header pic

TPF Shorts 4.20.2013........The Playing Field Blog making a comeback? Soon enough...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

'Happy Endings' Season 1 Thoughts

If you blinked you may have missed the (relatively) hit new sitcom, Happy Endings, which burned through twelve season 1 episodes in a mere seven weeks on a very busy Wednesday night time slot, 10PM. That means it was going heads up against two very successful network cop procedural brands and a mildly successful animated comedy about four Colorado boys in poofball hats.

Created by David Caspe, Happy Endings follows the lives of six late twenties to early thirties New Yorkers through their trials, tribulations, and pitfalls of the bustling Manhattan social scene, examining their relationships with strangers, family members and the ones between themselves. The show jumps the gun in its pilot, setting up the marriage between Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) and Dave (Zach Knighton). The union was not to be, and thus the show deflects us off into a world where Alex and Dave try to play nice with their mutual friends while contemplating a future relationship. Already married couple Brad (Damon Wayans, Jr.) and Jane (Eliza Coupe) provide a great romantic counterpart while Max (Adam Pally) and Penny (Casey Wilson) are constantly rummaging through the singles market and looking for that perfect guy.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Listening...The Game f/ Lil Wayne - Red Nation

Wow, a remix of that would make a pretty gnarly stadium jam. I was originally thinking Dodgers, but there's no way they would allow "Red Nation" to blast over their speakers and trot Matt Kemp up to bat. LA Angels, you want any of this?

I really can't say how excited I am to have some new Game tracks hit the internet. Right now, I would definitely put him in my top three favorite rap artists, but much like Young Jeezy, The Game has been quite stagnant the past couple of years. So what better way to fatten your pockets than invite Wayne on your record?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Certain Dri Makes Antiperspirants Hip Again

In an era when DVR is king, it's hard to really describe just how awful some commercial are. Either you don't watch that much television, you aren't in the market that plays these kind of ads all the time, or you skip over it all, never reveling in the greatness that is the Certain Dri awkward, sweaty dinner party first encounter.

First, what clueless woman just announces how sweaty she is to a stranger she's probably talking to only because she thinks is cute or believes in first impressions bullshit? A blonde who probably smells like protein laden Tex-Mex and has a warped sense of humor. Where was the cackling laugh to offset her overcompensation?

Then, when Glasses McSlickback informs her of the groundbreaking solid known as Certain Dri, she has the gall to ask with perfect head tilt doe eyes, "the antiperspirant?!?" F$# the heck?!? You just broached the topic of unwanted sweat not a second ago! No, Certain Dri the heroin. That should free base you long enough to shut up about your stinky parts and not be so vane.

For the mind numbing hat trick, the guy mentions that it's "doctor recommended" and the blonde suddenly needs Certain Dri for more than up top. "DON'T TELL ME YOU'RE A DOCTOR!!! OMFG!" Of course he responds in spades leading to an arm massage and a "very cool," complete with eyes now set to "do me in your 2001 Accord."

You know what else is "doctor recommended," Missy? Vitamins. Apples. Not eating french fries covered in cheese and brown gravy. Soap. The guy didn't even get to drop his pick up line by the time you wrecked the space and time continuum of casual conversation and logic by assuming profession based off a Pavlovian word.

True story: he raped and killed her not half an hour later in his van. "Certain Dri: Impress the ladies!"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Boob Tube Quickies: When In Rome

A Torrid Kristen Bell Spring continues at The Playing Field as I checked out the comedy, When In Rome, starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel. While at times marred with romantic comedy cliches and a plot that broaches the finer points of earth realm possibility and reason, this film was genuinely funny throughout.

I should probably catch you up on the "deets" before rambling on about Kristen's oh so realistic portrayal of a lonely Manhattan art curator power bottom. Beth (Bell) works for powerful designers or brokers or some other tightwad executives who are none too pleased about her having to suddenly travel to Rome for her little sister Joan's wedding to a guy named Umberto whom she met two weeks prior. She goes to said wedding, stumbling around like a ditz with no one to dance with, except equally uncoordinated yet written-to-be-handsome Nick (Duhamel).

