Saturday, December 3, 2016

Why i love "the Alpha Male" Monty Brown

The Alpha Male Monty Brown made his debut on NWA TNA in 2002. He's been a die-hard passionate fan of pro-wrestling since a child and has undergone training in Football just to get into a pro-wrestling ring.

Monty Brown is what made TNA truly unique as a home grown talent. His dominant often aggressive character reflected utter chaos and the lawlessness found in what he called the Serengeti. As soon as Monty Brown made his entrance, he was a hungry predator on the hunt for prey. Monty Brown energy and fire didn't just dominate the ring, but also our televisions. He would obliterate anyone whether it was a wrestler, a fan, or the cameraman. From every pound of his chest to every devastating slam, Monty Brown challenged anyone regardless of who they were to wrestle against him and that is the epitome of dominance.

His most devastating move is "the Pounce" which was probably taken from his training in Football tackles. When he drives into his opponents, the brute force sends them flying across the ring and leaves them a broken mess. His character is true to his competitive nature to ruthlessly achieve his goals in real life. What makes Monty Brown stand out from powerhouses like "the Animal" Batista is the sheer animal energy he brings whenever the camera rolls. He trash talks into the camera, the fans, wrestlers, and so on.

Monty Brown's promos are full of aggression, raw energy, passion, but also humor. He's had some outstanding matches full of adrenaline rushes and anticipation.

Monty Brown truly established his dominance during his time at TNA and i would've hoped he didn't retire but left a long lasting impact in TNA history.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

"The Strangers" 2008 review

After watching "the Strangers" 2008, i was terrified. I had to turn on the light to continue watching it. Why was i so scared? It was a classic and suspenseful terrifying horror film.

"The Strangers" is about a couple staying in a vacation home who become terrorized by 3 unknown intruders.

Unlike most slashers relying on the typical jump-scares, sub-urban sex scenes, blood drenched gore - the Strangers takes a completely different approach by instilling psychological terror in it's audience through the plot and serial killers. The serial killers in the film feed off of the fears of their victims even though at times, the victims seem to be more than capable than taking them down. For example, when James Hoyt gets a hold of a shotgun - you would think that he would gain the upper hand over his intruders. Instead, the fear overwhelms him and you can only ask "who is really in control here? Him or the assailants?" The film slowly begins to break away common held misconceptions about safety in American communities especially since the couple retreated to an isolated area for a vacation. "The Strangers" makes us feel vulnerable to dangerous life or death situations. It raises questions such as "how safe are we really? Will we realistically be able to call for police in time? How will we deal with intelligent intruders bent on murdering us while preying on our fears and despairs?"

The video and audio quality along with other visuals were excellent mainly because of where the camera angles were positioned. The shaky camerawork and There was no need for any excessive CGI or flashy animation to make the film more frightening. If you enjoyed the video production and want to know how to make a video as depicted in "the Strangers" Click Here!

Overall, "the Strangers" provides a solid and deeply suspenseful experience for it's viewers. One of the few slashers with as much substance as films like "Scream", "Child's play", "Psycho", and other classics. It is a must watch horror film in the slasher genre.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Thoughts on upcoming Samurai Jack season

Samurai Jack is making it's return on Adult Swim in 2017 with a darker plot and theme along with a deeper level of violence. Several concept art has been released giving key information on what is happening. I watched an interesting video (link down below) giving insights into the events happening in season 5 which i highly recommend for viewers to see. A bloodied Jack appears boiling with anger as he is getting old and still has not vanquished Aku. He has finally reached his limits and plans on ultimately returning to the past.

Judging from this video and this picture, Jack has adopted modern technology rather than relying solely on his Samurai training as he did in the past. He realizes that the only way to defeat Aku is to adapt with the tools of the time he is in rather than shun them. Jack has taken on a more ruthless approach in an attempt to return his time even if it means breaking away from tradition. He becomes proficient in using his gun and riding his bike.

In my interpretation, Aku appears to have established his supremacy more than ever and have grown into a more powerful being. He knows that Jack is more than likely to achieve his destiny thus he achieves his ultimate form.

Jack seems to have developed into a darker character who's kindness has faded away. He will no longer be willing to help others at the expense of his journey back to his home. From the video, i predict the original ending where Jack defeats Aku and saves his homeland from destruction was erased. Since the show was brought back for a mature audience, Genndy Tartakovosky will take advantage of it and probably make the plot more complex. Jack may ultimately have to choose between undoing the evil of Aku in his past or saving the future from total destruction.

What are your thoughts on the upcoming final season of Samurai Jack? Write them down in the comments below!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bruce Wayne vs. Terry McGinnis as Batman

Bruce Wayne and Terry McGinnis as the Batman have their own unique differences that make their characters so memorable. That being said, i will compare and contrast the differences of both characters from the animated shows.

Bruce Wayne: 

* Lost his parents when he was just a child but allows this traumatic experience to transform him into a fearsome vigilante who is hellbent on preventing crime from happening to anyone else. 

* Trained by various masters in the martial arts and is very resourceful as well as intelligent. 

* Often uses intimidation and fear as weapons to match his dark mysterious character. 

* Puts on a fake persona during the day while unleashing the real Bruce Wayne at night as the Batman. 

* Committed his whole life to fighting crime. 

Terry McGinnis: 

* Like Bruce Wayne, he lost his father in a traumatic event and sought justice for it. 

* Unlike Bruce Wayne, Terry was a high school hooligan with no formal training. Nevertheless, we see Terry develop as the Batman and fight with spirit to compensate. 

* Terry McGinnis unlike Bruce Wayne is not wholly committed to fighting crime. He has a life outside of being the Batman. He has a girlfriend, friends, academics, and a family to care for which makes him relateable to a younger audience. 

