Shortly after handing you the lease to my castle, I've been spending my time working away in some tiny shack in the far east corner of the kingdom. I come back to give you some feedback and the place is a mess. Royal housekeeper comes twice, Tuesdays and Fridays, don't forget to pay her.
A quick note: despite missing out on some epic prose due to the failings of modern tech, I thought This is Exile was booked sweetly - the War Chamber, especially, was perfect in that Jericho was eliminated without looking weak, while Christian finally ended his saga with Lashley, in emphatic fashion. Worked an absolute treat, seeing as you're still building for the moment when Christian finally pins Jericho. Just wanted to mention that I thought the show was nicely handed and it's a huge shame we didn't get to witness it in full. No matter, on to The Outer Limits.
You surprised me with Christian's words here, but in a good way. Some part of me was expecting smiles and a degree of 'closure' after the War Chamber, but to your credit, you stuck with the fact that the job is not yet done; Jericho is still champion, so Christian isn't magically 'cured', and I think that was a trap you could have fallen into, but it was well avoided. I thought Christian's tone was excellent, too, this kind of serious edge, and the fact that he basically cold-shouldered the fans at first and just talked about himself really drives back to him starting in AOW as a heel, showing that he hasn't done a 180-degree turn, he's just been through a whole lot and he's still the same innate character with the same motivations, only he does things a little differently. I think it's brilliant, though I'd expect nothing less from you seeing as you love toying with that face/heel dynamic. Christian portraying himself as the One True Hero of sorts is, again, bordering on a heelish attitude, but of course it's completely true - he's the man for the job and he always has been. Again, he sticks to his principles, and you kept his slightly-unstable subtleties in there as well with the hand on Foley's shoulder, the look in his eyes. Jericho, meanwhile, is about as egotistical as they come, and it's what you'd expect - he needs to be on the highest of all pedestals so Christian can haul him down, and calling himself 'The God of Gods', as well as being a huge hypocrite by criticising Christian's behaviour, suits that without a doubt. The honest-man vocabulary was down to a tee, too, while his classic rant style would just get the Hammerstein crowd hot to boo him - I also liked the description on the Jericho/Christian dichotomy in the eyes. Really gives an underlying depth to two guys who are worlds apart in the way their minds work. By the way, if you don't have that Foley/Jericho match in some bloodthirsty gimmick match like I asked for A YEAR AGO, I will personally have you assassinated. I can do that, I know Meta Knight. Actually, that gives me an idea... *goes to Change Avatar function*... Jericho trying to turn Christian on Foley was just another layer to his asshole nature, so I'm all for it, but it was never going to work and Foley's rebuttal was short and sweet. The Jericho 'staring a god in the eye' line was a little close to 'boxing with God' but I'm going to forgive you because it may well have been written before Punk got his dirty hands on it. Either that or you ARE CM Punk, could explain a lot. Christian feeling 'saved' is actually quite a nice line, it really emphasises that one big change in his character to get here, that his motivations are that little bit cleaner now. You did write 'Finlay' instead of 'Foley' hitting Wright in the back of the head at one point, which threw me a little until I figured it out, but otherwise the action in the ring was good, with Jericho cheating at every possible venture always notable. My only thought would maybe be to throw some crowd reactions in the fighting prose, just to heighten the emotion somewhat and build an atmosphere, but in general this, as an opening segment, was pretty damn good. Everything you needed to know about these two characters was in here, and the writing was nicely done too. Bon start.
Gotta love JBL's yelling. I need me a heel commentator.
