Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Movie Review: X-Men: Apocalypse


As a huge fan of the X-Men movie franchise I'd placed the latest installment X-Men: Apocalypse very high on my list of Most Anticipated Films of 2016.  I was rather disheartened to learn of its mixed-at-best reception and feared yet another underwhelming third act in a beloved trilogy (In this case, my second favorite superhero movie series behind The Dark Knight Trilogy).  But while it has its flaws and is certainly the weakest of the X-Men prequels, Apocalypse does boast some series-defining moments, mostly strong performances, and a helluva villain.  Fear not friends, it's no Days of Future Past, but it's also no The Last Stand.

As I said, I've been hooked on this series since Bryan Singer ushered in the modern era of comic book films with his understated 2000 original, and the series has had highs and lows (mostly highs) since then.  For me the heart of the X-Men mythos has always been the uneasy relationship between Professor X and Magneto.  I find their Martin Luther King vs. Malcolm X-inspired association fascinating; I'm always drawn in by the idea of two characters with great mutual respect and admiration being separated by a difference in ideology.  Aside from Batman vs. The Joker, this is my favorite comic book pairing.

I was therefore blown away by the first of the X-Men prequels, First Class, as it was the first of the series to be free of the "Wolverine is the most popular so it should all be about him" mentality.  The Xavier-Magneto struggle was front-and-center, and the result was for me the best film in the entire saga.  Days of Future Past spotlighted these two characters as well, and even managed to find room for the aforementioned Wolverine (who was a childhood favorite but isn't terribly interesting or important to me as an adult).  This prequel series has been overall superior to the originals; an impressive feat, particularly given how awful a certain other series of prequels was....

You Used to Be Soooo Good: Pearl Jam

Welcome to another edition of You Used to Be Soooo Good, where Justin & I, Dan Moore, discuss things used to be awesome but now, eh, not so much. This week we discuss a band whose music was very important to me while a teenager in the rough streets of suburban Massachusetts whose current output is what I would call cookie cutter at best ( I don’t really know what that phrase is supposed to mean)              
           
Pearl Jam:  You Used to Be Soooo Good
Look at 'em in all their unwashed glory......

DAN: The early nineties were a confusing time for me in the music world. I was steadfastly a rock music fan. Loved Led Zeppelin from an early age due to influences from my father, and was drawn to all kinds of loud rock music since. But as a thirteen-ish year old boy, it was tough to be called a ‘headbanger’ in a derogatory fashion in a school where mostly pop & rap were listened to. Listening to Guns N Roses, Skid Row and other metal bands was not ‘cool’ to them, and peer pressure to fit in was abundant…but I just couldn’t do it. I stuck to my rock roots. And then it all changed with this new music called ‘Alternative Rock’. All of a sudden, guitar riffs and loud drums were acceptable in my school, all because of Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots and, for me, the kings of this new movement, Pearl Jam.  Their first album, Ten, took a while to grow on me, but it did, slowly but surely. There are so many songs on that album that scream out classic. From front to back, there is not one misstep. It made me want more of them, and shortly thereafter, Vs. came out, which topped their debut album. I mean, just destroyed it. They grew into a completely different sounding band. Their music was INCREDIBLE.

Goofy cover but goddamn what a great record.

JUSTIN: My path to Pearl Jam was slightly different.  I too was into hard rock and metal, specifically bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, etc.  I liked Gn'R, Motley Crue and Poison as well, but it was the thrash/speed metal that really blew up my skirt.  At my school metal was somewhat accepted actually, since some of the popular kids were into some of the same bands I was.  The difference was that I really looked the part, with long hair, rock T-shirts, acid washed (sometimes torn) jeans, and black cowboy boots (over the pants of course).  Yeah by today's standards I looked like a real jerkoff.  But there was a large metal clique in my school so I fit right in.

Anywho, by 1991 metal had actually gone mainstream and I was in heaven.  Metallica released the Black Album which took the world by storm.  They were all over the radio and MTV, and soon most of the metal bands I loved were following suit (i.e. stripping down their sound and making more accessible music) and finding mainstream success.  This was a double-edged sword because the music was clearly watered down but it was great to see bands like Megadeth actually getting mainstream attention.

Top Ten Things: May PPV Matches

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

Today I'll be talkin' wrestling (What a shock), specifically the ten best PPV matches to have taken place in the month of May.  WWE's PPV calendar has only included May for the past 20 years, but those two decades have yielded some veritable classics.  I've also included a trio of New Japan matches, from their annual May event Wrestling Dontaku.  .....And that's enough of an intro.  Let's get to it!



10. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hirooki Goto - Wrestling Dontaku - 5.3.15


The main event of last year's Wrestling Dontaku pitted the charismatic IWP Intercontinental Champion Nakamura against one of his most frequent rivals, Hirooki Goto.  The bout began as a measured grappling contest, with Nakamura using his cunning and agility to keep Goto off balance.  The action spilled to the outside several times, where Nak made innovative use of the security railing for some of his signature knee strikes.  After twenty minutes both men managed to kick out of the other's big moves until Goto nailed the Shouten for the match and the Championship.  Not their greatest match together but a fine contest nonetheless.




9. The Rock vs. Triple H - Judgment Day - 5.21.00


The Rock-Triple H saga had been raging on and off for three years by this point and this Iron Man match was more or less the climax of the feud.  The first of its type since Bret vs. Shawn four years earlier, this match was very different from its predecessor; instead of a methodical mat-based contest it was a wild brawl with a total of 11 falls.  Triple H was on a roll in mid-2000, having grown into an excellent ring general heel, while The Rock was in peak form as the new face of the company.  The finish was significant due to the surprise return of The Undertaker, who had vanished in late '99 after walking off RAW (in reality due to a groin injury).  Sporting a new biker persona, Taker attacked DX just before time expired, and inadvertently cost The Rock the WWF Title.




8. Steve Austin vs. Dude Love - Over the Edge - 5.31.98


One of the most fun Attitude Era matches was this Falls Count Anywhere match that raged all over the arena.  The Austin Era had begun and Vince McMahon was doing everything in his power to get the WWF Title off of him, including appointing himself as guest referee, Gerald Briscoe as guest timekeeper, and Pat Patterson as ring announcer.  Austin however had persuaded the Undertaker to act as ringside enforcer, keeping Vince honest.  The battle included several crazy spots on the "car wreck" entranceway set, including Dude being hip-tossed through the windshield.  Late in the match Dude Love accidentally knocked out Vince with a chair, and Taker chokeslammed both of Vince's stooges.  The finish came when Austin hit the Stunner before counting his own pin with an unconscious Vince's hand.  This was one of the more creative brawls of Austin's main event run.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Awesomely Shitty Movies: The Rock

Welcome to another edition of Awesomely Shitty Movies, here at Enuffa.com!  For those just joining us in progress, ASM is a regular feature where I pick apart a film that neither qualifies as a particularly good film nor as a piece of junk.  Every movie spotlighted in this column is something I either enjoy despite itself, or a movie that could be really good if the filmmakers just got out of their own way.

Today's ASM is the 1996 Michael Bay action vehicle, The Rock, starring Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery and Ed Harris.  The Rock tells the story of a former US General who hijacks Alcatraz Island, taking 80 civilians hostage, and threatens to launch a poison gas missile into San Francisco if his demands aren't met.  The US Government, not wanting to negotiate, sends in a team of Navy Seals, plus a former Alcatraz inmate who knows how to enter the prison undetected, and a chemical weapons expert to disarm the missiles.  As expected, things don't quite go according to plan and all hell breaks loose in the prison.


So why was The Rock both good and bad?  Let's find out....


The Awesome

Lead Actors/Characters

The Rock really begins and ends with its three lead actors. 

