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  1. Lee

    WWE Hidden Gems

    There was a kind-of Hidden Gems in the UK in 1997. After Raw went to two hours but we still got it on Friday nights, they had to pad out the run time because of how many more commercials the US had compared to the UK, so they would play out a classic match every week in the middle of the show (I *think* this ended because the overruns got long enough that they had enough footage to fill the two-hour window regardless of the extra commercial time). The problem was that in 1997, the WWF wasn't really interested in its history, and had these weird parameters in place where they wouldn't feature anyone still on TV (since it made them look "old", presumably, hence no no jarring footage of young lad Bret or happy smiling Shawn, etc), nothing from anyone who was persona-non-grata (i.e. Bruno plus anyone currently in WCW), and I think it *might* have extended to anyone who was dead, since I don't remember seeing any André on there either. Long story short, you can probably imagine just how thrilled a 13-year old me was when my weekly late-night dose of Steve Austin raising hell and going to war with The Hart Foundation was interrupted with yet another nostalgia-less plodding 1970s WWF snoozer from the back catalogues of Ivan Putski or Stan Stasiak, from an era long before the WWF was even on TV over here. Of course, nowadays I'd actually prefer it the other way around, two hours of retro content with maybe ten minutes of modern Raw spliced in. Hopefully there ends up being yet another behind-the-scenes change and the archive content comes back stronger. It's really off-putting to me to have such large gapes in all the libraries and single missing episodes dotted throughout.
  2. Lee

    WWE Hidden Gems

    I feel like they're not really "featuring" him, just including his stuff as a documentation of what happened for the sake of historical context. Which might just be my overblown way of attempting to justify it. I mean, I felt really turned off when he showed up WrestleRock just as I was getting ready to watch a U.S. Misawa/Tiger Mask match, but at least I know it's there if I want it and can skip it if I don't. (Sucked that I saw a Bret Hart in Hawaii tag match on YouTube recently and I had to can it because he showed up there too, but again, same principal.) As long as they're not pulling up individual matches for Hidden Gems or throwing him onto Triple H collections as an example of an early HHH WWF squash, then I'm fine enough with exercising the right to hope that fucking pig rots in piss, then moving on with the skip button.
  3. Lee

    Ring of Honor Wrestling

    Angelina Love has my wrestling Twitter blocked, in spite of the fact I've never followed her, never @'ed her, and never so much as even mentioned her. I'm baffled about it to this day.
  4. Lee

    Ric Flair (sigh)

    Sounds like he's pitching a match with Shawn for the next Saudi show. "Retire me!? I'm already retired!" Winner gets both watches.
  5. Lee

    Current New Japan

    New Japan didn't "allow" Liger to work NXT strictly speaking, he's essentially a freelancer and can work where he wants, for who he wants, when he wants, without needing to get New Japan to clear it. It's the same deal that I think Minoru Suzuki is on, where they make New Japan their priority but can still appear on rival promotion's cards, like Suzuki has done with Big Japan, Ryukyu Dragon Pro, etc. I'm sure they could have asked Liger not to do WWE if they really wanted, but it was a one-off "career milestone" kind of match for a legend that I can't imagine realistically robbed ROH of too many ticket sales.
  6. Not to mention the unit of measurement he concocted when passing judgement over Johnny B. Badd's varying appearances over the years.
  7. Part of me thought about just leaving this thread to die, but I couldn't resist posting this belter from Scott's latest World's Collide review (or, as he called it, "Girlfight 2K19"), tactfully posted to his blog on Lesbian Visibility Day.
  8. Lee

    MLW Fusion, anyone watching it?

    I really want to see Good Sell Morton vs. Mr. Pinball now. Also, Matt Striker called that Gingo Loco match like he was doing play-by-play for a funeral. I really can't wait for Schiavone to come back.
  9. Lee

    WWF Superstars (Of Wrestling) on the Network

    I've watched a ton of squash matches over the years for various different projects, and I totally agree about certain guys having significantly more entertaining squashes than others. I.R.S. was one of the notable offenders, who would chinlock his way through 4-minute snoozers that felt like they were at least twice as long, and that went for a lot of the usual plodders like Tugboat and The Warlord. Magnum TA was a different cat, in that he would hit the belly-to-belly as quickly as possible it seemed, not necessarily "bad", but never anything to it. And Randy Savage could arguably be in this class, because even though his squash match wasn't bad, it was literally exactly the same every single time, so if you've seen one, you've seen 'em all. Seriously, watch a few Savage squashes back-to-back and you'll quickly be able to call them in your sleep. On the other hand, guys like The Steiner Brothers and The Midnight Express were always doing cool moves, crazy suplexes (Steiners) and inventive things you hadn't seen before (Midnights), or basically just throwing out stuff you'd never expect anyone to bother with in a squash. Going from a string of Bastion Booger and Giant Gonzalez squashes on a weekend syndie to a Steiners' squash is a real "Wake up! Something exciting's finally going to happen!" moment. And then you have the likes of Owen Hart, Jeff Jarrett and 123 Kid, who always seem to give their opponent a little bit of back-and-forth before they outsmart and beat them. I suppose the idea is they can't be that good if they're going toe-to-toe with the likes of John Paul, Ron Cumberledge and Barry Horowitz, but by the same token, their matches usually tend to get a reaction out of the frequently dead WWF TV taping crowds, and they tend to make you wish they'd lasted twice as long as they did, like the antithesis of I.R.S.
  10. Lee

