Friday, June 30, 2017

DAN'S TOP 9: Comedies (That I’ve Watched Over & Over Again)

By Dan Moore

Welcome to another edition of Dan's Top 9, Top 11 where I count down 9 11 items that happen to be bouncing around my diseased brain.  

I'm a man of repetition. I wake up in the morning, I go poopie, I shower, I go to work and I complain all day. Everyday. I also watch the same movies over and over again. The idiots that I hang out with all do it too. And we quote movies at each other ad nauseum. So I decided to make a list of all the movies I find hilarious AND have watched too many times to count. Now, I'm not saying these are the greatest comedies ever, but these are easily my personal favorites. Man, this one was hard. This is the toughest list I've done, and had to expand the list to not 10, but ELEVEN. And I know once it's posted, I'll hear from those idiots about the movies I forgot and be ridiculed. Fuck them. 

11. Friday

Vulgarity makes me laugh. A LOT. And that's reflected in this list and this movie. The classic tale of a man getting fired on his day off and then smoking weed with his smartass friend while avoiding bullets in the ghetto. A star-making turn from show stealer Chris Tucker makes this a must-see when puffing on the giggle smoke. 

10. Men at Work

Without a doubt, the apex of both Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen's careers. A movie that makes ZERO sense. Garbage men find out about a conspiracy involving politicians, dumped toxic waste and all kinds of bribes. But the plot is pointless. Because KEITH FUCKING DAVID. He absolutely OWNS this movie as E & C's supervisor. Any movie that has a shell-shocked Vietnam vet mistaking a pizza man for a Vietcong while yelling out "THE COMMIE BASTARD GETS NO FOOD!" gets my vote every day and twice on Sundays. 

Taken out of context, this seems a little racist. But funny.  

9. Clerks

The first and funniest of all Kevin Smith films. Dante and Randall curse all day at their shitty job in a shitty convenience store while contemplating their lives and what went wrong. Packed with hilarious vulgarity and all kinds of great Star Wars talk, Clerks is a classic. 

8. Clue

One of my favorite movies to watch over and over again cause it's so goddamn quotable. You know how many times I watched this movie? 1+2+2+1 times, that's how many. The perfect cast with impeccable comic timing, this flick is a classic.  And you can make it a drinking game by picking a character, room and weapon and drinking each time they say it. Just don't get stuck with Col. Mustard with the revolver in the study cause you'll be HAMMERED. 

In a movie full of great quotes, this may be the greatest. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

We Are At War: WWF King of The Ring 1998

We're deep into the thralls of Attitude Era WWF. That means a lot of pointless matches, and a lot of pain.

A LOT of pain,

WWF King of the Ring, June 28th, 1998

Headbangers, and Taka Michinoku vs Dick Togo, Mens Teioh, and Funaki

You may be surprised to find out that Taka and the Kaientai crew could pull a good match out of the Headbangers. Most of the match had the Headbangers in the ring, and the talent of the Kaientai team really shone out in comparison. But towards the end we had Taka getting the hot tag and running excellently wild. It's a shame that the Japanese contingent would never raise above being openers and comedy acts.

Meltzer Rating: **1/4
Michinoku and the Light Heavyweight Title deserved better.

King of the Ring Semi Final
Ken Shamrock vs Jeff Jarrett

I thought this match was alright. Jarrett is a serviceable heel and good wrestler, Shamrock an awesome force with good work at this point. It may have dragged on a little bit, but towards the end Shamrock was able to pick up the momentum, take out Jarrett's manager, and get the tap-out for the win.

Meltzer Rating: *
I didn't feel like it wasted my time like some other matches on this PPV.

King of The Ring Semi-Final
Rocky Maivia vs Dan Severn

This is not yet The Rock who can work well with anyone. And Dan Severn wrestled a Dan Sever match, which was awesomely horrid at worse, and great at the very best. This was in the middle of the road, where Dan tried but Rocky was not selling well for him. The finish came from interference galore, where members of the Nation distracted the ref, while D'Lo splashed Dan for the eventual Rocky win.

Meltzer Rating: -1/2*
It was too short, and it meant we weren't getting Shamrock Severn

Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor vs. Al Snow and...Head

Jerry Lawler isn't funny. Holy shit is he not funny. I guess he must have been at the time, or at least I hope. I remember him being good when I started watching in 2006, but maybe that was just me being 12. But Lawler was the referee for this match, which didn't bode well for the quality. It was the classic heel referee who won't do anything for the babyface,which is miserably horrible to me. There were at least 2 times where Either Brian or Scott were down for a visual 10 count, but Lawler didn't count. This match did no one any favors as we made it to the end. The match ended, and I can't believe I'm typing this, when Christopher pinned the head, who had a bottle of Head and Shoulders attached to it.

Meltzer Rating: -**
Fuuuuck this match. Watch it for morbid curiosity only.

