Friday | February 12th, 2016
Finally. It feels good doesn't it? Just feels right to be back on the Road to WrestlemaniaTM. After an extended break from wrestling, we're all back in for 2016 to be the best year wrestling has ever seen. And what better way to start of the year than with the Royal Rumble? Did it live up to it's classification? Let's find out!
As always, we're answering the three most important questions in the wide world of wrestling:
- What Happened?
- What Should Have Happened?
- Why Should You Care?
The Setup: There's always a few other matches kicking around, but the big one is the Royal Rumble match itself. Thirty men are involved. Each one enters the ring one at a time separated by a minute or so with a big countdown clock. They're eliminated if they're thrown over the top rope and both feet touch the ground. It's one of the more exciting matches in all of wrestling.
Beer of Choice: Plain ol' Yuengling Lager. The beer of Royal Rumbles.
(Intercontinental Championship - Last Man Standing Match)
- JBL continued to confirm he's old by referring to an iPad as a Laptop. Then Ambrose tossed Owens through two tables and retained his title.
- Like last month at TLC, this match could have gone either way. Both are great in the ring and put together awesome matches. Plus, Last Man Standing matches are my favorite "special" type of matches, so there's that.
- This was a fun match top to bottom. It's hard to imagine them topping this with a regular match, but Ambrose and Owens have a certain kind of chaotic chemestry between them that works wonders.
(Tag Team Championship)
- Kofi didn't get pinned because he had his foot...under the rope? When did that become a thing? I just don't...well, then Big E hit his Big Ending off a blind tag and The New Day retained.
- Keep the belts on the New Day forever! But I'd like to see Xavier Woods get a little more match time. He's clearly capable.
- The New Day continues to be the best thing going. They are far and away the most charismatic team and Francesca II is the best manager they could hope for.
- Kalisto, after a good handful of botches, threw Del Rio into the turnbuckle he exposed, letting him get the win.
- Um, I don't really want to see this series of matches to continue. They're both good athletes and all, I just...I don't know. I don't think Kalisto is very good I guess.
- Well, this either this leads to the US Championship to kick around in the B-League again, or it sets up a Del Rio rematch. Either way, I'm not too excited.
- Ric Flair's jacket retains the Divas Championship for Charlotte over my cousin Becky.
- I'm a bit biased because Becky is directly related to me (no she isn't), but I think Charlotte's heel run has kind of killed it for me. Let someone else have a run at it, or at least have her win without needing Ric there. I know that's what heels do, but jeez, why did he kiss Becky? It's just gross.
- You should care because then Sasha Banks showed up and was awesome and will immediately win the belt and we're all better for it. Sorry Becky...
And now, the match I've dreaded covering since I started this column with the charicatures...The Royal Rumble! Let's run down the entrants and eliminations and then we'll hit our three questions at the end. I'll also be including some apt names assigned by my girlfriend as she was forced to enjoy this with me. (The elimination numbers are my best guess, when Reigns was getting attacked, things got kinda muddled)
1. - Eliminated 28th by (UGH)
2. - Eliminated 1st by
3. - Eliminated 11th by
4. - Eliminated 2nd by and
5. - Elmiinated 3rd by
6. (Someone's Dad) - Eliminated 26th by
7. - Eliminated 9th by
8. (Robut) - Elimated 4th by
9. - Eliminated 8th by
10. - Eliminated 6th by (The rest of the New Day tried to help)
11. - Eliminated 7th by
12. - Eliminated 5th by (After trying to win a ladder match. I think the schtick they give him is pretty bad, but that was funny)
13. - Eliminated 19th by
It's at this point in the entrants that the League of Nations started beating up so he could be carried off on a stretcher
14. (David Bowie) - Eliminated 14th by
15. - Eliminated 10th by
16. - Eliminated 13th by
17. - Eliminated 20th by
18. - Eliminated 12th by
19. (The Redneck) - Eliminated 19th by
20. (Sami Sandwiches) - Eliminated 16th by (I am so glad Sami Zayn is back!)
21. - Eliminated 17th by
22. - Eliminated 15th by
23. - Eliminated 21st by
24. - Eliminated 18th by
25. - Eliminated 23rd by (I think?)
26. - Eliminated 22nd by
27. - Eliminated 25th by HHH and
28. - Eliminated 24th by
29. (Lucky Charms) - Eliminated 27th by
And here makes his grand return.
30. - Winner
- So HHH entered himself at the 30 spot to win the WWE Heavyweight Championship.
- Not that at least. Hell, keep the belt on Reigns, but really, the old guy? Fuck, Ambrose could have had two belts. How crazy awesome could that have been? But instead...ugh.
