Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Why the Batman and the Joker won't kill each other

Ah the classic battle between good and evil - The Batman vs. The Joker. The Batman is the Joker's greatest arch nemesis and vice versa. Both have been in a constant struggle over the crime infested city of Gotham. If the Batman could kill the Joker, everything would be over. The Batman would have no more villains terrorizing Gotham's streets. Good ultimately triumphs over evil and Gotham's people are safe. If the Joker kills the Batman then there would be nothing left standing in his way of claiming Gotham for himself.

It's not as simple as it seems. Looking at both of their characters, we find many similarities. Both have suffered from a traumatic experience drastically shaping their identities forever. Both are very resourceful and smart. Both are ruthless in accomplishing their goals. There are however some differences that serve as advantages and disadvantages to both characters. The Batman will never kill the Joker let alone break his own moral code because it is what defines him. The Joker has no morals and thus does what he wants. The Batman let his trauma shape him into a vigilante in order to prevent it from happening to anyone else again. The Joker uses his trauma as proof to proclaim that because there is injustice, justice is meaningless. In simpler terms, life is all a big joke. The advantage to this is that the Joker has far more capabilities and opportunities to commit his crimes against the Dark Knight. The Batman has many friends which leads to danger as he is emotionally vulnerable if they were to be killed. The Joker has no friends which is also disadvantageous because there is no one to save him when he at his weakest.

Why won't the Batman and the Joker kill each other? My theory is that the Batman won't kill the Joker because he has a high conduct of justice. Killing a criminal without a fair trial would be murder and the Batman is no murderer. The Joker on the other hand could kill the Batman and Gotham would be his for the taking but that's too easy. The Joker wants to break the Batman's psyche by creating another trauma worse than that of his parents. The Joker wants the Batman to finally snap and kill him because then, the Joker's ideology would triumph. However, once the Batman commits an evil act and his moral code is broken then and only then will the Joker land the killing blow. In the meantime, the Joker continues killing innocent people to provoke the Batman to evil.

It's a never ending battle between the duo. Nevertheless, both will always continue to inflict excruciating pain on one another until they live to fight another day.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Joker: My favorite supervillain

As a kid, i grew up watching "batman the animated series" and one of my favorite supervillain role models became the Joker. I love his maniacal laughter, twisted outlook on life, dark humor, and sick personality.

I was disappointed whenever he failed at accomplishing his mission. The crazed persona under the clown gimmick was very realistic and original. I enjoyed reading his origin in comics like "the killing joke." It's traumatizing for a once married man crippled to the point of becoming the Red Hood and dabbling in crime only to run in fear from the Batman. Eventually, it seems that it is the Batman's mistake in creating the Joker for the criminal he is.

The Joker doesn't need superpowers to be radical. He's very smart, unpredictable, manipulative, resourceful, and cruel. He pries on the Batman's morals, attempting to ruin his psyche and identity. Most of all, the Joker fears no one or anything. He's so crazed and care-free, he'll die laughing.

The Joker has done many things that make you question who the real villain is. Ultimately, what i find most cunning about the Joker is that he knows the Batman will not kill him out of justice. The Joker takes advantage of that and does all the evil he wants towards Gotham's citizens.

As far as i know, no supervillain can match the Joker's cruel and sick nature. For that, he will continue to thrive in the DC universe.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The purpose of Championship titles

Championship titles are apart of almost every athletic sport. Championships in non-scripted competitions are typically won through skill. In Pro-wrestling, championships work in a slight different fashion and there are a few misconceptions of it.

People commonly make the mistake of calling championship titles "belts." The proper term is simply a title because it signifies that the pro-wrestler is a champion.

Championships are designated by several factors such as weight, height, gender, wrestling style, and other qualifications such as the audiences view on the title's value.

Bookers decide which pro-wrestlers deserve championship titles in accordance with what is most profitable for the company and high interest with fans. Pro-wrestlers as a result from being champions become famous, gain a higher pay raise, sell merch., have a higher chance of being used in a storyline, and noticed by other promotions.

