Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (01-07-2022)

AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

The New Year proved to be a solid start for Dynamite on TBS, but now Rampage has to keep the fort down on TBS for the occasional SPECIAL EPISODE that airs on the network; including Battle of the Belts which is just one day after this show!  Does Rampage continue to thrive on TNT, or were things better when both shows were on the same network?  Let’s find out!!

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Jake Atlas Vs. Adam Cole

Now this is a match that I am SUPER excited about!  Jake Atlas is yet another talented wrestler that WWE failed to find a use for, so now he’s here at AEW to show them just how big of a blunder they’ve made!  IT starts off well with some quick action as Atlas is strong, agile, and talented, but Cole is not to be underestimated as his in-ring experience means that he can read Atlas like a book.  There’s some good back and forth action between the two, but then Atlas goes for the top turnbuckle and Cole immediately knocks him off and follows up by throwing him into the post.  Cole is firmly in control now and whatever Atlas tries to do to get out from underneath him is caught and rebuffed; particularly this one spot where Atlas tries for something that Kind of looks like a Springboard Coffin Drop (he’s flying backward with his arms stretched out), and Cole just grabs him out of midair and hits a Backstabber.  This continues throughout the commercial, after which Atlas gets a Step Up Hurricanrana which gives him a bit of breathing room.  Cole rolls out and Atlas hits a Drop Kick through the ropes before following up with a Suicide Dive.  He then throws Cole into the ring and hits a Springboard Drop Kick for a two count, and the action goes back to a more even back and forth exchange.  Cole goes for the Boom Knee Strike, but Atlas manages to hit Cole with a kick of his own and follows up with a move that I can only describe as a Pop-Up Pile Driver.  He lifts Cole up as if he was doing a Suplex, but stops at the height of Cole’s arc and repositions so that he drops him down into a Pile Driver which gets him a two count.  In trying to follow up on this, Jake goes for another Springboard move (this time facing his opponent), but Cole manages to kick him out of the air which unfortunately led to another injury for AEW.  It’s not NEARLY as bad as Fenix’s arm going in the other direction, but it looks like Atlas messed up his knee when he planted it after this move; so much so that when Cole goes for the Panama Sunrise, he’s just not able to go up for it.  Instead, Cole knocks him to the mat and puts him in an Ankle Lock submission and Atlas taps out immediately.  The Not-Dispute Era (Fish and O’Reilly) come down to meet Cole and they’re about to pound on Atlas when Orange Cassidy and Best Friends come down to chase them off.  If it wasn’t for the injury, I’d say this was a darn good showing for Jake Atlas who looks right at home in the AEW ring, but unfortunately, he may be out for a while if something bad happened to his knee.  Two injuries back to back is not a good look for AEW, but hopefully, these are just two poorly timed flukes and nothing more.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (01-07-2022)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-05-2022)

AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TBS

It’s a New Year for everyone and a new channel for AEW!  None too soon, if you ask me!  The show has never dipped so low as to compare it to WWE, but there were some rough patches in the latter half of 2021 that had me hoping that a fresh start will kick things back into gear and give us the kind of wrestling show that we want to see from AEW!  Does the move to TBS reinvigorate the show, or is it just more of the same no matter where you find it?  Let’s find out!!

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Hangman Adam Page Vs. Bryan Danielson – AEW World Title Match

