A Case of the Mondays

First and foremost, I just got back from a 20 hour car ride from New Orleans, so I apologize ahead of time if my utter exhaustion affects the quality and/or quantity of this week’s column. For anybody wondering, the trip was amazing, and I had an incredible time. I’m now completely broke and still unemployed, so that sucks a bit, but other than that I’m really happy that I went, and that for once one of these little adventures my friends and I conjure up actually came to fruition. That said, I can probably go without another two 20 hour car rides in a week for a long, long time.

Oh, and since I’m pretty high up on the tired meter, I’m going to pass on trying to think of any witty (or what I perceive as witty) headers unless they immediately pop into my head.

Draft Lottery…

Well, I said I’d reserve judgment of the WWE draft lottery until it was over, and it now appears to be over. Let’s first take a look at who was drafted, and then I’ll discuss who I think should have been drafted.

Probably the most significant roster change was WWE Champion John Cena moving to RAW, and World Heavyweight Champion Batista moving to Smackdown. While I don’t think this was necessarily bad, I do think it was unnecessary, as I find both men to be better fits on their original shows. Also, it isn’t as if either men have exhausted all possible feuds on the show they were on, as Batista basically only feuded with Triple H since winning the title, and Cena has only really feuded with JBL since winning the title. I would have enjoyed a lengthy Batista/Edge feud, as well as the possible Batista/Angle rivalry. Batista/Big Show also had potential, just as a feud with Shawn Michaels or RVD could have as well.

On the blue team, Cena could have had a lengthy one-on-one feud with Christian, as well as Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Angle (if he hadn’t been drafted), Randy Orton, Undertaker, Booker T, and Brock Lesnar if he ever returned. I’m also big on brand identity, and I think Batista and Cena were recognizable faces for RAW and Smackdown (respectively), so it is slightly disappointing to see them grow as stars on one show, and then move to another without really enjoying their reign on top of the show that made them what they are today. Also, having both champions on the same show for a few weeks really showed the company’s preference to the World Heavyweight Title over the WWE Title, in my opinion.

I think Carlito was a fine choice to move to RAW, although it was a bit of a hit for Smackdown to lose one of its most entertaining prospects after losing two of their most over guys (Cena and Angle). Nevertheless, Carlito will fit in nicely on RAW. Orton to Smackdown, in my opinion, was a wise choice. With Undertaker and Batista both on that show now, he has two natural feuds set up upon his full return. The guy also desperately needed a fresh start, and getting away from Triple H couldn’t hurt.

Benoit to Smackdown and Angle to RAW, in my opinion, were curious choices. I understand moving Angle, since he’s pretty much one of the only guys who has stayed on the same roster since the brand split (which I like, since I’m a fan of the brand identity thing), however it’s not as if we haven’t seen Angle feud with Triple H, HBK, Edge, Cena, Big Show, Jericho, Kane, and RVD already, so I don’t exactly think we’re getting anything particularly fresh as it is. The only feud we haven’t seen is with Flair, and they already jumped the shark on that last week. A long-term, high profile feud with Shelton Benjamin would be incredible though. Benoit moving to Smackdown seemed entirely unnecessary, since he’s one of the very few guys Triple H doesn’t mind looking good or being successful, and I don’t necessarily see him any higher up on the card on Smackdown anyway.

I think Christian moving to Smackdown is great, as that show seems to be a lot more open to allowing new guys to climb to the top. And, again, being an up and coming main event level heel and sharing a show with Triple H doesn’t always bode well. Just ask Edge. Nevertheless, I am disappointed that they moved Cena away from that show, because that would have been a fun feud to watch. Some of the 11 person trade decisions were unusual, I must say. Moving Chavo to RAW seemed odd, especially since they were seemingly building to a possible Eddie/Chavo reunion. Also, it’s not as if Chavo is necessarily over enough to be a major player outside of the Cruiserweight division, unlike Tajiri last year. Moving Regal to Smackdown was surprising, since he has such good chemistry with Tajiri, Bischoff, and Eugene. Seeing him interact with Angle and Cena would have also been a hoot. I can understand reunited La Resistance, however I would have kept Grenier on RAW, and moved Conway to Smackdown, since he’s the one who should get the singles push. Breaking up the Bashams was an interesting decision, especially since they’re lacking in the tag team division anyway. Jindrak is back on RAW, and I suspect he’ll either feud or team with Chris Masters. Actually, I predict that Jindrak may be the person to break the Masterlock challenge. Simon Dean and Richards moving to Smackdown is a good idea, since both could use a fresh start. Perhaps teaming the two up wouldn’t be a bad idea.

