Thursday, February 4, 2016

FFA: DC Comics Multiverse 6' Dawn of Justice Aquaman Figure

At Toys R Us last week I saw the first Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 6" Multiverse figures.  The first series included regular and armored Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.  The armored Batman was a really nice looking figure as was regular Batman.  Superman was sharp looking as well, but I already have one of those from the Man of Steel line.  I didn't actually see the Wonder Woman figure, but the picture looks decent.

Anyhow, the back of the card said that the rest of the series was coming later.  Aquaman is the only one I planned to buy and was looking forward to seeing it.  Today images have appeared on TNI and I am pretty pleased with the figure.

Here's what Jay Cochran of TNI said about the source of the images.
Some images presumably from one of the overseas Toy Fairs going on this week has surfaced online and been making the rounds on social media giving us a look at Mattel's upcoming 6" DC Comics Multiverse Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice Aquaman movie figure.
Click here to see the images. I had high expectations for the figure and I have to say they were met here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ryback's New Look

I don't think this is too "spoilery" to share, but Ryback debuted a new look at the Smackdown tapings.  PWMania.com has the pics if you'd like to take a look.  My thoughts are after the jump.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Blackjack Mulligan Hospitalized

Word came down yesterday that wrestling legend and WWE Hall of Famer, Blackjack Mulligan (Robert Windham, 73 years old) is very ill.  He is so ill in fact that his son-in-law and grandsons (Mike Rotunda, Bray Wyatt, and Bo Dallas respectively) left Raw in Birmingham, AL to be with him.  Mulligan has been in poor health for a least a few years now from what I recall.  Cageside Seats specifically said the following about his health:
Mulligan has been in poor health for years as the result of decompression sickness (the bends) from a diving incident, and last year suffered a heart attack. No word on what specifically lead to his being admitted to the hospital.
You always hate to hear this kind of thing and I know that those who saw him in his prime consider Mulligan one of the all-time greats.

To me, personally, he is another guy that I know based on his reputation far more than having actually see him work kind of like Nick Bockwinkel, Larry Zbyszko, and Stan "The Lariat" Hansen.  In fact the only time I specifically recall seeing him was from some Florida promotion that came on at the very end of Joe Pedicino's wrestling block.

It should also be noted, as most reading this most likely already know, that Mulligan is also the father of Barry and Kendall Windham.  He also is part of the concussion lawsuits against WWE that has led them to countersue some of their format talent

My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Windham family.  

Friday, January 29, 2016

WWE Network Gift Cards: Now at GameStop

Per an email I just received, WWE has expanded their WWE Network gift card promotion to GameStop.  Previously, these were only available at WWEShop.com or Walmart.  I think it's a good idea and I hope it has increased their subscribers to some degree at least.

Notice they are pushing the fact that this gift card includes WrestleMania.  They are really start to push Mania as we inch ever closer.  They tried a similar deal with Royal Rumble.  Not necessarily putting it on the gift cards, but mentioning that you would get that specific event if you got the WWE Network.  It's smart, it creates a reason to purchase TODAY!

Photo Credit: WWE

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Custom Figure from the film They Live

As a #TOYSPOTTER I regularly check the Toy News International website to see what's going on in the world of figures.  The other day I looked and in their Customs section they had a figure that caught my eye.  It is a 7" "Rowdy" Roddy Piper as Nada from the cult classic, "They Live."

Nada was created by cobbling together a few different figures including a "WWE Roddy Piper head" as he puts.  The creator, Angelo, also created a really nice looking Alien Politician figure as well.  Honestly, I think I am more impressed with the Alien Politician figure as the creator had to do so much work on that head sculpt.  Both figures look nice though and this points to how cool it would be to have a proper Nada figure. 

You can see the figures here and I highly recommend taking a look.  If you haven't seen "They Live" I highly recommend you do that as well.  Here's the movie's Wiki entry if you know nothing about it. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

AJ Styles Debate on Twitter

Before you start reading be aware that if SmackDown spoilers matter to you that the entirety of this piece relates to a match that will air on this week's show.  

If you follow me on Twitter then you may have seen this one the other day.


 
Beyond that I didn't have a lot to say about what was on my mind. That was for two reasons. The main one is no one responded, but also I pretty much decided at that point to do an entry here about the issue.

