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Web 2.0 is bullshit, so I’m going back to old fashioned, artisanal websitery. Not sure how you got here, but the real fun is over here now. Be there, or be some unspecified geometric shape.

OFFENSIVE LINEMANS

long-bike

Notable Dudes That’s Still Here: Kyle Long, Jermon Bushrod, Jordan Mills, Matt Slauson, Michael Ola, Charles Leno Jr.
Notable Dudes They Got Rid Of: Roberto Garza (retirement), Ryan Groy (traded to Patriots)
Notable New Dudes: Will Montgomery (ex Bronco), Vladimir DuCasse (Transylvania)

25 Year Top 5: Olin Kreutz, Ruben Brown, James Williams, John Tait, Andy Heck

25 Year Bottom 5: J’Marcus Webb, Frank Omiyale, Gabe Carimi, Stan Thomas, Terrence Metcalf

Best Cardboard I Own: 2003 Topps Pristine All Star Endorsements Olin Kreutz

Fantasy Bootleg: If I was a real piece of shit, I’d get my own last name with #73 on it, because that was the number I wore when I played offensive line in high school. But I’m not, so that’s not gonna happen. Of course, my freshman year, I wore #69, which is the funniest number, but I’m still not a big enough piece of shit to put my own name on a Bears jersey. Also, overlty sexual humor has never been my style, so I’d probably just get a #69 DUDE jersey, and make it a Bill & Ted reference. The Bill & Ted movies were the best, and every day, I wake up in fear of finding out that they’re going to remake them with some sweet tween boys time-traveling with iPhones or some shit. There’s no way to really tween up Ernest movies though, so at least those are safe.

Preebok Ebay Jersey: The overtly white didn’t start buying jerseys en masse until the 2000s, so there’s no such thing, sadly. I totally would’ve rocked a Big Cat Williams or a Jay Hilgenberg, though.

Expert Analysis: If you’ve ever seen me try to act like I know things about football online, you’re probably sick of me bitching about the Chicago Bear offensive line, as the Doom of 2010 kept rolling up until it was the Doom of 2013, until it finally got to a point where the team began being doomed by its defense. And things are better than they’ve been in years, but they’re still bad. I mean, Will Montgomery is a fine center and a definite upgrade from the withered husk of Roberto Garza, Kyle Long is looking like a dude who will be making Pro Bowls for the next decade, and when he’s healthy, Matt Slauson is probably a lot better than Kyle Long. But once you move outside of the center and the guards, shit gets ugly. I won’t go so far as saying Jermon Bushrod has been stealing a paycheck since they made a big deal of signing him from the Saints, but I will say he’s been getting handed a paycheck, glancing down at it, thinking there must have been some sort of mistake, and then going, “hey, are you sure that – uh, never mind,” before pocketing it and leaving in a real big hurry. And Jordan Mills has probably overachieved for a fifth round pick, but the expected achievement level for one of those is usually “just barely makes the team and plays for like three years before retiring,” So he really shouldn’t be headed into his third year as a shitty starter, bu there’s no one else to turn to at this point. They already tried sticking Charles Leno in his spot, and on a possibly related note, Jimmy Claussen is out with a concussion now. The other top backups are Michael Ola, who was shockingly good as a random CFL guy that Trestman brought in to play guard, but is only good at playing guard, and Hroniss Grasu, a rookie who plays center and possibly guard, but definitely not tackle. So the Bears only option seem to be sticking with Bushrod and Mills, taking the risk of kicking Kyle Long out to right tackle, (and this isn’t a video game, so that probably won’t work) or bringing in a new guy at the last minute, like perhaps the shattered ghost of Jake Long. Either way, the Bears are pretty much screwed, but let’s face it, y’all this is a lost season and they’re trying to move on from Cutler anyway, so a shitty line causing a dead QB won’t make things much worse. Embrace the horror, I say. Hell, whoever had J’Marcus Webb playing for them has to have released him by now, right? I say we bring him back, and make Jon Fox play a fiddle the entire time the offense is on the field. If we’re not going to succeed at sport, let’s just turn this bullshit into art instead. Embrace the horror, embrace the doom.

apoc12“EXTERMINATE ALL THE BRUTES”

Bonus Offensive Line Haiku:

Will Montgomery

First new Bears center
In a long time not having
Much to live up to

Mat Slauson

Thick bearded Viking
Fights bikers across wasteland
This fall on Showtime

Jermon Bushrod

Gets paid hella cash
Nice work if you can get it
To just be okay

Kyle Long

Kyle, son of Howie
Please don’t move him to tackle
Madden isn’t real

Ex-Bear Ryan Groy

Groy Groy Groy Groy Groy
Groy Groy Groy Groy Groy Groy Groy
Groy Groy Groy Groy Groy

DEFENSIVE LINEMANS

jerat

Dudes That’s Still Here: Jeremiah Ratliff, Ego Ferguson, Will Sutton, Cornelius Washington
Dudes They Got Rid Of: Stephen Paea (Redskins), a bunch of defensive ends that are outside linebackers now in a 3-4 system.
New Dudes: Jarvis Jenkins (ex Redskin), Eddie Goldman (rookie)

25 Year Top 5: Richard Dent, Julius Peppers, Pre-Crisis Tommie Harris, Trace Armstrong, Chris Zorich

25 Year Bottom 5: John Thierry, Michael Haynes, Carl Simpson, Darwin Walker, Post-Crisis Tommie Harris

Best Cardboard I Own: 2005 Upper Deck Legends Legendary Signatures Richard Dent

Fantasy Bootleg: #90 UBERKLAW. Y’all should have been able to predict that one.

Preebok Ebay Jersey: Champion brand #90 Alonzo Spellman jersey. Can’t post a link because none are up right now, but I’ve seen one at a time when I was too broke to buy, so I know at least one of these exists. If I have to stick to ones that are easy to find, I’ll go with a #97 Chris Zorich.

Expert Analysis: The Bears have switched from a 4-3 standard, old-timey defense into the more modernized 3-4 styles that I think the Steelers have been using since the 70s. So everything is weird now, and I no longer know what the fuck I’m talking about in regard to the Bears’ defensive line scheme. And I am the only dude online writing about footballery who will admit such a thing, making it that much more of a shame that I’m not the Most Trusted Name in Sports and that Peter King isn’t blowing desperate hobos for sammich money behind a truck stop dumpster somewhere. But the hope coming into this year was that Jeremiah Ratliff would continue doing his best to make people remember when he was a star back in his past life as Dallas Cowboy Jay Ratliff, and eventually, he could swing out to defensive end, so rookie Eddie Goldman could be the guy there that they hope he’ll be for the next dozen years or so. But Ratliff is suspended for a few games for a DUI a thousand years ago (this is what happens when you sign ex Cowboys) and Goldman is hella-concussed, much like half the NFL, but to such an extent that it’s been publicly admitted as such. So as it stands right now, the official starting nose tackle is Terry Williams, who is literally not even expected to make the team once the preseason is over. Terrible. At defensive end, (which is a lot like defensive tackle used to be now) you’ve got Ego Ferguson, a rookie from last year who is kind of okayish, and Jarvis Jenkins, who I’m pretty sure one of the main fantasy football autist sites called the worst DE in football last year. Thing is, Jenkins has looked better than anyone else so far in the preseason, so it just goes to show you that you can’t trust a bunch of nerds behind computers, screaming about ethics in football journalism or whatever. So as of right now, the line looks like Jenkins, Ferguson, and Will Sutton at nose tackle, (because LOL fukk u Terry Williams) and it’s really hard to get excited about any of that, outside of maybe Ferguson. But again, 2015 is absolutely a lost season for the Bears, and the three guys up front aren’t going to make up for having a giant pile of ugly horror (but also Pernell McPhee, at least!) lining up behind them. Sometimes, we must embrace the horror, because the horror is all we have.

Freddy_Krueger

NEXT TIME: some other football guys!

qbs

Notable Dudes That Been Here and Still Here: Jay Cutler, Jimmy Clausen, David Fales

New Dude of Note: Shane Carden (Rookie from East Carolina)

25 Year Legacy Top 5: (EXPLANATION: 25 years is a nice, round number, and I’m pretty sure my football mind came  online enough to really know what was going on in like 1989, so starting the time-frame here in 1990 is damn near a perfect “lifetime” list, plus 1990 is another nice, round number. And who doesn’t like nice, round things? Anyway, here are the five best dudes according to me since 1990.)
Jay Cutler (2009-now), Erik Kramer (94-98), Kyle Orton (05-08), Jim Harbaugh (87-93), Jim Miller (99-02)

25 Year Anti-Legacy Bottom 5: (EXPLANATION: same as above, but bad.)
Henry Burris (2002), Jonathan Quinn (2004), Rick Mirer (1997), Caleb Hanie (09-11), Todd Collins (2010) – Really, I could have done a top 35 here if I wanted to suffer.

