All posts by Geddy Cahoon

Member of the Wyatt Family since 2013
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PTVP Figure Fraction: Top Five Toylines of All Time

Hey everyone I’m Geddy Cahoon, you may remember me from such films as Dial M for Murderousness and The Boatjacking of Supership ’79.

Other than maybe professional wrestling and film, action figure collecting is probably my favorite thing in the world. It’s a hobby that comes with some degree of social malignancy, but one that I’ll defend to the end.

There’s great nostalgia to be found in stumbling upon one of the favorite toys from your childhood in an action figure store. Turning to my brother and saying “Oh remember that?!” “Oh look it’s X figure, we used to have him!” When I was a kid action figures were also a huge part of my daily life so it’s not surprising to me that my appreciation carried over to adulthood.

And it is a hobby that ultimately just boils down to appreciation – Showing your appreciation for a certain series or game or comic with an action figure, and showing artistic appreciation for the figure itself.

In a way, all toys are art. But the way I usually describe my favorite hobby to avoid sounding overly pretentious is that it’s basically the same as hanging up a poster. Instead of a poster for House of 1000 Corpses, I just own a bunch of action figures from it.

Obviously due to my love for collecting, I own a sizable amount of action figures that span various properties, series and characters. Something I’ve wanted to do for a while is attempt to list my top 5 toylines. Other than what I’ve placed at number one, don’t worry too too much about the placement or order.

I tend to obsess over different things every few months, so what my “favorite” toyline is changes rather frequently. Instead I figured that for the most part my criteria for inclusion here would be the toylines that I’ve consistently appreciated even through other obsessions and will almost always add to. Anyway without any further rambling, here are my Top 5 Toylines!

*Further Rambling - I also feel it necessary to mention a few toylines that I love but that didn’t make the cut here: AmToy’s Madballs, Playmates’ World of Springfield, and Rhesaurus’ Bone line.

#5 – Toybiz’s Video Game Superstars: Mario Kart 64
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Now by including this line I’m already kind of cheating my own criteria, but I felt compelled to include it anyway. Toybiz’s Mario Kart 64 line was quite possibly the favorite toyline of my childhood.

I was, and still am, a Nintendo freak. Specifically Mario. It’s one of those franchises that I grew up with, and has stuck with me my entire life. The games were great then and they’re great now.

But even growing up, I always felt like there were very few Mario action figures of any kind available. There still aren’t, and it’s very disheartening as a collector who loves Mario to see nothing but crappy vinyl figures of the same 4 characters lining store shelves.

Bitching aside, this Mario Kart 64 line is the only legitimate Mario action figure line that I remember from childhood, and it was awesome.

It featured figures of every character in the game except for Peach and Toad (No idea why those were never made, can’t seem to find an answer online), each one including a wind up go-kart and an in-game item.

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Not only were the accessories great, the figures themselves were pretty amazing too. The sculpts were maybe a tad funky, but they were accurate for the most part (Yoshi and Wario stand out as being pretty perfect) and featured great articulation. They display well in their packaging even today and for a kid like me who loved Mario, it didn’t get much better than this line.

These things were must haves for myself and my brother. I remember owning multiple versions of both Luigi, Mario, DK and Wario. Yoshi and Bowser however were far too rare, and we owned neither. The Bowser figure from this line is actually my most wanted action figure of all time.

My entire life I’ve wanted nothing more than a Bowser figure, and I’ve never had one. Mainly because very few have ever actually been produced. Mario Kart 64 Bowser remains my holy grail. Some day it’ll be mine, just likely not someday soon.

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Unfortunately, Bowser and even the rest of the bunch fetch enormous prices online (Yoshi being the most rare), and for good reason. I only remember the line being in stores for a very short while, and even to this day (At least to my knowledge) nothing else like this line exists.

Nintendo has released very few true Mario toylines over the years, which is strange considering the power and recognition the name “Super Mario” holds, as well as the sheer number of characters. These are actually pretty much the only proper “action figures” of Mario and company (Not counting the currently released vinyls) to exist.

I said I was cheating by including this earlier because I don’t actually collect this line anymore – The only figure from it that I actually own is the Luigi. However, it still remains one of my favorite toylines due to the nostalgia factor.

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I have so many fond memories of playing with these figures as a kid, concocting crazy adventures for Mario and the rest with my brother, always wishing for a Bowser on the inside. It may not have much representation in my collection today, and it’s far from a perfect toyline by any means, but this was one of the toylines that defined my childhood and it still holds up today. My appreciation for it now is just as strong aswhen I was 9 years old.

#4 – NECA’s Evil Dead II
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Evil Dead II is one of those movies that totally lives up to the hype. It’s hilarious, freaky, and overally just an awesome film from start to finish.

Much of what makes the film work lies in the visuals. Evil Dead II has a great look to it – Bruce Campbell’s Ash is a square-jawed, cartoonish and over the top lead whose appearance has become iconic.

The creature design, while a bit cheesy at times, is simultaneously both revolting and engrossing. It’s a cool movie to look at , and the fact that it’s fucking hilarious helps.

For years and years, fans of the Evil Dead trilogy were forced to go without a truly decent representation of Ashly Williams, their favorite big-jawed, chainsaw-handed hero. McFarlane Toys had done a few Ash figures, but the consensus on those is that they’re not very good.

NECA had released several Ash figures in the past, and while they are actually decent renditions, saying they’re hard to find is an understatement, and they fetch exorbitant prices secondhand. They’re also all based on Ash’s appearance in Army of Darkness.

However, in the Summer of 2012, NECA released a brand new toyline based exclusively on the best film in the series (It is, don’t even argue), everyone’s favorite, Evil Dead II. And god damn, is this an amazing line.

NECA’s loveletter to the classic horror comedy is comprised of 4 figures: “Farewell to Arms” Ash, Deadite Ash, Hero Ash (Chainsaw hand Ash) and Henrietta, the movie’s villain. Though 4 figures may not seem like much, this is a textbook case of quality over quantity. Almost every aspect of these figures is perfect.

