Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Smackdown Live Review: 7.26.16 (The New Era Begins)

by Landon Wayne
@LWayne21


When I started watching wrestling, I became a Smackdown! Guy. You could keep Cena, DX and Rated RKO. I was always up to watching London and Kendrick defend their tag titles, or Finlay dropping people with his shillelagh, and especially watching The Undertaker being the standard bearer on Friday nights. Now, with the brands split once again, I’m proud to be able to wave the blue banner once again. While not as packed as Raw seems, I believe the appeal to Smackdown will reveal itself to be a place where those who have been stifled in the past can get their chance, exemplified in the current champion. Dean was held down and went on a far too long losing streak before breaking through despite this, which may become the theme of Smackdown! And with the show coming from my hometown tonight, I don’t see a better time for me to start covering the Tuesday night show.

I will start by saying that I’m very optimistic about the commentary team. I’m firm in my belief that without Michael Cole and Byron Saxon, JBL will prove to be a good color commentator. Combined with the fantastic Mauro Renallo, and David “I finally have something to do” Otunga, I think I’m going to enjoy this commentary team.

The show opened up and immediately felt different from RAW. The first people in the ring were the wrestlers, with Shane and Daniel coming out after, as opposed to Steph and Mick Foley coming out to bring the wrestlers out. Also stressed was the laissez-faire style of booking the the men in charge are taking, setting up a 6-man match later with a spot open for the winner of a battle royal, which was the first match of this new era of Smackdown! The other 5 participants are John Cena, Bray Wyatt, Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, and AJ Styles.


Apollo Crews won the Battle Royal for the 6th spot in the number-one contender’s match.

The battle royal was very basic, but still effective. Tag teams stuck together for the most part, and there wasn’t too much chaos happening at the same time


The final four came down to Kane, Apollo Crews, Kalisto and Zack Ryder. Zack managed to miss a dropkick and slip off the top rope when going for an elbow all within two minutes. Kane wiped out Kalisto and Zack before Apollo ducked a clothesline against the ropes, dumping Kane out to win.

Post match, Apollo said there was no time to celebrate, and that he would after he won the main event.

This wasn’t a bad segment, used mostly to justify why Apollo would be in the main event alongside established main eventers, and Baron Corbin.


SHELTON BENJAMIN. SHELTON BENJAMIN? SHELTON BENJAMIN.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Landon's WWE Battleground Real-Time Thoughts

by Landon Wayne
@LWayne21


Battleground served as a staging point for what might be a coming change in the WWE. There was a series of interesting signs this past Sunday pointing towards good directions that could pull the company put of the slump it’s been going through. With the exception of one match, all the matches were very good and accomplished everything they set out to do. With that in mind, here are my caffeinated, overworked, mostly coherent bullet points on Battleground 2016


Sasha and Bayley defeating Charlotte and Dana Brooke

-Bayley was a great surprise for this tag match and made perfect sense.

-The commentators made damn sure to let us know that, yes, this was only one night for Bayley. She needs more time in NXT apparently. Needs to watch them Carmella tapes and work harder.


-The match consisted of two heel beatdowns and two hot tags. Both faces looked good and the mainstream audience knew most if not all of Bayley’s stuff. But still, not ready for RAW.

-Good match, great opener.



The New Day vs. The Wyatts

-Why the hell is Strowman being separated from the other Wyatts? My theory is that he was supposed to be on Smackdown, and they botched it on the special, and now they’re rolling with it.

-I can’t tell if the hype video was awesome or weird. I think the answer is yes.

-Match was good, I went to make nachos for most of it. Came back and Xavier delivered the heaviest-looking superkick I’ve ever seen.

-Wyatts won. Big E. has yet to die from his spear spot. I give it till the Royal Rumble.



Rusev successfully defended the title against Zack Ryder

-I demand Ryder wear what he wore this night every night. Or sell it to me.

-After what Lana wore at Smackdown Live, this Anastasia getup was a downgrade.

-Zack looked really good, and in turn made Rusev look good in the process.

-Rusev’s victory here settled what would happen in the Young/Miz match.



Sami Zayn beat Kevin Owens, stealing the show

-This was a great damn match, with a fantastic story.

-I almost shit my pants twice, once when Sami almost died from his rope rebounding spot, then again when Kevin landed on his head from the Brainbuster on the ring apron.


-The ending was cinematic as hell and I loved it. If you’ve not seen it, I refuse to spoil the ending here.

-Go watch this match.



Natalya made Becky Lynch tap out

-It was a solid match. Perhaps top five women’s matches this year.

-Becky is an ok face, Natalya a really good heel.

