Tag Archives: TV

Lucha Underground’s Second Season and Comic Book

Lucha Underground is less than a day away from returning and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Wednesday nights have become prime wrestling viewing for fans all around, and it’s wonderful to have the combination of excellent storyline and beautiful technical work back for our weekly consumption.

Just before the return, which will see the introduction of Rey Mysterio since we lost Alberto back to the WWE, the folks at El Rey have composed a great recap video to either remind us of what happened, or as a little intro for those of you who may not have given the entire first season a sit down just yet.

And to add to the excitement, El Rey Network has released the first of four original comic books for free download! The debut issue, scripted by Fabian Rangel Jr. with art by A.C. Osorio, follows the international wrestling legend Rey Mysterio Jr.’s voyage to the “Lucha Underground” temple. Next three comics will be released bi-weekly and will help bridge story lines in between seasons and offer new information into the lives of Vampiro, Catrina, Mil Muertes, and notorious owner and promoter Dario Cueto among others, and we’ll make sure to update you with them as they are released.

This expansion on the Lucha Underground universe is helping fill the hunger all of us at Femmezuigiri have for great content with a lot of diversity and entertainment, and we’re going to continue working with them to bring you some exclusive interviews with the workers in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled, and get ready to watch with us tomorrow night!

RuPaul’s Drag Race | WTF! Wrestling’s Trashiest Fighters

I tell everyone the same story about how I got into RuPaul’s Drag Race: on the first weekend that I was free from producing my first sketch show I woke up with nothing to do and decided to marathon the whole show. Imagine my elation when my second episode into the new chapter in my life had a challenge centred around my all-time love, professional wrestling. This episode was guest judged by two basketball players because who else would have a intersectional understanding of wrestling and drag queens.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the format of RuPaul’s Drag Race, it is a reality competition hybrid between America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway featuring drag queens.

At the start of the episode, the sound for the controversially named transphobic slur equivalent of Tyra Mail shows up and RuPaul relays a message filled with fighting allusions to give the queens a hint of what’s to come. RuPaul, out of drag, then emerges with a mini challenge that has the queens putting their padding abilities to the test. The queens are given 30 minutes to make the best bum pads they can and then must present their creation. It’s kind of like in school when you’re put into groups, are given a discussion question, and then need to report your findings to the rest of the class, except with cushions you’re stuffing in your pants. Now the real winners of the challenge may not actually be who you, the viewer, think should win. As mini challenge winners tend to help storylines along, they’re wins for the sake of kayfabe. Phi Phi O’Hara, Willam and Chad Michaels are selected as the winners and are gifted the opportunity to pick the queens they will work a match with, essentially.

The Drag Race faithful are then taught their first pieces of wrestling lingo: faces and heels. Tiny baby me who knows all about wrestling applauds this information. Ru says three guys who were in town for PWG and happened to be SAG members will be teaching the queens a few moves that they will use in their in-ring debuts. The first time I watched this episode I only recognized one of them so I’m really curious to see who I freak out about this time.

Hey! It’s Joey Ryan! He’s here to show us how to train people and not be an asshole like Bill DeMott! So nice to see him with a glimmer of hope in his eyes that one day he’d get a developmental deal with WWE. I still don’t know who Hector Canales or who Ryan “Master of Submissions” Taylor are. So I’m as bad of a wrestling fan as I was in 2013, good to know.

Joey Ryan basically shows them all the moves they’re going to perform and Phi Phi worries about Lashauwn’s performance and if she’ll take it seriously. They’re learning how to wrestle in a day, this stuff will not be on any PWI match of the year lists anytime soon, but at the same time, Lashauwn is not committing to the rehearsal as much as she should be.

Team Willam comes in for training and Joey Ryan tries to get the queens to work a crowd. Jiggly’s heel persona is a lot like one of those out of control teens on Maury, while The Princess has checked out and can’t really get into being a heel. Willam reads The Princess for her muted heel tactics. You’d think that a bunch of catty queens who love to tear one another to shreds would come to light given a challenge that forces them to take the piss out of one another.