Nicolas Cage is spot-on as Stanley Goodspeed, the everyman type who's been thrust into an extraordinary situation and repeatedly survives by the skin of his teeth.  He is our eyes and ears throughout the story, keeping his head down during the intense action and letting the more experienced military characters do the heavy lifting while he concentrates on disarming missiles.  The fact that he has a pregnant girlfriend waiting for him at home adds consequence and sympathy to his plight; we reaaaallly hope he gets out of this alive.

Sean Connery as John Mason essentially plays an older James Bond type - a grizzled SAS veteran brought in to show the Navy Seals how to get in and out of the prison.  When we first meet him, Mason has been imprisoned by the US Government for 30 years without being charged, for refusing to divulge classified information.  During the ensuing combat, Mason is always in control of the situation and never gets rattled.  He forms an unlikely bond with Goodspeed and more or less guides/protects him (and us) through the action.  Mason initially wants to run once the shit hits the fan, but Goodspeed reminds him that his daughter would be within the blast radius if the bad guys launch their missiles.  So he has to juggle helping Goodspeed while also planning his escape at the end.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Top Ten Things: Superior Movie Sequels

Yo yo yo!  Welcome to another Top Ten Things here at Enuffa.com! 

As a companion piece to my Disappointing Movie Sequels column I thought I'd compile a list of sequels that were actually superior to the original.  It's something that doesn't happen often, but there have been numerous second or third cinematic chapters that have either expanded on or generally outperformed their predecessor. 

**Please note, two common picks you won't see on this list are The Godfather part II and The Empire Strikes Back.  Don't start throwing fruit yet, hear me out.  While both of those films are great, I prefer The Godfather I and A New Hope, respectively, just by a hair.  I can understand why some like the sequels better but I'm not one of those people.**

**Please further note, I also haven't included The Two Towers or Return of the King, as the Lord of the Rings trilogy is really just one extended film.**


So let's get to business....


10. Terminator 2: Judgment Day


James Cameron's 1984 classic The Terminator took Arnold Schwarzenegger's already burgeoning movie career to the next level by casting him as an evil cyborg sent from the future to destroy the mother of his enemy John Connor.  From this simple concept Cameron created a mythic film saga of self-aware machines turning on their creators and laying waste to the entire planet; a concept borrowed for The Matrix series, among others.  Only problem with the first film was the modest budget, which didn't allow Cameron to fully realize the story.  Some of the effects were quite clunky and prevented full audience immersion.  Seven years later he more or less remade the movie but set it during John's childhood, when a second Terminator has been sent to kill him instead of Sarah. 
Unbeknownst to the evil machines, John's future self has reprogrammed one of the original Terminators (played of course by Arnie) to protect little John.  T2 tells a very similar story but expands on it both visually and conceptually.  John's mother Sarah is now a hardened badass who is determined to stop the creation of the network of machines before it ever starts, and she begrudgingly accepts Arnie's help despite her previous traumatic experience at the hands of his predecessor (not unlike Ripley's hangup with androids in Aliens).  As for the new evil Terminator, that one's an upgrade model comprised of liquid metal, who can shapeshift and is nigh indestructible.  This character is the subject of some of the movie's most innovative and expensive special effects, as he morphs from one likeness to another.  The result is a pretty thrilling action movie which, despite basically being a retread, is an improvement on the original at almost every level.  My only two complaints were that Edward Furlong wasn't much of an actor, and I missed Michael Biehn's presence.  Seriously, that guy rules!




9. Bride of Frankenstein


I first saw the original 1931 Frankenstein on the TV show Creature Double Feature when I was probably seven years old, and like most kids I was fascinated by this little film about a man who creates a monster.  It wasn't until years later when I actually read the book that I realized how simplistic the Karloff film was.  So many story threads were tossed out and the moral ambiguity of Frankenstein himself was sort of glossed over in favor of a hero vs. monster scenario.  Yes we somewhat sympathize with the monster, but he's kind of a mindless brute in the film, rather than the eloquent, tragic figure of the novel.  In college I finally watched Bride of Frankenstein, and my original assessment was that it strayed so far from the book and was so unabashedly weird that I hated it.  But upon later viewings I developed an appreciation for the film's uncompromisingly bizarre tone and for how ballsy its anti-religious and sexual undertones were for 1935.  The story is also much more complex and Karloff's monster is completely sympathetic, aided by his newfound ability to speak (Sadly all of his dialogue is monosyllabic and clunky, but you take what you can get).  The performances by Ernest Thesinger as the sinister, rather flamboyant Dr. Pretorious, and Elsa Lanchester as The Bride are also iconic in the pantheon of classic monster films.  The Bride's "birth" is obviously the most film's famous scene; Lanchester based her movements on those of a bird to achieve a sense of otherworldiness.  That this was such a memorable character is even more amazing considering how brief her appearance is.  My only real gripes with Bride of Frankenstein are a) that there was no effort to make the few characters recast from the first film look like the original actors, even though Bride begins immediately after the first movie ends (For example the Burgomeister is now thin and has a mustache and Frankenstein's wife Elizabeth is suddenly waaaaaay hotter), and b) that Frankenstein's lab has a lever in the middle of the room that blows up the entire building.  What might I ask moved him to install such an easily-activated self-destruct mechanism?


Monaco Grand Prix Preview

by Dan Moore
@SouthieDanimal

Of all the sporting events that I force myself to like, car racing is the hardest to actively try to enjoy. It’s monotonous, it’s boring, and it’s goddamn loud. I pretty much hate it. But not the Monaco Grand Prix. Oh boy, this here is a race. Your typical NASCAR race is a buncha good ol' boys going around in circles, circles. Left turns for DAYS, son. But the Grand Prix is open wheel racing through the heart of a goddamn city. It’s fucking AWESOME to look at.

One day I’ll be on one of those yachts during this race (I’ll be a janitor)

I stumbled upon this race one random Sunday morning years ago in my apartment in South Boston. I woke up early for God knows what reason, and I saw these guys flying all over the road of a major metropolitan area. I immediately thought “I like this” and settled in to watch. I toasted up some waffles and drank the only thing I had left in the house, Bud Lights. Thus, a Monaco Grand Prix breakfast tradition was born. The race always starts at around 7am here in the states as Monaco is 6 hours ahead of us here on the east coast, so be prepared for early morning boozing.

Here now are my picks for the winner, with some favorites thrown in and a longshot pick.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Dissecting Rolling Stone's Top 100 Bob Dylan Songs

By Mike Drinan
@thesurfacenoise


Alright, so Rolling Stone put out a list where they ranked the 100 greatest Bob Dylan songs in celebration of the man’s 75th birthday, and for anyone who is suspicious of the list (because RS has put out some horrid lists) let me just say it’s not completely horrible. It’s not perfect but I only really got upset at one entry which is pretty unbelievable.

Before we dive in let me explain something. I view the rankings of songs very general. I don’t wage wars and get all moody because one song was put three spots above another. I have a range of ten spots in which I allow wiggle room for interpretation. Going to war over placements within ten spots, in my opinion, is simply splitting hairs. It doesn’t really matter. However, over ten spots then it’s fair game to bitch and moan.

Rolling Stone segmented the list with five groups of twenty songs, so I’ll give a summary of each group. Alright, let’s dive in!


100-81

The list kicks off with “Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)" from Street Legal. This group is made up of some pretty deep cuts. At #96 is “Farewell, Angelina”, a song that appeared on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991 and is a favorite of mine, with a great melody and very powerful, evocative imagery in the lyrics while also containing a despair for leaving the woman he loves. I think it should’ve been ranked higher but that’s my personal bias talking.

