My Experience at MDF 2017 – Part 3: Saturday

by Anthony Carioscia

Saturday was the most interesting day at this year’s Maryland Deathfest, not just because of the lineup, but because of the day leading up to it as well.

Matt’s friend Dave came into our room as well as his friends Chris and Ricky.  We went for dinner at a place called Dick’s Last Resort. It was a cool place where the staff would  – in addition to insult the customers – yell at them, throw stuff, give them all hats with insults on them. The waiter asked who was here for the DeathFest, then blasted Venom on his phone while headbanging and thrusting (not making this up). After we laughed and ate their great food, we headed to the venue and ran into Dave from Nucleus.

Uada

The first band I wanted to see for the day was Portland black metallers, Uada. The band is normally criticized for sounding too much like MGLA, but I think they are a fun little band and their performance was top-notch.

Goolagoon

I was very curious to see this Spongebob-themed punk band. Once you get past the gimmick, they are actually a pretty decent punk band and live they were loaded with energy.

Exhumed 

This was my fourth time seeing Exhumed, but they are never boring live. This was no different as they had a great set list and their over the top horror stage show was great like always.

Exumer

I am a fan of the band’s debut Possessed by Fire but nothing  after that. However, I was still curious to see Exumer. They played some songs of the first album but just seemed boring live.

Root

Along with Insect Warfare, Root were the band I was most excited to see. I had requested for Root to play since 2014, so it was nice to see them finally get added. They played a nice mix of their early black metal stuff and their later heavy metal stuff and sounded great. Big Boss’s voice was spot on and their stage setup was fun. They ended their set with the iconic “Pisen Pro Satana.”

Grave 

Next up were Swe-death masters Grave. I didn’t watch too much of their set due to not wanting to miss a second of Insect Warfare but they played a nice old-school set from what I saw and sounded great.

Insect Warfare

I went over to the Soundstage for the band that made me buy my ticket. Insect Warfare is one of my favorite grindcore bands and I was glad I finally got to see them. Their energy was unbeatable with an insane pit full of people crowd surfing, slipping on beer, and someone even threw a trash can into the pit. The singer had tons of over the top banter such as threatening those who bootleg his shirts. This was without a doubt the best set and best day of the fest. After them, we called it a night and headed back to the hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spaceman Frank’s Money in the Bank 2017 Predictions

by Frank Lucci

The world is focused on “Money” Mayweather announcing that his fight with Conor Mcgregor, but wrestling fans have Money in the Bank to look forward to instead.

Overall the card will be better than anything those two can put on, but WWE has been pushing fan’s patience with some terrible TV. It is like the closer the company gets to a live special the more they fall apart creatively. Throw in the massive hype for Brock Lesnar vs Samoa Joe and fans are looking past this PPV hard. Despite everything though WWE PPV’s are better watches than Raw or Smackdown Live, and there is going to be some (JBL three beers in voice) “HISTORY MADE HERE TONIGHT, TOM” as we get our first women’s Money in the Bank match. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Money in the Bank 2017 predictions!

The Hype Bros vs. The Colons (Preshow Box Social Funtime Hoopla Tag Team Doritios Pizza Rolls Match)

Zack Ryder is back in the most Zack Ryder way possible: coming back one week before the PPV for a preshow tag team match.

While he seemed to have some sort of push planned with his comeback videos on Youtube, instead he gets a nothing match with his buddy Mojo “ All Gojo” (feel free to send me a check for that one WWE) Rawley who can be seen taking sad selfies with his Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy on Instagram (Hey kids remember when he beat our current champ Jinder Mahal with the help of Gronk?! WWE doesn’t!).

The Colons have somehow even less momentum, so I predict a whole bunch of nothing. Hype Bros win because somebody has to win and it might as well be those spunky lads.

The Usos (C) vs. The New Day (WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship)

Everything on the main card is for a title or a Money in the Bank briefcase, which helps make every match feel important. However, it has been awhile since The New Day have had a major PPV match that mattered, as they seem to fart along in promo segments when the chips are truly down (IE Wrestlemania). Meanwhile The Usos are doing fine as champs, but have been overshadowed by Breezango’s (where are they anyway?) pretaped segments. I think WWE will give The New Day a run with the belt eventually, but that feels more like a match for a bigger show like Summerslam. Plus, the Usos should get the initial win via shenanigans to preserve their heel status and look more credible against all the jokey tag teams that dominate Smackdown.

Naomi (C) vs. Lana (WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship)

The only active women on Smackdown not in the Money in the Bank match (where are you Nikki Bella?) sees Naomi being challenged versus longtime manager/ master of maybe one move Lana. I think the time for Lana to transition into a wrestler has come and gone, and to immediately give her a title show sends off red flags for me. Rumor is this came about due to WWE wanting to have the Eva Marie push sans the (probably) gone redhead, so Lana gets the spot. She is not the one to pull it off, since she is way more popular than Eva Marie ever was, while at the same time Naomi is not the person to face off against her. If you want the Eva Marie stuff to work you need somebody the snarkier fans will rally behind like Bayley rather than the middle of the road Namoi. Namoi really has not done much since winning the belt back, but there is no way WWE has Lana take her out in her first match unless she secretly is a fantastic wrestler. Naomi wins in a five minute nothing match.

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya vs. Tamina vs. Carmella (Money in the Bank Ladder Match)

Fan booking for this match has been more interesting than the build for this, along with many of the other recent news coming out of the women’s division. Between the first official (and rumored) entrants into the Mae Young Classic, plus the potential new Smackdown signings and NXT matches happening  and this has been overshadowed quickly despite the history being made. Here are my rankings for who will win the briefcase on Sunday, from least likely to most likely.

Tamina- Has very little momentum, and while I think heels have more of a shot in these things she barely qualifies as a heel with the poor reaction she garners. I think she has a role to play on Smackdown, but she needs to get some wins to look like any sort of threat.

Becky Lynch- While she somehow has retained most of her popularity despite being booked like she has been hit in the head with an air conditioner unit moments before wrestling, it does not fit her character to cash in on someone. Thankfully Bayley has firmly taken the idiot ball from Lynch since Extreme Rules. Becky could be a good heel, but with a thin roster of women WWE needs a babyface they can depend on. She will do some cool spots, but if she does a disarmer on top of the ladder I will give out on her on Manopera. Submissions on ladders is one of my major kayfabe breaking spots in wrestling.

Carmella- The Princess of Staten Island has been gaining some steam online from those who think WWE will give her the briefcase, so that they can begin building her up as a major player in the division. While I do not mind if she wins the briefcase, paints it with leopard spots, and makes Ellsworth carry it around for her, I still think she is not ready to be anywhere near the title.

Charlotte-While being a decorated champion and probably better than 3/5ths of the women in this match combined, WWE seems determined to make her a face. It would not make sense for her to be able to cash in anytime, especially since we all know she could just declare herself number one contender and Shane Mcmahon would agree. Plus, the chances of Flair hitting a crazy moonsault off the ladder and crashing through the table to take herself out of the match is roughly at 90%.

Natalya- While there is no chatter about Nattie Ice winning, I think it makes the most sense here. Nattie has been away from the title scene for ages despite carrying the division through some dark times, and it is time for her to get a push. She still cannot cut a promo without sounding like an extra from a church production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat she can put on a good match. Bitter Natalya getting the briefcase and cashing in to remind the WWE who is the best there is would be a good move.

Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (Money in the Bank Ladder Match)

Not much to say about the build to this match, other than WWE has tried to get the crowds to have equal amounts of apathy towards everyone involved. Here is the power rankings for winners of this match, from least to most likely.

Dolph Ziggler-Ziggler is here because it would be weird if he was not, but I would believe I was winning Money in the Bank over Dolph.

AJ Styles- Similar to Charlotte Flair, I think AJ is going to get title opportunities regardless if he wins here or not. He already is very established and the crowd is quite taken with him, so he does not need the briefcase to add to his appeal. He also has a feud with Owens on the backburner that he can go back to once this PPV is over. I will laugh if he continues to get his foot stuck in things just when he is starting to get close to winning.

Shinsuke Nakamura- Not sure what WWE is trying to do with Shinsuke on Smackdown. He is still wildly over with crowds, but portraying him as just some weird Japanese man who struggled to put away Ziggler last PPV is not what anybody expected. He could win the briefcase to add some actual mystery to “The Artist,” but I cannot see WWE pulling the trigger on him so soon when he has not had any sort of big moment since his debut. Dream match with Cena at Summerslam please.

Sami Zayn- People seem to think that Zayn may win the belt, be a goody two shoes and announce he will cash in well in advance. I do not buy it. A Sami push would be lots of fun, but I see him having to climb the ranks and grab the US title well before WWE considers putting him into the main event. Plus I can 100% seen Owens reminding us of their fight forever feud and destroying Zayn just for the lulz

Baron Corbin- It seems as though everyone is banking on Corbin to win here, and it would be a fine way to show that WWE has faith in the Lone Wolf. It would fit his character, and WWE has given him enough big moments that fans will buy him invading the main event scene at some point. I do not think he is quite a main eventer yet, but he could be very soon. I just wish he would cut his rapidly retreating hair and go for a more skinhead look.

Kevin Owens- Take everything I said about Corbin cashing in Money in the Bank and double it for Owens. Sure, he has already been champ, but just imagine Owens with the briefcase stalking the champ and being on commentary every time the champ has a match. He would be a perfect Mr. Money in the Bank, and WWE knows they can rely on him if a main eventer gets hurt or if Jinder starts to struggle.

Jinder Mahal (C) vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship Match)

The rematch you did not know you wanted but WWE is giving to you anyway!

While I think Rusev should have gotten in this match back when he called for a shot at the belt at Money in the Bank, Jinder is doing far better as champ than anyone predicted. WWE somehow is pulling off booking him well, as the individual fans can easily decide if they want to cheer or boo him depending on their own thoughts.

This nuance has been missing in WWE for so long, and his popularity in social media and Youtube definitely helps him out. Meanwhile Orton continues to act like he is on horse tranquilizers, and I think his lack of effort has given Mahal some fans. I think Mahal will win, and I think he has put in enough work to warrant it (something I would have never predicted I would say).

My big fear is Cena returns (on July 4th no less), declares himself number one contender because something something AMERICA and Jinder turns into a caticure. Then he beats Jinder and ruins him forever while become a record breaking 17 time champ because “BALD EAGLES AND PURPLE MOUNTAINS MAJESTY, MAGGLE!”

Iron Maiden, Ghost at the Prudential Center

When the Iron Maiden tickets at the Prudential Center went on sale, I was given a pre-sale code from a friend. I instantly bought one as ‘Maiden is one of my all-time favorite bands.

The day came and I went with Birdman of Roargh to Newark, NJ to see these amazing Brits play with none other than Ghost opening (this would be my third time seeing Ghost and my second time seeing ‘Maiden, Birdman’s first time for each band). We got inside then met up with two of Birdman’s Jersey area friends. At around 7:45 the show started.

Ghost

Ghost seems to get mixed reactions in the metal world and I’m one who has been a decent-sized fan since I first heard their demo. I had caught them once at MDF 2011 and then again three years later at The Chance. Both times they put on a great show and this time wasn’t any different. They played a set of great tracks including “Year Zero,” “Cirice,” “Ritual,” and “Monstrance Clock.”

Iron Maiden 

I had not seen Iron Maiden since 2012 at Jones Beach with Alice Cooper and I was overdue for another.

The band played a set that was mostly for their latest album,The Book of Souls – which is great. In addition to the new tunes, they also played many classics such as “The Trooper(which sounded beyond amazing),” “Wrathchild, “Iron Maiden,” and “Children of the Damned.”

They encored with “The Number of the Beast,” “Blood Brothers,” and “Wasted Years.” Their sound was phenomenal, proving that they’ll never lose their touch. After the show, Birdman and I got the hell out of Newark and were glad we got to go to this amazing show.

 

My Experience at Maryland DeathFest 2017: Part 1 – Thursday

When Memorial Day Weekend reared its ugly head, it was time for yet another Maryland DeathFest (MDF).

While this year the Edison Lot was sadly gone, it still had a very good line up and the convenience of the two remaining venues being right next to each other. The day came and I got on a bus to New York City, met up with my friend Matt and we then both left to Baltimore. When we got to our hotel we dropped off our luggage, then headed to the venue. On the way to the fest we met up with some cool people, including this girl who came all the way from Chile. When I got there some sludge band called North was playing.

North

I had never heard of these guys until I got in the venue and from watching them, I was kind of glad I hadn’t. This band played boring cut and paste sludge – not the best way to start the fest.

SubRosa 

Next up were SubRosa, who I was excited to see. I always loved their sludge meets violin sound.  Their set wiped the bland taste North left out of my mouth. SubRosa had great atmosphere and really took advantage of the Ram’s Head stage’s awesome sound.

Conan 

I had seen Conan play two years ago on the same day and stage and it was pretty damn good.  Like before, they were great, heavy and crushing live.

Acid King

The stoner legends Acid King were up next and while they aren’t my favorite in that subgenre, there was no denying they put on an awesome performance.

Cryptopsy 

After Acid King finished up I ran over to Soundstage, where Decrepit Birth was finishing up their set. After watching them do an awesome cover of Death’s “Crystal Mountain,” Cryptopsy got on stage. Here I ran into my friends Nick and Cheyenne as we were ready to watch them play all of their 1996 album None So Vile.

They started their set with three really bad, newer songs which caused Nick and Chey to leave. Once they left the band started playing None So Vile in order. This improved the set greatly even if the Matt McGachy was no Lord Worm. The pit was also as insane as it was fun to watch that carnage unfold. After Cryptopsy the two of us headed back to the hotel to get ready for day two.

 

 

 

 

F*ck Mondays! Episode 39: Wonder Woman Refuses to Fly Delta

fmondays wonder woman

The boys review the glorious Wonder Woman movie (with spoilers). Jon recounts his recent plane ride from hell, courtesy of Delta Airlines.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Extreme Rules 2017 Predictions

x_njg6by Frank Lucci

Extreme Rules feels like the first proper Pay-Per-View for Raw after WrestleMania, as the previous Raw exclusive PPV, Payback, featured no mention of the Universal title nor did it have an Intercontinental title match. This PPV rectifies this somewhat, and it also has the advantage of not having a House of Horrors match thrown in as well (hopefully). Extreme Rules also does not have an NXT: TakeOver to compete with as well, or more specifically, WWE UK wrestlers to compete with.

Despite all these positives, there is most definitely an air of doubt surrounding this event, as Raw has continued to punish those brave enough to watch all three hours (I wonder what the crossover demographic numbers is for Raw fans and snuff films is). There is some decent action that could and should take place on this card, but if the matches are as painful as the buildup to them, the Spaceman may not be able to fight his allergy pill and watch Extreme Rules in segments. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Extreme Rules 2017 predictions.

Rich Swann and Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox and Noam Dar

This match is a positive in my book because it takes three people (plus Alicia Fox) and gives them something to do and a spotlight to showcase why they deserve to be on a higher level. Banks has lost all momentum since WrestleMania, and it seems like a distant fever dream when Swann was Cruiserweight champion. They will make a good team, and if this is what they need to do to get TV time and get over I am all for it.

Fox is a steady but unspectacular hand in the ring, but Dar deserves more of a spotlight. He is very young but one of my boys from before the CWC, so I am praying to the Cruiserweight Gods he gets more than this. Throw him in with Neville and TJP and form a power stable on 205 Live since there’s precious little room for heels on the show not affiliated with the King of the Cruiserweights. Based on popularity alone, I think Banks wins it for her team.

Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries (Submission Match for WWE Cruiserweight Championship)

These two have held down Raw PPV’s since ‘Mania, and once again I think this may be a bright spot on a lackluster card. The stipulation works well for both these men, but having Neville tap to Aries the week before this match was flat out stupid (WWE knows when this happens people expect the winner to lose on the PPV, right?).

I get the feeling the live crowds are starting to catch on that Cruiserweight matches are usually much more exciting than much of the filler on Raw, but again with the show so hard to watch that is like being proud that you hopped over a puddle on the sidewalk.

Aries deserves a run with the belt with all the excellent work he has done to make me forget what a natural heel he is, but Neville is just too good at being bad to drop it. Also again, he tapped out once already (WWE we get it, you have one play in the go-home show playbook. It does not work. We all know what a loss before the PPV means).

