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Everything posted by Kev

  1. I think this is fair, and I’m not sure there’s a particularly strong argument for Alexa being outright good. She did feel overpushed early on, with her kind of coming up out of nowhere to win the title pretty quickly, having largely been a manger in NXT. She was then positioned pretty strongly as a fixture in the title scene for the next couple of years, while more hyped NXT call-ups floundered a bit (Sasha, Becky, Bayley, Asuka). This is a WWE criticism rather than an Alexa criticism (as an aside I’d argue you’re better off coming to the main roster without having had a strong NXT run). Character-wise she was generally decent-good, but I’d struggle to name anything particularly standout she did (other than some gif-worthy reaction shots), and I’m not sure there was any faces that came out stronger having feuded with her (again, that’s not all on Alexa though). In-ring, I’d say she’s mostly unremarkable. My main memory is her adopting that chokeslam/STO as a signature spot, which seemed massively misjudged and felt like it should have been a set-up to a comedy spot (a kind of Flair gets carried away and goes to the top rope thing). What are the standout Alexa matches or what even are her strengths? In terms of more recently, fair enough she’s went all in and is doing well with bad material but I feel like this is a slightly over-used talking point. Like it used to get used to praise Kane, but Kane still mostly sucked for 20 years.
  2. I remember having a couple of wrestlers in amongst my figures of superheroes, mutant turtles, etc. as a young kid. It was possibly Macho and Bulldog, but I think I must have just picked them up because they looked cool, I don’t remember watching wrestling until 98, when I was 9/10. Austin was an obvious early fave, the earliest thing I can remember actually seeing was the Raw segment where Austin faked out going corporate, and I loved that whole Summerslam build of ‘are Kane and Taker in cahoots’. As I got into it, X Pac became my proper favourite as he had the underdog thing going and was one of the few flyers to be featured around then, I used to love Taka against random cruisers but they were already losing interest in the division by then. In the UK, TNT would only come on at like 8-9 at night and I just thought of it as a channel that showed old films. I came across Nitro, presumably when flicking during Raw ads (Raw and Nitro used to get shown on a Friday back then) and, because it was the old film channel and I vaguely recognised the likes of Hogan as ‘old’ wrestlers, I genuinely thought it was a rerun of some old wrestling. But I remember seeing a Goldberg video package and being blown away by the spear in particular and telling a friend about this old wrestler I saw who would just dive across the ring to take out his opponents. Once I saw more I remember thinking the cruisers and DDP were great, but that early perception of WCW being where the old wrestlers went stuck with me for my first few years of fandom and WCW kind of lacked a bit street cred for me.
  3. I thought the opener was fine as a novelty, like Hager getting the win in his environment. Generally liked the chaotic post-match, although the Sammy run-in, complete with theme song, was a bit off. I like the subtle teases of Wardlow as ‘actually a decent dude’ for when the inevitable face turn comes. Handicap was good and, again, nice logical booking, although like everyone else I’m wondering what’s the next step here, I suppose that’s a good thing though. OC vs. Bononi was fun. Perfect wrestling as variety show stuff. I can’t really put my finger on what it is, but Statlander has added something to the Best Friends act, and they continue to be the most likeable thing in AEW for me. I quite liked the goofy Kenny segment in the moment, but it feels misplaced for the heel world champ. See Miro for someone who can say goofy shit while still coming off totally legit as a character, but Kenny feels like he’s role-playing 80s comedy villain. Hardy’s act just comes off very minor league to me, just not believable. Bunny is dreadful also. In theory, I like that they’re playing off their history with this little feud for Christian, but Hardy is someone I don’t think offers much anymore (at least on screen). Thought Brock looked decent enough, that whole thing was fine, nothing more to really say on it. I hope the Andrade interview being solo signifies more of a loose association with Vickie (e.g. she doesn’t actually appear with him). Not keen on them teasing another surprise, just let the surprise be a surprise. Hart is very green but thought that match was solid. It probably shouldn’t be significant but I appreciate the simplicity of them booking the more experienced wrestlers to have advantages over the rookies so there’s a clear hierarchy being built. Nothing about this Nyla Brit setup is working for me. Transitioning Brit into a tweener role also feels increasingly like it could be a misstep. If your unlikeable heel is your most over face then you need better face characters. If Penta isn’t going to be heel then they should really ditch Abrahantes. With the new gimmick and him going for a grizzled vet, mercenary thing, Kazarian could do with dropping some of his more high-flying and convoluted stuff. He’s a weird one for me in that he always hits his ‘athletic spots’ perfectly well, but for some reason they never actually look good. I kind of feel the same way about Nick Jackson. Is it just me or is this a thing? I’d use something like ‘forced/false athleticism’ to describe it.
