Nostalgia Among Wrestling Fans

tumblr_mjh593HOJ31qzx70zo1_1280.pngMr. McMahon mocking Ric Flair – Source:

Nostalgia is something that warms the heart of almost any human, in any walk of life. It’s something that is particularly popular though, among wrestling fans, myself included. We all seem to long for the product we enjoyed when we first discovered the art-form as children. The old timers long for the 80s cartoon era of Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. Fans of my generation cry out for the Attitude Era of the late 1990s and early 2000s. When you look back on classic matches and promos from those times, you can’t help but think “They don’t make them like that anymore” – It makes me feel old, but that’s exactly what I think.

I watched the episode of Raw from March 25th 2002 last night. If any of you are wondering what the significance of this was, it was the very first WWF Draft. I stumbled upon it on YouTube and decided to stick with it. It was so amazing seeing all of my old favorites. Vince McMahon and Ric Flair on screen as opposing General Managers was amazing in itself. Then you see the NWO, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, The Rock, Kane, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, the list goes on. I couldn’t help but compare that to now and want to cry. I mean the opening match of the show featured two of the lower-mid card stars of the time: Tazz and Mr. Perfect. Come on! These days it’s The Great Khali and Brodus Clay dancing together. Back then the “afterthought” was two of the best grapplers of our generation. Big difference.

However, I’m not one of those guys who constantly whines about the modern PG era, or sports entertainment overshadowing pro wrestling. I dig the product. It’s just that feeling you get when you watch the shows from a bygone era and long for the past. It’s just nostalgia, it’s natural. Football fans feel it when reliving old World Cup moments. Movie buffs can feel it when they take in a movie from the past, which they haven’t seen in a while. I love modern day WWE, but it’s just not quite the same. Will it ever be? Who knows. Should it even be? I don’t know.

I guess it’s just one of those things. The grass always seems to be greener. It’s the fans who confuse good, natural nostalgia with hating anything that’s new and different that annoy me. There is nothing particularly wrong with the current model. It’s just how they like to do business these days. Sure some things could be better for me if they were changed back, but they probably won’t be and I have to accept that. Stop hating on little kids for liking wrestling, when that’s how you got into it yourself!

Nostalgia is an unexplainable phenomenon that makes the past seem so perfect and so flawless, when in fact there were probably loads of people watching back then complaining and hating the direction things were going in.

This has been another lunchtime masterpiece from me, The Big Bossman. What are your thoughts on wrestling nostalgia? Leave a comment.

The Value of CM Punk

cm_punk_drawing_by_redchaos187-d5tgu73Incredible sketch of CM Punk – Source:

It’s time for another lunch break masterpiece. Today I will attempt to stay under 500 words while discussing the importance and value of one CM Punk. It is now pretty much official that he will be in Chi-Town for the next pay-per-view Payback, after Paul Heyman accepted the match with Chris Jericho on his behalf. He is going to get one hell of a pop. Whether he is a face or a heel is irrelevant. He has been away for what feels like forever, he will be in front of his home town crowd and I fully expect him to perform in another great match with Jericho.

My pondering is how WWE has been affected by his absence since the night after Wrestlemania when he walked out on Raw. I think they have suffered in several ways. There is a distinct lack of star power on the roster right now. They are trying to build new guys like Langston, Ryback and now Curtis Axel. Bray Wyatt is also on the way. I applaud them for pushing young guys with great potential, I do. But when Lesnar and Triple H are off TV, Raw lacks that umph. Cena is the only major draw at that point, and no matter how you see it, CM Punk has become pretty much as important to WWE programming, hence them rushing him back as soon as possible.

It could be argued that he deserves a few more months to heal his collection of niggling injuries and recover from the pain he must be in, but he will be back after less than two months. As a fan, I’m jumping for joy. His doctors probably aren’t. He obviously isn’t at the level of Cena, who needs to be on Raw every week, even if he breaks both legs. Nonetheless, he is a “top guy” and if he wasn’t he’d be allowed to lay on the sofa a little longer. WWE have missed his presence on the mic and in the ring.

The widely reported ratings slide is more evidence of this. The show has lacked a certain character and edge that Punk brought to proceedings. It’s also lacked his name appeal. Most of all, his actual matches are missed greatly. The ratings tell that story. They have been slowly declining (as they often do after Wrestlemania) and in May, they reached some new lows. The May 13th edition of Raw drew a 2.91 cable rating, the second lowest rating for the show in 2013 so far. Smackdown actually hit it’s lowest rating of the entire year on May 17th with a 1.78 rating, but even Punk couldn’t turn that show around.

So all of this means that Punk’s return will be more anticipated than ever before, for fans and WWE executives alike. He is sure to give the ratings a huge boost, and cause pure hysteria in the stands come Payback. I’m excited to see what comes of his character. I’m expecting dissension with Paul Heyman and an impending face turn. Thanks for reading.

Are you jealous of David Beckham?

david-beckham-last-game-psg-championDavid Beckham playing for PSG – Source:

Just a short one today, as I’m writing on my lunch break. The things I do to ensure a post a day. I thought I’d take around 500 words to have a look at David Beckham and the rampant envy he seems to cause among most football fans, especially male ones.

I’d like to start off by saying that I don’t think Beckham gets anywhere near enough credit as a player for his ability. Former England international Chris Waddle recent stated that: “You can go down a list of players from the Premier League or the 70s or 80s, whatever you want to do. I’ll be honest, Beckham probably wouldn’t be in the first 1,000.” This bears a striking resemblance to the comments made by Bret Hart about Triple H recently. I know it made me laugh, and I’m sure it made a lot of other logical fans laugh too.

