Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Natural Drama of Competition and the WWE


Monday night's WWE Raw was really good.  Or, at least, it was a big improvement over the last few weeks.  It addressed a lot of my problems, such as the lack of build up for CM Punk versus Jericho at Wrestlemania, and had some solid matches.

The big take away from the show was that maybe John Cena could stand toe-to-toe with The Rock as they traded insults.  John Cena and The Rock have done such a good job of destroying each other that I no longer care who wins their match.  Why should I?  Either the millionaire wrestler who has starred in bad movies will win or the older millionaire wrestler who has starred in bad movies will win.  I don't care.
It's like Aliens versus Predator.  But bad.  Badder.
I actually care about CM Punk and Jericho's match.  I care about the match.  It has the potential to be an amazing match and will likely overshadow John Cena and The Rock.  CM Punk and Jericho don't actually need much reason to feud.  Their feud writes itself and I don't need a lot of back and forth between them to build it up, although I appreciated finally getting some back and forth on Monday.  It's natural for them to feud and I look forward to their match.

The thing I most remember and care about from Monday is the video Miz posted to Twitter.  You should really watch the video he posted.

I don't care whether or not John Cena likes fruity pebbles or if The Rock is just an act.  I don't read the "dirt sheets" or otherwise care about the innerworkings of wrestling.  I know it's fake, but I also know Breaking Bad is fake and I just don't care about the behind the scenes workings.
Yeah, I know.  I still care.
The Miz made me care.  There's a lot of passion and intensity in that video.  I care about who wins matches, but more and more I care about who actually has a match in the first place.  Bryan Danielson has long been my favorite active wrestler and I'm excited about him being in a Wrestlemania match.  I hope he wins but I'm mostly glad he's going to be there at all.

I like The Miz.  I sometimes think I'm the one guy in the world who does like him, but I do.  I want to see him at Wrestlemania.  I want to see him matter again.

Have you ever seen Rudy?  Samwise Gamgee tries to earn a spot on the Notre Dame footballs team.  The entire movie shows us the drama of just making it to the field.  I don't know if Notre Dame won the game he finally gets to play in.  I only care that he was able to play.

There is so much natural drama to very act of making it to the ring and the WWE is largely missing it.  NXT was a great opportunity for them to make matches actually matter and to give us a chance to really care about people as they struggled to stay employed.  While wrestling may be fake these are hard economic times and these are real jobs and real livlihoods.  The very act of appearing at Wrestlemania is a success and the road taken to get there should be dramatic and important.
Say what you want about TNA, and you can say a lot of bad things, but they tried something interesting with their Bound For Glory Series last year.  It was exciting to see matches actually matter.  Each match awarded points that helped to determine the top contender for the Bound For Glory Pay Per View.  It was simple but made sense and kept me interested in every match.

The WWE could create so much drama and suspense by doing something similar.  The Royal Rumble, for instance, is a hugely important event but I can't tell you how or why any of the participants qualified.  Sure, we want to keep some surprise entrants but why not have rankings shift around every week and at the have only the top 25 wrestlers qualify.  This can create some intensity and drama as wrestlers who are on the cusp might have to wrestle their own friends to qualify.  Doing something like this takes no air-time and would create organic and meaningful storylines that would help us care about the wrestlers and the actual matches.

We know the matches are staged.  We know the storylines and fueds are written well in advance of them happening.  We know that popular wrestlers will always do well.  We know all this and accept it.  Wrestling doesn't have to feel as fake as it does.
Wrestling is fake.  AND AWESOME.
There's a certain pointlessness to professional wrestling.  Movies, books, and most television shows have actual endings that wrap up their stories.  Wrestling will never have that.  Wrestling just inexorably drifts from one character to the next and it can become difficult to really mark out any beginning or end to anything that happens.  Wrestling is all about the now and it can be very exciting.  I just want the now to have more meaning to the future instead of none at all.

There's so many opportunities to make people care about every match and they're missing it.  There's so much natural drama that competition breeds and whenever the WWE goes out of its way to ignore that formula it creates a show that feels fake.

I want to care about every match.  The Miz is right.  Wrestling is his life and it's how he survives.  If he's not relevant he doesn't have a job and if he doesn't have a job he doesn't have food.  There's drama here and the WWE could capitalize on it extremely easily and make us all care about even the most one-sidingest squash match.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dialectical Hobby News and Thoughts

There's a lot going on in the world of miniature gaming.

I would like to take this opportunity to go into some things that have caught my eye and to give an update as to where I am in regards to my plans for the year.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Why I Am Not A Liberal

I'm a leftist.  Or a democratic socialist.  Or an anarcho-communist.  Or a Marxist.  Honestly, the ideas that I advocate for fluctuate wildly every day.  That doesn't mean the bedrock from which I form opinions from is unstable, but my idea of an ideal society changes all the time.  All the same, it is easy to tell you what I'm against and I am against, in large part, capitalism.

It's easy to say what I'm not.  I'm not a capitalist.  I'm not a libertarian.  I'm not a Ron Paul supporter.  I'm not a Democrat.  Most importantly, I am not a liberal.

