Marsico Checks In 4.16.14
Posted by Nick Marsico on 04.16.2014
In another in a string of returns, Marsico is back with thoughts on WrestleMania, the current product and the future! Plus, a blast from the past as he lambastes his first 411 column from 2005!
It's been quite a while since we last spoke, hasn't it? Yeah, I've popped up a couple times in Fact or Fiction and wrote a couple of blurbs for the 30 greatest WrestleMania match special series, but otherwise I have been pretty quiet. I'm a busy man and honestly I'm pretty burned out on writing about wrestling. Last time I got tired of doing this I got pretty upset about the state of sports entertainment and pretty much quit (while simultaneously being kicked out). I'm far more optimistic now, but I prefer to mostly just take it in as it happens instead of spending a bunch of time analyzing it and pinning down minutia that could have (in my mind) made the second half hour of Main Event better than the last quarter hour of Impact Wrestling. My son thinks I'm hard on him about his homework; just imagine how he'd feel if he was on the WWE creative team in 2007.
Obviously I've missed a rather large portion of great topics to discuss. The last thing I put up on the site as a standalone column was a review of theFebruary 24th RAW, which I only did because I was incredibly excited about the WWE Network and felt the need to do something on the historic day. I guess. The last thing I've seen from TNA was LockDown, which was decent but uninspired. I'm finally catching up with Ring of Honor as well. Final Battle was good and I'm caught up to just before the 12th Anniversary Show. Thus far it looks like they might actually be hitting a stride of some kind. It's been a while since I have watched ROH and felt like I would be missing something (in terms of story) if I skipped an episode. That is making it a lot of fun. The wrestling has been very good, of course. I'll get to writing about TNA and ROH when I catch up. I'm especially interested in how they got to Eric Young winning the title. I know he was getting serious about Abyss, but actually winning the belt? I love the guy and I hope it makes sense and might be something of a real push for him. Short term champ, I'm sure, but he deserves recognition for being so great for so long, especially given a lot of crap to have to make work.
This isn't a comeback (I've been here for years) but hopefully the post-WrestleMania high will get me to start writing more frequently. Time, as always, will tell.
So What Have I Missed?
How about that Christian return, huh? At this point do we think maybe it's time for him to hang it up? He comes back for the blink of an eye, has about half a cup of coffee and then is gone after less than 15 minutes. He was able to sneak a few good matches in and would have been a welcome part of the midcard picture because he's always solid, but at this point the guy is 40 and has accomplished everything he is going to accomplish as a member of the active roster. I hate to see him go, but all he does is get hurt. He would be a great trainer for NXT.
CM Punk is still gone. There were a few times that I legitimately believed there was a chance he would return, but now that WrestleMania has come and gone and The Shield have Daniel Bryan's back in the war against The Authority, Punk doesn't have a spot to fit into. It's a shame he isn't on TV in any capacity right now, but if he's happier doing what he's doing then I support it. It's none of my business and he doesn't owe me or any other wrestling fan anything. If he returns I'll be thrilled. If he doesn't, then he doesn't. I think we'll all live. Plus, if WrestleMania really was set to see Batista versus Orton as the main event with Bryan v. Sheamus and Punk v. Triple H as two of the other marquee matches, Punk did more for WrestleMania while at a rock concert in Chicago than he would have if he was on the show.
Titus O'Neil turned heel and earned himself and Darren Young a singles match against each other on PPV. Then he promptly became a comedy character after a squash or two on SmackDown and Darren Young is persona non grata. He got to be in the battle royal at WrestleMania for a few minutes, I guess. What was the point of splitting them up, anyway? I loved the PTP. They should have added a third member instead of splitting up and had a never-ending feud with 3MB. With PPV matches and everything. They should still do it. It has the potential to be the exact opposite of what The Shield and the Wyatts are doing.
The WWE Network logo that was revealed 6 or 7 years ago is going to become WWE's official logo by August, says Stephanie McMahon. I like it and I'm glad they are finally going away from the 'scratch' logo but I was hoping for something that looked a bit different and found a way to incorporate the E. It makes sense to only make a slight change, though. People will still recognize this and it's actually smart that they launched it as the Network logo first in order to make it a smooth transition.
Jeff Jarrett finally announced his wrestling project. Global Force Wrestling seems interesting but I'm very wary, especially after the most recent announcement about it not being "a bunch of matches back-to-back like WWE and TNA". I don't really know what that means... they use the term "unscripted" in regard to the out of the ring programming, which of course means scripted. It's an interesting idea and I really hope Jarrett isn't bullshitting about being interactive and actually listening to the fans. To me, that means allowing the fans to have an actual open public forum to speak their minds and to have Jarrett and company actually acknowledge the stuff that a large amount of people openly criticize.
