5/19 NWA CARNYLAND (Ep. 1): The highs and lows of Billy Corgan and Dave Lagana’s new concept show without a wrestling ring or fans

By J.R. Harris, PWTorch contributor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

•EDDIE KINGSTON PREAMBLE – HIT: So before we get into whatever Carnyland is going to be, we get Eddie Kingston doing what he does best and that’s talking to the viewers. He lets us know how much the folks at NWA miss doing what they love but we’re all going to come out of this stronger and better essentially. Normally I don’t like such overly saccharine speeches, but Eddie always sounds like he means what he says and that gritty New York accent carries this a long way.

•JOE GALLI AND THE VOICE OF STU BENNETT INTRO – HIT: So this was an ongoing bit in the show. Joe Galli will throw from one segment to the next and is often interrupted by a vocal recording sphere with the voice of Stu Bennett. Stu will be our main travel guide through Carnyland, but only by voice because his appearance fee is too high. Look, to explain this is harder than it looks but it’s a cute little gag.

•NICK ALDIS’ CARNY CHRIS STORY – HIT: Nick Aldis (whose appearance fee must be high as well because he only lent us a stock photo of himself) tells a story of when he first worked with an NWA affiliate in Bristol, TN. Essentially it boils down to a good rasslin-in-the-south-is-still-carny-territory. Nick negotiated a hotel to be included in his payment but the system can’t find the reservation but hotel staff knows Chris and gives Aldis his room. The next morning it comes to light that the booker, he calls Carny Chris, never actually paid for the room and sent him an edited confirmation for the room. Carny Chris presumed Aldis would put down a card for incidentals and be charged afterwards, but that never happened. It’s a good story and Nick tells it quite well.

•CARNYLAND COLLEGE 101: CLICHE PROMO 101 – HUGE HIT!: Allysin Kay does a tongue-in-cheek promo showing the basic essentials of bad promos! She begins with the hand rubbing to show deep in thought and says generic statements like insert date and time here, territory name, and name of the venue and opponent because that’s just how it’s always been! I was crying laughing at this and watched it three more times because it’s so good. She even pauses and laughs because, hehehe, that’s what bad guys do! She even does her best James Storm of screaming so loud, the audio cuts out! At the end, she asks someone off camera should she storm off or will it fade to black because those are the only two options she knows. This is genius stuff.

•ELI DRAKE SHOW PROMO – NEUTRAL: Eli does a bunch of cussing to display how he has said the wrong things in the past and gotten fired. I don’t know, whatever. This will be part of the new NWA weekly lineup and he’ll be answering emails and probably cussing a lot. We’ll see how this works out.

•PROFESSOR TIM STORM TALKS ABOUT BEN FRANKLIN – MISS: I don’t know what to make of this. Tim Storm talks about some of the things Ben Franklin is famous for, like being an inventor and founding father. We also find out he is in the swimming and chess halls of fame, wrote a paper about flatulence and a book called How to Pick a Mistress, and would sit in window nude. I mean, because this is Carnyland, who knows how much of this is true in general and how much is just Carnyland inventing things. As an idea, it should be a winner. We present historical figures and tell you some of the zaniness attributed to them that is little known. However, the execution just fell flat for me personally. It was nothing Tim did wrongly or anything, it just wasn’t a segment for me.

•DAVE MARQUEZ TEACHES US CARNY – MISS: Marquez does a spot for a carny translator app/device where he explains things like if a promoter says the check is in the mail, it’s actually the promoter saying he needs that 30 bucks for a title. Again, on paper, this is good, but I just didn’t care for it.

•JOECEPHUS BOOK – HIT: Joe is dressed like the Captain, sans Tennille however, and is hawking his book, “How to Be a Champion”. Wait, what’s that? How could he write a book about being a champ and he hasn’t been a champ? THAT’S THE GAG! IT’S BLANK! He’s a funny, funny guy, I tell ya.

•WHAT’S CAUSIN ALDIS? PROMO – HIT: Nick’s new show will be part of the weekly content on the channel and episode one will feature Thom Latimer and Crimson (don’t know this person) and they’ll talk about their misses as characters. He pokes fun at his initial TNA character and though I doubt I’ll ever watch the show, his authenticity makes me think it’ll be a good one at least.

•JOE GALLI’S INSIDE THE NWA PROMO – NEUTRAL: No jokes or punchlines or gags here really until the voice of Stu Bennett gets rid of him, but he’ll have his own show too where the first episode features Corgan and Lagana answering tough questions. I love Joe, so I’ll probably give this a try.

•MONGROVIA UNMASKED, GEOGRAPHY PT. 1 – MISS: Shooter Stevens talks about the geography of the fake country of Mongrovia, highlighting the Questionable Bay (yawn), the too-tall-to-measure volcano Mount St. Question (yawn), and then there’s Question Mark fighting superimposed scorpion clip art. Yes, that was a real sentence. This was just a bridge too far for me and would have benefited from a hammier Aron Stevens. Actually now that I’ve said that, maybe not. The one cute gag was during the credits, it said the music was done by ? Mark and the Mongrovians, which is obviously a play on ? and the Mysterians, but pooly done because this says ? Mark, so Question Mark Mark. Redundancy is always bad.

•ENTICE ZICKY DICE – HUGE HIT!: This is perfect use of Zicky Dice, 80s graphics, and synth rock. As a synth fan, I adore the music bed. The idea of this is Zicky has on a fan, Fiona for this segment, and asks them hypothetical questions like The Dating Game would. For example, Dice asks Fiona if on a carriage ride and come to a three way split in the path, one option has a dinner prepared by Bobby Flay, another has a concert by Christian McBride, and the final is showing the HMS Pinafore, what do you do? Fiona says path two but she’s outlandishly wrong. The answer is park right there and let them all watch! She says aren’t you married, and Zicky comes back with KAYFABE! Zicky Dice is truly a treasure.

•OVERALL – HIT: Look, this isn’t wrestling at all. This is more like hey, what if we did a show of just the NWA commercials over 30 minutes! For episode one, I think it has legs. Carnyland College is going to be a smash hit as will Entice Zicky Dice, because everything Zicky does is great. I think they’re truly making the most of the situation and have loaded up their channel with programs for every weekday. This won’t be for everyone, but I think if you ever wondered what Saturday Night Live would be if wrestlers were the cast, you’ll enjoy Carnyland.

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