Monday, December 29, 2014

LIVE Raw thoughts - December 29, 2014

11:14 - I'm kinda surprised by how many people hated that segment (and I'm actually referring to former wrestlers here).  I thought it was really fun and had me watching more intensely than I had all night.  Was it long and drawn out?  Yes, but not necessarily in a bad way.  I kept wondering what would happen next.  Would Cena grab Noble and hold HIM hostage?  Would he try to save Edge?  Would Christian return only to get pummeled?  Would Orton return and save the day?  Would Cena submit to the demands?  Would Cena make a counter offer?  The fact that it was drawn out helped me think of more possibilities.  Yes, I am a bit disappointed that the Survivor Series match -- which was built up as this monumental, company altering thing, didn't even last two months, but that aside I enjoyed what happened.  Overall a stronger show than what we've seen the past few months, but still overall weak.

11:10 - "You gotta know me better than that, I'm going to kill him anyway" is an awesome line.

11:05 - So, uh, nobody else cares about Edge?

10:56 - I have to say, the set is kinda tame.  I thought we'd see a more grandiose amalgamation of the Cutting Edge and the Peep Show.

10:39 - WWE is in a tough boat right now.  After hitting the absolute peak of any career and having it all taken away from him, it's going to be tough to get the fans to root for anybody other than Daniel Bryan.  And he's already mega popular.  I'm not sure people would root for Roman Reigns over him.  We may be in for another Batista situation.

10:26 - It's already 10:30 and we still have the Ascension debut, the Daniel Bryan interview, and the Cutting Edge Peep Show.  Also, curious decision to have Ambrose and Wyatt battle again, ESPECIALLY if it just leads to Ambrose losing again.  And if Ambrose wins, I hope it's the blow off.  Yes, it's 50/50 booking, but that might be the best Ambrose gets in this feud.

10:15 - Really awesome match.  Seth Rollins has easily become one of my new favorite Superstars of 2014.  Always super fun watching him.

9:58 - Odd that this match is taking place before the Cutting Edge Peep Show segment.

9:52 - Really fun segment (that's what I was talking about!) but how must Christian have felt during the prep for that segment?  "Okay, first Cena and Edge are going to go back and forth about the memorable and monumental moments they took part in.  We're then going to need you to leave the room so that Cena can talk about how the two of them are the best ever."

9:43 - By the way, regarding Daniel Bryan.....I'm guessing he either retires or enters himself in the Royal Rumble.

9:38 - So who gets fed to the Ascension?  The New Day seems too fresh.  So I guess Los Matadores?

Also, I'm surprised by the lack of Edge & Christian tonight.  They've interacted with so many people throughout the years -- where are the fun backstage segments?

9:32 - That guy who doesn't connect with the audience is awfully good at getting people to react to that signature move you had him stop doing.

"Cesaro did a lot of talking tonight but couldn't get the job done."  Yeah, I'm sure it's not lines like THAT that is  holding back Cesaro.

9:27 - Ohhhhh, it was going well enough until he corrected himself with the "four sides" remark.  And yes, indeed, this promo is going to culminate with a clean loss to a returning Bad News Barrett.

9:26 - Now Cesaro gets some promo time?  I love it!  Let's just hope it doesn't end with Jack Swagger coming in and making him tap.

9:20 - Watching this video just makes me sad thinking about how Ambrose has been booked recently.

9:17 - The Usos and Naomi "played" Miz?  Did they forget to pay that off in the actual booking of the match?

9:15 - I'm actually a bit surprised that they ended the Miz/Mizdow reign so quickly.

9:02 - Miz and Mizdow are one of the only heel teams you'll see stand on the upper left corner so that you can see Mizdow's miming.

8:54 - Methinks this is just a ruse and that Naomi will "turn" on Miz and help the Usos win.  Although it'd be a tragedy to end the Miz/Mizdow title reign.

8:50 - By the way, I'm on the Tyson Kidd bandwagon now.  While I'm not personally a cat person, I love the fact that he built the fact that he IS a cat person into his on-screen character.  He's got them air brushed onto his shin guards.

8:45 - That Ryback promo got a bit of flack on Twitter but I honestly enjoyed it.  It allowed Ryback the character to connect with the audience on a human level, while remaining true to the nature of his character.  It actually made him pretty likable.  I'm not a huge fan of Ryback (at least at the main event level), but I personally applaud WWE for putting the spotlight on somebody new.

8:32 - Ugh, didn't love that ending.  Like I said, they've done a fantastic job of rebuilding Ziggler as a guy who overcomes everything and wins.  And how do they end this match?  With Rusev getting DQ'd because he's beating up Ziggler SO BADLY.  Then they have him make Ziggler tap anyway, only to be rescued by the muscley fella.  Who did that benefit?

8:21 - No title introductions, so clearly this is a non-title match.

8:16 - Champion vs. Champion is a confusing way to push the match.  Are you merely saying that both men are champions?  Or are both championships on the line?

For what it's worth, I don't love this.  They've done an awesome job with Dolph since Survivor Series.  It would be too bad if they undid any of that with an unnecessary loss to Rusev.  Culminating the Rusev push with a clean loss to Ziggler would be an awesome way to REALLY strap the rocket to Dolph, but I don't see that happening.  And a screwball finish doesn't really help anybody.

8:09 - Did Jerry Lawler just retire Christian?

8:03 - Man, they're not even coming out to the Edge & Christian version of the theme.  This is pure Edge.

8:02 - You can't help but feel bad for Christian just based on that opening video.

7:28 - This is the first time in nearly a month that I've done a LIVE thoughts post and for good reason:  Raw and even the PPV's have been extremely difficult to get through, and I HATE coming across as ultra negative.  But with Edge & Christian hosting tonight, I'm optimistic for a more enjoyable than usual show.

