Tag Archives: 2016

Spaceman Frank Ranks WWE’s 2016 PPV’s

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by Frank Lucci

2016 was a very up and down year for WWE live specials. While the company has one of the most talented rosters they have ever had, but oftentimes the booking and build makes PPV matches transparent and predictable. So while many matches are of high quality, the endings sour the overall match. Call it the Lost effect. Another big factor in the up and down year for WWE is the sheer amount of events the company put on, which can be intimidating to people trying to catch of or find highlights from the year. Fortunately, Spaceman Frank is here to rank every single main roster WWE live specials (no Takeovers here cause they would pretty much fill up all the top spots) and give his highs and lows from the events.

Royal Rumble

This was one of the best events of the year, and since it came first it gave me plenty of hope for the upcoming year. Sure, it would have been difficult to match the dumpster fires of the previous two years. But with Reigns walking in as champ the doubt was there. Between the stellar Ambrose vs. Owens last man standing match to Alberto Del Rio’s best match of his second WWE versus Kalisto the undercard delivered. Then the Rumble was full of amazing moments from AJ Styles debuting to Zayn charging in to take out Owens to Triple H hoofing out Reigns as I screamed profanities at sad sack Reigns, this is an easy PPV to rewatch.

Highlights: Owens vs. Ambrose, Del Rio vs. Kalisto, Rumble Match

Lowlights: League of Nations failing to eliminate Reigns, Reigns acting tough in returning while Dean and Owens entered after a Last Man Standing Match

Extreme Rules

Building on the previous event Payback, this live special had many fantastic matches. The fatal four way for the IC title was amazing and began The Miz’s epic run as IC champ. Kalisto and Rusev had a nice little match as well. The New Day had one of their more memorable promos before their match which was better than their actual match. And the main event actually delivered with AJ Styles pulling the best match out of Reign with their extreme rules match. However, The Asylum match was pretty lame and Charlotte again failed to impress against Nattie.

Highlights: Zayn vs. Owens vs. Miz vs. Cesaro, AJ vs. Reigns, New Day promo.

Lowlights: Jericho vs. Ambrose, Flair vs. Nattie

Summerslam

On one hand you have my match of the year match with Cena vs. Styles II on this card. Throw in a great considering one member of the match had to pop his shoulder back in place bout between Finn Balor and Seth Rollins and a pure spectacle match between Brock and Orton and this was a very solid PPV. What was suppose to great was great and even the stuff that could have been better was at least memorable. Throw in Nikki Bella returning and a solid Women’s title match and there is a lot to like here. Mostly makes up for the long run time, though Miz vs Crews did nobody any favors and The New Day vs. The Club match being when the latter team officially went off the rails. Easy enough to skip the filler however especially if you ignore the pre-show.

Highlights: Cena vs. Styles II, Rollins vs. Balor, Banks vs. Charlotte, Orton vs. Lesnar

Lowlights: Miz vs. Crews, The Club vs. The New Day, Ambrose vs. Ziggler

Backlash

The first SmackDown exclusive PPV was memorable, which is why it is high on this list. When the WWE crams as many live specials as possible into the calendar many PPVs just do not feel like they are significant. Yet this one had the crowning of multiple new champions, and in matches that were fantastic to boot. Sure the Wyatt vs. Orton match got cancelled last minute and we had to sit through Bray westling Kane instead, but that was the only blemish on the PPV. Good stuff that set the standard that SmackDown Live would dominate Raw.

Highlights: Six Women Elimination Match for Smackdown Women’s Championship, Slater & Rhyno vs. The Usos for Smackdown Tag Team Belt, Miz vs. Ziggler I

Lowlights: Kane vs. Wyatt

TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs

While this was a pretty high quality PPV, there was many matches that were repeats. Smackdown can get away with it a little bit because of the quality of the matches, but it is a systemic problem in WWE. Miz vs. Ziggler III was great as a ladder match, and Ambrose took Styles to the limit in their TLC match that was probably the best Ambrose match of the year. The rest of the card was pretty tight as well, even if Nikki Bella could not figure out how to use a kendo stick the right way.

