Friday, July 29, 2016

The History of NWA/WCW Great American Bash (1991)

Alright, time to hold my nose as I review this stinker.....


Legend vs. Legacy - Baltimore Arena - 7.14.91

Oh wait, scratch that.  Change of plans....

Luger vs. Windham - 7.14.91

In a scant two years the NWA (morphing into WCW) went from being at the top of its game to being in absolute creative shambles.  Nowhere is this more evident than at their 1991 summer spectacular.  Ric Flair, the NWA's top star for the past decade, had reached a contractual impasse with the new management (led by the cosmically inept Jim Herd) and was forced out of the company while still in possession of its top championship.  His scheduled match with Lex Luger was thus off, and WCW's scrambling to plug this roster hole seemed to have a domino effect on the rest of this PPV.  Once again they shoehorned eleven matches onto a three-hour broadcast, and once again most of the matches belonged in a wrestling dump heap.

Case in fucking point: Steve Austin & Terrence Taylor vs. Bobby Eaton & PN News in a Capture the Flag Scaffold Match.  Sweet merciful Christ, what the hell was this?  Scaffold matches in general are terrible, but this achieved new levels of putrid.  The scaffold itself looked so rickety and unsafe I don't know how these four guys were even coaxed up there.  Once on the platform they did basically nothing for the better part of ten minutes, aside from trying to not die.  After several agonizing minutes of a match three of these four guys should've been mortified to have on their resumes (I'll let you guess which three), Bobby Eaton captured the other team's flag to euthanize this shitshow.

Absolute drivel

Next up was one of several not-ready-for-PPV bouts: Tom Zenk vs. Diamond Stud, a forgettable free TV match featuring an enormously jacked Scott Hall a year before he jumped to the WWF and mainstream success.  Stud won after some interference from DDP.  Moving on....

We go from the future Razor Ramon to the future Diesel, as Ron Simmons faced Oz.  Apparently every match on this show featured a future WWF talent from 1996.  This also belonged nowhere near a PPV.  A portly Kevin Nash looked lost for most of this, yet somehow got to dominate the match.  Eventually Ron Simmons woke everyone up with a clothesline that sent Oz over the ropes, but Oz soon took over again.  Simmons eventually won with a powerslam.

Simmons' reaction upon learning he'd be working with Oz: ".....DAMN!"

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Dive Bars of America: The Connection (South Boston, MA)

If you couldn’t tell by the title, this column is going to feature one of the many beautiful dive bars in and around Boston. I’m a purveyor of these places, as the dive bar is my preferred destination when rambling about town and taking in a few pops. So join us, won’t you, as we venture forth into this vast, delicious wilderness?

For these bars I’ll be writing about, I’ll be using a 5 category rating system which will be rated between 1 and 4 handlebar mustaches, which is the preferred mustache by 9 out of 10 old timers in dive bars.


THE CONNECTION
560 Dorchester Ave, South Boston, MA 02127 (you’ll most likely find it listed as the Sports Connection)
        

I must confess to leading off with a personal favorite of mine. I lived around the corner from this spot for about 5 years and this became the de facto base of operations for me and the morons I hang out with. It’s essentially a large room, with a rectangle shaped bar, a dance floor no one dances on, a kitchen no one uses, and women no one hits on.

Fun Factor:  There’s not much to do in this bar except sit and drink. There are two dartboards, a videogame machine, a jukebox and a buncha TVs all about the outlying areas and in the main bar section. That being said, there’s still plenty of fun to have in this joint. It’s the type of place to watch a game with loudmouths and sit there for hours. More than once I went to stop in for one or two beers, then BOOM its night time. Or I blacked out. Only the police know the true answer.


   
Cast of regulars:  The repeating clientele in this joint is PHEE-NOM-A-NOL. Unreal characters in this joint. There’s Mush Mouth, the belligerent drunk that speaks a language not of this Earth. Barney, a drunk man whose name we do not know, but looks just like Barney, the drunk man from the Simpsons. DAAAAAHLEEEEEEN (Darleen for non Southie speakers). And of course, Butter, the bartender. He’s like the sane doctor in this asylum. If you need to know which horse to bet in any given race, he’s your man.


