Sunday, July 20, 2014

LIVE Battleground thoughts - 7/20/14

10:49 - Right winner.  Right person took the pin.  Now they need to keep Roman Reigns out of the title picture until they're ready to have him win it.

10:44 - I'm constantly complimenting John Cena....but one thing he does that he's awful at is he always looks up (when he's supposed to be knocked up) when somebody is supposed to come in for a save.

10:28 - And the Big Gold Belt lives on.  Will it survive the logo update of 2014?

By the way, I'm guessing Cena retains here tonight.

10:27 - New gear for Reigns as well.  Looks like army green trim instead of gray.  Sidenote:  I love that he doesn't high five the fans when he walks through the crowd.

10:24 - Hold the damn phone.....for the first time in, I think, 10 years or so.....RANDY ORTON IS NOT WEARING BLACK TRUNKS!!!!!!!!  Welcome back to the world of color, Randy!

10:22 - I beg to differ, Triple H.  I think the big question is whether or not John Cena comes out with the Big Gold Belt -- speculated to have been retired when Cena handed it over to Flair on Raw.  It's probably my favorite title of all time, but I do think it's time to consolidate to one physical championship.

10:16 - Based on that booking, you had to expect Miz to win it.  I am surprised that it was at Dolph's expense and not Sheamus', though.  Not that I'm complaining....I love that Dolph got his fake moment in the sun.  Sidenote:  My feed crapped out A LOT during the Sheamus/Dolph portion of that match.  A lot of freezing and the quality got fuzzy.  Let's see if it's just another has otherwise been fine.

10:09 - I kinda love the booking of Miz repeatedly sneaking in and FAILING to eliminate people.

10:05 - Did Ryback eliminate Axel and did the camera and announcers all miss it?

9:59 - New gear alert - Zack Ryder (black/silver), Sin Cara (red, white, and blue), ADR (IC title colors), Ryback (blue), Heath Slater (back to tights), Kofi Kingston (green/orange -- I assume for Florida?), and Dolph Ziggler (new expression on the back of his trunks -- couldn't make it out).  Not too shabby.

9:55 - Smart money seems to be on Cesaro here, but honestly, who knows?  Could be anyone, really.  Part of me does want to see Sheamus win just to consolidate the secondary titles.

9:49 - Wow, pretty shocked by that victory.  I didn't expect Bray to win the feud with Cena or the championship in last month's ladder match....but he's really in need a big, major victory.  He had that when he beat Daniel Bryan (when, honestly, he probably shouldn't have).  I'm sure Wyatt WILL win this feud, so I'm not too hung up on this result.  Just....surprised.  And they definitely ARE making it seem like a fluke/underdog victory.

9:45 - I do love the visual of that Bray Wyatt crab walk.

9:34 - Does Jericho even have a shot at winning this one?

9:03 - I'm really glad that someone explained to Zeb that Boris, and not Bullwinkle, was Natasha's partner in crime.

9:00 - Well that answers that one.

8:55 - By the way, according to some websites this is a "hot storyline" and people are concerned it might be dropped because of the Putin aspect of it.  This is a hot storyline?

8:47 - Love that AJ is back and really enjoyed that match. I'm also glad that the fans got over their CM Punk chanting and gave these ladies the respect that they deserve.  I don't think the announcers, though, did the justice to the storyline and emotions that they could have.  Also, right person won.

8:36 - Of course I'm disappointed if Ambrose/Rollins doesn't happen....but I can't complain if AJ/Paige are about to have a full blown match.

8:25 - The Usos are a true Cinderella story here.  These guys KEEP overcoming these pushed teams....which I love.  The first two falls were kinda lame, but the action for the last fall was fantastic.  Great opener.

8:11 - I wouldn't be surprised to see the Wyatts win this in two straight falls.

8:04 - When they update the titles with the new WWE logo, what are the chances that they just create a new pair of tag titles altogether?

Also, I'm guessing the Wyatts finally win the gold tonight.

7:48 - Alright, I AM here with my LIVE Battleground thoughts tonight.  Things are improving, but when I first turned on WWE Network the visual was EXTREMELY choppy and practically unwatchable.  Like I said, it's improved now....but that was not good.  Granted, it is the first time I've had issues since before let's hope that was just a momentary blip.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

LIVE Raw thoughts - July 14, 2014

11:08 - Yikes, I sure hope Rollins isn't legitimately injured.

