My generation of wrestling fans usually pick Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross as their favorite broadcast team, but whenever that conversation comes up, I’ll always lean towards Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon. Heenan, who passed away over the weekend at the age of 73, was a jack of all trades wrestling personality and talent that excelled at everything he did in or around a wrestling ring. His career spanned the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, starting as an in ring performer, but ‘The Brain’ will always be known as one of the greatest managers and color commentators of all time. Heenan always delivered, and he was one of the most entertaining personality’s in the history of wrestling. Thanks for the memories ‘Brain’, and thanks for entertaining us humanoids for so many years.
This song popped up on my Spotify playlist last night and I listened to it roughly 10 times on my plane ride home. Have a great day on purpose everybody.
Simply put: if you enjoy Guillermo Del Toro movies, there’s a high chance you’re going to like The Shape of Water. IMDB explains the plot as “An other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.” Sign me the hell up. Add in Michael Shannon as a borderline psychotic government agent who yells at himself in the mirror and doesn’t understand sign language and you’ve got one hell of an intriguing story. The Shape of Water premieres this December.
Asuka was, unquestionably, the most dominating superstar in NXT history. She’s also had one of the most successful two year runs in WWE history, and she heads to Raw with an undefeated streak dating back to October 7, 2015 and a never-to-be-broken record of 523 days as NXT Women’s champion. Every other big name superstar that was called up to either Raw or Smackdown went out on their back: Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Charlotte, Bayley, Sasha Banks; but that was not the case with Asuka. She suffered a legitimate injury during her title defense against Ember Moon at TakeOver Brooklyn III, and relinquished the title a few weeks ago on NXT.
While it may be wrestling tradition to put the next man or women over before you head elsewhere, there was nothing traditional about Asuka. She changed the entire dynamic of NXT, and reinvented what it meant to be a dominant champion. While her in ring work was superb, her entire aura was what drew you towards her. She would dance to the ring with her mask on (which I unashamedly own) and almost lull you to sleep with her calmness. Then she would get in the ring and kick your ass or choke you out. There will never be another superstar like Asuka in NXT, but I’m glad that we’ll get to see the next chapter very soon on Raw.
For now, enjoy this pitch perfect promo that signifies the impending doom that every women’s wrestler on the Raw roster must feel right now.
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Iconic Rhode Island retailer Benny’s Inc. will close its doors for good by the end of this year after nearly a century selling Southern New Englanders everything from car parts to shovels, Eyewitness News has learned.Benny’s President Arnold Bromberg and his siblings, the third generation of their family to run the chain, came to the decision to shut the company down over recent months as they discussed their desire to retire.
The news was being announced to employees Friday afternoon. Gov. Gina Raimondo was informed earlier in the day.
“We take great pride in what our retail stores have meant to our employees and many loyal customers for so long. But it is simply time,” Bromberg said in a statement. Changes in the retail industry have made it “nearly impossible for small, family-owned chains like ours to reasonably compete moving forward,” he said.
The 31 Benny’s stores in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut will all cease operations by the end of December, putting the company’s 715 employees out of work; slightly more than half are full-time. Benny’s owns most of its stores’ land and buildings, and Bromberg said they are fielding offers for the real estate, “with an eye toward future use.” –WPRI
To quote a wise man: “It feels like somebody took my heart and dropped it into a bucket of boiling tears… and at the same time, somebody else is hitting my soul in the crotch with a frozen sledgehammer… and then a third guy walks in and starts punching me in the grief bone”. That wise man was Michael Scott, and he sums up my feelings perfectly when it comes to Benny’s officially closing up shop. For those of you that don’t know, Benny’s is a Rhode Island institution that has been around since the early 1920s. It’s a retail store where you can literally get anything, from bicycles to grills to stereos to fertilizer to car parts and everything in between. It was a treasure trove of cheap stuff that I’ve filled my house with over the years, most of which I didn’t really need, but when you see an American flag pole for $12, you buy it. Now that Benny’s is closing, I’ll be forced to give the Target’s and Walmart’s of the world my business, but I won’t be happy doing it. Nothing can replace Benny’s. Nothing. Hit the music.
First off, what a goddamn segment. For too long Kevin Owens has been screwing around on Smackdown, and even when he was in a feud with someone as great as AJ Styles, it felt like something was missing. After watching this segment, the thing that was missing was the maniacal aggression he showed on the Indies and in NXT. It’s safe to say he’s found that again. Owens will take on Shane McMahon inside Hell in a Cell, which should be his rebirth, but last night he took out a different McMahon, and in doing so joined an exclusive club of all time superstars.