Highlights: Ambrose vs. Styles, Miz vs. Ziggler III, Kalisto vs. Corbin, Bliss vs. Lynch

Lowlights: Ten Man Tag Team Pre-show Match

Survivor Series

The big story out of Survivor Series was Goldberg destroying Lesnar, which is memorable sure but did screw over fans looking to see these guys actually face off in an actual match. Definitely something you do not need to re-watch again. One the plus side the men’s Survivor Series match was excellent and delivered on all fronts. The other elimination matches were also fun to watch as well and help reestablish why the gimmick match has worked over the years. Zayn vs. Miz was pretty lame though and WWE blew it by not having Kalisto win the Cruiserweight belt. Good for the gimmick matches but this will always be remembered for Goldberg’s return.

Highlights: Survivor Series Elimination Matches

Lowlights: Zayn vs. Miz, Kane vs. Harper

Money in the Bank

The obvious emotional highlight was Dean Ambrose cashing in and winning the WWE Championship on Seth Rollins less than two hours after winning the Money in the Bank briefcase. WWE finally put a bow on their epic rivalry and had an actual fan favorite win the belt and get a positive response from the crowd. We also got Cena vs. AJ Styles I, starting perhaps the best rivalry of the year. While there was many good matches there was also too much filler at 11 total matches on the PPV. Almost great but not quite there.

Highlights: Cena vs. AJ I, MITB Ladder Match, Ambrose’s Cash-In

Lowlights: Pre-show, Fatal Four Way Tag Team Match, Corbin vs. Ziggler III, Crews vs. Sheamus

Payback

This was a very good PPV marred by the usual questionable booking. Nattie vs. Flair was a joke that nobody laughed at. We got the beginning of the endless Ziggler vs. Corbin match that did nobody any favors. Plus we got one of the scariest scenes of the year when Enzo Amore got knocked out during his match.Yet this is a solid PPV that set up much of the live special content for the next few months. We got the first of the Zayn vs. Owens Fight Forever matches along with the best Ryback match ever vs. Kalisto (sensing a pattern with Kalisto here). Not bad but not the best.

Highlights: Zayn vs. Owens I, Kalisto vs. Ryback

Lowlights: Natalya vs. Flair, Ziggler vs. Corbin

No Mercy

Similar to Payback, WWE put on another event with weird booking. Putting the WWE championship match first was odd, and when it turned out to be the one of the best match on the card it definitely hurt the PPV. We also got the amazing Miz vs. Ziggler match with Ziggler’s career on the line, which again is hindered slightly in retrospect when they just reset this feud later on. Other than that not much here to get invested in or re-watch.

Highlights: Miz vs Ziggler II, Styles vs. Ambrose vs. Cena

Lowlights: Corbin vs. Swagger, Wyatt vs. Orton

Fastlane

I’m sure Fastlane was a decent show, but I honestly do not remember a single match from this PPV outside of the main event. Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth happened on this show for Christ’s sake. This was also during peak botching Charlotte time, and having Brie Bella as an opponet was not a good look for the Divas at the time. The main event was pretty fun though, and triple threat Brock is probably my favorite Brock. The Edge and Christian segment was also pretty fun, but too long. Very skippable and an obvious stepping stone to Mania.

Highlights: Brock vs. Ambrose vs. Reigns

Lowlights: Pretty much everything else

Hell in a Cell

We did some history here with the first women’s Hell in a Cell match. And Owens vs. Rollins was decent, and Reigns vs. Rusev can get a pass too. However all the Hell in a Cell matches diluted the quality of them all, and the rest of the card was just kind of there. More of the same from Raw in a pattern that continues with the red brand to this day. The best matches were things we have seen before.

Highlights: Banks vs. Charlotte II, Owens vs. Rollins II, Rusev vs. Reign II

Lowlights: Brooke vs. Bayley, The Club vs. Enzo & Cass

Battleground

Simply put, Zayn vs. Owens II saved this PPV from being a complete disaster. So many unmemorable matches or just flat out bad matches that were a product of the upcoming brand split. Cena and Enzo & Cass vs. The Club was ok, and the Shield triple threat was decent but nearly as epic as it should have been. Really this is a very skippable PPV that was screwed by the brand split and made relevant almost as soon as it was over.

