If you ask any film buff what their favorite movie is, chances are they’ll tense up and think hard about their answer before saying, “I dunno, man, I like a lot.” I can identify with these people -- for a long time I had a hard time answering this question with less than five titles. It wasn’t until recently that I actually thought about all of my favorites and decided which one is my numero uno: Goodfellas.
True Blood Recap: Episode 1 "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
Last night, HBO premiered season 5 of True Blood, a premiere that had been much anticipated since the finale last summer. Well the finale was not at all what I expected it to be, and that's not a good thing...
What Next: Avengers 2?
“AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!” A battle cry familiar with any self-respecting Marvel fan and a line many fans like myself were anxiously awaiting the “star-spangled man with a plan” to cry during this summer’s blockbuster. I think at least most of us can agree that Avengers provided many of us with great joy and satisfaction in its execution.
Completely Random Episode 2: Coffee and Idle Banter
In this episode of Completely Random, Jon, Drew, and Chad discuss the effect of dating on video game play time, The Walking Dead Game, The Avengers, guns, the idea of a Justice League movie, and much more. Take a seat and absorb your sermon for the week.
Max Payne 3: Pain as art
Rockstar Games has accomplished what few games in the industry have: they have made gaming an art form. After playing Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption, and now Max Payne 3, I can say with honesty and a straight face that these three games delivered in ways many Hollywood movies can't.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
We're getting further into the three hour Raw era. How WWE fills this air time is going to determine their business moving forward - whether they stick with a three hour format or go slinking back to two after realizing that the same content across another hour was a poor choice. Or maybe they come to a realization that people would happily see the superstars of NXT in the first hour of Raw? Nah.
Raw opens with its new General Manager, AJ Lee skipping down to the ring in a suit. Odd contrast. AJ immediately announces Big Show vs Randy Orton for tonight. Daniel Bryan will face John Cena. AJ starts to announce match #3, but CM Punk's music hits to interrupt and bring the WWE Champion out. Punk says he lives with no regrets and is man enough to know when he has made a mistake. Punk wants to right a wrong from last week that he cannot take back - He lost his temper and wants to apologize to AJ for screaming at her to close the show. Punk continues that the Raw GM, just like the WWE Champion, should not be disrespected. AJ accepts the apology and Punk says they can be friends and he can help her fix mistakes, like the triple threat WWE Title match for Summerslam. AJ switches to sassy smile face and says Punk is right - She is new at this, but the triple threat is not a mistake. Her decision, and the match, stands. CM Punk asks if this is revenge for turning down AJ's marriage proposal? Punk says he's willing to take Big Show or Cena on in a singles match, and this draws John Cena to the ring.
Cena says that Punk has become "one of those guys" that comes out week after week demanding respect. Cena tells Punk to earn respect instead of demanding it. Cena answers a "Let's go Cena/Cena sucks" chant by saying he fights for respect. John tells AJ she smells great and introduces himself. Well, he IS divorced...Punk blames Cena for being jettisoned into him at commentary last week. Punk will not be disrespected by anyone. Punk says he saved Cena's life - No way he's strong enough to deliver an Attitude Adjustment to Big Show! (what?) Cena reminds Punk that champions don't do well in triple threats and Big Show interjects himself into the conversation. AJ says things are not going to get out of hand on her show - Cena and Show need to save their aggression for their opponents tonight. Punk says he should be in the main event tonight. AJ says he has a match, but she doesn't know against whom - that decision lies with the WWE Universe and Raw-action via Twitter. The crowd immediately starts an "HBK" chant. The choices will be The Miz, Kane and Rey Mysterio. AJ says voting starts now because the match is next.
Fair enough, well handled and AJ shows that she won't be pushed around. Problem? CM Punk, the WWE Champion, opens the show as usual. The good part of this is that it's not just ludicrous "pro-cena" booking now; it's part of a storyline, fueling Punk's change of heart and attitude. Which makes it perfectly fine. Anything that furthers storylines, as opposed to being odd booking, is a good call.