If you’re interacting with Vince McMahon inside a WWE ring, that’s a good thing 99% of the time. If Vince lets you beats him up AND bloody him, you’re on your way to something special. Stone Cold. The Undertaker. Brock Lesnar. CM Punk. Roman Reigns. That’s just a sample of the guys that have been in the ring with Vince and gotten over, and as Vince ages and falls into that beloved, insane grandpa role, beating him up brings out a sinister side in certain guys. That head butt from Owens was legit, and I like the uniqueness of the beat down. He wasn’t whaling on him with chairs or punching him in the head a bunch of times. One punch, one super kick and one frog splash, plus a tense stare down with Stephanie McMahon did the trick. The key will be for Owens to capitalize on this and make his Hell in a Cell match with Shane a match to remember. Shane O Mac is no stranger to making memorable moments, so that match should be something special.
Welcome back to the Raw Review, wrestling fans. I took a week off last week as I was away for the Labor Day holiday, and if you didn’t watch last week’s show and need to know one thing, it’s that Braun Strowman is the BEST. This week’s Raw is live from Anaheim, California on the 16th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. September 11th and WWE will always be intertwined in my mind, because WWE held the first large, public event with a Smackdown show on September 13th. It’s almost impossible to ‘get back to normal’ after something like 9/11 happens, but for myself, nothing was more normal than watching Smackdown on a Thursday night, so it helped.
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Without further ado, the Raw Review for 9/11/17.
I Know A Guy
Before we get to the past match promo between Roman Reigns and John Cena, I wanted to mention how happy I am that Jason Jordan has been sandwiched into this feud. First off, Raw starting with an actual match for the second week in a row is great. WWE has this dynamic roster that they insist on putting in the ring to talk instead of wrestle and it always bothers me. The talking is good sometimes but the wrestling is almost always good, and tonight was no exception.
Jason Jordan took on Roman Reigns in the show opener to further the Cena/Reigns penis measuring contest, and having Jordan go step for step with Cena and Reigns on back to back shows will do more for Jordan than 1,000 squash matches. Jordan didn’t win either match, but it put him in a position to succeed. Jordan’s best attribute is his wrestling skill, and when you put him in the ring with someone more experienced than him (like Cena & Reigns) it allows him to follow their lead. Jordan’s rolling northern lights Suplex was awesome, and he looked great once again. When you hear people say the result doesn’t matter in wrestling, these are the type of matches they’re talking about. Jordan should have lost because Roman Reigns beats everyone, but he put up a great fight in defeat.
The post match promo between Cena & Reigns was better than last week’s but not as good as their original one. I enjoy when they blur the lines between reality and the TV show, but the reason it works is because they don’t do it that often. This is the second time Cena and Reigns have had this type of exchange, and Miz/Enzo had a similar one later in the show. WWE shouldn’t go to that well too often, because eventually it will lose it’s spark. I did enjoy Reigns’ ‘I know a guy’ line about Cena not cutting it in Hollywood (even though he’s clearly doing fine there) and Cena referencing Reigns’ drug test failure was A+. If this doesn’t end with Reigns ripping Cena’s arms off at No Mercy I’ll be shocked.
Sasha Banks defeated Emma with Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax on commentary, and although Emma lost again, at least she was able to get in some offense. The Fatal Four Way at No Mercy should be aces, and I’m very interested to see how the Nia Jax/Alexa Bliss match goes next week. Nia should be the favorite in any match she’s involved in, but putting her into a multi women match could also be a way for her to not win the title without being involved in the decision. My favorite part of the entire segment was Alexa Bliss “on commentary”. She just sat there and stewed the whole time, because she’s upset Nia finally figured our her plan and that she has to defend her title against three challengers at No Mercy. No one plays their character better than Alexa Bliss.
