Thursday, December 30, 2010

MKO: A Very Frosty Kristmas in 2010!

It's been six months since an eight minute showreel called Mortal Kombat: Rebirth sent speculative shockwaves throughout the online gaming community and MK fanbase [full story].

Reinventing the successful fighting franchise without authorized association; [MK: Rebirth] was actually one of many examples of independent productions borrowing from well known intellectual properties -- a practice used commonly to demonstrate, or practice, skills and techniques within familiar creative parameters. Just in time for the silly season, a new player has entered the demo arena to offer a decidedly lighter take on the MK property, a loving parody presented as a festive mock commercial.

Frosty Kristmas was directed by Manny Nickpour for his Netherlands based company, Hadoken Productions. The scene, filmed in a single night, was inspired by behind-the-scenes peeks at sequences from the 1997 platformer, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, as well as staple techniques of 1970s genre cinema. Nickpour is no stranger to filming Mortal Kombat, either.
A longtime fan of the series, he created a stir in 2008 with the release of two fake teaser trailers designed to recapture the mystique of the series ahead of what would eventually be announced as Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe.

Full Article:

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 12/26

#1 Kofi Kingston [--] (42-23-2)
(WWE: Smackdown)

Big Show is finishing the year with a light load, giving Kofi Kingston clearance to finish 2010 as the number one wrestler in WWE and TNA. With only a single, brief Intercontinental title reign to his name this year, it's somewhat surprising that [Kofi] has maintained such a steady flow of success. I struggle to see him in an active main event picture in the near future, both in small part due to his style and stature, and also the abbreviated near-miss of his feud with Randy Orton. After a string of tag team matches that involved Big Show in Smackdown teams, and as a pairing, I could see how they might find some Tag Team Championship success in the new year.

As with last week, I'm compelled to mention a Money in the Bank action figure commercial I saw during morning cartoons, which seems to suggest there's some consideration for Kofi Kingston within the PG market. Perhaps in 2011 he will return to RAW, where that demographic is served, regardless of viewership. As much as I think he has a home on Smackdown, I'm just not sure I see a great benefit for the blue brand, or Kofi himself. Especially not after so many shots at the IC belt were missed out on. You never know, though.

#2 [--] The Big Show (40-15-2) (WWE)
#3 [--] Randy Orton (34-19-6) (WWE)
#4 [--] Rey Mysterio (32-16-5) (WWE)
#5 [+2] Drew McIntyre (31-31-4) (WWE)
#6 [-1] Cody Rhodes (30-20-2) (WWE)
#7 [-1] The Miz (30-31-5) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#8 [+2] John Cena (28-22-6) (WWE)
#9 [-1] AJ Styles (27-12-7) (TNA)
#10 [-1] Dolph Ziggler (27-30-3) (WWE) [Intercontinental Champion]

#1 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (16-17-3) (TNA)
#2 [--] Tyson Kidd & DH Smith (16-18-0) (WWE)
#3 [--] Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (15-10-2) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#4 [--] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (13-3-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champions]
#5 [--] Layla & Michelle McCool (12-16-0) (WWE)
#6 [--] Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes (9-5-0) (WWE)
#7 [--] Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal (9-7-0) (TNA)
#8 [--] Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (8-4-0) (WWE)
#9 [--] Brie Bella & Nikki Bella (8-4-0) (WWE)
#10 [--] Big Show & The Miz (7-4-1) (WWE)

Superstar Spotlight:
#45 Douglas Williams
(15-16-2) (TNA)

The current reigning TNA Television Champion will put AJ Styles (#9) to the test on January 9th when they meet at TNA: Genesis. The match will determine Styles' future with the Fortune and Immortal stables, resulting in his ejection should he fail to bring the belt back to Ric Flair's golden team. The pair fought to a 1-1 draw in an Iron Match on the most recent edition of Impact!, one of several matches that Williams has been a part of in a strong December for the TNA brand.

The former British Invasion figurehead has done his dash with the X-Division and TV belts in 2010, earning the respect and adoration of peers and commentators throughout the industry. Some might regard his current feud with TNA posterboy, AJ Styles, as part of an on-going step-down for the former World Heavyweight champion, but I'm much more inclined to think of it as an interesting step up for Douglas Williams. In the youth oriented, polished market of WWE, it would be difficult to envision a World Champion Douglas Williams, but with TNA's roots still showing hints of their previous catch as catch can credentials, 2011 might yet hold new heights for a wrestler with an interesting character presence, and unique in-ring style.

The greatest doubt cast over Williams' most immediate prospects are the belt he currently holds, and the potential clash of styles with current World champion, Jeff Hardy (#22), who might not compliment the Brit as much as other wrestlers. Then again, with Hardy's penchant for highflying daring, Williams would still be in his kayfabe element, challenging with healthy disdain for the acrobatic antics of TNA's trademark X-Division bent. Given the champs' recent troubles, however, it seems reasonable to expect a change in the ranks at some point, and if December is any indication of TNA's intent to cross the line into 2011, perhaps the once glorious tone of sports oriented competition will return, and the top ranks will be populated with original and interesting names and styles.