This is about where shit just starts to get weird and you soon realize that you're embarking further down a movie using magic coins as the vehicle for comedic bits. Beth screws up again, gets drunk, and starts dancing in a fountain meant for people to toss coins into for finding true love. At this point, a very saturated Beth swears off love forever (gur'fren, you carrrr-RAZY!) and starts lifting coins out in hopes of saving these desperate souls. Since the coins are magic and the recipient will somehow fall in love with the thrower, Beth starts finding suitors all over when she returns home to New York.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Soldier Murders Taliban, Uses Randy Orton Defense

All kidding aside, I find this to be one of the more controversial stories coming from our Armed Forces in a while.

I definitely think you should take the two minutes and read Dan Elliott's account of Pfc. David Lawrence, who will be sentenced for murdering an Afghan Taliban prisoner. Lawrence was on guard duty at the time, and the report says the prisoner was asleep, but the real curve ball comes when you consider that Lawrence has a Golden Corral array of genetic and present mental health issues, including PTSD, schizophrenia, and "hearing voices."
I'm no expert on mental health, the army, or guns in the hands of unstable persons, but the question begs--just why in the hell was Lawrence still active? His lawyer talks about how Lawrence was enduring longer shifts and not being supervised at certain points. Combine that with two of his buddies recently being killed in action and now those militant blowhards want to ring this guy up for premeditated murder, which without the plea deal, calls for minimum life up to execution.

I normally don't write about these serious, hard hitting issues, partly due to the fact that they are always slippery slopes for other broad, room dividing discussions, like whether or not we should still be over in Afghanistan. But with the endless number of soldiers at the Army's disposal these days, how could they just let this twenty-year-old kid continue in a war zone like that? Ship him home, discharge him, and get him the help that he clearly needs.

The prosecution are obviously being dicks at this point, throwing the "voices" card out there. He had allegedly told his loved ones about hearing sounds only in his own mind, but hadn't told anyone in his unit until after the shooting. I guess that's it--the dude is lying. Making the whole thing up.

Or....or...it's just kind of hard to admit something that people dismiss as bat shit insane. You know how embarrassing that must be to tell your friends and fellow comrades that Uncle Ben up there is telling you to kill, kill, kill the olive colored people?

Man, this story has gotten me all riled up. I feel for Lawrence, his family, and am definitely pulling for him to avoid any prison time for a mistake that's clearly on his employer. To lighten the mood, here are pictures of my beloved Sgt. Bilko laying down the law, a corgi being raised by a dachshund, and Playing Field favorite Kate Upton, in no particular order.

For more information on David Lawrence, his story, and ways to help out, visit the site set up to shed light on this unfortunate ordeal.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Boob Tube Quickies: The Experiment

The Experiment was a straight-to-disc film released in 2010 that follows more than a dozen men who sign up for a psychological experiment involving role play in the prison system. According to imdb.com, this version was a remake of a German film that was based off a book that recounted the true story of the Stanford Prison Experiment. Basically, you were either randomly assigned as a guard or inmate and had to last 14 civil days without breaking a set of five rules that controlled your actions, meals, how you spoke to each other, etc.. I think the reason this story has been rehashed so many times is that the potential for great character acting is limitless and the bountiful ways of exploring the human psyche makes it very hard to pass it up based on the synopsis alone.

