Sunday, April 6, 2014

Wrestlemania XXX Predictions




Wrestlemania XXX is tonight.  Here are my predictions for tonight's event:




The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) © vs. The Real Americans (Cesaro and Jack Swagger) vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. Los Matadores (Diego and Fernando)

What should happen: Real Americans win the titles and start on a showdown with the Shield

What will happen: Usos retain. Ryback and Axel start arguing, but don't break up.


The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) vs. Kane and The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn)

What should happen: Shield destroys Kane and the NAO. Under the command of the Authority, the New Age Outlaws attack Kane and leave him lying in the ring, "Guilt by association of knowing Daniel Bryan"

What will happen: Shield splits- Ambrose and Rollins team up and leave Reigns lying. As they walk away, Reigns spears Armstrong for the pin.


Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational

What should happen: AJ retains and keeps her stranglehold on the belt until Paige from NXT is ready.

What will happen: The other divas attack AJ, then let Tamina take the pinfall to end AJ Lee's streak.


André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

What should happen: They need a new single mid to upper card face. Cody Rhodes and Golddust are the final two. They agree to flip a coin. Golddust loses, then attacks Cody to win the Battle Royal and start a feud with Cody

What will happen: Big Show wins, throwing out Shaemus in the end


John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

What should happen: Wyatt wins, realtively cleanly (Harper puts Wyatt's foot on the ropes to break a pinfall). Cena takes time away from the ring as the Wyatts go on a rampage. After a couple months, during one of Wyatt's speeches, Cena calls him out from the rafters, claiming that he found his own Dark Angel to teach him how to fight the Wyatts. In Cena's corner for the rematch- Sting

What will happen: Attitude Adjustment after a great 15 minute match, 3 count for Cena.


Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar

What should happen: Undertaker wins, and Brock Lesnar blames Paul Heyman, attacking Heyman, and leaving him in the ring. Lesnar vowsa to either win the title by next Wrestlemania or leave wrestling for good

What will happen: Undertaker wins


Daniel Bryan vs. HHH


What should happen: Thirty minute match with Bryan beating HHH with the running knee but the announcers wondering how much he has left in the tank.

What will happen: HHH sneak attacks Bryan on the way to the ring, and spends the first ten minutes destroying Bryan- but unable to put him away. As HHH gets more frustrated, he gets more desperate, finally going for the sledge hammer. As he goes for the hammer, Bryan dives onto HHH outside the ring and takes control, then pins him with a small package



Randy Orton © vs. Batista vs. TBD


What should happen: In the end, the storyline is too good to pass up. Daniel Bryan has proven himself a company man, willing to work with anyone. He's Bret Hart, but even more over than Hart was. He doesn't pull the power plays that CM Punk has. They've tried to kill off his heat, or push it to someone else, and it's failed. The crowd is behind Daniel Bryan.

It's so obvious that it would take WCW to screw this up. Bryan wins the title and the final shot of the show is the entire audience chating "YES!"

What will happen: The only way that doesn't happen is if Batista has an ironclad guaranteed win in his contract- and even then, don't be surprised if that's pushed back. Bryan wins.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Money

George Will wrote a column over 20 years ago that we should redo who we honor on money.  I think this is a fantastic idea.

Look- who's on the coins and bills of today?  Politicians.  Why?  We're the United States!  We mock politicians!  Besides, I hate any idea that puts politicians on a pedestal above citizens.  Yes, we've had some great leaders.  But there are far greater things in the United States than who get elected to what office.

So I'm offering my suggestion for the bills- who should be honored on each of the denominations:


$1.00 bill (Current:  George Washington).  George Washington.  Just because I want to reduce the number of politicians on our currency doesn't mean we should get rid of them altogether.  In addition to being the Father of our Country and the First President, Washington was also a great general.

$2.00 bill (Current:  Thomas Jefferson).  Norman Borlaug.  Not many people use the $2.00 bill, and not many people have heard of Norman Borlaug.  Borlaug's research into agriculture may have saved a billion lives.  He should be celebrated.

$5.00 bill (Current:  Abraham Lincoln)   Abraham Lincoln.  Still keeping the President who kept the country together.  Washington and Lincoln are the only elected officials that I'm keeping (but I'm keeping one more person)

$10.00 bill (Current:  Alexander Hamilton)  Jackie Robinson.  Americans are obsessed about sports.  I think I could argue that half the bills should have towering sports figures, from Babe Ruth to Jim Thorpe to Michael Jordan.  But the $10.00 bill is popular, and Robinson represents the best in the United States- both as an athlete and as a person.

$20.00 bill (Current:  Andrew Jackson)  Mark Twain.   Father of American literature.  "Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer" remain classics. 