* Terry McGinnis unlike Bruce Wayne was not obsessed with fear and intimidation. He often made light of situations with humor and occasionally focused on reasoning with supervillains rather than flat out punishing them.

After noting the similarities and differences between both characters, i've come to rethink which character would be more fit for the Batman role. While it is important for a superhero to be committed to fighting crime, should they do so even if it means putting up an image that society wants to see like Bruce Wayne did or should they keep their lives balanced like Terry has done? Should the ideal Batman have many skills and talents like Bruce does or fight with heart above all like Terry does? Who exactly is the better Batman in your mind? Let me know in the comments below. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Why Heath Ledger's Joker is the best

There has never been a better actor to play the role as the Joker than Heath Ledger in the film "the Dark Knight." He played the role so well that the Joker became the main star of the show than the Batman himself.

Heath Ledger's Joker character is very manipulative, clever, philosophical, a bit mysterious, and so forth. The one thing that makes him truly stand out in Batman films aside from his mannerisms is the fact that human life is all a big joke to him. Like a child, he causes so much chaos and destruction in society as if it were a game because he's come to realization that justice let alone life itself is meaningless.

Heath Ledger's Joker was a genius. He was psychologically destructive as he was physically. He was very unpredictable as a supervillain and was one step ahead of everyone else. His plans were diabolical especially when he crippled Harvey Dent to a breaking point. He was comical and sadistically hilarious. Most of all, he's nearly invincible and even when he is defeated - he behaves as if he's pulling Batman's strings.  

There will never be another Joker who is as iconic in live action Batman films other than Heath Ledger's simply because Heath Ledger immersed himself so deeply into the character.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Why i love Abyss

Chris "Joseph" Parks stayed in Puerto Rico before making his TNA debut as the Monster Abyss. Since then, he became a major star in TNA engaging in many notable feuds and the most hardcore matches. Among many notable hardcore wrestlers like Terry Funk, the Sandman, and Mick Foley - Abyss has earned his place among them for his outstanding accomplishments and qualities listed:

Abyss' character was so believable - Abyss in his early NWA TNA and IMPACT! days was neither face or heel. He was just a tortured soul trying to reconcile with his traumatic and abusive childhood. At times, he had a soft more child-like side when it came to important parent figures in his life. He was often easily manipulated into doing the bidding of others such as James Mitchell and Goldilocks. Abyss punished himself over his abusive father by enduring agonizing pain in hardcore matches. Despite being a monster fueled by brutality, there are times when we can see his human side as his character grows.

He has a high pain tolerance - Abyss has been slammed into thumbtacks, barbed wire, tables, you name it. The amount of pain Abyss has endured is unbelievable. This makes him a formidable often dangerous opponent in and out of the ring.

Abyss has great ring psychology and story-telling - Unlike hardcore legends like Mick Foley, Abyss used ring psychology well enough to avoid many injuries. He is very smart and knows how the rules work. He knows how to use momentum to his advantage or to sell his or his opponents moves.

Abyss skillfully uses size and strength - Abyss isn't just a big buff guy with no intellect. He's mobile, strong, clever, strategic, and destructive. He has many impressive moves including the black hole slam.

He's been in the most violent feuds and matches - Abyss has been in some of TNA's most brutal and violent often heated feuds with the likes of Raven, Sabu, Judas Mesias, the list goes on. Despite this, Abyss has aggressively and fiercely accepted each challenge that came his way.

Overall, Abyss is one of the most underrated hardcore wrestlers who ought to have more attention among wrestling fans. While i don't agree with some of his gimmick changes, i will never forget the character that birthed his extreme career.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Why Stone Cold vs. Bret Hart feud was epic

I'll never forget Stone Cold Steve Austin's legendary feud with Bret the Hitman Hart culminating at Wrestlemania 13. This is the greatest Stone Cold match if not one of the greatest i've ever seen between two legends in the history of pro-wrestling because of it's sheer simplicity. 

The feud began when Stone Cold began disrespecting Bret Hart and calling him out in interviews. Stone Cold was repulsed by Bret Hart's popularity and glamorous display. Stone Cold stood by the belief that the best wrestlers don't concern themselves with that. The best wrestlers go out there and beat everyone that comes in their path. 

After a series of attacks among each other especially with the sharpshooter. When the time came for Wrestlemania 13, Stone Cold would finally get his shot to prove that he is the best. The climax of the match ended with Stone Cold being put in the sharpshooter but refuses to tap out. As the blood pours out of his open wound, Stone Cold amazingly fights through the pain and tries to get to the ropes. Even when he could no longer do it, he still refused to tap. 

I loved this feud especially their Wrestlemania 13 as it was rooted in more than just talk. It was about athletic competition and actions. Stone Cold literally gave blood, sweat, and tears in what he believed in when opportunity knocked. The Stone Cold/Bret Hart feud gave fans many memorable moments that will never be erased from WWF history. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Why Sabu is a hardcore legend

The Suicidal, Homicidal, Genocidal, Death Defying Sabu is one of the most underrated pro-wrestlers. Sabu is a hardcore legend who's forever changed hardcore wrestling. Though he is underrated, he has made a long lasting impact on pro-wrestling. He has wrestled in ECW, WCW, TNA, WWE/WWF, and all around the world against various kinds of opponents. Sabu is a memorable legend for the following:

* He was trained by the Original Sheikh - The Original Sheikh is Sabu's uncle and trainer. The Original Sheikh is one of the pioneers of hardcore wrestling and considered a legend. He was one of pro-wrestling's biggest box office draws and known for using sharp objects such as pencils against his in-ring opponents.

* Sabu is a very athletic high flyer - What separates Sabu from other hardcore legends? Sabu has very acrobatic and high flying signature moves. He's very agile and innovative with his signature moves. He has incredible balance on the ring ropes especially when executing the triple jump moonsault. He also uses the camel clutch and other technical wrestling holds in memory of the Sheikh.

