Fwd: CM Punk

———- Forwarded message ——– Hey Scott, wanted your thoughts on something.  This is a tweet from CM Punk in response to fans claiming that since he is the champion, he should be in the main events of RAWs and PPVs:  Placement on a card determining quality? Y'all need to reevaluate. I'll wrestle @WWEDanielBryan 1st, 3rd, 7th or your precious last… it will ALWAYS be the main event Not saying he doesn't have a point, but when Punk did that shoot promo last year, wasn't one of his main points that despite being the best, he is never in the main event("Dwayne being in the main event at mania makes me sick!")?  Now he's taking shots at his fans who have been behind him even before that promo.  He was an edgy character last year, and now he is another goofy babyface in the WWE who spouts out catchphrases and tries to get things to trend on twitter.  He says 'WWE Universe' (didn't he cut a promo last year saying how stupid that phrase was and that they are fans?) and he called Daniel Bryan goatface, which obviously Vince told him to do so it could trend.  I mean, last summers CM Punk would have never called someone something as lame as goatface.  I used to get excited when Punk came out, now I like, eh, well at least the match should be good. 
I find it odd that CM Punk has pretty much become the thing he hated so much last year.  What happened?  Was it the new contract?  To quote Vince McMahon from the InVasion angle on Steve Austin, "I want the OLD CM Punk!"  Your thoughts? ——————————- Totally agree.  His pipebombs have sunk to the point of calling people poopypants.  That's why he's the #2 guy without any ice cream bars.  He raged against the machine and then just gave up and joined it.  I still love the guy but I sure wouldn't buy a PPV just for him any more.   Get ANGRY again,  Punk!

Smackdown – June 22, 2012

Smackdown

Date:
June 22, 2012

Location:
1st Mariner Center, Baltimore, Maryland

Commentators:
Michael Cole, Josh Matthews, Booker T

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We’re
past No Way Out and we have the same world champion in the form of
Sheamus. We’re starting the build up to MITB as well so maybe we’ll
have someone added to the ladder match here. If I understand it
right we have eight people in it again, but I’m really not sure if
they have enough people to put 16 guys in two ladder matches.
Besides that’s too many in a single match anyway. Let’s get to it.

Do
You Know Your Enemy? Mine is this heat. It’s way too hot to be
early summer.

Bryan
vs. Kane later tonight plus Sheamus vs. Ziggler in a non-title match.

Here’s
Teddy to open the show. Ace is officially fired and tonight, Mick
Foley is in charge. Here’s Big Show instead though for a chat. He
doesn’t care that Ace is fired because he didn’t care about him.
Show doesn’t care about the fans either and now he can do whatever he
wants. He congratulates Cena for the win on Sunday but doesn’t care
about that anymore. Yep, another main event loss is being written
off.

Instead
Show is moving on to something, but the fans have to chant for Cena
first. Since Show doesn’t care about them though, he’s moving on to
the MITB match. He says there are no five men that can stop them,
which is a great sounding thing as it might mean that there are only
going to be six people in the match. Once he wins the case and
cashes in, he’s going to be champion for as long as he wants to be.
He’s going to win the title for himself instead of the people in the
back or the fans, because it’s all about him.

Cue
serious Brodus who is a little hard to take seriously when he has the
girls with him. Brodus charges in and is immediately taken down by
knee strikes. Brodus hits the headbutt and Show goes down fast. He
pounds on Show in the corner but Otunga comes out and hits the bad
knee to put Clay down. Show hits him in the knee a few times as the
fans chant that Show can’t wrestle. The WMD leaves Brodus laying.
Otunga gets in the ring and says someone should call Brodus’ mama.
He’ll do it himself and tell Mama Clay that Brodus can’t get up.
Otunga does the Carlton Dance and the Thriller Dance. Ok then.

Ryback
vs. Frank Venanzia/Jared Walker

Booker
says Walker is Brickhouse Brown’s cousin. There’s a name out of the
past. Ryback calls them stupid a lot and powerbombs Walker onto
Frank. Double Samoan Drop gets the pin at 1:43.

Foley
is in the back with Yoshi Tatsu when Vickie comes up. She’s the
guest GM of both shows next week. If Foley doesn’t behave, she’ll
make him her assistant. Foley likes the idea and offers Khali as an
assistant instead. Khali and Foley dance.

Bryan’s
memorable Raw moment is Jannetty beating Shawn for the IC Title.

Alberto
Del Rio vs. Christian

Non-title
of course. Christian hits a shoulder block to take Del Rio down and
hooks the sunset flip out of the corner for a fast two. Del Rio
responds by kicking him in the head to take over but Christian sends
him to the floor. The champ dives onto Del Rio as we take a break.
Back with Del Rio holds Christian in an arm lock. During the break
Christian’s shoulder went into the steps to start the attack.

Elbow
drop gets two for Del Rio and he stays on the arm. A kick to the arm
gets two. Alberto goes up but Christian gets in a right hand and a
top rope rana for two. With Del Rio in the rope Christian hits his
uppercut but the top rope cross body misses. The corner enziguri
misses and Christian hits the tornado DDT for another two. The
Codebreaker to the arm slow Christian down again but he shrugs it off
and hits a missile dropkick for two.

The
Killswitch is countered into a Stunner on the arm for two. Christian
takes him down and loads up the spear but he charges into a kick to
the face. Cross armbreaker is countered into a countered Killswitch.
They go to the corner but Rodriguez interferes, allowing Del Rio to
hit the corner enziguri and the Armbreaker for the tap at 6:14 shown
of 9:44.

Rating:
B-. So to be clear, Del Rio has
now beaten both midcard champions in four days. Shouldn’t he still
be #1 contender by default, or do they really need to have him crush
the champions in order to get there? At least this wasn’t a 90
second long match like the one against Santino was. Christian is
still solid here and I’ve been liking his face run a lot.

Cody
comes out and beats up Christian post match because this feud isn’t
done for some unexplained reason. Cody shouts that he is Smackdown
and that Christian is stealing his time.

We
get a recap from Raw on Monday with Bryan/Kane/Punk/AJ.

Kane
vs. Daniel Bryan

AJ
is guest timekeeper for this for no apparent reason. Bryan fires off
kicks to the legs but charges into a slam. Kane pounds away but
charges over the top by mistake. That doesn’t seem to matter much as
he keeps beating on Bryan on the floor, only to get sent into the
post. Bryan loads up the knee off the apron but Kane gets back
inside instead. Running dropkick in the corner gets two and it’s
time for the kicks.

Kane
comes back with his low dropkick for two and follows Bryan into the
corner with a clothesline. Bryan comes back with more kicks but Kane
grabs the leg. That gets him nowhere as Bryan sends him into the
buckle. He slips coming off the top with the dropkick but a second
attempt at it gets two. Kane gets all fired up and pounds away in
the corner. Big boot looks to set up the chokeslam but Bryan
dropkicks the knee.

A
hard kick to the head gets two for Bryan but his Swan Dive is caught
in a choke. That gets countered into a failed YES Lock but the
chokeslam is countered into a guillotine. Kane powers out of that
too but Bryan gets the YES Lock. AJ rings the bell without a tap at
7:25. That gets waved off because Kane didn’t tap and the chokeslam
gets the real pin at 7:54.

