Saturday, February 13, 2016

How to critique a pro-wrestling match

Pro-wrestling is unlike any other sport because it can be appreciated by those with an understanding of kayfabe. If you want to appreciate and learn more about a wrestler, you should study their matches. Yes, matches can be studied. By making certain observations, you can determine whether or not a pro-wrestler is "good" in your eyes.

A pro-wrestler's salary is determined by how well he or she is able to entertain the audience. The more popularity a wrestler has, the more a particular promotions will book him or her to win matches for the best interests of the business (WWE, TNA, ECW, etc.) How much control do pro-wrestlers have? They decide which moves they want to use and how. They also decide how they want to work with their opponents during matches. They decide how the matches are to be ended being the loser or the winner. This way, we can still critique their wrestling skills based on how entertaining they are:


1. The first set of observations you want to make is the entrances. How is your favorite wrestler's mood being expressed? Confident? Arrogant? Energetic? Aggressive?

2. How is the pace of the match? Fast? Slow? A combination of both? What types of attacks are both wrestlers doing? Punches? Kicks? Signature moves? Submission holds?

3. How strong is your favorite pro-wrestler? How agile is him or her? What signature moves does he or she perform? What moves has he or she invented and/or made popular? How well is he or she able to time attacks and counters? How well is your favorite pro-wrestler to make wrestling look realistic?

4. Take some time to read about the match in the news. Did the pro-wrestler make any mistakes during the match? If so, what were they? How effective are their finishers and submission holds?

As you watch a match, take notes until you've compiled enough information to review it all. From then on, you'll be able to discuss what you liked and disliked about a match.

Friday, February 12, 2016

An analysis of Raven's moves

Some critics claim that Raven might not be very talented and at first glance, they might be right. However, an analysis of his moves reveals that he is underrated and deserving of a high position among the greats.

Raven during his time at promotions such as ECW and TNA was violently ruthless. He knows what needs to be done no matter the sacrifice and pain. He's willing to go to great lengths to make sure his opponents are defeated. He is disposed to various weapons at his arsenal. Despite his power based moves, he is a clever strategist. He focuses on outsmarting his opponents than simply overpowering them as others prefer. He has quick reflexes and unpredictability. For example, watch the match between Raven and Rhino at TNA unbreakable. While watching, notice how Raven avoids facing Rhino head on. He realizes with a man Rhino's size and ability, he would get demolished with a power bomb. What does Raven do instead? Wear him down with vicious tools, the ankle lock, not allowing Rhino any room to breathe. He avoids Rhino's dangerous attacks which performing some of his own. He uses the environment to his advantage and seizes the opportunity to inflict pain on his opponents.

Raven was a creative genius when it came to signature moves because he didn't stick to the traditional usage of them. Most notably, he popularized his own variant of the DDT. The standard DDT is performed when a wrestler puts an opponent's head in a facelock then falls backwards or forwards to drive his or her head to the mat. Raven hit his opponent in the gut with a kick but would drop his weight, swinging his legs forward, and forcefully bending an opponent's head down. This can result in severe brain damage. This signature move was as he dubbed: "The Raven Effect." He gives a few jabs before executing his discus clothesline and sets his opponent against a guardrail before delivering the Russian legsweep. He also performs the drop toe-hold on a chair for more damage. This is a mark of a talented performer.

Raven is a legend for more than just his championship titles, but his entertaining abilities and creativity. He deserves to be in the hall of fame for accomplishing what few wrestlers could. Whether you love or hate him, you cannot deny his success as a pro-wrestler. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Why Brock Lesnar broke the Undertaker's streak

The match between the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania was the most shocking match in the WWE universe. When Brock Lesnar broke the Undertaker's undefeated streak, it was perhaps the biggest upset among WWE fans. The crowd was left speechless and disbelief. It has been lingering in some of the fans minds including my own: "Was this pre-determined or was this an accident?"

Vince McMahon stated that it was his decision to book the Undertaker to lose against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. This was due to a lack of potential candidates available for a main event. It's rumored that the Undertaker himself agreed for Brock Lesnar to end his undefeated streak. Others say that it was Brock Lesnar himself who changed the script. What is the verdict? Who should've been the one to defeat the Undertaker at Wrestlemania? Was Brock Lesnar the right choice for the Undertaker? Why or why not?

