For Your Consideration…The Goals of the Bash

Welcome to week 67.

No, I have no idea why I keep writing that either.

First and foremost, I think all I can say about Dark Knight was…damn. No, I’m not trying to rip off Ron Simmons or even run the risk of ever associating the former WCW Champion’s lame gimmick with the film, but the powers that be at InsidePulse refuse to let me curse. Therefore, I cannot say holy f#cking $hit that was the most f#cking insanely great motherf#cking movie seen in years. That would be wrong and a blatant violation of our no swearing policy. A policy that I completely f#cking support, by the way, because if you’re reading this website chances are a curse word would send you sobbing openly as you run out of a high-rise window, and I will not have your blood on my hands.

With that said, I don’t think there’s anything I can write about Dark Knight that hasn’t been written about or discussed by people far more influential than me. Yes, contrary to popular belief, even I know my limits, and writing for a site that can’t even get its own damn Pulse Wrestling logo on the main page means I don’t carry the weight of Rolling Stone or Ain’t It Cool News or probably that world’s oldest blogger lady who died last week. Nope, no bitterness here, folks. But, and I cannot say this enough, this was the most pitch perfect comic book movie ever. And that’s coming from an authority. I was a huge comic book fan growing up, and even though I was a devout X-Men guy, I was well versed in anyone who donned the spandex. My comic collection always threatened to engulf my room, and should there ever have been a fire at my home, chances are I would have been burned alive under a pile of unboarded Justice Society of American and Alpha Flight books (because who the hell is wasting their money to board up the DC Z-Squad and a group of CANADIAN Superheroes…I don’t care how many times Wolverine guest stars, they still sucked).

Dark Knight was everything we could have asked for in a Batman flick and more. I would say SPOILER warning, but chances are if you’re reading this you saw the movie. In fact, if you’re reading this, you probably went to the midnight screening last Thursday and then, in your blurry-eyed post viewing stupor, wandered over to the Fandango machine and bought tickets for the showing the next day. At least that’s what I did. And don’t think that was my last showing. I’ve got a trip to the IMAX in my future. Thankfully my friends Eric and Jesse are just as insane as I am and were both game for the two showings in 24-hours. Oh, and if you haven’t seen it twice, I recommend going now. Right now. Leave work and go see it. Your boss will understand, and if he doesn’t…quit. Okay, don’t quit, but just don’t be as productive. Don’t worry, those DVDs will get reshelved eventually.

So, onto the movie itself. Well, before you get to the movie, you have to touch on the trailers. By seeing it twice, I got to see all of the potential trailers attached to the film, and by seeing it with the midnight screening crowd, I got to witness grown men applaud a screen (though by the look of the majority of the crowd, chances are it’s not the most embarrassing thing they’ve done in front of a screen, but at least this didn’t require a tissue…I might not be able to curse, but I can still be lewd). I mocked as the applauded for James Bond in a trailer that had me just as jazzed about the flick as I was before I saw it. The trailer didn’t really hype me up any more, but on the plus side I enjoyed Casino Royale enough that I didn’t need a trailer to pump me up for more 007. “Burn After Reading” looks like another great, twisted Cohen brothers movie, and while I know it will never reach “Lebowski” levels, I can at least hope it’s not another “Intolerable Cruelty”. “The Spirit” looks slick as hell, and having been fortunate enough to have once met Mr. Eisner, my $8 bucks were already pretty much a lock even if this looked like crap. “Terminator” looks fine, but then again it’s directed by McG. Yeah, McG gave me the great guilty pleasure “The O.C.” (any show that introduces the world to Rachel Bilson can’t be all bad) and the entertaining “Chuck”, but he also gave the world “Charlie’s Angels”. Out of every person I have ever met who saw this movie, only my friend Devon liked it. I normally respect his opinions on these things…but come on! That movie sucked so bad I fired my agent. Will he botch this movie? Probably. But on the plus side, he didn’t completely mishandle the trailer.