For a long time I used to consider myself a liberal, and why not?  I'm in favor of environmental protection, gay rights, a progressive tax system, and lots of other issues that would make me a liberal.  I think it was sometime around Jon Stewart's awful-waste-of-time Rally to Restore Sanity that I really started to better identify my beliefs and ideology, and to disassociate myself as a "liberal".
Ugh, way to waste my time.  If you're going to have Cat Stevens at least let him play one whole song.  Jerks.
First, can anyone tells me what liberalism is?  Liberalism no longer seems to be a coherent ideology, and even when it was, it was just vaguely in favor of liberty and equality.  I have spoken to many Libertarians seriously, hard line Hayek and Ayn Rand types, who assert that Libertarianism is actual liberalism.  There's no coherent world view, analysis, or system of beliefs that could be implemented to improve the world.

Liberalism is nothing but the idea that we should be nice to each other.  That seems like a very agreeable stance, but it leads to a lot of ineffectual attempts at improving the world.  Liberals, at best, try to lessen the consequences of capitalism.
Liberals helped stop child labor.  Then they exported it.
The two most obvious instances where this idea of liberalism can be applied is the recent Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the situation with FoxConn and Apple.

SOPA was an obvious overreach that could have affected many bourgeois liberals in America.  It was strange to see liberals oppose SOPA by wildly overstating the importance of social media in the Arab Spring.  Even still, liberals were on the right side of this very specific issue.  Yes, SOPA was bad legislation.

My major problem with liberals here is that they were too busy trying to stop this single piece of legislation that they seldom addressed the causes that allowed SOPA to exist.  Libertarians were able to masterfully frame the argument against SOPA by asserting that it was government overreach.  This argument gained some traction with many squishy liberals.  While Libertarians were able to give their very false spin on this issue, we never once were able to address some deeper issues related to SOPA.

SOPA was promoted by many corporate interests that bought the votes of various members of Congress.  While Libertarians are ridiculous to assert a legislature enthralled to corporate interest can somehow represent "government overreach", liberals were too busy arguing against SOPA (for largely selfish reasons) that they were unable to actually push for fundamental change that would stop something like SOPA from happening again.  SOPA, at its core, is merely an example of corporate influence in our increasingly un-democratic process.  Sometime in the future, I'll address the false dichotomy of capitalism and crony-capitalism, but for now it's important to just realize that capitalism will use any lever of power it can influence to help it maximize profit.

Apple's outsourcing of manufacturing to FoxConn is one of the greatest examples of capital excess in recent history.  Apple is not alone in this, but they are a tech icon and it is right to single them out, especially in a year where Steve Jobs was all but deified by the bourgeois-liberal class in America.

Capitalism, as I talked about in a recent post, is a monster of perpetual hunger and constantly seeks profit.  Outsourcing manufacturing to parts of the world that will gladly enslave its people and pollute its land has become an increasingly popular form of maximizing profits.  Apple, like almost all tech firms, has done just that, and as long as they were able to squeeze every cent from the sale of their various iGadgets, they were happy to export misery in return for importing profit.

Liberals were outraged when they heard that FoxConn's working conditions were awful and that many workers were driven to suicide.  Again, upon hearing this, liberals wanted to fix this particular excess of capitalism instead of addressing any of the core issues.  Very rarely has this discussion turned to whether or not there should be free trade with China or other parts of the world that are content to exploit its people for American profit.

The problem isn't with FoxConn.  The problem is that capitalism looks to squeeze every ounce of profit and will do anything it can to do so.  Americans who buy consumer electronics do not care if the work that went into creating it destroyed someone's life.  All they care about is how much the device costs. It is shamefully stupid to expect individuals to somehow change the very nature of capitalism and to make it somehow humane.  Individual action means nothing in the face of capitalism. Collective and democratic action is the only force that can stop the excesses of capitalism, and until we all understand this, we will forever be plagued by the ruin it delivers.

In both of these cases, liberals have tried to put out fires.  Never are the core issues address nor have steps been taken to prevent future problems.  Liberals may be useful allies in trying to incrementally fight capitalism, but they will only do so when each and every instance of capital excess is brought to light.  Liberals are capitalists and endorse the capitalist system.  Being a liberal means that you are a gardener that tries to cut weeds without attempting to truly root them out.  FDR and President Obama have been, at best, liberals who have tried to save capitalism by lessening the horrors it inflicts.

I listen to a lot of conservative talk radio, and it always humors me to hear these people talk about liberals as though they were Marxists or leftists.  As an actual Marxist, it really strikes me as stupid that someone would accuse President Obama of being a Marxist when he has done nothing to reign in free trade, has yet to nationalize any banks, and has otherwise continued the pro-capitalist platform of the Democratic Party.

Once you realize that liberalism means little more than moving from putting out one fire before going to the next, you have to start thinking about the core cause of these outrages.  It becomes impossible for most people to remain a capitalist once they understand that most plights in the world are caused by capital's inexorable hunger for profit.

I encourage everyone that identifies as a liberal to think about what that means, and please let me know if I am missing something.