Rating:
C+. I was getting into this at
the end until we got to the psycho AJ segment of it which was also
fine. The near falls at the end were getting good and I was
wondering if Kane was going to tap or not, which is a good thing.
Another interesting thing here is that Bryan is on the verge of being
turned face by crowd reaction alone, which usually results in a
monster push. This was a nice surprise.

AJ
skips off of course.

Here’s
Foley for a chat. He’s glad Ace got fired so he can come back for
one night only in Baltimore. Cue Heath Slater to a big cheer from
Cole. Slater complains about what happened on Raw with Lauper and
Piper, but Foley says there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Foley
makes a match for Slater here tonight though.

Heath
Slater vs. Zach Ryder

You
know, because the LONG ISLAND GUY couldn’t be on Raw in LONG ISLAND
right? Ryder takes over quickly but Slater hides in the corner. He
comes back with a neckbreaker for two but walks into knees out of the
corner. Rough Ryder gets the pin at 1:12.

Foley
and Ryder celebrate in the back but run into Sandow. He’s disgusted
by what he just saw and says that Ryder has brought the WWE Universe
down to new levels of stupidity. I guess Sandow has his first feud.

Usos
vs. Prime Time Players

Darren
and Jey start things off with the Uso taking over. They head to the
corner and the brothers double team Darren. Titus avoids a double
superkick and it’s off to Jimmy. Darren drives him into the corner
and it’s off to Titus for some power. We hit the chinlock which
Jimmy escapes pretty quickly. Hot tag brings in Jey but he and
Darren go to the floor quickly. Jimmy goes up for the Superfly
Splash but Titus pulls him down and hits the Clash of the Titus for
the pin at 3:24.

Rating:
D+. Nothing to see here but the
Prime Time Players getting another win is a good thing for them.
With the tag champions being gone for awhile now until Truth’s foot
heals, Young and O’Neal need to be built up as much as they possibly
can. The match was nothing of note but it did its job pretty well.

Post
break Epico and Primo jump the Players in the back.

Here’s
Santino for Sign of the Night. Most of these signs suck. Some chick
has an I Love Santino sign and he invites her into the ring. She’s
dressed like Santino and their Cobras kiss. Then she kisses him and
Santino faints.

Jerry
Lawler likes Vince in the hospital. This is the third time I’ve seen
this in a week.

Dolph
Ziggler vs. Sheamus

Non-title
here. Ziggler gets behind Sheamus to start but Sheamus easily powers
out of it. Sheamus takes him down to the mat with a headlock
followed by a shoulder for two. Ziggler gets a boot to Sheamus’ face
and sends him to the floor. Dolph is hitting and running here which
makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is diving at a power guy,
resulting in him getting caught in a fallaway slam into the barricade
as we take a break.

Back
with the guys in the ring and Ziggler putting on a chinlock. They go
to the floor and Sheamus sends Dolph into the steps but he stops to
yell at Vickie. Dolph comes back with a sweet Fameasser off the
steps to take over. Neckbreaker gets two as does an elbow drop. A
quick sleeper is countered but Dolph dropkicks him down for two.
Another neckbreaker gets two so let’s hit the chinlock again.

Sheamus
breaks out of that one just as easily as he has all of the other
ones. He starts running over Ziggler and loads up White Noise but
Ziggler escapes into a rollup for two. Dolph comes back with a
jumping DDT for two and Sheamus goes to the apron. He goes up top
and knocks Ziggler out of the air when Dolph tries to run the ropes.
The top rope shoulder gets two and there are the ten forearms in the
ropes. Irish Curse is broken up but Ziggler charges into the Brogue
Kick for the pin at 10:00 shown of 13:30.

Rating:
B-. I liked this one more than
the PPV match. Ziggler used a lot of sleepers and chinlocks, but
there’s something about him where you think that he could pull off an
upset here. He can hit that Fameasser from anywhere and it would do
him a lot of good to make that his primary finisher. This worked
well though and for a TV main event, this was fine.

Overall
Rating:
C+. What an improvement
over last week. This show felt like it was actually decent even
though nothing really happened. The main event was good and we got
another good match in Bryan vs. Kane. Above all else though, nothing
was really bad and we got some good matches too. That makes this
about ten times better than last week’s show which is the best thing
that could happen for Smackdown this week.

Results

Ryback
b. Frank Venanzia/Jared Walker – Double Samoan Drop

Alberto
Del Rio b. Christian – Cross Armbreaker

Kane
b. Daniel Bryan – Chokeslam

Zach
Ryder b. Heath Slater – Rough Ryder

Prime
Time Players b. Usos – Clash of the Titus to Jey Uso

Sheamus
b. Dolph Ziggler – Brogue Kick

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Rockers question

While we're on the subject of the Rockers…

Hey Scott,
Long time reader, yada yada yada
Random question – I've been watching some DVDs, and it seems that the Rockers were super-over back in the day. Why did Vince never give them a major push or a run with the tag team titles. Their match quality was incredible and the fans loved them, so what gives? (I've heard about the title change that was supposed to happen but cancelled, and that just reinforces the question, why was their push scrapped?) 

Because Vince thought they were too small, plus both of them were flaky party boys who were often far more concerned with getting high than with showing up for work.  I don't think I would have pushed them as a serious top team given all the baggage they came with, either.  

Moar Memphis!

You think heel McMahon is cool?  How about heel Rock N Roll Express in a bloodbath against PG-13 with Mark Curtis beating the shit out of everyone?  HOW ABOUT THAT?

You want more?   How about HEEL Midnight Rockers against the Rock N Roll Express for the AWA World tag titles?

Top that, Princess!