The sculpts are unbelievable – Two of the four Ashes use the same head, a slightly cartoonish spin on old Bruce Campbell. It works really well – Campbell’s face is already something of a caricature, and lends itself well to artistic interpretation. The Deadite Ash has the absolute best head sculpt of the bunch. It’s amazingly detailed and literally looks like it was pulled straight from the screen. A cliched expression, but an accurate one. The Henrietta figure is also a near-perfect representation of her onscreen appearance, and comes with her creepy longnecked giraffe skeleton face as a second head.

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Even the packaging on these figures is amazing. When I ordered my first set of them, the packaging was so beautiful and the figures display so well inside it that I just couldn’t bring myself to open them. Thus, I had to buy the entire line a SECOND time to display them loose.

I had no problem doing this – They really are that magnificent. They were a labor of love, as NECA actually LOST money on the line, presumably paying some exorbitant fee to get the license. They did this knowing they’d take a hit – They just really wanted to make an Evil Dead II line. They’re kind of an awesome company.

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This tiny line is one that I’m proud to say I own twice over, and NECA makes figures so great that these should be a part of any collection whether you’re a fan of the film or not. Two years removed from their release and NECA in all their glory has yet to top these things, at least in my eyes.

The only sad part is we got no Evil Ed figure out of the whole deal. Maybe next time.

#3 – Mattel’s WWE Line
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I may not have quite as much to say about this particular line, only because my reasons for loving it are pretty straightforward. I’m a huge wrestling fan, and though Mattel’s WWE figures are by no means without their faults, they’re an integral part of my collection.

Mattel acquired the WWE license right around the time I got back into wrestling, and my first figure was a Basic Jack Swagger. Since then, figures of pretty much every single one of my favorite wrestlers have been released.

And though the line does have a tendency to vary in quality (Some of these sculpts are horrendous, as someone who has invested a lot of money into the line I’ll be the first to point that out), I’ve always stuck with it because almost every wrestler gets at leat one figure. There’s so much variety, and no matter who your favorite is I can almost guarantee Mattel made a figure of them.

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Right now I’m looking at Sandow, Ambrose, Cesaro, Fandango and many others on the shelf right across from me, and even if they’re not perfect, I love being able to display figures of my favorite wrestlers.

Like I said, not really a ton to say here. This line is what it is. It’s far from perfect, hell a lot of the time it kinda sucks. But for the most part we’ve been granted with some pretty good representations of various wrestlers, and this is one of those lines I never really stop collecting.

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No matter what I’m currently obsessing over that month, I’ll always buy the wrestlers I want if I find them at the store. Always. It’s a very competitive property among collectors, and there actually is some degree of strategy involved in shopping for these things, but that’s what makes it fun.

As a wrestling fan and collector, I can’t help but love this line.

#2 – Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics
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He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is just awesome. It’s just awesome. You can’t argue otherwise. The 80′s cartoon and original toyline combine so many things that I love – A kitschy B-movie sci-fi feel, crazy awesome monsters, super powers, ridiculous character names. Even as a kid growing up in the 90′s I played with old He-Man toys I found at thrift stores and flea markets because they were awesome.

Masters of the Universe Classics however, takes the awesomeness of MOTU to it’s logical end – Highly detailed, collector-level upgrades of the various characters and figures from the original 80′s toyline.

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The result is something that I personally just love beyond belief. While the old He-Man toys were cool, they were also kinda silly looking in a lame way. The proportions were silly, all of the characters were bowlegged. But hey, they were toys for kids. They still did the job.

MOTU Classics asks: What if these figures looked exactly like the promotional art? Chiseled physiques, excessive detailing, more weapons, cooler accessories – These are the toys that adult collectors played with as kids, now updated for adult collectors to collect.

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MOTU has some of the most awesome and unique character designs in pretty much any media property. It’s mixture of sci-fi, fantasy and batshit lunacy make for some amazing characters like Stinkor, the Skunk Man who smells like pachouli oil, or how about Fisto, the unfortunately named warrior with a humongous metal hand?

The awesome thing about MOTUC is that it takes these characters and turns them into collection worthy badasses, all while retaining that charm and silliness. Yes, the 40 dollar adult collectible version of Moss Man is still pine-scented. Visually, most of the characters remain unchanged. Some got a few upgrades here and there. Most notably in the facial department.

But these upgrades led to insanely amazing sculpts, like the MOTUC Jitsu. Compare the orignal Jitsu to the MOTUC remake.

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I mean holy crap.

That’s why MOTUC appeals to me so much – It doesn’t take itself too seriously. It allows these bright, visually appealing, insane characters to maintain all of the insanity they were created to appeal to young boys with, and ride that wave of nostalgia into a high-end collectible series.

It’s also allowed for awesome things like figures being made of characters that were originally just concept art, and things of that nature.

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I’m a fan of obnoxious, over the top and bombastic character design, and the characters in MOTU are about as bombastic as it gets. I mean fuck, they just released a figure of Plundor, the anthropomorphic purple Rabbit space pirate. THAT’S awesome.

The price point may be an issue sometimes, and Mattel’s customer support service may be legendarily bad, but this is a line that almost seems tailor made for me – Crazy, ridiculous, brightly colored monster men with huge muscles in crazy armor with awesome weapons. This is a line that I probably won’t stop collecting until the line itself ends.

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I just can’t resist He-Man’s character designs. And those coupled with all around amazing sculpts come together to create the most visually appealing toyline ever. From the moment I bought Moss Man, my first figure, MOTUC quickly grew into one of my favorite toylines of all time. In fact, I almost put it as number one on this list.

#1 – Megahouse’s One Piece: Portrait of Pirates
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Maybe I’m cheating again. Portrait of Pirates statues by Japanese manufacturer Megahouse are just that – statues. However, I still consider them to be figures on some level, and these statues/figures are definitely my favorite thing to collect, ever.