Team Chad then comes in and oop! Madame’s ankle! Again! It’s been a constant excuse of her throughout the episode, that and her lack of athletic ability. Despite that, LaQueer’s characterization is really working in the rehearsal.

Now that the practice bit is over with, let’s go back to the workroom where Ru can terrify the girls and make them question their decisions. Phi Phi has booked herself as a babyface and gave Kenya Michaels and Latrice Royale a bearded gimmick. RuPaul worries about the choice, not realizing that over a year after this episode was broadcast, beards would be all the rage in professional wrestling. It’s a good thing RuPaul isn’t a real booker.

RuPaul also says “people watch wrestling because they wanna be excited, they wanna be turned on, they want beauty” and… on the surface I really, really, REALLY want to disagree, but as I recall that I had a boy band crush on The Shield in my day I know that he’s still kind of right. It’s just annoying to have it brought up in the context of … what I guess is supposed to be women wrestling, and women’s wrestling already has a pretty bad rap.

Promos! RuPaul understands wrestling even just a little. Each tag team gets their own backstage segment. Introducing LA’s Finest, a lazy blonde bimbo cheerleader gimmick, and The Bitter Betties. LA’s finest are obviously billed to be the faces but they admit they put hair growing tonic into Bitter Betties shampoo.

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Phi Phi and Lashauwn use vanity as their gimmick, which unbeknownst to them is actually a common heel trope. So the story is really not strong enough. Another downside to teaching drag queens to wrestle and expecting them to be ring ready in a day is they don’t know how to sell moves to save their life. Kenya Michaels was really the savior of this group, her energy was right and she was the perfect size for excellent double team opportunities. Phi Phi hits a clothesline like a wet noodle and pulls out a blush brush. This match is no makeup disqualification. The finish has Latrice throwing Kenya onto Lashauwn with a cross body for the win. Highlight of their whole bit was Latrice really owning the “I’m a big bitch” gimmick and tossing tag team partner Kenya into the ring.

Team Willam is up next, and once again the backstage segment does not clear up who is a face or a heel or what the point of the beef is well enough. Willam and Dida are equally a decent promo but Jiggly really has that ruthless agression on lock. The Princess is just there. The match is the same as the segment, Jiggly outperforms everyone in the group, Dida and Willam are doing an acceptable enough job and the Princess is… there.

Team Chad has the first complete heel tag team of the night, classic freak gimmick, angry and everything. Chad and Madame LaQueer are basically Kevin Sullivan and the One Man Gang except in drag and pretty. Milan and Sharon Needles are pretty much playing the pristine, harmless babyfaces with crabs BECAUSE OF KEVIN SULLIVAN AND ONE MAN GANG MAKING DISHONEST MEN OF MILAN AND SHARON’S BOYFRIENDS. IT ALL MAKES SENSE. FINALLY ONE OF THESE MAKES SENSE.

In ring, Sharon is as talkative in a match as a drunk Dean Ambrose in a death match, they probably use the same references too. LaQueer and Chad knocked it out of the park and Milan’s wrestling wasn’t even shown because it was so obvious who the most successful team of the night was.

For myself and many others this episode of Drag Race was a wonderful amalgamation of two favourite things (the middle of the Drag Race/wrestling Venn Diagram is larger than you think), but I learned very quickly that a drag queen’s perception of a character does not a wrestling character make. Both are amplified and often larger than life, but you need more than just “like me ’cause I’m pretty and sassy.”

 

 

Lip Sync Battle

Two things I simultaneously love and despise, despite how problematic they are, have permeated main stream pop culture in a way that we haven’t seen since the 90′s: Wrestling and Drag Queens. The best part about this is no one quite wants to admit either of them are things they actually enjoy, so they just pull aspects and turn it on their head slightly enough that they can call it something else.

Cue: Lip Sync Battle, Spike’s new reality show where celebrities challenge one another in a series of lip syncs to songs we all know and love… but they aren’t drag queens. I wonder if their audience is aware of this, but I’m willing to ruin it for all of you now.