Punjabi Prison: The Match No One Wanted to See Again

2017 has GOT to be the worst year of Randy Orton's career.  Despite being booked as Smackdown's centerpiece, Orton has turned in nary a memorable performance except perhaps in his unexpectedly splendid match against Luke Harper at Elimination Chamber.  And it's not really his fault either.  First he was saddled with an embarrassingly hokey feud against Bray Wyatt which culminated in a forgettable 11-minute WrestleMania outing (complete with hackneyed video projections of bugs and worms), followed by one of the worst "matches" of all time in the House of Horrors shitshow a month later.  Then he got to lose the WWE Title to a career jobber Vince suddenly decided was The Guy to make WWE a household name in India ("He's the only Indian guy on the roster. Whatever, he'll do...").  Then he got to lose to him again in the exact same fashion a month later, and now he gets to lose to him in one of the stupidest gimmick matches WWE's ever created, the Punjabi Prison match.

For those not familiar, the Punjabi Prison match was created (in storyline) by The Great Khali during his 2006 feud with The Undertaker.  You remember 2006 right?  Arguably WWE's creative nadir?  So yeah, let's recycle some ideas from that period (When's Keven Federline coming back??).  Only one problem with the Taker-Khali match - the night of the show (Great American Bash), Khali was found to have elevated liver enzymes and was not cleared to wrestle.  So the climax of this whole feud had to be scrapped, and Taker fought Big Show instead, in a near-unwatchable 21-minute train wreck, on par with Al Snow-Bossman in the Kennel in a Cell.  The PP match was trotted out one more time in the fall of 2007 and this time Khali was able to participate, losing a mediocre 14-minute affair to Batista.

This clusterfuck of a match was then forgotten about, deservedly so, for a decade until last night when it was announced that at Battleground the main event will be Jinder Mahal defending the WWE Title against Randy Orton (a-fucking-gain) in a Punjabi Prison match.  Oh good, that'll help me care about Jinder as a main eventer.  Put him in one of the dumbest, most convoluted gimmick matches ever invented, against a guy I'm sick to death of seeing in Title matches.  A Canadian playing an evil Indian foreigner gimmick in 2017 feels horribly out of touch as it is, but having him co-opt the one gimmick match invented by the only other WWE wrestler of the same ethnicity, just to sell more tickets in India, feels dangerously close to pandering.  While we're at it, let's bring back Rene Dupree and have him introduce the French Tickler match, that's sure to blow up WWE's attendance in France, right?  It's not even like this match type is Jinder's specialty.  He's never wrestled in one of these before, but simply because another Indian guy invented it that gives Jinder some kind of advantage?  Try to really examine the logic behind this.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Movie Review: Wonder Woman (2017)

Note: There will be spoilers in this review - the movie's been out a month, for Chrissake!

Well, after three swings and misses DC Comics finally managed a solid base hit with their latest Cinematic Universe offering, Wonder Woman.  Starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, Wonder Woman gives us a detailed backstory for the third most popular character in the Justice League, covering her origin as an Amazonian of Themyscira, through her involvement in World War I.

Director Patty Jenkins succeeds where Zack Snyder stumbled, finding a delicate tonal balance between the darker story elements and moments of levity and humor, and more importantly conveying the truly virtuous, generous nature of the protagonist.  Diana Prince (as she's known to us mortals) is a mix of genuine optimism, courage, and even likable naivete; a paragon of righteousness who desperately wants to help humanity shed its destructive tendencies (which she's been brought up to believe are imposed on us by the Greek god Ares) and regain its better nature.  This is the cinematic hero we should've gotten in Man of Steel.

The story is more or less a mix of the first Captain America film (a period piece set against the backdrop of a world war) and The Fifth Element (powerful but emotionally fragile woman forms a bond with worldly male companion and they sort of redeem each other).  So there's nothing mindblowing happening plot-wise, but it's perfectly entertaining at least.

Fortunately the two leads carry the film admirably.  In Batman v Superman I was less than impressed with Gal's performance; to me she was just sorta there and I never felt like I was watching Wonder Woman.  But in this film I felt like she truly earned the role, embodying the statuesque demigoddess and achieving the effortless screen presence so vital to this character.  Even in the early scenes on Paradise Island she stood out from her fellow Amazonians, and by the time she arrived in London she'd become the woman everyone must look at when she enters a room.  Gadot, like Christopher Reeve in 1978, excels at the humorous fish-out-of-water elements, and during the action sequences lets the costume do a lot of the work (Incidentally I appreciated seeing red, blue and gold rather than shades of brown like in BvS).  She doesn't overplay the character, instead conveying much with simple body language and facials.  The heavy emotional stuff with her character could've been stronger, but overall Gadot was a joy to watch in this role and I never doubted I was looking at Wonder Woman.  What a difference it makes when she's working with a superior director and a script that gives her a purpose.  Hopefully she continues this trend in the Justice League film.

Equally integral to the success of this movie was Chris Pine as Captain Steve Trevor, an American spy working for British intelligence, who stumbles upon Paradise Island and befriends Diana.  Pine's natural comedic timing provided a great counterpoint to Gadot's wide-eyed innocence; appropriately I found his performance slightly Shatnerian, in a good way.  Pine and Gadot have excellent chemistry together, forming a solid foundation on which to build this fantastical story, and their relationship is at the heart of the film.

