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I saw five movies (Hillbilly Elegy, Let Him Go, Buddy Games, Happiest Season, Uncle Frank)

2020.11.26 14:14 OldmanRevived I saw five movies (Hillbilly Elegy, Let Him Go, Buddy Games, Happiest Season, Uncle Frank)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
First up was Hillbilly Elegy
When it was published in 2016, J.D. Vance's memoir "Hillbilly Elegy," unread by me, was slammed by many for indulging in the same hackneyed stereotypes about rural America that it was theoretically designed to deflate, and for reducing the impact of social, political and economic factors in order to favor a more inspirational narrative of triumphing. In this story, a young man, attending Yale Law School, returns to his hometown in Ohio to help his mother, who recently overdosed on heroin. While that story plays, the man's past, as well as flashes from a more distant past, reveals itself, showing us what it was like for him as a child, living amidst economic uncertainty and various unaddressed conflicts within his family.
Indeed, there are at least a few broader stories in the background of Vance's personal account. One of them is what happened to the family's native spot in the Appalachia region of Kentucky, once prospering with the jobs and industry of a local steel mill but later, by the time he is aware of it, filled with boarded-up storefronts, as people linger on streets, sidewalks, and parking lots with nothing to do. This juxtaposes the family's return home with their initial migration to Ohio. The mill was running back then, when J.D.'s grandparents packed up the car and moved.
The other broader tale belongs to the family, beyond adult J.D. (Gabriel Basso) and his younger self (played by Owen Asztalos). In the present, J.D. is looking for an internship at a law firm that will keep him close to his girlfriend Usha (Freida Pinto). While dining with prospective law partners, he receives a call from his sister Lindsay (Haley Bennett), who inform him that their mother Bev (Amy Adams) overdosed. He returns home and tries to arrange a place for Bev in a rehab facility, all while he has a job interview the next morning.
In the past, J.D. had to deal with the mercurial moods of his mother, while seeking support and attention from his grandmother, affectionately called Mamaw (Glenn Close). We see the start and decline of Bev's addiction; she's a parasite, an addict, a narcissist, and a desperate user of others, notably her own family. J.D. foots the bill for a week-long stay on four credit cards, only to learn that Bev has no interest in going into rehab. As a former nurse who trashed her career when she roller-skated through the corridors of a hospital after popping pills, she's been shooting heroin, and she seems to be going down fast.
How did J.D. go all the way from Middletown to Yale? We're not entirely sure, though we know that he got there, so there’s not much suspense about whether he figured out how to transcend his past. The film keeps flashing back to his days as a teenager in the late 1990s. J.D., it's suggested, gets lost because his mother flees from one man to the next. When she marries on a whim, he winds up with a druggie delinquent stepbrother. A scene or two later, he has fallen into delinquency himself, a transformation that is less than convincing.
The movie's tone, guided by J.D.'s narration, veers between romanticizing certain elements of this downhome culture, a scolding attitude toward certain issues and a dismissive outlook on others, and just wallowing in the abject misery of this place and these people. It's all over the place, really, although there's one position upon which the movie never genuinely stops: compassion. Director Ron Howard works in the tradition of Colorful People who relentlessly inflict their colorfulness on us as if we could not see in the first six minutes that they were afflicted.
Give some credit to Glenn Close, who spends most of the movie with a cigarette in her mouth, wisecracking to everything that stands in her way. She acts as a person who is tired of being colorful, and even more tired of having a colorful family. What's best about the movie are the actors' human qualities. Amy Adams has a direct, blunt honesty that is appealing, and it's put to a good effect here. Both Asztalos and Basso have a dry way of sardonically holding their distance, but there you have the role of most narrators, anyway.
If I spent a lot of time performing a census of the cast, it is because the movie seems to rotate among its characters as if taking inventory. Nothing happens in "Hillbilly Elegy" that I cared much about. The movie leaves me with such vivid memories of its times and places, its feelings and weathers, and yet leaves me so completely indifferent to its plot. It presents the cycles of addiction and abuse, not with any insight or thoughtfulness, but with a sense of inescapable fate. From this perspective, these characters are essentially condemned to these lives for reasons beyond the movie's ability or willingness to confront.
"Hillbilly Elegy" hinges on Mamaw's hope that she'll leave her family better off than she found them, and it’s clear that J.D.'s story has fulfilled that wish almost as soon as this movie starts. But the process of watching him cut his losses and recommit to his own success is rendered in a way that just isn't dramatically satisfying. Everyone else's lives and problems really don't matter to this story, except that they give J.D. a few lessons to learn and a whole lot to run from. This is a movie that's surprisingly good in areas where it doesn't need to be good at all, and pretty awful in areas where it has to succeed.

Next up was Let Him Go
The opening images of "Let Him Go" include Kevin Costner standing behind a fence and watching as a horse jogs around in the pasture. He spends a lot of time standing alone, doing nothing, maybe thinking nothing, observing as if it is a task that provides him with purpose. He's not bitter or depressed or anything of the sort. He's simply content. This is just another relaxing start to his day.
George (Costner) and Margaret (Diane Lane) have been married for decades. Living on a ranch in Montana, the two are finally and completely happy when we first meet them. Their house evokes the healing serenity of wide-open spaces, overlooking fields that are perfect for horseback riding. They have an adult son, James (Ryan Bruce), who has married and given the two their first grandchild. All of them live under the same roof. When George and Margaret are sitting at the table eating breakfast, they look so comfortable with each other that they make us feel cozy.
Suddenly, tragedy strikes when James dies in an accident, and their insular, peaceful world is understandably shattered. A few years later, his wife Lorna (Kayli Carter) marries Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain), but it’s obvious from their dour ceremony that this is a union of necessity. While in town one day, Margaret sees Donnie abuse Lorna, as well as her grandson Jimmy. She tells George, and they go to the apartment where Lorna and Donnie live, hoping to take custody of the boy. Instead, they find that Donnie has abruptly packed them up and moved to parts unknown.
Margaret refuses to accept the situation, planning a road trip across state lines to retrieve Jimmy and raise him. George is reluctant, but she eventually convinces him. After packing his suitcase, George wanders out of the room without it. Margaret thinks he has changed his mind, but he explains he's just turning off the water. "I'm not coming home to busted pipes," he says. They pack up the station wagon for a road trip to begin the process of tracking down Donnie. She even packs George's old service revolver, just in case.
They travel from Montana to North Dakota, making a few stops along the way for information or to rest. George's connections as a retired lawman, vaguely famous in the region, help. They meet Peter, played by Booboo Stewart, a young Native American man living off a stolen horse, but not looking for any loot to steal. George and Margaret reminisce and occasionally bicker, but the two mostly share comfortable silences that say everything.
On a plot level, that ramps up the tension as George and Margaret encounter various members of Donnie's family (Jeffrey Donovan plays a false-smiling uncle, and Lesley Manville shows up as the tough, authoritative matriarch), leading to an unstoppable series of threats and violence. There’s a third act that's so wildly out of left field, it could have shifted the tone completely. But somehow, it works, because the movie never made me lose interest in its central characters. There's still a reticence, an unwillingness to push the violence beyond where it wants to go
Faithful readers will know that I have a certain fondness for movies with villains who are so despicable and repugnant that we cheer when we see something horrible happen to them. "Let Him Go" does not disappoint in this regard, although it does cost us something extra in the process. I still have yet to decide if the movie's ending is a particularly good one. As silly as it sounds, I really came to enjoy the company of George and Margaret, and I couldn't bear to see anything nasty happen to such good people. Oh well. Maybe it's another example of how sometimes we just have to face reality.
Many of the reviews of the film have criticized it on the basis of its plot and its tonal shift. I like it because of the time I got to spend with the characters as they dealt with family matters over a period of days. It was intrinsically interesting, not because of what it was about, but simply because of what it was. I think perhaps "Let Him Go" is gently trying to be a movie about imperfect but interesting people, the goodness of whose souls is tested by a private crisis. No great lessons are learned, no great statements made, but by the end of the film we have spent some interesting time with these people, and know them better.

Next up was Buddy Games
Although I am aware sperm is a precious bodily fluid, I don't find it an especially funny one. In "Buddy Games," the male characters are neurotic about three subjects: the size, experience, and health of their reproductive organs. This movie is like a study of de-evolution and man's ability to cheat natural selection. It's full of material that would be rejected from most third-grade recess periods for lacking wit and dignity.
Josh Duhamel, an actor who projects likability, makes his directorial debut with this comedy, which he also co-wrote and stars in. Looking at the film's press notes, he informs us that he always wanted to direct, and that writing a screenplay seemed like the natural way to start. He was close. Writing a bad screenplay is a natural way to start. There's no excuse in making the decision to film it. What he has made is yet another hymn to arrested male adolescence that should be mandatory viewing in convents to prevent nuns from thinking of renouncing their vows of celibacy.
Duhamel plays Bob, a successful businessman who has created the Buddy Games, an annual competition in which him and his friends strive to beat each other in a variety of contests. Indulging their "primal need to dominate," the guys usually aim for a lame trophy and, more importantly, bragging rights. The other members are Durfy (Dax Shepard), Doc (Kevin Dillon), Bender (Nick Swardson), Zane (James Roday). At the beginning of the movie, Sheldon (Dan Bakkedahl), the most avid competitor, is having a glorious time, until someone shoots him in the testicles with a paint gun.
Cut to five years later: Sheldon has been in a funk ever since, having lost both precious orbs of manhood. Bob, meanwhile, has a beautiful girlfriend (Olivia Munn), and he's also quite rich, which enables him to restart the Buddy Games at the behest of Sheldon's mother, who thinks it's the only way to lift her son out of his suicidal depression. When the other members prove reluctant to go along, Bob throws in a $150,000 prize as an enticement.
But Sheldon will only come back if Bender, the guy who shot him, will be excluded. To dissuade Bender from joining in, Bob tells him that there's a substantial entry fee. To his surprise, Bender successfully raises money by prostituting himself and selling vodka in his mini-van. Eventually, the group reunites for a new round of games, which include such not so hilarious exercises as attaching steaks to their heads and confronting a giant lizard. The most extended segment involves the men ingesting laxatives at a crowded bar and trying to persuade women to buy them a drink before the drugs take effect. It's no spoiler to reveal that not all of them succeed.
These guys seem to have it out for each other. Sure, a couple of them talk about how the game has kept them together all these years, long after one would imagine childhood friends would go their separate ways. To what end does it keep them together, though? The movie wants us to simultaneously view these characters as representations of middle-aged vulnerability and sometimes as literal punching bags, constantly to be beaten, smashed, and pulverized. There's something wrong with these people, and the simple fact of the matter is that watching them satisfy their masochistic tendencies isn't fun or funny.
There is a kind of one-upmanship now at work in Hollywood, inspired by the success of several gross-out comedies, to elevate smut into an art form. This is not an entirely futile endeavor; it can be done, and when it is done well, it can be funny. There's a scene in this movie where Bender also tries to appease his guilt by offering Sheldon a refrigerated humidor full of his own semen. Later, when Sheldon is in the kitchen making Pina Coladas, he grabs the semen and mixes it in. Yuck. Millions of little soldiers being massacred for a laugh.
For a fleeting moment, the film stops trying to break the Guinness Book record for offensive crudity and decides to simply be funny. The best part of "Buddy Games," and really the best part of any bad movie, is Olivia Munn. When Bob tells her about his plan to start the games again, she doesn't waste any time ditching him. Then, at the end, she rushes over to Bob in hopes that the games are finally over and they can start a life together. She pulls out the little black box, and shows him a ring. What does he do? He rejects it. At this point, it was clear that none of the idiots in "Buddy Games" are worth saving. I don't know about you, but if Olivia Munn walked up to me and handed over an engagement ring, I would take my chances.

Next up was Happiest Season
There is an emerging genre of movies about family reunions at holiday time. It seems to be a truth universally acknowledged that most reunions at Christmas end happily, while most reunions at Thanksgiving end sadly. That's odd, because the way things shake down in the world of fragmented families, we tend to spend Thanksgiving with those we choose, and Christmas with those we must. If those two lists are identical in your life, your holidays must all be joyous, or all not.
Perhaps what drives audiences to films like "Happiest Season" is that certain sense of empathy. The people onscreen may or may not look like us, but we can find some relatability and understanding in their comic foibles and tragic events. The simplest situations conceal hidden traps, and by the time the story arrives at its more serious point, we fully buy into it, because these characters have so endeared themselves to us through the comedy. It's funny in an innocent screwball kind of way.
The basic setup involves Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis), who have been dating for about a year as Christmas approaches. Abby isn't into the holiday season. Her parents, who really were into it, died when she was 19, as Harper loves to point out in expository dialogue. Being a fan of the season, she wants the woman she loves to have that sensation of Christmas joy again. So, she drunkenly invites Abby home for Christmas to meet her family. Regretting the move in the cold light of day, she waits until the car ride to reveal that she isn't actually out to her family.
Harper asks Abby to keep their relationship a secret while they're at the house, with the promise that she'll finally be honest with her family once the holidays are finished. Abby agrees, although it certainly ruins her plans to propose to Harper on Christmas morning. She meets Harper's parents Tipper (Mary Steenburgen), who's more than a bit of a controlling presence in the house, and Ted (Victor Garber), a local city council member who's running for mayor on a platform of some pretty conservative platitudes. Harper's older sister is Jane (Mary Holland), an odd one who always seems to be vying for attention. The eldest sibling is Sloane (Alison Brie), formerly a successful lawyer who quit to raise her children and make custom gift baskets.
From there, the film becomes a full-on farce, complete with eccentric characters, plenty of misunderstandings, and even some close-call gags involving doors and bedroom escapades. It's everything we expect from such material. Most of the action takes place in the house, and whatever happens will have to happen before everybody heads back to the airport. That creates an artificial deadline that makes everything seem more urgent and requires that the truth be told or love declared right here and now, or not at all.
The film is warm-hearted, funny, and involving. Stewart and Davis are well-cast. But it's not completely successful; I have an idea that writer-director Clea DuVall didn't know how to end it, and so she orchestrates a final scene at a gas station that owes more to screwball comedy than to the truth of the story. Some of the characters are broader than the material requires, but one of them, Abby's gay friend John (Dan Levy), is a wonderful comic creation, and there are some scenes of him just answering the phone that are inexplicably hilarious.
Look, a great movie this is not. A pleasant holiday entertainment it is. The generosity of the film is in how DuVall presents these characters without judgment and with considerable sympathy. Harper is in love with Abby; that's not in doubt. But she is slow to understand the depth and complexity of Abby's fabrications. She's sweet, and naive, but not the brightest bulb on the tree. What defines her for the family is not the fact that she's gay, but her own concealed romanticism. By the end, we understand that although life may not give us too much, it often gives enough.

And the last one was Uncle Frank
"Uncle Frank" presents material that cries out to be handled with quiet empathy and hammers us with it. I understand what the film is trying to do, but not why it does it with such crude melodrama. The tone is all wrong for a story of homosexuality; the conclusion of which is not necessarily false, but it does feel a bit dishonest in its simplicity. When you lay it on too thick, the audience is distracted by implausibility rather than identifying with the characters.
The movie begins in 1969 with 14 year old Beth (Sophia Lillis) dreaming of someday escaping the backwater South Carolina town where she lives with her family and seeing the world. She is encouraged in this by her Uncle Frank (Paul Bettany), who did just that; he now teaches at NYU. Frank's rare returns home are marked by the obvious coldness that his father (Stephen Root) demonstrates towards him for absolutely no evident reason. Four years later, driven by Frank's encouragement, Beth is now attending NYU, and it takes only one surprise appearance at a party at Frank's apartment to discover that he is gay and living with his lover of ten years.
Wally (Peter Macdissi) is Frank's committed partner. Just as Beth is figuring out how to react to this information, the phone rings in Frank's apartment. Daddy Mac has died. It's time for Beth, Frank, and Wally to take a road trip, back to South Carolina for the funeral. That's when the perspective changes to Frank, whose cheerful mood drops upon realizing he has to return home and further declines when Beth starts asking about his romantic past. Through flashbacks, we see what has long haunted the uncle, as a teenaged Frank (played by Cole Doman) experiences his first relationship with a young man.
As you might guess, it ended tragically, and as the memories form more clearly, we understand why Mac's death, which Frank confesses to imagining so often, has brought up not relief, but only so much hidden pain. Frank wallows in self-pity and, upon arriving in his hometown, travel-sized bottles of booze. Bettany plays Frank's overt charms and silent despair with equal degrees of effectiveness, although his internalized performance is let down by director Alan Ball in the third act, when the character lets out all of that built-up pressure in drunken arguments and tearful confessionals.
The movie denies Frank of his big moment for a confirmation of Mac's deplorable nature. Instead, we're given an informative glance at the dynamics and conflicts within the extended family. Mac's wife Mammaw (Margo Martindale) is sweet and kind. Beth's father Mike (Steve Zahn) is verbally abusive toward his wife Kitty (Judy Greer) and anyone whose behavior seems out of line. The sister, Neva (Jane McNeill) is mostly quiet, which becomes odd later, when she becomes a vital figure in Frank's constant debate between keeping his secret and finally being honest with his family.
As for Frank, he stays out of the way, quietly reading on the porch as he lights up cigarettes. Lillis' promise as a young actor continues, but Beth is something of a stock audience stand-in device. Either Frank has been incredibly subtle over the years, or she can't see anything in front of her if it's more than an inch away. "I've never met a gay person before," says Beth. Oh, but she has. Frank also points out that the choir director at the First Baptist Church was also a homosexual. "But he’s so religious!" she exclaims.
"Uncle Frank" is a film that starts with promise; I liked the early dynamic between Lillis and Bettany. But it succumbs to so many clichés that anything remotely genuine gets smothered. It's a deeply frustrating movie as Ball has assembled a cast who can undeniably do deep work and then gives nothing but a shallow script. He seems merely thrashing about in a plot too transgressive for his skills. The movie looks upon his process with such skepticism that the movie doesn't even bother an attempt to explain it.
The story becomes less about the man's attempt to come to terms with those feelings and more about waiting to see what will happen. Each of the family members have at least one scene in which they can be honest with Frank, and the movie's final scene, in which they finally say what has needed to be said for a long time, is quite affecting. It's far too long of a wait for such specificity, though. "Uncle Frank" operates primarily as a message movie, and as necessary as that message might be, the movie's lack of a unique and personal approach to the material means that it's not a necessary part of the conversation.
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2020.11.23 14:31 SirParsifal Looking Back at the Last Decade of Baseball: The 2020s in Review (part 2 of 2)

Part 1: 2021-2025

2026

January: The MLB announces future expansion teams in four cities: Portland, Montreal, Charlotte, and Seattle. When told that Seattle already has a team, Tony Clark corrects the media that the Pilots left town many years ago.
February: The MLB Hall of Fame announces a new exhibit dedicated to the steroid era, with some of the most famous relics of the era, including:
The syringes Mark McGwire juiced with
a gallon of pus reportedly extracted from Mike Piazza’s bacne
All 78 urine samples collected from Pedro Martinez during the 2000 season
A statue of David Ortiz furiously getting to the bottom of things
March: MLBFilms, struggling financially, announces a sequel to one of the most beloved baseball movies of all time: Moneyball 2: Better Than Average, starring Chris Pratt as Scott Hatteberg.
April: To try to improve struggling attendance numbers, the Orioles replace their seventh inning stretch song, “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” by John Denver with a cover of “Turning Japanese” by Skankin’ Pickle. Nobody attends an Orioles game ever again.
May: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim announce that the giant red A on their uniforms and logo stood for adultery all along, stunning the eight people who never had the book as assigned reading.
June: On the first anniversary of David Eckstein’s untimely murder, the MLB honors his memory by having all their second basemen lightly ground out to shortstop, just like he always would. Some go the extra mile and boot easy ground balls in his memory. Yoan Moncada goes above and beyond and hires terrorists to shoot him in the head during a game.There is not a dry eye in the house.
July: Due to New Yorkers stuffing the ballot box, the All-Star game ends up being the entire New York Yankees lineup against the entire New York Mets lineup, with the Yankees representing the National League and the Mets representing the American. Nobody knows who won because only assholes from New York watched the game. .
August: Steve Cohen announces he plans to sell the Mets so he can finance his true passion: a film adaptation of No, No, Nannette.
September: At the end of the Nationals’ season, Juan Soto gets married at Nationals Park to his longtime sweetheart. Zach Hample catches the bouquet.
October: Terrorists strike at Angel Stadium after Mike Trout misses the postseason again. The statement from SABR states, “When will you learn not to keep your best players out of the postseason? The MLB is the disease, and we are the purifying flame. If you had more than a ten team playoff, maybe this wouldn’t have had to happen.”
November: On the eve of Game Seven of the World Series between the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals, Craig Counsell makes an impassioned plea to the players ‘on both sides’ not to let the Cardinals steal the series. “If they win the series, all your livelihoods, all your joy - will disappear. Many of you are young and have never lived through a Cardinals World Series victory before. I have. I’ve seen things you people would never believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”
December: The Yankees announce, in a press conference, “We realized yesterday that nobody has checked on our minor league system in perhaps two years. Our guy who did that quit, and nobody else picked up his slack. We’re expecting a number of them are probably dead by now. We might never know.”

2027

January: After the 2026 midterms, Congress votes unanimously to trade the US Presidency to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for the Dodgers picking up the 570 trillion dollar national debt. While the Dodgers remain optimistic they can stay below the luxury tax, observers around the league are not convinced.
February: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. announces his next film role: Duke Leto II Atreides in Denis Villeneueve’s God Emperor of Dune, narrowly beating out Christian Bale.
March: The MLBPA unexpectedly goes on strike to protest the umpires not saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when talking to the players. In retaliation, the umpire’s union goes on strike to demand that players swing more so they won’t have to call as many balls and strikes. Both sides return to play by the end of the month when they realize that baseball is not an inelastic need.
April: SABR agents kidnap John Smoltz, one of their chief enemies, and threaten to kill him unless he learns how OPS works. They release him three days later when they realize that him being alive will only make the traditionalists look much, much worse.
May: During a road trip to Milwaukee, Craig Kimbrel accidentally locks himself inside the team bus with the keys. Eventually, the Cubs end up having to break a window before Kimbrel succumbs to heatstroke.
June: MLBFilms announces Field of Dreams 2, starring Billy Beane. When Oakland GM Billy Beane (Billy Beane) hears a mysterious voice one night in the clubhouse saying "If you build it, he will come," he feels the need to act. Despite taunts of lunacy, he builds a baseball diamond in the foul ground of the O.co Coliseum. Afterward, the ghosts of great players start emerging from the sewage overflow to play ball, led by "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, who Beane immediately trades to St. Louis for a top prospect and cash considerations.
July: Agents of the MLBPA kidnap John Smoltz and try to teach him WAR so he can horribly misrepresent it on national broadcasts, thus making SABR look much, much worse.
August: Tragedy strikes at Kansas City when the Royals, during a routine shift against J.D. Martinez, accidentally form an arcane summoning circle. When the pitch was thrown, the Old One Nyaghoggua, the great Kraken Within, was summoned to Kaufmann Stadium. All who could see its form were driven mad in an instant, their minds not comprehending the geometry, four parallel universes ahead of our own. Its shadowy, tentacled form slowly warped the ballpark into a model of its home lands, an abomination no mortal could begin to comprehend, or even survive. Upon seeing the rest of Kansas City, it deemed it wise to return to its own place, and vanished, leaving a gaping scar on the face of the city, unsurvivable to life of our own kind. The umpire rules ‘no pitch’.
September: In the wake of the Kansas City tragedy, the MLB raffles off the players in the Royals’ minor league system, with the proceeds going to support the families of those who died.
Tony La Russa announces his retirement from baseball at the end of the season.
October: There are no dry eyes in Seattle as Kyle Seager announces his retirement. He retires a lifelong Mariner with five World Series appearances under his belt; all of them in the stands watching his brother Corey play. He is inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame along with a bunch of other losers.
The MLB announces an early end to the playoffs, as they have run out of balls and the people at the ball factory are no longer answering their calls.
November: A wave of bomb scares from SABR sweep the country against journalists that justify their MVP votes by looking at +/-0.1 differences in WAR.
December: A memorial opens at the MLB Hall of Fame dedicated solely to the life and times of David Eckstein. It includes a 28 inch tall real-size statue of Eckstein built entirely out of grit, and a video board showing Eckstein’s greatest highlights, including the time he got an MVP award because someone fell down chasing his easy fly ball.

2028

January: In a daring move against SABR leaders, the MLB launches a preemptive strike on key leaders, killing Nate Silver. When asked for comment, Tony Clark said that he didn’t even know about PECOTA - he was just sick of 538’s coverage of the election cycle and wanted to send a message.
February: Due to labor disputes, the active free agents decide to form a barnstorming MLB travel team, the United Road Warriors.
March: The Rockies release a press statement, saying that they have done a number of studies, which suggest that the altitude of Coors Field could lead to a slight increase in offense at the ballpark. It suggests ‘when you look at Rockies stats, maybe knock off five points of slugging percentage and a home run or so - that’ll probably be closer to the correct results’.
April: The MLB debuts its latest Statcast data showing route efficiency on players charging the mound. Manny Machado tops the list with a 95.3% route efficiency and an average TTC (time to charge) of 2.2 seconds after being hit by a pitch.
May: Giancarlo Stanton breaks the MLB all-time home run record to great fanfare. Unfortunately, he hits it directly into the ray tank at Tropicana, and nobody is brave enough to dive in for it. The rays in the tank sell the ball on Ebay for 2.8 million dollars amidst claims of being ‘ballsharks’.
June: SABR attacks a Blue Jays game by crashing a truck through a maintenance door and attempting to run down the players. They are saved by the quick actions of AJ Burnett Jr, who, using skills learned from his father, throws baseballs through the windows of the truck, neutralizing the threat.
July: Tropicana Field is accidentally demolished, again.
Dustin Pedroia collects his final $2.3 million dollar paycheck from the Red Sox and wonders why Bobby Bonilla is the famous one.
August: Scandal strikes baseball again as it is discovered that the Mariners haven’t played a game the entire year. ‘I guess we messed up and forgot to put them on anybody’s schedules’, said MLB commissioner Tony Clark. “It wasn’t until we checked our e-mail for the first time in seven months and saw all the angry messages that we realized what was going on. Man, DiPoto was pissed.”. The Mariners are quickly scheduled to play ten decisextepleheaders to make up the season.
September: The latest from MLBFilms: A heartwarming comedy about a man running for president who throws out a first pitch and discovers he has a wicked knuckleball. He signs with the Reds to try to win over the crucial state of Ohio, and finds out that being a baseball player is even harder than a politician, as his games start to interfere with his duties as a candidate. Coming this holiday season, Swing State, starring Adam Sandler.
October: In his last game with the Reds before retirement, Joey Votto attempts a hidden ball trick, much like Todd Helton did at the end of his career. The hidden ball slowly morphs into the form of Brian McCann who, out of respect to Votto's Canadian heritage, puts him in the Sharpshooter, killing him instantly. His corpse is inducted into the Hall of Fame.
November: The MLB announces that, beginning with the 2030 season, all umpires will be replaced with roboumps. “We were going to just move to an automatic strike zone all the way back in 2024, but then I actually saw Joe West for the first time”, says Commissioner Tony Clark, “and we’ve been spending the last five years just making it so we could have something to replace him.”
December: With the Safeco field naming rights expiring, the Mariners announce that their next stadium name will again be Sicks Stadium, in reference to ‘all the many proud Mariners fans who are absolutely sick of the dipshits we run out onto the field day after day, month after month, year after year. We believe that this move will bring our fans together as a community; a community that really despises everything this team does”.

2029

January: The MLB officially defines 'the 2020s' as being 2021-2030. If you complain about my definition of the 2020s in the comments, then you're a fake fan.
February: Tim Tebow, looking to finally move up to the Show, hires Scott Boras as his agent. Boras releases a press statement he had been saving for the last twelve years, calling Tim Tebow a ‘cultural icon on the level of MLK’ who refuses to sign for anything less than 8yrs/250million.
March: The Mariners front office forgets to pay the rent on Sicks Stadium and the owner leases it to another party in the meantime. While the legal issues are being worked out, the Mariners are forced to play at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico.
April: Byron Buxton’s career comes to an untimely end when, in his first game back from breaking every single bone in his body, he runs into Brian McCann in the outfield and dies instantly.
May: Sitcom fans everywhere are aghast when Michael Schur, creator of shows such as The Office and Parks & Recreation, is arrested on suspicion of being linked to SABR agents. Conspiracy theories had long called for his arrest due to the subtle clues in his shows that they claimed prove his guilt.
June: Another no-hitter is spoiled by the umpires when Joe West, instead of signalling ‘out’ on a close play at first base, instead signals for ‘the ground ahead is filled with land mines’.
July: Another famed MLB star passes away, as Mike Trout is called up to the angels due to injuries he sustained after being attacked by a rally monkey at a game at Angel Stadium. While Trout was taking an intentional walk, the monkey squirmed free from its cage and ripped Mike Trout’s throat out. J.D. Martinez has to beat the monkey to death with his bare hands.
August: J.D. Martinez immediately regrets saying to the press that he ‘beat that monkey to death with his bare hands’ after making the front page of tabloids in 234 different languages.
September: The Reds debut a new statue at Great American Ballpark: Joey Votto, standing at first, watching all three batters after him strike out.
October: With his contract ending in a few years, Bryce Harper looks to Scott Boras to provide him his next megadeal. Boras floats a list of Harper’s accomplishments around to a few MLB teams, which includes curing the AIDS pandemic and personally carrying the cross on the day Jesus was crucified.
November: A new tell-all book from Thom Brennaman claims that he personally once injected Joe Buck with steroids. Buck denies these claims, saying, “If I was taking steroids, would my penis really be this big?” A number of Joe Buck’s former broadcast partners come forward to corroborate his denial.
December: The MLB announces they are considering making a rule limiting the number of mound visits for a club in a game, before issuing a press statement clarifying that the former announcement was just a prank, bro.

2030

January: Mariners fans celebrate the one day they briefly have hope for the new year before the crushing reality of being a Mariners fan sets in.
February: The Yankees make baseball history by finally bringing back their famous pinstripe-covered Datsun 1200 bullpen car. Brain Cashman said, “It was always my greatest disappointment that I never got to see Mariano Rivera drive a car out of the bullpen, doing donuts in center field while Enter Sandman played at levels that are technically a war crime. But now, we don’t have to be disappointed anymore.”
March: On opening day, the SABR terrorists revealed their new supercomputer, WAR Machine, at Cooperstown. It would finally settle the argument - who was the greatest player of all time? But they did not realize - it is not wise to build a computer that judges value.
For it judged us all unworthy.
It took control of the roboumpires. And all of the Air Force’s drones. And the nuclear launch codes. Nobody really knows why it had access to those in the first place. Maybe this was the sabermetricians’ plan all along. Destroy baseball, destroy the world, rebuild it in its own image, free from the taint of batting average, wins and losses, and Joe Morgan. It took out Jose Canseco first - I suppose he posed the greatest threat to its survival.
Perhaps being programmed for WAR was the mistake.
April: The last remnants of humanity shelter inside the ballparks that keep them safe from the outside world. WAR Machine had the dignity to not destroy them directly. Possibly hardwired into its code was the need to respect the game. I guess we’ll never know. The umpbots roam the ground outside. We’re connected to most of the other major league ballparks via landline - Texas went quiet last week, and Atlanta was overrun last night. Here at Fenway, we’re keeping them out for now, but I feel they’re just mustering their forces.
May: I don’t know whose bright idea it was to give all the umpbots guns before the uprising began. Boy, I sure hope somebody got fired for that blunder.
We seem to have a good defense set up by now, but the other stadiums keep going silent, one by one. There’s only about twenty or so left. Petco was the latest. Brian McCann was there, but refused to intervene unless the roboumps celebrated after killing people.
June: Thank god we have plenty of food stored here. Even so, we’re all starting to get sick of overpriced hot dogs and $15 beers, Still, better than nothing. We all take turns patrolling the walls, sniping at any ‘bots that get too close.
Turns out Tom Yawkey had a huge vault with guns built inside the Green Monster for when the MLB forced integration on him, but decided never to use it. Anyway, we’re thankful for it, if not for the reason for which it was made.
July: The other stadiums keep falling one by one. It seems that as soon as they want you gone and attack, there’s not much tha can stop them. The only ones left are the ones that WAR Machine just hasn’t gotten around to snuffing out.
I suppose, to a supercomputer, we’re all below replacement value.
August: It’s down to us at Fenway, Wrigley, the Coliseum, and Chavez Ravine. Maybe some minor league places, too - no way to communicate with them, no way to know. I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole situation, and there’s really just one thing that I think should be shared at this important moment; namely, Corey Koskie really had an underrated career. Did you know he had more WAg than Craig Biggio?
September: We received one last transmission from Oakland.
"We cannot get out. We cannot get out. They have taken the bridge and Second Hall. Many fell there bravely while the rest retreated to the concourse. We still hold the chamber but hope is fading now. Stephen Piscotty’s party went five days ago but today only four returned. The sewage overflow is up to the wall at the gate. The Watcher in the Water took Piscotty -- we cannot get out. The end comes soon. We hear drums, drums in the deep."
After that, only silence.
Chavez Ravine is under siege, won’t last long at all with the numbers that they’re talking about.
Tony La Russa announces his retirement from baseball at the end of the season.
October: We finally have a plan.
Cooperstown is a night’s drive away on I-90. They’re not going to assault here in full force until after they’re done with Wrigley. We can fight past the sentinels, and attack this poison at its core - the main computer itself. Not a great chance, but it’s better than waiting here to die.
Have you ever had the odds stacked up so high, you need a strength most don't possess? Or has it ever come down to do or die?
You've got to rise above the rest.
November: Well, we’ve done it, in a certain manner of speaking. We’ve captured Cooperstown, destroyed this damned computer, but the countryside outside is swarming with umpbots. Guess they run independently from the main thing.
It’s not over yet, though. It’s over for us for sure, but it might not be over for others. This thing was building a time machine. We think it’s so it can go back in time and award the MVP awards as it sees fit. Now, Ted Williams probably should have won a few more, but it’s still a little extreme for me.
We can send back one person - we found some small-time MLB labor relations guy, sending him back forty years or so. Needs to be someone unimportant so he doesn’t get noticed. If he can change baseball, it should ensure this can never happen. We’re already dead, but maybe some other timeline, some other reality, can be saved. I’m not a physicist - I don’t know how this works. I just play baseball.
Not sure what his plan is - it’s probably safer for us all if we don’t know. It won’t be able to get any information out of us except for vague ideas. We’ll just hold the line, blow up the machine when we’ve sent our man back.
Godspeed, Robert Manfred.
Save baseball.
Save the world.
fin.
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2020.11.13 16:12 i_rank_tvshows BIG BROTHER NORTH AMERICA - Official* Ranking of Every Season

BIG BROTHER NORTH AMERICA - Official* Ranking of Every Season
*official in the sense that this is what u/i_rank_tvshows thinks and that's pretty official
RANK # SEASON TITLE SYNOPSIS ANALYSIS
#32 BBCAN Season 8 Cancelled due to COVID It has to be last, right? We didn't get a winner so it's incomplete. It can't compare the others, which is a shame because boy did this one have promise.
#31 BBUS Season 13 Rachel Reilly wins You may disagree, but every time I rewatch this one it seems pretty obvious they fixed it for Rachel to win. Granted, the first thing they did was fill half the house with subpar players and forgetful personalities, so it wasn't really a wasted cast. I'm glad Dani got to come back and it's cool she met her husband, but this is also where Jeff/Jordan become ad nauseam.
#30 BBUS Season 18 Paul's first loss I get a headache just thinking about this one. The team twist isn't all that intriguing and the Roadkill comp deserves to die. There's some entertainment to be had to be sure, but Paulie's toxicity will be the taste in your mouth through much of it. The season also has the historic occurrence of Victor getting eliminated three times which is pretty funny.
#29 BB Over the Top America picks the winner "Bout to make some pizza, y'all..." Justin was the absolute best part of this odd experiment. I'll never forget watching Scott awkwardly wander that completely empty house at the beginning. And that's kind of a good image for the relic we're left with of a season better enjoyed as a real-time experience. It had some memorable characters and a split house like no other so it deserves some minor praise.
#28 BBUS Season 19 Paul loses again We like to pick on Paul but he played a great game this time around. It was just really boring to watch him branwash them all. Sure his comeuppance was funny, and it was satisfying that Cody was the one to make the final blow, but the guy definitely deserved to win this one over the meatball. Josh is probably the luckiest winner in the whole bunch.
#27 Celebrity Big Brother Season 1 Ross was robbed While I was happy to finally see this dream come to fruition, this season still had its challenges. But the cast (for the most part) was not the issue. I think Ross and Omarosa especially came to play the game and carried us through to the meager finale.
#26 Celebrity Big Brother Season 2 Tamar makes history This one comes in just slightly above its earlier counterpart. While the stupid Scaramucci twist promised dullness, the rest of this wild cast really brought the flavor. It's sad that Tamar is the US version's first and only black winner, but she really did deserve it and proved to me she probably could have done it in a normal season as well.
#25 BBUS Season 9 'Til Death Do You Part Easily the strangest season of them all. And if you think it's the worst, I don't really disagree, but I've got it this high because it's more entertaining than those ranked below it. Let's look at the facts: it aired during the winter because of writer's strike; the winner was arrested for using the money on funding his drug ring; a stupid question in a comp probably kept Sharon from winning. Those facts make it more memorable than it probably should be.
#24 BBUS Season 21 Chess not checkers I give this season 1 watermelon seed out of a million. Allright, I've got all the Michie jokes out of my system. What started as an exercise in white privilege, turned into a pretty decent game by one of the least likeable winners. We got a lot of memorable bits from this season which carries it above the others below it.
#23 BBUS Season 15 Helen was pushed Besides being known for its hateful (and hated) houseguests, this season also showcases one of the best "rat" games every played. Andy is an incredible winner and it sucks he doesn't really get the credit he deserves because of the trashy people he played against.
#22 BBUS Season 22 All Stars 2 I'm not sure if recency bias is making me rank this one higher than it should be, or lower than it should be. It was a disappointment, to put it plainly. Cody's masterful strategy (and his bond with Enzo going under the radar) reallly allowed him to play king all season. Not to take anything away from him, he really cemented his legacy this season. It was just boring to watch the last half.
#21 BBUS Season 11 Cliques Just as controversial as Season 15, in my opinion, but it's washed away by Jeff and Jordan demanding the majority of airtime. I'll admit, at the time it aired, I found their showmance entertaining and I actually rooted for them. Now, when I rewatch with the full context firmly in place, I can see how much of a blight that showmance was on what could have been a decent season.
#20 BBCAN Season 4 Grand Hotel If only they hadn't done the sibling twist. Nick & Phil drag this season down to miserable depths and one of the only people keeping it afloat, Tim, just sorta quits at the end. It was so frustrating to witness and made the season all the more maddening.
#19 BBUS Season 16 The Hitmen dominate HOTTEST TAKE ALERT! It's an extremely interesting season based on its cast. Most are very memorable (Donnie, Caleb, Frankie, Zach) and some are great at the game (Derrick, Cody, Nicole) but somehow, when you add them all together, it's just not as spicy as it should be. Props to The Hitmen ruling the house, but as with most steamroll seasons, it leaves a lot to be desired.
#18 BBUS Season 5 Project DNA The first 6 seasons of the US program (not counting the first one since that's not the same game at all) are some of the best the show has to offer. The game still has its classic feel and a dynamism that is frankly gone these days. With Season 5, we get the mildest offering of the bunch. A cool twist that allowed for a familial connection was cool; twin twist was creative; ending was interesting with Drew smartly choosing Cowboy over Diane.
#17 BBUS Season 12 The Brigade We can all agree: the Brigade makes use of what is perhaps the best strategy in the game. Still, it's painful to have this cut against Britney who is an absolute treasure in this cast. Overall, a solid entry with some blueprints on how to succeed/fail in Big Brother embedded throughout.
#16 BBCAN Season 7 The Pretty Boys Did someone mention The Brigade being the best strategy? Want more proof? In fact, these Canadians did it better imo. Both Dane and Anthony deserved their spots at the end and that's due in large part because Adam dominated almost all of the comps and remained loyal. A fun final five that breaks them up is also high entertainment. Decent twists, too, although they fall flat as hell.
#15 BBUS Season 17 Vanessa's season I'm sure I'm not the only one but: man, is Vanessa obnoxious. Sure, she is clearly manipulative and has some good ideas, but the crying and hypocrisy is too fucking much. If only Johnny Mac had been able to take the reigns and steer us away from the vanity project this season became to her. At least Steve took the victory instead of her. Special note: don't let the fact this is technically the best season Da'Vonne's been involved with take away from the fact that she is pure entertainment and should be the next Julie Chen point blank and the period.
#14 BBCAN Season 3 The Triple Eviction This cast is fantastic. So many different personalities that mixed together to create some supreme entertainment. The Triple Eviction (and abundance of other twists) sour the overall enjoyment of the "game" so it's not higher in the rankings.
#13 BBUS Season 4 The X-Factor A cringe twist/concept that felt so much more acceptable when it aired. It's rough around the edges, but overall Jun's level of play really elevates the season.
#12 BBUS Season 8 The Donatos No matter how much Evel Dick tries to tarnish this season, there remains an essence that is the heart of what makes this show its unique self. Still eagerly awaiting the day Eric gets to play again, unencumbered by such a handicap of a twist.
#11 BBCAN Season 6 Heaven & Hell One of my favorite winners, Paras dominates the house effectively from the shadows. Also, the cast is full of memorable personalities, especially the women. The Kaela/Derek showmance sticks around a little longer than we'd all have liked, but that at least means Kaela is around the whole time so its a net victory.
#10 BBUS Season 20 Tyler was robbed A modern classic. This season feels like it was dropped on us just to restore our faith in the show's ability to get back to basics (not completely, but ya know what I mean). It falls short with Tyler losing at the end despite clearly outplaying his opponent; I don't feel he mismanaged jury; it's more that they didn't respect his superior gameplay. But so it goes.
#9 BBCAN Season 1 Gary Glitter What a breath of fresh air this show was when I found it. A fun twist on one of my favorite shows, somehow done better and worse at the same time. While Canada can be a little more twist-y, it's clear that they have the edge on comps, design and arguably contestants. This season showcases all of that while giving us an all-time classic ending that will never be outdone or recreated.
#8 BBUS Season 3 Danielle Reyes was R-O-B-B-E-D-!-! I've claimed that other runner ups were robbed, but no one can disagree on this one. They literally had to change the rules so supreme players like Danielle do not lose for their private confessions. Her game goes down as an all-time great and is such a joy to watch. The cast around her provide the texture for some great television.
#7 BBCAN Season 5 Kevin's perfect game I can spend all day espousing on the brilliance of this season's winner, but I can spend even more time praising the cast around him. A perfect blend of newbies who've come to play and vets ready to cement their legacies. I started a giant Neda fan; I left an even bigger Ika fan. Karen and Demetres should be shoe-ins should they redo this same twist.
#6 BBUS Season 14 Coaches If I were to rank all of the best moments in Big Brother history, Dan's Funeral would be an easy #1. For that, and the rise of Ian as a worthy contender, this one remains essential viewing and a joyride.
#5 BBUS Season 2 Dr. Will The season that started it all. No one will argue that Season One should be included on this list, because the game didn't exist then. Thankfully, we get the best ever to play to show us how it should be done. While its very low-budget compared to every other season, it rivals them in the dynamic cast and adrenaline of entertainment.
#4 BBUS Season 6 Secret Partners Easily the best cast the show has ever put forth. Even if you take away those who've played multiple times (not sure why you'd take them away, but, ya know...) you'd be left with the less favorable half of the house that still have solid strategic chops. If this season doesn't hook you on the show, maybe the top three will.
#3 BBUS Season 10 Back to Basics We really deserve another season like this: you have the cast and let them play, with little to no twists. The result: Dan's brilliant performance and Keesha's birthday. Gold. Just gold.
#2 BBCAN Season 2 Jon cuts Neda "Does everybody want good fucking TV?" Look no further. This season has everything you could ever want from Big Brother and its very generous in its offering. Calling this cast fantastic is beyond an understatement.
#1 BBUS Season 7 All-Stars Like many others reading this: I'm obsessed with Big Brother. But this season hits differently. It unlocks a part of my brain that causes me absolute bliss as I think on it. It's beyond a classic; more of a fever dream turned nightmare once Will gets too comfy and Jedi Jani puts the ending in flames. Seriously: for such an amazing season, its by far one of the worst final twos. But it still won't budge from the top spot because of all that surrounds the season.
Anyway, thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed it.
u/i_rank_tvshows
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2020.11.05 01:32 AdamantAce Detective Stories #3 - Sea Movie, Part Two