But quite a lot of people actually seem to agree with this summary, which is bewildering. The comments of Waddle and of Hart both scream of jealousy and envy. There are many reasons for someone to be jealous of Beckham. He has more money than any other player, or than most people period. He has all the fame, and all of the success. Most of all, he is extremely popular with the females of the species. I bet that has a lot to do with it.

Just because the guy wants to take an interest in fashion, attend glitzy film openings or model in his boxers, doesn’t make him an average player. It does make him a bit of a cock, but not an average player. Lets look at the facts. He is the most capped outfield player in England history. He is the only English player to win domestic titles in four different countries (England, Spain, France and the United States) as well as a host of other trophies and individual awards. He played a vital role in the Manchester United side which dominated the Premier League in the 1990s and went on to win the Champions League. He would probably still be there now if Fergie knew how to swallow his pride.

His famous moments like the goal from the half way line over Neil Sullivan, and the expert free kick against Greece in the dying seconds will go down in history and be remembered forever. His contributions on the pitch won’t be tarnished by the envy of others. But it’s his off the pitch work which seems to alienate him to most ‘normal blokes’ which is astounding as most of it is very positive. He is big in charity work, helps to push football across the world and his dedication to the London Olympic project was commendable.

He isn’t the best player of all time, but he would easily make the top 100 Premier League players of all time, let alone 1,000. He’d probably be towards the top of that list. The ones who disagree with that are usually those overcome with jealousy. That’s my thoughts on it anyway.

Curtis Axel continues to grow momentum on Raw

axelThe future of Raw: Curtis Axel – Source:

Let’s make it snappy. I watched an hour of Raw last night before I fell asleep. I caught up with the rest when I woke up this morning. I took notes while I did. Here are my thoughts:

The show opened up with a silly vignette about Memorial Day. It’s that time of year again. The patriotism was a little sickening, but it wasn’t as short as usual, which was good.

After the formalities of the troop worship, we moved on to the opening segment. John Cena gave an excellent promo in the ring. The crowd were hating on him at first, which is commonplace anywhere where educated fans can be found. In Montreal, he isn’t that loved. However, he turned the crowd with a classic cheap pop for Bret Hart. No matter what people say, he knows what he is doing when working with the fans. There was some great improvisation throughout and it set up a match for Payback between him and Ryback: Three Stages of Hell.

The first fall will be a lumberjack match, the second will be a tables match and the third an ambulance match. So Ryback will get his wish, if he can win one of those first two falls. Now that’s an effective promo! It ticks all necessary boxes. Ryback then came out and interrupted for a generic heel response from the top of the ramp. It was short and not very impressive. The next man out was Paul Heyman, to a surprisingly big pop. He put over Curtis Axel as expected and suggested a match between him and Cena at the end of the show. Cena accepted. Axel will now face another thirteen time World Champion for the second straight week since joining the Raw roster. One hell of a push.

Big E. Langston v Alberto Del Rio

A rematch between these two from last week. AJ accidentally costs her henchman the match on this occasion, when trying to screw Del Rio. There seems to be a bit of tension between these two.

Kane tried to reassure Daniel Bryan in the locker room and stop him obsessing over the whole ‘weak link’ thing, but to no avail. Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart stepped in and delivered an inspirational speech which was greeted more than warmly by the Canadian crowd. Kane was sad that his reassuring didn’t work, but at least Bryan had calmed down. Of course he will listen to Bret Hart!

Dean Ambrose (c) v Kofi Kingston (for the United States Championship)

Ambrose picked up the clean win over Kofi in this very solid rematch. Kofi’s clause must not have been used up by that DQ finish last time, but his chances are certainly up now.

The Shield (c) v Team Hell No (for the WWE Tag-Team Championships)

In part two of Extreme Repeat, Bryan and Kane also got a shot at retaining their tag titles in probably the best match of the night. Some absolutely incredible wrestling was delivered as expected by these four. Bryan’s typical flurries of outlandish offense were interspersed with surfboards, superplexes and spin kicks. Spectacular athleticism all round. A load of near falls and an abundance of passion made this match very enthralling. Rollins got the pin on Kane after Bryan had given up a perfect opportunity to double team by diving to the outside toward Reigns, only to be speared. Outstanding match!


Roman Reigns towering over Daniel Bryan – Source:

Cole and Co gave us an update on Triple H. Neurological tests have come back normal. He was advised not to appear at Raw, but he is expected to be back next week. Good news! Is he gonna be wrestling at every pay-per-view now? I don’t have a problem with that.

Fandango v Wade Barrett

The voters on the WWE app (I miss the app so much) made The Miz the Special Guest Referee for the match. Not surprisingly, since the other options were Announcer and Commentator. Fandango won this short match. It was short, but developed their little triangle some more. Barrett pushed The Miz when he had tried to get between the two of them, so Miz hit him with the Skullcrushing Finale. After counting the win for Fandango, he kicked him in the head and counted his shoulders down as Summer Rae fell on top of him. This was entertaining, and I’m excited to see where all of this will go.

Short Michaels gave John Cena a short pep talk backstage. I guess he was there for the Bret Hart Appreciation Night. It would have been cool to see those two together.

The Great Khali & Tons of Funk v 3MB

This match didn’t make me angry because it was so short, so it didn’t really cost any good wrestlers a spot. This match-up was just so shit that it can’t be bad, it’s just funny. After the Match Khali tried to sing Happy Birthday to Canada’s own Natalya. Wouldn’t this have been a better job for Bret?

