Completing the blet wall: time to get a new house

What we have here, are the newest additions to my collection: blet #24 – the 2014 PG-era WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and #25 – the John Cena Spinner US Championship.

As has been the case with the last nine blets I’ve purchased, these have been primarily financed by money earned through doing online surveys.  Which is great in the sense that I haven’t used any of my earned income in order to purchase such frivolities, but when I write out that I’ve basically bought 11 blets, I’m trying not to add up the dollar amount and not wince at what maybe a little more productive or substantiative things I might’ve been able to have done with such a slice of coin but whatever no regrets

The thing is with #24, I never really thought about getting another WWE World Championship blet, since I had the Attitude-era winged eagle blet, but whether it’s just random blet itch scratching, or when I was happy when Big E won the championship, the idea of getting one didn’t seem that unappealing.  That’s sometimes all it really takes for me to want to get a blet; acceptance of a current holder, a good deal, or just plain wanting a new blet for the sake of getting a new one.

Also, I was sitting on a small cache of Amazon gift card and gift card codes, and instead of putting myself through the rigors of I don’t know what to spend this onnnnn, once I learned that WWE actually sells some things through Amazon, including blets, and makes them subject to Prime benefits, I knew what I would be saving up towards, instead of bullshit consumables like soaps and socks.  So once I hit the price threshold for a 2014 WWE World, I pulled the trigger and here we are.

The bigger story though, would be the John Cena US Spinner that I had long been waiting out.  For years, friends would “troll” me and tell me that my collection would never be complete if I didn’t have this blet, and truth be it, when it was actually on TV way back when, I wasn’t a fan of it.  I didn’t think it was cool for John Cena to be above everyone else and have his own edition of the historic United States championship, and I was up on a purist high-horse scoffing down on a spinner blet in the first place.

Continue reading “Completing the blet wall: time to get a new house”

Sammy Guevara’s talent is getting overshadowed by his bullshit

I remember watching the first episode of AEW Dynamite.  I wasn’t the least bit surprised that Cody Rhodes put himself into the first-ever match.  But the guy he was up against, Sammy Guevara, I knew jack shit about.  Why was he coming out in a panda hat?  How did all the fans in attendance seem to already know who he was?  Was I really that out of touch with the business and too insulated in the WWE Universe®?

Obviously, everyone and their mother knew that Cody was winning, but in spite of it, I remember being very impressed with Guevara.  It was clear to why he was given the distinct honor of getting to be on the very first televised AEW match in history, he was talented as fuck in the ring.  A cursory search afterward showed that he was trained by Booker T, and the five time five time five time five time five time WCW champion seems to have been as good of a trainer as there could’ve been.

As the Inner Circle formed, it was pretty clear that Guevara was the designated workhorse of the faction, as Chris Jericho was the leader, Santana and Ortiz were the designated tag team, and Jack Swagger Jake Hager was the heavy.  But even mired in one of the 52 factions in AEW, it really didn’t take long for Guevara to stand out among the promotion’s bloated roster, because he was an above average worker, had a massive skillset, could sell, could speak and had the general looks of an upper-tier guy.

However, it also didn’t take long for Guevara to end up in hot water, with him being documented as having once said he “would rape that shit” when referring to the WWE’s Sasha Banks.  But being a guy that the company had high hopes for, he was taken off tv for a second, and eventually the whole thing blew over.  He would have some outstanding feuds with Darby Allin and Matt Hardy to help make fans forget.

Not long after pandemic restrictions began lifting, AEW hit the road, and one of their first stops was in Houston.  A packed house was witness to Sammy cutting a supposedly heart-felt promo about his girlfriend Pam, which culminated with a marriage proposal that she accepted, much to the happy pop of a crowd that didn’t concern themselves with if Sammy was a heel or a face at that time.  This was in August 2021.

It wasn’t really long afterward that there were lots of rumors that swirled about Sammy Guevara and his “just friends” relationship with Tay Conti.  They were always seen together, photographed together, and it really didn’t take long for fans all over to connect the dots that there was something likely more between the two of them.

Eventually, Sammy and Pam broke it off and broke up, and Sammy and Tay came out publicly about the most obvious relationship since like Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen.   Yes, it sucked that the implications were that there was an affair involved, but the sentiment of the internet seemed satisfied at having called it the whole time, regardless of the fact that Pam’s personal life was mostly humiliated and wrecked from how it all transpired.

