A Do A Powerbomb! #4 Micro-Review – “Taste My Lariat of Steel!”

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Do A Powerbomb! 4, cover, 2022, Daniel Warren JohnsonTITLE: Do A Powerbomb #4 (of 7)
AUTHOR: Daniel Warren Johnson
ARTISTS:
Johnson, Mike Spicer (Colorist), Rus Wooton (Letterer)

RELEASED: September 14, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The big guy in the helmet on the cover does a move in this issue called the “Lariat of Steel.” That name needs to be used in WWE or AEW. Or somewhere. It’s too good to sit on the shelf.

On the other hand, there’s a tandem move called the “Coin Pouch of Judas.” Is that a reference to what I think it is? It must be.

The issue closes on a pretty bad-ass shot of Cobrasun, as he prepares to go hardcore next issue.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

WWE Clash at the Castle – A Few Quick Thoughts…

WWE Clash at the Castle 2022 posterBy Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I don’t watch Raw or Smackdown regularly anymore. Not only do my job(s) not really allow it, but the quality of WWE programming has been on a steady decline for more than 10 years now. A couple years ago, I simply tagged out and haven’t come back…

I do, however, usually follow along with what’s happening via social media. And I’ll tune in a few times a year to the big pay per view events. (Actually, I guess they’re called “premium live events” now.) Last night was one such night, as for the first time in 30 years, WWE presented a major show from the United Kingdom. The crowd promised to be hot. The card looked decent. And with all the positive changes we’ve seen recently now that Triple H is the…*double-checks his new job title*…chief content officer of WWE, things looked promising.

So I tuned in. Here are a few quick musings from WWE Clash at the Castle

Very classy for them to pay tribute to Davey Boy Smith and Bret Hart the way they did. They certainly didn’t have to. But that was a nice way to earn some points with the long-time fans. Those two had one of the all-time great pay per view main events at Summerslam ’92 all those years ago.

I had only seen a few of the renowned matches Gunther (then known as WALTER) had in NXT UK. But even so, his match with Sheamus was probably the match I was looking forward to the most. You knew these guys were going to go in there and beat the crap out of one another, and they definitely didn’t disappoint in that respect. This is one of those instances where I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to a rematch or two.

At a time when WWE is trying to reestablish the Intercontinental Title (as well as the U.S. Title) as a coveted prize, there may be no one better equipped to give us a new catalog of great Intercontinental Title matches than Gunther. With luck, this is just the beginning of what he’ll do for that belt.

Sheamus, Gunther, WWE Clash at the Castle 2022

On the subject of the belt itself, now that we’re in this new era, can we please get the classic IC Title back? You’re never going to get a better looking belt design than that one.

Can Shayna Baszler’s main roster run be salvaged at this point? Under Vince McMahon’s direction, WWE has spent these last few years absolutely murdering her credibility. No disrespect, but during her days as a dominant killer on NXT, could you even conceive of her losing a match to Liv Morgan? Much less a pay per view championship match? At this point, her best bet might be to go away and come back in a a few years for a fresh start.

Go back and look at Edge’s face when Dominik Mysterio kicks him below the belt. Great expression. That might have been my favorite part of the entire night.

Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle definitely delivered. You could argue it was the match of the night. And yet, what I’m thinking about today is what Rollins wore during his entrance. That’s one of those things Mrs. Primary Ignition wouldn’t have been able to get over, had she been watching with me. “But why is he wearing that?!?”

The crowd was hot the entire night. You love to see it. I’m sure WWE is hesitant to do more big overseas shows like this because of the time difference. But if we can get crowds like this on a more regular basis, I think it’d be worth it. Personally, I wouldn’t mind it.

Sucks to be Drew McIntyre. That was all I could think about when this show was over. The guy was one of only a few remaining credible opponents for Roman Reigns. He came into the match a hero, perfectly teed up to be the guy to finally end Roman’s tyrannical run at the top.

