Diablo 3 Reaper of Soul – Thoughts

I was a huge Diablo 2 fan. In fact, I don’t think I’ve installed a game more times than I did with Diablo 2. It was just one of those games that after having not played it for a year, I could throw it on a computer and play it again for a couple of months. One of the first things I did anytime I came across a shitty lap top was to ask “But can it play Diablo 2?”. If it couldn’t, I wanted nothing to do with it.

I loved Diablo for several reasons:

– The thrill of looking for kick ass loot (My friend traded for a HoZ one night, and I hadn’t gotten one yet, and I didn’t talk to him for 8 hours. I took that shit seriously. If you know what a HoZ is, then we can be friends, by the way.)

– Being a bad ass, mowing down demons and undead and cows left and right. A Javazon tearing up Cows in the Cow level, man, that was one of the best things ever. Until you saw lightning come out of the Cow King, then you got the eff out of there.

– Finding gear that looked cool. Phase swords, I loved them.

– Testing out new builds and seeing if I could find a new way to make a kick ass character. Or testing out proven builds and just dominating with them. I loved my Hammerdin. Loved him. I can still hear the *whomp whomp whomp* of his hammers…

So it’s safe to say I was excited when I heard Diablo 3 was finally coming. When Diablo 3 finally arrived, and I played it (a week after release, as the servers were down most of the time), I was underwhelmed. I was underwhelmed, and that quickly turned to annoyance, which quickly turned into anger.

There are many reasons I hated Diablo 3 (itemization, gear wall, burst damage was too high, gear was more important than skills, forced story mode and not being able to switch between acts, Act 2, the monsters that shot bees out of their mouths, the AH item balancing, the legendary drop rate, etc), but the main reason I hated Diablo 3 was because it felt like it was made to spite the memory of Diablo 2. The spirit of Diablo 2 was nowhere to be found in Diablo 3.

One of the main things I remember when reading Jay Wilson on the forums, was how actively he and his team wanted to let you know what “fun” was, and how you were wrong about enjoying Diablo 2. There were countless comments of “Well we didn’t think this was very fun” to explain some game design decision they made, or when someone would ask why a Diablo 2 feature wasn’t in the game, they would tell you your memory of Diablo 2 wasn’t correct, and that that feature wasn’t very…..”fun”. You liked boss farming? Sorry, you’re wrong, that wasn’t fun. You enjoy overpowered builds? Nope, sorry, that isn’t fun, that’s gone now. You like putting your own stats into your character? Nah, that wasn’t fun, it was tedious. You basically got told you were an idiot for ever enjoying Diablo 2.

On one hand, I understand a team wanting to put their stamp on things. You’re taking on a giant IP, you want to make your mark, but at the end of the day, you have to respect the source. It would be like if JJ Abrams made a new Star Wars movie but took out lightsabres and replaced them with a neon green golf club, because you were wrong about thinking lightsabres were fun, that lightsabres were too overpowered anyways.

So Diablo 3 just chipped away at Diablo 2 features until eventually we got something that didn’t resemble the Diablo franchise at all. It was so bad that even things like elemental damage effects, a staple of any game, much less Diablo 2, was taken out of the game. Diablo 3 ended up feeling like World of Warcraft had more influence on it then Diablo 2 did. A prime example of this would be that “kiting” became a term used in Diablo. I never want to hear kiting being used in Diablo. Yes, if you’re fighting a hard mob, sure, run around a bit, keep moving. But in Diablo 3 release, you were spending five minutes running around a god damn map, trying to take down three monsters. You went from destroying crowds of enemies and feeling like a bad ass in Diablo 2, to running around screaming as you tried to avoid being killed by three monsters. It was deflating.

Diablo under Jay Wilson has too many frustrating moments to recount, (How did they decide to implement the hardest game mode? They got a version of the game where there testers couldn’t finish it, then they “doubled” the difficulty without further testing it, then released it. “And then we double it” became an internet meme for quite a while.) but the end result was they came across as a team that hated being in the shadow of Diablo 2. Things came to a head one day when David Brevik, a co-founder of Diablo 2 maker Blizzard North, gave an interview where he politely critiqued Diablo 3, and Jay Wilson responded by saying “Fuck that loser.”

http://www.gamebreaker.tv/pc-games/that-loser/

Obviously if you have spent a lot of time on a game, you will probably be defensive if you view someone as attacking it. However, it just further pushed the idea that instead of learning from Diablo 2, instead of using mistakes and successes learned from Diablo 2, the dev team for Diablo 3 was intent upon making their own mark on the gaming world, and when it fell flat, they didn’t respond by fixing it, they responded by digging their heels in and defending their vision. Instead of fixing mistakes, they would defend themselves by talking about how many copies of Diablo 3 they sold. Well I’m sorry, the Diablo 2 IP was so strong, I could have taken a shit in a box and put it on shelves, and I would have made a lot of money. “New items in Diablo 3: The poop sword!”

The fact the player base dwindled rapidly in the months after release showed more about the state of the game than the fact they sold a lot of copies on release.