  4. What’s happening here? Is this a botch or a comedy spot?
  5. I think your points are right in a lot of ways but this bit kind of lets them off the hook. I think it’s probably true in the sense that it seems unlikely that they have any desire to do things differently. But I’d suggest if they were willing to change up their booking philosophy and rotate the roster more then they could be getting a lot more value out of a lot more of their talent. Like why do they need to book endless rematches to the point that most decent pairings get ran into the ground within a few months and become completely stale? Why do Roman and The Usos need to appear multiple times every Smackdown or why do they even need to appear every week at all? (In fairness they aren’t having Roman actually wrestle too much now) Its far from perfect but I think AEW is showing how a different booking philosophy can work. NXT of a few years ago was also really good in this sense.
  6. Kev

    1997 WWF

    Yeah, about 2 years ago I actually started from after Rumble 96 but I quickly gave up and just did the ppvs. I started up on Raw again pre-Survivor Series 96. Watching from Bret’s return makes 97 and the heel turn a lot more satisfying as you see him go from respectful and largely unconcerned with Austin to pure hatred. Plus all the perceived slights build it up to the point that the turn, if not completely justified, is completely understandable. All the moving parts in the main event scene, possibly slightly accidentally given HBK’s absence, come together really well in that few months to Mania.
  7. Kev

    1997 WWF

    At the pace I’m watching these it’s gonna be around 2024 by the time I get through the 97 shows. Raw April 28 - Pillman promo to start, doing a sort of hypocritical religious thing. Austin interrupts, avoids a Davey/Owen ambush then comes back out to chase them off with a weapon. This is fairly simple but effective booking, Austin was outnumbered and ambushed a couple of times last week, this week he doesn’t fall for the same tricks, he doesn’t have to really get over on anyone but he walks tall and doesn’t look like an idiot. Contrast with how it felt like NWO were constantly beating down the faces on Nitro around this time. Flash vs Rockabilly - short, fine match, Flash with some dives, Billy kind of hits a jackhammer, plus a slightly lower impact fameasser. Funk wins with a rana roll up after a miscommunication spot with Billy and Honky. The gimmick is dead but I like Billy as big strong, athletic dude who has all the tools but is basically too much of a goof to really put it together. Guitar shot on Flash after the match. Bret does a promo in his wheelchair. Someone on the board recently described Bret as sort of a lame old man neighbour in terms of his insults, but you still wouldn’t mess with him cos it looks like he keeps in shape, and I like that. He comes across as lame but still believable, rather than falling into the goofy comedy heel trap. Plus he’s arrogant but good enough to back it up, without being a cool heel. I think his heel work here really was perfect for this era. LOD vs Furnas/LaFon - ends as Furnas breaks up a doomsday device only to eat the clothesline from Hawk, which looked a bit weak. Furnas/LaFon do a heel turn here with a pre-tape then post match promo, which is a bit muddled and isn’t helped by the announcers no selling that Hawk pinned the illegal man, which was one of their gripes. Owen vs Rocky in a solid match, Owen hits a great spin kick out of the corner to a charging Rocky. Owen with the roll up and takes the IC title, I hadn’t even realised this was for the title. Rocky had looked like a bit of a lame duck champ for a while now so losing in this sort of low key manner almost seemed fitting. It didn’t feel like the crowd had turned on him at this stage, just ambivalent. Austin hypes his title match with Taker, which is a bit of an afterthought to the Bret feud. I quite like that he has a heated feud with his main rival while also going for the title, again allows them to interweave stories which they were good at doing around this time. A Shamrock behind the scenes-type video package. Nothing particularly