Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Maybe This Year Will Be Better Than The Last

So. New Year's Eve.

I've been quiet on the blog this month. Apparently work and Christmas took more of a toll on my time than I expected.

Image © Chris Willis via Flickr.

Yes, I'm going to review the Impact clip shows I've missed. And I'm also going to review the episodes of Xplosion and the 2014 specials I haven't watched.

But today, I want to talk about this blog and how it's doing.

I started writing these posts in January 2014. In fact, my first Impact review was the episode from 12th January. So I can say that I've been writing here for almost a year now.

And it's gone so much better than I thought it would.

I've met some wonderful people on Twitter. I've found a vibrant community of wrestling fans. And I've had more page hits than I ever would have thought possible.

Do you know how many page views I've had on this blog? Over 6,000 in a year. That's incredible.

So that was 2014. And it was pretty good for me. But how was it for TNA?

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of MindOfCarnage.com.

To be honest, I think TNA had a pretty good year. Most of my reviews have been positive if not raving.

Did they lose some big names? Yes, and that's always a blow to a company. AJ Styles, Daniels, Kazarian and Bully Ray are just a few of the people who we'll miss going into 2015.

But TNA are still around, no matter what we feared. They have a new television deal. And they're still going strong.

I'd give them a B-. Pretty good, but could do better.

So 2015. Where will it take us? And what am I planning to do with Stark Remarks?

Well, as I said, I'm going to catch up on the episodes I didn't review in 2014. I'm going to keep on reviewing Impact and Xplosion. And I'm going to keep writing opinion posts.

My schedule will still be Impact on Tuesday, opinion on Thursday and Xplosion on Saturday. That still fits in best with work and university for me.

Image © Nemo via Pixabay.

But the most important thing that I plan to do in 2015 is write a book.

Yep: there's hopefully going to be a Stark Remarks book coming to you in the future.

But what's it going to be?

A beginner's guide to professional wrestling.

Yep: all those things you hate trying to explain to friends and family about the sport you love? This is going to explain it in an easy-to-understand but fun way.

Starting with that old chestnut "You know it's fake, right?", of course.

I don't know when I'll start it. I don't know when I'll finish it. And I don't know if I'll be self-publishing it or if I'll find a mainstream publisher.

So that's my big new goal for Stark Remarks in 2015. I'm going to review. I'm going to give my opinions. And I'm going to write a freaking book.

Image © tuku via Pixabay.

But what are your goals for 2015, wrestling or otherwise? Don't be shy.

– Stark

Related Post: It Feels Like Home to Me

Want to let me know what you think? Want to tell me I'm wrong about something? Just want to say hi? Message me on Twitter (@stark_remarks), send me an e-mail (stark_remarks@yahoo.co.uk), or leave a comment.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

A Merry Christmas from Stark Remarks! I hope Santa Foley brought you everything you wanted this year. Have a great day.

Image © WWE courtesy of Shawn Rice via Business2Community.

– Stark

Want to let me know what you think? Want to tell me I'm wrong about something? Just want to say hi? Message me on Twitter (@stark_remarks), send me an e-mail (stark_remarks@yahoo.co.uk), or leave a comment.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Special Post: IPW:UK "Christmas Cracker"

Last Saturday, I went to my first IPW:UK event. So how was it?

Good. But weird.

Image © IPW:UK via WrestleRopes.

I don't know if it's IPW's more family-friendly focus. Or whether everybody was just really cold. Or the stars said not today.

But the crowd seemed unusually quiet for a wrestling event.

The loudest people got was during Uhaa Nation's match with Bad Bones. And that was because Uhaa fits so well into a variety of random songs.

But even so, the wrestling was damn good. I had my picture taken with the Wolves. And I had fun.

So would I go again? Definitely.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Both collections end tomorrow at midnight GMT. Thank you.

Related Post: Special Post: Southside Wrestling "Seasons Beatings"

Want to let me know what you think? Want to tell me I'm wrong about something? Just want to say hi? Message me on Twitter (@stark_remarks), send me an e-mail (stark_remarks@yahoo.co.uk), or leave a comment.

Monday, 8 December 2014

British Boot Camp 2 Final: Air Date 7th December 2014

So here we are. The final of British Boot Camp 2.

