Is it just me, or is anyone else completely stunned that we’re already more than half way through 2015? I’m guessing an inevitable side effect on being the wrong side of 30 (and not that far off 35) is that time seems to pass by at any ever increasing rate. It feels like I’m running a race and the clock keeps ticking faster as the track gets longer with each lap. With the year flying past, there’s been a lyric from a song I can’t remember the name of going through my head. It goes: “you’d be amazed at what you don’t achieve in year.”
Unfortunately, the sum total of my achievements this year has been to be diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic, complete the game Batman: Arkham City (which I first bought in 2011), and get to the top of the UFC prediction league on the MFX forums. While none of things are particularly noteworthy or indeed worthwhile, they’re the closest I’ve got to an achievement in 2015.
Actually that’s not strictly true. I have also lost a ton of weight, stopped smoking, started doing DDP Yoga on a regular basis and begun living a much healthier lifestyle (guess which one of my ‘achievements’ triggered that? No, it wasn’t Batman, you moron). These aren’t technically achievements. They’re more like on-going struggles. I haven’t finished any of them yet; unlike the Batman game.
So with my mood suitably reflective and self-deprecating, and with no inspiration jumping out at me, I thought I’d take a look back at the first half of the year in the world of professional wrestling (or sports entertainment to you dirty, clueless millennials out there) and see just what I’ve learned in the last seven or so months.
That’s right, I’m going to go back over shit you’ve all previously experienced, make some funny comments on it, and pretend it’s not a giant waste of everyone’s time. If you pretend that as well, you’ll enjoy the next few minutes of your life a lot more. So let’s get to it, shall we?
Brock Smash – people mark out.
There are a lot of positives to be said about Brock Lesnar. He’s the biggest babyface in WWE today. He’s the only wrestler on the roster who wrestles anything other than ‘WWE style 101.’ He isn’t Randy Orton. He’s the only guy on the roster who is presented as something special. He’s an attraction. He’s a draw. He’s protected in booking. He’s the reason we get Paul Heyman promos on TV. He’s everything top stars in WWE used to be before the even-steven, parity booking era began and everyone became a glorified mid-carder.
I love Brock Lesnar. He’s everything a bad ass pro-wrestler should be. He smashes and people mark out. He’s also soon to be entering the alternative summer Olympics in the car door discus event (small children please stand at least 100 feet away). He’s one of a small handful of things still worth watching on WWE TV. In the last six months he’s worked two matches and appeared on a handful of shows and he’s never been more over. Brock’s money and in a pro-wrestling landscape with so few money drawing stars, I’d argue there’s no one more important to WWE on their roster at the moment than Brock. No, I’m not just saying that because he terrifies me…honestly.
J and J Security Aren’t Being Paid Enough.
You can’t mention Brock without mentioning his two current favourite chew toys – Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury. Their act (midget security guards) was riotously funny when it first started. I mean come on; I’ve picked bigger things than Joey Mercury out of my teeth. But it’s been their willingness (or maybe not) to be Brock’s weekly sacrificial lambs that really shows that they aren’t being paid enough. Be it broken ribs, stitches in their backs from broken glass, being dropped on their heads on a car bonnet, or just the general “oh fuck my life is going to end” situations Brock puts them in every week, J and J go above and beyond the call of duty every week and for that, I salute them.
The sooner (new) Divas get a chance, the better.
Alright Nikki Bella, enough. No, seriously ENOUGH! We get it; your man is the top dog. You can do whatever you want, but come on. Ok, so you’ve improved markedly in the ring in recent times (from fuck awful to piss poor) but even you must see that breaking AJ Lee’s longest reign as Divas Champion is less to do with your talent and all to do with sticking one up CM Punk (figuratively of course).
The main roster Divas division is a mess. A mash up of angles and characters to link into the next season of Total Divas, with a few talented workers sprinkled in for good measure, who are all given less time to work a match than it takes to make a piece of toast. Oh and none of them are heels or babyfaces, they’re just all bitches – catty, annoying, fake bitches. Yay for gender equality in WWE in 2015 everyone.
It’s a sad state of affairs when the biggest female star you have anything to do with is from another sport, has appeared on one major PPV this year and that 10 minute appearance is more memorable than ANY of Nikki Bella’s near 300 days as champion. Give Divas a chance? More like give Divas a defibrillator and keep zapping them and yelling “CLEAR” until Sasha, Becky and Charlotte get the long awaited call up and HHH convinces the old man to give these women some characters and some match time.
