5 Stars From Last Nights #RAW

Raw was live last night from Tampa, Florida, and compared to the last four or five shows, this wasn’t WWE’s best effort. It’s hard to put on an entertaining shows every week, but when you retread all the matches or feuds from your last pay per view two weeks ago, you shouldn’t be surprised when people think it’s crap. Seth Rollins is pulling double duty at Night of Champions, Nikki Bella has a new #1 contender for her Diva’s title and Xavier Woods has a beautiful head of hair. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last nights Raw!

1. Sting

Sting opened Raw with a promo, and it worked for one main reason: he got right to the point. He doesn’t necessarily have a beef with Seth Rollins, but he wants the WWE title, the one major championship that not only has eluded him, but that he’s never gotten the chance to fight for. Sting isn’t some guy looking for his 20th title shot before he retires; he’s looking to add another notch to his belt, and if he’s going to finally debut in the WWE, why not get a title shot too? The Authority continue to make no sense, as not only do they grant Sting a title shot at Night of Champions, but they also grant John Cena a rematch for his US title as well. Cena’s argument is that ‘all the titles must be on the line at NOC’ but they’re THE AUTHORITY. They make all the rules. Stephanie McMahon could have easily just said ‘actually John, no. You’re not getting a shot’, but instead, Seth Rollins has to pull double duty. Logically it makes zero sense, but I’m assuming Cena wins and Rollins beats Sting so Cena can prove he’s better than the WWE Champion and Sting in one night.

2. Kevin Owens & Cesaro

These two had a great match at Summerslam, and they continued to show their in ring chemistry last night as well. My only problem with the match was what the point of it? It was a great back and forth match with a logical ending, but what was the point? Did Cesaro really have to lose to Owens again? I’m all for pushing Kevin Owens to the moon, but it wouldn’t hurt to build up multiple guys at the same time. Summerslam happened and Cesaro lost, so that’s done, but don’t throw him out there again and again just to lose. Pretty soon we’ll be back at square one again with Cesaro, and all that momentum he had after the Cena matches will be gone. You don’t want every match to end in a distraction or count out or DQ, but throw my man Cesaro a bone once in awhile. As for Owens, he’s looked great on the main roster lately, and he’s getting decisive wins without looking like a cool bad guy. He’s an opportunist with a mean streak, and as long as he stays 1,000 miles away from John Cena I’m ok with it.

3. Braun Strowman

Speaking of guys getting solid pushes, Braun Strowman had his debut match against Dean Ambrose, and while he doesn’t get a clean win, he comes off looking like a superhuman powerhouse. My eternal hope is that Wyatt uses Strowman to strong arm his way to a title match (any title. I’m not picky) but for now it’s not a bad idea to show just how monstrous Strowman is. I wouldn’t mind a little variety here, as you don’t want him to beat up Ambrose and Reigns every week, but this segment accomplished what it set out to, which is to showcase Braun. He’s a little shaky in the ring and he overdid it a little bit with the monster voice, but when you’re his size and you have Wyatt and Harper by your side, you’re pretty protected. The WWE doesn’t need Strowman to have 25 minute classics, they need him to be the monster that he is. It’s an old school kind of build, especially the no sell of the chair shot, but I love it. There’s an absence of supernatural in today’s WWE, so here’s hoping the Wyatt Family gets to run with this for awhile.

4. New Day

First off:

That hair deserves its own bronze statue. It’s no trombone version of ‘New York, New York’, but it’s still beautiful, and my favorite part of the New Day grouping is that they switch things up every time out. Sometimes they skip and clap, sometimes they sing cover version of songs with a trombone, and now they’re trying to preserve tables in bubble wrap. They are the E in WWE because they’re entertaining as hell, and they’re also great in the ring. You can argue that the Dudleyz getting a non title win is kind of silly, but it does set up an interesting triple threat possibility at Night of Champions. The PTP still have a rematch coming their way, and the Dudleyz have done nothing but win since their re-debut. I wouldn’t hate an old school TLC match at Night of Champions, but I’ll settle for any variation of a triple threat at this point. As long as Big E gets to dance I’m in.

5. Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins, from a character and wrestling standpoint, is holding the WWE together right now. Whenever he wrestles, he has without a doubt the best match on the card, and his promos lately have been getting much better. He still takes too long to prove his point, but I have a feeling that’s half Rollins and half WWE telling him he has 20 minutes for a promo. The Rock couldn’t make a 20 minute promo good, never mind Seth Rollins. I’m also starting to root for him in this whole Authority storyline. They continue to tell him to prove himself, and while he doesn’t win every match clean, he’s still the champion, which is really all that matters. Yet The Authority continues to put him in situations like Battleground, where he had to fight Lesnar, and now Night of Champions, where he has to wrestle twice and defend both titles. The guy is getting the short end of the stick, and I’m assuming all this HHH talk is leading to a HHH/Rollins match down the line, which is fine, because if there’s one guy HHH is putting over 100%, it’s Rollins. Seth is at the top of his game right now, and the only guy he should lose the WWE championship to is Lesnar, which I’m going to assume is what’s happening at Hell in a Cell. Have Rollins lose the strap, redeem himself against HHH and then embark on his own so we see what he can do.

-Ryan

Trailer Alert: Concussion

The first full length trailer for ‘Concussion’ is here, and I gotta say, this looks awesome. Will Smith is the lead, and it’s nice to see him back doing some solid drama work. The guy is just so talented, and when he really sinks his teeth into a role, which it looks like he has here, he’s almost unmatched. Of course the plot of this movie is the real story, as is the real life correlation between brain injuries and the NFL. There are already reports of the NFL going into ‘damage control’ mode, and you can see why. As much as I love football, it’s leadership has been questionable at best for a long time, and it’s clear that the people in power care more about profit than the well being of the individuals that make them that same money. The optimistic side of this is that the movie reignites the concussion discussion in football and sparks some real change, but as long as Roger Goodell is in charge, I doubt much will change. From a movie standpoint, Concussion joins The Revenant and Hateful Eight (both limited releases) as Christmas Day debuts. That’s a murderous lineup.

-Ryan

Steely Phil’s Music Post – I Hold The Handle

What can I say about this track besides this; I currently boast around 7k songs in my iTunes library and this song is without a doubt my favorite.  Needless to say, Barrington Levy is one of the greatest dancehall artists of all time and this riddim comes on as smooth as silk.  I could put this song on repeat and listen to it for hours on end, and as a matter of fact I have. Barrington can ride a riddim top to bottom and after its over you’re gonna wanna take the ride again.  I highly suggest roasting a bone to this one.  But if you don’t smoke, don’t fret, this song has never committed a felony because as far as I know its never killed a vibe.

Apple Music Combined The Weeknd & John Travolta For A Bizarrely Funny Ad

After a great live rendition of his ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ hit, The Weeknd was involved in an Apple Music ad that was so bizarre it bordered on hilarious insanity. It starts off well enough, with The Weeknd leaving a stage and heading into his private limousine. Then you notice that something is on fire right next to his limousine, and THEN it’s revealed that John Travolta is pulling off his best Lloyd Christmas impersonation as the driver of the limousine. It ends with ‘to be continued’ on the bottom of the screen, so thank the good Lord there’s going to be more to this. I can honestly say I have no idea where this is going, but I’ll be watching part 2 even if it comes out in 50 years.

-Ryan

The Tom Brady Court Room Artist Has Sketched Another Portrait Of Brady Because Of Course She Did

TBThe court artist mocked for her curmudgeonly drawing of Tom Brady has done her redemption sketch.

Jane Rosenberg’s new portrait of the embattled New England Patriots quarterback is a far cry from her viral sketch of the gridiron superstar during his first appearance in Manhattan Federal Court over the DeflateGate scandal.

That sketch made the handsome four-time Super Bowl champion appear 50 years his senior — and left Rosenberg on the receiving end of countless online jeers.

But the court artist with 35 years of experience remained undeterred, and sketched a portrait of Tom Terrific over two days.

“I still found him very hard to draw — from a photo as well,” the sketch artist said. “Something subtle goes on with his eyes. He has a big chin with a cleft in it.”

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I think if you look up the word ‘unnecessary’ in the dictionary, there would be a picture of this lady with two court room sketches of Tom Brady. Yes the first picture was horrible and also kind of horrifying, but sketching another portrait is so unnecessary it almost makes me angry. If this wasn’t a Monday morning and I wasn’t tired beyond belief I’d be fuming right now. Also, how bored is Jane Rosenberg? I understand being a court room sketch artist isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but who the hell has the spare time to just stare a picture of Tom Brady and produce another portrait that literally no one was asking for? Apparently Jane Rosenberg does. If this doesn’t end with a Tom Brady ‘Walking Dead’ cameo then I will be supremely disappointed. The make up artists already have their blueprint.