The 2010 version focuses around a group of guys all looking to cash in on the lucrative 14 thousand dollar payout at the end of the 14 day trial. Even though the beginning is a little bogged down by forced character introduction, you quickly see that Travis aka 77 (Adrien Brody) and Barris (Forest Whitaker) rise to the top as the focal points for the experiment. Travis is assigned as an inmate and quickly becomes the vocal leader of the pack, while Barris is assigned as just one of the guards, but due to his vehement thirst for power and significant age difference over the others assumes the role as the head warden.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Listening...Chipmunk f/ Chris Brown - Champion

I've been watching the latest reboot of the competition show Tough Enough and this fire is the opening credits music. I normally fast forward through all opening credits, but this song sticks to me every time I hear the first few notes, so after eight or so episodes I mustered up the courage to find out more about the song.

Chris Brown?! Chrisbrown?!? That R&B punk?! I'll give credit where credit is due; Brown lays down rhymes on this track I previously thought not possible from the pop star. He even raps about "being from Virginia where they hang niggas by a rope." I guess he meant to say used to, unless that stuff still happens and in that case, I'd steer clear of scheduling road games at the Richmond Spiders.

While Brown does indeed shine through, aptly named Chipmunk is the real star, carrying us through this crisp looking, sepia toned modern/fantasy hybrid landscape of a video. With well over 11 million views on Youtube, I really can't believe I hadn't heard of this song before the WWE made it their reality show anthem. Kudos to everyone involved, and I can't wait to check out more of Chipmunk's stuff. Seriously, though, how old is he...16?

Friday, May 20, 2011

"Macho Man" Randy Savage, 58, Passes Away

It sucks to rehash what happened, but if you haven't heard by now, Randy Savage suffered a massive heart attack while driving down in Tampa with this wife, sending their car across a median and into a tree. His wife is reportedly okay, but wrestling fans lost a true pioneer today.

When you talk about game changers, a select few names come to mind. Hogan, Savage, Piper, Flair...all these guys helped usher in a new kind of exciting entertainment that helped nationally brand pro wrestling. Before the mid 80's, the fervor for the sport was tamed because several owners ran different territories within the country, leading to multiple champions and a fractured fan base. However, when Vince McMahon starting unifying these properties and signing guys like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, the industry, for better or worse, was forever changed.

Macho Man wasn't quite the household name that Hogan was, nor was he as successful across the board as Ric Flair, but his charisma was unquestioned and made the wrestlers he worked with that much better.

One particular match I've never forgotten from my childhood pitted The Perfect Team, Macho Man and Mr. Perfect against Ric Flair and Razor Ramon at the 1992 Survivor Series. Back then, I loved Mr. Perfect and his cheesy promos, and Razor was one of the most breathtaking athletes I had seen up to that point. And then you throw in Savage and Flair? Are you kidding me? I just went back and watched it and it was as good as I remembered.

The back story was this: Macho Man and Ultimate Warrior had struck up a friendship and were set to face the hated Ric Flair and his new goon friend, Razor Ramon. Days before the PPV, Warrior was legitimately fired from the company and the writers had to scramble to find a replacement. Enter Ric Flair's assistant, Mr. Perfect. After Flair and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan doubted that Perfect could fill in as a competitor after being asked by Savage, Perfect set out to prove them all wrong by teaming with Flair's nemesis to bring him down.

Everything about this match was the embodiment of what superior writing can do to a performance art. Savage's early belief in his new ally to Mr. Perfect almost quitting on the match to Flair and Ramon fighting dirty to the open ended finish all made for a match that had stuck with me all this time. Also, Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan on commentary made me realize how flat certain commentators fall today.

So please join in as we celebrate the life of a man who for over two decades gave sweat, blood, and tears for the industry he loved and believed in.

Fun fact: While guys like Flair and Savage jumped soon after, all four of these superstars would sign with rival WCW in less than four years time, clearing space for guys like Stone Cold and The Rock and ushering in the "Attitude Era."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hellcats Canceled, No One Cares

The CW's cheer-centric Tuesday show, Hellcats, has been canceled, while the network renews something called One Tree Hill and La Femme Nikita.

