Tag Archives: 2016

Spaceman Frank’s Royal Rumble 2016 Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

The Royal Rumble is once again upon us, this time with the special twist that Roman Reigns will defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the Royal Rumble match.

As discussed on the Manopera podcast, the WWE has actually put in an effort to make this year’s Rumble match seem more unpredictable, which should help make the Pay-Per-View better than last year. Throw in a solid undercard and this could be the year the Rumble gets back on track. And with that here are Spaceman Frank’s Royal Rumble 2016 predictions.

Kickoff Match: Darren Young and Damien Sandow vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley) vs. The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) vs. Mark Henry and Jack Swagger (Winning team gets into the Royal Rumble Match)

This is pretty much a throwaway match as none of these guys have a shot of doing anything significant in the Rumble. Does Darren Young teaming with Damien Sandow mean Titus O’neil is in the Rumble already? Hopefully we get Sandow doing his stunt double stuff again otherwise this will be an even bigger waste of time. Also, the Dudley Boyz have really fallen off the map after coming in hot as hell this summer. Honestly, I see Mark Henry (who I thought was already confirmed for the Rumble) and Jack Swagger winning as they are both veterans and can operate separately once the Rumble match actually starts.

Alberto Del Rio (C) vs. Kalisto (US Championship Match)

Boy has the WWE screwed this one up. After a meaningful title change to Kalisto that was immediately followed up with Del Rio winning the championship back I could not care less about this match. I would rather have John Cena show up in a sling to defend the belt over this match. While both men are talented, this has “filler” written all over it as Del Rio also has the Rumble later and Kalisto is killing time until Sin Cara comes back. What a wasted opportunity to elevate Kalisto, who could be the next Rey Mysterio if given the chance. Del Rio wins and everyone else loses.

The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and/or Xavier Woods) (c) vs. The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso) (Tag Title Match)

Despite having a war of words with Chris Jericho for several weeks, it looks like the New Day will be facing off against The Usos at the PPV. My guess is “cool dad Jericho” couldn’t find a partner to tolerate his bumbling ways and will instead focus on ruining the Rumble instead of The New Day. While this matchup has potential, the WWE has not given fans much to buy into this storyline besides The Usos being the choice of the people while The New Day is the choice of the IWC (who don’t count as people). The New Day need to refocus after a few on and off weeks and while this should be a fun match, the trio also has the Rumble later on. I see them winning via DQ and this feud dragging for months on end.

Charlotte (c) (with Ric Flair) vs. Becky Lynch (Divas Title Match)

Simply put, this is the best feud going on in the WWE right now. An easy to follow storyline with Charlotte embracing her inner Flair (minus the part where she elbow drops sport coats and starts bleeding during the match) and turning on her friend. Becky Lynch, once an afterthought of the Divas Revolution, has nailed everything given to her by the WWE and has shown why she was called up over other NXT divas. In particular, she plays the fiery babyface very well in promos, and acts very much like Ricky Steamboat, another famous Flair rival. Hopefully these two women get a shot at delivering in the ring after a solid build. With Charlotte having her dad in the corner I expect her to cheat to win, or perhaps Sasha Banks and Team Bad will reintroduce themselves by interrupting the match to set up future storylines.

Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose (c) (Last Man Standing Match for the Intercontinental Championship)

Another feud with a good storyline. These two outstanding grapplers have a chance to steal the show (as always), especially if the Royal Rumble match fails to deliver. Owens has gotten back on track after some lackluster feuds as with Ambrose breaking away from just being Reigns super rad friend and coming into his own as champ. Last Man Standing fits these two so well and I expect an epic brawl  between them. While I see Ambrose retaining, I also see Owens keeping his vicious streak alive by taking out Ambrose afterwards and preventing him from helping his buddy Reigns in the Rumble. This will also keep Owens’ status as the Authority’s off the books boy (as he always seems to be going along with their plans but has yet to join them) and make him look strong despite the loss.

