Documentary Review: Tommaso Ciampa: Blackheart (2019)

Release Date: October 9th, 2019
Cast: Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Triple H

WWE Network, 29 Minutes

Review:

I like Tommaso Ciampa and was pretty bummed when he got hurt earlier this year and didn’t get to pass the torch to his best friend in a match that most assuredly would have been another classic between the two.

That being said, I’m now really glad that he’s back and doing his thing.

However, his injury and road to recovery were pretty tough things to deal with and roadblocks he had to overcome in order to get back to where he was before he had to leave.

This short documentary was made for the WWE Network and it focuses on Ciampa before surgery and how he is putting more focus into his family during his time off.

It’s a pretty good piece and it shows the man in a light that most people haven’t seen him in.

Overall, I thought it was actually too short and that there was a bigger story to tell.

Regardless, it’s worth checking out if you are a fan of the guy and want to see a peek at what he’s like beyond his character.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: WWE 365 and WWE 24.

Comic Review: Plan 9 From Outer Space Strikes Again!

Published: May 6th, 2009
Written by: Darren Davis, Chad Helder
Art by: Giovanni Timpano
Based on: Plan 9 From Outer Space by Ed Wood

TidalWave Productions, BlueWater Comics, 29 Pages

Review:

Since I’m doing a Thanksgiving weekend full of Mystery Science Theater 3000 posts, I figured I’d also review a comic book based on prime cinematic schlock. Granted, Plan 9 From Outer Space was never featured on MST3K, which is baffling, but many of Ed Wood’s movies were. So I feel like this certainly fits the tone.

The story here serves as a sequel to the Plan 9 movie. It takes place in modern times and sees the alien invaders return after fifty years.

This was schlock-y but pretty enjoyable. It doesn’t feel like it exactly taps into the essence of the Ed Wood picture but it does give some solid fan service.

My biggest gripe about it though, is that it is a really short story and this probably needed to be stretched out over four-to-six issues.

Everything just pops off almost immediately and then it is also over, almost immediately. There is no character development and nothing to really grasp onto.

Still, this wasn’t a terrible read, it was fairly fun and definitely energetic. It just completely lacked the real estate it needed to tell any sort of story.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: the movie it is based on, as well as Ed Wood’s other works.

Book Review: ‘King of Strong Style: 1980-2014’ by Shinsuke Nakamura & Jocelyne Allen (translator)

This popped up as a suggestion on my Kindle, which made me happy. I’ve been following Shinsuke Nakamura’s career for years.

Being a fan of puroresu a.k.a. Japanese professional wrestling, I’ve watched Nakamura in New Japan going back to his time as a rookie. He’s since become a legend and now he wrestles in the United States for the WWE, where he is underutilized, if I’m being honest. But Vince McMahon doesn’t seem to have a great track record with Japanese superstars. But I digress.

This book is presented as an interview. It’s a couple hundred pages long interview but it is still pretty interesting from start to finish, as Shinsuke Nakamura is a pretty interesting dude.

The first few chapters deal with Nakamura’s childhood and his love of professional wrestling, which was in opposition of his father’s love of baseball. But we also learn what his school life was like and how he was pretty athletic between playing basketball and excelling at amateur wrestling.

After that, Nakamura delves into his professional wrestling career in the years that he worked for New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

This is where the book really brings the meat and potatoes. Nakamura is pretty respectful of the other professionals around him but he still provides great stories and insight into one of the coolest wrestling promotions on the planet.

For those who like reading wrestling biographies, this one is pretty good and it is very different, as there aren’t a lot of biographies on Japanese puroresu stars in the United States.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: other recent biographies by professional wrestlers and mixed martial artists.

Vids I Dig 149: Whang!: Wrestling E-Feds – Angelfire Adventures

Taken from Justin Whang’s YouTube description: The rise of the Internet in the late ’90s coincided with the most popular period in pro wrestling “The Attitude Era”. As such, wrestling and early Internet culture are inextricably tied. This was expressed with South Park Wrestlers, Fan Sites and E-Feds, which were roleplaying organizations in which fans created or took on the persona of existing wrestlers. In this episode of Angelfire Adventures, I browse what remains of some wrestling e-feds

Video Game Review: Fire Pro Wrestling World (PS4)

I had a Fire Pro Wrestling game back in the day for PlayStation 1. I enjoyed it but it didn’t consume as much of my time back then as WWF Attitude, a game where I had hundreds of customized wrestlers added to the mix.