The last match felt a bit padded with the commercial breaks interrupting the ebb and flow of the action, but in the end, I think we got everything we needed to out of that match, so watching this one felt a little bit redundant.  There really isn’t much of a status quo change or some new issue that they have to work through; it’s just a shorter version of what we saw last time.  Now that’s not to say that the action isn’t great or that Danielson isn’t one of the best in-ring storytellers working today, but I didn’t find myself enjoying the sequel as much as I would have hoped.  There still feels like there’s a bit of padding here as Danielson starts the fight by intentionally stalling to try and get Hangman frustrated.  This goes on for a few minutes and is certainly a great way to start a match, but almost as soon as Hangman starts to fight back, he’s stymied by Danielson who tosses him arm first into the post, and so Danielson slows things down once again as he starts to work the arm over.  Hangman gets a break from this after hitting Danielson with a Fall Away Slam, but Danielson regains control almost immediately when he drops Hangman into the ring steps, which is the point where the blood starts flowing and is another thing I’m ambivalent of.  There’s a lot of blood in this match (Danielson gets opened ups as well) and there are a lot of head butts to make the most of it, and while I can appreciate blood and violence in certain contexts (the Street Fight on Rampage being a good example), it just felt really excessive here.  I’ve been wary about Danielson wrestling for a while now, and seeing him with a crimson mask doing running Headbutts over and over again feels like taunting at this point.  Aside from some slowness here and there and the worrisome violence, the action is as good as you’d expect.  Danielson is keeping up a good fight and Hangman looks to be in trouble throughout, but every once in a while he’ll hit a big move that sets up a Buckshot Lariat.  The first one is when Hangman catches Danielson mid-dive to hit a Deadeye on the floor.  He tosses Danielson in and sets up on the apron when Danielson comes up with the most BRILLIANT strategy imaginable to avoid the Buckshot!  He drops to the mat!  I mean yeah, it sounds simple when you say it out loud, but very few people (including Kenny Omega) seem to realize that standing is the only way the move can work.  Truly, Danielson is a master tactician in the ring!  Hangman’s second attempt happens after a Moonsault to the floor, and while Danielson stays standing for this attempt, he manages to dodge it and hits his Running Knee Strike and gets a very close two count!  Danielson remains firmly in control for a while here and even does that face stomp thing that he did to the Dark Order.  Hangman fights his way out of it and lands a rather scary-looking Back Drop Driver that leaves Danielson dazed.  Hangman goes to the apron, lines up his shot, and FINALLY hits the Buckshot Lariat which is enough to get the pin and win the match!  Hangman retains his title, and in doing so delivers Bryan Danielson his first loss at AEW!  I understand the reason behind having the last match be the longest match in AEW history, and I guess you need SOMETHING for the show’s big move to TBS, but it felt like a lot of the same stuff we saw last time, and the things they did add (i.e. the blood) didn’t make it feel any more important.  Still, not a bad way to start the show and to start the TBS era of Dynamite!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-05-2022)”

Cinema Dispatch: Hotel Transylvania 4: Transformania

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios

Directed by Jennifer Kluska & Derek Drymon

The Hotel Transylvania series is probably my favorite ongoing animated franchise of the last decade which SOUNDS like high praise, but there’s definitely a bit of backhanded-ness to that compliment.  The first one is the only film I would classify as a masterpiece, and frankly, any animated series still getting theatrical (or theatrical-ish) distribution past the first sequel are becoming increasingly rare.  Even Disney who have been churning out nostalgia bait for years now are at least keeps it diverse by giving each series one sequel or remake instead of putting all their eggs in one property’s basket, so while I can respect Hotel Transylvania for keeping itself going for as long as it has, each sequel is a bit more foreboding than the last, and the fact that Sony is opting to give this to Amazon Prime instead of going for a theatrical run (despite the films being huge moneymakers) is not what I would call a good sign.  Still, the money is still there as the trailers looked very well animated, and the strange machinations of studio politics behind the scenes are hardly a barometer of quality!  Does this manage to reach the dizzying heights of the original film, or are we dizzy because the franchise is in a tailspin?  Let’s find out!!

