Tuesday, June 25, 2019

AEW Fyter Fest Preview & Predictions

This Saturday is All Elite Wrestling's second official event, which will be available on B/R Live as a free stream.  It's definitely more of a minor show but there's still plenty of intriguing stuff going on to tide us over until next month's Fight for the Fallen, which will tide us over until their August supercard All Out.

AEW right now is everything WWE is not.  Cool, exciting, buzz-generating, and man can this company move tickets.  All Out, as everyone is now aware, sold out 12,000 tickets in 15 minutes, with about 100,000 more users waiting in online queues to buy them.  No wrestling event in history has ever had this much demand for tickets.  Not WrestleMania, not Royal Rumble, nothing.  Simply amazing.

But let's talk Fyter Fest....

Pre-Show Hardcore Match: Michael Nakazawa vs. Alex Jebailey

I don't know much about either of these dudes, but Jebailey is the head of CEO Gaming, which is co-sponsoring this event.  For that reason I could see him winning this match, but Nakazawa is an actual AEW guy so it would make more sense for him to go over I think.

Pick: Nakazawa

Pre-Show Match: Kylie Rae vs. Leva Bates

Kylie seems to be one of the women they're building this division around, and since she came up short at Double or Nothing it makes sense for her to get a win here.

Pick: Kylie Rae

Pre-Show Match: Best Friends vs. SoCal Uncensored vs. Private Party

This will be a wild affair full of non-stop action.  Best Friends and SCU both scored wins at DON, while Private Party is getting a proper introduction here.  The winners in this match advance to a First-Round Bye match at All Out, to determine their placement in the upcoming Tag Title tournament.  I guess Best Friends makes the most sense.

Pick: Best Friends

Monday, June 24, 2019

The History of NXT TakeOver: TakeOver

Time for a restaurant-quality show....

TakeOver - Full Sail - 5.29.14
While technically the second NXT Network special, this was the first to carry the name TakeOver, and it was a major improvement over Arrival.  The streamlined card featured five matches, three of which were in the four-star range, and one of which truly kicked off the so-called "Divas Revolution."

The first two matches were nothing spectacular; Adam Rose vs. Camacho opened the show.  I figured this would be a squash win for Rose but Camacho actually dominated the match.  One (of many) problems I have with the Rose persona is he never seems to be trying to win the match, he's all about the comedy aspect.  So when he makes a late match comeback and ends up winning suddenly it feels false.  Short and inoffensive.

Next up was NXT Tag Champs The Ascension vs. Kalisto & El Locale.  While another example of The Ascension's limited in-ring ability, this was easily a step above their Arrival match, as Kalisto was able to carry most of the action.  Locale however was pretty awful.  It seemed like he used to be able to do the high-flying lucha moves but was now far overweight to pull them off.

The final three bouts were quite a trilogy of awesome.  Sami Zayn faced Tyler Breeze for the #1 Contender's spot, and what a match!  These two meshed perfectly and everything looked incredibly crisp.  Both guys left it all in the ring with crazy aerial moves and tons of counters.  Breeze blocked Zayn's Helluva Kick and inadvertently hit him in the groin, then capitalized with his finisher for the upset win.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Pro Wrestling: A Mark's History, part 4 (I Love the NWA)

As WrestleMania IV loomed I eagerly anticipated my hero Hulk Hogan winning the WWF Title tournament and once again becoming the Champion.  My #2 choice at the time was Randy Savage, but in my mind the ideal place for him was as the Intercontinental Champion (partly because I still saw the World Title as a Big Man Belt).  I once again didn't get to watch the PPV, but my friend Greg went to see it on closed-circuit TV and called me with a full recap immediately upon returning home.  He was ecstatic to see Savage emerge with the Title, and while he wasn't my first choice, I was relieved the belt didn't end up around Ted Dibiase's waist (I absolutely hated him. HATED. HIM.).

With Savage as the Champion I was definitely interested to see where things would go.  It was a real change from Hogan's perennial David vs. Goliath feuds, and Savage got to bring his technical prowess to the WWF's main event scene.

