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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

Smart Marks 3.15.14: A Pint of Wrestling
Posted by Dino Zee on 03.15.2014

It's the end of the week, which means it's time for YOUR favorite place to shoot the proverbial wrestling breeze, Smart Marks! I'm Dino, and I'll talk about anything wrestling related, as long as I'm even vaguely familiar! Though I'm usually just watching WWE, TNA, and CMLL, I'm always willing to do a little research to help me out on a more foreign topic!

This last week saw WWE seemingly "give in" and dangle the Daniel Bryan in a Title Match at Mania carrot in our faces as Triple H agreed to Bryan's challenge, and should Bryan win, he'll be inserted into the Randy Orton vs. Batista matchup! The DBry fans rejoiced- the rest groaned and griped on message boards and comment sections across the globe.

TNA saw the end of the rule of Dixie for the time being, as her squad came up short against Team MVP at Lockdown. But we'll get to that a little more in depth shortly. Onto the marks!

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All Things Equal

Having rejoined the lucha libre scene via CMLL programming in the fall of 2013, I've slowly taken it all in. First, it was simply remembering names. Then, it was starting to note who was better than others, while trying to track who appeared to be feuding. At this point, however, I feel really comfortable with the roster. There are still some younger guys I don't know very well, and the litany of champions that CMLL has can be a bit confusing, but overall, I feel like I'm all aboard. That said, there are quite a few guys who I'd love to see get a chance in America. Will they end up like Rey Misterio? Alberto Del Rio? Or even... Sin Cara? Who knows, really. What I do know, is that I'd really like to see them come over here.

First off is Máscara Dorada. This luchador, decked out in gold (his name means "Golden Mask"), flies around the ring like nothing I've ever seen. Flawless dives from the turnbuckle, to opponents on the floor, and even from the ramp to the ring never fail to amaze. Able to hit ranas and armdrags from any position, with a great collection of planchas and topes as well, I always know it's going to be a good time when Dorada is involved. One of my favorite moves to see him pull off is where he runs from the ramp that leads to the ring, then leapfrogs the top rope, and hits a headscissors takedown on a standing opponent, all in one fell swoop. There's not much there as far as character goes, but that's something that can easily be tweaked by WWE/TNA. The man has all the skills to wow the audience once the bell rings.

Next up is Titán. He initially was my first "This guy needs to go to WWE!" selection, but that was only because I hadn't seen Dorada yet. Regardless, Titán is a fun young luchador who also brings a level of aerial mastery to the table that is rarely seen by our domestic audiences. Backflips into handstands into headscissor takedowns into pinning combinations, he's able to loop many singular movements into one fluid technique. He'd most likely need a name change if he appeared in America, but I feel like he could easily connect with the Rey Misterio fans. As long as he's durable, I'd bring him over in a heartbeat.

At this point, I'd like to mention El Terrible, Averno, and Mr. Niebla. They're three rudos, and they all rule the world. Terrible is the current CMLL Heavyweight Champion, while Averno and Niebla are also high profile (with NIebla recently winning El Torneo de la Gran Alternativa with Barbaro Cavernario). While I feel all three have the character necessary to work in America, I do wonder how they'd fare as heels having to speak to the audience. Easily fixed with a manager, sure, but I also remember how well El Mesias' run went in TNA. Sometimes things just don't click. So, while I'd love it roughly one million percent if all three ended up on my American television, I don't have them in the same list as Dorada or Titán. But Mr. Niebla rules. If you've never seen anything of his, he's basically a masked dude with a face of death who also happens to have a giant 'fro on occasion, and loves to dance. I can't get enough of Mr. Niebla.

The final dude I'd like to see brought over is Volador Jr, who actually appeared in TNA during a World X Cup in (I believe) 2008. He's since lost his mask, but his recent work in CMLL has been fantastic. A great connection with the fans and some insane moves to boot, Volador has a bit of Rey Misterio in him in the sense that he likes his fancy costumes, often dressing up as Venom from Spiderman. He's a treat in the ring, and someone I also think would be just fine in an American ring.

Anyone I missed? Think my choices suck? Don't be afraid to tell me what's up down in the comments!

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The Changing Tides

We're coming off the TNA Lockdown event, and the changes are coming quick. As we know, Team MVP came away with the win after Bully Ray double-crossed Dixie and her team. The event sounded like a fun show, and I surprised myself by nearly getting 100% of my predictions right (damn that Shaw!) for the evening. Sadly, the bigger story seemed to be the pictures of the arena, and how few people were there.

