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20 Days of Battle Royals: Day 18

January 24th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Date: January 14, 2008
Company: WWE
Show: Monday Night Raw
Rules: Elimination does not have to be over-the-top
Stipulation: None
Roster: Batista, the Great Khali, Hornswoggle, Kane, Mr. Kennedy, Mankind

I talked about how injuries have a tendency to change the course of wrestling history to a dramatic degree, but it isn’t just injuries. In late 2007, a list was released of wrestlers who had been using an online pharmacy for certain items that were against the wellness policy. All of these guys (except Randy Orton) were suspended for 30 to 60 days depending on previous suspension records.

At the time, WWE was in the midst of an exceptionally stupid and never-ending story where Vince McMahon found out that he had fathered an illegitimate child and said child was on the WWE roster. This was meant to set up an angle where Mr. Kennedy was going to be revealed as Vince Jr. and feud with his “brother-in-law” Triple H. That didn’t happen because not only was he on that pharmaceutical list, but he had just done a big interview talking up how competent the WWE’s wellness policy was. So on Raw, Kennedy tried to say that he was Vince’s kid, only to be shut down and suspended. They’d find out the real answer the week that followed.

Backed into a corner, they revealed Vince’s son to be Hornswoggle, the undercard comedy act leprechaun whose only crime so far was becoming the Cruiserweight Champion and destroying the last remnants of that division for the sake of comedy. I’ll say that I wasn’t too opposed to the idea. I suppose the possibility of Hornswoggle becoming a Mini-Me version of Vince and barking orders in the form of vocal nonsense could have worked in some kind of surreal way.

The main story they went with was that Vince was embarrassed by his tiny son and out of either spite or insane parenting wanted him tortured in the ring as “tough love”. This meant putting him in matches that Hornswoggle would somehow come out of unscathed, either due to luck, guile or the help of Finlay, who disagreed with Vince’s behavior. These matches led to one of the most annoying aspects about Hornswoggle’s character, being the weird double standards about him being a competitor that continues to this day. If he gets the best of someone, then good for him! Way to go! If he is in any way attacked, even if it means being shoved over, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler will act like they just watched a puppy get run over. How can they let this happen?! He’s just a defenseless child (who has a beard and is in his twenties). Of course, if Triple H murders him, that’s different. Haha, that Triple H! He sure taught Hornswoggle a lesson! That’s what you get for messing with DX!

With the Royal Rumble coming up, Vince decided to enter Hornswoggle into the big match. Backstage on Raw, he talked to his mute son and suggested a warm-up to get him ready. A “Mini Royal Rumble” that would feature a handful of guys scheduled for the PPV match. Hornswoggle went off to the ring, ready to prove himself.

Out comes Mr. Kennedy and… wait a minute. When Vince said it was a “Mini Royal Rumble”, he wasn’t kidding.

Yes, we’re about to get a Royal Rumble of vertically-challenged doppelgangers. Should I be offended? Maybe. Probably. Am I entertained? Probably. Definitely.

At the very least, it’s kind of a nice thing to do for Hornswoggle who himself is a trained wrestler who rarely gets the chance to wrestle guys his own size. The other guys are wrestlers who know what they’re getting into and they’re getting a payday for this, so it really isn’t the worst thing.

Mini Kennedy tries to do the intro bit where he announces himself from the middle of the ring, but the suspended microphone doesn’t reach that far down and he proceeds to jump up and down in a failed attempt to grab it. The bell rings and Kennedy gets a cheapshot in. They fight it out until Mini Mankind shows up.

He pulls out Mr. Socko and Hornswoggle saves himself by kicking Mini Mankind in his mini-er Mankind and throwing him through the ropes. Then Hornswoggle presses Kennedy over his head and throws him over the top.

Having cleared the ring, Hornswoggle awaits his next opponent, Mini Batista. Not only does Mini Batista perform the Batista entrance sequence…

…but his timing on the explosion is better than the actual Batista.

