Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dan Moore & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Twenty Minutes

Hey, how'd your morning go?  Oh great, grand, I DONT CARE. This is how my day started.

That's me, under the elephant.

A little background here. I live with my girlfriend in a suburb of Boston with our dog and cat. The dog's a little fella and the cat is an orange furball of fury. He's great. (Editor's Note: False - that cat's a regular asshole.  And I love cats.)

Anyway, our dryer went on the fritz the other day. It's a real pain in the ass walking down to the basement to throw clothes into a dryer that doesn't work. So instead of forking out the cash for a new one, we called a repair man. Had I known the turmoil this guy's visit would cause, I woulda Kramer'd my clothes and put them in the oven.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pro Wrestling: A Mark's History, part 9 (Lex Express)

In January 1993, for the second time in a row, I ordered a WWF PPV event.  The WWF Title match of Bret Hart vs. new top heel Razor Ramon interested me, as did the annual Rumble match despite the lack of star-power (What's the opposite of star-studded?  Star-missing?). 

But the big match for me that night was I-C Champion Shawn Michaels finally facing his former tag partner Marty Janetty.  This feud was a full year in the making, as Shawn had turned on Marty in January 1992 by superkicking him and ramming him head-first through a plate-glass window.  This was probably the most violent heel turn I had ever seen at that time and it immediately forced the audience to sit up and take notice of Shawn.  Still one of the most brilliantly-executed heel turns in the history of the biz.  Keeping Marty off TV for a year was genius too, as it added weight to Shawn's attack and made the eventual feud much more personal.

That's gonna leave a mark....

The Rumble '93 event was shockingly good considering how it looks now on paper.  I'll still dust this one off and watch it from time to time.  The Steiners made their WWF PPV debut in the opener against the Beverly Brothers - solid tag bout there.  Shawn vs. Marty was a damn good Intercontinental Title match, though it had less high-flying than I would've expected.  The Bret-Razor match was excellent and got both guys over.  Even in defeat, Razor looked like a million bucks.  There was even a Bam Bam Bigelow-Big Bossman match that was better than it had any right to be.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

You Used to Be Sooooo Good: Summer Blockbusters

Today, my esteemed colleague Jingles and I, Dan Moore, will be discussing the disturbing trend of what was once our favorite popcorn eating time of year, summer, and how it has turned into a wasteland of special effects laden tripe on the big screen.
The Summer Blockbuster Season:  You Used to Be Soooo Good

JUSTIN: So, the summer blockbuster.  Yeah what's happened?  Summer movies are no longer allowed to be fun, are they?  Everything has to be deadly serious and feature wall-to-wall explosions to the point that you're just numb to the whole experience, like being smashed in the face with a hammer 600 times in a row.  By the end you don't feel anything, and you just wanna go home and curl up in a fetal position on the bathroom floor.

1980s summer movies conveyed a tone of adventure, wonder, and even comedy.  Indiana Jones for example had a ton of action set pieces but they were simple, easy to follow, and done with a sense of humor.  Action sequences now have to depict CGI armageddon and each scene has to be 25 minutes long.
Man of Steel......and Disaster Porn
There's no such thing as a fun little summer action movie anymore, they're all EPIC EVENT PICTURES.  The scope of all these films has to be as huge as possible so they're bigger than every other epic event picture.  And they must all cost over $200 mil and feature entire cities being destroyed.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hulk Hogan's Rock N-Wording

Well it's come out that Terry Bollea has been fired from his WWE Legends deal over some alleged racist comments he made, that were captured on tape (Yeah, I still say "on tape," sue me).

***NOTE: My friend Travis came up with the title of this piece.  Credit where credit's due.***

I'm not here to take a side (but screw Terry, that racist prick); rather I'm here to share some amusing thoughts my friends have offered on the subject.  Be warned, they're basically all in very poor taste, and in no way represent the views of or any of its subsidiaries.  Christ, I gotta get a better class of friends.....