-Ryan

Jennifer Lawrence & Amy Schumer Dancing On Billy Joel’s Piano During ‘Uptown Girl’ Is The Happiest Video Ever

Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence are the best kind of best friends. They’re obviously a lot of fun, but they’re also super rich celebrities, which is the best of both worlds. When Matt and I went to see Billy Joel at MSG, we sat about as far away as possible. It was an incredible show, but I’m assuming if we tried to get on stage and stand on Billy Joel’s piano that 1. the piano would break and 2. we’d be arrested. But when Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence do it, it’s accepted and adored. I wish I was a part of it, because this honestly might be the happiest video of all time. Imagine getting to hang onstage with Billy Joel while he plays ‘Uptown Girl’? A guy can dream.

-Ryan

5 Stars From Last Night’s #Smackdown

Smackdown was live this week from Providence, RI, and whenever the WWE comes to town, you can be sure the Average Nobodies will be in attendance. Tuesday night was no different, and as usual, WWE put on a great live show. We got in there right about the start of Main Event, and even saw Finn Balor and Samoa Joe team up in some high quality NXT action. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Smackdown!

1. The Wyatt Family

The Wyatt Family opened up Smackdown with a promo, which is par for the course for Smackdown. But if you think I’m not going to give Bray, Luke Harper and their new Donald Gibb lookalike a star then you’re high. Having Wyatt influence people enough to join his family is such a long overdo character trait that it makes me furious it didn’t happen sooner. But it happened now, and although I’m 1000% sure that Braun is going to end up being just another obstacle Roman Reigns overcomes, my optimistic side says that this trio could finally get Bray into the title picture. It’s a goddamn shame that Wyatt has never held a belt in the WWE, especially when the IC belt is toiling away in obscurity with Ryback and Big Show punching each other for 7 minutes at a time. You’re telling me IC champion Wyatt wouldn’t have good to great matches and feuds with the Dean Ambrose/Kevin Owens/Cesaro’s of the WWE? It’d be money, and it would give the mid carders something to chase. Make it happen, WWE. Or just have Wyatt be the best character you’ve had in a decade lose every important match he wrestles.

2. Seth Rollins

Fresh off his US title win at Summerslam and beat down at the hands of Sting on Raw, Seth Rollins unfortunately didn’t wrestle on Smackdown, but he did cut one hell of a fiery promo. While most of his promos are long winded, my favorite part about the Seth Rollins character is that it comes from a very real place. Rollins does have a chip on his shoulder, he does think he’s underrated and he truly believes he’s ‘the man’. When he was in NXT, he felt that he should have been elevated to the main roster. When he was in The Shield, he felt like the spotlight should have been shined solely on him. Now that he’s WWE Champion, he believes people should bow at his feet and thank him for being in their presence. He’s sick of having his title reign questioned, and if he has to beat old man Sting to prove once again that he’s THE MAN, then that’s exactly what he’s going to do. Seth Rollins is at the top of his game right now, and if there’s one guy who can pull a main event match out of Sting at this phase of his career, it’s Seth Rollins.

3. The Dudley Boyz Make Their Smackdown Return

I’m not going to sit here and lie directly to your face and say I didn’t pee myself a little when the Dudleys showed up on RAW and decimated The New Day. It was probably in my top 3 as far as wrestlers returning to the WWE goes (other two that i’m still waiting for are Stone Cold and Mickie James [love me some Mickie]). So when I found out the Dudleys were going to be showing off those sweet camo pants on the Smackdown that I was attending, I got the sharpie out and made a “get the tables sign” (WHICH WAS SEEN ON SMACKDOWN). Was I a little disappointed they fought The Ascension? Yeah, sure I was. Did it matter? Hell no it did not, The Dudleys were going to put one, or both, of them through the table anyway. Bonus pee in my pants for The New Day coming out with hilarious signs protesting the Dudleys reappearance in the WWE. #GiveTablesAChance

4. Sheamus Working the Providence Crowd

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The WWE loves Sheamus. At first I didn’t understand why, but after a few years of matches and character changes I see it clearly, the guy is pretty much the total package. He’s big, he’s got “the look”, he speaks decent on the mic, he makes his opponent look good, has a shit ton of moves in his repertoire and he can deal with a tough crowd. On Smackdown, he had to continually deal with a hostile crowd that were chanting “You look stupid”, and while I agree with the Providence crowd, this can’t be an easy thing to deal with as a backdrop to your match. In-between giving Ambrose the beating of a lifetime, he would often look to the crowd and scream “no i’m not!”, which, if you ask me, is the perfect childish response you want from a heel. Great match by Ambrose and Sheamus.