The First Couple of Wrestling

The most emotionally charged feud of that period was Rick Rude vs. Jake Roberts, which was sparked by Rude unwittingly propositioning Jake's wife at ringside.  It was a great way to start a feud and was first time I can recall seeing a wrestler's real-life spouse being part of a storyline (Miss Elizabeth excepted).

WWE Stomping Grounds Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another round of WWE Predictions here at Enuffa.com!

This month it's the PPV no one cares about whatsoever, WWE's newest show, Stomping Grounds!  Fuck does that even mean, anyway?  "Stomping grounds" is an expression about someone returning to their old familiar haunts.  So like, in WWE's case a PPV at Madison Square Garden might apply.  They haven't done a televised show there in forever but it used to be their home arena, so you could say they're returning to their old "stomping grounds."  But this show is at the Tacoma Dome, where I'm pretty sure WWE has never before held a PPV.  So where does the expression "stomping grounds" fit in?  Does Vince think anymore before deciding on things?  Why not just keep the name Battleground?

Regardless of stupid monikers, I probably won't even watch this show aside from one or two matches (it'll be the first non-Saudi WWE PPV since Battleground 2017 that I haven't watched from start to finish), because there's almost nothing of interest.  The top four matches are all repeats from either WrestleMania, Money in the Bank or Super ShowDown and none of them were good the first time.  And WWE wonders why this show isn't close to sold out (meanwhile AEW's All Out was full within fifteen minutes, with about 100,000 more fans still wanting tickets).  I've said it before, but 1998 Vince McMahon would be laughing with pity at the sad old fool he'd eventually become.  WWE's product hasn't felt this irrelevant and tired since probably mid-1995, when it was running on Diesel fumes.  It took about 18 months of Nitro kicking its ass for Vince to really shake things up.  Problem is I don't think the 73-year-old Vince has it in him to admit his product needs a drastic overhaul, plus at this point most of the money he's making is guaranteed, irrespective of record-low ratings.  For now that is...

Anyway, let's get started on this shitshow.  Gotta be one of the least interesting PPV lineups they've ever put together.

Cruiserweight Championship: Tony Nese vs. Drew Gulak vs. Akira Tozawa

Well it's another cruiserweight match that will be entertaining but which no one will react to.  And this will probably get bumped to the pre-show.  I'm not sure what WWE needs to do to make anyone give a shit about their cruisers.  It's literally just a buncha guys with no star power.  The division needs to be centered around one or two top dudes, but in order to build up to that 205 Live needs people to tune in and care about them.  It's a Catch 22.  Contrast this with NJPW's Jr. division, spearheaded currently by Will Ospreay, who's one of the hottest stars in the business right now.  WWE needs to find its Will Ospreay - maybe put Ricochet on 205 Live part-time, make him the champion, but also feature him on RAW and SD against the heavyweights so he becomes a crossover star?  Anyway, I'll stick with Nese to retain here.

Pick: Nese keeps the strap

The New Day vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

This match was just thrown together, followed by Owens and Zayn losing two 2/3 Falls matches in two straight falls.  So yeah, that makes me give a shit about this match.  Technically this should be good but like most of the product I've been given zero reason to care.

Pick: Owens & Zayn were made to look like total geeks this week so they're winning here.  50-50.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The History of NXT TakeOver: Arrival

What's up kids?  I'm back with another Enuffa.com PPV History series!  Taking a break from WWE's main roster PPVs, I shall now tackle the vaunted NXT TakeOver specials.  

The NXT brand has blossomed incredibly since Triple H assumed control of it back in 2012.  Once viewed as little more than a feeder system for the main roster, NXT under Hunter's direction has actively recruited the best Indy talent from all over the world, lending the brand some much-needed credibility and helping season the homegrown rookies.  NXT is now one of the most beloved brands in all of pro wrestling, based at Full Sail University but having sold out full-scale arenas like Brooklyn's Barclays Center.  It's become commonplace for NXT specials to outclass the main roster PPVs, as Hunter's brand features a much greater emphasis on the in-ring product, simple, easy-to-follow storylines, and perhaps most notably, a Women's division that's been consistently as good or better than anything else in the entire company.  While the main roster has quite often failed to properly utilize NXT call-ups, there's no denying the "third brand" has begun to leave its mark on WWE as a whole, many of its graduates having won multiple main roster championships.  Let's take a look at the brief but already storied history of NXT: Takeover!

