What’s Rockin’ My World (5.6.2020)

What’s “trending” at Chez Rock Vixen.
Chris Jericho’s “Bubbly Bunch” episodes on AEW Dynamite.

At 2:44 – Catch Jericho’s homage to Ozzy Osbourne
(Decline of Western Civilization Part II – The Metal Years)

At :43 – Sammy Guevara and his kitty!

How many non-wrestlers can you spot in this episode?

(I recognized Gabriel Iglesias, Lou Ferrigno, Kevin Smith, and Jason Mewes.)

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Jericho Delivers

During this time of MADNESS when sports entertainment companies are taping shows in empty arenas, AEW has consistently outshined WWE – largely due to their recruiting “…a loud contingent of wrestlers to take the place of fans and add an energy to the room that might otherwise be lacking.

On last night’s Dynamite, Chris Jericho joined Tony Shiavone in the broadcast booth to add his unique style of color commentary.

Bleacher Report:

This week, it was Chris Jericho filling in on color commentary—making what might have felt like a lifeless display of wrestling-by-the-numbers feel very vibrant and alive.

It shouldn’t really come as any surprise that Jericho sat down, sipped a bit of the bubbly and totally owned the broadcast booth. He’s been owning everything he does in a wrestling ring for almost 30 years now.

He didn’t just fill time or manage to get by without embarrassing himself. He actively added to the show throughout, a complete and utter delight in a time when we all could use a smile or two.

It’s not just that he was funny throughout—though he was. What took his appearance to the next level was the way he managed to get the talent over in the ring while also delivering line after funny line.

Best of all was his infectious enthusiasm. He wasn’t in pure heel mode. He was the obnoxious Chris Jericho we love to hate, sure, but the version of Chris Jericho who didn’t try to hide that, in his heart, he’s a wrestling fan just like us.

Jericho is a jewel. Here are my favorite “Jerichoisms” from last night:

“Shaking hands and kissing babies didn’t get Chris Jericho anywhere.
He made it when he started kissing hands and shaking babies!”

“She went from Ace Frehley to Gene Simmons in the same match!”

“There better be a wardrobe malfunction here.”

(referring to AEW’s Production Team)
“Even if they are a bunch of idiots.”

“I’m animated!”

“He almost spent 30 days in the doghouse…”

“Shut up, Pineapple Pete!”

(to Ref Aubrey Edwards)
“Count faster!”

“That’s the smartest thing you’ve said all day, Tony.”

“He’s got that Canadian tenacity.”
(Chris being Canadian himself…)

(to Tony Schiavone)
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years – I know you’ve been doing it for about 115…”

(referring to Cody Rhodes)
“Cody Exotic”

And check out this HILARIOUS clip from last week’s Dynamite:

Watch AEW Dynamite Wednesday nights at 5:00pm PT on TNT.

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Wrestlemania 36

The 36th annual WrestleMania marked the first time the “Super Bowl of sports entertainment” was broadcast over two nights. Due to the MADNESS it was filmed at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, FL SANS live audience.

I knew going in that this year’s WrestleMania wasn’t going to be an over-top spectacle like it normally is, but it still seemed strangely FLAT. Simply put, it lacked ENERGY. The wrestlers most certainly “brought it”, but there was very little color commentary (Where the FUCK was Gronk?) and no cheering/heckling from the sidelines (Where the fuck WAS Gronk!?!). I reiterate:  Where the FUCK was Gronk during the matches? If he was ringside the whole time why weren’t we hearing from him? What a waste of his talent and personality. It would’ve been great having him join Michael Cole as a Commentator. I blame WWE for this mis-step.

As far as the matches themselves go the women of WWE provided the most entertaining, energetic, and loudest matches of the two-night event (Winners in BOLD):

  • WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: The Kabuki Warriors (C) vs Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (Cross has enough wild energy to power the states of California and New York – combined!)
  • RAW Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (C) vs Shayna Baszler
  • SmackDown Women’s Championship Fatal 5-Way: Bayley (C) vs Sasha Banks vs Naomi vs Lacey Evans vs Tamina
  • NXT Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (C) vs Charlotte Flair

Kudos ladies!

My next favorite match was the Triple Threat Ladder match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship, with reigning champion (along with The Miz) John Morrison defeating Jimmy Uso (of USOS) and Kofi Kingston (of New Day) , thus retaining the belts for himself and The Miz.