Even though you can clearly read my abysmal forecast for the show, as well as my timid enjoyment after the pilot, I actually stuck around for the entire September to May season. Even though I enjoyed the run, I'm not going to sugarcoat it and lie to you--I planned not to watch a second season sometime in winter, regardless of future content. This was more of a business decision; there are far too many great shows on cable right now that a sane man just doesn't have enough leisure time hours to digest all of them. Hellcats, you had a great tryout, and sweet aerials, but in the end ya just didn't make the cut.
That wasn't the only business decision made. Creator Kevin Murphy eventually fell victim to poor ratings, with some later episodes pulling in less than a million viewers. With numbers like that, it comes as no surprise that the program got the axe.

While one season for any show intended as a series is far too short, I think it's admirable that in a climate where shows falter after less than six episodes that a series billed as "a look into competitive college cheerleading" made it the entire season. I heard tons of "Bring It On, The Show" labeling, but I have to reinforce that while three of the main characters were cheerleaders, the show was so much more than that.

Various aspects of Hellcats really piqued my interest and transcended the caddy, girl drama it fell into and broached many topics across the sports world. Academic cheating, pay-for-play scandals, revenue sharing, and locker room unity are all present in a show that rarely held back and tackled all the juicy stuff. In typical young adult fashion, the show also focused on pregnancy scares, bullying, shattered family dynamics, and various boyfriend drama. The layers of story telling that built up to a crescendo during the finale really brought me back in and almost had me questioning my earlier intentions of giving up on the show (I watched the finale before I found out about the cancellation).

Unfortunately, the show finished filming way before the cancellation, so several new stories and other burgeoning ones will be left up in the air, never to be completed. But on a network that's so dependent on the young adult demographic I'm sure the show executives saw the writing on the wall way before the viewers.

My main complaint with the series was that there were too many damn montages! Cheer montages, dance montages, karaoke songs...I enjoyed the lighthearted tone of the series, but you could pretty much leave the couch, fix a sandwich, check some baseball scores and come back and nothing in the plot would be different during these jazz hands/hip hop groove sessions. I'd say there was at least one full length montage every two episodes, not counting the standard cheer practice clips. Yikes!
She could iron my Dockers on that stomach!
While Hellcats may technically be dead now, that doesn't mean it's not worth a chance view when it comes to streaming and home media. Show producer Tom Welling was also responsible for wildly successful Smallville, and I've heard that if you enjoyed that show's technically sound story telling that you'd probably enjoy the less serious world of competitive collegiate sport...on account of the earth not being at stake and evil geniuses plotting at bay. That's what Smallville is about, right?

And I probably can't stress this enough...lead actress Aly Michalka has been compared by some* as the next Lauren Bacall.

*Me. I don't even know who that is. I had to Wiki her because I remembered her being quasi-famous, most likely good at acting, and saw her on The Sopranos

Boob Tube Quickies: Odette Yustman Double Feature!

No, no, this isn't actually a double feature...I just happened to watch two Odette movies in two consecutive days. The kicker? I was originally tuning in to see such favorites as Kristen Bell and Amber Heard, and Odette happened to be playing the auxiliary fiddle in both flicks. Oh, I see. You don't know who Odette Yustman is? Well, I've now seen three of her movies and they're all pretty lame, so consider yourself lucky. She may be unconvincing on the silver screen, but damn if the girl doesn't have supermodel looks. She's like a skinny Megan Fox, if you can believe that.

And Soon the Darkness (2010)
I had pretty high expectations for this one, even saying to myself "And soon...the world will come to love Amber Heard!" Puns aside, the stunning blonde bombshell is set to star in the upcoming series Playboy on NBC, a move that she should parlay into even more roles as 1) scared girlfriend 2) slutty, drug riddled girlfriend and 3) scared, not slutty but maybe if she drinks enough touristy girl.

