My Experience at MDF 2018 Part 1:Thursday

Memorial Day weekend came around and like always, Maryland Deathfest hit the city of Baltimore.

I had to work the morning, but once my shift was over it was time to head down. Due to circumstances such as a delayed of my Greyhound bus, it took forever to get there and I didn’t arrive in Baltimore until around 10. Once there, I put my stuff in our hotel room and caught up with my friend Matt and two people who joined our hotel group from Richmond Virginia, Frankie and and Genevieve. We headed down to the venues and I went to Ram’s head to catch one of the two bands I saw that day.

Today is the Day

That band was noise rockers Today is the Day. They played a pretty long set and had a lot of energy. I caught up with my friends Nick and Cheyenne during this time. We all enjoyed the set including their great cover of Black Sabbath’s “Snowblind.” After their set, it was time for the oldest band on the whole fest to play.

Coven 

60’s occult rockers Coven came on stage with a nice getup. The bandmates all wore hoods and vocalist, Jinx Dawson came out of a coffin and wore a mask. Coven had a lot of energy for their ages. Jinx could still sing well, even if she did lose the ability to hit high notes. They played a great mix of songs including, “Black Sabbath,” “Portait,” “Wicked Woman,” “Dignitaries of Hell,” “Blood on the Snow” and “Black Swan.” Surprisingly, they would end up having one of the best performances of the whole fest. After the show I caught up with Matt and the two of us hung out with Chuck Sheerwood of Incantation. We waited for Frankie and Genevieve and head back to the hotel.

 

 

Spaceman Frank’s Money in The Bank 2018 Predictions

by Frank Lucci

After a welcome month off from PPVs WWE is ready to come storming back with their Money in the Bank event. After a too long Wrestlemania, an curious but unimportant Greatest Royal Rumble, and the disastrous Backlash (WAY TO PUT YA WORST PPV ON MY BIRTHDAY YA JERKS!) the company took a much needed break, but are fans ready for more? The barrage of events left passions drained for the product, and the frustration with WWE may be at a all time high. New Japan threw their Dominion PPV featuring what many are already calling the greatest match of all time in Okada vs Omega IV (The Revenge), which just reinforced the lack of quality the WWE hit fans with lately. Throw in the upcoming G1 Special as well as All In and there is some alternatives to their product WWE cannot ignore anymore. There solution? Make PPV’s even longer and monopolize wrestling fan’s time. Sure we got NXT Takeover: Chicago 2 and the UK Tournament to look forward too, but this is WWE again just steamrolling fans with a massive content overload. It’s hard to care about any WWE event right now considering the hype is elsewhere, and even NXT may be crackling under the weight of this vicious cycle. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Money in the Bank 2018 predictions!

The Bludgeon Brothers (C) vs. The Club

The B Boys vs the Good Brothers. A match that should be good, if only they gave us a reason to care. MY BOY Luke Harper and his big ginger friend could be key players on Smackdown, but for the life of me I cannot remember one single thing they have done since Backlash. At least WWE put out this amazing video about Harper that hit me right in the feels. Definitely put more of these out WWE. Meanwhile I have not cared about The Club since last year’s Wrestlemania, and I honestly forgot they were on Smackdown. WHy haven’t they reunited with AJ yet? They could at least tell him to wear a cup. At least Anderson got to show off his abs? The Buldgies win and continue to wait for a chance to get over properly.

Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn

Real time footage of the Bobby Lashley right here. They have given him the personality of a overripe cantaloupe, and his ring work has come off as very generic. Zayn has hopped around and tried to bother him like a little brother in the middle of a pixie stick binge, but has that made me want to see these guys wrestle. Absolutely not. What happened to Sami and KO hinting towards a split for like the seventh time? Bob wins to continue to build towards whatever plan they have for him as Sami drinks to forget Lashley’s sisters.

Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal

Who to cheer? Who to boo? Will the crowd chant CM Punk during this match despite his embarrassing UFC loss? Those are the questions to define this match. By putting the two controversial men together we potentially have a perfect storm of snark brewing, especially in Chicago. I just cannot see this being anything worth writing home about, but Botchamania will have some quality footage soon. One positive is that I do not think this will be the main event…probably. Reigns wins since we are allegedly getting another match versus Lesnar at Summerslam because we live in the darkest timeline.

Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass

Apparently this is still going. DB has thoroughly trashed the big man repeatedly, but now they will up the ante by…having a standard match again. At least WWE has learned to avoid showing Big Cass when his massive cranium covers up the “C” in his name on the Titantron. I do not know why this is going to happen, but to be fair their feud has been watchable for the most part. Charitably I’d even say it has been a top five feud on Smackdown. But not top three. Definitely not top three. It feels nuts that Big Cass would do the job three times in a row, so I will go out on a limb and say that the big man will pick up a surprise/dirty win to give him some sort of rub from wrestling with Bryan.

Seth Rollins (C) vs. Elias (WWE Intercontinental Championship Match)

Two promising young talents clash in what should be a fun little match on what will be a long night. Elias is reaching Miz levels of punchable yet loveable heels, but for the life of me I cannot remember one match of his I have enjoyed. That makes me hope we can actually see what he is capable of facing the IC champ. Meanwhile Seth has been a fine champion, but I still feel like he can do more. He has proven his talent time and again, and I feel like his time to rejoin the main event scene is coming. But instead we will get Roman Reigns with Seth being his cooler younger brother until Evil Dean Ambrose comes back.

Carmella (C) vs. Asuka (WWE Smackdown’s Women’s Championship Match)

Another thing that I guess we shall experience sees Mella face someone who should murder her face. Instead, we may see the return of our lord and savior James Ellsworth help his lady keep her belt. Ellsworth has better merch than 90% of the WWE Roster (exhibit A), so any and all excuses for him to get that paper. Will his return be full time, or more like a Great Khali situation? We shall see. Anyway back to the two ladies in this match! Asuka is still Asuka and should be champion, but it seems like rumors are swirling Carmella is keeping the belt, so with all the gossip pointing to her returning Carmella manages to sneak in a victory. Followed by Asuka literally kicking someone so hard they explode.

Nia Jax (C) vs. Ronda Rousey (WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match)

There is plenty of ways this match can go. Nia Jax has wasted a heel turn so soon after trying to be a role model, which is probably the biggest tragedy of this whole thing. Jax deserves a real run as a face, but instead she proved Alexa Bliss right by being a bully. Ronda meanwhile is not ready to carry the belt, but that does not mean she will lose her. My prediction: Ronda wins the belt followed by some shenanigans (more on that later).

AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (Last Man Standing Match for WWE Championship Match)  

These two meet for (possibly) the last time and may actually be the match we have been waiting months to watch. This whole feud has been rather deflating, so these two better have a barn burner to make up for all the dick kicks. Shinsuke should have probably won the championship now after all the drama, and if he does not win here he never will. AJ Styles is still one of the top wrestlers in the world, but if this was their plan to have two workhorses draw this fued out i’ll eat a hat full of mustard. I feel like every time I think Shinsuke is going to win he ends up failing me, but now, truly, finally, it is the time to crown a new champ. Shinsuke wins probably…right? RIGHT?!

Ember Moon vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Lana vs. Naomi vs. Sasha Banks (Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match)

Time for some lists! Here are the rankings from least to most likely to win the Women’s Briefcase.

  1. Lana- HAHAHAHA NOPEEEEEEE
  2. Naomi- She won a trophy this year. Moving on.
  3. Sasha Banks-Member when she was champ? Member that she is a four time champ? Member her Iron Man Match with Bayley? I Member!
  4. Ember Moon- Recently revealed in an interview she is scared of heights. So I am guessing no Eclipse from a ladder for us.
  5. Becky Lynch- I could see her getting the briefcase and turning hell on someone, but then the WWE would have to actually care about Becky and I am pretty sure they no longer do.
  6. Charlotte Flair- She has the talent to pull off a win, but will more likely do something insane off a ladder that makes us gasp in wonder. Sadly this will probably put her out of the match, but she will probably get a title shot sooner rather than later.
  7. Alexa Bliss- Having the briefcase would fight her character very well, especially if Nia retains and she can stalk her former bestie. That being said I wonder how she will fight into this match considering her style does not scream for hardcore stunts. Only thing I can see is her hitting Twisted Bliss on someone who is on a ladder, only to get tossed out towards the end.
  8. Natalya- I would have not said that Nattie Ice would get the briefcase a month ago, but here we are. The way I see it is this match is first on the card, and she wins the belt after what should be a fun romp. Then, when Ronda beats Nia Jax she goes in and pretends to be chummy with her buddy, only for a classic betrayal five. Then Nattie wins the belt and we get the Canadian vs the Rowdy One for Summerslam. Nattie is the one to guide Ronda to another solid match like her Wrestlemania match and give her a proper crowning at the big show.

 

Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe vs. The Miz vs. Finn Balor vs. Bobby Roode vs. Kevin Owens vs. Rusev vs. A New Day Member (Ladder Match for Men’s Money in the Bank Briefcase)

Here comes another list!

  1. Bobby Roode- Poor Bob Roode. Poor, poor Bob Roode.
  2. Rusev- We can’t have nice things. Deal with it.
  3. Finn Balor- Going to jump off a ladder for a Coup de Grace and ruin his chance to be the winner here. We know it is coming.
  4. The New Day Member- I could see Kofi getting the briefcase leading to a whole bunch of fun and eventual title win as a big “you deserve it” moment. I would not cry foul, but that depends on many moving parts coming into place (such as him actually being in the match). Big E could also be a dark horse, and Xavier would be interesting but unlikely.
  5. Kevin Owens- Wouldn’t complain. Fits his character to a tee to have the sudden cash in. Sadly his stock has dropped considerably since he got jobbed out to Goldberg last year and I wonder if he ever will be a main eventer again or if he will be the guy who keeps the face busy while they avoid the title scene.
  6. Samoa Joe- See KO’s entry, but with a slightly better track record (besides getting hurt at inopportune times)
  7. Braun Strowman- Similar to Charlotte Flair, we all know the Monster Among Men’s time is coming soon. Like, before the year is done. Like, please, let it happen before the leaves start falling. I NEED THIS WWE DON’T YOU MAKE ME WAIT!! I see the typical parade of finishers (this time with ladders!) to put the big man down for the count. Leading to…
  8. The Miz- He’s just too good to ignore. The most punchable face in entertainment is going to milk the briefcase for all it’s worth, and I’ll watch every damn minute of it. Vegas has him as the favorite, the internet has him as the favorite, and WWE would be foolish to not give Main Event Miz a second chance. I even named my fantasy football team Team Miz’s Dad (I got sixth out of eight thank you very much). It’s time to see The Miz TV to hit primetime.

 

Spaceman Frank’s NXT TakeOver: Chicago 2 Predictions

by Frank Lucci

Here comes NXT to save the day once again. After the repeated hits on the head from WWE in terms of PPV’s it is time for fans to remind us once again that WWE can put on quality programming when they want to. That being said the build for this event has been muted. The matchups feature some repeats and odd combinations, which while being put together in entertaining ways still may not be what fans were necessarily looking forward to. Sure it may not be up to the standard of “ZOMG BEST MATCH EVER” (real Dave Meltzer quote) set by New Japan’s Dominion event, but at this point i’ll take a watchable WWE show. It may not be the NXT event we wanted, but it will be the WWE event we need. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my NXT Takeover: Chicago 2 Predictions!

The Undisputed Era (C) vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch (NXT Tag Team Title Match)

It’s the battle of the technically gifted versus the hard hitting. While the team of Fiesty and Bald Men (copyright pending) have not been treated like a treat for 90 percent of their run, the build for this makes sense at least. Oney and Burch have always been people I wish NXT would do more with besides have them do the job to people, so seeing them both get a chance to work the big stage is a win in my book. Meanwhile Undisputed prove their worth each and every show, and little things such as getting people’s names wrong on purpose makes my inner Slytherin chuckle. There are other, more established teams out their, but in terms of a match I expect to have a lot of fun watching, this is a solid pairing. But despite this being a fun match I do not doubt for a second Undisputed is going to win. Simply put, they are too good as heels and with Adam Cole not having a match he can save the match for his boys no problem. Now a serious Heavy Machinery push for my boy Otis.

Shayna Baszler (C) vs. Nikki Cross (NXT Women’s Championship Match)

Fans have been waiting for awhile now for Cross to get a serious push or, like, just a Takeover match period, and now the wait is over. She is facing Kraina Quazner, who is nothing like Ronda Rousey or Sonya Deville. Nope, nothing like them at all. She is an OK wrestler, but she does not stand out much compared to a mega star like Ronda. Her theme song is pretty cool though. On the other hand Cross has been a long standing favorite of it mine. I was upset she did not get a call up with the rest of Sanity, but if it means we actually get to see her wrestle and say things in the most Scottish way possible I’m all for it. Can she win the big one? Probably soon, but not now. They build Vanier Killmayzer up for so long I cannot see her as a one and done champion in NXT. Maybe next year during the Women’s Royal Rumble.

Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream

This has been all about peacocking and showboating, and you could cut the sexual tension between the two with a cake server. These two tried to kill each other in the North American Championship match at Takeover: New Orleans, so I am ready to see what they do in a regular match. Both these guys are the future of NXT and WWE in general, and it would be nice to see the winner of this match go after the NXT Championship after this event. Dream has frequently come up short in big matches, yet has failed upwards towards more and more meaningful programs. Ricochet is exciting his honeymoon phrase with fans and this seems like a little bit of a detour considering how hot off the gate they initially positioned him. I think he will win against the Dream since the former Patrick Clark has years to get even better and can take the loss and spin it into gold later on. Ricochet needs the win more to say near the top until they pull the trigger on him as champ.

Aleister Black (C) vs. Lars Sullivan (NXT Championship Match)

Poor Dutch Ale has been in the backseat to everyone else since winning the big one, which is a shame considering is has been a consist performer in NXT. He has the look and skill set of a main eventer, but he is pushed to the back in favor of others with more developed personalities. The dark and brooding guy does very little week to week, and when he does appear it is most to remind us he can be dark and brooding. His opponent Lars Sullivan is getting the Cien Almas award for sudden ascension to the main event, and while I find him enjoyable enough I haven’t seen enough to think of him as a contender. Maybe with more seasoning, but besides his mean mug he screams generic monster man. Also, the piano part of his theme sounds like it is played on a child’s xylophone. A good but forgettable match see’s Big Champ Ale retain and go back to his emo corner.

Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa (Chicago Street Fight)

The obvious main event of the evening promises to get ugly fast. What is the difference between and unsanctioned match and a street fight? NOBODY CARES NERDS!! Considering their first match featured several spots that made me legitimately wince and gasp I do not know what they are going to cook up here. But it is going to be brutal and hard to watch at times. Gargano got his big victory last time, and since then he has lost his wife due to inadvertent pushing (you think as a trained wrestler she would be able to take a bump better). Ciampa has been a killer on the mic and draws heat like no one else, and this will be a hot one with plenty of carnage happening. Hell, Ciampa got busted open during the build in pretty gruesome fashion before they brought toys into the picture. I think Ciampa is going to get the win here after taking advantage of some Gargano hubris and then sets his sights on a championship opportunity.

Ministry and Chelsea Wolfe at the Wellmont Theater

Record store day was a fun day, where Birdman and I attended Rock Fantasy, a record shop in Middletown, NY.  After some record hunting, we headed down to the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ for the day’s main event, a killer metal show featuring Ministry and Chelsea Wolf.

When we got to the venue, we caught up with our friend Jason and the first thing we noticed was it was one of the nicer venues we ever been to. After about an hour of hanging and checking out the theater, the show’s opener started up.

The God Bombs

Although not the worst I’ve seen, this was still pretty bad.

God Bomb played a mid 2000’s Hot Topic take on industrial mixed with rap and ended their set with a bizarre sounding cover of The Cure’s “Killing an Arab.”

Chelsea Wolfe

This dark songstress was my main reason for going. While she didn’t play a very long set, the queen Wolfe really stole the show. Her voice, good use of lights, and her atmospheric music gave this set a haunting performance without the use of silly props.

Ministry 

The last time I saw Ministry I was only half impressed. This was because I was glad to finally see them but unimpressed that they played such an awful set list although the few good selections sounded great live.

The set started out pretty bad with them spamming their new album AmeriKKKant’s songs with some gems from Rio Grande Blood here and there. Following this section, frontman Al Jourgensen finally said that it was “time for some old shit.”

This when their set started to really rule.

Ministry went on to play “N.W.O.” and “Just One Fix,” then the two greats from 1989’s The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, “So What” and “Theives” and ended with “Bad Blood (still no Stigmata…).” Because of this second half, I enjoyed them much more this time around.

After the show and failing to meet Chelsea Wolfe, we headed home after a cool show in a cool new venue.

F*ck Mondays! Episode 47: Infinity War of the Worlds

Hold on to your butts, because Chris and Jon are back to discuss the epic Avengers: Infinity War!

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

Spaceman Frank’s Backlash 2018 Predictions

by Frank Lucci

It’s the post-WrestleMania hangover (yaay!).

The big event has come and gone, and WWE has attempted to keep the ball rolling with the likes of the Superstar Shakeup and the Greatest Royal Rumble, but now the creative well has gone dry.

Nobody ever really expects much from the months after WrestleMania, and besides a few hot feuds, people  would rather speculate on what next WrestleMania will be like as opposed to fantasy booking Backlash.

At least now all PPV’s will be co-branded now to make them even more homogenized?

There is one redeeming quality to Backlash: it falls on my birthday (ALL HAIL THE SLIGHTLY OLDER SPACEMAN!). I am Spaceman Frank, and coming off my near perfect predictions for The Greatest Royal Rumble (damn my hubris for picking Samoa Joe over Braun), and here are my Backlash 2018 predictions!

Bayley vs. Ruby Riott (Preshow Match)

Why isn’t this Bayley vs. Sasha Banks? Because shut up, that’s why.

I am not sure why the WWE refuses to pull the trigger on that feud, especially because they kept the ladies on the same show. Don’t get me wrong this match should be pretty OK and Ruby impressed me in her match against Charlotte, but c’mon man. Just give it to us. Bayley isn’t allowed to have nice things and this seems like the time to have the Riott Squad beat her up so Sasha can do the fake save and betray her, so I will say Ruby will get the win here.

Carmella (C) vs. Charlotte Flair (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match)

Who’s ready for a good old fashioned murder?

Carmella finally cashed in, but I cannot imagine her holding the belt for very long. Charlotte is just too good and it wouldn’t make sense for her to break Asuka’s streak to then get stuck in a feud with ‘Mella. She just is not on the level to hang with the top ladies on the program, and is better served as a midcarder for people like Becky and Naomi to have matches with while they shift in and out of the spotlight.

Good for her for getting her win, though. But on Backlash, Charlotte gets her belt back and then goes after The Iconics for their part in having her lose the belt in the first place.

Jeff Hardy (C) vs. Randy Orton (WWE United States Championship Match)

Where is my boy Rusev?! IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, I WANT MY BOY RUSEV!!!

But seriously, WWE, what are you doing here? Having the title bounce from Randy to Jinder then Jeff reeks of impulse booking. Meanwhile, Rusev’s fans are begging for a chance to cheer for The Bulgarian Brute, and he remains more over than a certain babyface on the roster (COUGH). Randy continues to be that union employee who has seniority on everyone thus puts in about 30% effort when he shows up for work. Jeffery on the other hand, is just happy to be here and can be a good US champ in a vacuum. But he isn’t Rusev and thus is Satan. Jeff Hardy wins and hopefully then we can get good guy Rusev.

Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens

The most over men in Quebec face off against two meaty hunks in what should be a fun match. Or like 75% of a fun match.

Since Bobby Lashley nearly killed Big Cass during the Greatest Royal Rumble I have cooled considerably on him. I understand he was pretty good in TNA, but until he proves it on Raw, I get some Roman-lite vibes off this push. Good thing he has Braun with him to get cheers (just like the forced pairing of Braun and Roman) and run over KO.

I am not sure what WWE is doing with any of these guys long term, but it looks like Braun is due for a big push sooner rather than later now that he won the green time stone infinity belt so he will pick up the win.

Nia Jax (C) vs. Alexa Bliss (WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match)

These two have been pushed down the totem poll in favor of watching Ronda chase people around the ring for Nattie, so it is pretty excusable to not be excited for this match. Their Wrestlemania match was a nice moment, but as for the sequel I do not see much new happening. There is only so much you can do when Alexa is so clearly outmatched physically by Nia. Jax could be the face of the women’s division for years to come since she is such a loveable human being in general, so I think she will retain and be champ until WWE is ready to have Ronda win the title.

Seth Rollins (C) vs. The Miz (WWE Intercontinental Championship Match)

These two have been killing it lately on their respective shows, so this should be a fun little match. The problem now is it is a relic of the pre-Superstar Shakeup, so there is no mystery as to what will happen here.

I’m a little sad WWE cannot chase the spot of top IC champ of all time, but that is a storyline that WWE can put in the freezer and thaw out whenever they run out of ideas for the Miz (AKA in three weeks).

Finn Balor is waiting for Seth on Raw, and he is a heel in all but name now, and with his goofy grin suddenly turning sinister I am ready for their feud to kick off. Meanwhile, Miz will continue to help other people get for the rest of time. Seth wins and Balor comes for the belt afterwards.

Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass

Who predicted this would be DB’s first big feud after his return? And who would have predicted that Big Cass wouldn’t suck nearly as bad as we thought?

Sure he isn’t doing fantastic but he is not detracting from the feud at all, which I never would have thought before he came back from injury. Maybe there is something to the seven footer that WWE officials saw before anyone else, and I honestly am curious to see if he shows he can hang with one of the best in ring performers on the roster. That over anything else is what I will be watching this match for. But even with his sudden ascent, Cass is going to lose to Daniel as we creep one step closer to DB vs The Miz.

Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe

Can Joe just murder Roman and save us all?

After Roman failed yet again to beat Brock Lesnar we had to deal with him whining and having a moan until Joe would cut a brilliant promo on him. I have to believe they are trying to turn Roman heel with the nonstop complaining, it makes him look like a bum.

