Total Divas Season 3 Recap: Episode 7 – “The Double Cross”

Welcome back for the second half of our Total Divas Doubleheader. (MATT: NOT a euphemism.)
Last episode, of course, was dedicated to Eva Marie and Jon’s
bachelor/ette party in Curacao, Mexico. In this episode, we got to see
differences in how our group of Divas had fun and celebrated.

  • To Nattie, such a getaway meant a good time to get away and have a
    romantic time reconnecting with her husband. Unfortunately, TJ’s concept
    of romance and connection was feeding ostriches at a farm and not
    banging the shit out of her when she brought up the idea. (MATT: Let that sink in for a moment: he actually researched things to do in Curacao and chose to visit an Ostrich Farm.)
  • Brie lost her luggage and had to make do with her sister’s clothing
    and persistent badgering. She did drink some but, for the most part,
    wanted to think about her husband at home and how to decorate that home.
    Nikki kept lamenting the loss of her sister (or rather the loss of her
    sister as her co-conspirator in getting drunk and acting silly) and may
    have made some personal growth in recognizing they are just very
    different women who (as Nikki said herself in the first season) she
    wouldn’t be friends with if they weren’t sisters.
  • Cameron, as usual, didn’t have much time for Vincent, though she did
    want to drag him away on this excursion. Though she barely spent time
    with him on the vacation, she did decide to house hunt with him after he
    made his feelings about their relationship known. Since Nikki is the
    only real estate agent they know (plot contrivance), she asked Nikki to
    be her realtor.

And, now…part 2 of our Divas Doubleheader…still booze-free…

TAMPA, FL

Natty and Rosa’s Rental Car
The ladies refuse help from the hotel valets with their luggage as they’re “strong girls”. (MATT: Rosa uses two hands and barely gets her case into the car. STRONG!)
They also don’t appear to tip, maybe they realized they forgot to get
cash for such occassions, which happens to me all the time as I usually
pay for things with a debit card. Natalya hears a buzzing sound coming
from Rosa’s bag. She turns 4 shades of red and says it’s her “electric
toothbrush”. Nattie tells Rosa to pull over so they can investigate.
Natty pulls out Rosa’s vibrator which Rosa says she “used this morning”.
(MATT: That makes it all better.) Natty, who is in Prude Mode (MATT: Doesn’t want to know that she masturbates like every other woman on the planet?)
following her horny streak in Curacao, declares that this is “too
intense” and says she “doesn’t need to know this much about her”.  She
asks for a baby wipe but Rosa claims she “washed it”. (MATT: Every
single week, I say, “Maybe I’ll be surprised and Total Divas will be
good. Every single week, I do this. Why do I do it? Why? WHY???)

Titles.

TAMPA, FL


John and Nikki’s House
Nikki is excited for the movie she’s
in called, “Confessions of a Womanizer”. John jokes he has a small
part, she says he does not. (MATT: They are talking about penises…right?)

Limousine
In
the car, Nikki tells John that “he likes penis jokes”, so he’ll “like
the comedy in the movie.” He doesn’t know what else to say except,
“Thank you.” (MATT: I know I’ll be the first one in line for this masterpiece of American cinema…)

The Palladium
They
show up at the red carpet premiere with director, Miguel Ali. Naomi
shows up (via invite) and Nikki says she’s excited — this is the first
thing she’s been in. Nikki is stoked, saying that it’s a thrill to “play
somebody else, a whole new character”. Then we get a look at her
“character”: a superficial valley girl who verbally harasses guys she
thinks are beneath her and twirls her gum.

(MATT: Pictured – “Somebody Else”)

There are a ton of empty seats in the
theater as John and Nikki watch the film and, somehow, the audience
laughs at “jokes” like, “Just because we’re twins doesn’t mean I wanna
fuck my sister.” Nikki says that this role makes her happy and that she
can see “more movies in her future”.

(MATT: Pictured – “Happiness”)

Rosa and Natalya’s Hotel Room
(MATT: Pre-emptive solution: why doesn’t Nattie just stop bunking and hanging around with Rosa? I know that WWE told her to babysit…but Rosa certainly didn’t need a handler while Nattie was off in Curacao, did she?) Nattie picks on her for wearing a white tank top and shorts. (MATT:
Why are we still seeing Divas shaming clothing choices? What is the
point of that? They’re all basically nude when they go to the ring.)
Nattie says Rosa looks like she’s going to a nudist colony. Rosa says she likes to show off skin.

Rosa and Nattie’s Rental Car
Rosa
and Nattie watch as a fire truck crosses the intersection in front of
them. Rosa says that that the firemen inside are probably cute. (MATT: Sound familiar, Danielle?) Nattie
is still locked in Prude Mode and asks what Rosa means. Rosa says
hasn’t had sex in a year and a month and that she’s “on the hunt”.
Judging from the last few episodes, it’s been a long time for Nattie,
too. However, Rosa says she’s looking for a guy to be
“well-endowed”…and a guy who is willing to wait a bit. Wait…what?
You either you want to get it hard fast and now or you don’t. (MATT:
She practically dry humps every single Diva she sees and eye-fucks every
dude in front of her. As Andy PG said: This show…this fucking show.)