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Alistair McGeorge via Mirror.co.uk.

I loved the recaps at the beginning. It showed exactly how far the finalists have come without being boring or redundant for long-term viewers.

But what about the matches?

I'm not surprised that none of the Boot Camp finalists won their matches. TNA wouldn't want unsigned people to upstage their stars.

But even so, they were fun.

Rampage Brown versus Bram was the sort of brawl you'd expect it to be. Mark Andrews versus DJ Z was absolutely wild. And Kay Lee Ray versus Gail Kim was beautiful.

Image © Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.

Plus the post match commentary from the stars on the finalists was really sweet.

But of course, we can't talk about the episode without talking about who won and what I think.

TNA chose Mark Andrews. But did they choose the right person?

I'd say yes.

Let's look at the world title scene. TNA may have lost a few people in the past few months, but they still have a lot of men who could go for that Heavyweight championship.

Rampage would get lost in the shuffle.

And TNA just added a new Knockout in Havok. As much as I love Kay Lee, do they need somebody else new? I don't think so right now.

But the X Division needs something new. It needs a boost. It needs someone like Mark.

Image © South Wales Argus.

So congratulations, Mandrews, and commiserations, Kay Lee and Rampage.

You were all fantastic. Can't wait to see you in January.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Both collections end on Thursday 11th December and they're at 93% and 66% of their goals respectively. Thank you.

Related Post: British Boot Camp 2: Air Date 30th November 2014

Want to let me know what you think? Want to tell me I'm wrong about something? Just want to say hi? Message me on Twitter (@stark_remarks), send me an e-mail (stark_remarks@yahoo.co.uk), or leave a comment.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

It Feels Like Home to Me

In the past few months, I have fallen head over heels in love with British wrestling.

Image © Felipe Micaroni Lalli via Wikimedia Commons.

Up until my first Revolution Pro Wrestling show, I'd never been to a show by a British company.

I'd been to three TNA tour shows, and I'd gone to three nights of Impact tapings in Orlando. But actual British wrestling? I knew nothing.

And now? Now I love it. And I want to talk about why.

Part of it is how close you get to the action. There's nothing quite like being there at a wrestling event, watching the action unfold in front of you.

Right in front of you if you're lucky to get front or second row seats. Which I have done many times.

Sure, watching Impact on television is fun. But can that really compare with El Ligero and Biff Busick pushing past you in a crowd? I don't think so.

And that brings me to my next reason: the level of fan interaction that goes on in British wrestling. Or at least in the companies I've been to.

It's completely off the chart.

Image © geralt via Pixabay.

Being able to get autographs and photos during intermissions or after the show is awesome.

Sure, the TNA Fan Interaction is pretty cool as well. But how much extra do you have to pay for it? Exactly.

And that's not even mentioning how friendly everybody in British wrestling seems to be.

Face or heel, it doesn't matter. Get the average British wrestler outside the ring and chances are they'll be one of the nicest people you've met all year.

On the heel side, Marty Scurll has been charming every single time I've spoken to him.

And Jimmy Havoc agreed to take a picture with me right after he'd been in a No Ropes Barbed Wire match with DJ Hyde.

On the face side, I've had photos with Robbie X and Kay Lee Ray.

I've had Will Ospreay joke around with me because my hair matched his ring gear. Which was an accident, no matter what anybody says.

And I've helped Tyler Bate name a bird puppet Gary.

Image © byrev via Pixabay.

No, context wouldn't really help with that last one. Just go with it. It's wrestling.

This may sound like me boasting, but it's not supposed to. My point is that the reason I've had all these experiences are that these people are good people.

Which brings me to the best part of going to British wrestling shows: they make you feel like part of the family.

There are few places in this world that I feel more happy than beside a wrestling ring surrounded by fellow fans.

And isn't that one of the reasons we love wrestling? That sense of community. Knowing we're all here for the same reason.

I've made friends over British wrestling. I've had amazing times at British wrestling. And I want to keep going to British wrestling.

Because I feel more at home there than anywhere else in the world. And I couldn't ask for more.