Joe deserves to get the win here, but since Reigns has been losing tons recently it is time for him to get a win so we can all feel bad about ourselves. Ya see, kids? Complain a bunch and you will eventually get what you want.

AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship Match)

This match is no DQ, which will probably favor the guy who has been constantly punching AJ in the dick.

I sense this could be the first proper high quality “dream match” between the two in WWE, and each of their encounters has been trending upwards since ‘Mania. I am just hoping they go on last since Brock is busy punching boulders like Chris in Resident Evil 5 or whatever he does in his spare time.

As much as I love that AJ is the man in WWE, I think it is time for Shinsuke to win the belt. After losing at ‘Mania then going to a no-contest because AJ was busying beating him up, it would not make sense for have him lose again. Therefore, Shinsuke wins and we keep this ball rolling until summertime.

 

Spaceman Frank’s Greatest Royal Rumble Predictions

by Frank Lucci

It’s not just a Rumble. It’s not just a Royal Rumble. IT’S THE GREATEST ROYAL RUMBLE!

So great the WWE has truly half-assed the build to the show and acted like the event is going to be a weird non-cannon holiday special.

This is especially prevalent when WWE is setting up the card to the Backlash PPV (which is on my birthday, by the way, hold the applause), while essentially just casually mentioning this event in a 50,000 seat arena in Saudi Arabia.

Is there anything more WWE than to continue flying the women’s revolution while holding a massive show in a place that is historically is not great with equality?

All that stuff aside this shall be a unique event to watch. There is plenty of (men only) matches to watch, including a 50 man Royal Rumble that sees many former stars returning. Throw in a Friday afternoon start time in a foreign country and it should be an interesting time. Oh, and there is all that Brock and Roman drama to look forward to after all that ‘Mania 34 drama (I’m sure that won’t be an awkward match… )

I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Greatest Royal Rumble predictions!

Cedric Alexander (C) vs. Kalisto (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)

Fresh off the WrestleMania preshow sees Cedric defend his Cruiserweight championship against everyone’s favorite filler opponent, Kalisto.

This came together at the last minute and features possibly the least interesting character on 205 Live, so I do not have much hope that this will match the ‘Mania match.

Not sure why Mustafa Ali did not get a rematch, but hey at least we can look forward to pretending that Lucha House Party is a thing! That’s fun right everyone?! You all remember all those crazy college parties where people played beer pong and hit spikeramas on people?! Anyway, Cedric retains in hopes that they do something with the talented wrestler.

The Bludgeon Brothers (C) vs. The Usos (WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match)

The story here is the Bludge Boys (Nope, nixing that nickname right now) are creeping on Naomi, but since she can’t compete in Saudi Arabia, who cares about this match?

Nobody really cares what happens here. It may be a fun match, but the WWE is looking past this and onto Backlash. Of course, they are doing that with many matches on the card, but this is bottom of the barrel level of care from the company. I am tempted to say that they care so little they may change the titles to pop the crowd, but realistically probably not. MY BOY Luke Harper and the bros. retain.

Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy vs. The Bar (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match)

So after Braun and Nicholas won the belts at ‘Mania they gave it up immediately, thus making the whole thing completely meaningless.

We then got a tournament featuring four, count ’em, four tag teams facing off for the right to face The Bar at the Greatest Royal Rumble for the red belts. Then The Bar went to SmackDown in the Superstar Shakeup, thus adding another layer of worthlessness to this match.

Bray and Matt can be a fun team, and since they are a lock to win I look forward to whatever weird promos they will cut for the next several months. Deleter of Worlds win as I play XCOM on my laptop.

Jeff Hardy (C) vs. Jinder Mahal (WWE US Title Match)

Welp, we got another weird match ruined by the Superstar Shakeup. Could they not schedule it for May or something? Jefferson Hardy can be a solid US champ, while Jinder can slowly fade into the background on Raw until Vince accidentally sits in his lap thinking he is a chair and getting another run as WWE Champion. Jeffy boy wins and moves on to face Randy Orton in another feud I cannot wait to be over with already.

Seth Rollins (C) vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Samoa Joe (Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship Match)

Finally, a match I can look forward to!

Except my favorites Samoa Joe and Miz are on SmackDown now, so that’s a waste. That leaves Finn and Seth, both of whom really need a notch in the win column. Finn lost The Club, so unless he grab Titus Worldwide or The Miztourage he is solo again. I think a heel turn is in order sooner rather than later, but for now he will continue to smile and lose as he tends to do. Seth wins and swings the belt over his head like a goon.

John Cena vs. Triple H

Hey, this is happening! Anyone care? Nope? Okay then.

It is hard to predict this match since I think everyone forgot it was happening. I think Triple H will be in the back, hear his music, then freak out and start stripping. Gonna say John Cena wins since he is slightly more active than Triple H and surprisingly has been on a pretty epic losing streak lately.

AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship Match)

Another match to actually care about sees AJ try to get revenge for his dick. Yup, that is the story, but hey, anyone else would be peeved about constantly getting low-blowed.

Really, AJ should know what is coming and wear a cup on Tuesday nights. Side Note: I love Nakamura’s new theme song. I could see Nakamura getting a run with the belt at some point (like Backlash). I think we shall see Styles triumph either by sneaking in a quick pin or Shinsuke going to the well and going for the dick punch again and getting DQ’ed. Either way, AJ wins.

The Undertaker vs. Rusev (Casket Match)

If John Cena cannot last three minutes, what chance does Rusev have?

I just cannot see this being memorable in any way besides seeing Undertaker wrestle again. But if this is just a chance for people to cheer while Undertaker slowly makes his way to the ring, what happens afterwards does not matter nearly as much. Undertaker wins because of course he does and Rusev gets his wish to be “buried softly,” brother.

50 Man Royal Rumble Match

I’ll always take more Royal Rumble matches, but this may end up being too much.

They only have about half of the participants announced, so the risk of huge amounts of filler is high here. Throw in the fact that we do not know what the winner actually gets and I am not sure why we should care about this match besides that it should be pretty fun. I just feel bad for guys like Heath Slater who are flying halfway around the world to get tossed after two minutes by The Great Khali.

As for an actual winner, I’ll pick Samoa Joe to give him a boost before he murders Roman Reigns at Backlash.

Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Roman Reigns (Steel Cage Match for WWE Universal Championship)

WWE fooled everyone at WrestleMania 34 by having Brock spam finishers until he beat Roman, with the popular theory that Vinny Mac was waiting for The Greatest Royal Rumble for a more positive reaction to the title change.

My hope is that the fans in Saudi Arabia are all high-level internet fans who copy American fans by being super snarky. That would make my day.

As much at it makes sense that WWE would shoot for a Roman victory that may actually get a positive reaction from the crowd, I do not see that happening. WWE has Brock in their pocket for a while still as he needs to complete several more months of his UFC suspicion. While I cannot see him holding the belt for much longer, I’ve been burned by the Reign’s push before and I do not think it is happening. They would have had Roman smash Brock in a match similar to Brock and Goldberg instead of the drawn out affair they had if they wanted the crowd to care.

Instead, Brock Lesnar wins and WWE pivot to focusing on Ronda Rousey on Raw before getting a Money in the Bank winner available to cash in on Brock down the line.

Watain and Destroyer 666 at the Gramercy Theater

by Anthony Carioscia

This March was one hell of a month for shows.

With Septicflesh coming to Gramercy and finally getting to see Saxon when they hit the Chance Theater, but this line up of Watain and Destroyer 666 was my chance to finally see Destroyer after they dropped from Maryland Death Fest 2011 and 2016 (both of which are years I attended). I was also excited for Watain as I loved their new album Trident Wolf Eclipse, which more than made up for the last one. So like usual, I picked up my buddy Jay and we took the bus to New York City.

Destroyer 666

These blackened thrashers took no time to kick ass as they showed energy and presence. The setlist was great as well.  The only tracks I got to see were “Lone Wolf Winter,” “I Am the War God,” and a great cover of “Iron Fist” by Motorhead.  I wish I got to hear “Unchain the Wolves” and “Australian and Anti-Christ,” but I still really enjoyed their set.

Watain

When the band started their set with “The Devil’s Blood,” we knew it would rule.

Watain had a great setlist that night (although a little long). The band brought on amazing energy as we watched from the seats. They may not have had dead animals on stage this time around, but there was no denying the band was spot on.

After the show, which ended a little after 10 p.m., we headed out and plan on returning once the next awesome metal show happens.

 

Manopera! Episode 57: WrestleMania 34 Weekend Review

Chris and Spaceman Frank review WrestleMania 34 weekend and speculate the Superstar shakeup and the state of the main roster.

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

Bonesaw Podcast – Episode 55: Bruce Corbitt

Chris sits down with the mighty Bruce Corbitt, who may or may not be Batman as they talk Rigor Mortis, Mike Scaccia, Corbitt’s uphill battles and much more – including the April 21 “Freaks” demo release that has Corbitt’s long-lost vocals from yesteryear!

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

SSEP – Episode 39: WrestleMania 34 / NXT TakeOver: New Orleans

by Jon Schorr

Ya boy Jon and the Jewharaja review NXT TakeOver: New Orleans and WrestleMania 34!

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

Spaceman Frank’s WrestleMania 34 Predictions

It’s that time of year where being a wrestling fan becomes a full-time job.

WWE has decided to blast us with 14 matches on ‘Mania Sunday, which on paper seems insane. But at the same time, there is very little fat to trim from the PPV, and I can honestly say I am stoked for about 11 and a half of the matches. Sure, it is going to be a long night, but this has the potential to be the best of the six plus PPV’s WWE has insisted on putting on in the WWE Network Era.

The big questions I have for the event is 1) when will I be able to pee during the event and 2) how bitter and angry I’ll be during the Universal Title match. The build could have been better for some matches and Raw and SmackDown still are tolerable only as a series of Youtube clips, but IT’S ‘MANIA SEASON BABY! You can’t not get at least a little bit of excitement going when thinking about it. I’m Spaceman Frank and these are my WrestleMania 34 predictions.

WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal

Big mistake to have both battle royals on the preshow as it is hard enough to get people to care about the men’s one before throwing women in their as well.

I would have had the women’s battle royal and the Cruiserweights on the main show and throw the Raw women’s championship match and the US title match on the preshow. Anyway, WWE really screwed this one right out of the gate by initially naming it after The Fabulous Moolah.

To use their “what if kids google her and find out what she did” anti-Chyna logic, there is plenty of popular and talented ladies involved here, but not a whole lot of story to go around. Bayley and Sasha Banks are getting the most screen time, but I see them eliminating each other to set something up later. Outside of that I could see Becky Lynch win since she really needs something in the win column. She is my pick of the announced people in the match, but I will cheat a bit and take a flyer out on Ember Moon being a surprise entrant and winner.

Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal

WWE has not exactly stacked this match with a murder’s row of talent, instead giving people a chance to remember that Rhyno and Zack Ryder are still employed.

The honor of winning this match has lost all meaning, so I hope they have some decent action planned for this thing. Out of the announced people in the match I do not feel particularly keen on any of them, so using the “well, I have one of his shirts” logic I’ll give Heath Slater the nod. However, I’ll take a flyer out on a returning Samoa Joe winning this thing since Joe needs to be on a WrestleMania card finally and get a win as well.

Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)

This was the second match announced for WrestleMania.

205 Live has been a very exciting program to watch as the tournament unfolded. Cedric continues to be the guy we truly hope gets a big break and gets the push we know he deserves. Ali has built a groundswell of support by getting you invested in his story and cutting better promos that most of the main roster. But these guys are an inch or two too small SO AWAY TO THE PRESHOW WITH YOU LADS!!

Seriously, perhaps one of the biggest mistakes the WWE has made with the WrestleMania card is putting this in the preshow and it is a continued sign that the 205 crew are stuck in no man’s land. I wish both men could win this match, and no matter what, I think they will have a hell of a match that pumps up the crowd. I am split 50/50 between the two, but Ced has been my boy for longer so I want him to finally get the crown.

Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Nia Jax (Raw Women’s Championship Match)

The simple story here is Bliss has gone full mean girl on her IRL best friend but onscreen rival Nia Jax.

This has lead to lots of crying from Jax followed by unbridled rage. The complicated story is that WWE continues to treat women differently from men, since you do not see Braun Strowman crying in the corner because The Bar made fun of his height.

Slightly problematic, but Jax has said she is fine with it and it is a solid bet she will win. Jax has deserved a high profile win for years at this point, since most big match she is in ends with her losing. She will steamroll the tiny Bliss in a fun but short match and finally get the big win on the biggest stage of them all.

The Bar (C) vs. Braun Strowman and TBD (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship)

If WWE does not make a Brains Strowman shirt I have lost faith in humanity.

I think Braun should be able to challenge for the belts solo since it would lead to some more interesting future booking. Plus, it would give him something to do while they fart around with Roman before they realize Braun is better in every single way.

While the Bar continue to be as solid as ever, it is hard to compete with the magic that is Braun. As much as I want to see James Ellsworth make his triumphant return to WWE and be Strowman’s partner, I doubt that will happen. I could see Rey Mysterio being the mystery partner for a similar dynamic, plus it could give Rey a chance to recover while Braun does the heavy lifting. However, I think Big Show will return and the pair of massive men will win the championships off The Bar.

Randy Orton (C) vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Bobby Roode vs. Rusev (Fatal Four Way for the United States Championship)

This match is Rusev’s to win, which makes it all the more shocking that he was a last minute addition to this match.

His merch sales have been through the roof in 2018, and you would think that if WWE cared enough about the Bulgarian Brute to make Rusev Day calendars they would have a plan for him during ‘Mania.

Meanwhile, Randy Orton is farting about SmackDown as per usual and has added nothing to the US belt as champion. Roode has quickly lost momentum as well and needs to be a heel ASAP. In other news, Jinder continues to Jinder his way through life, and I could see him eventually get the Rusev circa 2015 treatment with the belt.

But all in all, it is Rusev’s time and there is no way they completely ignore the babyface connection he has with the crowd right? Right???? Rusev wins on Rusev Day and we get America-loving foreigner Rusev filming skits at The Alamo and national parks for six months.

The Usos (C) vs. The New Day vs .The Bludgeon Brothers (Triple Threat for SmackDown Tag Team Championships)

First off, I am super happy all three of these teams get a chance to wrestle on the main card of WrestleMania this year (New Day hosted last year). Second, this could be a sleeper hit on a long card.

Give these guys around 15 minutes and let them go balls out and it could be an amazing way to invigor the crowd after say, a Roman or Ronda debacle.

The Usos have been great as champs, and The New Day continue to find ways to keep their gimmick fresh. Meanwhile, the Bludgeon Brothers are not exactly a new team on the scene, but MY BOY Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are looking like killers thus far (now if only they dressed like real people).

Any team could walk away with the belts and I would be happy, but I am going to be biased and say The Bros. win the belts and MY BOY brings the blue and silver strap home to Western New York.

The Miz (C) vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins (Triple Threat for the Intercontinental Championship)

This is another tough one to call.

The Miz has been his glorious best as of late, having a healthy baby girl born and winning 100K for homeless dogs by winning the Mixed Matched Challenge. On that note, YA DON’T SEE ROMAN REIGNS HELPING SHELTER DOGS DO YA??!! SOME BIG DOG YOU ARE, YOU PUTZ!!

Miz has to deal with two stellar workhorses that it can be argued need to belt. Finn is trying to get the Balor Club (now with more than one member!!) off the ground, and Rollins has been ramping back up to pre-knee injury levels as of late.

What I really want is Miz to come within days of becoming the longest reigning IC champ of all time then lose leading to an epic meltdown. What I see happening is Finn remembering he can put on the paint and stomp people to death and win the belt. Seth has no backup and Miz should probably take some paternity leave after ‘Mania.

Charlotte Flair (C) vs. Asuka (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)

The real main event for women’s wrestling for the weekend (though it probably will not be the last women’s match on the card) sees Asuka defend her streak against arguably her toughest opponent yet.

Charlotte is someone I can see beating Asuka once her streak is already over, but not before. Having Asuka face Ronda in a year is much more of a money match, unless Ronda failboats hard in the following months. That being said, this should be a hell of a match, and Flair is one of the few women that can match Asuka’s physicality in the ring.

There are some rumbles that Carmella will cash in here, but I see her going to Raw to make up for Asuka jumping ship and cashing in on Jax or Bliss. Asuka wins in an epic encounter that makes you pause and think the streak may end.

Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon

This could be fine, but I have a feeling the audience both in the arena and at home will have little patience for this match.

Triple H moves at glacial pace against younger opponents, but against Kurt and his dead shark eyes I do not see much vigorous action happening. Meanwhile, we got a non-wrestler and actual executive taking on a former UFC champ.

Ronda has not exactly wowed as a pro wrestler thus far, but awkwardness on the mic aside, she is still an elite athlete. If she went against someone she could just trade blows with and do some chain wrestling with this would be fine, but against Steph? No way this is going to be smooth.

Name one offense move in Stephanie McMahon’s moveset besides a slap. I’ll wait.

That being said, if this match ends with Kurt and Ronda getting the double tapout victory in less than ten minutes I’ll consider it a win for the company. Team Tapout beats team Board Members in a hot mess.

Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens

This shocker of a match came together at the last minute and probably has more to drive the hype up for WrestleMania and any single other match has.

The immediate flood of support for DB has myself and most other wrestling fans on a high, and I cannot wait to see Shane get beat up in front of his stupid kids and then give a hot tag to Bryan.

They also have the perfect foils in Sami and KO who will do everything they can to make both men look good. There are lots of rumors that Shane or Bryan will turn heel here, but I do not know if I see it happening at WrestleMania. Both these guys resigned their authority roles, so I see this as a chance to reintegrate DB into the active roster and give Shane a chance to disappear for a bit to refresh his character and maybe comeback as a bad guy.

But this is WrestleMania and Daniel’s first match back will be a clean win with no shenanigans so the crowd have a happy moment before the main event (shudder…it’s getting closer).

AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship Match)

What everyone wants the main event to be besides Old Man Vinny Mac sees two of the best in the world square off at the biggest show of the year. Shut up and take my money.

This has not gotten the grandiose treatment that the Universal Title match has gotten, but it does not need it. Everyone knows this is the Savage/Steamboat match on the card and could be something truly special.

Do I expect them to knock each others brains out like they did at Wrestle Kingdom? No. Do I still expect a spectacle? Yes.

Shinsuke should have the entrance of the night which will be worth the price of admission alone. I really hope WWE does not drop the ball and have this be the opener. I will chug a beer in anger if that happens. As for who wins, I think it is Shinsuke’s moment here and pulling the trigger on him later will not nearly mean as much.

John Cena vs. The Undertaker

While not an official match on the card, I cannot imagine WWE would allow Cena to drag ‘Taker’s name through the mud for nothing.

What remains to be seen is what version of Undertaker we get, both in terms of look (Biker ‘Taker rumors have been a hot topic as of late) and how healthy he will be. He did not look great last year, and post-hip surgery makes me worried about how many bumps he will be capable of.

This is more of a curious sideshow more than a match that I am really looking forward to, but if it wipes the taste of last year’s debacle of a main event out of my mouth I will be fine with that. It will also be interesting to see how salty Undertaker is after Johnny Boy effectively turned the Dead Man into a heel during the build.

As for who wins, if this is closer to the beginning of the show I can see ‘Taker passing the part timer torch to Cena. If ‘Taker comes out as  the American Badass towards the end of the show I think he will pull out the victory. I’ll go with historical precedent and say ‘Taker wins to get some revenge on the Neon Knight.

Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Roman Reigns (WWE Universal Championship Match)

UGHHHHHHHH.

We got the best version of this match three years ago that featured Brock beating the piss out of Roman for 90% of the match before Seth Rollins came in to win the belt. Now, we have no last minute contract renewal by Lesnear, no Money in the Bank cash in (imagine Baron Corbin being the savior of ‘Mania), and no reason to allow Brock to dominate Roman.

I really wish they would put this match on first to placate Vince so he could go to bed and AJ vs. Shinsuke can headline. Instead, I think WWE is going to wait until the entire crowd is tired and ready to boo this match into oblivion or file out early. I cannot see this match being worth the previous six or so hours of waiting. Roman wins, nobody is happy, and everyone goes to bed angry and disappointed. Happy ‘Mania day to all.

 

Spaceman Frank’s NXT TakeOver: New Orleans Predictions

by Frank Lucci

The Easter Bunny has delivered a late present with this one. TakeOvers are usually grad affairs, but WWE really have gone all out on this one.

This could be one of those events that gets into the rarefied air of other legendary live events. I could not hype this one up more if I tired, and I plan on spending my Saturday night freaking out and yelling at my TV like I am a wee lad again. Hell, I plan on taking a nap after work so that I can be fully energized for the event. When your wrestling is so good you need to take an afternoon nap beforehand you have something special on your hands. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my TakeOver: New Orleans predictions!

Ember Moon (C) vs. Shayna Blazler (NXT Women’s Championship Match)

I start with the match that has the least mystery to me.

I was shocked that Ember held on to her championship the first time around, so I think Kanyser McDanger will take the belt here. NXT told a good story of how Moon survived their first encounter, but they cannot do the same finish twice. Plus Ember is prime for a main roster run and get some matches in with ladies like Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch.

I could see Wanyer Gamezer jumping ship to act as Ronda’s proxy while she get’s good, but really I think WWE has made it clear on their weekly programming she is going to be the focus for the foreseeable future. Blaszler wins in the only potential misstep of the show.

Undisputed Era (C) vs. Authors of Pain vs. Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne (Triple Threat for NXT Tag Team Championship)

It is very unfortunate that Bobby Fish got injured right at WrestleMania season, but it did add some last minute mystery to this match. I was hoping Adam Cole would be forced out of the North American Championship match, but having him choose is also an interesting twist. I see him choosing the singles belt but running interference to help his buddy Kyle. Authors of Pain have nothing to prove, and I want them to challenge Braun and his mystery partner for the Raw belts the show after ‘Mania. Strong and Dunne are the X factor here, and they could be a super fun tag team that has a good run before the sudden but inevitable betrayal. But I think Undisputed Era wins via some tomfoolery to retain, with Cole losing his ladder match so that they can keep Undisputed strong sans Fish.

