Friday, March 16, 2018

The Great PPVs: WrestleMania X-Seven

Welcome to the sixth edition of The Great PPVs, here at and!  For those of you just joining us, this series takes a closer look at some of the all-time great wrestling shows while evaluating their place in history.

Today I'll be talking about what is widely considered one of the best two or three WrestleManias of all time, WrestleMania X-Seven (Yeah, that name still comes off as goofy and I'm not sure what's wrong with the number 17, or XVII, but whatever).  Emanating from the Reliant Astrodome in Houston, TX on April 1st, 2001, the seventeenth annual WrestleMania is generally accepted as the climax of the wildly successful Attitude Era, when the company showcased all the big stars they'd spent the last four years building, plus an influx of new talent from either WCW or developmental.  It was the perfect storm of new and established talent, and offered a wide variety of matches to enjoy.  'Mania 17 was also the first edition in nine years to be held in a stadium, which added to its splendor, and it was the first in a decade to run a full four hours.

The show was built around the biggest rematch of the era, between the company's two biggest stars.  Two years earlier The Rock and Steve Austin delivered a chaotic main event that served as a perfect illustration of where the WWF was at the time.  Vince Russo's "crash TV" booking was in full force, and the PPV for better or worse reflected the short attention span philosophy of booking, with numerous week-to-week swerves, watered down hardcore wrestling, and an overly storyline-heavy product.  Still the WrestleMania 15 main event was a very entertaining, if underwhelming match between the two mainstream superstars.  Two years later Rock and Austin had the chance to truly tear the house down in front of a rabid Texas crowd, and this match met those expectations and then some.  This brutal, bloody No DQ Title match ran 28 minutes, incorporated spots from other Austin matches, and ended with one of the biggest swerves in history, as Austin's mortal enemy Vince McMahon helped him defeat The Rock for his fifth WWF Title.  Austin had done the unthinkable and turned heel, joining Vince in a move that would drastically alter his onscreen persona.

Sadly this would also hurt the WWF's bottom line, as their biggest star and merch seller was now far less appealing to casual viewers who had no desire to boo him.  Getting the right audience response was an uphill battle that took several weeks and required Austin aligning himself with Triple H and beating up Jim Ross, the Hardy Boyz and Lita.  Still, from a critical standpoint this heel run led to some of Austin's best work, both in-ring and on the mic.  The babyface anti-hero persona had become very stale by 2001 and after his heel turn it was quite evident that Steve Austin was having the time of his life antagonizing both the audience and his fellow wrestlers with his new "What?" gimmick, and exploring more comedic elements of his character.  I personally always found Steve Austin effortlessly funny, and his 2001 Title run turned the volume way up on that aspect.  Regardless, this match was an incredible main event; arguably the best 'Mania headliner up to this point.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A24 Reviews: Good Time (2017)

by Mike Drinan

Welcome to the latest installment of A24 Reviews, where I review films released by one of the best independent film studios and distributors in today's industry.

If someone asked me to recommend a movie from last year that not many people have seen, Good Time would absolutely be my answer.

Good Time, directed by the Safdie Brothers, is about Connie Nikas (played by Robert Pattinson) and his mentally handicapped brother Nick Nikas (played by co-director Benny Safdie), carrying out a bank robbery that goes bad. Running from the police, the two are separated and Nick gets arrested. As Connie goes into hiding around New York City, he learns that Nick is going to be shipped out to Rikers Island unless he can come up with $10,000 in order to bail his brother out.

The first five minutes of the film you’re introduced to Nick through his meeting with a therapist. Nick’s answers to the questions are short, unexplained but give you an insight into his life. The single tear that is shed from what seems like an innocent question is powerful and you immediately feel for Nick.

All of a sudden the meeting is interrupted by Connie who immediately berates the therapist causing an angry outburst from Nick, which clearly shows how much of an influence Connie is on his brother. From there, we are now thrusted into the world of Connie, and he’s a straight up douchebag. He’s a manipulative scumbag that has resorted to crime and scams in order to get what he wants and there’s no sympathy, remorse or regret for the people he causes trouble for along the way. Everyone he interacts with gets screwed somehow, including his brother. The next 15 minutes of the film are pure adrenaline as we are now in the throes of the robbery where there is barely any dialogue, just notes between Connie and the bank teller. It’s a riveting scene that continues with the getaway and ends with Nick getting caught and Connie goes into hiding around the city. We are shown Nick’s experience in jail which furthers the sympathy we have for his character.

The History of WrestleMania: VII-IX

Continuing with WrestleManias 7-9....

L.A. Sports Arena - 3/24/91

The seventh installment ended up being one of the most forgettable.  What was intended to be a record-smashing supershow in front of 100,000 fans at the L.A. Coliseum was relegated to the 15,000-seat Sports Arena when ticket sales fell horribly short of expectations.  That will happen though when your main event is little more than the exploitation of a minor real-life skirmish in the Middle East.  Why the WWF thought the US vs. Iraq angle would draw big business I'm not sure, especially since the real conflict ended over a month before WrestleMania.

Sgt. Slaughter was inexplicably brought in as a turncoat and almost immediately handed the WWF Title at the Royal Rumble, all so he could face the American Hero Hulk Hogan.  Surely a Hogan vs. Warrior rematch would've drawn the numbers they wanted, so I'm still unclear why they didn't go that route.

The match was what it was.  It certainly could've been worse, but it definitely wasn't good.  It's widely considered one of, if not THE worst all-time WrestleMania main event.  Slaughter was about as unworthy a WWF Champion as there's ever been and it was a sad day indeed when Hulk Hogan is by far the better worker in a given match.  This meandering brawl lasted over 21 minutes before Hogan mercifully put an end to the proceeding with the ol' big boot-legdrop combo.

Yep.  Can't imagine why this didn't sell 100,000 tickets.

'Mania 7 was saved however by the semi-main event of Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior, with the stipulation that the loser would have to retire.  This feud had been brewing for several months while Warrior was WWF Champion, but Savage was battling nagging injuries and was thus unable to compete for a while.  Though I don't consider this match nearly as great as most do, it was easily one of the WWF's best of 1991.  This match paved the way for the overuse of finishers in big matchups (see Austin vs. Rock).  Savage hit five flying elbow smashes in a row and failed to get the pin, and the Warrior finally won after three flying tackles.  Post-match Savage's manager Sherri Martel attacked him, having lost her meal ticket due to the retirement stip.  Who should come to Savage's rescue but Miss Elizabeth, much to the delight and tears of the crowd.  Savage would spend the next several months as a commentator before returning to action that November.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Top Ten Things: Shinsuke Nakamura Matches

Welcome to Top Ten Things, here at!  Today I'll be talking about the WWE's resident "rock star," the Japanese phenomenon and the King of Strong Style, Shinsuke Nakamura!

