Monthly Archives: December 2016

Albums of the Year: 2016

There’s been a lot of new music in 2016 (there tends to be each year ya big dummy) but as usual with it being the end of the year I now have to partake in the seemingly pointless task of deciding what I liked best. Out of the things I liked best.

Normally with these kinds of lists you get your big Top 10s or Top 20s, but let’s be serious no one really pays attention till the Top 3 anyway. Just like in the olympics only bronze, silver and gold matter. So I’m going to cut the waffle and tell you my 3 favourite albums released in 2016!

Bronze Medal: Blink 182 – California

California was Blink 182’s first album since splitting with Tom Delonge and getting Matt Skiba, of Alkaline Trio fame, on board instead. The result is very much a Blink 182 meets Alkaline trio vibe, as you’d expect. Personally as a fan of both bands, it worked really well and rejuvenated Blink perfectly.

California comes with all the classic Blink 182 tropes. The album sounds fantastic and is mixed brilliantly. The songs are often silly or lighthearted. Travis Barker goes crazy on his kit, sometimes to the benefit of the songs sometimes to the detriment. Yes, it was an attempt to recapture the times of old, but it also doesn’t feel that cheap and awkward.

I really liked this album and have had it on constant rotation in my car since I bought it. What I’m really looking forward to is Blinks 8th album and second with Skiba. Once everything has settled down and the pressure isn’t on so much the band can relax and really do what they want again. I would highly expect the next record to blow California out of the water.

Silver Medal: Twin Atlantic – GLA

Twin Atlantic have been one of my favourite bands in recent years. Their last two albums were both top-notch without a doubt. For GLA, although it took a slightly different direction it is as well.

Upon first listen to the whole album I’ll admit to still being unsure of what to think but after a few more listens I started to really enjoy the record. GLA is an up tempo, fun and often very catchy album. The new sound is kept throughout, which really holds it all together. If I had to pick a favourite song from the album it probably would be No Sleep, but a close runner-up would be Whispers. Which is a song that reminds me so much of Biffy Clyro, it’s simply awesome. You Are The Devil is another highlight too.

Gold Medal: Biffy Clyro – Ellipsis

For me, Biffy Clyro have always been one of those bands that if you hear them on the radio or a friend puts them on in the background I’m happy to listen to. I like them, they’re a talented trio and have some good, catchy songs. I’ve never really gone out of my way to listen to them though, despite owning three of their albums prior to Ellipsis. When Howl was getting a lot of radio time, I got hooked on it and decided to try the rest of the record. I bought it and haven’t looked back since.

Ellipsis sounds amazing, the clarity in all the instruments is sensational. You can hear everything and yet in blends into each other perfectly as well. The album is also packed full of great songs. The best thing about them is they’re all different too. Biffy switch genres, styles and tempos and never miss a beat. It’s awesome to listen too. I like so many of the songs that it’s actually hard to pick out my favourite or favourites. Obviously Howl is great. The first single Wolves of Winter is brilliant too. Friends and Enemies is also fantastic, but if push came to shove I’d say Rearrange would have to be my personal favourite.

Back in January the band discussed the upcoming album with NME, they called it the “best record we’ve made”. They might not be wrong, I love it. If you pick up one album from this year, make sure it’s this one.

5 Worst Things About WWE in 2016

A few days ago I did my Top 5 Best Things About WWE In 2016 list. Now it’s time to flip that idea on its head and look at the, in my opinion, worst 5 things in the WWE from this past year. ‘Honourable’ mentions go to Dean Ambrose and his ‘hilarious’ and ‘wacky’ antics, as well as his completely lacklustre WWE Title run. I blame creative for his horrible story-line booking but I blame him for his increasingly lame wrestling style. Don’t even get me started on the wacky line clothesline. Other mentions have to go to The New Day and their incredibly stale act as they broke the tag team title record for longest reign. Making what should have been an incredible achievement feel like an utter slog to get through.

Keep in mind, I’m not necessarily just blaming the person, people play characters and they work to a script. They just might happen to be the focal point for some of my frustrations.

5. Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon

Its 2 for the price of 1 to start off this list. 2 terrible authority figures, for 2 different reasons, but both from the Raw brand.

Lets start with Stephanie McMahon, the attention seeking, heating killing mega bitch that she is. Why does she feel the need to emasculate every single living thing on the show? Why does she mock heels, bully faces and never, not once get her comeuppance?

Another issue with Stephanie is that you never know if she’s being a heel or a face, mainly because she will switch multiple times per month. Heck, per week. Hell, per show! Make up your mind woman! Once you do, maybe the stories you try and involve yourself in will actually make sense.

Did we really need to have 2 authority figures on both shows? Why couldn’t she have taken a back seat for a little while? After The Authority storyline with her being on TV nearly constantly this could have been a refreshing change of pace for the show. Triple H has managed to only show up once since Wrestlemania and his return was pretty impactful. I say it about a lot of things in WWE, but less really is more sometimes and that includes Stephanie McMahon.


Moving onto Mick Foley. He’s just been a bit rubbish hasn’t he? He’s actively added nothing but has consistently taken away from the majority of the shows his been involved in.