This, of course, led to many fans ranting about how unfair these pics are (and we know what rants do- I got to say they made me laugh), and how it's not fair to compare the crowds of poor, small TNA to that of big, bad WWE.

Frankly, outside of wanting to mention it just for this set up, I don't care too much about the small crowds. I wish they drew better, sure, but I'd never let a small crowd ruin my enjoyment of a show, especially when said small crowd was only really visible once someone sent photographs he took with his own phone.

This is where I almost become a TNA Defender myself. At least, I know where they're coming from. Yes, low attendance would be mentioned if WWE had a pay per view that was as poorly attended, but again, why should it be? I've established long ago that I don't care much for the "business" side of things- I just care about whether or not I was entertained. Now, yes, we could stretch that to be "well then, you should care about attendance because if they're gone, you won't be entertained anymore." And that's fine, but when I drop $40/50/60 on a pay per view, the absolute last thing on my mind is "Man, I wonder how many people actually paid to be in attendance for the show tonight versus those who were papered." You know why? Because, as far as my dollar is concerned, it's irrelevant. As long as the show delivers, you got what you paid for, from where I sit.

Yes, it's a bummer to see those photos, but if you let those photos make you think a show was good or bad, then you've got a real problem with perspective.

That said, the changes brought on by the happenings at Lockdown were immediately apparent on Impact.

First off, Bully Ray returning to the face side of things one year after turning heel cannot be ignored. Will Lockdown be the place that Bully Ray sells his soul next year? His beatdown at the start of the show at the hands of EC3, Roode, The BroMans and even Rock Star Spud was brutal, and showed that the heels were not going to simply forget about it. Of course, Bully would systematically take everyone out through the rest of the show, but this issue is hardly over with. I'm interested to see what happens with Bully Ray, if only because he's firmly established that the dumbest thing you could do with him, is trust him.

We also saw TNA finally get around to acknowledging that they have a new X Champion (who won the title the same time that the BroMans won their tag belts back, even though that was acknowledged a week beforehand), and Sanada impressed alongside new arrival Tigre Uno against the BroMans. I am definitely looking forward to seeing much more of both, and hoping that Sanada doesn't become a quick afterthought while holding the X Title. A lot of promise with both guys.

Bobby Lashley also made his return to TNA, and appears to be on a collision course with MY BOY, Ethan Carter the Third. I've always enjoyed Lashley, and feel he only adds to TNA. This feud with Carter could really help establish the youngster as he takes on an opponent with name value after losing out on the chance to go with Angle. Carter looks to be stepping up the intensity now that his Aunt is gone, so I'm really looking forward to this. I also look forward to the day that fans are just as tired of the ECIII Army as they currently are of the D-Bry fans.

Sam Shaw still ain't doing it for me. It has nothing to do with the man himself- I admire his determination to make this work. However, the production continues to make nearly every segment he's involved with a complete joke. I'm sorry, it just ain't working for me. And having him lose immediately to Anderson after getting the win at Lockdown can't be a good sign; 50/50 booking rarely is.

The big event, however, was the announcement of a return match for Samoa Joe as he looks to right the wrongs of Lockdown and defeat Magnus for the title. This time, Eric Young will be attached to Abyss to make sure there's no shenanigans. For some reason, I just have a really weird feeling that there might be a ton of interference in this TNA Title Match. I have no idea why.

It really feels like we're on the verge of quite a few new feuds on the horizon (I didn't even mention the return of Angelina Love, Willow assaulting Rock Star Spud, or Lei'D Tapa and Gail Kim exploding!), and the break from Dixie Carter is a nice treat from TNA. Let's see just how long we can stay Motivated, Validated, and keep on Participating!

What'd you guys think of the Lockdown fallout / what we saw on Impact? Am I just totally uncool as far as Sam Shaw is concerned? Interested in Lashley/Carter? What about the team of Sanada/Tigre? Hit me up in the comments and let me know!

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It's Going to Be Okay

I'm a Daniel Bryan fan. A huge Daniel Bryan fan. I've covered this before. The whole "was always aware of who he was, but never thought he'd actually *make it* in WWE" thing. Through his amazing work (both in the ring and on his presentation of character), he's won me over and entered into the vaunted "Dino's Favorites" List of Wrestlers.

Just so we know a little bit more about each other, here are the other guys that have made that list in my lifetime: Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Brutus Beefcake, The Rock, Sting, Booker T, Edge, Kidman, Al Snow, and Santino Marella. Others like Crush, Undertaker, Ahmed Johnson, Davey Boy Smith, and Scott Hall have also floated very close to this list. That's not to say I don't consider myself giant fans of other wrestlers, but these are the guys that I'd back up basically against anyone. And yes, there is a ranking in place in the rare case that my guys ended up wrestling- I had Hogan over Hart, but Hart over Booker T, for instance.