Former NJPW headliner Nakamura made his long-awaited WWE debut in April 2016 and had a successful NXT run before joining Smackdown a year later.  Since then he's become a fixture on the blue brand, winning the 2018 men's Royal Rumble and rekindling his old rivalry with AJ Styles. 

Nak is far and away the most charismatic wrestler in the world, oozing a mesmerizing rock star swagger (He cites Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson as personal heroes) and delivering every wrestling maneuver in a completely unique, sensationally dramatic way.  His wrestling style is mostly striking-based, playing off his brief-but-successful MMA career, and involves heavy use of knee strikes and kicks.  His finishing move, the Kinshasa (formerly the Boma Ye), is a simple-but-devastating running knee to the jaw that has leveled dozens of opponents.  While his moveset may seem simplistic and unspectacular, it's Nakamura's delivery and his infectious, larger-than-life magnetism that makes him so captivating to watch.  He executes every move with complete attention to detail and nuance, to the extent that one can't help but say, "I've seen that move done before but never quite like that."  In an odd way his smartly-worked style reminds me of a Randy Savage.  It seems like he's doing much more than he is, and the storytelling aspect is so strong it makes the whole match sizzle.

American fans are largely new to Nakamura's incredible talent, but prior to arriving in America he built a stellar resume in New Japan, racking up dozens of Match of the Year-caliber performances.  Here now are my ten favorite Nakamura bouts....

10. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Naomichi Marufuji - King of Pro-Wrestling 2013

The IWGP Intercontinental Champion vs. The Ace of Pro Wrestling NOAH.  This match had some of the most innovative offense I'd seen in years, as the two spent several minutes grappling and countergrappling.  I could've watched Nakamura and Marufuji feud for months - that's how well they worked together, assembling a 16-minute barn burner that would've been Match of the Night on any show not headlined by Okada vs. Tanahashi.

9. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kazushi Sakuraba - WrestleKingdom 7

The semi-main event of the excellent WK7 pitted Chaos stablemates against each other for the Intercontinental Title.  What a unique, fascinating match this was.  As pro wrestling/MMA hybrids go, this was about as good as it gets.  It kicked off with totally credible ground grappling (to be expected given both of these guys were MMA fighters) which then led to stiff wrestling offense (At one point Nakamura ran into a vicious knee to the face and I can't believe he wasn't legit knocked out).  Sakuraba dominated by working Nakamura's arm, but Nakamura fought through and managed to hit the Boma Ye for the win.  This bout was just about perfect for its spot on the card.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Top Ten Things: WrestleMania Stock Drops

Hey everyone, welcome back to another Top Ten Things, here at

In anticipation of this year's spring extravaganza, I thought I'd go back and take a look at some of the worst WrestleMania stock drops in history.  What do I mean by that?  Well I'm talking about instances where a particular wrestler either main evented or semi-main evented a WrestleMania one year, only to get the booking shaft at the following 'Mania.  I picked the ten most glaring examples of this and I'm presenting them in chronological order.  Here we go.

1. Paul Orndorff - Main Eventer to Curtain Jerker

"Mr. Wonderful" was one of the great WWF heels of the 80s.  His feuds against Hulk Hogan were the stuff of legend.  Unfortunately Orndorff was also kind of a split personality, character-wise.  Nowadays certain wrestlers turn face and heel with the frequency of an 80-year-old with incontinence (see Show, Big), but in the 80s a character turn was a big deal.  Orndorff however was unusually fickle, feuding with Hogan, befriending him six months later, turning on him again, befriending him again, etc. 

Orndorff headlined the inaugural WrestleMania, teaming with Roddy Piper against Hogan and Mr. T.  Despite taking the pinfall, Orndorff was featured in one of the biggest matches in company history.  At 'Mania 2 though, a babyface Orndorff found himself opening the show in a totally forgettable four-minute double countout with Don Muraco.  Thus the tradition of WrestleMania Stock Drops began.

2. King Kong Bundy - Caged Monster to Comedy Act

King Kong Bundy was a legitimately scary dude in 1986.  He was a 6'4", 450-pound wall of humanity with a shaved head, whose finisher simply consisted of squashing a guy in the corner of the ring.  He challenged Hulk Hogan for the WWF Title at 'Mania 2 in a Steel Cage match (The first and only time a WrestleMania has been headlined by such a bout).  While no five-star classic, the match cemented Bundy as an imposing threat to the Title.  Fast-forward a year later, and Bundy was stuck in a goofy comedy match, teaming with two minis against perennial jobber-to-the-stars Hillbilly Jim and two other minis.  After only three-plus minutes, Bundy earned a disqualification by bodyslamming Little Beaver.  A far cry from nearly dethroning the WWF Champion the previous year.

The History of WrestleMania: IV-VI

Welcome to Part 2 of's History of WrestleMania.  Today I'll be covering 'Manias 4 through 6.  Let's get to it!

Trump Plaza - 3/27/88
'Mania IV was assembled with the intent of giving us the biggest edition to date, with the centerpiece being the first-ever WWF World Title tournament, the result of a controversial Hulk Hogan-Andre the Giant match on NBC that saw Hogan screwed out of the Championship only for Andre to turn around and sell the belt to Ted Dibiase.  WrestleMania IV featured a huge roster and was expanded to four hours to accommodate the sprawling 16-match card.

Unfortunately this show suffered from simply having too much going on.  The tournament involved 14 men and all by itself necessitated 11 matches.  As a result almost none of the tourney matches, including the final, were given enough time to be very memorable.  The venue is also a far cry from the Silverdome, Trump Plaza being a rather cavernous arena where the crowd consisted largely of Donald Trump's business associates who showed almost no enthusiasm for the four-hour wrestling bonanza.

This was goofy fun

The undercard featured a battle royal (which was fun but of little importance except as a way to turn Bret Hart babyface after he was doublecrossed by Bad News Brown), Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules in a clash of powerhouses (which was so short as to barely warrant a mention), a British Bulldogs/Koko vs. Islanders/Bobby Heenan six-man tag (which was nowhere near as good as the previous year's Bulldogs-Harts match).