Royal Rumble Match (Winner is WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

This match was discussed at great length on the Manopera podcast, so I will hit the main bullet points here. In essence, this match boils down to a handful of wrestlers and what sort of surprises the WWE has in store. I joked that Reigns will win if given the number one spot in the Rumble and lo and behold they did it. This makes me think that Reigns is walking out as champ, but WWE has been overdue for a real swerve.

The only other outcome I can see is Triple H entering himself at number 30 and winning the championship due to the rumored Reigns vs Triple H main event for Wrestlemania. Brock Lesnar figures to be a big factor as well, but I feel as though he will end up being eliminated by Bray Wyatt to set up a match between the two. As for AJ Styles and the other New Japan wrestlers who may be heading to the WWE, I can only see Styles debuting at the Rumble (as he is the most well known) and doing fairly well. In addition, I hope to see at least one NXT wrestler show up as well as a couple of cool legends (but we will probably get Kevin Nash since he always seems to show up at the Rumble).

Manopera! Episode 9: Chris & Frank Predict the 2016 Royal Rumble Winner

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Chris and Frank make their bold predictions for the 2016 Royal Rumble winner and possible WrestleMania storylines that could (and should) follow as well as discussing their top five favorite (and least favorite) Rumble matches of all time.

 

Nile Decimates NYC’s Gramercy Theatre

Egyptologist death metal legends Nile played to a raging group of metalheads Thursday night at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre. The band has been touring in support of their latest record “What Should Not Be Unearthed” with local openers at each show, showing support for every local scene they encounter.

This particular day I was finishing work for a recent freelancing gig I had picked up. It was a different topic than I had been used to writing about, so I took a bit longer than I expected – which caused me to inadvertently sabotage plans I had initially made – giving myself, Eric and Andrew (the party of new plans I followed through with) some unwanted afternoon drama. That didn’t stop us from drinking, grabbing burgers at the Union Square Friday’s (where en-route I was shocked and saddened by the death of actor Alan Rickman) and more drinking before merrily walking down to 23rd street’s Gramercy Theatre. For some reason my accomplices were wearing balaclavas, but that’s another story altogether.

Known to start and end shows early, we expected to miss one of the Gramercy’s openers because a) they were local and b) Andrew was not a fan of Day of Doom, whom he had seen before. Unfortunately for us, it was the one time the Gramercy Theatre decided to start the show late. We sat down in the bleacher seats and watched from afar, choosing to conserve our energy (and sober up) for Nile.

Day of Doom

When Andrew expressed his opinions of Day of Doom, he was putting it lightly.

This band was so bad that for the first (and hopefully last) time in my life I actually fell asleep at a concert. Not only that but this was moments after a) Eric also fell asleep and b) their singer compared showcasing their new material to his preferred style of intercourse. Day of Doom’s music consisted of generic old-school death metal that made you want to throw on your headphones and listen to the actual bands they were trying to imitate.

I legitimately felt sorry for their drummer, who while having the Gob Bluth “I’ve made a huge mistake” look in his eyes was also the only one of the trio with any stage presence. He was also clearly the most talented member of the band. After two songs I woke up just in time for their closer and more whiny banter from the singer, encouraging the crowd to “bring their mothers and sisters” next time because apparently there weren’t enough girls at the show.

Rule number one for aspiring musicians: Fake it until you make it (aka act like you’re the greatest thing in the world no matter what. People will like you better). Also do not beg for sex – especially when the center of attention is YOU.

Khiazma

While they sounded better and were much more energetic than Day of Doom, we were so bored that we didn’t want to risk sitting through another bad local act. Instead we wound up watching them from TV sets in the downstairs lounge, where we gathered to check out the merch and sober up on Gramercy´s tap water. We were also disappointed when we discovered that a chiasma is an exchange of genetic material in chromosome strands during meiosis and not a piece of furniture you can buy from Ikea.

Seton Hall University´s WSOU (Pirate Radio) station had a booth in the lobby as they were one of the sponsors for the show. The station’s representatives were very much into themselves and didn’t do any actual promotion other than stand next to their booth which contained a roulette wheel of prizes you could potentially win by spinning the wheel and landing on said prize. None of us cared since we weren’t intrigued or approached by the reps who consisted of college kids that were happy to get free tickets to a show.

