The New Players

There’s a funny sequence in Sherlock’s first episode back from its two-year hiatus. For those who don’t follow the show, the last episode before the break saw—spoiler alert!—Sherlock committing a fake suicide, but the audience sees him alive and well as the show ends. That reveal, necessary to assure the fans they didn’t suddenly witness a series finale, stirred a huge storm of speculation as to just how he managed to pull off such a huge con. That storm raged for the entire two years the show was off the air, seeing theories (and theorists) flying left and right, one after the other, all over the Internet.

The return episode lampooned those diehard fans not only by offering possible explanations spanning the entire spectrum of plausibility, from the practical and real to the wildly fake, but also including the fans as an actual part of the narrative. (The real solution, however, has purposely been left ambiguous.) These varying theories are framed as the different possibilities of Sherlock’s con according to his onscreen fan club, a very thinly-veiled representation of those who’ve spent the past couple of years going insane over trying to find out how he did it. The funny thing was that they’ve made it to the very show they’ve been obsessing over for so long, all becausethey were obsessed. Whether they’re proud of it, however, is a different question.

Last Friday on SmackDown (because of course this piece is about wrestling!), Batista, the #1 contender to the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, calls Daniel Bryan a mere “fan that was let into the locker room.” It’s the latest entry in the long list of corporate-approved insults designed to antagonize Bryan and build up his underdog legend until someone devises something new in this week’s episode of Raw. Wrestling fans know that what Batista said was not just an onscreen knock against Daniel Bryan the character, but also an indictment against vocal wrestling fans who think they know better than the people running the company (regardless of whether they actually do know better).


Pro wrestling had always been a form of entertainment laced with subtext which pointed to real life, but it’s never been so deep in subtle winks to the camera until now—this particular period in its history, the so-called Reality Era, born of the fallout from CM Punk’s original pipe bomb. In this day and age, the fourth wall has been demolished and left barely rebuilt, and the secret of wrestling is no longer a secret. The business entered into this age, as many have written and recounted and parroted, because the power of the Internet simply made the move inevitable.

Read more: The New Players


Despite my being 30 years old, I still have quite the fascination with cartoons designed for kids. That's why I keep my ear to the ground for new stuff. So when I heard of Mixel, my interest was piqued. So I looked into it.

What I found both horrified and impressed me. In a move that would make Disney proud, LEGO, with Mixels as their opening salvo, is set to dominate multiple screens, and capitalize on that through merchandising. So, essentially, this is the strategy of Hasbro from the 80's and Disney of pretty much today. 

Before we get into their multimedia, lets talk about the premise of Mixels. The Mixels are, in true LEGO fashion, creatures with elemental characteristics that can mix and match with others, creating new and interesting combinations. Hence the name, I guess - Mixels. There are three tribes - the Infernites (fire), Cragsters (earth), and Electroids (electricity). Then we've got the Nixels, who are essentially the antagonists. 

Read more: Mixels


Instant Magic: Notes from Joshi+Jam Manila

The huge dude covered from head to toe in muscles on muscles just won. He had just beaten the young Japanese guy who now lay on the floor before him.

The poor kid had a nice, agreeable-looking face and came out earlier that night to the DragonBall Z theme, which was enough to get the audience to cheer for him. The big man – simply, ominously named The Bodyguard, and couldn’t have been more than 5’8” but definitely more than made up for it by being as jacked as a Renaissance statue – turned him inside out with a big-time running lariat for the three count.

The Bodyguard wasn’t quite happy with just that, though. He went to pummel the young guy, named Kuroshio, in a ground-and-pound sequence that the latter just literally took lying down. This went on for a few moments until former WWE wrestler Tajiri, who had wrestled the first match of the evening, came in to make the save. Tajiri rolled into the ring and promptly spit his world-famous green mist to the absolute explosion of the crowd in the Ynares Sports Arena.

Soon after that, Akira, Tajiri’s opponent earlier in the night, ran right in to even the odds and make it a two-on-two brawl. All we needed, joked the savvy fans in the audience (which were… pretty much 90% of the crowd), was the presence of former SmackDown General Manager Teddy Long to make the inevitable tag team match official – which it did, by the way, because wrestling logic!


Read more: Instant Magic: Notes from Joshi+Jam Manila


Justice League: War

Justice League: War is the cartoon equivalent of a Michael Bay movie: lots of action, explosions and silly women. If that's what you're looking for in a comic book feature, then this DVD from the guys over at Warner Bros. Animation is just the thing.

However, if you're like me and was a fan of the DC Animated Universe and its unparalleled success at creating a hugely entertaining inter-connected continuity with superior screenwriting and world building, then you'll be disappointed. 

Read more: Justice League: War


Earthquakes and (Royal) Rumbles


I honestly don’t know what to tell you.