Best Football Card I Currently Own: (CLARIFICATION: Card can be of any player from history, but only if they’re depicted as a Bear. Even in anarchy, you gotta have rules.) 1992 Pro Line Profiles Autographs Jim Harbaugh

Fantasy Bootleg Jersey: (EXPLANATION : This is an idea blatantly stolen from Raven Mack, dating back to the Confederate Mack zine days, because anciently-scholastic is a good way through which things are often kicked. But if I had $35, plus whatever shipping from China would be, this is an NFL jersey I’d get from a shady-ass bootleg site, sticking mainly to ideas that wouldn’t be allowed by NFL.com on a real, legit, legalized jersey. This assumes I wouldn’t need the $35 for electricity or something, but work with me here.)
It would take some doing and perhaps some ingenuity and seamstressmanship, because even before the NFL started cracking down on bootleg jersey sites, none of them were SO bootleg that they’d let you have a three-digit number, but basically, this:

KVLTER

And since this is a fantasy we’re talking about, maybe have it in the way 90s store-bought jerseys were, where you’d have alternate black versions for teams that didn’t have black anywhere in their normal colors. (Y’all did know that’s navy blue and not black, right?) Hey hey, worship Satan everyday, kids.

Preebok Ebay Jersey: (EXPLANATION: Back in the day, before Roger Goodell ruined football with exclusive contracts for everything and said that only Reebok (and now only Nike) could make official stuff, (and starting next year, only Panini can make NFL trading cards, meaning more more Topps shits that go back to 1955, meaning I haven’t bought a pack of cards since 2013) more than one company could make NFL jerseys, meaning they literally cost about a third of what they’ll run you now. So the 1990s were a decade awash from sea to shining sea in replica jerseys, because they were only 35-50 bucks, depending on whether you got a fancy Starter jersey or a Logo Athletic one, where the numbers would disintegrate after one washing. Now, a fancy new Nike replica will run you something like $120-170, meaning that pro jerseys are the sole domain of uppity  white people who ruin the whole thing by exclusively getting jerseys of the white tight end or a white offensive lineman, because I guess getting the QB makes you a poser, and they don’t be reppin’ no thugs. Then, they ruin it further by tucking their jerseys in pants pulled up to their nipples to look like a goddamn giant toddler, huddled in the stupid “man caves” they had to build, because they married women they don’t even like. The funny part though, is that now thanks to the artificially-inflated prices of the real things, you can’t watch an NFL game without the official NFL cameras panning over a crowd full of obvious bootleg jerseys. But yeah, anyway, these are old replica jerseys of a bygone time that I’d buy off Ebay today if I had the money.)
My first choice here would be an old Erik Kramer jersey, but I actually still have one of those that would still be in good enough condition to wear if I hadn’t got it a size smaller than what would be ideal, followed by  gaining like 40 pounds in the 20 years since. Life is hard. Anyway, Tecmo Super Bowl III remains the greatest football video game of all time, so I’d complete the set on 1995 Tecmo Bear QBs and go with a Steve Walsh #4.

EXPERT ANALYSIS I CAME UP WITH JUST NOW:

jay-cutler

Jay Cutler is a weird thing to think about in an historical context. Because currently, as things stand right now and motherfucking today, he’s not good, and he never will be. He’s been a Bear since 2009 and an NFL starting QB since Bronco times in 2007, and we’re STILL asking whether or not this will finally be the year he “gets it” and delivers on the promise that rat-faced anus-mouthed slave-driver Mike Shanahan saw in him back in ’06. And it’s never gonna happen, you guys. He will never be completely horrible, but he’ll never get much (if any) better than he is right now. He’s an uncoachable, above-it-all prick that teammates just sort of have to endure, because he’s the quarterback. Like as soon as any Bear joins another team, even if it’s his Denver football brother Brandon Marshall, they’re like “hoo boy, lemme tell ya about THAT guy,” and sports writers get another solid two days of tabloidy headlines. And since him and his vapid, useless, reality show wife are anti-vaxxers, he’s not even allowed to attend family-type team functions anymore, because the other 52 players don’t want their shitty little kid spreading parvo to everybody.

And man, that’s a thing, right there. So a guy who’s supposed to be the default leader of the team pretty much got voted out of associating with the rest of the team, just because Jay and Kristen are a couple of dopes who can look a highly-trained medical specialist in the eye and say, “well, you raise some interesting arguments, but Jenny McCarthy was famous for having tig ol’ bitties back in 1993, so we’re gonna go with her ideas.” (And don’t even tell me that there’s some genuine medical concern and first-hand research going on with these two specific people, instead of the weird McCarthy celebrity-cult thing going on. It’s a lifetime-pampered football player and a professional game show contestant we’re (I’m) talking about. I doubt they even know how to use Google.) And while I can appreciate the courage of flaunting the tigness of one’s bitties back in a time when Hollywood was all about Callista Flockheart-styled 8 year old anorexic boy body types, it’s not grounds to consider her one of the leading minds of the new century, 20 years later. Of course, not that the situation there has gotten any better, where every review of a movie with her cousin Melissa McCarthy (where she can only get cast as a female Paul Blart stumble bum) has to mention what a “courageous performance” it was, because the movie industry literally considers it an act of bravery to leave the house weighing more than 130 pounds, and you can still probably find articles being written today referring to Scarlett “Scarjo” Johansson and Jennifer “J-Law” Lawrence as “big girls.” Which is bullshit, because they’re both skinny as hell in real life,  and double bullshit, because “Jay Law” and “Scar Joe” were the names of the two main characters in the post-apocalyptic cop buddy action story I’ve been working on since I was nine, and now, I have to start over. Once again, Hollywood crushes the dreams of a husky young  boy. But anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, Jay Cutler is no good, and no one likes him.

Jay+Cutler+Kristin+Cavallari+Kristin+Cavallari+qvf_Lht7npwl“DON’T CAAAAAAARRE”

But the thing is? He’s the best quarterback that the Bears have had in over half a century.  Think about it. The last time the Chicago Football Bears had a full-fledged, sure thing, franchise quarterback was Sid Luckman, and he retired in 1950 and hasn’t been the opening-day starter since 1948. Think about how long ago that was, y’all. Neither of my parents were born yet, and as of last month, I round up to forty. Sid Luckman was born in 1916. That was during World War I.  If he were alive today, he wouldn’t be alive, because he’d have to be a fucking vampire. The last Bear QB to make the Pro Bowl was Jim McMahon 30 years ago, (and he was really just an average QB on a team carried by Walter Payton and the 46 Defense, and who was hurt more than he was healthy) and the last one before him was Billy Wade in 1963. With an occasional blip here and there, like McMahon’s Pro Bowl year in ’85 and Erik Kramer’s completely magical ’95 season, the years between Luckman and Cutler have been a dark, depressing parade of scumbum garbagefuckers who have not done much more than hammer home the point that the Bears are one 1986 Super Bowl win shy of being lumped in with assholes like the Cleveland Browns for long-term hopelessnes. Jay Cutler is the best Bear QB of my lifetime, and hell, he could be the best I’ll ever see by the time I die. (preferably in a huge fireball, because I’d want to die quick and fireballs are awesome to look at) So we will endure another year or two of Smokin’ Cat Jay Shit Ogre Cutler, and know full well that whoever is up next will probably be way, way worse.

jimmy-clausen-josh-bynes-38ca8c88e2f022be

As for Jay’s backup, you got weird-lookin’ Jimmy Claussen. Fuck Jimmy Claussen. All he’s ever been good for is making Mel Kiper look bad. But I guess you could do somewhat worse for a backup. Behind him are rookie Shane Carden and David Fales, who’s a one year removed from being a rookie himself. Hopefully, Cutler and Claussen stay healthy enough that neither guy ends up mattering. But there’s no way the Bears keep four QBs on the roster, so one of them has to go by the time the Bears get down to the 53-man limit. So I’m guessing Fales is out, because he was the old coaching staff’s guy. Also, his name sounds like “fails,” and jon Fox’s new coaching staff might be like me and fear a world where Cutler and Claussen go down, and this leads to a bunch of stupid “Epic Fales” headlines on shitty sports blogs. And in a Shane Carden world, I wouldn’t have to listen to anyone groping  around in the darkness for a “Carden-gan Sweater” pun or some shit like that, because I haven’t had cable TV in a long time, meaning that in my world, Chris Berman died in 2003.

NEXT TIME: Eh, who knows.

HEY GUYS…Preview preview preview preview. Preview.