Highlights: Owens vs. Zayn II

Lowlights: Miz vs. Young, Rusev vs. Ryder, Wyatts vs. New Day

Roadblock: End of the Line

The last PPV of the year was also one of the worse. Raw continued to just stall for time, this time to make to the Royal Rumble in 2017. Many of these matches just did not matter, and very little changed. Banks vs Charlotte had their best PPV match, but the Iron Man Match was structured weirdly. Cesaro & Sheamus vs. The New Day was also a solid match which ended The New Day’s reign, but these two things don’t make up for the blandness of the PPV. Like a steamed carrot this was as meh as it gets.

Highlights: Cesaro & Sheamus vs. The New Day, Banks vs. Charlotte III

Lowlights: Rusev vs. Big Cass, TJP vs. Swann vs. Kendrick, Reigns vs. Owens, Jericho vs. Rollins

Clash of Champions

Remember how Backlash set up SmackDown Live as the standard bearer for WWE? Well that notion was solidified when Raw dropped Clash of Champions on us. Owens vs. Rollins should have been better than it was, though Rollins did crack a rib so that is forgivable. Meanwhile most of the other matches seem to feature people sleepwalking through them or just meandering their way through the event so we could get to the next event. Cesaro vs. Sheamus was good though, and now that the best of seven actually paid off it is better in retrospect. Still would have liked to see a definite winner (Cesaro) who got into the main event picture.

Highlights: Cesaro vs. Sheamus

Lowlights: Jericho vs. Zayn, Reigns vs. Lana, TYP vs. Kendrick, Jax vs. Fox

WrestleMania 32

Mania 32 highlighted everything wrong with WWE 2016. The event was seven hours long, had too many matches, and a super predictable main event that should have killed the Roman push dead. Throw in The Rock to set things on fire and waste half an hour to let us know the attendance and murder Erick Rowan’s career and it is easy to see how this was one of the worse events of the year. I cannot imagine how disappointing this must have been to someone who finally got the chance to attend WrestleMania only to see this show. However, the young and hungry talent came through on the big stage, and the ladder match and the women’s triple threat match were great.

Highlights: IC Title Ladder Match, Lynch vs. Banks vs. Flair

Lowlights: The other 6 hours

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Bonesaw’s Top 5 Metal shows of 2016 Countdown: Part 1

 As 2016 comes to a close we reflect upon our best metal shows of the year that we attended. It was such a good year for shows that Staff Writer Anthony Caroscia and Editor-in-Chief Chris Butera had to enlist help from Alternative Nation writer and guitarist of Roargh and Minotaur’s Redemption Birdman Dan and Minotaur’s Redemption guitarist and vocalist Lyon in a roundtable discussion. Seeing as we don’t have all day, let’s start at each person’s individual number five:
Chris’s Number 5: Moontooth at St.Vitus

Chris:  My fifth is Moon Tooth at St. Vitus for their CD release show.

Anthony: They are a  band I hear about that I never checked out.
Chris: Chromaparagon is one of the best albums this year. So proud of them. I was shown them by a friend who saw them at a house party years ago. They are one of the best live bands period. They deserve everything amazing that happens. I honestly hope they have more success than Metallica.
Anthony: That would be a shock for anyone. Even today’s biggest metal acts have never got the success level of the classics.
Birdman: I got to see them on their massive summer tour. The Binary Code was headlining at Dingbatz but I went just for Moon Tooth.
Chris: Netherlands also played the release show but I didn’t see anything special about them. They relied way too heavily on their projector.
Anthony: I know they play around here a bit. I’ve seen them listed for shows in New Paltz and in Warwick.
Birdman: Every time Moon Tooth comes up here they ALWAYS request to play with INNIS, and they always shout for encores.
Anthony: I hear a bit of stoner rock in their sound as well.
Lyon: Definitely. I know I’m in the minority amongst local metalheads, but I actually prefer INNIS to Moon Tooth.
Birdman Dan’s Number 5: Trivium, Sabaton and Huntress
at the Chance