10:44 - Personally, I wouldn't mind if that was how they wrote off the World Heavyweight Championship.  Handing it off to Flair -- arguably the man most associated with the Big Gold Belt -- would be fitting.  Don't get me wrong, I love that championship.  Probably my all time favorite.  But the vast majority of champions look awkward with two titles, let's consolidate to just one.

10:19 - Loved that Paige/AJ scene on the commentary table.  Their insincere interaction was brilliant.  Loved it.

10:15 - Did Paige just take credit for inventing the term "frenemy"?

10:14 - AJ vs. Paige in a legit match?  Sign me up!

10:07 - Did the production of that segment seem odd?  Returning to Jericho from Wyatt's promo, only to continue Wyatt's promo and cut to black.  Then going to the announce team when the lights were still off.

10:03 - The thing about the Wyatt character that bothers me is that all of his opponents always talk about how crazy and everything he is, but he never seems to do anything particularly crazy.

10:00 - Loving this Jericho promo so far.  Very reminiscent of his early stuff.  And best of all -- FUN!

9:51 - That chair throw was surprisingly dangerous.

9:40 - I kinda get a kick out of the fact that Cody and Goldust need to paint their faces for 30 second backstage segments.

9:34 - Pretty cool commercial for the Sting reveal.  But two generations?  Does that mean we get surfer Sting AND crow Sting?

9:28 - Shouldn't Stephanie have given that speech to Reigns and Cena?  And if you don't have enough Divas to sustain these matches, just stop with them.  Enough with this Nikki vs. Alicia and Blank matches.

9:20 - For virtually his entire WWE run, I never really recall RVD submitting.  Certainly not on a frequent basis.  But man, RVD has been tap happy lately.

By the way, I do love the emphasis on the Intercontinental Championship -- with the title on display throughout the entire show.

9:10 - "It was an obvious set up!"  Yeah, apparently the Authority knew that Cena and Reigns were both dicks.

9:06 - Wow, Zeb is an immensely sexist babyface.

9:04 - Wow, shocked that McMahon actually used an image of Obama to draw some face heat.

9:01 - It's hard to fault a segment when the crowd is this riled up for it.

8:55 - Why does WWE insist upon debates?  Do they think we want to see debates?  And why do muscular people wave flags so awkwardly?

8:48 - What the hell is Adam Rose looking at?

8:47 - Jesus, between the WWE Network shilling and this Sonic segment, Raw is basically just a giant commercial now.

8:41 - So how about the fact that Dolph was more distracted by Fandango dancing than Summer and Layla?  Oh, whatever, I guess I'm happy he at least won.

8:32 - That make out scene was beyond unnecessary and awkward.

8:18 - This is the exact character the Miz should be playing.  Well done.

Also, I'd hate to see Sheamus win...but I would love to see the US and IC titles unified.

8:15 - Wait, they're not even going to show that Cena and Reigns DID try to save him?????

8:12 - Loved the Ambrose interruption.  It quickly made me recognize that he's the best part of Raw right now.  Even the beatdown was fun -- the reveal of Kane, and then Rollins, and then Orton....and then to have Ambrose be the one to make the attack.  The biggest issue is the obvious one -- they didn't do anything to show the audience that Cena and Reigns cared.  I have no doubt they'll show the two of them tending to him backstage...but too little, too late.  They should have shown Cena and Reigns run out of the ring, only to not get there in time.

8:04 - With the WWE apparently changing their logo to the Network version (a great move, in my estimation) next month, one must assume they'll be redesigning the "Big Logo" WWE Championship.  It'll probably be as simple as swapping the two logos...but I do wonder if, when they make the switch, they'll just abandon the former World Heavyweight Championship (Big Gold Belt) and merge to one physical title.  Which they should do, honestly.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer of Excitement: Independence Weekend - [a case of the summer]

As one might expect, the aforementioned excitement that occurred last week centered mostly around the activities of July 4th weekend.  I actually took off July 3rd (Thursday), although not for exciting reasons.  I had a dentist appointment at 10:00 (which I incorrectly thought was at 10:30, so I was a half hour late.  Oops), then dropped by my parents' house to do some laundry, and then finally went to the barber to get a haircut.  That evening I also decided to grab a few more things for the apartment (including a TWO TIER fruit bowl!) at which point it started to absolutely pour out.  Like, blankets of water falling from the sky.  Within minutes streets and parking lots were literally flooding.  I don't think I've ever gotten THAT drenched in such a short amount of time from just being outside for less than a minute at a time.  It was ridiculous.  Unfortunately, I was so massively uncomfortable that I couldn't meet a few friends later, so that ended up being a relatively tame night.  But that's okay, because there would be more fun later.