The SmarK Rant for TNA Impact–06.21.12

The SmarK Rant for TNA Impact – 06.21.12 (Open Fight Night) Live from Orlando, FL Your hosts are Mike Tenay & Taz Hulk Hogan is out to talk about change. He’s not going to give Sting’s masked attackers any more press, but the investigation has begun. Next up, Austin Aries owes him an answer, and he can either “go for greatness or go for broke.” I’m not sure which is supposed to be which. Aries joins us and recaps the storyline thus far, which is that he has to vacate the X title in exchange for a World title shot. However, Aries has another option: He hands over the belt in exchange for the shot, but going forward every other X champion will have the same opportunity at the Destination X PPV. Interesting idea, which kind of makes the X title like Money in the Bank now. Hogan is down with that, but Bobby Roode is aghast and interrupts to tell us so. They want to do this RIGHT NOW and the brawl is on, but the agents split them up. Mr. Anderson interrupts because he’s going to win the Bound for Glory Series. Hahahahahahahahaha…no. Mr. Anderson v. Christopher Daniels Daniels doesn’t even get a chance to finish his Appletini! What the hell? Anderson stomps him in the corner and goes up, but Daniels brings him down and works on the arm with a hammerlock, trying for the submission victory for more points. They slug it out and Anderson catches him with a Regal roll, but Daniels counters the Mic Check into a Blue Thunder bomb for two. Anderson rolls him up for two and comes back with a neckbreaker, and the Mic Check finishes at 3:03. So that’s 7 points for him. Short and inoffensive. *1/2 Meanwhile, Dixie and AJ are still torn up about keeping secrets. Meanwhile, Brooke Hogan presides over the four ladies who want a title shot tonight. She eliminates Madison Rayne first because she’s too focused on her secret crush. Who can possibly take Brooke seriously in this role? Robbie E v. Kurt Angle I’m sensing this is a bad idea for Robbie to call him out. Angle, as expected, immediately destroys him with suplexes, the Angle Slam, and the anklelock at 0:30. So that’s 10 points for Angle. Meanwhile, we meet Taeler Hendrix, tonight’s Gut Check contestant. She’s a cancer survivor, so that pretty much guarantees her a contract. Brutus Magnus v. AJ Styles Brutus is offended by AJ’s selfish screwing around and so he calls him out. That’s probably not going to end well for him. AJ comes out slugging and goes up, but Magnus catches him coming off the top and hits a slam for two. AJ comes back with the dropkick, but misses the Pele Kick and Magnus gets two. He hits the chinlock and AJ fights out and gets a corner clothesline, then follows with a vicious enzuigiri. Daniels and Kazarian come out and distract AJ, however, and Magnus finishes with a Michinoku Driver at 2:20, earning 7 points. They were on different pages, as there was a couple of times where Magnus was out of position. * Gut Check Challenge: Taeler Hendrix v. Tara Tara pounds her down and gets a suplex, but Hendrix rolls her up for two. Tara chokes her out in the corner, but Taeler brings her down with a rana and makes the comeback with clotheslines. High kick misses and Tara finishes with the Widow’s Peak at 2:32. Thought they might have put over the rookie in this one, actually. Taeler can easily hang with any of the women in this promotion and should easily get the spot. ** Meanwhile, Bully Ray finds Joseph Park backstage and smells fear on him, but Park keeps mouthing off about his brother, which upsets Bully. Samoa Joe v. James Storm Joe beats him down in the corner and hits a jumping kick, but can’t hook the submission. Is it me or does Joe look like a giant version of Little Beaver with that Mohawk? Joe goes to the nerve hold and powerslams him for two, but Storm gets to the ropes to block another submission attempt. Joe goes to the arm again, but Storm makes the comeback with clotheslines. Joe stops the comeback with another jumping kick in the corner and tries for the choke, but Storm runs him into the turnbuckle and finishes with the superkick at 3:52 for 7 points. ** Meanwhile, Brooke eliminates ODB, who doesn’t particularly care. Bully Ray v. The Pope Bully wants “the easy 10 points” because Dinero has been away in Hollywood and thus is easy pickings. And indeed Bully clobbers him to start and gets a clothesline for two. He boots Pope down and whips him around the ring, but misses the big splash. Pope makes the comeback with a shoulderblock and throws Dusty Rhodes elbows before stopping to chat with ringside fans. Bully brings him down from the top and follows with a corner splash, but Abyss wanders down to ringside and chases Bully into a Pope STO for the pin at 3:40. Not a big fan of two of the same distraction finishes in the same show, but at least it’s building those storylines. *1/2 Meanwhile, Hulk explains to Jeff Hardy and RVD that no one wanted to call them out, so they must be the favorites. Knockouts title: Miss Tessmacher v. Mickie James They trade wristlocks to start and Mickie controls on the mat and works on the arm in a variety of ways, then cuts off a comeback with a flapjack. Mickie goes up but misses, and Tessmacher puts her down with clotheslines and facejams her for two. James fires back with a sidekick for two. Mickie goes for the finish, but Tessmacher rolls her up for the pin at 5:23 to retain. Seems like it went a little long, and Mickie’s slow burn heel turn continues. ** Jeff Hardy v. Rob Van Dam Hardy quickly gets the mule kick in the corner for two and Rob bails, so Jeff baseball slides him and they fight on the apron. Rob comes back in with a missile dropkick and Rolling Thunder for two. Split legged moonsault gets two. Jeff comes back with a bulldog and a front suplex, but he misses the swanton. Rob goes up next and he misses the 450, allowing Hardy a DDT for two. Twist of Fate gets the pin at 3:46 for 7 points. Rob was taking some crazy bumps there off simple stuff. **1/2 AJ Styles and Dixie Carter come out to tell the BIG SECRET. Turns out that they’ve been harboring a drug addict together, not having an affair. And then we get to hear from that addict. Sadly, it’s not Sean Waltman, it’s some chick. Daniels & Kazarian freak out backstage and run in for the brawl, and we’re out. The Pulse Well the TNA great show streak kind of ended with a thud this week, as they were cramming WAY too much into this show and the big payoff wasn’t much of a payoff. Not a bad show, but nothing you would cry over missing.

Randoms

Hi Scott
 
A few fairly random questions if you're interested.
 
 
Sure.  Maybe I'll do a whole e-book on this sort of thing one day and clean out my inbox for good.  
 
1) I dug out Owen-Austin SS 97 recently for the first time in ages and it got me thinking. What if Austin's injury had been serious enough to retire him at the time? Given the momentum they finally had, what do you think the most sensible strategy to employ short-to-medium term would have been in order to maintain some momentum without "Stone Cold"?
Man, the world would have been a totally different place, for sure.  I think maybe the development of Rock and HHH would have been rushed forward and they would have survived in the long term, but I don't think there would have been the same kind of boom without him.  
 
2) Was there ever any prospect of putting the AWA World title on Sgt. Slaughter in 1985? I'm pretty sure he was there at the time and it seems to me that he would have been the perfect champion for the promotion during the Reaganite eighties, especially when it came to competing with Vince.
There was never any thought given that I know of, no.  Slaughter was considered on the downside of his career even back then.  Please I think Gagne considered him a gimmick worker, and he always wanted "real" wrestlers to be his champions.  
 
 
3) Leaving aside whether the match was ever seriously proposed, if Hogan-Bret at Summerslam 93 had gone ahead what do you think the best way to book both the match and the buildup would have been?
 
I don't know, because it would have been a really weird dynamic, and the more time they had to build it up, the more time that Hogan would have to get out of doing the job.  Frankly I think Bret was fooling himself if he thought that he was ever going to get a win over Hogan without something drastic happening.  I think that Bret would have ended up doing a quasi-heel turn like Shawn Michaels in 2005, where they have a series of misunderstandings and Bret finally turns on him, only to learn his lesson in time for a team-up against the foreign heels.  Or something.  
 
4) What's your opinion of Slick? No real reason beyond the fact that he was one of the more prominent managers of the Hukamania era yet his name never seems to come up except in passing in any discussions.
 
I love Slick and was always a big fan of his in the good old days.  Once he found Jesus, not so much, but the pimped out heel character was entertaining as hell, especially on the squash shows.  He was a lot of fun to hate.   

NXT – June 20, 2012

NXT

Date:
June 20, 2012

Location:
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida

Commentators:
Jim Ross, William Regal

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

It’s
FINALLY a new season of this shindig and things are really shaken up.
We’re permanently in Florida now with FCW and NXT merging and I
can’t say I’m complaining a bit. These will now be up on Thursdays
instead of Wednesdays as they only air internationally at the moment,
so I have to wait for the videos to surface online. I don’t know
what to expect from this so let’s get to it.

The
opening video is about how each generation has its own stars that
define their era. NXT is about those that strive to make their own
history. Cool video and this looks great so far.

Regal
welcomes us to the show in a voiceover. I really like the arena as
there’s a small Titantron which looks like it belongs in a more
intimate setting.

Here’s
JR to welcome us to the show. He brings out Dusty Rhodes who
apparently is the new General Manager of NXT. The main event is
McGillicutty vs. Kidd and Dusty is very excited about it. You can
say a lot about Dusty Rhodes and a lot of it is critical, but you can
NEVER say he comes off as bored or dull. The guy always sounds like
he cares about what he’s talking about and that makes a ton of
difference.

