Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

This is not a column, just a post I felt like making.

This is not my scheduled time to post, but I really wanted to use this forum to wish everyone a happy holiday.

I am currently listening to the Christmas Craptacular from last night, and am reflecting on how much fun I had participating in it. To JJ and Trey, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. This is normally a hard time of year for me. I lost 3 people I loved very much in 3 years literally days before Christmas, so I have been lacking in the Christmas spirit as of late.

But, my affiliation with the SNS radio network in the last year has been wonderful, and my column on this site, http://www.headlocks2headlines.com, has been awesome!

So, I just wanted to take a moment to thank JJ, Trey, Sean, Crelly, Ty, Huhn Jo, Trent, Rod, Ashley, Andy Knowles and all the rest, for a fun year.

The friendships I have made are unbelievable.

To Andy Knowles, you are an inspiration. Overcoming obstacles and being strong are characteristics I appreciate.

To JJ, you are a fine example of what it means to work hard and fight for what you believe in. Thank you for your countless hours of dedication and tireless work. You're the kind of guy people look up to. No matter what obstacles are in your way, you plow over them and persevere.

To Trey, one of the things that hooked me on Wrestling News Live was the way you view the world. It sounds funny, but your opinions often echo my own. We're hardcore, and don't really give a damn, except when it matters. You're an Italian at heart!

Harmony, you're the toughest woman I know. My Mom still asks about you after the Facebook conversation we all had. Hard work and courage go a long way. And, you'll go far, because you are brave and tough as nails. I respect you greatly.

Crelly. Hmmm.... What to say about my boss? Not much really. I can't honestly think of anything to say about Chris. Other than the fact that he constantly maintains this website. Or, that he has been a massive success in booking interviews for the SNS Radio Network. I suppose I could mention how he stays up late to participate in shows, juggles college and work, and still manages to co-host. Maybe some of the lazy young spoiled brats I see on a daily basis could benefit from seeing what it means to be a hard working young man, even if he gets drunk once in awhile. :)

The Sensational Sequel. The guy who lives a military life like my Grandfather used to. Sean has been a great friend and one of the funniest guys I know. His ribs are the best on the network.

Midnightman. I spoke to this man for over an hour today, and it was my pleasure. If you ever need courage, look Mario up and you'll find it. This man made my Christmas, and talking to him was like talking to a brother. Midnightman is proof that God gives light to the brave.

Huhn Jo. Writer extraordinaire. My friend. My competitor! The guy whose column I read and think "Damn! How am I going to top that?" Much respect to you brother.

Trent. Keep it real youngster! You have your priorities in order, and you've been a great friend to me. Be smart, be strong.

To everyone on the SNS Radio Network, let Don_Bronx wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. All of you are special to me, and I just wanted to tell you all how I feel. God bless, and I will catch you in 2012.

Oh! And to JSK, you're not here now, but the laughter you have brought me through the archives is second to none. So, I raise my glass and say, "Peace, 420, kiss my ass, goodnight white people. I'm out." Happy Holidays!

Don_Bronx

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What Makes Sense, What Doesn't

So, another year is fading. Old man 2011 is on life support, and little baby 2012 is about to be born. Let me just say, good riddance! 2011 for yours truly has sucked, and I'm glad it's over.

Now, what was I supposed to write about? (10 minute pause) Oh! Pro Wrestling! As the title implies, wrestling has done many things this year that haven't made sense. However, towards the end, they've done quite a few things that make sense. Take my hand. (washes hand) Okay. Take it now. Sorry. And, let's review a few story lines of 2011 and see what we get.

As far as not making sense, we've got a lot of ground to cover, but I don't intend on writing "War and Peace." I'm going to break down a few examples. First off, let's start with TNA. A lot of its booking doesn't make sense. Heels that should be faces, and faces that should be heels. Allowing over-the-hill talent and the talentless to be in charge. Too many chiefs, and not enough Indians.

Allowing Kurt Angle to beat Robert Roode at a PPV, and having James Storm beat Angle for the title on the next Impact made no sense. Then, putting that title on Roode a few weeks later made no sense. Roode should have just beat Kurt and it would have made sense.

Putting ratings second to PPV buy rates makes no sense. It's not like advertisers are coming out of the wood works to support a show with an average 1.1-1.3 rating. I'm not a big fan of ratings, but advertisers are. So, again, not too smart. And, not policing the Internet like the WWE and allowing 10,000 streams to broadcast during any given TNA PPV makes no sense.

Now, switching gears. This is not an anti-TNA column. Let the Don lift his gavel and pass judgement on the WWE for a few moments.

Announcing a Wrestlemania match one year before it's going to happen doesn't make sense. All this has done is minimize anything else John Cena could be doing, um, like maybe putting people over? I'm actually looking forward to this match, but announcing it only 5 or 6 months in advance would have been sufficient.

Michael Cole's continued announcer role makes no sense. His constant self-promotion and worked personal opinions are ruining MY ENJOYMENT OF MATCHES! Thank dear God for Sunday Night Showdown, so I can mute that troll and actually enjoy a show.

The Triple H storyline made no sense. Trips becomes COO, and a few months later is kicked out by a vote of "no confidence." "Dangerous work environment?" Really? REALLY? Yeah, and when Vince was ordering the families of every face kidnapped in the Attitude Era, that wasn't an "unsafe working environment." But, wait! There's more! Triple H is still COO, yet a temporary GM can overrule him! Brilliant! That storyline self-destructed.

And, speaking of the Raw GM, never revealing the identity of the anonymous GM made no sense. Months of storyline ruined. With that said, John Laryngitis being on TV makes no sense! Um, who is this guy? What has he done to deserve being on TV? His voice sounds like two crows attempting to have sex in a mattress filled with razor blades!

Oh, it keeps going! Kane coming back with a "full head of hair" makes no sense. Nor does wearing burn makeup under his mask make sense. Oh! We're supposed to forget about the last 4 or 5 years right? That Kane never existed!

Okay. (takes deep breath) Let's flip the script a little bit. TNA always has several storylines going on at once. If you don't like one, I bet one of the other four will get your attention. THAT makes sense. The WWE seems to just focus on one or two story lines, and the rest is filler. The Treydawg of Wrestling News Live made me think of this, so the credit goes to him. He's right. (he's also pretty good at recommending a good brand of beer)

Eventually putting the belt on Robert Roode was a good move. Roode is a TNA man all the way, and I think the company showing faith in him makes sense.

TNA has a lot of problems, but they're still in business. They don't give up, and I respect that. Try in 2012 guys. Try to find SOMETHING about TNA you like. I find it hard to believe that there is NOTHING worth watching in TNA. It's keeping wrestlers employed, and at least giving us a second option. People will say TNA isn't a second option. Other than Ring Of Honor, name me one.

On the WWE front, this sudden push of young talent is awesome! 2011 will be known as the youth moment of WWE. Look at our champions! CM Punk as WWE champ, Daniel Bryan as World champ, Ryder as US champ, Cody Rhodes as IC champ, and Air Boom as tag champs. A further note on Rhodes. The other night when he won, he kissed the IC title. YOU GO BOY! Make that title mean something! Cody has grown on me so much, and I'm proud of the kid. I hope his dad is, too. "OH MY GOODNESS!"

This is what the WWE should have done a lot sooner. They seem to be moving away from Cena, and that makes sense. It's time for him to start putting people over.

The WWE seems to be embracing the IWC a bit more. Good. Recognize our power. I know the Twitter stuff is a little annoying, but hey! For years they denied the IWC's existance. Well, we ain't going nowhere.

Letting guys hold titles for longer than a breath mint makes sense. Henry had a pretty good title run. Rhodes is having a good run. And, Ziggler did an awesome job as US champ. I see big things for him.

Well, the wrestling part is done. I have some things planned next week, so I might take the week off from this column. I suspect after 1/2/2012, I'll have a LOT to write about.

I'd like to take a moment to thank some people. When Ty contacted me about writing a column for this site, I was flattered. As a man who loves to write, the opportunity was amazing to me. And, so far, this column has been well received.

I'd like to thank first, the Treydawg and JJ Sexay. If it weren't for Wrestling News Live and the SNS Radio Network, this could not have happened. You two have inspired me more in the last year more than I can say. Your friendship and support has meant a lot to me. You guys are the greatest.

I'd like to thank the Power Andy Knowles, a man I couldn't have more respect for. Andy and I share certain problems in this world, and all I will say is I look up to him as an inspiration and proof that one man can do anything.

The Sensation Sequel Sean has proven to be a trusted friend and a hell of a guy. One of the best ribbers on the network.

Crelly, who ultimately has allowed me onto his site and has trusted me, is a young man with determination and talent. Any awards for interviews this network gets will be largly in part to Crelly. He juggles school, work, this site and helping the network. Maybe some of these lazy young punks I see should take notice.

I'd like to thank Ty for originally contacting me about writing a column. Ty's faith and trust in me has been awesome.