Actually, I wouldn’t even be a collector at all if not for One Piece POPs. When I was about 14, I first saw images online of some of the (at the time) new POP releases. I was enamored. The idea of having these amazing, high-quality statues based on my favorite characters from my favorite… Thing in existence was too much.

The first one I ordered was the massive statue of my favorite character, Bartholomew Kuma.

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Thus kickstarting an obsession with collecting all types of figures that continues to this day.
Like the Mattel WWE entry, I dunno how much I can say here only because there’s only so many different ways I can word “perfection.”

POPs are expensive as hell – They’re gigantic, imported from Japan, and all hand-painted. But it’s one of those situations where you’re absolutely paying for quality. The detailing is immaculate, the accessories are awesome, and for the most part the statues literally look like you tore the characters out of the manga and just plopped them on your shelf.

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These are a niche product, at least in America, even by the standards of the collecting subculture. It’s not the kind of thing I’d recommend to a friend, or expect to have much luck finding at my local stores or a con.

But the extra effort that goes into purchasing them is all worth it in the end. One Piece POPs are the most visually stunning things I’ve ever purchased. You don’t have to be a fan of the series to appreciate these statues. Sometimes I’ll be sitting in my room and just stare at my POP shelf for a minute or two, taking them in. They’re captivating.
These are perfect representations of beloved characters, made specifically to cater to a very dedicated fanbase. They have to be perfect, and they are.

Having an emotional connection to the characters represented helps as well – These are characters that I’ve loved and laughed with and cried at for the past 5 or so years. To have these absolutely immaculate physical representations of them is very special.

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I see it as very fitting that my favorite media property is the the one with the action figures of the highest caliber. I wouldn’t expect anything less. One Piece is amazing, and POPs are amazing too.

Like I mentioned, only so many different ways I can call them perfect til it gets tiring. My POPs are the pride of my enormous collection, and always will be.

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At the end of the day, POPs opened my eyes to the idea that “toys” can be art. That they can be amazing, visually appealing display pieces, not just plastic that you play with. If it weren’t for these magnificent statues, I don’t know that I’d even be a collector at all. And that’d be no fun.

Well, that’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed my attempt to quantify my appreciation for various plastic toys. Like I said, don’t pay too much attention the order of everything except for the fact that POPs are number one. This was a fun writeup, and hopefully I’ll be back with some new reviews once this lousy East Coast weather clears up.

If you wanna talk action figures, wrestling, or whatever, friend me on Facebook (Geddy Cahoon PTVP). Follow me on Twitter (stupidElvis69) for “hilarious” tweets about stupid shit like Mega Man and Popeye the Sailor. Until next time, thanks for reading!

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PTVP Figure Fraction: One Piece Portrait of Pirates Neo DX Shiliew of the Rain Review

What’s up everybody? I’m Geddy Cahoon. You might remember me from such fundraisers as Out with Gout ’88 and Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House! Today I’ve got something a little different from my typical wrestling/TV based articles – an action figure (More accurately, a statue) review! I’ve dabbled in this sort of thing before, but never on PTVP. I wanted to kick off what I hope to be a semi-regular feature with a review of something from the group of toys that I consider the pride and joy of my collection – a One Piece Portrait of Pirates statue, courtesy of the folks at Megahouse. The statue in question? Blackbeard Pirates member and all around creep, Shiliew of the Rain.

So here’s how these reviews will typically go down. I break the figure down into 4 categories:

Paint, accessories, sculpt, articulation and value. Pretty simple, really. In this case however, articulation won’t be factored. 8 out of 10 One Piece statues don’t feature any articulation, so it’s hardly fair to judge ol’ Shiliew on that front.

With that out of the way, I can’t help but give a little back story on Shiliew before I get into the actual review. Sorry, I just love talking One Piece.

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Shiliew of the Rain showed up about 4 years ago during One Piece‘s Impel Down arc. He was introduced as the former Head Guard of Impel Down, the undersea prison that all the baddies in the One Piece world get sent to. Shiliew lost his position, however, when it was found out that he had been torturing and slaughtering prisoners for his own amusement. Luffy storms Impel Down, causing a massive breakout, and head warden Magellan decides to free Shiliew temporarily, as Shiliew’s power will be useful in quelling the uprising of the prisoners, cruel and obviously unhinged as he may be.

Shiliew, upon being freed, immediately slaughters the guards who freed him, and goes on his merry way. He meets with the Blackbeard Pirates a few times, at one point saving their lives, and eventually joining them. His rationale behind becoming a pirate is that he believes strongly in fate, and that fate brought he and Blackbeard together. Eiichiro Oda has not specified Shiliew’s rank within Blackbeard’s crew, but it can be assumed from his implied power level (It’s stated that he could have easily taken down the entire Blackbeard crew himself had he chosen to) that he is the first mate.

Though Shiliew has only been seen a handful of times, the decision to make him into a POP is not an odd one. He is a visually striking character with a compelling personality – Though One Piece has its share of villains, Shiliew is one of a kind. Typically a One Piece villain has some sort of master plan or goal to reach, and their cruelty comes as a result of that. Shiliew is simply pure, malicious, sadistic evil, with no real goal other than to inflict pain. And it’s implied that he’s extremely skilled at doing so. I’m sure I’m not alone in being excited for his eventual duel down the line with the Straw Hats’ swordsman, Zoro.

Anyway, I find Shiliew to be an incredibly compelling character, and I’m sure the more we see of him the more my interest in him will grow. But what about what you actually came here for, the statue itself? Does it line up with it’s fellow POPs as ridiculously amazing, or is it Megahouse’s sole flop? Let’s find out!

Sculpt: 10/10

Seriously, this sculpt is just… Perfect. Portrait of Pirates is a premium, high end statue line for diehard fans of One Piece and that sentiment is reflected in most of the sculpts that Megahouse produces, but this Shiliew sculpt is still almost unbelievably amazing.