-Becky was in the Sharpshooter for an extended time, made her out to be a bad-Lass.

-This feud should end at Summerslam, with some kind of gimmick.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Wrestling Do-Overs: The Invasion Angle, part 2 (Backlash 2001)

Continuing my revisionist version of The Invasion Angle (click HERE for Part 1)....





The Next Night

Now here's where things really begin to take shape.  If you'll recall The Rock was leaving for several months to film The Scorpion King, so to write him off TV they had to "suspend" him.  Also to further Austin's heel turn he aligned himself with the despised Triple H, forming The Two-Man Power Trip.  I loved this alliance but again, it hurt business so I'm willing to erase it from the history books (particularly since it was short-lived).

Time for the Justin version: Austin goes to the ring, takes the mic, and explains why he accepted Vince's help at 'Mania.  During since his year-long absence he was obsessed with winning back the WWF Championship.  It's all he thought about.  Then Triple H sidetracked him, and even bested him at No Way Out.  But when it came time to face The Rock, he was gonna do whatever it took to win back the Title, even duping Vince into thinking Austin would be the corporate Champion he wanted back in 1998.  So Vince agreed to help him beat The Rock.  But Austin'll be damned if he's gonna do anything differently than he ever has.

The Rock interrupts and points out that Austin couldn't beat him straight-up so he had to get help.  Austin says "I told you Rock that I was gonna do whatever it took to win back this Title."

Vince comes out and berates both Rock and Austin, and says he's not worried because in four weeks at Backlash Austin will defend the WWF Title against the man who beat him at No Way Out, Triple H!  The Rock reminds Vince that as the former Champion he is entitled to a rematch and is going to enact that clause tonight!


The main event arrives and Austin and Rock have a hard-fought rematch (Vince sits at ringside), with neither man seemingly able to get the duke.  Suddenly JR announces that there's been a security breach outside and there's some sort of commotion in the backstage area.  There's a split-screen keeping up with the action in the ring as the backstage camera tries to capture what's happening.  We see about fifteen masked men beating up the security team and they start pouring through the backstage curtain.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

WWE Battleground 2016 Preview & Predictions

It's that time again peeps.  Another round of Enuffa.com PPV predictions!


Coming this Sunday, off the heels of the rather nonsensical WWE Draft, is this year's Battleground PPV!  It would seem the draft will have zero effect on this show, and one of the issues I have with these drafts is that, when immediately followed by a PPV, they usually result in multiple "interbrand" matchups right off the bat.  If WWE were smart (They aren't), they'd have scheduled the draft the night after Battleground, so the SummerSlam lineup could be build based on the new rosters.  For example, the already-announced SummerSlam main event, Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton, is an interbrand match now.  Wow, that was quick.

Anyway, this years BG looks decent on paper.  There are at least two or three highly intriguing bouts on the card, so of the probably 210-minute running time, at least an hour of it should be fun.

**I'm currently leading this season, with 22/35 to Dan's 21/35**



US Championship: Rusev vs. Zack Ryder


Both secondary Title matches on this show are gonna stink.  Both challengers are jobbers who fell into their respective Title shots.  Why can't WWE figure out how to make secondary Titles mean anything?

Justin's pick: Rusev
Dan's pick: Ryder can’t be seen as a serious contender after just losing the I-C belt. Rusev wins here.




I-C Championship: The Miz vs. Darren Young


The Miz is a good Honky Tonk Man-type I-C Champ.  Darren Young is a skilled wrestler with a stupid gimmick where he apparently can't take a dump without asking advice from Bob Backlund.  He won the #1 Contender Battle Royal because Baron Corbin and Apollo Crews eliminated each other.  Way to build Young up as a credible challenger guys.

Justin's pick: The Miz retains
Dan's pick: Have they been hyping Darren Young just to have him lose? I don’t think so. Young for the win.




Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Sasha Banks & ??


I love that Sasha is back on TV, building to the inevitable SummerSlam match with Charlotte.  I love that there are two Women's matches on this PPV.  I don't like that there's another lame tag match after we just had one at Money in the Bank.  I'm guessing Sasha's partner will be Paige, but since there were three NXT call-ups this week it could also be one of those.  Nia Jax would be cool, but she's much better suited as a heel.  It's too bad Bayley wasn't called up, because Sasha picking her former archenemy would be great, a la Savage and Steamboat teaming up at the first Survivor Series.

Justin's pick: Team Sasha
Dan's pick: Same



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

PICKLES' RANTINGS: THOUGHTS ON BROCK LESNAR

Welcome to the lunacy that is our friend Scotty Parker, or as he’s referred to by his friends, Scotty Pickles. His thoughts are insane; they have no factual backup and everything is illogical and spelled wrong. But it makes me laugh. Anyways, onto Pickle’s Rantings. 

