Sunday, 22 August 2004

3rd-22nd August 2004

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004:
A day after attending one of WAW's best show of recent times, I returned home to catch this week's Ring of Honor show, which showed the highlights of the sixty minute, four way, Iron Man match to crown the first Ring of Honor champion.

If I could fault this show on anything, it's the fact that the highlights weren't a little more extensive. Everything was quashed down into a segment lasting no longer than ten minutes or so. Good coverage but a little disappointing.

Wednesday, August 4th, 2004:
For me, TNA has always been the flagship show on The Wrestling Channel, but lately I've become somewhat disappointed with certain aspects of the show.

Firstly, there's Johnny Fairplay. This guy annoys the hell out of me, and I don't even know what he's done before his TNA career to warrant a spot on the show. Some would say that because I find him annoying, as a heel, he's doing his job well. But as far as doing his job goes, has he actually done anything?

Then there's the Insane Clown Posse. Can someone please tell me what the hell a juggalo is? Am I that far behind the times? At the moment I'm not too sure if the ICP warrant a place in any wrestling promotion outside of their own. Their skills are very basic to say the least.

Then we have the ongoing feud between Raven and his former running buddies in The Gathering. I've touched on this before, but again I will ask the question - just how many combinations will go up against C.M. Punk and Julio Dinero? This week it was Raven and Terry Funk. Next week it's Raven and Sabu. Will it eventually get to the point where Raven, having gone through every wrestler not under contract to the WWE, finally turns to the likes of Barry Horrowitz to end his losing streak? I hope not! This sort of story line shows a distinct lack of imagination on the part of the booking team.

TNA did have one saving grace this week. Although it was obvious what was going to happen, the match between champion. Jeff Jarrett and Chris Harris was one of the most entertaining aspects of the show. However, I'm left wondering who will challenged Jarrett for the title next.

Thursday, August 5th, 2004:
The weekly FWA shows continue to show small signs of improvement each and every week. Even John Atkins, now he's ditched that clipboard, looks more comfortable than he ever has.

This week's feature bout was a hard-hitting contest between James Tighe and Low-Ki. Although bereft of character at the moment, Tighe continues to show why he is considered one of the top young wrestlers in Britain at the moment.

Needless to say, Low-Ki was impressive once again, but like A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels, he is certainly getting tons of exposure on TWC at the moment.

Then, to prove that Thursday night television is as dull as dishwater, once again I sat and watched this week's edition of CZW's Fake You TV. At least it didn't involve light-tubes this week. However, when I switched on, I thought I had gone back in time a few years. At first, I thought I was watching an old clip of the Nation of Domination, but it turned out to be CZW's 21st century version of the infamous faction, called Blackout. To be honest, I was a little surprised that such an angle was present in wrestling today, but then again, this is CZW we're talking about. They still promote hard-core wrestling at a time when the vast majority of wrestling fans realise that this form of wrestling is a thing of the past.

Then it was on the latest instalment of 3PW, as they announced their latest commissioner, none other than the hard-core icon himself, Raven, another wrestler who seems to be on our TWC screens with great regularity. Beginning his feud with Joey Matthews, Raven, in his first act in the big chair, gave Matthews a very special opponent, in the form of a bald fellow whose name escapes me at the moment. Apparently this fellow is known for being quite a hard hitter in the ring.

Is it me, or am I starting to find certain aspects of 3PW entertaining? Somebody shoot me now!

Friday, August 6th, 2004:
In years gone by, when Ric Flair was at the height of his career as NWA World Champion, his feuds often involved whoever was feuding with him pinning him in a tag-team match, in the run up to the big one-on-one encounter.

This week on Raw, just one week after having become the number one contender to the World title, Randy Orton joined his Evolution buddies as they faced off against World Champion Chris Benoit, I-C Champ Edge, and Chris Jericho.

And yep, you guessed it, out boy Orton defeated Benoit on the way to their championship match at Summerslam in a couple of weeks.

Me thinks Orton may beat Benoit some more before the big one in Toronto.

