Hello, my intended...
Here I am again for yet another waste of an otherwise perfectly good Monday evening. As is my wont, I think I'll examine something totally unrelated to wrestling and find some way to match them up. Today, I've picked anime - 'Japanimation' to some.
The thing that differentiates anime (which is short for animation) from 'cartoons' is that anime is simply another film medium for any story someone wants to tell while 'cartoons' generally denotes something dismissed as 'strictly for kids'.
Anime is sometimes better to use in some film presentations, as there's just some special effects you can't do any other way - even with CGI or travelling mattes. The classic 'Akira' stands as an prime example of a story that would be flat out impossible to pull off in any other format, though there are many others such as 'Princess Mononoke' or 'Blue Submarine #6'...
In a nutshell, no matter what your interest you can probably find an anime about it. You name it: Fantasy, Scifi, Horror, Sports, Drama, Romance, Comedy, hell even Porno... Personally, I've always preferred my anime subtitled - as I don't think the English voices properly convey the overall dynamic of the Japanese language - and just doesn't cut it for certain phrases at all. Mind you, things have come a LONG way since the days of Speed Racer where they hired three people to do the voices of a cast of thousands, but to me there's still no substitute for the 'real' voices. But I digress...
One 'thing' that I find occurring in much of the anime released these days is something I think the WWe would do well to adopt. That thing? Fan Service. I'll explain... Anime has many fans, but these fans all have something different that 'floats their boat'. Therefore, every show has 'something for everyone' - yet something that all can agree on as well. Some guys like demure girls... Some like dynamic tomboy types... Some like smart girls... Some like cutesy girls... Some guys like big bouncing boobies... Etc Etc Etc. The Fan Service Anime gives these fans precisely what they want, and the fans respond with their money. It's Business 101. If you give us the goods, we'll keep you in business. Everybody wins.
Sure, there's people that think FS tactics 'cheapen' the overall story by appealing to the lowest common denominator, but without those sad, lonely bastards buying the stuff just because a stiff breeze blows up a miniskirt in Episode Four for a two-second panty-shot; you wouldn't have any at all. You don't even notice it if you're not LOOKING for it, so shaddap and enjoy the otherwise fine story. Yes, you can 'sneak in' Fan Service to 'normal' anime - prime examples of this are 'Full Metal Panic' and 'Neon Genesis: Evangelion'... These are great stories with appealing characters, and occasionally these characters parade around in their underwear or lose their tops. It doesn't ruin the story, and there's really no harm in throwing a bone to the more... shall we say 'devoted' fans? Me, I understand that it's just something targeted to a group that doesn't include me and just let it slide. There's more than enough stuff in there that I actually DO enjoy, so if seeing imaginary cheesecake floats YOUR boat, have a ball. We're all in it together, really.
"But, Bobo, I don't see the connection. The WWe already has plenty of people prancing around in their skivvies..."
Okay, for the slow class: Much like anime, wrestling has a 'subgroup' of fans that are - for lack of a better term - hardcore. These hardcore fans will GLADLY throw their money at the product, but they want 'a little something' for it in return. Giving it to them doesn't hurt anything or anyone, and can arguably make the overall presentation better - especially when you've suddenly got a bunch more money than you would have had sticking to the original formula. What do I think is that 'little something' we hardcore fans want - and would put up with all the other dumb shit Vince can throw at us if he but gave us?
Betcha a few of you thought I was gonna say 'wrestling', huh? Like I would piss on the efforts of the guys in there working their asses off...? Shame on you. I just want their work to, y'know, MEAN SOMETHING... I think they do, too.
That'll be enough thinking for you today... Tonight's RAW is coming to us from the Gund Arena in Cleveland, and AFAIK the only match scheduled is Mark Henry versus Shawn Michaels... I guess Michaels is pretty stoked that he's repeatedly one-shotted the World's Strongest Man into oblivion with his Superkick, and when said WSM is not white I can only surmise that as a Texan he considers it a bonus. Sigh. Y'know, I actually turned down overtime to sit through this for you folks, so if it's a bit more caustic than it is normally I hope you understand... Time and a half for three easy hours means THIS show is costing me more than usual, but I knew the job was dangerous when I took it. (BOCKBOCKBOCK!) Standard intro sequence, blah blah blah... Bishoff = Boo, Austin = Pop. We get it, already... Please stop.
