Thursday, April 21, 2016

My Top Ten Funko Pops!

Funko Pops. Everybody loves them. They are cool, collectible little toys that are based on the likenesses of your favorite movie, television, comic book, video game, and cartoon characters.  Well, at least that is where it starts, anyway. The list of Funko Pops are endless to the point of a series that features sports and cereal mascots. I can’t think of a single series of toys that has been as all encompassing as what Funko has pulled off with their Pop Series. There are literally thousands of characters to choose, from hundreds of different fandoms.  People have taken notice of them, too. They collect them, whether it be an incredibly varied collection of all different sorts, or a focused collection on something such as Disney characters. 

Personally, I couldn’t just stop at one type of Funko Pop, and have a pretty varied collection. In this article, I am counting down my Top Ten Funko Pops. Now, I’m not talking about all of the Pops that are out there, just the ones I happily have in my own collection, which has about seventy or so and growing (always growing). So, what’s the point of this list?  No real point, just wanted to make a list and this was as good a subject as any, so why don’t we just jump right into it?

10) Chernabog: 

There is something that is just awesome about the giant demon that looms large over Bald Mountain, reigning down death and destruction everywhere. Even more amazing is the fact that he’s a Disney character, perhaps the most badass of all Disney characters. The fact that a Funko Pop of the demon from Fantasia (of all things) exists is almost enough to put him on the list. The pop itself is a little bigger than usual, without being 6” in size, and looks sleek and fierce at the same time. His bigger head, permascowl and wings only add to his greatness.

9) Jack Burton:

 If you don't like Big Trouble in Little China then either A) you haven't seen it or B) you’re probably in the vast majority that just didn't get it. If you did see it and did get it, however, then odds are you're a fan of Kurt Russell's Jack Burton, who is recreated beautifully here in this amazing Funko Pop, right down to his awesome shirt, moccasins and mullet combo. It's a Pop that truly captures the essence of the character and the actor that played him.

8) Andre The Giant: 

Andre The Giant was a beloved wrestling icon who crossed over to pop culture in a big way (no pun intended) and this Pop shows off his larger than life presence beautifully. Andre, like Chernabog, is a bigger Pop without being from the 6" line, which is partly accomplished by his huge head. The best part though, is that this pop captures Andre’s personality better than any action figure or toy that I have ever seen of him. It's a thing of beauty.

7) The Creature from The Black Lagoon: 

Every figure from The Universal Monsters line is amazing, but when it comes to appearance, it's hard to beat out the coolest looking one of them all, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Funko once again managed to capture everything that makes the design of this monster so iconic, from the fish face, to the webbed hands and feet, to the scales. This guy has a huge amount of love and care put into his design, and it shows.

6) Batman '66:

 There are plenty of Batman Pops out there, so you can kind of figure there would be at least one showing up on this list and here it is, Batman '66. Why did I pick this one? Well, unlike so many of the other Batman Pops out there, this one isn't as serious, and it has the classic retro Adam West look. Much like the Batman it was based on, this one doesn't take itself too seriously, and c'mon, can this Batman's cowl ever be matched?

5) Slimer:

Who you gonna call? Well, when it comes to the best Pops, you’re skipping right past The Ghostbusters themselves, and right onto Slimer.  Just look at this guy!  On screen he is about as disgusting looking a character as you can get, so it’s no real surprise he looks to be based more on his appearance from The Real Ghostbusters Cartoon than the movie. Regardless, they still took an ugly as hell character and made him look cuter then he ever had any right to be, and on top of that he’s flying. I think Slimer is the first Pop to do so, and Funko pulled it off by having him floating there with his slime trail connecting him to the floor. And that slime trail? Translucent! It’s just a thing of beauty!

4) Jason Voorhees: 

When I first started collecting Pops I knew I would have a lot of horror pops, and Jason was one of the first ones I wanted, but could never find. He was purchased for me as a Christmas gift after I had lost hope of ever getting him, while others like Freddy, Michael Myers, Leatherface and a bunch more were available. That extra bit of want puts him higher on the list for me, not to mention that Friday The 13th was my go-to horror series when I was younger. Jason also expertly conveys Funko’s abilities to take an incredibly evil character and make him look like a nice guy, despite the blood stained machete he holds.

3) Robocop: 

One of the greatest action characters of all time is Robocop, that's all there is to it. He's also one of the coolest looking cyborgs ever, with an iconic look which this Pop perfectly captures. His head is a thing of beauty, and every nut and bolt is accounted for here, including the little shock things in his feet which gives me no shortage of enjoyment. Basically this Pop is just damn cool looking, even if you know nothing about Robocop himself. I mean, just look at that gun!

2) Alien: 

The Xenomorph from Alien is a scary, slimy, gross, vile looking son of a bitch, but somehow Funko takes all that menace and still manages to make an enduring looking little guy that the whole family can, but shouldn't, enjoy. It is perhaps their greatest example of taking something horrific and taming it, all while staying true to its original H.R. Geiger design. Also, much like Jason, this was a Christmas gift of a Pop I had long wanted, but thought would always elude me.

1) Skeletor: 

Yes, Skeletor and he's number one on my list for a few reasons. First off look at him, he's a thing of beauty. Second, much like so many other Pops on this list, he is a very faithful recreation of the source material. Third, he was my first…and you never forget your first. After seeing this guy and purchasing him as an impulse buy, I thought that was it, really. Pops were not something I was all that interested in at first, but as I brought him home and put him on the shelf, I thought that it just wasn't right that he was so isolated, and thus purchased his arch enemy, He-Man, the next day. Then I purchased the set of Rocky Pops, followed by Robocop and well, that's pretty much all she wrote! After a while, I started thinking about and planning my Pop purchases ahead of time, and since then have constantly been looking to see which Pops would come out next. And it's all Skeletor’s fault, that magnificent bastard!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Smackin' It Raw: The Diva's Revolution, Fantasy Booking

Part 5: Fantasy Booking

Ok so this is the part where I really have fun and say how I would have done the whole thing myself.  I know, I know, everyone does this and its VERY easy to say how you would have done something better after something has already tanked and been disliked by so many.  Its also fun and really that’s always the name of the game here isn’t it?  Lets just have some fun.

Nikki Bella
            So first off I have things starting out exactly how it started out, no not with three women from NXT being promoted to the main roster and put in teams but before that when Paige was trying to get the other divas to stand up to The Bella Twins and make a change.  I still wouldn’t have any of the other divas stand up to The Bella’s with Alicia Fox still doing the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em thing.”  After The Bella’s defeat Paige once again I would have Nikki Bella in the ring the next night flanked by sister Brie and honorary Bella, Alicia Fox.  Nikki is bragging about how no diva has been able to get the title away from Team Bella and how Paige failed so miserably in getting anyone to help her out.  She says that the diva’s championship is staying with Team Bella and that no one else has the right to hold it.  At this point Alicia Fox asks if that means she gets a title shot.  Nikki and Brie exchange looks and then laugh it off with Nikki saying that she isn’t a REAL Bella and thus she wouldn’t give the title the prestige it deserves when being held by a REAL Bella.  Alicia looks upset but seemingly understands.  As The Bella’s are leaving the ring though Alicia grabs Nikki by the hair pulls her back in and starts stomping on her. Brie who was already outside sees what happens and dives back into the ring to save her sister but is also meet with stomps.  With both Bella’s down Alicia Fox shouts at Nikki that she was right she doesn’t need to be an honorary Bella because she is a Fox.  She then picks up Nikki’s Diva’s championship and lifts it above her head to the approval of the fans before laying the title on top of Nikki and leaving the ring.