This brings me to today, and the state of Diablo 3 now that Reaper of Souls has been released. Jay Wilson is gone, and now Josh Mosqueira is leading the charge and my initial thoughts on Diablo 3: RoS?

Fuck yeah.

It feels like the game Diablo 3 should have been ON release. Are there flaws? Yes. Can there be improvements? Of course. But the base game is finally fun, and it finally feels like a Diablo game. Things that are awesome:

– The mystic lets you transmogify your gear. What this means is you can make your gear look like any other gear you’ve found. This not only makes finding legendaries even more fun (that flaming sword of flaming death and flaming destruction that has shitty stats but looks amazing? Now you can make your sword you actually use look just like it), but you can now build a character that looks amazing. I went from looking like a homeless man wearing clothes I found at Value Village, to a red skull wearing, spike shoulder having, flaming bow and arrow wielding ass kicker.

– Act V is sublime. From the atmosphere, to the music, to the settings, it feels much more dark and demonic. It’s honestly amazing how much better Act V is compared to all of the first four Acts.

– Boss fights are actually fun. I had more fun fighting the first boss in Act V then I did in any of the boss fights in Acts 1-4. It felt like an epic fight, one where you needed a smoke and a beer afterwards.

– Little things, like having the teleporters in Diablo 2 making a re-appearance in Pandemonium in Act V (another D2 area that looks amazing in D3), or searching through four different caverns looking for the one with the right symbol outside of it, a la Tal Rasha in Diablo 2, made it seem far more like this team gave a wink and a nod to Diablo 2 memories, rather than kicking Diablo 2 in the nuts and spitting on it. Jay Wilson killed off Cain,an icon of the series (“Stay a while, and listen!”), and didn’t even kill him off in an epic send off kind of way. He was killed by a god damn butterfly.

– Adventure Mode makes grinding in the game so much better. It lets you teleport to any of the acts, and it sets random bounties for you to complete. So instead of just grinding out a story line mode, you now get a bounty to go kill a named monster, or maybe clear out a cave, or do a cursed chest event. It keeps things fresh and makes those late night grinding sessions, looking for materials, way more palatable.

– Nephalem Rifts (you open them by using items you get for completing bounties) create randomized levels for you to complete. This means you can end up in an Act 2 area with randomized monsters, or maybe you’ll hit up the level that has 12 treasure goblins running around.

– Whimsyshire, the secret level from Diablo 3, was garbage. It was made in response to people saying Diablo 3 looked to bright and not dark enough (again, the MO of that original team seemed much more of a sarcastic response to the fans then “we’re listening to you” response). The cow level in Diablo 2 was fun because it was packed with monsters you could mow down, and it helped you power level. Again, the Cow Level is huge in Diablo 2 history but it was kind of ignored originally. Well now one of the Nephalem rifts you run into might be filled with cows. It doesn’t happen often, but just the fact you can run into a pseudo cow level is another nice nod to Diablo 2.

As I said, there are some problems. Right now, half the items are bound to your account (you can’t even trade gems, that is just pointless). The theory is that this stops third party sites from selling shit and making money off of Diablo, and that it makes it more rewarding to find your own gear. The problem with this, is that I like to give gear to my friends or help them out with materials, and currently, they are out of luck. The only way they can get an item from me is if they were playing with me when the item dropped, and even then, I only have a two hour window to give it to them. This is frustrating because last night I found an amazing Wizard item, but I can’t give it to my buddy, because it’s account bound. I hope they allow people in clans to trade freely, because as it stands now, it’s too restrictive.

A lot of the legendaries don’t feel very legendary, but again, that is something that they can improve by releasing more unique proccing legendaries down the line. It is deflating to find a legendary only to find out it’s just some shitty belt, but Diablo 2 had it’s share of useless legendaries as well.

That being said, the game finally feels like Diablo, and it is run by a team that you feel will do the Diablo name justice. I had more fun in one night of the expansion than I did in my entire time playing Diablo on release. It’s too soon to be able to tell how much longevity the end game has, and whether the items you try and craft and find will even be worth it, but for now, the fact I am back on master difficulty and I have to work my way up to Torment again, has me excited about building up my gear again in Adventure Mode (the games difficulty ramps up quick quickly once you hit level 65).

As I said, it’s a shame it took this long and an expansion pack to give fans a game that should have been presented on release, but at least they are heading in the right direction. Since it’s Blizzard, you know more expansion packs are coming, so I am excited to see where this team takes the game next.

 

 

 

 

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Thoughts on The Bachelor

OK, so fair warning, I completely understand that complaining about reality TV is akin to complaining about the level of service you received at your 2am drunken McDonald’s dinner, so I am fully aware that this may seem ridiculous, but I have to get this off my chest.

The host of the Bachelor, Chris Harrison, is a stupid dumb piece of shit.

Before this season of the Bachelor, I had never seen it (during this season I went back and watched a couple of old ones, however). It was in that group of TV shows that I knew was popular but I had never really gotten around to watching, much like Big Brother. This season, however, I decided to try it out because I kept seeing people talk about some dude named Juan Pablo.