The 80s are rife with underappreciated Dylan songs. Starting at #88 with “Tombstone Blues”, followed up with “Most Of The Time” (#87), then “Meet Me In The Morning” (#86) which is one of my favorite songs off of Blood on the Tracks and ending with “One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)” (#82). A good collection with my only problem being “Meet Me In The Morning;" that should be in the fifties somewhere.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Rant About the NFL Being Run By Scumbags

by Brandon Cuddemi

The latest chapter in the book of NFL Greed & Corruption details how the NFL tried to influence a study on concussions and brain disease. The report is pretty cut and dry. I’m not sure about the legality of anything they did, but regardless, a handful of these guys should be in fucking prison. The quick version of the report is that the NFL gave money to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to the tune of $30 million. $16 million was to be used to fund the study in question. When the grant for the study was given to a Boston University doctor over a doctor who WORKS FOR THE NFL, the league lobbied to have the BU doc removed. But it seems the people at the NIH were able to Google “conflict of interest” and decided to not change their original decision. In turn, the NFL responded by pulling their $16 million dollars back, forcing the study to be conducted with taxpayer money instead. Even Bond villains think that’s fucked up.

Wait, you took the money AWAY?
Cold-blooded, Rog…cold-blooded.

The NFL wants a company man so they can conclude there’s no definitive link between concussions and CTE, and that football players aren’t more at risk. Remember how the tobacco companies once claimed in court that nicotine wasn’t addictive? Same strategy. The NFL is pretty much trying to say the world is flat, and when scientists say it isn’t, they tell the scientists to go fuck themselves. The lying about head trauma in football isn’t new. It actually spans a couple decades. Let me introduce to you Dr. Elliot Pellman. Pellman was the head of the concussion committee for the NFL from its inception in 1994 to 2007. He’s been a lead on studies with statements such as “Concussions are minor injuries” and “Professional football players do not sustain frequent repetitive blows to the brain on a regular basis.” Now you’re probably saying to yourself, “Surely he can’t be involved with the NFL anymore.” WRONG! And don’t call me Shirley. Pellman is the goddamn Medical Director for the league, and acted as the NFL’s lead contact to the NIH regarding the study. Is this real life? Is anyone fucking home? I’d be more comfortable with Dr. Van Nostrand, a Juilliard trained dermatologist, running the show.

The reason for the attempted tea-bagging of science and common sense is the same reason the NFL is always in a mess. Greed. This hurts their bottom line. And while Goodell and the crooks in the league office are all insufferable douchebags, they’re taking the cues from the billionaire owners. I mean, imagine if guys like Jim Irsay and Jerry Jones were signing your checks. All you need to do is read some of their quotes on the subject. Colts owner Jim Irsay has compared the risks of football to the side effects of taking aspirin. Perhaps he has a deeper pharmaceutical understanding than you or I because this is the same guy who was arrested in 2014 with more pills on him than a CVS. Only those pills weren’t aspirins, so who’s to say? Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said that it is “absurd” to say there is a link between football and CTE. That’s right. He used the word absurd. Because he’s an asshole, and he doesn’t know the internet exists.

Top Ten Things: Disappointing Movie Sequels

What up, my nerds?  Welcome to another Top Ten Things, here at Enuffa.com!

Today I'll be talking about a heartbreaking cinematic experience that makes me die inside a little bit and eats away at my very faith in humanity - the disappointing movie sequel.  You've been there; a beloved film classic gets a new chapter, you get all excited in the pants area, you rush out to buy a ticket, you plant yourself in that dark theater, trembling with anticipation, and then.......Two hours later the lights come up and you say, out loud, to no one in particular, "What the absolute fuck did I just watch???"

Then you go home and it hits you: that aforementioned beloved film classic has now and forever been defiled by the ineptly-produced, soul crushing twaddle that followed.  It's like winning the SuperBowl and then crashing your car into a ditch on the way to the after-party.  It's like buying your wife a diamond necklace and then dragging it through the shit-filled drainpipe at the end of Shawshank Redemption.  It's like flying to Paris, visiting the L'Ouvre, and defecating all over the Mona Lisa.  And now you're out ten bucks and bubbling over with resentment.

Okay I might be overstating the emotional effect of these crappy films, but you get where I'm coming from.  Here now are the Top Ten Most Disappointing Movie Sequels (Note: To avoid this piece devolving into a Star Wars/Hobbit/Prometheus-bashing session I have not included any prequels - sequels only).....



10. Mission: Impossible II


Our first entry is the 2000 sequel to the very successful Brian DePalma-directed adaptation of Mission: Impossible, starring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt.  Released in 1996, MI was a taut, suspenseful and pretty cerebral update of the TV show, featuring enough action set-pieces to please the summer popcorn crowd but enough character stuff and intricate plot to elevate it above the usual dreck.  I consider it one of the better offerings of that summer.  Fast-forward four years and Tom Cruise was back for the sequel, directed by John Woo and loaded with action and Wachowski-influenced fight scenes.  Problem was the story wasn't very compelling (a scientist develops a bioweapon which is then hijacked by a former colleague of Ethan's who plans to cause a mass infection so he can then sell the antidote at inflated prices), the action owed way too much to The Matrix, the central love triangle was tedious, and the villain (Dougray Scott) was more annoying than menacing.  Also where the first film was very smartly constructed, this one felt dumbed down and full of fan-service moments.  For example, in the first film Ethan uses latex masks to impersonate different people.  These masks are hyper-realistic and make Hunt indistinguishable from the real person.  I'd imagine such a sophisticated disguise would take considerable time to prepare and fabricate, not to mention you'd have to know that the guy you're impersonating is supposed to be in a particular place at a specific time for the ruse to work.  However in the second film, Hunt and Dougray seem to just have masks like this on-hand, ready to wear on the fly.  So clearly this gimmick was only thrown into the movie because it was used in the first one.  Overall I just found MI2 very uninteresting and kind of a generic action film with the MI name slapped on it.  Fortunately a) the series found its footing again with Ghost Protocol, and b) Dougray Scott opted to be in this film instead of playing Wolverine.  We all dodged a bullet there.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Game of Thrones: Season Six, Episode 5 ("The Door")

by Dan Moore
@SouthieDanimal

Hold the door? HOLD THE FUCKING DOOR? That’s what Hodor actually meant? Jesus that was silly. The reveal that Hodor was actually mushing up the words hold the door is just a little dumb if you ask me. I’m also not one of the fanboys that was in love with the Hodor character anyway. He was a big, mute galoot that dragged a crippled boy from place to place. He had no defining characteristics except his cowardice. So now he’s dead. RIP HODOR

Whatever

So now we’re moving on from the Three-Eyed Raven plot. So I must ask: Why the FUCK would you get an actor of Max von Sydow’s caliber and do NOTHING with him? He was a poor man’s Obi Wan Kenobi. He legitimately did less than Gilly, and that bitch is WORTHLESS.  What’d he have, five scenes? Three lines? Absolutely pointless.

The big reveal was that Bran’s warging powers seem to have some sort of influence on both the past and the future. Does this mean Bran can go back and change things that have gone badly in the past? I’m not too keen on this idea so I hope that’s not the case. The last thing this show needs is another deus ex machina (We have the dragons for that).

We had Sansa absolutely destroy Lord Baelish. Essentially telling him he’s a fucking idiot. Sansa’s character is so much better than it’s ever been at this point in the show. She’s confident, she’s making good decisions and she’s not taking any bullshit anymore. Looking forward to more of this from her. She’s even got Brienne in check, which is something I didn’t think was possible.

WWE: No Heroes Allowed

Welcome to a WWE product devoid of archaic tropes like "heroes" and "villains."  In today's world there is no such thing; everyone is various shades of gray, and not in the same way they were during the Attitude Era.  Back then it was clear who we were supposed to identify with.  Now it's a nebulous blur, and as long as a wrestler gets some kind of reaction, cheers or boos, that makes them by definition a star.  Hell, a mega-star.