* Sabu's character is original and creative - What i love most about Sabu's gimmick is the fact that he doesn't talk at all. Sabu loves to express himself through actions. The symbolism behind his signature pose via pointing to the skies is used by devout Muslims to signify the oneness of God. Sabu's attire matches well with his middle eastern descent as he was billed from Saudi Arabia. Ultimately, his character is true to who he is as a person.

* Sabu was willing to do the extreme - Sabu's scars are real and a testament that pro-wrestling injuries are real. He has major guts to the point where he would sacrifice his own body for the show. He participated in matches including thumbtacks, fire, tables, ladders, chairs, and even barbed wire. He's suffered some gruesome injuries and lived to tell the story.

* Sabu had memorable matches and feuds - Sabu is widely known for his match with Terry Funk at ECW's Born to be Wired PPV and more such as his feud with Taz. He's also known for wrestling the Sandman.

* Sabu popularized hardcore wrestling - Sabu is known for being the first to creatively using chairs and tables in hardcore wrestling. Sabu is also known for popularizing high flying moves in hardcore or extreme matches.

* Sabu is committed to himself - Sabu sets himself apart from others mainly because he ultimately doesn't care about money which is why he rejected Vince McMahon's offer. He stays true to who he is even if that doesn't get him far in the wrestling business.

Sabu has set a different standard for wrestling and changed the way business is done forever. He will always be remembered and loved by those who knew him as a fearless character who will go beyond the most extreme to reach new heights.

What i love about James Mitchell

Father James Mitchell is one of the greatest heel managers in my opinion. His diabolical persona along with his Satanist character rivals that of WWE's Paul Bearer and other heel managers. What makes James Mitchell so evil and a great heel?

He doesn't care about the pro-wrestlers he manages and Abyss is a fine example of that. James Mitchell will do whatever it takes to get ahead at the expense of others. He's sick enough to abuse his own son for profits. He could care less about the fans or other heels. He cares only about himself and that's what being a heel is all about. Few heel managers are as sadistic, manipulative, and as wicked as James Mitchell.

If you were inspired by James Mitchell and want to learn some knowledge on how to come up with a villainous character then Click Here!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Why Eminem is obsolete in modern battle rap

While i am a fan of Eminem especially of his freestyle battles, i have to be honest and say the following - Eminem is obsolete in the current battle rap scene. I don't care what people think. Call me a fake fan. Call me a moron. I cannot have a biased opinion as much as i love and respect Eminem.

When Eminem started, he was on fire to make it in the rap game leading him to freestyle battle to put his name out there which worked very well. Since then, he's been blazing and essentially invincible when it came to diss tracks after he became famous. Once he made it to the top, he didn't see the need to battle rap anymore. 

Eminem is a talented artist in lyrics and has made many solid records but the reason why i think he's not competent is because the battle rap scene has evolved over the years. Back then, freestyle battling was a thing along with DJ's. If you could freestyle tons of impressive disses then you were respected and declared the winner. Now, battle rappers are judged by different standards. Battle rappers prewrite their bars, use many literary devices, entertain the audience, and so forth. Rappers no longer battle rap just to get ahead. It's become a lyrical competition in it's own respect. 

I think Eminem understands that since he's from a different generation and that is why he won't battle rap because he doesn't want to disappoint the fans. I believe that he is unbeatable on the track but he shies away from being put on the spotlight in a battle league. Because of differences in generation, we may never see Eminem battle again.  

Why the Sandman is a wrestling legend

The Sandman is a legend and living proof that you don't need to be a talented wrestler to be great. The Sandman was so iconic because he was a larger than life character. While the Sandman was a terrible wrestler, he got over because of his character. He was himself 24/7 and the fans could relate to him. He was very charismatic and got his character across very well by connecting with the fans. He was the original Stone Cold Steve Austin before the Attitude Era and an "American barbarian." Whenever he'd come out, he would pour beer in the mouths of consenting fans and made hardcore wrestling popular by using various weapons on his opponents. He made his hardcore matches unique and special for the fans.

For those reasons, the Sandman will always be remembered and cherished by hardcore fans.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What made Sabu vs. Abyss Barbed Wire Massacre so great

The Barbed Wire Massacre match at TNA Turning Point 2005 was considered one of the most violent matches in TNA history between the hardcore legend Sabu and one of TNA's hardcore icons - the Monster, Abyss. I will never forget this brutal, bloody, and barbaric match for the following reasons:

* The brutality - This match is absolutely not for the feint of heart and automatically dispels all talk about pro-wrestling being "fake." I don't think anyone in his or her right mind would agree to participate in a match where the ring ropes are replaced with barbed wire and wrestle in that. Sabu and Abyss are the only ones crazy enough to do such a thing. It's not about championships. It's just about sheer bloodshed and who is the most hardcore of them all.

* It had a backstory - While many hardcore matches are thrown out there for the sake of blood and gore, this one had an actual story behind it. The feud began around TNA's Unbreakable where Sabu and Abyss began a series of matches in an attempt to outdo each other using various weapons including thumbtacks. Finally, Sabu found that despite how destructive Abyss was, he had a weakness - barbed wire. They engaged in brawls in the following tapings with Sabu interrupting his matches by wrapping barbed wire around his arm and a steel chair. When Abyss finally used a steel chair on Sabu during one taping, Abyss finally found the courage to overcome his fear.

* It used story-telling and ring psychology - This match dispels the myth that hardcore wrestling takes no skill. There is a build up to the final act and a progression. When you see both men battered and bloodied, you can't help but wonder "what's going through their minds? How far are they willing to go to win? How much pain can they tolerate? What will they gain after the match?" This is what creates drama and drama is what draws.

