Friday, August 18, 2017

Rasslin' with Comics: SummerSlam 2017 special

 WWE SummerSlam 2017 Special #1 ($7.99 Boom Studios)
Writer:  Various 
Artist:  Various

SummerSlam is WWE's biggest event of the summer, and Boom Studios is capitalizing with a special one shot comic book that celebrates the biggest party of the summer.
The one shot is made up of several small stories based on classic (and some not so classic) SummerSlam matches.  Each story has a different creative team. I'll break down my thoughts on each story then give my overall opinion. 

"I've wined and dined with Kings and Queens"
The story takes place during the SummerSlam 1990 match between Dusty Rhodes Vs. "Macho King" Randy Savage.  There was a lot of artistic license taken on this one.  A fan of Macho switches allegiances because, well because Macho was a jerk to him. My favorite part of the tale was that it featured the Philadelphia Spectrum, a building near and dear to my heart.

"In the Mandible of Madness" 
A cerebral tale of the very physical "Boiler Room Brawl" between between The Undertaker and Mankind.  This felt like a tale right from the 90's Chaos Comics Undertaker series, and that is a good thing.   Definitely the strongest tale in the comic.

"The New Day's Optimistic Odyssey part 5"
This had nothing to do with SummerSlam, but has been a tale running throughout the Boom WWE books.  It's an odd time travel adventure with New Day.  Funny, but out of place. They should collect this and release it.

"The Natural Disasters VS The Bushwhackers"
This one is a straight up comic strip. Very cartoonish art and silly tale of Luke and Butch crashing the victory party of the Natural Disasters.  It's pretty goofy but I liked it, especially the caricatures of the WWE Superstars.

"Give the Demon his due"
Seth Rollins is haunted by a Demon (King) on his way to the Universal Title Match at last years SummerSlam.  I really liked this one, I think Boom could make some really good supernatural comics with characters like the Demon King, Bray Wyatt and Undertaker.

Overall this book is a fairly good look back at SummerSlam.  Some of the choices were unusual but it made for a well rounded book.  Much better than the Wrestlemania special from last year.  I think the $7.99 price tag is a little high for it.  If you love comics and WWE, this could be a fun way to enhance this weekends event.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Throwback Wrestling Thursday: Ranking the Rogues

"Without a good bad guy, who gives a sh*t?"  -Larry Zbysko

That quote from a recent episode of "Table for Three" on the WWE Network is probably one of the most important, and often overlooked things about pro wrestling.  A hero is only as great as the challenges he must overcome, and in wrestling that comes in the form of great villains.  There have been so many great heels over the years that helped shape wrestling history, and it got me thinking about some of the great I've been in the ring against.  Here are a few of the standouts that come to my mind and whenever I talk to fans are the ones that come up most often.

Greg Spitz:  Hands down, if anyone brings up their favorite Maverick feud 90% of the time they bring up Maverick Vs. Greg Spitz.  It was a feud that took on a mythical quality and for a while promoters all over the tri state area would try to book us against each other.  We've wrestled each other probably a hundred times, on huge summer spectaculars, and on small auditoriums with 12 people in it and everywhere in between.  As a matter of fact, the first whole year of Slamtastic Wrestling Parties was built on Maverick Vs. Greg Spitz, because it was a sure fire crowd pleaser.

Mr. Ooh LaLa:  Mr. Ooh Lala is a legitimate legend in Indy wrestling, and with good reason.  An absolute master of psychology and an entertaining storyteller who just seems to get better with age.  We have only had a handful of singles encounters but they were always classic battles.  Recently Ooh LaLa has aligned himself with another constant foe of mine and the two have become a constant thorn in my side, and in the side of America as a whole.

Wyndham James Winthorpe III: My most recent rival is quickly becoming one of my biggest feuds.  This is another feud that's become a multi-promotional rivalry, and even though various other players like Kid America, Norm The Barfly and Mr. Ooh LaLa have enhanced this feud and turned it into an epic war, the core of the feud is the proper British bruiser Vs. The crazy American Cowboy.  Why is Winthorpe a great villain?  That's simple, he's not one, at least not in his own mind.  WJWIII believes he is correct in his feelings for America in general and Maverick in particular.  Feuds based around national pride almost always draw big heat, and when you have two strong personalities clashing it automatically makes the stakes higher.  This one isn't close to being finished, especially since I have several more beatings to give the "Prime Minister".

Kris Krude:  "Hot Chocolate" Kris Krude and I had immediate chemistry in the ring, which usually makes for great matches.  We've traded titles and had an unresolved, yet very entertaining feud that I wish had gotten to see the big payoff. I believe I do my best work when the deck was stacked against me, and Krude's size and entourage always made for a formidable battle.