Roman Reigns, WWE Clash at the Castle 2022

And then he lost. Ouch.

I mean, it was due to outside interference. And I’m sure he got a really nice payday out of it, regardless. But still…ouch.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A Do A Powerbomb! #3 Micro-Review – Orangabang!

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Do A Powerbomb! 3, cover, 2022, Daniel Warren JohnsonTITLE: Do A Powerbomb! #3 (of 7)
AUTHOR: Daniel Warren Johnson
ARTISTS:
Johnson, Mike Spicer (Colorist), Rus Wooton (Letterer)
RELEASED:
August 17, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

In you want to endear your heroes to your audience, have them save a puppy. Tom Taylor did it in Nightwing. Daniel Warren Johnson does it here. Works every time.

Said heroes wrestle a team of orangutans in this issue. They’re collectively named “Orangabang.” That is simply awesome. What’s more, they’re sympathetic characters! Now that’s writing, right there!

There’s a video game quality to the wrestling we see here. I’ll allow it…considering this book has things like giant orangutans in it.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Toy Chest Theater: She-Hulk and Iron Man by @wheysnaps

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

In honor of She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, which drops on Disney+ today, here’s a shot from @wheysnaps (in collaboration with @sarah_squirrel77 and @dalbermatianman) of the titular heroine putting Iron Man in an Ankle Lock.

As a wrestling fan, I can appreciate that the Ankle Lock is an actual hold used in pro wrestling. It’s been applied regularly by the likes of Ken Shamrock, Kurt Angle, and more recently Ronda Rousey.

she-hulk_iron_man_ankle_lock_wheysnaps

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A Do A Powerbomb! #2 Micro-Review – Feeling It (and Hearing It)

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Do A Powerbomb 2, cover, 2022, Daniel Warren JohnsonTITLE: Do A Powerbomb #2 (of 7)
AUTHOR: Daniel Warren Johnson
ARTISTS:
Johnson, Mike Spicer (Colorist), Rus Wooton (Letterer)

RELEASE DATE: July 20, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

It’s fun to read Do A Powerbomb as a wrestling fan, because it’s obvious when reading it that Daniel Warren Johnson is one too. Cast in point, he incorporates actual weapons used in death match wrestling into this issue. Barbed wire, a fork, fluorescent light tubes, etc.

The “choreography” of the wrestling matches is also very well done. There are a couple of panels in this issue where one wrestler hits another with a chop to the chest, and the impact is depicted very well. You can almost feel (and hear) it.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A Do A Powerbomb! #1 Micro-Review – A Straight Up Victory

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Do A Powerbomb #1, cover, 2022, Daniel Warren JohnsonTITLE: Do A Powerbomb! #1
AUTHOR: Daniel Warren Johnson
ARTISTS:
Johnson, Mike Spicer (Colorist), Rus Wooton (Letterer)

RELEASED: June 15, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

One issue in, and Do A Powerbomb! is already one of the better pro wrestling comics I’ve ever read. Granted, that’s not necessarily a high bar to reach. But all the more reason that it stands out.

The art has a nice, gritty texture to it. The action in the ring is fairly easy to follow, which is something I’ve found a lot of wrestling comics struggle with. Our protagonist is sympathetic and relatable. The otherworldly elements, suggested by the skeletons we see on the cover, are introduced in an intriguing way. I’ll be back for issue #2.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Peyton Royce: “My Potential Haunts Me.”

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Peyton Royce cut one of those promos Monday night on Raw Talk. You know those promos, right?  The ones where a wrestler blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, talks about how they aren’t used to their full potential, etc. CM Punk really popularized this kind of thing 10 years ago with his famous “pipe bomb” promo on Raw.

While this kind of promo has almost become routine over the last decade, I can’t hate on somebody for putting a voice to their passion. That’s what was really on display here from Peyton Royce. It wasn’t the best promo from an execution standpoint. But I’d still rather see this on Raw than some of the scripted garbage we’re fed on a weekly basis.