And, lastly, to the family, Acer, Trent, Ashley, ZMG, Midnightman, Rodriguez, Maize, Koncept, Big Mike, AnthonyFarley and all the rest, there are too many of you to list, thanks for putting up with my stupidity in chat. Hey, it's my gimmick. Also, a huge thanks to the king of archive listeners, Huhn Jo, for keeping me on my toes. You're a HELL of a writer, and it's a pleasure to be featured on the same site as you.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, whatever you celebrate, have a good one. If I cannot put out a column next week, thanks again everyone, and I'll catch you in 2012.

(kisses own ring and raises it in salute)

Don_Bronx


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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Drop That Attitude Mister

So, finally my cable company has fixed the Internet. Wonder if I'll get a refund. (laughs hysterically for 10 minutes)

Heels and babyfaces. The true wrestling fan knows the difference, but the lines are becoming blurred. In fact, the lines started becoming blurred when the fans decided to turn Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock face.

Yes, the fans turned them. It wasn't a creative decision. It was simply fan reaction. If you're a wrestling company, you cannot ignore the reactions of the fans. Oh, wrestling companies will tell you otherwise, but that's BS. If a guy is over, he's over, and there's no denying it. I was privileged to be at Madison Square Garden when Triple H returned after he injured his quad the first time. This was a guy who left as a vicious heel, yet the Garden exploded with cheers when he walked down the ramp. My ears still ring from that day. It makes you wonder what the real ratio is when it comes to "smarts" versus "marks". Even though Trips was a heel when he left, the cheers proved that the fans could look past that, and appreciated his work ethic and in-ring talent.

Triple H didn't change his persona that much either. Same sledge hammer, same badass Clique member. But, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and even though he was a villian, those fans at the Garden knew how good he was, and were glad to see him come back.

So, what differentiates a heel from a face? A heel cheats, lies, jumps guys in the parking lot and cuts promos designed to anger the fans. Simple. Babyfaces? Not so simple. What defines a babyface has changed drastically over the years. Compare the Hulk Hogan of the 80s to Steve Austin. Faces need to change with the times. In the 80s, guys like the Rock and Austin would have been heels. No one wanted to cheer for a beer drinking, foul mouthed redneck, or a wise cracking, rude, condescending ass like the Rock.

Enter the 90s. The world changed. People were pissed off about their jobs, politics, you name it. Everyone wanted to punch their boss in the face. When Stone Cold actually did it, the fans loved him. He was blue collar and bad ass. He did what we all would have liked to do.

The Rock wasn't loved because he was the all American prayers and vitamins guy. He was loved because he was cool. As a teenager, I thought this bad ass, wisecracking brother was awesome! Now, I have a sense that the times are-a-changin' again.

Look at the reaction Cena has been getting. The goody-two-shoes gimmick is wearing thin. His fans are growing up, and are getting tired of the smarmy babyface. In my opinion, Cena will have to change his character at some point. I'm not saying he has to turn heel, but the fans are proving that what he's doing isn't working anymore. On the flip side, I think eventually a guy like the Miz will go over huge as a babyface. Why? Because he's bad ass. The 5 year old Cena fans are turning into teenagers. Rebellious. Angry. For them, the goody goody Superman gimmick is getting old. It's the same reason guys like Sheamus are getting over big time. Sheamus goes to the ring and kicks your ass and leaves. He doesn't care about sportsmanship or shaking hands after the match. Arrive. Kick ass. Leave. Proven formula.

Just seeing the reaction that the Rock still gets VS Cena shows you, without a doubt, that the fans are becoming attitude era again. A smiling Daniel Bryan or Cena or Evan Bourne doesn't cut it. The gangsta era may be coming back. Babyfaces will have to be more edgy and, well, heelish to get over. That's a formula Cena can't pick up on. If I walk up to you on the street and spit in your face, your reaction is to beat my ass. Cena's reaction is to ask, "Why did you do that? Huh? That wasn't very nice." YAWN. IT'S NOT HOW A REAL PERSON ACTS!

Look at the nWo. It started off as the most hated group in wrestling, but, a year later, all you saw were nWo shirts in the audience! Hall, Nash, and Hogan got over. Yes, they were heels. But, cheering a cool heel and booing a Barney-like babyface CAN be the norm. Depending on the times.

And times, they are a-changing. People are broke. The economy is bad. We have to worry about terrorism and crime. We don't want to cheer guys like Cena. And, the kids that still cheer him are getting less and less. Why? Because they're growing up.

The Attitude Era came because the fans demanded it. The WWE couldn't ignore how much the nWo was getting over. If Vince hadn't flipped the script, the WWE might not be here now. I sense that time is coming again. But, when you tweak a guy's character, let the fan reaction be your guide. One of TNA's many problems is that THEY want to TELL you who to cheer and boo for. We've got God booked for this month? Well, let's turn him heel! What? Everyone on the planet loves God? IT DOESN'T MATTER! TURN HIM HEEL! Satan signed a deal too? TURN HIM FACE! LET'S SWERVE THE FANS!

Um, no. Let the fans' reaction swerve the COMPANY. Put a guy out there, give him the mic, and see what kind of reaction he gets! Then, give the fans what they want. Now, I'm not just blaming TNA here. WWE is doing EXACTLY the same thing with John Cena. They're ignoring the fact that a smug, snot nosed egomaniac like Punk is getting cheered a thousand times more than Cena. Punk is being pushed because the fans are pushing him. At least the WWE is doing the right thing and putting him over.

In the end, I think the line between heels and faces needs to be blurred. And, the line dividing the two, as always, needs to be set by the fans. As a kid, I always cheered for the heels. Then again, I was a very disturbed child. Could you guess?

So, cheer for who you want to cheer and boo who you want to boo, by God. Don't let the companies sway your decision. Don't be a puppet. If you like Mark Henry, cheer him. If you hate Orton, boo him. You're spending the money, and have a right to like who you like and hate who you hate.

Well, that's it for this week. Thank goodness my Internet has stayed on for as long as it...(CONNECTION TIMED OUT)

Don_Bronx

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Over Staying Your Welcome

This one might catch heat, but have I ever cared? I need to get this off my chest.

(starts playing Real American) The other day, Hulk Hogan, in his infinite wisdom, Tweeted the following:

“Taping again in Orlando,Garrett seems to have found the magic,I only hope it rubs off on some of the other numb skulls. HH”

Really Hulk? Really? This kid whose been around for the length of a 20 cent cup of coffee, storyline-wise, has found his magic? Um, what about AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Kaz and the rest of TNA? To make a comment like that is ridiculous. First off, why make it? What's the purpose? Perhaps it was a work. Hogan's rant about Robert Roode not being ready? Maybe that was a work too.

What does it matter? Why does ANYTHING Hogan says matter? His time is over. Been over for years. If it is a storyline, why bother? No one CARES what Hogan has to say. Everything he says does nothing but hurt TNA and its wrestlers. Hogan was brought to TNA to get the company over. The problem is, Hogan only cares about getting himself over. Oh, and of course Bischoff. Bosom buddies, life long pals!

Does anyone realize that the biggest time in Hogan's career was 20-3o years ago? Why does this man think that anything he says or does is relevant anymore? I'm tired of this over the hill wrestler constantly bogging down the business. I can't see two young stars wrestle in TNA, because we have to have a Hogan/Sting match. Who cares? This match was huge 20 years ago! Someone like Hogan should be doing nothing, NOTHING but putting over young talent on the mic. He should never set foot in a wrestling ring again. Wrestling fans have short memories. Hogan is going to be remembered as the old crippled guy who tried to wrestle, and the great things he did will be forgotten. Go away and shut up Hulk.

Ric Flair is, without a doubt, one of the top 5 talents in wrestling. Ever. He has had some of the best matches I have ever seen in my life. However, seeing him in the ring now is embarrasing. Flab and chest chops. Flair could be awesome, truly awesome in a managerial role. But, he should stay out of the damned ring! Ric can collect a paycheck just fine without lacing up a boot. He's not gold on the mic, he's diamond, and can get a broomstick over. That's exactly what he should be doing. I don't want to see him wrestle anymore. If I want to see Ric Flair wrestle, I'll load up my videos of Flair/Steamboat. Stick to the mic Ric.

Over the last few years, Undertaker has put on some phenomenal Wrestlemania matches. Taker is in my top ten. To get that gimmick over and keep it over for so long is amazing. 20 is a nice round number. I'd love to see Taker go 20-0 and then retire. Taker is a guy who is smart with his money, and I'm sure he's well off. He's given of himself more than anyone in the ring and the lockerroom, but it's not fair that this man not be able to walk someday. After 20, Taker should ride that Harley into the sunset.

In my opinion, Sting made a huge mistake not going to the WWE. Sting is one of the greatest. He was key to the success of WCW, and also the nWo. Sting has played the hero for so long, that he'll always be one of the beloved characters in the business.

He'll also have missed a huge opportunity. The WWE deserves Sting, and Sting deserves the WWE. Young fans who are not familiar with the Sting character would love it. And us older Sting fans will get to see some classics. Sting VS Taker. Sting VS Cena. Sting VS anyone! And, in the end when the Stinger is ready to retire, we're talking hall of fame, DVD sets, you name it! There's still time Sting! It's the right move.

