Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Johnny Mundo

July 23, 2016


I know that the WWE Draft is currently rocking the headlines of the world of Sports Entertainment. I watched the draft on Tuesday night but when I watched it, it was a little less than live since I could not get to the television until after ten o’clock. I really enjoyed Raw and Smackdown this week. The draft was intriguing and in my heart of hearts I definitely correctly picked the first two drafts. I cannot wait to see how they utilize their separated talent pools. In addition, there are plenty of other recent headlines in the business or adjacent to the business. UFC 200 happened and Brock Lesnar was victorious. As much as I like Brock Lesnar, I could care less because I don’t care for UFC. Ah well. The Final Deletion exploded the internet making millions of wrestling fans sit up and say “Wait, TNA still exists?” The Final Deletion was hilarious but maybe for all the wrong reasons. Only time will tell.

All of that aside, I want to pay tribute to the other big news for the past three weeks. We are officially nearing the end of Season 2 of Lucha Underground. At the end of each season, the twisted temple holds an event called Ultima Lucha. This is an eight-hour event that is aired on El Rey network over three weeks. It is amazing and entertaining and pretty brutal. So let’s take a look at the leader of Worldwide Underground, one of the hottest new factions in Lucha Underground. Let’s take a look at Johhny Mundo.

John Hennigan was given a chance on WWE’s annoying reality show Tough Enough 2. Tough Enough was a show where people trained to be pro-wrestlers and competed for a WWE contract. It was a little annoying because, like other shows of its kind, it encroached on the mainstream product and threatened kayfabe. Kind of the same reason I hated the Diva Search, early NXT and Total Divas. Anyway, Hennigan stood out enough to earn a spot in Ohio Valley Wrestling which was a development territory that fed the WWE at the time. He was good enough to appear on WWE programming while working with Matt Cappotelli at OVW. He was trained by Jim Cornette and “Nightmare” Danny Davis at OVW. He obviously benefited from the training as it was not long before he debuted on WWE Heat and then WWE Monday Night Raw.

Hennigan debuted on Raw as Johnny Blaze and then he changed his name to Johnny Spade and then finally he became Jonny Nitro, assistant to Eric Bischoff on Raw. Thankfully this did not last long but it gave Johnny some more time to work on his promos and develop his streak of arrogance that has lasted through his career so far. He ended up debuting during a great time period. It set him up in the lower mid card at just the right time. It also allowed him to walk around the WWE while people like John Cena and Randy Orton were getting their first big pushes. Still, he was nothing special quite yet but few people get their big push overnight. I mean, neither John Cena or Cody Rhodes were too exciting early on either.

Finally, they found something real for Hennigan to do. They let him keep the Johnny Nitro name even though it was designed as a rib on Eric Bischoff and WCW. Now he was joined by Melina and Joey Mercury. Melina played Johnny’s girlfriend and was a great performer in her own right. Mercury was great too but ended up being more successful as an NXT trainer now. Together they formed MNM, a new stable fresh from Hollywood who were rich, successful and complete assholes. A tag team is a great way for new talent to break into the public consciousness. The trio started winning titles. Most importantly for Hennigan, they started to win tag team titles over and over. MNM went the distance and, in my opinion, remains a very memorable and fun tag team in a field of more bland or weird tag teams. I mean, Heidenreich teamed with Animal around that time. Come on.

Johnny Nitro and Melina jumped back to Monday Night Raw where Hennigan stepped up and started a singles career. He battled some of the greats and held his own and looked even more impressive than he had before. He won the Intercontinental championship from a triple threat with Shelton Benjamin and Carlito Colon. These guys are two extremely talented wrestlers who were both in an early point in their careers. He went on to feud with Jeff Hardy during one of his more lucid periods which ended up being great. Then he feuded with John Cena which says a lot about his skills and the confidence the company had in him. He lost Melina but briefly regained Joey Mercury in a brutal feud with the Hardys. He proved he could be tough and innovative as well as technically proficient and charismatic.

In 2006, tragedy struck and Chris Benoit murdered his family and then committed suicide. In the midst of trying to repair the damage, Nitro won his first heavyweight title when he picked up the ECW World Championship. He then changed his ring name (this is ring name number five, by the way) to John Morrison and added inspiration from Jim Morrison of The Doors to his character. This launched him up to a higher level in the company as this new character took off. He teamed with former reality star The Miz in some of the best chemistry I have seen in the business. In addition, he started to add a lot more to his moveset and became a lot more memorable. I was glued to the Miz and Morrison Dirt Sheet segments and I wanted to see what he would say next. At the time, I blatantly stole his tagline of “Be Jealous”. He definitely shone brightly in his new tag team role.