Let’s start with the fact that when he first became Raw GM he didn’t seem to know any of his lines. In fact he didn’t seem to know what was going on at all, he just have this bewildered look on his face most of the time.

More recently he’s just been used to make a week impassioned speech to someone. Normally either Charlotte and Sasha Banks or Sami Zayn. Which I guess is cool, but being over used and half the time his speeches don’t even make sense. for example, why warn Sasha and Charlotte about the Hell In A Cell match and actively seek to have them opt out of it, when you’re the one who booked it? Madness. As for the Sami Zayn stuff, what are you playing at Mick. Throwing in the towel? For Sami Zayn? SAMI ZAYN?! Why do you only care about Sami and not the hundreds of jobbers you’ve sent to be fed upon by Strowman?

Granted it’s not all his fault. After all, his just doing what creative tell him to do. He’s been made the spokesman of some really dumb decisions and it makes him seen delusions and senile. Plus, why is he being made to be Stephanie’s utter bitch one minute and then her best buddy the next? Consistency people!

Simple put, both creative and Mick himself seem to have completely lost touch with reality. In my honest opinion, Foley lost his relevance to wrestling over a decade ago and bringing him out every week doesn’t help anyone. It’s a quick crowd pop, that in itself will grow tiresome but in the long run his presence is helping no one. In fact, it’s damaging the product.

4. Cruiserweight Division

The Cruiserweight Classic was undoubtably a classic. Set in its own world, telling its own stories in front of a rabid crowd and most importantly the competitors were allowed to wrestle in their own styles. It was perfect.

However the second it was announced that ‘they’ would be moving to Raw post brand split the alarm bells started ringing. I say ‘they’ because I whole host of big names weren’t making the transition over making the whole thing seem a little empty.

One of the many problems that the new Raw Cruiserweights have had was that they instantly had their wings clipped and had to start working the WWE style. Which made them look like everyone else, no individuality. All of the cool ‘flippy shit’ they are allowed to do is the generic WWE approved move set. Hell Kevin Owens does moonsaults and he’s 260 pounds. 90% of the roster seems to do suicide dives these days, including big men like Luke Harper, so why should I be impressed when smaller guys do the exact same thing?

The other problem and perhaps the most important one is the lack of any decent story telling and characters. In the CWC we had individual stories sewn into matches, rounds and the entire show. Upon call up to the main roster we got, 6 man tag team matches for 2 months between heels and faces. It’s like WWE accidentally used the scripts for the Divas Revolution again a year later and didn’t notice. Which would explain why both storylines sucked for the first 6 months.

TJ Perkins is dull, Swann is a walking dance move with a sort of creepy smile, Noam Dar is Scottish and likes Alicia Fox (that’s actually like 5x the amount of character the others have). Brian Kendrick probably had the most back story and character out of everyone for a while but that’s only really because we’ve seen him in WWE before!

Granted Neville has just turned heel and there could be the potential of Austin Aries joining the division too, so things to so maybe it’s not all bad. Oh, Jack Gallagher admittedly is brilliant. So I’ll give you that.

For some reason WWE still feel the need to change the ring ropes and mat logos between matches, which is quite frankly weird. Plus it makes it feel like the Cruiserweights are their own separate part of the show, even though it is still produced like the rest of the show other than that. Why bother? Now we have 205 Live, a weekly show on the network, which you could probably argue is how the division should have always been. In its own universe with its own rules and characters. Although personally I would have just kept it as a yearly network exclusive tournament as that seemed to be its idle scenario.

 

 

3. Roman Reigns

Oh Roman Reigns, you’re just so…unlikeable. It’s not all his fault granted, he’s only playing the role he’s told to play. Which seems to be the same smug prick babyface who bullies people such as married couples because its ‘funny’. WWE continue to be stubborn in their ways when they should have turned him heel years ago.

 

Probably the worst thing about Reigns is that around Survivor Series last year WWE almost started booking him correctly. It only last 2 weeks, yet for a brief moment he was booked as the no-nonsense ass kicker we all loved from The Shield days. Granted he still talked too much which continually revealed his greatest flaw, that he only has one emotion. Smug.

Reigns’ character seems to think that he’s gods gift to the world and that he literally is the best thing since sliced bread. Now as the bad guy, this would probably work wonders however as the top babyface of the company it’s a little off-putting.

WWE then continue to book him as the only person on the roster who matters, making the entire Royal Rumble event about him and him alone. Pissing off thousands in the process and the long inevitable march to Wrestlemania victory begins.

All this while he sits out of half of the Rumble match ‘injured’ only to come back later. Surprise. Then after losing the title Triple H the man who beat him for it gives him the opportunity to win it back. Why? Triple H you’re supposed to be the evil authority figure here, why are you giving your mortal enemy free chances at you? You idiot! And then of course, the Wrestlemania match itself is terrible and Reigns victory is booed by everyone in attendance as the microphones have to be muted so people at home don’t notice.

WWE’s stubborn booking of him only continues to damage him further in my eyes. And yes, a lot of his problems are simply booking but in wrestling the wrestler tends to end up as the focal point of your frustrations it’s that simple. That’s why people didn’t like John Cena for years.

