Real American Wrestleblog

This blog predates Jack Swagger's gimmick shift by a year. I named it after Hulk Hogan's entrance theme.

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Why you should be watching Lucha Underground Part II

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If you haven’t started watching Lucha Underground yet, then last night you missed what I’m calling the best diving attack spot in the history of wrestling and if it weren’t for Shane McMahon’s fall from the TitanTron at SummerSlam 2000, it would be the best dive of any kind in the history of wrestling.  You can check out the video here.

It happened in the surprise finals of the Trios Championship tournament.  We originally thought the championships would be decided in a 3-way elimination Trios Tag match between the team of Angelico, Ivelisse & Son of Havoc, the team of Big Ryck, The Mack & Killshot and the team of El Texano, King Cuerno & Cage.  However, after Ivelisse sustained an injury, Angelico & Son of Havoc managed to pull an upset win over the two other teams with Ivelisse looking on from the outside favoring her leg after she injured it on a dive from the ring apron to the floor.  However, after they had thought they’d won, the boss of the Lucha Underground promotion Dario Cueto came out of his office, which is a part of the set located at ringside and announced that they hadn’t won the championships yet because he was adding another team to the tournament.  So, out comes the boss’s crew of henchmen “The Crew” to now compete against the weakened Trio of Son of Havoc, Ivelisse & Angelico.  And it would be a No Disqualification bout on top of the surprise factor, plus remember that Ivelisse was injured in the elimination match earlier.

Over the course of the match, Son of Havoc and one member of the crew would be down and out on the floor and Angelico was beaten down out in the crowd and trapped on top of the boss’s office – or so we thought.  This left Ivelisse alone in the ring with two members of the crew.  As the two members of the crew closed in on the injured lady, Angelico took flight in the most incredible dive attack I can ever remember seeing, flying from the roof of the office and taking both men out in the ring.  And if you haven’t followed the link yet and watched the video, the office roof is about as high above the ring as a wrestler would be if he were to fall off the top of the tallest ladders that WWE uses in ladder matches.  Plus, in addition, it’s a decent distance away from the ring, so it wasn’t just a straight dive and fall.  He had a long way to jump to get there and he took off like he was shot out of a cannon and seemed to hang up in the air forever on his way to the ring where he took out both opponents.  Son of Havoc then recovered and he and Angelico finished off the two members of the crew in the ring with top rope attacks while Ivelisse prepared to ward off the third member of the crew with a kendo stick in case he tried to break up the cover and the unlikely trio won the Trios titles.

Now, let’s put this into perspective for you.  In this storyline, this would be the equivalent of Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella breaking up and then winning the WWE Tag Team Championships together.  It made for very compelling television and all of the Trios involved in the tournament put on some excellent matches, all capped off with a phenomenal finish.  Well done, Lucha Underground.  If you still aren’t gonna start watching after that, then you don’t deserve to call yourself a fan.

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Why you should be watching Lucha Underground

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If you’re tired of seeing the same old thing every Monday Night on Raw, you really don’t have anybody to blame for it but yourself.  From 2001-2005 there were no other alternatives to WWE programming.  Then TNA came along and there was an alternative, although it was crap.  TNA tried too hard to beat WWE at being the WWE and as a result failed miserably to provide quality entertainment.  They provided excellent wrestling at times, but we all know that there is more to a wrestling show than the wrestling and what TNA tried to do to fill that part of the show was some of the most god awful crap ever to make it on the air.  But now there are alternatives.  And don’t get me wrong, I still love WWE programming.  I still watch Raw and Smackdown every week.  But WWE in some respects is a victim of their own success.  In trying to satisfy the demand created by putting their competition out of business, WWE has steadily increased the amount of weekly programming they create, thus creating a much more watered down product.  It’s still fun.  It still has it’s high points every week.  But 5 hours of Raw and Smackdown every week makes for a lot of down time and failed entertainment experiments.  Plus, WWE has become more about using Raw and Smackdown to promote the WWE Network, the WWE App, the WWE iPhone games, etc., etc. and less about providing a show.  In 3 hours of Raw, it feels like roughly half the show is spent plugging products or other WWE branded shows.