I could tell you that we weren’t denied a Daniel Bryan performance at the Royal Rumble. I could tell you that, as usual, it was a stellar showing. It was nothing short of amazing – full of drama, full of intensity, pain visibly bristling through every strike and throw. I could also tell you that that’s how you wrestle a main event match no matter where you are on the card.

But I couldn’t tell you that it was the kind of Daniel Bryan performance all his fans (which is to say, maybe 90% of the people watching the WWE right now) wanted to see in Pittsburgh that night. I couldn’t tell you that the loss was the result I was expecting. Bray Wyatt held up his end of the bargain, too; if he could keep up with the workhorse in Bryan, he could take the win and not have the crowd call for his head. That he did, and did admirably, putting up a performance in the ring that resonated on the same level as Bryan’s. That’s why I also couldn’t tell you that it was an undeserved win. Or an undeserved loss, on our hero’s end.

I could tell you that I had always predicted Batista to win the Rumble; that for some reason, I never saw Bryan realistically lock a victory down. That’s what I really wanted to happen that night, but even then I could never believe it would go down that way. There was some foreshadowing, I suppose, when the WWE first decided to stick Bryan with the Wyatt Family in some sort of side quest on his odyssey to achieve whatever passes the audience’s standard for success nowadays. (Is it a consistent reign or two with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? Is it a constant presence at the top? You can’t really tell, sometimes – we demand so much, then refuse it when we get it.)

At the same time, I couldn’t tell you that my correct Rumble prediction brought me any comfort. There’s a feeling of satisfaction after getting the future right that everyone can identify with, but all I got to show for it was a numb, passive kind of acceptance. I could say that I prefer seeing Batista vs. Orton at Wrestlemania instead of Bryan vs. Orton, but I couldn’t tell you that I was in any way happy that the underdog Bryan wasn’t even honored with a chance to go to the main event in New Orleans.

But you want to know something weird, though? I may not have been happy, but I can’t even claim to be totally outraged by this development.

I could tell you that I have trust issues with the WWE. Hell, I already told you that last week, and today I’m going to use that as justification as to why I no longer expect a lot from the company. That’s why I’m not all that mad.

I’m a little broken as a fan of all the underdogs to ever step through those curtains and wrestle their hearts and bodies out, leaving it all in the ring. I’ve seen how the machine – as our hero has taken to calling the Authority (and whether that refers to an on-screen or off-screen entity, nobody knows anymore) – breaks them in the pursuit of their dreams. I’ve witnessed how it invites them to try their hand at succeeding, screws them over, and spits them out all broken but possibly hungrier than before. I could tell you that I’ve seen the Dolph Zigglers, the Rybacks, the Christians, and many more leap and fall this way.

However, another but: even though I could also tell you all that… strangely, I still have a little faith left in Vince McMahon and Co. You see, while I can’t really tell you what they’re thinking or if there’s anything logical or reasonable going on in those heads of theirs, I can say that I trust them to not be that stupid. I trust them to not turn a deaf ear to everyone who cheers for Daniel Bryan, the loudest of the loud, because every single “YES!” is still money in his pocket. Even if he’s still only cashing in on disappointment (a moneymaking formula ironically proven to work by, of all people, Cena haters) I trust that Vince will know when to finally give in, because I trust that he knows he can’t lead his customers on forever.

This is the part, then, where I can’t tell you to share that same faith I have. I can no longer try and sell you this belief that this is still a work that is going somewhere – even if I’ve found a way (and I really do keep finding ways, for some reason) to believe that this is an overarching work on a scale that we wrestling fans have never seen before.

Because to do so is to tell you that you do not have a choice in what you want to believe, which, in turn, is only feeding the status quo we all want to see destroyed. Even if we can’t really tell right now whether the outrage from the audience is part of the plan all along, or that it’s a coincidence that they opportunistically ride, your opinion is still important. It should be all that matters, really, in the end, and I may be able to tell you that that’s something we all could still trust them to keep in mind.

I could tell you that, being one of the best in the world right now, anything can happen to Daniel Bryan and he’ll be just fine. He’ll find a way to make the most of the shit he gets thrown. Thing is, I can’t tell you what those might be; I can no longer tell you with a straight face that he will break that glass ceiling in a way that it will remain broken. Nobody can tell for sure.

There is one thing, however, that you can keep saying to get you through all this. Like Bryan, you can always stick it to the man and tell them, over and over-



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Are you a Filipino wrestling fan? Do your friends make fun of you because you can go on and on about wrestling? Most importantly – are you on Facebook? Join us at Smark Gilas-Pilipinas! We NEVER stop talking about wrestling, whether it’s the WWE, TNA, indys, Japan, Mexico; anything and anyone and everyone is welcome. Go on over and join now!

You can follow Ro on Twitter at @roiswar, or you can ask him anything on his page. (Hint: please ask him about wrestling.)



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