Adam Cole vs. Killian Dain vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Velveteen Dream vs. EC3 vs. Ricochet (Ladder Match for NXT North American Championship)

My reaction to finding out about this match boiled down to this for about four days.

For one thing, my boy Ricochet is making his debut, and I am all in on seeing him in WWE. Second, we got EC3 also making his in ring debut, and just his intro promo alone has me excited to see what he will be able to do for NXT. Throw in four other capable wrestlers and this could be special.

My only complaint is I wished they swapped Cole out of the match once Bobby Fish got hurt and replace him with Kassius Ohno or someone similar. But between Lars and Dain trying to out hoss each other, several debuts, and Cole probably flying through the air repeatedly I am stoked. Plus, anything involving the Dream could lead to some levity in what could be a death defying showdown.

I think EC3 and Ricochet have the best chance to win, and out of the two I can see EC3 getting the strap. He would serve well as the entitled heel that NXT is known for, and having him already debut has allowed the crowd to get their “welcome to NXT” pop out of their system.

Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa

IT’S TIME FOR BLOODSPORT BABY!

These guys are going to tear each other to pieces and I cannot wait. One of the best long-term stories in WWE of the past decade, which is even more impressive because Ciampa has been gone for most of it.

Johhny Wrestling is one of the most over pure babyfaces in all of WWE, and Tommaso has been pitch perfect as a vengeful heel. Just watching the hype packages they have rolled out for this have me ready to see some violence.

But who wins this match? I could see it go either way. Gargano is ready for a main roster run, even if he will most likely end up on 205 Live, so that makes me lean towards a Ciampa win to keep Johnny off of NXT. However, considering Johnny has won very few big matches and I think NXT will allow everyone’s favorite wrestler a chance to hear his entrance music play twice on a live event. Gargano wins in a gutsy affair.

Andrade “Cien” Almas (C) vs. Aleister Black (NXT Championship Match)

Who would have thought after seeing this match at TakeOver: Orlando that this would be the main event of any show?

Cien has grown tremendously as champ, and while it still feels a bit odd that he is the top guy in a loaded field, it does not seem as improbable as say, Jinder’s run at the top.

His opponent, meanwhile, has been steadily proving himself as one of the most believable and consist performers in all of WWE. He looks the part of a demonic kickboxer, and I could see a scenario where he is on the main roster ASAP.

That being said, I think we have gotten all we can get out of Cien as champion. He had a match of the year candidate against Gargano, so they should have him drop the belt and move up while he still has some goodwill. I just do not see him being compelling for much longer in NXT and could be a boon to 205 Live. Aleister wins, holds down the fort, and offers up some dreams matches for the next year or so.

 

SSEP – Episode 38: WrestleMania 34 / NXT TakeOver: New Orleans Preview

by Jon Schorr

Ya boy Jon and Matt preview Wrestlemania 34 and NXT TakeOver: New Orleans!

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

WrestleMania 31 Retro Review

by Frank Lucci

In Preparation for the inevitable crowning of Roman Reigns as Universal Champion, Spaceman Frank has taken it upon himself to go back and look at some events that happened around the same time WWE tried Brock vs. Roman first. In the third and final part of our trilogy we look back at WrestleMania 31, AKA WrestleMania Play Button AKA The Rise of the Roman Empire. Is this PPV a sign of things to come for this year’s ‘Mania, or have the WWE learned from their mistakes? Let’s look back and see if the first attempt to crown Roman Reigns (along with the other four or five hours of this show) hold up or are forever tainted by the main event controversies.

WrestleMania 31 AKA WrestleMania Play Button (because Vince declared numbers higher than 30 to be unpopular) is very much a roller coaster of emotions. One one hand, there was plenty to be excited for such as the Intercontinental Championship Ladder, Sting making his debut inside a WWE ring, and, ummm…a nice view of a sunny stadium? On the other hand many (including myself) were going into this in full on cringe mode. Roman infamously won the Royal Rumble in such a way that not even The Rock could get the man some cheers. When the most popular person on the planet (and potential future president) cannot get you over you should throw in the towel. It seemed unlikely that Brock Lesnar would be walking away champ due to his contract running out, but thankfully at the last hour he announced on ESPN that he had signed a new deal. This gave hope to the Visigoths (I’m just going to call the anti-Roman crowd different barbarian tribes that fought the Roman Empire), but was it too little, too late? I first watched this PPV in my parents basement like a true wrestling fan, with a few friends and perhaps a wee bit too much booze and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Now a little bit older, a bit wiser, a decent amount more salty, and wayyyy more sober let’s see if ‘Mania 31 can stand up on it’s own past the shocking finale.

Preshow

Look, I am not going to force myself to watch 90 minutes of the Preshow Panel no matter how lovely Renee Young is. The two matches on the preshow were…fine. First we had a fatal four way with The New Day, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd (aka The Brass Ring Club), Los Matadores, and The Usos. This was a match type that would end up being much better at Summerslam later in the year, but here we see a good nucleus of the tag team divisions found on today’s roster. The New Day were just about to become beloved, Tyson and Cesaro are The Bar 0.5, and The Usos were FUN TO WATCH MAGGLE. Also the Matadores aka The Colons aka The Shining Stars are still employed, making them the real winners here. I do miss El Torito though…. Anyway Tyson Chicken and Cesaro win to retain their belts and prove to Cesaro fans that last year’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal win meant nothing.

Speaking of, the second and final preshow match was the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. This was pretty standard affair except for a few spots. Axelmania officially died when he was chucked out first, and retroactively I cannot believe that was a thing. Hideo Itami made his main roster debut here, which was promptly derailed after a shoulder injury, then it further fell down a cliff due to more injuries, and now finally he is stuck in the watery abyss known as 205 Live where he is not even a big deal there. Sad stuff. FInally the one bright spot was Damien Sandow breaking free of The Miz and eliminating him, leading to myself and the crowd roaring. Mizdow was legit one of my favorite things of this period of time, and I was all in on Sandow becoming a bigger deal. LOL NOPE BIG SHOW WINS YA GET IT HE WAS ANDRE’S SON IN WCW! Deflating moment that immediately sent up red flags for me when watching live. But in retrospect Big Show winning is still better than Mojito Rawley and The Leather Baron.

WrestleMania 31 opens to a beautiful sunny shot of Levi’s Stadium as some dude named Aloe Blacc sings America The Beautiful. It’s not bad, and considering many of the jokers that come to ‘Mania to perform it stands out. I wonder if WWE does America the Beautiful over the national anthem because so many of their wrestlers are from other countries they would have to go through like, two dozen anthems before the show started. Typical WrestleMania opening package featuring LL Cool J talking about human connectedness and media or something.

Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match

The show starts off hot with probably their best match of the night. The story was Bad News Barrett kept getting his title stolen by randos, so they threw them all together plus Daniel Bryan for this match. DB went from main eventing to show to opening it thanks to his debilitating injury, and his return in the Royal Rumble (and quick elimination) was the spark that started the rebellion against Reigns. So this match is essentially WWE throwing  bone to his fans in hopes we forget about all that.

Daniel Bryan is out first to a pretty good pop but not as many people Yessing with him. Champ Bad News Barrett is out next, and BNB was effing money when he had his gavel and podium. Dolph Ziggler comes out…yup. Stardust is out next dressed like Mister Sinister and I have a feeling Cody will enjoy wrestling Kenny Omega this ‘Mania Weekend way more than anything else he did during previous WrestleMania weekends. MY BOY Luke Harper out next and we get the bane of my existence R-Truth. Finally we get Dean Ambrose, who is the most popular guy in the match besides Bryan.

Hot start as everyone must have collectively decided to go at 150% speed. Before a minute is out everyone does suicide dives and planchas until finally Dean climbs a ladder outside the ring and drops on everyone. Everyone gets a chance to try to gain the advantage, with the sickest moment involving MY BOY Luke Harper dropping a ladder straight into DB’s head (cringe). The competitors climb the ladders like regular people (aka at normal speeds and not like they lost feeling in their legs), which is refreshing. Stardust pulls out his bedazzled ladder, which has a name I refuse to type. It breaks immediately, which kinda sums up Stardust’s run in WWE. MY BOY Luke Harper and Ambrose get an extended sequence in the ring which is pretty fun which ends in the airplane spot that is required for ladder matches. BNB and Stardust go for a mega-suplex off the massive ladder which deservedly gets “Holy Shit” chants.

We get the sickest spot of the night when Ambrose takes a powerbomb from MY BOY Harper from the ring to the outside and through a ladder. I remember hearing on Table for 3 that Ambrose busted the back of his head open and got staples to close the wound by the ringside doctor. This hurt worse than the actual bump, and they had to be removed anyway to get new staples in once we was backstage. Damn. MY BOY Luke takes a Zig Zag off a ladder to take him out as Ziggles gets close but takes a Bull Hammer elbow. A few more elbows takes out R-Ron and Stardust but is foiled by DB from getting the belt. Running knee takes Barrett out for good and Zigglypuff and Gogoat Bryan trade headbutts on the ladder. Headbutt has a 30% chance of causing your opponent to flinch, which eventually happens to Zigglypuff. He faints and DB wins the Ladder Badge. (sorry for all the Pokemon references.)

Overall- Not fat in this match as most everyone pulls their weight. R-Duff does not do much, but everyone else gets a memorable spot to add to their sizzle reel. DB winning was the best choice of a winner considering the circumstances, but it is a bit melancholy to see him win. This was his last PPV match until his upcoming triumphant return at WrestleMania 34. Everyone else in the match has had their ups and downs, which only Ambrose truly being elevated in the years since as a key player. But overall a fun match that is very rewatchable today.

Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins

Here come the Black Hole of Charisma to make the pace of this WrestleMania a bit more methodical. Randle is seeking revenge on The Authority for trading him in for younger, hippie model Seth Rollins. Babyface Orton is somehow even more insufferable than Heel Randy , who attempts to curry favor with the crowd by raising the roof and giving out some half hearted “cmons!” Seth gets plenty of cheers by the live crowd, and he is with J&J security who I dearly miss.

Whole bunch of “methodical” pace to start us off as Randy counters Seth’s attempts to be exciting. Randle the Mandle delivers hanging DDT’s to the floor to J&J but eats a suicide dive for attacking the security boys. Whole bunch of nothing for several minutes as each men trades control and bland moves as I check out reviews for Dark Nights: Metal. Orton has had the same move set +/- the punt for over a decade so once you seen one Orton match you’ve seen them all. Seth tries to liven things up with his flashier moveset (including a beautiful springboard moonsault off the apron), but has to continuously match Orton’s pace. Finally we get to the only part of this match worth remembering when Orton counters the Curb Stomp into and RKO. Seth seems to fly ten feet in the air while taking the move and Randy wins the match.

Overall- Match will be immortalized for it’s Gif spawning ending and that is it. Rollins will have his WrestleMania moment later in the night, but this match could have been on Raw for all I care. Now both these guys will be in matches for secondary titles in WrestleMania 34. Seth has the chance to bring the house down against Finn Balor and IC Champ Miz, while if Rusev does not win the US belt from Orton I will riot.

Ronda Rousey makes her first appearance of the night in the front row. Hmmmmm… I wonder if this will come into play later tonight or in three years.

Sting vs. Triple H

Between the hype package, Sting’s Entrance, Triple H’s entrance’s intro video, and his actual entrance you have enough time to make and eat a sub. I know because I tested this. Weird disjointed mix of Sting being like “I just think Triple H is a jerk” and everyone else yelling FINAL BATTLE OF THE MONDAY NIGHT WAR! Sting’s entrance is pretty cool, but would have better if it was orchestra playing his WCW theme song like they did for the WWE 2K commercials. Triple H’s video and entrance is pretty much an ad for Terminator Genisys, which is a terrible movie I sat through because I hate myself. Also it looks 100% like Triple H has a metal pole sticking out of his ass during his entrance.

Match begins with Triple H being shocked that multiple time world champion and thirty year veteran Sting remembers basic moves. Sting gets “you still got it chants” after hitting a shoulder tackle, headlock, hip toss, and standing dropkick. I could hit those moves guys c’mon. Sting is already looking pretty disheveled after five minutes as his makeup starts coming off and his bald spot appears.

We then get the second portion of every modern Triple H match where he gets over his shock of seeing his opponent his basic maneuvers and slowly grind away at his opponent. I never really noticed his pattern until Having watched this and his ‘Mania 30 match roughly a week apart. This is about as fun as actually having the COO of WWE put you in a chinlock \. Only thing of note is Triple H’s massive bruise on his thigh and buttcheck and JBL claiming WCW was “a small pond.” What did you spike your diet Mountain Dew with John moonshine.

OLD MEN ALERT #1 as DX shows up to help their boss errrr friend. Haggard Sting gets some air on a dive to the ring apron but eats a Pedigree. It gets a two count though as OLD MEN ALERT #2 sounds as the even older NWO show up. I would have loved if X-Pac ripped his DX shirt to reveal an NWO one. A brawl between a bunch of old men occurs that ends with a bunch of gentle yet uncomfortable bumps. HBK superkicks Sting when it looks like Triple H is doomed, thus showing us he is a heel. Or he is just a toadie for Trips.

Final sequence sees bats and hammers come out as Sting smashes Triple H’s hammer and attempt a final rally before eating a sledgehammer to the face and losing. Everyone just kind of makeups after as the crowd is dead silent for the hopefully last victory of WWE over WCW.

Overall: OK nostalgia trip if you watched wrestling in the 90’s. I did not so much of the magic is lost. Sting looked fine in spots but showed his age elsewhere. Triple H stuck to his formula but it is not like either men were gonna get out of second gear. At first view it is entertaining enough but each time I watch it I grow more and more bored.

Legends spot as WWE throws as many legends as possible at Daniel Bryan to make his victory seem like a big deal despite headlining the show last year and opening it this year. We get a Bret Hart smile though which is rarer than diamonds. Afterwords a bunch of people pretend to make music. Just take a piss instead.

AJ Lee and Paige vs. The Bella Twins

The sole women’s match sees sometimes rivals, sometimes friends AJ and Paige take on The Bellas because reasons. Nikki is in the middle of her record breaking title run (to erase AJ’s record title run), which was immediately surpassed by Charlotte. Solid decision making all around. Tons of Divas era offense as someone has a “Nikki I’ll give you babies” sign. Stay classy dude. AJ spends most of the match on the outside taking a rest while Paige gets beat up. Brie yells “BRIE MODE” which is the most exciting she does in the match. Paige does a cannonball spot to the outside which is the most exciting part of the match. AJ recovers from the three forearms she took and runs wild. It is slightly sloppy as the ladies go through to motions. ALmost as if they planned out the whole thing out beforehand. Something tells me this wrestling stuff is fixed. Anyway AJ gets the tapout victory over via Black Widow.

Overall: Nothing match to get what amounts to the cream of the Diva crop before the women’s division really started taking off. Lee would be out of the company almost immediately afterwards rendering the whole thing useless besides some long forgotten Total DIvas storyline. It is curious to watch just for seeing how much better the women’s division is now but easy to skip.

Hall of Fame spot which is good for making you cry over Connor the Crusher (pours one out for the fallen homie). We then get a commercial for an old WWE video game but that does not matter cause RUSEV IN A TANK!!!! RUSEV IN A TANK!!!!! RUSEV IN A MUTHA EFFING TANK!!!! Seriously the best wrestling entrance ever. Some BS USA images appear to remind you that by booing John Cena you boo america. Really sick of this type of exploitative crap. Don’t use dead soldiers and real life tradigities to get me to care about stuff, wrestling or otherwise.   If John really loved the USA maybe he would wear more patriotic colors rather than neon colors and jean shorts. Seriously lame build that belongs in 1985. At least it brought us RUSEV IN A TANK ALL HAIL GLORIOUS LEADER RUSEV.

Rusev (C) vs. John Cena (US Championship Match)

Despite the USA chants Rusev still gets more cheers than Cena. I guess the patriotic video did not work. Lana must be baking in that suit and fur getup in the middle of California. Match starts with some beef being thrown about as Cena hits a big clothesline and Rusev hits his running heel kick. Rollover overhead suplex by Rusev is equally impressive. Rusev takes a second to gloat about Russia which leads to Cena’s four moves of doom. Rusev blocks the AA and the crowd is pretty hot. I do not think RUsev was as over as Bray Wyatt was against Cena at ‘Mania 30 but this crowd is definitely louder in their anti-Cena chants. “Let’s Go Lana” chants show Rusev is far from the darling of the smarks he is now.

Both men take turns hitting some big moves, and they work really well together. RUsev is the bigger and quicker guy, but Cena started changing up his moveset at this point to be a bit more flashy. Rusev hits an Alabama Slam, err ummm Sofia Slam for a two as we get to the point that happens every time someone faces Cena where the Heel starts panicking that they have not put him down yet. Brah you have not even hit your finisher yet calm down. STF by Cena is an excuse for the boys to have an audible chat and for Lana to throw a shoe in the ring. Who throws a shoe, honestly? Cena’s shite STF does not work and neither does Rusev’s flying headbutt, but that does get slight Rusev chants. Cena blocks the Accolade and hits his springboard stunner that Rusev sells like a champ. People crapped all over this move but I always liked it. Showed Cena was at least trying to change things up in his moveset unlike some people (cough Randy cough)

Finish sees Rusev hossing Cena around before getting the Accolade in. Cena sees a bald eagle flying overhead, hulks up and breaks the hold by backing Rusev into the corner. This leads to a still shite STF. Lana tries to distract Cena but ends up being hit by a charging Rusev and knocked off the apron. Cena takes advantage of this spousal abuse with an AA for the win and championship.

Overall: Fun match. The patriotic angle made me hate the pre-match stuff besides RUSEV IN A TANK but the actual match was good. Lots of back and forth and big hoss moves. Rusev looked good in defeat and it was inevitable that Super Cena would win for America. This would lead to Cena’s US Open challenge which really helped him turn a corner with snarky bastards like me. It was all downhill for Rusev however as he would keep falling downwards until his pairing with Aiden English and Rusev Day. It would be nice if Rusev regains the belt he lost three WrestleManias ago this year especially if it means Randal takes the pin.

Recap of the preshow by the Preshow panel in case you are like and said “screw that crap this show is long enough as it is.”

Big Ol’ Ronda Segment

Since this takes up a good 20 minutes it gets a headline. Steph is here to have a good wank session about how great the WWE is. Triple H gets to be here trophy husband despite being responsible for most of the positive changes in WWE the past few years. I really do think these segments are a big turn on for the power couple. Nobody is allowed to take up more time and have a better wank session on screen than Dwayne Johnson though so he appears and takes his sweet ass time getting to the ring. For real it takes about five minutes for him to get to the ring and start talking. Rocky here is completely bald and lacks a beard, making him look like a confused baby turtle. Typical Rock speech full of Rockyisms about the fans, his greatness, and genitalia. Eventually Rocky goes to Slapfest County as Steph taunts him after wacking him good. Admittedly that is pretty heelish and amazing. Crowd catches on quick with “Ronda” chants before The Rock moves a muscle. Shayna Blazer makes a quick cameo as Dwayne walks by and he picks lucky fan/future Hall of Famer out of the crowd to fight his battles for him. We pretty much see the same Ronda segments on Raw we have seen for the past several weeks, swapping out one bald man (The Rock) with another (Kurt Angle). Only difference is Ronda only says two lines and thus is 1000% better. “I’ve had it with this whole frickin thing” says Triple H, echoing my thoughts on the 2017 Ronda angle. The good guy and gal beat up The Authority as everyone cheers.

Overall: Is this better than putting on another match? Maybe. WrestleMania needs segments on this to act as a palate cleanser, especially in the era of 7 hour PPVs. WWE essentially copied much of this for their build to ‘Mania 34, only with charismatic Rocky over dead on the inside Kurt Angle. It’s fine for what it is, but has lost some polish now that it is something we see on the reg.

Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker

They start hyping this with Ronda and The Rock still in the ring. Taker hype package with Johnny Cash backing it, which is pretty rad. We Undertaker’s lost from last year’s WrestleMania which transitions to Bray doing Bray things. I thought Bray might have a shot of winning so they could pass the torch. LOL NOPE. To make matters worse Bray hurt his foot on the weekend of the event and was limited a bit with what he could do. Recipe for a disappointment.

What does not disappoint is Wyatt’s entrance which sees him animating scarecrows as he passes them. Would look cooler in the dark, but it is still a cool entrance. I think he should have kept the scarecrow look too as his current look of white dude dreads and white pants are super generic. Undertaker is out next with tons of fog, tombstones, and purple light. LOts of people complained about the entrance because it was still light out, but I think the purple tinge and shadows do the job well. Taker has also abandoned the amish punk look of last year for a goatee and shorter hair. He looks way better than last year, which admittedly is a low bar to hurdle.

Opening of the match sees Undertaker hitting a bunch of big moves to assure fans that this time Takie Baby can still go. Commentary acts like Wyatt does not have a chance and, well, he doesn’t. Match is so exciting my mind wanders and I wonder why Undertaker has not had his tattoos touched up. They are really faded and it is distracting. Eventually Wyatt begins to rally but it is so lame the only way I can describe it is he hits the old man a bunch. Bray hurts his foot again diving into the steel stairs that looks like it maybe got within a few inches of Undertaker’s head. Match is already winding down as we get a Hell’s Gate and Uranage/Senton combo. Yay?

As we get to the finish Bray does his spooky man spine bend in the corner, which earns him a chokeslam. Tombstone gets a two count, which I guess is as close as to putting over Bray as Undertaker will get. Desperation Sister Abigail does not get the win and we get the spider walk/sit up gif that people will remember this match for. Both men slug it out with strikes with Bray getting the advantage until Undertaker decides he is ready for his hotel bed and hits a second Tombstone to win. Big blasts of pyro go off as we fade to the main event hype.

Overall: Nice to see Undertaker look mobile and healthy. That is about all the positive I have for this match. Bray did not look like much of a threat throughout and was here to put the old man over. Not a horrible match though and way better of a watch than the ‘Mania 30 match for both these guys. Short and to the point, but definitely in the middle of the pack when it comes to Undertaker WrestleMania matches. If you really love either man i say rewatch it otherwise skip.

Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Roman Reigns (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

Crack one open folks. It’s that time. Hype package tries desperately to make Roman look cool or at least likeable and fails. Brock meanwhile looks cool as a GD cucumber talking about how he likes to hurt people. Funny how much WWE has recycled from this first go around from the “right guy in the right place at the wrong time” line to the whole part timer/full time divide.

Roman out first to the mild “oooooooo” of an audio tampered crowd as security guards literally have to shove people out of the way from giving him the business. “Roman is a Wank Pheasant” sign out which always draws a smile from my bitter and salty soul. Reigns also has some lame ass pyro that looks like a bunch of roman candles…..oooooooh now I get it. Brock gets a massive cheer and blows up the stadium with his pyro. Almost as if he is a way bigger deal than Reigns. Heyman gets a big cheer for his intro speech as well and off we go.

Gotta say, the opening minute of this made me crackle. They start hot with Reigns trying to get the jump on Lesnar only to get suplexed like a ragdoll and eat an F-5. Brock is bleeding from the cheek which makes him even more terrifying. Nobody makes him bleed his own blood. NOBODY. Louder than ever boos for Reign’s attempt at a comeback and big cheers for bodying Roman during a clothesline and suplexing him for a third time. At this point the crowd has caught on that this is not the Roman crowning we all thought and perhaps with his new contract WWE would just allow Brock to steamroll their golden boy.

SUPLEX CITY BITCH  is born as Heyman smiles knowing his client just came up with his new catchphrase. Heyman is preening like a peacock which is always enjoyable to watch. He just loves his client so much. Reigns smiles and laughs after his fifth trip to Suplex City, which is incredibly stupid and I still get mad watching him smirk while getting the crap kicked out of him. I could keep counting all the suplexes and Reign’s attempt to come back, but really the next five minutes is Brock beating Roman like he ate the last McRib.

After Reigns kicks out of a second F-5 Lesnar literally takes the gloves off and slaps the piss out of Reigns. Not gonna lie, I just love watching the man suffer. If they had Reigns take the Curt Hawkins spot he would 100% be in my boys stable. Third F-5 does not do it and the crowd starts to boo and get worried. Brock then goes into a ringpost and starts bleeding immediately as the crowd further get on edge. Parade of Superman punches get even more hate followed by a pair of spears. Lesnar ain’t having none of that though and kicks out as Paul clutches his heart with worry. Massive fourth F-5 stops the rally cold and then….

IS THAT CROSSFIT JESUS’ MUSIC?????!!!!!

Seth is out here to save the day!!!!! True story when I watched this live my livestream cut out and we went into panic mode as we heard Seth’s music but could not see what happened. Crowd goes nuts as Seth kicks Roman out of the ring and curbstomps Brock. Brock catches him for an F-5 but Roman spears Brock as Seth goes flying. Rollins recovers and hits a curbstomp to ROman to win the belt as the stadium erupts in cheers and pyro. Final image is Rollins swinging the belt over his head like a dead cat as massive amounts of fireworks launch from everywhere. Such a smart choice for WWE to give the belt to a workhorse like Seth who, while his run had plenty of downer moments started out in the most epic fashion ever.

Overall: If you like watching Roman Reigns get beat up this is an easy rewatch. If not well you have the next several WrestleMania main events to watch. Brock looked like a killer and Seth like a savvy villain who was one step ahead of everyone. The match is fairly short and does not have many bad moments, and lead to some really great stuff. Now without a cash in nor a new contract for Brock now we shall see the crappy original version of this match WWE wanted to put on here for ‘Mania 34.

Final Thoughts: Much like WrestleMania 30 the bookends of this show are the best. The ladder match is head and shoulders above anything else and featured plenty of fan favorites working frantically for your approval. The main event was also fun and very much memorable. Other than that much of the rest of the card is forgettable. Many of them featured newer guys like Rusev, Wyatt, and Sting in prominent roles only to lose. It is hard to get through this PPV knowing many of the deserving wrestlers lose out and floundered soon afterwards. If not for the cash in this would have been a forgettable Mania. A solid hour of good wrestling with three other hours that feel like a decent episode of Raw.

Slayer Announces Final Album

For the few that don’t know, Slayer’s upcoming 2018 tour will be their last and just in time for Easter the band revealed that they have one final album coming out this year titled Abominations of Finality.

This album will be a double album with disc 2 containing covers and remixes of old songs. The band says that the style will stay true to the Slayer sound fans know and love and will feature guest appearances by many famous artists. Expect many of these new tracks to be played during this final tour.

Disc 1

  1. 7 Princes of Hell
  2. God Sucks (featuring Glen Benton)
  3. April Blood Shows
  4. Daddy would you like Some Satan (featuring Tom Green)
  5. God is Lame and I Hate Him ( featuring Aeon)
  6. Religious Fools
  7. Lust for the Chosen Son (featuring Dagon)
  8. God is Still A Tool Even Though Tom Goes to Church and Believes in God
  9. Dark Evil Darkness ( featuring Glen Danzig and Hopsin)
  10. Hell’s Domain

Disc 2

  1. Criminally Insane (industrial remix featuring Trent Reznor and Mc Ryde)
  2. The Antichrist (bluegrass remix)
  3. Angel of Death (remix featuring Fred Durst, Snoop Dogg, and the Insane Clown Posse)
  4. My Pal Foot Foot (Shaggs cover)
  5. Strange Magic (ElO cover)
  6. Leave Virgina Alone (Rod Stewart cover)
  7. Natural Born Killaz (Ice Cube/Dre.cover)
  8. Gods Gonna Cut You Down (Johnny Cash cover)
  9. Killer Croc (Nuclear Hatred cover)
  10. Killed This Way (Metallica/Lady Gaga cover)

Spaceman Frank’s WrestleMania 30 Retro Review

In Preparation for the inevitable crowning of Roman Reigns as Universal Champion, Spaceman Frank has taken it upon himself to go back and look at some events that happened around the same time WWE tried Brock vs Roman. In the second part of our trilogy we look back at WrestleMania 30, the first proper PPV of the WWE Network era and the last WrestleMania in New Orleans until this year’s event. Will the epic tale of Daniel Bryan vs The Authority hold up four years later? Let’s find out!

WrestleMania 30 is an event that is often lionized for its big moments. Daniel Bryan finally got the championship he deserved, even if in retrospect this was the beginning of the end for the internet icon. This also was the place where Undertaker’s streak ended, spawning countless memes and cementing Brock Lesnar as the real rising star of this era. I remember hosting a party for the event as a housewarming style bash that both regular wrestling fans, as well as new people, were able to get into. Nowadays good luck asking someone to try and watch 8 hours of wrestling and see if they stick around to the end.

Looking back this was a really special era full of hope for the company. There was no Roman Reigns to hover over the event like a vulture, and while Brock beating the streak was a shocker it at least made sense. Personally, I was more worried about the Network feed messing up like it did during NXT Arrival more than the quality of the show. As a fan who was less than a year into his full-time wrestling obsession, I was all in on Bryan’s story and not as concerned with part-timers and the like. Oh, how things have changed.

Before the PPV begins proper there a couple of things I’d like to address. There are only 8 matches on the card including the pre-show, and the PPV is just shy of four hours long. This is about how long a big PPV card should be, and in comparison, WrestleMania 34 has ten matches announced with several more weeks to go until the event. Please WWE, there is only so much I can take. I did not watch the preshow, which saw The Usos beat Los Matadores (lol), Rybaxel (LOL), and The Real Americans. Hopefully, The Usos get on the main card this year.  HALL OF FAMER KID ROCK’s theme song for the night is mildly upbeat and very annoying and does not convey a sense of grandioseness that is required for ‘Mania. The stage is very cool at least, and all the purple and gold give the arena a very royal sensibility. On commentary is Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL, who do their best throughout the night. AKA very average stuff that is easy to tune out.

Opening video montage featuring HALL OF FAMER/FUTURE SENATOR KID ROCK is an upbeat mardi gras parade featuring a truly random assortment of wrestlers including Fandango and Sheamus. Sheamus does not move, he just holds his arms out on top of a float for the entire thing. Probably his highlight of the night.  They edit in footage of legends such as HBK and Andre the Giant, which is sorta cool but also very distracting. Before the action begins we get the Host of WrestleMania/Slayer of Gawker Hulk Hogan. Hogan is caught singing his own theme song while walking down the ramp like the mark for himself that he is. No wonder he keeps challenging Cena for one last match. Hogan takes too long to get to the ring and the crowd begins to quiet down once the second verse of his song starts. Once he is back in the ring the crowd fires up more. IMMEDIATELY Hogan begins messing up by calling the Superdome the Silverdome, The WWE the WWF, and stumbling over his words. Pretty bad for a “pro” like Hogan, but at least the Silverdome debacle lead to some gold later and the commentary team crackling up like loons.

Austin comes out next to a gigantic pop as Lawler literally screams “SPECIAL MOMENT! SPECIAL MOMENT!” Thanks, Jerry, I got it no need to let us know what it sounds like when you climax. Stone Cold comes out, makes a Silverdome reference and also manages to stumble on his words and look winded from the walk down the ramp. He threatens to beat up an old man but then decides to kiss his ass instead. The Rock is out last and takes his sweet time to even get to the ramp, let alone get to the ring. Being the most popular human on the planet The Rock is a much better promo than either of the other guys. Rock also gets major points for me for actually bothering to mention people wrestling on the show like John Cena and Daniel Bryan. The three guys do their catchphrases, drink some beer, and the segment ends. Not the worst way to kill 20 minutes, but the improved Superdome jokes are the best part of this opener.

Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H (Winner gets added to WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match)

Did anyone really expect Daniel Bryan to lose this match? Could you imagine the Evolution triple threat closing the show? In the era of Roman Reigns, yes, but this night is all about DB baby! Nice hype package highlighting Bryan’s rise throughout his WWE career cut with The Authority holding him down. “You don’t listen to these people. You don’t listen to their obvious desire to see somebody like me succeed.” prophetizes Daniel Bryan. Amen dude, amen.

Stephanie Mcmahon is out in a tux jacket/short shorts combo to introduce her husband. Triple H is in full Conan the Barbarian mode despite being announced as the COO of the WWE. He is out with three women surrounding him who just so happen to be Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Alexa Bliss. Say what you will about Triple H but he picked pegged those three as winners right off the bat. Might as well say it but The Game is one of the best themes songs…ever. Still get chills hearing it. Daniel Bryan comes out to his usual massive pop but very little extra flair for the big event. Cole refers to DB as “the proletariate” like he is going to win back the means of production for the working class instead of a championship belt. I miss the massive waves of “Yes” from crowds and really no one else has come close to being as over as Bryan was at this time.

35 minutes into the PPV and our first match starts. Typically of part-time Triple H, the match begins with stalling, followed by H’s opponent hitting a move, then Triple H sitting there being like “OMG HE HIT A MOVE!” The early portion of the match sees DB trying to gain the advantage with strikes and chain wrestling as Triple Haitch seeks to work Daniel’s injured shoulder and use his power to take down the smaller man. It is not the flashiest match, but it works and is enjoyable.

Getting it out of the way now: It is a little uncomfortable watching Daniel Bryan land on his shoulder and back of the head. Knowing what we know now it is hard not to see Daniel throw dropkicks and go for dives/headbutts without cringing. It does add a bit of melancholy to this event overall, but in the heat of the moment, you still get caught up in the action.

Bryan hits some huge moves to the outside including a massive but ugly as hell moonsault to the floor before Triple H regains control by slamming Bryan’s hurt arm onto the table. To add insult to injury Steph is her usual screeching self on the outside. God, she could tell me I’ve won the lottery in that voice and I would still want to punch her. DB takes a bump on the ring apron as Triple H and Steph smooch while he is being counted out. Classic heel move showing affection for your wife.

“Hache” gets a dirty crossface in that puts the STFU to shame except for the fact that he locks it onto the forehead. Daniel Bryan sells for a bit before he begins a mini-comeback which includes a few trips to the Suplex Co-Op. Top rope sunset flip powerbomb and dropkicks from Daniel before he gets decapitated by a Triple H clothesline. Flying Goat gets countered by a knee to the face (cringe) but a Yes Lock attempt by Triple H eventually by a rollup/Yes Lock of his own. JBL already sounds drunk as Triple H makes it to the ropes.

The finish sees the classic DB combo of suicide dives/ top rope dropkick/Yes kicks but it is not enough to put down The Game. Triple H fires back with his own classic combo of spinebuster/Pedigree but The Goat kicks out to a massive pop as the crowd knows the end is near. Triple H keeps trying to get in a second Pedigree but DB eventually counters his way to the Running Knee for the win. Bitter Boi Triple H beats up Daniel afterwards to leave “doubt” as to if he will be able to wrestle later.

Overall: A Good opener for the show. It was pretty methodical at times but it worked for the story that they were telling. Besides some cringe moments involving DB’s injuries, this match has held up pretty well. When he needed to Triple H bumped like a boss for the much smaller man and the crowd was nuclear hot for portions of this match. Only real negative is Drunk JBL commentary and Steph screeching but those are more annoyances than real flaws.

Footnote: I wrote all of the above before Daniel Bryan was cleared to return to the ring. While I am still cautiously optimistic about his return, I cannot help but still cringe at the thought of him taking bumps. On one hand, I am immediately stoked by his return, and on the other, it is still going to be tough to not freak out every time he takes a nasty spill. Watching him land on his shoulder and rolling while doing the running dropkicks against KO and Sami makes me hope he will be playing it much more safe this time around. However, if he pulls out the Flying Goat headbutt again I will drive to New Orleans and punch him in the mouth. Can we get an official ban on jumping headbutts yet?

The Shield vs. The New Age Outlaws and Kane

Show of hands: Who remembered this match happened? I sure didn’t. Zero hype package as The New Age Outlaws are out ASAP after the last match. Road Dogg tries to say something, gets cut off by The Shield coming through the crowd. Kane is out last, leaving this feeling like they are scrambling to make up for time. The story here is that the Authority B squad beat up The Shield…and that is it. This match is in fast forward as each member of the heels takes a turn getting beat up. Triple powerbomb to the New Age Outlaws wins the match and also IRL messes up Billy Gunn so bad he gets hemoptysis.

Overall: Filler match. Match was so short Seth Rollins’ only move as a legal man was for the finish. Prime example of getting everyone on the card and getting their stuff in. The bathroom break match for the first half of the PPV.

Sargent Slaughter and Hacksaw Jim Duggan are playing with toys like adults until Ricky Steamboat comes out to be a stereotype. The toys are bought by Ted Debaise and Ron Simmons comes out for the “DAMN” spot. I usually enjoy Legends spots on ‘Mania but adding the toy commercial was pretty lame.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Number of people in this match who are no longer with the company: twelve. Number of people in this match who are active members of the WWE roster: fifteen. Throw in several people who have since retired and that is not a good look for the company. Big Show and Sheamus get their own entrance which everyone else is already in the ring. It makes since for Big Show to get an entrance but Sheamus? Lawler here is more annoying than usual as he does not recognize Brad Maddox and didn’t know 3MB were in the match despite having a “wok band” joke ready. Match is a hot mess until about half of the men are eliminated and some actual spots start happening. Random highlight of the match sees Fandango eliminate Intercontinental Champion Big E as the place starts Fandangoing. Remember that random craze that lasted all of two weeks? Something I wish I could unsee from this match is R-Truth and Big Show exchanging pelvic thrusts at each other.

This match only gets good once we are down to the final seven. Rey Mysterio and Cesaro have a fun sequence that makes me wish they had a full match together. Kofi does his usual battle royal magic by catching his feet on the ring stairs to avoid elimination. I still don’t know how they pull that off. Final four is Big Show, Cesaro, Sheamus, and Del Rio. Jamison and Patron eliminate each other and the crowd comes alive for the stare down between Show and Cesaro. Crowd goes even more mental when Cesaro lifts Show up like he was a sack of dog food and dumps him out for the win.

Overall: This ‘Mania weekend pretty much has been the highlight of Cesaro’s singles career. Between winning this and becoming a Paul Heyman guy the next night there was plenty of hope for the Swiss Superman. Sadly they continued to start and stop pushing him even though Cesaro can out wrestle most everyone on the roster. I really hope we get him into a Universal/WWE title program at some point. Meanwhile, Big Show would get his win in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal next year before Baron Corbin and Mojo Rawley killed off whatever importance the match had.

John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

An  AMAZING promo package hypes this match as a big effing deal, and even though it is set to an Eminem song it does a great job of highlighting the differences between the two men. God, Wyatt was so good at this time, and this felt like his chance to move up into the main event scene. How far he has fallen, and after years of his promos getting more and more nonsensical he really needs a chance to freshen up the character.

Wyatt is out first with a voodoo style dancer intro and a live version of his song. All of it is fantastic and they really need to bring back his gimmick of appearing on the Tron and saying “(insert town name)..we’re here.” Cena’s entrance by comparison is his standard look and the crowd is mostly negative towards him as usual. Contest begins with Wyatt playing some mind games by getting on his knees and begging John to unleash his anger and be a monster. Good Guy Cena just waits until Bray charges before going for a headlock ASAP. Less than a minute in and we got rest holds. Wyatt gets some offense in but it is pretty plodding to say the least. This apparently pisses off Cena who gets his anger face on and smacks Wyatt around a bit as the Eater of Worlds laughs at him. For the first time ever dueling “Let’s go Cena/Cena sucks” chants get under Johnny’s skin as he mugs to the crowd and throws a hissy fit when he can’t beat up Wyatt when he is in the ropes. Different side of Cena here, but it is so exaggerated that it comes off as comical. Serious Cena only really became good lately when he just coldly goes for multiple AA’s and clobbers people with meaty closelines.

Both men continue to wrestle at was can charitably be described as a leisurely pace and it is a good time to grab a beer. Crowd do not care much for this match until Bray does his crab walk pose when Cena goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle. This causes the crowd to start singing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” in what is the coolest spot of the match. Shame it is something the crowd does and not something the wrestlers do. Both men continue to wrestle at a lackadaisical pace as they trade power moves. Some look good like Wyatt’s powerbomb counter to a top rope leg drop while other look sloppy like Bray’s gutbuster move where he can barely lift Cena up. Cena decides to dive on MY BOY Luke Harper and Erick Rowan like a cowardly heel. Shame on you sir don’t you mess with my fellow Western New Yorker and his ginger friend! Cena considers heeling out by crushing Wyatt with the steel steps but that might make a child cry so he tosses them aside. Cena impressively scrambles out of frame when Wyatt goes for a running senton, making it look like he disappeared before hitting the AA. Wyatt kicks out and MY BOY Luke gets revenge for Cena’s unprovoked attack with a massive kick. Still not enough to get the pin and Cena gets driven into the barricade and murders MY BOY Luke in the process.

The match concludes with Wyatt hitting Sister Abigail then throwing a fit when Big Match John kicks out. He grabs a chair to try and make Cena disqualify himself as the ref meekly stands by and asks politely for them to stop. Ref literally is yelling at Cena “this is not who you are!” Like Cena has never been in a no DQ match before or used weapons. Cena puts on his best “anger” (aka pooping) face, hits Rowan with the chair, counters a rollup and Sister Abigail into an AA and gets the win as JBL and Cole talk about what a swell guy he is.

Overall: The portions of the match that focused on Wyatt trying to corrupt Cena were good. Everything else was pretty meh. The action was pretty slow and Cena’s rage faces are comical more than anything else. They would have a rematch in a steel cage which Wyatt won via demonic singing child which harmed him worse than losing. Wyatt weirdly has failed upwards around WrestleMania as he went from this to Undertaker the next year to dealing with The Rock at 32 and entering 33 as WWE Champion. He ended up on the losing side of all those encounters, which sums up his career pretty well. I would not be surprised if down the line Bray leaves WWE and goes on the indy scene and revitalizes his career by going full on Satanic with his character. I think a blood feud with someone like Jimmy Havoc would be awesome. Until then, expect more rambling promos and glimpses of what could have been.

Hall of Fame recap segment is next. Jake the Snake’s speech was amazing and if you have not yet check out the movie about him getting clean. You will get choked up. Other than that and feeling sad about The Ultimate Warrior’s passing this did not do much for me. Whole bunch of filler next as we see DB being worked on by trainers, shots of New Orleans, and the Spanish Announce team.

Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker

Oh boy it is Streak time (grabs the whisky). Video package about the Streak is interrupted by Paul Heyman who delivers his usual masterpiece of a promotalking up how Brock is going to be the One in 21-1. I do not know anyone who thought that would actually happen, but we all know how it all shakes out these days. The Jimmy Johns monster is out first to his usual entrance. ‘Taker’s entrance begins with several coffins representing his victims (including the people who are dead IRL. Real sensitive WWE) as a video package is interlaced between. ‘Taker comes out with the usual fog and lightning show as Brock’s coffin opens by itself due to magic/hydraulics. ‘Taker is rocking the Amish goatee/ mohawk look that makes him look about a decade older than he is. Not a good look, but he looked much better next year with the medium hair/no facial hair look. ‘Taker’s entrance takes what feels like an hour, which is a shame since it is not particularly memorable considering what we are about to see.

Back and forth to start and I spent much of the early portion of the match trying to decide when exactly Undertaker got concussed. One random note: when was it decided that ‘Taker was “the best striker in WWE history?” Shouldn’t Ken Shamrock, Brock Lesnar, or some other notorious tough guy (Vader) get that node? Amish ‘Taker tries a weird arm hold that I think is suppose to be him pulling Brock’s arm while it is tangled in the rope but it just looks like they are holding hands. ‘Taker is working the shoulder by repeatedly sending Brock into the ring post as Lesnar occasionally responds with a punch. The pace can generously be described as glacial as they hit a few strikes, talk a walk to a different part of the ring, and do the same thing. Match picks up slightly as some finisher reversals and ‘Taker looks like he pulls his groin for for a boot. Brock takes over and he pushes the pace forward somewhat in that he begins to turn pink. Not quite purple yet. Brock dumps ‘Taker backwards onto the floor and for my money, this is when ‘Taker gets concussed. He definitely is slow to respond and he looks way more off balance.

