This and That

July 6, 2006

I’ve been over due for a commentary; so let me get right to this. I don’t have a specific topic but will touch on several things, thus the catchy title “This and That”

Books: “The Last Spymaster” by Gayle Lynds. I read this book on the flight to England when I went over for 1PW. I have always been a big espionage thriller fan. I read all of Robert Ludlum’s stuff back when I was working in Japan, but haven’t found a writer in this genre lately that really grabs my attention. That is no longer the case, as The Last Spymaster was awesome. If it weren’t for the fact that my flight was a night flight I would have finished the book in one sitting on the flight over. Great characters, great plot, and amazing suspense, this book is definitely worth picking up. I liked this book so much we will be reading a Lynds book for Book Marks in the very near future.

Movies: “X Men: Last Stand” I finally got a chance to get to the theater to see this one, and I enjoyed it very much. If you’ll remember I reviewed X2 and we debated it somewhat at length here on the site. My only real complaint if you can call it that was that there were so many new mutants it was hard to get a feel for them all. I don’t have an extensive X Men comic background and I felt some of the characters could have been explained better; especially Kelsey Grammer’s character the big hairy blue guy. I know enough about X-Men to know he was a fairly important character and remember him and Wolverine having a rivalry. After watching the film I can’t even remember his name. I also thought the large number of generic mutants really watered down the importance and uniqueness of the featured ones. Still an exciting movie and when the next X-Men movie comes out I will continue to support it.

Rentals: “The Ringer” I picked this up on the recommendation of my students. I expected it to be extremely stupid but they insisted it was funny, and I was in the mood for a laugh. Generally I like Johnny Knoxville, so I gave it a chance. It was a lot more of a movie than I expected and actually had a good story, even if the plot was a bit of the stretch. For those of you who don’t know, the Special Olympics aren’t actually competitive like that, and have more of an “Everyone wins” non-competitive environment. Was it just me or did Knoxville’s Blonde co-star not remind you of Trish Stratus? I found a lot of her mannerisms and the way she talked very Trish like. Maybe you guys won’t get that, as it’s more the way Trish acts and talks backstage as apposed to on camera. Not a great movie but good for some laughs.

Wrestling: I’m just going to touch on this for a minute, as it will likely stir up a hornet’s nest anyway and I have to get this off my chest. Do you remember the old Wendy’s adds with the old lady that used to scream, “Where’s the Beef?”? We need to bring her back and have here ask the question, “Where’s the Wrestling?”. I’m not trying to bash the product here (maybe I am) but the last few weeks of RAW have averaged about 18 minutes of actual match time per show. While that may not seem too bad with the current trends in “Sports Entertainment”, but when you consider that there are approximately 30-32 minutes of commercial breaks it seems a little thin. Unfortunately my concerns don’t seem to be reflected by others, as rating of late have been strong. I guess it truly is more about the sizzle and less about the steak. If you are like me and want to see more wrestling on your wrestling program, you are going to have to let the ratings reflect that and tune out during the long promo and non wrestling segments to send the right message. You could also watch SD, ECW, or TNA instead of RAW as they proved considerably more wrestling.

TNA this week had I believe 22 minutes of wrestling and their show is ½ the length of RAW. They also had a lengthy Jim Cornette interview, which is uncharacteristic for them, yet they still gave us more wrestling. It was great to see Jim Cornette on the show doing what Jimmy does best, cutting wrestling promos. I also hope he plays more than just an on air role for the company. While Jimmy and I are often of different schools of thought when it comes to booking, his stuff always has direction, makes sense, and is easy to follow, something I’ve found isn’t always the case when watching TNA.

I might as well touch on the other two wrestling brands while I’m at it. What can I say about ECW, other than I’m really glad I turned down the contract they offered me. I considered it very seriously when Dreamer contacted me early this year. I loved my old ECW days and working with Tommy and Paul again had a lot of appeal. In hindsight though this isn’t ECW one more time, it’s WWECW a completely new entity and more than anything else just a third WWE brand. This isn’t to say it will be a bad brand just not ECW like it once was. For those of you out there who like the new product I propose you start the chant We-C-Dub so as not to destroy the legacy of the original E-C-DUB, because this really has little to do with the Original product.

SmackDown, oddly enough is the show I get the most enjoyment out of each week, despite missing it more than I like, and hate what they are doing to Rey and the World Title. The reason I like SD is they have wrestling on this show. We consistently get one good 12-15 minute match, which is something most of the other shows don’t offer. Even with Benoit’s recent absence we have Finlay, Regal, Booker, Lashley, and a few others that seem to always deliver. I’d include Rey in that group but as I stated earlier he is so often destroyed and buried on the show, I try to avoid watching his stuff.

Before I close I want to just add my thoughts on the new Diva search as I am already getting email questions and complaints about it. If you don’t like WWE doing a Diva search every year you are going to have to quit watching them!!!! So many people complain about the Diva search but as soon as the girls parade out there in their Bikinis we all tune in and watch. If these segments didn’t pull ratings Vince wouldn’t keep doing them. If you need a T and A fix, perhaps you should considering purchasing a Girls Gone Wild DVD, or if you can’t afford that there is always lots of free porn on the Internet!

Lance