As a bit of pre-Raw discussion, I thought I'd talk about an idea I have for the post-Authority era.  At the moment, it seems like we're re-entering the guest host era, which -- in my opinion -- is not a good thing.  For every Chris Jericho (and, I assume, Edge & Christian) you have a Grumpy Cat and Larry the Cable Guy.  But that doesn't mean we need the Authority, or even Vince McMahon, to return.  So what should they do?

In my opinion, they should form an unseen (but not unknown) championship committee.  John Cena, who, presumably, has the power to create such things and seems to do things in the interest of fairness even if that means it could conceivably benefit a heel, can even be the one to create it.  Simply say that there's a committee where every living Hall of Famer and former World Champion currently on the roster, in addition to Vince McMahon, has a vote.  They have the power to create every match, regardless of whether it's a title match.  And since it's not a completely blind committee, they have the built in excuse to introduce certain characters (Hogan has a vote because he's a Hall of Famer.  He can immediately take issue with up-and-comer Seth Rollins).  Somebody like Batista could return and immediately make a play for the championship, since he has a vote on the committee.  Triple H, since he's technically on the roster, can make a play to regain power since he'd be on the committee too.  Or, best of all, they can be an unseen force without people asking "Who's making these matches anyway?"  And if they decide to do a power struggle, they have a lot of fun possibilities with various Hall of Famers creating alliances as a certain side attempts to seize power.  You can even have current Superstars attempt to curry favor with the new Hall of Fame class with the hope that they might support their run at the title.

Anyway, it's better than what we've been seeing, I think.

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Monday, December 1, 2014

LIVE Raw thoughts - December 1, 2014

11:05 - Alright, off to the Podcast!

11:01 - Glad that Ziggler got the pin, of course.

10:45 - Not that I was looking all that forward to the Anonymous Raw General Manager, but isn't it a bit strange that it's been such a non-factor throughout the show?  Couldn't they just as effectively had McMahon announce Rollins vs. Cena, and then just allow matches to happen?  Like, nobody wondered "who booked Truth vs. Wyatt?" so why can't they get away with a main event just happening without an official announcement being made?  Was it worth retconning the whole Hornswoggle reveal and bringing back a mechanism that was just as unpopular as it was popular?

10:31 - Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that Dolph is in yet another Raw main event....but I am disappointed that he's getting the "second guy out" treatment of the three man team.  The first and last guy are always considered the stars.

10:25 - Heyman is magic as always.  Somebody brought it up -- I think it was Kevin Sullivan -- but the absence of the WWE Champion has really taken the luster and mystique out of the Money in the Bank contract as well.

10:16 - I know Foley's wife is quite pretty, but who would have ever imagined that Mick Foley would have such a pretty daughter?

10:12 - Granted, Naomi is the only person they pushed fans to vote for, but I'm still sorta surprised she won.  I figured Natalya would.

10:05 - So, again, are the Bellas back together?  Nikki still seems to be bullying her but it's been acknowledged that the term of the servitude is over.

9:51 - JBL just said, "That's a great name for a finishing maneuver, Sister Abigail" with no sense of sarcasm.  Why, exactly?  What about that makes it a great name?

9:38 - After the year Sandow (I still prefer to refer to him as that) had, it's kinda really awesome seeing him get so much attention.

9:28 - Jack Swagger is the weirdest looking runner.  And Rusev hasn't even been around for a year yet and we're ALREADY recycling feuds?

9:19 - Our current secondary champions are great examples of WWE not allowing their Superstars to go full throttle with their characters.  You have an American hating United States Champion and you don't have him rechristen the title as the Russian Championship?  You have a guy wearing soiled clothing but then carries around a pristine white Intercontinental Championship?

9:11 - So what's the deal with the Bellas?  Are they back together?  Are they still pretending Brie is a servant?

9:08 - WWE is anything subtle when they're trying to get a nickname over.  Do you think they want us to call him Big Red?

8:59 - Really?  Is there anyone who was clamoring for the days of the Guest Host era?

8:54 - What's the benefit of adding Naomi to the Usos storyline?  Has it really helped anybody?

8:51 - Is this the first time they've acknowledged that it's just a guy in a bunny costume?

8:42 - Unless Cesaro and Kidd win this, that was a waste.  Why make your new team lose to a team nobody recognizes as a pair?

8:33 - Big E looks so uncomfortable dancing.  I do like the idea the three of them merging their original gear with their New Day gear.  Not sure I'm loving this gimmick, but if it means a renewed push for Kofi then I'm all for it.

8:23 - I'm kinda "Meh" about that opening segment.  Not only did they not mention that Hornswoggle was the General Manager, but they went straight back to saying the GM was faceless.  Worse off, Cena closes the laptop in this grand gesture of shutting off his power, only for it to not have any impact whatsoever.  And the segment was kinda disjointed.  GM speaks, Cena interrupts.  Cena speaks, Rollins interrupts.  Cena and Rollins speak, GM interrupts.  And then there was an onslaught of Survivor Series participants.

For that matter, what is Big Show's motivation to attack his team?  I understand him turning (he thought he would be better off with the Authority).  I understand his issue with Rowan (they had an altercation).  But with the Authority out of power and with Cena seemingly with the upper hand, why make things worse by continuing to attack his former teammates?

7:51 - So the big question about tonight's show seems to be whether they'll acknowledge that Hornswoggle is the Anonymous Raw General Manager (I think they will) and whether they'll acknowledge CM Punk and his comments on the podcast (I don't think they will).  What do you think?  Come back in about 10 minutes for my LIVE Raw thoughts.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

LIVE The Walking Dead thoughts - Episode 5-8

Be sure to click below for my LIVE thoughts on the midseason finale of The Walking Dead.  Obviously, spoilers are within.

Continue reading "LIVE The Walking Dead thoughts - Episode 5-8"....

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Monday, November 24, 2014

LIVE Raw thoughts - November 24, 2014

10:19 - "Lesbi honest."  Brilliant.  That's why I hope she never leaves.

Also, I'm dozing off, so these LIVE thoughts might end now.