Alexa Bliss (c) v.s Bayley (Kendo Stick on a Pole Match for WWE Raw’s Women’s Championship)

Women climbing a pole to get at another pole, did Vince Russo write this?

What the heck has happened to two of my favorite women’s wrestlers??? Bliss was an all-star on SmackDown, and Bayley went from NXT’s John Cena (Joan Cena?) in NXT to a supreme doofus on Raw.

The only positive thing about this feud thus far is Bliss really whacking the hell out of her opponents with the kendo stick, but really it is time to retire the “on a pole” stipulation. Seeing people fart around one corner of the ring for a random object is dull, and it is time to think of something to replace it (I vote for a “Find the Kendo Stick in a Box Under the Ring Match” or a “Kendo Stick Tied to a Greased Pig Match.”). Anyway, Bliss wins because Bayley would not go nuts whacking her opponent with a foreign object due to her pure-hearted nature.

Dean Ambrose (c) vs. The Miz (Intercontinental Championship Match – Ambrose can lose the belt via disqualification )

Hey, kids! Do you know what’s more extreme than tables, ladders, and chairs? Rules!

No clue why of all PPVs, WWE pulls this type of match out at Extreme Rules. It fits the character of The Miz, but do we really expect Ambrose to be so stupid that he loses the belt this way? If anything, WWE should have had this be a no-DQ match where Dean clobbers the Miz, Miz complains that he would win in a regular match and makes this match happen at (sigh) Great Balls of Fire. I think Dean walks away with the belt because he is still a solid number two option as the champion to make up for the lack of a Universal champion on TV, plus both men need somebody new to set their sights on.

The Hardy Boyz (c) vs. Sheamus and Cesaro (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Cage match)

Sheamus and Cesaro have a new fire under them now that they are heels, and their brutal dissection of the Hardys during and after their previous match has me invested in seeing what happens.

Will Jeff dive off the cage? Yes. Will he lose another tooth? Maybe. Will Cesaro swing the entire cage structure in a fit of dizzy rage? Probably. But the biggest question of all: Will Matt get broken? That question will haunt every Hardy feud until they actually pull the trigger (and they will), so while I will watch his PPV matches looking for any and all clues towards him going berserk, overall it does detract from the story being told in the ring.

I am curious what a heel Ces-mus (Sheamaro???) title run would look like, but I think the Hardys still can run up and down the country getting that nostalgia money for a few months more. Jeff throws himself off the cage to get the win.

Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins (Fatal Five-Way Extreme Rules Match for the Universal Championship Number One Contendership)

WWE has finally figured out that, if the Universal Champion cannot be bothered to show up at every PPV, then they should build around who gets the next crack at him. I like this match on paper, and seeing who gets their hands of Borkin’ Heck Lesnar next is far more exciting than anything else, especially with the five men selected. The big downside I have for this match is the rumors that whoever gets a shot at Brock at (sigh) Great Balls of Fire will be one and done since Braun Stroman will be back before SummerSlam. Here is my breakdown of who I think is going to win, from least likely to most likely:

5. Finn Balor – He has had the most hype, even having Paul Heyman put him over. WWE obviously sees money in this matchup, so to have him taken out by Brock and then passed over with little hype is in bad taste. I think this match will set up the Finn-Wyatt feud hinted at before rather than wasting a money matchup on (sigh) Great Balls of Fire.

4. Samoa Joe – Again, Joe vs. Brock is a money matchup and something not to be wasted as a holdover for Braun. These two behemoths squaring off is my biggest dream match of the current roster, and when Jim Cornette on Table for 3 suggested Joe vs. Brock in a submission match at the next WrestleMania, I flipped out. Make Joe look strong here and keep him there for when it is time for the monsters to be unleashed.

3. Bray Wyatt – The feud that almost happened could very well happen here, as Wyatt is WWE’s answer to every top star who needs a throwaway feud. But Jesus man, there is no way WWE can keep kicking Wyatt when he is down. He was WWE Champion earlier in the year before the Orton feud and House of Horrors debacle undid everything his big win did for him. He and Finn take each other out to set up their feud which will probably see Wyatt lose in the end.

2. Seth Rollins – One of two men to have a match with The Beast before saw their previous encounter act as a sideshow to Undertaker’s return. A plucky babyface Rollins vs. Brock is interesting, especially if he shows more fight than when he was the cowardly champ. I can see Rollins taking an absolute beating but refusing to die, rehabbing his image in the process. Yet, he has too much history with too many men in the ring to win. Therefore…

1. Roman Reigns – WWE will have their cake and eat it too. WWE wants Reigns to be a top guy, so they will drum Reigns in here to setup the WrestleMania 31 rematch we have not gotten yet. This will fulfill WWE management’s desire to give Roman a big push, while letting Brock have an opponent he can demolish before Braun takes over. WWE wins, the people win due to Reigns immediately being out of the spotlight after (sigh) Great Balls of Fire, and the other men in the match win by avoiding the big job to Brockjack Horsner. Then Strowman vs. Lesnar for the Universal championship can headline SummerSlam…unless Braun costs Brock the belt and they fight each other while Reigns carries the belt into SummerSlam…OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE???

 

 

Iron Sheik Declares 2020 Bid

shiek 2020
Come 2020, the Iron Sheik will be looking to make America humble again.

The WWE Hall of Famer shocked the world Wednesday when he announced via Twitter that he too will be joining his fellow sports entertainer turned megastar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the next Presidential election.

“FUCK THE PRESIDENT TRUMP!” he tweeted. “BEFORE HE NICE GUY! NOW HE BIG DOUCHEBAG! I MAKE HIM HUMBLE!!! #SHEIK2020.”

To guarantee the internet’s implosion, Rocky responded to the Sheik’s promise.

“Much love/congrats 2 @the_ironsheik! Looking forward 2 tagging w/ #Sheikybaby in the #2020Election!”

When asked which party he would run with, Sheik has decided to go Independent, not just because he loves indy fans, but also because yellow is his favorite color. “It remind me of home and WWF World Heavyweight Championship belt,” he told The Bonesaw.

Shiek has also decided to make his party’s mascot a camel because of his intense pride for his Iranian culture (it’s also his favorite animal). “IRON SHEIK: NUMBER ONE! CAMEL: NUMBER ONE! ELEPHANT AND DONKEY? HUACK, PTOO” he yelled in delight. “ONLY THE ROCK THE REAL! ALL OTHER CANDIDATE JABRONI! FUCK THE KANYE, TOO!”

Other than serving the Shah of Iran in his youth, the Sheik has no political experience – possibly even less than President Trump. With that said, he knows exactly how he’s going to win the 2020 Presidency.

“I SUPLEX THEM, I PUT THEM IN THE CAMEL CLUTCH, I BREAK ALL THEIR FUCKING BACKS! I MAKE THEM HUMBLE!”

When asked if this is actually some kind of elaborate hoax in order to gain traction, the Sheik responded by suplexing our reporter and putting them in the Camel Clutch. Our reporter is now in critical condition at Mt. Kayfabe Memorial Hospital with a broken back and has since been terminated for upsetting a WWE legend and future Presidential candidate.

My Experience at Hudson Horror Show XV

Another May meant another set of dates to look forward to.

That set of May dates in question being Memorial Day Weekend’s Maryland Deathfest and the Hudson Horror Show’s 15th outing a week prior.

This year had an awesome line up of Frankenhooker, Slaughterhouse, the traditional mystery film, Nightmare on Elm Street 3, The Hidden, and Piranha.

Although I had seen every film on this bill before (and highly recommend them to anyone who hasn’t), I wanted to see them on a big screen. Unfortunately, I only wound up staying for the first four.

While I didn’t buy much merch this time around, I did win a copy of the film Hardware, which despite it being a pretty terrible movie it was pretty cool to win it.

Frankenhooker 

First up was the classic from the man behind Brain Damage and Basket Case. I had not seen this great horror comedy since high school but I remembered loving it.

Frankenhooker tells the story of a weird nerd name Jeffery who’s girlfriend dies in a freak accident. Jeffery then looks for ways to put her back together using the body parts of dead hookers. This is one flick that needs to be seen to be believed. It’s fun from front to back with its offensive humor, gross-out scenes, and of all things, exploding hookers.

Slaughterhouse 

The second film was the 80’s slasher Slaughterhouse which, ironically, I bought at the last Hudson Horror.

The film is a mix of 80’s teen slashers, redneck Texas Chainsaw Massacre type films, and dark humor. Slaughterhouse is about the owner of a slaughterhouse and his mentally challenged son who talks in pig sounds. When the town decides to shut them down, the two start capturing the town’s officals and making them into meat along with teenagers who try to joke about the place. Slaughterhouse is lots of fun and one to check out if you like slashers.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Between Dream Warriors and Slaughterhouse was the mystery film. While I can’t say what it was I will say it’s a violent non-horror movie based on an old Manga and it was awesome.

Dream Warriors is my favorite Freddy sequel as the film takes the series into a more comedic/fantasy direction. In the third Nightmare installment, a band of teenagers discover they have special powers in their dreams which they use to battle Freddy Krueger. This film is 80’s cheese at it’s finest and a perfect finale to end the fest.

 

Manopera! Episode 42: The Death Of #DIY, The Maharaja Rises

by Chris Butera and Frank Lucci

Our hosts discuss the surprise endings and aftermath of WWE’s NXT TakeOver: Chicago and Backlash events. In addition, Spaceman Frank addresses the controversy surrounding the Alamo Drafthouse’s “women’s only” Wonder Woman screening event.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

SSEP: Episode 16 – For Whom Cyborg’s Bell Tolls / NXT Takeover / WWE Backlash Reviews

ssep-logo

by Jonathan Schorr

Jon goes solo this week, discussing UFC’s Chris Cyborg punching out cyber bullies and reviews WWE’s NXT TakeOver: Chicago and Backlash events.

Donate to our Patreon.

Harp House Episode 16: Mike Rubin’s “Live at Church” and the DM48!

by Connor J. Frontera

Reconnecting with his mentor, Frontera speaks with professional harmonica player Michael Rubin about his new Live Album “Live at Church;” an album packed with excellent musicianship and beautiful harmonies. Additionally, master harmonica player Rubin shows off the new DM48 Midi Harmonica Controller. More information about Rubin can be found at his website and YouTube channel.

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Why A Jinder Mahal Championship Reign is Best for Business

004_jinder_05012017ej_0089-d3ba085f5e78b846bbc95e86fc9babec
Credit: WWE.com

by Chris Butera

Tonight in Chicago’s Allstate Arena, Jinder Mahal will get possibly his only opportunity at the WWE Championship when he faces Randy Orton.

Although Mahal is arguably the most unlikely Superstar to receive a main event push of all time, putting the title on the Maharaja would not only be one of WWE’s boldest moves, but one of the most beneficial in the company’s 50 plus year history.

While Mahal’s xenophobic foreigner angle is nothing new to the world of sports entertainment(and is also the main variation of multiple xenophobic heel angle’s on SmackDown Live currently), the former 3MB member has been crushing it on the mic and in the ring with what he’s been given. Considering his pairing with the Sigh Brothers (formerly known as The Bollywood Boyz) and revealing on Chris Jercho’s Talk is Jericho podcast that Vince McMahon has been writing his promos personally, it seems that Jinder and his impressive new physique actually has a legitimate shot at holding the gold.

This would not only do wonders for the sports entertainment juggernaut’s relations with India, who only recently launched their WWE Shop e-commerce website (the main speculation on the reason for Mahal’s seemingly out of nowhere push), but for the entire roster of WWE talent. India is one of the hardest markets to break into for business and WWE also has never really had a large depth of talent from that well to draw from. The company has also not had an Indian World Heavyweight Champion since The Great Khali’s reign a decade ago. A championship reign for the Maharaja shows that WWE is willing to invest stock in new talents and mix things up rather than continue to rely on the same four mainstays and already established part timers.

The blue brand’s on-air Co-General Manager Shane McMahon recently said on the Stone Cold podcast that talent is afraid to try new things and approach Vince with ideas, so WWE giving someone different a fair shake could be a great motivator for young talent to speak up and potentially get their well-deserved opportunities as well. This very moment in time is eerily similar to “The New Generation” era 20 years ago, where WWE was forced to push young talent such as Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels due to steroid scandals, declining ratings and top guys jumping ship to then-competitor WCW.

Besides Mahal, India and the rest of the WWE locker room, the fans would benefit from this shift as well. The WWE Universe is very critical of the product, mostly venting about how inconsistent and predictable the writing could be. Although it came at a time of low ratings, Mahal’s push threw a huge monkey wrench into their complaints, and the reception has been pretty positive so far (a villain is actually getting booed by the crowd organically for a change). It’s familiar territory, but different because it’s with an unexpected talent, which the fans like. It shakes things up in terms of talent competing for the main championship, and that’s a great way to get people talking about your product in addition to giving them a reason to tune in.

By pushing different people, WWE will elevate the title, the talent and most importantly, the product itself for the better. Giving Jinder Mahal a run with the WWE title is a high-risk maneuver, but it could result in one of the best eras in the company’s history.

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Backlash 2017 Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

Backlash is upon us, and SmackDown Live’s first crack at a Pay-Per-View after WrestleMania has been a roller coaster of emotions for fans even before it began. We saw several key members of the SmackDown roster get sent to Raw, a House of Horrors match over at Payback, and roughly half the card put together in the final week before the show.

It is telling that WWE had me on the hook before Payback when they announced A.J. Styles vs. Kevin Owens, then lost my interest once the rest of the card filled out. Due to lackluster writing, I am now again looking forward to a match on another card, the Fatal Five Way Match for the WWE Universal Championship number one contender status at Extreme Rules.

WWE should stop announcing main events of the next PPV before the last one has even air.

Throw in a random NXT TakeOver and Backlash could very easily be lost to time almost as soon as it is over. I’m Spaceman Frank, and here are my WWE Backlash predictions.

Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English (Preshow Hoopla Funtime Carnival)

 He may be The Perfect Ten, but with WWE Creative continuing their habit of calling up talent with no real purpose for them, this is the best Mr. Dillinger can hope for.

Dillinger showed up on SmackDown with some decent momentum, but since then has just been responsible for filling time as SmackDown slowly becomes more and more like Raw with every passing week. He is going up against Aiden English, one of the many guys WWE has recently chosen to randomly push just to see what happens. English is now without a partner and back to singing (which I guess is a step forward from not being booked at all?).

Dillinger will get the win because English has less momentum and we cannot have all the random heels plucked from obscurity get the win.

Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan

This next match is one that has already happened repeatedly, but is now getting (some of) the attention it deserves. With no Bray Wyatt to add mystery and Randy Orton moving on from his crazy teenage goth days of 2016, this feud pretty much boils down to the two going “Well, I guess we should fight each other now.”

Rowan is wearing clown masks and giggling, which sure is something to behold. Is it better than the genius guitar player/wine expert he was before? We shall see. Meanwhile, Harper has been meandering around looking vaguely confused, and since he is forever my boy, I hope WWE figures out what they want to do with the talented big man (maybe give him a tweener role/mercenary roll similar to King Cuerno in Lucha Underground minus the deer headgear so he can feud with a variety of people in need of a quality opponent?).

Rowan has the fresh gimmick, but Harper gets the nod because, hey, it was a few weeks ago that he was rumored to be added to the WWE Championship match at WrestleMania. Remember those days? Good times…(cries into Luke Harper body pillow).

Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn

Another “Hey, you two, go slug it out for a bit” feud that came about for reasons unknown (I swear after the Superstar Shake-Up SmackDown’s creative team made up a dart board with people’s faces on it and drew up future plans based on which faces each dart hit the most).

Due to his size and look, Corbin seems destined to reach the main event scene, so taking on Zayn to get some heat makes a micron of sense. Zayn has been rudderless when not being beaten up by Braun Stroman, so I do not have much faith in him here (when was the last time he won a PPV match anyway?). Corbin wins to keep hating on internet dweebs and potentially join the ranks of suddenly elevated midcarders along with Jinder Mahal and Rusev.

Naomi, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch vs. The Welcoming Committee (with James Ellsworth)

For whatever reason we can’t get a Women’s Championship match on Backlash, so instead we get a thrown together “meh” match featuring the (mostly) female response to the Social Outcasts.