(Editor's Note: The following rant is in its original untouched form, thus no spelling or grammatical errors have been corrected.  Have some Advil on hand....)


I know a lot of you have heard the recent news of the Brockasaurus testing positive twice for doping. And I would just like to say how vindicated I feel that this has happened. I refused to get aboard the Brock train. He only got a push in the UFC because he is a name. He has no business being a top contender. He beat a guy who was 75 years old to win the title only having fought 3 times and not even winning all three bouts. Then got his a$$ whooped and bounce back to the WWE. Then the UFC wanted him back to head line a broken card for their latest pay per view. The man they put in front of him was Mark Hunt to which most people responded with a resounding WHO????

Let me give you some background on Mr. Hunt. He's 42 years old, only that's like 127 in fighter years. A coconut head form New Zealand, middle earth for all you nerds. Who was on only 4 months’ rest before stepping into the octagon with Brockalicious. Now I'm not here to bash poor Mark Hunt, no sir. I'm only here to point out that the beast incarnate needed to cheat in order to beat this man. I though Brockadoodle do was the greatest Fighter the world has ever seen. And his strength and size were due to his Lifting and his consumption of jimmy John subs. Nope old Brockaround the clock had to CHEAT that's right kids Santa isn't reel, your parents don't love you, and Brockoli put things in his mouth he shouldn't have. He needed to cheat to beat a man half his size and twice his age. So all the times people boasted and yelled Brocketeer is the greatest fighter ever.... now not so much. So I'm just going to sit back and watch as the world watches ShamBrocks try to force his way out of this corner. But realistically nothing will happen to him. Come on who's going to try and take away anything from this beast.

Which just makes me sad when I think about passing of true MMA legend & American hero, Kimbo Slice. Kimbo was a giving man with teeth of gold. He gave everything he had with every devastating blow, whether in a cage or on the streets. Kimbo had nothing handed to him like some other UCF fighter we all know Brock Lesner. He had to fight his way up. First in the sand box, when his first opponent took his only toy dinosaur, later he would battle his way through the streets, accepting any challenger who came his way. his first fight was defending a friend from a bully. Because that's the kind of person he was. He first found fame on something called YOUTUBE. It was there he displayed his aggressive nature and punished those who showed up to the BBQ without Beer.

Kimbo being received by the hands of God...
right before he punched him out.

In August 2010, Slice announced his intention to become a professional boxer. In his professional career he went 7-0 with 6 KO's against some of the biggest guys fight out of back alleys. Guys with names like TANK and SETH. Guys so big they could only be named after cities (Houston) or numbers (5,000). Brock Lesner 0 KO's and fought guys like little Frankie, Heath Bar, Minn Soo, and Randy Couture when he was 90 years old. Next it was on to MMA and UFC where he went 8-3 with 6 KO's How you might asked, you guessed it "punches”. Brock's record 5-3, and he was the Champ? Kimbo never got a title shot his 3rd fight in he had to work his way the way everybody does, except if your name sounds Crock Pesner.

On June 6, 2016, Slice was admitted to a hospital near his home in Coral Springs, Florida He died a short time later of heart failure, because it was just too big for a man of even his size could hold. A heart full of love and hope and giving. (devastating blows) Brock Lesner almost died of a tummy ache.  Scott Cocker CEO of Bellator MMA, said in a statement: "We are all shocked and saddened by the devastating untimely loss of Kimbo Slice, a beloved member of the Bellator family.

Brock Lesner was not mentioned.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

DAN'S TOP 9: Best Drivers in Cinematic History

by Dan Moore
@SouthieDanimal


DAN'S TOP



  BEST DRIVERS IN CINEMATIC HISTORY


I watched the most fabulous film last night. Death Race. Utterly fantastic garbage which I highly recommend to all. I was entertained throughout, and cried when it was over. It also inspired me to think of the best drivers in the movies. The men who I would trust my life with. The ones who handle the gear shift as if it was their own gear.  So without further ado…here are my choices. It’s a top 9, because Ted Williams was #9, and he’s the greatest ball player ever. Also, I couldn’t think of any more. SUE ME.


#9--- SAM (Ronin)

This former Special Forces ace turned mercenary is a master at the European throughways. Who knew Vito Corleone could drive like Mario Andretti on crack?




#8--- THE TERMINATOR

Throughout five movies (and counting) this lethal mix of man and machine has battered through many a ride, all with the cunning expertise only capable of the technology from the future. If this kind of driving is what happens when the humans are destroyed by our eventual robotic enslavers, I say, LET IT HAPPEN. 

