Thursday, November 19, 2020

WWE Survivor Series 2020 Preview & Predictions

Well I may have cut the WWE Network cord back in April, but this Sunday is the one PPV of the year that actually tempts me to tune in, WWE Survivor Series!

If you've been reading my stuff at all over the last almost-seven years (Jesus, I need a life), you probably know that I have a soft spot for WWE's second-oldest PPV event.  Ever since the company announced in October of 1987 that their new supercard would feature teams of five going to war in elimination matches, I've been fascinated with the possibilities inherent in this format.  The first two Survivor Series events rank among my all-time favorite PPVs, and while sadly most editions since haven't even come close to being as good (2016 and 2018 got the job done), whenever there's a lineup featuring multiple elimination tag matches my ears perk up.

That said, it's high time WWE loses the Raw vs. Smackdown rivalry, at least for the elimination matches themselves.  While I do enjoy the champion vs. champion concept, which gives us the chance to see big matches we might not otherwise get, assembling teams of heels and faces bound by brand loyalty is and has always been utterly phony.  Does anyone watching actually buy the brand rivalry nonsense?  Why would good guys and bad guys set aside their differences simply because they're on the same show, especially when next year they may not be?  It makes no sense.  Instead how about if the babyfaces from both brands group together to stop their mutual enemies?  Wouldn't that be a much more compelling story?

Anyway, as has been the case the last four years, the 2020 Survivor Series looks plenty strong on paper.  The men's elimination match and the women's champions match in particular have the potential to be pretty great.  We'll see if they deliver.  

This being The Undertaker's 30th anniversary with the company, they'll have some kind of special tribute to him, which will probably take up way too much time and end with someone attacking him and starting a new feud.  It is once again telling that the poster for this event features the 55-year-old semi-retired Undertaker (a pic from ten years ago, mind you) and not any of the current stars.....

US Champion vs. Intercontinental Champion: Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn

One match that has very little potential is this one.  I don't know why they took the belt off Sami months ago only to put it back on him the moment he returned from self-quarantine.  I like Sami a lot but he hasn't been presented strong at all.  There's zero chance he beats Lashley here either.  This will be a short near-squash.

Pick: Lashley

Tag Team Champions: New Day vs. Street Profits

This one actually could be really good, with all the athleticism involved.  I honestly have no idea who wins this, but the smart move at this point would be to give Street Profits a win over the legendary New Day, in order to get them over.  New Day doesn't at all need this win.

Pick: Profits

Midsommar: The Trauma of Passive Horror

Welcome to a special movie review where Justin breaks down what makes Midsommar so traumatic.  Ari Aster's sophomore feature about a group of Americans who visit a strange Swedish commune and experience grisly rituals touched a nerve with audiences in 2019.  With an emphasis on off-putting visuals and ever-escalating dread, Midsommar eschews modern horror tropes and instead takes on the feeling of a bizarre nightmare, sticking with you long after it's over.

But why?  What is it about Midsommar that's so upsetting?  Join Justin as he hypothesizes from a different angle than most analyses to date....



Excerpts of Bobby Krlic's score included under fair use.

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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Parents' Night In #48: Singles (1992), the 90s Grunge Rom-Com

Grab your flannels, Doc Martens and mom jeans, it's time to set the Wayback Machine for 1992 as Justin & Kelly talk Singles!  Directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Bridget Fonda, Matt Dillon, Campbell Scott, Kyra Sedgwick and a host of Seattle grunge bands, Singles is an ensemble rom-com about finding love against the backdrop of the early 90s' hottest rock n' roll movement.  Join us as we discuss the film, our failed first attempt at watching it together, Justin's teenage love life, some bad dating experiences, our unbridled love for Chris Cornell (Justin does an acoustic Cornell tribute on the side), Where Is Bridget Fonda Now?, and much more!


Shoutout to Pearl Jam tribute band Five Against None, whose show that night (which I sat in on) inspired me to select Singles for this episode!  Check 'em out at and!

Also check out Justin's Chris Cornell acoustic tribute at

Intro music snippet: "Outshined" by Soundgarden, written by Chris Cornell
Parody lyrics:

This is Parents' Night In
With Kelly and Justin
Talkin' 'bout Seattle
And how much it sucks dating

(So watch our show) Click Like and Subscribe
(So watch our show) And get notified

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Disclaimer- Some contents are used for educational purpose under fair use. Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

We also have official merch available here:

Monday, November 9, 2020

AEW Full Gear 2020: FTR vs. The Young Bucks was EPIC

AEW has done it again.  Their sixth PPV offering, Full Gear 2020, was another strong showing for the upstart company, featuring a handful of good-to-excellent singles bouts, another wacky Deletion match, and an all-time tag team classic.

The big news coming out of Full Gear is that we have new Tag Team Champions, a new TNT Champion, and a new number-one contender, and for all the WWE loyalists claiming AEW is only pushing ex-WWE talent, none of the aforementioned came from WWE.  All Elite Wrestling is finally moving past the stage where they feel the need to draw viewers in with established names, and will now begin building around their own, homegrown talent.  If only for this reason, Full Gear was a significant step in AEW's growth, but there's a lot more.

