Wednesday, October 18, 2017

WWE TLC 2017 Preview & Predictions

It's been two weeks, and that means it's time for ANOTHER WWE PPV.  They should just cancel RAW & Smackdown and have weekly PPVs like TNA used to.  That worked out well, right?


This year's TLC is a very thin lineup, with the Universal Champ missing and only the bottom two RAW titles on the line.  But it's built almost entirely around the long-awaited Shield reunion, which WWE has already managed to turn into a clusterfuck.  I say this all the time, but WWE could fuck up a bowl of cereal.  WWE could fuck up a second-grade math quiz.  WWE could fuck up flicking on a light switch.  But let's get to the predictions....

***I'm in the lead with 57/82 (69.5%), Landon's in second with 46/70 (66%), Dave's got 31/48 (64.5%), and Dan's at 49/82 (60%).***




Pre-Show Match: Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox


This is one of three women's matches on the show, which is a cool thing.  Sadly this one doesn't matter much and seems to be something for Sasha to do.  It'll be short and forgettable.  If anyone not named Sasha wins I'll be shocked.

Justin: Sasha
Dan: Sure
Landon: Sasha
Dave: Sasha





Brian Kendrick & Jack Gallagher vs. Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann


This match was added to fill time.  It'll get stuck just before the main event so as to garner the weakest possible crowd reaction.  Wouldn't want anyone to care about 205 Live, would we?  I really like Gallagher too.  His style is fluid and unique, and he's funny on top of that.  But this company simply does not care about the Cruiserweights.  Because bigger is betterer....

Justin: Kendrick & Gallagher I guess
Dan: Much like WWE doesn't care about the Cruiserweights, neither do I.  I'll take the other guys.
Landon: Kendrick & Gallagher
Dave: I have no clue who any of these guys are.  Kendrick & Gallagher.  Jesus....





Cruiserweight Championship: Kalisto vs. Enzo Amore


All the pointless title changes are making me insane.  They put the belt on Enzo (at the expense of Neville leaving the company), just to turn him heel and make him the "anti-Cruiser," which actually came off pretty well.  Then two weeks later they had him lose it to Kalisto, and I'm fairly certain he wins it back here.  Either that or they did this "division-killing" angle and then abandoned it almost immediately.  Is Vince Russo back?

Justin: Enzo regains the strap
Dan: I guess Enzo.  I don't understand his appeal anymore.  He bores me.
Landon: Fuck me.  Enzo.
Dave: Why push Enzo as a heel and not have him win it back?  Enzo.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

WWE RAW: Kane? Kane. Really? REALLY??

Oh for Chrissake, you had to go and add Kane??  Kane, who debuted 20 years ago and hasn't been relevant in years?  WWE really is desperately clinging to The Era of Part-timers, aren't they?


For those of you who missed it, last night The Big Red Quintagenarian returned to RAW (despite having been drafted to Smackdown last year - great continuity guys), interfering in the Roman Reigns-Braun Strowman cage match and allowing Strowman's TLC team to add a fifth member, which of course will be Kane himself.  So now the TLC main event is 5-on-3.  I hate handicap matches.  My hate for them is directly proportional to how lopsided they are.  So now I hate this main event by a 1.67:1 ratio.  Can't we just have The Shield vs. Braun & The Bar?  Is that too simple a plan for you people?  Why must WWE excessively window-dress every good idea they have?  Does adding two guys to the heel side honestly give anyone pause that The Shield will undoubtedly emerge victorious on Sunday?  There's ZERO chance the company put these guys back together just to have them lose their first reunion match, so why possibly ruin a potentially great brawl by adding too many men on the field?  Like, what are the two extra dudes supposed to do while the other six are fighting?  And how weak does that make the five guys look when they lose to three?  And who at this point is the least bit intimidated by Kane?  I'm pretty sure I'VE beaten him several times over the years.  And isn't he running for Mayor?  Who's got time for pretend fighting when you're busy pretend-politicking?  And hold on, The Demon Kane is going to be on the same PPV as The Demon King.  Does that mean Finn Balor has authority over Kane?  Can't he just order him not to get involved?  I'm just really confused now....

TLC has a pretty thin lineup.  Only the Women's Title and the Cruiserweight Title are on the line, Lesnar's not on the show, and the I-C and Tag Champs are in the TLC match.  This is basically a four-match show, plus two throwaway Cruiser bouts.  Kalisto-Enzo isn't gonna be much to watch, and does anyone care at all about Kendrick/Gallagher vs. Swann/Alexander?  You know that's getting shoved in the death spot before the main event.  I truly do miss the days when there wasn't a PPV every two weeks.  This is like a mainstream network TV series, where they're obligated to fill 22 episodes every season so nothing substantial happens for 15 of them.  Nothing to see here, just filling time.


Rumor has it that the planned main event of Survivor Series will pit the Universal Champion against the WWE Champion.  What a huge main even-- oh wait.....it's Brock Lesnar.....vs. Jinder??  Seriously?  I guess they needed a way to top the pointlessness of last year's Survivor Series main event?  So lemme get this straight - we still have not seen Lesnar vs. Kevin Owens, Lesnar vs. Cesaro, Lesnar vs. Sheamus (except at a non-televised house show), but Jinder gets a match with him?  Sweet Jeezus, Vince.  Stop trying to make "fetch" happen with this guy.  It doesn't work, it's never going to work, let it the fuck go.  Attendance is down, ratings are down, and most importantly, business in India is down.  India - the whole reason you pushed Jinder in the first place.  They didn't fall for your obvious bit of pandering.  Pull the plug on this DOA experiment.  So what's the endgame here?  Lesnar steamrolls Jinder just like everyone else?  How weak does that make the WWE Champ look?  I mean even moreso than he already did?  The damage they've done to the WWE Title this year has been unfathomable, between hotshotting it all over the place from January to May, to never booking it in the main event of Big Four shows (or Smackdown-only shows for that matter), to letting the least-deserving champion of all time keep it longer than just about anyone else in the past decade (Seriously, I think Jinder's ranked #4 in the 2010s), that strap is about the most worthless belt in the company aside from the Cruiserweight Title.  John Cena's gonna need to win it again and do the Open Challenge thing.  One can only hope the rest of Survivor Series is set up like last year, with stacked elimination matches taking up the bulk of the show.   

What a downer of a column.  Sorry guys.  Anyhow, stay tuned later this week for our TLC predictions.  And don't forget to join our new Enuffa.com Facebook group, located HERE.





Monday, October 16, 2017

Top Ten Things: Hell in a Cell Matches

Hey there, and welcome to another Top Ten Things, here at Enuffa.com!  