Chris Jericho invited Paul Heyman onto his Highlight Reel. Heyman took credit for handing Chris his first big break in the business, cutting him off before he had the chance to try and par him off. Y2J just responded with “You still owe me money” – Nice. Heyman just proceeded to put over Curtis Axel again, before Jericho brought him back to the topic of his other client CM Punk. Paul said there will be an announcement within the next few weeks on Raw involving Punk and himself. Jericho suggested that he and Punk face each other at Payback and Heyman accepted on Punk’s behalf. This was a great promo all round and set up another match for the next show. Heyman’s work was as consistently great as ever. The crowd didn’t seem that into this segment, and I have no idea why. Great work!

Kaitlin & Natalya v The Bella Twins

I skipped this match because even the thought of it bored me, sorry. I did pause half way through just because Kaitlin’s outfit caught my eye, but I quickly continued skipping. Very nice outfit though, very nice.

Bret Hart tried to give another motivational speech, this time to Curtis Axel. He told him not to trust Paul Heyman, just like everyone else does. He jumps to Heyman’s defence and tells Bret not to think he knows him, just because he knew his father Mr. Perfect.

There was a great promo vignette played for the Wyatt Family from NXT. They will soon be joining the Raw roster, which is amazing news. They are a fantastic stable and should make brilliant additions to the show. Now Husky Harris can join Ryback and Curtis Axel on the list of repackaged Nexus stars at the top on Raw.

Celtic Vipers v Rhodes Scholars

I skipped the Divas match, but not this one. Where is the logic in that? This match could have been a classic, but I’d never have known. I barely paid attention, and this wasn’t at 3am, this was at around 3pm today when I caught up on the show. Everything involving Orton and Sheamus just makes me want to turn off immediately. There was an awesome sign in the crowd which caught my attention far more than the action in the ring. It said “You are a heel. Boo!’ Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick on Sandow for the win, in what was a decent enough match from what I noticed.


Cena hitting one of few moves on Curtis Axel – Source:

John Cena v Curtis Axel

The guy with the awesome sign from before must have been a bit of a maverick because he broke out an equally awesome one to greet Cena after his entrance. It said “You are a face. Yay!” Curtis Axel came to the ring and dominated most of the offense of this match. I guess we were all waiting for the classic Super-Cena comeback. The crowd were looking away from the ring behind them for half of the match. I have no idea what they were looking at, but that didn’t help things at all. I thought it was The Shield at first, but they just carried on and they were cheering at something – but it wasn’t this match. The cameraman kept switching to close-up angles so we wouldn’t notice – lame.

Axel shone throughout the match, hitting some great moves. He was even rocking the old school Fist Drop, which was crazy. Shades of Jerry Lawler. Cena could learn a thing or two from this rookie. He could certainly learn how to properly execute a fisherman hook suplex from him. I learned that much from this match. The ambulance then came out and Cena approached it, only to be attacked by Ryback from behind, like an idiot. After the little almost-fracas from those two, Curtis Axel celebrated his second straight win against a 13 time World Champion, in the ring.

What a solid edition of Raw. Two great title matches. Two excellent matches booked for Payback. Lots of development, lots of great wrestling and lots of brilliant promos. Even a couple of surprise appearances. What more could you really ask for? It wasn’t the best episode I’ve ever seen, but it was very, very good.

Chameleon Zombie Film Festival

Columbus-The-Zombies-zombieland-20358616-1280-1024Colombus trying to survive in Zombieland – Source:

Some of you may know, I’m a huge fan of zombie films. For the last five years I’ve attended the Leeds Annual Zombie Film Festival. It’s an all day marathon of zombie movies, hosted by Paddy and Marlon from Emmerdale. What’s not to like? Sadly this year I had to miss it, so I thought I’d do my own. That’s what happened yesterday. We transformed our lounge into some kind of huge bean bag with air beds, sofas, sleeping bags and duvets. The place was overwhelmed with snacks and fast food. A real all day movie marathon! So I’m gonna write a short review of around one hundred words for each movie I put on the running list, explaining why I chose it.

Braindead This little gem comes from none other than New Zealand’s own blockbuster Director Peter Jackson. It’s a pleasingly dark comedy (or at least that’s how I see it) telling the story of a young man trying to cover up the fact that his mother has turned zombie. When she infects other locals, he continues the charade of keeping up appearances. It’s an old fashioned, whimsical slapstick adventure of one man trying to hold everything together as it inevitably erupts around him. All of this drama entwined with a love interest. What more could you ask for?

Zombieland I posed the question on the Facebook group asking for suggestions on what to show. This was one of the three choices I got from that. The verdict was almost unanimously in favour of this being shown. It’s a favourite for all zombie lovers. Jesse Eisenburg does a splendid job charming us with his vulnerability as one quarter of an unlikely faction driving across post-apocalyptic America, each in search of something. In Zombieland, you can expect excitement, laughter and some truly likeable characters. You can also find a shit load of zombies, and awesome zombie kills.

28 Days Later Next up was the British classic. One of my favourite zombie movies of all time. I think a lot of people share that sentiment for this action packed thrill ride. Everything from the acting quality to the musical score is sublime. The tension, the fear and the ruthlessness of a world left behind is illustrated explicitly by its cast. Cillian Murphy’s performance is particularly excellent. Waking up in an empty hospital and walking outside to find the whole of London deserted is the tip of the iceberg for his character, on a journey of survival which took zombie movies to a whole new level.

