Wednesday, January 31, 2018

New England Patriots Cheating: A Loser's Myth

by Dan Moore

The New England Patriots are the greatest dynasty the NFL has ever known. They're about to make their 8th Super Bowl appearance since 2001 with 5 wins and possibly their sixth this coming Sunday. But they are not without controversy, either real or imagined. Here now are my thoughts on all the alleged cheating, scandals and referee help they've received since their run began almost twenty years ago.


Ah yes, the Tuck Rule game. The game where a rule was applied correctly and everyone lost their shit. The rule that earlier in the year went against the Patriots. The rule that was applied in a divisional round game, a full two games before the Super Bowl, that allowed the Patriots to win the Super Bowl. Yes, that rule. 

Raiders fans would have you believe this is what the play actually looked like. 

You wanna bitch that the rule sucks? I’m with you. You wanna say the Pats got lucky that game? Abso-fuckin’-lutley. But don’t give me any of this bullshit that the Raiders got cheated out of the Super Bowl when they couldn’t even take care of business two fucking games before the big one. There was 1:50 left in the game. Oakland could've, ya know, stopped the Pats. Or maybe stopped them in overtime. But that gets left out when you talk about this game BECAUZ WE WUZ CHEATED (Also, let me remind you, the big bad Raiders, who totes woulda won the Super Bowl in 2001 if not for the refs cheating them out of the Super Bowl 8 whole quarters before it began, made it to the Super Bowl in 2002 and got their fucking doors blown off 48-21 by Tampa Bay so suck a boner, you Raiders crybabies). 


This is the one. The big one. The lie that still gets repeated to this day. The Patriots were reported to have taped a practice the Rams had the weekend of the Super Bowl, by breathing tub of goo John Tomase.

The man's a goblin

A fat, curly haired nobody who decided that journalism doesn’t matter as long as you’re first to report whatever tripe you hear in a bar room. Tomase did no research and said “Eh fuck it, Pats taped practices." And this is the nonsense you hear from every other jealous fanbase about the Patriots. The man lied about it, made no real apology and SOMEHOW is still employed in the Boston media. It makes no fucking sense and I hope he gets paper cuts on that little web section of his hand in between his fingers.

(Also, read this if you wanna know all about this nonsense )

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The WrestleMania Main Event: No New People Allowed

So I'm getting ready for work this morning and my mind wanders, as it does more frequently than I care to admit, to the subject of pro wrestling (Oh CHRIST, here he goes again....).  Specifically I was thinking about WWE's inability over the past decade-plus to create new top stars, and how that correlates with who gets to main event The Show of Shows, WrestleMania.  The idea popped in my head once again that, wow, no matter what happens to him from here, whether his in-ring career resumes or not, Daniel Bryan got to headline WrestleMania.  It's an honor bestowed on so few, and he's one of them.  Forever.

The fact that these guys got to main event 'Mania but Punk didn't is just unreal.

But then I decided to go back over all the 'Manias since the show was created 33 years ago and count exactly how many men got to main event the spring spectacular.  Just how exclusive is this club?  And the numbers are pretty striking when you think about them.  The overall total is 33, which is an average of one new guy per year.  But it's the decade-by-decade numbers that are really telling.  First let's review exactly who's on this list and then I'll show you how revealing this trend is as it pertains to WWE's stagnant star factory.  I'll give you some totals after each ten years of Manias.

The following is a list of NEW WrestleMania main event participants by year:

WrestleMania I: Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff, Mr. T

WrestleMania 2: King Kong Bundy

WrestleMania III: Andre the Giant

WrestleMania IV: Randy Savage, Ted Dibiase

(WM5 had Hogan and Savage, who had both headlined before)

WrestleMania VI: Ultimate Warrior

WrestleMania VII: Sgt. Slaughter

WrestleMania VIII: Sid Justice

WrestleMania IX: Bret Hart, Yokozuna

(WM10 had a rematch of the WM9 main event)

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Power of the Pin 1.29.18: The Last Days of Lesnar

Welcome to a special guest column from Ryan K Boman of  Ryan K. Boman is the co- founder of Lecrettia Media Services, a content and marketing firm that specializes in sports & entertainment promotion.  He began writing professionally in 1990 at the age of 14. As a syndicated columnist and feature writer, his work has appeared in The Miami Herald, AdWeek, SB Nation, The Southern Illinoisan and

by Ryan K. Boman

As we come churning to the end of the WWE calendar and look towards WrestleMania, we’ve already answered one major question: Shinsuke Nakamura will face AJ Styles for the WWE Championship on the company’s signature stage.