9:51 - I don't know why WWE insists on having a person debut (or redebut) by having them face the same person over and over again.  Do we really need to see Fandango and Gabriel again?  Remember how many times we saw Los Matadores vs. 3MB when they debuted?

9:48 - Soooooooooooo, we got neither a pledge or a battle royal?

9:38 - Wow.  And I'm guessing that was the good take.

9:31 - Still loving this Mizdow stuff.  And, amazingly, they're now portraying Mizdow as a legitimate competitor instead of a joke.  This is one of the few times in the past several years that they've noticed the fans catching on to something and actually responded brilliantly to it.

9:21 - I guess we should be happy Lilian didn't announce Stardust as "Cody Rhodes."

9:19 - At least the toy tag titles look kinda gold.

9:04 - Yep, another instance of Ambrose missing out on getting a clean and decisive win.  The post-match beat down was, visually, a little weak as well.

8:46 - This is a curious decision.  I'm not sure if I see them giving Ambrose the title (because it seems awkward to shoehorn a secondary title to the Ambrose/Wyatt feud).  But at the same time, do they REALLY need to rob Ambrose of another victory?  When was the last time he got a clean, conclusive and significant win?

8:39 - So Vince McMahon is a good guy?  A bad guy?  A good guy with an edge?  A bad buy trying to prevent a next generation power play?  Simply a crazy old man?

8:31 - I love D-Bry....but that went on WAY too long.  He should've eliminated the App portion and just made straight up matches to move things along (like, what if people vote for Henry/Harper?  They're both in other matches).

8:16 - That was a fun and unexpected surprise, and a satisfying way to give "closure" to the Daniel Bryan/Authority feud.

8:09 - I definitely have a feeling of "get on with it" right now, but I do like the attention Ziggler is getting in this promo.  But, really....get on with it.

8:01 - Yes, I actually WILL be doing some LIVE Raw thoughts tonight.  Was Survivor Series a perfect show?  By no means.  But between the Authority losing, Ziggler getting a huge spotlight shined on him, and Sting debuting, I am at least intrigued.  Let's see what happens tonight.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

My Walking Dead prediction

This is of course speculation and observation and NOT a spoiler.  I would request that you keep any comments non-spoiler as well.  I also do not read the comics so any information that comes from the comics, but has not happened on the show yet, should be avoided.

When last we left Daryl, Carol, and Beth, Beth had just called out the doctor, Carol showed up at the hospital, and Daryl had returned to the church with somebody.  Here's what I think happened.

Daryl and Carol have been scoping out the hospital for an unspecified amount of time.  During this time, Beth and Noah attempt to escape.  Beth gets captured but Noah gets out.  Daryl and Carol, having been watching, intercept Noah and begin questioning him.  Noah tells them everything he knows, specifically about his own experience -- that they ONLY rescued him, and not his dad, because he was the more vulnerable person.  Daryl and Carol use this information to deduce that they would rescue Carol and take her in, but not necessarily Daryl (since he would be perceived as more of a threat).  Carol feigns a dangerous situation so that she can be taken into the hospital.

Noah also tells them that this is NOT a life threatening situation.  While regimented and occasionally abusive, this hospital legitimately is keeping everybody safe and healthy, and they are feeding people.  If taken inside, Carol would not be in a life or death situation.  With this in mind, Daryl and Noah return to the church to get the rest of the group to act as back up, so that they CAN break in and rescue Beth and Carol.  So Noah is the guy in the woods with Daryl.

And, as a side note prediction, I think tonight we will FINALLY see some physicality between Daryl and Carol.  It's an episode that will, presumably, focus solely on the two of them alone.  On top of that, they're on a mission to rescue Daryl's potential OTHER love interest.  With all of that in mind, how could it be avoided?  #TeamDarylCarol

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Monday, October 20, 2014

LIVE Raw thoughts - October 20, 2014

11:10 - Didn't love Orton pinning Ambrose, but I did enjoy Rollins hitting the curbstomp on Orton.

Absolutely love the main event attention on Rollins and Ambrose, but they NEED to earn some significant and meaningful wins.

11:06 - I'm not really I get the point of the cage lowering, from a kayfabe perspective.  It's not as if anyboyd was trying to interfere OR escape.

10:40 - I love WWE with their "By the Numbers" video packages.

10:27 - "You can't coach strength!" exclaims JBL, infuriating strength coaches across the world.

10:20 - See this is why they've shot themselves in the foot with their recent booking of Dolph Ziggler.  If Ziggler loses, it means he's lost to Rusev, Orton, Rollins, and Cesaro in two or so weeks.  If Ziggler wins, then Cesaro lost to the guy who lost clean to Rusev, Orton, and Rollins.  Neither guy comes out of this looking great.

10:14 - Fun promo that was really strengthened by a rare and unexpected Mick Foley appearance.  Foley thankfully kept it light on the cheap pops and self promotion, and as a result did a great job.  Line of the night also goes to him with his "I also subscribe to the Network for an undisclosed monthly sum" comment.

10:03 - I am so grateful that we have Lawler and JBL here to explain all of Ambrose's puns.

9:52 - How is there still over an hour of this show left?

9:35 - Oh God, is Big Show gonna cry?!?!

9:18 - As I said last week....why are we to be invested in the Natalya/TJ divorce story when we can clearly see they're still together in current WWE storylines?

And by the way, how many times have we seen Big E vs. Rusev?

9:11 - Am I crazy or did Heyman just take the RKO better than Cena did?

9:00 - Gotta admire the "book the match, then create the conflict" philosophy of the Orton/Cena match.

8:57 - Again, I applaud WWE here.  Make people feel like they're missing something special by not subscribing to the WWE Network.

8:45 - Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd here's ANOTHER match we've seen countless times before.  What is this, the third show in as many weeks that we've seen AJ vs. Alicia?

8:32 - The Miz/Sandow pairing is quite possibly the best thing on Raw right now outside of the rise of Ambrose and Rollins.

8:21 - Any acknowledgement about the fact that Sandow and Rhodes used to team?