On Friday, my friend had people over for an intended BBQ.  However, since it was raining, we ended up having everybody inside (using the toaster oven in place of the BBQ), which was just fine.  However, when I walked in, I noticed three of my guy friends all wearing the USA World Cup Jersey with matching shorts, in addition to American Flag bandannas.  They explained that they went to the dollar store down the street and, on a whim, talked the guy down to $24 and got everything.  Not to be left out, I went to the very same dollar store and did the same.  He even remembered my friends, which meant I got the same discount.  And so we spent the whole afternoon wearing our matching outfits, and then went to the bar doing the same.  Somehow, we managed to pull it off and had a great time.

Saturday was our yearly tradition of taking my nephew and nieces to the boardwalk in Point Pleasant.  It was a beautiful day and a lot of fun, but holy hell was it crowded.  And I was exhausted, too.  Plus we didn't even eat until, like, 3:00, and I don't like to be kept from food.  But, of course, it was nice to have a beautiful day.

Sunday was a beautiful day as well, as we went to my aunt's house for a BBQ.  A day in the pool with lots of food (see, told you I like food) and family.  Oh, Margaritas too (those are American, right?)  A very nice time.  It was certainly a long, tiring weekend, though, and I didn't feel especially good on Monday!

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Monday, July 7, 2014

LIVE Raw thoughts - July 7, 2014

11:08 - Once again, the final segment of the show was (in my opinion) red hot.  They've got great stuff going on now with Cena, the Authority, and the former Shield.  Love the stuff with Ambrose and Rollins, especially.  I think they made a huge mistake in ending the show with Reigns and Cena repeatedly raising each other's hands instead of them staring each other down.  People who are drawn to Reigns probably don't like Cena....and as a result, having him pal up to him will only turn away the fans' support of him.  They like the Reigns who said that Cena DOES suck.  Does he need to be an outright jerk and spear Cena when Cena had done nothing to him?  No.  But at least tease it and entice the audience.  Other than that, the ending was great but the show, overall, seemed to drag a bit.  Or maybe I'm still not feeling well.

10:52 - I wasn't blown away by that Monday Night War preview.  It didn't show us anything that we wouldn't have otherwise seen on countless DVD's related to that era.  If it is something different -- and I sure hope it is, since it has been anticipated since the announcement of the Network -- then show us HOW it is different.

10:34 - Trust me, I love seeing Kofi win but I hate these victories.  They make Cesaro look bad without making Kofi look good.

10:31 - It's a strange pet peeve of mine that Cesaro doesn't complete shave his head anymore.  The horseshoe look isn't a good one.

10:25 - That was already more intensity than we saw from Tons of Funk.

10:19 - Paige and AJ Lee together?!?!  I'm down with that!  Also, which of these two teams do you see turning against each other first?

10:11 - REALLY love the visual of the audience turning on their cell phones for Wyatt.  It is an AWESOME shot....why are they just doing gilmpses of it?  USE THAT SHOT!

10:03 - LOVE the new Miz entrance.  Obvious allusions to Hollywood Rock, but that's a good thing!  But why on EARTH is the heel commentator (JBL) badmouthing him and the face commentator (Lawler) defending him?

10:02 - I'm kinda over Jericho in the trunks.  Wish he'd go back to his long tights.

9:55 - Eck, didn't care for Sandow/Sheamus.  One character is beyond bland and the other is just frustrating to watch.  I did enjoy that Miz promo, though....and it was the first time I enjoyed him in years.  THIS is exactly the character he should be playing.  And not to toot my own horn, but I was firmly in belief that he never should have turned face to begin with.

9:30 - Ziggler:  "Okay, so how does the match end?"  WWE:  "Well, you lose.  After getting distracted by a man dancing."  Man, way to make him look like a schmuck.