The show opened with a spectacular PPV-quality match, as former partners Kenny Omega and Hangman Page faced off in the finals of the Eliminator tournament to establish a new top contender.  This match would've been right at home on a G1 Climax show; a lean sixteen minutes of furious action.  The story of the match, after the initial flurry, became Omega's knee.  Omega went for You Can't Escape, but failed to stick the landing on his kip-up, and seemed to ad lib a knee injury to cover for it.  If so, this was a bit of genius, as both guys ran with the knee for the rest of the match.  Kenny then had trouble executing some of his signature offense, but eventually fought hard to hit the One Winged Angel for the win.  It will now be Moxley vs. Omega II at Revolution, and I can't freakin' wait.  This was fantastic.  ****1/2

Next up was Orange Cassidy's revenge match against John Silver, who cost him in his second bid for the TNT Title.  I was ready to dismiss this as a throwaway, but this match was a whole lot of fun crammed into nine minutes.  Cassidy did his usual lazy man shtick at the beginning, which Silver sold with great annoyance.  From then it was a full-on sprint, with both guys hitting really crisp offense.  Cassidy is so much fun to watch and I'd love to see him get the TNT Title eventually.  After several reversals and counters, Cassidy hit Orange Punch and Beach Break to win.  Fun stuff.  ***1/4

Cody, now legally sporting his last name Rhodes, defended the TNT Title against Darby Allin in a classic veteran vs. underdog story.  Cody played the heel, bullying, biting, taunting, and at one point threatening to use his weight belt.  Allin fought from underneath, narrowly withstanding a top-rope CrossRhodes when his arm was under the ropes during the pin.  Cody later kicked out after a Coffin Drop and went for another CrossRhodes, but Allin countered with a cradle, leading to a series of traded nearfalls until Allin scored the three-count.  Cody sold frustration after the match, teasing a heel turn, but ultimately raised Allin's hand and gave him his moment in the sun.  This was a very good match and a big step for the company as they crowned the first homegrown male champion in AEW history.  ***3/4

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

NJPW Power Struggle 2020 Preview & Predictions

This Saturday brings a double-shot of wrestling goodness, as not only is AEW Full Gear happening, but also NJPW Power Struggle!

It's an abbreviated lineup this year, with only six matches on the card, but some of these bouts have the potential to be great.  Moreover we'll get a clearer picture of the impending WrestleKingdom 15 lineup coming out of this show.  So let's get started....

King of Pro Wrestling Trophy No Corner Pads Match: Toru Yano vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

This KOPW trophy is a pretty goofy idea if I'm being honest.  It's like those WWE Championship Scramble matches but stretched out all year.  Whoever ends up with the trophy on December 31st each year is the KOPW Champion for that year.  Given how silly that is, it's fitting then that Toru Yano is the 2020 champion.  But Zack Sabre is challenging for said trophy for some reason, despite being an actual title holder along with Taichi.  This will be the usual Yano stuff, now with no turnbuckle pads.  I guess there isn't much point to have this match if the trophy isn't going to change hands once or twice before year's end, so I'll go with ZSJ.

Pick: ZSJ wins the trophy and loses it back later

Kazuchika Okada vs. Great-O-Khan

Okada's looking for some revenge after being screwed out of the G1 Final spot, and Will Ospreay's sidekick is The Rainmaker's first obstacle on the way to the inevitable Dome showdown.  I know nothing about O-Khan's in-ring ability but as a dojo graduate I'm sure he'll do fine here.  It seems counterintuitive to have him lose his first major bout, but it is against Okada after all, and Okada losing to Ospreay's right-hand man wouldn't be much of a way to build to Okada-Ospreay.  So we'll give Kazuchika the duke.

Pick: Okada

Monday, November 2, 2020

AEW Full Gear 2020 Preview & Predictions

Oh man, AEW has put together a lineup.  This Saturday is the second annual Full Gear PPV event, and on paper it's one of the company's strongest cards to date.

I count four potential show stealers on the Full Gear card, and as it should be with any good wrestling show, they're all going to be very different matches.  

Not that I want to turn this into a "bash WWE" piece, but I realized last week that it's been roughly seven months since I cut the cord on the WWE Network, and I haven't regretted it in the slightest.  Yes there a handful of matches I've missed that I'd like to watch at some point - Balor vs. O'Reilly, Sasha vs. Bayley, etc. - but reading and listening to the reviews of RAW and Smackdown feels like talking to a mutual friend about how badly my ex is doing since the breakup.  Walking away was the right move.  

And that brings me to AEW, which is by no means a perfect product.  But I actually have fun watching Dynamite.  When they have a segment or match that's a miss, it doesn't drag down the whole show because it isn't one awful creative choice after another.  Their booking is logical and clearly designed to get over as many stars as possible.  Even when it doesn't work, at least I can see that they're trying their best, as opposed to an obvious act of sabotage, which is what happens on a regular basis in WWE.  AEW doesn't make me feel like I've wasted my evening.  That's the big difference.

But enough about that, let's pick some winners....

Buy In: Orange Cassidy vs. John Silver

Welp, Mr. Cassidy had a couple disappointing weeks, coming up short in two consecutive TNT Title bids against Cody.  The first was a time limit draw, the second was a Lumberjack Match loss.  So this is just a way for him to get a win back, against one of said lumberjacks who cost him the match with Cody.  Should be fine, if forgettable.

Pick: Cassidy