8:14 - I may be mistaken but didn't we JUST see this match?  Or was that with Ziggler/Cesaro?  For that matter, didn't we JUST see Cena/Ambrose vs. Orton/Rollins/Kane?

8:12 - Is it me or did ending that segment with Kane's music/pyro/lighting extremely random?  He was the only person who didn't speak during the promo and he was a completely afterthought in the story being told.  Why on earth did it end with his music?

8:03 - Don't get me wrong, he wears it well....but I'm not convinced Seth Rollins has an outfit other than black suit with a black button down.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

LIVE Raw thoughts - October 13, 2014

11:07 - Fine enough match.  Gave us the match we REALLY want to see, but Orton vs. Cena seems so out of place.  Out of all four combinations, they seem like the two that have the least amount of issues with each other.  Yet that match belongs in the Cell?

10:57 - In five years, will we see a WWE Network promo hyping up that time Dean Ambrose threw ketchup at the Authority?

10:51 - I can't imagine it will be long before somebody plays that audio backwards and let's us all know what it says.

I will admit to enjoying these Wyatt videos.  Actually, I've always enjoyed the videos more than the actual execution of the character.

10:33 - That segment made me hate everybody involved just a little more.

10:28 - I still get a kick out of this whole Miz/Sandow thing.  I do miss Miz's multicolored attire, though.  His all black look is a little strange considering his "street clothes" have gotten so outrageous.

10:23 - Odd how the Intercontinental and United States Championship feuds have essentially swapped -- yet the original pairings (Dolph/Miz, Sheamus/Cesaro) were far superior.

10:13 - For the life of me, I just CANNOT get into Rusev.

10:09 - Are we expected to be invested in a Tyson/Natalya "divorce" when current WWE television shows us that they're still together?

9:48 - Interesting conundrum:  The combination people most want to see (Rollins vs. Ambrose) would also result in the combination people least want to see (Orton vs. Cena).

9:34 - Has anybody else noticed how often Michael Cole uses the expression, "Misses wildly"?

9:24 - It's funny, when I was trying to think of people who could have filled Ziggler's role and essentially gotten the same impact, I was going to suggest Jack Swagger.

9:17 - A highly competitive, extremely entertaining match where the guy higher up on the card won....but again, what was the point?  Why make Ziggler suffer two clean losses in a row when they finally rehabilitated his image?

9:09 - I still don't think WWE understands what "exclusively" means.

8:52 - So after FINALLY re-establishing Dolph Ziggler as a competitive, winning Superstar, they needlessly fed him to Rusev on Smackdown and now, presumably, they're feeding him to Orton tonight.  What's the point?  What's the gain here?

8:43 - "I guess nobody likes Layla anyway."  Made me laugh.

8:40 - Well that's baffling.  They spend all that time building up the "suspense" of who AJ's partner might be, and then they don't even show her entrance?

8:32 - That was a really fun 20+ minute opening match.  I am confused, though.  For the second PPV in a row, they've given away a marquee match on Raw before the actual show (last time it was Rollins vs. Reigns).  What's the purpose?

8:27 - Geez, WWE is putting more effort into getting this whole "standard bet" thing over than they do putting over half of their roster.

8:06 - Is it me or has WWE taken a HUGE step back with their pink merchandising efforts this year?  For the first year, only Cena's merchandise was turned pink (and that included his t-shirt, hat, and wrist/head bands).  The following year, practically EVERYBODY on the roster had pink merchandise -- everybody from Cena to Daniel Bryan to Christian to Randy Orton to RVD to AJ Lee to Dolph Ziggler to the Miz.  This year, Cena barely even has any pink merchandise.  He's wearing his "Keep Calm" t-shirt (with the same wording as it always has been) which is now gray and pink.  But his hat and wrist/head bands remain the normal red/yellow.

This year's line seems to focus on the Bellas (Support the Twins) who are feuding with each other, Hulk Hogan (who isn't even on TV), and Brock Lesnar (Courage, Conquer, Cure seems to be a variation of Eat, Sleep, Conquer, Repeat), who is the company's biggest heel.  Very odd.

8:01 - During the last few months of Punk's title reign, Raw would kick off with a montage similar to what you'd see on a "previously" clip before a television show.  I quite enjoyed those and I'm happy to see that they've brought that back.  It gives a little direction for the show.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about Dean Ambrose coming out wearing a WWE Authentic Dean Ambrose t-shirt.

7:26 - It's been way too long since I've last updated the blog with one of these LIVE thoughts, so I figured this was as good a time as any to get back on the horse.  In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit to not being that into the current storylines right now (outside of the awesome rise of Ambrose and Rollins), so it's been tough to discuss the show at any substantial length.  But let's see if tonight is the turnaround point.  Check back in about a half hour.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Hello there, bloggers (or is it "bloggees"?)

For the second year in a row, I will be participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on October 19.  Rest assured, I will be pinkified out there.

If you're feeling generous, please consider making a donation to my page.  This is the only time this year that I will be soliciting donations.

Thanks in advance!

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

LIVE Night of Champions thoughts - September 21, 2014

10:46 - So to be clear:  We didn't get a proper ending to the match, we didn't get a cash in, and the announcers don't even remember how the match ended two minutes after the conclusion of the match?  They were STILL talking about whether Lesnar would have tapped out when the interference came after a pin attempt.  Lackluster ending to an otherwise entertaining show.

10:34 - I'm wondering if they'll actually have Cena tap out....

10:30 - I'm a sucker for matches that begin with a finishing move.  Also, I'm BEGGING for them to do something with Cena that shows a little edge.  Even if it's little, like him not coming out with his hat or even just cutting the sleeves off his shirt.  SOMETHING that shows he means business.

I see Lesnar retaining here.

10:15 - Hooray!  My fav wins!  Although, since Nikki didn't play into the finish, I'm concerned that she will stay in the title picture.  Keep this about AJ and Paige!