9:28 - How many times do we need to see these two wrestle, also?  And I certainly hope it's not for us JUST to see Ziggler tap to Del Rio again.

9:19 - Don't love the fact that Ambrose lost that one (and that top turnbuckle spot was a bit odd), but I get it.  One's in the title match and the other isn't.  Still, disappointing, despite being a strong match.

9:01 - Still not completely sold on this Dean Ambrose gear.  I like the jacket/vest thing he wears.  I don't mind the jeans (it's close enough to his Shield gear while also being distinctly different).  I think my main issue is the wife beater.  First off, it's so close to what Luke Harper wears (just cleaner).  Why not a sleeveless athletic shirt like he wore with the Shield?  Or even a black wife beater (which I know he's worn on occasion).

8:51 - Acting as fodder on Raw for a Jack Swagger PPV match....why does RVD even continue to return?

8:38 - What in the blue hell was Jerry Lawler babbling about just then?  With the hand tied behind their back thing?  Jesus, this guy is awful.

8:31 - I'm so tired of this whole "challengers win a non-title match to become #1 contenders" thing.

I did really enjoy that Kane, Orton, Rollins segment, though.

8:15 - Still think it was a massive mistake changing the Wyatts' music.  And haven't we seen this match enough times?

8:03 - It is extremely easy to bring up instances in which an association with Triple H has slowed down, halted, or completely killed somebody's momentum or even career.  But I cannot say this enough:  An alliance with Triple H ABSOLUTELY meant gold for all three members of the Shield.  It is very easy to forget that the Shield was losing traction before the creation of the Authority.  People were already writing them off, saying that the Wyatts would be the new favored three man team.  But simply standing in front of the ring during each and every Authority promo and segment meant that they were a fixture in the main event scene.  And throughout the entire Authority storyline, they remained strong.  And just take a look at the end of last week's show.  Who were the exciting parts?  Rollins with the cash in, Ambrose with the interception, and Reigns with the save.

7:22 - Yes, I do plan on doing some LIVE Raw thoughts after last night's spectacular show (from what I've seen, anyway).  However, I'm not feeling great and I have to go away Thursday, so if I'm really struggling I'm going to call it a night.  But here's hoping WWE rides their momentum from last week.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

LIVE Money in the Bank thoughts - June 29, 2014

10:56 - Not a shocking result, but I don't blame the decision either.  He's a safe choice and it's been a while since Cena has held the championship.  He's only played a secondary role all year -- I don't mind seeing him as the champion again.  I did actually enjoy the story, though, of Kane and Orton trying to ensure Orton's victory while everyone else tried to thwart it.  It did make the booking of the remaining heels -- Wyatt, Del Rio, and Cesaro -- a little awkward, though.

Overall an enjoyable show.  Apologies for being so exhausted that I didn't post much.

10:26 - Some subtle new gear from Roman Reigns too.

10:24 - Nice new entrance gear for Cesaro.

By the way, interesting observation on Cena.  If he's ever not the last to come out, he's usually the first.  Right now he's about right in the middle.

10:21 - Sorry for the lack of updates, I actually dozed off for a bit.  But I'm back for the main event.  My current guess is John Cena, although I'm not ruling out Roman Reigns only for Seth Rollins to cash in.

9:32 - Curtis Axel in a singlet -- like his father -- is a bit surreal.  Too bad it looks more like what X-Pac would wear than what Mr. Perfect would wear.

9:25 - A fun match with the obvious -- and most likely correct -- winner.  There's a lot that can be done with Rollins as the briefcase holder.  It was a match that highlighted the talents of underappreciated guys like Kofi and Dolph, and helped make a singles star out of Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.  Job well done.

9:17 - Is it me, or have we not seen Dolph Ziggler in like 20 minutes?

9:03 - If tonight can be a coming out party for Kofi Kingston, I will be a happy man.

9:00 - New gear for Kingston.  Wondering if they're inspired by anything.

8:57 - They're doing the MITB ladder match first, which normally I favor, but it does create a bit of a logistical mess for the title match.  Theoretically, the new champion should be exceptionally beat up, whereas the Money in the Bank winner will have had a two hour rest.  Why wouldn't the briefcase holder cash in tonight?

8:47 - Re:  Damien Sandow:  What a difference a year makes....