To set the stage let's take a look where we are as it relates to AJ Styles in WWE.  He debuted third in the Royal Rumble the other night to a huge reaction.  He eventually got eliminated by Kevin Owens in what I hope is a taste of what's to come with a feud between the two.  The next night on Raw he started out with a backstage interview with Renee Young that was interrupted by Chris Jericho who was his opponent that night.  The two had a decent match which Styles won with a sunset flip/roll up type of finish and that's where the discussion starts here.

Beating Jericho on Raw is a perfectly fine moment for AJ Styles, but the argument was that it lacked a bit of punch as he won without hitting Styles Clash.  Now I am all for more variety in match finishes and don't necessarily want to see the same spots in every match or that matches can only be one by a defined finishing move.  That said I think AJ's debut victory was harmed to some degree by not hitting Styles Clash.  The prevailing thought at that time was, "Well, they must be saving it for a big moment."  Basically teasing the move so that it will come across as a big deal when he finally hits it.  I should add that some simply advocated for a better looking finish to the match.  A secondary finisher could have been used or something like that would have given the end of the match a more dramatic flair.  Fair enough, right?

So the SmackDown spoilers hit Twitter last night and we found out that AJ Styles defeated Social Outcast, Curtis Axel by way of....Styles Clash.  Now the argument from Monday night has intensified because the premise that they must have been saving his finisher was clearly incorrect.  You also had some concerns or fretting (depending on how you want to look at it) about where AJ was going to be slotted on the card.

This is where it got stupid IMHO.  I am firmly in the camp that feels it was a mistake to go with such a weak finish on Monday night if you're going to hit the Styles Clash on SmackDown.  Like most things though I think it's a perfectly debatable point and I can see others saying that it's not a big deal.  I think these are reasonable positions.  Twitter doesn't lend itself to reasonable positions.  This discussion escalated to a degree that frankly surprised me and you had people giving such silly, exaggerated examples to compare to the situation that it was over-the-top ridiculous.  Like most things it was the level of rhetoric from both sides that took what I thought was a reasonable discussion and turned it into a bunch of nonsense.

That's not a knock on Twitter (which I love) or the folks on Wrestling Twitter as I call it, but it is something that I wish didn't happen so frequently.  At this stage I actually prefer discussing wrestling on Twitter over every other form of social media, message boards included. It just bugs me when the arguments get so big and so dumb and so loud that everyone on the "other side" is portrayed as some sort of moron or villain for holding an opinion different than yours.

What's the point of all this?  I rarely know.  I just want to get on Twitter, discuss wrestling, and have some fun.  I guess it's just a call to cool the rhetoric a bit and not take every dissenting opinion and make it a caricature.  Will it happen?  I doubt it, but a guy can dream. 

While we are at it, I'll go ahead and beat you to it..."Name a dirtsheet."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Raw Review: Fastlane Set and the Great One Returns

