I don’t know about you, but I have been doing my absolute best to avoid spoilers for the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. Every time I see a link or a headline that talks about who this character is or who this actor is playing or even suggests a theory or a “possible spoiler”, I simply don’t click. I have seen enough in the trailers to get me jacked up about this movie, that I don’t need to know all of the gory details before I actually see the film. My genuine hope is that JJ Abrams will tell a good enough story that I won’t leave the theater confused about what I just saw. And if this movie is even half as good as the previews or half as good as the fan expectations are, then it will absolutely be the highest grossing film of all time.
I don’t often shill other websites or podcasts, but I am a massive fan of Sam Roberts’ Wrestling Podcast. I may not always agree with what he has to say, but I appreciate his interviewing style and a lot of the ideas that he has when discussing wrestling on a show. He doesn’t claim to be the most knowledgeable fan in the world when it comes to sports entertainment, but what he does do, however, is come across like in actual fan of the industry. I’m pretty sure that I don’t have to tell you that the Internet can be an extremely negative place when it comes to wrestling fans. This also goes for podcasts, as well. Roberts is getting a lot of great interviews because (A) he works at Sirius/XM, and (B) he’s a genuine fan of the product. He’s not negative for the sake of being negative. I have heard great interviews from ROH wrestlers, TNA wrestlers, WWE performers, NXT performers, and (most recently) even the man in charge of AAA, Dorian Roldan Pena. With a gluttony of wrestling podcasts out there available, it is refreshing to find one that I enjoy so much. In fact, I have found myself not listening to Colt Cabana, Ric Flair, Chris Jericho, Taz, or Steve Austin anymore (all podcasts that I used to listen to regularly). Roberts SOUNDS professional, both in his production and in his interviewing style. Because of that (and the addition of his very knowledgeable and entertaining co-host Katie Linendoll), this has become the “go-to wrestling podcast” for me. I highly recommend you give it one or two listens so you can decide on your own.
So the new Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer came out this week. I might be alone here, but I just don’t have any excitement for it. I have seen both trailers and so far it just looks like a big “meh” to me. I mean, when I see the trailers for The Force Awakens I get super-excited. When I saw the trailer for Suicide Squad, I was blown away. Even the upcoming Captain America: Civil War looks fantastic. To me, a trailer can make or break a movie and BvS just doesn’t do it for me. Am I alone, though? Does this movie look awesome to you?
Breaking Ground has got to be one of the best wrestling based shows that I have seen to date. Not only are we getting an opportunity to know some NXT stars before they are called up to the main roster, but we are getting the opportunity to take a massive look behind the scenes of a business that people don’t normally get to see. Just from the first few episodes, I have decided that Mojo Rawley probably is a tremendous human being, but doesn’t have the best gimmick. I think if he modifies it a little bit, it could get over…but not where it currently stands. I mean, I just do not see “Stay Hype” Mojo Rawley being a superstar with a title around his waist on RAW every week. Other observations I garnered from the show is that Zack Ryder is delusional and Baron Corbin is a cocky prick. I am looking forward to seeing some of these people succeed, while I am also looking forward to others (ahem…ZZ…) ultimately getting released and kicked on the ass on their way out. Between NXT, Breaking Ground, JBL‘s interviews, Table For 3, and the occasional WWE 24 special…I can’t imagine not having the WWE Network if I was a wrestling fan today.
Last weekend was one I spent with my son. We ended up watching Ant-Man once Saturday and again on Sunday. We didn’t see it in theatres and I wasn’t too concerned about it due to some of the reviews and lack of box-office success (it was a hit, but not “huge” per Marvel’s track record). I gotta say, though…the reviews may be primarily due to the age of the reviewers because my son LOVED this movie. To him, this is probably the best Marvel movie next to Guardians of the Galaxy. He loved the special effects, the whole concept of Ant-Man working with the bugs, and the comedy that was present throughout the film. I, too, really enjoyed the movie much more than I thought I was going to. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend watching it without trying to compare it to other Marvel films. Though difficult, it’ll be worth it as it’s an extremely entertaining film.
