Tuesday, June 30, 2020

AEW Fyter Fest 2020 Preview & Predictions


AEW Fyter Fest is upon us for the second time, and while still a free show it'll be spread over two AEW Dynamite episodes instead of being presented as a BR Live broadcast.  The eleven matches all have some promise, and the July 1st lineup seems a bit more stacked.  AEW always brings a sense of fun spontaneity to the table, so I'm looking forward to two enjoyable "telecasts" as Tony Schiavone would say.  Sorta feels like the old Clash of the Champions shows, which I always looked forward to as a kid.  Let's dive in.


Night One

Private Party vs. Santana & Ortiz


This would be perfect in the opening slot; a high energy, super-athletic tag team showcase to get everyone revved up.  I expect this to be a dazzling 12 minutes or so, with high spots galore just to piss off everyone who complains about flips.  Santana & Ortiz should win this I think, to reestablish them as an upper tier team.

Pick: Santana & Ortiz




Jurassic Express vs. MJF & Wardlow


I'm really excited for this one.  MJF vs. Jungle Boy was a fantastic Double or Nothing match, while Luchasaurus vs. Wardlow last week was a thrilling athletic big man contest.  Wardlow has IT; push this monster to the moon.  All four guys will get lots of opportunities to shine.  MJF is still undefeated and Wardlow shouldn't lose yet, so I expect them to win.

Pick: MJF & Wardlow


Monday, June 29, 2020

The History of WWE King of the Ring (1998)

Possibly the best-remembered King of the Ring is this one....

King of the Ring 1998 - The Igloo - 6.28.98

The WWF got back on track in a huge way in 1998, fueled by Attitude and with Steve Austin at the wheel.  Between Austin's white-hot run as World Champ, DeGeneration X's crass-but-lovable antics, and The Rock oozing charisma all over the place, the WWF finally pulled ahead of WCW in the ratings after nearly two years.  While the King of the Ring won't win any points for scientific grappling, the intensity of some of the brawls on this show (one in particular) makes it an essential chapter in WWF lore.

The tournament once again took a bit of a backseat to the two main event matches, but after two forgettable semi-finals (The Rock defeating Dan Severn, and Ken Shamrock trouncing Jeff Jarrett), we were treated to a pretty damn good final match.  The Rock and Shamrock had faced each other several times on PPV already, both in tag matches and in singles bouts, but this was the first time they were given long enough to really shine.  In a tremendous back-and-forth match (aided by Triple H's amusing guest commentary), Shamrock finally scored a decisive win over the I-C Champ to win the tournament (No ceremonial crown and scepter for Ken).  While Shamrock never reached the heights of the previous two KOTR winners, it did solidify him as a reliable semi-main eventer.

You don't see the seated anklelock anymore...

The non-tournament matches on this PPV were numerous and varied, beginning with a fun little six-man tag.  Taka Michinoku teamed with The Headbangers against his former (and future) teammates Kaientai in a near-seven-minute whirlwind.  Nothing amazing but a good way to kick things off.

The one stinker on this show involved Jerry Lawler refereeing a match between Too Much (later renamed Too Cool) and Al Snow & Head (Al's disembodied mannequin head).  The story here was Al trying to win a WWF contract after spending several months in ECW.  He lost, but ended up on the roster anyway.  This was crap.

Next up though was a neat little singles match as Owen Hart took on the newly-returned X-Pac.  Now equipped with one of the coolest characters in wrestling, Sean Waltman put on a strong showing against the massively talented Owen, and the two created a midcard highlight.

An underrated Tag Team Title match was next, as the hugely popular New Age Outlaws took on the New Midnight Express (Bob Holly and Bart Gunn).  While the NME gimmick may have been ill-advised, at the time I liked this pairing, and they gelled quite well with Billy and The Road Dogg.  Solid stuff there.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Parents' Night In #39: Scrooged (1988)

It's only six months till Christmas, have you gotten your shopping done?  Welcome to another Parents' Night In boozy movie review, where Justin & Kelly enjoy some beers and watch a movie!  Recorded last November, this episode is about the Bill Murray 80s classic Scrooged!  Based on the immortal Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol, Scrooged brings everyone's favorite holiday tale into the modern age, with Bill Murray's character Frank Cross standing in for mean old Ebenezer.  Also starring Alfre Woodard, John Forsythe, David Johanssen, Carol Kane, and Robert Mitchum, Scrooged has become a cult classic for everyone too cynical to admit they like Christmas movies.  

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Thursday, June 25, 2020

The History of WWE King of the Ring (1997)

King of the Ring '97 - Providence Civic Center - 6.8.97

The KOTR took a step back down in 1997, as a disorganized tournament coupled with last-minute card reshuffles made for a muddled show and a thin roster.  It was also something of a do-over for Hunter Hearst Helmsley, who had been pegged to win the tourney in 1996 but was instead punished for the infamous "Curtain Call" incident the night of Diesel and Razor Ramon's WWF exit.  So this show was an endeavor to set his career back on track.