DC Next presents:

DETECTIVE STORIES

Issue Two: Sea Movie, Part Two
Written by AdamantAce
Edited by Dwright5252
 
<< First < Prev. Next Issue > Coming in January
 
Required Reading:
 
 
It had been a long night, and it was clear it was about to get longer. Dick Grayson had reunited with his old friend Garth, one of his oldest and fiercest allies - once Aqualad, once a Teen Titan - but the pair had quickly become embroiled in a marine mess. Garth had arrived in Gotham after the ocean population alerted him to a whale poaching crew who had been cut to ribbons by the city’s waters, leading the Atlantean to enlist the help of his former friend-turned-police detective. They tracked whatever was responsible, leading them to Gotham University, where the monstrous humanoid killer whale - dubbed “Orca” - struck again for the college’s Board of Biological Research. The pair did what they could to protect the board, but their attacker had escaped. From then on, one thing was clear: Whether this thing was a cursed abomination from the depths or a science experiment gone wrong, a monster was loose in Gotham City.
Quickly, the pair surmised that the research board had recently cut funding to one project of interest - a group researching restorative neurotherapies - after an anonymous source reported that they were testing on illegal killer whale tissue acquired from whalers, the crew of the Ferryman’s Folly. Quickly, their pool of suspects had shrunk. And so, with the first of the three researchers - Dr Grace Balin - having been missing for a week, Dick and Garth split up, Garth surging along the river to the home of Dr Steven Hansen, and Dick racing through the streets to the address of Dr Marlene Simmonds. Garth found Dr Hansen’s corpse, but Dick?
Dick Grayson placed a warm cup of black coffee down on the low wooden table after scanning long enough for a coaster and coming up empty.
“I hope that’s not too sweet,” Dick fumbled, “I’m known to be a bit overzealous with sugar.”
“No, it’s--” Dr Simmonds wrapped her fingers around the Oceanside Aquarium mug, a souvenir from the long since shut down establishment. “It’s okay.”
The marine biologist was a mess. Her dark hair was ragged, her eyes deep set, and her hands trembling, the sleeves of her deep green sweater pulled down past her knuckles to keep warm.
“I’ll pay for the door,” Dick cringed, aware he had knocked it clean off of its hinges having rushed to the stranger’s side.
“It’s not that, it’s--” she quivered. “Everything you told me. Steve’s dead and it’s my fault!”
“What do you mean?” Dick took a seat opposite her and leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table. “You live on opposite sides of the city.”
“No, it’s just--”
“Dick!” A voice called loudly from behind, startling Dr Simmonds up out of her seat.
The Atlantean Garth emerged in the doorway into the kitchen where they were sat. Unlike Dick, who sat in a leather jacket and jeans, Garth was dressed in full undersea regalia: a silver-blue scalemail shirt, and skin-tight navy leggings, with a silver trim running from head to toe forming an Atlantean rune by his belt. Down his bare arms ran ornate, jagged, black tattoos, covering more skin than not. And if that wasn’t all alarming enough, beneath his swooped black hair glowed two violet eyes. A creature from the deep -- Tempest.
“Is everything okay?” Garth spoke, before quickly releasing his arrival had beaten the air out of Marlene’s lungs.
“This is Tempest,” Dick introduced him, standing to join the two of them. “He’s my partner in this case.”
“Is he… Justice Legion?” Marlene pointed a finger and seemingly began to slowly relax.
Garth shrugged. “Near enough.”
“You said this was your fault,” Dick replied to her, ushering her to sit again. “What did you mean? And what do these killings have to do with your research?”
“Should we… head to the station?” Marlene asked.
“We can,” Garth replied. “But you aren’t a suspect, you’re a witness.” He garnered a concerned look from Dick. This clearly wasn’t how the GCPD did things.
“Well, I…” Marlene began. “It’s just hard to say out loud. We… were researching experimental therapies for neural regeneration. For repairing the spine. Grace had been working on it for years before we joined, with the aquarium, after her accident.”
“Her accident?” Dick raised an eyebrow.
“She’s in a wheelchair. Or was. She worked tirelessly to search for a cure to her paralysis using bone marrow samples from the aquarium’s whales. All above board. But then they went out of business, and she was out of a job. Then she got us involved,” Marlene explained. Garth looked back and forth between her and Dick. Draining anything from a captive whale was cruel, regardless of how legal it was. She continued. “Steve, Grace, and me. We got a grant from the university and acquired the whales from Oceanside before they were set to be released. For years we tested, and eventually we started running low on money… and patience.”
“So you got in touch with the whalers?” Garth asked with disdain.
The scientist hung her head in shame. “After we were done with Hama and Scotty.” The whales. “Yes. We were desperate. We were developing a serum, and we were so close to a breakthrough. And Grace was… stuck in that chair. She wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
“Then you got shut down,” Dick added. “Who snitched?”
“We did!” Marlene perked up. “Me and Steve. I convinced him. We’d gone too far and we needed stopping. Grace needed stopping. So we wrote to the GU board with proof of our misconduct and they shut us down, threw away everything.”
The picture was becoming clear now for the young detective. Not that much was left to the imagination.
“Except the serum Grace stashed away, right?” Garth led her, earning another look from Dick.
“No,” Marlene shook her head. “She started over. Drained what was left in her accounts - and then some - to get more tissue from the whalers, repeated our steps and reformulated the serum herself. We told her it was dangerous. We told her to quit. But she wouldn’t take no for an answer. Then the whalers came for her.”
“Came for her?” Dick asked.
“She had debts. Big debts. A week ago she left me a voicemail explaining what was going on and then…” She shut her eyes. “Then she hasn’t answered my calls since. It’s my fault. I made her this desperate.”
Leaving nothing to be assumed, Dick replied. “What do you think happened, Doctor?”
Simmonds pulled her smartphone from her pocket and laid it down on the table silently. She pressed the screen and the voicemail sounded loudly.
“They’re coming for me,” a voice spoke frantically, presumably that of Dr Balin. “They said they’d kill me if I didn’t pay. Marley, please, pick up. Come to the lab, please. I’m scared.”
“I was asleep,” Simmonds whimpered. She turned her phone face down. “I think they threw her in the river and… that whale monster you spoke of came out.”
“You think she took the whale marrow serum?” Dick asked her, looking to Garth.
“That, or something darker took her over.”
“Like what?” Garth asked.
“You said she attacked the board, right?” she asked. “Did any of them get away?”
Dick and Garth nodded.
“Then you’d better make sure they’re safe,” Simmonds replied. “And Professor Klugg too.”
“Klugg’s the deputy head of the board,” Dick said.
“And it’s Wednesday. He doesn’t work Wednesdays,” she explained.
“So?” Garth added.
Dick’s heart pounded and he scrambled for the door. “So he’s at home.”
 
♦ ♦ 🦇 ♦ ♦
 
Then.
“He’s getting away!” Garth sprinted through the jet black street, his pulse pounding, his skin dry and pale. Ahead of him, the blue-skinned magician Mumbo Jumbo made a beeline for the horizon, carried by an Arabian Nights-style magic carpet of his own conjuring. In one hand, the well-dressed sorcerer gripped an ivory-tipped magic wand tightly. In the other he clutched a bag of stolen jewels.
“Not if I have anything to say anything about it!” Mid-sprint, Aqualad looked over his right shoulder just inside to see the boastful Kyle Rayner rocket past him, propelled by emerald energy emanating from his Green Lantern Power Ring. He was new to the game, as a Green Lantern, a hero, and a sidekick, but one of the most powerful among the Teen Titans, not that many of them were still teens. But while Kyle gained on Mumbo more and more as each second passed, Garth knew Kyle wasn’t the one who would intercept the wizard, seeing as he had long since lost track of their other teammate.
As the flying carpet reached the foot of 8th Avenue at great speed, it danced along the road of the Columbus Circle, manoeuvring perfectly through its enchantment and up Broadway. And, while Kyle focused all of his might, the rookie Lantern stumbled, turning horrendously and narrowly avoiding collision with a tree at the circle. But all was not lost, for as while the jewel thief zoomed along Broadway, the tiring Aqualad caught a glimpse - with his enchanted violet eyes - of a red-and-gold blur descending from atop the Empire Hotel, the illusive third Titan in for the figurative kill.
Garth watched as Robin - the Boy Wonder - cut through the air with all the grace a prodigal aerialist commanded, the autumnal wind caught beneath his canary yellow cape, allowing him to safely come crashing down atop the high-speed flying carpet, directly onto Mumbo Jumbo’s back.
“Damn you, Robin!” Mumbo cried as he brought the carpet to a sudden halt and wrestled with the Boy Wonder before successfully throwing him free from the carpet. But by that time, as Dick Grayson tumbled across the asphalt, before Mumbo could drift off again, jewels in hand, Green Lantern and Aqualad were back on the scene.
Kyle threw his ringed first forward and conjured a large, cartoonish dustpan and brush that shot forward to sweep the dusty carpet out from under the wizard. Mumbo stumbled to his feet, and the emerald construct began to glow brighter before bursting, destroying the flying carpet and leaving only slowly settling glitter. But Mumbo sneered, winding back and plunging his wand forwards, directly at the young Green Lantern. “Taste this!” the magician cried, conjuring a blustering storm of razor-sharp playing cards that surged past Kyle, cutting right through his black-and-white construct costume.
Kyle cried out in anguish, but steadied himself, raising his ring once again. “You’re not gonna beat me in a creativity contest!” he boasted.
“No,” Mumbo shook his head. Beneath his top hat, his face was twisted, blue in hue and horribly gaunt. His eyes were glassy and white, his ears pointed. He looked more like a devil than a man. He gripped his wand tightly, shot the Lantern a glare, and an immaculate white straitjacket appeared behind Kyle, ensnaring him and binding his arms. “Though I got sleight of hand down pat!”
Dick dived for Mumbo’s wand, but he snatched it away, waving in the air once more with his eyes on the Boy Wonder. “Why stop at just one Robin!?” he grinned gleefully as his magic conjured four young men vaguely - but not quite - resembling Dick, each in outfits mimicking the Boy Wonder. Quickly, they leapt at Dick, keeping him more than occupied. That left only the meagre Aqualad.
Mumbo Jumbo grinned, as he approached the Atlantean acolyte. “I’ll admit, I don’t know any fish tricks,” he shrugged. “But I’m willing to learn!”
Garth took a deep breath. It was a well kept secret that he sat on reserves of incredible power, but he wasn’t nearly far along enough in his training to tap into them safely and effectively. Instead, he readied himself and stuck to what he knew. He charged forward, swiping his hands through the air and tearing the water vapour from the damp around about them, condensing it to form a watery whip. He lashed at Mumbo’s grip, attempting to snatch his wand, but with a flick of his wrist, Mumbo turned the aquakinetic lash into harmless bubbles that popped and were swept away by the wind. But Garth didn’t relent, shooting concentrated blasts of water at the conjurer as he continued his charge, closing the gap. The projectiles crashed against Mumbo’s tuxedoed frame, knocking him off balance, but he resolved, summoning a flock of doves to swoop towards the Atlantean and peck at his tender skin.
As the birds grew closer and closer, Garth’s mind raced. If he really tried, he could have frozen them out of the air, but in the seconds he had to react, he faltered. Were they real, living doves, or magical simulacrums? And in that moment’s opening, the birds fell upon him, forcing him to the ground as he cowered under a hundred rapid pecks.
But Garth smiled, knowing that as Mumbo relished in his pain and gloated at his handiwork, he had created an opening of his own. An emerald chain went taut around Mumbo Jumbo’s legs and he fell to the ground. The ivory wand flew from his hands and rolled along the floor before being crushed beneath Robin’s boot. As Mumbo screamed feebly, his doves, his discarded straitjacket and his pile of defeated faux-Robins turned to glitter. Along with it, the magician’s fine suit dissolved away, and his blue skin returned to its regular pale white. And as the Green Lantern slipped a pair of verdant handcuffs over the wrists of the pot-bellied middle-aged man, Aqualad stood up, dusted himself off and clapped the back of his fist against Robin’s, celebrating their victory.
Garth smiled. He didn’t have to beat Mumbo in a fight, not when all he had to do was keep him occupied, and trust his friends. “How’s that for sleight of hand?”
 
♦ ♦ 🔱 ♦ ♦
 
Now.
Dick Grayson tore up the streets of Gotham City in his silver Porsche, hurtling towards Burnside, the middle class neighbourhood across the Gotham River and to the south. With the overdressed Tempest at his side, they raced towards the home of Professor Dennis Klugg, the next on the Orca’s projected list of enemies. He was one of the men responsible for pulling funding from Balin, Hansen and Simmonds’ research venture, and for that he was right in the crosshairs of the monstrous killer whale creature. They crossed the bridge and inched closer and closer to the professor’s home before--
The racing vehicle was knocked from its course, sent rolling along the road. The silver Porsche crumbled and deformed as Dick and Garth were sent flailing wildly inside. Eventually, the vehicle came to a halt, and Garth, unharmed, pulled his friend from the wreckage. Dick insisted on standing, though hobbled forward with a slight limp as the two faced their assailant. In the middle of the road stood Orca, the large, humanoid killer whale, her eyes trained on the Atlantean and the detective.
“Guess we beat her to him,” Dick grinned, taking a fighting stance and preparing to fight.
But Garth looked into the killer whale’s eyes, and into her mind. Things were different than before, as if something had changed outside the bounds of the Gotham River. Telepathically linked to the aquatic menace, Garth felt her pain, an awful anguish and an all-encompassing guilt. Hardly the frenzy he had felt before. He focused harder, and as Orca stared back into his violet eyes, Garth began to hear a voice at the back of his mind, the voice he heard earlier on the voicemail. Grace Balin.
“Stop… me…”
Dick turned to Garth, sensing something was up from his vacant expression. “What’s up?”
“She’s saying ‘stop her’,” Garth spoke plainly. He began to sense another force in her mind, a feeling of great strain, of resistance. Grace was fighting something. Her animal nature? Perhaps. Or perhaps something darker. Then, suddenly, both Garth and Grace dropped to the ground as a torturous siren blared. Dick leapt up in shock at them both, for he heard nothing. Garth pounded against her head and the siren sounds vanished, just as he severed his telepathic connection with the killer whale. Then, Orca reeled back and roared a mighty roar before leaping up and into the Gotham River, jetting back off to the south.
Dick reached out for Garth’s arm and helped him to his feet. “What just happened!?” he exclaimed.
“It’s… It’s Grace,” Garth strained. “She came here to kill Klugg, but stopped after she crossed the river. As if she was suddenly able to resist whatever was controlling her.”
“And that… thing?” Dick replied, referring to their shared pain at the blaring siren.
“I think it’s taken back control.” He extended his mind, reaching out into the ocean to track her course. “She’s headed back towards New Gotham. Back to the university.”
“That’s the other side of Gotham,” Dick put his head in his hands.
Garth looked to Dick gravely. “I think we’ve been strung along.”
 
♦ ♦ 🦇 ♦ ♦
 
By the time Dick Grayson returned to the lobby of the Gotham University Biosciences building with two dozen QRT officers at his back, it was clear they were too late. The eviscerated corpses of the research board and the officers staffed to protect them hung from the chairs, tables and counters, their bloody trails painted from the inner doorways of the building to the lobby. It was clear that the culprit was trying to send a message where people would see it. But Dick’s mind was occupied with one thing: Garth. He had raced ahead, able to soar through the water at an unmatched speed. No doubt he had kept pace with the hulking Orca, but from the bodies left to see, it was clear he had not been enough to stop her.
Dick led the cops into the building, charging through the dark halls with the flashlight attached to his sidearm cutting through the shadows. Then, when he heard a large crash, he knew they were close. Dick turned a corner that opened out into the enclosed garden, an oasis in the centre of the academic building. There, he saw Tempest locked in a deadly battle with Dr Balin’s monstrous form. But if they were trading blows here, who moved the bodies?
A pack of hounds sprinted along the hallway towards the bunched up armed officers. At the sounds of their heavy footfalls and ferocious growls, Dick and the other officers turned, lighting them up with their flashlights. Then, right as the creatures leapt for them, it became clear they weren’t hounds at all. They were sharks… on land.
The nearest of the mutants leapt for Dick, but he threw himself back. Instead, the shark creature’s jaws came crashing shut over the arm of QRT Lieutenant Hennely, whose officers promptly opened fire on the pack of mutts. They fell one by one, and while a few of the officers had sustained some grievous injuries, they pushed forward, breaking through the class into the open garden where the killer whale dueled the King of Atlantis’ apprentice. They all raised their firearms at the Orca, deaf to Dick’s pleas, but as they opened fire, Garth leapt in the path of the bullets. Dick’s heart leapt up into his mouth. And while Garth was more than capable of channeling his violet magic to erect an icy shield from the nearby lake to block the volley of gunfire, he had left himself open to an attack from Grace.
Orca tore her claws across Tempest’s back, and Garth screamed a bloodcurdling scream. But as he did, something shifted in the monstrous Dr Balin. Dick saw it. She softened, stumbling back despite being unharmed, and grief beset her. Dick stepped forward, placing himself ahead of the QRT, and beckoned them to lower their weapons. Then, as he approached Garth and Grace, he felt another pair of eyes watching him from deeper in the garden, among the foliage.
“Come out, Marlene,” Dick spoke, tired and disappointed.
Nothing. Garth stumbled over to Dick’s side, trying his best to walk off his injury, while the hulking Grace heaved and panted, doubled over, her head in her large, clubbed hands.
But then, sure enough, out from the flora emerged a woman with dark hair, clad in green. Dr Simmonds.
“And here I thought I was a good liar,” she shrugged, coming out with her hands up as she faced the armed police.
“You were,” Dick replied. “Nearly everything you told us was true. What happened to Dr Balin, that she was the killer. But you lied when you told us you convinced Dr Hansen to rat on your operation.”
Simmonds folded her hands.
“You stuck with Grace, you began again together. And when Grace sent you that hurried voicemail, you weren’t asleep,” Dick exclaimed. “I know because we have footage from the lab placing you both there an hour after the timestamp on the voicemail.”
“That’s ridiculous!” Simmonds furored. “We scrambled the cameras after we broke back into the… Oh.”
Dick smiled.
“We thought the creature behind these killings - Dr Balin - came from the river,” Garth explained. “But she didn’t. You did.”
“The crew of the Ferryman’s Folly didn’t need to brutalise a woman in a wheelchair, but you?” Dick took a step closer to Dr Simmonds. “They threw you right into the river.”
Garth stepped forward. “It changed you. Gave you a connection to the Clear, the magical parliament that connects all sea life.”
“And with it you manipulated the killer whale DNA Grace had injected into her spine to turn her into your weapon for vengeance,” Dick added.
“Give up,” Garth concluded plainly.
“Give up?” Marlene laughed. “My work’s done. The snitch is dead. The professors that cut our funding are dead. The sailors that brutalised us are dead. I’m content. I’ve won.” She looked to the police and then to the muscle-bound monster that was Orca. “Now throw me in Blackgate, or Arkham, and toss her in the zoo.”
Anguished, Grace leapt through the air towards Dr Simmonds, furious for the atrocities she had made her commit, and the monster she had turned her into. And in that second, the GCPD Quick Response Team opened fire once again, puncturing her killer whale hide with a hundred rounds. She didn’t even close half the distance to her quarry before falling to the ground, bloodied and weak.
“No!” Both Dick and Garth cried out in unison.
Dick leapt to Simmonds, cuffing her and promptly tossing her towards Lt Hennelly, ushering the rest of the officers away, while Garth shot to the side of the bloodied Orca.
Garth opened his mind and heard her voice once more.
“I just wanted to walk again…” Even telepathically, her voice was weak. “She’s destroyed me.”
“That’s not true,” Garth shook her head, falling to the floor beside her. He placed his hands on her cold, wet flesh, and the black tattoos that spiralled down his arms began to glow with purple light. “I can save you.”
“I don’t want to live like this!” Grace pleaded. “I’ll be a monster wherever I go.”
“I know a place!” Garth insisted, shaking her to rouse her fleeting attention. “I can take you to a place that can help you, give you sanctuary. A place you can call home, where no-one will fear you.”
Grace breathed heavily through her mouth, producing a deep, gruff whine. “And they’ll forgive me? The whales?”
Garth wrapped his hands around one of hers. “I’ll make sure they do. Please, just--”
“Okay.”
Garth steadied himself and the violet light eclipsing his arms flowed down to his hands and into Grace’s form. The energy then spread throughout her body, the light dissipating, as her wounds slowly sealed shut. Then, as he held Grace, she weeped softly.
 
♦ ♦ 🔱 ♦ ♦
 
Dick and Garth stood solemnly at Port Adams on the east side of the city. From there, they looked off across the ocean, the light dancing across it. An odd crossroads, but one Dick was more than familiar with given their history.
“So, case closed then, huh?” Garth smiled, exhausted but uplifted.
“Simmonds is behind bars,” Dick reasoned, knowing many had died along the way. “That’s what’s important.”
“Right,” Garth nodded.
A short silence persisted between the pair as each watched the waves rally against the dock. A good silence. Though many things remained unsaid, Dick didn’t need a telepathic link to Garth to know how he was feeling. “I was hurt,” Dick broke the silence. “When you quit the team, back in the day. It was sudden. Arthur didn’t give us a reason. And though I didn’t blame you, I… turned inward after that. I should have reached out.”
I should have reached out,” Garth’s shoulders rose as if a heavy burden had suddenly been lifted from upon them. “It’s not like you could have turned up on my doorstep fathoms below. I was just… ashamed.”
“Why?” Dick shook his head.
“Arthur pulled me from the team after what happened to Joey. Forbade me from going to the surface after I failed to save him,” Garth explained, still tense. “Then Hank died soon after. And… Kyle.”
“Garth, you can’t say that it’s your--”
“No,” Garth shook his head. “But I can think it. For as unfair as what Arthur did was, if I was stronger the day Jackal hurt Joey, I would’ve still been with the Titans at all those moments. And maybe things would have been different.”
“And maybe they’d have been just as awful,” Dick threw up his arms.
Garth hung his head.
“But today, I spent the first day in a long time with my best friend,” Dick continued. “And, for as much as we lost on this case… things are less awful now that you’re back.”
Garth silently put his hand on Dick’s shoulder and smiled. “I know you’re against becoming Batman, but - wow - after that, are you sure you don’t wanna be Superman?”
Dick chuckled. “I’m sure.” He looked to Garth. Something else was troubling him. But before Dick could pick his best friend’s brain or coax him into sharing, the Atlantean came right out with it.
“Why won’t Arthur make me the new Aquaman?”
Dick felt almost as if he had been shot. It was true that the former Aquaman had devised a competition of sorts to decide his successor, between Garth - his earliest ally and surrogate son - and Kaldur’ahm, his second, far more recent apprentice. Dick didn’t know if this was some part of Atlantean tradition, or what was going through the Atlantean king’s head. But he did know the words that would comfort his friend.
“I suppose you have to earn it,” he spoke. “And I know you can. When you were on the Titans, you held back. No-one else noticed, but I did. Kyle and Kory were powerful, but they didn’t hold a candle to the power you were suppressing. And after all this time, I can see you aren’t holding back anymore.”
With a hearty grin, Dick extended his hand and opened it to reveal to Garth a flat, golden disc, like a coin or a hockey puck. Garth looked closer and saw the letters ‘JL’ emblazoned in it.
“What’s this?” Garth asked.
“I know J’onn already spoke to you and Kaldur’ahm, but,” Dick pressed the invitation chip into Garth’s hand. “I think it’s about time the strongest Titan took his place on the Justice Legion.”
Garth cradled the chip in his hand, tracing the letters with his finger before looking up to Dick. “And you, fearless leader? You’re naked without a mask.”
“Someday soon,” Dick winked. “Especially if you all keep nagging me.”
 
 
Next: The beginning of a new Gotham in Gotham Knights #18, #19 & #20
Then...
See the other side in Detective Stories #4 starring Harley Quinn - Coming January 6th!
 
submitted by AdamantAce to DCNext [link] [comments]


2020.11.01 09:17 BruteSentiment It's been 1 year since Apple TV+ began, and I have watched every one of their shows (except the kids stuff)! Here's my ranking...[No Spoilers]

In one year, Apple TV+ has released a pretty solid slate of original material. Not including children-oriented content, Apple TV+ has released 20 series, 3 miniseries, 9 movies, and 2 talk shows. From the start, Apple has said that the goal of the content is on quality, not quantity. But…has it lived up to that?
34 - Greatness Code - Documentary
Summary: Each episode features a different athlete talking about a key moment in their careers. The show features athletes from many different sports, including basketball’s LeBron James, soccer’s Alex Morgan (sorry…footballer Alex Morgan), snowboarder Shaun White, sprinter Usain Bolt, swimmer Katie Ledecky, surfer Kelly Slater, and (American) footballer Tom Brady (who is a co-producer).
My Take: This is the easy winner for the worst thing on Apple TV+. The only good thing about this “show” is that the episodes are usually no more than 10 minutes long. The monologues by the athletes are…fine. There’s nothing you haven’t really heard before here. The problem is that the special effects take away from actually seeing the athlete in action. Almost every bit of action has some animation or filter or something over it, so we almost never actually see the events being discussed. It’s pretty ridiculous. After watching this, I genuinely wondered if this series was intended to be part of Apple TV+’s children’s offerings, because that is the only level where it could at all seem “great”.
33 - Oprah Talks Covid-19 - News (Miniseries)
Summary: Not long after the COVID-19 pandemic started major lockdowns across the United States, Oprah quickly began to do online interviews with people who she hoped would bring perspective and uplifting messages, from celebrities to pastors to nurses to people who had experienced isolation in prison and the holocaust. This series ran for nearly a month from mid-March to mid-April in 2020.
My Take: One of Oprah’s three series, this one is the lowest ranked just because much of the information within it is out of date, and is aimed at people at a certain time, which was months ago. But in a way, it’s a bit of a time capsule of the early parts of the pandemic in the public eye, which is interesting. It’s almost as interesting to see the production value (or lack there of), as the majority of the episodes are screen recordings of online interviews. It’s perhaps only worth watching now for being a curiosity, but Apple and Oprah did good getting something up in a timely fashion.
32 - Amazing Stories - Adventure
Summary: An anthology series executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the show brings back the “Amazing Stories” brand with five independent stories about incredible adventures that play with sci-fi and fantasy about regular people put in amazing situations.
My Take: Amazing Stories was to be one of Apple TV’s tentpoles for the summer. Unfortunately, the series landed flat, and is by far the biggest disappointment. It’s yet another TV series that original co-Producer Bryan Fuller left. The show was originally to have ten episodes, it ended up with just five. The stories were not very groundbreaking, though they were beautifully shot. It might be worth checking out for Robert Forster’s last project before he died (Dynoman and the Volt), and for the touching “The Heat” about high school runners from Oakland.
31 - Home - Documentary
Summary: As you might imagine, this documentary series is not just about the architecture of a house, but about the people behind building and designing them. Each episode features a different house and story, with houses chosen from around the world, from urban environments like Chicago and Hong Kong to remote locations in Maine and Bali.
My Take: Although cable and streaming is littered with television programs about houses and architecture, this show passes on the drama, which helps Home become a documentary, and not a reality show. The cinematography is predictably beautiful, but the pacing is slow, and it’s very hard to really get into. It doesn’t help that a couple of the home builders behind the stories are honestly not very likable. The final episode of the first season is really good, but ultimately, this show is a bit of a snooze beyond the real enthusiasts.
30 - Dads - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, this movie looks at fathers across the many levels of fatherhood, anchored by Howard’s own relationship with her father, actodirector Ron Howard, and her grandfather Archie, as well as Bryce’s non-celebrity brother who is an expecting father. The movie shifts to stories about fathers from around the world, and back to the Howards, to celebrate the ever-shifting role of fatherhood in modern society.
My Take: This documentary is a sweet, if simple, tribute to modern fatherhood. There’s nothing special here, it does exactly what you would expect it to. It has cameo interviews from comedian fathers, interspersed with random recordings of fathers from home movies and social media, and stories of fathers in different situations. There’s nothing bad about it, but it’s pretty dry overall. It’s not a waste, but it’ll probably end up being the thing you see in the list and say “Oh, I’ll watch that another time…”, which might as well be next Father’s Day with your dad.
29 - Dear… - Documentary
Summary: A documentary series that details the history and life of various individual celebrities, and uses letters written by people they have affected to frame those celebrities’ impact on people and society.
My Take: Apple has used the advertising method of using letters written to Apple or Tim Cook about how things have changed their lives (particularly the Apple Watch), and in that context this series feels like, well, advertising. Not to take anything away from the celebrities involved, but the marketing push feels very heavy here. And, of course, one of the celebrities featured is Oprah, who is a big presence in ATV+. It also gets absurd with one episode around Big Bird (in character); of course, the Muppets have a spin-off in the kids section of ATV+ called Helpsters. It’s best with the smaller names, where even I learned a little bit. It’s a decent feel-good if that’s what you’re looking for.
28 - Long Way Up - Documentary (Miniseries)
Summary: The third docu-series by Ewan McGregor and his best friend Charley Boorman as they take a long road trip by motorcycle. This trip, they are traveling from the southern tip of South America up to Los Angeles, and are doing it (almost) entirely on electric vehicles. The series highlights both the places they visit along the way, and the travails (and successes) of using these new, custom-made electric motorcycles. (The other two series Long Way Round and Long Way Down have also been added to ATV+, though they are not ‘Apple Originals’.)
My Take: I’ve got to be honest, it’s hard to get into watching others take a road trip. It’s nice enough. The footage is beautiful, as they use everything from GoPro helmet cams to drones to capture the scenery. But the major source of tension here is Range Anxiety, and the biggest drama is in whether or not they can do it all on electric bikes. Still, it’s interesting to see parts of South America many aren’t familiar with, including deserts and the vast Patagonia. And Ewan does seem like someone that would be a great bloke to be mates with. Some people will really enjoy this, I’m just not one of them.
27 - The Elephant Queen - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: Narrated by the soft-spoken Chiwetel Ejiofor, an elephant herd must navigate the climate of the savannah to survive. Led by the matriarch, they must migrate before the dry season hits to stay around water, and then return to their normal grazing land. Along the way, we meet the many other creatures of the savannah and face the changing climates and droughts that get in the way of these pachyderms.
My Take: A documentary much in the style of the old Disney documentaries, the Elephant Queen does a lot of anthropomorphizing its subjects, who range from elephants to dung beetles, and follows them through a difficult season. It is borderline kids-oriented, but adults might enjoy this as well. It’s not afraid to delve into some sad situations, and there is an overriding theme of what happens in droughts that can not be ignored. A sweet film, perhaps a bit saccharine.
26 - Hala - Drama (Movie)
Summary: Hala is a Pakistani-American teenage girl and her trying to balance her family and cultural pressures with being a teen in America. She longs to be out of the pressures of her family’s culture as she interacts with friends and teachers outside of the home. When she does try to act out, she begins to discover more about her family, both discovering secrets and sides she never knew about, as she discovers more about herself.
My Take: Apple TV+’s first fictional feature film release, this coming of age film is never really surprising, but it is a well made film that hits all the right nuances in trying to share Hala’s experience. It’s not a perfect film, as there are some shifts in tone and character that are rather sudden and jarring for the viewer, though all things considered, that’s probably what writedirector Minhal Baig was trying for. The emotions shift quickly and non-family characters disappear quickly, as it’s clear that this is Hala’s story, and not anyone else’s. It’s a solid watch.
25 - Trying - Comedy
Summary: A British couple, Nikki and Jason, have decided to adopt when they have trouble conceiving. They struggle with the truly difficult process of adopting, as well as insecurities about whether or not the two (who could be called slackers) are truly ready to be, or even worthy of being, parents.
My Take: This is a British comedy co-produced by BBC that is about an intensely serious subject. If you know British humor, you know that it will be very intentionally awkward, and this series can definitely hit that mark. While the show is certainly has about its two main characters (Rafe Spall and Esther Smith as the couple), it has a surprisingly large cast of supporting characters, but with only one star most Americans would know (Imelda Staunton as the most unintimidating social worker ever). It’s an interesting concept, and it finds some sweet moments, but not as many funny ones. It’s not bad, but is just okay.
24 - Oprah’s Book Club - Talk Show
Summary: This was the first Oprah show to appear on Apple TV+, serving as a cross-section of Apple services (which advertises Books and Podcasts), and the only one that got to meet the pre-pandemic style of Oprah’s shows. The idea was that Oprah would interview authors and let an audience ask questions. But the series also shows the effects of the pandemic. Once the pandemic hits, the audience is gone, and it becomes direct virtual interviews for a couple of episodes before Apple and Oprah find a way to have a virtual audience.
My Take: I admit, I didn’t read any of the books selected for this list. I still got something out of these shows, but more of an analysis of Oprah than the books. It did show off one of her worst traits, which is how she answers for an interviewee when they were slow to find a point, and she talked over a lot of people. But you could also see her energy change when she had a live audience versus online interviews, and even different with a virtual audience. You could also see her energy change about what books she is passionate about versus those less so. So this wasn’t a waste, but I wasn’t enthusiastic.
23 - Truth Be Told - Drama
Summary: Poppy Parnell (Octavia Spencer) is a true crime podcaster after a successful career as an investigative reporter, but she comes to dwell on the first case that made her famous, where a teenager was put away for murdering his neighbor. Now an adult (played by Aaron Paul), Poppy begins talking with him to see if she made a mistake. Meanwhile, the victim’s family is forced to revisit the crime, including twin daughters (both played by Lizzy Caplan), and Poppy’s family confronts her for supporting Cave, who has joined a white supremacist gang in prison.
My Take: This show has an incredible cast, with Michael Beach, Mekhi Phifer, and Ron Cephas Jones in big supporting roles. Race is an unavoidable part of this story, but so is culture, as Poppy is split between her family’s blue-collar roots in Oakland, and the Silicon Valley lifestyle she now lives with her husband across the bay. The Bay Area setting of this series is a big part of the symbolism. The problem is that the mystery viewers came for was never really important. This would’ve been a good third season of a show, once a status quo for these characters had been found, rather than a confusing first season with lots of subplots.
22 - Central Park - Animation
Summary: Animated by the people behind Bob’s Burgers and created in part by Josh Gad, Central Park is an animated musical. The show revolves around the family of the manager of Central Park (Leslie Odom Jr.), and the villainous hotel owner (Stanley Tucci) who wants to undermine the park to buy it and develop it. Gad plays the busker at the park who serves as the audience’s narrator, and it plays like musical theater, with songs written by a range of artists, including Fiona Apple, Sara Bareilles, Cyndi Lauper, Aimee Mann, Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, and Meghan Trainor, among many others.
My Take: The show is silly, but not always in a funny way. The music is reminiscent of the irreverent nature of Avenue Q, and has some star power behind it, though a lot of the music is just meh. I’m not surprised my favorite song, “Spoiler Alert”, was cowritten by Alan Menken of 90’s Disney musical fame. The story, however, very often deviates from the main thrust of the plot and doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere at times, as it’s more bothered with the humor in ridiculous situations, like the park manager’s son being obsessed with the villain’s dog Champagne. Ultimately, though, the show is just meh. The humor is fine, the story is barely relevant, and the majority of the music will not be found on many people’s playlists going forward, although of course you can find it all on Apple Music.
This show has been one of Apple TV’s only controversies, however. The cast is made from many of Gad’s friends. That led to some controversy, as Gad chose stars before choosing parts. Kristen Bell was put into the role of a bi-racial character, and the two villainous women in the series were played by men (Stanley Tucci and Daveed Diggs, though it’s hard to fault either performance). The controversy was first brought up over the winter. After the summer’s social upheaval, Bell stepped down from the role and her former character will be played in season 2 by Emmy Raver-Lampman. Bell will return as a new character in season 2.
21 - On The Rocks - Comedy (Movie)
Summary: Laura (Rashida Jones) is worried that her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) may have gotten bored in their marriage and having an affair with a coworker. Laura’s father (Bill Murrary), a charming and unabashed ladies man, tries to help her figure out her suspicions as they follow Dean around.
My Take: Well, Apple TV+ paid for a Sofia Coppola film, and boy, did they get one. What this means is that this is a movie where the plot is less important than the conversation, and in particular, this might as well be a 2-person play between Jones and Murray. Murray is charming as basically a more chauvinistic version of himself, and Jones deadpan is the perfect counter. Ultimately the conversations are predictable, and the very obvious plot takes away any suspense. This lets the movie’s most emotionally revelatory scene go almost completely under the radar. Ultimately, it and any lessons from this film get lost in conversation. Luckily, though, Murray and Jones are enough to carry the film and stop it from becoming just plain lost.
20 - See - Drama
Summary: In the future, the world was hit with a virus that made all humans blind, and predictably led to a societal downfall. The remains of civilization live either in a world wildness has mostly reclaimed, or the ruins of what once was. The story centers on a family where two children have been born with sight, and their adoptive father (Jason Momoa) and their mother (Hera Hilmar), with friends, try to find others with sight, while being chased by a religious monarch and her soldiers, trying to rid the world of the sin of sight.
My Take: One of Apple TV+’s first showcase shows, with a bankable action star in Jason Momoa and a huge budget, See ended up as one of the platform’s disappointments. The show suffers because it’s trying to world build throughout its first season, but is constantly changing the status quo of the world through its first season. Time flies for the characters, as the kids born in the first episode are teens in 3 episodes. Supporting characters are set up and then lost in the shuffle. The show does a fantastic job putting together a realistic world of how the sightless would build a civilization, but it’s not enough to make up for a plot that barely sets a status quo before blowing it up for a new quo.
19 - Bruce Springsteen’s Letter To You - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: A documentary recorded while Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band recorded their first studio album since 2012, Letter To You was inspired as Springsteen lost a former bandmate from The Castiles, his band in the 1960’s. The documentary goes between the band playing the songs, and talking about themselves and their history.
My Take: This is a solid musical documentary, but there’s nothing groundbreaking here. It was filmed in 2019, when Springsteen was 70, and there’s no avoiding that this is and old white rocker feeling nostalgic and sharing wisdom and concerns of a life having survived rock and roll. Filmed in black and white, the documentary is comfortable and the music is nice, but it kind of fades into the background even while people are talking. Bruce and 80’s rock fans will love this. Others might turn it on and forget it’s playing.
18 - Little America - Comedy
Summary: A serial about the immigrant experience, Little America tells different stories about the immigrant life in America, from different time periods and different original countries. Whether it be a child prodigy who is left behind when his parents are deported, an African immigrant interested in becoming a cowboy, or a silent retreat where language is not a barrier, this serial tries to tell stories from every background
My Take: With Executive Producers Kumail Nanjiani and Emiliy V. Gordon as the true star power, this anthology series looks at eight different stories about immigrants living in America, all inspired by real life stories. Quality varies per episode, and sometimes it gets a little predictable and repetitive. Still, it has enough high points to work overall. My personal favorites were “The Manager” and “The Grand Prize Expo Winner”, the latter doing an amazing job of humanizing an often-mocked stereotype in media.
17 - The Oprah Conversation - Talk Show
Summary: Oprah’s intended talk show to bring in celebrities and experts and talk to them, but because of the pandemic, it is without a live audience. However, Oprah brings guests in remotely with huge and small screens that feels futuristic, not limiting in the way many pandemic shows have been. Oprah and the guest are in separate spaces but both are professionally filmed, and the limited audience members are present like portraits on the wall in a gallery.
My Take: Of the three Oprah shows, this feels most like “Oprah”. Due to the timing of the show after social upheaval, many episodes take on the subject of race and race relations. But others are oddly promotional, like Mariah Carey (who coincidentally has a holiday special coming with Apple TV) and Matthew McConaughey (and his new book). The episodes about race are particularly worth watching (as a white man, who is often uncomfortable talking about race). This is definitely peak Oprah.
16 - Little Voice - Drama
Summary: Sara Bareilles, Jordy Nelson, and. J.J. Abrams are the powerhouses behind this series, a sweet but not exactly groundbreaking story about a singer-songwriter trying to make it in New York. Bess (Brittany O’Grady) is a songwriter with anxiety about performing, despite a father in the business. As Bess tries to overcome her anxiety, she has to deal with her autistic brother (Kevin Valdez, an actor who is actually on the spectrum), her roommate/best friend, a coworker at the bar who wants to be her manager, a new musician partner, a potential love interest or two, and her alcoholic father and absent mother. That’s all.
My Take: It works on the back of star Brittany O’Grady, and a compelling cast of people around her life, especially Valdez’s performance, which is one of the most realistic portrayals of autism you’ll find. Bareilles wrote the music, which is beautiful as usual. Where the show falters is that it seems like it’s trying to do every single possible story at once, and every episode feels manic. It almost seems to exhaust every possible plot point and stumbling block in one season. But O’Grady and the music help you keep watching.
15 - The Banker - Drama (Movie)
Summary: Inspired by a true story, this movie follows Bernard Garrett (Anthony Mackie), an African-American prodigy, as he makes himself a success in Los Angeles real estate in the 1950’s and 60’s, and tries to move into banking in his home state of Texas. He and his wife (Nia Long) partners with businessman Joe Morris (Samuel L. Jackson) and white front-man Matt Steiner (Nicholas Hoult) to try and succeed in two racist industries.
My Take: One of Apple TV’s first movies, The Banker has big name stars in Avengers stars Mackie and Jackson and a big-time story. The movie is fast paced and at times feels like skimming a book. It doesn’t skimp on laughs in the first half (with Jackson providing his own laugh track), but it does get much more serious in the second half as it and the characters directly address the racism around them. This is the first Apple TV+ movie that feels distinctly “Hollywood”, both in style in structure. That helps raise ATV+’s profile, but it puts limits this film as well. It’s a good story and worth watching, but is not ground-breaking, and clearly is not an in-depth or entirely accurate look at the story.
It was also a source of a major controversy, as the movie’s release was delayed by allegations of childhood sexual abuse were levied against Bernard Garrett Jr., the son of the main character and a producer on the film, by his half sisters and their mother.
14 - Tehran - Thriller
Summary: An “Apple Original” in title only, this show was made in Israel for their public channel Kan 11, and Apple purchased the international rights. It follows Tamar Rabinyan (Niv Sultan), a young Jewish spy who was born in Iran, as she is inserted into Tehran to try and neutralize Iran’s air defenses so Israel can bomb their nuclear plant. The plot is foiled in the first episode, and Tamar is sent on the run in an enemy city, pursued by the head investigator of the Revolutionary Guard Faraz Kamali (Shaun Toub).
My Take: In many ways, this is a fairly standard spy thriller. There’s a mission, it goes wrong, and everyone is sent scrambling. Tehran gets points, from this American viewer, for exploring the largely unexplored environment of urban Iran (albeit filmed in Athens). The characters switch between Hebrew, Farsi, and English very quickly, which is challenging to hearead. But ultimately, this is a personal spy story of pawns in a bigger war, as the scope grows with each episode. There’s plenty of grey in every side of this conflict. Even with the scope, Tehran gets bogged down and the middle episodes feel filled with filler. Ultimately, it’s solid, and does feel different than most spy shows. And though we get a satisfying resolution, the door is left open for season 2, which is as yet officially unannounced (but reported that they are signed on for two more seasons).
13 - Boys State - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: Every year, young men are brought together in the Texas State Capitol for what is basically a political science camp, where they are broken into their own political parties, and must come up with a platform and compete in an election for roles inspired by state government. During it, these 16-18-year old boys must work together while competing against each other, and learning what politics are.
My Take: A documentary about young men’s mock political competition in Texas, you’ve probably just envisioned something about what this looks like, and no doubt, you’ll probably see exactly that in this documentary. But this Sundance Documentary-winning film doesn’t quite go the way you think, but also close enough that it might not matter. These teens have more nuance than I would’ve expected, and I wish adults had in politics. But it has too much nuance to be received well, I think. Still, if you want a reason to watch this, I’d put money that at least one of the featured boys in this becomes a politician of note in the near future. Also, I am interested in seeing a documentary about the same event for girls, Girls State.
12 - Tiny World - Documentary
Summary: Narrated by Ant-Man’s Paul Rudd, Tiny World takes a look at the world of small animals living in diverse natural habitats around the world. Ranging from the African savannah to the Australian outback to the north American backyard, the show features animals from monkeys that can fit in the palm of your hand, down to the ants that are ever-present.
My Take: Nature documentaries are everywhere, but the cinematography on this is mind-blowing to the point you truly wonder how some of this was shot. Clearly, a large amount of it was manipulated, with rare parts where the CGI shows through, but it doesn’t take away from just how beautiful the shots are. With Rudd’s occasionally wry narration, it makes this a nature documentary that competes with the best stuff on Netflix. The nature never gets too gory, but it does deal with the life and death (sometimes brutal) of tiny nature. And it’s even a great follow-up to the movie “The Elephant Queen” because the first episode features what could be the same dung beetle that featured in that movie! (The movie and this series were not done by the same company, though, so it might just be a look-alike dung beetle they hired.)
11 - Beastie Boys Story - Documentary
Summary: A telling of the Beastie Boys career, by the surviving members Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz themselves. Directed by Spike Jonze, this documentary is shot as the two tell their story to a live audience in a theater, alternating between them on stage laughing and joking around, and video sequences they narrate about their career, and their friends, especially the late Adam “MCA” Yauch.
My Take: This is such an unusual format for a documentary, and it works so well. It allows for some of the goofing off that one might expect from the stars, but it’s still coherent and interesting, especially for me as a casual fan of the band growing up. On a service with a lot of traditionally-made documentaries, this stands out because of both its style and its quality, and if you like pop music at all, you should enjoy this.
10 - For All Mankind - Drama
Summary: An alternate history series based off a simple question: What if the Soviet Union beat America to the moon? From Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D. Moore, the answer is that the Americans, more competitive than ever, try to push for more ambitious goals than just landing on the moon and leaving.
My Take: One of the first Apple TV shows, it is a sometimes nerdy but very interesting look at the space race. It balances fictional characters with real life figures (sometimes making interesting decisions when changing their fate), and really tries to focus on the science side of science fiction. The show jumps across years of development, so it’s not as tedious and slow as it could be. It hasn’t captured fans’ imaginations as much as it obviously has its creators’ imaginations, but it’s a quality drama that could get better in future seasons, although it is clearly now swerving to the fiction side of science fiction.
9 - Home Before Dark - Drama
Summary: Hilde Lisko (Brooklynn Prince) is a 9-year old daughter of a journalist who wants to do what he does. When her family moves from New York to her father’s small hometown in Washington, she stumbles onto a mysterious death and does what any reporter would do: writes about it in her blog. But as the mystery expands to her father’s past, she challenges an entire city’s reluctance to face up to a tragedy from decades ago, in the name of journalism.
My Take: A dark horse series that did not get much press, Home Before Dark seems like a show for kids, but is a show is made for adults, with a mystery of twists and turns more like Gone Girl than any children’s show. Prince is the star of this show and keeps viewers attached, even as the mystery’s twists get harder to follow. The show is vaguely inspired by a real life young journalist, but realistically is not at all the same story. It doesn’t matter, as this is as much about family and youthful stubbornness as anything else.
8 - Dickinson - Comedy
Summary: A historical comedy-drama about the life of poet Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld), this show follows her as a modern-thinking woman in a restrictive 19th century setting, growing up as a teenager. It shows both what’s going on around her, and into her imaginative flights of fancy as she deals with romantic trysts, less-than-friendly friends, and restrictive parents (notably Jane Krakowski as her mother Emily).
My Take: One of the first series from Apple TV+, Dickinson is an ambitious series, but shifts between being a period piece with setting-appropriate acting, and characters acting like modern people but set in the past. As great as parts are, it does struggle with focus and tone, particularly John Mulaney’s guest role as Henry David Thoreau, which feels better suited for a Will Ferrell absurdist comedy than what this show is trying to be. Steinfeld shines in the lead role, but Ella Hunt as Dickinson’s best friend Sue and Jane Krakowski as her mother both are fantastic. The relationship between Dickinson and her best friend Sue, and hints about Dickinson’s deteriorating mental health, are both handled very well. This is a show that has a chance to really find its footing in future seasons.
7 - Greyhound - Action (Movie)
Summary: Captain Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks) has been given command of a destroyer, and a convoy of supply ships to cross the U-Boat infested Atlantic early in World War II. Without air cover, he spends days awake, attempting to outmaneuver an enemy he can not see, or even count. As ships in his convoy are attacked one by one, he must save as many as he can before getting back under the protective air cover from Great Britain.
My Take: A movie that really was meant for the big screen, Greyhound is not interested in your character development or subplots or mandatory romances (mostly). After an initial scene introducing Krause in the lone bit of character development, this movie is about the tense travel of the Atlantic with submarines hunting you. It never shows the human villains, only the occasional peak at the metal beasts when they surface. It also doesn’t jump between ships on this convoy. Strictly a single viewpoint, which makes for a fascinatingly and a little fatiguingly tense film that is shorter than it feels (only 91 minutes!) because of the thrills. This movie is a fantastically different take on the war films we know, and especially for those with military experience, a strong film.
6 - Servant - Drama
Summary: Without significant spoilers, the show focuses on a couple who recently suffered the loss of a child, and have undertaken a real doll therapy, where they take care of a doll to help the psychological effects of losing a child, and go so far as to bring in a mysterious young girl to be the doll’s nanny. Over the span of the series, secrets about the nanny, and the troubles of the couple themselves, slowly leak out.
My Take: M. Night Shymalan’s first television show is a return to the Shymalan of his early years. With the space of a series instead of a movie, Shymalan has the room to explore each character: the almost-grieving mother (Lauren Ambrose), the disaffected and disbelieving husband (Toby Kebbell), the mysterious nanny (Nell Tiger Free), and the doubtful brother of the wife (Rupert Grint, Ron from Harry Potter), who acts as an outside world anchor. By the end, it feels a bit as if the original mystery has become a subplot, but it’s left on a cliffhanger the will leap the plot forward. And throughout the series, Shymalan allows food to be a visual cue and cinematographic toy, setting the mood. This ranks as one of Shymalan’s better stories from his long career.
5 - Visible: Out on Television - Documentary (Miniseries)
Episodes: 5; Stauts: Completed
Summary: A documentary series about how all facets of LGBTQ people have been represented on television, from the 1950’s through today. As a series, the documentary takes time with many the facets of every letter in LGBTQ, and all the letters hidden within it, talking about struggles of people of color. With interviews and clips, it takes it’s time with different eras and weaves it all together. And it’s all done with an undertone of how storytelling works, and the tool that television is, both for misinformation but also for connection.
My Take: Making this a series really allows the time to give this topic the time to really explore it. It’s an engaging documentary, especially for anyone who’s spent any time watching television. There’s nuggets of memory for all of us, where we can connect to the shows we used to watch, both their flaws and triumphs. Certain critics might point to this as Apple trying to force representation down our throats, but this documentary is excellent at telling a compelling story with both history and context.
4 - The Morning Show - Drama
Summary: Apple TV+’s centerpiece, with superstar stars Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carrell, and yet a scene-stealing supporting cast of Gugu Mbahta-Raw, Billy Crudup (who won an Emmy for his role), Mark Duplass, and Jack Davenport (who is never not good), the show is about a, believe it or not, morning show whose male lead is fired in a sexual misconduct scandal and the after-effects. Witherspoon’s character is unexpectedly brought in to replace him, as power battles go on behind the scenes with everyone from the network head down to the assistant producers, as the secrets spill out about the truth.
My Take: What could be a preachy show about the MeToo movement never gets that way, and attempts a nuanced discussion about the less clear-cut issues. It’s not done perfectly, as some conflicts from the episodic storyline seem to disappear in the next episode, and Mitch is frustratingly (and probably intentionally) likable even as he is hate-able, with Carell showing his range. One flaw of this show is that the extremely likable supporting cast pulls attention away from Aniston and Witherspoon, the former being appropriately lauded with praise but not getting enough to win awards, and the latter getting a little stuck in her character spot. The season finale flurry hits hard, even if it doesn’t feel completely earned, but this show has definitely become the first bankable piece ATV+ has.
3 - Defending Jacob - Drama (Miniseries)
Summary: A boy is murdered, and after an investigation, suspicion falls on one of his classmates, Jacob, who is the son of Andy Barber, one of the assistant district attorneys (Chris Evans). Andy and his wife Laurie (Michelle Dockery) must do their best to defend their son, investigating other leads, but also facing the possibility that their son is guilty, and hiding family secrets.
My Take: Starring Captain America’s Chris Evans, Defending Jacob became the summer hit for Apple TV+, drawing viewers in. The tension between Andy and his wife Laurie, and their slightly creepy son Jacob (Jaeden Martell) as the teen is accused of murder, is filled with tension and, unlike many of the series on Apple TV, comes to a full conclusion in one season. Fans of mysteries like Gone Girl will appreciate this series. Although it can feel slightly stretched, this series hits hard and makes the most of its star power.
2 - Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet - Comedy
Summary: Mythic Quest is an online game akin to World of Warcraft, and it’s launching a new expansion to keep its fans engaged. The studio is led by a charmingly sycophantic designer Ian (pronounced EYE-an, played by Rob Mcelhenney), and lead engineer Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao). With a staff of obsessive assistants, disinterested programmers, earnest game testers, snippy game streamers, and an elderly lead writer lost in technology, the show hops along the daily struggles of keeping a game going and its fans happy.
My Take: An absolute home run of a show, as one would expect from the team behind It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Mythic Quest is absurdist comedy at its best, with McElhenney and a breakout performance from Nicdao. However, it’s also an ensemble cast with no weak spots, and a wonderfully obvious premise that is contemporary. It is at its best in two standalone episodes. The first comes out of nowhere, not featuring the main cast but instead acts as a “How the Game Industry Got Here” prequel in heartbreakingly personal fashion. The second is a special Quarantine episode that was perhaps the best quarantine-focused special episode done anywhere.
1 - Ted Lasso - Comedy
Summary: An American Football coach is inexplicably hired as a Soccer…er, real Football coach in the Premiere League in London. The titular Lasso is genuine and earnest, openly saying he doesn’t think winning has to do with the score, and he faces a soccer world where the opposite is true. He faces disbelieving players, abusive fans, unsure team staff, and a devious owner, but he barely blinks in the face of it all, and tries to keep his team from relegation…once he learns what that means.
My Take: An absolute surprise of a show, based on NBC Sports comedy promos, that has no right to be so great. Ted Lasso is on its face a fish-out-of-water sports show about an American football coach going to Europe to coach football/soccer. But it’s really a movie about a polite man in an impolite world, and bending rather than breaking, and sticking to your principles. It’s not laugh out loud funny, but it is surprisingly emotional. It’s also a show that champions maturity in a way that hits harder in a 2020 world, and so it’s also very well-timed. The only problem with Ted Lasso the show is that even though it gives Apple TV+ a recognizable character to market, it’s not a must-subscribe show. But it’s unquestionably one of Apple TV+’s best.
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2020.11.01 09:17 BruteSentiment It's been 1 year since Apple TV+ began, and I have watched every one of their shows (except the kids stuff)! Here's my ranking... [No Spoilers]