There were also two title matches - I-C Champion The Honky Tonk Man faced the wildly popular Brutus Beefcake in a brief and forgettable DQ loss, while Strike Force and Demolition was one of the few strong matches on the card, ending with Ax murdering Rick Martel with Mr. Fuji's cane in a finish very similar to the WrestleMania I Tag Title match.  Thus began Demolition's record-breaking title run.

The WWF Title tournament itself was fine in theory but very diluted in execution.  Only four of the 14 participants really had a chance of leaving 'Mania as the Champion, and two of them were eliminated in their first match.  The Hogan vs. Andre quarterfinal bout marked the first time a WrestleMania featured a rematch from the previous year.  Sadly where their 1987 encounter was extremely memorable and has achieved legendary status, its 1988 threequel was little more than a throwaway designed to get both men out of the tournament.  Really the only standout match in this entire tourney was the first-round match between Ricky Steamboat and Greg Valentine.  Everything else was either too short (Bam Bam Bigelow vs. One Man Gang for example), inoffensive but instantly forgettable (Dibiase vs. Don Muraco), or yawn-inducing (Jake Roberts vs. Rick Rude).

Monday, March 12, 2018

The History of WrestleMania: I-III

Hello and welcome to this special blog, The History of WrestleMania!  This 11-part column will discuss and dissect all 32 previous installments of the annual supercard and determine what I feel were the highlights and lowlights each year.

WrestleMania season is usually one of my favorite times of the year, and I always find myself reflecting back on the storied history of this great spectacle.  I think about some of my favorite 'Mania matches, what makes a great 'Mania card, and why some shows were so successful while others really don't deserve to fall under the WrestleMania banner.  For the record, I'm writing this piece completely from memory, which should give you some idea of how sad and twisted I am.

So without further prattling on, let's get to it.

Madison Square Garden - 3/31/85

This of course was the show that started it all.  The great McMahon gamble that paid off not in spades, but truckloads of money.  This was one of the first truly mainstream wrestling events on a national scale, and the hype allowed the WWF to break into the pop culture vernacular.

Surprisingly though, the inaugural 'Mania card more resembled a house show than a true supercard.  For one thing, having a tag team match as the main event rather than a WWF Title match seems like such an odd choice.  Hulk Hogan's ongoing feud with Roddy Piper was such a draw it seems like a singles match for the belt would be the natural main event.  However the WWF put that match on MTV that February as a way to hype 'Mania.  Clearly it worked, but it made for kind of a watered-down main event for the supercard.  Hogan/Mr. T vs. Piper/Orndorff was fine for what it was, but I hardly consider it a classic.

I always dug this poster for some reason.
These two guys together would beat Rocky Balboa's ass!

This match also began the trend of celebrities getting involved in big money matches as actual competitors.  It occurs to me that the match would've been greatly improved by swapping T out for Jimmy Snuka.  But I suppose seeing T wrestle was part of the draw.  Mr. T certainly looked like he could hang in the ring with the actual wrestlers but I've always felt that having celebs wrestle damages the business somewhat.  More on that later....

The show was also not very stacked for such a marquee event.  To be fair, the WWF's roster would expand considerably after this show (Savage and Jake would arrive, the Hart Foundation and the British Bulldogs would form).  Elsewhere on the card we had Andre the Giant vs. Big John Studd in a bodyslam challenge (again, this felt watered-down since it wasn't a traditional wrestling match but ended when one man bodyslammed the other) which aside from the spectacle was just two nearly immobile guys plodding through a short match.

The first 'Mania also inexplicably featured several glorified squashes.  Tito Santana vs. The Executioner opened the show and was roughly the kind of match you'd see on Wrestling Challenge.  King Kong Bundy vs. S.D. Jones and Ricky Steamboat vs. Matt Borne also fell into that category.  Hardly worthy of the biggest show of all-time (at that point anyway).

First match in WrestleMania history

WWE Fastlane 2018: The Pieces Are In Place

That there was a mildly enjoyable fluff show that further set up stuff for WrestleMania.  In that regard, WWE Fastlane 2018 was a success.  It was easy to watch, the matches were all decent at worst, the main event was a fun little action movie, and the booking was logical.  Not much to complain about here, and thus far the 2018 WrestleMania season has been the strongest in several years. 

The opening match kinda set the tone for the whole show, as it was a fun little 15-minute Nakamura-Rusev back-and-forth.  Both guys got their major stuff in and while the middle was a bit slow and rest hold-heavy, the last third was pretty exciting and had good false finishes.  The best spot of the match was Rusev countering the Kinshasa with a side kick that turned Nak inside out.  Minutes later Nak countered the Accolade by slipping out behind Rusev and leveling him with a Kinshasa before finishing him with a second one.  The crowd liked this and it got across that Nakamura is ready for his WrestleMania moment.

Another solid match followed, one that I liked more than I expected to.  Bobby Roode and Randy Orton, two babyfaces who are much better suited to be heels based on their personas and in-ring style, nonetheless put together a very well-worked 19-minute US Title match.  The third act felt a bit overly long but considering there was a title change it seemed appropriate in hindsight.  After several finisher attempts by both guys, Roode leapt off the top rope into a sudden RKO, which gave Orton the one active championship he's never won.  Post-match Jinder Mahal came out and confronted Orton before Roode laid him out with a Glorious DDT.  Obviously a triple threat at WrestleMania is in the cards.  This match was pretty good.

The one filler match of the night was next as Natalya and Carmella faced Becky Lynch and Naomi.  This was standard free TV stuff but it was inoffensive.  Nattie and Carmella won as expected to keep Carmella's briefcase cash-in on the table.  Rumor is she may cash in at 'Mania but lose, which is the right move.  I'm still baffled that Carmella got to be the first women's Money in the Bank winner.

Movie Review: A Wrinkle In Time (2018)

by Mike Drinan

The film adaptation of the 1962 children's novel of the same name was directed Ava DuVernay and stars Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon. It’s about Meg (played wonderfully by Storm Reid), a thirteen-year-old who is struggling, emotionally and academically, with the four-year disappearance of her scientist father (played by Chris Pine). She is considered an outcast and is subjected to teasing and taunting from her classmates, but is constantly supported by her younger brother Charles Wallace, who seems to be somewhat of a genius. Meg and her brother are visited by three supernatural beings (Winfrey, Witherspoon and Kaling) who explain they are here to help them find their father. From there they go across time and space to rescue him while simultaneously combating the ever-present and manipulating thing called “The It”.