At the end of the day I self-identify as an anti-capitalist.  I believe Karl Marx has the most incisive analysis of capitalism and its affects on society.  I also believe that we are so far from being able to imagine a post-capitalist society that there's no sense in trying to identify yourself on what you think should come after.  All that matters now is trying to stop the excesses of capitalism and rolling back its influence.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WWE Smackdown Review for February 21, 2012

For those of you that come to The Hammer Dialectic for Warhammer and Marxist analysis, I have to apologize for the deluge of wrestling updates.  I promise more Warhammer pictures and thoughts in the near future as well as a more regular column about my explorations into Marxist thought.

Those of you that come here for wrestling, thanks!  I'm so happy to be writing this review.  The WWE has been mediocre to terrible over the last few weeks and I'm glad that last night Smackdown went back to the well and did what Smackdown does best.

Opening Segment
Daniel Bryan starts out by cutting a really great heel promo.  As much as I've managed to enjoy the wormy vegan avenger, and I've enjoyed it quite a bit, I was very excited to see that Bryan Danielson came out last night.  Now that his feud with the Big Show is over, we can finally see him as the plucky underdog who manages to come out on top and be a bad guy for doing so.
The only thing I'm more excited about than Daniel Bryan being amazing is a future in which Daniel Bryan and The Miz form Awesome Dragon and destroy the Usos and Los Colons for years to come.  I'm actually pretty serious about that.  They have so much potential for an amazing tag team division and I would love for Miz and DBry to be a part of it.
Grade: A

Sheamus v Miz
I oftentimes feel as though I'm the one guy in the world who really likes The Miz.  He's a serviceable wrestler, but I think he's just completely hilarious.  Awesome Truth was one of those tag teams that given enough time could have been up there with the Dudley Boyz in terms of tag teams THESTINGER loves.  
Sheamus is also great.  I think his character could be a little more Chaotic Neutral, but I'm just happy he's around.  With all that being said, Miz and Sheamus don't have a lot of chemistry in the ring together but the match was definitely better than any we saw last night on Raw, so I have a hard time being too critical.  Seriously, the Miz has fallen so far from the top that this could have easily been a squash match and I don't think anyone would have been surprised.  That they put on a good match with lots of back and forth gives me hope that Miz won't get lost in the midcard.
Grade: B-

Kofi Kingston & R-Truth v Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger
Man, we're over a half hour into Smackdown and I have loved everyone and everything that has come on.  I wish there was a reason for R-Truth and Kofi Kingston being a tag team besides "black guys with nothing better to do".  Even still, I'm enjoying seeing them together so I really can't be upset of the why if the outcome is fun.
R-Truth is one of those people who is really under-appreciated.  He can wrestle, he can be hilarious, and he's just one of those solid people that creates a really strong foundation for everything else.  It's easy for me to gush endlessly about how amazing Cody Rhodes is or how Dolph Ziggler can make grandmothers look lethal, but it's easy to overlook R-Truth.  I'm not overlooking you anymore, Mr. Killings.

With all that being said, this was an entertaining match.  It went by fast and had some good spots.  Dolph Ziggler had a credible offense and Kofi Kingston seemed sharper and better than he's seen in a while.  I really enjoyed this match a lot.
Grade: B


Santino & Heath Slater Being Funny
I have to admit to laughing quite a bit about this last night.  I hate to admit this because I'll lose all my Sophisticated Internet Wrestling Fan Street Cred, but I'm coming around to Santino.  He makes me laugh.  I like how the audience gets excited to see him.  I love how kids love having him around.  I can't help it.  He makes people happy and I don't think he's done anything mean spirited lately.
Just stop using Eugene's music.  Give us Eugene.  Despite having the worst gimmick ever, I really loved Eugene.
Grade: B


Drew McIntyre v Great Khali
Look, I can't pretend to care about this.  I like Drew McIntyre well enough and Khali is Khali.  As I was grabbing screen caps and gifs I noticed this.
There are lots of people who are really excited by Khali.  He's not my guy and I could go on for a long time telling you why he's not in THESTINGER's Fave Five, but some people like him.  A good percentage of my love for Ring Ka King comes from the crowd reaction.  If people like Khali , if he isn't a serious contender for a championship, and if he keeps not hating on women than I'm okay with it.  You're allowed to keep doing what you're doing, Khali.  You're welcome, big guy.
Grade: C


Mark Henry v Big Show v Special Guest Appearance By Raptor Boy
I guess Mark Henry and Big Show are still a thing.  I think Mark Henry is awesome and Big Show managed to have a pretty compelling story with him for a while.  Now it's just treading water.  The good news is that this looks like a match that'll just help cement a Big Show / Cody Rhodes feud.  Yes, I'd rather see a Cody v Golddust match at Wrestlemania because the family drama in the Rhodes family is gripping and important to me, but I'll take what I can get.  If Cody is feuding with Show that means we'll get more Cody and I want more Cody.  Thanks, WWE, I guess.
Grade: C+