Nattie, practically advocating male dominance and female submission,
says that guys don’t want to “sit around and play Monopoly”. Rosa
counters and says the wrong kind of relationship could make her want to
drink again. She’s scared to date and she wants to meet her future
husband, she tells the camera. Nattie tells her she’ll know when she
meets the right guy. (MATT: Just like Nattie did! Uh, wait…)

Central Avenue Oyster Bar (Restaurant)
After
the premiere, John tells Nikki, “Take me to dinner, movie star.” They
toast her success. Nikki is really proud of her role, but also proud of
her husband who just landed a role in Judd
Apatow’s upcoming film, “Trainwreck”. She says that the cast is
“unreal”. (MATT: If you consider Judd Apatow, Tilda Swinton, the dude
from African-Spielberg pirate flick, and a bunch of SNL rejects,
comedians, a hip hop artist and LeBron James “unreal”, that is.)

John looks a touch pensive and asks if she would ever be naked on film.
She says she would not and says, off-camera, that “the girls” are for
her man and she wouldn’t show them. However, she’s ok with implied
nudity, such as a shot of her back when she’s topless. He keeps prodding
and asks would she ever do a sex scene, but she says she will only do a
sex scene with John. He asked an awful lot of questions. Just what is
in his movie? (MATT: Well, the film doesn’t really have details yet, but it–.) Did he do full frontal? (MATT: Well, I don’t kn–.) Does he have a graphic sex scene? (MATT: I really don’t thi–.) Is this movie a porno? (MATT: Why do we suddenly have advance tickets, Danielle? DANIELLE???) 

ORLANDO, FL

Brick House Tavern + Tap (Restaurant)
Nattie
goes to meet Naomi for lunch as Naomi did not go to Eva Marie’s
bachelorette party in Curacao. We see “highlights” from the party in
Curacao which was comprised of Nattie being miserable 95 percent of the
time. Naomi asks if she’s considered marriage counseling. She admits
they tried sex therapy, which was bad for TJ, but not regular therapy.
She says the sex therapy scarred him. (MATT: The only “scars” you should have after sex therapy are nail marks in your fucking back.) Nattie: “TJ says I’m such a control freak But I feel like my way is the right way”. Naomi grimaces.

TAMPA, FL

John’s Car
Nikki
asks if John is excited about his movie. He says that he is and that he
plays Amy Schumer’s boyfriend who is over obsessive. He says there’s a
sex scene involved — and Nikki’s expression changes. Needless to say,
she’s not quite happy. Then, to make matters worse, he says it has
“partial nudity” — but just his butt. She tells the camera that Cena is
her man and that it may be “just an ass” but that it’s “her ass”. She
says she feels like he kept that from her. John: “I didn’t keep it from
you — we’re talking about it.(MATT: Shut up, John. It’s no fun when you destroy this show’s bullshit with actual logical thinking.) He
says he apologizes for not telling her immediately. She says that this
was a decision they both should have made and that he has to be naked
with somebody and pretend that they’re attracted to one another. He says
it’s one sex scene. She says he’s choosing that over “their
relationship”. Cena: “No…you’re putting our relationship on the line over this.”) (MATT: SHUT UP, JOHN!! STOP THINKING!!) Nikki: “Why don’t you ask other women and see if they’d like their men to be in sex scenes.” (MATT: So, he should ask all the men who have done sex scenes if their women wanted them do that?) Cena says that maybe he’s not with the right woman.

After a break, SexGate continues. Nikki says it’s “weird to fake fuck somebody”. Cena
calls her insecure. Nikki says she’s not insecure and that she’s
concerned about him. She says that he’s gonna be with somebody else. He
tells her “it’s a production” and that it isn’t real at all. (MATT: Didn’t Nikki pretend to be fake-fucking Daniel Bryan at one point?)
Nikki pushes the narrative, again, that Cena “hid this from her” and
then says they “never discuss stuff because they’re not married”. (MATT: You have to be “married” to talk about things?) Nikki
turns on the water works and starts crying, saying that they need to
have a real relationship but she’s not in one. She’s just that girl who
“signed the paper and lives in John Cena’s house”. (MATT: She’s just NOW realizing this?)
He says if Nikki feels like crap because he doesn’t tell her every
single thing, then everything they’ve been through has been pointless.

CLEVELAND, OH

Hotel Room
Nattie
asks Rosa how their matches were during their recent shows in the area.
Rosa says that she “gave Eva her body to work with”. Rosa says she’s
going out to lunch with one of the Cleveland Browns. Nattie calls the
dude a “meathead”. (MATT: Yet, she’s still got a better deal than Nattie.)

Zocalo (Restaurant)
Rosa
has lunch with Cleveland Brown Gary Barnidge. They compare diets. He
likes the Queso dip at the place but she says that would add “cottage
cheese to her ass”. He says he can eat anything because his workouts
dump a ton of calories. Rosa says she has a nicer ass than most of the
younger girls in the locker room. She seems to hit it off and tells the
camera that she was “picturing him with his clothes off”. (MATT: How is that different than all the other people she meets in her daily life?)

TAMPA, FL

John & Nicole’s House

Nikki
has invited her brother and her Mom to their house for the first time.
She mentions the movie and that Cena has a sex scene. Brie and her Mom
and slightly outraged — while Nikki’s brother simply asked, “Didn’t you
do a story where you and Brie were making out with Daniel Bryan?” Nikki
confirms that this happened but says that “kissing is different”. (MATT: Oh, I can’t wait to hear the hypocritical bullshit that’s about to fly from her mouth here.) She says that kissing is different because you “don’t use tongue and stuff”. (MATT: OH…COME…ON.) Her
family talks her off the ledge and Nikki can’t believe it. She says
that Cena should have talked about with her. Brie agrees. Then they talk
about the time they asked their Dad to take them to see “Booty Call”.
Then they laugh. (MATT: For what reason? How does this wrap anything up?)