A couple things that stood out to me…

“Why not just let me go? Let me go and see what happens?” In hindsight, she should have been careful about her wording. It sounds like she’s asking to be fired. That’s a route you could take, I suppose. But it wasn’t what she was trying to say.

“Why not me? Why does it always have to be the same old, same old?” This is me projecting on to Peyton, but when she said that the person I thought of was Charlotte Flair. Is that fair to Charlotte? No. She’s extremely talented and has earned her spot in that company. But fair or unfair, they push her to the moon. And inevitably, that sometimes comes at the expense of other talents.

“My potential haunts me.” That should have been the thesis for the whole promo. The whole tirade could have revolved around Peyton Royce needing an opportunity at Asuka and the Raw Women’s Championship so she could finally quiet her mind.

I had no idea Asuka was injured. If she really is hurt, why not do a Fatal Four-Way to crown a new champion? Maybe…Charlotte vs. Peyton vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Alexa Bliss? And who knows? Maybe Peyton Royce wins.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Nia Jax’s Butthole Wins the Internet

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

So Nia Jax took bump on her tailbone this week on Raw, and a few seconds later shouted “My hole!” The camera picked it up, and the internet has been ablaze with talk about it ever since. It’s been the subject of so many jokes and memes that even the wrestlers themselves are making light of it.

This is wrestling in 2021, folks. The most interesting thing on Monday Night Raw was Nia Jax screaming about her butthole. And they wonder why more people aren’t watching…

Though for what it’s worth, the match in question between Nia Jax and Lana has gotten over a million YouTube views. But of course, WWE has bleeped Nia’s now infamous exclamation. (Jump to 2:16 at the vid below.)

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

WWE’s 10 Most Fascinating People 2020

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Who exactly are the “10 Most Fascinating People” in a given year? Every year when I do this list, I typically let the word fascinating speak for itself. But for 2020, a year like no other, let’s go ahead and expand on it.

Every week, these performers compete for our attention. Not just with opposing programming, but with each other. Everyone wants to be part of the story that’s the most dramatic, emotional, intriguing, inspiring, etc.

The list of WWE’s most fascinating people is a list of WWE wrestlers and personalities who, in my opinion, had the most interesting stories in a given year. They can be the culmination of a lifelong journey, as Drew McIntyre achieved this year. They can spark pressing questions, such as whether this is really the end for the Undertaker. One can even wind up on this list for the wrong reason, like Otis did with the Money in the Bank briefcase.

To put it simply: These are WWE’s most fascinating people of 2020, and these are their stories.

1. Drew McIntyre
In 2020, Drew McIntyre lived up to his old nickname and became WWE’s “chosen one,” winning the WWE Championship from Brock Lesnar.

Unfortunately, it happened at just about the worst possible time.

The COVID-19 pandemic was in its early days when Wrestlemania XXXVI took place, and the world was still coming to grips with the new rules we were (and still are) all living under. WWE was holding its televised events, including Wrestlemania, inside the Performance Center in Orlando with no fans in attendance. Thus, Drew essentially had his crowning moment in a vacuum. One might even call him “the Pandemic Champion.”

But to his credit, he forged ahead. He played the stalwart babyface we all needed to see during such trying times. He was an optimistic, hopeful babyface champion hungry to prove himself against all challengers. Mere moments after beating Lesnar, McIntyre would beat back a challenge from the Big Show. He would go on to successfully defend against Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Dolph Ziggler, and Bobby Roode. He also retained twice over Randy Orton before dropping the belt to him at Hell in a Cell. Then on November 16, McIntyre would make Orton’s reign a short one, taking back the title in the main event of Raw.

Whether or not McIntyre is remembered as the champion of the “pandemic era” remains to be seen. But either way, one thing is certain: He’s been a champion we can be proud of.