Best friends Ellie (Yustman) and Stephanie (Heard) are biking through Argentina, which at this point could really be any underprivileged nation with sketchy looking, brown, townsfolk. Seriously, in the first ten minutes it was one of those movies where any and all locals were taken over by breathless scowls and introduced with eery, rape-y, silence. For reals, some white bitches 'bout to get violated!
Anyway, Ellie and Stephanie commence secluded clearing bikini layout montage that sets the scene for a rift between them over boys and Ellie getting her ass kidnapped when Stephanie bikes off to blow off steam. Soon, the friendly policeman isn't willing to help and all of a sudden Michael (Karl Urban) steps in as the concerned, slightly mysterious traveler looking to bring the friends back together.

While the premise of this sounds awesome, it's completely devoid of all the good stuff you come to expect with campy thrillers. The who-dun-it aspect is stunted because we are shown very early on that Ellie is clearly kidnapped by a local, and part of the untapped potential of this movie was exploring other possibilities of her disappearance. At one point, it only made logical sense that a combination of three characters had a hand in the mischief, so you were either resting on your laurels that you had it pinned down or about to see one of "twists" so far fetched it killed any human characteristics the film had left.

This is a remake of a 70's British film of the same name and I'm willing to eat crow here and say that the original is probably better than the remake. However, if you want a solid horror/psycho thriller remake made last year, be sure to check out I Spit on Your Grave. Skip AStD unless you really need to see Odette and her chicken legs sing karaoke and take beatings from an angry soccer fan.

You Again
I really need to check ratings before I dive in because this is a PG movie and those are never really any good unless they involve talking animals, talking inanimate objects, Paul Blart, or any combination of the three.

Do you enjoy cameos from Patrick Duffy, The Rock, and Carl from Family Matters? If so, you might like this tale of Marni (Kristen Bell), who comes home to welcome her brother's new wife to be, Joanna (Yustman). The hijinks ensue when Marni quickly realized that Joanna was formerly known as JJ, the girl who terrorized her in high school. Marni doesn't care for this relationship at all and goes all Veronica Mars sneakin' around to prove to her brother that Joanna is the rotten girl that he fails to see.

Meanwhile, Betty White comes along as a the "hip" grandmother and mother of Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis), who meets Joanna's parental figure and aunt, Ramona (Sigourney Weaver), and we are quickly privy to some sort of similar, petty, high school drama between the two.

While some parts were comical and made for an entertaining romp (through several unfortunate events, Marni is transformed via haircut, accessories, and skin blemishes to an almost uncanny resemblance to her former, nerdy self....I should have mentioned that key element before, I guess. Marni is uber successful and hella-sexy now, but before she was your central casting teenage nerd), most scenes were dreadfully predictable and straddled that dangerous line of too mature for youngsters but way too corny for adults. Two main plot points--Joanna's actions throughout the movie and the overall relationship between Gail and Ramona--you could predict the end result from a mile away, but it was the last gimmick involving Betty White's character that was so hokey and so over the top that it really had me questioning why Bell would attach her name to such a project. Then I remembered she's a vegetarian and married to Dax Shepard. Siggggh.
I could see older, more conservative parents renting this for their family, but no one under the age of 30 should watch this, no matter how sexy you think Kristen Bell looks covered in split pea soup.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Listening...Trik Turner - Friends & Family

Ahhh, Trik Turner, one of my favorite high school era one hit wonders. But what a hit that was, and if you missed the music video (all three or however many alternates there were) than you really couldn't grasp the scope of what a few guys probably poured their heart into, manufacturing a gold mine of tame, MTV success, and in turn, (spoiler alert!), supporting their families!

I'm all for storytelling in music videos, and even if the setting didn't always match up with the lyrics, the effort was still there and Trik Turner dealt with the times and played the hip hop white boy card to the fullest. You probably want to talk crap about the music, but this was what people listened to a decade ago.

Seriously, though, watch to the end--it makes for decent cinematography and begs for an ending where the boyfriend gets pummeled by dueling purses. And is it just me or did they look like they were about to make out at the end?! Damn, I hate cliff hangers.