Teddy Long / Aksana / John Laurinaitis / David Otunga / Big Zeke
I'm becoming increasingly baffled by how anyone could not love everything about John Laurinaitis and David Otunga.  They're hilarious.  Brandon made a point that I think is turning out to be true: Laurinaitis doesn't give a fuck.  People make fun of him, treat him like crap, and otherwise disrespect him and the he keeps a smile on his face and just laughs about it.  The only time he didn't was when he had an emotional outburst and that made me legitimately care about him as a person.  Part of me wishes that the best thing to come out of CM Punk's summer wasn't John Laurinaitis, but I'm having too much fun loving #BigJohnny that I can't be too upset.
David Otunga has benefited a lot from all of this.  I wish I had the words to explain how great Otunga is nowadays.  He's endlessly hilarious to me.  I wish I had more to say, but I don't.  This whole angle is hilarious and fun and that's all I ask for sometimes.
Grade: A

Daniel "Bryan Danielson" Bryan v Chick Magnet Punk
Besides CM Punk's irrational hatred of Laurianitis, which seriously makes no sense as he's been the most fair General Manager I've ever seen on a rasslin' show, he managed to cut a really funny promo.  His Laurinaitis voice was funny.  His referencing Serena?  Hilarious.  No mention of vaginas, testicles, or ovaries?  Great!  I keep talking about how the CM Punk we all loved never came back after Money in the Bank, but I think he showed up last night.
CM Punk has been as bad as Triple H lately in how he's treated his fellow wrestler.  Yes, we know they're supposed to hate each other in various storylines, but Punk has gone after these guys in such a way that makes it hard for people to take them seriously afterwards.  I'm so happy that Punk didn't do that with Bryan.  Instead of talking about how terrible of a person, wrestler, or a man Bryan is Punk decided to just be funny and put on a great match that let Bryan look like a credible World Champion.
Daniel Bryan and CM Punk can wrestle, and that's what they did last night.  It was exciting, fun, and told a good story.  If these two don't get to face each other at a Wrestlemania in the future, it'll be a tragedy.  Last night's match wasn't as good as it could have been but it was thoroughly entertaining and did everything a wrestling match should do.  It was suspenseful, exciting, and told a story and did so while impressing us with their athleticism and in-ring chemistry.
Grade: A-

Summary
I don't want to be a broken record but this is so easy to do.  All the WWE needs to do to keep me interested is to let talented wrestlers put on exciting matches.  If they could cut out all of the mean spirited stories and characters that would help, but if they keep giving me exciting wrestling matches I'll keep watching.  I don't want to have to apologize for being a wrestling fan.  I don't want to have to acknowledge how sexist, racist, and homophobic the WWE can be and still watch despite all this.  I just want to come home from work, watch some rasslin', and talk with my bros about how much fun this all is.  

Smackdown delivered all that last night, and I loved every minute of it.  Last night they seemed to take back so much of the ill will they had created with me.  They made Daniel Bryan look strong, didn't have Natalya fart or otherwise show hatred towards women, gave us the CM Punk that I love, made me laugh with Santino and Laurinaitis, and had some wrestling that was worth watching.  This is so easy, guys.  Just show respect for people and give us wrestling and we'll all be happy for it.
Grade: A


This Whole CM Punk and Chris Brown thing
I have shitty taste in music.  Unless you're affiliated with the Wu Tang Clan or play death metal I've probably never heard your music.  I listen to a ton of NPR and when I'm not listening to NPR I'm listening to Dying Fetus or Immolation or whatever.  What I'm trying to say is that I don't know who Chris Brown is and I don't really care.  He hit his girlfriend and that's really bad.  Don't hit women, guys.  

I don't know, I have really mixed feelings about CM Punk picking a fight with Chris Brown.  On the face of it it appears to be CM Punk picking a fight with a pariah for some cheap publicity.  I'm not trying to say that CM Punk isn't sincere or anything.  I just think if he cared so much about this issue he would be picking a fight with Mike Tyson.

I do food delivery to where homeless people gather pretty.  If, after we hit all of our spots, we have extra food we tend to take it over to a woman's shelter.  When we go, I'm not allowed in because I'm a strange man and they don't want my presence to worry or otherwise intimidate the women or children there.  

I guess my larger feeling has to do with how domestic violence becomes something worth avenging.  I don't want to make excuses for anyone that abuses another person, but those that do so rarely do so out of full control of their emotions.  These are people who are either emotionally stunted or otherwise ill and they take that out on people they should love.  Doing so just damages everyone involved and will perpetuate this cycle of violence.  

I grew up in a really hostile environment where everything turned into a vicious battle.  These battles were emotional more than physical, but the physical altercations really stuck with me.  It's been hard to shake that off and to grow from those wounds.  

I don't know.  I'm sure this Chris Brown guy is a dirt bag.  I just feel that the best thing to do would be to ignore him and to focus on the victims of these crimes.  It's easy to reflexively fall back on violence when you're in the right, but doing so doesn't make life better for those that have been hurt.  It's really easy to hate on a pariah, but I think it's more virtuous to help the victims of these crimes and don't feed the narcissism of one man who has chosen to be an abuser.