- Despite the announcers insistance that this guarantees HHH will headline Wrestlemania, there's still a handful of PPVs before then when he can lose it. Hell, Sheamus lost it on a RAW. Why in the world does this mean he's going to Wrestlemania? Don't make no sense.
Some notes on this match, AJ Styles is clearly a fan favorite and he did pretty damn well in this match, but it didn't seem like the best use of his talents. I am so so so happy Sami Zayn is back. I don't know why, but I really like him. Might just be that Cesaro match back in NXT a ways back. Put him in with Owens and Ambrose, make a good triple threat match for the intercontinental title. That's what that belt always excelled at. Oh man, now I'm even more excited!
The Verdict: 50% of the matches leading up to the rumble were fun watches, the other two, a bit less. But even so, the Rumble is what you come for and it was fun like always. I'm not too pleased with the ending, but at least the crowd didn't boo like crazy. I am interested to see what this means heading into Wrestlemania season, but I'm not sold on it yet.
2015 was a relatively small year for the world of enterntainment consumed by us here at 30 Extra Lives Studios. Part of our refocusing on the comic meant some other things had to fall to the side a bit. But that didn't stop us from having some fun. Here's some of our favorites.
Bloodborne does not give a shit if you're good at games. You just have to be good at Bloodborne, and if you're not, it will smack you down. Repeatedly. And as frustrating as it can be, there's nothing quite like that moment when you slay a boss or destroy an enemy that had given you so much trouble before. The story is really creepy, and very much intuited by the world. There's no long cutscenes laying out what is happening, which really makes it all the more interesting. And it looks amazing, which helps with the terrifying enemy design. I haven't been immediately hooked on a game like this in some time. It's not for everyone, but it was definitely for me.
Honorable Mentions: Massive Chalice (PC), Witcher 3 Wild Hunt (PS4), Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
Note: I did not finish MGSV in time for it to be considered
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW)
I know I push turtles stuff a little too much sometimes, but this year has been the best year for this book since it started. They finally had the showdown with the Shredder that ended a 50 issue leadup and have since pushed into new territory. They've finally gotten out of the shadow of the Shredder and Splinter is the new master of the Foot Clan. What excited me most about this year was the upheaval of the status quo. New villians have been introduced and each turtle is taking the Foot Clan a different way. This may be the best version available right now, Nickelodeon cartoon included.
Honorable Mentions: Daredevil (Marvel), The Fade Out (Image), Seconds (OGN)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Disney)
This one wasn't really close. I love Star Wars again. What more can you say? Ok, I can say a little more. The new cast is great. Rey is super bad ass, Finn is probably the best characterized of the bunch, and Poe is so damn pretty. I had a blast throughout the whole movie, even though it really was a newer version of A New Hope. And it's the only movie I plan on seeing a second time in theaters. And that's incredibly rare for me.
Honorable Mentions: Inside Out (Disney), Avengers: Age of Ultron (Disney)
Best TV Show
The Americans (FX)
There was a lot of good TV this year, but the Americans stood above the rest. With two seasons under it's belt of intense cold war spy action, we really see the reprecusions of the past come to roost. The sub plots with Stan and Martha get even more insane while Philip and Elizabeth have to deal with some harsh realities of their world. And holy shit, that finale. Season four can't come soon enough.
Honorable Mentions: Daredevil (Netflix), Rick and Morty (Adult Swim), Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Fox)
It feels like it was just two weeks ago that we had a wrestling pay per view to watch. And that's because it was only three weeks ago. I guess they don't like having shows over the holidays, so December 13th it is! After the dissapointment that was Survivor Series, my expectations were pretty low. Were those expectations met? Found out with me, won't you?
As always, we're answering the three most important questions in wrestling today:
- What happened?
- What should have happened?
- Why should you care?
The Setup: Much like Hell in the Cell, what was once a special match type has grown into it's own show. Tables, Ladders, and Chairs open the door for some more entertaining matches and spots than locking everyone in a big cage, so I'm a fan of this. Especially going back to it's origins with the Dudley Boyz and the Hardyz doing crazy crap to each other.
Beer of Choice: Sam Adams White Christmas, a nice light beer with some good flavors.
(WWE Tag Team Championship Ladder Match)
- Big E took a nap through most of the match, and then Xavier Woods threw a FUCKING TROMBONE and took out the last of the Lucha Dragons to allow Kofi to climb the ladder and retain the belts.
- Anything I could have come up with would not have topped that. Hilariously awesome!
- New Day is still one of the best things going and he THREW A FUCKING TROMBONE. Great start to the show.
- Lana got fake injured again and Rusev "Crush" Rusev applied the Accolade to submit Ryback.
