-The First Shot-
Hello everyone and welcome to your 35th edition of The Shoot! Again? thanks to everyone who made the Armchair Booker series a success. I have decided that the next time I do this, I will take a stab at Ring of Honor’s Survival of the Fittest tournament, but that won? t be for a while to come.
A couple of things to note about the column this week? for one, after being depraved of Quick Shots for two weeks in a row, they have returned. The second is that I promised about once every two months I would have a Wrestler Spotlight column since they proved to be quite popular. The Armchair Booker series went a little longer than anticipated so what was normally scheduled for this week, will be next week. Samoa Joe, Mitsuharu Misawa, and Scott Hall are in the Spotlight archives, who will be the next to join the list? Find out next week. This week, it?ll be another standard rant column from yours truly.
Also, this week, I am introducing a new section at the end of the column that is completely devoid of pro-wrestling. As I am sure you all have noticed, I usually plug a Japanese song, an anime show, a video game, or something to that effect in my Final Shot segment? well, so I can say goodbye properly without sidetracking, I created a new section just for that off topic stuff and leaving the Final Shot segment for its intended purpose. So now for those who don?t care about any of that, you can now CTRL+F your way right past it and not be blindsided!
With that out of the way, let’s hit up the Quick Shots! I?m sure you missed them.
So the rumor floating around the internet is that CM Punk lost the World Heavyweight Championship to The Undertaker because he refused to wear a tie and abide by the WWE’s dress code. Now? I am sure you are all aware that pro-wrestling is like anything on television.. it is scripted, and Undertaker had been scripted to win the championship since April so I doubt any validity to this story, but when I worked for Office Depot I did get sent home because I didn?t wear black socks? so? anything may be possible, but this is the internet after all and everything digested should have a grain of salt with it.
Booker T was rumored to be finishing up with TNA Wrestling where he stated that he may return once again to the WWE, which I kind of find odd since Booker T said he was more interested in TNA being his final stint so he could retire and focus more on his own promotion, but now that doesn?t seem to be the case. Things can change and the old adage is to never say never in the world of professional wrestling, but as long as he’s not crowned ?King?, I wouldn?t mind seeing Booker T back in the WWE.
The NWA World Heavyweight Championship belt is up for bids over at highspots.com to allegedly settle a debt owed by Ric Flair to them. As of the time of this column’s writing (Monday, October 12, 2009), the current bid remains at $75,000. It’s the authentic real deal and I?m shocked that the price hasn?t been higher. This really begs the question? if you had the money, how much would you pay for the title belt?
-The Big Shot: Expectations in Professional Wrestling-
This week we are back to my normal griping about things in the world of professional wrestling. This topic was sparked from the WWE Hell in a Cell Pay-Per-View event. Many of the fans were disappointed that there really wasn?t any blood of huge spots that they were accustomed to seeing from Hell in a Cell matches during the attitude era. Some even complained that no one went up top and fell through the cell like Mick Foley did against The Undertaker.
I hope by stating your disappointment that these people realize that falling through the top of the cell and hitting the canvas was an ACCIDENT. That wasn?t planned? i.e. it wasn?t supposed to happen. The cell’s ceiling wasn?t reinforced for two 300+ pound people to be standing on it, let along falling onto it with the force of gravity behind them. The WWE has duplicated the stunt in future Hell in a Cells by creating a give-way section of the ring and the general feeling was you would hope that you landed on it after taking the plunge to cushion the blow. Not all Hell in a Cells should involve being thrown through or off of the structure itself? and it doesn?t even have to have blood in it to be an enjoyable match. I watched and thoroughly enjoyed the PPV and even though I thought that the cell matches were out of order, it was still an enjoyable show.
Another thing to consider is that the WWE is rated PG now. This isn?t 1998. Sable isn?t running around with body paint on her naked breasts, DX isn?t running around showing their asses to the camera anymore. Mae Young isn?t having sex with Mark Henry and Goldust isn?t an Intercontinental Champion. Times change? 8 Ball and Skull are TNA Security now? Stone Cold Steve Austin is driving a pick up instead of a Budweiser truck, and the company as a whole got the F out. The edgy television that brought them to mainstream media acceptance died in the early millennium. This means more family oriented programming (even though sometimes even that is debatable), less blood, and less people getting thrown off of the top of an oversized cage.
It isn?t just the WWE that people are really expecting more from. Ring of Honor is notorious for this as well. In fact, there was a recent post on the ROH boards where someone said that ?This is the ROH I remember? referring to the quality of wrestling on their past weekend’s shows. It’s almost if everything else the ROH has done wasn?t worthy of being talked about? like just because a certain match didn?t hold up to their expectations, that the company was doing something wrong.
I think the major problem here is that this generation’s wrestling fan’s expectations were set too high long ago. Things like the WWE Attitude era and the original ECW were to blame. The Monday Night Wars, too, can take blame for this as well when WCW and the then WWF were trying to one-up each other on a weekly basis. Because of this, the shows (well, at least the WWF shows) got better and better as they tried out new things. ECW offered an alternative to what you saw on Monday night television and even Paul Heyman made that very clear in front of the camera on their first edition of ECW on TNN.
But don?t get me wrong? producing that edgy television, the thrill of competition driving you to put out a better product, or just simply doing some experimentation all worked. It brought in more than just the hardcore wrestling fan. It brought in the casual fan as well and turned them into someone who would add pro-wrestling to their weekly schedule of programs to watch, but that was the problem. Once the product flat lined and nothing new of interested was being produced, those fans that got into the product in the late 90s started to slip away. Sagging ratings and the acquisition of WCW by the WWF should be key events that demonstrated that. The fall of ECW was another event that signaled that wrestling needed a change.