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As you can see, Shiliew is sculpted in a crouching position, his blade at the ready. Typically with POP’s I prefer more neutral poses, but I actually really enjoy Shiliew’s dynamic positioning. It gives him character, as a neutral pose combined with his somewhat drab color scheme and flowing clothes would render him a bit boring. But the most beautiful piece of this figure, the thing that ultimately earns Shiliew a perfect score, is the face.

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I mean GOD. DAMN. Is that not the coolest face you’ve ever seen? I just can’t get over how awesome Shiliew’s face is. The obnoxiously large nose, the Jay Leno chin, the absence of any sort of eyebrows or hair, the mysteriously curved eye, the excessively large lips… Eiichiro Oda designs some crazy characters but something about Shiliew’s face just makes me giddy, and Megahouse has created a rendition that is literally perfect. The expression just conveys such unbelievable malice and evil, but a hint of casualty. And I love the heavy-lidded look of the eyes. The detailing on this figure is also insane. From the creases on his boots to the buttons on his chest, everything is fully sculpted and realized.

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The prison coat on Shiliew’s back is also expertly sculpted. It features a billowy look, adding to the overall dynamic feel of motion that the figure conveys. One complaint I’ve heard is that due to the aforementioned billow effect, one of the coat’s arms is covering the kanji on the back. I’ll admit it bothers me a bit but… You’re never really gonna see him from that angle on the shelf anyway, so who cares.

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Shiliew’s base also falls into the sculpt category. It’s a standard POP base. Nothing to write home about. However, it is unbelievably large. It’s the largest POP base I’ve ever seen. I wish it was a bit smaller, but I guess they had to sculpt it relative to the size of Shiliew himself, and even crouching, he’s a pretty wide, tall figure.

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At the end of the day, there’s not a bad thing to say about Shiliew’s sculpt. Megahouse tends to hit home runs with its sculpts, but this one is a grand slam (Substitute a sports analogy of your choice here). The dynamic pose, the perfectly translated face, the effects on the clothing… Everything here just works so damn well.

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Paint: 9/10

There’s honestly not really a ton to say in this category. These are hand painted statues, and it shows. There is a teeny bit of slop on the brim of Shiliew’s hat, but I couldn’t get a great picture of it.

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The slop is hardly noticeable, and perhaps I’m just being nitpicky but I think that it warrants taking a point off. I mean these are premium figures. They shouldn’t feature ANY slop. Anways, everything else on Shiliew is well painted, if a bit drab. As you saw in some earlier photos, the golds and the reds on his uniform look great and stand out perfectly against the dark, steely blue colors of the outfit. The skin tone is also amazingly realistic, and the paint on his teeth and inside his mouth is surprisingly well done for such a tight spot. It’s hard to complain even about the figure’s one blemish when everything else paint wise is just executed so perfectly.

Accessories: 9/10

Most POP’s come with a multitude of accessories, and Shiliew is no exception. He features his sword, an extra set of arms, not one but two cigars, and an exquisite looking sheath for said sword. Oh and the cloak also counts.

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Shiliew’s sword is the real highlight of the accessories. The way it works is a bit odd though. This is piece number one of the sword:

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Basically, this goes on the end of the sword’s handle. The reason for this is that the handle actually fits very snugly into Shiliew’s hand, and it actually wouldn’t fit if this piece was molded on to the handle. Thus the fix is that you snap this thing on to the handle yourself after sliding the sword into Shiliew’s hand. This can be a teeny bit tough, as the sword is fragile and you need to apply some measure of force to get the gold bit on. Once it’s on it stays on, but it requires some measure of caution. Once added it creates a pretty phenomenal looking sword, and putting the sword in the beautiful sheath just makes it look that much cooler.

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Shiliew also features two cigars. They’re small pieces, so it was good of Megahouse to include an extra, assuming you lose one. There’s no discernible difference between the two. Similar to the gold end of the sword, a little force must be applied to get the cigar in between Shiliew’s teeth, but once it’s there it isn’t going anywhere.

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Although I previously stated that most POP’s feature no articulation, that was more of a half truth. Shiliew, as with most POP’s, does have a ball jointed neck. It allows for a pretty reasonable range of motion, but it does have a tendency to pop off if you’re too rough with it. Ultimately, it’s a nice feature that adds some more dimension to an already amazing figure. You can really amp up the already dynamic look of the figure just by turning his head.

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Shiliew’s alternate arms are also super cool. Before I get into that however, there are two odd things about this figure vs. other POP’s, and they both kinda fall into the accessory category. First up is Shiliew’s arm situation. Typically, POP’s with changeable limbs or hands feature large white pegs that insert into gaps on the torso or arm. Shiliew breaks that trend by featuring this:

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Two silver, LEGO like pegs that plug into holes in his torso. On one hand, this makes both putting in and removing the arms much easier, and also works to prevent paint chipping and flaking. On the other hand, the fit is not nearly as snug. The arms are a tad bit wobbly, and while they don’t fall out unprovoked, excessive moving of the figure will cause them to fall. It’s not really a huge problem for me since I have my POP’s stationary on a bookshelf, but it’s something to be wary of. Anyway, the alternate arms are actually really cool. They serve to make it appear as though Shiliew is reaching for his deadly blade, about to unsheathe it.

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From one angle, it’s quite a cool pose. The look of his right arm is a bit odd, but I love the incorporation of the awesome looking sheath. My only real issue is that his left hand can’t actually reach the sheath and grasp it, although it’s clearly supposed to be able to. It only looks awkward from a certain angle though, and with him facing forward on the shelf it’s not a big issue.

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Like I said, it’s overall a minor issue and these accessories do nothing but enhance Shiliew’s look and value. This figure though, features one drawback. I noted earlier the sheer size of Shiliew and his base. That extends to his cloak. The cloak extends extremely far back and is also an extraordinarily heavy piece. As such, it tends to slope off of Shiliew’s shoulders. Megahouse’s solution? A teeny little plastic stand, it’s own little separate piece, that holds the cloak steady.