Alicia Fox
            Right out of the gate here we are leaving the three NXT women in NXT.  Despite people calling for them to be promoted to the main roster.  There should be no rush to do this yet.  First we have to establish that there are women on the main roster already who have the chops to start this divas revolution. Speaking of which it will never be called the divas revolution, instead we will just be giving the divas more on air time for better matches and actual character development.  Alicia Fox is a good wrestler though you may not know that judging by what she has done on the main roster, but when in NXT she put on great matches.  Having her step up here changes a few things right on the get go first off to establish that she is a capable wrestler in her own rights who doesn’t need to ride The Bella’s coat tails and secondly with her turn against Nikki and Brie, Team Bella is now only a couple week thing that is quickly forgotten about and kills the whole team vs. team vs. team idea that was so prominent and disastrous to this whole divas revolution thing.

            With Alicia stepping up we get her having a title match at the next PPV with Nikki barely retaining with help from Brie and their “Twin Magic” move in which Nikki is beaten down and Brie takes her place in the match without the other competitor or referees knowledge to score a quick pinfall, usually a roll up or small package.  The next night the Bella’s mock Alicia Fox saying that an honorary Bella could never compare to the real thing and that they are done with her and her coattail riding.  Nikki proclaims that she can’t be beat and starts bragging saying that if anyone could last five minutes with her in the ring she would give them a title shot.  To the surprise of the fans and The Bella’s themselves out comes Summer Rae, another established wrestler while in NXT who has just been reduced to a managerial role and dance partner since coming to the main roster.  The Bella’s laugh at Summer Rae for thinking she has a chance and tells the referee to ring the bell.  Not only does Summer Rae surprise Nikki with her offence she actually takes control of the match for a while before Brie interferes giving Nikki the advantage.  Now full of confidence Nikki walking around the ring goading the fans as the clock is ticking down.  Around the 4:30 mark of the match with Nikki still mouthing off at the fans Summer Rae rolls Nikki up for a small package and gets the three count.  Not only does Summer Rae last the five minutes with Nikki, she wins.

Summer Rae
            A title match is set up at the next PPV once again Summer Rae starts the match off strong and we get a fairly competitive match until Brie once again sticks her nose in where it doesn’t belong and interferes in the match giving Nikki the win.  Once again we get another surprisingly good divas match with another challenger on the main roster established as someone who can take the title away from Nikki at any time.

            Once again the next night on Raw Nikki continues to brag about being the best and says that she will prove it because although no one may have noticed it she is starting to creep up on the record for the longest reigning Diva’s champion of all time with less than two months to go. At the mention of that Natayla’s music hits and she comes out on stage.  Natayla has been off TV for a little while helping her husband Tyson Kidd in his recovery from his neck surgery earlier in the year but says that Tyson is now able to take care of himself and that they were getting sick of watching The Bella’s cheating to keep the Divas Championship around Nikki’s waist.  She said that she had spoken to Stephanie McMahon and that she has been granted a Divas Championship match at the next PPV which is Summer Slam and vows to walk out of that match the new Diva’s Champion.  For the first time in a while The Bella’s look legitimately concerned that Nikki will lose the title.

            At Summer Slam Natayla is dismantling Nikki Bella.  She is controlling the pace and style of the match and looks to have the title won, even when Brie got up on the apron to interfere in the match Natayla clotheslines her off the apron.  Natayla continues her dominance for a little longer and then finally puts Nikki in the sharpshooter, the fans are going nuts it looks like we will have a new Diva’s champion.  Suddenly though Brie remerges in the ring with the Diva’s title and just before Nikki could tap out Brie clocks Natayla in the head causing a DQ victory for Natayla knowing that the title can’t change hands on a disqualification.  Brie helps Nikki out of the ring and hands her the Diva’s title as they walk backwards up the ramp not taking their eyes off of the fuming Natayla in the ring.

            The next night on Raw the Bella’s are as confident and boastful as ever.  Nikki says that she will become the longest reigning WWE Diva’s Champion of all time because the record will be broken six days before the next PPV and that she can go thirty days without defending the title without being stripped of it and she doesn’t plan to defend it anymore until the next PPV when she is the record holder.  It is at this point that Nikki brings up that Natayla may have beaten her by DQ the night before but wins and loses don’t matter because at the end of the day she is still the champion and she will become the longest reigning diva’s champion ever in three weeks which will prove that she is better than anyone else.

            It is at this point that Stephanie McMahon comes out to the ring. She has seen enough, this is where she gives her speech about the dominance of women in sports and how WWE needs to take that step as well. She tells Nikki that she is a good wrestler but wins and loses DO matter and that the way that she has been retaining her title is a disgrace to herself and the entire divas locker room.  She tells Nikki that if she wants to be the longest reigning divas champion she has to EARN it.  She says that she is the boss so the not defending the title for thirty days thing just won’t fly with her and that she will be tested in the next three weeks by defending her divas title against the diva’s that she has stolen victories from the last few months and that if she tries to get disqualified or counted out in any of the matches she will lose her title to that challenger.  First up she’ll defend the title against Alicia Fox, if she retains then the next week it’s the same thing again against Summer Rae and if she retains then she has to defend her title against Natayla on the eve of her breaking the record.  If she wins all three matches she will have earned her spot as the longest reigning divas champion.  Nikki complains about it but Stephanie just brushes it off and calls out a very game looking Alicia Fox stating that the match will start immediately.

Stephanie McMahon
            Nikki and Alicia once again have a very back and forth match and with the stipulation that if Brie interferes Nikki loses the title its all on the up and up.  After a hard fought match Nikki dodges Alicia’s attempt at a spear causing Alicia to run shoulder first into the ring post.  Nikki than takes full advantage and hits Alicia with her rack attack finisher for the narrow victory.  Nikki has done it the first week but she has two big title matches to go if she wants to be the longest reigning divas champion.

            The next week on Raw its Summer Rae’s turn.  Once again Summer Rae takes the fight to Nikki in another good match that goes about ten minutes. The fans are rallying behind Summer Rae but like Alicia Fox the week before Summer makes a small mistake which Nikki is able to capitalize on with a small package for the win.  Summer is upset with her mistake and clotheslines Nikki out of frustration but the match is over now and Brie jumps in the ring and attacks Summer Rae, Nikki soon gets up and joins her sister in the beat down.  As the beat down goes on though Nikki’s final challenger before she can call herself the longest reigning divas champion, Natayla rushes to the ring to save Summer Rae and chase The Bella’s out of the ring.  Nikki is holding the title high above her head as she backs away down the ramp screaming “The record is mine!”  Nikki screaming that shows that to her the title is secondary to the bragging rights she would get by keeping on to the title.  Natayla smiles and Nikki and makes a motion of the title being around her own waist next week.