What I think the problem really ended up being, was that kayfabe or not, both Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti have been obnoxiously now flaunting their relationship, which seems kind of insensitive and dickish, considering Sammy pledged engagement not even a full year prior.  But I’m not even seeking this shit out, but nary does a week go by where I don’t somehow see that the two of them are making out in public, or are on vacation together, or some photograph of Sammy’s shredded abs and/or Tay’s Brazilian ass that she’s very proud of.

And to make matters worse, they’ve taken their relationship to work, and it’s currently being used in a horrifically cringeworthy feud between Sammy and Tay with Dan Lambert’s stable.  However now that it’s being worked into the product, the fans, specifically AEW’s mark-y, tribalistic, basement dwellers out in public, have been able to publicly express their opinions about the players involved, and it’s apparent that I’m not the only one who seems to have soured towards Sammy and Tay.

I’m entertained that fans are turning on them, and it doesn’t really feel like it’s manufactured, deliberate heat, so much as it’s kind of a facet of X-Pac heat, as in fuck you, we’re booing you because you’ve done something shitty and we want you to know that.  I think fans have seen the narrative of their generally deplorable behavior, especially towards Pam, and are reacting accordingly.  Sure, as a performer, the goal is always to elicit a response from the crowd, whether it is good or bad, but given the circumstances they’re in, they probably shouldn’t be wanting any X-Pac heat.

When the day is over, Sammy will likely always have a job in AEW, because he’s far too talented in spite of the fact that he’s kind of an asshole douchebag.  I want to stay high on him, because he really is a tremendous talent, but on a personal level, I think he’s a douchebag.

Tay on the other hand, has shown a lot of improvement from her horrible NXT days, but is widely replaceable on the roster.  But both of them, their ceilings are going to be hampered by their bullshit, because as much as professional wrestling is a scripted, premeditated soap opera, the fans are still human, and exercise their right to voice their displeasure when they think they’re witnessing bullshit behavior.

You’ve got to fucking be kidding me

Ever since the WWEShop re-released the John Cena US Spinner blet, I’ve had this tab open on my laptop.  WWEShop’s prices fluctuate on a dime, and it’s always just a waiting game before any and every blet ends up going on sale at some point.

During the Royal Rumble, the blet went down to $379, and I was very tempted to pull the trigger, but then I thought that it might be even better by the time Wrestlemania rolls around.  But then Wrestlemania comes and goes, and I check the site judiciously the whole weekend, and it doesn’t dip beneath $399, much to my disappointment.

It just fucking figures that the Monday after the biggest show of the year, is just some random sale, where the Cena US Spinner not only drops to a lowest-ever $359, but by the time I check it and see it at that cost, it’s already completely sold out.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one with the tab open checking on a daily basis.

So now, I get no blet, I have no idea if and when these will ever come back again, and if and when they do, it’ll be starting all over from scratch playing the waiting game all over again.  I’m quite agitated by this.  I also feel like the WWEShop’s association with a buy now, pay in installments company like Klarna really doesn’t help financially capable people like myself, because they’ll sell to anyone willing to pay in installments like a layaway schlub, but they’re able to hoover up inventory before me, in spite of the fact that I am willing and capable of paying for things outright.

Either way, I’m just mega salty that I missed out.  I literally check this shit every single day, and the one day in which I’m too busy to check until the evening, just so happens to be the day when the price drop bottoms out, and every single person who wanted this blet has beaten me to the punch.  Fuckin’ pissed.

Wrestlemania weekend, and such a thing as too much wrestling

A few months ago, I got an email from Ring of Honor wrestling, advertising a show that would be their return show after a four-month hiatus.  It was set to take place in Dallas, and my eyes lit up at the thought of going to visit my brother, and going to a show that was likely going to be a banger of an event.

But then, it was brought to my attention that this was going to be taking place the same weekend of Wrestlemania, which was also in Dallas, and suddenly the idea of going to a show that was more than likely going to be attended by other mouthbreathing marks from all over who were on their way to watching Wrestlemania really took the wind out of my sails, and the idea was dead in the water just like that.

Over the last few years prior to coronavirus, a thing that been happening was that whatever city was hosting Wrestlemania, promotions and events that weren’t even WWE, would start booking shit in the same city, around Wrestlemania’s dates, all with the obvious intent to try and leech off of the droves of people who would already be coming into town to watch Wrestlemania, and entice them into these giant weekends of wrestle-everything.

One notable example was when Wrestlemania was in Brooklyn, New York, New Japan Pro Wrestling booked Madison Square Garden two nights prior.  Over the last few years, there’ve been what’s been dubbed WrestleCon, which is exactly what it sounds like, something of a convention for wrestling fans, with the primary thing being all sorts of meet and greets with current and former wrestlers.