* It bridged a gap between old and new school hardcore wrestlers - Sabu will always be a hardcore legend for his contributions to hardcore wrestling so when they held this match, it gave Abyss the chance to make his name known among younger fans. Not to mention it was a blend between two highly athletic wrestlers of two different and compatible styles.

Words cannot describe how brutal this match was. This was TNA's first ever Barbed Wire match and what a way to begin!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Lucha Underground season 1 episode 1 review

Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and producer Mark Burnett of One Three Media announced the birth of an hour long TV show now known as Lucha Underground with affiliations to the promotion AAA. Lucha Underground made it's official debut on October 29 2014. The show's premise is as follows:

"Lucha Underground introduces U.S. audiences to the high-flying, explosive moves of lucha libre. An ancient combat tradition, watch as good and evil wage war in a gritty battleground called The Temple."

Dario Cueto, the owner and businessman of the show, is introduced. He gives us a brief history on Lucha Libre and what he plans to do with it in the future. He offers wrestlers worldwide to step up to the challenge of competing in the ring to win $100,000 while promoting ancient values such as honor, courage, and violence. What i loved about this segment was that it introduced Lucha Libre, a new style, to the mainstream audience in America and connected it to ancient history. It blended Kayfabe with reality T.V and a very interesting storyline.

Blue Demon Jr. vs. Chavo Guerrero: What i loved most about this match was the introduction of Blue Demon Jr., the adopted son of Blue Demon who was a legend and one of the greatest wrestlers in his time. Blue Demon is an iconic figure among Mexicans and Lucha Libre fans so to see his son make an appearance in Lucha Underground was amazing. Even more thrilling was the fact that he competed against Chavo Guerrero, a wrestler from a newer generation. The match itself was intense and high flying as Lucha Libre is but also applies technical wrestling holds as well. A great way to start off the first episode.

Konnan and Dario Cueto segment: I was also thrilled see Konnan, a wrestler who's participated in many promotions such as WCW, TNA, AAA, and other indies being introduced. We could see that Dario Cueto is not at all what he seems and has interior motives in his plans. What i loved about this segment was the introductions and also how the plot develops so smoothly in a Telenovela format.

The debut of Prince Puma - The descendant of an ancient and fearsome Aztec tribe, luchador Prince Puma makes his debut on Lucha Underground. I found this to be a very interesting backstory as it blends the present with the past. Already we can see Prince Puma has alot of talent boiling up inside and a strong will to prove himself at Lucha Underground. He carries on the ancient traditions of his ancestors and the spirit animal of the Jaguar. Judging by his training segment, you can only imagine how ferocious he would be in the ring as the episode rolls on.

Sexy Star vs. Son of Havoc:

Sexy Star made her stunning debut as a charismatic woman reformed by her mask and newly taken identity as a luchador in a sport dominated by men. Her backstory is very empowering to men so when she was scheduled to face son of Havoc, you are already hyped up to see what she has to prove especially when son of Havoc says he will not wrestle a woman. She exhibits such athletic high flying moves that seem to be based on more than just Lucha Libre. After watching this match, i've learned that Sexy Star is very aggressive despite her small size and will not back down from any man in the ring.

Prince Puma vs. Johnny Mundo: Highly entertaining match with tons of flips and agile moves done by both wrestlers especially when Prince Puma gets knocked down but instantly jolts up like nothing happened. Johnny Mundo, AKA Johnny Nitro in the WWE, put on a surprising performance in and outside of the ring. I found this match to be quite interesting not only because of the moves, but also because of the shocking plot twist that occurs at the end.

Overall, i loved the first episode of Lucha Underground. It was a breath of fresh air. Every talent was evenly pushed. The matches are done differently from the norm, the storylines are highly intense and unpredictable, the characters are very believable, the fans are respectful and passionate, etc. Lucha Underground is for the wrestling fan and non-wrestling fan alike. I recommend it to anyone looking for action packed drama, innovative storylines, and a new environment from the typical wrestling shows.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Why i am not a product mark

When i hear fans ask me "are you a WWE fan?" or "are you a TNA fan?" It bothers me because i have never defined myself by any particular promotion. I have always loved pro-wrestling as a child regardless of the promotion.

While i have watched mostly WWE as a kid, i have also watched other promotions such as TNA, WCW, ECW, and ROH. I've never restricted myself to just one promotion or even style of wrestling.

I have always opened up to new ideas and wrestling visions. I believe that every promotion has something to offer with each passing generation. I have kept in mind that new promotions rise and fall which gives me comfort knowing that pro-wrestling as a whole continues to thrive.

A product mark is someone who overzealously watches and defends a major wrestling promotion while ignoring all others that exist. This is the kind of fan that i never want to be. It's sad that fans restrict themselves to one product when there's so many incredible ones out there. Pro-wrestling comes in all shapes and sizes. I can't help but appreciate them all.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Why Raven's best run was at TNA

Many fans know Raven for his career at ECW, WCW, and the WWF/WWE but i have heard few fans talk about his time in TNA from 2003 to around 2010. I've enjoyed almost all of his runs but if i had to pick at least one company where he excelled most at, it would have to be TNA for several reasons.

* His character developed - From his promos and backstage segments, his character became more ruthless than ever before. Before, he was depressed and focused more on his traumatic past. In TNA,there was a mix of emotions and qualities - anger, ambition, arrogance, ruthlessness, aggression, sorrow, and so on. He set his sights on becoming the NWA world heavyweight champion and ensured that no one would stand in his way. His gimmick also looked darker and he didn't always wear the same outfit as he did in ECW.

* He invented his own hardcore match types - Raven introduced the Hangman's horror match where you have to hang your opponent from the ropes with a chain around his or her neck until he or she passes out. The other is the Clockwork Orange House of Fun match where weapons hang from a chain link wall for wrestlers to use until one gets pinned in a falls count anywhere rule. They were brutal during his time at TNA and continued to be used in other promotions.