9:58 - I'm HOPING for an AJ win, but I'm willing to accept a Paige win.  Whatever happens, I'm hoping for two things:  (a) that the feud with AJ and Paige continues and (b) that, if AJ loses, that it won't result in people saying, "I think AJ's leaving."

9:56 - What move exactly was Jericho going for there?

9:45 - I'm guessing Orton wins this one, although I can see them "swerving" us with a Jericho win.

9:38 - Sigh.  And there goes Orton's two PPV streak of not wearing black trunks.

9:24 - By the way, I see Rusev winning.

9:22 - I'm not saying he hasn't done anything, but I'm struggling to think of what EXACTLY Rusev has done that has been so diabolical in regards to his acts against the United States.  It feels like we're supposed to hate him because he's dominant and he's Russian.  Is that reason enough to get all sort of rallied up behind America?  Although I do like Henry's USA singlet.

9:15 - A fun segment that made up for what the fans missed out on (a Rollins/Reigns match).  Plus, it's great to have Ambrose back (the cab bit was cool, too).

9:04 - Looks like slightly new gear for Rollins (with gray accents).  I suspect we'll see Ambrose tonight.

9:00 - I WAS going to complain about how both of our title changes happened with a roll up, but I legitimately laughed out loud when a completely fresh Sandow fell down and pretended his head was hurt because Miz was doing the same.

8:51 - I see Ziggler retaining here.  By the way, I am not a huge fan of Miz's black trunks with black designs on them.  I like his colorful versions more -- which actually fit in better with his gaudy dress clothes.

8:48 - LOVE Miz's Hollywood style entrance video.  And I still get such a kick out of the Sandow mimicking act.  Which is significantly less funny when Truth and Ziggler do it.  However, I do get a kick of the announcers' need to clarify which one is Dolph and which one is Truth.

8:40 - Fun match and great aggression from both, but it's rather shocking that probably the most boring champion on the entire roster is the one that retains.  Disappointing result, but fun match.

8:24 - So the Roku in my bedroom seems to be doing much better, but the SmartTV in my living room seems to have less of a delay.  So I'm going to lean with the SmartTV if it survives.  Right now we have Cesaro (in a snazzy red robe) vs. Sheamus.  I predict a new champ, again.

By the way, I noticed during last match that they don't have the championship belt aprons hanging near the entrance any more.

8:09 - Roku is doing MUCH better than the SmartTV (where I use the web browser).  SmartTV is having both streaming issues and audio issues.  By the way, I'm guessing we see a new champion tonight.

On the gear situation -- I like the Usos' black/gold/purple look.  Like Startdust's new blue lining.  Don't mind Goldust's new gear, but hate the facepaint.

Also, did Stardust change his gloves from the backstage segment?

8:02 - Buffering issues have improved but still not perfect.  My Roku seems to be doing better than my SmartTV, so I might be switching between rooms.

8:01 - Already love this opening video, detailing the making of the physical WWE Championship.  Very cool.

7:51 - Wow, the streaming issues are REAL bad right now.  I've reloaded about 5 times and am not to go a full minute without disruption.  I'm guessing this is the result of a huge surge of people logging on at once, but I'm hoping it improves.  Especially since I actually want to see segment.

7:46 - It's almost show I'm starting to have some buffering issues.  The pre-show had otherwise streamed perfectly.

I will take this opportunity note that I have come to dislike these "challenge John Cena's character" storylines because they never seem to result in any long-term character growth.  Just makes the past month seem like a waste.

7:43 - I really like these match segments, where they show photos of the prior champions with the title belts.

7:35 - They've done a good job building up AJ Lee and Paige that it would be sooooooooooo disappointing if they gave the title to Nikki so that they could involve the title in the Bellas feud (which is not necessary).  Just have Brie cost Nikki the match as payback.

7:30 - I do have to wonder what the logic was behind removing Booker T from the discussion about tag teams that are brothers, but okay.  And I'm not a fan of Goldust's new facepaint design.

7:25 - The ONE upside of this immensely annoying "$9.99" oversell is that they're creating such a strong connection between the Network and that price is that we likely won't see a price increase for quite some time.

7:14 - I find it interesting how guys like Chris Jericho and Hulk Hogan went, like, 40 or 50 years of their life without tattoos (or obvious ones) and then goes out and gets a bunch of really large ones.

7:07 - That bell to bell by the numbers segment regarding the Cena/Lesnar SummerSlam match was awesome.  MORE OF THIS SORT OF STUFF!  Awesome.

6:36 - I know I've been pretty quiet as of late, but things have been very busy on my end so I haven't had much time to post.  However, with TV starting up soon, I'm sure I'll have things to write about.  Plus I want to write about the finales of True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, and Once Upon a Time, not to mention the first season of The Leftovers.

Anyway, I renewed my WWE Network subscription over the weekend (and I have to admit, it was incredibly easy) so, for the very first time ever, I'm going to watch Night of Champions -- a concept that I've always loved.  So, what happens tonight with Roman Reigns out?  Does that mean Dean Ambrose returns?  Does Cena get dominated by Lesnar again?  Does Cesaro actually get to win a title?  Does anybody from WWE remember that Christian was a heel last time he was on TV for his Peep Show segment?

Check back in about 20 minutes for my thoughts during the pre-show.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

REPOST: September 11

The following was originally posted on September 11, 2009, and then posted again on the 10 year anniversary of the attack.  It's important to remember what happened that day, so I decided to repost it once again:

It's often said that the attacks on September 11, 2001 is our generation's JFK assassination. As in, you'll never forget where you were that day when you received the news. And in my case, that's true.

I was a sophomore at Rutgers and I went to class that morning just like any other day. As I was walking through the halls, I faintly overheard two teachers discussing the World Trade Center, and an attack. I didn't think much of it. I obliviously assumed that it was the anniversary of the 1993 bombing.

Class progressed as usual, until one student came in late -- probably more than halfway into the period. He reported the news that the South Tower had collapsed. Everybody was naturally shocked. After all, the Twin Towers is an American landmark -- just about as recognizable to New York City as the Empire State Building.