Oh yeah, there was one more trailer for some little-known comic book graphic novel thing. I think it was about time travel or something because they kept talking about watches. Maybe it’s a full-out movie about Batman villain Clock King? Or maybe it’s A Wrinkle in Time? Or maybe it’s a lame joke that I need to end before it gets worse? As soon as I realized that this was the Watchmen trailer I think I stopped breathing. My jaw was literally hanging open. Yes, this sounds incredibly geeky, but so what? It’s WATCHMEN. If you were at the midnight screening on a Thursday, you were in a safe environment to mark out for all things comic book, and any hardcore fan was going to have a geek-gasm at the first glimpse of the Watchmen Universe (hey, if WWE is going to stick that word in there, why can’t I?). I saw that the trailer had leaked online, but, fighting every urge in my body, I held back to wait for it on the big screen. Oh man, was it worth it. In an interview the other day, Kevin Smith said that he went back and traced every shot in the trailer to a panel in the book and it sated all of his fears. If that was good enough for Mr. Smith then it’s good enough for me. The trailer looks sick as hell and I cannot wait to see this thing come next spring. I don’t know how comfortable I feel with Zach directing this picture, but his unbridled enthusiasm in this week’s EW makes me think that even if he botches it, he did it with only the best intentions. And as we tie him to a railroad spike and drag him down the road of hell if he botches this, at least he knows we’ll feel a little bad.

Dark Knight was a masterwork. It was an intense crime drama that happened to have a guy in a bat suit roaming around. It was a focused character study that happened to throw around the term superhero. In short, to call this a comic book movie does it a disservice, and this is from a guy that holds comic book movies in high esteem. This is a film. A film that can stand alongside some of the all-time greats and still hold up. It was, in short, the movie we as comic book fans have always wanted the world to see. We didn’t need to see it because we knew our medium was a spectacular art form. We didn’t need a movie to justify to us that Batman is just as complex a literary figure as anything you’d find in the classics section. Even though we didn’t need it, we know that there were those out there who did. Those that needed to finally understand why we were so head-over-heels for these characters. Why we still read. Why we still discuss. Dark Knight made our passion the legitimate passion of the nation. For that, to everyone involved, I say thank you.

Thank you for making Harvey Dent an actual person that we care about before he gets mutilated. Thank you for letting the Joker be the sickest f#cking nutjob to ever appear on film in a PG-13 movie (that’s right, they did the disappearing pencil trick in a PG-13 movie!). Thank you for not inundating Batman with too many ridiculous tools (no Bat-Shark Repellant in sight). Thank you for having the balls to kill Rachel Dawes, and for creating that moment right before her death where she not only realizes that Bruce didn’t choose to save her but that she wasn’t able to finish her heartfelt goodbye to Dent. Thank you for letting Commissioner Gordon be a real person and a real detective instead of Barney Fife. Thank you for not wrapping everything up in a happy ending. Thank you for delivering what we all knew could be made and for leaving it all on the table. The gauntlet has been laid down, who’s got the balls to pick it up?

Alright, that’s enough from the world of comics and movies (and other stuff that I know there’s other Zones for…Zones with functioning graphics, mind you), onto wrasslin’.

    For Your Consideration…The Goals of the Bash

That’s right, it’s back to the safe confines of the WWE. I tried my best to keep my distance from the constant battle between the ROHbots and the regular folks, but despite my best efforts I got pulled into the muck and mire. On the plus side, my logical arguments were pretty hard to completely harpoon, but that didn’t stop folks from trying. Either way, I’m staying out of their world until at least October when I go check out the show live.

Last year I was pretty hard on the Great American Bash, and rightfully so. The goals of last year’s show were to get over Bobby Lashley and John Morrison and to erase the memory of the Benoit tragedy. I went back this morning and re-read my column from last year and saw that the goals that the WWE hoped to reach just weren’t met. So, with that said, I figured I would look at this year’s Bash and see if they finally hit their marks or if they missed on a TNA level.