What made no sense though was that Helmsley had been eliminated by Ahmed Johnson in the first round on free TV (the PPV would again only feature the semis and finals), but kayfabe threatened legal action since he was supposedly unaware he could be ousted due to a disqualification (even though that precedent had been set in numerous tournaments already).  So Hunter won the next qualifier against Crush, and would face Ahmed again in the semis.  Their PPV match was brief and just as forgettable as the first, but Hunter won, earning him a finals spot.

In the other semifinal the now-sympathetic, complex babyface Mankind faced Jerry Lawler in a pretty slow, meandering brawl in which Lawler used an invisible foreign object.  By that I mean he motioned pulling something out of his tights that evidently fit all the way into his fist and repeatedly punched Mankind with it.  Now, even if that was supposed to be a ball bearing or some such object, would that really add much oomph to a regular punch?  Did Lawler forget to actually stuff something in his drawers before the match?  Regardless, Mankind won, and would face Helmsley for the crown.

"Wait, I gotta wear this...ridiculous thing?  I resign..."

Their finals match was good but not great - it had some intense spots but was longer than necessary and felt like it never got out of second gear until the waning moments.  Highlights included Hunter hitting the Pedigree through the announce table, and Chyna bludgeoning Mankind with the royal scepter.  After nearly 20 minutes Hunter was crowned the '97 King of the Ring, and thus began in earnest his path to main event status.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Top Ten Things: Haken Songs

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Things, here at Enuffa.com, where I count down the ten things at the top of the mountain (get it?)....


Today I'll be talking about the ten finest compositions by British prog-metal masters Haken!  I discovered Haken only recently, after seeing in a Newbury Comics newsletter than their newest album Vector was set to be released.  I looked 'em up and read all about their brand of progressive rock, not to mention all the accolades their albums have gotten, and gave them a listen.  I was hooked immediately, and have spent the last few months immersed in their catalog.  Haken's music somehow grabs the listener instantly with stunningly crafted songs, but also rewards multiple spins with loads of ear candy, unusual influences, odd time signatures, and dense vocal harmonies.  This six-piece is unquestionably the real deal, and one of the most exciting bands of any genre that I've encountered in years.  Where I find many prog bands too eager to dazzle at the expense of good old-fashioned songwriting, Haken's songs are rock-solid first and technically marvelous second.  Their music is instantly addictive but simultaneously reveals new layers with each listen.  I can't recommend them enough.  Click HERE for my full review of The Mountain....

Here are my ten Haken favorites....




10. Earthrise


One of Haken's most uplifting songs, "Earthrise" starts out with a sycopated verse and builds to a soaring, harmonized chorus (one of their most instantly hooky), eventually returning to a modulated version of said chorus toward the end of the tune.  Like "Insomnia," my only gripe with this song is that it's too short.  This is a chorus that could be repeated on a loop without getting old.  This is one of the standouts from the Affinity album.






9. Crystallised


The 19-minute epic from Haken's Restoration EP, "Crystallised" kicks off with a bouncy 7/8 jazz fusion verse that opens up into a wondrous rock chorus.  Right away the song sticks with you (as do so many of Haken's tracks), but the bridge takes it to another level with an a capella counterpoint piece that builds into full minstrel-inspired segment.  It's unlike anything else in their catalog and immediately captures your attention.  The song finds its way back to the chorus and then to a climactic, multi-layered outro about accepting change and moving on.  This section reminds me of some of Dream Theater's long-form tunes and is yet another instantly memorable hook in a song full of them.  This is one of Haken's great marathon tracks.






8. The Architect


The extravagant centerpiece of Affinity is this near-sixteen-minute epic, featuring a guest death vocal by Einar Solberg of Leprous.  The greatest strength of "The Architect" is its ever-changing Fear Factory-esque chorus hook over a jackhammering syncopated guitar riff.  At the end of the song this chorus is brought back over a totally different riff and in a different time signature, but the melody is so strong you almost don't notice the change at first.  "The Architect" is one of many Haken epics whose running time flies by.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Parents' Night In #38: Stand By Me (1986)

Kelly & Justin are back for a movie review our favorite coming-of-age movie, Rob Reiner's Stand By Me!  Based on Stephen King's novella The Body, SBM tells the story of four 12-year-old boys who go off on an adventure to find the body of Ray Brower, who went missing a few days earlier.  With excellent performances by Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, and Kiefer Sutherland, SBM is timeless, funny, poignant, and makes us reminisce about our own childhood and loss of innocence.  We'll discuss the various child actors in the film, Kiefer, Stephen King's reputation for writing bad endings, and when we found our respective selves as teenagers.

So grab a cold drink, sit back, and hang out with us as we talk Stand By Me!

Kelly is drinking some Pionetto prosecco while Justin is enjoying craft beer from Vitamin Sea Brewing and Widowmaker Brewing!



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"Stand By Me" snippet from Sing King Karaoke (https://link.singking.com/YouTube)

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Sunday, June 14, 2020

WWE Backlash 2020 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to a last-minute round of WWE Predictions, here at Enuffa.com!  It's WWE Backlash, and this year's edition proves to be one of the most forgettable ever.  Jesus, look at this half-assed lineup.  And it's being main evented, almost certainly, by what WWE is choosing to call The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever.  Yeah okay guys....


