Friday, August 31, 2012

Smackin' It Raw: WWE's Tag Team Division

WWE's tag team division has been pretty bad for a very long time now but it seems like they are trying to make it better now although very, very slowly. So I have decided to take a look at the tag teams in WWE right now as well as a couple of people who could make decent tag teams.

Kofi Kingston & R-Truth: The Tag Team Champions and thus the cornerstone of the division. I'm not a fan of tag teams that have just been slapped together and its painfully obvious that what these guys are. WWE has transition Kofi to a tag team wrestler these days since before R-Truth he was teaming with Evan Bourne in Air Boom with the hope that they could revitalize the tag division. I think Kofi meshed much better with Bourne and they made a much better tag team, they even had half of the four things that ever tag team should have, a team name and matching attire, they still didn't have a team entrance theme or a team finisher though unless you counted Kofi hitting the Trouble In Paradise followed by Bourne's Air Bourne. How sad is it when your team feels so slapped together that all I can talk about is one of the partners old tag teams instead. Maybe if they keep Kofi and Truth together for a while after they lose the titles and they keep competing for them then I wouldn't feel as though they are so slapped together.

Darren Young & Titus O'Neil, The Prime Time Players: The possible future of the tag team division. The Prime Time Players have nearly everything you need to be a successful tag team, the only thing that's missing are those tag titles. WWE should put the titles on these guys ASAP and build the tag division around them as the dastardly team that cheats at every opportunity to keep the titles.

Jimmy & Jey Uso, The Uso's: The Uso's are the guys who SHOULD be the face of the tag team division in my opinion. Being twin brothers they have been a team their entire lives and work better together then anyone else on the roster. On top of that despite the fact that WWE has done them no favors at all since they first got on the roster in terms of building their credibility these guys are still over with the fans. When they come out and do their song and dance at the start of their entrance they always get the people going. One thing that can really push these guys over the top as huge fan favorites is if WWE would bring in their father Rikishi in a managerial role for them though that may not be something Rikishi wouldn't be interested since his wrestling days are still not behind him.

Epico & Primo: These two are another team that work very well together. WWE may be hesitant to put the tag titles back on them any time soon because they didn't seem to be all that over when they were champions but guess what happens when you don't put your champions on TV for weeks at a time, they don't get over. Epico & Primo are both great wrestlers and can put on a great match with any team in the division and I think they deserve another shot at the tag titles or at the very least a nice feud over the titles to get the fans behind them more. Rosa Mendes being in their corner only helps them as she is a perfect fit for the duo and fairly good mouth piece as well.

Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel: Kidd and Gabriel were a tag team that were just getting their footing a few months back before an injury sidelined Gabriel but in a shocking move by WWE's part once Gabriel returned they paired the two up again and they are once more finding their footing. These guys can really be a huge fan favorite team with their wrestling styles which compliment each others very nicely. They are also seeming to take the opportunity given to them and make a go for it as well since they have been asking fans on Twitter and Tout to suggest tag team names for the duo with them sending a Tout out themselves saying they may go with “International Airstrike.” It might not roll right off the tongue but hey its something at least. Also helping them out is the fact that both guys are experienced tag team wrestlers with both holding WWE tag team gold in the past, Kidd with DH Smith and Gabriel with Heath Slater.

Camacho & Hunico: These two have been paired together for a while now but haven't been much tag team and have seemingly yet to even consider going for the tag team titles. Why not? They aren't doing anything else and both guys are pretty decent wrestlers if nothing else they can be one more team that adds a bit of depth to the tag division with them challenging for the titles in triple threats or fatal four ways. Maybe they can be a team that  another team has to face to become number one contenders. Hell why not make them number one contenders and give them a run for the titles, they have worked together well enough so far why not throw them in the thick of the tag division.

Now as I said before I am not a fan of two guys who have nothing else to do and are slapped together as a tag team. That said some times that scenario gives birth to great tag teams take for example The New Age Outlaws, Beer Money, The Rock -n- Sock Connection, The Hollywood Blondes, Booker T and Goldust, The Big Show and Chris Jericho or The Miz and John Morrison. Its something that has been proven to work before but it takes the right combination of guys to do it. Here are a couple of guys who I think could breath some new life in the tag team division and certainly their careers if they were teaming together including a few that we have already seen together in the past.

Michael McGillicutty & David Otunga: These guys have been a tag team that were slapped together  before due to The Nexus ending and  they worked pretty well with one another even if they weren't the most over with the crowd. After losing the tag titles they just simply went their own different ways. Why not bring them back together again? Since John Laurinaitis has been gone Otunga has been doing nothing and McGillicutty has been toiling away on NXT it will only help both men to get back together. One of the biggest problems with them before is that they were deeming boring by Jerry The King Lawler, well since then Otunga has really come into his own as an annoying heel that everyone hates while McGillicutty has been coming into his own as well on NXT having great matches. Put them back together and hide their weaknesses by having Otunga do most of the talking while  McGillicutty does most of the wrestling.

Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins: These two broke into WWE as a tag team called The Major Brothers and later graduated to The Edgeheads, Edge's lackeys to help keep the world title around his waist. During this time they captured the tag team titles before going their separate ways. Once again like McGillicutty & Otunga these two didn't have a falling out when they split up. With Tyler Reks requesting and being granted his release that leaves Curt Hawkins without a tag team partner again. Zack Ryder has been struggling quite a bit as of late himself so why not pair the duo up once again. When they were a tag team before they were nobodies and although you can make the case that Hawkins still is a nobody they have both improved leaps and bounds from where they used to be and now both have their very own distinct personalities. Hawkins can get a bit of rub off of Ryder and they can be a nice addition to the tag team division.
Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara: Mysterio and Sin Cara are very easy to pair up together and although Sin Cara has been labeled as a huge future superstar ever since he arrived in WWE he hasn't really done much of anything to prove himself. Putting him with the very well established and beloved Mysterio can do wonders for Cara. WWE has been talking about these two having a match at Wrestlemania to set a new record for most masks worn at any public event since last year until both men got sidelined for this this years Wrestlemania but if they can both stay injury free it seems like a it might be the way for them to go for next years Wresstlemania and if they are already a tag team, maybe even champions at the time it would be easy to make the match happen with them even saying they want to do so to set the record.
Drew McIntyre & Jack Swagger: Here we have a classic case of two guys who aren't having anything done with them. Whenever McIntyre and Swagger are on TV you can be pretty sure that both are going to lose whatever match they are in, at the moment they are nothing but a couple of glorified jobbers. They were once so much more though and that is where these two can come together. Think about it Swagger was once a World Champion while McIntyre was a Intercontinental champion and pegged by Vince McMahon himself as the future of WWE. So what went so wrong for these guys? Both have complained as of late after loses that “they are better then this!!” so it seems like it would be easy to pair them off. They can both be put in an embarrassing match together with some other wrestlers and leave together citing they are better then this and just like that you have a new tag team who are out to prove they are indeed better then what they have been given.

Christian & Trent Barreta: This one may seem like it comes from out of nowhere and it kinda does but here's how I rationalize it. There is a old tried and true tradition of sticking a young wrestler with an experienced veteran in a tag team. Doing so gives the younger guy a huge rub instantly just by the association with the veteran. This is something that has worked time and again. As for why I picked these two here's why. Christian has always been a great tag team wrestler and has won the tag titles a total of nine times, seven with Edge, and once with Chris Jericho and Lance Storm. Trent Baretta was also in a pretty entertaining tag team with Caylen Croft before called The Dudebusters. Though they were entertaining they never really got a fair shake and Croft was soon released. It would be pretty easy to pair Baretta and Christian together as well since Baretta's current character can be compared with Christian's earlier in his career when he was more of a goofball teaming with Edge. Christian can just take Baretta under his wing saying that he sees a lot of himself in Baretta and we're off to the races with them.

Michael McGillicutty & Ted DiBiase: Dibiase and McGillicutty are a coulple of third generation wrestlers who really have nothing else going for them at the moment. Teaming them up seems like it could work pretty easily. The only thing I would change here would be having McGillicutty changing his name and going by his real name of Joe Hennig. WWE have said almost every time McGillicutty steps into the ring that he is the son of Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig and grandson of Larry “The Ax” Hennig so why they don't just have him going under his real name makes no sense to me, even if they keep the first name and call him Michael Hennig instead it wouldn't be so bad. They can recycle DiBiase and Cody Rhodes gimmick when they were Legacy of them thinking they are better then everyone else because of their pedigree and  that they should be entitled to more then other because of it. I can easily see these two working well together and helping both men make it to the next step in their careers.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Smackin' It Raw: Seven ways to make a three hour Monday Night Raw work

Every Since Monday Night Raw went three hours it has at times during each show feel like a chore to watch. Making something you love feel like a chore is the quickest way to turn people away but it doesn't have to be that way WWE Raw could work at three hours and be entertaining from start to finish. Here I present to you seven ways in which a three hour Raw can work and while we are at it improve WWE as a whole:

Unify the WWE & World titles:

The two world titles was a great idea when the brand split first happened and the wrestlers on Raw and Smackdown never crossed over to the other shows. That time is long over now though. Somehow there is still a brand split but its only in the loosest of ways with Raw and Smackdown wrestlers showing up on whatever show they want. Hell earlier this year Raw became “Raw Supershow” officially allowing Smackdown wrestlers to show up on Raw whenever they want. The brand split still held where Raw wrestlers stuck to Raw, that is unless there was a storyline reason. But lets face any wrestler can go on either show they want so the point of a two world titles is dead. That said I think they should hold off on a unification match until Wrestlemania this year to give it more of a big match feel but its time for the Undisputed WWE Championship to make a return. That said I never liked it when they called the title that, call it what they did before WWE bought WCW and call it “The WWE World Championship” as a bonus that all incorporates both titles name into one. The worst part about it would be that odds are that the beautiful looking World Title will disappear.