Mini Batista Spears Hornswoggle and shakes the ropes. He sets up the Batista Bomb, but Hornswoggle backdrops out of it. Soon after, Mini Kane enters. While he is the smallest man in the match, he certainly goes 100% into the gimmick by pulling off Kane’s uppercuts perfectly. Despite being the fresher one, he still fall prey to the Batista Bomb.

Hornswoggle again goes for a kick downstairs and flings Mini Batista out of there. Mini Kane starts to take him apart and does a jumping clothesline off the second rope. He goes for a chokeslam and we suddenly remember the size difference.

Hornswoggle hits the Celtic Cross and then slides Mini Kane out of the ring. I should note that probably the funniest part of this whole segment is how when Vince was suggesting it, he said that it would include Mr. Kennedy, Batista and maybe a mystery opponent. This is a subtle joke in how Kane has been the go-to mystery opponent for the past 15 years.

Hornswoggle awaits his final opponent and Great Khali’s music begins playing. Unfortunately for the leprechaun, it isn’t Mini Khali. It’s the actual Khali. He steps into the ring, ready to crush the little guy, but then Finlay appears with his shillelagh and goes to town on the giant. Like I said a couple days ago, Finlay beating the shit out of Khali with his shillelagh is a wonderful thing to watch. It’s like watching a lumberjack going to town on a tree with an axe before, during and after it falls. Khali ends up rolling out of the ring to evade the punishment, meaning that Hornswoggle wins the match. Also, Finlay gets a piece of Ranjin Singh, but lets him off easy with a simple clothesline.

The angle came to a head prior to Wrestlemania, where JBL helped Vince beat Hornswoggle to the point of hospitalization while Finlay was handcuffed and could only watch. JBL revealed to Vince that Hornswoggle was never his son after all, but was Finlay’s. JBL ended up going over Finlay at Wrestlemania in a Bellfast Brawl and Hornswoggle proceeded to star in some terrible, terrible storylines in the years that followed.

Way to go, Kennedy.

Tomorrow we return to the past to build for the future.

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20 Days of Battle Royals: Day 17

January 23rd, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Date: October 30, 2007
Company: WWE
Show: ECW
Rules: Normal
Stipulation: None
Roster: Big Daddy V, the Great Khali, Mark Henry and Kane

I will defend WWE’s ECW reprise to my grave. While there were some tremendous missteps, the show was my favorite part of WWE every week. Once it found its groove, it was a place where new wrestlers could debut and make a name for themselves, old wrestlers could get a new lease on life, guys could have awesome matches with simple-yet-effective booking and once somebody got popular, they’d be drafted away to a wrestling show that people actually watched. So really, it was a lot like the old ECW.

Today’s topic is something that I really can’t defend as part of that. In attempts to get ratings early on, WWE would put high-profile wrestlers in the main events. The main example was Big Show’s ECW title reign where he’d take on the likes of Ric Flair and Batista because of his fighting champion status. Today’s match takes place the night before Halloween from a show that features both Nunzio trick-or-treating with some kids while dressed as Dracula and Tommy Dreamer wrestling while costumed as Paul Heyman.

Because of the Halloween theme, the powers that be decided on a Monster Mash battle royal. The idea is that it would feature four “monster” wrestlers going at it: Kane, Mark Henry, Great Khali and Big Daddy V. There were a lot of other guys they could have included at the time, like Snitsky, Umaga and the Boogeyman, but I guess they figured not to go overboard on it.

I should note that Kane is the only face in this match and while all four men were on the ECW roster at some point before or after this, Big Daddy V is the only ECW guy at the time of the match. He’s also gross as hell due to his various manboobs flopping around.

There is one thing about this match that I absolutely love and redeems everything about it. Throughout the night, they’d hype up the match with a series of vignettes for each competitor (barring Kane, who got to cut his own promo). Each one was overly dramatic and narrated by a Boris Karloff impersonator who proceeded to make each guy sound pants-shittingly scary.

“A leviathan creature driven by malice, the Great Khali yearns to crush all who stand in his path.”