I was looking forward to seeing this film and watching this fantasy adventure play out. Having Ava DuVernay directing was exciting for me too since she was behind really good films such as Selma and the Netflix documentary, 13th. She is a gifted director capable of making different kinds of movies and I was very interested to see what she would do with this story. When I left the theater after seeing it, I thought it was a really good kids movie with some easy to overlook flaws. It had a lot of colors, great energy, great messages, relatable characters and some funny moments. Then after thinking about it for some time, I realized that the kids in our theater didn’t have any kind of reaction throughout the entire film. They didn’t laugh at the funny parts and there wasn’t any kind of chatter at any point. Even when walking out of the theater nobody was really talking about it. It didn’t feel as if the intended audience for this film was engaged with it, and now I can see why.

This movie was pretty bad, even for a kids movie.

This was a CGI-heavy film, obviously, and there were moments that were visually stunning. The first planet the characters visit, with the flowers that love to gossip, was really great to watch and very vibrant and imaginative. But then, when they visit the Happy Medium, the effects were just straight up terrible and the green screen horribly noticeable, causing the scene to be unbelievable and cheesy.

Aside from Storm Reid, the acting in this film is subpar. Reese Witherspoon seems to be phoning it in and Mindy Kaling and Oprah don’t really do much of anything. Chris Pine was pretty good even though his role is rather limited in the film.

The characters themselves, aside from Meg, are pretty bland too. Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who are supposed to be these supernatural beings that come to help Meg find her father, but don’t seem to do much helping. They can’t even show Meg how to tesser correctly and that’s kind of a bummer since that’s how they’re supposed to travel through space and time. Thanks! Also, the character of Charles Wallace in this film is vomit-inducing. So bad! When you give a kid the kind of dialogue that is meant for adults, it’s supposed to be fun and quirky. None of that happens here. It’s comes across as unnatural, unfunny and down right weird.

Then there’s this Calvin kid who just seems to appear out of nowhere, with the exception of a single shot of him in school watching Meg get teased about her father disappearing. There’s no backstory to this character and there’s no depth to him aside from having issues with his father. Oh boy! A popular rich white kid with daddy issues. Yipeeeee!

Friday, March 9, 2018


And now we turn the floor over to our insane friend, Scotty Pickles, discussing the greatest songs ever. All typos preserved in their original packaging. 

A real top 10 songs list. No opinion just facts..........

10.) Revolution- The Beatles

This song is a true great from John’s vocals to George’s grinding guitar the song speaks to every generation that feels the need to revolt. And I mean revolting for the right reasons, like fighting agents an oppressive government, and not sitting on a lawn crying because no one is hiring people with degrees in archaeology.

9.) Stairway to Heaven-Led Zeppelin 

Where do I begin with this classic? This isn’t a stairway it’s a roller coaster of tempo and sound. The song has three sections, each one progressively increasing in tempo and volume. The song begins in a slow tempo with acoustic instruments (guitar and recorders) before introducing electric instruments. The final section is an hard rock anthem with Jimmy Paige’s classic hard rock guitar and Robert Plant’s screeching vocals.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Parents' Night In #2: Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Welcome to Episode #2 of Parents' Night In, where Kelly and I drink booze and watch movies!  This week we're talkin' about the John Hughes classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off!

Top Ten Things: Anthrax Albums

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Things, here at!

What's on my mind today is legendary thrash metal band, Anthrax!  One of metal's vaunted Big Four (along with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer), Anthrax formed in New York City in 1981 and set themselves apart from other metal outfits with their muscular, kinetic sound and underlying sense of humor.  Where bands like Slayer strived to be as dark and demonic as possible, Anthrax kept things a little fun and nerdy, taking cues from heroes like Iron Maiden by including literary elements (mostly Stephen King) and comic booky subject matter.  Anthrax were also one of the first metal bands to tackle topics like racism, homelessness and genocide, attempting to raise a bit of social awareness and build their sonic brutality around positive energy.  And with their rap-metal crossover hits "I'm the Man" and "Bring the Noise" (the latter being a Public Enemy cover that actually featured PE), they foreshadowed the rap-rock craze that emerged in the late '90s.  Maintaining a drug-free lifestyle, Anthrax has aged much more gracefully than some of their metal brethren; their recent records have sounded just as vital as their earlier work and they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.  The three-pronged rhythm section of Charlie Benante's impossibly ballistic drums, Frank Bello's gritty, pulsing bass, and Scott Ian's jackhammer guitar riffage (easily on par with their Metallica counterparts) has served as the band's signature foundation for over three decades and in 2018 is just as asskicking as ever.

Here now are the Anthrax albums, ranked (The only full-length LP not to make this list is their debut Fistful of Metal, which featured Neil Turbin on vocals and Dan Likler on bass, and sounded like a band still trying to find its identity).....

10. Stomp 442

John Bush's sophomore effort as Anthrax's frontman had a crisply produced, punchy sound that was initially very promising and a step up sonically from Sound of White Noise, but unfortunately the songs on Stomp 442 were nowhere near as strong.  This being the mid-90s, when metal was about as uncool as could be, Anthrax veered more into alternative groove-metal on this record (something akin to say, Biohazard), and the songs blurred into each other a bit.  This record is steeped in midtempo sludge, with only a few noteworthy tracks that for me don't even crack the band's top 20.  It also loses a point for the lack of Anthrax's cool-ass logo on the cover (their logo is one of the most awesome ever created); for some reason they opted for a totally generic stoner rock-type logo instead.  This album fared poorly on the charts and they were soon dropped from Elektra Records as a result.  But not to worry, things improved.  Side note: To this day I still don't understand what the title is supposed to mean.  Side note #2: The album cover was originally intended for Bruce Dickinson's second solo album but he couldn't afford it, so Anthrax scooped it up instead.

Key Tracks: "Riding Shotgun," "In a Zone," "Nothing"

9. Volume 8: The Threat is Real

The 1998 followup was no classic album by any means, but where Stomp 442 featured a slate of mediocre chugging tracks, Anthrax took a much more adventurous approach on this album.  The overall sound and production is muddy and has a late 90s DIY feel, but the songwriting is actually quite solid here.  It seemed like John Bush, whose vocals had up to now felt, for me, a bit "square peg" on an Anthrax record, finally found the right melodic strategy on Vol. 8.  Songs like "Catharsis," "Harm's Way," and the pretty supberb "Stealing from a Thief" showed a band less concerned about fitting a particular style and happier just writing good, grungy rock tunes.  Volume 8 has a varied set of hard rockers plus the touching hidden track "Pieces" (written and sung by Frank Bello, who's brother had recently been killed), and the result is a significant step up from Stomp.