At this point, this match gets a bit hard to watch as Undertaker stumbles around and spends plenty of time on his back as Brock works his leg. You can see him grabbing towards his head several times and it seems like Brock is doing anything possible to avoid laying blows there. Brock tries to throw ‘Taker into the stairs and ‘Taker whiffs completely and barely gets a toe to hit the steel. Crowd is dead as Brock spends minutes punching and kicking with very few actual moves. The fans are having none of Brock’s offense, but when Undertaker rallies they get a little more energized. Undie continues to rally and hits a Chokeslam for a two. Brock counters with an F-5 and now the crowd is coming alive since nobody expected this match to end before a single finisher was hit. Undertaker is either selling like a champ or he is legit struggling to get up. Hell’s Gate is powered out of right when ‘Taker mumbles “do it” in what I am sure is a random coincidence. It should be noted that JBL calls the whole match like he knows ‘Taker is going to lose, which is full of foreshadowing moments. Repeat of the Hell’s Gate spot with a much better slam. Both men trade Kimura Locks and while two men laying down in the ring is not the best it is more exciting than the past 10-15 minutes of strikes.

The last act of the match sees both men pretty pooped as Brock is full-on beet red and ‘Taker struggles to maintain his balance for Old School. He literally does not take a step before Brock turns it into an F-5. Wince. Paul Heyman spazzes out on the outside and ‘Taker looks even worse than before a he landed right on his head on that on. Paul takes the moment to yell encouragement to Brock as ‘Taker composes himself for the finale. Desperation Last Ride which sees ‘Taker just kind of drop Lesnar with zero force as he collapses afterward. Thank God the match is about to end cause this is painful to watch. Tombstone just gets a two and Brock is a much braver man than me for allowing a severely compromised man to attempt to safely drop me on my head. The second Tombstone is countered in a third F-5 and the streak is over. Crowd visibly are stunned and the crowd reaction sounds like a very loud and confused scream. This guy as the crowd either boos or sit there like Brock shot Santa. Heyman freaks out and Brock’s music does not play, which is a smart move because you can take in the crowd reaction much better. Bullshit chants begin as 21-1 flashes on the screen. Brock leaves as Undertaker has a hard time getting up. Once he goes the crowd showers him with praise as is expected. He gets a standing ovation from everyone as he limps to the bad a broken and beaten man.

Overall: Another hard match to watch knowing the injury ‘Taker has to deal with during it. The match was very slow and the eventual rematches were much, much better. The twenty minutes beforehand are entirely skippable until the end, and really that is what people are going to remember more than anything else that happened. ‘Taker would return to murder Bray Wyatt next year and Brock would have himself a year by murder John Cena among other on route to winning the world championship. His run with the belt was pretty fun and better than his Universal Championship run, though there has been some fun highlights there like Lesner vs Joe. But in the moment it was hard not to still feel the shock and weight of the moment he won and signalled a big shift in the WWE.

Vickie Guerrero Divas Invitational Match

Oh God, these poor women. After all that they do not even get entrances (Except Mrs. CM Punk) and the crowd could not be bothered to pay attention. AJ Lee is the champ, and this came about because the WWE is lazy and just threw most of the women into this match as the bathroom break. Fun fact eight (nine if you include Brie Bella) of the fourteen women here are no longer with the company. But considering that this list includes Rosa Mendes, Cameron, and (sudder) Eva Effing Marie that is probably for the best. Vickie gets here own set of stairs to climb on and talk from, which made me laugh. Match is two or three DIvas (not yet Superstars) doing their spot as the rest hang out on the periphery looking busy. Essentially the few women who are talented look good and the rest show why NXT was so necessary for the division. Lots of super choreographed spots (including the Bellas fight betray each other for the millionth time) until AJ gets her submission in and gets the win. AJ gets about ten seconds to celebrate before they move on to the next segment.

Overall: Crowd does not care and neither do the announcers, but this match was not bad. Short and sweet and inoffensive for the most part. I’d compare it to the Smackdown Women’s Championship match at ‘Mania 33. AJ (much like the women who beats her for the belt Paige) is one of those people who looked good because she had crap to work with. Ere she did maybe three moves and did not come across as a star. Hell, Alicia Fox and Tamina looked better here than she did. It is what it is and if you want a slice of what the WWE women’s division was like before The Four Horsewomen this is it.

MEAN GENE is trotted out to interview Hulk Hogan (who has not appeared since the opening segment). Mr. Wonderful and Roddy Piper (RIP) interrupt so they can have a grump off. This inevitably brings out Mr. T and Payday Pat Patterson who just wanders in and out of the shot. The oldies eventually all shake hands a make up as Roddy struggles to shake Mr. T’s hands, probably cause they were not exactly buddies IRL. More legends as Bruno, Harley Race, Bob Backlund, Dusty (RIP), and Bret Hart are shown before we finally get to the main event.

Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match)

Fun fact: Besides the preshow tag team title match this was the only title match on the card.  Mr. Excitement himself and current champ Randy Orton is out first to no pop. He gets a live version of his theme song which is god awful. I hope nobody spends money to see these guys perform live. The lead singer looks like Corey Graves’ cousin who slept in an alley the night before. This is back when they had the champ bring both belts to the ring, which I thought was a cool look back before every belt was a different color of a Chaos Emerald. Batista is out next and he at least gets boos. Poor Drax got a rough deal when he came back and now I am sure people would be like “OMG DRAX IS BACK HELL YES!” Especially if he came out in the body paint. Commentary is quiet until Batista is midway down the ramp, which is odd cause I would have loved to hear even Drunk JBL over Randy’s theme. DB is out last to a somewhat muted response until he starts leading the yes chants. Cole hypes this match and the WWE Network one last time before the bell rings and off we go.

All three men jockey for dominance and the pace is so very welcome after the past hour of farting around. Everyone takes a turn looking good and even Captain Methodical Orton moves a bit quicker. Granted he is walking a brisk pace instead of his usual putzing around but i’ll take it. Batista takes a slam on the steel steps and guardrail and he really deserves credit for making the other two men look good on offense. Bryan hits a beautiful double dropkick that makes it look like he flew into the screen but his head slams into the ground in my first cringe of the main event. DB keeps trying to put both men down long enough to get a in but with each successive hit, he begins to slow down. He takes a nasty back body tumble from the ring to the floor where he manages to smack his forehead on the ground despite landing on his feet (cringe). He catches Randy in the Yes Lock after the he superplexes Big Dave but that is Steph and H’s cue to to move in. Trips pulls the ref as the crowd gives him the business.

OMG IT’S EVIL REF SCOTT ARMSTRONG! I FORGOT HE WAS A THING! CAN HE COME BACK PLEASE?! Seriously though can they bring him back I feel bad because once you get the crooked ref gimmick it’s not like you can go back to officiating regular matches. Drax hits the Batista Bomb but the evil ref just counts normally do DB can kick out. This sets off the crowd wh go nuts with their yes chants. One of the best visuals of the past decade of wrestling is when the crowds would yes in unison. Steph and Hunter looked shocked as we get a background cameo of Connor the Crusher (pours one out for the little guy). DB gets his revenge against Scott (who JBL calls “not that bad” which is like getting an endorsement from Louis CK) with a kick and suicide dive. Crowd continues to go nuts for this and it is nice to have a WrestleMania main event that the crowd, you know, actually likes.

Triple H goes for the sledgehammer shot, but DB grabs it and knocks him out first. Each time Bryan foils the Authority crowd get louder and louder. Daniel remembers he is wrestling Batista instead of The Authority and goes for a rollup but Randy breaks it up after he was napping for the past few minutes. A karmically neutral ref is back as David and Randall team up to wallop Bryan as the rest of the Authority limp to the back. Random CM Punk chants until JESUS CHRIST BATISTA BOMB INTO AN RKO THROUGH THE ANNOUNCE TABLE. easiestly the sickest bump of the night as DB took the hit like a champ and Randy lands on a monitor and looks to be in even worse shape. Dave is the only one who makes it out ok and he uses the opportunity to… stand around. He eventually snaps out of it and lays into Orton as a stretcher is prepped for Daniel Bryan.

But that isn’t going to stop history as he flops off  the stretcher and tries crawling to the ring. Randy throws him into the stairs, preps the RKO, but gets caught in the Yes Lock. Batista breaks it up, gets caught in his own Yes Lock, but Randy breaks it up next. Randy takes The Destroyer down with an RKO but he kicks out before Randy the Accuser can win the match. The Punt tease is met with a flying knee by Bryan, but Batista throws him out and tries for his own cover. This does not work either, and finally DB hits the running knee on Big Dave, throws on the Yes Lock, and gets the tapout victory as the crowd goes insane. Confetti and fireworks goes off as the show goes off the air.

Overall: easily the best and most exciting match of the night. Everyone involved worked hard and all the extra drama kept the crowd from winding down. You would have never known that Taker’s streak was broken about an hour before. Seeing DB beat all of his Authority obstacles one by one was smart booking and each small barrier he overcame let the crowd get more and more hyped. Of course, from here he would feud with Kane before the injuries finally caught up to him and he would be gone for months and months. I didn’t think I would enjoy the match as much as I did knowing the aftermath, but maybe DB’s sudden clean bill of heath has me feeling better about his title win. Of course, Randy Orton is still sticking around being as exciting as a basket of ghee and Batista would leave in a few months and become part of one of the most successful Marvel movies of all time. Not a bad deal all things considered.

Final Thoughts: While this WrestleMania had some great moments, it was lacking in match quality. I remember this being a super exciting night, but now it feels flat. The Streak being broken will always be the big thing taken away from this PPV, nd when your biggest moment is horribly depressing that’s never good. Thankfully Daniel Bryan’s win was a high point in what continues to be an up and down road for the former champ. Everything else was just filler that makes for good background noise. At least it is only four hours long instead of the six or seven hour marathons of today. I watched it in three parts and it was…fine. Not the best, but there is some good stuff here. The first and last matches are worth revisiting as well as the aftermath of the Undertaker vs. Brock match, but ignore the rest.

New Hollywood Rewind Episode 1- Bonnie And Clyde

New Hollywood rewind is a new series here on The Bonesaw where writer Anthony Carioscia takes a look at films from the era known as “New Hollywood.”

In 1934, a code of conduct on Hollywood films was passed. This code was known as the Hays Code. This Code made it so Hollywood studios would have to keep their films censored and as family friendly as possible. Films were not allowed to show couples in bed together, pregnancy, blood, nudity, onscreen gore, characters could not curse nor could they commit crimes without being punished and the good guys must always win. This all changed in 1968 when the New Hollywood movement started.

The New Hollywood movement is a time in film history that changed Hollywood forever. This era brought in many famous directors including, Martin Scoresse, Brian De Palma, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Influenced by grindhouse films and artsy foreign films, the movies of this era threw away the rules of the Hays code and showed that you could make a successful film on a lower budget. One of the most notable films of this era was Bonnie and Clyde.

Bonnie and Clyde was directed by Athur Penn and starred Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as the infamous 1930s bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrows. In many ways the film is a prime example of the new Hollywood movement. For one, it was shot on a really low budget and given a real documentary-type look. This captured a side to the 1930s that films in the 30’s failed to capture themselves. Many many films from that time from the great depression either pretended the world was a happy place, or kind of made fun of it (example Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times).

Bonnie and Clyde on the other hand gave the era a very barren wastleland feel with poverty and sketchy people everywhere. The film also plays with the “crime doesn’t pay” rule. While our bank robber couple does get their just desserts in the end, we are constantly shown a moral human side to them. A scene in the bank shows them refusing to steal money from a regular person, and the whole gang is shown time and time again to have a loving family type view of each other (for the most part), as well as an emotional scene where Bonnie’s mother disowns her and we are then given a scene of her devastated over the fact that she no longer has family. If this was an older film, Bonnie and Clyde would most likely be portrayed as cackling criminals with zero redeeming qualities.

The level of violence was also much more detailed than what casual movie goers were used to. While it didn’t have the over the top gore that drive in B-horror films of the time were known for (including Night of the Living Dead released that same year), the violence was very visceral and you felt it when characters were shot and or killed. This was helped by the films low budget documentary-like look and feel.

Little scenes here and there feel like the film was celebrating its friend from the code  including showing Bonnie and Clyde in the same bed and innocent people cheering the bank robbers.

As is seen, Bonnie a prime example of New Hollywood and along with Planet of the ApesNight of the Living Dead, Rosmary’s Baby, and 2001: A Space Odyessy that 1968 was the true start of New Hollywood.

Septic Flesh, Dark Funeral and Thy Antichrist at Gramercy Theater

Septic Flesh is a band that rarely comes around, so when I heard they were coming I had to take the chance to see them.

I went with my friend/co-worker Jay who isn’t really a fan of the band but wanted to come to see Dark Funeral. We did the usual (took the bus in Middletown, got pizza at Two Bros, stopped at the Blue Ruin where Jay bought cheap drinks and blasted metal classics). We left when someone played awful music on the jukebox (U2 and Sublime at a metal bar, really?) and headed to the venue.

At the venue I ran into several friends of mine including some dude that runs a website called The Bonesaw I’m sure you never heard of. At around 7:45 the first band, Thy Antichrist came on.

Thy Antichrist 

 

I had never heard these guys but have always heard their name. They had a sound very similar to Mayhem and made for a fun opening act.

Dark Funeral 

 

 

 

Dark Funeral, the band Jay was there for was up next. The band did not take anytime to show off their intense live energy. Their set was full of extremity and the pit went wild.

Septic Flesh

 

 

At around 10 p.m. it was time for the nights headliner. While I was kinda disappointed by the lack of old songs such as “Little Music Box “or “Marble Smiling face,” Septic Flesh still ruled live and brought both epicness and heavyness to the table. The sound was perfect for the band, something common for this venue. After seeing most of their set we headed out due to wanting to catch a decent bus as well as Jay not liking the band and being drunk out of his mind. We headed back to the land of Middletown but shall return to the Gramercy on the 31st.

 

Top Shows of 2017 Part 4

Picking up where part 3 left off, Birdman, Jason, and myself keep rambling about our favorite shows of 2017 with the second-heaviest shows we saw all year!

Birdman – #2: Iron Maiden and Ghost at the Prudential Center

 

Birdman: Second for me was Iron Maiden and Ghost In Newark.

Jason: Dude, you stole my two!

Anthony: That was my number one.

Jason: I caught ’em at night one at Barclays. Your thoughts on Ghost?

Birdman: Ghost sounded really good in that stadium. Especially with an opener like Square Hammer.

Anthony: Ghost put on a great opening set even if Papa looked like a Tim Burton reject this time around.

Jason: They were okay. I at least heard a wrestling theme live for the first time. Square Hammer was done for one of the NXT Takeover events.

Birdman: That’s basically every ghost show, right? Papa Emeritus and then the other guy as a singer.

Anthony: It’s crazy how ‘Maiden still sound so spot-on live.

Jason: This was also a first time for something show. First time I caught ‘Maiden.

Birdman: Yeah. So you know how the trooper is an overplayed song? It Sounded so fresh live.

Anthony: My second time. And still blown away.

Jason: Definitely.

Anthony: “The Trooper” and “Number of the Beast” kind of need to be played.

Jason: Those two are definite staples.

Birdman: Didn’t like how most of the set was from Book of Souls. But I got to hear “Children of the Damned.”

Jason: “Fear of the Dark” I was happy with. It was the only ‘Maiden song I moshed to, which happens to be my all-time fave.

Anthony: Another stellar track. I liked Book of Souls, actually.

Jason: Yeah, I still like that album.

Birdman: And of course, I filmed my favorite metal song “Number of the Beast” being played live.

Anthony: Glad to hear “Blood Brothers” love too.

Jason: “Blood Brothers” was epic live at Barclays.

Anthony: I hope I get to hear “Flash of the Blade” live one day.

Jason: “Rainmaker” for me. Especially given I’m a Kazuchika Okada fan (Japanese rasslin’ related).

Birdman: Hopefully one day I’ll hear more Paul Dianno era songs sung by Bruce.

Jason: But overall the setlist was a good mix between the classics and newer stuff. War epics, namely “Paschendale” and “Longest Day” need to be played one day.

Anthony: So It’s time for my number two, and I have the cliche of including this every time, but whatever.

Anthony: #2 – Maryland Death Fest (Saturday)

 

 

Jason: Two words: Insect Warfare

Birdman: Oh, people would not shut up about that set.

Jason: That was my number one. That set was fucking violent.

Birdman: So were they the most violent band you’ve ever seen?

Jason: Not exactly. At the fest, yes, plus they sounded so good live. That day had a lot of treats in general, though.

Jason: It featured a pretty strong back to back with ANB (Agoraphobic Nosebleed) and IW.

Anthony – I skipped ANB for Root, who were just magic at that fest.

Jason: Thanks to return to the pit, I was pretty well documented for ANB.

Anthony: Let’s not forget Grave and Exhumed’s sets. Uada did great too

Jason: Exhumed were great.

Birdman: This fest is becoming a world phenomenon now. Did you hear Quebec Death Fest will debut next year?

Jason: Yeah I heard

Anthony: What also made the day so good happened before the bands. We ate at this place called “Dick’s Last Resort.”

Jason: Oh yeah, I heard of that place.

Birdman: Does it feature ice cream and hookers?

Anthony: It has great crab cakes and the employees insult you as they serve you and act trashy and obnoxious. It was hilarious.

Jason: LOL.

Anthony: We said we were there for the fest so he kept making jokes like “should I say it in tongues?”

Jason: LMAO!

Anthony: I’d say the best non-Saturday shows though we’re Gost, Sargiest and Autopsy.

Jason: Gost were great. They got me into synthwave for the latter half of 2017. Chepang and Organ Dealer who played on Friday were pretty violent.

Anthony: Best was seeing people moshing and awkwardly dancing.

Jason: Can’t handle the synth?

Birdman: Do Autopsy have a mostly old-school set? They have so much output since reuniting.

Anthony: Yes. They played a bit of everything, though. It’s always cool to see a drummer sing too.

Jason: They played a lot of stuff after the first two albums, I believe.

Anthony: As for Sunday, Terrorizer were great. They played all of World Downfall and it was intense.

Jason – PLF was some fun violence. Wish there was more of that in Iron Lung.

SSEP: Episode 35 – The Horrible Moolah and the NFL Free Agency

Jon and the Jewharaja review WWE Fastlane, Raw and Smackdown’s build to WrestleMania 34, and finally get back to NFL talk with the crazy start to free agency.
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

NXT Arrival Retro Review

by Frank Lucci

In Preparation for the inevitable crowning of Roman Reigns as Universal Champion, Spaceman Frank has taken it upon himself to go back and look at some events that happened around the same time WWE tried Brock vs. Roman. He will look back at the last WrestleMania to take place in New Orleans, WrestleMania 30, as well as WrestleMania 31 and the first encounter between the two men. But first The Spaceman will check out the very first live wrestling event ever streamed on the WWE Network, NXT Arrival!

Nowadays it is taken for granted that TakeOver shows will be the better show going into big event weekends. But in the early days of the WWE Network heading into WrestleMania 30 there was no such hype. As a slightly younger Spaceman still in the infancy of my superfandom I watched the weekly NXT shows and while they were fun they were far from must watch television. Honestly I think the biggest draw for me was that they were just one hour long and they featured characters that you would never see on Raw or SmackDown. But with the launch of the Network it seemed the developmental brand was poised to take off, and when they announced a live special weeks before Mania it was hard to not get at least mildly excited. But how does this experimental and primordial TakeOver feel four years later? Let’s find out.

Now to get it out of the way, yes there was some technical bugs that plagued NXT Arrival. I was one of the many people who were stuck watching Tyler Breeze posing on the turnbuckle as the stream froze. WWE later apologized for the interruption to this “special episode” (as Wikipedia describes Arrival as if the roster would host an intervention for Mojo Rawley over his caffeine pills), but I was nervous that, if a lowly NXT event could get messed up, how would WrestleMania fare? In addition WWE overbooked Full Sail University, leaving about 200 people who bought tickets in a lurch and unable to watch the show. All in all, not the best showing for NXT and WWE. I watched this program live (until being forced to watch Breeze over and over again), and while I have fun it just felt like something to do on a Saturday night rather than something equal or surpassing a PPV. At just under two hours this should be an easy watch, so let’s dive right into it.

The intro to the show jumps right into the darkened arena as Triple H hypes the crowd. He does his standard “the future is now blah blah blah” stuff before we get the regular NXT into video. Our announce team is Tom “check out my bulge” Phillips, Byron Saxton, and William Regal (JBL is GM at the time, which is something I completely forgot about). Considering two of these guys are black holes of charisma the commentary throughout is not great. No special video package and two minutes in Sami Zayn’s music hits. Kind of a lame opener, but again I do not think Triple H was thinking to himself “these kids are gonna sell out Brooklyn three years in a row.” Speaking of Sami…

Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro

Sami won an epic 2 out of 3 falls match against a moonlighting from the main roster Cesaro, which lead to this match. I wish WWE would occasionally bring in ringers again for NXT, if only to give some floundering people some touch ups or a chance to try a new character. Sami is out first to his weird and super generic first theme song. It sounds like music from a menu screen for a Street Fighter clone on the PS2. We the People Era Cesaro is out with his garter belts on his thighs and Tea Party track jacket out. Crowd is hot for both these guys, and we get “match of the year” chants before the bell rings. Lockup and Cesaro smacks Sami in the back of the head, which is something all heels should do 100% of the time. Immediately shows your the bad guy and works for wrestling machines like Cesaro. Commentary seems to hint that big things are going to be happening for Cesaro which, um, may happen still. Much of the early portion of the match is Cesaro using his efficient Swiss engineered strength to counter Zayn’s high flying offense. The big highlight is Cesaro turning a crossbody into a tilt a whirl backbreaker. Nice.

Things slowwwwww down as Cesaro constantly throws Sami to the outside and bounces him off the guardrail. Epic uppercut counter to the diving corner DDT and we slow things down again. This was probably more exciting at the time, but now this feels like a Raw match. Cesaro works the leg as Regal provides insight into the little things that make Cesaro into a world class wrestler. Sami almost gets his comeback until his “bounce off the ropes backworks plancha” (which he needs to bring back and find a better nickname for) is caught and turned into a massive titing slam on the ramp. Awesome spot. Zayn sells like his leg is broken but crawls back into the ring to deliver his exploder suplex that everyone has stolen from him at this point.

