Summerslam for Comic Fans

August 15th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Tonight we have what I guess would be considered the WWE’s third most important show of the year, Summerslam. I mean, on paper, it’s supposed to be the secondary Wrestlemania, but everyone and their imaginary friend loves Royal Rumble more. I look forward to the show despite the roadblocks it sets up. There are only six matches signed. One of these matches is a throwaway Divas match I couldn’t care less about. One of the championship matches is Rey Mysterio vs. Kane and while I love Kane and don’t mind Mysterio, I don’t need to be reminded of their abysmal, “Is he alive or is he dead?” feud.

So why am I so jazzed about the show? Team WWE vs. the Nexus in an elimination tag match. The Nexus has been one of the better wrestling storylines in past years, despite its own set of roadblocks (Daniel Bryan/Bryan Danielson being fired, Wade Barrett’s visa problems, Ricky Steamboat’s injury). I can only hope the storyline doesn’t get killed as of the end of Summerslam, yet at the same time, I don’t want them to last long enough to get destroyed by a returning Triple H. God, I really don’t want to see Triple H involved with this in any way.

For those new to the big main event, here it is laid out DC Comics style.

(click for bigger version)

Let’s see who we got on here…

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8 NXT Rookies; 1 Dream

June 9th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Quite a bit has happened since I last wrote about NXT. We had the season finale, which came across as rather strange and anticlimactic at first, only to be retroactively interesting based on recent events. Wade Barrett is the favorite to win the entire night with virtually everyone agreeing that he’s the most well-rounded of the finalists. When the NXT losers are interviewed in the crowd, even Darren Young – the one who had something resembling a feud with Barrett – sings his praises. As if hinting you with a swerve and swerving that swerve, there is no twist and Barrett is voted over both Justin Gabriel and David Otunga.

Then six days pass. On last Monday’s Raw, Barrett gives a seemingly generic, yet somewhat enigmatic interview about how the winds of changing and how something big is about to go down. The main event is John Cena vs. CM Punk as voted by the fans (which came off as the best choice, though you just know the company was hoping Cena would fight Mysterio or Swagger). Barrett arrives for what appears to be your usual spot where the heel messes with the champ as a way to informally challenge him and psyche him out. Then we see this…

…and all bets are off. What follows is the coolest 15 minutes of WWE action in years. Please don’t fuck it up, wrestling writer guys. Please don’t fuck it up.

With the fan discussion that’s followed, there’s been a lot of fun things to come out of the NXT/John Cena beatdown. There are a bevy of nWo parodies, like this one done by Renaissance Spam. Also came the Tubedubber mash-ups with this one by Gonz being my favorite. Give it a minute or so to get going, but the Otunga/ref punch syncs perfectly.

My favorite fan response has come from a guy by the name of Jerusalem. He’s a guy I know from Something Awful’s forum, in this case more specifically the Wrestlehut 2K sub-forum. The guy is witty, a class act all the way and always goes the extra distance by making animated gifs based on just about every wrestling show that doesn’t have the stink of Vince Russo’s never-ending failure.

With the NXT Invasion segment, Jerusalem made a bunch of gifs, but added a little extra. I very much dug his text-based mash-up and thought I’d share it with the rest of you. Enjoy.

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WWE’s NXT: Outside of the Box and Refined

May 30th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

In a few days, the WWE’s latest show NXT ends its first season. This new experiment is reaching the end and I thought it would be a good idea to look back at this idea. The short of it is that I think NXT started out strong, got borderline unwatchable for a while, then started getting good again towards the end.

But looking a little deeper into it, I notice what a brilliant show it’s been, at least in concept. The concept of a mistake is an interesting one in wrestling because most of the time, you can only see it in hindsight. A lot of the time, the wrong aspect gets blamed and allows for the same mistake to be made again and again. That’s a lot of what makes TNA so sad, in that it’s run by Vince Russo, Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan – three guys who couldn’t own up to a mistake if their lives depended on it. Those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it and TNA is proving that right.

The WWE machine has the occasional ability to see what went wrong and modify it in future attempts. For instance, Vince McMahon had the idea of having a handicapped wrestler. He thought it would make for the ultimate underdog hero and hired Zach Gowen, a trained wrestler with only one leg. The “handicap = underdog” idea was sound, but the execution failed. Gowen wasn’t exactly the most threatening individual and his one-legged offense stretched the suspension of disbelief to the utmost breaking point. A short while later, the WWE tried the same concept, but made the handicap something that’s fictional to the man portraying the wrestler. Hence, Eugene, a mentally-challenged wrestler whose drawbacks only existed within the story. Despite some flaws (hotshot booking, writing themselves into a corner and the wrestler letting himself go), he was a bigger success than Gowen.

NXT is a big amalgamation of different WWE ideas into something new and mostly fun. You see aspects of what they were trying to go with the first time around, but they’ve improved their process. Let’s take a look.

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