Doctor Awesomus says a lot of things I agree with and does so with a lot more clarity than I can muster.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 20, 2012 WWE Raw Review

Well, we're done with two out of three WWE shows for the week.  We can do this!  We just have to keep moving forward.

Intro
Okay, guys, I used to be a really angry dude.  Sheamus can tell you all about how us working class, pale, redheaded guys can be.  I've been pretty good about not being so angry for the last few years, though.  It's been really nice not flipping off the handle over stuff.  Last night pushed me, though.

Imagine a wrestling company, we'll call that company WWE, and imagine that this company only cared about women for their sex appeal.  Imagine if in a major story line that one of the male wrestlers, let's call him Zack Ryder, fell in love with a female wrestler, let's call her Eve, for no reason other than thinking she was hot.  Now, imagine that this Eve character knew that the only way to advance in the WWE is to continue being hot and to be seen with progressively more popular male wrestlers.  Sounds like a pretty reasonable line of thinking, right?  I mean, if you're going to exist in a workplace that seeks to exploit your sexuality for profit, shouldn't you at least try to use that same sexuality for career advancement?
This entire plot line with Eve went from hilarious (her laughing to the Bella Twins about how ridiculous she thought Zack Ryder was) to a cruel horror movie.  Look, I know Brandon and others have belabored the point that if a person is a hero they should act like a hero, but last night illustrated that more than any other event in recent wrestling history.  John Cena is supposed to be a hero.  Children are supposed to look up to him.  At worst, he impulsively made out with his dorky friend's hot girlfriend in a moment of relief.  There's nothing wrong with that.  Hell, there's nothing wrong with him actually having feelings for Eve.  Charlie Sheen wasn't a bad guy in Lucas, you know?

Having Eve turn into a bad guy by admitting that she's just trying to "play the game" (I'll get to that soon) was kind of weird but could have been funny.  Having John Cena find out and lead what amounted to a reenactment of the Scarlet Letter was not just disgusting, but really sad.  I said this over in the Open Thread but it's really easy to turn into Junior College Sociology Professor and talk about how Rome had deadlier coliseum games as their society started to decay and America is going through the same thing with the WWE, but yeah, maybe it's easy to say that because it's true.
Look, I'm a guy.  I wish I could better articulate the hows and whys of what I felt last night but it's all bad.  I can't express how much I hated this segment.  I hate what they're doing to Natalya, but they somehow managed to do something much worse to not just Eve, but to all women.  I swear, I thought John Cena was going to lead the audience into test the virginity of unmarried women and having them all stoned for their sins.  It was gross, disgusting, and just the absolute worst.  I hated this so much.  I hate that we live in a world where Triple H can leave Chyna for the boss's daughter and be where he is but Eve's character will forever be ruined because of a stupid storyline about her using her own sexuality for careeer advancement.

I don't want to go on forever about this.  Fuck you, WWE and WWE Universe.

The Rest of the Show
Ugh, so, I don't know, some wrestling happened.  Not a lot, but some happened.  Epico and Primo versus Kofi and R-Truth was good enough.  Mark Henry versus Sheamus was alright.  I'm glad Daniel Bryan is at least destroying Santino with ease.  I'm actually happy if Santino becomes a perpetual loser in singles matches but manages to hold on and get close to winning Battle Royals and the like.
The Battle Royal at the end was OK.  It's a real shame Big Show actually hurt people.  Last night we were all terrified that he straight up murdered Dolph Ziggler and that Wade Barrett broke his arm.  Turns out that Ziggler is just amazing at selling everything and Barrett is actually really injured but should hopefully return soon.  The rest of the Battle Royal was solid, though.  Kofi, Jericho, and Cody all had fun moments.  Cody Rhodes, especially, is just amazing and I'm excited for all the things he'll do with the rest of his career.

Also, since the WWE coming out and just telling us to hate women they also made sure we'd come around to hating women on principle.  Thanks, WWE.
Undertaker and Triple H also had another staredown.  They talked a lot about "This Business" and everything else.  This feud sucks and I hate Triple H and all this is doing is making me not get excited whenever Undertaker is around.  The absolute worst part of this whole feud is their insistence that they're the last of their kind or something.  They keep talking about how the younger guys aren't as awesome as them.
The more I think about this, the more I realize why I hate it so much.  Triple H, and now Taker, are trying to bury the younger guys and that's awful.  The fact that the younger guys are so much better than them just makes it preposterous.  Take this for it's worth since I can be really contrary in some of my opinions, but the roster they have now is better than any single roster I can remember in the WWE.  Yes, it's better than the Attitude Era.  All the guys who wrestle now bring something exciting and worthwhile.  The quality of the actual wrestling is fantastic when they're allowed to actually put on a match.  There are so many problems with the WWE but I find it hard to believe anyone could point to the roster as a problem.