On the flipside, this at least gives Ellsworth something to do, and him being the cocky d-bag on the fringe of the women’s division is better than seeing him waste a main eventer’s time in the WWE title picture.

The big story of this match is the dissension among the champ’s teammates, as Charlotte is still gunning for the belt and Becky Lynch has briefly teasing turning to the dark side.

My prediction is that Ellsworth interferes when the Lass Kicker is on a roll, with Lynch thinking Charlotte was the one who messed her up, leading to a big brawl. Thus, the Welcoming Committee steals a win and everyone gets the bathroom break they deserve.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler

Oh, Dolph. You try so hard.

What everyone assumed would be The Miz vs. Nakamura is now being filled with Ziggler doing his best Miz impression (Seriously, does anyone really think Ziggler wins here?).

My Prediction: This.

Nakamura steamrolls Dolph and moves on to steamrolling others until SummerSlam, where he wins the John Cena lottery and faces off against The Face That Runs the Place.

The Usos (c) vs. Breezango (aka The Fashion Police) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match)

Tyler Breeze and Fandango have been responsible for the best segments on SmackDown in the past few weeks, and between The Fashion Files and Southpaw Regional Wrestling, these guys own WWE’s Youtube content.

It’s hard not to love these goofballs, and they are faces in all but name. However, they are still treated like jokes, so I do not have hope they will win against the Usos. Jimmy (shouldn’t he be James now? No good heel is named Jimmy) and Jey are much better heels then doofus good guys, and really deserve more of a focus than they are getting.

Are Breezy and ‘Dango the new Heath Slater and Rhyno? Maybe, but not now. Usos win.

Kevin Owens (c) vs. A.J. Styles (United States Championship Match)

The match that hands down will be the best on the card sees two of the internet’s favorites clash for SmackDown’s secondary title.

Owens has regressed with his “Face of America” gimmick, and with him, Mahal and potentially Rusev all trying to get heat by speaking different languages is lazy writing and even lazier booking (remember when SmackDown was the watchable show? NXT quickly took that title back, and now we get audiences booing a Canadian for speaking French despite being on the friendliest of terms with our northern neighbors).

Meanwhile, Styles can still do no wrong, so at least this match will be excellent to watch. I just wish he was getting the main event push again rather than propping up the midcard. Owens recently traded the title back and forth with Jericho, so I see him winning here since he still needs them after the Goldberg debacle.

Randy Orton (c) vs. Jinder Mahal (WWE Championship Match)

The main event is so hyped up that I have to remind my roommates what the main event of Backlash is roughly every three days.

There are many theories for why Mahal is getting a sudden main event push, from the WWE expanding into India to Vince McMahon loving his intensely muscled body.

To be fair, Jinder has done well with what WWE has given him, and barring the xenophobic “Boo me because I am speaking my native language” schtick he is playing the part well. After a few months of not being a joke instead of WWE’s usual “few weeks heel” build, I can believe him staying in the midcard.

Meanwhile, Orton is back to “zero effs given mode,” and I do not see him putting in any effort to get Jinder over as a legit threat considering he wouldn’t do it for Wyatt (Is Orton still supposed to be a good guy? I have zero interest in cheering him, and I think he is the most overrated superstar of the modern era. He does one move a year to remind you he is a good athlete, then coasts for the rest of the year). It would be great if WWE would just the belt off him and have him fart around away from the title picture forever, but not quite yet. Wait until Styles gets back into the title picture (or maybe even Rusev, the man more deserving of the Jinder push).

Orton wins and the crowd has a 50/50 chance of turning on this match.
…..DIVE

Spaceman Frank’s NXT Takeover: Chicago Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

NXT has snuck in a TakeOver event several weeks after WrestleMania, and the general reaction I’ve seen from people talking about this event is “There’s a TakeOver going on that week?”

It seems very random that WWE would pick Backlash of all Pay-Per-Views to piggyback a Takeover event onto, but when you consider that waiting until SummerSlam would be far too long for a TakeOver and the fact that Chicago is consistently one of the best crowds for wrestling, it makes a little bit more sense.

NXT has had a good run of television since ‘Mania and I dare say after a bit of a lull, the developmental brand has reemerged as the best weekly program WWE has going. Chicago promises to be a weird blend of established NXT talent with some new people thrown in to replace departed stars, which should be an explosive mix to watch. However, there are several notable people missing from the card (Kassius Ohno, Alister Black, Cien Almas, etc), and with only five matches announced as of this writing I expect a last minute match added just to screw with me. That said, I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my NXT Takeover: Chicago predictions!

Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young (with Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain)

The only (as of this writing) non-title match sees The Messiah of the Backbreaker taking on Tye Dillinger’s role as the thorn in Sanity’s side as he gets a one on one match with their leader Eric Young.

Strong has had a hell of a time in NXT since ‘Mania as he went from generically handsome dude who does not talk into someone I generally want to succeed. Part of this is the excellent vignettes NXT produced that addressed the gaping void where his personality should be. Another large part was his supremely enjoyable number one contender’s match with Hideo Itami that sold me on him being someone who can have main event matches. Finally, during his amazing vignette he wore an Every Time I Die “Hot Damn” album cover t-shirt, which is a golden ticket into Spaceman Frank’s heart.

Strong has all the momentum here, but since Young has the number’s game here I think he will get the win. He has a solid TakeOver record thus far, and I think this feud has legs so Young will draw first blood for Sanity.

Tyler Bate (c) vs. Pete Dunne (WWE UK Championship Match)

The title match with the least build, mostly because WWE shot the UK show tapings out of order so we knew Dunne was getting a rematch before we actually saw him win the privilege of facing Bate.

Bate was excellent during the UK tournament, but I can see Dunne on the main roster now and immediately becoming a player in the main event scene a la Samoa Joe. I’d go as as far as to say Triple H needs to make Evolution 2.0 (EV 2.0?? Oh wait…) with Joe, Dunne, Triple H (as Ric Flair) and Brock Lesnar where the group feud over who is Brock’s number one contender by proxy while The Beast Incarnate is off strangling Emu’s or whatever he does on his farm.

Anyway, Bate wins here because I feel like if they make the switch it will be on the new UK show to build interest in that rather than prop up a TakeOver special.

Asuka (c) vs. Ruby Riot vs. Nikki Cross (NXT Women’s Championship Match)

Ember Moon’s injury and subsequent withdrawal from this match has really deflated the hype surrounding it.

Moon vs. Asuka still feels like the endgame for the women’s division, though Asuka vs. Cross has me much more hyped than any other potential matchup. That leaves Ruby Riot to take the pin, and with Asuka oh so very close to breaking Goldberg’s record for longest undefeated streak there is no reason for her to lose. As of late, we have seen WWE make sure to break every possible record they can, and Goldberg’s will be next. Cross and Riot keep brawling with the Empress of Tomorrow avoiding them until she can kick Riot in the head and keep her title.

The Authors of Pain (c) (with Paul Ellering) vs. Team DIY (NXT Tag Team Championship Ladder Match)

I want to see the big boys known as the Authors of Pain fall of a ladder.

I am ready to see this match, and it is far and away the match I am most looking forward to. Team DIY constantly have the best match during TakeOvers, and even though they are tasked to carry the massive dudes in AOP in a match best fit for smaller guys, I’m all in. I see bodies flying, amazing feats of strength, and above all else, people tumbling off of ladders. NXT only does a handful of gimmick matches during the year, so it is telling how much DIY has management’s faith if they get the nod for a Ladder Match. With rumors swirling that Ciampa is getting a new theme and confirmation that Gargano’s new theme is in the works, people think DIY will split soon. Not sure about that leap in logic, but I think AOP gets the win here.

Author’s note: With the news that Ciampa has suffered some sort of leg injury, it seems even more in doubt that Team DIY will win the belts back. Triple H has gone on the record to say that the guy has turned an ankle and should be good to go, but reiterated the fact that it is up to the medical staff to make the final call. This gives AOP even more of an excuse to beat up Johnny Wrestling for 15 minutes as Ciampa recovers outside the ring for extended periods of time.

Bobby Roode (c) vs. Hideo Itami (NXT Championship Match)

Hideo is finally back (for real this time), and immediately punched his ticket to the title scene by beating Roderick Strong. It makes sense that he would face Roode, as he is a holdout of a class of WWE signees that, for the most part, have vacated NXT. It also makes sense that he goes right back to the main event scene since that’s where he was suppose to be this entire time if not for injuries.

However, plenty of time has passed, and now many of the attributes that made Itami stand out in 2015 are par for the course in WWE. Honestly, I can see him getting hot-shotted to the main roster, but only as a Cruiserweight on 205 Live. Roode is an engaging as ever, and he is a prime candidate for a callup in the summer. For now, I predict he keeps his championship and the sudden influx of main event caliber guys in NXT leads him to losing it in a multi-man match down the road.

Amon Amarth, Goatwhore at the Paramount

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by Anthony Carioscia

Although In Flames and Katakylsm were playing The Chance in Poughkeepsie, I had no interest. I don’t care for Katakylsm, plus I had a good feeling In Flames wasn’t going to play anything before Clayman (I’d later find out I was right).

Instead, my friend Don and I decided to go see Amon Amarth and Goatwhore for a much better show at The Paramount in Huntington, Long Island. Upon getting there we realized it was a pretty nice place and hung out at a bar for a bit before going inside. Once inside, we spoke with some cool Long Island metalheads until it was time for Goatwhore to get on stage.

Goatwhore 

Though we’ve both seen Goatwhore so many times (this was my sixth to be exact), they never get old live. The last time I saw them was 3 years ago, so you could say it had been awhile. The energy of their performance was insane and it was cool to see them play for a bigger crowd. We also got to hear all kinds of classics such as “Baring Teeth for Revolt” and “Apocalyptic Havoc.”

Amon Amarth

After Goatwhore finished, it was time for the band I was most excited about. Back in High School, Amon Amarth was one of the first death metal bands I had ever listened to and I still consider their early material through 2008 to be top-notch melodeath (the stuff after…not so much).

Their set tonight had a lot of newer songs and although I’m not a fan of that era, their performance on those tracks was great. Amon Amarth also played many great old-school tracks, including “Death in Fire,” “Twilight of the Thunder God,” “Pursuit of Vikings” and my all time favorite “Cry of the Black Birds.”

Out of the 2017 shows I’ve been to so far, this one was my favorite. Both bands had tons of energy and because the show only consisted of two great bands rather than an endurance test with four or more good and bad ones.

 

 

Harp House: Episode 15 – Custom Harmonicas/Midwest Harmonica Workshop

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by Connor Frontera

Connor recently started a thread on the Harmonica Gear Facebook page that turned into a great discussion, where many people weighed in the value of custom harmonicas.

Additionally, Harp House interviews Midwest Harmonica Workshop founder Sean Whalin O’Phelan to talk about the workshop and this year’s attendees.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Manopera! Episode 41: Bray Waytt’s House of Payback

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Chris and Spaceman Frank review WWE Payback and discuss current events in Pro Wrestling.

Donate to our Patreon at www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

F*ck Mondays! Episode 38: Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Review

Chris and Jon review Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2 with all the guts, glory and spoilers! Also reviewed is the trailer for the latest Marvel Netflix exclusive show, The Defenders.

Donate to our Patreon at www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

SSEP: Episode 15 – NFL Draft/WWE Payback Review, Cyborg Gets Her Shot

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by Jonathan Schorr

Jon and Matt review the NFL Draft and WWE Payback. Also discussed are MLB news and the UFC’s Cris “Cyborg” Justino finally getting her Featherweight Championship opportunity.

Donate to our Patreon at www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Bonesaw Podcast: Episode 52 – Matt de Rogatis

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We sit down with out first actor, Matt de Rogatis, who most recently reprised his role as Roy in the Off-Broadway play Lone Star. De Rogatis shares his story of how he got into acting and where his dreams have taken him.

Lone Star tickets can be purchased at DrinkBeerRaiseHell.com.

Donate to our Patreon at www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Lone Star: Captivating and Surreal

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The year is 1972. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an unknown issue developing in Vietnam veterans. Upon his return from the war, Roy (Matt de Rogatis) discovers both he and his life have changed in Jame’s McLure’s Lone Star, an off-Broadway play that encompasses a man slowly going insane from the shock of the things he’s seen while clinging to his past.

The short play gets right to the point as Roy, drunk on his favorite beer (Lone Star) heads to the backyard of a Texas bar and immediately acknowledges the stars in the sky, one of the recurring motifs in the one-hour show. We are then introduced to his brother Ray (Chris Loupos) and for a brief moment, Cletis (Greg Pragel) –  a friend of Ray who Roy despises for seemingly no particular reason. As Ray and Roy chat and reminisce about Roy’s glory days, we quickly realize Roy is not nearly as stable as he claims to be while brother Ray is dealing with his own issues.

The acting is impeccable. De Rogatis’s portrayal of an alcoholic post-war victim really hits home as his energy translates well across the stage. His use of facial expressions and body language carry the character convincingly as you continue to feel worse for the mood-swinging Roy every minute. Loupos shares a unique chemistry with de Rogatis as you can immediately tell the two characters are brothers, as well as which is older. Loupos also makes you believe Ray’s concern for his brother and his attempts to make everything seem alright while holding back the truth. Together, they work very well. Pragel also provides a somber comic relief in Cletis, who simply wants to be accepted by the macho Roy.

The play also provides a simple, yet relatable premise while making fantastic use of what little time the actors have. From the mcguffin in Roy’s 1959 pink Thunderbird to his marital struggles to Ray and Cletis’ secrets, the elements are peppered in at the right moments where nothing feels forced. The dialogue feels real enough to suggest that similar conversations have happened many times in reality during this particular period, and even now with current war/military vets. Even the southern accents are done to a T (for Texas, that is).

Additionally, Lone Star also has a series of motifs sprinkled thoughout the presentation. Stars are a metaphor for Roy (indicated by his beverage of choice) and everyone he’s ever known and loved (the stars in the sky). Another is Hank William’s 1953 classic “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”

The one issue with Lone Star is it’s ending. Despite all the turmoil and build, the play tries to end on a positive note. This is not only confusing as there is no real resolve to Roy’s growing problems, but not entirely believable unless Roy really is that drunk (which is plausible). However, the audience will be left with many questions and the desire to see the true aftermath of Roy and Ray’s night out.

At the end of the night, Lone Star is a quick, yet large dose of drama with a great cast and script. Despite a light hiccup of a finale, you have a solid show that makes a strong brew out of the limited hops, grains and barley it’s given.

Lone Star is moving off-Broadway to The Triad May 6th and 13th. Tickets can be purchased at DrinkBeerRaiseHell.com.

F*ck Mondays! Episode 37: Criticizing The Critics

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Chris and Jon call out the critics for their most heinous Guardians of the Galaxy 2 reviews and praise the fans for sticking to their guns. Also spoken about are Fox’s next X-Men related projects and more.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Payback 2017 Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

Oh boy, here we go.

I’m trying to come up with some positives for Raw (and the WWE’s) first post-WrestleMania Pay-Per-View, and they have decided to go in some…odd directions for it. Sure, the Superstar Shakeup was exciting, but since then we’ve seen Raw go from a decent hour and a half (on Hulu) to barely capable of making a compelling top ten moments video on YouTube. At least we have our lord and savior Braun Strowman to give us something entertaining while Universal Champ Brock Lesnar is busy counting his money while consuming an entire buffalo.

It’s amazing how much drop in quality Raw has suffered compared to SmackDown Live and NXT, who have used the Superstar Shakeup and infusion of new talent to gamely keep the ball rolling after WrestleMania. That said, I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my predictions for Payback.

Enzo and Big Cass vs.  The Club (Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson) (Pre-show Filler Bonanza)

While I’m generally pretty happy that The Hardy Boyz are back in WWE, these two teams got pretty screwed over by their arrival. The Club lost their belts at ‘Mania, and Enzo and Cass had what many assumed to be their big moment usurped by the returning Attitude Era team. WWE has now hoofed these two tag teams back to the pre-show where Enzo can waste a few minutes referencing local sports teams and feces while The Club wear nice coats and call people nerds. My preferred route after this PPV is The Club regaining their titles and beat Matt enough so he becomes broken again, where he and Enzo can have a professional debate that simply DELIGHTFUL.

