-The First Shot-
Seven suns and seven moons illuminated the vastness of space and the sum of the passing time has brought us back together once again for your 55th edition of The Shoot. It is I, the resident shooter and I?ll be shooting from the hip once again this week as I air out even more grievances against TNA. I know most of my readers may be getting tired of the TNA bashing shtick, but TNA keeps making blunders, and I have to slap the proverbial sense back into them for doing so. It’s almost becoming a full time job at this point.
I made quick mention of Mega Man 10 in last week’s Culture Shock, this week I will take a full in-depth look at it and toss up my review as well as give my thoughts on the second episode of the Shakugan no Shana S OVA. Before we get to all of that, as customary each and every week right here on The Shoot, it’s time to take a look at the headlines across the world of professional wrestling. Here are your Quick Shots.
In an updated list of WWE PPV names, it appears that WWE Wild Card has been scrapped and is now replaced with WWE Over the Limit. I have no idea what kind of gimmick this PPV will hold, but I?m surprised that the WWE chose this name because it bears a very close resemblance to Over the Edge, which was the name of the May 23, 1999 PPV where Owen Hart tragically lost his life. It will be interesting if this fact is brought up to the WWE between now and the time Over the Limit is set to air. Though, it has been 11 years since the accident, I?m sure the WWE won?t catch any heat for using a near identical name. Then again, I, may possibly be, the only person in the internet wrestling community to have caught that, so who knows. Over-thinking, Over-analyzing separates the body from the mind, says one famous person.
Bill Goldberg had a few choice words to say about rumors of him being in negotiation with TNA. He said that Hulk Hogan was ?full of crap? because he was spreading rumors that he would be bringing Bill to TNA. Goldberg then mentioned that he’s 43 years old and doesn?t want to be like Hogan and Flair (wrestling way past their prime). He mentioned that he is happy sitting at home watching Spongebob and eating Chicken Nuggets with his son. To Bill Goldberg, I commend you. You have your priorities straight. Being home, spending time with family, and recognizing your limits when it comes to such a physical activity is highly respectful. I echo Goldberg’s thoughts on the situation and am glad he’s sticking with what’s important to him in his life.
Although not really major news, but I did get a chuckle out of it? Shane/Gregory ?Hurricane? Helms apparently posted a picture of himself next to a bride, making everyone believe that he had tied the knot when in reality, he was nothing more than a groomsman for his friend’s wedding. Was it it an evil trick? Yes. Did I find a lot of humor in it? You bet! For pulling that off, you get an honorable mention this week, Helms!
Also, Single H laid the Smackdown on Stephanie McMahon and the other half of the nose is due in 9 months. Congratulations!
-The Big Shot: Rob Van Dam in TNA-
Here we go again, ladies and gentlemen. It is time for the meat and potatoes of the column, served directly to you after they?ve been burnt by the flames that spew forth from my fingertips as I type, yet, another TNA rant. This time it has to do with the signing of Rob Van Dam.
Now? before we get into the hate part of this rant, let me state this for the record. I actually LIKE Rob Van Dam signing with TNA because as a fan of the actual wrestling that takes place between the ropes, I know that some of my dream matches are inevitable, however, the problem I have with this signing is not really the timing, but the state of the company in which Mr. PPV is being brought in to.
Let me elaborate on that for a moment. Of course, as wrestling fans, we eagerly and impatiently wait to see RVD against guys like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Jay Lethal, and even my personal pick for a dream match? Sting. The possibilities for these dream matches are endless, but the impact that they will have isn?t going to be the same because of the kind of booking TNA has had in the past three to four years and the kind of booking that they are displaying on television today. As you know, TNA had a big opportunity on their hands when Samoa Joe came to the company in 2005. The proof was there as the original triple threat between Styles, Daniels, and Joe over the X Division title, was, arguably, one of the greatest matches in TNA’s history and it still hailed and revered to this day. The proof was there when they gave Samoa Joe that undefeated streak that was ended by Kurt Angle (which I am still angry as hell over, but that’s another rant for another time.)