Key Tracks: "Crush," "Harm's Way," "Stealing from a Thief"

8. State of Euphoria 

SoE was the first Anthrax album I ever heard (back in early 1990) and it hooked me right away.  I was familiar with the name of the band and for some reason based on the T-shirts I'd seen I envisioned a band similar to Guns N' Roses.  I was surprised to find they had more in common with Metallica, albeit with Joey Belladonna's much cleaner vocal style.  Right away it was clear this band was a little different, letting their playful personalities shine through amid the high-energy metal heft.  The opening track "Be All, End All" carried an upbeat message, "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" took on phony, studio-enhanced pop stars, "Make Me Laugh" attacked the hypocrisy of celebrity preachers, and the sardonic "Now It's Dark" was inspired by the David Lynch cult film Blue Velvet.  But Anthrax scored a solid hit with their cover of "Antisocial," originally recorded by French metal band Trust (Incidentally this song is featured in the 2017 film It).  State of Euphoria runs out of steam about two-thirds in and Joey's vocal parts clung way too closely to the guitar riffs for my taste, but it's a solid record that still has sentimental value.

Key Tracks: "Make Me Laugh," "Antisocial," "Now It's Dark"

WWE Fastlane 2018 Preview & Predictions

Jeezus, another freakin' WWE PPV to predict?  Whatever happened to a six-week (or more) build to WrestleMania?  I miss those days.

Anyway, the final Smackdown-only PPV (before the PPVs all become dual-branded going forward due to so many weak-ass single-brand PPVs) looks to be a mildly entertaining if kinda pointless affair, with a big clusterfuck main event (I'm really getting tired of those) and a few undercard bouts of interest before the Showcase of the Immortals fully takes shape.  Barring any unforeseen fuckups on WWE's part, this year's WrestleMania could actually be a pretty damn good show.  Stay the course, fellas.....

Anyway, let's do this.

***Heading into the 2017-18 season home stretch I'm in the lead with 85/114 (74.5%), Landon's in second with 70/102 (72.5%), Dave's got 57/80 (71%), and Dan's mathematically eliminated with 70/114 (61%)***

Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Usos vs. The New Day

This here is a sign that the blue brand ain't got shit going on in this division at the moment.  We've seen this match literally a thousand times.  I know the Bludgeon Brothers are on their way up and will almost certainly win gold in the next month or two, but jeezus does this reek of treading water.  The match should be good, but the question is do we need to see it again?

Justin: I have a suspicion Harper & Rowan get involved here, maybe even destroying both teams and making this a draw so there can be a 3-way match at 'Mania.  Either way it doesn't make sense to change the belts on this show.  Usos retain somehow.
Dan: Yeah
Landon: Usos
Dave: Usos

Becky Lynch & Naomi vs. Natalya & Carmella

Yikes, aside from whatever Charlotte is involved with there is nary a compelling women's feud on Smackdown.  Everyone's just sorta waiting their turn to go after the belt.  Nattie thinks she's challenging Charlotte after this, but we still don't know which belt Asuka's going after next month.

Justin: Becky beat Carmella on Smackdown this week, which means Carmella's team wins here.  50-50, even Steven, Roger-Roger--- oh wait, that's from Star Wars.
Dan: Becky again
Landon: Carmella & Natalya
Dave: No idea.  Carmella and the other chick.

Smackdown Women's Championship: Charlotte vs. Ruby Riott

One of two matches where a prominent 'Mania participant is being kept busy till New Orleans.  Riott has zero chance of taking the belt here.  The match should be decent.

Justin: Charlotte retains
Dan: Yeah
Landon: Charlotte needs to be ready for Asuka.  (Editor's Note: NO ONE is ready for Asuka)
Dave: Charlotte

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Is Cocaine Really Addictive?: An Investigative Report

by Dan Moore

I’ve been writing for this website for a few years now and I’ve noticed most of these articles are jokey, silly nonsense. Well, faithful reader, I want to jump into some real Journalism. That’s capital J type journalism. I’m ready to hit the streets and dive into what has been called a most addictive drug: Cocaine. That’s right. I watch 20/20. I know the statistics. Kids are out there dying from, I assume, cocaine overdoses. I will attempt to see the how and the why of this terrible disease first person.

It’s not just for breakfast anymore.  

First, I had to procure some cocaine. Easier said than done. I had to google map my directions to the nearest ghetto. I trekked down dark alleys, avoiding guns, knives and ninja stars just to find a dealer willing to part with some of that sweet toot he be slanging.  JK. I went to one bar in Southie and BOOM, I was offered a bag of affordable booger sugar.

Thankfully, he had some he could spare

He asked me not to use his real name so I’ll refer to him as Snorty McSideSniffs. Snorty was a jumpy fellow with a black eye & maybe 4 teeth. I barely sat down before he was offering up the fast white lady. We settled on a price of $100 for a bag, which may seem like too much or too little, I don’t know, I’m a novice here. Before I could pay him, however, he was asked to a meeting in the men’s room by a much bigger man who also asked me not use his real name. We’ll call him Smokey McBongWater. Smokey needed to talk to Snorty immediately about “harvesting his broccoli” which Snorty wanted nothing to do with. They were in the bathroom a really long time and I was parked in a handicap spot. I wrote an IOU because the bartender saw me take the bag and I wanted to show how honest I was. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Oscars 2018 Recap

The 90th Oscars are behind us, and Mike and I are here to give you our thoughts....

Justin: So Mike, how 'bout them Oscars?  The big categories were all predictable in a good way; for the most part everything that won deserved to.  Best Picture was of course a coin flip between the two front runners.  I'd be lying if I said I'm super excited The Shape of Water won; it was very good but probably my least favorite of this year's crop (that I've seen).  On the other hand it is the first fantasy film to win Best Picture since Return of the King, and only the second ever.  The Academy really needs to nominate more sci-fi/fantasy films.  Also of note is that Shape was the first film since The Artist to win both Best Pic and Best Director.  When I was younger those two categories seemed to rarely split, but in recent years it's been the norm.

