Top-Down Smackdown: The TitanTron Playset of My Childhood Dreams Finally Exists


I always knew it could be done, but was never sure quite how. Back when Jakks Pacific had the WWE license, they made a big deal of their Titan Tron Live “technology,” which allowed an entrance stage to play maybe eight different music snippets based on completing a circuit within a figure’s foot. My thinking at the time was that they should create something like a Game Boy, which was like $90 then; $90, it seemed to me, was not unreasonable for a large playset that could do monochrome, rudimentary entrance videos, and sell new ones in blocks on removable cartridges every few months.

Smartphones have gone beyond what I imagined back when I was a kid painstakingly cueing up the 8-minute cassette tapes of entrance music that I got through the fan club (the only way to get such tunes back then). Now, we have a playset that utilizes them to not only play downloadable WWE videos, but also custom creations, so if a kid wants to make one that goes “DUHHHHHH! DUUHHHHH! John Cena sucks!” and has an image of him dropping a Cena action figure in the toilet, it’s doable, and potentially hilarious.

The sculpt appears to be similar to the current Kmart exclusive entrance stage, with additional breakaway parts and a place to slot the phone. It probably will end up being around $90 in the end…but in 2015 dollars, that’s a better deal than the 2001 dollars I contemplated.

What else is going on? I missed Payback and don’t especially regret it…Oh yeah – Benjamin Satterley (Adrian Neville)’s new ring name.

Can I just say how terrible an idea I have always thought it was to give wrestlers a surname only? Even the most successful star of all time with that kind of moniker – Goldberg – would, in my opinion, have been as effective if not more so had they called him, say, “Brutal” Bill Goldberg. “Kidman” was never a better name than “Billy Kidman,” and even “Hall and Nash” added their first names back in after a while. The only that works, I think, to any extent, is “Cesaro,” as it sounds more like a title/lucha name than a real surname, which of course it isn’t – like Jonathan Good, Claudio Castagnoli is cursed with having a way cooler real name than anything WWE creative can come up with.

“Adrian Neville” isn’t a real name either, but “Neville” alone is terrible, conjuring up images of an English butler or schoolboy-uniformed nerd. If you want a surname-only persona to work, I think it has to include “Mr.”, like Mr. Kennedy, or even Shelton Benjamin’s brief flirtation with “Mr. Benjamin” (let’s face it: never has a great talent been stuck with as unmarketable a name – admittedly his real one – as “Shelton Benjamin.”)

Would Steve Austin have been better as just Austin? Should the Rock have been “Maivia”? Would Paul Heyman be as entertaining yelling out “LLLLLLLesnar!” without the “BRRRRRRROCK!” beforehand?

Surname-only sucks. WWE, please give “Neville” a better name before it’s too late. This former fan of Mr. Benjamin beseeches you.

And now, with Gotham gone for a few months, let’s have us a Raw spoiler thread below!