Now one would ask "If Pro-wrestling is scripted then what then is the point of being champion?" which is a great question. The purpose behind giving pro-wrestlers championships is a sign that the company and fans favor him or her. A pro-wrestler becomes champion when he or she demonstrates outstanding qualities in terms of work ethic, in-ring performance, ring psychology, and so on.

In summary, championship titles aren't just shiny belts that pro-wrestlers wear around their waists. They are the mark of a pro-wrestler who won the audience's favor through his or her skills to entertain and other factors.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Why hardcore wrestling takes more skill than pure wrestling

Hardcore wrestling is a type of wrestling in which pro-wrestlers wrestle using weapons such as tables, chairs, staple guns, and thumbtacks. Hardcore wrestling was made popular around the 90's. It's also known as "Garbage wrestling" due to it's lack of technical skill that pure pro-wrestling has.

I dislike using the term "Garbage wrestling" because hardcore wrestling deserves more respect. In my opinion, hardcore wrestling takes more skill than pure pro-wrestling (one on one wrestling matches with standard rules). Some argue that it takes no talent for wrestlers to use various weapons on their opponents let alone get injured. This is an over-generalization. Hardcore legends such as Mick Foley, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu, Raven, etc. have made it to big promotions. While it might not take as much technical skill to bash each other with lamps as a pure wrestling match, there is skill in taking serious blows and falls.

Pro-wrestlers in other extreme promotions use fluorescent lamps, barbed wire, glass, wild animals like snakes and scorpions, fire, thumbtacks, C4, knives, tables, along with other dangerous weapons. When pro-wrestlers face opponents in a hardcore match, they have to be careful not to accidentally cut a major artery or stab a vital organ. They also must adapt to different situations such as a burning ring or falling off of a steel cage. Some of the same principles of pure pro-wrestling still apply to hardcore matches.

WWF/WWE stopped hosting hardcore matches as too many wrestlers were getting injured. Other promotions do not host them as often as anymore. Hardcore wrestling isn't as popular as it once was however it's still practiced by other indie pro-wrestlers. I realize it's not for everyone but hardcore wrestling deserves respect for it's gruesome and skillful nature nevertheless.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Vampiro vs. Pentagon Jr. "Cero Miedo" match review

At Lucha Underground, Vampiro faced Pentagon Jr. in a "Cero Miedo" (Zero fear) hardcore match. I expected your typical hardcore match but my expectations were blown away. That being said, i will begin by providing some background information.

The feud between Vampiro and Pentagon Jr. began when Pentagon Jr. goes around snapping people's arms and talking about how he has yet to find a worthy opponent to sacrifice to his master. He then goes and attacks Melissa Santos until Vampiro interferes as he steps in the way. Pentagon Jr. realizes Vampiro is a worthy opponent but will take either Ian Hodgkinson (Vampiro's real identity) or Vampiro. In response, Vampiro tells him his days are passed and that he already proved himself. Later, Pentagon Jr. assaults him and pours gasoline over him, promising to burn him alive if he doesn't accept. Nevertheless, Vampiro tells Pentagon Jr. he will be facing Vampiro rather than Ian Hodgkinson.

I thought a pure pro-wrestling match was going to build up into a hardcore brawl until i saw Vampiro get the first few chair shots. Pentagon Jr. slammed Vampiro on the unprotected ground then repeatedly hit him with a steel chair then wraps a cable around his neck. The referee crossed his arms into an X and i was surprised because this signaled that a pro-wrestler was in serious need of medical attention. I thought "well looks like the match is over...maybe Pentagon Jr. will land a couple of blows before Vampiro is hospitalized..." I spoke too soon as Vampiro hit the paramedics then went back to the ring. He performs his spin kick, a symbolic reminder that he's still got it despite his age. Vampiro slams Pentagon Jr. over a layer of thumbtacks but gets slammed into them himself.