            Finally comes the third match the one that everyone had been waiting for. The fans can sense a title change in the air.  They all believe that Natayla will dominate Nikki Bella again and without Brie to run interference this time around are sure that she will not get the record that means so much to her.  Things starts out just as everyone anticipated with Natayla taking control of the match early on and despite a few flourishes of offence from Nikki here and there its Natayla’s match.  Once again Natayla puts the sharpshooter on Nikki and it seems only a matter of time before Nikki taps out but Natyala put the move on to close to the ropes allowing Nikki to grabs the bottom rope forcing the referee to break the hold.  Natayla has no trouble doing this and just pulls Nikki out to the middle of the ring to apply the move again but when doing so this time Nikki has just enough wherewithal to catch Natayla in a small package to get the win.  Nikki’s music plays and the fans are stunned.  Nikki Bella will now be the longest reigning Diva’s champion. Natyala is stunned, she can’t believe that she got caught in a small package and lost the match fair and square when everything seemed to be going her way.  Brie jumps in the ring to help Nikki up and celebrate, Nikki can’t believe she won either and she has truly earned the record.  Natayla who still hasn’t left the ring finally offers her hand to Nikki shakes it and says “You win tonight but that title will still be mine eventually so hold on to it as tightly as you can because your days are still numbered.” Natayla then leaves the ring with Nikki watching her looking afraid.

Brie Bella
            At this point her music stops playing and Stephanie’s music comes on. She walks out on stage and congratulates Nikki on proving her and the entire WWE universe wrong.  Stephanie says that Nikki did earn the record tonight but that doesn’t entitle her to a night off because this Sunday is the Night of Champions PPV in which ALL titles have to be defended, including the WWE Divas championship. She said that Nikki has surprised her though, she has beaten every diva on the roster and doesn’t know who her challenger will be for Night of Champions but if Nikki is the longest reigning Diva’s champion of all time now then that shouldn’t matter to her, if she is the best she should be able to stand up to any competition without knowing who they are in advance.  Since she has no idea who she will choose to be Nikki’s opponent though she offers all of the divas a chance to come speak to her and plead their case to be the number one contender at Night of Champions. Stephanie then leaves the stage with Nikki’s celebration now ruined and looking terrified in the ring to what may come next.

            At Night of Champions Nikki, flaked by Brie is in the ring waiting on her opponent when Stephanie comes out.  Stephanie said she was surprised by how many of the divas came to her this past week pleading their cases.  She said that she even received calls from Diva’s that had long since left the company wanting a shot at the title to teach Nikki a lesson and to humble her, she mentions names like Lita and Trish Stratus but says at the end of the day despite their impressive legacies they are retired and not wanting to come back full time which is not best for business. What IS best for business is continuing to expand the diva’s division with stronger competition so when this next diva came to her she new she had found her new number one contender.  With that said Stephanie looks towards the stage when some new music comes on and we get the long awaited debut of Charlotte.

            Once again Nikki looks stunned but then smiles. This is only one of the women from NXT, the developmental system, there is no way that Charlotte will be able to compete with a real WWE Diva.  All of that goes away though when Charlotte gets in the ring and is standing face to face with Nikki.  Nikki isn’t scared and is just mouthing off to Charlotte saying that she isn’t even worthy of being in the same ring with her.  Charlotte looks around to the fans then slaps Nikki in the face. The bell rings and Charlotte takes the action to Nikki, much like Natayla in their first match Charlotte is dominating the match Nikki isn’t even getting any offence in at all and before she knows it Charlotte has her locked in The Figure Four Leg lock, her father Ric Flair’s signature move, in the middle of the ring.  Nikki is doing her best not to tap out when Charlotte does her father one better by bridging herself into what she calls “The Figure Eight” applying even more pressure on Nikki and forcing her to tap out. We have a new WWE Divas Champion, Charlotte.

            To show it was no fluke Charlotte does the very same thing again the next night on Raw when Nikki Bella evokes her rematch clause for the title.  With this done it takes Nikki Bella out of the title picture for the foreseeable future, shows that Charlotte is a real competitor to be taken seriously deserving of the Diva’s Championship after knocking off the longest reigning divas champion in her first two nights.  It also opens the floodgates for other new divas from NXT to start showing up to challenge for the title.

            Before they do that though Charlotte’s first opponent is named as Natayla.  This is because Natayla was the biggest threat to Nikki’s title reign and because both women had a match of the year candidate for the NXT Women’s Championship just the year before.  Natayla could also could also make a point to bring up that match and how she feel’s that if they were to wrestle again now things would be different.  Once again they have a show stealer with Charlotte coming out on top.  Natayla shakes Charlottes hand after the match giving her her endorsement as The Diva’s Champion and really solidifying her in the eyes of the fans.

            Once again the next on Raw Charlotte is in need of a number one contender for her title.  She says she wants to be a fighting champion and wants to take on the toughest competition that WWE has to offer.  With that said Paige comes out and says that none of this would have happened if it wasn’t for her standing up against The Bella’s and inspiring other women such as Charlotte to step up in the first place.  She says she is tired of sitting back and watching lesser talented divas get their shots at the title while she keeps being passed by.  She reminds the world that she was the first NXT Women’s Champion and that all the leaps and bounds the divas division has made (Note, she never mentions a Divas Revolution) was because of her.  She also tells Charlotte she can only be second best and the only reason she won the NXT Women’s championship is because she had to relinquish it because she had made the leap to WWE and won the Divas championship on her first night in the company, a feat that she neglects to acknowledge that Charlotte also did.  Charlotte hears enough of Paige’s ranting and grants her a match for the Diva’s championship which is set up for Survivor Series.

            The build up is intense with plenty of one-upmanship the entire time with each diva trying to prove they are the better with Paige taking the villain route and taking the cheap shots whenever she can to gain the upper hand.  Finally, a contract signing is set up in the main event slot of the Raw before Survivor Series with both divas once again taking shots at each other and saying they are the best.  Finally, Charlotte says “I guess we will find out who really is the best at Survivor Series and extends her hand to Paige over the table.  Paige slowly but eventually accepts the handshake only for her to let go and push the table over on Charlotte she than takes advantage and jumps on top of Charlotte and beating on her until the referees intervene and break them up. Paige says “I’ll see you this Sunday.” As she is being escorted away and Charlotte looks on furiously.

            Survivor Series comes with a great match between Charlotte and Paige that goes nearly twenty minutes and steals the show.  For any of the fans out there that were still doubters this match is the one that finally proves that the diva’s division should be taken seriously and is as must see as any of the matches from their male counterparts.  The match ends with Charlotte once again retaining her title by making Paige tap out to the figure eight.