Video
on Bo Dallas which I believe we saw last week. His dad is Mike
Rotunda, more famous as IRS. He talks about smiling all the time and
being ready to go at any time.

We
get the Vince Hospital clip from Raw.

Bo
Dallas vs. Rick Victor

Regal
and JR are on commentary so I can’t complain there. The crowd sounds
fired up already and I’m really digging this so far. It looks
different from the regular WWE setup whih is a nice change of pace.
Dallas controls with some armdrags to start but Victor chops away in
the corner. Snap powerslam puts Victor down and a spear gets the pin
for Dallas at 2:17. I didn’t see enough of Dallas here to tell what
I thought of him but it wasn’t bad.

Dallas
says you just saw his game plan being executed and that this is just
the beginning. He talks about his smile some more. Dallas is only
22 and looks even younger than that, but that’s the point of being in
the minors like this. He has potential at least.

Video
on Seth Rollins who talks about being the change we’ve been waiting
for. He debuts next week.

Video
on Antonio Cesaro and how awesome he is. He’s The Future and will
also debut next week.

Damien
Sandow vs. Jason Jordan

The
announcer messes up Sandow’s hometown, calling it Palto Alo. Sandow
does his usual schtick, talking about how this is an unworthy
opponent. Therefore, he won’t be wrestling tonight. No match.

Video
on The Ascension, which is a stable I’ve heard a lot of good things
about. They’re standing on a rooftop and say they will rise. There
are only two here instead of the three that I believe they usually
have.

Raw
ReBound is about John vs. John.

The
Ascension vs. Mike Dalton/CJ Parker

Ascension
is Conor O’Brien and Kenneth Cameron. Their entrance is pretty
awesome with music that sounds like something out of a thriller
movie’s trailer and blue lighting. They actually look intimidating
and above all else, they look DIFFERENT. That’s been missing so
badly on this show as everyone is just out there in trunks wrestling.
Cameron and Parker start things off and the Ascension controls
early. Off to O’Brien who stomps away on Parker in the corner.
Ascension hits rapid fire elbows followed by a jawbreaker from
Cameron into a flapjack by O’Brien for the pin at 1:11. I like what
I see again. The finisher is called The Downcast.

Video
on Bray Wyatt, more commonly known as Husky Harris. He’s in a small
town in the south and says that it’s time for parents to quit lying
to their children because monsters like him are real. I’ve heard
rave reviews about this character and I think I can see why.

Derrick
Bateman is looking for Johnny Curtis in the bathroom where Curtis is
brushing his teeth. They leave the room together and Bateman looks
annoyed. Apparently they’re the main event next week. Curtis washes
his hands on Bateman’s shirt. These two still annoy me.

Tyson
Kidd vs. Michael McGillicutty

Kidd
works over the arm to start as the fans chant USA. McGillicutty runs
Kidd over and counters an O’Connor Roll, only to have Kidd fire off
kicks. Michael bails to the floor for a breather before locking up
in a test of strength. Kidd climbs the ropes to escape and hooks the
armbar again. Kidd throws him over the top and face first into the
apron. That’s followed by a suicide dive and we take a break.

Back
with Tyson stomping McGillicutty down in the corner and hitting a leg
lariat for two. McGillicutty sends him to the apron and hits a knee
lift, followed by an elevated neckbreaker for two. We hit the
chinlock but Kidd gets back up quickly. Kidd hooks a sunset flip but
McGillicutty hits a clothesline to the back of the head for two.
McGillicutty puts him in the Tree of Woe and chokes away.

Kidd
gets put in the Tree of Woe again but his baseball slide misses,
giving us his pop’s signature crotch shot into the post. Kidd speeds
up and fires off a bunch of kicks including a dropkick to the side of
the head for two. McGillicutty counters a springboard clothesline
with a dropkick for two.

Kidd
comes back with a moonsault press for two. The fans are really
getting into this. Dungeon Lock doesn’t work and McGillicutty hits a
Saito Suplex for two. McGillicutty puts on a half crab which is
supposed to be called a Sharpshooter. The Perfectplex is countered
into a small package for two. Kidd grabs the Dungeon Lock for the
tap at 14:07.

Rating:
B. These two continue to have
some excellent chemistry together. Their styles mesh just right and
they have yet to fail to have a good match. Kidd is in that weird
spot where he’s not going to be able to be a full time guy on the
main rosters but he’s great for something like this. McGillicutty is
about the same but he’s not quite as good. Together though they’re a
solid combination.

Overall
Rating:
B. For a debut episode,
they nailed this one pretty well. Based on this episode, it’s a
great upgrade over what I spent a year watching. It’s nice to see
some fresh faces and above all else, this show had an energy to it.
I want to see more of this and that’s the most important thing for
the first episode of a show like this. Good stuff and I’m excited
about this show.

Results

Bo
Dallas b. Rick Victor – Spear

The
Ascension b. Mike Dalton/CJ Parker – Downcast to Parker

Tyson
Kidd b. Michael McGillicutty – Dungeon Lock

Remember to like this on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @kbreviews

Seven revisited

This week's Are You Serious got me interested in checking out WCW's Seven, as I'd only heard about it from the Interwebs without ever seeing it for myself.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWtXAtGJ4JQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4inIvA8nm8
That…actually had some potential.  Especially the entrance…it may not have played well in the late 90's, but had they played this seriously, I think that this could have become WCW's version of The Undertaker.
Do you think that Seven had any more potential than it's use as a throwaway shoot joke?
  – Joe

If you could look past the fact that he came across like a child molester, sure, but the gimmick was a bit too oogy for me.   

Wrestler run-in stories on Deadspin

Scott, this is poster Brian_Bayless from the blog. I do not recall seeing these segments on the blog but they are becoming popular on Deadspin. Its readers writing about their encounters with pro wrestlers. The John Morrison story is great and they always close the segment with a Virgil story. Anyway, here is the link to the newest installent.

 

Coolness.  Road Dogg seems like a fun guy to hang out with.  

New shirts, Macho Man shirt on sale, and working with Mick Foley

Hey Scott, your previous plug for our site was awesome in helping us move some Macho Man shirts.  Wanted to see if I could trouble you for another, since yesterday we added a few new shirts to the site and have dropped the price of the Macho Man shirt down to only $10 bucks, for 3 days only.  But more importantly, we also designed a sufficiently bad ass Mick Foley shirt that is only gonna be available from the man himself.  He'll be selling them on his comedy tour this summer and at the shows he's doing in Edinburgh UK.  Later this year, we'll be selling them on our site with some of the profits going to benefit http://www.RAINN.org, which is a charity Mick is heavily involved in.  But for now, buying them direct from Foley on tour is the way to get them.  His tour dates are here:  http://www.realmickfoley.com/events-3/
ALL of the shirts we sell can be seen here: http://doomsdayattire.storenvy.com/
But the 2 wrestling related shirts are right here:
http://i.imgur.com/ppoOL.jpg
Macho Man/Kool-Aid "Oh Yeah!" shirt – ON SALE FOR $10
http://i.imgur.com/Se37S.jpg
Mick Foley's Cheap Pop
Thanks for helping us spread the word, and I'm sure Mick is thankful as well!

Sure, but does he ever e-mail me to tell me so?  NO.  Does he take me on a Wrestlemania dream trip?  NO.  Damn Scotsman.
Love the shirts, keep up the good work!