* Hardcore wrestling evolved - During his time at ECW, fans were allowed to participate by tossing in weapons which was innovative especially during Raven's feud with Tommy Dreamer and the Sandman. In TNA however, Raven participated in the most brutal, darkest, and bloodiest hardcore matches of different types. He also used his signature moves far more creatively than ever before such as the drop toehold with a chair.

* The NWA World Heavyweight Championship - While it's true that there is no comparing the ECW Championship to the NWA Championship because of different eras, i thought the "Destiny" storyline was far more interesting than it was in ECW. He had so many obstacles to overcome such as Jeff Jarrett, AJ Styles, Larry Zbyszko, Monty Brown, Vince Russo, the list goes on. The way TNA created the storyline made the title meaningful and worth more. Raven himself has also said that the NWA World Heavyweight title was personally worth more and more important in an interview by SLAM! Wrestling (1).

* TNA gave him the freedom to use ring psychology - Raven is a hardcore legend because he is a master of ring psychology. Sadly, he didn't get the chance to use it to it's fullest potential as he did in TNA. This is what he said in an interview with the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast:

Raven: "What ECW did was show clips so you didn't see the whole thing. You didn't get all the over the top or the too much or lack of psychology because you didn't see it. Even a lot of the mat wrestling in ECW had really piss-poor psychology but Paul E. hid it. In the WWE you see everything because Vince doesn't show clips, he shows full matches. With that being said a lot of guys were over doing it but they never pushed it either. How can anything get over if it's not pushed. No matter how well it's performed if it's not pushed it is not getting over." (2)

Neither WCW or WWF/WWE pushed Raven to a higher card no matter how well he performed. TNA was the only company aside from ECW in my eyes that pushed Raven to a higher card in main events as he used ring psychology.

* Raven engaged in many quality feuds at TNA - While no one can deny that the storyline feuds with Tommy Dreamer and the Sandman were very memorable, he had the chance to feud with both old school wrestlers and the newer generation of wrestlers. For the first time in history, Sabu and Raven wrestled each other at TNA whereas before the idea never came up. He also feuded with Jeff Jarrett, AJ Styles, DDP, Abyss, James Mitchell, the list goes on while keeping some ECW overtones.

* Raven expressed his sense of accomplishment in the company - In an interview with SLAM! Wrestling, Raven had this to say after he won the NWA title:

Raven: "I have been in this business so long I am jaded and cynical, and this is validation that the company has that kind of belief and faith in me...I think if I am not wearing the belt it needs to be on Jeff or AJ Styles. I don't think anyone has stepped up to the plate to be the kind of performer that will be in the main event picture. I think someday Monty Brown will. Just because you feel like you deserve something doesn't mean you will get it. I and a lot of people felt I was misused in WWF but that doesn’t negate the fact that I never proved that I was as good as I thought I was. This is a validation..."Honestly, I am probably happiest in TNA because I am happiest with me as a person. I have faced most of my demons, financially I am making more money then I ever was, I am happier as a person and my life is more together."

* Tag team stables - Raven formed his own tag team stables, the most notable one was "the Gathering" consisting of Julio Dinero and CM Punk.

Overall, Raven is a very underrated pro-wrestler but the only company that saw potential in him and pushed him as one of the top heels of their company was TNA.



Saturday, August 6, 2016

Fighting strategies you can learn from pro-wrestling

While pro-wrestling is scripted, you can still glean from it self defense tips unlike highly choreographed and exaggerated fight scenes that you see in many films or UFC fights. Bear in mind that it's the ideas pro-wrestling tries to convey that are useful in a real fight not the actual moves themselves. Of course performing a tombstone pile-driver won't ensure you win every fight so you should not attempt to use any wrestling moves in a fight. Assuming good ring psychology is in place, you can learn alot just by watching pro-wrestling.

* It's not always about size and strength - After watching many pro-wrestling matches with wrestlers of all shapes and sizes wrestle each other, i've noticed that they all managed to work well with each other despite their differences. There's even an instructional video on how small wrestlers can wrestle larger ones. Quickness and agility also serve as equalizers against a very large and powerful opponent.

* Capitalize on your opponents mistakes - When you or your opponent makes a mistake whether it's missing an attack or not committing to an attack, it can cost him or her. You can notice this in pro-wrestling when a wrestler moves out of the way after his or her opponent jumped off the top ropes or when they perform a counter-attack at a critical moment. Capitalizing on an opponent's mistakes can help you in winning a street fight.

* Learn from your surroundings - I've noticed especially from watching hardcore matches that pro-wrestlers are very aware of the environment around them and take advantage of it. They pull out all sorts of weapons and utilize them in devastating ways. By learning from your surroundings, you will be better equipped to survive in a situation requiring self defense.

* Learn to adapt - Pro-wrestlers especially in barbed wire matches or inferno matches adapt to the changing situations as the match progresses. Pro-wrestlers will often use their balance and speed to avoid getting thrown into a flaming table. The ability to adapt to each situation is an essential skill in self defense because if you can't, your opponent will have the upper hand.

* Immobilize your opponent - Sometimes you have to wear out an opponent's arm or leg if he or she is too powerful to defeat single-handily. A great example of this is seen in when Kurt Angle faced the Undertaker at No Way Out 2006. Kurt Angle realized that the Undertaker was superior in terms of striking and strength so he resorted to strategically wear out his legs to render his moves useless. This weakened the Undertaker significantly to where Kurt Angle could wrestle against him more easily.

* Psychology - There is also a psychological aspect in pro-wrestling that is often overlooked in self defense. Confidence, emotions, and perceptions all play an important role in whether you win or lose. This can be seen in staredowns or when a pro-wrestler cowers when he or she realizes his or her opponent is seemingly unstoppable.