The next night on Raw Charlotte comes out to a heroes welcome she says that she proved that she was the best last night by beating Paige and retaining the Diva’s Championship.  She says that she wants to continue wrestling only the best to prove that she is worthy of being the Champion.  Charlotte also shows the first sign of a heel turn when she mentions that although they tore the house down the night before that Paige doesn’t just get a rematch she explains this by saying no matter how good Paige was that she was better and that if Paige wants another show she has to earn it, which causes the fans to boo. She than says that she believes that the number one contender should earn her spot and that she won’t face anyone who doesn’t deserve it.  Charlotte insists that a battle royal take place featuring the top divas in WWE with the winner getting the title shot at the next PPV and that she is even willing to give the other divas in WWE a week to prepare.

The next week on Raw Charlotte comes out to ringside to give commentary on the battle royal and scout who the next number one contender for the title will be.  The battle royal consists of nearly every Divas on the roster including Paige, Brie Bella, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Natayla, Naomi, Tamina, as well as some filler like Emma, who although great recently went back to NXT and is just here for this match because she was a similar face as well as Cameron and Rosa Mendes.  Notably absent is Nikki Bella who is now out with injury.  After a hard fought battle royal it comes down to Paige and Naomi with Paige prevailing in the end and getting the title shot that Charlotte refused to give her.  After the match Charlotte gets in the ring with Paige and the two start mouthing off to each other Paige points to the diva’s championship around the shoulder of Charlotte points to her waist, smiles and turns to leave.  When she does though Charlotte completes her heel turn by attacking Paige from behind continuing to take advantage of her until the referees intervene much like they did at the contract signing.  The two have now switched roles with Charlotte the heel and Paige the face.

Charlotte and Ric Flair
Starting at the Tables, Ladders and Chairs PPV Charlotte is now accompanied to the ring by her father Ric Flair who professes that Charlotte is the new dirtiest player in the game and will beat anyone who stands in her way.  Paige then comes out and the two have another great match ending when Flair distracts Paige in a failed attempt to trip her from the outside.  It was enough to get Paige’s attention and for Charlotte to take advantage and roll her up for a school boy pin while holding a hand full of tights.  Charlotte retains but this time she cheats to do so to get over the fact that she is indeed now a villain.

The next night on Raw Charlotte comes to the ring with her father and talks about how she beat Paige twice in a row fair and square without any help from anyone.  The blatant lie only causes more people to boo her.  She then says that something has been bugging her though and that is the fact that she labeled the Diva’s champion.  She says a diva is usually a demanding bitch who asks for outrageous things.  She asks her father if he thinks that she is a demanding bitch to which he denies.  Charlotte then says she isn’t a diva she is a women and plans to be treated as such.  She says that the term diva and the divas championship does not apply to her and that starting the next week she will retire the divas championship and bring back something more suited to herself, The WWE Women’s Championship.

The next week on Raw the show starts off with a red carpet in the ring as well as a pedestal which is covered by a sheet.  Stephanie McMahon comes out followed by Charlotte who still has the diva’s championship and Ric Flair.  Stephanie says how excited she is by the leaps and bounds the diva’s division has made and tells Charlotte that she is right the term diva is old, outdated and has no place in todays WWE.  She says how from now on the WWE divas will be called what they truly are, women.  She then removes the sheet from the pedestal to revel the old WWE Women’s Title and hands it over to Charlotte who puts down the WWE divas title and parades The Women’s Title around the ring above her head.  She then says that she is the only TRUE woman in WWE and says that none of the divas in the back are worthy of a shot at her women’s title flushing away all the good will she made back with the fans for resurrecting The Women’s Title.  At that point we hear music that we have never heard on Raw before the music of NXT competitor Becky Lynch.

Becky makes her way to the ring and says that she has never been a WWE diva and was always called a woman in NXT.  She also says that she has been waiting a long time for an opportunity to get to the main roster and now that she is there she will make the best of it.  She challenges Charlotte to a match for the newly resurrected Women’s Championship at The Royal Rumble.  Charlotte however says no because she has done nothing to earn it.  She says that she can’t just come into WWE on her first night and expect a title shot because that is just not how things work around here.  Charlotte completely ignores the fact that that is exactly how things worked for her to avoid the challenge which the announcers bring up.  Unfortunately for her though Stephanie McMahon is quick to remind her who the boss is and thinking that the two would make a great match makes it for The Royal Rumble.

Becky Lynch
Over the next few weeks Becky wrestles several of the top women in WWE winning each time out to show that she is more than worthy of challenging Charlotte.  At The Royal Rumble they have another great match to be added to the list of great matches the women in WWE have had over the last several months that ends when the match is taken to the outside and both women are counted out.  Charlotte retains her title and Becky is beside herself for letting her dream of becoming Women’s champion slip through her hands.

Its not over for Becky though as on the next night on Raw Stephanie McMahon makes a rematch for Fast Lane between the two because she and the rest of the WWE Universe wants a definite winner.  Becky is ready for her second chance while Charlotte complains because Becky had her shot didn’t get the job done and should now move to the back of the line with the rest of the losers in the back.  Her words fall on deaf ears though and the rematch happens at Fast Lane.  Both women battle it out again in a hard fought match that once again spills to the outside and we get a repeat of the finish from last months Royal Rumble with both women being counted out.  Charlotte starts to celebrate but it quickly comes to an end when Stephanie comes out saying that the end of that match wasn’t good enough and she won’t allow it to happen a second time, she orders the match be restarted and this time there are no count-outs.  Becky is ecstatic about the announcement but as she turns around she is meet with a boot to the face by Charlotte as the bell rings again.  Charlotte takes advantage and then locks Becky into the figure eight forcing her to tap out.  Once again Charlotte retains the Women’s Championship. 

Unfortunately for Charlotte though the night still isn’t over as she grabs the Women’s title and holds it over her head her music stops and is replaced by more music that had yet to be heard on WWE but music the fans respond to at once, its former NXT champion Sasha Banks who has had several match of the year candidates in NXT over the last few months and is now moving up to the big time.  The fans are going nuts over Banks arrival in WWE as she gets into the ring.  Sasha and Charlotte have a stare down in the middle of the ring with the fans chanting “This is awesome.”  Sasha looks at the WWE Women’s Championship and then points to the WrestleMania sign hanging from the rafters. Charlotte looks at the sign then at Sasha and wanting to prove all of her doubter’s wrong nods her head and leaves the ring with her father in tow. As she leaves Charlotte points to the Wrestlemania sign and shouts that she is going to steal the show and retain the title.  As she disappears to the back Sasha Bank’s music plays again while she stays in the ring for a few moments soaking up the love from the fans…..

Sasha Banks

Friday, February 26, 2016

Smackin' It Raw: The Diva's Revolution, The History

            Who doesn’t like complaining online about wrestling and how WWE did it wrong and how you can do it better? Everyone does so damnit I’m gonna do it now as well! The topic? The much wanted, anticipated and up until recently (I’ll always give credit where it’s due) botched Divas Revolution.  In this article, which I have split up into two posts, I’ll give you the background, what happened and where we are now with this revolution, pretty much a brief history. Then in post I’ll talk about how I would have done things differently because, well its just fun to see other people’s interpretations of what could have been.