Rey Mysterio is, in my opinion, the best little man in history. At 5' 6", it's laughable to think he could have ever became a wrestler. But Rey could get in there with the Hulk and cause trouble. As far back as WCW, you believed little Rey could beat anyone. You got behind the little guy who had no fear. Rey definitely belongs in the hall of fame.

But I fear for Rey. He's had so many knee surgeries that it's scary. Rey needs to retire. Not because the fans don't want to see him anymore. Not even because he can't still wrestle. But, there is no reason to cripple yourself for your fans or the business. Rey's a legend already. I want him to stay a healthy legend.

Please understand. Other than Hogan I'm not making fun of these guys in anyway. I just want to preserve their legacies. There's nothing more for them to do. The way Nash is being used is how it should be done. He's not wrestling too much, and the WWE isn't dedicating an over abundance of time to his storyline with HHH. It's limited, and older fans like myself can't wait to see the two best friends murder each other. But, HHH and Nash aren't being shoved down our throats. It's a side story, and this is what older wrestlers should be doing. Side stories and putting young talent over.

In closing, I want to completely change gears and address the people out there who crap on wrestling. The people who make fun of me for being a fan, and ask "How can you watch that ****?"

I am damn proud of Vince McMahon for one thing. Whether it's just to get the company over, or because Vince really cares, Vince honors our troops every year. I think it's the latter, and Vince is a true patriot. No one else, not the NFL, not the NBA actually flies into enemy territory every year, to either put on a show or just to mark out some young soldiers. No one dedicates a whole event just to them. That's why I'm a proud wrestling fan.

Whether you like him or not, John Cena has brought smiles to the faces of dying children, flying all over the country to visit with them, play a little Xbox, just do something to make their last days a little brighter. That's why I'm a wrestling fan.

And, when I make friends from God knows how many countries because of a few radio shows, that makes me proud to be a wrestling fan.

So, to all those who laugh at me, take a break from the ring this week and kiss my ass instead.

Don_Bronx

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How Do They Manage Without Them

Managers. Where are they now? Where are the guys and gals who could make a mute wrestler go over like Niagra Falls? The guys who made you hate a wrestler by PROXY. The guys who were so over as heels that the hate you felt was passed on to anyone in their stable.

I remember back in the day, which was a Wednesday*, we had stables in wrestling. A group of, usually heels, managed by one person. The Heenan Family. The Hart Family. We had Mr. Fuji and Harley Race. Too many to count. One thing they've all had in common was the ability to get someone over. Okay. This young 350 pound beast can't talk on the mic but can snap necks in the ring? Put him with Heenan. Give him to Hart. And, the first day that guy was introduced by the manager to be a new stable member, BAM! Over like rover! Spat on, booed and hated. And, it didn't matter if you ever heard his voice. Because Jimmy Hart, the most annoying, irritating man on the planet, God bless his heart, was so hated and reviled, that you instantly hated this new guy because Jimmy liked him! See how it works, guys? Wrasslin' 101. And, Jimmy would cut the promo FOR him! The new guy would just stand there, spitting, snotting and grunting, and Jimmy made him look like a million bucks!

Why did they ever stop? Nowadays a young guy comes in, and while he may be a great wrestler, you give him a microphone and instantly the fans pull out razors and slash their wrists. In-ring talent is only half of the whole package. It is basically impossible for a wrestler to get fully over if he can't talk. So, you end up with this young guy who wrestles a five star match, but can't explain WHY he's wrestling it.

Having a manager also helped a guy learn this talent. You couldn't help but get better on the mic with Heenan talking crap by your side. And, if you remember, slowly the wrestler was allowed to talk, little by little, testing the waters. So, when the day came where he broke away from that stable, he had honed his verbal skills.

I have racked my brain trying to explain why they got rid of most managers. Maybe because now everything is rushed. Pushes are rushed. Rookies are rushed. So what? What better way to push a guy more quickly than have him come out with Fuji? "I don't know who the hell this kid is, but if Fuji likes him then I hate him!"

Now, I'm not saying at all that this formula always worked. Some guys just sucked so bad that Satan couldn't get them over. But, all in all it was very successful.

Look at Eric Bischoff. Like him or not, he helped get the nWo over. It would not have been the same without him. He was never said to be a manager exactly, but you new he was in charge. Managers even added flare to guys who were already over. The lovely, petite Ms. Elizabeth coming out with Randy Savage. Beauty and the beast. It worked. Then, Savage leaving her for Sherry and teaming up with Zeus! Brilliant! It got a mainstream babyface crazy heat as a heel. The Mega Powers exploding wouldn't have been the same without Liz. May she rest in peace. Sherry too.

Another thing that I believe killed the Survivor Series concept is the lack of managers with stables. You had the Heenan Family against 5 faces. Fuji's guys against 5 faces. It was so brilliant.

I understand that wrestling has changed. But, certain up and comers could really benefit from a mouthpiece. I think in the end, the huge push Ziggler is getting was helped in part by Vickie. We all make fun of her, but she's a great manager and a heat magnet. People will fall in love with Ziggler the day he piefaces her and leaves. Instant face push! I think Michael Cole has all the makings of a top, TOP heel manager. This guy has X-Pac heat! Get him off commentary and put him into the roll of a manager. Even guys like HHH could make great managers and start great stables.

TNA could break ground by bringing back managers and stables. You have people like Karen Jarrett with sick heel heat. She backs certain heels, but she's not a full-fledged manager.

In the end I miss stables and managers. This is a concept wrestling should try again. It would give new guys an instant spot. Because whether it's Fuji throwing salt in your eyes, Hart busting you over the head with a megaphone, or JJ $exay promising you free pizza and DVDs and then stabbing you in the back, having managers worked. And could again.

Now, I shall sit here patiently and wait for my pizza and DVD parcel to arrive. (one month later) Bastard.

Don_Bronx

*Credit: the Treydawg of WNL

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Random Thoughts

Hey yo. (ties dew rag.) I thought this week I would just address some news items, and give my opinions on a few things going on in wrestling.

First off, kudos to the WWE for an awesome PPV. I have to give them credit. And, right now CM Punk is my favorite wrestler in the WWE, so seeing him win the title was awesome! I think Punk is going to hold that belt for awhile. I would love to see him keep it until Mania, but we'll have to wait and see.

However, with that being said, I have to criticize my boy on something he said in an interview. Punk basically said that the Rock being backstage lowered morale, and that he doesn't shake hands with anyone. He goes right from his limo to the locker room. Punk, I love ya, but let's get something straight. The Rock earned his stripes. He spent years building up his character and paying his dues. He's made the WWE millions. He has a right to act however he wants. He doesn't shake your hand. You extend yours. You say hello to him, and add a "sir" at the end of it. I'm also tired of hearing about how the Rock is never around and brings it via satellite. Well, how many guys in the business would take their ball and run too if offered a Hollywood deal. Punk is, compared to the Rock, well, a punk. When you've achieved what the Rock has achieved in pro wrestling, then come back and talk smack. Of course, this could all be a work.

Next up, I want to talk a bit about John Cena. (readership declines) Wait! Come back! Seriously. Here's my question. What exactly do you do with him until Mania? Who can he fued with? He's beaten every damn face in the company. The Miz and Truth angle is dead, and anything Cena has done in the last few months has been overshadowed by his Mania match with Rock. It's almost like that dreaded line a fired wrestler hears. "Sorry, we got nothing for ya."

Here's what Bronx would do. Cena hasn't had time off in awhile. Zach Ryder and Punk are picking up the merchandise slack. Storyline injure Cena. Have him off TV for like 3 months, and bring him back a month or two before Mania. Make sure to drive home the fact that he will be back by Mania so as not to anger ticket buyers. Show him on TV from his living room, talking about how he's fighting to get back. Towards the end, show him in the gym working out getting ready for the Rock. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and Cena needs some time off. As I said, what do they really have for him right now?

Apparently, not only will the Truth set you free, but it will get you high as well. If you haven't heard, R-Truth was suspended for a wellness violation. Man, there have been a lot of them. When Linda's about to run for Senate, put that joint down!

Personally, if it's just marijuana, I honestly don't see the problem. In any sport. Weed, I think, is safer than alcohol. That's just my opinion. But, I'm sure it's written into your contract what you can and can't do, and if you sign it and then violate it, sorry about your damn luck.

At first I was upset about them breaking up Awesome Truth, until I found out the real reason. Know what I'd love to see? You have Miz go back to singles for 30 days, and then bring back R-Truth as the face. NOT THE WHAT'S UP FACE! No. Tweak his heel persona only slightly. Don't make him insult the fans as much, but don't make him a rapping moron again either! Keep him as a tweener. He and Miz will have heat on each other, and I think it could be an interesting feud.

I'd like to take a minute to wish Sin Cara the best. He suffered a major injury at Survivor Series and may be out for up to a year. I'm not really a Sin Cara fan, but I don't like seeing anyone get hurt. That is the problem with high risks moves. If you get them right, they look awesome. But, if you botch, you can really get hurt. High risk moves should be limited, and few and far between.

Something else on my mind. Nash and HHH. First off, Nash looks like the TNA Nash's son! He looks freakin' great! Last night on Raw, Nash cut a great promo talking about HHH. Here's what I'm worried about. They're going to jump the gun. This match should be saved for Mania with HBK as the special referee. To finally see Nash VS HHH will be awesome if they do it right. A fantasy card for Mania?

