Chris and Spaceman Frank review WrestleMania 34 weekend and speculate the Superstar shakeup and the state of the main roster.
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.
Chris and Spaceman Frank review WrestleMania 34 weekend and speculate the Superstar shakeup and the state of the main roster.
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.
Chris sits down with the mighty Bruce Corbitt, who may or may not be Batman as they talk Rigor Mortis, Mike Scaccia, Corbitt’s uphill battles and much more – including the April 21 “Freaks” demo release that has Corbitt’s long-lost vocals from yesteryear!
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.
by Jon Schorr
Ya boy Jon and the Jewharaja review NXT TakeOver: New Orleans and WrestleMania 34!
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.
It’s that time of year where being a wrestling fan becomes a full-time job.
WWE has decided to blast us with 14 matches on ‘Mania Sunday, which on paper seems insane. But at the same time, there is very little fat to trim from the PPV, and I can honestly say I am stoked for about 11 and a half of the matches. Sure, it is going to be a long night, but this has the potential to be the best of the six plus PPV’s WWE has insisted on putting on in the WWE Network Era.
The big questions I have for the event is 1) when will I be able to pee during the event and 2) how bitter and angry I’ll be during the Universal Title match. The build could have been better for some matches and Raw and SmackDown still are tolerable only as a series of Youtube clips, but IT’S ‘MANIA SEASON BABY! You can’t not get at least a little bit of excitement going when thinking about it. I’m Spaceman Frank and these are my WrestleMania 34 predictions.
WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal
Big mistake to have both battle royals on the preshow as it is hard enough to get people to care about the men’s one before throwing women in their as well.
I would have had the women’s battle royal and the Cruiserweights on the main show and throw the Raw women’s championship match and the US title match on the preshow. Anyway, WWE really screwed this one right out of the gate by initially naming it after The Fabulous Moolah.
To use their “what if kids google her and find out what she did” anti-Chyna logic, there is plenty of popular and talented ladies involved here, but not a whole lot of story to go around. Bayley and Sasha Banks are getting the most screen time, but I see them eliminating each other to set something up later. Outside of that I could see Becky Lynch win since she really needs something in the win column. She is my pick of the announced people in the match, but I will cheat a bit and take a flyer out on Ember Moon being a surprise entrant and winner.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
WWE has not exactly stacked this match with a murder’s row of talent, instead giving people a chance to remember that Rhyno and Zack Ryder are still employed.
The honor of winning this match has lost all meaning, so I hope they have some decent action planned for this thing. Out of the announced people in the match I do not feel particularly keen on any of them, so using the “well, I have one of his shirts” logic I’ll give Heath Slater the nod. However, I’ll take a flyer out on a returning Samoa Joe winning this thing since Joe needs to be on a WrestleMania card finally and get a win as well.
Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)
This was the second match announced for WrestleMania.
205 Live has been a very exciting program to watch as the tournament unfolded. Cedric continues to be the guy we truly hope gets a big break and gets the push we know he deserves. Ali has built a groundswell of support by getting you invested in his story and cutting better promos that most of the main roster. But these guys are an inch or two too small SO AWAY TO THE PRESHOW WITH YOU LADS!!
Seriously, perhaps one of the biggest mistakes the WWE has made with the WrestleMania card is putting this in the preshow and it is a continued sign that the 205 crew are stuck in no man’s land. I wish both men could win this match, and no matter what, I think they will have a hell of a match that pumps up the crowd. I am split 50/50 between the two, but Ced has been my boy for longer so I want him to finally get the crown.
Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Nia Jax (Raw Women’s Championship Match)
The simple story here is Bliss has gone full mean girl on her IRL best friend but onscreen rival Nia Jax.
This has lead to lots of crying from Jax followed by unbridled rage. The complicated story is that WWE continues to treat women differently from men, since you do not see Braun Strowman crying in the corner because The Bar made fun of his height.
Slightly problematic, but Jax has said she is fine with it and it is a solid bet she will win. Jax has deserved a high profile win for years at this point, since most big match she is in ends with her losing. She will steamroll the tiny Bliss in a fun but short match and finally get the big win on the biggest stage of them all.
The Bar (C) vs. Braun Strowman and TBD (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship)
If WWE does not make a Brains Strowman shirt I have lost faith in humanity.
I think Braun should be able to challenge for the belts solo since it would lead to some more interesting future booking. Plus, it would give him something to do while they fart around with Roman before they realize Braun is better in every single way.
While the Bar continue to be as solid as ever, it is hard to compete with the magic that is Braun. As much as I want to see James Ellsworth make his triumphant return to WWE and be Strowman’s partner, I doubt that will happen. I could see Rey Mysterio being the mystery partner for a similar dynamic, plus it could give Rey a chance to recover while Braun does the heavy lifting. However, I think Big Show will return and the pair of massive men will win the championships off The Bar.
Randy Orton (C) vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Bobby Roode vs. Rusev (Fatal Four Way for the United States Championship)
This match is Rusev’s to win, which makes it all the more shocking that he was a last minute addition to this match.
His merch sales have been through the roof in 2018, and you would think that if WWE cared enough about the Bulgarian Brute to make Rusev Day calendars they would have a plan for him during ‘Mania.
Meanwhile, Randy Orton is farting about SmackDown as per usual and has added nothing to the US belt as champion. Roode has quickly lost momentum as well and needs to be a heel ASAP. In other news, Jinder continues to Jinder his way through life, and I could see him eventually get the Rusev circa 2015 treatment with the belt.
But all in all, it is Rusev’s time and there is no way they completely ignore the babyface connection he has with the crowd right? Right???? Rusev wins on Rusev Day and we get America-loving foreigner Rusev filming skits at The Alamo and national parks for six months.
The Usos (C) vs. The New Day vs .The Bludgeon Brothers (Triple Threat for SmackDown Tag Team Championships)
First off, I am super happy all three of these teams get a chance to wrestle on the main card of WrestleMania this year (New Day hosted last year). Second, this could be a sleeper hit on a long card.
Give these guys around 15 minutes and let them go balls out and it could be an amazing way to invigor the crowd after say, a Roman or Ronda debacle.
The Usos have been great as champs, and The New Day continue to find ways to keep their gimmick fresh. Meanwhile, the Bludgeon Brothers are not exactly a new team on the scene, but MY BOY Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are looking like killers thus far (now if only they dressed like real people).
Any team could walk away with the belts and I would be happy, but I am going to be biased and say The Bros. win the belts and MY BOY brings the blue and silver strap home to Western New York.
The Miz (C) vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins (Triple Threat for the Intercontinental Championship)
This is another tough one to call.
The Miz has been his glorious best as of late, having a healthy baby girl born and winning 100K for homeless dogs by winning the Mixed Matched Challenge. On that note, YA DON’T SEE ROMAN REIGNS HELPING SHELTER DOGS DO YA??!! SOME BIG DOG YOU ARE, YOU PUTZ!!
Miz has to deal with two stellar workhorses that it can be argued need to belt. Finn is trying to get the Balor Club (now with more than one member!!) off the ground, and Rollins has been ramping back up to pre-knee injury levels as of late.
What I really want is Miz to come within days of becoming the longest reigning IC champ of all time then lose leading to an epic meltdown. What I see happening is Finn remembering he can put on the paint and stomp people to death and win the belt. Seth has no backup and Miz should probably take some paternity leave after ‘Mania.
Charlotte Flair (C) vs. Asuka (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)
The real main event for women’s wrestling for the weekend (though it probably will not be the last women’s match on the card) sees Asuka defend her streak against arguably her toughest opponent yet.
Charlotte is someone I can see beating Asuka once her streak is already over, but not before. Having Asuka face Ronda in a year is much more of a money match, unless Ronda failboats hard in the following months. That being said, this should be a hell of a match, and Flair is one of the few women that can match Asuka’s physicality in the ring.
There are some rumbles that Carmella will cash in here, but I see her going to Raw to make up for Asuka jumping ship and cashing in on Jax or Bliss. Asuka wins in an epic encounter that makes you pause and think the streak may end.
Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon
This could be fine, but I have a feeling the audience both in the arena and at home will have little patience for this match.
Triple H moves at glacial pace against younger opponents, but against Kurt and his dead shark eyes I do not see much vigorous action happening. Meanwhile, we got a non-wrestler and actual executive taking on a former UFC champ.
Ronda has not exactly wowed as a pro wrestler thus far, but awkwardness on the mic aside, she is still an elite athlete. If she went against someone she could just trade blows with and do some chain wrestling with this would be fine, but against Steph? No way this is going to be smooth.
Name one offense move in Stephanie McMahon’s moveset besides a slap. I’ll wait.
That being said, if this match ends with Kurt and Ronda getting the double tapout victory in less than ten minutes I’ll consider it a win for the company. Team Tapout beats team Board Members in a hot mess.
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens
This shocker of a match came together at the last minute and probably has more to drive the hype up for WrestleMania and any single other match has.
The immediate flood of support for DB has myself and most other wrestling fans on a high, and I cannot wait to see Shane get beat up in front of his stupid kids and then give a hot tag to Bryan.
They also have the perfect foils in Sami and KO who will do everything they can to make both men look good. There are lots of rumors that Shane or Bryan will turn heel here, but I do not know if I see it happening at WrestleMania. Both these guys resigned their authority roles, so I see this as a chance to reintegrate DB into the active roster and give Shane a chance to disappear for a bit to refresh his character and maybe comeback as a bad guy.
But this is WrestleMania and Daniel’s first match back will be a clean win with no shenanigans so the crowd have a happy moment before the main event (shudder…it’s getting closer).
AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship Match)
What everyone wants the main event to be besides Old Man Vinny Mac sees two of the best in the world square off at the biggest show of the year. Shut up and take my money.
This has not gotten the grandiose treatment that the Universal Title match has gotten, but it does not need it. Everyone knows this is the Savage/Steamboat match on the card and could be something truly special.
Do I expect them to knock each others brains out like they did at Wrestle Kingdom? No. Do I still expect a spectacle? Yes.
Shinsuke should have the entrance of the night which will be worth the price of admission alone. I really hope WWE does not drop the ball and have this be the opener. I will chug a beer in anger if that happens. As for who wins, I think it is Shinsuke’s moment here and pulling the trigger on him later will not nearly mean as much.
John Cena vs. The Undertaker
While not an official match on the card, I cannot imagine WWE would allow Cena to drag ‘Taker’s name through the mud for nothing.
What remains to be seen is what version of Undertaker we get, both in terms of look (Biker ‘Taker rumors have been a hot topic as of late) and how healthy he will be. He did not look great last year, and post-hip surgery makes me worried about how many bumps he will be capable of.
This is more of a curious sideshow more than a match that I am really looking forward to, but if it wipes the taste of last year’s debacle of a main event out of my mouth I will be fine with that. It will also be interesting to see how salty Undertaker is after Johnny Boy effectively turned the Dead Man into a heel during the build.
As for who wins, if this is closer to the beginning of the show I can see ‘Taker passing the part timer torch to Cena. If ‘Taker comes out as the American Badass towards the end of the show I think he will pull out the victory. I’ll go with historical precedent and say ‘Taker wins to get some revenge on the Neon Knight.
Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Roman Reigns (WWE Universal Championship Match)
We got the best version of this match three years ago that featured Brock beating the piss out of Roman for 90% of the match before Seth Rollins came in to win the belt. Now, we have no last minute contract renewal by Lesnear, no Money in the Bank cash in (imagine Baron Corbin being the savior of ‘Mania), and no reason to allow Brock to dominate Roman.
I really wish they would put this match on first to placate Vince so he could go to bed and AJ vs. Shinsuke can headline. Instead, I think WWE is going to wait until the entire crowd is tired and ready to boo this match into oblivion or file out early. I cannot see this match being worth the previous six or so hours of waiting. Roman wins, nobody is happy, and everyone goes to bed angry and disappointed. Happy ‘Mania day to all.
by Frank Lucci
The Easter Bunny has delivered a late present with this one. TakeOvers are usually grad affairs, but WWE really have gone all out on this one.
This could be one of those events that gets into the rarefied air of other legendary live events. I could not hype this one up more if I tired, and I plan on spending my Saturday night freaking out and yelling at my TV like I am a wee lad again. Hell, I plan on taking a nap after work so that I can be fully energized for the event. When your wrestling is so good you need to take an afternoon nap beforehand you have something special on your hands. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my TakeOver: New Orleans predictions!
Ember Moon (C) vs. Shayna Blazler (NXT Women’s Championship Match)
I start with the match that has the least mystery to me.
I was shocked that Ember held on to her championship the first time around, so I think Kanyser McDanger will take the belt here. NXT told a good story of how Moon survived their first encounter, but they cannot do the same finish twice. Plus Ember is prime for a main roster run and get some matches in with ladies like Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch.
I could see Wanyer Gamezer jumping ship to act as Ronda’s proxy while she get’s good, but really I think WWE has made it clear on their weekly programming she is going to be the focus for the foreseeable future. Blaszler wins in the only potential misstep of the show.
Undisputed Era (C) vs. Authors of Pain vs. Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne (Triple Threat for NXT Tag Team Championship)
It is very unfortunate that Bobby Fish got injured right at WrestleMania season, but it did add some last minute mystery to this match. I was hoping Adam Cole would be forced out of the North American Championship match, but having him choose is also an interesting twist. I see him choosing the singles belt but running interference to help his buddy Kyle. Authors of Pain have nothing to prove, and I want them to challenge Braun and his mystery partner for the Raw belts the show after ‘Mania. Strong and Dunne are the X factor here, and they could be a super fun tag team that has a good run before the sudden but inevitable betrayal. But I think Undisputed Era wins via some tomfoolery to retain, with Cole losing his ladder match so that they can keep Undisputed strong sans Fish.
Adam Cole vs. Killian Dain vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Velveteen Dream vs. EC3 vs. Ricochet (Ladder Match for NXT North American Championship)
My reaction to finding out about this match boiled down to this for about four days.
For one thing, my boy Ricochet is making his debut, and I am all in on seeing him in WWE. Second, we got EC3 also making his in ring debut, and just his intro promo alone has me excited to see what he will be able to do for NXT. Throw in four other capable wrestlers and this could be special.
My only complaint is I wished they swapped Cole out of the match once Bobby Fish got hurt and replace him with Kassius Ohno or someone similar. But between Lars and Dain trying to out hoss each other, several debuts, and Cole probably flying through the air repeatedly I am stoked. Plus, anything involving the Dream could lead to some levity in what could be a death defying showdown.
I think EC3 and Ricochet have the best chance to win, and out of the two I can see EC3 getting the strap. He would serve well as the entitled heel that NXT is known for, and having him already debut has allowed the crowd to get their “welcome to NXT” pop out of their system.
Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa
IT’S TIME FOR BLOODSPORT BABY!
These guys are going to tear each other to pieces and I cannot wait. One of the best long-term stories in WWE of the past decade, which is even more impressive because Ciampa has been gone for most of it.
Johhny Wrestling is one of the most over pure babyfaces in all of WWE, and Tommaso has been pitch perfect as a vengeful heel. Just watching the hype packages they have rolled out for this have me ready to see some violence.
But who wins this match? I could see it go either way. Gargano is ready for a main roster run, even if he will most likely end up on 205 Live, so that makes me lean towards a Ciampa win to keep Johnny off of NXT. However, considering Johnny has won very few big matches and I think NXT will allow everyone’s favorite wrestler a chance to hear his entrance music play twice on a live event. Gargano wins in a gutsy affair.
Andrade “Cien” Almas (C) vs. Aleister Black (NXT Championship Match)
Who would have thought after seeing this match at TakeOver: Orlando that this would be the main event of any show?
Cien has grown tremendously as champ, and while it still feels a bit odd that he is the top guy in a loaded field, it does not seem as improbable as say, Jinder’s run at the top.
His opponent, meanwhile, has been steadily proving himself as one of the most believable and consist performers in all of WWE. He looks the part of a demonic kickboxer, and I could see a scenario where he is on the main roster ASAP.
That being said, I think we have gotten all we can get out of Cien as champion. He had a match of the year candidate against Gargano, so they should have him drop the belt and move up while he still has some goodwill. I just do not see him being compelling for much longer in NXT and could be a boon to 205 Live. Aleister wins, holds down the fort, and offers up some dreams matches for the next year or so.
by Jon Schorr
Ya boy Jon and Matt preview Wrestlemania 34 and NXT TakeOver: New Orleans!
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by Frank Lucci
In Preparation for the inevitable crowning of Roman Reigns as Universal Champion, Spaceman Frank has taken it upon himself to go back and look at some events that happened around the same time WWE tried Brock vs. Roman first. In the third and final part of our trilogy we look back at WrestleMania 31, AKA WrestleMania Play Button AKA The Rise of the Roman Empire. Is this PPV a sign of things to come for this year’s ‘Mania, or have the WWE learned from their mistakes? Let’s look back and see if the first attempt to crown Roman Reigns (along with the other four or five hours of this show) hold up or are forever tainted by the main event controversies.
WrestleMania 31 AKA WrestleMania Play Button (because Vince declared numbers higher than 30 to be unpopular) is very much a roller coaster of emotions. One one hand, there was plenty to be excited for such as the Intercontinental Championship Ladder, Sting making his debut inside a WWE ring, and, ummm…a nice view of a sunny stadium? On the other hand many (including myself) were going into this in full on cringe mode. Roman infamously won the Royal Rumble in such a way that not even The Rock could get the man some cheers. When the most popular person on the planet (and potential future president) cannot get you over you should throw in the towel. It seemed unlikely that Brock Lesnar would be walking away champ due to his contract running out, but thankfully at the last hour he announced on ESPN that he had signed a new deal. This gave hope to the Visigoths (I’m just going to call the anti-Roman crowd different barbarian tribes that fought the Roman Empire), but was it too little, too late? I first watched this PPV in my parents basement like a true wrestling fan, with a few friends and perhaps a wee bit too much booze and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Now a little bit older, a bit wiser, a decent amount more salty, and wayyyy more sober let’s see if ‘Mania 31 can stand up on it’s own past the shocking finale.
Look, I am not going to force myself to watch 90 minutes of the Preshow Panel no matter how lovely Renee Young is. The two matches on the preshow were…fine. First we had a fatal four way with The New Day, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd (aka The Brass Ring Club), Los Matadores, and The Usos. This was a match type that would end up being much better at Summerslam later in the year, but here we see a good nucleus of the tag team divisions found on today’s roster. The New Day were just about to become beloved, Tyson and Cesaro are The Bar 0.5, and The Usos were FUN TO WATCH MAGGLE. Also the Matadores aka The Colons aka The Shining Stars are still employed, making them the real winners here. I do miss El Torito though…. Anyway Tyson Chicken and Cesaro win to retain their belts and prove to Cesaro fans that last year’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal win meant nothing.
Speaking of, the second and final preshow match was the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. This was pretty standard affair except for a few spots. Axelmania officially died when he was chucked out first, and retroactively I cannot believe that was a thing. Hideo Itami made his main roster debut here, which was promptly derailed after a shoulder injury, then it further fell down a cliff due to more injuries, and now finally he is stuck in the watery abyss known as 205 Live where he is not even a big deal there. Sad stuff. FInally the one bright spot was Damien Sandow breaking free of The Miz and eliminating him, leading to myself and the crowd roaring. Mizdow was legit one of my favorite things of this period of time, and I was all in on Sandow becoming a bigger deal. LOL NOPE BIG SHOW WINS YA GET IT HE WAS ANDRE’S SON IN WCW! Deflating moment that immediately sent up red flags for me when watching live. But in retrospect Big Show winning is still better than Mojito Rawley and The Leather Baron.
WrestleMania 31 opens to a beautiful sunny shot of Levi’s Stadium as some dude named Aloe Blacc sings America The Beautiful. It’s not bad, and considering many of the jokers that come to ‘Mania to perform it stands out. I wonder if WWE does America the Beautiful over the national anthem because so many of their wrestlers are from other countries they would have to go through like, two dozen anthems before the show started. Typical WrestleMania opening package featuring LL Cool J talking about human connectedness and media or something.
