WWE: Was this year’s show the most memorable Wrestlemania! of all time?

austinhulkSource: World Wrestling Entertainment

http://www.geek-pride.co.uk/wwe-was-this-years-show-the-most-memorable-wrestlemania-of-all-time/

This is my fifth article for Geek Pride, taking a look at the success, failure and controversy of this year’s Showcase of the Immortals. Take a look and leave a comment!

Craig

The Wrestling Review Corner: The Rise and Fall of ECW [DOC]

funkbarbedTerry Funk meticulously checking the ropes – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Thanks for checking out another wrestling review. We have another documentary, and another rise and fall. This is an absolute classic and probably the best of all time. I watched it again recently, for like the tenth time. It’s essential viewing for anyone who I used to love the old ECW, and for any wrestling fan in general really. Let’s take a look at a few key elements that set this apart from the rest.

The high quality level of filmmaking that you come to expect from WWE is once again present here. This was one of the first documentaries of it’s kind made by the company, and definitely set a high standard for those that followed. They typically utilize the vast video library at their disposal to chronicle the company’s greatest moments. The movie does of course show how the company came to an end, but it focuses heavily on the accomplishments and the high points, I think rightly so in this case. The downfall of WCW was a little sour and full of politics. That kind of sensation isn’t really prevalent here.

Like with most of these things, the film relies mostly on the comments of some excellent interviewees. They get the thoughts of everyone who was anyone in the company, or in the business, at that time. The likes of Paul Heyman, Tazz and Tommy Dreamer paint the picture perfectly. The snippets of classic matches, promos and moments help you see first hand what the evolution of hardcore really looked like. You see the brutal, the intense and the emotional. You see Mick Foley and Steve Austin come into their own and show off the skills that later took them to the main events in WWE, and you see Terry Funk give the fledgling company credibility. No major milestone is unturned.

Unlike films on other promotions, the company never comes across as a melting pot of egos and politics. It is always portrayed as humble in rebellion, and fearlessly alternative. Rather than try to destroy WWF by producing a very similar style of product and using backers money to poach most of their roster, ECW created a product unlike any other in the world, with a fanbase built on ferociously partisan support. This film really puts that across, while avoiding the temptation to become a sickly lovefest.

I don’t ever tire of watching this, and I don’t think this will be the last time. I love to relieve the history of ECW. It’s a product I loved and I know a lot of other people did. It had a huge impact on the business, and definitely deserves to be recognized.

Thanks for reading, and share with me some of your favourite ECW moments in the comment box below. If you’ve seen the film, let me know what you think of that too.

Craig [Editor]

Neutral Dave on Classic Wrestling: Undertaker v Steve Austin

fullyloadedAn historic battle for power – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

So I had a new idea for a feature. I have a friend who didn’t really watch wrestling so much as a kid, doesn’t watch it religiously now, but has a genuine interest. I thought it would be really cool to see wrestling through the eyes of an adult being properly introduced to it. I sent Dave a video of the match at Fully Loaded 1999 between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker. If Austin lost, he could never compete for the title again. If Taker lost, Vince McMahon could no longer appear on WWF television. This is one of my favourite matches from the beloved Attitude Era. Let’s see what my newest correspondent made of it.
Craig


Stone Cold Steve Austin(c) v The Undertaker (First Blood Match for the WWF Championship)

The thing with getting into wrestling (as with all long running shows, or even sports) is that there are worries about how vast a body of material there is and where to start. Therefore, credit must be given to the makers of Fully Loaded. Through flashbacks and the commentators (who could make paint dry seem exciting) put everyone up to speed. In the minutes before the match, we understand to some extent the relationship between these two fighters and what it means to them.

Another way this is shown is through the acting of both Steve Austin and Mark Calaway. From all that I have seen wrestling is an underrated art form and I do stress that term. Wrestling is a theatre performance with the extra pressures of their being no stage exit and the fact that they have to knock the stuffing out of each other. The hatred between these two and likable bastard boss Vince McMahon was apparent.

The production must also be praised. As it is recorded live, finding the right camera shot to trick the viewer (Psycho style) that these blows have really hit with full force is paramount. While I did notice some joins, the majority are carried off really well.

One aspect of the fighting I find interesting and dramatic is the slowness of the early stages, where the combatants move slowly when they are hurting each other. I enjoy this as it shows that they are battle weary. For The Undertaker in particular, this adds to his badass persona. He is Death, he can take his time if he wants to, but he is still going to get you and fuck your shit up. This made him my favourite to win this match. I have never been a huge fan of Stone Cold, as his persona is mostly that of a redneck, which reminds me of the worst stereotypes of conservative America. I still think it is an injustice that he beat the Adonis that is The Rock. However in this situation, Austin represents the fight against the corporate exploitation that McMahon tries to get away with. So his victory is something you can still wish for. Especially with the odds against him; even one of the commentators seemed to be out to get him. You can truly invest yourself in both of these characters.