For "smart fans," it must have felt like it was raining candy, hearing Nakamura utter those three syllables after he won The Royal Rumble last night. And for Smackdown, as a brand, it’s another opportunity to surpass its older brother, RAW, with the world watching. Based on their past encounters in Japan, there’s no reason to believe that The Artist and The Phenomenal One won’t play a tune in New Orleans that will have the wrestling audience singing.

Which brings us to the dance card of the current Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar. With a showstopping match already set in the other world title scene, what does WrestleMania have in store for Brock? And even more importantly, what comes afterwards?

Earlier this year, speculation was swirling that Lesnar might be riding out his contract with World Wrestling Entertainment until his UFC suspension was over. The theory, some fans surmised, was that he was simply collecting a paycheck until he could return to a ‘real sport’. Fueling that chatter  was some sniping over the summer between Lesnar and former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, leading fans to believe the two were hyping a potential MMA fight. That buzz died down when Jones was suspended for a drug violation himself.

Lesnar has made comments in the past that indicate he feels he’d be taken more seriously as a legitimate combat fighter, as opposed to a sports entertainer. Despite his rough, ‘I-Don’t-Give-A-Damn’ exterior, it’s clear that Lesnar’s legacy as an athlete (real or otherwise) is important to him. His foray several years ago into football was a sign of that natural, competitive streak; he had never played football at the collegiate level, yet still hung with the Vikings before eventually being cut.

WWE Royal Rumble 2018: Nakamura, Asuka and RONDA ROUSEY

Well.  It seems WWE has rediscovered how to put on a fun Royal Rumble.  TWO in fact.  For a while there the Rumble had become one of my least favorite events on their calendar, but between last year's pretty great show (with admittedly the wrong ending) and last night's pretty great show (with the exact right results across the board), the Royal Rumble has officially returned to form.  There was nary a bad match on the main card, both Rumbles delivered, there were memorable moments abound, lots of fun surprise entrants, a clear direction for WrestleMania, and a monumental debut to end the show.

First up, oddly, was the WWE Title match.  AJ Styles defended against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, in a crisply worked 16-minute match.  Nothing spectacular here, but the three of them worked well together and AJ even got to bust out his moonsault-reverse DDT combo (which I don't remember seeing since his WWE debut two years ago).  Styles retained after countering an Owens pop-up powerbomb into a roll-up, but Owens and Zayn protested since Owens technically hadn't tagged into the match.  Solid opener.

Next was the Smackdown Tag Title match (SD kinda got shafted with this lineup; both of their bouts went on first), as The Usos defended against Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin.  The Usos have been on fire and this continued that trend.  Energetic, fast-paced and well-booked, with a shocking two straight falls for Jimmy and Jey, this was a fine undercard match.  I liked that the first fall was long and the second fall was surprisingly short - it was realistic and defied the typical structure for a 2/3 Falls match.

The men's Royal Rumble was third out of six, which was pretty baffling until the end of the show when it was made clear why.  I dare say this was the best Rumble match of the past decade, if not longer.  The booking of this match was predictable in a good way; everyone who should've gotten to shine did.  The final five ended up being the five most plausible winners.  Finn Balor entered at number 2 and made the final four, having lasted 57+ minutes.  And of course Shinsuke Nakamura got his WWE career-defining moment by outlasting both John Cena and Roman Reigns to win the whole thing (after 44 minutes of in-ring time).  It seems my WrestleMania wish is coming true - AJ vs. Nakamura will tear the house down.  This is how you book a Royal Rumble match in 2018.  Other notes: Rey Mysterio looked better than he has in probably ten years and I wouldn't mind seeing him return as a part-timer.  Andrade Almas and Adam Cole both had good showings and it was great to see the NXT guests not geeked out on the main roster for a change.  Fuck you Comcast, for my internet going out RIGHT AT THE END OF THE MATCH.  Anyway, this was a pretty fantastic Rumble match that ranks up there with the 1992 and 2004 editions.