Jerry Lawler stands up at ring side and says that the winner of the Twitter voting is...Rey Mysterio!
Match 1: CM Punk (WWE Champion) vs Rey Mysterio, non-title
Winner: CM Punk via pinfall
A renewal of a rivalry from the last time CM Punk was a foul-mooded gent. The vocal crowd is strongly behind the champion. Rey grabs at the leg to start out, but Punk transitions to a hammerlock. Mysterio hits a jumping snapmare and kicks to the leg. Rey whips Punk to the ringpost and runs in after him, but comes empty, allowing Punk to take charge with a scoop slam and leg drop for a two cout. Punk settles right into a headscissors on the mat. Rey rolls out but runs into a tilt a whirl backbreaker for two. Punk delivers a belly to back suplex and heads to the top rope, but Rey dropkicks him off and to the floor. Mysterio is on the apron and delivers a diving senton to Punk on the floor - Michael Cole somehow calls this as "off the second rope", which makes not a lick of sense. Both men on the floor, so we're off to a commercial.
Back to action, both men are on the mat, but Rey is first to stir. Mysterio heads to the top and lays forearms into Punk's chest from above. Punk is dragged to the middle rope, but delivers a mongolian chop and hits a superplex for a near fall. Punk continues with a bodyscissors that Mysterio tries to fight out of, but gets a bevy of elbows to stop the comeback. Lawler says that Punk is wearing the "young man" down; apparently anyone short is young to The King. Punk throws Rey to the floor, but he lands on his feet and hops up to the apron to fight back. Mysterio hits a senton from the top and Punk tries a sunset flip, but Mysterio rolls through and tags him in the head with a kick for two. Rey kicks his way out of a corner, but ends up in a fireman's carry; Rey avoids the GTS and lands a 619, then heads to the top rope, but lands on Punk's knees off the splash. Punk scoops him up and hits Go To Sleep to win.
Nice to see Punk go over Rey clean; no garbage, no nonsense. Rey is always the underdog who manages to pull it out in the end, so Punk getting this win is a good sign. Solid match, if not a bit expected - Mysterio can only do so much anymore and he's definitely doing his damndest to not get injured yet again.
Alberto del Rio arrives and gets a special parking spot for his car. Ricardo hops out to let him out of the driver's side and ADR shoves him off, telling him they need to get going.
Wade Barrett appears in a vignette, to reintroduce him. A focused contrast between his ability to speak well and his bare knuckle fighting background. The Barrett Barrage returns soon.
AJ is in her "office" and del Rio enters to brown nose a bit. ADR reminds her that he shouldn't have to compete before Summerslam. She says she had nothing planned and ADR says he was worried AJ would do something "crazy". AJ's face shifts and she decides to put him in a match tonight; so much for not competing before Summerslam!
Match 2: Christian vs Alberto del Rio
Winner: Alberto del Rio via submission
Christian is in the ring as Raw comes back from commercial, which means only Alberto gets his entrance. Ricardo rushes out from the back to give del Rio his entrance and sells being out of breath, hence a much shorter "Albertooooo" than normal. ADR finishes taking his dress clothes off as he emerges. These two really can be incredibly entertaining when they just let them a little loose. Christian opens up with slaps and punches in the corner, but Alberto bails to the floor and drags his opponent out, then throws him into the ring post and the barricade. Back into the ring, Christian kicks out in one and ADR goes to work on the arm. Christian fights out of an armbar, but gets a headbutt and single arm DDT for his trouble. Christian fights back with his good arm with a forearm and a slap to the face. Christian hits a top rope cross body and wants to follow with the Killswitch, but ADR kicks him. Christian avoids the double knees to the arm with a jackknife pin, but ADR takes back over, ultimately whiffing a top rope back senton. Christian bounces in the corner, wanting the Spear, but del Rio tags him with a kick to the jaw on his way in. Christian avoids the Cross Armbreaker with a Killswitch attempt, but ADR fights out of that as well. Ricardo runs interference, allowing Alberto to crack Christian with his boot (after taking it off his foot) and slap on the Cross Armbreaker for the win.
