Stuck in the Middle: Ring Of Honor’s Round Robin Challenge (2002)

Being the ever critical, striving for perfection type that I am, after posting the previous entry in my Ring of Honor review series I went back read the article again, and I was worried that there was an awful lot of short, unconnected thoughts with very little linking them together, and that people who weren’t avid wrestling fans would have, to be blunt, no clue what I was on about. With Round Robin Challenge then, I’ve done my best to tell the story of the matches, to avoid impenetrable wrestling in-jokes, and to try and give a consistent account of why things are good and bad in a wrestling show. Pleasingly, this show has a fair amount of both, allowing me to maintain the illusion of balance. Continue reading

Grand Theft Auto III & Motorcycle Emptiness

Loading up GTA3 for the first time since moving house and finding that the last time I’d saved the game was 11th April was quite depressing, readers, I can tell you. As I’m sure has become obvious if you’ve read any of my previous posts about this game, I absolutely love it. And going back to it after 8 months was both really comforting, like seeing an old friend after years of not being in contact and clicking instantly as soon as you meet, and incredibly daunting, as I own probably hundreds of video games, many of which I’ve never actually played, and if it’s taking me this long to play just one, how long is it going to take me to play them all? But anyway, I’m getting off topic. I’m here to talk about Grand Theft Auto III, and how it encapsulates the lie at the heart of consumer capitalism. Aha! No! Too late to stop reading now! I have you in my web.

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Small Town Boy: Ring of Honor’s The Era of Honor Begins (2002)

Hello readers. My, it has been a while, hasn’t it? And for that I can only apologise. It’s been a hectic few months here at C!FA towers I can tell you, what with starting a stand-up comedy double act with an esteemed comrade, getting a new job, gleefully quitting my horrible old job, moving house and going up to the Edinburgh festival to perform with aformentioned comrade I’ve barely had time to think, let alone write several thousand overwraught, flouncy words relating to videogames or professional wrestling. Well that all changes today, chums. I’m back on a work rota that allows me some free time in which to write, and I’ve had a few ideas for articles over the past few months, the first of these being a nice long wrestling DVD review in the vein of December to Dismember from way back when. (Largely to appease longtime reader and wrestlepal Neil Cathan, who whenever I speak to him implores me to write some more wrestling posts. Your wish is my command, Neil!)

Recently I’ve acquired on eBay the first three Ring of Honor shows on DVD, so my thinking was to review them as a trilogy, perhaps breaking up the endless wrestletalk with a couple of videogame posts in between. We’ll see, anyway. It might pan out in strange and fantastic ways none of us could ever have imagined. Continue reading

Grand Theft Auto III & Abrupt Endings

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think I’d be posting anything related to GTA 3 again for a while. It wasn’t that I wasn’t enjoying playing it, or that you kind souls weren’t enjoying my articles (they’re easily the most popular on here. By, like, a mile), it was just this one mission, y’know? One mission that was absolutely killing me. Let’s have a chat about it, shall we?

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The Bike Tyre Mystery

Right, I was going to post something on here about a lamppost down my road that’s got a bike tyre round the bottom of it, how like it’s not something you notice until you think about how it got there and realise someone must have thrown it over the lamppost with stunning accuracy and how whichever teenage boy managed it probably felt amazing for the rest of the day, but on my walk to work this morning I saw that it wasn’t there anymore, so I assumed someone must have cut it off and binned it. But then on my walk back home from work, I saw a bike tyre very near the same lamppost, no cuts in it at all. Is it the same bike tyre? Is it a new one? Did a council person manage to throw it BACK from off the lamppost? Impossible, surely? Has the teenage boy who put the first one there nicked another one and is leaving it there until he has time to try and hoopla a second bike tyre in defiance of the council cutting his old one off? Perhaps we’ll never know.

Once And Never Again: ECW December To Dismember (2006)

Failed experiments are great, aren’t they readers? With successful experiments, especially in the realms of art and performance, all you have to do is say “Oh, that’s good, we’ll keep doing that then.” But with failed experiments, much more thought is required. Why didn’t that work? What can we learn from it? And perhaps most interestingly, what would have happened if it did work?

Believe it or not, this cover is MUCH prettier than the American version.

Believe it or not, this cover is MUCH prettier than the American version.

Which brings us to December To Dismember, the first and last Pay Per View from the relaunched Extreme Championship Wrestling, which first shut down in 2001 and was then bought by the WWE, who found that their ECW DVDs, books, etc were so popular, and that ECW still had such a massive, loyal fanbase that it would be worth reviving the brand in 2006 and starting a weekly ECW TV show. Since Raw and Smackdown, the other WWE TV shows, had their own PPVs, (at this point in time the WWE was split into ‘brands’, if you appeared on, say, Raw, you didn’t appear on Smackdown, you wrestled only on Raw to earn titles exclusive to Raw, and the same for Smackdown) it seemed only logical that ECW got it’s own PPVs as well. Right?

What follows are my thoughts as I watch the December To Dismember DVD for the first time. The main event here is an ‘Extreme Elimination Chamber’ match for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship; four blokes are locked in pods inside the chamber with weapons while two gentlemen start the match, then every five minutes one guy will be let out of a pod at random along with the weapon, which he can choose to use as he sees fit (SPOILER: Probably to hit the other men with). My observations will largely be bullet-pointed, as I just paused the DVD and scribbled stuff down in a notebook, but I might elaborate on some points if I feel something extra needs saying. I knew little about the show before I started, save for the fact that it is widely criticized as the worst Pay Per View in WWE history, and is the main reason Paul Heyman (the man behind the original ECW, initially given control over the new one) was fired pretty much the next day. So! What are we waiting for? Shove the DVD in the player and let those bodies hit that floor!

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