Participants: Rusev, Finn Balor, Rhyno, Baron Corbin, Heath Slater, Elias, Andrade Almas, Bray Wyatt, Big E, Sami Zayn, Sheamus, Xavier Woods, Apollo Crews, Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro, Kofi Kingston, Jinder Mahal, Seth Rollins, Matt Hardy, John Cena, The Hurricane, Aiden English, Adam Cole, Randy Orton, Titus O'Neil, The Miz, Rey Mysterio, Roman Reigns, Goldust, Dolph Ziggler
Final Four: Shinsuke Nakamura, Roman Reigns, John Cena, Finn Balor
Long Man: Finn Balor (57:30)

The match given the unenviable post-Rumble spot was Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan vs. The Bar.  I didn't really see any of this match except the finish, thanks to Comcast and my piece of shit wifi modem.  By the time I got back online the match was almost over.  From what I understand it was passable and served its purpose in furthering the Rollins-Jordan feud.  And The Bar regained the straps as they should have.  So no complaints there.

Friday, January 26, 2018

NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another edition of NXT Predictions, here at, where Landon Wayne and I break down the latest TakeOver special from the one good brand under the WWE umbrella.

I gotta be honest, I haven't been keeping up with NXT current events very well these days, and it's not easy when the main roster has scooped up so much of their top talents.  NXT's been in a rebuilding phase for the last six months or so, and while the wrestling quality is always very good to excellent, it's felt like a developmental brand again, which hadn't been true since before the Owens-Zayn signings.  That said, TakeOver: Philadelphia is looking like a pretty terrific show.

Let's get to it.

Kassius Ohno vs. Velveteen Dream

This match was just officially announced last night.  Dream has been quite the breakout young star of late, with monster charisma and a great grasp of his character.  He had an unexpected show stealer with Aleister Black at the last TakeOver, and many were sad he didn't win that match.  Well I think this will be his consolation prize.  Dream is a hot commodity and now's the time to give him his first major win.

Justin: Dream
Landon: Dream wins. No offense to my personal Hero, but Kassius is here in the player coach role mostly I feel. I don't know if he'll ever make it to the main roster or not.

NXT Tag Team Championship: Undisputed Era vs. Authors of Pain

Hmm, which tag team name is better, reDRagon or Undisputed Era?  What precisely about this era is undisputed?  Or does the name suggest that there's no dispute that this is indeed an era?  What asshole came up with this name?  It sucks.  If you're not gonna use reDRagon, at least come up with something similar.  Or something that references Ring of Honor, like Code of Honor maybe.  Just something.  Christ.  Anyway this should be a fine contest.  AoP have come a very long way since their 2016 debut.  O'Reilly and Fish are the balls.  This could be the sleeper hit of the show.

Justin: reDRagon retain, as I think AoP are main roster-bound sooner rather than later.
Landon: reDRagon

WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to the first round of main roster WWE predictions of 2018!  It's January, and that means it's time for the Royal Rumble, traditionally the one PPV a year WWE hasn't sucked all the fun out of......except in 2014 and 2015.

It's a somewhat unpredictable field this year, as other than the obvious choice of Roman Reigns (whose second Rumble win would be met with scorn and violence in the same building in which his first occurred three years ago, so get it out of your fucking heads WWE), there are multiple potential winners.  Look, we all know Roman's fighting Brock at WrestleMania, so there's no fun in having him win the Rumble.  It has to be a Smackdown guy takin' it down again on his way to facing AJ.  Unless of course WWE has some curve ball in mind.  And WWE curve balls always suck.  They suck balls, in fact.

This will also be the first Rumble event to feature TWO Rumble matches, as the women are getting their own match.  This could be fun.  I'm sure we'll see some cameos in that match from former WWE women's stars.  I also imagine this match will be of the 1-minute-intervals variety, so as not to burn out the crowd before the men's Rumble.