My point is this- for whatever reason, I have some really weird picks as my top favorites, and I'm fine with that. I don't think at any point that I was some sort of "bandwagon" fan for liking any of my picks. I also got very angry when my picks didn't win championships. Take Al Snow, for instance. When he was set to wrestle Shane Douglas for the ECW Title, I thought he had it in the bag. I had read reports that Douglas was really banged up, and possibly wasn't even in condition to fly due to a damaged palate. Imagine my shock when Douglas retained over Snow. Sure, Snow was basically a WWF wrestler at that point, but I was still pissed that Douglas won. The same happened on a 2000 episode of Smackdown that saw Snow challenge for the title against Triple H. Again, Snow came up short, and again, I was pissed.

I was also pissed off when Bret Hart lost the title to Shawn Michaels, when Andre robbed Hulk Hogan, and when Ric Flair won the title back from Sting. The idea here? Being angry because your favorite guy isn't the champion is hardly some new thing, and certainly not some advent of Daniel Bryan fans, OR the internet era. The biggest difference is the amount of voices one is subjected to on any particular subject.

So, let's say you don't really dig Daniel Bryan. Again, that's fine. You'd probably get really tired of reading how great he is from the many fans he has earned himself up until now. And yeah, it'd probably get a little irritating to hear his fans talk about how he should be the champ, and how WWE is ruining things by not making him the belt.

But to immediately cast us all as "whiners" or "bandwagoners" or to act like people who are fans of his have some overlying "bias" towards the product, or that we would even quit watching wrestling because he's not the guy... like, does that really make sense to those of you who don't feel the DBry magic? Again- I'm a SANTINO MARELLA fan. As I've noted before, I ordered the Elimination Chamber in 2012 just on the hope that I could say "I was watching live when Santino won the title!" I'm also more than aware of his place on the card, and how it's more than likely never changing. I'm nowhere near quitting as a viewer just because "my dude" isn't on top of the card.

And that's what I really want to say here- just because we're not pleased with the long ass road WWE has taken with Daniel Bryan, doesn't mean we were going to quit. At least, I know I was never going to quit. That's just the stupidest idea, as far as I'm concerned. Wrestling never caters to you 100% of the time. But, attacking those who root for their favorites? You're SUPPOSED to root for your favorites! You're SUPPOSED to be angry at the heels who screw your favorite out of what he wants! What kind of twisted approach would have to employ in order to mock those fans? You're mad because your guy lost? What a bunch of whiners!!! I know we all like to constantly check ourselves with the tired You know it's a show, right? You know it's fake, right? It's pre-planned, you know this, right? as if God forbid we just actually immerse ourselves in the show, like we're SUPPOSED to do.

It's 100% okay if you think Daniel Bryan sucks. I'd disagree with you, but I wouldn't hate your guts. The non-Daniel Bryan fans have obviously had enough with hearing about him. But don't minimize us as fans because we like the guy you don't. I won't even insult you guys by calling you hipsters, or saying you're just trying to be the cool kids. As someone who rooted against Steve Austin during the majority of his Stone Cold run, I absolutely understand where you're coming from.

If Bryan doesn't win the title at Mania, will I be angry? Of course I will. The story we've been presented since SummerSlam has always pointed to Bryan winning the belt at Mania. But the story we were presented leading in to Mania 2000 basically pointed to Triple H getting his comeuppance, and we know how that ended up. Sometimes, yes, things don't go the way we want. But to mock the fans for actually getting behind their guys, and trying to make him important? Mocking the fans who try to influence D-Bry's push? You guys wouldn't be the ones trying to #hijackraw or the ones that chanted "WE WANT RYDER" are you?

Bottom line: the guy is popular, he has a lot of fans. In fact, those usually go hand in hand. The man got over. Despite being called a "Goat face" and the "weak link" and "too small", he's gotten over with a large portion of the audience. How can you begrudge him for that? And how can you begrudge his fans for that? Boo him if you don't like him- that's what you're supposed to do. But don't act like his fans are giant dorks because they're cheering for their favorite wrestler.

What do you guys think about this? Has the coverage on D-Bry gone too far? Is it really such a bad thing that there's a popular guy in wrestling? Tell me what you think down in the comments!

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And that should do it for this week. Stay safe, stay strong, and... keep on keeping on? Until next time, enjoy your WWE, your TNA, your Lucha, your Puro, and your Indies.

It's All Wrestling. It's All Stupid. We All Love It


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