Anyway, The Club wins because Enzo and Big Cass always lose.

Kevin Owens (c) vs. Chris Jericho (United States Championship Match where if Jericho wins, he is transferred to SmackDown Live)

Jericho is getting back to his band Fozzy and not expected to be seen past the week after Payback, so I wonder who’s going to win?

Owens needs some image rehab after losing to a “real” Superstar in Goldberg, and while his WrestleMania matchup with Y2J was decent, I do not see this being a masterpiece like the ending of the Owens  Sami Zayn feud. For one, there is no real stipulation, which seems very odd all things considered. Two, while these guys can wrestle a fine technical match, I’ve lost so much interest in this feud since the Festival of Friendship that I need more to go on besides countering each other’s significant moves. Owens wins and continues to speak french like the dirty Canadian heel he is until WWE remembers Zayn is also on SmackDown and have them start fighting again.

Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)

These guys had a damn fine match at ‘Mania, and having them open that show was smart to draw some casual fans into the Cruiserweight style. Now Aries gets his rematch, and I hope they can build on their previous encounter to deliver some real excitement here. Aries has embraced his good guy role, but I really see him more as a bad guy in the long term. Neville is probably the best booked champ in WWE, so I think they will keep him on top of the purple brand while they cycle in different challengers to help them get over. 

Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe

This is a match, and it is happening (that’s all I got for this one).

While ‘Mania probably would have been a better stage for these two to go at it rather than on this throwaway show, Triple H is busy doing whatever COO’s do in real life (concocting shady business deals on a boat while surrounded by bikini clad ladies, perhaps?).  I do not think this match will be bad as long as Rollins’ knee holds up, but this is just a standard singles match so both talents have something to do on the PPV.

While there is a story here, WWE has dropped the ball yet again when it comes to Rollins’ babyface run. This match has the potential to really start a great feud, and I think Joe will get the win in a situation mirroring Rollin’s original injury to get the ball rolling on Joe’s inevitable Universal Championship run.

The Hardy Boyz (c) vs. Sheamus and Cesaro (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match)

Matt “Broken on Twitter Only” Hardy and Jeff “I’m Also Here” Hardy are taking on Sheamus and Cesaro for the Tag Team Championships, but with a bland story and no real build, this is another match that also happens to be happening.

The Hardy Boyz only have a limited time before the nostalgia well runs dry, so considering the recent acquisition of the “Broken” Matt Hardy gimmick from Anthem Sports & Entertainment, hopefully WWE starts planting the seeds of the “Broken” Hardy’s with this match.

Sheamus and Cesaro are really good as a team, but I still want them to split because I think the main event scene could easily use both of these dudes, especially while Lesnar is choking out whatever dangerous beasts live in North Dakota (Bears? T-Rex’s??? Half bears half T-Rex hybrids???). The Hardy’s win while The Dudley Boyz sadly eat their mac and cheese wishing they got this kind of treatment when they came back to WWE.

Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss (Raw Women’s Championship Match)

We get a desperately needed fresh matchup in the Raw’s Women’s division with Bayley taking on Bliss in what should be a pretty fine match.

Bliss came into her own the more SmackDown relied on her, and I think she is a suitable feud for Bayley as WWE continues to delay Sasha Bank’s heel turn for reasons unknown. Raw does not seem to know how to book their Women’s belt, as they went from record-setting reigns to switching the title every few months. Bayley has suffered from this throughout her brief run, so I can definitely see Bliss walking away with the belt to set up some back and forth title switches. However, now that WrestleMania is over I think cooler heads will prevail and Bayley will retain to keep that preteen girl money coming in.

Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt (House of Horrors Match)

What was once Bray’s rematch for the WWE Championship is now an inter-brand match where nobody knows what a “House of Horrors” actually is (did I transport to a Vince Russo era TNA PPV?).

I really want House of Horrors to be a secret tie-in with Swerved Season Three where Bray and Randy are confronted with their real life fears in a locked room for an hour, complete with picture in picture updates throughout the night as they freak out. What will actually happen has been vaguely described as a Boiler Room/ Hollywood Backlot Brawl where the area in question is the Wyatt Compound – which just so happens to be in driving distance of the arena (yes, really). Since this is now a non-title match for reasons unknown, I see Bray winning due to Erik Rowan jumping ship since a solo Rowan still loyal to Bray makes zero sense.

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman

Because we have displeased some deity, Roman Reigns is here to demolish your hopes and dreams of a watchable Raw by beating up the entertaining wrestlers on the roster with the same three moves over and over and over again.  

The Abominable Strowman is the best part of Raw, and seeing a stupidly large yet agile man throw people around is amazing in itself. He has buckets of charisma (something Reigns wishes he had), making Strowman the Internet’s hatred of Reigns made flesh, and I really, truly hope he gets the win here.

However, WWE has made the baffling decisions to A) have Kalisto beat Strowman the Raw before Payback and B) not make this an ambulance match despite Strowman TIPPING OVER A GODDAMN AMBULANCE IT WAS RIGHT THERE WWE WHAT ARE YOU DOING???

If the rumors of Strowman getting Lesnar down the line are true then I am going with the Monster Among Men here. Reigns has had a rough few weeks personally and physically, but he does not need this win since he already beat Braun at Fastlane. Plus, they can always do the ambulance match later – or maybe an inferno match at Great Balls of Fire, which is a real thing because WWE does not want you to feel cool for watching wrestling.

SSEP: Episode 14 – 2017 NFL Draft Special

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by Jonathan Schorr

The boys and special guest “The Young Man” Hakim preview the NFL draft, which airs on ESPN this Thursday night at 8.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Harp House Episode 14: Which Position?

by Connor J. Frontera

A small Facebook conversation with newly endorsed Seydel player, Russell Huffer, sparked big thoughts about which position to use when playing different music.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw

Manopera! Episode 40: All Shook Up

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We cover a lot of ground as the dynamic duo analyze the Superstar Shake-Up, the growing Mauro Ranallo/JBL situation and more. Chris recaps his experience at the WWE shareholder meeting and reads the news as Dusty Rhodes. Spaceman Frank cuts a promo on United Airlines.

This episode is dedicated to the memory of Matt “Rosey” Anoa’i.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

SSEP: Episode 13 – The World of Sports/This Week in WWE

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by Jon Schorr

Jon and Matt delve into major sports news including the NY Rangers win over the Montreal Canadiens, some NBA playoff news, the beginning of the new MLB season, some major UFC talk and review this week in WWE.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Yooka-Laylee: Familiar and Fulfilling

by Robert Orr

The year is 1998, and the Nintendo 64 is one of the hottest video game consoles on the market.

Coming off the success of Goldeneye, RareWare launches one of the greatest platformers of all time in Banjo-Kazooie. The game featured hilarious dialogue, endearing characters, vibrant graphics, and most importantly of all, exciting and rewarding gameplay. Rare followed up with a number of classics, which include a much loved sequel (aptly named Banjo-Tooie), Donkey Kong 64, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and Perfect Dark. Soon after, Nintendo announced the Gamecube, and rumors began circulating of what Rare’s next classic would be. Banjo-Threeie was teased numerous times, but the wait continued.

However, Rare and Nintendo’s partnership ended, and the company was acquired by Microsoft. Rare began developing games for the Xbox and later Xbox 360. Some were good, some were bad, but many were left wondering if Banjo-Threeie would ever see the light of day.

Eventually, news of a new Banjo-Kazooie game (Nuts and Bolts) finally surfaced. When the game was finally released, many fans were disappointed, as the classic platforming gameplay of the originals was replaced with a strange vehicle building quasi-sandbox. Suffice to say, the game was not well received by fans and critics alike, and many feared there would never be a true sequel to Banjo-Kazooie.

In 2012, a group of game designers, all veterans of RareWare’s heyday, decided to come together and form a new company, which would eventually be known as Playtonic Games. A Kickstarter for their newest endeavor, a true spiritual successor to RareWare’s greatest hit platformers, was successfully funded – a game called Yooka-Laylee.

Much like its precursors, Yooka-Laylee is a platforming game with a focus on collecting various items throughout large open worlds. Some of these items are used to buy new moves to help the titular heroes reach new areas of the game previously unreachable.

The main collectible, Pagies, are similar to Banjo-Kazooie’s Jiggies. Pagies are used to unlock new levels, and also “expand” existing levels, a new feature unique to Yooka-Laylee. Levels initially start off kind of small, but by paying a certain amount of extra Pagies (depending on the level), new sections of the level become available for the player to explore. Pagies are collected by completing various challenges throughout the level, which include completing puzzles and platforming challenges, defeating bosses, and simple exploration.

There’s also Ghost Writers, which are a bit tougher to collect, as they must be defeated and/or captured using the various special moves acquired throughout the game. There are additional unique items to be collected, which can be used in various ways in each level.

The levels themselves are huge. Banjo-Kazooie and Tooie were both known for their large levels (especially for the N64 era), but Yooka-Laylee takes it to the next level. With the edition of the expand feature, levels go from average-sized to gigantic worlds with a plethora of secrets. Each level is accessed through the hub world, Hivory Towers – this game’s analogue to Gruntilda’s Castle. Hivory Towers is massive in itself, with dozens of branching paths and secrets to be found. Aside from being the area where all the worlds are contained, Hivory Towers also serves as its own unique level, with various hidden collectibles and puzzles the player must complete in order to advance.

The characters are endearing and funny. Yooka the chameleon serves as the level-headed voice of reason of the duo, while Laylee the bat is a comedic and slightly sardonic foil to that. The main boss of the game, Capital B., is a nefarious honeybee businessman, and much like Gruntilda from Banjo-Kazooie, mocks Yooka and Laylee as they progress throughout the hub world. Capital B.’s partner is a strange duck head in a jar named Dr. Quack, who acts as the bumbling sidekick, designing trivia games to try and slow the player down as they progress through the game.

Also much like its predecessors, Yooka-Laylee features many side characters, as pretty much every item and inanimate object in the game can actually talk, and each of these side characters will quickly become loved by the player.

Graphically, Yooka-Laylee is gorgeous, featuring vibrant colors, dynamic light and shadows, and amazing high-def textures. The character animations are fluid and smooth, and the various transformations and special abilities are all creatively designed. The levels, aside from their titanic topography, are beautiful and unique, spanning various environments, from a tropical paradise to a frozen tundra – and even a casino. As with everything else, these levels are colorful and visually appealing, and players may find themselves climbing to the highest point of each level to just admire the scenery.

There are however, a few performance hiccups, which is to be expected from a game this new, and will most likely be patched as time goes on. It has also been reported by individuals who received early copies of the game that the camera had some issues. However, a first day patch seems to have fixed whatever problems there were with the camera, and aside from a few areas where it can get a bit crazy, the camera control is fairly solid.

Overall, Yooka-Laylee is a well-designed game, and while it does have a few flaws, these are minor in comparison to all the positive aspects of the game. Veterans of the original RareWare classics on the N64 will love Yooka-Laylee, although the gameplay may seem a bit dated to younger players. That said, Yooka-Laylee really does bring something for everyone to the table, and even younger players will grow to love it with time. The gameplay is simple enough for anyone to pick up and play, but has enough difficulty that even seasoned players of the platforming genre will find themselves with quite a challenge in completing the levels.

For those Rare fans who’ve been waiting years for Banjo-Threeie, the wait is finally over, and although it isn’t a true Banjo-Kazooie sequel, Yooka-Laylee certainly fills that void.

Bonesaw Podcast: Episode 51 – Gatecreeper’s Chase Mason

Chase Mason from Arizona’s Gatecreeper pops by to chat about the band’s album “Sonoran Deprevation,” the state of the music industry, and more.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

F*ck Mondays! Episode 36: Marvel/DC Shakeup

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Chris and Jon talk the latest Marvel and DC trailers, Joss Whedon directing the new Batgirl movie, and a whole lot more.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Manopera! Episode 39: WrestleMania 33 Part 2 – DayShiftAMania Runs Wild

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Chris and Spaceman Frank are joined by www.ProWrestlingOpinion.com‘s Nicholas Jason Lopez to review WrestleMania 33, it’s aftermath, and speculate on the “Superstar Shakeup” angle. Spaceman Frank cuts a promo on the JBL/Mauro Ranallo situation.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Harp House Episode 13: Interview with Janalyn Miklas

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by Connor J. Frontera

In this episode, Connor interviews harmonica “Royalty” Janalyn Miklas to discuss women in the industry and the future of the instrument. Miklas also shares a few funny and personal moments about her most embarrassing performance.

Check out some of Susan Sauter’s work here.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw

SSEP – Episode 12: WrestleMania 33 Review and Aftermath

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by Jonathan Schorr

Jon and Matt review the “ultimate thrill ride” known as WrestleMania 33 and tackle the aftermath from Raw and SmackDown Live.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Manopera! Episode 38: WrestleMania 33 Part 1 – NXT TakeOver Orlando

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For the first half of our WrestleMania 33 coverage, we begin with NXT TakeOver: Orlando. Spaceman Frank cuts a promo on Amy Schumer and her recent swimsuit cover controversy.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Bonesaw Podcast: Episode 50 – Patrick Hickey Jr.

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In order to start a journey, you need someone to make an impact on your life. That person is our guest for our latest podcast, Patrick Hickey Jr. Hickey is an author, professor, and editor in-chief of reviewfix.com. We talk his upcoming video games book, journalism, and more.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

DNC Unable to Watch ‘Mania, Blames Russia

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The DNC was rather upset Sunday evening, but not for the reasons you may think.

The entire committee gathered at the Clinton estate to watch WrestleMania 33, but things went awry after the one hour WWE Kickoff special on the USA Network aired.

“Due to large amounts of delays, we were unable to watch WrestleMania,” said Hillary Clinton, an avid John Cena fan. “We believe the Russians hacked into our Xbox One console, sabotaging The Ultimate Thrill Ride for the Democratic Party.”

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin could not be reached for comment, but sources say he was very upset Rusev was unable to compete due to his shoulder injury and hopes he receives a proper main event push upon return.

“This is preposterous,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, who had no issues watching the event on his 80-inch Smart TV from his Vermont home. “Everyone knows the WWE Network lags on the Xbox One, plus when you account for the amount of new subscribers and people watching this event, it’s very clear that Russia has nothing to do with this.”

Over in the White House, the Trump Administration thoroughly enjoyed The Show of Shows on their Playstation 4. However, Vice-President Mike Pence was reportedly unable to watch any matches involving women as his wife Karen was out running errands all day.

“Mother and I love Bayley,” said the Vice-President.

It was also reported that President Trump and his wife Melania were having marital issues over the main event as Melania is a huge fan of Roman Reigns – a Superstar her husband despises.

“He’s hot and has muscles,” said the First Lady before calming down her son Baron, who was upset his favorite Superstar Baron Corbin did not win the Intercontinental Championship from Dean Ambrose.

President Trump could not be reached for comment, but we were told by Secret Service Agents that he thought “very bigly” of this year’s event and popped huge for the returning Hardy’s.

Then. Now. Hoax.

Spaceman Frank’s WrestleMania 33 Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

WrestleMania 33 is almost upon us, and it has to be better than last year’s WrestleMania…right?

The overall build has been very vanilla for the most part, with a few matches given stellar storylines while others feel like WWE just picked names out of a hat, announced a match, then moved on. Even more curious is that WWE has chosen to fill up much of the Raws and SmackDowns before the Ultimate Thrill Ride with mini rivalries that won’t even factor into the main show such as Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman, Luke Harper vs. Bray Wyatt, and Charlotte vs. Dana Brooke. Sure, there might be something to these throwaway matches on WrestleMania, but why cram all that into the preamble when you could just wait until after the Show of Shows and actually build up the main matches for the biggest show of the year?

However, it is WrestleMania after all, and there is always enough buzz in the air about the event to keep you excited enough to check it out. As I explained it to my manager at work, WrestleMania is like Christmas if it lasted for three days…so I guess that makes it a Mini-Hanukkwanzikkah. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my WrestleMania 33 predictions!