Holy shit. Why couldn’t they do more promos like this? They should have Fake Boris hyping up Ryback matches.

As the match begins, it really isn’t all that terrible. Sure, they’re moving in slow motion, but it starts out strong enough. The three heels try to corner Kane and he evades them, then fights back. Henry and Big Daddy V blame each other for this and go at it with a series of strength-testing running shoulders. Then they both bounce the ropes and collide like two trains.

SWEET!

So, hey, this isn’t so bad. Henry briefly holds up Kane in an almost Angle Slam-type position and almost gets him out. Kane goes back to fighting everyone and the match finally jumps the shark when Henry shoves Kane into Big Daddy V for a Black Hole Slam. Maybe it worked on paper, but…

Wait, wait! He can do that better! Give Viscera a mulligan!

Eh, never mind.

Henry and Khali grapple in the corner, allowing Big Daddy V to crush them both with an Avalanche. He tries the same on Kane but misses, allowing Kane to clothesline him into the ropes and lift him right out of there. Hey, it at least looks impressive.

Khali puts Kane in the Vice Grip, then turns his attentions to doing the same to Henry. Kane and Henry team up and send Khali out of there with a double clothesline. A very slow double clothesline, but an effective one nonetheless. Now we’re down to Kane vs. Mark Henry. On one hand, they’re the two best workers in the match. On the other hand, that’s really not saying a lot.

The two go back and forth for a bit and Kane seems to have things in the bag. He climbs to the top to do his leaping clothesline. Of course, the #1 rule when fighting Mark Henry is that you NEVER. EVER. JUMP AT HIM.

Henry seems pretty into his victory and being crowned King of the Monsters. Not that this match really means anything in the long run. It’s never mentioned ever again and isn’t used to springboard Henry into anything. Granted, his return to ECW down the line would lay the seeds for his build to relevance, but the Monster Mash battle royal is independent of that.

Still, the match was only four and a half minutes, so at least it was short. Speaking of short, check back in tomorrow for the next battle royal.

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20 Days of Battle Royals: Day 15

January 21st, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Date: July 17, 2007 (aired on July 20, 2007)
Company: WWE
Show: Smackdown
Rules: Normal
Stipulation: Winner becomes World Heavyweight Champion
Roster (20): Batista, Deuce, Domino, Kenny Dykstra, Eugene, Fit Finlay, Sho Funaki, the Great Khali, Chavo Guerrero, Matt Hardy, Mark Henry, Kane, Jamie Knoble, Brett Major, Brian Major, Chris Masters, Shannon Moore, Montel Vontavious Porter, Dave Taylor, Jimmy Wang Yang

I wouldn’t wish injury on an active wrestler, but it’s hard not to admit that injuries make things interesting in the long run. By-the-numbers storylines are suddenly shaken up and the writers scramble to make sense of things and make a show worth watching. As intriguing as it can be, it doesn’t always work out for the better. Today’s entry, for example.

Recently, World Heavyweight Champion Edge had defeated eternal #1 contender Batista in a match where if Batista lost, he wouldn’t be allowed to challenge Edge for the title again. Edge moved on to starting a feud with Kane while Batista answered an open challenge from heavily-pushed and still fresh monster the Great Khali. Two matches set up for the upcoming Great American Bash. Unfortunately, Edge got injured about a week before the PPV. Teddy Long had no choice but to strip him of the title and being that this is Teddy Long, he decided to put the vacated title on the line with a battle royal, playa.

The battle royal has only a few viable names in it, which explains the winner. All in all, it’s a pretty entertaining set of segments.

Once the bell rings, Batista goes right for Khali, then gets distracted by fighting Mark Henry. Everyone just kind of wanders around getting into fights and our first elimination comes a minute in when Henry does away with both Major Brothers.

Goodbye, pre-Ryder.

Henry and Khali both go to town on their opponents, laying waste to the entire ring. Soon there are only two left standing.

So much for that showdown. Most of the wrestlers team up to hoist Henry out of the ring. They even celebrate, which JBL points out is a stupid idea because they still have Batista, Kane and Khali to contend with.

