Series match past 2002, outside of "the one where Shawn Michaels superkicks Mike Knox and then shrugs with confusion"​.  It just doesn't mean anything to me as an event anymore.  

Post Show Analysis: Monday Night Raw 8-25-14

The goal is to supply readers with an alternative to the traditional review style. This column will be an overview of what happened rather than a blow-for-blow. It is intended for those who watched the show already. I would recommend reading Andy PG’s review if you have not watched the show.

Last weeks Raw provided us with a couple things to confabulate about: Paul Heyman cut another money promo. The WWE Champion will now carry around one title. And Dean Ambrose’s face was curb stomped into a stack of cinder blocks. Moreover, we found out later that Ambrose is missing and that Cena would invoke his rematch clause for the WWE title at Night of Champions.

The One to End the One:

Predictability and unpredictability are both important in wrestling. Predictability builds to unpredictably and vice-versa. They support and lean on one another, and would not exist without each other.  The Undertaker’s undefeated streak, for example, ceases to exist without predictability, and thus breaking it would have never seemed to be insurmountable. WWE authenticated something that was fake so much that it seemed to be unbreakable, and they did it so well that people their eyes were deceiving them when Lesnar broke it. It was an archetypal specimen of how the predicable can make the unpredictable seem impossible, and how momentous it can be when it happens as well.

Furthermore, wrestling is an eternal conflict between good vs. evil with protagonists and antagonists, and not much in between. Shades of gray writing complexes the characters and fans can become in a quandary on whom they should like or dislike, so the majority like being told whom they should like/dislike. In most cases, good should always overcome and prevail over evil. Besides, the average person wants to believe that good always conquers evil, and wrestling is a place where they can live out their credence.

The sole purpose of building up a dominant antagonist is to make a protagonist into a savior and hero. In WWE, the best place for the protagonist to give the villain the comeuppance he deserves is at Wrestlemania. It is a show where long feuds are paid off and is where the masses finally get what they want: good triumphing over evil. Therefore, we know when Brock Lesnar’s reign of terror is going to end. However, we do not know who is he going to have to vanquish to get there. It is going to be interesting to see where it goes from here, to say in the least.

They’re That Damn Good: 

Cena has transformed into a more sympathetic babyface, and it is mainly because of Heyman and Lesnar being exquisite heels. Heyman predicted Lesnar to beat the Undertaker and then give Cena the beating of his lifetime. Both of those hypothesizes were on point. Since he accurately two bold predictions, this means Cena is in the most danger he has ever been in yet.

What makes this story work is that Cena does not alter his modus operandi. He always wants to overcome obstacles, and his never-say-die attitude and resiliency have been his fortes that have allowed him to stay on top. However, he might have veered from being fearless to downright ignorant for evoking his rematch clause, although his tendencies are blinding him from even contemplating that. His biggest strengths for over a decade could become his biggest weaknesses, as his bravery and pride might lead to his biggest downfall ever.

Although it has mostly to do with the heels, this story-arc has been reinvigorating for him. For most of his time on top, he has been booked as an irreverent Superman that had no weaknesses nor feelings of unhappiness (and it got to a point where he would brush off losing his WWE title the following night as if it was nothing). Now –  in contrast to once being a cartoon character who had insufferably passive-aggressive and happy-go-lucky attitude – he is someone that is more relatable, and it has made him, as a whole, more tolerable. After all, a character is more humanized and interesting when it has weaknesses, as opposed to when it’s invincible.

 Hate is a Strong Word:

A sense of hatred and well-defined roles are the two features a heated feud must have. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins are both well-defined in their roles and their repugnance for one another is essentially unparalleled (well, at least in the no-blood era). Ambrose is a psychopathic antihero, and he is not about moral principles. He’s just a resilient dude and does not care what he has to do to get revenge on Rollins  – and it is a big reason why the fans love him. Conversely, Rollins is a pusillanimous heel who hides behind the Authority and allows them to do most of his dirty work  – and it is a main reason the fans hate him. They are immaculate foils for the other.

Rollins’ promo kept the iron hot by progressing the story while Ambrose films his movie. They also smoothly transitioned the Rollins vs. Ambrose feud to a Reigns vs. Rollins feud. This is something Reigns’ character needed to do. After all, he lost some of his credibility and integrity for not seeking vengeance on the man who turned his back on him. Doing this feud now is better than never.



Swing and a Miss: 

The opening segment bombed. Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and HBK were all sitting in the ring at an announce table to talk about the Lesnar vs Cena rematch. I must give them credit for at least trying something different, but nothing about this felt organic. Instead, it felt too forced, improvised and directionless. And rather than driving the purpose of the segment home, they were too busy talking over each other. Overall, this was a disorganized and muddled segment, and it did not effectually build up the match at all.

Who Booked This Shit? 

When the Bella Twins’ feud started, we just knew bad promos and segments were inevitable. Nobody could have guessed it would be this bad, though. Neither one knows how to cut a convincing heartfelt promo nor how to act. So why the fuck did they do this segment? There are ways WWE could have protected them and not allowed them to expose their weak points. Indisputably, this was not one of them.

The dialog and story were both a mess, and so were their  promos and acting. They had no chemistry together as foes; they were not comfortable in their roles, and nothing they said felt realistic. Nikki’s promo had terrible segues and transitions, as it was long-winded and just meandered. She kept blabbering incessantly about nonsensical things like Brie marrying Daniel Bryan, stealing her boyfriends, and other clichéd reasons why a sister would hate the other. It’s almost as if they googled “reasons a sister would hate other” and “hurtful things they would say”, and then  inserted the top searches into this promo. Laughably, Nikki also did not know whether she should be looking into the camera or at Brie, and Brie’s crying and acting skills were as contrived as it gets.