Arrival - Full Sail - 2.27.14

The first WWE Network live special was not a main roster PPV, but an NXT showcase.  With WrestleMania XXX approaching as the first-ever PPV to be aired on the Network, WWE used NXT: Arrival (the TakeOver name wouldn't be used until the second special) as something of a guinea pig, broadcasting the two-hour event live during the Network's first week.  The show featured all three NXT Championships on the line, plus a much-anticipated rematch between two ROH alums.

The show opened with an incredible 22-minute war between Cesaro and Sami Zayn, which brought to mind both men's ROH work.  The counters here were off the charts as both guys pulled out every move they could think of.  The match told a great story of Cesaro being the overconfident bully and Zayn being the determined underdog who refuses to stay down.  What a way to kick off the first NXT special.  If you weren't hooked after watching this match there just might be something wrong with you.

Next up was Mojo Rawley vs. CJ Parker (better known today as Juice Robinson).  This was little more than a squash to show off Rawley's stuff.  He wasn't terribly accomplished in the ring at this point, and he's got one of the worst finishers in the game (think Earthquake's finisher but 150 pounds lighter), but few guys in NXT boast as lively a persona.  Parker's character was that of an obnoxious environmentalist and it's a little disturbing that such a persona would only get over as a heel.  But whatever, this was a throwaway.

The first Title match took place next as The Ascension faced Too Cool in a match between two teams I'm not fond of whatsoever.  The Ascension have to be the least successful Road Warrior knockoffs of all time.  Konnor at least looks the part, but at 5'11" and 220 pounds Viktor is hardly the right guy for a team like this.  Too Cool's schtick got old back in 2000 and they weren't given much to do here.  I'm not entirely sure why they were picked for this Title defense, actually.  Not much of a match.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Dive Bars of America: BullShots (Atlantic City, NJ)

by Dan Moore

This column features some of the greatest and grossest dive bars in the U.S. of A. I’ll be using a rating system between 1 and 4 handlebar mustaches, which is the preferred mustache by 9 out of 10 old timers in dive bars.

2309 Pacific Ave
Atlantic City, NJ 08401

You had me at $2 Bud Lights, BullShots.

My dear friend, Scotty Pickles, is getting married this year and we needed a place to go for his bachelor party so’s we could gamble, son. We decided Vegas was too far and Foxwoods too close. We settled on Atlantic City. As we drove to check into our place, we zoomed past that delightful sign above. We knew we found our spot. Bud Light is Southie water so this was a friendly place for us. BullShots has a long bar with a room in the back that has pool tables and oh yea, it’s connected to a strip club.

Fun Factor: Oh, there’s a ton in this joint. There’s all kinds of silly shit hanging from the walls here. There’s pool tables in the back (though I never made it back there because BEER). They got beer pong, hookah and tons of promotions all week. It’s a veritable drunken playground. Oh, and it’s connected to a strip club.

Also, they got cigarettes, and smoking is always fun!

Beer Choices: They had $2 Bud Light. That’s really all I needed. But yes, they had a surprisingly diverse beer menu for a hole in the wall bar. Yeungling, Stella and many of your other big name beers. The funniest part about the booze in this joint is that you hafta buy your beers in this bar and then bring it over to the strip club. AC has some weird law where the strip clubs can’t serve booze if they show completely NEKKED womens, so to get around it, some of the strippy strips require you to bring your own beer. It’s truly a wonderful scene watching grown men pay $15 bucks for a 6 pack and get walked over to the strip club by a stripper to watch them strip. The circle of life, indeed. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

The History of WCW SuperBrawl (1997)

SuperBrawl VII - Cow Palace - 2.23.97

We've entered the first full year of the nWo era, when WCW was killing the WWF every week in the ratings.  Hogan & co. had taken the company by storm, winning most of the belts, and by this point even Eric Bischoff had joined the heel supergroup, which put them more or less "in charge" of everything.  It got to where nWo guys would lose a belt and Bischoff would just reverse the decision the next night and give the title back to his buddies.  This of course begs the question, "Why bother having the match then?"  But whatever, it was working like crazy for ratings in 1997.  Between that and the wild Cruiserweight action, Nitro had become destination TV, while RAW scrambled to counter it with anything they could think of.  The WCW PPVs on the other hand suffered a lot due to the overemphasis on storylines over in-ring action.  SuperBrawl VII is one such example...

