Thursday, February 26, 2015

So, uh, this is kinda awesome....

So I had read about this Power/Rangers fan video but hadn't had a chance to watch it yet.  Well, I watched it today....and it was kinda awesome.

First and foremost, there's the quality.  I mean, it looks like more money went into this 15 minute video than the entire Power Rangers series.  The costumes were pretty cool too, with some technology built into the helmets and some armor built into the tights.  And then on top of that, they actually got name actors and actresses, and the story was pretty damn intriguing too.

Basically, they make you think of the consequences of things that were dealt with in a rather lighthearted way on the series.  What are the consequences of being social outcasts?  What do bullies grow up to be after high school?  And what are the psychological and physical repercussions of giving teenagers the responsibility of protecting the world in an interstellar war?  Some people become "ghosts."  Others become thrill seekers.  Others do whatever they can to survive, even if that means turning against the people they fought alongside.

But above all else, you just had to enjoy the overarching commentary about how we feel the need to make stories grittier and darker each time we reboot them.  I mean, sure, it makes sense for Batman....but we've gotten to the point that even Superman -- the beacon of hope and the greater good -- is a mopey brooder who has to allow his father to die so that he could hide his powers and was forced to kill a man with his bare hands in the climax.  Even something as colorful and playful as the Power Rangers could be reimagined as something deeply disturbing.

Haven't seen it yet?  Check it out:

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

LIVE Fast Lane thoughts - February 22, 2015

10:54 - Well, most of me is happy that they went with a single decisive winner.  I was honestly a bit surprised they went with Reigns -- based on all of the booking leading up to this match, and even the match itself, it seemed like Bryan was the one being poised to a title match.  And the general booking of Reigns has been curious (struggling to beat guys like Big Show and Kane, or even straight up losing to them).  So.....what happens to Bryan now?

10:32 - Daniel Bryan is wearing some new gear but for some reason has chosen to continue with those furry boots.  Sadly.

10:31 - The order of entry is always significant.  Reigns is coming out first.  Typically the more popular/bigger star comes out second.  He's also wearing the Shield version of this gear.

10:23 - The right winner but as others have noted, we will now (in all likelihood) have at least four matches at WrestleMania that will be a rematch from tonight (Rusev/Cena, Ambrose/Barrett, Stardust/Goldust, and Usos/Cesaro and Kidd).  That's a little lame.

10:18 - Just had a brief brown out but I'm back in action.

10:04 - I like the in-ring introductions for the United States title.  Did they do that for the Intercontinental Title match too?  It adds a lot of prestige.

10:01 - Back!  The Walking Dead was great, of course.  Did the Undertaker return?

9:38 - I'd really like to see Dean Ambrose win the title here.  I know logic dictates that Ambrose gets screwed out of the title for him to get the big win at WrestleMania, but the guy desperately needs a big PPV win.

9:29 - At what point did the Paige face turn become an actual real thing?  I would've sworn it was set up to be a feud with Nattie.

9:16 - As many others have already noted, Sting's hairstyle is doing him no favors.  There's a lot he could do to disguise his hairline.  He seems to accentuate it.

9:07 - Will the entire hour away be spent with a Triple H promo???

8:52 - My warning -- about to go into the other room to watch The Walking Dead.  I'll be back in an hour or so, but may slip in during commercials.

8:44 - Obviously, a weak ending there.  That just shows you how important the role of the referee is.

As I said, when, like, three of your matches are just stepping stones to WrestleMania, it just comes across as a bit lackluster.

8:32 - Interesting new take on the Stardust attire.

8:29 - In some form or fashion. we've been waiting for the Goldust/Cody Rhodes one-on-one match for, like, four years.  It seems awfully anticlimactic for it to happen 35 days before WrestleMania.

8:25 - So Orton vs. Rollins is an obvious pick for WrestleMania.  I'm feeling like they should do Ziggler/Ryback vs. Big Show/Kane as well, to give Ziggler and Ryback's story against the Authority a climax at WrestleMania.

8:23 - I'm guessing an Orton return?

8:22 - So this match that was supposed to make a star out of Seth Rollins see Kane get the pin off of a Big Show move?

8:17 - While not the most technically proficient performer, Rowan's matches are far more bearable now that they've given up on making "Big Red" a thing.

8:08 - Some new gear for the babyfaces.  We had Ziggler with a sleeveless hoodie, Ryback in this green little number, and Rowan with an "R" on his jumpsuit.  I'm still shocked we haven't seen a gray version of Rollins' gear, though.

