Quiver Distribution released a new official trailer for Money Plane, a crime heist thriller from actor-turned-filmmaker Andrew Lawrence (star of TV’s Blossom!) and starring both WWE’s Edge and Kelsey Grammer.
Money Plane follows a professional thief, Jack Reese (played by Adam “Edge” Copeland), who is $40 million in debt. With his family’s life on the line, he must commit one final heist – Rob a futuristic airborne casino filled with the world’s most dangerous criminals, including head baddie, Frasier!
Born André René Roussimoff and coming in at 7-foot-4, 477-pounds, Andre the Giant was a man who was both literally and metaphorically larger than life. Now, HBO Sports, WWE and the Bill Simmons Media Group have released the trailer for Andre The Giant, a documentary film examining the life and career of one of the most beloved legends in WWF WWE history.
As we come to the end of this cinematic year, we have a chance to reflect and to look at what awesome movies came out and what are still to come in 2016. 2015 was certainly a great year for one thing, the mash-up movie.
The WWE’s charismatic, star-studded roster has finally entered next gen. Several years and installments of official WWE branded wrestling games have led up to this highly anticipated moment. Longtime game developer Yuke’s has partnered with the basketball sim geniuses at Visual Concepts to properly bring WWE’s 2015 sequel to the Xbox One and PS4. Unfortunately, WWE 2K15’s overall content package is slimmed down tremendously in several areas, which makes it feel like an incomplete and disappointing entry in the series.
From first glance, it’s easy to see just how incredible the game looks. The Xbox One and PS4’s versions of this “wrassler” looks impressive. Some of the models sported in-game look completely identical to their real-world counterparts, and the arenas look just as awesome. It’s pretty easy to spot which ones were given the next-gen visual overhaul and see which Superstars had their previous game models simply ported over. Some of the roster members (John Cena, Randy Orton) look incredible, while a few wrestlers (CM Punk, some of the Divas) don’t look as clean and realistic as everyone else. WWE 2K’s legacy issues (body parts getting entangled with each other during awkward move exchanges) are still present, sadly.
The audio department excels and falters in several areas. The in-game soundtrack is a huge step down from WWE 2K14. Losing the option to jam out to wrestling themes and original tunes is a major letdown. The curated tracks provided by John Cena aren’t very plentiful and to be quite honest, most of them aren’t very good. You’ll likely grow tired with them after just a few play sessions. The commentary has to be commended for its notable improvements. Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler went out of their way to record better lines and freshen up their vocal exchanges. Their commentary really shines during the classic feud moments seen in Showcase Mode.
WWE 2K15’s gameplay is familiar, but a few new mechanics both aid and hurt the gameplay at times. The grapple system is a nice addition that replicates the flow of action seen at the start of real wrestling bouts. It feels good to get into a heated grapple exchange with a fellow player and become the victor. These moments lead to players getting an advantage over the opponent and put their technical wrestlers skill on full display. The stamina system is cool in theory. As matches go longer, Superstars begin to move slower and reflect their damaged conditions on-screen. These mid-to-end match mechanics become quite the bore, though. Wrestlers begin moving at a snail’s pace, which kills the action mighty fast. The novelty of hitting a finisher and pulling off a fatigue filled pin wears off just as fast.
Two of the major modes included in this new iteration includes MyCareer Mode and Showcase Mode. MyCareer takes your created wrestler on a journey that starts from WWE’s training camp and finishes on the biggest stage of them all as far as wrestling is concerned. Things start out well as you enter the NXT training camp and fight your way through fellow up and comers. This mode loses its luster quickly due to a number of factors – repetitive matches, text-heavy moments with rivals, a painfully slow build to improving your Superstar and uninteresting story lines. The potential for MyCareer being great is there, but the flawed execution will surely disappoint you.