Pentagon Jr. pulls out a fluorescent lamp and hits Vampiro with it. Vampiro gets his revenge by slamming him into others and using them on him. The two go at it in a series of vicious attacks with several poses reminding us of pro-wrestling in it's good old days. These are weapons common in deathmatch wrestling and it's very rare to see them in promotions like Lucha Underground.

One of the most shocking incidents part of the match was when Vampiro ripped the mask off of Pentagon Jr. For those who aren't familiar with Lucha Libre, having a mask ripped off of a Luchador's face is the most humiliating things that could be done to him or her. The mask represents his or her identity, reputation, dignity, and career. Vampiro ripping the mask off of Pentagon Jr. was brutal as he was saying in essence "Pentagon Jr. is just a mere mortal and broken man!"

Finally, the most shocking moments was when Vampiro set up a table then poured gasoline on it before lighting it on fire. Pentagon Jr. was supposed to go through the table but instead instead put Vampiro through the flames. Vampiro was caught on fire until personnel used a fire extinguisher to put the flames out. This was extreme, creative, and perfectly executed. What shocked me was to find from other sources that Vampiro was seriously lit on fire but it didn't take away from the Kayfabe.

I thought this was one of the best hardcore matches i've ever seen in a long time. Not simply because it was brutal, but because it had a plot twist at the end of the storyline. It also makes hardcore wrestling relevent in today's world as it was in the Attitude era. I was surprised to see this match air on a promotion as Lucha Underground. A truly unforgettable heated clash between an old school wrestler against a growing young wrestler carrying the torch to the next generation.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Why Vampiro needed a major push

Vampiro is notoriously known for his feud with Sting at WCW but other than that, he wasn't given much of a push for stardom. In fact, he stated he was mistreated in WCW. He also tried applying for WWE but was turned down.

Before his career, he worked setting up rings and training with wrestlers. He was trained by Abdullah the Butcher and at age 16, became a pro-wrestler. The inspiration behind his character was based on the character "Dracula" who was misunderstood by all and alternative music.

He began his early career as a jobber at CMLL but the promotion didn't take him seriously due to his look. Surprisingly, he became popular among fans despite his limited moves. He soon participated in hair vs. hair matches.

Realizing his popularity would not last long unless his ring performance improved, he combined his martial arts with Lucha Libre style wrestling.

At WCW, he was known for his memorable feud with Sting, the Great Muta, Konnan, the Demon, and Eddie Guerrero. Due to WCW going out of business, Vampiro returned to CMLL then traveled to many other promotions worldwide.

Why did Vampiro need a major push in american promotions like WCW and WWE? Because of his ring performance, mic skills, unique appearance, and charisma. He has excellent balance and his maneuvers are impressive. Vampiro may have looked skinny but he was just as strong as any other wrestler like Hulk Hogan. He also had unpredictability and played mind games like Sting.

More importantly, he participated in many hardcore matches namely in AAA. He was one of the few pro-wrestlers willing to take pro-wrestling to the extreme. He had his back hit with fluorescent lamps and was legitimately set on fire.

Most recently, he's been successful in a new wrestling promotion: Lucha Underground when he was booked to face Pentagon Jr. in place of another wrestler who backed out. He also serves as a color commentator for both the English and Spanish airings of Lucha Underground.

Vampiro could have been a major legend in mainstream american promotions like WWE and TNA if they booked him properly. In my opinion, he wasn't pushed because of his "scrawny" and unprofessional appearance compared to other "professional" wrestlers. For whatever the reason was, we cannot deny his uniqueness as a talented pro-wrestler. Despite the opportunities lost, my hope is that new ones will arise during his time in Lucha Underground.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

How i'd book Sting and Raven

This is the only picture of Sting with Raven on TNA in 2006. Unfortunately, i've been trying to find the video for it but to no success. It began when Scott Steiner and Jeff Jarrett were arguing with each other over who they would face then attacked Don West. Sting heroically saved Don and then Raven. This was a rare interaction between the two.