Once again, Dusty Rhodes joined Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan on commentary, more often than not blathering on about god-knows-what and offering little to no insight.  No disrespect meant to Dusty, but as a color commentator he was approximately as bad as Booker T is now.

Syxx vs. Dean Malenko was a solid Cruiserweight opener, with Malenko out for revenge against Syxx for insulting his father.  Malenko laid into Mr. Waltman from the opening bell and dominated the first half, even pulling Syxx up during two early pin attempts so he could inflict more punishment.  Syxx came back in the second half and was about to hit Dean with the belt until Eddie Guerrero ran down and tried to yank the belt away, only to lose his grip on it, allowing Syxx to whack Malenko in the face and score the pin.  A decent match but already with the run-ins??

Gee, I wonder where this is gonna go....

Next up was a lucha showcase six-man with Konnan, La Parka and Villano IV facing Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo and Ciclone.  This was your basic late 90s spotfest with everyone doing as much as possible in nine minutes.  At one point Ciclone went for a twisting Asai moonsault and completely missed Villano, landing on his face on the floor.  Late in the match they broke out some over-the-top moves that involved all six guys (like four of them doing "The Star" while La Parka put Guerrera in a Mexican surfboard in the center).  Finally Konnan nailed Juvi with Splash Mountain to win a pretty sloppy but mildly entertaining schmozz.

The next two matches were shaping up to be solid outings until outside nonsense happened.  TV Champion Prince Iaukea defended against Rey Mysterio in a fun little match that featured crisp action and some nice death-defying lucha stuff from Rey.  But then Steven Regal showed up at the end and cost Rey the match, pulling him off the ring apron in such a way that Rey hit his face on the apron and Iaukea was able to just pin him.  Stupid ending to a decent bout.

Friday, June 14, 2019

The History of WCW SuperBrawl (1996)

WCW was still running on the WWF's old fumes....

SuperBrawl VI - Bayfront Arena - 2.11.96

WCW was nearing the end of its full-on WWF-lite phase, and the landscape was about to change only a few months after this show.  But for now we're stuck in retread mode, and the results are once again quite tedious.  Here we go....

I've said it before but I can't stand listening to Dusty Rhodes' commentary.  His overuse of the phrases "If you weel" and "Dubya C Dubya, where da big boys play" is so beyond grating I wanna stab myself in the face.  Also when did Tony Schiavone begin using the word "telecast" every thirty seconds?  I don't remember him ever saying that word in the 80s.  Jeezus Christ Tony!

The show opened with a mildly entertaining garbage match between The Nasty Boys and Public Enemy, which at the time was probably considered pretty wild.  Both teams were pretty dull to watch in general but this match was a little fun at least.

The surprising hit of the night was TV Champ Johnny B. Badd vs. Diamond Dallas Page.  Pretty decent stuff here, as these guys had good chemistry.  Weird to see Badd go over here since he was WWF-bound a month later.  DDP was morphing into the solid hand he'd become during the nWo era.

Taker musta been pissed....

This show had three very disappointing matches, and the first was a Tag Title match; Harlem Heat vs. Sting & Luger.  A major letdown considering the talent involved.  Too much of this and the followup match against the Road Warriors was taken up with "Is Luger a good guy or a bad guy?"  No one looked terribly motivated.  Hawk & Animal interfered to give Sting & Luger the win (I guess stemming from their feud with Luger?).  Pretty weak.

The US Title was on the line next as Konnan defended against One Man Gang.  Jeezus this was terrible.  I was never impressed with Konnan to begin with, and seriously, someone thought the One Man Gang would get over in 1996??  Gang's offense looked beyond sluggish and one-dimensional, and Konnan was sloppy as all hell.  Konnan won with the worst-looking cannonball-type move ever.  Brutally awful.