The One Thing Wrong With Pixels, by Dan Moore

I'd rather watch this for two hours

(Note: I have not seen this movie nor do I ever intend to. It looks horrible and at this point any Adam Sandler flick should be out out to pasture. There are most likely millions of things wrong with this garbage movie, but this one bothers me)

The premise of 'Pixels' at least sounded like a decent idea until I found out it was a Sandler flick.  Then I lost all interest. A group of aliens disguise themselves as classic 80s arcade characters to destroy Earth. It's up to former video game champions Sandler, Peter Dinklage (why Tyrion,WHY!?!?!) and Kevin James, playing the most unlikely President of the Unites States EVER (Also a bit of a step down from being the King of Queens, eh your majesty?).

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pro Wrestling: A Mark's History, part 8 (Bret Wins the Big One)

The WWF started 1992 off amid a hugely memorable angle.  The World Title was vacated at the end of '91, stemming from a pair of (unwatchably terrible) matches between Hulk Hogan and the Undertaker, both of which ended in controversy.  WWF President Jack Tunney held up the Title and declared that the winner of the '92 Royal Rumble would be crowned the new Champion, thus making this the most important Rumble match in the event's history.

The company pulled out all the stops for this one, stacking the Rumble match with all the top contenders - Hogan, Flair, Taker, Savage, Sid, Jake, Piper.  They made sure to ramp up the unpredictability of who would walk out with the belt.  In the end of course it was a gutsy 60+ minute performance by Ric Flair that earned him the WWF Championship.  I was absolutely stoked!  Flair was the guy I was rooting for but I wasn't sure they'd pull the trigger on a Title run for him.

Awesome thing I never thought I'd see #1. 
BTW how tiny does that belt look
when compared to Flair's Big Gold Belt?

Following the Rumble was the press conference where Tunney would announce Flair's challenger at WrestleMania, and predictably Hulk Hogan was originally the choice (which I found idiotic - Hogan wasn't even the last guy eliminated from the Rumble match).  This would all be used as a way to set up the Hogan-Sid feud however, and on Saturday Night's Main Event they more or less recreated the Hogan-Savage angle from 1989 by having Sid abandon Hogan mid-match and turn heel. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

WWE Battleground Thoughts, or What Did I Just Watch??

WWE Battleground has come and gone, and I'm trying to assemble some pattern of logic for how it ended.  Still can't do it.  I found the booking of that main event baffling for so many reasons.  I've presented those reasons below, but first a few words about the rest of the PPV:

John Cena and Kevin Owens once again stole the show with a fantastic semi-main event.  I think Owens should've gone over here, because unless WWE Creative figures out things like proper follow-through (spoiler alert: they haven't), Owens could get lost in the shuffle like Rusev and Wyatt did after feuding with Cena.  Randy Orton vs. Sheamus was the second-best match of the night but their opener was lacking a bit of urgency.  Still, well-worked.  Reigns vs. Wyatt was a very good 16-minute match but unfortunately it was stretched over 22 minutes.  Reigns now seems so far away from being the next top guy it's just become sad.  The Divas 3-way was solid and considerably better than most main roster Divas matches, but nowhere near what the NXT women are capable of.  The Tag Title match was too short to amount to much and I'm still not sure why The New Day didn't get to keep the belts long-term.  Imagine a Honky Tonk Man-type reign with those guys.  It'd be gold.

Okay, now for that main event.  Lesnar and Rollins were on their way to a very good match, but at the nine-minute mark, Mark showed up.  Fuckin' Mark.....  As I said, there are several reasons I don't like this booking.  I've presented six of them.

Wait, what happened to the match I was just watching?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

WWE Battleground 2015 Predictions!!!

And we're back for another set of official WWE PPV Predictions!

This Sunday is the annual B-level PPV, Battleground, which this year is actually pretty stacked.  The 2013 and 2014 editions were widely considered the worst WWE shows of those respective years but with Brock Lesnar being included this time, there's a chance for the 2015 edition to be a solid outing.  The WWE product has been stagnant as ever of late, but there have been a few bright spots such as the US Title scene, the return of Brock Lesnar, and a smattering of NXT stars.  So there's certainly no shortage of talent on the roster, it's just up to Creative to properly use what they have, which they rarely ever do.