Showcase Mode also showcased the potential to be a huge, positive addition to the series. Two major rivalries (John Cena vs. CM Punk and Shawn Michael vs. Triple H) are included. Similar to last year’s 30 Years of WrestleMania mode, you’ll take control of certain wrestlers and complete match specific goals during key moments of a storied feud. The attention to detail this mode sports must be applauded. The extra cutscenes, real life footage and cool unlockable items make this mode more of a joy. However, it’s hard to completely love this mode. Only two rivalries are playable and the incredible suite of legends seen in WWE 2K14 are missing this year. Having the option to play legendary rivalries such as Steve Austin vs. The Rock or Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels is an issue that’s tough to overlook for hardcore wrestling fans.
WWE 2K15’s customization options are decent, but they also come with some glaring omissions. Story designer, customized championship and even the option to create your own Divas have been taken out. The option to transport real-world images into the game via your console’s camera is a very cool option. Pulling modern logos from your favorite wrestlers new gear and porting them onto your created Superstars keeps your custom roster up to date. It’s still saddening to see that you only have the option to create 25 wrestlers instead of 100 this time, though.
WWE 2K15 will elicit a long sigh from longtime followers of the series. Most of the incredible content sported in WWE 2K14 are cut out completely from this new-gen sequel, some Superstars don’t look as good as their counterparts, the roster is depleted and the two most talked about modes are plagued by annoying problems. WWE 2K15 looks next-gen, but it completely feels like a last-gen step back for the entire franchise…
Since the release of their latest album Sin and Bones, in August 2012, American Rock band Fozzy has spent the last year touring the album across the globe, playing upwards of 100 shows along the way. While sharing the stage with Rock and Metal legends such as Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Exodus, Fozzy has used their hard hitting sound and phenomenal stage presence to win over audiences and build a well-deserved reputation as being a true powerhouse within the world of Rock and Metal. Recently, we here at Grizzly Bomb had the honor of catching up with the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla, Fozzy frontman and WWE Superstar, Chris Jericho. Here is part one of our interview!
The Leprechaun movies make up a very long line of fan favorite films getting the remake treatment. This new film will be called Leprechaun Origins and will be directed by Zach Lipovsky. If you are unaware of Mr Lipovsky’s work, and I am guessing most of you are, then here is a quote from Gamma Squad that gives us a bit of information about him.
[quote] Lipovsky has written and directed numerous short films and TV movies, and he also produced the upcoming found-footage action-thriller Ends of the Earth, which CBS Films will release in the U.S. and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, will distribute overseas. He’s currently developing a Canadian movie about the War of 1812 in the vein of “300.”[/quote]
So that all seems promising enough for someone I had never heard of before, but the director is not the real shock here. The shocking news is that it is the WWE (with Lionsgate) is in charge of the remake. The entity famous for wrestling has their own film production company, which makes sense when you think that wrestling itself is just a mix of soap operas, colorful costumes, and fighting. They don’t call it sports entertainment for nothing you know. Now the WWE stable of movies has more misses than it does hits. For every fun movie like The Marine, we have the hideous cinematic failures like Knucklehead and The Chaperone. In the company’s defense however, their foray into the horror genre, while mindless, was actually lots of fun, with the hulking wrestler Kane throwing people around like rag dolls in See No Evil. It at least kept your bum in its seat.
The problem with this latest installment however is casting. Take a look at the original Leprechaun played by the great Warwick Davis. He looks pretty cool right?
Now look at Hornswoggle the wrestler the WWE has put in as the lead character.
Granted, this won’t be the Leprechaun costume in the movie, but still, this guy is no Warwick Davis. In the WWE Hornswoggle is your goofy vertically challenged character that gets his ass kicked, but is supposed to be lovable. Can he pull of this new horror role? With Lionsgate wanting this new instalment to be darker in tone (like every other remake out there) we will have to wait and see if he has the acting chops to pull this off. My personal feeling is that no one is going to be able to pull off what Warwick Davis did in these movies. Sure they got really silly near the end but Warwick’s charm kept you watching.