But why would I ever like his character? There is nothing endearing about him. However, I will blame him completely for all of the downright outrageous dickish facial expressions he pulls during his promos and matches. It’s like his trying to piss people off. Which, fyi Roman, isn’t your job because once again you’re supposed to be the good guy!

Oh and finally, the simple fact that WWE have Roman Reigns as US Champion but rarely defends the title, sometimes doesn’t even have it with him and is only interested in the Universal Title. Is also, really, really annoying.

2. Too Much Content

This feels like a weird thing to be complaining about really, but it’s actually a massive problem for the WWE. The market has been flooded with shows and extra network specials in the last year. It’s completed over saturated the product and is continuing to over expose already over exposed stars.

More content should be a good thing right? Well, yes? Back in August 1999 when Smackdown first started that was the case because the then WWF were on fire creatively and could produce the extra 2 hours of awesome content without dropping quality elsewhere. For years now you could argue that WWE has been in a creative funk, so the idea of adding more and more showing is crazy.

At the start of the year, we all knew Raw was an hour to long. While 3 hour Raw’s might make sense from a business perspective bringing in the extra revenue, from the products perspective it’s always been bad. Since the brand split things have only gotten worse really, with Smackdown actually worth watching that’s 5 hours of TV straight away. Then you’ve got NXT, 205 Live and Main Event adding an extra 3 hours per week and this is before we even get to the Network Specials and PPV events! 3 hour exclusive Raw and Smackdown shows coming every couple of weeks and then on top of that, is the extended ‘Big 4’ shows, that are a minimum of 4 hours. That’s a lot of wrestling!

The real problem isn’t that there’s too much, although realistically who has time to watch all these? It’s actually that the shows aren’t very good for the most part. A huge issue is that every show is now miss-able, every single one.  You can skip weeks at a time and it will make no difference, including the extra PPVs, which now seem almost pointless. Take the recent Roadblock Raw exclusive show, the main event ended in a DQ and the rematch will be at the Royal Rumble. Why bother watching then? Heck, what did Wrestlemania actually achieve? Nothing much.

I want to feel like I need to watch every show. I want to be desperate not to miss a thing. Instead, I watch when I can be bothered and I’m pretty close to cancelling my network subscription. £9.99 isn’t that much money and yet I’m still feeling mugged off for paying it most of the time. I would rather pay that same £9.99 for one great show a month rather than 55 mediocre wastes of time.

1. Wrestlemania

It was billed as the biggest Wrestlemania ever. A huge stadium, a monster crowd and a truly awesome moment for wrestling. Unfortunately, half the roster got injured (John Cena, Seth Rollins, Cesaro to name just a few) so the show was looking ropey from the get go.

You could argue that the WWE put on a pretty decent card with what they had available, the Intercontinental Title ladder match and the Women’s Triple Threat were both fantastic. Jericho verses Styles was good too but the rest of the card was…not so good.

The low points included pretty much everything else however. It was an incredibly long show, that somehow included a 40 minute promo from The Rock, and a lot of what we saw was really boring. And I won’t even get into my rant about the entrance process being completely broken, when more than half the crowd (myself included) couldn’t get into the damn stadium on time and missed the entire pre-show!

The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon, a boring match in which Shane O’Mac actually out wrestled the Deadman. That in itself is ridiculous! Admittedly Shane’s jump from the top of the cell was really cool, but was it worth it? No.

The biggest disappointment of the night had to be Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose is a No Holds Barred Street Fight. Ambrose himself came out on record and laid all the blame at Lesnar’s feet but it doesn’t matter. The fact is the match was short, featured nothing other than chairs and kendo sticks despite being promised the world. And instead of making Dean look strong in defeat so he could move onwards and upwards to the next challenge. He lost to one F5 and that was that. Rubbish.

Finally onto the main event. The continuation of the most forced ‘fuck you’ to wrestling fans in recent memory. Nobody wanted Roman Reigns to even be in the match, let alone win the damn thing. And yet there we were, 100 thousand people booing as he did. We all knew he would and he did, it was like watching an inevitable car crash. Couple that with the fact that it was a needlessly long, slow and boring match (the exact opposite of what every fan needed to get through it) and your off to a really winner. I’m of course saying winner very sarcastically.

For a show that had already gone way too long and been very bland, this sent fans home unhappy to say the least. It actually killed my love of wrestling for about 6 months as well. So good job everyone and that’s why Wrestlemania 32 was the worst thing in WWE for 2016.

What did you think of my list? Do you agree? If not, let me know why I’m a big dumb idiot in the comments.

 

The 5 Best Things about WWE In 2016

It’s nearing the end of the year and like everyone else I’ve been looking back and thinking about the best and worse parts of it. Today I’m going to be looking at the 5 best things (in my opinion) that WWE has done in 2016. Then in a few days, I’ll look back at the 5 absolute worst things they done.

So here we go The 5 Best Things About WWE In 2016.

5. The Revival

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We’re starting out under the WWE umbrella but heading over to NXT for number 5 on the list. There are many good things on NXT, in fact if NXT could have made the list as a whole entity really.

Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Tye Dillinger, Bobby Roode have all been brilliant and have continued to make takeover’s must watch shows. Yet, out of everyone on the show two men have stood out more than anyone else for me. Scott Dawn and Dash Wilder, The Revival.

I love everything about these two. Their style is brilliant, I love that they’re a throwback to old school tag team wrestling. They actually use tag team psychology which makes their matches so compelling. Not only that I think that the duo are brilliant subtle heels. They are dastardly and dirty, all the while not really breaking too many rules. They bend them instead.

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Also, the Shatter Machine is a fantastic finisher. No doubt.

Dash and Dawson were also the first ever 2 time tag team champions and its the great work that they’ve done with the belts, i.e. being right bastards, that has made for such great moments when they lose them. Both American Alpha and DIY benefited hugely from having some true bad guys to work with. Making their title-winning efforts that much better.

Finally, any team who can steal the show at back to back NXT Takeover’s deserve to make the list. That’s no mean feat! Yes DIY played a big part too, but when you think that The Revival also came close to stealing the show at Takeover: Dallas and Takeover: The End, you know how good they are. Hell, they were even great at Takeover: London in 2015 too!

4. The Miz

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It’s got to be said that since the brand split, The Miz has been fantastic. It all started with a worked shoot promo on ‘Talking Smack’ and his continued butting of heads with Daniel Bryan has been one of the highlights of the Smackdown brand.

Since then he’s had a fantastic feud with Dolph Ziggler, with a number of great matches between them, including a match of the year contender at No Mercy.

I’ve been a fan of The Miz for years and its been a source of constant frustration that the WWE seemed to have just forgotten about him. Hell, they forgot about him while he was main eventing Wrestlemania for God sake! He’s shown so many times that he can get people over. Daniel Bryan, Alex Riley, Damian Sandow and he even made Dolph Ziggler interesting again after years of floundering.

He’s a brilliant promo and recently he has been showing that he can truly go in the ring. So while him beating Zack Ryder for the Intercontinental Title the Raw after Wrestlemania was met with groans. Now, all eyes are on him and people are starting to wonder how long it will be before he’s involved in a World Title feud.

He’s helped make the IC Title relevant again and he’s made Smackdown worth watching.

3. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks

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2016 has arguably the best year for female wrestlers ever. The two women leading the charge? Charlotte and Sasha Banks.

Now, I’m not putting them in my list just because they’re women and have had a Hell In A Cell match. Though that is cool. Quite frankly I don’t care what kind of match people have as long as the wrestling quality is good and most importantly the story-line and feud is in place.

Now while I’m the first to admit that this feud has probably had too many title changes. I’ll also tell you that for most of the year this feud has been one of the regular highlights. Hell, since the brand split you could say that the Raw Women’s Title has been the most important on the show.

tumblr_ofx10c2bx91sbzhteo1_500The reason I enjoy this feud so much is that the Title clearly means something to both women. They are invested in its importance and so I am too. The reality is, it doesn’t matter to me that women are suddenly allowed to do gimmick matches or are main eventing PPV’s because since when was the logic in place that the best matches and feuds always went on last? John Cena 06 to 2013 anyone? The two aren’t one in the same. In fact one feels very much like a marketing technique while the other feels like, top quality wrestling. No, what matters is that they’re putting on great matches in a great feud. It’s that simple.

2. AJ Styles

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AJ Styles came so close to being my number one choice for this list, he’s been brilliant. As debut years go, he might have just had the best ever.

Debuting at the Royal Rumble to a huge ovation, he’s put on great matches all year. Proving time and time again that people are justified in saying he is the best in the world.

Putting on fantastic matches with Roman Reigns and John Cena and many more. He’s also made James Ellsworth bearable and just generally makes everyone look like a million bucks. On top of all that, he also won the WWE Title. Something that many people thought would never, ever happen.

I could argue that his matches alone are worth his place on the list, but it’s his work since his heel turn that’s ranked him so highly. It’s just been so entertaining. I think it was a massive shame that he got split up from The Club but you can’t have it all. He feels like a true Champion and much like The Miz has been a standout star post brand split.

1. Chris Jericho (and Kevin Owens)

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If you’d have asked me at the start of the year, when Chris Jericho is in full on babyface ‘cool’ dad mode, if he would later be my number one thing in WWE all year. I would have called you a stupid idiot. This is despite the fact that Jericho is one of my favourite of all time. He had lost his sparkle and seemed to just be phoning it in.

He later turned full heel against AJ Styles and picked up a surprising victory over him at Wrestlemania. It’s really since then that he’s really picked it up.

The combination of Jericho and Owens felt very much like a last-minute thrown together plan to give them both something to do. Yet it proved so entertaining that they are still together/feuding today. Chris himself has admitted that his contract ended months ago and the only reason he is still around is because he’s having so much fun.

tumblr_ofkyavnedz1u1ljrzo1_500For months the pairing, though specifically Jericho have been absolutely outstanding on the microphone. Easily being the most entertaining part of Monday Night Raw. Just to prove that he is back in top form he got ‘a list’ and the term ‘stupid idiot’ over. Really over.

Quite simply. It’s been brilliant.


And that’s my list. Do you agree with me or have I missed off somebody/something so obvious that I’ll kick myself for forgetting? Let me know!

