Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Helluva Band: Metallica (Part 1)

Welcome to a special two-part edition of Helluva Band, about my favorite band in the entire world.

Metallica.  In the words of Jason Newsted, "The biggest heavy band of all time."  In the words of my Enuffa.com associate Dan Moore, "Go ahead, say it - Metallica.  Congratulations, your tongue just got rocked."  In the words of one of the 21-year-old interns I work with, "What's Metallica?"  You're fired kid, get out!

What began as four teenagers pounding out bellicose machine gun compositions in the hopes of out-metaling all their heavy metal brethren has gradually escalated over three decades into a mainstream, stadium rock juggernaut, transcending genre and spawning 9 multi-platinum albums and an IMAX concert film.  Never satisfied with musical status quo, Metallica has always strived to introduce new, unexpected elements on every album, defying the conventions of their often-parodied field.  Their influence can be heard and felt in nearly every metal band that came after, and every new album of theirs is a major music industry event.

I first became aware of Metallica in seventh grade music class.  One of our first assignments was to bring in a poster or photo or drawing of any band we were interested in and put it up on the wall.  Interesting assignment really.  I was introduced to quite a few band names I hadn't heard before.  There was a Megadeth poster, a Motley Crue poster, and someone had posted a crudely drawn picture of a bunch of crosses sticking up out of the ground with the words Metallica: Master of Puppets at the top.  I said to myself, "What's Metallica?"  You're fired kid, get out!

Around this time I was watching a lot of MTV (what a fucking great channel that used to be), and discovered quite a few bands for the first time.  My musical tastes up until this point were pretty limited.  I had grown up with The Beatles and The Police, and that was about all I listened to except for a slew of random radio singles.  Then I started seeing videos from Def Leppard and Poison, and suddenly hard rock burrowed its way into my life.  Here was catchy, safe music with a slightly aggressive edge (Heavy metal at that point carried a stigma, what with bands like Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne being blamed for teen suicide - what a crock.), and I felt like I had arrived at the cool kids' table.  That fall a raunchy, dangerous-sounding band called Guns N' Roses was all over the radio, and this was the heaviest music I had ever heard.  After initially hating GNR, they grew on me like a fungus, and I was hooked.  I was officially a fan of hard rock music, and Guns N' Roses were at the top of the heap.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The History of NXT TakeOver: Toronto

Air Canada Centre - 11.19.16

After two NXT Takeovers that just reached "very good" status, the yellow brand really brought it for Toronto.  This show had everything you could want from a Takeover special, including three good-to-great Title matches.  So let's get to it...

Tye Dillinger vs. Bobby Roode kicked things off as expected.  Roode's entrance included a choir singing the intro to his (incredible) entrance theme.  Seriously, I can't get that stupid song out of my head for days after I watch one of these shows.  Why's it hafta be so good?  Anyway, this match was given considerably more time than I expected and played out like an old-school undercard bout.  As I watch Roode I'm reminded of Ted Dibiase, where his character and the way he carries himself mostly make up for the fact that he doesn't really do that much between the ropes.  I know he's a heel so he isn't supposed to fly around and such, but his offense strikes me as very limited.  Anyway, this match was fine.  Roode got the win using his new implant DDT finisher, a vast improvement from his pumphandle slam.  Solid opener.

Next up was the finals of the Dusty Classic, and as I figured it was a middling affair.  TM-61 bounced around and did a couple of fun high spots, including jumping off the structure holding Paul Ellering's cage, while the Authors of Pain mowed them over.  Still not sold on this team, but they're better Road Warrior clones than The Ascension.  They need new ring attire though.  How many times are we gonna see monster heels in SWAT gear?  I mean Roman Reigns is STILL wearing that shit.  This match was forgettable, though the inevitable DIY vs. AOP match should be a fun mismatch.

The show picked up huge with the NXT Tag Team Championship, as The Revival faced DIY in a 2/3 Falls match.  I'm a huge fan of this match type, I'm a huge fan of great tag team wrestling, and this bout lived up to all its promise.  Dash & Dawson played the part of The Andersons to the hilt while DIY's work brought to mind the Rock & Roll Express.  Johnny Gargano nailed the Ricky Morton role, spending much of the match as the babyface in peril.  The psychology here was perfect, and the third fall had so many close near-falls which the crowd totally bought into.  After having both his legs chopped out, Gargano managed to hook the Gargano Escape on Dawson while Tommaso Ciampa snared Dash in an armbar for the double tapout.  Great, great tag team match.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Dive Bars of America: Sully's (Quincy MA)

by Dan Moore

Another edition of The Dive Bars of the Good Ol’ U.S. of A. I’ve got 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.