Hi. Welcome to this thing right here. My name isn’t important, but I also don’t want you people knowing it, because you’ll end up stealing my credit card or whatever. If you’re here, I’m guessing you’re either my wife, my mom, a Brazilian search engine optimizing robot, or someone looking for Google-searched images that got tricked into coming here because I inserted the words “naked boobs One Direction torrent Nikki Bella download zombie butts Bieber nipple incest Kardashian” just now and fucked up your search results. Hi, though. While you’re here, you might as well stick around fur a minute and read some words about stuff. I am a nice fellow, and it gets lonely here sometimes. So very lonely.

healthy_snacksIf it helps, I can get some nutritious snacks for us.

But if you’re still here, you should know about me, and you should know about my sickness. I occasionally watch the American Football, as perpetrated by the National Football League, which is terrible, and when I do, I watch the Chicago Bears, which is somehow even worse. And on occasion, I will write a thing or two about them, which should be bad, but all things considered, is probably necessary. Because the world of football OPINIONZ 4 U on the World Wide Web is a terrible place, and it’s only getting worse, because the Internets themselves are getting worse.

giphy

Instead of the utopian vision of the late 90s, where this thing would expose us all to a whole new world of new voices and newer and more exciting OPINIONZ, it’s instead closed smooth the fuck down to just a few big time, big money blog portals and news feed aggregator shits, all saying the same things and serving the same masters. Never piss off the sponsors, and A.B.C. – Always Be Contentin’. Keep a steady stream of crap flowing, even if it is truly crap, and the internet world is one of “there’s no new info, so just throw up a ‘Twitter Reacts to _______’ article, because #CONTENT.” There was this one site called Kissing Suzy Kolber, and it was pretty much the best paid and professionalized football site around, until they said the wrong things about Bud Light, the parent company took it down, and all the main dudes peaced out. Now, it’s still there, but it’s seemingly back sliding into more of a generic “Epic Twitter Reactions to Who John Oliver Force-fed Broken Glass This Time, and You’ll Be AMAZED by the Results!” clickbaity bullshit zombie shadow of its former self. Sacrificed at the altar of Almighty Content, just like that fake fetus that those two fake Jesus freaks fake miscarried for their fake YouTube bullshit the other day. And that’s how you know there’s no God right there, because no one was consumed in a fireball of unknown origin as soon as they hit Twitter to brag about how many page views their totally not made-up dead child got. Or just fire-consumed whoever came up with the term “vlog” in the first place. Fuckin’ internet, man. Hail Satan forever. But what was I talking about? Oh yeah.

aclb1

There was another website bloggity thing that existed for a few years, but you didn’t know about it. It was called Armchair Linebacker, and it was pretty much the NFL OPINIONZ site that the world needed, but neither wanted nor deserved. A bunch of dudes who rooted for different (mostly bad) teams came together to share the pain of NFL addiction, resulting in things like the advent of Pro Football Metaphysics, the true story of Donovan McNabb offering a young fan some special sausage, and earliest written records of the tales of The Great Willie Young. It was wild and free and you never knew when a serious analysis of a team’s third string H-back might veer off into a frank discussion of how primal psychic energies might be affected by codeine cough syrup or some such shit. It was NFL fandom of the most noble and horrible kind, where the normal AM sports talk radio/Pro Football Talk bullshit, all the yelling of team-trademarked slogans in a non-mocking manner, all the “this year is gonna be our year,” all the “(white wide receiver that has no chance of making the team because his only discernible trait is his whiteness) is a BEAST,” that kinda bullshit, was mostly sloughed away, and we tried real hard to avoid dry-ass EXPERT SERIOUS ANALYSIS~! of minute details that are ultimately meaningless, although admittedly, I kinda failed on that point quite a bit. But in the place of the usual crap was a huge ball of horror, a giant, twisted, cancerous mass of sadness that is the result of people having their hearts and guts forcibly ripped from their souls by the modern NFL and a handful of its most hopeless teams. (Well, except that one Patriots guy, who I’m pretty sure didn’t even like football, and was just throwing up dry-ass, quarter-by-quarter breakdowns of games, until the adults ran him off. Apparently, he’s like a modestly big deal in the hip hop internet OPINIONZ 4 U scene now, which, judging by that guy alone, must be in even worse shape than the football side of things. One.) And it was mostly Raven and Neil being awesome (Which can continue to happen, for the low, low price of only $4.20. Seriously, you guys, it is a damn thing, and you’d just spend that money on bullshit anyway.) while a bunch of us stood in the background and grinned real big, but it was a helluva ride. I’m pretty sure I meant to do some big eulogy for the site here, but never got around to it, and probably had more than this to say at the time, but hell, it’s been over three years. There are people alive today that weren’t even born yet in 2012.

ap-bears-lions-football-4_3_r536_c534It was a simpler time; and a time of Jason Campbell.

But anyway, it is in the Armchair Linebacker spirit of oddly hopeful blistering negativity that football is probably gonna take over here for a minute, at least until the Bears finally crush my spirit, which I’m guessing will be around the fifth Green Bay touchdown in week one. And it’s like, yeah, I know football played in the American Corporate Style is bullshit, and it’s bad for you. I know the NFL is a shady, brutal, ruthless purveyor of a blood-soaked death-sport, and the Chicago Bears merely one of its hateful tentacles. It’s a game where destitute twenty-year-olds achieve their dreams of being thirty year old millionaires, only to become addle-brained, penniless cripples by forty, and rarely seem to make it to fifty. And I know that in the grand scheme of things, it’s all just a big waste of time. But goddammit, I need this, and we all do, or at least something like it. Because the world is a horrible place, and it’s not getting any better, and we need silly crap like football or video games or Judge Dredd comics or going on social media to tell people that Voivod records are good and that you should buy them. Without distractions like football, I’d take a look at the world we live in, and I’d try to make a meaningful change, but the problem is that the only way to make any change that would actually change anything would be to rise the fuck up and storm the seats of power – not the government, but the mansions, corporate boardrooms, and exclusive, high-priced Southeast Asian child sex dungeons where the REAL shit goes down, and where governments get their marching orders – to storm them sumbitches with anger and furious violence, and put them and their children under the blade, so that all of us street people could just have jobs and be chill. But the thing is, I don’t like hurting people, even bad people, and even if I did like hurting folks, I’d probably suck at it. Not to mention that most people are convinced that the problems come from single moms and poor immigrants or whatever, so I’d probably be the only one rising up to storm shit and cut people, and it would end in hilarious tragedy. There would be a little blurb in the “Weird World” section of the newspapers no one reads, that would be something like “Insane Oklahoma man killed by savage attack dogs today while prowling the grounds of David Koch’s stately pleasure dome, wielding a rusty bayonet attached to a mop handle, and yelling something unintelligible about future former Chicago Bear, Willie Young.” Hell, I’d probably end up being made an honorary Florida Man. And so on it goes, that we will continue wandering the cursed, smoldering Earth as mindless, hopeless cogs in a Reaganomically-devastated economy, and we will spend our lives as listless schlubs taking orders from egomaniacal failures, and we’ll never be able to retire, because no one can afford that anymore, and we’ll work and work and work until we get old, until our bodies break down and just finally reject themselves completely. And when that happens, blood will spray from our eyes and our bowels, and we’ll scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and die, and there is no escape. So with that in mind?

Chicago's Matt Forte celebrates a touchdown run against the Cincinnati Bengals at Soldier Field on September 8, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Bengals 24-21. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)FUUUUUUUCK YEEEEAAAAAAH, FOOOOTBAWWWWWWWWWWW

Anyway, the preseason just started like 15 minutes ago, and I still gotta make dinner. The 2015 Bears season preview, broken up by positions and whatnot, should start dropping soon. Let’s make 2015 a great season, you guys!

BEARS

brutal

System: XBox 360 (also released for the Playstation 3 and PC, but I’m only going to actually list the system I played it on)
Release Year: 2009
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Best Football Card I pulled in 2009: 2009 Bowman Draft Picks Platinum Malcolm Jenkins 1/1
Cool Heavy Metal Album From 2009: GWAR – Lust in Space

YOOOU GUUUUYYYYS. This would have been the most perfect video game possible when I was fifteen. I mean, if I had been fifteen around 1985 or so. And if 1985 humans could comprehend a video game that wasn’t just flat colored blocks that went BLEEP BLEEP BLOOP. And if whatever weird strain of autism I have didn’t make me wait until I was sixteen to start getting into The Metal. And if my appreciation for power metal didn’t start at some point in my twenties. But you get the point, I hope.

