Tuesday, October 31, 2017

WWE RAW: The Return of Braun Super-Strowman

Sooo, Braun Strowman's totally fine then?  What a shock.  In yet another example of WWE stomping all over suspension of disbelief, Strowman has made a full recovery, only eight days after being crushed inside a garbage truck.  I'll repeat that - CRUSHED. INSIDE. A GARBAGE TRUCK.

Hey, remember that time Triple H got in a car and then Steve Austin picked it up with a crane and dropped it thirty feet, and it flipped over before hitting the ground, pancaking on impact?  And then Triple H showed up the very next night on RAW, barely injured?  Or the time The Rock was being carted away in an ambulance and Hulk Hogan rammed it with a semi truck?  And The Rock was basically fine the next night? 

Ya know what the problem is with angles like these?  If these guys are so indestructible that attempted vehicular homicide barely slows them down, what are they doing losing to plain ol' wrasslin' moves?  Braun Strowman has been involved in two angles like this, plus he's apparently strong enough to flip over an ambulance.  But one F-5 from Brock Lesnar puts him down?  Triple H can withstand being crushed under a car but a Seth Rollins Pedigree is too much for him?  Why should we ever invest in these matches when the company is calling attention to how unrealistic they are?

Furthermore, surely in a believable "universe" Kane and The Miz (and the truck driver) would face criminal charges for this incident, no?  They literally tried to murder Strowman by tossing him into a garbage compactor and turning it on.  Nothing?  Real-world laws don't apply in WWE?  Then why doesn't Kane just bring an AR-15 to the ring next time?  Plug 'em all fulla lead.  If you're going to incorporate attempted murder into a storyline, why not go all the way with it?

In other news, Kurt Angle will be wrestling again, as the captain of the RAW Survivor Series team, and it sounds like if he loses he's fired as the GM.  But since GMs are basically interchangeable, who gives a shit?  One would think Shane will be on the Smackdown team but since Randy Orton's already been named as the captain, it seems odd for Shane to be included.  Anyone else find it appallingly hypocritical that Angle and Shane have been cleared to wrestle but Daniel Bryan hasn't?  Shane's got his own history of concussions, no doubt exacerbated by the twenty-foot dives he frequently does, while Angle's body has absorbed insane levels of punishment over the last 20 years.  Bryan on the other hand has been cleared to wrestle by every doctor he's seen, except Joseph Maroon.  Ya know guys, I'm beginning to think Bryan's physical state has nothing to do with it.... 

Regardless, this match does have potential.  With Samoa Joe back in action it looks like Team RAW will likely include Angle, Joe, Brawn, Balor and maybe Reigns?  That there is a solid lineup.  Smackdown's isn't too shabby either, with Orton, AJ, Bobby Roode and probably Nakamura.  And I imagine Shane gets shoved down our throats again.  Question though - where does that leave Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, since they're the hottest act on Smackdown right now?  They can't seriously leave them off the card, can they?  Here's what I would do - have 'em win the tag belts from The Usos and go on to face Ambrose and Rollins at Survivor Series.  You'd have yourself a major show stealer.  But what do I know?

I predict this Survivor Series will be one of those half-good shows, where the good stuff is outstanding and the bad stuff is unwatchable. 

That's about all I got today - don't forget to join our Facebook group HERE to keep up with all Enuffa goings-on....


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Your Definitive Saw/Jigsaw Movie Guide

by Dan Moore

Hello. I want to play a game. The device you are reading is hooked into your brain. What follows is a half-assed sorta guide review thing summarizing all the Saw movies in anticipation of the newest installment of the series, Jigsaw, being released tomorrow. Here's what happens if you read this article.

There is only one way to read the device. It is with your eyes. Look around, internet consumer, and know that I'm not lying. You better hurry up. Read or die. Make your choice.

I am a huuuuuuuuuuge fan of these shitty, torture porn movies. The bad acting, the gory messes and the interlocking stories of all these flicks really get me going in the murder regions. As such, I cannot wait to go see the new one all alone, as no one I know will accompany me to this bullshit movie. Even Mrs. Danimal doesn't care. 


I just re-watched all seven (7!!!) of 'em and here's some thoughts. (Obviously spoilers are ahead but come on. These movies are all the same. Capture. Torture. Kill. Implausible twist. Repeat) 

Saw: The one that kicked off the franchise has what is possibly the most ridiculous plot twist of the whole saga (and that's really saying something in a series filled with more and more improbable plot twists). The fact that John Kramer, Jigsaw himself, was laying on the floor of the murder basement where he was keeping Dr. Lawrence Gordon and Adam is absolutely absurd. Dude just laid there half naked in a puddle of fake blood for like 12 hours. Just insane. But I loved it. Still do (you can find my actual review of this classic HERE). 

You gotta move your arms eventually, right? I'm sore just looking at him. 

Saw II: Part 1 was essentially all a lead up to the reveal the Jigsaw was in the room the whole time. Part II really set up the plot of the rest of the series going forward. Donnie Wahlberg is a New Kid/Cop whose son gets kidnapped and thrown into a murder house, a huge upgrade over the murder basement in the previous installment. Eventually, Donnie done fucks up and is himself locked up into the murder basement, seemingly to perish for all time. This sets up what I consider to be the best element of the next three (3!!!) movies, the search for Donnie Wahlberg. That being said, part II was my least favorite of the films until a much later installment. The murder house is cool and all, but the characters in it are fucking TERRIBLE. There's a steroid freak in the house that realizes the combination they need for a safe are all written on the necks of his fellow kidnapped folk. Instead of telling them this so they can all work together to get out, he MURDERS them to read the back of their neck. Yeah, MURDERS THEM ALL. It makes zero sense. 

He's got nice form. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

WWE RAW: Survivor Bragging Rights Series 2017

Ya know, WWE is really screwing up this Survivor Series thing.  It was so simple and would've been so poetic, and as usual they got it all wrong.  The 2017 Survivor Series should be taking place on November 26th, not the 19th.  Why?  Because it's the 30th anniversary of the inaugural edition.  Come on Vince, get your head outta your ass.

But seriously folks, this show is shaping up to be yet another misfire on the WWE PPV calendar.  Last year's Survivor Series (Bragging Rights) was an unexpected gem, despite being built around a forced, completely phony RAW vs. Smackdown rivalry, plus a 90-second main event.  The reason it worked so well was the booking and execution of the three elimination matches, which comprised the vast majority of the PPV.  Survivor Series 2016 turned out to be, in my opinion, the best main roster show of the year.  Had they followed that same formula they could've potentially repeated that feat and delivered the best pair of back-to-back Survivor Series since the original two (The '87 and '88 editions are still two of my favorite all-time PPVs).  But as we found out last night, we'll be going back to the watered down version of the concept, with only two elimination matches and four Champion vs. Champion bouts, only one of which has much intrigue.

Jeezus, they might add this match too....

