October 3, 2008

DVD Review: ECW December to Dismember 2006

Filed under: Stuff You've Seen Before,URBMN 2005-08 — Tags: , , , , , — Cameron Archer @ 9:57 pm
This was originally written for theddt.co.uk back in 2007.  Yeah, it’s relatively current!  Imagine that!

Yeah, I know, I haven’t written for TheDDT on a regular basis since 2005.  For some reason, I still get promo copies of WWE discs sent to me and it’s about time I started upholding the name of WrestlingOpions.com, WrestlingOpinons.com or what site Koch Canada thinks I write for this week.  I thought I’d start by going through one of the worst-regarded WWE pay-per-views ever, since I’ve never done recaps and thought I’d start with some easy comedy fodder.

I know, WWE itself is rife with said comedy fodder.  WWE has some great archival footage, I swear!

The WWE commercials featuring Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper’s DVD sets – geez, at least WWE could make an attempt to shill ECW product on its ECW-branded shit.  Yeah, I expect hardcore ECW fans to care about the AWA and a six-year-old Drowning Pool song that has been used to shorthand ECW ever since it became a WWE entity.  Then again, some hardcore ECW fans (and I must point out SOME) went nuts for Sid and Dusty Rhodes back in the day, so what does that tell you?

Pyro, since that and giant video screens obviously capture the spirit of ECW.  You know what else captures the spirit of ECW?  Carlos Cabrera and Hugo Savinovich!

One Night Only, At Least Until The Next One
The Hardys vs. MNM
I like the LED displays on MNM’s coats.  Sadly, I care about this more than I care about seeing the Hardy Boyz back together.  Tazz goes on about this possibly being the last time the Hardy Boyz would function as a tag team.  Hindsight shit, this is a feud and it looked like a feud since it started.

I remember sites like The Wrestling Blog and Wrestlemag (I follow the IWC every so often to see what the hive mind forces itself to like at the moment) complaining about the pace of this match, saying it was paced more like a Southern tag team match than anything else.  So the Hardy Boyz are actually wrestling instead of them doing gratuitous flippies onto everyone?  HERESY!

By the way, why does the Augusta crowd chant “HOLY SHIT” for wrestlers jumping from the top rope onto one another in succession, aside from this being Augusta?  If that’s all it takes for a crowd to go nuts, seeing La Parka in an ECW match would cause everyone living in Augusta to go apoplectic.  I miss La Parka.

Johnny Nitro accidentally bumps Melina off the ring apron instead of taking out Jeff Hardy as intended.  MNM attempt to snapshot Jeff Hardy from the second rope, but Matt Hardy swings a neckbreaker on both of them.  Hardy does his swanton bomb and the Hardys win.  Decent match, but highly overrated by WWE fanboys.

Balls Mahoney vs. Matt Striker

Isn’t that the greatest way to use Balls Mahoney, having him feud with EXTREEEEEME SCHOOLTEACHER?  I never expected WWECW to be just like the unaffiliated ECW, but isn’t the point of this ECW to take some of the Raw/Smackdown castoffs and give them better gimmicks?  Tazz and Joey Styles spend an unsettling amount of time (well, it would be if Tazz wasn’t well established in his aren’t-I-blue-collar persona) talking about Matt Striker’s putting his face on his ass and Mahoney being greasy as both Tazz and Styles continue their transformation into Michael Cole.

A lot of that homosexual talk can be blamed on Striker’s outfit, though – pink sweater, Rob Conway’s tights, Striker’s hate of all things unrefined.  It’s the standard WWE intellectual gimmick.  We’re supposed to hate him!  He acts like he’s so smart!  Boo!  Hiss!  Them smart guys are homos, too!  I mean, The Genius, am I right?

Balls Mahoney wins after getting in the requisite babyface comeback offense, using the Ballbuster Slam to defeat Striker.  Fans chant “BALLS! BALLS! BALLS!” as mandated by law and because WWE is throwing a bone to the faithful.

Hey, it’s CM Punk rotating his hands!