So let's get to predictin'.  Justin and Dan are currently tied for the 2015 season, 24/37.

Pre-Show Match: King Barrett vs. R-Truth

Jeezus H. Christ, can we put this feud to bed already?  No one cares, and you've succeeded in killing Barrett dead with the stupid King gimmick.  Don't bring back the KOTR tournament if winning it actually HURTS a guy's career.  Fortunately this match is for the Crown, so maybe Truth will relieve Barrett of that albatross and he can go back to delivering Bad News.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pro Wrestling: A Mark's History, part 7 (The Year I Almost Quit)

As 1991 began, one of the big two wrestling promotions (AWA had folded in 1990 so it was really down to the WWF and the NWA, who soon became WCW officially) was stuck in a major creative rut and riding on fumes from the 80s, and the other was trying in vain to reinvent the wheel.

January 19, 1991 was significant for me because it marked the first WWF PPV I ever ordered, the 1991 Royal Rumble.  Why I picked that particular event to order after four years as a WWF fan I'm not sure, but I was excitedly hoping either Randy Savage, Undertaker, Hawk or Animal would win the Rumble match itself (This was before the Rumble winner automatically got a WWF Title shot so it was still anyone's ballgame).  Much to my dismay Hogan won it for the second straight year (yawn) and even worse, Sgt. Slaughter of all people won the WWF Title.  I figured we'd be getting a Warrior-Hogan rematch at WrestleMania, so it was mindboggling to me that Slaughter took the belt.  It was the first time I remember feeling like a championship had really been devalued - this long irrelevant, marginally talented 80s midcarder just waltzes in and wins the top championship in under six months??  Needless to say the '91 Rumble was and is not one of my favorite PPV events and it would be nearly two years before I ordered another one.

Yup, this actually happened.

Why they felt a cartoonish drill sargeant turned Iraqi sympathizer would draw huge money I'll never know.  But they cast their lot with the exploitation of the Persian Gulf War by pitting turncoat Slaughter against "Real American" Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania.  This was literally the least interested I had ever been in a PPV match.  Not surprisingly ticket sales for the event slumped and a lackluster 'Mania ensued. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

You Used to Be Sooooo Good: Superman Movies

Welcome back to another edition of You Used to Be Soooo Good, where Justin & I, Dan Moore, discuss things used to be awesome but now, eh, not so much. This week we discuss the FIRST superhero, the big blue boy scout, your favorite alien and mine, Superman, and how his cinematic exploits used to be great but now, not so much.

        Superman Movies:  You Used to Be Soooo Good


DAN: Ah, the wonder of Superman movies. The man in blue flying heroically through the sky. There used to not be a superhero movie coming out every week. There was nary a special effects spectacular starring a comic book hero in theaters. It used to be Superman…and that was it for a loooong time.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Dan's Top 9: One-Time Seinfeld Characters

Welcome to another edition of Dan's Top 9, where my associate Dan Moore counts down his favorite 9 something-or-others.....

Seinfeld is the greatest sitcom of all time. About this, there can be no debate. Some people argue that there were better sitcoms in the past but it's an argument I can't listen to. I can't, I won't. The main cast was perfect, but the supporting characters also added to the show's greatness. Besides recurring characters like Newman and Puddy, there were some classic one-time characters on the show. Without further ado, here they are. I'm not counting the finale as the second appearance of these characters because it was a glorified clip show. So if you wanna cry about it? That's a shame.

9. Paul O'Neil

I'm from Boston, so I hate the Yankees. And growing up my cousin, John Michael, had an unnatural hatred for Paul O'Neil. I inherited that hate as well. Until he showed up in "The Wink." Kramer barges in on O'Neill, trying to get him to hit two dingers for a dying kid and O'Neill acts the only way a normal person in that situation would: by saying no one's dumb enough to promise two homers and wondering how the hell Cosmo got into the the Yankee clubhouse. Perfect reactions from a most hated Yankee.

