Hammerfall-rEvolution

HammerFall Swing For The Fences With New Album

HammerFall Swing For The Fences With New Album

 

 

A month or so ago the Red Hive interviewed me as a musician and asked me what some of my likes, dislikes, influences, etc, were. They were both happy and a bit shocked at the detail I provided in the interview, as most people just give quick short answers. One of the questions I was asked was who were instrumental in my musical career, my likes, dislikes, etc.

I gave them the most honest answer I could possibly give. I laid out that I am a fan of opera, orchestra (Franz Liszt specifically) and classic rock (1950’s era) as well as metal music.  With that answer I named artists that I always looked up to, from Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry all the way to the heaviest side of music; HammerFall.

As a metal musician my tastes are varying, but it has never been a secret that while I love American Metal, I love Power Metal more. I love the Megadeth’s and Metallica’s of the world, but to me metal is, has, and will always be known by one name: HammerFall. That being said I bought the new album (R)Evolution and didn’t know exactly what to expect as their last album went a different direction. (Personally, I loved Infected as I thought it was just a brilliant album in general, Hector or not.)  I have the new album and it has been playing over and over without remorse. In fact, today is HammerFall day in the Benningfield household. (This may explain why I am single.)

The album is very polished, very clean, and it has everything that HammerFall are and should be. One reviewer said this was his favorite album since Crimson Thunder, and I can see why, though I do disagree with him. I disagree because I don’t think any HammerFall album is better than the next. The entirety of their work should just be released as a greatest hits boxset because in my own opinion these guys have never put out a song that didn’t rock. Whether they are kicking ass in Renegade, reminding me that we are Blood Bound, or telling me to win by Any Means Necessary, their music is just brilliant.

With HammerFall getting older I half expected Joacim’s vocals to be a bit lower to compensate a bit. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized he hadn’t missed a beat and was full of power like he’s always been. I loved the drumming as well. In fact, the drumming is so much like “old” HammerFall that songs like Tainted Metal had me drumming along at the first listen as if I had heard the song fifty times already.  Winter Is Coming is definitely this album’s ballad similar to Glory To The Brave. All in all there isn’t a song on this entire album that isn’t great, and if you can’t get into a song I suggest just sitting back and listening over and over until it sinks in because it is truly a gem in a metal world full of shit.

If you’d like to know more about me, my tastes, and why I love HammerFall, you can visit my interview on the Red Hive site. Hopefully someday HammerFall will see it and maybe, just maybe, I can join in on a song with Joacim. I would be honored to bust out some vocals alongside the man I consider to be better than Bruce Dickenson ever thought about being. In fact, when I think of great vocals in the metal genre, I think of two names: Joacim, and King Diamond.

Go buy the album. Don’t torrent it! If you have already torrented the album for some reason, then I suggest you go buy the album as well. These guys deserve every bit of money that is due to them for their hard work and dedication to their fans. We, as fans, owe them the respect they deserve, and need to obtain these albums the proper way.

 

On The Bubble: Is Dolph Coming In or Going Out?

On The Bubble: Is Dolph Coming In or Going Out?

I can’t speak for my counterparts on the Wrestling Corner website, but I myself have been a supporter of Dolph Ziggler since day one. When other guys were looking at Daniel Bryan I was looking at Dolph. Sure, when it comes to pure wrestling ability, my best friend Michael (One of the admins on our site) would be quick to point out that in a pure wrestling match Dolph would get his ass handed to him by a guy like Daniel Bryan. However, I would be quick to point out that while that may be true, there’s no denying that Dolph is more entertaining.  No, he doesn’t have millions of people chanting yes, and he doesn’t have a top tier storyline going on for the WWE Universe to grab onto and watch.

Make no mistake, however, that the struggle between Dolph Ziggler and the “Authority” is very real. When Dolph spoke his mind some eight months ago about John Cena and Randy Orton, he went downhill from there. I still, to this very day, wonder if someone didn’t help him get those concussions to help ensure that he would lose his title, and fall into obscurity. I mean, JBL was known for attacking guys and actually hitting them just because he didn’t like them or because he was told to rough them up, etc. Dolph is a great talent, with a shitty name, but the sky is the limit for him. Well, perhaps outside of WWE, that is.

My friends, we all know that another wave of releases are coming to WWE in the coming weeks. So far I am shocked that Zack Rider is still here. What shocks me even more is that Kofi Kingston is still around when the only person he seems to not be able to beat is Dolph Ziggler, and oddly enough, the only person Dolph seems to be able to beat is Kofi. (Can someone explain the logic to that one?) I feel as though with the next wave of WWE superstars being released, we will see Dolph Ziggler released. I hate to say that because the kid is so damn talented. He is like Drew McIntyre, full of talent, stuck in the crapper and can’t get out.  I just hope when Jeff Jarrett comes to our area in August that Dolph has been released, and that he signs on with GFW. Can you imagine “Global Force Wrestling presents, for the World Heavyweight Championship: Dolph Ziggler vs Austin Aries” Man, even I’d almost creme myself to see that match! Of course, you can probably guess that I don’t see Ziggler winning anything this Sunday, and so there you have it.

Till next time, stay thirsty my friends.

IoK - Chosen Ones

The Innovation of Khaos — The Chosen One(s) [Part I]

IoK - Chosen Ones(Article Set to the Anthem of “We Are One” by 12 Stones)

“We Walk Alone…
In The Unknown…
We Live To See Another Victory.

We Are The Young…
Dying Sons…
We Live To Change The Face Of History.

So Be Afraid…
It’s The Price We Pay…
The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday.

So Hear Our Voice…
We Have A Choice…
It’s Time To Face It……..”

 

On Thursday, the WWE released a wave of superstars.  Nobody on the list was a megastar… no one was all that surprising… but the entire wrestling community took a look at that list of people and had the same general consensus… and it was two thoughts… which for us is definitely something…

1) Drew McIntyre’s entire WWE existence was a tragedy to write about.

and

2) This is the first wave of a tsunami to come.

Chris Jericho weighed in on it, Jeff Jarrett somewhere is getting choked by Karen and going all David Carradine on us… the entire group of people whom I spoke two instantly went to Drew McIntyre’s name and thought that Vince just made a huge waste… Ignore the Brodus Clay release, which some could argue was an equal release, despite only being used as a joke and a perverted version of Ernest “The Cat” Miller. But for a moment, allow me to circle back to Drew McIntyre.