This seems to be WWE's new mentality in 2016.  At least that's how they're rationalizing the continued push of Roman Reigns as the company's top babyface, despite 80% or so of their fanbase despising the guy.  At Extreme Rules JBL actually articulated that last part, twice.  Something to the effect of "Whether you cheer or boo Roman Reigns everyone has a passionate reaction to him.  That's the mark of a megastar."  The contortionism of WWE's logic is truly migraine-inducing.  "We like this guy as the top hero, but none of our fans do.  Eh, fuck it, as long as they react to him somehow that means he's over."  Yeah that's not how a top babyface works guys.  If the audience doesn't like the top good guy, that means they aren't emotionally invested in his journey, except in the sense that they'll pay to see him lose.  Congratulations, you've just established your top heel.  I mean that's the whole basis for professional wrestling.  The audience pays to see one guy win and another guy lose, and they really want to watch that scenario play out.  At a certain point you can't force on us which of those guys is which.  When Roman Reigns defends against Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank, guess which guy the crowd's gonna be rooting for.  Despite your best efforts, Seth Rollins is now the company's top babyface.  You can have him insult the audience all you want, but as long as he's in there with Resentment Roman, he's the good guy and Roman is the heel.  You're shoveling shit against the tide by trying to shoehorn these two guys into the opposite role from what they're suited for.

Booking Roman the way we saw at Extreme Rules, where he kicked out of two Styles Clashes (one on a chair) and withstood a dozen chair shots only to hit a spear out of nowhere for the win is only going to make the fans hate him more.  The audience doesn't want another SuperCena, we already have the one.  And say what you will about John, even at his least popular he was still getting cheered by half the crowd.  Reigns doesn't have anywhere near that level of fan support.  I fail to grasp why the company can't see how much better and more over Reigns would be as a monster heel.  After a year or so the crowd would very likely grow to love Reigns, because it would feel like he earned the role into which Vince so desperately wants him cast.

Monday, May 23, 2016

I'd Like to Introduce You To: Short Term 12

Welcome back to Enuffa.com, where we once again present I'd Like to Introduce You To.....from Michael Drinan - a series dealing with lesser-known cinematic gems that you should go out of your way to find. 

Typically, films have plots that involve characters to help move it along.  However, some of my favorite films of all time are those with characters that ARE the plot.  My love for movies started as a kid and stemmed from the various characters I had seen in movies such as Back to the Future, Eddie and the Cruisers (way underrated movie), and the Indiana Jones trilogy (there is no fourth).  I didn’t just see these characters as they were, I saw the flaws in the characters and became fascinated at the realization that these fictional people could be me, my family or my friends.  The realism, plus the association of their qualities, enhanced the film for me and it became the basis for what I look for in a good film.  Very rarely does a character film come along that is hypnotic in its backstory as well as its development throughout the movie.  Let me introduce you to Short Term 12.



The film takes place mainly in a juvenile treatment facility and mainly focuses on Grace, the staff’s supervisor, played by Brie Larson (you might remember her as Envy Adams in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World or as the sister that is always texting in Don Jon).  Grace works alongside her boyfriend Mason as they, along with two other lesser staff members, deal with emotional and often violent outbursts from the children they oversee, the bureaucracy of the system that these children are a part of, and more importantly, the emotional and personal stress of their lives.

The first time I saw this film I was a goner.  I fell hard in love with this film.  The writing, the acting, the characters, it was all great.  Also, Brie Larson is unbelievable in this movie and should’ve (in my opinion) been nominated for an Oscar for this role instead of Meryl Streep for August: Osage County, but that’s a whole other blog post.  Her performance carries this film, giving it enough heart, strength and vulnerability to make you care for each character she interacts with, hoping and praying they end up alright.  This film has become her calling card, garnering her more roles in upcoming movies and causing her to be seen as a rising star in the industry.  Her performance is that good and it’s all well-deserved.  She allows herself to be enveloped in the character so much so that she is almost unrecognizable from previous roles in other movies.  You look at her on screen and she looks familiar but you can’t quite put your finger on where you’ve seen her before.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The History of WCW SuperBrawl (1996)

WCW was still running on the WWF's old fumes....

SuperBrawl VI - Bayfront Arena - 2.11.96

WCW was nearing the end of its full-on WWF-lite phase, and the landscape was about to change only a few months after this show.  But for now we're stuck in retread mode, and the results are once again quite tedious.  Here we go....

I've said it before but I can't stand listening to Dusty Rhodes' commentary.  His overuse of the phrases "If you weel" and "Dubya C Dubya, where da big boys play" is so beyond grating I wanna stab myself in the face.  Also when did Tony Schiavone begin using the word "telecast" every thirty seconds?  I don't remember him ever saying that word in the 80s.  Jeezus Christ Tony!

The show opened with a mildly entertaining garbage match between The Nasty Boys and Public Enemy, which at the time was probably considered pretty wild.  Both teams were pretty dull to watch in general but this match was a little fun at least.

The surprising hit of the night was TV Champ Johnny B. Badd vs. Diamond Dallas Page.  Pretty decent stuff here, as these guys had good chemistry.  Weird to see Badd go over here since he was WWF-bound a month later.  DDP was morphing into the solid hand he'd become during the nWo era.

Taker musta been pissed....

This show had three very disappointing matches, and the first was a Tag Title match; Harlem Heat vs. Sting & Luger.  A major letdown considering the talent involved.  Too much of this and the followup match against the Road Warriors was taken up with "Is Luger a good guy or a bad guy?"  No one looked terribly motivated.  Hawk & Animal interfered to give Sting & Luger the win (I guess stemming from their feud with Luger?).  Pretty weak.

The US Title was on the line next as Konnan defended against One Man Gang.  Jeezus this was terrible.  I was never impressed with Konnan to begin with, and seriously, someone thought the One Man Gang would get over in 1996??  Gang's offense looked beyond sluggish and one-dimensional, and Konnan was sloppy as all hell.  Konnan won with the worst-looking cannonball-type move ever.  Brutally awful.

Speaking of awful, next was an "I Respect You" strap match between Kevin Sullivan and Brian Pillman.  Now correct me if I'm wrong, but is being forced to say the phrase "I respect you" really that much of a blow to someone's pride?  You can very easily have respect for someone you dislike; it's not like an "I Quit" match where you're admitting you got beaten.  Anyway, Pillman infamously went off-script here and surrendered 45 seconds into the match "I respect you, Booker Man!", and Arn Anderson was sent out as a sub.  Anderson and Sullivan plodded through about three minutes before Ric Flair broke up the fight and got them on the same page, uniting them against Hulk Hogan.  Utterly pointless.

WWE Extreme Rules 2016 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another round of PPV Predictions here at Enuffa.com, where my colleague Dan Moore and I break down the upcoming WWE spectacular.


This Sunday it's Extreme Rules, where most of the matches have some kinda wacky hijinx to make it different from the previous encounter.  As with most years, the majority of the bouts are rematches of some kind, but it should still be an entertaining show.  Let's get to it....

**Currently I lead Dan this season with 11/19 vs. 9/19.  Yeah we both suck this year.**


Pre-Show Match: Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler


A rematch from Payback, but they're still stuck on the pre-show.  I say it all the time, but poor Dolph....  At least he got a surprise win last time.  But that ain't gonna happen here.  The match should be ok.

Justin's pick: Corbin
Dan's pick: Corbin. I see nothing coming of this feud. Pointless.



US Title Match: Kalisto vs. Rusev


Holy shit, the US Title match is actually gonna be on the PPV??  First time since the Rumble.  Jeezus that belt's devalued.  Lining up Rusev for this shot seems like a reset for both him and the Title.  I wonder if after he wins it he'll drop it to a returning John Cena.  That'd be my vote, bring back the US Title Open Challenge.

Justin's pick: Rusev gets both his career and the US Title back on track
Dan's pick: Yea, the Bulgarian brute needs this.



Anderson & Gallows vs. The Usos


Yeah, WWE has already screwed up this Bullet Club stuff.  Anderson & Gallows have repeatedly lost on RAW and Smackdown, making them seem like just another tag team.  Also they're calling them The Club?  How fucking lame is that?  Finn Balor might be the only one who can save this faction, since at least they'd be called Balor Club.  Christ WWE, you guys could fuck up a ham sandwich.