Birdman: I mainly went for Sabaton and my mates in Minotaur’s went for the other bands. Sabaton were so kickass live and all wore matching camo pants.
Lyon: Sabaton was really fun. Huntress slayed and was largely who I went for. Trivium sucked donkey balls but I saw that coming. I’m mostly glad I was there with Birdman and Evan from MR – shows are good with good mates. We bonded over how much fun Sabaton is and how painful Trivium has become.Real pop arena rock.
Birdman: It was cool of them to play “Entrance of the Conflagration” though.
Lyon: Yeah, they played a few things of significance.
Tony’s Number 5: Summer Slaughter at the Chance

Anthony: My Number five is the Summer Slaughter Tour at The Chance.
Birdman: Not in my top five but it was great.
Lyon: I’ve never been to it. Is big death metal fun at The Chance?
Anthony: Yeah it is. Almost all of our Northeast metal buddies where there. It was awesome.
Birdman: Also Sarah from Cherry St. Station was there.
Anthony: I mainly went for Suffocation, Revocation, Krisiun, Nile and Cannibal Corpse. Though I’ve seen all of them before, it was nice seeing them in one big package.
Birdman: Yeah, it was good to see CC on my home turf.
Anthony:That was my fifth time seeing CC all together and my fourth at that venue
and of course interviewing Terrence Hobbs from Suffocation was great. Such a nice guy.
Birdman: The only thing that disappointed was that Ingested only got a three song set since either they had technical difficulties or couldn’t get the sound they wanted
Anthony: I don’t care for them but that sucks for any band. I walked in from the interview/dinner while they were playing and only heard three songs. I thought it was the end of their set until now.
Birdman: Yeah, their soundcheck bled into their set.
Anthony: That’s what happens with long bills/fests.
Lyon’s Number 5: It’s not Night: It’s Space at Snug Harbor

Lyon: August 20th – “It’s not night: It’s space” at Snug’s. Seriously.
Anthony: I wasn’t there but I’ve seen them a few times. Pretty sweet band.
Birdman: Was it a release show?
Lyon: Their new album is absolutely killer if anyone hasn’t heard it yet – it’s their most aggressive yet. It wasn’t a release show but they played new jams and the new jams are meant to be heard live. Definitely post-rock, but also definitely metal. They really straddle the line between Mogwai, Godspeed, and Sabbath, wherever that may lie.

My Experience At MDF 2016 – Part 1: Friday

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Another year, another MDF and another adventure. With an amazing line up as always, I knew I wasn’t going to break the chain of MDF every year.

The night before, my friend Matt and I stayed at our friend Herb’s and headed for the annual metal fest the next morning. When got to the hotel we dropped off our stuff, met up with our friend Jason and headed down to the venue. After taking a cab down, we got there around 3:50 and started watching the band that was on.

Centinex

We got there during the middle of Swedish death legends Centinex’s set. Due to en-route traffic, we missed Horrendous and a good chunk of this band’s set. However, I was still able to catch several songs from them including the classic track “Moist Purple Skin.” Centinex sounded great and the fans were not disappointed.

Novembers Doom

Next up were Chicago’s melodeath/doom giants Novembers Doom. Around this time I ran into some of my Chicago friends who included members of Nucleus and Morditorium. I also ran into members of a Facebook group I’m part of. While I do like Novembers Doom I was never a massive fan. With that said, I did enjoy their set and thought they sounded great.

Wormed

Spain’s brutal death outfit Wormed transitioned the tone of the crowd from slowly brooding to intense and mosh heavy. Being one of my favorite bands of this subgenre, I was stoked to see them and my expectations were exceeded. After their set Jason and I head to Soundstage.

Bruce X Campbell

With a name liked that who would skip them? Bruce X Campell are a power violence act named after the one and only Bruce Campbell himself. And like the man with the iron chin, they were awesome.

Gruesome

After Bruce X Campell I head back to Edison lot. During this time slot, the classic death metal band Sinister was supposed to play, but due to dropping at the last possible minute Gruesome (who were already scheduled to play the next day) took the slot.

Gruesome is a band I have mixed feelings about. I don’t dislike their music but at the same time feel no need to listen to it as it sounds so much like Death that it feels pointless when Death’s music still exists. I watched them with an open mind.  They sounded good live and were fun to see. They also did a great job with the Death covers they played.