Speaking of awful, next was an "I Respect You" strap match between Kevin Sullivan and Brian Pillman.  Now correct me if I'm wrong, but is being forced to say the phrase "I respect you" really that much of a blow to someone's pride?  You can very easily have respect for someone you dislike; it's not like an "I Quit" match where you're admitting you got beaten.  Anyway, Pillman infamously went off-script here and surrendered 45 seconds into the match "I respect you, Booker Man!", and Arn Anderson was sent out as a sub.  Anderson and Sullivan plodded through about three minutes before Ric Flair broke up the fight and got them on the same page, uniting them against Hulk Hogan.  Utterly pointless.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Brewery Reviewery: Definitive Brewing (Portland, ME)

Our Portland, Maine Brewery Reviewery series continues with Definitive Brewing!

Definitive Brewing
35 Industrial Way
Portland ME 04103

Located next to the Beermuda Triangle as I like to call it (Battery Steele, Austin Street and Foundation), right across the street from Allagash, is a standalone building that houses Definitive Brewing.  Definitive boasts a big variety of flavors and offers a really inviting, wide open tasting room with a full view of the brewing floor.  They're dog-friendly so on this day we met a slew of adorable four-legged pals, and there's a bookcase full of board games to keep you busy (I lost at Jenga but was victorious at the old-school game Shoot the Moon, where you have to manipulate a ball bearing uphill across two metal rails - I made it to Jupiter).

Famous Portland landmark Holy Donuts had a table that day, so we tried a couple of their tasty offerings as well.  These are decadent donuts, folks.

But I'm no donut expert, I'm here to talk about beer.  Definitive lets you order full pours or flights, so we split a double-flight of eight beers, allowing us to try all but the two sours on tap; sour beers are not our thing, sadly.  Let's hit it....

Monday, June 10, 2019

NJPW Dominion 2019: Ospreay Steals the Show, Ibushi Almost Dies

Welp, Dominion 2019 was definitely not on the level of 2018, or 2017, or 2015.  But then those three editions are three of the best PPVs I've ever seen.  Still I have to consider this show, very good though it may have been, as a mild disappointment.  I've come to expect Dominion to automatically be a Show of the Year contender, and this wasn't that.  Fortunately it was a sellout and set up some cool stuff for the future, but I was expecting a grand slam and they only hit a triple.

Before we get to Dominion though, I wanted to talk a little about the three big matches from the Best of the Super Juniors finals, because that show concluded with a trilogy of superb stuff.

Jay White and Hiroshi Tanahashi had a pretty excellent little match, where the returning but still very much hurting Tana muscled through and still managed to deliver.  White concentrated on Tana's surgically repaired elbow for much of the bout and played the asshole to a tee.  Side note: I love White's new facial hair, it somehow makes him look much more like a main event heel.  At one point Gedo distracted the referee allowing White to hit a low blow, but it backfired as Tana hit a low blow of his own and rolled him up for a very close nearfall.  Tana went for the Cloverleaf but White grabbed the injured arm and converted it into a cradle for the three-count.  This was maybe the best match these two have had so far and they did a great job of masking Tana's limitations while letting their characters drive the action.  Oddly Tana's injuries are somehow *less* exposed in a singles bout than in a six-man.  More on that later.  Damn good match.  ****

Even better was Jon Moxley's US Championship debut against Juice Robinson.  These two guys had a rugged, ugly, austere fight, where Moxley busted up Juice's eyebrow early on, using punches and biting to draw some blood.  They used tables and brawled a lot on the outside to evoke a Terry Funk-type vibe, and this was the hardest I've seen Moxley work in quite some time.  He really did come off like a man freed of WWE's creative constraints and seemed to be having the time of his life.  Juice, his dreadlocks shorn (I'm not sure how I feel about this), has reinvented himself as a more serious, tough babyface and dished out just as much punishment as he took.  The match culminated with a series of reversals, and Moxley hit his signature DDT, but Juice kicked out and the place went wild.  Moxley then hit another DDT but this time with elevation, to capture the US Title.  Moxley is now the only man to hold both the WWE and IWGP US Championships, and the first debuting star to win a New Japan title since AJ Styles five years ago.  This was exactly the kind of debut match I wanted to see from Moxley and I can't wait to see him in the G1 tournament.  Helluva fight.  ****1/2