However, this year’s Wrestlemania weekend in Dallas, would turn into this week-long affair, where numerous events and promotions started staking claim to times and venues all around the Dallas area, and I thought to myself, man, there really can be such a thing as too much wrestling.

There was one year where Wrestlemania ended up being like five hours long, and I was completely toast by the end of it.  They’ve since moved to the two-night model which I greatly prefer, and I’m sure all involved parties do too, since there’s two nights worth of gate, merch, parking and revenues to be made instead of one.

But Wrestlemania being two nights, on the Saturday and Sunday meant that even their own in-house Saturday show, the usually outstanding NXT TakeOver, got relegated to Saturday afternoon status.  In addition to the WWE’s presence in Dallas, there was the aforementioned ROH show that took place on Friday night, and earlier in the week were events booked by GCW, and even one venue that had MLW and the upstart Control Your Narrative promotion at the same time.

And of course, WrestleCon took place too, to help fill in the time in between actual wrestling shows.  Except that WrestleCon had their own mini-show at it too, with Impact Wrestling running an interesting event with a multiverse theme, which flexed just how many companies Impact had working relationships with.

All in all though, this is a good example of how there really could be such a thing as too much wrestling.  Now obviously, I love the business, and I’d definitely love to have been able to go to the ROH show, and maybe the NXT show.  But as I’ve said numerous times, I don’t really have that much desire to go to a Wrestlemania again, seeing as how I’ve been to two.  They’re just too large, and frankly, the quality of them aren’t really as good as they used to be when they’d have cards full of actual wrestling matches and not these spectacle/moment-maker matches where Johnny Knoxville and Logan Paul get on the show while the current US and Intercontinental champions don’t.

And because I don’t have the time, nor desire to pay to watch any special events, the only thing I ended up watching was Wrestlemania, which I have to say was pretty below average as a whole.  The matches that I was expecting to be good weren’t necessarily terrible, but they could’ve been better.  I had high hopes for Edge vs. AJ Styles, but it was average at best.  I had hoped the Roman vs. Brock match would’ve been as hard hitting and Japanese strong style as some of their earlier matches have been, but a supposed injury to Roman seemed to take the steam out of it, and make it seem very abrupt.

The best match of the show was probably Seth Rollins vs. the mystery opponent who turned out to be the return of Cody Rhodes which I called within the first month of AEW’s launch.  And it’s not like it was a Macho Man vs. Steamboat-caliber classic, it’s just it was the best match on a widely mediocre card otherwise.

Regardless, I was pleased to see Roman Reigns end the show with the double belts, because I still do believe Roman is still the best thing going in the WWE now, and he’s not just cutting promos about being in god mode, because he really is performing like he is.

All things considered though, I caught much of the ROH show’s primary matches after the fact, and to no surprise, everything they did was leaps and bounds better than Wrestlemania, as far as actual wrestling talent is concerned.  But frankly, actual wrestling is hardly what Wrestlemania’s been about over the last few years, and they’ve gotten content at just being an entertainment spectacle above all else.  But 150,000 attendees over two days doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s not the wrong call either.

Say goodbye, to the bad guy

Impetus: former wrestling legend Scott Hall passes away after complications from hip surgery, resulting in a blood clot getting loose, triggering numerous heart attacks, being and being put on life support before being let go by his family

I’m not going to pretend like Scott Hall was ever one of my favorite wrestlers.  I’ve been a wrestling fan way too long, watched, read and listened to all sorts of shoot interviews, backstage stories and insider knowledge throughout the years to have a picture of Scott Hall in my own head, that is pretty jumbled up, but definitely not as quickly clear that he was among my favorite wrestlers.

As a performer, Scott Hall really was in a class of few; technically proficient, rock solid on the mic, and had charisma oozed machismo all over the place.  I still remember most of the original Razor Ramon vignettes back in the day and then eventually seeing him debut on an episode of Superstars.  He did moves like back suplexes off of the second turnbuckle, chokeslams, and seeing the Razor’s Edge for the very first time blew my mind.

He was as good a performer from my early memories of Razor, to when I picked wrestling back up in 1998 and watched now Scott Hall in WCW as a founding member of the nWo.  He definitely wrestled a lot less, but was still often on television and still entertaining, leaning more on being more of a mouthpiece and agitator, and making it more special when he actually did wrestle.

But then by the end of this period, the personal demons that Hall became synonymous with the phrase were too much, and he was more or less unceremoniously removed from television before WCW eventually went under.  In years following, Scott Hall kind of became a shell of himself, occasionally being mentioned on the internet, usually for something related to his rampant alcoholism.