I remember seeing Drew McIntyre when his name was still spelled Dru… I remember him at a house show in Redding, California before anyone had ever heard of him, and he was so freakin’ talented… I knew that if they gave him a chance he could be big.  They gave him one of the best themes in the business, and they set him up as Vince’s illegitimate son… “The Chosen One”.  He was an Intercontinental Champion, he had a devastating finisher, and he was an incredible athlete… then something went sideways, they set him up with Kelly Kelly, started him on a losing streak, sent him away and repackaged him with Heath Slater as the “Lead Bass Player” of 3MB… something my partner Dave Murr still to this day has a hissy fit over… as there is no such thing as a “Lead Bass Guitar Player”.

Drew McIntyre is the best of the few who were let go in this wave.  He may or may not drift into obscurity, but I know that there are so many who are truly high on him.  I look back and I think of what happened with The Nexus… and how most of those guys, who were such a dominant force, are now shells of themselves… short of Wade Barrett, who even then spent his time in obscurity.  I see how they’re just now breaking apart The Shield, and waiting on the day that they decide to splinter cell the Wyatts.

Groups may make the men, but the men make themselves upon the group.  People will forever think of the Four Horsemen, and while they can think of multiple incarnations, they think of the 16 time World Champion at the front.  Take a look at Evolution, and you know that you think of Triple H… you take a look at DX, and even when Trips was the man, you knew it was Shawn’s show.  Tag Teams are the same way… you know that even if they all break out… there is one whom stands alone from all of them, and when put against that one, you will never stand as better than they.  Triple H will never be better than Shawn Michaels.  Randy Orton will never be better than Triple H… Arn Anderson will never be better than Ric Flair… and so on, and so on and so on… that’s why teams like The Shield were so unique… because truly.. you don’t really know who is going to be the one out of all of that to come to the head of the class…   Nexus still had Barrett, and you knew he was the glory from it… but my point of bringing those two up was that they were unique in that they brought people who were nothing, and truly brought them together to be better than the sum of their parts, even as awesome as the sum of their parts may have been.

You cannot tell me that this will be the last they see of it… but it is so far gone in the twitter universe, where everything is done with such a high turnover.

I will expand on this thought more in the coming weeks as we see more of the mass exodus… but for now, believe me when I tell you… this is just the beginning.

Future

Wave One: WWE Release Six Superstars

Wave One: WWE Release Six Superstars

 

This morning, it was announced in a WWE press release that the following six WWE Superstars / Diva’s have been released:

Teddy Long

Brodus Clay

Evan Bourne

Jinder Mahal

Yoshi Tatsu

Curt Hawkins

Aksana

Drew McIntyre

This is only one wave of what is expected to be a very big list of superstars and talent being released.  WWE are downsizing a bit after the entire WWE Network “fraud” debacle. Stick with us as we’ll release the next set of names as we receive them!

UPDATE:

Referee Marc Harris

JTG

Wraparound V

The Wraparound — Been Around The World and Aye Yai Yai

Wraparound V

It’s been a long week.  I missed the England show, at least the coverage.  I saw it, don’t get me wrong, but really, it was one of those great crowds with a mediocre showing.  But it’s been the same ol’ same ol’ when it comes to the WWE lately, and in that regard, let’s get to work with what the deal has been.

 

Looking Back

The Good: Ruthless Aggression

I have been a sports fan longer than I’ve been a wrestling fan, and in that, one of those sports I’ve never been able to get into is soccer, or as the rest of the world calls it: football.  Just never have.  But I know one thing better than anything else… I’m an Oakland Raiders fan, have been for over two decades, and people have often accused Raiders fans of being intense… rowdy… dangerous… downright violent at times… but we look like a pit full of kittens having a pillow fight compared to worldwide fans of soccer, and specifically fans of the English Premier League.  You don’t show up in a Man U shirt in the wrong part of town without expecting a savage beating… so when I say that English fans get behind something… oh man… you can believe that the native crowds rarely live up to the billing.  The crowd in London… off the hook, I just wish they would have done more with it than Bray Wyatt’s opening promo.

The Bad: Give Me Something To Bo-Lieve

Once again I find myself on the wrong side of an argument, apparently…

Michael Benningfield fell madly in love with Bo Dallas from the first time a promo hit.  He was a Bo-Liever from the word go.  I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Bo Dallas doesn’t have talent, that he doesn’t have a gimmick that won’t get over.  I’m not telling you he can’t wrestle, I’m not telling you that he’s not somewhat better than the kid who eliminated Wade Barrett in the Royal Rumble a couple few years back.  He’s got something, I’ll give you that… but he’s not really charming me, and I’ll get back at this in a bit… but his match on Smackdown with Sin Cara wasn’t overly fantastic really, and its yet another thing Michael and I can yell at one another for, along with political views, and the value of CM Punk, Goldberg, and Texas versus California.

The Ugly: Summer’s Eve (That’s Right… You Know The Joke I’m Making…)

Summer Rae on Smackdown was hot.  The other four people in the match… not horrible to look at, other than for fans of actual wrestling… but… hey, apparently Sara Del Rey is just not doing work… or that’s not her job… I don’t even know… my point is the Diva’s are just not doing anything worth watching in the ring short of hair pulling and wearing next to nothing.  Normally that would be enough, but the camera guys aren’t our friends in the long run, and we have to deal with this atrocity.   But to make matters worse, they are continuing to play the Diva’s division as an extension of Total Divas, and for crying out loud, I’m begging for someone to kill Legends House before it does the same thing.  Everything runs through Total Divas these days, and I’m just asking for two things with the women’s wrestlers… 1) Teach them/Let them actually fight or wrestle.  Wrestle would be awesome, but even letting them legit fight would be better than this fake fight pseudo mud wrestling we’re forced to watch barring five moves…. so much worse than we don’t let John Cena get away with… and 2) If you’re gonna parade them around as hot… AT LEAST MAKE THEM FREAKIN’ HOT AND INTERESTING!!!!  You know why AJ Lee got so much play? (and not just from CM Punk… bazinga…) Because AJ wasn’t the hottest, but she had intrigue, she knew how to talk, she kept us actually wanting to hear more, and she was not bad to look at.  I mean, the diva’s division isn’t Lay-Cool bad… but… almost… at least Alicia Fox is keeping me almost interested…