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
The show starts off hot with probably their best match of the night. The story was Bad News Barrett kept getting his title stolen by randos, so they threw them all together plus Daniel Bryan for this match. DB went from main eventing to show to opening it thanks to his debilitating injury, and his return in the Royal Rumble (and quick elimination) was the spark that started the rebellion against Reigns. So this match is essentially WWE throwing bone to his fans in hopes we forget about all that.
Daniel Bryan is out first to a pretty good pop but not as many people Yessing with him. Champ Bad News Barrett is out next, and BNB was effing money when he had his gavel and podium. Dolph Ziggler comes out…yup. Stardust is out next dressed like Mister Sinister and I have a feeling Cody will enjoy wrestling Kenny Omega this ‘Mania Weekend way more than anything else he did during previous WrestleMania weekends. MY BOY Luke Harper out next and we get the bane of my existence R-Truth. Finally we get Dean Ambrose, who is the most popular guy in the match besides Bryan.
Hot start as everyone must have collectively decided to go at 150% speed. Before a minute is out everyone does suicide dives and planchas until finally Dean climbs a ladder outside the ring and drops on everyone. Everyone gets a chance to try to gain the advantage, with the sickest moment involving MY BOY Luke Harper dropping a ladder straight into DB’s head (cringe). The competitors climb the ladders like regular people (aka at normal speeds and not like they lost feeling in their legs), which is refreshing. Stardust pulls out his bedazzled ladder, which has a name I refuse to type. It breaks immediately, which kinda sums up Stardust’s run in WWE. MY BOY Luke Harper and Ambrose get an extended sequence in the ring which is pretty fun which ends in the airplane spot that is required for ladder matches. BNB and Stardust go for a mega-suplex off the massive ladder which deservedly gets “Holy Shit” chants.
We get the sickest spot of the night when Ambrose takes a powerbomb from MY BOY Harper from the ring to the outside and through a ladder. I remember hearing on Table for 3 that Ambrose busted the back of his head open and got staples to close the wound by the ringside doctor. This hurt worse than the actual bump, and they had to be removed anyway to get new staples in once we was backstage. Damn. MY BOY Luke takes a Zig Zag off a ladder to take him out as Ziggles gets close but takes a Bull Hammer elbow. A few more elbows takes out R-Ron and Stardust but is foiled by DB from getting the belt. Running knee takes Barrett out for good and Zigglypuff and Gogoat Bryan trade headbutts on the ladder. Headbutt has a 30% chance of causing your opponent to flinch, which eventually happens to Zigglypuff. He faints and DB wins the Ladder Badge. (sorry for all the Pokemon references.)
Overall- Not fat in this match as most everyone pulls their weight. R-Duff does not do much, but everyone else gets a memorable spot to add to their sizzle reel. DB winning was the best choice of a winner considering the circumstances, but it is a bit melancholy to see him win. This was his last PPV match until his upcoming triumphant return at WrestleMania 34. Everyone else in the match has had their ups and downs, which only Ambrose truly being elevated in the years since as a key player. But overall a fun match that is very rewatchable today.
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
Here come the Black Hole of Charisma to make the pace of this WrestleMania a bit more methodical. Randle is seeking revenge on The Authority for trading him in for younger, hippie model Seth Rollins. Babyface Orton is somehow even more insufferable than Heel Randy , who attempts to curry favor with the crowd by raising the roof and giving out some half hearted “cmons!” Seth gets plenty of cheers by the live crowd, and he is with J&J security who I dearly miss.
Whole bunch of “methodical” pace to start us off as Randy counters Seth’s attempts to be exciting. Randle the Mandle delivers hanging DDT’s to the floor to J&J but eats a suicide dive for attacking the security boys. Whole bunch of nothing for several minutes as each men trades control and bland moves as I check out reviews for Dark Nights: Metal. Orton has had the same move set +/- the punt for over a decade so once you seen one Orton match you’ve seen them all. Seth tries to liven things up with his flashier moveset (including a beautiful springboard moonsault off the apron), but has to continuously match Orton’s pace. Finally we get to the only part of this match worth remembering when Orton counters the Curb Stomp into and RKO. Seth seems to fly ten feet in the air while taking the move and Randy wins the match.
Overall- Match will be immortalized for it’s Gif spawning ending and that is it. Rollins will have his WrestleMania moment later in the night, but this match could have been on Raw for all I care. Now both these guys will be in matches for secondary titles in WrestleMania 34. Seth has the chance to bring the house down against Finn Balor and IC Champ Miz, while if Rusev does not win the US belt from Orton I will riot.
Ronda Rousey makes her first appearance of the night in the front row. Hmmmmm… I wonder if this will come into play later tonight or in three years.
Sting vs. Triple H
Between the hype package, Sting’s Entrance, Triple H’s entrance’s intro video, and his actual entrance you have enough time to make and eat a sub. I know because I tested this. Weird disjointed mix of Sting being like “I just think Triple H is a jerk” and everyone else yelling FINAL BATTLE OF THE MONDAY NIGHT WAR! Sting’s entrance is pretty cool, but would have better if it was orchestra playing his WCW theme song like they did for the WWE 2K commercials. Triple H’s video and entrance is pretty much an ad for Terminator Genisys, which is a terrible movie I sat through because I hate myself. Also it looks 100% like Triple H has a metal pole sticking out of his ass during his entrance.
Match begins with Triple H being shocked that multiple time world champion and thirty year veteran Sting remembers basic moves. Sting gets “you still got it chants” after hitting a shoulder tackle, headlock, hip toss, and standing dropkick. I could hit those moves guys c’mon. Sting is already looking pretty disheveled after five minutes as his makeup starts coming off and his bald spot appears.
We then get the second portion of every modern Triple H match where he gets over his shock of seeing his opponent his basic maneuvers and slowly grind away at his opponent. I never really noticed his pattern until Having watched this and his ‘Mania 30 match roughly a week apart. This is about as fun as actually having the COO of WWE put you in a chinlock \. Only thing of note is Triple H’s massive bruise on his thigh and buttcheck and JBL claiming WCW was “a small pond.” What did you spike your diet Mountain Dew with John moonshine.
OLD MEN ALERT #1 as DX shows up to help their boss errrr friend. Haggard Sting gets some air on a dive to the ring apron but eats a Pedigree. It gets a two count though as OLD MEN ALERT #2 sounds as the even older NWO show up. I would have loved if X-Pac ripped his DX shirt to reveal an NWO one. A brawl between a bunch of old men occurs that ends with a bunch of gentle yet uncomfortable bumps. HBK superkicks Sting when it looks like Triple H is doomed, thus showing us he is a heel. Or he is just a toadie for Trips.
Final sequence sees bats and hammers come out as Sting smashes Triple H’s hammer and attempt a final rally before eating a sledgehammer to the face and losing. Everyone just kind of makeups after as the crowd is dead silent for the hopefully last victory of WWE over WCW.
Overall: OK nostalgia trip if you watched wrestling in the 90’s. I did not so much of the magic is lost. Sting looked fine in spots but showed his age elsewhere. Triple H stuck to his formula but it is not like either men were gonna get out of second gear. At first view it is entertaining enough but each time I watch it I grow more and more bored.
Legends spot as WWE throws as many legends as possible at Daniel Bryan to make his victory seem like a big deal despite headlining the show last year and opening it this year. We get a Bret Hart smile though which is rarer than diamonds. Afterwords a bunch of people pretend to make music. Just take a piss instead.
AJ Lee and Paige vs. The Bella Twins
The sole women’s match sees sometimes rivals, sometimes friends AJ and Paige take on The Bellas because reasons. Nikki is in the middle of her record breaking title run (to erase AJ’s record title run), which was immediately surpassed by Charlotte. Solid decision making all around. Tons of Divas era offense as someone has a “Nikki I’ll give you babies” sign. Stay classy dude. AJ spends most of the match on the outside taking a rest while Paige gets beat up. Brie yells “BRIE MODE” which is the most exciting she does in the match. Paige does a cannonball spot to the outside which is the most exciting part of the match. AJ recovers from the three forearms she took and runs wild. It is slightly sloppy as the ladies go through to motions. ALmost as if they planned out the whole thing out beforehand. Something tells me this wrestling stuff is fixed. Anyway AJ gets the tapout victory over via Black Widow.
Overall: Nothing match to get what amounts to the cream of the Diva crop before the women’s division really started taking off. Lee would be out of the company almost immediately afterwards rendering the whole thing useless besides some long forgotten Total DIvas storyline. It is curious to watch just for seeing how much better the women’s division is now but easy to skip.
Hall of Fame spot which is good for making you cry over Connor the Crusher (pours one out for the fallen homie). We then get a commercial for an old WWE video game but that does not matter cause RUSEV IN A TANK!!!! RUSEV IN A TANK!!!!! RUSEV IN A MUTHA EFFING TANK!!!! Seriously the best wrestling entrance ever. Some BS USA images appear to remind you that by booing John Cena you boo america. Really sick of this type of exploitative crap. Don’t use dead soldiers and real life tradigities to get me to care about stuff, wrestling or otherwise. If John really loved the USA maybe he would wear more patriotic colors rather than neon colors and jean shorts. Seriously lame build that belongs in 1985. At least it brought us RUSEV IN A TANK ALL HAIL GLORIOUS LEADER RUSEV.
Rusev (C) vs. John Cena (US Championship Match)
Despite the USA chants Rusev still gets more cheers than Cena. I guess the patriotic video did not work. Lana must be baking in that suit and fur getup in the middle of California. Match starts with some beef being thrown about as Cena hits a big clothesline and Rusev hits his running heel kick. Rollover overhead suplex by Rusev is equally impressive. Rusev takes a second to gloat about Russia which leads to Cena’s four moves of doom. Rusev blocks the AA and the crowd is pretty hot. I do not think RUsev was as over as Bray Wyatt was against Cena at ‘Mania 30 but this crowd is definitely louder in their anti-Cena chants. “Let’s Go Lana” chants show Rusev is far from the darling of the smarks he is now.
Both men take turns hitting some big moves, and they work really well together. RUsev is the bigger and quicker guy, but Cena started changing up his moveset at this point to be a bit more flashy. Rusev hits an Alabama Slam, err ummm Sofia Slam for a two as we get to the point that happens every time someone faces Cena where the Heel starts panicking that they have not put him down yet. Brah you have not even hit your finisher yet calm down. STF by Cena is an excuse for the boys to have an audible chat and for Lana to throw a shoe in the ring. Who throws a shoe, honestly? Cena’s shite STF does not work and neither does Rusev’s flying headbutt, but that does get slight Rusev chants. Cena blocks the Accolade and hits his springboard stunner that Rusev sells like a champ. People crapped all over this move but I always liked it. Showed Cena was at least trying to change things up in his moveset unlike some people (cough Randy cough)
Finish sees Rusev hossing Cena around before getting the Accolade in. Cena sees a bald eagle flying overhead, hulks up and breaks the hold by backing Rusev into the corner. This leads to a still shite STF. Lana tries to distract Cena but ends up being hit by a charging Rusev and knocked off the apron. Cena takes advantage of this spousal abuse with an AA for the win and championship.
Overall: Fun match. The patriotic angle made me hate the pre-match stuff besides RUSEV IN A TANK but the actual match was good. Lots of back and forth and big hoss moves. Rusev looked good in defeat and it was inevitable that Super Cena would win for America. This would lead to Cena’s US Open challenge which really helped him turn a corner with snarky bastards like me. It was all downhill for Rusev however as he would keep falling downwards until his pairing with Aiden English and Rusev Day. It would be nice if Rusev regains the belt he lost three WrestleManias ago this year especially if it means Randal takes the pin.
Recap of the preshow by the Preshow panel in case you are like and said “screw that crap this show is long enough as it is.”
Big Ol’ Ronda Segment
Since this takes up a good 20 minutes it gets a headline. Steph is here to have a good wank session about how great the WWE is. Triple H gets to be here trophy husband despite being responsible for most of the positive changes in WWE the past few years. I really do think these segments are a big turn on for the power couple. Nobody is allowed to take up more time and have a better wank session on screen than Dwayne Johnson though so he appears and takes his sweet ass time getting to the ring. For real it takes about five minutes for him to get to the ring and start talking. Rocky here is completely bald and lacks a beard, making him look like a confused baby turtle. Typical Rock speech full of Rockyisms about the fans, his greatness, and genitalia. Eventually Rocky goes to Slapfest County as Steph taunts him after wacking him good. Admittedly that is pretty heelish and amazing. Crowd catches on quick with “Ronda” chants before The Rock moves a muscle. Shayna Blazer makes a quick cameo as Dwayne walks by and he picks lucky fan/future Hall of Famer out of the crowd to fight his battles for him. We pretty much see the same Ronda segments on Raw we have seen for the past several weeks, swapping out one bald man (The Rock) with another (Kurt Angle). Only difference is Ronda only says two lines and thus is 1000% better. “I’ve had it with this whole frickin thing” says Triple H, echoing my thoughts on the 2017 Ronda angle. The good guy and gal beat up The Authority as everyone cheers.
Overall: Is this better than putting on another match? Maybe. WrestleMania needs segments on this to act as a palate cleanser, especially in the era of 7 hour PPVs. WWE essentially copied much of this for their build to ‘Mania 34, only with charismatic Rocky over dead on the inside Kurt Angle. It’s fine for what it is, but has lost some polish now that it is something we see on the reg.
Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker
They start hyping this with Ronda and The Rock still in the ring. Taker hype package with Johnny Cash backing it, which is pretty rad. We Undertaker’s lost from last year’s WrestleMania which transitions to Bray doing Bray things. I thought Bray might have a shot of winning so they could pass the torch. LOL NOPE. To make matters worse Bray hurt his foot on the weekend of the event and was limited a bit with what he could do. Recipe for a disappointment.
What does not disappoint is Wyatt’s entrance which sees him animating scarecrows as he passes them. Would look cooler in the dark, but it is still a cool entrance. I think he should have kept the scarecrow look too as his current look of white dude dreads and white pants are super generic. Undertaker is out next with tons of fog, tombstones, and purple light. LOts of people complained about the entrance because it was still light out, but I think the purple tinge and shadows do the job well. Taker has also abandoned the amish punk look of last year for a goatee and shorter hair. He looks way better than last year, which admittedly is a low bar to hurdle.
Opening of the match sees Undertaker hitting a bunch of big moves to assure fans that this time Takie Baby can still go. Commentary acts like Wyatt does not have a chance and, well, he doesn’t. Match is so exciting my mind wanders and I wonder why Undertaker has not had his tattoos touched up. They are really faded and it is distracting. Eventually Wyatt begins to rally but it is so lame the only way I can describe it is he hits the old man a bunch. Bray hurts his foot again diving into the steel stairs that looks like it maybe got within a few inches of Undertaker’s head. Match is already winding down as we get a Hell’s Gate and Uranage/Senton combo. Yay?
As we get to the finish Bray does his spooky man spine bend in the corner, which earns him a chokeslam. Tombstone gets a two count, which I guess is as close as to putting over Bray as Undertaker will get. Desperation Sister Abigail does not get the win and we get the spider walk/sit up gif that people will remember this match for. Both men slug it out with strikes with Bray getting the advantage until Undertaker decides he is ready for his hotel bed and hits a second Tombstone to win. Big blasts of pyro go off as we fade to the main event hype.
Overall: Nice to see Undertaker look mobile and healthy. That is about all the positive I have for this match. Bray did not look like much of a threat throughout and was here to put the old man over. Not a horrible match though and way better of a watch than the ‘Mania 30 match for both these guys. Short and to the point, but definitely in the middle of the pack when it comes to Undertaker WrestleMania matches. If you really love either man i say rewatch it otherwise skip.
Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Roman Reigns (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
Crack one open folks. It’s that time. Hype package tries desperately to make Roman look cool or at least likeable and fails. Brock meanwhile looks cool as a GD cucumber talking about how he likes to hurt people. Funny how much WWE has recycled from this first go around from the “right guy in the right place at the wrong time” line to the whole part timer/full time divide.
Roman out first to the mild “oooooooo” of an audio tampered crowd as security guards literally have to shove people out of the way from giving him the business. “Roman is a Wank Pheasant” sign out which always draws a smile from my bitter and salty soul. Reigns also has some lame ass pyro that looks like a bunch of roman candles…..oooooooh now I get it. Brock gets a massive cheer and blows up the stadium with his pyro. Almost as if he is a way bigger deal than Reigns. Heyman gets a big cheer for his intro speech as well and off we go.
Gotta say, the opening minute of this made me crackle. They start hot with Reigns trying to get the jump on Lesnar only to get suplexed like a ragdoll and eat an F-5. Brock is bleeding from the cheek which makes him even more terrifying. Nobody makes him bleed his own blood. NOBODY. Louder than ever boos for Reign’s attempt at a comeback and big cheers for bodying Roman during a clothesline and suplexing him for a third time. At this point the crowd has caught on that this is not the Roman crowning we all thought and perhaps with his new contract WWE would just allow Brock to steamroll their golden boy.
SUPLEX CITY BITCH is born as Heyman smiles knowing his client just came up with his new catchphrase. Heyman is preening like a peacock which is always enjoyable to watch. He just loves his client so much. Reigns smiles and laughs after his fifth trip to Suplex City, which is incredibly stupid and I still get mad watching him smirk while getting the crap kicked out of him. I could keep counting all the suplexes and Reign’s attempt to come back, but really the next five minutes is Brock beating Roman like he ate the last McRib.
After Reigns kicks out of a second F-5 Lesnar literally takes the gloves off and slaps the piss out of Reigns. Not gonna lie, I just love watching the man suffer. If they had Reigns take the Curt Hawkins spot he would 100% be in my boys stable. Third F-5 does not do it and the crowd starts to boo and get worried. Brock then goes into a ringpost and starts bleeding immediately as the crowd further get on edge. Parade of Superman punches get even more hate followed by a pair of spears. Lesnar ain’t having none of that though and kicks out as Paul clutches his heart with worry. Massive fourth F-5 stops the rally cold and then….
IS THAT CROSSFIT JESUS’ MUSIC?????!!!!!
Seth is out here to save the day!!!!! True story when I watched this live my livestream cut out and we went into panic mode as we heard Seth’s music but could not see what happened. Crowd goes nuts as Seth kicks Roman out of the ring and curbstomps Brock. Brock catches him for an F-5 but Roman spears Brock as Seth goes flying. Rollins recovers and hits a curbstomp to ROman to win the belt as the stadium erupts in cheers and pyro. Final image is Rollins swinging the belt over his head like a dead cat as massive amounts of fireworks launch from everywhere. Such a smart choice for WWE to give the belt to a workhorse like Seth who, while his run had plenty of downer moments started out in the most epic fashion ever.
Overall: If you like watching Roman Reigns get beat up this is an easy rewatch. If not well you have the next several WrestleMania main events to watch. Brock looked like a killer and Seth like a savvy villain who was one step ahead of everyone. The match is fairly short and does not have many bad moments, and lead to some really great stuff. Now without a cash in nor a new contract for Brock now we shall see the crappy original version of this match WWE wanted to put on here for ‘Mania 34.
Final Thoughts: Much like WrestleMania 30 the bookends of this show are the best. The ladder match is head and shoulders above anything else and featured plenty of fan favorites working frantically for your approval. The main event was also fun and very much memorable. Other than that much of the rest of the card is forgettable. Many of them featured newer guys like Rusev, Wyatt, and Sting in prominent roles only to lose. It is hard to get through this PPV knowing many of the deserving wrestlers lose out and floundered soon afterwards. If not for the cash in this would have been a forgettable Mania. A solid hour of good wrestling with three other hours that feel like a decent episode of Raw.
For the few that don’t know, Slayer’s upcoming 2018 tour will be their last and just in time for Easter the band revealed that they have one final album coming out this year titled Abominations of Finality.
This album will be a double album with disc 2 containing covers and remixes of old songs. The band says that the style will stay true to the Slayer sound fans know and love and will feature guest appearances by many famous artists. Expect many of these new tracks to be played during this final tour.
In Preparation for the inevitable crowning of Roman Reigns as Universal Champion, Spaceman Frank has taken it upon himself to go back and look at some events that happened around the same time WWE tried Brock vs Roman. In the second part of our trilogy we look back at WrestleMania 30, the first proper PPV of the WWE Network era and the last WrestleMania in New Orleans until this year’s event. Will the epic tale of Daniel Bryan vs The Authority hold up four years later? Let’s find out!