Marriage Counselor
Nattie
and TJ are seeing a marriage counselor. She says she knows their
marriage can improve which is why they’re there. Nattie tells the
counselor that they’re not on the same page and that they see each other
once a week. TJ says that she’s too focused on work when she comes
home. The counselor asks how he feels about things. He says some of it
sucks and some of it doesn’t. He says he sees more positives in not
going on the road all the time.. Nattie says that this will create more
space. She says that TJ is one of the best wrestlers in the world. She
says she feels emptiness and she feels alone. TJ is forced to admit
this.

WWE NXT Gym
Nattie talks with Ryan
Katz, WWE Producer, about developing a new character for TJ. She admits
on camera she wants to get in his body and do his work for hm because he
isn’t doing what she wants.

HOUSTON, TX for Monday Night RAW


Ringside
Brie is in the ring to continue her storyline feud with Stephanie McMahon where Brie demands the SummerSlam match with Steph. (MATT: And that’s it. We already saw this. Why can’t we have ome behind-the-scenes stuff about that?)

Backstage

Rosa meets Gary Barnidge backstage. She says Gary is the first person she has ever brought backstage. (MATT: I kinda doubt that…) She
introduces Gary to Summer and Nattie. It turns out Summer has met him
before. Nattie nearly gets into it with Summer and excuses herself and
Rosa gets called away for an interview. Summer continues talking to Gary
and flirts with him. summer tells how she used to play football for the
Legends Football League. (MATT: An oddly named league considering it’s little more than a T&A fest with no “legends” to speak of.) She
talks about how intense the league was and tells the camera that she
likes Gary because he’s attractive and they have so much in common. (MATT:
Can’t wait to use that excuse: “Well, she was hot and we both are from
San Jose and we both use Tablets to get our writing done!”)
Summer tells him that they should go find Rosa.

Meat & Potatoes (Restaurant)

Nikki
is out for a “girl’s night”, sans Brie. Nattie, Eva and Cameron all
come along. She says she’s there to just have fun, relax, and not think
about Cena’s sex scene. She asks what the girls think of the situation
with John. (MATT: If you’re trying to “forget about it”, why the fuck are you bringing it up?!) None of the girls like the idea — especially Nattie who acts like Cena’s cheating on her. (MATT: I’m so tired of Nattie. Seriously.) Nikki has a smirk on her face, knowing she’s in good company. (MATT: Yeah, reveling in creating a mob mentality.) Nattie
tells Nikki that she often gets into character — and that means
physically as well. Nikki says she needs a whole bottle of wine while
Nattie wonders if Cena will get an erection during filming. Nikki
doesn’t look happy. Nattie tells her that she needs to put her foot
down. (MATT: WWE Divas: giving women a bad reputation one episode at a time.)

ORLANDO, FL

WWE Performance Center (Gym)
Rosa
meets Summer and laughs at a guy making intense grunting noises while
lifting weights. Rosa says that Paige told her that Rosa makes sex
noises when she lifts. Rosa says she had no idea she did that because
she was wearing earphones. Rosa says she can now understand why she gets
stared at in the gym. (MATT: She is like a living, breathing Mariah Carey poster. Nothing but ego and self-flattery.) She
tells Summer that she sent Gary a text and he took an hour to reply.
Summer says that isn’t bad. Rosa says “He’s talking to Rosa Mendes.
That’s bad.” (MATT: Fucking hell. Cut away to anything! PLEASE!) Therefore,
she says, he’s playing hard to get. Really? What if, during that hour,
he fell asleep? Had to be driving? Had an emergency? That’s hardly
enough to decide someone is playing hard to get. Rosa says that he
better look at her with hungry eyes on the date. (MATT: On a second date?!) Rosa needs him to fall in love with her. Summer says Rosa is like a woman on Oprah who has a full wedding book but no groom.

Cafeteria
Nikki
is still upset about John’s sex scene. Nikki says that he doesn’t
deserve her constantly getting in his face about it. She says that she
wants to be cool with it and wishes she could shut off the way she
feels. (MATT: I kid you not, here are the things she wishes she could
say: “Hey, stomach! Don’t get in knots! Hey! Don’t be upset!” And my
favorite: “Hey, blood! Why are you boiling right now?” That last one
sounds like a gang member asking another gang member what he’s
cooking.) 
Brie says that John is the first good guy she has dated.
Nikki says he’s been burned in weird ways: their father left with
another woman when they were young. Eva Marie says he’s been trustworthy
and that she needs to trust Cena. Nikki says that she’s taking out her
past frustrations on him. Nattie tries to make it all better by telling
Nikki the girl won’t brush her teeth before she kisses him.

TAMPA, FL


Nattie & TJ’s House
Natalya and TJ went to therapy. They had one visit and they did well, making a lot of progress So she moved back in. (MATT: One visit?!) TJ
comes in and says he doesn’t want to go back. TJ says they would be
like hamsters in  a wheel on the couch. Nattie tells the camera, “You
can’t make progress in one visit!” (MATT: WHAT?! She moved back in after one visit citing good progress! FUUUUUUUUCK!!!) She
starts crying and he mocks her for it. He says that everythng is fine.
He tells Nattie that her issues are her own. He’s not going back.

Ember (Restaurant)
Rosa
is meeting Gary Barnidge for her second date she tells him they spent
hours in a gym. At lunch, she finds he isn’t drinking and, when
questioned, tells him she was in rehab. She hasn’t been in a
relationship in a year because she was “paranoid of guys” (MATT: Run, Gary. NOW.) She says that wants to be with her soul mate and doesn’t want to have fun, then says she needs “a lot of attention”. (MATT: NOW, GARY. GO!) She
says she will wait until she’s in love to be intimate. He tells her she
has too many guidelines to have one guy meet them and, when the
waitress comes over a moment later to see if they need anything else,
just asks for the check. My guess is their relationship, what little it
was, is over. (MATT: I dunno…I can see a future there…)

NEW YORK, NY

WWE Mommy Blog Event
Nattie
does the event, taking photos with kids and signing autographs, then
bumps into Darren Young. She tells him that she’s gonna go have dinner
later and that he should come.