Special Note: 2010's wrestling calendar will end cleanly on December 31st, with the final episode of WWE Smackdown for the year. This will presumably include a full week's worth of WWE RAW, WWE Superstars, and TNA Impact!, before the final Kayfabe Countdown.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records, based on televised matches from WWE and TNA 2010 broadcasts. At present, they includes TNA: Impact!, WWE: RAW, WWE: Superstars, WWE: Smackdown, and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

iChart 100: Four Years of Listening

#1 [604] William Ørbit - Cavalleria Rusticana (+1)
#2 [590] William Ørbit - In A Landscape (+2)
#3 [586] William Ørbit - Ogive Number I (+1)
#4 [571] Way Out West - Pulse of Life (-3)
#5 [553] William Ørbit - Piece in the Modern Style 3 (--)
#6 [553] William Ørbit - L'Inverno (+3)
#7 [547] 菅野よう子 [Yoko Kanno] - Bad Dog (-1)
#8 [542] CocoRosie - Rainbowarriors (--)
#9 [535] William Ørbit - Xerxes (+3)
#10 [530] William Ørbit - Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte (--)
#11 [526] Thome Yorke - Analyse (-4)
#12 [525] William Ørbit - Triple Concerto (-1)
#13 [486] William Ørbit - Piece in the Old Style I (-3)
#14 [484] William Ørbit - Opus I32 (+3)
#15 [478] CoLD SToRAGE - Body in Motion (-1)
#16 [475] William Ørbit - Adagio for Strings (+3)
#17 [465] Björk - Mouths Cradle (-4)
#18 [458] Underworld - Two Months Off (Radio Edit) (-3)
#19 [447] Vangelis - Love Theme from Bladerunner (-1)
#20 [429] Björk - Who Is It (Carry My Joy on the Left, Carry My Pain on the Right) (+1)
#21 [424] Moby - My Weakness (-1)
#22 [399] Bodyrox feat. Luciana - Yeah Yeah (D. Ramirez Radio Edit) (--)
#23 [390] CoLD SToRAGE - Cold Comfort (--)
#24 [382] Björk - Submarine (--)
#25 [369] Intermix - Mantra (+4)
#26 [367] Groove Terminator - Losing Ground (+10)
#27 [364] CoLD SToRAGE - Cairodrome (+1)
#28 [364] Madonna - Frozen (-3)
#29 [360] Sasha - Wavy Gravy (+5)
#30 [359] Gustav - Venua (-4)
#31 [352] William Ørbit - Barber's Adagio for Strings (Ferry Corsten Remix) (+4)
#32 [345] PNAU - Journey Agent (-2)
#33 [340] Hot Chip - Over and Over (-6)
#34 [333] Stardust - Music Sounds Better with You (Radio Edit) (-1)
#35 [329] UNKLE - Lonely Soul (-4)
#36 [327] Radiohead - Videotape (+1)
#37 [327] Pendulum - Coma (+1)
#38 [324] Björk - Visur Vatnsenda-Rósu (-6)
#39 [324] Einsturzende Neubauten - Blume (--)
#40 [321] Groove Zone - Eisbaer (Extended Mix) (+2)
#41 [320] The Future Sound of London - Papua New Guinea (--)
#42 [320] Rob Dougan - Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Variation) (+6)
#43 [318] Björk - Desired Constellation (--)
#44 [318] Joe Jackson - Steppin' Out (-4)
#45 [316] Moby - Porcelain (Clubbed to Death Version by Rob Dougan) (+2)
#46 [314] Cassius - Toop Toop (-2)
#47 [307] Luke Slater - Stars and Heroes (-1)
#48 [306] Supreme Beings of Leisure - Strangelove Addiction (+8)
#49 [305] Console - 14 Zero Zero (-4)
#50 [298] DJ Krush - Dig This Vibe (-1)
#51 [298] Faithless - We Come 1 (+12)
#52 [297] Björk - Pleasure is all Mine (-2)
#53 [292] b(if)tek feat. Julee Cruise - Wired for Sound (-2)
#54 [289] Moby - Bodyrock (Hybrid's Bodyshock Remix) (-2)
#55 [285] Pet Shop Boys - I Don't Know What You Want but I Can't Give it Anymore (+7)
#56 [284] Björk - Vokuro (-2)
#57 [282] The Chemical Brothers - Let Forever Be (--)
#58 [280] Madonna - Drowned World/Substitute For Love (+1)
#59 [280] Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks (-6)
#60 [278] Pet Shop Boys - Miracles (Radio Edit) (+1)
#61 [278] Björk - Triumph of a Heart (+7)
#62 [277] Moby - Natural Blues (-2)
#63 [276] UNKLE - Rabbit in your Headlights (-8)
#64 [274] Moby - Memory Gospel (+3)
#65 [273] Rui Da Silva feat. Cassandra - Touch Me (+21)
#66 [273] Moby - Flying Foxes (+8)
#67 [266] Björk - Oceania (+5)
#68 [265] William Ørbit - Water From a Vine Leaf (-4)
#69 [264] Hot Chip - Grubbs (-11)
#70 [261] Ratty - Sunrise (Here I Am) (Radio Edit) (--)
#71 [260] Moby - ARP (-6)
#72 [259] 808 State - Pacific (808:98) (+16)
#73 [257] Gerling - Enter, Space Capsule (Radio Disko Edit) (+8)
#74 [256] Faithless - Salva Mea (Way Out West Remix) (+10)
#75 [254] Sash! - Chill Out No. 1 (+19)
#76 [251] Radiohead - 15 Step (+22)
#77 [251] CoLD SToRAGE - Messij Received (+1)
#78 [251] Orbital - Petrol (-5)
#79 [251] The Beta Band - Space Beatle (-10)
#80 [249] CoLD SToRAGE - Onyx (-14)
#81 [248] Faithless - Drifting Away (Paradiso Mix) (-5)
#82 [248] Pet Shop Boys - Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money) (+17)
#83 [241] Orbital - Halcyon (7" Version) (new)
#84 [241] Hot Chip - Boy From School (-11)
#85 [240] Nine Inch Nails - Just Like You Imagined (-14)
#86 [239] ana voog - Telepathic You (-11)
#87 [238] Hybrid - If I Survive (+9)
#88 [237] Raven Maize - The Real Life (Fatboy Slim Mix) (+3)
#89 [237] Hybrid - Finished Symphony (+8)
#90 [236] The Prodigy - Voodoo People (Pendulum Remix) (new)
#91 [233] Daft Punk - Around the World (-12)
#92 [233] The Chemical Brothers - Star Guitar (new)
#93 [233] Cassius - Toop Toop (Olivier Koletski Mix) (-16)
#94 [232] 菅野よう子 [Yoko Kanno] - Pulse (-4)
#95 [231] Daft Punk - Veridis Quo (new)
#96 [229] b(if)tek - 3 Seconds of Her (-13)
#97 [227] Faithless - I Want More (new)
#98 [226] Groove Armada - Dusk, You & Me (-3)
#99 [226] Underworld - Born Slipp (Nuxx) (new)
#100 [226] Timo Maas - To Get Down (RE)