Monday Nitro – January 27, 1997

Monday Nitro #72

Date: January 27, 1997

Location: Veterans’ Auditorium, Des
Moines, Iowa

Attendance: 3,970

Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby
Heenan, Larry Zbyszko, Mike Tenay

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We’re past Souled Out now and that
means it’s time to get back to Piper. Enough of those young and
talented guys like Giant. WE WANT OLD MEN THAT CAN’T MOVE!!! There
are four Nitros to go before the next PPV and this is the first one.
The main event at the PPV was Giant vs. Hogan so tonight’s main
event? Giant vs. Hogan, for the second time on Nitro (third overall)
in two weeks. Let’s get to it.

The NWO is on commentary and Eric
already gets the day of the PPV wrong, saying it was last night. The
Outsiders are with them.

We see a clip of the Steiners
winning the titles at Souled Out due to Randy Anderson coming down
when Nick Patrick is down to count the pin. He was in street clothes
because Patrick was refereeing every match at the show. Eric calls
Anderson up to the announcers’ desk as Hall complains about nepotism.
That’s great. Eric asks Anderson why he was in the building.
Anderson says that he was given the ticket as a gift by the promoter.
Eric says that’s against company policy (this must be thrilling for
the live crowd) and Anderson says he didn’t know. Anderson says he
had cancer this year (legit) and gets fired by Eric.

Bischoff demands that the Steiners
come out now. Here are the new champions and Eric says leave the
belts with the champs, the Outsiders. Either do it or be in breach
of contract. Rick throws his down so that costs them six weeks of
pay. The Outsiders are champions again.

Faces of Fear vs. Steiner
Brothers

They be clubberin to start and
there’s going to be a tag title match tonight too. Gee, think that’s
going to be a squash? The Steiners clear the ring and it’s Barbarian
vs. Scott to start. Barbie powers him down but walks into a spinning
belly to belly suplex. Off to Rick vs. Meng with the Faces of Fear
doing their backdrop into a powerbomb move. Harlem Heat is in the
crowd.

Another powerbomb gets two.
Powerslam gets two. Some of you may be beginning to notice a pattern
emerging. Stereo flying headbutts get two on Rick. Barbarian tries
a belly to belly superplex but Rick falls forward for almost a top
rope spinebuster. There’s the hot tag to Scott who cleans house.
Meng runs Scott over but when he tries a kick, Scott grabs a belly to
belly overhead for the pin.

Rating: C.
This was an ok power match, but what was the point of having the
Steiners get beaten up like that for such a long time? The Faces of
Fear were in control for the majority of this match and it didn’t do
much to make the Steiners look strong. Maybe that’s what they were
going for, but I don’t know if I get why.

Ok now the regular announcers are
back.

We get some stills from the PPV
where Eddie got his US belt back.

The Giant vs. Roadblock

Roadblock, a big fat guy, jumps him
during the entrance and that goes about as well as you would expect.
Roadblock can’t slam him but Giant easily slams him. A dropkick puts
Roadblock over the top and through a conveniently placed table. Back
in the ring the chokeslam ends this.

Giant grabs a mic and wants Hogan
tonight.

US Title: Jeff Jarrett vs. Eddie
Guerrero

Jarrett armdraags him down and
things speed way up. He takes Eddie to the mat and hits a swinging
neckbreaker to slow things down. Sunset flip doesn’t work for Eddie
but a small package gets two. Jarrett takes over again but Eddie
manages to speed things up well enough to collide. Headscissors puts
Jarrett down as does a European uppercut. Brainbuster sets up the
splash but Jeff comes back with a superplex. Here’s the Figure Four
but here are Mongo and Debra as well. No Figure Four but Mongo hits
Jeff with the briefcase for the DQ.

Rating: C.
This was getting good until the ending where they further the stupid
Horsemen split angle. This is a pairing that could do some really
good stuff with about ten minutes and a story. The idea here is that
Debra wanted Mongo to hit Eddie but he hit Jeff instead because he’s
not a nice guy.

We get part of a clip from
Starrcade where Piper beat Hogan with the sleeper. It gets cut off
though because Bischoff pulled it out apparently. Bischoff comes out
and yells at Tony and Larry.

Billy Pearl vs. Ultimo Dragon

No idea who Pearl is. He takes
over with a test of strength and tries to break Dragon’s bridge but
can’t. Dragon seems to be having some issues with Pearl, who looks
like Bob Backlund. Dragon goes off with the kicks but the handspring
elbow misses. Pearl goes up but gets dropkicked out of the air. A
moonsault sets up the tiger suplex for the quick pin. Short and
basically a squash.

Gene brings out the Horsemen and
Flair is all fired up. He talks about how the Horsemen are reunited
and is very happy. Anderson is proud of what Benoit did last week.
Mongo says nothing of note and Benoit says he beat Sullivan at
Sullivan’s own game and says to let go of what he’s lost, obviously
implying Woman.

Lex Luger vs. Ron Powers

No idea who Powers is but this
isn’t going to last long. Luger runs him over to start but the
referee gets in his way to allow Powers to get some offense. And
never mind as it’s clothesline, forearm, Rack.

Post match Luger talks about how
Giant has been leading the charge for WCW lately as well. It turns
into the usual “WCW needs to stand up” speech.

It’s the second hour so we get the
traditional recap of the opening.

Arn Anderson/Steve McMichael vs.
Amazing French Canadians

Arn and Jacques get things going.
The Canadians double team him immediately and send Arn outside. Back
inside and they keep at it wit Jacques slamming Oulett onto Anderson.
A double hot shot keeps Arn down but after an atomic drop he bounces
out of the corner to collide with Oulett. There’s the tag to Mongo
and he cleans house, taking out the knees of both guys. We get a
double noggin knocker and Parker throws in the flag. Mongo uses the
distraction to hit Jacques with the briefcase for the pin. And
that’s Anderson’s last match on Nitro.

Rating: D.
I don’t know what Arn did to deserve this but he looked like horrible
here. He was getting knocked around by the French Canadians of all
people, not even hitting a single offensive move and needing a
mistake to be able to get out of there. He didn’t know he was
retiring at this point so what was the point here?

Lee Marshall talks about Memphis.

Tag Titles: Outsiders vs. The
Extreme

The Extreme would be Devon Storm
and Ace Darling. Storm is more famous as Crowbar. Darling popped up
on some indy shows that I can find but that’s about it. Hall jumps
Ace to start and the pain begins. Storm comes in and gets to face
Kevin Nash. Side slam puts him down and it’s off to Hall who hits
the Edge for a big pop. That’s good for the pin.

Kevin Sullivan vs. Joe Gomez

Sullivan charges right at him and
they go to the floor. He throws a chair at Gomez’s back and back
inside the double stomp ends this in maybe 40 seconds.

Here’s the NWO with Bischoff
praising Hogan and talking about all of the scientific moves that
Hogan used. Hogan praises himself and talks about how he wants to
make a new movie and take some time off but tonight, he’ll face
Giant. Sting and Savage are in the crowd and Bischoff says call him.
Hogan says he’s going to go get ready for the match later tonight
but poses and talks some trash first.

Jerry Flynn vs. Dean Malenko

Dean works on the arm to start but
Flynn gets behind him. Malenko is fine with that and works on the
knee instead, ramming it into the apron. Flynn pops up to fire off
some punches in the corner and a big kick to the head takes Malenko
down. Powerslam gets two. Dean picks off a kick though and the
Cloverleaf ends this.