But hey maybe I am wrong and Dylan Postl (the wrestler / actor playing Hornswoggle) just needs this change to break out and give us all a scare. The first movie was a pretty dark affair already, so it will be interesting to see how WWE is going to top that. The original had a young Jennifer Aniston being chased by a Leprechaun who planned to rape her while murdering everyone else. That is a tough act to follow, but this is the same company that introduced necrophilia into its wrestling plots. This could be either the funniest horror film this year or one of the worst turkeys imaginable, and with the WWE track record I am betting on the worst. If nothing else it will be interesting to see if it can make people forget about the Leprechaun’s trip into space…
There are two distinct types of fandom I believe that share a kinship of sorts, in that they’re both inherently similar, attract the same sense of nostalgia and passion, and occasionally the same sort of ostracism from mainstream groups of non-fans. These two groups of fandom are mainstream Superhero comics fans and Professional Wrestling fans. While at first glance these two things couldn’t seem more disconcordant, there are actually many similarities at the base of their respective art forms.
Modern Superhero comics are an expression of idealism, and a way to communicate stories that can’t really be told in any other medium similarly. Whether these stories are meant to be experiences that are carried out vicariously through the character, or to establish a connection with a series of characters, the fact remains the same that these stories are and always have been about romanticized, idealized versions of characters that are larger than life. They’re bombastic, exaggerated, and are symbols more often than not of things we can aspire to be, or things to beware of and fear. These stories have been told for a long time, as myths of Gods and Demi-Gods, but are now represented as costumed, superpowered heroes who fight crime or the ills of society. They’re representatives of justice who are overcoming the odds they face against the villains, be they environmental, internal, or external. They’re here to right wrongs, teach lessons through example, or to serve as wish fulfillment for the reader.
The characters in wrestling have this exact same dynamic. They’re there to tell stories that are larger than life. They communicate the basic system of justice, wish fulfillment, and a moral lesson imparted via the action that happens in ring, both meta-textual and literal through the exploration of these themes. Watching Batman beat up the bad guy is fun in a comic book, in the same way that watching Stone Cold Steve Austin put his stunner on a villain wrestler in the ring is. At that base level they’re both providing a sense of justice imparted against the villain in that story being told, be it either on the page, or in a ring.
By that same token they’re both exaggerated characters who couldn’t, shouldn’t, and don’t really exist in real life, instead legitimately existing only within the contextual realities of their worlds. In the same way that a Batman would immediately get arrested and thrown into an asylum (a theme that’s often been explored in Batman comics), Steve Austin would have been fired, arrested, and put into jail for the many attempts at assault and battery, home invasion, reckless endangerment and what have you. Yet another theme that’s actually happened multiple times in wrestling, is a character being “punished” for their in ring activity with real world consequences, despite all of it still being inherently part of the story.
Roland Barthes was a famous literature critic and philosopher who wrote an essay about wrestling called “The World Of Wrestling”, in his book Mythologies, an exposition on modern mythologies and the undercurrent themes behind them. In it he writes:
[box_light]“But what wrestling is above all meant to portray is a purely moral concept: that of justice. The idea of ‘paying’ is essential to wrestling, and the crowd’s ‘Give it to him’ means above all else ‘Make him pay.’ This is therefore, needless to say, an immanent justice. The baser the action of the ‘bastard,’ the more delighted the public is by the blow which he justly receives in return. If the villain – who is of course a coward – takes refuge behind the ropes, claiming unfairly to have a right to do so by a brazen mimicry, he is inexorably pursued there and caught, and the crowd is jubilant at seeing the rules broken for the sake of a deserved punishment. [. . .] Naturally, it is the pattern of Justice which matters here, much more than its content: wrestling is above all a quantitative sequence of compensations (an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth). This explains why sudden changes of circumstances have in the eyes of wrestling habitueés a sort of moral beauty; they enjoy them as they would enjoy an inspired episode in a novel…”
“The virtue of all-in wrestling is that it is the spectacle of excess. Here we find a grandiloquence which must have been that of ancient theatres. And in fact wrestling is an open-air spectacle, for what makes the circus or the arena what they are is not the sky (a romantic value suited rather to fashionable occasions), it is the drenching and vertical quality of the flood of light. Even hidden in the most squalid Parisian halls, wrestling partakes of the nature of the great solar spectacles, Greek drama and bullfights: in both, a light without shadow generates an emotion without reserve.”[/box_light]
This is the same for comics in turn. Here we are watching a spectacle on the page as the Justice League fights Darkseid on the open streets, or the Avengers take umbrage against the legions of Skrulls who have invaded (it’s been a while since I’ve read Marvel), and the entire time this spectacle is communicated on a never-ending regular basis. Wrestling is a constant stage of stories being told, involving a rotating cast of characters who over the course of years grow, develop, change, become bad or become good, and eventually “die” as their real life counterparts, the actual wrestler as opposed to the character wrestler, retire.