I used to believe that Brock Lesnar was a terrible candidate for the job as he seemed no where near the Phenom's level. The Undertaker deserved to face someone who was at the top of a major wrestling promotion. Nevertheless, i have come to realize that Brock Lesnar was the ideal wrestler to break the Undertaker's undefeated streak. In recent matches, i've watched the Undertaker grow old and sluggish. He began making more mistakes and became easily exhausted. During his match with Triple H at Wrestlemania, he suffered a concussion and injuries to his lower back. According to the storyline, he suffered humiliation despite gaining a victory. I would imagine that the Undertaker reflected on his age and retiring long before Brock Lesnar. If he made a huge mistake losing against a superstar that most fans despise at Wrestlemania, there would be a huge uproar. His entire career would end in disaster and his streak being broken by the most unfavorable superstar would cause such a great disappointment. The Undertaker could not let all of his fans down which is why he chose to take action. What set Brock Lesnar apart from the other superstars? He wasn't boastful. He was humble and didn't act as if he was better than the Undertaker like others. He didn't do any promos emphasizing the ending of the Undertaker's streak. Brock Lesnar faced the Undertaker as any other competitor.

Both the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar are MMA fighters. Both are aggressive, ruthless, and dominant in the ring. Brock Lesnar has defeated the Undertaker before under his American Big Evil gimmick and badly. Brock Lesnar is the beast incarnate and for good reasons. Both had an epic clash at Wrestlemania and when the Undertaker performed Hell's Gate on Brock Lesnar - He performed one of the most amazing counters. Brock Lesnar rather than tap out, picked up the Undertaker and slammed him against the canvas. Hell's Gate became the Undertaker's destructive finisher next to tombstone piledriver and favored in later years. Most wrestlers who faced the Undertaker would pass out, tap out, or go for the ropes. Brock Lesnar was demolishing the Undertaker already delivering three F-5's in a row.

By the time Brock Lesnar finally pinned the Undertaker, the referee counted "1! 2! 3!" and it was over. Paul Heyman was so shocked along with everyone in the room. Brock Lesnar had beaten the Undertaker and barely broke a sweat in doing so. Some booed the Undertaker but most fans nevertheless cheered him on as he exited the ring.

Brock Lesnar has caused many injuries in MMA and pro-wrestling alike. He has shown to be a ferocious opponent time and time again. Brock Lesnar is a 5-time world champion and one of the best paid athletes in history. It's finally time for the Undertaker to push a new pro-wrestler unlike pro-wrestlers such as CM Punk and John Cena. Brock Lesnar was the best candidate for the job being a pro-wrestler who reflects the new face of a revolutionary era in WWE and UFC entertainment.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

What's wrong with WWE promos?

I am a huge fan of WWE and it's energetic, action-packed, and thrilling matches that it advertises through it's promos. While the promos are intense and often entertaining, they have one problem - they're repetitive. WWE has simply rehashed previous incidents and merged them into one clip. WWE has failed to create innovative and promos with their own uniqueness. This has always been a problem despite WWE's greatest success.

Other promotions have managed to create better promos with their own independence. Take a look at TNA's promo on a match between Raven and Jeff Jarrett at Clockwork Orange House of Fun:

Notice that it had it's own independent setting as Raven was on the mic. Shortly after, he is attacked by Jeff Jarrett. It's all in one promo. No clips are being reused. No attempts to enhance visuals or audio like WWE does in their promos. It's simple and straight-forward.