Serendipity (Restaurant)
Nattie
says she is having a night out on the town with Darren Young, takes a
selfie with him and then says that it’s nice to have somebody to vent
to. When they get to the restaurant, the Paparazzi is there. She shows
off Darren — but the guy with the camera asks where TJ is. Nattie says
TJ is good and that they’re “not divorced yet”. Darren looks a little
awkward. Nattie asks Darren how he felt about that. Apparently, she told
the guy “don’t tell TJ” by complete accident. The cameraman’s reply
was, “I don’t wanna get my ass kicked!” Darren doesn’t look at all comfy
with it.

TAMPA, FL

Restaurant
Nikki
is out with John for lunch. He says it was a great experience filming
his movie and Nikki says that she is proud of him for getting the job
and opens up about having been cheated on and how things were with her
Dad leaving. He counters and apologizes, telling her that she has every
right to feel that way and says he should have told her about the scene
sooner. She tells the camera this make them stronger they are taking the
next step in their relationship. (MATT: #NIKKIWINSLOL)

ORLANDO, FL

Summer’s car
she is primping while driving and then goes to a restaurant — to meet up with Gary. That was quick. (MATT: The editing was so slick here. It’s obvious that this was manufactured.)

TAMPA, FL

Nattie & TJ’s House
Nattie stayed an extra day in New York to have some “Nattie time”. (MATT: She’s always taking time off to be by herself. Am I insane here?)
TJ tells her that she should have told him. He’s pissed off about
telling the Paparazzi about their divorce. TJ says he’s hurt because she
never mentioned anything like that to him. He asks if she wants a
divorce. She says she doesn’t know what he wants anymore. She goes into
the bedroom and doesn’t come out.

FINAL RECAP

Danielle

This week’s hug goes to: Brie. Though she had barely any screen time, she got to stand toe to toe with Steph. That’s awesome.

This week’s punch goes to: TJ & Summer Rae (tie)
Really, TJ? You thought one session of marriage counseling was all you
needed to fix years of problems? Summer Rae – going after a coworker’s
intended b/f is low, even for a reality show peep.

Matt

This week’s hug goes to: John Cena. I’m
sorry. I don’t buy any of this storyline. I refuse to believe that
Nikki can flaunt her body, admit that she doesn’t wear underwear, act
more superficial than a Kardashian, make out with Daniel Bryan, pretend
she’s someone else…and then turn around and be jealous when Cena’s got
a sex scene in a movie. Cena, from what I’ve heard, has been around the
block, so this story is setting off my bullshit detector, big-time. 

Most annoying Diva of the Week: Nikki/Nattie/Rosa (tie) I
hate ties. But, holy shit. Nattie’s a fucking headcase. One moment,
she’s horny as fuck, the next she’s a prude. She chastises women for
what they wear and wears stuff that shows off her obviously fake boobs.
She says they made huge progress with a counseling sessions — then,
turns around and says no progress was made. PICK. A FUCKING. LANE. Nikki
is phony. I don’t like watching her. I hate hearing her talk. I hate
everything she does on this show. The phony “OMG CENA IN A SEX SCENE”
crocodile tears act made my stomach turn. This whole show has that
effect, but this took the cake. Finally, Rosa…what is she looking for
in a guy? Rich, well-hung, somebody who can spend money on her and take
care of her. Ugh. How are any of these girls appealing?

Er, that’s it…

Analyzing the upcoming Lesnar/Cena double turn at Night of Champions

Here’s that meltdown that I’ve been promising y’all!

In 2014, WWE has been all about turning conventional wisdom on its ear.  The WWE Network has fundamentally changed the company’s business model.  The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Streak is over.  John Cena was destroyed in a manner never before seen.  And the WWE World Title is now in the hands of a part-timer, who it seems is destined to defend the title only two or three times in the seven plus months interim until Wrestlemania.

Unless, of course, the WWE turns one more piece of conventional wisdom on its ear.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m calling my shot.  At Night of Champions, John Cena will regain the WWE World Championship by becoming a Paul Heyman Guy.

In other words, John Cena will finally become a heel.  He and Paul Heyman will do whatever is necessary to take Brock Lesnar’s title and destroy him afterwards, keeping Lesnar out of the WWE until his surprise return at the Royal Rumble to finish up his contract strong.

There are so many signs pointing to this that, were it not for the past decade of experience, you would all say that it was inevitable:

  • Brock Lesnar has only three or four more wrestling dates left on his contract.  Night of Champions was obviously not part of the original plan.  With WWE in cost-cutting mode, it is difficult to imagine that Vince is offering him another seven digits to wrestle this one show.
  • John Cena promised “to show a side of himself that he’s not proud of” at Summerslam.  Lesnar’s assault was so merciless that he never got the chance.  It stands to reason that his character would be even more desperate at this juncture.
  • Last Monday night on RAW, Paul Heyman lavished John Cena with praise, and said that he wants to make him a Paul Heyman guy.
  • If Brock Lesnar retains at NoC, there is no compelling use for him to until Wrestlemania, possibly not even then if Daniel Bryan is unable to return.
  • If Brock Lesnar loses the title cleanly to Cena at NoC, there is compelling use for him period.
  • A John Cena heel turn is the last huge trump card available to WWE, and if WWE loses a large clump of original six month subscribers, this may be the only way to get them back. 