Much of the action in Wonder Woman unfortunately had to adhere to the template set by Zack Snyder's series contributions, thus we get loads of Matrix-esque super slo-mo shots which for me robbed some of the hand-fighting of its teeth.  But luckily this movie wasn't overloaded with fistfights and smashing, and even the climactic showdown with the main villain was kept short and small-scale.  In fact much of Diana's conflict with the villain consisted of an exchange of ideas, and when they did fight it was about using their superhuman powers against each other rather than simply punching each other through buildings.  Diana finally defeats the villain by harnessing what she feels inside.  Only love can kill the demon, as they say.  I liked that aspect of it, even if the special effects were over-the-top and CG-reliant.

The one action sequence I really loved though was Diana's battlefield run into No Man's Land.  We get to see her deflecting machine gun fire and dispatching German soldiers, and it's presented in an exhilarating, emotionally charged way.  We're seeing a fledgling superhero discovering her abilities as a vehicle for saving lives.  This scene has a classic superhero feel to it; Man of Steel could've used numerous sequences like this one.  Jeezus Kal, why can't you be more like Diana?

Anyway, Wonder Woman will hopefully be the first film to begin righting the DCEU ship after the first three unpleasant outings.  Will Justice League take some of the aspects that made WW work or will it be a return to the murky depths of Snyderville?  Time will tell.  But at the very least this one piece of the DC franchise seems to be working.

I give this film *** out of ****.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Gauche Town 6-23-17: A Punch in the Gut

by Graham LaGauche

It should come as no surprise that I was not a fan of this year’s Money In The Bank, most notably the first ever Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match. I’m a feminist, although I prefer “casually feminine,” so watching exactly ZERO women climb the ladder and get the MITB briefcase was not only a disappointment, but kind of a punch in the gut. Even if I was attending MRA meetings with TJP, I’d still think this was top shelf bullshit.

There was quite a lot of buildup and excitement leading to this match. All the women WWE wants you to remember were mentioned in the hype videos, each woman was given a soundbite about how THEY wanted to be the first woman ever to do this thing that guys have been doing for years. It was pretty damn cool. I was stoked to see who the first woman would be to unhook the case and wobble-pose at the top. I was even prepared for the possibility that it would be someone I didn’t like. Like “No Splash Zone” Tamina, or “Please stop trying to Moonwalk” Carmella. I understand that my favorites hardly ever win, anyway, so I was just into it for that “moment.”  It was supposed to be historic, but when WWE gets involved in anything “historic” everything goes tits-up, and shits the bed.  So what we got was a joke-signee MAN climbing the ladder, and then giving it to one of the women while she sat on the mat.

I’ve heard this justified as a “heel tactic.” That it’s fair play because in a ladder match there are no rules. Maybe? I don’t know, because as far as I can tell if their is no rule stating you CAN’T do something, then you totally can. I don’t think there’s a rule that says you can’t just sit home and not defend the championship for months at a time. I mean, unless you’re Daniel Bryan. I’m happy to suspend disbelief, and I’m really good at it, but I’m gonna need something in return, not something taken away.

You can’t blame me for being confused, since on the same show, Jinder Mahal AND Randy Orton were both outside the ring for well over a 10-count. They didn’t get counted out, but The Usos did earlier in the night. So, when there ARE rules, they can be ignored OR followed, depending on what story they want to tell. That aside, if there are NO rules, how is that handled? WWE is just trying to tell a story, so even the basic CONCEPT of the match is only gonna get in the way. If all they wanted to do was get heat on Carmella and James Ellsworth, all they had to do was have James HELP Carmella win. He could have knocked Becky Lynch off the ladder and then pushed Carmella up it so she could grab the briefcase. Now there’s heat on Carmella and James for using “heel tactics” like a good heel should.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A24 Review: It Comes At Night

by Michael Drinan

Director: Trey Edward Shults
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Riley Keough

There’s a virus that has spread and people are getting sick, killing them in a day. Society has collapsed and people are left in boarded up homes full of paranoia, caution, distrust and self preservation, while food, water and provisions are rare. Trey Edward Shults’ sophomore film (also directed 2016’s Krisha, another A24 film) does not ease into this nightmare. The film opens with a man covered in lesions, clearly infected and a woman in a gas mask and gloves telling him it’s okay to let go. The man is taken out, shot in the head and the body is burned by the father, Paul (Joel Edgerton), and his son Travis (remarkably played by Kelvin Harrison Jr.). This cold and chilling scene sets the tone for A24's latest addition to the horror genre.

A big portion of audiences feel this film has been mismarketed and the film’s trailers advertise it as a horror film when it isn’t one, submitting to a 43% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So, let this here be your warning: this isn’t a traditional, gory horror flick. Like the majority of A24’s films, this one does not fit neatly into a category or classification. The gore and horror remain, for the most part, off screen leaving it up to the audience's imaginations to provide the terror. Shults (who also wrote the film) also does not feel the need to answer any questions the story brings up, and he doesn’t need to. The film stays with the story and the characters and simply progresses scene to scene. Anything beyond that, is up to the audience and it works beautifully.