Not to be outdone, by anyone, Will Ospreay and Shingo Takagi blew the motherfuckin' roof off the place with their BOSJ final.  Ospreay, who has emerged as NJPW's newest breakout star, and Shingo, who has absolutely crushed it since debuting with the company last fall, pulled out all the stops in a 33-minute war that felt like 18.  I won't even try to recap everything they did, but a few of the really memorable moments included Ospreay hitting a 630 senton on Shingo's back, followed by a shooting star press, an apron OsCutter, a Shingo Last of the Dragon that looked absolutely crippling, Ospreay kicking out after two Pumping Bombers, and finally the top rope OsCutter followed by the Stormbreaker to hand Shingo his first New Japan defeat.  Just a fucking incredible battle that nothing on the Dominion show could possibly have followed.  Ospreay then announced that he is moving to Japan and will wrestle in both the Jr. and Heavyweight divisions.  This guy has to be a top G1 finisher, and should probably win next year's tournament.  Goddamn, this was insane.  *****

Brewery Reviewery: Foundation Brewing Company (Portland, ME)

Stop #4 on our Portland, Maine brewery tour brings us to Foundation Brewing Company, also located on Industrial Way, across from Allagash.  Foundation shares walls with Battery Steele and Austin Street, in a building I like to call The Beermuda Triangle (trademark pending).

1 Industrial Way #5
Portland, ME 04103

Like its neighbors, Foundation is nestled in a modest warehouse space, but they make the most of it, with a bright, lively atmosphere, plenty of seating and shelves of board games to keep you occupied while you enjoy some lovely flavor.  You can either peruse their wide-ranging, ample selection with flights or treat yourself to full pours, or pick up some to-go cans.  We went with the flight option so as to get four samples, but there were no fewer than ten options on offer (our dinner reservations downtown sadly wouldn't permit a second flight).

Here's what we came up with...

Dreamboat (NEIPA, 6.6%): Dreamboat is a New England IPA featuring Columbus and Eureka! hops. Our first IPA brewed with an American Ale yeast. Dreamboat pours a golden yellow with a pronounced haze. The soft mouthfeel is like floating on clouds, with no bitterness and flavors of pineapple and resin, with a dank backbone. First served in the tasting room on draft in December 2018.

JB: This here is a smooth NEIPA, citrusy with that pleasant dankness to give it some real complexity.  Probably my favorite of the bunch.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Parents' Night In #20: 2001 A Space Odyssey - Kelly's Live Reaction!

Kelly has never seen 2001: A Space Odyssey.  I know, disgraceful.  But for this special PNI episode we capture her live, real-time reaction to the film.  Spoiler alert: Stanley Kubrick breaks her brain!

Join us as we enjoy some craft beer and watch one of Justin's all-time favorite films, which has now become one of Kelly's as well.  If 2001 was Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece (and most would agree it was), then PNI Episode #20 discussing 2001 is ours!

Thanks for watching!  Like, Subscribe, and Share!

Follow us on Twitter, MeWe, Mix, Facebook, and of course, YouTube!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

NJPW Dominion 2019 Preview & Predictions

Big goings-on in New Japan these days, not the least of which is this Sunday's Dominion card!  

The Best of the Super Juniors tournament came to a close on Wednesday, and for the second time Will Ospreay has emerged victorious, unseating the previously undefeated Shingo Takagi, who swept all nine of his regular tourney matches.  So Shingo is the 2007 New England Patriots then.  Not to be outdone however, the debuting Jon Moxley made huge waves by capturing the IWGP US Title from Juice Robinson, becoming the first man to hold both the WWE and IWGP versions of said championship.  Both guys have compelling matchups on the Dominion card, but there's a whole lot more to boot.  Let's get to it.