- This is a tough one, because it kind of doesn't matter who won, but Rusev needed to be re-established as a force after his return, so beating the "Big Guy" made sense. He and Lana being all mushy and such around the match got tiresome. I liked it better when Lana was just the angry lady that yelled "CRUSH".
- This is the new status quo for Rusev and Lana. They're engaged in real life, so why not put them together on TV? I'll need some convincing that they can play those characters. Lana needs to get a good Stephanie McMahon type sneer going if they really want to push the heel angle.
(c) (US Championship Chairs Match)
- Alberto Del Rio (formerly associated with former racist Zeb Colter) stomped Jack Swagger (formerly associated with former racist Zeb Colter) into a bunch of chairs to retain his title.
- Jack Swagger cannot attain a title. And he still sounds kinda racist. So they kinda nailed it here.
- I was never big on Alberto Del Rio, but I'm liking him in his return thus far. They'll need to give him some better opponents to make the US Title matter, but he puts on entertaining matches.
(Table Elimination Match)
- This match was pure chaos. And a giant eight man elimination match, sounds like that would have been great at Survivor Series. You know, the one last month that had hardly any elimination matches? What the hell? ANYWAY, this was a pretty one-sided affair. Let's run it down: Dubba Ray and D-Von eliminated Erick Rowan. Luke Harper eliminated Rhyno. (Rhyno was my pick for first elimination, he seemed the most out of shape). Bray Wyatt eliminted D-Von. Luke Harper eliminated Tommy Dreamer. Braun Strowman eliminated Bubba Ray.
- Very much this. The Wyatt family is supposed to be this terrifying group of nightmare people. And they've gone on to back up exactly ZERO of all their talk. They could not lose this one to a bunch of old men. Thankfully they didn't.
- This finally puts a big "W" in the Wyatt Family win column. The more times they are able to be terrifying and then destroy their opponents, the better they work as a group. Plus, assuming this ECW things keeps going, it gives the Dudley Boyz something to do since they don't seem to have a part in the Tag Team debate anymore. Kind of a win-win.
(c) (Intercontinental Championship)
- Dean reversed a "Pop-Up Powerbomb" into a kind of awkward and way too long rollup to win the Intercontinental Championship.
- Either could have walked away with the title, but considering Ambrose beat Owens last month in the tournament, it makes sense for him to do it again. Crazy that it follows a kind of logic. Since when is wrestling logical?
- They finally put a belt on Ambrose. That's some pretty cool shit. He has good matches with basically anyone he's put together with. I could watch this one a few more times before he moves on.
- Charlotte and Ric Flair worked together (as heels) to expose the turnbuckle and smack Paige's head into it.
- So wait, Paige was coming into this stuff as the bad guy talking mess about the Flair family, now Charlotte is being a dick to Becky Lynch and cheating to win. So now they're both heels? Are we supposed to be rooting for one of them? I just...both of them are trying to hard to be awful. Why did...I don't know.
- They still put on good matches and keeping the belt on Charlotte is a good look. I just wish they'd get a true face/heel dynamic going here. It seems muddled.
(c) (WWE Championship TLC Match)
- Alberto Del Rio and Rusev, partners in crime with Sheamus in the League of Nations, beat up Roman Reigns to allow Sheamus to retain the title. Reigns then went on to beat up Triple H a bunch.
- Sheamus had to win to keep the belt out of Reigns' hands. At least for a little while longer. The more Reigns gets screwed and beats up Triple H, the more people like him. Good way to go about it.
- People are starting to cheer for Reigns, so I think this is the right way to go. No one seems to like Sheamus, so he can lean into the heel persona and allow Reigns to pick up the "Stone Cold Anti-Authority" badge. When they finally do put the belt on Reigns, it'll feel like he's earned it.
The Verdict: WWE had a long way to go after the dissapointment that was Survivor Series, but they turned things around in a rather spectacular fashion. This was a fun show almost entirely top to bottom and every time they break through a ladder I cringe in the worst way possible. Good job WWE, you made me watch crazy people break through ladders. But also people THROWING A FUCKING TROMBONE OH MY GOD THAT WAS AWESOME!
WWE Pay Per View time is once again upon us with one of my favorites: Survivor Series. Heading into this year, we had a couple big storylines, some planned, some arose out of opportunity, but all were supposed to figure heavily into the show. The chief of which was Seth Rollin's injury causing him to vacate his title and bring on a King of the Ring style tournament for a completely separate show. Then we've got Undertaker celebrating 25 years wrestling, which is totally insane. So many other wrestler's careers started and ended in a fraction of that time, it's nuts he's still around. Did these stories carry their weight? Let's find out!
And as always, we're answering the three most important questions in wrestling for each match:
- What Happened?