2. Otis
Even if you see him strictly as a comedic character, it’s tough to deny Otis had a career year. Even if it didn’t necessarily end the way he’d have hoped.

Coming into 2020, Otis’ affection for Mandy Rose made him the lovable everyman in one of, if not the most interesting story on WWE television. The tale culminated at Wrestlemania, as Otis defeated Dolph Ziggler and got to kiss the girl. It would have been a tremendous Wrestlemania moment if there’d been fans in the building…

The subsequent decision to give Otis the Money in the Bank briefcase was puzzling. He was hot coming out of Wrestlemania. But a Heavyweight Title contender? Hardly. As such, the briefcase served to weigh Otis down more than elevate him, as fans were more interested in how WWE was going to get the briefcase off of him, as opposed to how and when he’d cash in.

It all came crashing down for Otis at Hell in a Cell. He lost the briefcase to the Miz in a match where his longtime tag partner Tucker turned on him. Adding insult to injury, both Tucker and Mandy were drafted to Raw, leaving Otis on Smackdown without his arch rival or his girlfriend.

Ouch.

3. MVP
Montel Vontavius Porter was a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble Match. Despite being eliminated in a matter of seconds, he stuck around and became an unlikely staple of Raw.

He quickly aligned himself with Bobby Lashley, guiding him in a brief quest for Drew McIntyre’s WWE Championship. While Lashley would come up short, the duo would find new allies in Shelton Benjamin, and eventually Cedric Alexander. Together, they’ve formed the hottest, and certainly the most sharply dressed, faction WWE has seen in quite some time: The Hurt Business.

MVP’s staying power is lies almost entirely with the charisma and energy he brings to promos. But he’s also remained semi-active in the ring.

4. Dominik Mysterio
To say the very least, Dominik has come a long way since we saw him as the eight-year-old subject of a child custory storyline between his father Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero.

Now in his early 20s, Dominik began making appearances with his father last year, one of which saw him brutalized by Brock Lesnar. But in 2020 he established himself as a wrestler and television character by inserting himself into the feud between Rey and Seth Rollins. As a result, he was given the extremely unenviable task of having his first televised WWE match at Summerslam against Rollins. To Dominik’s eternal credit, I thought he and Rollins stole the show that night. Yes, their match had its fair share of “gaga,” including involvement by both Rey and Dominik’s mother Angie. And yes, Dominik was in good hands with Rollins. But in the end, that match told the best story that night. Much of that can be attributed to how good Dominik has become at such a young age.

Rey and Dominik were drafted to Smackdown in October, where the emphasis has been largely on Rey’s daughter Aliyah and her storyline with Murphy. Frankly, I don’t think it would hurt Dominik to spend some time apart from his father, perhaps in NXT. Though knowing how pro wrestling works, a father/son feud certainly isn’t out of the question. Especially as we move closer to Wrestlemania.

5. The Undertaker
This was the year the real-life Mark Calaway finally came out of the casket.

After his Boneyard Match with AJ Styles proved to be the unlikely show-stealer at Wrestlemania, the Undertaker went on an unprecedented media tour to promote Undertaker: The Last Ride, a documentary miniseries on the WWE Network. In the process, he pulled back the curtain on himself and the character in a way many have wanted for the better part of three decades. No one exploited the Dead Man’s new chatty demeanor more than WWE themselves, who produced numerous Undertaker-centric specials and interviews for the network. This included two lengthy interviews with Stone Cold Steve Austin.

It all culminated in a “final farewell” at Survivor Series, which marked the 30th anniversary of the character’s debut. His farewell address was short but sweet: “My time has come to let the Undertaker rest in peace.”

But as always, whether this truly is the end of the line for the Undertaker remains to be seen…

6. Roman Reigns
“The Big Dog” was absent for much of 2020 thanks to COVID-19. But when he made his return at Summerslam, he changed the entire landscape of Smackdown with both a new attitude and a new manager.