The announcers talk for a bit and
here’s a cop with a note. Tony glances at it and goes onto a mic
that the whole arena can hear. Piper vs. Hogan II at SuperBrawl.

Hugh Morrus vs. Chris Benoit

Morrus misses a charge to start and
here comes Benoit. He stomps Morrus down in the corner but Hugh
comes back with a clothesline. Moonsault misses…and Jacqueline
debuts by jumping the railing. The distraction lets Sullivan come in
with a chair shot and the moonsault get the pin. Too short to rate,
but I absolutely can’t stand Jacqueline so the match is bad
automatically.

Sullivan won’t answer anything
about Jackie. Hart thinks it’ll be trouble. Jackie says she
couldn’t stay away. She’d never treat Sullivan like Woman. She
yells at Jimmy, saying never to compare her to Woman or Debra. Woman
looks like she escapes from a fat farm and Debra has chicken legs.
Ok then.

The Giant vs. Hulk Hogan

I think this is non-title. Hogan
rants about the Piper match before Giant comes out. Vince helps Hulk
with the beatdown but Giant shrugs them off. Giant knocks him around
and chokes in the corner as he’s dominating. Hogan goes to the eyes
but it doesn’t last long. Side slam puts Hogan down and Vince runs
in. That doesn’t last long but Eric runs in and the Outsiders run in
for the beatdown. This was about two minutes long.

Giant shrugs the NWO off and here’s
Luger to even things up. They stare each other down and we go off
the air with a plea to Piper to come back.

Overall Rating: C-.
This was still entertaining for the most part, but it basically makes
Souled Out the most worthless PPV in recorded history. The main
event happens two days later, the tag titles are returned, and it’s
on to Piper vs. Hogan again after Giant gets cheated. This wasn’t a
great show, but they got the ball rolling towards SuperBrawl, so at
least there’s that.

Remember to like this on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @kbreviews

Full Listing For WWE’s 50 Greatest Finishers DVD/Blu-Ray

Source

Quick note about NXT: I can’t find it online and it’s not listed on WWE.com so I have no idea when/if I’ll be able to get it up.
– WWE has released details on their 50 Greatest Finishing Moves in WWE History DVD/Bu-Ray, including the top 50 list. Check out the details below:

50. JBL – Clothesline
49. Vader – Vader Bomb
48. Dusty Rhodes – Bionic Elbow
47. Million Dollar Man – Million Dollar Dream
46. Kerry Von Erich – Iron Claw
45. Ravishing Rick Rude – Rude Awakening
44. Lex Luger – Torture Rack
43. Dudley Boyz – 3-D
42. Bam Bam Bigelow – Moonsault
41. DDP – Diamond Cutter
40. Mankind – Mandible Claw / Socko
39. Honky Tonk Man – Shake Rattle and Roll
38. Yokozuna – Bonzai Drop
37. Flash Funk – 450 Splash
36. Sting – Scorpion Lock
35. Lita – Moonsault
34. Kevin Nash – Jack-knife
33. Jerry Lawler – Piledriver
32. RVD – Five-Star Frog Splash
31. Big Show – Chokeslam
30. CM Punk – GTS
29. Brock Lesnar – F-5
28. Bob Backlund – Chicken Wing
27. Batista – Batista Bomb
26. Mr. Perfect – Perfect Plex
25. Kurt Angle – Ankle Lock
24. Chris Jericho – Lion Tamer / Walls of Jericho
23. Edge – Spear
22. Iron Sheik – Camel Clutch
21. John Cena – Attitude Adjustment
20. Scott Hall – Razors Edge
19. Goldberg – Jackhammer
18. Rey Mysterio – 6-1-9
17. Road Warriors – Doomsday Device
16. Bruno Sammartino – Bearhug
15. Sgt. Slaughter – Cobra Clutch
14. Jeff Hardy – Swanton Bomb
13. Eddie Guerrero – Frog Splash
12. Macho Man Randy Savage – Elbow off Top Rope
11. Randy Orton – RKO
10. Bret Hitman Hart – Sharpshooter
9. Jimmy Superfly Snuka – Superfly Splash
8. Nature Boy Ric Flair – Figure Four Leg Lock
7. Hulk Hogan – Leg Drop
6. Shawn Michaels – Sweet Chin Music
5. Jake The Snake Roberts – DDT
4. The Rock – Rock Bottom / Peoples Elbow
3. Triple H – Pedigree
2. Undertaker – Tombstone Piledriver
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Stunner

DISC ONE BONUS FEATURES:
Bonus: Booker T – Spinarooni

Bonus: John Morrison – Starship Pain

Bonus: Scotty Too Hotty – The Worm

Bonus: Rikishi – Stinkface

Bonus: Shane McMahon – Coast to Coast

Bonus: Billy Kidman – Shooting Star Press

DISC TWO BONUS FEATURES:
Sgt. Slaughter Demonstrates The Cobra Clutch on Tony Anthony
World Wide Wrestling – 10th December, 1981

DDT vs. Rude Awakening Match
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude
Madison Square Garden – 24th October, 1988

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Mr. Perfect vs. Texas Tornado
Dayton, Ohio – 13th January, 1991

WWE Championship Match
Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Bob Backlund
Superstars – 30th July, 1994

WCW World Tag Team Championship Match
Kevin Nash & Scott Hall vs. The Giant & Lex Luger
SuperBrawl VII – 23rd February, 1997

King of the Ring Semi-Final Match
Mankind vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler
King of the Ring – 8th June, 1997

Rob Van Dam vs. 2 Cold Scorpio
Living Dangerously – 1st March, 1998

Four Corners Match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. Diamond Dallas Page vs. Hollywood Hogan vs. Sting
With Special Guest Referee “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Spring Stampede –11th April, 1999

Chris Jericho & The Rock vs. Kurt Angle & Stone Cold Steve Austin
SmackDown – 15th November, 2001

Rob Van Dam & Bubba Ray Dudley vs. Brock Lesnar & Eddie Guerrero
Raw – 3rd June, 2002

No Disqualification Tag Team Match
Shawn Michaels & Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho & Christian
Raw – 17th February, 2003

The Rock vs. Goldberg
Backlash – 27th April, 2003

6-Man Elimination Match
Bubba Ray, DVon & Spike Dudley vs. Evolution (Triple H, ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair & Randy Orton)
Raw – 14th July, 2003

WWE Women’s Championship Match
Trish Stratus vs. Lita
Raw 6th December, 2004

Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match to become the Number One Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship
Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton vs. JBL vs. Chris Jericho
Raw – 29th December, 2008

Fatal 4-Way Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Undertaker vs. Batista vs. Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk
Bragging Rights – 25th October, 2009

Six Pack Challenge Elimination Match for the WWE Championship
Sheamus vs. John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho vs. Edge vs. Wade Barrett
Night of Champions – 9th September, 2010

Blu-ray Exclusive Content:
Triple H & Undertaker vs. Big Show & Edge
SmackDown – 6th February, 2009

Rey Mysterio, Jeff Hardy & The Great Khali vs. Edge, Dolph Ziggler & Chris Jericho
Raw – 22nd June, 2009

No Disqualification, 6-Man Tag Team Match
Mr. McMahon & D-Generation X (Shawn Michaels & Triple H) vs. Randy Orton & Legacy (Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase)
Raw – 24th August, 2009

Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match
Team Mysterio (Rey Mysterio, Big Show, Chris Masters, Kofi Kingston, & MVP) vs. Team Alberto (Alberto
Del Rio, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, Drew McIntyre, & Tyler Reks)
Survivor Series – 21st November, 2010

John Cena & Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk & R-Truth
With Special Guest Referee Bret “Hitman” Hart
Raw – 23rd May, 2011

Fwd: The Outsiders Tag-Team Title Run

———- Forwarded message ——— Where would you rank Hall and Nash's WCW Tag-Team Title run?  I always
felt it was one of the most disastrous runs in the history of
Wrestling.  From early on it was clear they would only drop the belts
to the Steiners and even that took forever?  They rarely defended
them, treated their defenses like a joke and at the end WCW Tag-Team
Division was destroyed. ——————————- Yeah but they were the top stars so they should have been the champions, end of discussion.   It would have done way more damage to the division if you had Nash and Hall running around above everyone else while some geeks were the champs. 

