I had some time to waste today so I decided to spend as much of it as I could getting caught up on my wrestling viewing, and I think I did pretty well.
I finally got around to watching Backlash, which was a pretty good show. The Jericho Benjamin and Benoit Edge matches were great, and Triple H and Batista in the main wasn’t bad either. It was a bit slow going but it picked up for the finish and managed to hold my interest pretty well. I’m just not sure I like the idea of the one time that Triple H hitt his finisher being the one time that the ref couldn’t count it since that leaves things open for a third match between the 2 which I really don’t want to see. It’s not that the matches are bad, it’s more that I’d rather see somebody else get the next title match since watching the same booking patterns for the better part of 5 years tends to get a little old after a while. But over all there was more good than bad on the show and the bad was kept reasonably short so I was happy.
but the most entertaining thing I watched today wasn’t any of those, oh no, not even close. That honour goes to
NWA Virginia’s Action Zone,
which might just be the funniest TV show around. Problem is, it’s not supposed to be funny, which makes it even funnier.
The show is hosted by Rick OBrien, who is quite possibly the worst wrestling announcer alive. Seriously, if you watch Rick for a few minutes you’ll never rag on Todd Grisham again. Yeah, he’s that bad, and he’s made worse by the mistakes of the crack technical squad who’s job it is to make the show look good.
In the month or so that the show has been on the net, I’ve seen so many production train wrecks that I’ve honestly lost count. But here are a few of my personal favourites.
*OBrien’s kid, or at the very least a kid that he got suckered into bringing to the show with him keeps bothering him while he’s doing his best to call the action on the first episode, causing him to stop in the middle of several matches to quiet the little shit down and carry on fairly lengthy conversations with it leaving his rotating cast of colour commentators to handle the play by play as best they can and in one case even handle the kid because OBrien is getting way too flustered to deal with 2 things at once. And just to make a bad situation even worse, you can hear what he’s saying off mike if you listen really hard. Eventually you even get to hear OBrien tell the kid to shut up before he has a chance to turn his head completely away from the microphone.
*OBrien forgets who he’s talking to and keeps calling him by the wrong name even though the guy is sitting right next to him. We can lump this in whith OBrien’s constant hesitation before saying anybody’s name as if he has to look at his notes to see who’s in the ring or what he’s supposed to say next. To cover these hesitations, OBrien says “none other than” before he talks about anybody. It generally sounds like this:
“Coming up we’ll here some comments that were made earlier by…none other than…Bad News Johnson. Yes…um…none other than Bad News Johnson had some strong words to say about…none other than…The Pain Master erlier on today and we will here those comments coming right up in a few minutes.”
I gave some thought to trying out the Rick OBrien None Other Than Drinking Game, but scrapped the idea after realizing that 1 episode would probably kill me.
But speaking of Bad News Johnson and The Pain Master, they were part of my favourite Action Zone moment up to this point.
*The 2 of them were having a really bad match, a fact that OBrien was more than willing to constantly point out to all of us. They were messing up standing side headlocks, it was awful. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the Action Zone, it’s that nothing is ever bad enough and that they’re always willing to go that extra mile to make whatever it is just a little bit worse.
During the match there is some sort of massive problem with the camera and the audio which causes the video and sound to disappear. Well ok, not all of the sound disappears, you can still hear OBrien who thankfully decides to do the professional thing and let all of us know that the regular camera guy isn’t there that day and then wonder out loud why the substitute guy can’t fix it.
We end up missing a match finish that OBrien does his best to call anyway, winding it up with what could very well be the best play by play ever. This is an almost direct quote, sorry if I mess up a few words here and there but you’ll more than get the idea.
“What you all didn’t see there while we were having our glitch was Bad News Johnson rocking and rolling his way to a rather forgettable win over The Pain Master who was making his NWA Virginia debut here tonight, probably the only time you’ll see him here.”
He then awkwardly throws it to a backstage segment and this is where things get really good.
“That match sucked,” OBrien says, thinking that his mic is off. Then, realizing that it isn’t, he adds, “you can edit that part out, right?”
[There’s a short pause while somebody answers yes.]
That episode also features somebody who I assume is the camera guy humming random tunes a little too close to a microphone during the main event and making noises like he’s having a female orgasm whenever guys take certain bumps. The guy even does really bad “wooooo!”‘s during chop spots.
I understand that they probably have a production budget that consists of whatever change they can dig out of their couches every week, but does anybody watch this stuff before it gets uploaded? I mean we’re getting to Heros of Wrestling levels here, but at least the stuff that made that show such a friggin disaster happened live so there was nothing they could do about it and it only happened once. The Action Zone happens every week, and it’s taped. They have plenty of time to do none other than a little bit of editing and none other than some content screening so that they could put up a product that people like me would watch for the wrestling instead of the comedic value. Believe me, a little would go a long way.