My favourite part of the match was actually after the titular first blood was drawn. Then it just seemed that Stone Cold and The Undertaker just went for each other regardless that the match was finished. The Undertaker, incredulous that this could have happened to him seemed to take this blow on his person even more personally.

Therefore it seems rather churlish to dismiss wrestling because it is all fake. I think those injuries must hurt quite a bit actually. While you know that what goes on isn’t literal reality as with any story, with well-drawn characters it feels real enough.

David Smith

Hidden Gems from Monday Night Raw: Austin v Angle (08/01/01)

austinangle

Austin, Angle and Mr. McMahon – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

I decided to write this piece on the fly, because I was so taken aback by a match I saw yesterday. I had to take some notes and do something about it. I recently acquired a collection all episodes of Monday Night Raw in 2001. I was watching the second episode (08/01/01) and enjoyed this match so much that I thought I’d write a short article about it. I may start doing these from now on, if more great matches pop up, as I’m sure they will as I go through the episodes. If you want to see some really long, in-depth reviews of classic matches, check out these by Wrestling Rambles.

To give you a little bit of background. Contrary to what the picture above suggests, Kurt Angle was in fact WWF Champion at this point, having gotten away by the skin of his teeth for the last few months. Austin earned this title shot by pinning The Undertaker on the previous episode. Ah, the days when the top belt would be defended every week. It’s a good job the stars they had were that over, because if not the pay-per-views would have sucked. Austin was still at loggerheads with the McMahon’s after years of their feuding.

The match started off with some real intense brawling, mostly dominated by Austin. The two of them eventually spilled outside and caused chaos over at the announce table, in the crowd and around the ring. Attitude Era fans, be careful not to get too excited. What surprised me was that after a good few minutes of this, it actually turned into a pretty cool wrestling match inside the ring. The two of them exchanged some beautifully executed suplexes as Austin returned to his old style and Angle continued to perfect his. Angle was particularly epic when delivering like sixty suplexes to Austin, who sold each and every one of them like the pro that he is.

The two of them worked some great traditional psychology, and told a really captivating story in the ring. For a standard Raw main event, during a period when matches would rarely go over five minutes and usually involved something outrageous or insane, this was a very good wrestling match. I shouldn’t really be so surprised though given the performers in question. Angle was a guest on The Steve Austin Show recently, and the two of them talked a lot about their work in the ring together. That’s definitely worth checking out. I would link you, but all of the podcasts have been taken off of YouTube all of a sudden.

Triple H returned to interfere at the end of the match and take out Austin causing the DQ. The two of them brawled all around the ring, before Austin was busted open and left to bleed in the end by The Game. It was a shame to see a very interesting match end with a screwy finish but it was WWE after all, and the Attitude Era no less. On the whole though, I would really recommend checking this match out. It’s not the longest, it’s not a Wrestlemania main event, but it’s a good little hidden gem.

Thanks for reading.

Craig

Warrior Poetry: Stone Cold

Thanks for your interest in another edition of Warrior Poetry, here on The Real Mid Card. If you haven’t seen the others, I’m a big wrestling fan with no real poetic ability or experience trying to mould wrestling and poetry together. Sound good? Hit Follow. Some people call him Steve Austin, I prefer Stone Cold. This is a summary of one of the greatest careers in the history of wrestling. I hope you enjoy it.

stonecoldStone Cold Steve Austin – Source: Deviant Art

Stone Cold

This warriors path really sped up in the south
But before long he was betrayed and abandoned
They weren’t smart enough to use his mouth
He didn’t have what it took to make it in the big house

In the land of extreme, he really stood out
He took on new challenges, having great bouts
Gathered many scars, took on many louts
Before you knew it, he was once again out

When he got to the real big leagues
He did begin to fulfil his dreams
The crowds came aplenty, filled stands to the seams
All to see this rattlesnake, make cowards scream

He carried a target and gained many an enemy
Degenerates, boxers and even a great one
He had his share of blood and frenzy
The once young warrior, a man he had become

The people’s hero turned to the dark side
Rejoined old faces, gave new friends the heel
But soon he was back to fighting for pride
An honourable ending, for the biggest of deals

What must a retired warrior indeed become?
Entertainer to millions, fading legend to some
Never forgotten, they long for his return
A young Punk’s growing dream, perhaps to burn

Craig

I hope you enjoyed the poem. There will be plenty more to come. Give a comment to let me know what you think and make any suggestions for superstars to write about! That would be really cool. If you want to read more, and get daily wrestling updates, hit ‘Follow’ – Thanks for all of your support :)

The Steve Austin Show

scsaStone Cold Steve Austin – Source: Deviant Art

I wanna talk a little bit today about The Steve Austin Show. If you don’t already know about it, you need to check it out. It’s an audio podcast series hosted by Steve. It’s mainly interviews with legends of the business, and some of the star guests on the show thus far have been pretty great. He uploads all the videos to YouTube, and they are getting low thousands, and in some cases only hundreds of views. How does something with the words Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels/Jim Ross/Kurt Angle in the title only attract such a small buzz?