For those who don’t watch the show, the basic premise is they bring in an eligible bachelor (he must be TV pretty, unless he’s English), and they bring in 25-30 eligible bachelorettes, and over the course of 10 weeks, the guy must whittle his way through the women to find his one true love. The season is supposed to end with him proposing to his lady of choice. Along the way there are dates, group dates, and eventually, when you get to the final three ladies, you get the Fantasy Suite night, which is a night alone without cameras. They hint and *wink wink nudge nudge* you letting you know they are probably banging each other on those nights, but they never openly say “Well now our bachelor is going to enjoy the lady bits of the final three, to see if they’re good enough in the sack.”

So as you can tell, it’s a silly reality show, with a silly premise, and I get that.

The thing I don’t get, is how Chris Harrison can go to bed at night and say to himself “Chris, you did a good job tonight. You’re the man now, dog.”

Why are you so riled up Wyatt, you might be asking, well let me tell you why.

On this season of the Bachelor, Juan Pablo presented himself as someone who is always honest, who always says what’s on his mind. This leads to him coming off rude at times, but his motto was always “I am honest”. So ok, sounds good. As a result of this, Juan Pablo never really tells any of the ladies on the show that he loves them. This is honest. Compare this to Bachelor Jake Pavelka, who said he loved all three final ladies. Yes, 8 weeks with after whittling it down to three, poor old Jake just loved himself all three ladies. Juan Pablo not saying I love to anyone, seems a far better situation then telling three ladies you love them, knowing that you are sending two of them home soon.

So with that in mind, Juan Pablo makes his choice, he chooses this Nikki girl, except he doesn’t propose to her. He instead asks her to keep dating him so they can get to know each other better, and see if they really are a match. “That’s reasonable” I said to myself.

Nope, not according to ol’ Chris Harrison. On the “After the Rose” show, which is basically the last show of the season where they show off the winning couple, Chris Harrison laid into Juan Pablo for not saying he loved Nikki. He asked Nikki if she loved Juan Pablo, and she said yes, she did. She pretty much had to say this at this point since she stated it on the show already. But when Pablo refused to say he loved her, Chris apparently lost his mind.

What followed was basically 20 minutes of Chris trying to find a new way to ask Juan if he loved Nikki.

“Do you love Nikki?”

“If you were a chocolate bar, would it be a chocolate bar that loved Nikki?”

“What rhymes with dove? What happens when you remove the ‘g’ from ‘glove’?”

“If I held a gun to your head and said I’d kill you if you don’t tell Nikki you love her, would you say you love her?”

Juan Pablo’s defense was that now that the cameras were off, it was real life for him. It was time to see if he and Nikki were really compatible, and that his feelings for her were now a private thing. You would have thought Juan Pablo shit in Harrison’s breakfast when he said that. “But it’s a public show” cried Harrison. The people have a right to know what’s going on!

So Chris just went after it over and over again. Making snide comments, and rolling his eyes to the crowd (who ate it up, kudos to them for vilifying Juan Pablo). I legitimately felt bad for Nikki, as she had to sit there as Chris repeatedly tried to demand that Juan Pablo declared his love for her.

Things got worse, when the Bachelor’s latest success story, some dude named Sean (I never saw his season), was there with the girl he picked, and married, and Sean basically told Juan Pablo he owed it to the public to tell them his feelings. Then Sean made several “I’m better than Juan Pablo” type statements, hidden under the guise of “I’m just a different kind of guy, I suppose.” The only thing missing was him snapping two suspenders while he said it. Sean then went to twitter to let people know, seriously, Juan Pablo owes it to the fans.

Sean Lowe ‏@SeanLowe09 22h
However, as the bachelor you can’t say I want to keep my feelings private. You owe it to the fans and network to open up. That’s the job.

I was amazed Sean was able to type with Chris Harrison’s dick in his mouth. Oh, wait, is that too harsh?

Lastly, disrespecting the nicest guy in show business @chrisbharrison should be a crime. That’s my take. Wish them nothing but happiness

Nope, spot on. And when he says disrespecting Chris, he means Juan Pablo told Chris not to interrupt him twice. That was the extent of the villainous Juan Pablo.

And therein lies my problem with the show. It’s not that I think Juan Pablo is the best guy ever. I am sure there is a high chance he went into this show thinking it would be a good way to get on TV, and to hang out with some hot chicks. He definitely loves himself and thinks he can escape any situation using his charm, and he definitely doesn’t like it when his charm doesn’t work. That being said, I am sure many of the female contestants go on the show with the same thing in mind, that it gives them a chance to get on TV, go on some trips to other countries, and possibly find some dude to marry. Juan Pablo could have banged people on the show left and right, I really don’t care.

What I find maddening is Chris Harrison’s weird fucking stance that the show stands for true love. As if the show is some shining beacon of what love is meant to be. As if every girl wakes up thinking “You know what, I’ve always dreamt of the day that I could beat out 24 other girls over a 10 week period and get married to some dude who probably slept with two of the girls I was living with. That’s what I want….”