Tuesday, August 10th, 2004:
When I heard that the Biography Channel would be broadcasting another series of wrestling documentaries, at first I had high hopes, but I was a little disappointed when I found out that we would be seeing profiles on Mick Foley, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin - which we've seen quite a few times over the past couple of years, a new programme about The Rock, and a look into the career of John Hideyourbike. Yep, the bods at the UKFF were telling me of a show dedicated to John Hideyourbike.

Thankfully, the show wasn't dedicated to him. Titled Bodyslam, we went back three years or so to take a look at the training of up-and-comers Hideyourbike, Nathan Jones, and Christopher Daniels, as they plied their trade in California's UPW promotion.

Unlike many documentaries in the past, this effort was very respectful towards the business, but the fact that almost everything that goes on at a show was there for us to see meant that very few secrets remained. I know that the business is now more open than ever, but surely some things should remain a mystery to the fans of professional wrestling.

Friday, August 13th, 2004:
Week six of the Bagpipe Report if history, and after recent improvements livened up the show a few weeks ago, things seemed to have slipped back just a little.

This week my favourite piece was the Norton's Notes segment, in which Blake spoke of training to become a professional wrestler. Although I've never actually trained in any way, I found myself agreeing with a lot of what he had to say. The guy certainly knows what he's talking about.

But other aspects of the show still annoy me. The amount of telephone interviews on a show can lead to overkill at times, and rather than talk to Bryan Alvarez on the phone about the weekly WWE news, why not bring in someone more local such as Fin Martin, or Phil Austin, or...erm...Julian Radbourne.

The producers of the show will once again tell us that it's early days, but as the weeks go on, it may be too late.

Saturday, August 14th, 2004:
Tensions have been brewing between WAW and the FWA for months, and finally, WAW's finest made their impact in this week's edition of FWA TV.

Firstly, we had my good buddy, the Sweet Saraya, kicking Nikita's ass as she collected Jane Childs' £10,000 bounty. Then, Ricky Knight turned on his own son as the Zebra Kid almost defeated Doug Williams for the FWA title.

And in the middle of this, we saw a great match between Mark Sloan and Aviv Maayan.

And from next week, you smart marks will be able to see that what I've been saying for the past three years is true, when Ricky Knight takes on Aviv Maayan. Should be a belter.

Sunday, August 15th, 2004:
I had originally thought that because of circumstances beyond my control that I'd be unable to see the first part of Ted Dibiase's shot interview. Thankfully, I managed to catch the final showing.

It was great to see an interview with someone so willing to share their stories and their views on the professional wrestling world. Dibiase's views and stories about his first few years in the business made for enjoyable viewing, and I can't wait for the second part, although my other commitments mean I'll have to catch one of the repeat showings.

Then it was my first look at the new Memphis Wrestling show, which replaced the Memphis Classics which ended a few weeks back. It was hard to get exited about this I'm afraid. While some of the wrestling was passable, overall the whole product left a lot to be desired. While it's obvious that the producers are trying to recapture the glory days of the classic Memphis shows, they should realise that they're now in the 21st century.

A brief look at Wildside next. Not a bad show this week, even it if still looked like a more upmarket version of the Memphis show.

Then it was on to this week's Supercard show, featuring some of the FWA's greatest matches from 2003. Although I'd seen nearly all of these matches before, it was still great to see the stiff-fests the Zebra Kid had delivered to Samoa Joe and Mark Belton.

But this card reminded me of two great talents that we, as wrestling fans, are really missing at the moment. On this show, Jody Fleisch and Flash Barker showed just how good they were, and it's a real shame that these two both had to retire for various reasons. I know that any wrestling company in Britain, and many wrestling fans, would welcome these two back in a cold moment.

Next up in the marathon came the pre-Summerslam Heat, which once again reminded me how far Rob Van Dam has slipped down the pecking order recently. When he can't make the second biggest pay-per-view of the year, you have to wonder if he's done the right thing agreeing to that new contract.

Then it's on to the main event of the evening, and I'm convinced that fatigue is setting in, either than or the Canadian fans have proven once again that they are a law unto themselves. The announcers put it perfectly - Summerslam was held in Bizarro World.