Now-Ish

Monday Monday… it’s Monday again.  Comin’ at’cha LIVE from The University of Tennessee in scenic Knoxville.  We lead things off with The Authority, and if this doesn’t set the tone, I don’t know what does.  They call down the thunder on Brad Maddox, Kane drops him on his head, and he and his tight shirt are shipped off as he gets fired for allowing the Shield to make things interesting.  Short version, Daniel Bryan is put in a “give up, or your wife will suffer” predicament, the Shield do arguably the greatest thing in contract signing history before allowing themselves to be dismantled, Bray Wyatt gets all Bray-tastic on people, and Cody Rhodes gives me a reason to love him until I see a picture of his Tom Selleck days again…

The Good:  The Legacy of Evolution

I was fully expecting to have to drop Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt family back into the good side of things. I was expecting that they would be again top of my list, and to be fair, the segment with JBL and King, with the Uso’s and Cena… golden… classic… vintage, you might say if you were a fan of Michael Cole and would have the balls to admit to such things… but what truly, honestly, and undoubtedly stole the show for me, more than anything else… Cody Rhodes…

Now, I know… I know… he went out, he lost to Batista and Randy, and then Goldie got castrated by them both… it happens, it’s kind of expected.  But before that, Cody Rhodes either had the greatest writer in the world, or he came up with the single greatest explanation for Evolution known to man… when he said that a decade ago, Batista and Orton were basically asskissers to Triple H… here they are a decade later, and God knows how many World Championships, and they’re still the asskissers to Triple H.  He also called them the Skinny Jean Sellout and R-K-Blows…

I know it doesn’t seem like much… but it was probably the biggest moment I’ve had in awhile on Raw… and I truly felt vindicated.

The Bad: The King of the Wild Magnetism

You remember when Damien Sandow was the Money in the Bank winner?  When he was your future World Heavyweight Champion?  You remember when Damien Sandow was one of the biggest up and coming superstars in the WWE today?  Then you remember when he dressed up as Magneto and fought with Hugh Jackman, and then did it again to fight Dolph Ziggler?

It just gets worse…

Sandow Work

You’re Welcome…Again…

This isn’t in the ugly because it is wholly a bad thing.  Damien Sandow has a lot of promise… at least they’re not doing this to Dolph Ziggler… Damien Sandow is getting worse than Santino Marella treatment… this is just wrong, completely and utterly wrong.  I get that Adam Rose needed some form of squash, but when did Damien Sandow become a squash?  When did Damien Sandow become no better than Zack Ryder?!  COME ON PEOPLE!!!

The Ugly: Do you Bo-Lieve in Magic?

I would normally have switched these two.  I’ve gone back and looked at the results, and supposedly Bo Dallas fought Sin Cara again, and I can buy that Bo Dallas is better than Sin Cara… but do you want to know why Bo Dallas is in my ugly for Raw?  One fact… and this is EXACTLY my argument against Michael when it comes to Bo…

Bo Dallas was introduced. I heard JBL say something about how awesome this kid was. I saw his face… he started to talk…and I fell asleep watching Raw, waking up just in time for the end of Daniel Bryan’s showdown with Stephanie McMahon…

I officially Bo-Lieve… because the man is good for my napping ability.  I can’t make this up… it actually legit happened… I fell asleep from one hour fifty one minutes into Raw, and woke up at two hours five minutes… I was actually asleep for 15 minutes of Raw thanks to Bo Dallas.  Bo-Lieve That…

Predictions and Prognostications

Talking about Bo Dallas is making me sleepy, and the Wraparound isn’t exactly meant to be wordy, so I’ll keep it short and sweet, with Payback a-comin… and if I paid more attention to NXT, I’d hit something up for Takeover… but I’m just gonna get to the last of it, and see what the world has for me.

The Good: If You Want Peace, Prepare For War

I believe that Evolution versus the Shield should tear the house down, honestly.  They’ve made it No-DQ, they’ve taken the safeties off, and they’ve made it elimination.  Even the old guard should be able to get up for this one.  I know it’s not exactly a bold prediction, but if you want something for bold predictions, here’s another safe bet… NXT Takeover will probably be better top to bottom compared to Payback.

The Bad: Why The Hills Shouldn’t Be Alive…

I think Cesaro takes the US Championship from Sheamus.  Normally, I would think this is truly a good thing except I still think there’s a title unification looming, and if we look at the prospects… not to say that Barrett versus Cesaro would not be glorious to watch… but you have two men whom you’ve expertly made into heels… and something would have to give.  For that reason I’d just as soon see Barrett versus Sheamus than RVD versus Cesaro.  Nothing against RVD, but when it comes right down to it, I’d prefer to see the English and the Irish give one more good killing spree going.

The Ugly: Hook Em’ Horns

It only seemed apro-pro to tease Michael Benningfield one more time, since I’ve been ripping him up and down for the whole agree to disagree thing in regards to Rip Van Dallas… But in this case, it has nothing to do with Texas… just a little south of that.  Los Matadores and 3MB hook up one more time in this mascot war in the Preshow Kickoff for Payback… in a Mask versus Hair match between Hornswaggle and El Torito.  After the so-called maiming on Raw… and subsequent pornographic fisting scene at the hands of the bullfighters… it will be interesting to actually see this one, and whether they march out the trifecta of JB-Elf, Micro Cole, and Jerry “The King” Smaller for this one (for all that is good and decent lets hope not…)  However, the two of these guys create just enough intrigue, and just enough honest to God ability in ring, to make this JUST feasible enough to steal the show… once again… and actually give the WWE an excuse to continue this ridiculousness… what’s next, the kid from the Wyatt family gets in on the action?

Until next time folks… keep on keepin on.