Although Nile had some pretty cool merch – including limited edition vinyls of their Relapse catalog, a flag and shirts; they only had small and extra large sizes of their best t-shirt designs available. Being a medium, I was a sad panda until moments later when Khiazma wrapped up their set. We stumbled up the stairs knowing we’d finally be getting our money’s worth.

Nile

It was both mine and Andrew’s first time seeing the Egypt obsessed Nile. Not only had the venue filled up dramatically by this point but the place exploded the minute the headliners took the stage. My partners in crime ventured into the pit (balaclavas and all) while I found a comfortable spot to bask in Nile’s glory (on a side note, guitarist Dallas-Toler Wade was wearing a Pit Bulls shirt. The Pit Bulls are a large fraternity of metalheads from Dallas, Texas which Insinnerator/Thy Antichrist bassist Benjamin Shanks, a friend of mine is a member of (and the person I’m willing to bet money on for giving Wade the shirt).

My time in said comfortable spot would not last long as my cronies grabbed my five-foot three, 165-pound frame and crowdsurfed it for the first time in almost a decade. This would repeat itself seven more times throughout Nile’s set to the point where various members of the front row were referring to me as “Rangers Guy” thanks to the hockey jersey I was wearing (they lost 3-1 that night to the bloody Islanders).  During this time, we met up with Jane (who was the earlier plan I had botched) and Kevin, who was so drunk it took me a good minute to recognize him.

Nile absolutely slayed and the crowd responded with their hyper-violent moshy roar of approval. Their set consisted of a little bit from each of their eight albums, including “Sarcophagus,” “Serpent Headed Mask” and “Ithyphallic” – satisfying everyone in attendance. Their latest material went over so well with the crowd (a rarity) that they added a third new track to the set on the spot which was also well received. They closed with “Black Seeds of Vengeance,” the title track from their second album (2000) and sent a bunch of headbanging New Yorkers home happy (also a rarity).

As for the five of us, we grabbed some grub at a nearby diner, headed over to the famed Coyote Ugly Saloon and had a few more spirits before taking a ride home on the subway.

 

David Bowie – Icon

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By William Kennedy

Legendary space oddity David Bowie died Sunday in Manhattan, NY after an 18 month battle with cancer.

Bowie was a global icon that contributed to music and fashion so much over the course of his 50-year career that his look, sound and theatrics became synonymous with pop culture. During his career, Bowie constantly redesigned his image and sound through the creation of several characters, most notably “Ziggy Stardust,” “Aladdin Sane” and “The Thin White Duke.” Bowie’s life was one of wild experimentation whether it was drugs, booze, musical genres or sexuality and was also unapologetically original (something that embodies the essence of the human spirit while still being such an alien concept to most).

“Space Oddity” was one of his earliest hits and was a fitting phrase to describe him as cosmic grace and originality made him seem like a visitor from another world. Bowie’s influence is something difficult to quantify as he inspired countless artists over his five decade career including Madonna, Lady Gaga, Marilyn Manson, Steven Wilson, The Killers and Radiohead (just to name a few).

Born David Jones in Brixton, London, England on January 8th 1947, the singer changed his name in the 60’s to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of The Monkees. In his lifetime, Bowie released 26 studio albums that ranged from pop, rock and alternative to new wave with electronic, funk and soul flairs.

Bowie had numerous collaborations with other artists throughout his career, working with The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger for the single “Dancing in the Street,” Queen’s Freddie Mercury for “Under Pressure,” John Lennon for “Fame” and Trent Reznor for a remix of “I’m afraid of Americans.” Bowie performed at the 1985 “Live Aid” concert to raise funds for an ongoing Ethiopian famine. In 1987, he performed in a divided Berlin where his track “Heroes” became an anthem for the tensions during the cold war. A lyrical selection from heroes is as follows:

“I can remember (I remember)
Standing, by the wall (by the wall)
And the guns, shot above our heads (over our heads)
And we kissed, as though nothing could fall (nothing could fall)
And the shame, was on the other side
Oh we can beat them, forever and ever
Then we could be heroes, just for one day”

When asked about the performance Bowie claimed, “It was one of the most emotional performances I’ve ever done. I was in tears.”