Beer choices:  Not much happening in the beer dept. Tons of domestic choices, the usuals, Bud, Bud Light, Rolling Rock, etc. Drafts are limited as well, though the prices are dirt cheap, as they should be for a dive bar. $10 for a pitcher of Bud Light, & the house cheapo is a pint of PBR, which will set you back $2.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Dive Bars of America: Irish Pub Parking in Rear (Quincy, MA)

by Dan Moore
@SouthieDanimal

This column features one of many beautiful dive bars in America. I love these places. The dive bar is my preferred destination when rambling about town and taking in a few pops. So join us, won’t you, as we venture forth into this vast, delicious wilderness?

As usual, I’ll be using a 5 category rating system which will be rated between 1 and 4 handlebar mustaches, which is the preferred mustache by 9 out of 10 old timers in dive bars.


IRISH PUB PARKING IN REAR 
51 Billings Rd, Quincy, MA 02171
(It seems the official name of this place is just The Irish Pub, but that gigantic, glowing neon sign says otherwise, so I refer to it by it’s full, Christian name)




In the last year, I moved to the Quincy area. What that means is I’m stuck in, essentially, Chinatown Jr. There are an abundance of Sushi joints, businesses with chickens in the window & small people walking around holding pink plastic bags EVERYWHERE. It’s damn near impossible to find a good dive bar in the area. There was a great one called the Alumni CafĂ©, alas, it has gone the way of my sobriety, dead & gone forever…to be replaced by another Chinese restaurant. How novel.

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

The Dive Bars of America: Sully's Sand Trap (North Weymouth, MA)

by Dan Moore
@SouthieDanimal

This column features some of the greatest and grossest dive bars in the U.S. of A. I’ll be using a 5-category rating system between 1 and 4 handlebar mustaches, which is the preferred mustache by 9 out of 10 old timers in dive bars.

Sully’s Sand Trap 
327 Bridge St
North Weymouth, MA 02191


It looks and smells like a coffin.

Holy SHIT what a fantastic dive this place is. Sully’s is a legit box. You walk in, there’s a bar, there’s NO SEATS and then some booths. It’s a square room to get hammered in. there’s like two windows, but they’re pointless, as the neon Budweiser signs block all natural light that may enter this hole. This should be the picture in the dictionary for a dive bar. It’s marvelous in its simplicity. Let’s get right to it.

And that’s my big fat head taking a pic of the inside
of this glorious watering hole. 



FUN FACTOR

Drinking is fun. And that’s all ya got here. There’s a table with a cribbage board built into it, but they lost the pieces years ago. So if you don’t wanna have fun drinking, then this isn’t the place for you. But if hurting your liver with insane amounts of alcohol is cool, COME ON DOWN

ONE OUT OF FOUR


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.

Friday, July 22, 2016

You Used to Be Sooooo Good: Star Trek Movies

Welcome to another edition of You Used to Be Soooo Good, where Justin & I, Dan Moore (@SouthieDanimal), discuss things used to be awesome but now, eh, not so much. This week is a tad different, in that we are talking about films we actually like now but they’re missing…something from the old days.


Star Trek Movies:  You Are Stiiiiiiill Kinda Good, But Used to Be Sooooo Much Better

The classic, awesome Enterprise of the original films.

DAN: Oddly enough, Justin and I both watched Star Trek Into Darkness again on the same night independently, but clearly linked in a strange psychic way. And while I do enjoy the film (except for the dumb surname) and its reboot-starting predecessor, there’s definitely a lack of character development in these first two films that hurt them. These flicks boast incredible effects, great action, competent acting; they are terribly entertaining, but really dumb. The iconic Trek characters have basically no personality. They have the idea of the old characters, but nothing’s fleshed out.


JUSTIN: Right, the spirit of the characters is there (which is more than you can say for Man of Steel – I’ll keep shitting on that film till my dying day), but it's basically Kirk and Spock in action figure form.  Plus that series is now 2-for-2 on having the evil ship be a gigantic black monster vessel. It's also pretty humorous how blatantly they copy entire passages of dialogue from ST2.


DAN: I believe they call that an "homage" now, and not plagiarism. The creators of this new Trek series are playing off the existing archetype of the old Trek series characters. What we already know about them, and not doing much else. Also, Chris Pine just doesn’t do it for me as Kirk.


JUSTIN: I actually like Pine a lot as Kirk.  I think I like him better than Zach Quinto. For me, Pine’s Kirk is closer to Shatner's than Quinto's Spock is to Nimoy's.  And that's more the writing than anything else - this Spock is kind of a jerk and is pretty easily swayed into becoming emotional.


