Monday, May 29, 2017

Gauche Town 5.29.17: Post-Backlash Backlash

by Graham LaGauche
@GrahamFCrackers


I’m just gonna get this one out of the way: Jinder Mahal is the new WWE Champion, and I don’t really have anything bad to say about it. I’m certainly not overjoyed, and I can think of about 20 dudes I’d rather see holding the belt, but Randy Orton isn’t one of them, so +1 there. I don’t hate Randy, I just dislike everything about him. My favorite Randy Orton moment is when he countered Seth Rollins’ Curb Stomp into an RKO at Wrestlemania 31. That’s it. I don’t have any other favorite Randy moments. I don’t even have any “not bad” moments. Actually, I might hate him.  So I’m gonna be behind pretty much any reason he’s not still Champ.

Most people DON’T like Mahal as champ, and in fact hate it, often citing his tendency to be a jobber and his win/loss record. Fair, but I’m absolutely cool with assuming that Jinder was a) released from WWE in 2014 for just that reason, b) went to the indies and actually dedicated himself to improving, and c) took a few months to get reaclimated to the WWE Universe. Once he did that, he saw his chance to strike and took it, riding a sudden wave of momentum and a couple Indian filmmakers right to the top. As a great heel for anyone besides Randy that he may face in the future.

Look, if grown men can suspend disbelief enough to accept the Undertaker at all, a man who can die and be reborn, wear goth vests but also ride a Harley, and control lightning, I don’t get why they can’t kayfabe buy that Jinder improved his skill and mindset by working hard over a fair amount of time.

My favorite part of this whole thing, though, is imagining who could dethrone the Modern Day Maharajah (which my friend Halley thinks is a dope gimmick, and I can’t argue that). A lot of people think AJ, but I think he’s got some time kicking on the dope as hell Smackdown mid-card before making another run at the top belt. Cena’s coming back, but he’ll hopefully be caught up in the Kevin Owens/AJ Styles/United States Championship scene, where he can work with guys that bring the best out in him. So let’s go for Sami. Sami Zayn would be able to tell a great story chasing Mahal for the belt. Honestly, just anything but more Orton. Orton with the championship reminds me of the kid in school who wears a leather jacket at a surprisingly young age, during that bag of flour/fake baby week. He hates carrying it around but knows it’s not worth the hassle if he forgets it on the bus.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

We Are At War: WWF Over The Edge 1998

A brief note. I put the Meltzer Ratings on my PPV throwbacks for a specific reason. I don't worship Meltzer's word as fact, no one should. His opinions are his own and shoud be taken merely as that, though very respected and widespread, as an opinion. I post the ratings along with my review to give an insight to what people thought of the product at the time, so that you the reader can understand how the standards of today differ to then. Now usually, I don't post the thumbs up/down parts or the best/worst match segments, but...well...
Fucking telling, isn't it?

Shamrock was nowhere on this show.
Over The Edge, May 30th 1998




Legion of Doom 2000 vs Skull and Eight Ball
I honestly didn't pay much attention to this match, but Sunny was hot as always. Hawk no sold a piledriver early, the only man who I'm okay with completely no selling it. But then the bikers got the heat on the LOD, and immediately no one cared. The tag team scene in '98 was historically terrible and it showed here. The Road Warriors should not be having anything other than a Road Warriors Squash. Twin Magic, but Animal says fuck your twin magic with a powerslam for the win.

Meltzer Rating: 1/2*
Did I mention Sunny was hot?

Friday, May 26, 2017

WWE's Ratings Decline: Blame the Fans??

Today we have a guest writer offering his take on WWE's rather disturbing practice of blaming the audience for its own shortcomings.  Please welcome Joseph Chaplin (@JosephChaplin20), a prominent member of the WrestleNation Forum group on Facebook, whose writing can also be found at JosephChaplin.wordpress.com.....



"Wrestling is an art." Yes, the somewhat controversial words of Ricochet (following his match last year vs. Will Ospreay at Korakuen Hall) do hold some weight. In a post-kayfabe world, wrestling has embraced an increased capacity as a means of self-expression. Different styles and cultures of wrestling have developed into all sorts of hybrids - some more successful than others - and the huge prevalence of the internet in the wrestling world has made the accessibility of these styles easier than ever before. Nobody could have predicted just a few years ago that longtime New Japan Pro Wrestling stalwart Shinsuke Nakamura would be headlining WWE-produced shows, or that NJPW itself would offer a streaming service to fans as it continues a trek towards worldwide success. That’s not to ignore the worldwide consortium of indie promotions now available through FloSlam - US, UK and German promotions have all expanded greatly thanks to the advent of online streaming in wrestling.

Not only has the internet altered how we can consume wrestling, it has turned the discourse surrounding it upside-down. Now more than ever, it’s possible to discover and share new wrestling with friends and acquaintances all over the world. Just the other day, I was learning about a niche kind of women’s wrestling to have developed in Bolivia. It’s the kind of unlimited exposure that would have given a tape trader a heart attack in years gone by.

Of course, not all development is positive. Wrestling - as with anything - has been subject to more and more negative discussion as a result of the internet. The unfiltered anonymity afforded to so many leads, predictably, to all sorts of trolling. Worse than mere trolling, however, is the movement of placing blame on the fanbase for the state of a product or a promotion. I find more and more that criticism aimed at the output of any wrestling promotion - and unfortunately WWE in particular - is often met with degrees of the same sentiment. The classic “Well, why are you still watching?” “I bet you couldn’t do any better” or “These guys go out there to entertain and that deserves respect no matter what.” It seems as though some would choose to conflate criticism of content with an outright dismissal or disrespect of the minds behind the content.

If you ask me, that attitude - that aggressive rebuke of criticism, no matter how constructive - is what’s causing the startling decline in WWE’s viewerbase. It’s no secret that TV ratings right now are, as Bret Hart might say, the shits. We have seen the decline - happening very slowly in the last fifteen years - grow significantly worse. The most recent episode of Monday Night Raw suffered a 5% drop-off from last week against easier NBA competition. Although a drop in the ocean of worrisome TV ratings (ahead of next year’s contract negotiations with USA Network), this instance is representative of the WWE TV decline beginning to go beyond sports and other media as a source of blame. Naturally, one would think the blame now needs to go inwards. WWE needs to examine the wild inconsistency of its own output and the reductive treatment of both fans and performers.