The majority of the film takes place within the family’s secluded and boarded up home, where there is only one way in or out, through a locked red door to which Paul is the only one with the set of keys. They eventually invite another family in and it ends up bringing out the true horror within each character.

Monday, June 19, 2017

WWE Money in The Bank 2017: At Least the Main Event was Good

You motherfuckers.

Just once, I wanted to watch a "Pay-per-View" and be happy. Just once I was hoping I could sit here and tune out. No notes, no criticisms, just watch.

But you motherfuckers.

You did this bullshit to yourselves. I know none of you 27 typewriter monkeys will read this, but I can fucking dream. And maybe other people will find amusement out of this.

Money in The Bank. July 18th, 2017

The story goes thus, Really good matches, Really stupid Fuck finishes. We will be keeping count.

Becky Lynch, Carmella, Natalya, Charlotte, and Tamina Snuka. Money in The Bank Ladder Match.

You know how surprisingly good this shit was? You realize how low expectations were? The opening video package was great for setting up why these women wanted this briefcase. And I'll be the first one to admit that everyone looked great in this match. Tamina especially came out of nowhere to look great in the opening minutes of this, and everyone did a great job bouncing off of her. The action was above average, even for a ladder based match, and there was never a point where I felt lost or out of it with the action.

Then the bullshit started. Oh, God, the bullshit.

For those who missed it, James Ellsworth dumped Becky off the ladder in the middle of the ring (which pissed me off enough as is, but I understand), and proceeded to climb the ladder himself, grab the briefcase, and toss it down to Carmella. The bell rang, the crowd outraged. Then there was confusion, as the refs talked.

The crowd was dying.
The crowd was dying.
The crowd died.
Then Ellsworth announced Carmella the winner, and we all went on. With a hot crowd dead.

[Fuck finish 1]

The New Day (Kofi Johnson and Big E.) vs The Usos for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships

I didn't like the Usos going into this match, but I'll be damned if the action didn't win me over for the Samoans. They did a great job of isolating Kofi and just flattening him with a whole lotta awesome. Then Kofi made the miracle tag and Big E ran WILD. Killed both Usos, speared one through the ropes, several really good near falls were making this a really goo m--- Nope.

Midnight Hour, Uso 1 pulled Kid Dynamite Uso A out of the ring, and we get a Count Out. Because we can't let the New Day lose, but we don't want the Usos to lose the belts. So we need a countout where both teams look bad.

"Oh, but you liked the AJ/KO ending from last month and that was fucked!"

Yeah, two things about that ending, Blueballs. First, it was the only true fuck finish on the show, and shocker of shockers that meant it left an impact. Secondly, it was an ending that lent itself to a follow-up match in the future. Things weren't resolved here, and the question of who the better man really is wasn't answered. Owens took the cheap win, but he didn't intentionally set up that cheapness. Here? The Usos were done. They lost. They took the cheap because they needed to take the cheap. That's the difference.

And where the fuck has American Alpha been?

[Fuck Finish 2]

WWE vs. NJPW: The Ugly Fanbase Divide

by Joseph Chaplin
WrestleNation Forum

For years now, there’s been a complex pop-cultural relationship between east and west. Asian culture - especially that of Japan - has influenced much of popular English-speaking media, especially since the 1990s. In our world of wrestling, that relationship is especially notable. Japan and America constitute two of the three major “wrestling superpowers” of the world and, as such, the two influence one another in a myriad of ways. In an intensely populist entertainment form such as professional wrestling, the tastes of the paying customer can have a profound effect on what works and doesn’t work in each context, and what gets carried over from one to the other.

It’s been this way for decades. Something works in one country, and a savvy promoter translates it to their audience back home. This can be something as simple as the moves being innovated in one country making their way to the other, or a more profound shift in style and philosophy at either side of the globe. Sometimes, it’s even the case that figures from one culture influence another, as was the case with the Funk family injecting the US "southern style" into Japanese wrestling. As time has worn on and social media has become an incredibly useful tool in worldwide wrestling discourse, we have seen barriers between cultures and styles break down more and more. The last decade of American indie wrestling prompted the coining of the term "American Strong Style," a largely pejorative term to describe the insubstantial imitation of Japanese stars (such as All Japan Pro Wrestling’s Four Pillars, and later the likes of KENTA and Naomichi Marufuji) by up-and-coming wrestlers. Despite the negative connotations of the term, there is ultimately nothing wrong with the development of a style. The paying audience will always lean towards what it wants, and what works best for that audience will come out on top.

