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Showing posts from May, 2018

SmackDown RunDown Live (5/29/18): Showing RAW How It’s Done

How do you ruin a dream match? I thought letting one guy interfere would do the trick—I didn’t even think they’ll fuck it up more by adding the same guy to the actual match. I would rather prefer Big Cass interfere because at least we still get a solid 20-minute kicks-and-holds match between two submission machines before the inevitable shenanigans happen. Instead, we got a tall guy blocking the view of what was supposed to be a must-see attraction. If anything, it made me hate Big Cass more not because he was an effective heel, but because of his shitty booking.

Seriously, how hard is it to make one of the most prolific dream matches come to life? Just give us Samoa Joe vs. Daniel Bryan. They’re both healthy, they’re both in the same brand, and for the love of everything holy you already did the legwork setting up the match! Just make the goddamn match happen, ring the bell, and let these two tear each other apart. Who give a shit about what Big Cass will do next? He can just attack D…

The Smark Henry RAW Report (5/28/18): Money In The Banks

Another week, another episode of Monday Night RAW. While I haven't truly been enjoying the show in its entirety since WrestleMania, I keep my fingers crossed every week just so I don't sound like a real meanie-pants in my reviews. Money In The Bank is still far away from today, and I want it to come now before my head explodes with all these useless rematches, like what I ranted about last week.

And of course, because the universe hates me, the first match of the show had to be another rematch. Sigh. I'll hand it to Finn Bálor and Braun Strowman, though—their match was entertaining to watch and I actually enjoy seeing them wrestle. But they need to stop right here before I change my mind.

The final name has been added for the women's MITB match: Sasha Banks. Maybe she can stop throwing herself a pity party on social media now.

No really, she'd post a simple photo on Instagram and caption with something so cryptic that has absolutely nothing to do with the picture.…

#ThemeSongTuesday: Enzo Amore's Back With A Diss Track

While you were sleeping last night, former WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore, who now goes by Real1, released a diss track called "Phoenix." Right off the bat, the title is a reference to both the woman who accused him of sexual harassment—since she's based in Phoenix—and to himself rising from the ashes of the backlash that came his way like a phoenix.

“They cry tears of joy at my funeral. 
Still I rise from the ashes like a phoenix. 
Middle finger to the sky grippin’ my... consensual penis. 
Lyin’ ass hoe out in Phoenix. 
When I say that shit I mean it. 
Fuck you marks for hatin’. 
This for all my fans waitin’. 
Entertainment’s hottest free agent. 
Bitch I’m reincarnated.”

It's obviously full of anger and vitriol, like virtually all diss tracks. Listen for yourself:

Like most hiphop tracks today, "Phoenix" uses a trap beat that gives you something to bounce to, without sounding like you're in a murky-ass and hazy club. It helps that Enzo Amore raps with a…

Full Brackets Revealed For MWF Championship Tournament

The murky future of the Manila Wrestling Federation's year-long MWF Championship Tournament just got a lot clearer with the reveal of the official brackets at MWF 2: Maki-Wrestling, 'Wag Matakot.

The Tracer, Trailblazer, Speed-Chaser Robin Sane has already secured his spot in the second round thanks to a hard-fought win over his long-time rival Mr. Lucha, but it's the rest of the tourney that has us intrigued.

Let's take a look at the match-ups as captured by Rie Takumi of GMA News.

Block A
Fabio Makisig vs. ???Jomar Liwanag vs. Gigz StrykerAldrin Richards vs. Kyle SisonMorgan Vaughn vs. RG
Block BRobin Sane vs. Mr. Lucha (Winner: Sane)Ninja Ryujin vs. Hanzello ShilvaRex Lawin vs. ???Frankie Thurteen vs. Ashura
Analysis: Block A

The two mystery participants have KapaFEDs perplexed as hell. Moises Liwanag's surprise resurrection could have him as a first-rounder against the undefeated Fabio Makisig, and could potentially set up a quarterfinals encounter against his d…

Smark Hen-XT (5/23/18): Driving to the Edge

Man, okay, I have to admit that I'm starting to get mixed feelings about the Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano feud.

Don't get me wrong, I still love the heck out of it. Everyone's still excellent in their roles: Ciampa is still the heelest of heels WWE has produced, dare I say, in the last decade? Good guy Gargano is still very much effective as the beloved babyface, and Candice LeRae is steadily improving in her part.

I'm not quite sure how to feel about this week's segment though. Neckbrace-wearing Gargano, with an overly-worried LeRae by his side, came out and teased a retirement or something? That was weird because I'm not sure if Tommaso's attack from few weeks ago was that severe, but it still made me tear up a bit so I guess that was still effective.

I may be overreaching here, but my favorite bit is how they juxtaposed Ciampa and Gargano asking the question "Is it worth it?" If you remember a few weeks back, Kassius Ohno asked Ciampa if e…

#MustWatchMonday (5/28/18): Are You Watching BOSJ?

Hello and welcome again to the weekly column that points you to wrestling you could and should (but don't have to) be watching. It's another #MustWatchMonday, y'all.
If you're paying even the least bit of attention to wrestling outside the WWE, you may already know that this year's Best of the Super Juniors tournament is ongoing 'til next week. For those of you who aren't familiar, it's basically the premiere junior heavyweight tournament in the world, giving us luminaries like Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Ricochet, and a lot more. Basically, it's produced GIFfable moments like this:
Yeah, you know what we're talking about.
This year's Best of the Super Juniors tournament had a couple of surprises up its sleeve, namely the two people we have on this week's MWM. Pro Wrestling NOAH standout and former Impact Wrestling star Taiji Ishimori jumped ship to NJPW as Bullet Club's new BONE SOLDIER, and Ring of Honor's you…

[FULL RESULTS] MWF 2: Maki-Wrestling 'Wag Matakot

Making its return to the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, the Manila Wrestling Federation looks to continue the momentum from its critically-acclaimed MWF 1: Kasaysayan with MWF 2: Maki-Wrestling, 'Wag Matakot.

