C-Flo Tackles Rex & Rob Ryan

*In the wake of today’s news that the Ryan boys have been fired, I’d like to repost an article I wrote this past September. It originally appeared on walterfootball.com.


“We don’t win anymore.”

–Donald Trump

Some people just don’t have it.

It’s 2016. We should be past the archaic notion that inherent greatness is automatically bestowed through heredity. Buddy Ryan was a defensive genius. His son Rex has his moments. His son Rob is…Rob.

This used to be how the world was run, and in many ways it still is. The Canadian Prime Minister is a childish airhead, but he got in because the eastern half the country has a fetish for his dad, despite the fact that the two are nothing alike. Most of us, me included, have worked for some rich kid who was gifted an ownership or managerial role in a company he or she had no business being in.

Rex and Rob Ryan are twins, despite their differing tastes in haircuts and beards. I can’t possibly understand their personal relationship, as I don’t even have a brother, let alone a twin. But Rex’s recent announcement that he had his lap-band removed out of solidarity and brotherly love is idiotic.

For those who are unaware, an adjustable gastric band is like a belt for the top of your stomach, restricting how much food you can eat at one sitting. It even limits how much water you can have before or after meals. If you don’t respect your lap-band, you’re in for a world of pain, not unlike being the only 0-2 team in the league.

Rex had a great experience with his lap-band, losing over 120 pounds. Rob did not have a great experience, as there were some medical complications and he had to have his removed. So Rex, thinking that he was being a good brother, decided to have his removed. He’s already gained back 30 pounds.

If I had a twin brother who was missing an arm, I wouldn’t cut mine off too. But more than that, I’m sure my fictitious twin wouldn’t allow me to do it anyway, for the simple reason that it would be completely nonsensical. If there was true mutual brotherly love in the Ryan relationship, not to mention an iota of common sense, Rob would insist Rex keep the device that changed his life so greatly for the better. How can anyone be so selfish as to do otherwise?

Rex said, “We’ll figure it out,” which is what millennial girls say when they have no idea what they’re doing. What would the Ryans figuring something out even look like? Firing their OC after a game which included dynamic career performances from such lowly-regarded receivers as Marquise Goodwin and Greg Salas, and perhaps even more impressively, featured EJ Manuel completing a pass? Never mind that the defence looked like the Creamsicles facing the Steel Curtain, because blood is thicker than water, or something.

I used to like Rex. I completely identify with the scrappy underdog taking on the huge challenges, whether they be the Belichick empire or the bulge. But hiring his overrated brother, and following it up with abandoning a winning strategy for weight loss, both reveal a losing mentality. Rex has chosen family over merit, challenge over success, and handicap over victory. He will never win the big one, or even most of the little ones anymore. I predicted before the season that there was a 100% chance the Bills would miss the playoffs and both Ryans would be fired, but even I didn’t think it would be this glaringly obvious before 30 of the teams had even played their Week 2 game.

The Ryans remind of Tim Tebow, a cute story about fifteen minutes of fame and a stopwatch that currently reads 14:59. Rex is a has-been and Rob is a never-was, but I’m sure we can look forward to them dancing with the stars, in football and elsewhere, for a long time to come. Names have value, especially in a world where families are famous for being famous. Unfortunately, the only return to form we’re going to see from the Ryans is when they rocket past 300 pounds once more. But they’ll do it together, and that’s kind of beautiful, if you don’t think about it too hard.


 

C-Flo Tackles Earls.67

My wife and I decided to try the new concept known as Earls.67. I used to work for Earls, including at the original Bankers Hall location in this same spot. I used to train the servers, so I thought I’d see how things have changed (because they always do).

When we walked in, there was no one at the hostess stand, so we wandered around for a while and sat ourselves in the lounge. I later noticed that there were at least three hostesses on duty, they had just been busy chatting and giggling off to the side.

We sat there not feeling noticed, as tons of employees whizzed by. It was only a few minutes, but Earls used to train servers to greet every table within a minute. Maybe I’m too old school? A random server came by and asked if we’d been helped. She said she’d grab us our server and some waters. She never brought the waters, but since we hadn’t asked for them it wasn’t a big deal.

I found the whole experience of Earls.67 to be jarring. I think that’s the best word to describe it, and it’s the last word that should be used to describe a night out at a nice restaurant. It was great that a random server came up to check on us, but there has to be a system in place to avoid guests being missed.

Even the lighting is jarring. There is too much cool white light, when it should be warm tones. If you think I’m being ridiculous, imagine if you went to a nightclub and the dance floor was lit by bright white fluorescent tubes. It doesn’t exactly set the mood.

Our server eventually showed up and seemed distracted all night. I don’t think she’s really cut out to be a server. She was nice enough, I guess, but wasn’t attentive and would fly away from the table as quickly as she could. Every course of food or drinks we ordered was brought by a different server, which was again jarring. My wife’s latte was cold, too. Lattes should never come out cold, that’s just bizarre.

The calamari was very good, but had too much garlic. I don’t think I’ve ever said anything had too much garlic before, I love garlic. But in this case it obliterated my palate. The dynamite rolls were flawless though, I could eat those all day, every day. Great job on those, highly recommended!

At the end of the night we waited forever to get our bill. We took turns killing time by using the washrooms, but eventually I just stood beside the table with my jacket on. When that didn’t work I wandered around to try to find our server. When we finally got her, she awkwardly tried to make small talk after not engaging us in a similar way at any other point in the night. Again, she’s not really cut out for this profession. Most of the servers felt really cold, in fact. We saw about a half dozen of them throughout the night, and only one of them had a genuine smile.