Shortly after, Bowie met Somali fashion supermodel Iman. They wed in 1992 and had their only child, Alexandria Zahra Jones in 2000. Both Bowie and Iman had children from previous marriages.

Bowie also pursued an acting career, appearing in such films as “The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976),” “Labyrinth (1986)” and “Basquiat (1996).” His music has appeared in countless movies and television shows to this day, some of which he had written for (such as a 2015 episode of “Mad Men,” in which he also performed).

Bowie was diagnosed with cancer of the liver in 2014. He released his final studio album “Blackstar” in 2016 on his 69th birthday. Two days later, the man known as “Ziggy Stardust” went to his cosmic paradise for the last time. Bowie is survived by his second wife, Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid, and children Duncan, and Alexandria Jones.

Solving the Bray Wyatt Problem

 

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The story of WWE’s Bray Wyatt is troubling.

When he debuted on the main roster in 2013, he was considered the next big star. His promos were incredible, his wrestling abilities were above average for men of his size and his faction carried a following. Wyatt was very over initially because he was very into his character.  While his first feud with Kane was mediocre at best, fans looked past it and have mostly forgotten it as the flash-in-the-pan as it was because of confusion surrounding the booking and at least Wyatt defeated The Demon.

Over the next eight months, The Eater of Worlds was sparingly used while his family did the dirty work for him, cutting electric promos in the wake of destruction. His feuds with Daniel Bryan and The Shield were amazing and elevated The Wyatt Family to the degree everyone hoped. It seemed Wyatt was poised to become the top heel by the end of 2014.

Until his horrendous feud with John Cena reared its ugly head.

Wyatt cut weeks of brilliant promos only to once again become another obstacle for “Big Match John” to shrug off and overcome like he always does. Wyatts matches with Cena were very one-sided and did not elevate either talent. The only match Wyatt wound up winning was a cage match at Extreme Rules 2014 thanks to the help of a questionably possessed child.

You read that right.

While Cena went on to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, the rest of Wyatt’s 2014 resulted in very meaningless midcard feuds with Chris Jericho, Ryback and R-Truth (this isn’t a jab at the talents Wyatt was working with, the problem is that WWE has made it very clear over the past few years that these are the “we have nothing for you” feuds with the exception of Jericho; who returns simply to put others over – which is a very nice but overused gesture). He also dissolved his stable for unknown and illogical reasons. It looked as if Wyatt was on the rise when he feuded with fan favorite Dean Ambrose, but sadly creative dropped the ball yet again when Wyatt became victorious thanks to a TV that exploded at random in an otherwise good match.

2015 was no different. Wyatt feuded with The Undertaker and Roman Reigns on multiple occasions but sadly never went over and wound up looking like a false prophet rather than “The New Face of Fear” he claims himself to be. Even after reforming his faction and adding a powerhouse in Braun Strowman, Wyatt continued to look like a joke due to poor booking. Although Wyatt did round out the year by defeating the ECW Originals team consisting of The Dudley Boyz, Rhyno and Tommy Dreamer, no one seemed to care because all of these men were in their 40’s and it would have not been believable otherwise (which is the main reason why Wyatt’s Undertaker feud may have done Wyatt more harm than good).

Not only did Wyatt lose most of his big matches in 2015, but he was booked into a horrific routine. Wyatt would come out, cut a cryptic promo, send his family out to attack whoever he was feuding with, lose the big match and then act as if nothing happened the following night. The few times he did win, it was made obvious. Wyatt has been booked so badly into oblivion that it seems that he may wind up as a comedic face in the near future.

The 2016 Royal Rumble has the potential to 180 Wyatt’s problematic situation.

Being that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is on the line, WWE would be wise to have Wyatt hold the gold at the end of the 30 man Battle Royal.