Much like the film series itself, the titular Hotel Transylvania has been going on and on for a very long time, so Dracula (Brian Hulf) has decided that it is time to retire and plans on giving the hotel to Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her husband Johnny (Andy Samberg) so he can spend more time with his new wife Ericka (Kathryn Hahn).  Mavis and Johnny catch wind of this however, and Dracula gets spooked once he sees Johnny starting to flip out in his overly enthusiastic manner, so Dracula changes course and will continue to run the place; coming up with a lie that he can’t hand it over to Johnny since he is a human.  Naturally, Johnny figures the only way to fix this is to turn into a monster himself, and oh look!  Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) happens to have some sort of crystal that turns humans into monsters and monsters into humans.  Through wacky shenanigans and poor luck on Drac’s part, he and his monster pals Frank, Murry, Wayne, and Griffin (Brad Abrell, Keegan-Michael Key, Steve Buscemi, and David Spade) while Johnny becomes a lizard guy, and none of this can be reversed because the crystal broke.  Instead, Johnny and Drac are going to need to find a new crystal which is hidden in a South American Rainforest, and naturally Mavis is kept in the dark about all of this because that’s how Dracula handles things despite three movies now telling him that’s not the best course of action.  Will Johnny and Drac succeed in their quest for the crystal, and will Drac gain a newfound respect for Johnny along the way?  How long can Frank, Murray, Wayne, and Griffin keep this secret from everyone else, and will Ericka and Mavis just sit around doing nothing while their respective husbands are missing?  Speaking of sitting around and doing nothing, wasn’t there a kid in these movies at one point?  Eh, probably not important!

“Oh, what was his name?  It might have started with a… ‘de’ sound?”     “Was it Mike?”     “Yeah, I think it was Mike?”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Hotel Transylvania 4: Transformania”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-31-2021) – New Year’s Smash

AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

Yes, we are still WOEFULLY behind here, but I’ll catch up on everything soon enough!  Where the last Dynamite (at least the one I saw) was the final one on TNT, Rampage isn’t going anywhere is just gonna keep trucking along on that network to give us quick and easy wrestling action to balance out the more plot-heavy shenanigans on Dynamite!  Is this another week of Rampage picking up the slack from Dynamite, or will we start to see the cracks in their formula, and perhaps they should try to shake things up as well?  Let’s find out!!

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Darby Allin Vs. Anthony Bowens

Allin is accompanied to the ring by Sting while Bowens is accompanied by Max Caster

Caster I can take or leave, but I really like Anthony Bowens and I kind of wish they’d give him a bigger push.  Now obviously AEW is pretty tightly packed so not everyone gets a real shot at the spotlight, but Bowens has got something special and I’d like to see him become a powerhouse; not unlike Wardlow, Hobbs, and Brian Cage.  Tonight is not his night to win since he’s up against Darby, but he does put on a decent performance here.  Darby gets an early lead that leaves Bowens frustrated and anxious, but that’s why Heels have guys on the outside to run distractions as Max Caster eats a punch from Darby which gives Bowens JUST enough time to land a punch of his own and toss Darby into the ring post.  This starts the heat segment which comes to an end when Darby escapes a Vertical Suplex, but the fight is much more even as Bowens lands a few moves on Darby that are mostly there to show off how much damage Darby is willing to inflict on himself.  Caster tries to run a few more distractions, but Sting finally gets up off his butt and takes care of him which allows Darby to land a Code Red followed by a Suicide Dive.  He throws Bowens back into the ring, hits the Coffin Drop, and gets the pin to win the match.  It would have been a fine match on its own, but then they do a post-match angle which kind of sours it a bit for me.  Andrade El Idolo’s music hits and he starts walking out.  He does nothing at all, but this is enough for Darby and Sting to gob at him for several seconds, so OF COURSE The Acclaimed sucker punch them and gang up on Darby!  It’s not like AEW doesn’t know how to book Baby Faces as the feud between Hangman Adam Page and Daniel Bryan has been pretty solid, but too often they rely on old tropes about foolish Baby Faces and it gets old pretty quickly.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-31-2021) – New Year’s Smash”

Cinema Dispatch: 2021 Catch Up (Part 1)

Well it’s certainly been a while since I had to do one of these!  The ramp-up of the Omicron virus, the busy schedule of the Holiday season, and the fact that I lost power for almost a week right at the start of January meant that I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to before the year was up and I felt that my viewing history was a bit wanting.  Without at least trying to catch up on some of the big movies of the year, is it even worth putting together a top ten list or try to give some sort of critical evaluation of that year in movies?  Well… yes, I mean I always fall short of my movie-watching goal at the end of each year, but 2021 felt especially undermined by everything that happened, so we’ll be doing a few of these catch-ups to try and fill in some of those gaps!  Let’s get started!!