On September 20th, there is no way that the IWC’s wet dream does not come true.  Paul Heyman will walk to the ring with Brock Lesnar, and he will walk away from the ring with his newest guy, John Cena.

I guarantee it.

QOTD 26: And a double dumb ass on you.

Holy shit is it fun to swear. I left my keys in my car today as I headed into work, and let out a “Fuckin’ A!” about a minute ago, then remembered with fondness that I learned that phrase from the Stephen King book “The Body” which went on to become “Stand By Me”.

Then I started thinking of other naughty words I learned, and where I picked them up. I learned what a ‘cunt’ was from the late Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six in…4th grade.

Thus:

What are your favorite swear words, where did you learn them, and as a bonus, what’s your favorite scene in a TV show or movie featuring a healthy dose of quality profanity?

Actually my all time favorite use of a swear word probably comes from the Graphic Novel “Wanted” which everyone but me seems to hate, which is fine. It kind of does the Matrix / Fight Club thing of giving you a kind of sad sack fella stuck in a cubicle, and throughout the series he grows into a bastard with unbelievable power. I wanted to post the panel but I am absolutely not giving “This is me, fucking you in the ass” a google at work. Whenever I beat someone at a competition when they’ve either cheated or been a poor sport, I toss out the line and feel like a big man.

Close second goes to the infamous “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you’re cool, I’m out” scene from “Half Baked”, which I *actually* think is a reference to something else, as all the other “job quitting” scenes in that movie are parodies, too – specifically Jim Brewer’s is a Jerry Maguire send up.

Star Trek IV gets points (and the thread title) for the hilarious nature of Spock trying to learn to swear.

More recently, I’ve been playing Lunar 2 (which is seriously wonderful), and one of the characters keeps calling everything ‘retarded’. This is funny for a few reasons 1) No game released today would do that shit, and 2) This is a game released in Japan that came to America 3) this character is a former priest. I’ll have more on this game later, but the swearing within it is pretty crazy. 

—————————————————–

Blog Botter Award: Magooie for fighting a snake with concrete, and somehow losing.

1. So I’m thinking of placing my first professional NFL bet when the Jags take on Denver in a few weeks. Going Jags all the way. Who’s with me?!
2. For the nerds out there, it looks like Transportation Tycoon is on the app store now, and it’s an absolute classic if you dig kind of sim-city style stuff. There’s a quality knock-off available for fuckin’ free, too, called Transporation General, which is also a blast until you hit the pay-wall. Check it out! 
3. Shameless Pug: I reviewed Rayman Legends. Read it here!
“Audacious is a good word to describe the overall “Rayman Legends”
experience. Releasing a game like this, at a time like this, takes the
same kind of cojones that releasing the silent film “The Artist” did a
few years ago. Here’s a game that challenges, entertains, delights, and
delivers everything you could possibly want from a title, completely
confident in its 2D platforming nature, not worried for an instant
players won’t get it, or think it’s ‘for kids’.”

Book Review Double Shot: “Hollywood Hulk Hogan” and “Hulk Hogan: My Life Outside the Ring.”

Hulk Hogan is the biggest superstar wrestling has ever seen. The man transcended the sport. Very few men can make that claim.
I want to state for the record that I was a card carrying Hulkamaniac in my youth. Loved me some Hulk Hogan. I owned his wrestling buddy, his action figures and I had a life size poster of him on my bedroom door. I was truly demented. I was such a Hulkamaniac that 11 year old Chris Cucchiara openly cried when the Hulkster lost the WWF title to the Undertaker at Survivor Series 1991. To say I was emotionally invested in Hulk would be an understatement. Christ, I was, am, and always will be a HUGE Bret Hart mark. I was pissed when he lost the WWF title to Yokozuna at WrestleMania IX. But I was overjoyed when Hulk came out and dispatched of the foreign menace in mere seconds after Yoko had defeated Hart. THAT is how big a Hulkamaniac I was.

For me, things changed upon his entry to WCW. Well, sort of. I was overjoyed that he had come back to his true calling after a flirtation with Hollywood. I remember in 1994 listening to a local Boston radio program that featured both Hulk and Ric Flair promoting their upcoming match at Bash at the Beach 1994. Even at 13 going on 14, I was rooting hard for ole’ Hulk. It didn’t matter that he had obviously thinned down after cycling off steroids. The Hulk Hogan character was wholly appealing to someone of my age bracket, and this fan was overjoyed when Hulk dispatched of Flair at said Bash to claim his first WCW Championship.

Then something strange happened. I hit puberty.

And Hulk Hogan’s egomania began running a muck in WCW.

Somewhere along the line, as I was developing hormones I never knew existed, Hogan was wreaking havoc upon WCW. As a child, I thought like a child and acted as a child. As I developed, I set aside these childish things. Hogan was no longer cool. I stuck with wrestling FAR past any of my friends and acquaintances (and still do to this day). The tipping point for me with Hogan was the Uncensored Doomsday Cage match, where Hogan and Randy Savage dispatched no less than eight, count them, EIGHT “top” WCW heels in the match. And with ease. I was becoming more enamored with wrestlers like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at that point, guys who didn’t work a slow, plodding, predictable formula like Hogan. Say all you want about Bret Hart and his “five moves of doom” but the man put on damn entertaining matches. Hogan was coasting. The absolute last straw was Hogan’s match with Vader at Superbrawl V. If I am remembering correctly. Hogan basically no sold Vader’s powerbomb, and, as someone who had followed WCW for the last five years, could not fathom someone shrugging off such a devastating move. Vader, the biggest badass I had ever laid eyes on, never recovered from this match, and, even as a 15 year old, I could recognize that. Hogan’s WCW babyface run was just god awful, and I developed a true hatred for one Hulk Hogan.

