WWE Tough Enough – Season 6, Episode 4: “One Man Show”

(w/ Danielle Stolman)

Because ZZ’s about as unkillable as the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, Daria was sent home last week. Last week also saw all the characters trying their best to promote personalities despite the fact that not a single contestant on this show even has one, let alone a soul. Will ZZ succeed in banging at least one of the women on the show? Will we talk about his giant “package” again? Will Hulk Hogan ask the women to comment on ZZ’s package? Let’s find out…

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Bob Backlund: Really?

Hey Scott,

Was listening to a Billy Graham interview where he kinda buries Backlund and I was wondering: How the hell did Backlund get the belt? I mean, I like BB as much as the next guy but, the dude was basically a cruiserweight with hardly any charisma. I mean, you had Snuka right there!

​  ​

Plus, business couldn't have been as good as when Graham was champ. Was Vince really that enamored by his background?

​Vince Sr. certainly was.  And he had the whole thing planned super-far in advance, to the point where Billy Graham knew that he was getting the title from Bruno and then losing it a year later.  Hindsight says that they should have kept the belt on him because he was still drawing big, but they had a plan.  Backlund was still a good draw in MSG, so it's not like he was the WORST idea for champion or anything.  Although if you really want to read some epic burials of Backlund as champion, you should read young snarky Meltzer's early Observers from that time.  ​

Not Really Feeling The Next NXT…

Pretty underwhelming lineup for the next NXT special event, I have to say.  Especially the tag title match that will inevitably pay off the Ascension story and send them to the main roster.  Plus I was thinking the Women's title was going in a different direction, too.  Eh, you win some and lose some, I guess.  

QOTD 163: You like it! You Really Like It!


My buddy Todd is a cool cat. However one of the odd things about him is his esoteric interests having gone to Catholic school for most of his youth. As a result a lot of stuff our group of friends he grew up with, he has a tangential relationship with.

For example he’s over-the-moon for anything Aaron Sorkin has written, anddddd never saw The West Wing. So I showed him.

It was terrifying.

Have you ever shared something that’s ‘important’ to you with a friend and been terrified they may not like as much as you do? Are there any films, shows, books, or albums that you avoid sharing your passion for because you’re afraid others won’t ‘get it’?

In case you haven’t gathered from 162 QOTDS (and assorted MeekinOnMovies columns not about movies) The West Wing is more-or-less my Great American Novel. I started watching Junior Year in Highschool and by the time I finished the series I knew  1) I was going to go into a creative career field even if it killed me (so far it’s just bankrupted me and 2) The West Wing was the most personally important work of fiction I’d ever seen – a masterclass in everything *I* loved and wanted for entertainment.

Thus, showing it to my friend was intimidating. I didn’t want to keep asking if he ‘got it’, nor did I want to keep telling HOW GOOD IT WAS because I didn’t want to over-hype it. We watched the first couple of episodes on a bit of an astral plane, and I wasn’t sure if he liked it, or was just saying he liked it. Last night we stayed up until 4am powering through seven episodes in a row – so safe to say I’m good.


It reminded me of this PBS Special I saw with Martin Scorsese about how difficult it can be to explain the importance of a specific director, writer, or movie without sounding like a crazy person.

As an odd side-note I have no problem telling people I like Pro Wrestling, despite the fact you’d assume such fandom would get me more eye-rolls and smirks than a love of The West Wing would. Oddlier The West Wing gets more puzzled looks. Strange.

Be sure to read my  article on 10 Games Ruined By Hype
And see what I have to say about the first 4 hours of Watch_Dogs
Also check out my Blog: MeekinOnMovies (On a movie sometime this weekend – I saw Godzilla and Walter Mitty!)


And like me on Facebook:

Sky is really falling – investors want McMahon family gone


"Ongoing losses, operating failures, material misstatements warrant and require urgent executive management changes or a sale of the company"

​I know, and people thought I was just freaking out over nothing when this TV deal thing broke last night.  As Dave noted on the audio show last night, the TV industry basically gave a huge ​vote of no-confidence in WWE as both sports and entertainment.  Vince has personally lost $350 million in a DAY.  That's three Linda senate runs!  Obviously there's a reason that they made sure to distance Hunter and Stephanie from the Network and TV deal negotiations.  

QOTD 124: You Are the Game…I really really want to play you.

Lets talk about video games! As you all certainly know in addition to cultivating this C+ player of a daily feature, I write about video games in my spare time – though oddly, otters, the QOTD hasn’t really featured them all that much.

Thus:

Whatcyha been playing, interactive media wise, lately? 

What’s your favorite game of all time? 

Least favorite that everyone else seems to love?

What game have you played the most, for the longest period of time? (it’s WoW isn’t it! You know its WoW!