5. Finn Balor and Samoa Joe

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Samoa Joe and Finn Balor teaming up in a tag team match against the Lucha Dragons was a nice added bonus for our night at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence. The match was great, and Balor and Joe are a formidable team going forward (more on that in a bit). Sin Cara probably isn’t going anywhere past the Lucha Dragons, but if the WWE ever lets Kalisto let loose and become another Rey Mysterio, he’s going to blow people away more than he’s already doing now. The reason I mentioned Joe and Balor going forward, and the reason why this match was especially special (new phrase)  is because this ended up being one of the matches that decided what teams would participate in the Dusty Rhodes Memorial Tag Team Tournament that is going to be dominating NXT TV over the next few months. The tag team division is probably the weakest part of NXT, and that’s not a knock on the tag division, but rather it shows you how strong the rest of their show is. If you want to see the difference between NXT and WWE, just look at this move by Regal, HHH and whoever else had a hand in creating this tournament. WWE’s answer to a subpar tag division is to just run fatal four way after fatal four way tag team matches with the same teams. The only reason people are talking about the division at all is because of the wonderfulness of New Day and the PTP. Instead of doing that, NXT creates this memorial tournament, which gives EVERY NXT wrestler, including their champion Finn Balor, a chance to enter with a teammate and try to win it. Dusty Rhodes was the heart and soul of NXT, so from a real life and storyline standpoint, every wrestler on the roster has motivation to want to win this thing. We’re probably not there yet, but how awesome would it be to have a few women team up and get a couple victories? If you don’t want to see Charlotte tap out Mojo Rawley you might not have a soul.

-The Average Nobodies

SteelyPhil’s Music Post – Where did all the good music go?

The music scene these days is getting worse and worse.  In fact, I believe good music has been on a downtrend since the 90s.  So, where did all the good music go? Is it under your couch? Did it fall between the seats of your car? I think not.

Let me take this time to introduce one of my favorite active labels right now; Daptone Records.  This is a revival label that is seriously doing things right.  Their collection of artists, headed by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, deliver the kind of funk and soul that your favorite 90s R&B/HipHop artist might have sampled.  Daptone, which is based and was started in Brooklyn New York, released their first effort in 2002; Dap Dippin’ with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. However, this stuff sounds anything like what you would expect.  Recorded on analog tapes and mixed at their studio in Brooklyn, these records sound like they just jumped off the shelves of a record store right onto a turntable.  Its gritty, funky, soulful, and very dance-able.

So there you are, if you were ever listening to the radio and thinking “Where did all the good music go?”, now you know, its based in Brooklyn New York under a label called Daptone Records.

P.S – They sell all of their stuff  on LPs and 45s at a very reasonable price.  So if your a vinyl collector like myself, you can find these on their website.

Monster Blog Friday: Our Favorite ‘The Office’ Cold Opens

One of the best parts of ‘The Office’, besides everything, was their cold opens. The cold open of a TV show is the short scene before the opening credits, and few shows perfected this better than The Office (the only other show that came close was Parks & Rec, which had many of the same writers and creators). In honor of that, we decided to do a special Monster Blog and pick our favorite cold opens.

Jim’s Murder Prank on Dwight

It was a tough call not to pick a cold open involving Michael Scott, but this is probably my favorite prank Jim pulled on Dwight. Dwight is leading the ‘Sabre’ team in Florida and he goes room to room with Erin to make sure everyone is up early and ready to take on the day. Well at this point in the series, Jim has two children, so he’s up early anyway, so he decides to use his unique sleep schedule to his advantage and pull the ultimate prank on Dwight. This entire cold open as a whole is great, but Jim’s part is easily my favorite. A supplementary kudos goes to Erin’s reaction when she sees the ‘It Was Dwight’ written on the wall. God I miss this show.

-Ryan

Kevin’s Famous Chili

Easily one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make for a Monster Blog. Like Ryan said, how can you pick a cold open without Michael Scott in it? I’ll tell you how, because this show is that damn good that the best character in TV history doesn’t need to be part of the cold opens to make it funny. I picked Kevin Malone’s famous chili cold open because Kevin is a fun-loving simpleton, and this whole situation is such a Kevin move it hurts. Pretty much sums up his character. The genius in this scene is in the editing. Having Kevin fuck it all up while the voice-over is him explaining how much detail and painstaking labor goes into this chili is comedic genius.

-Matt

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