Monday, October 31, 2011

ITVR - Happy Halloween Podcast


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Continued Health Barry Windham

Hi all,

We'll be posting ITVR tomorrow night - sorry, audio issues tonight - but I did want to take the time after hearing a couple of days ago that Barry Windham, legendary member of the Four Horseman, son of Blackjack Mulligan and brother-in-law of Mike "Irwin R. Schyster" Rotundo and uncle of Husky Harrison in FCW, was in intensive care, in critical condition following a heart attack. While it sounds like his health has made impressive strides in the last few days, that is never a good sign at the age of 52, and after losing an uncle to heart problems two weeks ago, it definitely gives one pause. My prayers continue for Barry's recuperation, and for his family at this time.

Be well all - XO Sarah

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

DVD Review - WWE's Greatest Rivalries: Shawn vs. Bret

Aaah my most highly anticipated WWE DVD release since 'The History of Wrestlemania' was released yesterday and yup, of course I got it on its first day available! Well worth it too - these two men sit down for the first time in the same room with Jim Ross (the only guy really who should ever handle an interview of this magnitude) to discuss not just Montreal (if there's one thing these two men were ever in agreement about, it was that the Screw Job shouldn't be what defines either of their careers), but their nearly-parallel careers from tag team wrestling in the 1980s and very early 1990s, to their early singles successes and defining Intercontinental Champions in the early-to-mid 1990s, to their rise to the pinnacle of WWE success as world champions in the early-90s (Bret) and mid-90s (Shawn), redefining what it meant to succeed in what was traditionally a big man's world.

Both men are candid, albeit fair - you still get the sense this incident was more defining and painful for Bret, and perhaps that's only right, given he was the one ultimately who got hurt by the fallout of his and Shawn's feud. But both express regret, while at the same time maintaining the other made mistakes too - which is the God's honest truth. Both of these men have had a long journey with lots of demons along the road, and to see them at such peace, in such a place that they could, not just share a ring and hug for a few minutes, but sit down and speak in depth and at length, about some of the most torturous issues, shows just how far they've come.

And I want to give Shawn credit too - I always felt their rivalry came more from Bret's end. And while I sided with Bret in a lot of ways, I felt it was more personal for him - that while Shawn was a jerk at that time in his career, he was a jerk to everyone, and Bret took it as directed at himself. Even post-Montreal, I felt it was Bret's cross to bear, that Shawn had long since moved on and refused to be defined by it. But to hear Shawn talk about how he wanted nothing more than for Bret to like and respect him - to see that his petulance really came to the surface when he felt that wasn't happening - and that perhaps not so much from thinking he was wrong, but on his journey as a Christian to right past hurts - this had bothered him too, perhaps more than I had realized ... I gained a new respect for him. The contrast I always see between them is still there - Bret's a bit darker, more jaded, less happy and at peace, while Shawn, when uncomfortable is more likely to crack a joke and try to minimize a bit than really deal with the meat and potatoes of things - I still think this was the most peaceful, and honest, I've ever seen either of them.

This video is a must-have for any wrestling fan, dealing honestly with an era-defining feud. My only recommendation is, don't watch it expecting 2 hours of 'All Montreal, Nothin' but Montreal' ... that comes up, and features prominently to be sure, but it's about so much more than that, from two veterans with a very unique view of the business in their era ... and of each other. Again, a very recommended addition to your wrestling DVD library.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

In This Very Ring

CLICK HERE for In This Very Ring's Podcast for this week.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Scott Hall: The Wrestler (ESPN E60)

We will be online either later tonight or tomorrow at the latest with a new ITVR featuring our Vengeance predictions and all that jazz. However, I just watched the below video and it was too important not to share.

ESPN recently did a documentary on their E60 show about troubled (to understate matters) wrestler Scott Hall, perhaps better known as Razor Ramon. At 52, the man is a collection of health problems, all related to an addiction to alcohol, painkillers, cocaine and other narcotics. However, at one point, he was one of the most popular and recognizable figures in the world of professional wrestling.

Please feel free watch the documentary in its (~18 minute) entirety for yourself below - very sad and interesting stuff.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


NOTE: Last week's absence was not about busy-ness or getting sidetracked in some predictable way as we often do; there was a death in the family which occupied much of the second half of last week, unfortunately. I don't particularly feel like taking up another almost near-entire post of 'we'll straighten ourselves back out', it was an abberation and posting would have gone better under different circumstances. It's been a rough 6 weeks or so in general time-management, health, etc. wise but this was truly sudden and unexpected. Back now.

So this week for the first time Raw aired from Mexico City. And while it was better than last week, it still demonstrates WWE's tone deafness to the fans. Case in point; they did in fact oblige fans insofar as bringing Jim Ross back on air after a week of backlash to his firing; but they don't seem to realize, fans don't want to watch this man wrestle - that's not even remotely what he does best. We want to hear him call matches, which is his unique gift, and a highly important one right now partiularly with the state of the announce team in the WWE (I'm sorry - Michael Cole and Booker T in their spheres just do not work out, and while Jerry Lawler is incredibly well spoken and witty, smart and funny, he is a character who needs the steady hand of a pro like JR to counterbalance him). Although I do have to say Johnny 'Ace' Laurenaitis acting like he and JR were old BFFs upon his rehiring was kind of funny, disingenuous bearhugs and all.