Oh, and they'll have the official signing fo rhte Survivor Series team battle with Bischoff and Austin.. Another waste of twenty minutes? Goody!
Booker T jerking the curtain, and Saucy calls him 'The Five-Timer'... His tag partner, and longtime jerker of the curtain? RVD, most of coursely! Wonder who they'll face? Go sit in the corner, then. You're too stupid to read this... Jericho and Christian come from behind and get some shots in, but Book catapults Hericho over the ropes onto Christian, and RVD hits them both with a Tope' Con Hilo... Christian in, and Booker's workinhg him over... Chris dodges a scissor kick, but not a flying forearm - and tags in j2. Book tags in RVD, and Robbie makes with a dropkick, and then a spinheel kick - which gets two... Tag to Booker. Irish Whip reversal send Book into Christian for a cheap shot, but he knocks the guy off the apron to be finally on his own on the floor. Jericho bails to regroup, and RVD runs over and gives them the coconut... Jericho rolls in and tags Christian, and he gets off a dropkick on Book for two... He puts Book into the corner, and taunts RVD to get the Heel 101 going. RVD is put back outside, and Y2J gives Booker a Backdrop Suplex and takes the boots to him. He tags in Christian, who locks in a chinlock... Booker rests up, and then gets free. Christian tries to whip Booker into the corner, but it's reversed. Booker tries to capitalize, but eats an elbow... A bit of back and forth, with them teasing the Bookend finish... Tag to Jericho, hot tag to RVD. Corner Whip to Crossbody spot. Stepover Heelkick spot. Rolling Thunder... Twocount. RVD gets off a spinkick and goes to the top, and hits Christian running to make the save with a Flying Senton. All hell breaks loose, and it leads up to Jericho pinning RVD after a BRUTAL looking Inverted Facebuster, with Christian holding his leg so he can't kick out... Sigh.
Cut to Austin looking kinda bothered watching this fustercluck screwjob with his team coming up short, and he starts to exit stage left - but is stopped by Coach. Much intimidation ensues, to the thrill of maybe five people... On Earth.
Commercials. That True Crime game looks like fun, since I already have GTA3 and Vice City on PC, I may get that instead for the Xbox...
Terri interviews Molly... I think it's Terri, anyway... Hard to be sure, since she's actually wearing a shirt over her flesh pontoons. Molly kvetches about Lita and then beats the crap out of Terri. I kinda like that, since the only person that hates Terri more than I do is Dustin Runnels - probably because he used to wake up and see it in his bed... Shit, she beats her all the way to the steel ramp, and Body Slams her before dragging her down the ramp by the hair... (I'm supposed to BOO this? As if!). Terri tossed into the ring, and she tries to fight back, but Molly is not having it... Lita makes the run-in for the save, and has Molly over the barrier when someone in a hoodie sweat interferes. It's Gail Kim, who knocks Lita stupid(er) with a wrench before the two heel chicks get off a Double DDT on LIta and leave her stretched... As a suggestion, please stop this 'fan jumping the gate' stuff.
Cut to Austin in the back, looking constipated... He knocks on a door, but there's no answer... HBK is sitting in the hall, apparently locked out of his dressing room... Austin sorta asks HBK to join his squad, and HBK pretty much makes him beg... Sorta. He wants Austin to admit he 'needs HBK', and Austin doesn't wanna. HBK reminds the guy of their spotty history together, including WM14... Austin didn't come for a history lesson, but finally admits he needs Shawm Michaels to make the guy find his smile... HBK seemingly turns him down, sorta. Boos ensue. HBK comes back, and tells him yes. Pops. God, I know it's not Christian to pray someone dies in a plane crash, so I'll be finding a new religion shortly...
Back, and we got Lita getting worked on by the trainer... Christian walks in all frantic trying to see that she's properly cared for and such. You know how fucking pathetic an actress she is? The TRAINER was less stiff... Let's have some ring stuff now, okay? Evolution? Um... Can I change my order? No?