Braun Strowman, Beast Conqueror
Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar came out to do their usual song and dance, which is better than almost anyone else’s song and dance. Heyman is the master at hyping up a big time match by propping up Lesnar’s challenger but also making sure everyone remembers that no matter how good/big/scary Lesnar’s opponent is, Brock is better. He makes it look so easy that you wonder why everyone else doesn’t use that strategy, then you remember Heyman’s been in this business since the 80s and knows more about professional wrestling than almost anyone. Heyman challenges Braun to come to the ring and face off with Brock, and Strowman obliges. That leads to my new favorite wrestling GIF:
That is MAGICAL. The reason we’ll never see another Brock Lesnar isn’t because of his size, speed, strength or acting ability, it’s because he excels at all of them at the same time. Look at Lesnar’s face when he turns around to see Braun is standing up after a German Suplex. That’s so great. The best part is Brock Lesnar might as well be called German Suplex, because that is his go to move in almost every match over the last few years. It’s what he uses to soften everyone up before the F-5 finishes them off. What happens now that Braun can shake off a German like it was a Flair chop? Braun ends the segment literally standing tall on top of Lesnar, and I cannot wait to see these two F shit up at No Mercy.
Tears Of A Clown
Bray Wyatt took on Goldust, which should absolutely be a money matchup with a decent build that goes 10-12 minutes. Instead it’s super short, and Goldust is used as a pawn in the ongoing Balor/Wyatt rivalry. I mention this a lot, but if you look at the Bray Wyatt character minus the match results, he’s money. When Bray cut his pre match promo, blew out the battery operated lantern and his music hit, it infuriated me. His character is SO GOOD, except then you remember he loses every big-ish match he’s in, which makes his promo’s sound hollow and his character a bowl of shit. He wins his match against Goldust and wipes away Goldie’s face paint to signify that 1. he hates face paint and 2. to send a message to Finn Balor that he can’t beat him without resorting to the face painted Demon.
I do enjoy WWE portraying face paint as this magical, unbeatable force. It’s like when Jim Carrey put on the mask in The Mask. I won’t be shocked if everyone starts coming to the ring in face paint for every pay per view match.
Tag Team Chaos
Sheamus and Cesaro were scheduled to take on Gallows & Anderson with Rollins & Ambrose on commentary, but the three teams ended up brawling on the ramp before the match could begin. That lead to Rollins & Ambrose teaming up with the Hardy’s to take on Sheamus, Cesaro, Gallows & Anderson in the main event. The match was OK, but ended as lazily as possible, with Cesaro & Sheamus leaving Gallows & Anderson to take a 4 on 2 beat down for the loss. It looks like the tag title match might end up being a four way dance as well, and we will hopefully get some follow up next week.
Raw Is Ready For Asuka
Asuka is officially coming to Raw, and I’ll save my pros and cons for when she actually debuts. At this point, I’m just ready for more Asuka in my life.
Elias vs. Kalisto
Elias no known last name took on Kalisto again, and while these two have good chemistry, it was pretty much the same match we’ve seen from them in the past. I really enjoy Elias’s entire gimmick, but he should be getting into an actual feud at some point. His pre match songs about how awful the city Raw is in are always great, as are most of his matches, but he can only win random matches for so long. Give me Elias & Miz!
The John Cena Farewell Tour
Does anyone else find it odd that John Cena is burning through all these ‘dream matches’ on random Raw’s, Smackdown’s & B level pay per views? He fought Shinsuke Nakamura on a random Smackdown, Braun Strowman last night and will face Reigns at No Mercy. Those are all high level, WrestleMania quality matches. This smells a lot like Cena is winding down his WWE schedule, and WWE wants to get him in the ring with as much up and coming top level talent as they can.
This match was OK, but it was clear WWE booked themselves into a situation where neither one of these guys could lose. Braun just destroyed Brock Lesnar an hour earlier, so there’s no way Cena was winning clean. Cena is fighting Reigns at No Mercy, so there’s no way Strowman was winning clean. Therefore the match ended with Strowman getting DQ’d only after he power slammed Cena on top of the stairs. Hitting Cena in the head with stairs? A-OK. Body slamming Cena onto stairs? You’re out of here, pal.
Miz TV Featuring The Ethering Of Enzo Amore
First off, congratulations to The Miz and Maryse on their baby. My favorite part of this segment (and maybe the whole show) was Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas’s reaction. Pure joy. This felt like a way for WWE to address all of those Enzo/backstage heat rumors with one of their best talkers, and boy oh boy did Miz lay into Enzo. The only issue I had with this segment was that Reigns and Cena had already done something similar earlier in the show. The reason these types of promos work are because they happen sparingly, but doing two of them on the same show makes it less biting. The match that follows was not great, because Enzo Amore and wrestling go together like open wounds and salt. Give me Miz and Elias!
And that’s it for this week’s show. The first three segments were great, but Raw slowly lost steam as it finished off. We’ll see you next week for the go home Raw before No Mercy.