In one year, Apple TV+ has released a pretty solid slate of original material. Not including children-oriented content, Apple TV+ has released 20 series, 3 miniseries, 9 movies, and 2 talk shows. From the start, Apple has said that the goal of the content is on quality, not quantity. But…has it lived up to that?
34 - Greatness Code - Documentary
Summary: Each episode features a different athlete talking about a key moment in their careers. The show features athletes from many different sports, including basketball’s LeBron James, soccer’s Alex Morgan (sorry…footballer Alex Morgan), snowboarder Shaun White, sprinter Usain Bolt, swimmer Katie Ledecky, surfer Kelly Slater, and (American) footballer Tom Brady (who is a co-producer).
My Take: This is the easy winner for the worst thing on Apple TV+. The only good thing about this “show” is that the episodes are usually no more than 10 minutes long. The monologues by the athletes are…fine. There’s nothing you haven’t really heard before here. The problem is that the special effects take away from actually seeing the athlete in action. Almost every bit of action has some animation or filter or something over it, so we almost never actually see the events being discussed. It’s pretty ridiculous. After watching this, I genuinely wondered if this series was intended to be part of Apple TV+’s children’s offerings, because that is the only level where it could at all seem “great”.
33 - Oprah Talks Covid-19 - News (Miniseries)
Summary: Not long after the COVID-19 pandemic started major lockdowns across the United States, Oprah quickly began to do online interviews with people who she hoped would bring perspective and uplifting messages, from celebrities to pastors to nurses to people who had experienced isolation in prison and the holocaust. This series ran for nearly a month from mid-March to mid-April in 2020.
My Take: One of Oprah’s three series, this one is the lowest ranked just because much of the information within it is out of date, and is aimed at people at a certain time, which was months ago. But in a way, it’s a bit of a time capsule of the early parts of the pandemic in the public eye, which is interesting. It’s almost as interesting to see the production value (or lack there of), as the majority of the episodes are screen recordings of online interviews. It’s perhaps only worth watching now for being a curiosity, but Apple and Oprah did good getting something up in a timely fashion.
32 - Amazing Stories - Adventure
Summary: An anthology series executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the show brings back the “Amazing Stories” brand with five independent stories about incredible adventures that play with sci-fi and fantasy about regular people put in amazing situations.
My Take: Amazing Stories was to be one of Apple TV’s tentpoles for the summer. Unfortunately, the series landed flat, and is by far the biggest disappointment. It’s yet another TV series that original co-Producer Bryan Fuller left. The show was originally to have ten episodes, it ended up with just five. The stories were not very groundbreaking, though they were beautifully shot. It might be worth checking out for Robert Forster’s last project before he died (Dynoman and the Volt), and for the touching “The Heat” about high school runners from Oakland.
31 - Home - Documentary
Summary: As you might imagine, this documentary series is not just about the architecture of a house, but about the people behind building and designing them. Each episode features a different house and story, with houses chosen from around the world, from urban environments like Chicago and Hong Kong to remote locations in Maine and Bali.
My Take: Although cable and streaming is littered with television programs about houses and architecture, this show passes on the drama, which helps Home become a documentary, and not a reality show. The cinematography is predictably beautiful, but the pacing is slow, and it’s very hard to really get into. It doesn’t help that a couple of the home builders behind the stories are honestly not very likable. The final episode of the first season is really good, but ultimately, this show is a bit of a snooze beyond the real enthusiasts.
30 - Dads - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, this movie looks at fathers across the many levels of fatherhood, anchored by Howard’s own relationship with her father, actodirector Ron Howard, and her grandfather Archie, as well as Bryce’s non-celebrity brother who is an expecting father. The movie shifts to stories about fathers from around the world, and back to the Howards, to celebrate the ever-shifting role of fatherhood in modern society.
My Take: This documentary is a sweet, if simple, tribute to modern fatherhood. There’s nothing special here, it does exactly what you would expect it to. It has cameo interviews from comedian fathers, interspersed with random recordings of fathers from home movies and social media, and stories of fathers in different situations. There’s nothing bad about it, but it’s pretty dry overall. It’s not a waste, but it’ll probably end up being the thing you see in the list and say “Oh, I’ll watch that another time…”, which might as well be next Father’s Day with your dad.
29 - Dear… - Documentary
Summary: A documentary series that details the history and life of various individual celebrities, and uses letters written by people they have affected to frame those celebrities’ impact on people and society.
My Take: Apple has used the advertising method of using letters written to Apple or Tim Cook about how things have changed their lives (particularly the Apple Watch), and in that context this series feels like, well, advertising. Not to take anything away from the celebrities involved, but the marketing push feels very heavy here. And, of course, one of the celebrities featured is Oprah, who is a big presence in ATV+. It also gets absurd with one episode around Big Bird (in character); of course, the Muppets have a spin-off in the kids section of ATV+ called Helpsters. It’s best with the smaller names, where even I learned a little bit. It’s a decent feel-good if that’s what you’re looking for.
28 - Long Way Up - Documentary (Miniseries)
Summary: The third docu-series by Ewan McGregor and his best friend Charley Boorman as they take a long road trip by motorcycle. This trip, they are traveling from the southern tip of South America up to Los Angeles, and are doing it (almost) entirely on electric vehicles. The series highlights both the places they visit along the way, and the travails (and successes) of using these new, custom-made electric motorcycles. (The other two series Long Way Round and Long Way Down have also been added to ATV+, though they are not ‘Apple Originals’.)
My Take: I’ve got to be honest, it’s hard to get into watching others take a road trip. It’s nice enough. The footage is beautiful, as they use everything from GoPro helmet cams to drones to capture the scenery. But the major source of tension here is Range Anxiety, and the biggest drama is in whether or not they can do it all on electric bikes. Still, it’s interesting to see parts of South America many aren’t familiar with, including deserts and the vast Patagonia. And Ewan does seem like someone that would be a great bloke to be mates with. Some people will really enjoy this, I’m just not one of them.
27 - The Elephant Queen - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: Narrated by the soft-spoken Chiwetel Ejiofor, an elephant herd must navigate the climate of the savannah to survive. Led by the matriarch, they must migrate before the dry season hits to stay around water, and then return to their normal grazing land. Along the way, we meet the many other creatures of the savannah and face the changing climates and droughts that get in the way of these pachyderms.
My Take: A documentary much in the style of the old Disney documentaries, the Elephant Queen does a lot of anthropomorphizing its subjects, who range from elephants to dung beetles, and follows them through a difficult season. It is borderline kids-oriented, but adults might enjoy this as well. It’s not afraid to delve into some sad situations, and there is an overriding theme of what happens in droughts that can not be ignored. A sweet film, perhaps a bit saccharine.
26 - Hala - Drama (Movie)
Summary: Hala is a Pakistani-American teenage girl and her trying to balance her family and cultural pressures with being a teen in America. She longs to be out of the pressures of her family’s culture as she interacts with friends and teachers outside of the home. When she does try to act out, she begins to discover more about her family, both discovering secrets and sides she never knew about, as she discovers more about herself.
My Take: Apple TV+’s first fictional feature film release, this coming of age film is never really surprising, but it is a well made film that hits all the right nuances in trying to share Hala’s experience. It’s not a perfect film, as there are some shifts in tone and character that are rather sudden and jarring for the viewer, though all things considered, that’s probably what writedirector Minhal Baig was trying for. The emotions shift quickly and non-family characters disappear quickly, as it’s clear that this is Hala’s story, and not anyone else’s. It’s a solid watch.
25 - Trying - Comedy
Summary: A British couple, Nikki and Jason, have decided to adopt when they have trouble conceiving. They struggle with the truly difficult process of adopting, as well as insecurities about whether or not the two (who could be called slackers) are truly ready to be, or even worthy of being, parents.
My Take: This is a British comedy co-produced by BBC that is about an intensely serious subject. If you know British humor, you know that it will be very intentionally awkward, and this series can definitely hit that mark. While the show is certainly has about its two main characters (Rafe Spall and Esther Smith as the couple), it has a surprisingly large cast of supporting characters, but with only one star most Americans would know (Imelda Staunton as the most unintimidating social worker ever). It’s an interesting concept, and it finds some sweet moments, but not as many funny ones. It’s not bad, but is just okay.
24 - Oprah’s Book Club - Talk Show
Summary: This was the first Oprah show to appear on Apple TV+, serving as a cross-section of Apple services (which advertises Books and Podcasts), and the only one that got to meet the pre-pandemic style of Oprah’s shows. The idea was that Oprah would interview authors and let an audience ask questions. But the series also shows the effects of the pandemic. Once the pandemic hits, the audience is gone, and it becomes direct virtual interviews for a couple of episodes before Apple and Oprah find a way to have a virtual audience.
My Take: I admit, I didn’t read any of the books selected for this list. I still got something out of these shows, but more of an analysis of Oprah than the books. It did show off one of her worst traits, which is how she answers for an interviewee when they were slow to find a point, and she talked over a lot of people. But you could also see her energy change when she had a live audience versus online interviews, and even different with a virtual audience. You could also see her energy change about what books she is passionate about versus those less so. So this wasn’t a waste, but I wasn’t enthusiastic.
23 - Truth Be Told - Drama
Summary: Poppy Parnell (Octavia Spencer) is a true crime podcaster after a successful career as an investigative reporter, but she comes to dwell on the first case that made her famous, where a teenager was put away for murdering his neighbor. Now an adult (played by Aaron Paul), Poppy begins talking with him to see if she made a mistake. Meanwhile, the victim’s family is forced to revisit the crime, including twin daughters (both played by Lizzy Caplan), and Poppy’s family confronts her for supporting Cave, who has joined a white supremacist gang in prison.
My Take: This show has an incredible cast, with Michael Beach, Mekhi Phifer, and Ron Cephas Jones in big supporting roles. Race is an unavoidable part of this story, but so is culture, as Poppy is split between her family’s blue-collar roots in Oakland, and the Silicon Valley lifestyle she now lives with her husband across the bay. The Bay Area setting of this series is a big part of the symbolism. The problem is that the mystery viewers came for was never really important. This would’ve been a good third season of a show, once a status quo for these characters had been found, rather than a confusing first season with lots of subplots.
22 - Central Park - Animation
Summary: Animated by the people behind Bob’s Burgers and created in part by Josh Gad, Central Park is an animated musical. The show revolves around the family of the manager of Central Park (Leslie Odom Jr.), and the villainous hotel owner (Stanley Tucci) who wants to undermine the park to buy it and develop it. Gad plays the busker at the park who serves as the audience’s narrator, and it plays like musical theater, with songs written by a range of artists, including Fiona Apple, Sara Bareilles, Cyndi Lauper, Aimee Mann, Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, and Meghan Trainor, among many others.
My Take: The show is silly, but not always in a funny way. The music is reminiscent of the irreverent nature of Avenue Q, and has some star power behind it, though a lot of the music is just meh. I’m not surprised my favorite song, “Spoiler Alert”, was cowritten by Alan Menken of 90’s Disney musical fame. The story, however, very often deviates from the main thrust of the plot and doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere at times, as it’s more bothered with the humor in ridiculous situations, like the park manager’s son being obsessed with the villain’s dog Champagne. Ultimately, though, the show is just meh. The humor is fine, the story is barely relevant, and the majority of the music will not be found on many people’s playlists going forward, although of course you can find it all on Apple Music.
This show has been one of Apple TV’s only controversies, however. The cast is made from many of Gad’s friends. That led to some controversy, as Gad chose stars before choosing parts. Kristen Bell was put into the role of a bi-racial character, and the two villainous women in the series were played by men (Stanley Tucci and Daveed Diggs, though it’s hard to fault either performance). The controversy was first brought up over the winter. After the summer’s social upheaval, Bell stepped down from the role and her former character will be played in season 2 by Emmy Raver-Lampman. Bell will return as a new character in season 2.
21 - On The Rocks - Comedy (Movie)
Summary: Laura (Rashida Jones) is worried that her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) may have gotten bored in their marriage and having an affair with a coworker. Laura’s father (Bill Murrary), a charming and unabashed ladies man, tries to help her figure out her suspicions as they follow Dean around.
My Take: Well, Apple TV+ paid for a Sofia Coppola film, and boy, did they get one. What this means is that this is a movie where the plot is less important than the conversation, and in particular, this might as well be a 2-person play between Jones and Murray. Murray is charming as basically a more chauvinistic version of himself, and Jones deadpan is the perfect counter. Ultimately the conversations are predictable, and the very obvious plot takes away any suspense. This lets the movie’s most emotionally revelatory scene go almost completely under the radar. Ultimately, it and any lessons from this film get lost in conversation. Luckily, though, Murray and Jones are enough to carry the film and stop it from becoming just plain lost.
20 - See - Drama
Summary: In the future, the world was hit with a virus that made all humans blind, and predictably led to a societal downfall. The remains of civilization live either in a world wildness has mostly reclaimed, or the ruins of what once was. The story centers on a family where two children have been born with sight, and their adoptive father (Jason Momoa) and their mother (Hera Hilmar), with friends, try to find others with sight, while being chased by a religious monarch and her soldiers, trying to rid the world of the sin of sight.
My Take: One of Apple TV+’s first showcase shows, with a bankable action star in Jason Momoa and a huge budget, See ended up as one of the platform’s disappointments. The show suffers because it’s trying to world build throughout its first season, but is constantly changing the status quo of the world through its first season. Time flies for the characters, as the kids born in the first episode are teens in 3 episodes. Supporting characters are set up and then lost in the shuffle. The show does a fantastic job putting together a realistic world of how the sightless would build a civilization, but it’s not enough to make up for a plot that barely sets a status quo before blowing it up for a new quo.
19 - Bruce Springsteen’s Letter To You - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: A documentary recorded while Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band recorded their first studio album since 2012, Letter To You was inspired as Springsteen lost a former bandmate from The Castiles, his band in the 1960’s. The documentary goes between the band playing the songs, and talking about themselves and their history.
My Take: This is a solid musical documentary, but there’s nothing groundbreaking here. It was filmed in 2019, when Springsteen was 70, and there’s no avoiding that this is and old white rocker feeling nostalgic and sharing wisdom and concerns of a life having survived rock and roll. Filmed in black and white, the documentary is comfortable and the music is nice, but it kind of fades into the background even while people are talking. Bruce and 80’s rock fans will love this. Others might turn it on and forget it’s playing.
18 - Little America - Comedy
Summary: A serial about the immigrant experience, Little America tells different stories about the immigrant life in America, from different time periods and different original countries. Whether it be a child prodigy who is left behind when his parents are deported, an African immigrant interested in becoming a cowboy, or a silent retreat where language is not a barrier, this serial tries to tell stories from every background
My Take: With Executive Producers Kumail Nanjiani and Emiliy V. Gordon as the true star power, this anthology series looks at eight different stories about immigrants living in America, all inspired by real life stories. Quality varies per episode, and sometimes it gets a little predictable and repetitive. Still, it has enough high points to work overall. My personal favorites were “The Manager” and “The Grand Prize Expo Winner”, the latter doing an amazing job of humanizing an often-mocked stereotype in media.
17 - The Oprah Conversation - Talk Show
Summary: Oprah’s intended talk show to bring in celebrities and experts and talk to them, but because of the pandemic, it is without a live audience. However, Oprah brings guests in remotely with huge and small screens that feels futuristic, not limiting in the way many pandemic shows have been. Oprah and the guest are in separate spaces but both are professionally filmed, and the limited audience members are present like portraits on the wall in a gallery.
My Take: Of the three Oprah shows, this feels most like “Oprah”. Due to the timing of the show after social upheaval, many episodes take on the subject of race and race relations. But others are oddly promotional, like Mariah Carey (who coincidentally has a holiday special coming with Apple TV) and Matthew McConaughey (and his new book). The episodes about race are particularly worth watching (as a white man, who is often uncomfortable talking about race). This is definitely peak Oprah.
16 - Little Voice - Drama
Summary: Sara Bareilles, Jordy Nelson, and. J.J. Abrams are the powerhouses behind this series, a sweet but not exactly groundbreaking story about a singer-songwriter trying to make it in New York. Bess (Brittany O’Grady) is a songwriter with anxiety about performing, despite a father in the business. As Bess tries to overcome her anxiety, she has to deal with her autistic brother (Kevin Valdez, an actor who is actually on the spectrum), her roommate/best friend, a coworker at the bar who wants to be her manager, a new musician partner, a potential love interest or two, and her alcoholic father and absent mother. That’s all.
My Take: It works on the back of star Brittany O’Grady, and a compelling cast of people around her life, especially Valdez’s performance, which is one of the most realistic portrayals of autism you’ll find. Bareilles wrote the music, which is beautiful as usual. Where the show falters is that it seems like it’s trying to do every single possible story at once, and every episode feels manic. It almost seems to exhaust every possible plot point and stumbling block in one season. But O’Grady and the music help you keep watching.
15 - The Banker - Drama (Movie)
Summary: Inspired by a true story, this movie follows Bernard Garrett (Anthony Mackie), an African-American prodigy, as he makes himself a success in Los Angeles real estate in the 1950’s and 60’s, and tries to move into banking in his home state of Texas. He and his wife (Nia Long) partners with businessman Joe Morris (Samuel L. Jackson) and white front-man Matt Steiner (Nicholas Hoult) to try and succeed in two racist industries.
My Take: One of Apple TV’s first movies, The Banker has big name stars in Avengers stars Mackie and Jackson and a big-time story. The movie is fast paced and at times feels like skimming a book. It doesn’t skimp on laughs in the first half (with Jackson providing his own laugh track), but it does get much more serious in the second half as it and the characters directly address the racism around them. This is the first Apple TV+ movie that feels distinctly “Hollywood”, both in style in structure. That helps raise ATV+’s profile, but it puts limits this film as well. It’s a good story and worth watching, but is not ground-breaking, and clearly is not an in-depth or entirely accurate look at the story.
It was also a source of a major controversy, as the movie’s release was delayed by allegations of childhood sexual abuse were levied against Bernard Garrett Jr., the son of the main character and a producer on the film, by his half sisters and their mother.
14 - Tehran - Thriller
Summary: An “Apple Original” in title only, this show was made in Israel for their public channel Kan 11, and Apple purchased the international rights. It follows Tamar Rabinyan (Niv Sultan), a young Jewish spy who was born in Iran, as she is inserted into Tehran to try and neutralize Iran’s air defenses so Israel can bomb their nuclear plant. The plot is foiled in the first episode, and Tamar is sent on the run in an enemy city, pursued by the head investigator of the Revolutionary Guard Faraz Kamali (Shaun Toub).
My Take: In many ways, this is a fairly standard spy thriller. There’s a mission, it goes wrong, and everyone is sent scrambling. Tehran gets points, from this American viewer, for exploring the largely unexplored environment of urban Iran (albeit filmed in Athens). The characters switch between Hebrew, Farsi, and English very quickly, which is challenging to hearead. But ultimately, this is a personal spy story of pawns in a bigger war, as the scope grows with each episode. There’s plenty of grey in every side of this conflict. Even with the scope, Tehran gets bogged down and the middle episodes feel filled with filler. Ultimately, it’s solid, and does feel different than most spy shows. And though we get a satisfying resolution, the door is left open for season 2, which is as yet officially unannounced (but reported that they are signed on for two more seasons).
13 - Boys State - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: Every year, young men are brought together in the Texas State Capitol for what is basically a political science camp, where they are broken into their own political parties, and must come up with a platform and compete in an election for roles inspired by state government. During it, these 16-18-year old boys must work together while competing against each other, and learning what politics are.
My Take: A documentary about young men’s mock political competition in Texas, you’ve probably just envisioned something about what this looks like, and no doubt, you’ll probably see exactly that in this documentary. But this Sundance Documentary-winning film doesn’t quite go the way you think, but also close enough that it might not matter. These teens have more nuance than I would’ve expected, and I wish adults had in politics. But it has too much nuance to be received well, I think. Still, if you want a reason to watch this, I’d put money that at least one of the featured boys in this becomes a politician of note in the near future. Also, I am interested in seeing a documentary about the same event for girls, Girls State.
12 - Tiny World - Documentary
Summary: Narrated by Ant-Man’s Paul Rudd, Tiny World takes a look at the world of small animals living in diverse natural habitats around the world. Ranging from the African savannah to the Australian outback to the north American backyard, the show features animals from monkeys that can fit in the palm of your hand, down to the ants that are ever-present.
My Take: Nature documentaries are everywhere, but the cinematography on this is mind-blowing to the point you truly wonder how some of this was shot. Clearly, a large amount of it was manipulated, with rare parts where the CGI shows through, but it doesn’t take away from just how beautiful the shots are. With Rudd’s occasionally wry narration, it makes this a nature documentary that competes with the best stuff on Netflix. The nature never gets too gory, but it does deal with the life and death (sometimes brutal) of tiny nature. And it’s even a great follow-up to the movie “The Elephant Queen” because the first episode features what could be the same dung beetle that featured in that movie! (The movie and this series were not done by the same company, though, so it might just be a look-alike dung beetle they hired.)
11 - Beastie Boys Story - Documentary
Summary: A telling of the Beastie Boys career, by the surviving members Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz themselves. Directed by Spike Jonze, this documentary is shot as the two tell their story to a live audience in a theater, alternating between them on stage laughing and joking around, and video sequences they narrate about their career, and their friends, especially the late Adam “MCA” Yauch.
My Take: This is such an unusual format for a documentary, and it works so well. It allows for some of the goofing off that one might expect from the stars, but it’s still coherent and interesting, especially for me as a casual fan of the band growing up. On a service with a lot of traditionally-made documentaries, this stands out because of both its style and its quality, and if you like pop music at all, you should enjoy this.
10 - For All Mankind - Drama
Summary: An alternate history series based off a simple question: What if the Soviet Union beat America to the moon? From Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D. Moore, the answer is that the Americans, more competitive than ever, try to push for more ambitious goals than just landing on the moon and leaving.
My Take: One of the first Apple TV shows, it is a sometimes nerdy but very interesting look at the space race. It balances fictional characters with real life figures (sometimes making interesting decisions when changing their fate), and really tries to focus on the science side of science fiction. The show jumps across years of development, so it’s not as tedious and slow as it could be. It hasn’t captured fans’ imaginations as much as it obviously has its creators’ imaginations, but it’s a quality drama that could get better in future seasons, although it is clearly now swerving to the fiction side of science fiction.
9 - Home Before Dark - Drama
Summary: Hilde Lisko (Brooklynn Prince) is a 9-year old daughter of a journalist who wants to do what he does. When her family moves from New York to her father’s small hometown in Washington, she stumbles onto a mysterious death and does what any reporter would do: writes about it in her blog. But as the mystery expands to her father’s past, she challenges an entire city’s reluctance to face up to a tragedy from decades ago, in the name of journalism.
My Take: A dark horse series that did not get much press, Home Before Dark seems like a show for kids, but is a show is made for adults, with a mystery of twists and turns more like Gone Girl than any children’s show. Prince is the star of this show and keeps viewers attached, even as the mystery’s twists get harder to follow. The show is vaguely inspired by a real life young journalist, but realistically is not at all the same story. It doesn’t matter, as this is as much about family and youthful stubbornness as anything else.
8 - Dickinson - Comedy
Summary: A historical comedy-drama about the life of poet Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld), this show follows her as a modern-thinking woman in a restrictive 19th century setting, growing up as a teenager. It shows both what’s going on around her, and into her imaginative flights of fancy as she deals with romantic trysts, less-than-friendly friends, and restrictive parents (notably Jane Krakowski as her mother Emily).
My Take: One of the first series from Apple TV+, Dickinson is an ambitious series, but shifts between being a period piece with setting-appropriate acting, and characters acting like modern people but set in the past. As great as parts are, it does struggle with focus and tone, particularly John Mulaney’s guest role as Henry David Thoreau, which feels better suited for a Will Ferrell absurdist comedy than what this show is trying to be. Steinfeld shines in the lead role, but Ella Hunt as Dickinson’s best friend Sue and Jane Krakowski as her mother both are fantastic. The relationship between Dickinson and her best friend Sue, and hints about Dickinson’s deteriorating mental health, are both handled very well. This is a show that has a chance to really find its footing in future seasons.
7 - Greyhound - Action (Movie)
Summary: Captain Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks) has been given command of a destroyer, and a convoy of supply ships to cross the U-Boat infested Atlantic early in World War II. Without air cover, he spends days awake, attempting to outmaneuver an enemy he can not see, or even count. As ships in his convoy are attacked one by one, he must save as many as he can before getting back under the protective air cover from Great Britain.
My Take: A movie that really was meant for the big screen, Greyhound is not interested in your character development or subplots or mandatory romances (mostly). After an initial scene introducing Krause in the lone bit of character development, this movie is about the tense travel of the Atlantic with submarines hunting you. It never shows the human villains, only the occasional peak at the metal beasts when they surface. It also doesn’t jump between ships on this convoy. Strictly a single viewpoint, which makes for a fascinatingly and a little fatiguingly tense film that is shorter than it feels (only 91 minutes!) because of the thrills. This movie is a fantastically different take on the war films we know, and especially for those with military experience, a strong film.
6 - Servant - Drama
Summary: Without significant spoilers, the show focuses on a couple who recently suffered the loss of a child, and have undertaken a real doll therapy, where they take care of a doll to help the psychological effects of losing a child, and go so far as to bring in a mysterious young girl to be the doll’s nanny. Over the span of the series, secrets about the nanny, and the troubles of the couple themselves, slowly leak out.
My Take: M. Night Shymalan’s first television show is a return to the Shymalan of his early years. With the space of a series instead of a movie, Shymalan has the room to explore each character: the almost-grieving mother (Lauren Ambrose), the disaffected and disbelieving husband (Toby Kebbell), the mysterious nanny (Nell Tiger Free), and the doubtful brother of the wife (Rupert Grint, Ron from Harry Potter), who acts as an outside world anchor. By the end, it feels a bit as if the original mystery has become a subplot, but it’s left on a cliffhanger the will leap the plot forward. And throughout the series, Shymalan allows food to be a visual cue and cinematographic toy, setting the mood. This ranks as one of Shymalan’s better stories from his long career.
5 - Visible: Out on Television - Documentary (Miniseries)
Episodes: 5; Stauts: Completed
Summary: A documentary series about how all facets of LGBTQ people have been represented on television, from the 1950’s through today. As a series, the documentary takes time with many the facets of every letter in LGBTQ, and all the letters hidden within it, talking about struggles of people of color. With interviews and clips, it takes it’s time with different eras and weaves it all together. And it’s all done with an undertone of how storytelling works, and the tool that television is, both for misinformation but also for connection.
My Take: Making this a series really allows the time to give this topic the time to really explore it. It’s an engaging documentary, especially for anyone who’s spent any time watching television. There’s nuggets of memory for all of us, where we can connect to the shows we used to watch, both their flaws and triumphs. Certain critics might point to this as Apple trying to force representation down our throats, but this documentary is excellent at telling a compelling story with both history and context.
4 - The Morning Show - Drama
Summary: Apple TV+’s centerpiece, with superstar stars Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carrell, and yet a scene-stealing supporting cast of Gugu Mbahta-Raw, Billy Crudup (who won an Emmy for his role), Mark Duplass, and Jack Davenport (who is never not good), the show is about a, believe it or not, morning show whose male lead is fired in a sexual misconduct scandal and the after-effects. Witherspoon’s character is unexpectedly brought in to replace him, as power battles go on behind the scenes with everyone from the network head down to the assistant producers, as the secrets spill out about the truth.
My Take: What could be a preachy show about the MeToo movement never gets that way, and attempts a nuanced discussion about the less clear-cut issues. It’s not done perfectly, as some conflicts from the episodic storyline seem to disappear in the next episode, and Mitch is frustratingly (and probably intentionally) likable even as he is hate-able, with Carell showing his range. One flaw of this show is that the extremely likable supporting cast pulls attention away from Aniston and Witherspoon, the former being appropriately lauded with praise but not getting enough to win awards, and the latter getting a little stuck in her character spot. The season finale flurry hits hard, even if it doesn’t feel completely earned, but this show has definitely become the first bankable piece ATV+ has.
3 - Defending Jacob - Drama (Miniseries)
Summary: A boy is murdered, and after an investigation, suspicion falls on one of his classmates, Jacob, who is the son of Andy Barber, one of the assistant district attorneys (Chris Evans). Andy and his wife Laurie (Michelle Dockery) must do their best to defend their son, investigating other leads, but also facing the possibility that their son is guilty, and hiding family secrets.
My Take: Starring Captain America’s Chris Evans, Defending Jacob became the summer hit for Apple TV+, drawing viewers in. The tension between Andy and his wife Laurie, and their slightly creepy son Jacob (Jaeden Martell) as the teen is accused of murder, is filled with tension and, unlike many of the series on Apple TV, comes to a full conclusion in one season. Fans of mysteries like Gone Girl will appreciate this series. Although it can feel slightly stretched, this series hits hard and makes the most of its star power.
2 - Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet - Comedy
Summary: Mythic Quest is an online game akin to World of Warcraft, and it’s launching a new expansion to keep its fans engaged. The studio is led by a charmingly sycophantic designer Ian (pronounced EYE-an, played by Rob Mcelhenney), and lead engineer Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao). With a staff of obsessive assistants, disinterested programmers, earnest game testers, snippy game streamers, and an elderly lead writer lost in technology, the show hops along the daily struggles of keeping a game going and its fans happy.
My Take: An absolute home run of a show, as one would expect from the team behind It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Mythic Quest is absurdist comedy at its best, with McElhenney and a breakout performance from Nicdao. However, it’s also an ensemble cast with no weak spots, and a wonderfully obvious premise that is contemporary. It is at its best in two standalone episodes. The first comes out of nowhere, not featuring the main cast but instead acts as a “How the Game Industry Got Here” prequel in heartbreakingly personal fashion. The second is a special Quarantine episode that was perhaps the best quarantine-focused special episode done anywhere.
1 - Ted Lasso - Comedy
Summary: An American Football coach is inexplicably hired as a Soccer…er, real Football coach in the Premiere League in London. The titular Lasso is genuine and earnest, openly saying he doesn’t think winning has to do with the score, and he faces a soccer world where the opposite is true. He faces disbelieving players, abusive fans, unsure team staff, and a devious owner, but he barely blinks in the face of it all, and tries to keep his team from relegation…once he learns what that means.
My Take: An absolute surprise of a show, based on NBC Sports comedy promos, that has no right to be so great. Ted Lasso is on its face a fish-out-of-water sports show about an American football coach going to Europe to coach football/soccer. But it’s really a movie about a polite man in an impolite world, and bending rather than breaking, and sticking to your principles. It’s not laugh out loud funny, but it is surprisingly emotional. It’s also a show that champions maturity in a way that hits harder in a 2020 world, and so it’s also very well-timed. The only problem with Ted Lasso the show is that even though it gives Apple TV+ a recognizable character to market, it’s not a must-subscribe show. But it’s unquestionably one of Apple TV+’s best.
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2020.10.27 17:22 ConorCulture Book Jon Moxley’s AEW World Championship Reign - Part 1: Welcome to the New World

