Thursday, January 02, 2014

Wrestling & Pop Culture January 2011


Jan 1, 2011


Wrestler, trainer, mask maker and musician Verne Langdon passed away. He can be seen in Slammers gym discussing Plan 9 from Outer Space in the documentary Flying Saucers over Hollywood.


 


Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)

DVD- 2000 Wade Williams

Long hailed as the worst movie ever made. But I enjoy this movie tremendously- a unique script and a odd menagerie of on-screen talent make this a memorable film opus. Billed as screen legend Bela Lugosi’s last film( he is in some brief scenes- and then doubled for on most of the movie). The cast also includes writer and director Ed Wood, horror show hostess Vampira and wrestling icon Tor Johnson a/k/a The Swedish Angel. The bizarre script and terrible acting make this a fun movie to watch – having been taken on by MST3K and parodied over the years- this movie is something to experience.  The DVD also has a full length documentary The Plan 9 Companion which includes an interview with Verne Langdon conducted while he sits on the ring apron while several wrestlers work in the ring behind him. The Plan 9 Companion also spends about 5 minutes talking about Tor Johnson, complete with pictures from his wrestling career and the origins of the iconic mask made his visage. Cardboard cockpits, unintelligible dialogue and a plot rumored to be written around some silent footage of Bela  Lugosi combined with a title modified by the Baptists that ended up paying for the movie make that is  so bad it’s sublime.

 

Tor Johnson also appeared in the hilariously bad Bride of the Monster for Ed Wood- the MST3K version was so funny it got me hooked on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

 


 


 

 

 

 


Jan 4 2011


Wrestle Kingdom V Tokyodome


WKV is an amazing super-card from Japan – featuring competitors from several Japanese promotions alongside TNA grapplers and CMLL luchadores. The IWGP match between Prince Devitt and Kota Ibushi is worth checking out if you have the opportunity- great high-flying action. ON the flipside Jeff Hardy seemed blown up for most of his TNA title defense versus Tetsuya Naito and stunk up the joint. I don’t speak Japanese so I miss out on some of the reasons for the feuds and fights- but I love the overly dramatic vignettes and the intense action and the epic feel of the event- even though the audience is quiet until the action climaxes. Sometime it is nice to have a crescendo of noise instead of constant listen to us clap 5 x we’re so witty we are the show chants.


Zoning in and out while watching a program in a language you are not familiar with can cause some weird thoughts during Battle Combustion II I thought the announcer said something about peanut butter massage- I could be incorrect.


The match between Masato Tanaka(yes the same guy who put on the amazing matches with Mike Awesome in ECW) and  Togi Makabe was an intense back and forth battle that started getting the crowd involved.


The Main event of the evening was a good 20+ minute tussle for the IWGP strap and had the audience engaged for the entire match between Tanahashi and Kojima. This event is worth seeking out if you can find it online. It is frustrating that most international wrestling is not available domestically for purchase. I readily admit I don’t watch as much Puroresu or Lucha because of the language differences- I would love the super-show DVD releases with optional language tracks- but I guess there is not enough of a market for that to occur. You can find this event at ivpvideos.com for an affordable price.


Wrestle Kingdom reminds me of the early Starrcades- a supercard with contenders from all over the world- in other words a once in a lifetime event not to be missed- not a mix and match of the same wrestlers from the week before.


Wrestle Kingdom V is worth ordering if you are looking for a unique spectacle with a true super-card with a variety of styles and workers from all over the globe.


 


Jan 8, 2011


 


 


The top movie at the box office is True Grit a remake of a John Wayne film by respected film-makers The Coen Brothers.


 


 

 

Jan 9, 2011


Mr. Anderson defeats Jeff Hardy to win the TNA championship at the Genesis PPV.


 


 


 KURT ANGLE made a brief appearance on Extreme Home Makeover on ABC that was highlighted by him loosing a thumb-wrestling match- but no mention was made of him being with TNA wrestling-he was part of an episode with an amateur wrestling enthusiast - the guy was more impressed with meeting amateur wrestling legend Dan Gable.