Fido Probably one of my Top 3 all time favourite zombie movies is a little known jewel called Fido. It’s set in an alternate universe that looks a lot like the suburbs of 1950’s America, only it’s not post WW2, it’s post ‘Zombie War’ – When a virus took over the human race turning them into flesh eating cannibals, corporation Zomcon offered a neck brace which completely dulls the killer instinct, and makes the zombie equal to a household pet, or as it turned out, house slave. Fido is an idealistic story exploring the bond between a young boy and his pet zombie. Billy Connolly gives a great performance, albeit for a role with zero words. Think Beethoven, but zombies. [CHECK THIS OUT!]

fidoBilly Connolly as Fido – Source:

Virus Undead Okay, so this one probably won’t be one hundred words. This was the unknown selection. I used the Facebook group and Google to identify a movie which none of the twelve people coming had ever seen before. With the 3.5 IMDB rating, we knew this could have gone either way. It didn’t go down well. It was a borefest. We all spent most of the time trying to work out if the movie was over-dubbed or not. I can’t even explain the plot to you. I wouldn’t recommend watching this movie. We switched it off around half an hour before the end, and skipped to something much better.

La Horde The final movie of the marathon, as it turned out. I’ve only ever seen this French masterpiece once, at the Leeds Zombie Fest a few years ago. It’s an adrenaline packed roller-coaster ride. A bunch of cops head into a notoriously rough tower block to take down a gang of criminals, when they are pitted together in the astounding event of a zombie apocalypse. Facing hordes of the undead, the dynamic of the group changes. They unite. They break. All of the tension, paranoia and emotional turmoil is offset by the likelihood of impending doom for these people caught between a rock and a zombie. [CHECK THIS OUT]

We were planning to end the night with Shaun of the Dead, but I decided to allow a vote. We could watch the movie we have all seen a million times and take the edge off of the zombie packed fear session we had been on all day. Or, we could watch VHS and end the night on a thrill. I know it’s not a zombie film but I’ve been wanting to show it to some other people for a while, so we banged it on. It seemed to end the night quite well. I was falling asleep half way through it though. It takes it out of you watching zombie films all day.

All in all it was a great day. I’d be happy to do it again, maybe with some more comfortable seating. The whole day was a load of fun, and I hope some people went away having seen some great movies they hadn’t seen before. That’s all you can ask for I guess. Hopefully we can do another themed movie marathon soon. Also, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and maybe you feel like checking out some of the movies I’ve mentioned. Well you can go ahead and do that over on Google. I’m not your slave.

Thanks for reading.

A very solid Smackdown, indeed

sandowDamien Sandow and Sheamus playing with knots – Source:

I’m watching Smackdown from last night right now on my Sky Plus. I’ve decided to go another different route by writing a post completely spontaneously. I’ll type every time I see something of note that I have something to say about. This may be pretty short. It is Smackdown after all. There won’t be any time for reflection with this post. It will just be a train wreck of a ramble, with very little time for co-ordination. This may come out a little unprofessional and one sided. I like the bad guys. This may be a little indecipherable at times and my changing between tense will probably be rampant, so my apologies in advance for that. I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts on the show. Anyway, here goes…

So the opening vignette did a good job of putting over Raw, but not a lot else. I am excited that I may get to see Curtis Axel again though, and The Shield. Opening segment of the show is Miz TV. He just announced Fandango as his first guest. Summer Rae is an absolute goddess! The Miz just called the ballroom supremo a narcissist. Really? My boy Wade Barrett is here to get involved. He is making his presence known on the mic. A fracas has occurred. The Miz cashed in his Intercontinental Title rematch, and that match is starting now. Fandango has jumped on commentary. A very good opening segment.

Wade Barrett (c) v The Miz (for the Intercontinental Championship) Fandango is doing an amazing job on commentary with his deep raspy tones. He has now proceeded to repeat his dancing outside the ring during matches routine. He then attacks The Miz ending the match with a DQ. Wade keeps the title, and the rematch was a waste. Barrett then helped Fandango with the beat down, before hitting him with the bull hammer elbow. He seems to be in a sort of tweener position at the moment. Decent match though and a great period of the show overall.

Daniel Bryan and Kane just had another generic “I’m not the weak link” conversation backstage, and now they are coming out for a match. Bryan is taking on Jack Swagger in a single’s match.

Daniel Bryan v Jack Swagger Good technical match. Not overly long but solid. You can expect that every time Bryan gets in the ring. He picks up the win with the No Lock, and goes back and puts it on him again after the bell rings. The signs of the heel turn are already showing. I would expect something more concrete on that in coming weeks. Smackdown has been very cool so far though, or maybe I’m just really high?

danielbryanDaniel Bryan applying the No Lock – Source:

So, moving forward. Constant reminders of Raw, and now a rebound of the Ryback promo from Monday. The beauty of Sky Plus is that I can fast forward this. And we’re back. Damien Sandow is in the ring with a very nice looking desk. This looks like a good thing. Silence! He is getting cheap heat by insulting the crowds intelligence. Vintage Sandow! He is now roasting Matt Striker for letting down the Substitute Teachers of America Association with his inability to untie a very complicated looking knot. Oh, Sheamus is here. Yay…

Josh Matthews seems to be clearly turning heel now, and that’s kinda cool. Sheamus is attempting to untie the crazy knot. Now, Sandow himself steps forward to take care of some serious knot business, by pulling out a pair of pliers. Just like Alexander The Great, he broke the Gordian Knot. He is now hoisting it above his head proudly like a Championship belt. Sheamus is probably gonna do something lame like start a fight. Who wants to see that while watching a wrestling show? And as I just predicted, he just tried to “resort to brute force” when “he couldn’t meet the mental challenge” or that’s how Sandow puts it anyway. I concur. He tried to Brogue Kick him but Sandow nipped out under the ropes just in time, like a total boss. Sheamus just threw Striker at him through the ropes, and talked about Isaac Newton. That was a pretty great segment considering, and this post isn’t going to be anywhere near as short as I expected. If you’re still reading, thanks for hanging in there. Keep on powering through.