WrestleMania 30 is an event that is often lionized for its big moments. Daniel Bryan finally got the championship he deserved, even if in retrospect this was the beginning of the end for the internet icon. This also was the place where Undertaker’s streak ended, spawning countless memes and cementing Brock Lesnar as the real rising star of this era. I remember hosting a party for the event as a housewarming style bash that both regular wrestling fans, as well as new people, were able to get into. Nowadays good luck asking someone to try and watch 8 hours of wrestling and see if they stick around to the end.
Looking back this was a really special era full of hope for the company. There was no Roman Reigns to hover over the event like a vulture, and while Brock beating the streak was a shocker it at least made sense. Personally, I was more worried about the Network feed messing up like it did during NXT Arrival more than the quality of the show. As a fan who was less than a year into his full-time wrestling obsession, I was all in on Bryan’s story and not as concerned with part-timers and the like. Oh, how things have changed.
Before the PPV begins proper there a couple of things I’d like to address. There are only 8 matches on the card including the pre-show, and the PPV is just shy of four hours long. This is about how long a big PPV card should be, and in comparison, WrestleMania 34 has ten matches announced with several more weeks to go until the event. Please WWE, there is only so much I can take. I did not watch the preshow, which saw The Usos beat Los Matadores (lol), Rybaxel (LOL), and The Real Americans. Hopefully, The Usos get on the main card this year. HALL OF FAMER KID ROCK’s theme song for the night is mildly upbeat and very annoying and does not convey a sense of grandioseness that is required for ‘Mania. The stage is very cool at least, and all the purple and gold give the arena a very royal sensibility. On commentary is Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL, who do their best throughout the night. AKA very average stuff that is easy to tune out.
Opening video montage featuring HALL OF FAMER/FUTURE SENATOR KID ROCK is an upbeat mardi gras parade featuring a truly random assortment of wrestlers including Fandango and Sheamus. Sheamus does not move, he just holds his arms out on top of a float for the entire thing. Probably his highlight of the night. They edit in footage of legends such as HBK and Andre the Giant, which is sorta cool but also very distracting. Before the action begins we get the Host of WrestleMania/Slayer of Gawker Hulk Hogan. Hogan is caught singing his own theme song while walking down the ramp like the mark for himself that he is. No wonder he keeps challenging Cena for one last match. Hogan takes too long to get to the ring and the crowd begins to quiet down once the second verse of his song starts. Once he is back in the ring the crowd fires up more. IMMEDIATELY Hogan begins messing up by calling the Superdome the Silverdome, The WWE the WWF, and stumbling over his words. Pretty bad for a “pro” like Hogan, but at least the Silverdome debacle lead to some gold later and the commentary team crackling up like loons.
Austin comes out next to a gigantic pop as Lawler literally screams “SPECIAL MOMENT! SPECIAL MOMENT!” Thanks, Jerry, I got it no need to let us know what it sounds like when you climax. Stone Cold comes out, makes a Silverdome reference and also manages to stumble on his words and look winded from the walk down the ramp. He threatens to beat up an old man but then decides to kiss his ass instead. The Rock is out last and takes his sweet time to even get to the ramp, let alone get to the ring. Being the most popular human on the planet The Rock is a much better promo than either of the other guys. Rock also gets major points for me for actually bothering to mention people wrestling on the show like John Cena and Daniel Bryan. The three guys do their catchphrases, drink some beer, and the segment ends. Not the worst way to kill 20 minutes, but the improved Superdome jokes are the best part of this opener.
Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H (Winner gets added to WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match)
Did anyone really expect Daniel Bryan to lose this match? Could you imagine the Evolution triple threat closing the show? In the era of Roman Reigns, yes, but this night is all about DB baby! Nice hype package highlighting Bryan’s rise throughout his WWE career cut with The Authority holding him down. “You don’t listen to these people. You don’t listen to their obvious desire to see somebody like me succeed.” prophetizes Daniel Bryan. Amen dude, amen.
Stephanie Mcmahon is out in a tux jacket/short shorts combo to introduce her husband. Triple H is in full Conan the Barbarian mode despite being announced as the COO of the WWE. He is out with three women surrounding him who just so happen to be Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Alexa Bliss. Say what you will about Triple H but he picked pegged those three as winners right off the bat. Might as well say it but The Game is one of the best themes songs…ever. Still get chills hearing it. Daniel Bryan comes out to his usual massive pop but very little extra flair for the big event. Cole refers to DB as “the proletariate” like he is going to win back the means of production for the working class instead of a championship belt. I miss the massive waves of “Yes” from crowds and really no one else has come close to being as over as Bryan was at this time.
35 minutes into the PPV and our first match starts. Typically of part-time Triple H, the match begins with stalling, followed by H’s opponent hitting a move, then Triple H sitting there being like “OMG HE HIT A MOVE!” The early portion of the match sees DB trying to gain the advantage with strikes and chain wrestling as Triple Haitch seeks to work Daniel’s injured shoulder and use his power to take down the smaller man. It is not the flashiest match, but it works and is enjoyable.
Getting it out of the way now: It is a little uncomfortable watching Daniel Bryan land on his shoulder and back of the head. Knowing what we know now it is hard not to see Daniel throw dropkicks and go for dives/headbutts without cringing. It does add a bit of melancholy to this event overall, but in the heat of the moment, you still get caught up in the action.
Bryan hits some huge moves to the outside including a massive but ugly as hell moonsault to the floor before Triple H regains control by slamming Bryan’s hurt arm onto the table. To add insult to injury Steph is her usual screeching self on the outside. God, she could tell me I’ve won the lottery in that voice and I would still want to punch her. DB takes a bump on the ring apron as Triple H and Steph smooch while he is being counted out. Classic heel move showing affection for your wife.
“Hache” gets a dirty crossface in that puts the STFU to shame except for the fact that he locks it onto the forehead. Daniel Bryan sells for a bit before he begins a mini-comeback which includes a few trips to the Suplex Co-Op. Top rope sunset flip powerbomb and dropkicks from Daniel before he gets decapitated by a Triple H clothesline. Flying Goat gets countered by a knee to the face (cringe) but a Yes Lock attempt by Triple H eventually by a rollup/Yes Lock of his own. JBL already sounds drunk as Triple H makes it to the ropes.
The finish sees the classic DB combo of suicide dives/ top rope dropkick/Yes kicks but it is not enough to put down The Game. Triple H fires back with his own classic combo of spinebuster/Pedigree but The Goat kicks out to a massive pop as the crowd knows the end is near. Triple H keeps trying to get in a second Pedigree but DB eventually counters his way to the Running Knee for the win. Bitter Boi Triple H beats up Daniel afterwards to leave “doubt” as to if he will be able to wrestle later.
Overall: A Good opener for the show. It was pretty methodical at times but it worked for the story that they were telling. Besides some cringe moments involving DB’s injuries, this match has held up pretty well. When he needed to Triple H bumped like a boss for the much smaller man and the crowd was nuclear hot for portions of this match. Only real negative is Drunk JBL commentary and Steph screeching but those are more annoyances than real flaws.
Footnote: I wrote all of the above before Daniel Bryan was cleared to return to the ring. While I am still cautiously optimistic about his return, I cannot help but still cringe at the thought of him taking bumps. On one hand, I am immediately stoked by his return, and on the other, it is still going to be tough to not freak out every time he takes a nasty spill. Watching him land on his shoulder and rolling while doing the running dropkicks against KO and Sami makes me hope he will be playing it much more safe this time around. However, if he pulls out the Flying Goat headbutt again I will drive to New Orleans and punch him in the mouth. Can we get an official ban on jumping headbutts yet?
The Shield vs. The New Age Outlaws and Kane
Show of hands: Who remembered this match happened? I sure didn’t. Zero hype package as The New Age Outlaws are out ASAP after the last match. Road Dogg tries to say something, gets cut off by The Shield coming through the crowd. Kane is out last, leaving this feeling like they are scrambling to make up for time. The story here is that the Authority B squad beat up The Shield…and that is it. This match is in fast forward as each member of the heels takes a turn getting beat up. Triple powerbomb to the New Age Outlaws wins the match and also IRL messes up Billy Gunn so bad he gets hemoptysis.
Overall: Filler match. Match was so short Seth Rollins’ only move as a legal man was for the finish. Prime example of getting everyone on the card and getting their stuff in. The bathroom break match for the first half of the PPV.
Sargent Slaughter and Hacksaw Jim Duggan are playing with toys like adults until Ricky Steamboat comes out to be a stereotype. The toys are bought by Ted Debaise and Ron Simmons comes out for the “DAMN” spot. I usually enjoy Legends spots on ‘Mania but adding the toy commercial was pretty lame.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Number of people in this match who are no longer with the company: twelve. Number of people in this match who are active members of the WWE roster: fifteen. Throw in several people who have since retired and that is not a good look for the company. Big Show and Sheamus get their own entrance which everyone else is already in the ring. It makes since for Big Show to get an entrance but Sheamus? Lawler here is more annoying than usual as he does not recognize Brad Maddox and didn’t know 3MB were in the match despite having a “wok band” joke ready. Match is a hot mess until about half of the men are eliminated and some actual spots start happening. Random highlight of the match sees Fandango eliminate Intercontinental Champion Big E as the place starts Fandangoing. Remember that random craze that lasted all of two weeks? Something I wish I could unsee from this match is R-Truth and Big Show exchanging pelvic thrusts at each other.
This match only gets good once we are down to the final seven. Rey Mysterio and Cesaro have a fun sequence that makes me wish they had a full match together. Kofi does his usual battle royal magic by catching his feet on the ring stairs to avoid elimination. I still don’t know how they pull that off. Final four is Big Show, Cesaro, Sheamus, and Del Rio. Jamison and Patron eliminate each other and the crowd comes alive for the stare down between Show and Cesaro. Crowd goes even more mental when Cesaro lifts Show up like he was a sack of dog food and dumps him out for the win.
Overall: This ‘Mania weekend pretty much has been the highlight of Cesaro’s singles career. Between winning this and becoming a Paul Heyman guy the next night there was plenty of hope for the Swiss Superman. Sadly they continued to start and stop pushing him even though Cesaro can out wrestle most everyone on the roster. I really hope we get him into a Universal/WWE title program at some point. Meanwhile, Big Show would get his win in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal next year before Baron Corbin and Mojo Rawley killed off whatever importance the match had.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
An AMAZING promo package hypes this match as a big effing deal, and even though it is set to an Eminem song it does a great job of highlighting the differences between the two men. God, Wyatt was so good at this time, and this felt like his chance to move up into the main event scene. How far he has fallen, and after years of his promos getting more and more nonsensical he really needs a chance to freshen up the character.
Wyatt is out first with a voodoo style dancer intro and a live version of his song. All of it is fantastic and they really need to bring back his gimmick of appearing on the Tron and saying “(insert town name)..we’re here.” Cena’s entrance by comparison is his standard look and the crowd is mostly negative towards him as usual. Contest begins with Wyatt playing some mind games by getting on his knees and begging John to unleash his anger and be a monster. Good Guy Cena just waits until Bray charges before going for a headlock ASAP. Less than a minute in and we got rest holds. Wyatt gets some offense in but it is pretty plodding to say the least. This apparently pisses off Cena who gets his anger face on and smacks Wyatt around a bit as the Eater of Worlds laughs at him. For the first time ever dueling “Let’s go Cena/Cena sucks” chants get under Johnny’s skin as he mugs to the crowd and throws a hissy fit when he can’t beat up Wyatt when he is in the ropes. Different side of Cena here, but it is so exaggerated that it comes off as comical. Serious Cena only really became good lately when he just coldly goes for multiple AA’s and clobbers people with meaty closelines.
Both men continue to wrestle at was can charitably be described as a leisurely pace and it is a good time to grab a beer. Crowd do not care much for this match until Bray does his crab walk pose when Cena goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle. This causes the crowd to start singing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” in what is the coolest spot of the match. Shame it is something the crowd does and not something the wrestlers do. Both men continue to wrestle at a lackadaisical pace as they trade power moves. Some look good like Wyatt’s powerbomb counter to a top rope leg drop while other look sloppy like Bray’s gutbuster move where he can barely lift Cena up. Cena decides to dive on MY BOY Luke Harper and Erick Rowan like a cowardly heel. Shame on you sir don’t you mess with my fellow Western New Yorker and his ginger friend! Cena considers heeling out by crushing Wyatt with the steel steps but that might make a child cry so he tosses them aside. Cena impressively scrambles out of frame when Wyatt goes for a running senton, making it look like he disappeared before hitting the AA. Wyatt kicks out and MY BOY Luke gets revenge for Cena’s unprovoked attack with a massive kick. Still not enough to get the pin and Cena gets driven into the barricade and murders MY BOY Luke in the process.
The match concludes with Wyatt hitting Sister Abigail then throwing a fit when Big Match John kicks out. He grabs a chair to try and make Cena disqualify himself as the ref meekly stands by and asks politely for them to stop. Ref literally is yelling at Cena “this is not who you are!” Like Cena has never been in a no DQ match before or used weapons. Cena puts on his best “anger” (aka pooping) face, hits Rowan with the chair, counters a rollup and Sister Abigail into an AA and gets the win as JBL and Cole talk about what a swell guy he is.
Overall: The portions of the match that focused on Wyatt trying to corrupt Cena were good. Everything else was pretty meh. The action was pretty slow and Cena’s rage faces are comical more than anything else. They would have a rematch in a steel cage which Wyatt won via demonic singing child which harmed him worse than losing. Wyatt weirdly has failed upwards around WrestleMania as he went from this to Undertaker the next year to dealing with The Rock at 32 and entering 33 as WWE Champion. He ended up on the losing side of all those encounters, which sums up his career pretty well. I would not be surprised if down the line Bray leaves WWE and goes on the indy scene and revitalizes his career by going full on Satanic with his character. I think a blood feud with someone like Jimmy Havoc would be awesome. Until then, expect more rambling promos and glimpses of what could have been.
Hall of Fame recap segment is next. Jake the Snake’s speech was amazing and if you have not yet check out the movie about him getting clean. You will get choked up. Other than that and feeling sad about The Ultimate Warrior’s passing this did not do much for me. Whole bunch of filler next as we see DB being worked on by trainers, shots of New Orleans, and the Spanish Announce team.
Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker
Oh boy it is Streak time (grabs the whisky). Video package about the Streak is interrupted by Paul Heyman who delivers his usual masterpiece of a promotalking up how Brock is going to be the One in 21-1. I do not know anyone who thought that would actually happen, but we all know how it all shakes out these days. The Jimmy Johns monster is out first to his usual entrance. ‘Taker’s entrance begins with several coffins representing his victims (including the people who are dead IRL. Real sensitive WWE) as a video package is interlaced between. ‘Taker comes out with the usual fog and lightning show as Brock’s coffin opens by itself due to magic/hydraulics. ‘Taker is rocking the Amish goatee/ mohawk look that makes him look about a decade older than he is. Not a good look, but he looked much better next year with the medium hair/no facial hair look. ‘Taker’s entrance takes what feels like an hour, which is a shame since it is not particularly memorable considering what we are about to see.
Back and forth to start and I spent much of the early portion of the match trying to decide when exactly Undertaker got concussed. One random note: when was it decided that ‘Taker was “the best striker in WWE history?” Shouldn’t Ken Shamrock, Brock Lesnar, or some other notorious tough guy (Vader) get that node? Amish ‘Taker tries a weird arm hold that I think is suppose to be him pulling Brock’s arm while it is tangled in the rope but it just looks like they are holding hands. ‘Taker is working the shoulder by repeatedly sending Brock into the ring post as Lesnar occasionally responds with a punch. The pace can generously be described as glacial as they hit a few strikes, talk a walk to a different part of the ring, and do the same thing. Match picks up slightly as some finisher reversals and ‘Taker looks like he pulls his groin for for a boot. Brock takes over and he pushes the pace forward somewhat in that he begins to turn pink. Not quite purple yet. Brock dumps ‘Taker backwards onto the floor and for my money, this is when ‘Taker gets concussed. He definitely is slow to respond and he looks way more off balance.
At this point, this match gets a bit hard to watch as Undertaker stumbles around and spends plenty of time on his back as Brock works his leg. You can see him grabbing towards his head several times and it seems like Brock is doing anything possible to avoid laying blows there. Brock tries to throw ‘Taker into the stairs and ‘Taker whiffs completely and barely gets a toe to hit the steel. Crowd is dead as Brock spends minutes punching and kicking with very few actual moves. The fans are having none of Brock’s offense, but when Undertaker rallies they get a little more energized. Undie continues to rally and hits a Chokeslam for a two. Brock counters with an F-5 and now the crowd is coming alive since nobody expected this match to end before a single finisher was hit. Undertaker is either selling like a champ or he is legit struggling to get up. Hell’s Gate is powered out of right when ‘Taker mumbles “do it” in what I am sure is a random coincidence. It should be noted that JBL calls the whole match like he knows ‘Taker is going to lose, which is full of foreshadowing moments. Repeat of the Hell’s Gate spot with a much better slam. Both men trade Kimura Locks and while two men laying down in the ring is not the best it is more exciting than the past 10-15 minutes of strikes.
The last act of the match sees both men pretty pooped as Brock is full-on beet red and ‘Taker struggles to maintain his balance for Old School. He literally does not take a step before Brock turns it into an F-5. Wince. Paul Heyman spazzes out on the outside and ‘Taker looks even worse than before a he landed right on his head on that on. Paul takes the moment to yell encouragement to Brock as ‘Taker composes himself for the finale. Desperation Last Ride which sees ‘Taker just kind of drop Lesnar with zero force as he collapses afterward. Thank God the match is about to end cause this is painful to watch. Tombstone just gets a two and Brock is a much braver man than me for allowing a severely compromised man to attempt to safely drop me on my head. The second Tombstone is countered in a third F-5 and the streak is over. Crowd visibly are stunned and the crowd reaction sounds like a very loud and confused scream. This guy as the crowd either boos or sit there like Brock shot Santa. Heyman freaks out and Brock’s music does not play, which is a smart move because you can take in the crowd reaction much better. Bullshit chants begin as 21-1 flashes on the screen. Brock leaves as Undertaker has a hard time getting up. Once he goes the crowd showers him with praise as is expected. He gets a standing ovation from everyone as he limps to the bad a broken and beaten man.
Overall: Another hard match to watch knowing the injury ‘Taker has to deal with during it. The match was very slow and the eventual rematches were much, much better. The twenty minutes beforehand are entirely skippable until the end, and really that is what people are going to remember more than anything else that happened. ‘Taker would return to murder Bray Wyatt next year and Brock would have himself a year by murder John Cena among other on route to winning the world championship. His run with the belt was pretty fun and better than his Universal Championship run, though there has been some fun highlights there like Lesner vs Joe. But in the moment it was hard not to still feel the shock and weight of the moment he won and signalled a big shift in the WWE.
Vickie Guerrero Divas Invitational Match
Oh God, these poor women. After all that they do not even get entrances (Except Mrs. CM Punk) and the crowd could not be bothered to pay attention. AJ Lee is the champ, and this came about because the WWE is lazy and just threw most of the women into this match as the bathroom break. Fun fact eight (nine if you include Brie Bella) of the fourteen women here are no longer with the company. But considering that this list includes Rosa Mendes, Cameron, and (sudder) Eva Effing Marie that is probably for the best. Vickie gets here own set of stairs to climb on and talk from, which made me laugh. Match is two or three DIvas (not yet Superstars) doing their spot as the rest hang out on the periphery looking busy. Essentially the few women who are talented look good and the rest show why NXT was so necessary for the division. Lots of super choreographed spots (including the Bellas fight betray each other for the millionth time) until AJ gets her submission in and gets the win. AJ gets about ten seconds to celebrate before they move on to the next segment.