IoK Remember

The Innovation of Khaos — Remember When I Said That Thing? [Back To The Future, Part II]

IoK Remember

Minions… it dawned on me awhile back… while I’m sitting here, patiently waiting for Payback so that I can see the few levels of intrigue play themselves out, that I’ve said a lot of things in regards to the world of Professional Wrestling, and as I’ve struggled mightily I’ll admit, at trying to find a foothold in everything going on between TNA, WWE, and even ROH, I started to look back, just even in this calendar year, of all the things I’ve been looking at… trying to grab onto that same foothold.

I pulled my initial article on the WWE Network that I wrote in early March, prior to my purchase of the network when everyone was flipping out about it.  I began to read it back, and there’s a line in it that caught my attention.  Something I once said that seemed pertinent to today.

Tanner Sims did an article a couple of weeks ago, outlining the drubbing that the WWE took in the stock markets, that saw Vince lose approximately $350 million dollars as the WWE Stock took a mammoth hit on May 16th. Take a look at that number… go ahead… look at it… #350,000,000… that’s SEVEN ZEROS… and that’s before you get to the two tangible freakin numbers that make that a multiplier.  That is more than… the cumulative group wealth of the entire staff of the wrestling corner, and about an extra three hundred and forty nine million, nine hundred and ninety six thousand four hundred and two dollars and seventy two cents ($349,996,402.72 for you numerically challenged, which makes me think that between the… however many of us there are, we might be able to muster up just about $3,597.28 if we’re lucky… maybe… I might be grossly overestimating our net worth.) it’s higher than most Powerball winnings… it’s… huge.  It’s… well… lemme put it to you in perspective for you.

We all know that Vince owns WCW… he also owns ECW… he could have bought them 83 times over for what he just lost last week.

You all remember the XFL?  Something that he was paying off for a solid decade after it tanked?  He could have dropped the XFL nine and a half times for the money he dropped last week.

All because the WWE bombed really, with its projections of the WWE Network.

Now, lemme be straight with all y’all… the WWE Network is fun and all, it really is.  It’s got some interesting things, and it’s trying it’s little heart out to bring you more… but it is what I said it was back then, and if I may be so brazenly egomaniacal to quote myself… “The WWE Network — The newest shiny thing to keep all of us ADHD riddled people distracted from the reacharound…”

The product has not changed people.  The things that they show on the television has not changed, and I do mean this across the board.  Keep in mind something.  When I started working for the Wrestling Corner at the top of the year, I was in a haze when it came to wrestling.  I was sort of digging ROH, but it was so hit or miss, so… everything independent wrestling… the good and the bad.   I wrote an article about ECW, and how part of the charm was the fact that the fans were such rabid bastards.  That you had the impression that on any given night they might just rush the ring in the middle of an RVD versus Shane Douglas match just because they were bored…  and to the best of my recollection, there was huge fan participation in ECW, but I never remember seeing any fan really be stupid enough to rush the ring in ECW.  I was just watching Countdown on the network, where a fan got into the ring during an Eddie Guerrero Ladder match and pushed the ladder over and got punched in the face for the troubles.  I was at a Smackdown taping where a kid got caught hopping the barrier, and at a TNA House Show where another guy got part of the way into the ring before he got beat to hell by security (it was a Bully Ray match… I’m not really sure he WANTED in that ring…)

Daniel Bryan’s neck surgery isn’t helping the WWE… but this problem isn’t just within the walls of the ‘E… this is bigger than that.  This is downright lunacy that covers TNA, it covers ROH, it covers everywhere.  Wrestling fans today are looking everywhere for the next big explosion.  The next truly big thing.  Vince McMahon may kill his own product, and in doing so, he might just end up saving the whole of wrestling.  It’s entirely possible.  I suppose in hanging out with those who pay attention closer than I, I’ve been hearing a lot about the impending explosion of Jeff Jarrett’s GFW, or Global Force Wrestling.  Could it break out?  Possibly… could it fizzle… it’s equally as likely at this point.  I’ve been hearing about the talent levels of nXt as it’s own brand… TNA takes every good thing it ever does and shoots itself square in the face every single time.  MVP coming in and clearing out Dixie was awesome… until he became Dixie, and the world kept spinning on.  They keep remixing the same damned story and even Eric Young as champion cannot save them from themselves, because they too, are in the midst of burying so much talent they may as well put them in a box next to Hoffa. (Dated reference, I’m sorry to our younger audience that doesn’t get that joke… read a damned book…)

Even ROH… I can’t remember the last time I caught ROH… I record it every week, I let it pile up for a month, and I clear it.  I still stand by the point that Kevin Steen is my favorite superstar working in the world today, but I can’t watch ROH to deal with three squash matches (that are still damned good, just clear about who’s going to win…), listening to set up promos where they say the same damned things repeatedly, and honestly, it’s a bunch of people that I can’t honestly get into, because if I get into them, I either have to talk to wrestling nerds, or everyone looks at me crazy for finding these names and loving what they do.  Case and point, I know for a fact that the two people in my WFO Rebellion have never heard of Silas Young, and I’ve even shown them matches.  Adam Cole?  Nope… and I honestly couldn’t tell you if Adam Cole is even the ROH Champion still… he should be… but I don’t honestly know.  Matt Taven?  Betcha dollars to donuts they’d look at me like a retarded cow looks at an oncoming freight train…

There are so many good wrestlers out there, and no where for them to get exposure.  That’s why the smarks are all in an uproar over the POTENTIAL for GFW… a company run by someone who knows mostly what they’re doing, who has an eye for talent, and staff that has an eye for talent.  Who has the money to possibly cut their way into somewhere with some exposure, and if we all get together and think happy thoughts, we can be sprinkled with pixie dust and fly across Neverland…

We want… so badly… to believe…

Yes, we want to believe in The Shield… for fuck’s sake, we’d believe in Evolution if we thought it’d deliver us something other than The Bored, the Slow, and the Bloated.  Trips is clinging to the last shreds of what he has, Dave looks like he’s not seen the inside of a gym since 82, and Orton looks like he’s pouting because Trips took away his Brawlin’ Buddy and told him they’re not going to Orange Julius… We want to Bo-Lieve… even though, God help me that was painful for me to watch… and I can already hear Michael in my head telling me that I have to get behind it, because by damn he’s a good wrestler.  Which may be true… but to hell with Legends House… give me camera’s in the Rotundo home… I wanna see The Tax Man and his two sons, The Hippie and the Cult Leader…

