WWE: Could There Be Hope For Smackdown Yet?

cesaroorton

Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

http://www.geek-pride.co.uk/wwe-could-there-be-hope-for-smackdown-yet/

Check out my second article for Geek Pride. It focuses on the possible significance of Smackdown’s recent strong showing. I hope you enjoy reading.

Craig

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What Culture: 10 Jobs You Won’t Believe That Wrestlers Once Did

steveaustin

Steve Austin went through some changes – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

You can take a look at my latest offering for What Culture by clicking the link below. It’s an interesting take on some of the more shocking jobs that professional wrestlers have done. Click away and flick away! I’m sure you will be surprised. By doing so, you will be helping an independent writer to try to make a decent living. Thank you very much!

http://whatculture.com/wwe/wwe-10-jobs-wont-believe-wrestlers.php

Thanks for reading,

Craig [Editor]

GTA5 in 500 words: The belated review

nerdMichael’s “loveable” son – Source: g3ar.co.za

That’s right. It’s time for a non-wrestling related post. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a frisky ride! It’s taken me far too long to get around to this, but as the title gives away, I’m going to try and sum up my feelings on GTA5 in exactly 500 words. Consider this a summary on what I love about it, and what I would change about it. I picked up the game around six weeks ago. I’ve completed the story mode, but haven’t done all the extra stuff to get to 100% yet. I’ll get around to it. I renewed my Live account for a month to play the online mode. That ran out yesterday and I won’t be renewing it. What did I make of them both you ask?

Well despite all the controversy about the lack of female protagonist, the story mode is excellent. I loved playing through the complex tale that is next gen Los Santos. Having three different characters makes the game-play better in ways you can only imagine, unless of course you have the game, which you probably do. All three of them are compelling and easy to root for in their own right. It’s the best storyline so far in the series in my opinion. For the record, I don’t want a female protagonist either.

The online mode is a different beast altogether. One positive for me was receiving the 500 thousand dollar in-game payment from Rockstar for all of the problems that players encountered in the early stages. Ironically, I only played once in October for an hour, and by the time I got round to giving it a real go in November, most of the server issues had been eradicated. I’m very grateful for the funds though. They helped me get a sweet apartment with a huge garage.

It’s a shame that the online mode is governed by a stupid system, in which you have to constantly grind out on races, missions and death-matches to painstakingly increase your RP. It’s by doing so that you can unlock practically everything on the game, from sniper rifles, to car modifications, to tattoos. I understand the concept, but it didn’t take me long to get bored of what seemed too much like hard work. Finding your friends and joining their games proved annoyingly difficult too. There were some high points, and I don’t think it’s the last time I will play by any stretch, but for now I’d rather focus on my three heroes Michael, Franklin and Trevor.

So it’s back to the story mode. I doubt I will be renewing my online membership until I get the new Call of Duty. I’d much rather cruise through the Vinewood Hills, listening to All Saints on the radio, with Chop in the passenger seat. I’d rather admire the insanely good graphics and ridiculously improved driving engine, in the peace and tranquillity of story mode Grant Theft Auto V.

Thanks for reading.

Craig [Editor]

UFC: A preview of Pierre/Hendricks, TUF and much more!

UFC World Tour 2013.

St. Pierre and Hendricks ahead of their big fight – Source: The Star Phoenix

Thanks for checking out The Real Mid Card. We hope you enjoy our latest extensive look into the recent happenings in the world of the UFC, courtesy of our resident MMA guy Arun Paul Smith. Beware, this article contains some strong language.

So here’s the deal. We have had two events this week AND The Ultimate Fighter. TUF was pretty much a non-event. Michael Wootten lost to the much favoured American Helmsworth. I’ve got to honest with you, I’m not really caring much about the men this season. The women are the only thing intriguing me enough to continue watching the show. On

Wednesday, we had a UFC event titled Fight for the troops 3. It was actually an enjoyable event. Lots of quick fights and some exciting decisions. The main event was quick. Kennedy getting the TKO early in the first. Another fight on the card that stuck out was Khabilov v Masvidol. Good back and forth action, with dance-like, almost majestic ground work with sub attempts and escapes. The submission of the night for me was in Chiesa v Smith. I’ve never liked Smith, but the way Chiesa got the sub was a thing of beauty.