28 Chestnut St
Quincy, MA 02169

About a week ago, myself and fellow Enuffa contributor Scotty Pickles decided to head into Quincy Center for a little day drinking. And we decided on Sully’s as our venue of choice. For some reason, when you google this fine establishment, it comes up as Sully’s Spa. If you show up here for a nice massage and some possible crotch play, YOU’RE IN THE WRONG PLACE, PAL (that’s across the street). Sully’s is split into two distinct areas, one long bar and a seating area behind it. It also has a boss neon sign that you can see even when you’re blind drunk.

Fun Factor: Keno, all day, all night. Along with the scratchie machine, jukebox and old school TV with rabbit ears, that’s about it for your entertainment dollar. Not much happening here. But I love me some Keno, so I’m biased. They also have AWESOME décor all over the place. Planes made out of old Natty Light cans? YES PLEASE.

Cast of Regulars: Oh, yeah. TONS of em. And they were all hunkered down at the end of the bar watching reruns of “I Love Lucy”. I would love to judge these old codgers for watching an ancient episode of a show from the fifties, but I was drinking two-dollar beer in the middle of a Wednesday, so I can’t really act all high & mighty.

Spuds MacKenzie counts as a regular

Monday, November 21, 2016

WWE Survivor Series 2016 Review, or Why I Don't Like Squash

For the 2016 edition WWE finally took the Survivor Series concept back to its roots (mostly), assembling three huge traditional elimination matches - one for the men, one for the women, and one for the tag team division.  All three delivered on some level, laying the foundation for what turned out the best main roster PPV of the year.  Additionally there were three singles matches, two of which also delivered, and one which just may be the most baffling thing of any kind, in any medium, in any universe, ever.  Advanced trigonometry makes more sense to me than did this main event.  But before I start complaining about a show that I frankly quite enjoyed overall, let's talk about the good stuff.

The show opened with the Women's elimination match pitting RAW Champ Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Nia Jax, and Alicia Fox against Smackdown Champion Becky Lynch, Naomi, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and Natalya, subbing for Nikki Bella who was attacked by a mystery person backstage.  I'm guessing the reveal's gonna be that Nattie injured her to get herself into the match.  No matter, the change was a welcome one for me.  This match was a lot of fun despite a slightly rushed pace.  But the women got a solid 17 minutes to work with and multiple feuds played out a bit.  The RAW vs. Smackdown rivalry has never, and will never work as a believable feud, but at least in a few cases the babyfaces and heels were booked as very reluctant partners.  After Bayley won the match for her team, her co-survivor Charlotte beat the holy hell out of her, hammering home that the pleasantries were over.  Pretty much everyone in this match got time to make an impression, particularly Nia Jax who was booked like a monster, eliminating Naomi by countout after beeling her off the apron onto the floor.  This match easily ranked high on the list of best women's Survivor Series bouts, right up there with the Team Moolah vs. Team Sherri match from 1987.  A great way to open the PPV.

Next up was the Intercontinental Championship, as The Miz, fresh off regaining the strap this past Tuesday defended against Dolph Ziggler's scheduled opponent, Sami Zayn.  I'm still not sure why Miz was booked to win back the Title at the last minute, as Zayn vs. Ziggler surely would've been the superior contest.  But this was quite alright too.  As I've said before, Zayn is nigh incapable of having a bad match, and The Miz is looking better than he ever has.  So this gelled nicely.  Miz eventually won in classic heel fashion.  Zayn had slapped on a figure four and Maryse rang the bell to distract both Zayn and the referee, allowing Miz to roll Zayn up for a cheap pinfall.  This was a cheap finish, but an appropriate one for Miz's character.  It also protected Zayn somewhat and left the door open for a rematch, should WWE come to its senses and move him over to Smackdown.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Awesomely Shitty Movies: Metallica - Through the Never

Welcome once again to everyone's favorite* Enuffa.com feature, Awesomely Shitty Movies, where I painstakingly examine a piece of cinematic art and try to understand why it doesn't work the way I'd like it to.

*In a poll conducted among three readers, two cited ASM as their preferred column.