 

 

 

Rogue One [Film Review]

 

Rogue One tells the story of the rebels stealing the plans to the Death Star, with the events in the film leading up to (almost) the start of A New Hope. It expands the universe, without tampering with what we know and love. It’s actually a really cool story and in one fell swoop is far cooler and more beneficial to the universe than anything in the prequel trilogy. In that I include Ewan McGregor’s ‘sassy Obi-Wan Kenobi’, who to this day remains a personal favourite of mine.

So the legends were true, a good Star Wars prequel could be made!

I’m so happy that the new series of films have been good. The Star Wars universe is undoubtedly really cool, but there sure have been some sucky films made in it. What’s really nice is that while the new trilogy tells a story we don’t know and can go in any direction. The anthology films are in canon prequels that are also fresh embellishments of the lore that don’t point-blank suck.

Continue reading

Roadblock [Review]

 

I’m going to get straight to the point. Roadblock: End Of The Line, much like most of WWE’s PPV’s this years biggest problem was that it felt like a slightly bigger episode of Monday Night Raw. Instead of feeling like a must see PPV event. Problem is, it was a PPV event and so I’m judging it as one. Which results in it being rated as a rather meh show rather than a top-notch episode of Raw that grabbed everyone’s attention.

There were some ups and there were some downs for this show and there were some questionable timing issues that I’ll get into later *cough, title changes*. Really though, it wasn’t a bad show it was just a run of the mill show and that leaves me disappointed. Hey, maybe it’s my fault, maybe I’m just too worn out by having to pay attention to so much wrestling. Raw, Smackdown, 205 Live, NXT, PPV’s every 2 weeks. Hours upon hours of content. Maybe it’s just too much.

Before I begin, Rusev verses Big Cass was put on the pre-show. What an absolute waste. They spend that much time over the past few weeks building up a story (even if it did paint Rusev as the bad guy for no reason) and then you waste it on the pre-show. Pointless.

Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. Cesaro & Sheamus

20161212_roadblock_match_newdaysheamuscesaro-3b28a59de319baaa70800953da36f488As I mentioned before I knew the result from the PPV before watching it and I’ll admit I had some preconceived conceptions of a lot of the show. This match being one of them.

In my opinion New Day losing the titles so soon after breaking Demolitions record only goes to prove that Vince only wanted it broken to spite them as they are currently involved in a law suit against the company. I feel like it trivialised a great moment for Xavier, Kofi and Big E.

Personally I would have turned slow turned them heel a few months ago as they became more and more desperate to break the record. Then after breaking the record I would have continued them on their cheating ways, still desperate to keep the belts. I feel that when they eventually lost the titles, perhaps at Wrestlemania, it would have made not only that title change mean so much more but the new record itself.

But no, they lose the titles a week after breaking the record. It’s a damn shame.

052_road_12182016hm_1611-c0c13605589d854d255b9a4398cbcec5Now, having watched the match I still feel that way but my frustrations are lessened. Why? Because was a great match, with an awesome story that why! It got off to a fantastic start with a floury of quick paced reversals, flips and one-up-man-ships between Kofi and Cesaro. The high energy pace was kept up for the entire match and there were plenty of false finishes that had the crowd hooked as well. I loved Xavier Woods trying to cheat on several occasions so that they could keep the titles and when Shaemus scored the pinfall the crowd were delighted.

In short, it was a great match and I do think on the night the right team won really. However, I still feel like WWE have not only managed the last few months of New Days title run poorly but they’ve also wasted it.

Don’t get me wrong I like Cesaro and Shaemus, their heel/face dynamic works brilliantly and we’ve all been proved wrong about them being put together. Short term, good match, great moment. Long term, wrong time and wrong place.

Sami Zayn vs.Braun Strowman

This feud is dumb. The stipulation is dumb. Mick Foley is an absolute idiot. That pretty much sums up my opinions before and after this match.

The thing is I actually like the idea of this feud. I’m enjoying Strowman (never thought I’d say that!) and Sami is obviously an incredible underdog talent (without being as annoying as the likes of Rey Mysterio etc). Yet pretty much everything about this feud has revolved around the fact that Mick Foley is a complete moron. His random, ridiculous decisions make it seem like he’s lost his mind. That’s not the angle they’re going for though!

Somehow the match has been booked that all Sami has to do is last 10 minutes and he wins. It’s not classed as a time limit draw, he actually wins the match. What the hell is that logic? Here is a man who has beaten the current Universal Champion on multiple occasions and suddenly Mick Foley is booking him to last 10 minutes to prove to the ‘WWE Universe’ why they should believe in him. We already do Mick!

To make matters worse, Braun Strowman had this match won after 5 minutes, but lifted Zayn’s shoulders off the mat so he could continue to beat him. So really, Zayn lost. How does that make him look tough?

Foley then comes out with a towel, apparently he’s allowed to do that, to call the match off. 2 minutes of the 10 are wasted as Braun tells him to throw in the towel while Sami says no. Then, for the finish Strowman runs into a lot of things while the clock runs down. It’s just so stupid.

Then Sami Zayn celebrates his ‘victory’. Put your hand down Sami, you look like an idiot.