Today's list is all about the most demonic of wrestling gimmick matches, Hell in a Cell.  Introduced by the WWF in 1997, HIAC expanded on the traditional Steel Cage match by surrounding the entire ringside area with the volatile mesh structure.  They also covered the whole thing with a roof, trapping the combatants inside but giving them enough room to utilize the numerous unforgiving surfaces and weapons found outside the ring.  The result was one of the most brutal recurring stipulations in the history of the business, where only the most personal and heated of rivalries would be settled.  2009 saw the creation of a Hell in a Cell-themed PPV, which undermined the severity of such a gimmick match by making it an annual tradition instead of a feud-ender.  Regardless of its recently history though, Hell in a Cell still remains one of the most intriguing special attractions in WWE.

Here are my picks for the ten greatest HIAC matches of all time....




10. Batista vs. Triple H - Vengeance - 6.26.05


After two rather lackluster efforts at WrestleMania 21 and Backlash, Hunter and Big Dave finally delivered a classic inside the hellacious cage.  This was a bloody, grueling fight that ran over 26 minutes and finally solidified Batista as Triple H's conqueror.  These two made innovative use of weapons, as well as the ol' cage walls to create a shockingly good Cell bout.  When it was over, the torch had finally been passed to Batista, who along with John Cena became one of the faces of the company.





9. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose - Hell in a Cell - 10.26.14


After multiple years of underwhelming HIAC matches two young, hungry stars took the gimmick back up a notch at the 2014 event.  Mortal enemies Ambrose and Rollins followed up their unruly SummerSlam Lumberjack match with this brutal, chaotic fight that kicked off atop the structure.  After about ten minutes of crazy brawling leading to both men falling through announce tables (the first spot like that since the Mick Foley years), the match officially resumed inside the cage, and 13 minutes later Rollins took advantage of Bray Wyatt's (hokey) interference to win the bout.

Friday, October 13, 2017

George Romero's Living Dead Trilogy: Day of the Dead (1985)

Welcome to the final part of my Living Dead Trilogy retrospective.  If you missed Part 1 and Part 2, check 'em out.....



Dawn of the Dead was such a success the distributor, United Film Distribution Company, signed Romero to a three-picture deal, provided that one of those three films would be a sequel to Dawn.  Romero, fearing that if said sequel wasn't a hit he'd lose the chance to direct the two non-zombie films, opted to save it for last.  His next two movies were Knightriders, a Renaissance faire drama which flopped due to poor distribution, and Creepshow, a horror anthology which was a modest hit but by no means a smash.  As a result, UFDC hedged their bets with the Dawn sequel, only willing to adhere to the original $7 million budget if Romero released it as an R-rated film.  Up to this point George had planned for Day of the Dead to be a massive, sweeping zombie epic, "the Gone With the Wind of zombie films," but refused to compromise the intended violence and gore for an R rating.  Thus the budget was slashed in half and Romero was forced to completely overhaul the project.  The resulting film was initially seen as an underwhelming, depressing letdown after the thrill-ride of Dawn, and made most of its money overseas and on home video.  Amazingly though, Day of the Dead has developed an enthusiastic cult following in the thirty-odd years since, in many ways becoming just as influential as its two predecessors.

Day of the Dead takes place a considerable time after Dawn, when the human race is all but wiped out, and only a few pockets of civilization remain, mostly underground.  The story centers around a small military/scientific contingent occupying an abandoned mine, hoping to find some sort of solution to the zombie infestation.  Living conditions are nearly unsustainable and the scientific team is at the mercy of a crazed Captain, who is uninterested in studying the zombies and simply wants to destroy them.  What follows is a power struggle and clash of ideas between the two factions that actually contains more thematic human drama than any other film in the series.

This guy's a whackaloon.

One of the main plot threads concerns the lead scientist, Dr. Logan (a compellingly demented Richard Liberty), who has begun experimenting on zombie specimens, hoping to "tame" them.  His most promising subject is a ghoul called "Bub," who seems to understand/remember how to work basic tools and appears almost civilized.  This subplot exploits a fascinating story element: that the zombies are no longer the bad guys.  Zombies simply act according to their instinctual nature and the only evil left in the world is that which is perpetrated by the survivors.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Top Ten Things: Wrestling Heel Turns

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Things, here at Enuffa.com.  You know the drill - a list of ten items, why I picked 'em, yadda yadda.

Today's topic is in a roundabout way related to Halloween, in that it involves the darker angels of our nature, as it were.  I'm talking about one of the great plot devices in the pro wrestling universe, The Heel Turn.  In the world of pretend fighting a character will suddenly decide he doesn't like one of his friends, or the fans, or the world, and go bad.  This generally reframes his whole persona and sets off a major feud or angle of some kind.

The best heel turns usually happen suddenly, so there's a feeling of shock and betrayal from the fans, but it's also important that the turn doesn't feel like a cheat or a contrivance.  It has to make sense within the context of the story being told.  There has to have been some kind of foreshadowing or tension between the betrayer and his victim(s), thus when the turn happens it's appalling but also satisfying.  You've invested in this ongoing story and here's a major inciting incident.  Also the subsequent heel run generally needs to last a while and have some kind of long-term impact on the overall product.  So often these days a wrestler will turn heel just so he can be repositioned to feud with whomever the writers want him to feud with.  And then three months later he's back to being a babyface (Big Show, I'm looking in your general direction).  When this kinda thing happens too often, not only does each character turn lose meaning, but the fans cease to invest in said wrestler because he changes his stripes constantly.  Sadly in recent years the effective heel turn has become something of a lost art, as today's wrestling bookers don't seem to have the discipline to properly execute it.

The other kind of heel turn that can be effective is the gradual variety, where a wrestler will start to show a mean streak but it's amplified over several months, and eventually before you know it, the guy's fighting babyfaces (see Punk, CM; Jericho, Chris; *surname omitted*, Edge).  I find those don't work as well, although gradual turns have produced some great heel characters (such as the aforementioned three).  That's not to say I don't like the gradual ones, I just find it more fun when a guy turns heel sort of all at once but it still makes perfect sense in context.

Here now are my ten favorite heel turns in wrestling history...




10. The Road Warriors (1988)


1988 was a year of multiple heel and babyface turns in the NWA, and one of the last ones to take place was when the almighty Road Warriors betrayed Sting during a six-man tag match.  Sting was a last-minute substitute for the Roadies' longtime partner Dusty Rhodes, and Hawk & Animal were none too pleased that a) Dusty wasn't present as scheduled, and b) the Johnny-come-lately Stinger was selected as a replacement.  This kicked off an uber-mean streak from the Legion of Doom that included a gruesome incident where they tried to poke Dusty's eye out with a shoulderpad spike.  As a 13-year-old fan I felt horribly wronged by my favorite badass team, and initially found them pretty scary as bad guys (Another hallmark of a great heel turn), but after a couple weeks I came back around and actually liked them even more with their newfound lust for brutality.  Sadly the Road Warriors' heel run was short-lived, since the fans never really wanted to boo them.  But this was a quite effective angle at the time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Bringing the Heat, by Ryan K Boman

by Ryan K. Boman
The Gorilla Position
www.thegorillaposition.com
@RyanKBoman

Impact Wrestling’s Garza Jr. is a third-generation superstar from south of the border whose fantastic future… es rojo caliente!