 



#7---POPEYE DOYLE (The French Connection)

Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle is one of the meanest cops ever to wear the shield in New York City. Also one of the best drivers. He stops at nothing as he tracks down some dirty frogs from bringing some heroin into his city. Not only is he awesome and played by Gene Hackman, he’s the only one on my list to be a REAL guy. A true hero.




#6--- MAD MAX

Driving through the post apocalyptic Australian Outback for Max is as easy as taking the kiddies to the park. This wild man has no problem when he sees traffic on the road: he just drives through it. He expertly navigates the roads in 2 movies (I don’t count Thunderdome) and his body count is almost as high as his car wrecks. Also, Max holds the honor of being the only man on the list that Justin (JB Note: You can't prove that.) has jacked off to. So there’s a feather in his cap.






#5--- FRANKENSTEIN (Death Race)

Framed for a crime he didn’t commit, Jensen Ames is coerced into taking on the persona of Frankenstein, and competing in the corrupt warden’s Death Race. Ames drives not with savvy, but with bullets, taking out all who come in his way. Easily the most destructive man on the list.




#4---BOND. JAMES BOND

Really, what needs to be said? The man has driven and lived through about 100 movies, getting better and better with each flick.




#3---JASON BOURNE

A young up and comer on the list, Bourne has taken driving into a more demolition derby type flavor. Whenever he steals a car, or a cab, you know pieces of it will end up all over the French Riviera. How he survives is beyond me, but thankfully he does, and it definitely makes my brother Dave Moore VERY happy.




#2---FRANK BULLITT

Easily the coolest character on the list, Lt. Bullitt also drives the coolest car. Assigned to guard a mob snitch before his testimony, multiple attempts are made on Frank’s life. But none better than the 9 minutes and 42 seconds of car chase action that takes place in the middle of this film. A true master, Frank loses out to only one better wheel man…



AND THE BEST?!?!?!!?



#1---HOKE COLBURN

Who else could drive Miss Daisy, and deal with her racism, her bitching, and her depends? The patience this man had behind the wheel is a trait we should all admire and aspire to have. An incredible driver, and an even better man. My hat is off you, my #1 MOVIE DRIVER OF ALL TIME!

Monday, July 18, 2016

5 Things I Want Out of the 2016 WWE Draft

by Landon Wayne
@LWayne21

The WWE draft is Tuesday, the brands are finally splitting once again. Great news, right? Well, I’ve long since lost most of my faith in WWE at this point, at least in the terms of long-term planning. Everyone from Dave “The most legitimate voice in wrestling today” Meltzer, to Adam “the real voice of Whatculture” Blampied have given their opinions on how the draft should go. I figured I, an amateur armchair booker, have as much right as anyone else to talk about what I want to see. So, in the second edition of what I hope becomes a real shtick, I present you with the 5 things I want to see come out of the WWE draft.


1) The splitting of Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens


This one is the easiest. Their match at Battleground is touted as their “final confrontation”, like the ones they’ve had at least three times before. The feud between Sami and Kevin needs to stop before it gets stale, and this is the easiest and most obvious time to do it. The pair splits, and we don’t have them touch for years.




2) AJ Styles and Finn Balor on the same show

Think about the moment it would bring on Smackdown. AJ and the Club standing I the ring, having been drafted earlier to, say, Raw. Victorious over some group of three, they’re celebrating when the lights go out. The place stays dark for 30 seconds, when on the titantron, the words flash up, slowly.
“Raw
Is
Bulletproof”


The reaction would be epic. Finn comes out with a Raw shirt under his jacket, it could set up either an alliance, or a feud between Finn and his former Club. It writes itself.




3) Splitting Colin Cassidy and Enzo Amore


This might be my most unconventional of my points, but hear me out. I’ve seen Cassidy wrestling on his own, back in 2014 when Enzo was out with a yearlong injury in NXT. He has as much charisma as Enzo does, with a really good work rate. Keeping the pair together would be okay, but using them on different brands could prove to be best for both men. You could put Enzo with anyone, and you can have the same formula for his matches as you have now with Cassidy. Cassidy, however, can work on his own and still produce good matches, face or heel. It’s been hinted that teams will split tomorrow, so we’ll see if they are one of them.




4) Title Belts NOT Drafted


What I mean by this is, I don’t want either Commisioner to say “Oh, well I want to draft The Miz, so now I have the Intercontinental Title belt on Smackdown! Ha HA!” The belts should not be the focus of why someone gets drafted. You should want The Miz, or Dean Ambrose, or Rusev, because of the athlete they are, not the belt they’re holding at the time. He focus of this draft should be on the people, not their situation. Besides, I expect that EVERY match at Battleground will end up being Raw vs. Smackdown! If they want the belts on the different shows, it can be moved around there.