Why was our server nowhere to be found most of the night? If she doesn’t even need to monitor or run any of our orders, what is she doing?

I will say the manager was great. He came over twice to see how we were doing. I appreciate managers who try to watch what’s happening in the trenches, instead of just feeling important.

I wouldn’t go back to Earls.67. I hope they don’t try to make all Earls locations into this. I sincerely appreciate trying something new, but it didn’t work for me. Mandatory tipping did seem to kill the incentive of caring and giving good service, as it should in theory. The music was way too loud and the ambiance was extremely disappointing. The experience was repeatedly jarring from every angle and it appeared to be a definite step down from the old Earls Bankers Hall back in the day. I’ll still frequent Earls, primarily the one in Kelowna, mostly because of the amazing patio overlooking the harbour.

Theories, concepts, renovations and mission statements are all great on paper. But in the end there’s no substitute for hiring caring, hard-working people and training them properly. In restaurant parlance, Earls.67 should be eighty-sixed.

For my thoughts on tipping, click here: http://powertackler.com/index.php/2016/08/07/tipping/


 

C-Flo Tackles Patterns

Patterns.

Humans can find them anywhere, whether they’re actually there or not. Our entire learning process is based on finding patterns, and this applies to everyone throughout the learning spectrum. Whether you’re a toddler learning the basics of reading, or a chess grandmaster, your pattern-recognition ability is what will determine if you succeed or fail.

Patterns make us feel smart. They make us feel like we know what’s coming. Take a look at pop music. We like music with a beat, or a simple melody, or a catchy chorus. Ideally, we like the exact same song over and over again. That’s why many of the biggest pop songs of the past 20 years have been written one man, a Swedish guy named Max Martin, whom you’ve never heard of. Look him up, his story will blow your mind.

We have a fetish for patterns. We’re desperate for them. As Dr. Michael Shermer puts it, “The inability of individuals to assign causal probabilities to all sets of events that occur around them will often force them to lump causal associations with non-causal ones.” Shermer has come to be known as the modern expert on apophenia, which is the human tendency to see meaningful patterns in random data. He coined the term patternicity to describe finding such patterns, and coined the term agenticity to describe infusing them with meaning.

I’m not a nihilist, or even self-loathing, but humans are biased pattern-recognition machines who lazily prefer the comfort of algorithms to the uncertainty of heuristic discovery. It is therefore our mission to sift through the chaos of extraneous info to find order, in spite of ourselves.

When you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.


 

C-Flo Tackles The Edmonton Oilers’ Debut at Rogers Place

Rogers Place is open for business.

My favourite team outclassed my hometown team 7-4 in a feel-good debut Wednesday night. It reminded me of opening night 2010, when the officially rebuilding Oilers dominated the visiting Flames 4-0. That night, Jordan Eberle scored his first NHL goal, a shorthanded beauty that would go on to be the NHL’s Goal of the Year, and Steve MacIntyre ended Raitis Ivanans’ NHL career with two sick rights to the face. In tonight’s iteration of the Battle of Alberta, Connor McDavid scored twice including a Patrick Kane-esque penalty shot, while virtually all of his teammates looked solid. Cam Talbot had some shaky moments in the crease, but Kris Russell silenced the advanced analytics crowd with two assists and some great plays.

There was so much to be excited about. Edmonton has evolved from a remote northern outpost with the league’s oldest arena, to a dynamic team of the future with the NHL’s best facilities. The best player is the captain, and he’s supported by a bigger, heavier cast than we’re used to seeing in copper and blue. Pick virtually any player on the Oilers and they looked good tonight. Zack Kassian scored a brilliant breakaway goal, fooling the ineffective Brian Elliott by acting like he’d employ a simple wrist shot. This was completely believable, since many in the league think Kassian is basically a goon, but a simple backhand deke later and the puck was in the back of the net.

There were certainly causes for concern. The Oilers were outshot 41-28, and they allowed two quick shorthanded goals, making me think these were the Devan Dubnyk Oilers again.

However, this was a special night, and without those SH goals against, this was a blowout. This team has a bit of everything, and maybe there’s hope after all. Edmonton doesn’t have to venture outside western Canada for the entire month of October. They need to take advantage of that, and they are headed down the right path with tonight’s performance.

Wayne Gretzky was also in town, accepting a new position with the Oil as partner and vice-chair of OEG. He’s back where he belongs. Now all that’s left is to see the Oilers lifting a Stanley Cup, while The Great One and his buddies sit in the stands like they did during the gold medal win at the 2002 Olympics, with Wayne yelling, “Fuckin’ eh!”

Because there’s nothing more Canadian than that.


 

C-Flo Tackles Las Vegas

“Vegas means comedy, tragedy, happiness and sadness all at the same time.”

–Artie Lange

It’s the centre of the universe in the middle of nowhere. It exists where life should not, yet many come here so they may feel alive.

Vegas is whatever you make it. You don’t have to do drugs (but you can). You don’t have to gamble (but you should). You can be whoever you want to be, and do whatever you want to do. You can excuse things you wouldn’t forgive yourself for anywhere else, because it’s Vegas. It is an exception; a different plane of existence; an oasis of fantasy insulated from a desert of reality. It is an alternate dimension where you turned out slightly differently than you did in our home continuum.