Sami starts his classic comeback moves of Blue Thunder Bomb and Koji  clutch but Cesaro powers out into a stretch muffler, which IMO is one of the most underrated submission moves in wrestling. Someone in WWE pull this move back out instead of everyone using the Rings of Saturn nowadays. Zayn reacts to the Cesaro Swing like my roommate’s cat stuck in her pop up cat fort which made me laugh so hard my chest hurt. Swiss Superman repeatedly tries to give Sami CTE with strikes until an attempted top rope powerbomb is turned into a hurricanrana. Helluva Kick isn’t enough and at this point Cesaro starts to feel bad…but not enough to stop giving Sami uppercuts and trying to get the win via TKO. Sami sells head injuries like no one else, and a final rally by Sami leads to hockey punches being thrown into the “pop up reversed code red powerbomb” thing that only these two guys seem to be able to do. Great spot, but literally I think these two are capable of doing that move. It is not enough to get the win for Sami, who eats a pop up uppercut and kicks out at one. This freaks Cesaro right the eff out, who hits a running uppercut into the Neutralizer (such a great name) for the win. They hug it out for fans of sportsmanship/ WWE shippers.

Overall: The longest match of the night was pretty good. Crowd proclaims it match of the year, and it has its moments especially at the end. But the middle section is pretty bland and features lots of walk and brawl. Sami does a lot of moves he never does anymore, which retroactively reminds me of what a great babyface he was in NXT and how poorly he was booked on the main roster. Cesaro meanwhile looks like the boss he always has been, and I am still waiting for a main event Cesaro run. Nowadays Sami is the Martin Prince to Kevin Owen’s Nelson, and Cesaro is with the admittedly awesome The Bar. Cesaro would win the first Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale at Mania 30, but that is a tale for another time…AKA part two.

Mojo Rawley vs. CJ Parker

We get a literal hype package for Mojo before the match, and it is pretty hilarious how much faith WWE had in the guy this early on. CJ Parker is out first, who dances and spins around in what probably was Dusty Rhodes’ best guess as to what hippies were like back in the day. Mojo comes out already peaking on a combination of preworkout powder/ Molly as what appears to be his entire family in custom made Mojo shirts cheers him on. It’s pretty adorable. Crowd for some reason chants for Mojo instead of praying for Mojo. Big dirty squash match to show off Rawley’s “explosiveness” AKA the four moves Triple H knows he can’t mess up as Regal talks about his SUV. Mojo wins with the Hyper Drive (a move I personally cannot stand even when done by guys like Yokozuna) in about three and a half minutes. “We just saw a star being born tonight!” proclaims Regal in a call that made me grab a beer.

Overall: I forgot this match happened to be honest. Mojo would fart around in NXT before farting around on the main roster. He did win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (just like Cesaro!) and then feud with Zack Ryder, so you know his family probably regrets those shirts. Meanwhile CJ Parker was doomed from the start with the hippie gimmick, especially because Daniel Bryan was the hottest guy in wrestling at the moment and was actually a God Damn hippie. He would ask for his release and now has a fairly prominent spot in NJPW, which makes him the real winner here.

Hype package for Emma before her title match with Paige. I miss bubble popping fun Emma and it is hard to not fall in love with her. Of course Bayley would perfect the goofy but super talented female wrestler, but I think Bubble Emma should have gotten a better shot. We then get a package for The Ascension who have the tag titles and the next match on the card. They face a mystery team which turns out to be a Florida Swamp person and his parole officer. Oh wait it is just Too Cool.

The Ascension (C) vs. Too Cool (NXT Tag Team Championship)

Weird to see the crowd make noise for The Ascension. Scotty 2 Hotty looks pretty good considering he is 40 here. Meanwhile Grandmaster Sexay is…himself. Once I found out he was Jerry Lawler’s son it is hard not to unsee it and shower afterwards. Ascension work the vets using locks of head/chin locks and occasional power moves. Hot tag to Scotty who admittedly has some great strikes. He does not do much else until it is time to tease the worm, which Heavy Machinery’s Otis has now perfected. Konnor decides enough is enough, flattens Scotty, and they hit the Fall of Man for the win.

Overall: The Ascension were as hot as they ever were going to be here, but it is telling they have them work with the jobber team for a bygone era instead of another tag team in NXT. They would eventually lose the titles to the Lucha Dragons later in the year. 2014 was a strange, magical time. Scotty would turn this performance into a job at the Performance Center and is a firefighter/EMT so good for him. Sexay meanwhile probably retreated back into the Florida swamps, only occasionally appearing to be drunk in public or add further shame to the Lawler name.

Hype video for Paige who is in the middle of her run as the first NXT Women’s Championship. Cut to Ric Flair and proto-Charlotte in the crowd. It’s weird how Charlotte having darker dirty blond hair makes her almost unrecognizable.

Paige (C) vs. Emma (NXT Women’s Championship)

Ah, the old school NXT Women’s belt complete with glittering pink jewels and My Little Pony style sound effects for the logo animation. Thank God WWE treats women more seriously now. Stephanie Mcmahon the inventor of women is here to take credit for the success of this show, gender equality, and the universe in general. Crowd chants “you still got it” at her and she replies “ I never lost it!” Ya better still have it Steph you got Rousey coming up! Emma is out first as Steph and Regal imitate the bubble popping dance like lizard people attempting to act humans. Paige is out and she is OVER. She gets a loud sustained pop despite being the heel.

Match starts with Paige trying to physically intimidate Emma, who responds by getting the jump on the Brit. They start hot as Paige goes for the Paige Turner early and Emma tries for her setup to her finisher as well. Pure fire to start with some stiff kicks and even their headlock rest spot is more entertaining than usual as Emma flails trying to escape and Paige yells and constantly adjusts the hold. Fast pace to start as Emma tries to get the Emma Lock and Paige does her best to wear down the Aussie with kicks and strikes. Regal claims to have been married 17 times in the meantime. What the hell? where did that come from??!!

Emma in control with a bow and arrow which looks vicious when she plants a boot on the back of Paige’s head and starts cranking her arms. Paige is crying and looking like the good guy here as we see a glimpse of Dark Emma. Emma stomps away and I am pretty sure she may be possessed by the Phoenix Force. Top rope powerbomb from Emma only gets a two and I LOL when Paige makes sure to get her hair out from in front of her face before the spot hits. Paige starts her comeback with kicks leading to a superkick to Emma’s womb before hitting the Paige Turner for a two count. She debuts her quickly abandoned PTO submission to get the win.

Overall: Paige has always been one of those people (especially after this latest injury) who I debated if she was as good as advertised or someone who just looked good because her competition was not up to par. Here at least she looks phenomenal, as does Emma. WWE made a big mistake releasing Emma, and hopefully she does some good starting up Ring of Honor’s women’s division. It blows my mind when WWE looks to cut corners they start at the women’s division like they did with Emma and recent releases Abbey Laith and Sage Beckett when they need every talented women they can get their hands on right now. The fact that they did a Royal Rumble match with only 18 women available on the main roster says it all about the shallowness of the division. Anyway this probably was my favorite match of the night as it closely follows the pace and style modern WWE matches now use and both women bring it with little breaks. There is some definite hints of “THEY ARE HITTING REAL MOVES! LIKE REAL PEOPLE!” from the commentary team, but if you tune them out it is not particularly aggravating.

Video for Neville which makes me sad. Please come back Neville. We Need you. I need you. Dusty and Pat Patterson are in the crowd which makes me even sadder. Angel Grove/Somebody Call my Momma theme song Xavier Woods come out for a match. Woods really overcame some bottom of the barrell booking when he first debuted on Raw. Tyler Breeze is out with his wordless original them which still works for him. Can they bring back the selfie video thing again? At this point this is where my original watching of the show in 2014 froze up. This match lasts half a minute before (Alexander) Rusev and Lana show up and he murders the men in the ring. It is crazy to think how over and beloved all three of these guys would become years later, but here they are just here to kill some time and get over Rusev as a killer.

Bo Dallas is seen resting his head some lockers before a Bo montage begins. God, Dallas was such a great character in NXT. His face is just so punchable. It is a real shame how butchered his character became on the main roster, and you would think a guy who made a name for himself on the mic would get more chances to talk. I blame his white trunks. Seriously, White/grey trunks are one of my most hated things in wrestling. It looks like you are wearing a diaper and grey trucks show off your swamp ass pretty well. Larry Zbyszko and Steve Keirn are in the crowd as we get the second video package in three minutes explaining the build to the championship match. Long story short they both are ready for their first ladder match, which Triple H made because something something HISTORY. HBK shows up first to ramble through a promo and plug his DVD. Woo?

Finally after all the stalling Neville comes out first. Dallas is out second to some generic rock music instead of the instrumental music he had during his Bo-leve days. Bo’s hair is already dripping wet, which is gross as hell. Neville starts off strong with some explosive offense until Bo takes control and slows things down with forearms every 30 seconds. Neville gets caught in the ropes and Bo causally gets a ladder instead of sprinting to get one and win the match. Not sure why everyone does not try hog tying their opponents during ladder matches. Almost as if they want to fall off ladders repeatedly. Neville tries to take control with a baseball slide and plancha, but Dallas counters with some generic offense. Pretty sure Bo has the same moveset as a default create a wrestler. Back and forth spots of people trying to climb the ladder only to be knocked off. Bo takes perhaps the safest fall of the ladder possible as he jumps off and lands on his feet. Shows the difference between a guy like Dallas and a guy like Neville who has flown repeatedly off the ladder and taken a few hits from one as well.

The action begins to pick up finally as Neville hits an awesome tornado DDT off a ladder wedged in a corner that Dallas sells like a champion. Neville loses control again and takes an inadvertent ladder shot when it falls on his head. Look like it was the most painful bump so far. More generic ladder spots until Dallas shoves Neville off the ring post and he hits his back again the ring apron. Bo is about to climb the ladder the ladder but Neille leapfrogs him. Its all for naught as Neville takes a buckle bomb on the wedged ladder. Dallas finally takes a serious bump with a slam onto the ladder and then the Red Arrow on the ladder. The Red Arrow is just as spectacular as I remember. This is enough to put Dallas down long enough for the Englishman to grab the ladder and win the belt. Dry ice shoots down as Neville celebrates on the ladder, the ring, and a golf clap from John Cena as the broadcast ends.

Overall: Decent match. Not a whole lot of crazy ladder spots due to the smaller size of the arena if I had to guess as to why. Neville is a way better wrestler than Bo and it showed here. As much as I liked Dallas’ character he was always a C+ wrestler in the ring. Putting the belt on Neville started the template of NXT champs who were the best wrestler in the company over cartoon characters like Bo. This title run has been the highlight of Dallas’ career as soon after his main roster debut he was treated like a jobber. R-Truth of all people snapped his winning streak. Neville meanwhile would be a reliable workhorse for the company until they decided to have him lose to Enzo Amore. Considering how terrible that decision has proven to be it is easy to see why Neville walked out of the company. Hopefully we see him return to a WWE ring eventually,as his King of the Cruiserweight run was a highlight of 2017.

Final Thoughts: When I watched this event live it really blew me away. Now with the main roster filled with high quality workers this feels like a typical episode of NXT. The opening match and the women’s match were highlights and the NXT championship match was ok in places. The rest was a bunch of filler. NXT did not really become the hottest brand in WWE until Sami Zayn’s chase for the title, and this very much felt like the first attempt to start taking the brand more seriously. At just shy of two hours this was an easy watch, and even the slow portions of the event were not bad. I watched this in two chunks and the matches flew by for the most part. I’d say this is a solid B, with the big matches worth a watch and everything else being skippable.

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Fastlane 2018 Predictions

It’s the final stop on the road to WrestleMania… unless you could all the Raw’s and SmackDowns that take place in the next few weeks.

Somehow Fastlane has even less hype than Elimination Chamber, which is somewhat impressive. At least that had some historical firsts while Fastlane just has a bunch of guys farting around pretending that they matter as much as Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar and DA BIG DAWG ROMAN REIGNS.

This is evident by SmackDown having two halves of a match (TBD vs Nakamura and potentially Asuka vs TBD if she jumps brands) in the books for Wrestlemania while has three full matches ready. We get it WWE DA BIG DAWG is the biggest dawg in the pound even though Shinsuke is the Royal Rumble winner and is universally beloved. But hey, at least we get Nakamura vs. AJ…unless they take that away from us (DON’T YOU DARE TAKE THAT AWAY FROM US WWE!!!).  I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Fastlane 2018 predictions!

(Note: as of this writing at 3:35 PM the day before Fastlane there is no preshow match announced, so I will go ahead and say Jinder Mahal will beat Mojo Rawley in a match that makes everyone sad.)

Becky Lynch and Naomi vs. Natalya and Carmella

This match is brought to us by the inevitable heat death of the universe.

Such is the depths of my apathy for the women’s division on SmackDown right now (Fun Fact: Becky Lynch has not won on PPV in over a year. Your first women’s champion of SmackDown ladies and gentleman). I do not know what the point of this match will be besides reminding us at 75% of the women involved in this match are former champions and Carmella may be one in the near future with the Money in the Bank briefcase. The good gals win because why not? (Probably WWE’s actual booking logic).

Bobby Roode (C) vs. Randy Orton (US Championship match)

As much as I love Bobby Roode his US title reign has…sucked. He pretty much has just hung around to kill 15 minutes and give us a singalong to partake in. Meanwhile, Orton has also been drifting around delivering RKO’s outta somewhere to remind us that he is a big deal.

I am concerned that Orton will win the belt here because he has to do something at WrestleMania, and Roode is can be in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal with all the other directionless schmucks. Orton wins in a slow, plodding match between two masters of the “methodical” style.

Charlotte Flair (C) vs. Ruby Riott (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)

Please God let this be the end of the constant matches between Flair and members of the Riott Squad. At this point the Squad seem to have wrestled 8,000 matches since their debut and have killed any hype we have for the gang. If you think WWE is going to go with Ruby over Flair for a title match at the biggest show of the year you need to stop drinking so much moonshine.

I hope Asuka jumps to SmackDown to face Charlotte at WrestleMania since that feels like it belongs at ‘Mania over two separate matches between the two. We got to cut time somewhere in the evening and this would be a better quality match than whatever else they book. If WWE wants to impress any fans tuning in for Ronda they should put their two best together. Charlotte wins and Ruby and the posse creep in the shadows for a while selling weed to middle schoolers.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev

WWE cares about Royal Rumble winner Shinsuke Nakamura that they booked him a match with zero match less than a week before Fastlane (Yayyyy). At least we get two of the most over guys in the company facing off in what should be a fun match.

Rusev appears to be not quite committing to being a good guy, which is odd considering he is literally the greatest person in written history. But he exists to sell t-shirts and calendars and job out to people. Nakamura wins the battle of the singalong champions and goes on to hopefully face AJ BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT WE WANT WWE DO NOT DARE MESS THIS UP.

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

This match is here to give fans something to wake them up, which is weird because if WWE was going to walk this feud back you would think they would wait until WrestleMania.

The Usos are trying to make the main ‘Mania card for the first time ever, and besides their hosting duties last year The New Day have very little time on the main show as well. I do not think these guys can have a bad match, so this is a very likely match of the night candidate. It also is the one I am least sure of for predictions, because New Day’s popularity may trump the Uso’s workhorse cred.

In the end, I want The Usos to be rewarded for stepping up their game and retain so they get their moment at WrestleMania.

AJ Styles (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin vs. John Cena vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens (WWE Championship Match)

WWE blew the most interesting story joining into this when they had Sami go after his super best friend on the go home show, thus shutting down the storyline that he would lay down for KO when he got the chance. That two vs. all gimmick would have at least yielded some drama, but now I expect Zayn to rediscover his heart of pure pureness at attack the dastardly Owens.

As for the rest of the people in this match, Ziggler came back after his sabbatical to continue his Zigglypuff ways. Corbin continues to be a person who is employed by the WWE, snd Big Match John threatens to digivolve to ManiaJohnamon at any second.

I have a shadow in my heart that whispers “it does not matter how good AJ Styles is: Cena will beat him for the championship because he is John Effing Cena.” I pray that does not happen because AJ VS. SHINSUKE WILL BE THE BEST MATCH EVER WE LITERALLY HAVE VIDEO EVIDENCE CONFIRMING IT WWE STOP YA NONSENSE AND GIVE US A MATCH WE WANT TO SEE AT MANIA.

….AJ wins or I drink a bottle of mouthwash before bed on Sunday.

 

Manopera! Episode 56: Predictability Chamber

Chris and Spaceman Frank review WWE Elimination Chamber 2018 and talk shop on the state of WWE on the road to WrestleMania!

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

SSEP – Episode 34: WWE Post-Chamber, MLB, and NFL Talk

Jon and the Jewaharaja discuss the current state of WWE post-Elimination Chamber and pre-‘Mania, and finally get back to current sports talk with MLB and NFL updates.

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

Spaceman Frank’s Elimination Chamber 2018 Predictions

The Elimination Chamber! The massive thing shows up every February and pretends to be super important but in reality, we all know what is going to happen already.

The Elimination Chamber is the Puxatony Phil. Yeah, Phil, we are stupid we know spring is coming eventually along with Roman Reigns’ WrestleMania push (You ain’t special, ya just a rodent)!

Tangent aside I do not expect much fireworks at this event or Fastlane, but it is easier to watch than tens of hours of Raw and Smackdown.

Considering until Friday there were only four matches announced shows just how little effs WWE gives about this Pay-Per-View. The only thing they seem to care about is Rhonda signing a paper and MAKING WOMEN’S HISTORY BUH GAWD. I’m Spaceman Frank and these are my Elimination Chamber 2018 predictions.

The Club vs. The Miztourage (Pre-show Thing That Gives You A Chance to Stop Listening to Booker T for a Bit)

It’s the members of the teams nobody cares about! On the Pre-show nobody cares about!

Is it possible both teams manage to job out to each other during this match? A match featuring the popular members of both teams could be cool, but will WWE really go along with Miz vs Balor? Or will they decide come Wrestlemania time to just throw all these dudes together for another preshow brawl?

Time will tell, and I predict The Club will win since I would be shocked if Axel and Bo are employed by WWE by the end of the year.

 

Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt

Hey, Remember when this was a lowlight of Raw 25?! Well, now you get to experience it again! Until they pull out the shenanigans at The Hardy (or Wyatt), I have zero effs to give. I just enjoy that Hardy is officially labeled as “Woken Matt Hardy” on Elimination Chamber’s Wikipedia page.

Remember when Wyatt won the WWE Championship at last year’s version of the event? Pour one out for our lost internet darling. Matt Hardy has lost tons of momentum since his Woken videos started airing, and Bray has zero momentum, so Hardy wins.

The Bar vs. TItus Worldwide (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match)

Can I confess something? I am a big fan of all the members of Titus Worldwide.

I just wish this group actually did something worth investing in. Like, they have won a whole bunch lately, but it has all felt like a giant fluke. I do not consider them much of a threat to a team on the level of Breezango, let alone The Bar. Speaking of The Bar, is Sheamus actually hurt? I keep expecting him to go on the shelf because of his alleged neck injury, but here he is still putting on fantastic matches with his Swiss buddy.

As much as I enjoy The Bar, if he is really closing in on retirement I hope it means Cesaro gets a chance to be a singles star finally. The Bar win so they can begin the Irish Wake for Big Shamo’s career.

 

Asuka vs. Nia Jax

If Nia wins, then she will be involved in Raw’s women’s championship match at WrestleMania…so she will lose.

Look, I love Jax but she has lost every big match she has ever been in. Why would she start winning when it matters? Oh, wait they did that last year with Bray Wyatt….

Anyway, Asuka losing before ‘Mania would make about as much sense as knitting berets for a pack of wolves. Hell, Asuka losing during Mania makes very little sense, Rousey or no. She needs the championship first, and with several women’s matches potentially lined up for the event, I feel like a five-minute Asuka squash is in order. Asuka wins and Jax goes off to promote Total Divas.

 

Women’s Elimination Chamber Match

HISTORY AND SUCH! Once again WWE has pulled that trope out of the hat, and at this point, it is the only one left for them to use.

As for the participants, it is a mixed bag here. Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose are here as fodder, though if they split up I would be mildly curious to see how they far by themselves. Mickie James is another body here to make people look good, but the veteran should be able to pin one or two people before going out. Bayley and Sasha Banks are the potential show-stealing pair here, and if we get true Boss Banks out of the chamber then I will be happy.

Meanwhile, I can 100% see Alexa Bliss sneaking out with the belt for the Asuka squash, much like how she got wrecked in five minutes at last Wrestlemania.

Men’s Elimination Chamber Match

The supersized chamber match sees slightly more people in it for slightly more fun! SIGHTLY MORE FUN, GUYS! GET EXCITED!

Look, we all know what is going to happen. The rumors have been in place for a real. It is transparently obvious every time the fans real favorites (and future mayor Kane) get taken down by Brock Lesnar with one F-5. Meanwhile, Roman Reigns has been off in the shadows losing to a surprising amount of people, yet nobody is convinced he is suddenly vulnerable.

The Roman rehab tour has yielded some decent matches, but honestly, he is the fifth most over guy in this match at best. At worst he is facing six guys who have managed to get over with the crowd through different combinations of pristine wrestling chops and character work that does not feel like an old, out of touch man wrote it for him.

Roman is going to win, we all have accepted it in our hearts, and we just have to hope the other men in the chamber have something interesting to do at Reign’s “fourth time’s the charmaMania.”

Is the Ixalan Block Geared For Commander?

Rivals of Ixalan, the second half of Magic: The Gathering’s Ixalan block has a synergy of tribal cards that are hit or miss in the current meta known as Standard, but might fare better in the wild west multiplayer format known as Commander.

As for the tribes, there’s Merfolk, Pirates, Vampires, and Dinosaurs – the latter of which is not seeing as much play as the card game’s manufacturer Wizards of the Coast hoped.