2017 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

I wish this opened the show proper, as battle royals are always fun and wacky affairs and a good way to cart out all the mid and lower card wrestlers to give them some attention before the “real” (AKA part time) wrestlers take over the show. WWE initially seemed to be trying to build up this event by announcing a few guys early, but then did absolutely nothing with this match for weeks. Then they plugged in all the guys from SmackDown’s tag team division (sorry lads, better luck next year!) and here we go.

Really, this is the Braun Strowman show, and it seems stupidly obvious he is going to win here. I think it will come down to him and Sami Zayn, Zayn will struggle a bit, and then he will get tossed into the second row of the arena and crowd surfed away. Or maybe James Ellsworth will be last and sneak out a victory before being thrown into the second bowl of the stadium. Or, Beth Phoenix will enter and recreate her spot from the 2010 Royal Rumble and kiss Strowman so she can eliminate him. Just kidding, Strowman is hoofing people over the rope like it’s his favorite activity (which it is).

Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)

Aries, being the pro that he is, sold me on this match when a fan asked him if he was upset that he was on the pre-show. He responded with “The pre-show just became must-watch, so no.” Classic.

I think this has potential to be a top three match of the evening, and both men have elevated the Cruiserweight division. The problem is while they are riding high they forgot to bring the rest of the division with them. I really wish they would have made this a multi man ladder match to get more people involved, but whatever. Neville needs to keep the belt here, but Austin is not a bad choice to prematurely end the reign of the king. Neville wins and this feud lasts for quite a bit as both men step up their game and keep the division hot.

Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin (Intercontinental Championship Match)

With the Smackdown women getting the bump back up to the main card of ‘Mania, I honestly think this will take it’s place on the pre-show. It’s not fair to the men involved because they have made the most of the limited minutes of TV time they have seemed to get over four weeks to build this.

Ambrose has done nothing since getting the belt, which is a shame considering Miz and Dolph Ziggler worked so hard to get people to actually care about the Intercontinental title again. Corbin does really well whenever the WWE give him something to sink into, and this feud has plenty of untapped potential. Also, if it were taking place at any other time it would be a marquee match. Instead, they’ll probably get the shaft and we get a condensed version of what could have been. Corbin wins because he needs the belt while Ambrose can bounce around wherever needed. Plus, Corbin has a better chance of elevating the belt to where it was before.

The Club (c) vs. Enzo and Big Cass vs. Sheamus and Cesaro (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Ladder Match)

This would have been my choice to get bumped to the preshow if it was not for the ladder stipulation that was tacked on after Sheamus had his head graphically split open. It seems like an odd stipulation given that there are plenty of huge men that I don’t see flying around and falling off ladders. I get the sinking feeling Enzo is going to bounce around like a pinball, and maybe Cesaro will fly around as well doing something inhumanly athletic (seriously, I’m pretty sure the guy is part of the X-Men. Is Cesaro secretly Cyclops? I’ve never seen them in the same room…). Anyway, I’d like The Club to retain now that they actually have the belts, but I think Enzo and Cass will get the win. They will have the feel good moment of the night, and since they are all over the Network’s build to the event it would make sense. They have deserved gold for some time, and it might as well be at WrestleMania.

Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Carmella vs. Becky Lynch vs Natalya vs. Mickie James vs. Naomi (Six Pack Challenge for WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)

After some confusion with Naomi’s injury status we initially had this match advertised as SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss competing against every available women wrestler on the blue brand going for the belt.

However, WWE is now selling this as a Six Pack Challenge, so I’m not sure if any surprise entrants are coming. I’ll just take this match as is, but if any surprise entrants do show up I think it will be Tamina Snuka over somebody like Asuka (especially since she retained her NXT Women’s Championship at NXT TakeOver: Orlando). Despite the multitude of ladies in this match, this might as well be Bliss vs. Naomi since they are the only two with a real chance of winning. Naomi is the popular pick here to win in her hometown, but Bliss is just too good as champ to lose the belt this quick. I think Bliss will retain after we get the customary R1 chain of finishers spot and we can transition into continuing her feud with Naomi.

Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles

After putting the company on his back for months and delivering stellar matches with everyone under the sun, Styles deserves a better ‘Mania match than Shane O’Mac. The Boy Wonder pretty much has just one move – and while it is a spectacular one, this match is just a standard one, so I doubt we will see him dropping elbows off of something tall.

Instead, Styles will spend the whole match making his onscreen boss look good, despite Shane’s history of rather dubious boxing (drop the punches and focus on either diving off things or learning some real moves). That being said, they did do a fine job of building this contest, and they could not really do anything else differently to make it better. Shane is the weak point in it all, and we don’t need a Shane O’Mania match every year to go with the Undertaker and Triple H matches every year.

AJ wins and moves on to something bigger and better once the part timers are gone.

Seth Rollins vs. Triple H (Non-Sanctioned Match)

I have a big problem with this match from a kayfabe perspective. If Rollins signed the Hold Harmless papers and agreed to an unsanctioned match, what is to stop Triple H from bringing Samoa Joe or even some NXT callups from just dogpiling on Rollins?

Issues with the logic aside, this will be a fun little match depending on how healthy Rollins really is. WWE keeps running video packages telling us how devastatingly hurt he is, yet for a guy coming to the ring in crutches he sure can hit a lot of leg/knee-based moves (RIP kayfabe). Triple H will work said knee and generally be an evil bastard for a while, send Rollins to Dad Bod City before Crossfit Jesus recovers and wins the match via Holy Crossfit Powers (it is a Sunday, after all).

John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse

The build to this has been absolutely golden, and it is easy to get people into this match based on the easily consumable YouTube videos that the skits and promo wars have produced.

Props to WWE for realizing that giving The Miz a chance to jab and poke the bear is the best. He is so good, and while people think this is a step down for Cena I think this is a makeup made in heaven. Plus, getting their respective female life partners involved also helps elevate their own division in the process. Sure, Maryse has not competed since coming back to WWE, but she is a former Divas champ and can go if need be. Having these two alongside a bonafide Superstar like Cena and the veteran Miz shows WWE has faith in their women to compete with the best of the men.

Cena has said that he is going to run through Miz with no problem, which makes me think Mr. and Mrs. Miz are going to get the win. Maryse gets the sneaky heel rollup because The Miz’s are just that good of bad guys. As for the rumored proposal of Cena to Nikki, I honestly don’t care, but if they do get engaged then congrats – but only if it’s for real and not happy ending storyline purposes (which would actually prove Miz right, turning Cena heel in real life).

Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte vs. Nia Jax (Fatal 4-Way for WWE Raw Women’s Championship)

WWE shot their load early by giving the title to Bayley on Raw, which would have been the WrestleMania worthy moment. Instead, she ended Charlotte’s undefeated Pay-Per-View streak at Fastlane to further kill interest in this match and then said “screw it” and added Sasha Banks and then Nia Jax to this feud.

I think this was WWE’s only choice, and hopefully they mix things up soon because I am rapidly growing sick of seeing the same matches over and over again on Raw. Jax is my dark horse here, and I think she needs to eliminate Charlotte to establish how dominant she really is, then feud with her going forward. Sasha and Bayley should then team up to take Jax down before Sasha does a betrayal five to win the belt.

Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens (United States Championship Match)

THE MEGA BEST FRIENDS EXPLODE!

The Festival of Friendship is the new standard of ending friendships in wrestling, and since then these two men have done…not a whole lot. Sure, Owens lost the Universal Championship when Y2J meandered out at Fastlane to distract him, but since then Owens has been regulated to one of Triple H’s lackeys – the other being Samoa Joe (who for reasons unknown is not on the card at all). Jericho will probably be done with his current run by May, and since he has done nothing with the US title, I see Owens grabbing it here.

They then can have an Extreme Rules match to settle things and have Owens destroy him to write Jericho off TV. Then we can pray for an Evolution 2.0 with Owens, Joe, Pete Dunne, and Triple H because that would be excellent.

Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship Match)

One of the best long term stories WWE has put on since Rock vs. Cena sees Bray finally getting his belt and defending it against WWE’s longest tenured crazy person.

Seeing Wyatt get his due was great, but the build to this match since has been hit and miss. Orton commits arson and nobody but AJ Styles seems to bat an eye, while Wyatt spreads ashes all over himself and gets some buddies to beat up Orton with him. This should be a Triple Threat with Luke Harper involved, but maybe next month he can get his chance at the main event. However, I see Harper making his presence felt before the returning Erick Rowan takes him out and helps Wyatt retain.

Side note: I really don’t want to see babyface Orton on top of SmackDown. He is a boring good guy and I just cannot handle it. Please don’t do this WWE.

Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE Universal Title Match)

You know you’ve got a barnburner of a match on your hands when the champ has wrestled five minutes in the past three months, has two moves in his arsenal, and has not defended the belt since winning it.

When your champion of a brand featuring some truly talented individuals threatens to hit a third move in interviews, you know your main event scene is messed up. Brock Lesnar has been severely damaged by all this, so I hope he destroys Goldberg to win the belt and we get The Beast returning to his unstoppable ways. With Goldberg’s run rumored to be finished after ‘Mania, he is probably going to lose.

The next night on the Raw after ‘Mania, Finn Balor comes out and challenges Brock to a match for the belt he never lost, kicks Lesnar’s head in, and I start caring about the Universal Championship again.

Side note: The Beast Incarnate vs. The Demon King is serious money. Please do this WWE.

The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns

This is rumored to go on last, and I think it should – especially if this is Undertaker’s last match (judging from his frankly rough look over the past few weeks, I believe this to be true).

Triple H has already stated in interviews that Reigns is the heel here, so I’m glad they’re smart enough to realize that nobody is cheering him over ‘Taker. ‘Taker does not seem very mobile, so this will be a plodding affair since Reigns is not good enough to elevate a match with a limited opponent. Expect a greatest hits package from Undertaker in a match that will be more memorable for the crowd giving Reigns the business rather than anything entertaining happening in the ring. Reigns wins due to ‘Taker being a pro and wanting to put people over, plus the rumored ‘Mania 34 main event of Reigns vs. Lesnar being more interesting if both men have beaten the Undertaker at WrestleMania.

For more of Spaceman Frank’s antics, check out Spacemanfrank.com and listen to our pro wrestling podcast, Manopera!

Spaceman Frank’s NXT TakeOver: Orlando Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

It’s time again for WWE to put on their biggest show of the year. Lately, that big show had been overshadowed by the critically acclaimed Takeovers that precede it, which act like the Guardians of the Galaxy films to the populist Avengers movies. They are not suppose to be better, but really, with this cast, how could they not be? This year it seems like WWE has made a concentrated effort to tamper or even dull the NXT before Wrestlemania, with the build being built primarily on video packages as other people who are not even on the card (cough, Kassius Ohno) to keep the weekly NXT shows running in the meantime. I mean, I get that WWE does not wanting for Shinsuke during the main event of their big show like last year, but why not just try to make Mania better rather than hurt NXT? Petty conspiracy theories aside, until NXT actually disappoints me I will be all in on their live events, and their is plenty to like here despite the promo package heavy build. I am Spaceman Frank, and here are my NXT: Orlando predictions.

Team Perfect Best Friends (Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, No Way Jose, and Ruby Riot) vs. Sanity

The big question here is if this will be the standard WWE mixed tag match, or if NXT will be bold and allow Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross to mix it up with the boys. It would make sense for Cross to attack the men since that would very much be in her character, and I believe the best way to get the debuting Ruby over with new fans is to have her stand up to Sanity and lay into them  regardless of gender. I like everyone here, and given that this is one of the best built up feuds in NXT, I think NXT can have a brawl for the ages here. If this is a plain jane mixed tag natch I see Cross getting the win to give Sanity some cred and herself some momentum because I think she is next up for the Women’s Championship. If everyone can hit anyone I think this will end up being an epic chain of finishers that give Tye a win that he is desperate for. Dillinger has put in the work in NXT, and her deserves a Big Damn Hero moment for once. In front of the Mania crowds right in the backyard of NXT and I think The Perfect Ten gets the pin.

Aleister Black vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas

Another big debut sees the former Tommy End get his proper debut (after showing up during the UK Tournament in an exhibition loss to Neville) against Almas. Almas has gotten so much better as a heel, and honestly I see him taking over the mantle of cocky heel for Bobby Roode whenever he gets called up. It seems odd then that NXT would feed him to their next big debut, and it is even stranger that Kassius Ohno is nowhere to be found despite being all over NXT TV the past weeks. Ohno has not exactly impressed since coming back, and NXT honestly seems to be punishing him by having him lose and wear unflattering outfits. I think a triple threat between the three would have been dynamite and add an air of mystery here, but without Ohno I see Black getting the win. He is knew, he has a stellar look, and he can be the star power NXT will need post-Mania. I just hope Almas gets his stuff in and looks good here because NXT is going to need him to step up even more in the weeks and months to come.

Asuka (c) vs. Ember Moon (NXT Women’s Championship Match)

Asuka is facing literally the only women possible that seems to have a remote chance to take her championship. I should be super hyped for this and yet…I am not. Triple H is on the record for saying he is not pleased that the NXT Women’s Division was gutted by the WWE draft, and it really shows that only Asuka and Moon are the legit ladies left who can get the crowd into a singles match for the belt. But the booking has done Ember Moon no favors, and she has been hot and cold since her debut the past summer in Brooklyn. She is undefeated, sure, but she appears infrequently and did not face as stiff competition as Asuka has. I think Asuka will win here in a competitive match, then go the main roster (preferably Smackdown because in generally I think they handle people much better there). She is very close to breaking Goldberg’s streak, and if there is one thing WWE loves is stats they can parade around every week. Have her keep the streak intact so she has a default storyline and drawn out her beating each person on the roster as she gets closer. Then we get Asuka vs Charlotte in the battle of ladies with have/had streaks to get her past 176. Asuka is ready and we need new blood ASAP. Meanwhile to cover the cost of getting to the main roster she gives up her NXT championship without losing it and the long rumored women’s tournament crowns a new champ in Moon leading to an eventual rematch down the line. Book it Triple H the Spaceman demands it (please don’t hurt me).

Authors of Pain (c) vs. The Revival vs. Team DIY (Triple Threat Match for the NXT Tag Team Championships)

This is NXT’s (and WWE’s by extension) Big Giant Indy Exhibition Craziness Matchup of the weekend. The important (aka only) tag teams in NXT go at it all at once, and this will surely big the match that people talk about when the dust has settled on the weekend. Team DIY and The Revival are opposite sides of the same workhorse coin, while The Authors of Pain are the stereotypical team WWE craves while at the same time showing of some impressive moves when asked. Something special is here, and what I really want is a Wrestlemania 17 TLC match between the three to crown the next wave of stellar tag teams going forward. Instead, we get an elimination match between the teams, which is fine but I really want to see something that requires people to crash and burn to achieve glory. I could almost see the two smaller teams teaming up on Authors of Pain to take them out, but I think they are keeping the belt her and sticking around to dominate for a long time as is customary in NXT I could also see the long standing split between Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Wrestling actually happen if not for the fact that NXT (and WWE) are desperate for tag teams. I think The Revivial are the ones out first because they are the most main roster ready (Evolution 2.0 with them, Joe, and Pete Dunne with Triple H being the shadow puppet master please!) and to balance things out between face and heels. But in the end AOP needs the belts to stay relevant, as heel tag teams have a bad record in NXT once they lose the belts.

Bobby Roode (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (NXT Championship Match)

After putting on a psychological showcase, we now get Roode trying to fend off a pissed off Nakamura in Orlando. What I do not get is WWE first running the injury angle of Nakamura, followed by backstage or pre taped segments of the former champ. I can give a pass on the whole injury angle if I believed for a second Nakamura was actually inured. Meanwhile, Shinsuke is best in front of a live crowd to feed off their energy and showcase his charisma, as he just does not have the same effect over Twitter updates and taped footage. Roode has suffered as well, though props go to the props department for adding little things for people to praise the champ over such as the picture of himself behind the champ during his sit down interview. Bobby is such a dastardly heel that my roommate Kim has wished get dies in a fire, so he must be doing something right. I think he will retain here cause Nakamura has nothing left to give NXT and needs to be on the main roster. Roode is the evil champ the brand needs as it collects some new stars, and Nakamura is the exciting new babyface both shows needs. I think this match will be fine, but I am ready to see what’s next.

For more of Spaceman Frank’s antics, check out Spacemanfrank.com and listen to our pro wrestling podcast, Manopera!