At the time I didn't have a computer in my dorm room, so I immediately rushed to the computer lab to find out what in the world was going on. It was still early in the morning -- before the North Tower collapsed -- so phones and Internet access hadn't yet flooded. As I sat there constantly refreshing the news page, I would quickly discover that the second tower had fallen. I was inundated with IM's (remember those?) as I read people's worried and depressing away messages.

Shortly thereafter classes were canceled and I returned to my room, where everybody continued to be in a state of shock. We would spend the next couple of days glued to the TV watching the news. Believe it or not, my freshman year roommate -- who lived on the fourth floor of our dorm building -- could see the billows of smoke coming from the city.

It's been eight years, and while I remember that day so vividly, it also feels like a lifetime ago.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

LIVE Raw thoughts - September 1, 2014

10:35 - Alright, I'm heading to bed for the rest of the show (that is to say, I'm going to watch the rest of this show from my bed).  I'll tweet my thoughts for the rest of the night.

10:25 - So Corporate Kane IS fighting tonight?  That would probably explain why nobody sold the announcement that Demon Kane would be in the main event....but way to mess up a big match, Trips.

10:22 - By the way, I'm confused as to why Corporate Kane is being used in the graphic for tonight's main event.  Didn't Triple H quite clearly say that the "Demon Kane" would be competing tonight?

10:14 - I also hate this "Star & Goldust" thing.  It's not like their names are Star Dust and Gold Dust.  They're one word!

10:12 - So, what?  They had Jericho put over Wyatt in order to establish him as a main eventer....only to have Cena plow through him a little over a week later, so now Jericho has to put him over again?

10:05 - THANK GOD for AJ and Paige in that segment.  Although I sorta wish they would just keep the Bellas nonsense away from the Divas Championship angle, which has actually been entertaining.

10:03 - Is it me, or does Nikki hit the wrong word when she yells stuff?

9:54 - Really?  You're going to end the hour on Stephanie?  Talking about the Bellas, no less?  This is not making it easy to stick around for the last hour.

9:45 - I'm guessing this episode of Raw won't be making any "10 Hottest" lists.

9:37 - Is Adam Rose still undefeated?

9:31 - To be perfectly honest, this is a pretty rough Raw to get through.  I can't promise I'll make it to 11:15.  Especially if these Bella segments continue.

9:06 - Okay, so now can we agree to not show that match again for at least another month or so?

8:38 - So I'm guessing that report of Nikki getting heat backstage about that womb comment was BS?  Otherwise, why would they reshow it?

8:36 - While that ending DID make Ziggler look like an idiot (which they often do), I kinda got a kick out of it.

8:24 - I'll say it....this is the PERFECT way to use the Miz.  Love this version of his character.  And for what it's worth, I was one of the people who said he should NEVER turn face, even when he was gaining momentum as a heel.

8:17 - It's a VERY thin line, but I was okay with Triple H saying "the Demon Kane" because the "Corporate" and "Demon" prefix is an acknowledged method to differentiate between the two characters.  It just annoys me when they say it EVERY time.  Like, Kane is in a mask, we understand that it's the Demon Kane.  He's in a suit, we understand that he's Corporate Kane.  The way Triple H used it was the proper way to do it.

And for the love of many times do we need to see Big Show/Mark Henry vs. Rowan/Harper?

8:04 - In fairness, Seth Rollins is more the sell out and Kane is more the suck up.

8:02 - Thank God the Authority came out.  Could you imagine anything more dull than Randy Orton, alone, on the Highlight Reel? Yikes.

Also, I detest how the announcers refer to Kane as "Corporate Kane."  Those sort of meta references don't work.

7:37 - And my birthday month begins!  Is summer REALLY over?  Anyway, let's give these LIVE Raw thoughts a shot, shall we?  Check back in about 20 minutes for the beginning of the show.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

LIVE SummerSlam thoughts - August 17, 2014

10:49 - Wow, what a dominant victory.  And bravo to John Cena.  Very rarely will you see THE top babyface take such a legitimately vicious beating and then lose in such convincing fashion.  He's a real good sport.

10:40 - Yeahhhhh, so that "Let's Go Cena!" kid has got to go, right?

I also like the story with the announcers here, with JBL adamantly pulling for Brock, Cole losing hope in Cena and Lawler doing his best to keep his faith in Cena.  It'll make all the impact if, eventually, Lawler succumbs and admits that Cena is done for.

10:32 - Also, slightly disappointed that Cena isn't rocking those snazzy red knee pads he was sporting on Raw.  Believe it or not, it was a subtle change that, even slightly, freshened up his appearance.

10:31 - So much for "no wrist bands" and all that jazz.

10:27 - Okay, I really DO want to see this match, so I hope the feed holds up.  Also, what are the chances that Cena doesn't come out in his usual gear?

10:23 - So SummerSlam is coming to NY/NJ next year?  Does that mean they'll be in New Jersey but New York will, for some reason, not only be on the logo, but will also get top billing?

10:18 - Cool spot with the Spear going into the RKO.  Glad they had enough sense to have Roman kick out, though.

10:07 - After refreshing the screen a few times, the stream is now back.  There was a long stretch that the stream was working fine, but this is without a doubt the most issues I've had with the Network since I subscribed.  I'd say it was absolutely 100% flawless for the first four months.  Last month I had some issues for the first half hour or so of the last PPV, but it was otherwise smooth sailing.  Tonight it's been pestering.

10:05 - Annnnnnnnnnnd the screen just went black.

10:03 - Looks like Reigns has some new gear as well -- rocking the blue trim.  He's previously done gray and army green.  Looks good, too.

10:00 - Two PPVs in a row that Orton ditches the black trunks for some colored ones.  I approve.  Well done, Randall.

9:56 - When Nikki came down but didn't do anything to stop Triple H's interference, her turn was expected.  Also worth noting -- after an hour or so of perfection, this match did feature a lot of choppiness and buffering issues.  Anybody else experiencing a blinking screen too?