I love Bray Wyatt… but there is a part of me waiting on the other shoe to drop, even if I know that there is a way that he will live forever.  I know, I’ve written it.  I love Dolph Ziggler… but I actually heard someone give him the excuse that “I know, Dolph isn’t the greatest name ever…” I wanna say someone quoted Foley as saying it… don’t quote me on that.  Mick, if you end up reading this one, tell someone.  I’m sorry… this isn’t about the packaging and sales…

I’ve watched Vince McMahon rebrand Cesaro (because Antonio just sounded soft).  I’ve seen him take away Big E’s last name, God knows why.  I’ve listened to how RVD sucks, not because he’s not a phenomenal athlete, but because he basically tried so hard to emulate and cash in on the popularity of Jean Claude Van Damme… I’ve listened to how Ryback doesn’t want to be known as the next Goldberg… I’ve watched as even in our own yard, Tanner Sims, talked about Paige, the so called “Anti-Diva”.  It’s any wonder we’re all not choking based on how we’re having this all shoved down our throats.

Tanner points out in his article in regards to McMahon losing his billions that the WWE can bounce back if they get hot on Social Media, even if we’re tired of hearing about everything that’s trending on Twitter.  In that much I can agree… I know I am so damned tired of hearing about fake announcements as to what is trending on Twitter.  it’s bad enough that they’ve started trying to get creative with their hashtags, and every segment has it’s own mark.   I’m tired of trying to think of DVD sales, and what name will look good in the hands of little boys and girls when they’re sitting on the shelves in K-Mart.  I don’t wanna think about how well Dave is gonna do in the new Kickboxer movie… I don’t give a damn about whether or not Kofi Kingston is going to play in The Marine 4, or how much more Randy Orton’s 12 Rounds sucked than John Cena’s (Writer’s Note: I actually liked 12 Rounds, but I had a handprint on my forehead for a month when I heard about the sequel.)  I don’t want to have to debate whether Dwayne or Terry was the better wrestler slash actor… I don’t want to have to think about how awesome watching In Your House: Badd Blood was, but how much I’m dreading watching WWE Payback 2014.  I don’t want to be constantly comparing the value of AJ Styles as a marketable commodity, or thinking about the Q rating of Kane in a suit, and turning the phrase “Corporate Kane” into a drinking game.  These people have brains and eyeballs don’t they?

Well?  Don’t they?

There is a variation of entertainment in this product… it’s just inherent, and it’s bound to have crossover appeal.  That IS how money is made.  But ECW had action figures… PORN STARS HAVE ACTION FIGURES… mock title belts sell themselves, and if we believe that a movie is good, we don’t care that it stars Rick Moranis as the main villain, and Rob Van Dam as Jean Claude’s stoner brother… if it was a good script and a good movie, WE WILL GO SEE IT… it’s how it works.  Entertainment takes care of itself, the crossover appeal of Hulk Hogan wasn’t just because he was a huge star in the ring… because arguably, he was very much a household name in 1998 when 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain gloriously flopped.   Movies sell because they’re good… sometimes they’re arguably good, but that’s the debate.   I’m personally tired of Total Divas, and I’ve not watched a single episode.  I’m so tired of the “Entertainment” in World Wrestling Entertainment, because the entertainment should be coming from the WRESTLING…

Michael Benningfield and I have this debate all the damned time… he loves more of the technical aspect of wrestling.  Something I have always more attributed to Japanese Wrestling.  The in ring no flash, no flair, straight forward mat wrestling.  Something that more closely resembles “actual” wrestling.   I have a mad appreciation for that talent, but if I’m going international, I much prefer Mexico, which is equally as physically demanding and impressive, but is very flashy, very over the top.  He loves this as well, but I always say at the heart of this argument, I prefer American Professional Wrestling.  I like someone who may not be able to wrestle worth half a damn, but can entertain the hell out of me.  I can appreciate a beast who can go in there and tear the house down, but God help us all if they give him a mic.  Ideally when you get those who can do both, it’s the best ever.  This is why I can undoubtedly say that my favorites of all time have always been Shawn Michaels over a Bret Hart.  A Diamond Dallas Page over a Kurt Angle.  Not to say I don’t like both of those, not to say I don’t like the Kurt Angle’s and Bret Hart’s and Chris Benoit’s of the world… but if I was choosing whether I would prefer Chris Benoit or Chris Jericho, I’m taking Jericho, because while Benoit was a beast in that ring, Jericho was every bit as talented, but he had a charisma that wouldn’t quit in the least.   Ideally I’d take both, but pick one? Jericho every single time…

That… is American pro wrestling.  That is what makes people like Scott Norton lost on people.  It’s what makes Kevin Steen my favorite wrestler.  It’s what makes Bam Bam Bigalow underrated, and it’s what makes Dolph Ziggler underrated.  It’s what makes people put Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston into a singular box, it’s what keeps Generation Me out of the WWE.  It’s what makes The Briscoe Brothers truly an awesome tag team, but also makes Muhammad Hassan too hot to handle.   It’s that mix of personality and talent… yes… but you can’t force one or the other on us.  Why do you think Daniel Bryan is over?  Daniel Bryan is one of the most talented wrestlers I’ve seen in the past decade, but I can honestly say that there are so many times that I’m bored with him.  The fans love him, because really he’s willing to do something that only John Cena has been willing to do… make fun of himself.  Do you really think that Team Hell No was a great thing?  Hell no it wasn’t, but we watched… why? Because Glen Jacobs has never taken himself too seriously, and Daniel Bryan doesn’t give half a damn…  The actors, if you will, committed to their roles.  Disco Inferno was a brilliant fucking gimmick… not because it was great, not because HE was great… but he was just good enough at all of it, and he sold the shit out of it.  You know why no matter how hard I try I can’t REALLY hate Santino Marella?  Because the man sells his bit.  Granted, I think they could tweak him a little and make him so much better… but really… it’s just how he is.  He does great at what he does, in some exceptionally screwed up situations.   I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… stop… just STOP… don’t make us swallow it.  Listen to what you’ve got and do what you wanna do, but stop trying to dominate the chess board.  Either do something new, or let my people go.

