Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Vintage WWF Review: November 1993

Happy Thanksgiving, Losers
November of 1993 was a mixed bag for the boys in Stamford, complete with a hot-and-cold PPV and a hit-and-miss month of television. Quite a few feuds are building for payoffs at Survivor Series, the annual Thanksgiving tradition, and we're heading into the home stretch for the first year of Monday Night Raw. I always enjoyed Survivor Series as a kid, so I've been looking forward to this month. The build-up to the PPV was handled extremely well and I am genuinely excited to see the teams of superstars do battle in the squared circle. With that in mind, let's take a look at what's happening on WWF television this month and we'll save the PPV analysis for another update.

November marks the second month in which we've been privileged to watch Jeff Jarrett's pre-debut vignettes. Even though I'm more than ready for Jeff to jump into the ring and show us what he's got, I am totally digging these shorts. At some point in the future ('93's future, not our current future), WWF will do away with such vignettes except for rare occasions. There may be occasional established superstar weekly shorts, but they just aren't the same. On the rare occasions where the WWF/E has attempted to revive the pre-debut vignette, they have been less than successful. I mean, who can forget Mordecai? Or the retardedness of Kizarny? I can honestly say that I was excited for Mordecai and was let down when he sucked (it seemed pretty obvious Kizarny would suck when I heard his name and saw his vignette), but nonetheless it's that excitement that should be remembered rather than the epic turds they dropped when they stepped into the ring. Thanks to Alberto Del Rio, however, I think there's a bit of hope for these vignettes in the future. For now, I'll just enjoy the inevitable vignette-awesomeness characters like Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Mankind will eventually bring to the WWF.

On an even more exciting note, Tatanka finally lost! Even better, he received such a vicious beatdown at the hands of the foreign fanatics that he was knocked out of the Survivor Series. Hot dog! I am going to take this time to address why I hate Tatanka:

Some asshole likes Tatanka way too much
To be perfectly honest, my hatred for Tatanka is somewhat irrational. The gimmick is horrible, but he did a fine job with the character. Unfortunately, I simply never found the man to be terribly entertaining. He was decent in the ring - certainly capable of putting on an entertaining match with the right opponent - and not abysmal on the mic. I just never bought into the gimmick and still don't understand why he had such a long undefeated streak that went nowhere. I'm holding out hope for his eventual heel turn, but I highly doubt it will add enough to his character to make me care.

Now that I've got that off my chest, let's do some awards!



Superstar of the Month: Randy Savage. The "Macho Man" had a great month with really very little competition at the top. After spending most of the year at the announce table, Savage is making his presence felt in this feud with Crush. Though the feud had a terrible beginning and still makes very little sense, Savage has taken this shitfest to a new level and has me eagerly anticipating the next move in this unlikely rivalry. Considering who he's feuding with, that's a hell of an accomplishment.

Promo of the Month: Shawn Michaels and the Hart Family. Due to legal reasons beyond his control (more on this later), Jerry Lawler was not present at Survivor Series to continue his feud with Bret and the Hart family. Fortunately, the WWF had Bret's eventual arch-nemesis, Mr. Shawn Michaels, waiting in the wings. Even without months of build-up, Michaels was able to slide into Lawler's boots without missing a step. It's going to be a real treat watching these two legends battle over the next few years of WWF programming. This promo should speak for itself. I'll get into the douchebag Hart boys who aren't Owen or Bret in my Survivor Series recap. Enjoy:

Match of the Month (Non-PPV): Hart v. Yoko at Survivor, Series Showdown. This is a great back-and-forth match that both entertains and serves a greater purpose; this match furthers the Bret/Yoko feud while also setting up a Bret/Owen conflict. I am once again equally impressed by Bret's ability to put on such a great match with a man the size of Yoko and Yoko's ability to perform at such a high level given his size. For those who haven't seen it, here's the match:

Jim Ross Is Great: Seriously. When is this man going to move into the booth full time?

Most Bullshit Survivor Series Team: The All-Americans. I suppose I can understand the Steiners to a degree; they're American-educated boys from blue-collar backgrounds in the heart of America. I can even understand Lex Luger; he jumps out of helicopters and bodyslams fat Japanese guys. But can someone please tell me how a Native American, whose land was stolen from the ancestors of the other teammates, fits into this bullshit equation? Furthermore, once he gets knocked out, whose idea was it to add the Undertaker? He's dead. What the fuck?

Random Sightings: Jacqueline shows up randomly this month in a Jeff Jarrett promo. She is called "Winona" in the video. I don't remember her being around at that time, so I'll assume she doesn't come in with Jarrett. Also notable this month were appearances by the black Brutus Beefcake, Sir Virgil himself, and the deliciously dirty Brooklyn Brawler. Always good to see the Brawler.

Return of the Month: It is damn good to see Shawn Michaels back on my television. We missed you, buddy!