I can't think of anything else extraneous to write about, so I assume I don't care about those things. I also have a terrible memory. If there's anything interesting that I didn't talk about and you want me to opine about (because obviously my opinions are incredibly important) let me know down on the DISQUS~!
Interlude of THE PAST~!
Man, I really do love the tilde (insert your own accent mark - I'm lazy) and I intend to use it constantly to the point where a petition starts to remove it from standard keyboards. What purpose does it serve anyway? You can't use that key to put it over any letters. It's just kid of... there. I think it's some kind of conspiracy started by Figure Four Weekly, to be perfectly honest.
So... the past. we've made it to April 2014, and that means I can start doing some retrospective editing of columns I wrote when I first started at 411. My first solo column was The News To Start Your Weekend on April 1, 2005. I wrote it pretty much every single week for close to 2 and a half years until the awful column I linked above. I remember writing this first edition overnight while stowed away at the college radio station I played around on once in a while. I was excited as hell and memory tells me that it was a pretty good column. It's been a few years since I have gone back to it though, so let us travel back to the past, all the way to the year 2005, to see how crappy it actually was.
The News To Start Your Weekend: 4/1/2005
PrologueWhat a pretentious ass this guy is.
As I begin to write this sentence, it is 6:47 AM in New Rochelle, NY. I've been awake all night and there is no foreseeable time within the next 18 hours or so in which I will have a chance for any sleep. Oh yeah? Just wait until you have two kids. How about you take a nap? Idiot. I've been awake for 16 hours, so by the time I finally reach my bed I'll have been awake for, at the very least, 34 hours. Oh well, I've gone longer. Was I proud of that? I just finished writing a 7 page paper for my advertising class in under 2 and a half hour's time I'm sure I got an A, but I sound like a complete tool. and I have 2 hours to kill before my first class today, so I figured it would be a good idea to get started on this news report now so I have it ready for when it is due. If you're reading this, that means I have succeeded, and you should be proud. I'm not proud so far. This could be a loooong exercise. Grab some coffee, kids.
Muhammad Hassan did the "throat slashing" gesture towards Shawn Michaels on RAW this week. He got some heat from management for the incident, since his character combined with the gesture would draw some bad PR. (PWInsider.com)
I don't see why…Chris Benoit does it all the time, as have countless others in the past. Is it just because Mr. Hassan's gimmick is that of a man of Middle Eastern descent? No, stupid. Is because Benoit, Taker and others did it to their own throat, not to others to intimate that they were going to slice his head off. If people don't already associate him with being a terrorist, a par-for-the-course throat slashing gesture sure isn't going to make them start. In college basketball it has no place. In professional wrestling it has history.
The price of WrestleMania in most markets is $49.95 while the price in the UK is 15 pounds (roughly $28). (PWInsider.com)
Damn British (and Scottish, and whoever else) bastards. How come I can't have half the PPVs on free TV and WrestleMania for 28 dollars? I'm going to write an angry letter. Holy shit! There was a time that WrestleMania cost less than $50? Also, haha fuck you, UK. You don't have the WWE Network. Lime juicers.
Story Time!This makes more sense if you read the entire news part of th column. Don't worry, it's embarrassingly short.
Thanks to having prior knowledge of Muhammad Hassan's throat slash, a drunk man got into his car and drove it on the wrong side of the road in the Carolinas hoping to crash head on with the Prince of Punk himself, Shannon Moore. These incidents combined caused dual-flamed heat from management and the boys in the back, but we don't know who is mad at who and why, or if anybody really is mad at all. When Al Snow heard the news about management's focus being elsewhere, he drew up a contract and signed himself onto the June ECW PPV card and got the hell back to Lima, Ohio as soon as possible, but not before letting Paul Heyman and Jim Cornette about the heat backstage in WWE proper. He told them separately, however, causing the each man to think the other had heat with him, so Heyman began to rally the troops to learn how to properly tell off the man who wields the tennis racket.
Paul Heyman became increasingly annoyed when he found out that the WWF had actually signed Steve Austin away from WCW in 1996 and that the man who claimed he was Steve Austin and was pissed off at Eric Bischoff and Billionaire Ted never actually existed at all. During those short months, Steve Austin portrayed Savio Vega in the WWF until McMahon was ready to break the character away and allow Steve Austin to battle his former self in strap matches to really show himself who was boss. Years later, former ECW star Nova would go on to steal former WCW star Dean Malenko's real name and flip it around, becoming fitness guru Simon Dean, and decided that he would try to be like the Steve Austin that never existed in ECW and leave his current company to wrestle a man from a rival company. They will charge wrestling fans in the United Kingdom 28 American dollars to see that match, but fans in the United States, the place in which the company is named after and where the match will take place, will have to pay 50 dollars to see Dean face off with Cassidy Riley, who is actually just Shawn Michaels after traveling back in time to 1991.