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The show is only a few episodes in so far, and it’s entertaining for sure, but this comes from someone who likes lip syncing and watching celebrities make fools of themselves. The first episode featured our very own wrestling superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson giving his very best Taylor Swift impersonation. Most of the episodes are centred around friends challenging one another so there is already that rivalry going on. It’s hosted by LL Cool J, probably because LL Cool J is no longer relevant and therefore affordable and available to host a reality show on Spike. We also get Chrissy Teigan on colour commentary, because this is the musical equivalent of a wrestling match. Too bad that she doesn’t give any commentary and is there purely to be distracting and out of place eye candy off to the side dancing to the songs.

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What are you playing for? The coveted Lip Sync Battle belt. It’s pretty impressive, but I don’t understand the choice except for the fact that wrestling belts are cool. If I could have my own custom wrestling belt, I’d be all for it.

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This show goes for the cheap pop for sure. I love the concept, and even ran a local party similar to this layout in Toronto, but it is not worthy of a 22 minute slot on TV. Each artist does two songs and it feels like unnecessary filler. It worked better as a surprise short segment on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. If this lasts longer than a season or two then colour me surprised.

Regular Show “Really Real Wrestling”

One thing I love in life more than wrestling is a perfectly executed groan worthy pun, bonus points if it’s a cheesy plan on a pop culture reference. Regular Show has always hit the spot when it comes to the over the top schlocky eighties nostalgia, and they knock it out of the park with “Really Real Wrestling”.

The episode starts with a crime show on TV where the detective removes his sunglasses and says “The cream always rises… to the COP!” Sold. Make a reference to my favourite Macho Man Randy Savage promo of all time and I’m 3/4 of the way there. Not only are they doing an episode based entirely around pro wrestling, they’re also peppering in little gold nuggets for die hard fans to mark out over. It’s time for a commercial break, so why not have it be an ad for a local sold out wrestling show: RRW Wrassle Frassle 7.

Mordecai and Rigby didn’t get tickets, but that’s not going to stop them from having fun and slacking off on the job. Enter: Mysterious Mister R and Mad Man Mordo and a series of chair shots and chops in homemade wrestling outfits. A persona with an excellent name and flashy costume are two of the more important things in the realm of wrestling.

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Pops shows up and gets really excited revealing to the guys that he used to be a wrestler. He joins in and hurts Rigby’s arm. Rigby and Mordecai get all circle jerky over the fact that wrestling is FAKE and you’re not actually supposed to hurt anyone.

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There are a lot of things that you should, and have every right to, criticize pro wrestling for:

  • Sexism
  • Racism
  • Misogyny
  • Homophobia
  • Transphobia
  • Labour Exploitation
  • Tax Evasion
  • Huge and often unnecessarily bodily risk
  • Brain Trauma
  • Loopholes to aid it’s avoidance in being labelled a sport

Invalid reason to criticize pro wrestling:

  • It’s fake

Get off your high horse and let us enjoy our entertainment. It’s the era of reality in wrestling, there isn’t much of an attempt to fully maintain kayfabe anymore, but that doesn’t mean you need to shit on the fans who are trying to enjoy it. Most every other show and media that you consume is fake or scripted or pre determined in some way, wrestling is no different, so stop pointing out the obvious and let me have my fun.

But back to our regularly scheduled programming, Mad Man Mordo and Mysterious Mister R go over the top and injure Pops. Cue Benson showing up to threaten to fire the guys. Instead, he forbids them all from going to the show. In true television caper fashion, Mordecai and Rigby sneak out of the house, and Pops has left a stuffed animal in his bed to deceive the others into thinking he was still sleeping.