Vince McMahon rebranded the WWE into a family entertainment company with a stress on Hollywood relations in order to boost their media coverage. To an extent, it’s actually working, but that means sacrificing some of the things we once saw that we perhaps come to expect out of the product. Does this mean that the product itself isn?t as enjoyable? I wouldn?t think so. Comparing today’s storylines to those of yesteryear, I can say that the quality of the storylines have gotten better in some cases and some were kind of hit or miss, which is the way they have been back in the Attitude era as well. Sure, storylines are not as edgy? I mean, I don?t think we?ll see The Undertaker tie Stephanie McMahon to a cross and hold a Black Wedding ever again, or I doubt we?ll see Billy and Chuck tie the knot on television, but that just means there is room for more realistic storylines that can be centered around the feud itself and that isn?t necessarily a bad thing.
So the question here is what do you expect out of pro-wrestling? Are you someone who actually expects more from the business? When you hear something like Hell in a Cell, do you expect buckets of blood to be shed and people being thrown off the roof instead of just sitting back and enjoying the match for what it actually is? Are you the kind of fan who expects Austin Aries to high fly non-stop like his early days instead of mat wrestle and tell a story in the ring? What kind of expectations do you actually have?
To me, those who complain that they didn?t get what they see are still spoiled on what they used to get and cannot except what is put in front of them now. If that’s the case, then it’s a damn shame.
-One Extra Round: Oops-
Well, I?m not done with King of the Ring 2009, per say? last week, I submitted my column and I forgot about Suzanne Abshire’s conclusion to her own King of the Ring tournament. My deepest apologies to Suzanne for the oversight? here is her finale:
Kofi Kingston vs Shelton Benjamin vs Mike Knox
Thoughts: To make this tournament matter I would have the winner become the #1 Contender for the Brand that they are on respective World Championship. That World Championship Match would Main Event the next WWE PPV.
I believe that having these three guys in this Main Event with each of them having a very different style of wrestling it should make the match entertaining to everyone. I also in part picked these guys because you have a face in Kofi, a tweener in Shelton, and a heel in Mike. I believe that the guy that deserves to be pushed the hardest here and get the victory in this match is the “Gold Standard” Shelton Benjamin. I would have him go on from here to win the ECW World Championship.
WINNER: Shelton Benjamin
Very interesting tournament, Suzanne and an equally interesting winner. I must say excellent job on it!
As you all know by now, I?m a big anime fan? but before I make my recommendations?
HOW IN THE BLUE HELL DO YOU HAVE A 17-7 LEAD AND BLOW IT!? Seriously? The Patriots just absolutely blew it in the 3rd and 4th quarter back on Sunday. Welker was on fire in the first half, and yeah, Brady overthrew a surefire touchdown to Moss, but things were going very well? then? half time was over and it the team just went to complete crap. They let the Broncos catch up and get the win in OT. Grrr? I?m unbelievably pissed off at the Pats?
The month of October has shown numerous new animes starting up in Japan, and of course, I?ve been giddy to check them all out and surprisingly, the majority I?ve seen so far are pretty interesting, some downright entertaining.
The second season of Darker Than BLACK (entitled Ryuusei no Gemini or Twins of the Shooting Star for you gaijin) started and while the first season was kind of slow moving and on the dull side, this one starts off with more ?oomph? from the get go. So if you liked the first season, you?ll probably love the second.
11eyes is another anime that started up that I?m following. This one seems to be a horror-thriller that involves two high school students who randomly get transported to an alternate dimension. The thing is? this alternate dimension is the same city that they live in, but it’s devoid of life and the sky is red with a black moon hovering above.
Letter Bee is another show I picked up. I actually was curious because the name intrigued me. I was expecting to see some kiddy show about smiley faced bees teaching the alphabet? so I wanted to point at it and laugh, but it’s actually a serious show about these government postal workers called Bees. This one Bee had to deliver a human child as it’s ?letter? and it unveils a world of politics mixed in with some fighting involving giant armored beetles which roam the lands outside of these cities. A complete 180 from what I expected, but it grabbed my attention.
Seiken no Blacksmith seems interesting, too. This is about knights, swords, magic, and demons. Can?t get any better than that! If you want a show that’s the same with a humorous feel to it, check out Fairy Tail as well.
The spinoff of To Aru Majutsu no Index came out entitled To Aru Kagaku no Railgun. This one centers around the Level 5 named Mikoto. With it only being two episodes into the series? I can?t tell if this takes place during Index’s time period or if it is at a different time. I?m sure more will be revealed as it progresses, but if you liked Index, you should check this one out as well.
And finally?. We have a comedic anime entitled Seitokai no Ichizon. It’s about three high school girls and one boy who is a pervert. They made up the school’s student council and all they do is make fun of other anime shows? including their own. It’s just a show you can sit back and laugh at?. Which is exactly what I?m doing.
So yeah.. I?ve picked up all of these in addition to Umineko no Naku Koro ni (When the Seagulls Cry) which is getting really confusing, yet interesting, and Naruto: Shippuuden which is finally catching up to probably the biggest and most interesting events in the Manga. I may even shed a tear soon for everyone’s favorite Ero-senin, Jiraya-sama.
-The Final Shot-
That wraps things up for me this week. As always, if you want to discuss the column, wrestling, anime, video games, or anything in general including, but not limited to: Blood stains in your underwear involving the consumption of Chipotle, Kanye West’s latest internet meme, or why the entire New England Patriots should each get a kick in the groin? feel free to hit me up using any of the methods below:
Until next week?