It would have been a perfect chance to book Raven and Sting together as this was the time when Sting was a big face and Raven a great heel (though not as appreciated as others). A match between Raven and Sting would make perfect sense as Raven was on his path to becoming NWA champion and Sting was feuding with Jeff Jarrett for the NWA title.

If it were up to me, i'd book TNA Victory Road 2006 to have a four-way match consisting of Sting, Raven, Jeff Jarrett, and Samoa Joe to be the number one contender for the NWA World Heavyweight title. During the events leading to the match, i'd have Jeff Jarrett instigate Raven into challenging him into a four way match to see if he had what it took to be NWA World Heavyweight champion. I'd also have Sting boldly declare that Jeff Jarrett did not deserve to be NWA champ and because of his dishonorable ways, Sting would fairly strip the title away from him. Almost at the end of the match, i'd have Jarrett's army interfere in an attempt to help Jeff Jarrett win. I would also book Raven to win after losing chance after chance because of Larry Zbyszko and others refusal to give him a title shot. At the same time, Sting would continue his intense feud with Jeff Jarrett and intention of putting Jarrett in his place by having a series of more heated matches.

It irks me that TNA didn't book a potentially intense match which could have branched into more interesting storylines.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Best Undertaker feuds

Although the Undertaker is one of the most dominant and legendary pro-wrestlers in the WWF/WWE history, he has met his match against formidable opponents. Here are some of his best feuds in my opinion.

The Undertaker and Mankind: 

As the Undertaker rose to popularity, Mankind viciously attacked him during his Casket match with Goldust. At King of the Ring 1996, Mankind beat the Undertaker and later cost him a match against Goldust. The reason? Mankind wanted to dominate the Undertaker. At Summerslam, Paul Bearer turned on the Undertaker and sided with Mankind. This led to a Buried Alive Match which Mankind won. However the Undertaker rose again, refusing to stay dead. At Survivor series, Mankind tired burning the Undertaker alive. Ultimately, the Undertaker faced Mankind at Hell in a Cell (voted as one of the most memorable matches in WWF history.) This feud was one of the best as it showed not everyone feared the Undertaker. Mankind was unaffected by the Undertaker's mind games and brutality because he himself was brutal as well as deranged. In addition, it gave Mankind a push.

The Undertake and Kane: 

As children, The Undertaker burned his house and killed his family by accident. Little did he know that his brother Kane survived though completely traumatized and locked in a mental institution. Kane vowed revenge by ruining his brother's career. Kane attacked the Undertaker and surprisingly, Paul Bearer betrayed the Undertaker yet again to side with Kane. The Undertaker swore he would never fight his own flesh and blood. Kane repeatedly kept pushing his brother to a brink's end by costing his match with Shawn Michaels and others. For the first and maybe the last time, we see the Undertaker's emotional weaknesses. Paul Bearer made the Undertaker feel guilty for creating the Big Red Machine, Kane. For a while, it would seem as if the Undertaker succumbs to guilt and despair until he sees that he didn't create Kane. Kane buried him alive but the Undertaker supernaturally rises up again. He confesses that some promises must be broken before his parent's grave. He swears that if he is guilty, his punishment would be hellfire. After that, the Undertaker becomes refined and more powerful than before. No longer haunted by the past, he promises fury and vengeance to be struck down on Kane as both wage a supernatural battle of mind games. The feud between the Undertaker and Kane ended at Wrestlemania 14..until it was reopened in later years.

What made this feud so great aside from classic matches was that the brothers of destruction will never be fully reconciled. The Undertaker and Kane may partner up to face their adversaries but they could utterly destroy each other at any given moment. They are two of the most dominant wrestlers in the WWF/WWE but in their minds, there is only room for one.