In conclusion, the pro-wrestling business isn't just for pure entertainment. It can teach us many important skills that can be applied in daily life even in self defense.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

My thoughts on ECW Raven/Sandman crucifixion angle

Upon Raven and the Sandman's culmination of their feud, Raven crucified the Sandman. What should have been the most unique and historic moments in ECW history also ended up in the most controversial as there was alot of backlash. Many of ECW talents, personnel, and some fans were offended as they were Catholics. Raven was forced to break character and publicly apologize.

I thought Raven should have never apologized for his creative usage of the cross. The harsh criticism posed against Raven's use of the cross is absolutely ridiculous. No one seemed to bat an eye when Raven and Tommy Dreamer crucified each other during their feud. No one was bothered when Joey Styles cried "oh my God!" when there was extreme moment. ECW was known for pushing the boundaries of their edgy storylines so i can't comprehend why this angle was such a big issue. 

As a Christian, i did not find this offensive at all because the cross never belonged to Christianity in the first place. Crosses have been used by various religions for many centuries long before the Romans adopted them for the purpose of crucifixion. As for the symbolism, anyone with an understanding of the Raven character and the feud would understand the meaning behind it. Raven as he called himself in shoot interviews "a martyr for society's dysfunction.." The character saw himself as a savior and a voice for the voiceless. He saw it in his mind to vindicate those who have been outcast by society.

I thought this was one of the greatest moments in ECW history especially in their feud because Raven finally made the Sandman feel his pain.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

My favorite commentators - Mike Tenay and Don West

Out of all the commentators in pro-wrestling, Mike Tenay and Don West are among my most favorite. Don West has had a reputation of being very knowledgeable on the pro-wrestling business. Don West has earned a reputation for being a very convincing salesman and building up great excitement in a pro-wrestling match.

Both of them make such a great team and are very passionate about pro-wrestling. They don't try to uphold a professional image or flaunt their expert knowledge all the time. They simply turned into passionate fans and gave in all their energy into their commentaries. You can have the knowledge but if you can't make wrestling uniquely exciting and special, you are better off sticking to more simpler approach. Mike Tenay and Don West did it very well. They made every match at TNA feel like a main event.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Pro-wrestling as a sport died, it lives in Kayfabe

There's a confusion between pro-wrestling being a sport and sport's entertainment in this generation of fans that seems to changing the wrestling business at least in WWE for the worst. Learning the history of pro-wrestling and how it transitioned from a sport to sports entertainment will not only help fans understand where it came from but also potentially help companies understand how to succeed.

Pro-wrestling began in the post Civil War period in the late 1860's where wrestlers were trained in amateur wrestling to compete in carnivals. Gradually, pro-wrestling became entertainment orientated and drifted away from scientific based wrestling to keep the interest of fans. Because of the media's refusal to write on pro-wrestling's athleticism, three wrestlers - Ed Lewis, Billy Sandow, and Toots Mondt formed the Gold Dust Trio promotion to modify the product using flashy moves in an attempt along with tag team wrestling in an attempt to make pro-wrestling more interesting. They also introduced the concept of feuds and storylines by having pro-wrestlers in cards as opposed to having them travel around. 

After pro-wrestling became televised, Gorgeous George was the biggest star to use a charismatic and narcissistic character.
Since then, pro-wrestling has thrived on Kayfabe and entertainment. As a sport, it died off. 

What does this mean for pro-wrestling today? What does this teach us about pro-wrestling today? Everyone should know pro-wrestling is entertainment rather than a sport although there is athleticism involved. If pro-wrestling is to survive, it must adapt to each generation. It must continually reinvent itself and become far more entertaining than it was in earlier generations while refusing to abandon the foundations it was built on.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Why Roman Reigns isn't getting over with fans

Ever since Roman Reigns began getting pushed as the top face of the WWE, many fans have been hating on him for various reasons. They include - he's a talentless wrestler, has no character, has no charisma, he's shoved down our throats, the list goes on.

I think Roman Reigns is getting hated by the fans because of those reasons. What the WWE and pro-wrestlers don't seem to understand is that fans are human. You can't realistically expect fans to just blindly cheer for a pro-wrestler who is forced down on them unless a relationship is built. You can never force anyone to love you. You must always give love to yourself first and foremost before you are ready to give it to the fans. 

The problem that i see with Roman Reigns is not just that he's being shoved down our throats, it's that his responses to boo chants makes fans hate him even more. The biggest reason of why Roman Reigns isn't over is because he doesn't understand the wrestling business. He may have training in wrestling but he doesn't understand how to utilize his skills to the fullest. He lashes out at his haters by saying "Sometimes, as a former football player, we have to go into that away game and silence the crowd... And just let them know I am the man. I'm going to be here for a long time" which is counter-productive to his career. He tries throwing up the sign of the cross before he wrestles, roaring loudly to get fan reactions with little to no effect. He doesn't understand ring psychology let alone story-telling. He's not investing himself in his overall gimmick when he comes to the ring which comes off as insincere to the fans. 

Recently, the WWE gave up on pushing Roman Reigns. While this might not make Roman Reigns the top star in the WWE, it's a start. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

What every great hardcore match must have

Today's generation of wrestling fans have forgotten what hardcore wrestling was all about and it's created a division in the wrestling fanbase. There are fans who love hardcore wrestling because of the art form and those who hate it because of it's lack of skill. Both sides have forgotten what made hardcore wrestling so great which is why most cannot tell the difference between talented hardcore wrestling and what i like to call "garbage wrestling." Here's a list of essential aspects that hardcore wrestlers and fans ought to grasp in order to be phenomenal:   

* Story-telling - What made pro-wrestlers like Mick Foley so great? While they used weapons at their disposal, they told a dramatic story with their bodies. They have a build up from the beginning to middle until the end. Story-telling especially in hardcore matches are what cause audiences to react and jump out of their seats. 