Sheamus appears on the Titantron and says that ADR was right - Sheamus is beneath him. Sheamus wants to class up his act. Ricardo apparently left the keys in the car. Sheamus gets in and says he's going sight seeing. Sheamus proceeds to steal Alberto del Rio's car. Now that's not what "good guys" do! Good, straight forward match and a different ending, with ADR taking off his own boot as a weapon.
Match 3: Randy Orton vs Big Show
Winner: No contest - Double countout
Orton ties up with Show and gets tossed backwards, then takes body blows in the corner. Big Show tells the crowd to shush for a frying pan chop and Randy Orton punches his way out of the corner. Orton with mounted punches in the corner, but Show shoves him off, then delivers a side slam. Show says that Orton is in over his head and delivers a headbutt, then says this is "too easy". Orton fights back with right hands, but runs into a back elbow. Big Show settles into a chinlock, but Orton quickly fights to his feet and gets boots into the face of Show. Orton hits two clotheslines, then dropkicks Show off his feet. Randy coils up on the mat, wanting an RKO, but Show hits a surprise Chokeslam. Orton is out at two and rolls to the floor. Show lifts Orton to the apron, and he drops Show across the top rope. Orton slides in, but Show shoulder tackles him right back out, then follows to the floor. Orton tries to fight back, but Show keeps control and rolls him into the ring. Show wants another Chokeslam, but Orton kicks away at the midsection - He ends up driven over the top rope by his neck to the floor. Show chops Orton on the commentary table, then tries to slam Orton into the ringpost, but ends up taking it face first. Show counters an RKO on the floor with a spear and both men end up counted out.
Show is first to his feet and is angry. Show rolls Orton back in the ring and wants the WMD; Orton ducks and hits an RKO.
So the crowd goes home happy, getting to see an RKO. But in the same moment, they take a man who has been a monster obstacle for everyone in the company and show him get bested by one man who has been out of action for two months. Doesn't really make sense, but who doesn't love seeing an RKO?
Match 4: Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins vs Ryback
Winner: Ryback via pinfall
Ryback has another busted up eye - He had the same thing a couple months ago. Ryback explains that his hunger consumes him and it is never satisfied, in an old-school inset promo. Nice change of pace for him. Reks opens aggressively, but takes a huge powerslam. Reks escapes a second one and tags in Hawkins, who runs right into the pinning boot of Ryback. Reks gets tagged in accidentally and tossed in forcefully. Hawkins runs distraction and Reks hits two big boots and a huge clothesline. Hawkins tags back in and keeps the attack going. Reks quickly tags in again and clubs away. Another quick tag and a double gourdbuster for a one count. Hawkins with a chinlock on Ryback, who fights up quickly and tosses Hawkins to the mat. Reks grabs the foot from the floor and Ryback ends up back body dropping Hawkins over the top onto Reks. Hawkins gets thrown back in and takes a huge spinebuster and lariat. Time to "finish it" and Ryback takes Hawkins up for Shell Shocked.
Quick tags back and forth made the match a bit different than a normal Ryback 2v1. Not quite sure why Hawkins and Reks aren't used as the tag division is reinvigorated. Both guys are solid in the ring and they actually look like a tag team. Ryback is dominant as always.