Overall: Crowd does not care and neither do the announcers, but this match was not bad. Short and sweet and inoffensive for the most part. I’d compare it to the Smackdown Women’s Championship match at ‘Mania 33. AJ (much like the women who beats her for the belt Paige) is one of those people who looked good because she had crap to work with. Ere she did maybe three moves and did not come across as a star. Hell, Alicia Fox and Tamina looked better here than she did. It is what it is and if you want a slice of what the WWE women’s division was like before The Four Horsewomen this is it.
MEAN GENE is trotted out to interview Hulk Hogan (who has not appeared since the opening segment). Mr. Wonderful and Roddy Piper (RIP) interrupt so they can have a grump off. This inevitably brings out Mr. T and Payday Pat Patterson who just wanders in and out of the shot. The oldies eventually all shake hands a make up as Roddy struggles to shake Mr. T’s hands, probably cause they were not exactly buddies IRL. More legends as Bruno, Harley Race, Bob Backlund, Dusty (RIP), and Bret Hart are shown before we finally get to the main event.
Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match)
Fun fact: Besides the preshow tag team title match this was the only title match on the card. Mr. Excitement himself and current champ Randy Orton is out first to no pop. He gets a live version of his theme song which is god awful. I hope nobody spends money to see these guys perform live. The lead singer looks like Corey Graves’ cousin who slept in an alley the night before. This is back when they had the champ bring both belts to the ring, which I thought was a cool look back before every belt was a different color of a Chaos Emerald. Batista is out next and he at least gets boos. Poor Drax got a rough deal when he came back and now I am sure people would be like “OMG DRAX IS BACK HELL YES!” Especially if he came out in the body paint. Commentary is quiet until Batista is midway down the ramp, which is odd cause I would have loved to hear even Drunk JBL over Randy’s theme. DB is out last to a somewhat muted response until he starts leading the yes chants. Cole hypes this match and the WWE Network one last time before the bell rings and off we go.
All three men jockey for dominance and the pace is so very welcome after the past hour of farting around. Everyone takes a turn looking good and even Captain Methodical Orton moves a bit quicker. Granted he is walking a brisk pace instead of his usual putzing around but i’ll take it. Batista takes a slam on the steel steps and guardrail and he really deserves credit for making the other two men look good on offense. Bryan hits a beautiful double dropkick that makes it look like he flew into the screen but his head slams into the ground in my first cringe of the main event. DB keeps trying to put both men down long enough to get a in but with each successive hit, he begins to slow down. He takes a nasty back body tumble from the ring to the floor where he manages to smack his forehead on the ground despite landing on his feet (cringe). He catches Randy in the Yes Lock after the he superplexes Big Dave but that is Steph and H’s cue to to move in. Trips pulls the ref as the crowd gives him the business.
OMG IT’S EVIL REF SCOTT ARMSTRONG! I FORGOT HE WAS A THING! CAN HE COME BACK PLEASE?! Seriously though can they bring him back I feel bad because once you get the crooked ref gimmick it’s not like you can go back to officiating regular matches. Drax hits the Batista Bomb but the evil ref just counts normally do DB can kick out. This sets off the crowd wh go nuts with their yes chants. One of the best visuals of the past decade of wrestling is when the crowds would yes in unison. Steph and Hunter looked shocked as we get a background cameo of Connor the Crusher (pours one out for the little guy). DB gets his revenge against Scott (who JBL calls “not that bad” which is like getting an endorsement from Louis CK) with a kick and suicide dive. Crowd continues to go nuts for this and it is nice to have a WrestleMania main event that the crowd, you know, actually likes.
Triple H goes for the sledgehammer shot, but DB grabs it and knocks him out first. Each time Bryan foils the Authority crowd get louder and louder. Daniel remembers he is wrestling Batista instead of The Authority and goes for a rollup but Randy breaks it up after he was napping for the past few minutes. A karmically neutral ref is back as David and Randall team up to wallop Bryan as the rest of the Authority limp to the back. Random CM Punk chants until JESUS CHRIST BATISTA BOMB INTO AN RKO THROUGH THE ANNOUNCE TABLE. easiestly the sickest bump of the night as DB took the hit like a champ and Randy lands on a monitor and looks to be in even worse shape. Dave is the only one who makes it out ok and he uses the opportunity to… stand around. He eventually snaps out of it and lays into Orton as a stretcher is prepped for Daniel Bryan.
But that isn’t going to stop history as he flops off the stretcher and tries crawling to the ring. Randy throws him into the stairs, preps the RKO, but gets caught in the Yes Lock. Batista breaks it up, gets caught in his own Yes Lock, but Randy breaks it up next. Randy takes The Destroyer down with an RKO but he kicks out before Randy the Accuser can win the match. The Punt tease is met with a flying knee by Bryan, but Batista throws him out and tries for his own cover. This does not work either, and finally DB hits the running knee on Big Dave, throws on the Yes Lock, and gets the tapout victory as the crowd goes insane. Confetti and fireworks goes off as the show goes off the air.
Overall: easily the best and most exciting match of the night. Everyone involved worked hard and all the extra drama kept the crowd from winding down. You would have never known that Taker’s streak was broken about an hour before. Seeing DB beat all of his Authority obstacles one by one was smart booking and each small barrier he overcame let the crowd get more and more hyped. Of course, from here he would feud with Kane before the injuries finally caught up to him and he would be gone for months and months. I didn’t think I would enjoy the match as much as I did knowing the aftermath, but maybe DB’s sudden clean bill of heath has me feeling better about his title win. Of course, Randy Orton is still sticking around being as exciting as a basket of ghee and Batista would leave in a few months and become part of one of the most successful Marvel movies of all time. Not a bad deal all things considered.
Final Thoughts: While this WrestleMania had some great moments, it was lacking in match quality. I remember this being a super exciting night, but now it feels flat. The Streak being broken will always be the big thing taken away from this PPV, nd when your biggest moment is horribly depressing that’s never good. Thankfully Daniel Bryan’s win was a high point in what continues to be an up and down road for the former champ. Everything else was just filler that makes for good background noise. At least it is only four hours long instead of the six or seven hour marathons of today. I watched it in three parts and it was…fine. Not the best, but there is some good stuff here. The first and last matches are worth revisiting as well as the aftermath of the Undertaker vs. Brock match, but ignore the rest.
New Hollywood rewind is a new series here on The Bonesaw where writer Anthony Carioscia takes a look at films from the era known as “New Hollywood.”
In 1934, a code of conduct on Hollywood films was passed. This code was known as the Hays Code. This Code made it so Hollywood studios would have to keep their films censored and as family friendly as possible. Films were not allowed to show couples in bed together, pregnancy, blood, nudity, onscreen gore, characters could not curse nor could they commit crimes without being punished and the good guys must always win. This all changed in 1968 when the New Hollywood movement started.
The New Hollywood movement is a time in film history that changed Hollywood forever. This era brought in many famous directors including, Martin Scoresse, Brian De Palma, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Influenced by grindhouse films and artsy foreign films, the movies of this era threw away the rules of the Hays code and showed that you could make a successful film on a lower budget. One of the most notable films of this era was Bonnie and Clyde.
Bonnie and Clyde was directed by Athur Penn and starred Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as the infamous 1930s bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrows. In many ways the film is a prime example of the new Hollywood movement. For one, it was shot on a really low budget and given a real documentary-type look. This captured a side to the 1930s that films in the 30’s failed to capture themselves. Many many films from that time from the great depression either pretended the world was a happy place, or kind of made fun of it (example Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times).
Bonnie and Clyde on the other hand gave the era a very barren wastleland feel with poverty and sketchy people everywhere. The film also plays with the “crime doesn’t pay” rule. While our bank robber couple does get their just desserts in the end, we are constantly shown a moral human side to them. A scene in the bank shows them refusing to steal money from a regular person, and the whole gang is shown time and time again to have a loving family type view of each other (for the most part), as well as an emotional scene where Bonnie’s mother disowns her and we are then given a scene of her devastated over the fact that she no longer has family. If this was an older film, Bonnie and Clyde would most likely be portrayed as cackling criminals with zero redeeming qualities.
The level of violence was also much more detailed than what casual movie goers were used to. While it didn’t have the over the top gore that drive in B-horror films of the time were known for (including Night of the Living Dead released that same year), the violence was very visceral and you felt it when characters were shot and or killed. This was helped by the films low budget documentary-like look and feel.
Little scenes here and there feel like the film was celebrating its friend from the code including showing Bonnie and Clyde in the same bed and innocent people cheering the bank robbers.
As is seen, Bonnie a prime example of New Hollywood and along with Planet of the Apes, Night of the Living Dead, Rosmary’s Baby, and 2001: A Space Odyessy that 1968 was the true start of New Hollywood.
Septic Flesh is a band that rarely comes around, so when I heard they were coming I had to take the chance to see them.
I went with my friend/co-worker Jay who isn’t really a fan of the band but wanted to come to see Dark Funeral. We did the usual (took the bus in Middletown, got pizza at Two Bros, stopped at the Blue Ruin where Jay bought cheap drinks and blasted metal classics). We left when someone played awful music on the jukebox (U2 and Sublime at a metal bar, really?) and headed to the venue.
At the venue I ran into several friends of mine including some dude that runs a website called The Bonesaw I’m sure you never heard of. At around 7:45 the first band, Thy Antichrist came on.
I had never heard these guys but have always heard their name. They had a sound very similar to Mayhem and made for a fun opening act.
Dark Funeral, the band Jay was there for was up next. The band did not take anytime to show off their intense live energy. Their set was full of extremity and the pit went wild.
At around 10 p.m. it was time for the nights headliner. While I was kinda disappointed by the lack of old songs such as “Little Music Box “or “Marble Smiling face,” Septic Flesh still ruled live and brought both epicness and heavyness to the table. The sound was perfect for the band, something common for this venue. After seeing most of their set we headed out due to wanting to catch a decent bus as well as Jay not liking the band and being drunk out of his mind. We headed back to the land of Middletown but shall return to the Gramercy on the 31st.
Picking up where part 3 left off, Birdman, Jason, and myself keep rambling about our favorite shows of 2017 with the second-heaviest shows we saw all year!
Birdman – #2: Iron Maiden and Ghost at the Prudential Center
Birdman: Second for me was Iron Maiden and Ghost In Newark.
Jason: Dude, you stole my two!
Anthony: That was my number one.
Jason: I caught ’em at night one at Barclays. Your thoughts on Ghost?
Birdman: Ghost sounded really good in that stadium. Especially with an opener like Square Hammer.
Anthony: Ghost put on a great opening set even if Papa looked like a Tim Burton reject this time around.
Jason: They were okay. I at least heard a wrestling theme live for the first time. Square Hammer was done for one of the NXT Takeover events.
Birdman: That’s basically every ghost show, right? Papa Emeritus and then the other guy as a singer.
Anthony: It’s crazy how ‘Maiden still sound so spot-on live.
Jason: This was also a first time for something show. First time I caught ‘Maiden.
Birdman: Yeah. So you know how the trooper is an overplayed song? It Sounded so fresh live.
Anthony: My second time. And still blown away.
Anthony: “The Trooper” and “Number of the Beast” kind of need to be played.
Jason: Those two are definite staples.
Birdman: Didn’t like how most of the set was from Book of Souls. But I got to hear “Children of the Damned.”
Jason: “Fear of the Dark” I was happy with. It was the only ‘Maiden song I moshed to, which happens to be my all-time fave.
Anthony: Another stellar track. I liked Book of Souls, actually.
Jason: Yeah, I still like that album.
Birdman: And of course, I filmed my favorite metal song “Number of the Beast” being played live.
Anthony: Glad to hear “Blood Brothers” love too.
Jason: “Blood Brothers” was epic live at Barclays.
Anthony: I hope I get to hear “Flash of the Blade” live one day.
Jason: “Rainmaker” for me. Especially given I’m a Kazuchika Okada fan (Japanese rasslin’ related).
Birdman: Hopefully one day I’ll hear more Paul Dianno era songs sung by Bruce.
Jason: But overall the setlist was a good mix between the classics and newer stuff. War epics, namely “Paschendale” and “Longest Day” need to be played one day.
Anthony: So It’s time for my number two, and I have the cliche of including this every time, but whatever.
Anthony: #2 – Maryland Death Fest (Saturday)
Jason: Two words: Insect Warfare
Birdman: Oh, people would not shut up about that set.
Jason: That was my number one. That set was fucking violent.
Birdman: So were they the most violent band you’ve ever seen?
Jason: Not exactly. At the fest, yes, plus they sounded so good live. That day had a lot of treats in general, though.
Jason: It featured a pretty strong back to back with ANB (Agoraphobic Nosebleed) and IW.
Anthony – I skipped ANB for Root, who were just magic at that fest.
Jason: Thanks to return to the pit, I was pretty well documented for ANB.
Anthony: Let’s not forget Grave and Exhumed’s sets. Uada did great too
Jason: Exhumed were great.
Birdman: This fest is becoming a world phenomenon now. Did you hear Quebec Death Fest will debut next year?
Jason: Yeah I heard
Anthony: What also made the day so good happened before the bands. We ate at this place called “Dick’s Last Resort.”
Jason: Oh yeah, I heard of that place.
Birdman: Does it feature ice cream and hookers?
Anthony: It has great crab cakes and the employees insult you as they serve you and act trashy and obnoxious. It was hilarious.
Anthony: We said we were there for the fest so he kept making jokes like “should I say it in tongues?”
Anthony: I’d say the best non-Saturday shows though we’re Gost, Sargiest and Autopsy.
Jason: Gost were great. They got me into synthwave for the latter half of 2017. Chepang and Organ Dealer who played on Friday were pretty violent.
Anthony: Best was seeing people moshing and awkwardly dancing.
Jason: Can’t handle the synth?
Birdman: Do Autopsy have a mostly old-school set? They have so much output since reuniting.
Anthony: Yes. They played a bit of everything, though. It’s always cool to see a drummer sing too.
Jason: They played a lot of stuff after the first two albums, I believe.
Anthony: As for Sunday, Terrorizer were great. They played all of World Downfall and it was intense.
Jason – PLF was some fun violence. Wish there was more of that in Iron Lung.
by Frank Lucci
In Preparation for the inevitable crowning of Roman Reigns as Universal Champion, Spaceman Frank has taken it upon himself to go back and look at some events that happened around the same time WWE tried Brock vs. Roman. He will look back at the last WrestleMania to take place in New Orleans, WrestleMania 30, as well as WrestleMania 31 and the first encounter between the two men. But first The Spaceman will check out the very first live wrestling event ever streamed on the WWE Network, NXT Arrival!
Nowadays it is taken for granted that TakeOver shows will be the better show going into big event weekends. But in the early days of the WWE Network heading into WrestleMania 30 there was no such hype. As a slightly younger Spaceman still in the infancy of my superfandom I watched the weekly NXT shows and while they were fun they were far from must watch television. Honestly I think the biggest draw for me was that they were just one hour long and they featured characters that you would never see on Raw or SmackDown. But with the launch of the Network it seemed the developmental brand was poised to take off, and when they announced a live special weeks before Mania it was hard to not get at least mildly excited. But how does this experimental and primordial TakeOver feel four years later? Let’s find out.
Now to get it out of the way, yes there was some technical bugs that plagued NXT Arrival. I was one of the many people who were stuck watching Tyler Breeze posing on the turnbuckle as the stream froze. WWE later apologized for the interruption to this “special episode” (as Wikipedia describes Arrival as if the roster would host an intervention for Mojo Rawley over his caffeine pills), but I was nervous that, if a lowly NXT event could get messed up, how would WrestleMania fare? In addition WWE overbooked Full Sail University, leaving about 200 people who bought tickets in a lurch and unable to watch the show. All in all, not the best showing for NXT and WWE. I watched this program live (until being forced to watch Breeze over and over again), and while I have fun it just felt like something to do on a Saturday night rather than something equal or surpassing a PPV. At just under two hours this should be an easy watch, so let’s dive right into it.
The intro to the show jumps right into the darkened arena as Triple H hypes the crowd. He does his standard “the future is now blah blah blah” stuff before we get the regular NXT into video. Our announce team is Tom “check out my bulge” Phillips, Byron Saxton, and William Regal (JBL is GM at the time, which is something I completely forgot about). Considering two of these guys are black holes of charisma the commentary throughout is not great. No special video package and two minutes in Sami Zayn’s music hits. Kind of a lame opener, but again I do not think Triple H was thinking to himself “these kids are gonna sell out Brooklyn three years in a row.” Speaking of Sami…
Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro
Sami won an epic 2 out of 3 falls match against a moonlighting from the main roster Cesaro, which lead to this match. I wish WWE would occasionally bring in ringers again for NXT, if only to give some floundering people some touch ups or a chance to try a new character. Sami is out first to his weird and super generic first theme song. It sounds like music from a menu screen for a Street Fighter clone on the PS2. We the People Era Cesaro is out with his garter belts on his thighs and Tea Party track jacket out. Crowd is hot for both these guys, and we get “match of the year” chants before the bell rings. Lockup and Cesaro smacks Sami in the back of the head, which is something all heels should do 100% of the time. Immediately shows your the bad guy and works for wrestling machines like Cesaro. Commentary seems to hint that big things are going to be happening for Cesaro which, um, may happen still. Much of the early portion of the match is Cesaro using his efficient Swiss engineered strength to counter Zayn’s high flying offense. The big highlight is Cesaro turning a crossbody into a tilt a whirl backbreaker. Nice.
Things slowwwwww down as Cesaro constantly throws Sami to the outside and bounces him off the guardrail. Epic uppercut counter to the diving corner DDT and we slow things down again. This was probably more exciting at the time, but now this feels like a Raw match. Cesaro works the leg as Regal provides insight into the little things that make Cesaro into a world class wrestler. Sami almost gets his comeback until his “bounce off the ropes backworks plancha” (which he needs to bring back and find a better nickname for) is caught and turned into a massive titing slam on the ramp. Awesome spot. Zayn sells like his leg is broken but crawls back into the ring to deliver his exploder suplex that everyone has stolen from him at this point.
Sami starts his classic comeback moves of Blue Thunder Bomb and Koji clutch but Cesaro powers out into a stretch muffler, which IMO is one of the most underrated submission moves in wrestling. Someone in WWE pull this move back out instead of everyone using the Rings of Saturn nowadays. Zayn reacts to the Cesaro Swing like my roommate’s cat stuck in her pop up cat fort which made me laugh so hard my chest hurt. Swiss Superman repeatedly tries to give Sami CTE with strikes until an attempted top rope powerbomb is turned into a hurricanrana. Helluva Kick isn’t enough and at this point Cesaro starts to feel bad…but not enough to stop giving Sami uppercuts and trying to get the win via TKO. Sami sells head injuries like no one else, and a final rally by Sami leads to hockey punches being thrown into the “pop up reversed code red powerbomb” thing that only these two guys seem to be able to do. Great spot, but literally I think these two are capable of doing that move. It is not enough to get the win for Sami, who eats a pop up uppercut and kicks out at one. This freaks Cesaro right the eff out, who hits a running uppercut into the Neutralizer (such a great name) for the win. They hug it out for fans of sportsmanship/ WWE shippers.
Overall: The longest match of the night was pretty good. Crowd proclaims it match of the year, and it has its moments especially at the end. But the middle section is pretty bland and features lots of walk and brawl. Sami does a lot of moves he never does anymore, which retroactively reminds me of what a great babyface he was in NXT and how poorly he was booked on the main roster. Cesaro meanwhile looks like the boss he always has been, and I am still waiting for a main event Cesaro run. Nowadays Sami is the Martin Prince to Kevin Owen’s Nelson, and Cesaro is with the admittedly awesome The Bar. Cesaro would win the first Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale at Mania 30, but that is a tale for another time…AKA part two.
Mojo Rawley vs. CJ Parker
We get a literal hype package for Mojo before the match, and it is pretty hilarious how much faith WWE had in the guy this early on. CJ Parker is out first, who dances and spins around in what probably was Dusty Rhodes’ best guess as to what hippies were like back in the day. Mojo comes out already peaking on a combination of preworkout powder/ Molly as what appears to be his entire family in custom made Mojo shirts cheers him on. It’s pretty adorable. Crowd for some reason chants for Mojo instead of praying for Mojo. Big dirty squash match to show off Rawley’s “explosiveness” AKA the four moves Triple H knows he can’t mess up as Regal talks about his SUV. Mojo wins with the Hyper Drive (a move I personally cannot stand even when done by guys like Yokozuna) in about three and a half minutes. “We just saw a star being born tonight!” proclaims Regal in a call that made me grab a beer.