Jon Moxley vs. Shota Umino

What a strange placement for the US Champ, in a last-minute opener against the most promising current Young Lion.  But if given time this should be pretty great.  Umino of course had a fantastic New Japan Cup showing against Hiroshi Tanahashi, and this match almost feels like an after-the-fact audition for Moxley in a way.  Now that he's proven himself against another gaijin/NXT alum he'll get a real taste of native New Japan opposition.

Justin: Moxley is obviously winning
Landon: Moxely kills Shotime.

Shingo Takagi vs. Satoshi Kojima

Another strange undercard match that should nonetheless be fun pits BOSJ runner-up Shingo against veteran Kojima.  I wonder if this means Shingo will be moving up to heavyweight; he is after all massive compared to the other Juniors, and his stablemate Takahashi is returning soon.  Even better, maybe he'll be in the G1.  Seems like another audition of sorts to me.  But I expect a fine bout.

Justin: Shingo gets his first heavyweight division win
Landon: Shingo to win. Still upset he didn't win the BOSJ.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The History of WCW SuperBrawl (1995)

No WCW.....don't do it!

Ah crap, they did it.....

SuperBrawl V - Baltimore Arena - 2.19.95

Welp, this was only two months removed from the dreadful Starrcade '94, at a time when Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff had taken everything that made WCW what it was and chucked it out the goddamn window (except Ric Flair, whom they kept around just to torture for seven more years).  The result was a mostly horrible in-ring product with a bunch of recognizable stars from the old WWF, plus a few guys whose inclusion on the roster absolutely baffles me.

It should be noted that an Arn Anderson-Johnny B. Badd TV Title match was on the pre-show and got a whopping four-and-a-half minutes.  Remember this as you read the list of luminaries that actually made the main card.  Fuckin' hell.....

First up we have Alex Wright vs. Paul Roma, in what was a pretty nondescript opener apart from a few clever moves by Wright.  Not sure why he was facing half of a tag team, but whatever.  He had solid potential but never really lived up to it.  Roma played a good douchebag but was more or less irrelevant by 1995.  Wright won with a rollup after shoving Roma into Orndorff.

The less said about this next match the better.  Jim Duggan vs. Bunkhouse Buck.  Holy shit this match was boring.  Two inept brawlers slogging through an eleven-minute match.  What kinda generic-ass gimmick is Bunkhouse Buck?  A farmer guy.  That's it.  Awful stuff.  Duggan won with the lamest-looking clothesline ever.

I'm in hell.  Next up is Kevin Sullivan vs. Dave Sullivan - also terrible.  Dave Sullivan was of course Kevin's younger brother (not in real life), who moved as though in slow motion.  Where did WCW get all these hack wrestlers in the mid 90s?  Evad, Bunkhouse, The Renegade; all of them useless.  This was just about as dull as the previous match and ended mercifully when Kevin rolled Dave up and hooked the tights.  Who in God's name thought Kevin Sullivan was relevant enough in 1995 to have a singles feud with his pretend brother?  Hilariously enough Brutus Beefcake, the main event challenger from Starrcade '94 two months earlier, was Kevin Sullivan's sidekick in the third match on this show.

Seriously, who was shelling out 30 bucks to see this??

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The History of NXT TakeOver: XXV

Man, for a show that sorta flew under the radar in the wake of AEW's monumental debut, NXT TakeOver XXV really tore the house down, lit the ruins on fire, and peed it out.......that was a compliment by the way.  WWE's one good brand delivered yet another incredible show this past weekend, a fast-moving 160 minutes that boasted three ****+ matches and a couple of very strong supporting bouts.  This brand is on fire.

The show opened with a stellar 15-minute fight between Matt Riddle and Roderick Strong.  I said two months ago that Riddle's bout with Velveteen Dream finally sold me on the former MMA star, and this match solidified that in spades.  These guys went balls-out for 15 minutes and yet still found room to build to a peak, with super crisp, smooth-as-fuck action and tons of nearfalls.  This is how you kick off a PPV.  Spots that stuck out to me were Strong nailing Riddle with repeated running forearms, each of which got a bigger pop than the last, followed by his double-underhook backbreaker for a long two-count that got a huge gasp from the audience.  Riddle failed to put him away with Bromission but instead debuted what was basically a reverse Neutralizer called Bro Derek (cute name) for the win.  This was a fantastic showcase match for Riddle but also displayed what an incredible worker Roddy Strong is.  The intensity and crispness reminded me of a NEVER Openweight fight and I could watch these two smash each other all day long.  Matt Riddle is the real deal.  ****1/2