He just needs to catch a pop fly in his hat

8. Joe Mayo

Do me a favor when you read this article, can you hit Ctrl-C to copy the article and send it to your friends, thanks! Fuckin' Mayo, ordering guests around at his party. His one saving grace is his Dr. Zaius man fur jacket.


7. Todd Gack

Sure, this guy is a slimeball, but to be fair, Gack (I think that's Dutch) has the perfect system on how to get chicks. Make a bet you know you'll lose to take them out on dates. It's brilliant in its simplicity. With this system, he not only beds Elaine (you know they humped, she's loose) but also got Nicki, who is arguably Jerry's hottest girlfriend in the show. Good work, Gack.


6. Meelosh

A hack of a tennis pro who decides that instead of letting his awful racket play be known, decides to dabble in the flesh trade. By trading his wife' to Jerry to keep his mouth shut, Meelosh becomes the first and only sex slave trader in this show's history! Good work. Coupled with his bad tennis and hilarious, over the top Russian accent, Meelosh holds a special place in my heart.

5. The Bubble Boy

Everything, I mean, EVERYTHING the bubble boy says is goddamn hilarious. A jaded, spoiled twenty-something stuck in a bubble (I thought it was like an igloo), he gets a glimpse of Costanza's chick and immediately asks her to take her top off. She scoffs, and he hits her with 'COME OOOOOON'. And even that didn't work. Susan sure was stuck up.  And then he loses Trivial Pursuit on a misprint. "Moops" my ass.

4. Marcelino

Cockfighting. Find another show that bases an episode's plot on illegal bird battles. You never will. And Marcelino was the kingpin. The owner of the bodega with another over-the-top accent. His pronunciations are hilarious, as is his request for a goddamn bird to take a dive in a fight. Brilliant.

Shop keeper by day, poultry pugilist by night.

3. Jiffy Park/Jiffy Dump guy

Yea, this is kind of a cheat as this guy was in two episodes, but I believe they were twin brothers, not the same character, so there ya go.  But I can't help it. The delivery of this guy's lines is impeccable. George parks his car in his lot which is being used as a mobile whore house. George finds a prophylactic in the car, confronts the guy. And then the guy hits us with one of the great throwaway lines in the show's history.
First ten seconds of this clip is gold, Jerry. GOLD

2. Soup Nazi

He had to be on the list. Sure, he's overplayed and everyone says "No soup for you!" to this day. But he's a classic. Yev Kassem (his real name) is as iconic as any main character from the show. His soup recipes are perfect, evidently his bread is quite good and his furniture choices are also impeccable. He's a true Renaissance man.

1. Lt. Bookman

Could it be anyone else, joy boy? Philip Baker Hall KILLS this role. A lifetime library cop out for Jerry's blood for a long overdue book. His seriousness, his menacing looks, his line delivery all combine to make the perfect Seinfeld guest star. When my friends and I watch his performance, we use our pee pees and wee wees to wet our pants.  Undeniably the greatest guest star on the greatest show ever. Thanks for reading this list. I gotta get outta here to get my kicks, me and all my good time buddies. 

If you screw up again, he'll be all over you
like a pit bull on a poodle

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Pro Wrestling: A Mark's History, part 6 (From Awesome to Boring)

January 1990 saw the NWA at the top of its game, with Ric Flair having vanquished the challenge of Terry Funk and seemingly moving onto a feud with rising heel Lex Luger.  Sting had just won the Starrcade Iron Man tournament and joined the newly reformed Four Horsemen, and was poised to become a full-fledged main eventer. The Steiners stood atop the burgeoning Tag division that included The Road Warriors, Doom, and The Skyscrapers, and The Midnight Express was rekindling their longtime feud with the returning Rock & Roll Express. 