Another turning point: at that Uncensored event with Hogan and Savage dispatching the entire Axis of Evil, there was this undercard match. Steve Regal vs. The Belfast Bruiser. From the first time I saw it, that night on PPV, i was enraptured. It was unlike anything I had ever seen, and remains a wholly unique match on US soil to this day. Stiff would be an understatement. These two guys beat the ever loving shit out of eachother, and it was phenomenal. Wrestling was becoming very different to this young fan, and soon there was a development that truly let the rubber hit the road.

The Internet.

The biggest single influence to my wrestling fandom was the internet. I didn’t yet have it in my house in 1995, but I had access to it through my High School. In 1996, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall jumped ship from WWF to WCW and I actually was tuned into that fact by the internet. I only got about 40 minutes a day to delve into this stuff online, but it was enlightening. I was also a novice, and did not recognize what was good wrestling intel and bad. I read on a few sites that Hulk was going to turn heel and join these other two New York defectors, but thought it was bogus. Much to my surprise, Hogan turned at Bash at the Beach 1996, and suddenly became a hot commodity again.

Let’s get one thing straight: I LOVED the nWo. It was a cool act, man, one that brought wrestling back to the forefront of 16-17 year old fans. It made wrestling kind of cool again, and proved that I had been right in following it long past the point that other kids my age had ceased watching. While Hogan was my favorite growing up, and for how cool the “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan character was, at that point, Hall and Nash and their cooler than thou attitude was the reason I liked the nWo. I cannot deny, though, that Hogan was the man who put nWo over the top with the fans. It was a total love to hate relationship.

Hogan settled into that heel act and did excellent work with it. It would be like Cena turning heel at this year’s Extreme Rules or a like event. Only on steroids. Hogan had NUCLEAR heat with fans, especially the ones who despised his early glorified WCW days. The nWo was the hottest act in wrestling…until Hogan’s ego got in the way.

Hogan signed a contract to wrestle for WCW that had an almost ludicrous level of creative control. People mock Bret Hart’s 20 year WWF contract for the reason that Bret had “reasonable” creative control over his last 30 days in the company. And they mock him for refusing to lose to HBK in Montreal at Survivor Series 1997, and they scoff at his downfall after being screwed out of the WWF title at that event. Well, if an enterprising wrestling fan objectively opens their own goddamned eyes, one would see Hogan’s WCW contract. In addition to receiving an obscene amount of PPV grosses, Hogan had creative control not only over the actions of his own character, but things he may PERCEIVE as relevant to his character. In short, Hogan had WCW by their short and curly’s. It was, and remains, the most asinine contract ever signed by any athlete in any sport. And that includes A-Rod’s ridiculous extension with the New York Yankees in 2007. Hogan wielded unprecedented power over the organization paying him, and he played it to the hilt.

Now why am I mentioning all this? Why is this such a departure from my other reviews? Because it has been proven to be true. I could mention Hogan’s love of Dusty Rhodes as a child. I could mention how he was an obese (not really…just freakishly large) child who excelled at baseball. I could mention how Hogan mouthed off about being a wrestler so much that the wrestlers who eventually agreed to train him (Mike Graham) became so fed up that they insisted his trainer (Hiro Matsuda) break his leg. All of this is true. Absolutely. What is also true is Hogan became the biggest wrestler ever. EVER. There is no denying this. Hogan’s first book, aside from the wrestling hogwash he puts forth, is pretty forthcoming. It falls into a label this site’s creator, Scott Keith, has made a quasi famous saying: entertaining crap.  

Indeed, Hogan’s first book is just a bunch of hyperbole and half truths. Hogan tore all the muscles in his back slamming Andre at WM III. All of Hogan’s movies, while critically panned, drew great money. Hogan knew Ultimate Warrior would be a bust, even though it was his post match antics that killed Warrior. I know some people may take exception to that last statement, but deny it is truth. Warrior was OVER at that point, brothers. Warrior was ABSOLUTELY the man to grab the torch from Hogan. Trust me, as a 9 year old WWF mark, Warrior was a totally credible threat. The Warrior was a bigger threat than Andre or Savage. That match meant the world to 4th grade wrestling fans. I had Hogan, many friends had Warrior winning the match. They were correct, I was wrong. It sucked. But make no mistake: Warrior had been built so perfectly that it was not out of the question that he would walk away from Mania VI with the belt. It was even Steven. Hogan destroyed Warrior’s momentum straight out of the gate, and he admits that was his intent in BOTH books.

What really grinds my gears, in both books, is that Hogan will not take any blame for his political machinations. He considers himself completely in the clear, as he was simply trying to provide for his family. His first book is absolute pure shit, as he basically describes himself as just another wrestler trying to earn a living to provide for his family. Are you serious? Hogan was making MILLIONS during his first run, more money than any wrestler had ever even aspired to acquire. I will say it again: Hogan is the biggest wrestler pro wrestling has ever seen. Wrestling, commercials, cartoon series, Hogan was making boku mint. His first book is bunk, total nonsense. At least that was what I thought until I read Hulk’s second book, and the book written by his now ex-wife.