We have a replay of the Goldberg AnkleBusting and such, with a quick shot of LeBron James in the audience... Batista versus Maven, is it? Maven charges in, and they brawl - though Dave no-sells... Dave lays a Spinebuster on Maven, then a Sidewalk Backbreaker, then tosses him outside and whips him into the steps... He tries to hotshot Maven in the face of the NBA guy, and Maven shakes free and makes the head-into-the-wall thing on Dave. He tries to follow up, but gets clotheslined out his boots... Maven rolled into the ring, and he struggles to his feet in the corner. Batista comes in to capitalize, and eats a couple forearm shivers that back him up long enough for Maven to try... That's right, a dropkick. What else? Flair comes in, and Maven tries another top-rope thing after knocking Naitch off the apron, Saucy thinks a modified bulldog... but it was basically a modified jump down and eat some beatdown. Dave lariats Maven 'Eyebrows' McNeverover inside out and then gives him the Sitout Powerbomb. 1-2-3...
Commercials. The Cat in the Hat, the Movie? Was this part of the settlement for Myers cancelling the Dieter flick, or did they just put a gun to his head? Two words... Commercial flop.
Replays of why Henry will face Michaels tonight, just in case you forgot... Then we go to Kane caressing an ambulance in the parking lot and warning Shane that people should be careful what they wish for... He then explains the rules of the match, and we get a hokey black and white flashback thing with EMTs trying to save the cameraman and his fisheye lens filter... Then it's back to Kane boring the hell out of us with his 'psycho' thing... Please stop this... I'll take anything.
Jindrak and Cade? Well, Kane warned me... Why I no listen? WHYWHYWHYWHY? The two jobbers jaw about making a difference and getting into contention for the tag-straps with a much needed win against one of the other three teams on the show... The Dudley Boyz? Yeah, give the Dudz a win over these dinks too, why not?
The Dudleyz come out first to a lukewarm pop. The young fellas come out next to near total silence. Cade startts against DVON, and they work an arm-twist a few dosie-does, and then DVon hits a shoulder tackle. Tag to Jindrak, tag to Bubba. Drak with a side headlock. Bubba shoves free and hits a shoulderblock - but Bubba goes down. They go some more dancing, and Cade with crossbody after Bubba slaps him in the chest. Tag to Jindrak, tag to DVON. Jindrak with a dropkick actually gets two. Tag to Cade, who clamps on the old headtwist and then a rear chinlock. Von elbows free and gets put down again. The new guys hit their Spinebuster+Dropkick Combo, and get two. Cade tries a flying elbow from the top, but misses. Hot tag to Bubba, who runs in and massacres Cade with a few forearms and a slam or two... Then he starts the Dusty punch combo, and Steiner comes out dragging Stacy. Scottie then military presses Stacy, distracting Bubba somehow. The kids get in some licks in the confusion, and Bubba gets pinned after a clothesline. I wish I was kidding...
We're back, and there's red carpet in the ring with a table and two chair, which I guess means that big 'match signing' thing is next, huh? Glass breaks, and here comes Austin to do the corner-birdy spots. He then gets a mic, and paces around as the crowd warms up to him. Austin then says since he's got places to go and beer to drink, Bischoff better come on out and get this segment over with... Saucy calls Eric a stain on the underwear of life, which is like a skunk saying someone stinks. It makes no sense. Bischoff decides since Austin has his fifth guy, he'll just hotshot things and call out his fifth guy - Randy Orton.
Orton comes out with a mic, and Austin has a look on his face that's pretty close to the one on mine... 'Are you fucking kidding?' Orton comes out and beats gums about being a Legend Killer wearing a shirt that makes him look like a poodle groomer. Oooo. Austin wants to go thrash him some third generation biscuit, but Bischoff reminds him about the whole what-if-he-wins-what-if-he-loses deal, and that they're there to sign the ol' paper. The crowd is cooling down faster than a dead guy in the tundra, and Austin snatches the pen from Bischoff as he talks about all that's at stake. Bischoff tells us that he read Austin's book, and that Austin's a fraud. No, really? Honto ni honto? Bischoff then puts over that for all Austin's noise about DTA, he's forced to trust five dudes with his fate.