It's become something of a tradition, something of an obsession, to make note of this statistical findings, throughout the year, and on the anniversary of my receiving this iPod. I received the gift for Christmas in 2006, rather reluctantly, I might add, with a surly disposition I'm more associated with than I'd like. I've made these notes ever since, and while I remain an active blogger throughout the year, they remain some of the most revealing posts I make. Usually I prefer an impersonal tone, relevant to subjects. The same can be true of these iChart posts where I have occasionally included commentaries of a musical nature, but I suppose music is itself an inherently personal thing.

As I write this, I certainly feel very personal things. I feel the weight of the sadness I have carried with me for over a year now, reminded of the absence of my dearest friend, who passed away in October of 2009. He was often present at various points during these writings and I miss him very much.

I am writing this before beginning the stat counting, aware that a lot of new music has found it's way onto my iPod over the last ten months. I know I stopped listening to music for a while when I was feeling dark, and I suppose you could say it's return and reinvigoration has been reflective of the mourning process. For anyone who enjoys music actively, I suspect the same would be true. Now more than ever I recognise that, as much as these numbers are subject to whim and seasonal tastes, they are also indicative of the soundtrack to a person's life. If only I had more tracks to choose from, and a list of songs that made me seem a bit cooler. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm quite confident I'm chillingly cool and it's everyone else who's become fashionless dorks.

What do I hope from posting these lists publicly?
I think we should all share an understanding of blogging as, occasionally, the act of a one-sided conversation. That is to say, this isn't necessarily a deliberate act, undertaken with the expectation that someone will read it. Rather, it is simply a journal, a log of events, which I will surely revisit at some point in the future. If you visit with me, I suppose it's pleasant to have company. If nothing else, you might be inclined to investigate some music you haven't heard of. As the years tick on, I certainly find fewer and fewer people who share my specific tastes and preferences, some of which might have come from similiar online discoveries, explorations, and recommendations. We didn't have YouTube and iTunes in 1999, either! Gosh, the digital age sure has made old men of young souls!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 12/19

#1 Kofi Kingston [--] (42-23-2)
(WWE: Smackdown)

With only one more week of competition left in 2010, it seems all but guaranteed that Kofi Kingston will go down in history as the first counted #1 wrestler in the Kayfabe Countdown. Of all the wrestlers competing in WWE and TNA in 2010, Kofi has not immediately emerged as the most memorable or accomplished, but his impressive win/loss victory and steady contention for the Intercontinental title on Smackdown suggests the company is at least invested in his markettable brand.

Kofi experienced some near misses with the main event, gaining a short-lived burst of heat early in the year during encounters with Randy Orton (#3), but the moment that perhaps left it's biggest impression on me came from a commercial. While the results of toy battles might matter even less than the average win/loss; for a character of [Kofi's] relative insignifcance to star in a Money in the Bank playset commercial, victorious in action figure form, surely means quite a lot in an era defined by it's toybranded PG perspective.