I've already talked HERE about how idiotic and terrible this Brock vs. Jinder (May-haul, according to Kurt Angle) match is gonna be.  This here is what you'd call a no-win situation.  Mahal is in no way qualified to hang with Brock and either guy jobbing to the other is bad for that guy's belt.  But let's look at the other three matches that have been announced:

Alexa Bliss vs. Natalya has potential to be a good in-ring contest, but with two heels fighting each other, who are the fans supposed to be rooting for?  Heel vs. heel matches almost never work from a crowd perspective.  They aren't invested in either participant, so they end up sitting on their hands the whole time and the match falls flat.  And women's matches lately have had a hard time keeping the live crowds attentive as it is, what with their often less-than-ideal placement on the show and main roster creative's complete ineptitude in presenting compelling feuds in that division (or any other for that matter) - look no further than Bayley's recent nosedive in popularity for example.  How do you make fans boo the most likable babyface on the roster?  Alexa vs. Nattie is a fresh matchup and both women are talented, but without anything to root for I don't see this going well.

The Miz vs. Baron Corbin.  You gotta be shitting me with this.  First off, see what I said above about heel vs. heel matches.  Now you're booking TWO of them on this show?  Miz is way over as a douchebag upper midcard heel.  Baron Corbin is not.  Which of these guys do you think the fans will be cheering here (if they cheer anyone at all)?  You're gonna have a guy with great "love to hate him" heat getting cheered against a guy with "go away" heat.  Not to mention The Miz's matches are only as good as his opponents.  Last year against Sami Zayn he had a solid outing, because Zayn is great, and The Miz's in-ring strength has always been his ability to follow the other guy's lead.  Corbin on the other hand is mostly Sycho Sid-bad in the ring.  If you think The Miz will be up to the challenge of pulling a great match out of him you're very much mistaken.  This is going to be piss-poor.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Guns N' Roses at TD Garden Boston

by Dan Moore

Last night was Sunday. The Lord's day. A school night. A day for rest. So I went out and got my face promptly rocked the FUCK off.

They're real. And they're spectacular. 

3/5 of Guns N' Roses have reunited for the Not In This Lifetime Tour and dear God can they still rock. Axl, Slash & Duff have returned in what I thought was a situation that would never occur. They're back and destroying eardrums all over the world.

Myself and my dear friend, Uncle Miggsy, sat and stood for a marathon 3 and a half hours as the gang blazed through their most iconic songs at decibels which I will never forget. The beginning of the set sounded a little iffy, as it appeared like Axl had lost some speed off his fastball. "Welcome to the Jungle" didn't sound as good as it should have vocally. But it's clear that Axl's chords just needed a little warming up because that bastard tore the house down after the first few songs.

After performing "Better", the only really great song of Chinese Democracy, they busted out the first of many "HOLY SHIT" songs with their version of "Live & Let Die". This is one of those covers that has really come to be known better by the band covering it, like "Hurt" is known more for Johnny Cash's version than Nine Inch Nails. And GNR killed it with this song. The place went absolutely BANANAS.

And so did this guy. He was ELECTRIC. 

They then busted into what I thought was one of two highlights of the show, "You Could Be Mine". As they played this song, behind them on the video screens were versions of the band members made to look like Terminators. It was very badass looking and I'm sorry you cannot see it for I took no pictures at this time, as it's impossible to focus while your eyeballs melt out of your face because of all the rock. 

They also covered "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden. But they didn't really add much to it. It was an ok version of the song but basically pointless, I thought. They followed that up with incredible versions of their biggest hits. "Sweet Child of Mine". "I Used to Love Her". "Night Train". All the songs that I played repeatedly mostly on tape and then CD. Man, I'm old. 

The second highlight and easily the coolest part of the show was when a giant grand piano came out on the stage and Axl sat down to play it. They then burst into an absolutley incredible version of "November Rain". I have never really been a huge fan of this song but holy shit it sounded awesome live last night. There was nothing that could come close to that last night. It was the absolute peak. 

Seeing these guys back together and playing all the hits of my youth was an awesome sight. I had a blast and it seemed they did as well. Axl was playful with the crowd and Slash destroyed guitars as usual. I leave you with these final two thoughts about last night. 


Cons: Fuck you, TD Garden beer prices. 

WWE TLC 2017: Balor vs. Styles (and a Buncha Nonsense)

Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2017.  This here is what you call a one-match show.  I shudder to think how completely skippable this PPV would've been had the locker room not been stricken with a case of the mumps.  Like most WWE PPVs, there were no matches one would really categorize as bad, but aside from a long-awaited debut and a long-awaited dream match you could go the rest of your life without seeing this show and it literally would not matter.

Things started off just dandy, with Asuka finally arriving on the main roster with a fairly invested crowd behind her.  She and Emma put together a decent RAW-quality match that was sadly far below their NXT TakeOver bout from two years ago.  As I said going into this, Asuka's debut match needed to be largely one-sided to establish her as something special.  Unfortunately they didn't heed my advice and Emma got in almost as much offense as Asuka did.  Also Michael Cole's line about Asuka "having fun" and being "all about entertaining" was laughably tone-deaf.  Histrionics and sadism aside, Asuka's character has never been about "entertaining."  She has fun torturing opponents the way a cat does picking apart a dying mouse.  Your cat doesn't do this to amuse you.  If this is what Vince thinks Asuka's character is about, we're already off to a bad start.  The man could literally screw up 90-second microwave rice.  Fuckin' hell....

I should mention how super weird it was for a WWE PPV to begin with five matches in a row (if you include the pre-show) that were either women's or cruiserweight bouts.  Man this roster is thin.

The cruiser tag match was.....a match.  It was fine.  Everyone worked well mechanically.  I didn't care about any of it.  Jack Gallagher now wrestles in a shirt & tie apparently.  Kinda weird.

Next up was Alexa Bliss defending the Women's Title against Mickie James.  Like the opener, this match was solid and well-worked, but lacked something special to really set it apart.  It didn't help that Alexa was obviously not losing the belt here, so there was little suspense.  But this match needed a really memorable moment or three and it didn't have that.  At this point it makes sense to keep the belt on Alexa until Asuka takes it from her.  Hot potatoing the title around before then just cheapens Asuka's rise to the top.

Friday, October 20, 2017

WWE TLC Gets a HUGE Makeover

Okay this is just bizarre.  The WWE locker room has been stricken with some kind of illness, as Bray Wyatt, Bo Dallas, Jojo Offerman, Roman Reigns, and Kevin Owens have all been sent home.  What this means for Sunday is Roman will no longer be involved in the Shield main event.  Instead, and this is fucking crazy, KURT ANGLE is making his WWE in-ring return after 11 years to take his place.  And since Wyatt is also out of action, AJ Styles will now be facing Finn Balor, I believe for the first time ever.