That’s what made it seem like Chris was such disingenuous prick. He was acting like Juan Pablo was some sort of asshole because he didn’t claim to have fallen in love. Like it was a slap in the face to the show and the fans because he didn’t claim he loved someone after the Bachelor process. It had a very “Stepford Wives” feel to it, with Harrison getting angrier and angrier when Pablo wouldn’t play by the Bachelor rules of “SAY YOU LOVE HER OR DIE”. Take this analogy one step further, in the other season of the Bachelor I saw, a returning Brad Womack was the Bachelor of choice. Apparently Brad chose neither girl in his first go around (which again, I am sure Harrison must have lost his shit over), but upon his triumphant return, he assured everyone that he had been in therapy for years to work on his trust issues. That he was now “taking it seriously” this time around. It was as if there was no WAY the Bachelor premise could have failed, true love is always on the show, the problem if true love isn’t found therefore must be with the Bachelor or Bachelorette. It doesn’t matter if Brad did the right thing the first time if he didn’t feel love for the girls (unless you enjoy a guy lying to you about loving you), no no, Brad must have been the problem and must be vilified. With Brad’s reconditioning done, he was allowed back on the show again to try the Bachelor process once more (shock of shocks, that relationship didn’t last.)

The thing is, the Bachelor relationships usually always fail. Go to any Safeway and look at a magazine and you’ll usually see “Recent Bachelor/Bachellorette says it’s over!”. You know why? Because the show is fucking stupid and unnatural. It is not a good way to meet somebody. It’s not a good way to fall in love. Even the odds alone, if you are randomly given 25 people, do you think the odds are good you’ll find someone you can start a life with? What in the fuck Chris? Fucking idiot.

Nikki even said it herself, that it wasn’t a very natural situation, so now that the show is over, and everyone knows they’re dating, they can find out if they have something real on their hands. Which seems a far more honest answer then some dude getting engaged at the end of it, both of them pretending on the final show like life is so fucking amazing, then breaking up 2 months later.

And again, I get it. Chris is doing his job trying to over sell the show. Fine. I just think he could do the same thing without coming off like a sanctimonious pile of shit. Want Chris’ take on it?

There’s really no other way to put this: Your conversation with Nikki and Juan Pablo was painful to watch. How awkward was it in person?

I wasn’t harping on him so much to make him say “I love you,” that’s kind of irrelevant to me. It was just, things weren’t adding up and it was just bizarre. Their body language was telling me one thing and his words were telling me another. It was him. She wasn’t allowed or able to speak her mind. I almost felt sorry for her. She was uncomfortable. He was making her uncomfortable, and I assume, I’m hoping at least, it was just an orchestrated event by him to somehow and in some way, get back at me or the show, I don’t know what his motivation was for what he pulled last night. That was the most puzzling thing. I really felt like I was sitting here, like Jerry Maguire, saying, “Help me help you. I’m trying to make you look better. Come up with an articulate thought about this woman next to you who has pledged her devotion to you.” The more he spoke, the worse he looked. I felt bad for both of them.

(http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/chris-harrison-bachelor-finale-juan-pablo-spoke-worse/story?id=22863497)

SHE WAS UNCOMFORTABLE BECAUSE YOU KEPT ASKING THE SAME FUCKING QUESTION. And what the fuck?? Juan Pablo orchestrated the event? To get back at you and the show???

“Baby, I really hate that show, so here’s what we’re going to do. I love you baby, you know that, but I don’t want THEM to know that. So on the show, I’ll refuse to say I love you, and then you shouldn’t talk much. That will TOTALLY show those assholes.”

THAT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.

Also, how were you trying to make him look better? By rolling your eyes? By making pointed remarks to the dude who speaks English as a second language and probably doesn’t get half of the context of your jabs? How is any of this done to help him out?

Fuck off, Chris Harrison.

Anyways, that’s my rant, I just had to get it out. I know it’s stupid to get this riled up over a TV show, but man alive, that final show just got me going, and since this website is for all 4 of you who read it (hopefully one of you four watches the Bachelor), it puts my mind at ease to get my thoughts out in writing, instead of screaming in my head all night.

Fucking Chris Harrison.

Transcript from Mike Gillis’ phone conversation with Francesco Aquilini

Canucks Nation was a bit on edge after last night’s stunning loss to the Islanders (Remember? Remember when Vancouver gave up seven goals in one period?), and with rumors of Gillis wanting Torts gone, and with people wondering if ownership would ever fire Gillis, Dreger dropped this nugget of info to twitter:

blake price

 

This of course led to immediate speculation. Was Gillis being fired? Was Gillis making a case to fire Torts? Was Gillis just taking a time out to have a good cry? Well luckily for you, I have an insider who acquired  the transcript of today’s phone call between Gillis and Aquilini, and I don’t mind saying, it’s deadly accurate. DEADLY ACCURATE. So what went down? Read below to find out…

—————————————-

Francesco Aquilini: Aqua man, aqua man, does whatever an aquaman can….shooting water, helps hydrate, sometimes he makes your period late…..look out, here comes the aqua man!