Image © osfor.org via OpenClipart.org.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Both collections end on Thursday 11th December and they're at 92% and 66% of their goals respectively. Thank you.

Related Post: Oh I Love Turkey on Thanksgiving

Want to let me know what you think? Want to tell me I'm wrong about something? Just want to say hi? Message me on Twitter (@stark_remarks), send me an e-mail (stark_remarks@yahoo.co.uk), or leave a comment.

TNA Xplosion: Air Date 3rd December 2014

Xplosion this week was pretty damn good. But why?

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Wikipedia.

Well, the TNA #365 content being fresh and new was a big factor.

This is what Xplosion should be for: the interviews that don't fit on the main show. And I was more interested in the interviews for it.

I actually cared what Taryn Terrell and Low Ki had to say because it wasn't the second time I'd heard it.

TNA, if you could do this every week, it would be fantastic.

Use that time on Impact for a backstage story segment. Or a short match. Or anything else. I'm begging you. It works so much better that way.

And the Xplosion Xclusive match was pretty bad-ass too.

Image © Nemo via Pixabay.

Who doesn't want to see two Lightning Bruisers smacking each other around, I say?

And there's no better way to describe Samoa Joe and Dave Mastiff. Great stuff.

And then we have the Match of the Week.

Or we could say the Re-Match of the Week. Because it was the re-match everybody wanted: Joe versus AJ Styles versus Christopher Daniels. Heavyweight Championship style.

Well. Daniels. This was during that weird period when TNA stole his Christopher for reasons not even he can explain.

But anyway. How was this match?

Absolutely freaking awesome of course. What else would it be?

I could watch these three wrestle each other any day of the week. No lie.

Image © Charles LeBlanc via Flickr.

This was a good episode of Xplosion.

If you haven't seen it, check it out. It's worth your time.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Both collections end on Thursday 11th December and they're at 92% and 66% of their goals respectively. Thank you.

Related Post: TNA Xplosion: Air Date 26th November 2014

Saturday, 6 December 2014

TNA Impact Specials – Dare to be a Knockout: UK Air Date 30th November 2014

And so here we are with the first of TNA's filler clip shows. But is it a good clip show, or a bad one?

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Rasslor.

This won't be a long review. After all, there aren't a lot of things I can say about the storylines of matches presented completely out of context.

And remember, I am here to comment on the writing for the most part. That's my area of expertise.

So what can I say about it?

The photo shoot segments were nothing to write home about. We'd seen the 2015 calendar stuff before. And the Top 5 Things About the Beautiful People was fairly pointless.

Image © Mshake3 via Wikimedia Commons.

The matches were good, though. The Knockouts Championship Gauntlet was great. Awesome Kong versus Gail Kim was just as good as I remember. And Gail versus Taryn Terrell in a Last Knockout Standing was fantastic.

It seems a bit premature to put down Havok versus Gail versus Taryn as a classic, though, wouldn't you say?

Still. It was a good showcase of Knockout talent past.

But I think the best segment was probably the wedding of Eric Young and ODB.

I think that was the most successful wrestling wedding I have ever seen. Absolutely amazing from start to finish.

Image © Jlace001 via Wikimedia Commons.

For a clip show to fill out the time while TNA move US stations, this was a surprisingly good show.

If you haven't seen it, check it out. It's worth your time.

And hopefully whatever they put on this week will be just as entertaining.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Both collections end on Thursday 11th December and they're at 92% and 66% of their goals respectively. Thank you.

Related Post: TNA Impact: UK Air Date 23rd November 2014

Friday, 5 December 2014

Oh I Love Turkey on Thanksgiving

You know what I miss? The old TNA Thanksgiving episodes.

Image © Zeetz Jones via Flickr.

Oh come on. You remember them, right?

There was always inevitably some faction having a Thanksgiving meal. The Angle Alliance or the Main Event Mafia or Immortal or whoever.

And that meal ended with some disastrous revelation or somebody getting their face smashed into the turkey. Or both.

And then there was that ridiculous match where the person who got pinned ended up shoved in a turkey suit to dance for our amusement.

But the last time this was even mentioned was Eric Young in his brain-damaged person dragging the suit out, I think.

And since then, TNA seem to have been trying to sweep the concept under the carpet and ignore it for some reason.

