Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wrestlemania XXXI Predictions

Here are my predictions for Sunday's WWE event of the year:

Tag title match
What Should Happen: Tyson Kidd and Cesaro are a fantastic team, and should hold the titles for six months before losing them, splitting, and feuding.

What Will Happen: The Usos are the current Smoking Gunns- the tag team the WWE can always rely on to provide good matches against a variety of opponents. They lose the belts one PPV, win them back the next. Lather, rinse, repeat.

What I am Terrified will Happen: I like Kofi Kingston, and think Big E is a fine power wrestler. But the New Day is an awful gimmick. So naturally, they win.


AJ Lee and Paige vs The Bella Twins
What Should Happen: AJ and Paige have a huge falling out and start a blood feud that dominates the women's division.

What Will Happen: The Bellas win, AJ retires, and Paige gets shuffled off to the side. THe next night, Nikki throws out an open challenge and Charlotte answers to win the title.

What I am Terrified will Happen: Same as the above scenario, only replace 'Charlotte' with 'Stephanie McMahon'


Andre The Giant battle royal
What Should Happen: Finn Balor makes his Wrestlemania debut, causing the entire audience to mark out at his entrance, and wins the battle royale as the announcers rave about his debut.

What Will Happen: Ryback wins.

What I am Terrified will Happen: Kane and the Big Show obliterate everyone, then argue over who should win, leading to a 'comedy' bit where both men claim to hold the trophy for nine months.


Intercontinental ladder match
What Should Happen: Match of the night. Daniel Bryan or Dolph Ziggler take the title and begin a six month reign defending it against a variety of opponents every RAW.

What Will Happen: Wade Barrett retains.

What I am Terrified will Happen: Shaemus attacks R-Truth and joins the match, winning the title and joining the Authority


Triple H vs Sting
What Should Happen: Ric Flair comes down to ringside with the new version of the Horsemen- Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Miz- and they lay out both men. HHH for humiliating Flair, and Sting... "Just Because"

What Will Happen: HHH dominates the match, a face (guessing Ziggler) distracts him, Sting gets the pinfall.

What I am Terrified will Happen: HHH dominates, HHH pins, HHH stands tall for the WWE


US title match: Rusev defends vs John Cena
What Should Happen: Rusev wins cleanly as Lana returns and positions himself as the next #1 contender

What Will Happen: Back and forth match with Cena hitting a AA out of nowhere to win the title.

What I am Terrified will Happen: Cena dominates the match completely, Rusev bails to keep the title but looks like a coward


Bray Wyatt vs The Undertaker
What Should Happen: Wyatt wins as the announcers wonder if the baton has passed

What Will Happen: Wyatt dominates, but the Undertaker makes the comeback to pin him

What I am Terrified will Happen: Undertaker dominates, Wyatt gets next to no offense in


Randy Orton vs Seth Rollins
What Should Happen: Surprising match of the night. The Authority come down early, but Orton RKO's everyone to remove them from the equation. Back and forth 25 minute match that has Orton his a RKO that Rollins slides a foot under the rope at the last second, then hits a Curb Stomp for a win.

What Will Happen: If Rollins is cashing in the MitB within the next month to win, he loses to Orton. Otherwise, he wins with the help of the Authority

What I am Terrified will Happen: Big Show and Kane come down to ringside, turn on Rollins, and Orton is welcomed back to the Authority with a full embrace.


Main Event: Brock Lesnar defends vs Roman Reigns
What Should Happen: Lesnar and Reigns have a back and forth hard-hitting slobberknocker match with Reigns getting several close two counts. The announcers point out how worried Heyman is as the match goes on and on. At 15 minutes, Reigns hits the Superman punch and ALMOST gets the pin- but Lesnar hits the F5 for the three count.

Both men are laying on the match, exhausted from the match- and the Authority's music hits. Rollins comes down with the briefcase. The announcers don't notice, but the camera picks up Heyman whispering something to Roman Reigns as the Authority comes down. 

Rollins cashes in, enters the ring, the bell starts the match- and Roman Reigns delivers a Superman punch to Rollins to cost Rollins his MitB briefcase. Reigns walks out with Heyman and Lesnar.

Over the next weeks, Heyman says that Roman Reigns was the only man in the WWE that was even in the league of Lesnar- but the fans and the WWE made him weak. Heyman would bring out the killer in Reigns- and Reigns goes on a rampage of destruction over the next year. With Lesnar on a part-time schedule, Reigns becomes Heyman's weekly man, and we start getting the crowd wanting to see the rematch.



What Will Happen: OK- there are only two possibilities. Either Reigns wins the title- or he turns heel (or both). He CANNOT lose this match and still be a face. If the WWE really thinks Reigns is the guy- pull the trigger and push him, or have him lose and be forced to rebuild him.

You can rebuild him as a heel- joining the Authority to get another title match. And there's enough faces to have him as a heel.

But I think they are going all-in. I think Reigns beats Lesnar, and Rollins doesn't cash tonight. They'll have Reigns-Rollins and Reigns-Rusev matches until Summerslam and see if they can get the fans behind him.