Of course, he had to break out as a singles wrestler again eventually. This began when Miz and Morrison were drafted to separate shows. I knew we would get back around to the draft eventually! After an attack by the Miz and a feud with heel Chris Jericho, Hennigan became a babyface for the first time since… well maybe the first time ever. He added to his moveset even more, finally adding his current finisher which is a split-legged corkscrew moonsault. He started to add more high flying and parkour elements to his style and got to show off just how athletic he is. It seemed to me that John Morrison was becoming bigger and bigger and should have been a heavyweight champion in the WWE at some point. He had all three of the things it takes to be truly successful in the business: Good mic skills, technical prowess/athleticism and the it factor. Instead, he left the WWE and disappeared into the independents.

Then he finally resurfaced in the Asistencia Asesoría y Administración down in Mexico. Now I never really watched any of that because I found it hard to access at the time. However, then I found out about Lucha Underground which is basically a US spinoff from the AAA. The Lucha style suits John well who adopted name change number six and became Johnny Mundo. He ditched a lot of the Jim Morrison stuff but kept a lot of the cocky heel humor and oozes arrogance. He is doing great things for Lucha Underground as he has excelled in every single spot they have put them. He has had great feuds with Prince Puma, Alberto Patron and Cage along with pissing off everybody along the way. He is arguably the leader of a new faction called Worldwide Underground. Mundo, Jack Evans and PJ Black are cocky heels who do not give a fuck about your rules. Blatant nut shots, blatant cheating, cowardly behavior and class clowning makes them the heels I love to hate. There are great things in John Hennigan’s future.

Media Update 7/21/2016

July 21, 2016

London Has Fallen

I remember seeing Olympus Has Fallen in theaters and I enjoyed it but I felt I had seen all of the adventures of Gerard Butler, Secret Service that I needed to see. The original was nothing special except that it was brutally violent and had quite a bit of uncomfortable torture. The torture or the violence were not out of place but there was noticeably a lot of both. The movie was dark and it was interesting and it was enough. However, my mom brought the DVD for London Has Fallen home and it is not often that my mother goes for that kind of movie. I was intrigued and I rarely pass up watching anything new if I have time for it. The movie stars the loveably grim Gerard Butler who basically plays the same character in different time periods in every movie he is in. He plays Mike, who is basically the Winter Soldier without all of the brainwashing. The President is played by Aaron Eckhart who is always welcome and the Vice-President is played by Morgan Freeman. The movie is mostly Mike’s rampage through London, killing terrorists to protect or save the President. Morgan Freeman watches from a command center and makes excellent commentary. There were a lot of cool stunts and not a lot of story to get in the way of the action. Watch it if you like a good stunt show with a lot of darkness but a good sense of humor about itself.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

I remember watching the original Sin City at the behest of a co-worker up in Sussex, New Jersey. She thought the movie was awesome and I really had no frame of reference to know either way because I had not yet read much Frank Miller. The first movie was interesting and was mostly driven by Mickey Rourke basically playing himself with decent performances from Bruce Willis and Clive Owen. In this one, they pushed Mickey Rourke even harder and I think they ended up with too much Mickey Rourke which can be a bad thing. The best performances came from Powers Boothe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Josh Brolin was alright but he deserves better roles (and he got one if you read last week’s edition). Notice that I have not yet mentioned a single actress because Frank Miller hates women. Rosario Dawson and Jessica Alba might as well have been very beautiful mannequins with speakers attached. In Sin City, women are fetish superheroines and run around in impractical prostitute clothes and kill men. Yet, they have zero personality and not much motivation. In fact, pretty much none of the characters have any motivation to do any of what they do. In short, Frank Miller is a bad writer and should feel bad. The movie also has so much CGI manipulation that is basically an animated film and it looks pretty awful. Just stay away from this and watch one of the dozens of good comic book movies.

47 Ronin

Keanu Reeves gets a bad rap, I think. He is a really good actor (“Whoa” aside) and is apparently overwhelmingly intelligent in real life. He has been in the business for decades now which has allowed him to pick up a lot of what the business is. The problem is that he has picked too many bad scripts or bad directors to hitch his wagon to which devalues his worth in everyone’s eyes. This movie felt like it was very ambitious but it fell short of what it could have been. Apparently, there was a lot of studio meddling during filming which led to several script changes as they had different ideas about the film from the director. As a result, the movie is one part fantasy and one part historical action/drama. While the movie incorporates some interesting Japanese folklore, all of that stuff seems tacked on. I love magic and fantasy but only if it is fully integrated into the story. The movie is beautifully shot and there were a lot of interesting ideas and emotional scenes. As usual, Keanu is a great actor but there were a lot of excellent performances from some great Japanese actors. Everything is perfectly arranged just so and the CGI is artfully done so it looks like it belongs for the most part. The movie was not advertised correctly as it should have been advertised more as a Seven Samurai meets The Gladiator kind of movie instead of The Matrix meets The Last Samurai. It is worth a look but only if you are committed to a long movie mostly about Japanese history and folklore.