Monday, May 22, 2017

WWE Backlash 2017 Review: Really? REALLY??


It's amazing I'm able to type this review, considering I threw my hands up in disbelief at the end of Backlash and haven't taken them down since.  The situation is beyond baffling and I don't think there's a more devalued championship in all of wrestling right now than the WWE Title (although the Universal Title comes close).

Before we get to that shit show though, let's look at Backlash's undercard, which was pretty good overall.

The show opened with Shinsuke Nakamura's long-awaited main roster debut against Dolph Ziggler.  The two had a solid back-and-forth match that never quite reached Great territory but was perfectly serviceable as Nak's debut.  I liked that they saved his first match for a PPV and that the announcers touted his unique skillset.  I wasn't crazy about Ziggler getting quite so much offense, as it seemed like they were going out of their way to protect him, when that's never been a concern of theirs before.  But this was a fine initial outing for Nak and I look forward to seeing what's next for him.


The surprise hit of the show for me was the Usos-Breezango Tag Title match.  The comedy element should never have worked as well as it did.  Breeze and Fandango have a pretty goddamn hilarious thing going here and it's nice to see them embrace something that on paper looks so stupid, and make it work.  This match won't win any awards, but it was highly entertaining and the crowd ate it up.  No complaints about this one.

Another match I was pleasantly surprised by was Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn.  Zayn was great as always, taking a beating better than anyone, but Corbin held up his end of the match, selling frustration with not being able to put Sami away.  The ending was really well-booked, with Sami hitting a boot to the face to create an opening long enough for the Heluva Kick.  I was glad to be wrong about this result.  Zayn should be one of the top babyfaces in the company.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Gauche Town 5.21.17: Pre-Backlash Backlash

by Graham LaGauche
@GrahamFCrackers



Hey, we’re back from an away game, also called “The UK” in some circles, and we’ve had one or two developments!

Backlash is this weekend, and the biggest story of the year is Erick Rowan and his procural of a bag to hold his masks! He’s got a bunch now. One for laughing, one for breathing, one for watching soap operas and ironing his jumpsuit, one for when he’s touring with Slipknot, probably. It’s a go-home episode of Smackdown Live, so they’re pulling out all the stops for this one. On the talk show that follows Smackdown Live.


Whatever, I actually dig what they’re selling with Rowan, and I really like that he’s all “I leave for a little bit and now everything sucks.” He’s pissed that when he returned to The Wyatt Family, there was all this infighting and shit and now his leader is gone and exposed as a nerd who was a member of the A.V. club in high school. I’m pissed too, buddy.

So that makes me think Rowan has a shot at pinning Luke Harper at Backfat, otherwise what happens to Rowan if he takes a loss? Nothing, and that sucks, cause I like him. Maybe Bray left him some unused tricks in the Smackdown locker room, that are hopefully not just spooky hand-buzzers and trick maggot-gum.

Sami Zayn is not a jobber but his job is to lose. Does that make sense? Sami’s in a heated feud with Baron Corbin and all the heat is coming from Sami. Corbin’s phoning in attacks while Sami’s selling his ass off in and out of the ring. Baron’s got some great moves if you like tilt-a-whirl style slams and sliding out under the ropes. He would look cool if it wasn’t for his clothes, his attitude, and his bellybutton.


Sami, on the other hand listens to ska, skanks, overanalyzes everything, and wears checkered pants and goofy hats. Pretty much everything that’s indefensible, and I’m all in every time he steps in the ring. It takes a special soul reaper to cheer against Sami, no matter how lame he is on paper. His determination to not suck in the ring washes away all of that. So he’s gonna lose, Corbin will continue to get pushed, and I’ll have to think of new ways to make fun of his hair.

The Welcoming Committee has to win, or else why are we here, when there’s no way to explain how two of the worst wrestlers in the company, and Nattie, can beat half of the 4 Horsewomen and the Smackdown Women’s champ? Naomi is one of the best wrestlers today, as long as you keep her away from Charlotte. The two of them seem to forget how to wrestle when they fight.

WWE Backlash 2017 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another in the looooong line of WWE Predictions, here at Enuffa.com!


This Sunday is the Smackdown brand's first PPV since WrestleMania, and they certainly have their work cut out for them if they want to put on a shittier, less satisfying show than RAW's Payback PPV.  Jeezus on a pogo stick that show sucked.  Anyway, Backlash certainly has some solid stuff to offer, and then one of the stupider WWE Title matches, which is likely to just be an extended bathroom break.  Eh, that's fine, I'll scarf down a couple triple cheeseburgers and a bucket of chili fries to ensure I'll hafta take a long, arduous dump during this stupid match.

Anyway, let's get to it.

***I currently lead this season with 55% accuracy compared to Dan and Landon's 50%.  Backlash's nonsensical booking screwed us all, but me especially.***



Preshow Match: Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English


Mr. English is flying solo since his douchebag of a former partner Simon Gotch got himself released.  Gotch apparently thought he was too big a star to be in a jobber tag team - what an inflated turdball.  Dillinger has been mostly in showcase matches since his call-up, and I expect this to be more of the same.

Justin's pick: Tye
Dan's pick: Who??  Whatever, Dillinger.
Landon's pick: For lack of an actual pick, Tye so I don't risk lagging behind in points





Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn


Zayn has gone from getting killed by Braun Strowman to getting killed by Baron Corbin.  Poor Sami.  This match could be fun or it could suck.  But I'm guessing Vince's hard-on for big men prevails once again.

Justin's pick: Corbin
Dan's pick: Yeah.
Landon's pick: Corbin


NXT Takeover: Chicago Preview & Predictions


I should be really hyped for this show. The crowd is probably going to be insane, the matches are going to be fun. But...I don't know, my love for NXT have dimmed in the past couple years. And this is the guy7 who went and saw them in Columbas back to back years. I used to love NXT, but in recent months the brand went from a great match factory to an empty vessel of what it was in 2014. Oh well, enough bitching and on to the PPV.



Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young

Roderick Strong remains one of my favorite wrestlers, and the video packages of the past few weeks have made him out to be the biggest hero in NXT currently. Eric Young has been doing better work than I ever would have thought with his Sanity faction. I'm very high on the four of them, and I think they could be the first faction in NXT history to hold all the titles at once. And I'd be 100% okay with this.

Landon's Pick: Strong needs to look good if he's going to challenge Roode. Strong to win.
Justin's Pick: What a TNA throwback.  I dunno, I think they keep Young winning via nefarious means.




Asuka vs. Ruby Riot vs. Nikki Cross, for the NXT Women's Championship

We have officially run out of things for Asuka to kill. Dropping the title to Ember Moon was the best option we've had so far, and now we're just kind of...what, waiting for the Joshi batch coming in? Fucking hell. I used to like multimans a lot. Now I can only see them as a message of "we're out of ideas, so here's a crazy schmozz".

Landon's Pick: Well Ember WAS in this match and I would have picked her, but Asuka to retain I guess
Justin's Pick: Yes, it was clearly going to be Ember's time, but now they have to stall.  Asuka retains.


Uncle Miggsy's Preakness Preview

by Mike Parker
@UncleMiggsy


The second leg of the Triple Crown is here, the 142nd running of the Preakness stakes (If you missed my analysis on the first leg don’t feel bad, I forgot to post it). I’d recommend attending this “lovely” affair but I don’t want to lie to you. Spend the extra money and go to the Kentucky Derby. The derby takes in beautiful Louisville, Kentucky at a great track known for its iconic twin spires, Churchill downs, highlighted by well dress people drinking mint juleps. The Preakness is held at Pimlico Race Course just outside of the hell hole that is Baltimore, Maryland. It’s a mostly faceless track overrun with binge drinking buffoons. 

Like these two buffoons. 


Check out this review from a few years ago. And take it as a warning to never go there. 


Let’s just get to the part everybody loves, making fun of horse names…
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


THE UNDERCARD

Race 8: 

Adonis Creed (Sounds like a Rocky foe) [EDITOR'S NOTE: Uh...that's Apollo Creed's son, stupid] 


(Uncle Miggsy Note: I was informed after this was written that it was indeed a Rocky character. ¯\_()_/¯) 


Berks County (Berk has no county. He’d sell out for a box of titelists or ho ho’s whatever you have.)

Chubby Star (Bowfinger voice ‘You’re gunna be a star’)

Referencing a 20 year old bomb of a movie that no one saw? NAILED IT



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

We Are At War: WCW Slamboree (1998)

Fucking got that right.

WCW/nWo Slamboree, May 17th, 1998
Tenay, Schiavone, and Heenan are trying really hard to explain everything we're going to see. props to them, cause even secondhand, I know how wacky this show has been in the past few months.

Fit Finlay vs. Chris Benoit for the World Television Title
This match was as good as you would think a match between these two would be, which has a high ceiling of potential. The crowd was amazingly awake for this match, and the opening minutes were a spectacle of technical wrestling and striking from both men. But, as Finlay is inclined to do, turned to the roughneck breaking down of Chris both outside of the ring and in.  Benoit got momentum back, and tried a suicide dive to the ring. Finlay decided to crank him in the head with a steel chair to counter it, and I screamed. This was Not a Disqualification. Booker T came out to distract Benoit, which let Finlay take advantage, but not the fall. This came shortly after the distraction with a Tombstone.

Meltzer Rating: ***1/4
A really good match, not that I doubted it would be. But as it went longer, it slowed down and the crowd started to die. Still would recommend it to people who want to watch a good match.

Brian Adams (w/Vincent) vs Lex Luger
Lex Luger looks like hes made of tanned bacon. If the match had ended with zero offense from Adams it would have been better, Luger's opening offense had the crowd crazy. But I guess there had to be heat. Torture Rack is over.

Meltzer Rating: 1/2*
This was okay. Always wish Crush had gotten over.

Perry Saturn cuts a very good, intense promo.

Cruiserweight Number 1 Contendership Battle Royal
Chris Jericho was always a charismatic bastard. He managed to introduce everyone to the ring with some slandering bullshit. It was awesome. Literally every man under 220 in WCW was in this match...besides the important ones (Eddie, Rey Mysterio, Dragon, etc. Though I don't know where Rey is honestly...). Dean Malenko, under a mask and full body suit, won the match and unmasked, getting the biggest and most sustained reaction of the night.

Chris Jericho vs Dean Malenko for the WCW Cruiserweight Title
Malenko took 75% of the match, ignoring most of his technical arsenal in favor of just beating Jericho down. Because Malenko understood that sometimes, you have to change what you do in the ring to portray the story you're trying to tell properly. The top rope gutbuster from Malenko is still great and scary. Dean eventually got the submission with the Cloverleaf, and the crowd went wild.

Meltzer Rating: ***1/4
It was a very good match that may have had the most build of anything on the card. It's amazing what a little forethought can do for your match.

Diamond Dallas Page vs Raven, Bowery Death Cage Match
It's the battle of the Nirvana covers. If you're asking what a Bowery Death Cage Match is, it's the child of a Last Man Standing and a Hell in a Cell match that was raised by ECW. The two had a very good, well paced fight. It wasn't an ECW weapons match, but a good brawl that had weapons involved. Both DDP and Raven tried their best, but the fans in the arena couldn't see shit, so there was no reaction. Flock got involved, Flock got Diamond Cutter'd, eventually Raven ate one as well.
DDP answered the 10 count when Raven couldn't.

Meltzer Rating: **1/2
Pretty fun to watch. Kanyon came into the ring and delivered the chair shot of all death on Raven. The crowd did not react

They showed a security officer looking for McMahon, DX and Steve Austin with black and white pictures of them all for reference. Because, for some reason, they wanted to convince us that someone didn't know what Steve Austin or Vince McMahon looked like

Eddie Guerrero (w/Chavo Guerrero) vs Ultimo Dragon
There is certainly a part of me that wished this match took place somewhere, anywhere, else. The crowd was not nearly as into the match as I would've been for these two, who had a great match. Dragon was arguably in his prime here, and Eddie was always on throughout his career. Much like the opening match, this one was certainly as good as you would expect it to be. Technical prowess, flying, and good storytelling all went into this one, that ended with a brainbuster and a Frog Splash from Guerrero.