The fans apart, Summerslam seemed quite an average show, certainly not worthy of being the second biggest show on the WWE calendar. Of course, having an atrocity like the Diva Dodge Ball match didn't help that much.

But perhaps my biggest disappointment of the night came when Chris Benoit lost the World title to Randy Orton. While I am fast becoming a fan of this third generation star, I would have preferred a longer reign as champion for the Crippler. However, I'm sure that there will be another title reign for my second favourite Canadian grappler somewhere down the line.

Wednesday, August 18th, 2004;
After almost six months of watching shoot interviews on TWC, I've finally found it, someone who left the employ of Vince McMahon, and left a happy man.

It was refreshing to hear Ted Dibiase express his gratitude for the chance that McMahon and the WWE have him, and while the former Million Dollar Man may not like the route that the WWE has taken since his departure, Dibiase's admiration and respect for what McMahon did for his career will remain with him forever.

Ted Dibiase was one of those larger than life characters that reignited my love for the wrestling business in 1989. As a wrestler, he always had my respect. After watching this interview, that respect increased ten fold.

Thursday, August 19th, 2004:
Two years ago, I was accused of being the biggest ass kisser in British wrestling, just because I said I enjoyed a Ricky Knight/Zebra Kid match.

Now that the Rowdy Man has made his way to the smalls screen, I'll probably be accused of exactly the same thing when I say this - it's about time.

Finally, via the medium that is the FWA's weekly television show, the rest of the viewing public will get the chance to see that what I've been saying for the past three years is true. Prepare yourselves, because the era of rowdy-ness is about to begin.

Saturday, August 21st, 2004:
The appearance of one Abe Ginzburg on today's World of Sport show raised a few questions. Although it was obvious that he was a more than capable wrestler, I have to ask why on earth did he wrestler in that awful leather helmet. Thank god he took it off halfway through his match.

Then, there was the first of two disappointments - an appearance from the Highlander From Hell, Drew McDonald, never happened. A shame, as it would have been interesting to see what the smart marks thought of Drew early on in his career.

Later on, being the massive Benoit mark that I am, you can imagine how I reacted when the great man himself appeared on the latest New Japan Classics show.

But then my second disappointment of the day, as only one new-ish bout was shown on the classics show. Two false billings on one day. Has Herbie been taking tips on promotion from Brian Dixon?

Between viewing classic bouts, I caught Blake Norton's interview with the legendary Harley Race on this week's edition of The Bagpipe Report. While Blake is certainly growing in the role of presenter, I still find it a little annoying at times when he seems to look a little bored when conducting his interviews. I'm left to wonder what his reactions would be like if he were interviewing his subjects in person. Showing apparent boredom wile interviewing someone like Harley Race in person would be a sign of disrespect in my opinion.

Sunday, August 22nd, 2004:
I obviously haven't learned from my past mistakes. Leaving my mobile phone switched on on my bedside cabinet all night, I received a text message from my good buddy Malachi that woke me from my peaceful slumber. Okay, the text woke me at 12.30pm, but what's the point of Sundays if you can't lay in late?

The reason for the text was Channel 4's showing of the American version of Faking It, in which someone had four weeks to train as a professional wrestler, under the watchful eye of Tom Howard. Well, that's as much as I got because I really couldn't be bothered watching anything that early on in the day.

With my energy restored in the evening, I sat in front of my TV in great anticipation of this week's Supercard Sunday show, this week presenting the New Japan Super J Cup from 1994. I had heard a great deal about this tournament, and how it was meant to be the best one night tournament in wrestling history, and while I dispute this claim, I do not dispute the fact that there was some great wrestling action on this show. Some of the early round matches were a little wanting at times, but as the tournament progressed, seeing the likes of Jushin Liger, the Great Sasuke, and eventual winner Chris Benoit going at it was an absolute joy to behold, so much so that this was probably the best Supercard show that TWC has presented in recent weeks.

Highlight of the (past few) week(s) - it's got to go to the 1994 Super J Cup. One of the best things I've seen on television recently.

Lowlight of the (past few) week(s) - the Diva Dodge ball match from Summerslam. What the hell were the creatives thinking of here?