#2 [--] The Big Show (40-15-2) (WWE)
#3 [+1] Randy Orton (32-19-6) (WWE)
#4 [-1] Rey Mysterio (31-16-5) (WWE)
#5 [+1] Cody Rhodes (30-20-2) (WWE)
#6 [+2] The Miz (30-29-5) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#7 [-2] Drew McIntyre (30-31-4) (WWE)
#8 [-1] AJ Styles (27-12-6) (TNA)
#9 [--] Dolph Ziggler (27-28-3) (WWE) [Intercontinental Champion]
#10 [RE] John Cena (26-22-6) (WWE)

#1 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (16-16-3) (TNA)
#2 [--] Tyson Kidd & DH Smith (16-18-0) (WWE)
#3 [--] Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (14-10-2) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#4 [+1] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (13-3-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champions]
#5 [-1] Layla & Michelle McCool (12-15-0) (WWE)
#6 [--] Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes (9-5-0) (WWE)
#7 [--] Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal (9-7-0) (TNA)
#8 [--] Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (8-4-0) (WWE)
#9 [--] Brie Bella & Nikki Bella (8-4-0) (WWE)
#10 [--] Big Show & The Miz (7-4-1) (WWE)

Superstar Spotlight:
#58 Alberto Del Rio
(12-7-3) (WWE)

2010 has been good to Smackdown's swanky Spanish superstar, Alberto Del Rio. His heated rivalry with Rey Mysterio transformed into a championship possibility, but alas, the TLC Pay-Per-View did not cap off an incredible year for the former mascarado. In what many consider to be his signature match -- Edge (#11) emerged victorious from the titular stipulation, defeating Del Rio, the now former-champion Kane (#15), and Rey Mysterio (#4), a trio providing good company in their mutual defeat.

In '09 I eagerly anticipated the arrival of Dos Caras Jr at almost every imaginable turn, seeing entry points where there were none. Relishing the possibility of a second masked luchadore within the wrestling giant's ranks was a naive hope, but one sponsored by early reports that suggested the Mexican legacy star would not be asked to remove his mask in a deal with WWE. It remains a somewhat sour point, for me, that the traditions of the mask were not honored by WWE, who could probably use a healthy injection of conceptual and stylistic diversity, but the results have done well to ease my disappointment. Alberto Del Rio may be a very different character to the man of 'two faces', but he's been no less an injection of life and intrigue into the Smackdown roster.

I would have liked to have seen Del Rio begin 2011 as the World Heavyweight Champion, but ultimately respect that he will have longer to earn that reward and further his WWE career with solid feuds, and enjoyable matches. It's the kind of seasoning that multi-title winner, Edge, has lacked in his rapidfire championship reigns over a few short years, and is similarly absent from the majority of WWE's recently elevated stars. Del Rio was only called up from development in FCW in June of 2010, so it could fairly be said that his successes against Rey Mysterio are an achievement already. Christian (#24), his would-be opponent before a pectoral tear, now waits in the wings of 2011, along with Edge and the other headlining stars of the blue brand.

Special Note: Countdown includes results from the WWE: Tables, Ladders, Chairs pay-per-view event, where Edge (#11) defeated Kane (#14) to become the WWE World Heavyweight champion for the sixth time. Combined with WWE Championship victories, it is Edge's tenth reign as a world class champion. Christmas also saw the disappointing release of Kaval (#93) from WWE; formerly known as Low-Ki, a two-time TNA X-Division champion and the first ROH World Heavyweight champion.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records, based on televised matches from WWE and TNA 2010 broadcasts. At present, they includes TNA: Impact!, WWE: RAW, WWE: Superstars, WWE: Smackdown, and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Quick Predict: WWE Tables Ladders & Chairs (2010)

Fatal Four-Way TLC World Heavyweight Championship match
Alberto Del Rio vs Rey Mysterio vs Edge vs Kane (c)
Prediction: Alberto Del Rio

Table WWE Championship match
Randy Orton vs The Miz (c)
Prediction: The Miz

Chair match
Wade Barrett vs John Cena
Prediction: John Cena

Ladder #1 Contender (WWE title) match
John Morrison vs Sheamus
Prediction: Sheamus

Tag Team Table match
Natalya Neidhart & Beth Phoenix vs Laycool
Prediction: Laycool

Triple Threat Ladder Intercontinental Championship match
Jack Swagger vs Kofi Kingston vs Dolph Ziggler (c)
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler (c)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 12/12

#1 Kofi Kingston [+1] (40-22-2)
(WWE: Smackdown)

After eleven weekly Countdowns at the top of the rankings, Big Show has been toppled! It's the first time, since the Countdown went weekly in September, that Big Show hasn't reigned over the rest of the list. He spent this week's Smackdown out of the ring, while a DQ win over Dolph Ziggler in an Intercontinental title match bumped Kofi Kingston back into the top spot he occupied earlier in the year.

As evidenced by his win/loss rate, Kofi Kingston has enjoyed some measure of success throughout the year, but after the rub from Randy Orton seemed to be aborted, Kingston struggled to gain lasting recognition. His reign as IC champion this year was both brief and forgettable, like many of his feuds. A second run at the belt against Ziggler looks likely to end his year, but the odds of the belt being around his waist are even, at best. His shot at reigning as year-end Kayfabe Countdown #1, however, might be a little bit better if Big Show's workrate of the last two weeks is any measure.