However, with the increased availability of international wrestling comes the issue of split fanbases. In the social media age, everybody has an opinion, and the platform to express it. As such, when a shift in booking or in-ring style doesn’t line up with the expectations of a fanbase, it can often be rejected quite vehemently. This is often a force for good, as was the case with Daniel Bryan’s road to the main event of WrestleMania 30 in 2014. However, it has also become a force for seemingly meaningless bickering over the more inconsequential aspects of pro wrestling. For proof of this, look no further than the Twitter account of Dave Meltzer, writer and publisher of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Meltzer’s been a journalist for close to four decades, covering the wrestling industry in a manner that’s been invaluable to both the exposure of non-WWE wrestling to the general American viewer base, and the coverage of news that could very easily slip between the cracks of time. A less important element of his weekly output is his match write-ups, wherein he runs down the work done in the matches from the past week and sometimes attaches a star rating for those he watched himself. The elusive “five-star rating” at the top of his system has provoked much ire over the years, largely from those viewers feeling as though he neglects certain promotions. The result is large-scale bickering in response to the purely subjective opinions of one man who has dedicated his career to the journalistic coverage of wrestling. The recent expansion of New Japan Pro Wrestling into the western consciousness has widened the divide between fans of NJPW and fans of WWE, largely over the seeming snub of a WWE five-star match.

Friday, June 16, 2017

WWE Money in the Bank 2017 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to, God help us, ANOTHER edition of WWE Predictions here at!  Between the decent Extreme Rules two weeks ago, the AMAZING NJPW Dominion show last week, and Money in the Bank this Sunday, we're fully in the midst of a wrestling overload.  This show better deliver.

This show looks pretty solid and streamlined on paper, with only five matches, three of which should definitely be worth a watch.  Sadly the WWE Title match isn't one of them.  This Jinder experiment has predictably been kind of a wash.  They aren't even putting him in the main event segments on Smackdown and the ratings have been stagnant.  Not sure if his holding the belt has moved the needle in India as intended, but the US fans just aren't that into him.  Funny how no one gives a shit when a jobber to the stars suddenly gets pushed to the moon out of nowhere.  It's almost like something out of Pro Wrestling 101.

Anyway this show is historic in that it will feature the first-ever Women's Money in the Bank match!  This could either be super cool or a train wreck, but there's enough talent in this match that hopefully it'll go well.

So let's get to the picks.  We have another prognosticator joining us going forward, our own Dave Moore (brother of Dan Moore, and I hafta say a much nicer fella).  [Dan Note: Hey, fuck you!]  {Justin Note: See??}

***Landon is in the lead with 13/22 (59%), I'm in second with 20/34 (58.8%) and Dan is in the basement with 18/34 (53%)***

Smackdown Women's Championship: Naomi vs. Lana

Ummm, okay.  Lana just debuted on Smackdown as a wrestler like two weeks ago and she's already got a title shot.  Well, given who the SD champion is I guess this isn't that outlandish.  All bets are kinda off on this one.  I could easily see them hotshotting the belt to Lana.  I hope cooler heads prevail, but since WWE is in a "Throwing shit at the wall" mood lately, let's go with Lana.

Justin: Lana wins
Dan: Naomi cuz I like her glowing behind.
Landon: Naomi defends. The Hotshotting comes later in the show.
Dave: Naomi

Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Usos vs. The New Day

Dude, what the hell happened to American Alpha?  And how pissed is Triple H that this accomplished team he put so much work into at NXT is barely even on the fucking show now?  I get that you want to feature New Day heavily after their jump to Smackdown but Christ....  This match should be solid.  We've seen it before ad nauseum in 2015, but the roles are reversed now.

Justin: Usos retain for now
Dan: Yeah, I guess the Usos
Landon: Here's the it Hot when the challenging team hasn't competed in two months? Anyway, New Day.
Dave: New Day

Women's Money in the Bank Match: Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Tamina vs. Carmella

This should be pretty fun.  Charlotte, Nattie and Becky are all very accomplished and should be able to direct most of the traffic.  Tamina's a solid hand.  Carmella is good with character stuff.  As clusterfucks go, this'll be alright.  Not sure who they go with here.  Carmella is the least deserving of the five, so I could see them picking her.  Rarely does the logical person win these MITB matches.  Again, WWE has been operating in "Why not?" mode, so Carmella's the most in line with that batshit insane philosophy.

Justin: Carmella
Dan: I'm going with Nattie here. I think she wins and cashes this in fairly quickly for a nice heel title run.
Landon: I Hope Ellsworth gets killed with a Ladder. Natalya.
Dave: Becky Lynch

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

We Are At War: WCW Great American Bash 1998

I wish I had been as Gonzo as Savage was here watching this show.
[This is from the historic Nitro when EVERYONE was plastered, 6/8/98]

WCW Great American Bash, June 14th,1998

Booker T vs. Chris Benoit, the winner faces Fit Finlay for the TV Championship later tonight

This was apparently the final match in a Best of Seven series, and they showed a video package before the match detailing how we got to this point which included a fuck finish, on Thunder, that was scratched from the record books on Booker's request [Thunder Recap Count= 1]. We're getting deep into WCW stupid, now. It was a good opener, both men were very good and deserved better even at that point. Benoit in particular was really hot with the crowd. They were into every chop and german suplex, so of course he lost to a missile dropkick from the top rope.