Justin's pick: Anderson & Gallows avenge their multiple losses
Dan's pick: A & G


Thursday, May 19, 2016

NXT Weekly Recap: May 19, 2016 (Nia Jax vs. Bayley)

by Landon Wayne
@LWayne21


Samoa Joe Title Reign: Day 27

Before the show even opened properly, there was a hype video for the Bayley/Nia Jax match happening later tonight. I love the videos and the production on the NXT show. Whoever’s got the reins is doing their job really well.


Shinsuke Nakamura and Ausin Aries defeated Blake and Murphy, disappointing me solely because I was really hoping for this to be Bobby Roode as the mystery partner for A Double. I’m not 100% sure, but I think that Shinsuke has come out each week with a different top to the ring. I think this was the official start of Blake and Murphy falling apart as a unit. Hopefully it’ll bring both guys into singles careers where they can develop proper characters that they didn’t have as a team. Even at their hottest, when they stole the titles from the Lucha Dragons at the start of last year. Murphy spent the entire match in the ring, eating almost nothing but offense, before eating Nakamura’s knee.


**, for the express reason it started the Blake and Murphy breakup, hopefully, and planted seeds for a potential Aries/Nakamura feud.


Bayley was interviewed, talking about how she’s gonna beat Nia Jax tonight and continue on to regiain the NXT Women’s championship. Match should be really good later, going off of Takeover: London.

No Way Jose gave another promo about who he is and why he’s here, how he likes smiling and dancing. It was goofy, but it wasn’t bad really. Something about his delivery or his disposition just makes me like him when he’s talking.

Carmella was on screen. She wants the belt. She wrestles next.


Carmella defeated Peyton Royce, in the FOURTH woman’s squash in a row on the NXT program. The only difference is that Peyton got a bit more offense than the others have recently, by grace of being heel and needing the heat. Carmella throws, I’m not exaggerating, the worst punches in the company at this time. Which is a shame because she has athletic moments that show talent in other places. Carmella eventually won with her not Koji Clutch.

3/4* for a really not good match. Filled time, waiting for when the new generation of women finally start getting wins.


Uncle Miggsy Previews The Preakness

by Mike Parker
@UncleMiggsy

The second jewel of the Triple Crown brings us to Baltimore, Merlin as the locals call it. That’s what it sounds like anyway, I don’t speak poor. Seriously, what a dump. I was there when California Chrome was the biggest horse on the planet and Pimlico couldn’t be bothered to turn off the Lorde concert that was going on in the infield for the race. It was, in a word, CHAOS. I saw some wild stuff going on in that infield. People puking all over themselves, people passed out in port-a-potties, people in amorous embraces in port-a-potties. I saw an overweight 20-something with no shirt on eating a pretzel with mustard running down his milky white belly. One of his friends thought it looked so tempting that he started dipping his own pretzel in the belly mustard. Just Google the Preakness infield and scroll through the horror. There are bikini contests, open bars, and port-a-potty runs, a truly vile scene.

Par for the course

The official drink of Preakness is the "Black Eyed Susan." That’s the perfect name as Pimlico is smack dead in the center of the ghetto. I imagine there are a lot of women running around there with black eyes. The pimps down in Merlin can’t let their hoes get out of line. You take your life in your hands trying to get to and from the venue. I’m not kidding when I say don’t go here unless you like betting the ponies while getting syphilis.

Let’s transition to the real stars of the day, the ponies. I gotta be honest; I’m a little disappointed in the lineup for the 141st running of the Preakness stakes. I feel as if they are just conceding this race to Nyquist. Clearly Nyquist is the best 3-year-old horse (I wish Songbird was in the Derby, not convinced she isn’t the best. Hopefully they face-off later this year, maybe the Travers or Breeders cup classic). There doesn’t seem to be any early speed in this race to press the pace and challenge Nyquist early. He’s already proven on several occasions that he can hold off Exaggerator who is a phenomenal closer. Who else in this race can challenge? My hope is that horse like Gun Runner and Brody’s Cause have skipped the Preakness to focus on the Belmont Stakes in three weeks. It’s not a bad strategy. You give your horse the extra time to recover and try to beat Nyquist at the longer distance. It just makes for a lackluster Preakness. Let’s get into the horses that are in the race.

Best of the Super Juniors Preview and Predictions

by Landon Wayne
@LWayne 21

and Justin Ballard
@EnuffaDotCom


The Best of the Super Juniors. A time for the juniors of New Japan and abroad to come together and be showcased, while guys like Tanahashi and Okada can relax and drink martinis for a month. It’s a month of fast starts, quick ground work, reversals out of reversals, and fighting spirit. It’s refreshing for a North American fan who’s used to a stigma of lighter wrestlers as a niche or sideshow act to be able to watch almost a full month of nothing but the juniors giving their best performances.

It’d be ridiculous to try and cover every event, every match that happens. But we at Enuffa.cm want to give you something to sink your teeth into that’s tournament-related. So Justin and I are gonna give you the low down on each competitor, and give you some of our predictions for the tournament.


Block A

BUSHI

Landon: Los Ingobernables’ representative in the tournament has a lot to gain. He is a man who has been unexposed, even compared to the newest Stablemate SANADA. I feel like this could be a really good chance for BUSHI to break out strongly in the Junior’s division, especially after a humbling loss to KUSHIDA earlier this year.

Justin: I haven't seen that much of Bushi's work but I'm impressed thus far.  His match with Kushida was pretty great and he's probably the second best worker in the Ingobernables stable.  This should be a good opportunity for him to step up.


Gedo

Landon: New Japan’s booker has no real chance in this tournament, and certainly has no benefit in winning. While he may not get many victories, the 27-year veteran has given great performances recently alongside Okada and Ropponngi Vice in the undercard and overseas. Look for solid matches coming from him throughout the block.

Justin: Gedo's a non-factor in this tourney and will likely drop most of his matches, thus putting some of the younger guys over a well-respected name.


KUSHIDA

Landon: The IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion, and last year’s winner, goes in with the odds of him winning this year stacked against him. Winning this year would mean winning both as champion and defending BOSJ winner. This feat has only been accomplished by one man, Tiger Mask IV in 2005. However, after defeating Kenny Omega at WK10, and Liger recently at Dontaku, there could be a push to make the champion the next biggest Junior in history. A win in the tournament could help this along.

Justin: Kushida is the new yardstick for small wrestlers everywhere.  He's gone from a mostly tag wrestler to one of the best in-ring talents in the world, bringing to the table so much more than just flashy offense.  When Kushida's in there every move counts and there's a story to be told.  I don't see him winning but he certainly could be a finalist.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Top Ten Things: Movie Plot Twists

Welcome to Top Ten Things, here at Enuffa.com, where I compile a list of stuff that, let's be honest, is ultimately meaningless in the grand scheme of things.  But let's do it anyway...

Today it's the Top Ten Movie Plot Twists of all time.  The plot twist is an age-old narrative device used to reframe an entire story and make the audience go, "Wait, whaaaaaaaat??"  When executed correctly it can save a poor film (Saw, Terminator 3) by creating a memorable ending that stands out much more than the film itself, or it can make an already good film a transcendent piece of pop culture.  A good plot twist generally makes the movie a mandatory repeat watch, as the first viewing results in a colossal mindfuck, while the second allows us to put the pieces together with the new frame of reference.  It also requires great skill and discipline on the part of the storyteller, as they need to give away enough information that the reveal doesn't feel like a cheat, but keep enough cards hidden that the audience won't see it coming.


Here are the ten greatest plot twists in cinema history, according to me.....