What I am Terrified will Happen: Reigns beats Lesnar, Rollins cashes in to win the title, and we hear nothing for the next six months except how Reigns is the 'real' champion.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Waste of Time: House of Cards

I tend to go on long, extended rants about tv shows- partly because it's a topic that is safe to discuss and disagree with, and partly because I end up spending a lot of time watching a show.  So when it disappoints me, I feel like all of the time that I've spent watching the show has been wasted.

The king of rants for me is Battlestar Galactica (BSG), which was so brilliant the first year and a half, and then nosedived into a preachy, whiny self-righteous show that made no sense whatsoever.  They spent the first year proclaiming that the Cylons had a plan... and then decided to drop whatever that plan was.  I don't know what happened halfway through season 1, but whoever ran the show lost everything that made it so appealing.  And...

But, I digress.  This post is about House of Cards, on Netflix.  I finished season 3 today, and... it's not as awful as BSG.  The last episode isn't quite as frustrating as the final episode of the Sopranos.  But it was disappointing, to the point that I may not watch a season 4.

First, the good parts.  Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are fantastic.  Michel Kelly has been great as Doug Stamper.  And finally, in season 3 they have competent foes, both at home (Heather Dunbar) and abroad (the Russian President).

But the season was disappointing, for the following reasons (spoilers after the jump break):

Sunday, January 11, 2015

* I have a rule- I'll root for a bad team but not a stupid team.  As a longtime fan of the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, and Cleveland Cavs- I've rooted for my share of bad teams (and my share, and your share as well).  But I'm at the end of my rope for the Cleveland Browns.  Drafting Johnny Manziel was defensible- I wouldn't have done it, but it was defensible.  But chasing off your Offensive Coordinator by having 'the front office' text him plays is... well, stupid.  The Browns are a poor organization that make stupid moves.  Do they have bad luck?  Sure- but they also run the team so poorly that they invite bad luck to happen to them.  As much as I want to root for Cleveland to succeed- quite frankly, I don't deserve to be stuck rooting for such a stupid, rotten franchise.


* So the Conference finals will be New England-Indianapolis and Green Bay-Seattle.  Both should be excellent games.  Even though the game is in New England, I suspect the cold weather may favor Andrew Luck over Thom Brady.  Indianapolis is getting hot at the right time.


* As for Green Bay against Seattle, Seattle's defense looks impressive as hell- but so does Green Bay's offense.  That's going to be a fun game. 


* Regardless of who wins, I can promise you that <a href="http://profootballmock.com/">Pro Football Mock</a>  will have a blast with whoever goes to the Super Bowl.


* As for the Browns, my sentiments can best be summed up as:


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Closing Out 2014

2014- it was a year.

On a personal level, 2014 will always be the year I lost one of my best friends.  Barbara Jo, I still miss you and always will.  Life is so much more duller without you around, and I'll see you in the next life. 

On every facet of life, there are good points and bad points.  2014 seems like the bad points were brought out in full force.

Politics (federal)- Gridlock reigned supreme, unless they were cutting dealsto help out Wall Street.

Politics (local)- Eric Garner and Michael Brown put a spotlight on a rift between the police and the citizens

Entertainment- One great Comedian (Robin Williams) took his own life, due to depression and health issues.  Another great Comedian (Bill Cosby) has been credibly accused of multiple rapes.

And yet- good points can be found.  The economy is improving (more slowly than I would like, but it is going int he right direction).  Gas prices are falling.  Technology continues to improve- from solar panels that achieve 40% efficiency to breakthroughs in graphene.  Hell, we even landed a spacecraft on a comet.

But right now, it seems like the low points of 2014 stand out more.

Here's hoping things get better for 2015.










Sunday, November 9, 2014

"Death in Heaven"- Steven Moffat and Doctor Who

Fair Warning:  I'm delving deep into two of my fandoms here- Doctor Who and Pro-Wrestling.  I'll try to explain to a non-fan as much as I can.

So- The Eight Season of the Revamped Doctor Who ended last night with the second half of a two part episode.  This isn't a review of that episode- for reviews of the episodes, I highly recommend "The Reluctant Optimist".  Instead, I want to talk about why this season has been so frustrating for me as a fan.

It's got nothing to do with the acting.  I think Peter Capaldi has been great as the 12th Doctor.  It took me a while to appreciate Jenna Coleman as the Doctor's Companion, Calra Oswald, but she has really done an excellent job acting.

It's just too bad the scripts were so awful.

Steven Moffat is the showrunner- not only the main writer, but the person who drives the direction of the show.  He took over from Russell T. Davies just as we went from the 10th Doctor to the 11th.  

If you're a pro-wrestling fan, you'll get this analogy:

Steven Moffat is the Vince Russo of Doctor Who.

If you're not a pro-wrestling fan, let me explain.

Vince Russo used to be the head writer for the WWE back in 1998- then in 1999 jumped ship to the competition, WCW.  Back in the WWE, he had the owner of the federation, Vince McMahon, act as his editor (much like Davies could be for Moffat).  In WCW, he had no editor at all.