Vegas is a child, the youngest of ten or twelve children, mischievous and enthusiastic. He gets away with murder, literally, but isn’t so much breaking the rules as making them up as he goes along.

Like the most beautiful women, Vegas is captivating, mesmerizing and addictive. She infuses every moment with a twinge of destiny. Every exchange feels important, or even epic. She can screw you in every way imaginable.

Vegas is a microcosm of humanity; a petri dish of desire. It is proof that we all want to enjoy sunny weather and flashing lights and experimentation and aesthetic perfection. We want to get away from it all but have more than we ever dreamed of. We crave exquisite food and impeccable service, encapsulated in transcendent ambience, surrounded by beautiful people. We choose to enjoy, to partake, to connect, to satiate.

It is a suspension of real life, yet it’s what your life has been building to. It’s Vaudeville meets the Jetsons, Sinatra meets Bugsy, Utopia meets dystopia.

From the top of the mighty Stratosphere, or the Rio’s ambient Voodoo Lounge, Vegas looks like it covers the entire planet. It only reinforces your recently-acquired attitude that this, this is the way life should be: A libertarian celebration of public imbibing and private touch for sale. You can never get quite as high or feel quite as low as in the midst of these hills. It is the way the rest of the world should, but never could, be.

You’ll be back.


 

C-Flo Tackles Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling 2: 3-4 Budoukan (Complete Moves List)

When I was growing up, my friends and I played a lot of Super Nintendo. Wrestling games were a favourite, and NCW (Natsume Championship Wrestling) took up a large percentage of my childhood. Little did I know it was a severely watered-down version of the real thing, the real thing being the Zen-Nippon series for the Super Famicom in Japan. NCW has less characters, less moves, and lacks the All Japan Pro Wrestling licence.

I’ve always been fascinated by wrestling moves, and Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling 2: 3-4 Budoukan seemed like the perfect game to do this project on. Available for download below is a PDF of every move in the game. This is not a translation of any sort, this is completely homemade from scratch. In case anyone was craving this, here it is! I enjoyed making it.

Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling 2 3-4 Budoukan Complete Moves List


C-Flo Tackles Unleashed by Skillet

“I wanted to make an album that could make people feel the music. I always aim to write songs to which people can relate, but this time I wanted to see not only how the songs would connect lyrically, but also how they’d connect musically.”

–Skillet lead singer John Cooper

For those unfamiliar with Skillet, they self-identify as a Christian rock band, but not the kind that directly sings about religion on every track. They’re much more subtle than that. The Memphis-based rockers aren’t above divine inspiration though, with songs entitled Back from the Dead, Out of Hell, and Saviors of the World as just some of the examples from this album alone. It’s really a shame how many people haven’t heard of them, because their touring schedule is relentless. The quartet has been on the scene for two decades now, with the latter half of that time filled with some really underrated gems. Unleashed is their most polished, consistent effort to date, arriving just three weeks after their last album was certified gold.

1. Feel Invincible

Skillet is pretty reliable when it comes to kicking off their albums in style, notably with Rebirthing and Hero in the past. They don’t disappoint here, sprinting out of the gate with a driving track meant to get people psyched up. Indeed, WWE made Feel Invincible one of the two official themes for their July pay-per-view Battleground, and TBS selected it as the theme song for their E-League video game competition.

The track juxtaposes many of Skillet’s favourite elements on top of each other. The determined bass line, the melodic keyboards, the dueling male/female vocals; put them together and you get Evanescence on testosterone. Imagine a hybrid of Bring Me to Life and Going Under and you’ll be in the ballpark.

2. Back from the Dead

Second tracks are notorious for not maintaining the momentum of the first. Here, the song starts rather generically, but grows into a respectable cut thanks to sheer enthusiasm. Well-paced and energetic, it begs comparisons to Rev Theory.

3. Stars

I could definitely have seen this being second in the batting order, but I fully support waiting until track #3 to slow things down. The very first line of the song is a good example of the type of religious references Skillet will slip in there, without banging you over the head with them. “You spoke a word and life began” is a clear reference to “Let there be light” in Genesis 1:3. This fact has been enough to get Stars airplay on Christian radio stations. Even for the thoroughly non-religious like me, I can live with them expressing themselves in such a benign manner.

4. I Want to Live

This one was clearly inspired by one of their greatest songs ever, Rebirthing. I’m not complaining. Rebirthing was my ringtone for a long time after it came out in 2006. I Want to Live shares the same hints of gothicity, as both are simultaneously positive and dark, all without being spooky. Skillet is also masterful at knowing when to use female vs. male voices.

5. Undefeated

Skillet seems to write songs with visions of movie soundtracks and sports arena airtime dancing in their heads. Most of the track titles on this album would lend themselves perfectly to a number of different sports movie ideas, none more so than Undefeated. The song is not as blistering as I would have hoped, but it accomplishes what Skillet likely set out to do.

6. Famous

Famous is a pop song disguised as a rock song. It’s a necessary inclusion if they were truly serious about making a diverse album, as they claim they were. Unleashed isn’t diverse by, say, A Day to Remember’s standards, but I appreciate the effort nonetheless.

7. Lions

Don’t get the wrong idea from the title. Musically, this song is meant to convey the pride of lions, not the ferocity. Vocally, it’s meant to be uplifting and inspirational. The end result is sincere and unabashedly positive.