9:53 - I do have to say, Steph gives a great Pedigree.  And Brie takes it mighty well.  There actually IS a good story behind Nikki turning on Brie, but I'm not sure I even want to see that feud.

9:48 - What's interesting is that when Stephanie wrestled 10 years ago, she was treated like she was completely out of the league of every other Diva.  Now, a decade later, she's completely dominating a current Diva.  I understand that she legitimately is a lot bigger and stronger than Brie, but I don't quite see what advantage there is to making one of your current Divas look second rate against the owner of the company.

9:41 - I guess Stephanie McMahon and Seth Rollins shop together?

9:37 - I know that this feud has gotten a fair amount of positive feedback, but I'm just not into it.  I can't stand the Bellas and Stephanie, in my view, is best in extremely small dosages.

9:35 - Expected -- and right -- winner there.  Let's hope this gets Wyatt back on track.

9:26 - Also, the referee shirts still have the old logos.

9:19 - Fun entrance for both guys.  Wyatt, with the fans just knowing to turn on their cell phone lights, is one of the most unique entrances of anybody in WWE.  Such an awesome visual.  Also love that he wore the leather apron (which I believe he wore in NXT) because there's something oddly disturbing about it.  Bringing back the countdown for Jericho's entrance gave it a certain epic feeling.  And that was a pretty bad ass jacket, too.

9:13 - While I expected Rollins to win and have no problem with it, I do hope that Ambrose wins the blowoff of this feud.  Rollins has walked away with enough big victories (including Money in the Bank) that he can suffer a clean loss against Ambrose without suffering.  The fans are into Ambrose and he's the one who got turned on, so he should win in the end.

9:10 - Really fun spots here in this lumberjack match.  Unique twist on the stipulation.  Really enjoying this match and the use of the Superstars who typically just stand around the ring.

9:00 - I like how they're playing up the fact that all of the lumberjacks have, at one time, been victimized by the Shield (showing that they're BOTH potential victims), but there's the Wyatts being lumberjacks.

8:51 - The old "pass out because he won't tap out" finish was probably the safest finish to keep Rusev strong while also protecting Swagger.  Somebody brought up a good point, though:  Will Swagger retain this level of "overness" after he's moved on from feuding with an anti-American?

8:44 - Feed seems to be pretty consistent and good now.  I do have to say -- I like both of these guys' new gear.

8:35 - Since I missed the first half hour of the show anyway, I might just rewatch Paige vs. AJ in the replay.

Also, interesting that the WWE isn't utilizing their logo in easily used places.  Like, they've updated the ring apron, but not the turnbuckles.  It's being used for the SummerSlam logo, but not on the WWE logo at the bottom of the screen.  Very odd.

8:32 - Feed returned just in time for the finish.  Now frozen again.

8:29 - I finally turned on SummerSlam on the WWE Network ($9.99) for AJ Lee's introduction.  Imagine my excitement.  Except I'm ALREADY having some choppiness and buffering issues with my feed.  Same thing happened last month, but it was quickly resolved for the rest of the show.  I'm hoping that happens here again, however I was really looking forward to AJ vs. Paige, so this is a bit of a disappointment.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

LIVE Raw thoughts - August 11, 2014

11:16 - Really fun segment and it was genuinely nice to see some old, familiar faces.  However, is there a reason why the entire roster just let Brock Lesnar walk into the ring?  Why did they have to wait for Cena to come down to stop him?

I will say this, though:  Showing the Hogan celebration on the WWE Network is enough reason for me to switch over to that.  Good use of the Network and making people feel like they're missing exclusive content.  Now they just have to make sure not to post it on

10:38 - I don't know why, but it really annoys me when the announcers refer to Kane as "Corporate Kane."  It's a little too self referential.

10:24 - Things I enjoy:  Miz's heel character (and his outrageous character) and the genuine energy Ziggler displays during his entrance.  Something really missing in this era of people who need to be calmer and cooler than the room.

10:13 - I haven't loved this Stephanie/Brie storyline as much as most on the internet, but I do like Brie's Daniel Bryan-inspired ring gear.  Nice.  Wondering what happens here, though.

10:06 - Really, REALLY enjoyed that Cena promo.  However, it's based on the premise that he comes out at SummerSlam NOT wearing his usual gear.  And since he JUST debuted new merchandise, I find that hard to believe.  But great stuff otherwise.

9:56 - Wow, shocking.  John Cena usually has a new entrance video the day he debuts a new color scheme.  He came out in his new red/yellow gear, but his video is still the neon green.

9:49 - I'm not quite sure I understand why Eva Marie was in pain on the arena floor in the first place.

9:41 - Very, very effective segment and the most I've enjoyed Bray Wyatt's character since he's debuted.  However, I'll say it again:  I hate it when they do the abrupt Wyatt cut, only to jump to the announcers.  They should ALWAYS go to commercial.

9:28 - While I admit it was at least a competitive match (that Cesaro looked fine in), I still can't get over the fact that he's tapping clean to Swagger considering where these two were after WrestleMania.  Is there any reason why Cesaro, and not -- say -- the half dozen guys they regularly job out has to fill that role?

I certainly can't wrap my head around this "well, we're pushing Reigns right now.  We gotta taper off on Cesaro" argument.  There's a difference between strapping a rocket to somebody's ass and simply making them look strong.  There's no reason why Cesaro should be regularly losing clean, with no entrance on television, without any storyline whatsoever.  Ridiculous waste of an over talent.

9:15 - After WrestleMania, would you have believed that Swagger would have gotten a big babyface entrance while Cesaro's would be untelevised?  So sad.

8:53 - I actually liked that....with them teasing that Ambrose was hiding in the gift, then backing away from it, and then revealing he was in the present.  I could've done without the Network shilling in the midst of an intense promo, though.