This year saw WWE give Roman Reigns the one thing they never gave to their last poster boy John Cena: A heel run. What’s more, a damn good heel run. At least thus far. Now a full-fledged Paul Heyman guy, and calling himself the “Tribal Chief,” Reigns quickly won the Universal Championship from Bray Wyatt. He went on to have two quality pay per view title matches with, of all people, Jey Uso. At Survivor Series, he once again stole the show in a champion vs. champion match with Drew McIntyre. He capped it off at TLC, retaining his title over Kevin Owens.

All the while, Reigns has been doing the best character work of his career. He projects a quiet and intimidating menace that has made him the most interest part of Smackdown for months now. Had we gotten this guy five years ago, Vince McMahon could very well have had the new mega-babyface he obviously wanted Reigns to be so badly.

7. Lana
The way things look now, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Lana challenging for the Raw Women’s Title at Wrestlemania.

That may be blasphemous to some. But we all know WWE loves a good unlikely underdog story. And in trying to become a wrestler, the real-life CJ Perry is in fact an underdog. By her own admission, she’s not the most talented on the roster. While athletic, wrestling doesn’t come naturally to her. She’s also been the center of a few cringe-worthy storylines, not the least of which was her recent marriage storyline with Bobby Lashley. Did we mention her real-life husband, who now goes by Miro in AEW, was let go by WWE in April?

I invite those who would question Lana’s presence on this list to watch her episode of WWE Chronicle on the network. It’s a very revealing look into CJ Perry’s past, her mindset, and how hard she’s working to become a success in professional wrestling.

8. Randy Orton
This year, Randy Orton got back to doing what Randy Orton does best: Being a merciless, despicable heel. He does it better than just about anyone in the business today. So it’s not necessarily a surprise that in doing so, he became one of the centerpieces of Raw in 2020.

Much of it was familiar. He attacked legends like Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels, delivering his signature punt to the head. There were plenty of RKOs out of nowhere. And indeed, Orton claimed yet another WWE Championship, defeating Drew McIntyre in a Hell in a Cell Match in October.

But what once again made Orton one of the most compelling villains in WWE was what he did with Edge early in the year. The night after Edge made one of the more emotional returns in recent memory, Orton met him in the ring and proposed they reform Rated RKO. It was all a trap, of course. Orton would beat down his former friend, capping it off with a brutal chair attack (What Edge used to call a one-man “Con-Chair-To.”) This sparked a feud that went into the spring, and included Orton hitting an RKO on Edge’s wife Beth Phoenix. They had a Last Man Standing Match at Wrestlemania, and followed it up with a match dubiously titled “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” in June. Edge would win the former, Orton the latter. A rubber match is almost undoubtedly in the works. No doubt when it does, Orton will be as formidable and dangerous as he’s ever been…

9. Bayley
In 2020, the Smackdown Women’s Division was all about Bayley, Sasha Banks, and when their inevitable implosion would happen. The powder keg finally blew in September when Bayley ambushed Banks in the ring.

So why put Bayley on the list and not Sasha? A few reasons…

Coming into 2020, the experiment of turning Bayley heel was still fairly new. What’s more, compared to Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch or NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley, she had by far the least buzz or momentum. Both Bayley and her championship were cold.

The alliance, and eventual feud, between Bayley and Banks revitalized the Bayley character as a villain, and thus revitalized the championship around her waist. Also a factor was the sheer length of Bayley’s run with the title. At 379 days, she’s the longest reigning Smackdown Women’s Champion of all time, and one of the longest of the modern era as well.

10. Edge
There was just something about seeing him come out at the Royal Rumble.

Edge had hit a spear during the Summerslam pre-show in 2019, which caused a little buzz about a return to the ring. That buzz increased tenfold when the wrestling news sites started reporting he’d be an entrant in the 2020 Royal Rumble Match. So it’s not like we had no clue he was coming…

But when his music hit that night, it had all the magic and grandeur it deserved. The “Rated R Superstar” had defied medical science and returned to the ring after nine years. And he wasn’t stopping with the Rumble.