Batista shows off his own impressive strength when being attacked by Deuce and Domino. They have him choked into the second rope, but he grabs them by the heads and is able to throw them both over the top rope from his unfortunate position. Not bad.

Batista and Kane have a showdown, not unlike Henry vs. Khali in the sense that it doesn’t go down. Instead of having everyone rush them, it’s just Jamie Knoble, whose angry strikes are rewarded with a swift elimination. Eugene thinks this is awesome, but his enthusiasm doesn’t help him.

At the time of the match, Chavo and Jimmy Wang Yang are feuding over the Cruiserweight Championship. They have a cool moment where they save each other from the wrath of Chris Masters and eliminate him together. Chavo turns on Yang, but gets eliminated by the Asian cowboy in response. Yang ends up lasting quite a while until being pulled out of the ring by Hornswoggle. Yet again, Hornswoggle ruins everything.

Batista and Kane briefly team up to get Khali out of there, but they’re out of luck and he powers through, shoving both across the ring. He takes apart both mega-faces, but then the only other competitor left in the match, Finlay, shows up with his shillelagh. 2007/2008 was an awesome time when it came to this. Back during the Finlay/McMahon angle about Hornswoggle being Vince’s son, Smackdown was filled with matches that ended with Finlay beating the everloving shit out of Khali with that shillelagh. It ruled every single time.

Kane puts an end to this by choking him. As he lifts him up for the slam, Batista rushes out of nowhere and Spears Kane down. Batista flings Finlay out of there and continues his duel with Kane. The two grapple while leaning against the ropes, Khali comes by and takes them both out in one go. The Great Khali, the immobile man given a push because he’s really tall, is the World Heavyweight Champion.

Um… You’re… You’re holding it upside-down. Khali? You’re—eh, forget it.

I suppose it makes sense. They couldn’t give it to Batista after spending all that effort on that “no more title shots against Edge” stipulation. They couldn’t give it to Kane because injuring the champ and suddenly becoming champ in his place is really not face behavior. Mark Henry wasn’t as over as a top heel, Finlay was never going to reach that plateau and Matt Hardy was feuding for a lesser title. Khali at least gave Batista something to chase after.

And chase he did. Batista and Kane had a #1 contender’s match later that night. There was a draw, so they had a Triple Threat against Khali at the Great American Bash (two days after this battle royal aired, remember). Khali retained and had a celebration on Smackdown. It was a strange segment, as Khali danced around with some Indian women and Batista showed up to angrily annihilate everything and attack Khali. If you showed it to someone who didn’t follow WWE and didn’t listen to the crowd reaction, you’d swear that Khali was the good guy with Batista out to destroy fun.

A couple months later, Batista defeated Khali in another Triple Threat Match, this time with Rey Mysterio as the third man. They had a rematch in the infamously silly Punjabi Prison Match, where Batista finally won the feud.

Khali is a unique one. While I don’t like that he became champ, I don’t hate him as much as everyone else. I consider him to be a challenge for people to put on decent matches. Khali can only do so much in terms of mobility and variety, but it is possible to carry him into something watchable. Hell, Sheamus got a good match out of him once, if you believe that. He’s not so much a wrestler as he is a human obstacle course.

Plus whenever I hear that one song by Blondie, I always like to pretend she’s singing about the Punjabi Playboy.

Khali! (Khali!) On the line
Khali, Khali, any, anytime
Khali! (Khali!) My love
When you’re ready we can share the wine
Khali!

Anyone else do this? Can you start so I can feel less awkward about it?

Tomorrow is keeping it in 2007. In fact, we’re just going to hang out in 2007 for a while if you don’t mind.