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I’m not sure what to say here. I love the cloak and I love the look of it. Thus I appreciate Megahouse leaving it in this form, even if the fix is a bit unorthodox. However, this little piece makes an already obtrusive figure even more massive. I barely had enough space on my shelf for Shiliew, and this little piece makes it even worse. It actually sits in between two other figures, holding the cloak up as the cloak almost brushes up against my Bartholomew Kuma POP. I guess at the end of the day though, the little stand is a necessary evil. I don’t want Shiliew’s cloak to slope.

Like I said, the accessories packaged with Shiliew are amazing, and they just serve to make an already amazing figure even cooler.

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Value: 10/10

I got Shiliew for $89.99 with free shipping. That was an absurdly low price for a figure this great. Typically he’ll run you about 100-130 bucks, and he’s honestly worth it. Always look for a great deal when buying high end figures like this, but be wary of bootleggers. There are an innumerable amount of bootleg POP’s floating around. On eBay, bootleggers have to admit that they’re selling bootlegs, so there you’re safe. But other sites are not so strict. When shopping for Shiliew, be wary of anything below 90 bucks, and don’t even take your chances with anything less than 70.

Overall: 10/10

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What else can I really say about Shiliew? I’ve been collecting One Piece figures for about 4 years now, and I own some of the coolest POP’s available. Honestly, after purchasing Shiliew and getting a good look at him, he’s a contender for my favorite POP ever. He’s just the perfect combo of great accessories and a dynamite sculpt. He’s a figure that definitely feels worth whatever you pay for him. It’s amazing to me that we can get such an incredible figure of a character who, at the moment, is so vague and underexposed.

Shiliew is an unbelievable statue, and I’m tempted to call him Megahouse’s best work. If you’re a fan of One Piece or POP’s, you need this. There’s no argument. Though Shiliew will take up an absurd amount of space on your shelf, he’ll look kickass doing it. And he looks pretty kickass when placed with his captain.

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Well, that’s it for today! Shoot me an email (motuman14@yahoo.com), friend me on Facebook (Geddy Cahoon QWN) and follow me on Twitter (@stupidbeard414) to talk action figures, One Piece, articles or whatever! I hope this can be a semi-regular thing here on PTVP, so until next time: Let’s all keep collecting action figures well beyond the age it’s generally considered socially acceptable! Thanks for reading!

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Gravity Falls is the Best Show You Aren’t Watching

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Hey everybody, Geddy Cahoon here to tell you something you may find a bit shocking: A cartoon on the Disney Channel is one of the best things on television today. I know, it sounds crazy doesn’t it? But the truth is that Alex Hirsch’s paranormal animated dramedy Gravity Falls is the best cartoon currently on TV, better than Adventure Time, Regular Show, even my beloved Aqua Teen Hunger Force. In fact, I’d even argue that Gravity Falls is one of the best shows on TV, PERIOD. It’ll be entering it’s 2nd season soon even though it’s already been on for a year, and today I’m gonna give you the hard sell because I desperately want this amazing show to stay on the air.

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I’d forgive most people for initially writing Gravity Falls off. It’s an animated show on the Disney Channel after all, and Disney is maybe the lowest common denominator of children’s programming when looking at animated ventures from the last few years. But Gravity Falls is the diamond in a massive rough. I mean when one really takes a look at the premise, the fact that this show is on Disney shouldn’t be a deterrent. The show concerns two twins, Dipper and Mabel Pines, who are sent to live with their Great Uncle (Grunkle) Stan for the Summer in the quiet, sleepy town of Gravity Falls, Oregon.

Grunkle Stan owns a roadside tourist trap called the Mystery Shack, and Dipper and Mabel quickly learn that something’s off about Gravity Falls. Paranormal and sci-fi-ish incidents occur with regularity, including but not limited to living wax figures, unhinged forest gnomes, ghosts and time travelers. With most of the town’s adults (Save for Grunkle Stan’s right hand man at the shack, Soos) turning a blind eye to the constant stream of strange events, it’s up to Dipper and Mabel, armed only with a strange book numbered 3 and containing numerous references to paranormal myth and legend, to protect Gravity Falls.

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Now on top of having a really killer premise and great monster of the week storylines, Gravity Falls also weaves a rich mythology, which an arching mystery that tends to bookend episodes and really takes off during the season’s final episodes. Basically, fake-psychic brat Gideon Gleeful has a vendetta of sorts against the Pines family – He loathes Stan and has unrequited feelings for Mabel. I won’t spoil the plot for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but the character development of Gideon from minor irritation to legitimate threat is actually really believable and he’s a thoroughly unlikable antagonist.

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Some of the other continuous season long plots involve Dipper’s feelings for an older girl, Wendy and Mabel’s adorable friendship with a pig named Waddles. The idea that Stan may be hiding something also becomes integral, as does (Obviously) Dipper’s book. The monster/incident of the week stories are fantastic as well, each one unique, enjoyable and hilarious. Basically, plot-wise, Gravity Falls hits the mark in every possible way. It tries so much harder than you would expect from a show on Disney, and it pays off. You become supremely invested in these unbelievably likable characters and their stories. Thusly, characterization and writing are where Gravity Falls truly shines.

Though the characters on Gravity Falls run the gamut from incredibly likable to incredibly antagonistic, they are all unbelievably hysterical. The writing on the show is nothing short of phenomenal and  the amazing voice acting fully realizes it and takes it to a whole other level. Kristen Schaal of 30 Rock voices the adorable, hilarious Mabel, the show’s breakout character. Former Flapjack writer and Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch provides the voices of Stan, Soos and others. Emmy-nominated actor Jason Ritter knocks it out of the park as Dipper. The outstanding voice acting complements the writing unbelievably well, ensuring that every moment, both comedic and dramatic, is fully realized.