Oh and someone PLEASE tell Paige that the rings are miked these days and if she’s heard on TV one more time saying, “ok, ready?” before doing a spot, she’s going back to the carny circuit in Norwich (a small fishing community, two hours’ drive from London – Michael Cole, UK Tourist Advisory Board) until the end of time.
Love Affair Angles Don’t Work.
Hey Rusev, remember when you were a bad ass, scary, real heat getting monster? Remember when you had that awesome double act with Lana and how you both looked destined for years in the WWE main event scene and WWE Title reign looked all but certain for your future? Man, good times. I couldn’t see anything derailing that…Oh hey pointless Lana babyface turn, what are you doing here? Oh hey Dolph – nice high school bad girl from every 1980’s teen movie dress sense. Oh, goodbye Rusev’s character, heat and push. Yo, mid-card obscurity – shit there’s LOADS of guys in here. You sure there’s room for three more and Summer Rae? There is? Oh awesome!
PODCASTS!! WE NEED MORE PODCASTS!
JR, Stone Cold, Taz, Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Chris Jericho, Konnan, Jim Cornette, Kevin Kelly, JOSH FUCKING MATTHEWS!!! EVERY WRESTLING SITE ON THE WEB: fan ones, smark ones, mark ones. You know what the world needs? MORE WRESTLING PODCASTS!!! I swear to God, we’re only missing a Dixie Carter podcast and the circle will be complete and the world as we know it will be sucked into an audio black hole from which it will never return. Oh yeah don’t forget to go listen to my podcast which sometimes covers pro wrestling…
NJPW equals match of the year.
Ok, I admit it; I’m a long-time fan of NJPW. I think it’s the greatest thing in the world. My smug sense of self-satisfaction actually powers the laptop on which I watch New Japan World. I’m the IWC equivalent of a hipster and you have every reason to hate me for it. But if I’ve learnt anything this year, it’s that when it comes to incredible wrestling matches, New Japan rules the world. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, check out these matches: Nakamura v Ibushi (Wrestle Kingdom 9), Okada vs. Tanahashi (Wrestle Kingdom 9), Honma vs. Ishii (New Beginning in Sendai), Kyle O’Reilly vs. KUSHIDA (Best of the Super Jnr final), and Okada vs. AJ Styles (Dominion PPV). Honestly, they’re what makes pro wrestling so special and you’ll understand that this isn’t just a lifestyle choice (like being a hipster) being a NJPW fan is a way of life. Plus our beards are much less punchable. Come join us!
Video game style wrestling is here to stay.
I know it’ll make JR cry into his bbq trough but it’s true; the video game style of pro wrestling is here to stay. So that means more quickness, more high spots, more big dives, more big moves, less selling and more Young Bucks. It’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly for someone because along with Lucha Underground these unashamed spot monkeys are no selling their way to fortune and glory. Plus it’s damn entertaining to watch. If you can convince yourself that it’s not real people you’re watching and that kicking out of a Meltzer driver is something everyone should do and a move that devastating doesn’t automatically mean total death – it actually means five more minutes of insane moves and no selling – then YAY you’re going to LOVE wrestling in 2015!!
The most devastating finish of 2015 – THE SCHOOL BOY ROLL UP!
I’m not sure when the memo went around; it was probably around the same time Vince sent that one to the announcers about not using the words ring, wrestling, match, crowd, ropes, moves or Cena when calling a match. These days, being a WWE commentator is like playing one of those boring parlour games you played as a kid when the power went out. Ok, you have to describe this movie, without using any of the words in the title, naming any of the stars and you can’t describe the plot. Go! Is it Star Wars? It is Star Wars, you win! You’re right son, this game sucks.
Anyway, this year the decree from atop Mount McInsanity is EVERY SINGLE MATCH must end with at least two of the following two things – a babyface being distracted by something dumb (like his own face on a t-shirt in the crowd, or a dog with a poufy tail) and then being hit with the move to end all moves – the school boy roll up of DOOM! Honestly, I’ve seen that finish so often this year I’m starting to think an actual school boy is booking pro-wrestling these days and trying to make his finisher more over than the stunner was back in the day (before John Cena invented the special needs springboard version).
TNA Will Not Die.