Unify the Intercontinental and US titles:

Same story with the world titles, there is no need for two secondary titles so these two need to be unified as well. Alone these titles have no prestige anymore but if you unify them you can make a big deal out of it and make the title feel special again, have former World and WWE champions compete for it while still using it to elevate the younger talent. I wouldn't wait to unify these titles until Wrestlemania though for this one the sooner the better. Since the IC title has a much greater history in WWE thats the title that should stay.

Make the tag team division relevant again:

Every week we hear on TV how the tag division is fiercely competitive. They must think we are all idiots. That division hasn't been important since the early 2000's when you had a deep tag division with Edge & Christian, The Hardy Boyz, The Dudley Boyz, Too Cool, The APA, The New Age Outlaws and more. Back then we had real tag teams but the last half a dozen or more years our tag teams are more of the two wrestlers slapped together type. Rarely have they had tag team names and their attire didn't match, those things might not seem all that important but it is. It shows better unity between the two wrestlers making them feel more like a team. All that said things are not really as bad right now as they have been in recent years, it looks like the tag division is on a upswing again even if it is going very slowly. For the first time in years we have more then two tag teams that don't feel like two guys slapped together. Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks feel the most slapped together and they were but they are slowing making it work for them and months ago even took the step to get the matching attires. Primo & Epico, The Uso's, and The Prime Time Players all feel like real tag teams. Oddly enough the Tag Champions Kofi Kingston & R-Truth are the team that feels like and are the most slapped together of the teams in WWE right now. I'd say get the titles off of those two let them go back to single action and give the titles to one of the teams mentioned above. After that bring in more teams and really build up that division and make it feel special again.

Give the divas more time:

The divas division is nothing more then a joke for two reasons. First off most of the girls have no business in a wrestling ring with minimum training at best. The second and in my opinion bigger reason is the lack of time given to the diva matches. Why would anyone care about the Divas title if the matches get less then two minutes of TV time each week and if your lucky five minutes on a pay per view. WWE needs to break out of that trend and look to their past on how to make a good Divas division again. Before Trish Stratus and Lita called it quits the Divas matches were just as long as any other match. With Raw at three hours now there is no reason you can't give these girls 10 minutes out of your three hour long show. You can make people care about the divas again taking the girls who can't wrestle well such as Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox follow the example of Rosa Mendes and other Divas who have taken a strictly managerial position. Granted both women have shown a lot of improvement which is all well and good but keep the title away from them until they are actually good enough to carry it. Instead leave the wrestling to the likes of Beth Phoenix, Tamina Snuka, Natayla and to a lesser extent Eve and current champion Layla who have both shown they can actually be decent if given the time to wrestle and improve. While we are at it Hire back Kharma who was fired for no reason and bring in Sara Del Ray who I heard was recently hired. Del Ray, Phoenix, Natayla, Kharma and Snuka have it in them to make the Divas division feel like its worthy of more then just the time to use the bathroom or in my case take the dogs out to use the bathroom.

Bring back the Crusierweight title:

With a world title and a secondary title gone the titles instantly feel more special because there are less of them. That said I think there would still be a place for a Crusierweight title to make a come back. The reason this title could make a comeback is because it would be different from the other titles that anyone could compete for. With this one there is a weight limit that would keep the heavyweights from competing for it. Traditionally the weight limit for these titles have been 220-225 lbs I suggest we lower the weight limit to 210-215 lbs instead since more and more of the world title contenders these days are closer to 220-225 already. Bring in a few high flyers and make this division the spectacle that it should be which is the problem WWE has always had with this title. Don't let it become a joke again with divas or Hornswoggle as champion. Make it serious. Reintroduce it in a eight man tournament. On the current roster that tournament could consist of of Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd, Evan Bourne, Hunico, Justin Gabriel, Yoshi Tatsu and to really give it a rub Rey Mysterio and Daniel Bryan who weighs in at only 210 lbs himself. To have two former world champions competing for the title and praising it up will make it feel important right away. During the tournament give each match a bare minimum of 10 minutes with the tournament final having at least 20. It shouldn't have 20 minutes each week but 10 minutes to the crusierweight champion while having another crusierweight match on the show would make the division feel important right away.