The first Raw after the Royal Rumble is always an exciting one as we have a much better idea of where we are going at the big show.  Last night was no exception.  It wasn't an episode that lit the world on fire by any stretch, but it had a certain energy to it in large part due to the big return.  It also set our Fastlane main event which will play a role in the main event of WrestleMania.  Let's take a look at the moments that mattered in my humble opinion.
  • I liked The Rock's return, but it was controversial.--To say The Rock was all over the place last night would be a huge understatement.  From the time he exited his truck backstage you knew he was going to give everything he had to make it a special night in his hometown.  I knew from the moment he started talking to Lana there would be some strong takes about some of the stuff he was saying.  The phrase "casual sexism" was on my Twitter timeline before he had moved through the current.  I am not here to tell anyone what they should and should not like and what should or should not bother them.  I will say that while I respect the criticisms of his material, I personally enjoyed having him them regardless.  He livened up a show that far too often feels like it's sleepwalking towards the end of the show. 
  • Lesnar's absence was noticable.--The handling of Lesnar at the Rumble was awful in my opinion.  Not having him show up the next night for whatever reason they gave was another mistake.  Maybe WWE is thinking they are giving us The Rock so there's no need to use Lesnar last night, but his absence compounded my issue with him at the Rumble.  The reason for that is now you are stuck with that image of him casually strolling away after getting screwed by the Wyatt Family and it wasn't a good look for the Beast Incarnate. 
  • We now have a Fastlane main event and I like it.--Speaking of Brock Lesnar, he will be taking on the Shield boys at Fastlane.  The inclusion of Reigns and Ambrose is interesting, but less so since we just saw Reigns and Ambrose at Survivor Series.  The main question it raises is, "Why would The Authority give Roman Reigns an opportunity at a title shot?"  Excellent question, but in a world where the Irish Whip makes sense I prefer to think of The Authority as a James Bond villain.  Their plans are overly complicated and have a risk of failure, but they refuse to do things in a simple and effective manner.  I figure as most do that Ambrose will eat the fall after the Wyatts eliminate Lesnar.  Although we see this ending a mile away I have no issue if it comes to pass.  
  • The Raw main event was solid fun.--As for Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose I enjoyed their match against Sheamus and Rusev.  At this point I am not sure I will ever get tired of watching Sheamus and Reigns beat the heck out of each other.  While going through the announce table is largely played out I thought this one had a great impact and looked awesome.  What troubled me was how the big announcement at the end of the show was met with crickets.  This happened with the Royal Rumble stipulation announcement on Raw as well.  They've got to figure out a better way to handle that as the live crowds just don't seem to care.  I also feel bad for all four guys having to follow The Rock last night. 
  • I hate to do it, but I have to give my guy Roman Reigns a miss.--There was another issue with the main event and it was there for Roman Reigns' first appearance in front of the camera as well.  He did not show the fire that you would expect to see out him given the context.  He had it at the end of TLC and people responded to it.  He had it throughout Raw Philly and got that town on his side.  It's been lacking since and I thought getting jobbed at the Rumble would bring it back, but it didn't. That was a big disappointment. 
  • AJ STYLES WAS ON RAW!--He's obviously supremely talented and that was apparent when I saw him wrestle for NWA WildSide in Cornelia, GA. I still thought this day would never come.  The entrance music is great.  I didn't love him winning without a finisher or having to carry Chris Jericho, but it was great to see the Phenomenal One from Gainesville, GA on WWE TV.  
Again, not a mind-blowing show, but a solid one that was helped tremendously by the energy The Rock brought to it.  It will be interesting to see where we go from here to Fastlane and whether they can get all of this a bit hotter before Mania in Dallas.  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Royal Rumble 2016: One Versus All

