Friday, March 28, 2008

#162. Map of Mouldwarp

Someone inadvertantly pointed me in the direction of Google Pages, so I may be developing a new homepage in the near future, to be called Map of Mouldwarp if I go through with it. The previous incarnation of the homepage, which became, exclusively, a homebase for my Star Trek fiction, will look on in shame, while the first one, Age of Mouldwarp, will only become more embarrassed.

Just sayin'!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

#161. Dead Letter Quarterly, WrestleMania XXIV Preview

The big news lately 'round these parts is that Dead Letter Quarterly is in fact dead, murdered by the very process that birthed it, a collection of editors who didn't realize they were pushing ahead too far too quickly. The end result was that it collapsed upon the weight of itself. Yet another personal failure. Yay!

Anyway, let's move on to those WrestleMania XXIV thoughts:

WWE Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Match: Randy Orton (champion) vs. Triple H vs. John Cena
What's inevitably going to be the main event at first seemed a bit pasted together, but as pasted-together triple threats go, this one's a bit more even-handed than the past two at WrestleMania (Triple H-HBK-Chris Benoit and Mysterio-Orton-Angle), both of which were pasted together so the company wouldn't feel bad about giving the win to the least expected but most fan-friendly competitor. This time, the champion is the guy who has everything to prove, and his challengers are two veterans who've already headlined and won at WrestleMania, and no one has a clear edge. This is the biggest wild card of the evening.

World Heavyweight Championship Match: Edge vs. Undertaker
More than any other match in Undertaker's storied WrestleMania career, this is going to be the biggest challenge to the streak yet, simply because Edge is that rare wild card (so much so he couldn't stay on Raw and is one of the few big names WWE has granted Smackdown to receive; the others are Undertaker and Batista, and it's no wonder each of them have been the focal point of the brand for the last year) who can create the spirit of the Raw main event all on his own. Clearly there's a theme this year for the company. Should be a highlight of the evening.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Big Show
Chosing to ignore the Akebono sumo match (not because I didn't enjoy it, but because it's just not the same), also featuring Show, this is the first time WWE has dipped into the celebrity WrestleMania match since 1995's encounter between Bam Bam Bigelow and Lawrence Taylor, which ended up being the main event. So this is going to be interesting. No predictions, really, just a nice match to have on the card, a sort of rallying point for wrestling fans who find themselves in an environment that sort of implicitely questions whether their favorite sports entertainment is still relevant.

Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels
Everyone knew the whole "Career Threatening" matches thing was going to lead to this card, it was just a matter of who they were going to put against Flair as his ultimate opponent. HBK is about as appropriate as they come. Should be a classic.

Money in the Bank
The spot in the card that has become a showcase for a number of stars WWE otherwise can't figure out what to do with has this year become a well-rounded match, with some of the best competitors, in or out of the spotlight of late, the company has to offer: Chris Jericho, MVP, Mr. Kennedy, John Morrison, CM Punk, Carlito, and Shelton Benjamin. Not a one of them is going to be carried through this match. A lot has been said about why Carlito's here, a lot, in fact, about why he's even still with WWE, even after he himself requested his release. The dude just hasn't had a good break since he jumped from Smackdown to Raw. Last year, he should have had a match against Ric Flair at WrestleMania, but he was dumped in a tag match with Naitch just off the card instead. The year before that, he should have had a match against Chris Masters, but was instead dumped in another tag match, which actually got on the card (yay!). Three years ago, he made his debut, in a talking segment. I just don't understand how the fans have never gotten behind him, which has been the problem the whole time. Even when he started exhibiting some first-class skills in the ring, they yawned, and by that point, he wasn't even allowed to work the mic anymore, which effectively killed him all the way around. A good showing here could potentially turn things around. I doubt he'll win (Y2J, Punk, or Kennedy, possibly MVP will), but like Shelton Benjamin, who here could remind fans just of the awesome athleticism that he possesses but doesn't need to rely on (when he thinks he does, in ordinary matches, he inevitably screws up), just participating in this match elevates his status. Same with Morrison, who probably lost the most from last fall's illegal substance witch hunts. Anyway...

Umaga vs. Batista
If Batista couldn't main event Smackdown's evening, this was the next best possible thing, if they weren't going to give Ric Flair to him. Dave's at a crossroads. Give him a monster match with the only monster he hasn't already gone through, the only one capable of matching him pound for pound. Umaga wins, too, since this time he doesn't have to try and carry Bobby Lashly.

ECW Heavyweight Championship Match:(24 Man Battle Royal Winner) vs. Chavo Guerrero
It would've been great for WWE to keep the battle royal on the actual card, just to keep the momentum on ECW's first title defense at WrestleMania, just the uniqueness of picking the challenger. Mark Henry seems poised to get the nod; either way, Guerrero gets a nice spot on the card. This match could define the new era of ECW like no previous championship encounter has. Chavo may be required to win for that to happen, though.

Belfast Brawl: Finlay vs. JBL
What a great spot for Finlay, the great unheralded star of any WWE brand, with the wrestler best matched for him. Add in Hornswoggle, and this will be yet another highlight. If you haven't gotten my drift by now, I expect this, pound for pound, to be the best WrestleMania, possibly ever, at least from the best card.

BunnMania Lumberjack Match: Ashley & Maria vs. Beth Phoenix & Melina
Should be fun.


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