HHH VS Nash, street fight, HBK as ref.
Rock VS Cena.
CM Punk VS Henry, title unification match.
Ziggler VS Zach Ryder
Taker VS either Chris Jericho or Mick Foley

Just my thoughts. And, no I didn't forget Daniel Bryan. I've beaten that dead horse a million times.

Thanks as always for reading, and may everyone in the USA have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Don't eat too much! Time to get back to the limo! (ignores extended hands and puts nose in air)

Don_Bronx


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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Surviving The Series

Yes. It's that time yet again. Time to stuff ourselves with turkey, burp, watch football and, of course, the WWE's Survivor Series. Or, maybe not. One of the "big 4 PPVs", the Survivor Series used to be a unique wrestling experience. You had groups of teams consisting, usually, of five faces and five heels. You also had a Thanksgiving themed PPV with food fights!

The classic Survivor Series formula worked because you had plenty of time to build up to it. Five guys would get together to form a team. Most of the time, the other five they went up against had individual rivalries with that team. A captain was chosen, usually a top face or heel, and they went at it. The buildup was generally good. Back before you had 750 PPVs a year, you had plenty of time to push a feud between ten people. You had time to tell the story. Now, not so much so. Now, we have only one classic Survivor Series match this Sunday, and the rest are all standard matches. We have Team Orton, consisting of Randy Orton, Mason Ryan, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston and Sin Cara, against Team Barrett, consisting of Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, Hunico and Dolph Ziggler.

The problem is, we don't have too much of a reason. We have a group of faces against a group of heels, but why exactly are they fighting? One of the captivating things about this type of match is that once a guy gets pinned, he is eliminated, and it becomes 4 on 5. Conceivably you can have a situation where it's 1 against 5. If you put that one guy over, you make him look like gold!

This was one of my favorite concepts of Survivor Series, but now this seems all overshadowed. Let me ask you something? How many people are really that excited to see Rock and Cena go up against Miz and Truth? I mean, Cena's been doing fine on his own! Why does he even NEED the Rock. The WWE has, in my opinion, had a lackluster buildup to this PPV, mainly because they feel that the Rock will sell it for sure. Hell, so far Wrestlemania 28 ticket sales have proven the Rock sells. Still. To sacrifice the classic format to push singles matches is, I think, a shame. Maybe I'm getting too old for this.

To change gears, I need to address a news story floating around this week. Gregory Iron is an independent wrestler with cerebral palsy, a devastating desease. However, he has overcome it, and, from what I hear, is a pretty damn good wrestler.

Here's my problem. He bills himself as the "Handicapped Hero." Now, I don't know this man, and I will not speak too ill of him, but I find that to be a bit offensive. As a handicapped person, I've spent all my life trying to get people to treat me just like anyone else. It is called advocacy. Too often the disabled are denied jobs they are perfectly capable of doing, because the wheelchair, the white cane, or the crutches make that employer instantly think that that person cannot perform at the same level as a non-disabled person.

Iron is now petitioning the WWE to allow him into the Royal Rumble. Why? Has he had a tryout? Has he gone through developmental? I know the Rumble consists of all kinds of characters. But, still. You have to pay your dues. Now, again, I don't want this to sound the wrong way. If he's a good wrestler, he should be hired only, ONLY because he IS A GOOD WRESTLER. He should be treated exactly like every other newcomer is treated. If he's that good, God bless him and give him his shot.

My problem is, I don't want a situation where someone like this is given a shot BECAUSE he's disabled. The name "Handicapped Hero" puts it right out there! Well, why put it out there at all? I'm not the "Legally Blind Computer Tech." Why? Because I wish to be recognized for my skills, and not pittied because I have a disability. Damnit, I may have to get close to the screen, but when I'm done, you're computer is humming smoothly. Hopefully, you forget how close I was to your screen, and realize how well your computer is now running. That's why I've had the same job at the same place for 11 years now.

And, what will the WWE do? Well, they'll do exactly what they did to Zach Gowen. Now, mind you, Zach's handicap is impossible to miss. As a one-legged wrestler, I was damn proud of that kid. But, Pro Wrestling did everything to keep exploiting that fact. They had Lesnar throw him down a flight of stairs to help get him over as a heel.

So they'll hire Iron, and have the heels cut a promo on him about his disability. They'll do every damn thing in their power to make you AWARE of it, rather than just simply bill this guy as a good wrestler. They do the same thing to JR, making fun of his face and his medical problems.

They did it with Eugene, who, although not really handicapped, was used as fodder for heels to pick on. If Iron can make it through a tryout, and get into the WWE on the merits of his wrestling skills, then God bless him. I am an instant fan. But if it's done through pity, or through the realization that he can be exploited, that sets back disability advocacy a LONG way. Let us see what happens.

I'm not taking digs at this man. I have a lot of respect for anyone with a disability who wants to work and better themselves. As long as it's for the right reasons.

Don_Bronx

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Internet Wrestling Critics

For the last two weeks, my fellow columnist Huhn Jo has written his column about the IWC. (If you haven't read "Spoon-Fed Wrestling", check it out here. I'm not trying to copy Huhn Jo's topic. On the contrary. His writing was so captivating, that I wanted to give my take on his topic.

Huhn Jo gave his opinions on the IWC, and I'd like to summarize mine. So, is the IWC a good thing or a bad thing? It certainly has changed many people's views on wrestling. If you want intimate knowledge on the inner-workings of the business, you can find it now. Between news sites like this one, dirt sheet sites and social networking, it's not too hard to learn about how wrestling really works. And to bitch about it.

The IWC has turned many into "armchair bookers," or, people who think they can do a better job of writing, booking and blocking wrestling. I bet some of them can, too. But, with that being said, watching wrestling while having insider knowledge is almost like watching Wheel of Fortune. Many times I've gotten the answer to the puzzle long before the players on TV. My first though is, "You idiot! It's R**e P*d*i*g! Rice Pudding you fool!" Well, it's easy to say that when you're sitting comfortably at home, and not under bright lights with a live studio audience and your friends and family watching. The same thing could be said for Pro Wrestling. You can say "I'd do this or that" all you want, but basically no one in the IWC has true experience in the business. They don't have to deal with the backstage crap, the politics, the writers, the talent, etc. I think I could book wrestling if I tried, but at the end of the day, I really don't know. All the above mentioned items aren't covered in dirt sheets and news sites.

Another thing the internet has done is give the wrestling fan a forum to complain or praise. You can cuss out a superstar you don't like on their Twitter, or tell them it's your birthday and get a re-Tweet. I've talked to Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels and Dixie Carter, and getting a response is a mark out moment. I've also seen wrestlers abused, cursed at and even threatened by marks. There are two sides to every coin.

As a child, I never complained about wrestling. Shows and PPVs that I'd tear to shreds now I gladly accepted, because I didn't understand that there WAS an option to do things differently. Even after I learned wrestling was "fake" I still rarely complained. For one thing, I didn't know where to complain to! For another, I didn't think wrestling is as, well, customizable as it really is!

We know who to curse now when things don't go our way. For the longest, you cursed out Russo when TNA did something stupid. You cursed out Vince when the WWE did something stupid. At least, something YOU considered stupid and a 5 year old loved.

I have to agree with Eric Bischoff when he said there are these "ten percenters." Eric basically said that the 10% of people who do nothing but complain in the IWC are the loudest. I agree. Huhn Jo brought this up to. I don't get people who do nothing but bash TNA for 25 weeks straight. If, after 25 shows, you find nothing compelling about the company, just stop watching it! Simple and easy! Why put yourself through Hell every week?

I am also aghast at some of the people who say they WANT TNA to die. What a horrible sentiment! Because YOU don't like something it should vanish? I hate liver. Does that mean I should petition every supermarket in the country to stop selling liver? Of course not! I just don't eat it! Another thing these one brain celled organisms don't think about is the wrestlers. If TNA folded, do you think the WWE would hire everyone? Look at what happened when WCW went under. You're talking about a lot of wrestlers, many of them who only know wrestling, being out of jobs. That should drive home what a heartless sentiment that is. I just want TNA to get better and MAKE me want to watch it every week. The funny thing is, the people who pray for TNA to go under will be the FIRST ONES TO CRY! "There's no competition anymore! Vince is Darth Vader again! WAAAH!" Well, you got your wish kiddo.

Part of the IWC's emergence had to be wrestling breaking kayfab and basically TELLING us it's a work. It's entertainment! Well, once you admit that, it is no longer critiqued like a sport. It is critiqued the same way you criticize a bad episode of the Young and the Restless. Because you know it CAN be different, because it CAN be customized, you want it your way. Well, this ain't Burger King.

And remember, my fine reader, that if you're above the age of 18, pro wrestling really doesn't care what you think. As long as your kid begs you to buy t-shirts, wrestling is happy. TNA is a bit more adult driven, which is why I still watch. And, mostly, still enjoy at the very least SOME part of the show.