More time for matches and less time for backstage skits and bad comedy:

With three hours every week there is no reason why the matches we are getting right now on the show are as long as they were when there was only two hours. This isn't a race anymore its a marathon. There should be at least two matches that are long enough for two segments on the show. That's two matches that have commercial breaks during them. Longer matches usually mean better matches and better matches mean more people caring about the product. It seems like Raw went three hours it seems like the amount of matches and match times are the same and the only thing that has increased is the amount of backstage skits and comedy. We don't want or need that we want and need more wrestling. I hate to take a term from TNA but WWE needs to make wrestling matter again.

Work on getting the younger talent over:

One of the main reason for the brand split all those years ago was to be able to give TV time to the younger wrestlers who would of been overshadowed by all of the established wrestlers that were already on the roster and found their way there after WCW was bought up. That's not the case anymore and if anything WWE needs more main event stars what better way of doing that then by giving the younger guys a chance to shine. Give them more time on TV both in matches and by cutting short promos before the matches. This method has always worked to get younger guys over for a reason. Also while your getting a younger guy over don't bring in a main eventer and have them destroy that person every week. Zack Ryder looked like he was going places late last year until Kane kicked the shit out of him every week on TV and made to look like a loser every chance they got earlier this year. If you want to have a main evener beat a younger guy that's fine but have it be a competitive match where the main eventer wins. That way even in a loss the younger guy seems like he belongs and that he could be a main eventer as well.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Movie Review: Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

What can be said about Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory that hasn't already been said a thousand times before? This movie is after all an absolute classic.

We all know what the story is about. Some bum kid buys a chocolate bar that has a golden ticket within the wrapper that wins him and five other kids a lifetime supply of chocolate, a meeting with the mysterious Willy Wonka and a tour of his candy factory. Charlie is the only good kid and at the end of the movie Wonka rewards his kindness by giving him the chocolate factory.

Gene Wilder is absolutely brilliant in this movie which only helps cement him as one of the greatest comedic performers of all time. Anyone who would still argue after watching this movie could also be directed to a couple of Mel Brooks movies. Wilder's delivery in this movie is perfect every time weather he is being funny, genuine, annoyed, crazy or down right creepy.

As far as what I can say that hasn't been said about this movie before? Well I don't know if its been said or not since it seems pretty obvious to me so I'll just go ahead and say it. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is a slasher movie aimed towards children and not only that but Willy Wonka & The CHocolate Factory gave birth to the entire slasher genre. Yup you read that right. Willy Wonka is to children what Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, Freddy Kruger, Leatherface or any slasher icon is to adults. Here's why.

As is the case with most slasher movies a group of kids are lured into a dangerous place and one by one each kid is picked off due to their biggest character flaw. One by one each the group of kids are narrowed down as Willy Wonka's cronies those creepy little Oompa Loompa's take them away singing about the fallen child in pure glee while their cruel master Willy Wonka watches on in approval. Soon there is only one child left, Charlie, but that wasn't for lack of trying since Charlie and his grandfather narrowly avoided being slashed to bits by a giant ceiling fan.

Having survived his deadly game in his house of horrors Willy Wonka rewards Charlie with the entire chocolate factory. This might seem like a kind gesture but it is actually Wonka's final ironic revenge. Charlie is a child so poor he could only afford to purchase two or three chocolate bars throughout the entire golden ticket madness but now had access to all the chocolate and candy in the world so you can be sure that at some point this poor kid will develop diabetes. That Willy Wonka is clever if nothing else.

They "kill" one bad kid at a time until only the good one is left formula was quickly adopted by horror and the the slasher genre was born. Most people point to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Halloween for starting the slasher boom but Willy Wonka & The Chocolate factory predated both of those to invent the slasher genre.

To go with all the horror this movie also has one of the most genuinely frightening scenes in the history of film. I am of course talking about the boat ride. Everything starts off good enough with Wonka reciting a fun little poem but it soon all goes to hell. The boat speeds up, crazy images of insects crawling over peoples faces and chickens getting their heads chopped off are projected on the walls and Wonka begins to scream. He is no longer singing a fun little song as much as he is screaming at the top of his lungs. It was a scene so frighting that it was sometimes edited out of the TV version! Not bad for a "kids" movie right? Just to refresh yourself here's the dubious scene in question:

Despite all the horror of this movie its still fun film for the whole family. The songs are fun and easy to sing along with and it carries a good message. Be good little boy or girl or Willy Wonka will lure you into his chocolate factory of death where the Oompa Loompa's will surely pick the child's bones after Wonka is done with them. I give this fun family classic a 8 out of 10!