But let's get to some predictions.  Side note: Thank Christ we'll be spared that awful Cruiserweight Title match they had planned.  Fuck Enzo.

***I'm leading with 74/103 (71.8%), Landon's on my heels with 64/91 (70%), Dave's third with 47/69 (68%), and Dan's in the caboose with 63/103 (61%)***

Smackdown Tag Team Championship 2/3 Falls Match: The Usos vs. Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable

Man, how much better would this be if it were American Alpha still?  I've always liked Benjamin but Jordan & Gable had such great chemistry as a team.  I'm still baffled.  Anyway, this should be a fun tag match as long as each fall is given time (WWE has this habit of rushing through 2/3 Falls matches and making them totally unrealistic).  This match could go either way but I'm sticking with the champs here because of what I think is gonna happen in the next match....

Justin: The Usos retain
Dan: Yes
Landon: Fuck, I'm behind on Smackdown...uhh.....Usos cause nothing matters to me about this company besides beating Justin in predictions.
Dave: Usos

RAW Tag Team Championship: Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan vs. The Bar

Dean Ambrose's injury really effed everything up, huh?  Rollins & Jordan has to be the most random tag title pairing since Cena and David Otunga.  Anyway this match should be quite good given the talent involved.  The rumored plan is for a Rollins-Jordan match at Mania, which is a double-edged sword.  On one hand, that could be a pretty great little match.  On the other, THAT'S the best you have for Seth Rollins?  At any rate, it makes sense for The Bar to win the staps back and begin the breakup of this unlikely babyface team.

Justin: The Bar
Dan: JR retain
Landon: Rollins and Jordan retain
Dave: The Bar.....mmmm, beer.....

WWE Championship Handicap Match: AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

I hate handicap matches.  So, so much.  Why couldn't this just be a triple threat?  It'd be great.  Nope, RAW already has one of those even though that one should just be a singles match.  Fuck this shit.  Soo, clearly Owens and Zayn end up not being able to get it together and I'm guessing it all leads to a Mania match between them.  No complaints there, but wouldn't a 3-way here accomplish the exact same goal?  This will be yet another case of the Shane nonsense getting in the way of a good match from these guys.

Justin: AJ retains
Dan: Fuck it, KO & Sami
Landon: AJ Styles
Dave: AJ, I mean, come on.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The XFL is Back, BABY!!!

by Dan Moore


Vince McMahon just announced the return of his formerly ill-fated and all but forgotten sports venture, the XFL. That's right, the football league with WRASSLIN' commentators and big old floppity titties is coming back.

She plays for the New Jersey Hindenburgs

I dunno about you but while I wait for the Super Bowl to commence in about a week, this announcement of a sub-par football league coming back is really getting my gonads a-moving. I for one cannot wait to see a team fumbling punt returns and throwing short on 3rd and long every time (like Andy Reid!). 

And holy shit can you imagine what the silly nicknames could be on the back of the jerseys nowadays??!?! Yea, me neither cause they could be real fucking names. There is 100% a kid SOMEWHERE in America named He Hate Me. I guaran-fuckin'-tee it. 

SHALOM! It is I, He Hate Me Blumsack!

I have no idea why Vince hates money, cause this thing is probably gonna fail AGAIN. He's spending $100 million bucks to televise third rate football games WITHOUT my man Johnny Manziel. I mean, WHAT??!?! Vince said that nobody with a criminal background can be in the league. That's like 95% of the SEC. Who's gonna be in this league, soccer players?!?!


Regardless, I'll still watch this piece of shit league for three reasons. 

A. I love football

2. I love train-wrecks

D. You're outside of your mind if you think I'm gonna miss Tim Tebow suiting up for the Corpus Chisti Christ-O's.

"Christ is the only Hail Mary I need...wait a minute..."

NJPW The New Beginning 2018 Preview & Predictions

New Beginnings are coming in a few days. Three nights, every title on the line at some point. Going through all of the matches at once would give me a hemorrhage cause ain't nobody got time for that. So we're distilling the important matches out of each night and talking about them. I'm running behind on my own blog, so let's jump right in with Sapporo.