The shock of the night was Bobby Green winning, but after a kick to the nuts. He kicked his opponent twice in the cup and was deducted a point. He threw yet another kick. His opponent fell to the ground grabbing his manhood. McCarthy thought “Fuck this shit!” and stopped the fight, giving the win by TKO to green. McCarthy said the shot was legal, but what legal shot sounds like it hit the cup. Even on the replays, you can hear that thud as something makes contact with the top of the cup.

Last night was Belfort v Hendo, coming from Brazil. Belfort became the only man in the world to even come close to knocking out Hendo. The stoppage was correct, but the fact that Hendo was still lucid and making an attempt to continue to fight by holding onto Belfort’s ankle leads me to believe that the call of Belfort winning by KO was a bit strong. The question mark that always hangs over any Belfort win is his TRT usage. He has one of the best physiques in the business. How much of that is down to steroids? It’s true that he looks like he did when he was lamping dudes, back in the dark ages of pre-Zuffa UFC. Does anybody really care? Its a bit strange. I can’t put my finger on how I feel about it.

Belfort is now a title contender after Jon Jones plays slap n tickle with Teixiera. The rightful challenger Mr Gustuffson is fighting Jimi Manuwa in London. Don’t get me wrong, I’m Fucking happy about that. Hopefully, I’ll get to go to it! But it’s so bad that he will have to take a dangerous fight with no real upside and a whole lot of risk, while Belfort gets another chance to lose against someone who’s arm he really should have already broken. The question remains, how much has TRT got to do with it. There were plenty of other nice fights on the card and I actually really enjoyed it on the whole.

Coming up next weekend it’s Pierre v Hendricks. I am super excited for this card. Its ridiculously stacked and contains very hard-to-predict fights. This could potentially be the most amazing card of the year. Going back to Pierre v Hendricks. I’m going to try some predictions.

Cerrone v Dunham: I love Cerrone, but he can be amazing one day and terrible the next. That being said I’m going to pick Dunham as he’s tough and good everywhere. Here is a fun fact. Both of their last losses came at the hands of Raphael Dos Anjos. I think that Dunham has a mental edge. I think it will be a decision, maybe even a split, but Dunham gets the nod. Elliott v Bagautinov: I pick Bagautinov simply because I picked against a person with a similar name before and that went badly wrong.

Koscheck v Woodley: Similar styles but I’m going with Woodley because he hasn’t yet suffered from a five round beat down at the hands of GSP. I think GSP stole his soul. He has lost two in a row and I think this will be his 3rd. MacDonald v Lawler, the man that give koscheck his last loss: MacDonald has been on a tear since his loss to Condit many moons ago. He has the tools to beat Lawler, but I think that his tenacity will be his undoing. Lawler has ripped through his opponents since coming back to the UFC. He seems to have put the pieces together and I feel that he can showcase his veteran skills and make a run for the title. Lawler by a nasty KO.

Evans v Sonnen: The question going into this fight is what can Sonnen bring to the table that Evans hasn’t ate before? Simple answer. Absolutely nothing. I’m not sure what Evans’ aspirations are, but I do know that he can and will beat Sonnen. He already beat a heavy-handed replica in Hendo. Sonnen is faster than Hendo, but he is not faster than Evans. Evans may well smash Sonnen into retirement.

And now my prediction for the main event of the evening. Johnny Hendricks gets to battle the most dominate champion in UFC welterweight history. Hendricks is a stud wrestler with heavy hands. GSP is a mixed martial artist, with no graspable weakness and an ability to make a mistake and seemingly never make those mistakes again. The biggest question for me though is how much does GSP still want this? This fight will definitively answer this question.

Hendricks doesn’t use his wrestling for takedowns, he uses it for strikes. He is becoming his own biggest fan and loves those knock-outs. The last person to KO GSP was Matt Serra, and that was mainly because GSP was reckless and got caught. GSP is going to pop in-and-out of Hendricks’ range and hit him with those pin point jabs. He may use kicks to take out Hendricks’ legs and go for the double-leg takedown. GSP does not want to stand and bang, he wants this on the ground to work his classic ground and pound game. I think he will use his game plan and destroy Hendricks over the five rounds. If he can weather the first two rounds, this fight is all his. For Hendricks to beat GSP, he will have to use his wrestling and be heavy with the use of strikes against the cage, working the body and then the head to break down GSP. I’m predicting that GSP will win it by soul destroying decision.