Overall: I forgot this match happened to be honest. Mojo would fart around in NXT before farting around on the main roster. He did win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (just like Cesaro!) and then feud with Zack Ryder, so you know his family probably regrets those shirts. Meanwhile CJ Parker was doomed from the start with the hippie gimmick, especially because Daniel Bryan was the hottest guy in wrestling at the moment and was actually a God Damn hippie. He would ask for his release and now has a fairly prominent spot in NJPW, which makes him the real winner here.
Hype package for Emma before her title match with Paige. I miss bubble popping fun Emma and it is hard to not fall in love with her. Of course Bayley would perfect the goofy but super talented female wrestler, but I think Bubble Emma should have gotten a better shot. We then get a package for The Ascension who have the tag titles and the next match on the card. They face a mystery team which turns out to be a Florida Swamp person and his parole officer. Oh wait it is just Too Cool.
The Ascension (C) vs. Too Cool (NXT Tag Team Championship)
Weird to see the crowd make noise for The Ascension. Scotty 2 Hotty looks pretty good considering he is 40 here. Meanwhile Grandmaster Sexay is…himself. Once I found out he was Jerry Lawler’s son it is hard not to unsee it and shower afterwards. Ascension work the vets using locks of head/chin locks and occasional power moves. Hot tag to Scotty who admittedly has some great strikes. He does not do much else until it is time to tease the worm, which Heavy Machinery’s Otis has now perfected. Konnor decides enough is enough, flattens Scotty, and they hit the Fall of Man for the win.
Overall: The Ascension were as hot as they ever were going to be here, but it is telling they have them work with the jobber team for a bygone era instead of another tag team in NXT. They would eventually lose the titles to the Lucha Dragons later in the year. 2014 was a strange, magical time. Scotty would turn this performance into a job at the Performance Center and is a firefighter/EMT so good for him. Sexay meanwhile probably retreated back into the Florida swamps, only occasionally appearing to be drunk in public or add further shame to the Lawler name.
Hype video for Paige who is in the middle of her run as the first NXT Women’s Championship. Cut to Ric Flair and proto-Charlotte in the crowd. It’s weird how Charlotte having darker dirty blond hair makes her almost unrecognizable.
Paige (C) vs. Emma (NXT Women’s Championship)
Ah, the old school NXT Women’s belt complete with glittering pink jewels and My Little Pony style sound effects for the logo animation. Thank God WWE treats women more seriously now. Stephanie Mcmahon the inventor of women is here to take credit for the success of this show, gender equality, and the universe in general. Crowd chants “you still got it” at her and she replies “ I never lost it!” Ya better still have it Steph you got Rousey coming up! Emma is out first as Steph and Regal imitate the bubble popping dance like lizard people attempting to act humans. Paige is out and she is OVER. She gets a loud sustained pop despite being the heel.
Match starts with Paige trying to physically intimidate Emma, who responds by getting the jump on the Brit. They start hot as Paige goes for the Paige Turner early and Emma tries for her setup to her finisher as well. Pure fire to start with some stiff kicks and even their headlock rest spot is more entertaining than usual as Emma flails trying to escape and Paige yells and constantly adjusts the hold. Fast pace to start as Emma tries to get the Emma Lock and Paige does her best to wear down the Aussie with kicks and strikes. Regal claims to have been married 17 times in the meantime. What the hell? where did that come from??!!
Emma in control with a bow and arrow which looks vicious when she plants a boot on the back of Paige’s head and starts cranking her arms. Paige is crying and looking like the good guy here as we see a glimpse of Dark Emma. Emma stomps away and I am pretty sure she may be possessed by the Phoenix Force. Top rope powerbomb from Emma only gets a two and I LOL when Paige makes sure to get her hair out from in front of her face before the spot hits. Paige starts her comeback with kicks leading to a superkick to Emma’s womb before hitting the Paige Turner for a two count. She debuts her quickly abandoned PTO submission to get the win.
Overall: Paige has always been one of those people (especially after this latest injury) who I debated if she was as good as advertised or someone who just looked good because her competition was not up to par. Here at least she looks phenomenal, as does Emma. WWE made a big mistake releasing Emma, and hopefully she does some good starting up Ring of Honor’s women’s division. It blows my mind when WWE looks to cut corners they start at the women’s division like they did with Emma and recent releases Abbey Laith and Sage Beckett when they need every talented women they can get their hands on right now. The fact that they did a Royal Rumble match with only 18 women available on the main roster says it all about the shallowness of the division. Anyway this probably was my favorite match of the night as it closely follows the pace and style modern WWE matches now use and both women bring it with little breaks. There is some definite hints of “THEY ARE HITTING REAL MOVES! LIKE REAL PEOPLE!” from the commentary team, but if you tune them out it is not particularly aggravating.
Video for Neville which makes me sad. Please come back Neville. We Need you. I need you. Dusty and Pat Patterson are in the crowd which makes me even sadder. Angel Grove/Somebody Call my Momma theme song Xavier Woods come out for a match. Woods really overcame some bottom of the barrell booking when he first debuted on Raw. Tyler Breeze is out with his wordless original them which still works for him. Can they bring back the selfie video thing again? At this point this is where my original watching of the show in 2014 froze up. This match lasts half a minute before (Alexander) Rusev and Lana show up and he murders the men in the ring. It is crazy to think how over and beloved all three of these guys would become years later, but here they are just here to kill some time and get over Rusev as a killer.
Bo Dallas is seen resting his head some lockers before a Bo montage begins. God, Dallas was such a great character in NXT. His face is just so punchable. It is a real shame how butchered his character became on the main roster, and you would think a guy who made a name for himself on the mic would get more chances to talk. I blame his white trunks. Seriously, White/grey trunks are one of my most hated things in wrestling. It looks like you are wearing a diaper and grey trucks show off your swamp ass pretty well. Larry Zbyszko and Steve Keirn are in the crowd as we get the second video package in three minutes explaining the build to the championship match. Long story short they both are ready for their first ladder match, which Triple H made because something something HISTORY. HBK shows up first to ramble through a promo and plug his DVD. Woo?
Finally after all the stalling Neville comes out first. Dallas is out second to some generic rock music instead of the instrumental music he had during his Bo-leve days. Bo’s hair is already dripping wet, which is gross as hell. Neville starts off strong with some explosive offense until Bo takes control and slows things down with forearms every 30 seconds. Neville gets caught in the ropes and Bo causally gets a ladder instead of sprinting to get one and win the match. Not sure why everyone does not try hog tying their opponents during ladder matches. Almost as if they want to fall off ladders repeatedly. Neville tries to take control with a baseball slide and plancha, but Dallas counters with some generic offense. Pretty sure Bo has the same moveset as a default create a wrestler. Back and forth spots of people trying to climb the ladder only to be knocked off. Bo takes perhaps the safest fall of the ladder possible as he jumps off and lands on his feet. Shows the difference between a guy like Dallas and a guy like Neville who has flown repeatedly off the ladder and taken a few hits from one as well.
The action begins to pick up finally as Neville hits an awesome tornado DDT off a ladder wedged in a corner that Dallas sells like a champion. Neville loses control again and takes an inadvertent ladder shot when it falls on his head. Look like it was the most painful bump so far. More generic ladder spots until Dallas shoves Neville off the ring post and he hits his back again the ring apron. Bo is about to climb the ladder the ladder but Neille leapfrogs him. Its all for naught as Neville takes a buckle bomb on the wedged ladder. Dallas finally takes a serious bump with a slam onto the ladder and then the Red Arrow on the ladder. The Red Arrow is just as spectacular as I remember. This is enough to put Dallas down long enough for the Englishman to grab the ladder and win the belt. Dry ice shoots down as Neville celebrates on the ladder, the ring, and a golf clap from John Cena as the broadcast ends.
Overall: Decent match. Not a whole lot of crazy ladder spots due to the smaller size of the arena if I had to guess as to why. Neville is a way better wrestler than Bo and it showed here. As much as I liked Dallas’ character he was always a C+ wrestler in the ring. Putting the belt on Neville started the template of NXT champs who were the best wrestler in the company over cartoon characters like Bo. This title run has been the highlight of Dallas’ career as soon after his main roster debut he was treated like a jobber. R-Truth of all people snapped his winning streak. Neville meanwhile would be a reliable workhorse for the company until they decided to have him lose to Enzo Amore. Considering how terrible that decision has proven to be it is easy to see why Neville walked out of the company. Hopefully we see him return to a WWE ring eventually,as his King of the Cruiserweight run was a highlight of 2017.
Final Thoughts: When I watched this event live it really blew me away. Now with the main roster filled with high quality workers this feels like a typical episode of NXT. The opening match and the women’s match were highlights and the NXT championship match was ok in places. The rest was a bunch of filler. NXT did not really become the hottest brand in WWE until Sami Zayn’s chase for the title, and this very much felt like the first attempt to start taking the brand more seriously. At just shy of two hours this was an easy watch, and even the slow portions of the event were not bad. I watched this in two chunks and the matches flew by for the most part. I’d say this is a solid B, with the big matches worth a watch and everything else being skippable.
It’s the final stop on the road to WrestleMania… unless you could all the Raw’s and SmackDowns that take place in the next few weeks.
Somehow Fastlane has even less hype than Elimination Chamber, which is somewhat impressive. At least that had some historical firsts while Fastlane just has a bunch of guys farting around pretending that they matter as much as Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar and DA BIG DAWG ROMAN REIGNS.
This is evident by SmackDown having two halves of a match (TBD vs Nakamura and potentially Asuka vs TBD if she jumps brands) in the books for Wrestlemania while has three full matches ready. We get it WWE DA BIG DAWG is the biggest dawg in the pound even though Shinsuke is the Royal Rumble winner and is universally beloved. But hey, at least we get Nakamura vs. AJ…unless they take that away from us (DON’T YOU DARE TAKE THAT AWAY FROM US WWE!!!). I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Fastlane 2018 predictions!
(Note: as of this writing at 3:35 PM the day before Fastlane there is no preshow match announced, so I will go ahead and say Jinder Mahal will beat Mojo Rawley in a match that makes everyone sad.)
Becky Lynch and Naomi vs. Natalya and Carmella
This match is brought to us by the inevitable heat death of the universe.
Such is the depths of my apathy for the women’s division on SmackDown right now (Fun Fact: Becky Lynch has not won on PPV in over a year. Your first women’s champion of SmackDown ladies and gentleman). I do not know what the point of this match will be besides reminding us at 75% of the women involved in this match are former champions and Carmella may be one in the near future with the Money in the Bank briefcase. The good gals win because why not? (Probably WWE’s actual booking logic).
Bobby Roode (C) vs. Randy Orton (US Championship match)
As much as I love Bobby Roode his US title reign has…sucked. He pretty much has just hung around to kill 15 minutes and give us a singalong to partake in. Meanwhile, Orton has also been drifting around delivering RKO’s outta somewhere to remind us that he is a big deal.
I am concerned that Orton will win the belt here because he has to do something at WrestleMania, and Roode is can be in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal with all the other directionless schmucks. Orton wins in a slow, plodding match between two masters of the “methodical” style.
Charlotte Flair (C) vs. Ruby Riott (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)
Please God let this be the end of the constant matches between Flair and members of the Riott Squad. At this point the Squad seem to have wrestled 8,000 matches since their debut and have killed any hype we have for the gang. If you think WWE is going to go with Ruby over Flair for a title match at the biggest show of the year you need to stop drinking so much moonshine.
I hope Asuka jumps to SmackDown to face Charlotte at WrestleMania since that feels like it belongs at ‘Mania over two separate matches between the two. We got to cut time somewhere in the evening and this would be a better quality match than whatever else they book. If WWE wants to impress any fans tuning in for Ronda they should put their two best together. Charlotte wins and Ruby and the posse creep in the shadows for a while selling weed to middle schoolers.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev
WWE cares about Royal Rumble winner Shinsuke Nakamura that they booked him a match with zero match less than a week before Fastlane (Yayyyy). At least we get two of the most over guys in the company facing off in what should be a fun match.
Rusev appears to be not quite committing to being a good guy, which is odd considering he is literally the greatest person in written history. But he exists to sell t-shirts and calendars and job out to people. Nakamura wins the battle of the singalong champions and goes on to hopefully face AJ BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT WE WANT WWE DO NOT DARE MESS THIS UP.
The Usos (C) vs. The New Day (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
This match is here to give fans something to wake them up, which is weird because if WWE was going to walk this feud back you would think they would wait until WrestleMania.
The Usos are trying to make the main ‘Mania card for the first time ever, and besides their hosting duties last year The New Day have very little time on the main show as well. I do not think these guys can have a bad match, so this is a very likely match of the night candidate. It also is the one I am least sure of for predictions, because New Day’s popularity may trump the Uso’s workhorse cred.
In the end, I want The Usos to be rewarded for stepping up their game and retain so they get their moment at WrestleMania.
AJ Styles (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin vs. John Cena vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens (WWE Championship Match)
WWE blew the most interesting story joining into this when they had Sami go after his super best friend on the go home show, thus shutting down the storyline that he would lay down for KO when he got the chance. That two vs. all gimmick would have at least yielded some drama, but now I expect Zayn to rediscover his heart of pure pureness at attack the dastardly Owens.
As for the rest of the people in this match, Ziggler came back after his sabbatical to continue his Zigglypuff ways. Corbin continues to be a person who is employed by the WWE, snd Big Match John threatens to digivolve to ManiaJohnamon at any second.
I have a shadow in my heart that whispers “it does not matter how good AJ Styles is: Cena will beat him for the championship because he is John Effing Cena.” I pray that does not happen because AJ VS. SHINSUKE WILL BE THE BEST MATCH EVER WE LITERALLY HAVE VIDEO EVIDENCE CONFIRMING IT WWE STOP YA NONSENSE AND GIVE US A MATCH WE WANT TO SEE AT MANIA.
….AJ wins or I drink a bottle of mouthwash before bed on Sunday.
Chris and Spaceman Frank review WWE Elimination Chamber 2018 and talk shop on the state of WWE on the road to WrestleMania!
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.
Jon and the Jewaharaja discuss the current state of WWE post-Elimination Chamber and pre-‘Mania, and finally get back to current sports talk with MLB and NFL updates.
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.
The Elimination Chamber! The massive thing shows up every February and pretends to be super important but in reality, we all know what is going to happen already.
The Elimination Chamber is the Puxatony Phil. Yeah, Phil, we are stupid we know spring is coming eventually along with Roman Reigns’ WrestleMania push (You ain’t special, ya just a rodent)!
Tangent aside I do not expect much fireworks at this event or Fastlane, but it is easier to watch than tens of hours of Raw and Smackdown.
Considering until Friday there were only four matches announced shows just how little effs WWE gives about this Pay-Per-View. The only thing they seem to care about is Rhonda signing a paper and MAKING WOMEN’S HISTORY BUH GAWD. I’m Spaceman Frank and these are my Elimination Chamber 2018 predictions.
The Club vs. The Miztourage (Pre-show Thing That Gives You A Chance to Stop Listening to Booker T for a Bit)
It’s the members of the teams nobody cares about! On the Pre-show nobody cares about!
Is it possible both teams manage to job out to each other during this match? A match featuring the popular members of both teams could be cool, but will WWE really go along with Miz vs Balor? Or will they decide come Wrestlemania time to just throw all these dudes together for another preshow brawl?
Time will tell, and I predict The Club will win since I would be shocked if Axel and Bo are employed by WWE by the end of the year.
Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt
Hey, Remember when this was a lowlight of Raw 25?! Well, now you get to experience it again! Until they pull out the shenanigans at The Hardy (or Wyatt), I have zero effs to give. I just enjoy that Hardy is officially labeled as “Woken Matt Hardy” on Elimination Chamber’s Wikipedia page.
Remember when Wyatt won the WWE Championship at last year’s version of the event? Pour one out for our lost internet darling. Matt Hardy has lost tons of momentum since his Woken videos started airing, and Bray has zero momentum, so Hardy wins.
The Bar vs. TItus Worldwide (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match)
Can I confess something? I am a big fan of all the members of Titus Worldwide.
I just wish this group actually did something worth investing in. Like, they have won a whole bunch lately, but it has all felt like a giant fluke. I do not consider them much of a threat to a team on the level of Breezango, let alone The Bar. Speaking of The Bar, is Sheamus actually hurt? I keep expecting him to go on the shelf because of his alleged neck injury, but here he is still putting on fantastic matches with his Swiss buddy.
As much as I enjoy The Bar, if he is really closing in on retirement I hope it means Cesaro gets a chance to be a singles star finally. The Bar win so they can begin the Irish Wake for Big Shamo’s career.
Asuka vs. Nia Jax
If Nia wins, then she will be involved in Raw’s women’s championship match at WrestleMania…so she will lose.
Look, I love Jax but she has lost every big match she has ever been in. Why would she start winning when it matters? Oh, wait they did that last year with Bray Wyatt….
Anyway, Asuka losing before ‘Mania would make about as much sense as knitting berets for a pack of wolves. Hell, Asuka losing during Mania makes very little sense, Rousey or no. She needs the championship first, and with several women’s matches potentially lined up for the event, I feel like a five-minute Asuka squash is in order. Asuka wins and Jax goes off to promote Total Divas.
Women’s Elimination Chamber Match
HISTORY AND SUCH! Once again WWE has pulled that trope out of the hat, and at this point, it is the only one left for them to use.
As for the participants, it is a mixed bag here. Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose are here as fodder, though if they split up I would be mildly curious to see how they far by themselves. Mickie James is another body here to make people look good, but the veteran should be able to pin one or two people before going out. Bayley and Sasha Banks are the potential show-stealing pair here, and if we get true Boss Banks out of the chamber then I will be happy.
Meanwhile, I can 100% see Alexa Bliss sneaking out with the belt for the Asuka squash, much like how she got wrecked in five minutes at last Wrestlemania.
Men’s Elimination Chamber Match
The supersized chamber match sees slightly more people in it for slightly more fun! SIGHTLY MORE FUN, GUYS! GET EXCITED!
Look, we all know what is going to happen. The rumors have been in place for a real. It is transparently obvious every time the fans real favorites (and future mayor Kane) get taken down by Brock Lesnar with one F-5. Meanwhile, Roman Reigns has been off in the shadows losing to a surprising amount of people, yet nobody is convinced he is suddenly vulnerable.
The Roman rehab tour has yielded some decent matches, but honestly, he is the fifth most over guy in this match at best. At worst he is facing six guys who have managed to get over with the crowd through different combinations of pristine wrestling chops and character work that does not feel like an old, out of touch man wrote it for him.
Roman is going to win, we all have accepted it in our hearts, and we just have to hope the other men in the chamber have something interesting to do at Reign’s “fourth time’s the charmaMania.”
Rivals of Ixalan, the second half of Magic: The Gathering’s Ixalan block has a synergy of tribal cards that are hit or miss in the current meta known as Standard, but might fare better in the wild west multiplayer format known as Commander.
As for the tribes, there’s Merfolk, Pirates, Vampires, and Dinosaurs – the latter of which is not seeing as much play as the card game’s manufacturer Wizards of the Coast hoped.
Pro tours have been running Vampire Tokens, splashing some pirates, and a hint of Merfolk, but the only dino that was getting any real use – Rampaging Ferocidon- got hit with the banhammer in January, a strange blow in an effort to curb the consistency of mono-red burn and Temur energy decks in Standard.
However, sites such as MTGGoldfish and StarCityGames have featured heavy decklists for each tribe in the Commander format since the block showed up in September.
With cards such as Gishath, Sun’s Avatar, Zacama, Primal Calamity, and Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca having multiple abilities as well as Commander decks brewed around them, it leaves one open to wonder if the block was intended for the multiplayer format all along.
Each of the aforementioned have been discussed multiple times on Magic podcasts “Commander Clash” and “The Command Zone,” with Kumena being argued as possibly the best Merfolk commander.