Music of the Week:
MullyMan – I Go Harder
Stitched Up Heart – Finally Free
The Bouncing Souls – True Believers
The Chubbies – Living in Hell
Tokyo Police Club – Argentina (Parts I, II, III)

Weekly Update:
– I am almost done with Season 3 of Person of Interest
– The WWE Draft was a very fun and interesting night
– I kind of want to see Bad Moms and I’m worried about that
– Yet more Seven Deadly Sins was awesome
– I’ve started screening things for Halloween
– The IT Crowd continues to get better
– I will finally see Zootopia soon
– I kind of want to see Ghostbusters now. I mean whatever.
– This week’s theme is “Mindless Entertainment”

The Mystery Part 8

July 16, 2016

The Mystery

Detective Zaria walked up to Scott where he was struggling, pressed against the wall by a growing Frank. Frank was now twenty feet tall and his palm covered Scott’s chest making it harder to breathe and nearly impossible to move. Scott’s right hand was near one of his extendable batons but there was no way he had room to swing it. Besides, the Detective was close and would alert Frank before Scott could get anything done. Hell, even though her gun was holstered, Zaria could still shoot Scott for trespassing or really for whatever reason she chose. At his current size, Frank was stuck in the doorway he had thrust his arm through. If Scott somehow got out of his grasp and got that arm between himself and the Detective he would be home free. However, that was not the only play.

“Listen, I honestly did not come here to start any trouble. I came here for advice or help but I was obviously missing information. I can just leave and I won’t bother you again.” Scott said, doing his best to disguise his voice. He had not remembered to do so back in the alleyway but better safe than sorry. There really should be a manual for superheroes but Scott would just have to make do.

“Nice fake voice, Mystery,” Frank said, from the doorway. Scott was relieved that he had never told Frank his real name. “You really stepped in it this time.”

“I didn’t know you were dating a police detective. Also, I guess I should have called ahead.” Scott said.

“We’re not dating, you idiot. He works for me. If I wanted, I could have him crush you and bury you out back.” Detective Zaria said. Her stance suddenly looked a lot more relaxed and she looked tired.

“That does not sound legal,” Scott said. It was the first thing he thought of and it sounded dumb as soon as it came out of his mouth.

“Technically, neither does what you do. Focus up, Mystery.” The detective said. “The officer you saved is stable in the hospital right now. If that was not true, I would be handcuffing you right now.”

“I’m glad to hear it. The guy who shot him did it because of me, I think. I could not stop him and I felt terrible.” Scott said. It was the truth, obviously, he had nearly hung up his costume forever. He felt a weight lift when he heard that the officer was still alive and in good hands.

“Then we need to take him down. If he’s fixated on you then you need to work with us to take care of this.” The detective said.

“Work together?” Scott asked.

“Not like Frank,” Zaria said.

“Hey, being a cop in training isn’t so bad. I’m a little hard to miss so they were gonna catch me eventually. You’re a little more sneaky. Still, it took one bonehead move for you to finally get caught.” Frank said with a laugh.

“A bonehead move that came from a very real emotion. I can respect that and set it aside. The truth is, I think I can use you. Some of the higher ups do not trust your kind but I think you can be useful.” Detective Zaria said.

“Thank you,” Scott said. “I will try my best to help you out in any way I can.”

“Yeah you will,” Frank said. “Nobody says no to Zaria.”

“That’s Detective Zaria. I need you to write out a complete statement of what happened in the alleyway. I also need to stay in contact with you.” She walked back into the living room and then returned holding a small canvas pouch. “This is an orientation packet, of sorts. It has a flash drive with files on known costumed characters both powered and unpowered. It has contact information for me and it has a disposable cell phone. Let him go, Frank.”

“Aww. You never let me have any fun,” Frank said. He released his grip and started to shrink to human size. He stepped out of his bedroom. He looked different from the last time Scott had seen him. When he and Scott had worked together briefly, Frank had long hair and was scruffy looking. He had been big and buff like a cross between a surfer and a biker. Now, he was clean cut and sported a crew cut and looked even more cut. Scott could only guess that police work agreed with him. Scott looked away at Zaria and reached out and took the little package.

“There is also a GPS tracker in that bag but it is push button activated. If you run into trouble, you need to alert us. I do not want to be picking up any more bodies in alleys,” Detective Zaria said.

“Agreed. Neither do I. I will get that statement to you before morning. Is there anything else now that I have been thoroughly embarrassed?” Scott asked.

“No, do the statement. Keep me updated on your activity and I won’t have to arrest you.” She replied.

“Noted,” Scott said, “I will contact you soon. Frank, maybe you and I can talk sometime.”

“Count on it. Next time, don’t break into my place in the middle of the night.” Frank said.

“Also noted. See you later,” Scott said as he headed back into the bathroom and slipped out the back window before anybody could change their mind or pull any pistols. This was actually better than Scott could have hoped. He had been doing this basically alone and now he actually had a solid ally and maybe even back up. Now, it was time to start hunting that maniac out there on the streets. With no leads, it would be a lot of patrols and very little sleep. That suited Scott just fine.

Media Update 7/14/2016

July 14, 2016

Hail, Caesar!