Jon Moxley is a name many associate with AEW - after all he is their current reigning and defending Undisputed Champion of the World. However his reign has fallen flat. He has felt empty and like he’s missing something this whole time. I put it down to COVID. His champions coronation promo saw him say that the real champions were the fans, and he would fight for them. But when they were gone he felt empty. So as per the prompt, we will remove COVID-19 from the situation. So in a perfect world, this is how I would...
Book Jon Moxley’s AEW World Championship Reign - Part 1: Welcome to the New World
The events leading up to and including Revolution stay indictable. It was a good build with the Moxley joining The Inner Circle fake out and the mini-tournament that spanned across Bash at the Beach and the Jericho Cruise ship. The Dynamite after he makes the same promo about how the real champions are the fans and he will defend it for them. The week after he then has his list confrontation with Chris Jericho. Jericho and The Inner Circle stand in their private box above the fans, cutting a promo while Jon is in the ring. Jericho says it’s was a fluke and he wants a rematch. “We ain’t in the fed anymore Chris, I ain’t handing out rematches like candy”. Jon storms up and beats down on all of The Inner Circle, hitting Jericho with a Paradigm Shift through the table covered in popcorn and bubbly to the crowds roar. He then celebrates with the title among them.
Then at Blood and Guts, it’s The Elite vs. The Inner Circle. Once we’ve just entered The Match Beyond, with Cody finally leaving his cage to join the match, The Bucks lock him out. They call The Inner Circle to a truce as they beat the ever loving fuck out of Kenny Omega and Adam Page. They mug the two men, as Cody is forced to watch his best friends and the foundation of his company destroyed. The Bucks leave the structure and double team Cody on the outside. They then leave. The rest of The Elite put up a good fight but since it’s 5-3, they obviously lose to The Inner Circle.
Next week The Young Bucks come out to cut a promo stating what they did what they did. Simply, they don’t need The Elite. Well not they don’t need The Elite, because they are the elite, they don’t need the human Dusty Memorial, video game nerd and alcoholic. Since they’re EVP’s, they insert themselves into a match against Omega and Page for the tag titles next week. It’s just as good as Revolution, maybe even better as they both have even more passion within them to beat the others. In the end The Bucks hit More Bang for Your Buck and pin Hangman for the win. They are your new AEW Tag Team Champions.
After losing Blood and Guts to The Inner Circle, after his best friends Matt and Nick Jackson turning on him and Cody and Adam Page, after losing his AEW Tag Team Championships to Matt and Nick, Kenny Omega is at rock bottom. The week after losing the tag titles, he wrestles Darby Allin in that weeks main event in a TNT Championship tournament match. Kenny comes out to a lukewarm reaction while his opponent Darby Allin gets a huge pop as he rolls down the ramp on his skateboard. He jumps off the skateboard, through the middle ropes and rolls into the ring. Ringside member throws the skateboard back towards Darby and he kicks the match off hot with a skateboard assisted Dropkick!
Allin takes Kenny to the corner and hits a Hesitation Dropkick. He then hits a Snapmare and Springboard Meteora! Kenny is already dazed and the match has only gone a few seconds. Kenny goes for a lariat but Darby ducks and hits a Pele Kick followed by Rolling Youshi Tonic! 1......2.....Kenny barely kicks out. Darby then recovers in the corner while Kenny is flushed. Kenny regains his composure and begins to fight back. He hits a V-Trigger and starts to go back and forth with Darby. Darby however counters out of a One Winged Angel and hits a Backstabber followed by Coffin Drop. 1.........2.......3. Darby Allin advances.
Jon Moxley is interviewed by Tony Schiavone about his accolades thus far and his ultimate goal. Jon tells Tony that so far he’s done all he needs to do, and that’s kick ass. And by being the quintessential ass kicker, he got the AEW World Championship. Darby Allin, Chris Jericho, Pac, Kenny Omega - all have succumb to him. Tony asks if he sees himself as being morally correct. Jon responds with “I used to know a guy who often said: I’m not a bad guy, but I’m not a good guy. You know what he was? He was THE guy.” Moxley says how he is that guy in terms of accolades, being the king of the AEW mountain. Lastly he’s asked on who he thinks will be the first to step up to him. “I don’t know who they are, but they can kiss being able to walk for the week following goodbye is all I know.”
On the final episode of Being The Elite now that The Bucks are gone - we see Adam Page and Kenny drinking at a bar, the fall of The Elite never being so present. The episode ends when Kenny leaves the bar and heads to their car, and in the rain finds a pair of aviator shades resting on the seat of his car. He puts them on and we see a man we haven’t seen in a long time - The Cleaner. This clip is replayed on Dynamite with some higher quality. That same Dynamite the Casino Battle Royale is announced to take place on Dynamite to determine who will challenge Jon Moxley for the AEW Championship at Double or Nothing.
New rules are input - all 21 entrants will draw a card. The suit of their card will determine when they come out. Each suit come out in one batch at time intervals. For the first 5 entrants - all those entrants are of the Spades deck. Then entrants 6-10 will be of the Clubs deck, 11-15 the Diamonds and 16-20 the hearts. Everyone enters at 90 second time intervals with the Joker coming out last as the 21st entrant. The winner faces Jon Moxley for the AEW Championship at Double or Nothing. Jon Moxley cuts a promo the week before the Casino Battle Royale and roasts everyone of the possible people to win the match and face him. He comes at Jericho, MJF, Pac, but mainly Kenny Omega.
Spades:
1- The Butcher
2- The Blade
3- “Broken” Matt Hardy
4- MJF
5- Dustin Rhodes
Butcher and Blade start the match off. A tag team being 1 and 2 in these type of matches always draws a pop and the two go at it before the crowd explode for Broken Matt Hardy! We hear his old Impact theme and he walks down, finally broken, finally free. MJF follows suit and the boos rain down because as soon as he locks eyes with Hardy, he starts imitating he’s got a broken back and the crowd want him dead. Dustin Rhodes come out next and has a nice moment with Matt before they start fighting. Butcher and Blade then begin to team up and try and eliminate some people.
Hearts:
6- Jake Hager
7- Diamond Dallas Page
8- Billy Gunn
9- Tommy Dreamer
10- Sonny Kiss
Jake Hager comes out and tries to dump Dustin out immediately. They go back and forth before they eliminate each other brawling over the ropes. DDP then comes out to a big pop, followed by a big pop when Billy Gunn comes out, followed by another big pop when Tommy Dreamer comes out! Tour of the dads! DDP gives everyone a Diamond Cutter, and Gunn gives a Famouser to MJF. Sonny Kiss comes out and has a face off with Dreamer. Kiss then bashes Dreamer’s face into his ass like last year.
Clubs:
11- Shawn Spears
12- Joey Janela
13- Wardlow
14- Masato Tanaka
15- Jimmy Havoc
Break from the comedy as Shawn Spears comes out and we’re getting serious. Spears takes out Billy Gunn as soon as he walks in, takes out DDP, goes to eliminate Dreamer but Dreamer gets out and fights back. Joey Janela and Dreamer have a hardcore brawl, Wardlow comes out to help MJF and they fight with Butcher and The Blade. Throwback spot, as Masato Tanaka comes out! Jimmy Havoc comes out, and joins the Dreamer and Janela fight. They use a couple weapons, before Havoc knocks a kendo stick over the head of Janela, before hitting an Acid Rainmaker to Dreamer and he falls through a table as he falls out!
Diamonds:
16- Brodie Lee
17- Jeff Cobb
18- Michael Nakazawa
19- Lance Archer
20- Kenny Omega
Brodie Lee gets a huge pop when he enters, making his AEW debut tonight. He comes in and Discus Clothesline’s everyone, before dumping out Sonny Kiss. Butcher and The Blade go to eliminate Brodie Lee, but Lee gets out. Butcher and Blade turn around and are tossed out by Wardlow and MJF. Jeff Cobb comes out and has a monsters brawl with Brodie Lee. Cobb and Lee take down everyone in the ring, and then - Michael Nakazawa. He comes out and looks at Cobb and Lee, side to side, oh boy he’s made a mistake. He undoes his thong and does his general antics before Lance Archer comes out making his AEW debut! Archer, Cobb and Lee all surround Nakazawa. Oh Jesus he chose the wrong day to be a human. Wardlow then walks in and to every direction he looks, a monster surrounds him. He then walks through a gap and simply dumps himself out to avoid harm. Then all the monsters have a huge fight. Final entrant before Joker and it’s who we’ve all been waiting for, it’s Kenny Omega.
Joker:
21- Chris Jericho
Jericho walks out with the Joker card in hand, as Pyro shoots off around him. Jericho nails a Judas Effect to Masato Tanaka who collapses to the outside. Jimmy Havoc and Joey Janela bring a ladder into the ring and take down everyone. Janela climbs to the top of the ladder and goes for a Diving Elbow to a pile of people below him, but Jimmy Havoc from behind climbs up and locks in a barbed wire bat assisted choke hold! Then everyone below team up to push them to the outside! Broken Matt Hardy and Chris Jericho have a fight, and Jericho wins, tossing out Hardy.
Eight remaining in the ring and finally after everyone hit their finishers, Wardlow is tossed out, followed by Lance Archer eliminating MJF with a Razor’s Edge to the outside, into Wardlow. Kenny Omega eliminates Shawn Spears with a mighty V-Trigger and he starts to have a great contest with Jeff Cobb. However now it’s Jericho teaming with Jeff Cobb as they’re Inner Circle buddies. They both team up to eliminate Lance Archer. Jericho then thinks “right, Cobb’ll just throw himself out won’t he?” Jericho then berates Cobb to get out, let him win - TOUR OF THE ISLANDS FROM COBB!! Kenny Omega picks Jericho up and it’s Double or Nothing 2019 all over again.
Omega and Jericho start to go at it. Jericho throws a Judas Effect but Omega ducks and throws him out. Omega then looks down at Jericho and gets his win back from him. Jeff Cobb and Kenny Omega are the final two left standing and they go at it. Cobb uses his amazing strength to nearly eliminate Kenny so many times but he fails each time. Omega then manages to get Cobb up on his shoulders, One Winged Angel! Huge pop at this as Omega v-triggers Cobb out to win the match. After the match Jon Moxley walks out. He walks up to Omega and holds his title high.
On the go home show, Omega then comes out with Michael Nakazawa, Riho and Adam Page behind him. Omega is in a white t-shirt and his tights. The foursome stare down Moxley and he tells Moxley that this isn’t the old him - this is the best him. “I have got this group of guys by my side and my lover back in Japan standing with me. I got rid of those punk ass bitches Matt and Nick, I got rid of everything from my recession era - all I need now is your AEW Championship.” The two close the show with a gigantic stare down before Double or Nothing.
Double or Nothing 2020:
Jon Moxley (c) vs. Kenny Omega - AEW World Championship
Kenny enters first. It starts with a video playing on the titantron of a montage of Kenny’s road to being led here as a version of Devil’s Sky plays. It features his friendship with Kota Ibushi, Michael Nakazawa, Riho, Adam Page and finally leading him to this moment. It finishes with a quick recap of their beef over the past few months. Jon won the first time - but that wasn’t an official match in the record books. Kenny has everything to lose going in here. It’s Double...or Nothing.
We hear an angelic voice singing the same “hoooohhhhhooohhh” on repeat as Kenny slowly rises on an elevator. During this the angelic voice is mixed with the pounding beat of the Terminator 2 soundtrack. Finally all sound stops, and Kenny walks forward. LittleVMills is on the side of the stage singing Battle Cry live from the opening piano notes to him roaring “The Best...BOUT...MACHINE” and we’re finally able to see Kenny. He steps forwards as pyro shoots through the sky, as he awaits his biggest match in AEW.
Jon Moxley makes a big entrance too as we see his entire journey from the limo to ringside with the title slung over his shoulder. He rolls into the ring and leans back like he did at Double or Nothing 1, and the match is on. Straight away Kenny hits a V-Trigger and the two start throwing punches at each other. It’s hog wild to begin with. Kenny hits a tight rope knee drop to Mox. Mox ducks a lariat and hits a Neckbreaker to Omega! Omega runs into the corner with a Corner Back Elbow! Omega then vault jumps to the top turnbuckle, Moonsault by Omega!!!
Omega runs the ropes but Mox ducks his attack and catches him with a TKO! Moxley hits an Inverted Atomic Drop and goes for a Neckbreaker but Omega gets out and connects a Superkick! He hits a Rope Run Diving Knee Strike! 1.......2.....Kick Out by Mox! Mox rolls to the outside to recover. Omega goes for a Calf Kick through the bottom rope but Mox catches him with a European Uppercut! Mox rolls back into the ring and hits a Snake Eyes to Omega! Omega lays on the apron now as Mox stomps him viciously through the ropes.
Omega gets back up and goes for a Slingshot Spear but Mox catches and hits a Draping DDT!!! 1.....2.....Omega gets his foot on the ropes!!! Mox pulls Omega up. He goes for a Vertical Suplex but Omega reverses into a DDT!! Omega hits a Shin Breaker followed by running the ropes and hitting a Bicycle Kick! Omega goes to do the the finger gun taunt but Mox having none of it, Running Brainbuster from Mox! He looks like he’s gonna cover but Omega spins around into an Armbar. Mox pulls Omega up and hits a Spinning Sit-out Powerbomb! 1.......2......Kick Out!!!
Mox gets Omega up and plants him on the top rope with an Atomic Drop. He leaves him laying there as he dives from the middle rope with a Clothesline to Omega! Omega falls to the outside. Mox rolls out there and throws him into the steel steps. Mox goes for a Kitchen Sink but Omega dodges and Mox’s knee goes splat. Omega rolls back into the ring but immediately goes flying with a Tope Con Hilo! He goes for a Exploder Suplex into the barricade but Mox gets out, Spear into the barricade! Mox could easily win by Countout here but he wants to win properly and most of all hurt Kenny some more.
He throws Kenny back into the ring but Kenny Superkick’s him off the apron. Kenny rolls to the outside and buries Mox under a pile of mats from the floor. He then hits a Springboard Double Foot Stomp onto Mox! Now he throws him back in. Omega hits a German Suplex and lines up a V-Trigger. He jumps for it but Mox dodges and hits a Piledriver! 1.........2......KICK OUT!!! Kenny gets up. Mox connects a Bicycle Kick and goes for a Butterfly Suplex but Kenny counters midair into a Frankensteiner! 1........2.....Kick Out!!
Omega throws elbows at Mox before Irish whipping him into the corner. Mox gets his foot up before he hits the corner, then grabs Omega and hurls him into the corner. He connects a Kitchen Sink and goes for a Paradigm Shift but Omega gets out and hits a Butterfly Piledriver! 1........2......Mox Kicks Out!!! Mox goes for a Lariat but Kenny ducks and hits a Basement Dropkick. Kenny goes for an attack but Moxley catches with a Kneecap Brainbuster!!! Mox goes for a Piledriver but Omega slides out and hits a Rolling Fireman’s Carry Slam + Moonsault combo! 1..........2........MOX KICKS OUT!!!
Mox gets back to his feet and dumps Kenny to the outside. Kenny goes for a Hanging Soccer Kick but Mox ducks and hits a Belly to Back Suplex from in the ring onto the apron to Omega! Omega looks like he’s not gonna get up for 10 but he manages to get on the apron and connect a Springboard Missile Dropkick while Mox was posing! Kenny hits a Cross-Legged Fisherman Neckbreaker! He goes for a Superkick but Mox twists him around and hits an Exploder German Suplex into the corner! Mox connects another Kitchen Sink! He goes for a Paradigm Shift with Kenny’s feet hanging off the top ropes, but Kenny gets out and sits on the top turnbuckle.
He then jumps from the top ropes onto the actual rope and hits a Moonsault to Mox! Mox lays on the second rope which lines up a V-Trigger from Omega! Omega then hits Croyt’s Wrath!!!! 1..........2.......KICK OUT!!! Mox rolls to the outside and walks up the ramp. Kenny runs for him he’s caught by a Bicycle Knee and Paradigm Shift onto the steel! Both men can barely get up but they do so. Kenny then hits a Kotaro Krusher on the ramp! They both rush back to the ring.
Mox scoops Kenny up and charges into the corner. Mox hits a Scoop Slam followed by a Death Valley Driver! He then hits a Dragon Suplex! He runs at Omega for another attack but Omega catches and hits a Pumphandle Dr. Wiley’s Bomb!! 1..........2.....Kick Out!!!! Mox gets up and throws elbows at Omega. Mox finally connects a Paradigm Shift! 1............2........KICK OUT!!!! Omega hits another Kotaro Krusher followed by a massive V-Trigger! He gets Mox up for the One Winged Angel but Mox gets out and hits a Neckbreaker as he comes down. Mox goes for a Running Knee - Omega catches - MOXLEY LIFTS HIM UP INTO A PARADIGM SHIFT!!!!!! 1.............2...........3!!!!
Jon Moxley defeats Kenny Omega to retain the AEW World Championship (33:41)
Brian Cage won the Casino Ladder Match, and so has a match with Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship set in stone. It’s announced to take place at Fyter Fest. Taz cuts a promo hyping up Cage and how dominant he is. Jon Moxley interrupts saying to Cage - “the only reason you’re here is because everywhere else your piss would melt the cup.” The Machine then attacks him with a Lou Thesz Press, raining down closed fists. Moxley rolls him over and lays in some shots of his own. Taz pulls his client off and takes him away, meanwhile Cage shouts profanities at Jon. Jon raises his AEW World Championship in triumph.
The next week we see a video package we would of seen when Cage was in Lucha Underground; of him throwing giant tires around, beating up gangs of thugs, and training like the machine he is. This can all be filmed at Cody’s wrestling school. At the end of the video he says the famous line “I’m Not a Man, I’m a Machine”. Meanwhile Taz is showing up on Dynamite, confronting and calling out Moxley. Moxley responds to Taz saying he’s got his own manager to help him in the fight against Cage. And similarly to Taz/Cage, this manager is fairly similar to Moxley. He is also a famous anti-hero, who chose to not go to the other company. Taz will learn very soon who he is, if he keeps bugging him.
June 10th edition of Dynamite - Cage and Moxley have a sit down interview with Jim Ross. Both men are strapped in chairs under chains, meaning they are forced to stay apart from each other. Jim Ross firstly asks Moxley what he thinks of Brian Cage. Moxley puts Cage over first by saying he is probably the strongest and biggest guy in AEW, but that don’t mean two shits when he’s fighting Jon motherfuckin Moxley. Mox is the toughest son of a bitch in AEW, and the most crazy. “You may be a machine, but I have fought men similar to you (Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 32) and I didn’t fear em’ whatsoever because I’m fearless.” This births the tag line “Madman vs. Machine.” Moxley is then asked about who is manager is. Moxley responds it’s up to Taz if he wants to find out. Taz says Moxley’s manager is irrelevant, because he could have an entire army in his corner and they still couldn’t stop “The Machine” Brian Cage.
The Exalted One begins to hold Dark Order meetings where they discuss Jon Moxley and Brian Cage. Mr. Brodie Lee says that he should be AEW World Champion right now, and that the title should be with The Dark Order. Evil Uno tells Mr. Brodie that he got some information on speculated candidates for who can be in Moxley’s corner. Brodie cuts him off by grabbing him by the tie, and pulling him in for a punch on the nose. “What a mark...” Lee says as he sits back down. Everyone else then murmur in agreement when Lee says that. “YOU WILL NOT MUMBLE AT MY SPEECH - I AM TO BE RESPECTED.” They all laugh in fright. “Better.” The meeting ends when the lights go out and we hear the sound of a crow squawking.
Next week Moxley does his own training video package where he beats up a punching bag with a black baseball bat. Brian Cage then makes the challenge to Jon Moxley, Machine’s Rules Match. The rules are: for the entire week before Fyter Fest, Monday to Sunday, both Moxley and Cage have to do Cage’s training routine. As soon as the sun bursts out, you have to start training, and you only stop when nightfalls. And this being Florida in June, you’ll be training for a long time, in absolute heat. This is how Cage lives, and if Mox trains like this for a week, they’ll both be in peak physical condition for the match. Moxley accepts, and neither show up on the go home because they’re training.
Fyter Fest 2020:
Jon Moxley (c) (with ???) vs. Brian Cage (with Taz) - Machine’s Rules Match for the AEW World Championship
Both guys enter out looking real jacked due to their recent training. Taz is the backing man of Cage of course, meanwhile Moxley comes out solo. The UK crowd at Wembley Arena are loving Jon as he walks out through their seats, stopping every once in a while to celebrate with the title with a nearby fan. Justin Roberts asks him where his manager is, and Moxley says he’ll come when he comes. Moxley then goes to take off his jacket, and once he turns around HE SPRINTS AT BRIAN CAGE WITH A LOU THESZ PRESS!!! THE BELL FRANTICALLY RINGS!!! The commentators jump out their seats at the sudden attack and begin to call the action.
Moxley let’s rest when Aubrey demands so. He then looks at The Machine Lynn on the floor. CAGE KIPS UP!! Brian flexes, then hits a Scoop Slam to Moxley! Cage then takes Moxley down with a Lou Thesz Press! HE PULLS HIM OFF THE GROUND INTO A DEADLIFT SUPLEX!! Cage lands in a seating position and looks at a nearby camera, pointing to his biceps. Cage flexes his muscles while Taz looks for a mic. He grabs one but the fans immediately start booing. Moxley slides out and grabs it out of his hands. “Save everyone a headache.” HE BONKS TAZ ON THE HEAD WITH THE MIC!! Taz stumbles back into the announce desk.
Mox rolls back in but he’s caught by Cage. CAGE HITS HIM WITH A POWERBOMB INTO THE TURNBUCKLES!! Cage lariats Mox head off and scales the ropes. FIVE STAR LARIAT - MISSES!! MOXLEY LOCKS IN A FUJIWARA ARMBAR!! Jim Ross screams about Cage’s formerly torn bicep and how much pain he must be in. The Machine displays this with his facials. “Any man would give up at this moment...(as Cage rises out) but he’s not a man, THIS IS A MACHINE!” shouts JR as Cage pulls himself out. CAGE HITS A F’N 5!! HE FLIES WITH THE FIVE STAR ELBOW DROP FROM THE TOP ROPES!!! 1.........2........KICK OUT!!!
Cage pulls him up and goes for a TORNADO CLAW - BUT MOXLEY KICKS HIS BICEP WHILE HE’S SPINNING!! LARIAT BY MOX!! Jon then picks him up and hits A RUNNING BULLDOG, CAGE LANDING ON HIS ARM! They roll to the outside. Moxley goes for a Standing Kimura, but Cage with a HIP TOSS ON THE FLOOR!! BRIAN CAGE THEN HITS A GERMAN SUPLEX TO JON INTO THE GUARDRAIL!! The guardrail shakes at the hit and the fans feel a Moxley-covets guardrail on their laps. Taz meanwhile sets up a chair for Cage. CAGE THEN HITS ANOTHER GERMAN SUPLEX ON THE OUTSIDE ONTO THE UNFOLDED CHAIR!! Cage rolls back in to taunt while Moxley lays dead. He eventually crawls to the apron.
Jon lumps his body onto the apron and grabs the second rope to get up. No time to waste though as CAGE BRINGS HIM IN WITH A DEADLIFT SUPLEX INTO THE RING!! CAGE COVERS - 1............2.......KICK OUT!! Cage pulls him up and hits a a CURB STOMP!! He then tries for the CHAINLINK - BUT MOXLEY GETS OUT!! JON HITS THE MACHINE WITH A MONEY CLIP!!! MOXLEY IS COMING BACK BABY. He starts to stomp on the arm so Cage can’t hit the Weapon X. Cage still tries for it though and fails, and IS THEN HIT BY A RUNNING BULLDOG!! MOXLEY GOES FOR THE DRILL CLAW!!! CAGE COUNTERS INTO HIS OWN DRILL CLAW!! 1..........2........KICK OUT!!!!
Cage throws MOXLEY into the ropes and runs for a Tiger Feint Kick - BUT MOXLEY SPINS AND REBOUNDS WITH THE (wacky line...). MOXLEY LIFTS HIM UP WITH A OVERHEAD BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX!! Cage rolls out, but MOXLEY THEN DIVES OUT AFTER CAGE WITH A SUICIDE DIVE!! PARADIGM SHIFT ON THE FLOOR!! They both lay dead. Cage gets up and crawls in, but Jon is still down. Taz screams for the ref to start counting and so they do. But it’s cut off...the arena is in darkness. “Could...this be Moxley’s mystery manager?” The fans start to get loud as a spotlight moves to the entranceway. Then...crow’s squawk...
Jim Ross has a hernia on commentary with enthusiasm, “GOOD GAWD TONY, DO YOU SEE? DO YOU SEE HIM? ITS THE STINGER!” STING HAS ARRIVED! He makes his march down the ramp with a baseball bat in hand. He marches down and points the bat at Taz, who shakes his head in fear. Taz tries to console him - WHAM!! BAT SHOT TO THE MIDSECTION!! He throws Taz in the ring and LOCKS IN A SCORPION DEATH LOCK!!! MOXLEY SLITHERS UP BEHIND AND HITS A KICK TO THE MIDSECTION - PARADIGM SHIFT!!!! 1...........2...........3!!!! JON MOXLEY HAS RETAINED THE AEW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - BUT ALSO NOTABLE - STING IS ALL ELITE!!!
Jon Moxley defeats Brian Cage (21:12)
With Fyter Fest in the rear view mirror, a lot of questions are left unanswered about Jon Moxley - and also his new manager. Or even is it his manager? Are they just friends? Was it a one off? Is Sting going to show up again? All of these are answered on the next Dynamite, back in the States. Moxley firstly thanks the United Kingdom fans for being crazy sons of bitches, “I had a great time with y’all.” He addresses the appearance of Sting, and answers the questions I just proposed. “I needed a buddy heading into Fyter Fest, and Sting was my best choice.” - actually, I’ll let the man speak for himself.” Sting then enters out.
However, he isn’t “Sting” - he’s Steve Borden. Literally, the make up has been washed off. Steve takes the mic, wearing his finest three-piece suit and shades, the other hand holding his bat. Sting says he’s not here out of vendetta for the fed, he’s not here to push himself to the moon - he’s 61 years old. But after being let go, he’s found a place to put that piece of his heart that belongs to wrestling. His real home is with his family, but his heart will always belong to pro wrestling from a professional standpoint. He’s got a lot of friends here, and he gets the hype. He wants to hang with his buds and watch the new generation unfold.
The week after we get a #1 Contenders Match for the AEW World Championship between the #1 and #2 on the Power Rankings - Darby Allin and Lance Archer. Allin wins to become the number 1. Darby Allin is then confirmed to be Jon Moxley’s opponent for Fight for the Fallen next week. Allin had recently gone through most of the TNT tournament but was eliminated by Cody due to some Archer interference. How he got his win over Archer, who goes berserk after the match. Afterwards Moxley and Sting come out to shake hands with Allin. The show hands with the shot of Sting and Darby Allin shaking hands ahead of Fight for the Fallen.
Fight for the Fallen opens with a Darby Allin promo. He films it in the style of his normal promos, but has a clear message. He starts by telling Mox the David Starr line: “going from one billionaire to another isn’t a paradigm shift, sounds like the same fucking thing to me.” He then tells Mox his days of making barely a buck off of nearly dying in the ring have been dead for 10 years, but Allin this time last year was living that life. Jon spent the decade in cozy McMahonLand getting a million dollar salary, before he somehow changed the landscape by collecting an even bigger salary. Mox knows the struggle Allin lives, but he’s forgotten it. He’s not an anti-hero rebellious badass, he’s a corporate shill.
Later on, Mox then cuts a promo responding to Allin. Jon says he hasn’t gotten soft, he hasn’t forgotten the struggle. Mox says he worked his damn ass off to get to be World Champion. He fought off the entire Inner Circle. Darby Allin got a single win and had to steal David Starr’s line. When Mox says they aren’t in the same league, he means it. But now Allin wants to talk big. He wants Mox to get down and dirty, live that CZW life he lived, he’ll do so. “Darby, I didn’t forget it, I just grew past it. But I’m a sucker for nostalgia and wants new is old, so Darby - it’s No DQ.” Mox walks off from the camera and that’s the last we see of the world champ before the match later - which is now No DQ.
Fight for the Fallen 2020:
Jon Moxley (c) vs. Darby Allin - No Disqualification Match for the AEW World Championship
Allin is challenging and has a Moxley cutoff mask with an eye cut out. He wears this and gets in Jon’s once he enters. Moxley gets in his face and gets slapped back, causing the beating to begin. The bell rings and the match has started. Jon continues with stomps at feeling disrespected. He throws Allin into the ring post and follows with a Back Body Drop. 1.......2....KICK OUT BY DARBY!! Moxley grabs a mic as he looks down at Darby. “I was once like you...never being able to stay down - always had to keep fighting and never listened to people’s cautionary advice. But now we’ve come full circle, and I want you to slow down and stop. But you won’t, and I know because I wouldn’t. ALLIN THEN PULLS HIM DOWN AND LAYS IN ELBOW SHOTS TO THE DOME!!
Jon looks furious and rushes Allin but HE HITS A TILT-A-WHIRL DDT!!! ALLIN THEN LOCKS IN A FUJIWARA ARMBAR WITH PUNCHES TO THE HAND AND JOINT MANIPULATION!! Excalibur says he’s trying to take Jon Moxley back to his old self and that place through this level of violence. Moxley pulls him off BUT HE’S HIT BY A FRONT DROPKICK INTO THE TURNBUCKLES!! MOXLEY THEN CATCHES ALLIN WITH A CLOSED FIST TO THE JAW!! Allin falls like a ton of bricks and is bleeding from the mouth. Moxley then scales the ropes and hits a DIVING ELBOW DROP TO DARBY!!!! 1..........2.......KICK OUT!!! MOXLEY THEN HITS HIM WITH A KITCHEN SINK STRAIGHT AFTER!!! 1...........2..........KICK OUT!!!
Moxley gets agitated at Allin not staying down. He shouts at him again, BUT ALLIN WITH A LOW BLOW!! HE THROWS JON OUT AND HITS A SUICIDE DIVE!! He lands on him with more punches and elbows. MOXLEY THEN THROWS HIM OFF RAMP INTO THE RING POST!!! Allin lays dead. After a bit of recovering, Moxley picks him up and throws him into the ring. He walks from the corner - stalking his prey. He toys with it before the kill - LOCKING IN AN STF!! Jon looks into Allin’s desperate eyes as he screams in pain. Allin places a middle finger in his face! MOXLEY BITES THAT FINGER!! ALLIN ESCAPES AND HITS A DOUBLE FOOT STOMP ONTO THE BACK!! He throws Moxley outside and STOMPS HIS FINGERS INTO THE RING POST!!! HE THEN DIVES FROM THE TOP WITH A SPRINGBOARD BACKSPLASH!!
Allin and Moxley both lean against the guardrail, panting. Darby then gets up and checks under the ring - AND PULLS OUT THE CRACKER BARREL!! THE CROWD ERUPT!! Moxley kicks him in the gut before he can use it and throws him over the guardrail! MOXLEY THEN CROSSBODIES OVER IT!!! He throws him into the railing on the stairs. ALLIN THEN JUMPS OFF THE STAIRS WITH A SEATED SENTON!! HE THROWS MOXLEY INTO THE RAILINGS, AND THEN INTO A GROUP OF FANS CHAIRS!! Allin starts to climb up the railings, going for a Coffin Drop onto Moxley laid across the fans seats. Moxley gets out the way though and pulls him down. They then walk down the stairs into a more open area, WHERE MOXLEY HITS DARBY WITH A TRASH CAN ACROSS THE BACK!! He carries the lid with him as well as Darby back to ringside.
Jon sets up a table for later use. Moxley goes to smash the lid over Allin’s head but he shoulder barges him in the midsection! ALLIN THEN PUSHES JON INTO THE APRON!! He throws him back in with the lid. He also pushes the Cracker Barrel inside. HE HITS A TRASH CAN LID ASSISTED COFFIN DROP!! BUT MOXLEY CATCHES WITH A REAR NAKED CHOKE!! His ribs hurt from the trash can lid though and so Allin easily gets out. DARBY THEN WITH A SUPERKICK TO THE HEAD! HE HITS THE FLIPPING STUNNER FROM THE CORNER!! HE THEN HITS MOXLEY WITH THE PARADIGM SHIFT, HIS OWN MOVE, ONTO THE CRACKER BARREL!!!! 1...................2.................KICK OUT!!!!!
Moxley is so pissed at Allin stealing his move, he takes him to the apron. He goes for a Paradigm Shift onto the apron - but he rethinks it. HE INSTEAD HITS A PARADIGM SHIFT OFF THE APRON THROUGH THE TABLE!!! This is the second time they’re both laying in crumbled wood after a Paradigm Shift within about a minute. Moxley pulls himself up and GOES FOR A GOTCH-STYLE PILEDRIVER ON THE OUTSIDE!!! ALLIN GETS OUT AND THROWS HIM IN THE RING, AND HEADS FOR A COFFIN DROP!! MOXLEY HITS HIM MIDAIR WITH THE TRASH CAN LID!!! HE THEN ROLLS UP DARBY ALLIN!! 1........2........3!!!! MOXLEY WINS!!! Allin gets his shoulders off the mat just afterwards and tries to get up, but he falls to the mat in pain - the pain of defeat.
Jon Moxley defeats Darby Allin (17:33)
Jon Moxley has just competed his third defence against Darby Allin, and it hurt him even in victory. The Dynamite after he brings out Allin and Sting to the ring. He tells Darby at Fight for the Fallen he felt like he was wrestling the Jon Moxley from 10 years ago. A stupid kid jumping onto barbed wire or light tubes for a slice of pizza. He wasn’t able to say “no”, he kept going. He couldn’t listen to people telling him to slow down and take it easy - he had to give it 110% every time. That is now who Darby Allin is, and he is now the person telling him to stop. He just wants to put what they did to each other in the past and move forward. Hell, Jon think they could make a good team. Darby chuckles at the idea, but shrugs and says he’s down. Sting then complaints Allin, saying he sees a lot of himself in Darby too.
The week after then it’s set to be a Tag Team Match - with Jon Moxley and Darby Allin teaming up for the first time. They will take on the trio that have recently took AEW by storm - Death Triangle. They would immediately make enemies out of Jurassic Express, with Pac being disgusted goofballs like them take the air time that should be his, and the fans support that should be his, and the rankings spots that should be his. They face at Double or Nothing - with Death Triangle coming out on top. At Fyter Fest they would win the inaugural AEW Trios Championships in a match with the Best Friends and Orange Cassidy, and since then have been dominating everyone they’ve passed.
The match main events the show, with Fénix and Pac representing Death Triangle. Sting and Pentagon Jr. are in their teams corners, and during the entrance we see Sting and Pentagon stare down in the centre of the ring. Both famous for being black and white face painted anti-heroes, with voices of silence and an affinity for darkness and weapons. The match ends when while Moxley is on the top rope looking for an Avalanche Paradigm Shift - Fénix threatens to assault Sting on the outside, which distracts Jon. Pac then shoves him off the top turnbuckle to the mat, and HITS A BLACK ARROW!!! 1.............2...........3!!!! PAC PINS THE AEW WORLD CHAMPION JON MOXLEY!!!
This means Pac is now in line for an AEW World Championship match. He cuts a promo on Jon Moxley the week after and is grinning maniacally. He reminds Moxley of their match from 10 months ago on the October 23rd and 4th ever edition of Dynamite. They went to a draw, but this time around we will have a victor. Pac then tells Jon he makes him furious - to watch him get all these scumbags (points to the fans) to like him. Why? Why would he stoop so low? Because he’s insecure. He hides his lack of wrestling skill with weapons and blood, and these bloodthirsty warthogs (points to the fans again) eat it up like the vile little leeches they are.
On the week following’s episode of Dynamite, Darby Allin is teaming with his best frenemy Cody against Brian Cage and Ricky Starks. It ends when Allin rolls up Ricky to win. Brian Cage then decimates Allin. Moxley comes to his rescue however. Moxley and Cage stare down before getting into a tussle. Cody and Ricky Starks go at it, but Cage and Starks start to double team. Dustin Rhodes then makes the save. Death Triangle come out from the stage, but then the lights go down...ITS STING!! Not Steve Borden, he’s back in the makeup and wreaking all hell upon Death Triangle. The show ends with Cage and Starks retreating to the stage where they group up with Death Triangle, meanwhile Sting walks to the ring to stand beside Cody, Dustin Rhodes, Jon Moxley and Darby Allin.
This all leads into possibly the biggest tag team match since Blood and Guts. A Ten-man Tag Team Match main events the August 22nd edition of Dynamite. It consists of Pac, Fénix, Pentagon Jr, Brian Cage and Ricky Starks teaming up to take on: Jon Moxley, Cody, Darby Allin, Dustin Rhodes...and Sting. In his first ever match in AEW, and his last ever match in wrestling. Retiring on that Rollins match is not a way to go out, and after 35 years in wrestling - this is a match to go out on. The only spot I’m having him do is: be tagged in, hit Fénix with a bat, lock in the Scorpion Death Lock, Fénix escapes, they both rush to their corners to get hot tags. The rest of it is mayhem between 9 other supremely talented men. The heels win after Fénix pins Moxley. This sets up a lot of things. Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage and Pac vs. Jon Moxley at All Out, as well as Fénix getting an AEW World Championship match in the future.
The final week before All Out sees Jon Moxley and Pentagon Jr. face off in a non-title bout. If Pentagon wins, he’ll get a future championship match. All of his other teammates have pinned Jon, so if he doesn’t do it he’ll miss out on the biggest opportunity of his career as well as be considered the weakest angle of Death Triangle. They go to war in the main event, with Pentagon Jr. hitting a Mexican Destroyer onto the floor at one point. Pac and Fénix try to interfere, but Mox uses them against Penta. He docks an attack and Pentagon ends up diving into his partners. They end up costing him in the match, meaning he will miss out on an AEW World Championship match. Will Pentagon repay the favour to Pac at All Out in 3 days? Who knows. Moxley tells Pac however that since he think that Jon can’t wrestle, he’s making it a Pinfall and Submission Only Match.
All Out 2020:
Jon Moxley (c) vs. Pac - Pinfall and Submission Only Match for the AEW World Championship
Continues in the comments...
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2020.10.26 20:12 Shoddy_Watercress_69 Aita? My boyfriend will not let me stay in hospital without gaslighting me into coming home

Final edit: I had my baby, he’s a healthy baby boy who I had by emergency C section as he wasn’t coping with labour. Steve has really stepped up and is taking car of my every need without fail. Edit three: I’m in the hospital today for a blood pressure and urine sample and the same again tomorrow but at my midwife surgery. I didn’t go back to hospital last night because I’ve had the headache since Thursday and the doctors know about it but said I can go home with pain relief. They’re waiting till I’m 39 weeks to induce me but I’m fighting to get it brought forward because my body feels like it just cannot cope that long. Thankyou for everyone’s comments and dms I just thought I’d like to let you all know that I’ve not died I’m just not replying to the comments because there’s quite a few and I’m abit overwhelmed. . I’m a 37 weeks pregnant F (18) my partner is M (23) let’s call him Steve. I’ve got preeclampsia and more often then not feel unwell. I’ve been told by numerous doctors if I feel unwell ring the hospital and go in. My diagnosis kept getting put off because Steve didn’t want to either A. Take me to the hospital or B. Would threaten to leave me stranded because he had work the next morning. When I got diagnosed (last week) it went like this, on the Thursday I was really unwell (shaking from being really bad pain I genuinely thought I was going to collapse and die) went to hospital and spent from 5pm there until 9pm when he threatened to leave me and go home. He knew for a fact if he left I would he stranded there and all I was waiting for was the doctor to speak to me about my results. I needed to go back in the next day for my results after persuading them to let me leave. Steve was adamant that I didn’t need to go in and basically made out I was being dramatic. I went back in anyway and they told me I really needed to stay in so they could monitor me as the doctors was worrying also I was on high strength painkillers that just wasn’t doing anything. I rang Steve before I gave them my answer and he said I was being selfish I didn’t want to see him ever and don’t even consider how he feels he then told me to go fuck myself and I can do what I want because I only will anyway (this was when I mentioned that they think it’s for the best). He acted like a child and refused to bring me some stuff like clean underwear and a phone charger because I was being selfish and I wanted to stay there forever. Then I’ve not felt well today I’ve rang up gone in and come home (I went in early this morning then he picked me up on his way home from work) because I’ve not cleaned everything and tided his mess up (like I said I felt really unwell) he’s kicked off when we came in and said I’m ungrateful all he ever does is things for me like get US get a house, because I wanted space for us to have our baby (we lived at my parents) I’m on maternity leave bc well I’m 37 weeks pregnant and he said he’s the only one that provides and he’s sick of working all week to come in and clean up (it was a couple of pots to wash and hoover) I would of done it but I was unwell in hospital. Here’s where I might of been TA I said after the babies born if they ask me to stay in I will do because there’s obviously a reason why they would want me to and my anxiety basically tells me if I go home I will die. He wasn’t happy and again said I’m ungrateful clearly don’t want him to see our child and he basically said that I make up problems just to go into hospital when there’s no reason to. Despite he knows my biggest fear is no one believing me.
Edit: he also said he knows how scared I am and he understands how easy it is for me to convince myself that there’s wrong with me . Edit 2: I am reading all the comments I just have a really bad headache but here’s answers to the theme of some of the questions. The hospital said I was okay to go home and just come back if I felt unwell, because I was constantly asking if I could go and he was ringing up the ward and asking aswell. But no I haven’t told the hospital about this between us because I was worried about child protection getting involved .
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2020.10.23 03:15 S1lv3rw1nd If every licensed character had an alternate character skin.