Thanks for reading,

Arun Paul Smith

TNA: Some Full Metal Mayhem to top off Impact!

hardymetalHardy and Sabin meet in Full Metal Mayhem – Source: Impact Wrestling

TNA IMPACT
07/11/13

This week I’ve read a lot of interesting stuff about TNA. Rumours of the Carter family wanting to sell the company, AJ styles defending the World Title in other companies, and more recently Bully Ray invading Tommy Dreamers promotion (House of Hardcore) to challenge him to a match on the next One Night Only.

Dixie Carter tweeted this week that tonight’s Impact would see an appearance of a former world champion. What she didn’t tell us however, is that he’d be from a different sport. Turns out that she was talking about an American Football player called Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones. As I’m not a follower of the sport, I’m not sure if this is a big deal or not.

The show starts with Dixie walking, arm in arm with said athlete, until they run into Mr. Anderson. He asks to face Bully in a match, and she considers it.

The Main Event Mafia come to the ring to a loud reaction, but I can’t help but wonder why they’re still around. They haven’t been a proper unit for a month or so now, so it doesn’t surprise me when Sting announces that they’re putting the stable on the shelf for the time being. Sting tells Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe that he loves them, but not Magnus, and leaves. The now former team-mates talk about the World Title Tournament, and then leave the ring, leaving Kurt to speak on his recent losses. Roode comes to the ring and tells Angle he will beat him for the third time soon enough. They brawl as we go to commercial, as referees and security enter the ring. As we come back, Angle challenges Roode to come back out, which he does and they get split up again two more times, fighting to the point Magnus, Joe and Bad Influence have to come out to pull them apart.

As Mike Tenay and Taz run us through the card for tonight, we see Bad Influence getting in the face of Pacman and his mate, shoving them hard into their seats. The footballers then jump the rail, chase the wrestlers into the ring, and scoop slam them both as the crowd go mental. Even though I love BI, this had definitely been practiced beforehand and went perfectly.

Backstage – Anderson tells Knux and Garett to leave Aces & 8’s. I want the storyline to end, but neither man gets enough of a reaction to carry on without it.

VELVET SKY VS BROOKE TESSMACHER VS ODB

Velvet and Brooke have an arse competition for the crowd, until ODB attacks them with her boobs, and follows it up with a double Bronco-Buster. Great start. I actually enjoyed this match, it didn’t feel as rushed as usual. Interesting spot with ODB and Velvet both getting a Single Leg Crab on Brooke, which caused Taz to say ‘well, ODB knows about crabs’. Knockouts Champion Gail Kim and Lei’D Tapa come to the ring, watch for a bit, and then get involved when Velvet went for her finisher. They take out all three women, and Gail lays down a challenge to any female wrestler OUTSIDE of TNA to try and beat her, and if they do they’ll get a title shot. If this leads to bringing indie wrestlers in, I’m completely into it.

We see a promo package of AJ Styles Title defence in Mexico’s AAA promotion. We’re told it’s brought to us by ‘friends of AJ’. I thought that was a nice touch, as WWE have fired, and then banned Big Show, but he still gets entrance music, his titan-tron video and even new merch when he turns up.

Backstage – Knux and Garett are backstage discussing Anderson’s suggestion, until Bully joins them. He basically tries to stop them leaving, until Knux says they’re going to vote on it, right now.

Backstage – Dixie is on the phone, saying she’s being humiliated by AJ. Ethan Carter III appears to cheer her up, and says he’s chosen his opponent for tonight.

The Aces are in the ring, including Taz. Garett was decent on the mic, I was getting ready to cringe, but he did his part perfectly well. Garett and Knux vote on ending the group, and take off their kuttes. Knux says he doesn’t need the colours anymore, probably forgetting he’s wearing an Aces t-shirt that he didn’t take off. Taz decides to leave too, showing us how much weight he’s put on in the last few years, the guy is massive now. Bully says ‘for a guy who respects Stone Cold Steve Austin so much, you didn’t think about something’ which calls for Knux and Garett to return and attack Anderson. Bully whips him with his chain whilst shouting ‘DON’T…TRUST…ANYONE’. Kind of cool, but at the same time I don’t think they should be referencing stuff like that.

