Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-14-2021)

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

So last week’s show was a real disappointment, especially coming hot on the heels of a FANTASTIC episode, but I’ve never expected AEW to knock it out of the park each and every week and they always find a way to get back on track.  Heck, remember how bad things got immediately after the disappointing fireworks show at the end of the Exploding Barb Wire Death match?  They managed to turn that around in three days, so I’m more than confident they can turn around last week’s show when given seven.  Let’s find out!!

So in case there was ANY confusion over the end of the last episode (honestly, that includes me), the Bucks start things off by saying point blank that they are now Heels and will be throwing their weight behind Kenny Omega and Don Callis, and for good measure the whole group has a segment towards the end of the show to declare their commitment to one another and their utter dominance of AEW.  Also, in case you were wondering about this as well, we get a brief video of Mike Tyson and MJF to confirm that Tyson is all in on the Baby Face Jericho and there’s a segment later where Jericho and Tyson shake on their truce in preparation for the Jericho/Dax Harwood match which will have Tyson as a Special Enforcer.  I’m actually kind of glad that they just get this all up front because The Bucks being wishy-washy tweeners has been an issue on the show before, and Tyson has been gone for so long after such a brief appearance that seeing him again this week and interacting with people gives me hope that this run is not going to be as perfunctory.  Now last week started with a match that didn’t make a lot of sense as Max Caster was apparently the third ranking guy in AEW, but thankfully this isn’t an issue with this opening match which is…

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The Young Bucks Vs. Death Triangle (Pac & Rey Fénix) – AEW Tag Team Title Match

I can’t say that I love the idea of The Bucks being more or less brow beaten into joining up with Professional Gas lighter Don Callis, but however they got here they are truly relishing in their Heel status.  They’re wearing white suits to the ring to the raucous booing of the crowd, they start playing around and showboating in the ring, and Matt Jackson even runs away in terror of getting in the ring with Rey.  Those two getting in the ring is what REALLY starts the match as both are evenly skilled and can’t seem to land a move on the other.  They throw a lot of flashy kicks and flips at one another (the best was probably when Jackson back flipped of the apron to avoid a 619), and yet despite Nick Jackson ultimately getting the upper hand in this exchange it’s not long before Matt Jackson ends up alone with him and he and Pac take their sweet time destroying this guy!  Chops to the chest, suplexes to the mat, and Death Triangle’s own variation on The BTE Trigger which consists of simultaneous kicks followed by stereo Drop Kicks which should leave Matt with a MASSIVE headache but was sadly not enough to keep him down for a three count.  Matt takes a bit more abuse from Pac, but after The Bucks manage to land simultaneous Powerbombs onto the apron, Pac is left to take the heat for quite a while.  Perhaps too long as Matt gets WAY too much time to show off his drama skills, but Pac eventually turns him inside out with a clothesline and brings in Rey to save the day.  He has a freaking AMAZING comeback with more of his phenomenal rope walking skills, but it’s not enough to put Nick Jackson away; not even when he brings in Pac to slam him a few times for good measure!  Things only get more ridiculous from there as both teams show off some amazing skills and it does genuinely come down to the wire as to who is going to come out on top.  Pac manages to land a Black Arrow on Matt Jackson which should be the end of the match, but even with Rey running interference on Nick he still manages to slip through and break up the pin at the last possible moment, and sadly that is more or less the last chance that Pac and Fénix had as The Bucks go straight to cheating after that; first with a low blow to Pac and then removing Rey’s mask.  Sure enough, as soon as the mask is off and Rey’s covering his face, The Bucks land a Superkick and get the pin.  It was such a fantastic match up to that point that I’m really disappointed at the mask ending being used once again.  At this point, the might as well follow Mexico rules and make it a DQ; not JUST because it is such a scumbag thing to do that someone who does it shouldn’t be rewarded, but because it’s always a GET OUT OF MATCH FREE car whenever Rey is in there kicking butt.  All I’m saying is that if they want Rey Fénix to lose than they need to come up with a better reason than that.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-14-2021)”

Twenty Years of Halo: Halo Uprising & Contact Harvest

Artwork by Usbaia

The Halo franchise is owned by Xbox Game Studios

With the success of the Halo Graphic Novel, the franchise was destined for further success in the comic book market with Marvel calling dibs on it!  Their first outing is the four part mini-series Halo Uprising which we’ll be looking at today as well as the next entry in the seemingly never-ending Halo book series Contact Harvest!  Will both of these be an improvement over the LAST Halo Book club we did?  Let’s find out!!