Both Russo and Moffat love to write the Markout Moment- the line/scene/moment where the character says or does something that you as a fan will remember and share with your friends.  It can be a moment of awesomeness, of heartwarming, of funny, of anger- anything to make you mark out.

That would be fine.  The problem is that both Russo and Moffat (a) throw so many markout moments that they lose the impact and (b) forget the consequences of what they wrote five minutes ago.

An example from Russo's reign- he had the biggest face in the fed lose a match by having someone betray him three months in a row.  At that point, you stop rooting for the good guy to get revenge and start thinking he's an idiot.

Or, from last's night Doctor Who episode (SPOILERS!)...

...


...


... OK, five minutes are spent with the Doctor and Clara agonizing over a decision-.  Her boyfriend, Danny Pink, has been turned into a Cyberman, but still retains his emotions.  He's in a ton of pain.  In addition, if they inhibit his emotions, he'll hook up more with the hive mind and be able to tell the Doctor the Cyberman's plans.  But shutting off his emotions will turn him fully into a Cyberman, losing his independence and he'll be lost to Clara forever.

So it's one of those morality decisions.  They spend a lot of time before finally making the call to turn on the inhibitor.  Big moment, right?  

Pink reveals the Cyberman's plans, they confront the big Bad- and not FIVE MINUTES LATER, Pink is revealed to still have his independence and feelings.

So what the hell was all that buildup for?

This entire season has been like that- big buildups to moments, that are then forgotten about before the next commercial.  And so, any markout moment is lost, because it doesn't mean anything.

(In addition, Moffat has decided to spend this year having the Doctor mock and condemn any soldier.  It's always great to see a fandom you like being used to insult a group of people you respect.  Really.)

So... yeah.  My wife has turned me into a Doctor Who fan.  But I don't think I'll pay much more attention until they replace Moffat as the showrunner. I'm not interested in what he's selling.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

NBA Predictions 2014-2015

Eastern Conference:
1. Cleveland
2. Toronto
3. Miami
4. Chicago
5. Indiana
6. Charlotte
7. Brooklyn
8. Washington
===========

9. Detroit
10. New York
11. Atlanta
12. Orlando
13. Milwaukee
14. Boston
15. Philadelphia


Western Conference:1. San Antonio
2. LA Clippers
3. Oklahoma City
4. Golden State
5. Dallas
6. Phoenix
7. Portland
8. Minnesota

=============
9. Memphis
10. New Orleans
11. Houston
12. Denver
13. LA Lakers
14. Sacramento
15. Utah

More notes:
• My surprise team of the year- Minnesota. Very young, very athletic- I could see Wiggins as the rookie of the year and Bennett as the most Improved player of the year. In a loaded Western Conference, I think they make the playoffs
• Houston- last year I thought they’d gel and be real contenders. I’m no longer a believer. Harden+Howard+ role players no longer seems like a good combination, especially in this era of three point shooters.
• But damn, the West is Loaded. The #10 team here could contend for a top three spot in the East.
• While the Eastern Conference is better this year than last year, it’s not because the top teams are great- it’s that the mediocre teams are taking a few steps forward
• I’m not a believer in Washington. I think they overplayed their starters, don’t have any bench, and got lucky with health last year.
• I have no idea how Chicago, Miami, or Indiana will do. I could see any of the three challenging for the top spot in the East; I could see any of the three collapsing completely.
• Complete wild guesses on the lottery: 1) Utah 2) Philadelphia 3) Denver. They will vote to ‘flatten’ the lottery, but it won’t begin until 2016
• In the Western Conference, I will keep picking San Antonio until they prove me wrong. And in the Eastern Conference, I think the Cavs are more talented and healthier than any other team in the conference. And in the finals…
• Damn. Last year was the single most frustrating year I have ever experienced as a sports fan. Watching a team you expected to take a step forward just fall apart and become a disaster was painful. I have been a longtime Mike Brown fan, but he was the wrong coach for this team. It was ugly.
• And then, karma payback. The Cavs won the lottery. They went in a completely different direction with the new coach, and picked someone with a worldwide reputation for being an offensive genius. They didn’t panic and drafted the person I thought was the best player. I was thrilled long before LeBron came back. And then he came back- something I never thought would happen.
• I’m a Cleveland sports fan. I’ve come to dread the worst. Right now, I’m terrified how something that seems to be put together so perfectly could fall apart. But everything seems set up so perfectly. On paper, this works… San Antonio is a year older. Cleveland is younger than Miami, deeper, and hungrier. The Cleveland Cavaliers end the Curse and win the NBA Championship in six games.

(Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be hiding under the bed))

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Top 10- Epic Rap Battles

Next Month, Epic Rap Battles returns to Youtube.  Nice Peter and Epic Lloyd have had three seasons of mixing rap battles with celebrities, and they've been consistently hysterical.  I thought I'd put up my ten favorites of the first three seasons:

(Some cursing)