Hogan’s first book is awful. Linda Hogan’s book is second to only Diana Hart-Smith’s book in sheer tabloid awfulness. I am not going to lie and say Hulk’s book is full of witty repartee and honest appraisals. It isn’t. In fact, both of Hulk’s book are littered with half-truths and grandiose exaggerations. Andre the Giant weighed several tons and Hogan tore every muscle in his back body slamming him. Andre was close to death at the time of WM III. Warrior was a hack (well, yes.). Wrestlers saw him as the biggest thing to ever happen to wrestling (I guess…). The injuries Hogan relates in his books either point towards him being the biggest badass wrestling has ever seen, or its biggest liar. (And I am prone to favor the latter over the former.)

Hogan’s second book is far more refreshing, but still not much better than the first. In fact, I would venture to say that as time goes along, Hogan becomes even more delusional. Andre by this point weighs 800 pounds. His feats in a pro wrestling ring become more pronounced. Its something I don’t understand: Hogan’s in ring feats are greater than anyone who has ever set foot inside the squared circle. Why embellish? Hulk: You are the greatest ever to lace up the boots. Why exaggerate? Anyone who denies Hulk Hogan’s greatness is denying themselves. Hogan was, and still is, HUGE. That is why I have some problems with his books. He has no need to exaggerate. The man transcended the sport. But Hulk feels the need to do so, and it comes off as kind of sad.

Hulk’s first book proves that truth may be stranger than fiction. Except for the fact that Hulk’s book is more fiction than reality. Hogan’s second book is better, certainly better written. Then again, anyone looking for witty repartee or honest appraisals on a titanic career will be disappointed. Once again, these books are littered with half truths and grandiose exaggerations.

We should get to Hogan’s wife, Linda Claridge. I don’t know if you watched “Hogan Knows Best” on vh1, but Linda came across, to me at least, as a manipulative bitch. She was totally in control of the Hogan household, but seemed completely disingenuous. It was no surprise to this fan that she dropped Hulk and somehow gained a majority stake of the moolah Hulk had attained. And then ended up in the arms of a 19 year old. Linda Hogan is absolutely detestable to any fan of pro wrestling, especially with a 19 year olds balls banging off of her chin. Hulk may be an asshole, but the stuff that involves his wife, in either of the books, proves that she is a gold digging whore, in this scribes opinion. Try her book on for size. It is right up there with Diana Hart’s book as the worst written on pro wrestling. And Hulk does not mince words talking about Linda and her family in his second book. Money grubbers. And I have to agree seeing as how the Hogan divorce settlement ended up. Poor Hulk lost a fortune and now has to work for TNA. Linda is out of public view banging 19 year old dick. Tell me who won that lawsuit? What has Linda done in her life?

All in all, the Hogan biographies are very interesting. Not the best written things in the world, but neither are the reviews. But they are damn entertaining. While not necessarily historically accurate, they serve a point. Hogan is a liar, an exaggeration artist. What a shock. Hogan exaggerates, what a shock. But it is still damn entertaining. As Scott himself would put it, these books are “entertaining crap.” Period. End of story.

Waiting for the Trade: Batman vs. Bane double comic & movie review

Waiting for the Trade
By Bill Miller
Batman: Knightfall – part 1 : Broken Bat
by Doug Moench and Chuck Dixon.
collects Batman 491-497 and Detective Comics 659-663.
Why I Bought This: I actually bought this 20 years ago when it was relatively new. I think it was mandatory in the 90s to own both this and Death of Superman. I found it by accident while cleaning about three months ago, and decided to reread it before the movie came out. Finished with about a week to spare, I got busy with work and didn’t have time for a review until now.
The Plot: Bane comes to Gotham and releases the inmates in Arkham Asylum. Batman has to fight his way through them over several days. And when Batman is exhausted, Bane attacks and defeats him.