The IWC has spawned many positive things. Radio shows, news sites and fine columns like this one. So, it's not ALL bad. It's 90% cool. I'm not saying don't complain. Just don't be one of those 10% that ONLY complains. Smile. You'll live longer.

Don_Bronx



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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Shooting From The Hip

"Something To Prop You Up"

Over the last week, I've been thinking about something (besides beer and chicks.) Titles. Particularly, titles in Pro Wrestling. What they mean, what they meant, and what they can do for a wrestler.

Now, a lot of people call the titles props. Well, the ring in Lord of the Rings was a prop. But, what would that story have been without it? Midgets and Wizards walking around? The ring was the central theme, or even character of that whole saga. You see a guy with a crutch. That's a prop. But, you kick that crutch out from under him and he falls down and you get arrested. That prop meant something.

So did titles. A world heavyweight title change used to be a HUGE deal. It was infrequent, newsworthy, shocking. Now, world titles are passed around like a joint at a Hardy family reunion!

Here's the million dollar question. Does the title make the man or does the man make the title? Well, a little of both. Bruno Sammartino held a world title for 8 years. 8 YEARS! When he finally lost it, the crowd was "stunned into silence."

Right! Because that title meant something. Does anyone remember the emotion when Randy Savage won the world title at Wrestlemania IV? It brought tears to my eyes. When you make a title important in the eyes of the fans, then when it changes hands it is a big deal. Even mid-card titles can help elevate a wrestler. In fact, that's what they're meant to do. Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat put on the best match I have ever seen in my life at Wrestlemania III, and it was for the Intercontinental Title. In my opinion, it stole the show. Even though Andre/Hogan was awesome, while watching the main event I was still thinking about that match.

Here are a few things I think have devalued titles in wrestling. First and foremost, frequent title changes. The TNA title has changed 3 times in about a month. So, what value does that title have? Anyone can win it at anytime! The WWE is guilty of the same crap. Cena wins the title, Del Rio wins the title soon after, Cena wins the title back, and a month later, Del Rio wins it again! Christian holds the World Title for two days. TWO days! That's another problem. Interim champions. I hate the concept. We have wrestler A, and we want to put the title on Wrestler B. But, we don't want wrestler B to actually DEFEAT wrestler A. So, introduce wrestler C! He beats wrestler A on a fluke, and 20 minutes later, wrestler B defeats wrestler C to become the champion. Why? Why the HELL not just let wrestler B beat wrestler A. Wrestler A was your established champ. But, your new champ didn't beat him for that title. He beat jobber C, who held the title for a cup of coffee. I also get angry when a guy says he's a 1,205 time champion. Um, yeah, and 1,200 of those times you held the title for 6 hours! Ric Flair won his 16 titles over the course of what? 30 years? In my opinion, if John Cena goes over that amount it will not matter to me, and comparing him to Ric Flair is like comparing a gold brick to a used crack pipe you might find in a city gutter.

Another problem I have with the WWE is having two major championships. There is only ONE Superbowl champion. There is only ONE World Cup champion. Only ONE World Series champ. There should only be ONE world champion in your company. When the brand split happened, only one belt should have remained, with the champion competing on both shows.

Another abortion is superstar-specific belts. I've never agreed with that. Steve Austin should not have been given his own World Title. John Cena and Jeff Hardy shouldn't have either. You're taking the importance away from you championship and putting it on the superstar. No matter who holds that disgusting, ugly, horrid, sickening tin can pile of crap spinner belt, everyone thinks "John Cena." (vomits)

The midcard belts? Basically non-existent. Who cares about the US title? The last few champions haven't. They hardly defend it! It's just a shiny piece of metal around a guy's waist, like a fashion accessory. At least Cody Rhodes made an impact by debuting the "old" IC title and giving a speech about it. It helped you believe the title actually meant something to him.

And, that's another thing. Remember when a guy won a belt for the first time he would drop to his knees, crying, cradling the belt like it was a newborn baby? YES! It made you believe a lifelong dream had actually come true for him!

Bottom line is, I am not happy with the way the titles are utilized in wrestling, and I hope it changes. Mark Henry is a glimmer of hope. Let's see how long he holds that title.

I'll end with this. Remember when Triple H was the MONSTER heel world champion? How many times did he say that the title was the ONLY thing that mattered to him? Run someone over to keep it? Sure. Kick an old lady down a flight of stairs to retain it? Check. And, Triple H summed it up better than anyone else in history, and I'll paraphrase him. If you're not in this company to try and win this title, then what the HELL are you doing in the business! Trips was spot on.

Don't bother kissing the ring. It's just a prop.

Don_Bronx



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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Shooting From The Hip (late again)

Again, my apologies for publishing on Thursday again. Because of medical reasons, I had to delay it. I will be back on Tuesdays next week.

WARNING! The following column has a few weeks worth of TNA spoilers in it!

Money or ratings? Ratings or money? That is the question. Now, I do understand that high ratings produce money from advertisers. If I were an advertiser, I'd want to have my product on a highly rated show also. But, let's crunch some numbers. In 2010, WWE reported 5.9 million dollars in advertising revenue. Now, the WWE doesn't make it clear if that revenue came from their company advertising on TV, or from advertisers paying them. I'm assuming the latter. They then reported 70.2 million dollars in profit for Pay Per Views.

Now, if my assumption is correct, that is a HELL of a lot more money from Pay Per View sales. Now, I'm no genius, but that means I'd want to make my PPVs as important as possible, and use my television time to help build up to those lucrative PPVs and make fans interested in buying them. By the way, WWE also reported 104.6 million in 2010 for "Live Event' revenue. Now, I don't know if that includes ticket prices, merch or whatever combination of them. That number quite frankly surprised me.

Where is all of this leading to? TNA of course. Again, spoilers are-a-comin'. At Bound For Glory Robert Roode was the internet darling, the man who everyone expected to walk away with the TNA title. He didn't. Kurt Angle retained. Why? Three possible reasons.

1. To protect Kurt Angle, which is nonsense. Like Cena, Angle is over enough to not need it.
2. Because of Hulk Hogan's shoot/work comments about Robert Roode not being ready.
3. Hogan bitched that he wanted his face turn to be the most important thing on the PPV.

Okay, now children, pick which one makes the most sense. (Waits for hours.) RIGHT! None of them make any sense! Especially 2 and 3. Let me put this out there now. No matter how over you are, how popular or how many t-shirts you sell, no wrestler, and I mean NO active wrestler should EVER have any creative control over their character or ANY influence on ANY Pay Per View they appear in. Now, I'm not saying a talent can't make suggestions for their own characters. Key word, "suggestions." The final say should be with the bookers.

If Hulk Hogan is allowed ANY influence on any event, it should only be an event in which he does NOT appear. At all. You can either be an on-air talent, or you can be a backstage talent. If you're on-air, you should never be allowed to call shots.

That being said, one "week" after that, James Storm wins the TNA title. Okay. A home-grown TNA star. Pretty cool right? Um, no. Because you gave us a title change on a free event! Now, why should I plop down 45 bucks to order a Pay Per View, when the most captivating things happen on free TV! "Wanna order the PPV honey?" "Nah! They do more stuff on the free show. Let's just wait until Thursday!"

Bang! Revenue out the window! You're discouraging people from buying your PPV! Now, TNA isn't the only company that has done this? Remember when the WCW Nitro ratings started to slip? Well, the brilliant plan there was to have Hulk Hogan drop the strap to Bill Goldberg on a free Monday night show! A HUGE PPV match that everyone wanted to see, and Bischoff gave it away! Again, why order the next PPV?

Now, back to TNA. A "week" after this happens Robert Roode becomes the number 1 contender. The next "week" he wins the title from Storm! Okay, whipe the blood from your noses. Well, if the belt was already planned to go on Roode, then why not just have given it to him at BFG? Not only that, two, count 'em, TWO title changes on free TV! So, what's my incentive to buy the next PPV?

This booking made absolutely no sense. Oh! And did I mention they turn Roode heel? Yep! The guy everyone loved is now a bad guy! This also hurt James Storm, who will forever be known by those two dirty words. Transitional Champion.

TNA is working the fans TOO much. I'm not saying always give the fans what they want, but, also, don't go out of your way to over-work them. They turned Jeff Hardy, one of the biggest babyface draws in the WWE, heel. They turned Matt Morgan, a guy the size of the Empire State Building, who should have been going out and leaving faces crippled, into a good guy! What the hell for?

Bottom line is, if you keep messing with the fans' minds too much, they stop watching. Or, they just stop paying to watch. After all, with TNA the best things in life really ARE free.

My head hurts.


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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Shooting From The Hip (late edition)

(Author's note: Spoilers in this column)

Finally, the Don HAS COME BACK TO HEADLOCKS2HEADLINES.COM! (waits for the deafening sound of crickets to end)

Thank you. Oh, yes. I'm all hyped on post-op meds and ready to go! So, Bound For Glory.

BFG's highlight was meant to be the Hogan face turn. Make no mistake about it. Roode winning the title would have taken attention away from Hogan, hence Roode did not defeat Kurt Angle.