Eventually, Hall cleaned himself up, and he and Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan were brought back to the WWE to reform the nWo for story purposes, and he had a fairly mediocre feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin leading up to that year’s Wrestlemania.  Afterward, he would relapse and succumb to the personal demons again.

Continue reading “Say goodbye, to the bad guy”

NXT Champion Dolph Ziggler makes me happy as a fan

I don’t know why, but I love crossovers.  In comics, shows, video games, and of course, wresting.  I casually learned that Dolph Ziggler had been appearing in NXT(2.0), and thinking hmmmm now that’s interesting; contrary to my general lack of impression from the whole branding and breaking of Triple H’s baby promotion.

Considering the circumstances of his cameos, I figured Ziggler would go down to make a talented but green horn like Bron Breakker look good and give him some instant credibility working and inevitably succeeding against a reputable name like Dolph Ziggler.  And Ziggler, being the consummate company guy would do his job, and march on raking in fan empathy that he should be a bigger star than he is, to which I agree.

Which is why I’m of course surprised, but also pleased and happy with the company’s decision to actually have Ziggler go over Steiner Jr, and win the NXT Championship.  Now I’m pretty out of touch and I can’t really predict or fathom the long game booking like I used to, and Ziggler may very well be used as a transitional guy to move the belt to someone else.

But much like the Miz’s short world championship reign a year ago, I’m still pleased to see a known company guy who has a lot of respect from fans and peers, actually be publicly rewarded and have a major title put on them. 

Ziggler is and has always been a fantastic worker, company guy and regardless of his endless heel status, a pretty chill personality that I have a lot of respect for as an entertainer, so I’m very happy to see him get a little bit of a championship run, with the NXT Championship.

Who knows if this reign will last a month or go as long as Mandy Rose’s title reign, but I like the general idea of slapping the main NXT titles on underutilized main roster talents, and let them be the ones to pass some torches onto the future stars that 2.0 is trying to usher in. 

If anything at all, we’ll have the memory of Dolph Ziggler getting to celebrate a major title win, that wasn’t practically a decade ago.

Tony Khan buying Ring of Honor seems pretty notable

There’s a part in the WWE documentary, the Monday Night Wars, where Eric Bischoff talks about how when WCW was on top of the ratings game, they generally felt invincible. They didn’t really care much to what the WWF was doing and didn’t really see a lot of what they were doing as threatening.

Until the WWF got a hold of Mike Tyson to make some appearances and get into a storyline with D-Generation X and Stone Cold Steve Austin.  Bischoff is seen describing finding out about that news as a moment of, oooh, now that is something.

This would embark the WWF into the attitude era, where they would eventually catch and reclaim the ratings war back from WCW and never look back until WCW was dead and bought for pennies on the dollar by Vince McMahon himself.

That’s kind of the feeling I got when I heard that AEW owner/president/rich man child Tony Khan had bought Ring of Honor.  Oooh, now that is something substantial.

Obviously, I don’t think the WWE is ever going to die like WCW did, but in the general war of two between the companies, I do think AEW’s acquisition of ROH is a pretty notable instance that has a lot of potential to swing some momentum.

Aside from the general facts of AEW got something WWE wanted and the forbidden doors that an AEW/ROH association opens up, most people know that the tapes library alone was the primary prize in this whole thing.  WWE ultimately wants every living piece of professional wrestling media to do whatever they want with, but was denied by AEW. 

And with all that back catalog in tow, AEW now has some fuel to open the doors to their own streaming service, much like WWE sold to NBC’s Peacock.  Even prior to the news of the acquisition, news of AEW potentially broadcasting on HBO, as being a Turner product they fall under the same umbrella, was picking up steam.  And with a legitimate back catalog to bolster their own growing library, AEW stands to make some legitimate coin if and when they launch a streaming package.

Because when the day is over, money seems to be the biggest pissing contest between the companies.  Now the WWE isn’t at any risk of losing the dollars game, primarily because of the Saudi blood money they Hoover up every year now, but at least on the domestic front, AEW picking up ROH definitely is denying the E a lot of money in which they won’t be getting, which is a pretty symbolic win against an entity that seems pretty unbeatable.

Otherwise, I don’t think Khan’s purchase of ROH is going to make nearly the splash as wrestling fans might be rubbing themselves over. To me, the smart play is to let ROH operate as-is as long as they can while making small and subtle changes or integration plans.  When it’s not nearly as fresh on people’s minds is when to start firing shots, but that’s just my opinions.

But if I’m Vince McMahon, whether he’ll admit to it or not, seeing ROH dell to Tony Khan, probably is a noteworthy disappointment, and should make him go hmmmm.