*****SPOILERS AHEAD******


10. The Prestige: "A brother...a twin..."


Christopher Nolan's moody period piece about feuding 19th century magicians has great fun playing around with the timeline, creating narratives within narratives as each of the main characters reads the other's diary and we see flashbacks from multiple points of view.  The rivalry centers around a trick known as The Transported Man, in which the magician disappears into a cabinet at one end of the stage only to instantly reappear from an identical cabinet twenty feet away.  Alfred Bordin (Christian Bale) invented the trick, and Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) becomes obsessed with discovering the secret, even commissioning the creation of a newfangled teleportation device.  In the film's climactic twist ending it's revealed that Bordin had a twin brother the whole time.  He and the brother would take turns playing the role of Bordin's assistant Fallon, and both committed so fully to their secret that it ruined Bordin's marriage, his career, and eventually cost the brother his life.  The filmmakers masterfully manipulate the audience's sympathy, transferring it from Angier to Bordin midway through the movie.  The final reveal caps off that transition perfectly.
   


9. The Wizard of Oz: "There's no place like home"


One of the most famous and often imitated twist endings is the "It was all a dream" scenario, wherein the protagonist wakes up to find that none of the events we've just witnessed actually happened.  In a lesser story this can be an infuriating revelation, but in the case of The Wizard of Oz it turned out iconic.  Dorothy gets trapped in her house during a tornado, is knocked unconscious, and is transported to a magical world called Oz, populated by witches, little people, talking scarecrows, tin men and lions, and of course, color.  After a whimsical journey to see the famous Wizard about helping her get home, a good witch named Glinda tells her to click her heels together and suddenly she wakes up in her own black & white bed, having dreamed the whole darn thing.  While this type of plot device has been parodied and watered down over the years, in this case it was a brilliant piece of storytelling.  The Wizard of Oz is probably the quintessential family movie and I always associate it with a time before the advent of DVDs and on-demand streaming, when we could only watch it once a year on TV.  Truly an Event Viewing experience.   



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Game of Thrones: Season Six, Episode 4 ("Book of the Stranger")

by Dan Moore
@SouthieDanimal

That’s more like it. This is the first episode of Thrones this season that didn’t seem like it was just checking in on all the characters we know. This one actually had plots move along and created natural character progressions. John and Sansa are reunited at Castle Black (Sure, Sansa and her crew seem to have hiked the million miles or so from Winterfell to Castle Black in what seems to be a day, but whatever). This is the stuff we’ve all been waiting for. The Stark kids, back together. I mean, one of them is a bastard born of his father’s infidelity (or is he?!?!?), but he’s still a Stark. And seeing Sansa take control and essentially tell Jon “we’re taking back Winterfell” was awesome to see.

Oh man, it's getting dusty in here.

They also know that Ramsay has their little brother Rickon, and they’re gonna go save him. After Jon read most of Ramsay’s threatening letter, he seemed ready to go fight. But when Sansa read the rest of the threats against her, oh boy, she’s definitely down to fight.  Blood should be flying everywhere. Here’s hoping Ramsay gets flayed much like the banners he’s got flying all over the place (especially after what he did to poor Osha).

Everyone’s favorite jerk, Littlefinger, showed up FINALLY. He’s still pulling the strings at the Vale, and he gets the truly useless Lord of the Vale, Robin, to go along with his plans to help Sansa out. This prick is the kind of guy I can get behind. Plus, if the Knights of the Vale are heading towards Castle Black and team up with Jon Snow’s wildling army, that Bolton piece of shit is TOAST.

With a smug smile and douchebag mustache, you know this guy is a prick.

Tyrion sets up a deal with the masters on Mereen: Stop helping the Harpies insurgency and they can have slavery back…but only for 7 years. It’s a deal frowned upon by Missandei and Grey Worm, but fuck them. She’s a wet blanket and he’s got no dick. Tyrion knows what he’s doing (This plan seems awful in the long run, but what do I know?). I don’t really know what is going to happen with Mereen going forward. I also kinda don’t care. It just seems like a big pause in the long run of this story, and it’s taken Tyrion from the forefront of the show. That’s a huge mistake. He’s the best character in the program and he’s relegated to maybe two scenes a week. Tis a shame.

A Rant About the NBA Lottery by a Jaded Celtics Fan

by Brandon Cuddemi

Every time the Celts have a shot in the lottery, I try to not get my hopes up. I always fail at this. And inevitably, they get the shaft, and I see red. I expect nothing different tonight. The icing on the cake will be when the Lakers get the top pick. If that happens, you should alert the authorities.


Yes, we see the irony in bitching about a team with the most championships in NBA history, but screw you.

The truth of the matter is this is kind of a bonus. It's not really the Celtics pick. It's Brooklyn's. At the time of the trade, there was no way of knowing whether Brooklyn would be this bad at this point. Danny FLEECED 'em. But now that it’s here, and the fact it represents the trade that sent Pierce and Garnett out of town, I think it warrants some luck tonight.

The other part of that is, fuck these other teams that tanked it this year. Philly should be banned from the lottery for the next decade after the embarrassing way they've gone about their business. I don't even know how many years they've been losing on purpose now. The Lakers?...blow me. They get a sit down with every big free agent just for the fact its La-La land, and nobody told them to give Kobe the most ridiculous contract in the world that crippled their potential for the last two seasons. Phoenix pulled a Major League by trading everyone and anyone who was decent in order to keep losing. Not even exaggerating, they followed this business model to a T. So they can go pound sand too. Minnesota has two great foundation guys already in Towns and Wiggins. They don't need to win another lottery. The Kings are a legitimate circus and it would be cruel to send one of the top guys to Sacramento. I could go on but you get the idea. FUCK em all.

I'm fine.  Everything is fine.

The History of WCW SuperBrawl (1995)

No WCW.....don't do it!

Ah crap, they did it.....


SuperBrawl V - Baltimore Arena - 2.19.95

Welp, this was only two months removed from the dreadful Starrcade '94, at a time when Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff had taken everything that made WCW what it was and chucked it out the goddamn window (except Ric Flair, whom they kept around just to torture for seven more years).  The result was a mostly horrible in-ring product with a bunch of recognizable stars from the old WWF, plus a few guys whose inclusion on the roster absolutely baffles me.

It should be noted that an Arn Anderson-Johnny B. Badd TV Title match was on the pre-show and got a whopping four-and-a-half minutes.  Remember this as you read the list of luminaries that actually made the main card.  Fuckin' hell.....

First up we have Alex Wright vs. Paul Roma, in what was a pretty nondescript opener apart from a few clever moves by Wright.  Not sure why he was facing half of a tag team, but whatever.  He had solid potential but never really lived up to it.  Roma played a good douchebag but was more or less irrelevant by 1995.  Wright won with a rollup after shoving Roma into Orndorff.

The less said about this next match the better.  Jim Duggan vs. Bunkhouse Buck.  Holy shit this match was boring.  Two inept brawlers slogging through an eleven-minute match.  What kinda generic-ass gimmick is Bunkhouse Buck?  A farmer guy.  That's it.  Awful stuff.  Duggan won with the lamest-looking clothesline ever.

I'm in hell.  Next up is Kevin Sullivan vs. Dave Sullivan - also terrible.  Dave Sullivan was of course Kevin's younger brother (not in real life), who moved as though in slow motion.  Where did WCW get all these hack wrestlers in the mid 90s?  Evad, Bunkhouse, The Renegade; all of them useless.  This was just about as dull as the previous match and ended mercifully when Kevin rolled Dave up and hooked the tights.  Who in God's name thought Kevin Sullivan was relevant enough in 1995 to have a singles feud with his pretend brother?  Hilariously enough Brutus Beefcake, the main event challenger from Starrcade '94 two months earlier, was Kevin Sullivan's sidekick in the third match on this show.

Seriously, who was shelling out 30 bucks to see this??

Monday, May 16, 2016

Bob Dylan's "Blonde On Blonde" Revisited

by Michael Drinan
@thesurfacenoise



I was twenty years old when I first listened to the album. Dylan was a name I had heard before but never paid much attention to or gave him a listen. When you grow up in the 90s you don’t feel you need an artist like Dylan in your life because you already have so much to listen to as it is. So, when the 90s faded, along with the great music that came with it, I figured it was time to dive into the music of the 60s to see what the fuss was all about, and The Beatles and Dylan were the first artists to check out.