Although there’s a slew of cards in the block that are occasionally used in Standard (Savage Stomp, Blood Sun, Carnage Tyrant), they are appearing more commonly in Commander decklists, and with so much synergy among each tribe, who could blame them?
It took time for players to adjust to Merfolk and Vampires before they found homes in Modern and Commander formats, and with Dinosaurs experiencing similar growing pains, it seems that they may finally be ready for a new domain to run roughshod over as Vamp’s and Merfolk continue to thrive all around.
Continuing on from part 2, Birdman, Jason, and myself continue to tell you, the loyal reader the most metal shows of 2017 with our top 3’s!
Birdman: # 3 – In Flames and Kataklysm at the Chance
Jason : Two bands that take me back to high school.
Birdman: There were a few days where In Flames detached from their tour with Alter Bridge to play with Kataklysm
Anthony : Skipped that one cause I was sure In Flames setlist wouldn’t be too old-school. Plus I think it was the same day as Amon Amarth. Alter Bridge and in Flames? Wierd bill
Jason: And how are Kataklysm live?
Birdman: Kataklysm was pretty solid, a lot of new songs.
Birdman: Yeah the only old songs In Flames played were “Moonshield” and “The Jester’s Dance.”
Jason : Wish they did more tracks from Colony. That was a great album.
Anthony : Agreed.
Birdman: During me filming that Anders took my phone and got a close up of Niklas and Jesper. Then we had an interesting back and forth in front of the whole theater over my Morbid Angel shirt.
Anthony : That’s pretty cool of him considering I hear he’s a dick…
Jason : Gives thumbs up!
Birdman : Well I guess he’s experienced a spiritual awakening or at least a modicum of shame since yesteryears. I caught guitar picks from Jesper and Niklas at the end.
Anthony Carioscia: #3 – Slayer Lamb of God and Behemoth at Madison Square Garden
Jason : I was there too.
Anthony : Yep, I remember.
Birdman : I know Behemoth’s changed since last we saw them
Anthony : It was my first time seeing them. Was mostly there for them because of that.
Jason: First time seeing Behemoth believe it or not and LOG was the best pit IMO. I also remember Randy giving a shoutout to NYHC.
Birdman: And Slayer. It didn’t feel empty without Jeff and Dave?
Anthony: Yeah, but their pit was intense. Slayer finally played the Antichrist; something they skipped the last 2 times. They still have energy.
Jason: Could have been better but t was also my first time seeing Slayer.
Anthony – I’m still glad Birdman and I saw them with Dave and Jeff. This was my third. The second time they played four songs off of South of Heaven.
Jason – Now I’m jelly. Now my 3rd is…
Jason :#3 – Rammstein and 3Teeth at Jones Beach
Jason: Capped off 8+ years waiting to see those guys.
Anthony: Rammstein’s a band I need to see before I die. Or they split.
Birdman: Not much time left. The next album may be their last.
Jason: 3Teeth were a decent industrial opener. I checked out their studio material, Pretty heavy stuff and helps that I’m getting more into synth stuff. Synth wave has taken a good amount of my music exploring lately.
Anthony: He said he was going to retire by a certain age. Hopefully they do a full US tour.
Jason: Rammstein as I expected from secondhand reports put on a great show. I wish it was at a better venue than the Jones Beach Theater but didn’t take much away from the show.
Anthony: My friend Jay hates Jones beach with a passion.
Birdman: What shows did you go to at Jones Beach besides Maiden Tony?
Anthony: None, sadly. Almost saw Rush there but that didn’t happen.
Jason: The setlist was solid and had my favorites including”Du Riechst So Gut (all-time favorite song),” “Ich Tu Dir Weh.” Decent amount of pyro, especially during “Du Hast.” I’m sad “Mein Teil” wasn’t played (the theatrics would have been awesome). At least “Ich Will” and “Engel (the encore)” were on the setlist. I’m happy I finally saw those guys. And oh! “Stripped” by Depeche Mode was covered and “Sonne” near the end. The latter track is just epic.
by Frank Lucci
It’s almost time for one of the most exciting nights in sports entertainment, and WWE hopes to start 2018 right at the Royal Rumble.
There has been plenty of news, both good and bad, involving the company. From restarting failed football leagues, superstars getting into legal problems, and a dull office party being held for the 25th anniversary of Raw less than a week before the Rumble.
Throw in huge amounts of rumors for who might show up from ex-Impact stars to UFC champs and maybe even some WWE Legends and speculation is running wild. But what will really happen? Probably not as much as people are hoping, but this can be the night the WWE pulls out some of that classic magic…or do the same thing they did last time the Rumble was in Philly (sigh). I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Royal Rumble 2018 predictions!
Bobby Roode (C) vs. Somebody (US Championship Match)
I thought WWE decided to cut some time from the show by giving the US title tournament finale to Smackdown, but then we get new champ Roode facing a mystery opponent for the belt on the preshow.
Since this, like all the other preshow matches, literally came out of nowhere I do not think this is going to be much of a match. Roode should be in the Rumble to help fill out the dozen or so vacancies in that match, instead of filling time on the two hour preshow. Bcause really, we need to here Booker T ramble more on WWE programming.
I have a nasty feeling Dolph Ziggler is going to return here rather anticlimactically instead of being in the Rumble. What I hope is we get a random legend or a Zack Ryder type to fill in five minutes so Bobby can save his energy for later. Either way Roode retains.
The Club vs. The Revival
This rematch from Raw 25 sees the humiliated Revival take on The Club who are desperately trying to avoid filling the hole that Dash and Dawson now fill. There is nothing really to care about here, but it could still be a good match. Both teams deserve better, but this is what we get.
Maybe one day this will be a real feud, but I doubt it. The Club win because they need to be taken seriously so they can take losses to main eventers for Finn during his future feuds.
Kalisto, Gran Metalik, and Lince Dorado vs. TJP, Jack Gallagher, and Drew Gulak
This time filler theoretically could be used to figure out to see who may succeed the now disgraced and fired Enzo Amore as champ. But really, this is here to make the crowd pop as the small men do some flips and hit each other really hard before some dinosaurs plod around the ring.
Conspicuous by his absence is Cedric Alexander, who went from challenging for the belt to not being booked for the PPV. I hope that means he is in the Rumble. Drew Gulak is the only one here with any personality, so I think his team will win. As for what to do with the belt I would have a tournament to recreate some of that CWC magic that concludes on Wrestlemania…’s Preshow.
Meanwhile, as for the new GM, nobody seems to know who it will be, so I’d like to see Christian do it. He is a great face or heel, has a history of being a smaller competitor, and he could really add some flair and sta rpower to 205 live.
Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan (C) vs. The Bar (WWE Raw Tag Team Title Match)
The Bar look to get their titles back from the oddball duo of Seth and Jason, who seem to be ready for a split sooner rather than later. The problem is literally nobody cares, and while Jordan is getting better week to week as the spoiled friend who insists on being player one and playing as Raphael in Turtles in TIme he still is dealing with that go away heat.
I would like the champs to have one big PPV match where you get hooked into believing this team could work before the rug is pulled out from under Seth. Have Kurt get in his face for not helping his baby boy succeed to plant a seed for a possible match between Rollins and Angle in the future. Team Roll-Son wins and the split happens at the next PPV.
The Usos (C) vs. American Beta (WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match)
The Usos appear to be getting off scot-free for that whole DUI thing, which is a bit odd all things considered. They will be facing Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, who are desperately trying to get the crowd to care about them by putting on really solid matches. It has not clicked quite yet, but they are getting there.
Despite the legal snafu, the Usos are still one of the best teams on the roster and I do not see much reason to have them lose. Mostly I just want them to make the main show of Wrestlemania for once, so I think they will retain here.
AJ Styles (C) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (Two on One Handicap Match for WWE Championship)
I am not sure what WWE is trying to do with this feud. It all comes down to Shane vs DB, with these guys and the belt being bit players for the authority figure fight. Nobody cares, and with KO injured both in real life and in kayfabe I am not sure why this is happening. I’d rather see AJ take on Zayn solo at this point since that should be a barnburner of a match.
Of course, we just saw that on the go-home Smackdown, but hey who cares. AJ deserves to be champ going into Mania, and there is plenty of dream matches for the big show he could be part of. AJ retains in what could be interesting or just a time filler.
Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Braun Strowman vs. The Demon Mayor Kane (WWE Universal Championship Match)
WWE has continued to give Braun Strowman epic moments that make great Youtube videos. Meanwhile, Brock is never around to make for interesting viewing and Kane is a mayoral candidate.
I want so badly for Braun to win because he is the most interesting man to watch in WWE and somebody I could see as their next breakout star. I 100% see a future where Marvel and DC are in a bidding war to get Braun to play a character in their cinematic universes.
We all know Brock vs Reigns is happening at Wrestlemania, and we shall see exactly how they get to that conclusion soon enough. I can only imagine Kane is here for the pin since he has spent the entire build getting beat up so bad he disappears. Brock wins in what could be fun or completely boring.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
The main questions going into this match have been:
If WWE is seriously bringing in Rousey this would be the splashy time to do it, and the more she posts about being in South American the more suspicious I get.
As for the other mystery opponents, I do not want too many NXT regulars showing up. Throw in The Iconic Duo, Ember Moon, and Nikki Cross and that’s it. Fill out the rest with some legends (since female legends do not nearly show up as much they should get some love, especially if Trish and Lita enter) and maybe some of the more well known Mae Young ladies like new signee Candice Lerae. Otherwise, if you add people like Bianca Belair people will know they got no chance and will just build up the Ronda expectations even more.
At the end of the day, it comes down to the UFC star and Asuka as potential winners. If Ronda is in the match she is winning, and if not Asuka wins.
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
This match has a little more mystery to it, but still has an equal number of spots needing to be filled.
I heard Pete Dunne is flying in for the match, and if he and Tyler Bate are in the match that would be amazing. Let them enter early and last a long time to keep the action fresh. We just saw a bunch of legends on Raw, so maybe keep some around for the Rumble.
If I had to predict a surefire legend I’d go with Bubba Ray Dudley since it is Philly after all. Garnish with some cruiserweights, a few NXT boys and Curt Hawkins and we got an interesting Rumble. The potential five winners are as follows (from least to most likely):
5) Roman Reigns- He is officially in, and I think WWE might just be crazy/spiteful enough to have a repeat of Reign’s previous Rumble win in the exact same arena. Having him lose the IC belt to The Miz and sneakily declare for the match adds to my conspiracy vibe. But at the same time, somebody has to be the voice of reason and avoid the scene that would befall the city if this happens.
4) Dolph Ziggler- A random favorite in Vegas could sneak in and get a weird Jack Swagger at Mania 29 push. If Jackie Boy could get a title shot at the biggest show of the year, why not Zigglypuff? If he is the mystery challenger to Roode’s US Championship match then disregard this guy from winning/
3) John Cena- Because it is John Cena and we should assume he is going to win every match he is in.
2) Daniel Bryan- Another guy who is a betting favorite in Vegas. The ultimate boom or bust candidate could win in a surprise return, but too many people may just be getting their hopes up. WIth the potential legal problems a returning them concussed Bryan could cause I feel like WWE is still going to lean no on his return. That being said I could see him returning at number 30 to further his feud with Shane, who shames him for putting his wrestling desire over his GM duties.
1) Shinsuke Nakamura- While Nakamura has not exactly been built as a world beater, that match with Styles for the belt is looming. The company has teased them fighting for over half a year, and really WWE needs the goodwill a classic match such as this would bring to the Mania marathon. Unless WWE is plotting an evil surprise I think The King of Strong Style will be the one to point at the big Mania sign at the end of the night.
by Frank Lucci
It is time for the Road to Wrestlemania, which also means we are taking the footpath to Takeover: New Orleans as well.
Currently NXT is the bastion of sanity in a WWE Universe full of shock releases, hot debut rumors, and disappointing 25th anniversary shows. With WWE having plenty of open spots for both the men and women rumble matches, this could be a last glimpse of NXT in its current form. Every random match featuring the likes of Lacey Evans or Bianca Belair makes me wonder if these folks will soon be stepping into more prominent roles. But Shayna Baszler looms over all the women as the hot newcomer who is way better than expected in her role.
Meanwhile, on the men’s side there is plenty of rumors of who may be jumping up to the main roster via the Rumble, and each men’s match could see a participant leave NXT once the event is done. I’m SPaceman Frank and here are my NXT: Takeover Philadelphia predictions!
Kassius Ohno vs. Velveteen Dream
Despite hyping a potential Killian Dain or Roderick Strong vs Lars Sullivan NXT decided to throw this match together because reasons. Not that I am necessarily disappointed by seeing this match, but they spent several weeks building someone challenging Lars and now we got nothing. Ohno seems to settled into his role of opening TakeOvers and losing to the next big talent, and Dream is going from trying to be number one contender to jerking the curtain in less than a week.
Still, this should be fun, and I hope Velveteen throws Ohno a pair of shorts to cover his cellulite (sorry for body shaming but please Kassius stop with the tights). I really want Kassius to get a victory on a Takeover, but Velveteen Dream has some momentum going in and he is the future so he will win here.
The Undisputed Era vs. Authors of Pain (NXT Tag Team Championship Match)
This match has the feeling of a swan song for the Authors of Pain. Sure, they could grab the belts again and hold the fort down, but there would not be any point in it. They have been floating around since losing the belts, and while War Games was nice it didn’t mean much to the team’s status. Meanwhile Undisputed Era have been establishing that they are plotting the run the show going forward.
Really, I see Adam Cole potentially challenging for the belt around ‘Mania time if they don’t go for the other obvious choice for Mania time (more on that later). Kyle and Bobby have done pretty well as a team, but I see this being their true coming out as a team without Cole. The Era wins and AOP show up and start wrecking main roster teams and eat Heath Slater or Kurt Hawkins.
Aleister Black vs. Adam Cole (Extreme Rules Match)
A rare stipulation match sees Old Dutch Al (New nickname pending) taking on Michael Cole’s troubled stepson in an extreme rules match because Philly. I like how they firmly established why this match is happening, and the escalating violence really sold this as a blood feud to watch. It is tempting to give Aleister an advantage here, but really Undisputed Era can just pile on the numbers and help their man win this match.
I think the Undisputed Era are going to be NXT’s big thing in 2018, and a win here would solidify that feeling for me. Meanwhile Black could show up in the Rumble and I wouldn’t bat an eyelash. Cole wins after some shenanigans.
Ember Moon vs. Shayna Baszler (NXT Women’s Championship)
When they first started building to this I was very skeptical. I do not like the shoot to the top immediately push for “legit” athletes, and nothing in the Mae Young Classic told me Shayna would be a star within a year. But she is doing really well with her character work, particularly with her sit down interview with Percy “My head looks like a turtle” Watson and Ember Moon.
Meanwhile, since winning the belt I have seen the same old Ember as before, and I feel like I have seen the limits to her character and ring work. She is good, but not quite attention grabbing enough to carry a division. She is a prime candidate for a call up, where she will do fine…but just fine. With Ember being in the main event scene for over a year in NXT I am ready for here to get gone and let the hot newcomer take over. Lazer Blazer wins and gets the Brock treatment while she learns to actually wrestle.
Andrade “Cien” Almas v.s Johnny Gargano (NXT Championship Match)
Did anyone think this would headline a TakeOver event? Sure, their first TakeOver match was great, but who could have predicted this would be the headliner before the Rumble? Cien has been ok, but Zelina Vega is the real star here and everyone knows it.
Meanwhile, Johann Von Wrestling has been milking his steady rise for all it’s worth and it truly feels like he earned this spot. There is plenty of options on the table here. One is a returning Tomasso Ciampa costing Johnny Wrasslin’ a victory, but does anyone see Cien Almas as the headliner going into Mania season? Wouldn’t Team DIY exploding make much more sense for the biggest TakeOver of them all?
If Almas wins I see him moving on to Adam Cole, but again would Jonathan Grapples vs. Cole match more sense? I think the outcome is Johnny wins for the feel-good moment leading to Ciampa showing up to stare down or attacking his former partner.
Jon and Matt quick discuss the NFL Conference championships and then a huge RAW 25 review and Royal Rumble Preview and Predictions.
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Chris, Spaceman Frank, and ProWrestlingOpinion’s Nicholas Jason Lopez gather ’round the squared circle and talk the best and worst of wrestling in 2017!
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From the filthy, decrepit backwaters of New Jersey comes an old-school pure black-metal gauntlet just as nasty as the gutters it was festered.
Vantafrost’s four-song debut EP titled Dispossessed begins with the wailing siren of “Nazgul” followed by the Hellhammer-style riffs, tribal drumming, and Warrior-esque shrieks.
Right out of the starting gate you’re blasted back to the early 80’s/90’s sounds of primitive black metal in all its raw and gory glory.
As the Ring Wraiths calm their death dragons after having murdered many a man, elf, and hobbit and claimed the one ring for Sauron, Vantafrost continues to beat your body to a pulp with the unleashing of the hyper-aggressive “Darkhammer.” The constant down-pick and minor key agony assault tread on until mid-song, where the doom-groove slows things down before a journeyman’s gallop progress the bridge and keeps hold. Everything is then musically tied together in a woven arrangement fit for Shelob and her kin.
We are then welcomed back to the land of the dead with the sounds of vomit, kicking off the aptly named “Demon’s Breath.” An old-school Venom-like track bounces around for a healthy helping of head and fist banging. What really links this track is the bouncy main riff and the relentless rhythms and vocal delivery.
Finally, the New Jersey freaks unleash one final barrage with the almighty “Leadpumper.” Not only does this capture the embodiment of the band’s in-your-face intensity, but it also cultivates the spirit of true black metal. Heavy, miserable, and downright terrifying.
Not only is this initial offering a warning to emerging metal bands clinging to trends in their local scene or their “flavor of the month” genre, but the intentionally bare-bones production proves that when done right, bands can take their fancy state-of-the-art recordings and shove it. Vantafrost have not only begun to dominate a sonically depraved world, but they’ve managed to deliver a Hyper Viper Beam that would make Cable proud.
Jon and the Jewharaja discuss P-Diddy possibly owning the Carolina Panthers, Giancarlo Stanton to the NY Yankees and the WWE Women’s Royal Rumble with a Clash of Champions Review.
by Frank Lucci
WWE is already looking to 2018, but fans still have one last PPV to endure before the year is over. Nobody is expecting much from this event, and really who can blame them considering most of the hype has been “hey this is happening…is that cool with everyone?” At least it will be watchable, if not somewhat entertaining. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my prediction for Clash of Champions 2017.
Jon addresses the unluckiest Fantasy Football season ever and also argues with the Jewharaja on Eli’s consecutive start streak and the WWE women’s division.
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In the olden days of point-and-click gaming, there were no walkthroughs, no online forums, or even strategy guides. Beating such a game required hours of thought, effort, and tedious trial error.
In an era loaded with point-and-click survival horror games all too reliant on cheap jump scares and lazy mechanics comes a chilling Lovecraftian indie throwback to the good old days.
Enter “The Padre,” a story about a priest searching for his friend alone in a decrepit mansion where everything goes bump in the night – including our hero.
The first thing you’ll notice about The Padre is the block style visuals. While this design choice draws too many similarities to Minecraft, it’s the only modern thing players will compare it to. That said, it’s hard not to wonder how much better the game would look if the graphics were slightly more realistic, even if they maintained their cartoonish charm.
Don’t let these looks fool you, this game is beyond creepy.
The story of the twisted mansion and the struggle our man of the cloth must endure takes you into the mind of the human psyche. The mansion is loaded with plenty of fun horror cliche’s and abundant with terror thanks to a pitch-perfect soundtrack by developer Shotgun with Glitters.
In addition to a terrifyngly compelling story, there are puzzles galore throughout your quest and plenty of baddies and traps to keep you on edge and unravel the mystery of the mansion and our clergyman’s demented past. The Padre also contains a litany of items and old-school mechanics that will keep your brain wracked around the game.
Another part of The Padre’s charm is the downright hilarious voiceovers. Some lines are delivered with such cheese, it’s hard not to crack up at your PC, which will, of course, result in death.
Speaking of death, there is one horrendous glitch that will frustrate gamers to no end.