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Halo Uprising (Comic Book) – 2007

Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev

Published by Marvel Comics

You know, I thought getting the series away from Bungie and laying down a narrative structure instead of letting them try to dictate every aspect of it like they did with the Graphic Novel might have given the series a new perspective and frankly give us a compelling narrative but sadly neither is the case as this short series is just a mess.  We cut back and forth between Chief doing something of absolutely no consequence (I’m sure this room full of aliens he killed here will make ALL the difference in the war effort), and an on the ground invasion story as we follow two people who are stuck in Cleveland when The Covenant attack the city looking for some sort of Earth artifact which a captured UNSC officer gave The Covenant bad intel about; assuming that having them tear up one city would keep them too busy from blowing up the entire Earth.  His brother Ruwan and a world famous pop star Myras just so happen to be at the same place when the aliens attack and they go all over town looking for the UNSC; not just to save themselves but because Ruwan KNOWS this is a wild goose chase as the artifact they’re looking for is a made up item he and his brother used to use in a role playing game.  The book does not shy away from some VERY dark imagery which it handles with all the care and reverence of a grumpy bull in a very cramped china shop.  I made allusions to the Thermian argument in my review of Ghost of Onyx to explain why it’s fair game to criticize content within the book despite in-universe justifications, and this comic has a similar issue where it uses an in-universe calamity to justify some rather tasteless swipes at pop culture and pop stars specifically.

Wow, you know I thought pop music was perfectly fine but seeing a pop star running from aliens has opened my eyes that it’s pointless drivel!  After all, if it can’t stop a bullet from going in your head, is it REALLY that important?
Continue reading “Twenty Years of Halo: Halo Uprising & Contact Harvest”

Twenty Years of Halo: The Cortana Letters & The Fall of Reach

Artwork by Usbaia

The Halo franchise is owned by Xbox Game Studios

Our long journey to explore the Halo series begins well before the first game even came out as Bungie was building its universe and teasing their fans long before they even knew what the game was going to be!  The seemingly haphazard nature of the production of Halo: Combat Evolved which went through name changes and story changes all the way down to switching the genre at something approaching the last minute can certainly be reflected in these two early works which are interesting time capsules of that period of the development, but beyond their places as being the earlies entries on the timeline, do they hold up as genuinely interesting pieces of media in their own right?  Let’s find out!!

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The Cortana Letters – 1999

Having read these letters, I’m starting to remember why I didn’t bother diving deep into this stuff back when I was playing it!  As far as I can tell, the Cortana letters are the first things Halo related that was released to the public; in this case being eight cryptic e-mails sent from someone at Bungie claiming to be Cortana that were sent to a Marathon fan page; Marathon, in case you were wondering, being a game series that Bungie had worked on in the nineties that may or may not connect to Halo in some tangential way.  I guess I’ll learn more about any implicit or explicit connections the further I get into the lore of this, but needless to say that these letters are not the ideal way to START your Halo journey if you wish to experience the series from the beginning.  They are intentionally vague and full of cryptic language, and their status as canonical is dubious at best; especially since Halo was still in the conceptual stages in 1999 and was MASSIVELY overhauled when Bungie was acquired by Microsoft in 2000.

Follow the white rabbit!  Save the cheerleader, save the world!  WHO ARE THE PATRIOTS!?
Continue reading “Twenty Years of Halo: The Cortana Letters & The Fall of Reach”