In case you couldn't make it, we've got you covered with live results from our on-ground correspondents.

Match #1: Coach Gus Queens vs. RG
The Life Coach made his long-anticipated ring debut accompanied to the ring by the De La Salle University Animo Squad Drummers.

This match would spill outside to the UP Diliman campus and would actually conclude after the main event, but RG took home the win thanks to some home court support (more on this later) and a Franchiser front jawbreaker.

Winner: RG via pinfall

Match #2: Ninja Ryujin & Morgan Vaughn vs. The Bae-Wolves (Hanzello Shilva & Aldrin Richards)
Energetic match that saw both reams unleash their full athleticism to the delight of the crowd.

Vaughn saves Ryujin from a potential match-en…

Live From the 205 (5/22/18): The Sun Sets On Team Japan

205 Live this week featured the decisive end of a friendship—one that didn't last long, it should be said, but still a rather important B-story on the show.

Akira Tozawa and Hideo Itami climaxing in this episode is honestly a mixed bag. I've been searching my feelings all day, wondering if this was the right thing for them to do, and I haven't figured out what my final answer is yet. That's... not good. Not if we're talking about 205 Live.

On one hand, it sets up Hideo Itami to be a singles competitor once again, and a potential new foil for Cedric Alexander. That means Cedric may likely retain against Buddy Murphy next week, and then they move through the revolving door of challengers. It also paints the show as surprisingly agile, able to recognize when something isn't quite working, takes steps to fix it, and move forward, rebuilding as it goes along. Maybe Hideo really didn't like teaming with Tozawa. Or maybe someone else thought it didn't work.


SmackDown RunDown Live (5/22/18): On Second Chances and Lana Days

What do you feel about the second chance matches for MITB? I can make an exception for the women’s division because at least they all received a fair shake at an MITB spot and I’m not really concerned about the RAW guys. They already earned a brownie point for not giving Roman Reigns another chance. My concern is that giving everyone a fair shake at something is supposed to be the SmackDown Live way of life. So is it fair to give Daniel Bryan and Jeff Hardy a second chance when there are still people in the back who haven’t received theirs?

Now if you think I sound crazy, consider this—even tag teams were given a chance to qualify. Remember New Day vs. The Bar a few weeks ago? So why can’t they give other teams and singles competitors a shot? We still have guys like Tye Dillinger and Shelton Benjamin who already cut promos about climbing the ladder and grabbing the briefcase. I’m not saying they should win it all willy-nilly, but is it really that hard to give everyone the illusion of …

The Grapevine (5/25/18): She Can See Him

Good morning, and this is the Grapevine! This section of Smark Henry is where we round up all the founded and unfounded rumors abound the pro wrestling scene that you may have missed over the evening.

Are John Cena and Nikki Bella back together?

E! is reporting that John Cena and Nikki Bella are basically back together. This report corroborates another by People, saying that Cena's media tour in which he professed his love and feelings for Nikki worked. It turns out that Nikki kept the engagement ring as a "reminder" of their love, but she has been refuting these reports, calling them "lies." (Source: E!)We say: It certainly doesn't help the feeling that this whole thing looks like a work to promote the new season of Total Bellas. It's not like we want to invalidate and undermine both people's real feelings about each other, but entertainment is a tricky, sketchy business. We wish them both some real happiness, though, and we support a happy ending.

The Smark Henry RAW Report (5/21/18): Stop This Madness

Last week's episode of Monday Night RAW actually wasn't that bad, considering how inconsistent it's been ever since the Superstar Shakeup. That episode made me look forward to this week's, intriguing me with what Sami Zayn would have up his sleeves and who Seth Rollins' next opponent would be for the open challenge. As much as last week's episode entertained me, I still kept my expectations low for this one, considering how fast the writers could screw things up and kill momentum.

Welp, there you go. Stephanie McMahon is back, and so I guess we're officially doing this again. Roman Reigns is now clearly in this Underdog vs. Authority angle, which—as I've explained last week—just isn't believable enough for the crowd to enjoy. On top of that, I feel like it's the type of storyline Creative likes to give every top or rising star, and it's hard not to notice its overused formula.

It's important to note, though, that Stephanie McMahon's …

#ThemeSongTuesday: Mamma Mia!

Let's start with something we can all agree on: Mauro Ranallo is the best play-by-play commentator in pro wrestling today.

His passion for the sport, enthusiasm on the mic, and pop culture references give everything he calls a big fight feel. He takes you through an emotional journey, even while just painting a picture of a car crash. He knows when to dial it back during smaller, more mundane moments, and when to turn it all the way up at the highest points of a match—an underrated skill that often goes unnoticed. Hell, I could listen to this man sell liquid detergent all day.

Mauro's excellence as a commentator has drawn him legions of fans from the worlds of boxing, MMA, kickboxing, and our beloved sport, pro wrestling. The fact that he gets all of these gigs and is now using his celebrity status as a platform to raise awareness for mental health is even more impressive. Before NBA stars like Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan openly spoke up about their mental health issues, Mau…