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On wrestling

Just read an interesting piece about the WWF/WCW/ECW invasion situation in Power Slam, and it got me thinking. I still think what the McMahon is doing at the moment is a major mistake. The quality of writing and booking at the moment flits from the atrocious to the yawn-inducing. Most of his now huge talent pool is getting wasted. There is so much potential, but it’s like Vince is on too big of an ego trip to care.

This should not be the attitude of the chairman of a Fortune 500 company who now has shareholders to answer to. What we need is a new WCW, not a dead WCW. It could be a prime-time breeding ground for the stars of tomorrow, where the wrestlers and wrestling styles that Vince doesn’t want in his WWF to shine.

So Vince doesn’t like lucha-libre…. then let WCW have the luchadores! WCW could be the ESPN2 to the WWF’s ESPN, or something like that. Sure, the WWF would want to maintain its image as the best there is, the cutting edge, but what WCW could offer is just that little something different. Maybe less talk, more wrestling, like the old days.

It was interesting, at least to me, what Jimmy Hart tried to do a couple of years ago with WCW’s former flagship programme Saturday Night, turning it into a separate world within the WCW, a training ground for their developmental talent – some of whom were quite exciting to watch and who ended up as part of the Alliance in the WWF this year. Maybe the WWF could so something similar with the WCW brand. Hell, even if it failed, it couldn’t do nearly as bad as the XFL. And besides, it’d just be a damn shame if WCW was allowed to die.

Live wrestling observations

Just back from the Point a while ago. To be honest, I was initially very impressed with the WWA set-up. It’s basically the WCW before McMahon bought it – only on a much smaller budget – so I was quite familiar with the aesthetic: the ring, the roster, the camera work (yes, they had a TV crew there, and a big screen) and so on. And overall the quality of the matches was good. But there was something lacking, I dunno… It started off well, the Point was absolutely packed. I mean, I’ve been to seven live wrestling shows now, but until tonight the Point had never been full before. The first match was pretty entertaining, Juventud Guerrera versus Psicosis (who wore his mask to the ring but took it off for the match, which was a bit lame really ’cause he looks like Ralph Macchio without it), albeit short. The rest though were passable (probably made more so by the crowd who were kinda whipped into a frenzy) but nothing to write home about. There was a funny dancing sequence in the middle of the show though, after the Disco Inferno/Grandmaster Sexay match.

However, then came a twenty minute intermission. I hate intermissions. There’s no point in leaving your seat in the Point because the queues for anything are always miles long. And besides that, the show lost momentum big time. The spark went out of the crowd. And the gay tag team thing was a bit crass. (I mean, they’re heels, Lenny and Lodi, so they wouldn’t be good posterboys for GLAAD… and they called themselves homos… and their finisher is called the Gay Bomb… the gimmick would work better maybe if they were less direct about it, like the way RuPaul doesn’t run around screaming ‘I’m a drag queen!’ at people – she just works it, girl.) The main event was a bit of a let down. I think most people would agree that the Road Dogg isn’t top card material. And the whole commentating thing was a bit ludicrous. I mean, we really don’t need a running commentary while we’re sitting in the arena, it only really works for the folks at home.

But whatever about my criticims: the promoter guy certainly seemed impressed by the reaction for his roadshow. It was a sell-out, after all. So they’re coming back in May. And they might be doing a pay-per-view…. what’s more interesting about this is that it’s fair to assume the WWF was keeping an eye on the performance of this tour, with regard to their own tour in the new year…. in short, if they’re guaranteed a full house (and in this climate, they certainly are) then they’ll return. Which’d be nice.