I’m not much of a gamer, but I’ve been enjoying watching others play online (thanks to the very entertaining UpUpDownDown YouTube channel). I find, though, that either (A) the players are lame or (B) the language used means that kids shouldn’t be watching. What I found recently was a great YouTube channel where (A) the player is EXTREMELY entertaining and (B) his language is PG-13…so it’s something I can share with my son. The player’s name is Big Red NY and he has playlists for WWE 2K15 career mode, EA Sports UFC Career Mode, Madden NFL ’16 career mode, and most recently, WWE 2K16 career mode. The videos look professional (they are even edited with sound and recaps), his mic sound is top notch, and “Big Train” Martinez usually has me and (especially) my son laughing out loud during his videos. I don’t watch of lot of these channels, but I’m subscribed to Big Red NY. This stuff is top notch.
I feel like I am going to be in the minority, but I am a massive fan of the new Muppets show that debuted on ABC this fall. I don’t necessarily agree with Kermit dating another pig but the entire premise of the show, along with the break up of Kermit and Miss Piggy, is extremely refreshing for a brand that is been around for over 30 years. The adult humor is subtle enough that my kids don’t get it, but my wife and I totally do. That’s refreshing to me. I love the characters and how the show is a blend of styles that is similar to Modern Family or The Office). Yes, that gimmick is played out in other comedies but it really seems fun when it’s done by the Muppets. I have heard that they are already thinking about re-tooling the entire show to make it different because ratings are down a bit since its debut. I hope that is not the case because I really firmly believe it does not need any changes whatsoever.
Brad Maddox was released from WWE this past week for using the term “cocky prick” during a promo before a live event. Obviously, in the “PG Era”, using that terminology with kids in the audience (and knowing Vince was watching his promo backstage) probably wasn’t the smartest thing for Maddox to do. And really, he was on shaky ground to begin with, having only been seen on television a couple of years ago in a commissioner role. While he was beginning to work on developing a tag team with Adam Rose, the last anyone had seen him was dressed as a turkey being given a tombstone piledriver by the Undertaker on the Tonight Show. I feel bad for Maddox (now going by the moniker Mad Braddox) because I am not sure where he plans on going after this. Being small in stature but having mic skills can only take you so far on the independent circuit. I don’t know if he has the ability to show up in Ring of Honor or New Japan and be taken seriously. I guess we’ll see soon enough.
On the flipside of things, Solomon Crowe actually requested his release from NXT last week. While I do not know the exact details or reasons for that request, I am surprised that he feels better off outside of WWE. I realize that his “hacker gimmick” had not really gone over very well, and he was never pushed as a major star…but I still thought he had the ability to come back and be successful in NXT. He obviously felt differently about the situation. He has already gone back to his indie handle of Sammy Callahan and it should be extremely interesting to see where he winds up going. With more name recognition at this point, I could see the Ring of Honor being very interested in him (they have to do better than the Beer City Bruiser…ugh). I could also see him in PWG at some point. He will probably be up and down the East Coast indie circuit and it wouldn’t shock me to see TNA reach out and try to grab him for whatever reason. I, personally, would love to see Callahan show up in New Japan. I think he brings something extremely unique to the table. If he were allowed to be whoever he wanted to be, was joined by his girlfriend (the extremely unique and talented Jessica Havok), they could make for a dominating pair that would be reminiscent of Triple H using Chyna as his “bodyguard”. I guess only time will tell what happens to Callahan down the road.
My family and I always sit down together every Wednesday night and watch Survivor. This season’s cast have all been on the show before and have gotten close to winning, but all came up short for one reason or another. This “Second Chance Season” is causing all hell to break loose in terms of how they are actually playing the game. Loyalty seems to be a secondary attribute and, instead, focus is going upon who needs to be voted out that particular week. It is a very unusual wait to play the game, but it makes her extremely compelling television. We are down to six or seven players now and it’s really anybody’s game at this point. I honestly think that even after 20+ years, this show continues to get better and better.
Song of the Week comes from the Stone Temple Pilots. Yesterday saw the passing of their former lead singer, Scott Weiland. I was one of those guys who always enjoyed their music without being a “massive” fan. I had their singles and they were a favourite band of mine during their early 90’s heyday (behind better bands like Pearl Jam and the Tragically Hip). Obviously, the man went through a myriad of substance abuse issues over the course of his lifetime, but his music will always live on.