notable but I’m a sucker for this sort of thing, easy way to get across a character without exposing weaker promo guys. Roadie vs Vader - pretty much a squash, the Vader body attack thing looks great here. JR then does an in-ring interview, leading to Vader bullying him, playing off the Kuwait incident. It’s a bit awkward as I think Shamrock was a bit late but he eventually makes the save and hits a belly to belly which the crowd like, he then grabs the mic and says ‘it won’t be Vader time, it’ll be hard time’, there’s sort of a polite ‘ummm yeah ok then’ pop, not sure if this was an attempt at a catchphrase but it didn’t work (see earlier point about exposing weak promo guys). That probably sums up why Shamrock only had a certain ceiling in WWE, cool when he was throwing suplexes or whatever but kind of had negative charisma when talking. Goldust vs HHH - Dustin throws some nice strikes in this. It ends when Marlena throws powder in Chyna’s eyes, leading to Chyna choking HHH (mistaking him for Goldust) for a dq. As we know, powder to the eyes disables both vision and hearing. This feels like a bit of a never ending feud, the work is generally solid and the feud is fine but they have too many nothing matches with weak non-finishes. Quick Taker promo hyping his title match, even referencing Austin being distracted with Bret. There’s a couple of skits on the show, which I’d never seen before where you have actors playing a family, with the kid and grandpa kind of going crazy imitating different wrestlers. They’re labelled WWF reality check, was this their pre-Attitude attempt at branding this ‘era’? Taker vs Bulldog - total non-event, pretty much immediately to commercial, Owen then runs in soon after they come back. Austin out to chase them off, leads to an Austin/Taker confrontation, surprising amount of boos for Austin, Taker pretty clearly the face there, so Austin wasn’t that over yet. Austin then confronts Bret who is watching from the stage in his wheelchair, this leads to Anvil attacking Austin, I like how they’ve slowly unveiled the Hart Foundation over a number of weeks. Bret then knocks Austin off the stage with a crutch shot. It’s a bit weird seeing this through modern eyes as they don’t do a big set-piece bump and don’t actually shows the landing, it almost looks like Austin just steps off the stage and the camera angle gives no perspective on height, but then they sell it like it’s a big fall. They seem to be doing lots in the Austin Foundation feud, really building the shows around it, which I suppose sets the tone for the era. The positive though is that, despite dedicating a lot of time to it, they don’t burn through matches, which is one of their big flaws of today.
  8. Oh and I liked that Team Taz squash, it kind of demonstrated how much more effective Hobbs is than Cage. Hobbs only did a couple of simple things but they looked really good and he showed he can work a crowd, getting face then heel heat by spamming a body slam. Cage ran through a load of shit with nothing really standing out, other than accidentally dropping a dude on his head trying some convoluted setup. And the drillclaw sucks, it’s half way between a screwdriver and a falcon arrow but ends up not looking as good as either. I’m not advocating dropping dudes on their head but if you’re gonna make the screwdriver look that safe then just don’t bother doing it.
  9. I don’t know if this happened ages ago and I missed it, but based on Elevation it looks like they got rid of Santana & Ortiz’s banger of a theme. The new one didn’t do much for me on first impression. Nice promo and squash by them though. Im quite liking the QT character now but I think the reason I can’t get on board with him in-ring is the constant re-adjusting his trunks. Is someone not pointing this out to him backstage? Get some gear that fits FFS.
  10. To be fair, that was under 2 years into Foley’s run. Miro and Lee were both around longer than Foley (not including his various comebacks). Im not making any particular point here, but it’s interesting to think how some of the modern guys who we still think of as ‘new’ have had far longer runs than some of the legendary runs from the past.