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The characters and stories of Gravity Falls are written with such genuine wit and sparkle and charm that once you see a few episodes you can’t help but fall in love with the show. The town and its denizens are full of life, adding to the show’s constant stream of humor. Supporting characters like an ambiguously gay biker and Wendy’s jilted emo ex-boyfriend Robbie routinely steal the show. There is never a dull moment in Gravity Falls, Oregon.  Gravity Falls doesn’t stumble into a lot of the same pratfalls as Adventure Time and Regular Show, two cartoons that sometimes mistake random nonsense for jokes and unnecessary adult themes as edginess.

Now don’t get me wrong – I enjoy both of those shows. And I have nothing against edginess or envelope-pushing when done right. But sometimes edginess isn’t needed. Sometimes it just feels forced. Gravity Falls also shoots for genuine sentiment a lot of the time and again, always hits the mark (Are you sensing a pattern with the mark hitting). There are moments from Gravity Falls (I won’t get specific, for the sake of potentially new viewers) where I’ve gotten tears in my eyes. The show seamlessly goes from the extremes of comedy to the extremes of drama.

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Gravity Falls is a great example of all-ages TV that works. Sure it features jokes from time to time that’ll fly over the younger viewers’ heads, but it doesn’t present these things in a trashy or overdone way. It also features predominantly general, non-inappropriate humor that kids and adults alike will find hilarious. Seriously, the character of Mabel is an unbelievable example of a breakout character that never gets annoying in any way. She’s hysterical and charming and amazing, moreso than the rest of the incredibly likable cast of characters, which is a feat.

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In many respects, Gravity Falls sort of reminds me of my favorite comic book of all time, Jeff Smith’s Bone. Gravity Falls ascribes to the notion that kids are not idiots. That you can present kids with things like mythology, and a little bit of violence and intelligent, well written humor and that these things won’t scare them away. The writers of the show understand that you can craft something that appeals to kids and adults that doesn’t alienate either group. Gravity Falls is an hilarious, emotionally deep, unbelievably unique series that, Disney produced or not, is one of the best things on TV today. It deserves so much better than to be written off as just another Disney Channel cartoon.

Plus the theme song kicks ass.

So I’m sort of begging you here – Regardless of your age, give Gravity Falls a shot. PLEASE. You won’t be disappointed, and I’d really love for this amazing show to at least continue past it’s second season.

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That’s it for today! Follow me on Twitter (@stupidbeard414), friend me on Facebook (Geddy Cahoon QWN) or shoot me an email (motuman14@yahoo.com) to talk TV or whatever. I’m an open guy. Until next time, thanks for reading and for the love of god watch Gravity Falls.

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Fan Retrospective: Big E. Langston

What’s up everybody? I’m Geddy Cahoon. You might remember me from such films as Christmas Ape and Christmas Ape Goes to Summer Camp. Today, my pal (And PTVP siterunner) Adam Behan and I wanna talk about volatility in wrestling and Dolph Ziggler’s ex-bodyguard, Big E. Langston.

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Geddy: Volatility is Perhaps the only constant of pro wrestling and pro wrestling fandom. Things can and will change at ANY given moment. Champions, gimmicks, and even opinions. I’m a very strongly opinionated guy, which means that while I voice a lot of my opinions very loudly and strongly and sometimes angrily, I’m just as quick to change an opinion I may have just spent 2 days harping on (I was very vocally anti-Fandango when he first appeared on RAW – Eventually I decided I wasn’t gonna hate something entertaining just for being inherently dumb).

This happens to me a lot with wrestlers, and a perfect example is one Big E. Langston.

I was actually at the RAW waaaay back in December of 2012 when Big E. made his debut. The best word to describe my feelings at the time? Confusion. Since you can’t hear the announcers at live shows and I don’t watch NXT, I had absolutely NO idea who this dude was, or what was going on with that haircut. Literally the first thing I thought when he made his way down the ramp was, “What the hell is Ryback doing out?” In my defense it was super dark in the arena and he didn’t enter with any music. Anyways he laid out John Cena and for me the show ended on a really awkward note. Then my natural critic kicked in.

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The whole car ride home, all I did was bitch and moan about how stupid this was.  First off, I hated Big E.’s look with something of a passion. The aforementioned haircut as well as his not-quite-as-silly-looking-as-Ryback’s-but-still-pretty-lame singlet just weren’t doing it for me.

A quick look at the dirt sheets upon returning home revealed to me Big E.’s name as well as the fact that everyone backstage was apparently insanely high on him. He was also NXT champ at the time. A week later, he actually opened his mouth and it was like all of my issues with him were confirmed. Back then, the man could not talk to save his life. We were treated to an embarrassing pseudo-promo wherein he accepted a challenge from John Cena… For Dolph Ziggler. He fumbled his words, his voice was silly, and he seemingly had no sense of delivery or inflection.

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In my mind, Big E. was an absolute flop on every front. Awkwardly debuting and with nothing going for him but the sheer size of his muscles (Obviously he wouldn’t make his in ring debut for a few weeks), I couldn’t wait for them to minimize this dude’s active TV role. Well, WWE would go on to do just that.

I actually struggled to even remember what Big E. did in those ensuing weeks and months. A quick Wikipedia search reveals that he actually pretty much did nothing until April. Honestly, this was the best possible course of action. It was clear that he needed some time to hone his mic skills and work on connecting with the larger-than-NXT live RAW and SmackDown crowds. I really started to dig Big E. once his role was downgraded. Over those months, his singlet shrunk and my appreciation of him grew. He put on decent TV matches that, while nothing to write home about, showcased the fact that he was at least a notch above other guys his size.

