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-

“YES!”

 

Images from WWE.com.

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 Ask.fm page. (Hint: please ask him about wrestling.)

 

Helix

I only got wind of SyFy's new show, ‘Helix,’ a few days before its premiere on the cable network on January 10, 2014. So far, I've seen three episodes and I’m hooked, eager to see what’s next.

The show is produced by Ronald D. Moore, the guy behind the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ reboot, and a mess of other creative guys from shows like ‘Alphas’ and ‘The X-Files,’ and movies like ‘Contact.’ The new show is the brainchild of Cameron Porsandeh, a writer who is new to me, but is who is now definitely on my radar. He brought it to Sony Pictures and they were able to pull in all this fantastic talent to flesh it out and connect ideas to make it cohesive, according to interviews.

Read more: Helix

 

Trust Issues in Modern Wrestling

In case you missed it: on the last RAW of 2013, the storyline between Daniel Bryan and the cultish Wyatt Family took an interesting, if not baffling turn. After weeks of harassment and suffering at the hands of the diabolical three-man group, Bryan stood before them during the final minutes of RAW… and joined them.

While this development was indeed shocking, it doesn’t come close to what would happen on the January 13 episode. After only three television shows (and everything else in between), Bryan would cost his team a pretty important cage match against the Usos, and the rest is history. Bryan turned against Bray Wyatt in what has to be the most spine-chillingly electric moment of the year – and that’s saying something, seeing as we haven’t even been halfway through the first month yet. (If you haven't seen this ending, go do yourselves a favor and seek it out. It'll be worth your while, I promise.)

But that ending was still a backpedalling of epic proportions. No matter how amazing, awe-inspiring, or downright glorious it is, we simply cannot deny that. Yes, the WWE had a very lucky strike with that booking decision, perhaps managing to catch lightning in a bottle (even if it was with the finesse of the Three Stooges) with that insane crowd reaction at Providence – but at the heart of the matter lie the actual questions, to be poked and prodded:

Read more: Trust Issues in Modern Wrestling

 

Attack on Titan

 
I've become convinced that the reason that the humans of 'Attack the Titan' (or Shingeki no Kyojin) keep losing is because they just won't shut up. Whenever there's a crisis, members of the Survey Corp. will invariably spend 20 minutes discussing how they feel about the situation, often with shiny quivering anime eyes, before taking any action. For some reason, the slack-faced Titans will patiently wait for said soldiers to finish their histrionic discussions and then promptly proceed to defeat the resulting plan and eat them.

This procedure usually takes up to several episodes. In fact, you could cut the series 25 episode run (so far?) down to maybe 8 or 9 and still end up with the same plot, just minus the sections where the characters are over-emoting.

 

Read more: Attack on Titan

 

The 2013 Geek Out/SGP Wrestling Awards

2013 was a good year for wrestling.

Before anything, I’m going to need to bring up some qualifiers there. I say “wrestling” but I only really have the WWE to go on this year, and that’s blasphemous within the context of a vast, bustling professional wrestling industry that thrives from the major leagues at the top to the small presentations at the bottom. It’s not just Vince McMahon’s company.

But sometimes, in a way, it is. Nobody else has enough marketing power to match the WWE’s, and the company ends up becoming synonymous to wrestling. I have no doubt that it falls under a philosophical fallacy of some sort, but there’s no use trying to debunk it. So here’s the postulate: when the WWE does well, wrestling does well, and vice versa.

The second qualifier is the definition of “good.” Let me be clear in saying that it is not great, and very far from perfect. There are still some questionable decisions abound, both gimmick-wise and booking-wise (the latter sometimes in the name of what the WWE might like to call delayed gratification) but the wrestling has been very solid. The roster is still stacked with good workers from the main event down to developmental, and the company’s picked the right ring general to elevate (more on him later), resulting in a year’s worth of great matches at best and decent matches at worst.

And that’s why we’re here today – to look back on the year that was with a rundown of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the future, all served neatly in a package full of awards, voted on by the Philippine wrestling brain trust that is Smark Gilas-Pilipinas.

Let’s begin, shall we?

 

Rookie of the Year

Part of what made 2013 a good year for wrestling – or at the very least, the WWE – was that the new blood infused everywhere brought a lot of good things to the ring. While I mentioned one promotion, for the purposes of this award, a “rookie” is any young blood wrestler who started in a company in 2013/late 2012, and for the WWE/NXT paradigm, those who were called up to the WWE’s main roster in that same time period are included.

And your 2013 Rookie of the Year is… Sami Zayn!

Read more: The 2013 Geek Out/SGP Wrestling Awards

 
   

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