Posts Tagged ‘WWE’

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April 7th is almost upon us. It only happens once a year and in New York City at MetLife Stadium, the WWE host their Mecca in the form of WrestleMania 29. It’s the time where casual fans, former wrestling fans, the die-hards, and IWC congregate towards the squared pulpit. This is the moment where old stars are given another chance of glory, current stars adding on to their legacy, and new stars creating their own path. It is the time where long-running chapters come to an end, and new ones begin. That’s what it should be, but in the past years there hasn’t been much of a closing and more of a rehashing.

While a few matches were set in stone a year prior, two consist of rematches from the 2012’s premier Pay-Per-Views WrestleMania 28 and SummerSlam. The undercard was haphazardly put together after a stop-and-start on certain programs, leaving a few people behind while giving some new opportunities. The Intercontinental Title gets buried again and The Undertaker returns from semi-retirement to face the biggest heel in the past year. There is a lot to discuss here and without further ado, let’s rundown the card for the “Showcase of the Immortals”.

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Three Days. Two Regions. 65 matches. 226 wrestlers. 18 title defenses. All of this compacted to one glorious weekend from April 5th-7th. What was once known as a time for wrestling fans as the weekend of one big show has now grown to several major shows over the years. Starting in March 2006, independent wrestling promotion Ring Of Honor did a doubleshot of shows in Chicago, Illinois, exactly at the same weekend where the city would host WrestleMania 22. The end result saw the promotion having the two best shows that weekend, blowing out anything that was featured on WWE’s premier Pay-Pay-View event. Since then, ROH has made it an annual tradition to have shows at the location of the next WrestleMania and constantly continues to outshine the big guns.

In the subsequent years, a number of independent promotions began to take notice and also began following suit. When booker Gabe Sapolsky left Ring Honor to create EVOLVE and Dragon Gate USA, he took that approach and began doing shows for the past four years at the Mania locations. Now CHIKARA, CZW, SHIMMER, and a plethora of independent promotions are working this year’s WRESTLECON, which is a major wrestling convention that happens annually. This year, it will also be in the New York area and this weekend will be full of mat-slamming and high-flying action.

This week, I’ll be covering the eight major shows happening this weekend from Ring Of Honor, DGUSA, EVOLVE, New Japan, and WWE. It wouldn’t be WrestleMania Weekend without WrestleMania, but it isn’t the only show in town anymore.

So, Are You Ready?

“It’s real to me, damnit!”

Well there’s a truth in that, but of course professional wrestling is fake. Yes, I know that match results are pre-determined and the punches never really connect at all (sometimes). But the time, effort, and dedication put into the matches are pretty legit. As I try to stray away from being a defensive mark, I put together a little piece that I’ll construct whenever I get the inspiration to. With these writings, I’ll focus on a pair of great wrestling matches, their background, and why they matter to me in what I like to call… “Da Art of Storytelling.”

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Video: WWE NXT (7/18/12)

Posted: July 19, 2012 in Videos, Wrestling
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Time to bring another addition to my blog and something that I’m going to be posting more in the duration: WRESTLING~!

And here is the latest episode of WWE NXT. Originally the replacement for the ECW Brand that was a pseudo replacement for Tough Enough, NXT has quickly shifted into the expansion of WWE’s Developmental Roster. It brings a fresher feel to WWE TV as we get to see new and rising stars. Very fun show with a good Main Event.

Match Card:

  • Tamina Snuka vs. Kaitlyn
  • Jinder Mahal vs. Percy Watson
  • Richie Steamboat vs. Leo Kruger
  • The debut of Raquel Diaz
  • Main Event: Heath Slater vs. Justin Gabriel

Hey guys, it’s yours truly resurfacing from my writing hiatus. It’s been a long while since I did a column/piece/blog of this nature as I’ve been hounded with school, work, or just being a lethargic, lazy fuck. In the meantime, I’m preparing to bring something a little unique combining three of my first loves: Hip-Hop, Pro Wrestling, and Basketball. Every once in a while, I will write a lengthy column with analogies that can be easily relatable to one another or whatever craziness I can think of. Today, I decided to look at two people that had all the potential in the world to be more of what they are.

As I went on to mow the lawn today with my iPod on shuffle, one track came on that put me in a good place and left me wanting more from the artist. That song was Blu’s “Just Another Day” and with the honest storytelling and lyricism, I remembered how it was one of the best songs I had ever heard from him. It brought me back to a time where I thought that he was going to be the next big thing in Hip-Hop. While his name still appears from time to time, he still kept himself in stagnation. He’s neither showing progressing or regressing, but is just there a purgatory wasting what could have been a major career for the enigmatic emcee.