Enough is enough, I say. It's time to bring it back.

Were there problems with it? Well of course.

It did tend to utterly derail everything that was going on around it into total ridiculousness.

Image © Alex Proimos via Flickr.

But to be honest, that's why I liked it so much. If you get the right people involved, a bit of seasonal silliness can be just what you need on a show like this.

When the people involved are already jokey characters, I think it honestly works.

Put somebody like, say, Crazzy Steve in a turkey suit and you'll end up with a barrel of laughs.

Then again, that was always the weakness of that damned turkey suit, wasn't it? They'd pick somebody who didn't need humiliation and the smarks would have a tantrum.

Look. AJ Styles ending up in a turkey costume two years in a row was just as stupid as you'd imagine. But has it done long term damage to his reputation? Of course not!

Image © Tabercil via Wikimedia Commons.

When it comes to wrestling, our memories are short and we actively work to block out stupid things.

After all, if we can forget brain-damaged EY and Orlando Jordan's tag team antics, we can forget anything.

So let's say I were to dictate what this year's episode would have been. Who would I have chosen for what?

Well the faction eating together is obvious: Storm's Revolution.

It would be funny as hell to see them attempt to be incredibly serious and grim about everything over roast turkey.

The party gets interrupted by either the Wolves or the Hardys, who start a fight with the Revolution. Everybody brawls in mashed potatoes.

And it ends when Abyss slams Davey Richards or Jeff Hardy or whoever into the cranberry sauce.

See? It's not difficult.

As for the Turkey Bowl, we could give that to the X Division guys and have them show off.

As I said, Crazzy Steve would be the perfect person to dress in the turkey suit.

Image © Tabercil via Wikimedia Commons.

Then the BroMans could come out and make fun of him only for the Menagerie to start brawling with them.

Good old-fashioned family fun with a ridiculous theme: what more could you want?

So bring back the Thanksgiving episodes, TNA. We could use a laugh.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Both collections end on Thursday 11th December and they're at 92% and 66% of their goals respectively. Thank you.

Related Post: I'm Sick of All My Kicks

Special Post: Southside Wrestling "Seasons Beatings"

Southside is officially my favourite British wrestling company.

Image © Southside Wrestling courtesy of @miguitore via KGB-Wrestling.com.

Do they have the best wrestling? Probably not. I've heard there are better companies.

But I don't care because Southside do something more important: they entertain me, and make me feel at home.

Seasons Beatings was no exception.

I started trying to list my highlights, but I suddenly realised that I was pretty much listing the entire show.

And that says everything, doesn't it? I had such a great time that I can't pinpoint the best part.

Go check Southside out. I promise that you'll feel like part of the family too.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Both collections end on Thursday 11th December and they're at 92% and 66% of their goals respectively. Thank you.

Related Post: Special Post: XWA-UK "We Need A Hero"

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

British Boot Camp 2: Air Date 30th November 2014

So we're back with the penultimate episode of British Boot Camp 2.

And it was good.

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Alistair McGeorge via Mirror.co.uk.

They filled most of the episode with the inter-gender tag match. And a wrestling show that is more wrestling than not has an advantage in my eyes.

Adding Angelina Love and Al Snow to the match to give Kay Lee Ray an opponent and even up the numbers respectively made sense to me.

And seeing Noam Dar, Rampage Brown and Dave Mastiff grinning about getting Angelina Love on their team made me smile.

The recap with Al and Grado was a bit unnecessary if you've been watching so far, but was helpful for newcomers I suppose.

And then there was the match itself.

It was so much fun. Grado dancing with Earl Hebner was the comedy highlight.

Image © Ed Webster via Flickr.

But for me, I thought the stand-outs were Noam, Kay Lee, and Mark Andrews.

Which is why it surprised me so much that they sent Noam home. I honestly thought he would go through.

Pretty surprised Mastiff got sent home as well.

Then again, maybe TNA wanted one cruiserweight, one heavyweight and one Knockout to choose from.

But if push came to shove, I think I would have chosen Mastiff, myself.

Still. Three good people went through.

And Grado challenging Al Snow for Glasgow? That's going to be a thing of beauty on the UK tour.