The Undertaker and the Great Khali:

The Undertaker's match was interrupted by the first arrival of the Great Khali who demolished the Undertaker, leaving him gasping for air. The Undertaker retaliated by facing the Great Khali at Judgement day with no success in winning. It ended with the two facing at "Last Man Standing." The feud was great because it was one of the rare times when someone bigger than the Undertaker ran a terrifying reign over Smackdown and put up a challenge for him.

The Undertaker and Kurt Angle: 

Though a short feud, the Undertaker (Deadman) and Kurt Angle put an intense couple of matches. It began when Kurt Angle successfully defended the title against Mark Henry at a Royal Rumble before the Undertaker returned. Since then, the Undertaker played mind games on him before they ultimately faced each other at "No Way Out." What made this feud so great? Both are very competitive and professional athletes with epic careers. Kurt Angle is an Olympic Gold Medalist and an amateur wrestler before transitioning to pro-wrestling. The Undertaker is an MMA fighter with an undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. The two clashed like no other athlete in the WWF/WWE.

The Undertaner and Batista: 

This intense feud began when Batista betrayed his partner the Undertaker in a tag team match. After the Undertaker beat Shawn Michaels at a Royal Rumble to win a chance to win the World Heavyweight Championship. The Undertaker looked at Batista, John Cena, and Bobby Lashley but ultimately picked Batista out of a personal vendetta. The two engaged in a series of dangerous and epic matches most notably at Backlash, Hell in a Cell, TLC, and Wrestlemania.

These unforgettable feuds will forever be a testament to the Undertaker's grand legacy. They also helped give each of these wrestlers a push in their careers as well. Each of these epic clashes demonstrated just how powerful the Undertaker really is in the face of adversity.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Why the Undertaker vs. Sting needs to happen

The Phenom, the Undertaker vs. The Icon Sting at Wrestlemania 32 is a highly anticipated match though not as wanted as others. Both are on the verge of retirement and i deeply wish that WWE would book these two to come face to face in the ring. Here is my analysis behind this fantasy match: 

* Both have similar wrestling styles: 

Both are known for fighting off multiple foes, for their high flying moves, submission holds, high stamina, in-ring psychology, and speed. Both are also unpredictable when it comes to fierce competition.

* Both have wrestled in classic matches: 

The Undertaker faced the most popular wrestlers such as Kurt Angle, John Cena, Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Mankind, Kane, the Rock, Stone Cold, British Bulldog, Psycho Sid, and his greatest Wrestlemania matches against Shawn Michaels followed by Triple H. Sting has also made very memorable matches against Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Jeff Jarrett, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, DDP, and so on. The Undertaker and Sting have wrestled at main events countless times.

* Both have phenomenal in-ring psychology: 

The Undertaker is known for glaring at his opponents with cold and emotionless eyes, showing no pain in his face. He never backs down from any of his foes in the ring. Sting fights in a similar fashion only that he roars into his opponent's faces and beats his chest to show his dominance when fired up. Sting and the Undertaker intimidate their opponents well.

I will now discuss the differences in their careers in which they directly rival:

* Both are masters of mind games - Sting's mind games are focused on confusing his foes with bizarre tactics. The Undertaker's mind games are very theatrically impressive and often frightening as well as bewildering. The only difference is that Sting relies less on visual effects and more on his tampering of the psyche.

* Sting has won more titles - The Undertaker is an 8-time world champion (4-time WWF championship title, once a USWA United World Heavyweight Champion, and 3-time World Heavy Champion). Sting has won 25 championships holding the NWA World T.V title, NWA Heavyweight title, WCW International World Heavyweight title, WCW USA Heavyweight title, WCW World Heavyweight title, World Tag Team title, and others.

* The Scorpion deathlock could devastate the Undertaker - The Undertaker has tapped out before due to Bret Hart's Sharpshooter thus he has to protect his legs at all costs. If Sting can wear down the Undertaker if not make him tap, he has a slight advantage over the Undertaker. However, Hell's Gate may put Sting to rest once locked in.