5) Travelling WWE Champion


We don’t have enough contenders for two World Titles. It’s just the fact at this point. Besides Ambrose the Champion, we have Rollins, Reigns, Cena, Orton whenever he comes back, MAYBE AJ, and Brock for when he wants to grab a paycheck. It just wouldn’t be worth it, or feasible in my opinion, to have two World Championships on the two shows. The WWE Champion should travel between shows, defending the belt once a month at one of the monthly PPVs. In the meantime, take measures to recover the US and IC titles. Maybe the Tag belts main event. Have number-one contender matches. But there shouldn’t be two world titles.

Wrestling Do-Overs: The Invasion Angle, part 1 (Bischoff Buys WCW)

Welcome to another edition of Wrestling Do-Overs, where I'll examine a famous (or infamous) event or angle from pro wrestling's rich history and reimagine it as I would've executed it, thereby demonstrating that a) I should be booking this stuff, and b) I should immediately seek psychological help.


Today I'll be talking about the 2001 Invasion - the fallout of the WWF's purchase of WCW.  As we all know this disappointing angle was a trainwreck from the start and Vince McMahon threw away tens of millions of dollars just to satisfy his own ego and present WCW as a vastly inferior organization/product.  After about five months of excruciating storylines the whole angle was prematurely nixed at Survivor Series 2001 and things went back to normal the next night.

Modern North American wrestling had seen two major invasion angles prior to this one.  One of them (the NWA's purchase of UWF) was an utter disaster and its architect Jim Crockett sold his own company to Ted Turner less than a year later.  The other (obviously the nWo) was a monumental success, at least for a little while, and made WCW the biggest wrestling company in the world.  Vince unfortunately modeled his Invasion angle after the former.

But what could the WWF have done to make the Invasion the record-breaking all-time classic it should've been?  I'm going to create an alternate reality where the WWF didn't horribly botch potentially the biggest money-making storyline of all time.  This will be a multi-part column covering a full year: March 26, 2001 (the date of the final episode of Monday Nitro) through March 18, 2002 (the RAW after WrestleMania X8).

Vince's first mistake was refusing to hire the handful of remaining top WCW stars because they were still under contract to Time Warner and buying them out supposedly would've cost too much money.  But the ratings and PPV buys yielded by such signings would've easily offset these costs and more.  Really Vince could have hired just five additional people, for a total of probably $15 million, and this angle immediately would've been a massive hit with almost no effort required.

With these five names they could earn back that $15 mil in probably two months:

1. Hulk Hogan
2. Ric Flair
3. Goldberg
4. Sting
5. Eric Bischoff

Four of these five men would end up signing with the WWF within two years anyway.  Hell, Flair redebuted with the WWF the night after the Invasion ended!


The Final Nitro

So here's how things should've kicked off.  On March 26, 2001 the final Nitro aired, and at its conclusion Shane McMahon showed up to announce he had bought the company out from under his father.  This is all wrong.  The McMahons' egos were so out of control they actually believed they and their family squabbles were bigger draws than the wrestlers themselves.  It obviously got worse that summer when they put Stephanie in charge of the ECW squad, and then in 2003 the PPV calender was littered with McMahon in-ring appearances.  So this whole saga got off on the wrong foot, turning WWF vs. WCW into little more than a convoluted Vince vs. Shane feud.  Anyone who thinks Vince vs. Shane was really what the fans wanted to see is not being honest with themselves.

The man fans really wanted to see mix it up with Vince was a fella by the name of Eric Bischoff.  Vince and Eric had real-life animosity, and ever since 1998 when Bischoff issued a public challenge to fight Vince, fans had been intrigued by the potential matchup.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Deflategate is Back…and Tom Brady Gets Boned

by Dan Moore (@SouthieDanimal) & Brandon Cuddemi

DAN: Brandon and I don’t have much to say about this subject anymore. It’s all legal mumbo jumbo at this point. It hasn’t been about whether or not Tom Brady was involved in some cockamamie ball deflating scheme (He wasn’t) since the beginning. It was at first about taking the best organazaton in sports down a few levels but has since become about the Commissioner being able to get away with whatever he wants according to the powers granted him in the CBA.

Legal brief excitement! Catch it!

BRANDON: Goodell's disciplinary power and that process will get shredded in the next CBA for sure. But there's nothing to be done about it now. Labor and arbitration law will always have battles...but the CBA the NFL and player’s union have is atrocious. They fucked themselves. And Tom Brady is paying for it. HARD.