A great example of a brutal hardcore match incorporating story-telling aside is Pentagon Jr. vs Vampiro. As you watch, take note of how it builds up to the final act: 

* Believable characters - Raven is a master at ring psychology and in this case, psychological heel tactics. He's arrogant, disrespectful, ambitious, ruthless, brutal both verbally and non-verbally. You can clearly see that in the way that he mocks his opponents, plays mind games, taunts them, does his signature pose, the list goes on. To stand out as a hardcore wrestler, you must have character be it heel or face. You can have the most brutal match of the century but if you have no character, your reduced to an extreme stuntman. 

Watch his match against Sabu and pay attention to how he shows his character. Notice how Raven mockingly uses the Sheikh's camel clutch against Sabu. 

* Ring Psychology - Sabu is another notable wrestler who skillfully uses ring psychology in his matches. Hardcore wrestlers apply the same principles of pure wrestling to hardcore matches. They still treat pro-wrestling as a sport as opposed to a blood bath by resorting to strategy and applying wrestling techniques in their matches. They are aware of their surroundings, the rules, etc. and use that to sell their moves to the crowd. 

One of my favorite hardcore matches serving as an example of ring psychology is between Sabu and Abyss at TNA's Turning Point barbed wire match in 2005. Notice how both pro-wrestlers struggle over control and try to throw each other into the barbed wire while avoiding it at the same time. Take note of how they took the time to sell their moves as the match progresses.  

* Creativity - Hardcore wrestling contrary to popular belief have creativity in their matches. A fantastic example of this is Tommy Dreamer. Whenever he was tossed a weapon by ECW fans regardless of what it was, he would instantly use it creatively and often painfully on his opponents. It's easy to see why he earned the title of "the innovator of violence." It doesn't matter what weapon you have, it's how you use them that matters.

Any hardcore match that completely lacks all three of these elements and more is what i define as garbage wrestling. There's nothing wrong with garbage wrestling. It's only when hardcore wrestlers and fans forget about the foundations of hardcore wrestling that problems arise. What's wrong with today's hardcore wrestlers? They think that by doing high spots, they are great at hardcore wrestling which isn't true. It doesn't matter how brutal your moves are or how bloody your matches are. If you rush your matches by over-saturating them with gore and lack story-telling, ring psychology, a believable character, and creativity then you won't be a memorable hardcore wrestler. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

My interpretation of "The Strangers" 2008 ending (spoilers included)

When "the Strangers" 2008 came to a terrifying close, i couldn't help but sit there with chills running down my spine. The ending was so good but not for reasons that people think.

At the beginning of the film, we see Kristen and James' relationship ultimately suffer. They don't know if they are meant for each other or not and would have parted ways..that is until three assailants invaded their home..

Since then, both Kristen and James have been desperately doing everything they could to survive their own home invasion. Ultimately, they run out of ideas and are slowly being backed into a corner as the film progresses. The film hits a chilling climax when Dollface whispers "your gonna die Kristen!"

When they are finally taped to a chair and ask them "why are you doing this?" They respond "Because you were home"

What's my interpretation of the ending? Kristen and James finally accept their fate as they hold each others hands in the process because after everything they've been through, their love for each other was strong enough to take them into the afterlife. There was no longer any room for doubt or denial. Their security wasn't in their home as is believed by many Americans, but in themselves.

As for who the three intruders are, we will never understand completely but the ending gives us a clue. When the two boys passing out religious pamphlets, Dollface gets out of the car to collect one. When the boy asks her "you a sinner?" She replies with "sometimes..." Her partner in crime then says "it will be easier next time.." Despite everything that happened, i believe that Dollface was deep down a guilty human being pressured by her other two partners to engage in a life of crime. It is in this one scene where we don't see her identity, but we see a glimpse of the kind of people the killers are.

Overall, the Strangers is one of the rare slasher films with such mystery and revelation culminating at the ending.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Christian Bale was the wrong actor to play the Batman

While i am a fan of the live action Dark Knight Trilogy, i thought Christian Bale was a horrible choice to play Batman/Bruce Wayne. In fact, when "the Dark Knight" was released - Christian Bale flat out admitted he was self conscious about his performance compared to that of Heath Ledger's as the Joker.

Throughout the films, Christian Bale's acting seemed very stale and lacking emotional depth. His facial expressions almost always stayed the same during his role as Bruce Wayne and he didn't seem very involved in his character. His forced harsh tone of voice as the Batman seemed...well...forced. It didn't flow naturally with his change of character nor was it intimidating. The Batman character intimidates with strong assertion and threatening promise with a more affirmative tone of voice as opposed to loud. The true character of the Batman/Bruce Wayne is supposed to be shrouded in mystery but also with many different vulnerable sides shown to those whom he confides in. It seemed Christian Bale was trying too hard to play his role although i do give him credit in some scenes. Nonetheless, i got the impression that Christian Bale was acting simply for the money rather than studying the character from every possible angle.  

Overall, there should have been another actor to play the role of such an iconic and memorable superhero. Christian Bale simply didn't have the charisma to play the hero role especially for one such as the Batman.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Learn from the wrestlers who came before you

As i watched Sabu wrestle, i noticed the striking similarities between him and his trainer - the Original Sheikh. The Original Sheikh is considered one of the pioneers of hardcore wrestling as he was famous for using pencils and fire in his matches. Similarly, Sabu is often known for his usage of a spike to stab his opponents in hardcore matches like his trainer did while reinventing hardcore wrestling with his own high flying moves.

It seems that modern fans and even pro-wrestlers are forgetting the traditions of the past. There is a lack of respect and admiration for the pro-wrestlers who helped set the foundation for pro-wrestling.