Lance Storm in a match longer than 5 minutes surprised me, because the last time he was around in the thread, he was facing Hassan all the time. Well, twice. Might as well throw it in here that I appreciate the backstory you gave to the Trios forming; Low Ki wanting to win a Tag Title shot, Storm wanting to help the Dungeon, Regal's Yoda-esque lecturing of the Mercs, it goes a long way to building believable stories and in-match narratives for that added flavour. At times in this opening match your writing went a little awry; merely the occasional mix-up of homophones (their, there, they're, etc.) or simply allowing a sentence to run a little too long. Nothing major, however, and in terms of actual in-match content, you hit it out of the park again. With the men involved, it was always going to be a good match, but looking at your roster, who is there really who CAN'T wrestle a good to great match? Ah well. The Sons and Storm going over is fine by me, seeing as the former lads had lost a bit of momentum and WGTT will always be relevant because they have the belts and DAT CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT anyway. Ki didn't need to win the tournament because I doubt you're in any rush to give Low Jack another shot at the straps. Stellar opening contest; you had some nice double teams in there as well. Good that you're always noting the chemistry between certain guys. Benjamin and Haas' relationship is particularly interesting, especially given Haas' win at This Is Exile, and considering how long you've been working the angle between them (the slow heel turn too), they're always a focus when they turn up on screen. Reading the commentary - is there some kind of elaborate system in place to let WGTT and the Warrior back into the fray? Not sure, maybe I missed something in my reading of your notes. Avid reader right here.
Dent in Jericho's limo? DAT CONTINUITY. That being said, I tried so hard to imagine Jericho saying LATTIE FREAKIN' DAAAA, I really did, and came up short. Seemed more like a Punk thing or a Ziggler thing, as amusing as it was. I liked the deal that American Made/Doane struck with Jericho, though I just found it a little hard to visualise Jericho here. At times things seemed to get a bit wordy (even for honest man Jericho) and it was a little hot and cold. That said, you've set up a decent storyline moving forward, some good underlying motivations to make sure Doane/AM almost have
to win the Trios tourney (though personally I think tournament winners are overrated
) and inevitably the girl in question will end up being someone like an AJ Lee who can become an incredibly cool valet for
Ziggler and Swagger
Nameth and Hagar.
Am I imagining it, or is CM Punk the only guest ever in the Green Zone? I need to pay more attention. Though Punk's first line of the second paragraph ("What irks the most is...") was again, a little wordy, but otherwise this was a good little promo. Completely embodies what your CM Punk stands for, the heart of professional wrestling and enjoying the experience of being out there, rather than Hassan's connections to things other
than that very experience, money, politics etc. Pretty much epitomises the entire feud between them, which I assume will end on tonight's show. The Storm appearance was a real touch of class, props for that.
Helms only increases the quality of Styles/JBL banter. Though I think Helms trying to steal the title belt again was a stroke of genius for the loyal viewers who will get the reference, why would the timekeeper bring him the strap? "You there, timekeeper, be a lad and grab me Danielson's title, will you? Thanks..." Seems a little odd to me, is all. Danielson's aggression, however, was a welcome addition to his recent development, seeing as we've seen some impressive stuff from him in the past month or so, and the return of Helms into his world really should drive him into a more dangerous psyche than ever. Never seen someone knocked out by repeating wrist-clutch stomps, but it sounds fucking awesome, so more power to you. I think the segment was a good way to start up the issues between Helms and Danielson again, though I hope after this both men move on, because it feels like this rivalry has been around for a long time now and both guys have the tools to build great feuds elsewhere. For now, though, I'm happy to see them go for each other's jugulars one more time. JBL's post-match jab at Christian was sharp, by the way; if only real-life Michael Cole could play off JBL like Styles does here.
Love the hype promo for The Outer Limits. You've got the obvious reference in there, tying it in perfectly with Jericho's obsession with control; almost writes itself. Plus the poster with the tattered Canadian flag looks sick. Should be a killer show, when you get round to it. You're so slow with this stuff, it really pisses me off - wait, hang on, that's not you, that's... I'm gonna move on.
A result that was never in any doubt, but the usage of a lethal, unforgiving William Regal is always something I'm on board with. I like how you noted that the Mercs didn't want to steal the show, because that's not their responsibility; they just have a match to win, so they completed their business. Regal getting the fall (and it being the captain in Paul London, one hit kill in a way) was especially good because he's AOW's newest guy and he needed that win under his belt immediately, even more so when you consider his first appearance was catching Brent Albright's moving fist
. Short but sweet again here; great set-up with the risk-takers of one side against the ruthless efficiency of the other. Roll on Regal and co.