Fwd: Ken Doane

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: "Jeff Burns" Hey Scott, Just wonder if you've seen this and what you think. http://www.lordsofpain.net/news/wwe/Kenn_Doane_Interview_Cena_Being_The_Tiger_Woods_Of_WWE_Wanting_Orton_Fired_Spirit_Squad_More.html A lot of people seem to think that Kenny's just making things up because John Cena is a big star and he isn't, but he doesn't come off like he's making anything up. It all seems to add up.
The part about him wanting Orton fired over failed drug tests would add up to, considering Cena's holier than thou attitude on the subject. ————————————– I would tend to consider Cena more credible than Doane, but honestly I try really hard not to pay attention to the high school drama stuff anyway.

Zack Ryder

Hey Scott,

Has the WWE basically flushed money down the toilet like they have with Zack Ryder ever before? I mean the guy was over huge. With the smark and mark fans alike. He was selling a pretty decent amount of merchandise. Which I thought at one time meant something. He was even over with the little kiddies with his bright colors and goofy outfit. Yet they buried him for months until he was just a jobber, and than off TV entirely. And for what reason?

And even after all that he's still over huge. His merchandise might not be selling as well, or at least you don't see it in the live crowds as much (though that could be because why would you wear something for a guy who isn't even going to make an appearance) but he got one of, if not the biggest pops of the night at the PPV on Sunday. And than they were chanting his name TWICE on Raw on Monday. Once during the embarrassing Cindi Lauper segment and than again during the pointless Cena main event. I thought for sure he would come out for at least something. But nope. It was like they did it on purpose. It makes absolutely no sense.

It would probably be better for him if he just left. I don't know what his contract situation is but I imagine TNA would be able to use him in someway. What do you think?

I don't think he's going to leave because he's one of the new generation of guys, along with Dolph Ziggler and Cody Rhodes, who have been so brainwashed by the WWE indoctrination system that they won't speak up for themselves anymore because they think WWE is the only way to make a living in the business.  And they're pretty much correct, unfortunately.  However, even back in the 90s, guys who had built their own character and brand would feel free to tell a promoter to go fuck themselves if they were getting booked like Ryder, or Cody, or Ziggler was.  You think Raven would put up with that kind of bullshit booking for more than a week?  He'd quit and do indies to pay the bills for a few months and wait for them to call again.  Steve Austin left the WWE high and dry in 2002 and they STILL came crawling back to him over and over.  Sable sued them, and WON, because she didn't like her treatment, and they rehired her in 2003 for even more money.  Brock Lesnar, need I say more?   They're desperate for stars right now and these guys have the perfect opportunity to, frankly, squeeze Vince McMahon by the balls and make their own career, and they're seemingly too scared to do it.  You don't think they'd take John Morrison back in a HEARTBEAT right now and probably give him a main event push (as long as he dumped Melina, of course)?  I don't know if the problem is that guys like Ryder grew up as fans like us and can't see it as the cold and heartless business that it needs to be in order to make money off it, but Brock Lesnar sure as fuck does and that's why he's where he is and they're where they are.

True Believers Plug

Hey, Scott!
Knowing you to be a major fan of all comic-bookery and a purveyor or plugs – I was wondering if you would give a quick plug for our upcoming play: True Believers.
http://www.indiegogo.com/TrueBelievers?c=home
We're about halfway to our funding level and just need a small push to help with the more elaborate costumes. You too could own the Cyborg Head of Stan Lee.
Thanks in advance!
Jim
TRUE BELIEVERS by Boston playwright Thom Dunn is a new play that brings the fantastically nerdy world of Comic-Con to the stage, complete with aspiring comic book artists, psychotic fanboys, cybernetically enhanced humans and girls who dress like Princess Leia.
After having readings at VTG’s There Will Be Words and Improv Boston’s Geek Week, this full production will unite theatre and cosplay in order to create a hilarious, quirky and character-driven production that represents the Vagabond spirit.
With your contribution, you will have actively aided the in the creation of something awesome. The bulk of the contribution will go to securing our theatre space– four walls and a lighting grid to contain all of the awesome live theatre we intend to bring to the masses. The rest will go towards putting something fantastic on stage. What kind of fantastic, you ask? A Cylon, Princess Leia, and the Cyborg Head of Stan Lee are all part of the package.
 
Since its founding in 2009, Vagabond Theatre Group has been uniting young Boston theatre artists in order to create. VTG has a proven track record of producing plays by young, local artists and is an active company in the Boston small theatre scene. We are passionate about sharing the process of theatre with the public through free readings, open rehearsals and social events. 
http://www.indiegogo.com/TrueBelievers?c=home