Part 1: Before The Revolution

            The Divas Revolution started out like many revolutions, with the people rebelling against what they were being given and demanding a change.  In this case it was the WWE divas.  The Divas would go out to wrestle but would usually end up with about three to five minutes of TV time in a three HOUR show, I say TV time because its very important to distinguish the aforementioned TV time with the time they were given to wrestle.  Nearly every time there is a match we also get the entrances for both people competing in the match so if the divas get five minutes of TV time its important to know that about a minute and a half to two minutes would be used for the divas to come to the ring and whatever TV is left goes to the match. If only given only three minutes TV time that’s about a one-minute match. 

The WWE Diva's Championship.

During one particular week the divas were given an epically short time to wrestle, less than one minute, and the fans had had enough. They went to Twitter and started #GiveDivasAChance. This hashtag trended for days and forced WWE to take notice that the fans wanted change within the divas division.  Before to long WWE responded to #GiveDivasAChance with their own tweet that ensured everyone that changes would be made.

WWE Diva's Champion Nikki Bella.
            It started the very next week when the divas TV time increased but a slight increase in TV time was only one thing the fans wanted.  Soon a storyline started up with fan favourite diva Paige accusing divas champion Nikki Bella along with twin sister Brie Bella of holding down the divas division and that they were only on top because of who they were with in their personal lives, John Cena and Danial Bryan respectively. Paige challenged the rest of the WWE divas to stand up against The Bella Twins and fight back if they ever wanted things to change.  Of course Paige was on her own and none of the other diva’s would stand up against The Bella’s with her.

            It was a promising start, Paige was expressing the frustration of all of the fans out there and if was happening on TV then it was just going to be a matter of time, a short amount of time, until the change took shape on TV.  Everyone also knew how that change would take shape, the women of NXT.

Part 2: NXT

First off a little background on NXT. One of the reasons fans wanted The Divas Revolution was because they saw what was happening in NXT.  For those unaware NXT is WWE’s developmental system where their future wrestlers both male and female hone their craft before being called up to the main roster on WWE’s main shows Raw and Smackdown! In NXT it is also important to establish that the girls are called “women” instead of “divas” which is another step forward. Also in NXT the WOMEN are given time to go out there and wrestle. A typical NXT show is only one hour long instead of the three hours given on Raw but on NXT the women are often given up to ten minutes to wrestle, not including the entrances.  Think about that for a moment, the divas on Raw get five minutes TV time total on a three-hour show where as the women on NXT get upwards of ten minutes plus on a one-hour show and is frequently featured in the coveted main event spot. There is something that just isn’t quite right about that. 
The NXT Women's Championship.
Also the women on NXT had become much better wrestlers than their diva counterparts, both because they are given more time and because they are actual wrestlers as opposed to models who transitioned into a wrestling role which WWE had made a habit of doing for years, case and point divas champion Nikki Bella and sister Brie as well as a host of several other divas on the main roster.

            The NXT women had been tearing it up for a while by the point #GiveDivasAChance started which is one of the main reasons the hashtag happened in the first place. The fans saw the amazing matches the women were capable of and they wanted that on the main roster.  In particular, they wanted Charlotte and current NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks.

            Charlotte and Sasha Banks weren’t the only women making waves in NXT though, others amazing stand outs were Becky Lynch and Bayley. These four women comprised a group called “The Four Horsewomen” a play off of the infamous Four Horsemen that dominated the business in the NWA and WCW for years in the 1980’s and 1990’s which included Charlotte’s father and one of the greatest wrestlers in history with Ric Flair leading the charge. The Four Horsewomen were never a group on TV though and more of a backstage group since these were primarily the four women that had been tearing it up in NXT.

Charlotte, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch, The Four Horsewomen.
That isn’t to say they were the only ones though with established WWE diva and all around great wrestler Natayla Nidehart of the infamous Hart family sharing her skills and knowledge, as well as other up and comers such as Emma, Summer Rae and of course the first NXT Women’s Champion Paige. All of them had since been called up to the main roster to varying success with Paige doing great, Summer Rae being given a more managerial role and Emma being comic relief. Only Paige was turning any real heads.  Summer Rae hardly ever got to showcase her considerable wrestling talent and when she did get the chance it was all to brief and the fans never got to see her have a real chance to wrestle on the main roster.  Emma feared even worse she was put in a horrible comedy role with Santino Marella, who had been just a comedic joke for years, she never stood a chance and was eventually sent back to NXT.

The Four Horsewomen continued to thrive under The NXT banner though. A combination of any two or four of them would consistently put on one of the best if not the best match on every NXT card.  After #GiveDivasAChance picked up speed and Paige started to address the concerns herself on Raw WWE knew exactly how to kick start the Divas Revolution.

Part 3: You say you want a Revolution?

            Back to WWE and after several weeks of being beaten down by The Bella Twins as well as being ignored by her fellow divas in her quest for change things finally came to a head.  Paige was once again in the ring railing on The Bella’s now also flanked by Alicia Fox who went with the thought of “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” The Diva’s Revolution finally started.  Stephanie McMahon, one of the principal owners of WWE and in storylines the evil daughter of Vince McMahon came to the ring.  She had agreed with Paige and said that a revolution was needed. She sited women dominating other sports such as Rhonda Rousey in UFC and The William’s Sisters in tennis and said it was about time WWE did the same, that it was time to show that women could be just as good as the men inside a wrestling ring.

Without further adue Stephanie breathed some fresh life in the divas roster first introducing a surprise in the form of Becky Lynch.  Although one of the four horsewomen of NXT Becky wasn’t expected to get her call up just yet so it was a great way to start things off.  Becky came to the ring and joined Paige against the three members of what was now being called Team Bella.  Stephanie wasn’t done yet though as she next introduced one of the women expected to get the call up Charlotte who also joined Paige and Becky.  The six women all started sizing each other up and it was clear a fight was about to start but not before Naomi, another diva that had been toiling in WWE trying to make a name for herself for quite some time came out flanked by Tamina Snuka.  Naomi said that there would be no divas revolution without them which made Stephanie bring out the final new member of the roster Sasha Banks, who joined the side of Naomi and Tamina.  With the addition of Becky, the thoughts of Sasha also making her debut on the main roster was nearly dashed, she was still after all the NXT Women’s Champion and so logically she had unfinished business there but she still made her debut as well.  Now with all nine women in the ring Stephanie stepped out and the first brawl between all nine of them took place. The battle lines were drawn we had WWE Diva’s Champion Nikki Bella, Brie Bella and Alicia Fox representing “Team Bella”, Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch representing “The Submission Sorority” which was changed a week later to “Team PCB” after a quick google search showed that The Submission Sorority was also the name of a popular porn website, and Naomi, Sasha Banks and Tamina Snuka representing “Team B.A.D.” or Beautiful and Dangerous.  After some quick fighting all three new members of the roster each put a Team Bella member in their respective submission finishers having all three tap out immediately.  The fans chanted “This is awesome” after finally getting what they wanted for so long and we were off to the races, The Diva’s Revolution had finally begun.