If you die after clicking the icon to enter another room and the entrance initiates, you will appear in the next room postmortem. Reloading the file will not fix this, as the game autosaves when you get to the next room. The only way out of this one is to restart the game from the beginning.
On the bright side, the game is still in its alpha testing stages, so it’s likely this issue will be resolved before the final product is available.
Aside from “Notchy” looking graphics and a perilous problem, The Padre is a winner for old-school gamers looking for a spooktacular challenge. Shotgun with Glitters has taken their time and done its due diligence on what gamers really want in a story and gameplay, hitting you right in the nostalgia button.
The Padre is currently garnering crowdfunding support through Brightlocker, where the demo may be downloaded in an effort to help the game earn its keep (and hopefully your hard-earned cash).
Death metal destuctionista Matt Harvey returns to our show to talk about Exhumed’s new album Death Revenge, plans for his Death-inspired band Gruesome, and much much more.
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After a long Thanksgiving weekend, Chris and Spaceman Frank review NXT TakeOver: War Games (with enthusiasm) and Survivor Series 2017 (with less enthusiasm).
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Jon and the Jewharaja review NXT TakeOver: War Games and preview WWE Survivor Series.
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by Frank Lucci
It’s time for the last Big Four PPV of the year for the WWE, and the company has gone all-out making people get hyped for this event.
Even though they announced many of the matches weeks in advance the constant shift in participants has left audiences guessing both who would be involved in the marquee matches and if WWE actually had a plan. This has benefited some wrestlers such as AJ Styles while leaving others (Jinder Mahal, Natalya, KO and Sami Zayn, etc) in the cold.
Mostly though things have worked out for the best for the audience, and really isn’t that what matters the most (if you work for WWE please don’t ask Vince or Triple H that, they will probably fire and/or Pedigree you)? Now, hopefully, WWE can translate these dream matches from the booking sheet to the ring, or this PV could start dragging like a modern day ‘Mania.
One thing I will say is while I appreciate the excitement the brand wars has brought to weekly TV, it does not make sense (YOU WORK ON TUESDAYS YOU SON OF A BITCH!!! DIE!!!!!!). I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Survivor Series 2017 predictions.
Enzo Amore (c) vs. Kalisto (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)
This sole match on the two-hour preshow (unless they just throw together something else to kill time) sees these two go at it yet again. Really, they have not done much to make people care about this rematch, and my main thought during their encounters is wondering what other cruiserweights are doing currently. At least we got Drew Gulak and his Powerpoints.
I do not see a reason why WWE would choose Kalisto over Amore to be the face of the division (besides the fact that he is, you know, an excellent wrestler) so Amore will win here after doing some standup to kill some minutes.
The Miz (IC Champ) vs. Baron Corbin (US Champ)
This feud has mostly taken place on social media, which is a shame because it has been pretty spectacular.
The Miz has brought some real deal fire to Corbin, and it really makes me hope Miz gets a real feud to sink his teeth into at some point instead of jerking the curtain.
Meanwhile, Corbin has just kind of existed as champ, farting around with the likes of Sin Cara instead of getting embarrassed in promo contests with his Raw counterpart. Corbin seems like management’s boy, but really I see this as another SummerSlam situation where Corbin gets stomped on by a vet to teach him some manners IRL. Miz gets a rare win on the main card before meandering around the preshows some more.
The Bar vs. The Usos (Tag Team Champs vs. Champs match)
Two teams doing their best work are clashing, and this should a barnburner of a match.
The Usos have gone steadily towards tweener territory with fans recognizing their hard work plus the scary chop block Chad Gable gave over in England. Meanwhile, Cesaro and Sheamus has anchored many a Raw half hour with their work, and despite the whole attempted murder of Stroman thing The Bar has had a strong year.
So who wins here? I see Raw’s team getting the win here since they have been consistently the better team and they have held the belts longer. Now, hopefully, something goes wrong and we get more of Cesaro shrugs memes.
The Shield vs. The New Day
A “holy cow I need this in my life even though this was not in a card a week ago” match if I’ve ever seen one sees perhaps the most popular three-person teams of the decade square off.
What adds to this match is the fact that Roman Reigns has been out with whatever disease he had, so this is their first reunited PPV match. It almost makes us forget that he is going to headline WrestleMania 34 and ruin things for everyone all over again.
The New Day will probably get their promo time in as well, which makes me concerned just how long this PPV will be. Since The Shield are all former world champions they seem to be the choice to win, but honestly I wouldn’t be that surprised if The New Day sneak in a win due to all the merch money they sell.
Team Raw (Alicia Fox, Nia Jax, Asuka, Sasha Banks, and Bayley) vs. Team SmackDown (Becky Lynch, Carmella, Naomi, Tamina, and TBA)
First off: Who is the mystery member of Team Smackdown? Is it the obvious choice of Natalya? The obvious choice of Paige? The less obvious choice but still not surprising Nikki Bella? We shall see.
The next big question is who will actually win this match?
On one hand, I would say that SmackDown’s team unity (minus TBA person) would seem to give them an advantage.
On the other hand, we have Asuka on team Raw, and if she loses in this match I will throw something out the window. Now is not the time to have her lose, but rather dominate and seal the win for Team Raw.
Hopefully, they also have her beat the piss out of Team Raw along with everyone backstage before locking eyes with Braun and forming an epic romance. I’d pay money to see that.
Charlotte vs. Alexa Bliss (Champion vs. Champion)
Another dream match out of nowhere sees tiny but spunky taking on an Amazon for bragging rights.
Really, the build for this match was Bliss giving Charlotte a forearm, but who cares when we got two excellent workers getting ready to go to war.
Charlotte is the one on a hot streak right now with her dad’s doc getting some attention and winning the title on the last SmackDown before Survivor Series. Meanwhile, Bliss has been on Total Divas having a ball with her BFF Nia Jax, which consistently has been entertaining when the boys on the show troll everything.
With Charlotte being the hot commodity right now, I see her winning and getting a win in the column for Team Blue.
Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles (Champion vs. Champion)
While Jinder vs. Brock would have been an interesting thought experiment/fever dream/WWE 2K18 Sim, having AJ Styles win the belt and face The Beast is fantastic.
His victory is the highlight of SmackDown weekly TV for the year, and he is a natural challenger to Lesnar. I cannot stress how excited I am for this match, and every minute Styles hangs in the ring with the Universal champ is a victory for people who believe being the best worker in the company should warrant you a shot on top of the card. With Jinder, I thought a Brock win would be more secure, but I honestly give Styles more leeway to potentially win than Mahal (especially because the India tour has been downsized).
That being said, this is the one cross-promotion match that will end in a DQ/no contest. It would be weird to have one champ pin another, and Styles really deserves the non-finish over just jobbing to Brock. He has shoulders bigger than my television, he looks strong enough let AJ get the count-out or shenanigans happen so he can hold his head high.
Team Raw (Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman, Finn Bálor, Samoa Joe, and Triple H) vs. Team SmackDown (Shane McMahon, Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, and John Cena)
This traditional Survivor Series match sees an all -tar jamboree throwdown to various degrees of hype.
While guys like John Cena and Triple H have just kind snuck into this match it is hard to argue that they add to this more as stills on the graphic than dudes like Rusev or Jason “happy to be here” Jordan.
My low-key person I hope does well here: Bobby Roode. He has not been very prominent in this build, and I really hope he gets to pin somebody and look good to establish him to newer fans.
I think in the end, this match will come down to what team gets sabotaged by interference worse. I can see Jordan trying to avenge himself against Triple H to impress his dad Kurt Angle. But at the same time, I do not know how you have this PPV with no KO and Sami Zayn, and I think they will cost SmackDown the match.
Sure, that gives Raw many of the victories for this PPV, but really do you expect WWE to make SmackDown look better than Raw?
by Frank Lucci
Houston’s Takeover seemed to be on a pretty clear path, until somebody in WWE (Triple H) got a huge nostalgia trip for classic WCW and decided to make this into a War Games-themed event. That combined with NXT having a future taping in the same building as one of WCW’s shows and the resurrection of Starcade as a live event proves that The H man really, really, reallyyyyyy wants to turn back the clock to the early 90’s.
This has been met with some mixed results (see my live reading of the revamped War Games rules and Chris’ reaction on the latest episode of Manopera!), but it is a TakeOver, so it should be pretty rad. Now if only WWE would put Gargano vs. Dunne for the UK Championship on the main show because WHY WOULDN’T YOU DO THAT WE ALL WANT IT WHY ARE YOU MAKING US WAIT A WEEK YOU MONSTERS??? I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my NXT Takeover: War Games predictions.
Kassius Ohno vs. Lars Sullivan
Kassius “Player Coach” Ohno gets his first singles match on a Takeover, taking on the suddenly ascendant Lars “Human Gargoyle” Sullivan. Granted, much of the people on this card can be considered “suddenly ascendent” but Sullivan, in particular, seems destined for something bigger. He is very much NXT’s Braun Stroman, and I can see Vince getting one look at him and penciling him into a main roster run before he is truly ready. But hey Stroman was not day one ready, and look where he is now.
Meanwhile, Ohno is putting his undefeated streak on the line, but really he is here to make himself look good while losing to the newest NXT freak. I just wish we got a more substantial feud for this along with Ohno getting more chances to show his stuff. A good little match that isn’t as good as Gargano vs Dunne BECAUSE NOTHING WILL BE EVER that sees Sullivan getting the win.
Aleister Black vs. The Velveteen Dream
Before this feud began I would have thought there would be no way this could have pushed my interest at all. However young Patrick Clark has made the most of a gimmick that could have gone very poorly very quickly. He commits to the character and adds just the right amount of uncomfortable to keep it PG. Meanwhile Black is the perfect foil for him, as the zen-like guy who refuses to give attention to the Dream. One minor flaw I see in this is that Back obviously craves attention too, since he is covered in tattoos, rises from the smoke during his entrance, and sits in the ring with spotlights on him. Do not tell me you’d not like attention seekers and do that stuff. Anyway, Aleister is the vet and Clark was born in 1995, so Black will defeat The Velveteen Dream like he was The Velveteen Rabbit and Black was Scarlet Fever.
Ember Moon vs. Peyton Royce vs. Nikki Cross vs. Kairi Sane (Fatal Four Way for the Vacant NXT Women’s Championship)
How mad must Sane be? She wins this epic Mae Young Classic, beating some of the best in the world, and gets to be 25% of the match for Asuka’s forfeited championship. I would have made this a one on one match with Kairi facing the winner of an NXT only tournament to make things a little more even. That being said, this is a pretty good field of women who represent the future of the women’s division in NXT and beyond.
It is easy to write Royce right off the gate here, and while I think she has the least chance of winning I am curious to see if we see a serious Peyton make a run during the match. Moon would be an obvious choice as next champ since she has frequently been in the title picture, but honestly, I think Cross has eclipsed her (see what I did there?) in popularity. But all in all, I do not see the Sane Train being derailed despite the gap from the Mae Young Classic to now. She is too good, too adorable, and too badass to not get a chance to carry the belt.
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega (NXT Championship Match)
Perhaps the match most screwed over by the inclusion of War Games sees McIntyre bypass most other logical challengers and face the out of nowhere Almas for the belt.
This is a big high risk/high reward match for both, and they really need a strong showing to not make this a dud.
To be fair, Drew has been putting on some very solid matches during NXT’s weekly show, and Almas has been doing much better character work as a heel. Vega has also been a revelation as the female manager who not only mixes it up on the mic and (gasp) gets involved in matches in the same way a man would. She is perhaps the most complete person involved into the match, and if she gets into the women’s division I am all for it.
Since Almas is pretty much filler since every other main eventer is busy I do not see him winning. I just hope D-Mac gets a proper program before his main roster jump back to WWE.
Authors of Pain with Roderick Strong vs. Undisputed Era vs. Sanity (War Games Match)
The rules for this match…suck. Shark cages, wildly unfair rules, and way too much complications make this simple match into a Mario Party minigame. How could they decide this is the best way to what could be an old-school formulaic match (heels get numbers advantage, face shows up to save the day, repeat until all people are in the ring) into a big old cluster?
I can see Strong being the one guy being left along valiantly trying to hold his own until AOP shows up and has a weird Big Damn Hero moment. Meanwhile, I’ll bet my excellent Scary Jesus Rock Star beer that Undisputed Era gets the early numbers advantage.
I cannot say I am super excited for this match, but I should not be bad. My pick for a winner would be Sanity, since I see Strong and the Era’s feud building from here and the tag champions sneaking in a win.
Chris and a slightly less salty Seaman Frank discuss major news in the world of professional wrestling.
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In this episode, Connor and Michael break down a new chord tuning for the DM48. Make sure to bust out your pencil and paper for this one!
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Complex melodies combined with exceedingly rigorous fretwork manifest into a track from New Rochelle progmasters Valence that features a title just as ridiculous as the music that follows it.
“He Tried to Kill Me With a Forklift.”
The single, released August 18 will take its true form Friday when Decibel magazine premieres the music video.
“Forklift” features chuggy yet harmonious overtones coupled with superb shredding, a slight nod to Iron Maiden’s “Wasted Years,” and a thick rhythm section pulling it all together. While the track is a heavy six-minute instrumental, the constant changes and revolving door of time signatures keeps one embedded in its near-bloody purpose.
“This was actually one of the first songs we’ve written that’s not part of a larger piece of music (like a concept album), so the focus was definitely riffs and groove rather than any particular concept, unlike our previous releases,” says guitarist Michael Buonanno, who adds that that reason alone was why Valence felt “Forklift” was best served as a standalone.
Although a bunch of prog dudes never actually did get into a forklift fight in space as Valence’s Bandcamp page insinuates, the title actually references a running gag from the cult sci-fi meets Jim Henson-like verbal jousting show Mystery Science Theater 3000.
“It originally comes from the “Fugitive Alien” episode if you want to dig it up,” Buonanno said. “We wanted the title to fit the vibe of the song: kinda quirky and funny but also bad ass, and once that [Mystery Science Theater 3000] came up, we couldn’t name the song anything else.”
In addition to the mayhem and math-metal madness, Valence will also open for Scale the Summit and Angel Vivaldi on November 10 at the Kingsland in Brooklyn, NY. To help mitigate the buzz – and grow their fanbase, the four-piece is enlisting the help of Dewar PR.
“That show is going to be off the hook,” Buonanno said. “We were bugging out when we received the email.”
Me, Jesse, Doug, Nick, and Andrew used a billing of both of these awesome bands as an excuse to make a road trip to Philly. On the way there we did some random things such as eat cheese steaks at Gino’s and visited the famous Bomb Bomb bar.
At around 7:30, we got to the venue for the first band of the night.
I was very excited to see Death Grips finally after knowing them since Exmilitary came out. Doug and Jesse were both very excited being big fans as well (with them being Jesse’s favorite band). They did not speak a word during the entire set, knocking out over 20 songs in 45 minutes.
They didn’t run out of energy for a second and played so many great songs such a “Takyon,” “Guillitine,” “No Love,” “I’ve Seen Footage” and “Fever. ” They stole the show and even Andrew – who hates hip hop liked the set.
Ministry’s set was decent but could have been better.
They played mostly stuff from the Last Sucker and onward – an era I’m not a fan of. However, they did sound pretty awesome when playing later songs like “NWO,” “Just One Fix” and “Lies, Lies, Lies.”
We left an hour into their set due to being so far from home in addition to them not playing a lot of their classic tracks (seriously no “Stigmata”????).
All and all, Ministry did fine but Death Grips owned the night!!
by frank Lucci
Friday before WWE’s latest PPV I was preparing a very depressing intro where I talked about how many shots of black rum I would need to get through even writing the preview for TLC, let alone how much booze would be needed to watch the show. I was thoroughly in Seaman Frank mode, especially when Mayoral Candidate Kane burst through the ring on Raw. At that point I was so salty I was thinking about another gimmick change to Salt Man Frank, the worst Mega Man boss of all time. I was truly a broken and beaten man.
“BAH GAWD THAT’S VIRAL INFECTIONS MUSIC! WHAT’S HE DOING HERE ON RAW???!!!”
Yes, it is very tragic and sad that many WWE Superstars are sick enough to warrant keeping them home and isolated from the rest of the roster, but I do not think anyone can pretend for a second that this has made TLC about 1000% more watchable (Sure they are pretty much throwing many prominent storylines out the window, but c’mon would you rather have bad but logical storylines or Kurt Freakin’ Angle?). Plus throw in Asuka’s debut (which was going to be the sole highlight before all this) and this has a chance to make everyone forget, just for a little while, all the doom and gloom surrounding the WWE these past few weeks. And if things get boring, well, you can always watch Rusev play Madden. I’m Seaman Frank and here are my TLC 2017 Predictions!
Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox (Honey BBQ KFC DLC Scrappy Doo Slugfest)
This match comes after Fox got her first t-shirt after almost a decade of employment in the WWE, and it is great if you are a furry and crap for everyone else. She is coming out of nowhere to take on Banks, who seems to be doing important things (winning, losing, and then challenging for the women’s belt since SummerSlam) and nothing at all (losing or disappearing from television frequently).
Really, there is no reason for this match to happen, but hey there are only six matches on the main show so maybe this will get bumped up and we will have three women’s matches on a PPV. If people are sick you might as well take advantage of the moment and give the ladies and cruiserweights a shot. Sasha wins and Foxy disappears again until she is needed to act crazy at someone.
Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher vs. Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann
This match promises to be pretty exciting, especially if they get a decent amount of ring time to tell a story. With Nevile most likely gone from the company and rumors swirling that many superstars are unhappy, some have put two and two together to say that this is WWE’s attempt to pacify the cruiserweights.
It remains to be seen if this is just people piggybacking on Neville’s departure or legit gripes talent has, but at least for this PPV the division has a chance to shine. All four men are unique talents and can potentially steal the show, though it remains to see seen if the audience cares about this battle. Side note: can Alexander and Swann be a proper team outside the cruiserweights? That would be awesome. Team Swaxander wins in a cool little bout.
Kalisto (C) vs. Enzo Amore (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)
I am not sure what the WWE is trying to do with the cruiserweight title, as they brought in Enzo and got people talking. Then Neville quit and Enzo lost the title to colder than Antarctica Kalisto who is about as boring of a choice for champ as asking for towels for Christmas. I mean we should be happy for Kalisto, but shoving him straight to the top was misguided at best. Enzo’s momentum is gone, and whatever they wanted to do creatively with him is out the window.
So where does the cruiserweights go from here? I am guessing they swap the title back to Enzo like they did with Tozawa and Neville and then thrust a random person into the title picture. Gentleman Jack, maybe?
Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Mickie James (WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match)
I am excited for this match, besides the fact the build centers around Bliss calling James old. Seriously, Mickie James is 38 and looks amazing. I do not know anyone who says differently (STOP THIS NONSENSE WWE).
Anyway, it is about time they do something with James. She is very talented and could definitely be a boon to the division that needs some fresher faces in it. Plus she has already faced the debuting Asuka before down in NXT, so it is a good time to build her up so they can have a killer rematch. I get the feeling that Bliss is in a holding pattern until Nia Jax comes back from her sabbatical, so I am guessing she retains here and we get that feud soon after. Hopefully that feud does not fall into the same trap and WWE has Bliss call Jax fat…unless they bring in Scott Steiner as Bliss’ manager.
Asuka vs. Emma
Emma won the right to be murdered …err… face off against Asuka in the latter’s PPV debut.
This should be a doozy of a match, as before all the Shield hype this seemed to be the match getting the most hype. I truly hope WWE does not drop the ball here, and if Asuka loses her streak to a random person on Raw in three weeks I will drop kick my TV. These two had a superb match back in NXT, so I imagine this will be an exciting squash. The question will be when Asuka gets into the title picture and if mainstream audiences take to the Empress of Tomorrow. Asuka wins and continues the streak until ‘Mania where she squashes Goldberg and challenges Lesnar in the ultimate Kaiju Big Battle.
Finn Balor vs. AJ Styles
What was going to be the disaster between a pumpkin and a cross dresser has immediately been updated to The Demon vs. one of the best wrestlers in the world.