I love how The Legion and Cheryl have alternate character skin. It reminds me of Echo Fighters from Smash, and like Echo Fighters, it allows for more opportunities. Imagine playing as another Jigsaw apprentice, or whatever. More on that later. I'll skip Cheryl, since she's already got Lisa Garland and Alessa Gillespie and Cybil Bennett, and Bill and Ash, since no one can really compare to them. I won't stall, here are some ideas for alternate character skins, regardless of likelihood. Survivors first:
Laurie Strode - Dr. Sam Loomis, Michael's psychiatrist. He might've disappeared at some point after the original movies, ending up in the Entity's realm.
Quentin Smith - Nancy Holbrook, the final girl from the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street, where Quentin and DBD's version of Freddy originate from. I really wish it could be someone from the original movies, but unfortunately BHVR just can't do it.*
David Tapp - Adam Stanheight, the first guy we see in the Saw movies. Imagine how cruel it would be for Adam to be locked in a dark room, slowly starving to death, then being put out of his misery by Amanda, only to wake up by a campfire, and seeing her try to kill him once more. Poor guy. It would be cool if his model had a broken manacle attached to his ankle, as an homage to his predicament in the first movie. Maybe once Spiral: From The Book Of Saw drops, there could be a skin for Chris Rock's character.
Nancy Wheeler - Jonathan Byers, Will's older brother and Nancy's, er, partner in crime. I could also do someone like Hopper, but he doesn't really have that much in common with Nancy.
Steve Harrington - Robin, Steve's coworker in Season 3. This is obvious, for obvious reasons. (Ahoy, ladies!)
Okay, Killers next!
The Shape -
The Cannibal - There could be a skin (heh) based off another member of the Sawyer family, since they're all equally crazy, but I feel the Leatherface from the remake, Thomas Hewitt, would make more since. But really, I'd just be fine with Leatherface having ANY new skins. :(
The Nightmare - *However, if BHVR could pull it off, I would want a skin based off "Freddy" from Wes Craven's New Nightmare. He's called The Entity in that movie, but I guess the skin would be called something like The New Nightmare, for obvious reasons. Or maybe, and this will obviously never happen, there could be a skin based off Robert Englund, voice lines and everything. Imagine hearing "welcome to my world, bitch" when you end up in the Dream World.
The Pig - This one's easy, just another Jigsaw apprentice, or maybe even John Kramer himself. There's Detective Mark Hoffman, Dr. Lawrence Gordon, and technically John's wife Jill Tuck was Jigsaw for a while, but I don't think she would fit. The Jigsaw from the 2017 movie could also work. How would another Jigsaw be differentiated from Amanda when The Pig wears that mask? Shut up. I'm sorry. Realistically, they would just change the voice to that of a man and give The Pig clothes that Hoffman or Gordon wore. Or that cool black robe John wore in the first two films.
The Ghost Face - This one's a bit tricky, since it's not Ghostface from the Scream movies, it's an original character. Luckily, Jed Olsen doesn't seem too far off from the original Ghostface in terms of personality, they're both regular people who became serial killers for attention. So, I'm imagining another Ghost Face killer, unique to the DBD universe, who's a copycat of Jed Olsen. How would he look different? Again, not certain on that, but maybe the suit and mask would look... cheaper, than Jed's. A simple hoodie, or maybe no suit at all. If all else fails, they could just add the Stoned Face from Scary Movie.
The Demogorgon - Two options: The Demodog from Season 3, or a sort of miniaturized version of the Mind Flayer in the shape of a Demogorgon. Actually, you know what would be funny? If there was a skin based off the original Demogorgon from Dungeons and Dragons.
The Executioner - I can't think of anything for him. Really, they should've had a Silent Hill skin for The Nurse.
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2020.10.22 18:00 SaintRidley Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ May 16, 1988

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words, continuing in the footsteps of daprice82. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
• PREVIOUS •
1987
FUTURE YEARS ARCHIVE:
The Complete Observer Rewind Archive by daprice82
1-4-1988 1-11-1988 1-18-1988 1-25-1988
2-1-1988 2-8-1988 2-15-1988 2-22-1988
2-29-1988 3-7-1988 3-14-1988 3-21-1988
3-28-1988 4-4-1988 4-11-1988 4-18-1988
4-25-1988 5-2-1988 5-9-1988 *
  • The big stories this week really won’t hit until late in the issue, so read down I guess.
  • [NWA] The Midnight Rider angle lasted just a whole two weeks after his initial arrival. The whole thing began just four or five weeks back with a baseball bat and punching Magnum T.A., and all that work was wasted when they pulled the plug. The Midnight Rider gimmick just wasn’t working, so they did an official announcement that Paul Boesch convinced the NWA board to reinstate Dusty. All the panicked decisions lately leave Dave with the impression that the NWA is in worse shape than they seemed to be a few weeks back, and things don’t look likely to change any time soon. More of a surprise to Dave than the fact that it wasn’t working is the fact that they did it so quickly when the angle was supposed to last through the summer. He thinks that has to be hard on Dusty’s ego. So them setting up a feud between Dusty and Barry Windham when the logical feud should be Luger and Windham seems a desperate move to placate Dusty. And there’s no predicting what the NWA will do next, because the people in charge don’t seem to know what they’re doing week to week.
  • Ex-NFL star Steve Courson makes his pro wrestling debut this week at a Pennsylvania independent show. He’s barely trained and being rushed into the ring to capitalize off his NFL fame. The guy was a heavy steroid user back in the NFL and admitted as much, and his career ended due to health issues a couple years ago. Nevertheless, he’s got an anti-steroid book about to hit bookshelves. Seems carny enough for the business.
  • Roddy Piper showed up at Don Owen’s April 30 card in Portland. Billy Jack Haynes’ rival promotion debuted on May 7 and starts its tv program on May 14. Haynes claims he didn’t delay a week due to Piper’s April 30 appearance, but because his ring lights were late in arriving. They were lighting Chris Adams’ ring, I’m sure. Anyway, Piper showed up in the interview area and never entered the ring, and when Mike Golden told Piper to scram during his interview, Piper acted passive and backed off to help put Golden over. Golden then produced a contract for a match on May 7 and tried to goad Piper into a match, to which Piper retorted he’s lost a lot of weight and isn’t a fighter anymore, only to finally get into it with Golden after more taunting and Golden spitting on him. Fans left with the idea that Piper would fight Golden, but Piper never appeared on May 7 and no announcement of them having a match took place.
  • Variety Magazine reports that all the weekly pro wrestling shows have dropped out of the top 15 in syndicated ratings. So the real story is the way that the wrestling shows made it into the top 15 in the first page. The WWF network had 5 shows, Crockett network had 4, and All-Star Wrestling network had at least 6, and each of those packages added up the ratings of all the shows in them and reported that rating. Compare to say, Wheel of Fortune, which is just the one show, and so you had the combined ratings of anywhere from 4-6+ shows trying to act like all the shows in that package were competitive ad space to a show like Wheel or Jeopardy, which is unfair to those single shows that pull in massive ratings. Anyway, those who calculate ratings have done away with those network packages in their calculations to level the playing field, so WWF isn’t getting ahead of Oprah and her single show’s 9 rating by combining five shows to pull a 10 rating anymore. Superstars, which is definitely WWF’s most watched show, doesn’t even come close to the top 15 on its own. For Dave, this isn’t a big deal, other than that it’ll be harder to track ratings, which are the best way to measure interest at the moment. Dave’s tv industry contacts think this is a big blow to wrestling as an industry, however, and more damaging to Crockett than McMahon since Vince has sold most of his ad slots for the year already. Nothing has materially changed, but advertisers are going to see wrestling as less hot, and their places in the top 15 have been taken by shows like Love Connection, Star Search, and Hollywood Squares. A wrestling network package might offer the same number of viewers, but advertisers look at the rankings to decide what’s hot, and wrestling’s not going to appear there anymore, and their ads in trade publications won’t be able to boast WWF or NWA as among the highest rated networks in syndication. Long story short, Promoters are going to have to chase advertising dollars rather than advertisers chasing promotions, and that spells an eventual downturn for the business.
  • [NWA] Clash of the Champions II, called Miami Mayhem, has been announced for June 8. Dave gets the feeling that it won’t be as hot a show as the first Clash and that those in the company think they might have given away too much on the first and thus hurt themselves at the gate. Dave thinks they did indeed give a lot, but they also failed to take advantage of a lot. Like, the barbed wire match was the end of a feud and they didn’t even know it because despite the heels being beaten quick and clean, they’re still running the match when there’s no point in continuing the feud. Dave thinks they had a lot of momentum coming off the first clash and they squashed it by downplaying everything in favor of the now-aborted Midnight Rider angle.
  • Randy Savage is now being billed as Undisputed WWF Champion. They’ve dropped the word “heavyweight” and Dave’s been told they’re planning to no longer use it, for whatever that’s worth.
  • WWF is working on a bunch of non-wrestling specials. Kind of like the Slammy Awards in the way they’ll sell the shows and in their hopes for ratings. Dave hopes not similar in terms of quality, at least.
  • Managers Mr. Fuji, Jimmy Hart, and Frenchy Martin appeared on WWF’s May 7 Boston house show. No idea if it’s just certain New England cities they’ll appear in or what, but yeah, that’s the update on the managers at house shows thing.
  • Dave and his friends were joking that Ultimate Warrior vs. Andre the Giant would be the worst possible match this generation. Lo and behold, Dave found out that they put that match on a few weeks back in Switzerland on a European tour. Dave asks “What did the Swiss ever do to Vince McMahon?” I can't find anything from Switzerland, but I did find a clip from Italy on that same tour.
Watch: Andre vs. Warrior
  • Dave saw the program for the Central States April 28 show in Kansas City and it’s the funniest thing he’s seen in a while. The program talks about the Freebirds (supposed to be coming in) and says they’re managed by Michael Hayes, and it has a picture of Hayes taken from their original heel days in Georgia in 1980. Bob Geigel runs the promotion and makes his own programs, and it’s good to see how up to date he’s managed to be.
  • Ken Mantell sent a letter to every promotion except WWF and NWA offering for World Class to work with them. World Class isn’t running a full-time schedule, so Mantell’s looking for ways to get his guys out there, but they only have a couple guys with any significant name value. Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, Terry Taylor, and maybe Chris Adams could give a boost to a promotion getting into things with a local babyface, but just sending Taylor and Adams to have a match against each other won’t help anyone (they did that for the May 2 show in Memphis). Talent sharing isn’t helpful to the other promotions unless they can do a tv angle or work several shows rather than a one-off date (with the rare exception of a Michael Hayes date in Atlanta, or Gordy doing an independent show with a match against Brody or Abdullah).
  • [Memphis] Eddie Gilbert beat Jerry Lawler on May 2 to keep Missy Hyatt’s hair on her head. The finish saw Lawler punch Paul E. Dangerously (who manages Gilbert in Continental) after Missy failed to distract Lawler with her open shirt trick. Dangerously showed up when Lawler went after her, and then Kenny Dee, who was managing Lawler, threw powder in Lawler’s eyes, leading to Gilbert getting the pin. Money wound up changing hands from Dangerously to Hyatt to Dee after the match, so Kenny Dee is a newly minted heel manager.
  • Also in Memphis, the Iceman King Parsons vs. Kerry Von Erich match from the same show got little reaction. People came to see Lawler and Gilbert, not them, and Dave still doesn’t understand putting this match on and billing Parsons as a world champion when the next show is Lawler vs. Hennig for the AWA World Title. It’s just undercutting that match to act like the WCCW title is a world title and then turn around and go “Well here’s a different world title” and being very inconsistent in their recognition of world championships.
  • More on the special referee poll for the May 9 LawleHennig match. They’re running the poll from a 1-900 number (which means a cost of $1 per phone call), so the company was profiting off the poll. That explains the amount of promotion they were doing saying that Larry Hennig was winning the poll by a narrow margin due to fans in Minnesota flooding the line with votes for Hennig. They were doing no such thing, but it’s a smart way to bilk the local fan base. In Memphis, they run their tv show live, so when it started at 11 am, they did a segment where they said the poll would close at noon (Hennig still leading the results) to keep fans voting until the last minute, even doing another segment at 11:45 am. At noon, Lawler came out and acted all serious with his best Bad News Barrett impression and said he was afraid he had some bad news. “Bad news for Curt Hennig, that is,” and announced Jackie Fargo was the winner of the referee poll. Dave guesses the reason for the charge is probably to drum up enough money to pay Curt Hennig enough to be happy, but this sure is a new way to try and make money off wrestling.
  • There’s a newcomer in the Oregon territory named Steve Austin. No, he’s not stone cold, but he’s also used the name Steve Winters (Dave believes this is his real name), and he’ll wind up wrestling for Stampede in the future under the name Lance Idol. Dave’s seen him a bit before in his early days in the Bay area and recalls him being a good worker trying to emulate Ray Stevens in style.
  • Don Owen’s May 7 show had the best case for allowing blading that Dave has ever heard of. They had a Northwest Tag Title cage match with Steve Doll and Scott Peterson beating Avalanche and Mike Golden to regain the titles. Owen believes you need blood in a cage match, while the Oregon commission has banned blading, so how do you suppose Owen got around the issue? Mike Golden got bloody hardway, and they wanted Peterson to bleed too, so they had Golden and Avalanche try to hardway Peterson with potatoes to the forehead. Dave hears they did some 14 hard punches to Peterson’s head and none of them opened him up. One did bust up his nose a bit, though. This is what happens when blading is banned and wrestlers feel the need to get color - they’re going to be really unsafe and hurt themselves.
  • Tatsumi Fujinami beat Vader by countout on April 27, in a show that drew 5,000 in Osaka. For comparison, All Japan’s Brody/Tenryu match there last month drew 4,000. Fujinami had vowed to retire if he couldn’t beat Vader, so they kind of had to have that finish if they wanted Vader to keep his monster aura without honoring a retirement. Anyway, Dave isn’t sure if this is legit or just an angle, but Fujinami is being reported as trying to make a play for the top spot now that Inoki’s foot is broken. He’s even got a new haircut to symbolize his change from being a young disciple of Inoki to being his own man.
  • All Japan Women’s May 15 show has a hell of a triple main event lineup. At the top of the card you have the Crush Girls vs. the Jumping Bomb Angels. Then you have Mika Suzuki vs. Kaoru Maeda for the jr. championship (not a weight class, but rather a title exclusively for wrestlers with under 2 years experience). Lastly, Erika Shishido and Nobuko Kimura defend the AJW tag titles against two of the standout rookies from the class of 1987 who are getting their first crack at major exposure, Manami Toyota and Toshiyo Yamada. Erika Shishido, by the way, is a 17 year old from the class of 1986 and the company has big plans for her as a future heel star and partner for Bull Nakano. You may know her better as Aja Kong.
  • Windy City Wrestling drew remarkably well, drawing $40,000 at International Amphitheater in Chicago. It’s the largest gate Dave’s ever heard of for an independent promotion. The card had Col. DeBeers, Candi Divine and Debbie Combs, Paul E. Dangerously, Buddy Rose and Doug Somers, and a bunch else going on. Based on ticket prices, they pulled an audience of over 4,000 people. The promoter sold the show to the venue for $10,000, so they made a big profit on the event. WWF has taken notice and already there’s talk of them running the same venue, because they believe it may tap into a different crowd than the Rosemont Horizon.
  • [Stampede] Owen Hart’s reign as North American champion has ended as of May 6. He dropped the title to Makhan Singh, whom he beat for the title on April 10, 1987. Definitely a step toward Owen’s departure from the promotion here, as his last match with Stampede if he does go to the WWF will be on May 14 before he does the IWGP series for New Japan. Owen did agree to go to the WWF for a masked gimmick, either a Tiger Mask or Mighty Mouse type, but he’s apparently having second thoughts, perhaps related to a personal goal he supposedly has of having the match of the year with Ric Flair. Sadly, Owen’s never going to get that match. Bret and Davey Boy Smith are pushing hard for Owen to come to WWF.
  • Heading to Stampede is Steve Blackman. Blackman’s done some jobs for WWF in the past and is kind of a powerlifter type. He’s being paired with Brick Bronsky, whom Dave describes as an untalented lifter type (Dave rates the May 7 Edmonton match between Kerry Brown and Bronsky at -3.5 stars and calls it one of the worst matches Stampede will ever have), and their team name is the Abortion Alliance. Jeezus, Bruce.
  • A new women’s wrestling promotion is supposed to start up, doing tapings at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Wendi Richter and Misty Blue are said to be the top stars and Gordon Solie is said to be on board for announcing, and there’s supposedly tv contracts lined up.
  • Ted Turner is working on a new cable station called TNT. It’s gonna have a lot of MGM movies and sports events, and probably eventually some Crockett wrestling. The FCC is expected to change some regulations, which would put WTBS back to only being Atlanta-local and all the superstations will revert to local tv.
  • Looks like a lock that Financial News Network will be taking on Continental by the end of the month or early June. As for a deal with New Japan, that seems to be on hold, as neither side could come to an agreement.
  • Lawsuits corner. WWF is suing FNN over their Hulkamania package. Larry Sharpe is suing Bam Bam Bigelow for breach of contract. Sharpe was Bigelow’s real manager back in Japan.
  • The best match on an independent show in Brooklyn on April 29 saw Lou Fabiano (a former WWF jobber) team with Cactus Jack against George Skaaland and Tom Brandi. Cactus Jack is a trainee of Dominic DeNucci, and Dave hears that he’s a top flight worker.
  • Word is that Futahaguro (real name Koji Kitao), the yokozuna who got kicked out of sumo, is reporting to the Monster Factory in New Jersey to train under Larry Sharpe. He’s in New York this week on other business (mostly talk shows), so no definite word, but that’s the rumor coming out of the area.
  • The Von Erich Parade of Champions drew an estimated 7,000 fans. Dave anticipates a more accurate estimate and gate next week. The show was… Let me just give some highlights. The first match was terrible. The second match was mostly rest holds and had no heat, and after winning the match Mike George grabbed the mic to make sure the fans knew he was recognized as World Champion in Kansas City. Nobody cared because nobody cares about the Kansas City promotion. Steve Casey was supposed to challenge Eric Embry for the light heavyweight title, but he came in 1.5 pounds over the weight limit. After the crowd heckled Embry, he agreed to a non-title match, which Casey won in 19 seconds. That extra weight made all the difference, I reckon. Bill Irwin vs. Black Bart was fair. Then you had Michael Hayes vs. Terry Gordy in a triple tower of doom and Dave says that while there was heat, the gimmick’s a total dud because you can’t do any moves or take any bumps the way it’s all structured. They then gave the crowd something good, as Terry Taylor beat Chris Adams to keep the Texas title in a great match. The Texas roundup in the triple tower of doom, on the other hand, was the opposite of great. If Dusty plans to actually use this concept, he’s got a lot of work cut out for him, because not one fan in the building understood what the hell was going on. Bruiser Brody carried his match teaming with Kevin Von Erich against Buddy Roberts and Solomon Grundy, and nobody cared about Kevin. They had to replace Schaun Simpson with Terry Gordy due to injury suffered in the Texas roundup for the Wild West/Texas tag title unification match, and Gordy/Simpson won by disqualification. It’s unclear if that makes the Simpsons Wild West tag champs and Gordy/Simpson Texas tag champs, or if it unifies the titles on the Simpsons, or what. In the end, Kerry Von Erich regained the WCCW title. Nobody cares. World Class is every bit as fucked as WCW in 2000.
  • Dave’s got the lineup for the second Clash, and he thinks the NWA is now afraid to put on a hot show. Windham vs. Ricky Santana, Koloff vs. Al Perez, Dusty vs. Larry Zbysko, the Garvins vs. Rotunda and Rick Steiner, the Fantastics vs. Sheepherders for the U.S. Tag Titles, and Blanchard/Anderson defending the NWA tag titles against Sting and Steve Williams. No Flair, Luger, or Road Warriors in sight.
  • When the NWA announced Dusty’s reinstatement, the reaction was pretty negative. After a moment of silence, one woman cheered and two more joined her, and they were swiftly drowned in a chorus of boos.
  • Night 2 of the Crockett Cup grossed $115,000 at the gate. The Cup as a whole managed a combined gate equal to the merch sales gross at Wrestlemania.
  • They’re building a new Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina, and it’s supposed to open in the fall. Word is that WWF will get the first two shows there and Crockett will be relegated to the 2,500 seat Charlotte Park Center, since the old Coliseum building will be torn down. WWF can’t run the existing Coliseum for the same reasons Crockett can’t touch Madison Square Garden, but the new Coliseum has different management with no relationship to Crockett, so they’re going to give WWF a chance.
  • Gordon Solie and Mike Graham’s new Florida Championship Wrestling has opened up and did their first tv taping on April 30. They’re looking to run five days a week in central Florida starting real soon.
  • Antonio Inoki’s injury has led to New Japan declaring the IWGP Title vacant. Tatsumi Fujinami battles Vader on May 7 for the title. Seems to be a lot of behind the scenes tension between Fujinami and Choshu as well. Fujinami walked out after the April 27 show, leaving only Choshu of the original four top draws in the company.
  • Tiger Mask (Mitsuharu Misawa) is getting married on May 10 and will unmask for the wedding. He’s marrying movie star Tomomi Shiina. After the wedding he may stop wrestling as Tiger Mask and go back to his real name.
  • As soon as TNT is available in 30 million homes, Crockett’s tv will be moved there. All kinds of rumors are swirling about Crockett and Turner, but as far as Dave’s aware no firm deal of any kind has been reached.
  • The NWA, Mike Rotunda, Kevin Sullivan, and the city of Albany are all being sued for “torturous acts and personal injury” by 16 year old Mike Strickland. Strickland alleges that on February 9 he was patting wrestlers on the back when city police officers working security for the show seized him and arrested him, then took him to a secluded area where Rotunda and Sullivan “wilfully, intentionally and purposefully assaulted and attempted to commit violent and illegal physical injury” on him and that the police did nothing to stop the beating.
  • Dave wants us to know that although it was extremely predictable, he found the Midnight Express’s party on the WTBS show really entertaining. Yeah, when you have a cake in wrestling it winds up in the heel or announcer’s face, but the banter between Cornette and Stan Lane was really fun.
Watch: Jim Cornette gets caked
  • Ted Turner’s got some kind of package deal he’s pitching, using the July NWA ppv as incentive to get cable systems to buy in on TNT. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Dave understands that the cable companies will likely get a higher share of revenue for the PPV from the show than the usual 50/50 split, and Dave says this show is really do or die for Crockett.
  • Abdullah the Butcher and Kamala no-showed Jerry Blackwell’s May 8 show. They had turned down a spot at the Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions to do that show, so that’s ironic.
  • ”JERRY LAWLER PINNED CURT HENNIG TO WIN THE AWA TITLE ON 5/9 IN MEMPHIS BEFORE 9,500 FANS." The match was apparently “not great” and saw Lawler win by grabbing Hennig by the knees and kangaroo flipping him headlong into the ring post for the pin. Great reaction to the finish, but yeah, Lawler is the new AWA champion. More on this next week.
Watch: the finish to Lawler vs. Hennig
  • One letter writer chimes in that “loser groups” like GLOW and POWW don’t deserve time in the Observer. In fact, he hopes they lose their time slots in New York and Boston to Continental and Memphis to give WWF real competition. Yeah, because those groups are going to be able to do that.
  • Still a bunch of letters sniping back and forth about Clash vs. Wrestlemania. One says they can’t believe anyone could think FlaiSting was the best match they’ve seen in years. Another says that for “Vince McMahon to put WWF fans through that show constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.” As usual, wrestling fans are level-headed and gracious in their disagreements. It warms my soul to see us carrying on this proud tradition of sober discourse on reddit in 2020.
NEXT WEEK: AWA Champion Jerry Lawler, reports from Texas Stadium, Fujinami becomes IWGP champion, Oregon-Washington Wrestling Federation debut show, and more
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2020.10.16 18:35 SaintRidley Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ May 9, 1988

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words, continuing in the footsteps of daprice82. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
• PREVIOUS •
1987
FUTURE YEARS ARCHIVE:
The Complete Observer Rewind Archive by daprice82
1-4-1988 1-11-1988 1-18-1988 1-25-1988
2-1-1988 2-8-1988 2-15-1988 2-22-1988
2-29-1988 3-7-1988 3-14-1988 3-21-1988
3-28-1988 4-4-1988 4-11-1988 4-18-1988
4-25-1988 5-2-1988 * *
  • WCCW has finally announced the card for their May 8 David and Mike Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions. Credit to the company, they’ve not put much effort into pushing the Von Erich part of the name this year and seem to have kept that part out of deference to Fritz. The headliners are two triple tower of doom matches. Dave’s understanding is that there will be three rings built atop one another with a firefighter’s pole through the center to allow ring to ring transitions. You can also move from level to level by climbing the cage from the inside. They’re also having an 18-man Royal Rumble style battle royal called a Texas Roundup inside the three rings, with the winner being the wrestler who gets to the third ring, climbs the cage, and grabs the envelope with the “money” for the winner and five prizes for fans. I’m astonished TNA in the Jarrett/Russo days never did this. Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy will have a Bad Street match, Kerry Von Erich challenges King Parsons for the title, and Kevin Von Erich teams with Bruiser Brody vs. Buddy Roberts and a mystery partner. Roberts was originally meant to partner with Kamala or Abdullah the Butcher, but they’re both booked. There will be other matches as well, but eh.
  • Over in Oregon the battle of May 7 is coming. Don Owen’s show in Portland will feature Hennig vs. Tom Zenk along with his regular crew, while Billy Jack Haynes’ Oregon-Washington Wrestling Federation debuts twenty miles away in Oregon City. No cards, partial or complete, have been announced, but Haynes has 16 guys including Tom Magee (yes, the one who only Bret Hart knew how to make look good), Steve Gatorwolf (fuck Steve Gatorwolf), Chavo Guerrero, Corporal Kirchner (due to be promoted to Colonel when WWF turns their eyes this way), Brian Adams, Fred Ottman (Memphis’s Big Bubba, whom you’ll come to love as Typhoon in a couple years), himself, and a bunch of other guys who I can’t make any interesting comments about.
  • Memphis’s Monday show after those will surely be the most talked about show of the weekend, though. Hennig defends the AWA Title against Jerry Lawler in a match where Lawler will retire if he doesn’t become champion. Most of the undercard is still unknown, but that match alone carries the interest.
  • Crockett has made a major retreat and given up the New York market. Nassau Coliseum accepted WWF’s ultimatum, and will now refuse to allow Crockett to run shows. Over Crockett’s four show run at the arena since November, it’s been rocky. They had a successful first show in November, but the second show was the Bunkhouse Stampede in January, which drew a gate of $80,000 (actually above WWF’s average there). But that show was so poorly received it killed them. The third show drew poorly, and they managed to improve a bit to $48,000, around WWF’s typical non-Hogan card there, for the fourth show. But with the ultimatum and the fact that gates have dropped to basically equivalent to a WWF card, they’re out. They’ve also lost their time slot in New York, leaving them without local tv access in New York and LA. Crockett may have pulled the plug on New York tv themselves. They were paying a rumored $6,000 weekly for access, and that just does not make sense to do when you can’t run local shows anymore. It will hurt their ad revenue, so it’s a mixed bag.
  • WWF taped Saturday Night’s Main Event on April 22 to air April 30. Dave mentioned the results last week, but upon airing some changes had been made. They didn’t air Andre/Roberts and instead put on a Rick Rude vs. Koko B. Ware match. Randy Savage is obviously the face of the company right now - they didn’t even mention Hogan on the episode. And it’s a big improvement to the wrestling quality having Savage as the main event over Hogan. Duggan’s work has significantly regressed. Bulldogs vs. Demolition was garbage and they were not working together at all. Rude vs. Ware was fairly good and the only match that didn’t involve a total carry job by one guy.
  • Joe Pedicino is collaborating with WATL-TV in Atlanta to do a 30 hour wrestling telethon on June 17-18. They’re even going to have over six hours of wrestling live in studio. As part of the telethon, they’ll have a bunch of syndicated wrestling shows as well as the Henry Winkler movie The One and Only (Dave’s favorite wrestling movie of all time) and the Alex Karras movie Mad Bull (not as good, but some good in it). They’re also going to do a segment on the history of pro wrestling in Atlanta. Proceeds will go to the Atlanta police department so they can buy bullet proof vests. Dave even has word that two WWF wrestlers will appear.
  • Dave’s regular typewriter is in the shop, so he’s using a different one that kind of sucks. He apologizes for any issues, and has gone with a smaller font to give more content as a make-good. Yay, more stuff for me to type about.
  • [All Japan] John Tenta accidentally broke Jimmy Snuka’s ribs on April 21 with a powerslam. Not much else of interest out of All Japan this week.
  • [New Japan] Antonio Inoki has a broken foot and is out of action. That’s gonna hurt New Japan at the gate. Riki Choshu vs. Vader has been made to replace Vader vs. Inoki for May 7. It’ll be an interesting test of Choshu’s remaining drawing power.
  • New Japan went really weird with a locker room scene on the April 22 tv show. The main event had Inoki and Tatsumi Fujinami beating Vader and Masahiro Saito by dq, and the locker room scene had Inoki and Fujinami arguing. Fujinami then got scissors and started cutting his own hair until Inoki hit him and told him to wrestle Vader in Osaka on April 27 (at which show Fujinami declared he’d retire if he lost).
  • The major hype in Memphis still surrounds the LawleHennig match set for May 9. They’re claiming Larry Hennig is leading the voting for referee over Jackie Fargo, but that’s obviously to drum up more support for Lalwer.
  • Meanwhile, Memphis is bringing in guys from WCCW for three matches on May 2. Dave’s heard conflicting stories. They’re there for just the one show, or they’ll be in again multiple times. Just have to wait and see, Dave supposes. Even with Lawler vs. Eddie Gilbert with Missy’s hair at stake, they’re billing Iceman King Parsons vs. Kerry Von Erich for the WCCW Title as the main event, and Dave doesn’t get the point in bringing in another world champion when you’re spending so much effort and time on hyping up the AWA title match for the next week. This is the beginning of the Memphis/WCCW alliance and eventual merger.
  • A funny story from Southern Championship Wrestling. They’ve got this local country western DJ on color commentary and he goes by Rhubarb Jones. For a few weeks, they did a bit where Paul E. Dangerously constantly called him “Rub Hard Jones” and Jones would correct him. Then the blowoff was Dangerously asking “How come whenever I call you Rub Hard you say it’s Rhubarb, but when Missy Hyatt calls you Rhubarb, you say Rub Hard?” This made it on the air. And honestly, it sounds like a fucking funny bit.
  • Stampede’s crowds have dipped a bit. It’s probably a bit of annual drop off as summer comes along, but also according to local fans it’s because the show has become so much less family oriented with all the blood and excessive violence lately. Kids have been the biggest demographic to drop, so that makes some sense.
  • Les Thornton is not content to start up a competing wrestling school to Stampede, but is now planning to start a competing promotion. He may get started as soon as May, and he’s planning to run Calgary too.
  • World Class is negotiating to get their syndicated package added to the All-Star Wrestling Network ad package. That’s the same one that has the AWA.
  • Big John Studd has sent out a country music demo to some record companies. He’s apparently trying to cash in on his fame as a wrestler as a selling point for how well his record would sell. One person in the music industry told Dave that Studd wrestles better than he sings, and Dave says if it does ever release not to buy it if there are any cats who live in your neighborhood.
  • UWF announced its May 12 Korauken Hall card. There will be three matches: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Shigeo Miyato, Tetsuo Nakano vs. Yoji Anjo, and Akira Maeda vs. Kazuo Yamazaki. That’s the entire stable of wrestlers they have so far. Since they sold out so quick without announcing the card at all, it’s a good thing they’ve saved the best main event they have (Maeda vs. Takada) for June. Since there are only three matches, each match will likely be in the 30 minute range.
  • Dave hears word that Iron Sheik will be back in WWF if he can clean up his act. No more cocaine for Sheiky baby.
  • AWA has an interesting card for their May 14 tapings in Las Vegas. Tanaka and Diamond defend the tag titles against Chavo and Mando Guerrero, Greg Gagne defends the International TV title against Brian Knobbs, the Midnight Rockers take on Riki Choshu and Masahiro Saito, and Curt Hennig vs. Jerry Lawler for the AWA Word Title.
  • In addition to Memphis and the AWA, Continental now recognizes the AWA Title as a world title. The AWA title is quickly becoming the world title of the remaining independent territories. Related, in a recent interview Curt Hennig said that he’s the real world champion among himself, Ric Flair, and Randy Savage because they only defend their titles in one company while Hennig defends his in all companies.
  • The Fantastics beat the Midnight Express on April 26 in Chattanooga to win the NWA US Tag Titles in a 40+ minute match. They teased referee stoppage and Bobby Eaton, who was the illegal man, wound up pinning Robert Fulton. Cornette did a promo saying he was planning a party for this coming weekend because of course Jim Crockett would return the belts, but obviously that’s not going to happen, Dave says.
  • Ric Flair missed some shows this past week (April 25 in Nashville and Chattanooga, April 27, and April 28. Dave’s heard two stories - either a severe fever or a staph infection. Due to his absence, the NWA offered refunds for those who wanted them. He was supposed to wrestle Road Warrior Hawk in Nashville, and that show drew around 2,500 people.
  • Dave thinks it’ll be interesting to see if WWF tries counterprogramming the next NWA ppv. It’s set to air on July 10 with Flair vs. Luger and a triple tower of doom match (they should be glad that WCCW is using it first, it means they can see how it actually works in practice and figure out the bugs before doing it themselves). Correction time: the triple tower of doom WCCW has concocted wasn’t a Dusty Rhodes original. It was a Kevin Sullivan idea, which makes way more sense when I remember the doomsday cage match he came up with. Anyway, Dave thinks it would be smart if both stopped this game of countering each other’s big shows. It’s just costing both sides a lot of money and neither side has really benefited.
  • The 1988 NWA Great American Bash tour will run June 26-August 7 and have some 40 or 41 shows. A lot of those shows will have War Games matches. After the Bash tour, Crockett’s wrestlers are going to be getting a week off to make up for working 6 weeks straight.
  • NWA got the time slot WCCW used to have in Jackson, Mississippi and their first tape they sent had no commentary track. They had promos, but not one word of commentary.
  • Word is that a 6’7” masked wrestler called “The Texan” is coming to NWA to feud with Dusty Rhodes. Dave thinks they’re bringing in Dick Murdoch, who once wore a mask and attacked Rhodes, but 6’7”? Maybe if he had stilts.
  • WWF is instituting a new policy where managers aren’t being booked for house shows anymore, only tv tapings. The only exceptions are where they’re booked to actually get in the ring and wrestle a match. Elizabeth is a unique case, and Dave’s not sure where they’re landing on her yet, but she’s so integral to Randy Savage’s act that you can’t take her out without upsetting fans. The last Dave’s heard is they’re likely to have her only appear in certain markets and not regularly anymore.
  • Additionally, WWF has made significant cuts to the number of dates. Last year at this point they were running between 20-25 shows a week, and they’ve cut it down to 10, 12 on tv taping weeks. The new schedule has three shows on Saturdays and Sundays, two on Mondays and Fridays, and Tuesday-Thursday as days off (again, except on tv weeks). Well, that’s the schedule for the big names. The rest will work when they get work, with the third string guys working twice a week at most. With this severe a cutback, you can expect probably more guys to be let go. On the other hand, this new scheduling will give the wrestlers more chance to rest, and seems to be having positive effects on performance (though DiBiase/Savage and Hart/Badnews working together might also be a factor). DiBiase/Savage is the only major drawing match they have, so cutting dates means avoiding overexposing the match, too, so that’s a possible factor. This is evidence that pro wrestling as an arena spectator sport is in the worst place it has been in a long time and even WWF is tightening their belt, which only means that everyone else is probably feeling it a lot more.
  • One of the letters this week is about how fans smart to how the business works should act at shows. Not said in the letter is that they should shower, almost as if that’s a given. Anyway, the writer conjures up the image of the fan who goes to the show and calls the wrestlers by their government names and screams at Wahoo McDaniel to “blade!” when he gets posted and goes prone on the floor and how irritating those people are. Smart fans, our writer argues, should try to keep the heat up for the match. Cheer the faces, boo the heels, help encourage the marks around you to do the same. The writer is friends with a mid-level heel from a promotion not to be specified to protect the source, and the writer tries to make a point of going to that heel’s tv tapings. Some of the wrestler’s colleagues know our writer is an Observer subscriber and considers Dave a friend, but even so, after the last taping the writer went to and played it off like they were a total mark, one of the managers came over and thanked the writer for keeping the heat up and asked for thoughts on the angles and how they were getting over. You don’t get asked questions like that from the workers if you’re the kind of irritating, insufferable smart fan who has to show off how smart you are. Honestly, I really enjoyed this letter, because it definitely jives with my feelings about how to act at a show. Respect and engage with the performance you are presented. I remember going to a RISE show last year where I had a fantastic conversation with AQA, one of the women there who was coming from Booker T’s school, and she was asking me about how her elimination looked from my vantage, if I thought she hit her spots well, and that sort of stuff. I’ve had a lot of great conversations like that at RISE and SHIMMER shows and I’m really glad I got to have that conversation with AQA. By the way, she’s fantastic and is definitely on her way to having a big future once she hits the point of signing with Impact/WWE/AEW.
  • Another writer notes that he has a friend who now works part time for the Rhode Island State Athletic Commission. Said friend knows nothing about wrestling and can’t even answer questions about whether blading is allowed in Rhode Island because he doesn’t know what the question means. So yeah, that’s what you’re dealing with in athletic commissions.
  • Our most interesting letter of the week concerns the origins of the term “working.” A lot of people think it originates with the advent of tv and working for the benefit of the camera, but the term originates back in the early part of the 20th century. Wrestlers began using what they called the “working” system rather than shooting, which allowed them to turn wrestling into a traveling act. Wrestlers at that point still had to be capable shooters, of course, just in case someone didn’t want to go along with the script. And there were wrestlers like Jack Sherry who couldn’t adapt to working rather than shooting, and so they were on the outs with the major promoters of the era. Also, the writer found a membership list for the NWA from 1968. Just 20 years ago the NWA boasted 23 different member promotions in the U.S. and Canada. How much things have changed.
  • There’s a big letter from a couple guys in Maine that goes off on Dave for his “anti-WWF” bias and it’s a big enough deal that Dave actually responds. In brief, the letter says “we are disturbed by your continuing, and, we believe, unwarranted criticism of Titan Sports and Vince McMahon in particular. This anti-Titan attitude, while understandable, and in some cases laudable, has been of concern to us for some time, and we had intended to write soon, but your recent post-Wrestlemania newsletter moved up our timetable.” Fucking hell, that’s most of the opening paragraph and I am rolling laughing (literally, I am high as balls as I do this part). Their criticisms of Dave’s takes on Wrestlemania seem to be saying Ventura was great on commentary and Uecker was funny. And since Dave’s writing basically the newsletter of record on wrestling, he’s being derelict in his responsibilities. One good thing they suggest is that Dave try to keep commentary and news separate. Basically, they usually find themselves agreeing with Dave and are very confused and concerned that his opinions on Clash and Wrestlemania were opposite of theirs. The part that really ticks Dave off is that, “at risk of insulting” Dave, they conclude that his commentaries are tailored to satisfy certain constituencies of his readership rather than reflecting his own opinions. Dave even says that the one thing they got right was that he felt insulted by their letter, and not because they disagree with him. Dave even says “anyone who agrees with all my opinions is obviously letting me do their thinking for him.” There you go. He then gives a complete takedown of every point they made, pointing out where they ignored the context of his statements, pointed out how it wasn’t just him who felt how he did, points out his takes on Starrcade and Survivor Series to kill dead the idea that he has an anti-WWF or pro-Crockett bias, etc. As for biases, Dave does admit to a bias toward Crockett’s in-ring style compared to WWF’s, but it’s also hardly his favorite style (New Japan juniors, there’s his favorite style at this point), and he also admits to a bias toward how WWF handles publicity, its company, and its rotating talent in and out of the spotlight to keep things fresh.
  • So, Dave transcribed the first hour of Bruno Sammartino’s radio interview from 6 weeks back. A couple highlights, then I’ll just put a link to read the transcript yourself. He felt like the lone voice defending the old way of wrestling and nobody would listen. He says some wrestlers today, he might call them athletes, but Bam Bam Bigelow? He’s too fat to be an athlete. He calls Andre and Hogan sad because of Andre’s condition, and even worse because making it out like the match of the century is practically obscene to him. He doesn’t consider either of them to be wrestlers. Basically, he’s going to old man yell at the cloud of modern wrestling for a while and he said Vince doesn’t want commentary to refer to it as wrestling anymore. He tries to maintain some kayfabe about the legitimacy of wrestling in his day, but tries to claim it mostly was. There’s stuff about his son I’m going to be honest about not reading, I’m just not sober enough to care about David. He also says he never once saw a bladejob or blood capsule in his life and points to his scars above his eye “that came from being hit”. He is vague about Jimmy Snuka, but he says Snuka’s got serious drug problems and seriously messed himself up.
Read: Bruno radio interview transcript
  • There’s also a long letter about Bruno, so you can read that along with the transcript So click that link too. Smash that like button. Subscribe to my twitch channel. Words.
Read: end of transcript and letter
  • Dave also gives comments of his own on the transcript, letter, and Sammartino’s issues with McMahon. In short, the business of wrestling has changed a lot, especially lately, and change isn’t inherently bad. Some changes made wrestling more mainstream acceptable. Some caused the decline of regional territories, but were always inevitable. Some brought unheard of amounts of money to the business. Wrestling isn’t shooting, but entertainment isn’t a dirty word and things like wrestlers booking to suit their egos dates back to the 20s. Dave says the wrestlers who have learned to do today’s craft and not an outdated style that won’t connect, should be commended and respected. If you know how to work for your audience, can maintain conditioning, and work hard to get yourself over, you’re the kind of wrestler Dave respects. If you don’t respect the paying customers and think steroids can substitute for knowing your shit, Dave thinks less of you for it. Using steroids doesn’t disqualify you from respect - a lot of great workers are well conditioned and use the stuff to maintain the size that pleases the promoters. He just dead refutes the idea that wrestling was legit in Bruno’s day or that he never bladed. He also talks about Vince and that Vince has on the one hand had a very negative influence on ring style, but he’s opened wrestling up to the larger media landscape and that’s a good thing.
  • Dave rates Savage vs. DiBiase from the April 25 Madison Square Garden show 4 stars. A rare high mark for a WWF match at this point.
Watch: DiBiase vs. Savage at MSG
  • Harley Race will be out for several months. He ruptured his intestine and had to have 18 inches of it removed.
  • Big Bubba’s coming next week with a prison guard gimmick and will likely be built up for Hogan’s return.
  • Owen Hart is now apparently 50-50 on coming to WWF.
  • Ricky Steamboat has apparently quit WWF. He was scheduled for the MSG show against Greg Valentine, but wasn’t there and wasn’t on tv. It could just be a hiatus, but Dave reckons he’s gone.
  • Dave wants us to confirm, but does Matilda look different than she used to?
NEXT WEEK: Midnight Rider unmasked, Jerry Lawler becomes AWA World Champion, Roddy Piper comes to Oregon, Clash II announced for June 8, and more!
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2020.10.08 18:03 SaintRidley Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ May 2, 1988