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Spencer

Spencer and all the images you see in this review are owned by Neon

Directed by Pablo Larrain

The Royal Family gathers together for Christmas, but Diana (Kristen Stewart) has been struggling in recent years to keep up a brave face in the presence of her extended family; especially since the rules and traditions of the Royal Family are not the easiest thing to adhere to, even for someone in the best of mental health.  Her husband Charles (Jack Farthing) is fed up with her change in behavior, and while her sons (Jack Nielen and Freddie Spry) are much more sympathetic, even they have trouble reconciling this rift between their mother and the rest of the family.  Will Diana be able to continue on like this, or will this be the Christmas that changes everything?

Every once in a while I’ll see a movie that I should like a lot more than I actually do.  I can see how they approach interesting themes with a great deal of substance and depth, I can tell that the cinematography is very well done while also reinforcing the themes, and I can appreciate the acting as well as the dialogue in the script.  Yet even with all these elements working together, I’m left rather nonplussed; engaging with it on an intellectual level but just not feeling enough passion or excitement to walk away satisfied.  To elaborate on the film’s strengths, we have an excellent performance from Kristin Stewart who has to carry this movie on her shoulders, the overwhelming weight of the literal crown on her head is palpable in the way that she carries herself and how she reacts to situations around her.  The idea of feeling sorry for someone who is literally royalty is not exactly an easy feat, especially with wealth inequality and unrepresentative government indifference being such hot button issues these days, but it makes several smart choices with its narrative and style that it keeps those real-world implications from getting in the way of this one character’s story.  It’s uncomfortable and deeply saddening at points with the machinery of the Monarchy proving impenetrable (no one thing can be blamed for each and every stuffy decision and all the soulless pieces of it perfectly fit to reinforce each other), but it also finds catharsis in Diana’s struggle for freedom and peace and never gets so dark as to be an unbearable tour of misery.  Still, despite all these strong elements to the movie, I still felt detached from it all; so what about it is keeping me at bay?  Well, I think the answer is in what I just said, which is a feeling of detachment.  I don’t know the first thing about Princess Diana other than she died at some point while I was still in kindergarten, and the movie is in no particular hurry to provide answers to that question.  To the script’s credit, they do provide enough context and details for this particular character to work (meaning they could easily have swapped her out for a fictional character in a made-up kingdom) but the script turns out to be a doubled-edged sword as it does a lot more telling than it does showing.  We understand Diana’s ennui and how she is reacting to everything around her, but I still felt like I was observing her from afar instead of getting inside of her head.  This may also just be a flaw on my part, being rather unintuitive or perhaps a bit callous, but the lack of context also left me unclear as to what actual consequences there would be if she just stopped playing along, and the big dramatic ending of the movie kind of loses something when you realize that Diana isn’t actually risking or giving up anything to get to where she needs to go.  Sure, there’s the shame and disdain of her royal family that burrows deep into her psyche and are perhaps just as effective chains around her as the threat of genuine consequences would be, but it definitely feels like a critical piece of the puzzle is missing here.  On top of that, the movie is very sparse with long shots of mundane action and a very straightforward score.  None of it is bad per se, but there’s not a lot to perk your interest as far as spectacle; not in the sense of explosions or CG monsters, but I doubt it would have been too out of place for some dynamic camerawork or even some creative editing.  This means the movie relies almost entirely on its script and performances which, once again are very good, but to me, a movie about someone’s psychological issues should use all the tools at the filmmaker’s disposal and it never seems to want to go past a certain level of offbeat imagination.  I’m still gonna give this a recommendation if for no other reason than Stewart’s deeply heartbreaking performance, but it hews a bit too close to the cliché of the stuffy –drawing-room film than I would have expected from the studio that gave us I, Tonya.  Perhaps expecting that level of creative verve would have been inappropriate for a movie whose themes are about the stifling conformity of the aristocracy (especially one that’s ostensibly based on real people), but a few more flourishes here and there wouldn’t have hurt!