But, on tonight's episode of Impact, James Storm defeats Kurt Angle for the World Title. Explain something to me. Why should I pay 40+ dollars on a TNA Pay Per View when all the good stuff happens on free TV? Now, mind you, I have no problem with title changes occurring on free TV. But, a few days after a Pay Per View? It doesn't make sense!

Both WWE and TNA are guilty of this. Using a Pay Per View to make you want to tune in to the free show. No! The free show should build up to the PPV and make you want to spend your hard earned money! A title change on the Impact following your biggest PPV of the year is just dumb. What incentive does that give your fans to plop down money, much needed money for a PPV? None! "I'll just wait until Impact."

TNA is using the internet and the mainstream media a lot. Hogan saying that Bobby Roode isn't ready for the title via such a public forum is insane! And, if the title outcome from BFG is because of Hogan's comments, than that is insane as well. Hulk Hogan should have NO influence in TNA booking. None. No on-air talent should be able to influence the outcome of major Pay Per Views or matches. In the dying days of WCW, this was one of the factors that helped speed its demise. I'm not saying it was the ONLY factor, mind you, but it sure didn't help.

As far as I'm concerned, Hogan has proven himself to be a man who thinks whatever company he works in should revolve around him. He uses his influence as the money maker of the 80s to persuade promoters and owners to listen to him. Well, guess what? The 80s are 30 YEARS AGO! Hogan is holding on to the fame and fortune he achieved in his day, and trying to use it to influence TNA. And, it's working!

Now, I have no problems with James Strorm winning the TNA world title. Congrats to him. He's a hard worker, and a guy who has put up with a lot of backstage crap over the course of many years. But, again, a title change on a free show rather than a Pay Per View is dumb. It makes the people, all 5 of them, who payed for BFG feel like idiots! My last word on TNA. Dixie needs to step up and take the power away from guys like Hogan and Bischoff. No one cares about them anymore. I do give Hogan credit for toughing it out at BFG. But, the show shouldn't have been about his face turn. It should have been about Roode winning the title. Hogan needs to close his Twitter account and just go away.

Now, on to the WWE. Nonsensical? Me thinks so! You fire JR last week, and then John Laurinaitis comes out and says because he's gotten hateful Tweets, he's reinstating JR, not as an announcer, but to compete in a match! First off. John Laurinaitis has about as much on-air charisma as the needle they shoved in my eye Monday. He's boring, sickening, unbelievable and a terrible actor. Bottom line, he sucks like a vacuum cleaner plugged into a nuclear power plant. So, again, JR is put into a match. JR doesn't belong in a wrestling ring. His health is not the best, and even with talented wrestlers in there, the chance of him getting hurt is high. But, alas, we were spoon fed this like a child screaming not to take his medicine.

We were also "entertained" by the bowel movement of the WWE, Michael Cole, stepping into the ring again! If there's nothing more sickening, horrible and disgusting than hearing Cole on commentary, it's seeing him in the ring. Cole is a cancer in WWE. No matter how good it gets, that tumor still interferes with everything. What was the point of having Jesus, whoops, I mean Cena and Del Rio fight it out with announcers as their partners? And, worst of all, Cena VS Del Rio in a Last Man Standing Match at the next PPV? Who honestly thinks the WWE will let Cena stay down for 10? Raise of hands. (tunes in bionic eye) NO ONE! So, what do we do? Put the title on Cena yet again? Cause the Don to vomit in his Cheerios? Make fans over the age of 3 sick? Sure! Because it's the WWE/Cena/Vince program! Let's put the title back on Cena! Let's allow a guy who sounds like a bullfrog with tonsillitis be the GM! Let's steal your money!

Before we dump on TNA, (which I've done), don't forget to squat and grunt on the WWE product as well. Ratings are down across the board, and buy rates are down. Damn shame. And, to John Cena, I really CAN'T see you right now bitch, so ha ha! Where are my eye meds?

Don_Bronx

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shooting From The Hip

So, here we are again. Less than 24 hours removed from Monday Night Raw. Less than 24 hours from seeing good ol' JR humiliated in his home town yet again.

I just don't get it! I've been ticked off since last night, and I'm going to use this forum to vent. Why does Vince McMahon seem to love humiliating JR every chance he gets? Jim Ross is, without a doubt, one of the most beloved characters in wrestling. What's not to love about the friendly, portly old redneck who has battled through sickness, has been crapped on by WCW and who endures, silently, constant abuse? Here's the deal. In my opinion, Jim Ross is the best wrestling announcer ever. Period. Now, I know some people will disagree with that. That's fine. I think he's awesome.

Besides seeing Ross get fired, we had to endure Michael Cole laughing about it. Now, I've never made my opinion on Cole clear in this column, and it's time to do so. What words can I use to describe Michael Cole? "Used feminine hygiene product" comes to mind. Also abnoxious, boring, untalented, vile, useless, effeminate, annoying, sickening and disgusting. I would have loved to see some drunken fan hop the guardrail last night and just break Cole's freaking jaw. I wonder how much crap he'd talk while drinking his Happy Meals through a straw for a few weeks?

A lot of people will just say Cole is doing his job. No he's not. Bobby Heenan did his job. So did Jesse Ventura. A heel commentator is not supposed to detract from the in-ring talent. They are supposed to put talent over. Cole does nothing but put himself over. The whole Wrestlemania fiasco, seeing this little creep climb into a ring and embarrass the business, was a damn shame. Listening to him down wrestlers, the entire female division and the fans in general is a disgrace. But, no. Let's get rid of JR and keep this loser. JR should go to TNA. I think he could cetainly benefit that company. He has a great wrestling mind, and, if given the book, I think he'd be an awesome addition to that company.

As far as HHH being "fired" as COO, once again, too soon. It's been only a little over a month or two since he took the job, and already we've switched gears yet again. There's just not enough time to let things sink in. Watching Raw is like watching a roller coaster or a 3 hour movie condensed to 10 seconds.

This is basically the opposite of what TNA is doing. I have to give TNA props. They've made Bound For Glory a huge deal for months, and they are doing a good job of making me interested in the Pay Per View. It's been an old-school slow burn, and I like it. It gives you a chance to build feuds so that when these guys actually get in the ring at BFG, you care. There is a rumor going around that Ted Turner has invested in TNA. Uh oh! Imagine another one of those calls at 2AM to Standford. "Hey Vince! I'm in the wrasslin' business. Again!" If this rumor is true, it could be huge. Ted Turner actually does care about pro wrestling. He admitted that when he first started out, wrestling kept his channel alive. This could breath new life and new money into TNA.

Switching back to the WWE, John Cena is no longer the top merchandise seller, and I think I know why. Cena's character has been huge for about 6 years now. In those 6 years, kids are growing up. When I was a kid, I was a Hulkamaniac. Of course! What kid wasn't? But, as I grew up, Hogan just got lamer and lamer. As a teenager and a young man, I could relate more to the NWO and DX. They were cool. CM Punk is cool. He's the loudmouth badass that older kids can relate to. In a couple years when these kids get their first cars, I'll bet they'll be using a Cena shirt to wax them.

Cena needs to evolve his character. The same old thing can't work forever. I could see Cena as a heel, but in the PG era, I don't think it would work as well. If we were still in the Attitude Era where heels could be off the charts, it might have worked. I'm sure the Cena/Rock Wrestlemania match will be huge. Cena has shown he is capable of evolving. He sure as hell has evolved as a wrestler. I think he's 10 times better now than he used to be in the ring, and, like him or not, I have to give him props for improving. Having a few matches with HBK surely didn't hurt either!

It's hard to imagine where the WWE is going having Johny Ace as the interim GM. Key word interim. With rumors of Foley coming back to the WWE, I could see him in that role again. Mick was, in my opinion, hilarious as the goofy GM, and in the PG era it would work perfectly. You could keep him there until a little before Wrestlemania, and then perhaps have him take on Undertaker for the streak. Foley has a lot of wins over Taker as Mankind, and both guys respect each other. If Mick is in shape, I can go to see the two of them lock horns one more time.

Well, that's it for this week. It's lunch time. I'm meeting Michael Cole, and we're going to drink our Big Macs together. Peace

Don_Bronx

Author's note: There will be no Shooting From The Hip published on October 18th because I will be having surgery the day before. I am hoping I will be able to resume writing in time for the October 25th edition. Perhaps I will do a special Sunday night after Bound For Glory.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Shooting From The Hip

Selective Memory




Before starting today's topic, I'd like to give a brief opinion on Hell In A Cell from last Sunday.

I personally, graded the PPV as a B+. Although HIAC matches are nowhere near as brutal as they used to be, I still thought the PPV was okay, with the exception of Kelly Kelly VS Beth Phoenix.

Kelly Kelly can't wrestle. Period. She is nowhere on the level of Beth or Natalya. I'm not saying to fire the girl. Heck, Trish Stratus is a prime example of a sub-par worker who blossomed into one of the best ever. I say send Kelly Kelly back to developmental, and train her a bit more. I think anyone can improve, and she deserves a chance.

I honestly don't know why the fans at the PPV were so displeased with the Sin Cara match. I actually thought it was a decent match. I'm getting the impression that the storyline is what has the crowd flat for this fued. It happened to quickly, and should have been built up longer. Where do you go from here? I have an idea. Ultimately, there will be a mask VS mask match between the two, with the loser being forced to unmask and drop the Sin Cara gimmick. Only way that will work is for blue Cara to go over, and then, perhaps, continuing the feud with Huniko.

