Sunday, January 15, 2017

Delay in review of tonight's episode of Sherlock | Fred Casden's Basement


Thoughts on the WWE UK Championship Tournament

Hello Dwellers and Welcome to the Basement...

Kind of spur of the moment, as I wasn't planning to cover the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament at all... but then I saw that finales match between Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne.... so here we are!




HITTING THE MAT
  • The 2-day tournament was Michael Cole's best work ever as a broadcaster
  • Tyler Bate has become an international sensation within the past 24 hours, the 19 year clearly has 'it'
  • Pete Dunne is without question a cross between William Regal & Fit Finlay
  • This 2-day event shows how a tournament should be done on the WWE Network, do it live not taped early rounds in advance

Austin Idol: WWE Hall of Famer?

Hello Dwellers and Welcome to the Basement...

On this week's edition of The RAW View, I talk about The Universal Heartthrob Austin Idol as it relates to him possibly being a WWE Hall of Famer. 






HITTING THE MAT

  • “The Universal Heartthrob’ Austin Idol
  • Debut: 1972 / Retired: 1998
  • Billed Height & Weight 6’, 240 lbs
  • AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion
  • AWA Southern Tag Team Champion
  • CWA International Heavyweight Champion
  • CWA World Heavyweight Champion
  • CWA World Tag Team Champion
  • NWA Georgia Heavyweight Champion
  • NWA Georgia Television Champion
  • NWA Georgia Tag Team Champion
  • PWF World Tag Team Champion

 
While the WWE has a done a great job over the years with inductions to it’s hall of fame, stars from the days of the wrestling territories who were well known are very underrepresented… and part of the reason may be due to lack of footage and probably due to modern fans being unfamiliar with them. Now recently on the Jim Cornette Experience, Cornette had on as his guest The Universal Heartthrob Austin Idol, and listening to him tell the story of his career (or rather two careers) in the world of pro wrestling

But before we get to a rundown of Idol’s career, I have to say everything I’ve seen about Idol was what I could find on YouTube, and Idol’s was clearly incredible charismatic, and like Superstar Graham, The Rock, Hulk Hogan and John Cena, when Idol spoke you listen. Physically, while built on a ‘the small side’, at least when compared to a lot of guys in the WWF in the 1980s, Idol was really good in the ring, decent grappling skills and certainly could brawl, as seen in his famous hair vs hair cage match with Jerry Lawler.

Notes on Career

From 1972 to 1975, Idol wrestled under the names of Dennis and then Mike McCord, working for Eddie Graham in Championship Wrestling From Florida, Nick Gulas’s NWA Mid-Amercia promotion in Tennessee, and Jim Barnett’s World Championship Wrestling in Australia, before landing in Vince McMahon Sr’s World-Wide Wrestlign Federation, where he was managed by the legendary Lou Albano, where he had some major profile matches.

He had at least three shots at Pedro Morales for the WWWF Heavyweight Championships on June 7, 1973, September 8, 1973 & November 15, 1973

He also had two title matches for the WWWF Tag Team Titles, first
Teaming with Pancho Valdez to challenge Haystachs Calhoun & Tony Garea for the WWWF Tag Team Titles on August 28, 1973 and later Teaming with Larry Hennig against champions Dean Ho & Tony Garea on January 14, 1974

A return to Championship Wrestling From Florida saw him take the name ‘The Super Texan’ and would wrestle under that name for more of 1974 before reverting to wrestling as ‘Mike McCord’. During this stint in the CWF, the man that would become Austin Idol would get see action against the likes of Don Muraco and Bill Watts while teaming very now and then with Dusty Rhodes as his his ally following The American Dream’s legendary babyface turn, before moving on to Georgia Championship Wrestling for a time in 1975 and then taking some time off to let his body heal in the wake of of being in a plane crash and dealing with nagging injuries in February 20, 1975.

However when he returned to action in 1978… he was totally different, bleach-blonde hair, 100 pounds lighter than he was previous and under the name of the Universal Heartthrob Austin Idol where he would become a staple of Jerry Jarrett’s Continental Wrestling Association where he would capture the AWA Southern Heavyweight Title from Jerry Lawler on Christmas Night that year for a short reign that was ended by Ron Fuller the next month. His time in the CWA would see Idol clash with the likes of Jackie Gargo, Bill Dundee and other alllies of The King before losing a loser leaves town match in April of 1979.

Idol would hit various territiores going forward, returning to Georgia and clashing with Mr. Wrestling II and Wildfire Tommy Rich, and winning the regions TV and Tag Team Tiles, he had a return to the WWF in 1980 facing Jose Estrada at Madison Square Garden, a cup of coffee in Mid-South before eventually returning to the CWA where he saw even more success capturing the CWA World Title and Tag Team Titles and later briefly resuming his feud with Jerry Lawler in 1981 before moving on to the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and then back to Georgia. The men he’d face in this time period is like a whose who, from Johnny Weaver to Blackjack Mulligan to Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair.