Hemdale

After Gruesome I went back to Soundstage with Herb based on a recommendation from Herb’s friend Sam. He compared them to acts like General surgery, Exhumed and Carcass – all of which we’re both big fans of. Hemdale was very entertaining and the vocalist told hilarious jokes about the internet.

 

Paradise Lost

I raced back to Edison Lot to catch Paradise Lost. As a fan of mainly just the first 2 albums I was curious of how many tracks from that era they would perform. They played mostly newer songs that were performed well and sounded good live. Midway through the set I did get to hear some tracks I enjoy such as “Rapture,” “Dead Emotion” and “As I Die (the latter being the only post-Gothic song I like).”

Samael

Samael was one of the bands I was curious about seeing once it was announced that they were playing all of “Ceremony of Opposites.” This is my favorite album by them as well as the last one they made that I liked.

When they started I thought they were playing one of their later songs until I realized it was on the album. The band looked like rejects from a bad 2000’s EBM band. They were playing their old songs but remixing them to sound like the later stuff. Though it sounded awful, I was wanted to see how my favorite Samael track “Baphomets Throne” would sound. Sadly, they really fucked it up with not only replacing riffs with synth but with “St.Anger” sounding drums. Once I heard this mess I went back to Soundstage.

Magrudergrind

Though Mayhem were playing at Edison Lot, I figured I’d go see Magrudergrind since I’d seen Mayhem once before. When I arrived I ran into my friends Nick and Cheyenne. All three of us were excited to see these grind greats as we missed them every chance we got. Magrudergrind sounded great and had incredible energy. This was a nice change in pace as the night just got crazier from here.

Rotten Sound

Being one of my all-time favorite (and one of my first) grind bands  I was stoked to finally see Rotten Sound. Continuing the trend of the night, Rotten Sound were even more energetic than Magrudergrind. Using Soundstage’s great sound to its full potential, they were among the best bands of the whole fest.

Repulsion

Next up on Soundstage were grindcore pioneers, Repulsion. I only watched about 20 minutes of their set as I wanted to catch Angelcorpse at 12:30. From what I was able to see, the band really killed and continued the late great shows of Friday night.

Angelcorpse

After 20 minutes of Repulsion, I went over to Rams Head for the last band of the night. Being the main reason for Rams Head Friday, Angelcorpse were the biggest must-see band of the night. From start to finish, Angelcorpse put on one of the most intense live shows I’d ever witnessed. The band’s fast and in-your-face style of blackened death metal really worked. Not a second went by that wasn’t amazing during their set. Angelcorpse was one of the best bands of the fest for sure.

After Angelcorpse, Herb, Matt and I went to our hotel (Jason had no Rams Head tickets) and went to sleep to prepare for the next day’s events.

Part 2 coming soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Extreme Rules 2016 Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

It’s the time of the year where WWE gets as extreme as the PG rating will allow, and the company is trying to carry some momentum into the critical Summer season.

The second Pay-Per-View of May, Extreme Rules is wedged between Payback and Money in the Bank (which has essentially become the Royal Rumble of the Summer). Throw an NXT TakeOver special into the mix and it would have been understandable for the WWE to sit on their laurels and phone it in for Extreme Rules (TakeOver won’t be happening until June 8). However, the influx of new talent has made the WWE and Raw in particular much better since WrestleMania. While there have been some hiccups, Extreme Rules has the potential to be a very good show.

Kickoff: Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin (No Disqualification Match)

At Payback, Ziggler managed to get the sneaky pin on The Lone Wolf, but all signs point to Corbin getting the win here. While falling short in their previous pre-show match, Corbin has been very aggressive since his debut and needs a decisive win  to help put him over with casual fans who missed his NXT work and his ‘Mania victory in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

Ziggler can make anybody look like a million bucks, but after doing the favors for Corbin he can hopefully go back to being main event cannon fodder.