Mark Henry retains the belt. Yes! I love how they're pushing Henry right now. I can forsee him holding that belt until Wrestlemania.

I still think CM Punk should have won the title, but I'm willing to give Alberto another shot. Anyone but Cena!

As far as the title of this column goes, I'd like to address how wrestling treats us all like Alzheimer's patients. Why does wrestling think they can always run a story which contradicts another story a few months or years back? Right now, HHH is being called a hypocrite by some for "firing" Miz and Truth because they hit a referee. How many times has a referee been abused in the past? Even faces have been known to get angry and waffle a ref. I know in some storylines the offender was "fined", but I can't remember anyone being "fired" for hitting a ref.

I agree HHH's CHARACTER is being a hypocrite. HHH was jumping guys in the back and taking out refs while the Miz was still at home dreaming of pro wrestling. But, again, we're supposed to forget that.

While I liked the ending of last night's Raw, it still, in my opinion, has its problems. A vote of confidence? When Vince was screwing over every face in the company during the Attitude Era, no one ever rebelled against him. The one time it happened was after he "fired" Stone Cold on a PPV where Austin was refereeing the Kane/Taker match. The next night on Raw, we started off with all the wrestlers angry in the ring, staging a protest. One promo by Vince, and they slank back to the locker room with their tails between their legs. Again, we're supposed to forget the Attitude Era. It never happened.

We're also supposed to forget the Nexus. It was okay for the Nexus to come out and beat down everyone, every week. Not one member got fired or suspended. Miz and Truth do the same thing and get fired?

I understand why the WWE does this in some cases. It's like watching your favorite TV show, and something happens in season 4 that totally contradicts what happened in season 3. Star Trek was great with that kind of stuff. Sometimes revealing history can actually help. When Punk first left commentary after healing up and started attacking Randy Orton, he played a video package explaining exactly why he was doing it, just in case the fans forgot, which, I am sure, some of them did. I thought that was brilliant and I'd like to see more of it.

And, finally, I'd like to switch gears one more time, and talk briefly about John Morrison. I hate to see that he's obviously being buried. It's a shame because I always thought Morrison could be a great star. It seems like he's made his own bed however. All the stuff that went down with Melina, and now he's put a shoot out on the internet talking crap about Raw, HHH and creative. I hope that this is a work, and he's not dumb enough to have really done this. Perhaps this is the start of a push, or the end of a WWE career. We'll have to wait and see.

So, until next week, thanks for reading, as always. (there was something I had to do) Oh! Publish the column! But, of course, I forgot. Thanks, WWE creative!

Don_Bronx

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shooting From The Hip

Future


We all look to the future. Where are we going? When will we get there? Will prison time be involved? Every person thinks about it, and I've been thinking about the future of some of our WWE superstars. How will they be pushed? Will they be pushed, and what will their roles be in the company?


I am limiting this to WWE superstars. I'm obviously not going to cover every wrestler in the company, (I've got a family, damnit), but I am going to look at some of the guys who I think are relevant. Let's start from the top.


1. John Cena

Cena's role is obvious. He's on the top of the world right now, and it looks like he may beat Ric Flair's world title record. (vomits) Anyhow, I predict Cena will continue to be booked on top of the world until he either gets hurt, stops selling merchandise, or, for whatever reason, quits. But, as Cena gets older, how will he be used. He should be used the way Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair were used. To push new talent. Cena has been given a wonderful gift. Anyone who beats him clean can be instantly propelled. I can see Cena in that role someday, as the veteran who helps out younger talent.


2. Mark Henry

Seems only appropriate to move on to the next champ. I don't honestly think Henry has too much time left. He's been in the game 15 years, and is finally getting a push. Henry should keep that title until Wrestlemania 28, being an unstoppable beast, until he's finally vanquished on the grandest stage of them all. Again, he can be used to put someone over big time before he rides off. Daniel Bryan perhaps? And, speaking of Daniel Bryan...


3. Daniel Bryan

See how I did that? That's right there is a segway! Here comes the heat. I do not see Daniel Bryan as lasting too long in the WWE. I just don't. He is, without a doubt, a fantastic wrestler, but I compare him to Shelton Benjamin. Again, a great wrestler, but there was just something missing. I enjoy seeing both men in the ring, but WWE requires mic skills or a manager. I, unfortunately, see Bryan either losing that briefcase before Mania, or being the first person to cash it in and lose. Maybe I am wrong, and a gimmick change will help, but I doubt it.


4. The Miz

Well, Miz has already proven he can hold a WWE title and get people's attention. He's a company guy, and his mic skills are great. I can foresee a huge babyface turn for the Miz in the future, and I think his future is very bright. He has improved as a wrestler over the last two years, and we all know Vince loves work ethic and company guys. If you think Miz's first WWE title was his last, you're sadly mistaken.


5. R-Truth

If I were writing this a year ago, I'd have put Truth on the future endeavored list. But, I am pleasantly surprised at how damn good a heel he is! His crazy gimmick works very well, and he has surprisingly good mic skills when acting as a heel. His in-ring work is good as well. I see Truth as a long-term mid-carder. I could see a possible IC title or US title run in his future, and hanging out with the Miz is helping to put him over.


6. Randy Orton

Basically, see John Cena. Orton is a company guy, and he ain't going nowhere. Short and sweet, he'll have several title runs, and, in his later years, be used to put younger talent over. He's already a main-eventer, and he'll stay that way for the forseeable future. His mic skills need work, but his in-ring talent is unquestionable.


7. The Undertaker

Taker will go 20-0 and then retire. I do not see the streak ending.


8. Kane

One of my favorites. Talented yet a bit underutilized. Kane will help put guys over until he retires. And, I don't think that is too far off. Kane seems unselfish and very smart. I can see him putting guys over for a bit, and then taking a backstage role in the company. He's certainly qualified.


9. Dolph Ziggler

Decent mic skills and definite in-ring talent, I think Dolph is going places. The one thing he has against him is his name. I don't know what one celled organism in creative came up with that name, but they should be fired. Or, better yet shot. If Ziggs can overcome the name barrier and be allowed to shine on the mic, I think he can get over as a top heel with a possible title run in the future.


10. Sin Cara

I'm only referring to the original. Future Endeavored, for sure. Look, he's exciting in the ring, but he cannot speak English and therefore cannot cut promos. He was rushed into the WWE without going through developmental or taught the language, and his botches are obvious to anyone. Perhaps being one of HHH's picks will help, but I still think it will be "come to terms" time, and sooner than later.


11. Zack Ryder

I honestly don't know why he has not been pushed sooner. Ryder is gold on Youtube, and that can translate to television. Decent in-ring skills and a great promo, I don't know what the company's problem with him is. I would hope he is used as an upper-mid-carder. Probably never a World champ, but I could definitely see him carrying a mid-card belt.


12. Cody Rhodes

Cody's crazy disfigured gimmick seems to work well for him, but I don't see him going above mid-card. He doesn't have his dad's mic skills, but he can draw heat. I actually see him holding that IC belt for awhile. Cody could be used like the Honkey Tonk Man, and keep that belt so when he finally loses it, the title gets some prestige.


13. Ted Dibiase Jr.

More than anything, what hurt Ted was being handed his father's gimmick. Meet the kid, same as his Pop. Becoming fodder for Cody Rhodes didn't help him either. Decent in the ring, but he doesn't have his old man's skill on the mic. His name may keep employed, but, sadly, unless creative comes up with something, I don't see him going much further than he is now.


14. CM Punk

Punk is gold in every single way. Best stick jockey in the business right now, and very good in the ring, Punk has titles in his future. He has other things going for him as well. Don't be surprised to see a 50 year old Punk doing color commentary in the future. Punk is my favorite right now, and I see him winning that title many, many times. Kudos to my boy HHH for making him look like a billion bucks at the last Pay Per View too. If Trips sees it in him, then it's there.


15. Sheamus

With a unique look and ever improving mic skills, Sheamus is one of my favorites. Fella. I saw the babyface turn a mile away! A guy who makes you sell for him and who doesn't take crap. A legitimate badass in every way, I see the big Irishman as a multiple time title holder with a bright future. HHH likes him, and so do I. He may be the guy to finally topple Mark Henry.


16. Vince McMahon

I know. I know. Crazy right? What will happen to Vince McMahon? His television exposure has been lessened over the years. Hell, the guy is in his 60s! I see Vince being in charge until the day he dies. All I have heard about this man tells me that there is a fire within him that will never be extinguished, except by death. Unless old age makes him so infirm that his family forces a takeover, as long as Vince CAN call the shots, he WILL call the shots. Some of his decisions are great. Some are bad. But, you can never, ever take away from what he has done, to both help wrestling and to hurt it. Without a doubt, he will go down in history as the greatest wrestling promoter ever. And, yeah, he deserves that.


Well, that's it. I figure I'll end this at 16. Keep in mind that the above is just my opinion. Most likely I will be wrong on most fronts, because I've never worked for the WWE, nor have I ever booked. If I left someone out, or you think some of my predictions or opinions are insane, that's fine. The ring stays shiny none the less.