DAN: My problem with him as Kirk is he’s just sort of a generic hero man. There’s nothing memorable about his Kirk like there is about Shatner’s. I do like him, and I think he’s dreamy but there’s just not enough there for me to care about his Kirk.

Yup, they look and feel vaguely like the original characters.

JUSTIN:  True, and that's really the case with all of them.  They just took a cursory approximation of the original characters and stuck 'em in these movies.  Kirk's heroic and repeatedly defies authority (how he's able to hold onto the Captain's chair at all is beyond me), Spock is cold and logical (unless the story requires him to fly into a rage and beat the piss out of the bad guy), McCoy is curmudgeonly and spouts metaphors constantly, Uhura speaks other languages (and is now for some reason the #3 character in the pecking order), Sulu's good at fencing, Scotty's really funny, and Chekhov is Russian. It's odd that Admiral Pike has gotten more screen time than any of those guys.

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.  

You Used to Be Soooooo Good: The Alien Franchise

Welcome to another edition of You Used to Be Sooooo Good, where Dan Moore (@SouthieDanimal) and I put on our crotchety old man hats and grumble about how much better stuff used to be before you damn millennials took over the world.  


Anywho, today's topic is the Alien franchise - a once mighty sci-fi/horror series that began with two amazing films and then somehow lost its way.  Dan, what's your take?


DAN: The first Alien movie is one that scared the ever-loving shit out of me. It may seem simplistic now to place a horror movie in space (In fact, most failing horror franchises just chuck their super-bad up into the stars to try to grab some box office gold), but at the time, this was a novel concept. Sure, there were tons of B-movies in space, but this was a big budget flick with some well-known actors in it. And it was scary as hell to me. I saw it on VHS around 1990 when I was 12. The set design, the gore, the monster itself, all nightmare fuel for little ol' me. And I watched it repeatedly. I loved it. Loved the monster, loved all the characters and loved the epic, scary silence of the space universe that director Ridley Scott created. And of course loved Ripley. Sigourney Weaver was known to me at the time as Dana Barrett from Ghostbusters so to see her in this flick, evading and eventually killing a rampaging monster of death was quite a shock. But nothing was as shocking as what this franchise would become with the second film in the series.


JUSTIN: I actually saw Aliens first, in 1986, at the age of eleven.  I'd obviously heard of the original Alien, heard that it was just about the scariest movie ever made, and knew of the now-iconic chestburster scene.  But going into Aliens I was so utterly terrified of what I was about to witness, and for about the first ten minutes of the movie I was on the verge of a panic attack, thinking to myself "I can't do this.......I can't do this...."  But once that initial fear settled down and I simply let the movie unfold in front of me, it was to this day one of my all-time favorite cinematic experiences.  That movie kicked my ass for 137 minutes, ratcheting up the intensity to an unfathomable level.  The final hour is almost non-stop action-horror, and the climactic battle with the alien queen (one of the greatest puppet effects in movie history) stuck with me for weeks.

Mind.  Fucking.  Blown.

It actually wasn't until a year or two later that I finally watched the first movie, and initially I was underwhelmed by it.  Considering the frenetic pace and unrelenting pitch of Aliens, the first movie seemed so simple and frankly quaint to me on the first viewing.  This was at an age when I didn't appreciate things like psychological dread or claustrophobia, which is what the experience of the first film is all about (not to mention a movie as visually rich as Alien loses a lot on pan-and-scan VHS).  The first film grew on me after repeated viewings, and of course now I fully grasp what an understated sci-fi/horror masterpiece it is.  I saw an interview with one of the producers, who rightly pointed out that Alien is the haunted house, while Aliens is the roller coaster.  And from a purely visual standpoint, Ridley Scott's film is superior to James Cameron's.  Alien is one of the most visually stunning films ever made, while Aliens is less about atmosphere and more about the story.  Regardless, the first two films of this franchise are like an all-time great double album.  Both are amazing achievements for very different reasons.

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.

The History of NWA/WCW Great American Bash (1990)

The New Revolution - Baltimore Arena - 7.7.90

1989 to 1990 was quite a dropoff in quality for the NWA, and the Great American Bash PPV falls right in line with that.  The long-awaited Ric Flair vs. Sting showdown had been in the works for months, and was originally booked for WrestleWar that February.  But a knee injury sidelined Sting for four months and Lex Luger took his spot, turning babyface and feuding with Flair until Sting was ready.  While this was certainly a huge marquee match, I wasn't a Sting fan at the time and therefore wasn't particularly excited about his inevitable Title win.  I was also pissed that the company reverted just about all the top stars to where they were in 1988.  Flair and the Horsemen were the top heels, Luger was a babyface again.  It all felt like a retread.