Now, while this show just became must-see for me, I am absolutely baffled that they'd just throw these two changes on this card with only two days' notice.  Kurt Angle's in-ring return should've happened at a WrestleMania, or at worst, SummerSlam.  But they're just tossing him on this show as a last-minute sub.  It's kind of a no-win situation I guess, with no TV left to shoot any kind of storyline change.  But man, Kurt Angle returning to action after literally years should be so much bigger a deal than this.  I hope they start using him pretty regularly for some of these big PPV matches now.  Christ, if Shane can get two or three matches a year, Kurt Angle can sure as shit get that many.

As for Balor vs. Styles....WWE now has a shot at a legit Match of the Year contender.  But again, the two former Bullet Club leaders facing each other for the first time in history should be saved for a way bigger occasion, when they're actually feuding.  This whole situation is just so bizarre.

I sincerely hope everyone is okay health-wise, above all.  There must be one helluva virus going around that locker room for this many people to be affected.  AJ was apparently pulled from an event last night due to stomach issues.  Pretty scary.

But with these two changes my interest in this show just increased by a factor of ten.

My prediction for the main event stays the same obviously, while I'll pick Styles over Balor.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

WWE TLC 2017 Preview & Predictions

It's been two weeks, and that means it's time for ANOTHER WWE PPV.  They should just cancel RAW & Smackdown and have weekly PPVs like TNA used to.  That worked out well, right?

This year's TLC is a very thin lineup, with the Universal Champ missing and only the bottom two RAW titles on the line.  But it's built almost entirely around the long-awaited Shield reunion, which WWE has already managed to turn into a clusterfuck.  I say this all the time, but WWE could fuck up a bowl of cereal.  WWE could fuck up a second-grade math quiz.  WWE could fuck up flicking on a light switch.  But let's get to the predictions....

***I'm in the lead with 57/82 (69.5%), Landon's in second with 46/70 (66%), Dave's got 31/48 (64.5%), and Dan's at 49/82 (60%).***

Pre-Show Match: Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox

This is one of three women's matches on the show, which is a cool thing.  Sadly this one doesn't matter much and seems to be something for Sasha to do.  It'll be short and forgettable.  If anyone not named Sasha wins I'll be shocked.

Justin: Sasha
Dan: Sure
Landon: Sasha
Dave: Sasha

Brian Kendrick & Jack Gallagher vs. Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann

This match was added to fill time.  It'll get stuck just before the main event so as to garner the weakest possible crowd reaction.  Wouldn't want anyone to care about 205 Live, would we?  I really like Gallagher too.  His style is fluid and unique, and he's funny on top of that.  But this company simply does not care about the Cruiserweights.  Because bigger is betterer....

Justin: Kendrick & Gallagher I guess
Dan: Much like WWE doesn't care about the Cruiserweights, neither do I.  I'll take the other guys.
Landon: Kendrick & Gallagher
Dave: I have no clue who any of these guys are.  Kendrick & Gallagher.  Jesus....

Cruiserweight Championship: Kalisto vs. Enzo Amore

All the pointless title changes are making me insane.  They put the belt on Enzo (at the expense of Neville leaving the company), just to turn him heel and make him the "anti-Cruiser," which actually came off pretty well.  Then two weeks later they had him lose it to Kalisto, and I'm fairly certain he wins it back here.  Either that or they did this "division-killing" angle and then abandoned it almost immediately.  Is Vince Russo back?

Justin: Enzo regains the strap
Dan: I guess Enzo.  I don't understand his appeal anymore.  He bores me.
Landon: Fuck me.  Enzo.
Dave: Why push Enzo as a heel and not have him win it back?  Enzo.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

WWE RAW: Kane? Kane. Really? REALLY??

Oh for Chrissake, you had to go and add Kane??  Kane, who debuted 20 years ago and hasn't been relevant in years?  WWE really is desperately clinging to The Era of Part-timers, aren't they?

For those of you who missed it, last night The Big Red Quintagenarian returned to RAW (despite having been drafted to Smackdown last year - great continuity guys), interfering in the Roman Reigns-Braun Strowman cage match and allowing Strowman's TLC team to add a fifth member, which of course will be Kane himself.  So now the TLC main event is 5-on-3.  I hate handicap matches.  My hate for them is directly proportional to how lopsided they are.  So now I hate this main event by a 1.67:1 ratio.  Can't we just have The Shield vs. Braun & The Bar?  Is that too simple a plan for you people?  Why must WWE excessively window-dress every good idea they have?  Does adding two guys to the heel side honestly give anyone pause that The Shield will undoubtedly emerge victorious on Sunday?  There's ZERO chance the company put these guys back together just to have them lose their first reunion match, so why possibly ruin a potentially great brawl by adding too many men on the field?  Like, what are the two extra dudes supposed to do while the other six are fighting?  And how weak does that make the five guys look when they lose to three?  And who at this point is the least bit intimidated by Kane?  I'm pretty sure I'VE beaten him several times over the years.  And isn't he running for Mayor?  Who's got time for pretend fighting when you're busy pretend-politicking?  And hold on, The Demon Kane is going to be on the same PPV as The Demon King.  Does that mean Finn Balor has authority over Kane?  Can't he just order him not to get involved?  I'm just really confused now....

TLC has a pretty thin lineup.  Only the Women's Title and the Cruiserweight Title are on the line, Lesnar's not on the show, and the I-C and Tag Champs are in the TLC match.  This is basically a four-match show, plus two throwaway Cruiser bouts.  Kalisto-Enzo isn't gonna be much to watch, and does anyone care at all about Kendrick/Gallagher vs. Swann/Alexander?  You know that's getting shoved in the death spot before the main event.  I truly do miss the days when there wasn't a PPV every two weeks.  This is like a mainstream network TV series, where they're obligated to fill 22 episodes every season so nothing substantial happens for 15 of them.  Nothing to see here, just filling time.

Rumor has it that the planned main event of Survivor Series will pit the Universal Champion against the WWE Champion.  What a huge main even-- oh wait.....it's Brock Lesnar.....vs. Jinder??  Seriously?  I guess they needed a way to top the pointlessness of last year's Survivor Series main event?  So lemme get this straight - we still have not seen Lesnar vs. Kevin Owens, Lesnar vs. Cesaro, Lesnar vs. Sheamus (except at a non-televised house show), but Jinder gets a match with him?  Sweet Jeezus, Vince.  Stop trying to make "fetch" happen with this guy.  It doesn't work, it's never going to work, let it the fuck go.  Attendance is down, ratings are down, and most importantly, business in India is down.  India - the whole reason you pushed Jinder in the first place.  They didn't fall for your obvious bit of pandering.  Pull the plug on this DOA experiment.  So what's the endgame here?  Lesnar steamrolls Jinder just like everyone else?  How weak does that make the WWE Champ look?  I mean even moreso than he already did?  The damage they've done to the WWE Title this year has been unfathomable, between hotshotting it all over the place from January to May, to never booking it in the main event of Big Four shows (or Smackdown-only shows for that matter), to letting the least-deserving champion of all time keep it longer than just about anyone else in the past decade (Seriously, I think Jinder's ranked #4 in the 2010s), that strap is about the most worthless belt in the company aside from the Cruiserweight Title.  John Cena's gonna need to win it again and do the Open Challenge thing.  One can only hope the rest of Survivor Series is set up like last year, with stacked elimination matches taking up the bulk of the show.   