8:02 - Just as a forewarning, there will be an hour break at 9:00 as I go to watch The Walking Dead.  But other than that, sit back, relax, and enjoy my LIVE thoughts of Fast Lane.

In and of itself, this is a fine show with a lot of interesting matches that could deliver.  But overall, it's just unnecessary.  Matches either feel rushed when they would make far more impact happening at WrestleMania (like Rusev/Cena, Stardust/Goldust, and to a lesser extent Ambrose/Barrett, Usos/Kidd and Cesaro, and even the Ziggler/Ryback vs. Big Show/Kane confrontation).  Other matches are seemingly out of no where because the Superstars have other plans for WrestleMania.  The only two things that really NEED to happen to set the seeds for WrestleMania are Bryan/Reigns and Sting/Triple H.  Not a whole lot of reason to have a show, though.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

LIVE Raw thoughts - February 9, 2015

9:53 - I'm pretty exhausted so I think I'm going to watch this final hour from bed.  Follow me on Twitter for more thoughts on the show!

9:48 - I like it better when Stardust alternates his attire.  He's got so many alternatives (unlike Goldust), yet he's been wearing the purple pair non-stop since Royal Rumble.  Mix it up!

9:26 - It's frustrating that they've stalled the momentum of guys like Ziggler and Ambrose (and almost Bryan) for the sake of building up Wyatt, if the plan is only to feed Wyatt to the Undertaker.

9:16 - Something I appreciate about Ziggler -- the fact that he's constantly playing to the ground.  It's something a lot of performers forget to do.  They're rarely if ever silent during Ziggler's matches, because he's constantly forcing them to respond to him.

9:13 - They were making such awesome progress with Dolph, why put him in ANOTHER no-win situation here?

9:04 - Every time I see Rusev holding the United States Championship it disappoints me.  This guy is so anti-American and full of Russian pride, yet he carries around the United States title with no real sense of irony.  Why not change it to the more appropriate Russian Championship?  It would at least bring a little attention to the title.  Hell, maybe even sell a few replicas!  Or, at the very least, make an actual story about the fact that this giant American hater has the U.S. title.  Instead, it's just sort of a thing he carries around and defends, no different than if it was the Intercontinental Championship.

8:53 - Is this confirmation that the Fast Lane match IS for the Intercontinental Championship?  It's been insinuated but, as best as I can tell, not outright stated.

8:51 - Standard headscissors, described as a figure four around somebody's head.  Nope.  Not at all.

8:46 - Didn't some local DJ go on a Twitter rant about Big Show being a jerk, specifically saying that this was against their anti-bullying campaign?  And who appeared in a commercial for Be A Star today?  Big Show.

8:42 - Two matches, two almost identical DQ finishes.

8:33 - I guess Bryan/Kane/Reigns/Show each week wasn't quite enough.  Now they have to fight multiple times each show.

8:31 - Haha, gotta love your audience cheering Bryan hitting Reigns.

8:29 - And so Big Show and Kane lay out your top two babyfaces.

8:17 - I think we all agreed that we needed MORE Bryan/Kane/Reigns/Big Show combinations.

8:11 - Nothing like having your top heels essentially film a commercial for the WWE Network in the middle of their promo.  And did Triple H just confront Sting about whether they can confront each other at Fast Lane?

8:09 - So latest thoughts on whether or not Daniel Bryan is included in the WrestleMania main event?

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Monday, February 2, 2015

LIVE Raw thoughts - February 2, 2015

11:08 - I'll admit it, Reigns got some pretty good distance on that Big Show spear.

10:45 - I'm confused.  How would that have been a threat against Reigns?  Wouldn't it have been a threat against Rollins?

10:41 - WWE's treatment of Erick Rowan is so odd.  They keep him at the top of the card, right in the mix of things, yet he never really wins.  And a lot of the times he loses clean.

10:25 - I like that Sin Cara has gone the Rey Mysterio route of constantly changing his color scheme.  I'm surprised they haven't successfully marketed him in Mysterio's absence.  This is more WWE's fault than Sin Cara's -- they haven't really given the fans a reason to rally behind him.

10:06 - Well that was telegraphed.  I'm guessing Orton returns tonight.

10:02 - I certainly can't criticize WWE for strongly pushing Bray Wyatt (and they have been going to great lengths, sacrificing the momentum of Dean Ambrose, Daniel Bryan, and Dolph Ziggler to name a few), but I REALLY REALLY hope this is not just to feed him to the Undertaker.

9:40 - I like how Rowan uses the same mask every week.  It's a nice little touch.  He's the type of personality that wouldn't just grab a fresh one from Shopzone.