Hey, that was actually pretty decent! I don't know if I did that more than a handful of times, though. Maybe I'll do that in lieu of writing a bunch of news blurbs (Watry can handle that now) and let everybody else figure out what the heck I'm talking about.
Since the old columns are pretty short, maybe I'll start critiquing full versions if anybody's interested. Not that I necessarily expect anybody to be interested but it could be fun, especially to go back and talk about how our opinions have changed on certain things.
Thoughts on The Current
WrestleMania has come and gone, and I am definitely much happier with this show than I have been with one in a while. It was entertaining all the way through, and on second watch knowing that Undertaker was losing, the Brock/Taker match is better than it was live. It was sheer death watching it as it happened. Well, not compared to the Triple H match from WM27 (shout out to Manu Bumb!) but still horribly slow and plodding.
Daniel Bryan and Triple H closed out what ended up being a very good feud leading into WrestleMania with a great match. The few weeks before 'Mania on RAW with Bryan finally goading Triple H into the match were superb, and the beating and subsequent sneak attack were tremendously effective and entertaining.
Bray Wyatt v. John Cena was also better on the second viewing, but it was definitely disappointing.They were trying to tell a story, but anybody who remembers Cena's obscenely bloody past knows that he has no problem using international objects in excess when it comes to combatting people who piss him off. Both men are doing great work, though, and I've enjoyed all of their interactions. Cena entering the picture in the mask on the last RAW before the show was especially awesome. Coming off RAW, their impending cage match looks to be much less of a feeling out process/tale of mindgames and more of Cena coming in ready to be aggressive and Bray trying to see just how far he can get him to go. No problem with Cena getting the win at WrestleMania. His promo on RAW this week nailed the reason he won and why it makes sense.
The Tag Title match got a bunch of time, as I speculated that it would in Fact or Fiction. It absolutely benefitted from being on the preshow and was great fun to watch.
Wrestling's Mount Rushmore or the Superstar Summit or Double Trouble Crap-on-a-Stick (points for the first person to nail the reference!) was a great start to WrestleMania and that alone made me feel like it was going to be a special show. So much better than when Rocky did it alone in 2011. The only thing it was missing was Hogan and Rock taking Stone Cold Stunners while trying to enjoy their cold beverages.
The Shield destroyed Kane & The NAO. REIGNS SMASH~!
Brock Lesnar conquering The Streak was spectacular. As I said above, the match wasn't much to look at (concussion or not, Undertaker was just not in any condition to do that long of a match) but the sheer joy I felt when the ref counted to three and the crowd went silent was the closest to pure jubilance I have felt in a long time. I didn't stop dancing around my living room and laughing maniacally until after the Divas match was over. For the most part, the internet did not disappoint in the fit that was thrown. People losing their shit makes me happy. Heyman's promo the following night was unbelievable and gets my vote for promo of the year. No idea how anybody can touch that.
Cesaro winning the battle royal was a surprise (Heyman got him in as the 31st man! Cesaro is the one in the thirty-one man battle royal at WrestleMania 30!) but mostly because he wasn't initially scheduled to participate. The match was actually a lot of fun (I like battle royals) and the final elimination was, indeed, a true WrestleMania moment. I'm still not sold on what they're doing with Cesaro now -- pairing anybody with Heyman is a good idea, but he was getting super over on his own as a face. Are they trying to keep him as a heel for a while and have him eventually break free or can he just be a face with Heyman as his advocate? I'm very interested in seeing where this goes. I do think the association with Heyman seals Cesaro winning the IC Title tournament and probably the belt as well.
I expected AJ to lose the Divas Title match but clearly they had other (and better) plans.
Daniel Bryan finally got his moment and it was immense. My only criticism of the match is that there wasn't enough interference. This may be the only match I've ever said that for, but I was expecting a whole lot more Triple H. He brought the crooked ref (whom I assume most people had forgotten about) and then took Sledgy to the head and that was all she wrote. Speaking of that, the following night on RAW (which was a great show) ended on an unfulfilling note. They really should have driven the point home by having Bryan pin Triple H to end the show. That would have made it so much sweeter.
Until Next Time...
I'm greatly enjoying watching wrestling without the critical eye that I have spent so long watching it with. Granted after I stopped writing in 2007 it has gradually moved further and further out of my system, but I allowed myself to be pulled back in when I returned to 411. That won't happen again; I'm enjoying all of wrestling just far too much right now. I'll be writing as often as possible but it will be from what I hope to be a fairly fresh perspective.
And yes, I'm still allowed to be negative if I don't enjoy something.