Geek Previews: The Witch (2016)

Welcome to a new feature here at Enuffa.com, Geek Previews (like the ol' Sneak Previews but way nerdier), where Michael Drinan (@mdrinan380) and I discuss a film we've both recently watched.  Could be something new and topical or something we're just now getting around to seeing.  


Today's movie of choice is Robert Eggers' debut The Witch, a period folktale set in 17th century Puritan New England about a family of settlers who are met with misfortune and insanity at the hands of a demonic witch.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Mike, what's your take on this film?  Talk to me.....


Mike: Ok, as a movie I loved it. It's one of the best period pieces I've seen in a long time. I loved the dialogue and how they stuck to the Olde English even though at times it was a little tedious understanding them. The film looks beautiful, using natural light and giving it a kind of gloom that you expect in a film like this. The acting was great. Anya Taylor-Joy was really good playing Thomasin and Ralph Ineson as William, her father, was just fantastic. He was a no-bullshit guy but there was tenderness toward his children and wife that he exuded brilliantly.


I love A24, the production company of this film. Everything they seem to come out with I love or at least really like. Whether its Room, Ex Machina, Obvious Child, Locke or Under the Skin....they've all been awesome and this one just adds to that list.

Now here's what bummed me out about the film. Ever since it was released it was billed as a terrifying film. That's the only thing I heard about it, even the quotes in the trailer talked about how it will "make your blood run cold" and I got amped for it because I rarely come across a film that scares me and I love films that can do that. That's where this movie fell flat for me. The IMDB trivia said that Stephen King was terrified by this film. The only things I found a little unnerving were some of the shots of Black Phillip and the utilization of off-screen sounds, like twigs breaking or something. Other than that, it was a really good film about religion and satanism, or what I presumed was satanism.


Justin: I loved it as a strong piece of filmmaking as well.  The natural lighting, the diffused colors, the location and sets, everything contributed to the bleak atmosphere and the underlying sense of dread.  Anya Taylor-Joy announced herself as a future major star I think.  At 20 years old she already has a commanding onscreen presence, even in an unassuming role like this one.  Ralph Ineson felt totally authentic, conveying gruffness but also the air of a man who slowly realizes he isn't in control and can't care for his family like he thought.  I found Kate Dickie's performance very compelling as well, as her character goes from hysterical mourning to being resentful and domineering.


I tell ya - Room, Ex Machina, Locke, and now The Witch?  A24 already boasts one helluva filmography.

Monday, October 9, 2017

WWE Hell in a Cell 2017: Meh, It Was a Show....

WWE Hell in a Cell 2017 was....a show.  That's about it.  There wasn't anything horrible, there was one very good match, a bunch of okay stuff, and an obscenely overlong main event with the same unnecessarily risky spots we've seen a dozen times before.  It's clear that WWE, despite boasting one of the best talent rosters they've ever had, is becoming less and less a product for me.  Amid all the solidly worked matches on this show I found myself not caring much about any of it.  The one match I was emotionally invested in was the WWE Title match, and that of course went the wrong way (I knew I was gonna get screwed picking Nak to win).  The WWE product is just missing something very integral.  They've beaten the audience down with inconsistent or flat-out bad television for so long that nothing seems to really engage.  It makes me laugh when WWE apologists claim that New Japan is just a series of spotfests with no story and no characters.  To me that's exactly what WWE has become, case in point this main event.  I was drawn in much more by Okada-Omega's story than I ever could've been by Shane vs. Owens.  But before we get to that, let's look at the rest of the show.

The opening Hell in a Cell Tag Title match easily stole the show for me (and most, from what I've read).  New Day and The Usos work very well together and this continued that pattern.  The action was fast-paced, they made innovative use of weapons (including a clever spot where Xavier and Big E trapped an Uso against the cage with kendo sticks), and it was a good mix of violence and traditional wrestling.  Toward the end they brought out the big spots and nearfalls until finally the Usos hit their double splash on Xavier with a chair resting on top of him.  Yet another title change, and I'm not sure where the division goes from here since there are no other viable teams left.  But good match.


Next up was Randy Orton vs. Rusev, which I consider the least interesting feud on Smackdown right now.  Rusev's stock has fallen so far it's tragic.  He easily could've been pushed to Jinder's current spot and would've actually had the talent and credibility to back it up.  But no, he's now lower-card RKO fodder.  The finish to this match was memorable, as Orton pounded the mat to set up the RKO but Rusev pounced on him for an Accolade attempt.  Orton slid out though and nailed the RKO for the win.  Sadly this run-of-the-mill bout was one of Orton's best matches of 2017.  "Inoffensive" is apparently all he's up for these days.

The surprise hit of the night was the US Title Triple Threat (Tye Dillinger was added during the pre-show), as AJ Styles worked his ass off to get a good match out of Dillinger and Baron Corbin.  Everything good about this match can be attributed to Styles; whenever he was out of the ring the match ground to a halt.  Jeezus Corbin's offense is dull.  He's reminding me a lot of Sycho Sid, with nondescript offense and the occasional deer-in-headlights look.  The finish was well-booked to protect AJ, as he hit the Phenomenal Forearm on Dillinger but was knocked out of the ring by Corbin, who then covered Dillinger for the belt.  Can AJ please move back up to the WWE Title picture now?  That guy's too good for this company.  Side note: the whole "Perfect 10" moniker doesn't work for Dillinger.  If he were a heel it might, since he'd be a dorky bad guy who thinks he's hot shit.  But for that nickname to work for a babyface he needs to actually look like a "perfect 10."  Side note #2: it's a sad thing when AJ's "soccer mom" do is by far the best haircut in a triple threat; Corbin and Dillinger desperately need either hair plugs or a buzz cut.

He's like a bald eagle now.  Get it??


Thursday, October 5, 2017

WWE Hell in a Cell 2017 Preview & Predictions

Aaand we're back to the twice-monthly WWE PPVs.  Fuuuuuck me......


This Sunday is Hell in a Cell, where WWE plugs a feud into an annual gimmick match rather that naturally letting a feud build to the point that only said gimmick match will settle it.  This year that match involves the boss's kid.  Fuck's sake.  But first let's look at the rest of the show, which to be fair looks pretty good.  Also, WHERE THE FUCK IS SAMI ZAYN??!?  How has his career actually gone downhill after being moved to the sparsely populated Smackdown?  Jeezus fuckin' Christ....