A segment establishes that Sabu has been “hurt bad.”  It’s bullshit, of course, and the crowd acknowledges this.  Then again, I wouldn’t expect anyone to react favorably to a bait-and-switch tactic.  Hell, I don’t expect the stupidest WWE fan to react favorably to this, and those people tend to actually buy WWE pay-per-views.

Elijah Burke & Sylvester Terkay vs. F.B.I.

Elijah Burke’s gimmick is that he’s black, and he talks in black promo language to establish this.  That seems to be the gimmick of most black characters in WWE.  Sylvester Terkay is there as an appendage to Burke.  At this point, I will stop treating the two like separate entities.

As an aside, is that an outline of the Russo-era WCW logo on FBI’s tights?  Neat, shorthand for “I LOSE REGULARLY.”  You know, since WCW was always shit in WWE parlance.

Burkay wins!  BLACK POWER!

BLACK!

Shots of Sabu being put into an ambulance.  The main-event good guys look concerned, considering how real this injury is.

Tommy Dreamer vs. Daivari

Daivari wins by pulling on Dreamer’s pants during a schoolboy.  The match itself isn’t as important as trying to put over The Great Khali as super-awesome and big and angry and shit.

The Great Khali chokebombs Dreamer!  My god, The Great Khali is super-awesome and big and angry and shit!  Well, without the “super-awesome” part.

Notice how this pay-per-view seems to be centred around pushing the ECW on Sci-Fi TV show?  That isn’t good.  See, the TV show should be used to push the pay-per-view.  I guess I just don’t understand these newfangled marketing strategies WWE is using.

Paul Heyman tries to put over the fact that Sabu is REALLY, REALLY HURT AND THIS IS NOT A WAY TO WRITE HIM OUT OF THE PAY-PER-VIEW.  He places Hardcore Holly in the main event.  Boo!  Hiss!  Generic bad-guy stuff!  Grr!

Mike Knox & Kelly Kelly vs. Kevin Thorn & Ariel

As might be expected from this pay-per-view pushing the television show, Mike Knox turns on Kelly Kelly in timeworn fashion by walking away from his match while Kelly is still in the ring.  The wrestling is better here than in the previous two matches, not that the wrestling isn’t third-tier to begin with.  The Sandman comes out and canes Kevin Thorn, purely to fill “Sandman canes _____ here” quota.

Yay!  Bobby Lashley is being interviewed!  He cuts an unconvincing promo in that lovely Southern lilt of his.  He really needs a manager to talk for him, since this “soft-spoken but kicks ass” shit ain’t cutting it.  As of the time I write this, nothing about his character has changed, and it’s been four months – four months of boring feuds and both McMahon and Trump trying to make Lashley seem interesting.  Lashley has to be the most inconsequential main-eventer in years.

Paul Heyman comes out in heel mode.  At least a few idiots shout “YOU SOLD OUT” and other “witty” smark chants as if Heyman hadn’t sold out five-and-a-half years before December to Dismember 2006 and wasn’t on Vince’s payroll for a decade.  Not even the magic of audio editing can stop the audience from crapping on Heyman’s crapping-on.

More than a few people knew that Heyman had become persona non grata to WWECW just before this pay-per-view aired, but it’s still lame to see Heyman not whip it out and just piss all over his employers.  If you’re dead wood, why the hell not set yourself on fire in the process?  It’s not like WWE was doing right by him.  Instead it’s “I’m Paul ‘Jesus’ Heyman, Sabu can’t be here” etc.

The chamber lowers, pyro blows up and entrance videos appear on the ECWtron.  This is not just any filler.  THIS IS EXTREEEEEME FILLER!

Extreme Elimination Chamber Match for the ECW Championship
“Big” Show (champion) vs. “Soft-Talking, Hard-Hitting™” “Bobby” “Lashley” vs. Rob “Van” Dam vs. Sabu Hardcore “Bob” Holly vs. “Test” vs. CM “Punk”

Hardcore Holly and RVD are out first.  Tazz thinks RVD putting his hands and feet in the spaces between the chains is a feat worthy of Spider-Man.  It’s notable, sure, but I remember when Tazz’s announcing wasn’t painful to listen to.  Yeah, I remember 2003.