Waiting for the Trade – Heroes for Hire

Waiting for the Trade
By Bill Miller
Heroes for Hire (vol 2) Ahead of the Curve
by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti and Zeb Wells
Collects Heroes for Hire #6 – 10.
Why I bought this: Basically because Black Cat is in it and it was in the discount bin for $4 on Free Comic Book Day when everything in the store was 20-percent off including already discounted items. If it wasn’t practically free I’d have probably ignored it forever because I had sampled the first few issues of this series around Civil War and it quickly became apparent that Felicia was just standing around in the background with nothing to do in this series.
The Plot: Let’s do a back-story/cast list first because these are some obscure characters. Heroes for Hire was the company name of Power Man and Iron Fist’s partnership in the 80s. They often double-dated the Daughters of the Dragon, who are: Misty Knight an African-American P.I. with a bionic arm; and female Samurai Colleen Wing. The Daughters apparently had a title no one was buying by this same creative team, so Marvel used the popularity of the Civil War crossover to add cult-favorites Shang Chi (aka Master of Kung Fu) and Black Cat (female cat burglar and former love interest of Spider-man) to the title, along with a few super-villains who used the registration act to reform/get on the government payroll; and then relaunched the Dragons title as this book. The former villains in the cast are Tarantula, Humbug and Orka. Tarantula is traditionally a male Spider-man villain and national hero of a fictional South American dictatorship with poison spiked boots, but this one is a girl who seems to be a martial artist with spiked boots (sans poison I think but the writers really never tell us much about her or her abilities). Humbug appeared in exactly one issue of Web of Spider-man in the 80s as a joke villain who used the sounds of insects amplified in a tape recorder to commit robberies. In this series he has the superpower of talking to bugs. Orka is a long-time Namor-foe with Hulk-class strength and in some appearances growing powers plus of course he’s aquatic since he’s a Namor foe. The team is registered with the government but privatized by the Daughters and works as an extension of their P.I./bounty hunter business.
Got all that? Then let’s hit the chapter breakdowns with spoilers.
Chapter 1 – A small child comes to HforH and says that super-villains stole his robot, so they send Humbug off with the kid to investigate and we get some comedy with the two of them. Meanwhile a rabbi asks the team to investigate a series of diamond robberies by cyborgs. Humbug discovers the kid’s robot is an abandoned Doombot and it has now been reprogrammed by the Headman (a group of lame evil scientists that usually bother the Defenders). Humbug and his talking bugs fare about as well as you’d expect and get captured. Meanwhile the human members of the team take down the cyborg-henchman and clues at the scene lead them to a boat where they encounter the Lethal Legion (Avengers foes traditionally led by Grim Reaper, this is a trim-downed roster that includes Reaper, longtime member Man-Ape and a cyborg named Saboteur). The heroes lose that fight pretty quickly too and in Adam West Batman-villain fashion Reaper locks them in a boat full of bombs on a direct course to impact the Statue of Liberty.
Chapter 2 – The heroes are unable to disarm the bomb but Misty radios Orka for help, who busts through the wall, grabs the bomb and disposes of it underwater. Meanwhile the Headman have severed Humbug’s head and attached it to a box. (Their whole shtick is head-transplants. And somehow they think this will enable them to conquer the world. Hence my earlier lame villains comment). Anyway he sends some bugs to get the rest of the team to come help. Meanwhile Grim Reaper kills Saboteur for no discernible reason when he notices the bomb never went off, at which point the female members of HforH bust in and defeat them in a short battle. And then Misty tortures Reaper for information but it’s played for laughs so I guess that makes it okay then. Elsewhere Shang Chi and Orka attempt to rescue Humbug only for the Doombot to blow a whole through Orka’s chest.
Chapter 3 – Orka dies and Shang Chi completely loses it, dismantling the Doombot and pummeling the Headmen into submission. Later Paladin (heroic mercenary with low level super strength and guns) approaches the team with a new mission: go to the Savage Land and apprehend Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy (a red T-Rex and a monkey-man).
Chapter 4 – We get a recap of Paladin betraying the team in Civil War but if they want this assignment (which is actually just to apprehend Moon Boy as some scientists think his DNA has the cure for cancer) they have to work with him. While the Savage Land is usually used just for simple A-list hero meets dinosaurs stories, in this book it is presented more like Kong Island with an entire eco-system of over-sized dangerous threats that these mostly human urban heroes are way out of their league dealing with. And it’s not even dinosaurs: its flocks of giant butterflies, and a tribe of gorilla’s lusting after Colleen, and a pack sabre-toothed hyenas and a swarm of giant beetles; and by the end the team is scattered and isolated and mostly in a bad-place although Shang Chi and Tarantula hook-up after beating back the hyenas.
Chapter 5 – Humbug, who was presumed dead after the Giant Beetles got him, wakes up naked among a hive of various giant insects. Moon Boy saves Colleen and Misty from the apes, and they repay him by trying to kidnap him to fulfill their contract. This combined with Misty’s casual torture earlier really makes her just about the most unlikable protagonist I’ve read about in quite some time. Devil Dinosaur comes to save Moon Boy and is about to eat Misty and Colleen (and good for him!) when Humbug and his swarm manage to drive him back long enough for the team to regroup and escape. Humbug informs the team they need to go back to New York because the giant bugs in Antarctica somehow psychically know about the events of World War Hulk including stuff that happened in outer-space, and the book ends by plugging that crossover because you know this team of third stringers who had no counter-strategy for over-sized butterflies is going to be real useful in attempting to stop the Hulk.
Critical Thoughts – While these stories have some entertaining moments, they are also endemic of many of my criticisms of current Marvel: namely that most of the heroes are far from heroic, while any villain who isn’t A-list is treated as a joke. 
Of the villains in the book, the only one treated as a serious threat is the malfunctioning Doombot. And even that is kind of a WTF moment. Since when are Doom’s laser blasts powerful enough to blow holes clean through borderline class 100 level characters? Because if they are that strong then why hasn’t he killed Thing 40 years ago? Obviously this ties back into the Orka isn’t an A-list character so he must be D-list because there’s no middle ground anymore. Never-mind that I have an old Defenders comic where he battles the Hulk to a draw, or an Avengers comic where it takes a significant effort by the entire team to defeat him. Nope, in new Marvel since he’s not an A-list character then clearly he can be killed in one shot by Doom, because Doom is A-list, even though it’s not even really Doom—it’s a malfunctioning Doombot.
Ditto the Grim Reaper and the Lethal Legion. These are traditional Avengers foes. True they haven’t been used in years, but grab an Avengers book in the 70s thru 90s and Reaper is clearly presented as the Avengers #3 villain. And yea, I discussed in my Avengers Assemble review that once Reaper was depowered back to being just a human with tech weapons then he’s not really in the Avengers class proper, but he still shouldn’t be losing to the Daughters of the Dragon in a one page battle. Nor made the pitiful butt of the comedy torture.
This brings up two more points. For the writers-only-know what reason Reaper is presented as a “terrorist” in this book. They use that word several times; and admittedly if he wants to blow up the Statue of Liberty it fits. But I defy anyone to explain when Reaper has ever been a terrorist or even a traditional criminal. All of his prior appearances are based on his obsession with his brother Wonder-man: first trying to kill the Avengers for causing his brother’s death (in the line of duty), then trying to kill Vision for using Wonder-Man’s brain patterns and then trying to kill Wonder-man after his resurrection. To my knowledge he’s never been a bank robber, terrorist or traditional criminal in any of his appearances over the last 40 years, but why should that matter; after he’s not A-list.
Furthermore if the terrorist thing is in there just to justify the comedic torture then it fails twice as hard. I didn’t buy arguments from Bush and Cheney in real-life that torture is an acceptable tool in stopping terrorism, so I sure as Hell don’t buy them from my comic book superheroes, who should be representing a higher standard than real life, not a lower one.
Finally as a Black Cat fan, I have to note she still has no point in this book. Go back and read my plot summary and you’ll see her name doesn’t come up once, so why the heck is she on the cover of this trade?
So what did I like in this? The humor with Humbug and the kid and later with the Headman works for the most part. Chapter 4 is a real highlight with a new take on the Savage Land. If you can successfully pull of a tonal comparison to the original King Kong film you’re doing something right. Finally the art is better than average with the splash page of Orka’s death and Shang Chi’s bad-ass reaction to it standing out as particular dramatic highlights in the art.
Grade: C-. This is tough to grade because while my criticisms are many and serious, they are as I said from the top endemic of the Marvel brand as a whole lately and not just this book. So are we grading it against the Jim Shooter era? Because then it fails pretty hard as pretty much anything not written by DnA or Dan Slott tends to do. Or are we comparing it to current Marvel? In which case it’s just another below average story with misplace priorities in a company filled with them lately. Certainly some of what the writers do here really works (again the comedy with Humbug and the Savage Land chapter, plus the finales of each chapter are for the most part properly dramatic.) Yet in other parts the writing is clearly lacking. I read this whole thing and I have no idea who Tarantula is or what her powers are, nor why Felicia and Shang Chi are even on this team. I would certainly advise against paying full price for this or even going out of your way to read it; but if you see it a discount bin for $3 like I did then it isn’t completely terrible.