Match 5: Primo and Epico vs Primetime Players
Winners: Primo and Epico via pinfall
AW does the usual intro for PTP. Young jaws at the Colons and gets dropkicked for his efforts. Titus opens aggressively on Primo and tags in Young. A double shoulder block keeps the control with PTP. Primo gets back dropped in the corner, but does a headstand on the middle turnbuckle for a headscissors counter. Young carries Primo to the corner and tags in O'Neil who throws Primo across the ring. Titus now chokes Primo in the ropes and delivers a big front slam. Young tags in and Titus gives him a gourdbuster onto Primo. Young puts Primo in a chinlock and rips at his face. Primo gets to his feet and counters a belly to back suplex, but can't make it to his own corner for a tag. Young stops another attempt with a powerslam for two. Primo fights out of a corner and rolls to tag Epico, who opens up on Young with a flurry. Epico hits a triple belly to back and Titus drags Young to the floor. AW says that PTP have had enough and the Tag Champs' music hits, bringing them out to block the way. Young ends up chasing Epico into the ring and Epico hits a Backstabber while Young jaws at Kofi and Truth. It's good for the win.
Fun tag match and AW managed to not put his foot in his mouth this week. PTP continue the "running away" gimmick and the Tag Team Champions show that they don't approve. The Colons get a win, which makes this the most active tag division in a long time.
A video recaps Damien Sandow getting beat up by DX at Raw 1000 and Sandow's follow up, beating up Brodus Clay. Sandow says he will not stand for foolishness or ridiculous activity, so he will dispose of Brodus Clay. We're welcome.
Match 6: Damien Sandow vs Brodus Clay
Winner: No contest
As Clay dances out, Sandow clips his knee from behind and attacks. Clay tries to fight back, but Sandow stays on him and the knee. Sandow works to injure Clay, stomping the knee off the entrance ramp. The refs break it up and attend to Brodus while Sandow gloats. Sandow tells Clay that he did this to himself.
AJ is in the back with a contemplative look on her face. Daniel Bryan is sitting across from her and AJ says he has anger management issues. Bryan blames AJ leaving him at the altar. Bryan says he's calm now; he agrees with the decision to have him face Cena tonight. Bryan says if he beats Cena tonight, the triple threat at Summerslam should be a fatal four way. AJ says that Bryan will face Kane at Summerslam. He says no, she says yes. Well then...what the hell's his motivation to not cheat or get himself disqualified here?
Match 7: Kelly Kelly vs Eve Torres
Winner: Kelly Kelly via pinfall
Kelly hasn't been on Raw for a couple months and her taking on Eve randomly is kind of...well, random. Eve pushes K2 to the side and goes to leave, but Kelly drags her back in and lays in with a Thesz press, then bashes Eve's head into the turnbuckle. Next is the handspring back attack and an attempt at a stink face leads to Eve bailing from the ring. Kelly gives chase and whips Eve into the barricade. Kelly heads to the top rope and hits a cross body for two. Kelly tries to counter in the corner with a headscissors, but Eve piefaces her into the mat, then chokes her in the ropes, drawing an unnecessary scream from Kelly. Cole talks about Eve's jiu-jitsu accomplishments, which unfortunately never gets integrated into her wrestling repertoire. Eve settles into a chinlock and Kelly screams bloody murder. Kelly comes "off the ropes" (she definitely didn't work on this with all that time off, which is a shame) and hits a hurricanrana pin for the win.
Same old sloppiness from Kelly and Eve doesn't use her jiu-jitsu knowledge in the wrestling ring. Guess you need these matches to keep the division alive.
HBK, Shawn Michaels approaches the ring and struts and poses as only he can, delighting the San Antonio crowd. Lawler and Cole give him a standing applause; Cole's heel nature has definitely been toned down in recent weeks and it's welcomed. HBK talks up Raw 1000 and the DX reunion. HBK says that the locker room is abuzz with talk of HHH vs Lesnar. Before Shawn can get any further, Lesnar's music hits and Lesnar and Heyman head out. Lesnar has no idea how to get in a ring and NOT hop around like he's about to fight. Heyman says it's not surprising that people want to hear HBK's opinion on Lesnar vs HHH. Heyman says HBK is the best in-ring entertainer in WWE history. Heyman says that Shawn's opinion on this one isn't valid: Lesnar won't be an entertainer at Summerslam, he's going in for a fight. Michaels says that he's not here to dispute Lesnar's attributes. Any other time, Lesnar would be the guy - This time, however, they made it personal and attacked his kids and wife. They messed with HHH's family.