The three NXT stand outs made a strong debut.

            The next week on Raw the divas were given much more airtime, nearly twenty minutes, another great step forward and had matches with combinations of the three teams.  Once again the fans chanted “This is awesome” and all was right with The WWE Universe.  Unfortunately, this was the start of a bad trend. Every week all we would get would be tag match after tag match showcasing the three teams but there in lied the problem. If every week a combination of the nine divas, wrestled each other no one got to actually stand out and show what they could really do or who they really were. To the fans watching who had no prior knowledge of the three new divas and had not watch NXT they were just that, three new divas. There was nothing overly special about either of them.  On top of that the WWE Diva’s Championship was never being defended.  If that is the prize that all the diva’s want, then why is it just a background piece to put around the waist of Nikki Bella? If the most important prize never came into play, then its importance ceased.  No one cared.  Why were there no singles matches? Why did the fans have to suffer through only tag team matches where no one came out looking special?  Why did they all have to be segmented into teams anyways?  One of the worst moments came when Nikki Bella, The Diva’s champion herself said that winning and losing doesn’t matter.  With that comment people began to care even less and it also showed another major difference between the WWE divas and the NXT women since only twenty-five hours earlier in the very same building, Bayley defeated Sasha Banks for the NXT Women’s Title and if winning and losing didn’t matter those two never got the memo as tears of joy flowed freely from both women’s faces after an amazing match that many considered match of the year.

            This went on for months before WWE realized that they were squandering a potentially great thing.  The same fans who had chanted “This is awesome” were now once again taking to Twitter and other social media to complain once again.  It seemed like a case of being careful for what you wish for because WWE will take it and ruin it for you. “You want Charlotte and Sasha Banks? We’ll give them to you and we’ll even surprise you with Becky Lynch but by the time we are done you will wish you never asked for it in the first place so stop you whining and let us give you what we want to give you because THAT is what is best for business.”  To their credit though WWE didn’t do that, they knew that had potential new stars and soon singles matches were finally starting to happen.  The timing was great too since Nikki Bella was about to become the longest reigning diva’s champion in WWE history so they had a built in storyline, lets just forget about the part where she never defended it and it was pretty much an after thought for months, it was time to get serious about this.

Team Bella: Brie Bella, Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox.

            On the eve of Nikki becoming the longest reigning diva’s champion in WWE history Charlotte had a title shot, she could end it all here and stop the evil Nikki Bella from gaining such a distinction.  Naturally the heels got intentionally disqualified meaning they came out on top since the title couldn’t change hands over a disqualification and Nikki Bella became the longest reigning champion.  Fan’s hated it, they wanted this talentless model who couldn’t wrestle to lose the championship to someone who was clearly much better in the ring. 

Let me take a moment to interject here, although The Bella Twins started off as models who had no place in a WWE ring, both improved considerably and can now hold their own, are they the best?  No but that doesn’t mean they are not capable and the fact that they are so reviled only makes things better from a storyline stand point, why wouldn’t you want the most hated person to get one over on the hero?  It just makes it all the better when the hero finally does triumph.

Team B.A.D.: Tamina Snuka, Sasha Banks and Naomi.
            Fans wouldn’t have to wait much longer though, due to the controversial end to the match Stephanie McMahon made a rematch six days later at their Night of Champions pay-per-view in which if Nikki Bella got her disqualified again or counted out the Diva’s Championship would still change hands and Charlotte would become the champion.  There would be a definitive winner this time around and this time Charlotte would indeed defeat Nikki Bella by submission ending her record 301-day title reign and in the process also becoming The WWE Diva’s Champion.

Team PCB: Becky Lynch, Paige and Charlotte.
With Charlotte now The Diva’s Champion the Diva’s Revolution was about to take a turn in the right direction though that isn’t to say that there still weren’t plenty more bumps along the way.  First though there was a positive move in which the fans were finally able to see the new divas personalities.  Charlotte the new champion became the centerpiece of the division which is great, now we are finding out what make her tick.  At the same time though Team PCB partner Paige had gotten jealous of Charlotte’s success and turned her back on her partners effectively ending the group.  It was Paige now a villain vs. Charlotte with Becky Lynch caught in the middle, well at least that is what I think was supposed to happen but Becky was more so just brushed off to the side.

            Becky wasn’t the only one brushed off to the side though as all other six divas that had been up to this point a part of the Divas Revolution was also brushed off. Maybe WWE realized that the fans didn’t want or focus on so many others at once but with this move they also took all of these other divas that the fans were supposed to care about so much and basically said they are over there and unimportant at the moment, which was especially aggravating to Sasha Banks fans since she was the one most fans wanted the most, which was easy to tell by the consistent “We want Sasha” chants.

            What we got though was new champion Charlotte vs. newly bad girl Paige.  Nothing against Paige she is one of the most popular divas on the roster and definitely one of the best wrestlers but she had by this point been around WWE for a while so it made sense that the fans may have wanted a different challenger (We want Sasha after all) but for now it was good.  Personally I just saw it as a way to break up the teams, even if it was just Team PCB at the start to begin a stronger focus on the divas one by one.  Up first was the already established Paige who would be used to make Charlotte more popular and a known quantity to the fans who may not of watched NXT.

Paige and Diva's Champion Charlotte.
            During one episode of Raw the Divas Revolution seemed in full effect and like WWE was trying harder than ever.  We had a decent divas match on the show, though I honestly forget who was involved, much more importantly though the entire show was building to a contract signing for the divas title at the next PPV with Charlotte and Paige in the main event segment of the show.  There is no more coveted place to be than the main event of the show, the spot that leaves people wanting to tune in next week or buy the upcoming PPV.  To put the divas in such a spot had only been done a couple of times before in the over twenty-year history of Raw so yes, it was a big deal and it did make it feel like we should care about these people.

            Then the segment happened and frankly it all went straight to hell.  Don’t get me wrong both Paige and Charlotte did a good job on the mic and sounded like they belonged there, they had the passion in their voices when talking about the Divas Championship that had been long gone.  They talked about their history, Charlotte mentioned when she first got to NXT that Paige was already there for a while and had trail blazed what women’s wrestling would be in NXT and what it could be in WWE.  Instead of making her challenger feel beneath her Charlotte spoke of Paige as an equal and not some one that she could just beat before moving on to the next challenger, you felt that respect.  Charlotte also mentioned how it was Paige that had been there for her as comfort when her younger brother Reid Flair had died of a drug overdose in 2013.  She said that she is where she is today because of Reid and that she had dedicated her career to his memory.  It was real emotion, something that is rarely seen in WWE today from the male competitors let alone their “inferior” female counterparts but on this night they were the stars.  Then it all went to hell when Paige said that she never cared about Charlotte and said “Your little brother didn’t have much fight in him, did he?” After that Charlotte leaped over the table that was between them and the two engaged in a massive pull apart brawl.