- What Should Have Happened?
- Why Should You Care?
The Setup: Survivor Series was traditionaly a show with huge elimination matches. Sometimes with consequences, sometimes not, but they were always fun. This year however, we only got one, with every other match being a standard 1v1 or 2v2. I was very dissapointed in that aspect to start off the night.
Beer of Choice: Laguanitas Sucks. A beer standing at 8% took less than two to get through the show.
(WWE Championship Tournament)
- Reigns speared ADR into oblivion after he flipped around the ring a lot pulling Reigns' arm.
- Reigns had to win. Part of my frustration with this and the other match in this tournament below is that both had other titles holders involved (ADR-USA, Kevin Owens - Intercontinental). So not only is it obvious that neither will win the match, we don't get proper title defenses for either. Apparently their way of elevating those titles is to have the current champions feel like they don't matter and they should go for the WWE Championship? Sounds more like the WWE Championship is the only one that matters.
- Only because this means Reigns is now in the final match to win the title.
(WWE Championship Tournament)
- Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds to take out Kevin Owens in what was an entertaining match. Both have unothodox methods to their moves, and they worked well together. I'm hoping they can get a rivalry going, but Ambrose may be sucked into main title status now.
- Again, with Kevin Owens already having the Intercontinental Title, he had to lose. Just bad booking.
- And again, because this means Ambrose has a shot at the WWE Title.
(Survivor Series Match! FINALLY!)
- Ok, we're gonna run this down: Sin Cara elminated King Barrett. Xavier Woods eliminated Jimmy Uso. Sheamus eliminated Sin Cara. Jay Uso eliminated Big E. Then both Xavier and Kofi escorted Big E out of the arena in a pretty funny bit. BUT, since The New Day was by far the most interesting part of the match, you could just feel the audience deflate. Sheamus was then eliminated by Ryback to end it.
- This match should have had some stakes to it. If New Day loses, they have to defend the belts to one of the opposing teams, or if Sheamus is the first one eliminated, he looses Money in the Bank. Something. ANYTHING. It was a fine match, but bleh.
- Any chance to see more of the New Day, especially when all three can work, is great. But most everyone else felt like filler. This is one you can just forget about and move on from.
- In the lone title defense of the night, Charlotte used the Figure Eight to force Paige to tap out. It was one of the more physical matches of the night, Paige played up the heel and Charlotte stood fast. It was fun to watch.
- Charlotte had to keep the belt. I'm sure she'll drop it to Paige eventually, but she needs to be a credible champion. But anything to get more matches like that.
- The women's division is looking better, so having a good champion is important. We need to see more from Becky Lynch and especially Sasha Banks before we can really have some fun.
- Tyler Breeze hit an Unprettier to take out Dolph Ziggler. And this was my "Zone Out Match of the Night"™. It's crazy that Dolph went from one of the best matches at least year's Survivor Series to taking part in this weird spat with Tyler Breeze. Summer Rae is pretty great though. I'm really coming around on her.
- That's fine.
- I have no idea. Let's move on.
- Undertaker Tombstoned Luke Harper to end this kind of nothing of a tag match.
- How was this not the survivor series match? It was setup perfectly! Just have two of them, who cares! There are four Wyatts, just grab two random buddies for the Undertaker. So dumb.
- Undertaker is still going after 25 years, so that's impressive. And Wyatt's PPV losing ways continue. He sucked out the Undertaker's soul but still lost. What's a world eating demon gotta do?
- Roman Reigns Speared Ambrose into oblivion. Yet another forgone conclusion. And I know people are tired of it, but man, when Ambrose hits that stupid through the ropes clothesline, it looks so damn good.
- I like Ambrose way better. I think he's a better all around package to take over where Rollins left off, especially in terms of mic work. I would have given it to him long before Reigns.
- Well, it doesn't really matter because then this happened:
(Money in the Bank Cash In Match for the WWE Championship)
- Two Brogue Kicks to Reigns and he was done. Sheamus is now your WWE Champion.
- I guess this? The lesser of two evils? Kind of? There are no winners here.
- Sheamus then immediately went on to align with Triple H and the Authority. Are we heading down the same "Downtrodden Guy vs Authority" storyline we saw with Daniel Bryan? Does WWE even know how to have a face keep the belt and be enterntaining? I guess, I doin't know why you should care. This is a mess.
The Verdict: This show amounted to two good matches, and a bunch of nothing. With the WWE Championship basically handed to Reigns before the night began, a lot of the tension was sucked right out of the show. The closest thing to a surprise was Sheamus cashing in, and at least that was somewhat exciting. But this kind of booking cannot stand. When everyone knows exactly what's going to happen, it's not fun anymore. ...this show was not fun...