What a downer of a column.  Sorry guys.  Anyhow, stay tuned later this week for our TLC predictions.  And don't forget to join our new Enuffa.com Facebook group, located HERE.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Bringing the Heat, by Ryan K Boman

by Ryan K. Boman
The Gorilla Position

Impact Wrestling’s Garza Jr. is a third-generation superstar from south of the border whose fantastic future… es rojo caliente!

Monday, October 9, 2017

WWE Hell in a Cell 2017: Meh, It Was a Show....

WWE Hell in a Cell 2017 was....a show.  That's about it.  There wasn't anything horrible, there was one very good match, a bunch of okay stuff, and an obscenely overlong main event with the same unnecessarily risky spots we've seen a dozen times before.  It's clear that WWE, despite boasting one of the best talent rosters they've ever had, is becoming less and less a product for me.  Amid all the solidly worked matches on this show I found myself not caring much about any of it.  The one match I was emotionally invested in was the WWE Title match, and that of course went the wrong way (I knew I was gonna get screwed picking Nak to win).  The WWE product is just missing something very integral.  They've beaten the audience down with inconsistent or flat-out bad television for so long that nothing seems to really engage.  It makes me laugh when WWE apologists claim that New Japan is just a series of spotfests with no story and no characters.  To me that's exactly what WWE has become, case in point this main event.  I was drawn in much more by Okada-Omega's story than I ever could've been by Shane vs. Owens.  But before we get to that, let's look at the rest of the show.

The opening Hell in a Cell Tag Title match easily stole the show for me (and most, from what I've read).  New Day and The Usos work very well together and this continued that pattern.  The action was fast-paced, they made innovative use of weapons (including a clever spot where Xavier and Big E trapped an Uso against the cage with kendo sticks), and it was a good mix of violence and traditional wrestling.  Toward the end they brought out the big spots and nearfalls until finally the Usos hit their double splash on Xavier with a chair resting on top of him.  Yet another title change, and I'm not sure where the division goes from here since there are no other viable teams left.  But good match.

Next up was Randy Orton vs. Rusev, which I consider the least interesting feud on Smackdown right now.  Rusev's stock has fallen so far it's tragic.  He easily could've been pushed to Jinder's current spot and would've actually had the talent and credibility to back it up.  But no, he's now lower-card RKO fodder.  The finish to this match was memorable, as Orton pounded the mat to set up the RKO but Rusev pounced on him for an Accolade attempt.  Orton slid out though and nailed the RKO for the win.  Sadly this run-of-the-mill bout was one of Orton's best matches of 2017.  "Inoffensive" is apparently all he's up for these days.

The surprise hit of the night was the US Title Triple Threat (Tye Dillinger was added during the pre-show), as AJ Styles worked his ass off to get a good match out of Dillinger and Baron Corbin.  Everything good about this match can be attributed to Styles; whenever he was out of the ring the match ground to a halt.  Jeezus Corbin's offense is dull.  He's reminding me a lot of Sycho Sid, with nondescript offense and the occasional deer-in-headlights look.  The finish was well-booked to protect AJ, as he hit the Phenomenal Forearm on Dillinger but was knocked out of the ring by Corbin, who then covered Dillinger for the belt.  Can AJ please move back up to the WWE Title picture now?  That guy's too good for this company.  Side note: the whole "Perfect 10" moniker doesn't work for Dillinger.  If he were a heel it might, since he'd be a dorky bad guy who thinks he's hot shit.  But for that nickname to work for a babyface he needs to actually look like a "perfect 10."  Side note #2: it's a sad thing when AJ's "soccer mom" do is by far the best haircut in a triple threat; Corbin and Dillinger desperately need either hair plugs or a buzz cut.

He's like a bald eagle now.  Get it??

Thursday, October 5, 2017

WWE Hell in a Cell 2017 Preview & Predictions

Aaand we're back to the twice-monthly WWE PPVs.  Fuuuuuck me......

This Sunday is Hell in a Cell, where WWE plugs a feud into an annual gimmick match rather that naturally letting a feud build to the point that only said gimmick match will settle it.  This year that match involves the boss's kid.  Fuck's sake.  But first let's look at the rest of the show, which to be fair looks pretty good.  Also, WHERE THE FUCK IS SAMI ZAYN??!?  How has his career actually gone downhill after being moved to the sparsely populated Smackdown?  Jeezus fuckin' Christ....

***I'm just barely holding onto my lead, with 50/74 (67%), Landon's in second with 41/62 (66%), Dave's got 25/40 (62.5%), and Dan's finally out of the 50s with 45/74 (61%).***

Pre-Show Match: Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable vs. Hype Bros

Remember how awesome American Alpha was?  Why'd they split 'em up just to plug in the guy Jason Jordan was sorta copying into his old spot?  So stupid.  They're teasing a Hype Bros breakup, but who cares?

Justin: American Alpha 2.0 wins
Dan: I can't believe Shelton Benjamin is back. What a blast from the past. AA2
Landon: Olympic Gold Standard
Dave: AA I guess

Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler

I get that Bobby Roode's entrance/theme is total babyface material, but his character and in-ring style don't make sense in that role.  He wrestles like Ted Dibiase used to, meaning his offense consists of nondescript brawling designed to bring down the crowd before the babyface comeback.  I'm not sure how this will work.  Meanwhile, Ziggler's offense is flashy and exciting, which is the opposite of how a heel is supposed to wrestle.  This dynamic strikes me as totally backwards.  Whatever, the match should be fine.

Justin: Roode wins, obviously.  And I hope Ziggler leaves when his contract is up.  Imagine Dolph in NJPW?
Dan: Ziggles just can't win.  Dammit.
Landon: I don't want to imagine that Justin.  Roode.
Dave: Roode. Ziggler has been done for many years now.

Randy Orton vs. Rusev

Why is this feud still going on?  Does anyone give a shit about either of these guys right now?  Rusev is beyond damaged goods, especially without Lana.  Orton's had the worst year of his career and I can't imagine a less hot main event guy.

Justin: Orton wins again
Dan: Dude, WHO CARES? Fuck it, Rusev.
Landon: Wait, these two are feuding?  Orton.
Dave: Orton, but who cares at this point?

Smackdown Tag Team Championship Hell in a Cell: The New Day vs. The Usos

Another feud I can't believe is still going on, but then who else does either team have to feud with?  At least their matches have been consistently very good, and this should follow suit.  It'll be refreshing to see a tag team Cell match, even if this feud isn't exactly blood feud material.  WWE is apparently trying to pad New Day's title record so they can be the "most decorated" Tag Champs ever.  Remember when championship longevity meant more than frequency?