Don_Bronx


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shooting From The Hip

Why So Serious?


Well, another WWE Pay Per View has come and gone, and we're left with two new champs on Raw and Smackdown. On the Smackdown side, we have Mark Henry as the new Heavyweight champion, and on Raw we've got, hmmm. Who could it be?


Oh, yeah! John Cena. Again. While we wait for these cuts on my wrists to heal, I want to talk a bit about this Pay Per View and the aftermath.


As far as Mark Henry is concerned, good for him! It's great to see hard work pay off, and Henry has been working his behind off the last few months. I know some people didn't like the match he had with Orton, but Henry is a big man. He has a certain style, and I think Orton did a fine job making them both look good. I'm also very happy that Henry went over clean. I also like the fact that now Henry has a lot of potential challengers. Orton, Sheamus, Kane and Big Show, just to name a few. I can see a lengthy title run for the big man. Just let him keep being an unstoppable squash machine.


On the other front, we have Cena winning the title again. I have an idea for the WWE. Why don't you just get rid of the WWE title, and tattoo it on Cena's waist? It would save you some money on name plates, and make for captivating television if he loses the title. Can you imagine Punk carving that tattoo off Cena with no anesthetic? Brilliant! As much as I hate seeing this happen again, I have to confess that, to me, Del Rio was not a believable champion. (waits for heat) Hey, just my opinion, and this is MY column. I like Del Rio's gimmick, but it seems like it's really a few gimmicks mixed together. JBL+Eddie=Del Rio. Yes, there will be a test later.


So, I don't really have a problem with him dropping the title. But, couldn't it have been to someone else? How about Sheamus? With this new "Super Show" concept, why couldn't Sheamus compete for the WWE title? I don't even get angry anymore. Acceptance is peace, and Cena will have that title, most of the time, until he retires. I'm not going to worry about it anymore. I will laugh though, to the point where I'm cast in the next Batman movie as the Joker, if Cena ever gets injured and needs to be out for a few months. Now, don't take that the wrong way. I won't laugh because a man got injured. I don't want to see any wrestler get hurt and not be able to earn a living. What I mean is, I will laugh watching WWE creative try to get themselves out of a corner they've painted themselves in by just pushing one guy for the last 6 years.


I don't honestly know what to think about the Divas situation. You've pushed Beth and Nattie as these monsters, yet every time they go near Kelly Kelly, it's like a Godzilla death scene. Everyone sing along with me! "I'm a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world..." Yes, I like that song.


In the main event, we saw HHH go over. I am so sick and tired of HHH never putting over young talent! I mean, HHH has won on every Pay Per View he's been a part of! All he does is squash young talent because he's married to the bosses daughter! It's not right!


Okay. Not really. HHH made Punk look like a million bucks. Punk kicked out of two pedigrees, something I've never seen before. Yes, the main even was a cluster****, but I think it came off well and helped Punk look strong. So, all the Internet hate on the Tripster needs to end. He's done more than his fair share of putting guys over, and I'm tired of hearing the same crap from the IWC.


It should be interesting to see where this storyline goes, especially since, in the next two months, we have about 23 Pay Per Views. Holds up sign after paying for them. (will write wrestling column for food)


Now, a little TNA. It appears as if Hogan and Bischoff, who, yes, are surgically attached to one another, may be gone from TNA once their contracts are up in October. Everyone is saying this will be the death of TNA. I don't think so. What do Hogan and Bischoff really do for TNA? Other than filming them backstage talking crap, what else have they accomplished there?


I'm not privy to the backstage workings of TNA. I don't even think God is privy to that info, but I don't believe for one second, no matter what they say, that Eric and Hogan weren't at least partially in charge of booking and writing. Now, I will give TNA a pass for one thing, and that is that they didn't know Hogan would need such extensive surgery when they signed him. He wasn't there for a long time, and whatever story they had for him kind of got derailed.


What I will not give TNA a pass for is once again announcing a possible match, before making sure that said match could happen. Hogan/Sting is apparently a bust right now. Hogan can't wrestle. He's been told by doctors he can't wrestle. So, why would you even announce that match? Did they expect to have a 20 minute stare down on a Pay Per View?


It's a shame, because I'm watching TNA less and less. Actually, I'm watching wrestling less and less. I look more forward to listening to wrestling radio on show nights than watching the wrestling itself. I guess I'm just getting old. You can only mark out for so long. WWE doesn't care if I live or die. I have no children to buy merchandise for, so I'm dead to them. The Muppets on Raw prove that.


TNA? It seems like they just don't care. Period. So, where does that leave the older wrestling fan without children? I'll tell you where. It leaves them sitting in front of a computer all depressed writing a wrestling column. Nice job Pro Wrestling. Nice job.

Don_Bronx



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shooting From The Hip

Turn Up The Radio




This week's column will not be about wrestling. Yes, I know this is a wrestling column, but I want to talk about something often overlooked especially by the "casual" fan. Wrestling radio.




Besides being the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, 9/11 was the birthday of a guy who, unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet. Jody Kinard, or JSK as he liked to be called, was the original host and co-founder of Wrestling News Live, my favorite show, along with the Treydawg. Two fans decided, over 15 years ago, to put on a pair of headsets and talk wrestling. Non-kayfab wrestling. Not a worked 900 number you could call to get "news" and be marked out. It was, and still is, an innovation.




Wrestling fans who wanted the inside scoop on the business had no home. You had WWF magazine, which presented worked news, and WCW's 900 number, also a work. You could subscribe to a dirt sheet and get the kind of info you wanted, but you yourself still had no voice, no place to vent.




Wrestling radio changed that. The success of Wrestling News Live and other shows like it finally gave fans a place to hook up with other fans and talk about their passion. From all the hard work Trey and JSK did, other shows were spawned. All these shows, in my opinion, helped form the IWC. If it weren't for wrestling radio, there would be no IWC, at least not in the form it's in now.




Having a place for like-minded fans to gather and chat is a wonderful thing, and something the wrestling companies have ignored.




One thing that everyone needs to realize is that the people who put on these shows for us do it without being paid. They do it because, like us, they are fans. Guys who take hours out of their days, their home life and family life to entertain us. I have never done a radio show, but I've heard about all the prep that is involved. The editing. The maintenance of streams and chat rooms and websites. It's not easy, I'm sure.




One of my regrets is that I didn't find wrestling radio sooner. I started listening to a show in 2009 until it went off the air. I had no clue Wrestling News Live existed. In early 2010, I found the show via a news site that I frequent. I was hooked after the first episode. I laughed and was amazed how far superior a show it was than the one I was listening to. I haven't missed one archive, and I've listened to the old archives with JSK and Trey.




As I said earlier, I regret not getting into this sooner, as I would have loved to have spoken to JSK in person. He was knowledgeable, kind-hearted and hilarious. The JSK-isms HAVE to crack you up. "Christmas isn't just celebrated by everyone in the world, but the whole planet too!" ???? LOL! However, the one thing that stood out to me about JSK more than anything else was bravery. Listening to this very, very sick man crack jokes, interact with the fans, and laugh at possibly being blown away in a tornado was something that amazed me. I don't think I could be that brave. It's funny, because I've got eye surgery next month, and besides thinking of my loved ones to find courage, I also find myself thinking about JSK. If he wasn't afraid, then, by God, I won't be either. Just bring it!




Getting back to wrestling radio. You have to also be impressed with how friendly you can get with other listeners. Since I started listening to the SNS Radio Network, I have, literally, made friends from all over the world. We get in the chat room and go absolutely crazy and, mostly, have a good time.




It angers me to no end when these wrestling companies refuse to let their talent be interviewed on Internet radio. I think I know why. You ever watch a wrestler on a popular talk show or terrestrial radio show? The hosts have no CLUE about the business. To them, it's just another celebrity on their show. These companies know the Internet wrestling radio host will call a talent out, and ask them questions that reveal inside info on the business. So, to the depths of blue Hell with those fans! Let's just cater to the marks and not allow our talent on Internet radio. Stupid. Offensive. Wrong.




What other genre is so impactful on its fans? Fans like Mario Midnightman, who I know won't mind me saying this, who has called in and said that wrestling radio, or, more specifically, Wrestling News Live has kept him going and given him the will to live. Can any terrestrial radio hosts or TV hosts say that about a fan? Even last night was a prime example. For the first time since I can remember, there was no Wrestling News Live because JJ, the show's cohost and producer, was sick. No one in the chat room got angry. NO ONE. All everyone cared about was JJ. And, I'm sure I speak for all the listeners when I say get well soon, brother.




In closing, thank you to JJ, Trey, Andy Knowles, Chris Kelly, Sean, Nem and everyone on the SNS Radio Network for all you do. And, if you're a wrestling radio host from another network who stumbled upon this column, thank you very much as well for doing what you do. At the end of the day, it's the only genre the true fan has. And, happy belated birthday to JSK up there in heaven. Thank you for being a pioneer.




Peace, 420, kiss my ass, goodnight white people. I'm out.




Don_Bronx




 
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