Almost makes me sad I'm only going to London.

Image © Tabercil via Wikimedia Commons.

This was a great episode and I can't wait for the final.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Both collections end on Thursday 11th December and they're at 92% and 66% of their goals respectively. Thank you.

Related Post: British Boot Camp 2: Air Date 23rd November 2014

Special Post: XWA-UK "We Need A Hero"

Last weekend, I went to an XWA-UK show for the first time. So how did I find it?

Image © XWA-UK via Twitter.

Pretty damned fun.

Was it the fanciest show? No.

I mean, at one point, the music system broke and Blackbelt TD ended up wrestling himself.

But I don't think that that matters.

I went to have some fun and see matches with three of my favourite British wrestlers. And that's exactly what I did.

I've only got one nitpick and that's that Jimmy Havoc was on the poster but not the card.

So if XWA come near you, give 'em a try.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Both collections end on Thursday 11th December and they're at 92% and 66% of their goals respectively. Thank you.

Related Post: Special Post: Southside Wrestling 4th Anniversary

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

TNA Xplosion: Air Date 26th November 2014

You know what sucks? The end of term when all the final exams are due.

You know what makes that worse? Spending an entire weekend going to live British wrestling events.

Yeah, I have nobody to blame but myself for this, but here we are finally with the most recent episode of Xplosion.

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Wikipedia.

Now. If you've seen this episode, you'll probably guess what's coming.

And yes, the obvious: I miss AJ Styles being in TNA.

But screw it, I'm going to see him live at Revolution Pro Wrestling next year, so I'm gonna suck it up and get over it.

The funny thing was seeing Sting when you remember that he just debuted in the WWE.

I dunno. It's the little things.

And speaking of the little things, I'm glad JB thinks about as well of Angelina Love's announcing as I do.

Image © Tabercil via Flickr.

She tries hard but she's... just... not that good. I have to be honest.

And then you have the match itself.

I don't even know what to say about it, to be honest.

So Jeff Hardy gets knocked unconscious. And that means Matt Hardy must fight Kenny King and MVP alone. Then we get a ref bump.

But then Jeff comes out as Willow because apparently massive head trauma means alter ego? And then he comes back as Jeff again and he and Matt win?

It was weird. Amusing, but weird.

Image © Christian Korsager via Flickr.

This episode of Xplosion was pretty alright.

If you haven't watched it yet, give it a look.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Both collections end on Thursday 11th December and they're at 92% and 66% of their goals respectively. Thank you.

Related Post: TNA Xplosion: Air Date 19th November 2014

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Off-Topic: All Quiet on the Stark Remarks Front

You may have noticed I haven't blogged much this week.

Why? Well university is kicking my arse.

I'm a third year student. I had an assignment due on the 24th November and one due on the 5th December. I have to write a formal proposal for my independent study for January. And I also have two more assignments due in around then.

This is not a pity party. I'm going to put on my big kid pants and deal with it.

And admittedly, my decision to go to XWA-UK today (Saturday) and Southside tomorrow (Sunday) is also eating up my time.

So there will not be a review of Xplosion until Monday at the earliest. I will not be live-tweeting this weekend. And I will not be posting British Boot Camp or Impact until Tuesday at the earliest.

I'll make it up to you with an extra opinion post and reviews of World Cup and Knockouts Knockdown as soon as I'm on holiday for Christmas.

And yes, I will be posting brief reviews of the XWA and Southside shows.

Thank you for your understanding. I couldn't do this without you.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Both collections end soon and neither have met their goal. Thank you.

Related Post: Special Post: Southside Wrestling 4th Anniversary

Friday, 28 November 2014

TNA Impact: UK Air Date 23rd November 2014

Let's talk Impact.

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Rasslor.

Now before I do anything else, I need to attack the tangled mess of MVP, Kenny King and Bobby Lashley's plot-lines.

Lashley wants his rematch against Bobby Roode. So far, so good.

But at the same time, Lashley and MVP were angry at each other. Or maybe they're not. I'm not sure.

And now MVP is attacking Kurt Angle because #MVPMakesBadDecisions. And I bet you never thought I'd bring that out again, did you?