I had been looking forward to this movie as I am slowly working my way through The Coen Brothers’ collection of films. I have yet to see a movie they made which was bad and pretty much all of them are beyond excellent. Some of my top favorite movies were written and directed by the Coen Brothers. This film takes us back to the almost mythic studio system in the 1950s. It was during this period that a lot of great movies were made, some of them now forgotten in the sheer volume that Hollywood puts out. You had a lot of post-war musicals like Singin in the Rain, huge period epics like Ben-Hur, quiet parlor films like Pride and Prejudice, cowboy films like Lone Star and all sorts of niche films you would not see today. It is definitely a very revered period of time but it was definitely not perfect. That is one of the points of this movie. The Coen Brothers were very young during the fifties and now they want to take the piss out of that period a little bit. We need that sometimes. I think that we need our legends to be reduced to everyday heroes so that they are a little more attainable and inspiring. Anyway, this movie follows a day in the life of a fixer for a Hollywood studio as he tries to keep the ship afloat and sailing for another day. It shows the very real tensions and issues that were present in the entertainment industry that we can read about today. However, as dark as the movie could have gotten, the Coen Brothers and their all-star cast manage to make the story funny and easy to swallow. Josh Brolin, in particular, did an amazing job as a Hollywood fixer trapped in his own personal film noir story. I definitely recommend this as it was excellent.

Ed Wood

Tim Burton is fueled at least partly by quirkiness and strangeness. He thrives on the juxtaposition of the normal with the weird and that could also describe filmmaker Ed Wood. Wood was not a great artist but he had some sort of vision that he awkwardly fumbled to the masses in now legendary movies. His films are full of continuity errors, production flaws, bad acting, cross-dressing, stock footage and strangely memorable moments. While I have no praise to offer for Ed Wood, I will say he was dedicated and worked hard. The action in this movie is disjointed and exaggerated. It is similar to the above film but it is even more alien, reflecting the strangeness of both the subject and Tim Burton’s style. The whole thing is in black and white to compliment both the fifties setting and most of Ed Wood’s movies. A lot of the comedy comes from the alien behavior of Johnny Depp as Ed Wood dealing with more down to Earth characters. The weird characters he surrounded himself in life are portrayed by people like Bill Murray, Martin Landau and Jeffery Jones. The weirdest is always Ed Wood and underneath the can-do moxie and confident tone it feels like there is also a desperation to be heard and accepted. The movie is funny, interesting and sometimes a little sad but it did not fail to entertain at any point. I recommend this especially for fans of horrible classic cinema.


Roman Holiday

Last this week, we have a movie actually filmed and released in the fifties. I had heard about this movie a while back but never really intended to watch it. I have a huge list of things to watch and that list shifts and moves as things catch my attention. Watching Hail Caesar made me want to watch a movie from that era that I had not seen before as I have seen quite a few. Lo and behold, Netflix provided as it always does and Roman Holiday popped up and I realized I had no information on it beyond the title. A title I had actually first seen while reading Batman: The Long Halloween. That made me even more interested. The movie is about a princess who is fed up with her seemingly interchangeable days of spouting policy and meeting dignitaries. She runs away and meets a tabloid reporter who smells a story and that is just where the fun begins. The movie does not have much in the way of plot. There are not many twists and turns but there is a lot of great character work and a lot of scenes of two or three characters just talking. The two main characters, played by Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, are just oozing with charisma. I believed everything they said and I was not expecting to be as moved by the movie as I was. It is not very funny or very sad but it is a surprisingly pleasant ride. It looks at depression, finding your life direction, romance and journalism and it does it all without hitting you over the head with it. In addition, the backdrop is the beauty of Rome. If you are a fan of classic cinema, please check this one out.

Music of the Week:
Skarr-Akbar – Circle Of Success
Wild Belle – Giving Up On You
Oscar Benton – Woolly Boolly Boogie
Lea Delaria – Welcome to My Party
Mindless Self Indulgence – Shut me up


Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme “Movies set in the Fifties”
– I watched a ton more Person of Interest and I love it
– I finished Series 2 of The IT Crowd and it gets way better
– The Seven Deadly Sins continues to be great
– I watched a ton of JackSepticEye, Commander Holly and Game Grumps
– Ninja Sex Party is working on another cover album!
– I want to watch Preacher.  I need to watch it before it is spoiled
– The holiday is finally over so maybe I can watch more stuff

Adventure on the River

July 11, 2016

It seems that all of my adventures start with me getting up early but this week is no different. It seems that any true adventure starts with drive time and that usually means getting up early. This is often a dilemma for me since I am definitely not a morning person. However, an adventure often has enough allure to accomplish the necromancy it takes to get me out of bed before seven in the morning. So it was that on Thursday I got up and followed the smell of bacon downstairs to grab a little breakfast with my mom and her husband’s family. Breakfast is also part of the ancient magicks needed to get me up in the morning and I could already smell it as it made its way to the table. Of course, the food was there but nobody else was.