The New Day (c) vs. The Vaudevillians (WWE Tag Team Championships Match)

The New Day remains one of the most entertaining elements of WWE, but they’ve lost a step since becoming full-blown babyfaces. For one thing, losing at ‘Mania to a faction that no longer exists and not having a match at the following Pay-Per-View doesn’t help. Secondly, not being squirrely jerks anymore means they can’t fully commit to being the perfect trolls we fell in love with.

While The Vaudevillians are doing far better than most expected on the main roster, they’re potentially tag team filler while Enzo Amore recovers from his scary concussion at Payback. The New Day retains in a good match.

Kalisto (c) vs. Rusev (United States Championship Match)

With Ryback seemingly on his way to being “future endeavored,” Kalisto has found a new massive monster trying to capture his title.

The better half of the Lucha Dragons has become the master of making something out of nothing, as his U.S. championship run has consisted of him pulling off great matches with little build. He pushed Ryback to new heights with his downright amazing moves and Rusev’s own freak athleticism has me almost thinking this could be the sleeper hit of the night (if only we could get a real effort from the WWE to promote the U.S. title again like last year).

Kalisto gets the win:  50% based on Rusev being a recent lame duck and 50% is me holding out for Sin Cara to betray Kalisto and challenge for the title before he sinks too far into the Jannetty realm.

The Usos vs. The Club (Tornado Tag Team Match)

First off: THE CLUB??? THAT’S THE BEST WWE CAN DO??? A million different options and the WWE decide to make Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson sound like they go to AJ Styles’ basement and drink mojitos while playing Team Fortress 2.

Since their debut, the two have been losing a disturbing amount to Roman Reigns (which is understandable given that he’s champ) and The Usos (who have not done shit all year) all well acting as pawns to the larger Styles/Reigns feud. That being said, they have been putting on good matches (albeit mostly reruns) and I see them winning at Extreme Rules to add more intrigue to the main event. 

Charlotte (c) vs. Natalya (Women’s Championship Submission Match – Ric Flair is banned from ringside)

After the frankly downright embarrassing ending to their Payback match, these two women are facing off again with the added stipulation that Charlotte’s father Ric Flair is banned from ringside (presumably Nattie’s uncle Bret Hart does not need to be banned from ringside since he openly didn’t want to be at Payback and therefore wouldn’t be caught dead at ringside for the rematch).

It’s easy to forget that this is the third PPV match between the two (if you count Roadblock) and WWE has made some questionable moves such as Ric saying he doesn’t think his daughter can win without him (watch out Titus we got a new father of the year here) and THE FUCKING SCREWJOB FINISH IN 2016. I will scream if Charles “Little Naitch” Robinson is again the referee for this match. Charlotte wins because we all know her versus Sasha Banks is going to happen.

Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose (First-Ever Asylum Match)

Strait out of WCW it’s the debut of the Asylum Match! This twisted match (that can only be won by pinfall or submission) features weapons lined all along the top of the cage, giving it a unique flavor beyond typical vanilla cage matches. The problem is that a) this is the PG era and b) Jericho is unlikely to take big bumps this late in his career. Add in WWE’s desperate attempt to show how “ka-raaay-zee” Dean Ambrose is and this will be a well worked match that is instantly forgettable.

The Miz (c) vs. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens (Fatal Four-Way Intercontinental Championship Match)

While many are disappointed the Owens vs. Zayn feud is not getting a true Extreme Rules continuation, the addition of Cesaro and The Miz has been done very well. Merging the two separate feuds makes sure this will get the proper time on the PPV and lead to a stellar match.

Everyone has played their parts well and special mention goes to The Miz for being the perfect smarmy Hollywood champion (along with his equally perfect real-life wife Maryse) who has shown his ability to hang with three of the biggest indy darlings in the WWE.

The only wrinkle in the buildup is the WWE insisting that we see these four go at it over and over again – meaning this actual match between the four already feels like it has been going on for several months rather than weeks. This is a toss up, so I will say The Miz retains due to some type of Maryse related shenanigans.

Roman Reigns (c) vs. AJ Styles (Extreme Rules Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

Since Payback the WWE has continued to play it smart with these two. Styles has been pushed into acting more aggressive and gelling with Gallows and Anderson, but only after several beatdowns from Reigns and The Usos. This is essentially the match we should have gotten at Payback, seeing as that one eventually became a “No DQ” anyway.