Today I'll be picking apart the acclaimed 2013 concert film, Metallica: Through the Never.  I've been a monumental Metallica fan since early 1989 (as you can read here and here), when I first laid eyes on the video for "One."  Never before had my ears been assualted by such molten, powerful musical strains.  Just a few short weeks later Metallica were my favorite band in the world, and aside from The Beatles they still are.  I've seen these fellas in concert ten times and it's been two-plus hours of heavy metal bliss on every occasion.

So when I heard Metallica would be releasing a concert film in IMAX no less, I was certainly intrigued.  While my initial thought was, "Shouldn't they finish their new album first?" I knew Through the Never would be a fun, immersive hard rockin' experience, interweaved with some sort of ongoing storyline throughout.

So why does this qualify as an Awesomely Shitty Movie you ask?  Well sir, Through the Never is a film of extremes.  Rarely has a film come along where the awesome is so immeasurably life-altering, yet forced to co-exist, sometimes within the same shot, as such soul-crushingly shitty claptrap.  So let's Jekyll & Hyde this movie and separate what sucked about it from what was great, thus freeing its virtuous aspects to truly achieve their potential.  I dunno what that means....

The Awesome


Look, it's a Metallica concert film.  It is by definition gonna be all kinds of awesome as long as the band is onscreen shredding everyone's balls off.  It's Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammett and Trujillo blasting the audience with boiling-hot volcanic metal, like four flamethrowers melting off your face.  They rattled off such classics as "Creeping Death," "Master of Puppets," "Enter Sandman," and the aforementioned "One."  How can you go wrong?  Also with Trujillo on bass and the band having refocused on good old-fashioned speed metal, their live performances have been tight as a tripwire.  Where their chops in the late 90s got a little messy, the four members have been at the top of their game since Death Magnetic came out.

Even this picture rocks my socks off.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

NXT TakeOver: Toronto Preview & Predictions

It's a two-fer kinda weekend in WrestleTown, as WWE will present both Survivor Series on Sunday, and NXT Takeover: Toronto on Saturday.  So my colleague Landon and I will try to predict the outcome of NXT's newest opus.  Join us, won't you?

Looks like NXT will now be chasing the main roster around the globe for every Big Four PPV, and I love it.  It makes the Rumble, 'Mania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series feel like a bigger deal when all four become big wrestling weekends, it forces the main roster to up their game, lest they be upstaged by "developmental," and it adds to the magnitude of the TakeOver specials.

The Toronto edition looks pretty great on paper, and once again the red and blue brands will have their work cut out for them if they wanna follow it.  For once though we may have an actual contest on our hands, as Survivor Series also promises to be something special.

But let's get to the NXT matches....

Dusty Classic Finals: TM-61 vs. Authors of Pain

This tourney had the potential to be bigger than last years, what with 16 teams vying for the trophy, and had the original plan of Austin Aries & Roderick Strong making the finals come to fruition we'd have a guaranteed top-notch affair.  Alas, Aries sustained an eye injury thanks to a stiff Nakamura kick, and his team was out of the bracket.  So we're stuck with two teams about whom I'm less than enthusiastic.  Hopefully they'll both prove their worth here with a killer contest, but I'm not expecting anything amazing.

Justin's pick: I gotta go with Paul Ellering's duo, particularly since Ellering himself will be stuck in a cage.  Usually the wrestler(s) whose manager is incarcerated at ringside ends up winning.
Landon's pick: Let's talk for a hot second about this thing. Last year it was used to launch a multi month, multi main event program between the two winners. Now it's between the not-Road Warriors and a falling flat Hype team. This could've been done a lot better, but I understand at least some plans had to be changed.  For what it's worth, Authors to win.

Robert Roode vs. Tye Dillinger

Another showcase match for Roode, who hasn't shown me that much in the ring as yet, but who does carry himself like a superstar.  At this point Roode's appeal is all about that entrance.  Hopefully he changes that here.

Justin's pick: Roode, clearly
Landon's pick: The crowd may be split Solidly in half for this one. By that, I mean the crowd will equally be chanting both men in full force. Roode to win, honestly due to Dillenger at this point being unable to break out in NXT.

WWE Survivor Series 2016 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to, Jeezus, ANOTHER round of Enuffa.com PPV Predictions, with your host, me, and my cohort Dan Moore, as we try to predict what will happen on WWE's latest illogically booked offering, Survivor Series!