There is something important you should probably know about me. I am terrified of being late. I actually have nightmares about it and I feel intensely guilty if I am late. I show up at events so early I am often waiting in my car for the doors to open. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I get to airports long before most rational people on the offhand chance that something will go wrong or there will be traffic. So when I saw that the rest of my adventuring party was not up yet, I decided that we were not going to make it and the trip was doomed. Eventually, everybody made it down and ate and stalled and slowly gathered their belongings and said their goodbyes to loved ones. Meanwhile, I was waiting in the car like a mental patient, mentally willing them to get in a car so we could depart. I guess this is more my issue than theirs.  Thankfully, we made it on time.

Where did we make it to? We arrived at River Riders Headquarters in Harpers Ferry at 9 am. I checked us in and was informed that, even though we were to show up at nine, the safety lecture did not start until 9:40. We all got to relax a bit before gearing up for white water rafting down the Shenandoah River and onto the Potomac River. I really love the water so I was excited but still a little sleepy and anxious that we would not walk the thirty yards to the meeting place within forty minutes. Like I said, I am crazy. Of course, we made and watched a safety video and all safety videos are both cheery and also pretty grim.

We drove to the river and my mom and I climbed on a boat with some of her recently acquired grandchildren. Our guide was immediately laid back and cool and I liked that he was not doing anything to force us to have fun. All of the guides on the river encouraged a huge splash fight and people were being pulled or pushed off their boats everywhere. It was a lot of fun and a great way to get everyone in the spirit of the trip. That was great because I was still feeling a little tired from waking up and worrying about getting there on time. We started down the river in great spirits, talking and laughing. We followed our guide’s orders on when to paddle and worked hard to match paddling rhythms.

The rapids were not overly challenging. Some of them were fun little bumps and others were a rough ride where I nearly felt like I was going to fall out. Only one of us fell out the whole way and it was kind of a fluke that came from his unlucky position in the boat. We laughed and traded stories the whole time about how we had fared on each rapid. We learned a little more about the area as we floated down the line between Virginia and West Virginia. It was a lot of fun just to be in a positive head space.

At some point, our guide let slip that any guide who fell off his boat would have to buy beers for all of the other guides. These were known as “Swim Beers” and were to be avoided at all costs. Furthermore, our guide informed us that the guide who was manning our party’s other boat had tried to take our guide out earlier. We quickly pledged our allegiance and said we would help get that guide off of his boat. We talked the whole trip about when was the best time to do it. Two grandsons on the boat volunteered to actually do the deed but we kept getting thwarted just before an attempt. At the very end of the trip, we made a beeline for them and the two guys dragged the guy into the water. We all cheered and laughed that we had finally accomplished our goal.

We took the bus back to headquarters, tired and wet but also satisfied and happy. We ate a hero’s lunch at the Clarion Hotel up the hill and drove home to dry everything out and take a nap. It was a great time and it was filled with positivity. We could all use a little more of that.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: The Independents

July 9, 2016


The amount of sports entertainment out there is daunting these days. In my last post, I spoke of a time where there were two choices. If you did not like vanilla than there was always chocolate and if you did not like chocolate then screw you. However, there were always companies “independent” of the big two that you could watch. These independents are generally where the big two get their talent. Now we are down to the “Big One” but it feels like there are at least three levels now in our country. There is the WWE/NXT which is generally regarded as the top of the heap. Under that, there are companies like Lucha Underground, Ring of Honor and TNA. They are well-funded and have television but they still feed talent to the WWE. Below that are all the smaller companies that are largely regional and often feed NXT, LU, TNA and ROH. Of course, then there’s the AAA and NJPW and any other foreign markets which are kind of in a class of their own.

So anyway, it has been a long while since I enjoyed some independent action. I made time over the last two weeks to surf YouTube and check out some great matches. However, instead of praising companies, I thought I would take the opportunity to praise some of the performers. At present, these people do not have exclusive contracts anywhere. In lieu of clips, I decided to put up whole matches to show these people in action.

“King of Dong Style” Joey Ryan

Anybody who follows my twitter would know how much a fan I am of Joey Ryan. Joey is currently working on television for Lucha Underground but that is just one of his gigs. I have known of Joey Ryan since first seeing him in Wrestling Society X when he was one half of That 70’s Team with The Disco Machine. He got a try out on TNA Impact but they do not deserve him. His mission statement (according to various announcers) is to bring sleazy back to pro-wrestling. He has certainly accomplished this as he portrays a character you would not want to touch with a ten-foot pole and mostly because he might like that. His character thinks highly of himself but there is a good reason for that as he is a competent fighter in all of his incarnations. He is also the King of Dong Style which parodies Nakamura being the King of Strong Style. Sometimes, King of Dong Style means that Joey is immune to low blows and in Japan it means he literally fights people with his privates. As a guy who regularly takes part in intergender matches, he is the master of the Boobplex and the YouPorn Plex. Currently, he is touring with his long time tag partner Candace LeRae as The World’s Cutest Tag Team. He seems to thrive best in situations where he is not held back from being his pervy self but he has fit in anywhere I have seen him.