Despite the best efforts of everyone involved in the management, promotion and creative sides of TNA, the little company that couldn’t still remains alive as we move towards the second half of the year. Whether it makes it to the end of 2015 is another matter. Then again, people have been predicting the end of TNA (myself included) since about half way through their first weekly PPV and they’re still going. Maybe a half-hearted feud with Jeff Jarrett his Harlem Global Force Trotters will be the thing that saves TNA. Who knows? At this point they’ve really just got to roll as many dice as they can and hope that something changes from the last decade, cause THIS TIME it really feels like time is running out. God speed TNA, God speed.
Fat is Cool – The Rise of Kevin Owens.
If you asked Vince McMahon to draw the worst possible example of a WWE Superstar he could imagine, he’d draw Kevin Owens. Fat, bearded, smug, CANADIAN, Indy darling. That’s easily five of Vince’s top ten most hated things a human can be. To say the rise and success of Kevin Owens has been a surprise, would be like saying Donald Trump celebrating Cinco de Mayo by NOT calling everyone a rapist is somewhat unexpected.
I don’t know how HHH convinced Vince to give Owens a spot in NXT, let alone a spot on the main roster against John Cena (and pinning him clean for fucks sake) but he did. I guess if HHH could convince himself that Chyna was a hot woman back in the day, he can do anything. And good for him because with the rise of Kevin Owens on the main roster we’ve seen the best of him, the best of John Cena and a little glimmer of hope to all us fatties that one day we two could be main eventing in WWE.
John Cena most certainly doesn’t suck.
Yeah, you heard right – John Cena doesn’t suck. You can keep doing your worn out chant and acting like the cool kid in school picking on the nerd who’s popular with all the hot girls, but you’re wrong. In 2015 John Cena has done to more to put over young talent on TV than any other top star in his position has in history. Seriously, this US Title open challenge has seen Cena reimagined (copyright wanky Hollywood producers) as a guy who puts on incredible matches, makes the young guy look like a million bucks in the process, and helps the long and usually unsuccessful attempt at creating a new star.
Ok, he’s not perfect. His overall character is still neon, annoying and more sickly sweet than a vat of sucrose. But you can’t deny that in 2015, John Cena is doing everything in his power to help some of the new talent come up and be established as stars. You can’t blame him if Vince’s books him to win all the time and some of his recent feuds haven’t exactly done the other guy much good in the long run (Wyatt and Rusev spring to mind). But on the flip side are Owens and Cesaro – two guys who in the space of a few matches have the opportunity (thanks to working with Cena) to become true top guys.
You can argue if they will or they won’t and the road blocks in their way (Vince) all you want, but the fact remains Cena is putting these guys over (which doesn’t just mean being pinned by them – there’s more to putting someone over than that). He’s at least helping to put them into the position to see if they can be true top guys. I’d expect to see Cena keep doing that for the rest of the year, to keep putting on match of the year candidates, and to keep proving to short sighted and moronic fans that John Cena most certainly doesn’t suck.
So there you have it, a few things I’ve learnt so far in 2015 when it comes to pro-wrestling. Here’s hoping the next six months provide as many good matches, break out stars, fun moments and MORE BROCK, as the first six months of the year did.
As for me? I’m going back to work on getting my upgrade to type 1 diabetes (I’m kidding – I’m actually kicking this things ass with medication and lifestyle changes), getting hold of Batman: Arkham Knight, and continuing my dominance at the top of the UFC prediction league on the MFX forums.
Speaking of which, you can come join the forums by clicking on the ‘community’ link on the site here. There’s tons of great people, topics, games and other forum based fun for you to waste these precious, fleeting moments we have on planet earth.
There’s also other blogs here (much more informative and less self-hating than mine) which you guys are all encouraged to read and indeed write. We’ve got an open door policy here, you want to write something? Cool, email us the details (email@example.com) and we’ll get you all set up.
And I can’t round out my shameless plugs without encouraging you all to check out the latest MFX Podcast. Yes, it’s more entertaining than all the ones I buried earlier, plus it’s guaranteed to make you laugh. Either thanks to Sir Ian Trumps and my incredibly entertaining banter, or by the notion that we thought anyone would actually be entertained by our clueless rambling. So check out the new show, check out the old shows and bring a bit of MFX goodness into your life.
As always, thanks for reading and if you want to leave some comments below, go for it!
Until next time…