Metallica Confirm Lady Gaga Collab Album

This year’s Grammy Awards collaboration between Metallica and Lady Gaga was a very controversial one, but the gruesome twosome aren’t finished yet.

In an exclusive interview with Metallica’s bassist Robert Trujillo, the former Ozzy Osbourne and Sucidal Tendencies player explained that although they are currently touring in support of their latest album Hardwired to Self Destruct, the band has already written their next album, which will feature Gaga as a second vocalist on each track as well as playing piano on certain tracks.

“When James’ mic went out at the Grammy’s she (Gaga) took the reigns and absolutely knocked it out of the park,” Trujillo said. “We realized we had something special and decided to take it to the next level.”

The album will also feature many more guest appearances on each track and will include previously archived sound clips of Lou Reed and Cliff Burton.

The untitled album is scheduled to be released sometime in the fall and will come with a bonus disc featuring the band (with Gaga) covering songs from the latest Diamond Head album (self titled) as well as other favorites from both camps. Both tracklists with their working titles and the full list of covers can be viewed below.

“We’re all stoaked for this to come out and it was really awesome to work with her,” said Trujillo. “It’s something wicked that both ‘Tallica fans and Gaga fans are really going to appreciate.”

Tracklist

1.  Death by Chicken Suite (Instrumental featuring unreleased Cliff Burton bass tracks)

2. Frantic II (featuring Doty Wiggins from the Shaggs)

3. Some Kind of Fame Monster

4. Killed This Way – (featuring Fred Durst, MC Ride and Ynwgie Malsteem)

5. Marionette Death (Featuring Chelsea Wolfe and Deep Forrest)

6. Paparazzi Inc. (Featuring Willie Nelson, Ozzy Osbourne, and Mobb Deep)

7. Fashion Nightmare (Instrumental mostly with stock spoken word by Lou Reed)

8. Love Game of Death (20 minute epic featuring Neil Peart and Kanye West)

Bonus Disc

1. Diamonds – Diamond Head

2. Bones – Diamond Head

3. Wizards Sleeve – Diamond Head

4. Blood on My Hands – Diamond Head

5. My Pal Foot Foot – Shaggs

6. Poker Face (Metal Remix)

7. Tornado of Souls – Megadeth (Featuring Dave Mustaine)

8. Heathens – 21 Pilots

9. Lemmy Rising (Motörhead medley featuring covers of “Overkill,” “Ace of Spades,” “Orgasmatron,” “Jack The Ripper,” “Mean Machine” and “No Class”)

10. April Come She Will – Simon & Garfunkel

11. Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread) – Johnny Mercer

Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania Moments: #1 – Human Demolition Derby

by Frank Lucci

Welcome to Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania moments! Rather than just create another generic Top 10 list, I will be discussing the greatest moments from WWE’s biggest show of the year and explaining why I consider them the cream of the crop. This is based on in-ring quality, storyline quality, meta quality, as well as my own unique bias. Be prepared to read about triumph, heartbreak, and above all else, some truly unique moments in this unique form of entertainment.

The Moment: TLC II, WrestleMania X-Seven

While writing out this list I have seen some amazing moments in wrestling. I have seen moments that crowned careers and rejuvenated others, I have watched legends go out in a blaze of glory, and I have seen matches that will never be seen again. So how do you top legends, icons, and five-star performances? You lay it all on the line to make a statement, and that’s what happened at WrestleMania 17 with TLC 2.

This match has it all – including death-defying stunts that WWE has wisely chosen to avoid in recent years. You have kayfabe stakes as all three teams are willing to throw themselves off ladders and through tables just to get the Tag Team Championships. It seems inconceivable that WWE would ask tag teams in 2017 to do the same to this degree, which just goes to show how important it was to have any belt in this era. You have meta importance of six men trying to elevate themselves and make them stand out among the Rock’s and Stone Cold’s of the day.

One of the biggest outcomes and legacies of this match is the fact that in the years since half of the people involved have won the top prize in WWE, and five out of six won world championships if you include TNA titles (poor Devon Dudley, but last place here is being half of the most decorated tag team in history and a behind the scenes role in today’s WWE is not too shabby). Finally, you get an emotional roller coaster as you watch three teams that endured themselves for their fans to cement their status as the future of the industry in a match that was never seen before or since.

I could give a blow by blow of this match, but words cannot do justice for what transpires. I cannot fathom how nobody was seriously injured here (besides Spike Dudley who lost a few teeth), and even more amazing  it is that half these guys are still wrestling today. Hell, Edge was the first to retire, and that was a solid decade after this car crash of a match.

The only complaints I have this match are purely aesthetic. There are three extra people that make run-ins during the match, which is three too many. Second, instead of a video package we get shots of production people pulling out ladders and tables for the match, which does not exactly sell people going in cold why they should care. Also, I wish commentator Paul Heyman would be a little biased towards The Dudleys and Rhyno, or at least mention that he was their boss in ECW and sell them more as the killers they are.

Instead of immediately going for crazy spots, everyone builds up slow here. It starts off with some brawling, and the first big spot involves Jeff using his brother as a springboard to dropkick Edge off the ladder. The Hardys then do a tandem splash/leg drop on Christian off the ladders, and it makes sense that the daredevil brothers would be the first to go to extreme lengths to hurt their opponents. Edge and Christian are the cowardly heels and The Dudleys are more likely to just hoof you through a table, so Matt and Jeff setting the bar in terms of extreme risk first is a nice piece of psychology.

The Dudley’s take control, and it’s up to them to set up the toys for future spots later. They make the four table stack as well as three ladders in the center. Soon enough all six men are on the ladders and as flashbulbs go off all six take a dive. A special mention goes to Christian for falling completely out of the ring and view, making it look like he may be the first real-life casualty of this match.

Now we get to the run-in portion of the match. Even these Superstars have gotten a certain amount of respect for their involvement in this legendary match. Spike Dudley is out first, delivering a Dudley Dog to Christian through a table on the outside. Spike is one of my Boys as the excellent OSW Review defines them (one of your favorite wrestlers who never won a world championship), so seeing him get involved always makes me happy. Rhyno is up next to destroy people much more effectively, and being the smart cookie/ future Michigan House of Representatives candidate that he is, he wisely drags his compatriots towards the ladder he sets up in the center of the ring. Finally, to the biggest entrance pop (including for the people actually in the match) comes for Lita, who jogs awkwardly to the ring.

At this point things go too fast to recap properly and you just have to watch it unfold. It is beyond belief what these guys do here, and another special mention goes to Jeff Hardy for being involved in the biggest spot of the match. Sure, he failed in his big leapfrog spot involving three ladders, but considering he jumped off a giant ladder to the floor through two tables about 90 seconds before, I will let it pass. Edge hits the most perfect spear of his career in midair, sickeningly spiking his own head into the canvas. The match almost ends anti-climatically as Christian grabs the belt as Devon just kind of stops trying to climb the ladder.

Somehow everyone walks out of this match, moving gingerly around the debris and human bodies left around the ring. I’m not sure how these six men did it, but they survived something that could have gone much, much worse. Above all else, at the end of the Attitude Era WWE established a future crop of main eventers that not only WWE, but other wrestling companies would rely on for the next decade. Sure, they had to put themselves through hell during this match, but what would you pay to punch your ticket to immortality?

To get to the top of an industry that had just shifted seismically in the wake of WCW and ECW folding, the six men here did what they needed to do to prove they were just as worthy of that spotlight of the legends already in it. For paving the way of the future, delivering something never before seen or replicated, and the physical toll that even the stoniest of hearts can appreciate makes TLC 2 my favorite WrestleMania moment of them all.

For more of Spaceman Frank’s antics, check out Spacemanfrank.com and listen to our pro wrestling podcast, Manopera!

SSEP: SSEP – Episode 11: WrestleMania 33/NXT Takeover Orlando Preview

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by Jonathan Schorr

Jon and Matt go on the ultimate thrill ride with their WrestleMania 33 and NXT Takeover: Orlando predictions while watching WrestleMania 13 from 1997.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Harp House – Episode 12: SPAH is Around the Corner

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by Connor J. Frontera

SPAH is the biggest annual Harmonica Convention in North America. The convention may be in August, but it’s time to start planning NOW! Frontera breaks down everything you need to know about the 2017 convention. His conversation with SPAH’s President Michael D’Eath elaborates on the Organization’s goals.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania Moments: #2 – Icon vs. Icon

by Frank Lucci

Welcome to Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania moments! Rather than just create another generic Top 10 list, I will be discussing the greatest moments from WWE’s biggest show of the year and explaining why I consider them the cream of the crop. This is based on in-ring quality, storyline quality, meta quality, as well as my own unique bias. Be prepared to read about triumph, heartbreak, and above all else, some truly unique moments in this unique form of entertainment.

The Moment: The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan, WrestleMania XVIII

Whenever two of the all time greats come together and compete it’s always a spectacle that demands attention. Even if it ends up disappointing like Mayweather vs. Pacquiao huge amounts of people dissect every aspect of the contest right up until things actually kick off. What’s even rarer is when the best of different generations come together and have a contest worthy of all the hype, which is why Hulk Hogan vs The Rock at WrestleMania 18 is such a special moment in wrestling. While such contests are either improbable or even impossible, this not only happened but it was a pretty damn good match to boot.

The Rock was inching his way out the door in 2002, and while he would stick around for a little bit after this, it was clear he was moving on to bigger and better things. He guided the WWE through the dreaded Invasion angle and was looking for something to do to follow up his spectacular match at the previous WrestleMania with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

How do you follow up on the match that is widely considered the greatest main event in WrestleMania history and the end of the Attitude Era?

Enter Hulk Hogan. He collected on his guaranteed contract from the now dead WCW, missing the Invasion entirely. This probably helped himself and many other big names from tarnishing their legacies and made sure they were able to pop up in WWE with some actual fanfare and hoopla. When he showed up with the rest of the NWO in tow it was a big deal, and I can only imagine how much this match would have suffered if Hogan and his cronies were forced to plod through the Invasion and kiss up to Stone Cold.

Instead we get Hogan being quite the evil bastard. The video package highlights his cartoon villainy as he blames the fans for making him walk out of the WWE in the early 90’s and running into his ambulance with a freaking semi truck. This match is famous for the double turn during the match that the fans started by cheering Hogan over The Rock, but to be fair Rocky acts like a dick during this hype video. Despite the choral music that accompanies his first appearance in the video he does attack Hogan first, and I can excuse an old man for getting his buddies to help him face off against a man half his age.

Hogan is out first and he definitely gets some cheers, but nothing like he would receive later. At some point people are just happy you’re still around and conceded that yes, you are one of the best of all time. It happened to Hogan, it happened to Flair, and it’s even starting to happen to the greatest heel of all time, Tom Brady. Thankfully, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler do not try to ignore or cover up the fact that Hogan is getting cheered like today’s WWE announcers would (and if we had to listen to JBL yell “THESE CANUCKS JUST LOVE TO HAVE FUN MAGGLE!” during this match I would have shot my television). Poor Rocky again gets a pretty lame pop for the second ‘Mania in a row, and the dude just cannot seem to catch a break.

Then the magic happens. Toronto just goes nuts when both men stare at each other and they never really stop. The two stars know how to work a crowd, and being the pros that they are they milk the reaction for everything it’s got. Hulk has a reputation for not wanting to put people over, but props to him for agreeing to lay down for The Rock here. Hogan pushes Rocky down and crowd acts like Jesus Christ just came down from heaven wearing a Maple Leafs jersey and the sky was raining poutine down like manna. One shove was all it took to people to lose their minds.

I cannot help and have a flashback to Mayweather v.s Pacquiao at this point. I watched that fight expecting a slugfest between two of the greatest of all time, and instead we got a lame duck boxing match. That legitimate sporting event collapsed under the weight of it’s own hype. Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg fell into the same trap when they first wrestled at ‘Mania 20.

Wrestling is a much more forgiving form of entertainment, and due to it’s unique nature we can see the fantasy matches we want and they can be just as good as they were in our head. Hogan was never the best technical wrestler (and neither was The Rock, for that matter), but when you book dream matches for him they look exactly like this.

This match goes back and forth pretty evenly for the first part, and Hogan pulls out some excellent heel moves. He really knows how to cheat in that old-school way that makes the internet lionize people like Kevin Owens and the like. Hogan worked like a bad guy even when he was America’s favorite hot dog in the 80’s so it is no surprise when he pokes eyes, rakes backs, and literally starts choking The Rock. Like Flair’s retirement match, this is essentially a greatest hits montage for Hogan. Rocky being the future actor that he is, bounces around like a cruiserweight.

It is so engaging to see, even if Hogan’s reluctance to leave his feet is stupendously obvious. They work the crowd like the two bosses that they are, and it still feels surreal that this match actually happened. Hogan vs. Michaels and Cena vs. The Rock tried to mimic this match, but they just could not follow in this match’s footsteps. Blame ego, blame age, but this is damn near as perfect of a big time wrestling match as you get. This is the wrestling equivalent of a Mark Twain book. It may not have the pop of modern day writing, but you can appreciate the wisdom and wit on display.

The end is wrestling 101. The referee gets knocked out and misses Hogan tapping out to the Sharpshooter from the People’s Champion. Hulk regains control with a low blow/stolen finisher combo because WrestleMania is one of the few times a year wrestlers resort to stealing finishing moves. Hogan whips The Rock, but Rocky channels his future self playing Black Adam and returns the favor while looking like a menacing bastard. He hits a Rock Bottom but Hogan gets his seizure of strength and we get the moment that lives on in a million YouTube ‘Mania countdowns.

In this moment it does not matter what Hogan has said and done in his personal life, because brother he is coming for Rocky! Rocky sells this like he is having an out of body experience. He has realized that he is the villain in all this, and he is standing across the ring from his childhood hero much like Roddy Piper, Andre The Giant, and Randy Savage have done before him and is staring down at his doom. I cannot say this enough, but the crowd is unreal.

When people talk about suspension of disbelief, this is what they are talking about. There are no crazy athletics or extreme violence to sell you on the fact that these guys are tough. In a vacuum this scene is slightly ridiculous. An actor is staring in fear of an old balding man as he grimaces and shakes his fists, but to wrestling fans, this is like watching The Power Rangers form their Megazord right in front of their eyes.

In the end, Hogan’s comeback is cut short, and the legendary Leg Drop of Doom cannot put The Rock away and The People’s Champ must chain together two Rock Bottoms and The People’s Elbow to put down the old lion. Despite Hogan’s monstrous face pop this was the right call, and we get a sign of respect from both men as the torch is officially passed. This is how it should be, as one man gives his endorsement of the other in front of a stadium of people and millions around the world.

Oftentimes in wrestling, backstage drama and politics get in the way so that these dream moments either don’t happen or are not of this quality. Hogan himself is guilty of doing this many times over his career, and Rocky would leave before he could put his stamp of approval on many of the superstars of the new millennium. I think the decline of wrestling after the Attitude Era can be linked to the lack of these critical transitional matches, as many of the Superstars of old were either unwilling (Triple H, Hogan) or unable (Stone Cold, The Rock) to give their blessing in the ring to a replacement, but for one night the right move is done properly.

Looking back at other singles matches I singled out for this list, most have a No-Disqualification stipulation around them. This may be the biggest non-gimmick match in WrestleMania history, and it certainly is my favorite. These two colossus are bigger than gimmicks, and they did not need the shortcut of weapons or bloodshed to tell the story that they wanted. All that mattered was the two men in the ring, and everything else was just icing on the cake. For delivering a real Icon vs. Icon moment rarely seen in any entertainment medium, Rock vs. Hogan is my number two WrestleMania moment.

For more of Spaceman Frank’s antics, check out Spacemanfrank.com and listen to our pro wrestling podcast, Manopera!

Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania Moments: #3 – The Attitude Era’s Supernova

by Frank Lucci

Welcome to Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania moments! Rather than just create another generic Top 10 list, I will be discussing the greatest moments from WWE’s biggest show of the year and explaining why I consider them the cream of the crop. This is based on in-ring quality, storyline quality, meta quality, as well as my own unique bias. Be prepared to read about triumph, heartbreak, and above all else, some truly unique moments in this unique form of entertainment.