Everything was going well, then suddenly the World Title picture seemed to shift completely away from babyface Flair vs. heel Luger, in favor of heel Flair vs. Sting (something we had seen already, brought on by a heel turn that came out of left field).  So now Sting would be the #1 challenger to Flair's Title and heel U.S. Champion Luger would be moved back into the midcard.  I was baffled and furious at this turn of events as I thought 1990 would finally be Luger's year, and we'd see the company take more risks like they had in '89.  But instead they played it completely safe and everything seemed to reboot to the 1988 Four Horsemen era. 

Then an abrupt injury threw a wrench into their plans as Sting hurt his knee and would be out of action for six months.  Heel Luger was moved into the #1 contender spot to challenge heel Flair.  Oh good.  So now there was no protagonist in this feud at all.  The ensuing Flair-Luger showdown at WrestleWar '90 ended up being a very good, epic match that involved Luger's "redemption" back into a babyface (only about 8 months after he turned heel).  Sting appeared at ringside to support Luger in the match, and then the Andersons showed up to attack him.  Then came one of the stupidest match endings I'd ever seen.

Come on, Luger was pretty badass in 1990

Monday, July 6, 2015

NJPW Dominion was All Kinds of Awesome

Well another New Japan PPV is in the books folks, and what a helluva show it was.  I just wanted to throw my two cents in about yesterday's Dominion PPV, so bear with me for a few moments.

Dominion was in my estimation the second-best PPV of 2015 so far, behind January's WrestleKingdom 9 (upon which I've heaped mountains of praise HERE).  Of the nine matches only two could be considered weak, and even those weren't bad at all.  The two headlining matches both fell in the four-star range, while several others were approaching that territory.  It's staggering how much better New Japan's product is than that of any other wrestling promotion right now.  Incidentally I went 8 for 9 in my predictions despite having only been a NJPW fan for six months, which I attribute to Jado and Gedo's booking being logical, concise, and satisfying.

The show opened with another wild, fast-paced offering from the Jr. Heavyweight Tag division, as The Young Bucks defended their Titles against reDRagon and RPG Vice.  While these matches won't ever be called epic examples of storytelling, they're always a highly entertaining way to dip your feet in the water.

Next up was one of the weaker matches of the night; Bad Luck Fale and Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tomoaki Honma and Tetsuya Naito.  This wasn't a bad match but the real story here was Naito's gradual heel turn.  He sauntered down to the ring, in no hurry to help out his partner who was being ambushed by the two Bullet Club members, and even refused to tag into the match until very late.  Eventually Honma got the surprise win, but Naito bailed immediately after the closing bell.  It'll be interesting to see where they go with this - Naito's been a pretty bland babyface character for so long, so a heel turn could be just what he needs to get to the next level.  It's nice to see Honma finally getting some kind of a push, as he's really fun to watch and super over.

The "stacked" portion of the card began next with the Shibata-Sakuraba fight.  And I mean FIGHT.  This was one of the best simulated MMA bouts I've ever seen and I'd rank it right up there with Sakuraba-Nakamura from WK7.  The grappling looked totally convincing and snug, and Shibata's strikes were brutal.  Sakuraba dominated the match with some amazing submissions, clinging to Shibata like a spider monkey, until finally Shibata broke free and took the match with the Penalty Kick.  Great fight.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

NJPW Dominion 2015 Predictions!!

Welcome to the first-ever New Japan PPV prediction column!  Those of you who already read my stuff know that I started drinking the NJPW Kool-Aid about six months ago and goddamn it's the most delicious beverage I've had in a long time.

This Sunday is the big Dominion PPV, and since a) I've become such a fan of this company and b) this is on paper the most stacked card so far in 2015, I thought I'd expand my prognostication wheelhouse to include major New Japan events.  I probably won't be quite as accurate as I am with WWE since I'm a pretty new fan and am not privy to the same backstage information or storyline/promo segments with NJPW.  But what the hey, let's give it a shot, no?

New Japan's WrestleKingdom 9 show is by far the PPV to beat in 2015, but if any show is going to top that one, it could very well be Dominion.  There's nary a bit of fat in this lineup, and with the exception of Kota Ibushi (whose presence will be missed on this card), all the company's major stars are accounted for.  So let's get to predictin'!