Pro tours have been running Vampire Tokens, splashing some pirates, and a hint of Merfolk, but the only dino that was getting any real use – Rampaging Ferocidon- got hit with the banhammer in January, a strange blow in an effort to curb the consistency of mono-red burn and Temur energy decks in Standard.

However, sites such as MTGGoldfish and StarCityGames have featured heavy decklists for each tribe in the Commander format since the block showed up in September.

With cards such as Gishath, Sun’s Avatar, Zacama, Primal Calamity, and Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca having multiple abilities as well as Commander decks brewed around them, it leaves one open to wonder if the block was intended for the multiplayer format all along.

Each of the aforementioned have been discussed multiple times on Magic podcasts “Commander Clash” and “The Command Zone,” with Kumena being argued as possibly the best Merfolk commander.

Although there’s a slew of cards in the block that are occasionally used in Standard (Savage Stomp, Blood Sun, Carnage Tyrant), they are appearing more commonly in Commander decklists, and with so much synergy among each tribe, who could blame them?

It took time for players to adjust to Merfolk and Vampires before they found homes in Modern and Commander formats, and with Dinosaurs experiencing similar growing pains, it seems that they may finally be ready for a new domain to run roughshod over as Vamp’s and Merfolk continue to thrive all around.

Top Metal Shows of 2017 (Part 3)

Continuing on from part 2, Birdman, Jason, and myself continue to tell you, the loyal reader the most metal shows of 2017 with our top 3’s!

Birdman: # 3 – In Flames and Kataklysm at the Chance

Jason : Two bands that take me back to high school.

Birdman: There were a few days where In Flames detached from their tour with Alter Bridge to play with Kataklysm

Anthony : Skipped that one cause I was sure In Flames setlist wouldn’t be too old-school. Plus I think it was the same day as Amon Amarth. Alter Bridge and in Flames? Wierd bill

Jason: And how are Kataklysm live?

Birdman: Kataklysm was pretty solid, a lot of new songs.

Jason: Interesting.

Birdman: Yeah the only old songs In Flames played were “Moonshield” and “The Jester’s Dance.”

Jason : Wish they did more tracks from Colony. That was a great album.
Anthony : Agreed.

Birdman: During me filming that Anders took my phone and got a close up of Niklas and Jesper. Then we had an interesting back and forth in front of the whole theater over my Morbid Angel shirt.

Anthony : That’s pretty cool of him considering I hear he’s a dick…

Jason : Gives thumbs up!

Birdman : Well I guess he’s experienced a spiritual awakening or at least a modicum of shame since yesteryears. I caught guitar picks from Jesper and Niklas at the end.

Anthony Carioscia: #3 – Slayer Lamb of God and Behemoth at Madison Square Garden

Jason : I was there too.

Anthony : Yep, I remember.

Birdman : I know Behemoth’s changed since last we saw them

Anthony : It was my first time seeing them. Was mostly there for them because of that.

Jason: First time seeing Behemoth believe it or not and LOG was the best pit IMO. I also remember Randy giving a shoutout to NYHC.

Birdman: And Slayer. It didn’t feel empty without Jeff and Dave?

Anthony: Yeah, but their pit was intense. Slayer finally played the Antichrist; something they skipped the last 2 times. They still have energy.

Jason: Could have been better but t was also my first time seeing Slayer.

Anthony – I’m still glad Birdman and I saw them with Dave and Jeff. This was my third. The second time they played four songs off of South of Heaven.

Jason – Now I’m jelly. Now my 3rd is…

Jason :#3 – Rammstein and 3Teeth at Jones Beach

Jason: Capped off 8+ years waiting to see those guys.

Anthony: Rammstein’s a band I need to see before I die. Or they split.

Birdman: Not much time left. The next album may be their last.

Jason:  3Teeth were a decent industrial opener. I checked out their studio material, Pretty heavy stuff and helps that I’m getting more into synth stuff. Synth wave has taken a good amount of my music exploring lately.

Anthony: He said he was going to retire by a certain age. Hopefully they do a full US tour.

Jason: Rammstein as I expected from secondhand reports put on a great show. I wish it was at a better venue than the Jones Beach Theater but didn’t take much away from the show.

Anthony: My friend Jay hates Jones beach with a passion.

Birdman: What shows did you go to at Jones Beach besides Maiden Tony?

Anthony: None, sadly. Almost saw Rush there but that didn’t happen.

Jason: The setlist was solid and had my favorites including”Du Riechst So Gut (all-time favorite song),” “Ich Tu Dir Weh.” Decent amount of pyro, especially during “Du Hast.” I’m sad “Mein Teil” wasn’t played (the theatrics would have been awesome). At least “Ich Will” and “Engel (the encore)” were on the setlist. I’m happy I finally saw those guys.  And oh! “Stripped” by Depeche Mode was covered and “Sonne” near the end. The latter track is just epic.

F*ck Mondays! Episode 46: Walk Like a Wakandan (Black Panther Review)

Chris and Jon return just in time to review Marvel’s Black Panther as well as a bunch of new trailers!
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Spaceman Frank’s Royal Rumble 2018 Predictions

by Frank Lucci

It’s almost time for one of the most exciting nights in sports entertainment, and WWE hopes to start 2018 right at the Royal Rumble.

There has been plenty of news, both good and bad, involving the company. From restarting failed football leagues, superstars getting into legal problems, and a dull office party being held for the 25th anniversary of Raw less than a week before the Rumble.

Throw in huge amounts of rumors for who might show up from ex-Impact stars to UFC champs and maybe even some WWE Legends and speculation is running wild. But what will really happen? Probably not as much as people are hoping, but this can be the night the WWE pulls out some of that classic magic…or do the same thing they did last time the Rumble was in Philly (sigh). I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Royal Rumble 2018 predictions!

Bobby Roode (C) vs. Somebody (US Championship Match)

I thought WWE decided to cut some time from the show by giving the US title tournament finale to Smackdown, but then we get new champ Roode facing a mystery opponent for the belt on the preshow.

Since this, like all the other preshow matches, literally came out of nowhere I do not think this is going to be much of a match. Roode should be in the Rumble to help fill out the dozen or so vacancies in that match, instead of filling time on the two hour preshow. Bcause really, we need to here Booker T ramble more on WWE programming.

I have a nasty feeling Dolph Ziggler is going to return here rather anticlimactically instead of being in the Rumble. What I hope is we get a random legend or a Zack Ryder type to fill in five minutes so Bobby can save his energy for later. Either way Roode retains.

The Club vs. The Revival

This rematch from Raw 25 sees the humiliated Revival take on The Club who are desperately trying to avoid filling the hole that Dash and Dawson now fill. There is nothing really to care about here, but it could still be a good match. Both teams deserve better, but this is what we get.

Maybe one day this will be a real feud, but I doubt it. The Club win because they need to be taken seriously so they can take losses to main eventers for Finn during his future feuds.

Kalisto, Gran Metalik, and Lince Dorado vs. TJP, Jack Gallagher, and Drew Gulak

This time filler theoretically could be used to figure out to see who may succeed the now disgraced and fired Enzo Amore as champ. But really, this is here to make the crowd pop as the small men do some flips and hit each other really hard before some dinosaurs plod around the ring.

Conspicuous by his absence is Cedric Alexander, who went from challenging for the belt to not being booked for the PPV. I hope that means he is in the Rumble. Drew Gulak is the only one here with any personality, so I think his team will win. As for what to do with the belt I would have a tournament to recreate some of that CWC magic that concludes on Wrestlemania…’s Preshow.

Meanwhile, as for the new GM, nobody seems to know who it will be, so I’d like to see Christian do it. He is a great face or heel, has a history of being a smaller competitor, and he could really add some flair and sta rpower to 205 live.

Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan (C) vs. The Bar (WWE Raw Tag Team Title Match)

The Bar look to get their titles back from the oddball duo of Seth and Jason, who seem to be ready for a split sooner rather than later. The problem is literally nobody cares, and while Jordan is getting better week to week as the spoiled friend who insists on being player one and playing as Raphael in Turtles in TIme he still is dealing with that go away heat.

I would like the champs to have one big PPV match where you get hooked into believing this team could work before the rug is pulled out from under Seth. Have Kurt get in his face for not helping his baby boy succeed to plant a seed for a possible match between Rollins and Angle in the future. Team Roll-Son wins and the split happens at the next PPV.

The Usos (C) vs. American Beta (WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match)

The Usos appear to be getting off scot-free for that whole DUI thing, which is a bit odd all things considered. They will be facing Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, who are desperately trying to get the crowd to care about them by putting on really solid matches. It has not clicked quite yet, but they are getting there.

Despite the legal snafu, the Usos are still one of the best teams on the roster and I do not see much reason to have them lose. Mostly I just want them to make the main show of Wrestlemania for once, so I think they will retain here.

AJ Styles (C) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (Two on One Handicap Match for WWE Championship)

I am not sure what WWE is trying to do with this feud. It all comes down to Shane vs DB, with these guys and the belt being bit players for the authority figure fight. Nobody cares, and with KO injured both in real life and in kayfabe I am not sure why this is happening. I’d rather see AJ take on Zayn solo at this point since that should be a barnburner of a match.

Of course, we just saw that on the go-home Smackdown, but hey who cares. AJ deserves to be champ going into Mania, and there is plenty of dream matches for the big show he could be part of. AJ retains in what could be interesting or just a time filler.

Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Braun Strowman vs. The Demon Mayor Kane (WWE Universal Championship Match)

WWE has continued to give Braun Strowman epic moments that make great Youtube videos. Meanwhile, Brock is never around to make for interesting viewing and Kane is a mayoral candidate.

I want so badly for Braun to win because he is the most interesting man to watch in WWE and somebody I could see as their next breakout star. I 100% see a future where Marvel and DC are in a bidding war to get Braun to play a character in their cinematic universes.

We all know Brock vs Reigns is happening at Wrestlemania, and we shall see exactly how they get to that conclusion soon enough. I can only imagine Kane is here for the pin since he has spent the entire build getting beat up so bad he disappears. Brock wins in what could be fun or completely boring.

Women’s Royal Rumble Match

The main questions going into this match have been:

  1. Is Ronda Rousey going to win?
  2. Who exactly is going to fill in the dozen empty spots in the match?
  3. Will Asuka stay undefeated?
  4. Seriously though Is Ronda is Columbia or in Philly right now?!

If WWE is seriously bringing in Rousey this would be the splashy time to do it, and the more she posts about being in South American the more suspicious I get.

As for the other mystery opponents, I do not want too many NXT regulars showing up. Throw in The Iconic Duo, Ember Moon, and Nikki Cross and that’s it. Fill out the rest with some legends (since female legends do not nearly show up as much they should get some love, especially if Trish and Lita enter) and maybe some of the more well known Mae Young ladies like new signee Candice Lerae. Otherwise, if you add people like Bianca Belair people will know they got no chance and will just build up the Ronda expectations even more.

At the end of the day, it comes down to the UFC star and Asuka as potential winners. If Ronda is in the match she is winning, and if not Asuka wins.

Men’s Royal Rumble Match

This match has a little more mystery to it, but still has an equal number of spots needing to be filled.

I heard Pete Dunne is flying in for the match, and if he and Tyler Bate are in the match that would be amazing. Let them enter early and last a long time to keep the action fresh. We just saw a bunch of legends on Raw, so maybe keep some around for the Rumble.

If I had to predict a surefire legend I’d go with Bubba Ray Dudley since it is Philly after all. Garnish with some cruiserweights, a few NXT boys and Curt Hawkins and we got an interesting Rumble. The potential five winners are as follows (from least to most likely):

5) Roman Reigns-  He is officially in, and I think WWE might just be crazy/spiteful enough to have a repeat of Reign’s previous Rumble win in the exact same arena. Having him lose the IC belt to The Miz and sneakily declare for the match adds to my conspiracy vibe. But at the same time, somebody has to be the voice of reason and avoid the scene that would befall the city if this happens.

4) Dolph Ziggler- A random favorite in Vegas could sneak in and get a weird Jack Swagger at Mania 29 push. If Jackie Boy could get a title shot at the biggest show of the year, why not Zigglypuff? If he is the mystery challenger to Roode’s US Championship match then disregard this guy from winning/

3) John Cena- Because it is John Cena and we should assume he is going to win every match he is in.

2) Daniel Bryan- Another guy who is a betting favorite in Vegas. The ultimate boom or bust candidate could win in a surprise return, but too many people may just be getting their hopes up. WIth the potential legal problems a returning them concussed Bryan could cause I feel like WWE is still going to lean no on his return. That being said I could see him returning at number 30 to further his feud with Shane, who shames him for putting his wrestling desire over his GM duties.

1) Shinsuke Nakamura- While Nakamura has not exactly been built as a world beater, that match with Styles for the belt is looming. The company has teased them fighting for over half a year, and really WWE needs the goodwill a classic match such as this would bring to the Mania marathon. Unless WWE is plotting an evil surprise I think The King of Strong Style will be the one to point at the big Mania sign at the end of the night.

Spaceman Frank’s NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia Predictions

by Frank Lucci

It is time for the Road to Wrestlemania, which also means we are taking the footpath to Takeover: New Orleans as well.

Currently NXT is the bastion of sanity in a WWE Universe full of shock releases, hot debut rumors, and disappointing 25th anniversary shows. With WWE having plenty of open spots for both the men and women rumble matches, this could be a last glimpse of NXT in its current form. Every random match featuring the likes of Lacey Evans or Bianca Belair makes me wonder if these folks will soon be stepping into more prominent roles. But Shayna Baszler looms over all the women as the hot newcomer who is way better than expected in her role.

Meanwhile, on the men’s side there is plenty of rumors of who may be jumping up to the main roster via the Rumble, and each men’s match could see a participant leave NXT once the event is done. I’m SPaceman Frank and here are my NXT: Takeover Philadelphia predictions!

Kassius Ohno vs. Velveteen Dream

Despite hyping a potential Killian Dain or Roderick Strong vs Lars Sullivan NXT decided to throw this match together because reasons. Not that I am necessarily disappointed by seeing this match, but they spent several weeks building someone challenging Lars and now we got nothing. Ohno seems to settled into his role of opening TakeOvers and losing to the next big talent, and Dream is going from trying to be number one contender to jerking the curtain in less than a week.

Still, this should be fun, and I hope Velveteen throws Ohno a pair of shorts to cover his cellulite (sorry for body shaming but please Kassius stop with the tights). I really want Kassius to get a victory on a Takeover, but Velveteen Dream has some momentum going in and he is the future so he will win here.

The Undisputed Era vs. Authors of Pain (NXT Tag Team Championship Match)

This match has the feeling of a swan song for the Authors of Pain. Sure, they could grab the belts again and hold the fort down, but there would not be any point in it. They have been floating around since losing the belts, and while War Games was nice it didn’t mean much to the team’s status. Meanwhile Undisputed Era have been establishing that they are plotting the run the show going forward.

Really, I see Adam Cole potentially challenging for the belt around ‘Mania time if they don’t go for the other obvious choice for Mania time (more on that later). Kyle and Bobby have done pretty well as a team, but I see this being their true coming out as a team without Cole. The Era wins and AOP show up and start wrecking main roster teams and eat Heath Slater or Kurt Hawkins.

Aleister Black vs. Adam Cole (Extreme Rules Match)

A rare stipulation match sees Old Dutch Al (New nickname pending) taking on Michael Cole’s troubled stepson in an extreme rules match because Philly. I like how they firmly established why this match is happening, and the escalating violence really sold this as a blood feud to watch. It is tempting to give Aleister an advantage here, but really Undisputed Era can just pile on the numbers and help their man win this match.

I think the Undisputed Era are going to be NXT’s big thing in 2018, and a win here would solidify that feeling for me. Meanwhile Black could show up in the Rumble and I wouldn’t bat an eyelash. Cole wins after some shenanigans.

Ember Moon vs. Shayna Baszler (NXT Women’s Championship)

When they first started building to this I was very skeptical. I do not like the shoot to the top immediately push for “legit” athletes, and nothing in the Mae Young Classic told me Shayna would be a star within a year. But she is doing really well with her character work, particularly with her sit down interview with Percy “My head looks like a turtle” Watson and Ember Moon.

Meanwhile, since winning the belt I have seen the same old Ember as before, and I feel like I have seen the limits to her character and ring work. She is good, but not quite attention grabbing enough to carry a division. She is a prime candidate for a call up, where she will do fine…but just fine. With Ember being in the main event scene for over a year in NXT I am ready for here to get gone and let the hot newcomer take over. Lazer Blazer wins and gets the Brock treatment while she learns to actually wrestle.

Andrade “Cien” Almas v.s Johnny Gargano (NXT Championship Match)

Did anyone think this would headline a TakeOver event? Sure, their first TakeOver match was great, but who could have predicted this would be the headliner before the Rumble? Cien has been ok, but Zelina Vega is the real star here and everyone knows it.

Meanwhile, Johann Von Wrestling has been milking his steady rise for all it’s worth and it truly feels like he earned this spot. There is plenty of options on the table here. One is a returning Tomasso Ciampa costing Johnny Wrasslin’ a victory, but does anyone see Cien Almas as the headliner going into Mania season? Wouldn’t Team DIY exploding make much more sense for the biggest TakeOver of them all?

If Almas wins I see him moving on to Adam Cole, but again would Jonathan Grapples vs. Cole match more sense? I think the outcome is Johnny wins for the feel-good moment leading to Ciampa showing up to stare down or attacking his former partner.

 

SSEP – Episode 32: WWE RAW 25 Review / Royal Rumble Preview and Predictions

Jon and Matt quick discuss the NFL Conference championships and then a huge RAW 25 review and Royal Rumble Preview and Predictions.

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

Manopera! Episode 54: Best Of 2017

Chris, Spaceman Frank, and ProWrestlingOpinion’s Nicholas Jason Lopez gather ’round the squared circle and talk the best and worst of wrestling in 2017!

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

Bonesaw’s Top Metal Shows of 2017 Part 1

As always, another year has gone – and while 2018 has reared its questionable head, Bonesaw staff has come together to bring you another list of our favorite metal shows of 2017.
Summer Slaughter 2017

 Anthony :  Who played this year again?
Birdman: The headliner was Black Dhalia Murder playing “Nocturnal” in full. Then, Nightbringers and then I Will Return. Also got to see Lorna Shore for the first time. Their guitarist is a great neoclassical player.
Jason: Nice.
Birdman: Also was a throwback for me seeing rings of Saturn and Oceano again
Tony: The overwhelming amount of core is why I didn’t go this year.
Jason:  Agreed. Big drop off from 2016. My first and probably only time at Le Chance
Tony: 2016 had a great line up.
Decibel Metal and Beer Fest

 Jason: I guess my number five best show (improvising here) is Decibel Metal and Beer Fest. Featured Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Municipal Waste, and Immolation. I only went Day 1, but hooray!
Anthony: Nice, Jason. I wanted to go but could not due to money shortage.
Birdman: Where was this, Philly?
Jason: Yeah. The Fillmore. It’s a pretty decent venue.
Anthony: Krieg played too right?
Jason: Yeah, but didn’t do much for me. The three bands I mentioned were great, but the pit action wasn’t because it became a slip and slide.
Anthony: Did you get to meet your waifu again?
Jason: Nah, I didn’t see Kat again. I mean not in person, ya know. Immolation were solid and I have a selfie with Ross Dolan.
Anthony: That sucks. She was such a nice lady at MDF 2015.
Jason: It was also my first time catching Waste. Not bad live and pretty decent cardio from circle pitting, and, of course, I went ham for ANB. Chicken man had to restrain me once (he’s a friend who’s a MDF regular).
Anthony: I still need to see waste.
Birdman: Oh, they’re so much fun live.
Jason: Yes, they are okay. What’s your #5  Anthony Carioscia?
Amon Amarth and Goatwhore at the Paramount Theater in Long Island

 Jason: When was that again?
Birdman: I think Crazy Dan and Marcus went to that tour in CT.
Anthony: In May. My friend asked me to come along, so I figured why not? Awesome show. Amon played a lot of classics and Goatwhore is always fun to see.
Jason: Sadly, I never saw those vikings.
Tony: Recommend if you get the chance they out on a great performance. Glad to see them after being a fan since 8th grade
Birdman: Oh, they’re so much fun. I hope to catch them playing a headlining set instead of just a festival spot.

Vantafrost: Dispossessed

From the filthy, decrepit backwaters of New Jersey comes an old-school pure black-metal gauntlet just as nasty as the gutters it was festered.

Vantafrost’s four-song debut EP titled Dispossessed begins with the wailing siren of “Nazgul” followed by the Hellhammer-style riffs, tribal drumming, and Warrior-esque shrieks.

Right out of the starting gate you’re blasted back to the early 80’s/90’s sounds of primitive black metal in all its raw and gory glory.

As the Ring Wraiths calm their death dragons after having murdered many a man, elf, and hobbit and claimed the one ring for Sauron, Vantafrost continues to beat your body to a pulp with the unleashing of the hyper-aggressive “Darkhammer.”  The constant down-pick and minor key agony assault tread on until mid-song, where the doom-groove slows things down before a journeyman’s gallop progress the bridge and keeps hold. Everything is then musically tied together in a woven arrangement fit for Shelob and her kin.

We are then welcomed back to the land of the dead with the sounds of vomit, kicking off the aptly named “Demon’s Breath.” An old-school Venom-like track bounces around for a healthy helping of head and fist banging. What really links this track is the bouncy main riff and the relentless rhythms and vocal delivery.

Finally, the New Jersey freaks unleash one final barrage with the almighty “Leadpumper.” Not only does this capture the embodiment of the band’s in-your-face intensity, but it also cultivates the spirit of true black metal. Heavy, miserable, and downright terrifying.

Not only is this initial offering a warning to emerging metal bands clinging to trends in their local scene or their “flavor of the month” genre, but the intentionally bare-bones production proves that when done right, bands can take their fancy state-of-the-art recordings and shove it. Vantafrost have not only begun to dominate a sonically depraved world, but they’ve managed to deliver a Hyper Viper Beam that would make Cable proud.

SSEP: Episode 30 – NFL/MLB Talk/WWE Women’s Royal Rumble/ Clash of Champions Review

Jon and the Jewharaja discuss P-Diddy possibly owning the Carolina Panthers, Giancarlo Stanton to the NY Yankees and the WWE Women’s Royal Rumble with a Clash of Champions Review.