Meltzer Rating: ***1/2
It was fun, but I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it like Benoit/Finlay last month.

Kanyon vs Saturn

Another really fun match, almost like all the quality on these WCW shows are skewed to the undercard. Month after month, I keep wondering why Saturn never got beyond the mid-card in either WCW or WWE. Kanyon himself wasn't bad, much larger than I remember him being as well. They took it to each other the whole match, busting out a lot of moves that are commonplace in today's Indy scene and NXT. Kanyon especially was the prototype to the standard Indy wrestler stereotype of today, sans dives.
Then the Bullshit happened. Oh God, the Bullshit.
So the match is coming along fine, until Mortis showed up. Mortis, being Kanyon's old gimmick, proceeded to throw Saturn from the floor back into the ring. Then, a second (or third?) Mortis appeared, and the two...Morti?...began to brawl. In the process, we almost missed Kanyon winning with I think was a second rope Samoan drop? After the match, one of the MK ripoffs unmasked to show himself as Raven, who laid Kanyon out and berate Saturn. Saturn, in turn, rushed Raven and proceeded to murder the Flock that came in around him. Hopefully we get Saturn and Raven next month. I really like Saturn on these PPVs

Meltzer Rating: **1/2
Again, like the last match this was an above average affair. I wouldn't have gone out of my way for it, but I'm not upset that I watched it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A24 Review: The Blackcoat's Daughter (2017)

by Michael Drinan

Director: Oz Perkins
Starring: Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, Lucy Boynton

A24 Films first stepped into the horror game with Kevin Smith’s Tusk back in 2014. Since then they’ve released four more horror films including the newly released It Comes At Night. (review to come at a later date) All of them, with the exception of Tusk, have received favorable to incredible reviews. So when I saw the trailer for The Blackcoat’s Daughter it piqued my interest.

The film is the directorial debut of Oz Perkins (son of Anthony Perkins) and brings us a dark, suspenseful and somewhat mind-bending demonic possession horror film, with two different stories intersecting for a crucial and bloody climax. The first story involves two girls, Kat (played by Kiernan Shipka) and Rose (Lucy Boynton), who are left behind at The Bramford School, a Roman Catholic all girls prep school, over winter break while both girls are waiting for their parents to pick them up. The second timeline involves Joan (played by Emma Roberts), a girl who appears to have runaway from a mental hospital and is trying to get to Portsmith when she's offered a ride from two grieving parents who are on their way to Bramford. It's only when they reach their destination, does the unexpected and unnerving climax between the two story lines plays out to a bloody conclusion.

I’m not much of a fan of horror films because I find most of them corny and overdone, mostly relying on loud noises and quick cutaways to instill a sense of fear or dread in the viewer. Even though this film does use these methods a couple of times, overall I thought it was a pretty effective and entertaining horror flick. Nothing is over the top here. There’s no grandstanding or flashiness or any gratuitous scenes of violence. The film works in subtlety, slowly unveiling each layer of the story and of the characters as it moves along. This, in my opinion, is what makes good horror films, the lingering before the punch to the nerves.

Perkins’ set up at the beginning was great, using a nightmarish vision Kat has of a car accident to establish the torment she will endure through the film. Perkins takes his time, not going overboard with scenes and not insulting his audience’s intelligence. He gives you details for you to piece together on your own without dictating it to you, making the film’s buildup more enjoyable. How he weaves each character’s story line through the movie can cause one to question the timeline somewhat but it all comes together nicely at the end.

The performance by Kiernan Shipka takes the cake in this movie. Her soft quiet muttering is really creepy and did a good job drawing my interest in to see what’s going to happen next, especially when she calls the nun the “c” word, that’s when it really gets good. Her slow walk and skulking demeanor through the whole film causes you to wonder if this torment she is enduring is of her own doing or something else entirely? By the end of the film, this question is answered only by the viewer’s own interpretation which just adds to the enjoyment of the film.

I only have two issues with this film. The first is the lack of memorable scenes. There are two scenes that do stand out: when Rose sees Kat in the basement, and when Kat is in bed and her legs suddenly flip over her head, reminiscent of the spider walk scene in the director's cut of The Exorcist. However, neither one of those scenes are extraordinary and are pretty much staples in the horror film genre and both scenes are left on their own, not followed up by any worthwhile action or meaning.

Monday, June 12, 2017

NJPW Dominion 2017 Review

New Japan Pro Wrestling.  You've done it again, you magnificent bastards.

In a year when the company, especially its top champion, are churning out classics like a five-star match assembly line, NJPW Dominion 2017 was yet another homerun for the world's greatest current wrestling promotion.  Its nine-match lineup included nary a misstep; the matches ranged from "entertaining opening match fluff" to "pretty good" to "goddamn awesome" to "transcendent."  By my calculations the show included four ****+ matches, the last of which served as an in-ring Godfather 2 to its predecessor.  Five months after Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega lit the wrestling world ablaze with their epic Tokyo Dome main event for the ages, they've done it a second time, and based on the result it's clear we're all going to be lucky enough to witness a third.