In comics, these characters never “die”, as any comics fan can attest to. Any “death” is merely a means to an end for further character development, and is almost always retconned given enough length on any timeline. The same is once again true for wrestling, as multiple characters have “died” either literally in the story, literally in life, or figuratively by leaving the company. In 1996 one of the most famous wrestlers for the then WWF was Razor Ramon, a character based highly off of Tony Montana from Brian De Palma’s Scarface, and a wrestler who captivated audiences with his signature look, mannerisms, speech and style. In real life, he ended up leaving the WWF, not taking the “Razor Ramon” character with him, and showed up on then rival wrestling promotion WCW as “Scott Hall”, his real name, but still the same character, albeit in plain clothes. In this manner his death was merely “retconned”, but in real life to another wrestling promotion. To make things even more similar to comics, WWF responded by simply casting another wrestler as the “new” Razor Ramon, who debuted to a major outpouring of fan hatred. Comics have done this countless times, most notably with Robin, Batman’s sidekick. It’s the only two mediums that have ever done this in this fashion, with any sense of regularity. It’s a dichotomy that exists with many examples, one being the death and resurrection of Superman, which is paralleled in turn by the multiple deaths and resurrection of famed wrestler, The Undertaker.
Furthermore, the serialized nature of both Superhero comics and professional wrestling, as I previously mentioned, is nearly identical. No two mediums share a similar amount of dissonance between the creator, writers, performer, and creative output. With comics, the story isn’t always told as we think it is by a man who writes and a man who draws, much like with wrestling the story isn’t only told by two men in tights who enter a ring to fight. There’s a committee or a gathering to create a consensus of how to best manage these characters, to tell stories that can be spun indefinitely, while still providing satisfying character arcs. Often this is the issue that both professional wrestling and comics run in to, what with the constant disconnect from what has been previously established, what is truly considered “canon”, and what is suddenly decided to be ignored and/or retconned out of history.
DC Comics has done this most famously and recently by entirely re-establishing a status quo, by erasing the entirety of their old history (except for the stuff that they didn’t) and starting over. While this approach hasn’t been directly emulated by professional wrestling yet, its parallel is similar to the creation of a new promotion based off of new interpretations of older wrestling characters that previously existed. In our modern state, this is TNA Wrestling, a promotion that competes weekly with WWE, yet mainly banks on the star appeal of its talent that became famous in other, more popular past promotions. It is in essence a “reboot” of all those wrestlers from other promotions, to start over with new characters, or a revamped version of their old characters, essentially creating a similar version of DC’s New 52, albeit unintentionally. It’s a correlation that some may find a stretch, but to look at the repackaging, and re-designing of a wrestling character, and to not compare it the repackaging and re-designing of a superhero character to me would be willfully ignoring that similarity.