* The Undertaker is stronger, but Sting is faster - There's no denying that the Undertaker is superior to Sting in terms of size and strength. However Sting despite being tall moves quicker than the Undertaker. Speed is a great equalizer to supreme power.

* Would Vince book Sting to win? - If Sting is willing to work with the WWE after he recovers from his injury. It seems that Sting still has much potential in the WWE world and doesn't intend on retiring just yet. Judging from a friendly interaction Sting and the Undertaker had off the record, it would seem the Undertaker may be willing to give Sting a push.

This match should absolutely happen and i truly hope WWE doesn't give up on the idea. Both are formidable opponents who would provide an epic challenge to each other. If it were to happen, it would bring back old WWE fans thus boosting ratings. It also has the potential under the right circumstances to be the most memorable match in Sting's career and a fitting end to the Undertaker's.  

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Why you should watch TNA

With WWE being a major long-standing promotion, it would seem to put smaller promotions like TNA out of business. I beg to differ. TNA though being a small company with a small audience is still a solid promotion. TNA is one of the most entertaining and prestigious promotions in american pro-wrestling. Why should you watch TNA? I'll give you several reasons.

The roster - TNA has developed their own unique and new generation of pro-wrestlers. Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Sting, Raven, Sabu, Rhino, Abyss, and Monty Brown just to name a few. WWF/WWE has the greatest living legends of all time no doubt however there's no guarantee they'll make it to the next generation.

TNA officials - TNA has some notable officials within their company's management team.

Mike Tenay - He started one of the country's first wrestling newsletters, Matt News. He's interviewed pro-wrestlers, wrote for wrestling magazines, and other programs. He's won an award for being the best television announcer and has the nickname "professor Vegas" for his vast knowledge of the pro-wrestling business.

Don West - He has majored in Sports Broadcasting when he attended Purdue University. He is known for his loud and energetic commentaries during matches.

With Mike Tenay's expert analysis combined with Don West's energy, both make any TNA match exciting to watch.

TNA's unique look - TNA's 6-sided ring is what made TNA stand out from other wrestling promotion that use a 4-sided ring. There are many different angles to view the action from and many turnbuckles for wrestlers to use. TNA's appearance is partially why it's been successful.

Let's not forget TNA's tunnel entrance. It serves a multi-purpose, as a way to enter the IMPACT zone but also a battleground.

TNA's women division - TNA is one of the few promotions with a highly developed women's division. WWE calls their women "divas" and in later years reserved them for eye candy with restricted match time. TNA took their women wrestlers seriously since day one and have put them at equal standing with the men. The women participate in title, main event, and hardcore matches as much as the men do.

TNA'S creative storylines - TNA has almost always delivered interesting storylines, entertaining promos, intense feuds, and booked highly anticipated matches. TNA has never ceased to put up a grand performance.

Fan interaction - TNA is one of the few promotions with strong wrestler-crowd interactions. TNA strives to create an environment where fans are apart of the action. Almost all of the time, you see wrestlers fighting through the crowd. TNA builds a solid relationship with fans which is essential to the company's success.

Non-stop action - TNA wastes no time in petty drama, beer drinking contests, and other things that WWE does on the side. This is why the promotion is called Total Non-stop Action! Almost every minute of the show is devoted to wrestling.

Prestigious title belts -  TNA has held a partnership with NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) in the creation of championship titles. They are memorable due to it's design but also to the matches.

Main events - TNA has a variety of creativity in matches. Promotions like WWE usually have wrestlers deliver chair shots and crash through tables but they keep it professional for the most part. TNA puts more weapons to use in addition to other outrageous stunts in their main events.

Although TNA is not as successful as it was originally, it has not failed as a brand. For these reasons and more, you should tune in every Thursday for TNA impact wrestling.