#2 [-1] The Big Show (39-15-2) (WWE)
#3 [--] Rey Mysterio (31-13-4) (WWE)
#4 [--] Randy Orton (31-18-6) (WWE)
#5 [--] Drew McIntyre (29-31-4) (WWE)
#6 [--] Cody Rhodes (28-20-2) (WWE)
#7 [--] AJ Styles (27-12-6) (TNA)
#8 [--] The Miz (27-29-4) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#9 [--] Dolph Ziggler (26-26-3) (WWE) [Intercontinental Champion]
#10 [--] R-Truth (25-22-4) (WWE)

#1 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (16-16-3) (TNA)
#2 [--] Tyson Kidd & DH Smith (16-18-0) (WWE)
#3 [--] Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (14-10-2) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#4 [--] Layla & Michelle McCool (12-14-0) (WWE)
#5 [--] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (11-3-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champions]
#6 [--] Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes (9-5-0) (WWE)
#7 [+2] Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal (9-7-0) (TNA)
#8 [-1] Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (8-2-0) (WWE)
#9 [-1] Brie Bella & Nikki Bella (8-4-0) (WWE)
#10 [--] Big Show & The Miz (7-4-1) (WWE)

Superstar Spotlight:
#193 Xavier Woods
(0-2-0) (FCW)

Better known as Consequences Creed to NWA: Anarchy and TNA fans; FCW's Xavier Woods is a star already occurred. His time with Total Non-Stop Action produced memorable matches in the X-Division, including a 2008 feud with Petey Williams, and led to his eventual reign as Tag Team Champion with Lethal Consequences partner, "Black Machismo" Jay Lethal (#73). Unfortunately, like the six-sided ring he graced, Creed was a casualty of the Hogan/Bischoff regime that took over TNA at the beginning of 2010, and released him after only two matches.

In a twist of the expected, TNA's loss may be WWE's gain. The global wrestling phenomenon has used FCW extensively as a development territory, sourcing talent for their core roster, as well as the pseudo-reality competition, NXT. FCW stars have risen to incredible heights, with Wade Barrett (#21), Bryan Danielson (#39), Alberto Del Rio (#56), and former TNA X-Division Champion and NXT Season 2 Winner, Kaval (#103), all graduating through the Florida development system on top of their previous accolades.

It's difficult not to want for and imagine the possibilities of Creed's rise to the WWE roster, either through NXT, where he would make a fitting pupil for mentor R-Truth (#10) [ie; Truth or Consequences], or as a singles competitor introduced cold. His gimmick, a red, white and blue reference to Apollo Creed of the Rocky series of films, shouldn't distract from the legitimate talent of a wrestler who is both charismatic, and also skilled in the finer art of wrestling. A man who just recently held the FCW Tag Team Championship with Wes Briscoe, and could certainly add some much needed flavour to WWE's version of the same.

Special Note: On the December 6 episode of RAW, Santino Marella (#37) and Vladimir Kozlov (#35) defeated champions, Justin Gabriel (#22) and Heath Slater (#27), in a four way Tag Team Championship match also featuring Mark Henry (#61) and Yoshi Tatsu (#45), and The Usos (#13).

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records, based on televised matches from WWE and TNA 2010 broadcasts. At present, they includes TNA: Impact!, WWE: RAW, WWE: Superstars, WWE: Smackdown, and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 12/5

#1 The Big Show [--] (39-15-2)
(WWE: Smackdown)

Big Show had the week off, giving our statistical race toward the end of the year a boost of intrigue. Kofi Kingston picked up a win over Jack Swagger (#17) on Smackdown to equal the Big Show's priority win count. With four weeks still to go in 2010, this two-horse race remains very much alive!

Meanwhile, with Edge (#18) set to take a second shot at Kane's (#12) World Championship at the TLC PPV, speculation regarding Big Show's title potential seems to have ended. He began 2010 as a reigning Tag Team Champion with The Miz (#8).

#2 [--] Kofi Kingston (39-22-2) (WWE)
#3 [--] Rey Mysterio (30-13-4) (WWE)
#4 [--] Randy Orton (30-18-6) (WWE)
#5 [--] Drew McIntyre (29-30-4) (WWE)
#6 [+1] Cody Rhodes (28-19-2) (WWE)
#7 [-1] AJ Styles (27-12-6) (TNA)
#8 [--] The Miz (27-29-4) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#9 [+1] Dolph Ziggler (26-25-3) (WWE) [Intercontinental Champion]
#10 [-1] R-Truth (25-22-4) (WWE)

#1 [+1] Robert Roode & James Storm (16-16-3) (TNA)
#2 [-1] Tyson Kidd & DH Smith (16-18-0) (WWE)
#3 [--] Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (13-10-2) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#4 [--] Layla & Michelle McCool (12-14-0) (WWE)
#5 [--] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (9-3-0) (WWE)
#6 [--] Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes (9-5-0) (WWE)
#7 [--] Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (8-2-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champions]
#8 [--] Brie Bella & Nikki Bella (8-4-0) (WWE)
#9 [+1] Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal (8-7-0) (TNA)
#10 [-1] Big Show & The Miz (7-4-1) (WWE)

Superstar Spotlight:
#14 Sheamus
(23-19-3) (WWE)

The King of the Ring tournament made it's long awaited return two weeks ago, beginning with qualifying matches on RAW and Smackdown. On a special three-hour RAW last week, Bryan Danielson (#42), Alberto Del Rio (#56), Cody Rhodes (#6), Ezekiel Jackson (#65), Drew McIntyre (#5), and Kofi Kingston (#2) competed in the elimination brackets, but it was ultimately Sheamus who came out on top, victorious as the 2010 King of the Ring over recent rival, John Morrison (#16), after enjoying the easy ride of a bye created by the double count-out draw of Ezekiel Jackson and Drew McIntyre in the first round.

The once prestigious crown adds to Sheamus' other fast-tracked successes, including a two-time reign as WWE champion, and the Slammy Aware for Break-Out Star of 2009. In many eyes, it is considered a precursor to the return of Triple H (#80), who Sheamus sent to the sidelines after a street fight at April's Extreme Rules. It was the conclusion to several months of fighting between the two, and a considerable rub for such a relatively young performer.

I could be somewhat critical of Sheamus' list of achievements, which have come with the kind of speed that WWE is now associated with. It is a trend that has greatly diminished the prestige and accomplishment of these titles that were once unobtainable even to some of wrestling's greatest stars. He first emerged as a breath of fresh air, creating much needed distraction from the headlining usual suspects of the RAW roster that he is now in danger of becoming part of. The King of the Ring has done well to continue the construction of Sheamus as a longterm main event prospect, adding to his accolades, without cheapening the belts.

Special Note: The Countdown includes results from the TNA: Final Resolution PPV, where Douglas Williams (#46) defeated AJ Styles (#7) to become the new Television Champion.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records, based on televised matches from WWE and TNA 2010 broadcasts. At present, they includes TNA: Impact!, WWE: RAW, WWE: Superstars, WWE: Smackdown, and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Quick Predict: TNA Final Resolution (2010)

No time for love, Dr. Jones!

Heavyweight Championship match
Special Guest Referee: Ken Anderson
Matt Morgan versus Jeff Hardy (c)
Prediction: Jeff Hardy

Full Metal Mayhem Tag Team Championship match
Generation Me vs Motor City Machine Guns (c)
Prediction: Motor City Machine Guns

Television Championship match
Douglas Williams vs AJ Styles
Prediction: AJ Styles

X-Division Championship match
Cookie suspended above ring in a shark cage
Jay Lethal vs Robbie E
Prediction: Robbie E

Submission match
Jeff Jarrett vs Samoa Joe
Prediction: Samoa Joe

Casket match
D'Angelo Dinero vs Abyss
Prediction: D'Angelo Dinero

First Blood match
Rob Van Dam vs Rhino
Prediction: Rob Van Dam

#1 Contender Tag Team match
Beer Money Inc vs Ink Inc
Prediction: Beer Money

Falls Count Anywhere
Mickie James vs Tara
Prediction: Mickie James

Friday, December 03, 2010

MKO: Official MK Website Launches Feedback Feature!

Since it's countdown launch back in October [full story], the Official Mortal Kombat website has had fans anticipating the opportunity to register to discuss and reveal new details about some of their favourite characters. Today, the wait has ended!

The new official message board offers a range of standard discussion forums about the games and web content, as well as special categories dedicated to Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Mileena, Shao Kahn, and Raiden. These categories are attached to a rankings system, which will allow fans to unlock new materials on each characters' dedicated bio page through forum discussion. The preview bars will also see existing materials, such as the Scorpion and Sub-Zero vignettes already released, be made accessible from the site.

The update also brought with it revised editions of biography text supplied for each of the feature characters. Details alluding to the increasingly elaborate mythologies of each character included backstory accumulated from recent releases, as well as brand new revelations about favourites like Sub-Zero, previously known in-fiction as Tundra, and the very tournament itself, which is said to have been influenced in it's creation by Raiden.

Full Article:

Wrestling: The European Championship

Triple H, Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Jeff Jarrett, Diamond Dallas Page, Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam. The unwritten tier system might've seen the WWF European Championship fall third to the Heavyweight and Intercontinental titles, but the names that held the strap over it's brief five-year history are surprisingly impressive.

It was part of Shawn Michaels' dual title reign as the first WWF Grand Slam champion; the underscore in British Bulldogs' bitter and fruitless struggle for the Heavyweight title; part of Kurt Angle's rise as one of the most quickly decorated stars in wrestling; and a feather in the cap of many stars who went on to hold top title gold.

In 2002, the European belt was unified with the Intercontinental title on Rob Van Dam, and subsequently absorbed into that year's version of the World Heavyweight title as part of the WWF brand split extension. The desire for symmetry in the brands eventually saw the United States title -- absorbed during the acquisition of WCW -- fill the void created by the eventual return of the IC belt. It has been a fair and equatable system in theory, but in practise, exposed as many problems in modern WWE as it has solved.

The beauty of the WWF's title arrangement as of 1997 was simple. It offered opportunities to the entire roster, relative to their status, or style.

For those not yet ready for a rise to the top, the Intercontinental and European titles offered legitimate stepping stones at the upper and mid-card levels. The Light Heavyweight and Hardcore titles played specialist alternatives to the slightly more prestigious Euro belt, completing the picture in a way not seen since the brand extension. If this titles' absence in 2010 is a criticism, then it's also a criticism of the modern product, which I often choose to describe as polished to the point of erosion. Even so, I think very little would need to change to make the European title a successful commodity in the current era. In fact, in ideal circumstances, it would help encourage that depth of investment that existed in the Attitude Era, with favourite wrestlers from the top to the bottom of the card.

Due to it's lower grade, the European title would offer the possibility to legitimately contend a championship during international tours, which go otherwise untelevised, and are inappropriate for top belt changes. Also, with WWE farming the Florida Championship Wrestling developmental territory quite heavily since the introduction of NXT, there's an obvious potential for the establishment of a strong mid-card tradition. The European title would be right at home on a show like WWE: Superstars, which typically features this middle-section of the roster, and would allow seasoned stars to initiate some of these new inclusions with a more longterm record than some of the forgettable avenues used now.

For me, a great sticking point of the past decade has been attempts to fasttrack main event stars into extended championship runs. While it would not guarantee a more considered approach, the presence of a championship heirarchy would at least offer more stop-gaps for giving the rub to up and coming names. I might've preferred The Miz put more years into working his way up the ranks before winning the WWE title, for example. Other stars with potential might include:

Montel Vontavious Porter (#11)
What better way for an MVP to show off his status than by jetsetting to the most glamorous cities of the world? With a few cheesy promos infront of blue screen backdrops, MVP could up his stock as a European champion who claims to represent and reside in various cities across Europe. It was a concept used during D-Lo Brown's reign, and I think, could make the ballin' MVP a superstar worth noticing, giving him a place on the card that he can make his own.

Tyson Kidd (#27)
The high-flying alternate in the crumbling Hart Dynasty tag team would be right at home with the European championship, I think. He has the wrestling skills to bring credibility to the title, and with DH Smith involved in any capacity, it would be a great way to add extra motivation to an already personal feud. A chance to begin Kidd's career as a singles wrestler without the stigma of a [still defunct] Cruiserweight title reign, or a premature push.

David Hart Smith (#24)
DH Smith stands in a pretty mighty shadow, but as a European champion, I think he would be making the best of a family legacy. At the present, it's difficult to see how far Smith's future goes with WWE. If there's a long run in him, then this could be a pretty charming beginning to a quest to do what his father wasn't able to -- become the holder of all the major championships.

Vladimir Kozlov (#42)
In 2008, Kozlov came in strong, marching his way to a short but noteworthy undefeated streak that included a victory over The Undertaker on Smackdown. After a disappointing showing in a WWE Championship match at Survivor Series, he was quickly downgraded, tumbling down the roster to ECW henchman, landing on RAW as comedy relief opposite Santino Marella. I enjoyed the indomitable Russian gimmick, but would agree he was far from ready for top gold. The Euro title would have been an opportune way to follow through on his monster heel status, without embarassing the concept or gold.

William Regal (#93)
The four-time European champion probably deserves better, but it seems increasingly unlikely that William Regal will ever match tenure for success. In the event that he never receives a JBL-style push to the top, the former King of the Ring might as well exhibit his dominance over a division he's represented so well in the past. A small, but fitting reward for his years of service.

Drew McIntyre (#5)
His Intercontinental Championship reign came with a lonesome DDT and an unconvincing elevation. It doesn't take a genius to slap the European title on wrestlers from outside the US, but I think that's more a testament to the credibility of the concept, than a criticism. Drew McIntyre could've established himself much more appropriately at this level.

Cody Rhodes (#7)
Despite the pedigree of some of it's holders, the European title came to be associated with the underside of it's mid-card trappings. A certain style emerged as a result of that, and I feel Cody Rhodes might be at home there. The belt would certainly help break up his bizarre skinny-ankled grey boots that look like socks with underpants, and add some gold to his dashing demeanour, without compromising other belts.

Ted Dibiase Jr (#50)
Once the more promising of the Orton-following Priceless tandem; Dibiase has struggled to find character or success in the RAW ranks. Recent battles with Bryan Danielson for the US title exposed how underdone his persona has become. Had the European title been active, Dibiase's post-Orton career might've been salvaged sooner by a more appropriate championship goal.

Mark Henry (#58)
No matter how hard they sell his big-man status, I can't ever see myself accepting Mark Henry as a contender for the WWE or World Heavyweight championships. Somehow not quite in line with the image of an IC champion, I would be more than willing to accept a Mark Henry who dominates his opponents as a two-time European champion.

Santino Marella (#46)
Soiled beyond repair by his extensive feature as a comedic foil, the Italian Marella could at least find a starting point to earn back some credibility by way of his European heritage.

Tyler Reks (#94)
Emerging as one of the FCW recruits, Reks might not be ready for a championship reign just yet, but the presence of a European title would at least provide an avenue for him to get the rub from some of the other names mentioned on this list, with the potential to earn an eventual reign and benefit from that accordingly. He wouldn't be my first choice, but he'd certainly be welcome in the division. Appearances on Superstars highlight this.

Percy Watson (#125)
It should be plain to everyone that Percy Watson is ready. Percy Watson is already happening. Percy Watson is bringing the party to your house, be it via FCW, or NXT. Percy Watson is already a legitimate fact, and the European championship would just be a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Ibiza pales in comparison. Percy Watson is the official party capital of the world. Oh yeah!!

Finlay (#137)
If he ever absolutely has to occupy a championship contender slot again, then it might as well be the Euro belt.

Charlie Haas (#167)
Haas recently reunited with his Worlds Greatest Tag Team partner, Shelton Benjamin, in Ring of Honor, but if it wasn't too late for Haas, the European title would've given him a chance to flex his in-ring skills, putting a catch as catch can face on a belt, without the burden of his lack of personality getting in the way.

Rankings provided come from the Weekly Kayfabe Countdown.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

MKO: Mortal Kombat at the Brazil Game Show!

November 20th saw the launch of the third annual two-day Brazil Game Show; an expo designed to bring developers from around the world to the South American city of Rio de Janeiro.

In preparation for the release of their latest installment in the long running Mortal Kombat series, producer Hector Sanchez of the NetherRealm Studios team was there to offer a playable demo of the game and interact with fans from the region. The presence of the fighting franchise; which was acquired by Warner Brothers in 2009 from Midway Games; helped spur the event onto a massive new attendance record of an estimated thirty-thousand people on the floor.

Mortal Kombat is expected to be released in the early part of 2011 for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. The game boasts classic returning characters featured in the BGS demo, such as; Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Kitana, Johnny Cage, and others. No new characters were featured at the show, with recent announcements, Jax and Sonya, absent from this build.

NetherRealm Studios has released pictures from their trip to Brazil Game Show!
Find them attached above, or in the gallery of the official Facebook for the game.

Full Article:

American History K: Wrestlemania VII

He is one of the most feared entities in professional wrestling, whose impact included winning the WWF Heavyweight Championship away from Hulk Hogan just one year after his debut, during the height of Hulkamania in 1991. Since, The Undertaker has forged a legacy of two decades of destruction, winning various major championships, and setting record firsts as a character unmatch in theatricality and spectacle. His history in Casket matches, Hell in a Cell cages, Inferno matches, and the Buried Alive stipulation that recently ended his current tenure as a World title contender, is legendary, but no accolade is greater than the unprecedented success he has enjoyed once every year.

The Undertaker debuted at Wrestlemania in the year of his first championship, facing "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka in the mid-card of May's Wrestlemania VII. Victory was assured for the gloomy heel, who dispatched the Superfly in under five minutes. It was a significant victory even for it's time, but nobody could've imagined that it would be but the first in a sequence of a staggering eighteen unanswered victories at Wrestlemania!

What if things hadn't been so easy for the Deadman, though? What if events unfolded in a very different way, and The Undertaker's incredible pageantry was rivalled by a force so awesome, no destiny could steer him towards victory?...

In 1991, he was twenty-two, and in five years he would be writing his own name in the history books by winning an Olympic Gold Medal for America in grecco-roman wrestling. He is Kurt Angle, one of the most decorated superstars in the history of professional wrestling, whose accomplishments came faster and thicker than anything The Undertaker could handle.

At Wrestlemania VII, The Undertaker certainly would've cut an imposing figure opposite the relatively diminutive grecco-roman grappler, but with youth in his corner and an intensity that cannot be matched, Kurt Angle's American History K would have changed the expectations of wrestling overnight. I mean, The Undertaker was already a hundred freaking years old in 1991, any way, wearing that stupid hat. He won matches because he avoided taking moves. If Vince McMahon told Koko B Ware he could act like nothing could hurt him, then he would've been undefeated at Wrestlemania too. But he didn't. He told him he was an idiot with a bird.

Sure, Undertaker had size and power on his size, and maybe even the support of the crowd. In 1991 things were simpler. It's true, it's true. But once the audience witnessed a seven foot man being overhead german suplexed with a release, then the tide would've turned. The stupor of a man as excellent in the field of catch as catch can delivering a perfect moonsault would've been broken as the crowd listened to a grown man's cries be silence by the snapping of an ankle.

WCW, in it's infancy after beginning in 1988, would've collapsed instantly. Kurt Angle would've been elevated to unquestioned main event status, facing Hulk Hogan as a babyface against the heel faker. Kurt Angle would have arisen to the absolute heights of professional wrestling glory in 1991, yet still competed for and won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1996. It is only during this period that the WWF recovers, having collapsed under the weight of a lack of competition for Kurt Angle's phenomenal style of wrestling. This is American History K, and you thank me for this education experience.

Epilogue: Crippled and embarassed beyond repair, The Undertaker was forced into an early retirement by this version of Wrestlemania history. Summoning the dark arts, he travelled backward through time, preventing Kurt Angle's premature rise through the ranks of the World Wrestling Federation by occult means. Undeterred, Kurt Angle went on to become the NCAA Division I competition runner-up, after interference from Paul Bearer prevented him claiming ultimate victory. With Angle out of the picture, Undertaker went on to win the hardcore championship as a cyclist, and punched Scotty 2 Hotty at the Royal Rumble.