Bobby Roode interrupts Taz and Tenay at the commentary desk, screaming for Angle to fight him, and then runs to the back.

ETHAN CARTER II VS DEWEY BARNES

Dewey gets a chant in the opening seconds, but it doesn’t help him getting mostly squashed. EC3 is still giving away too much offence.

Backstage – Bad Influence run into Joseph Park, and bully him as he eats left over Halloween candy. Eric Young makes the save, and suggests they have a match tonight.

BAD INFLUENCE VS JOSEPH PARK & ERIC YOUNG

Standard face-heel tag team match, with each man showing their specific niche. EY continues to be one of the most underrated wrestlers in the world, completely solid every single time, totally reliable. The pinfall came when Daniels threw his appletini into the eyes of Park, who got rolled up by Kaz. Hopefully this means BI have realised not to make Park bleed, as everyone on the roster should have by now.

Kurt walks out, demanding to fight Roode (he was looking for you earlier mate, must’ve missed him backstage). Austin Aries heads out, because the two of them will be fighting next week in the first round of the tournament. Dixie appears on the big screen, with her stipulation wheel. It lands on Submission, which sounds really good to me. Roode runs past AA and knocks him over, and attacks Angle. AA then attacks Roode, but gets pushed out of the way by Kurt. THEN AA attacks Kurt, and security swarm on the three of them. Three way feud would be brilliant.

FULL METAL MAYHEM – JEFF HARDY VS CHRIS SABIN

No Sabin-Velvet tonight, wonder if they’re dropping that. This is basically TNA’s version of a TLC match, but they don’t realise tables are made of wood. No bother. Sabin has started wearing tatty knee length shorts, that make him look like a 13-year old mosher, not a fan. Not saying everyone should be in speedos, but he looks really unprofessional. As Hardy was trying to get a ladder into the ring, he ripped one of the legs clean off, and looked absolutely furious.

After missing a splash through a table on the outside, Sabin had the upper hand. This led to a very strange spot where Sabin attempted to splash Hardy through a table, but Hardy got his knees up…who was it supposed to hurt more then? Hardy still went through?

The ending came with Hardy winning after a swanton from the top of a ladder, which looked painful for both men. I thought Sabin should have won this after doing something super scumbag-y, he needed the win more than Hardy. Genuinely thought there would be more of a story told in this match, seemed a bit meaningless.

As always you can contact me with any thoughts, or even if you just want to chat about wrestling at @jrholberry on twitter.

Thanks for reading.

Joseph Holberry

Fozzy: The TNA Problem

hogansting

Sting and Hogan at their peak – Source: The Wrestling Fans Review

The TNA Problem

This is a statement, from our resident Ring of Honor Correspondent Steven Forrester, in which he airs his grievances with TNA Wrestling. We hope you aren’t too offended.

Just to get this out of the way so there’s no confusion: I am not a fan of TNA. I have never been a fan of TNA. I watched it for about a year in 2010 and 2011 but honestly I wasn’t impressed much and when I stopped watching the weekly show, I never went back. On the other hand, I readily recognize that TNA was a great promotion in the mid 2000’s. When guys like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christian Cage and Kurt Angle were having amazing matches on a regular basis. I didn’t watch wrestling then, but I’ve seen a lot of those matches and they really are great. They just happened during my wrestling hiatus.

But I’m also not a TNA hater. I just think it has fundamental problems that stop me wanting to watch. The key problem is is this strange idea that TNA fans have that everything TNA does should get a pass because it’s not WWE. TNA fans seem to be blinded by pure hatred of everything McMahon produced and think that TNA is inherently superior; simply because it isn’t WWE. I think a simpler way to put this is this: I don’t understand what WWE these people are watching.

In my honest opinion, WWE has never been better than in the last two or three years. Attitude Era included. Match quality is off the charts and story lines lead to true character development. Even though a lot of it is old angles being rebooted and changed (something TNA is even more guilty of), WWE in the end of 2013 feels fresh and exciting. With wrestlers like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose and Antonio Cesaro leading the charge, we’ve seen a great number of awesome matches in a short period of time. Hell, even the tag division is showing signs of growth and strength.