This has a ton of potential, and I think this could be the sneaky match of the night. Just let these guys work a Japanese-style match for thirty minutes and give the audience something to sink their teeth into (just don’t have Finn use the pumpkin facepaint. Just…no).
Also, I am praying that it does not turn out that Styles was Sister Abigail all along. I mean, that would be a hell of twist, but I would be terrified to hear AJ’s creepy lady voice. With Finn rumored to eventually face Lesnar and AJ facing the immediate opponent for The Beast I think Finn will go over here. AJ can survive the loss, and Finn needs some solid wins for people to care about his eventual push towards the Universal Championship.
Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Kurt Angle vs. Cesaro, Sheamus, Kane, The Miz, and Braun Strowman (5 on 3 Handicap TLC Match)
Getting rid of Roman Reigns and replacing him with Kurt Freaking Angle is a godsend.
While before this was all just a way to drag seven different men into a situation to get people to cheer Reigns now is the return of a legend and a buffet of talented men ready to throw themselves into the mouth of madness. Still, there is some lingering problems here, such as why this is still a handicap match? I hope Braun is just like “nah I’m good” and leaves and Mayoral Candidate Kane just disappears forever.
At this point the match has changed so much they might as well just be like “our bad here is a regular match” and have Kane put over Braun. Since it seemed like a lock The Shield would win here before I am tempted to say they will win here, but I am going a different route. I think the numbers game will catch up to Team Sh-Angle, especially with the No-DQ setting. Braun or Miz get the pin on old man Angle and team Five Bar Miz-assic wn.
by Frank Lucci
Hell in a Cell – It’s happening, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.
Despite having a larger amount of time to build to this show than Raw the SmackDown Live, the creative team have done nothing to really make this interesting. Sure, Shane McMahon got beat up, but that happens before every Shane match. Other than that we have a bunch of rematches and and throwaway feuds that are meant to kill time until Survivor Series (I honestly got this event confused with TLC and I am amazed WWE has the balls to put two gimmick Pay-Per-Views in one month).
At least we got The New Day and the Usos, a match that everyone cares about…except for the creative team since their previous matches have all been on preshows and curtain jerkers. But hey, now it’s a big deal! I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Hell in a Cell 2017 predictions.
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. The Hype Bros (Preshow Slapfest Spectacular)
Do we have name for the team of Gable and Benjamin yet? Is American Beta too obvious? What about Cha-jamin? Anyway they face The Hype Bros, that team that looked to be breaking up, may still do that, but nobody cares either way. Fun fact: in 2017 Mojo Rawley won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and Zack Ryder was starring in comeback hype videos on YouTube. How the mighty have fallen.
Gable really had a chance to be a breakout star with his impressive singles matches, but instead he teams with a veteran to keep him hemmed into the tag team scene. Cha-jamin win here because they are the newer team and still have potential unlike the shambling remains of The Hype Bros.
Randy Orton vs. Rusev
Why? Just Why? Why throw this on PPV again instead of giving Sami Zayn a match? Or Tye Dillinger? Nope, gotta put Orton on PPV to continue his streak of ruining everything for everyone in 2017.
Poor, poor Rusev. Poor, poor WWE. Poor, poor humanity. Orton wins because of course he going to win he won in like 30 seconds at SummerSlam WHY DO WE NEED TO SEE THIS AGAIN??? WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO DESERVE THIS???
Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler
The battle between the guy with a cool entrance and his jealous coworker.
Ziggler is the guy that feuds with whoever showed up last, and while objectively I should care about this match, I just can’t find a reason why this needs to be a PPV match rather than a random match on SmackDown. Hopefully this match will surprise me and be really good, but I see this as being a way to kill about ten minutes with entrances and 15 minutes in the ring. Roode wins as the new guy who will probably move into the main event scene sooner rather than later.
AJ Styles (C) vs. Baron Corbin (US Title Match)
Baron Corbin couldn’t beat Mahal, couldn’t beat Cena, and couldn’t beat Dillinger (somebody give that man a title shot!).
I get that WWE has to do something to rehab his character, but constantly losing and getting rewarded for it is not the answer. Shouldn’t this be Styles vs. Dillinger as a way to crown The Perfect 10 as the hot new babyface? Instead we get Baron’s weird belly and receding hairline that is disappearing faster than management’s faith in him.
Despite my gripes about Baron I think he will win here. Sure AJ is better in every conceivable way, but I think they need him in the main event picture now. The WWE Championship is in a weird place where it is clearly not the focus of the show and fans know the best wrestlers do not challenge for it, so having Styles chase the belt will help rebuild it and Mahal as well. So Corbin will become champ and try to get some momentum going again after a rocky summer.
Natalya (C) vs. Charlotte (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match)
Nattie’s title reign has been..a thing that has happened, and she has been a massive afterthought despite SmackDown having very little going on. It is sad really as this will probably be a good match that is going to set several records.
According to the champ herself, she will break Trish Stratus’ record of most PPV matches by a women in WWE and her and Charlotte will be the first pair of women to fight for the NXT, Divas, Raw and SmackDown Women’s titles. So why isn’t that the main focus of their feud???
For all of WWE’s talk about focusing more on women and treating them as equal to the men they sure messed up this historic match. It looks like a slam dunk for Charlotte to win her sixth (Sixth??? Really??!!!) women’s championship and go on to be the face of SmackDown’s women’s division.
The New Day (C) vs. The Usos (Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
The Savior of this PPV sees these two white hot teams square off in Hell in a Cell.
While WWE has not done the best to keep this feud seem important enough to warrant a match in the demonic structure, the fans know these guys will deliver in the ring. I expect some exciting yet PG spots and some crazy bumps to take place, and with the added drama of everyone in the ring at once I see this being a hoot.
The big question is if Xavier Woods will be able to get into the cell as well, or if he will hold off getting involved. With the other Hell in a Cell match guaranteed to have some sort of big stunt it is good to have this here to be the excellent wrestling match to balance it out. The Usos could sneak away with the belts here, but I think The New Day retain since they are such huge ambassadors for the company.
Jinder Mahal (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship Match)
WWE has a tour of India in December, so guess who’s winning this match?
WWE has left it wide open for the Singh Brothers to interfere yet again, so that seems like the most obvious route to a finish here since we have seen that in literally every Mahal match. Nakamura is in a weird place where he is getting a huge push, but it seems like creative have no idea how to capitalize on the unique superstar. Meanwhile, WWE has flushed any nuance and subtly with Mahal’s character down the drain when they decided to have him tell racist jokes.
When the crowd chants “That’s Too Far,” it’s easy to see why attendance is hitting record lows. Mahal wins again and hopefully we get Styles in the title picture to see if Mahal can step up and have a decent match for once.
Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens (Hell in a Cell match)
This Hell in a Cell match will probably lead to some memorable moment WWE puts into video packages for years.
I’ve heard rumors that WWE is filming something with a stunt Shane so he does not hurt himself, which is good for protecting his health but lessens the excitement factor. This is the only match WWE has thought to put some effort in, because Shane is the coolest dad on the roster and it’s a big deal when he decides to let someone beat him up (sorry, Titus).
I hope Shane brings his kids to the match and Owens throws them off the cell one at a time.
Owens wins and possibly moves into the title picture at some point, though he has appeared on advertisements for Raw brand live events. Because Raw definitely needs more wrestlers they can ignore.
Earlier this week, guitarist Robert Orr and myself decided to disband our crossover/thrash metal band Nuclear Hatred (formerly Zamboni) of seven years.
For six of those seven we were known as Zamboni, a punk/thrash powerhouse that never took itself too seriously. In that time we released a demo, two EP’s, a live album, and our one and only album. Those were good days. Thanks to the good people at the Meatlocker and some other local bands that we consider to be dear friends of ours, we built up a small scene in the New Jersey area, pulling together some great shows such as Midian’s one and only reunion show, a Cancerslug show that is now known as “The Jersey Massacre” on their YouTube page, and our five “Thrash Bash BBQ” events. If we needed help, another band was there to fill in on drums or help set up and promote a show. Everyone was going to everyone’s shows. Everyone was buying everyone’s merch. All the bands were looking out for each other. It was clear: We weren’t just making music, we were cultivating a community.
Fast forward to 2016. A week after we finally released our debut album (which was heavily promoted through Clawhammer PR and even got the attention of Zero Tolerance magazine and a few South American compilations), the suits came calling. The Frank J. Zamboni Corporation sent us a cease and desist letter telling us we couldn’t use the name Zamboni as it was copyright. While that is probably not true as Zamboni is a very common Italian last name (therefore impossible to copyright, and if it just so happened to be MY last name it would have made even less sense), we didn’t have the money to take them to court (In addition, we had copywritten our demo years back and if there actually WAS a copywright under that name, it would have gotten pinged back and we would have known to change the name on the spot). After pleading with law firms to find a loophole without changing our name and killing our long-overdue momentum, it seems that these ridiculous cases are simply done just to waste money and ruin a person financially at the company’s expense. We had no choice but to change the name in haste to Nuclear Hatred- the first song we ever wrote as Zamboni.
While we liked the name for a song and possibly album title, we hated it as a band name. We also hated the fact that we couldn’t really get booked anywhere unless we rented a place and booked the show ourselves (with one exception as a really wonderful human booking shows out of her parent’s Staten Island basement). Everyone was suddenly playing a very generic form of thrash or another genre and getting the booking we felt we deserved as we had accomplished much more than any of them.
And as for our so-called “community?” After all the help, support, and attempts to really create something over the years, not once did they offer us a slot on a show or ask what they could do to help us regain our lost momentum in our time of need. It was clear to us that there was no unity any longer. Everyone was only in it for themselves at this point and we were “just another band/occasional promoter.” The only times we would ever get any booking-related questions would be if we were booking a show and someone asked to be on it. When it came to even going to shows, there was no longer any excitement. You never felt like anyone in the venue cared nor that anyone playing was really going to make it – especially with the horrid shape that the music industry is in. People only showed up to shows for the headliner, and they “couldn’t afford” a local band’s t-shirt but just so happened to have the money for several overpriced drinks. The NY/NJ scene had died and anyone clinging to the idea that there still is one is a complete denier.
When it came to our writing, even the musical styles were changing, straying further away from crossover and thrash metal in our songwriting. The lyrical content for album two was to be much darker and revenge driven against the machine. We were simply too bitter and burnt out to really focus on our craft. Even routine practices were becoming a chore, happening less and less. We had plans to do some splits and EP’s, but they never materialized and we were given the runaround from people involved.
In January, we played our last show, although we didn’t know it yet (it also was the last SI basement show, oddly enough). Throughout the year we couldn’t squeeze out many practices due to scheduling and sometimes just not really having a drive anymore. Plus, we were listening to lots of other genres of metal and music altogether. I started a love affair with doom metal, gangster rap, and psychadelic rock. I also fell head-over-heels for stand-up comedy, voice acting, painting, podcasting, and the occasional game of Magic: The Gathering. Thrash in a dead scene that could care less about what I was doing seemed like a moot point.
After months of this, Orr and I sat down and had a phone call roughly a week ago. After about 30 seconds into the call, we both had the same idea: stop beating the dead horse and bury it. We both didn’t want to be there anymore. The music wasn’t fun, and the scene and our community were gone. Seven years was a good run, and we were too heartbroken over all of our hard work repeatedly being stabbed in the back to allow any of it to continue. Plus our lives were pulling us in different directions.
While we plan on still being musical for the rest of our lives, we’re not sure where the roads will take us. Until then, thank you for being a part of this journey and I hope to see you in the coming years. Hopefully the scene will sort itself out and there will be a community once again, but for now, there is much work to be done.
After being a fan since high school, I was excited to finally get the opportunity to see Dark Tranquillity when they were announced for the Chance Theater.
As the days got closer it became more of a debate with money being short at times and car trouble (which turned out to be nothing) in the weeks leading up to it but luckily, everything turned out fine when it got close. After school I headed to the venue to finally catch the Swedish melodeath legends.
First main band on was the traditional metal throwback Striker. These guys will awfully generic and weren’t very good at all. They just felt like a weaker version of the bands they were paying tribute to and made me long-await Warbringer.
Second on were retro thrash titans Warbringer. I had not seen these guys since they opened for Iced Earth in 2012, so it was refreshing to see them once again. They didn’t play for long, but they made the most out of their minutes.
At around 10:30 p.m. it was time for the headliners. While I honestly wasn’t a big fan of their latest album Atoma, I didn’t mind anything they played live from it due to their good performance. I was also glad I got to hear a good amount of classics such as “Wonders at Your Feet,” “Mundane and the Magic,” “Misery’s Crown,” and my favorite track, “Terminus.” Not a dull moment went by at that show and it was one of the best I’ve been to at that Chance in awhile.
by Frank Lucci
The wrestling world has No Mercy for fans, as in the several weeks since Summerslam The WWE and others seem to create a major news story every day. The Mae Young Classic Concludes! The Four Horsewomen of MMA may be invading! Paige may be coming back! Shelton Benjamin is back! Lio Rush made his debut at NXT tapings! Global Force Wrestling may become Impact again due to their usual incompetence! Flo and WWN are starting a legal battle over streaming data! Nikki Bella is on Dancing With the Stars! Konnor from The Ascension is a new dad! Daniel Bryan may head to Ring of Honor! VInce bleeds on television! And Jesus Christ the worked shoots! Every week with the worked shoots! No Mercy should be an interesting show, but will it stand out among all the news that has come down the pipeline? My gut says maybe. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my No Mercy 2017 predictions!
Elias Sampson vs. Apollo Crews (Preshow Time Filler Spectacular)
Somebody (Vince Mcmahon) demanded this happen, so here we go. Titus Worldwide is dominating the preshow lately, and hopefully Akira Tozawa shows up here to remind everyone that he walked into the last PPV as Cruiserweight Champion. Is there a reason Titus cannot wrestle himself? Why is just being a manager? With the thin roster of tag teams on Raw Titus and Crews (with Tozawa doing a freebird gimmick?) could be a positive. Instead they face Elias, who hopefully will sing one of his strange songs to make sure we get less commentary on the preshow. Anything that prevents the preshow panel from talking more I am all for. Anyway Sampson wins because The Titus Brand loses every time. Maybe they should recruit Curt Hawkins…
Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
I guess this is happening again, because reasons. I like the idea that Bray is calling out Finn the man instead of The Demon, and that could have been an interesting way to built this match up…if that was the built to their original match and not the sequel. Wyatt couldn’t beat him before, so Finn agrees to depower himself like Thanatos in the original Infinity Gauntlet storyline. Sure, you do that Finn. Grab that idiot ball with both hands. I did not care before and I do not care this time around. With all the worked shoots going around this story sticks out like a sore thumb. Balor wins despite the lack of demon powers because Wyatt cannot win anything and will be joining Titus Worldwide with Curt Hawkins.
Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus and Cesaro (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship match)
These four men put on a hell of a show at SummerSlam, and I have high hopes for this match. This is a good way to keep these guys relevent and be in a title picture while keeping them all out of sneakily crowded Universal title picture. I hope Seth and Dean taunt Cesaro with two beach balls, causing him to hulk out, rip both at once, then flip the ring over. I am roughly 65% certain Cesaro could pull it off. While I am hyped for this match I am concerned what comes after? Do The Club get involved after essentially jobbing out in the built to this match? Do we get more thrown together teams? Do you elevate The Miztourage or the dream team of Bray Wyatt and Curt Hawkins? We shall see. Dean and Seth win so we have a strong babyface team on Raw people can get behind.
Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Emma vs. Nia Jax vs Sasha Banks vs. Bayley (Fatal Five Way for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship)
Bliss vs. Banks rematch? Cool Beans. Teasing adding Jax? Even better. Adding Jax and then also Emma for some reason? Ummmmm. Throwing Bayley in their the Raw before because it was in her hometown and people would actually cheer her? Sigh. We got a big old multi person match, so here are my rankings, from least to most likely, to win the match.
Emma- LOL NOPE PULLING A HAWKINS HERE
Bayley-She was just put in this match for reasons unknown, and it would be a strange to just give her the belt. Although WWE is hot potatoing the belt around anyway, so I at least see it being possible.
Sasha Banks- Considering this started off being about her seeking revenge for her loss was immediately pivoted to focus on others, I do not see her having much chance here. If they tease a heel turn for her by having her wrestle Bayley or take advantage of the no DQ setting that would be cool.
Nia Jax- If anyone has a chance to unseat the champ it is Jax. Usually in situations like this she gets ganged up on and taken out quick, and I would love for her to be a proper monster and wreck everybody here. But I see everyone hitting a parade of finishers on her towards the end of the match so she can roll out of the ring and not take the pin.
Alexa Bliss- I see the champ sneaking in and grabbing a pin to keep her belt. Bliss is super talented but they keep pulling the rug out from underneath her by having her drop the belt so I would like her to be a bit more dominate and have a lengthy run.
The Miz (C) vs. Jason Jordan (Intercontinental Title Match)
I almost care about this match. Almost. On one side Jordan has proven he can work a singles match with the best workers in the company, but the spectre of Baby Daddy Kurt Angle haunts him wherever he goes. The Miz is losing his wife Maryse from her television role due to her pregnancy, but he will recover so long as he just work shoots on everyone in the company. Meanwhile Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas are just hanging out in the background, and they really need to step up to fill the role Maryse will leave behind. I think The Miz will retain, continue to burn people with hot fire on the mic, adopt Curt Hawkins (thus inheriting Bray Wyatt and Titus Worldwide), and get that number one spot for longest combined reigns for the IC title.
Neville (C) vs. Enzo Amore (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)
WWE for the first time built a feud involving the Cruiserweights that actually has the main WWE audience invested. Neville has always been super consistent and oftentimes is the best champion WWE has, and adding the uber popular Enzo has people talking. And, despite the rumors of Zo’s backstage heat, the challenger has been booked in very interesting ways. Sure they have the main roster stomp on him every chance he gets, but he uses shortcuts to compete with the 205 Live regulars and thus hang with the best pure wrestlers in WWE. Will the same tactics work against Nevill, who is known for using nasty tricks himself? Special props for both men for their promo on the go home 205 Live that added a huge spike of interest for this match. I could one day see Enzo win the belt, but he needs the chase more than he needs the belt. Neville wins by getting shady on Amore who becomes the more popular version of Curt Hawkins.
John Cena vs. Roman Reigns
Oh boy. During their first promo battle Cena slayed Reigns like he was Curt Hawkins and pretty much won over most of the smart crowd to his side. Not that I thought they would need much to side with Cena, but whatever. Meanwhile Reigns needed several weeks to recover and deliver anything close to what Cena pulled off, and I find it telling that his best promo of their feud was when he was alone without John there to offer rebuttals. Hell, even Reign’s match with Jason Jordan was not as good as Cena’s match with the same opponent the week before. Roman has been exposed as the lame corporate Cena clone he is, and while some fans seem on his side I just do not see how this helped him at all besides to try to shame him into getting better. Sadly all signs point to Reigns winning, so he is my pick here.
Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Braun Stroman (WWE Universal Championship Match)
For once, Vince’s wet dream is the same as the IWC’s wet dream. The WWE has allowed these two just enough physical contact to make this match feel like the Wrestlemania worthy match it is. My only complaint was the go home segment where they had the talking head interviews. This did not work well with Samoa Joe, and having two massive hosses just sit and talk is really lame. Just have the traditional pull apart brawl that allows them to look terrifying while decimating the roster and maybe ripping Curt Hawkin’s spine out. I really, really, reallyyyyyyyy want my boy Braun to win…and I am going out on a limb and say he will. For one, he is one of the hottest things in WWE right now, and he is one of the very few people on the roster that is must see. Having a more consistent champion presence would benefit Raw as well. Then you can save Brock for the Royal Rumble or Survivor Series when he is freaking out and terrifying trying to get his title back. Lastly, if WWE is willing to experiment with Jinder Mahal as champ, why not pull the trigger on Braun? The reign of Stroman begins at No Mercy.
Chris and Jon review “It” and address other issues in the movie world. Chris reveals the final moments of his voiceover perils!
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Chris and Jon review Marvel’s The Defenders and discuss the Joker spinoff movies rumbling around Hollywood. Chris also goes off on a bad voiceover experience.
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