***I'm just barely holding onto my lead, with 50/74 (67%), Landon's in second with 41/62 (66%), Dave's got 25/40 (62.5%), and Dan's finally out of the 50s with 45/74 (61%).***




Pre-Show Match: Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable vs. Hype Bros


Remember how awesome American Alpha was?  Why'd they split 'em up just to plug in the guy Jason Jordan was sorta copying into his old spot?  So stupid.  They're teasing a Hype Bros breakup, but who cares?

Justin: American Alpha 2.0 wins
Dan: I can't believe Shelton Benjamin is back. What a blast from the past. AA2
Landon: Olympic Gold Standard
Dave: AA I guess





Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler


I get that Bobby Roode's entrance/theme is total babyface material, but his character and in-ring style don't make sense in that role.  He wrestles like Ted Dibiase used to, meaning his offense consists of nondescript brawling designed to bring down the crowd before the babyface comeback.  I'm not sure how this will work.  Meanwhile, Ziggler's offense is flashy and exciting, which is the opposite of how a heel is supposed to wrestle.  This dynamic strikes me as totally backwards.  Whatever, the match should be fine.

Justin: Roode wins, obviously.  And I hope Ziggler leaves when his contract is up.  Imagine Dolph in NJPW?
Dan: Ziggles just can't win.  Dammit.
Landon: I don't want to imagine that Justin.  Roode.
Dave: Roode. Ziggler has been done for many years now.






Randy Orton vs. Rusev


Why is this feud still going on?  Does anyone give a shit about either of these guys right now?  Rusev is beyond damaged goods, especially without Lana.  Orton's had the worst year of his career and I can't imagine a less hot main event guy.

Justin: Orton wins again
Dan: Dude, WHO CARES? Fuck it, Rusev.
Landon: Wait, these two are feuding?  Orton.
Dave: Orton, but who cares at this point?






Smackdown Tag Team Championship Hell in a Cell: The New Day vs. The Usos


Another feud I can't believe is still going on, but then who else does either team have to feud with?  At least their matches have been consistently very good, and this should follow suit.  It'll be refreshing to see a tag team Cell match, even if this feud isn't exactly blood feud material.  WWE is apparently trying to pad New Day's title record so they can be the "most decorated" Tag Champs ever.  Remember when championship longevity meant more than frequency?

Justin: To that end, The Usos win back the belts just so New Day can regain them
Dan: This should be a good one.  I think New Day retains.
Landon: Remember when Vince Russo killed all the titles in the 90s with multiple short reigns?  New Day.
Dave: Usos



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

WCW Monday Nitro #5: F*ck Wrestling, Hogan's Here


WCW Monday Nitro #5, October 2nd, 1995
Denver Coliseum in Denver, Colorado

The announcers were running down what matches we were getting tonight, including the rematch of Flair and Arn Anderson from Fall Brawl, and the match between Randy Savage and Lex Luger where if Lex lost. he'd have to leave WCW forever. While they're talking, Ric came out, en robe, and began running down Anderson and Pillman. He was crazy for approximately 20 seconds before he walked away. Ric remains a gem on this show every week.

They recapped the past 3 weeks of Savage and Luger promos. About Savage being weary of Luger, and how Luger just wants trust...and the World title. This build has been Pay Per View caliber, but was given away for free to pop that rating.


Randy Savage vs. Lex Luger, Where Lex Must Leave WCW if He Loses

This match was, for the time and the men involved, main event levels of awesome in terms of the psychology and the action in the ring. They locked up for a solid minute and a half, rolling out of the ring together in the lock up like two bulls fighting over a Lady Bull. This was going very well, Luger playing a great heel here. Luger's character, a mix of narcissism and delusions of being a babyface, is an awesome thing that I would love to steal one day. It went well, anyway, until The Giant came out. He grabbed Savage and proceeded to try and break his neck like Rambo. It only half worked, rendering Savage unconscious. Luger, who was knocked out at some point before The Giant attempted murder, woke up thinking none the wiser of the practical corpse. Like Rob Terry years later, lifting a dead Ken Anderson for a slam, Luger hurked the body of Savage up into the Rack, where the referee lifted savage's unmoving hand three times for the submission.
***


Disco Inferno came out with his wonderful music to dance. Eddie Guerrero with a baby mullet and a singlet came out to tell him to piss off, cause he had to make the wrestles. I began salivating from excitement for...


Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko

I've been excited about this match for two weeks now. And I had every reason to be excited, because these two began to put on a clinic for how to grapple. Reversals into submission escapes, into stand offs. I loved it.
But then.
We got word that hulk hogan had arrived in the arena. Cool, whatever. Then we got a split screen with Hogan arriving and Jimmy Hart on speed as always. Fine, I can still see the match. Then we got the full shot of Hogan, really saying nothing and doing nothing but being Hulk Hogan.
You fuckers.
I was really enjoying this match, and so were a lot of people in the crowd. But here, on the fifth Nitro, WCW began to kill itself. It began the trend of telling fans that the wrestling and the action in the ring doesn't matter, because what matters are the stars and the personalities. Thankfully, we came back to the match for more action and an eventual pin fall, with Eddie using some combination for the pin. It was still good, but the Hulk Hogan interruption took me out of the actual action, and took a lot from the match.
**1/2

NJPW King of Pro Wrestling: The Last Big Stop to The Dome

That poster is beautiful...

Hope you're not burned out from the Destruction tour, cause we have the last big stop until The Tokyo Dome coming up. Four titles and a Title shot will be defended here, and the undercard seems unoffensive or even good. I'm coming back to Enuffa to run down the card with Justin, and let you know who the smart money's really on. Justin?

Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, and Leo Tonga) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA, BUSHI, and Hiromu Takahashi)

The strangest trio of LIJ to team up, just put together because of Naito and EVIL's place on the card. I expect nothing.

Landon: LIJ.
Justin: LIJ




CHAOS (Hirooki Goto and Toru Yano) vs. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr.)

Why? I don't know. Again, because of the card's set up we need to put Minoru second down from the card. With a feud against Makabe hopefully coming up in January, he's just spinning his wheels until then.

Landon: Suzuki-Gun.
Justin: Yup




IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship [2nd Title Defense]
Funky Future (Ryuske Taguchi and Ricochet) (c) vs. Roppongi 3K (???)