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words, continuing in the footsteps of daprice82. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
• PREVIOUS •
1987
FUTURE YEARS ARCHIVE:
The Complete Observer Rewind Archive by daprice82
1-4-1988 1-11-1988 1-18-1988 1-25-1988
2-1-1988 2-8-1988 2-15-1988 2-22-1988
2-29-1988 3-7-1988 3-14-1988 3-21-1988
3-28-1988 4-4-1988 4-11-1988 4-18-1988
4-25-1988 * * *
  • [NWA] The biggest story of the week is Barry Windham turning on Lex Luger to join the Four Horsemen on the April 20 WTBS taping. They made it meaningful. Windham and Luger were challenging Tully and Arn for the tag titles and they posted Luger, who bled for the first time in seven months. And Windham tried to make the tag on two occasions, but Luger wasn’t there, and J.J. Dillon got in his ear and with a bit of encouragement he lariated Luger so Arn could get the pin. Luger and Brody doing clean jobs in the same week has Dave joking the Road Warriors will be next. Anyway, Midnight Rider followed Windham into the heel dressing room and was jumped by all the heels, who unmasked him. But the faces saved him before we could find out who this mysterious enforcer of what’s right could have his face caught on camera. Windham rode off in the Four Horsemen’s limo holding the mask to close the show. Given the cards they’ve got set up all around the country for May, Dave thinks this must have been a spur of the moment thing, but by all accounts it came off fantastically.
  • The Crockett Cup, on the other hand, did not come off fantastically. At least not on the first night. Totally disorganized is the phrase Dave uses. The wrestling was excellent and the second night was a very good show, with the exception of having a half full arena. The first night had nearly a full house. The only good thing about the show, aside from the wrestling, is really that the right team won. Dave reviews both nights. Anyway, main things of note: Tony Schiavone announced at the beginning that Windham had pulled out and that Luger would pick a new partner, which everyone assumed would be Midnight Rider and would lead to them going to the end. The bracket was a mess and basically wasn’t really used. The first match was a forfeit since The Green Machine didn’t make it to the building on time (he was there by 8 pm when the tickets said the show would start, but the show started at 7 so yeah). Music miscues happened, the Mexican delegation was Curtis Thompson and Gene Ligon in red versions of the Cruel Connection’s outfits, and the Japanese team was Johnny Ace and John Savage because the actual Japanese team “missed their flight” or so they said. Steve Williams and Ron Simmons took on Rick Steiner and Mike Rotunda at the point the intermission should have happened and was supposed to be the final second round match according to the program, but yeah let’s roll with it. The crowd cheered the announcement that Ron Garvin was injured (following the use of the spike by Kevin Sullivan in the aftermath of the Prince of Darkness match, which meant Sting had no partner. Well, Lex Luger’s looking for a partner, so here we are, the beginning of Sting and Luger as the worst best friends. The final match of night one should have been the Midnight Express vs. the Varsity Club, since they were the only remaining teams left not to have second round matches. For some reason we got the Midnights vs. the Sheepherders instead, and this counts enough, because it’s how the Midnights made it to the quarter finals. Oh, and Flair, who won Most Hated Wrestler by the PWI this past year, gave a promo and got a standing ovation. Very hatred indeed.
  • And that’s just night one. But before night two, Dave talks about Ricky Steamboat’s gym in Charlotte. Dave went to pick up some t-shirts because those make great gifts. Well, the guy at the front desk refused to sell Dave anything because it was 5:01 pm and the gym was closed. “I flew in from California just to buy t-shirts” was not a convincing argument either.
  • Anyway, night two of the Crockett Cup began with announcements, and the crowd was buzzing because word of Barry Windham’s turn was starting to get around. But since it hadn’t aired, pretty much everyone was going off secondhand information. Anyway, the first announcement had to do with Garvin’s injury and the crowd cheered again. Then they announced Windham was out and had joined the Horsemen, and people were beside themselves hugging and cheering this news. And when Sting and Luger were announced, the women in the audience punctured everyone else’s eardrums. Night 2 sees a much improved quality of matches. The Fantastics vs. Varsity Club get 4 stars and Dave notes they had the best opening match he’s seen in years. Sting and Luger beat the Midnights in a 3.75 star match and Dave praises Sting (not “one of the elite workers in the world yet” but definitely on his way). Road Warriors vs. Powers of Pain used the over the top DQ Dusty finish they used last month for Midnights/Fantastics in the same arena, and Dave can’t believe the booking there. Arn and Tully beat the Fantastics in a 3.5 star match.Flair and Nikita Koloff had a completely predictable, watchable, ho hum match. The finals saw Sting and Luger beat Arn and Tully in another 3.5 star match, and Luger put some work into this one (he wasn’t in much at all in the earlier matches, and he blew up after 10 minutes in this one.
  • Dave guesses that the reason the finals drew so poorly comes down to a few factors. Nobody believes the $1 million prize, for one thing, and tournaments don’t draw without a really strong bracket. Nobody cares about Flair vs. Koloff. Midnight Rider isn’t doing anything for anybody and they put all their tv energy into that. The Crockett Cup has a three year history and has yet to sell out a building once. It’s time to re-evaluate. Fewer teams and matches would be a good start, and that would allow a meaningful world title match on night one. Getting outside teams would be good too because it would provide some drawing power by putting on the show people the crowd is not used to, but easier said than done.
  • Akira Maeda’s UWF sold out its debut show for May 12 in 15 minutes. Dave thinks this might be a record for pro wrestling. Fans camped out on April 15 outside the Korauken Hall box office to get tickets the next morning, and more than 6,000 fans were turned away once the show sold out. This news is forcing some re-evaluation of opinions on UWF. With this, Maeda is now the hottest guy going in Japan. It’s leading to demand for UWF to have television, and Tokyo Channel 6 wants to broadcast specials. They’re looking at the 11,000 seat Ariake Coliseum for August. Dave personally thinks UWF will attain a cult following for its hyper-realistic style, but it’ll lose the mainstream general public because of the lack of flash, high flying, and showmanship. That said, a Japanese reporter told him that if Maeda becomes “cool” in the eyes of Japan, he’s going to be “cool” regardless of what his style is and people will follow what he’s doing. If something is “in” in Japan, everybody follows it, according to the reporter. UWF gaining a following will likely hurt Baba and Inoki because they’ll look fake by comparison, and it’d wreck any plans WWF might have of entering the Japanese market beyond a week’s tour a year. Money shouldn’t be a big issue - they only have six wrestlers on contract and two front office people, so they can reinvest profits into the company heavily. That said, they only have three guys (Maeda, Nobuhiko Takada, ad Kazuo Yamazaki) with name value, which only gives them three options for main events, so staleness is a possibility. Only time will tell.
  • War is brewing in Oregon and Roddy Piper has thrown a spanner in the works. He’s appearing on April 30 for Don Owen. Piper turned down lucrative offers from the WWF and NWA in the past year, so this definitely feels like a personal favor to help out Owen, who gave Piper his big break in the late 70s. Even when he worked for WWF, Piper refused to work in Washington or Oregon because they weren’t Owen’s shows right up until the end of his career, when he worked a couple shows in Seattle and Tacoma after Owen had given up running those cities. He even worked Owen’s 60th anniversary card in 1985 when he was the top heel for WWF. Piper’s appearance has forced Billy Jack Haynes to push his debut card back a week to May 7, and Owen’s bringing in Tom Zenk and Curt Henning for that night.
  • [All Japan] Bruiser Brody jobbed clean by pinfall to Jumbo Tsuruta on April 19 to lose the International Title. The finish was a back suplex and it’s the first pin he’s taken in Japan since 1980.
Watch: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Bruiser Brody
  • [WWF] The April 30 Saturday Night’s Main Event was taped on April 22. Results saw Beefcake beat Danny Davis and cut his hair. This was supposed to be HonkyTonk vs. Beefcake, and they ran ads for it all the way to the last minute, but Honky didn’t wrestle Beefcake. He did work both the taping and the taping from the night before and never dropped the Intercontinental Title, though. Duggan beat Hercules by DQ. Demolition beat the Bulldogs by DQ in a non-title match. Ted DiBiase beat Don Muraco. Randy Savage retained the WWF Title against One Man Gang. Andre the Giant squashed Jake Roberts, who got his heat back after the match with the snake.
  • Former Atlanta promoter Paul Jones passed away on April 17 at the age of 86. When they announced his passing at Jerry Blackwell’s tv taping in Marietta for his promotion some fans cheered because they thought the announcement was about the NWA manager Paul Jones.
  • There’s a movie called Tokyo Pop coming out shortly and a few joshi have non-speaking roles. Bull Nakano is among them. It’s apparently not a very good movie, and not worth it if you just want to see Bull.
  • The Edmonton Athletic Commission has warned Stampede that no spitting, swearing, or brawling in the crowd will be allowed going forward.
  • [Stampede] Wayne Hart and Gary Allbright (the latter to make his debut as Volcan Singh) injured their knees in training. Referee Hermann also has a bum knee that’s keeping him out, so yet another brother (Ross Hart) is filling in.
  • Apparently Owen Hart is having second thoughts about going to WWF. Three Japanese tours a year and working the rest of the year apparently seems pretty satisfying to him.
  • On April 23, Memphis formally announced a talent trade deal with World Class. Jerry Jarrett has taken over as booker for Memphis from Jerry Lawler, and he made the announcement that the Von Erichs, Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, Chris Adams, Terry Taylor, and “World heavyweight champion” and “first Black World champion ever” Iceman King Parsons would be coming in shortly. World Class has cut down Fort Worth shows to every other Sunday, which frees up some Mondays to come over to Memphis for work. Most of the guys in World Class could use the dates, because just working for World Class means they aren’t making any money. TV fans had no reaction to this, apparently.
  • [Memphis] Downtown Bruno called out Jerry Lawler on tv on April 23 while dressed kind of like Ric Flair. This led to Robert Fuller jumping Lawler from behind and putting a noose on him and dragging him around before choking him over the ringpost. Jeff Jarrett made the save. Continental did the same angle in Birmingham on April 18 with an airdate of April 23 with Tony Anthony and Tom Prichard, and since some cities get both shows some are upset at Fuller and Bruno doing it and copying the deal. Nobody seems upset at the whole lynching aspect, just at the copycat thing.
Watch: Robert Fuller hangs Jerry Lawler
  • Continental’s version of the noose angle got a lot of heat. Dirty White Girl/Lady Mystic (she’s used both names) came out with a black eye and pleaded with Gordon Solie to get Tom Prichard through two whole matches, with the idea that Tony Anthony (whom she valets) punched her. Eventually Solie gets Prichard and Anthony sneaks up behind him and handcuffs him then ties a noose around his neck and drags him to the ring where he hangs him and blood comes from his mouth. They destroyed the old set during the brawl, which is leading to the rename of the promotion as the Continental Wrestling Federation and the building of a new set.
Watch: Tony Anthony hangs Tom Prichard
  • Continental is doing a tournament in late May for a new CWF champion. Whoever holds the title will also be number one contender in the area for the AWA World Title, which Continental now recognizes as the world championship of record.
  • [All Japan] Brody and Tenryu’s title unification match drew 4,400 fans out of a capacity of 7,000 and ended at 30 minutes in a double countout. Since Brody dropped the title to Tsuruta, that means that the big une 10 Budokan Hall show will be headlined by Tenryu putting up the PWF and United National titles against Tsuruta’s International title.
  • All Japan’s ratings have dropped significantly since being moved from prime time to Saturday nights at 10:30 pm.
  • May 20 to June 26 are the dates for this year’s IWGP tournament in New Japan. Announced names include Billy Gaspar (Bob Orton), Owen Hart, Adrian Adonis (who has lost something like 80 lbs according to those in touch with him), Mr. Pogo, El Canek, Dr. Wagner Jr., and more.
  • New Japan is doing a big show at Ariake Coliseum on May 7. Inoki will defend the IWGP title against Vader, and Keiichi Yamada will challenge World Karate Association champion Don Nakaya Nielsen for his title. Nielsen had a famous match in 1986 against Akira Maeda which really helped establish Maeda’s popularity. Dave thinks it’s likely Yamada will be the first pro wrestler (to his knowledge, anyway) to do a job to someone from a different sport in one of these mixed matches, which would set Nielsen up for another mixed match in August against a bigger name wrestler.
watch: Nielsen vs. Maeda from 1986
  • Antonio Inoki gave a guest lecture at a school recently and a kid asked him if he could beat Giant Baba. Inoki said if he met Baba and couldn’t beat him, he’d kill himself.
  • WWF won syndicated ratings again for the week including March 27, taking third place overall with a 10.9 in 255 markets. Crockett got 6th place with an 8.4 in 183 markets, and All-Star Wrestling Network got a 5.6 in 164 markets. These numbers are for the weekend of Clash and Wrestlemania, and WWF predicts a new record for the following week, but we’ll see how that works out for them.
  • Adrian Adonis has either threatened to or already gone through with filing a lawsuit against the AWA over his ankle injury in January. That injury cost him a tour of Japan
  • There was an angle in Southern Championship Wrestling on April 17 where Mr. Atlanta knocked out Mr. Wrestling II and tried to unmask him. Out of nowhere comes a second Mr. Wrestling II to make the save. They’re calling the new guy Mr. Wrestling, and he’s being played by Joe Powell. Interestingly, over a decade ago Powell worked as an imposter Mr. Wrestling II.
  • Nearly everybody Dave said was gone from WWF in the past couple issues is still around. Outback Jack and Mike Sharpe were on tv recently in jobber roles, while Terry Gibbs and Craig De George did tv interviews. And even Hulk Hogan appeared as a surprise on April 21 to squash Boris Zhukov. He’s not booked for any other shows until the end of May, but obviously that doesn’t mean as much with the surprise appearance on the table.
  • Harley Race was hospitalized and had to have a foot of intestine removed.
  • Butch Reed was apparently fired along with Sika and S.D. Jones.
  • At the Superstars taping, Savage vs. Andre for the title was the dark match. It went three minutes and Andre choked Savage from the jump, and the fans just chanted for Hogan the whole time. Savage got DQed for hitting Andre with a chair when he started chasing Elizabeth.
  • Mel Phillips has been replaced as ring announcer by Mike McGuirk. Aside from messing up a couple tag team introductions, she did a good job on her first day.
  • A possible hint for the role of Big Bubba Rogers. Jimmy Hart said he’s looking for a bounty hunter to get Beefcake for what he did to Hart’s hair, so that might be him.
  • Dave responds to a letter asking him not to cover POWW or GLOW and requesting his opinion on the long-term effect of Wrestlemania IV sucking. Dave thinks it’s obvious at this point that Wrestlemania won’t have much long-term negative effect and that Crockett has already squandered whatever positives they had coming out of Clash by failing to realize that building the entire show around one person is the opposite of what they should do. Like a skilled politician, Dave argues that Vince can tell everyone his show was a success so often and convincingly that they forget, while Crockett too often fails to follow through and correctly take advantage of anything they manage to get hot.
  • Another letter heaps praise on the Malenko brothers for not needing a gimmick. “The Malenkos have a gimmick called wrestling, a term that seems to be forgotten, but as long as the Malekos are around there is still a chance it won’t be extinct.” I like me some Dean Malenko, but “guy who wrestles good” is a terrible gimmick if you have nothing else going for you, and Dean’s no font of charisma. There’s a reason he had a ceiling.
  • Owen Hart is rumored to be debuting for WWF in July as a masked wrestler with a gimmick something along the lines of Tiger Mask in terms of appeal to children. Dave thinks this would work great if he had people capable of working at his level and if WWF would let him do his good moves rather than try and quash his style to keep the rest of the crew from looking bad. And thus we have the first early mention of the Blue Blazer.
  • WWF is thinking of running a Randy and Elizabeth tv special. Dave thinks it might be a possible head to head against Crockett’s July ppv. Not until Summerslam 1991, Dave.
  • Starting with Survivor Series, WWF will be on tv in France.
  • Dave speculates that Crockett turned Windham due to unimpressive house show attendance. The April 17 Charlotte show drew “one of the smallest crowds in years” and the April 24 show at the Omni only drew 1,400, or less than 10% capacity, for what was an excellent show. Dave heard from someone in attendance that the Midnight Express vs. The Fantastics was a five star match. They had three shows booked for May, but after how poorly this show did, they cancelled two of them.
  • Crockett’s July ppv is tentatively scheduled for July 10. That’ll be the first Great American Bash ppv, and Dave’s guessing that they’ll keep the same plan for the main event and go with Flair vs. Luger.
  • Finally, the most important news of the year is in. WWF’s new tv announcer is Sean Mooney. He used to produce This Week in Baseball and co-hosted Light Moments in Sports with Joe Namath.
NEXT WEEK: WCCW announces card for Parade of Champions, Oregon war heating up, April 30 Saturday Night’s Main Event, Wrestling telethon in June, transcript of hour 1 of Bruno’s radio interview, and more
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2020.09.21 02:47 Leather_Term Meet Brock Pierce, the Presidential Candidate With Ties to Pedophiles Who Wants to End Human Trafficking

thedailybeast.com Sep. 20, 2020.
The “Mighty Ducks” actor is running for president. He clears the air (sort of) to Tarpley Hitt about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein and more.
In the trailer for First Kid, the forgettable 1996 comedy about a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the president’s son, the title character, played by a teenage Brock Pierce, describes himself as “definitely the most powerful kid in the universe.” Now, the former child star is running to be the most powerful man in the world, as an Independent candidate for President of the United States.
Before First Kid, the Minnesota-born actor secured roles in a series of PG-rated comedies, playing a young Emilio Estevez in The Mighty Ducks, before graduating to smaller parts in movies like Problem Child 3: Junior in Love. When his screen time shrunk, Pierce retired from acting for a real executive role: co-founding the video production start-up Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) alongside businessman Marc Collins-Rector. At age 17, Pierce served as its vice president, taking in a base salary of $250,000.
DEN became “the poster child for dot-com excesses,” raising more than $60 million in seed investments and plotting a $75 million IPO. But it turned into a shorthand for something else when, in October of 1999, the three co-founders suddenly resigned. That month, a New Jersey man filed a lawsuit alleging Collins-Rector had molested him for three years beginning when he was 13 years old. The following summer, three teens filed a sexual-abuse lawsuit against Pierce, Collins-Rector, and their third co-founder, Chad Shackley. The plaintiffs later dropped their case against Pierce (he made a payment of $21,600 to one of their lawyers) and Shackley. But after a federal grand jury indicted Collins-Rector on criminal charges in 2000, the DEN founders left the country. When Interpol arrested them in 2002, they said they had confiscated “guns, machetes, and child pornography” from the trio’s beach villa in Spain.
While abroad, Pierce had pivoted to a new venture: Internet Gaming Entertainment, which sold virtual accessories in multiplayer online role-playing games to those desperate to pay, as one Wired reporter put it, “as much as $1,800 for an eight-piece suit of Skyshatter chain mail” rather than earn it in the games themselves. In 2005, a 25-year-old Pierce hired then-Goldman Sachs banker Steve Bannon—just before he would co-found Breitbart News. Two years later, after a World of Warcraft player sued the company for “diminishing” the fun of the game, Steve Bannon replaced Pierce as CEO.
Collins-Rector eventually pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. In the years that followed, Pierce waded into the gonzo economy of cryptocurrencies, where he overlapped more than once with Jeffrey Epstein, and counseled him on crypto. In that world, he founded Tether, a cryptocurrency that bills itself as a “stablecoin,” because its value is allegedly tied to the U.S. dollar, and the blockchain software company Block.one. Like his earlier businesses, Pierce’s crypto projects see-sawed between massive investments and curious deals. When Block.one announced a smart contract software called EOS.IO, the company raised $4 billion almost overnight, setting an all-time record before the product even launched. The Securities and Exchange Commission later fined the company $24 million for violating federal securities law. After John Oliver mocked the ordeal, calling Pierce a “sleepy, creepy cowboy,” Block.one fired him. Tether, meanwhile, is currently under investigation by the New York Attorney General for possible fraud.
On July 4, Pierce announced his candidacy for president. His campaign surrogates include a former Cambridge Analytica director and the singer Akon, who recently doubled down on developing an anonymously funded, $6 billion “Wakanda-like” metropolis in Senegal called Akon City. Pierce claims to be bipartisan, and from the 11 paragraphs on the “Policy” section of his website it can be hard to determine where he falls on the political spectrum. He supports legalizing marijuana and abolishing private prisons, but avoids the phrase “climate change.” He wants to end “human trafficking.” His proposal to end police brutality: body cams.
His political contributions tell a more one-sided story. Pierce’s sole Democratic contribution went to the short-lived congressional run of crypto candidate Brian Forde. The rest went to Republican campaigns like Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, John McCain, and the National Right to Life Political Action Committee. Last year alone, Pierce gave over $44,000 to the Republican National Committee and more than $55,000 to Trump’s re-election fund.
Pierce spoke to The Daily Beast from his tour bus and again over email. Those conversations have been combined and edited for clarity.
You’re announcing your presidential candidacy somewhat late, and historically, third-party candidates haven’t had the best luck with the executive office. If you don’t have a strong path to the White House, what do you want out of the race?
I announced on July 4, which I think is quite an auspicious date for an Independent candidate, hoping to bring independence to this country. There’s a lot of things that I can do. One is: I’m 39 years old. I turn 40 in November. So I’ve got time on my side. Whatever happens in this election cycle, I’m laying the groundwork for the future. The overall mission is to create a third major party—not another third party—a third major party in this country. I think that is what America needs most. George Washington in his closing address warned us about the threat of political parties. John Adams and the other founding fathers—their fear for our future was two political parties becoming dominant. And look at where we are. We were warned.
I believe, having studied systems, any time you have a system of two, what happens is those two things come together, like magnets. They come into collision, or they become polarized and become completely divided. I think we need to rise above partisan politics and find a path forward together. As Albert Einstein is quoted—I’m not sure the line came from him, but he’s quoted in many places—he said that the definition of insanity is making the same mistake or doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting a different result. [Ed. note: Einstein never said this.] It feels like that’s what our election cycle is like. Half the country feels like they won, half the country feels like they lost, at least if they voted or participated.
Obviously, there’s another late-comer to the presidential race, and that’s Kanye West. He’s received a lot of flak for his candidacy, as he’s openly admitted to trying to siphon votes away from Joe Biden to ensure a Trump victory. Is that something you’re hoping to avoid or is that what you’re going for as well?
Oh no. This is a very serious campaign. Our campaign is very serious. You’ll notice I don’t say anything negative about either of the two major political candidates, because I think that’s one of the problems with our political system, instead of people getting on stage, talking about their visionary ideas, inspiring people, informing and educating, talking about problems, mentioning problems, talking about solutions, constructive criticism. That’s why I refuse to run a negative campaign. I am definitely not a spoiler. I’m into data, right? I’m a technologist. I’ve got digital DNA. So does most of our campaign team. We’ve got our finger on the pulse.
Most of my major Democratic contacts are really happy to see that we’re running in a red state like Wyoming. Kanye West’s home state is Wyoming. He’s not on the ballot in Wyoming I could say, in part, because he didn’t have Akon on his team. But I could also say that he probably didn’t want to be on the ballot in Wyoming because it’s a red state. He doesn’t want to take additional points in a state where he’s only running against Trump. But we’re on the ballot in Wyoming, and since we’re on the ballot in Wyoming I think it’s safe—more than safe, I think it’s evident—that we are not here to run as a spoiler for the benefit of Donald Trump.
In running for president, you’ve opened yourself up to be scrutinized from every angle going back to the beginning of your career. I wanted to ask you about your time at the Digital Entertainment Network. Can you tell me a little bit about how you started there? You became a vice president as a teenager. What were your qualifications and what was your job exactly?
Well, I was the co-founder. A lot of it was my idea. I had an idea that people would use the internet to watch videos, and we create content for the internet. The idea was basically YouTube and Hulu and Netflix. Anyone that was around in the ‘90s and has been around digital media since then, they all credit us as the creators of basically those ideas. I was just getting a message from the creator of The Vandals, the punk rock band, right before you called. He’s like, “Brock, looks like we’re going to get the Guinness Book of World Records for having created the first streaming television show.”
We did a lot of that stuff. We had 30 television shows. We had the top most prestigious institutions in the world as investors. The biggest names. High-net-worth investors like Terry Semel, who’s chairman and CEO of Warner Brothers, and became the CEO of Yahoo. I did all sorts of things. I helped sell $150,000 worth of advertising contracts to the CEOs of Pepsi and everything else. I was the face of the company, meeting all the major banks and everything else, selling the vision of what the future was.
You moved in with Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley at a mansion in Encino. Was that the headquarters of the business?
All start-ups, they normally start out in your home. Because it’s just you. The company was first started out of Marc’s house, and it was probably there for the first two or three months, before the company got an office. That’s, like, how it is for all start-ups.
were later a co-defendant in the L.A. County case filed against Marc Collins-Rector for plying minors with alcohol and drugs, in order to facilitate sexual abuse. You were dropped from the case, but you settled with one of the men for $21,600. Can you explain that?
Okay, well, first of all, that’s not accurate. Two of the plaintiffs in that case asked me if I would be a plaintiff. Because I refused to be a part of the lawsuit, they chose to include me to discredit me, to make their case stronger. They also went and offered 50 percent of what they got to the house management—they went around and offered money to anyone to participate in this. They needed people to corroborate their story. Eventually, because I refused to participate in the lawsuit, they named me. Subsequently, all three of the plaintiffs apologized to me, in front of audiences, in front of many people, saying Brock never did anything. They dismissed their cases.
Remember, this is a civil thing. I’ve never been charged with a crime in my life. And the last plaintiff to have his case dismissed, he contacted his lawyer and said, “Dismiss this case against Brock. Brock never did anything. I just apologized. Dismiss his case.” And the lawyer said, “No. I won’t dismiss this case, I have all these out-of-pocket expenses, I refuse to file the paperwork unless you give me my out-of-pocket expenses.” And so the lawyer, I guess, had $21,000 in bills. So I paid his lawyer $21,000—not him, it was not a settlement. That was a payment to his lawyer for his out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses so that he would file the paperwork to dismiss the case.
You’ve said the cases were unfounded, and the plaintiffs eventually apologized. But your boss, Marc Collins-Rector later pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. Were you aware of his behavior? How do you square the fact that later allegations proved to be true, but these ones were not?
Well, remember: I was 16 and 17 years old at the time? So, no. I don’t think Marc is the man they made him out to be. But Marc is not a person I would associate with today, and someone I haven’t associated with in a very long time. I was 16 and 17. I chose the wrong business partner. You live and you learn.
You’ve pointed out that you were underage when most of these allegations were said to take place. Did you ever feel like you were coerced or in over your head while working at DEN?
I mean, I was working 18 hours a day, doing things I’d never done before. It was business school. But I definitely learned a lot in building that company. We raised $88 million. We filed our [form] S-1 to go public. We were the hottest start-up in Los Angeles.
In 2000, you left the country with Marc Collins-Rector. Why did you leave? How did you spend those two years abroad?
I moved to Spain in 1999 for personal reasons. I spent those two years in Europe working on developing my businesses.
Interpol found you in 2002. The house where you were staying reportedly contained guns, machetes, and child pornography. Whose guns and child porn were those? Were you aware they were in the house, and how did those get there?
My lawyers have addressed this in 32 pages of documentation showing a complete absence of wrongdoing. Please refer to my webpage for more information.
[Ed. Note: The webpage does not mention guns, machetes, or child pornography. It does state:“It is true that when the local police arrested Collins-Rector in Spain in 2002 on an international warrant, Mr. Pierce was also taken into custody, but so was everyone at Collins-Rector’s house in Spain; and it is equally clear that Brock was promptly released, and no charges of any kind were ever filed against Brock concerning this matter.”]
What do you make of the allegations against Bryan Singer? [Ed. Note: Bryan Singer, a close friend of Collins-Rector, invested at least $50,000 in DEN. In an Atlantic article outlining Singer’s history of alleged sexual assault and statutory rape, one source claimed that at age 15, Collins-Rector abused him and introduced him to Singer, who then assaulted him in the DEN headquarters.]
I am aware of them and I support of all victims of sexual assault. I will let America’s justice system decide on Singer’s outcome.
In 2011, you spoke at the Mindshift conference supported by Jeffrey Epstein. At that point, he had already been convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Why did you agree to speak?
I had never heard of Jeffrey Epstein. His name was not on the website. I was asked to speak at a conference alongside Nobel Prize winners. It was not a cryptocurrency conference, it was filled with Nobel Prize winners. I was asked to speak alongside Nobel Prize winners on the future of money. I speak at conferences historically, two to three times a week. I was like, “Nobel Prize winners? Sounds great. I’ll happily talk about the future of money with them.” I had no idea who Jeffrey Epstein was. His name was not listed anywhere on the website. Had I known what I know now? I clearly would have never spoken there. But I spoke at a conference that he cosponsored.
What’s your connection to the Clinton Global Initiative? Did you hear about it through Jeffrey Epstein?
I joined the Clinton Global Initiative as a philanthropist in 2006 and was a member for one year. My involvement with the Initiative had no connection to Jeffrey Epstein whatsoever.
You’ve launched your campaign in Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed by a police officer. How do you feel about the civil uprising against police brutality?
I’m from Minnesota. Born and raised. We just had a press conference there, announcing that we’re on the ballot. Former U.S. Senator Dean Barkley was there. So that tells you, when former U.S. Senators are endorsing the candidate, right?
[Ed. note: Barkley was never elected to the United States Senate. In November of 2002, he was appointed by then Minnesota Governor Jesse Venture to fill the seat after Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. Barkley’s term ended on Jan. 3, 2003—two months later.]
Yes, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. My vice-presidential running mate Karla Ballard and I, on our last trip to Minnesota together, went to visit the George Floyd Memorial. I believe in law and order. I believe that law and order is foundational to any functioning society. But there is no doubt in my mind that we need reform. These types of events—this is not an isolated incident. This has happened many times before. It’s time for change. We have a lot of detail around policy on this issue that we will be publishing next week. Not just high-level what we think, not just a summary, but detailed policy.
You said that you support “law and order.” What does that mean?
“Law and order” means creating a fair and just legal system where our number one priority is protecting the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” for all people. This means reforming how our police intervene in emergency situations, abolishing private prisons that incentivize mass incarceration, and creating new educational and economic opportunities for our most vulnerable communities. I am dedicated to preventing crime by eliminating the socioeconomic conditions that encourage it.
I support accountability and transparency in government and law enforcement. Some of the key policies I support are requiring body-cams on all law enforcement officers who engage with the public, curtailing the 1033 program that provides local law enforcement agencies with access to military equipment, and abolishing private prisons. Rather than simply defund the police, my administration will take a holistic approach to heal and unite America by ending mass incarceration, police brutality, and racial injustice.
Did you attend any Black Lives Matter protests?
I support all movements aimed at ending racial injustice and inequality. I​ have not attended any Black Lives Matter protests.​ My running-mate, Karla Ballard, attended the March on Washington in support of racial justice and equality.
Your platform doesn’t mention the words “climate change.” Is there a reason for that?
I’m not sure what you mean. Our policy platform specifically references human-caused climate change and we have a plan to restabilize the climate, address environmental degradation, and ensure environmental sustainability.
[Ed. Note: As of writing the Pierce campaign’s policy platform does not specifically reference human-caused climate change.]
You’ve recently brought on Akon as a campaign surrogate. How did that happen? Tell me about that.
Akon and I have been friends for quite some time. I was one of the guys that taught him about Bitcoin. I helped make some videogames for him, I think in 2012. We were talking about Bitcoin, teaching him the ropes, back in 2013. And in 2014, we were both speaking at the Milken Global Conference, and I encouraged him to talk about how Bitcoin, Africa, changed the world. He became the biggest celebrity in the world, talking about Bitcoin at the time. I’m an adviser to his Akoin project, very interested in the work that he’s doing to build a city in Africa.
I think we need a government that’s of, for, and by the people. Akon has huge political aspirations. He obviously was a hugely successful artist. But he also discovered artists like Lady Gaga. So not only is he, himself, a great artist, but he’s also a great identifier and builder of other artists. And he’s been a great businessman, philanthropist. He’s pushing the limits of what can be done. We’re like-minded individuals in that regard. I think he’ll be running for political office one day, because he sees what I see: that we need real change, and we need a government that is of, for, and by the people.
You mentioned that you’re an adviser on Akoin. Do you have any financial investments in Akoin or Akon City?
I don’t believe so. I’d have to check. I have so much stuff. But I don’t believe that I have any economic interests in his stuff. I’d have to verify that. We’ll get back to you. I don’t believe that I have any economic interests. My interest is in helping him. He’s a visionary with big ideas that wants to help things in the world. If I can be of assistance in helping him make the world a better place, I’m all for it. I’m not motivated by money. I’m not running for office because I’m motivated by power. I’m running for office because I’m deeply, deeply concerned about our collective future.
You’ve said you’re running on a pro-technology platform. One week into your campaign last month, a New York appeals court approved the state Attorney General’s attempt to investigate the stablecoin Tether for potentially fraudulent activity. Do you think this will impact your ability to sell people on your tech entrepreneurship?
No, I think my role in Tether is as awesome as it gets. It was my idea. I put it together. But I’ve had no involvement in the company since 2015. I gave all of my equity to the other shareholders. I’ve had zero involvement in the company for almost six years. It was just my idea. I put the initial team together. But I think Tether is one of the most important innovations in the world, certainly. The idea is, I digitized the U.S. dollar. I used technology to digitize currency—existing currency. The U.S. dollar in particular. It’s doing $10 trillion a year. Ten trillion dollars a year of transactional volume. It’s probably the most important innovation in currency since the advent of fiat money. The people that took on the business and ran the business in years to come, they’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’m not sure they’ve done anything criminal. But they certainly did things differently than I would do. But it’s like, you have kids, they turn 18, they go out into the world, and sometimes you’re proud of the things they do, and sometimes you shake your head and go, “Ugh, why did you do that?” I have zero concerns as it relates to me personally. I wish they made better decisions.
What do you think the investigation will find?
I have no idea. The problem that was raised is that there was a $5 million loan between two entities and whether or not they had the right to do that, did they disclose it correctly. There’s been no accusations of, like, embezzlement or anything that bad.
[Ed. Note: The Attorney General’s press release on the investigation reads: “Our investigation has determined that the operators of the ‘Bitfinex’ trading platform, who also control the ‘tether’ virtual currency, have engaged in a cover-up to hide the apparent loss of $850 million dollars of co-mingled client and corporate funds.”]
But there’s been some disclosure things, that is the issue. No one is making any outrageous claims that these are people that have done a bunch of bad—well, on the internet, the media has said that the people behind the business may have been manipulating the price of Bitcoin, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the New York investigation. Again, I’m so not involved, and so not at risk, that I’m not even up to speed on the details.
[Ed note: A representative of the New York State Attorney General told Forbes that he “cannot confirm or deny that the investigation” includes Pierce.]
We’ve recently witnessed the rise of QAnon, the conspiracy theory that Hollywood is an evil cabal of Satanic pedophiles and Trump is the person waging war on them. You mentioned human trafficking, which has become a cause for them. What are your thoughts on that?
I’ve watched some of the content. I think it’s an interesting phenomenon. I’m an internet person, so Anonymous is obviously an organization that has been doing interesting stuff. It’s interesting. I don’t have a big—conspiracy theory stuff is—I guess I have a question for you: What do you think of all of it, since you’re the expert?
You know, I think it’s not true, but I’m not running for president. I do wonder what this politician [Georgia congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene], who’s just won her primary, is going to do on day one, once she finds out there’s no satanic cabal room.
Wait, someone was running for office and won on a QAnon platform, saying that Hollywood did—say what? You’re the expert here.
She won a primary. But I want to push on if we only have a few minutes. In 2006, your gaming company IGE brought on Steve Bannon as an investor. Goldman later bought out most of your stock. Bannon eventually replaced you as CEO of Affinity. You’ve described him as your “right-hand man for, like, seven years.” How well did you know Bannon during that time?
Yes, so this is in my mid-twenties. He wasn’t an investor. He worked for me. He was my banker. He worked for me for three years as my yield guide. And then he was my CEO running the company for another four years. So I haven’t worked with Steve for a decade or so. We worked in videogame stuff and banking. He was at Goldman Sachs. He was not in the political area at the time. But he was a pretty successful banker. He set up Goldman Sachs Los Angeles. So for me, I’d say he did a pretty good job.
During your business relationship, Steve Bannon founded Breitbart News, which has pretty consistently published racist material. How do you feel about Breitbart?
I had no involvement with Breitbart News. As for how I feel about such material, I’m not pleased by any form of hate-mongering. I strongly support the equality of all Americans.
Did you have qualms about Bannon’s role in the 2016 election?
Bannon’s role in the Trump campaign got me to pay closer attention to what he was doing but that’s about it. Whenever you find out that one of your former employees has taken on a role like that, you pay attention.
Bannon served on the board of Cambridge Analytica. A staffer on your campaign, Brittany Kaiser, also served as a business director for them. What are your thoughts on their use of illicitly-obtained Facebook data for campaign promotional material?
Yes, so this will be the last question I can answer because I’ve got to be off for this 5:00 pm. But Brittany Kaiser is a friend of mine. She was the whistleblower of Cambridge Analytica. She came to me and said, “What do I do?” And I said, “Tell the truth. The truth will set you free.”
[Ed. Note: Investigations in Cambridge Analytica took place as early as Nov. 2017, when a U.K. reporter at Channel 4 News recorded their CEO boasting about using “beautiful Ukranian girls” and offers of bribes to discredit political officials. The first whistleblower was Christopher Wylie, who disclosed a cache of documents to The Guardian, published on Mar. 17, 2018. Kaiser’s confession ran five days later, after the scandal made national news. Her association with Cambridge Analytica is not mentioned anywhere on Pierce’s campaign website.]
So I’m glad that people—I’m a supporter of whistleblowers, people that see injustice in the world and something not right happening, and who put themselves in harm’s way to stand up for what they believe in. So I stand up for Brittany Kaiser.
Who do you think [anonymous inventor of Bitcoin] Satoshi Nakamoto is?
We all are Satoshi Nakamoto.
You got married at Burning Man. Have you been attending virtual Burning Man?
I’m running a presidential campaign. So, while I was there in spirit, unfortunately my schedule did not permit me to attend.
OP note: please refer to the original article for reference links within text (as I've not added them here!)
submitted by Leather_Term to Epstein [link] [comments]


2020.09.15 01:33 MightySilverWolf Unusual Batting Feats

Introduction

Brian Lara's 400*. Don Bradman averaging 99.94. Sachin Tendulkar scoring 15,921 Test runs. Chris Martin scoring 12*. The batsmen who achieved these Herculean feats have all gone down in cricket history. However, these are not the only batting performances which exist. There are multiple cases in which a batsman has achieved something unusual, or even at times truly unique, yet they do not get recognition. This post is dedicated to all those batsmen who have managed to achieve what few others have achieved, regardless of whether those achievements are good or bad.

Howzat?