Mike Gillis: Er, Mr. Aquilini?

FA: Oh, sorry Mike, didn’t realize you were dialed in. Pretty good though, right?

MG: I’m sorry, what? What was good?

FA: The song! I’m thinking of buying a movie company and making Aquilini movies a thing! Picture this, I re-create movies already done, except I re-name the main character Francesco. THINK ABOUT IT. The movies were already a success, so people will watch it again, except this time I’M THE MAIN CHARACTER. Wolf of Wall Street? More like Francesco of Wall Street!

MG: I don’t….what?

FA: Yeah you’re right. So what’s up Mike?

MG: I just wanted to talk to you about Tortorella-

FA: Who?

MG: John Tortorella….

FA: Sounds familiar…

MG: He coaches the Canucks

FA: OH! TORTS! THE FONZ! Love that guy. Name sounds like a pop tart. Pop tart. Pop. Pop. POP. WOAH! Saying pop sounds like the noise pop makes! That just blew my mind. Picture this: Pop Tarts, but instead, we call them Pop Torts, and it has a picture of Torts’ face on them. Who wouldn’t want Torts in their mouth??

MG: Your wording of that last sentence-

FA: Picture this: It’s the movie Hercules, except we call it Francescules-

MG: MR AQUILINI! If I could just ask you to focus for a minute here, I really need to talk to you about the coach. The thing is, I didn’t think he was a fit when you wanted us to hire him in the first place, and I remain convinced he is still a poor fit for the team now. This season has shown us that his style just doesn’t work with our current roster-

FA: Aqua maaaaaaaaaaaan. Here comes the aqua man!

MG: Uh, did you hear what I said Mr. Aquilini?

FA: Sorry, I blanked out there. We were talking about re-doing the Harry Potter movies, right? Franceso Potter, the boy wizard who fights back against evil and wins the day! Imagine the money. Hey, did I show you the new tattoo I got?

MG: What, I don’t-

FA: Isn’t that tattoo awesome? It used to be a tattoo of a Stanley Cup, but then I got it turned into a picture of me as the Hulk.

MG: You know I can’t see anything, we’re on a phone-

FA: Picture this: We invent phones that have video capability, and we call it Francesco Time, and people can only see my face when they talk.

MG: Why would anybody want that, THAT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE-

FA:  Woah, Mikey, relax, calm down, have some wine, do you want some wine? I have some wine for you. Well, the ex got the wine in the settlement, but I have some grape juice I added rubbing alcohol to-

MG: PLEASE. LET. ME. FIRE. TORTORELLA.

FA: Who is that again?

*click*

 

WWE Raw March 3rd Thoughts

The best…..in the world.

This weeks Raw took place in Chicago, hometown of CM Punk, whose status is currently up in the air after he walked out on the company several weeks ago. Leading up to the show many people were wondering what the WWE was going to do. The WWE has done their best to try and quell CM Punk chants at shows (and remove signs supporting him) as well as doing anything to quell support for certain guys (Dolph Ziggler chants were supposedly edited out of Raw replays on the WWE network) but in the always vocal city of Chicago, I am sure many in the WWE were nervous about how it would go. The crowds have been “hi-jacking” matches more and more lately, and there was even a twitter movement to hi-jack the entire show in support of CM Punk.

Then mysteriously a rumor hit that CM Punk was indeed going to be back at the show. The cynic in me thought this wasn’t going to happen for two reasons:

1) The WWE has already capitulated to CM Punk once before, back in the infamous match against John Cena in Chicago a couple years back. At the last minute they managed to sign CM Punk to a new contract. If the WWE folded this time, it just feels like they are setting the stage for any top star to walk out and get his/her way whenever they want. The WWE rarely bows down like that, so for that alone, I assumed Punk wouldn’t be back.

2) Knowing the crowd might hi-jack the match, they might as well try and lighten the impact of the no-show by putting it out there that Punk might show up. That way people might not be as angry about no Punk yet, as they might be waiting for him to show up. The Chicago crowd is very internet savvy, so if a rumor hit the web, they would know about it.

That being said, the show started with CM Punk’s music, except instead of Punk coming out it was Paul Heyman. Heyman came out and at first got the crowd to chant on Punk and played along like he was supporting him, but then promoed about how it was the crowds fault Punk wasn’t there, because they caused Punk and Heyman to break up. That without Heyman by Punk’s side, it basically caused him to spiral downwards so badly that he eventually burned out. Punk then led that promo into blaming Undertaker as well, because it was after the match against Undertaker that Punk’s “spiral” began. Then he brought out Brock Lesnar. Lesnar actually cut a decent promo about ending the Taker’s streak.

Thoughts:

It was actually probably the best way to handle no CM Punk at the show. Play his music, get Heyman to chant Punk’s name, basically try and get the crowd to blow it’s load on chanting for Punk. Heyman is also good enough on the mic to try and tie in that energy and distract from the fact Punk isn’t there, by leading it into the Taker vs Lesnar feud. Smart smart smart.