Chapter 1 – Bane frees the inmates at Arkham. Batman and the police fail to stop Joker and the rest of the more dangerous inmates from escaping.
Chapter 2 – The Mad Hatter possesses some generic thug type looneys and Film Freak. He sends Film Freak to spy on Bane, who discovers and kills him. Batman crashes the Hatter’s tea party and defeats him.
Chapter 3 – the Ventriliquist teams up with an over-sized thug named Amygdala and begins looking for his favorite puppet. Batman defeats the over-sized thug while Ventriloquist escapes. Robin faces a henchman of Bane’s named Falconer and loses, but the villain retreats instead of capturing him as part of Bane’s larger plan.
Chapter 4 – A knife-wielding psycho takes a girls school hostage. Batman defeats him, although a few cops and students die first.
Chapter 5 – Killer Croc is seeking revenge on Bane, who broke his arm in some prior book. Robin encounters Bane and is quickly defeated.  When Killer Croc attacks. All three are washed away into a flooding sewer.
Chapter 6 – Robin saves himself. Joker teams up with someone named Stirk, who apparently has fear powers. At Joker’s behest Stirk attacks Comm. Gordon but Batman saves him. Joker decides to team with Scarecrow instead and the two of them kidnap the mayor.
Chapter 7 – Firefly is setting things on fire, and has apparently upgraded his costume to whatever he used to have to a flying armor suit with a flamethrower. Batman fights him but he escapes, while Robin looks for clues in Firefly’s past. Batman fights him again and the two fall into a pit of fire.
Chapter 8 – Batman saves himself but takes some bruises and Firefly escapes again. Poison Ivy kidnaps Gotham’s elite (including Bruce Wayne and Luscius Fox), while Joker uses the mayor to lure the police into a trap. Bruce changes to Batman and defeats Ivy and her thugs. Joker’s trap blows up killing several cops.
Chapter 9 – Riddler’s thugs abandon him because he won’t go forward with heist since the news is so busy with the other psychos they are not reporting on his riddles. Batman fights Firefly in a zoo, while Robin takes on Riddler in a TV studio. The heroes win both fights but Batman is more exhausted than ever.
Chapter 10 – Batman saves cops from another of Joker’s traps. He takes a whiff of Scarecrow’s fear gas, which causes him to flashback to the death of the second Robin pushing Batman into an enraged state and he severely beats Joker until Scarecrow fires a bazooka causing another flooded tunnel.
Chapter 11 – Batman saves the mayor from the flood. He then takes on Bane’s three thugs and wins before Bane confronts him at Wayne Manor.
Chapter 12 – Batman is out on his feet before the fight begins, whereas Bane has super strength. He pummels Batman effortlessly and then breaks his back.
Critical Thoughts: This really isn’t a very good story to be honest despite its fame at the time. It’s mostly just a very straightforward series of fights, and to be honest I’ve seen better fight scenes frequently and often.
Also Bane has no real motivations. He just shows up in Gotham wanting to take down Batman for reasons that are never elaborated on in this trade. He doesn’t even know the Bruce Wayne connection until half-way through the story (and he discovers Batman’s secret ridiculously easily considering how long Batman’s A-list foes and Gotham’s organized crime have failed to turn anything up). In a lot of ways this story is a clear example of creating an event first and a story to get there second. I suppose the same thing could be said of Death of Superman (which preceded and obviously influenced this) as Doomsday shows up out of nowhere with no real motivations for an extended fight scene in that one too but I’d at least argue that fight scene was better paced. Plus that story had the novelty of coming out first and really the surprise of anything being able to hurt Superman carried it better than this. (Plus “Reign of the Supermen” is a tremendous follow-up story, whereas Azrael taking on the mantle of the Bat and failing is nothing Marvel fans hadn’t seen 5-years earlier with “Cap No More” and to a lesser extent in Thor and Iron Man as well).  
Grade D+ – Batman is a rightly given credit for having a great rogue’s gallery so seeing several of his foes in this story stops it from being terrible. For a character I never heard of, I actually found the Firefly stuff the best part of this story. Riddler’s chapter is also a nice look into his motivations. But overall reading this again did little for me.
Bonus movie review: Speaking of doing little for me, we have Dark Knight Rises. I saw this opening weekend but didn’t bother to review it until now because it borders between meh and truly terrible so much that I wasn’t motivated to write about it. At this point my opinion leans closer to this being another failed third superhero movie much in the same vein of Spider-man 3, X-men 3 and Superman III.
The only thing I really liked about it was Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Otherwise Bane is just as flat and uninteresting in this as he is in the comics. I find little of what happens once he conquers Gotham to be credible, and I find the nuclear bomb time limit to be completely arbitrary so that Bruce can recover from his injuries. The back-breaker scene is also pretty flat compared to the comic book version. I also found the political imagery downright bizarre and distracting. Whatever Nolan was going for on that front fails completely.
Furthermore I don’t buy for 10 seconds that there has been no crime in Gotham for 8 years or that Batman/Bruce would fall into utter despair for that long a period of time over the death of some chick. Hell I think Batman only suits up three times in this entire film (once to fight Catwoman and test the Batwing, once to lose to Bane and for the finale.) So yea, far and away the weakest of the three superhero films this summer and probably the second worst Batman film ever made after Batman 4 with Mr. Freeze. Grade D.

The Piledriving Critique: Mardi Gras Double Feature

Happy Mardi Gras everyone. Posted two new videos. One’s a vLog where I taste test King Cake Vodka along with some friends, and the other is a review of the DVD Release of “Mardi Gras Massacre” where former WWE Diva Maria Kanellis is a horror host. Check them out and I hope you all have a good Fat Tuesday even if you aren’t from New Orleans.

Remember to follow me on twitter! @maskedreviewer.

Double A (Not To Be Confused With A Double)

Just curious your opinion on a recent discussion I had about Arn Anderson. Has there ever been a mid-carder so perfect? He’d hold titles, but never the top one. He’d be involved in major feuds, do great in them, yet never rise to be World Champion. Yet, it never felt like he was being held back. Is that merely due to the era in your mind or can you think of some other wrestlers who felt perfect in the mid-card, even if they could have clearly been higher?

Sure, not everyone is cut out to be a main eventer.  Mr. Perfect was a perfect IC champion and although he probably could have been World champion, was probably better off where he was.  Terry Taylor was always a great guy to have in the midcard, because he was enough of a name where beating him meant something, but he was never a threat to take your spot.  Especially after the WWF run.  Marc Mero, whether as Johnny B Badd or Marvelous Marc, was a solid midcard threat.  A lot of the guys who ended up as World champion today (like Jack Swagger) probably would have been better served never getting it, too. 

Double A (Not To Be Confused With A Double)

Just curious your opinion on a recent discussion I had about Arn Anderson. Has there ever been a mid-carder so perfect? He’d hold titles, but never the top one. He’d be involved in major feuds, do great in them, yet never rise to be World Champion. Yet, it never felt like he was being held back. Is that merely due to the era in your mind or can you think of some other wrestlers who felt perfect in the mid-card, even if they could have clearly been higher?

Sure, not everyone is cut out to be a main eventer.  Mr. Perfect was a perfect IC champion and although he probably could have been World champion, was probably better off where he was.  Terry Taylor was always a great guy to have in the midcard, because he was enough of a name where beating him meant something, but he was never a threat to take your spot.  Especially after the WWF run.  Marc Mero, whether as Johnny B Badd or Marvelous Marc, was a solid midcard threat.  A lot of the guys who ended up as World champion today (like Jack Swagger) probably would have been better served never getting it, too.