Sunday, 11 July 2004

5th-11th July 2004

Monday, 5th July, 2004:

If it wasn't for Ken Shamrock, I would probably only have a passing interest in the mixed martial arts world. When Shamrock entered the WWF in 1997, I felt compelled to check out his background a little.

Which is why I was so interested in this week's Shoot Interview. Shamrock was very open about both his wrestling and shoot-fighting careers. I didn't have high hopes for this interview, and at the end of it, I was pleasantly surprised.

Story of the night had to be his first experience of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, of how he sat in the locker room waiting to be told how to work his upcoming matches, and how surprised he was when he found out that the whole thing was indeed a shoot. One of the best things I've heard on the Shoots in the past few weeks.

Tuesday, 6th July, 2004:

Minoru Suzuki is certainly one of the top stars in New Japan at the moment, and his profile this week was a good showcase of his skills. Matches against the likes of Takayama & Nagata show just how good he is right now.

But one thing leaves me scratching my head with regards to this kind of profile show - I always thought that a good way of showcasing a wrestler's skill would be to show some of their greatest victories, and not their defeats. If I were to use this way of thinking while marketing wrestling videos, I'd probably make a bomb selling The Best of Barry Horrowitz.

A text message from a friend than tells me that Two Sheds is actually on TV! The original Two Sheds, Arthur Jackson, makes his appearance on Monty Python's Flying Circus on Paramount 2. Okay, it's not wrestling, but I had to mention it anyway.

Then it was on to GAEA action, and I have to admit that after his performance on Smackdown last week, John Cena's has kind of spoiled things for me a little. When I see a Japanese star cut a promo, I half expect them to tell me about their lack of bowel movements.

Wednesday, 7th July, 2004:

As storms rage throughout Britain, it has an adverse effect on my satellite signal, which means that for over an hour I'm unable to enjoy my weekly doze of TNA action. Damn!

Thursday, 8th July, 2004:

I think I'm seeing a pattern as far as Alex Shane's rivalry with rookie sensation Aviv Mayaan is concerned. Think back about ten years or so, when The (1-2-3) Kid was gaining upset victories over Razor Ramon. The Cuban hard man was taking his much smaller opponent far too lightly, which proved to be his downfall.

In 2004, we have Alex Shane, a mountain of a man who looks twice the size of his opponent, Aviv Mayaan. On paper, it looks like a one-sided contest, but twice in recent weeks, the promising rookie has scored victories over the self-styled Showstealer. Granted, he had a little help from both Steve Corino & Jack Xavier, but a win is as good as a nod to a blind bat.

Friday, 9th July, 2004:

Ever since the demise of the TalkSport radio show, British fans have been crying out for a broadcast news show of some kind, and tonight their prayers were answered, thanks to The Wrestling Channel, Blake Norton & The Bagpipe Report.

So what did I think of the first show? Well, keep in mind that it is the first show. As with anything new, it takes a little time to get going.

What was obvious to me, and to many others apparently, was that although Blake seemed well suited to this kind of show, this kind of format just cries out for a two-man (or woman) presenting team. Our Blake needs someone to play off, someone in the studio to talk to.

Otherwise, the show was okay. I don't want to be too critical after just one show, so I will of course reserve full judgement for another time.

Then it was time for my weekly dose of Raw, and after all my years of watching wrestling in it's many forms, I still didn't quite believe what I saw in the opening few moments.

Over the years, I've seen championship contenders determined in many ways, but never in a game of musical chairs. The idea of Raw General Manager for the evening, Eugene, many of Raw's finest gathered in the ring, battling it out in this most unique way to determine who would get a shot at Randy Orton's Intercontinental title later in the show. Chris Jericho was the lucky man, defeating his old rival Tyson Tomko after a vicious chair shot.

I have never seen anything like this in fifteen years of watching Vince McMahon's product. It was fecking brilliant.

Saturday, 10th July, 2004:

TWC, in their infinite wisdom, gave us a whole day's worth of World of Sport action. Once again we were given the chance to see such classics as Marty Jones v Owen Hart, and many more of their like.

We were also presented with new showings, which included a great match between two legends of the British wrestling business, Steve Grey and Danny Boy Collins. Two of the greats going at it in twelve rounds of top-notch action. It's easy to see why the old World of Sport shows are so popular, and if anyone wanted an example of what wrestling should be, I would point them towards this bout.

Then, in the twilight hours, I stayed up late to catch one of the biggest names in the wrestling industry making an appearance in the repeat showing of Friday Night With Jonathan Ross. Sadly, Sanjay Bagga's appearance in the studio audience wasn't caught on camera, so I had to make do with some wannabe actor called Dwayne Johnson, who apparently has a new film out or something.

Sunday, 11th July, 2004:

I normally put the finishing touches to this column just after midnight. Having written down my various thoughts during the week, I finish it up by giving my reviews of the latest Supercard Sunday show on TWC.

However, when I tuned in to watch The Best of TWC, I was instead given a third showing of New Japan's Ultimate Crush II show. Having already seen this show, and being disappointed that the advertised show wasn't broadcast, I decided to type up this column a few hours early.

With TWC playing in the background, I was very surprised that at about 9.20, Ultimate Crush II stopped, a commercial was played, and the show returned with a GAEA match.

It left me wondering what the hell was going on. I know TWC have had some problems with this sort of thing in the past, but the channel has been running since March now. I would have thought that this sort of problem would be a thing of the past by now.

So I end this week's column not complaining about the quality of a Supercard show, but complaining that a show that had been hyped for weeks on both the channel and their website wasn't shown. You can put this down to one of two things - rank bad luck, or rank un-proffesionalism.

Highlight of the Week - Eugene's parlour games on this week's edition of Raw.

Lowlight of the Week - Someone at TWC putting the wrong tape into the machine on Sunday night.