Saturday night ended with the Boneyard Match between The Undertaker and AJ Styles – with ‘taker putting Styles 6 feet under!

The other five matches were anticlimactic for me – especially the WWE Universal Championship title match between Braun Strowman (last-minute substitution for Roman Reigns) and Goldberg (C). That one was way too short.

I was upbeat about Sunday’s matches, but only two stood-out:

  • Otis vs Dolph Ziggler – with Otis winning the match AND the girl (Mandy Rose).
  • Last Man Standing which pitted Edge (winner) against Randy Orton. This was a grueling fight that took us backstage, around to the main stage, then behind-the-scenes once more for the grand finale.

I was very disappointed in the Firefly Fun House match. I expected “The Fiend”/Bray Wyatt (with the help of his creepy little “friends”) to subject John Cena to something more twisted and perverted than what transpired. Yawn. (Although I LOVED the Vince McMahon puppet, complete with horns.)

I opted-out of the main event [Drew McIntyre defeated Brock Lesnar (C) for the WWE Championship belt] in order to watch this week’s episode of Westworld.

(There’s always next year – where WrestleMania 37 will take place in Hollywood!)

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Saving the Day from COVID-19

In the midst of the craziness surrounding the current pandemic – where the World of Sports has metaphorically died – an unlikely white knight has arrived to save us from being bored to death:  Professional Wrestling. I for one will be eternally grateful.

Last Friday, WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) aired Smackdown – minus live audience – from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, FL. It was awkward and apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought so:

WWE SmackDown’s Empty Arena Show Was Weird and Important

It was a different atmosphere on SmackDown before any WWE broadcast before it. The seats in the Performance Center were empty, and there were no reactions during entrances or matches. Triple H opened the show by explaining that the Performance Center is typically used for training future talent and reassured the WWE Universe that they wanted to help them forget about the outside world and put a smile on their faces.

While there was plenty of awkward silence and limited in-ring action, Triple H’s commentary has been praised for its laid back and insightful nature. WWE even still continued the build to WrestleMania…

The big draw leading up to Wrestlemania was the announcement that former NFL Footballer and über personality, Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski is joining the ranks of WWE. In addition to Gronk hosting this year’s Wrestlmania, the “Super Bowl” of wrestling will make history as the first to span multiple nights (April 4-5, 2020) and will be available on PPV and the WWE Network. Wrestlemania 36 also marks the return of the Undertaker (going one-on-one with AJ Styles in a “coffin match”, ‘natch) and a personal favorite of mine, Goldberg – who will be defending his WWE Universal Championship against Beefcake Roman Reigns.

Last night, AEW did a better job with TNT’s Dynamite. While also airing sans live audience, they managed to infuse the two-hour show with plenty of energy and razzle-dazzle.

Matt Hardy Debut Puts Exclamation Point on Surreal AEW Dynamite

The show opened the only way it could, with the one man capable of making sense of this strange time in professional wrestling in the ring by his lonesome…Cody Rhodes stood straight and tall and set the tone for the equally impeccable show to follow.

“Recent events have really put into perspective how small we all are,” Cody said…”It has also clarified for me how big and how important the service we provide is.”

On the independent scene, where wrestlers work without guarantees, the potential of months passing without an opportunity to earn their keep has created a minor panic.

Wrestling needed a win—and AEW delivered.

From the opening match between Best Friends and The Lucha Bros to the reveal of Brodie Lee as The Dark Order’s Exalted One, to the tremendous six-man tag between The Elite and Inner Circle, the show was firing on all cylinders…

AEW, perhaps learning from its rival’s example, made a subtle adjustment to the empty-arena concept, having heels come sit on one side of the ring and babyfaces on the other. Their energy and enthusiasm helped fuel the performers in the ring and brought what might have felt like an emotionless display of acrobatics to life.

“As a new company, AEW doesn’t have as much financial security as WWE at a time like this. As Omega said, we don’t even know if there will be a show next week, but the Superstars appeared dedicated to putting on the best show they could.” link

I’m hoping that doesn’t happen. WWE may have the big name, but AEW has the better show. There’s some real wrestling going on there…and great commentating by the inimitable Jim Ross.

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