Just a tad bit of background here, Andre The Giant was one of my favorite wrestlers when I was little. So this was something that interested me back in the day. I remember a friend telling me to watch WCW for “The Giant” because at the time WCW was promoting him as being Andre’s son without saying as much. But I was able to check online and find out in a few seconds that he wasn’t really related to Andre at all. Other then being a freakishly sized human being.
So in the late 90s WCW Vs The World came out, and me and my buddies grabbed it like all Wrestling games and played the hell out of it. I ended up playing it enough to unlock all the secret wrestlers, including one who was named “The Giant”. Of course he didn’t look anything like WCW’s The Giant unless he had grown a magical Afro at some point. Originally the game was released in Japan (without WCW wrestlers) and the wrestler was Andre The Giant. When it was imported they just called him The Giant and renamed a bunch of other Japaneses wrestlers due to copyright.
Now WCW made a mistake and switched game developers, getting picked up by EA. So the people who made WCW Vs The World were picked up by the WWF to start working on their video games. Which was pretty much a god send for the WWF games, considering Acclaim who were doing the WWF games continued to release the same game with minimal changes for the next 5 or 6 games. Have fun trying to pull off a Stone Cold Stunner when it requires you to hit 7 different buttons in a precise order. Mortal Kombat styled wrestling games were a brilliant idea.
So 2 or 3 games in, and they are working on the great No Mercy for the N64. Probably one of my all time favorite N64 games. Well just about when the game was done with development, word came from the WWF that Big Show (aka The Giant in WCW) was demoted to the OVW roster. So they had to remove him from the game. Since it was so late in development, they just decided to turn Big Show into Andre The Giant. Thus the Andre/Big Show replacement came full circle. I don’t know why this amuses me, but it does.
So I’m a fan of hockey and I come and go with wrestling. But I do know a lot of the terms when it comes to wrestling, and one of them definitely fits this hockey blogger. Ryan Lambert covers hockey at his own site and most infamously Puck Daddy at Yahoo!. His gimmick, if you want to call it that, is that he hates every team and every player. So basically he’s the guy that your supposed to hate, but you keep reading his column anyway.
Now why I mentioned wrestling in the beginning is because of a term called X-Pac heat. Heat is how pissed the crowd is at a bad guy. Some guys are better at drawing heat and playing as bad guys then getting cheers as a good guy. Basically you want to show up to see certain guys win, and to see certain guys get their comeuppance. But what happened to X-Pac (AKA Syxx, AKA 1-2-3 Kid) was that he was getting plenty of boos. But the crowd was booing him not because of what he was doing (at the time he was supposed to be a good guy) but just because they were sick and tired of him personally. They were tired of his character that never changed and that he was still around because of behind the scenes bullshit.
I am now taking this for the hockey world and declaring “Ryan Lambert Heat” which is when a writer/blogger tries too hard to piss you off. While all the Puck Daddy writers take a beating in the comments, nearly every Ryan Lambert comment has far more negative then positive. Nearly all of them mention Lambert by name too. People aren’t just bashing what he’s talking about, but they are bashing him. Of course he plays the hate up as though people are mad at what he is saying about their teams.
The sad thing though, is that Lambert can actually do so much better. I came across his two line pass blog and found it to be an enjoyable read. It had some insightful thoughts mixed with insightful commentary. None of the persona he puts on for Yahoo. It was apparent why he became a part of Puck Daddy in the first place and he’d be better served going back, but it might be too late now.
It’s just if you’ve read his PD stuff, he mails it in. He doesn’t actually look to the articles he’s linking to. He takes the headline and then jams it into his joke. I know this because he’s taken some of my posts over at LHH and made jokes that had nothing to do with the story and everything to do with the title. I’m not the only one either. So Ryan Lambert heat is born, when a writer purposely tries to piss people off but people are just tired of him instead of being legitimately pissed at him.
You know, when I start writing at 2AM stuff sounds better in my head then when it’s done.
It’s been pretty amazing how over the last decade the reality of the long term consequences of concussions. It’s jumped pretty fast from Football to Hockey. Both sports which have featured play which causes concussions. Both sports have taken steps to cut such play out of the sport, and are doing more to make sure concussed players aren’t on the field of play. But while the WWE has taken steps to prevent concussions and to checkup on wrestlers post concussion, it doesn’t sound like it’s enough. Although in fairness to Vince McMahon he has maneuvered the WWE into the position that it’s not a sport and doesn’t have much oversight, that can change quickly.
Even as the current WWE concussion policy points out that in development they are working on staying away from moves that can damage the brain, in the end your still doing something that can damage the brain. While sports are one thing, throwing away your life for what is more entertainment then sport might be questionable. With the high number of deaths of wrestling stars (I believe someone recently released that Wrestlemania 7 currently has 25% of it’s performers dead) in their younger years. Obviously concussions aren’t the cause of all these deaths, but they aren’t helping.