For starters: 23 vintage games you can play in your browser


Paul Meekin’s Big Ole List of Free Games and Shit: 

Show/hide

——————————————————

If you want to submit an idea for a QOTD or something you’d like to see
discussed but don’t have a ‘question’ per se, you can hit me up at
[email protected], follow me on twitter @MeekinOnMovies, or find me
on Facebook – Facebook.com/pmeekin
——————————————————

Paul Meekin
is a writer, producer, video editor, reviewer, and long winded, and in
the past has been referred to as “The American Harvey Pekar”. He’s
written extensively for, Hollywood Chicago, TouchArcade, Starpulse, and Scott’s Blog of Doom – and hopes to make a career of it someday.

His
writing is viewed by thousands of folks monthly – and most of them
enjoy it. He’ll happily write or ghost write for you, for free stuff, 
$25 dollars PayPal, or real money online poker chips.

The Amount Of Movez Doesn’t Really Matter All That Much

Well, this column is bringing me more attention than I thought it would.  It is already on Ewrestling news, and it will be in Greg De Marco’s column this Sunday. Other websites are wondering if I could put in on their website, too 


Just a heads up: It’s a pretty long piece. 

The Amount Of Moves Doesn’t Really Matter All That Much:

Some fans out there believe certain wrestlers are good or
bad based up how many moves they do. They also believe adding more moves to a
wrestler’s repertoire will automatically make them a better wrestler. Both of
those statements are not particularly true. Frankly, a wrestler does not need a
ton of moves in order to have a compelling match. In fact, there are more
important things a wrestler should be able to do than just a lot of moves.

The most important attribute a wrestler needs to be successful is to have good
psychology. The word psychology is an insider word that essentially equates to
realism. Back in the day, it was something a wrestler needed to have in order
to keep kayfabe alive. However, it is still very important today. Psychology is
what causes fans to suspend their disbelief and enjoy the story each match
tells. Most people know wrestling is predetermined these days, but even so,
fans are more likely to emotionally invest into something that feels real as
opposed to something that is clearly contrived.

The first level of good psychology occurs when a wrestler stays true to their
character. It would not make any sense if a wrestler were a coward outside the
ring and the dominant monster in it, would it? In the 80s, Ric Flair was
always one to back out of a fight and his cowardice continued in the ring,
where he would take every shortcut in his bag of tricks to win the match. On
the flip side, you have The Undertaker’s
Deadman gimmick; his character was an immortal zombie, so he would wrestle
methodically and no-sell moves, all the while keeping a blank expression on his
face.

Another example of good psychology happens when a wrestler adapts to whom they
are wrestling. Bret Hart was a master at this; when he wrestled against someone
like Kevin Nash, a giant monster, he was mostly on his toes, trying to pick his
opportunities to attack. But when he faced someone like Curt Henning, an
in-ring technician, he would try to outwrestle them. He always wrestled
differently depending on his opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, no matter the
opponent. This added a level of realism to Hart’s matches, as just as if one
would in a real fight, he adapted his style to give him the best chance of
winning — at least in kayfabe.

Arguably, the most integral part of psychology is selling. To most, the word
selling means acting injured or hurt. In actuality, it occurs anytime a
wrestler is pretending something is happening to them. Facial expressions, body
language, and mannerisms are all critical keys to being a good seller. HBK was
impeccable at all three of those key factors. Even though he would act as if he
was nursing a bad back by constantly grabbing at it, his sentiments are what
truly made him an ever-so-loving, sympathetic baby face. Fans could essentially
feel the make believe pain HBK was going through, all because of his amazing
facial expressions and body language.

There are two major keys to selling a body part; they are selling consistently
and adjusting appropriately. If a wrestler A, for example, works over wrestler
B’s arm throughout the match, B should make proper adjustments. For argument’s
sake, let’s just wrestler B’s usually spears people with his left shoulder.
However, wrestler A is really working it over. Wrestler B should either
properly adjusted to the injury by spearing him with his right shoulder
instead, or really sell the effects of spearing him with his wounded shoulder.
Christian does both particularly well, as he consistently sells his injury and
finds different ways to win a match.

Unlike what limb psychology critics believe, the injured body part does not
necessarily have to play into the deeper courses of a match. However, a worked
over body part should not be ignored once the wrestler makes a comeback.
Instead, they should adapt for a while and then do certain things that make it
as if they are trying to shake it off, or something to that nature.

The other three important things a wrestler should have are timing, execution
and the ability to pace out a match. A wrestler must be on the same page as his
in-ring partner. They need to do a good job of communicating with each other.
Think of it as dancing. If someone is off rhythm, it is usually going to look
bad, no matter how good the other person is. It is also crucial for
reversals/counters and sequences to be perfectly timed and executed. Otherwise,
the moves look sloppy and ineffective. Bad execution and timing can lead to
more serious tragedies than just bad matches. They can lead to career ending
injuries.

