Monday, August 3, 2015

2513 - Random Thoughts On... The Original TMNT Comics

How much of the original Mirage TMNT comics have you read?

In all honesty, not a whole lot... but I wouldn't say I'm completely oblivious to them and I am catching up in some form or another. I've read a fair share of Volume 1 stuff (mostly oddball issues and the first and final few of that) and I thought there was some good stuff there when it stuck with continuity and didn't stray too far from that path. I don't believe I ever sampled the short-lived color series Volume 2 beyond maybe one or two chance issues. Dwelled a bit into the Image-published Volume 3 and the less said about that, the better. The only Mirage TMNT I followed with any regularity was TMNT Volume 4 and the second series of Tales of the TMNT. And I can honestly tell you that I enjoyed Tales a hell of a lot more than Volume 4. Too each his own, I suppose.

Back during my younger years, I probably only had a handful of Volume 1 comics (including some from the concluding City At War storyline) and only got around to read the earliest comics thanks to some of the recent IDW published collections. Not to say that I didn't enjoy them, but it was just a matter of money being something of a premium and now it's the comics themselves that are something of a premium.

2512 - Street Fighter on MS-DOS

2511 - WWE Summerslam 2011

NOTE: I figured since it's August and Summerslam is the big PPV, I might as well toss in a couple Summerslam musings along the way. Consider these "bonus" additions, for lack of a better term.

Summerslam 2011 should have been a sign that things weren't going to be rosy.

Get this; you have a super hot commodity whose contract is known to be expiring and fresh off an intense promo that should have been the catalyst of a new era of relevancy for a promotion that has been lacking it for years. He main events a PPV event in front of his hometown homies, beats the franchise player, and then rides off into the sunset with WWE championship in tow. What should have followed was a massive push of this new main event who has been attracting outside press and would hopefully lead to a new star being made and less of a load on a top guy who has been getting stale and boring.

But as most know by now, that wasn't the case. The hot commodity known as CM Punk was subsequently curtailed due to petty egos and moronic creative teams and instead of ushering a new era of relevancy in WWE, he's currently bringing attention to his eventual debut fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

There are many things to point to and many people to blame as to why this run didn't pan out the way it should have... well, aside from the fact that it's WWE and they have a tendency to screw up the surest things. But, for me, the wheels were off the wagon at this show... and this is the first time I'm watching this show, so here we go.

2510 - WCW Starrcade 1994

Quick Note: The following musing was written prior to the whole Hulk Hogan racial controversy, so don't expect anything touching that particular subject. Believe me, there are a lot of other ugly aspects to Hogan as a human being that we can spotlight instead.

From December 1994, the 11th edition of WCW's "Granddaddy of Them All" features Hulk Hogan defending his WCW World Heavyweight Championship against the Butcher! The Butcher is perhaps best known as Brutus Beefcake in WWF and also for being Hogan's BFF. Thanks to the WWE Network, I am getting to watch this show in its entirely for the first time. I've heard of this show, I've read about this show, and now I get to watch this show...

And instantly regret it.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

2509 - So How Many People Last Night Blew Sixty Bucks For A Fake Fight?

A buddy of mine sent me an e-mail about last night's UFC card; something about another Ronda Rousey quick win or something like that. He mentioned something about how much of a piss off it was to have to pay sixty bucks for such a short main event. (Because clearly, nobody cares about the undercard, it seems.)

My simple reply to him was a question that could be applicable to anyone with the same reaction: "What did you expect from a fake fight?"

That's right, Dana. I just called your $60 main event match featuring your prize fighter a fake fight.

While UFC officials and MMA enthusiasts triumph over another "history making" Rousey victory, I'm the outsider who sees this main event farce for what it is; another in a long line of main event matches featuring Dana White's main moneymaker making short work of a supposed "contender" who has NO BUSINESS WHATSOEVER being a contender. Then again, I suppose it's no surprise considering how protected Rousey happens to be. This isn't a knock on Rousey herself - she seems like a pretty swift brute - but treating last night's win as though she beat the moon in a hard fought bout is a fallacy. Dare I say that any semblance or notion of "history being made" at last night's special attraction is faker than professional wrestling.

This isn't a new thing or anything. It's been done in other full-contact sports promotions throughout the annals of time; a promoter gets a hot moneymaking prospect on hand, this hot property wins the world championship, and in an effort to keep the eventual money train rolling, the promoter then books this new champion against other "contenders" whose sole purpose is to be outclassed and outmatched by the champ in an effort to make the champ look good. And in the event that there IS a true contender to the champ's title, who COULD give the champ that real challenge and that real fight that the champ has been lacking, then the promoter will do whatever it takes to keep the two apart, for fear that if the champ is dethroned in a somewhat decisive fashion, then there goes that money train.

Now, if I didn't know any better, that sounds like something out of the pro wrestling playbook. But surely, that can't be it, right? After all, pro wrestling is that "fake shit" where people pretend to fight. This was a REAL fight with REAL fighters. Not at all the same thing, right?

Yeah, well, keep telling yourselves that, kids. I'm sure it'll come true eventually. Maybe you'll actually believe that CM Punk will get a credible opponent for his first fight, rather than a jabroni who's just there to make Punk look good.