The first match was the Smackdown Tag Title fatal four-way with Miz and Morrison defending against Jesse & Festus, Finlay and Little Bastard and the Edges. To my surprise, Smackdown has built a fairly strong little division for their brand. When you factor in Moore & Yang and possibly Kendrick and Random Big Black Guy, you’ve got a solid division that actually tops the “height” of tag wrestling in the WWE when it was just Edge & Christian, the Hardy Boys, the APA and the Dudleys. The goal of the match here was pretty simple, get the tag belts off of Miz and Morrison in the easiest way possible. Sure, Miz and Morrison have been gold as a tag team and are probably the best thing going on ECW, but having the two guys who could be the top heels holding the tag straps limits the brand. Giving the belts to the interchangeable white guys from Long Island allows Smackdown to have its own heel tag champs without having to constantly force Miz and Morrison to work two matches a night. By doing a 4-way, you can let the champs lose without having to get pinned. Jesse can take the pin because he always takes the pin. Finlay couldn’t lose because he’s supposed to be the legit #2 face on ECW. Festus can’t take the pin because he’s supposed to be a monster and has only thusfar laid down for the Undertaker. And the midget? Let’s give the new champs a little bit of credibility. Was this the best match ever? Not really, but the crowd popped a lot and every objective was met. Every objective except one. Listen, Jim, I’m a huge fan and always have been, but it’s easy to tell the guys apart now that one wears trunks and one wears pants. Oh, and their NAMES ARE PRINTED ON THEIR TIGHTS! Come on man, put down the BBQ Sauce and pay attention.

Matt Hardy versus Shelton Benjamin was very entertaining despite the fact that it featured Matt Hardy. I like Hardy just fine, but in the ring he’s about as dull as can be when he’s unmotivated. Here, he wasn’t all that motivated. Thankfully, Shelton Benjamin seems to have rediscovered the awesome that he used to dispense nightly and forced Hardy to have a three snowflake match. I like Shelton winning clean. I like Shelton holding the US Title. Why? Well, for one thing, this prevents the WWE from jobbing him out too much. Sure, he’ll lose in non-title matches and tag matches, but not in singles matches when the belt’s on the line. And it also helps that PS loves the guy. Losing clean was the best way to make him seem like a legitimate threat, all the while freeing Hardy up to take his place as the top ECW face. Look, Matt, I think you could be a decent superstar, but you gotta stay awake in your matches if you expect us to. The goals here were also pretty simple. One, get the belt off Matt Hardy so that he can focus on ECW. Check. Two, make Shelton Benjamin look like a strong champion who can now face off against Mister Kennedy and MVP and the rest of the Smackdown midcard in convincing matches. Check. Three, let the smart marks in the crowd remind the front office that Benjamin is still over with them. Check. I’m all good with this one as well.

Mark Henry versus Tommy Dreamer wasn’t the complete and colossal disaster that we expected. I figured Tommy would get no offense in and be squashed in 30 seconds. Instead, the WWE swerved us and allowed him to not only get some moves in but also make us think he could pull off the upset with his DDT. The Colin Delaney swerve didn’t make sense at first, but Tuesday’s ECW really made it clear. Colin is essentially supposed to be every old ECW mark out there. He gets the crap beat out of him and yet he makes it on the roster. He gets to follow his idol around only to find out that he’s still going to be a jobber. He tries to get over by turning on his hero in order to get in the good graces of the champ. Then, once he does the turn, they leave him out to dry and point out just how big a loser he truly is. While I’m glad they let Dreamer get moves in, the WWE should have probably just let Henry squash him. Why not let the World’s Strongest Champion look like a strong champion? If he can’t beat Dreamer clean, how the hell are we going to buy him as at all legit? I’m not too worried because Henry is the politically correct transitional champion. With Miz, Morrison, Finlay and Hardy ready to take over the ECW main event, Henry will be shuttled down the card and used as cannon fodder to get over Bourne and the awful Ortiz guy (sorry, I’m not on the bandwagon yet considering how sloppy his debut was).

Jericho versus Michaels didn’t seem to get off the ground the way it should have. It just didn’t click for me in the beginning. I think my frustration stemmed from the fact that I realized early on that the WWE wasn’t going to give us the straight up HBK/Y2J match that we yearned for. Instead, we got a whole lot of storytelling sprinkled with some kickass wrestling. With that said, what we did get was one intense brawl, one sick blade job and one crazy finish. Jericho’s asking the ref if Shawn said no before kicking him was hilarious. Jericho’s barrage of punches onto a helpless Michaels at the end was the perfect capper. Unfortunately, the ref was constantly in the camera’s line of vision, which blocked the great money shot of the blood-soaked HBK with the buckets pouring out of his head. If they got that shot, you know it would have made the opening credits. The goal here was simple; take Michaels out of action for a while and make Jericho look like the sick and sadistic guy that he is now. Funny Jericho is gone and seems to have been replaced by a Cactus Jack/Raven hybrid and I’m all for it. Now PLEASE let him let Cade feud with HBK while he moves on to CM Punk. Please?