 

Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho

20161209_roadblock_match_rollinsjericho-7978728083dabe6447994a67685b0c7aHow many times have we seen Chris Jericho verses Seth Rollins in the past few months? Too many that’s for sure. It;s sad that this is how I feel about a Rollins/Jericho match though because I love both guys. Jericho has been by far the most entertaining thing on Raw recently and while Rollins has suffered the same fate as all WWE babyfaces (i.e. sounding like little John Cena’s with their ‘funny jokes’) I still think he’s brilliant.

In truth I’m not sure I understand Seth Rollins as a babyface. He’s only just recently decided that he wants revenge on Triple H, despite Triple H turning on him 4 months ago. However, instead of going to find him. He went after the Universal Title, which Jericho cost him several times. Hence this match up, even though we’ve seen it before…

Listen, there’s never going to be a bad match between Rollins and Jericho. the problem is that it doesn’t really mean anything. This isn’t the feud Rollins wants and it’s not the feud Jericho should have either. This logic might explain why the crowd were so quiet at the start of the match, because nothing really mattered. However, it’s got to be said that they won the crowd back over in time for the finish so it’s all good.

There was a fantastic pedigree reversal sequence eventually turning into the Walls of Jericho, which was lovely to watch too. So that’s great.

Towards the finish Kevin Owens comes out to help Chris, but ends up getting sent away. A few moments and a pedigree later Rollins wins the match. The main point here is that the pedigree from Rollins actually looked decent too. Normally he let’s go of the arms way to soon, but for this one he held on that little bit longer and the entire move looked more impactful. I liked it. Still nothing on the real thing though…

 

Cruiserweight Championship

Brian Kendrick is The Man With The Plan. TJ Perkins is some video game dabbing douche bag and Rich Swann likes dancing. Cool, I don’t care. And neither did the crowd it seems. The best part of this match was Austin Aries coming out to do commentary.

A botched leap-frog in the opening minute of the match gets nothing from the crowd, that’s how little they cared. And who can blame them?! The Cruiserweight division is awful. WWE should have kept it as a yearly tournament on the Network.

Michael Cole says that “205 Live is the most exciting hour on your TV, only on the WWE Network.” That’s not on TV then is it Michael, you bloody idiot! Meanwhile, when asked who the favourite is Aries replies “I would be if I was in there”. His right you know. I hope he doesn’t join the Cruiserweight division though, I don’t want to see his talents wasted.

Perkins, like an absolute idiot, breaks his kneebar submission when Swann gets to the ropes. The commentary team call him out for being an absolute muggins. Rightly so.

The match is only 6 minutes, but it felt a lot, lot longer. Swann retains. Poor from everyone. Thankfully, Neville (the man creative forgot) FINALLY returns and kicks the piss out of both Perkins and Swann. The crowd finally show some interest!

Also has anyone noticed that Swann kind of looks like a sex pest when dancing with that creepy smile? While I’m insulting people, heel Neville looks like he’s doing his best Gollum impression when scowling…

Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte Flair

This is the last match apparently. Yeah right. Whatever. You know you’ve had too many title changes when the promo package has to cut out two of them! Charlotte and Sasha are now 4 time and 3 time champions. The title has only been around since Wrestlemania! That’s ridiculous! After a point, each title change means less and less. I feel like they could have told a similar story of them being equal without swapping the belt every 30 seconds.

174_road_12182016jg_0788-6968703fd1335099793c8e0db371f3cdSure, its been unpredictable but at the same time its become really predictable. Never mind the fact that Charlotte having such a good PPV record means literally nothing if she loses the title once a month on Raw. Meanwhile, Sasha who wins the Title on Raw loses it at the first opportunity and it loses it’s sparkle each time it happens. I really hope this is the last match between these two for a while.

It’s a messy match. Lots of little mistakes. Including Sasha’s first fall to bring it level. It looked rubbish. The final figure spot lasted forever but Sasha still looked like an absolute moron tapping out with 2 seconds left. She did it, in NXT and she’s done it again here. Useless, why are wrestlers so dumb?

So it goes to over time and Sasha gets a bloody nose. It’s so weird seeing blood in a Women’s match even if it is accidental. Oddly the commentary don’t mention it at all. Sasha ends up locked in the Figure 8 again and has to tap out again and so Charlotte becomes a 4 time Champion.

Unlike with the Tag Team Title match, that won me over and made me change (most of) my opinion in the title change. I still feel the same here. This could have been seen as an awesome performance from Charlotte to regain her title (and it was) but it just means that little bit less as I’ve seen it so many times.

Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns

20161205_roadblock_match_romanowens-a4bed34775c8b7c7ce772b6e1830a10eI’m honestly amazed that Roman Reigns even knew where the US Title was to being it out. Did you now he was the US Champion? I too almost forgot. Hey do you remember when Seth Rollins was both the US Champion and WWE Champion and he had to defend both titles on the same night? Why doesn’t Reigns have to do similar?
The finish of the match sees Chris Jericho hit Kevin Owens with the Codebreaker, so Roman Reigns is disqualified. The commentary team think Jericho has turned on Owens, but it was all a ruse! He gives Kevin back his title and the two embrace. It’s obvious these two will still feud at somepoint in the future (although, part of me would be fine if they never did) but hopefully we’ll get at least a month of them being smug best friends again becuase that was great.