The pace is all about the speed of the match. Good wrestlers know the precise
time of when to slow or speed up a match. It is usually because the good ones
basing their match off the crowd’s responses. Adjustments can also be made if
the wrestlers are properly listening to the crowd. If a heel, for example, uses
a sleeper hold that is not creating any heat, the best thing would be to get
out of that spot as soon as possible. But if the move is creating lots of heat,
they should leave it in longer in order to infuriate the crowd (in a good way). Daniel Bryan is
a good example of all the above; he works a rapidly paced style; paces his
matches based upon the crowd’s reactions, and yet neither his timing nor
execution are marred because of it. His timing is instead on point while his execution is flawless. 

Storytelling and structuring are arguably two of the most important things a
wrestler has to be able to do. Simply put, storytelling can make or break a
match. Without a story, the fans are going to have a difficult time emotionally
investing into a match. In addition to that, the story does three also very
important things: it creates drama and suspense, makes the moves being
performed matter, takes the crowd on a journey, and keeps them intrigued to see
how everything unfolds. Let me tie it into the real world by asking you this
question: what classical movie had no plot? Exactly. There are not many, if any
at all.

Structuring is about putting a match together. The more traditional (and
arguably more effective) way is building it like a pyramid. Think about it: you
work from the base, build it up by putting the correct layers conjointly in
place until it reaches its crescendo. Mick Foley was
great at both these things. He could tell a different, yet compelling story,
every time he wrestled. He could also pre-plan all of the big spots ahead of
time and understand the best time to do them.

Without these elements mentioned above, a wrestler that performs a bunch moves
will still be terrible. In essence, matches that have a lot of moves, but lack
a lot of things mentioned above, are glorified spot-fests. Don’t get me wrong:
I am all for spot-fest once in a while. They serve their purpose in wrestling.
However, they are the LCD of pro-wrestling. They consist of one big spot after
the other, and their only real purpose is to get a cheap pop from the crowd.
The moves never string together, and the crowd hardly ever becomes emotionally
invested into the match. Furthermore, spot fests can actually have a long-term
detrimental effect of a promotion if they’re overdone. One time, TNA accidentally
trained their audience to pop just for high spots. As a result, the fans would
sit there quietly, waiting for a big spot to cheer about.

Ultimately, the amount of moves can help a wrestler or match to a certain
extent. However, moves do not make or break a wrestler or match. In fact, there
have been plenty of wrestlers who used a limited move set that are considered
masters at honing their craft. Additionally, there is a reason NWA early 80s
stuff holds up to this day while stuff in the late 90s like ECW’s hardcore
matches do not. The point is that a wrestler can have compelling matches even
with a basic move set if they do most of the stuff mentioned above correctly.

Is our attention span really that bad?

Scott

Before the WWE Network starts up, I’ve been watching Raws from 1999 (yes, I’m an Attitude Era kid and I couldn’t wait!) and it’s dawned on me that things built for a hell of a lot longer back then than they do now (yes, I’ve realised this for a while now, but watching these old shows back REALLY highlights it).

For example, X-Pac is teaming with Kane, who may or may not be realigning himself with The Undertaker again. At the same time as this, X-Pac and Road Dogg are feuding with Billy and Chyna over the DX rights. AT THE SAME TIME as this, Billy is helping Triple H beat on The Rock at every opportunity – which in turn leads to a Rock/Billy feud and match at Summerslam (the attempt to elevate Billy that didn’t seem to work out).

As history shows, X-Pac would go onto team with Kane against Undertaker and Big Show (who Kane was feuding with around the time of the previous paragraph’s events)… this all ties up really nicely, makes sense and was exciting. All of that stuff happened in July ’99 and led to things in late August ’99… this just doesn’t seem to happen now…

So, I suppose my question(s) is why do we not get that sort of build now (apart from the main feud of the day e.g Cena/Orton)? Why do we get these short-term things that last for a few weeks instead of a couple of months of a feud that grabs our attention? Why do we not get things connecting and intertwining anymore? Is it just assumed that we can’t keep up with something that twists and turns before a satisfying pay-off?? Or have the writers got too many hours of TV to cover (y’know, that excuse)?

Keep up the great work,

It’s not an excuse, it’s stone cold reality.  The writers are overworked and burned out, period.  

Is the sky really falling?

Long time fan and owner of all your books and kindle rants. Question for blog –

Is the massive over reaction to the heel turn by Bryan really justified? This feels more akin to Shawn Michaels defeated, desperate "heel" run with JBL prior to his big time rematch with Undertaker at WM. Meaning there's still plenty of time to get somewhere good by April.