DAN: it’s a shame that gorgeous, beautiful man is the sacrificial lamb in this farce of a process. And now his only recourse is to take it to the Supreme Court. I love the Patriots. I love number 12. But it’s quite the bizarro world we live in where the final course of action is to take a case that was initially about AIR IN FOOTBALLS to the highest court in the land. That’s right. Plessy v. Ferguson. Roe v. Wade. The NFL v. SCIENCE.

BRANDON: I don't know of anyone who thinks this nonsense belongs in the goddamn Supreme Court. But it is pretty screwed up that it doesn't matter that SCIENCE can prove that there was no conspiracy, and therefore, the act for which the punishment was handed out didn't actually take place. That literally doesn't matter in these hearings, because a court of law only cares if an actual law was broken. So the 197 judges (approximate) that have reviewed this case can only look at the language in the CBA agreement pertaining to the fairness of the agreed arbitration process. Incredibly, Goodell is allowed to appoint himself the arbitrator of a decision HE MADE. How the FUCK did the players union let that happen? So the whole "fairness" portion of the process is now left up to interpretation. I have a hard time seeing how anyone would think the process was fair, but the court doesn't want to set a precedent here, and in turn, shred the contract that is the CBA. So unfortunately, that lying asshole is going to be able to do this kind of stuff until the current CBA expires. Which isn't until 2020. Because there was no opt-out clause negotiated when they signed it in 2011. I just hope the Players Union got to wear a pretty dress and go to a fancy restaurant before the Owners left them in shambles on a Motel 6 floor.

Where the NFLPA gave up its cherry on prom night.

DAN: The fairness was never fair. The science was never…scienced. From the get-go, it has been a farce, laid down on a foundation of NFL lies. And now these lies could potentially end up in the Supreme Court. What a great time we live in. I hold out little hope that Brady gets to play the first four games without a stay from the courts. That I have to write that sentence when discussing football is a tragedy. I used to talk about inside linebackers and how much the Jets suck. Now I’m discussing legal briefs and second circuit courts. I hate what the NFL has done to a great sport. Who wants to tailgate at the Supreme Court with me?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I'd Like to Introduce You To.....A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints

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

I feel like this post should come with the disclaimer: “Beware: this post will praise Shia LaBeouf’s acting.” 

Yeah, I know you’re skeptical of this ever since you took your lady out on a date to see Disturbia (also known as the poor man’s Rear Window), but you’ll just have to trust me on this.  After he put himself on people’s radars with Holes he bounced around with small roles in some pretty big films, and then in 2006, he dug deep, grabbed some insecurities and emotion, and went indie.  Let me introduce you to A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.




Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I'd Like to Introduce You To.........Mean Creek

Bullying happens in schools all across the country.  It seems to make the news cycle everyday, occasionally reporting a tragic ending for the bullied.  If you’re like me, an anger tends to bubble up inside you while reading these stories and interviews, and you think how sweet it would be for the bully to get a taste of their own medicine.  Eye for an eye.  Nice, satisfying idea right?  Well, what if it goes wrong?  Let me introduce you to the film Mean Creek.


Rory Culkin (younger brother of Macaulay and Kieran) plays Sam, a kid who is constantly getting bullied at school by George, a bigger kid whom no one in the town seems to care for.  Fed up with the bullying, Sam turns to his older brother Rocky (played by Trevor Morgan, who is the asshole kid in The Sixth Sense as well as Mel Gibson’s asshole son who gets shot in The Patriot) to hatch a plan to give back to George what he dishes out.  Rocky turns to his friends, bad boy and criminal in the making Marty, and Clyde, and decide to lure George to the woods, under the guise of it being Sam’s birthday, and undress him and leave him in the woods to walk back home naked and humiliated, exacting Sam’s revenge.  Sam’s “girlfriend” Millie comes along to help sell George on the birthday idea.


Things begin to go wrong almost right away when everyone but Marty begins to see George as a good guy, just misunderstood.  It causes Sam to want to call off the prank, and everyone obliges until George begins prodding everyone, mocking Clyde’s personal secret or bringing up Marty’s troubled family history which causes Marty to snap and go ahead with the plan.  Things come to a head and the group of friends find themselves in an unimaginable position that would continue to shape, and haunt, the rest of their lives. 

This film really scores points with sympathizing with its characters.  As much as I knew George was a scumbag bully, I even began to feel sorry for him, seeing him as just a lonely kid with no friends, simply misunderstood.  I found myself nearly in tears at the thought of Sam and Millie’s young relationship crumbling at the feet of tragedy.  The future implications of all the characters are very intriguing, and hinted at constantly near the end of the film.  Can Sam and Millie ever amount to anything more than friends with this incident standing between them?  Will Marty take this as a sign that avoiding a life of crime is inevitable, and give into it?  Will Sam and Rocky be closer as brothers or will this moment cement a resentment? 