Given the WWE was in Mexico anyway, honestly, should the focus have been THAT much on an English-language announcer's storyline? I understand Raw in the States/Canada/etc. is still going to get the English commentary - and thank you, as it should be - but to have them as a front-end storyline (honestly, in the main event spot) in a country where they aren't even the folks calling the action, doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Similarly, again, being in Mexico - shouldn't Alberto del Rio have been featured more prominently? Not that I minded the stipulation attached to Cena/JR vs. del Rio/Michael Cole: winner chooses Vengeance match stipulation. And I didn't mind the stipulation Cena chose either, 'Last Man Standing'. While he's not exactly seen as the catch-as-catch-can type, Cena can go in the clinch, and so can del Rio so it should be a passable match.

In other news ... nice to see Miz and R Truth back, although they seem to have lost at least a bit of the bite they had prior to their firing, and while doing runins during their time 'away' from the WWE ... I'm also enjoying Vicki Guerrero's stable, particularly of Dolph Ziggler (excellent mic work this week) and Jack Swagger ... Vicki especially did well playing to the Mexican crowd as a heel, where she could easily still be seen as the widow of the beloved Eddie Guerrero ... I don't get what Eve did to deserve the #1 contendership to the women's title, seeing as she has lost the vast majority of her matches of late - but then again that would be trying to make sense of the Diva's division, so we will just leave it at that ... John Morrison continues his losing streak as his contract comes to an end next month (I believe) and there has been no real movement on either side to re-sign. Given WWE's heat with Morrison's still-girlfriend Melina, it might be just best to go their separate ways for now, anyway. Although Morrison's unquestionable talent will be missed.

We will be podcasting on Friday with Smackdown thoughts, and predictions for this Sunday's Vengeance PPV. I will do my absolute very best to post in between now and then as well (ie, tomorrow). But meanwhile I thank everyone again for their patience and understanding during a rough time of late, and assure everyone, 'We're back and better than ever!'

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wow ... Slow News Week.

So ... I know. We screwed up last week. Part of that was illness - we have all had the worst cold this side of cold and flu season, as I explained in my last blog. Some changed-around plans for the long weekend (Thanksgiving here in Canada) were also responsible. But to a certain degree, the wrestling product has also been uninspired, and honestly somewhat awful the last few weeks.

First of all, hard to build up excitement about a pay-per-view with two weeks' opportunity to create interest. When, two weeks on the heels of the last PPV, the company needed to build up Hell in a Cell, it resulted in a lot of rush jobs. We actually didn't see the PPV - we chose to see Moneyball instead. And while it sounds like it had some cool moments - the Miz and R Truth's beatdown at the end of the show for example - I don't especially feel like it was a poor decision for our time and money. And again, with only three weeks separating HIAC from the next PPV - Vengeance -  the risk of hotshotting storylines in order to prep them for PPV is very real. This is always a rough time of year for the WWE. With the return of Monday Night Football, as well as the MLB playoffs, the fall is always a loss-leader for them. Add that to the fact we're heading into a somewhat quiet time PPV-wise (there isn't usually a PPV over the Holidays, Royal Rumble is in late January and there's one one PPV between it and April's Wrestlemania), October/November are always kind of loaded with PPVs at 3 week intervals. It's a big risk ... and one that hasn't been paying off of late.

There was some promies to the walkout storyline that ended Raw last week - Triple H has let things get out of control, and WWE employees no longer feel safe in that environment. There are a few kinks, some minor (this is largely a heel-led issue - how would we redeem the faces who walked out also, from seeming cowardly in the rough and tumble world of pro wrestling?), some larger (WWE is inherently an 'unsafe work environment' ... do you REALLY want to highlight that? And isn't Triple H supposed to be an authority figure for the entirety of WWE? In which case ... why is the walkout Raw exclusive, instead of affecting both programs?). But it was interesting and I was willing to see where it went.

Through Smackdown and the first 15-20 minutes of this week's Raw, there was some promise. They awkwardly tried to explain Triple H's presence on Raw being that SD had a General Manager, Raw didn't - and when ultimately he was relieved of his duties (onscreen), it was as showrunner for Raw, not as COO/overall authority figure.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Apologies to readers

Hi guys,

In recent weeks, even when things get busy, I try to keep the apologies for that to a minimum and just focus on the writing at hand; however, the last two weeks have been insane and it has been about that long since I've written. In that time, we've had two pay per views, Matt Hardy has been arrested and has hi'ed himself to WWE sponsored rehab, the Shawn Michaels-Bret Hart DVD is days away from being released, and very, very little has changed on the storytelling canvas in the WWE; apparently Hulk Hogan on TNA-side gave an amazing - though fake - retirement speech that I have yet to catch, though I will, even though he didn't end up, you know, retiring.

Bottom line - if we had to pick two weeks that were full of work (I had an entire class of students finishing up the online course I teach, a couple of job interviews, my in-laws visiting this weekend, AND a bad cold that left me in a position I'd be hacking into the mic more than speaking into it ... lots of fun) and that we were unable to blog, this wasn't a bad time to choose I guess; we're now up to some progress being made in the main event WWE storyline on Raw (Triple H getting fed up with Johnny Ace, a couple of good Hell in a Cell matches for both world titles last night etc.), and the march to Survivor Series, usually a pretty decent card as one of the traditional 'Big Four' PPVs (Wrestlemania, Summerslam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble), is on. And we're back, a bit more into routine and able to keep up with everything (we didn't even catch last night's PPV - going on word of mouth it was OK, though not stellar).

Please tune in through the week as news breaks - I will try to post tonight/tomorrow with thoughts on tonight's Raw, etc. - and we will be back Thursday or Friday evening as usual with a brandnew podcast of In This Very Ring. As always when times get busy, we appreciate your patience and support and hope you keep checking back in. Much love!

Sarah (and Ari)

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