The episodes are about an hour and a half in length. There are some issues with the show, which I will go into, but for the most part it’s a great show. The crazy thing is that so little people have given it a click and checked it out. There are some really annoying adverts on the show every half an hour or so, and the excuses for them are slightly sickly, but at the end of the day, it’s Stone Cold chatting with another one of your heroes for over an hour. That’s worth a couple of minutes of shameless plugging. Anyway, I’m going to try and look at the pros and cons of the show, and explain why I like to watch/listen to it on YouTube. I will try not to do a shameless sell job for the show, I promise.

The Pros:

Steve Austin is in it. Nuff said. The biggest drawing star in the history of the business should be a reason to give this show a chance. You get to hear him on the mic talking candidly about his career and interacting with fellow legends about their careers.

Guests are a major factor in what makes the show so good. The man has had some incredible people on the show so far, and it’s only been going for a matter of months. To name a few, he has interviewed been Terry Funk, Kevin Nash, Lance Storm and Trish Stratus

Amazing insights are what you can expect from these fellas. I guarantee you will learn a lot every time you listen to one of these podcasts. If you’re a big wrestling fan, you will always enjoy learning more about the real mechanics of the business. This show is great for that.

Funny moments make the show a blast to listen to. Some guests in particular have told some hilarious stories. The occasional humour takes the edge off of listening to ninety minutes of straight audio conversation.

The Cons:

Adverts are probably the biggest problem with the podcasts. I’m guessing a lot of people hate them, and that must be having a negative impact on views. Steve reads them out himself, which kind of makes them even worse, because it seems so worked and scripted. It kind of sounds desperate. I know I’m not a fan of them, but I think it’s worth skipping them or sitting through them for a couple of minutes, to get all of the great conversation. All of the products seem to be seedy and horrible too, like some performance enhancer bullshit. Not a fan of the adverts, but what the heck!

Rambling can sometimes be an issue. Steve himself is prone to rambling on for minutes and then by the time he opens up the floor to the guest, they tend to sound a little lost. It’s hard to criticise the guy though. He isn’t a trained journalist or an interviewer and he does the best he can. He has the charisma and experience on the mic to do a lot better than most normal guys on the street would, but he isn’t as polished as you would hope. He finds it difficult to drag the guests back around to topic, when they go off on a tangent. That’s why he often brings guests back to do another podcast, because he can’t strike a balance over a whole career in a short time, which granted, is a very difficult skill. It means you do sometimes have a whole hour where they only touch on a short period of a few years, offering perhaps too much detail on a few isolated topics or events.

Challenging is not really a word you could use to describe these interviews. One of my only qualms with them is that he doesn’t try and challenge the guests enough. It can be a little pandering at times, but as I’ve said before, it’s worth it to hear these genuinely great stories and sometimes shocking opinions. I just wish he would sometimes follow a more Off The Record with Michael Landsberg style and be more confrontational with guests about some of the things they are perhaps not so proud of. It does seem a little bit of a Boys Club at times. To interview Kevin Nash, and not even ask him to justify some of his behaviour in WCW seems a little bit biased.

Overview:

Overall I would have to say I recommend that you watch the show. You can listen to all of the podcasts on YouTube here. I would suggest you check out the ones featuring Lance Storm, Jim Ross and Kurt Angle in particular. The two part interview with Kevin Nash is also worth a real shout. I’m excited to see what other guests he has in store in for us over the coming weeks. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Mick Foley, CM Punk and Ric Flair!

If you’re a Stone Cold fan, check out the show and give me a hell yeah!

Foley & Trish: Over a decade after Invasion!

Video

I’ve been watching a lot of Attitude Era Pay-Per-Views recently, reliving my youth. I would definitely recommend this little gem. Check out the highlight video and pay particular attention to the first ever bra & panties tag-team match between Trish Stratus & Lita and Stacy Keibler & Torrie Wilson. You definitely won’t be disappointed. And do you know why? Because of the blockbuster Special Guest Referee Mick Foley, occupying the officiator role for the second time that night, after watching over the spectacular all referees match between the legendary Earl Hebner and WCW loudmouth Nick Patrick. Remember when filler/comedy matches were actually awesome?

Nights like this aren’t particularly memorable, but when you see them back and see some of the crazy, random shit these guys were doing, it’s pretty amazing. Foley and Stratus were both icons of the Attitude Era, in totally different ways. Both deserve huge credit. Both are going to be right where they belong in the 2013 Hall Of Fame. Give this highlight video a watch, and maybe even check out the full PPV if you get the chance. What is your favourite PPV? Or favourite wrestling moment?

Please leave a comment or a question. I would appreciate your views!

Loathing