  11. With the talk of WWE going back to the big guy signings, my instinct is that it won’t work as the core audience simply doesn’t really want that. I feel like the modern fan tends to be a lot smarter (for a lack of a better term) than even 10 years ago and there’s a certain expectation of good wrestling (again definitions on this may vary). It seems to me that WWE going this route would just turn more of their current audience away and is another example of contempt for their audience rather than trying to cater to them (and the fans who’ve been tuning out). But I think it’s an interesting topic, similar to the WWE as Marvel talk in the purge thread. Is this just another Vince whim or is this driven more by the likes of Khan and the real business guys? Like is there a business model for this? Is there an example out there (in wrestling, sports, entertainment of whatever) where a company has pretty much actively turned off their existing fan base while successfully expanding by picking up a new audience?
  12. I think this is fair and, when you frame it like that, it is maybe one of the better stories they could tell at the minute. I think I’m more bemoaning the overall booking of Nyla, I think if they’d handled her better since the start then a Nyla title challenge should still be a bigger deal than a foregone conclusion defence. For a company that generally develops their characters fairly slowly and let’s their stories play out (see Hangman), it feels like they’ve burned through Nyla pretty quickly. She’s a dominant monster heel but she never really got that dominant monster run (but did have a title run so at the same time it feels like she’s already reached her ceiling). I think she’s fine in a gatekeeper role, but I feel like there was more value in her before settling into that role. You mention her only losing 3 times in a year, but (without checking) I’m not sure that would even stand up as that impressive amongst the other women as they don’t tend to burn through big matches. And I think those 3 represent her losing every featured program she’s been in during that time (Shida x2 and the tournament final).
  13. I think this is fine in theory, plus they’ve got the ‘I already beat you’ thing, which is a simple story. I just think Nyla’s been beaten too many times to really be considered a major threat, along with her weak title run and lack of TV time it seems obvious they’re done with her as a major player in the division. So for Britt’s first defence it just seem like far too much of a foregone conclusion to be interesting. If they actually slow burn it over a few months, have Nyla pick up some momentum and have some dotted interactions with Britt along the way then it could work better. Otherwise it just comes across too much as a filler feud, like how WWE would always throw Kane out as a challenger to fill a ppv cycle. They really should get her away from Vickie though. I think giving her more of a coach who can improve her and bring out the beast (which is what they should have done instead of Vickie) might be something that could win her back some credibility and extend her usefulness a bit more.
  14. I thought there was quite a lot of weak stuff here, even taking into account it being a bit of a cool down show. Opening tag did nothing for me. Heel Bucks have been an improvement but they’re still frustrating. Although they’re doing plenty of cheating it still feels like they’re presented overly strong. They’re running through too many teams, I don’t think they need to be wrestling as much, have them ducking matches and stuff. I liked Matt’s dive fakeout spot but the clothesline at the end was ridiculously weak, to the point it felt like Pac should have been no selling it. Andrade with Vickie is a bad move for me. Vickie’s act seems dated so putting her with a hot new act kind of brings him down by association, he looked cool though. Even going back to WWE, while she is a heat magnet, it pretty much all goes on her rather than the wrestler, so I don’t think she works as a manger. Andrade might need someone to do some talking for him but she’s not actually a good talker, she’s an annoying talker (hence the heat), I don’t think she does anything to build her acts. At least in WWE she was usually doing the GM abuse of power thing, but her act now is just her having an annoying voice. I don’t think it’ll overly hurt him but still a bad move. I like how they tried to explain Private Party’s attire as a douchey heel thing, problem is their original attire looked far douchier. T-shirt gesture was nice but intense face Jericho is shit. Giving Sammy, Santana and Ortiz more limelight is good but the weekly IC promos are a bit much. Although the quality in the women’s division has improved, the stuff featured here made me think that it’s still really lacking in terms of characters. Brit is essentially the top face now, while playing the role of an annoying heel, I quite like that they seem to be letting her just stick to the character while positioning her against heel Nyla, but I’m not sure how it’ll work in terms of building good stories longer term. I like Nyla but I think she’s been killed off as a major threat and see previous comments on Vickie. Red Velvet I like in-ring, but the ‘straight out of your momma’s kitchen’ intro and stirring the pot thing seem massively forced/lame. Feels like they need to do more to develop who she is. Bunny is ok but the ‘I’m Krazzy’ mannerisms are embarrassing. Sky really isn’t a good promo, I just don’t believe him, Page really comes across as a douche, but Sky screams ‘I’m playing a character’. I like him as a heel but he lacks the charisma to really be a featured act. Miro promo was probably best thing on the show. Dustin win makes sense as I like that they’re kind of establishing a hierarchy of the vets just overcoming some of the younger prospects. I think it gives the younger guys more room to grow longer term, gets some losses out of the way early so they don’t have to worry about a win streak becoming a booking burden and it’ll make it more meaningful when younger guys actually get those big wins.