The Moment: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock, WrestleMania X-7

WrestleMania X-7 (or 17 to those who the words “attitude” and “extreme” do not apply to) is regarded as the best WrestleMania of all time, and for good reason. It features several classic battles and marks the distinct end of the Monday Night Wars and showcased the deep WWE roster during their most successful period. No other WrestleMania looks and feels like this one, including the ones that came immediately before and after it. This is the singularity in the center of the WWE Universe, and more than any other event is the reason the company is still going strong today. This is modern wrestling distilled into its most basic form, and at its nucleus is the main event between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock.

Even though these two faced off two years earlier at WrestleMania 15, circumstances had changed so much in the wrestling world that their previous encounter felt like ancient history. It would be like if the WWE decided to put John Cena vs. The Rock on at WrestleMania 34 after Cena becomes the new Superman in the Justice League movie and it grosses $3 billion worldwide. Both men had reached absurd levels of mainstream success since ‘Mania 15, and I would rate The Rock and Stone Cold as numbers one and three respectively of wrestlers normal people are likely to recognize (two is Hulk Hogan and Cena is a distance fourth due to the memes). If both men stuck around I could have seen a scenario where these guys constantly headline every other WrestleMania until…well today and fans would still be into it all.

It’s unimaginable that WWE would have one super hot megastar on their roster, let alone two, so this is already catapulted into the top ten. It also doesn’t hurt that the crowd for this match is on fire, the story leading into it is on point, and both men happen to be damn good wrestlers. This moment is proof that WWE had the most success when they gave the wrestlers a chance to adapt to what the crowd wanted and let the most talented people on the roster shine on their own merits instead of trying to lead audiences by the nose (makes coughing noises).

We start off with one of, if not the best video packages WWE has ever produced (the fact that I say that with Limp Bizkit playing over it is mind boggling). Stone Cold won the Royal Rumble, The Rock beat Kurt Angle at the next PPV, and here we are. The only two  things I would really change is jamming Debra (Stone Cold’s then real wife) into the picture, and Stone Cold’s look. I know it’s an iconic look, but the dude’s knee braces/shorts combo makes him look like an old man with garters on. Every staredown, every line of their sitdown interview we see, every physical blow between the two is pure gold, and it all revolves around the WWE Championship, as it should be.

Howard Finkel is here to announce this is a No-Disqualification match, and WWE should have him announce the main event of every WrestleMania since he named the damn thing. Stone Cold comes out to the best song Disturbed every recorded (again, licensed music makes wrestlers seem so much more legit) and a massive pop.  Rocky gets a mild pop and his classic movie sounds like call holding music to me. Commentator Paul Heyman reminds us that Stone Cold is a man of integrity which is why Texas loves its native son (not because of the swearing, beer drinking, and ass kicking). Speaking of ass kicking, things immediately break down as the two trade blows. This is how to start a WrestleMania main event, and if Brock Lesnar and Goldberg just stand there after all that has happened between them (as I assume they will headline) I will be pissed. We get brawling around the floor and flurries of punches and kicks with the occasional big move through in. Heyman and JR sell everything so well, and I do not think there has ever been a better commentary team despite their brief tenure together.

Rocky ends up bleeding due to a shot to the head via ring bell and then flops on a table that breaks under his weight. One of the funniest accidental moments in WrestleMania history, and The Rock almost got away with it not being on camera. These guys are such master craftsmen that simple things such as mounted punches makes the crowd go crazy. This is why WWE needs to let their product breathe a bit more. Many “big time” matches these days usually consist of one person hitting a move as the other stands there with a “OMG I can’t believe they hit that move!” look on their face (for an example of this, see Sting vs. Triple H from WrestleMania 31). Here both men work a normal pace, but they exaggerate every move so that it feels like a move that is championship caliber. Just look at the way The Rock flies through the air when taking a simple hip toss and the way Austin flops around when hitting the exposed turnbuckle. When people mention how selling is important to wrestling, this is an essential match that shows why. The only other people I can think of that goes to such lengths to make their opponent look like a million dollars these days is AJ Styles and Sami Zayn.

Steve Austin, perhaps to show Rocky how a real Texas SOB blades, soon has his entire head turn red under the crimson mask. Both men get a turn to grimace under sharpshooters and look like maniacs as they scream and writhe in pain. There are no finishing moves done in the first few minutes, so once we actually get one it actually means something – and in a twist it’s Rocky hitting the Stunner on Austin! It’s one of my favorite moments of the match that for some reason never really gets mentioned.

Fresh off getting beat up by his son and formerly comatose wife (did that come up during Linda McMahon’s congressional confirmation hearing?), Vinny Mac is here to creep on the match. The crowd has gone from booing The Rock to cheering his People’s Elbow, but Vince breaks it all up. Heyman has been hinting that Stone Cold may be up to something dastardly all night, and this is clue number two to what’s going to happen next. Vince hits Rocky with a chair while Austin holds him up. Honestly, I think they could have done the turn better. For example, have the turn come at the very end with a sudden Austin heel turn rather than having him cheat (in a No-DQ match by the way) and selling out to his boss and mortal enemy. The Rock sells a stunner as only he can (acting 101 ladies and germs), but when it does not get the three count Austin just goes berzerk and beats him with a chair until he wins. What should be the biggest betrayal in wrestling history falls slightly flat when the crowd still cheers.

This is like watching Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Judas Priest touring in 1978 with Motörhead as the opening act. This is undefeated 1972 Dolphins vs. undefeated 2007 Patriots in the Super Bowl. This is a blockbuster movie with Humphrey Bogart, Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, and Meryl Streep as the main cast. Nothing else comes close to wrestling fans as the holy grail of an event, and this match solidified the evening as one of the greatest. From here we transitioned to The Invasion and the gradual decline in wrestling’s importance, but the match between Stone Cold and The Rock will be the lasting image of the sport for decades to come. The Rock’s career has soared since leaving WWE full time, and Austin has enjoyed plenty of his own success after retiring two years after this (in poetic justice, his last match would also be against The People’s Champion at WrestleMania XIX). Neither man truly passed the baton to a successor who could match them, but their gift to modern WWE wrestlers is a standard that they should all strive for. With the talent WWE has in their wheelhouse I can see a revival eventually happening, and when it does happen I see this match being the one people pointing to as the bar. It replaced Steamboat/Savage at WrestleMania 3 as the showcase match example, and for good reason. For ending an era the right way and giving causal fans, smart fans, and wrestlers themselves a masterpiece on ‘Mania main events this match is my number three pick for WrestleMania moments.

For more of Spaceman Frank’s antics, check out Spacemanfrank.com and listen to our pro wrestling podcast, Manopera!

Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania Moments: #4 – The End of an Era (Almost)

by Frank Lucci

Welcome to Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania moments! Rather than just create another generic Top 10 list, I will be discussing the greatest moments from WWE’s biggest show of the year and explaining why I consider them the cream of the crop. This is based on in-ring quality, storyline quality, meta quality, as well as my own unique bias. Be prepared to read about triumph, heartbreak, and above all else, some truly unique moments in this unique form of entertainment.

The Moment: The Undertaker vs. Triple H – Hell in a Cell (Special Guest Referee Shawn Michaels), WrestleMania XXVIII

WrestleMania 28 was the very first wrestling event I ever watched. The Bonesaw’s very own Chris Butera knew of a showing that was happening on campus at SUNY Oswego and told me to show up. I had zero context for what was happening, and I picked my favorites based on appearance and who had better entrance music. Sure, I knew who The Rock was and he’d be appearing, but beyond that I was going in blind. Most of the event was fairly unmemorable, and I honestly get this PPV confused with WrestleMania 27 frequently. However, one match stuck with me that I can still recall: Triple H vs The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee.

What I remember from watching this match live was several random details. The Hell in a Cell structure looks like something from a video game, there was licensed music during the entrances, which in today’s WWE is nearly impossible to get the company to spring for, and yet I remember thinking “The guy with the Motörhead theme song is cool, but this other guy got Johnny Cash so I’m not sure who to root for.” Hell, even the cell got a Metallica theme song!

Imagine how much more legitimate WWE Superstars would look if the company got a couple of popular bands to make up themes for them? Call up Snoop and have him make a theme for his cousin Sasha Banks, or get metalcore bands from Warped Tour to give Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins proper music instead of the generic dribble they get. Just a thought, but it would probably make all the difference in how the WWE Superstars are presented.

This was head and shoulders the best match on the card, even as somebody with no clue about the story behind it. Re-watching it now as a smarmy internet fan, it’s gotten better with age. Easily one of Undertaker’s and Triple H’s  best ‘Mania matches, there is so much drama in the build and during the match itself it almost feels like a theater production rather than a wrestling match.

To start we get Jim Ross coming out to announce this match, because we cannot have Booker T ruining this moment (side note: RIP Jan Ross). This match is billed as the End of an Era, which has been diminished slightly due to the  fact that neither man has retired nearly five years after this match. Shawn Michaels is then out in his referee shirt and actual pants, which is oddly disconcerting. I am so used to HBK dressing like a stripper who bought his sexy outfit at Dick’s Sporting Goods that seeing him in professional attire is strange. His best buddy Triple H is out next, being barfed out of a weird warrior’s mouth. Triple H has his scary dad bode out, but I wish he cut his hair short much earlier, as he looks older here than he does now. Undertaker has a pretty plain entrance that just has a bunch of pyro shooting out behind him. JR claims they are 50 feet tall, but that seems a little suspect, unless the man in front of them is a whopping 30 feet, which would mean the cell is at least 150 feet high and 75 feet wide (spoiler: they aren’t).

The announcers do a good job of highlighting the story of the match: Triple H lost last year, but he walked out and Taker did not, so here we are with the rematch. Triple H, being the bastard boss, makes his buddy and fellow streak victim Michaels the ref to ensure, in his mind, that he will be the one to give Undertaker his first loss at WrestleMania. Undertaker has short hair, a stubble goatee, and eyeliner on, making him look like an old crossdressing goth that just took off his wig.

The match starts and both men just start slugging it out, and Jim Ross calls Triple H’s punches “carcinogenic,” which is perhaps not the best word to use. The Hell in a Cell cage is closer to the ring here, but that leads to a bunch of cool shaky cam style close ups of the action as the cameraman tries to dodge the two behemoths. ‘Taker shoves Michaels out of his way, and we get the first sign that perhaps HBK might pull something shady out of his playbook for his friend later. I couldn’t understand it back then, but the spectre of Triple H, COO and glory hog looms large here. If anyone was going to end the streak, it was going to be the one who runs the place in real life (who’s been known to use his pull to get what he wants). Going into WrestleMania 30 I distinctly thought that since Hunter didn’t end the streak, nobody ever will (Oops…).

Undertaker moves at a pace that can generously be called glacial, but unlike more recent years he moves well when doing moves and throwing strikes. The match mostly takes place outside the ring, but things pick up soon. We get a cool back body drop off the steps, followed by Triple H giving Taker a sickening spinebuster on the steps. ‘Taker tries to counter with the Hell’s Gate, but Triple H hoofs up the massive man and slams him down. Everything here is downright painful looking, and that’s before Triple H just goes on the warpath and beats Undertaker with a chair for what seems like five minutes. Triple H wrestles like someone trying to win a match in a WWE video game, and it just adds to the high drama on display.

HBK starts panicking, and he begs his buddy to end it by covering The Undertaker. HBK does some great acting here as he’s torn between his friend and the man he respects for retiring him. Shawn literally pleads with ‘Taker to stay down, but The Dead Man speaks and simply says “do not stop.” We need more matches like this, and seeing Triple H bleeding from the head yelling that he will end Undertaker and almost squash his opponent’s head like a watermelon with the hammer is an arresting visual. I still jump when it happens, even though three seconds later I realize there is no way Triple H is going to murder someone on live television.

The amazing moments just keep happening. HBK gets put in the Hell’s Gate to prevent him from stopping the match, but Triple H uses the sledgehammer again when he is down. The Undertaker pays for his hubris when Triple H passes out, but Shawn is still knocked out from before. Finishers start flying as Undertaker hits R1 to Chokeslam Triple H and replacement ref Little Naitch, and when he tries to Tombstone Triple H HBK nails him with the Sweet Chin Music.

This is perhaps Shawn’s greatest piece of work in the world of wrestling. Everything comes together here so well it is re-watchable again and again. He nails the kick to Undertaker, who immediately gets hit with the Pedigree. Watching this five years later, I am convinced every time that the streak is done. The Pedigree is so well protected, and the combo between that and Shawn’s kick would take down an elephant under normal circumstances. HBK goes to count the pinfall, and when Undertaker kicks out Shawn completely breaks down. HBK let out the Shawn Michaels of old, the primadonna who held down and bullied people, and for just one second he let that bastard out to show ‘Taker that he is not someone to get pushed around. He then pulls a 180 and we return to Shawn Michaels the God fearing man, who huddles in the corner and cries knowing that his anger and pettiness almost destroyed one of the most hallowed institutions in WWE. He has changed so much since the days of his wild youth, but underneath the piousness he is just as dangerous and reckless as ever. ‘Taker brought that out before when they tussled at WrestleMania, and whatever leftover angst powered that kick after being disrespected repeatedly by Undertaker, the man he is only trying to look out for.

This is, in my mind, one of the best sixty seconds of wrestling I have ever seen, and one of the moments that drew me into the world of wrestling. The drama, the action, the crowd, the announcers, it all comes together in one perfect moment. I can watch this over and over again, constantly rewinding and hearing Michael Cole yell “Streak’s over! Streak’s over!” again and again and again.

But of course, this is not the end of the streak, and now Triple H is abusing his buddy for showing weakness. Big Daddy ‘Taker sits up and Hunter nearly pees his pants as he begins his rally. A Tombstone Piledriver is not enough to stop Triple H, but the real victim is Shawn. Repeatedly we see him crouched in the corner with tears running down his face as ‘Taker and Triple H slug it out despite being too tired to stand. This match is shortening both men’s lives physically, but HBK must take on the emotional toll for both men as he witnesses the two men he respects the most destroy each other like two massive stars caught in each other’s orbit. Finally, after an exhausting half an hour Undertaker proves he is tougher than The Game by beating him senseless as Shawn cannot even look at the carcass of his friend. Triple H manages to stand one last time and give a crotch chop, but it’s curtains for him. All three men truly have gone to hell and back, and they fittingly leave supporting each other up the ramp as the crowd gives them the standing ovation they deserve.

This match is half an hour long, but it both feels longer and shorter than this. It does not drag like many longer matches, but the journey you go on during this bout feels like the series finale of your favorite hour long drama. This is Undertaker’s best WrestleMania match, period; and most likely the best Triple H match at ‘Mania as well.

Usually when I try to get people to start watching wrestling, I either go for extreme violence (to show how tough and legitimate the wrestlers are), or pure comedy (to show how goofy wrestlers can be). This is the best match to show people how engrossing wrestling can be on an emotional level, and it takes three master craftsmen to show just how special an incredible wrestling match can be. Get a stadium full of crazy fans and plenty of atmosphere to boot and you have plenty of lasting images that sink their hooks into a potential fan’s brain, leading them down the path to becoming a lifelong mark. It worked on me, and I’m sure it worked on many other people as well.

For more of Spaceman Frank’s antics, check out Spacemanfrank.com and listen to our pro wrestling podcast, Manopera!

Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 Wrestlemania Moments: #5 – Cash Me Outside

by Frank Lucci

Welcome to Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania moments! Rather than just create another generic Top 10 list, I will be discussing the greatest moments from WWE’s biggest show of the year and explaining why I consider them the cream of the crop. This is based on in-ring quality, storyline quality, meta quality, as well as my own unique bias. Be prepared to read about triumph, heartbreak, and above all else, some truly unique moments in this unique form of entertainment.

The Moment: Seth Rollins Cashes in his Money in the Bank Briefcase, WrestleMania XXXI

Going into WrestleMania 31 doubt hung in the air. Roman Reigns had infamously won the Royal Rumble in such a way that even his cool cousin The Rock couldn’t shield him from the chorus of boos. At the same time WWE Champion Brock Lesnar’s contract was running down, and the WWE Universe was in full-blown panic mode. Nobody besides women, children, and Vince McMahon seemed to like Reigns, but the company felt it was forced to give The Big Dog the push due to Brock potentially leaving. Rumors swirled around the main event, and it appeared nobody knew what the hell was going to happen when the event actually took place on March 29th, 2015.