Meanwhile, I look over at TNA and it just seems like more of the same and like the company hasn’t grown at all in the two or three years that I haven’t been watching. If anything it’s stagnated and even gotten worse. If the dirt sheets are to be believed, TNA are still performing in front of middling and uninterested crowds and drawing in the same disappointing and mediocre ratings. I always read online that this is because they’re a young company, but even though they’ve gone on the road in the US it just doesn’t seem to have made much difference.

Another problem is the lack of a singular star. As good as AJ Styles is in the ring, he’s been doing the same act for years on end, and even his ‘badass’ character hasn’t set the wrestling world on fire. I’m sorry TNA diehards but he just isn’t in the same league as a John Cena or a CM Punk. Or even a Daniel Bryan. The same goes for other TNA stars. Bully Ray is a great heel and a great character but lets not go crazy, he’s still Bubba Ray Dudley. Kurt Angle is always going to be Kurt Angle, but even he has lost his shine in TNA. Austin Aries is a great talent but TNA doesn’t seem to want to keep him on the top. Chris Sabin looked like he was breaking out into a shining star but surprise surprise, he turned heel. I don’t even know what Samoa Joe is up to these days. But I guess there’s always t-shirt Sting, isn’t there…

Another problem is that TNA is still heavily reliant on huge stables and team vs team angles, as well as always trying to work the audience and play on the fact that wrestling isn’t actually a real sport. Through the time I was watching TNA it was Immortal and Fortune, then it was EV2.0. These days it’s Aces and Eights and the Main Event Mafia (again). It’s always another NWO rehash of some guys who are “taking over” and “running things”. This booking style worked for a while for WCW, but even those guys ran it into the ground and they had a billionaire and a genuine roster of big stars behind them.

But you see, it worked for WCW because no-one in the average wrestling audience in early and mid nineties had ever seen a rogue faction storyline like that in the United States and there was still a degree of kayfabe in effect that hadn’t yet been destroyed in the post steroid trial scandal era, before Vince McMahon finally drove the last nail in the coffin in 1997. But in 2013, we all know what’s going on. What was fresh and exciting in 1997 is passe today.

Conversely WWE has just recently started using stables again. Groups like the Shield, the Wyatt Family and the Authority have cropped up. But unlike with TNA’s Aces and 8s or Main Event Mafia, all three of these groups are small, three members max. There’s no dead wood. They’re all themed and they all have distinct goals. The Shield are a pack of mercenaries, the Wyatts are a cult and the Authority just wants what’s best for business, which seems to be babyfaces being unhappy. This is all happening after years of WWE not having any stables. The Nexus was probably the closest but even then it was mainly Wade Barrett plus entourage, the other members weren’t important at all.

There’s also this hilarious idea out there that TNA are innovative and offer something widely different than WWE. The brutal truth of the matter is that TNA are barely even in the same league as WWE. If WWE are Arsenal or Manchester City, then TNA are surely Crystal Palace. I always find this idea strange because I’m an ROH fan (who I would compare with perhaps Swansea or my own Aston Villa) who genuinely do offer a vastly different product than WWE. TNA on the other hand, offers sub-par WWE styled sports entertainment and then try to fool us all with their mantra of Wrestling Matters. Nonsense, politics matter. Until recently it was whether Hogan liked you. Now it seems to be whether Dixie Carter and Eric Bischoff likes you. Its the same as WWE: politics.

It’s also really funny to look at the “innovative” label and then tune into Impact to see a newly turned Dixie Carter as the heel authority role and AJ Styles as the anti-heroic face. This is of course hot on the heels of Triple H’s ascension to heel Godness and the likes of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. TNA aren’t exactly the most fresh and original promotion out there are they? At one time they definitely were ahead of the curve with the X-Division but they never really capitalized on that and even those matches don’t seem as special today as they did five or six years ago.

It seems all that matters to TNA fans is the fact wrestlers can swear and blade in TNA. When you look at actual match quality over the last few years then honestly TNA doesn’t even come close. Compare the Victory Road Jeff Hardy debacle with Money in the Bank 2011. It’s sad really. TNA shows are riddled with botches and blown opportunities. WWE are just so much more professional than TNA. From presentation to execution.