The following night, Edge started a program with his former tag team partner Randy Orton that would extend into the summer. The two had a Last Man Standing Match at Wrestlemania, which would receive mixed reviews at best. They followed it up with a much better match, dubiously advertised as  “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” at Backlash. Sadly, Edge would suffer a torn triceps in that match that would leave him on the shelf for the rest of the year. But the smart bet is he and Orton will go one more round at this year’s Wrestlemania.

Assuming he can stay healthy, the best of Edge’s return has yet to come. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has largely robbed him of the chance to wrestle in front of live audiences again. He, and WWE at large, may fare better in 2021. Either way, he’s got a laundry list of big match opponents. From AJ Styles to Roman Reigns to Seth Rollins and beyond. With luck, Edge’s comeback tour has only just begun.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

The Owen Hart Chronicles: The Road to Kinghood

***Everyone has seen Owen Hart’s matches with his brother Bret. But Owen had the talent, charisma, and ability to hang with anybody. That’s what we’re here to illustrate. These are “The Owen Hart Chronicles.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Owen Hart’s star would never shine brighter than it did on June 19, 1994. That night, one year after his brother Bret had one the tournament the year before, Owen took the crown for himself.

Like Bret, Owen had to win three matches in one night to win the tournament. He took down Tatanka in the quarter-finals, and would beat Razor Ramon in the finals. But Owen’s best match that night came in the semi-finals when he faced the 1-2-3 Kid, a.k.a. the real-life Sean Waltman.

The story coming in was that Kid had scored an upset over Jeff Jarrett in the quarter-finals. Jarrett then attacked Kid, potentially taking him out of the tournament altogether. Thus, coming into this match both men were perfectly cast. Kid was the wounded underdog, and Owen was the underhanded heel determined to advance at all costs. The latter is very much evident when Owen dropkicks his opponent through the ropes before the bell even rings.

The irony here is that while the story of the match is about one of the wrestlers being injured, these two work a quicker and more dynamic pace than we were used to seeing in the WWF at the time. It’s a sprint, clocking in at 3 minutes and 37 seconds. But these two defined what it means to “maximize your minutes.”

Owen capitalizes on his early attack by hitting a top-rope splash, only for Kid to kick-out and send him into the corner, with Owen taking Bret’s trademark sternum-first bump into the buckles. Kid then hits a cross-body off the rop rope.

To their credit, in just over three minutes Hart and Waltman turned in a back-and-forth performance that made you believe the Kid had a chance, despite being hurt before the match. He hangs in there with a number of counters, martial arts kicks, a Fisherman’s Suplex, and a somersault over the top rope.

Owen is finally able to go for the kill after, of all things, a powerbomb. Specifically, a counter of an attempted head-scissor into a powerbomb. Certainly not something we saw Owen pull out regularly. But this was one of the rare occasions he was the bigger man in the match. So it works. A Sharpshooter clinches the win for Hart.

Watching this back, what I’m struck by is that even on one of the biggest nights of his career, Owen still finds himself in Bret’s shadow. I didn’t mean to reference Bret with that sternum bump. But I’ve seen Bret do it so many times it’s burned into my brain. Owen wears the pink singlet and the sunglasses, just like Bret. He of course uses Bret’s finisher, the Sharpshooter. Later, his victory speech will essentially be all about Bret.

Much of this is part of the story they were telling, of course. The idea was to set Owen up for the now classic Steel Cage Match against Bret for the WWF Championship at Summerslam. But I wonder to what extent (if any) this characterization hurt Owen’s career later on. Even as he’d win championships and continue to turn in good matches in the coming years, he’d still largely be seen as Bret’s bratty little brother.

Owen was a star in his own right. Unfortunately, you had to squint to see it. How ironic that it was Bret who got a documentary called Wrestling with Shadows. That same title can be used for much of Owen’s career.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.