Meltzer Rating: ***1/4
This and the Television Title match are the two big matches worth watching on this show.

Goldberg vs. Saturn for the WCW United States Title
The commentators bragged about how "WCW has a finger on the pulse of what WCW fans want". Ill let that one sink in for you. I learned in this match that Saturday Night WCW was still a thing at this time. So WCW fans were expected to follow at least 6 hours of wrestling per week, which is even a lot to expect from a single company today. Saturn was a very unique stirker and personality, and how he never got bigger than he was is a mystery to me. I'm not talking a lot about the match, because you've seen one Goldberg match than you've seen most of them. Actually I lie, because this match was very back and forth, Saturn got a lot of offense on Goldberg before he activated Green powers. This was actually a fun match to watch.

Meltzer Rating: 3/4*
I came out of this match liking both men more for it. Goldberg was getting better at having longer matches, and Saturn got in what he could. I think *3/4 is pretty unfair.

Eric Bischoff stroked his ego for 5 minutes on PPV, coming out to "fight" Vince McMahon and "winning" by countout. They took time throughout the show to build up if Vince was coming (we knew he wasn't via lawsuit). Fuck this all.


Bret Hart vs. Randy Savage, Special Referee Roddy Piper
What do I say about this match? Bret has often said that he lost the passion for wrestling when he jumped to WCW, and you can tell that here. He seems very hollow when he's going through the motions here. What should've been a great match, a classic almost, felt plodding and long. Savage himself seemed to be going through the motions, and the crowd really couldn't care less about the fight. They went hither and yon at one point for a brief spot, that went practically nowhere. The two tried to work a main event level match, but with the fans so not into it, and indeed the wrestlers not really caring like they seem to not here, there was no hope for a match. This match, that Roddy promised wouldn't end in a DQ, ended when he disqualified Randy.

Meltzer Rating: **1/2
I should have liked this match, I should have LOVED this match but I didn't. It actually makes me mad.

The Outsiders (w/Dusty Rhodes) vs Sting and The Giant for the WCW Tag Titles
Scott Hall had to be drunk here. This survey gimmick is ridiculous. But I don't need to go into that. Instead, lets take a minute to appreciate Dusty's holy hell, ugly jacket.
Lovely.

Scott moved like he was drunk, The Giant and Kevin Nash plodded, and Sting looked like he wished he were anywhere else. This was a boring match that set up to Hall and Dusty turning on Nash, keeping the inside war between the nWo fueled. The people reacted appropriately. Nash was alright, I think, and Giant was better than he is now at mid 40s and hurting.

Meltzer Rating: DUD

 This show was great until the last two matches. The card was stacked, and awesome, and full of talent. But a pair of matches with a lack of passion sunk my attitude over all. And that's a shame, because there was a crop of men working really hard to give the people something to enjoy. I want to hope it gets better from here, but I know better.

(All Ratings taken from the May25th issue of the Wrestling Observer)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What team will the NBA rig the Lottery for this year?... (Hint: not the Celtics)

A long rant by B-Cuddy


I’m not a big conspiracy guy. I think Oswald acted alone. Even Lloyd Christmas knows we landed on the Moon. The 9/11 conspiracy guys are just a group of assholes. The “Flat Earth” people are the dumbest fucks of them all. (Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving is one of em. When asked about his belief, he responded with something about people needing to do their own “research.” You see, in Kyrie’s world, a 20 minute YouTube clip amounts to more sophisticated research than all of Science…ever.) Basically, I have a hard time believing a giant number of people can keep a secret. Mostly because half my friends are like the god damn media. You know who you are. Having said all that, there is one conspiracy I believe in whole-heartedly; The NBA Draft Lottery is most definitely rigged.

Now hear me out. To rig the lottery, it wouldn’t take a bunch of people. The Commish, some underling, and a team owner/GM/President. It can be done. And I’m not suggesting that it’s every year. If that were the case, everyone would sniff it out. You got to be crafty. It all depends on circumstances. Here are some examples of when the lottery was fixed:

1. 1985 – The Patrick Ewing Lottery. The one that started it all, and the most famous. The very first Draft Lottery, in a Draft that had 1 transcendent star coming out. Patrick Ewing was the obvious #1 pick that year. The New York Knicks were coming off a terrible season in which the only people who went to Madison Square Garden were hot dog vendors and the homeless for warmth. Commish David Stern and the league were not about to let their biggest market continue to crumble. There are countless stories about some “frozen envelope” out there if you feel like going down a rabbit hole. 


Undeniable proof. 


2. 1993 – Shaquille O’Neal to Orlando. The Magic were an expansion team starting in the ‘89-‘90 season. And when you’re trying to grow the league in a new area, it helps if the team's good. What’s a better way to get good than landing a 7’2” phenom? The Magic were only the 11th worst record that year. And had just a 1.5% chance of winning the #1 pick. Apparently in 1993, people didn’t know Florida was a terrible state. Shaq figured it out years later when he bolted for LA. That’s what happens when your biggest attraction is a fucking mouse. 


OH BOY, FLORIDA SUCKS!!!

3. 2003 – LeBron James. He was the best high school prospect of all time. People put him in a class with Bird, Magic, and Jordan before he could buy a scratch ticket. He grew up in Akron, Ohio. Cleveland won the lottery. That lottery was as fake as LeBron’s hairline. 


Pictured: Lebron James 


4. 2007 – Greg Oden & Kevin Durant. This one offends me most since the Celtics had real odds to land one of the top 2 picks. Instead they got the fucking 5th pick. I can only complain so much since it led to the Allen & Garnett trades. Nonetheless…the Portland Trail Blazers were still reeling from the Jail blazer days when most of their team left in free agency to play for San Quinton. The Seattle Supersonics were up for sale. Conveniently both landed 1,2. The Sonics were subsequently purchased, and hijacked to Oklahoma City.