First though, let's look at the undercard.

It's a tough call which PPV was better, Dominion 2017 or WrestleKingdom 11.  If you compare all but the final three matches on each show, Dominion wins hands down.

The opening 8-man tag was quick, energetic and inoffensive.  Nothing much at stake but everyone got a little time to warm up the crowd, and team Tiger Mask won after Togi Makabe landed the King Kong Knee Drop on Nakanishi.  I will say, cartoon series or not, it seems criminal to have Kota Ibushi curtain-jerking in these multi-man throwaway matches.  I dearly hope he's in the G1 tournament, mask or no mask (preferably the latter).  He's far too valuable as an upper tier star to be wasted in this gimmick.  Yes I know he got the one match with Okada but that placement on the card should be the norm for Ibushi.

Next up was the 6-Man Title gauntlet match, which was slightly better than its WK counterpart but ultimately entertaining without being terribly memorable.  I was pleasantly wrong about the straps changing hands yet again, as LIJ defeated Taguchi Japan in the final fall to retain.  Maybe LIJ can be the team that actually makes this championship meaningful.

Gauche Town 6.12.17: The Problems With the Contenders

by Graham LaGauche

Roderick Strong is going to fight Bobby Roode. 

Roderick Strong is a very good wrestler. Seriously, watch his matches. They’re razor sharp in execution. Like, he’s in the right place before you know he’s supposed to be and nailing moves with incredible precision. He’s got a solid go-bag of moves, and when he hits his finisher, it feels like a finisher. He’s handsome, but not so handsome that you feel threatened he might steal your girlfriend. He’s competent on the mic. He’s setting his eyes on Bobby Roode’s NXT Championship and he’s got the crowd behind him, thanks in part to another great video package. He seems like he’s got the whole package.

So why is it every time I see him come out to the ring the first thing I think of is a default create-a-wrestler. He’s got the tools, but I really want to spiff him up with a flashy t-shirt and a pair of Kane’s boots, maybe a chef’s hat. Minus his actual in-ring ability, he is SO BORING. The best way to describe his ring gear is “on,” and not in the way Korn says it. More like “on his body, currently.” I can’t even tell you what he usually wears without looking at a picture, but if I wear to guess “navy blue trunks and probably boots” I bet I’d be close.

Roderick is so devoid of anything that can be considered “interesting” that it’s hard to even try. My imagination can conjure up things like a dragon with its head on its tail and its tail on its head, and the idea that Limp Bizkit was a pretty good band, but I can’t even begin to figure out how to make Captain Whitebread a memorable guy. WWE tried, though, and to their credit, it was a very nice video package. It was a glimpse into how his life has slightly improved since he’s recently had a kid. That’s great, I’m genuinely happy for him. But, like, the same way I’m happy that one of my Facebook friends who I’ve never met, or worse, met at a bar and don’t remember shit about, isn’t a Baron Corbin fan. Cool, me too, but it’s not a solid base for a friendship.

So, like I said, I recognise Roderick’s skill, it’s just wrapped in a pretty milquetoast package. I really can’t rally behind a guy just because he has wrestled in the past, and he had a kid recently. And this is coming from a guy who, as a professional manny, usually celebrates other people having kids by going to a fancy dinner. Strong’s probably not gonna pay me to watch his kid, so what do I care?

Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross are going to fight Asuka.

Maybe, Ruby got blasted in the head this weekend at Download Fest and apparently bled too much for her to do anything. But Nikki Cross is still a thing!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

NJPW Dominion 2017 Preview & Predictions

Landon: The ninth annual Dominion show proves to possibly be the biggest one yet. With a slew of WrestleKingdom rematches, the show is stacked top to bottom with matches for every title in the company. Justin and I are back to cover the stacked show this Saturday night, top to bottom.

Justin: This is gonna be goddamn incredible.  As good as WrestleKingdom 11 was, this show on paper may actually be superior.  We'll see.  Regardless, WWE is unlikely to put together any show this year that touches Dominion.

Togi Makabe, Yuji Nagata, Tiger Mask W, and Tiger Mask vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Manabu Nakanishi, and Jushin Thunder Liger

I'm not putting any effort into this one more than I have to. Opening, nothing 8-man.

Landon's Pick: Nagata's team. Should just be Tiger Mask W vs Tiger The Dark again.
Justin's Pick: Yeah, not at all important, this match, but should be fun.  Team Tigers win it.  When the hell is Kota Ibushi coming back as himself??  Please tell me he'll be in the G1!

NEVER Openweight 6-Man Championship
Gauntlet of Doom, involving Every Faction in the Goddamn Company [1st Defense]

This is gonna be a fucking war. Even more teams than Wrestle Kingdom, every faction in New Japan is bringing a team to this one. Two teams start, and after every fall a new team is gonna come out. I hope that LIJ either comes out at the end to squash whoever is tired, or runs through everyone (maybe murdering Taichi while they're at it.)