The Royal Rumble is either my second or third favorite WWE PPV/Special Show depending on where I choose to rank SummerSlam.  While I was not a fan of the One Versus All stipulation that put the WWE World Title on the line in the Royal Rumble I was still looking forward to this show.  The main reason is that I appreciated how that stipulation made sense as it related to The Authority punishing Roman Reigns.  I also liked the idea that it would give WWE some extra flexibility as we headed towards WrestleMania.  The idea that the winner of the Royal Rumble gets a shot at the title is solid, but it also locks you in to a large degree for the weeks leading up to WrestleMania.  Now that's not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case with these injuries, etc. it's nice to shake up that formula a bit.  Overall I thought the show was pretty good.  Here's my thoughts on what stood out to me.
  • Royal Rumble for Roman Reigns WWE World Championship--The main thing I can say about this is that I was absolutely baffled by the strong praise this match seemed to get on Twitter and elsewhere.  To me, this Rumble had entirely too many "Wait a minute..." moments to earn the praise it has.  I will look at those momentarily, but I want to get a couple things out of the way.  In theory, I had zero issue with Triple H standing tall as the WWE World Champion at the end of the night.  I had zero issue with Roman Reigns losing his title either.  Roman Reigns winning the Rumble from the number one position would have been absurd and just another example of them making him into John Cena 2.0 as it relates to him overcoming the odds.  What gets messy is the execution of all this.  I will get back to Triple H and Roman Reigns later, but here are my issues.  Look at these with the understanding that I really try not to nitpick wrestling logic to death.  I mean it's a world where the Irish Whip makes sense so I can overlook a great number of things.  What I don't want, however, is WWE Creative coming up with a bunch of scenarios that give you the "Hey, wait a minute..." type moments.  To me, that's what they did last night.  Here's a look at the moments that stood out, good and bad, in the Rumble itself.
    • Brock Lesnar's elimination was absolutely ridiculous.  For one, I get that a Royal Rumble is no DQ, but if anyone can just enter or re-enter the Rumble then everyone would be using that strategy.  If you wanted the Wyatts to gang up on Brock Lesnar and eliminate him then do that instead of having him eliminate all of them first.  Even as it relates to the Wyatts, why would they then leave?  They should have just continued tossing people so Bray Wyatt would win the whole thing.  The next part that was completely idiotic was Brock Lesnar gets tossed by illegal participants who DESTROYED him on Raw and he just takes a leisurely stroll to the back.  That completely flies in the face of what makes Brock Lesnar Brock Lesnar.  
    •  The Miz refusing to enter the Rumble.  Again this isn't real sport so I get that they can fudge the rules a bit and I also get that they've done similar things before.  That said if The Miz can just wait outside the ring without any repurcussions why would number 30 bother entering until there's only one left?  Now to The Miz's credit I thought he was pretty amusing out there although I liked it better when he was talking tough before he admitted he didn't want to get in to the ring. 
    • Not a logical issue, but Chris Jericho staying in the Rumble that long was ridiculous.
    • Back to the main angle, the Roman Reigns injury deal was poorly handled.  First of all we all knew he'd be back.  The commentators going out of their way to point out he was still in the Rumble didn't help either.  The biggest issue was that Reigns got off the stretcher, but then walked to the back.  That made it look worse in most people's eyes than if they had just wheeled him all the way out before making a miraculous comeback.  It made it look like he just didn't want to fight and was gaming the system.  Most seemed to look past the fact that he was illegally annihilated by the League of Nations and came to the point that basically Kevin Owens must be tougher than Roman Reigns.  Now I see the other side of it, but it's hard to argue that point as the whole thing was poorly handled.
    • Triple H looked like a face getting his revenge.  The Orlando, FL crowd didn't help this, but Triple H completely came across like a the face in this scenario which is absurd.  That's what happened though or at least it could certainly be interpreted that way which is beyond troublesome if you want the Mania crowd to embrace Roman Reigns.  
    • AJ Styles' debut was perfect.  Great theme song, great reaction from the crowd and Roman Reigns.  Even his elimination was perfect.  
    • R-Truth climbing a ladder.  Call me stupid, but I enjoyed that.  Crazy R-Truth is a guilty pleasure of mine and I thought this worked.  
    • Rusev taking a monitor to the back.  Don't know if you noticed, but Rusev took a monitor all the way to the back with him when the beat down Roman Reigns.  He even went on Twitter and claimed this made him the TV champion. 
    • The Orlando crowd already got a mention, but when you reject Roman Reigns because he got a big push and embrace Triple Freaking H, you've got a problem.  
  • Alberto Del Rio (C) v Kalisto for the US Championship--This one genuinely surprised me, but good for Kalisto.  That guy has the ability to be a Daniel Bryan underdog type if they'd let him run with it.  I am not saying he'll ever be as big as Bryan, but he can be a pretty big deal if they just let him keep doing his thing.  I enjoyed this match, not sure what the general consensus on it was though from people who analyze matches a whole lot more thoroughly than I do.
  • New Day (C) v The Usos for the WWE Tag Team Championship--You've seen it 1,000 times it seems and it was what it always is.  It's entertaining, but you're ready to move past it.  The finish was executed perfectly and I really liked that visual of Big E sneaking the tag and then catch "a flying Uso."  Really cool finish to a fun match which has been done so many times it's hard to care. 
  • Dean Ambrose (C) v Kevin Owens Last Man Standing for the IC Championship--This was every bit as fun as you would expect out of these two although the highlight of Owens' night was tossing AJ Styles out of the Rumble and mocking him if you ask me.  Both guys worked hard and the crowd was into it throughout.  The big spots worked and that's a testament to these guys making you care as we are all so desensitized to this stuff in general.
  • Divas Match--This came on when I was doing some other stuff to be perfectly honest.  I did not see the finish of the match itself, but I did see Sasha Banks make her statement and it was very well done.  I know people have been dying for it so hopefully it delivers unlike the miserable failure that was the Divas Revolution.
Here's where WWE gets me though, no matter how much I disliked the Rumble itself I look at Raw and think, "Well, this should be interesting." It may not be good tonight, but it will be interesting. They've lit the fuse on a lot of interesting things no matter how much I disliked certain aspects of the show and I will sit and watch tonight.  I don't give grades, but I have to give the show a thumbs up.  It would be even better had they not added so many unnecessary elements to the Rumble itself.  It's one of those things though where a lot of little things were handled well, but the biggest thing was executed so poorly that you have a hard time being too excited about it.  Regardless, I'll be watching like I do every week.   