But wait! We've also got Kenny King, who injured Chris Melendez in their match. Which means that Ken Anderson is getting involved.

And so all six of these men got into a big punch-up at the end of the show.

I'm assuming that there's going to be a big six-man tag match to sort this out now? I don't know.

At least Bram and Tommy Dreamer's story is simple: they want to smack each other's heads in with the contents of the nearest Home Depot.

Image © Ildar Sagdejev via Wikimedia Commons.

Also Al Snow was there. Because... ECW, I suppose?

Either way, Bram won, which I liked. Yes, Magnus interfered, but they're still doing a good job of making Bram look tough. And that's all you can ask for, really.

Bram and Dreamer weren't the only ones bleeding, though. Somehow, EC3 managed to bust himself open by headbutting Rockstar Spud.

Who knew the guy had such a hard head?

Still, I'm loving the drama going on here. The fact that Spud keeps coming back every single time is real underdog stuff and it works so well.

Although kicking EC3 in the balls when Tyrus is around was still a bad decision.

And speaking of bad decisions, Mahabali Shera still wants to join the Revolution. Because apparently he didn't see them assaulting the Wolves last week.

Image © Anton via Wikimedia Commons.

Seriously, people, watch the show you're on. It's not hard.

As for Manik, he was part of an excellent X Division Championship match.

I'm not surprised that Low Ki won. But I enjoyed it anyway, so take from that what you will.

Of course, we also had a Knockouts Championship match on the card. And I thought its psychology was well-executed.

Havok lost the belt, but it took two other women to take her down. Gail Kim lost, but she had an injury. And Taryn Terrell managed to defeat two opponents to win her first Knockouts Championship.

Everybody came out looking strong and competent. And that's the best kind of title match you can ask for.

Can't wait for the re-match.

And finally, the #TNA365 stuff. It was utterly pointless and didn't add anything except more footage of Brittany and Samuel Shaw sucking face.

Seriously, TNA: we didn't need that.

Image © chriscoven via DeviantArt.

I may sound a bit lacklustre about the show in tis review, but it's because it was more wrestling than story and that makes it hard to comment on.

I'm a writer, you see. I know story best.

Would I recommend you see it if you haven't? Yes.

And that's all that needs saying.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Thank you.

Related Post: TNA Impact: UK Air Date 16th November 2014

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

British Boot Camp 2: Air Date 23rd November 2014

You know what would have improved last week's episode of Boot Camp?

Combining it with this one.

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Alistair McGeorge via Mirror.co.uk.

Whereas last week was a great big pile of nothing happening, this episode was pretty fun.

Seeing Austin Aries, DJ Z and Magnus put the six finalists through their paces was awesome.

My favourite was probably Kay Lee Ray versus DJ Z. And not just because it was a battle between two people with awesome hair.

I love the way Kay Lee performs. She's genuinely one of my favourite female wrestlers in the world.

I'm sorta hoping she wins, to be honest.

And I think EC3 is as well, judging by the way he kept staring at her. Which was pretty funny.

Image © Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.

But of course, you can't talk about British Boot Camp without talking about Grado.

To be honest, I'm not sure what they're doing with him.

On one hand, he is fairly unlikeable at times. He over-shares, spends all his time in wrestling gear, and is generally a bit obnoxious.

But on the other, I see Dave Mastiff and Rampage Brown giving him grief and... well, I just feel sorry for him.

Maybe it's because I was a victim of bullying when I was a kid. But the jokes feel more mean-spirited than funny.

So I can't decide whether I actually like Grado or not. It's confusing.

Image © nicubunu via OpenClipart.org.

But despite that, this was great fun and I look forward to seeing the six have their first official TNA match.

It should be awesome.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Thank you.

Related Post: British Boot Camp 2: Air Date 16th November 2014

Monday, 24 November 2014

TNA Xplosion: Air Date 19th November 2014

We may be late, but we're still here. So let's talk about Xplosion.

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Match of the Week was one I think I remember. And more importantly, it made me feel old.

2007 was seven years ago. I was sixteen when this match first aired. Blimey.

I'd like to point out that three out of the four participants in the match are still with TNA. And that's awesome.

Oh, and Samoa Joe won all the title belts in one fell swoop. And how is that not the best thing ever?