Don't get me wrong, i'm not saying that WWE sucks at making promos. My only wish is that they would find ways to build up an intense anticipation for their matches. Writing exciting and highly anticipating promos take great craftsmanship. WWE has nearly mastered this by creating interesting feuds and merging history. Now all that is left is for them to bring it all together and creating something fresh for a match.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How Raven influenced me

I grew up with a difficult childhood. I suffered at the hands of my abusive father until my parents divorced. I curiously watched TNA Impact and stumbled across Raven who became one of my favorite wrestlers. I admired his style of fashion, his poetic promos, his ambition, and his ruthlessness. I could relate to his dark character expressed through his bizarre and gloomy make-up. I was shocked by the brutality of his matches as he wrestled with many weapons such as chairs, trash cans, shopping carts, and barbed wire. Even more surprising was when he sacrificed his own body if it meant inflicting pain on his opponents. He viciously wounded them, often causing serious injuries. From the time i watched Raven walk to the ring to the time he won a match, i looked up to him. According to his heel character, he also suffered from an abusive father. Since my father failed me as a parent, Raven became my role model. I wanted to be as fearless, as powerful, and as reckless as Raven was.

After school, i rushed to watch pro-wrestling rather than deal with the stress of academics. Pro-wrestling was my way of rebelling against society and all of the expectations people put on me. When i saw all of the pro-wrestlers, the chaotic violence, and hear the crowd roar – i knew what true freedom was. Freedom from reality and morals. When i was bullied, i was hurt and afraid but when i watched Raven wrestle, i learned how to fight. When i saw him feud with other wrestlers, i learned that only you can stand up for yourself. When i watched him endure agonizing pain, i learned that suffering was inevitable but what mattered most was the will to fight and vanquish your obstacles. In the face of adversity, i learned the importance in claiming what is yours in spite of suffering. Once i did that, the insults and the fear of pain disappeared. I stopped seeing myself as a victim of abuse and more as a fighter. When i saw him finally fulfill his destiny to become NWA World Heavyweight champion, i was inspired to fulfill my own destiny.

Since then, pro-wrestling has become my passion. I appreciated the art more than ever before. Pro-wrestling goes beyond the ring and gives wisdom that fans can apply to their lives. I still carry the lessons i've learned from watching my favorite wrestlers. Pro-wrestling will never die and as a loyal fan, i will continue to support and share my passion for this phenomenal sport.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Why Star Wars 7 sucks!

Fans have been reawakened by a sequel to the Star Wars trilogy known as "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." J.J Abrams has produced the highest grossing film in 2015 and was very successful. Despite it's huge success and popularity, i am one of the few who will say that this film was utter garbage.

I am a loyal Star Wars fan who loves every episode of George Lucas's films and the expanded universe. J.J Abrams has stated that his goal was to appeal to old Star Wars fans by adding onto the trilogy. As a fan, i do not want another installment because i am content with episode 6 being the conclusion. Nevertheless, many people are calling this film the best of all time. Of course, people will love it because it's Star Wars! People want to bring back the characters who we all know and love. However this film is so overrated as i shall explain.

Why does Star Wars 7 suck? Because it doesn't add anything new to the storyline. Star Wars 7 was rehashing 90% of what was already seen in the saga - Family betrayal, Stormtroopers, Sith/Jedi, the force, etc. While watching the film, i could not focus on the new plot because it was vastly overshadowed by old characters such as Han Solo, Leia, Luke Skywalker, and so on. The other 10% of the new characters are completely useless. Kylo Ren is just a wanna-be Darth Vader throwing temper tantrums when he doesn't get his way. John Boyega was a filler character with no useful skills vital to the protagonists. Rey is just a female version of Luke Skywalker. The plot is poorly written as nothing major occurs. It seems all that J.J Abrams tried to do was make a tribute to the old Star Wars films.

While we should love the Star Wars trilogy, it's time is already over. All good things come to an end. J.J Abrams wasted his resources in reviving an already perfect plot. There are other eras in Star Wars that could've used the recognition such as the Old Republic. For those who've played "Knights of the Old Republic", you are familiar with the many Jedi and legendary Sith lords in this prequel epoch of the Star Wars expanded universe. Just imagine how famous J.J Abrams could've made the Old Republic era if he took the time to invest his resources wisely. He could've directed a whole new trilogy of Star Wars rather than trying to squeeze one film into the series. He could've inspired a new generation of Star Wars fans and spark interest in the Expanded Universe which is underrated to say the least.

Because of this, i am disappointed by J.J Abrams decision to create Star Wars 7. He is one of my favorite directors and highly esteemed, but this is one project in which potential was wasted.