  15. Cody’s a weird case, even going back to WWE, I think when he’s bad he’s really bad. His WWE run was generally solid, if unspectacular. But then I thought the masked heel thing was really bad, just dreadful acting which I found hard to watch. And the Stardust character was fucking awful, that was an embarrassed to be watching thing for me, hissing at the crowd to try to get heat ffs. And I think he was pretty heavily credited with creative input on both of those. But he’s done enough good stuff, especially post-WWE, that I don’t think you can totally dismiss him in terms of creative, he’s maybe just someone who needs to be reined in and told to keep it simple.
  16. On the WWE as Marvel thing, I don’t think it’s a like for like at all, but my interpretation on that is WWE should be building a meaningful WWE universe where the different brands represent their own little worlds and characters can crossover. Theoretically, they’ve got this already but the issue is there’s just not enough thought behind any of it. Each brand should really have its own identity (I don’t know what these should be, maybe a hardcore show as a quick example, just something tangible that sets them apart) as it stands everything is largely homogenous, moving between brands doesn’t really represent any different kind of challenge. I feel like they just need more logic all over. If NXT is a developmental/minor league then frame it such and have some rules around how/why people can move up/down. But even the rules they have about people appearing on Raw/Smackdown quickly get forgotten or changed on a whim. I think they really need to try to get back to more long-term storytelling as well. I’ve largely stopped watching now but when I do I’m struck by how meaningless a lot of it feels. It just doesn’t feel like there’s long term story arcs in most cases and they seem to beat anything good into the ground so quickly. I got off on a tangent about my frustrations with WWE but there’s a point in there about how they should be making the WWE Universe more than a pointless marketing slogan.
  17. Oh they definitely did neuter the character pretty quickly but I remember a brief few month run when he initially turned face, from earning Benoit’s respect at Survivor Series through to beating Show for the US title at Mania, where the character retained the edge but shifted to facing heels.
  18. I dunno, if someone is charismatic/funny/cool then that in itself tends to make them likeable enough. Very early face Cena (I’m thinking late 03-early 04) is actually a good example of how to do it, he was still basically the same character but he’d started to back it up in the ring and fought heels. If you went back to when The Acclaimed fought then face Young Bucks and imagine the face/heel roles were reversed, would Caster’s rap still work? I can’t actually remember (something about Nick’s hairline maybe), but I’m gonna guess it still would.
  19. I think their characters can easily work as faces. Just have them face heels and stop the cheating, I don’t think they’d need to lose any of their edge. Stopping the cheating even works as a natural progression of their characters as we’ve seen them getting better to the point they don’t need to cheat to win. It’ll be interesting to see how this sort of stuff plays out over the next couple of months (Baker being a similar case) as, because of the pandemic, I don’t think AEW have ever really had to deal with a situation of a crowd turning someone. Cody’s always talked of not being concerned about mixed reactions and heel/face distinctions so we’ll see how much they stick to that.