8:40 - Another entertaining match and a possible "coming out" party for Naomi.  Great job, all around.

8:26 - I'm guessing that Paige retains and Cameron and Naomi officially break up.  And is it too much to ask for AJ Lee to finally return?

8:21 - Really awesome match and a surprising victory.  Not disappointing, though.  I love the way the Usos have been pushed over the past year or so and they deserve this great moment of glory.  Good for them, and great performance all around.

And does it bother anybody else that Dean Ambrose's new "street clothes" gear is just a cleaner version of what Luke Harper wears?

8:06 - What is this music?  The theme they used last week was sooooooooo much better than this generic nonsense.

8:05 - Cool new gear for the Usos.  I'm guessing the Wyatts win this one, if only to create the idea that Bray may take home the title in the main event.

7:58 - Considering the big matches going on tonight -- the Money in the Bank ladder match and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder match -- I'm shocked that they ended the pre-show with the final push being for the tag team championship.

7:44 - LOVED that "By the Numbers" Money in the Bank video.  Awesome stuff.  Also, great to see Christian on TV again!

7:27 - Okay, welcome to my LIVE Money in the Bank thoughts.  I'm thrilled that they added a second ladder match to the briefcase, as (and I've noted this many times) I think that the briefcase adds a certain level of intrigue to every single segment the champion appears in.  I just wish it wasn't SO thrown together.

By the way, I have a Smart TV and recently learned that WWE Network isn't compatible yet.  I was obviously disappointed, but I decided to try something new.  Using the Web browser option, I simply visited the Network website and viewed the streaming video through the site.  I maximized the screen size so it takes up the whole TV.  It's just as if I was watching normally.  Works perfectly.

Alright, the pre-show is about to begin.  Follow tonight for my LIVE thoughts throughout the show.

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Summer of Excitement: Special Olympics - [a case of the summer]

Well, as you can see, I've been slagging off already.  I actually did have a Summer of Excitement post to report last week, but it was insanely busy and I didn't have an opportunity to do so.  Therefore, this post really refers to the week of June 22nd.  And as this Summer of Excitement feature is in an evolution process, I've decided to not "force things" even further.  If I have nothing to write, I won't.  If I write it late, so be it.  Maybe I should rename this the Summer of Relaxation?  Anyway, this week I'll discuss the excitement that was my volunteering at the Special Olympics games!

My workplace was one of the many sponsors of this year's Special Olympics (along with a little company known as WWE) and as a result, we were encouraged to volunteer if your schedule permitted.  I, along with the rest of the marketing team, devoted our day to the Flag Football competition.  Yes, it was rewarding.  And definitely a once in a lifetime experience, but man....was it grueling!

I joke that I definitely feel mislead about what I was getting in for.  My assignment was "ball retriever," which meant -- as I was told -- if the ball was overthrown I would have to run to get it so that they could begin the next play.  Unfortunately, that is NOT what it was.  Instead, I had to run to go grab the ball EVERY SINGLE PLAY and, once again, EVERY SINGLE PLAY I would have to run a fresh ball over to the line of scrimmage.  And if the line of scrimmage changed, I would have to reset it.  So I was running out into the center of the field every single play of every single game.  It was absolutely exhausting.  Not to mention that it was 100 degrees out (SLIGHT exaggeration) and I wore pants since I didn't know I'd be doing THAT much activity.  There's a girl I was working with who is about 100 times more active with fitness than I am, who didn't run as much as me, who was absolutely exhausted as well.  Imagine how I felt!

Finally, for the last two games, we had to switch with the people who were announcing because we felt so dead.  So there I was -- the guy who knows absolutely nothing about sports -- doing announcing on the loud speaker for a flag football game at the Special Olympics.  And I only got yelled at twice to stick to the script!

It was definitely an interesting experience.

Oh yeah, check back at 7:30-ish for my Money in the Bank LIVE thoughts!

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Summer of Excitement: New Apartment! - [a case of the summer]

Well this post is about a week late, and for that I apologize.  Yet the topic of the post is actually a big reason why I haven't been updating as frequently as I would like.  That's right folks.....I moved into a new apartment!  This whole process was actually very quick and relatively painless -- just a whole lot of work.  And, while the frame of time was relatively small, the commitment it took seemed to eat up all of that time.  But, the place is about 95% of where I want it to be at, so I'm happy.