The New Beginning in Sapporo, Night 1, 1/27/18

NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Championship [1st Defense]
Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (Bullet Club) (c) vs. Togi Makabe, Toa Henare & Ryusuke Taguchi (Taguchi Japan)

Landon: Bullet Club keeps the belts here, I hope. This shit needs to stop bouncing back and forth between teams, and this is probably the best use for Fale and the Tongas. Let their reign be long and chaotic.
Justin: The title that never stops moving.  I guess it's fine that this title exists because it gives a tiny bit of significance to one six-man schmozz on each show, but that's diminishing with each title change.  Instead of a barely cobbled together six-man division I wish NJPW would introduce a women's division.  That would preclude the necessity for so many multi-man tags on these big shows, plus it would potentially be yet another case of NJPW showing WWE how it's done.  Bullet Club retains I guess.

IWGP Intercontinental Championship [5th Defense]
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Minoru Suzuki (Suzuki-Gun)

Landon: I know this is like the fourth time I've said this but I don't care. Tanahashi is hurt and his elbow is made out of  broken glass wrapped in paper. Put the belt on Suzuki and let it ride for a year. Get the belt off of the poor man, now.
Justin: Man, Tanahashi is STILL holding onto that arm.  At this point it must look like Homer Simpson DIY spice rack.

I have to think Suzuki is the man who finally dethrones him so he can take some time off.  Suzuki may have lost the NEVER belt but this would be a helluva bounceback.  Suzuki wins.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Mike's Oscar Thoughts 2018

by Michael Drinan

Ladies and gentlemen….it’s Oscar season! After a year full of great films, the nominations for Academy Awards were announced and now we get to discuss. So, here are a few of my thoughts.

First, a huge shout out to Rachel Morrison for becoming the first woman to be nominated in the Best Cinematography category for Mudbound. She also filmed Fruitvale Station, another really good, deeply emotional film. Highly recommend, that one.


I didn’t make it out to the theaters as much as I had in years past, which caused me to have only seen one of the Best Picture nominees, which was Get Out. (which was excellent BTW) I’m going to try and see more before the show so I can be better informed when making my predictions.

For me, this category didn’t really have any surprises. I’ve heard great things about each and every one of the nominees so it’s going to be very interesting to see how it all shakes out. At the moment Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, for me are the frontrunners here, with Call Me By Your Name and The Shape of Water being dark horses.


I really feel the Best Director Award is Greta Gerwig’s to lose, for not only making a critically and universally adored film, but after her strikingly incomprehensible absence in this category at the Golden Globes, I feel she’ll get the votes. If not, Guillermo Del Toro might get it. My money’s on Gerwig.


Original Screenplay is going to be a great category to watch. It is filled with excellent films, with great scripts. I don’t know who is going to win but I do know which film isn’t going to win. As much as I loved The Big Sick, for its humor, real-world situation and characters, diversity and intellect, it is up against a very, very tough field. I’m very happy Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani were recognized for their excellent screenplay. They deserved it.

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Hardships of Being a New England Patriots Fan

by Dan Moore

The New England Patriots vanquished the Jacksonville Jaguars to move on to their record 10th Super Bowl. It is their 3rd in the last 4 years and their 8th since 2000. It is a spectacular run the likes of which has never been seen in professional football. But I'm not here today to talk about how awesome the Pats are or how beautiful Tom Brady is or how big a johnson Bill Belichick has. No. I've done all that.

I'm here to talk about how awful this is for us Pats fans. I mean, this winning all the time really takes a toll on all of us. Here are my major gripes about the Patriots being the greatest team in football ever:


Figuring out where to go for the Super Bowl usually isn't that tough. Mainly because your loser teams aren't in it. But we here in New England hafta figure it out yearly. Do you know how hard that is? I mean, do you go to someone's house or a bar? Do you order pizza AND wings (yes)? And what kind of drugs are allowed? Are you at some loser's house where you can only smoke weed? Or at a cool guy's house, a guy named Tank, where the cocaine falls freely like a snowstorm? These things take planning and it's not easy to plan the biggest party of the year every year.


See this here?