Look, the point I’m making is that wrestling is going to have to do something major. Not just on the WWE level, but all through the “sport”. Yes, I seem like a hypocrite saying this considering I support some of the most violent indy wrestling out there. But in the end I don’t want to see these guys wandering around lost at 40 because their brain is fried. Something needs to change, because you can’t self-mutilate yourself for years on end to make a living. There has to be a better way to do wrestling matches that doesn’t involve possible concussions.
The sad thing is that if wrestling doesn’t do something, it may be shut down anyway. Look, movies are a form of entertainment. Ever see what goes into doing a stunt? So if you consider wrestling to be entertainment and to be a form of a stunt, people can come down on it. In two years I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a big debate about wrestling and concussions. If the smaller feds take the brunt of the beating, and need to shut down, it makes you wonder where the next generation of wrestlers will come from.
It’ll be interesting to watch. If I was the WWE I’d start taking major steps towards a real concussion policy today. Banning head shots with steel chairs is just the beginning. Some of the most basic moves in wrestling still have the possibility of causing concussions. It is going to be a long hard road to change things to be more concussion conscious. But it’s better for the WWE to do it itself, instead of the industry being forced to change from the outside. McMahon isn’t big on change though, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.
So I caught the first two hours of Hogan’s first appearance on TNA Impact for the first ever Monday night Impact. I will admit I didn’t watch all three hours, and some of Hogan’s segment was so bad I had to flip over to watch HBK and Hart meet for the first time since the screwjob. I should admit for most of my childhood I was a Hogan fan. Then I became a Foley fan, an finally an ECW fan.
In the end, the real problem with wrestling is exactly tonight’s 9PM opening of both shows. On Impact you have an ancient Hogan, a old fat Hall, a mid aged Sean Waltman still being called kid, grayhaired and unmotivated Nash and a gray haired Bischoff. On Raw you have an ancient Bret Hart and an ancient Shawn Micheals (and it should be noted both looked horribly aged) opening the show. I mean really, I thought all of these guys were old TEN YEARS AGO (except for Waltman). On youtube there’s a video of Hall barely able to walk his fatass to the ring for an indy show held on a football field.
But the reason I stopped watching Raw years ago was for two reasons, too many screwy ending and too much acting not enough fighting. So if you happened to turn into the first hour of TNA you got one of their classic X Division matches. Of course the match ends because of a no contest call after one of the guys used a weapon on everyone. But this being TNA they just continue while the fans chant “This is Bullshit” oh and Shit was censored. It ends with Matt Hardy showing up and just hanging out sort of.
Then we have a Knockouts Singles title match. It should be mentioned that the Knockouts tend to get the highest ratings on Impact when its broken up into segments. Of course this was a blink and you’d nearly miss it match length which was then followed by a far too long Kevin Nash rambling interview. And that’s it, two matches, one far too short in the first hour.
Hogan’s appearance was funny just for his speech. He’s going to change things and its going to be different now. I believe that as far as I could throw Hogan. Him and his cronies are going to run things and job out the youth just like they did in WCW. If there’s one thing I can assure you about Hogan it’s that his ego is bigger then you could imagine. I should also point out by now that TNA must think we’re idiots if we’re watching. They obviously gave away free t-shirts to the rows of fans most likely to be seen all night from the ring shots. Since apparently Impact never catches the slightest glimpse of the other side of the ring unless its an accident its obvious these Hogan fans were plants and given all the Hogan stuff.
I stopped watching Raw after Bret and Shawn were done. Its obvious Bret adlibbed on live TV to get McMahon to come out and McMahon was having none of it. Coming back from commercial they claimed that McMahon would come out “on his terms” but since when does McMahon not take airtime whenever he can? He knew Bret would probably try his best to screw him back and knew enough not to go out there.
The funny thing was, after the Shawn/Bret opening both Raw and Impact had women’s matches. But the difference was night and day. Raw had one of the Bella twins fighting a blond bimbo in the usual awful Diva match. TNA had the Knockout tag team championship with Awesome Kong and Hamada on one side, I can’t remember who they were against, but it was a great match. That TNA treats the knockouts like actual wrestlers instead of eye candy is great. It also explains why the knockouts segments are normally higher rated. The flipside to this was a running bit with a knockout stable called the beautiful people doing a strip tease all night. Why can’t we just have wrestling? To finish off the hour they had Pope Vs Desmond Wolfe in a 5 min quick win.
So at the end of watching mostly TNA Impact for two hours, and bits and pieces of WWE Raw, I’ve got to say there is no reason to watch either show. Hogan is going to change nothing. Raw is still awful. Both shows suffer from too much BS and not enough matches. Both have guys who peaked 10 years ago getting way too much time (Triple H too since I haven’t mentioned him) and its really getting tiring now.