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It’s no secret that I consider Blu one of if not my favorite artist currently. He’s one of those rare breed of rappers that will drop significant gems in subtle fashion akin to Mos Def and Evidence. Ever since hearing his critically acclaimed 2007 album Below The Heavens with Exile, I knew that he was something special and could easily be a force in the genre. That thought was further solidified with his spot on the 2009 XXL Freshmen Class, arguably the best/most prolific class the magazine has produced. While many of his fellow “classmates” found a lot of success into the mainstream realm of Hip-Hop, Blu kept himself in the background.

He would release a number of mixtapes and independent LPs over the span of three years that showcased his talents and experimented on different styles and sounds. While the input may be valiant in nature, the output has been nothing short of a disappointment. Even with so many projects, songs, and even a guest-feature spot on The Roots’ How I Got Over LP, Johnson Barnes really hasn’t gotten over at all outside the blogosphere. When I look at the career of Blu and number of routes (of lack thereof) that’s been taken, I quickly liken this to the rise and eventual fall of one Shelton Benjamin.

The parallels between Benjamin and Blu are pretty easy to pinpoint. These are two, young men that are very talented at what they do, and maybe too talented for their own good. Benjamin started out in the WWE debuting on Smackdown as a part of Team Angle with Charlie Haas (who later became known as The World’s Greatest Tag Team). After having a successful run with Haas, the team split during the WWE Draft in 2004 and that’s when Benjamin began to shine. Immediately, he was pushed into a major singles run going over Triple H in his first match on RAW and defeated him on two more occasions. It was clear that the promotion was looking to build Benjamin up to be a future star in the brand and the crowd soon followed that.

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With his athleticism, amateur wrestling background, and in-ring acumen, Shelton captured the attention of many, which included having a match of the year-candidate with Shawn Michaels. He would have his first singles title in the Intercontinental Championship in October 2004 and participated in the first Money In The Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania 21 in where he amazed the crowd with some of the most memorable spots in Ladder Match history. With his momentum riding high and a core fanbase that wanted to see him succeed, it looks as the stars are all aligning for him to be in the World Title picture right? Well, it didn’t happen.

For some unknown reason, creative stopped pushing Benjamin. He ended up dropping the IC Title to Carlito in late June and turned him heel with a storyline involving his “momma”, nearly turning him into a comedy act. It looks as it was working however, as he feuded with and won the IC Title from Ric Flair and returning in the 2nd MITB Ladder Match at WrestleMania 22. After losing the title again, he was paired up with Haas once more, but since has been stuck in the push-pull midcard purgatory. He moved from brand to brand, winning the US Title on Smackdown but was never able to recreate the momentum he once had in 2004.

Now you readers are sitting here thinking, “Why the hell would Chris compare the career of a rapper to that of a professional wrestler?” It’s really simple as the many common pros they had, the cons weigh just as much. For much of the reasons on why Shelton Benjamin has never managed to become a bigger star than he was in the WWE, he never showed any signs of getting better. Sure he was great in the ring, but he lacked on the talking skills. That became evident during the “Momma” storyline and often having Jonathan Coachman as his mouthpiece. It also didn’t work wonders that Benjamin only tried whenever he was receiving a push and was lazy when he got in the doghouse.

With Blu, his sound quality in projects and concert performances have always came in question. Fans of his music would eagerly await a new tape from Azulito only to have the exact same complains as his previous effort. “Why is the quality sound like it was recorded in a crackhouse basement?” or something along the lines of that. He also have been known for having unenthusiastic live performances, often slurring or forgetting his lyrics in songs along with the sound being either too low or too high. Even a fan had to confront him on his actions.

Now I may not be the most proficient musician around, but I do know as a writer that there has to be a certain level of respect to your craft. Actions such as not adding in crowd participation and energy into the live shows and leaving room to improve on your artistry but not acting on it is a sign not taking the work seriously. But many say that’s how he rolls and actually enjoy staying in the background.

There are a number of entertainers that are the exact same way. Another easy rapper I could compare this to is Charles Hamilton, but that’s for another time and completely different discussion. All it begs for me to wonder is what if these two tried a little harder in improving their skills and capitalizing on major opportunities.