Spaceman Frank’s Clash of Champions Predictions

by Frank Lucci

WWE is already looking to 2018, but fans still have one last PPV to endure before the year is over. Nobody is expecting much from this event, and really who can blame them considering most of the hype has been “hey this is happening…is that cool with everyone?” At least it will be watchable, if not somewhat entertaining. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my prediction for Clash of Champions 2017.

Mojo Rawley vs. Zack Ryder (preshow thing that is happening)
The hype brothers explode in such fury that this cannot even make the preshow. 2017 has been the year of tag team breakups, so I guess getting even a preshow match out of this is better than, say, a Golden Truth situation. Mojo is the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner…so he’s got that going for him. Meanwhile, Ryder is occasionally relevant. Sooooo…Mojo wins? Yeah, Mojo wins.
Bludgeon Bros. vs. Breezeango
Is watching Breezango wrestle what could be a serious match better than a Fashion Files segment? Probably not. Smackdown is capable of booking comedy tag teams well (see Heath Slater and Rhyno) but if they were going to do anything with Breezango it would have happened so months ago. Meanwhile, The Bros. are the hot new tag team that is neither new nor hot. But it has my boy Luke Harper (or just Harper now I guess) so they win here.
Baron Corbin (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Bobby Roode (United States Championship Triple Threat Match)
Hey remember when Bobby Roode was one of the members of Team Smackdown and maybe moved past getting stuck in the Bermuda Dolph-angle? (Copyright pending on that name) now they are sucking in Baron, who is here to show off the latest pair of pants he made from another pair of pants. I can’t see anyone caring about this match, so Corbin wins so he looks like someone who may be a thing at some point.
The Usos (c) vs. The New Day vs. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. Rusev and Aiden English (Tag Team Championships Fatal Four-Way Match)
What should be the match of the night sees excellent tag teams come to blows mostly to eat up time in the best way possible. Chad and Shelton (I assume at this point the last names have been dropped) started this feud off as the hot team, but the sudden rise of Rusev and Aiden (again, last name gone, probably) makes me think they might be the team to beat. I am not sure if they will get the belts, but I am all in on Rusev having something to do. Especially if it leads to a face turn for the Bulgarian. The Usos are the true heels here, so I think so cheating and blind tags happen and they retain.
Charlotte (c) vs. Natalya (Women’s Championship)
This rematch sees Nattie Ice try to get her belt back to impress her cats. Meanwhile, Charlotte may have Rhonda Rousey and the rest of the Four Horsewomen of MMA to deal with in the future. I wonder who is going to win. Charlotte wins because she can.
Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens 
This match is special because Daniel Bryan is stepping back into the ring…as a special second ref. Oh, and Zayn and Big Kev will be fired if they lose but who believes that? Seriously who cause Zayn is in the admittedly curious Mixed Match tournament so he isn’t getting fired. I can see this as a way to ease Bryan into a more physical role. Both to see if he can handle it and to keep him happy so he does not free to ROH when he gets a chance. I see Orton being a dick, trying to cheat, Bryan confronting him, Orton attacking and getting his team disqualified. Meanwhile, Shinsuke gets to be a person also in this match.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Jinder Mahal (WWE Championship)
The match everyone has been clamoring for returns! Jinder was so great at being champ that his sole appearance at Survivor Series was a talking head interview and the tour of India saw him lose in the sole night of the tour. At least he has his hard body and Singh Brothers. Seeing where Mahal lands in 2018 is a big mystery, but for now, WWE goes with their best guy as champ. AJ wins and maybe the WWE champ gets to headline a PPV in 2018.

Manopera! Episode 53: Half-WOKEN???

Chris and Spaceman Frank discuss a crazy amount of news that has recently happened within the pro wrestling world.

For more awesome content, check out www.bonesawzine.com.
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

SSEP: Episode 29 – End Of Fantasy Eli’s Fantasy WWE Women’s Divison Talk

Jon addresses the unluckiest Fantasy Football season ever and also argues with the Jewharaja on Eli’s consecutive start streak and the WWE women’s division.

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

The Padre (Alpha Test)

In the olden days of point-and-click gaming, there were no walkthroughs, no online forums, or even strategy guides. Beating such a game required hours of thought, effort, and tedious trial error.

In an era loaded with point-and-click survival horror games all too reliant on cheap jump scares and lazy mechanics comes a chilling Lovecraftian indie throwback to the good old days.

Enter “The Padre,” a story about a priest searching for his friend alone in a decrepit mansion where everything goes bump in the night – including our hero.

The first thing you’ll notice about The Padre is the block style visuals. While this design choice draws too many similarities to Minecraft, it’s the only modern thing players will compare it to. That said, it’s hard not to wonder how much better the game would look if the graphics were slightly more realistic, even if they maintained their cartoonish charm.

Don’t let these looks fool you, this game is beyond creepy.

The story of the twisted mansion and the struggle our man of the cloth must endure takes you into the mind of the human psyche. The mansion is loaded with plenty of fun horror cliche’s and abundant with terror thanks to a pitch-perfect soundtrack by developer Shotgun with Glitters.

In addition to a terrifyngly compelling story, there are puzzles galore throughout your quest and plenty of baddies and traps to keep you on edge and unravel the mystery of the mansion and our clergyman’s demented past. The Padre also contains a litany of items and old-school mechanics that will keep your brain wracked around the game.

Another part of The Padre’s charm is the downright hilarious voiceovers. Some lines are delivered with such cheese, it’s hard not to crack up at your PC, which will, of course, result in death.

Speaking of death, there is one horrendous glitch that will frustrate gamers to no end.

If you die after clicking the icon to enter another room and the entrance initiates, you will appear in the next room postmortem. Reloading the file will not fix this, as the game autosaves when you get to the next room. The only way out of this one is to restart the game from the beginning.

On the bright side, the game is still in its alpha testing stages, so it’s likely this issue will be resolved before the final product is available.

Aside from “Notchy” looking graphics and a perilous problem, The Padre is a winner for old-school gamers looking for a spooktacular challenge. Shotgun with Glitters has taken their time and done its due diligence on what gamers really want in a story and gameplay, hitting you right in the nostalgia button.

The Padre is currently garnering crowdfunding support through Brightlocker, where the demo may be downloaded in an effort to help the game earn its keep (and hopefully your hard-earned cash).

 

Bonesaw Podcast – Episode 54: Exhumed’s Matt Harvey Returns

Death metal destuctionista Matt Harvey returns to our show to talk about Exhumed’s new album Death Revenge, plans for his Death-inspired band Gruesome, and much much more.

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

Manopera! Episode 52: Survivor Series 2017 / NXT War Games Supershow

After a long Thanksgiving weekend, Chris and Spaceman Frank review NXT TakeOver: War Games (with enthusiasm) and Survivor Series 2017 (with less enthusiasm).
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

F*ck Mondays! Episode 45: Thor/Justice League Thanksgiving Special

In honor of Thanksgiving, Chris and Jon review Thor Ragnarok, Justice League, and The Punisher.
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

 

SSEP: Episode 28 – NXT WAR GAMES Review / WWE Survivor Series Preview

Jon and the Jewharaja review NXT TakeOver: War Games and preview WWE Survivor Series.

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

Spaceman Frank’s Survivor Series 2017 Predictions

by Frank Lucci

It’s time for the last Big Four PPV of the year for the WWE, and the company has gone all-out making people get hyped for this event.

Even though they announced many of the matches weeks in advance the constant shift in participants has left audiences guessing both who would be involved in the marquee matches and if WWE actually had a plan.  This has benefited some wrestlers such as AJ Styles while leaving others (Jinder Mahal, Natalya, KO and Sami Zayn, etc) in the cold.

Mostly though things have worked out for the best for the audience, and really isn’t that what matters the most (if you work for WWE please don’t ask Vince or Triple H that, they will probably fire and/or Pedigree you)? Now, hopefully, WWE can translate these dream matches from the booking sheet to the ring, or this PV could start dragging like a modern day ‘Mania.

One thing I will say is while I appreciate the excitement the brand wars has brought to weekly TV, it does not make sense (YOU WORK ON TUESDAYS YOU SON OF A BITCH!!! DIE!!!!!!). I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Survivor Series 2017 predictions.

Enzo Amore (c) vs. Kalisto (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)

This sole match on the two-hour preshow (unless they just throw together something else to kill time) sees these two go at it yet again. Really, they have not done much to make people care about this rematch, and my main thought during their encounters is wondering what other cruiserweights are doing currently. At least we got Drew Gulak and his Powerpoints.

I do not see a reason why WWE would choose Kalisto over Amore to be the face of the division (besides the fact that he is, you know, an excellent wrestler) so Amore will win here after doing some standup to kill some minutes.

The Miz (IC Champ) vs. Baron Corbin (US Champ)

This feud has mostly taken place on social media, which is a shame because it has been pretty spectacular.

The Miz has brought some real deal fire to Corbin, and it really makes me hope Miz gets a real feud to sink his teeth into at some point instead of jerking the curtain.  

Meanwhile, Corbin has just kind of existed as champ, farting around with the likes of Sin Cara instead of getting embarrassed in promo contests with his Raw counterpart. Corbin seems like management’s boy, but really I see this as another SummerSlam situation where Corbin gets stomped on by a vet to teach him some manners IRL. Miz gets a rare win on the main card before meandering around the preshows some more.

The Bar vs. The Usos (Tag Team Champs vs. Champs match)

Two teams doing their best work are clashing, and this should a barnburner of a match.

The Usos have gone steadily towards tweener territory with fans recognizing their hard work plus the scary chop block Chad Gable gave over in England. Meanwhile, Cesaro and Sheamus has anchored many a Raw half hour with their work, and despite the whole attempted murder of Stroman thing The Bar has had a strong year.

So who wins here? I see Raw’s team getting the win here since they have been consistently the better team and they have held the belts longer. Now, hopefully, something goes wrong and we get more of Cesaro shrugs memes.

The Shield vs. The New Day

A “holy cow I need this in my life even though this was not in a card a week ago” match if I’ve ever seen one sees perhaps the most popular three-person teams of the decade square off.

What adds to this match is the fact that Roman Reigns has been out with whatever disease he had, so this is their first reunited PPV match. It almost makes us forget that he is going to headline WrestleMania 34 and ruin things for everyone all over again.

The New Day will probably get their promo time in as well, which makes me concerned just how long this PPV will be. Since The Shield are all former world champions they seem to be the choice to win, but honestly I wouldn’t be that surprised if The New Day sneak in a win due to all the merch money they sell.

Team Raw (Alicia Fox, Nia Jax, Asuka, Sasha Banks, and Bayley) vs. Team SmackDown (Becky Lynch, Carmella, Naomi, Tamina, and TBA)

First off: Who is the mystery member of Team Smackdown? Is it the obvious choice of Natalya? The obvious choice of Paige? The less obvious choice but still not surprising Nikki Bella? We shall see.

The next big question is who will actually win this match?

On one hand, I would say that SmackDown’s team unity (minus TBA person) would seem to give them an advantage.

On the other hand, we have Asuka on team Raw, and if she loses in this match I will throw something out the window. Now is not the time to have her lose, but rather dominate and seal the win for Team Raw.

Hopefully, they also have her beat the piss out of Team Raw along with everyone backstage before locking eyes with Braun and forming an epic romance. I’d pay money to see that.

Charlotte vs. Alexa Bliss (Champion vs. Champion)

Another dream match out of nowhere sees tiny but spunky taking on an Amazon for bragging rights.

Really, the build for this match was Bliss giving Charlotte a forearm, but who cares when we got two excellent workers getting ready to go to war.

Charlotte is the one on a hot streak right now with her dad’s doc getting some attention and winning the title on the last SmackDown before Survivor Series. Meanwhile, Bliss has been on Total Divas having a ball with her BFF Nia Jax, which consistently has been entertaining when the boys on the show troll everything.

With Charlotte being the hot commodity right now, I see her winning and getting a win in the column for Team Blue.

Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles (Champion vs. Champion)

While Jinder vs. Brock would have been an interesting thought experiment/fever dream/WWE 2K18 Sim, having AJ Styles win the belt and face The Beast is fantastic. 

His victory is the highlight of SmackDown weekly TV for the year, and he is a natural challenger to Lesnar. I cannot stress how excited I am for this match, and every minute Styles hangs in the ring with the Universal champ is a victory for people who believe being the best worker in the company should warrant you a shot on top of the card. With Jinder, I thought a Brock win would be more secure, but I honestly give Styles more leeway to potentially win than Mahal (especially because the India tour has been downsized).

That being said, this is the one cross-promotion match that will end in a DQ/no contest. It would be weird to have one champ pin another, and Styles really deserves the non-finish over just jobbing to Brock. He has shoulders bigger than my television, he looks strong enough let AJ get the count-out or shenanigans happen so he can hold his head high.

Team Raw (Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman, Finn Bálor, Samoa Joe, and Triple H) vs. Team SmackDown (Shane McMahon, Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, and John Cena)

This traditional Survivor Series match sees an all -tar jamboree throwdown to various degrees of hype.

While guys like John Cena and Triple H have just kind snuck into this match it is hard to argue that they add to this more as stills on the graphic than dudes like Rusev or Jason “happy to be here” Jordan.

My low-key person I hope does well here: Bobby Roode. He has not been very prominent in this build, and I really hope he gets to pin somebody and look good to establish him to newer fans.

I think in the end, this match will come down to what team gets sabotaged by interference worse. I can see Jordan trying to avenge himself against Triple H to impress his dad Kurt Angle. But at the same time, I do not know how you have this PPV with no KO and Sami Zayn, and I think they will cost SmackDown the match.

Sure, that gives Raw many of the victories for this PPV, but really do you expect WWE to make SmackDown look better than Raw?

 

Spaceman Frank’s NXT TakeOver: War Games Predictions

by Frank Lucci

Houston’s Takeover seemed to be on a pretty clear path, until somebody in WWE (Triple H) got a huge nostalgia trip for classic WCW and decided to make this into a War Games-themed event. That combined with NXT having a future taping in the same building as one of WCW’s shows and the resurrection of Starcade as a live event proves that The H man really, really, reallyyyyyy wants to turn back the clock to the early 90’s.

This has been met with some mixed results (see my live reading of the revamped War Games rules and Chris’ reaction on the latest episode of Manopera!), but it is a TakeOver, so it should be pretty rad. Now if only WWE would put Gargano vs. Dunne for the UK Championship on the main show because WHY WOULDN’T YOU DO THAT WE ALL WANT IT WHY ARE YOU MAKING US WAIT A WEEK YOU MONSTERS???  I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my NXT Takeover: War Games predictions.

Kassius Ohno vs. Lars Sullivan

Kassius “Player Coach” Ohno gets his first singles match on a Takeover, taking on the suddenly ascendant Lars “Human Gargoyle” Sullivan. Granted, much of the people on this card can be considered “suddenly ascendent” but Sullivan, in particular, seems destined for something bigger. He is very much NXT’s Braun Stroman, and I can see Vince getting one look at him and penciling him into a main roster run before he is truly ready. But hey Stroman was not day one ready, and look where he is now.

Meanwhile, Ohno is putting his undefeated streak on the line, but really he is here to make himself look good while losing to the newest NXT freak. I just wish we got a more substantial feud for this along with Ohno getting more chances to show his stuff.  A good little match that isn’t as good as Gargano vs Dunne BECAUSE NOTHING WILL BE EVER that sees Sullivan getting the win.

Aleister Black vs. The Velveteen Dream

Before this feud began I would have thought there would be no way this could have pushed my interest at all. However young Patrick Clark has made the most of a gimmick that could have gone very poorly very quickly. He commits to the character and adds just the right amount of uncomfortable to keep it PG. Meanwhile Black is the perfect foil for him, as the zen-like guy who refuses to give attention to the Dream. One minor flaw I see in this is that Back obviously craves attention too, since he is covered in tattoos, rises from the smoke during his entrance, and sits in the ring with spotlights on him. Do not tell me you’d not like attention seekers and do that stuff. Anyway, Aleister is the vet and Clark was born in 1995, so Black will defeat The Velveteen Dream like he was The Velveteen Rabbit and Black was Scarlet Fever.

Ember Moon vs. Peyton Royce vs. Nikki Cross vs. Kairi Sane (Fatal Four Way for the Vacant NXT Women’s Championship)

How mad must Sane be? She wins this epic Mae Young Classic, beating some of the best in the world, and gets to be 25% of the match for Asuka’s forfeited championship. I would have made this a one on one match with Kairi facing the winner of an NXT only tournament to make things a little more even. That being said, this is a pretty good field of women who represent the future of the women’s division in NXT and beyond.

It is easy to write Royce right off the gate here, and while I think she has the least chance of winning I am curious to see if we see a serious Peyton make a run during the match. Moon would be an obvious choice as next champ since she has frequently been in the title picture, but honestly, I think Cross has eclipsed her (see what I did there?) in popularity. But all in all, I do not see the Sane Train being derailed despite the gap from the Mae Young Classic to now. She is too good, too adorable, and too badass to not get a chance to carry the belt.

Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega (NXT Championship Match)

Perhaps the match most screwed over by the inclusion of War Games sees McIntyre bypass most other logical challengers and face the out of nowhere Almas for the belt.

This is a big high risk/high reward match for both, and they really need a strong showing to not make this a dud.

To be fair, Drew has been putting on some very solid matches during NXT’s weekly show, and Almas has been doing much better character work as a heel. Vega has also been a revelation as the female manager who not only mixes it up on the mic and (gasp) gets involved in matches in the same way a man would. She is perhaps the most complete person involved into the match, and if she gets into the women’s division I am all for it.

Since Almas is pretty much filler since every other main eventer is busy I do not see him  winning. I just hope D-Mac gets a proper program before his main roster jump back to WWE.

Authors of Pain with Roderick Strong vs. Undisputed Era vs. Sanity (War Games Match)

The rules for this match…suck. Shark cages, wildly unfair rules, and way too much complications make this simple match into a Mario Party minigame. How could they decide this is the best way to what could be an old-school formulaic match (heels get numbers advantage, face shows up to save the day, repeat until all people are in the ring) into a big old cluster?

I can see Strong being the one guy being left along valiantly trying to hold his own until AOP shows up and has a weird Big Damn Hero moment. Meanwhile, I’ll bet my excellent Scary Jesus Rock Star beer that Undisputed Era gets the early numbers advantage.

I cannot say I am super excited for this match, but I should not be bad. My pick for a winner would be Sanity, since I see Strong and the Era’s feud building from here and the tag champions sneaking in a win.

Manopera! Episode 51: What is Going On???

Chris and a slightly less salty Seaman Frank discuss major news in the world of professional wrestling.

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

SSEP: Episode 27 – UFC 217 Review / WWE Recap / Alpha vs. Omega

Jon and the Jewharaja are back following a 3-week hiatus and discuss UFC 217, Recap the current events of WWE and discuss Alpha vs Omega.

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

Harp House Episode 23 – Making Sense of Michael Rubin’s New DM48 Tuning

In this episode, Connor and Michael break down a new chord tuning for the DM48. Make sure to bust out your pencil and paper for this one!

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

Valence – He Tried to Kill Me With A Forklift

Complex melodies combined with exceedingly rigorous fretwork manifest  into a track from New Rochelle progmasters Valence that features a title just as ridiculous as the music that follows it.

He Tried to Kill Me With a Forklift.”

The single, released August 18 will take its true form Friday when Decibel magazine premieres the music video.

“Forklift” features chuggy yet harmonious overtones coupled with superb shredding, a slight nod to Iron Maiden’s “Wasted Years,” and a thick rhythm section pulling it all together. While the track is a heavy six-minute instrumental, the constant changes and revolving door of time signatures keeps one embedded in its near-bloody purpose.

“This was actually one of the first songs we’ve written that’s not part of a larger piece of music (like a concept album), so the focus was definitely riffs and groove rather than any particular concept, unlike our previous releases,” says guitarist Michael Buonanno, who adds that that reason alone was why Valence felt “Forklift” was best served as a standalone.

Although a bunch of prog dudes never actually did get into a forklift fight in space as Valence’s Bandcamp page insinuates, the title actually references a running gag from the cult sci-fi meets Jim Henson-like verbal jousting show Mystery Science Theater 3000.

“It originally comes from the “Fugitive Alien” episode if you want to dig it up,” Buonanno said. “We wanted the title to fit the vibe of the song: kinda quirky and funny but also bad ass, and once that [Mystery Science Theater 3000] came up, we couldn’t name the song anything else.”

In addition to the mayhem and math-metal madness, Valence will also open for Scale the Summit and Angel Vivaldi on November 10 at the Kingsland in Brooklyn, NY. To help mitigate the buzz – and grow their fanbase, the four-piece is enlisting the help of Dewar PR.

“That show is going to be off the hook,” Buonanno said. “We were bugging out when we received the email.”

Roger Daltrey performs “Tommy” in Bethel Woods

Sometimes great things can happen when you have a random day off. When just looking at my Facebook feed, I saw an ad for Roger Daltry of The Who playing the classic album “Tommy” in full.

Having been a longtime fan of The Who and that album and having not been to Bethel Woods since I saw Heart with Jason Bonham in 2014, it made that fact that I was off from my night job the whole day and off from both the next day so much cooler. After work I went to my friend Isaac’s place aka the biggest Who fan I know to chill. Our friend Doug dropped by later and we left for the show. We got there around a half hour before the show started. The venue was packed. People young and old showed up to enjoy this 1960’s classic played in full. It started at 8p.m., with zero openers.

Without an introduction or talking between songs, Roger started playing the album in full and in order backed by a Hudson Valley orchestra. While it felt weird to hear him sing Pete Townsend’s parts, it was still fun to see these songs come to life as his voice did not age one bit and everyone was singing along to classics like “Cousin Kevin,” “Acid Queen” and “Pinball Wizard.”

After he finished the album, he talked for a little bit and played Who songs, “Who Are You” and “Baba O’Riley.” He ended the set with some boring song from his latest solo album which is when everyone left. Other than that bad conclusion, it was a fun show and I was glad we went.

 

 

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