As for this show, once again they crammed way too many matches in, and this time it was an astonishing eleven bouts, nearly half of which had no business on a PPV.

First up was Brian Pillman vs. Buddy Landell.  This was a decent enough opener, as Pillman was obviously quite accomplished and Landell was a solid hand.  I'm not sure what the purpose was though.  They weren't feuding and Pillman had come off of a really strong US Title program with Lex Luger, followed by a US Tag Title run.  Why was he being wasted in a throwaway showcase match?

Next was Mike Rotunda vs. The Iron Sheik.  Seeing mid-80s WWF guys like Sheik, Orndorff, Bob Orton, and Junkyard Dog show up in the NWA in 1990 was so strange.  I guess they just wanted recognizable names to help put over the younger NWA stars at this point.  Rotunda had given up his Varsity Club gimmick in favor of a sailor persona, which was beyond stupid.  Rotunda didn't have babyface charisma at all and the Captain Mike thing reeked of 80s jobber.  Mike won a brief match that was out of my head the moment it ended.

The third consecutive throwaway match on this show, Dutch Mantell vs. Doug Furnas was designed to showcase newcomer Furnas, but the match went on far longer than it needed to, and again, I'm not sure why this was included on a PPV.  Furnas won with an impressive belly-to-belly suplex after eleven ponderous minutes.

The oddly pleasant surprise of the night was Harley Race vs. Tommy Rich, in an incredibly physical match given Race's age (He was 47 but looked 60), that proved Race could still turn it up when he needed to.  Contrary to expectations, Race did most of the crazy bumping, including his usual back somersault over the ropes ending with his head hitting the ring apron.  This match had historical value since nine years earlier Rich upset Race for the NWA Title, but otherwise this was a superfluous match that was better than it had any right to be.

How'd Eaton not suffer massive spinal compression?

The proper PPV began with the Midnight Express vs. Southern Boys, another classic effort by Eaton and Lane.  In the tradition of MX's battles against The Rock n' Roll Express and The Fantastics, this match began with babyface team dominance as The Southern Boys stayed one step ahead of the Champs for the better part of ten minutes.  Eaton and Lane eventually took control after some heel tactics, and the match built to a melee with multiple finishers before Eaton rolled up Tracy Smothers in a small package for the win.  The Midnights were in peak form in 1990 and this was one of the highlights of their year.

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.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Dan's Top 9: Best Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Games

Welcome to another edition of Dan's Top 9, where my associate Dan Moore counts down 9 items that happen to be bouncing around his diseased brain.  What a degenerate.  Wait, I mean I love ya buddy.....



by Dan Moore
@SouthieDanimal

A few days ago, Nintendo announced the death of the company’s president and CEO, Satoru Iwata suddenly at the age of 55. A true legend in the gaming world, his passing demands some reflection on the classics in the Nintendo cannon. I first played the  NES back in 1986 at my friend Greg's house. The first game I ever played was Super Mario Bros. And it was GLORIOUS. The second game was Popeye which wasn't so great but still awesome because it's still a fucking video game. Without further ado, here are the best games from the very first generation of Nintendo's gaming system family.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: This is definitely the hardest list I've had to do. Narrowing this down to 9 is near impossible. Some faves that didn't make the cut: Castlevania, ExciteBike, Double Dragon, Bases Loaded and RBI Baseball



9. Blades of Steel


WITH THE PASS! The number of times I heard that muffled, digitized voice is a little bit over infinity.  There was single game play and the awesome tourney play for the Cup. Flying around the ice holding onto Lord Stanley's chalice was quite a thrill for 10 year old me. I played this game so goddamn much I would see the little hockey men skating in circles in my dreams. My beautiful, 8-bit dreams.



8. Tetris


Blocks falling from the sky to make lines. Yeah, that was an idea for a video game. One of the most successful video games of all time. The classic Game Boy version is really where this game spiked in popularity. My favorite Tetris memory is watching my father about to beat Mode B level 9-5 one morning after returning from his night job...and promptly falling asleep two lines away from the finish. Good work, Pop.



7. DuckTales

Gordon Gecko once said that greed is good, and this game taught all us kids that he was right. Traversing the globe and the moon searching for riches as Uncle Scrooge was a wonderful way to learn that only diamonds and gold can make you truly happy.