Welcome to the High Spot, Place to Be Nation’s weekly pro wrestling update. Steve Wille (@SteveWille34) will take you through the biggest story of the week in the world of wrestling, adding in a unique view to help put the story in perspective. Glenn Butler (@Glenniebun) then takes a quick look at other important stories of the week. If you have any tips or story ideas, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Combing the internet, there seems to be a lot of disgruntled fans of mainstream wrestling right now. For those looking for an alternative to the goings-on in the WWE and Impact Wrestling, there’s no better time to check out the world of independent wrestling than this summer. This weekend offers the official return of Chikara, with its first event in nearly a year’s time since it was “shut down” as part of a major, years-long storyline event that percolated to the forefront. The main event of the card is a rematch from “Aniversario: Never Compromise” as the champion, Eddie Kingston takes on the new surprising face of Chikara, Icarus. Their previous match ended with Condor Security (the henchmen of the evil Titor Conglomerate) interfering and ending the broadcast. The majority of the other matches pit old Chikara favorites against the individual rudos groups that have returned to wreak havoc over Chikara’s sister promotions over the last year.
My guess is that this event will introduce a lot of the plot points going into Season 14. If this seems too intimidating of a story to get into, Chikara has put together a free e-book to understand its history at http://www.chikarapro.com/ippv-exclusive-offer/.
The entire card is as follows:
1) Main Event: For the Grand Championship of CHIKARA! Icarus [Challenger] vs. Eddie Kingston [Champion]
2) First Time Ever! The Colony vs. The Colony: Xtreme Force
3) Four Corner Elimination Tag Team Match! Scott Parker/Shane Matthews vs. 17/deviANT vs. Jigsaw/The Shard vs. ?
4) Clash of the Titans! Archibald Peck vs. Jimmy Jacobs
5) Six-Man Mayhem! The Batiri vs. Sinn Bodhi & his Odditorium
6) A Titanic Trios Contest! The Spectral Envoy vs. Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes
7) Sweet vs. Sour! Jervis Cottonbelly vs. Juan Francisco de Coronado
(courtesy of chikarapro.com)
- A Decadent Amuse-Bouche: On occasion, a little surprise pops up that combines a bunch of high-quality ingredients, creating a delectable little dish. So it was this week, when a dark match between two of Steve’s favorites, Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville, was leaked on the internet. Normally, a hidden gem like this would bring a smile to anyone’s face, but the video, seemingly direct from the WWE’s satellite, had no commentary, a hot English crowd familiar with both wrestlers and, most surprisingly, an odd microphone setup that highlighted the noise from the ring. Check out this fun ten minute match, squeaks and all, right here. Make sure you catch it soon, as we’re sure it’s going to be taken off the internet shortly.
- Our Deepest Apologies: In video game news, the US release of WWE 2K15 has been announced for October 28th, the exact same time of year as the last several games, and is indeed available for pre-order now. This means that the report of a delay as reflected in last week’s High Spot was, when you get right down to it, based solely on LIES. We have misled you, for we were ourselves misled.
- Other Video Game News: Both TNA and Chikara have new video games in development. In TNA’s case, a trailer that was clearly not meant for public consumption found its way to the public, presenting what is surely a preliminary vision of the esthetics of an upcoming game for mobile platforms. (I can’t wait to play as my favorite wrestlers, such as Gunner and Robbie E.) Chikara, meanwhile, is developing an atypical game for the wrestling milieu, just as they’ve developed a atypical promotion for the wrestling milieu. Their idea for a side-scrolling beat-em-up game like many of us remember fondly from our youngling years is currently subject to the collective tribunal that is Kickstarter, so if their pitch sounds enticing to you, you can vote with your wallet.
- It’s Great, It’s American, Let’s Bash It: The match list for an upcoming WWE match compilation, this time featuring selections from the Great American Bash shows, has been released. No Eddie-JBL, or Cena-Lashley? Weird.
- Who Will Be Broken in Half This Time: This coming Monday, for the first time, Jim Ross will be announcing a boxing program. His debut on Golden Boy Live will air on Fox Sports 1, a real television channel.
By popular demand (two to three people makes a populace, right?), the presence of video game news means we’ll cap off this week’s column with another installment of Glenn’s SmackDown vs. Raw 2007 General Manager Mode Stories. Previously, I humped with Viscera and came with Lashley. This week: a tour of selected tag teams that, while each certainly had its day in the sun, doesn’t really have enough meat on its bones for an entire story. Because of the way the game adjudicates who is in title contention and who isn’t, it’s advantageous to group people in tag teams so more of them are in contention at any given time, so our shows are always made up of tag teams organized into four-person stables. Sometimes the pairings we come up with are self-obvious; sometimes they need a little stretching.