John Cena later gave a promo against The Rock.  Everyone on the Open Thread seemed to think it was a good promo but it really didn't do anything for me.  The Rock and John Cena is starting to look like the Republican Primaries.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to vote for any of those gross capitalist pigs, but wouldn't it be great if the campaign was about ideas and about why people should vote for Romney or whatever?  The campaign has become so destructive that I can't imagine the Republican party actually rallying behind the eventual winner.  Cena and The Rock are just tearing each other down and I'm just so tired of both of them that I can't be bothered to care.  If Cena was really standing up for all the wrestlers there and for everyone that wanted to be a wrestler, shouldn't he just shut up and actually let them wrestle?

I don't know, guys.  Wrestling was merely boring and kind of bad a few weeks ago.  Last night went from bland to aggressively offensive and mean.  I don't like mean things.  I don't like it when Punk bullies people while the crowd cheers him on.  I just don't like it when people are mean to each other and get celebrated for it.  It makes me very uncomfortable and hateful.  

At least we got this last night:
I love everything about this.  Otunga is awesome.  Laurinaitis is hilarious.  It's just great.  Good job, WWE.

If you guys want to see the gifs I made head over to my Tumblrlrlrlr.

I'll be doing a Smackdown review tomorrow because, why not?  Seriously, Punk and Daniel Bryan could have an amazing match so I'm actually really excited by that.  WRESTLING > MISOGYNY

Monday, February 20, 2012

WWE Elimination Chamber Review

Last night another one of those Pay Per Views happened.  It was alright.  MrsTHESTINGER and I went to Bailey's over at the Ballston Mall in Arlington to watch it and we had an absolute blast.  The crowd there was amazing.  I've been to my fair share of live WWE events, but seeing it with a crowd at a bar is better than most of my live excursions.
The PPV served no real purpose.  At their core, each show should advance the plot and give us some entertaining matches, segments, or bits.  Elimination Chamber did nothing to advance any plot, as we all knew Daniel Bryan was going to fight Sheamus, CM Punk would fight Jericho, and John Cena would go against the Rock at Wrestlemania.  The only real chance to change any of that up would be to have Jericho win at Elimination Chamber so Punk was the challenger at 'Mania.  That didn't even happen, so I don't know what to tell you guys.
The matches themselves were pretty solid.  The Raw Elimination Chamber match had some good spots and Dolph Ziggler just keeps showing us that he's the man.  He's so good at selling wrestling moves, I'm sure he could sell icecubes to a Canadian or something.  But, seriously, he's the man.  My major fear with Ziggler is that between his goofy name and his ability to make everyone else look like the most deadly person ever that he'll never be given another chance to headline big events and otherwise get to be a star (he's already a S.T.A.R, though).  Seriously, if I was writing WWE shows (and I should be!) I'm not sure if I would ever let Ziggler do anything but make Zack Ryder look like a badass, and I really love Dolph.

Oh, also, Cody Rhodes is similarly amazing.  All my life I end up cheering for the mid-card heels who get let go and eventually descend into a spiral of drug addiction and alcoholism. I wish I could stop the inevitable decline of Ziggler and Cody, but I can't.  Sorry, guys.
The rest of the event was solid enough.  Despite Tamina not really knowing how to wrestle, she put on a good enough match with Ms Phoenix.  Justin Gabriel and Jack Swagger were solid, even if they weren't as good as Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel from last week's Superstars (anyone else watch that?  No?  Okay.) Only Kane and Cena were terrible, but that qA more or less expected because of how awful Kane is despite being a veritable John Galt of rasslin'.  haha j/k, he's awful and should go away forever.

I was glad to see Alberto Del Rio and Christian.  I really love those guys and my wildest dreams would be for Christian, Alberto Del Rio, Mark Henry, and David Otunga to lead a vicious new Four Horsemen / NWO stable lead by John Laurinaitis and just have them completely destroy the WWE ala Nexus.  OH HELL!  What if Steiner, Brutus Magnus, and Sonjay Dutt were on the phone with "The Boss" and it turned out to be John Laurinaitis and we could have Mr Excitement's Mega Stable invade Ring Ka King?  I'm a child, ignore me.
I really don't know what else to say.  I hope this PPV means we can stop having Big Show fighting Daniel Bryan.  Santino was funny enough, and probably got the biggest cheers at the bar, and he was a solid enough wrestler.
At this point I just need to focus on how excited I am for Daniel Bryan to be in Wrestlemania.  GO DBRY GO!

I didn't make so many gifs for Elimination Chamber but if you have any requests let me know.  The ones I've made can be found here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

WWE Smackdown February 17, 2012 Review

This isn't going to be a very long review because I don't have a whole lot to say about Friday's episode of Smackdown.

Here's a quick run through of my thoughts.