208_road_12182016hm_4661-168cfad0531f673d16ca286dcc2380eeSuddenly we’re transported to an episode of Raw. As Rollins comes out to help Roman get revenge and the two put Jericho and Owens through the announce tables. I mean that in negative you can imagine. So many of these extra PPV’s just end up feeling like Raw and Smackdown. They feel so…not special.

Also, I completely hate the fact that Reigns and Rollins are now buddies again. I know you’re both good guys right now but you two still have some serious bad blood! The fact you get on again makes zero sense and quite frankly. I think it sucks.

On the plus side, Reigns didn’t win.

 

 

Roadblock [Predictions]

Oh God. Not another WWE PPV. There’s just too many. Talk about quantity over quality.

The thing is, none of the PPVs since the brand split have been ‘bad’ (although Class of Champions was rather dull) it’s just that there’s so many of them, so close together, that it’s hard to care. They just don’t feel special anymore. In fact you could argue that they didn’t already before the brand split, too many ‘B’ PPVs filling the gaps with meh content. Well now it’s even worse.

It’s been two weeks since TLC. Two weeks before that it was Survivor Series. I really hope the rumours are true in that WWE are going to reduce the number of shows next year, otherwise I’m going to have to start missing them too. I already don’t watch the TV shows due to over saturation, instead catching up on Youtube. If I’m over saturated by PPVS, somethings really wrong!

Anyway, rant over. let’s do some predictions!

Big Cass vs. Rusev

20161209_roadblock_match_cassrusev-9e586fb7aafb773764d99074903057f4Can someone explain to me why Rusev is the bad guy here? Enzo flirts with Lana (although flirts is a loose term for has his dick out in front of her), goes to a hotel room to have sex with Lana and yet Rusev is the bad guy. How?! This is almost as bad as when Reigns was the good guy, despite interrupting their wedding celebrations and generally being a massive dick (haha both storylines involve dicks), Rusev is just protecting his wife and fighting for her honour. It doesn’t make sense.

What makes even less sense is Big Cass trying to fight Rusev for rightfully beating some manners into Enzo.

I’m fine with Cass putting on a good showing against Rusev, keep him looking good for when Vince breaks him and Enzo up for a failed singles push. I just want to see Rusev with the victory at the end of the match, preferably via submission. I don’t think there’s any shame in Cass tapping out to The Accolade. Besides, after Roman refused to submitted to it with a chain in his mouth, it needs to be built back up a smidge.

Winner: Rusev

Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho

20161209_roadblock_match_rollinsjericho-7978728083dabe6447994a67685b0c7aHow many times have we seen this match in the last month? And how many of those has Seth Rollins won? Do we really need to see it again?

I love Chris Jericho and I’m still a huge Rollins fan, despite WWE’s bungled face run since his return from injury, but this just reeks of everything I always complain about. The same old matches, over and over again. It’s not going to get more people to buy the WWE Network that’s for sure.

I just can not see Jericho winning this match, which makes the whole thing even more pointless. I do however, expect it to be a very entertaining match but that only gets you so far.

Winner: Seth Rollins

Cruiserweight Title: Rich Swann (c) vs. T.J. Perkins vs. The Brian Kendrick

I’m really sorry, but I just don’t care about the cruiserweight division. In hindsight this was always going to happen. Actually I said it years ago that if WWE brought it back it would be a disaster, but never mind. They should have just kept it as a yearly Cruiserweight Classic on the Network, that would have been great.

Instead we’re lumbered with characterless, small guys who aren’t allowed to wrestle the style they want too. Meanwhile the rest of the roster (and wrestling world) wrestles like cruiserweights. Amazing.

Winner: Rich Swann

Tag Team Titles: The New Day vs. Cesaro and Sheamus

Edit: Completely forgot to do my predictions for this match, so I’m adding it in late. D’oh!

20161212_roadblock_match_newdaysheamuscesaro-3b28a59de319baaa70800953da36f488Now that the New Day have finally beaten Demolitions tag team record we can all move on and focus on new things. New opportunities, new stories and new champions. Hold your horses though, what would be the point in New Day beating the record only to lose at the very next opportunity? None, it would make the entire thing a waste of time.

Instead, I want them to tighten their strangle hold on the division but actually have it play into the story-lines this time. New Day have kept the championships around their waists with some rather underhanded tactics, but nothings really been made of it.

I say, go all in with it. New Day have been getting stale recently (mainly because they couldn’t really do anything new while waiting for this record to be broken) so a slow burn heel turn as they cling onto the belts would be brilliant. Have them become more and more desperate as teams get closer to beating them. Then, at a big PPV (probably Wrestlemania as the Royal Rumble is too close) have them finally lose.

Make this record mean something and it will be so much more important when they eventually do get beaten.

Winners: New Day

Sami Zayn vs. Braun Strowman

Don’t even get me started on Mick Foley during this Sami Zayn/Strowman feud. It’s a bloody disaster zone making everyone look incredibly stupid. I just don’t understand what Foley’s character is trying to do.