Big Show v Chris Jericho The former team mates of Jeri-Show are here to battle it out. I’m finding it hard to focus on this match. I’ll be honest. It’s just an irrelevance. I love Y2J but I’m just getting easily distracted. Big Show is outside the ring and is about to be counted out. Yeah, Jericho picks up the win.

So, this is interesting. I just skipped a fifteen minute Raw Rebound which focused on the Curtis Axel and Triple H situation. Crazy waste of Smackdown time. Classic B show mentality. Some good news. Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel are actually out here on Smackdown. This I do want to see. I love the new Heyman guy’s beard. Paul is majorly putting over his own successes as a manager. I can’t argue with his credentials. Axel is now able to come out and brag about having made Hunter have a bad turn on Raw now too. That’s a great way for him to get some heat and some credibility. Good promo on the whole from both guys. And now it’s time for his second ever match (in this new character) against Mr. Botchamania Sin Cara.

Curtis Axel v Sin Cara One thing I have missed about Sin Cara is his awesome ring lighting. It’s good to see that again. This should be a decent match, as long as Sin Cara doesn’t try too much. It was okay. I got distracted pretty easily, but I’m looking forward to seeing more from this guy. He picked up the win. He is undefeated after two matches now.

Dean Ambrose (c) v Kofi Kingston (for the United States Championship) This has been quite the Smackdown. Two title rematch clauses used in one night. It’s always good to hear that amazing Shield music. The two of them head back and let Dean do his thing again. Just like at Extreme Rules, he doesn’t need them to help him go over the King of the Mid Card. Maybe not. They came out and helped beat down Kofi in a three on one assault. Another DQ ending to a rematch. Sheamus and Randy Orton came out to help and got huge pops from the crowd to be fair. Tag Team Teddy just came out and shocked the world by booking a six man tag team match.


The Teddy Long Thought Process – Source:

The Shield v Randy Orton, Sheamus & Kofi Kingston So this appears to be the impromptu main event of what I have to say, has been a good episode of Smackdown. Granted the match is classic boring Teddy, but I’m actually always happy to see The Shield in a six man tag team match. They can make it interesting, whoever they are in there with. It’s been as solid as usual so far, but nothing particularly spectacular. The Viper just hit a very good, high impact Superplex. That’s given the match some real energy as Orton and Rollins reach for the tag.

Sheamus bursts in and takes out everyone. Are The Shield gonna be pinned for the first time since their arrival in WWE? Sheamus is completely clearing house at every opportunity. He just had Ambrose up for White Noise but Reigns takes him out with the spear, only to take the RKO from Orton after rolling outside under the bottom rope. Kofi Kingston is right in the action now, hitting a few pretty cool moves. However, in the end he does the job for Ambrose and The Shield keep getting over. The crowd are reacting pretty loudly. They have been very decent for Smackdown.

So it’s been fun making passing notes on the show. You can probably tell how I feel about it, by what I’ve said as it’s gone on. Just to confirm, I have to give the show a thumbs up. Some really good matches, title matches, great promos and just all round quality content. I’d give it an 8/10 by modern day Smackdown standards. I hope you enjoyed reading along with me on my journey, and stay tuned for more wrestling rambles. Thanks.

The Unfair Dismissal of Roberto Mancini

roberto-mancini-shared-photo-1311560559Roberto Mancini – Source:

It seems like forever since Roberto Mancini was dismissed of his role as manager of Manchester City. I’ve given it some time to let it settle in before offering my comment. I’m sure you don’t even need me to continue typing, to know that I’m not best pleased by the news. As an avid Man City fan of around fifteen years, I’m very disappointed to have lost the man who finally delivered something I genuinely didn’t think I’d live to see, a major trophy success. Not one, but two. He was sacked within a year of winning the Premier League title, much to the obvious dismay of most supporters.

I don’t really see his dismissal as a fair one. People can talk about the money that’s spent and describe the expectations as acceptable, but they are simply not. To deliver two major trophies in three years is a success, and one that shouldn’t be greeted by a p45. What is the world of football management coming to? It’s been this way for years at clubs like Chelsea and Real Madrid, but I was actually naive enough to think we were different. The man had a 59% win percentage in all competitions over his time spent with us. That, along with the gold he delivered, is a good performance in my opinion.

Not only was he successful, but he was beloved. He shared a genuine connection with the fans. He was openly embraced and his loss was taken with deep regret. You could still hear the raucous crowds chant his name in the final games, after his departure. I expect that to go on into the start of next season, but sadly it won’t last forever. We will all be forced to move on eventually, but many of us just aren’t ready to do that yet. The man returned the favour with a fine gesture of respect. He took out an ad space in the Manchester Evening News, expressing his love and gratitude for the support of us City fans. That touched the heart, and it won’t be forgotten for a long time, at least by me. It’s unheard of for a manager to go out of his way to do that, after being ruthlessly sacked by the clubs misled hierarchy.