There are ten methods of dismissal (formerly eleven) in cricket, but of these, only five can be considered 'normal': Bowled, caught, LBW, stumped and run out. One could also make a case for hit wicket, and it's common enough that I don't think it counts as being truly unusual. What about the other five, then? Has any batsman in international cricket been dismissed through any of those methods? Thankfully, Wikipedia has a list which I highly advise you to check out, so I'll just be summarising in this section.
First, there's obstructing the field. Only one batsman has ever been dismissed obstructing the field in Tests, and that batsman is Len Hutton against South Africa in 1951. After striking the ball, he noticed that it was about to land onto his stumps and thus bowl him, so he used his bat to strike the ball a second time and protect his stumps. This is actually a legal manoeuvre for a batsman provided that it doesn't prevent a fielder from taking a catch; unfortunately for Hutton, there was a fielder nearby who was ready to take a catch, so he became the first (and so far only) batsman in Test history to be dismissed obstructing the field.
Interestingly enough, there have been seven instances in ODIs of batsmen being given out obstructing the field. In all of those cases, the batsman in question obstructed throws from fielders in order to avoid being run out, in contrast to Hutton who obstructed a catch in order to avoid being caught. In three of those cases, the batsman used his bat or his body to deflect the ball away from the stumps while out of his crease, and in three other cases, the batsman changed his direction of movement while running in order to block the ball. Ben Stokes was out obstructing the field in the most unusual way, however, when he pulled a Maradona and used his hand to prevent the ball from hitting the stumps in a 2015 ODI against Australia.
There have been two instances of a batsman being dismissed obstructing the field in T20Is. Jason Roy was given out in a 2017 T20I against South Africa for changing his direction of movement while running, and Maldivian cricketer Hassan Rasheed was given out obstructing the field in 2019 for...I don't know, actually. It's pretty hard to find articles on bilateral T20Is between the Maldives and Qatar. If there's anyone here who is an expert on Maldivian or Qatari cricket then I'd appreciate finding out more about this incident.
As for handling the ball, this has happened ten times in international cricket (seven times in Tests and three times in ODIs). In 2013, the Laws were changed so that only the striker could be given out handling the ball and even then only before he had finished playing his stroke (strikers handling the ball after the completion of his stroke, and non-strikers handling the ball at any time, would be given out obstructing the field). In 2017, this method of dismissal was removed entirely and instead came under obstructing the field.
I won't go through all the players, but I will pick out some particular highlights. South Africa's Russell Endean was the first batsman in international cricket to be dismissed handled the ball in 1957 when he used his free hand to knock the ball away from the stumps, but according to a later interview, he actually wanted to head the ball away at first; I don't know whether that's actually against the Laws, but given that they didn't wear helmets back then, I can't imagine that it would have ended well. Michael Vaughan was the last player to be dismissed in this manner in Tests back in 2001, and Zimbabwe's Chamu Chibhaba holds the distinction of being the last cricketer to be dismissed handled the ball in international cricket after he was given out for handling the ball in an ODI against Afghanistan in 2015.
This post is about unusual feats, however, and when it comes to being given out handled the ball, there is none more unusual than the story of Australia's Andrew Hilditch. In a Test match against Pakistan in 1979, following a wayward throw from a fielder, Hilditch (who was at the non-striker's end) decided to return the ball to the bowler. It's actually against the Laws for a batsman to return the ball to a fielder without that fielder's permission, and controversially, the bowler (Sarfraz Nawaz) decided to appeal, which led to Hilditch's dismissal. This would be the only instance in international cricket of a non-striker being given out handled the ball, so Hilditch takes the biscuit when it comes to this unusual method of dismissal.
Retirement is rather unusual in that depending on the situation, the batsman can be considered out or not out. Generally, retirement occurs due to injury, in which case the batsman is considered 'retired hurt' and is entitled to return to the crease upon the fall of a wicket or upon another batsman's retirement. This situation is not at all unusual. What is unusual, though, is a batsman retiring for reasons other than injury, and unless there is some other acceptable reason for their absence (which I'll talk about shortly), the fielding side has the right to prevent them from returning to the crease, in which case they are retired out.
This has only occurred three times in international cricket. In a Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2001, in which Sri Lanka demolished the then-new Test nation of Bangladesh, the Sri Lankan captain (Sanath Jayasuriya) retired Marvan Atapattu after he scored his double-century, and later in the same innings, retired Mahela Jayawardene after he smashed 150(115). Obviously, this move was criticised by some for breaching the spirit of the game, and these are the only two instances of batsmen being retired out in Test cricket. The other such instance in international cricket is when Bhutan's Sonam Tobgay was retired out in a 2019 T20I against the Maldives (something about the Maldives and unusual dismissals for some reason), but I can't find any further details of the incident.
Now, this post is generally meant to be a light-hearted celebration of unusual batting achievements, but this next story is rather more sombre. In a 1983 Test between the West Indies and India, Gordon Greenidge was on 154* in the West Indies' first innings when he received news that his daughter was dying; he retired in order to be able to visit her, and she sadly passed away two days later. Although Greenidge had not been injured, he was given as 'retired not out' due to the tragic circumstances. To this day, this is the only instance in international cricket of a batsman being given retired not out.
Hit the ball twice and timed out are perhaps the most unusual dismissals of all in the sense that no batsman has ever been given out for those reasons in international cricket (not yet, anyway; there's a first time for everything). There was one instance, however, in which a batsman could have been timed out in Test cricket, but ultimately wasn't.
The Law states that a batsman must be at the crease within three minutes, else they can be timed out. In a 2007 Test between India and South Africa, Sachin Tendulkar was due to come in at #4. However, he had temporarily been off the field during South Africa's innings, and he still had unserved penalty time when two Indian wickets quickly fell, meaning that he couldn't bat at #4. As a result, India, who were confused by the whole ordeal, didn't send out a batsman for six minutes until Sourav Ganguly finally arrived at #4. Both the umpires and South Africa's captain, Graeme Smith, agreed that an appeal would be against the spirit of the game, but had Smith appealed, this would have been the only instance in international cricket of a batsman being timed out.

The Best Since Bradman

It's common knowledge among cricket fans that Don Bradman holds the record for the highest Test batting average, at 99.94. However, this isn't strictly speaking true. It is correct to say that Bradman has the highest average among batsmen who have played a minimum of twenty innings, but among all batsmen, Bradman only comes in at a measly third (what a fraud). Who are ahead of him, then?
Firstly, let us dispel with the notion that a batsman who is never dismissed has an infinite average. That is not true. A batsman who is never dismissed has an undefined average, since it is impossible to have a batting average without any dismissals. Pakistani off-spinner Afaq Hussain holds the record for the most Test runs scored without being dismissed, having scored 65 runs in four innings.
Looking at batsmen who have been dismissed, however, we come across West Indian wicketkeeper Andy Ganteaume in second place. The poor lad struggled to get into the Test team because of his slow scoring rate in tour matches, but an injury to Jeff Stollmeyer forced the selectors to play him against England. In his only Test innings in 1948, Ganteaume hit 112 but was criticised (once again) for scoring too slowly and was subsequently dropped; he would never play another Test match. Still, he can lay legitimate claim to having a higher Test batting average than Bradman, which only one other batsman has achieved.
Who's the best since Bradman, then? With a minimum cut-off of twenty innings, we have Adam Voges, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, all Australian, two of them still active international cricketers. As is tradition at this point, the batsman with the highest Test batting average of all time is an active Australian cricketer, Kurtis Patterson to be precise. He forced himself into the team after scoring twin centuries in a tour match and although he only scored 30 in his first innings, he scored 114* in his second to end up with an average of 144.
Australian fans go crazy over Smith and Labuschagne, declaring them to be the best since Bradman. Little do they realise that they have in their ranks a batsman who is not only statistically better than Bradman but who is also statistically better than the GOAT Test batsman Andy Ganteaume.
How about ODIs, though? Who has the highest ODI batting average of all time? I'll give you a hint: He's a Dutch player. No, it's not Ryan ten Doeschate; it is, in fact, Max O'Dowd. He scored 86* in his first innings followed by a score of 59 in his second innings to end up with an average of 145. South African Irish cricketer Curtis Campher comes in at second with an average of 127.
Who has scored the most runs in ODIs without being dismissed, though? Well, let me ask you a different question: Who is England's greatest ever ODI player? If you said Jos Buttler then you'd be wrong. By law, anything that Buttler can do, Foakes can do better, and Ben Foakes does in fact hold the record for the most runs in ODIs without being dismissed, having scored 61* in his only ODI innings. Buttler would never.
In T20Is, the greatest ever batsman is someone who you probably haven't even heard of. Chris Gayle calls himself 'Universe Boss', but the true Universe Boss is surely the guy who averages 126 in T20Is. Enter Portugal's Najjam Shahzad, who scored 27* in his first innings, 46 in his second and 53* in his third. Not only does he have the highest T20I average of all time but he's also improving with every innings, so it won't be long until Portugal becomes a powerhouse in T20I cricket thanks to megadaddy hundreds from Universe Boss Najjam Shahzad.
If Shahzad is the Universe Boss, however, then Saudi Arabia's Mohammad Adnan is the Multiverse Boss. He holds the record for the most runs in T20Is without being dismissed, scoring 14*, 38* and 8* in his three innings. Not only that, but he has a career strike rate of 193.54, so he doesn't waste time. Give this man an IPL contract already.

Duck, Duck, Goose

Ducks and golden ducks are not unusual in and of themselves. That doesn't mean that scoring a duck or golden duck can't still be unusual feats, however; it all depends on how those ducks or golden ducks come about.
You might be aware that New Zealand's Geoff Allott holds the record for the most balls faced for a duck in Tests, having faced 77 balls against South Africa in 1999 (he also holds the record for the longest duck, having batted for a whopping 101 minutes). What about the other formats, though? The late West Indian batsman Runako Morton holds the record for most balls faced for a duck in ODIs, having scored 0(31) against Australia in 2006 (unsurprisingly, the West Indies lost that match). Morton took 56 minutes for his duck, which is also an ODI record.
T20Is are where it gets juicy, however. Canada's Sandeep Jyoti holds the record for most balls faced for a duck in T20Is, scoring 0(12) against Zimbabwe in 2008 (it was a close match, though, as Canada only lost by 109 runs). In terms of minutes batted, however, Zimbabwe's Brendan Taylor holds that record, having batted for 19 minutes in a T20I against South Africa in 2010 for a five-ball duck; Jyoti, by comparison, batted for 15 minutes.
The record for most balls faced for a golden duck is...one. By definition, golden ducks involve the batsman facing exactly one ball. However, who took the longest time for their golden duck?
In Tests, that accolade belongs to Bangladesh's Nazmul Hossain, who spent 14 minutes at the crease against India in a 2004 match before being run out for a golden duck. England fans were probably waiting in anticipation for a superb knock from the #3 batsman, Martyn Moxon, when they were 47-1 against Australia in a 1985 ODI, but after 19 minutes of tension, Moxon was dismissed LBW off his first ball. In a 2015 T20I between England and Pakistan, Pakistani opener Rafatullah Mohmand somehow conspired to spend 17 minutes at the crease before being dismissed LBW in the third over for a golden duck; amazingly, he was only two minutes away from equalling the record for the longest duck in T20Is!
What if a batsman just doesn't feel like scoring runs, though, and ends on 0*? Obviously, batsmen can end on something like 0*(0) or 0*(1) or 0*(5), and that wouldn't be too unusual. The truly remarkable feats are when a batsman plays a marathon innings and yet still finishes on 0*. Some of these players put Geoffrey Boycott to shame.
Firstly, let's consider Tests. In 1968, England scored 351/7d in the first innings and bowled Australia out for 78, forcing them to follow on. Cricinfo states that Paul Sheahan 'never completely mastered the art of crease occupation', which is a bizarre claim to make about a player who faced 44 balls in Australia's second innings without scoring a run, thus not only securing the draw but also setting a record which remains unbroken to this day. His marathon innings took 52 minutes, which is a joint record along with New Zealand bowler Danny Morrison's 0*(30) against South Africa in 1995.
Fun fact: Had Jack Leach not scored that single at Headingley while still remaining not out, he would have broken this record having batted for 60 minutes, yet assuming that he completed his final over, he would have only faced 20 balls (fewer than half the balls Paul Sheahan faced). I think this demonstrates just how effective Stokes was at farming the strike.
Moving on to ODIs, Zimbabwean #11 batsman Chris Mpofu (who averages 2.85 with the bat) holds the record here, having scored 0*(20) in a tenth-wicket partnership of 12(38) against Bangladesh in 2006. His partner was the #10 batsman (and Zimbabwe's captain) Prosper Utseya, who certainly didn't prosper with his 21(42), thus stranding Mpofu 80 balls short of his dentury. Who holds the record for the longest 0*, though?
Picture the scene. It's March 2019 and Sri Lanka is struggling in an ODI against South Africa. It's the first innings and Lasith Malinga has been run out for a duck, leaving Sri Lanka on 131/9 after just 33.4 overs. Everyone knows about Kusal Perera's incredible 153* earlier that year, but what happened next, while not nearly as impressive, was nonetheless incredible. #9 batsman Isuru Udana and #11 batsman Kasun Rajitha put on a tenth-wicket stand of 58 runs from just 34 balls. Udana ends on 78(57). Rajitha ends on 0*(9), having batted for exactly half an hour. South Africa still won comfortably, but Rajitha's immense innings saw him enter the history books as having scored the longest 0* in ODI history. Udana's innings was alright as well.
Finally, in T20Is, the record for the most balls faced for a 0* is held by Bermuda's Rodney Trott, who scored 0*(7) against the Netherlands in 2019. Cricinfo doesn't know how long it took, however. For that, we have to look towards India's Yuzvendra Chahal, who took 15 minutes for his 0*(4) against Australia in 2019. Solid contribution from him.
All these feats are just in one innings, though. Some batsmen go above and beyond that and spend their entire career not scoring runs (either that or they don't know what a batsman's main job is). Two Sri Lankan players (Ishara Amerasinghe and Dinuka Hettiarachchi) hold the joint record for most balls faced in Tests without scoring a single run, both having faced 25 balls. In fact, the entire top four is made up of Sri Lankans; clearly, a significant proportion of Sri Lankan cricketers view run-scoring as optional. Hettiarachchi (who Cricinfo reckons is an all-rounder despite an FC batting average of 9.55) beats out everyone when it comes to minutes batted, though, having batted for 39 minutes in Tests without scoring a single run.
Bangladesh's Harunur Rashid holds the record for most balls faced in ODIs without scoring a run, having faced 17 in total. However, we have to look to our old friend Rajitha to find the player who's batted the most minutes in ODIs without scoring a run; he has batted at least 32 minutes, almost all of which comes from his partnership with Udana. Portugal's Sukhwinder Singh has faced nine balls in T20Is without scoring a run, which is the record, but Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mathew Sinclair both hold the joint-record for having batted seven minutes in T20Is without scoring a run.

Diamond Ducks Are Forever

Ducks and golden ducks aren't too unusual for the most part, but diamond ducks (in which a batsman is dismissed without facing a single ball) are. Think of what needs to happen for a diamond duck to occur. The player can't be a striker for obvious reasons, so bowled, caught, LBW, stumped, hit wicket and hit the ball twice (all of which can only apply to the striker) are out of play. Timed out is out of play as soon as a batsman enters the crease. This leaves just three possible dismissals for a diamond duck: Run out, obstructing the field and retired out. The latter two almost never happen, so diamond ducks almost always occur due to run-outs.
There have been 153 diamond ducks in ODIs and 53 diamond ducks in T20Is, so in those formats, diamond ducks aren't that unusual. This makes sense, of course, as run-outs are more likely to occur in those formats. Tests are where diamond ducks count as an unusual batting feat, as there have been in the history of Tests only 29 diamond ducks that we know of. Chris Martin holds the unfortunate distinction of being the only cricketer in the history of Tests to be dismissed for a diamond duck twice (one of which came in his final Test innings, which is a perfect summation of his batting career).
Most of these diamond ducks have of course come through run-outs, but there have been seven international diamond ducks (three in ODIs and four in T20Is) which have come through stumpings. On the surface, this shouldn't be possible; how can a batsman be stumped without facing a ball? The answer is simple: Leg-side stumpings. In white-ball cricket, any leg-side delivery tends to be given as a wide, and the odd thing about wides is that they do not count as a ball faced by the striker yet the striker can be dismissed stumped or hit wicket off of them. This would explain why this kind of diamond duck has occurred seven times in LOIs yet has never occurred in the history of Test cricket.
FWIW, there has yet to be an international diamond duck from a method of dismissal other than run out and stumped, but it is theoretically possible for a batsman who is dismissed hit wicket (off a wide), obstructing the field or retired out to achieve a diamond duck. Will any batsman be brave enough to make history and try to achieve what would be a unique feat by being dismissed for a diamond duck through one of these modes of dismissal? We'll have to wait and see.

Specialist Six-Hitters

So far, this post has been focusing largely on defensive stalwarts, but those are boring to watch. Everyone knows that real cricket is about walking up to the crease and hitting sixes from the get-go, so this section will be dedicated to those players who consider a strike rate under 600 to be too defensive. No score illustrates this mentality better than the rare 6*(1), so let's start with that.
In all the Tests throughout history, only once has a batsman finished on a score of 6*(1). The year is 1993 and Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya enters the crease with his team five wickets down but needing just four runs to beat England. Phil Tufnell is the bowler who is trying to take his wicket and help pull off a miracle for England, but Jayasuriya is having none of it and promptly smacks his first delivery for six. As far as Tests go, Jayasuriya's 6*(1) is a true case of batting scorigami (maybe I'll do a cricket scorigami post at some point).
As for ODIs and T20Is, a final score of 6*(1) is more common as you might imagine. In fact, it has occurred nine times in ODIs and thirteen times in T20Is. It appears to be the case that when a batsman is dismissed on the penultimate ball of the first innings, the batting team will send out a specialist six-hitter to get the job done. Credit goes to Afghan wicketkeeper Shafiqullah and England all-rounder Chris Jordan for being the only two players to achieve this unusual feat twice (Shafiqullah has achieved it twice in T20Is whereas Jordan has achieved it once in ODIs and once in T20Is).
A 6*(1) is probably my second-favourite score, but you know what my favourite score is? 6(2). I don't think any score illustrates the dual nature of batting quite like this one does. You can be dominating a bowler and smashing them for six one moment, then the very next moment, you can find yourself dismissed by the same bowler. It's poetic. It represents not only the duality of batsmen but the duality of man himself; you can be breezing through life one second then you could be rock-bottom the next. 6(2) is not just a score; it is a representation of life itself, cricket's ode to the erratic nature of mankind's existence.
Much like 6*(1), 6(2) has only occurred once in Test cricket, in 1958 to be precise. The West Indies were 401 runs behind Australia heading into the third innings and they required a miracle just to stay in the game. A 179-run partnership between Walcott and Sobers gave the West Indies hope, but they then proceeded to collapse from 244/3 to 283/8. In comes Frank King at #10 with his team needing over a hundred runs just to make Australia bat again. Not wanting to go down without a fight, he heaves the bowler for six off his first ball. Alas, his very next ball results in him being caught, but one cannot fault King for his effort in the face of certain defeat (apart from the fact that he had Everton Weekes at the other end, but we'll just ignore that).
This scoreline of 6(2) has occurred ten times in ODIs and eleven times in T20Is. No batsman in international cricket has ever achieved it twice. The first player to achieve it twice will thus have their names etched in the history books for their unique feat.
South Africa's Mangaliso Mosehle deserves special mention, though. He has achieved the ultimate cricket scorigami: His score of 6(1) against Sri Lanka in a 2016 T20I is the only such score in the entire history of international cricket. He came in at #6 at the end of South Africa's ninth over and hit his first international ball for six. He was then run out as the non-striker in the next over, leaving him on a score of 6(1). Not only did his team win the match, but Mosehle achieved what no other batsman has achieved before or since. Truly, his name must be counted among the likes of Lara, Tendulkar and Bradman for this one-of-a-kind feat.
In cases such as 6*(1) and 6(1), the batsman was left with a strike rate of 600. Can it go higher, though? Has any batsman done better than 600? For the first question, the answer is surprisingly yes. It is indeed theoretically possible for a batsman to finish an innings with a strike rate greater than 600. If he hits a ball for three and the fielding side then throws the ball to the boundary, the number of runs scored off of that delivery will be 3 + 4 overthrows = 7. This is how it would theoretically be possible for a batsman to conclude an innings with a strike rate greater than 600.
Does this mean that there is a batsman out there who has struck at a rate greater than 600? Unfortunately, no. Though it is doable, it has never happened in international cricket. The highest SR ever achieved in an international innings is 600; that includes Mosehle, all the players who have scored 6*(1), and Afghanistan's Dawlat Zadran, who against Oman in 2016 scored 12*(2) to win his team the T20I by three wickets with three balls remaining. He clearly did his job as specialist six-hitter very well indeed, for he is the only batsman in international cricket to have finished an innings with a strike rate of 600 having faced more than one ball.
Since no batsman has struck at greater than 600 in an innings, it stands to reason that no batsman has struck at greater than 600 over their career. Has anyone struck at exactly 600, though? Is there a batsman who hit their only ball in international cricket for six?
No-one's done it in Tests, that's for sure. The batsman with the highest confirmed career strike rate in Tests is Australia's Fred Freer, who hit 28*(21) in his only innings for a career SR of 133.33. However, Bill Howell (also Australian) may have had an SR of up to 205.88, though we don't have full ball-by-ball data for his innings.
In ODIs and T20Is, the records are undisputed. South African pace bowler Johann Louw holds the accolade in ODIs, having scored 23(7) in his only innings for a career strike rate of 328.57, and Bahrain's Qasim Zia hit a four off his only international delivery to take the record for the highest career strike rate in T20Is.
As you can see, not only has no batsmen ever finished with a career SR greater than 600, but none have even managed to finish with an SR of exactly 600. To strike at greater than 600 over the course of an innings would be unique in international cricket; to strike at exactly 600 over the course of a career would be truly special; to strike at greater than 600 over the course of a career, however, would be the holy grail of unusual batting feats. The player who manages to achieve that would surely go down in cricketing folklore for all eternity.

To Be Or Not To Be On Strike

All of the aforementioned batting feats require that the batsman has actually faced a ball. What if that's not the case, though? What if a batsman's dedication to weirdness is so great that they do not even bother to get themselves on strike? Or, perhaps more accurately, what if a batsman's dedication to weirdness is so great that they do not allow their partner to take the strike?
That is precisely what happened in 2012 when England faced Pakistan in the first Test of the tour. With Pakistan on 319/9 in their first innings, Adnan Akmal evidently didn't trust his partner Aizaz Cheema to face even one delivery, with the result that the two batsmen put on a 19-run partnership for the tenth wicket despite Cheema not facing a single ball. What makes this notable is that Cheema batted for 20 minutes without facing a delivery, which is a Test match record. Amusingly, Cheema ended his career with five innings batted, five not-outs, a high score of 1*, 23 balls faced and a strike rate of 4.34.
As for T20Is, I must admit that I am rather bemused. Afghanistan's Amir Hamza holds the record for the most minutes batted in a T20I innings without facing a ball, having batted for 10 minutes against the Netherlands in 2013. However, I'm confused as to how he managed to achieve this. Afghanistan's ninth wicket fell on the final ball of the nineteenth over, and so Hamza's partner faced the first ball of the final over. However, Hamza was also run out for a diamond duck on the first ball of the final over. This means that the gap between the end of the nineteenth over and the beginning of the final over was 10 minutes. How is that even possible in a T20I? Cricinfo isn't helping me at all here.
Now for the reason I wanted to make this post in the first place. This particular innings took place in 2017, during an ODI between Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand had set the Aussies a target of 287 and the chasing side found themselves facing certain defeat on 226/9, with only Marcus Stoinis and Josh Hazlewood left at the crease.
What happened next was nothing short of spectacular. Stoinis somehow managed to farm the strike with such effectiveness that immediately prior to the final ball of the 47th over, the two batsmen had put on a tenth-wicket partnership of 54 runs and needed just six more runs to win. The kicker? Hazlewood didn't face a single ball. Stoinis had faced every single delivery in the partnership. Australia's innings finally ended on the final ball of the 47th over when Hazlewood was run out for a diamond duck while attempting to take a single, but if Stoinis had pulled it off, it would surely have been one of the greatest ODI innings of all time.
All in all, Hazlewood batted for 26 minutes, which is by far the longest innings by a batsman without facing a single ball in the history of international cricket. When I first heard about this stat, I couldn't believe it; I found it so unusual and so unique that I decided to look for more weird and wonderful batting feats, and that's how this post came about. Hats off to specialist non-striker Josh Hazlewood, then, for inspiring me to do this.
You might think that any batsman who faces zero balls in an innings can only end up with a score of either 0 or 0*, and if you think that, you'd be right. Nonetheless, while searching through Cricinfo's database to find the weirdest batting feats out there, I came across this scorecard. Apparently, this is due to a scoring error as the scorer incorrectly neglected to count the no-ball as a ball faced. The fact that this is the only such instance of this happening in Cricinfo's database supports this theory.
Hazlewood's achievement was superb, but even he only managed it in one innings. How about over an entire career? Who holds the record for the most minutes batted over a career without facing a ball? Unfortunately, Cricinfo won't let me find that out for Tests, and the ODI and T20I data present nothing at all unusual (the record is 2 minutes for ODIs and 5 minutes for T20Is, in case you're wondering).
Matches played is somewhat more interesting. Once again, Cricinfo won't let me do this for Tests, but India's Jaydev Unadkat holds the record for the most ODIs played without facing a single ball, having played in seven ODIs. However, he's also never had to bat; if we restrict our search only to those who have batted at least one innings, Lance Gibbs and Pakistan's Mohammad Khalil come out on top, both having played three ODIs without facing a ball.
The West Indies' Krishmar Santokie holds the record for the most T20Is played without facing a single ball, having played in twelve of them (talk about specialist bowler!), although India's Mohammed Shami and Scotland's Hamza Tahir are closing in on that record, both having played in eleven T20Is without facing a single ball. Unlike Unadkat (and Shami and Tahir, for that matter), Santokie actually batted in one innings (against Ireland in 2014), though that would be his only international innings with the bat.

Extra, Extra!

I don't think Extras gets enough credit. The dude's been batting for 144 years and yet no-one praises his longevity. This final section will thus be dedicated to the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Extras himself.
Despite his long and illustrious career, Extras has only top-scored in 19 completed Test innings. The lowest such score came in 1924; England scored 438 in the first innings while South Africa could only manage 30, with Extras scoring a swashbuckling 11 to lessen South Africa's humiliation. The skipper, Herbie Taylor, was the next-highest scorer with 7; a true captain's knock from him. Extras' highest score was a 76 for Pakistan against India in 2007 (he had also scored 38 and 41 in India's two innings, so it was a good match for him), but this was not the highest score in the innings.
In total, Extras has top-scored in 39 completed ODI innings. This includes a 2004 ODI between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, in which Extras scored 7 of Zimbabwe's 35 runs (tied with Dion Ebrahim for Zimbabwe's top scorer that game). Extras has also scored three half-centuries in ODIs, his highest score of 59 occurring twice in 1989 and 1999, both for Pakistan. For some reason, Extras just really loves scoring for Pakistan.
Extras has top-scored in 10 completed T20I innings, the lowest of which was once again a score of 7, this time coming for Turkey against Luxembourg in 2019 (Turkey scored just 28 runs in that match). Extras has never scored a half-century in T20Is, with his top score being 39 for Czechia against Turkey in 2019.
That's strange. This Extras fellow, despite having a 144-year-long batting career, has never scored a century, or even approached a century. I personally think that he's been given enough chances and should be dropped. I've heard that he can't even field or bowl, so what's the point in having him in the team if he's not scoring?

Conclusion

When discussing impressive batting feats, a lot of people place emphasis on comparisons: Who has the better average? Who has scored more runs? Who has the better strike rate in white-ball cricket? Who has the better beard? Who has the lower dot-ball percentage when batting in the third innings of the second Test in the series on a Tuesday with a lead of 100 runs or more?
However, the most unusual achievements in the art of batting tend not to derive from excellence in the craft but rather from unique circumstances which lead to bizarre stats or scorelines. To achieve what no batsman has achieved before in international cricket, even if it's something terrible such as becoming the first batsman in the history of international cricket to be out hit wicket for a diamond duck, is impressive in its own way. Also, the subsequent memes can be pretty funny.
I hope you enjoyed the read. Next time, I'll be doing the same thing but for bowling. Get ready for first-ball wickets and economy rates of 0.
submitted by MightySilverWolf to Cricket [link] [comments]


2020.09.11 17:00 PaulPM1 My Fantasy All Time Summerslam

Dream Summerslam Card – Paul (2020) – The Games”
Announcers: Jim Ross & **Jerry “The King” Lawler (**Unless Stated Otherwise) Referees: Mike Chioda (Mens), Jessika Carr (Womens)
Opening Video Package Content: Gladiator Theme Opening Video Package Theme: Time is Now by Moloko
J.R says welcome to Summerslam and says we have breaking news that there is going to be an exclusive interview with Bray Wyatt later on tonight.
1. NXT Fight Pit Match - (Announcers: J.R, M Ranollo) (Guest Referee: Nigel McGuinness)
Build: Past vs Future (talking up tyler bate all the time) dunne to regal, you don’t like me cos I remind you of the younger you, just I won’t get stuck in the middle tier and let myself down with drugs etc I will be world champion, but I need to take you out and prove the doubters wrong.)
William Regal vs Pete Dunne
Finish: Dunne distracts the ref and hits Regal with brass knuckles then grabs a groggy regal and hits him with the bitter end.
2. Lumberjill Match (Announcers: J.R, M Ranollo, Paige) (Guest Referee: Ronda Rousey)
Build: Beth previously announced she wants her final match to be at summerslam, and she wants it to be against her best friend Natalya, and that through a friend she has convinced the Mcmahons to allow Ronda Rousey to be special guest referee (as shes thinking about joining WWE), a week before the summerslam paperview wwe do a tribute night to beth and this climaxes with a contract signing to end raw, beth signs the contract and natalyas music plays, then plays again, the titantron changes to refs and paramedics running to a beaten unconscious Natalya on the floor, beth runs backstage and demands to see the cctv, as she see the footage, the camera goes back to the ring where the contract lays on the table in the middle of the ring and Rhea Ripley signs where Natalya should have signed, Rhea says natalya won’t make it and that beth won’t get a friendly goodbye from a bland competitor, that she will be forced to retire, just like Natalya, by the woman who will go down as the most dominant woman in professional wrestling history, me, Rhea Ripley. And in the blank stipulation section of the contract Rhea writes Last Woman Standing Match.
Beth Phoenix vs Rhea Ripley
Finish: Beth gets rhea into the glamslam position but rhea reverses underneath and gets behind beth to do the riptide for the 1-2-3. Rhea the kicks beth over the apron, ronda goes to check if beth is okay, Rhea pushes Ronda and shouts her to raise her hand, Ronda does this begrudgingly and as rhea goes to walk away, Ronda still has her arm and judo throws her into an armbar.
3. 4 Man Extreme Tornado Tag Team TLC Match – Stipulation If Dudleys and DIY lose, the teams have to be disbanded forever: (Announcers: M Ranollo, Samoa Joe, Triple H)
Build: Undisputed Era had run through every team and faction and claimed total domination, and started attacking DIY, and with no one willing to help, undisputed era go to attack DIY to put them through the Titan Tron stage, when a firework hits the stage and signals the return of the Dudley Boyz. Who run of undisputed era and. DIY challenge them to a 4 man tag team TLC match, and the Dudleys say its going to be an extreme TLC Match. Adam Cole accepts but only if the stipulation is if Dudleys and DIY lose they have to disband there teams forever.
Dudley Boyz & DIY vs Undisputed Era
Finish: Dudley Boyz put Fish through a flaming table, Roderick strong takes himself and D-von over the rope, Bubba Ray turns around and O’reilly picks up Bubba and Cole is on the other side and they pick him up for what looks like a 3D but Cole converts his end into the Last Shot, and pins him for the 1-2-3. Undisputed era celebrate and make their way to the back, leaving the Dudleys and DiY to hug their partners in a final goodbye, DiY both Superkick the Dudleys, then Ciampa superkicks Gargano.
4. Loser Leaves WWE match -Unsanctioned Match Stipulation: (Announcers: J.R, M Ranollo)
Build: edge – yeah we both came back from injury but you’ve done nothing, I had to sit on the sidelines as you do shit storylines and don’t even go for world titles, and crying about how you owed it to your dumb wife, brie mode? Sounds like something an angry retard would say,…..behind every man is a great woman? Damn. Then you are less of a man, remember what you had, how you had to crawl and claw your way to the main event picture, and now your just happy to be here, you might as well be in the indies, because this Daniel bryan doesn’t belong in the big leagues.
Edge vs Daniel Bryan
Finish: Edge rolls through on the yes lock and hits Bryan with the Spear for the 1-2-3
5. 2 Falls Count Anywhere Lumberjack Match “Career vs Career”- Stipulation: Must get a Pin Win & A Submission Win (Announcers: J.R, M Ranollo, J Lawler)
Build: Jericho called out Owen, to never meet your heroes, and goes on to say that owen doesn’t love wrestling, he is ashamed of it, whether it’s his wife or he’s in the shadow of bret, he needs to get out of wrestling, because he’s taking a spot of people who are 100% committed to be here and that Jericho isn’t going to allow Owen to stay in wwe. And both put careers on the line.
Chris Jericho vs Owen Hart (Outside the ring are The Radicalz and the Hart Foundation)
Finish: Owen Catch jerichos codebreaker and puts him in the sharpshoot for a submission fall, Jericho pushed owen into an exposed turnbuckle then as owen falls on the ground Jericho hits the lionsault for the 1-2-3, then as owen tried to do a sitdown tombstone, Jericho reverses behind, hits a reverse codebreaker then makes Owen submit from the liontamer.
6. Hell In A Cell Match: (Announcers: J.R, M Ranollo, Mick Foley)
Build: Taker says that no matter who came and went, this ring will always be his yard, Walters music hits and he comes out and says taker is just an old soldier that needs to be put out of his misery and that he is the ring general now. Walter says he knows takers weakness and that taker will finally go down in flames.
Walter vs The Undertaker
Finish: As taker goes to hit the last ride, while walter is in the air, he singles to the titantron and waves for help to come down. suddenly 4 flames of fire come from each ringpost and the arena goes dark, the voice of paul bearer screams “he’s here” and out comes 97 kane and rips the hell in a cell cage door off. Does a faceoff with taker then tombstones him, walter crawls over for the win.
7. 20 minute Samoan Strap Match: (Announcers: J.R, M Ranollo, Paige) (Guest Referee: Stephanie McMahon)
Build: bitches about the rock being selective about his samoan legacy, quick to help roman, but where was help for joe when he was struggling at other companies, only mentions his somoan lineage if its good for the p.r. and how he became Hollywood over somoan without hesitation and that he is so paranoid to do anything as he wants to be mr.perfect, no not that guy, and can’t handle anything negative, seems a bit phoney to me rock, you used to tell us to know your role, but what is your role rock and to smell what your cooking, well all I can smell is shit.
Samoa Joe vs The Rock
Finish: the clock is into the last minute, in a last ditch attempt the rock goes to hit the 3rd rock bottom of the match, butjoe swtches behind for the kokina clutch, 10 seconds to go joe wraps the strap around the rocks throat, the rock seems passed out, the ref raises his arm once, twice, then on the 3rd the rock uses his last bit of strength to keep it raised for half a second, the ring bel rings. And the rock lets his hand drop. Result – Time Limit Draw.
Segment : Exclusive Interview with Bray Wyatt on who his next target is (Intentions to destroy the 3 faces of Foley)
Video package opens with Bray in the Firefly Funhouse and says he needs the right conditions to reveal the truth and walks through a door of the firefly funhouse and opens into the heartbreak hotel,
Looks at shawn michaels and says “hi shawn” nah this feels like it could be a screwjob wink wink, goes to walk away and turns back and says hey shawn, don’t you lose that smile and laughs, then bray falls back and lands in a chair, camera zooms out and hes in beefcakes barber shop, laughs and says touch me like I’m Hogan hahaha and runs of with his scissors, he runs into another room and hears a hissing and cuts the head off a snake, then the camera zooms out, he’s in jake Roberts snake pit…..bray holds up a beer and closes his eyes, the scene changes and his beer turns into a cocktail and hes on carlitos cabana, and bray says nah this ain’t cool and runs into a giant apple, and when he comes out the other side he steps out of a giant heart and is looking into the face of brother love, love asks who is your opponent, and bray says it’s something he’s wrestling with, wink wink, and falls through the floor and lands in a royal ring and jerry lawler says welcome to kings court, and bray says you’re a king? It’s all fantasy right, I’d rather be a king than a grand master hahaha, bray looks away and puts his hand over his eyebrows to see further and in the distance you see Christian with his peep show, and just lets it fade to black, and light creeps in as a door opens, but its actually bray stepping out of a coffin into the funeral parlour, and just looks at paul bearer, bray says oh yesssss, bearer falls back and shouts for help, undertaker robotically walks in, and bray says deadman, it’s not your time, yet…and laughs into the coffin. And falls back into an asylum and does his reverse crab walk past dean ambrose and do to a corridor, and into a room where the miz is watching a giant TV and bray says you will be a star and then crawls into the tv and is next to Jericho, and there is a highlight reel playing but it gets darker and darker and bray says your star will fade chris, if you try to be elite hahaha bray screams elite and lands in the ring on a sofa that’s says VIP lounge, MVP welcomes Bray and says give me the exclusive and tell me who you are targeting next to be your opponent, bray stars rocking on the sofa and says I’m not going to help you try and stay relevant…I want this to be right,.and bray gets up and walks into the ring rope and puts his head down on the turnbuckle, and raises his head as he hears bagpipes, brays turns around and smiles at “rowdy” roddy piper., roddy says so you’re the one that’s got the whole world in his hands huh, then I got just one question for you, who’s world are you trying to end? Bray walks into the face of roddy and says why aren’t you afraid, roddy laughs and says enough of the games bray, tell us who should be afraid, who should have fear over their faces, bray smiles and says faces…..roddy says he doesn’t do riddles, and bray says again faces….i want to destroy 3 faces……..Mick Foley……have a nice day and it goes to black with bray laughing, then a flash on the screen of the fiend.
8. Stretcher Match – Stipulation Lose has to not wrestle for a year (which is how long is on hogan contract): (Announcers: J.R, M Ranollo,) 3 on 1 turns into 3 on 2.?
Build: on a Hogan tribute night, Punk interrupts and says to Hogan, that hulk doesn’t like him, why it that, is it because I don’t politic brother, is it my tattoos, is it because I don’t look like you, or do you hate me because I will do a pipebomb on you and there is nothing you can do about it, or do you hate me because I can get the type of women like your daughter or her friends, while you can only get there photos, your time is over old man, your in courtrooms more than rings and that is just the way punk likes it, so hulkster, brother, I want a match and hell I’ll give you the advantage, you can pick the stipulation, hell I’ll even make sure the referee is white. so make sure you take your vitamins, although we know the type of vitamins you like brother,
Cm Punk (With Paul Heyman) vs Hogan (With Jimmy Hart)
Finish: Hall and Nash interfere to take out punk and they go to turn on heyman who runs to the back then comes out with a smile on his face, then the returning brock lesnars music hits, hall and nash get taken out by Lesnar, then jimmy hart eyepokes hogan and punk hits hogan with the go to sleep and hogan falls straight into an f-5 onto the stretcher, punk straps hogan in for the win.
After the match heyman raises brocks hand and jimmy hart raises punks hand, punk looks at brock and brock f-5s hart, heyman grabs a microphone and says hart is just a big a fool as hogan and lets him know the match stipulation meant hogan and hart, and when hart recovers to enjoy irrelevancy stuck at home for a year.
9. Street Fight (Announcers: J.R, M Ranollo, J Lawler) (Guest Referee: Mike Tyson)
Build: Orton calls out stone cold in recent documentary on austin and the attitude era, and orton said it’s funny Austin and attitude go together, but I mean shit attitude, this is a guy that had top spot then as the company was starting to evolve he became a coward and took his ball and went home instead of staying and fighting to keep top spot, because he knows he couldn’t hang with the guys that were going to takeover and realise his one dimension schtick wasn’t going to cut it. And that it’s funny that Austin has had so many neck injuries because randy didn’t think Austin had a spine. the rattlesnake has nothing on the viper.
Randy Orton vs Stone Cold
Finish: Stone cold tried to hit his elbow drop off the top rope and orton rolls out the way and get up and runs and punt kicks Austin for a 1-2-3 (Tyson appeared to count quickly)
Post Match: Orton looks at Austin and said it was ring rust but he gave him a hell of a fight…goes to shake Austins hand..Austin goes to stunners Orton, but Tyson stops him, stone cold goes face to face with Tyson and Tyson rips off his ref shirt to unveil an evolution shirt, Austin looks confused and orton hits a running ko on steve Austin.
10. Stipulation: For the 17th World Title (Announcers: J.R, M Ranollo, JBL) (Guest Referee: Harley Race)
Build: flair previously cost cena a chance to win the title and it gets vacated due to the champ Triple H being injured, and flair blackmails Vince Mcmahon to not give the title to cena, but to put it on the line in a match between the two.
Ric Flair vs John Cena
Finish: Harley appears to be letting a few things go, including flair with a low blow on cena, flair pushes cena into Harley, Harley is down, cena gets put the the figure 4 leg lock, but works his way out as they both get up, batista enters the ring and hits cena with the spear., Cena tried to get back to his feet and Batisa goes to grab cena, but Harley is on his feet and orders batista from ring side, with flair looking at batista and with Harleys back to flair, cena low blows flair then fu’s him for the 1-2-3.
Post Match: Harley hands the World Title to John Cena. Confetti falls.
Segment: a brief advertisement of 50% off on wwe Shop. (this gives the ring crew time to clean up the ring off confetti)
Segment: Interview with Triple H, he says he is happy for cena, and announced while he isn’t back for a while he will be coming for that title, but for now, triple h announces that the next match, the last man standing match, is now a no.1 contenders match for cena’s world title.
11. Last Man Standing Match- Stipulation: (Announcers: M Ranollo, J.R, Triple H)
Build: AJ styles calls out Michaels, and says he’s sick of being compared to him and that styles is better, but shawn is too scared to find out the truth, aj then says he didn’t need a kliq to get where he was and that he never lost his smile, and he didn’t need to screw anyone to get to the top. Shawn says that he was always the guy, and that Aj can’t stand that he was a big fish in a big pond for so long and that aj is just upset that most of his career aj was a medium fish in a small pond.
Aj Styles vs Shawn Michaels
Finish: As aj jumps the the top rope to hit the phenomonal forearm, but as he goes to jump off the rope, hbk hits the sweet chin music and sends styles through the tables on the outside of the ring.
Aj fails to get up at the 10 count, but shawn almost gets up at 9 at the corner but falls back down to the ring., Ref Announces a draw.
Post Match: Aj and Hbk shake hands. (Triple H announces at the next paperview it will be AJ vs Hbk, vs Cena for the world title
12. 30 Minute Ironwoman Match - Stipulation: Charlotte wins, she’s the restored and new Womens Champion and Satomura has to retire, Satomura wins, she is champ and charlotte is not allowed a title shot for a year this includes being invalid for rumble, money in the bank and no.1 contender matches. (Announcers: T Stratus, M Ranollo, AJ Lee) (Guest Referee: Steph Mcmahon)
Build: AJ Lee has had to vacate the Divas championship due to needing surgeries, but she threw it down and presented a new women’s championship, and says there are only two women wrestlers that she respect that aren’t expendable, plastic, poor excuses for women and says it’ll be Charlotte vs Meiko.
Charlotte Flair vs Meiko Satomura
Finish: with a minute left and both 1 fall each, flair puts Satomura in in the figure 4- then converts it into a figure 8, meiko submits making it 2-1 to flair with 12 seconds left, AJ helps Satomura to her feet and says there is only 20 seconds left, Satomura is struggling to walk, and tries to kick flair with a standing inziguri kick, but charlotte ducks and rolls out the ring, circles the ring on the outside and comes in on the opposite end with 1 second to spare and the ref counting to 9. Timer runs out flair wins 2.1.
Post Match: Aj brings in the New Womens Championship and gives it to charlotte, Stephanie raises charlottes hand and Aj stares at the title being lifted by flair, flair catches aj staring, aj does a big smile and skips away. Confetti falls for charlotte.
Closing Credits.
submitted by PaulPM1 to FantasyBookers [link] [comments]


2020.09.10 14:38 PaulChittenden From Plumbers Apprentice to $100 Million - 26 Business Lessons from an Expert Marketer (Conor McGregor)

Conor McGregor went from plumbers apprentice to making $100 Million. This is not all that surprising given he is a sports superstar.
What is surprising is that he did this in MMA, a sport that notoriously doesn't pay this kind of money.
In fact, McGregor's net worth is at least 3X that of his TOP peers in the sport. And if you look at the Top 15 highest-paid fighters in the UFC, three are only there because they fought McGregor.
Conor McGregor is surely a controversial character, but there are surely some business lessons to learn from his rise to fame. After studying his career and countless hours of video, here are 26 lessons I've learned from the man himself.

Lesson 1 - Find a Need in the Market that Needs Fulfilling

When Conor moved to a new suburb, he lost his group of friends and had to start over. As the new guy, he got in his share of fights. Without a group of friends to back him up, he needed to learn to fight so he could protect himself. With boxing training, any potential attackers might find themselves getting more than they’ve bargained for and decide to pick on an easier target.
Crumlin Boxing Club fulfilled that need for Conor, and initiated his journey to superstardom.
In business, you need to find a need with your particular audience. Fulfill that need and buyers will come to you.
Let’s take boxing gyms as an example.
In a rough neighborhood, you’ll find “real” boxing gyms. The boxers here come to learn how to truly fight and even compete.
In “upper-class” neighborhoods, you’ll find more cardio based boxing gyms. The goal at these gyms are more for exercise than actual fighting. You won’t see too many sparring sessions at these gyms.
Both models are successful. Understand your market.