Who's Roppongi 3K? I have no idea. The question seems to be whether Rocky is in the match itself, a question no one seems keen to answer. I'm still under the impression it's an entirely different tag team, and still think it's The Tempura Boyz. I don't know who wins here, I like Taguchi too much to ever officially bet against him. Plus, if I'm planning out the Tokyo Dome Jr. Tag Team match, I'd rather have two well established Dome performers a sthe champs, versus a team that's possibly untested.

Landon: Funky Future.
Justin: Never bet against the mystery opponent.  It's almost as bad an idea as giving a debuting team a championship.  RPG 3K wins.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

George Romero's Living Dead Trilogy: Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Welcome to Part 2 of our retrospective on George Romero's Living Dead trilogy.  Check out Part 1 HERE...


With Night of the Living Dead, George Romero and his collaborators stumbled onto an unexpected cult hit, and while it sadly didn't make any of them rich (Due to an unfortunate copyright snafu the film fell into public domain where it remains to this day), they now had careers as filmmakers.  George directed four feature films after NOTLD with little box office success before returning to the genre that put him on the map.

Romero got the idea while visiting the Monroeville Mall, owned by a friend of his.  The facility had a secluded suite of rooms, fully stocked with food and water, which his friend claimed could sustain a person for months in the event of a nuclear attack.  "Hmm, what about a zombie attack?" George replied.  From this simple premise sprang the narrative seedling for his next project, which would go down as the Citizen Kane of zombie films, Dawn of the Dead.

I gotta see this place

Romero's second foray into the zombie genre picks up some time after the events of NOTLD, when the entire country is now swarming with the risen dead, private residences have been declared illegal, the emergency networks have taken over all broadcasting, and society as a whole is just about to completely break down.  Four survivors, two from a Pittsburgh TV station and two from a local SWAT force, escape in a traffic 'copter and set up shop at the Monroeville Mall.  As the outside world crumbles, our protagonists find themselves in a shopper's paradise, the entire plaza at their disposal.

As with NOTLD, Romero peppered Dawn with underlying social commentary befitting the era of its release, in this case 1970s American obsession with consumerism and the futility in trying to find happiness in material goods.  And while not as purely terrifying as its predecessor, Dawn of the Dead was a rollicking, action-horror film with moments of humor and a ton of over-the-top gore.  Where Night was filmed in expressionist black & white, Dawn depicted these grisly events in bright, garish colors, using the mall's ample lighting to save time and money during the down n' dirty shoot (The vast majority of the scenes were filmed overnight while the mall was closed, thus time and availability were limited).

Monday, October 2, 2017

George Romero's Living Dead Trilogy: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

With the recent passing of director George Romero, and since it's Halloween season, I thought I'd go back and rewatch the legendary Living Dead trilogy, wherein this humble, gentlemanly indie filmmaker created one of the most disturbing film series of all time.  An aspiring, self-taught director with a background in commercial work, Romero and his associates decided in 1967 to make a feature film, choosing the horror genre for its marketability on a small budget, and a whole new subgenre was born. 


The result of course was Night of the Living Dead, a bloodcurdling guerrilla-style picture about seven survivors holed up in an old farmhouse during a zombie outbreak.  At a time when audiences were conditioned to expect cheeseball horror and sci-fi movies that were playfully scary but ultimately toothless, Night of the Living Dead was truly a shock to the system.  Here was a stark, brutal nightmare of a film depicting in gory detail people and zombies being shot, bludgeoned, stabbed, and eating human entrails, where none of the heroes make it out alive.  The overall tone is so bleak and upsetting I can't imagine how 1968 audiences took it.  NOTLD became a major hit on the midnight movie circuit, eventually grossing over $30 million worldwide on a $114,000 budget.

Romero also unintentionally pulled off a coup by casting an African-American as the film's lead.  Duane Jones, an experienced theater actor, gave the best audition for a role originally written as a white character, thus lending the narrative a poignant layer of political subtext.  The film's tragic finale, where Ben is mistaken for a zombie and shot, before being dragged out of the house and burned by the redneck law enforcement posse, now paralleled the racial tensions and unrest of the Civil Rights era.  The choice to depict the aftermath in grainy still photos echoes violent newspaper clippings of the time, making it that much more upsetting.

Romero's use of light and shadow is superb

Other cast standouts include 23-year-old Judith O'Dea as the hysterically frightened Barbara and producers (and real-life married couple) Karl Hardman and Marilyn Eastman as the antagonistic Harry Cooper and his anxious wife Helen.  Given the non-professional status of most of the actors, the performances are by and large quite effective.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Top Ten Things: September PPV Matches

Welcome to another Top Ten Things, here at Enuffa.com, where I compile a list of ten, well, things.

Today it's the ten greatest September PPV matches of all time.  September has often been the beginning of a slump period on the WWE calendar, where the summer angles have long since peaked at SummerSlam and now the company sorta treads water until WrestleMania season starts.  But that doesn't mean there haven't been some great individual efforts.  This list is also not limited to WWE; fans of NJPW and TNA will see a little sumthin-sumthin for them as well.

So let's get to it!



10. Bret Hart vs. Jean-Pierre LaFitte - In Your House 3 - 9.24.95


1995 saw the strange and disturbing trend of Bret Hart being used in lame midcard feuds against cartoonish villains while Diesel and Shawn Michaels dominated the top championship matches.  Case in point was Bret's short-lived feud with pirate character Jean-Pierre LaFitte, over LaFitte's theft of Bret's prized leather jacket.  A sillier schoolyard-esque feud I can't recall in wrestling.  No matter, their two matches were outstanding.  This first one took place at In Your House 3, and was an intense, hard-hitting melee.  Bret set the tone during introductions by torpedoing through the ropes, knocking LaFitte to the floor.  The next sixteen minutes featured grueling offense resembling a Strong Style match before Bret got the win with the Sharpshooter.  Their rematch the next night on RAW was roughly as good as this.




9. Randy Orton vs. John Cena - Breaking Point - 9.13.09


The PG Era was in full-swing by 2009, and that meant no more blading in a WWE ring.  While for the most part this didn't affect the product all that harshly, it did mean gimmick matches might potentially suffer, as Hell in a Cells and Elimination Chambers would now have to be blood-free zones.  That just doesn't seem right.  But at the one-time Breaking Point event (where the main event matches all had submission rules), John Cena and Randy Orton managed to circumvent these rigid new limitations and deliver a masterpiece of understated violence, in an I Quit match.  Their fight played out much like a climactic movie sequence; Orton utilized his exceptional facials and reptilian in-ring persona to make every move seem downright malicious, seemingly relishing each moment.  At one point he handcuffed Cena and proceeded to flog him mercilessly with a kendo stick, leaving sickening welts all over his torso.  Cena eventually made a comeback, applying the STF and choking Orton out with his own arm.  That this I Quit match worked so well despite being pretty tame compared to say, Mankind vs. The Rock speaks volumes of Cena's and especially Orton's ability to get across character and expression.  I'd cite this as Orton's first foray into becoming a true main event-worthy player.




8. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho - Unforgiven - 9.7.08


The best feud of 2008 was undoubtedly Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels.  After a babyface return in late 2007, Jericho quickly turned heel again in early '08, retooling his persona after the character of Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men.  Jericho became soft-spoken, sullen, and sanctimonious, insisting that born-again Christian Shawn Michaels was a hypocrite who didn't follow his own beliefs.  Their feud was intended as a one-off match that spring but stretched over nearly six months.  The best match of this saga in my opinion was the non-sanctioned street fight at Unforgiven, which sprung from an incident at SummerSlam.  Jericho invited Michaels and his wife Rebecca to his talk show, and their bickering led to Jericho accidentally knocking Rebecca out with a punch.  Again, this was tame by Attitude Era standards, but in the new PG Era it was treated as a huge deal, and the two wrestlers played it to the hilt.  Their fight was brutal without being bloody, and it ended via ref stoppage when Michaels had beaten Jericho unconscious.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Awesomely Shitty Movies: The Lost Boys

Welcome back to Enuffa.com for another edition of Awesomely Shitty Movies!  

Today we'll be examining the brazenly tawdry late-80s time capsule known as The Lost Boys.  Before the Twilight movies forever ruined the vampire genre Joel Schumacher gave us teenage vampire garbage we could really sink our teeth into.  Teeth, get it??  Cuz vampires like to bite people?  With their teeth? 

Buckle up and set the DeLorean for 1987, the heyday of such screen legends as Corey Haim, Corey Feldman (what's with all the Coreys??), Jason Patric, Jami Gertz, and the one teen heartthrob from this era whose career escaped more or less unscathed, Kiefer Sutherland.




Originally The Lost Boys was to be a Peter Pan-inspired film about pre-adolescent vampires, stemming from the idea that Peter could fly and never grew old (Kiefer's character was originally called Peter, while the protagonist brothers were Michael and John, later to be Michael and Sam).  However when Schumacher came on board he decided teenage characters would be much more marketable/sexier.

The resulting film is delightfully "late-80s," from the costumes, to the heavy metal-influenced fashion sense of the teenage characters, to the awesomely dated soundtrack, to the southern California setting.  It's a quintessential 80s summer movie.  And it's fantastically dumb.



The Awesome

The Cast

This movie's got a pretty great cast, all perfectly suited to their roles.  Corey Haim, while never ascending to the heights of great acting, was exactly right for the main character of Sam.  Sam is the audience's guide through the story, usually in way over his head and scared shitless the whole time.  Jason Patric as his older brother Michael is the character with the real arc (he goes from brooding, sullen prettyboy to brooding, sullen vampire), and he's the one whose relationship with the villains sets things in motion.  Dianne Wiest is excellent as always, as their mother Lucy.  Corey Feldman, whose childhood work was actually pretty underrated, is hilarious as the aspiring vampire killer Edgar Frog. 

Corey, Corey, and that other guy.

And of course the showstopper is Kiefer Sutherland as David, the leader of the vampire gang.  Sutherland was fresh off his breakout performance as teenage deliquent Ace Merrill in Stand By Me, and his performance here is similar, but with the volume turned way up.  In The Lost Boys he's a total badass motherfucker who repeatedly toys with the protagonists and kills rival gang members without remorse.  Great villain.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

WCW Monday Nitro #4: Hogan in a Neckbrace, Savage seeks Revengeance

It took 4 weeks, but Vader is finally out of the opening video for Nitro. For a guy who was never on the show, they sure did take their time replacing him with Luger.


WCW Monday Nitro #4, September 25th, 1995
Florence Civic Center in Florence, South Carolina


Disco Inferno vs. Alex Wright

So this is the infamous Disco Inferno. Never seen an Inferno match before this, and really it wasn't as bad as some have warned me it would be. Despite being Disco's Nitro debut, Alex Wright was the star of this match. He was able to clear the top rope on a dive, with no hands, and without much effort. Wright would probably be really popular today, with his cosmopolitan style and look. After a kind of short match, Wright got the pin with the backslide. Nothing special.
*1/4


Hulk Hogan cut a Hulk Hogan promo in a neck brace. He talked about how the Giant broke his neck and how he won't die, and I'm starting to think that maybe Ric Flair isn't the immortal sorcerer after all. Brother, brother.

They recapped the Randy Savage and Lex Luger confrontation from last week. Pirate shirt, snakes, etc. The two came out to shout at each other, and decide to have a number one contenders, Lex leaves town match next week. But for tonight, they have matches to get ready for.


Kurasawa vs Craig Pittman

Monster Morning Mullet
Well, this match was an unexpected treat. Pittman had a nothing match at the Pay Per View last week, but here he managed to have a really fun match with Kurasawa (who is Manabu Nakanishi.). Fun in the same way I enjoy Ishii and Makabe going at it. The brawl included a lot of Kurasawa going for Pittman's arm, because apparently he had broken Hawk's arm months ago. The match was pretty 50/50, until Kurasawa pinned Pittman with a GERMAN
SUPLEX
HOOOOOLLLDDDUUUUUUUU
**1/2, a very fun match.


Awesomely Shitty Movies: The Patriot

Hello and welcome to another edition of Awesomely Shitty Movies at Enuffa.com, where I analyze and interpret a piece of cinematic art/product and try to decide whether it's awesome or shitty.

This week I thought I'd revisit the 2000 Mel Gibson historical epic The Patriot, directed by Roland Emmerich (of Independence Day fame) and co-starring the late Heath Ledger.


The Patriot tells the story of Benjamin Martin, a widower and veteran of the French-Indian War who has retired to his home in Charleston, SC with his seven children.  As tensions mount between the American colonies and Great Britain, Martin is called upon to vote on the formation of a Continental Army.  He refuses to support such a measure, fearing no good will come of a war with England, but the Army is approved regardless, and his eldest son Gabriel enlists.  From there the Revolutionary War escalates, and after the ruthless English Colonel Tavington (Jason Isaacs) kills Martin's son Thomas, Martin finds himself fully embroiled in the War and becomes one of the Americans' most skillful military leaders.  What follows is a dramatic, action-oriented historical piece covering Martin's exploits as a guerrilla fighter who vexes General Cornwallis (Tom Wilkinson) at every turn, while Colonel Tavington counters with particularly cruel tactics.

So what worked and what didn't?  Well let's take a look....