Roberto ManciniMancini’s newspaper ad – Source:

We have had our fair share of managers since returning to the top flight around ten years ago, but it appears that we have joined the ranks of Chelsea, Madrid and Milan in taking things to an unprecedented level. The managerial merry-go-round is something that all football fans have had to become accustomed to, but some clubs take it to the extreme. We are now one of them. That doesn’t fill me with confidence for the future, and it certainly doesn’t scream sustainability or stability. Now that Everton and Manchester United have seen their long serving managers resign, I expect them to join in. Behind Wenger at Arsenal, Alan Pardew has become the second longest serving manager in the league, having been there for two or three years. That is just ridiculous and not at all healthy for the performance and harmony of those teams. Clubs like Chelsea have shown that you can buy trophies with a revolving door of managers and players, but you can’t buy consistency and stability this way.

So now that we have lost the manager who took us from the grasp of Mark Hughes (who could well have made us another QPR or Blackburn) and solidified us, gave us credibility and and most importantly, made us identifiable, what does the future hold for us? Apparently Manuel Pellegrini is set to become his replacement. A man who (granted) did well to make Malaga punch above their weight, and had a decent run at Real Madrid (who couldn’t?) – is this the answer? No. The guys at the top openly admit that they don’t want to follow the example of United and Fergie? This is the kind of mindless bullshit that they aren’t even afraid to say. They don’t want to follow a model of stability that has led to United becoming the most dominant dynasty in the history of English football? That just shows the kind of morons we are dealing with. Am I excited about the prospect of Pellegrini? Not one bit. I expect a decline in performance and in results.

Manuel-Pellegrini-1886696Manuel Pellegrini – Source:

I have to try and get over this and stay supportive of my club, but sometimes you just want to throw in the towel, and say “Fuck it!” and stop bothering to follow. I guess we will see how we feel come season starting time, but right now I’m not at all interested in proceedings. I have a bad taste in my mouth, and a chip on my shoulder. I’m not hoping Pellegrini fails, but I’m not getting behind him a whole lot either. When the fans make it so abundantly clear that they don’t want to lose someone, and the board shows just how little they value their opinions, it makes it hard to identify themselves with the club. That’s the struggle I’m going through at the moment.

Not enough hours in the day (Circa. May 2013)

Procrastination1To Do List – Source:

So I’ve been looking through a lot of old posts lately. It’s always interesting and usually funny to look back. I’ve written more than 80 of these things in the last five months. Many of them are about wrestling. Some of them are about football. Very few are personal rants or discussions. You may be surprised to know that if you look back to January, there were quite a few of these personal ones. I guess that was what I started out wanting to write about. It didn’t take long for me to realise that posting about yourself all the time is lame and boring. I enjoy writing about wrestling more, and surely people enjoy reading that more.

However, with my recent decrease in views, who knows what people want to read about? I’ve actually had several people tell me in person that they enjoyed my opinionated rants and quibbles about my life. I figured I’d take a look back at my second ever post, and my first real post that wasn’t just an introduction. I spoke a lot in this post about my job, my projects, the stress and everything that goes with it. I’m going to look through this thing and do a little update. It should be interesting to see how things have changed, or not. I’ll be coming up with this off hand, so I’ll be philosophising about this stuff, as you read it. How groovy?

The job: So the first paragraph talks a lot about my job. How do I feel about my job right now? Well In between that post and this, I had a couple of months off work after I went through a kind of mental breakdown. I was so sick of the transport that I literally just couldn’t go on. I then started doing three days a week to work around the phototherapy I was receiving at the hospital. Since then, I’ve continued the 3/7 day shift pattern. It’s much more manageable emotionally. I have tonnes more time to work on the things that really drive me, like this blog.

I still get to see my work friends. I earn just enough money to get by. I don’t have to spend the majority of my waking hours travelling to or being at work. That’s a good thing. I’d say my current employment situation is as good as it can be right now. I’d rather earn less money and be less depressed, than the other way around. Hopefully one day I can get a job where I can work five days a week but not rage out all the time. A lot of that has to do with proximity to Birmingham, something which will also hopefully be changing soon.

The projects: Okay, so I mentioned here the contributions to the label. Since this point I have done a lot of work for Chameleon Recordings. I’ve fully written and created two artist portfolios for artists on the label, I’ve written a few reviews on releases from the label and I went on tour for two weeks with one of the artists to generally provide assistance, and also film the entire trip for a tour video. I am actively and regularly involved in the editing process for that video. There will be episodes of this posted on here, very soon. So be sure to hit FOLLOW at the top of the page. The documentary on northern soul fell dead sadly. However, I’m writing an extended feature on the movement for Fused Magazine, which should be available in a month or so.

I am no closer to learning blues piano. My musical dreams change every week. The reason I don’t make any progress with them is because I keep to my important role of not wasting my time putting effort into something that will eventually disappoint. Making music ultimately ends up depressing me. Listening and critiquing, yes. Making, no, never again. FA coaching badges? I don’t even know where to start. The amount of hilarious brainwaves I have every week is horrendous. Almost all of them fall into the depths of my memory. If work didn’t exist, I’d have all the time in the world to attempt some of these, but I probably still wouldn’t. I would procrastinate.

Spanish is something I’ve played with on and off for five years. I don’t think I’ll ever be fluent or even close. I don’t dedicate myself enough. I’m all talk and not enough study. This could perhaps be because of the 18 or so consecutive years of institutional education. Contributing to a magazine? Yes. That’s something I do, do. I contribute to Area Culture Guide and Fused Magazine and have been published in those publications. I work on the Birmingham 2022 project, contributing written work in the form of articles, features and even poetry.

Writing a screenplay? Another dream like the millions of others I have every year. I don’t even fully follow through on the realistic ones, so coaching badges and screenplays are beyond a long shot. I haven’t even started learning to drive. I should have stuck to it when I had lessons when I was 17. That was probably my last chance. If you drive, you either live with your parents, or you’re/they’re rich. Paying rent and bills on three days a week is hard enough. Even I’m not thrifty enough to afford driving too.