EXTREEEEEME BLURRY AERIAL SHOT!  E C DUB!  E C DUB!

Holly works over CM Punk.  Test comes out wielding the amazing power of both crowbar and Test.  RVD uses the amazing power of chair to hit CM Punk’s face.  RVD Five-Star Frog Splashes CM Punk and goes for a three-count.  This match is not going to bode well.

Test eliminates Hardcore Holly.  To add to the greatness of this pay-per-view, the three-count is botched but Holly is still eliminated.  EXTREEEEEME SLOPPINESS!

RVD stands on top of the Big Show’s pod.  RVD is hit by a Test-aided chair repeatedly and is thrown off said pod through the Amazing Power of Test’s Arm.  Test jumps off the pod himself and uses the Amazing Power of Test’s Elbow to eliminate RVD.

Well, that makes sense!  Eliminate the two most popular wrestlers in ECW and leave a minute for Test to stand around!  I felt ripped off watching that, and I’m reviewing a promo.

Bobby Lashley is prevented from escaping thanks to Heyman’s hired goons.  Lashley escapes by using the table to break apart the top of the pod.  Evidently this is supposed to make me give a shit about Lashley.  It fails.  Test is eliminated by Lashley and Lashley pisses about for more than a minute.  How could anybody think that this slapdash match progression is not in any way worthy of ECW?  They suck!

Big Show and Lashley fight.  The two demonstrate the Amazing Power of Plexiglass.  Lashley becomes ECW Champion.  Man, I hate Bobby Lashley.

Extras?  Post-match interviews and the Big Show/Lashley rematch from the ECW on SciFi immediately following this pay-per-view.  Look, wrestling fans know this is a doggy bag of a pay-per-view, so why isn’t WWE Home Video stuffing this to the gills with easter eggs?  Then again, maybe it’s for the best that the PPV discs as of late don’t have any easter eggs.  If December to Dismember 2006 isn’t marked down six months to a year after it’s been out as per WWE tradition, I’ll be amazed.

This wasn’t the worst pay-per-view ever, but $40 to watch Sylvester Terkay wrestle?  I’m amazed WWE makes money.  Never underestimate the power of nostalgia to prop up a bad product’s profits, I guess.

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Teach Children To Worship Fakeness: A Review of Feel the Sting

This was originally written for theddt.com.  It appears now on a site that, as of late, has actually been updated.  Since theddt.com has been dead for several years and theddt.co.uk…well, clinically dead, I thought I’d save this article from a fate worse than death.  “Enjoy!”

Anyone who knows what CD title I parodied for this article wins this beautiful jar of air.  I’ll give you a hint: it’s the title of a 2000 album by an overrated black metal band.  The members of this band are evidently DARK and no doubt go to FUNERALs in black-and-white makeup.  Do you know who this DARK, FUNERAListic band are?  Well, I already gave the answer, so you’re S.O.L.  Or S.O.D., same thing.  METAL!

Recently, I went to Campbellford, Ontario for a day of shopping at some of the world’s murphiest discount store chains.  For those who don’t know, i.e., anyone still reading me after all this time, Campbellford is a small town of about 10,000 or so people with at least two competing discount stores (Giant Tiger and Liquidation World), a few dollar stores and a thrift shop.  Somehow, Campbellford manages to contain more quality discount items per capita than most places in Eastern Ontario, and a generic dollar store on the same strip as Liquidation World somehow manages to sell titles like Going Nucular – a book that came out last year and has had some mainstream press lavished on it as of late – for a dollar.  It’s a schizophrenic place, that no-name dollar store.  It will sell cheap dollar DVDs with thirty minutes worth of material on them – honestly, if you love Film! Film! Film!, that dollar store is a godsend to you – for $2.00 because the DVDs are located in the “gift shop” portion of the store, but $24.95 hardcovers retail for a dollar and VHS copies of Timmy the Tooth sell for $4.95.  Uncanny.

Anyway, to show you what a sad sod I am, I bought this book for primary-school kids about Sting.