Lucha Underground, however, only provides one hour of programming per week, and it is always stellar.  The storytelling is compelling rather than a rehash of reality tv episodes.  The promotional segments are always focused around the wrestling and what you are going to see in the ring either that week or the next.  There is no prolonged two or three months of promotion for one match before you finally see the guys fight that you want to see fight.  The wrestling is top notch.  It can become a bit of a spotfest at times with all of the high flying that is going on, but it’s always well connected and not just something that the performers do to try to keep the crowd interested.  If you watch the crowd during the show, they are always on the edge of their seats.  And whereas the WWE fans will frequently try to hijack Raw and Smackdown with sophomoric though sometimes amusing chants, the Lucha Underground audience is a part of the show without distracting from the performance with a different chant every two minutes.  This is from beginning to finish a well put together wrestling show with a great and varied cast of characters, a dastardly authority figure who doesn’t make himself the center of attention every week and announcers who genuinely love the product and hang on every second of action in the ring.  And that’s without delving past the surface of the in-ring product at Lucha Underground yet.

If you were a fan of wrestling in the attitude era, Lucha Underground gives you the brutality and violence that has been missing from the WWE product for the past decade.  If you can’t or don’t want to go back and watch every episode of Lucha Underground from start to finish (which I highly recommend), then at least check out a sampling from among some of the better matches that they have put on the air so far.  Watch Mil Muertes vs. Fenix in a Casket Match.  Watch the Best of 5 series between Drago and Aero Star.  Watch the Trios Championship tournament matches.  Watch the Aztec Warfare Battle Royal.  You can find most of those matches on YouTube or full episodes on dailymotion or various other video streaming sites.  And I’m not in any way advocating that you replace the WWE with Lucha Underground.  I am advocating that you broaden your horizons and that you supplement the entertainment that you are getting from WWE every week by also watching Lucha Underground.  WWE has made it clear over the past decade that they are going to follow a certain business model and more power to them.  Regardless of whatever criticism they receive from their vocal detractors, what they are doing works.  You can’t refute that.  They are the global leader in the industry and they just keep growing and expanding with each passing year.  So, enjoy WWE for what it is and stop trying to pressure them into being something that they aren’t any more.  By watching both WWE and Lucha Underground, you get the best of both worlds.  You get the entertainment brand that WWE has become and you also get to witness a young thriving promotion that’s filling the void left by the WWE outgrowing what they used to be.

The Point of Impact – 05/24/12

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After a stellar episode of TNA Impact Wrestling last week, the stage was set for the second monthly episode of Open Fight Night on Impact.  Last week we saw some great matches between Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy and Ken Anderson and Rob Van Dam and Bully Ray and as a result of last week’s episode, we knew coming into tonight that Robert Roode would be forced to defend TNA’s top championship against either Bully Ray, AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, or Kurt Angle.  On the verge of becoming the longest reigning champion in the ten year history of TNA, all eyes would be on the promised world title match to see if Roode could continue his seven month title reign or if one of his four potential challengers could wrestle the title and the record out of his grasp.

The rules for Open Fight Night are simple.  Either the TNA World Title, Tag Team Titles, Knockout’s Title or X-Division Title is going to be defended at some point in the night and slowly throughout the night, General Manager Hulk Hogan systematically eliminates one of the potential four choices to challenge for the title until he ultimately settles on one of the choices and sends his choice out to compete for the title. On top of that, an up and coming star competes in the TNA Gut Check segment for a chance to win a TNA contract.  And throughout the night, anybody under TNA contract can demand a match with anybody else on the roster and they will be forced to accept.  Not too bad, right?  It’s certainly the most entertaining concept TNA has come up with in several years.  It definitely beats all we and they the “mystery” storylines about the Immortal and Fortune factions that bored the living crap out of us for the past two years.  It took awhile after the “Wrestling Matters” campaign that TNA launched for wrestling to actually matter on their show again, but they’ve finally started living up to it.

Coming into the night, Bully Ray was the only potential challenger for Roode’s title that had not already been a singles World Champion previously.  The other potential contenders included 5-time TNA Champion Kurt Angle (6-time champion in WWE), 2-time TNA Champion Jeff Hardy (3-time champion in WWE) and 4-time TNA Champion AJ Styles.  Of the four potential challengers, only AJ Styles was never previously pushed by the WWE and it would be Styles’ record for longest title reign that Roode looked to eclipse.  Styles is also currently under attacks on his character by Christopher Daniels and Kazarian, who have systematically begun exposing an alleged romance between Styles and TNA President Dixie Carter.