The problem is, that’s where it really all stopped for those three. Samoa Joe did, eventually, go on to be TNA World Champion, but when he did, the way he was booked made it seem like his title reign was a complete joke. Since then, Joe has been mishandled and stuck in mid-card hell (not to mention stuck with a penis painted on his face for the better part of last year, although it’s destructive nature isn?t near the capacity of one, Matt Hardy’s). Christopher Daniels never really made it to the main event. Instead, he was ?fired? and brought back onto television as Curry Man, then brought back to fill in for the injured Kazarian as Suicide, and then brought back just as ?Daniels?. Since then, he dipped his toe into the main event pool and never jumped right in. AJ Styles is the only one out of the three that really made it to the main event and got stuck there.
TNA really missed the boat here because the point I am trying to make is think how much more impactful (no pun intended) Rob Van Dam’s signing would have been if Styles, Daniels, and Joe were actually built as the faces of the company over guys like Christian Cage and Kurt Angle. Think of the buzz around the IWC if TNA had any sense of tactical booking and ability to create believable characters and pushed Styles, Joe, and Daniels to the moon when they were given the chance to do so. TNA kind of did that back in 2002, though, when they touted that they were all about the X Division and how the X Division was the future of wrestling. The spotlight was on those fresh, young stars and many bought into that hype and it generated a lot of buzz talk about TNA? which is actually a very good thing.
Then TNA got a television deal and then it all became about star power and instead of building those stars of tomorrow, they brought in those who were future endeavored from the WWE and built the company around them instead. The talk about TNA being the exciting future of professional wrestling and the biggest potential threat to the WWE quickly dwindled because of this because the fans saw the writing on the wall at this point.
Just think? with the proper booking, the proper characters, and the proper stories, TNA wouldn?t have needed to rely on people like Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff to come in and try and save the company. Those two would probably still be gearing up for Season 2 of Celebrity Championship Wrestling, or Hogan would be groveling at Vince McMahon for another Wrestlemania paycheck. They wouldn?t even need to be in TNA because they wouldn?t need the help of 1980’s wrestling stars to get people to watch their product. They would have had Daniels, Joe, and Styles there in the spotlight to attract people away from the WWE. Why? Because those three offer something different that the WWE doesn?t and if you really wanted to be a true wrestling alternative and compete with them, then you need to offer something different instead of creating WCW 2.0. Not only that, but the experienced gained by building future stars like that could easily be applied to other younger stars that come into your company and you could build a better brand all around.
So just think for a moment here. Think about what TNA could have been like if the company had been centered around those three (or more) from the beginning. Sting would still be around because Sting is always going to be Sting and he’s not the type of person that would be in it for himself and he could be a locker room leader and a wealth of information to the young up and coming stars. Then imagine no Hogan, no Bischoff, no Nasty Boys, no Jimmy Hart, no Bubba the Contraceptive, no Ric Flair, no Sean Waltman, no Scott Hall, no Kevin Nash, etc. Imagine a TNA built on fresh young talent and then Rob Van Dam signs.
Holy joygasm and mark out moment.
The same tingling? the same ?warm fuzzy?, if ya will (in my best Dusty voice), the same magic we all felt when we heard that Kurt Angle was coming to TNA, would be felt because all we could think of it one thing: my god the dream matches, but now? I don?t get that feeling. I don?t have that same excitement because of the moves that TNA booking has made of the past three to four years. It’s like it took something that could have been special and tainted it.
I am happy to see RVD back in the ring? I really am? and I do look forward to the potential matches, but in the current environment that is TNA? his signing has really lost a lot of that special feel? a lot of that luster that you need to generate buzz, talk, and speculation. It’s missing that certain pinoche that makes you feel good about being a wrestling fan. Maybe it’s because I have become so disenfranchised with TNA that nothing they really do will get me excited, but it’s just the vibe and the way I feel about this whole situation.
If TNA really wants me to be excited about this? they can prove my thoughts wrong. They can create the magic I have been wanting to see from them for quite a while now. They can give me matches like RVD vs Styles, vs Daniels, vs Joe, vs Angle, vs Sting, vs McGuinness, vs Lethal, vs Sabin, vs Shelley, etc and not ruin them by giving them five minutes of television time (i.e. save it for PPV), or by having x amount of wrestlers run in, or do some kind of ?make no sense? finish. Just let the matches be matches and I?ll be happy. I?m not even expecting something of the caliber of an RVD vs Jerry Lynn-style match because that would be asking too much, but I do think that RVD can offer a lot and could really pull together some great matches.