Since Taker wasn’t at the show, they needed something for Lesnar to do to build up some momentum. So what do you do in these situations? Feed him Mark Henry. Out came Henry and Brock Lesnar proceeded to F-5 Mark Henry through a table.

I don’t know what it is, but I can watch Lesnar throw shit around all day long. Every time he throws objects he does it without regards for anyone’s safety. I swear to god, one day he is going to injure a fan for real with the way he throws shit. He is the Daniel Day Lewis of wrestling, the dude goes so method that he forgets it’s fake. Seriously, at one point he threw a TV monitor and it almost bounced over the guard rail. I await the day we see the headline “Brock Lesnar decapitates fan with steel stairs”. 

UPDATE: It looks like Brock hit someone tonight with a monitor after all!

I also like it when Brock screams in his high pitched voice and sounds like a raptor, but he didn’t do much of that. Still, it got the point across that Lesnar is strong, as that F5 was fun to watch. I wish he was beating up someone else to build momentum, since it doesn’t feel like a big deal that he beat up Mark Henry again (he “broke” his arm last time, so an F5 through a table even feels like a downgrade), but it will do the trick I suppose. I just think at this point, story line wise, Mark Henry really should just stop trying to attack Brock Lesnar. It’s not working man. Move on.

New Age Outlaws vs Usos (Usos win titles)

I’ve been confused by the NAO’s title reign this entire time. They won the titles on a pre-show, and tonight, they lost the titles to the Usos on a Raw. I guess the theory could be that it’s pushing the idea that you should always be watching WWE on any medium, just in case a title change happens, but still….If the NAO was brought in to help elevate talent, why not have a good feud happen, where the NAO did a bunch of mean things out of the ring? Build up that feud momentum then have the Usos win at a PPV? As it stands now, the Usos have a short time to try and put together an interesting feud for Wrestlemania.

Anyways, the one good thing about the match was that before it started was that Road Dogg was setting up to do his usual pre-match speech, but told the crowd they weren’t good enough to hear him do his shtick. This was good, this set the stage for NAO being viewed as the heels, which they haven’t done at all, really, their entire title reign.

Regardless, the crowd got really behind the Usos and cheered them on very loudly the entire match. It’s also good the Usos have the titles, as I am interested to see which heel team they feud against next.

Big E vs Cesaro (Big E wins via DQ due to Jack Swagger attacking Big E)

Cesaro was VERY popular with the Chicago crowd, and Big E was getting bood. It was a very short match, with Cesaro getting off one of his vaunted “feats of strength” when he handled Big E like a bag of rice, before getting off his Cesaro swing. Then Jack Swagger did his DQ finish from last week, then Big E hit Cesaro with his “Big Ending” to end the segment.

I was disappointed Cesaro didn’t get more time, because his rise in popularity is fun to watch. As I’ve said before, he was viewed as someone the WWE couldn’t bank on, so it’s nice to see him proving them wrong. The spots where he shows off his raw strength are really fun to watch and really get the crowd pumped up.

They also continue to tease the Wrestlemania match between Cesaro and Swagger that will officially split up the Real Americans, but they haven’t attacked each other yet….or did they?

The Shield vs The Wyatts (Wyatt’s win)

Seriously, this is the hottest act on any card right now. It works best when it’s 3 on 3, because after watching Reigns vs Wyatt in a singles match, you truly realize how much Seth Rollins can add to a match. Reigns does the power spots, Seth Rollins hits the high spots, then Ambrose does the crazy spots that add personality to the match. The Wyatt’s work really good as a bunch of big strong thugs and all wrestle a stiff style that makes them believable.

The match was the best on the night, the crowd was really into it. The Wyatt’s of course won, as they not only have my name, but because they need to keep teasing the Shield break up. It saddens me they couldn’t have a huge back forth feud with the Shield and Wyatt’s trading wins back and forth, but I will take what I can get from these two.

The match was interesting in that Ambrose was getting beat up, playing the role of the guy looking for the “hot tag” but when he went for it, Seth Rollins walked away. Seth Rollins then was overheard telling Reigns that he’s tired of being the glue, and for Reigns and Ambrose to work it out in the ring. They obviously couldn’t over come the Wyatt’s, and once again it showcased how dissension in the Shield is costing them wins.

I liked this more than them doing yet another “Ambrose costs them a match via DQ” so kudos to the writers for coming up with a better way of continuing the slow burn of the Shield break up.

Of course, after that match, who would want to go next? The worst match in the world to follow up with lately has been Shield vs Wyatt’s, so of course we get…

A Batista promo?

Yeah. Batista gave a backstage promo about him being a real super tough guy and how Daniel Bryan and others just aren’t believable as champions. It was a decent promo (for Batista) and of course it helps because Batista does believe that the current WWE product isn’t as good as it used to be. It is a lot easier for guys to do promos when it involves the people being true to themselves and saying things they believe.

Santino and Emma vs Fandango and Summer Rae (Emma and Santino win)

I hate Emma.