8. Out of Hell

Going from the last song to this one is a study in contrast. The first five seconds of Out of Hell could start a death metal track (as could the title). There are some heavy strings throughout the track, but the body of it is primarily typical Skillet. When John Cooper said there is “even some metal” on Unleashed, he was clearly talking about this cut. Metal guitar riffs make a couple of appearances, especially at the end. It’s not that they’re bad, but they feel somewhat out of place.

9. Burn It Down

This track has a Nickelback feel right from the first note. I can picture Chad Kroeger writing this song and can hear him singing it. It’s just kind of there. It’s fairly paint-by-numbers, not really befitting such an aggressive title, and not really sung with the same conviction as some of the other songs on the album. Burn It Down should have ended at the 2:40 mark, but they go for another 30 seconds or so to get it over 3:00, because everyone knows only punk songs can be less than that.

10. Watching for Comets

If all you Christian boarding school seventh-graders were waiting for the obligatory slow dance song, your prayers have been answered.

11. Saviors of the World

Saviors of the World could have been placed much earlier on the album. I wouldn’t even have minded it as the first track. However, there’s definitely something to be said for saving some red meat for the end. I’m a big proponent of saving an energy track for the penultimate offering of any album.

12. The Resistance

I’m not sure the male backing vocals had to be pseudo-death metal lite, but The Resistance isn’t a bad slice of dessert. It’s very deliberate, without being plodding. The random guitar solo tacked on at the very end is confusing, though.

It’s not often I’m able to just play an album from start to finish, especially repeatedly.  Anberlin’s Lowborn and Innerpartysystem’s eponymous debut come to mind, although Unleashed is not really on their level overall. It can simply be called consistently very good, with no glaring valleys. It also reverses the trend of steadily declining album quality since Comatose. That alone should reinvigorate the fanbase of one of the hardest-working bands in the world.


 

C-Flo Tackles English & Public Schools (Tip #1: You’re vs. Your vs. Yore)

“I have only come here seeking knowledge, things they would not teach me of in college.”

–Sting

Since public grade school is just a glorified babysitting service these days, I thought I’d write a series on English basics that are no longer taught properly. With that in mind, where better to start than with the most common mistake I see?

You’re: A contraction of you are

Your: Showing possession; referring to something owned by the person being talked about

Yore: Long ago

Examples: You’re a moron. You’re human. You’re a welder. Your dog. Your cat. Your car. Back in the days of yore.

Sample sentences: You’re going to get your car back soon. In the days of yore, they didn’t have cars.

People who make basic grammatical mistakes like this love to ridicule “grammar Nazis” for correcting or helping them. It’s a bizarre juxtaposition; they pretend they don’t care, that no one cares. But they’re always vicious and obviously embarrassed, exposing the lack of caring as a lie. It’s like the kid on the playground who loses and says he wasn’t trying. In both cases, the jackass tried and failed.

It’s partly our public school system’s fault. Not only do they not drill the basics into kids, but they teach them to value memorization and regurgitation over learning why and how things work. It’s easier for teachers to get through this charade by putting kids on the conveyor belt. Cram, exam, forget. Move on. Is it home time yet? Is it Friday yet? Is it summer yet?

It’s easier to tell people what to think than how to think. Not understanding you’re vs. your vs. yore may seem trivial to some, but it reveals larger problems. Chief among them is exposing people for faking everything. If they don’t know something this basic, what else don’t they know? Likely, anything. In a world of constant texts, emails, and social media, your spelling and grammar proficiency is constantly being tested, especially in business, the thing school is supposed to prepare you for. I don’t care what degree someone has or what their CV says, if their spelling and grammar are lacking, they aren’t getting my business. I’ll walk away wondering how they could be so unprofessional.

I don’t expect anyone to know everything. But we in the developed world have instant access to Google and dictionary.com at virtually any moment of our lives. My English is excellent, yet I use these references all the time. Avail yourself of them and teach yourself what your schooling probably didn’t.


 

C-Flo Tackles Monday Night RAW 8/8/16

WWE Monday Night RAW

8/8/16

Honda Center

Anaheim, California

The worst thing the Monday Night Wars gave us is the concept of three-hour non-PPV wrestling television programs. Here we go!

It isn’t much of a new era with Michael Cole on PBP.

Tonight: Daniel Bryan shows up at Mick Foley’s behest!

—————————————————————————————————————————-

One of the best babyface acts in the world today is out first in Enzo & Cass. “How you doin’” chants. Enzo quoted Sublime talking about how “schmitten” Sasha Banks was with him last week. Yeah, so schmitten she married WWE costume designer Kid Mikaze in the week since. Enzo said “Jon Bon Jericho” gave him the Codebreaker, but he really broke the man code. He called him an Axl Rose wannabe, said he’s on the highway to hell, and welcome to the jungle.

Jericho came out. He said “Enzo Annoying” is more irritating than Achy Breaky Heart. He said his maid Cass cleans up all the messes his mouth gets him into. He said Enzo always has someone watching his back, but now Jericho does too.