8:50 - It's really strange seeing Rob Van Dam doing so many clean jobs.  Not complaining, per se, but he's somebody who's typically been pretty protected his entire career (no matter where he wrestled on the card), and yet now he's pretty frequently losing cleanly.

8:31 - As others have noted, Ryback went from squashing people 2 on 1, to being the guy on the "two" side of the handicap match.

8:19 - Call me a sucker....but I kinda like the whole story of Kane portraying two completely different characters depending on whether or not he's wearing his mask.  I don't, however, necessarily like him acknowledging as two separate people (like him saying "you beat Kane").

8:11 - Not shockingly, utterly fantastic opening segment.  That promo, and the anticipation it set for the SummerSlam title match, probably sold more Network subscriptions than the shilling and saying "$9.99" over and over again.

8:05 - Brock not destroying those Hogan gifts was very uncharacteristic.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge #IceBucketChallenge

You may have heard a thing or two about this Ice Bucket Challenge trend.  Basically, somebody nominates you to either pour a bucket of ice cold water on your head within 24 hours of the challenge, or you donate $100 to the Pete Frates #3 Fund.  The intent is to raise money and awareness for the fight against ALS.  Well, anyway, yesterday I get a Facebook notification that I've been challenged by one of my co-workers.  Did I accept?  Check out the video to find out:

And for more information on the fight against ALS and the Ice Bucket Challenge, please visit:
Pete Frates #3 Fund
Ice Bucket Challenge goes Viral (

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Monday, August 4, 2014

LIVE Raw thoughts - August 4, 2014

11:32 - Mini rant, but I think WWE's emphasis of $9.99 was misguided.  I don't think there's anyone out there who didn't realize what the price of the network was.  The issues, as best as I can tell, is the general understanding of the Over the Top provider and the content in general.  If WWE incessantly pushed the content that most people are watching, I think that would have gone a lot further.

11:22 - On the one hand, those Pedigrees were better than I expected.

11:08 - I actually liked the throwback to the past year's storylines -- mentioning Big Show and the Rhodes family in particular.

11:06 - Are they honestly ending Raw two weeks in a row with Stephanie/Brie?

11:02 - By the way, awesome promo for the Network.  THIS is what they should be doing -- show us what's on, when, and hype it!

10:52 - Love the expression on Ambrose's face when he tore up the contract.

10:49 - Who else expected Zack Ryder to get the "jobber" nod here?  Also, why is Heath Slater's body a completely different shade than his head?

10:35 - Those abrupt Wyatt cuts really lose their impact when they don't go immediately to a commercial break.  It's just not the same when they cut away and then go to the announce team shilling the Network.

10:21 - Bo Dallas vs. R-Truth again?  Considering the size of their roster and the amount of people who can't seem to buy TV time, it's a wonder they can't mix up their midcard a lot more.

10:16 - This isn't an especially easy Raw to review, I gotta say.

9:55 - Personally, I'm impressed that Kane managed to wrestle so many matches (some rather long and physical) wearing a wig.

9:51 - So do Goldust and Cody, like, exclusively fight Rybaxel?

9:45 - Love this Paige/AJ stuff.  Love it.

9:42 - Not that I'd ever complain about a Ziggler win, but this Cesaro stuff is mind boggling.  I mean, he's jobbing clean to Dolph Ziggler, the man who needed a distraction to beat Fandago. And then there will be a rumor that he's actually being set up to face Lesnar.  Mind boggling.  And frustrating.

9:26 - I actually like this use of the WWE App.  Make people think they missed something.  Of course, that's immediately defeated once you do a recap of everything they missed.  But I appreciate the attempt.

9:18 - I don't love the Brie/Stephanie storyline, but I do have to wonder if the manner in which Brie challenged Stephanie being so similar to the way Daniel Bryan challenged Triple H was intentional.  The way they asked for one thing, which was granted, only to follow up with (paraphrasing) "that's not all I want" happened in both instances.  If it was deliberate, bravo to those writers.

9:07 - Not to be the guy who complains about all the gimmick matches, but my issue with the Beat the Clock Challenge -- particularly when two guys are competing -- is that it never touches upon the possibility that both guys lose.  The announcers are doing a good job of reminding viewers that victory isn't a given, but what happens if both guys lose?  It works when multiple people are competing because it's a fairly safe assumption (realistically) that at least one person would win....but it doesn't work as well with two people.

8:59 - Remember how I said the whole Network shilling thing was a thin line?  Well, Lawler is crossing that line.  Yes, the 9.99 line was pretty funny during the Last Man Standing match....but everything since has been brutal.

8:50 - Just think....7 months ago these two were fighting dressed as Santa.

8:48 - Wow, Sandow is practically in regular wrestling attire this week.

8:41 - Incredible video package with John Cena and Brock Lesnar....where both hit their mark and came off looking great.  I had asked this before, but why don't they take more advantage of Lesnar's limited dates?  Why NOT film a bunch of these videos during one of his appearances and show them during the weeks that he's not there live?

8:20 - For what it's worth, I also find Last Man Standing matches exceptionally boring.  There's nothing worse than following up a big, crowd inducing move with 5-10 seconds of just standing around.  The momentum is killed, and for the majority of the match nobody believes they're actually going to hit 10.

8:17 - It feels like we've seen this match -- or variations of this match -- every show for weeks now.

8:09 - Liking the look of Randy Orton and Seth Rollins in black suits.  ANYTHING is better than the standard t-shirt/jeans combo.  I also didn't mind the Authority's WWE Network shilling once it became obvious that they were being ironic.  They've gotta cool it with that, though, and make sure that every single major Superstar isn't coming out and shilling the network as well.  It's a thin line.

7:58 - I'm back!  Yeah, I know it's been a few weeks since I've done my LIVE Raw thoughts, but it's always a little tougher over the summer.  I'm back from a week long vacation and I'm going to give this episode a shot.  Raw has been pretty back and forth lately -- some great episodes, some really tedious ones -- and I'm obviously hoping for the former.  Show begins in about two minutes, let's see what they've got.

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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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