Actually, truth be told, I'm pretty excited about this PPV.  Why you ask?  Because it reminds me of this one:

That's right, after DECADES of waiting, and I hate waiting, WWE is finally getting back to their roots with this show, presenting three big elimination matches.  One for the men, one for the women, and holy shit on a serving spoon, ONE FOR THE TAG TEAMS!  It's been 28 years since we got the 5 Teams vs. 5 Teams match, and at long last we're being treated to another one!  I don't even care that today's tag division can't hold a tealight to that of yesteryear, or that all three of these elimination matches are part of the contrived, tired RAW vs. Smackdown rivalry that literally zero fans care about.  I'm just excited to be seeing a real Survivor Series card again.  And it'll be four hours this year (Fuck, that's gettin' to be a lot), so none of them should get shortchanged.  Bring it on.

As for the rest of the show, we have two promising singles matches and one that's gonna suck, which is sadly the main event of the evening.  But we'll get to that.

Prediction time.

***I currently lead 52/82 to Dan's 50/82.***

Cruiserweight Championship: Brian Kendrick vs. Kalisto

Well someone came to their senses and realized Kalisto is a cruiserweight, and now he's all over Smackdown.  Unlike TJ Perkins (who's a solid hand but devoid of a character), Kalisto actually connects with the audience, so there's a chance they'll be invested in this match.  Also if Kalisto wins the belt the entire division gets moved to Smackdown (Makes sense since the new 205 Live show will be airing directly after the blue brand on Tuesdays).  I know Kendrick just won the belt, but there's no reason whatsoever to add this stipulation unless you're actually gonna go through with it.  The RAW creative team has no idea what to do with these guys and the division's been dying a slow death since the CW Classic ended.  Just move the lot of 'em over to Smackdown and make 205 Live a Smackdown property.

Justin's pick: Kalisto
Dan's pick: You almost need Kalisto to win here so it moves to the blue brand.

Intercontinental Championship: The Miz vs. Sami Zayn

I have mixed feelings about this last-minute change.  Ziggler vs. Zayn would've probably stolen the show and I'm not sure why they took the belt off Dolph already, aside from this match now being heel vs. babyface.  Regardless, Miz is good enough to have a helluva match with Zayn, and Zayn is good enough that he'd be hard-pressed NOT to have a good match.  Miz really never should've lost the belt, so I can't complain that he's got it again.  So where does that leave Ziggler?  Do they add him to this and make it a 3-way?  I'd be fine with that.  Do they pit Ziggler vs. Rusev since neither of them is booked?  Do they add him to the elimination match so Shane doesn't have to be in it?  For fuck's sake, Shane!  More on that later.  Anywho, if Sami wins, the I-C belt goes to RAW.  I can't see that happening.  Miz keeps it.

Justin's pick: Miz retains
Dan's pick: Wait, what? Had no clue Miz even won the belt back. I LOVE IT. Miz retains.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

You Used to Be Sooooo Good: Metallica (A Heated Debate)

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 master musicians who I believe were once at the top of the music world, but have lost a few chords on their gee-tars whilst JB thinks they’re still chugging along at light speed.

METALLICA: You Used to Be Soooo Good

Now that's METAL right there.
DAN: Ah, Metallica. Once the go to band for all things awesome & metal. If you needed your ass blasted off with music so loud the angels themselves head banged to it, they were the fellas you listened to. Their music defined metal. Christ even their name is f*cking awesome. METALLICA. Say it again. Congratulations, your tongue just got rocked. They took a genre of music, metal, named themselves after it, and then reorganized the pecking order of metal bands. It went
1.      Metallica
2.      No one else comes close

Going to their concerts in the 80s and 90s was akin to allowing a jet to take off in your eardrums. Those were the loudest concerts I’ve ever been to in my life, and I’ve seen the Barenaked Ladies (it was because a girl I hadn’t slept with yet bought tickets, but that’s still not an acceptable excuse). They were the best.
And then…they weren’t. They cut their hair and lost their powers, like metal Samsons. Now I’m not saying the haircuts all of a sudden made them not be able to rock as hard anymore, but that’s definitely the cutoff (pun humor!) point. To begin their careers, they released possibly the five greatest metal albums ever and then…a lotta crap that is completely forgettable. No songs on those albums released after The Black Album resonate with me at all. I would be hard pressed to name any, in fact. To go from perfect metal monsters to whatever they are now is such a disappoint to me as a fan of metal.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Rolling Stone's Top 500 Albums of All Time, Picked Apart (251-300)

by Michael Drinan

We carry on with our bashing of Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by tackling entries 251-300. You can catch up with Part 5 HERE.