At first glance, there’s really nothing wrong with what Feel The Sting‘s trying to accomplish.  Kids like wrestling, teaching a six-or-seven-year-old words like “dominated” and “cardiovascular” might make them smarter than some of the people reading TheDDT now and WCW at this point (note the rejigged fat bastard logo circa 2000, when the book was published) needed new fans.  In other words, I might look like an infantile, unfunny hack for making fun of a children’s book, dragging myself down to the level of Wrestlecrap’s “Somebody Bought THIS!” picture with smart-ass remark (I refuse to call it a “column.”)  Some people, of course, think Randy Baer’s right testicle is funnier than me on my absolute best day.  I’m an insensitive clod, but that’s why you secretly admire me, you jealous teases.  You want me.

After glancing through the book more than once, though, I realized what the book’s intentions really are: to indoctrinate children into believing the “official” history of WCW, a history of course fraught with inaccuracies and seven shades of “realness.”  Not that it did a good job, of course, if the book dissipated into dollar-store tedium alongside hundreds of copies of the same issue of some crappy Image miniseries and Muppet Babies’ I Can Go Potty.  Well, that and Feel The Sting is rather sloppily put together.  This is WCW 2000, where things go into a black hole of quality quite easily.  Let us traipse through this book now and discover the joys of typos and irrelevancy!  WHEEE!


MORE LIKE NUDIE BOARD GAMES!  Sorry, I know Young Ones references are dated by this point, but are kids really interested in knowing that Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Sting like to play Crazy Eights before Duggan’s inevitable loss to Meng?  More to the point, why would kids give a shit about Hacksaw Jim Duggan in the first place?  I know his “big dumb patriot with lumber” gimmick has its appeal, but seven-year-olds don’t as a rule don’t stay up to watch B-shows like WCW Saturday Night just to watch Duggan eke out a half-star classic against Air Paris.  If they did, I’d send them to a remedial English class just out of spite – even if I wasn’t a teacher.

Not that I’m intelligent myself, since I admitted earlier to having listened to Dark Funeral at one point in time.  I shouldn’t talk.


Gene Okerlund is a “journalist” like pro wrestling is “a real sport.”  Gene Okerlund is a “journalist” like Simple Plan “aren’t annoying.”  Gene Okerlund is a “journalist” like calling a wrestling fan a smark “isn’t retarded.”  How long can I stretch this extended simile out?  PRETTY DAMN FAR, LET ME TELL YOU…BROTHER!

Honestly, kids aren’t that stupid.  I know wrestling has always blurred the line between fantasy and reality, but how an interviewer and longtime company man like Gene Okerlund could ever be a “journalist” strains credulity.  Even in the world of “kayfabe,” it’s a stretch to call Mene Gene a journalist as he’s not going to do anything other than promote WCW and pretend Billy Kidman has said something profound.  Even at a young age, it’s pretty obvious that interviewing men with gimmicks like “angry Polynesian with afro” and “man everyone knows is Ed Leslie with a bondage mask on” exclude company announcers from calling themselves journalists.  Not that Dave Scherer is any more legitimate a journalist by comparison, of course, but I heard he can bench two cruiserweights!  NOW THAT’S BELIEVABLE!


Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?  To seven-year-old kids unfamiliar with the fixed nature of wrestling, it does.  Well, maybe not, as it’s Sid Vicious the book is talking about here.  Anyone booked to win more than fifty consecutive matches (forty-five of them against The Renegade, Pat Tanaka and Jim Powers alone) is going to look impressive even if Disco Inferno is the one with the incredible winning streak.  Still…it’s Sid.

Look at the picture up there!  He can’t even look convincingly angry, for God’s sake!  He looks constipated, but his name isn’t Sid Bollocks.  THOUGH HE WRESTLES LIKE THAT!  HYOOO!

What all this has to do with Sting, of course, is up for debate.  Not like the company was ever going to exist past 2001 anyway.

We come now to the section about Sting’s title defenses.  Right away, you can tell the book is professional as the picture of Sting holding a recently claimed title is shown backwards.  How can I tell?  Well, RIALF CIR isn’t exactly a household name in wrestling, is he?  Maybe he’s one of those one-day not-really-champions, I don’t know.  Perhaps he’s Irish?