Idol would return to the CWA but this time would team with Jerry Lawler and do battle with Rich Rude for the AWA International Heavyweight Title. He end up having brief wrestling in SECW in Alabama and WCCW in Texas, while having continued success in the CWA, teaming with Tommy Rich in another war against Lawler that was the Wrestling Observer Feud of the Year until leaving for a tour with All Japan in the summer of 1987 that lasted to the spring of 1988.

By the time he returned to the states, the CWA evolved into the USWA which would be where he saw the primarily amount of his ring action with a few brief stints at indy promotions heading into the mid 1990s before retiring in 1998.


VERDICT: In my opinion, looking at Idol’s career with the information and footage I was able to find, there is without question that Austin Idol belongs in the WWE Hall of Fame as a star from the territory era, particularly with his work in the CWA working against and with Jerry Lawler.












Evil Brain From Outer Space

Hello Dwellers and Welcome to the Basement...

This week's movie review is a bit different, for 1964's 'Evil Brain From Outer Space' is made up from three different films from Japan's Super Giant franchise!





BEFORE SUPER SENTAI... BEFORE ULTRAMAN...

 
  • Evil Brain From Outer Space
  • Year Released: 1964

As a kid, one of my favorite VHS tapes was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Epic Begins, which took the first handful of episodes of the series and made it into a movie, with a lot of things left on the cutting room floor to get the story across to the viewer. The concept itself is nothing new, the original Battlestar Gallatica saw many of its episodes combined into a ‘movie’ format as well, and when the BBC released classic Doctor Who on DVD, the episodes are presented as a single ‘film’,


Which brings us to the subject of this movie review ‘Evil Brain From Outer Space’


With a narrator supplying linking dialog footage films under the Japanese ‘Super Giant’ franchisee was used to create an ‘original’ adventure with dubbing of the original dialog to try and make everything fit.


Of course I have to explain what Super Giant was: was a series of 9 superhero films films that were released from 1957 to 1959 in Japan. The lead hero Super Giant is a human-looking alien sent to Earth whenever there is trouble in order destroy evil and protect the universe. He doesn’t have a secret identity, people know who he is, and is trusted by the Japanese authorities since he works in association with them. He is nearly invulnerable, gets along with kids and will come to their aid. In many respects, Super Giant is the ‘predecessor’ of Kamen Rider, Super Sentai and Ultraman.


Now from what I understand first 6 Super Giant films having an on-going story, and they were combined into three separate films when they were released in the United States with Super Giant renamed ‘Starman’


However the final three Super Giant Films ‘The Space Mutant Appears, 1958’, ‘The Devil’s Incarnation, 1959’ and ‘The Poison Moth Kingdom, 1959’, were standalone adventures, with no connection between them other than they were Super Giant films, and so the footage was shuffled around, a linking narration was added and original story of sorts was created to make this feature possible.


The plot is this: The evil brain of Balazar lands on Earth and is creating monsters and mutants to take over the world and then the galaxy. Starman is sent to Earth to deal with this, and it’s a race against time to stop the evil brain and its various minions.


And while the story is told fairly well… the illusion of somehow all this footage being apart of the same story shatters because of the fact that it’s impossible to keep track of everything since it’s three separate stories that have nothing to do with one another. The only thing that helps is that the footage used from The Space Mutant Appears is used as the bookend for the film, because that is the only story of three that has a ‘brain’ in it.


The acting is what it is… since the original films were made in the late 50s and then dubbed into English in 1964… there’s not much to comment on here. The voice dubbing is pretty good for the time period, and for the most part conveys the body language of the original Japanese actors. The only I could really talk about is Ken Utsui, who plays ‘Starman’, and from presenting a hero standpoint, he fits the part pretty well in terms of his screen presence…. But according to what I’ve been able to find, he hated the role and never talked about it because of the costume (which looked straight out of the golden age of Superheroes) and the fact he had to ‘stuff his tights’.


What does make this movie over all standard is the use of martial arts, serving as very much a strong contrast to a lot of similar American films from the same time period (particularly serials) where there was more brawling. The fight sequences are basic but well choreographed, and you can see a lot of the same stylistic techniques used today on Power Rangers.


VERDICT: This a fairly decent, fun action-pack film that in many ways could be seen as the precursor for what a what we’ve seen in things like Super Sentai / Power Rangers. By no means is this a ‘good movie’, but it is enjoyable when taken for what it is. It’s 78 minutes of popcorn-fodder.

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