            Everything was going so great until that comment. After that it was all over, that one sentence was all anyone was talking about.  Not only was it a controversial thing to say but even worse although Charlotte may have had previous knowledge that the comment was coming Ric Flair and his ex-wife, parents of Reid, had no idea it was coming and was incredibly insensitive.  They had lost their son only two years prior and now that wound had been reopened for the whole world to see.  On top of that Reid Flair had never competed in WWE so most fans had no prior knowledge of him before Charlotte mentioned him earlier in the segment, there was never any need to bring him up in the first place they were doing just fine having them just fight over the title.  Reid’s mother went on social media bashing WWE for doing it saying it was cruel to do so just for a storyline and especially without giving the parents any prior knowledge.  Ric Flair was also very upset by the situation but kept from saying what he really wanted in fear of hurting his daughters career.  It was a clusterfuck of immediate bad publicity that WWE never brought up again.

            The match happened at the next PPV which was ok but for the most part underwhelming and ultimately forgettable with Charlotte getting the win over the vile Paige and moving on to the next challenger.

Part 4: Finally Making Strides

            It was nothing if not a rough first couple of months for The Divas Revolution but it was after the Charlotte and Paige feud ended before The Divas Revolution finally started to make any real strides and get to where people finally wanted it at the start.

            The teams all pretty much went away for one reason or another. Team PCB was obviously the first with Paige turning on Charlotte and Becky Lynch and then with Charlotte herself turning on Becky to become a heel champion managed by her double hall of fame father Ric Flair and patterning her character more along the lines of Ric Flair’s heel character from the 1980’s. Team Bella pretty much went their own way when Nikki went down with a serious neck injury and finally Team B.A.D. (remember them?) disbanded after Sasha Banks left the group to pursue singles competition leading to Naomi and Tamina to turn on her.

            It still wasn't all sunshine and rainbows though.  Despite Charlotte and Becky Lynch having great matches a lot of that was over shadowed by the negative yet again when during their match at The Royal Rumble, which had a great build up, while trying to distract Becky from the match against his daughter Flair grabbed Becky and planted a kiss on her.  This feud had been going great and an unwanted sexual advance from one person to another was just uncomfortable and added nothing to what was going on aside from distracting from how good the match had been up to that point.  Suddenly it felt wrong and uncomfortable.  I know that it is within Ric Flair's heel character to do something like this but it isn't the 80's, 90's, or even 00's when this was "acceptable" in wrestling now its very outdated and uncomfortable, and no it isn't uncomfortable because Ric Flair is 67 and Becky Lynch is 38 years Flair's junior at only 29 either, though it certainly doesn't help matters.  The rest of the match was tainted and people were not longer able to enjoy it like they had before.  All that said the match was good and aside from that one awful moment was everything that it needed to be.  The real highlight though was after the match had come to an end and Sasha Banks came out to a monstrous response from the crowd. Excitement about Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks was huge.

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte.
           Despite the amount of growing pains the divas division has had this proved that they are indeed on the right track.  The focus of the division has really been put back on the title where it belongs and wins and losses matter again, you want to see your favorite win the title now, look no further to the reaction Sasha Banks got at The Royal Rumble.  More emphasis has been put on singles matches and developing one character at a time as it should have been in the first place as well as finally giving the three divas that were supposed to jump start the revolution time to finally shine and show why the women’s matches in NXT were so praised in the first place.  On Raw now people more excited for the divas matches and they are no longer positioned in the dead spot of the show immediately after something exciting and before something else that was supposed to be enjoyed more, it is no longer a buffer or bathroom break for the fans and can now be one of those exciting segments.

            There may still be a way to go as of yet but things are finally steadily improving now.  When Sasha Banks came out after the Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch match at The Royal Rumble people were genuinely excited and wanted to see what would happen next, that moment was one of the loudest moments of the night if you are judging it from a viewer’s point of view at home.  If the fans in the building are going nuts and think that someone is special, then the fans at home will also believe and cheer for those people when they go to the live events.

While things are finally on the right track there are a few more things to do. First off the announcers need to stop using the worlds “divas revolution” so much if you want it to be a revolution and are given content that seems revolutionary you don’t need someone cramming that verbiage down your throat, you will know it and call it that yourself.  Secondly and most importantly they need to just drop the whole “diva” tag as it is.  The women in WWE have all pretty much said that they hate the word diva and that it conveys a poor stereotype, diva is a word that traditionally enforces negative thoughts about a woman, not positive.  Many of these women have said that they would love to be the one to get rid of The WWE Diva’s Championship and bring back The WWE Women’s Championship again and I have a feeling it won’t be to long until one of them does just that.

            And with that we are pretty much all caught up to date so far.  Wrestlemania, the biggest event of the year is fast approaching and I wouldn’t be surprised to see two divas matches on the card, a featured match for The Diva’s Championship itself as well as either a tag match or battle royal or something to that extent that allow as many of the divas on the roster to get a chance to be on the card. 

            This will also wrap up the first of two posts about The Diva’s Revolution and the next post will be the one where we really get to go off the rails and have fun.  I am of course talking about some good old fashioned fantasy booking where I will go to back in time to when this whole thing started and do it all the way I would have done it with the benefit of hindsight being 20/20 because let’s face it, its easy to tell people how you would do it better when someone else has already failed in doing so.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

My Top Ten Movies Of 2015

Well, it’s that time again where people fumble through the list of movies that have come out in the previous year and cobble together a top ten list of their favorite movies from said year. Like so many others, I am no different and have slapped together my own top ten list. As per usual, this is not a definitive list as I may see another movie from the la!st year that I may enjoy more than what I already have on here. For example, I haven’t seen The Martian as of yet, and I hear that could be a contender for a top ten list. With that point made, on to the list.

10) The Avengers: Age of Ultron
            I almost feel like I’m doing this movie a bit of a disservice by putting it at only number 10. The Avengers: Age of Ultron was pretty much everything that a super hero movie should be. Good action, good story, good heroes, an interesting villain.  As far as the Marvel Cinematic Universe is concerned, we have new characters, deeper character development from and between the characters we already know and love, and further advancement towards the next phase.

9) Terminator: Genisys
            The Terminator franchise is one that has pretty much been written off ever since T2 in the eyes of many fans, and this movie pretty much does the same, pulling the same trick as the Star Trek reboot did years ago by kinda sorta rebooting the whole damn thing while still keeping it all there in continuity if you want it to be. It is a risky move but since the series deals with so much time travel anyways they were able to get away with it and in my opinion, though I seem to be one of the few who sees it this way, they pulled it off. Sure Jai Courtney leaves a lot to be desired, he makes Kyle Reese seem like a bit of a moron who has no idea about anything and his acting is often times best described as ‘blah’, I did enjoy this movie quite a bit (which is why it’s on this list) and I really hope they don’t pull a Salvation here and do yet another franchise reboot after this one because it didn’t get the response they desired. Instead, I hope they stay the course and keep going on as planned.