This game is basically Tim Shaffer’s intimate, filthy love letter to the very concept of heavy metal, and everything it might stand for in the minds of people who would dare to spell Heavy Metal with capital letters. Like the opening scene of the game involves downtrodden roadie Eddie Riggs (voiced by Jack Black, playing himself, because much like Danny McBride, that’s what he should always be doing) having to put up with the bullshit of a terrible, spoiled nu-metal band. (think pre-crisis Linkin Park, before the backstreetly-boyish sounding dude saw the writing on the wall, bought some thick-rimmed glasses, and started screeching the way Kid Rock fans think is what emo sounds like) And then, a bunch of insanity happens, the entire band is gruesomely killed, and Eddie is magically transported to A METAL LAND IN AN ANCIENT TIME. From there you join a ragtag group of hesher rebels trying to free the Brütal Land from the forces of evil, which includes glam rock posers, Hot Topic/Nightmare Before Christmas goth posers, and demons rocking a weird S&M/Catholic Church kinda look, led by a dude voiced by freaking Tim Curry. TWO THIRDS OF YOUR ENEMIES REPRESENT FALSE METAL, YOU GUYS, AND THE OTHER THIRD IS PENNYWISE THE CLOWN. In time, your ranks grow until your allies include Rob Halford, Lemmy Kilmister, and Ozzy Osbourne pretty much just playing themselves, and Lita Goddamn Ford playing some sort of black metal jungle lady who rides around on a fire-breathing gorilla/cat thing with Gene Simmons makeup. Holy shit. And as well as chopping hella dudes with a big ol’ axe, you can also kill people with guitar solos, which were recorded in real life by Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing, and the pivotal parts of the game turn all Real-Time Strategy, where you command your Army of Metal on a field of glory, which is the most metal thing anyone can do in life. And this is all in addition to the crazy-ass metal-as-all-getout soundtrack, with over 100 songs, plumbing the depth of everything you’d ever want in a game about Metal, aside from Iron Maiden, which is a bummer, but still. It runs the gamut of everything from Mastodon to Diamond Head to Ministry to Def Leppard to Emperor to UFO to Carcass, Ratt, Enslaved, and all points in between, all playing while you run over shit with your car.  Everything about this game is beautiful and perfect.

eddielemmyBeautiful and perfect, just like Lemmy Kilmister.

The Case Against: The big problem people seem to have against Brütal Legend is the some pretty blatant false advertising this game got prior to release, where the battlefield strategy parts went completely unmentioned, and it was hyped up as a God of War-style hack-and-kill sort of game. And yeah, there’s plenty of hacking and killing, but the major “boss battle” parts are all Real Time Strategy. But hell, God of War already exists, and people not giving two shits about Dante’s Inferno kind of indicates that the world only needs one God of War series at this point. So fuck all y’all, the strategy parts just make this its own semi-unique game, and I’m sorry y’all are too dumb to do anything but run into a crowd of dudes, swinging your axe until you die again. My complaint is that the story mode is too short, to the point where once I finally got used to leading my army to glory, the game was over. But I guess “there should have been more of this game” is kind of like praising with faint damnation.

brutal_legend_200908151529281Which is probably the best kind of damnation, honestly.

(Since I have no interesting personal memories of this one) TOP TEN SONGS ABOUT HEAVY METAL OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD:

  1. Tenacious D – “The Metal”
  2. Metallucifer – “Heavy Metal is My Way”
  3. Death Angel – “Devil’s Metal”
  4. Metallica – “Metal Militia”
  5. Judas Priest – “Heavy Metal”
  6. Anvil – “Metal on Metal”
  7. Exodus – “Bonded by Blood” (these all having the word metal in the title was by coincidence, not by design)
  8. Sammy Hagar – “Heavy Metal”
  9. Venom – “Black Metal”
  10. Manowar – “Die for Metal”

Current Top Million Billion Video Games of All Time, as of 7-29-2015:

  1. Brütal Legend (2009 EA/Double Fine, Xbox 360)
  2. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! (1987 Nintendo, NES)
    3-10,000,000,000,000,000. TBD

It’s that time again, when I start a new Internet project born of boredom that I’ll never finish or even get halfway done with. (See also that A Song of Ice and Fire / Heavy Metal thing that is probably dead for good, now that the TV show sucks and GRRM is going to die of old age before the next book is done) Over in real life lately, a lot of stuff has happened, where I’ve pulled the Nintendo 64 out of the garage, I remembered that I have a Playstation 2, and <Borat Voice> MY WIFE </Borat Voice> got me those little Colecovision and Intellivision emulator consoles for my birthday, so I’m having Video Game Feelings, and I’d like to share them with you. And since the only languages the internet understands are numbered lists and shithead nobodies speaking authoritatively, I’mma make y’all a list of the Top Vidya Games of now and forever.

There’s a scientific method I’m going to use here, where I’m not actually going to put together a list ahead of time, and I’m not even going to set any sort of parameters for how big or small the list will end up being someday. Basically, I’ll think of a game, write a paragraph, and then throw it on the list, one at a time, and just slot it relative to what’s already on there. This keeps me from burning out and potentially keeps this going forever. I’m super smart, you guys. Furthermore, some entries will be for more than one game, because some games are pretty much the same. So while ESPN NFL 2K5, Joe Montana Sports Talk Football, and NFL Prime Time 96 Featuring Deion Sanders are technically part of the same series, they’re different enough for separate entries, but Prime Time 96 and NFL 95 would share one, since they’re just the same game with a different roster. Trust me, it’ll almost make sense eventually. There will be lots of weird little rules I’ll be making up on the fly, the games I do for this will be mostly in an order coming right off the top of my head, and in general, this is going to be dumb as hell.

And I’m sure that if I was a dude whose opinions held any real importance to the outside world, there’d be some controversy here, (SPOILER ALERT: E.T. for the Atari 2600 is definitely going on here someday)  but if you don’t like whatever list eventually poops out of this, go make your own. And no, I don’t mean that in a shitty keyboard warrior/SAY IT TO MY FACE BRO sort of way; I sincerely want you to go start a blog, get on Tumblr, go see if Tripod still exists or do whatever you have to do, and make your own damn list of things. To hell with it, make a list of any damn thing, and how those things affected your little personal journeys here on Earth. The internet is too big for maybe five big-ass conglomerative portal sites to dominate every conversation with click-bait think-pieces, and working for a website with the highest-paying advertisers shouldn’t give you a more valid opinion than any other dickhead. Let’s Personal Web Page it all up in this bitch, and take the internet back to 1999, when it was still a fun place with more than like twenty voices lording over everybody, and we all wore an onion in our belt, because that was the style. Be the change, and get off my lawn. I’m so old, so very, very old. But anyway, here’s your de facto Number One for now, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out: (more…)

(Hello from 2016. This seems to be the only thing that anyone looks at on the old WordPress version of the site, so perhaps you’d like to see the what I thought about Wrestlemania 32? Maybe?)

sethorton

Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton

Man, this match. I guess it does have some sort of story attached to it, where Randy Orton has always been the #1 Golden Boy of the WWE’s evil ruling Authority, but Seth Rollins has emerged as the younger, faster, hairier model to usurp him. And I suppose this should end up being a good match, because Orton is like the game-manager quarterback who you’re never going to be excited to take the field, but who always makes sure it doesn’t turn into a disaster, and Seth Rollins is fucking amazing when given the opportunity. But Jesus Christ, this is a hard one to get thrilled by or even passingly interested in. Orton is boring in ways that I’ve never been able to figure out. It’s weird, like he’s not just walking around slowly and applying headlocks or whatever, but when I hear his boring music and see his boring face, I just get so bored. Like his Titantron video should just be a little kid resting his chin on his hands, sighing, and saying “ohh brother.” And Rollins is exciting and does flippity flops and KEWL MOVEZ and whatnot, but on, but he’s wrestling Randy Orton, and the WWE has done a really good job lately establishing Rollins as “the guy who always loses, often as a member of the heavy side of a handicap match.” The strongest he’s looked lately was getting kicked in the nuts by Jon Stewart, because at least Stewart understands wrestling and thought to immediately run away from the dude who theoretically should be able to unmake him.
(And on a side note, LL Cool J is the official Host of Wrestlemania 31 now, so get ready for that “kinda old, out-of-shape non-athlete guest star beats up Heath Slater and/or Curtis Axel” segment, because it’s comin’, y’all. Heath Slater once had a future, and Curtis Axel is Curt Hennig’s begotten son. We are lost.)

20140721_RGON_v1God damn it.

Anyway, I really can’t think of anything else to say about this one. Randy Orton is like the Thanksgiving turkey of internet-based OPINIONZ 4 U about pro wrestling, so I’m gonna need a nap now before I finish this one.

Best-case scenario: Seth Rollins Phoenix Splash attempt reversed into an RKO OUTTA NOWHERE

Worst-case scenario: Seth Rollins “flying nothing” attempt easily transitioned into an RKO OUTTA SOMEWHERE OBVIOUS

What will happen:

3709199304_20b880036d“Oh brother.”

divas

The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie) vs. The Frenemies (Paige and A.J. Lee)

Gotta start this one with some historical-type back story, leading into the OPINIONZ 4 U.

3709199304_20b880036d“Oh brother.”