Self Criticism: At the end here, I just quickly talk about procrastination, dreaming aloud and putting forward your own shortcomings. Well here are some more for you to see. It’s good to criticise yourself and take a look at what you’re doing, because it helps you remain focused and driven, or so they say. I doubt that by pointing out how little I stick to anything, and absorbing that information, I will somehow be able to move forward and achieve all the stupid, impossible goals I set myself. The goals aren’t impossible to all. You do just need drive and passion. You also need time. I don’t have enough of either still. I’m doing my best with the time I do have, but I don’t think it’s near enough.

To sum up, it’s good to look back on how you felt several months before. It’s good to take a look at your former goals and see how close you are to accomplishing them. Hopefully I’ll be able to tick off a few more of these before I get to my bucket list, which will probably be when I’m 30.


Why Paul Scholes was the pick of the retiring bunch

Paul_Scholes_vs_Man_CityPaul Scholes – Source:

It’s hard for me, as a very partisan football fan and avid hater of all things Manchester United, to give credit where it is due. But one man has always been capable of extracting such emotion from me, and that man is Paul Scholes. Along with Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel, he is among the hand full of United players who I think aren’t overrated. In light of his retirement at the end of this season, I’ve been inspired to offer a few words on why I feel he deserves the recognition he has received, and probably more.

All the talk over the last few weeks has been about the retirement of Satan himself Sir Alex Ferguson. Yes, this was big news. But there have been a host of big name English players who have also decided to call it a day this year. They are Micheal Owen, David Beckham, Jamie Carragher and Paul Scholes. Each of them have achieved success in varying levels. They have all represented their country and clubs with pride. But who achieved the most success, and who was the best player of the four? The BBC asked people for their thoughts online, and some of the responses were so ridiculous, they fuelled me to write this post. I’m gonna take a look at the four myself, and let you know why Paul Scholes was by far the best.

Michael Owen

I’ve never been a big fan of this guy. He had a very impressive opening chapter to his career. He possessed pace, guile and finishing ability. His success while playing for Liverpool was unquestionable, and helped him carve a reputation for himself on the international scene. However, since those early days, the player has been plagued by injury. His spells with Real Madrid, Newcastle United and Manchester United were forgettable. But his choice to end his career with a meaningless pay-day at Stoke City questions the very character of the man.

He hasn’t been at the top of his game for a long, long time and instead of finishing on top (like Paul Scholes), he chose the undignified route of not knowing when to admit that injury beat him. He was a good, quick forward in his early spell, but even then he was a little overrated, and pumped up merely for a couple of particular memories (like the goal against Argentina) – In his later years, he has fully shaken off any gloss of a top player, and now is just a shell. This was a retirement long overdue, and not because of age.

David Beckham

Chris Waddle had the cheek to suggest that Becks wouldn’t make it into his top 1,000 Premier League players. This interview must have been as hilarious as Bret Hart’s shoot on Triple H for Wrestle Talk TV. An irrelevant man who never really made it poking at a seasoned veteran because of his own pathetic jealousy. David Beckham is one of those guys. He has looks, money and talent, and so is hated. He scored some of the most impressive and most important goals in Premier League history, not to mention on the international stage. His dedication to fitness and technique are unquestioned. As a set piece taker, he laid the groundwork for people like Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to follow in his footsteps. A true great!

Unlike Owen, he had a largely successful stint at Real Madrid, and then went on to take his global brand to experience football in Los Angeles, Milan and Paris, where he won championships galore. His number of trophies and individual accolades are as impressive as most other top stars. The big difference about him is that he has a lot of extra-curricular responsibilities aside from the game. When Micheal Owen will be lucky to get a spot covering the game on Sky Sports, Becks will be jetting around the globe spreading the gospel of football, while being adored by millions. You can see why he is the subject of a lot of envy from a lot of people.

I would advise people to just take a step back and look at the facts. The man would die to represent England, and is the most capped outfield player in history. His exclusion from the Olympic squad was an abomination after he secured the games for London almost single-handedly, with his popularity. His long range shooting, range of passing and phenomenal crossing ability made him the star he is. His determination and work ethic helped keep him there. No matter how much jaded people like Chris Waddle would like to believe otherwise, those are the facts.

Jamie Carragher

There isn’t too much to say about Jamie. He can be summed up in a few words: loyal, dedicated and hard working. As a strong, physical centre back he played a most vital role for Liverpool over a career spanning almost two decades . He stayed loyal to his club all the way through, and now his son is in the kids team. He is red through and through, and the perfect example of what you want in the heart of your defence. Unlike Owen, he spent his whole career with one club, which is very rare these days. He produced some game changing performances when his team really needed it, and even towards the end of this season, he had re-established himself in the starting line-up at Liverpool. He will be sorely missed by the Kop faithful, and held in much higher regard there than the likes of Michael Owen (Man, I really do hate this guy, don’t I?)

zinedineRonaldinhoZinedine Zidane and Ronaldinho – Source:

Paul Scholes

Now for the man who inspired me to write this post in the first place. I have already laid out some of the reasons why I rate this guy so much, but why listen to me? In my opinion, the best footballer of all time was Zinedine Zidane. What did he think? The French dynamo described him as “the complete midfielder” Dutch legend Edgar Davids said “Every one of us should emulate him” and even Xavi Hernandez of Barcelona and Spain declared that “Paul Scholes is a role model. For me – and I really mean this – he’s the best central midfielder I’ve seen in the last 15, 20 years”

Some of the best players to have ever played the game, and who have been lucky enough to share the pitch with Scholes have heaped praise on him at every given opportunity. His cultured style screams Spain or Brazil, more than it does England. We were very lucky to have him, and I could even admire his brilliance when he was playing for United. When it comes to choosing between this illustrious group of 2013 retiring stars, it’s an easy choice. Paul Scholes has been one of the best players I’ve seen in my life, and it really is a shame to see him gone. He wasn’t a media icon like Beckham. He was and still is just a normal guy, who wants to stay out of the spotlight and work on the game he loves. I hope we see him do that in a coaching role soon, preferably away from Old Trafford.