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20 Days of Battle Royals: Day 8

January 14th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Date: January 11, 1999
Company: WWF
Show: Monday Night Raw
Rules: Royal Rumble
Stipulation: Winner gets the #30 spot in the 1999 Royal Rumble
Roster (10): The Big Boss Man, Chyna, “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn, Kane, Vince McMahon, Road Dogg, Ken Shamrock, Test, Triple H, X-Pac

Ah, the late 90′s. The Attitude Era. The Monday Night Wars. A golden age of talent, even though Vince Russo was the guy writing the show. Swerves and over-booking all over the place during his latter days in the WWF. That’s the main reason why I consider the ’99 Royal Rumble to be the “least best” Rumble in that it’s just too busy. But hey, at least it’s better than the mini-Rumble that precedes it.

Vince McMahon has been stuck in his highly-successful feud with Steve Austin, not to mention a side-feud between his Corporation and the stable D-Generation X. McMahon made sure that Austin’s role in the Rumble would be automatically at #1 and penciled himself in at #30 to make sure Austin had no chance in Hell. Commissioner Shawn Michaels finagled with that idea and made it so that McMahon would be #2.

Amidst this big Corporation/DX feud, McMahon decided to put together a Corporate Royal Rumble. A smaller-scaled Rumble featuring only members of both stables where the winner would earn the #30 spot. We know we’re in for some bad times once we see that Shane McMahon is doing commentary.

If you’ve never experienced it, Shane’s commentary is as bad as his punches.

We’re off to a wonderful start when Corporation member Ken Shamrock eliminates himself immediately by jumping over the top rope to get at entrant #2, Billy Gunn. It isn’t a total loss of logic, as Shamrock spends the next minute or so beating the crap out of Mr. Ass, slamming his head into the steps repeatedly until the Big Boss Man is out next. Shamrock leaves and allows Boss Man to continue the beating. At #4, the New Age Outlaws theme plays, but it’s Test who runs out to help out Boss Man. Whoops.

Things finally start to go DX’s way slightly when X-Pac comes out. Then Test eliminates Gunn and we’re back to square one. Road Dogg comes out to even the odds, but then Kane – representing the Corporation – puts it back in their court, eliminating Road Dogg and making it 3-on-1. Triple H runs out next and while he’s overwhelmed, he still tricks Test into clotheslining Kane, who doesn’t budge, but isn’t very happy.

The ring gets cleared until it’s just Triple H vs. Boss Man. On paper, we have all of our announced entries, but then Vince McMahon comes out as #9 and causes Triple H to stop working on Boss Man. Boss Man gets up and the two grapple near the ropes. Vince rushes in and eliminates both at the same time. Boss Man is confused at first, but then celebrates his boss’ victory.

Vince is happy because he’s cheated the system. Now he’s #30! …Or is he?

Chyna comes out last, showing that DX also has some surprises in store. Patterson and Brisco try to prevent her entry, but she takes a swing at both. We don’t get any real Vince vs. Chyna battling as Steve Austin walks out for the sake of getting in Vince’s face. Vince is distracted by this and Chyna takes advantage.

Chyna wins a spot as the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble, doing so at #30. It didn’t really do her much good. In the Rumble itself, she eliminated Mark Henry and then Austin immediately threw her out. The whole thing was a convoluted mess that ended with Vince McMahon winning at #2 and Austin getting the Wrestlemania title shot anyway.

That’s what you get when you play with Russo. Speaking of him, the next update is another one of his babies, only off in WCW. Come check it out.

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The Flowcharts of Destruction: Undertaker and Kane Explained

February 28th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

I’ve been watching wrestling for a long, long time. I only started checking it out two months after the debut of the Undertaker and that was over 20 years ago. A lot has happened with that guy over that time. He’s appeared in Suburban Commando to yell at Hulk Hogan with a dubbed-over 5-year-old’s voice. He delivered a Domino’s pizza to Leslie Nielson, who was at the time hired to figure out how the main event of Summerslam could possibly be Undertaker vs. Undertaker. He died and came back to life a dozen times over and used supernatural powers to mess with the minds of his opponents. He also once called himself Booger Red, whatever the hell that was supposed to mean.

Even for someone like me, who was there for all of it, it can be hard to keep it all straight. For someone who doesn’t know wrestling at all, or has only watched for a few years at a time, it can be downright mind-boggling. Luckily, Tony Barrett decided to make sense out of it all. Or enough sense. He broke up Undertaker’s career into two decades.