Anyway, back in when I was a little kid in the 1980s, WWF women’s wrestling was treated as somewhat of a sideshow attraction, like midget matches or “Andre the Giant destroying ten guys you’ve never heard of” matches, but it wasn’t something that was particularly upsetting to watch. The wrestlers were actual trained and experienced pro wrestlers, and some pretty damn good ones like Judy Martin and and The Fabulous Moolah would show up from time to time.  And speaking of Wrestles Mania, people sometimes forget that when the WWF and MTV joined forces in ’84 and shit started blowing up, Wendi Richter was pretty much the #2 star behind Hulk Hogan himself. Sure, there were some problems, like Bobby Heenan spending the entirety of Jumping Bomb Angels tag team matches making ching-chong jokes, or that weird period where Rockin’ Robin and Sherri Martell feuded over the championship in matches you never saw on TV, followed by the belt just sort of disappearing and not being mentioned for like five years. But  overall, things were okay.

x240-WySI totally went to school with a dude who had Bull Nakano’s Megadeth shirt back in the day. He didn’t chop his up like that, though, because them shits were like $20 even back in ’91.

Then, the 90s hit, and shit was getting so crazy awesome with over in Japan that it spilled over into the WWF, leading to some sort of half-assed golden Age of WWF Lady Rasslers. The WWF made a deal with the AJW promotion to bring in some of their top talent, so every other week, imminent WWE Hall-of-Famer Alundra Blayze and Bull Nakano were having matches that Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels couldn’t top, and walking human hell-machine Aja Kong would occasionally try to give some lucky fan a fun souvenir by sending an opponent’s head flying into the audience, via spinning back-fist propulsion. Shit was nuts. And yeah, there were problems, like the aforementioned ching-chong joke-based commentary being spiced up with fat jokes for Nakano and Kong, and the fact that Bertha Faye was in her entirety a walking fat joke. But we got to see cool rasslin’ with people we had never seen before doing moves we had never seen before, so it was cool. And in hindsight as an internet-ruined wrestling dork, it’s fun to look back and go “Lioness Asuka and Kyoko Inoue were in the WWF? Word?”

smokingGuns2

Then, fuckin’ Sunny and fuckin’ Sable happened, and it all went away. The internet was becoming a thing, and it was in the awkward stages of shifting from a thing that shitty bald men used to talk about Star Trek to a thing that bored teenagers used to look at O.J. Simpson murder scene corpse photos, and then to its final form as something that bored teens used for jacking off. Pictures of Sunny, manager of champions, became the most-downloaded thing on the World Wide Web, and shit went south. The WWF realized that folks liked boobs, women’s wrestling effectively died in North America, and wrestling as a whole turned into a thing you had to watch in a room alone with a finger hovering over the button to change channels, because if your friends or family caught you watching it, they’d just automatically assume you were some sort of sad, twisted masturbation monster and send you away to be locked in a cage and poked with sharp sticks by “doctors.” The WWF mostly stopped hiring female wrestlers and started bringing in bikini and fitness models, (and according to legend, literally had boob job surgery as a required part of the standard contract at one point) and WCW and ECW skipped right ahead to the next level and were just going ahead and hiring ex-strippers and active porn stars.

valAnd I know we’re talking about ladies here, but let us never forget Val Venis: Wrestling Porn Star, and how much of the WWF “Attitude Era” consisted of stupid bullshit. (Val was good at the wrestling, though)

It was a really weird time, because wrestling was the biggest it had ever been, but simultaneously at its most shameful point where you couldn’t admit to watching it, because there was a closeup on some weird, plastic alien boob every five seconds. Wrestling matches got replaced by lingerie pillow fights and Thanksgiving gravy bowl matches. Women became branded as “Divas,” which if you’re into dictionaries, means that the WWE views non-Y-chromosome-havers as spoiled, shitty bitches by default. Vince McMahon crafted storylines where he got to make out with Torrie Wilson and then made Trish Stratus get on all fours and bark like a dog. Someone found out that Molly Holly loved Jesus and weighed over 110 pounds, so they bullied her about being a grossly fat prude on-camera until she quit the business altogether. The Diva Search happened, and people sat on pies and literally called each other “cum-sucking gutter sluts” on live TV. Kelly Kelly happened. Shit, I could go one like this for days. To sum everything up, the WWE hates women, and for about ten years, they went to extraordinary lengths to prove it. Then everyone got busted for steroids, Chris Benoit murdered his family, and the WWE decided to become a TV-PG kid-friendly show, so things eased up a little.

hqdefaultUhh… Thanks?

So here we are, in some weird state of limbo, where things could go either way. On one hand,things are terrible. No one’s had the heart to send Vince McMahon to an old folks’ home or the courage to seal Kevin Dunn inside a barrel and sink him into the immutable sea, so the show is at least still partially run by a senile old man who thinks women in athletic competition is unladylike and barbaric and another old fuckhead who just plain despises them in any form or function. The Total Divas reality show has kept the roster bloated with the worst sort of titty models who accidentally stumbled into wrestling, feeling themselves up on the way to the ring and then flailing around nightmarishly for two minutes until the match ends with a distraction leading to a surprise roll-up. The cast of WWE Diva characters runs the gamut  from “bitch” to “crazy” to “crazy bitch,” no one is clearly designated as being good or bad, and if they are, give it a minute, because it’ll be different by the end of the show.

file_188559_2_Alicia_Fox(2)In the time it took to type up this long-winded bullshit, Alicia Fox switched from fan-favorite to rule-breaker seventeen times.

Then again, things are also looking up: Women’s mixed martial arts has become a thing, and Ronda Rousey has shown the world that a woman can violence just as well as a man can when given the opportunity. Down in NXT land, the future WWE Divas are going goddamn bananas, and it’s become a common occurrence for Ric Flair’s daughter and Snoop Dogg’s cousin (seriously) to have matches that make the nerds yell “MATCH OF THE YEAR OMG” into their computer devil machines. Then, there’s the whole #givedivasachance Twittery-hash tag thing that happened, where the internet rose up in protest of two-minute matches with surprise roll-up endings. And it truly mattered, because Twitter hash tags are we get shit done nowadays, don’t you know. It’s how we managed to get Joseph Kony elected, how we mourned the loss of Larry Shippers, finally brought the fiendish Bruce Dackler to justice, and built that giant “Gamer Gate” that finally kept all the video game nerds from entering the country. Internets, y’all.

ctXFWZl-1

But if you’re still with me, this is where we’re at; the Bella Twins vs. A.J. and Paige. It’s kind of being sold to the hash tag crowd as some sort of final battle between the Old WWE Divas division vs. a theoretical new one. The Bellas are the kind of models-turned-wrestlers that dominated things for the last… hell, twenty years? Christ. and A.J. and Paige are the “anti-Divas,” who are wrestlers first and eye candy second, and are here to save pro-damn-wrestling from the evil Sports Entertainment of Nikki and Brie. It’s one of those things that should write itself, but things are still all screwed up somehow. For starters, at some point, A.J. Lee and Nikki Bella switched places in the WWE Good Wrestler Heirarchy. Once the Unpleasantness surrounding her husband (CM Punk, in case no one’s told you, it’s CM Punk, you guys) got started, AJ Lee just kinda checked out, and it’s becomes more than apparent that she doesn’t give a single flying, drizzling zebra shit about wrestling anymore. She sleepwalks through matches, mouths off to the boss in real life on Twitter, and seems to have just accepted her fate as a temporary employee independent contractor of a company that’s not above firing her for who her husband is at any given second.  Meanwhile, Nikki Bella grew a whole bunch of muscles that she didn’t have previously all of a sudden and switched roles from Gyrating Titty Model to Lumbering, Face smashing Monster. Who… still gyrates a lot, but hey, baby steps, you know? Meanwhile, Paige is still Paige, the second-generation Superstar who screams and kicks people in their stupid faces and name drops Bull Nakano in interviews, and Brie Bella still sucks, but we like her, because she married Daniel Bryan.

bella-twins-cena-and-bryan-2164736…And we all hate Nikki for choosing to side with The Enemy.

 So as far a wrestling match is concerned, this would be way better off as a singles match with just Paige and Nikki, and since Nikki is the champ now, it would make more sense as a Wrestlemania happening, you know? Also, if you separate Paige and A.J., you don’t have to hear the announcers try to pound that “frenemies” bullcrap into our ears, as thought that is a word that people didn’t give up on turning into a word in like 2002. And hell, that’s just more WWE shit right there, where the “good guys” in the match have been pretty much in a constant feud over the last year, with seemingly no one designated as the one you’re supposed to root for. It’s WWE Diva World, where all women just sort of blindly hate each other because BITCHES BE CRAZY, AM I RIGHT FELLAS? Goddammit.