The Young Bucks

Matt and Nick Jackson are real life brothers who have been high up in the business for quite a while now. With all the talk lately about The Bullet Club and its partial absorption by the WWE, it’s cool to look at these guys too. These guys have become synonymous with the word independent in the past few years. They have thrived on the independent scene and worked for what seems like every small company in the country. They briefly worked in TNA as Generation Me but wisely got out while the getting was good. They are also regular special guests with ROH and New Japan Pro Wrestling but neither are lucky enough to make it exclusive. As I insinuated earlier, these two are still members of the Bullet Club which had to expand to make up for the loss of AJ Styles, Prince Devitt, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson. Before AJ left, he used to do trios matches alongside the Bucks and it is clear they were on his level. Their work is incredibly smooth and they transition from move to move very quickly and they do the right moves at the right time. A lot of tag teams that engage in a lot of high spots pause a lot and look like they are just going down a list of moves they want to do. The Bucks are great about building the excitement of the match and playing to the crowd. They are like a faster, better version of the Hardys who did not go insane.

“The Aerial Assassin” Will Ospreay

The world of pro-wrestling recently exploded due to the online release of a New Japan Pro Wrestling match between Ricochet and Will Ospreay. I have not gotten to see that match as of the time of this writing but I have seen highlights. Some say it is amazing and others say it is destroying the business but it looked like a professional Lucha/Indy/Japanese hybrid match that had a lot of heart and athleticism. I decided to look into Will Ospreay because I already knew Ricochet as Prince Puma in Lucha Underground. After watching a few matches, I can tell that Ospreay deserves all of the hype and praise that he’s getting. He is definitely an amazing high flyer but I can see that he also has a technical side to him as well and I bet he can brawl if he wanted to. He is extremely athletic and is able to adapt to different styles. If you watch Ospreay/Richochet they are working a very light Lucha-esque style but if you watch the video above there is more weight to everything. England has a more hard hitting style with a history of both technical skill and causing pain. He (and many in the new generation) have been accused of just being spot monkeys but I can see good selling and plenty of psychology. His matches build and come to an explosive end and bring you on the emotional journey that they are supposed to. I can see where the criticism comes from but I do not agree with it. Ospreay is a hard worker and knows what he is doing and can only get better as his career continues.

So that’s it for this time around. I will have more next time when I have time to do this again. I enjoy watching stuff I am unfamiliar with to get an idea of what is out there. Sometimes the independent wrestlers get hired by the bigger companies and it is great to “know them when”. Time for me to go watch Ultima Lucha Dos!

But wait! BONUS MATCH!!! Because it includes two out of three entries here and I loved the match.

Media Update 7/7/2016

July 7, 2016

Commander Holly Plays (With Friends)

Earlier this year I explained that I went to MAGFest 2016 partly for the Commander Holly meet up. Holly Conrad is one of the most positive people I have ever seen on the internet. Holly is a cosplay and prop artist who worked for quite a while doing a lot of great projects and continues to work in that field. Along the way, she married her Australian husbando  Ross O’Donovan, an Australian animator who now works for Game Grumps. She has since started to play games on her channel and they are so entertaining. She often plays alongside her husband Ross or her best friend Kati Schwartz who is a playwright out in Los Angeles. Rarely does she play by herself but that is great because she works really well with others. The power of her positivity is strong. It feels like she always stays happy and positive even when the game gets hard. She talks a lot about her life experiences, the fiction she likes and of course she talks about her birbs. Holly rescues pigeons and maintains over forty animals in the home she shares with Ross. She also does a lot of live streams on Twitch and uses the funds from the streams to help pay for the care and feeding of her birds and cats. I look forward to her videos every day.


I learned about Jack (real name Sean) from watching Markiplier collaborations and found out that Jack has a YouTube channel that is rapidly rising in popularity. Like Mark and the ultra-famous Pewdiepie he is a “Let’s Player”. He has millions of subscribers and, while that does not guarantee quality, I can definitely see why people have flocked to watch his videos. Jack is from Ireland while most YouTubers I watch are from the California area. Jack is incredibly energetic. If you clicked or will click the video above you will be nearly assaulted by Jack’s intro which strikes kind of like lightning. Jack also has a strong positive attitude but it’s often kicked into a higher and faster gear. Jack goes through a lot of videos making jokes, laughing and goodheartedly yelling at enemies. Jack also does a lot of charity, harnessing his high subscriber base for good causes. In fact, his now signature green hair comes from agreeing to dye his hair if enough donations were made. So far from what I’ve seen, Jack does not simply pick the popular games and is pushing himself to play some nostalgic titles or stuff he wants to play. Whatever he plays he makes the most out of it and tends to downplay the negative to have fun.