Styles is more of a natural underdog here, but if The Club takes out The Usos earlier I see a situation where he is given a chance to go full heel but refuses, leading to his defeat once again. Seeing this, The Club then turns on their friend for being weak – instantly making Styles the white-meat babyface the company desperately needs.

As for Finn Balor, it seems like talk of him jumping to the main roster has cooled, so I doubt he will be much of a factor here. On top of that, Balor is scheduled to face Samoa Joe inside a steel cage at the next NXT TakeOver event (making his arrival at Extreme Rules even more unlikely).

With Reigns vs. John Cena rumored for SummerSlam and Styles a prime candidate for a Money in the Bank win I see Reigns keeping his championship in a big brawl.

Manopera! Episode 17: WWE Payback 2016 Feedback

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What went down at WWE Payback? Chris and Frank have the answers (or at least they think they do). Find out what the boys have to say as they mull over Payback’s strong points, weak points and everything in between.

Bullet Club Must Debut at Extreme Rules

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For months WWE has been teasing the debut of the Bullet Club.

Rather than deliver the goods at what appeared to have been gift wrapped by booking, WWE continued to play mind games with the WWE Universe at both last Sunday’s WWE Payback and this past Monday Night Raw.

It now seems very obvious that possibly the hottest stable since the NWO will make their debut at WWE Extreme Rules on Sunday, May 22 in New Jersey’s Prudential Center.

Unfortunately, due to the near perfect setup at Payback it looks as though the debut will come out of necessity.

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns and A.J. Styles had a phenomenal match until the (initial) finish, when Styles defeated Reigns via countout. Unsatisfied with this decision, Shane McMahon decided to restart the match and added a no countout stipulation.

This was fine until Reigns hit an accidental low blow on the challenger, resulting in a disqualification. Equal parts unhappy with the outcome and wanting to upstage her brother, Stephanie McMahon re-restarted the match with no countouts and no disqualifications to determine a clear winner.

Out came Styles buddies the Good Brothers, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson followed by Reigns’s cousins the Usos.

Things just got interesting.

The match went on with minor distractions for each competitor and their feuding cohorts as they all began brawling. It seemed as if any moment Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura would make their main roster debuts and give the WWE Universe the notorious Bullet Club.

Nope.

Instead Reigns defeated Styles with a Spear, who was given an Extreme Rules rematch at (you guessed it) Extreme Rules almost immediately by the McMahons due to his incredible performance (which is fine).

With a six man tag match main event between Styles, the Good Brothers, Reigns and the Usos set for the following Raw, it almost seemed as if the Bullet Club would surely debut the next night.

Nope.

With Extreme Rules coming up at the end of the month, the fans are getting restless and the surprise factor is fading. WWE must strike while the iron is hot or they run the risk of shooting the Bullet Club down before it has a chance to fire its first round.

Black Sabbath and “The End”of Madison Square Garden

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After buying my tickets as early as October (thanks to how quick the show was selling out) I was counting down the days until I’d finally see Black Sabbath on their final tour.

My life goal was to see Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Sabbath before I (or more likely they) die. I had seen Judas Priest in 2011 and 2014 and Iron Maiden back in 2012.

To celebrate this event my friend Doug and I decided to get to NYC early and just do some random stuff. We went to various places and did random things such as me purchasing Killer Codom and Poultrygiest, him buying Elmo’s Letter Adventure of all things, eating suishi in a manga store, eating at Planet Hollywood and getting a picture of a wax Ozzy and trying to trick people on my Facebook into thinking I met him.

When it got closer to showtime, we walked to 34th street and entered Madison Square Garden.I always knew this venue was huge but was shocked about just how massive it was. We went to the very top floor (though Doug’s ticket wasn’t for that section) and waited for the show to start.

Rival Sons

The opening act was classic rock throwback Rival Sons. I hadn’t heard this band before, I just knew about them and that Doug really liked them (he had also seen them twice before). They came on stage and as soon as their first song “Electric Man” started I could instantly tell this would be a fun set. They were very bluesy, loud and the vocalist had great range. The sound was without a doubt Zeppelen influenced but they were able to give themselves a distinct sound and not sound like a cheap clone.