25

Best case scenario: A.J. stops mailing it in and Brie steps her game up for Wrestlemania, the people in charge actually give this some time to develop, (rather than the normal Wrestlemania Divas match role of five-minute cool-down/bathroom break before the main event) and this match goes down as a classic that changes a lot of people’s minds about what women’s wrestling can potentially be. Over the next year, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Becky Lynch finally get called up from NXT, a new golden age begins, and in 2020, Hillary Clinton is elected to her second term, and Paige vs. Charlotte is the main event of Wrestlemania 36. Sadly, A.J. Lee gets fired for being married to CM Punk.

tumblr_n7niqyqJj51slkad2o1_500This is gross enough with us thinking Paige is forty years too young for Lawler to be creeping on like that, but then we remember that’s Jerry fucking Lawler, and he probably thinks she’s ten years too old for him.

Worst case scenario: The match is only given six minutes to happen, with entrances eating up three of those minutes. What little match actually happens is a disaster, with Brie Bella whiffing so badly on a dropkick that she flies over the top rope and has to be carried out by the medical staff, and A.J. misses the match’s pivotal hot tag when she finally gives so few shits about anything that she pulls out a Game Boy Advance – not a smartphone or even a 3DS, a fucking Game Boy – and starts hunting Pokémon, rather than participating in a televised wrestling match. Afterward, Vince McMahon is furious and declares that the WWE Divas division needs a complete retooling, to be overseen by longtime TV producer, Executive VP, and notorious woman-hater Kevin Dunn. Wrestlers like Paige and even Nikki Bella are pushed into the background, Charlotte and Sasha Banks are both released outright, and the division becomes more focused on traditional WWE talent, like Eve Torres, Cameron, and a recently re-hired Jackie Gayda. The WWE Divas championship is re-branded as the WWE Lingerie Gravy Bowl Evening Gown Jello Championship Presented by KY Jelly, and Gayda goes on to have an eleven-month run as champ, during which time terrorism runs rampant, mighty rivers begin to run dry, and faithful dogs viciously turn on their masters. When the first ever “loser gets completely butt-ass naked and rubs all over a buck-toothed WWE Executive” match is announced, the fabric of reality collapses under the weight of such pure evil, the Earth’s crust splits in twain, and all the power of Hell runs rampant over the surface world. Mighty armies fall, great nations are reduced to loosely-affiliated bands of screaming cannibals, and the cities that once defined them shall be as dust, as an unloving God destroys a world no longer deemed fit to exist. The air becomes poison, the water becomes acid, and the land becomes fire. When the screams of the tortured and dying have subsided the only sound shall be laughter of the demons, dancing atop the rubble of all that once was. At some point, A.J. Lee gets fired for being married to CM Punk.

What will happen: A lot of people are watching the WWE with a critical eye toward their on-camera treatment of women, so I doubt this will be the usual blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bathroom break match it would have been in a pre-Twitter world.  They’ll get enough time to tell a story, but this is the WWE, and the WWE could fuck up a wet dream, so I’m guessing a clearly-intoxicated JBL will say the word “frenemies” at least 100 times on commentary, half the runtime will be spent with the match shoved into a corner of the screen so replays of something from an earlier dude match can be shown, and the match will end with a surprise roll-up, probably after one or the other of Paige or A.J. turns on the other, because THEY’RE FRIENDS, BUT THEY’RE ALSO ENEMIES, GET IT? FRENEMIES! BITCHES BE CRAZY! Then, A.J. gets fired, because, well, you know.

GUyso

Anyway, Wrestlemania is this Sunday. There might also be some sort of tag team championship match, or there might not be. Either way, may God have mercy on us all.

(Hello from 2016. This seems to be the only thing that anyone looks at on the old WordPress version of the site, so perhaps you’d like to see the what I thought about Wrestlemania 32? Maybe?)

battle

Second Annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

“Creative has nothing for you” is what WWE guys used to be told a lot of the time before being told why they weren’t getting on TV – usually right before being fired – but Wrestlemania is a Special Time, so it’s kind of a tradition that they scratch and claw for any way to get everybody on the show somehow.  And starting last year, rather than trying to find some half-assed reason for Brad Maddox to walk by in the background while John Cena talked, they just decided to throw everybody into a big battle royal. And they actually hyped it up to mean something a lot more than what it truly was, by attaching the name of Andre the Giant (the King of Battles Royal, basically) to it, and having Hulk Hogan hype the shit out of it as a Thing of Great Prestige. Then, Cesaro, having broken up with his bad-guy tag team partner on the pre-show and becoming both a singles competitor and a good guy, heaved 400-something pound Big Show with almost unsettling ease, and god damn, it was a Wrestlemania Moment for the ages. The crowd went nuts, the world was on flame with love for the Swiss Superman, and a new star was born.

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Then, like with everything in the WWE, the rest of 2014 happened, and it was all ruined.  Cesaro was immediately and inexplicably made into a bad guy, paired with a manager who would stand in front of him and hype up a different guy who was never actually there, and instructed to not do his one cool move that made everybody like him in the first place.  Then, one of the most thorough on-camera career burials of a WWE Superstar ever happened, and by the end of the year, Cesaro couldn’t beat the guy with the t-shirt cannon. This was publicly explained by Vince McMahon as Cesaro not being able to connect with the fans, (despite that while he was losing hella matches, crowds would literally be chanting “King of Wrestling” – a callback to things that happened years before he was in the WWE for fuck’s sake) because he was “too Swiss.”  Vince is senile, you guys.

vincechairzg4“Damn millennials need to get outta my yard.”

Anyway, the plight of Cesaro (who is actually one half of the tag team champions now, which sounds nice, but their title defense isn’t actually going to be broadcast as part of Wrestlemania) kind of exposes the fact that the Andre the Giant trophy is definitely no gateway to Bigger and Better Things, and is just somewhere to shovel the Zack Ryders and Fandangos of the world, so they don’t mouth off on Twitter. So overall, there are not enough jerkoff motions and fart sounds to express how I feel about the Second Annual Andre the Giant Battle Royal. I guess Sheamus might be coming back. Eh, fuck Sheamus, though.

dennis_stamp

Best Case Scenario: Some WWE writer with a fun sense of humor and an Old VHS copy of Beyond the Mat jokingly suggests that the battle royal be renamed in honor of Dennis Stamp, the downtrodden wrestler who gained unintentional fame as the guy who didn’t get booked for Terry Funk’s retirement (lol) show. After all, this whole thing really is just an excuse for the lower card guys who couldn’t get booked in real matches to be able to get a Wrestlemania payday call their moms and tell them that yes, they’ll actually be on camera tonight. And somehow, mainly because WWE Creative doesn’t give a shit about any story element not involving John Cena or 40+ year-old men, it actually happens, and the Dennis Stamp “I’m Not Booked” Battle Royal becomes a reality. In the end, some random guy no one cares about wins, and Stamp himself steps into the ring to present the trophy. But then, in a twist worthy of M. Night Shamaylan, one of the shitty-ass announcers points out that only 29 Superstars have entered so far, and there should be one more guy, and Stamp himself dumps the guy over the top rope and claims the trophy for himself. The eliminated superstars then hoist him to their shoulders and parade him around the ring in a parade of victory, as the jubilant crowd chants “YOU GOT BOOKED! YOU GOT BOOKED!” and it is immediately announced that Stamp is the first member of the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2016. I dunno, he just seems like a nice guy, and after eating shit for like 40 years, something good should happen for him.

Worst Case Scenario: I dunno, Sheamus wins? Fuck Sheamus.

What Will Happen:  jerkoff motion, fart sound

ictitle

Intercontinental Title Ladder Match: Bad News Barrett (champion) vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper vs. Stardust vs. R-Truth vs. Dolph Ziggler, possibly vs. more guys added at a later date

Then, there’s this bullshit. Dumping the Erick Rowans and Heath Slaters on your rasslin’ company’s roster into one big match is understandable; hell, it’s borderline clever. This match right here is fucking unforgivable. Here are six of the WWE’s top guys and R-Truth, and they’re all here together, because the WWE couldn’t find places for them in a fucking 4-hour show. This is what happens when you’ve got possibly the most stacked roster in WWE history, (with Owens, Zayn, Itami, Neville, and Balor waiting in the NXT on-deck circle – holy shit, you guys, HOLY SHIT) but you only focus on John Cena, Roman Reigns, and a bunch of part-time old-ass men.  Ziggler is a former world champion and should-be main eventer, Dean Ambrose spent 2014 establishing himself (despite the WWe’s best efforts) as a top guy, Barrett, Harper, and Stardust are all good enough to put on main event level matches, and Truth was pretty cool for a few months in TNA a decade ago. Oh yeah, and Daniel Bryan, who was like the sixth guy added to a seven-man match and the afterthought of afterthoughts, is the guy who carried the main event of Wrestlemania XXX and is the most universally-loved good guy in the entire stupid company. DANIEL BRYAN IS THE TOP GUY IN THE WWE RIGHT NOW, AND HE’S THE SIXTH GUY IN A SEVEN-MAN MATCH FOR NOT THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.

maxresdefaulghfdghdtSo yeah, this is never happening again, basically.