Boob Tube Quickies: Hot Rod

Over the past year I've become a fan of Saturday Night Live, a show that's fallen out of favor with a lot of past fans but also a show that brilliantly demonstrates what actors like Andy Samberg can achieve through both taped and live segments. I expected a comedy that was good enough to pass the time, but I regret to inform you that this was one of the more enjoyable flicks I've seen in 2011.

Rod Kimble is a hapless, small time stuntman, who with the help of his crew, attempt to raise $50,000 dollars for his ailing stepfather. Many pitfalls stand in Rod's way, including the incompetence of his friends and the overlying theme of his stepfather never respecting Rod.

Even with the dire family tones slightly tugging at your heartstrings, Hot Rod was essentially an Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, and Danny McBride tour de force. Also thrown in the mix was Denise (Isla Fisher), who served as Rod's love interest. When Denise is introduced you quickly find out that she has a cool, older boyfriend, a theme that felt more parodied than copied at some points, adding to the charm of the situation.

I suppose the reason I liked the movie was that the entirety of it felt like several long skits marbled with surreal tones of family stress, knucklehead friends, and maturity. Not giving too much away, a hospital scene with Rod and Dave (Hader) really set this film apart from other zany comedies in that it allowed natural character growth and interaction without straying too far from the intended product.

One odd feature in Hot Rod that didn't necessarily take away from the quality was that the movie seemed to be stuck in some sort of time warp. The buildings, clothing, and various other set pieces were vintage 70's and 80's, while modern technology like home computers were used throughout. I could be wrong, but this theme may have been intentional by the writers and director.

I just saw that Comedy Central added Hot Rod to their lineup, and almost nothing worthy would be taken away from this PG-13 flick on cable, so definitely check this out next time you have a free 90 minutes.

Boob Tube Quickies: The Troll Hunter

If you're one of those people that suggest and swear by foreign movies in a clouded attempt to make yourself appear more cultured and worldly, I strongly dislike your unpatriotic ass. If you're Norwegian and like The Troll Hunter, whatever, dude. I'm pretty sure that's not what trolls look like, and your country looks like it sucks hard.

When a friend came to me and said this was the coolest new import that mirrored the likes of Cloverfield, I still wasn't convinced because Cloverfield was a movie that I had a difficult time enjoying. The plot points, the ending, the extras, and let's not forget the horribly conceived joint-defying "monster" that was bashing full-sized bridges like they were legos--it was all too much for me.

In a nutshell, The Troll Hunter follows a group of Norwegian young adults through a forest looking for dead bears. Maybe they killed them...maybe they didn't; it didn't really matter because none of them spoke English and the emotion was running dry the moment the filmmaker tried to present the troll infestation as a legitimate threat to the region. They eventually see something huge (huge-r than bears, people, cars, houses, and anything else in that backwoods town that is) as it knocks down trees, screaming and sending another man, Trolljegeren (Troll hunter), fleeing the scene yelling, "Troll!!!"

From there, all hell breaks loose as various "species" of trolls are revealed and the crew, led by the troll hunter, seek to destroy every last one of them, whether it be turning them into stone or spontaneous explosion. On the plus side, I did like how the hunter and fellow scientists went into detail about how this is actually possible, but the prospect of these undefined monsters seemingly going about their business like real creatures and being hunted did nothing for me emotionally.

The special effects were tight, defined, and gave you this antiquated, wintery feel that was probably the one redeeming quality of the film. Other than that, it's like I said: the lost in translation problem hindered me from extracting the finer bits of a monster movie with a shaky cam. My expectations were also way off; in my Western ways of thinking, trolls are ogre/gnome people that hide under bridges and scare little children to not cross creepily built bridges without adult supervision, not giant, white Michelin Man looking blobs with three heads and a broad understanding of parental nurturing.