Thanks for reading,

Steven Forrester

The Wrestling Review Corner: The Wrestling Road Diaries [DOC]

zkn5_wrestling_diaries_crop_exactNo credit for Sal – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

The Wrestling Road Diaries is the loveable tale of three independent pro-wrestlers touring the United States, taking in shows, seminars and thrift stores. It follows Bryan Danielson (of WWE fame), Colt Cobana and Sal Rinauro. The timing of the film coincides with Bryan’s signing with WWE. He has joined two close friends to take part in his last tour of the independents, mostly working shows for Ring of Honor. He went on to turn vegan shortly after the making of this film, in order to battle health issues which seem to present a possible roadblock to his joining the big leagues.

This movie initially made me wow because of the sheer list of legends of the big time and of the independent scene that pass through it. Off the top of my head, you get to see Jim Cornette, Bret Hart, Austin Aries, Kenny King, Chris Hero, and most notably Antonio Cesaro. The Swiss Supremo regularly shows up sporting some awesome glasses and cracking wise. A lot of the wrestling side of it revolves around Ring of Honor, the company these guys loved and helped build. The film really makes it seem like a fun, cool environment, and you get to see some really amazing spots from some of the great matches that were happening there.

The movie is nearly three hours long, so you get a really in-depth look at life on the road. This makes it easy to build up a really tangible connection with these guys. You get to see all of the sleeping on sofas, trying to work the satellite navigation, pranks and ribbing and getting lost. In that way, it reminded me a lot of the movie that me and my two buddies made on tour earlier this year. It’s about music, not wrestling, but you should check it out. There are a lot of similarities, only this one is a million times better than ours.

There are a lot of poignant, touching moments in this film. The smaller shows they were working reminded me of the ones I go to in my local area. The tearful goodbyes after each one, leading up to Bryan’s final match for the company in New York, were really moving. You get such an insight into the behind-the-scenes nature of the business, from producers to booking agents. Ring of Honor looks like a good team to be on. It also shows the connection that independent wrestlers have with each other, inside and outside of respective companies. That reminded me of the hardcore punk scene I was a part of as a teenager. There is nothing more special than seeing people coming together and making their own movement, for themselves, helping each other. It really does away with the old school don’t-trust-anybody mentality of the past.

The boys dropped in on a few wrestling seminars between dates along the way. They were a revelation, let me tell you. I wish I could have watched another three hour movie, with just Daniel Bryan teaching wrestling moves. If he isn’t the Head Trainer at WWE Developmental immediately after he retires, the business will miss out. He also showed in this film that he can sneeze with his eyes open, something I don’t think anybody ever thought possible. I guess this guy has just always been about making history.

This film isn’t propaganda, but it just naturally puts over Ring of Honor, and naturally makes you adore these guys. That makes Bryan’s emotional farewell at the historic Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City all the more emotional. He had an iconic main event match with a man also competing in his final match, Nigel McGuiness. This was both emotional and inspirational, despite the Brit looking pretty damn banged up come the end of it.

As for the other two guys, they are a joy to watch. Bryan mentions choosing to ride with those guys because they have the rare quality of being people you wouldn’t mind driving for eight hours with. I can see why. They just seem to be a barrel of laughs throughout, really taking the edge off when Bryan might be worrying about his health situation. Colt Cobana comes off as such a good guy and a good worker too. You get to see a lot of him and Bryan in the ring through the film, and he just seems like a good, not-hateable Santino. That’s not an insult. I didn’t get to analyse Sal much, and he was the guy that I was unaware of going in. He did get whooped in a watermelon eating contest by Colt though.

10/10

This movie makes you smile, it makes you love these dudes, and it makes you really want to be a wrestler. It’s essential viewing for any Daniel Bryan fan. I’ve reviewed a fair few wrestling documentaries on here now, but I don’t think I’ve ever given a perfect score. This was a perfect movie. For a low budget, no thrills film about a trio of indie wrestlers, it has everything you could want in a documentary. It’s not just a good wrestling film, it’s just a plain good film about three guys on the road living their dream. Check it out!

Thanks for reading,

Craig [Editor]