$50.00 bill (Current:  U.S. Grant)  Neil Armstrong.   There are a lot of choices to honor the scientists, inventors, and explorers- Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Alexander Graham Bell.  But the Moon Landing is one of our greatest achievements, and should be celebrated.

$100.00 bill (Current:  Benjamin Franklin)  Benjamin Franklin.  I'm keeping Franklin, because he was so much more than a politician.  Inventor, writer, diplomat. 

They don't make any bills over $100.00 anymore.  But I'd like to bring back two bills, especially because prices keep rising and we might need them soon.


$500.00 bill (Formerly:  William McKinely)  Lucille Ball.  Americans love their entertainers.  And I can come up with several nominees (Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Bob Hope, etc.).  Ms. Ball a star on stage, radio, and television- she can hold her own with anyone else on this platform. 


$1000.00 bill (Formerly:  Grover Cleveland)  I would like to nominate Andrew Carnegie for the $1000.00 bill, because I believe we should honor both the industrialists and the philanthropists.  And having a steel magnate on the highest currency seems appropriate.

 Thoughts and suggestions for other nominees welcomed.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

WWE Elimination Chamber 2014

The WWE has one of their monthly Pay-Per-Views (PPV) on tonight.  Their biggest is Wrestlemania, which occurs next month.  This PPV should finalize the card for the next show.

There's actually a fascinating meta-plot element going into this card, if you'll allow me to get theorhetical for a minute:

Wrestling is a form of entertainment, but with elements of sports.  Unlike sports, the events are pre-determined.  And the bookers usually determine the winners by what they think the fans will pay to see.

So, even if the millions of Super Bowl viewers want the Broncos to win, if Seattle is the better team, they'll win the game- regardless of what the fans want.  

But in wrestling?  If the fans get behind a wrestler, the bookers will give that wrestler a push.  After all, the goal of the bookers is to have fans pay money to see the product.  If the fans are clearly behind a wrestler, it makes sense to elevate them.  

And in wrestling, unlike tv or music, there's real-time feedback.  If the fans of a tv show go nuts for an actor that the producers wasn't expecting, they won't know until weeks or months after the show has been filmed.  But wrestling occurs in front of a live audience every week.  If the fans get behind someone, they'll know in time to change who wins the matches for the next week.

That's the theory.  Here's the metaplot element:

The fans, over the past few months, have been going crazy over the wrestler Daniel Bryan.  Besides being a great workrate guy and clearly cheered for by the fans, his "YES!" chants have crossed over in the mainstream.  The fans clearly want Bryan to win the world title and main event Wrestlemania.

But the bookers have had other ideas.  Part of it is the storyline- by having people keep Bryan from winning the title, they are building heels for the crowd to boo against.

But another part is that the WWE has a formula for which wrestlers they like to push to the top of the promotion- look at John Cena, or Hulk Hogan.  Bryan is small by wrestling standards, a vegetarian, and looks more like a lumberjack than a muscleman.  

At the Royal Rumble, Randy Orton held on to the WWE Title, and Batista won the Royal Rumble.  Now, Batista is returning to the WWE after leaving some years ago.  He looks like he's carved out of granite, and he'll be in a major motion picture this summer.  By the WWE's formula, Batista-Orton makes perfect sense.

But at the Royal Rumble, the crowd completely booed Orton's match with John Cena, and booed when Batista (who the WWE has been trying to portray as a hero) won the Royal Rumble.  And there is a legitimate fear that the Wrestlemania main event might have 40,000 people crapping on the match and chanting for Daniel Bryan instead.

The Elimination Chamber is the last PPV before Wrestlemania.  It's the best- and possibly- only chance to change the main event in time.  

The crowd wants Bryan.  And the crowd might openly rebel if Bryan isn't in the Main Event.

Randy Orton defends the title against five other men in the main event of this PPV.  Daniel Bryan is one of these men.  If Bryan doesn't walk out with the title, the WWE is risking open rebellion.

And that, more than any writing, is the fascinating story to watch on tonight's PPV.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

In Memoriam: Barbara Jo

One of my closest friends passed away suddenly.  Barbara Jo Erickson was... the best way I can describe her is to say that she embraced life like no other person I ever met.  She wanted to experience everything. 

Ride a motorcycle?   Sure! 
Ski?  Let's go!
Last-minute Trip to Western California for a License Plate show?  When's the flight?

Hanging around her, you needed an open mind to try anything.  She had about 10,000 hobbies, and she'd pick them up and drop them on a whim. 

She was fun, and brilliant, and opinionated, and in-your-face, and she made life much much better just by being in it.  And while we never worked out as a couple, I was so glad we could stay in touch, remain friends, and be a part of each others lives.