Kimmel was a very likable, entertaining host like last year.  His comedy was understated but included some great one-liners and jabs.  They didn't beat us over the head with the political material but it was definitely there, and they kept an air of positivity even when discussing heavy topics.

The winner I'm most excited about is of course Gary Oldman, who after 25 years of incredible performances is finally an Oscar winner.  I'm curious what he's like in real life; his red carpet interview and acceptance speech gave off an air of gentlemanly humility.  He seems such a likable chap.

I was very glad to see Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell take home their well-deserved statues.  Their Three Billboards performances were both incredible and formed a wonderful counterpoint to each other.

Allison Janney's win was also great to see.  I've been a big fan of hers since Drop Dead Gorgeous ("No, she's just screamin' 'Mom, Mom!' 'cause she's got Tourette's, she's Annette's kid, dipshit.") and she's impressed me in everything she's done since.  Her turn as Tonya Harding's abusive, domineering mother was brutally honest.

I was also happy to see Blade Runner win a couple awards (though as I said, Apes should've won Best Visual Effects); that film was criminally underappreciated at the box office, much like its predecessor.  Roger Deakins absolutely deserved the statue, as BR2049 is a breathtaking-looking film.  Perhaps in thirty years we'll all be talking about what a genre classic it was, in anticipation of Blade Runner 2079....

Overall another enjoyable ceremony with some good laughs, a few touching moments, and winners I mostly agreed with.

Oh, and how in god's name do you invite Eddie Vedder to sing during the In Memoriam video but not have him perform a Chris Cornell song???

Your take?

Monday, March 5, 2018

Top Ten Things: Gary Oldman Performances

Welcome to another Top Ten Things, here at!

Well it's finally happened.  After literally decades of being all but ignored by The Academy, Oscar has at long last recognized one of the great actors of our time (of any time really) with a golden statue.  The phrase "Academy Award-winner Gary Oldman" is finally a thing.  It feels so good to be able to say that.  

Like so many other moviegoers, I first became aware of Oldman because of his starring role in Bram Stoker's Dracula, where he delivered an operatic, blood and thunder portrayal of one of literature's most famous figures.  His performance was so physical, over-the-top, and otherworldly (aided by some stunning makeup and prosthetics) that it immediately became my favorite rendition of the undead Count.  It was one of those eye-opening performances (like Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight) that touched a nerve for me, and I was instantly converted into an Oldman devotee.  I sought out all his previous work (unbeknownst to me I'd already seen Gary as Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK) and eagerly anticipated every new Gary Oldman film for years; even when the movies themselves were less than stellar, his performances were always worth the price of admission.

But which of his roles have stood the test of time?  Which stack up as his defining work?  Let's take a look....

10. Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg (The Fifth Element)

One of Oldman's strengths as an actor is disappearing into characters.  In Luc Besson's sci-fi epic, Oldman transformed into the film's main villain, Zorg, a mercenary industrialist and weapons manufacturer with a southern accent and bucked teeth.  Along with the bizarre, futuristic fashion, Oldman's mannerisms were unlike those of any role he'd played before, and he stole the show in this film, all the while clearly having a helluva good time.

9. Mason Verger (Hannibal)

Speaking of transforming, Oldman was made up to be completely unrecognizable as the loathsome, disfigured pedophile Mason Verger, who'd run afoul of Hannibal Lecter and been made a faceless cripple.  Despite a mountain of prosthetics, Oldman was able to deliver a palpably creepy, hateful performance as a villain so awful he actually made serial killer Lecter seem sympathetic by comparison.  No small feat.

8. Milton Glenn (Murder in the First)

One of the earliest Oldman roles I felt warranted an Oscar nod was his supporting turn as Alcatraz Deputy Warden Milton Glenn, a prim and proper but covertly sadistic monster who'd been essentially left to rule the prison on his own, with an inhuman iron fist.  Glenn is depicted torturing the film's protagonist Henri Young (Kevin Bacon), and Oldman plays the character with understated but deeply terrifying menace; a quintessential authority figure gone rogue.

7. Sid Vicious (Sid & Nancy)

One of Oldman's first starring roles was as drug-addled, anarchic punk rock legend Sid Vicious, in this intimate character study by director Alex Cox.  Oldman and his co-star Chloe Webb showed intensely dysfunctional chemistry as the title couple, and the film follows their chaotic misadventures amid the 70s punk scene in London and New York, culminating in their premature, heroin-assisted demise.  Oldman exhibits here his naturally compelling film presence, bringing to life this frenzied punk icon in a Herculean effort.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Parents' Night In #1: Big (1988)

It's our debut episode of Parents' Night In, where Kelly and I enjoy some beverages and watch one of our favorite movies (and yours too)!  This week's installment we'll be discussing the 1988 classic comedy Big, starring Tom Hanks!


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90th Academy Awards Preview & Predictions

What's up everyone?  It's late February, and that means only one thing: spring is almost here!  Wait, no.....  It means the Academy Awards are almost upon us.  And for us at that means it's time for Mike Drinan (@mdrinan380) and I to offer our predictions!

I dunno about you Mike, but for me 2017 was one of the best film years I can remember.  Between some pretty stellar "serious films" and just a bevy of quality popcorn movies (Logan, Apes 3, It, Blade Runner, Last Jedi, Guardians 2, etc.), it was hard for me to even nail down my five favorites.  More on that in a future column...

I still have some catching up to do but this year's slate of nominees is first-rate thus far (I've seen five of the nine Best Pic nominees as of now), which should make for an exciting Oscars ceremony (If you're into that sorta thing).  I'm glad Jimmy Kimmel is back as the host; I thought he was unexpectedly great in the role last year, offering his dry style of humor, and with Hollywood being so politically charged nowadays Kimmel will have the opportunity to add some heartfelt comments as he's been doing on his own show.

But let's get to the categories.

Best Picture

Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Threat
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MO

Justin: I've been impressed with the five Best Pic nominees I've seen (Three Billboards, Get Out, The Shape of Water, Lady Bird, and Dunkirk), my favorite being Three Billboards, a dark comedy with sociopolitical undertones and big performances that would make the Coen Brothers proud.  Lady Bird was a wonderfully understated coming of age story, Get Out was a gleefully disturbing Twilight Zone-esque thriller, Dunkirk was an unusual take on the war genre, and The Shape of Water was another grown-up fairy tale from Guillermo del Toro.  All signs point to this being a two-horse race between Billboards or The Shape of Water, if the previous awards shows have been any indication.  I could very easily see it going either way, but with Oscar's aversion to fantasy films, and my own personal preference for Billboards, I'm going with that.