We start off the night with the four potential contenders in a locked room with Hulk Hogan and segments like this have usually been a bit too melodramatic for my taste.  At times, Impact Wrestling tries to be a bit too much like a reality show.  This segment, I don’t think was so bad.  There was some really good back and forth between Bully Ray and Kurt Angle and Angle and Styles with Hardy keeping his mouth shut for the most part.  I think Angle and Ray come out ahead on the verbal game, at least based on this segment and I think Bully Ray has been the most entertaining part of Impact Wrestling in 2012, but unfortunately, Bully Ray was the first name scratched off the list by Hogan, leaving Hardy, Angle and Styles to still potentially challenge Roode for the title.

In the first challenge of the night, the Knockout’s Champion Gail Kim came out with Madison Rayne and put herself over before calling out ODB and Eric Young or as she called them “Mr. and Mrs. ODB” for a tag team match.  Eric Young is a funny guy and his segments are usually pretty entertaining and he’s also a pretty good wrestler, but we know from past experience that the only things he’s going to do in one of these Knockout’s Tag Matches is take his pants off, tie-up with the referee and maybe put the girls in an Airplane Spin or two.  He’s not going to throw any other offensive moves and ODB and the other two girls are going to carry the offense for the match.  This match played pretty much true to form and in the end, Rayne was able to interfere from the outside tripping ODB and holding her feet down, which allowed Gail to pin ODB for the win.

Rob Van Dam would make the second challenge of the night and he would call out Gunner to settle some “unfinished business” between the two of them.  Their unfinished business dates back to Genesis this past January when Gunner put RVD on the shelf with a DDT on the concrete floor.  It’s a good thing they showed the video reminding us of what happened because it certainly wasn’t an important enough even for me to remember.  Goes to show you just how memorable or useful the push Gunner got earlier this year with Ric Flair as his manager really was.  (Not very)  Tonight, Gunner made the mistake of bringing a chair into a match with RVD and so of course he got it kicked into his face.  RVD then flew 80% of the way across the ring to deliver the Five Star Frog Splash and beat Gunner.  It was a pretty short match that didn’t do much to showcase Gunner’s talents.  It really only served to put RVD over some more, but I don’t think RVD could ever go over any more than he already is or lose any of his credibility.

The Television Champion Brother Devon then called out Garrett Bischoff for his weekly Television Championship defense, giving Bischoff props for eliminating him in a Battle Royal last week which was ultimately won by AJ Styles to earn his spot as one of the four potential contender’s for Roode’s title tonight.  I believe this was the first title match in Bischoff’s career.  However, the match was interrupted by Robbie E and Rob Terry or “Big Robbie and Bigger Robbie” as they like to be called.  Devon and Bischoff then dominated the intruders and threw them out of the ring.

From there, it was time for Hogan to make his second elimination from the three remaining potential World Title challengers – Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle and AJ Styles.  For me, I’ve already started to lose interest because while Bully Ray probably doesn’t have the wrestling ability of Angle, Hardy or Styles, he’s definitely been the most entertaining and he’s already been eliminated.  Plus, we’ve already seen Roode vs. Hardy and Roode vs. Styles done several times during Roode’s title reign.  Angle or Bully Ray were easily the two best options to me.  Jeff Hardy was the next one eliminated by Hogan, which to me was definitely the right call.  Hardy has squandered too many opportunities and given in to his personal demons too many times and I question whether or not there is anything Jeff Hardy has left to give us that we haven’t already seen before.

Bully Ray, aka “Calfzilla”, then would make his way to the ring for our next challenge of the night.  Bully Ray cuts a promo about how he’s in a bad mood after being eliminated and antagonizes everybody and then starts talking about Joseph Park (Abyss’s brother), who is sitting in the crowd with a bag of popcorn watching the show, and Bully Ray challenges him to a match.  Park very slowly and reluctantly gets over the barricade with some peer pressure from the crowd, but then asks for a mic instead of getting in the ring.  Park then tries to talk Bully out of fighting him and asks the crowd of whether or not Bully Ray is guilty of making Abyss’ disappear, despite the fact that Abyss showed up on Impact two weeks ago.  Bully then punched Park in the gut and whipped him with the chain before leaving.  By the way, for those of you that don’t already know, Abyss and Joseph Park aren’t actually brothers – they’re the same person. And the reason Abyss has not been on Impact for most of the last several months is because he’s been making various appearances for AAA wrestling in Mexico and for TNA’s Ring Ka King promotion over in India.  He’s currently one-half of the AAA tag team champions with Chessman.