3 out of 5
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: 2021 Catch Up (Part 1)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-29-2021) – New Year’s Smash

AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

Let me tell you all a bit of how this whole process works; a small peek behind the curtain if you will.  What I usually do is watch an episode of Dynamite with a blank word document open and write down what I see or things that I find interesting before going back and organizing it into a coherent recap of events.  This means that the part you’re reading at the front of the recap, this piece here, is usually done towards the end of the process as I try to find an appropriate bridge between the events of last week’s show and what we get here.  So why am I talking about this now?  Well, I had most of this piece finished and ready to go when the freaking Snow Miser vomited up eight inches of snow in my area and my power was out for almost four days, so while this recap of a show from 2021 is about as timely as a Holiday card that got lost in the mail, I’m gonna post this for completion’s sake while keeping things nice and quick for the next few recaps as I try to catch up before the heat death of the universe!  So without further ado, on with the show!!

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The Return of JR – All Hail The Hat!!

JR’s fight with skin cancer was definitely a weight that hung over AEW for the last few weeks, but what better way to end the year than with the triumphant return of wrestling’s greatest commentator!?  We all wish him the best of health and happiness, and I’m sure he’s glad to be back doing what he loves!

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Jurassic Express, Lucha Bros, and Christian Cage  Vs. FTR, Private Party, and Matt Hardy – Ten-Man Tag Match

Lucha Bros are accompanied to the ring by Alex Abrahantes while FTR are accompanied by Tully Blanchard

I had a bad feeling about this when they first announced it, and for the most part, I was vindicated as the match is pretty bland outside of a few key moments here and there.  It’s not like anyone is doing anything wrong here, but there’s no fire here as it feels like what a lot of these overstuffed matches turn into; spot fests without much of a story and only the prospect of cool moves to keep us invested.  The first spark of life for me was when Quen hits a Hurricanrana on Jungle Boy that sends him flying into Matt Hardy for a Side Effect which is the start of the heat segment.  Matt Hardy may not be as fast or athletic as the younger guys, but he still carries a lot of charisma and the crowd really seemed into it when he finally got a chance to hit his big move, but it’s still not great that it took ten minutes for them to do something that perked my interest. Once the heat segment is over, we get some good stuff with The Lucha Bros and Private Party, but it’s all a mess as I can’t follow the tags anymore, and the story only comes into it once Luchasaurus finally gets the hot tag.  He kicks some serious butt for a bit until Penta blind tags himself in to the surprise and consternation of Luchasaurus, and the chaos only intensifies as everyone runs in to hit a move; eventually leaving Penta and Dax alone in the ring.  Penta starts setting up for the Fear Factor, which is odd since it’s a Spiked Pile Drive and Rey is nowhere to be seen, but then Christian Cage tags himself in.  The two argue for a bit until Cash runs in and throws Penta out before he and Dax hit the Big rig on Cage to get the three count and win the match.  Everything about this felt perfunctory and just there to show these guys in front of a crowd.  Even the parts of it that advanced the story felt token and lazy with Cage IMMEDIATELY eating a fatal move the moment he gets in which of course was prompted by Penta just standing there setting up for a move that Rey was there to finish.  I guess it serves the purpose of getting the Baby Faces mad at each other, but there had to have been more interesting ways to go about that.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-29-2021) – New Year’s Smash”

Cinema Dispatch: The Matrix Resurrections

The Matrix Resurrections and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Lana Wachowski