And it’s not like storylines are right goddamn there for a few of these guys. Goldust vs. Stardust was looking like it was going to get compelling as hell, with the former Cody Rhodes going slap-fucking crazy, while Goldust and Dusty Rhodes try to keep the family from falling apart. But Goldust is the only 40 year-old wrestler that the WWE seems to hate, so that got dropped. Dean Ambrose never did get revenge for Seth Rollins busting up the Shield, and hell, before they made Rollins lose every night and changed Ambrose from being an unhinged antihero to a fucking idiot who pulls WACKY PRANKS, that might have been hot enough to be the Wrestlemania main event. And oh yeah, there’s the whole thing where Daniel Bryan never actually lost the WWE title, the title is currently held by a giant monster who repeatedly is allowed to violate the 30-day rule that made Bryan have to forfeit it in the first place, and a match between Brock Lesnar and a scrappy underdog that everyone loves with all their heart would be way more compelling than Lesnar vs. a Large, Beautiful, Perfect Lion-Man that the crowd was badgered into despising.

VUqX3vNThis picture of Luke Harper just used up all the memory in your stupid smartphone, but I couldn’t think of anywhere else to put it, and I love it so much.

And hell, take those three guys out, and you’ve got a perfectly fine four-way match, even if you can’t be bothered to come up with anything for Barett, Ziggler, Harper, or Truth. A ladder match with two to four combatants can steal the show and be the best match of the night or even the goddamn decade, if done properly.  A seven-man match is just going to be a whole lot of “this guy punched me, so I rolled outside and am dead forever, at least until someone starts to climb the ladder, in which case I shall SPRING TO LIFE.” A whole lot of confusing bullshit, mixed with cringing when the guy that missed 2014 with a neck injury gets repeatedly thrown into or off of a 20-foot ladder.

Worst-case scenario: They keep adding guys to the match in the week leading up to Wrestlemania, until this becomes a ten-man affair with Kane, Big Show, and Erick Rowan or somebody like that tacked on. Daniel Bryan breaks his neck again and misses all of 2015, and whoever ends up winning inherits the Intercontinental Title Curse, where the champ just loses like three-dozen non-title matches before finally losing the belt in his first actual defense. Actually, now that I think about it, the Curse has already stricken down Ziggler, Barrett, and Harper over the last year, so I bet they’ll just try to lose on purpose.

truth

Best-case scenario: Fuck it, R-Truth wins. I know, he’s the out-of-place total jabroni in a match full of guys who should be wrestling in main events, and he’s really only been thrown in there so the WWE can say “hey, we’re not actually racist! There’s one black dude on our show!” But he’s the only guy whose standing in the WWE would actually be improved with the Intercontinental belt, and maybe the WWE’s half-assed desperation to not look like it’s staffed by former members of the OU chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon will have them actually let the IC champ win a few matches this time.  As a dude who’s been turned into a joke who yells “whoomp there it is” in 2015 and hasn’t been taken seriously since the first few months of Ron “The Truth” Killings being a thing, of all seven guys involved, he’d probably appreciate it the most, at the very least.

What Will Happen: Daniel Bryan wins, with the WWE hoping that a true main event guy holding the IC strap will raise its prestige in the eyes of fans. Then, they’ll just do the typical Intercontinental Curse thing to him too, and when people still don’t care about the belt, they’ll blame it on Bryan being a lazy millennial, and the WWE will inch closer and closer to death.

69wejpxOUTTA NOWHERE

NEXT TIME:  Seth Rollins tries to make the world care about Randy Orton, and AJ Lee gets one step closer to being fired for marrying CM Punk.

(Hello from 2016. This seems to be the only thing that anyone looks at on the old WordPress version of the site, so perhaps you’d like to see the what I thought about Wrestlemania 32? Maybe?)

cenarusev

United States Championship:  Rusev (champion) vs. john Cena

On one hand, this match should be really good, possibly the best of the night, depending on how that weird Intercontinental title ladder match goes, and whether or not they just throw Seth Rollins and Randy Orton into that match instead of letting them go on their own. On the other hand, as far as stories and characters and dramatic elements and whatnot are concerned, everything about it has been put together completely backwards. On the surface, John Cena is the good guy, fighting for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, or if you’re into branding, Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect. Meanwhile, Rusev is the prototypical Evil Foreigner, a throwback to the Ivan Koloff-inspired Evil Russian characters of the Cold War, with the addition of his manager Lana in the role of Ludmilla Drago from Rocky IV. But is it really like that?

john_cena_and_rusev

First, despite crushing everything in his path and waving the Russian flag everywhere he goes, Rusev is not a bad guy, in the wrestling heel/face structure. Not at all, not one little bit. He’s displayed no villainous traits at all. He wins all his matches cleanly, and he seldom attacks his opponents outside the context of a wrestling match unless they’ve attacked him first.  Sure, it might be said that he’s backed down from a threat or two, but what you might see as cowardice, I see as him being a goddamn professional who’s saving it for the official match.  Since he’s been called up from NXT to the main WWE roster, he’s cheated in a match exactly one time, when he kicked John Cena in the nuts at Fastlane a month ago. And you know what? Who cares. WWE good guys cheat constantly. John Cena kicks people in the balls all the time. He kicked me in the balls this morning. And I’m still here, hell, I’m jumping around. And really, in WWe storyline terms, just look at Rusev as a human being. A poor Bulgarian nobody who met a girl he liked a whole lot, so much that he left home and moved to Russia to be with her. From there, he used his skills as a Bulgarian Super Athlete to become the hero of the Russian Federation and wrestling champion of the entire United States of America. That’s not a villain’s origin story; that’s the fucking American dream, just taking place in a different country.  For fuck’s sake, Rusev and Lana are even totally down with Willie Nelson, Woody Harrelson, and Kris Motherfucking Kristofferson:

Lana-Rusev-celebs

If you still consider Rusev to be a villain in any sense, it can only be because you’re a terrible, awful person. And speaking of terrible, awful people, let’s talk about John Cena.

7122 - chain hat john_cena josh_mathews royal_rumble wwe

The official party line is that John Cena is a True Blue American Hero, the living avatar of the traits of Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect, which are themselves a modernized version of Hulk Hogan’s training, prayers, and vitamins. But the reality is that he’s none of these. He’s an overgrown bully, a woman-hater, a spoiled-rotten whiner, an opportunist who gladly steps over the bodies of his fallen allies to get what he wants, and despite his avowed opposition to the Authority of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, they always seem to bend over backwards to give him exactly what he wants. Hell, the whole reason he’s getting this rematch with Rusev is because he viciously attacked the dude and locked him in the STF until Lana was left with the choice of either giving him a title shot or watching Rusev die. If I was one to give the WWE Creative staff too much credit, I’d say this was some next-level subversive social commentary, presenting John Cena as the twisted and horrible version of a “hero” in the modern dystopia that is the United States. But honestly, I don’t give them any credit at all, and I have to take into consideration that the WWE is run by legitimately awful human beings like Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn, so this is probably what the WWE powers that be truly think a heroic dude is supposed to be like. We’re all doomed, you guys.

Best Case Scenario:  John Cena wins, (of course) but rather than the typical Cena vs. Whoever story, where he just plows through them and destroys their career in real life (Heath Slater once had a future, you guys) they go full Rocky IV with it, in a crazy-ass epic battle, where both men are half dead by the end. And since is is pretty much the only actual good guy in the WWE, Rusev takes his defeat in stride, offering a handshake of GODDAMN RESPECT to John Cena, who accepts it, and that whole “If I can change, and you can change, we all can change” scene plays out, Apollo Creed sheds a single tear in Heaven, and the two straight-up join forces, like Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff back in the day. Soon, the Bulgarican Connection is the hottest thing in the land and revitalizes the WWE’s garbage-ass tag team division. And from there? World Peace.

Worst Case Scenario: At some point, the Rock makes a surprise appearance, and calling back to that fight they had a few moths ago, he just hits Rusev with a whole bunch of Rock Bottoms, pauses to call Lana a whore, then yells gay slurs at Rusev until the crowd decides that he doesn’t matter anymore. Then, at some point, Cena wins.

What Will Happen: Cena wins, then proceeds to beat him at least ten more times over the next several months. As a result, by this time next year, Rusev is in the annual Wrestlemania Sorry You Didn’t Get Booked Battle Royal.

braytaker

Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker

A year ago, this would have been a dream match, and a lot of us Internet types were openly talking about how cool it would be to see the Old Supernaturally-Themed Guy fight the Young Supernaturally-Themed Guy. In the end, Bray Wyatt got fed feet-first into the buzz saw that is John Cena, and The Undertaker used up his yearly match against Brock Lesnar, where things didn’t end well. And here we are, with Bray Wyatt as a cult leader without a cult to lead, who the WWE made sure to let us know doesn’t stand a chance against top guys from the 2000s, and our freshest memories of the Undertaker are of him as a tired, defeated old man, hiding behind a thick layer of Just for Men, Grecian Formula, and some of that unnaturally orange fake tan he borrowed from the Bella Twins.