That’s all well and good, but Tony figured there was still work to be done. Undertaker’s weird in his own right, but what about his brother, Kane? Before being repackaged as Undertaker’s long-lost, masked brother, he was a Kevin Nash impersonator, an evil dentist and a monster made out of Christmas. Don’t ask. Though he hasn’t been around quite as long as the Undertaker, Kane’s backstory is far more febrile-minded and has involved everything from being accused as a necro-rapist to hooking up a car battery to his boss’ son’s testicles. He’s feuded with wrestlers for such reasons as having coffee spilled on him and starring in a horror movie that’s set to be released on a day when something traumatic happened to him. Wrestling, everybody!

Still easier to understand than Donna Troy, though.

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The Top 60 Wrestling Matches That Surprisingly Happened (60-41)

December 7th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

While in the midst of dropping the ball on their epic CM Punk story, WWE put together a match between John Cena and Rey Mysterio for the WWE title with no prior advertisement on free TV. Now, while Cena and Mysterio are not my favorite guys in the company, I can’t help but think that they screwed up by not trying to siphon money out of what could have been a major money match. Not only is Cena – the guy who claims to be an underdog – taking on someone who is actually an underdog, but the whole thing is like Hogan vs. Warrior for this generation of wrestling-watching children. More than anything else, it’s one of the few fresh matches.

I looked into it and found that prior to this, they had clashed years earlier on Smackdown for a tournament. That got me to thinking about the surprising nature about wrestling’s history. There’s always plenty of trivia to be found, no matter how long you follow it. Who knew that the tag team the Blade Runners would each go on their separate ways to become two of the most popular names in the late 80′s/early 90′s as Sting and the Ultimate Warrior? At a Tribute to the Troops show, when Steve Austin entered the ring and delivered a Stone Cold Stunner in response to John Cena giving him the “You can’t see me!” gesture, who knew that this would be such a significant footnote?

There are a lot of matches in wrestling history that fit this bill. Dream matches that aren’t in the right time frame to be labeled a dream match. One man might be in the twilight of his career, facing a new up-and-comer who’s yet to prove himself but one day will. Maybe a classic matchup will take place a decade before either man is worth knowing. Two men regularly separated by story and company may have mingled ever-so-briefly on a TV match that nobody truly remembers.

With the help of Something Awful’s Punchsport Pagoda sub-forum, I’ve put together a list of the 60 matches that make me lift my eyebrow and say, “Wow. That match actually happened.” Jobber matches, house shows, C-level shows, forgettable Raw segments and more that look more interesting in retrospect. Today we’ll start with 60-41.

I should note that while I’ve been watching wrestling forever, I don’t know enough about Japanese wrestling to include it. Granted, I have some matches that take place in Japan and even a few with Japanese wrestlers acting as tag partners, but I’m too out of my element to measure matches like Inoki vs. Sid and Great Sasuke vs. Bob Backlund. For that, I apologize.

Let’s get started.

60) VADER vs. THE ROCK
WWF, 1997/1998
YouTube

Vader vs. Rock isn’t an overly rare match as it happened three times on Raw over the course of 97/98, but there’s a generational changing of the guard that makes it feel unique. The first time around, it was Intercontinental Champion Rocky Maivia defending against the big heel Vader, who had Paul Bearer and Mankind in his corner. The match appeared rather even until Mankind needlessly interfered and hit Rocky with an urn, getting Rock the DQ win.

Later that year, the two faced off again, this time with Vader as the face and Rock as the heel. On one hand, Rock was distracted by Steve Austin watching the match on top of a monster truck with AC/DC blaring. On the other hand, Vader was constantly attacked behind the ref’s back by the Nation of Domination and the Artist Formerly Known as Goldust. Vader completely no-sold the People’s Elbow to the point of throwing Rock off of him and then took after Goldust, getting himself counted out.