There’s also the case that both comics and professional wrestling have distinct, and iconic “eras” or ages. In superhero comics we have the Golden, Silver, Bronze and Modern eras, all respectively dividing up distinct portrayals of these heroic characters in ways that reflected the zeitgeist. Wrestling has its own set of eras, divided up in into similar labels; Golden Era (which is pre-Hulk Hogan), The New Generation Era (where now legendary wrestlers like Undertaker, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels rose to prominence), and The Attitude Era, which is arguably the highpoint in professional wrestling’s history as the WWF became very popular with the advent of wrestlers like The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin portraying anti-heroes in their medium in a new and exciting way. This was followed by the “Ruthless Aggression” Era, which is an era that developed in the midst of a massive double down between the two main competing wrestling promotions at the time, WWF & WCW, with WCW merging into WWF. At the time this was unheard of, and the comic equivalent would be Marvel buying DC outright, and every single superhero from both companies were then poorly implemented into a series of comics that dovetailed creatively, despite immense potential. Lastly and currently there’s the PG Era of wrestling, where focus has shifted recently into a more family friendly orientation. These Eras in both mediums illustrate further how similar they are, and shows how their lasting serialized nature necessitates being broken up into Eras, in order to better keep track of how they both reflect society, attitudes, and current events at the time.
The problem is, people see the vast majority of it as dumb or meaningless, and write it off as time wasted. Recently this has started to change due to the popularity of Marvel’s recent movie paradigm, but unfortunately I don’t see this changing in a similar fashion for professional wrestling. However, the dichotomy still exists, as in both forms of entertainment we’re watching the same old stories, those mythological Gods and Demi-Gods fighting for a sense of justice, combating moral relativism, and showing us who we are through storytelling. They are the only two mediums that do it in the way they do, and if you’re a fan of one, you should give the other a try. I implore you.
We sure didn’t have to wait very long to hear of the next cast member announced for James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, following the casting of Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/ Star-Lord. The second member of the team has been announced, with Dave Bautista joining the film as Drax the Destroyer!
Hailing from the Flint area in Michigan, The Swellers have made quite the name for themselves within the American Punk scene over the last decade. Fresh off of a U.S. tour, and a brand new EP release, I recently had the chance to catch up with lead singer, Nick Diener. Nick speaks candidly about finishing their last tour in their home state, what Michigan bands had the greatest impact on them starting out, what this EP means to him, and even his man crush on a certain WWE wrestler!
I’m not the type of person to normally gush over feel good stories, nor do I particularly like children, but occasionally some story comes along that will make my heart swell and remind me to stop being a hate filled shrew of a man, and remember that sometimes people can be pretty damn great. Case in point, WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan visited Connor, a 7 year old boy with cancer, whose wish was for Bryan to visit him and let him put Bryan into the No-Lock submission hold. After making a YouTube video asking Daniel Bryan to visit him, people on Facebook and other social media used their powers for good to bring attention to 7 year old Connor Michalek’s wish, and sure enough Daniel Bryan visited the kid. Daniel Bryan then met him, and dutifully let Connor put him into the No-Lock, and tapped out for him. Video here.
I like stories like this. It makes me feel good that one of my favorite wrestlers is a damned good human being as well. I can imagine myself as a kid, and if I had gotten sick there would have been nothing I would have liked more than to meet Mick Foley and give him the Mandible Claw. Seeing Daniel Bryan showing up and being there for the kid is a good reminder that not everything and everyone in the world is a jaded, pompous jerk. On top of that, how cool is that kid that what he wanted to do was not just meet him, but make Daniel Bryan tap out? That fact alone makes me wish the kid can pull through his battle with his terrible disease. Cancer is the absolute worst, and along with the bevy of treatment and care people need to overcome or manage it, a healthy attitude and positive thinking certainly helps a lot along the way. The fact that this kid got to make Daniel Bryan tap out gives me hope that he’ll make it, and fills me with so much respect for Daniel Bryan.
The other that makes this story even better than it already is, is that Connor calls himself “Stonecrusher”, and his brother Jackson calls himself “Jack The Ripper” when they play wrestling video games. How cool is this kid that he’s already got a wrestling name and persona at 7? Hopefully he’ll overcome his disease, and he and his brother can grow up, join wrestling school, where Connor is still Stonecrusher and his brother is still Jack The Ripper, but together they’re The New Demolition.
Altogether though, what a great story, and what a great wish to make. All jokes about tag teams and wrestling aside, I really do hope Connor overcomes his cancer. Any kid that cool deserves to.