Basically, I have been telling myself that I want to move for years now.  But there was always a reason to not do it.  For a long time, it was because I didn't see myself staying at my job for the long term, so I didn't want to move someplace only to get a new job, and suddenly the place I had chosen was really inconvenient.  Then when my position changed last year, I knew that I DID want to stay at my job for the long term.  The next excuse was that there was never a good time to do the research or check the place out.  Finally I decided, "let's just do this!" and from there, the ball got rolling.

The timetable is a bit fuzzy, as this all went down about a month ago, but basically I did an Internet search on a Monday, had visited the place by Wednesday, had committed to it by that Friday, signed the lease the next Tuesday, and began moving things in the week after that.  Because of a work trip and the fact that I really didn't have any of my own furniture, I did need to pay for the place for about two weeks without actually living there, but I've now been living here for a week (with practically all new furniture, which I love!) and have now gotten moving on hanging things up on the wall.  I'm really happy with how it's all coming together.

Funny side story:  I have basically been buying and saving things to use for my eventual apartment since college.  And now that I have a place that is 100% all mine, I can finally hang it up.  Problem is, a lot of it is very collegey type stuff (like tin signs that say "Beer Pong Champ") and I can't help but wonder where the line is.  I'm 32 now, hanging some of these things up kinda makes me feel like a douche.  The exceptions, for me, are if I actually made the thing I want to hang up (which is the case with a few items) or if I really like how it  works.  But I think the Beer Pong Champ sign might get cut from the line up.

Anyway, this is a really exciting move for me and I'm HOPING that I'll bring my percentage from 95 to 98 after this weekend (I'll have hung up all the stuff I brought, leaving me to decide what to do with the empty wall space).  I'll try to do a blog video to show all of you what the place looks like.

Oh, and once I'm more "moved in," I'll really work on updating the blog more.  I owe you all some season finale thoughts!

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Monday, June 9, 2014

LIVE Raw thoughts - June 9, 2014

11:05 - That was a sweet looking Sister Abigail.

11:01 - Luke Harper hitting Cena with a modified Nikki Bella Rack Attack? That's low...
10:42 - And now Cesaro vs. Sheamus AGAIN?!?!  Honestly, they desperately GOTTA mix up their booking.

10:38 - When your authority figure is relegated to pouring and sneezing into champagne, it might be time to cut the dead weight.

10:14 - By the way, while I do miss AJ Lee.....I do quite enjoy Paige.

10:10 - Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd another repeat match.

10:05 - So, what did you all think of Rollins' promo and explanation?

9:59 - So wait, the Shield hangs around backstage just to walk around the arena and enter through the crowd?
9:43 - Annnnnnnnnnnnd again with a repeat match.

9:35 - Awesome fake out from Heyman.

9:31 - I don't know what happened....but I kinda find Bo Dallas funny now.  Not so much the pre-match promos, but rather the comments he makes during the match (yelling "he's trying his hardest!" to the fans) and after the match.

9:25 - Random comment:  I miss AJ Lee.  :(

9:19 - The director is bringing his A game today, huh?

9:14 - Remember when Damien Sandow stopped wearing his robe so that he wouldn't look like an Indy act?

9:09 - Surely the Pat Patterson revelation can't be that he's gay, right?  I mean, hell, that's like the third thing you learn when you become "smart."

9:06 - Dean Ambrose nailed that promo.  I'm glad to see him get a little attention, as I don't want him to get lost in the shuffle of the Roman Reigns rocket and the Seth Rollins heel turn.

9:00 - I still miss the skeleton face masks.

8:52 - Echoing what I had said earlier.....Goldust and partner vs. Rybaxel......another repeat?

8:43 - Considering the size of their roster, why exactly are we seeing the same exact midcard matches over and over again?  How many times have ADR and Ziggler fought?  And Sheamus and Barrett?  And Rusev and Ryder?

8:35 - Remember all that goodwill WWE built after WrestleMania?  Well, that's surely gone now.  First they put the incredibly dull Alberto Del Rio over fan darling Dolph Ziggler.  Then they strip Daniel Bryan of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  And now they put the ultra stale Sheamus over the newly hot Bad News Barrett.  Why?  Just....why?