Prediction: Three Billboards

Mike:  I've only seen five as well (Three Billboards, The Post, Get Out, Lady Bird, and Dunkirk) and have also been impressed and can see why each one has received the nomination for the big prize. My favorite this year has been Lady Bird. It was an exceptionally made film that really showed the depth, quirks and love of a mother-daughter relationship, a relationship that truly hasn't been shown on film, ever. Get Out was a deftly constructed horror-ish film and a significant commentary on racism. It was thrilling, suspenseful and entertaining. Dunkirk told the story of a well known historic event in a very unique and interesting way with a cast that really brought the human, emotional punch that is needed with a military film. Three Billboards was a great dark comedy that explored the trappings of acting on anger, and you're right, this film would've made the Coen Brothers proud. It hits on every note, takes some unexpected turns and the acting is top notch, not to mention a strong, determined female lead which will go a long way with voters, especially with everything going on in Hollywood these days.

Also, please dear Lord can we not have a screw up like last year in announcing the winner?

Prediction: Three Billboards

Best Director

Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)
Jordan Peele (Get Out)
Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)
Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread)
Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)

Justin: Phantom Thread is the only one of these I haven't seen (hoping to remedy that this weekend), but all four remaining directorial endeavors have been quite admirable.  If I had my pick I'd probably go with Gerwig, for her note-perfect solo debut behind the camera.  While I wouldn't be surprised to see her take it, I think this'll be del Toro's night to grab the gold, splitting the two big categories between the two frontrunners.

Prediction: Guillermo del Toro

Mike: I've got a couple of favorites in this category. Jordan Peele absolutely did a marvelous job crafting Get Out to the point where every time you watch the film you'll pick up on something that you might've missed before. The story is thorough and the nightmare he installed with "the sunken place" still gives me chills and takes my breath away. I've been a fan of Greta Gerwig's as an actor since she was in Greenberg. As a director of Lady Bird, she hit one out of the park on her first go 'round and I can't wait to own this film and see what she does next. Everything about the film is wonderful and enjoyable. Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite directors working because he hasn't made a terrible movie from what I've seen. After being lauded and commercially successful for ages he's finally got his nomination for directing. He wields a technical mastery that is unfortunately matched by Guillermo del Toro, who is the odds on favorite in this category. In my Oscar nomination reaction piece back in January, I said that this category is Greta's to lose. Sadly, I have to go back on that and put my chips on del Toro as well.

Prediction: Guillermo del Toro

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Great PPVs: Fully Loaded 2000

Welcome to the fifth installment of The Great PPVs - whether you're reading this at or, I hope you're ready for a little trip down Memory Lane.

Today I'm taking a look at what I consider the best PPV from one of (if not THE) greatest years in WWF/E history, the year 2000.  2000 was, from a profitability and creative standpoint, the apex of the WWF Attitude Era.  After the late 1999 departure of Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara, whose "Crash TV" style of booking had become stale and nonsensical, the following year saw a return to a more focused product with a much greater emphasis on the in-ring aspect.  Imported WCWers like Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero certainly helped, as the upper midcard now boasted some of the most talented grapplers in the world.  Additionally the tag team division flourished that year, thanks to breakout performances of Edge & Christian (who'd finally found a winning gimmick with their dorky metalhead schtick), the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz.  Between the aforementioned rising stars and the already established names, the WWF's 2000 roster was one of the best ever assembled.

One interesting thing about the company's PPV calendar that year was that the Big Five PPVs, with the exception of the Royal Rumble, vastly underdelivered, mostly due to the shows being overcrowded and sloppily booked.  But the B-PPVs that year were almost all incredible, with stellar main events and stacked undercards that effectively utilized the thriving locker room.  Fully Loaded is one such example of a PPV with both excellent top-billed bouts and strong supporting ones.  The subtext going into Fully Loaded was that the existing WWF main eventers (The Rock, Triple H and The Undertaker) were all being challenged for their spots by the new guard (namely Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle).  The show was billed as a Triple Main Event (though Double is really more accurate), and while the glass ceiling was by no means shattered here, it was perhaps cracked just a little.  And two of the three big matches delivered huge.

But first the undercard: The show opened with a wildly competitive mixed six-person tag match, as The Hardyz and Lita faced Test, Albert (T&A, get it?) and Trish Stratus.  This tag team feud didn't exactly light up the airwaves, but most of the intrigue here was between the WWF's two "It-girls," Trish and Lita, who would feud on and off for the next six years and serve as the backbone of this new and exciting Women's division.  This was a highly entertaining opener, which Team Extreme won after a climactic exchange between the women, culminating in Lita's top-rope moonsault on Trish.

Next was a throwaway meant to showcase the former ECW Champion Taz(z) against another ECW alum Al Snow.  This match was brief and mostly dominated by Taz(z), who finished Snow with his Tazzmission (a Cobra Clutch variant).  This would sadly be the last time Taz(z) was well-used in the WWF, as he began a pointless feud against Jerry Lawler that fall, and by early 2001 was relegated to being an underneath guy.

Top Ten Things: Shawn Michaels WrestleMania Matches

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Things, here at!  And welcome to yet another episode of my barely coherent ramblings about the phenomenon known as WrestleMania.  Today I'm talking about the ten greatest 'Mania appearances by my all-time favorite wrestler, The Heartbreak Kid himself, Shawn Michaels.

Several years ago people started referring to Shawn Michaels as "Mr. WrestleMania," and one doesn't need to look very hard to see why.  In terms of consistently delivering show stealing performances on the WWE's biggest stage, Shawn has no equal.  From 1994-1998, and again from 2003-2010, Michaels' WrestleMania match was generally considered either the best or second-best match on the show, and during those same years his 'Mania match won Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Match of the Year a staggering NINE times (plus he had two non-WrestleMania winners).

Look, I don't need to prattle on about what an incredible pro wrestler Michaels was, so let's just get to the list.  Here now are my ten picks for Shawn's greatest WrestleMania matches.

10. Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels - WrestleMania XI

What should have been main event of 'Mania 11 was also the only worthy match on the card, as former friends Diesel and Shawn Michaels battled for the WWF Title.  Diesel's abrupt main event push was the WWF's attempt to recreate the success of Hulk Hogan.  Sadly Kevin Nash had nowhere near the overwhelming fan support Hogan did, and the Hartford crowd actually ended up cheering the breathtaking athletic abilities of Shawn Michaels, despite his being the heel.  Even in losing the match, Shawn positioned himself as the next main event babyface and the most popular guy in the company.