Game Theory

Matthew Patrick is a fellow former theater guy who got out of school and theater and the jobs were not forthcoming. Unfortunately, I can relate to this completely. As a way to keep busy and to add to his resume, he started to produce videos for the internet. He decided to apply his analytical brain to his old passion of video games. Slowly over time he changed from simply Matthew Patrick to become MatPat, an expert in the ways of YouTube and video games. He pulls apart every little detail in games to come up with theories on what is really going on in them. For instance, he calculated the actual monetary value of Fallout 3’s bottlecaps translated into our world’s economy. He also was able to decode the Five Nights at Freddy plot line from little shreds of evidence and proved that Princess Peach may be behind all the troubles in the Super Mario games. In later days he has started live streaming on a regular basis alongside his wife Stephanie who, while not as experienced with video games, is equally smart as hell. They are both so positive and with a patented “Clap and a Half” they work at deciphering the video games they play live for their audience. They have casually created dozens of memes for their audience to latch onto. I always look forward to the next bit of content from them. They just started a new show called Game Lab where they try to physically do the things video game characters to see if they are possible. You should definitely check him out even if you do not like “Let’s Players”.

Music of the Week:
Portishead – Glory Box
NoFX – The Separation of Church and Skate
MC Esoteric ft. Trademarc – Worst Things First
Megadeth – Symphony Of Destruction
Utada Hikaru – Simple and Clean

Weekly Updates:
– I am halfway through season 3 of Person of Interest and it has been even better
– I am starting to really focus on my annual Halloween project
– This week’s theme is “The Power of Positivity on Youtube”
– I have watched less content this holiday week
– Maybe I can sneak away to watch something good
– I am kind of working on doing more WILPW
– I have so much to talk about in this feature. Stay tuned.
– I kind of want to see Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and that frightens me
– I blame it on my celebrity crush on the wonderfully awkward Aubrey Plaza

A Campaign of Fear

July 4, 2016

I hinted at this story during the 100 Questions posts but it is finally time to commit it to writing. I still laugh at the memory but the laughter comes much later. First, there will be tiredness and then there will be fear. There will be more fear than I have ever felt in a single moment in all of my life. And now, the infamous dog story from a few summers ago.

In 2010, it was suggested that I work on a political campaign in order to readjust to Baltimore and to work toward getting my first office job. It was a good transition from my work in theater although I spent a lot of time out of the office. I spent the summer out in the heat putting up a lot of four foot by eight foot political signs and getting griped at by people who did not like those signs which is pretty much everybody. I also spent a lot of time knocking on doors to deliver the good word on our candidate. This was something that people tended to like even less than the political signs but it was all necessary in order to get name recognition locked in. A lot of people who vote in local elections do so in a pretty uninformed state and they will often vote for the name they recognize if they are not just voting alphabetically.

On the day in question, we had been dispatched to the Randallstown area to knock on doors in a massive event. We were working with a couple other sympathetic campaigns in early fall for a huge push for everybody involved. It was incredibly hot and it was a Saturday but I was committed to doing the best job that I knew how to do. After a quick meeting to split up territories, I jumped into a car with two people I had worked with all summer. We were a pretty well-oiled machine at that point and we were able to hit a lot of doors in a pretty short amount of time.

The thing you should know about knocking on doors for a political campaign is that it is shocking when you actually get to talk to somebody. We knocked on a lot of doors and we had all the talking points prepared should we get a hold of an interested party. Most doors I knocked on there was never an answer because either people were not home or they saw me in my t-shirt at their door and did not get up. I do not blame them if that is what happened because I also do not like being bothered at home. I did speak to maybe a handful of pleasant people who did want to discuss politics. Most people politely declined or cursed me out and although the latter drove me crazy, I took it in stride well enough.

So the three of us walked the streets near Randallstown and started knocking on our assigned doors. I do not remember talking to a single person that day. Even the people who curse at you are sometimes welcome to break the monotony and to have a good story for later. Good stories are how you make it through long days in the trenches and there are so many long days in those trenches. We were making good time and without any further commands, it looked like we were going to have a day where we would get home at a reasonable time. I was already hot and covered in sweat but short rides in the air conditioning kept giving me the will to continue. I do not do well in the heat but I had kind of gotten used to it over the summer.

We arrived on a little cul de sac and it was like every other cul de sac I had seen in Baltimore County. It was not unlike the houses in Dundalk, Essex and areas of Towson. We started to knock on doors as usual. I took one-third of the houses just like my two companions. The place was a ghost town on a beautiful Saturday afternoon as I had expected. So I knocked, waited a minute and then dropped some literature and moved on. I walked up to a particular house and looked at the big open window to the right of the door. I rang the doorbell and waited. Suddenly, the window to my right exploded outwards as a huge dog burst through it. It was barking like a furry missile but I was already gone. My body had taken over and I was halfway down the street in a full run and screaming my lungs out.