5. 2011 – Kyrie Flat Earth Irving to Cleveland. You’re going to notice a theme because Cleveland isn’t done on this list. This was the season immediately following LeBron ripping everyone in Cleveland’s heart out on live TV. The NBA felt bad apparently. How touching. 

Cleveland's last good team. 

6. 2012 – Anthony Davis to New Orleans. Davis is a once a decade talent. A big man who can shoot, and play great defense. New Orleans had just been purchased a month prior by saints owner Tom Benson after having no owner for 2 years and being controlled by the league. Let me repeat. BRAND NEW OWNER BOUGHT A PREVIOUSLY LEAGUE CONTROLLED TEAM. Anthony Davis was the thank you gift for buying a franchise nobody wanted.

7. 2014 – Cleveland fucking Cavs again. It was no secret that LeBron James was contemplating returning to Cleveland. However, the Cavs roster still wasn’t great. They had Kyrie, but needed another legit star. You know how you get that star? You win the #1 pick, and waive it in a trade at some team. Funny how it all worked out.

8. 2016 – 76ers & Lakers. Last year’s draft lottery was a bullshit fix if I’ve ever seen one. In December of 2015, the 76ers hired Jerry Colangelo to be chairman of basketball operations. They did this because the NBA pressured them to do so. The 76ers were in the midst of the most blatant tanking run in league history. It made the Chicago Black Sox blush. And the rest of the owners were pissed since it was a huge black eye for the league. As a thanks for listening to the NBA, Philly won the #1 pick. (Weirdly, hours before the lottery supposedly took place, 2 people associated with Philly tweeted their excitement for winning the #1 pick. Joel “Horse Dong” Embiid & Dikembe “Who wants to sex?” Mutombo. I’ll let you google each nickname on your own). The Lakers were terrible that year. The league does not want the LA Lakers to be bad. Plain & simple. 2nd biggest market and one of 2 most storied franchises. It’s just better for business if they’re good. Last year’s draft was considered to generally be a weak one, with only 2 highly rated prospects. Of course Lakers landed one. I want to puke just thinking about it again. Even Vince McMahon thinks that some of those are fucked up. 


"Wait...what? No one's gonna buy this!"

But finally, we made it to this year. Given the draft class is solid, and there are some intriguing franchise circumstances in the air, the draft will almost certainly be pre-determined by the higher-ups. Before I give you a rundown of how the fixing may go down, allow me to try and explain how the lottery is “supposedly” done.
·         There are 14 teams in the lottery. 14 Ping-Pong balls are entered into a machine. Each ball is numbered.
·         The machine is spun, or mixed, or whatever the fuck they do, before each ball is drawn, drawing a total of 4 balls.
·         The 4 balls create a number combination. That number combination is assigned to 1 of the 14 teams.
·         There are 1001 possible combinations. The team with the worst record has the most combinations assigned to them. The team with the worst record gets 25%. 2nd worst gets 19.9%, 3rd gets 15.6%, and so it goes until the 14th worst team gets 0.5%.
·         The lottery drawing is only done for the top 3 picks. After that, the order is just by the team’s record. So if you’re watching on TV, as they count down starting at 14, you notice a team with shit odds is weirdly skipped, that means they jumped all the way to at least #3, and someone in the top of the draft got fucked. Hard.


That’s as easy as I can lay it out. I’m not Will Hunting here for Christ sake. Anyways…at this point you might be asking, “Well how do they rig THAT?” Well I don’t know! But THEY do. 



Here’s a comprehensive (term used very loosely) list of teams the NBA will want to fix the lottery for, accompanied by their supposed draft odds (SO), and their NBA fixing odds (FO), to land in the top 3…

Lakers (SO = 46.9%, FO = 1000%) – In a deep draft like this year, you may ask why the NBA would need to go out of its way to fix the lottery for a team with already the 3rd best odds. Here’s why: If the Lakers somehow fall out of the top 3, they have to send that pick to the 76ers. The Lakers could be bad and not have a draft pick in a loaded class? I DON’T THINK SO! Plus, NBA darling Magic Johnson is now GM for the Lakers. Also, FUCK THE LAKERS. God I hate them.

76ers (SO = 37.8%, FO = 50%) – I’m on the fence about the NBA throwing them another life jacket. With the 4th best odds anyways, they’re setup to get a solid player. The only reason I don’t have them as a certainty is because there are 2 teams behind them have a bigger fixed stench on them.

Knicks (SO = 18.3%, FO = 100%) – The Knicks fucking stink. And it’s been a long time since they haven’t. The owner is a god damn putz. The man in charge, Phil Jackson, is going senile. They literally can’t get out of their own way. The NBA won’t be able to help themselves from trying to salvage this team, and drum up interest in New York.

New Orleans Pelicans (SO = 4%, FO = 66%) – Here’s my dark horse. This team made a big splash at the trade deadline to get DeMarcus Cousins, which makes for an interesting pairing next to Anthony Davis. In theory, the team is only a couple players away from making some noise. Why help them? Here’s another team that has to give up their draft pick if they don’t leap into the top 3. But most importantly, rumors are the next NBA team to possibly go up for sale is this one. It’s the least valued franchise in the league. Basketball (sports in general) doesn’t work in New Orleans. I’m not sure why they keep trying. But the NBA won’t want them sold to people looking to relocate the franchise. So how else do you entice a billionaire to pay for the runt of the litter in a shit market? You sell roster potential, and the idea that winning will create the market. The only argument against the lottery being fixed for them is that the Sacramento Kings get their pick if it’s not in the top 3. Who are a perennial shitshow themselves. 


Side note: This is a pelican. What a dumb fucker. 

Here’s my final prediction for the farce that is the NBA Draft Lottery:
1. Knicks 2. Lakers 3. Pelicans 4. Celtics (and only because they mathematically cannot be lower)

I’m already upset.

p.s. This was written by a Celtics fan that’s disgruntled by their lack of luck in the draft lottery. I will take it all back if the Celts get #1.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Gauche Town 5.15.17: Previously on WWE

Welcome to a brand new feature here at Enuffa.com, where Graham LaGauche (@GrahamFCrackers) looks back at the WWE week that was.  Glad to have you aboard Graham!

Welcome to Gauche Town, I’ll be your host though this week’s rollercoaster of emotions through the WWE Universe. I promise you, I actually love pro wrestling.