251. Otis Redding - The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul
252. Metallica - Metallica
253. Kraftwerk - Trans-Europe Express
254. Whitney Houston - Whitney Houston
255. The Kinks - The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society
256. Janet Jackson - The Velvet Rope
257. Willie Nelson - Stardust
258. Grateful Dead - American Beauty
259. Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash
260. Buena Vista Social Club - Buena Vista Social Club

This section kicks off with Otis Redding’s last studio album before his death. Great album. Nice to see it here.

Whitney Houston’s eponymous debut is the first of her albums to appear on this list, which is surprising because I thought I’d see the soundtrack to The Bodyguard before anything, but whatever.

Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope is a surprise here for me. It’s a highly influential album and a departure on her sound and style but I still think her album janet. is a better album. I wish it were ranked here instead of The Velvet Rope, or higher.

261. Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman
262. Grateful Dead - Workingman’s Dead
263. Ray Charles - The Genius of Ray Charles
264. Blood, Sweat & Tears - Child is Father To the Man
265. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo’s Factory
266. The Who - Quadrophenia
267. Paul Simon - There Goes Rhymin’ Simon
268. Jesus & Mary Chain - Psycho Candy
269. Rolling Stones - Some Girls
270. Beach Boys - The Beach Boys Today!

Friday, November 4, 2016

NFL Pick 'em 2016: Week 9

by Dan Moore (@SouthieDanimal), Mike Parker (@UncleMiggsy) & Brandon Cuddemi

Dan's Pick

With the premier franchise in sports, the New England Patriots, on the bye, the slate of NFL games this week is ugly. I’m talking UG. I’m taking fuckin’ LEE. I checked the schedule of games on the interwebs this morning and this is what came up.

So we’re picking garbage games, which is fitting, because I’m dealing with two garbage individuals. Brandon’s been all fancy lately, hanging out with some real dandies up in Maine. 100% sure his asshole sounds like it sneezes when he takes a shit. And Miggsy is just a puddle of puke nowadays. The other day watching a game, I thought he was making his own political protest by not standing for the anthem but it turns out that fat shit just couldn’t get up off his couch. The ass groove he’s created in that thing is bigger than the San Andreas fault.  Just a disgusting human being all around.

NJPW Power Struggle 2016 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another round of Enuffa.com PPV Predictions!  

This Saturday is NJPW's Power Struggle PPV, where things more or less take their final shape for the build to WrestleKingdom!  This year's card looks quite solid and makes use of a handful of guest stars from ROH, NOAH and CMLL.  As usual with Power Struggle there likely won't be any Earth-shattering developments, but it'll just be a good night of wrestling.

So let's get to the predictions....

Ryusuke Taguchi, Angel de Oro, Titan & Fuego vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask, Ricochet & David Finlay

This should be fast and furious, with the lucha style well-represented in some of the losing Super Jr. Tag teams.  It's little more than a showcase match but should get the crowd engaged early.  I find Liger's team generally wins matches like these so that's who I'll pick.

Justin's pick: Team Liger
Landon's pick: Team Liger

Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi & Bone Soldier vs. Togi Makabe, Tomake Honma & Yoshitatsu

I still find it so odd they turned Captain New Japan heel.  It's like WCW having Michael Wallstreet join the nWo.  He's an inconsequential character.  Anyway, since the Bullet Club C-team just got a new member I'll go with them to win.

Justin's pick: Bullet Club
Landon's pick: Bullet Club

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Let’s Give 'Em Somethin' to Taco Bout: Taco Bell's Rolled Chicken Taco

by Sok Maher

It’s noon on Wednesday. Meetings are over. Work is done-ish. There’s an adage about “idle hands” that I don’t remember, but I’m sure it applies here. Boredom and overeating have always been the Batman and Robin of my sustenance.

Which leads us to today’s subject, the Taco Bell Rolled Chicken Taco. You might know them by their American name “taquitos”. Thankfully for those who don’t “hablo ingles," they gave it the more traditional Mexican name of “Rolled Chicken Tacos”. I was first introduced to the taquito in college. Sam’s Club was kind enough to keep industrial sized bags of them frozen for us, and we, in turn, were kind enough to devour all of the taquitos from the hours of 1am – 4am later that night. Have my tastes matured? Have any of my body parts matured? Let’s go to the tale of the tape…