 

 


Jan 10, 2011


The New Nexus led by CM Punk starts to implode when CM Punk insists that the entire group go through hazing type initiations.  Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater decide to leave the Nexus rather than beat each other up with Kendo Sticks. The other members of the group subjugated themselves to near torture situations in order to maintain their membership in the heel stable. While the group would limp thru the spring of 2011, it would never regain the impact or dominance they had when Nexus first exploded onto Raw in June of 2010.


 

2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton leads Auburn to the National Championship in the BCS championship game as his team defeated the Oregon Ducks 22 to 19.

 


 


 


 


 

 

 

Wed Jan 13 2011

I finally played AAA Heroes Del Ring game for Xbox 360- took forever to find online competition- the game is ok- but am glad I got it used. It feels like a last generation title and although I am always a fan of masked grapplers and Lucha culture – this is a not a game I would suggest for others to purchase.


  Even though the graphics and gameplay are better for modern games compared to older wrestling games- I am not as interested in wrestling games as I used to be, because I tend to play Call of Duty games instead.


 

January 16, 2011

Ricky Gervais ruffles a few feathers with some of his scathing jabs hosting the Golden Globes. After the hubbub he is still hired to host the ceremony in 2012.(which ends up rather tame in comparison)

 

 

 

Jan 18, 2011- Morning talk show host Regis Philbin announces that he will be leaving Live with Regis and Kelly at the end of the 2010/2011 television season. Philbin has been a longtime supporter of professional wrestling and used to bring Freddie Blassie on his Los Angeles based shows often. Philbin also has a cameo in the made for television movie Mad Bull starring NFL great Alex Karras as grappler who is stalked by a crazed fan, think Taxi Driver in spandex.

 

 

 


 

 

 


Jan 23, 2011


Mongo Wrestling Alliance – Adult Swim 2011

Former WWE writer Tommy Blacha launched this short running over the top wrestling animated series on Adult Swim early in 2011.This show mixes gross out humor with weird action sequences. Each episode is approximately 11 minutes long and features the ongoing battle between the loveable lug Rusty Kleberkuh and the evil Johnny Dubose(voiced with relish by Harry Dean Stanton. Although this is a cartoon- the over the top violence and sexuality may be a bit much for the more conservative element of the parental universe. I enjoyed the first season and will continue to watch this odd creation that mixes elements of lucha, the occult and low-brow comedy.  B

 

Fitness expert Jack LaLanne died of respiratory failure due to pneumonia in Morro Bay, California.

 

 

Jan 26, 2011

 Country legend Charlie Louvin passed away at the age of 83. He recorded many essential tunes worth checking out including “The Great Atomic Power” and the lovely “In the Pines”. Mixing great harmony with engaging lyrics this band’s music is well worth owning.



 

 


Jan 27, 2011

 Former WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar is currently trending el numero uno on yahoo- something about him being underestimated as coach for Ultimate Fighter.

 

 


 


Johnny Heidmann passed away at the age of 90. He was an active competitor from 1938 to 1973.


Jan 30, 2011

“Dashing” Cody Rhodes was not part of the Royal Rumble due to him having his nose broken by Rey Mysterio in a match on Smackdown early in the month.

WWE Royal Rumble 2011

My favorite WWE event each year is the Royal Rumble. Sure Wrestlemania draws a bigger crowd and has a bigger profile- but I love the Pat Patterson modification of the boring battle royal concept. The Rumble is yearly event with 30 entrants that enter the rumble at timed intervals. This year is the biggest Royal Rumble ever, instead of the usual 30 men –we get 40 wrestlers. Before the Rumble kicked off from Boston we had to sit thru 3 championship matches- on the upside 2 of the matches were actually good.          

    The event kicked off with solid back and forth match between World Champion Edge and Dolf Ziggler managed by his storyline girlfriend Vikki Guerrrero. Vikki is also the current Smackdown GM and has decreed that if Edge uses his finishing maneuver the Spear he will not only lose the match but forfeit his title to Mr. Ziggles. Of course the ref and Vikki get knocked out and Edge ceases the opportunity to hit Dolph with the Spear-after the ref regains his sense he counts 3. Edge’s theme song hits- “Honest Abe I see clearly now” or something like that.                                                                                                                      

    After a vignette with music by Social Distortion The Miz beats Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship. Once again Miz is made to look inferior as it took interference from the New Nexus lead by CM Punk and Miz’s apprentice Alex Riley for Miz to beat the Viper.    