Once again, they fought, this time as a qualifying match for the King of the Ring tournament. This time, Vader got taken out by interference by Mark Henry, who splashed him on the outside and made him easy pickings for a Rock Bottom. Rock won, making it 3-0.

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The Survivor Series Countdown: Day Eleven

November 25th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Sorry for the lateness. I was planning on finishing this baby up yesterday, but I was exhausted. Exhausted from MARKING! Why was I marking again? Oh yeah…

Right! Miz winning the title. Good times. But I’m sure I’ll be forgiven for finishing this list off a couple days late. Posting it on Thanksgiving sort of works, right? You’ll forgive me, won’t you, Miz Title Win Reaction Girl?

Oh. Never mind, then.

As for the PPV? I thought the first half was brilliant and the second half was below average. The Kane vs. Edge match especially. That’s a shame, since I like the angle.

Now for the top three Survivor Series!

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The Survivor Series Countdown: Day Four

November 14th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

How about that? Day Four and I haven’t broken stride yet. This is promising. So far I’ve neither JMS’d this series nor Billy Gunn’d it. Let’s celebrate with the Gobbledy Gooker.

All right!

Now onto the list.

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WWE Can Be Heroes for Just One Day

September 3rd, 2010 Posted by Gavok

WWE Heroes is not a good comic book. It really isn’t. It’s stupid, silly, incompetent and can’t be described with a straight face.

Yet I find myself buying it every month and it’s always the very first comic that I read. Probably because of those exact reasons. It’s enjoyably ridiculous and unlike most bad comics, I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth without being at the expense of another comic or the characters within. It’s ultimately a harmless series. It isn’t going to ruin characters for anyone or mess with continuity. It isn’t like that comic where the paragon of virtue is walking across the country and acting like a total douchebag to everyone he passes. It isn’t killing a bunch of beloved characters and negatively screwing with so many status quos for the sake of one writer’s hackneyed vision. It’s a wrestling comic and wrestling comics are inherently dumb. I say this as both a fan of comics and wrestling. When you mix the two together, you’re asking for trouble.

Not that it’s impossible to write a good comic with a wrestling license. The issue of World Championship Wrestling where Sting gave a kid the spirit to fight cancer was overall pretty decent, as was Dwayne McDuffie’s Ultimate Warrior story in WWF Battlemania. It’s just that if you’re saddled with a project like this, you have to know your chances of success and go to town. Writer Keith Champagne is no dummy. The guy has written some fine stuff over the years, such as Ghostbusters: The Other Side and his short run on Green Lantern Corps. His miniseries Countdown: Arena was undoubtedly terrible, but you’d be hard pressed to blame it on him when DC editorial set him up to fail. When given the WWE license, the guy obviously decided to have fun with it and be as outlandish as possible. Who can really blame him?

So far there are six issues out, getting us through the first arc. The art is by Andy Smith, a longtime veteran of the comics game. This creative team has worked together several times before, including an issue of DC’s World War III miniseries. There must be some kind of WCW joke I can make in there… eh, fuck it. Oh, they also collaborated on Dean Koontz’s Nevermore. There must be some kind of Raven joke I can make in there… eh, fuck that too. Hey, they also teamed up to do the miniseries Armor X! There must be some kind of… uh… shit, I got nothing. Moving on.

Before I get to the first issue, I should mention issue #0. #0 was released as a free iPhone app and my memory of it is fuzzy due to reading it off my buddy’s iPhone a long while ago. Here’s a promotional video that shows the first few panels.

WILL BIG SHOW STRETCH? WHY IS JERICHO WEARING BROKEN CHAINS ON HIS TIGHTS? IS IT A GOOD IDEA TO DO A HEEL VS. HEEL MATCH AT A “TRIBUTE FOR THE TROOPS” SHOW? Download the app and find out!

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This Week in Panels: Week 37

June 6th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Week 37? In a row?!

Pretty ho-hum week this time around. Only a handful of comics on my menu.

Avengers Prime #1
Brian Michael Bendis and Alan Davis

Avengers: The Origin 3
Joe Casey and Phil Noto

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