Besides that can't we acknowledge the fact that Bret dropped the strap to Yoko-freaking-Zuna and watched Hogan beat him in a minute. He recovered. CM Punk was a 2 time world champion before he was even a made man in 2011.

Meaning perceptions change and the fact that Bryan is a great worker and decent guy almost guarantees he'll get another run on top especially when you factor in injuries. He's also main evented basically every show the last few months and they gave him the last 30 minutes of Raw (which coincidentally or not drew 4 million viewers for the first time in awhile). Let's see how it places out.

Hopefully not with a pedigree…

Yeah, but people forget how shitty the Shawn-JBL blowoff turned out, as they ended up climaxing the angle at the wrong time and left the actual match with no heat.  In general, there's just not a lot of goodwill left from the fanbase that this stuff is gonna turn out like it could.  Like look at their big story from last year:  CM Punk holds the WWE title for a record reign, The Rock returns and gets a title shot for some reason, then loses to John Cena because it was his turn.  Punk recovers heat by winning a four-way match to quality for the Undertaker at WM.  Thrilling stuff, to be sure. 
And hitting four million viewers in the run-up to Royal Rumble with no football is not exactly something to crow about.  Which is not a knock on Bryan in the least, I'm just saying the product is ice cold right now.

Were people really throwing trash in the ring when Hogan turned Heel


I was watching Bash '96 when Hulk Hogan went to the NWO. I noticed that, although there was a LOT of trash in the ring, I couldn't find one person actually throwing anything. In fact, it looks as though people were cheering when Hulk dropped the leg on Savage.


I may be way off base here but were people actually throwing trash in the ring or was it designed to look that way. I know you can't figure it out from the video but has anyone ever talked about this?

Of COURSE they were.  WCW was freaking about it for weeks afterwards, in fact, because they didn't want to get sued by anyone, and rightly so.  The garbage throwing was one of the craziest spontaneous fan reactions to an angle that I've ever seen, although thankfully now people don't get much crazier than chanting "Yes" at Daniel Bryan.  But yeah, totally real.  

A really dumb question

Why haven't they tried to put the "Albert" chant over as something that BOTHERS Tensai because that's not who he is anymore, like the "Aldo" chant for Justin Tolerable (tm Sean Shannon)?

Because WWE is apparently dead set against admitting that anyone other than themselves has a usable idea for getting someone over.  Otherwise, yeah, the logical thing would be for Tensai to just be like "Yeah, I was Albert, now I'm not, so fuck off" and then go from there.  
 

Along a similar line, you mentioned that if the Sheepherders hadn't become a comedy act in WWE, that Paul E probably could have revived their careers in ECW. Wouldn't they have been prime material for a "Borne Again"-type gimmick, regardless?

From a creative standpoint, perhaps, but they've been doing quite well on the indy circuit with the silly Bushwacker gimmick since leaving WWE, and it's not like Heyman would have been able to pay them very well anyway.  

Could the Invasion really have worked?

Discussion for the mailbag:
 
I've seen various ideas on how the Invasion could have been made better.  Some are better than others.  However, could it have ever really worked as a true "WCW Invasion" in 2001?  WCW was a joke of a promotion that nobody cared about or watched by the time it folded.  The WWF had many of the greatest wrestlers of all-time in their primes at the time.  It is pretty certain that for the Invaders to be taken seriously, they would've had to convincingly destroy/go over the WWF guys for a while before the WWF got their revenge.  So, Scott Steiner, Booker T, Buff Bagwell, DDP, etc. were supposed to just roll over Austin, Rock, HHH, Taker, etc. for six months or so?  It's not believeable and no one would buy it.  They didn't have the option of guys like Sting, Flair, Hart, Goldberg or Hogan at that point, so honestly what could they have done differently to make a full-scale "invasion" better.  Plus, Hogan's reaction at WM X8 showed that the crowd thought of most of those established WCW guys as nostalgia acts by that point anyway.  I think Vince did the best he could with what he had, it just wasn't much.  I personally believe several "Radicalz" like factions showing up over time would've been more effective.

Wrestling is WORKED.  Booker T and DDP absolutely should have come in and rolled over everyone for six months because Vince controls the outcomes of the matches and owns all the properties.  It was entirely in his best interest to make people care about the WCW name.  You know how you make people believe someone can beat Steve Austin and The Rock?  You have them beat Steve Austin and The Rock.  
And they absolutely did have the option of Goldberg and Flair, they just didn't want to pay them.  Big difference.  
The invasion absolutely would have worked 100%.  If they had done a triple main event at the Invasion PPV with Goldberg v. Austin, Booker T v. HHH and DDP v. The Rock they could have done rematches and six-mans and switched them around in different combinations for months afterwards and printed their own money for five years.  As it was the PPV did one of the biggest buyrates in history for a non-WM show with a shit main event,so obviously people bought it no matter how lame it was.