Until next time…

WWE12_Belts_Final

Roundtable: Bring Back That Title, Or No?

Roundtable: Bring Back That Title, Or No?

 

Quite often on the Wrestling Corner the guys will sit around and talk about the “old school days” of the wrestling world. We don’t talk so much about what guys should be champ, could have, etc, but rather what titles should make a return to the squared circle. Join us in this edition of the Roundtable where we will each give a title we think should be brought back and why. Some of us will even go as far as to tell you what titles we feel should be removed from WWE, as well.

 

Joshua Lake


There are certain traditions that just stand the test of time. Some things just shouldn’t be allowed to change, other things need to. Title belts have always been a bit touchy for me, because looking over wrestling as a whole, some championships are just flat out atrocious, and others have a classy style and flare. Others are stylish and hip, and others still hold the test of time.

My favorite championship belt of all time has always been the retro (and current) WWE Intercontinental Championship. I don’t know why exactly, other than it sets itself apart from the rest. When it was used in concert with the Winged Eagle version of the WWE (then WWF) Championship, it was in my opinion the most classic pairing of championship belts around.

Having watched WCW and WWE primarily as a kid, and a bit of ECW mixed in… I can tell you I have spent a long time studying the evolution of these belts. The original ECW Championship was kind of ugly. It grew on me as time went on, but it was never anything that was striking to my eye. As a matter of fact, the only ECW Title that was worth a damn to me was the ECW Tag Team Titles, as again, they had the proper personality traits to them. When WWE relaunched ECW, it took me in a new way, as they made the plate for the new ECW Championship into a silver plated look. To me, it was always championship gold… not championship silver, but as I’ve always appreciated the look of silver to gold in most jewelry, I appreciated the attempt.

In the attitude era, Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Smoking Skull championship belt was amazing, I loved the design and the feel of it, but it was for one man, and making a custom belt for everyone does not exactly breed smart money, nor good business. There needs to be something said for a belt that makes a brand. TNA did that when they overhauled their belts not too long ago, and I think they came out of it for the better overall (even if the X Division Championship needs to try again, in my opinion.).

For such a genuinely small factor into the big picture, the championship belt is a huge thing. The interchangable leather colors in the late 80′s and early 90′s by people like Goldust, Razor Ramon, Shawn Michaels, The Ultimate Warrior, Rick Rude, and others made the concept of the designer belt an awesome thought, so for the purposes of this round table, I’m going to hit on three title points that I would like to see come back, and three I would like to remove as a whole, and because I enjoy leading with the bad, at least I want to in this case… I’m going to do just that.

Title Hazard #1: Creative Design Flaws

This was the problem I had with the overall concept of the ECW World Title. It was too busy. You knew what the belt was, sure, but it was red and blue, and barbwire printed in gold and it was supposed to look bloody and colorful and extreme, and while iconic… it was kind of atrocious. You also fall into the same pit when you look at some of the customized versions of other belts, such as the biggest fashion flop in title belt history (arguably)… the WWE Championship via John Cena. If it would have been left as John Cena’s customized belt… it would have worked for that short period of time, but holding on to the spinner belt for eight years and through multiple champions… my God… it was arguably the worst design ever. Don’t go down with a bad ship… sometimes we need time to adjust, other times… it’s just bad. Currently, the United States Championship (with the US Flag theme to it, introduced I believe at some point by John Bradshaw Layfield) and the TNA X Division Championship are examples of this holding on to bad designs thought process. However, I believe that the X Division is just a couple of tweaks away from actually being on to something.

Title Hazard #2 and #3: Generic Terminology and Oversaturation

I stated before, the Intercontinental Championship is my favorite design to a championship belt. However, when it was included with both the European, and at one time the United States Championship belts… my love of logic and geography began to override my concept of loving a belt.

Lance Storm was the first person I remember taking the United States Championship in WCW and turning it into a different regional belt. Storm was Canadian… why would he represent the United States? I loved that concept and truly how much heat it brought him from one of the original incarnations of Team Canada. The European belt was much the same way in WWE… Regional belts can be fun, but when you have the Intercontinental Championship there, a belt that by name crosses all continents, then we have everything covered, and the rest becomes semantics. Currently, we still have the United States Championship in WWE, we still have the former “Legends” championship, current Television Championship, on TNA… again… it’s just a matter of thinking things through, and I’ll address some of this in my good side of things.

Now, for the rest of the story. I’ve told you what I don’t like, both historically and currently. Pretty much, get rid of the US Title and merge it with the Intercontinental. Find a good design for your primary belt(s), and call it good. Keep it simple and streamlined. But now, these are my suggestions as to how the titles can make the product better.

Title Boost #1: Less is More

I said that there is something to be said for a company to keep things simple and streamlined, and I mean it. Representing the company should be a simple thing. The WWE should have it’s primary title, secondary title, and tag titles. After that, everything should be pretty much gimmick based, and what I mean by that is this.

Zack Ryder proclaimed himself the Internet Champion… years ago, Ted DiBiase was the Million Dollar Champion. In ECW, Taz was the FTW Champion… all of these were technically “non-sanctioned belts”. You wanna put your mid-card over and still have intrigue? Give some of your more popular people the ability to bring in a rotating section of championships… in essense, give everyone their own ability to have a title, without actually keeping that title. My thought is this, if you take something like a Television Championship, and MAKE it in a way that everyone gets their own styled belt to fight for in their own way, it would be that grass roots style, without having to make it watered down. Fade it in and out, and literally let people work with it for awhile, then drop it for long enough that people forget about it, until it gets handed to someone else to pop up for a bit. It’s a belt you don’t take too seriously, but it’s just enough flash to get the people you want to get attention to paid attention to. With one glaring exception.

Title Boost #2: Bring back the Hardcore Championship, and the 24/7 Rule.

The WWE is going more into a reality show as it is… could you imagine how many people would buy into the WWE Network with a channel devoted to the Hardcore Title? Live streaming access… whomever the champion is just gets their own reality show for a minute until someone beats them and takes the belt. It’s ratings gold in the Reality Era (by the way, I freaking want a got’damn royalty check for that shit, look back before Triple H started using it, I CALLED it that, because of the nod to the reality tv aspect of things… dayum man… stealin mah shit Trips! AGAIN!…)

Anyway, that aside, the Hardcore Title made midcard legends. Crash Holly was a bad man… Steve Blackman, Val Venis, Road Dogg, the list goes on… it’s just the kind of thing that would make us actually pay attention to the stupidity of the interludes they do sometimes.