Landon's Pick: SANADA, EVIL, and BUSHI
Justin's Pick: Should be a fun clusterfuck.  It's the 6-man belts so they'll change hands again.  I'll go with Team Taguchi.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Cgampionship
Roppongi Vice (c)vs The Young Bucks [1st Defense]

We need to have a solid Jr. Tag title run,and Roppongi Vice could be that staple team. Or it could be the Young Bucks, but I feel that Romero and Baretta are the better team to carry other Juniors to great matches. Plus they have the belts already and it makes that goal easier.

Landon's Pick: RPG Vice to defend.
Justin's Pick: Kinda tough to bet against the Bucks.

Monday, June 5, 2017

WWE Extreme Rules 2017: It's Happening, IT'S FINALLY HAPPENING!!

WWE Extreme Rules 2017 is in the books.  A solid effort all around, and the first unequivocally good WWE PPV since 'Mania.  For B PPVs it's the first good one since Elimination Chamber.  It was streamlined, there were multiple ***+ matches, nothing terribly offensive, and miraculously it was under three hours!  Plus, we have ourselves an AWESOME Universal Title match scheduled for next month.  One I've been waiting for since about 2006.  But let's talk about the matches.

The opener kicked things off unexpectedly well, as Dean Ambrose and The Miz had a really nice wrestling match.  I was down on the whole "DQ rule waived" thing, but both guys made good use of it and the booking was done in a way that no one looked like an idiot.  Ambrose and Miz had some very crisp grappling exchanges early on, Miz kept trying to draw Ambrose to flip out and get himself disqualified, and at one point even got Maryse to slap him hoping the ref would think she turned on him.  The ref didn't buy it, ejected Maryse, and instead Miz threw Ambrose into the ref.  There was another disqualification tease and Miz took advantage of a distracted Ambrose to hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win and the belt.  Now, let's keep that damn thing on The Miz for a loooooong time.  I'm talkin' 15-18 months.  Let him finally break the record.  His heel schtick is gold right now.  He'll be a perfect Honky Tonk Man-esque long-term champ.

Next up was the first of two throwaways, as Sasha Banks and Rich Swann had a little RAW-type match against Alicia Fox and Noam Dar.  Not much going on in this one, but it was inoffensive and the right team won.  Sasha should now move back into Title contention.

The other abbreviated match, criminally so, was Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley.  I'm not sure why this only got five minutes but this was very abrupt.  They started out pretty strong and I was pleasantly surprised by the pace they were cutting.  And then it was just over.  Bayley ran into the kendo stick, hurting her shoulder, and Alexa DDT'd her to retain.  Who did Bayley piss off backstage?  Oh right, she's a likable babyface so we gotta make her look like a chump.  Incidentally all the matches except the mixed tag went to the heels.  Can't remember the last time that sorta thing happened.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

WWE Extreme Rules 2017 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another round of WWE Predictions here at!  These goddamn WWE shows are one on top of another, aren't they?

Coming off two pretty not-great PPVs, WWE has some ground to make up with Extreme Rules.  PayBacklash left a sour taste in a lotta mouths, like a Coke that's gone bad, but ER looks quite solid on paper.  Let's take a gander, shall we?

***Landon is killing us so far with 68% accuracy (11/16) to my 57% (16/28) and Dan's 53% (15/28)***

Cruiserweight Championship Submission Match: Neville vs. Austin Aries

I like the sound of this a lot.  Neville and Aries could have a good match in their sleep, and the submission aspect should add some fine storytelling to this one.  They've done a good job of protecting Aries without actually letting him win the belt, but I think it's probably his time now.

Justin's pick: Aries finally gets the job done
Dan's pick: AA
Landon's pick: Aries. Literally nowhere else to go that makes as much or better sense.

Mixed Tag Match: Sasha Banks & Rich Swann vs. Alicia Fox & Noam Dar

This here feels like filler.  And I don't like mixed tags much.  And Sasha needs to get back in the Title hunt.

Justin's pick: Sasha & Rich
Dan's pick: I don’t even know who that 2nd dude is. Sasha it is.
Landon's pick: Can you Handle This? Rich and Sasha

Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz

So the PPV is called Extreme Rules and the best they could come up with for this was the stipulation that if Ambrose gets DQd he loses the belt?  Whoa, slow down fellas.  That's way too EXTREEEEEEME!!!  What a lame stip.  At best this will just feel like a regular match, and at worst the stipulation will get in the way.  I'm gonna guess Miz wins the belt off the DQ so Ambrose can be prepped for the inevitable Shield reunion.  Miz should keep the IC belt forever though.  If they hadn't fucked up his previous two reigns he could've broken the record by now.

Justin's pick: Miz
Dan's pick: COME ON MIZZY!!!
Landon's pick: Miz goes for a Foul, gets caught and reprimanded. Ref distracted, Dean fouls, Dean Drops with a Dirty Deeds. Dean Retains.