I'll tell you how: because of the Xplosion Xclusive match. Which was the battiest thing on this show since Rockstar Spud wrestled Crazzy Steve.

Image © Tabercil via Wikimedia Commons.

You know, if there were one match I never expected to see on any TNA programming, it would be Mr Anderson versus Rockstar Spud.

And yet that is exactly what Xplosion gave to us.

And this match was...

No. I don't think I can find words to describe how unbelievably ridiculous it was.

Every single moment had me laughing. It was that freaking daft.

Some of my favourite parts?

Spud trying to be bad-ass by spitting gum at Anderson.

Anderson's many long-suffering facial expressions.

And the chase sequence that was crying out for the Benny Hill music.

But the best bit was probably Earl Hebner slamming Spud for accidentally giving him a knife-edge chop.

You don't cross Hebner, apparently.

Image © Ed Webster via Flickr.

This is exactly what Xplosion should be: ridiculous, high-energy, anarchic, family-friendly fun.

And I loved every minute.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Thank you.

Related Post: TNA Xplosion: Air Date 12th November 2014

Thursday, 20 November 2014

I'm Sick of All My Kicks

How many hardcore and No DQ matches have we had since TNA went on the road?

The Wolves, Team 3D and the Hardys had a table match, a ladder match and Full Metal Mayhem.

Bram has a hardcore match every time he steps in the ring.

Image © TNA via ImpactWrestling.com.

And now Samuel Shaw and Gunner are getting in on the action.

I could be wrong, but I think we've had one match that involved weapons every single week since the New York episodes.

There's no way to know exactly why TNA are putting on so many matches involving weapons. But I have two theories.

The most obvious reason is that it's something different from the WWE. If they're going to be PG, TNA with be mature.

If the WWE shies away from blood and ultra-violence, TNA will revel in it.

And that's fine to a point. But a more cynical part of me says there's another reason.

I think it's an attempt to get high attendance at the live events. After all, nothing draws in a crowd like a hardcore match.

Image © Pacifier via Wikimedia Commons.

Just look at Southside. They told a bunch of wrestling fans that Jimmy Havoc and DJ Hyde would be lacerating themselves in barbed wire and we went nuts for it.

But that's the thing: the fans had such enthusiasm because there hadn't been a No Rope Barbed Wire match in the UK for eight years.

In fact, it was the only No Rope Barbed Wire match I'd seen before in my life. So of course I got hyped for it.

But if I'd seen the same thing the week before, would I have gotten so excited for it? I don't think so.

And that's the problem with putting on hardcore matches every single week. People quickly get bored of them.

There are only so many ways you can smack somebody in the head with a folding chair before it starts to get repetitive.

Image © Mshake3 via Wikimedia Commons.

And the more times you put on a certain kind of match, the more excessive you have to get for the fans to give you the same response.

Bigger weapons. More blood. And greater risks for the performers.

It's the same problem that some people have with ladder matches. After a while, you run out of ways to innovate while still being reasonable.

So unless TNA want to take a page out of Combat Zone Wrestling's book and bring in the weed whacker, where's left for them to go?

Exactly.

Unless you're willing to go to real extremes, hardcore and no DQ matches cannot be the bread and butter of your company.

Will it draw people in? Yes, in the short term. But long term, they're going to get bored and leave.

You need to save matches like this for special occasions and give them the respect they deserve.

After all, the wrestlers involved are often literally giving their blood for our entertainment.

Image © KameleonKlik via DeviantArt.

The least us viewers and the company can do is give them some respect for it.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Thank you.

Related Post: I've Got To Break Through, I'm Going Under

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

TNA Impact: UK Air Date 16th November 2014

Was this episode better than last week? Hell yes.

Partly because the flashbacks were minimal and the TNA #365 content fairly inoffensive.

And the rest of the show?

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Rasslor.

The Knockouts featured heavily this week.

First, Madison Rayne versus Taryn Terrell. Perhaps a touch overshadowed by the triple threat on Xplosion, but still good enough.

Also, Taryn and Gail Kim will face Havok in a Triple Threat for the Knockouts Championship next week. Should be awesome.