The acting, talking, booking, and dialog were all cringeworthy and embarrassing to anyone who calls himself or herself a wrestling fan. This company does not deserve anyone’s 9.99 when they have segments like this on their flagship show. This was an ugly amalgam of Jerry Springer and the Jersey Shore: trashy people with no class fighting about nonsense.

This Is What It Has Come Down To:

The Rhodes Family used to be the most over tag team in the company. They were talented, had superb chemistry together, were sympathetic, and the fans wanted to rally behind them. In the midst of one of the worst WWE PPV’s eras in the Fall of 2013, they were one of the few bright spots and stole most of the shows. But after they lost their titles, WWE seemed to just want to bury them. They gave them a losing streak gimmick, they turned Rhodes into Stardust, they had them wrestle Rybaxel a million times, and then they took them off TV. And, they still remained over in spite of that. Instead of WWE realizing they made a mistake, they decided tonight to turn them heel.

Both Goldust and Cody Rhodes are talented wrestlers. Therefore, they could be effective in their new roles given the opportunity. However, they were an incredibly over and sympathetic tag team who consistently delivered. The way they have been booked has been illogical from a business standpoint, ever since they lost the tag team titles.


Going Home: 
This was a completely phoned-in show. Since they are one month away from Night of Champions, they apparently saved all of the important stuff for the shows closer to the PPV. That is when good and long wrestling matches come in handy, though. As a whole, this Raw sucked. Just a lackluster reinforcing show, with boring matches, lots of filter, and one godawful segment. On the bright side of things, Night of Champions is shaping up to be a good-looking card on paper.

This is a work-in-process experiment, so leave any constructive feedback if you have any.

A “Because WCW” blog post by Lance Storm


​​

Thought you and the rest of the blog would find this interesting. A slew of "Because WCW" moments as told by Lance Storm. He wrote this to commemorate the re-release of the "Death of WCW" book.

http://www.stormwrestling.com/061214.html

Here's a sample:

"This next story is another great example of how overly booked and over written all of the WCW shows were in 2000. There was an Ambulance match booked between Mike Awesome and Booker T on Nitro. An Ambulance match is usually a blow off type match to end a big feud because one man has to beat up the other guy so bad that he is able to stuff him in the back of an ambulance and send him off to the hospital. I was in Gorilla (backstage area right behind the curtain where they send time cues to the refs, cue music and send the guys for their entrances). Mike Awesome went to the ring first and I was standing backstage with Booker. As Mike is standing in the ring Booker is waiting for his music to hit and I hear Ed Ferrara, who was the one giving time cues, send word to the ref to tell Mike Awesome to "Take it home" (go into the finish to end the match) I looked and Booker, Booker looked at me, and I asked him, How is Mike going to do the finish with you standing back here? Booker of course had no idea and just shrugged. His music finally hit so he could do his entrance, with the realization that the people in charge already wanted this match over, and it hadn't even started yet."

​To be fair, WWE asked him to do lots of equally stupid stuff, too.  ​

QOTD 137: Mmmmmmm Dat’s Good Post Production.

Billy Kidman, video editor.

Lets talk about video editing! There are a couple of cool tricks that a lot of editors…well, all video editors, use to create an emotional response for an audience. I’ll post some examples below.

For example if there’s a song in a trailer, 90 percent of the time the song’s beat with coicende with some kind of action, be it a character’s footsteps, gunshots, or cars crashing.

For example that Wrestlemania 17 promo with the Limp Bizkit song “My Way” had pretty much every Rock Bottom / Stunner hit during a specific beat of the song. I *love* this kind of thing, so I’m curious to see what you Wrestlerock Wombats think.

What are your favorite trailers / montages / music videos / sequences from films or television where the music, action, and camera work cut together so wonderfully you’re left in awe?

 
Here’s a good example – check out how the beat to Imagine Dragon’s song “On Top of the World” plays with the bounding of a lemur jumping across the ground. It’s cool. 
 
Here’s an example of how even something that’s really fucking bad – i.e something that I did for fun to test out my editing skills as a freshman, can be made a little better by timing edits / fades / cuts / flashes to evoke a response from the audience. Yes I know I spelled experience wrong. I was on <Rhymes with Dustfumes> at the time.
 
And here’s the masterclass, my favorite hype video of all time. I think the timing is a little off on this, but notice how all the swooshes and drum beats in the song all coincidence with a camera cut or some kind of action.
 
I like this trailer a TON because it actually subverts the stuff I’m talking about a bit. There’s a lot of “Footsteps to the beat” stuff, but I LOVE that they’re using a largely *not* serious song to highlight all this action. It’s fucking wonderful. 

Post Smackdown Video Game Streaming

Hey there guys, if you need something to do after Smackdown tonight. I’m streaming again over on Twitch TV if you’re up for watching some simmed Fire Pro Wrestling Returns matches. Originally I had plans to sim extreme rules in WWE 13, but apparently the servers are down and I couldn’t download creations for the shield.

Here’s the link if you’re so interested.

twitch.tv/thepiledrivingcritique

Cena post Mania

Hey Scott,

  I love your blog, I check it daily. I really want ask you a question
even though you must get hundreds, dare I say, millions of these
everyday…but here it goes: What in god's name is Vince and The WWE
going to do with John Cena post-Mania as champion that they haven't
already done in his past 10 title reigns? Obviously, I'm assuming that
they are going to go through with the Rock dropping the title to him
at Mania this year. I feel like it's a lock. So, if that is so…who
the hell is he feuding with that we haven't seen? Who is over enough
to feud with him? What type of circumstances would be interesting? I
mean we have to factor in who he has already feuded with, title or
not, AND he's not TURNING heel. So, where does that leave us? I mean,
aside from turning the channel to ESPN or a Walking Dead rerun.

Let it play out and see where it goes.