Here’s the run down of the card from the show:

  • WWA International Crusierweight Title match: Juventud Guerrera (Champion) defeated Psicosis
  • Vampire Warrior defeated Luna Vachon
  • Hardcore Tables match: ‘Screamin” Norman Smiley defeated Crowbar (this one was pretty funny, Norman screaming in agony and all, and a table got smashed, which was nice)
  • Grandmaster Sexay defeated Disco Inferno
  • Konan and Nathan Jones defeated ‘The West Hollywood Blonds’ Lodi and Lenny Lane (that Nathan Jones guy is like Test, or a young Kevin Nash, only cooler-looking. Test is shit, so the WWF should really have a look at this guy)
  • Buff Bagwell defeated Stevie Ray (this was much better than Bagwell’s match with Booker T on Raw a few months ago, proving to me that he’s capable of pulling off a good (not great) match, and it begs the question: why did he blow his big chance? He could be on a guaranteed $100k per annum contract at least if he’d just tried that night)
  • WWA World Title match: Jeff Jarrett (Champion) defeated Road Dogg (bit of a let down, for a main event, I have to say)

But enough about wrestling. There’s a documentary about the Pixies on Channel 4 right now, which I intend to sette down to watch.

Faking It

I watched Faking It last night, the one where the ballet dancer trains to be a professional wrestler. I was expecting it to be yet another misrepresentation of wrestling by the ‘mainstream’ media, but it was actually quite good; it conveyed wrestling in a generally positive light, despite what I felt was a bit too much emphasis on the aggressive aspect.

I mean, it’s an aggressive, high-impact profession, but the the focus of the show – a ballet dancer given one month to train to be a wrestler – by virtue of his background, would have been better arrogant than aggressive. I guess that’s the way it ended up anyway, with his ‘dandy highwayman’ character (which I thought was quite funny actually, it suited him), but if I was just a casual viewer, I don’t think I would have got that.

However, there was a distinct lack of the typically brutish, sweaty Giant Haystacks type in the programme. The guys from Hammerlock were articulate (there goes the stereotype) and came across as genuinely nice guys. As a matter of fact, I’ve read a lot about Andre Baker and his promotion in Power Slam over the years, it was good to finally see him in action.

Update: Woke up at 8am this morning, looked at the TV which was strangely still on from the night before, and what did I see? An interview on the Big Breakfast with the wrestling ballet dancer. I hope they’re not going to make a big deal out of this. It seemed like such a revelation to them this morning that anyone with the build of a ballet dancer could make it as a wrestler. People, get yourself over to Mexico and see the luchadores in action.

Bad omen

I’m cold, and I’m hungry, and I have loads of stuff to read tonight, and a plane has crashed in Queens, NY, and the doomsayers are gonna come out in force proclaiming the world is going to end.

But at least I’m going to WrestleMania.

The Contenders

I can’t believe I read nothing today. Not that the day has been entirely unproductive. I watched the DVD of Series 7: The Contenders before it was due back at Xtra-Vision. (It was good, could have been better, the ending was a bit frustrating… Girls Against Boys do most of the soundtrack.)

I think I might go to bed early, have a leaf through some of these books that the library so graciously loaned to me.

On meeting famous musicians

I got a text from my friend Sarah sometime after I fell asleep last night. She and her friends were at the gig last night and met Mogwai after the show; they signed one of Martin’s drumsticks that they caught when he threw them into the crowd. Damn. First I miss friends of mine meeting Efrim from A Silver Mount Zion, and now I miss friends of mine meeting Mogwai.

Then again, if I had been there, I probably would have been too star struck to say anything. Like when I didn’t strike up a conversation with George Berz before the Fog show in Manchester, even though I had the perfect opportunity to ask him how the tour was going and stuff. Gotta snap out of that.

Mogwai

Just got home from the Mogwai gig at the Olympia. Absolutely fantastic stuff. I saw them once before, last April, but this gig was just as good. Most of the gig was stuff from their first album, Young Team, which I wasn’t expecting in the wake of Rock Action. I was well impressed. As per usual, there was an obvious element of the crowd who only moved when they played new stuff – that always seems kinda ignorant to me.

Another thing that bothered me were the two cackling witches I happened to be standing near. I mean, why pay £17 to get into a gig only to talk to your mate about crap – and quite loudly at that – while the band is playing? I don’t understand that kind of ignorance or rudeness. Good thing I had my plugs in so they didn’t bother me too much.

The plugs, by the way, were a great gig aid – I heard the whole thing perfectly, without the pain and the tinnitus. God, I’m so old.