Undertaker loses at WrestleMania XXXWelp.

And the biggest problem here is what, if anything, the Undertaker is going to be able to do here. Because all of that stuff I said about Sting in the first post can apply to the Deadman. He’s not technically a senior citizen the Stinger is, but he’s still 49, and has a legit 6’9″ frame with a whole shitload of cumulative damage on it. The WWE hasn’t had to resort to pasting his head on someone else’s body for a DVD cover yet, but they are still using headshots from 5-10 years ago for promotional materials. Sure, there’s a good chance that most of the problem with the Brock Lesnar match last year was an apparently pretty horrible concussion, but still, he was 48 then, and he’s a year older now. For every story you hear about him running marathons, you see that picture again of him at the airport, looking like a less young and vibrant version of Jimmy Valiant, and the thought of him having to hold up one end of a Wrestlemania featured match gets scarier by the day. I know they really want to give him a big sendoff next year when Wrestlemania is in his hometown, but man, the Streak is over, there’s nothing left to prove, and they might want to just let it go after this one.

Bray-Wyatt-and-the-Undertaker-WWE-Raw-665x385From the darkest hell-fueled forges of Death Valley, the Undertaker screams “FUCK YO ROCKING CHAIR, NIGGA, FUCK YO ROCKING CHAIR”

Best Case Scenario: FELL MAGICKS. fuck it, you guys, this is Wrestlemania, and it’s time to go big or go home.  The Undertaker is a guy who’s been doing bizarre mystical magical shit since the first time he straight-up died in 1994, and Wyatt has been doing creepy voodoo shit ever since they decided to stop calling him Husky Harris. So you’ve got the Grandest Stage of Them All, you’ve damn sure got the budget, and you’ve got the two guys that wrestling fans would tolerate this sort of thing from. I wanna see fireballs, I wanna see lightning bolts, I wanna see possessed voodoo children, and fucking crew members running around on fire. Wrestling is inherently stupid as hell, but this is an opportunity to get STUPID AWESOME, like Kevin Sullivan conjuring Mark Lewin out of the immutable sea in the name of Satan, King Curtis telling us about Kamala hunting the rare white Bengal tiger by the sacred river Gangee, or Undertaker and Kane having a dang LIGHTNING FIGHT back in ’98. We NEED this. Wrestling has been boring as shit lately, and it’s stupidity has been of the anti-fun intelligence-insulting way. I want my intelligence completely bypassed by two men trying to literally kill each other in the final battle to prove whether Satanism or Voodoo is the supreme form of Dark Sorcery in professional wrestling. And for Gods sake, if you do have The Undertaker lose this bout, make damn sure you have the announcers sell it like he is literally physically dead, and you goddamn sure better have a grip of druids to somberly carry him off like those penguins did for Danny DeVito in Batman Returns.

yR2zwwTR.I.P. Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot – He just wanted to be pure.

Worst Case Scenario: The Undertaker shatters both hips while attempting to walk to the ring, and the WWE’s doctor informs Executive Vice President Triple H that there’s nothing that can be done. Triple H, knowing what must be done, takes the Undertaker to a quiet spot behind behind Levis Stadium and feeds him an apple, as he fights back tears, reassuring him that everything’s going to be okay. When the time is right, he takes aim and puts a single bullet in the back of the Undertaker’s head, ending his earthly suffering. As he drops the rifle and falls to his knees, Vince McMahon appears, and the two embrace. “You did  what needed to be done, Paul.  you did what was right, and you’re a man now.” Triple H wipes the tears from his eyes and gazes into the clear night sky, wondering that if somewhere up there, the Undertaker is looking down, smiling on them both. Men aren’t supposed to cry, but he lets the tears fall anyway, because gosh darn it, the Undertaker was truly his friend, and the best Lord of Darkness that a boy ever had.

What Will Happen: Undertaker wins, because he’s pushing fifty and and a part-time wrestler, and in the WWE Universe, that adds +25 to all your stats. Nothing is gained by either wrestler, and by this time next year, Bray Wyatt is in the annual Wrestlemania Sorry You Didn’t Get Booked Battle Royal.

dean

COMING UP NEXT TIME: A bunch of dudes no one bothered to book in real matches risk life-destroying injuries for a championship belt no one cares about, and a larger bunch of dudes who couldn’t get booked in real matches risk not much at all for a trophy no one cares about.

(Hello from 2016. This seems to be the only thing that anyone looks at on the old WordPress version of the site, so perhaps you’d like to see the what I thought about Wrestlemania 32? Maybe?)

I haven’t made any overt mentions of it around in here in a while, but I’m a pro wrestling fan, and have been on and off since about 1986 or so.  With some notable exceptions, wrestling is a terrible thing; it’s stupid, violent, racist, sexist, and eventually destroys everyone who gets involved with it sooner or later. It’s a Very Bad Thing, and there’s no good reason for anyone to watch it, but after this long, I doubt I’ll ever be able to get the brain-damaged, steroid-addled monkey off my back. The disease is inside of me, so don’t cry for me, I’m already dead.

Anyway, I grew up watching the WWE, (or WWF, as it was back in my day) and for better or worse (spoiler alert: worse) I’ve always been a WWE guy. No matter what cool stuff has been going on in Japan or the U.S. indies or whatever, the WWE has been what I’ve paid the most attention to. And this is the time of year that’s traditionally the Best Time to watch the WWE, the period between January and April that they call the Road to Wrestlemania. There’s no more competition for viewers with football, so things get ramped up to eleven. Storylines that have been slow-burning for a year come to a head, friends betray each other, rivals clash, superstars rise, and all scores get (presumably) settled at Wrestlemania. Wrestlemania is the ultimate pro wrestling spectacle; a giant show in a giant stadium, where giant dudes do giant things. The production is a little bigger, the wrestlers try a little harder, and everyone involved will stop at nothing to make it the best show of the year.   It’s basically the Super Bowl of sports.

And it’s gonna suck real bad this year.

smackdownIf you listen closely, you can hear Daniel Bryan’s brain psychically screaming “I WON THE MAIN EVENT LAST YEAR”

Wrestlemania 30 last year was amazing, and the buildup to it was what made me actively start paying close attention again after a long layoff induced by various overdoses, suicides, double-homicides, and Diva Searches. Daniel Bryan had become the most universally loved wrestler since Steve Austin, Brock Lesnar actually seemed like a threat to end The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania winning streak, the Shield was awesome, the Wyatt Family was creepy in really fun ways, I hadn’t yet been back in the loop long enough to be sick of John Cena, Cesaro looked like they were finally on the verge of doing something with him, and none of us yet knew that CM Punk was never coming back, and what better time than Mania? And in the end, the show was awesome, the Streak that was never supposed to end was ended, Cesaro had his Wrestlemania Moment, the nostalgic Hulk Hogan-based parts of the show were fun and didn’t overshadow the present day parts of the show, and Daniel Bryan won the world title in the most awesome Wrestlemania main event since [name redacted] won in eerily similar fashion at Wrestlemania 20.  And aside from Undertaker or CM Punk fans, everyone went home happy.

Daniel-Bryan-Wrestlemania-Championship-CelebrationDon’t know what you got, till it’s gooooone

Then, the rest of 2014 happened. The Ultimate Warrior died three days after his Hall of Fame induction. Daniel Bryan was stripped of the title and was gone for close to a year, following career-threatening neck/shoulder surgeries. Brock Lesnar disappeared for most of the year, even after winning the championship. CM Punk’s exit became terrifyingly final after he went on Colt Cabana’s podcast and dropped The Final Pipe Bomb, throwing accusations at the WWE ranging from trying to withhold his merchandise royalties to trying to kill him by refusing to treat a staph infection. Every five minutes, there was another public controversy about racism, sexism, or trainees in the WWE NXT minor league system getting physically or mentally abused. The WWE Network became a financial disaster that burned up a third of Vince McMahon’s fortune in a single day. The WWE fired Alberto Del Rio essentially because someone else had been racist to him, and he reacted like a pro wrestler. For something like the thirtieth year in a row, Kevin Dunn DIDN’T get fired. Storylines got stagnant, championships got more and more devalued, and it started to seem like Vince was actively seeking to punish every wrestler under the age of 39 for the crime of being below the age of 39. Because of all of these factors and more, the WWE now prepares to limp into Wrestlemania as a multi-million dollar dumpster fire that no one wants to see. AND NOW, LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THAT DUMPSTER FIRE!

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