In retrospect, everything appeared much more dire than it actually ended up being. Sure the Royal Rumble match itself was a colossal failure, but Lesnar was coming off the best match of his most recent run (a triple threat between himself, John Cena, and Seth Rollins) that firmly established that, while Lesnar may not show up all that frequently, when he was wrestling it was always a spectacle and could also be legitimately stellar. Brock also helped calm the nerves of fans everywhere when he appeared on ESPN days before the event and announced he was officially retiring from the UFC (lol!) and had re-signed with the WWE. Fans could breathe, but would Vinny Mac punish the Beast for leaving him dangling? Would WWE really put the belt on the undercooked Reigns despite the amount of backlash he had received mere weeks into his main event push?

This atmosphere made ‘Mania 31 one of the most exciting versions of the event that I had the pleasure to watch live. Granted, the only ones I have seen live were 28 and then 30 on forward, but this one was the one I was the most invested in emotionally, and I was curious if WWE would be able to pull it off or if it would turn into a dumpster fire.

Thankfully the WWE pulled it off. This is easily the most re-watchable ‘Mania of the WWE Network Era, and there is very little fat to trim here. The highlight of the evening was big Brock Lesnar getting his hands on Roman Reigns.

To clarify my stance on Reigns: I’ll admit he is a good wrestler. Sometimes he can be great in the ring, but the man is a black hole of charisma and I cannot imagine buying a watch from the guy from a mall kiosk, let alone wanting to buy a PPV he’s headlining. WWE has done the man no favors in helping him get over, so while the video package played my buddies and I grabbed some beers and got ready for Reigns to Superman Punch our hopes and dreams away. Despite everything that can go wrong, WWE makes my number five WrestleMania moment here, and Lesnar vs. Reigns delivers so much on every level. From the atmosphere to the video package and entrances to the match itself and its epic ending, this is modern WWE storytelling done right.

The video package tries so hard to make Roman seem legit. Hilariously they chose to not feature any audio involving the fans, as this supposedly triumphant montage would sound quite different with two straight minutes of boos behind it. Meanwhile, Brock looks like a killer. Reigns is just trying to get you not to boo him, while Brock is here to suplex people so hard there souls leave their bodies. Of course, Paul Heyman slays Reigns with the immortal line, “When you lose, how will you handle disappointing your family?” Grab the shovel, this package just makes me love Lesnar and Heyman all the more.

Reigns enters first and the crowd is…curiously silent – almost as if WWE has gone back and turned down the crowd audio (here’s looking at you, Kevin Dunn). The Big Dog is seen shoving away fans as he enters from the crowd. We all get the infamous “We listen to our fans LOL” and “Roman is a Wank Pheasant” signs that belong in the WWE Hall of Fame. Even Reigns’ pyro is really lame as he initially gets giant roman candles going off around the stadium for him (Roman Reigns…Roman candles? I just got it!). Anyway, Brock gets the hero’s welcome from the tens of thousands of fans who traveled hundreds or thousands of miles and paid thousands of dollars to watch a man I believe can deadlift several cows beat up a guy who looks like someone who tries to flirt with your wife on your honeymoon. Lesnar’s pyro seems to blow up much of the stadium and we are off to the races.

This match really breaks out from a decent WrestleMania moment to something truly memorable. Brock dismantled everyone he came across, including Reigns predecessor John Cena. Would WWE try to play this off like Reigns is equal to Lesnar, and how much would the crowd rebel against this? Will WWE have Brock just steamroll Roman in the squash matches we’d come to expect? I waited on baited breath with my friends as we prayed to the Wrestling Gods that a miracle would happen and we would not get a stinker in the main event.

Then it happens. One minute in and Brock Lesnar hits an F-5 and you can hear the tension in the stadium and across the WWE Universe melt away. I have never seen or experienced such an electric feeling from a live WWE PPV. As much as I loved Daniel Bryan winning the title at the previous ‘Mania, we all knew it was going to happen. This was as shocking and violent as a shark attack, and in that moment my suspension of disbelief was in full force. I truly believed that Brock Lesnar was that unbeatable, and the pretender Reigns was going to be carted off the field at Levi’s Stadium and we would never have to deal with him in the main event of any PPV again (sigh…).

What really sells this opening minute is Brock’s acting. Lesnar will never be known for promos, but when he needs to he is great at conveying emotions non-verbally. He realizes that Reigns had opened up his cheekbone, so instead of getting the pin like JBL is screaming at him to do he decides to punish Roman. The Beast is bleeding, and The Beast is mad. He will use the WrestleMania Main Event to punish those who defy him and send a message that nobody on God’s Green Earth dares to try to humanize him. Reigns attempts to fire back and Brock tosses him around like a German Shepard who is tired of the new kitten clawing at it’s face.

Here we see things truly shift into Lesnar’s corner, both in ring and in the eyes of fans. While Roman was at a mild level of annoyance before, here he makes the curious decision to try and hulk up by either doing a classic “seizure of strength” gesture or laughing after being hit. Whoever told him to try and laugh off hits from a former UFC champion deserves to be fired on the spot. It makes him completely insufferable during this match and draws the bloodlust of Lesnar out even more, and the crowd, God bless them, are right there seeing red with him.

The match devolves into a brutal beating, as Lesnar hits Reigns with several legitimately brutal punches and suplexes. He utters the most famous line of his career as he indeed sends Reigns to “Suplex City, Bitch.” While many WrestleMania matches (especially main events) try to go for that methodical, epic beat fight feel, this match is all one giant beatdown cut with shots of Paul Heyman smiling like the zealot he is. Every time Reigns tries anything Brock just does it bigger, better, and more devastating than Roman could ever do. Even a slap from Lesnar looks like it registers on the Richter Scale.

At this point the crowd is riding high, and despite some small rallies from Roman is met with a resounding piece of thunder from the champ, but then, suddenly, things turn. Lesnar goes into a ring post and starts gushing blood from his fourth head wound of the match. The crowd, previously punch drunk, starts booing in earnest protest of what looks to be happening. I was apocalyptic as soon as I saw Lesnar truly bleeding, as I thought in my heart of hearts that this was when The Roman Empire was going to begin. Reigns hits his two moves of doom repeatedly as I worry commentator Michael Cole is going to need a new pair of pants. Sadly, despite Brock’s epic ass kicking, all our worst fears are coming true, and Roman truly is the future of the WWE. It does not matter how much we rally behind our Daniel Bryan’s, the most vocal of fans (and, if I give my own two cents, the most important given that they refuse to abandon WWE while demographics and sponsors come and go) must concede that Vince is going to get his way. We will have a Ken doll as champ, and if we’re lucky we get to see Brock Lesnar throw people around and see our internet darlings put on some good matches beforehand.

This dreary mindset lasted a whole three or four minutes. Heyman is pleading with Brock to stay down, or put up his hands, or do anything to prevent this doomsday scenario (I’m right there with you, Paul). Thankfully, it’s Christmas Day, and on this day our lord and savior Crossfit Jesus was born. Seth Freaking Rollin’s music hits and upon the first notes hitting my WWE Network crashes and my entire party panics like a Xenomorph just burst through the wall. Thankfully, we got it back just in time to see Rollins become the first WWE Superstar to not only cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania but win the title and make this a legitimately legendary main event as well. The crowd was invested from the beginning to end, and WWE decided to be bolder than they ever have been before by having the unproven Rollins sneak into the last five minutes of the show and win it all.

We do not get the chorus of boos, we do not get the predictable outcome, we get something that actively makes fans happy and want to tune it the next night on Raw. That is sorely lacking in today’s WWE, and it just goes to show why this match is so critical and important. Looking ahead to the current ‘Mania main event of Goldberg vs. Lesnar, we potentially have three of the last four Mania’s end in the most predictable fashion. WrestleMania 30 tried to do this with the streak ending and D-Bry’s epic win, but that has been tarnished by Taker’s subpar post-event wrestling output and Bryan’s early retirement.

This now stands out much more to me as a wild and unpredictable WrestleMania main event that, more than any other modern ‘Mania, convinced people to stick around and invest in the product (and the Network). For playing into and subverting fan expectations repeatedly over the course of an exhausting twenty minutes and giving every spectrum of fans a reason to be excited and invested in the WWE going forward, WrestleMania 31’s main event of Lesnar vs. Reigns (vs. Rollins) is number five on my list.

For more of Spaceman Frank’s antics, check out Spacemanfrank.com and listen to our pro wrestling podcast, Manopera!

Manopera! Episode 37: WrestleMania 33 Preview with All the Fixins!

manopera

Chris and Frank give their picks and previews for WrestleMania 33 as well as their take on the controversial Twitter hack surrounding Paige, Xavier Woods, and others. Spaceman Frank cuts a promo on the hacker.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

F*ck Mondays! Episode 35: Power Rangers – Go Go or No Go?

Chris and Jon review the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers movie. Also discussed are the new Wonder Woman and Captain Underpants trailers as well as Marvel and Netflix’s Iron Fist.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Bonesaw Podcast: Episode 49 – Insinnerator

For this podcast we see the “classic” lineup of Dallas, Tx thrashers Insinnerator in a returning Christopher Atomic Thrasher along with newcomers Juan Speed and Benjamin Shanks. We talk metal, politics, the Legend of Zelda, and more.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania Moments: #6 – Hail to the Chief

by Frank Lucci

Welcome to Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania moments! Rather than just create another generic Top 10 list, I will be discussing the greatest moments from WWE’s biggest show of the year and explaining why I consider them the cream of the crop. This is based on in-ring quality, storyline quality, meta quality, as well as my own unique bias. Be prepared to read about triumph, heartbreak, and above all else, some truly unique moments in this unique form of entertainment.

The Moment: The Battle of the Billionaires, WrestleMania XXIII  

This moment may be controversial due to the current real life situations surrounding it, but it is still one of the more interesting ones in the company’s history.

Although there are plenty of ‘Mania moments that involve much more talented wrestlers and personalities along with moments that add more to the world of wrestling, this moment is on my top 10 list because there is nothing in wrestling period that can compare to something like this. That is the Battle of the Billionaires featuring the current President of the United States and WWE Hall of Famer Donald J. Trump.

Now Trump is an incredibly polarizing figure, and his very mention may incite plenty of negativity, but this is a column about WrestleMania moments and not a political forum.  That said, it is now impossible to see the match between Umaga and Bobby Lashley and not find it surreal. What we have is one of the most powerful men on the planet shaving Vince McMahon’s (not exactly an insignificant businessman today as well as back in 2007) head. This is the President of the United States of America, and he is part of one of the marquee matches on the biggest wrestling event of the year. No other President has ever been involved in a sport or form of entertainment to this degree, with the possible exception of Teddy Roosevelt getting involved with football’s early outlaw history.

The match itself is pretty average, and just taken as Lashley vs. Umaga this feels like a main event of Raw instead of the third to last match at a WrestleMania, but Vinny Mac and D-Trump are having a bit of an issue, and these monstrous men are fighting for their honor like the billionaires are their maidens fair. In hindsight, it is slightly uncomfortable that these two old rich white men have two minorities fighting each other for their amusement, especially with Trump’s checkered history when it comes to race relations. What is at stake is not a title, or even simple bragging rights for that matter. The outcome of this wager is that whoever’s champion takes the pin must shave their head, and it is no surprise that Vince took the impromptu haircut here. To add to the proceedings, Stone Cold Steve Austin is here to collect a paycheck as a special guest referee in a role he goes back to every few years.

Nothing too special in the ring stands out, as Trump overshadows every single big move during the match. In 2017 every glance by the camera at the future President causes me to study the screen. I feel like I’m dreaming when I see the man with the nuclear codes throw possibly the worst punch in wrestling history. Then Stone Cold Steve Austin earns a spot on the no-fly list by giving the Stunner to a man with a fleet of Secret Service agents current protecting him and his family. All these moments are amazing in retrospect, and it is hard to compare something like the Undertaker’s WrestleMania win streak ending to something like this. What if Ronald Reagan actually played football instead of being in a movie about it? What if Grover Cleveland was on the New York Yankees before entering politics? I cannot wrap my head around any of that, but I have video evidence of the leader of the free world hanging out by a wrestling ring and being part of a Hair vs. Hair match.

Donald Trump will leave behind a complicated legacy when he passes, but for one night in Detroit he was the good guy fighting against the elitist billionaire. Much in the alleged fashion of his electoral campaign, he was standing up for the common man, using his resources to stand up against someone who usually is unchallenged in power. Trump gets the people behind him and promises to humiliate the people who have been in charge and unchecked for decades. In the end (via his champion Lashley) he managed to get a victory that he assured us he would get, despite his own hiccups performing on the big stage. We see his opponents humiliated and he eventually goes on to become the onscreen owner of the WWE. We should have seen his run at the Presidency coming, and seeing his ascent from WrestleMania 23 to kayfabe owner of the company and Hall of Famer mimics his rise in politics in such a way that is completely bonkers watching it now. For involving the President in a WrestleMania main event and giving WWE something they can brag about for the rest of the company’s history, the Battle of the Billionaires rolls in at number six on my list of WrestleMania moments.

For more of Spaceman Frank’s antics, check out Spacemanfrank.com and listen to our pro wrestling podcast, Manopera!

 

My Experience at Maryland DeathFest 2017: Part 2 – Friday

After Thursday’s events, Matt and I woke up the next morning, which I felt had one of the most interesting line ups.

We hung around the hotel until around 2 p.m. and walked down to the venue. Outside I met up with Jason and Nicole, then went into Rams Head to catch Skeletal Remains.

Skeletal Remains

Out of all these newer old-school death metal throwbacks, Skeletal Remains is one of my favorites. Their sound is blatantly old-school Florida death metal-inspired while still maintaining their own memorable riffs and songs. They sounded great live and made for an awesome warm up act.

Organ Dealer 

After getting great food at Chicken Rico and hanging out with Nick and Cheyenne, we walked in to see Organ Dealer. I remember when Organ Dealer were just some local level band who would play shows with BillXNye. It was nuts to see them play to a larger crowd and as expected, they delivered.

Morbid Saint 

After Organ Dealer I headed back to Rams Head for to watch thrash legends Morbid Saint.  I had been a fan of these guys since tenth grade, so I was glad to finally see them.  They sounded great and the track “Assassin” was phenomenal live.

Sargiest

After Morbid Saint was one of the bands I was most stoked for and one of my favorite black metal bands, Sargiest. Like most black metal bands, they had an occult setup on their stage and it looked great. The venue’s sound was perfect for the guitarists signature riffs and atmosphere.

Gost

Gost were one of the bands I was most excited for as well and also the band I was most curious about since I never saw a synthwave act live. Gost had one of the most violent pits I have seen at this fest as well as plenty of people dancing awkwardly. The set was mostly instrumental and their stage presence fit the atmosphere of their set well.

Stormtroopers of Beer

After Gost I headed to sound stage to catch SOB (a Stormtroopers of Death cover band consisting of S.OD. member Dan Lilker and General Surgery’s Jocke, Kenneth and Adde). As much as I love S.O.D’s debut, I wasn’t in a rush to catch this version of the band as it lacked iconic vocalist Billy Milano. I got there and caught the last 15 or so minutes of their set – including my favorite S.O.D track, “Pussywhipped.”

Noothgrush

At MDF 2014 I skipped Noothgrush’s set due to a conflict with Unleashed, so I was glad I got another chance to see them. They played an awesome, slow and heavy set, and best of all, bashed Visas during their banter.

Vader

I headed back to Rams Head to catch one of the bands I was dying to see, Vader. These Polish legends were one of my first-ever death metal bands so I knew I needed to see them. The band played their first album The Ultimate Incantation in its entirety. The tracks all sounded great and the band had one brutal pit. It felt so great to hear a band you grew up with kill it live.

Autopsy 

The last band of Friday was Autopsy,  the band I wanted to see most of all. Jason and I sat at the highest part of Rams Head as we needed to see every second of this set. They took forever to set up (leaving us in suspense), but once they started it was magic. “Fleshcrawl,” “Torn From the Womb,” “Voices” and all kinds of awesome tracks were played. This was the perfect way to end the night and Autopsy remained one of the best of the fest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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