How many times are we going to see some variation of Fandango Santino Emma and Summer Rae matches?? “It’s been three months of matches Vince…please….let us stop…..” “NO. The crowd wants more!” “No, Vince, seriously….” It’s like the first ever 18727 out of 638192 series. Ugh.

Also, I’m sorry, but I just can’t get on board with her. The best part was the crowd just didn’t give a shit about this match. After the match, Santino and Emma did their comedy routine of bumbling around the ring and the crowd just booed. Music to my ears.

As for the match itself, it was basically watching Emma act like a fucktard trying to showcase offense that involved her stupid dumb fucking dance. The worst part is she actually looks like she can wrestle, but it gets lost in her trying to shove her gimmick down my throat. “Emmapunches! Emmakicks! EmmeSHUTTHEFUCKUP”.

Seriously, Santino was bad enough, but now we have two gimmicks doing their shit? I guess the good part is they are together so it gets it out of the way at the same time. Still, Emma, fuck. Fuck that shit.

Christian vs Sheamus (Sheamus wins)

Too many limes…..

Sheamus has beaten Christian soundly, and won again tonight, so it makes it hard for me to fully buy a Wrestlemania feud between the two. It’s kind of weird to constantly beat a guy and still have a match at ‘Mania. I guess they could push it as Christian has lost his mind that he can’t beat this guy (I assume that’s the direction they’ll take) and at least it’s a bit of a story line and lead up to their match, which is better than other story lines have.

The match did go on too long, though. As I said, nobody has an emotional investment in this match, and as a result the boring chants appeared. As did “CM Punk” chants, which happened all show long, by the way. They should have given a longer match to Cesaro!

After the match, Sheamus was being interviewed in the back about having too many limes, when Christian jumped him and beat him up, to further push along their feud. Also, the WWE needs to stop the “One last match” thing for Christian. That worked when he was in the title hunt, sure, but to do that theme when he’s just having random matches every night? It’s lost it’s strength.

Bella Twins vs Face Breaker Aksana and Alicia Fox (Bella Twins win)

Sloppy wrestlers are sloppy. Aksana especially. At one point she was throwing slaps to a downed Bella, but was missing her face by a good foot. It looked awful.

Bella Twins won….yay? I don’t know. Show filler and bathroom break.

As a small pet peeve of mine, I wish the Bellas would stop screaming so loud in their matches. It’s usually dead quiet as it is during their matches, but to hear them shout at the top of their lungs “LET’S GO!” or “TAKE THAT!” just sounds forced and stupid.

Still better than that fucktard Emma though.

Daniel Bryan promo

Daniel Bryan came out and used the term “let’s hi-jack this show!” which shows the WWE is quite aware of the online presence of wrestling fans. The crowd was chanting CM Punk during this promo, but they love Daniel Bryan so much that they allowed him to turn that energy into his feud with HHH. HHH and Stephanie came out and as usual, HHH talked way too long, and was as usual, very dismissive of Bryan. Same with Stephanie. I’ve said before that HHH has no idea how to feud with someone properly when he has full control, and the same thing happened here. HHH and Stephanie talking down to Bryan has happened for so long with no retaliation from Bryan, that it just doesn’t elevate Bryan at all. Bryan again tried to get HHH to accept his challenge for Mania but HHH said no.

The segment ended with Kane getting called to the ring and Bryan running out and attacking him.

Alberto Del Rio vs Ziggler (Ziggler wins)

Aaron Paul, the guest host of Raw, drove Ziggler out  in a nice car (Dodge Viper?). Remember when Raw hosts used to control the entire show? Now they are used to drive a car and distract a guy during a match on occasion. I’m not complaining, mind you, sometimes the guest hosts were forced into the show far too much, but it’s just funny that a guest host now means they appear for 5 minutes.

Anyways, Aaron Paul distracted ADR and allowed Ziggler to get the win. This match made the crowd happy (they love Ziggler) and got Aaron Paul on commentary to plug his movie, so it killed two birds with one stone. I don’t think anyone was dying to see ADR vs Ziggler again.

Big E vs Swagger (Big E wins via DQ when Cesaro attacks Big E)

Big E is in two matches tonight? OK. I am just glad Big E didn’t go for his “milking” move when he pulls out his giant titties to let everyone know the ending is coming soon. Basically Cesaro nailed Big E to cost Swagger the match to pay Swagger back. Swagger and Cesaro shoved each other in the ring and Swagger shoved Cesaro twice before Cesaro shoved Swags to the ground and set him up for the Cesaro Swing!

Except Zeb Colter talked him out of it and got the two men to hug it out. They are slow playing this break up as they build to their Mania match I assume.

John Cena Promo

Cena vs Punk happened so many times that the Chicago crowd naturally hates John Cena, and takes it personally every time they see Cena. As a result, the CM Punk chants were deafening during this segment. Cena does his usual schtick of “aw shucks guys, you’re booing me, but I respect that you have a voice. Gee whillickers, you guys are awesome for being you” that he does EVERY SINGLE TIME. Fuck this.

The segment continued with Cena saying he heard about the “hi jack” talk (second direct mention of it) and that he knows people want a change. He says change will come….BUT IT WILL GO THROUGH HIM.