The latest edition to the Monday Night Raw roster

curtisaxelPaul Heyman introduces Curtis Axel – Source:

So I’m going to try something different today. Last night I sat down and watched Raw with a notepad and a pen. I made a note of everything ‘noteworthy’ and I’ve decided to post this here. You can read what I thought as I thought it, and decide whether or not it was a good show.

The opening segment was Ryback cutting a promo on top of an ambulance. He got excellent heel heat by crapping all over the audience, calling them “pathetic” and “weak” and did an all round good job of putting himself over. I know he isn’t CM Punk, but I do think the guy deserves a little more credit than he gets. He isn’t just a big meat head. I think he has a decent understanding of how to cut a good promo, and he is improving all the time. This was some pretty solid mic work overall. ‘The’ Ryback proposed an ambulance match between him and Cena at the upcoming PPV Payback. I think this seems like a good logical next step.

The first actual match of the show was a tag team match: Chris Jericho and The Miz v Fandango and Wade Barrett. It was good to see all of these guys in action together. Our Wade seems to have been off TV far too much recently, and all of these guys could do with a spot on Raw every week really. Quite fascinatingly, Fandango left Wade Barrett to compete two-on-one while he danced next to the announce table with Summer Rae. He then fled through the crowd when Jericho and Miz left the ring to come get him, after pinning Barrett for the victory. This hints at a possible switch away from Jericho v Fandango III towards something with Barrett. Perhaps a face turn for Wade?

A backstage segment with Kane and Daniel Bryan set the wheels in motion for Team Hell No’s demise. The two of them have already started bickering about who is the weak link in the team, having lost the title. However, Kane mentioned the fact that they do have a rematch clause, so it may not be as soon as I originally thought. The friction between the two of them will surely come to the fore after they have lost that rematch.

Sheamus and Titus O’ Neill had a surprisingly good match. I expected literally nothing from this. It’s just an irrelevant, thrown together borefest between two guys who rarely excite me these days. Nonetheless, they had a fairly long match and thanks to Sheamus’ willingness to sell his opponent’s moves, Titus came out of this one looking a lot better than he did going in. Sheamus obviously had to pick up the win though.

Paul Heyman made his big announcement in the ring on who his latest client would be. He introduced to the world: Curtis Axel. He put the guy over like an absolute God. By the end of this promo you felt like you were looking at the new Ric Flair. He mentioned his third generation status and his father Mr. Perfect Curt Henning. He warned the rest of the roster. Triple H then came out and booked a match between the two of them for the main event. This whole thing was incredible in every way. There really isn’t a better way they could debut the man in this character. I have very high hopes for this one.

axeltriplehTriple H and Curtis Axel face off – Source:

Big E Langston impressively beat multiple time former champion Alberto Del Rio. It was an albeit cheap way to knock off the Mexican superstar, by poking him in the eye to set him up for his power finisher, but it was impressive nonetheless.

AJ Lee and Layla had a match that didn’t go for an overly long time, but was very solid indeed. By recent Divas standards, this was a classic. There was a lot of good selling, great athleticism, and intensity. AJ won the match with her new crazy submisson move. Very impressive!

Zack Ryder got a little bit more TV time than usual, but not in the way he would have hoped. He was demolished and ambulanced by Ryback, after his match with Cody Rhodes.

The Shield came to the ring and cut an effective promo, bigging themselves up for their performance at Extreme Rules. They of course brought their gold along with them! They then defeated Team Hell No and Kofi Kingston in a decent six man tag team match. The Shield got the win and will keep going strong.

Randy Orton won the poll on the WWE app to get the right to face Jack Swagger in an irrelevent contest. He beat off some not so stiff competition from The Great Khali and R-Truth to win by a landslide. Coming out to another heroes welcome in his home state of Missouri, Orton won a very hard fought contest against one of the most underrated guys on the roster. Just like his match against Big Show, I expected nothing, and was pleasantly surprised to see a good entertaining match. Jack Swagger is jobbing far too much though, and it’s really worrying.



Randy Orton and Jack Swagger – Source:

Triple H and Curtis Axel competed in a main event that I never expected to see. It was good to see the epic Triple H entrance again, having had it cut short last night. I’m not feeling Axel’s theme music though, but it’s not the worst first I’ve ever heard. Hunter competed in his first match on Raw for three years. Axel’s tactical strategy was to focus on the jaw for a lot of the match. Triple H ended up forfeiting the match when he wasn’t allowed to continue by the ringside crew. He was stumbling around like a crazy drunk as the show went off the air. A strange, but interesting ending to the night. Axel didn’t job in his debut match, and it was against one of the best of all time. So, not a bad start at all.

Who knows where all of this will go next week? One thing is for sure, I’ll be watching to find out! I was more than pleased with this week’s episode, coming off the back of an excellent pay-per-view. I’m fairly excited about Payback already, so that’s a good sign. What did you think of last night’s show? Why not go ahead and leave a comment?