I got to attend WWE Raw monday night, and my big fat stupid face made it on TV a couple of times. Since it was the 2011 Slammies, I went out there in a dress shirt and tie, meaning that whenever I was going to be put on TV, you will get to see my glorious sweat stains live and in HD. Overall, in terms of me being on TV, I'm disappointed that our section didn't have a microphone, because outside of people sitting around me and a couple of other places in the arena, the crowd was dead for most of the event (I'll get to that in a second). That means that my random obscenities didn't quite make it to air, like me yelling at Daniel Bryan "HARDER!" when he was hitting European Uppercut, etc... Though I am proud of starting up a fairly loud "We Want Wrestling" chant at the end of the first hour when we got NO wrestling matches. Our section also started up a "Chiota!" chant for referee Mike Chiota that somehow made it on television.
As far as the show itself... I think Michael Cole said it right by calling the opening segment "One of the worst segments in television history". As much as I love good Ol' JR, watching him flub up his lines during a "rap battle" was one of the most painful moments ever. It's a horribly written segment that should have never happened, but seeing it go from bad to worse was awful/incredible.
Then the slammy awards kept going.... and going... and going... In the span of three hours, there were four wrestling matches, which is unacceptable. The first hour was stupid award after stupid award, with the only highlight being CM Punk doing his thing and then showing this video, which had me hardly breathing because it was so damn funny.
The show went on longer, a couple of great legends came out, so that was fun. We got to see an awesome match from Bryan/Rhodes/Ziggler/Ryder. And then, evil Kane returned and I shit my pants because I marked out so hard.
So overall, I got to see some great stuff, and I got to see some awful stuff live... so it was a great WWE program to see live. I'm interested in seeing where Kane goes from here, whether or not he feuds with John Cena or feuds with Mark Henry... or if it's just like the old Kane and he comes out randomly and chokeslams jobbers in the middle of a match.
Here's some of the signs I brought... none of them were featured on TV sadly...
I love the holiday of Thanksgiving, but let's be honest, Turkey is the worst choice of meat you can have. It's always disappointing whenever you see this you bite into a dry piece of turkey, and try to neutralize it's awfulness by dowsing it in gravy and stuffing. Anyways... you guys love end of the year lists, right? So why not a "Most Disappointing Things of 2011".... except holiday themed.... right?
The Biggest Turkeys of 2011
Video Games (DisHonorable Mentions):
Duke Nukem Forever: Sure, I wasn't expecting the greatest FPS of all time from Duke Nukem, but the final product of the game was a mess. Extremely old multiplayer, loading in between levels, horrible dick jokes, uninteresting scenarios, and bad frame rate. The biggest crime is that there was no full on behind the scenes feature, because I would love to know what the hell caused this dull game to be delayed for so long.
Red Faction Armageddon: Aw man, I loved that open world mars game from two years ago... oh you took out the open world? Great.
X-Men Destiny: Oh sweet, the Silicon Knights guys are going to get back on their feet by making an X-Men RPG game... except it's a mediocre button masher
Dragon Age: Origins is perhaps my favorite RPG this generation (until I get my hands on Skyrim). It was long, strategic, and open. So what kind of "improvements" did Bioware make to the sequel? How about turn the strategy behind the game and turn it into a button masher, and take all of the open world stuff and force you go to the same exact place over and over again. As long as we can rush out a sequel, people will buy it, right? Instead, this game tarnished the Dragon Age brand for everyone that loved the first game.
Music (DisHonorable Mentions):
Lupe Fiasco - Lasers : Lupe Fiasco's first CD is something that I'm not afraid to say is one of my favorite rap albums of the last decade. It was the last rap album I really connected to before I abandoned the whole genre entirely. When Lupe's second album came out, I listened and somewhat enjoyed. But this album feels like a reaction to his one commercially successful song, which meant every song sounds like some crappy radio song. It doesn't help that he ruined Modest Mouse's "Float On".
Lou Reed & Metallica - Lulu : Neither of these two names has made anything of quality since the 80's, but when you saw that Lou Reed and Metallica was making an album together, the first thing that popped into my head was "Huh, I bet that's going to be crazy". Yes, it is crazy, but is also impossible to listen to.
I don't care if you're a fan or not of Radiohead, you have to admit that 2007's "In Rainbows" was one of the better albums of that year. Radiohead has four albums that would make any music critics all time favorites list, so any release from them is something to look forward too. However, what we got from them this year was a steaming pile of unlistenable shit. It was only eight songs long, the drum loops were too complicated, they abandoned guitars, and Thom Yorke's mumbling throughout the album drives me insane. Phooey.
Movies (DisHonorable Mentions):
Cars 2 : Damnit Pixar, I let you get away with the first Cars, but this movie somehow made me lose respect for the Pixar brand. Shame on you for cashing in a dull movie for money.