Justin: To that end, The Usos win back the belts just so New Day can regain them
Dan: This should be a good one.  I think New Day retains.
Landon: Remember when Vince Russo killed all the titles in the 90s with multiple short reigns?  New Day.
Dave: Usos

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

WCW Monday Nitro #5: F*ck Wrestling, Hogan's Here

WCW Monday Nitro #5, October 2nd, 1995
Denver Coliseum in Denver, Colorado

The announcers were running down what matches we were getting tonight, including the rematch of Flair and Arn Anderson from Fall Brawl, and the match between Randy Savage and Lex Luger where if Lex lost. he'd have to leave WCW forever. While they're talking, Ric came out, en robe, and began running down Anderson and Pillman. He was crazy for approximately 20 seconds before he walked away. Ric remains a gem on this show every week.

They recapped the past 3 weeks of Savage and Luger promos. About Savage being weary of Luger, and how Luger just wants trust...and the World title. This build has been Pay Per View caliber, but was given away for free to pop that rating.

Randy Savage vs. Lex Luger, Where Lex Must Leave WCW if He Loses

This match was, for the time and the men involved, main event levels of awesome in terms of the psychology and the action in the ring. They locked up for a solid minute and a half, rolling out of the ring together in the lock up like two bulls fighting over a Lady Bull. This was going very well, Luger playing a great heel here. Luger's character, a mix of narcissism and delusions of being a babyface, is an awesome thing that I would love to steal one day. It went well, anyway, until The Giant came out. He grabbed Savage and proceeded to try and break his neck like Rambo. It only half worked, rendering Savage unconscious. Luger, who was knocked out at some point before The Giant attempted murder, woke up thinking none the wiser of the practical corpse. Like Rob Terry years later, lifting a dead Ken Anderson for a slam, Luger hurked the body of Savage up into the Rack, where the referee lifted savage's unmoving hand three times for the submission.

Disco Inferno came out with his wonderful music to dance. Eddie Guerrero with a baby mullet and a singlet came out to tell him to piss off, cause he had to make the wrestles. I began salivating from excitement for...

Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko

I've been excited about this match for two weeks now. And I had every reason to be excited, because these two began to put on a clinic for how to grapple. Reversals into submission escapes, into stand offs. I loved it.
But then.
We got word that hulk hogan had arrived in the arena. Cool, whatever. Then we got a split screen with Hogan arriving and Jimmy Hart on speed as always. Fine, I can still see the match. Then we got the full shot of Hogan, really saying nothing and doing nothing but being Hulk Hogan.
You fuckers.
I was really enjoying this match, and so were a lot of people in the crowd. But here, on the fifth Nitro, WCW began to kill itself. It began the trend of telling fans that the wrestling and the action in the ring doesn't matter, because what matters are the stars and the personalities. Thankfully, we came back to the match for more action and an eventual pin fall, with Eddie using some combination for the pin. It was still good, but the Hulk Hogan interruption took me out of the actual action, and took a lot from the match.

NJPW King of Pro Wrestling: The Last Big Stop to The Dome

That poster is beautiful...

Hope you're not burned out from the Destruction tour, cause we have the last big stop until The Tokyo Dome coming up. Four titles and a Title shot will be defended here, and the undercard seems unoffensive or even good. I'm coming back to Enuffa to run down the card with Justin, and let you know who the smart money's really on. Justin?

Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, and Leo Tonga) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA, BUSHI, and Hiromu Takahashi)

The strangest trio of LIJ to team up, just put together because of Naito and EVIL's place on the card. I expect nothing.

Landon: LIJ.
Justin: LIJ

CHAOS (Hirooki Goto and Toru Yano) vs. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr.)

Why? I don't know. Again, because of the card's set up we need to put Minoru second down from the card. With a feud against Makabe hopefully coming up in January, he's just spinning his wheels until then.

Landon: Suzuki-Gun.
Justin: Yup

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship [2nd Title Defense]
Funky Future (Ryuske Taguchi and Ricochet) (c) vs. Roppongi 3K (???)

Who's Roppongi 3K? I have no idea. The question seems to be whether Rocky is in the match itself, a question no one seems keen to answer. I'm still under the impression it's an entirely different tag team, and still think it's The Tempura Boyz. I don't know who wins here, I like Taguchi too much to ever officially bet against him. Plus, if I'm planning out the Tokyo Dome Jr. Tag Team match, I'd rather have two well established Dome performers a sthe champs, versus a team that's possibly untested.

Landon: Funky Future.
Justin: Never bet against the mystery opponent.  It's almost as bad an idea as giving a debuting team a championship.  RPG 3K wins.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

WCW Monday Nitro #4: Hogan in a Neckbrace, Savage seeks Revengeance

It took 4 weeks, but Vader is finally out of the opening video for Nitro. For a guy who was never on the show, they sure did take their time replacing him with Luger.

WCW Monday Nitro #4, September 25th, 1995
Florence Civic Center in Florence, South Carolina

Disco Inferno vs. Alex Wright

So this is the infamous Disco Inferno. Never seen an Inferno match before this, and really it wasn't as bad as some have warned me it would be. Despite being Disco's Nitro debut, Alex Wright was the star of this match. He was able to clear the top rope on a dive, with no hands, and without much effort. Wright would probably be really popular today, with his cosmopolitan style and look. After a kind of short match, Wright got the pin with the backslide. Nothing special.

Hulk Hogan cut a Hulk Hogan promo in a neck brace. He talked about how the Giant broke his neck and how he won't die, and I'm starting to think that maybe Ric Flair isn't the immortal sorcerer after all. Brother, brother.

They recapped the Randy Savage and Lex Luger confrontation from last week. Pirate shirt, snakes, etc. The two came out to shout at each other, and decide to have a number one contenders, Lex leaves town match next week. But for tonight, they have matches to get ready for.

Kurasawa vs Craig Pittman

Monster Morning Mullet
Well, this match was an unexpected treat. Pittman had a nothing match at the Pay Per View last week, but here he managed to have a really fun match with Kurasawa (who is Manabu Nakanishi.). Fun in the same way I enjoy Ishii and Makabe going at it. The brawl included a lot of Kurasawa going for Pittman's arm, because apparently he had broken Hawk's arm months ago. The match was pretty 50/50, until Kurasawa pinned Pittman with a GERMAN
**1/2, a very fun match.

Music Review: Kesha - Rainbow

Well it's safe to say Kesha's former producer Dr. Luke was definitely holding her down.  Exhibit A?  Her third album Rainbow, an eclectic, defiant, and ultimately triumphant collection of pop, folk, rock, and country-western songs from an artist finally free to make music she truly believes in.  Eschewing the rather adolescent, and for me grating sound of her first two records, Rainbow is a major leap in creative maturity and textural nuance that should please both Top 40 radio listeners and those looking for something more sophisticated and personal.