The main reason why I gave this Fire Pro game a shot is because it featured wrestlers from New Japan Pro Wrestling and I really wanted a game where I could play as Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada, Guerrillas of Destiny, Tetsuya Naito and other massive Japanese stars.

I also wanted to create myself, as I do in every wrestling game, and live out the dream of beating the best to become a world champion.

At first glance, I love the visual retro style of these games. However, like those retro games, the gameplay mechanics leave a lot to be desired. While this certainly is more playable than those WWF games for the original Nintendo, it still feels like a button masher where you sometimes have to rely on unreliable luck.

In the creation process, there are so many options it is actually kind of ridiculous. Now I know that this is the real selling point for fans of this series of games but I found it poorly organized, overly complicated and heinously tedious.

I wanted this to be the wrestling game of my dreams and was damn excited to fire it up. But ultimately, I was left disappointed and kind of bored.

Rating: 5.25/10
Pairs well with: other Fire Pro games as well as retro wrestling games.

TV Review: NWA Ten Pounds of Gold (2017- )

Original Run: 2017 – current
Created by: William Patrick Corgan
Directed by: David Lagana
Cast: Tim Storm, Nick Aldis, Cody Rhodes, Eli Drake, James Storm, Marty Scurll, Billy Corgan, Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes (archive footage)

A Lightning One Production, 59 Episodes (so far), Minutes Vary Greatly (per episode)

Review:

As a lifelong wrestling fan, WWE is kind of dead to me. Over the years, I kept watching it because it was the only thing that was regularly accessible. And every few years I’d get excited about new signees like Shinsuke Nakamura, Asuka or Finn Bálor only to see them misused and wasted because Vince McMahon is an out of touch old man.

However, as of late, things have changed. We now have AEW, as a legit alternative. But in the shadows, a once great wrestling promotion has been building steam and making an impact once again and that company is the WWE’s once greatest rival: the National Wrestling Alliance.

With just a few marquee events and only a few episodes of their new YouTube series NWA Powerrr under their belt, they are making real waves and have reignited my love for professional wrestling and not “sports entertainment”.

I immediately fell in love with Powerrr just two weeks ago but it made me want to support the company as much as I can. So I picked up their Ten Pounds of Gold DVD, which is a three disc set of their reality YouTube series that follows the journey of the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship and the men who possess it and fight over it.

This series has been streaming on YouTube since 2017 and I’ve checked out episodes, here and there. However, seeing them in order and now as a complete body of work, this is a really awesome series for fans of old school wrestling.

This primarily focuses on the journeys of Tim Storm, Nick Aldis and Cody Rhodes but it also features a ton of great wrestlers and other personalities with lots of commentary and input from the Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, the owner of the NWA since 2017.

If you miss the days of old territory wrestling or the era where it felt like it was actually a sport that was dominated by manly men and not kamikaze millennials trying to emulate better wrestlers before them, than this is definitely worth a watch.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: other wrestling documentaries.

Video Game Review: WWF King of the Ring (NES)

The original WWF wrestling game for Nintendo was a piece of shit. I mean, it was passable in 1989 when I first played it but it’s a clusterfuck of buggy controls, strange physics and is limited by its roster and only having one match type.

This was the fourth WWF game for NES, after the three Wrestlemania games. This one took the King of the Ring tournament format and brought it into the game.

Now while this is limited by having basic one-on-one or tag team matches, it does boast a bigger roster than the original Wrestlemania game.

However, what makes this much, much better than Wrestlemania is that it is playable!

This game isn’t hard to figure out pretty quickly and you certainly don’t get as frustrated with it as you do the other early WWF titles. Sadly, there isn’t much as far as move sets go. I’m not even sure if you can do finishers. This is basically a button masher and as long as you can adapt to the patterns of the game, it’s really damn easy.

But because of this being a basic bitch of a wrestling game, it gets repetitive fast and after playing through one tournament, there isn’t much else to keep your attention.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: other NES wrestling games: Pro Wrestling, Tag Team Wrestling, WCW Wrestling and WWF WrestleMania Challenge.