Gauche Town


WWE was in London this week, so that sucks right off the bat. UK shows are notorious for inflated-ego audiences, and nothing happening. If something does happen, you’ve seen it before. Anyone up for some dueling authority figures on Raw? We haven’t seen that in like a month.


I can tell you last time I took Dean Ambrose seriously: It was when he left Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York. He hopped on the Q train at a station I can frequently be found standing in, looking stupid. I admittedly marked out, because I loved Dean’s work in The Shield, what with the helicopters and cool masks and shit. Dean got on that train and I’m down the road watching on my TV, so excited with wonder at the multitude of New York City-specific things he could bring back to pummel Cena with. He came back from Coney Island with a hot dog cart and attacked people with condiments.

coneyislandambrose.jpg


That was almost 3 years ago. This week he’s making barfy sounds and giving people “wacky” nicknames. Dude left his soul in Coney Island.


He’s also the Intercontinental Champion, which for the time being is more important than the Universal Championship. This means all the midcard players are top guys, and all the top guys are just prolonging their side-feuds. Like Samoa Joe and Seth Rollins, which is amazing on paper, but Seth seems like he’s been treading water since he already conquered King H. That match took so long to finally happen that I had lost interest almost a year ago, and Seth has done nothing to gain any outside momentum, except get hurt. At this point I just want to see Joe raze his complacency and send Seth home to think about what he’s done.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

ROH War of The Worlds 2017

The biggest show of this year's War of the Worlds tour is in the book. The third annual tour for New Japan stars in North America, and each of the four cards in the past week easily looked  to be Pay-Per-View caliber. Upon first glances at the four final cards, it looked to me that the New York City show was looking to be the least stacked, the whole show felt very thrown together last minute and banking on New Japan stardom to sell (which it id, but that's irrelevant in my argument). After the show was over, and glad that I shielded myself from spoilers, I found myself torn where the show was on the spectrum. Good? Great? Average? Maybe if I go through each match, I'll be able to piece the answer together easier.

Silas Young vs. Bobby Fish vs. Kushida vs. Dalton Castle
This was a very good opening match. It was ROH's trademark insanity to get the crowd up and ready to go for the rest of the show. However, several problems I have with the show overall can be found in this match. Look at the talent involved in this match; New Japan's Junior Ace, and a trio of Ring of Honor's biggest stars who hold at least a dozen World and Television title matches between them (Fish himself a former Television Champion). Putting these four in an opening, nothing match is very confusing move. Another glaring problem with this show was the length of the matches.Nine matches on the card, the longest of the matches went under fourteen minutes. I would have liked less, longer matches between the talent we had on this show. The way the event went, many of the matches felt both rushed to get to the end, while also coming off as really empty for content. Ultimately, Dalton Castle would win a short, but fast paced match, setting an unfortunate one for the night.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Archive of Honor: Respect Is Earned


I can't believe it's taken me a year and change to finally start talking about Ring of Honor on this site. The Phoenix of ECW has been my favorite Stateside wrestling company for years now, and I have enough DVDs in my collection from the past 15 years to last me as long as I want. I've wanted to do previews and reviews for ROH the whole time, but school, work, or other reviews got in the way. But a few days ago, I realized that today would be the 10th anniversary of Ring of Honors first ever PPV, Respect is Earned. And it happened that in my massive library expansion last month, Respect is Earned found it's way into my hands. So, if there was ever a reason to review the first DVD in my collection, it's this. Happy Ten Year Anniversary, you glorious Bastards.

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 24 - Preview & Predictions

Welcome to Enuffa.com's 2nd Annual look at the NJPW Best of the Super Juniors tournament, where 16 Jr. Heavyweights tear the house down over a period of three weeks.  For those of you not familiar, BOSJ is two round-robin blocks, where each wrestler faces the other seven in his block.  Two points for a win, one for a draw.  Whoever has the most points at the end faces the winner of the other block in the Finals.  The 2017 field looks quite stacked, particularly in Block A, so we should be in for some spectacular matches.


My colleague Landon Wayne (@LSWayne21) and I will break down each competitior and our predictions.  Let's get to it!



Block A

Dragon Lee

Justin: The young lucha has impressed me thus far, particularly in his unsuccessful challenge for Takahashi's Jr. Title in February.  Any match he's in should be worth watching here.

Landon: I feel like the man is intent on killing himself in the ring, and he might die sometime on this tour between Ricochet, Ospereay, and Takahashi. I would’ve put him in the other block personally to keep him away from Takahashi, but Gedo must have a plan.



Hiromu Takahashi

Justin: The Champion has had a stellar 2017 thus far, with numerous excellent Title defenses.  He's become as much of a division cornerstone as Kushida in a very short time, and he carries himself like a major star.  Generally the Champ isn't one to bet on in these tournaments, since the point is to elevate someone to challenge him.  But I certainly wouldn't complain if the "Time Bomb" made the finals.

Landon: Naito’s psychotic godson has become my favorite Junior in New Japan since Wrestle Kingdom. The men he’s being put against for the next month is spectacular, though again very confusing. I would think he’d be in less stacked Block, to leave something to be desired for Dominion. It’ll still be sublime to see him kill himself to kill the others.



Jushin Thunder Liger

Justin: The 50+ veteran still has some legs and should produce some solid work against his young competition.  I don't see him as a block leader though.

Landon: He’s claimed this might be his last BOSJ. I hope Liger takes the levels up to 11 for this run, he’ll need it to keep up with the rest of the block.



Marty Scurll

Justin: The ROH TV Champion makes his NJPW debut in this tourney.  I must confess I'm not all that familiar with Scurll's work but I've read good things.  Hopefully he'll have an Elgin-esque showing in the tourney and we'll see more of him in New Japan.

Landon: I love The Villain. Love. Love. Love. He’s the best Anti-Junior we could have here. He has enough of an aerial offense to keep up, but most of his deal is around breaking an opponent down. It’s gonna be entertaining seeing him go up against the quicker wrestlers in his pool and watch how they work around someone who won’t try to play their game.