Kevin Owens came out. Both guys walked to the ring. Jericho said they’re closer than brothers; close Canadian brothers. Cass asked if Jericho and Owens had each other’s backs like Bert & Ernie in the bathtub. KO said he used to like Cass in NXT, because they both had best friends who were dead weight. KO said he doesn’t like him anymore, and he doesn’t care if Cass is “seven foot tall,” he’s going to hurt him. And if he doesn’t, Jericho will. Cass asked them to go right now. Jericho called Enzo a hip hop hobbit, and said he was going to get “it.” Enzo said he didn’t know what “it” is, but when he finds out he’s going to shove it down Jericho’s throat. E & C’s music played as RAW went to commercial, with the announcers suggesting we were going to see a Jericho vs. Enzo match next. All four guys were great here. They all have excellent comic timing. Jericho and Owens have the makings of a great act.

Sure enough, the bell rings and we’re back. Tackle, tackle by Y2J; drop down, dropkick by Enzo. Full arm drag and twist, headlock, hammerlock by Enzo. This is Wrestling 101. They don’t do enough chain wrestling in WWE, but this was so basic it just made Enzo look green. Jericho takes over with chops and slaps. 2 headscissors by Enzo until Y2J cuts him off with a clothesline. Cheap shot by KO from the outside. Snap suplex by Jericho. Jericho calling spots loudly as usual. Enzo fires back but runs into a dropkick for a 2 count. Enzo skins the cat and then back body drops Jericho over the top. Baseball slide from Enzo. KO pulls Jericho away from E & C outside the ring as we go to break.

Jericho in control with chops in the corner. Irish whip to the turnbuckle, but a charging Jericho runs into a boot and Enzo hits a flying DDT from the second turnbuckle. Crossbody, clothesline, face to the knee, and a running forearm to a kneeling Jericho by Enzo. Now Enzo eats a boot in the corner. Enzo tries a hurricanrana but Y2J reverses into the Walls of Jericho, which is basically a rest hold in 2016. Jericho eats an elbow in the corner. These guys should stop charging at their opponent when they’re in the corner. Enzo with a near fall via a flying body press from the top. Pescado by Enzo. KO grabs Enzo’s leg, allowing Jericho to hit the Codebreaker. Cass runs in and nails Jericho with a big boot to the face for the obvious DQ.

Chris Jericho over Enzo Amore by DQ via outside interference.

As they leave, KO tries to imitate Enzo by saying, “How are you!” Jericho and KO have been hilarious all night. Cass challenged them to a tag match at SummerSlam. Y2J & KO accepted “because we’re winners.”

Michael Cole said Lana and Rusev would share their wedding “with all of you” tonight.

Mick Foley was shown on the phone with Stephanie McMahon. Mick said he had to go because The Boss arrived; Sasha Banks, not Vince. Sasha wanted Charlotte and Dana Brooke in a handicap match for some reason. Foley said Sasha would face Dana tonight. If Sasha wins Dana is banned from ringside at SummerSlam, but if she loses it’s a handicap match at SS. Both Sasha’s request and Foley’s decision were bizarre. This segment was poorly thought out and miles beneath Banks and Foley. Handicap matches in general need to be eighty-sixed.

Braun Strowman came out. Byron Saxton was shown backstage with jabroni of the week Jorel Nelson (@JNeez). They didn’t add his Twitter handle, but I thought I’d give him some respect since the WWE won’t. He was silent when asked a question. He came out with generic music, announced as being from Anaheim, of course.

Nelson went to the apron immediately. BS knocked him off and threw him back in. BS with a lariat. Reverse chokeslam. Strowman pins him with one hand.

Braun Strowman over Jorel Nelson by pinfall via reverse chokeslam.

I don’t mind squash matches, but they don’t need to make the jobbers look like they’re literally brain-damaged. It’s like Star Trek in the sixties, where everyone who isn’t a main character has an IQ under 40. If you make the jobbers look good, it actually makes the superstar look impressive, otherwise it’s a waste of time. Why should I be impressed with Braun Strowman when it looks like I could easily beat Nelson?

Puff Daddy was backstage with Foley. PD gave Foley front row tickets to his next show. The New Day came in, sans Big E. They were eating Booty-O’s. All four guys started eating them with their hands dry, right out of the box. PD asked how “Big E’s nuts” were. Foley said he can’t say that on TV. They all joked around a bit. The other three then left as Foley said, “Have a nice day.”

After some messages from your local sponsors, we come back and the former Prime Time Players are in the ring ready to have a match. Even Jorel Nelson got a ring entrance. Bob Backlund is such a convincing lunatic. Darren slaps Titus. They go to the outside and brawl a bit, before Titus throws him back in. Short-arm clothesline to Young, starting with Young on the mat. I call those waterskiing clotheslines. Young fires back with slaps and punches. He tries a cross body from the second turnbuckle, but Titus reverses it into an attempted British Bulldog-style running powerslam. Young slips off and rolls Titus up for the win with a schoolboy.

Darren Young over Titus O’Neil by pinfall via schoolboy cradle.

There are so many wonderful rollups and pinning combinations out there, why does the WWE insist on constantly using the same one, especially when it’s not one that requires great wrestling technique? The wrestling itself was very choppy here, especially for two guys who know each other so well.

The cruiserweight division was announced as coming soon “exclusively” to RAW. Excellent promo.