Plus the Beautiful People teamed with the BroMans against the Menagerie.

Well. Minus the Freak. For reasons unknown.

The Menagerie winning? Good. Crazzy Steve picking up the victory? Awesome.

Crazzy Steve forcing kisses on Velvet Sky again? Ew. No.

Speaking of creepy, Brittany and Samuel Shaw are still constantly sucking face.

Why does Brittany want Shaw to split from Gunner, by the way? What's her motivation?

And does anyone else find it weird how quickly Gunner turned on Shaw?

So much for loyalty, I guess.

Match was fine, though.

Although added to the hardcore matches with Bram, I do wonder if we're over-saturated with weapons matches.

Image © TNA Wrestling via ImpactWrestling.com.

Answers this Thursday.

But you can't talk about hardcore without the Hardcore American Icon EC3. And that brings us to the stars of the show: Eric Young and Rockstar Spud.

I want those team as a tag team. I wan them to have a name like Crazy Potatoes. And I want t-shirts.

And Spud trying to take Bobby Lashley single handed to avenge EY? Noble, stupid, and totally awesome.

Of course Lashley was there because he couldn't get revenge on MVP and Bobby Roode. And so TNA had Austin Aries offer himself as sacrificial lamb, so to speak.

It's odd how they let Aries come so close to glory then snatch it away.

But going back to MVP, I've realised something: I don't like him as a performer.

He's probably a nice guy. But he bores me asleep.

Image © Elvira1990 via DeviantArt.

How do I know that?

Because without him, the Chris Melendez and Kenny King feud is actually interesting. And I liked it.

I know. It was a strange, distressing experience.

But nowhere near as distressing as Samoa Joe vacating the X Division Championship due to injury.

Get better soon and come back for the new champ.

Which brings me to the Wolves.

On the plus side, Davey Richards turned down the Revolution.

On the minus side, the Revolution sorta tore them apart and took their belts.

You win some, you lose some.

I loved how TNA pulled out the Feast or Fired briefcase, though. Great Chekov's gun.

Oh, and Storm is still the only redneck in the group because Abyss is from Washington. Oops.

And finally: is Manik in trouble for bringing in Mahabali Shera or not? It's not clear.

Either way, Storm? Personal space.

Image © Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.

At the end of the day, I thought this episode was pretty damned good and I had a lot of fun watching it.

Give it a look if you haven't already. You might like it too.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Thank you.

Related Post: TNA Impact: UK Air Date 9th November 2014

Monday, 17 November 2014

British Boot Camp 2: Air Date 16th November 2014

This week's British Boot Camp was not what I'd call eventful.

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Alistair McGeorge via Mirror.co.uk.

It started with a ridiculously long recap of who everybody was.

Necessary for those just joining us? Perhaps.

But for those who've been watching from the beginning, it felt like the worst parts of Impact.

And let's be honest: there's only one show that can make sitting down for a meal interesting, and that's Hell's Kitchen.

Watching the six finalists eat dinner with Dixie Carter was not riveting television.

Having said that, seeing them messing about in the RV was a lot of fun.

And Rockstar Spud and Dave Mastiff bickering over trivia was like an Abbott and Costello routine.

Image © NBC Television via Wikimedia Commons.

But the most interesting part was probably the match-ups with TNA superstars.

Of course, we'll only see three, but they all sounded at least decent.

Mark Andrews versus DJ Z should be fun. And Rampage Brown versus Bram should be rough and ready.

Noam Dar versus Austin Aries sounds mind-bogglingly awesome. Kay Lee Ray versus Gail Kim likewise.

Mastiff versus Samoa Joe is a match made in Heaven.

And then you've got Grado.

I still don't know how I feel about him. He's funny, and it's nice to have a consistent storyline in the show.

And yet... well. Grado. Do I have to say more?

His match sounds amazing though. Grado versus EC3? Too funny.

Image © Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.

All in all, this episode was missable.

If you haven't seen it, don't bother hunting it down and skip on to next week instead.

– Stark

P.S. If you haven't already, please consider donating to either the Trav Aid or the Showing Some Love Indiegogo funds for Kris Travis. Thank you.

Related Post: British Boot Camp 2: Air Date 9th November 2014