It’s interesting in that that kind of statement is egotistical, hence kind of heelish, but other than that, it’s the same old Cena garbage.

Cena promos have two elements.

1) Talk like he’s buddies with the crowd, and talks about how he respects them

2) He randomly gets serious and screams about something to let you know he’s super serious

Blah blah blah.

As expected, Bray Wyatt cut off Cena and gave a thoroughbread horse analogy for John Cena. It was better than past Wyatt promos because at least it tried to have a point, by saying that John Cena was the old war horse that’s time was at an end. It’s nice when Wyatt has a point to his promos.

Wyatt said he knew what Cena was really afraid of. I thought he was going to say “commitment” but no.

Alexander Rusev segment

He comes out with that Lana chick and talks in Bulgarian for a bit, then that’s it. I bet we won’t see Rusev in the WWE in under two years. The WWE loves pushing the evil foreigner gimmick every couple of years, and it always fizzles out. I will say Rusev looks like he has better wrestling ability than past foreigner gimmicks, but still, color me cynical of him lasting long. I assume in one year’s time he will be dancing with Emma. “Alexander Rusev is Rustastic!” Ugh.

I will say Rusev’s theme music is awesome. Sounds like a 90’s action movie.

Batista and Orton meet back stage

Orton wished Batista good luck. Batista accepts this and walks on.

OK, what in the fuck. They better change the main event at Mania, so help me god. Now the two heels are getting along? Geezus fuck. Not only that, how badly have they buried the importance of the titles, eh? This whole “Face of the WWE” thing is becoming a bigger thing than the titles, and that is just sad.

Need for Speed Ad

I feel like this movie has been coming out for two years now…

Apparently Hulk Hogan as a WM30 announcement for next week. I pray that it will be Daniel Bryan in the main event, but it won’t be. Also I forgot to mention Paul Bearer is going in to the WWE Hall of Fame this year. Good on WWE for doing that, it’s much deserved. Is there a more iconic manager in WWE history (Aside from Bobby Heenan) than Paul Bearer?

Daniel Bryan vs Batista (Bryan wins via DQ)

Randy Orton comes out before the match starts (why the fuck not) and then Bryan and Batista make their way down. Highlight of the match was the crowd chanting “You can’t wrestle” at Bootista. The crowd ate up everything Bryan did, of course. An “overrated” chant broke out for Bootista as well. In case you missed it, at least they turned Batista an official heel on Smackdown, as he gave a promo talking about he was going to destroy every person the fans love. So if you’re mom is at home, call her and let you know you love her, because Batista is coming for her. The Authority (Kane, HHH, Steph) walked down at one point, causing a huge CM Punk chant in response.

The match ended when Batista tossed Bryan into Orton and a few moments later Orton ran and attacked Bryan, causing the DQ finish. Orton tries to RKO Batista, but Batista pushes him into the Bryan knee (they need a name for that finisher), then Bryan goes to dive at HHH but Batista catches him with a shitty spear (just let Reigns have it, Batista, you’re shit at it.) Then HHH comes in the ring and talks trash to Bryan, Bryan kicks HHH from the ground, Batista then Batista bombs Bryan. Then HHH pedigress Bryan. Then the show ends.

No CM Punk. Apparently on the after show Cena and The Big show made the save for Bryan. I am sure Chicago loved that duo saving the day.

Final Thoughts:

The show was ok overall. They haven’t finalized a lot of Mania matches, but they still have time to do so. I am growing bored of these part timer story lines (unless it’s Lesnar, because I love him) because it’s hard to get invested in them. Like, Undertaker showing up once in a while doesn’t really do much for me. The Streak is luckily an easy story line to push, even without Taker around, but it’s kind of boring if he isn’t there every week, pushing the story line.

As usual, Raw ended with Bryan being buried. This is boring.

The good thing? They kind of teased at maybe putting Bryan in the match at Mania against Orton and Batista. By having all three men kind of fight in the match, it shows they might lead to making that triple threat match (which I think we can all admit, they HAVE to do in order to save that main event). I still think they should do a WM10 thing, where they have Bryan in two matches at Mania. He beats HHH, he gets in the main event. I doubt the WWE lets him win that (I honestly think they just put him in the main event just to save that match from being shit on), but imagine if he beats HHH and then wins the title? That would be a great Mania moment and one that is well deserved.

That being said, watch the WWE not put Bryan in the main event and just have them go with Orton vs Batista. I thought there was no way Lack would get the Heritage Classic start, so nothing would surprise me at this point.

Finally, Randy Orton has to be the most bland champion of all time. He holds the titles, yet he keeps getting buried by everything around him. If it isn’t HHH stealing his thunder, it’s other storylines getting pushed over him. He honestly has zero presence on these shows as of late.

Will Bryan get into the WM30 main event? That is the main reason I watch the shows lately (that and watching Brock throw furniture) and at least tonight there was hope that might happen, so tonight’s show gets a thumbs up from me. Yes, my standards have dipped.