    WWE Hidden Gems

    Just watched the AWA show, and it's one of the worst things I've ever seen. I loved it.
  11. Lee

    WWE Network... It's Here

    They ran 13 MSG shows that year, the regular monthly one plus WrestleMania (so two in March). So yes, they ran February and April too.
  12. Lee

    Dave Meltzer stuff

    In the UK, he's known as Count Takeshi from a re-dubbed version of the Takeshi's Castle game show that airs endless re-runs on TNA's former home of Challenge TV.
  13. Availability. Satellite dishes were just starting to become more and more widespread in the UK in the late 80s/early 90s, and with little money and small potential audiences, those stations were usually built around repeats of old British shows (back when that was still a novelty) and imported English-language shows, primarily from the U.S. SKY Channel had original content, but after Rupert Murdoch did a deal to merge British Satellite Broadcasting and SKY into BSkyB as a joint venture, they started putting money into movies and sport as the big draws. In 1989 they had something like 400 movie premiers before the BBC, ITV or Channel 4 (our terrestrial networks) got them, and they won the exclusive bidding rights to the soon-to-be-formed Premier League, which took top flight football off free to air television. Imagine if all you've got is NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX, but you have to get a satellite dish AND pay a separate subscription just to get ESPN who have exclusive rights to the NFL, and you get the idea. So at this point, more and more people are doubling up from their four basic channels to eight (with more and more being added fairly regularly), largely because of the movies and the football, but SKY are also offering up three key ingredients to capture the kids/family audience too: They've got Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is also on terrestrial but SKY have the NEW episodes that poor BBC kids won't see for another a year, they've got this red hot new animated sitcom that is suddenly being merchandised everywhere called The Simpsons (which doesn't come to terrestrial TV until around 1996/1997, with episodes that have been played on SKY for years), and they've got the glitzy American showbiz of the World Wrestling Federation. And, like in America, the WWF was often broadcast after Saturday morning cartoons, which didn't hurt, at a period after British wrestling had been taken off TV, which also didn't hurt. In fact, if you were getting into the WWF in, say, 1990 when you were six, you probably didn't even remember much, if anything, of Nagasaki, Daddy and Haystacks, et al. It was basically a perfect storm of all those things coming together, and MTV coming along to coincide with the rise of Britpop, that made the whole satellite thing really enticing, and this was all in the very early 90s (the Premier League started in 1992). So yes, even though the WWF was available in a very limited basis here during the Hulk Hogan 80s glory period on cable (which didn't really take off until the late 90s, despite being around in limited markets at least a decade earlier), almost everyone in my age bracket basically discovered the WWF when their parents were getting SKY, or when their mates got it, or when everyone suddenly started trading WWF stickers and collecting WWF action figures. It just happened that the whole thing managed to coincide with the massive downturn in the U.S., but it was actually booming here, hence the suddenly regular twice and thrice yearly touring, live television specials and SummerSlam at Wembley Stadium. It's interesting because I heard an interview with Cesaro once where he talked about 1993-1994 being the glory period, which is when the bloom came off the rose in the UK, but it coincided with the WWF getting on TV in Switzerland and Austria and those kind of places. I think it just goes to show that the "novelty" of something like that can't be understated, nor can the whole "growing out it" thing. I imagine kids who loved Hogan in 1985 were sick of him as teenagers in 1990, and it's a similar kind of thing here, where a lot of kids were super into it until they suddenly decided they were "too old" for it, or moved onto other things (one of the more common suggestions that UK fans of that era make is that a lot of WWF fans basically migrated to Gladiators, which was on prime time network TV and was also shiny and new in 1992-1993).
  14. I started reading graphic novels about 3/4 years ago. I'm 33 now.
  15. Lee

    WWE Hidden Gems

    Eh, I thought their match was sloppy, rough around the edges and not the sort of thing you'd want to debut them on TV with, but it was nowhere near as bad as people have made it out to be. Honestly, the worst thing about it was the horrifically obnoxious crowd that were literally just waiting for anything slightly imperfect they could shit all over. I mean, when you've got a guy yelling "Boring!" immediately after the opening lock-up, you might as well just burn the fucking building down.