Michelle McCool versus Natalya Neidhart was short and bland and my pick went over, so huzzah for me. Giving McCool the belt makes sense since there are more strong heels than faces on Smackdown. Michelle can compete against Victoria, Neidhart and Maryse in a nice little roundtable of challengers before having to drop the belt. The goal here was to not bore the crowd to death and I think they did that (I didn’t see anyone being carted off).

CM Punk versus Dave Batista. Sigh. Well, on the plus side, Punk didn’t lose the belt. See, there’s a plus side. I guess the WWE is destined to make Punk the underdog champion like Mysterio because they just don’t have any faith in him yet. Unfortunately, listening to the crowd’s reaction on Sunday, they might be right (and that pains me to say). Punk is nowhere near as over as he once was, and that just sucks. He works his ass off in the ring and sells like a madman for anyone he competes against, but the fans were browbeat into believing he wasn’t “the guy” for so long that I think they just sort of accepted it. Batista had him pretty much beat and unbelievably awful Michael Cole (I never realized how bad he was on Smackdown…mainly because I fast forwarded a lot) made it seem like Dave’s win was inevitable. I never once bought that Punk was a credible threat to Batista, and that’s not a good thing. The WWE’s goal here was to show that Punk doesn’t have what it takes to be champion, that he won the belt on a fluke and hasn’t proven himself and that Dave had the belt all but won until Psycho Kane interfered. Unfortunately, they met their goals. I don’t buy Punk’s title reign as anything but a fluke, and his constant ass kickings followed up by Honky-esque wins does nothing but taint his legitimacy. I guess we’re setting up Punk/Kane/Batista? Or Punk/Kane/Batista/JBL? Or Punk/Kane/Batista/JBL/Cena? We’re one away from an Elimination Chamber. Just saying. Hey, maybe Chris Jericho’s not going to be busy…

JBL versus John Cena was just as silly and just as stupid as people said it was, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t pop the crowd. Bradshaw needed the win to keep his self respect, but after almost killing Cena with the car, don’t you think John needed to get a little heat back? Well John Cena is indeed bulletproof, and his continued journey to give back every job he took is admirable. Say what you want about the guy, he always gives 100% and never bitches about what he’s doing. Lay down for Orton? Sure. Lay down for Orton again? Okay. Lay down for Hunter? No problem. Job to JBL in a parking lot match? You got it. Cena got some of his heat back on RAW, but now Bradshaw has a legitimate claim to the #1 Contender slot again, and on a heel-lite show, JBL is a necessary evil for the time being. Sure, the match was awful, but it gave us a new #1 or #2 heel and some cool visuals to insert in the new RAW opening.

The main event of Edge versus Triple H. Now I didn’t read the Smackdown spoilers so I have no idea what happens next, but I will say this, the WWE is delivering on a halfway decent storyline. Edge and Vickie by all accounts should have been done and over with, but they are getting more heat out of the GM then they are from half their roster. And that heat has made Edge’s heel heat go nuclear. He is the best heel in wrestling by far and this match didn’t prove anyone wrong. I personally would have loved to see him go over and win the gold, but I guess Hunter really wants a long title reign (and his willpower to stay away from the belt for so long-excluding No Mercy-means he deserves it). Now we can hopefully get a new challenger for Hunter while Edge deals with his marriage issues. The match itself was damn good and these two are always entertaining as hell to watch, and the Sports Entertainment finish we already expected wasn’t TOO bad. The goals here were simple; keep the belt on Hunter and keep the Edge marriage storyline going. Done and done.

No, GAB 2008 wasn’t pay-per-view of the year, but for a transition show in the middle of the summer, this damn thing delivered the goods. We got good matches, compelling storylines and JBL getting his balls electrocuted, what more could you ask for?

This has been for your consideration.

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