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