Making another sequel to the Matrix is simply a bad idea from the word go.  Sure, it’s tempting given that the original trilogy grossed over a billion dollars and became a cultural touchstone for a generation, but there’s no way to play of it as anything than a cynical cash grab, and there’s no guarantee that the audience will come back for another one; especially since a lot of them are approaching middle age at this point and this new generation is more enamored with Marvel films than anything else.  Even getting one of the original directors to come back isn’t gonna turn many heads since the stagnation of the series occurred under their watch, and they’ve been heavily involved with all the various media made the franchise since the beginning.  Now all that said, perhaps this IS the right time for it to be tried again.  The themes and messages of the original movie have become all the more relevant since its, and the co-opting of some of its imagery among certain reactionary circles has been one of the more unfortunate developments in the story of The Matrix as a pop-culture staple.  With so many people having so many different ideas about what The Matrix should be, is there any way that this can please even a fraction of the original fans and perhaps get new fans in the process, or is this just another soulless cash grab to further cement this as the worst of all possible timelines?  Let’s find out!!

Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) finds himself in a comfortable life that he built for himself, but not much more.  He made his fortune creating a trilogy of video games called The Matrix with his business partner (Jonathan Groff), but each day feels like an endless drudgery as he searches for meaning.  His therapist (Neil Patrick Harris) has been helping him through these feelings, especially after he nearly jumped off of a roof a few years back, but nothing seems to get through to him until he starts seeing this woman at the coffee shop.  Her name is Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) and there’s something about her that seems familiar but also brings him quite a bit of peace; a peace he will need as the studio is forcing him to make a new Matrix game and it’s just not going very well.  That’s when things start to really unravel as he starts seeing things that may not be there and people start talking to him like he’s someone else entirely.  How did Mr. Anderson find himself in such a miserable state, and can he trust his own mind to tell him the truth?  Who are these people that are showing up to tell him that reality isn’t what it seems, and are they looking out for his best interest or for their own selfish goals?  Is it just me, or does this sound less like The Matrix and more like Birdman?

“So I’m the one that will save humanity?”     “If by ‘humanity’ you mean Warner Bros quarterly finical report, then yes!  Well, maybe.  Let’s see how it does overseas.”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: The Matrix Resurrections”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-25-2021) – Holiday Bash

AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

If I had a rough time trying to catch up with a show happening on Wednesday, I was for darn sure gonna take my time getting around to the episode that literally aired on Christmas Day.  By their own choice, by the way!  They moved the show to air on that day instead of their usual timeslot; perhaps so that the subtitle is that much more accurate.  Still, while Rampage may have the harder to catch time slot this week, the shorter length and the snappier matches make it a bit more ideal to fit into a tough schedule where Dynamite feels like something you have to schedule around.  Is this another fun way to spend a Saturday night, even if it’s perhaps the worst night of the year for it?  Let’s find out!!

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Jungle Boy Vs. Isiah Kassidy

Jungle Boy is accompanied to the ring by Luchasaurus and Christian Cage while Kassidy is accompanied to the ring by Hardy Family Office