All I know is it’s too early for Strowman to lose and Sami Zayn hasn’t had much direction since he beat Kevin Owens months ago. This storyline isn’t damaging Zayn, but it isn’t doing him any favours, it’s just presented in a really dumb way.

The most curious thing is that the match has a 10 minute time limit, which will obviously come into play. Perhaps a draw is on the horizon? I actually really like time limits in matches, I think they should be used far more often, if not always. It can be used as an alternative story telling method for title matches on TV in which both competitors can look good, but the title doesn’t have to change hands. Instead of interference or Roman Reigns beating the Champion clean each week etc.

Winner: Draw

Women’s Title: Sasha Banks (c) vs Charlotte Flair

20161005_hiac_match_sasha-db732d9daef5ab45184204c9bc65546fLook everyone, women can do gimmick matches as well! Is basically what I feel WWE are shouting at us all while patting themselves on the back as hard as possible.

Okay first of all, this feud has had too many title changes. It’s absolutely nuts. I get that they’re proving themselves to be equal etc but God damn. Dial it down a notch. Sasha is the current champion having won the title on an episode of Raw for the 3rd straight month (I’m not joking) meanwhile Charlotte always wins on PPV.

Is this the PPV match Charlotte finally loses or is this trend going to continue forever and be milked to death by the time Wrestlemania comes around? Well, either way this match has no ‘rematch clause’ so it’s the end of the feud. Do I really believe that? No not really.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say That Sasha Banks will finally break Charlotte’s PPV winning streak. However, saying that I really wouldn’t be surprised if we saw another title change. Though I would be rather annoyed.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of these two women having an Iron Woman match. It does fit with the story of them trading so many victories. It’s just that with so many gimmick matches coming in quick succession (Hell In A Cell, Becky verse Alexa in a tables match at TLC and now this) it does feel slightly forced and rushed. Considering that we’ve never really seen these matches before (yes I know Sasha verses Bayley in NXT) I just think it would be better to space them out.

For example, NXT doesn’t do gimmick matches that often and when they do it tends to end a feud. It would be weird for them to suddenly just throwing them out every show from now on.

Winner: Sasha Banks

Universal Title: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns

20161205_roadblock_match_romanowens-a4bed34775c8b7c7ce772b6e1830a10eDid you know that Roman Reigns is the US Champion? I’ll forgive you for not knowing because a) he never has it with him on Raw b) he never defends it c) WWE have also clearly forgotten he is champion.

So instead of continuing the great work done by John Cena and Rusev is bring some prestige back to the title, we’re just going to ignore it and have Reigns focus on the Universal Title instead. Because obviously he’s more important than the US Title…

What’s the point in him even having the God damn thing. DAMMIT WWE.

Reigns has had the best of Owens for the last few weeks on Raw, because who likes having a strong champion anyway. Luckily that does mean that Owens will probably retain via shenanigans, because who wants a clean victory anyway.

Maybe the Jericho/Owens fallout is a massive bluff to fool everyone? Or maybe, WWE will actually put the title back on Roman as they continue to be obsessed with him being the number one in the company. Despite the fact the audience absolutely hate him

Winner: Kevin Owens

Creed [Film Review]

Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

Adonis Johnson never knew his father, boxing champion Apollo Creed. Boxing is in his blood though, so he seeks out Rocky Balboa and asks him to train him. Rocky agrees seeing much of Apollo in him, but whether he has the true heart of a fighter remains to be seen. At the same time Rocky has to battle an opponent far deadlier than any he met in the ring.


Somehow, someway I have never seen any of the Rocky films. I know, I too find it hard to believe. I’ve always been told they were ‘good’ but, I never really believe anyone, mainly due to it being a Stallone vehicle, so didn’t bother. Plus there’s so many…I don’t have time for that!

With Creed though, it seemed like a good starting point to join the existing franchise. Plus, I was on a plane to America at the time of viewing and din’t really have much else to do. What I wanted to know was, with my almost total lack of knowledge of the universe, would the characters mean anything to me? Would there be enough character developments for me to become invested? Would I care at all?

The short answer to all of those is, yes.

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. It’s far better than anything I’ve ever seen Stallone in, by a few country miles too. I feel odd admitting it but he’s actually really good in this. Like, really good. That’s baffling my simple little mind. Whenever I normally think of Stallone I always go back to that awful Judge Dredd film he was in…why’s that my go to? I dunno, stop asking questions nerd.

Michael B Jordan is excellent as the title character and his relationship with Bianca, played by Tessa Thompson, has some real chemistry and is one of the highlights of the movie. That’s what this movie does well, far better than I gave it any potential credit for before hand. It makes you care about the people you’re watching. You want them to succeed, you want them to be together and happy, you want Rocky to beat his illness. I honestly didn’t expect to feel anything during Creed. So well played guys, well played.

Is it a predictable sports film, yes. Is it bad because of that? Hell no! Creed was thoroughly enjoyable and I highly recommend it. My only concern is that because I hadn’t watched the previous films I didn’t experience the possible boring rehash of a rehash of a rehash. I can only tell you my opinions from my experiences though, hence why I give it a thumbs up.

 

Verdict: Thumbs Up