8:26 - I really do hate the fact that there won't be a Money in the Bank briefcase out there.  Like I've said before, the briefcase adds SO MUCH suspense and intrigue to every segment the champion appears in.  Yes, there have been a few missteps (Sandow, Swagger), but the briefcase was the "push" that guys like Edge, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan needed to get to the next level.  It gave hardworking guys like Miz and Dolph Ziggler a shot at the spotlight.  And most recently, it completely reinvigorated Randy Orton's career (after floundering for two years).  It really is too bad.

8:08 - I'm surprised Triple H put Randy Orton -- and not Seth Rollins -- in the MITB ladder match without having to qualify first.

Also, how is this the first ladder match to determine the WWE World Heavyweight Championship when that match was CREATED in a ladder match?

8:06 - So I guess it was pretty obvious to the live audience, huh?

8:02 - Always on the cusp of the latest entertainment happenings, JBL uses Jay Z and Beyonce and the President and First Lady as the "Power Couple" examples.....just weeks after Kanye West and Kim Kardashian get married.

7:55 - Alright, we're back with some LIVE Raw thoughts.  What will become of the WWE World Heavyweight Title?  What will be the fallout of the Shield breakup?  Check back in about 5 minutes to find out!

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

LIVE Payback thoughts - June 1, 2014

10:56 - WOW!  Shocked -- but not disappointed -- to see the Shield take a clean sweep of this match.  Two PPV's in a row they not only win, but they win decisively!  It was a really great match and, again, I think made all three members of the Shield look great.  Very effective booking.

10:52 - I'm actually pretty surprised to see Batista eliminated first.  I thought they'd throw us for a curve and have Orton eliminated first.

10:36 - It looks like Ambrose might be the first to go, which would be a mistake in my opinion.  Since he's the least face-like of the group, putting him in a dire situation would only get him more over.

I love that Bluetista is getting so much attention.

10:24 - I hope that WWE resists the temptation to go with Reigns (or Triple H, for that matter) as the sole survivor.  There are so many talents in this match, particularly on the face side, so there's no reason why they can't make NUMEROUS stars in this match.

10:21 - You know what?  I'll commend Batista here.  I admire any guy that doesn't fall into that "black trunks" main eventer trap.  Not the BEST look in the world, but it's fine.  Also, disappointed to see Randy the beard.

And for the first time all night, I'm having some visual issues with the show.  It's been kinda choppy/pixelated since the end of the Divas match.

10:18 - No AJ return, which is disappointing.  But let's hope that the Shield bring back their skull masks, at least.

10:06 - Guessing/hoping Paige wins here.  REALLY hoping new Chicago resident AJ Lee makes a return post match.

10:00 - Brutal match and enjoyable....and I don't have an issue with Cena winning.  However, I just never truly got emotionally invested in this feud, so it lacked a bit of luster for me.  Nice to see the Usos get spotlighted, though.

9:49 - I'll admit it....that step throwing spot was pretty damn cool.

9:34 - I wonder if the Usos slyly mentioned "hey, we've got shorts the same color scheme as Cena's new shirt...." to somebody in creative to warrant this (well deserved) semi-main event push.

9:22 - This segment is doing a whole lot to make Brie look like a real bad ass.  And Daniel Bryan is there too.

9:19 - Wow, two explicit references to CM Punk.  I guess they decided to face this matter head on.  And since his contract (I believe) is about to expire anyway, I guess they figure he's not coming back.

9:14 - Sorry Steph, but you can't deliver "FIRRRRED" like your old man.

9:09 - I'm somewhat surprised by how many people Barrett has gone over cleanly.  I'm also surprised by how many people "lower" than him on the card that RVD has put over.  Has RVD won ANY feud since his series of returns?  Nonetheless, the right person won.

9:07 - Jerry Lawler is beyond painful on commentary now.

8:53 - Okay, that was fine.

8:48 - LOVE Kofi's Flash-inspired gear, but he is WAY too good to be jobbing out to Bo Dallas.

8:45 - This match has sorta shown how far Big E has fallen, hasn't it?  Rusev won cleanly and decisively, through submission no less.  And not too long ago, Big E was seemingly getting the super push.

8:40 - I like Big E's American-ized version of his ring gear.

8:39 - Who waves a flag like that?

8:37 - I still cannot get into this Lana/Rusev act.