Title Boost #3: Queer Eye For The Wrestling Guy…

I always said that it couldn’t have put the WWE out all that much to change the leather color. I could be wrong, but the Intercontinental Championship being perma-white annoys me… if you’re gonna go permacolored, it has to be black… but, personally, I think that while the current WWE Championship belt was a good idea, and it looked a hell of a lot better than the spinner belt, it still needs work, and in some ways I’m calling for a chance to go backwards into some form of the winged eagle look. Give it a good classic streamlined design, make it iconic, and allow for a little bit of self expression, which the current belt does thankfully, but… a little MORE wouldn’t kill anyone.

Bonus Title Boost: Put Money in the Bank back at Wrestlemania, and make the Intercontinental Championship have an “Option C” clause (I.E. The X Division Championship at Destination X) that is usable every year at Summerslam…

You want intrigue… put the IC strap up and unlike Money in the Bank, by the go home Raw (or even Smackdown if you REALLY wanted to throw a curveball) you hand over the Intercontinental Strap for a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, one on one, whomever that may be whenever that match is done. It’s not an instant cash in style, but you are going to take a two for one, no matter what. Lead the show with the title match, and end the show with a title match.. You put Money in the Bank back at Wrestlemania, so that you have one man with a briefcase who if he REALLY wanted to make things crazy could throw the “Biggest Party of the Summer” into freakin’ chaos… make this happen and I will promise you that Summerslam becomes bigger than Mania… some years at least…

Dustin Womack


 

Six-man tag matches have been around in wrestling much longer than people remember. Whether it be a faction like The Shield or The Fabulous Freebirds, or a combination of various wrestlers and tag teams such as Dusty Rhodes and the Road Warriors, six-man tag matches are a much bigger piece of the puzzle than the average fan would give credit for.

The idea of the Six-man championship has been done before. Most people remember the WCW Six-man Championship held by members of The York Foundation and The Freebirds. Some may even remember the World Class Championship Wresting days and seeing the Von Erich Family and The Freebirds battle it out in Texas for the Six-man Championship. Even one occasion saw David Von Erich team with Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy of The Freebirds to win the titles. No matter what, six-man wrestling is a significant part of wrestling history.

Fast forward to today. It seems three-man factions are making a comeback. Ever since the formation of The Shield and the dominance they’ve shown, WWE seems to be open to allowing more of these three-man factions to exist. We have 3MB. We have The Wyatt Family. We even have the newly reformed Evolution. So why not bring back the Six-man Championship and let some of these groups fight for it? Now would surely be a good time for it since these three-man groups do not appear to be going away anytime soon.

Michael Benningfield


 

Personally, I would like to see the cruiserweight title return. Not only because I think we need another title in WWE, but because we have enough small guys that there should be a division for them to wrestle in and showcase what they originally got into the business for. It is a rarity that someone very small becomes a World Heavyweight Champion. In fact, I’d venture to say that if Rey Mysterio hadn’t have been so big in WCW that he would have never become a champion in WWE. I think the only reason he was given the belt was because of his tenure, and the fact that Eddie Guerrero had passed away and it was a way to pay homage.

WWE need Cruiser-weight’s. They need that explosive factor that gets the crowd going and cheering, etc. Most people today don’t understand that Lucha Libre is almost a lost art. Sure, you can find it in the heart of Mexico and on some border towns, but it has fallen in the last decade and part of the reason is because companies like WWE simply don’t understand the talent that they have in front of them. Even the Cruiser Weight divisions in Japan are slowly starting to die down. The days of men such as Thunder Jushin Liger are gone. If you ever wanted to see arguably the best high-flyer to ever get in the squared circle then I suggest going back and watching him in action.

When WCW were bought out and subsequently closed down, WWE found themselves in a bit of a tangle. They now had twice as many belts, twice as many wrestlers, and much like Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff, they had no idea how to utilize the talents. Men such as La Parka, Juventud, Super Crazy, Ultimo Dragon, Brian Pillman, and more, suddenly had no home. Would they be able to make it in WWE? Possibly, but not likely.

WWE didn’t realize what kind of talent they had on their hands. As far as they were concerned, anything that WCW had previously done had to have not been very good or else they wouldn’t have sold the company, right? Before the NWO ran rough-shed over the company the Cruiserweight division was something to behold, and damn was it good! The men (and women at times) that put their bodies on the line did so because of the love of not only American Wrestling, but of Lucha Libre.

You see, in the art of Lucha, you don’t beat your opponent solely with chairs, etc. It isn’t like a regular match where a rivalry has to be settled with Tables, Ladders, or Chairs. No, in Lucha Libre, you beat your opponent by outclassing them in the ring. You beat them by out shining them and making your opponent’s moves look weak by the power of your high flying capabilities. WWE didn’t realize this, and in the wake of a WCW takeover the Cruiserweight’s ended up being royally screwed.

In today’s market, however, WWE are slowly finding that not all fans want a ‘larger than life’ superstar to be a champion. We like our Daniel Bryan’s, and we like our Cesaro’s, and hell, we even like our Heath Slater’s and Drew McIntyre’s of the world. I want to see the Cruiserweight Title return, and with it, I want to see a Cruiserweight Division return. I want to see a Pay Per View on the WWE Network that showcases highflying acrobatics combined with martial arts and suicide dives. I want to see ladder matches that feature 450 splashes, hurricanrana’s from the top of ladders to the outside of the ring, and lord willing, I want to see a man dressed in a skeleton costume dancing around like a fool. I want to see the Cruiserweight’s!

Whether you agree with the Wrestling Corner or not, we’d love to hear what you, the fans of the business, have to say about the titles and what you would like to see, or no longer see, in a wrestling ring!

World Titles

Roundtable – Unified World Titles: Like or Dislike?

Roundtable – Unified World Titles: Like or Dislike?