Kesha's folk influence is easily spotted on songs like the hopeful opener "Bastards," which brings to mind the simplistic guitar/vocal arrangements of Edie Brickell and the brutal frankness of Alanis Morrisette.  The song offers a reassuring message that no matter how bleak things may seem, one must never let the aforementioned bastards win.  This folky vibe can also be found on the saccharin alt-folk tune "Godzilla," which literally places the 400-foot lizard in a mall (a metaphor for falling in love with a suitor the rest of your circle deems unworthy), and on the album's hauntingly atmospheric closer "Spaceship," wherein Kesha states her funereal wish to be picked up by an ancestral spacecraft after she dies (I could totally believe she came from outer space).  This song would feel right at home in a Coen brothers film, with its bouncy-but-melancholy guitar riff and gorgeously ethereal backup choir.

Strong country tinges can be found in the Johnny Cash-esque "Hunt You Down," in which Kesha talks about what would happen to a prospective lover were he to "fuck around" on her.  The song's derisively mad tone can be summed up with her spoken word line over the bridge: "Baby, I love you so much.  Don't make me kill you."  Another country tune is the classic rock update of Dolly Parton's "Old Flames (Can't Hold a Candle to You)," which Kesha's mother Pebe Sebert co-wrote.  Parton makes a guest appearance sharing lead vocal duties, while the instrumentation sounds very reminiscent of Abbey Road-era Beatles.

Monday, September 25, 2017

WWE No Mercy 2017: This Was Great, Until It Wasn't

Man, if you shut off No Mercy after the fifth match you'd have two-thirds of an easy PPV of the Year candidate for WWE (Nothing they do this year will ever touch NJPW's top shows).  In the first five matches there was strong action, good variety, and nary a misfire.  And then WWE failed to stick the landing, offering a disappointing main event and a flat-out offensive Cruiserweight match.  But before I really start complaining, let's go through what was good about this show, because I really did like the first couple hours.

The show started with The Miz vs. Jason Jordan for the Intercontinental Title, in a match literally no one was invested in.  But goddamn if they didn't pull out a solid opener.  I've been a reluctant fan of Miz's in-ring work for years, as a guy who can deliver a decent match with almost anyone of reasonable ability.  Miz's strength as a worker is that he's an excellent listener; he knows when to let his opponent lead the way and just go with it.  He's very unselfish in that regard.  As for Jordan, he proved last night why he deserves better than this insipid Kurt Angle angle.  Jordan could be marketed as a blue chip suplex machine, and with some character repackaging could become a great upper midcard heel like The Rock circa late '97.  These two put together a crisply worked match that the crowd was actually fairly into, until outside interference cost Jordan the match (much to the crowd's delight - Jordan needs to go heel).  Nice work by both guys.

Second was the unnecessary Bray Wyatt-Finn Balor rematch, where the company took a backwards approach to this feud.  Balor resorting to The Demon should've been the climax, but instead he just came out as himself, and they had a perfectly serviceable undercard bout.  Nothing terribly memorable, but this was just fine and Balor won to hopefully put this feud to rest.

The show peaked for me with the Tag Team Title match, another wild affair between Rollins & Ambrose and The Bar (Jeezus that's a terrible team name).  These four were having a splendid match until Ambrose catapulted Cesaro into the corner, and Cesaro ate a mouthfull of ring post, knocking out at least two of his teeth.  Holy shitballs that had to hurt.  And Cesaro wrestled another ten solid minutes after that.  I woulda called it a day.  "Sorry fellas, I ain't got no teeth.  I'm goin' home."  Not only that but the energy of the match actually ramped up after that, with wild tandem offense and some great near-falls.  Ambrose and Rollins finally retained after another Rainmaker knee/Dirty Deeds combo.  Excellent tag match.  It's kinda sad both teams can't be champions really.  Cesaro better get a bonus for this too.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

WWE No Mercy 2017 Preview & Predictions

Wow, it feels like SummerSlam was forever ago, even though it's only been five weeks.  I guess that's what happens when WWE doesn't have four PPVs a month...

This Sunday is No Mercy, which for some reason was moved up a month and changed to a RAW PPV.  I don't get the schedule shuffling they're doing this year.  Hell in a Cell is now Smackdown-only, TLC is now RAW-only, Starrcade is coming back as a Smackdown televised house show essentially.  It's just super confusing.  Whatever...

This show is pretty stacked.  In fact they're giving away two WrestleMania-worthy matches.  On a B-PPV.  I don't get it.  They should both be something special though.  I suppose WWE programming is way more enjoyable when you don't think about it.  On with the picks...

***I'm in the lead with 46/67 (69%), Landon's in second with 36/55 (65%), Dave's third with 21/33 (64%), and Dan's bringing up the rear with 39/67 (58%)***

Cruiserweight Championship: Neville vs. Enzo Amore

I mean, Enzo?  Really?  I get that he qualifies for a Cruiserweight, but technically so do I.  And I wouldn't watch me fight in the Cruiserweight division.  Enzo is literally all talk.  He's good on the mic, stinks in the ring.  'The hell is he gonna do in a Cruiserweight match?  No wonder nobody takes this division seriously.  Enzo has no business winning this.

Justin: Neville retains
Dan: Enzo SUCKS. I don't even like his mic work. He tries to come up with funny shit, but it's cringe-worthy comedy. Neville better effin' retain.
Landon: I DARE them to just kill the division dead. They killed ECW, they can kill cruiserweights. Neville retains, I hope.
Dave: Neville. Enzo has been annoying since he's been in WWE.

Intercontinental Championship: The Miz vs. Jason Jordan

Poor Jason.  He had such potential, particularly as part of American Alpha.  But WWE "creative" decided to split up that great team and put Jason on RAW as Kurt Angle's son.  And literally no one cared.  Therefore WWE doubled down on this stupid move and kept running with it, rather than just letting it fade away.  I can't see them giving Jordan a PPV Title match here if he isn't winning it.  But it's too early.

Justin: Jordan wins and everyone gets pissed.  Maybe he'll make a good heel as a result.
Landon: Let it ride. Jordan to be pushed into burning out, then wondering why it didn't work.
Dave: I'm rooting for the Miz but I think he's gonna lose which is pointless.

Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt

I don't know why this feud is continuing, especially in another regular match.  We already saw The Demon at SummerSlam, so anything less than that is a step backward.  I'm guessing the story will be that Finn can't get the job done without being in Demon form.  Meh...the match will be fine but I don't care.

Justin: Bray wins
Dan: Finn for the winn
Landon: Wyatt
Dave: Man, I don't care.  Bray I guess.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

WCW Monday Nitro #3: Pillman vs. Flair, Savage attacked on the Beach

Didn't really feel like doing a full Fall Brawl write up, so here's the quick notes.

Flyin' Brian vs Johnny B Badd had a fucking phenomenal match. I can't recommend this shit enough. It's a marvel it was the opener. I don't even want to spoil the ending for you for maximum enjoyment. ****

DDP won the WCW TV title from Renegade in a nothing match. Watch it for DDP's smoking hot Diamond Doll, and the awesome finish. *3/4

The match between Arn Anderson and Ric Flair was so spectacular that I was ready to give it 5 stars. But the finish, Pillman interfering to set up the main event of this Nitro, ruined that prospect. Still a great match to watch. ***3/4

War Games was wacky. Fuck it. *1/2

WCW Nitro #3, September 18th, 1995
Freedom Hall in Johnson City, Tennessee 

The show opened with The Giant and The Taskmaster coming from an ambulance claiming they killed Hulk Hogan. This show really is stuck right in the middle of the 90s.