When his TV role did become more involved, I certainly didn’t mind him as much. In fact, I was sort of actively pulling for he and Dolph Ziggler to capture the Tag Titles in Langston’s ‘Mania debut. I loved his role in the “Kaitlyn’s Secret Admirer” storyline from a few months back. His street clothes are just as absurd as his wrestling gear. And his line delivery and comfortableness with speaking in front of a live audience are improving every week. Barring one spectacularly bad match with Alberto Del Rio back in April or May (I can’t remember which RAW specifically – This was during Ziggler’s concussion break so Langston and Del Rio were wrestling each other about a million times a week – but it really needs to be seen to be believed) all of his TV outings have been pretty alright. At this point, he’s even upgraded to an honest-to-goodness feud with his former protectee, Dolph Ziggler. It’s not the greatest feud ever, and may involve two very average divas, but it’s been decently entertaining thus far.

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The strange thing about Big E. is that it’s not even his in-ring ability that concerns or appeals to me. What makes me love Big E. is that from an aesthetic standpoint, he’s an incredibly unique character. I mean sure, when Big E. first debuted waaaaaaaaay back when, I was quick to write off his admittedly out there look as nothing but silly nonsense. But the longer he was around, and the more I warmed up to other aspects of his persona, the more I realized how much he stands out from the rest of the roster in the best way possible.

I’ve seen people write Big E. off as unintimidating because of his relatively short stature. I’ve seen countless people pull for him to rethink his haircut, or just make his singlet a little bit longer (Seriously, it’s like that thing get’s shorter and shorter every week. I think at this point I’ve seen Big E.’s ass more times than my own). And I’ll admit that I used to be in that boat too. But if Big E. didn’t look like such a freak, he wouldn’t be Big E. Langston. Yeah the singlet can be a bit too revealing at times, and I think I’ve already said multiple times in this article that his haircut is questionable, but they set him apart. You know exactly who he is. There’s no forgetting Big E. Langston or his ass.

In fact, what comes across initially as silliness actually serves to make Big E. more intimidating in the end. I mean think about it. Here’s a man who’s roughly 5’11 or an even 6 feet tall. He wears the most revealing ring gear of all time and features one of the silliest haircuts in wrestling history. But at the end of the day, he’s got muscles the size of over-inflated basketballs. You can make fun of his singlet or his hair, but he will still rip you in half like a wet napkin. Langston doesn’t attempt to present himself as anything even resembling a sane, normal human being. But he can back it up.

So there’s my two cents on Big E. Langston and why he’s really grown on me as both a character and a performer since his awkward debut. WWE obviously sees big things in the future for Big E., and I’m inclined to agree with them. Big E. Langston is an insanely memorable, unique young star full of potential and with nowhere to go but up.

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Thanks for checking this article out! Be sure to shoot me an email (motuman14@yahoo.com) follow me on Twitter (@stupidbeard414) and friend me on Facebook (Geddy Cahoon QWN) to talk wrestling, articles or whatever. I’m an open dude. Also be sure to join the PTVP Wrestling Facebook discussion group, with daily discussions of wrestling and other things from the realm of pop culture. Until next time, thanks for reading and now I’ll turn things over to Adam.

Adam/Zell – Welcome and thank you for reading this article as far as Zell’s piece (no really, I am the boring writer here). Geddy and I have a history together and it is FINALLY time for us to have a co-op article. The topic of choice is interesting to say the least, a big man that has made an impression in recent weeks; Big E. Langston.

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I am a student of the game in regards to professional wrestling. I have an “older” knowledge of wrestling and believe the coverage of an event should be based around wrestling; not entertainment. That being said, I have watched NXT from Season One and have seen great matches that are rarely seen in a WWE ring on a Monday night. In recent times, NXT has become kind of an independent circuit with young talent that compliment the arena in Florida. Watching this broadcast on occasions gives you a massive insight into the future of WWE. I knew Shield was going to be a hit. I knew Bray Wyatt was going to be a star, yet the one who went under the radar was former NXT champion Big E. Langston.

Big E. caught my attention in NXT as a big guy who completely did not suck. Big E. was a guy who belted up Heels and looked good doing it. He had a charm that at present hasn’t come across on TV as much as NXT. His gimmick of “FIVE” was a throw back to King Kong Bundy, but he put his own spin on it getting the crowd into it with a cheer. Hell, it had it’s own gimmick match and introduction. Big E. was a deserving star from the beginning and it was known to WWE that he works hard for his spot every single damn week. With this new transition in WWE, all the stars built in NXT have made impacts on Raw helping me to the impression that the future is brighter than years ago. Big E. debuted not so long ago, yet it was not what I had expected.

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Beating John Cena up is the way many a star has debuted. It is really the ultimate statement in WWE to beat up the ‘top guy’. After a while, it kind of does get old and not that big of an impact. To me it wasn’t that special. Big E. came into his own once he became the bodyguard of Dolph Ziggler. His huge presence for a smaller big guy really looked more promising under the voice of Dolph and AJ. He was there and given the chance to fight only. That is Big E’s strength; wrestling ability. The crowd I believe has seen Langston as more of a threat now as they see him wrestle and dominate where he belongs. Breaking from Ziggler and continuing his ‘relationship’ with AJ Lee makes for good television. A solid rivalry with Ziggler may sell (no pun intended) Langston’s potential and future.

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One thing that everyone knows in Twitter land, Big E. Langston is f****** hilarious. Things he cannot say on Raw are said on Twitter to hilarity. Just look above.. Look at it. He has charisma in spades and I believe this Big E. may make it onto TV itself as a Face gimmick. On WWE.com and their Youtube channel, you see Big E. going shopping with AJ and other random things that only happen off camera. Watch them and you will see a more genuine Big E. What I am trying to say here is that the Big E. on television, and the Big E. in real life are completely two different people; yet not so far apart. He has proven that he is a force in ring and is entertaining. It will soon be time to show the fans how great he is in regards to entertainment. We all remember the ‘secret admirer’ that Ged mentioned earlier? Entertainment.