 

World Titles

Not too long ago John Cena and Randy Orton were embroiled in a battle to determine who would be the “one and only” champion in WWE. Their battle’s led them to come to a head where Randy Orton won both titles and thus effectively became the unified champion. But, are the titles really unified? Is there really a difference in how things are now versus how they were a few months ago? Our team will discuss our thoughts and views on the melding of titles, and we want your input as well!

Joshua Lake

When you pose the question of unification of title belts… I look back to 2001 and the Invasion angle. It was really the first time that I was ever aware of two belts becoming one, and really, the WWE didn’t keep two title belts around, they mostly got rid of the secondary titles. Short of the brief unification of the WWE and WCW Tag Team Championships by The Undertaker and Kane at Summerslam 2001, when they did hold both title belts, the unification of titles meant the instant dismissal of one of the belts. It happened with the Intercontinental and the United States. It happened with the WCW and WWE Tag Team Belts, it happened with the Intercontinental and European Titles, it happened with the Hardcore and Intercontinental belts… 

I find it funny when you actually break it down by that…

WWE Championship technically includes: The WWE Championship and the WCW Championship, and now the World Championship, which is technically just the WCW Championship unbranded, even if for about a year the World Championship also swallowed up the Intercontinental Championship. 

The WWE Intercontinental Championship includes: The WWE European Championship, the WWE Hardcore Championship, and the WCW United States Championship. 

The blending of titles is something that has a lot of history. Look it up sometime. As much as I’d love to give you the whole damned list, it’s kind of tedious, and the majority of the time the story is the same… you don’t retain two belts. Like I said, this has only happened three times in recent memory. Summerslam 2001 when The Undertaker and Kane defeated DDP and Kanyon. When Chris Jericho defeated The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin at Vengeance 2001, and TLC on December 2013 when Randy Orton beat John Cena to unify the belts that we now hold. 

I remember Mick Foley once during his run as commissioner saying that it’s speaks to your talent level if you weren’t holding a belt at one point in the WWE. There were so many of them, and that’s how the title unifications began in that era. There was a point in the brand separation that I felt the same way. I’ve always thought that the WWE needed to branch out, bring in another company, use the rights that they have to bring back WCW, or ECW (properly), or something different. I think if they brought in ECW properly it would do well to separate from themselves, give themselves an edgier product for their edgier talent, and keep their gimmick wrestlers to their original product. But that’s not the point of this… 

Ideally you have one belt for one position, and I stand by that. The problem the WWE has for itself right now is that the WWE Title belt is way too new to get rid of, but if they get rid of the World Championship belt, then they instantly “devalue” everything that they did with it. What they fail to realize is that in some ways they already have devalued it by devaluing Smackdown more than Raw, by devaluing the whole damned premise over the years. They haven’t fully committed to a brand unification yet either, which is why we conveniently forget that there still is a Raw and Smackdown General Manager (Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero respectively). So it makes sense that they’ll keep both belts around until they make that decision. It’s tacky, it’s a fashion faux pas, but it’s something that until they can justify a true unification by either making a new belt, or distracting us with something shiny, it’s the way of the world we live in.

Dustin Womack

Anyone who has watched Monday Night Raw over the past couple of months has seen the image of the champion carrying two belts. One of these is the brand new WWE Championship. The other, the World Heavyweight Championship that has been worn by some of the greatest wrestlers of all time. 

WWE “unified” these titles last December when John Cena lost to Randy Orton at TLC, thus becoming the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. I, like many others, was made to believe that there would no longer be two major titles in the WWE. We would now have one champion and one belt. However, WWE continues to allow Randy Orton, when he was champion, and now Daniel Bryan to carry both belts to symbolize being the best. 

My thoughts on unifying the championship are pretty simple. I am all for taking two prestigious titles and making them into one to symbolize that person as being “the best” or “the champion”. I am not, however, for that champion carrying around two belts to symbolize this. I do not believe I am the only one that thinks it looks a bit ridiculous for a champion to carry two belts. Is he the champion of two organizations? No. Does he have a second waist to put his second belt around? No. Is there any reason at all to carry two belts on your shoulder as opposed to wearing one belt around your waist? No.

Michael Benningfield

Personally, I am not a fan of the Unified Titles. Not so much because they are unified, but because it doesn’t allow for more than one top tier guy to be in the company. Doing this makes it hard to “push” other guys because you can only have one top dog in a company and inevitably the rest will get pushed out of the picture and held back. Take guys like John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, and Randy Orton. We have been stuck with the same four guys vying for a title since last December. It gets old.

With having two titles, and preferably two separate brands (which is a whole other roundtable discussion in and of itself) you could have two top guys and two main events with twice as much excitement and possibly more men involved. As it stands, the fans have been stuck with the proverbial “same ole shit.” Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with someone like Daniel Bryan being world champ, but look at what has just happened on this last Monday Night Raw. Bryan has announced he has to have neck surgery, and so now WWE are faced with either not having a World Title Match or stripping Daniel Bryan of the title. If we still had two titles this wouldn’t be such a big issues as WWE could just change the game plan a little and have guys fighting for the other title as D-Bry recovers from surgery.

However, my main issue with the “unification” is, ironically, the unification itself. How can you call a title “unified” and yet carry around two titles? I think WWE are having an issue because they want their WWE title to be THE title, and yet the old World Heavyweight Championship from WCW’s glory days still looks better than the piece of shit WWE have produced in the last two years. I really feel as if WWE are missing something when it comes to the Undisputed or Unified or whatever they want to call them titles. They are missing the “it” factor that makes people want that title. We need two brands, two titles, and two great shows. Unfortunately for the fans, Smackdown has and will always be the little step brother to Raw and so two brands and two titles doesn’t work well because no one takes the Smackdown brand seriously.

I want to either see two titles with two brands, or one title, one brand. Until that is done, I think the entire concept of “unified” and “undisputed” are completely lost on WWE because a title isn’t unified when you are carrying around two titles at the same time. It looks ridiculous, but that’s nothing new in the world of WWE.

In conclusion, the one thing that it appears everyone agree with is the fact that WWE need to get rid of two belts if they are going to call them unified. There’s no point in having one guy constantly carrying around two belts. It looks absolutely stupid, and needs to be addressed. With any luck, it will be, and soon.

Thank you for reading another one of our Roundtable Discussions, and as always, get involved and tell us what you think!