If your going to watch wrestling, watch Chikara. Its moved into the top spot on my personal list. Its funny, fast paced matches and the story lines are incredible. Plus most of the wrestlers just tend to have this special kind of charisma that you don’t get from someone that’s been in the business forever. Outside of Chikara, I’m also a huge fan of CZW, but thats mostly for death matches. ROH is also known for having a lot of matches. Either which way you go all three of them are an improvement over either WWE or TNA.
When I was young, I was a huge fan of Mick Foley (aka Cactus Jack, Mankind, Dude Love) as he always seemed to give it his all. It also helped that he didn’t look like a steriod freak of nature. One of my moms friends that knew I was upset that Cactus had left WCW gave her the King of the Death Match tape from Japan where he beats Terry Funk in the finals. I wound up getting back into wrestling when we were taping a PPV for my cousin and the main event was a masked Cactus Jack fighting Undertaker. I followed WWE up till Mick was dropped as comissioner, although I did watch it on and off untill they screwed RVD and didn’t give him the Title Win over the horrible Undertaker American Bad Ass angle on a Monday Night Raw.
I’ve tried not to watch that much Foley in his comebacks. I don’t want to see an Old Tired Foley putting over pieces of shit like Randy Orton. I’ve got the best of Cactus Jack from ECW on DVD, so whenever I want to relive the best of Mick Foley its right there. Nothing can beat his infamous Non-Hardcore Hardcore gimmick and his wearing of a Bischoff T-Shirt to ECW Arena.
But someone has attracted me back, via youtube and EWR. It just happened I was flipping around through wrestlers on Extreme Warfare Revenge and the name Necro Butcher jumped out at me for just being a cool name. Well I evantully searched to see if it was a real wrestler and found out it was. I have watched just a ton of his matches on Youtube and he easily has to be the closest thing to another Foley there is out there. In the past Death matches were Barb Wire, an exploding spot, maybe a little bit of fire and thats it. The CZW (and for that matter IWA-MS) Death Matches are absolutely brutal. Between the Light Tubes, Barb Wire, Tables stacked with Barb Wire and Glass, Fire, Staplers, Cactus, among any item you can think of. They have gone far beyond anything ECW was willing to go.
There are those that mock CZW and the death match fans for liking what is little more then “garbage wrestling” and wrestlers who aren’t exactly trained. Let me say something here. Wrestling is staged for the most part. The endings are known before the match, and depending on who it is they might have even scripted everything beforehand. So if you are watching wrestling for a “technical” display then why not watch Greco Wrestling or Amateur Wrestling? Why watch professional wrestling for technical wrestling? Does it matter how cleanly someone can execute a snap suplex? When people pretend to fight, would you rather see a half assed punch, or a full punch? Would you rather someone get hit by a chair while covering their head, or see them get nailed by light tubes which you can’t fake. If its going to be fake, it might as well hurt.
Necro Butcher is someone who whenever you see him, you know he’s going to put on a show worth your money. That was one of the running themes of Foley’s first book, if the fans paid, give them a reason to have paid. As you watch him brawl, not only can he take a beating but he can give it. The masters of pain match between Brain Damage and Necro Butcher is a perfect example. Both of them are able to give it and take it like no one else. The video I’m adding to this post is the perfect example, as at the end is Necro Butcher walking back to the ring after losing a death match tournament. I’ve never seen someone with a back that looked like that still be alive. In the end you can say what you want and what you believe, if you think that he’s out there cause he’s just some kind of pain freak, but it looks for all intents and purposes that he is out there to entertain the fans. Be it 100 or 1,000 fans he seems to give his all. What more can you ask for in a wrestler? That he know how to give a perfect suplex? Whats that matter?
Necro showed up in “The Wrestler” which tells you something. When even mainstream wants the most hardcore wrestler in America, its Necro Butcher. In the end it’ll probably be the highlight of his career to have been in such a prestigous movie. And to spend most of the movie with a dollar bill stapled to his forehead. But in this general downperiod for professional wrestling, its tough to find whose going to be the next big thing or the next this or that. But in Necro Butcher we might have more then just the next Mick Foley, but Possibly the next Terry Funk. A maniac who will wrestle far into his 50s, and maybe while he’s in his older days he can like The Funker get tied into an up and coming ECW like promotion and be able to catch a new wave of gratitude and fans.
For all those that mock the wrestling style of Necro and of CZW, just look at the fact that following the CZW Vs ROH angle Necro has managed to catch on with ROH. ROH is easily considered the third promotion in America behind TNA and among the Smart Marks its held in high regard. At a later point I’ll have to remark on the stupidity of a term like Smart Mark, but thats for another day. For today spend the time to search Youtube for videos of Necro Butcher, and let me leave you with one that I like.