Austin talks about Bischoff's fashion sense and haircut, and then flips him the bird. Austin then says how he hasn't been himself in a long time, since he hasn't been able to whoop any ass or destroy anyone's credibility by having a bald over-the-hill redneck with no legs job them out. Austin then talks to the crowd for their opinion as to whether 'the match is worth the risk', and they go 'Hell Yeah'. Then he asks if anyone thinks Eric looks like he needs and asskicking, they should flip the birdie. Austin then says there's about 12,000 middle fingers up in the stands, without once realizing how sad and tragic that attendance-level is in the Gund for anything - especially a wrestling show... He then wraps it up and Eric looks on with a constipated countenance... Sigh.
Cut to Austin leaving the place, and he's stopped by Batista. Dave tells him that Austin makes him sick, and that the REAL reason that Austin doesn't fuck with people like he used to is because of guys like HIM. Dave then gets 1,000 cool points for calling Austin a coward to his fucking face, and Steve looks ready to cry... I mean 'snap'. Yeah.
Next to the ring is... Val Venis? He still works there? Who's he fighting? Rico, huh? I'm flabbergasted. The crowd goes mild. Then Lance Storm comes out and dances the old Cabbage Patch. He goes in there as Venis is on the floor, and Rico thumbs him in the eye. Rico with his kickspots has him in control, and he goes from a front chancery to a chinbreaker on Lance, which isn't a bad spot at all. Lance battles back with a Jawbreaker, but Rico clamps on a Tai Gatame and chokes Storm down, then releases him. He hauls Storm up and throws him to the ropes, but Storm slides between his legs. They bounce off the ropes again, and Lance rolls through to the Maple Leaf (Single Leg Crab). Rico taps. Vinnie hops onto the apron and gives one of his Helllllo Laaaaadies to Storm as a celebratory gesture. I'm still flabbergasted.
Trish in the back heading to the ring is 'bumped into' by Chris Jericho, who has been talking to people to get her number. I think he read it off the bathroom wall, myself. He then makes all chummy with her, and it seems Trish is gonna be teaming with John Heidenreich. Jericho is worried about John (and LittleJohnny) since they don't know much about the guy besides Hurricane thinks he's nuckinfutz. Trish tells Y2J that she was just in the back with John, and saw Little Johnny. Guess it's an initiation thing, these days, huh? John and Trish then exit stage left, and Jericho mutters 'That pervert' through clenched teeth.
Trish and Johnnie to face Victoria and Stevie in a mixed tag deal that should be most folks' bathroom break... Steve and John to start, and they circle each other before going to the collar and elbow. John with a a power advantage shoves Stevie over, and Steve responds with a toe-kick to the belly. He runs to the ropes for a head of steam and gets a Manhatten drop and then tossed outside. Steve wants no more parts of Johnny, and tags in Vic. Vic actually steps into John's mush and gives him the badmouth, but John just pats her on the head all friendly like a good puppy and tags in Trish. Vic with a tackle on Trish. Trish with a head scissors... A bit on back andf forth, and then Trish hits the handstand spot on Vic. Stevie comes in, and they double Backdrop Suplex Trish while John makes the rookie mistake of trying ot et in - only to be ejected... Vic hauls Trish up and puts her in the Canadian Backbvreaker, then dumps her down in a pancake. Looks nice. Gets two. Trish reverses an Irish Whip and gets off a tackle, and we cut to Jericho looking at the match on the monitor in the back as Vic puts Trish in an Armbar. Trish manages to tag in John, and he blitzes Steve like a ton of bricks before Vic hops on his back and tries to choke him down... Trish peels Vic off John's back so he can be about putting Stevie in a Canadian Backbreaker - to a Sidearm Drop! THAT was kinda nice, kid. Threecount follows, and Jericho looks to be simmering watching John and Trish celebrate the win. With hugs and shit...
Coach actually comes out and asks how Austin feels about being punked out by Batista when there's nothing he can do about it. Austin begs to differ, and appoints himself the Special Enforcer of the Michaels/Henry match - and by ANYONE showing their face while he's there, they automatically qualify as doling out physical provocation. So, if anyone's feeling froggish they can come on down... Sigh.