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Back row seats at RRW Wrassle Frassle VII, so close to the action. And honestly, from having attended many a house show in my time, the seats at the back aren’t that bad and you can still enjoy the show. I’d say 3/4 of the enjoyment comes from the atmosphere of just attending. Sadly, 3/4 of the irritation also comes from your surroundings since I normally have to deal with sexist smarks on all sides. Mordecai and Rigby arrive at the show just in time for the main event: the ladder match. Complete with punny wrestlers: Four Armageddon, Hissyfit (the snake), and the Fire Marshall. They’re set to fight Huge Head, who is making his debut.

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In Regular Show fashion, Pops’ car flies out of the sky and lands on Huge Head outside the venue. But Pops, having a huge head himself, is mistaken for said wrestler and is carried into the venue for his grand entrance. Mordecai and Rigby recognize Pops and rush down to save him and we hear that phrase again “wrestling is fake”. This upsets the wrestlers, as it should, and they vow to prove that it’s really REAL wrestling. Executing a series of excellent headscissors, suplexes, body slams, and even a moonsault, a brawl ensues where the only way out is in a body bag or with the title. Pops comes to and shows them how it’s done before climbing the ladder and taking the title for himself.

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I, like Benson, felt the heart and hard work rate the guys put in and couldn’t bear to fire them. Instead, I’ll let them keep their ladder match title and live to work another day. Hopefully, we’ll see another wrestling episode from them soon.

Steven Universe “Tiger Millionaire”

If I were to tell you that one of my passions was watching television, especially kids’ shows, you’d probably be none too surprised. Most of us have been introduced to the wonderful world of wrestling through watching it on TV at home. My first wrestling match was a PPV that I watched with my dad while eating off brand chicken nuggets and barbecue sauce in his basement apartment. It doesn’t quite compare to seeing it live, but it still has it’s own unique magic to it that many other sporting events can’t compare to over a television broadcast. Another layer of the wrestling world that I love is that which is portrayed within the confines or non sports entertainment related programming. From cartoons that have the characters portraying their own crafted wrestling personas, to in ring wrestler cameos on beloved sitcoms, reality competitions with a pro graps themed challenge, I’m going to be reviewing episodes and determining whether or not they’re title worthy or if they’re no selling jobbers.

Cartoon Network show Steven Universe has been getting a lot of attention and love lately for all the right reasons, and I’m going to continue that love by highlighting one of it’s earliest episodes: Tiger Millionaire. Having returned from a mission in which Steven gets covered in blood polyps due to Amethyst’s recklessness, the gems all get into an argument and Steven ends up falling asleep encrusted by the polyps in the kitchen alone. Amethyst sneaks out of her room to sneak off into the middle of the night and Steven follows hot on her trail.

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Secret Wrestlers

Cut to the Beach City Underground wrestling promotion, The Purple Puma is introduced as the single most hated wrestler in the promotin’s history. Proving to be a force to be reckoned with in ring, Puma defeats the Lochness Blogster with ease. Amethyst leaves the event extra charged and excited when Steven sneaks up behind her and she gives him a snapmare down to the ground. Steven asks if Amethyst is a secret wrestler with the same expression of joy I receive in response to whenever I reveal to anyone I meet that I’m part of a queer women’s wrestling league. If only we could all be secret wrestlers. Amythest’s explanation as to why she’s a wrestler accurately captures part of the beauty of the art: “In the ring, nobody can tell me what to do, and if they try I hit ‘em in the face with a chair!” Maybe I identify well with this storyline because she plays a vicious heel, and well, but it’s even expressed that: “They love it, well, they hate it but it’s all part of the fun, you know. Everyone here gets that.” Feeling babied by Pearl and Garnet is an excellent excuse to give her this outlet to express herself, and Steven, feeling stifled himself, asks to be a wrestler too. Since Amythest has yet to win the tag team belt, the most superior belt of them all, she obliges his request.

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Introducing: Tiger Millionaire!

Steven heads off to prepare for one of the most important parts of pro wrestling: developing your character and choosing your costume. What good is fighting in front of a crowd if you can’t look awesome doing it? He pulls out a dress shirt, some suspenders and ponders over a tiger mask and a little tiny tiger nose before choosing the nose. To get that sleaze factor that all wrestlers need, Steven slicks his hair down with margarine before rushing over to a sleeping Amethyst to show off his new kicks. His back story is meticulously thought out:

Rich feline industrialist from Jungle Island. Once the single child of the wealthy Tiger family, he clawed out his own destiny making money in the coconut mines.