That’s all I care about.
We?ll see, though? we?ll see.
As aforementioned, I said I would give my full thoughts on Capcom’s Mega Man 10 since I have played through and have ?Whomped Wily?.
First off, let’s talk about content. There is MUCH more content than you got with Mega Man 9. To make a comparison, in Mega Man 9, you had to download and PAY for things such as Proto Man Mode, Hard Mode, and Super Hard Mode. Well, not this time around. Right from the get go, you get Mega Man and Proto Man as playable characters and both modes are unlocked right from the start. The differences create a nice feel to the game, but if you have played 9, then don?t expect anything different here.
Mega Man has the shoot and jump mechanics where Proto Man has the Charge Shot and Slide abilities. Proto Man can also deflect shots by jumping (he pulls out his shield). As a trade off for more power, Proto Man takes double damage when hit, so you can kind of say Proto Man is Hero Mode from 9, and Hard Mode is Superhero mode from 9.
Also, Normal Mode and Easy Mode are available from the start. Beating the game on Normal Mode will unlock Hard Mode. So yes, Hard Mode is there from the beginning, no extra cash to slap down for it this time around. What is nice between the three modes is that EVERYTHING is affected from pits, spikes, enemy placements, and even the bosses all change depending on each mode of play. Easy Mode is just that? Easy. It is virtually impossible to die and is there for the sole purpose for people who are new to the Mega Man franchise. Normal Mode is how the game is meant to be played and you will die A LOT until you are familiar with it. That’s how all Mega Mans work. You die die die, then you memorize it all and you can flawless the game.
Hard Mode, on the other hand? will bring tears to your eyes. The stage enemies gain new abilities, there’s a lot more of them, their placement is more precise, and even the bosses gain new attacks, move faster, and are a LOT harder. If you are hardcore and want a challenge that will make even the best gamer cringe? that mode is for you.
The music isn?t as ?first listen instant love? as with Mega Man 9, but these tracks do have their rightful place in Mega Man history. The music is great, but not excellent. Solar Man’s theme is the best out of all of them, followed by Nitro Man’s theme and, of course, the Wily castle themes. The boss battle music is a nice step up from Mega Man 9’s and the music does the job well in fitting the mood, but you may not like all the tracks here. This OST has an acquired taste to it, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The downloadable content this time around is going to be worth every penny. Coming to you on April 5, 2010 you will get Special Stage 1 and Bass Mode. Bass will be playable along with his dog Treble. Bass has the ability to fire in all directions, dash, jump higher, and combine with Treble to fly for short periods of time. While, because of these abilities, it may make normal mode look like easy mode, it’s basically fan service and I?m happy with it.
Apirl 26, 2010, we will get Special Stage 2 and 3 as well as the Endless Maze of Death. As you recall, Special Stage from Mega Man 9 featured a ninth robot master, Fake Man. Sadly, all you could do is beat him and it was a lackluster way to end the stage. Fear not because this time around, each of the three special stages will get their own boss, and when you beat that boss, you actually get their weapons to use throughout the rest of the game. So who are the bosses? They are none other than the Mega Man Hunters from the Game Boy series. Those would be Punk, Enker, and Ballade!
Overally, I give this game a 9 out of 10. The 8-bit retro graphics are well done, the sound is pretty good and there is enough content, difficulty and challenge for a LOT of replay. I highly recommend that you add this one to your collection.
Also, I mentioned that the second OVA of Shakugan no Shana came out. I did the Mega Man review because this was the only new Japanese-related thing I could talk about this time around. As you know, the Shakugan no Shana S OVA is just a 4 episode filler before the third season makes its way onto the air waves. The first episode was brilliant where it featured Shana and Yuji switching bodies. This time, it was Yuji and Whilhelmia investigating Shana’s behavior which just turned out to be a surprise party. A disappointment to some, but still worth it if you are a Shana fan.
-The Final Shot-
That’s going to do it for me this week. If you would like to submit anything as far as column feedback, wrestling discussion, culture shock topics, anything? you can do so by using any of the methods below.
Until next week?