The Awesome

Mel Gibson

As always, Gibson turns in a compelling, dynamic performance, blending his proficiency as an action-hero with his more nuanced dramatic chops to create a convincingly human protagonist.  Despite being praised as a war hero, Martin has a much more realist view of himself as a man who has done things for which he is ashamed, and who, as a single father, can no longer afford to be the idealist he once was.  This establishes a captivating friction, both between Martin and his superiors, and between Martin and Gabriel, who wants to contribute to the war effort despite his father's objections.  During the later parts of the film the evils of battle take their toll on Martin and he feels the loss of his own humanity.  Gibson conveys all this superbly and is completely believable in the role (Again, the man's a sick asshole in real life but I'll be damned if he wasn't one of the best actors out there for a while).

Oddly this is his mugshot from that 2004 DUI.


Music Review: Kesha - Rainbow


Well it's safe to say Kesha's former producer Dr. Luke was definitely holding her down.  Exhibit A?  Her third album Rainbow, an eclectic, defiant, and ultimately triumphant collection of pop, folk, rock, and country-western songs from an artist finally free to make music she truly believes in.  Eschewing the rather adolescent, and for me grating sound of her first two records, Rainbow is a major leap in creative maturity and textural nuance that should please both Top 40 radio listeners and those looking for something more sophisticated and personal.

Kesha's folk influence is easily spotted on songs like the hopeful opener "Bastards," which brings to mind the simplistic guitar/vocal arrangements of Edie Brickell and the brutal frankness of Alanis Morrisette.  The song offers a reassuring message that no matter how bleak things may seem, one must never let the aforementioned bastards win.  This folky vibe can also be found on the saccharin alt-folk tune "Godzilla," which literally places the 400-foot lizard in a mall (a metaphor for falling in love with a suitor the rest of your circle deems unworthy), and on the album's hauntingly atmospheric closer "Spaceship," wherein Kesha states her funereal wish to be picked up by an ancestral spacecraft after she dies (I could totally believe she came from outer space).  This song would feel right at home in a Coen brothers film, with its bouncy-but-melancholy guitar riff and gorgeously ethereal backup choir.

Strong country tinges can be found in the Johnny Cash-esque "Hunt You Down," in which Kesha talks about what would happen to a prospective lover were he to "fuck around" on her.  The song's derisively mad tone can be summed up with her spoken word line over the bridge: "Baby, I love you so much.  Don't make me kill you."  Another country tune is the classic rock update of Dolly Parton's "Old Flames (Can't Hold a Candle to You)," which Kesha's mother Pebe Sebert co-wrote.  Parton makes a guest appearance sharing lead vocal duties, while the instrumentation sounds very reminiscent of Abbey Road-era Beatles.

Monday, September 25, 2017

WWE No Mercy 2017: This Was Great, Until It Wasn't


Man, if you shut off No Mercy after the fifth match you'd have two-thirds of an easy PPV of the Year candidate for WWE (Nothing they do this year will ever touch NJPW's top shows).  In the first five matches there was strong action, good variety, and nary a misfire.  And then WWE failed to stick the landing, offering a disappointing main event and a flat-out offensive Cruiserweight match.  But before I really start complaining, let's go through what was good about this show, because I really did like the first couple hours.

The show started with The Miz vs. Jason Jordan for the Intercontinental Title, in a match literally no one was invested in.  But goddamn if they didn't pull out a solid opener.  I've been a reluctant fan of Miz's in-ring work for years, as a guy who can deliver a decent match with almost anyone of reasonable ability.  Miz's strength as a worker is that he's an excellent listener; he knows when to let his opponent lead the way and just go with it.  He's very unselfish in that regard.  As for Jordan, he proved last night why he deserves better than this insipid Kurt Angle angle.  Jordan could be marketed as a blue chip suplex machine, and with some character repackaging could become a great upper midcard heel like The Rock circa late '97.  These two put together a crisply worked match that the crowd was actually fairly into, until outside interference cost Jordan the match (much to the crowd's delight - Jordan needs to go heel).  Nice work by both guys.


Second was the unnecessary Bray Wyatt-Finn Balor rematch, where the company took a backwards approach to this feud.  Balor resorting to The Demon should've been the climax, but instead he just came out as himself, and they had a perfectly serviceable undercard bout.  Nothing terribly memorable, but this was just fine and Balor won to hopefully put this feud to rest.

The show peaked for me with the Tag Team Title match, another wild affair between Rollins & Ambrose and The Bar (Jeezus that's a terrible team name).  These four were having a splendid match until Ambrose catapulted Cesaro into the corner, and Cesaro ate a mouthfull of ring post, knocking out at least two of his teeth.  Holy shitballs that had to hurt.  And Cesaro wrestled another ten solid minutes after that.  I woulda called it a day.  "Sorry fellas, I ain't got no teeth.  I'm goin' home."  Not only that but the energy of the match actually ramped up after that, with wild tandem offense and some great near-falls.  Ambrose and Rollins finally retained after another Rainmaker knee/Dirty Deeds combo.  Excellent tag match.  It's kinda sad both teams can't be champions really.  Cesaro better get a bonus for this too.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Top Ten Things: Iron Maiden Songs

Welcome to another Enuffa.com Top Ten Things, where I pick my ten favorite somethingorother and bug all of you about it.

Today it's my ten favorite Iron Maiden songs! 


One of the most influential metal bands of all time, Iron Maiden was formed in the mid-70s by bassist Steve Harris.  Over the first few years the band went through various incarnations, hiring and firing band members with a frequency that would make Spinal Tap cringe.  Finally in 1980 they released their self-titled debut album and immediately gained a strong UK following, in competition with the burgeoning punk scene.  Bands like Maiden, Diamondhead, Venom, Motorhead, and several others formed a musical zeitgeist called The New Wave of British Heavy Metal (which influenced literally dozens of bands here in the States).  Maiden was soon forced to sack lead singer Paul D'Anno due to his increasing drug issues, and his replacement was diminutive onstage firecracker Bruce Dickinson, who brought incredible vocal range/power and athletic physicality to the role of frontman.  Their third album The Number of the Beast was a No. 1 smash hit in the UK and propelled Iron Maiden to international stardom.  A slew of successful albums followed, containing scores of classic songs, until Dickinson left the band in 1993 to pursue a solo career.  His successor Blaze Bayley recorded two albums to a rather tepid reaction, and in 1999 Dickinson was coaxed back into the fold.


Over the past fifteen years Maiden has released five more albums and embarked on several hugely successful world tours, and they remain a chart-topping worldwide phenomenon.  Their music has evolved a bit over the years but they've always maintained their signature galloping energy and  literature-inspired lyrics.  Their onstage enthusiasm continues to defy the band members' advancing age, and they routinely deliver an amazing live concert experience.  A side note: historically just as mythical as the band's music are the album covers and other associated imagery.  For years artist Derek Riggs created some of the greatest cover art in music history, featuring the band's undead mascot Eddie the Head.  A few of my favorite Riggs pieces are the covers of Powerslave, Somewhere in Time, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and Live After Death.