Barb was only 45, and while she had had health problems in the past, her death was so unexpected.  Her mother and two of her grandparents are still alive, and this is so horrible for them.

I wish all of you could have met her.

I miss you, Barbara Jo.

See you in the next life.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

NFL: Conference championship predictions

Well, after going 1-3 last week, I fearlessly make some more predictions to see who goes into the Super Bowl:

Sunday's games:
New England at Denver:  I said last week that I thought New England had done it with smoke and mirrors- and I'll stand by that statement.  Both teams have great quarterbacks, but Denver is healthier, they are playing at home, and I think that Denver is a slightly better team

San Francisco at Seattle:  It's close, and these teams have faced each other twice already.  The deciding factor, for me, is that the game is in Seattle.  Seattle fans are known for being vocal, and Seattle is one of the few teams (KC and New Orleans are the others) that have a reputation of being that much tougher in their own home stadium.


Friday, January 10, 2014

NFL Playoffs: Round 2

After going 3 out of 4 last week (including the upset with the Chargers), it's now time for predictions for this week's action.  Winners are in bold font:

Saturday's games:

New Orleans at Seattle:  Seattle is a monster at home.  Seattle is the team I'm rooting for.  New Orleans did great last week- but Seattle is a better team than Philadelphia. 

Indianapolis at New England:  New England has been winning with smoke and mirrors all year.  They've been CLOBBERED by injuries, and Indianapolis seems to be getting better each week.  Going for the upset here.


Sunday's games:

San Francisco at Carolina:  I'm confident about my Saturday predictions, but both of Sunday's games are coin flips.  San Francisco looked good last week, but Cam Newton has been on a run, and Carolina seems to have the "Eye of the Tiger (er, Panther)".  Going with the home team here.

San Diego at Denver:  I know, I know... don't bet against Peyton Manning.  But the games have been close, and Manning in cold weather is a bad combination.  I might be completely wrong here- this is the third time they've played each other, so it might come down to coaching and who makes the better adjustments.  I'll go with the upset, but I keep flip-flopping here.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

NFL Who To Root For & Wild Card Predictions

Note #1:  I have a rule that I can root for a bad team, but not a stupid one.  Given the recent decisions of the Cleveland Browns, I have put them in the latter category, and am looking for a new NFL team to root for.



So let's figure out which NFL team left in the playoffs I should root for.  The remaining teams are:

NFC:
1- Seattle
2- Carolina
3- Philadelphia
4- Green Bay
5- San Francisco
6- New Orleans

AFC:
1- Denver
2- New England
3- Cincinnati
4- Indianapolis
5- Kansas City
6- San Diego

OK- start by removing the teams that have already won the Super Bowl sometime in my lifetime.  This includes the Packers, and while I have a blood relation to Dom Capers, I also grew up in Chicago- so I figure that cancels each other out

That leaves:

NFC:
1- Seattle
2- Carolina
3- Philadelphia
4- Green Bay
5- San Francisco
6- New Orleans

AFC:
1- Denver
2- New England
3- Cincinnati
4- Indianapolis
5- Kansas City (won the Super Bowl, but before I was born)
6- San Diego
So now it becomes, "Find reasons not to root for the teams".  Let's elimiante Cincinnati and San Diego- I find both teams boring.  Kansas City is interesting, but I don't think they have a real chance.  That eliminates the AFC teams.

I like the way all three of the other teams play.  So who's fan base do I want to win it more?  Carolina is still more of a basketball center than a football town.  And Philadelphia- well, I'm still mad about them winning the World Series with Cliff Lee.

Congrats, Seattle Seahawks.  Here's hoping you win it all.



Note #2:  We still haven't found evidence that I am not a sports curse, so whatever team I do root for may be in jeopardy.  If so, I apologize to the fans and the team of the Seahawks.


Wild Card Predictions (winners in bold):

Saturday Games:
Kansas City at Indianapolis:- KC played an easy schedule this year, and probably aren't as good as their record.  If this were at KC I'd give it to them, but in Indianapolis, I'll go with the home team.

New Orleans at Philadelphia:   Three teams have great home-field advantages; Kansas City, New Orleans, and Seattle.  Unfortunately for the Saints and Chiefs, all of their games will be on the road.  Really liking Chip Kelly's offense.  Going with the home team again.

Sunday Games:
San Diego at Cincinnati:  Biggest coin flip.  Not a huge fan of either team.  But Cincinnati has a hard time getting out of the first round.  Going with the upset here.

San Francisco at Green Bay:  In Green Bay, with Rodgers returning and wanting revenge?  Tempting.  Really tempting.  The weather forecast shows it as cold (10 degrees) but no snow.  Going with San Francisco- their defense is good, and the defense is helped in bad weather.