WCW Tag Team Championship
Harlem Heat (w/Sister Sherri) (c) vs. The American Males

All of you have to stop. If you've never heard the American Males theme, click the video to the left here.

We good? A'int that so clownshoes it's amazing?

This was going to be the Males vs. The Bluebloods, but Harlem Heat beat Robert Eaton down on camera, and I assume drove a stake through Steve Regal's heart in a vain attempt to kill him because he wasn't on this show. Harlem heat  challenged the free living Americans to try and take their titles. Heat took 80% of the match, before Rob Parker came out to woo Sister Sherri with promises of oil and land. This magically turned the tides, as Bagwell reversed a Pumphandle by Booker into a Crossbody for the pinfall and the American Males won the tag titles!

Monday, September 18, 2017

RIP Bobby "The Brain" Heenan (1944-2017)

The wrestling world (universe?) lost one of its all-time greats yesterday, as legendary manager/wrestler/broadcast journalist Bobby "The Brain" Heenan passed away at the age of 72.  One of the best talkers in wrestling history, in 2002 Heenan sadly developed throat cancer of all things, largely robbing him of his greatest gift, his wonderful voice.

I first became aware of Heenan in 1986 when I started watching the wacky pretend sport of professional wrestling.  Like most kids who first take an interest in this stuff, I was initially a babyface loyalist.  My favorite wrestler at the time was of course Hulk Hogan, and anyone trying to take away his WWF Championship was a reviled enemy.  In the mid-80s Hogan had perhaps no more fiercely staunch onscreen detractor than The Brain, whose Heenan Family stable members frequently challenged for the belt.  During this era Heenan's mission statement was essentially "kill Hulkamania."  Thus I hated him.  I mean, HATED him.  Heenan was one of those heels whose appearance made me cringe, and I wanted to see him (and his wrestlers) get murdered in the ring.  It wasn't until 1989 that I realized "Wait, I hate this guy because he's so damn good at his job."

Wrestling managers are something of a lost art.  In the 80s a good manager could get a mediocre wrestler over just by cutting good promos.  The manager would be the mouthpiece, the wrestler was the muscle.  A heel manager could talk as much shit as he wanted, and he'd have his wrestler or stable there to back it up.  And if the manager was really good?  Whatever new guy he took on was instantly credible, just by association.  Not only that, if any new babyface came along to feud with one of said manager's clients?  Instant heat.  Bobby Heenan was one of those managers.  He took for example a low-card babyface team like The Islanders, who lost pretty much every week, and turned them into a formidible heel team who got the better of The British Bulldogs.  Conversely Ken Patera, a former Heenan client who'd been absent from WWF TV for three years due to a prison term, returned as a reformed babyface who blamed Heenan for his deviant ways.  Their resulting feud was red-hot for a little while, and made Patera relevant again.  Then of course there was Heenan's most famous angle, where he managed to turn Andre the Giant against Hulk Hogan, leading to the biggest match and PPV to date.  Just by his association with Heenan, Andre went from beloved special attraction to the most hated man in wrestling, overnight.  Bobby Heenan was one of those rare managers who could actually draw money.

Monday, September 11, 2017

WCW Monday Nitro #2: Panic Ensues, The World and US champs Defend Live on TV

Last week's show was a great romp through wackiness. These opening weeks look to be a great bridge between the best parts of the late 80s, and the good things to come in the Attitude Era. Last week did a great job setting up this week's Nitro, when we were promised Sabu, Mr. Wall Street, and what was bound to be an awesomely horrendous Main Event of Lex Luger and Hulk Hogan. I couldn't wait for Nitro from 22 years ago!

Monday Nitro #2
September 11th, 1995, from the Knight's Center in Miami, Florida

We were read the line up for the night, including the Norton and Savage match I've been really excited for, and "The Match of the Century" between Hogan and Luger. Oh, we'll get to that.

Sabu vs Alex Wright

This was Sabu's debut on Nitro, not WCW though. He certainly was Sabu, doing Sabu things like springboard leg lariats, ridiculous dives, shortening his career, etc.. At one point, Mongo compared Sabu to a Full Back in football. I have minimal football knowledge, but a quick Wikipedia search says otherwise. I think I've seen Wright a couple times now, and he's always proven to be really solid technically. His German suplex bridge was particularly good. Eventually, after Bischoff hypes up such things as the Arabian Facebuster and the Arabian Leg Drop, Sabu won with a top rope Victory Roll, which looked a lot more devastating than it sounds.

And then, Sabu needed to be Sabu. He got a table out. not a table as we know it today. This was a table approximately half way between today's gimmick tables, and those tables at your grandma's church when they play bingo. It was a sturdy, meaty table that Alex Wright was leaned against. Sabu took a leap of faith off the top rope, overshot his mark completely and went head first into the table. It was terrifying, and the decision on the match was reversed by Disqualification. What the fuck.

Looks great as a gif, though.

Ric Flair came out and started being Ric Flair. He complained that Arn wasn't out slamming beers and women with him. Not in those exact words, but might as well have. Luger came out halfway through, and Ric started salivating at the sight of his old running mate. He called him "Package" at least once. Lex only came out to say that ric never changes, then left. Why? I have no clue.

WCW United States Championship
Sting (c) vs. VK Wallstreet

As Sting came out, Bischoff told us that Shawn Michaels was winning his match on the opposite channel, and that we shouldn't bother changing over to them. Sting, the great white meat babyface that I maintain every company needs, was able to get a really good match from Wallstreet. no disrespect meant towards Rotunda, but in 1995 his already small window of prime was past him a while ago. Sting went for  a slingshot dive into the ring and became almost the second casualty on this show when Wallstreet wasn't there to catch him. The finish was so simple it was great, just a crossbody by Sting off the top rope. Shit used to be so simple to get right.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Revisiting and Reviewing Green Day's nimrod.

by Michael Drinan

On September 2nd I posted a picture on Instagram (@thesurfacenoise people, what up!) my copy of Green Day’s nimrod. record with the caption: “I love 90s Green Day. So much energy and attitude, mixed with a smart ass sense of humor. But Nimrod never sat well with me. I give them credit for having a different approach on this album, a little musical diversification, but at the end of the day I only like 3 songs off this one, my favorite being "The Grouch". They bounced back for me a couple of years later with Warning but this one still hasn't grown on me.”

I received three comments to my post, one calling me a “stupid face” and that I was wrong, the other two commenters said that they never heard of a fan of 90s Green Day who disliked this album. It’s those two comments that really made me shake my head in disbelief. How could I be the only person who doesn’t care for this album while loving the rest of the band’s 90s catalog? Then I thought, well maybe I’m missing something. The album was released in 1997 when I was seventeen so maybe my interpretation of the songs would be different since my musical palette has certainly expanded within the twenty years of it’s release. Also, it has been a while since I last listened to this album so it wouldn’t hurt to revisit it.