Wow, Wrestling Happened.  WRESTLING!
Last week's Smackdown was pretty bad.  Usually Smackdown can be reliably solid, but last week just didn't do anything.  This week started out kind of similar, but all of a sudden I realized that there was WRESTLING on this WRESTLING SHOW starring WRESTLERS.  I love WRESTLING!
Seriously, this episode had some solid matches.  It started out with Big Show and Khali versus Barrett (of the Barrett Barrage) and Cody Rhodes.  Sure, that match was pretty bad but the rest of the show had some solid wrestling and told some good stories.
I'm a real big fan of Hunico, and I'm very glad he's having a feud against Ted DiBiase.  Ted DiBiase isn't my favorite wrestler but he's solid and charismatic enough that I'm happy he's around.  I think Hunico could be huge in a few years if treated properly.  He's one of those guys that just has the complete package and could quickly become someone special.  Of all the midcard guys they have now (The American Dragon is World Heavyweight Champion so he's finally out of the midcard yay!), I think Hunico is the most complete and interesting.  He can do high flying moves and can also work in the ring like a true technician.
Even as a kid I didn't much care for Battle Royals.  It's just a big boring mess of guys doing a lot of nothing until there's only a few left.  As far as Battle Royals go, this one wasn't bad.  Having Santino win and get to replace Randy Orton at Elimination Chamber is a peculiar choice but the crowd really loves Santino so I can't be too upset. MrsTHESTINGER hates it, though, and doesn't want to pay for tonight's PPV because of it, so we're just going to hit up a bar in Arlington to watch Elimination Chamber.  If you see a goofy redheaded guy with a Dusty Rhodes shirt tonight be sure to say hi!
I'm not really big on the Usos, but somewhere in their match against Epico and Primo, who I think are really good, I realized that this was a good match and deserved more of my attention.  Thanks, Usos!

Why Teddy Long Is Great
I'm not going to lie, for a while I didn't care for Teddy Long.  I mean, he'd just come out and say "hold on now, playa" and that was cute but he really hasn't done anything for a while.  I could be reading a lot into this, but somewhere in the last few weeks he realized that he lives in the real world and should act like it.
Friday's episode started out with Randy Orton being sad and Teddy Long just straight up said he couldn't compete because of a concussion and that he was calling security to escort him out.  Later, when Mark Henry and Big Show try to bully him into getting what they want, he just tries to call them down before calling security to escort them out.  At a certain point, Teddy Long seemed to realize that he can fire these people and shouldn't put up with their trifling crap.

Good job, Teddy!

Other Thoughts
I wanted to talk about more than how I love Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes being thoroughly entertaining with everything he does, how Sheamus is an awesome Dwarf Slayer, and just otherwise gush about the things I normally love and keep me watching.  
One thing I don't talk about much is that I really like Booker T on commentary.  He's excited to be there, he has personal grudges with people but still sees them as really capable wrestlers, and he is just otherwise really fun to listen to.  I know he's one of those people the Innernettes seems to hate, but I really dig him on commentary.  Friday also gave us a really sad Booker T seriously telling Michael Cole that he hates him.  I missed it the first time but after making some gifs today I heard it and just laughed.

I know Michael Cole gets a lot of crap, and much of it is deserved, but I don't think the problem was ever Michael Cole.  Sure, at times he went too far and it's clear he's being reigned in some but even then the problem wasn't Michael Cole.  Booker T always tempered Michael Cole so he was never too bad on Smackdown.  The problem is Jerry Lawler.  Lawler does nothing to reign in Cole's excesses and adds nothing of value.  He just makes casually racist remarks, incredibly creepy remarks, and is otherwise just an ass.  Michael Cole, even at his worst, gave us a year long feud with Daniel Bryan that kept the American Dragon relevant.

My dream commentary team is Booker T and William Regal.  It'd be amazing.

The only other thing I'd like to really talk about is how annoyed I am at this whole Natalya thing.  Look, for the first time in months we got a good women's match.  It lasted for a few minutes and was pretty well done.  It's not going to be match of the year or anything, but it was a good start.  Then they ruined it.  It would have been such an easy gif to make, too, but I respect Natalya too much to do that to her and to potentially have it used elsewhere.  So, thanks, WWE, for taking one step forward and five steps backwards.  Jerks.

This is very quickly going to turn into a week of wrestling posts.  Elimination Chamber is tonight, tomorrow is Raw, and we're getting a live Smackdown on Tuesday.  This week is going to be extra intense on the wrestling but I promise to make it up to you guys in the coming weeks as I finish up some Marx posts and start going into my Tomb King army.

Also, you can see all of the gifs I made this week at my Tumblr.  If you use any please let people know where you got them so I can better indoctrinate the world into Marx.  You're welcome.

But, seriously, feel free to use them and if you have any requests for other gifs please let me know.

Smell ya later!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Red Fist Ogre Trible - Ironguts and Gnoblars


Here is my small unit of Ironguts I run sometimes with my Ogre army.
I think less of Ironguts than most.  They're Ogres and they're solid and not bad or anything, but they seem to fall in a middling area between Bulls and Maneaters.

Bulls with Ironfists are almost 25% cheaper than Ironguts, but they definitely don't feel 25% worse than Ironguts.  My Ogres seem to do the majority of their damage from Impact Hits and Stomps since WS 3 basically cuts in half the amount of attacks you get so Ironguts' Strength 6 isn't as important to me.
I could see Ironguts being better than Bulls when it comes to smaller units, but I'm becoming more and more convinced that Ogres should be run in large units. 