Captain America : Thor was surprisingly awesome, this movie was not.
Green Lantern : This comic book movie was straight up awful.
Hangover was a surprisingly fun, dumb comedy movie. Anything that makes Zach Galifinakis a star is ok in my book. I was a bit hesitant to see the rushed sequel, but I laughed a few times during the trailer, and planned accordingly to go into the midnight screening of The Hangover II drunk. I'm not making this part up, towards the end of The Hangover II, I proceded to yell at the movie screen that "THIS IS THE SAME GOD DAMNED MOVIE AS THE FIRST ONE". Sure, might have been a bit harsh, but it was a true statement. Every story element in this movie is exactly the same as the first movie... it was like the script writers played Mad Libs to write this movie.
Wrestling (Oh yeah, I'm including wrestling.):
Wrestlemania XXVII - The Undertaker/HHH match was fine, but the rest was extremely dull. The Miz is main eventing at Wrestlemania? Snooki is in a match? Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler? Absolutely unacceptable matches to be thrown into the biggest event of the year.
TNA In General - Seriously, where the fuck did Alex Shelley go? Crimson is awful, and them forcing the "Winning Streak" angle on us is worse. Samoa Joe is booked horribly. The X Division now has a weight limit. Hogan is back to his backstage antics. This show is awful in general. It's picked up a little bit in the past month by having Roode and Storm being the top two guys, but man....
Summer of Punk ruined - CM Punk changed the wrestling industry in one month. Then, WWE changed it back to business as usual within the next month.
Most Disappointing Wrestling Moment: Jeff Hardy vs. Sting
This is the definition of a train wreck. Jeff Hardy shows up to the PPV completely drugged up, and he's supposed to be in the main event with Sting. Sting basically forces the end of the match within a minute and TNA does the right thing and fires Hardy for disgracing the TNA brand. Except that last part never happened. Jeff Hardy is still working for TNA, even though he ruined the main event and cost all of the customers of that $40 TNA PPV their trust in that organization. Absolutely Horrible.
Small thing, I'm planning on getting all of the Giant Bomb community wrestling fans to start posting in the Wrestling Ring forums on Giant Bomb. Just one step closer to taking over Whiskey Media and creating a Whiskey Media wrestling site.
If you've never sat through a WWE DVD, then you haven't experience the high quality documentaries about behind the scenes wrestling that WWE produces frequently. My personal favorite that WWE has done to this point was The Rise and Fall of ECW, and I highly suggest checking it out if you haven't already. The newest from WWE is a beginning to a new series called WWE's Greatest Rivalries, and I'm pretty sure that you might not be able to start of a series like this better than showing off the history of Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. Shawn Michaels.
The documentary portion looks throughout the entire history with Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and Jim Ross serves as the moderator for the conversation. JR does a great job of maintaining the conversation. He sits across the table and let Shawn and Bret tell their stories and usually stays out of it for general knowledge stuff, and pushes the issues that are still unclear to the general public (If Shawn meant it when he told Bret to "get the hell out of my spotlight" at the end of Wrestlemania or if it was part of the story the two were trying to build). Bret Hart is in full shoot mode, and the man tells it like it is even if Shawn is two feet away from him. For someone that has been through a stroke and has lost most of his family and friends over the past decade (Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Helen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Brian Pillman, Curt Hennig, etc.) Bret is emotionally stable enough to not only recollect what happened at every dramatic point in his career, but is able to remember the exact date and location of the incident.
Shawn Michaels is widely known as being a complete asshole during his first major stint in the WWE (before he seriously injured his back in 1997). Since then, he's changed his ways and has become a born-again Christian. This provides plenty of really awkward moments when Hart brings up some issues where he tells a story of Shawn's backstage antics and Shawn has no option except to just laugh it off and admit that he was a terrible person in that stage of his life.
As far as the topics covered goes, the DVD spans all of Bret's and Michaels matches. It begins with a brief segment of how they got into the WWE, and about the next fifteen minutes talks about their matches when they were both a part of tag teams. The highlight of that discussion is how frustrated Bret looks and sounds when talking about the rope breaking during a main event televised tag team match, a match that he thought was going to be historic ended up being so dismal it was never televised (and it was the night The Hart Foundation lost the belts to The Rockers for the first time).