This wasn't a real fight. This wasn't even a fake wrestling match. IT'S SPORTS-ENTERTAINMENT.

Nobody goes into wrestling thinking they'll see a real fight. I think those who actually believe it as such is very minute. Wrestling isn't a real fight; it's a performance, it's a male soap opera, it's theatrics, it's choreography, it's storytelling, it's playfighting. It's a form of entertainment that you either get or you don't.

Full-contact sports - whether it'd be boxing, MMA, catch wrestling, whatever - is two guys or two gals beating the shit out of each other to see who is the better fighter. So you expect to see a fight. If someone goes down quickly, it's a feat, to say the least. But if it becomes a regular thing, you start to question if there's any legitimacy to the matches in question. Is it a case of one fighter being outclassed by the other and is simply the sacrificial lamb? Or is it a case of match fixing, where one fighter is told to put on a good show before taking a fall for the other fight?

That's the general gist of this whole Rousey affair.

The truly sad thing is that this farce of a main event no doubt cheapens the undercard, featuring matches between two fighters on equal ground and skill, battling tooth and nail to see who is the better combatant. This sort of pampering, paper main event cheapens the men and women who train their asses off to climb to the top of the mountain, to prove to the world that they're the best fighters in the world, but will probably never get that shot because that would mean a match with the champ and the possibility of that champ falling down and hard.

Ronda Rousey's on a roll. Her run on paper is impressive. She's practically queen of the proverbial hill. But calling her quick victories real fights or history making? Please.

People payed sixty dollars for a UFC Pay-Per-View to see a main event "real" fight.

Those people ended up getting sports-entertainment instead.

2508 - Doggy Sunday

2507 - WCW Great American Bash 1991

The 1991 edition of the Great American Bash is often summed up with three words: WE. WANT. FLAIR.

The first WCW Pay-Per-View event to follow Ric Flair's unceremonious dismissal from World Championship Wrestling, GAB '91 is often referred to as the Flair Protest Show, where the crowd would piss on the entire event, especially the one match for the vacant World Title. While I've certainly heard of this show, I've obviously never seen it due to not having followed WCW (or any wrestling, for that matter) in the early-1990s.

Thanks to the magic of WWE Network, I am able to finally catch this once mythical pay-per-view event... and undoubtably regret doing so... but hey, it's one more show off the bucket list, I suppose.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

2506 - Random Thoughts On... Classic TMNT 1987

Here's a strange and terrifying thought for you folks; in all my adult years, I have not revisited the classic TMNT series from the 80s.

I remember my fondness for the old show back when I was a little youngster and I'd be lying if I said that show didn't plant the seeds for my appreciation and fondness for the franchise as a whole and in its multiple formats. TMNT is a thing that is evergreen in my interests; I've got a few of the video games, I've got the old movies, some DVDs from the 2003 revival... I might even have some of the comics laying around somewhere. Hell, I even saw that newest Turtles film and actually got some level of enjoyment out of it.

And yet, for some reason or another, I've yet to track down a DVD set of the old cartoon and give it a gander.

I suppose there is a kernel of reasoning behind this; every time I revisit an old cartoon or property that I had a fondness for, it usually turns out to be utter crap and I often question how I could enjoy something that was poorly conceived. I used to dig all those Nintendo cartoons like the various Super Mario cartoons or those Captain N cartoons, but rewatching them these days made me question how I could've enjoyed something so bad.

Is there an underlying fear that if I revisit THAT series, I'd find something to hate about it?

Maybe... someday... maybe...

2505 - Piper Vs. The Mountie

From WWE's Youtube page. Not the full match, though; you'll need to get the Network for that.

2504 - Random Thoughts On... Season Redos

If there was any one season of Power Rangers you wish you could redo, what would it be?

I suppose the easy answer would be to redo the entirety of Megaforce/Super Megaforce due to how awful the whole things is, but in honesty, the one season I would like to have seen redone is Power Rangers In Space. Mind you, the season itself is pretty solid and was perhaps the beginning of the somewhat deeper storytelling that the franchise would adopt over the course of its existence, but In Space spent more time on Earth than it did in space and that's probably the one thing that bothered me more than anything.

So in redoing In Space, first couple episodes play out more or less the same; the former Turbo Rangers stumble across the Megaship, they met Andros, they team up and become Space Rangers, they stop by Earth for supplies, and by the end of the third episode, they're on their merry way seeking out new worlds and new civilizations or something to that extent. From there, they just bounce from world to world in search of clues to Zordon's whereabouts, all the while doing some world building in terms of showcasing these worlds and giving them back story. For the kids, it'll be looking at strange alien worlds and their inhabitants, while the older folks get some exposition for their nerd cards. Hell, it could even be an opportunity to revisit classic villains and characters.

You could keep some of the major plotpoints (Andros searching for his sister, the Ecliptor/Darkonda rivalry, Zhane), but retool them to fit the new narrative. And as far as Earth is concerned, that planet should be seen as sparingly as possible. Maybe for "major" events or something to that extent.

Anyway, it's an idea.