Yeah, WWE actually wants to convince us that Randy Orton vs. Edge is going to be better than Flair-Steamboat, Okada-Omega, Angle-Benoit, Bret-Owen, HBK-Taker, and all the other classic bouts this won't come close to touching.  I can't recall a more desperate marketing gimmick from this promotion.  On top of that, look how poorly received the previous Edge-Orton match was.  I went easy on it, but it was overly long, dull, plodding, and contained one of the WWE's most offensive moments, when they did a weight machine spot that echoed Chris Benoit's suicide.  What's also hilarious is that WWE just had the finals of their Intercontinental Title tournament, a Daniel Bryan-AJ Styles epic that is being called one of the best free TV matches in years.  Why didn't it get saved for the PPV two days later?  Gee, I wonder....  Could it be so that it wouldn't easily overshadow the match they're trying to pass off as an all-time classic?  Eff this company.  Let's pick the winners.



Women's Tag Team Championship: Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs. The IIconics


Jeezus this is weak.  Is this literally all that's left of the Women's Tag division?  Bayley and Sasha, and two other teams?  Might be time to beef up the division guys.  Bayley and Sasha just won these, so they shouldn't lose them yet.  Why are the IIconics still a thing?

Pick: Bayley & Sasha retain




US Championship: Apollo Crews vs. Andrade


These midcard titles have just been jumping around like crazy this year.  It's hard to even keep track of them now.  Crews just won his first WWE piece of gold, so he oughta keep it too.  The match itself should be solid.

Pick: Apollo retains




Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus


Boy do I not care about this.  Yay, let's exploit Jeff's substance abuse issues yet again.  That always works out well, doesn't it?  The match should be alright but I've been pretty over Jeff for years now.

Pick: Sheamus I guess?


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Parents' Night In #37: Anchorman (2004) - RIP Fred Willard

Alright, so we tried to record a movie review podcast episode about this monumentally hilarious film once before, and it didn't go well.  Mostly because it was our second recording of the night, we started at 2am, and we were plastered.  But we're back to make it right, discussing Anchorman, Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, and Fred Willard (RIP).  Also we'll talk about Saturday Night Live, local beers, Manhattans, jazz flute, why we don't like the big rumble scene with Tim Robbins, Luke Wilson and Ben Stiller, and much more!  Join us for some fun as we resist the urge to simply quote one of the most quotable movies of all time, Anchorman!

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Thursday, June 4, 2020

NXT TakeOver: In Your House Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another round of NXT Predictions, here at Enuffa.com!  Someone will have to let me know if this weekend's show is good since I don't have the Network anymore.  On paper it looks quite strong, as usual.  It's a pity WWE's main roster pissed me off to the point that I felt like I had to drop them, as I always enjoy NXT's offerings.


Given the COVID situation, for this particular NXT TakeOver they've adopted the old In Your House moniker, a nod of course to the PPV series that ran from 1995-1999 (before many of today's AEW fans were even born).  I always thought IYH was a goofy name for a wrestling event as it seems to imply the acton is actually taking place at my home (The original In Your House included a sweepstakes where they actually gave away a house), but I get why they're using it here.  See cuz we're all stuck In Our Houses.  Get it?

Eh, fuck it, let's predict the matches...



Mia Yim, Shotzi Blackheart & Tegan Nox vs. Candice LaRae, Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez


This should be a high-energy, nonstop action kinda match.  The good women vs. the bad women.  No idea who wins this but I'll go with the bad women I guess.

Pick: Candice, Dakota & Raquel




Tommaso Ciampa vs. Karrion Kross


Ciampa fell short of winning back the NXT Title in Portland and his best friend-turned worst enemy-turned best friend, turned on him.  This guy needs some good news.  I reckon he beats Kross here to get him back into the NXT Title picture.

Pick: Ciampa




Finn Balor vs. Damien Priest


This looks pretty great on paper.  Could steal the show potentially.  The point of it seems to be to give Priest a big win over an established star, or to hang move for move with Balor and be elevated even in a loss.  Finn wouldn't be hurt by a loss here, but I suppose if you're going to beat him you want to have a huge plan for whoever does it.  I dunno.

Pick: Balor I guess?

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Parents' Night In #36: Forrest Gump (1994)

Kelly & Justin are back with your favorite movie podcast/movie review/YouTube sensation to discuss a 90s favorite, Forrest Gump, starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Sally Field and Gary Sinise, directed by Robert Zemeckis!  Join us as we enjoy some local craft beers and talk about the movie, how we bonded over it very early in our friendship,  why Gary Sinise is a real-life hero, how Justin got sick during a theatrical viewing of the film, why we don't agree with the movie's depiction of 1960s anti-war protesters, why the CGI is pretty bad when Forrest rubs elbows with JFK, LBJ, Richard Nixon and especially John Lennon, what we'd do if we had unlimited funds, and Forrest Gump's status as a popcorn film disguised as Oscar bait.  Also, Justin gets a little tipsy by the end and has a Mexican standoff with our mean old cat.  Sit back, open a beverage and have some fun with Parents' Night In!



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