Hot Reels

Hot Reels just started a few minutes ago on Channel 4. This is the kind of thing that proves how much better British network TV is than just about anywhere else in the world (even Ireland, ’cause we kinda rip them off). Would something like this ever be broadcast on US network TV? I don’t think so.

It reminds me of the time BBC 2 showed Patlabor a few years ago, in Japanese with English subtitles. I haven’t seen many anime films, but that was the best in my experience. Would anybody else except BBC 2 or Channel 4 show such a movie, in its original version (as far as I can tell Patlabor is only available on video over here in a dubbed version)? Hell no.

Sabena kaput

Sabena, the Belgian national airline, has gone bust.

I’m flying to Brussels next month with Aer Lingus on a route it code-shares with Sabena. Aer Lingus is also in big financial trouble.

Looks like I could be living in Griet’s flat over Christmas (only kidding!).

Putting the kibosh

From Sunday’s Ireland On Sunday, about a ‘newly-published’ dictionary of Irish slang (which has actually been available since 1997):

The majority of the words in Slanguage have Irish or Ulster dialect roots, but Gaelic roots are often completely lost in the translation. For example, “to put the kibosh” on something comes from the Irish expression “cáipín báis” (death cap).

I always assumed that was Jewish in origin. By ‘eck, you learn summat new every day.

A good start

I got my logic homework out of the way – it was actually quite easy, once I shook away the tiredness-induced cobwebs. One less thing to do this week.

I also read through stuff for my tutorial tomorrow. It’s on John Searle and artificial intelligence, which was my last essay topic, so I might have a few things to say for once.

I’m going to see the new Wayne Wang movie, The Centre of the World, at the IFC tomororw evening. The last film I saw there was Brian Yuzna’s Faust (with Mr. Yuzna himself in attendance). Should be quite a difference… or maybe not… depends on the GPQ.

Is this a bad thing?

I spent all day at the computer again. I think I’m addicted to looking at other people’s weblogs. Is this a bad thing? Well it’s certainly bad for my eyes. And my back.

Fugazi

I got Fugazi’s Repeater a few days ago. I’ve been listening to it nearly long-stop since. I also got their new album, The Argument, a week or so before. I haven’t listened to it nearly as much. It’s not that I don’t like it… I dunno… it’s really good… but it just doesn’t compare, right at this moment in time. There’s a lack of groove or something, it’s too subdued… I can’t exactly put my finger on it.

Then again, I can barely keep my eyes open. Maybe I should call it a night.

In Their Own Write

From the Online section in Thursday’s Guardian, which I only got around to reading this evening:

Paul Gorman’s coffee table compendium, In Their Own Write (launched today by Sanctuary Publishing as a “definitive account of the collective madness known as the music press”) charts the rise of pop hackery. From 50s Tin Pan Alley and typewriters to MTV and the email age, these heartwarming tales reveal a constancy of drink, drugs, back-biting, score-settling and general bitchiness. Today also sees the launch of Rock’s Backpages, a searchable online library that brings long-forgotten gems within the reach of any nostalgic music fan with internet access. The site is the brainchild of Barney Hoskyns, a freelance music journalist and one-time US editor of Mojo magazine. “We set up Rock’s Backpages (RBP) to aggregate nearly 50 years of rich, unique and compelling writing,” says Hoskyns. He believes the collection has wide appeal. “Our content is not exclusively from the music press – many of the pieces appeared in newspapers, including the Guardian. But whatever their provenance, the interviews and articles cover virtually every seminal figure in rock and pop and thereby have evergreen value. The public’s appetite for this sort of writing is proved by the success of retrospective magazines like Mojo, Uncut, Goldmine and Record Collector”.

If I had the money, I might actually subscribe to this.

Mixtape

My friend Noel recently made me a mixtape. It’s excellent stuff; bands that he saw when he was in Chicago like Lightning Bolt, bands that I’ve heard of but never realy heard before like Melt-Banana and Men’s Recovery Project, and the first album by the mightiest new wave grindcore band in the world, The Locust. I am very happy. I shall have to return the favour somehow.

Hello World

This is my first posting, and I am at a loss for words. I’ll think of something interesting to say later, I’m sure.