Black Sabbath

After Rival Sons explosive performance, it was time for the feature presentation. During Son’s set Doug was moved to his actual seat by security.

Black Sabbath started off with their self-titled song and as soon as that first note hit I was blown away. The sound was so spot on it was unbelievable. They then went into many classics such as “After Forever,” “Hand Of Doom” (which hasn’t been played since the 70’s),”War Pigs,” “Snowblind,” “N.I.B” and several more.

After “Rat Salad,” their touring drummer Tommy Clufetos did a long drum solo with flashing lights everywhere. Though this was a good solo it went on a little too long and made no sense to do as he’s not original drummer Bill Ward. After that solo they played “Iron Man,””Children of the Grave” and “Paranoid.” They also played “Dirty Women” which was an odd choice.

Although Sabbath played an hour and 20 minute set, it went by fast. My only problem was that other than “Dirty Women,” they didn’t play anything past “Volume 4.” It would have been nice to hear something from “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” or “Sabotage.” After the show, I met up with Doug who was hanging with our friends Jason and Rob and we left the venue after witnessing one of the best concerts any of us may ever see.

Life of Agony to Release First Album in Over a Decade

Life of Agony (left to right: guitarist Joey Z, bassist Alan Robert, singer Mina Caputo and drummer Sal Abruscato; courtesy of Google Images).
Life of Agony (left to right: guitarist Joseph “Joey Z” Zampella, bassist Alan Robert, singer Mina Caputo and drummer Sal Abruscato; courtesy of Google Images).

After 11 long years of sporadic live appearances, Brooklyn’s Life of Agony is back with a vengeance and plans on releasing a new album this year on a new label.

The former Roadrunner hardcore/alternative metal group’s new album will be titled “A Place Where There’s No More Pain” and will be available on Napalm Records.

“I think our fans know that our music comes from a very real place of suffering, from all of us in the band,” bassist and comic book writer Alan Robert said in a press release. “Many of our fans have told us over the years that sharing our personal struggles has been cathartic for them in healing the pain in their own lives. That uplifting energy we share at the shows, gives us hope that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And for us and hopefully our fans, that short time when we’re all together is a place where there’s no more pain.”

Shortly after the band announced the good news on their official website last month, they proceeded to go on a short string of German tour dates.

Life of Agony also has three England shows scheduled in March for the “Agony in the U.K” dubbed mini tour.

“Life Of Agony is without a doubt one of the most exciting and energetic Rock bands of our times. It is an honor to work with such talent, we are excited to announce their signing to Napalm Records and release the band’s first album after over a decade,” said Thomas Caser, CEO of Napalm Records.

Shortly after their formation in 1989, Life of Agony landed a deal with Roadrunner Records and released four albums. Their highly acclaimed 1993 debut, “River Runs Red” (which they performed in its entirety in 2010) is their best-selling album and has been reissued several times through several different labels. Also released under Roadrunner were 1995’s “Ugly” and 1997’s “Soul Searching Sun.” Life of Agony’s last album, “Broken Valley” was released by Epic Records in 2005.

Official album art and promotion for Life of Agony’s new album, “A Place Where There’s No More Pain” (courtesy of Life of Agony’s official website).

Manopera! Episode 10: Bonesaw’s 1 Year Anniversary Podcast (Featuring Royal Rumble 2016)

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It’s the one year podcast anniversary for Bonesaw and we couldn’t be more excited. Chris and Frank are once again joined by Nick Lopez of Prowrestlingopinion.com to mull over the 2016 WWE Royal Rumble and the puzzling aftermath on Raw. Enjoy countless thrills, spills, chills and of course, Manopera!

Bonesaw Podcast – Episode 26: Condition Critical & Lich King’s Mike Dreher

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Thrashing to a stereo near you we have thrash metal bassist Mike Dreher of Condition Critical and Lich King. On this rad podcast, we discuss Lich King’s recent European tour, Condition Critical’s new album plans and a whole lot more – featuring a CC cover of Demolition Hammer’s “.44 Caliber Brain Surgery.”