The Purple Puma’s backstory, however, is solely: Pumas are cool.

Back at Beach City Underground we meet the first tag team of the evening: Concrete Heat and Chunk Truck! The crowd meets, and boos, Tiger Millionaire and we see Lars and Sadie speculating on whether or not Tiger Millionaire is Steven and if it’s going to get creamed or not. Before Steven can climb in the ring, Amethyst stops him to alert him that she’s only using Steven to obtain the belt and she’ll do all the fighting. His biggest concern is whether or not he still gets to wear the costume. Puma knocks out Chunk Truck with ease, but Concrete Heat comes in from behind and slams a pylon on his head. Steven expresses with great upset that “That’s not fair!” and the announcer assures him that “It may not seem fair, but hey, anything goes in wrestling.”

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The Heel Turn

Being the sweet kid he is, no one expected to see Steven play a heel, but he takes this opportunity to bribe Chunk Truck into throwing the match in exchange for a million jungle bucks. What an offer! Excitedly ready to take the offer, he rushes over and Tiger Millionaire opens the briefcase in his face knocking him back. Lars jumps up excitedly, and it looks like our contender has his first fan. Puma knocks out Chunk Truck and lifts Tiger up in celebration for having won the match.

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What would a wrestling show be without your obligatory 80s montage? This features cuts of Tiger Millionaire’s most gruesome feats interspliced with shots of Steven and Amethyst trying to keep their wrestling careers a secret from Garnet and Pearl. Ignoring a match while talking on an a cellphone larger than he is, serving coconuts into an opponent’s jaw with a tennis racket, tossing pages of the Wall Street Jungle down on the mat making the opposition slip and fall are among some of Steven’s most menacing moves. But nothing compares to when record breaking heat comes down on the auditorium and Tiger Millionaire buys out the entire soda stand, and instead of sharing it with his thirsty fans he throws all the soda down on the ground and stomps in the puddle with galoshes. Wanting to maintain kayfabe, when approached by Lars to sign his soda cup, Tiger swats it out of the way onto the ground shouting “you couldn’t afford it!” Lars tosses his Tiger Millionaire tie on the ground and sulks away, because Tiger truly is the cruelest creature on the planet.

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Can’t we just wrestle?

Steven has a hard time separating his wrestling persona from real life and how he is perceived. Puma and Tiger are paired up against a gorgeous, hyper masculine tag team duo. The crowd has turned completely against Tiger, including prior fan Lars toting a “Tiger is a jerk!” sign. Garnet and Pearl show up to stop the match, upset that Steven and Amethyst have been sneaking off to this circus of violence. It’s the final straw when Garnet tells them to go home, Amythest pushes her and they have a violent brawl utilizing their powers. Steven attempts to calm things down and make a genuine face turn for the betterment of everyone involved. He picks up the mic to tell us Purple Puma’s backstory:

He was the wildest cat in the jungle, so wild the other cats couldn’t take it. So she, I mean he, went to look for somewhere he fit in, somewhere with other people who felt misunderstood. That’s why we’re all here: to be wild and free, and bodyslam each other, and wear cool costumes, and make up nicknames!

The most important question levied by Tiger is “Can’t we just have this? Can’t we just wrestle?” Taking that sweet, sweet heel spot Garnet steps in to reveal she is part of the Notorious Order of Wrestling Haters and they can’t allow that. This gets the crowd on the side of the Jungle Duo, including the sour Lars. But wait, The Good Looking Gang show up with the ladder, are they going to steal the belts? No! They help the Jungle Duo up and help save wrestling.

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On a list of shows that portray wrasslin’, this one is definitely of main event quality. Heck, they could do an entire spin off series about Tiger Millionaire and The Purple Puma and I’d buy it.