In this day and age when bullying is an issue and the normal thought of revenge tends to slip into the minds of reasonable people, no one thinks of it going wrong or of the unintended consequences.  Everyone feels in control.  Mean Creek is a reminder that no one, and no one thing is ever in control. 

Mean Creek is streaming on Netflix.

Check out the trailer!

Five Things I Want from NJPW G1 Climax 26

by Landon Wayne
@LWayne21


The greatest tournament in professional wrestling, with one of the greatest prizes on the line and a series of fantastic matches on the way. Justin and I already went in depth HERE about what we think of the individuals and who we think’s gonna win, but here I wanna get a little personal about what I wanna see from this month of action. I’m Landon Wayne, and this is the Five things I wanna see from the G1 Climax.



1) Short Bad Luck Fale matches

Wanna get the negatives out of the way. I think there are very few people who will defend Fale as a good wrestler. He is THE large man in the company. It really isn’t his fault that all his matches are based around people working around him. But, there’s only so much you can get out of that style of match. The only real bad point in the A block, I can only look for his bouts to be short and decisive, one way or the other.




2) Six points or less for the 3rd generation wrestlers

This is the last of the negative points. Tenzan and Nagata are excellent workers, and are able to put great matches together even at their ages, as proven by their matches with Shibata most recently. But no one believes that either of them will go onto the finals. There’s no point for them to have more than 3 wins in this year’s tournament, and actually could play into my next point.




3) Make New Stars

SANADA, Tama Tonga, YOSHI-HASHI, Kenny Omega, EVIL. All of these men are making their debut in the G1 this year (I’m not counting the NOAH competitor Nakajima in this point, as I’m focusing on the New Japan primary competitors.) All five men could use this position to catapult themselves as single’s stars. SANADA and EVIL have not been in the company long enough to compete before, Kenny is in as a heavyweight for the first time, Tonga and YOSHI each have finally been given chances in the tournament they have not had before for one reason or another. With Anderson, Gallows, Nakamura and AJ gone, there is a need for strong single’s competitors. Each of these 5 have the potential to be the man that replaces those that left for New York. Hopefully, at least one of them walks out looking stronger than they walked in.




4) Omega winning clean matches

But if Kenny is gonna look strong, he needs to win his matches clean. Look, I understand that he’s a heel, and the leader of one of the most historically cheating stables in the past five years. But he needs to prove he’s a legitimate competitor in the heavyweight division. He can’t do that if the Young Bucks are coming into every match to interfere. The only heavyweight experience he’s really had is with Tanahashi, Egin, Yoshitatsu, Juice and CNJ. It’s time for him to spread out and prove he can go with any style, and it’s possible to do that in the G1.




5) A Clear direction for three singles titles

The tournament ends with a natural and automatic World Heavyweight title direction. But it’s still plausible to set up the road to Wrestle Kingdom for the IC and NEVER Openweight titles. Whether the men who are champions in this tournament will still be holding them in January is up in the air, with the way Gedo books. But the path can be laid here for whatever they want to happen at Wrestle Kingdom. Personally, if Ishii fought for the Intercontinental title, and Tonga went for NEVER gold I’d be happy. But whatever happens, it can start to form here.


Friday, July 8, 2016

The Art of Carlo Marchione

Hey there boys & girls.  Just wanted to give my buddy Carlo a quick plug - he's a very talented artist whose work is now available at redbubble.com.  Check it out!


Folks, you'll enjoy this red bubble.  One of a kind products, featuring original artwork by Carlo Marchione, are finally available.  Set your browser to redbubble.com to find mugs, t-shirts, and phone cases emblazoned with this color art.  Search with key words "RACER GIRL" and "Poe" for items to purchase.


"Poe"

"Racer Girl"

Carlo Marchione is a graduate of UMass Dartmouth, with a BFA in Illustration.  Over the years his work has appeared in local Boston-area publications.  He has worked using pen and ink, as well as acrylic media on paper.  His emphasis has been on portraits and caricatures of people, for more than 20 years.