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In summary, I see Big E. as not so much a typical ‘big man’, but a guy who is athletic and strong. He has got good backing with his ethics and been gifted a start in his career as a result. Last week when Orton got attacked in South Africa, you see Langston charging towards the fellow and being held back himself by security. For one, I would hate to be in between Langston and prey, and secondly, I would hate to see Langston charging at me. That incident showed me that Langston was ready to back up a mate. He has plenty of potential to grow as an entertainer. He may be a future player in the main roster for WWE and I have faith in him. I really cannot wait until he gives up them outfits for a pair of army cargo pants or something :-)

Thank you for reading our piece on Big E. Langston. This has been a long time coming and I am happy with the way it went. Join us with a Like to Pastime Viewpoints, and subscribe to my Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/zell2626.

I do have something to add on to this article. Geddy Cahoon is approaching his two year anniversary as an online writer for Professional wrestling. I would like to say congratulations for remaining relevant in that time and being able to voice his opinion honestly in that time. I have been lucky to encounter Geddy outside of his articles. A long time ago before I wrote blogs and reviewed wrestling, I was simply a wrestling fan that went online and read opinion articles. One that stuck out was the Cahoon Run Down. Ged was unique and it motivated me to ask him how to become a writer myself. Ged could have shrugged me off and ignored a nobody, however he helped me out, improved my formula, and gave me hope that I would be a success. I would like to say thank you to Geddy for his dedication, advice, understanding, and friendship through my time as a writer. Ged must of been proud to have a fan boy :P Thank you Ged and let’s aim for another two years right?

Have a good day everyone and regards.

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The Cahoon Run Down – Examining WWE’s Midcard Heels

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Hello denizens of the cybernet, your eyes do not deceive you, this is Geddy Cahoon here with my inaugural article on Pastime Viewpoints! It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, though. Too long, one might say. I don’t think I’ve written anything of substance since… It would have to be WrestleMania. But you don’t care about that, and neither do I, particularly. With the 2 year anniversary of me doing this crap rapidly approaching, I figured I’d try to write some new material over the next few weeks.

Today I wanna talk about something that’s been interesting me as of late – What exactly makes a heel in professional wrestling? Or more specifically, WWE. Obviously, we know what defines the prototypical heel. Guys like Brock Lesnar, Damien Sandow and Ryback – Meatheaded (And occassionally pompous) a-holes that look down upon the general audience or even outright detest them, and seem to derive genuine pleasure from inflicting pain on their opponents. But what about lower tier badguys? The heel characters who don’t get as much exposure on TV, or who are still considered part of WWE’s midcard?

A lot of these characters suffer from what I’m going to call “Informed evil.” Many of the characters that WWE defines as “heels” do little to back that classification up. They’re bad guys simply through definition, not through their actions.

For instance, let’s look at a fairly prominent heel character – Fandango. I love Fandango, as most internet dwellers do. He’s obviously presented as a heel character on TV. He typically only faces off against… Faces, and he’s displayed as pompous and arrogant, although it is usually played for laughs. That’s the thing though – Fandango’s heel tendencies pretty much end there. He’s arrogant. Most FACES in the WWE are arrogant.

I can’t think of a single instance of Fandango doing anything overtly “bad,” aside from hitting Chris Jericho with that piece of flooring back during their post-WrestleMania feud, but faces in the WWE have never been shy about aggressive attacks. Fandango is perhaps a bit of a murky example though, as a large majority of the fanbase seems to enjoy him, and one could argue that the WWE has intentionally made him into a comedic character that isn’t really evil or good.

But what about a guy like Wade Barrett? Here’s a guy that has, since his return from injury about a year ago, been stuck in a heel role. Why? I mean he’s a natural bad guy, sure. He’s got the look and the backstory of a mean bruiser just waiting to kick your ass. But the WWE does nothing to sell that perception of him! He beats people up sure, but that’s wrestling! He hardly does anything dastardly, and when he wins a match once every 6 years I don’t think his current character has ever had to resort to cheating.

And he really would work as a mean-spirited ass kicker if WWE would just get behind that character. But in the state of low card hell he’s currently being squandered in, there’s little chance of that happening. Wade could really benefit from a face turn at this juncture. If WWE is going to do nothing to really sell him as a heel, he could very easily make the switch to being a face and still be the same exact character. It’s not like WWE is shy about having face characters that enjoy fighting and beating guys up. His status as a heel is so informed and so rarely acted on at this point that I’d welcome it.

Now we get to the 5 characters that really inspired the writing of this article – The Prime Time Players and 3MB. Here are 5 guys that are presented as heels, that the audience boos… And I have no earthly idea why. It’s not that I dislike them- Quite the opposite, I absolutely adore PTP and 3MB. But they’re booked as such utter jokes that it’s like they’re not even bad guys! They’re not a threat to anybody, and they rarely win matches, if ever. They’re harmless bullies. And don’t tell me that bullies can’t be good guys.

It’s particularly glaring with 3MB. I mean PTP are certainly bigger jerks and Titus O’Neil proves (When he’s given brief moments to shine) that he could thrive as a more threatening heel, but they’re still such a joke of a team that I don’t really consider them heels in the conventional sense. 3MB is even worse in the respect that they’re basically just really goofy, boastful faces. They’re genuinely funny, and it’s well documented that Drew McIntyre in particular is one of the friendliest wrestlers in the biz. I mean they’ve been targeted by Brock Lesnar, the Shield and the Wyatts for god’s sake! I don’t see how they’re even heels anymore. It’s more like the audience is booing with them, not at them.

So WWE has a weird situation with a decent number of their midcard heels in that they’re less “heels” and more “vaguely irritating jerks.” Now I still enjoy greatly all of the characters named here today, but ultimately this lack of commitment to the fact that these are supposedly the bad guys does nothing but damage their credibility in the long run. Think about it – When a guy or team of guys is presented as bad, the audience is expected to boo them. But then they’re presented as bad guys without really doing anything to back that up? Well then you get no reaction. How ya doin’ there Wade?

Well, that’s it for today folks! Be sure to hit me up on Twitter @stupidbeard414, friend me on Facebook (Geddy Cahoon QWN) or shoot me an email (motuman14@yahoo.com) to talk articles, wrestling or whatever.