But enough about that; here are my picks for the Top Ten Iron Maiden songs of all time.


**Note: While I like and appreciate some of their 21st Century work, for me the classic Maiden period was 1980-1992, so all ten picks fall into that timeframe.**



10. The Trooper


Probably the most noteworthy song on 1983's Piece of Mind (Dickinson's favorite album), "The Trooper" kicks off with a start and stop feel, over which Bruce barks a defiant battle cry ("You take my life but I'll take yours too/You fire your musket but I'll run you through").  The band then dives into charging pace as the wordless chorus takes over.  What other lasting metal tunes boast a refrain consisting of nothing more than "Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh!"





9. The Prophecy


Yeah I know this is from "The Clairvoyant,"
but I couldn't find a "Prophecy"-specific piece of art.

The first of two entries from Seventh Son, "The Prophecy" opens with a gentle clean guitar arpeggio before exploding into a heavy triplet groove.  Dickinson regretfully howls out a warning message to an unnamed group of villagers of their impending doom, which then goes unheeded.  "The Prophecy" is simple but tremendously hooky, jumping from a minor key verse into a major key chorus.  I also love the baroque acoustic guitar outro.





8. Iron Maiden


The one non-Dickinson song on this list is the self-titled final track of the self-titled debut album.  An uncomplicated, nihilistic metal anthem, the lyrics of "Iron Maiden" dare the listener to partake in the graphic violence of the band's music, despite the music's oddly cheery tone.  This song is akin to Metallica's "Whiplash;" simply an ode to the brutality of metal.



Thursday, September 21, 2017

Movie Review: mother! (2017)

What to say about mother!?  That's uh....that's a movie alright.


Darren Aronofsky's divisive allegory about a married couple whose tranquil country home is overrun by unwanted guests plays out like a two-hour nightmare directed by Roman Polanski (with a few Kubrickian touches as well).  The wife, played by Jennifer Lawrence, seemingly has various repeated hallucinations (including a bloody spot on the floor rotting away into the basement beneath, a beating heart inside the walls, lightbulbs exploding, etc.), while her writer's-blocked poet husband (Javier Bardem) invites more and more guests into the house, seemingly as a way to avoid intimacy with her.  Gradually Lawrence's mental state appears to become further detached from reality, and everything goes completely haywire. 

That, on the surface, is essentially the plot of the film.  I can't really say anything more without involving ***SPOILERS***, so from here on in, consider yourself warned.  I'll try to be as non-specific as I can.

First off I'll answer the question of whether I "liked" mother!  The answer truly is this - I'm not quite sure.  While just about every review I've read has either enthusiastically praised Aronofsky's bold, anti-mainstream attack on the senses or comically dismissed the film as utter trash (I'm looking at you Rex Reed, you odiously miserable douchebag), my feelings rested squarely in the middle, somewhere. 

I admired Aronofsky's technical prowess; mother! has the off-putting visual claustrophobia of Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, with the down n' dirty graininess of The Wrestler.  I admired the performances across the board.  Bardem is somehow warmly menacing, like someone you want to trust if only you could shake the feeling that he's hiding a dreaful secret.  Ed Harris is affable but presumptuous.  Michelle Pfeiffer (great to see her again) nearly steals the show as a prying, socially inappropriate pillar of passive-aggressive.  And Jennifer Lawrence, while not quite giving a career performance, holds the film together as the overwhelmed homemaker who gives as much of herself as she possibly can while clinging desperately to her patience and sanity.  I admired the anxiety-building tone of the first half, where we know something is very much not right in this house but can't figure out why or what.  I admired the absolute hallucinatory anarchy of the second half, where rooms, situations and people seem to morph into something completely different the second we take our eyes off them, as in a vividly bad dream.  It must've taken incredible dexterity and confidence to stage and film these sequences, and from a visceral standpoint they work.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

WWE No Mercy 2017 Preview & Predictions

Wow, it feels like SummerSlam was forever ago, even though it's only been five weeks.  I guess that's what happens when WWE doesn't have four PPVs a month...


This Sunday is No Mercy, which for some reason was moved up a month and changed to a RAW PPV.  I don't get the schedule shuffling they're doing this year.  Hell in a Cell is now Smackdown-only, TLC is now RAW-only, Starrcade is coming back as a Smackdown televised house show essentially.  It's just super confusing.  Whatever...

This show is pretty stacked.  In fact they're giving away two WrestleMania-worthy matches.  On a B-PPV.  I don't get it.  They should both be something special though.  I suppose WWE programming is way more enjoyable when you don't think about it.  On with the picks...

***I'm in the lead with 46/67 (69%), Landon's in second with 36/55 (65%), Dave's third with 21/33 (64%), and Dan's bringing up the rear with 39/67 (58%)***




Cruiserweight Championship: Neville vs. Enzo Amore


I mean, Enzo?  Really?  I get that he qualifies for a Cruiserweight, but technically so do I.  And I wouldn't watch me fight in the Cruiserweight division.  Enzo is literally all talk.  He's good on the mic, stinks in the ring.  'The hell is he gonna do in a Cruiserweight match?  No wonder nobody takes this division seriously.  Enzo has no business winning this.

Justin: Neville retains
Dan: Enzo SUCKS. I don't even like his mic work. He tries to come up with funny shit, but it's cringe-worthy comedy. Neville better effin' retain.
Landon: I DARE them to just kill the division dead. They killed ECW, they can kill cruiserweights. Neville retains, I hope.
Dave: Neville. Enzo has been annoying since he's been in WWE.





Intercontinental Championship: The Miz vs. Jason Jordan


Poor Jason.  He had such potential, particularly as part of American Alpha.  But WWE "creative" decided to split up that great team and put Jason on RAW as Kurt Angle's son.  And literally no one cared.  Therefore WWE doubled down on this stupid move and kept running with it, rather than just letting it fade away.  I can't see them giving Jordan a PPV Title match here if he isn't winning it.  But it's too early.

Justin: Jordan wins and everyone gets pissed.  Maybe he'll make a good heel as a result.
Dan: COME ON MIZ!
Landon: Let it ride. Jordan to be pushed into burning out, then wondering why it didn't work.
Dave: I'm rooting for the Miz but I think he's gonna lose which is pointless.





Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt


I don't know why this feud is continuing, especially in another regular match.  We already saw The Demon at SummerSlam, so anything less than that is a step backward.  I'm guessing the story will be that Finn can't get the job done without being in Demon form.  Meh...the match will be fine but I don't care.

Justin: Bray wins
Dan: Finn for the winn
Landon: Wyatt
Dave: Man, I don't care.  Bray I guess.