  Eve Torres captured the Diva strap with a moonsault in 4 person match.

Finally it’s time for the Main Event. I grew up a fan of the NWA and was never big into the WWE cartoon style of wrestling – until I rented a VHS of Royal Rumble 1992, because Roddy Piper and Ric Flair were participants. I still prefer the style of the now defunct NWA , presenting wrestling as a sporting event. I understand that WWE is the bastard child of sports and entertainment. Sometimes that is fun – I love segments like the musical chairs segment on Raw a few years ago and other times it is a double-drag – the guest host slots on Raw usually ended up in flubs like Summer Fest and C-List celebs getting in the ring, either way that is the MO of the WWE.

 

 

Drawing number one for the biggest Royal Rumble of the year is CM Punk. As soon as he gets in the ring – The Nexus and the Corre start brawling. Eventually the anonymous GM of Raw makes an announcement through Michael Cole that if they don’t cease fighting immediately they will be disqualified. The match starts when Daniel Bryan joins the fray as participant number 2. The first highlight of the match is when John Morrison staves off elimination by latching onto the ringside barricade before his feet hit the floor then he tippytoes on the barricade and leaps onto the ringside steps and then rejoins the match. Chavo Guerrero enjoys another early highlight when he tries to hit the 3 Amigos as a tribute to Eddie on several competitors until he finally hits the move. After 21 minutes the New Nexus are left standing tall- that’s right CM Punk and his lackeys are standing in the ring and beating up folks to a chorus of Boos from the Boston crowd.   The irritated crowd pops large when Booker T hits the ring and performs several of his signature moves including the Spin-A-Roonie before he also gets eliminated by the Nexus.

John Cena hits the ring like a house on fire and eliminates the Nexus crew including CM Punk. This energizes the crowd. Hornswoggle then joins the Rumble mix for several comedy spots. Hornswoggle is eventually eliminated by Sheamus. Diesel was the 32nd entrant and received a thunderous ovation from the crowd. Kevin Nash a/k/a Big Daddy Cool a/k/a Diesel was supposed to be a surprise –sadly the internet spoiled that surprise and worse a loudmouth at the bar ruined it for everyone that does not read the dirtsheets in the local Buffalo Wild Wings.

The 37th entrant into the match is comedy wrestler Santino Marella, he gets knocked out of the ring, but not over the top rope. Next in is Alberto Del Rio.

 During the final minutes of the Rumble there was this awkward moment when John Cena and Randy Orton had a faceoff- I think the brass anticipated a loud roar for this moment like the moment when Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan faced off in a Royal Rumble in the early 90s. This moment resulted in crickets mating and felt forced. The final 4 combatants where Wade Barrett , John Cena , Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio. Alberto Del Rio is the last man standing and starts to celebrate when Santino Marella re-enters the battle- after a quick tussle Del Rio holds his ground and ends up winning anyway.

The DVD had 2 extras a boring interview with Eve Torres celebrating her butterfly belt victory and Alberto Del Rio’s Rumble celebration from Monday night Raw where he ends up clobbering Edge with a guitar.     B+  

                                         me and Alberto Del Rio in 2013
 

 CONGRATS to Alberto Del Rio for winning the 2011 Royal Rumble. The John Morrison spot was great and it looks like Corre is gone before they came. It was nice to see Booker T and Nash again. The crowd at the local Buffalo Wild Wings in Virginia Beach was chanting Santino at the end and was very dejected when Del Rio won.


Alberto Del Rio is a relatively new character in the WWE universe- first built up with several short films highlighting his wealth, education and class in several classic villas over flamenco guitar. The former Dos Carras II unmasked and is now accompanied by an announcer and enters the arena in luxury cars and wears a white scarf- but you already know that.


 


The event had 446,000 buys on PPV.


 

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