Alleged Sodomizer of the Month: Jerry Lawler. As noted earlier, Lawler was unable to perform at Survivor Series due to legal issues. Apparently, the "Burger King" was indicted on charges of sodomy and statutory rape. Jerry would eventually be let off the hook as the charges were false, but he ruined Survivor Series for a number of folks while setting himself up as a folk hero for others.
Quote of the Month: "You know how many times I wanted to leave the announce position, jump into the ring, and work over some ham-and-egger? But I can control myself!" - Bobby Heenan
Reflections: November was a decent month in WWF history, but it could have been so much more. Television was mediocre, but the PPV had a shot to be a real classic and just kind of fell apart. We'll talk more about that in my next post. Until then, try not to sodomize any underage girls - you'll probably miss the Royal Rumble.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Video Games

Happy New Year to everybody out there in internet land! Here's a quick post to hold you over until I have time for something more substantial:

As you may have guessed from my blog info, I am a pretty big fan of video games. I remember rocking the Intellivision when I was a kid and then moving to the NES before finally receiving an SNES for Christmas when I was eight years old. I used to be a pretty serious gamer, trying to defeat my uncles and friends at everything, especially sports like Madden or NBA Jam. As the years went by, I became a less competitive gamer and branched out into more genres. While I had always loved platformers, I really got into RPGs, puzzlers and action games and kind of left sports behind. Nowadays I own every system and try to keep up with new games (shooters/sports aside) while trying to fit in all of the old classics, even those I've beaten. My video game updates will explore my favorites as well as those I am currently playing.

They're Legos!
Lego Star Wars is a pretty badass video game and was the first in the current line-up of movie series-themed games from the Lego franchise. My friend Brian "Bone" Doll and I are currently playing through the Complete Lego Star Wars, which combines both the original trilogy and the prequel storylines. Our goal is to eventually play through all of the Lego games and complete them all with a 100% rating. We're doing alright so far - something like mid-30s%.

I really enjoy this game, as its light-hearted approach to the classic Star Wars is both fun and amusing. Traveller's Tales even makes the prequel trilogy feel fun, and Lord knows that took some work. It's great to see some of the well-known Star Wars characters, particularly Boba Fett, in Lego form, and I'm excited to find everything that this game has to offer. We are currently on The Empire Strikes Back, which is actually my favorite Star Wars movie, so we're getting close to finishing the main story mode and will soon be moving into free play to search for missing mini-kits, Lego studs, red bricks and other secrets in an effort to get a complete game file and move on to Lego Indiana Jones (or Batman). I'll keep you updated on our progress.

Mass Effect
Now on to the game I am playing at home on a regular basis: Mass Effect. I started Mass Effect maybe a month ago and I've been slowly moving through it, which I blame on the Citadel and the fucking Mako. I am loving the game and excited to continue through the series. Bioware has done a great job of updating the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic engine and streamlining the story progression. While Citadel was hell, it didn't seem to be as bad as Taris, which used to make me claw my eyes out with boredom (except for the arena - that was great). Also, the voice acting is top notch and really makes a difference in how the story affects the player. Having said that, the story is yet to really get going, which is one a few gripes:

  • Combat: Combat in this game is pretty terrible. The button-mapping is shit, the cover system is mind-blowingly terrible, and the enemy AI is laughably bad, often just standing around and waiting for you to kill them. It feels like a broke-ass Gears of War, and occasionally has me wondering whether it was a bad idea to move from the d20 system featured in KOTOR, where you actually just chose attacks and let the computer do  the work. That's not a good thing.
  • Characters: The characters in this game are shitty. Garrus is some queer with a daddy complex, Kaidan's a bitch who gets headaches, Ashley's an intolerant specieist, Tali's from some sort of ass-backward Amish society, and Wrex...well, he's admittedly awesome. The point here is that I don't really see how any of them factor into the story in any sort of relevant form. The game has yet to give me any sort of reason to give a shit about any of them, but I imagine this will change, as I have only completed one mission since Citadel.
  • Sidequests: Don't get me wrong here - I love that this game has a ton of sidequests on which to embark. Unfortunately, they all require crawling through space at a snail's pace en route to different planets and then slowly climbing over mountains and shit in the Mako, some God forsaken piece of metal trash that controls terribly. I tend to be a completionist, which is annoying in itself, and this game is really making me rethink this way of gaming life. I'm excited to move forward in the game, but I want to experience all that game has to offer. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that the small rewards of this game are not worth the monotony in the end.
I will be back later this evening (very late, I'm afraid) with a butt-load of wrestling goodness, including my November '93 and Raw Reactions from last night. I know it's a little late, but working evenings doesn't lend itself well to timely wrestling reviews on a current product. Catch you all later!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Starting the new year off right as of tomorrow. Be on the lookout for my November '93 review, Raw Reactions, and video game musings. Until then.