8:25 - Has there ever been a losing streak storyline that REALLY worked out for the person losing?  I'm okay with them breaking up the Brotherhood, but only if they have an actual long-term plan for Cody.  I don't want to see them to lose interest in pushing him and just having him flounder, when he and Goldust (when pushed) had a great thing going.

Also, good to see Rybaxel actually matching their gear now.  They had Ryback in yellow and red and Axel in yellow and black.  Now it looks like they're matching in black and red.

8:22 - Not surprised to see Sheamus retain here.  Both guys looked good and Sheamus' win seemed almost like a fluke.

8:05 - For the second PPV Kickoff show in a row, El Torito and Hornswoggle provided a shockingly entertaining match.  We're beginning the PPV with Sheamus/Cesaro in a United States Championship match.  I find it interesting that the latest online report is that WWE didn't have him win the Intercontinental Championship because they worried it would hurt him, but then they threw him into a United States Championship feud.  Does that mean they view the US title as more prestigious?  Or they just perceive Sheamus as being higher up the ladder than Big E?

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Summer of Excitement: Memorial Day Weekend - [a case of the summer]

As promised, for the third year in a row, I'll be doing my Summer of Excitement installment!  I thought the first year was a huge success and the second year was a bit lame.  So how can I fix that?  Well, I'm basically just going to talk about the most exciting thing that week, instead of actively trying to do something and having it fall short.  Which is ironic, because the intent of the Summer of Excitement WAS to actively try to do things.

And the summer, of course, starts with Memorial Day Weekend!  And, despite each day being absolutely exhausting, I CAN say that I went out each night, with drastically different people, doing drastically different things.  And in fact, it ended up being a reverse journey through my life.  Friday night focused on the current stage of my life, as I spontaneously ended up meeting up with a work friend of mine and her sister.  This was pretty significant as I had woken up at four in the morning to travel home from Texas.  But I still made the trek to meet up and it ended up being a really enjoyable time.

Saturday night I ended up going to Rutgers to meet up with a college friend (the portion of my life prior to my work life) for some dinner and some drinks.  We even ended up going to our old hang out spot, and the manager of the bar remembered us!  Very cool, especially since it's been ten years.  Along with that, the bar has a skeeball now, and we totally got roped into playing the bartender and his friend, and we got absolutely killed.  That cost us four shots.  And, again, this was a pretty significant thing since I had a marathon shopping session that morning (not for fun reasons).  Five hours at the mall is NOT a good time.

Sunday night, I hung out with a high school friend (my life before college) and his girlfriend, along with their friends, and we traveled all around New York.  We originally went to Brooklyn in an attempt to go to a Mister Sunday party, but the line was so long that we opted against it.  Instead, we went to the pier and enjoyed a couple drinks as the sun set.  We then returned to Manhattan, where we went out for some more dinner and drinks (and got in trouble for doing a Saki bomb, not realizing that it wasn't allowed) before meeting up with a few others people he knows.  My friend and I ended up having to go separate buses home, as we were going in different directions.  Well, his bus came pretty much right away.  I, on the other hand, had to go all the way downstairs since our bus was actually going to an entirely different gate.  Then I had to wait nearly an hour for it to arrive.  And during that time, there were several REALLY drunk marines who made complete asses of themselves.  They were arguing, cursing, and physically fighting with each other.  It was REALLY unfortunate to watch.  And they were also EXTREMELY obnoxious when people told them to calm down.  And, of course, they ended up getting off at the stop right before mine.  And one was so drunk that he literally had to be carried off of the bus.  I appreciate their service, I truly do.  But that doesn't excuse disrespectful and obnoxious behavior.

And finally, on Monday I spent the day with my family -- the part of my life before high school, college, or work was even a thing!  We went to my aunt's house for a BBQ/pool party (although nobody went in the pool) and it was a really great time.

And honorable mention goes to my work trip to Austin, Texas!  I can't count it as a Summer of Excitement activity because it happened before summer officially started, but it was awesome!  I went with one of my favorite co-workers, and practically every second of the trip was full of SOMETHING fun and exciting.  An incredible time.....just awfully tiring.  The trip began Tuesday at 4:00 AM and ended on Friday at 4:00 AM.  Terribly, terribly exhausting.

Okay, now just check back in a minute or two for my LIVE Payback thoughts...

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