Matt Hardy & Finlay — Sometimes this game speaks to you with a deep and abiding voice, and tells you what it wants. When a wrestler reaches a certain level of popularity, he or she will ask for title shots semi-frequently (the bargaining power of the CPU wrestlers comes in the fact that if you don’t listen to these requests and let the wrestlers get too upset, they will eventually email the other General Manager and offer to jump ship and join the other show); early in our run in GM Mode, my brother Scott found himself with a glut of people wanting title matches, and Matt Hardy & Finlay wound up going for the tag titles…and because we simulate results for TV episodes, introducing some spontaneity into the proceedings, they won. This was disappointing above all because they were not in a team, not in a stable, and had nothing to do with each other. They weren’t even Wacky Tag Champions Who Hate Each Other. Scott set them up to defend the titles the next week, hoping to get them out of the title picture quickly…but they retained. The next week…they retained again. The next week, the fighting champions…retained again. Hardy & Finlay were put together by the vicissitudes of the simulator, and by the vicissitudes of the simulator were they honed into one of the first iconic home-brewed tag teams of General Manager Mode. By now, after years of real time and more years of in-game time, Hardy & Finlay have been faces, they’ve been heels; they’ve been at the top of the card, they’ve been at the bottom; they’ve been on SmackDown, they’ve been on Raw. Occasionally they’ve been split up, usually because one of them jumped to the other show (one period of separation saw Matt Hardy team up with a create-a-wrestler version of Jeff in a stable of people who are on drugs, while Finlay joined a Commonwealth stable with William Regal and a rotating cast of characters from present or former Imperial territory), but they always find their way back together. They’re Hardy & Finlay. It just makes sense.
Other tag teams that came together in a similar fashion were Ric Flair & He-Man (there are some wonderful CAW instructions out there on this internet of ours), CM Punk & Jake Roberts (whose pairing became somewhat awkward when the Hardys’ drug-centric stable started up), The Boogeyman & Super Crazy (also known as BoogeyCrazy), Ric Flair & Shrek (Flair went through a lot of these)…and a pair of teams that formed the backbone of another of our storied stables, who will therefore have their whole story told on a future occasion when Professor Wille gives me more video game news to talk about.
Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boys — This game comes with all four Faces of Foley included in the Legends category, and while their stable didn’t last long on Raw, I made sure to have all four signed at once just for the novelty of it. The tag teams within the stable were Mick Foley & Dude Love (Two Wild & Crazy Guys) and Cactus Jack & Mankind (Masochists).
Undertaker & Mr. Perfect: 1991 Rumble Entrants — Sometimes a marriage of convenience, or an instance of jamming two guys into a team because you want them both in a stable, simply cannot be spackled over with a witty name. Sometimes your witty name has to point out how little the team members actually have in common.
Undertaker & Muhammad Ali: Pure Strikers — An aspect of the game that we take perhaps too much pleasure in, but never came up for Hardy & Finlay, is the tag team name. I am a firm believer in the axiom that a strong tag team needs a team name to truly unite the members. One team I’m particularly proud of having put together is Muhammad Ali, The Greatest, and The Undertaker, whom Michael Cole would have you believe is The Best Pure Striker in WWE History (even when the guy he’s fighting is a UFC champion).
André the Giant & The Big Show: Father & Son — Sometimes these things just come to you.
Triple H & Bowser King Koopa: The Kings of Wrestling — Recontextualizing tag team names from the past is also a favored goof in my household. This also became the perfect way to unite HHH & Bowser when I was looking to form a new Evolution. This iteration of Evolution, for history’s sake, also included Ric Flair & Shrek. Later, when Batista emailed me and jumped from SmackDown to Raw, he joined Evolution in a team with He-Man, dubbed He-Men. Later still, when I fired Triple H because I got bored with having him on my show, I took inspiration from the Fourtune group Flair was running in TNA at the time and renamed my stable Fourchrissakes. Neither of us is running a drunk/drugging stable right now, but it’s been decided that the next time we do, we’ll have to hire Ric Flair and call the stable Four Sheets to the Wind. Come to think of it, all this talk of the addicts’ stables may invite the question of whom such a stable’s natural enemy would be…but that’s a story for another time. My time is up, your time is now. Catch you next week, same High Spot time, same High Spot channel!