We then find out that Joey Ryan, a former Wrestling Society X and Ring of Honor performer, would be competing in the Gut Check segment this week.  Alex Silva competed in this segment last month and despite losing to Robbie E, he was awarded a contract.  Ryan’s opponent was announced as the X-Division Champion Austin Aries.  Throughout Aries entrance, Ryan leaned back against the corner and stuck his pelvis out, immediately showing us all that his character is a real douechebag and a poor imitation of some kind of porn direction and that image is enhanced by the scarf he wears around his neck.  Aries himself wears that ridiculous miniature cape that kind of makes him look like he belongs in a gay wizard porn film.   However, Austin Aries is probably the best wrestler on the TNA roster right now in my opinion and he’s right up there with Ken Anderson and Bully Ray as the most entertaining talkers that TNA has on the roster.  Aries has earned the right to dress however weirdly he wants.  Ryan however, not so much.  Aries and Ryan have actually been in the ring together before and probably more times than we’re aware of because they’ve competed in Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla at the same time.  So, their match was pretty decent and Aries ultimately beat Ryan with his Brainbuster.  If TNA stays true to form, Ric Flair, Al Snow and Bruce Pritchard (formerly Brother Love in WWE) will determine whether or not Ryan gets a contract on next week’s show.  In my opinion, neither Silva or Ryan measure up to what TNA already had on the roster before they showed up.  Neither one was all that impressive to me, but they only had one chance to prove themselves.  Maybe they’ll prove me wrong.  However, the fact that we haven’t seen Silva compete on Impact since he was given his contract last month leads me to think that my first impression was probably right.

Bobby Roode then makes his way to the ring for the Main Event, but there’s still 40 minutes left in the show, so it’s looking like we’re going to get a pretty great Main Event title match.  At this point, with all things considered, it’s looking to me like they’re going to give the title match to AJ.  It’s his record on the line, Angle’s still wrestling a little hurt with his knee taped up every week and giving AJ the title match would give Daniels and Kazarian further ammunition to use against Styles to continue their storyline.  And sure enough, Hogan ultimately awarded the title shot to Styles.  And I like to see AJ wrestle just as much as the next guy.  He’s one of the most talented in-ring performers to ever step into the squared circle.  However, I was hoping for something a little more unique out of the title match tonight and Roode vs. Styles already headlined two Pay Per Views at the end of last year.  I can’t really find any fault in the title match, but it was far from a classic.

The title match wrapped up with 12 minutes left to the end of the show, so you could kind of feel something else was going to happen and maybe even something big.  They’d hinted that Hulk Hogan had a guest arriving at the arena, so I’m thinking that perhaps TNA is going to debut a new signing like King Mo or somebody might be making their return or something.  Roode grabs some champagne and starts his celebration and he orders his confetti to be dropped from the ceiling, but there is still five minutes left to go.  So, what’s actually going to happen?  Hogan finally responds to Roode’s invitation to the ring and takes a glass of champagne and congratulates Roode, but informs him that somebody else wants to join in the celebration.  The lights then go out and Sting returns to the Impact Zone and beats the hell out of Roode and knocks him out of the ring and Roode scoots away to the back and Hogan lets him know that when Impact changes time slots and moves up an hour next week, Roode is going to have to have to face Sting in a Lumberjack Match.  Not the biggest of announcements, but I’m sure everybody is going to be happy to see Sting compete some more and extend his legendary career.

Written by I Am a Real American

May 24, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Posted in Abyss, AJ Styles, Al Snow, Alex Silva, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Brother Devon, Bruce Pritchard, Bully Ray, Christopher Daniels, Eric Young, Gail Kim, Garrett Bischoff, Gunner, Gut Check, Hulk Hogan, Impact Wrestling, Jeff Hardy, Joey Ryan, Joseph Park, Ken Anderson, King Mo, Knockout's Championship, Knockout's Tag Team Championship, Kurt Angle, Madison Rayne, ODB, Open Fight Night, Ric Flair, Rob Terry, Rob Van Dam, Robbie E, Samoa Joe, Sting, The Point of Impact, TNA, TNA Championship, TNA Tag Team Championship, TNA Television Championship, Wrestling Matters, WWE, X-Division Championship

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