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Wyatt Family Stands Tall

This renewed Wyatt Family push in WWE right now is fascinating.  I have always been a huge fan of the gimmick and thought that WWE did less with more as it related to handling it.  Had they not botched it so badly I could easily see a situation where Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt had a really cool Batman and Joker vibe to them going forward.  The Wyatts debuted pretty strong, but things got sideways after that.  Spinning Harper and Rowan off and having Rowan as a face for a while seemed to be huge mistakes to me at the time.  At that point I though the Wyatt Family thing was done and Bray Wyatt was going it as a loaner from that point forward.  I also thought WWE had squandered a solid talent and even better gimmick. 

Since then the Wyatt Family has reformed, but they weren't really treated any better than they were before.  First problem with the reformation is that you can't always just put things back together like they used to be.  There have been situations where I was impressed that WWE Creative has managed to salvage an act such as The Usos.  Those dudes were deader than dead and now are a tremendous asset for WWE.  Those situations are few and far between however and I still wish they had not derailed the Wyatt Family in the first place.  The second problem is that even once they reformed the group they weren't really given a chance to shine or I should say they weren't ever given any real in-ring credibility.  

When I think of the lack of in-ring credibility two names always come to mind and that is John Cena and The Undertaker.  To me, both of those guys were the biggest issues as it related to Bray Wyatt.  The Cena thing was before the break up and had some cool moments, but still pretty much destroyed the mystique of the Wyatt Family gimmick.  This was in large part due to the fact that even with a 3 on 1 advantage the Wyatts were not shown as being remotely on level with John Cena. 

While the Cena one was aggravating I find the Undertaker deal to be far worse.  You had poor Bray Wyatt out there trying to carry a feud without the other half of it present.  Then Taker rolls in finally (after The Streak was over which minimized his value) and beats ol' Bray at WrestleMania 31.  Some at the time tried to argue that it was a situation where Bray was made in a loss, but that wasn't the case and that only became more obvious the further we got away from that match. 

Anyhow, this all brings us to today where suddenly the Wyatt Family has stood tall to end Raw and SmackDown as we approach Sunday's Royal Rumble.  Now for all we know this is a Meng-type push where they are only getting a push at all for the purpose of the Rumble and that's it.  The problem is that most of the chatter I see focuses on the following premise:
This would be really cool if the Wyatt Family mattered.
That's where we are.  You cannot look at what they are doing with the Wyatts and NOT think about how much better this should all be.  I hope for Bray and Luke Harper's sake specifically that this isn't a "make them strong for the Rumble" type push.  Regardless, it is disappointing to me that the Wyatt Family has been treated so poorly. 

It's just another example of WWE Creative getting in its own way if you ask me. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Reject Roman Reigns Movement

No, this is not going to be me complaining about people who dislike Roman Reigns.  I like the guy, but others don't and I can live with that.  This is about a movement that built some momentum last night on Twitter.  I will not share the Twitter feed or their Tweets because I don't personally want to help this goofy cause, but it's easily obtainable with a quick Google search.  All that said, here's the deal with this.

The gist of it is that some fans created a Reject Roman Reigns Twitter feed and claimed their goal was to disrupt the Royal Rumble in Orlando, FL by coordinating anti-Roman Reigns chants, etc.  Basically, they are going to attempt to successfully pull of the miserable failure that was #HijackRaw.  They boasted that they had 170 fans on board with this idea.  Not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it is what it is.

What impressed me about this wasn't their campaign, but the response from most people I follow on Twitter to this campaign.  The most common refrain was that a) WWE doesn't really care who you pay to boo and b) to question the general wisdom of paying that kind of hard-earned cash to try to send a message.  I think both are excellent points honestly.  The other thing that I wondered about is from the limited time I read their stuff before I blocked them is whether they were actually going to champion any one deserving talent or just try to derail the Reigns Train.

While I am all for supporting who you want to support and even disliking who you want to dislike, I just don't see how this makes any sense whatsoever.  I even broke my rule about a fan referring to other fans as "marks" because it really was the first word that came to mind when I saw their campaign laid out.  The thought of paying that much money to go to a show just to try to derail Roman Reigns is laughable and pitiful to me, but you do you I guess.

Like I said, I am all for wrestling fans expressing their opinions, but this is simply misguided and counterproductive.