Obviously, my companions came running toward me because no ordinary person runs screaming down the street even in Baltimore City. They saw before I did that the dog had neglected to follow me that far. Thankfully, for whatever reason, he or she had decided that I was not worth chasing. I bent over and sucked in deep breaths of air to keep from passing out. As I stood up again, I started to laugh as hard as I have ever laughed because I was so happy to be alive and unharmed. My companions looked at me like I was crazy until I was able to stop laughing enough to explain what happened. We decided to skip the rest of that little cul de sac just in case that dog was loose and angry. On our way out, we warned a Salvation Army truck driver and he nodded in thanks. We all laughed about that for the rest of the day and six years later we still haven’t forgotten it.

(Happy July 4th!)

Felix Graham: Osaka Adventure 8

July 2, 2016

Felix Osaka

The Sentinel’s office sent several wagons out to collect all of the unconscious bodies quickly. Their response time was uncanny and when they were done, the street mostly looked like there had not been a battle there shortly before. While they hauled away bodies, Ren and May walked around and policed Ren’s arrows. Daisuke Inoki made a personal appearance and oversaw everything with an annoyed but impressed look on his face. Felix got the idea from the way Jun and the other Sentinel staff acted that The Lion rarely showed up on scenes like this himself. Maybe he used to but they looked too wary and too surprised for him to be a regular fixture in the field anymore. He was certainly intimidating and nobody paused in their work or stepped out of line while he was there.

Makoto brought them all back to the Sentinel’s office, her face was deep in concentration for most of the drive. She announced that they had successfully kept the fight a secret and that they now had a lead to follow. This was pretty much what Felix had guessed since they now had actual prisoners instead of an elusive former protest group. If they could not find the Tengu, the obvious choice was to interrogate the mercenaries to get a read on their location so the threat could finally end. Tensions were high at Sentinel headquarters but the new prisoners were interrogated one by one. Felix checked once again on the health of the prisoners to make sure that they were fit for questioning. Not a single one of them knew much, the information was obviously compartmentalized and not trusted with simple mooks.

Frustrated, May had gone to take a walk but there was still the large swordsman who had first attacked to question. Makoto called Felix and Jun to the observation room where Ren was already silently waiting. He had been there with May for hours before she stormed out and he seemed rooted to the spot. Daisuke had allowed Makoto to do the questioning since the little teen had a scarily authoritative demeanor. Also, she was the leader of their little band of legends and it said a lot that Ren and May showed her so much deference. She sat on the other side of the table from the large man who sneered at her as he was bolted into a seat. He did not look much less intimidating without the sword in his hand. He was definitely the tallest Japanese man Felix had seen.

“You will release me and my men. We were only carrying out a contract.” The man said, struggling against his bonds. His words were softly translated by Ren for Felix’ benefit.

“We most certainly will not. Your contract was undoubtedly to murder my team of legends before we could ask any more questions. We tend to take that personally.” Makoto responded. Her words were also translated by Ren.

“Your team fought admirably. We will stay silent and take our punishment if that is the way it shall be.” The giant swordsman said with another arrogant sneer.

“We would like very much to know the location of The Tengu. We have a receipt to deliver.” Makoto said. She was remaining utterly calm although she was perhaps a little annoyed.

“I will never give up an employer. It was bad luck we were caught but we have pride in our contracts and we will not give up our employers.”

“Was it luck that you were defeated? Or perhaps we were just better than you. The Tengu were certainly smarter than you, sending pawns to keep themselves safe.” Makoto said.

“We are not merely pawns.” The man said and Felix could have sworn that he was pouting.

“You could have fooled us. My swordswoman easily bested you and now that you are off the board, you have left your masters hidden but unprotected.” Makoto said with a little shrug. Felix could feel the looming presence of Daisuke enter the observation room along with May.

“Arrogant little worm,” the man said. He pulled at his arm restraints and they easily came undone. Instead of attacking Matoko, he plunged a thumb into his own eye and a fountain of blood was unleashed. Felix ran from the observation room and into the interrogation room and stood next to a horrified Matoko.

Felix focused on the bleeding man and let his healing light shine and the wound started to heal quickly. The guy started to laugh and suddenly his other hand was free and he began to tear at his face. Blood splattered everywhere as the swordsman tore at his face and laughed. Felix found it hard to keep up with the damage and he feared that his magic would fade soon.

“Somebody get a hold of him! Stop him!” Felix shouted and both May and Daisuke were suddenly there to struggle with the mad swordsman. The damage to his face was gruesome but he was still laughing loudly.

“Don’t worry about it, Doctor. This is but a vessel. We have been released and now we will release it to punish you all!” The Swordsman yelled. He slapped Daisuke and May away for a second to resume tearing at his face madly. The thing that was a man screamed and laughed and Felix could swear he saw something beyond the flesh and it was not a skeleton. It was something very different. And then, without warning, the man’s skull exploded and something shot out from it and disappeared into an air vent. Felix, Makoto, May and Daisuke were left bloody and confused in the middle of an interrogation room.

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