Ricochet

Justin: Any Ricochet match here is gonna be must-watch. He has to be considered one of the big favorites to win the whole thing and I can't wait to see the tournament rematch with Ospreay, with whom he stole the entire tour last year.

Landon: It’s Ricochet. Whether you’re a NJPW fan, or a ROH/RevPro/CMLL/PWG fan led into the BOSJ because of the hype, you had to have accidentally walked into a Ricochet match on your way here by now. I feel like I don’t need to say anything about him at this point.


Monday, May 8, 2017

The Retired Human: An Investigation

I’ve been subjected to a bevy of retired people in my life the last few weeks (my parents were in town, and now my girlfriend's parents). I’ve been able to study their everyday activities and now I would like to share with you all my very scientific observations on this most strange animal, the Retired Human (Oldicus Boredicus).

There they are, about to tell me how I fucked something up.


1. THEY CRAVE THE PRINTED WORD: These old folk need information. But they do not wish to have that info at a convenient access point like, say, in their hands AT ANY TIME WITH A PUSH OF A BUTTON. No, no, no. These people need ink on paper. NEED IT. Like an alcoholic going from bar to bar avoiding last calls, these people cannot begin the day without their fingers being dirtied up by cheap ink off cheaper paper. Yes, they desire yesterday’s news at an ungodly early hour printed on a piece of stationary barely above welfare grade toilet paper. They all head to a store before the sun is up. They circle the place, standing by for the doors to open so they can pounce like hyenas waiting on a used-up carcass.  One wonders if they would also accept a man working with a quill pen, dipping it in ink and writing out this info in Latin, which is just about as useful as today’s newspapers. 

Breaking News 


2. THEY ARE ACTIVE WELL BEFORE MODERN MAN AWAKENS: When once it was known that the day started when the first rooster crows, now we must heed the call of the sexagenarian. I always thought 4:15 AM was far too early to be putting dishes away; alas, I was wrong. Though I as a working human need rest, they as a non-working folk do not. Nor are they too worried about waking you up when even the sun is still sleeping. They are clanging and banging all over the house like it’s a goddamn gym. But I was told I was too loud at 8:30 PM while I was rubbing wet cotton over a blanket. 

QUIET DOWN!!!!!!!!!!


3. THEY EXPLAIN EVERYTHING TO YOU. EVERYTHING: Have you ever opened a window before? Sure you have! But you’ve been doing it all wrong, you silly son of a bitch! There’s subtle nuances to opening and closing a window I never knew before. But I do know, after my 17-minute tutorial about pushing something up then pushing something down. Other things I had no clue I was doing wrong all these years was using the shower, folding clothes and cutting a steak. Thankfully, I am re-trained in all these activities and I will not be made to look the fool. 

These were just some of my observations while watching this strange creature. Tune in next time when I share with you that you can't be drinking all that caffeine and those lights are way too bright. 



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Lonzo Ball's ZO2 Signature Shoe: An In Depth Report

Yesterday, Lonzo Ball's sneaker company Big Baller unveiled their signature shoe masterpiece. Here now are some thoughts about these...things from your intrepid staff. Leading off is Brandon, as most of us had no clue who the hell Lonzo Ball was in the first place, so he had to explain it to us.

BEHOLD! Sneakers you'd wear if you worked in the food industry! 

BRANDON: Lonzo Ball is going to be a top 3 pick in the upcoming NBA draft. He went to UCLA, and he's the eldest of 3 Ball brothers. The other 2 will end up at UCLA in upcoming years. His dad is LaVar Ball, who is an insane person with an inflated ego that rivals that of the North Korean guy, and our current Commander in Chief. He's made such claims as Lonzo is better than Steph Curry. (He's not). That he himself could have beaten Jordan 1 on 1 in his prime.

Also, he said he rides dragons & can out-drink Andre the Giant. The shit eatin' grin says it all. 

Lonzo was a really good passer in college. But he has an awkward looking shot. He's being hyped as a potential #1 pick, but I'd rather have the kid out of Washington, Markelle Fultz. Also, the Balls are obsessed with LA. All they want is for the Lakers to draft him. I don't want any part of this kid on the Celts.


And he's stated that any major apparel company would need to sign all 3 Ball kids to a billion dollar deal, and to incorporate his own made up crap, Big Baller Brand. The reason the shoes are so ugly is because Nike, Addidas, & Under Armor all told this clown to pi$$ off. And apparently the only person he could get to work with him was a guy in his garage sewing old belts together.

"I'll have those size 10's for ya right after I fix this Johnson Rod"

DAN:  They look like a knockoff brand of sneakers a Chinese woman would come into a bar with. "40 dollar" she'd say and you'd be drunk and offer 25. You'd take them home and laugh about it. And in the morning, after your hangover, be heated that you spent 25 bucks on those piss poor sneakers instead of spending 25 dollars on piss poor beer.

Don't forget the flip flops...retail price: TWO HUNDRED & TWENTY FUCKING DOLLARS!

Flip flips for a cool 200 bucks is also laughable. Who in the FUCK is buying flip flops for 200 bucks??!?!? Flip flops are disposable. You wear them to the beach and leave them there. I've spent I think 4 bucks on flip flops total in my life. These Ball guys...they're not my type of guys.

JUSTIN: Whenever I see a dude wearing flip-flops anywhere but the beach, my first impulse is to stomp on his stupid fucking hairy toes.  No one wants to see your disgusting man-feet, loser.  Put some goddamn real shoes on.

And there you have it. Our in depth fashion analysis of sneakers we'd never buy made by a dude only 1/3 of us had ever heard of before. Tune in next time when we write about another piece of fashion that sucks. 

Star Wars Trilogy - The Remake

This might just be the greatest remake in cinema history.  In 1993 my schoolmates and I decided to distill the original Star Wars trilogy down to its bare essence and focus on the growth of Luke Skywalker.  The result is a streamlined 20-minute version of this iconic series.  I really think we hit some notes that the original cast and crew missed.  But you be the judge.....