Riley looking like a classy bastard because that's what he is, three-piece suit for the win. Heyman and Foley's relationship has been a great theme throughout the entire thread, made pretty much by their different attitudes to power and also simply because they're both excellent speakers. Foley's jokes against Heyman's scowling exterior pretty much sums up their chemistry, so this was a good segment for that. "I have a week to figure out how to kill him without touching him" is an early contender for line of the year, as well. Strong segment to throw down the motivations of various characters, as well as getting Heyman back on the show.
This was a good match, but I'm sure you already know that. You had enough about Punk's back and all to make it different from their match at AVMW, but still had the essence of the feud that makes it a winner. Obviously it was shorter too, simply because of time restraints but also because there was only so far you could have Punk keep going on a War Chamber-battered back. My issue with that was that sometimes you didn't make enough
of the injury; of course, you have Punk's love of competition, desire to win and all, but there were times it just went out the window. For instance, Punk with an already-injured back, put in the Camel Clutch, various other targeting strategies, then flipped off the top rope with a Back Body Drop... then he got up Cena-style and took Hassan off the top with a Frankensteiner. Just seemed a little too much of a comeback at that point, not quite believable there. I reckon you saved it by having Punk's back give out under the GTS, though, and knowing he had to win by some other means made the submission victory all the more sensible. Plus, with Hassan tapping, that basically puts an exclamation point on the feud and says that these two have thrown everything at each other - I'm guessing we're done now, and a cracking feud it's been. Really top notch in my eyes. From Hassan's one last heel tactic in the pre-match attack, to Punk's win at AVMW with the Pepsi Plunge, that brilliant "BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM" moment in their title match, even the forced-whiskey-down-the-throat promo despite my grievances. The Lance Storm element, the money in the briefcase, the 'street rat' metaphor - all of it. It's been truly great, so well done to you.
Now, to the post-match. If there's one thing you've made sure AOW is known for, it's the big twists and turns. I'll start with what I think is bad here - it feels a little
... hm... the adjective is 'TNA'. The gut impression I got was the TNA-style shock tactics, trying to 'out-do' the WWE with the whole Cross The Line gimmick, 'Vince Who?' and all that. That's my problem; sure, it's a huge climax to the show, but I find MVP turning up, title in hand, to be a little too radical if you understand me. The legal issues, for one, would be tenfold, but it seems like the kind of aggressive move that a company would make if they wanted to go head-on with the WWE and try to be a little too controversial. I only say it because until now, you've been huge on the realistic 'new company on the block' dynamic and this doesn't quite match that, though I'm very prepared for your next news post to hype the controversy to the max. Now, to the good side of what I think - it's the fucking US Champion turning up in AOW. That's fucking awesome. Raises all kinds of questions, and hell, no matter what company you generally watch as a wrestling fan, you'll be watching the next Oblivion, guaranteed. It's not the BIG angle I was expecting from you headed into the off-season (I suppose you just gave me my STABLE WAAAAAR at This Is Exile), but I'm pleasantly surprised. I also had no idea who 'The Saint' was, so you definitely swerved me there. Good to see Punk get a new enemy, too, though I imagine the ending to the show will stretch more widely than simply Punk. For now, I'm split, but I look forward to the next Oblivion when I can really start to judge you - I mean, critique you, on where this storyline is headed. Very intriguing stuff indeed.
Overall, it just gets better from you. You had some great matches on the show, coupled with a BIG ending and a very strong opening segment. Heyman back on the show is a bonus, while the Trios tourney is moving on nicely, and the conclusion to Punk/Hassan was handled expertly too. You know exactly where you're going with the thread and it shows in the booking, measured segments and well-written promos to build tension to something bigger. For instance, how you started up Helms/Danielson again with that subtle booking of the title in Helms' hands again - it's the little things that make your show great, the little nods (as I've said before) to previous work that make AOW such a complex beast. My one thought would maybe be to just proof-read every so often; occasionally you have sentences that complicate themselves too much or spelling mistakes, but as I say, it's merely an infrequent occurrence and I'm nitpicking at that. The Christian/Jericho contract signing, as well as some clarification on the MVP issue and (I assume) more Trios action makes next week unmissable stuff. This gets DethronedMelvis' stamp of approval - BAM, there it is, for what it's worth - and I eagerly await the next offering. Bon.