As a guide, I used VH1’s list of “100 Greatest Albums of Rock & Roll” to point me in the right direction. Before you roll your eyes I will tell you that it was and still is the best list on the subject I’ve seen. Sixteen years later and I still find myself agreeing with the albums listed, even though we can always quibble on placement. Of course, The Beatles and Dylan were littered all over it and so it seemed to be the most logical place to start. The Beatles were easy to listen to since my dad had many of their albums. Dylan, I had to go to the music store and buy his albums to hear them.

So, I bought Blonde On Blonde along with Blood On The Tracks, two works that many deem to be his best. I went to my car, popped in Blonde On Blonde and went driving around the back roads of Hampton Roads in Virginia and listened, preparing to be blown away.

I didn’t prepare myself enough. How could anyone?

The first track, “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35” I dismissed as being a playful little jam session where it seemed as if no one knew how to play their instruments. I still sung it out loud because I had heard it before off the Forrest Gump soundtrack. I began settling into the album on the second track “Pledging My Time”, a muddy, bluesy stomper with a soaring harmonica intro. My foot kept tapping, my head bobbing back and forth and my fingers drumming along. I was into it.

The clincher came when “Visions Of Johanna” came on and opened with one of the greatest opening lyrics I’ve ever heard, “Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re trying to be so quiet.” Mother. Fucker. What a line! I was instantly sold, not just on the album but with Dylan himself. I heard he was a great lyricist, the “poet of rock ‘n’ roll”, but you’re never prepared for when you realize it or when you believe it. That lyric was the one that sold me on that notion. He was the greatest lyricist in rock history.

NXT Weekly Recap: May 11, 2016 (Finn Balor vs. Elias Sampson)




Samoa Joe's Days as NXT Champion: 20

This week’s episode of NXT saw the return of Finn Balor to the program. Will the former champion break the funk that NXT has had in recent weeks? Or will he be in just another squash match? Will American Alpha come back to Full Sail? Will the streak of 3rd generation women signees jobbing continue? Would I be asking if any of these weren’t true?

The show opened with Finn coming out to a great ovation from the Full Sail crowd. He came out, with his typical video and music, but was overall somber as he walked to the ring. While this is happening, we’re reminded that Nakamua faces Alex Riley tonight. Finn took a mic and talked about his war with Joe, how each match could go either way.

The following are the exact words I wrote down for the next 3 minutes:

GOD DAMMIT SAMPSON

Pele Kick

Finn throws Guitar

Great Catch of Guitar

Fuck, they wrestle later.

They showed how social media exploded with Eric Young’s arrival in NXT, and they showed the full video of Eric Young being interviewed that had surfaced the week before his NXT TV debut. Really excited for Eric Young to be here, can’t wait to see what he can do.


American Alpha defeated Corey Hollis and John Skyler, in another example of showing a potential new team showing up to go against an established team. The opposite team got just enough heat so that Jason Jordan could get the hot tag. Part of the way through, Corey Graves called this match "a mugging" and I can only have the delusion that Corey reads my reviews.  Towards the end of the match, the Revival came out on stage to have a stare down. At which point, Jason proceeded to pull his singlet straps back up, to remove them again and go for the finish. They hit Harris with the Grand Amplitude.

**1/4 for, yet again, a basic match used to keep American Alpha fresh in the audience’s mind. Definitely looking forward to the eventual Revival/Alpha rematch.


There was an indescribable Nakamura promo that lasted all of about 10 seconds. I could not begin to describe how awesome this was. I command all of you to find the promo and following match.


Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Alex Riley in a match made of concentrated awesome. This match consisted of about 20 seconds of Riley offense, then approx. 75% of all of Nakamura’s spots. Kinshasa ended the match within 5 minutes.


1000 Fucking Stars.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Movie Review: Avengers 3: Civil War (Ok fine, Captain America: Civil War)

by Dan Moore
@Southie Danimal

This is 100% an Avengers movie. The sheer amount of characters, the world-spanning plot and overall chaos it brings to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is far too vast for a Cap movie alone. It deals with loose ends left over from Winter Soldier but its main story arc is a result of Age of Ultron.

Avengers 3.  Just call it what it is.

Now here comes the hyperbole: This is the greatest superhero movie ever made. And I’ve seen them all. Christ, I saw the ORIGINAL Captain America, with JD Salinger’s son in the starring role.

Captain Suit-Obviously-Made-of-Rubber

So I have some idea of what I’m talking about. And this has it all. Big action sequences, an intriguing mystery aspect, and costumed dudes punching other costumed dudes in the face. Plus, there is true emotion behind all these characters. They’re all wearing lycra spandex and masks, but these are real, fleshed out characters. Even when they weren’t slugging each other, I was never bored with this movie. It kept my attention the whole time.

CA:CW has essentially the same plot as the other big superhero movie released this year, Batman v Superman. Mainly, the two main heroes don’t particularly get along too well and are divided against each other because of massive casualties that resulted from them saving the world.  But unlike BvS, which pigeonholed this plot into one overly long flick, the drama between Cap and Iron Man has been brewing for three or four movies at this point. Their conflict feels more natural. It helps that you have an actor of Robert Downey Jr’s caliber in the Iron Man role. You can feel his PTSD in this and the last Iron Man flick. He’s truly a changed man.

There’s a TON of stuff in this flick, so I’m breaking it down into categories.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

NJPW Wrestling Dontaku Review

by Landon Wayne
@LWayne21


I started watching New Japan at Wrestle Kingdom 9, with Global Wars of 2014 being a precursor and introducing me to some of the more prominent talent. Now, I subscribe to NJPWWorld.com and enjoy New Japan on a regular basis. I bring up Wrestle Kingdom because I became a fan of two men in particular that night. Both men lost that night, but I also promised myself on that January 5th or 6th that I would continue to follow these men through their careers, no matter where they went. Now, Tetsuya Naito and Tomohiro Ishii fought in the main event, delivering a great match that was preceded by a series of really good matches. But first, there was…an undercard.



Bad Luck Fale and Yujiro Takahashi defeated Juice Robinson and Captain New Japan in a similar squash match to Invasion Attack. This is the second opening squash where these two have beaten Juice and another wrestler. After Fale pinned Captain New Japan with a Bad Luck Fall, Robinson left the defeated Captain in the ring alone, looking frustrated as he left. I really couldn’t care less.

¾* for a nothing match that I watched on auto-pilot.



Kazashi Sakuraba, Gedo, Will Ospreay, and YOSHI-HASHI defeated David Finlay, Jay White, Ryuske Taiguchi, and Tiger Mask IV in what I consider the true opener for Wrestling Dontaku. There was a really interesting intensity in the opening minutes of the match between Sakuraba and Tiger Mask, which may lead up to a larger match further down the road. The main focus of this match was the Juniors in the match who are going to be in the BOSJ in a few weeks. Finlay and Ospreay were the final exchange that made Will look really good. Ospreay won with a Springboard Ace Crusher, which is his new finish apparently.

**, and I can’t wait for Best of the Super Juniors. If only a member of the site would do an introspective look at the tournament as a whole…



IWGP Jr. Hevyweight Tag Team Championships

Ricochet and Matt Sydal defeated Rappongi Vice, in the first of many odd endings on this event. We have a team of two men who would be better off as singles wrestlers in the division, going up against the strongest looking Jr. Team in the company right now. While this match was good I feel like I’m starting to numb to the Jr. tag appeal in New Japan, losing focus a few times as I watched. However, that’s not to say there weren’t good aspects from all four men. Sydal and Ricochet ended the match with the stereo shooting stars, solidifying themselves as 2-time champions.