Carlo was a founding member of the Southern New England Artists' Community.  This group has shown in a variety of galleries from Boston to Newport Rhode Island.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

NJPW G1 Climax 26 Preview and Predictions

by Justin Ballard
@EnuffaDotCom

and Landon Wayne
@LWayne 21


It's just about that time again folks.  One of the most consistently exciting stretches on the pro wrestling calendar, the NJPW G1 Climax is upon us.  For those of you not familiar with this grueling multi-week tournament, New Japan assembles two blocks of the top heavyweights in the company and pits them against each other in a round-robin format.  A wrestler gets 2 points for a win, 1 for a draw, and of course none for a loss.  In the event of a tie score between Wrestler X and Wrestler Y, whomever won their head-to-head matchup is declared the winner at the end.  On the last night of the tourney, the point leaders of each block face each other in the Finals, and the winner of the G1 gets a Right-to-Challenge certificate to face the IWGP Heavyweight Champion at next year's WrestleKingdom.  There's just one caveat though - if Wrestler X wins the tourney but lost individual matches along the way to Wrestlers Q and M, Wrestler X must put the certificate on the line against each of them prior to WrestleKingdom.  If Wrestler Q defeats Wrestler X in the followup match, Wrestler Q becomes the new #1 contender.

The G1 Climax is easily the most prestigious tournament in wrestling today and routinely delivers some of the best matches of the entire year.  New Japan lost a few of its top participants from 2015 (and I still miss them terribly), but has filled the gaps nicely, adding a few new faces and borrowing two of Pro Wrestling NOAH's top stars.  This tourney should yield some spectacular stuff.  So let's get into it - Landon and I will give our thoughts on each participant, pick our probable Finals match, and name the three matches from each block we're most looking forward to.


Block A


Bad Luck Fale

Justin: I can't say I've ever been much of a Fale fan; unless he's in there with Okada or Tanahashi his matches are usually pretty plodding.  I'm not sure what's left to do with this guy as he hasn't really improved over the past two years.  He had a brief IC Title run in 2014 and that seemed to be his ceiling.  As far as the G1 goes he's just kind of a spoiler for the top guys.

Landon: A haiku for you all:

Fale is a lump
I don’t know why he's in this
I’m not excited.

Next.



Hirooki Goto

Justin: Goto is one of those solid, dependable stars who's almost always gonna deliver you a good match but seldom a great one.  He'll match up well with several of the Block A competitors but probably won't lead the pack.

Landon: Joining CHAOS, and the recent feud with EVIL, has given Goto a noticeable change in demeanor and intensity during his matches. It’s possible that Goto comes out of this year’s G1 as the winner of the A-Block. However, in a stacked block full of a lot of the conventional best in the company, it’d be a long shot.


Music Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Getaway

by Michael Drinan
@mdrinan380


When the Red Hot Chili Peppers released three new songs in advance of dropping their eleventh studio album, The Getaway, I was very excited for the new album. The new songs sounded unlike anything I had heard from the band before and I was intrigued at the overall sound and direction the band was taking. They went with producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton (horrible stage name) instead of legendary producer Rick Rubin, who had produced every album of theirs since 1991’s BloodSugarSexMagick, automatically changing the dynamic of the band.

I was pumped. I was ready. June 17th came, the album was released and all I heard from critics and a lot of fans was a lot of crying because it doesn’t sound like BloodSugarSexMagick or Californication.

And to that I say to all of you….Go. Fuck. Yourselves.

Look, I get it. These kinds of things tend to get said when artists stick around for over 30 years and band members leave and all that jazz. When RHCP released I’m With You, their first album with new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, people didn’t like it. They called it inconsequential, boring and muddled. They didn’t have those monster funky basslines and they seemed to steer away from that frenetic, edgy music that made them ‘90s alternative rock gods, and it really pissed me off. I’m With You is a very solid record and Josh Klinghoffer actually breathed new life into the band and set them on a different course, allowing them to expand on their sound and try new things. Now, it seems we’re getting the same kind of stuff with this new release which is a very good album.

People who go into this album hoping for another BloodSugarSexMagick or Californication are going to be disappointed. The change in producer should’ve nipped those expectations in the bud. Besides, RHCP are the kind of band who don’t want to make the same album over and over again and I for one am not interested in that either.

The Getaway does have those big funky basslines and really big drumming from Chad Smith. All of the songs are still rooted in Flea’s bass playing, however it’s all been scaled back and balanced out with more melodic, slower, steadier instrumentation. Strings, pianos, synths and backing choral arrangements are used to enhance the songs without making them sound too big and over the top. Josh’s guitar playing is primarily used for aesthetic purposes, with only a few small solos popping up in a few songs.

There are a few tracks that resemble that signature RHCP style and sound, one being the lead single “Dark Necessities” and the other “We Turn Red”. Other than that, the rest of the songs are slow, melodic pieces with only flashes of that style popping up here and there. However, you’re not going to get a full song that brings back the “old” Chili Peppers. Nope, not happening here.