Remember when Private Party were wearing slacks and collared shirts?  Thankfully Kassidy is back in his original ring gear and it didn’t do anything to diminish the integrity of Hardy Family Office!  Now if they could start winning some tag matches again, maybe we’ll have the Private Party that was one of the highlights of early AEW!  Remember MJF talking about the pillars of this company?  Yeah, Private Party used to be one of them but they’ve been stuck with HFO for so long that it feels like we’ve all kind of forgotten that.  Thankfully this match does quite a bit to remind us of how good Kassidy is as he puts up a pretty good fight against Jungle Boy.  With a little help from Quen and Hardy on the outside, Kassidy is able to maintain a solid lead for the first half and through the commercial break, but he’s far from idle in the match as he hits a Springboard Cutter on Jungle Boy that drops him from the apron to the floor and follows up with a spinning dive over the ropes.  He also manages to reverse a Sunset Flip from Jungle Boy into a Drop Kick to his face which is the start of the heat during the commercial, but once we return it’s time for Jungle Boy to make his comeback.  A series of Elbow Strikes give him some space so he can finally knock Kassidy to the ground with a big lariat, and he follows up with a Falcon Arrow for a two count.  Kassidy gets a two count as well with a Poisonrana, but Jungle Boy turns things around quickly with a German into a bridge for another two count of his own.  He makes sure to hold onto the waist lock and tries to go for another German, but Kassidy grabs the ropes to try and break the hold which turns out to be a bad idea as Jungle Boy instead dumps him over to the floor below before following up with a Suicide Dive.  In a last-ditch effort to save his partner, Quen tries to grab Jungle Boy on his way back to the ring so Cage starts to beat his butt all the way to the back while Luchasaurus Choke Slams Jora Joel.  Not sure why since he wasn’t actually doing anything, but I guess it was a diversionary tactic on HFO’s part as Hardy immediately grabs Luchasaurus and goes for the Twist of Fate.  Luchasaurus is too strong however and shoves Matt Hardy into the charging Christian Cage who knocks the wind out of him with a spear!  With the kerfuffle outside brought to an end, Jungle Boy goes for another Sunset Flip and Kassidy once again escapes.  When he goes for another kick, however, Jungle Boy dodges and grabs the leg.  Kassidy tries to scramble to the ropes, but it’s too late and Jungle Boy locks in the Snare Trap which forces Kassidy to tap.  This was a pretty good opener!  I like seeing Private Party as at least somewhat effective again, and honestly, I’d love to see them go up against The Lucha Bros for the title at some point!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-25-2021) – Holiday Bash”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-22-2021) – Holiday Bash

AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

As much as I love wrestling, the Holidays are a tough time to find the three hours it takes to watch these shows what with a million other things to worry about this time of year.  Still, you can’t say AEW doesn’t put in the effort, and not taking a week away from the show even with everyone being busy is laudable I suppose; especially since they film Rampage on the same night as Dynamite which hopefully meant that everyone got to go home as soon as it was over.  Is this a great present for AEW to give us despite the poor timing of it, or will it get lost in the Holiday shuffle like everything else we don’t have time to think about because we’ve got so many other things to do right now!?  Okay, maybe not everyone is stressed out like that, but that’s beside the point!  Is this a good show or not!?  Let’s find out!!

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Orange Cassidy Vs. Adam Cole

Cole and Cassidy are two of the biggest stars who aren’t currently in the title picture, so putting them together in an opening match is as good a way as any to try and tear people away from their packed Holiday schedules to tune in.  It’s a solid match with a lot of back and for the action between the two, but things don’t really pick up until Cassidy gets a two count from a Diving Cross Body and a Swinging DDT.  This forces the Bucks and Brandon Cutler to come out just as Cassidy is going up top for a big splash, and instead of hitting Cole, Cassidy jumps down on Cutler.  It’s at this point that the Best Friends run down to make the save, but not before Cassidy hits a Suicide Dive on the Bucks which allows the Best Friends to fight them back up the ramp and to the back.  Despite his buddies getting overwhelmed, it does create an opening for Cole who throws Cassidy shoulder-first into the steps; hoping to neutralize his Orange Punch finisher.  Cassidy is left limp against the steps so Cole tries to follow up with a Boom Knee Strike, but Cassidy moves and Cole’s knee hits the steel instead of Cassidy’s squishy body.  With both suffering injuries, the two continue to brawl throughout the commercial break and start to kick things into high gear once we return.  Lousy Kicks, Brain Busters, Stundog Millionaires and Diving DDTs, All of which hit their mark, but the damage they’ve incurred end up blunting their effectiveness, so neither manage to get the pin.  Cole tries to set up Cassidy for the Panama Sunrise by dragging him to the corner, but Cassidy merely rolls away to overcome his scheme.  Frustrated by this, Colle tries to go after him but Cassidy hits a Michinoku Driver!  Now it’s his turn to set up a move as he puts on his shades and gets to the top rope, and once he’s up there he puts his hands in his pockets and tries to dive on Cole.  He’s WAY short on his dive however and ends up eating a Super Kick which allows Cole to get the Panama Sunrise and goes for a lackadaisical cover on Cassidy.  He might have won if he tried to do a serious pin, but Cassidy kicks out. Cassidy takes this unforced error from Cole and ducks and hits a Beach Break for a two count before setting up for the Orange Punch.  Seeing what’s about to happen, Cole rolls out of the ring right as Bobby Fish runs down to start yelling at the ref.  He’s doing it for a long time and Cassidy is just standing there looking perturbed, and right when I was wondering what the heck was going on here, NONE OTHER THAN KYLE O’REILLY RUNS IN TO ATTACK CASSIDY!  As soon as Cassidy is on the ground, Cole hits the Boom Knee Strike and gets the pin on Cassidy, but that’s almost immaterial because the big news here is that the original Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong was added later) has officially moved to AEW after WWE cast them aside like yesterday’s news!  There seems to be some tension as the Bucks run down and seem a bit hesitant about the Undisputed Era reforming right in front of them, but it was a solid match with a really cool surprise ending that is sure to get AEW even more clout with the fans!  I don’t know if we’ll hit the point where it becomes passé for great wrestlers from the other company to show up here and prove how great they are, but it certainly hasn’t happened yet!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-22-2021) – Holiday Bash”