WORTHLESS PIECE OF SHIT. I had this banner for like 8 minutes before it became useless. So I replaced it with this.  

Now with the Pats going back to the Super Bowl, there's a strong likelihood that this banner will also become pointless. Just another jizz rag in the jerkoff store of life. I find it rude, nay, downright IMPOLITE of the Patriots to continue to be so dominant that they make me buy new banners and shirts every year just so I can keep up with all the championships. I'm fucking broke over here. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Movie Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

At the risk of sounding imprudent, I think the Best Picture Oscar for 2017 has been decided, in my mind at least.  I still have a lot of catching up to do with the current crop of Oscar bait movies, but I frankly can't fathom a 2017 film outshining Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.  Martin McDonagh's black comedy powderkeg is a Coen-esque masterpiece, boasting an absolutely stacked cast, a sardonic, brutally frank sense of humor, multiple knife-twisting plot turns, and maybe most significantly a career highlight lead performance from Frances McDormand.  Sweet Jeezus this movie's brilliant.

Three Billboards concerns a divorced mother, Mildred Hayes, whose daughter Angela was raped and killed months earlier, now outraged that the murderer has still not been found.  She rents out the titular billboards near her house, asking the local sheriff (a compelling-as-always Woody Harrelson) why he hasn't done anything about it.  This throws the town into an uproar, as Mildred's ad campaign is seen as an attack on law enforcement, and the pressure is on to solve the case but also to punish Mildred's impudence.  What follows is a contentious, often violent power struggle, during which we're treated to one unforgettable scene after another and introduced to numerous memorable characters.  There's the dimwitted loose cannon Deputy Dixon (an Oscar-worthy Sam Rockwell), who's already been accused of torturing black suspects, or Mildred's abusive ex-husband Charlie, who sides with the police and blames Mildred for Angela's death, or Red, the mealy-mouthed advertising agent from whom Mildred rents the billboards and who the police pressure to revoke her lease.  It's rare to find this deep a roster of supporting characters.

I won't go into much more plot detail than that; part of the joy and sadness in watching this film lies in the numerous surprises.  The story does not at all unfold the way one would expect, the script finds laughs in some very unexpected places, and high tension between characters is conjured before you even know what hit you.

Thematically the films deals with the senselessness of tragedy, our powerlessness in the face of it, and both the destructiveness and effectiveness born of carrying around all that anger.  Mildred is a pillar of righteous rage, bringing to task a local police force that seems too busy harassing local citizenry to be interested in solving her daughter's murder.  In her mind she has nothing left to lose, which manifests as a pervading aura of anarchic free will.  No matter what the police or anyone else threatens her with, she is not in the least bit intimidated.  Mildred acts the way we all wish we could when confronted with injustice; her anger gives her incredible power.

There's nary a misstep in the performances either.  Sam Rockwell nearly steals the show as the loathsome, degenerate Deputy, revealing sympathetic character traits that confound expectations.  Harrelson as Police Chief Willoughby could've been a villainous hick caricature, but instead is both authoritative and reasonable.  John Hawkes as Charlie is hardened and frightening, a violent bastard of a husband.  And McDormand.....Frances McDormand's terse, internalized performance is awe-inspiring and may be the best of her career.

Martin McDonagh has amazingly taken seemingly divergent narrative tones and woven them together to make a uniquely hilarious, unnerving, heartbreaking film.  If there's a better movie than Three Billboards in 2017 I can't wait to see it.

I give the film **** out of ****.

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Friday, January 5, 2018

NJPW WrestleKingdom 12 Review

Well.  That show took some unexpected turns, didn't it?  Like The Last Jedi, WrestleKingdom 12 left more than a few people scratching their heads, as what seemed a slam-dunk main event result ended up not happening.  Ya know what though?  I'm puzzled by it, but I'm not sad about it.  More on that in a bit.

New Japan's flagship PPV is in the history books, and all told it was one helluva good show.  The nine matches on the main card ranged from inoffensive to pretty awesome.  While WK12 lacked for me that one blowaway match, it was a newsworthy show with a ton of variety (in the same way the WK9 card had lots of different match types), and while a bit of an endurance test (The shortest bout was over 14 minutes), never got boring (unlike WrestleMania cards these days).  There was no intermission and the matches were presented one after the other without a lot of wasted time in between.