Next up was the 4-Way Ladder Match to determine the new NXT Tag Champions.  I might be in the minority but I'm burned out on ladder matches.  WWE does them way too often and there's not much new under the sun; it's like trying to stand out from the pack by releasing an action movie during the summer.  That said, this was one of the better ladder car wrecks in recent years.  Certainly not on par with last year's North American Championship match, but definitely a fun outing with lots of cringe-worthy bumps (mostly taken by Kyle O'Reilly).  The talent involved was strong enough to make everything look great and painful.  This was basically twenty minutes of chaos.  Late in the match the Forgotten Sons' third man Jaxson Ryker interfered and laid everyone out, proceeding to set up a ladder for one of his pals to climb.  But all six men he attacked ganged up on him and beat him down with said ladder, taking him out of the equation.  The match boiled down to Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler prepping their ascent only for both Street Profits to take them out after Montez Ford pulled a Shelton Benjamin by vaulting from the top rope to the ladder and retrieving the belts.  Very good ladder match, even if I'm kinda tired of seeing these.  ****

Monday, June 3, 2019

Brewery Reviewery: Austin Street Brewing (Portland, ME)

We're back with another Portland, Maine installment of Brewery Reviewery, here at Enuffa.com!

Stop #3 on our recent Portland tour was Austin Street Brewery, which has two locations in the area; we visited the Industrial Way location, in the same building as Battery Steele and Foundation Brewing (review forthcoming), and right across from Allagash.

Industrial Way Blending, Bottling & Tasting Room
1 Industrial Way, #8
Portland, ME 04103

Fox Street Brewery & Tasting Room
115 Fox Street
Portland, ME 04101 

This was another modest taproom, with most of the seating available at the outdoor picnic tables and only a few places to sit inside by the ordering window.  The staff was very personable and eager to discuss their ever-changing list of offerings.  We got a flight and sat outside on a lovely May afternoon.

Here's what we thought of the stuff....

ABV%: 5.3

Patina Pale is our flagship hop forward pale ale.  We start with a blend of base malts in the mash tun, then add copious amounts of American hops in the kettle followed by even more in the form of dry hopping.  The result is a very citrusy, slightly piney ale with a crisp malt background and just enough bitterness to balance it all out.

JB: Patina makes perfect sense as a flagship brew.  Crisp, easy drinking, balanced, with a mix of citrus and hops.

ABV%: 3.8

Made with all Maine grain, we use 2-row pale malt from Maine Malt House, flaked wheat and organic flaked rye from Maine Grains.  The beer is then generously hopped with Mosaic.  The resulting beer is loaded with pineapple and orange notes that carry through from the aroma into the taste with a bready malt flavor to balance everything out.

JB: This is a really tasty session IPA that almost drinks like a farmhouse ale.  Nice and citrusy for the summer months and super easy to drink.

ABV%: 6.9

Florens is a double dry hopped IPA loaded with Mosaic, Citra and Equanot hops.  This very aromatic beer has a flavor dominated by pineapple, and grapefruit.  A slightly sweet finish features just enough bitterness to balance.

JB: This one is a bolder but balanced IPA, lightly bitter with some citrus; if you like NEIPAs (and boy do I), you'll dig this one.

ABV%: 5.0

Our kölsch style ale is traditionally brewed with pilsner malt and a touch of malted wheat and then hopped with only noble varieties.  The result is an easy drinking beer that blurs the line between ale and lager.  An aroma of spicy hops followed a flavor of honey and straw with a slight fruitiness makes for the perfect beer to reach for when balance and subtlety is needed.

JB: A really nice Pilsner-type beer that doesn't have the unpleasant sourness at the end like some kolsch beers do.  Light and refreshing.

Austin Street Brewery's Industrial Way location, like Battery Steele, is fairly unassuming, but their product is quite delicious and varied, and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly.  Definitely worth a stop on your Portland brewery itinerary.

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