So I did. Here’s my review.

Let’s begin with what I like about the album. First off, it’s not a bad album. It has a consistent sound and the things I like about Green Day are there: the energy, humor and some very creative word play in the lyrics. I’ve always loved the line in “Hitchin’ A Ride”: “Do you brake for distilled spirits?/I need a break as well/The well that inebriates the guilt”, along with the line “Cold turkey’s gettin’ stale/Tonight I’m eating crow”, which sums up perfectly the song’s subject matter about falling off the wagon of sobriety. Billie Joe has always been a good lyricist and who is able string together a narrative for an entire project very well. He continues this on nimrod., even though the album was written to be a collection of individual songs that have nothing to do with one another. It still works.

Before I re-listened to this album, I only liked three songs off it and two of them were the singles “Hitchin’ A Ride” and “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)”, the other one is “The Grouch”, my favorite on the album. It’s a song about Billie Joe’s fear of regret, growing up into a person that’s settled in life with a nagging wife and a son that’s a fuck up, and also losing his ideals. The song really served itself as a lesson to me at seventeen and I still hold true to most of the ideals of my youth without the compromising effect adulthood can have.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Eve of Destruction: Previews NJPW in Fukushima, Hiroshima, and Kobe

But...but I have All Japan and NOAH to catch up on still...

Right, we have three upper tier shows coming at us in the next four weeks. Each one has a marquee singles match to catch, and in between all these are several more title matches and multi-mans, many of which are going to be excellent in their own right. Even if someone wanted to skip the filler (like I'm going to in this preview) it'll be a Long September for all of us. Well, if we don't start, we're never going to finish. Justin and I are gonna cover the major matches from all three shows, and let you know our picks for who'll win. The road to the Tokyo Dome is heading through Destruction!

Destruction in Fukushima, September 10th in Azuma Sport's Park

IWGP Tag Team championships
War Machine(c) vs Guerillas of Destiny vs Killer Elite Squadron

Landon- This is going right up here because this match is happening on all three cards in the next month. This is going to be the greatest series of car crashes ever seen in New Japan. All three teams have exactly one specialty; beating the shit out of their opponents. I don't know how many times the titles will change in September. Maybe all three times, but I'm hoping for zero. War Machine should walk out of Kobe with the belts, no matter who wins Fukushima and Hiroshima.

Justin- I find it very odd we're getting this same match three times, but they should all be enjoyable.  Hopefully they'll find ways to make them all different, other than simply changing the titles.  I agree with Landon, the belts should stay put throughout the series.  But I think there'll be at least one title change.  Let's say KES wins the first match.

NEVER Openweight 6-Man tag Team championships
Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, SANADA, and BUSHI) vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Rocky Romero, and Toru Yano)

Landon- I really hope that the CHAOS group doesn't win here. The whole match looks like it's just a backdrop for Okada and EVIL's match coming up in October, and changing the titles here would be a serious mistake. I don't think there's a trio in New Japan right now that is better than SANADA, BUSHI, and EVIL are, and they should be trios champions for a long time, possibly forever.

Justin- Agreed, LIJ retains.

NEVER Openweight Championship
Minoru Suzuki(c) vs Michael Elgin

Landon- Ever since January, when I was introduced to the wonder that is Minoru Suzuki, I've always put my chips down on him. Yeah, I got burned for it at the New Beginning, but since then, he's been a safe bet. But here? I'm putting my faith in Big Mike. Raw power is the one thing that can believably counter just how dangerous Suzuki can be as a striker and grappler. If Elgin doesn't win the NEVER Openweight Championship here, I honestly have no idea who could possibly dethrone the Lonely Warrior.

Justin- This should be a great, brutal fight.  Big Mike has to win here.  He'll be a perfect custodian for the badass division that is NEVER Openweight.

Destruction in Hiroshima, September 16th in the Hiroshima Sun Plaza Hall

IWGP Junior Tag Team Championships
Taguchi Japan (Ryuske Taguchi and Ricochet)(c) vs. Suzuki-Gun (Taichi and Yoshinobu Kanemaru)

Landon- Look, I l...I liiiii-la-la-la....I think Taichi is okay. And Kanemaru has proven to be pretty good the more I watch him. My love for Taguichi, however, can only be beaten by a few individuals. Even with my lukewarm respect for Ricochet and what he does, I'm going to be cheering for the Funky weapon here. Also, because we need to stop playing hotshot potato with the Junior Tag Titles.

Justin- Taichi and Kanemaru are the bottom of the Suzuki-Gun barrel, and Taguchi Japan just won the belts.  They keep them here.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
KUSHIDA(c) vs El Desperado

Landon- After the Best of The Super Juniors, I think a lot of people realized just how great Despy can be, minus assault with pens. But KUSHIDA two-belts-with-two-trophies (ehh, we'll work on that one) is on the roll of a lifetime right now, and Desperado shouldn't be the one who stops that streak. I think it'll be a good match, but Suzuki-Gun goes 0-2 in Hiroshima.

Justin- This is what you call a filler title defense.  Don't get me wrong, Kushida is hard-pressed to have a bad match with anyone, but I don't see Desperado dethroning him.  Kushida will and should keep the belt till at least Tokyo Dome.

IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Hiroshi Tanahashi(c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

Landon- I don't know how this one is going to go. The fact coming into this match is that Tanahashi is injured. His arm is probably getting worse by the day. He'll never want to admit it, but at some point it's going to give out on him if he doesn't get the surgery. Sabre may not be the best choice for this title swap, but who would be at this point? With The Dome coming in 4 months, we need to seriously start considering what the Intercontinental Title match will be, and surgery would take Tanahashi out until past the show. So we either have a hurt Tanahashi, or we start to get a new champion ready to defend the belt. Is Sabre the man? Well, he could be.

Justin- Zack Sabre is fucking awesome.  And he should win the strap.  And I think he will.  Clearly the company has plans for him, given how well he fared in the G1.  Tanahashi takes time off to heal or have surgery and hopefully returns in time for WK12.

Destruction in Kobe, September 24th in the Kobe World Hall

IWGP US Heavyweight Championship
Kenny Omega(c) vs Juice Robinson

Landon- Kenny was recently pulled from all of the shows leading up to Kobe, to heal what is being reported as a meniscus related issue. Even if Kenny comes in at 60%, this'll still be an awesome match. Juice has had a ridiculous rise in stock over the past year, and I actually wouldn't be upset if he took the US title from Kenny. However, I think Omega retains the title.

Justin- This should be pretty great.  Hopefully Kenny's injury isn't serious.  I think he retains till at least WK12 when he faces (Please God, I need this) Kota Ibushi in the semi-main event.

Strap yourselves in, clear your calendars, and get ready for New Japan to give you their all in September. I'm sure we'll see you on the other side of each show.