Cinema Dispatch: Sing 2

Sing 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Garth Jennings

Was anyone expecting the first Sing to be anything more than cloying and treacly?  I mean it’s not like Illumination has a great track record for this kind of thing, especially with those toothless Seuss adaptations, but they somehow pulled it off with that movie which was sweet, sincere, and my favorite animated movie the year it came out!  The moment that it was over though, I knew that a sequel was coming and that it was probably going to be a bad idea.  The first one worked as its own story, so trying to fit another one on top of it seemed like typical sequel folly and an obvious attempt at a cash grab.  Then again, it’s not like I was expecting anything out of the first one and it managed to surprise me, so why not the sequel as well?  Can this movie capture the magic of the first film and give us the rare animated sequel that is just as satisfying as the first one, or should we just be glad that we got a good movie in the first place and write this one off as a mere victory lap from Illumination?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of the first film, the Moon Theater is back and better than ever!  The all-star cast of Meena, Johnny, Rosita, and Gunter (Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton, Reese Witherspoon, and Nick Kroll) are living their dreams and selling out shows every night; all of which should make Buster (Matthew McConaughey) who owns the theater very happy, right?  I mean that’s kind of the dream that they were all striving for in the first one!  Well… no.  Apparently, they all want to go to the Sing universe equivalent of Las Vegas and perform shows there; presumably next to furry versions of Blue Man Group and Carrot Top.  After a talent scout (Chelsea Peretti) brushes them off, Buster drags his cast as well as Ash (Scarlett Johansson) to the big city to prove that scout wrong and appeal to the biggest producer in the city; Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Carnavale).  Through some high-level schmoozing and a white lie here and there, he agrees to give them a shot; albeit it with quite a few strings attached.  They have three weeks to throw together a lavish Broadway-style show from scratch, they have to include Crystal’s daughter Porsha (Halsey) in some way, and they need to find rock legend Clay Calloway (Bono) so he can be a part of the show.  That last one, in particular, is going to be difficult as no one has seen or heard from him in fifteen years, but if Buster says he can get him, then by Jove, he’s gonna get him!  Can the crew pull off yet another amazing show, even with the added pressures of a bigger production and an overbearing executive?  What new challenges will our heroes face on their latest venture, and is this perhaps the end of the road for them?  I mean it’s not like Buster has a habit of getting in over his head, right?  Surely he knows what he’s doing!

“I don’t know, can we make it ten percent more heartfelt?  Which one of these dials adds more heart?”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Sing 2”