The other major point of comparison is that a naked Maneater is less than 20% more expensive than an Irongut and those extra points give you so much more than an extra 20% in effectiveness.  Those extra points give an extra point in Weapon Skill, an extra Attack, an extra point in Initiative, and an extra point of Strength over an Irongut, plus the ability to take various special rules.  Sure, Ironguts have Strength 6 Attacks but their Impact Hits and Stomps are only Strength 4 compared to a Maneater's Strength 5 all around. 
Basically, I'm increasingly coming around to thinking that Ironguts don't have a place.  Ogres are a better character bunker and are marginally less effective and Maneaters are so much better for not very many more points. 

Not for nothing but 15 Bulls with Ironfists and full command is 510 points.  15 Ironguts with full command is 675.  15 naked Maneaters with Full Command is 780.  It just looks to me that Ironguts aren't 165 points better than Bulls and if you're going to spend those points why not spend another 100 points for a unit that can be Stubborn and another special rule. 

Here are my Gnoblars!
These guys painted up very fast, one episode of Smackdown, and I think they came out decent enough.

I really like them in the game.  They're a cheap deployment and can be very effective against other hordes. 

Next week should be more Ogres, wrestling writeups, and I have an article involving liberal and leftist politics I need to finish editing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

WWE Raw Feb 13 Mini Review



It's becoming increasingly difficult to write about the WWE.  Rarely has the quality been so erratic and when it gets bad it can be very bad.  I don't have the time or energy to go into a full review like I normally would, but I'll go over what I remember from last night.  If I can't remember it less than 12 hours later it's because it wasn't worth writing about anyhow.  This also explains why I didn't write about Smackdown, but I did create some gifs that you can see here.
He gets like 2 minutes.  HHH and HBK get like a half hour.  :(
First, I'd like to say that last night's episode wasn't as bad as the previous week.  It started out pretty terribly with this debate thing.  The idea of getting the participants of Raw's Elimination Chamber could be a fun thing.  I want to know Dolph Ziggler's views on Social Security.  Instead, we just get a lot of crap and it was boring.  I'm a big critic of Face-Punk but his reaction to this was one I could agree with.
This segment had a few problems.  First, I never really enjoy Battle Royales as it's really difficult to tell an actual story until most everyone has already been thrown out.  Wrestling matches are best when they tell a story and show us something entertaining through the sheer athleticism and it becomes increasingly difficult to do those things when there are more and more people in the ring.  Second, having Ziggler, Jericho, and Miz just made me realize that Raw now has three heels who are heels because of "you people" styled cheap heat.  I really like these three guys but seeing them blend into one another and all become boring in the process just really annoys me.  R-Truth was funny, though, but I'm always unsure if I should feel bad or not for enjoying his schtick.
I guess some wrestling happened as well.  Everyone looked kind of slow and it was pretty boring.  CM Punk can put on great matches and I like The Miz more than most but these two had no chemistry together.  It was pretty bad.  Jericho and Kofi were also underwhelming.  Orton and Big Show was just embarrassing.  I really hate hating on people but Big Show isn't very good in the ring and he's reaching Khali levels of bad.  I want to like Big Show more than I actually like him, but, yeah, I don't see his purpose.  Mark Henry?  Yes.  Big Show?  No.
What else happened?  I don't even know.  I guess Kane tried to ambulance abduct-rape Eve and she jumped out and broke Ryder's heart by kissing Cena.  That happened.  Actually, this episode was pretty bad but I laughed for a solid ten minutes about it.  Good job, WWE.  What's the opposite of empathy?  You made me feel it.
Daniel Bryan was awesome, so there's that.  He just stroked his beard and got excited and beat people up with the belt.  That was cool.

Man, guys, I got nothing.  I'm sorry.

Yesterday I did a review of Ring Ka King and I explained the things I look for in a wrestling show.  Outside of the constant hilarity involving Zack Ryder's tragic life the show was a complete dud.  Well, and Daniel Bryan.  Keep giving us Daniel Bryan, he's amazing.  Also, I guess Ziggler.  I like Ziggler.

Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the show, I guess.  I'm a total sucker, though, and when the show gets bad (like it did last night) I just have it on in the background as I paint some of my Warhammer dudes because I'm an adult, okay?
Oh!  I almost forgot.  Some dude brought a fiat currency sign.  Man, I hate Paultards.  This includes Kane, but then again I have lots of other reasons to hate Kane (spoiler alert: he's awful).

Tomorrow I'll have a hobby post showing some more of my Ogres.  Yes, I'm stretching this out for as long as possible to give me room to paint Tomb Kings so that I can in turn stretch it out to carry me through the next hobby project.  For a long time I always wanted to have a blog focusing on rasslin' or Warhammer or Marx but then I realize that it'd last all of a month before I got disheartened.  Writing about whatever I want to write makes it so I can write regularly about things I'm interested in at any given time.  Thanks for everyone that reads, though, I really appreciate it!


Pics and gifs are courtesy of me, jerks!  Actually, if you want to use them you're more than welcome to.  Just let people know where you got them so they can be indoctrinated into Communism.  Many more gifs are stored on my Tumblr (wtf is that?  I'm an adult using a website called Tumblr?  ugh).  But, yeah, go here for those gifs.
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