It is precisely for these reasons why i cannot respect some modern pro-wrestling promotions due to the lack of appreciation and knowledge that they have for their traditions. Modern pro-wrestling fans and pro-wrestlers have seem to forgotten ring psychology and what memorable matches look like. I noticed that the very best wrestling legends took inspiration from their trainers and incorporated it into their matches while bringing something freshly unique to the business. This is why i completely admire pro-wrestlers like Sabu because his approach is "how can i hardcore wrestle like my trainer and how can i do it better?"

My concluding advice is for pro-wrestling fans to research the old school legends of professional wrestling if not watch their matches. Respect those who paved the way for pro-wrestling to flourish and left their marks in history. If pro-wrestling is to evolve, we must learn from the veterans and from ourselves to create an outstanding product.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

How pro-wrestling is like organized religion

After watching pro-wrestling for over so many years, i've come to realize that it has many similarities to organized religion. As a matter of fact, i've come to see pro-wrestling as another religion to me behind Christianity. I've come to note many similarities between the two down below.


Both have congregations - Church members put money in the offering and wrestling fans pay for events. There's fellowship with like-minded people of similar interests who unite to accomplish the same goals. Both wrestling fans and Church members put so much effort into making it to their destination.

Both play music - Both wrestling fans and Church members are accustomed to playing music as a devotion to whatever they hold dear.

Both have believers and non-believers - There are pro-wrestling fans who suspend disbelief and organized religious members who believe that their religion is the right one. The non-believers are the ones who refuse to acknowledge pro-wrestling as legit entertainment and organized religion as a guide to life.

Both give testimony worldwide - Pro-wrestling promotions and organized Churches go all around the world to spread their influences. Pro-wrestling's goal is to provide quality entertainment for people. Organized churches travel worldwide to preach the Gospel while installing their buildings in the area. Both wrestling fans and church members give a testimony of how their organizations impacted their lives.

Both donate to charity - pro-wrestling promotions like WWE and organized religious institutions have donated to charity with the money they earned.

Both have authorities and social hierarchies - Pro-wrestling companies like Churches have similar social orders. In pro-wrestling, there's a manager, executive producer, music crew, producers, ring crew, pro-wrestlers, investors, promoters, writers, clean up crew, and so forth. In churches, there's pastors and other spiritual leaders, a choir or worship group, sound guys, clean up crew, deacons, and so on.

Both preach on good and evil - In the Church, there is a celebration of all that is good in God and a hate of what is evil. In pro-wrestling, there are heroes and villains.

Both use catchphrases - Churches often uses catchphrases such as "God is good all the time" while pro-wrestling has some catchphrases of it's own given by pro-wrestlers.

Both perform "miracles" - The definitions of what is considered a miracle in pro-wrestling differs from that in the Church at times but it's almost the same concept.

Both take the time to make themselves presentable - Pro-wrestling employees take the time to make themselves look good for the crowd much like organized religious members for their congregations.

Both hype up the crowd - In pro-wrestling, pro-wrestlers get the crowd excited with their moves and such. In religion, pastors and other leaders use similar tactics to intensify the audience such as shouting.

So far, those are all the similarities i have noticed. Let me know what you have observed in the comments below.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Refuting New Jack critics

New Jack is a controversial pro-wrestler because of several violent incidents he was involved in the ring. From stabbing to pro-wrestlers, attempted murder of several pro-wrestlers, and so forth. I'm here to tell you that they are false. While it's true that New Jack was involved in few violent encounters, he did not intend to murder anyone. This blog post will dispel several myths circulating around the internet on New Jack.

The most commonly cited incident is the Mass Transit incident. Many critics claim that New Jack stabbed wrestler Eric Kulas in the ring. In reality, Eric Kulas was an untrained wrestler who forged his identity to get in the ring and asked New Jack to blade him or cut his forehead open. Eric Kulas died later but not from New Jack.

Another famous incident is the Danbury Fall where New Jack fell supposedly threw Vic Grimes off of the Scaffold. The Truth is that New Jack never attempted to murder Vic Grimes. They were intentionally meant to land on the tables stacked up together, but missed and landed on the concrete leading to New Jack losing the vision in his right eye.

Vic Grimes has also stated that he botched during their match which further confirms that no attempted murder took place.

New Jack is falsely accused of stabbing Gypsy Joe with the intent to murder. Gypsy Joe actually provoked New Jack during the match.

In conclusion, how much can we ascribe to New Jack for the injuries in the ring? Very few. New Jack does not deserve the hate that he has currently.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

My interpretation of "Sinister" 2012 (spoilers included)

Sinister is a very dark, twisted, and at times unpredictable horror film. Almost every scene makes you feel apart of the movie. From the very beginning, we see there is already a problem with the house itself. Ellison Oswalt's 7-year old daughter Ashley says she dislikes the house and Ellison makes a deal with her - if he dislikes the house, they would move back to their old house. This is a foreshadowing of what would happen later.

Ellison Oswalt is hellbent on solving the mysterious murder cases of a suspected serial killer throughout the film but what begins as a pursuit of justice turns into an unhealthy obsession. His book on crime was a side project.

If you take notice, he becomes distant from his family and preoccupied with his police work. He becomes less concerned about his family's safety and wellbeing. It was until he and his wife hit a breaking point where his wife made him refocus his attention on his family vs. his book.

His daughter and son show signs of Bagul or the villain of the film but Ellison Oswalt is too blind to realize it. Ellison Oswalt constantly tries to find clues as to who the suspect could be. Little does he know that Bugal had already influenced his children.

At the film's ending, we realize that his daughter Ashley already succumbed to Bagul's influence leading to the whole family's death. Bagul was looking for the perfect candidate to be his ideal daughter. Ashley unlike the other children was such a grand artist and connected well with Bagul. The morale of the story is that when parents fail to spend time with their children, there will always be a malevolent entity who will. Ellison Oswalt realizes too late that his self-centered obsession with fame consumed him and his fate was sealed when Ashley said "Don't worry daddy, i'll make you famous.."