Some shilling of Survivor Series busts out. Well, about three minutes of it, actually... Then we go to Kane walking around out back. Sgt. Slaughter runs up and delivers a note/invitation from Shane, and Kane accepts it. Betcha didn't think you'd find yourself playing messenger for Vince's snot kid, huh Mr. Remus? Funny how shit works out, idnit? We then have the glass break and Austin comes out to wake the crowd up for the Michaels/Henry match...
Wrestlemania Rewind is Michaels winning the strap for the first time in 1996... Sigh. I actually paid money for that PPV... Feel my shame. Michaels then comes out to a modest pop... Teddy and Henry follow, and for some reason as I watch Teddy give last minute instructions to Mark Henry, I can see him holding a big gold key... Must be Henry's haircut... The bell rings, and Henry starts the Papabear deal. Michaels battles back, going to kicks to the legs to take Henry down. Michaels tries some punching, but is tossed away. HBK comes off the ropes for momentum, and gets a Polish Hammer. Henry making with the bigman moves, and Michaels comes off the ropes again - but Teddy grabs his foot for a trip. HBK doesn't fall, but rather simply looks askance at Long as Henry comes in to capitalize on the distraction - and falls out the ring. No shit. Austin ejects Long. Mark starts mashing HBK with clotheslines and such, then clamps on a bearhug. HBK tries to punch free, and Henry runs him into the corner back first - then pulls him up into another bearhug. Henry leans forward, and puts HBK's shoulders down to get two. I think that's kinda impressive, though it looks all the world like a prison rape... Michaels charges up from the crowd and frees himself once again. Michaels battling back with kicks to the calf of the WSM - who swats HBK across the ring. HBK is thrown to the far corner, and he hops aside as Henry charges. HBK with some punching and whatnot, and Henry just flings him away again... They battle back and forth a bit more, and then HBK hits the Superkick for the win.
Austin then rolls into the ring and congratulates Michaels - and then asks him to hit the bricks so he can do handle some business... Michaels complies. Austin then starts talking about how nobody came out like he wanted, and calls for Batista to come out and call him a coward again. He also says he won't leave the ring until Dave does - and that he can sit there until tomorrow if necessary. This makes me feel sorry for the people that paid money to be there in person... More than usual, even.
Austin's still in the ring, and there's still no Batista.. Oh, there he is. Dave comes into the ring, and they start braweling instantly. Austin gets the upper hand, and clotheslines Dave out of the ring. Henry runs in to help, and gets Stunnered. Dave comes back in and puts the boots to Austin. Austin's out on the floor, and Dave rams him into the ringpost. Then Goldberg comes out with a chair... He cracks Henry with the chair like he's swinging an axe, and then rolls in ansd Spears Batista out his boots. Bill then puts one of those boots in the chair for some payback and Flair runs out to save Dave - and gets a Spear to buy time for Dave to roll out of the ring to safety. Austin rolls back into the ring and Goldberg looks at him all crooked like.. Maybe Austin wants to do something for Goldberg coming out? Since it's 'automatically physical provocation and all'... Right? Nope, he calls for beer and offers one to Bill. Bill won't take it. Austin asks if he's sure he doesn't wanna, and whether he's knows what it means to NOT drink beer with Austin. Bills says he knows what it means, and don't look too shook. He tells Austin that he wants Batista in that ring before he'll be his drinking buddy. Austin agrees, and they make with the drinkie-poo... Roll credits.
And that will wrap things up, mostly... I figure it's in order to address the little hiccup here with TheNewGuy, but I won't do that kinda shit on the front page. Offlinking to my response to it should be sufficient, so one can go click if they actually care about such things. I know most of you don't, so just ignore it as I humbly apologize to you readers for putting even that much 'personal bullshit' in the Recap.
Speaking of personal bullshit nobody in their right mind would care about, though, this Friday (11/7) will mark my First Anniversary writing at TheRingPost. I don't know why I do it - let alone why I've done it so long, but if any of you have for some unfathomable reason been enjoying any of my hackneyed efforts in this little section of the internet, let me just say this from the heart to take it home...
You're welcome. See you SOON.