9:30 - Glad to see Cesaro win but, again, it's discouraging that Cesaro is basically in the same spot he was this time last year (except with a less bright future) after the momentum he had coming out of WrestleMania last year.

9:19 - It feels like so many guys have these overruling storylines going on, but they're not necessarily going anywhere and they're not resulting in anybody feuding.  Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, and Ryback are great examples.  They're in this feud with the Authority, but none of them are going to be involved in the climax of the Authority storyline.  They're just, like, peripherally there.  And as a result, they're in these meaningless matches that they either win (by "overcoming a challenge") or they lose (by "being in unfair circumstances").  But win or lose, the story is essentially the same.  And they'll often have these same matches with the same guys, but they're not actually actively feuding with them.  A win or a loss does not really advance the story in any particular situation.  You know all three of these guys are "against" the Authority, but will any of them be in an Authority-related match at WrestleMania?  No, probably not.  And there are loads of other guys in similar situations.

9:07 - Wait, didn't she just say that Wyatt/Ziggler was next?

9:05 - Kinda surprising that they're coming out to Ryback's music, huh?  This isn't a fanboy moment, but Ziggler has consistently been pushed as the "top" star of this trio.

8:58 - THAT'S how they need to play the Stardust character -- that everybody BUT him knows that he and Cody are the same person.  They did it this way for a long while (JBL would regularly say "what happened in that household?" and stuff like that), but then at the Royal Rumble Cole noted that this was his first Royal Rumble appearance (the person, not the character) and they seemed to be doing an about-face.

8:54 - Do all of these "Welcome Back" celebrations for Ziggler, Ryback, and Rowan seem odd?  Like, are they leading to anything?  They're kinda treated like homecoming kings or something.

8:42 - While I am happy that Dean Ambrose at least has some direction, it's still sad seeing him aiming for the Intercontinental Championship while his two comrades are getting for the World title.

8:36 - Okay, I am a LITTLE more forgiving of the opening promo for at least explaining that it was a giant manipulation and that they never had a legitimate announcement in the first place.  Yet it was still overly long and there were a huge amount of unintentional holes.

8:33 - Wait, really?  That's how you book your (arguably) struggling babyface?  This is not the show you book before an Austin podcast.

8:27 - So, um, what was supposed to be the announcement?  You know, that one that was supposed to rock the foundation of the company?

And holy crap....Reigns vs. Big Show is like Daniel Bryan vs. Kane as this feud that just will not end.

8:25 - This segment makes me a little sad for Dean Ambrose.  He's the only former Shield member not even in contention for the main event slot at WrestleMania.

8:17 - I am just BEGGING Daniel Bryan to mention that Brock Lesnar hadn't defended his title in the amount of days it took the Authority to strip him of his title.

Also, perhaps if they didn't waste time talking about Sting, the Super Bowl, and the WWE Network, they wouldn't have to go to a commercial break in the middle of their big announcement.

8:05 - Gotta love WWE totally dismissing their unsatisfied customers.

8:02 - Man, does that new entrance video make the roster seem depleted or what?  It's just basically a rotation of Cena, Reigns, Ambrose, Rollins, Wyatt, Bryan, and the Bellas.

7:39 - So tonight's Raw is set to kick off with Triple H's earth shattering announcement.  What will the announcement be?  The strong belief will be Triple H somehow contesting Roman Reigns' Royal Rumble win in a ploy that will ultimately further establish him, to fans, as the new face of the company.  That's all fine and good, but what's the motivation?  From a booking standpoint, what's to contest?  Roman Reigns won fair and square.  Sure, the Rock came in and helped, but it was to beat up two guys who were cleanly eliminated.  Rock never once laid his hands on an active competitor (even though that wouldn't have been illegal either).  And the individuals that the fans are rallying behind -- Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose, and arguably Bray Wyatt -- were all cleanly eliminated as well.  There's no basis for them deserving to be in the WrestleMania title match.  And from a character standpoint, what's Triple H's motivation.  Why would he want to give people who have challenged his authority (Bryan, Ambrose, and Ziggler) a shot at the WrestleMania title match?  If the actual announcement is to have Reigns put his title shot on the line against himself or Rollins -- which would make sense for Triple H's character -- that would be entirely underwhelming.  And if Triple H puts the title shot on the line just for fun, doesn't that hurt the credibility -- even if just a little -- of the Royal Rumble stipulation?  One of the few stipulations that has gone undamaged, for the most part?

I'm curious....but I'm not sure I'm optimistic.

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