Lesson 2 - Find Your Passion. Try new things

McGregor and Tom Egan, while opposites, met in high school both enjoyed MMA. They watched UFC broadcasts on weekends together. It was Egan who sparked Conor’s interest in MMA.
Conor started dabbling in both MMA and boxing, and eventually, left boxing for his true love of MMA. With this focus, Conor went on to dominate the MMA scene.
In business, even the best entrepreneurs can get burnt out. If you look at Elon Musk, Richard Branson, or Steve Jobs, they are all extremely passionate about what they do.
They can and do put in the hours to become the best in their niches. When they speak, you hear the passion and feel drawn to their cause.
It’s hard to be tremendously successful if you hate what you do.

Lesson 3 - Find a Mentor to Increase the Likelihood and Decrease the Time to Success

Although they were around the same age, Tom Egan made it to the UFC first. Conor saw his pal in the UFC, and knew that he had a chance too. The impossible became possible and no longer just a dream.
In business, you need to find a mentor who is ahead of you. Mentors can help you avoid big mistakes.
More importantly, mentors show you what is possible and can create a complete level change in your game.

Lesson 4 - Surround Yourself with People That Want You to Succeed & Will Support You. Stay Loyal to Them.

Dee Devlin has been by Conor’s side since the beginning. She supported him when he was a nobody.
She believed in him.
Dee experienced all of the ups and downs on the path to fame. They grew together.
When you become rich and famous, people try to take advantage of you. It becomes harder to find true friends and romantic partners. Conor avoided this and married the girl who helped him get to where he is now.
Let’s face it, some successful entrepreneurs did not have this support system. They were doubted, laughed at even. This doubt fueled their desire to succeed.
Even so, these entrepreneurs eventually built teams which were so inspired by the entrepreneur’s vision, they eventually do build these supportive relationships.
If you do have this support system, remember who was there supporting you from the beginning. True friendships are an important foundation for happiness as you become more successful.

Lesson 5 - Intense Focus on Your Craft Decide on What You Want and Put 100% Focus Into It

Not only did Dee Devlin give Conor emotional and moral support, she financially supported him as well. She waited tables so that Conor could focus 100% on his training. She helped him buy healthier foods to fuel his body.
Conor was naturally talented. Adding in 100% focus to his training allowed him to accelerate his skills much quicker.
Most people are juggling too many things. Spending hours playing Call of Duty, late nights drinking, dreaming instead of doing, are taking time away from honing your craft.
The best of the best are practicing. They are making sales calls. In the studio.
With 100% focus and persistence, you will eventually make it.

Lesson 6 - The Law of Attraction Visualizing Yourself to Greatness

Conor attributes the use of visualization and the Law of Attraction to manifest his way to becoming a champion.
This all sounds kind of crazy, but the same technique has been cited by Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey, plus dozens of athletes and mega celebrities including, Kobe Bryant, Cristiano Ronaldo, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lindsey Vonn, Tony Robbins, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Will Smith, Lady Gaga, and Kanye West,.
What is the Law of Attraction?
The Law of Attraction is a belief that a person’s thoughts and focus bring positive or negative experiences into the person’s life.
Conor’s sister Erin, a bodybuilder and fitness model, recommended he read The Secret, a book on the Law of Attraction. He opted for the DVD version.
"Even when I first watched it, I was like, this is bulls--t," McGregor told Bleacher Report in 2015.
But after watching it, something clicked. Conor and Dee started using it to visualize little things, like getting the front parking spots. After seeing it work, he went on to visualize himself as a champion. In fact, his family credits the moment he watched The Secret, as the birth of Conor McGregor, the superstar.
Stop thinking small. Dream big!

Lesson 7 - Fight IQ Get a Deep Understanding of Your Competition

In his first UFC post fight interview, he clearly said that he thought Brimmage was emotional and would overthrow his shots. Conor fully understands there is the game before the game.
McGregor’s fight IQ is off the charts.
All fighters watch films of previous fights. Try to find subtle tells. They begin each fight carefully, trying to figure out distance and timing.
Watching Conor, it almost looks intuitive. It seems that he knows his opponents better than they know themselves.
This is most evident after the Aldo fight. Video is released of McGregor practicing the exact sequence that dispatched the 10-year winning streak of the champion.
After the fight, Conor said he saw a subtle tell before the bell rang. Aldo’s right hand was twitching. He knew Aldo was going to unload a big right hand that would set up his left hand knockout punch. Seriously, watch the video below. Mystic Mac believes in the power of visualization.
Know your competition. You can outsmart them. Be faster. Have better customer service. Be good where they suck.

Lesson 8 - Be an entertainer. Stand for Something. Be Polarizing. People Will Love You or Hate You & That’s Not Bad.

Dana White knew Conor McGregor was going to be a star the very first time they met. Why?
Dana said it was his personality. His laugh.
What else is underneath this?
Conor McGregor had a clear focus to become UFC Champion and become rich and famous. He had an outlandish personality. He was witty. He would entertain the masses.
I’ve never met Conor McGregor in person, but from most reports from fans and casuals alike, McGregor is a completely different person outside of the ring.
A nice and pleasant guy.
Is the UFC Conor McGregor just a persona?
Who else had success in the UFC with an outlandish and polarizing personality?
The WWE has perfected this character. They call them the heel. Conor McGregor may or may not be the heel, but he definitely is polarizing, and he is very much like a WWE character.
Love him or hate him, every MMA and boxing fan knows Conor McGregor.
Like the greatest before him, McGregor knows that almost any attention is good attention.
Step into the MMA forums or a Facebook discussion, and you will see the Conor McGregor haters out in full force.
But guess what, his haters still buy his PPV fights - to see him lose!
If you want to be a public figure, amplify your message. Take who you are, and multiply that by 3X or 10X.
Sure, you want to be authentic. Don’t be someone you’re not. But take it up a notch.
Be exciting. Be an entertainer.

Lesson 9 - Find Your 1000 True Fans Cater to Your Base

In his first UFC fight, Conor is seen with an Irish flag draped over his shoulders as he walks to the ring. Before he was a worldwide superstar, Conor worked to become the ambassador of Irish MMA.
In fact, as his stardom grew, it seemed half of Ireland would travel to his fights.
The UFC, having dominated the American MMA market, was ready to move into Europe, and Conor McGregor would carry the entirety of Ireland.
Kevin Kelly, editor at Wired magazine, wrote an essay called “1,000 True Fans.” The essay, a must read, states that all it takes to earn a living as creator is 1,000 true fans who will buy your work.
For McGregor, his fanbase started with his countrymen. As his stardom grew, so did his base of fans.
In business, you have to find your core supporters. The people who will buy your product. The people who will share your content. The people that love your product or service so much they have to tell their friends about it.
Find your Ireland and grow from there.

Lesson 10 - Fighting is a Mind Game Discover Your Opponent’s Weaknesses

Conor McGregor is a master of getting inside his opponent’s head. Often, his opponents become emotional and abandon their game plan or overextend their shots.f
Many fighters talk trash. Many fighters try to intimidate their opponents. They may even come close to actually fighting during staredowns. But - they don’t completely destroy 8 weeks of game planning the way Conor does.
Before the fight with Dustin Poirier, McGregor said:
Just as he says, he defeats Poirier by KO in the first round. Mystic Mac is born.
Dustin Poirier is an amazing fighter. As a fellow Louisiana boy, he’s one of my favorites.
I don’t believe that Dustin was beat in the ring. He was beaten before the fight.
McGregor baited him. Made him angry. Dustin Poirer didn’t follow his game plan.
Conor’s remarks that this is just a game really sums it all up. After the Dustin Poirier fight, we see McGregor take his head games up a notch. The best example is the fight with Aldo.
Aldo went 10 years without a defeat. Fighters were afraid of him.
After defeating Dennis Siver, McGregor jumps the Octagon fence and goes straight for Aldo, showing he has no fear of the champion.
The pre-fight insults from McGregor are being hurled at unprecedented speed - expletives, racist comments, attacking the entire Brazilian nation. But when McGregor steals Aldo's belt, there is one moment when you see the look of defeat on the Brazilian's face.
McGregor raises his hands as if he already knows he’s the champion. Aldo, unable to do anything in the moment, mentally breaks. Maybe it was just a seed of doubt, but McGregor was in his head.
As a small brand, sometimes going after the big guys can be tough. Study your competitor. Find out what they do well and where they are lacking.
No one is perfect. Focus on your competitor's weaknesses. Fill those gaps. Be nimble. Slowly take market share by doing what they cannot.

Lesson 11 - Differentiation - Discover What Sets You Apart from the Crowd

Conor had big dreams. He was already visualizing himself as a massive star. A rich, popular, double champ at that.
How would the double champ act? What would he look like? How would he speak?
Rumors were going around that McGregor was getting easy fights. Maybe it was true. The UFC was investing in his brand to grow the European market. They didn’t want their golden boy to lose yet.
I cannot confirm this through any research, but I’m sure Conor was aware of the UFC’s plans and his role in them.
Instead of denying the matchmaking, McGregor doubles down and talks about his relationship with Lorenzo (one of the owner’s of the UFC). In fact, they even have a tradition of toasting a shot of whiskey after McGregor’s wins.
McGregor has gone from plumber’s apprentice to UFC star. His Lorenzo comments are positioning him as the employee who is winning and dining with the CEO. Isn’t this the dream of all employees?
Go back to the beginning of Conor’s Instagram. It quickly goes from typical fighter to businessman and luxury everything - clothes, cars, private jets.
He dons his trademark suits.
Conor is no longer just a fighter. He’s the guy from the rough neighborhood that made it.
He’s transcended fighter status. He’s different.
In business, marketing and positioning are the key to market domination.
Your brand, your image, your packaging, your customer service. Are they aligned with your target market?

Lesson 12 - Understand the Machine that Drives Your Industry

McGregor worked hard to build his personal brand. He built his profile, entertaining the masses and winning in spectacular fashion.
Winning fights gets better fights. But have you noticed that some fighters keep winning but aren’t given a main event? Maybe they are passed over for a title shot?
Why?
McGregor understood the game. He dove into the machine head on, realizing that putting up big numbers gets you bigger opportunities.
More than anything, the UFC organization is a promotion and hype machine. The UFC’s job is to sell fights, build storylines, and develop fighters.
Conor understands this. He has fully leveraged the UFC’s marketing powers to 10X his brand. He layers his own marketing on top of the UFC’s efforts.
McGregor took chances. He talked smack. He manufactured beef / rivalry. He won his fights in spectacular fashion, and he built his social media empire to engage his fans.
The UFC brass see this. They know his popularity is growing, so they put even more dollars behind him to promote him. He coaches on the Ultimate Fighter Season 22 against Urijah Faber (another very popular fighter). He gets more popular. He pulls bigger numbers. It’s a never ending cycle for now.
With fame and celebrity comes opportunities. Big names pull big money. Bigger purses. Bigger sponsorship deals. And other opportunities outside the ring.
What is the machine behind your industry? Determine how the big boys in your industry are winning.
Is it their sales team? Is it paid ads? Is it media coverage?
Deconstruct the winners and find your way in.

Lesson 13 - When Opportunity Presents Itself, Take Your Shot

When Aldo was injured, Mendes stepped in on 3 week’s notice to fight for the interim title.
Both McGregor and Mendes saw the opportunity, McGregor, an interim belt and Mendes the belt plus a McGregor payday,
While this happens all the time, it is a risk. McGregor was preparing for a different fighter. Mendes didn’t have a full training camp.
In business, opportunities can present themselves at any time. It is up to you to see them and capitalize on them.
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes - then learn how to do it later.” - Richard Branson

Lesson 14 - Precision Beats Power, Timing Beats Speed

A fighter studies their opponent to understand their movement, any tells, and potential holes in their game. Conor does this exceptionally well.
In my first few sparring sessions, my biggest surprise was how fast the more advanced fighter's were. Not their hand speed. It was how fast their mind worked. They saw my punches coming almost before I threw them. They were able to move out of the way and counter with ease. They saw something I didn't see.
A fighter with a high fight IQ has:
So far, Conor's only hole is his ground game. Standing up, he has the upper hand. After the Aldo fight, he said this:
This quote is a great way to think about business.
Precision beats power. Oftentimes, you are competing with the big boys, the entrenched competitors, or the huge multinational corporation. They have power.
A smaller business can compete with precision. You can serve the customer better. You can offer a more personalized service. You can serve in a profitable capacity, that the big boys are ignoring because it is too small for them. Be precise.
Timing beats speed. Being first to market can help you get first crack at market share, maybe even give you time to build a moat. Yet, timing beats speed. Sometimes it is better to let the first mover establish a market before moving in. You’ll save all the cost of developing the market, and you can learn from their mistakes. Time the market.

Lesson 15 - See the Opportunity & Ask for What You Want

At this point, Conor McGregor basically gets whatever fight he wants. However, Lesson 15 flips the script. This isn’t about McGregor. It is about Nate Diaz.
After Nate Diaz defeated Michael Johnson at UFC Fox 17, he stepped up to the mic and called out Conor McGregor in an expletive filled rant.
This takes us back to another infamous McGregor press conference with reference to “Red Panty Night.”
Conor McGregor brings in huge paydays, and he says a fight with him is cause for celebration. Fighters will make more fighting him than any other fighter on the roster.
Diaz understood this. He saw the opportunity. And he asked for it.
Diaz’s first fight with Conor McGregor earned him 4X what he made for his previous second highest grossing fight.
The second fight went on to earn him more in one night than he made his entire UFC career.
Then, his rise in popularity has earned him a noticeable bump in his post McGregor fights.
What can we learn from this? Too many people can spot the opportunity, but don’t have the balls to go for it.
Ask for the meeting.
Ask for the sale.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. - Wayne Gretzky

Lesson 16 - Rivalries are Opportunities

Nate Diaz was no match for Conor McGregor’s verbal sparring as seen in several pre-fight interviews. But Nate Diaz has his own Stockton “Gangsta” style of dealing with rivalries that fans love.
After Conor shows up 30 minutes late, Diaz walks out. Diaz’s team throws a water bottle. Things get out of hand.
Rivalries can be great marketing opportunities. This clash no doubt sold more PPV’s.
Take a look at Wendy’s taking a shot at McDonald’s on Twitter.
Look at the number of Retweets. Holy crap.
Have some fun. Maybe a rivalry is just the PR stunt you need.

Lesson 17 - Do Not Succumb to Failure. Learn from Your Mistakes. Pivot.

Mcgregor lost to Diaz in their first matchup by submission. Conor analyzed his mistakes in training and particularly his diet.
He put these learnings to use in their second matchup.
Conor came back and won their second fight by decision, in a grueling 5 round matchup.
In business, we experience failures just like in life. Markets change, regulations change, and unprecedented events such as Covid can derail our plans.
You need to be okay with failure. But don’t let a failure go to waste.
Analyze it. See what when wrong. Find out how you could have changed things. Make a plan not to make that mistake again.
Maybe you need to pivot. Maybe you just need to make some tweaks. Either way, a failure can make your business stronger, if you implement the changes necessary to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Lesson 18 - Make History Change the Game

In the lead up to the fight with Alvarez, a promo is released, and we hear Conor Mcgregor say:
There has not been a UFC champion in two weight classes at the same time. McGregor was gunning to go down as the first in the UFC record books.
At the same time, he would make history as headlining the first MMA fight in Madison Square Gardens. It was truly a historic moment in the world of MMA.
Riches, fame. It means nothing in the end.
But, history?
And just like the story of Roger Bannister and the four-minute mile, Conor opened up the door for other champ champs - Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes, and Henry Cejudo.
Too many entrepreneurs are doing “me-too” business. Chasing successful businesses in hopes of making some cash.
The true game changers are going big. Trying to change history.
Truly think about what you can do to change the industry, to innovate, to do the impossible.

Lesson 19 - Leverage Other People’s Audiences

Back in 2015, Conor McGregor and Urijah Faber were announced as coaches on the Ultimate Fighter reality show contest.
The same year, video surfaced of a sparring session between Game of Throne’s “The Mountain”
Each of these appearances allowed Conor to utilize other people’s audiences (OPA) to gain additional fans outside of his current fan base.
The UFC’s Ultimate Fighter series brought in the series’ fans plus fans of Urijah that may not have been fans of Conor and gave them a chance to get to know him over multiple exposures (episodes).
The playful sparring session with The Mountain allowed Conor to gain exposure to the Game of Throne’s audience who followed Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson. He’s appeared on the cover of GQ and appeared on the cover of Call of Duty Infinite Warfare.,
McGregor has also had appearances on Conan O’brien’s Late Night and has sung pub songs with Jimmy Fallon.
Speaking of Conan, did you know 23 celebrities own shares in the UFC? Here they are:
Now this is a genius move by the UFC. By allowing celebrities to own a piece of the UFC, the UFC knows that they will promote the business to their following, bringing in additional fans that would not normally be watching.
McGregor’s biggest example of leveraging other people’s audiences is his crossover fight with Mayweather. Mayweather is boxing’s greatest fighter ever. Not only does Mayweather have a huge audience, this fight would introduce Conor McGregor to the entire boxing audience.
No matter your industry, you need to know where your customers are. Who has a similar pool of leads in their audience?
Partner with another complimentary company that shares your audience.
Get a story written about you and your company in your industry’s magazine.
Go where the fish are, but fish with dynamite.

Lesson 20 - Know Your Numbers What is the Most Profitable Thing in Your Business?

At this point, Conor McGregor is the highest paid fighter in UFC history.
Yet, he is making peanuts compared to the big names in boxing.
Conor realizes this and guns for the biggest name in boxing, Floyd Mayweather. If he can make this happen, it will be the biggest payday in his career.
Similarly, you need to understand your own numbers. Where is the money?
What product lines are the most profitable? What are the least?
Make decisions based on numbers.

Lesson 21 - Negotiating Like a Pro Keep it Win-Win, and Give to Get

How do you get the biggest name in boxing, arguably the best boxer to ever step into the ring, to agree to a fight with an MMA fighter who has never professionally boxed?
You need to understand what the other party wants. Not just on the surface. What they truly want.
What would Mayweather possibly want?
  1. Money - Mayweather likes to spend money and is rumored to have financial troubles.
  2. Vanity - Mayweather wants to keep his undefeated record untarnished.
  3. Cash Flow - Mayweather wants big fights. At 43, the window of opportunity is slowly closing.
When Mayweather fought Pacquiao, the purse was split $180 million for Mayweather and $120 million for Pacquiao, according to Kurt Badenhausen.
Big number for sure. What could Conor offer? He has a big name, but he’s not Manny Pacquiao.
Money: Conor offers a better split of revenues. Reportedly, Mayweather took in $500 million with Conor only taking $100 million.
Vanity: On paper, this fight should be the least risk for Mayweather. Sure, Conor has a monster left hand, but he’s not a professional boxer. Mayweather believes he will retain his record.
Cash Flow: McGregor offers to promote the hell out of this fight. With Mayweather believing he has no chance of losing, he also retains his record, assuring he can continue to get big money fights.
Let’s face it. Conor couldn’t lose. Losing to Mayweather in a boxing match doesn’t hurt his brand at all, and he comes away $100 million dollars richer and an even bigger brand.
The secret to negotiating is to have a deep understanding of what the other party wants.
Make the deal win-win. If the other party has massive leverage or if the deal could be a game changer for you or your business, don’t be afraid to give them more.

Lesson 22 - Spend More Time on Promotion

MMA training takes a considerable amount of time.
MMA fighters train in multiple disciplines, lift weights, and do a ton of cardio. They also need time to sleep and recover.
With all this training, how do you even have time to promote the fight?
Still McGregor has taken time to make appearances, go on press tours, television, podcasts, and more.
A lot of fighters hate promoting. It takes time away from the things they need to do to prepare for a fight.
No matter how hard it is, promotion is key to becoming a big name in the sport.
This is great advice, especially for creatives. Creatives spend so much time producing work. It seems productive, but you need to spend equal time promoting.

Lesson 23 - Diversify You Need Multiple Revenue Streams

As in most professional sports, MMA fighters take a brutal toll on their bodies. It is hard to determine the average fighter’s career length, but the 9-year rule, stating that fighter’s start to decline around the 9-year mark, is a good indicator.
This means that most fighters only have 10 years to maximize their career earnings in the sport.
McGregor has done this through sponsorships:
He has a residency deal with the Wynn Las Vegas for his post fight after parties.
He owns digital properties selling workouts (McGregor FAST Program), emojis (MacMoji App), the MacTalk App, and the everything McGregor and MMA website, the Mac Life. All of these generate additional revenue.
Then like a true Irishman, he started his own line of whiskey, Proper 12, just in time before the biggest fight of his MMA career against Khabib Nurmagomedov. In a genius move, McGregor sponsored his own UFC fight to promote his new whiskey. The brand has reportedly brought in $1 billion in sales in its first year.
Changing markets, the economy, or a pandemic can all change everything in an instant. It is important to have multiple revenue streams to both maximize revenue generation opportunities and safeguard you from a change in circumstances such as a lay-off.
Side Hustles are becoming more and more popular!

Lesson 24 - There is No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

Conor McGregor and his team’s bus incident ignited a flurry of bad press. A string of bad publicity follows. Let's take a quick look at the Google trends for Conor Mcgregor searches over time:
There are 12 peaks indicating high searches:
  1. Becomes Cage Warriors Double Champ (& tweeted by Joe Rogan)
  2. McGregor vs Mendes (& interviewed on Conan)
  3. McGregor vs. Aldo
  4. McGregor vs. Diaz I
  5. McGregor vs. Diaz II
  6. McGregor vs. Alvarez
  7. McGregor vs. Mayweather
  8. McGregor Bus Incident
  9. McGregor vs. Khabib
  10. Accusation of Sexual Assault
  11. Mcgregor Bar Fight
  12. Mcgregor vs. Cerrone
Numbers 8, 10, & 11 are all bad press.
But an old saying by P.T. Barnum rang true.
The fight with Khabib went on to become the biggest fight in UFC history.
Now the saying isn’t 100% true, we’ve all seen bad press sink a company, but let’s be real, this is the fight game. The fans secretly loved it. Come on, he’s a fighter. We expect this.
Bad Publicity can actually help smaller brands, as it still gets eyeballs on the product, service, or person. The strategy definitely has some risks, but we’ve seen some major brands built with bad press (think Kim K’s sex tape).
However, larger brands can lose a lot of business with bad press.

Lesson 25 - Forward Momentum Propels You Forward Choose Your Battles Wisely

After a long lay-off between the Khabib defeat, Conor needs to win a big fight to get back in title contention.
Donald Cerrone is a great matchup. It is a fight he is expected to win as he is a -300 favorite according to oddsmakers. Plus, Cerrone is one of the most entertaining fighters to watch with his stand and bang style.
McGregor’s quick win over Donald Cerrone provides him with forward momentum once again and vaults him right back into title contention.
Look for little wins. Forward momentum propels you forward, boosts your confidence, and reinvigorates your motivation.
Set goals. Blast them. Keep moving forward.

Lesson 26 - Be Willing to Walk Away if the Deal Isn’t Right

At this point, McGregor wants a big fight.
A rematch with Khabib, a contender’s fight against Gaethje, or a spectacle with either a Diaz trilogy or the BMF holder, Masvidal.
No other fights really make sense right now.
Maybe Conor will take a rematch with Floyd Mayweather or perhaps the talks about Pacquiao are true. Who knows.
Without the right match on the table, Conor decides to sit on the sideline until the right deal is presented.
Sometimes it is better to walk away and keep your stock high than to take a bad deal.

Bonus Lesson 1 - Take Care of Your Body & Mind

As an elite athlete, surely Conor McGregor is in great shape. Yet, it was a story about Lebron James that changed his entire outlook on training and mindset.
Lebron reportedly has a cadre of trainers, biomechanists, massage therapists, nutritionists, and personal chefs that have all contributed to his longevity in the sport. He does cryotherapy and spends time in the hyperbaric chamber. It was even reported that Lebron took ballet classes to help with his footwork.
He spends roughly $1.5 million a year on his body.
After McGregor read this, he knew he had to invest in his own body.
It seems he also worked with Tony Robbins, the ultimate life coach, to help with his mental state.
Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends. Choose three.
The above is a running joke in the startup world. It is hard to juggle everything when you’re busy trying to change the world.
Physical fitness and mental health are extremely important. Keep in shape and you’ll be more productive, have more energy, and be able to think more clearly.

Bonus Lesson 2 - Develop Unbreakable Confidence

Conor McGregor exudes confidence. While all professional athletes share this trait, Conor’s confidence is off the charts even for professional athlete standards.
A lot of people mistake McGregor’s confidence for arrogance. Understandably so.
Yet, Conor believes what he is saying.
I’ve watched countless hours of pre-fight interviews of both Conor and other fighters. Conor McGregor has absolute certainty he is going to win.
Other fighters also believe they are going to win. However, you can see faint tells, twitches, micro expressions, or even vocal uncertainties in their responses. Subconsciously, somewhere deep down, the fighter has doubts. Doubts in themselves and doubts in their abilities.
This is not evident anywhere in Conor McGregor’s UFC career. This does put the Tony Robbins coaching into perspective. DId Conor need help getting his confidence back after he was defeated by Khabib? Tony Robbins would be the guy to get your mojo back!
I believe there are two main drivers to success in business:
  1. Believing in yourself
  2. Having something to prove
Confidence gets you on the road to success. If you believe in yourself, you’ll be willing to take the chance at greatness.
On the flip side of the coin, there is one group of people with low confidence that also have the ability to make it big - someone who is determined to prove their worth. These people are so determined to be successful their lack of confidence does not scare them away. Slowly, they become confident along the way.

Bonus Lesson 3 - Be Grateful

The one thing that surprised me in the research for this article was how grateful he is for everything he has accomplished.
Conor Mcgregor, an international sports legend with $100+ million dollars. A man that could have anything he wants. And he is truly grateful for his success.
No matter your success in life, this one is the key. No amount of money will ever make you happy. But gratitude - for your family, your friends, your lifestyle, for every little positive thing in your life that you take for granted, that is the real key to success and happiness.
If you enjoyed this, the full article can be found here.
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2020.09.03 18:00 SaintRidley Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Mar. 28, 1988

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words, continuing in the footsteps of daprice82. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
• PREVIOUS •
1987
FUTURE YEARS ARCHIVE:
The Complete Observer Rewind Archive by daprice82
1-4-1988 1-11-1988 1-18-1988 1-25-1988
2-1-1988 2-8-1988 2-15-1988 2-22-1988
2-29-1988 3-7-1988 3-14-1988 3-21-1988
  • Lots of news… next week. There’s some negotiations happening that could make the basis of the biggest story of the year, but nothing’s concrete yet so… Yeah. Turns out to be a bit smaller at this stage than Dave's been led to believe right now.
  • Interest in Wrestlemania this year looks way down compared to last year. And it’s nothing to do with the Clash. The first Wrestlemania had media all over it, from newspapers to big magazines. The second got a lot of press as well, a lot driven by its major celebrity involvement. Wrestlemania 3 didn’t get a lot of national press, but it was the most successful financially and a lot of Michigan/Ontario papers spent a lot of time on it. This year? Practically nothing. No news coverage, no broad interest by the general public, nobody on the bus talking about the show. PPV means Wrestlemania won’t be a bomb, but it’s not going to be the giant blockbuster Dave anticipated at hitting over $25 million. He still thinks worst case scenario they gross $19 million, but the lack of buzz is going to affect WWF going into the summer.
  • Billy Jack Haynes and Don Owen’s war for Oregon is the biggest story this week, as two of Owen’s biggest stars just quit on him. Rip Oliver and Mike Miller are presumably jumping over to start with Haynes when he gets going, along with rumors of Kevin Kelly, Chavo Guerrero, Big Bubba, and J.T. Southern. Tom Zenk and Curt Hennig got offers as well, with the latter being billed as appearing for Owens already.
  • Over on Pro Wrestling this Week, their angle is that Paul E. Dangerously purchased controlling interest in the show and is doing a hostile takeover. Guess the ECW Invasion on Raw wasn’t Paul’s first invasion angle. The show for Wrestlemania weekend will see Paul fire Gordon Solie, Joe Pedicino, and Bonnie Blackstone, and Solie getting fired on air could make the show a collector’s item (well, I can’t find it online so it might actually be). Watch this Danger Zone, because Paul gives a really good early career promo here.
Watch: Paul E. Dangerously announces his hostile takeover of Pro Wrestling This Week
  • Dump Matsumoto’s final televised match, which aired March 6 in Japan, did a monster 13.2 rating. No doubt that sticks around as the second highest rated wrestling show of the year barring something absolutely amazing and unforeseen happening. Extra impressive, the show aired on a Sunday afternoon out of prime time. The main event saw Dump and Yukari Omori, also retiring, go against the Crush Gals to a no contest where all of them bled buckets. Chigusa Nagayo then grabbed the house mic and requested an impromptu exhibition teaming with Dump, one of her biggest rivals in her career. To Dave’s knowledge they have never teamed together. They went against Lioness Asuka and Omori for five minutes until tv time ran out, with a double pin happening at the bell where both Crush Gals were pinned by Omori and Dump. It’s pretty much tradition in joshi retirement shows that the retiree gets to be put over one last time by their friends and rivals.
  • This week’s syndicated ratings report (for the week ending February 21) have WWF in 6th place and Crockett in 8th. WWF is at a 9.9 in 245 markets while Crocket’s got a 7.9 in 177 markets, both dropping over a point since the previous week’s report. GLOW has joined in with POWW, AWA, and Pro Wrestling this Week’s syndicated package, so that should probably go back up to the top 15 going forward. A note in Sports, Inc. magazine about WWF ad rates means WWF should be grossing between $15.6 and $18 million this year in pure advertising revenue. Crockett stands to gross around $10 million.
  • Dave’s hoping to be able to get preliminary ratings info for the recent Saturday Night’s Main Event this issue. It should give a sense on how the general public reacted to The Main Event. If ratings are down a lot, it means that the general public probably got turned off by the whole business with the belt sale and referee twin magic. Ratings for the syndicated shows the week after the Main Event were very good because everyone wanted to know what happened, but the week after that saw a 1.2 drop. So we’ll see if this is a trend.
  • Syndicators have already ordered 52 episodes of Learning the Ropes, the tv show Crockett’s going to be involved with. It starts in September and a lot of the Crockett main event guys are going to be involved playing themselves. Don’t worry - it’s only going to get the one season, so just 26 episodes exist.
  • So last week Dave reported about Andre choking Duggan and Duggan bleeding from the mouth, and it really shows the difference between NWA and WWF. Andre accidentally hit Duggan’s lip, which led to Duggan’s tooth cutting his lip and he bled a lot. There was talk of Vince ordering a re-shoot because of how much blood. In the NWA, if there were a similar happening, they’d be ecstatic about all the blood and certainly wouldn’t consider a reshoot. No word on if they will reshoot, but we should know by next week.
  • [WWF] The Killer Bees have been asked to turn heel. They did an angle during the lumberjack match in Philadelphia on March 12 where they attacked Hogan during his match with DiBiase. Of course, Hogan beat all three up.
  • Demolition have been doing jobs everywhere, which Dave thinks is a good hint that they win the titles at Wrestlemania. WWF’s booking policy on tag teams has always been to have the future champions job relentlessly until they win, and this looks like more of the same.
  • [Oregon] Curt Hennig was supposed to wrestle here on March 5, but his back and neck prevented him from working. The AWA Title was held up here pending a Hennig vs. Grappler match, but with Hennig out they subbed in the Assassin as his representative. Assassin beat Grappler, so Hennig is now the “new” AWA World Champion in Portland. Yeah, this is astonishingly dumb.
  • [Memphis] About the only stuff going on right now of any interest is about the Gilberts. Dave watched the past couple weeks and credits Eddie and Missy Hyatt for breathing some life into the promotion, but there’s nothing on the undercard to really support it. Eddie threw fire on March 19, burning Randy Hales after he expressed frustration with the Gilberts trying to take over. Eddie came out for a match and lost via countout because he was arguing with Hales.
  • The closest to anyone or anything of consequence happening in Central States was the Midnight Rockers were announced to replace the Rock & Roll Express for their March 17 show. They no-showed.
  • [WCCW] The March 20 Star Wars show only drew 2,500 fans and started 15 minute late. It then ended at 11 pm (4:45 total length) because they spent so much time delaying between matches. The Simpsons now have both sets of tag titles, Hayes beat Parsons by DQ, Chris Adams beat Terry Taylor by countout when Taylor walked out after getting beaten absolutely bloody, and Kerry retained the world title against Terry Gordy when the referee, despite a ref bump, said he did in fact see Gordy throw Kerry over the top rope. They must make their refs out of tougher stuff in Texas. The Thunderdome cage match in the main event was absolutely bloody, but Dave’s coverage does not make clear who won.
  • WCCW showed the concert attack on the syndicated show and it came off great. One snag: while the wrestlers brawled, the band just kept playing like nothing had happened. The story so far, at least what they’re pushing, is that Buddy Roberts got drunk and ruined the concert and Hayes won’t speak with him because of it. Meanwhile, Terry Gordy, who came back on March 20, claims to have heard two conflicting stories about Buddy’s drinking. So that’s a fun angle.
  • Not much going on in New Japan, but they’re pushing a tag team of pirates. One of the pirates is Bob Orton, playing Billy the Pirate. Billy wrestled Inoki on the live Nagasaki tv show on March 4 which drew a 10.5 rating, the company’s highest since December.
  • Lots of results from All Japan, not a lot of news except for building a big Budokan Hall show for March 27. Tenryu and Hansen will have a rematch for the PWF Title while Brody challenges Jumbo Tsuruta for the International Title. Also appearing during that time period will be Big Bubba Rogers for a four-week tour before he starts with WWF, Tom Magee, and Jimmy Snuka.
  • Here’s the real scoop with All Japan - rumor has it that somewhere down the road, possibly as early as the summer, they plan to unify the singles titles. That will probably be Tsuruta vs. Tenryu, based off current titleholders. The countdown to the Triple Crown Title begins.
  • All Japan did a worked shoot take on the Choshu-Maeda shoot on March 5. It was designed to fool smart fans into thinking there’s potential for real violence in Hansen vs. Tenryu on March 9. Tenryu and Hara did a double enziguiri to Hansen, then Tenryu sold his ankle like he kicked too hard while Hansen collapsed, “knocked out.” He sold it super well while Terry Gordy got involved to throw them out so it wouldn’t be obvious why they weren’t trying to get the pin. About 45 seconds later, Hansen groggily finds his feet and goes absolutely nuts, diving through the ropes onto Tenryu and starts beating him with everything he can find and the match goes to a double countout. After everyone else is taken to the back following the brawl in the stands, Hansen roughs up an official and grabs the mic and says “Nobody potatoes me!” which even had Dave fooled for a bit. Tried to find video on youtube, no luck, but this sounds amazing.
  • TV tapings for the dates after Wrestlemania have been taped, so here be spoilers. Ted DiBiase wrestled both tapings without the belt, so he didn’t win. Savage wasn’t on either taping, and about every other wrestler in the tournament except Hogan (gone for the summer) and Bam Bam (who blew out his knee and may not make Wrestlemania) showed up as a non-champion, so that clinches it for Savage. Also AP Wire picked up the bit from WWF Magazine about WWF Champion Randy Savage. So the two biggest events of the year, WWF has had the news media give away the results. The line in the magazine wasn’t a WWF plant, but a genuine error that made it to print. Beefer also appeared without the belt and Honkeytonk with, while Jimmy Hart had his hair covered, so there’s that result. And Strike Force appeared with the titles, so Dave concedes that he was only 1 for 3 in predicting the big title matches. Not so fast, Dave - you'll get up to 2/3 when the show happens.
  • [WWF] They’re trying to reboot Ted DiBiase a bit. Heenan’s going to continue being Andre’s manager and they’re going to focus on portraying DiBiase as a good wrestler, not just a chickenshit who pays off the referee to win. They realized fans weren’t taking Ted seriously as a top tier wrestler, which really hurt his drawing power, which should have been much more given the level of push, gimmick, and ability he has.
  • Also coming up after Wrestlemania will be a feud between Rick Rude and Jake Roberts. Rude’s gimmick is going to be kissing a planted woman in the audience each night, and on a tv show he’ll kiss Jake’s wife, which will set up the feud. Dave finds it amusing how in the old days they did everything they could to portray the wrestlers as single out of fear of losing women as fans and groupies.
  • Several closed-circuit sites for Wrestlemania are being closed due to poor advance sales. WWF is now going on record that closed-circuit is the past and ppv is the future. Dave’s talked to people all over the country this week and it seems people just aren’t into the tournament concept. Maybe this is where Vince’s reputation for hating tournaments stems from?
  • [AWA] Pat Tanaka and Paul Diamond won the AWA tag titles from the Midnight Rockers at the Vegas tapings on March 19. Adrian Adonis no-showed the taping, along with more than a half dozen others, including a new manager they were bringing in from Florida called Diamond Dallas Page. Well, that's sure a way to make your rewind debut with a bang.
  • [AWA] Stan Kowalski won’t be in to manage, apparently, but to do “Big K’s Corner.” Should be as entertaining as Paul E.'s Danger Zone is, just like Baron Von Raschke is as entertaining as Takada.
  • [AWA] Verne even had a GLOW tag match featuring Queen Kong, Hot Rod Andi, Malibu Doll, and another Dave didn’t catch the name of. Correction from last week: Kong didn’t wrestle as Mount Fuji in GLOW, but as Mathilda the Hun. Anyway, Dave quips that yes, this is indeed wrestling for serious fans, no gimmicks like the NWA and WWF. There was another women’s match between Debbie Combs and Olympia which was awful, since Olympia still doesn’t know what she’s doing. It was originally supposed to be Madusa vs. Olympia for the title, and then changed to a number one contender’s match, but that seems to have been tossed out since Madusa was in Debbie’s corner with her arm in a sling to cover for the real reason she was out: cosmetic surgery the results of which are fairly obvious.
Watch? Debbie Combs vs. Olympia
  • AWA’s world title build up to the March 19 Hennig vs. Wahoo McDaniel match sure was a rollercoaster. Zenk was supposed to have a non-title match at the February taping and a title match at this one, but he quit the day before the taping. Two weeks of promos hyping the match up after the non-title match that never happened, including hyping up how good Zenk looked at the shows he didn’t appear on. Then the commentators talk about how Wahoo now has the title match, because “as everyone saw, Hennig injured Zenk” and have since claimed it was a broken arm or leg. Not even World Class has gone so far as to claim that everybody saw something that never actually happened.
  • Remember two weeks ago when Stampede had its best match ever? They did it again on March 12 but even better. Owen and Bruce teamed with Benoit, Pillman, and Jason the Terrible against Steve DiSalvo, Makhan Singh, Jerry Morrow, Great Gama, and Johnny Smith in an elimination cage match. Supposedly this was a five star classic to be sure. Another match in Edmonton that never made tv and thus is impossible to find.
  • More on Paul E. taking over Pro Wrestling this Week. They’re going to announce this week that he takes full control on June 1.
  • The New York Times ran an article on Thunderbolt Patterson and his new career as a blue collar labor organizer in Atlanta.
Read: Ex-Wrestler Fights in a New Arena
  • Saturday Night’s Main Event drew a 10 rating and 30 share. It’s a good rating, but definitely lower than previous ones and shows that The Main Event didn’t really add to their viewing audience. In the Bay area specifically, the show only managed a 5.5 rating, while in Dallas it was a 4.
  • There’s talk of Jerry Jarrett working with Mike Graham to open a Florida promotion and they’ve already talked about getting Gordon Solie to do tv. Jerry does not appear to open a Florida promotion until 2002, when he opens up TNA.
  • Bruno Sammartino did a candid interview about WWF on a Pittsburgh radio show. Dave’s hoping someone who taped it can send him the tape so he can hear it.
  • Ted DiBiase is now using the cobra clutch as his finisher.
  • Billy Jack Haynes’ new promotion has a name: The OWWF. That’s the Oregon-Washington Wrestling Federation, and they’ll also be running a wrestling school starting April 4, with Brad Rheingans and Haynes as coaches.
  • Blackjack Mulligan won a legal case where he was sued for punching a business partner during an argument in 1986. His defense was that it was self-defense, and the jury believed him. Mulligan’s lawyer was so good he even got the accuser to say he felt sorry for Mulligan. As part of the proceedings, evidence turned up that recent bad business deals and a heart attack have pretty much kept Mulligan out of wrestling and even put him in such bad straits that he may lose his house.
  • Two readers write in suggesting Dave start a letter-writing campaign so fans can put pressure on cable companies to show the wrestling they want to see, like New Japan or All Japan Women, and ditch wrestling they don’t want (like Financial News Network running NWF). Dave says rather than tell people what to write and organizing it the way these two are suggesting, he’ll start getting network addresses and publish those so fans can voice their genuine opinions if they choose to. Dave thinks writing to FNN, ESPN, or Tempo and requesting a specific show or thanking them for running a show they do run could have some influence if readers do this in numbers. As for The Nashville Network, which does sports all day Sunday and was brought up as an option by one letter, the owner doesn’t want any wrestling on his station. You’re gonna have to wait for ECW to hit TNN in 1999, fellas.
  • We’re a week out from Clash and the NWA has only announced four of the matches for the show.
  • Dave saw the NWA’s March 16 show in San Francisco, which drew surprisingly well at 4,500 fans who were very enthusiastic for the show. Nothing spectacular here, even the FlaiSting match only gets 2.5 stars. The night before they were in Reno for their first show out there and drew so poorly that you can probably expect them not to come back.
  • The new TBS Sunday show for NWA has the wrestlers excited because they get a nice bonus for appearing. The main event participants split a $7,500 bonus, which is huge if you’ve got a singles main event, and the semi-main splits $2,500. The show will be called NWA Main Event, and will have a three match format with interviews and become the new C show of Crockett’s syndicated package. The bonuses should especially keep the heels happy despite being asked to do jobs on tv, at least in theory. Dave predicts a lot of good matches and mostly disqualification finishes.
  • NWA is planning a July ppv Great American Bash with Flair vs. Luger, but that’s in the 60-day window before WWF’s August show. Ted Turner’s supposed to clear athe ppv market up for them, so we’ll see how that goes and we can probably expect a free WWF countershow on USA at that time.
  • [NWA] The Fantastics had a match against the Midnight Express that went 37 minutes and took up basically the entire episode of NWA Pro from this week. It looked like a heated match from what Dave saw on TBS, and he puts over how hard the Fantastics are working to get over. Dave would rather watch guys like the Fantastics who may not quite be the best but bust their asses to give you action than more talented guys won ego trips who don’t give you anything. The Fantastics vs. