Joe Babinsack talks Bruno, UFC, Mercedes Martinez



I have several topics of interest, and figured I’d get them aside before I dive back into DVD Reviews:
 
For the Bruno Sammartino Fans out there,
A brief recap of the piece available on the Subscriber Only site:
Bruno’s doing well, but frustrated with the pace of his recovery. After recovering from hip, back and neck surgeries, he’s found that he can’t push himself to health, and has to let things heal. It will be a year before he’s fully recovered.
The reason for his heart surgery was two damaged valves, going back to his bout with Rheumatic Fever when he was an adolescent. Those valves were never a problem until early this year. Part of the reason why Bruno stopped doing public appearances was because of his underlying health concerns.
Today, Bruno’s heart is like a 40 year old, his arteries are clean and he suffered no damage. He has two titanium valves and sounds great.
 
Just caught the 73 minute epic battle in WSU,
The match was between Women Superstars Uncensored Champion Mercedes Martinez and Lexus (1/2 of the Tag Team Champions, The Boston Shore). It was an impressive feat of athleticism on the part of both ladies, and while an hour and fifteen minute match is a marathon for all involved, I thought it was well executed, didn’t drag and proved once more the excellence of Mercedes as a Champion.
But Lexus can’t be overlooked, and women’s wrestling is well served by WSU (and SHIMMER) by the opportunities offered and the mixing in of name brand talent from the mainstream and growing indy talents that aren’t just posing as wrestlers, but actually are plying the craft.
I know that Women’s wrestling has always been a side-show to most fans, but this is one more display that proves that gender should not matter. When was the last time a match went that long?
And Ms. Martinez has done a 70 minute match before, and has held the WSU Championship for two and a half years, and is undoubtedly the longest reigning Champion around today, constantly defends the belt, and has defended it against the top contenders across various promotions, including various ex-WWE and ex-TNA stars.
 
My observation of recently announced UFC matches,
Obviously it is simplistic to compare Pro Wrestling and MMA, but the booking brilliance of the UFC is once again on display.
At first, Alistair Overeem getting a shot at Brock Lesnar seems like rewarding someone who may not deserve it, and it further erodes any sense of legitimacy – of the StrikeForce brand.
But, in the end, it sets up a situation where one of these guys will be proven as a legitimate Championship contender, and the other will have to regroup and work back up the contender list. With a win, either Lesnar or Overeem becomes the most viable money match with UFC Champion Cain Velasquez or his next foe, Junior Dos Santos.
What makes this all vastly more interesting is that UFC Heavyweight Championship match, on FOX.
The UFC in essence sacrifices a PPV Main Event, but most importantly it presents its marquee Division to the biggest possible mainstream audience, a match-up that has a lot of questions -- in terms of drawing power, but not in terms of the quality of that fight.
Putting this fight out for people to watch – without paying – means more eyeballs watching it. It means that whoever comes out of that fight as Champion will be more established to the mainstream. It means building up the Champion and also establishing a future event: because during that fight, I can’t imagine the UFC not hyping the Lesnar/Overeem PPV battle for December 30th, and setting the stage for a huge drawing card early in 2012 when the winners of those two matches meet.
Meanwhile, the WWE just put on a replay of WrestleMania from earlier this year, to ho-hum reaction. The WWE has a Network TV presence and seldom does anything with it, while the UFC will be hitting the ground running, planning its moves and establishing two huge PPV events all the while establishing its Championship.
Yeah, I’m a little biased to the promotion that takes it all a lot more seriously.
 
The Indy Scene is stronger than ever,
But I still have some complaints, and hate to associate them with the next DVD Review I do, so let me vent a bit.
We’ve heard a lot of talk about CM Punk breaking the Fourth Wall, but professional wrestling over the years seems to have lost one of the basic dimensions of reality.
TIME.
Why is it that most indy matches have a cookie cutter mentality of match length?
I can praise promotions all over the nation about not worrying about size, shape, diversity or characters, but why must most matches be of a similar duration?
Squash matches are passé, I’m told, but the thing about a squash match is featuring one wrestler, shining a spot-light and making sure the fans see that person as a credible and/or dangerous competitor.
Another point of interest in squash matches is changing up the card so it’s not the same thing after the same thing after the same thing.
Yet another aspect is getting over finishes. The clichéd example is the Canadian Destroyer, a move now forgotten, but once a spectacular finish. Of course, in short term TNA put on a counter, and then made it a transition move (well, I bet it was).
Finishers often don’t mean much in the Indy scene, because you’ll see five in a row on the average upper mid-card match between quite talented wrestlers who want to put on a show, and instead of focusing on storytelling – or, gosh this is an antiquated concept – interacting with the crowds.
That phrase threatens to digress into another rant.
But if matches varied in length, and one, two and three minute matches took place, it would put a focus back on telling a quick story, instead of the classic “you do your spots, I’ll do mine” mentality that rarely gets a story told, let alone creates a good match, and worse, doesn’t get anyone over.
Aside from a dozen more digressions, the irony of it all is that we’re at a point where most fans expect a fifteen minute match else it ain’t considered good, and the wrestlers involved have a level of creativity that is often quite amazing, but nine times out of ten that creativity involves blocking/countering/reversing an established finisher or hold…. And that hold or hold is never fully understood by the audience because how many times was that finisher/hold successfully applied!