So, who would I have traded that didn’t? First off, without a doubt Tyson Tomko would have been reunited with Christian. Christian is an amazingly entertaining guy, and his contrast with Tomko makes him that much more enjoyable. Also, having Christian in his gaudy entrance attire, while having Tomko in his all-black outfit, really makes them an interesting pair. Along with that, Tomko is dead in the water without Christian. I would have definitely moved Shawn Michaels to Smackdown, since that guy has exhausted every conceivable feud possible on RAW. I also definitely would have moved Jericho to Smackdown, where he has a much, much better chance at reaching his past glory. Plus with the Cabana now on RAW, there really is no reason whatsoever why Jericho should still be on that show. On the lower card, I also would have moved Venis to Smackdown. With Lita, Trish, and Victoria all heels, I would have moved every female on Smackdown who can wrestle over to RAW. Charlie Haas to RAW also would not have been a terrible move, since he’s floundering big time on Smackdown.

Anyway, we’ll have to see how things play out from this point on.

What….this isn’t a wrestling column? Oh, sorry. Now onto TV (although, technically, wrestling IS on television….)

Now That’s What I Call a Sick Joke…

So I’ve seen a couple episodes of the newest Batman animated show, aptly titled “The Batman,” and I must say, I’m fascinated with the interpretations of some of the classic characters, particularly the villains. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a huge Joker fan, and the way he’s portrayed on the show is quite unusual. First off, he’s voiced by a large black man. That’s far cry from the semi-high pitched cackle made famous by Mark Hamil. Secondly, he’s got crazy looking long green hair, which I actually quite like. Along with that, instead of the classic purple three part suit, he’s wearing a colorful straight jacket, and is barefoot (which is quite strange). He’s also got big red eyes, and crazy looking sharp teeth. I still haven’t gotten the hang out of posting links, but here is the address to view a picture of this new Joker:
http://heroicimages.net/toons/Resources/Images/Batman/batman_joker2.jpg

As far as the show goes, I’ve only seen a couple of episodes, but each one I’ve seen was pretty good. My favorite, so far, is the one that Joker pretends that he’s Batman, and injects the actual Batman with the Joker Venom. When Penguin makes an appearance, and Joker tries to stop him, the reaction on Penguin’s face is priceless. The delivery of “…..Joker?” when Penguin figures out who is behind the mask, and the “The thing is, you’re not” (paraphrasing) when Joker insists he is Batman is great. For some reason, I’ve always been a sucker for the Joker/Penguin interactions, in every possible incarnation of the Batman series. Anyway, I definitely suggest you try checking the show out, as it’s certainly not lacking in the creativity department.

Oh, and if you thought Joker looked weird, wait til you see the Marilyn Manson looking version of The Riddler….

I Always Knew that Summer was Hot….

So this past season, I started watching The O.C. for one reason: I saw a commercial, and thought that Rachel Bilson was amazingly hot. Shallow, I know, and I’m sorry. Nevertheless, I started watching purely for her, to the extent that I wouldn’t even pay attention unless she was on the screen. However, slowly but surely I started actually getting into the show, as I think it is the best teen drama since Beverly Hills, 90210. The show is actually very smartly written, and if the writers are smart they’ll shift the attention away from Ryan/Marissa and even more on Seth/Summer, since everybody I know that watches the show watches it because of them. What adds to the attractiveness of Summer’s character is that she’s cute, funny (a huge plus), and just overall very personable and charming. With Seth, you have the dorky kid who is so comfortable with who he is that you almost have to admire him. For whatever reason, the characters just seem very real, and they speak very realistically (unlike Dawson’s Creek), allowing the dialogue to be overly entertaining instead of overly complicated. If I had one complaint, though, it’s that Sandy Cohen is just a little TOO perfect as a husband. Does the guy ever get angry? Does he ever raise his voice? Does he mind that his wife went into a drunken stupor because some other guy moved away?