  20. I pretty much agree with all your other points but I’m not sure this bit works. I think Lana’s recent role and Alexa’s in the Cross team aren’t really comparable. Alexa’s generally been booked overly strong comparative to her size and in-ring ability and I’m not sure she was ever booked as overmatched in that team, Cross was always positioned as the no. 2. They were sympathetic but I think that was based more on the audience seeing their friendship develop (which I think was initially being setup as an Alexa manipulation thing).
  21. Yeah, he played a pretty traditional babyface role in the MJF feud that followed and it produced some good stuff. The initial TNT title run was also pretty good, with him slowly becoming a bit more cocky and showing heel tendencies, but it never paid off. The return after the first Brodie match seems to have been the real turning point, his character work has been pretty consistently bad since then.
  22. Thoughts from elevation. I’ll preface by saying I enjoyed it mostly, was nice to see some of the crowd reactions and thought the out of ring was simple, effective stuff to build up some lesser matches. Now to the nitpicking. Caster seems like he’s gonna be mega-over, I think Bowens needs to show something more or he’s gonna quickly become the other guy. Maybe if he threw in some power spots as he feels very generic at the minute. His finish, while not totally bad-looking, is kind of needlessly complicated. Hirsch is missing presence for me, she is really small and, despite her in-ring being decent, she just doesn’t project enough threat to make up for her size. It’s been suggested before but I could maybe see a move to Team Taz working, ECW Taz vibe of mini no-nonsense shooty ass-kicker is what I’d be aiming for. Thunder Rosa’s finish is a bit weak, bit of a convoluted setup and it’s not obvious enough how it actually hurts. I still think Pillman looks too sleazy for his current role, get rid of the beard and mullet. I tend to skip Swole matches but from what I saw here there hasn’t been much improvement. It feels like the division has passed her by after being quite well featured earlier on. Nyla also feels like an afterthought. I think she’s maybe been AEW’s biggest booking failure, they had her lose too many big matches too early and she’s lost the monster aura now. I suppose there’s still some value in her as a sort of gatekeeper but I think they could have stretched out her arc more. Vickie also adds nothing to the act and her signing really feels like a misstep.
  23. To me this shows how shitty the WWE booking philosophy is cos I’m seeing a pretty big roster there. Get rid of a couple of the unnecessary titles, cycle the women round, mix up the matches more (plus I’m sure there’s PC women they could be using as jobbers) and that really shouldn’t be considered a small roster. Its also a mostly really good roster as well, but I have little desire to seek out matches because so many of the combos feel totally played out (mostly on the main roster).
  24. Again, I don’t think that’s an indictment on the PC though, it’s an indictment on how WWE uses (or rather wastes) so many of their wrestlers. Realistically, NXT is more super-indy/third brand than actual developmental. I wouldn’t class Ricochet as having really been in WWE developmental. He was a 10 year plus vet when he signed and was pretty much immediately put on TV in a featured role. I assume his time at the PC was largely about learning production stuff, where the cameras are, etc. Has Ricochet became a worse worker since 2017? I think that’s unlikely. If he’s having worse matches I think that’s because of the role he’s playing. I think there’s various criticisms of WWE’s general shitiness which are being conflated to make a point about the PC being a failure.
  25. Yeah, so this talking point seems to have mainly been brought up about Conti, but as you say, there’s plenty of examples of good PC-developed talent. If anything, the Conti example is more an indictment of how bloated the WWE roster is. Conti’s basically gone from no more than a name jobber in NXT, to a more featured role in AEW and she’s stepped up to it. But look at all the women that were above Conti in NXT alone. If AEW had all that talent would Conti really have been given this opportunity. The mammoth pandemic Dark tapings have also helped here as it’s unlikely Conti would have had as much time to shine pre-pandemic. I do think there’s legit criticisms to be made in how WWE transitions some of their PC talent to TV and more featured roles, but the Conti talking point isn’t the gotcha that people seem to think it is.
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