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Top Ten Things: WrestleMania Followups

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

Today I'll be talking about some slightly-hidden gems given the unenviable task of directly following WrestleMania.  Every year 'Mania seems to play out like a season finale of sorts, with long-running angles and feuds being resolved, and new stories beginning.  But with no off-season, WWE marches right on to the next PPV (formerly In Your House and Backlash, now Extreme Rules) and has to assemble a show that could easily come off as anticlimactic given its position on the PPV calendar.  Some years though, the 'Mania followup PPV has actually outclassed The Show of Shows and presented one or more Match of the Year candidates.  Backlash 1999 and 2000 for example were far and away superior to 'Mania 15 and 16 respectively.  Ditto for Extreme Rules 2011 and 2012.  Not so much for Payback 2017....

Here now are the Top Ten Matches from Post-WrestleMania PPVs.



10. The Shield vs. Evolution - Extreme Rules 2014


This dream match of sorts was a wild, action-packed example of faction warfare.  The Shield had recently turned against The Authority, and Triple H retaliated by reassembling his most accomplished stable, now consisting of three former WWE/World Champions.  Now I had hoped for an 8-man WarGames-style match including Daniel Bryan and Kane, and I still think WWE dropped the ball by not booking that match after it was so perfectly set up the night after WM30.  That said though, this six-man delivered huge and further established The Shield as the most dominant faction in years.




9. John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar - Extreme Rules 2012


Brock Lesnar's WWE return was an absolutely huge deal.  After an eight-year hiatus Lesnar reappeared on RAW the night after WrestleMania 28 and left John Cena laying in a heap.  A No Holds Barred match was immediately signed for Extreme Rules, and would be the first signature "Brock Lesnar" match, where he employed both pro wrestling and MMA techniques to create a unique, big-fight atmosphere.  The match began with Lesnar brutally bloodying Cena with hard elbows to the forehead, marking the first WWE use of significant "color" in several years.  This groundbreaking fight showcased a dominant Lesnar performance until the very end, when Cena evened the playing field with a chain and got a shocking (and in retrospect terribly ill-advised) win over the returning Beast.  It took some time for WWE to properly use Lesnar during his post-UFC run (His record after one year back was 1-2!), but fortunately they soon remembered that Brock Lesnar is supposed to destroy everything in sight, and have since worked much harder to preserve his drawing power.




8. Mankind vs. Big Show - Backlash '99


After a tremendously disappointing first-time matchup at WrestleMania XV, Mankind and The Big Show redeemed themselves with this brutal Boiler Room Brawl.  The inaugural Backlash event one-upped 'Mania 15 in every way, and this match was everything the first encounter wasn't.  Mankind brought his typically high pain threshold, taking a brutal table spot and cutting his hand on a pane of glass before escaping the boiler room.  Not only did this match steal the show at Backlash '99 but I consider it the far better of the two Boiler Room Brawls.




7. Randy Orton vs. Cactus Jack - Backlash 2004


Another Foley classic, this time Mick donned the red & black flannel and trimmed way down to resurrect his original in-ring persona, Cactus Jack.  Randy Orton was just gaining traction as a future main event player, and Foley made sure he looked like a million bucks.  This outlandish, violent Street Fight featured barbed-wire bats, thumbtacks, falls off the stage, and buckets of blood.  The enduring image for me is of Orton taking a bump, barebacked, on a pile of thumbtacks.  Simply one of the most grisly moments I can recall in a wrestling match.



Monday, May 1, 2017

WWE Payback 2017, or The House of Crap

WWE Payback 2017 was, for lack of a better word, dumb.


The show featured five solid matches, none of which climbed above ***1/2, a main event that was really more of an angle than a match, one of the most embarrassingly stupid "matches" the company has ever put together, and booking decisions that were confounding at nearly every turn.

Case in point, the opening US Title match between Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho.  This match was fine, but nothing more.  Their WrestleMania match was significantly better and more memorable, and when it was over Jericho actually won the US Title, meaning that as of this moment Owens is not moving over to Smackdown (despite WWE having already set up KO vs. AJ for next month, which I was eagerly looking forward to).  On top of that, Jericho is touring with Fozzy this summer, so he's presumably leaving again soon.  So where's the logic here?  I suppose something might happen on RAW where Owens regains the strap, but if that's the case, why the fuck bother with this at all?  It's not a good sign when I'm throwing my arms up after the very first match.


Next up was the Cruiserweight Title match, the first half of which was another classic case of WWE seemingly not understanding how to book a Cruiserweight match.  The action was kinda sluggish for several minutes as Neville relied on headlocks and such.  Nothing wrong with the heel using heel offense, but in a CW match there needs to be more movement.  The second half of the match picked up though, until Austin Aries locked in the Last Chancery, and Neville pulled the referee on top of him to draw the DQ.  I actually had no problem with this finish.  It fit Neville's character and allowed him to retain the belt again, without booking Aries as just another challenger.  This match was ok overall, just not nearly as good as last month's bout.

The next two matches were each better than the last, starting with The Hardy Boyz vs. Cesaro & Sheamus.  This was a pretty chaotic but well-worked match that saw Jeff lose a tooth off a Sheamus knee and Matt get a cut below his eye from.....something.  Anyway it was a stiff, enjoyable match, the Hardyz retained, and then Cesaro & Sheamus went full heel and beat the shit out of both of them.  I like this development.  C&S had been tweeners basically this whole time and that generally doesn't work.  So now they have a purpose and this feud has some juice to it.  The rematch should be quite good, and hopefully we'll see the Hardyz go "Broken."  This was one of the few high points of the night.

Another fine match (with sadly another finish that didn't make sense) was the Women's Title bout.  Bayley and Alexa Bliss put on a really nice little match - these two mesh pretty well together and Alexa's heel antics are a lot of fun to watch.  She still isn't as crisp in the ring as she could be, but she's got the heel character down perfectly.  One of my favorite moments was Alexa stepping on Bayley's hair and pulling up on her arms, and obnoxiously counting to five along with the ref.  It's little things like that, that make Alexa stand out.  The match ended after Bayley took a header into the ring post and Alexa capitalized with a DDT, becoming the first woman to win both Women's Titles.  But here's where I have a problem with this - why are we doing YET ANOTHER title change with this belt?  This thing's jumped around about a thousand times in the past year, can we keep it on one person for a while?  And what is Vince's obsession with jobbing people out in their hometown?