The show kicked off with the Jr. Tag Team Titles, as RPG3K defended against The Young Bucks.  The match, like its WK11 counterpart, was much more psychology-based than your average Jr. Tag match, as the Bucks and Sho/Yoh waged a war of attrition, one man from each team selling a back injury.  I especially liked the exchanges where Nick and Sho took turns kicking the injured backs of their respective opponents.  This match got a robust 18 minutes before the Bucks hit Yoh with the Meltzer Driver and finally tapped him with a Sharpshooter.  The ending felt a little flat to me but otherwise this was a fine opening match.  I assume RPG3K will chase the belts for a few months before regaining them.  I'd like to see the Bucks move up to the heavyweight tag division after that.

Next up was the one skippable match, the 6-man gauntlet.  This was mostly pretty nondescript but also inoffensive.  The first segment involved Suzuki-Gun against War Machine and Michael Elgin.  This had some fun exchanges and ended in roughly six minutes with Zack Sabre causing Rowe to pass out with a leg scissor.  Ishii/Yano/Beretta then made quick work of SG when Yano rolled up Taichi for the pin forty seconds later.  A few minutes after that Yano pinned Taguchi with another rollup.  Finally the champs, Fale and Guerrillas of Destiny arrived and had the longest segment of the match, looking pretty dominant for a while but ultimately losing the straps as Beretta polished off Tama Tonga with a Dudebuster.  So new six-man champs as per usual.  Again, this match was skippable but fine for what it was.  If this is the worst thing on your PPV, you've put together a pretty damn good PPV.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

NJPW WrestleKingdom 12 Preview & Predictions

3, Koraku 1-chrome, Bunkyo, Tokyo Japan
The Home of the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Yomiuri Giants
42,000 seats
The Big Egg
The Motherfucking Dome.

January 4th is around the corner. The culmination to a year of storylines brings us back to Tokyo.  We've seen Young Lions Return completely changed, cried together as someone fought for his life, been amazed (and some appalled) as a foreigner came in and fired the first shot in his war, and the stage is set to pay off what's my pick for the greatest redemption story in Pro Wrestling this Millennium. Every title in New Japan's power is on the line, with one non-title match, and only one schmozz with nothing behind it. It looks to be,  I'm sure this has been said every year for a while now, the biggest and most important Dome show to date.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles [1st Title Defense]
Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) (c) vs. Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson)

Landon: Sho and Yoh came back late this year, and shocked the system in the Junior Heavyweight scene. Winning the titles in their first match back, and in their next three bouts as a team, won the Super Jr. Tag Tournament. Now we have the biggest challenge of their run, The Young Bucks. This match could go either way, seeing how much everybody fawns over Matt and Nick, but I hope it ends up being Roppongi 3K defending. It could be a capstone to a solidifying moment that makes them the new, hot, domestic team, which is something this company needs bad.

Justin: The company has strapped rockets to Sho and Yoh's backs, booking them to win the Jr. Tag belts in their debut match as a team and also booking them to win the Jr. Tag tournament.  I see no reason to put the brakes on now.  RPG3K retains.

NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Title Gauntlet [1st Title Defense]
BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (c) vs. CHAOS (Beretta, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) vs. Juice Robinson, Ryusuke Taguchi & Togi Makabe vs. Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Takashi Iizuka & Zack Sabre Jr.) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) & Michael Elgin

Landon: Bullet Club retains. Who could possibly care.

Justin: Another clusterfuck gauntlet for the 6-man straps.  This set of belts is quite meaningless now, to the point that LIJ more or less had to lose them in order to go for the real tag belts.  It also bugs me that Tomohiro Ishii has nothing better to do, for the second year in a row, than be in a multi-man schmozz.  But whatever, this is the only potential throwaway on the entire PPV, so I'm not that upset about it.  War Machine is apparently WWE-bound (Goddammit), so they aren't winning here.  Any of the other teams could walk away with the belts.  These matches almost never favor the champions, but I could see them retaining.  Keep 'em on Bullet Club Team Tonga.