It continues to showcase Bret and Shawn's excellent solo careers, how Bret led the locker room, and how Shawn only worked with The Kliq. This continue until it's time to talk about The Montreal Screwjob. Mostly, the discussion is nothing new, since both men have talked about it at length in their books (not to mention it's been talked about on documentaries, and it has been reproduced multiple times since then). Even if there is nothing new to add to it, it's always a fascinating moment that happened. At the time, it was tragic, but now it's easy to see that nobody was right in the situation. It wasn't right of Bret to refuse to lose the title over demanding more respect, it wasn't right of Shawn to say that he wouldn't put Bret over after Bret said he wanted to put Shawn over, and it wasn't right of Vince to abruptly finish the match and screw Bret (or to book Bret to lose in his final match in Canada). I also love conspiracy theories of whether or not the Screwjob was all part of some grand off-screen story, since there's a good bit of evidence backing the theory, like the cameras not cutting away from Bret when he was air writing WCW and how the Screwjob created the character of Vince McMahon. It all worked out a little "too well" in the end... but that idea isn't even brought into the DVD.
Post-Montreal Screwjob, there isn't too much more to tell in the rivalry. Bret went to WCW where he wasn't used right, and Goldberg ended his career accidentally, and Shawn injured his back and had to quit for a long time a few months after the Montreal Screwjob. Bret suffered from a stroke, and Michaels came back to the wrestling business a new man (reborn Christian) and had some of the best matches of all time against The Undertaker. This takes us to the moment in the documentary where Bret just starts laying his emotions on the table about how he was so bitter towards Shawn and the WWE and how forgiving them and coming back to the WWE helped him to drop his metaphorical sack on his back that he's been carrying all his life. It gets very emotional and kind of inspirational to see these two that burned the bridge years ago forgive each other and become friends again.
The rest of the set includes selected matches between the two. You're reminded immediately of how good Shawn and Bret's tag team partners were, Marty Janetty and Jim Neidhart respectively. The first ever Ladder Match was between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart for the Intercontinental title, it's also worth noting that at the time Shawn Michaels finishing move was a back suplex. Also, you get the full 1 hour Iron Man match at Wrestlemania 12, which is a classic. Having a DVD with the same two people fighting might sound dull, but the great thing about these two is that every time they fight, they will put on a different style of match.
Overall, this DVD is a great pickup for fans of either of the wrestler, or fans of the WWE pre-Attitude era. It's a great way to make people want more DVD's for the "Greatest Rivalries" line... I don't know if there is a more controversial story to tell, but there are certainly some just as memorable than Bret vs. Shawn.
Here's a short review of my thoughts about Vengeance 2011:
WWE Vengeance Review
Overall, I would say that I was pleasantly surprised overall by Vengeance. Going into the show, the card looked pretty bad and I would've been upset if I payed for a ticket to see it live. Every match just didn't seem like it meant anything in the long run, and the entire night was easily predictable (I only got two outcomes wrong)... but everybody involved went out there and put on a good show.
Ziggler Was Perfection: Putting Dolph Ziggler in two opening matches back to back is a great way to put an up and coming wrestler through the ringer. His opening tag match against Air Boom was great, the highlight of that was the Monkey Flip he took from Kofi Kingston and then the collision during the cross-body. After that, he had a fine match against Zach Ryder in which the highlight of that match was Ziggler taking a fucking stiff Broski Kick. Dolph reminds me a lot of Austin Aries in TNA, in that every motion he does in a match has a purpose and he's really fun to watch in the ring.
A Diva's Match Was Actually Good: I have no clue why Kelly Kelly was getting all of these Diva's PPV matches. Eve proved that she could actually compete and put on a good match against Beth Pheonix at Vengeace. We'll see how this continues (spoiler alert: Kelly Kelly will get another shot over Eve).
Broken Ring: The Mark Henry vs. Big Show match was better than it had any right to be. The last time these two fought, it was the only downpoint of one of the best PPV in a long time. This time, the match was a bit faster paced, and the two men kicking out of each other's finishers was a good moment in a match that actually felt like it had some importance. The ring breaking in the end was a neat spot to revisit, but I was bummed that nobody on the announce team even admitted that the exact same spot was done several years ago.
The Broken Ring Match: I had little care about Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena in a Last Man Standing Match going in... but forcing them to compete inside a broken ring was a thing of brilliance. It added a layer of fun seeing them wrestle with no ropes and the mat was at an angle. The match itself reminded me of an Austin era no DQ match that went all over the building, and had a lot of props used in the match.
Some Matches Didn't Really Matter: HHH/CM Punk vs. Awesome Truth was a fine old school tag team wrestling match, but this storyline behind "who's pulling the strings?" has gone on for a bit too long now, and the fact that there was no payoff was a bit of a bummer. Christian vs. Sheamus was another good match, but we saw the same exact match two weeks ago at Hell In A Cell (A match that was better than this one, might I add).
Ortan Over Rhodes: I don't mind that Cody Rhodes lost, but I do mind the way he lost it. There was two guys interfering and Rhodes still ended up losing, which made him look bad. The IC belt wasn't even on the line, so there was no point to the match at all.