Seth Rollins came out to talk. He should have been brought back as a face. People want to cheer for him and his ability. Seth said he thought Finn Balor was the Jared Leto to Seth’s Heath Ledger. Five stars for that reference from me. They recapped last week’s confrontation on the TitanTron. The main roster debut of Finn has been handled shockingly well. Seth listed all of Finn’s strengths, but said Seth Rollins is no ordinary man, and that he’d have more gold medals than Michael Phelps if pro wrestling was in the Olympics. Seth explained the etymology of the Finn Balor name, calling him the Demon King. He made fun of it, saying it was like if Seth called himself Rambo Apocalypse. Seth called him disrespectful, and said RAW was his show and his ring. Seth said Finn is arrogant and ignorant, and he’s only won two matches. Seth became furious about Finn saying Seth has been handed things. Seth is doing a good job, but this is too long. He’s losing the crowd a bit. He brought them back slightly by getting them to cheer for him “ending the Roman Empire.” He said he’d beat Finn Balor and threw down the mic.

They showed the announcers. They tried to appear sober and serious, and it wasn’t bad. Anything is better than the fake smiling and laughing they used to do whenever they were on camera. I like them standing, and being a ways away from the ring, like Gorilla and Jesse used to be. I still hate three-man booths though.

We saw a recap of Lesnar and Orton. They’re promoting their SummerSlam match as “15 Years in the Making.” Whatever.

Sheamus came out. I really like his current entrance and music. Cesaro came out to face him. I don’t get the James Bond thing. I like him dressing well though, as he should be world champion of one of the shows. Might as well dress for the part now.

Sheamus with punches and a side headlock takeover. Sheamus with a tackle. Cesaro with a drop down, dropkick, and tope suicida. Cesaro throws him back into the ring. Sheamus cuts him off coming back in. European uppercuts by Sheamus. He went for a vertical suplex, countered into a delayed vertical suplex by Cesaro. Cesaro with a bunch of European uppercuts in the corner. Cesaro crotched as he went up top. Sheamus with a “rolling senton” (steamroller). Sheamus checks to see if his teeth are all still there as we cut to commercial.

Sheamus was in control during the break. He gets a two count, but Cesaro starts to build momentum. Flying body press off the top for 2. He runs into a knee, followed by a Rude Awakening from Sheamus. That’s an underrated move, it was great as a finisher. Cesaro gets him down and goes for the Sharpshooter, but Sheamus kicks him away. “This is awesome” chants, to my surprise. Sheamus hits White Noise for 2. Sheamus up top, but Cesaro runs over with a Euro uppercut. They exchange punches. Cesaro dropkicks him to the outside. Running uppercut on the outside and again on the inside. Sheamus with a cheap shot over the ref. Sheamus with a schoolboy, but the ref was temporarily unavailable. Sheamus complains, and the Swiss Superman rolls him up with something other than a schoolboy for the pin! See, was that so hard?

Cesaro over Sheamus by pinfall via rolling reverse cradle.

We get our hundredth recap of the imaginary 15-year feud between Brock and Randy. I’m assuming they’re just doing this to bring back Randy’s Legend Killer gimmick. Sure enough, they just brought it up. Orton is the last guy I would have given the Brock rub to. They started the video about a match “15 years in the making” by showing events from a month ago. Sigh. Brock was announced as being live in Corpus Christi, Texas next week on RAW.

The Dudley Boyz come out for a match. We’ll find out who Neville has chosen as his partner after the break.

Neville comes out. His partner: Sin Cara. SC comes out in an all-black mask, pants, and boots. Interesting.

The Dudleys pound on Sin Cara to start. Bubba knocks Neville off the apron. Sin Cara with a tope con hilo on Bubba. Back in the ring, SC with a springboard moonsault to a standing Bubba. Sin Cara appears to screw up a spot and ends up getting knocked off the apron. Back in, D-Von hits an elbow drop. Hard Irish whip to the corner. SC bumps. Another one, without the bump. Another, and SC avoids the charge. Hot tag to Neville. Kicks from Neville. Second rope dropkick into a kip up. D-Von accidentally nails Bubba with a clothesline. Enzuigiri and a schoolboy from Neville for 2. Missile dropkick off the top from Neville to D-Von. Red Arrow by Neville for the clean 3. Dissension from the Dudleys? The clothesline spot and the clean loss to a new team/random pairing would suggest something is up.

Neville (O) & Sin Cara over Bubba Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley (X) by pinfall via Red Arrow

Rusev is shown backstage in a grey wedding vest with no shirt, US Title on his shoulder. He’s trying to look his best so he and his bride can share their love with us.

Daniel Bryan was shown backstage.

Rusev’s music fired up, and he came out to stand on the stage. Lana came out to wedding music, looking spectacular in a wedding dress. She didn’t have the Rocky IV lipstick on, thankfully. She said no one in the crowd could come to their wedding, because it’s VIP only. Rusev yelled at the crowd not to disrespect his wife. They were in full heel mode. The crowd is giving them the What treatment. Rusev said Lana is “all mine.” She kissed his bicep. When is Roman jumping out of the cake? They felt like they were stalling. They showed pictures from their wedding on the beach. They came back to loud “boring” chants. Rusev said there were no more pictures, even though he said the crowd wanted “more, more, more.” Lana stumbled over her lines, with her accent fading in and out. Reigns might actually get cheered for ending this segment. Both of them made fun of Americans for being poor. Lana talked about getting coverage on TMZ. I know this segment is supposed to be bad, but this is way too long. Lana said they wrote their own wedding “vowels.” Lana told everyone to get ready to take pictures. Rusev said everyone was booing because they’re all jealous American pigs.

Roman’s music fired up. He actually got a decent reaction, with a few boos. He came out from the regular wrestler entrance.