8) Spectre
            Aside from Quantum of Solace, the Bond franchise has been knocking it out of the park since Daniel Craig took on the role of the famous British super spy and Spectre is no different. Spectre continues exploring Bond’s origins, this time bringing in his most formidable foe, Blofield played by Christoph Waltz. While it may not have hit the heights of Skyfall, for me it was still a great entry into this everlasting series that leaves me wanting more.

7) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
            Yes, sure The Force Awakens was very similar to a New Hope in terms of plot and pacing and all that stuff but you know what? That movie is one of, if not THE most popular of all time so why not copy your own success when trying to bring this franchise back for a new trilogy? Its not like everything was the same by any means… the new characters were pretty much all great and fit in wonderfully with the heroes from the originals. Also, you know what? It was Star Wars and it was good, what more can you ask for after those prequels?

6) Chappie
            The first movie I saw this year that I really enjoyed stayed the test of the year and remained one of my favorite movies of 2015. Ne il Blomkamp proved that he wasn’t a one hit wonder with this movie. District 9 was amazing but Elysium left me wanting so much more - which is what Chappie delivered for me. It was a great sci-fi/action movie and one that should not be forgotten when people think of the best movies of 2015.

5) Creed
            Fun fact, my favorite movie franchise of all time is Rocky. That being said, I was happy with the series and its ending with Rocky Balboa. I was happy to never return to the world of Rocky Balboa and willing to leave it where it ended in that movie. When I heard that there would be a spinoff series I was at first skeptical, but that lasted for all of five minutes as the thought of seeing the further adventures of Rocky, even if he wasn’t going to be the main focal point anymore, was enough to give me wet dreams. More Rocky is always a good thing. Who wouldn’t want another incredible motivational Rocky speech or Rocky montage? I thought this movie did an excellent job handing off the baton from Sylvester Stallone to Michael B. Jordan, Rocky Balboa to Adonis Johnson (or “Creed” if you will). The performances were great, with Stallone delivering his A game and Jordan showing that (despite the misstep that was the new Fantastic Four) that he is an incredible actor who deserves some real recognition.

4) The Revenant
            I wasn’t really expecting much out of this movie before seeing it, I pretty much watched it just because Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy starred in it and boy did they make me thankful of that decision. The first thing that I have to mention in this movie is the cinematography, now usually cinematography is just something that I don’t really notice in movies but this one MADE you take notice of it, it is beautiful. In fact, it might have been the most beautiful movie of the year if not for the number one movie on this list (that’s a hint in case you haven’t already figured it out.) The acting is great too with DiCaprio kicking all the ass (unless you’re a bear) in a role that often times left him not talking at all.  I don’t want to say it’s a safe bet because you never know, but I’m betting this is the year that DiCaprio finally meets that ever elusive Oscar that he has been after.

3) Inside Out
            Pixar is a great studio that must have one of the best track records of any studio out there. The last couple of outings have been great, but I find there has been something missing since movies like WALL-E, Up, and Toy Story 3. Inside Out, however, brings that back in full force. What is it that I’m talking about? Well, I’m talking emotion, which is quite fitting given the movie. This movie brought on all of the emotions - mostly the two that are most featured in the movie – Joy, and Sadness. Watching this movie, I felt the joy and laughed happily. but I also felt the sadness and cried. A Pixar movie hasn’t made me cry since Toy Story 3. Well done, Pixar!

2) The Hateful Eight
            For some reason I have been hearing a lot of dislike for this movie, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why. It has a solid cast, an intriguing story, great character development, beautiful visuals despite taking place almost entirely in one tight confined place and of course an incredible script (but that should go without saying, given that it is a Quinton Tarantino movie, after all). The Hateful Eight surpassed all of my expectations and shot up on my list of favorite Tarantino movies near the top, which is quite the achievement with his filmography. So people dislike this movie? I don’t get it. But then again, those who dislike it will in turn also not get why I enjoyed it so much.

1) Mad Max: Fury Road

            We all know that Mad Max: Fury Road is completely amazing and it seems to be a pre-requisite that any top ten movies list for 2015 needs to have Mad Max: Fury Road not only on it. but near the top, if not at the top. Well, as you can see, you can add me to the list of people who will put a pillow on the floor so that I don’t get rug burn on my knees since I love this movie so much. What else can I say that hasn’t been said about this movie by everyone else a hundred times over? Well, nothing, so I won’t. Simply put, I love Mad Max: Fury Road, it was my most anticipated movie coming into 2015 and it exceeded every expectation I had for it. What more can I ask for? I love this movie, if you are one of the few people who have yet to see it, then you should go do so immediately. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bond-Tastic!! Has Returned

Hello everyone and welcome back to the long dormant (My count is just under THREE years since the last update, not counting the “Bond-Tastic will return” teaser from last week.) Bond-Tastic!! I guess this all begs the question “Why?” As in why no updates or why even bring it back in the first place since its been gone for so long? Well let’s get to those answers.

So why no updates? I guess its easy to just say sometime along the lines of “Life got in the way.” Which I guess is partially true but its not just that, you can also blame changes of interest, not really having enough to say about any certain thing, and yeah after it being left alone for so long a feeling that I should just leave it be. Mostly though I was also going through a bad time in my life when the last thing I wanted to do was worry about updating a blog and what to update it with and since Bond-Tastic!! Was never supposed to be about me putting my personal life out there for all to see the updates stopped.

As for why bring it back? Well that’s simpler, because I wanted to. Because I do have things to say again (More on that later.) Because it feels about right. Because it is a great outlet to say stuff and its great to get my mind off the more pressing matters in life if for only a short time allowing some relaxation time. Bonus, it helps with my typing speed which is always great for someone who supposedly has a career in Records and Information Management.

So what’s going to happen with Bond-Tastic!!? Well there will be more of the same as well as some new stuff altogether. If you look through the archives you may notice that there is quite a bit missing. Namely ever movie review I posted on here has been removed except for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory just because I love that one. The reason for this is because I post movie reviews on Letterboxed, so if you want to check those out you can just click here. Now that is not to say I will never talk about movies on here, I very much well, in fact you can look forward to my top ten movies of 2015 on here before to long. What else will we be seeing? Well the wrestling content will continue but once again I doubt there will be any reviews of any shows themselves save for maybe a WrstleMania or something like that. Comic books topics will naturally still be discussed. More so I will talk about the product and how I feel about it with a list or two thrown in for good measure. There will be other stuff I have never tackled before as well such as music, as of right now I plan to do a list of my top ten personal favorite voices in music or top ten favorite Funko Pop figures among other things. No worries though there will likely never be anything to serious on here this is a place to have fun.

I know this all sound positive and that there will be a ton of new content coming and yes, there will be plenty of new content, in time. That is to say it will be on my time. Sometimes there may be a couple updates a week other times there may be nothing for a short period of time. What I’m saying is it will be update but it will be sporadic so don’t expect that every single time you come here there will be new updates as that likely wont be the case.

Well that’s about it for now, Bond-Tastic!! Is officially back in business and very much looking forward to bringing you some new content. Now lets get out there and spread the word that its back and most importantly, lets have some fun.