**1/2, because I know it could’ve been better if given more time, but nothing went majorly wrong. My only gripe was that the titles just bounced from ReDragon, to the Bucks, to Ricochet and Sydal, to RPG Vice, and BACK to Sydal and Ricochet. Just depreciates the value of the belts to me.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Game Of Thrones: Season Six, Episode 3 - "Oathbreaker"

by Dan Moore
@SouthieDanimal

A slow night in Westeros. Not much happened in last night’s episode. Jon Snow is up and about again after dealing with that nasty ailment known as “being dead." He promptly took the crows that murdered him and had them swinging on the gallows pole. And then his watch ended. I guess he technically didn’t break his oath, as you’re sworn to the black until you die, and Jon Snow most certainly died. So now he leaves the Wall to do…I dunno. You’d think maybe he woulda checked with his friends before leaving. But nope, Jonny went all lone wolf and took off. Maybe he’ll go find Sansa? Or Uncle Benji? Who knows.

Way to come back from the dead, Jon!!

Dany finally gets to Vaes Dothrak and oh boy they don’t like her. Seems that these widows of the Khals don’t take to kindly to our silver-haired Mother of Dragons.  She’s the real oath breaker, as she was supposed to end up in this widows' home immediately after her Khal died, but noooooooo, she had to go all liberator in Mereen and free slaves. So now her fate is left up to these vengeful broads. Will she stay? Will she be exiled? Or worse? I’m gonna say she’s freed by her gray-scaled friend, Ser Jorah. But this is an interesting development. Dany now has to pay for wanting to be such a gracious person. Could be trouble.

I think the biggest reveal in this episode is that as Ramsay is trying to cultivate new relationships as the Lord of Winterfell, Lord Umber shows him his ace in the hole: Rickon Stark. The fact that Ramsay now has ANOTHER Stark to fuck with is infuriating, but dem’s da breaks, kid. Does this help Ramsay get total control over the folks in Winterfell and beyond? If Jon Snow hears word of this, Ramsay is FUCKED.

Speaking of the Starks, we got a view of young Ned! As Bran continues his Warg training, we watch as he views his father fight Ser Arthur Dayne in what is one of the coolest fighting scenes that Thrones has done thus far. It was awesome seeing Ned again, even if it wasn’t Sean Beane. Why was Dayne guarding that tower? What’s going on up there? And what a screwjob at the end of that scene. Ned’s about to head into the tower and the Three Eyed Raven pulls the rug out from under us. “You’re lesson is over, flashback, done”  I WANNA KNOW!!!

YEAAAAAAHHHHH NED!!!!!!

The History of WCW SuperBrawl (1994)

The final SuperBrawl before the Bischoff Era.  Was it any good?  Let's find out...

SuperBrawl IV - Albany Civic Center - 2.20.94

I went into this show expecting to like it pretty well.  But I didn't really.  WCW's booking under Flair felt very disorganized, like they were trying to adhere to the tropes that had worked for them in the past, but weren't fully committed to the idea.  So it became an awkward hybrid of 1991 WCW and 1991 WWF almost.  And neither company at that time was producing very good results.  Sadly this was the beginning of the end for WCW as we knew it; the roster would very soon resemble the late 80s WWF and the company would hit its creative nadir.

The show began with the introductions for the scheduled opener, Johnny B. Badd vs. Michael Hayes, only for Hayes to roll out in a wheelchair and claim he was too injured to compete.  Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel then announced that Jimmy Garvin would take Hayes' place, but not until later.  So they used up ten minutes on this foolishness.

The actual opener was Harlem Heat vs. Thunder & Lightning, in a pretty well-worked tag bout.  Both teams looked good here and it made me wonder what became of Thunder & Lightning after this (Just looked this up - Lightning was Jeff Farmer, or the future nWo Sting, while Thunder went on to own NWA Ohio).  The ending was a little weak, as Stevie Ray took advantage of a distracted referee to kick one of the babyfaces in the ear, which was somehow enough for the win.  But not a bad way to kick things off.

Next up was a laughably bad match between The Equalizer (later repackaged as Kevin Sullivan's simpleton brother Dave), and, get this, "Jungle" Jim Steele.  Jungle Jim.  Get it?  Jim was more or less a discount store Ultimate Warrior ripoff, with vaguely similar ring gear, a comparable build, and a few of the same mannerisms.  But yeah, this was terrible.  Tony Schiavone actually went on about the great opening matches we'd seen at previous SuperBrawls, as if to say, "...and now we get crap like this."

Jeezus, did Page EAT his future self?
Clearly DDP Yoga wasn't around yet.

Two rather dull matches followed, the first of which pitted a pretty portly Diamond Dallas Page against Terry Taylor.  This started out fairly strong, as Taylor was always a good worker and DDP seemed determined to prove he was more than just a gimmick.  But the bout dragged on several minutes longer than it probably should have.  Taylor won with a quick rollup after nearly 12 minutes.  Heenan's commentary kept this entertaining....

...And saved this next match, Johnny B. Badd vs. Jimmy Garvin.  Badd looked, well, good here, using some solid grappling moves.  Garvin had returned after a two-year layoff and looked like someone's dad in wrestling tights.  This match was a glorified squash that lasted 10:48.  Garvin hardly showed any offense until after the match when he attacked Badd and hit him with the 9-1-1, or as it would later be known, the Stone Cold Stunner.  Not much to this one.

The TV Title was on the line next, as Lord Steven Regal defended against the returning Arn Anderson (who'd missed a few months after the hotel stabbing incident with Sid Vicious) in a special 30-minute time limit match.  Yeah, that time extension was a mistake; this match was incredibly dull for nearly the entire duration.  Neither guy seemed to know what to do to fill thirty minutes (29:54 to be exact), nor was there any urgency to anything they did do.  Aside from a few near-falls toward the end it didn't feel like Anderson was really trying to win the match; at one point with less than a minute to go he broke out a side headlock before remembering this was supposed to be the climax.  What a disappointment.  How much better would a fast-paced fifteen-minute bout have been here?

Ladies and gentlemen, the first fifteen minutes....

The surprise hit of the night was a chaotic Tag Team Title match pitting The Nasty Boys against Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne.  Payne broke out several suplexes early on (and one botched belly-to-belly at the end that nearly crippled Brian Knobbs), and Cactus did his usual cringe-worthy spots, like taking a back bump off the apron to the unprotected concrete.  This certainly wasn't pretty but it also wasn't boring.  The finish stunk though - Saggs broke a guitar over Payne's head to draw a DQ.  But shockingly this was the best match on the show so far.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Miggsy Previews The Kentucky Derby

by Mike Parker
@UncleMiggsy


It’s the first Saturday in May and you know what that means. It’s time for "The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports," the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby. For most folks, it means getting all dolled up in fancy garb and pretending to like mint juleps, but for the degenerate gambling crowd it’s the start of the pony wagering season. And like a true degenerate would do, I got my friends hooked on $2 Win-place-show bets and trifectas so I was the only one walking around with a racing program hanging out of my back pocket. As always, we have a huge field for the derby. Twenty of the country’s best thoroughbreds will take part in the run for the roses and look to copy American Pharoah’s amazing Triple Crown from a year ago. Let me tell you right now, there is ZERO chance for any of these horses to accomplish that. I don’t have time to go over every horse and I know you don’t care so…

Let’s start with the favorite, Nyquist (Named after Detroit Red Wings forward Gustov Nyquist). He’s an impressive colt. Currently, he is undefeated; a perfect 7 wins in 7 races. At this point in his career he actually has more wins and double the prize money that American Pharoah had. I know that’s going to make you think “Well why cant he win the Triple Crown then?” Well he’s also been raced twice as much. That’s a bad sign when he needs to win 3 of the toughest races in just over 5 weeks. The ideal layoff between starts is 6 weeks for most horses. So think about it, he has to race the best challengers in the world with basically no layoff. I don’t see him doing it. He’s got a great shot at winning this weekend and maybe, maybe he’ll get the Preakness but not all three.

There are four grey horses in the field (Creator, Lani, Destin and Mohaymen). Cross them right off. I NEVER bet a grey horse. There is something about them that just doesn’t look right. They look sickly or as if they’ve seen a ghost or something. It creeps me out.

Seriously, who bets these......things?