As far as the season finale goes, I thought it was deceptively tragic. I mean, what Trey did to Marissa was inexcusable and unforgivable, however I don’t think it should be ignored that his attempted rape wasn’t, as insensitive and messed up as it’s going to sound, malicious. He was incredibly messed up on booze and drugs, and he honestly did think that she was interested in him. I don’t think he would have done the same thing if he was sober, and I don’t think he would have done it if the other girl didn’t plant the idea in his head that Marissa wanted him. He was also completely remorseful for what he did, repeatedly trying to apologize, and never again tried to make advances on her afterwards. By absolutely no means whatsoever do I think that any of those above points make what he did okay, but at the same time I don’t think he deserved to get murdered. He did not want to get into a fight with Ryan (he tried to talk it out with him first), and Trey’s attack on Ryan was practically self-defense. Once again, I am by no means condoning what he did. In fact, I believe he should have rotted in jail again for the rest of his life, but I hope they don’t write this off as “Trey tried to rape Marissa, so she killed him, now they’re even” because it’s a lot more complicated than that.

Again, I re-emphasize, I DO NOT think what Trey did was okay….I’m just saying his resulting murder was a lot more tragic than it was portrayed. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the season, look forward to the next one, and wouldn’t mind catching up on the first one either (since everybody says it was so much better than the second one anyway).

Family Guy and The 4400….

Despite what I said last week, I did end up catching Family Guy on Sunday. My favorite points of the episode have to be Stewie mocking Brian for his lack of work on his novel, Chris telling the evil monkey in his closet that he’s not in the mood, and Stewie’s “That was even distasteful to me” JFK Jr. comment. The show continues to hit home runs since its return, pushing the envelope more than I ever thought they would. You don’t know how worried I was that FOX would castrate them, and was very relieved when that wasn’t the case. If anything, the show has gotten even more lewd, and I say bring it on. Oh, and Brian’s continued voicemail messages to the Bachelorette were quite hilarious, as was his gift of an answering machine, filled with messages he had left.

With The 4400, it seems like somebody is about to get killed off. I’m worried it’s going to be Jordan, because, from what I’ve noticed, he’s not in the opening credits, and with the revelation that he (may be) good now, it seems like a disappointedly opportune time to kill him off. Along with the fact that Jordan randomly told Shawn that if anything happens to him, he’ll get the company, it seems like the most likely scenario. I certainly hope I’m wrong, because I’d really like to see where his storyline is going, and to see whether or not he’s truly redeemed.

Speaking of Shawn, I continue to really enjoy his character. I like that he works alongside Jordan (the default villain, if there is one), yet continuously shows character and nobility. When another 4400 is in danger, he tries to protect them. When he sees people in need, he uses his wealth and power to help them. He doesn’t talk down to people, and he tries to stand for what’s right. It seems really obvious that he truly does care about people, and he hasn’t let his surroundings taint his morals. However, I suspect that if Jordan does die, and if Shawn does inherit the complex, he may end up walking down a dark road.

I also like that they brought his brother back last episode, albeit very briefly. It makes sense that now that he’s had time to get over what has happened between them, that he’d care about what’s going on with him. I was worried that they would completely write out his family, and I’m pleased they didn’t. I’m also anxious to see what’s happening with Kyle and his black outs. One gripe, though: USA always has 4400 go into the next hour, so whenever I watch the Dead Zone, I always catch the closing minutes of 4400 (I TiVo both, and watch them later that night or the next day). I have to say, continuing to do this to your audience (this goes to all shows on all networks) is only going to anger them.

Alright, I’m going to have to end it there. Sorry for the wrestling-heavy portion of the column, next week we’ll be back to the normal format. I’d like to discuss my favorite shows on Adult Swim, so prepare yourself for that.

As always, send an e-mail my way if you want to discuss anything. Be sure to check out the other Flagships on the TV section, as they are all very enjoyable reads. Once I get the hang of doing links, I’ll start posting them regularly.

Best wishes, and enjoy your 4th of July!