Once he got to the ring the crowd started booing. He walked incredibly slowly to the ring, pissing off people again. Roman criticized Rusev for not having a best man. He offered to toast them. Rusev said he didn’t need Roman’s stupid toast. Roman said if he won’t accept his toast, he should accept his US Title challenge for SummerSlam. Rusev said no. Roman said if he won’t accept his challenge, he’ll have to listen to his toast. Roman drank some champagne. Roman said thank you. Roman said he’d never seen a marriage between a Bulgarian Sasquatch and a mail-order bride. Roman said to put the beef away. Roman said he was expecting more from Rusev, just like Lana was expecting more on their wedding night. Rusev attacked Roman. He unloaded with shoulders to the gut in the corner and punches. Roman punched Rusev, who accidentally knocked Lana into the cake. She got a bunch of white and red icing all over herself. Roman was satisfied with this and left. His music played. This segment was incredibly clunky and lasted for an eternity.

Backstage after the break, Lana was freaking out. Rusev was yelling at Mick Foley. Foley made Reigns vs. Rusev for the US Title at SummerSlam and said, “Have a nice day. And congratulations.”

The announcers touted the WWE Network for having 6,000 hours of programming.

Sasha Banks came out. She has STAR written all over her. Not literally. What a great gimmick, though. Dana Brooke came out with Charlotte.

Dana takes control to start, but Sasha comes back with the double knees. Dana replies with mounted punches. Sasha gives Dana an arm wringer into the second rope, followed by clotheslines and strikes. Dana with a clothesline. Good bump by Sasha. Repeated 2 counts. Dana slaps her around. Charlotte accidentally hits Dana. Sasha takes out Charlotte. Sasha hits the double knees in the corner for 3. It’s Sasha vs. Charlotte 1 on 1 at SummerSlam, to no one’s surprise.

Sasha Banks over Dana Brooke by pinfall via diving double kneedrop in the corner.

Nia Jax promo video. I miss Kharma. We’re going to learn all about Finn Balor after these words from some sponsors.

Finn gave us all a lesson in Irish mythology. He said Seth would in fact face the Demon King.

The Club did a WWE skit as doctors. They made fun of Big E by talking about a condition called ringpostitis. They did a bunch of testicle puns. It was actually funnier than most similar sketches. Gallows & Anderson had excellent delivery. WWE should let them talk more.

It’s a new day, yes it is. Kofi and Xavier came out with all of their collateral. The Club came out with their lab coats on. The New Day has held the WWE tag titles for 351 days. They announced Demolition held the “world” tag titles for 478 days, pretending these were different titles. Weird.

Anderson took out Woods outside the ring. Gallows with a fireman’s carry flapjack on Kofi for the win in 90 seconds. What? The Club tried to give Kofi ringpostitis. Xavier made the save with a chair.

Luke Gallows over Kofi Kingston by pinfall via fireman’s carry flapjack.

Earlier today, Goldust was looking for R-Truth outside. He found him in Scooby Doo’s van. This segment was unwatchable. If I was in charge of WWE, the first thing I’d do is fire R-Truth and Summer Rae. Mick Foley came out as we went to break.

Foley chants. “That wedding was fresh,” he said. He introduced Daniel Bryan. He came out to a fantastic ovation. DB said Foley has been doing a great job. Foley said DB is not only doing a great job as GM, but he and Mauro Ranallo are also doing a great job announcing the Cruiserweight Classic. DB tried to promote Smackdown Live, but Foley cut him off. Mick apologized for Brock. DB apologized for Orton, but clearly enjoyed talking about Orton attacking Lesnar. Foley showed a clip of Bryan making fun of RAW. Foley made the mood get a lot more serious by criticizing Bryan. Rusev’s music hit.

Rusev came out and said Mick Foley is the best GM ever. DB called Rusev on sucking up. Rusev said he’d crush DB like the “Smackdown Live bug you are.” Cesaro came out in a suit.

Cesaro said he wanted a title shot. He said he thought Foley was a man of his word. DB said Cesaro is being completely underutilized on RAW. Foley made an impromptu US Title match for right now. Or after ads. Ads are so weird when everyone is used to watching everything via either streaming or PVR these days. Man this show has a lot of ads.

Rusev demanded he be announced first for some reason. I hate when the champion is announced first. Euro uppercut train right off the bat. Cesaro goes for the Cesaro Swing but Rusev makes the ropes. Cannonball off the apron. Cesaro goes for the Gotch Neutralizer but it’s blocked. Catapult from Rusev, but Cesaro lands on his feet on the second rope. He can’t mount anything though, and Rusev takes over by throwing him left shoulder-first into the ring post multiple times. Then he whips Cesaro’s right arm into the post. Then he whips Cesaro’s left arm into the apron edge. Interesting. Martial arts-style hip toss. Shoulder tackle. Stomp to the face. Kneeling Kimura used as a rest hold (?). One-arm body slam from Cesaro. Excellent power. Cesaro goes for the Cesaro Swing, can’t get it, so he hits a double stomp instead. European uppercuts in the corner. The crowd counts ten of them. Tornado DDT by Cesaro, 2 count. Elevated knee to the gut from Rusev, kick to the head, 2 count. Stomp to the back. Accolade. Cesaro fighting out. Electric chair drop from Cesaro. Rusev jumped hard to help him. They trade strikes back and forth. Beautiful springboard corkscrew European uppercut by Cesaro. Cesaro Swing. Sharpshooter.