Have Wyatt enter at some point in the middle but not officially enter the ring until all four members are in the match at the same time. Wyatt moves along with his pawns and the entire faction lays waste to the entire locker room. The final eight participants should look like Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, a returning Triple H (or Jericho), Ambrose and the Wyatt Family. Have everyone go to town for a good 10 minutes before the only participants left are Reigns and the Wyatts. Have Reigns try as hard as he can to build sympathy but unable to leave with his championship due to the Wyatts numbers. Once Wyatt (and ONLY Wyatt) eliminates Reigns, Wyatts cronies Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Strowman sacrifice themselves for their leader and new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

While the downside would rekindle a feud we’ve already seen, the upshot could be fantastic if Wyatt were booked and treated as a legitimate threat going into WrestleMania.

Enter Lesnar, who is furious at his Rumble loss. Have him challenge Wyatt at Fastlane and have Wyatt go over convincingly (clean or not). Lesnar has been booked so well since his return to WWE that anyone beating him who’s name isn’t John Cena will look like a monster. Wyatt can also use the fact the he’s beaten the man who beat The Streak in his promos against Reigns to increase credibility.

When ‘Mania does indeed come Reigns should go over because he should legitimately be over with the fans. Wyatt’s defeat of Lesnar should be enough to suspend even the smarkiest fans disbelief long enough for his match with Reigns to have that “big fight” feel. During this match, it is essential that Wyatt defends his championship alone. Keep the remaining members of the Wyatt Family out.

Let the two heavyweights go at it in an epic war and Wyatt will stay over.

With a talent so charismatic, it’s a shock that WWE has stunted Wyatt’s growth as a main event player as much as it has in such a short while. With a literal golden opportunity on their hands, it’d be a shame if Wyatt isn’t utilized to his full potential in the coming weeks.

Wyatt is not only on the Road to WrestleMania, but redemption as well.

 

 

F*ck Mondays! Episode 8: Politics, Comics & the Almighty Powerball

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For the first episode of 2016, Chris and Jon sound off on thrashers Municipal Waste’s Donald Trump themed T-shirt, UFC 197, Kevin Smith directing an upcoming episode of “The Flash,” the New York Lottery Powerball and much more – all while watching WWE Unforgiven 2001.

Manopera! Episode 8: WWE 2015 Review & The People vs. Roman Reigns

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Chris and “Spaceman” Frank review WWE in 2015 and tackle the topic of whether or not the Roman Reigns experiment will pan out or if the WWE is just simply trying too hard to make him a John Cena clone.

Bonesaw Podcast: Episode 25 – Temple of Dagon’s Kyle Hertz

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We’re opening the can of worms with Kyle Hertz of Temple of Dagon! Hertz talks working in the gaming industry, being a local promoter and much more in our last podcast of 2015.

F*ck Mondays! Episode 7: Chris & Jon Shoot on 2015

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Chris and Jon review the best and worst of 2015. Nothing is sacred, no punches are pulled and no mercy is given. The boys also shoot on the latest Deadpool trailer.

Trailer Feedback: Deadpool (Trailer 2)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe delivered a present to its loyal fans Christmas Day with Deadpool’s second trailer.

Akin to the first trailer, we’re shown a brief origin story before being pulled back to the present state of affairs – but with a few extra goodies (including more Morena Baccarin). We catch a closer look at the Weapon X program and an easter egg glimpse of future X-Man Spike before seeing Deadpool emerge from rubble (presumably the destroyed facility).

Cut to the nitty-gritty destruction, a few snarky comments from Mr. Red Spandex himself, some fourth-wall breaking, a smattering of violence and a little bit of cursing (in the featured Red Band trailer).

While there is a little bit of chit-chit between Deadpool and Colossus, Angel Dust lets loose and we finally get to see what she and Negasonic Teenage Warhead can do followed by another quip from the merc with the mouth (to tie the proverbial room together).

Unlike the second Batman v. Superman trailer, Deadpool’s latest trailer doesn’t give anything major away and instead continues on the light-hearted path of the first one. Through quick wit and kitchy banter, Ryan Reynolds continues to prove why he was born to play the most obnoxious character in the Marvel Universe.

Deadpool slices and dices into theaters February 12.