9. John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels - WrestleMania 23

Originally slated to be a Cena-Triple H rematch from WM22, this bout was the substitute after Hunter suffered another quad tear.  And as it turned out this match vastly outperformed its predecessor; John Cena and HBK delivered a fantastic main event for the WWE Title that cemented Cena as the face of the company.  Shawn made him look incredibly strong and helped him rise above the "You can't wrestle" chants he had so long inspired.  For me this was the match where Cena turned the corner to become an accomplished worker who could consistently perform in a big match situation.  The 55-minute RAW rematch got much more attention at the time, but I prefer this bout.

8. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair - WrestleMania XXIV

Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair was one of the most emotional matches I've ever seen.  Michaels obviously deserves a lot of the credit for making this match great, as he bumped around like crazy, per usual.  But Flair's storytelling was also off the charts and he emoted wonderfully, making the audience really care about his career-ending journey.  The final seconds of the match when Flair tearfully begged Shawn to hit the superkick, followed by the sorrow on Shawn's face, made for one of the most memorable of all 'Mania moments.  I given Flair's age at this point I had low expectations going into this, but two of the all-time greats stole the show with this memorable bit of storytelling.

WWE Elimination Chamber 2018 Review: Still Trying to Make "Fetch" Happen

The WrestleMania 34 card is taking shape, and there are two major bits of news coming out of Elimination Chamber.  Both of these items played out as expected, and people seem to be complaining about them as though they're surprised.  I'm excited for one, indifferent toward the other.

The first big news is that Ronda Rousey will indeed be competing at WrestleMania, and all signs point to a mixed tag match against Triple H and Stephanie, likely with Kurt Angle as Ronda's tag partner.  I'm fine with all of this - it's a payoff that was teased three years ago, and Angle makes perfect sense to team with Ronda.  Both have a legitimate combat sports background, both were highly touted as major acquisitions for WWE, and with Angle blowing the whistle on the Helmsleys' subterfuge during the contract signing, it seems appropriate for him to volunteer.  This won't be a five-star classic, but it'll be a high profile way to introduce Ronda as a full-fledged WWE wrestler, it keeps Hunter out of one of the long matches of the night, and it's a big box office attraction-type match.  Yes, the Boss vs. Wrestler feud has been done to death, but the fact that it's the female version of that angle gives it a different flavor, and after this blows over Ronda can be incorporated fully into the women's division.  This'll be fine.

The other news is that Roman Reigns is once again headlining WrestleMania.  Sigh.  There's nothing surprising about this, and Brock vs. Roman will likely be a better overall match than Brock vs. Braun would've been.  But with the way Braun was booked in this Chamber match it really should be him in the main event, having an all-out car collision of a match with Brock.  Now I'm not sure how they resolve the unfinished business with Strowman, unless Brock re-signs, nor do I have any idea what Strowman's 'Mania plans are.  It is strange that both big 'Mania matches set up last night are payoffs from three years ago.  At least the long-term storytelling is in place there.

The show itself was solid stuff.  The non-Chamber matches were nothing spectacular, but none of them were really bad either.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

WWE Elimination Chamber 2018 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another round of WWE Predictions here at!

Shockingly WWE pulled off a pretty damn good Royal Rumble last month, delivering two very strong Rumble bouts (the men's match ranks very high on my all-time Rumble list) and a solid undercard to boot.  Let's hope they can keep the creative momentum going.  With Vince focused on relaunching the XFL (I still can't believe it) it really seems like Triple H and Steph have taken a bigger role in putting together these shows.  The Rumble PPV seemed to be missing Vince's fingerprints, as did this week's RAW which included a 107-minute gauntlet match (Vince Russo's head must've exploded - he coulda fit 15 Something-on-a-Pole matches into that window).  This Chamber show has a lot of potential despite the overcrowding of the men's Chamber and the silly booking leading to it.  I have fairly high expectations for both of these matches.

So let's get down to bidness...

***I'm at 80/109 (73%), Landon's at 69/97 (71%), Dave's got 52/75 (69%), and Dan's trailing badly with 66/109 (60%)***

"Woken" Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt

This match was already given away on free TV a few weeks back, so the first-time aspect is gone.  I haven't seen much at all of Matt Hardy's resurrected TNA persona, but from what I've read WWE has completely fucked it up.  Yet another reason why scripted promos don't work.  Just let the guy do his thing for Chrissake.  Nothing much at stake in this match, both guys are kinda treading water.  Hey, whatever happened to the Sister Abigail character?  Wyatt was supposed to debut it last fall but he got sick and was pulled off the show, and they just forgot about it after that.

Justin: It literally does not matter who wins this.  I'm guessing both guys get thrown into the Andre Battle Royal at 'Mania, so who cares?  Bray won the match in January so I'll pick Matt here.  50-50 booking....
Dan: Woken.  They done fucked this feud up already though.
Landon: IT'S 50-50, MOTHERFUCKERS.  Matt wins.
Dave: No idea.  Sister Abigail.  (Matt, whatever)

RAW Tag Team Championship: The Bar vs. Titus Worldwide

Not sure what Titus and Crews did to earn a title shot, but whatever.  I'm glad Cesaro and Sheamus are on the card at least.  With Jason Jordan on the shelf and that feud now finished, I have no idea what the plan is for The Bar going forward - probably a multi-team match at 'Mania again.  Regardless, C&S just won back the belts so they ain't losing 'em here.

Justin: The Bar retains
Dan: The Bar
Landon: The Bar
Dave: The Bar

Asuka vs. Nia Jax

The stipulation here is that if Nia wins she gets added to Asuka's WrestleMania match for the RAW Women's Title.  Only problem is Asuka hasn't confirmed which title she's going for.  So what if Nia wins and then Asuka's like "Nah, I'm gonna fight Charlotte instead?"  This should all be moot, since ending Asuka's streak here would be the stupidest thing ever.  But I wouldn't put it past them either.  I'm guessing Asuka wins here, decides to challenge Charlotte, and Nia gets the shot at Alexa Bliss anyway by winning some kinda #1 contenders match on RAW.

Justin: Asuka
Dan: Come on.
Landon: Asuka
Dave: Asuka