HBK says he'll give his opinion, whether Heyman wants it or not. Shawn sides with HHH in light of how personal this has gotten. Michaels says he wants to be at Summerslam to see the outcome personally - Michaels will be in HHH's corner. Heyman says this is the clip that will be played when people analyze the end of HHH's career. Lesnar takes the mic from Heyman and says that the only reason HBK thinks HHH can take him is because Shawn has never been in the ring with him...until now. Lesnar closes in on Michaels and HHH comes out, hands taped. Lesnar laughs it off and steps to the apron, grabbing the mic from Heyman. Lesnar says he'll see HHH at Summerslam and he'll see Michaels before then. People have been expecting Lesnar to take Shawn Michaels out at some point to get HHH over the breaking limit for this fight. Now they extend the possibility of that for another week, building interest and suspense. Good!
Michael Cole plays a Tout from Sheamus at the Alamo with Alberto del Rio's car. This is the best use of Tout WWE has managed so far. Much better than random reactions from people that speak in catchphrases.
Match 8: Alex Riley vs Dolph Ziggler
Winner: Alex Riley via pinfall
Chris Jericho is on commentary and immediately trash talks Cole - Already a winning segment. Vickie Guerrero enters to introduce Ziggler like only she can. Ziggler struts and shows off to start. Alex Riley overpowers Ziggler early on. Cole goes over Jericho's inability to "win the big one" since returning in January. Ziggler forces Alex Riley into a corner and lays into him. Ziggler jaws at Jericho from the ring and Riley is able to fight back, but runs into a perfectly placed dropkick to the face. Ziggler continues on with his jumping elbow. Riley tries to fight back again, but Ziggler kicks him to the mat. Ziggler continues pounding Riley who fights back with a hip toss into a neckbreaker. Riley tries to tackle Ziggler in the corner, but runs into the ringpost. Ziggler hits a neckbreaker and imitates Jericho's "cocky pin". Jericho stands on the table and says he'll film the action and Tout it. Riley schoolboys Ziggler and gets the three.
It's a shame that a cool move like Riley's hip toss into a neckbreaker went completely unnoticed by the commentary team, but it was for the greater good as Jericho jawing at and distracting Ziggler was the focus of the segment. This feud is great even before it gets in the ring.
Match 9: Kane vs The Miz (Intercontinental Champion), non-title
Winner: Kane via pinfall
The two men not selected to face CM Punk earlier tonight face one another, much higher on the card. Ok. Kane opens up aggressively, as usual. Miz dodges a boot in the corner and clips the knee, then keeps on it. Miz escapes a slam attempt and continues on the knee, then hits a snap DDT. Miz pounds on Kane in the corner and Kane fights out with a shot to the face. Miz hits a low dropkick to the leg off the ropes, then kicks Kane in the face. Kane fights out of a chinlock and takes Miz off his feet with a right hand. Kane with a big scoop slam and low dropkick for two. Kane clotheslines Miz in the corner and wants another, but misses. Miz wants the Skull Crushing Finale; Kane counters, but gets dropkicked in the knee, sending his head into the turnbuckle. Miz runs at Kane in the corner and ends up taking snake eyes. Kane with a Chokeslam.
Kane beats a champion clean, but Big Show and Randy Orton fight to a double countout? Sure. Kane with a bit of momentum heading toward Summerslam and his match with Daniel Bryan.
Sheamus returns del Rio's car, smoking, with food and leaves all over it, borderline destroyed. Sheamus, you're supposed to be a good guy, that's not nice!