Oh, and you like sudden, shitty endings that you've no doubt seen in American monster/crypto movies, you'll probably passably care for this flick. Other than that, stick to eating double cheeseburgers, chanting U-S-A, and going belly up for more Michael Bay stuff.

P.S. I don't know what kind of publication "Aint It Cool News" is, but that underwhelming quote on the movie poster makes me never want to know.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

2011 Maxim Hot 100 Review

I guess Maxim's compiled list of attractive people is the Wrestlemania of hot chick blogging, so I take notice. I gave a rundown of last year's installment and looking back, I undervalued some sleepers while shaking my head over recent Dime slumps. Once again, this is by no means a glorification of their "work", as I don't subscribe to Maxim (neither in the business nor proverbial sense), but more of a critical look into the staff picks. Here is Maxim's official 2011 list, so follow along.
#15, like Timmy Tebow
100. Melanie Iglesias - As far as I can tell, she's just a fashion model and a half-Asian that could give Olivia Munn a run for her money in the Far East bracket.
99. Candace Bailey - Host of G4?! I don't know. Looks better as a brunette than a blonde.
98. Camilla Belle - I really dug her in that movie where Sean Bean's character absolutely obliterates her psyche, but the girl is pretty damn annoying on Twitter. Unfollow. UPDATE: All that was actually about Sophia Bush, the movie in question is The Hitcher, and yeah, Camilla Belle is pretty smokin'. My bad. But Sophia is still hotter. Don't tell Camilla.
97. Hope Dworaczyk - As much hockey as I watch you'd think I'd know how to pronounce that name. She's one of Hef's Playboy clones. Next.
96. Sophie Monk - Who? She's allegedly a British pop singer. Not a huge fan of this one...far too British looking.
95. Serinda Swan - Canadian actress who looks a lot like Adrianne Curry. Yeah, I hadn't heard of Breakout Kings, either.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

WWE Hates Christian

Talking about the WWE isn't really my strong suit--I only just recently started watching their programs since January after not keeping up since 2002, so I'm pretty damn green when it comes to story lines. The art of telling a good story in the squared circle isn't completely dead, but it takes a head shot when Christian wins his first ever Heavyweight title and drops it two nights later to WWE's cash cow, Randy Orton.
I wouldn't be so disappointed if the Extreme Rules PPV wasn't several times better than I thought it would be. It was on this night that years of hard work finally paid off for Jason Reso (Christian), as he defeated Alberto Del Rio in a ladder match for the Heavyweight title, freshly vacated by Reso's best friend, Edge. Even if the result was a bit predictable, the match was stellar from start to finish and the emotion of Christian finally grabbing the belt and hugging Edge was one of the more riveting scenes I've seen in a long time in the sport. It reminded me a lot of when Shawn Michaels won the WWF Championship for the first time and just looked at it, still on his knees in disbelief and suspended joy.

How can I really complain about booking, something reserved for pro wrestling, when WWE is so far removed from the intended product? It's ultimately an argument with no payoff, because when you break it all down, WWE knows their only two horses in the stable are John Cena and Randy Orton, both of whom now hold the only two belts of any significance in the company. I suppose Christian's merch wasn't selling all that well? Whatever your theory the fact remains that Christian was screwed.

I never like to call out the business practice of another, but it's horse hockey like this that frustrates the inner fan in all of us and inevitably makes it embarrassing to be a fan of the craft. Currently, WWE doesn't have a serious promotional rival in the sport and evidence of this has reared its ugly head with this lazy and hurtful writing.

I started watching Vince McMahon's circus once again because I foolishly believed that the days of meatheads like Cena, Orton, and Batista were behind them. Fans don't always come crawling back, Vince--they get older, have families, take up golf, have affairs, and build patios. What they don't do is sit around and watch the midcard and every other division whittle down to nothing and expire.

If a seasoned vet like Christian who lays out for his matches every time doesn't stand a chance, who does?