Solid gold, eh?  If it was really solid gold the belt wouldn’t have a leather backing.  I just quashed a rumour, isn’t that amazing?

What I love about Feel The Sting is the fact that it merges Sting’s runs with the WCW World Title and the “WCW International World Title.”  I know the two belts were supposed to be equal to each other in terms of importance, but the fact remains that having two world champions in one company without two contrived divisions was a terrible idea in the first place.  If the NWA didn’t want to have anything to do with WCW anymore, WCW should have just came clean and slagged off the NWA as beneath them.  WCW didn’t, so it had two world titles at one point.  It’s great to teach the kids that the two world titles were actually one and the same.  That isn’t lying to them by any means.

Imagine some seven-year-old reading this, announcing Rick Rude as a World Champion and being beaten up by all and sundry because, after all, Rick Rude fans are gay.  It’s much more heterosexual to follow some guy who’d painted his face since 1985 and acted like a goth for five years.  STING WOULD BEAT YOU OFF WITH A BASEBALL BAT, HE WOULD!


Aren’t segues neat?

Honestly, how does having a baseball bat add to the character’s mystery in any way?  OOOH, I’M NOT GOING TO PUNCH YOU!  I’LL JUST SWING A BAT LIKE A COWARD BUT IT’S OKAY BECAUSE I’M A GOOD GUY!  I’M COMPLEX!  What the hell is “dark mystery,” anyway?  What other moods could mystery invoke?  This is a horribly written factoid, never mind that it’s written for children.  Anyway, at this point in his career Sting was regularly facing Vampiro because…um…they both had black-and-white facepaint.  What good was his mysterious brooding nature doing him then?  How much more mystery and brooding could you put into that feud when the only reason for the feud was due to Sting not being much more than midcard bait at this point?  Of course, if his career is languishing the time is OBVIOUSLY ripe for a book promoting Sting as one of the greatest superstars in WCW history.  I’m surprised WCW lost $80 million in 2000, I really am.

Finally, note how Feel The Sting switches from “old Sting” to “new Sting” quite frequently.  In one picture, Sting’s wearing a Harley-Davidson T-shirt.  The next page, Sting has switched allegiances to this unknown company called Yelrah.


Oh, wait, the sodding publisher didn’t notice a reversed picture before going to press with this book.  It’s one thing to call Japanese pro wrestling “puroesu,” but is it that hard to launch Photoshop and go through the Image and Rotate Canvas menus before clicking on Flip Horizontal?  Then again, anyone expecting quality control from a company with a “Publishimg Manager” should not claim to feel ripped off when Dorling Kindersley breaks your heart for the fifteenth time.

What did the book manage to teach us, then, in the end?  Well, it taught me that no matter how run-down the license, there will be someone who will take a chance on it no matter how terrible the product.  It also taught me that Sting very rarely enjoys cookies, pizza, or pralines-and-cream ice cream.  I hope this rundown of Feel The Sting has all helped us, in some way, to grow.  I guess this article has a happy ending after all.

I’m sorry.  I couldn’t think of a non-crap ending.  Uhh…trousers.

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July 5, 2005

Kerwin White Appreciation Article

Filed under: UR Sports Compendium,URBMN 2005-08 — Tags: , , , — Cameron Archer @ 3:34 pm
I am aware that I am talking about the WWE and that’s just not right because it isn’t “cool” or some other dumb excuse (usually having to do with homosexuality, apparently) but the Raw writers have turned Chavo Guerrero Jr. into a sellout to his race.

Are WWE ball-tonguing the lowest common denominator with this gimmick?  Of course they are, let’s not be silly.

Is this gimmick going to insult at least half of the WWE’s Latino audience?  Depends whether anyone besides Latino idiots are watching.

Is the character more poorly-realized than Carlito?  No, simply for the fact that Heidenreich, Gene Snitsky and Carlito exist.  Also, Viscera’s a sex object now for those of you that haven’t watched WWE programming since it stopped being trendy, which I assume is all of you.

Am I interested in watching Chavo Guerrero matches for the first time since he stopped being Lt. Loco?  YES, YES, OH MY GOD, YES.

I’m a bad person.

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