Match 10: Daniel Bryan vs John Cena
Winner: John Cena via pinfall
So Daniel Bryan has switched t-shirt, entrance and catchphrase just in time for THQ's WWE '13 to be out of date. Just like every year. Del Rio finds his car and blames Ricardo, then leaves him to clean up.
Cena and Bryan tie up and have a clean break. Bryan takes exception to a "Lets go Cena/Cena sucks chant" saying this is about him. Bryan hops to the floor and jaws with the crowd. Bryan slides back in and runs into a hip toss and chinlock from John Cena. Bryan breaks out but runs into a shoulder block and a headlock takeover. Bryan fights up from a headlock and transitions to an arm wringer. Bryan forces Cena to the mat, using control of his shoulder. Cena stands up and sends Bryan to the ropes, who bails from the ring. Bryan runs back in as Cena gives chase and delivers a low dropkick, sending Cena crashing to the floor. Bryan measures from the apron and hits his jumping knee. As they go to commercial, Bryan gives a front row fan a thrill and gets in a No/Yes argument with him.
Back to action, Cena is fighting out of a hold, but takes a kick. Bryan delivers kicks in the corner and lands the running dropkick for two. Bryan stays on the attack, but takes a back body drop off a reversed whip by Cena. Cena tries to follow but gets a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle, then the rope kicked into his face for another near fall. Bryan with a grounded hammerlock, but Cena fights up and out. Bryan escapes an Attitude Adjustment attempt and lays Cena out with another kick.
Back to the hammerlock now and Cena gets to his feet again. Cena starts the comeback routine and hits shoulders and a spin out bomb, calling for the Five Knuckle Shuffle and landing it. Cena wants the Attitude Adjustment, but Bryan shifts to a guillotine. Cena drives Bryan into the corner, but can't break the hold. Cena drops to his knees, but stands up with Bryan in hand and rams him into the corner, this time breaking the hold. Cena with a drop toe hold, but Bryan escapes the STF. Now a big kick to the head from Bryan for two. The crowd chants "yes" and Bryan starts to lose it. He heads to the top rope and hits a diving headbutt clear across the ring for two. Bryan is teasing a bit of insanity as he contemplates how to end this. Bryan with kicks to the chest of a kneeling John Cena. Cena counters the headshot kick and locks in an STF in the middle of the ring. Bryan counters right into the newly dubbed Nolock. Cena powers out and deadlifts Bryan up to his shoulder, then into a fireman's carry for the Attitude Adjustment and the win.
CM Punk's music hits before Cena can celebrate and he heads right for the ring. Punk holds the WWE Title up in front of Cena. Cena shoves Punk to the side as Big Show heads to the ring. Cena tries an Attitude Adjustment, but Punk hits Show, sending both men to the mat. They're harping on John Cena "not being able" to deliver an Attitude Adjustment to Big Show. I really hope that's not foreshadowing for Summerslam. Punk gets on the cans and tells Jerry Lawler that Raw ends with CM Punk standing tall as WWE Champion. Punk tries to kick Big Show to punctuate the night and gets his leg caught, leading to a WMD. Cena gets to his feet and gets a WMD of his own. Last week? CM Punk stood tall. This week? Big Show does the same. Next week? Bet your money that John Cena gets the best of Punk and Show.
Now this was a good three hour Raw. The focus all night was action and moving programs forward. Damien Sandow continues to focus on Brodus Clay, the champions were in action and the social media was kept to a happy minimum. If this is the pattern we can rely on, then three hour Raw might not be such a bad thing. Glad to see that AJ hasn't been stripped of her personality in her new position and that her existing relationships with wrestlers are taken into account on the show. The WWE Championship picture is now strongly zeroed in on CM Punk's anger and jealousy that he does not main event shows as a champion. Even tonight he was the first match, while John Cena main events against one of CM Punk's rivals. Interesting to see a chief complaint of the "internet fan" addressed as part of a story line, since that sect of fans tends to get ignored in the bigger picture.