Sheamus runs out. Cesaro releases the hold to knock Sheamus off the apron. Superkick from Rusev. Great nearfall. Ref bump. Gotch Neutralizer. No ref. Cesaro wakes him up and gets 2. Thumb to the eye from Rusev. Cheap shot from Sheamus on the outside. Kick to the back of the head by Rusev for the win.

Rusev over Cesaro by pinfall via roundhouse kick. Rusev retains the US Title.

Rusev walks away from the ring backwards with his belt. Massive spear by Roman Reigns, running all the way down the ramp and nailing Rusev at the bottom. Good spot.

Three hours is a long time for a wrestling TV show. They should really reduce it to two. Five hours in two days every week is crazy. On PPV weeks we’re talking eight hours in three days. Sheesh.

It strikes me that the WWE hasn’t had this many over acts in a long time, especially babyface ones. NXT is vital to this possible new peak period in wrestling that I feel is coming, or possibly already here. Vince’s old ideas are clearly losing influence, especially in the successful acts and segments. Nothing could be better for the wrestling industry.


 

C-Flo Tackles Duck Face

“The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.”

–Fred Astaire

You’re a little girl, or you think you’re a little girl, or you wish you were a little girl, or you’re really self-conscious about how old you’re getting and you’re desperate to feel young and fresh. Regardless of which of these maladies you suffer from, let me assure you it’s impossible for making an infantile kissy face to enhance your sex appeal.

“Oh C-Flo, they’re just having fun,” you may be saying. No, they’re overcompensating for the pandemic of insecurity sweeping the globe. Look, if you’re actually a little girl, then do whatever you want. If you’re trying to be sexy, you’re doing it wrong. Severely wrong. You’re advertising to the whole world that you’re not emotionally ready for a serious relationship, you’re an airhead practice girl for douchebags.

There are consequences to your actions. We live in an era that favours litigation and blame over responsibility and accountability. But, any quality guy I know laughs and disregards a “woman” as soon as she’s guilty of this facially-contorted trespass into the hinterland of random bimbos. Young, old, I’ve seen every demographic guilty at one time or another, except the confident and well-adjusted.

It’s tough being a woman. The media places unrealistic ideals on you. And the message isn’t even consistent. Supermodels are bony, but porn stars are busty and bootylicious. But you can’t be fat! Even though women have a greater propensity for fat accumulation, and they’re the gender that has children, and they have all the estrogen, and big tits are just a big pile of gristly fat unless you’re paying your hard-earned money for them.

It’s each woman’s job to sort through all the bullshit. Work with what you’ve got. You’re at least fortunate to be able to have unlimited clothing types and makeup tricks at your disposal, which ugly guys simply don’t have available. Or, don’t give a fuck about what anyone thinks and just do whatever you want. As long as you’re confident, and you’re proud of who you are, and you love yourself. Not in a narcissistic way of course, but self-loathing is devouring our society like Pac-Man. If you sincerely, genuinely love who you are, then you’re set. Ignore what the media tells you to like, especially the mainstream media. There are bands, songs, facts, hobbies, movies, shows, and documentaries out there that will never make the Billboard Hot 100 or win an Oscar or a Grammy. You are unique and beautiful and awesome and you may just need to decontaminate yourself from the pollution of mainstream cookie cutter interests. So, what’s your first line of defence?

A smile. A smile. A smile. The power of your smile simply cannot be measured. When people insult your looks, or tease you, or make fun of you, or bully you, or question why you’re not into whatever cool thing other people are into, stare them dead in the eyes with a big smile on your face. It’ll really throw them off. When you’re smiling confidently at someone, you take away all of their power. What are they going to do? Nothing, that’s what. Look at them with amusement and pity. Know that they’re a quivering mass of insecurity, and they derive the little bit of comfort in their lives from blending in with a homogenous majority. You are better than them.

Do you see why I hate duck face so much, more profoundly than a simple visceral hatred? It replaces your number one tool for confidence and beauty with a vacuous pantomime that betrays you as ugly and immature. It aligns perfectly with the culture of entitlement kids are growing up with, in that they don’t even need to do anything that takes an ounce of effort, ever. You can’t do a duck face incorrectly; however, you could theoretically have a goofy smile that people might call you out on! The horror! The obsession with not doing anything that could make you stand out, or leave you susceptible to ridicule, is killing you.

Parents who run kids’ soccer leagues and don’t keep score are severely damaging our youth. Today we have the phenomenon of parents blaming teachers instead of their kids when the kids screw up. Suffice it to say, it happens, and it’s the reason that a simple children’s soccer game can’t keep score anymore. I highly recommend Sebastian Maniscalco’s stand-up comedy masterpiece What’s Wrong With People? for some excellent insight on this issue. The point is, unscored soccer games and giving every kid a passing grade and all of this new age garbage just teaches kids that there are no consequences to anything. How can we expect them to work hard and use condoms and drive sober when you’ve told them they’re invincible? How can we expect them to savour life when they realize that the sports and schools you put them in were just going through the motions and killing time? How can we expect them to sense danger when they’ve never been exposed to risk?

Duck face is a symptom of today’s society. It is a manifestation of the lack of security, confidence, and accountability that afflicts today’s young people. It is a way to sluff off responsibility for presenting yourself to the world in a manner which is best for you and best for building a better society. Ladies: We need you at your best.

Fuck the duck.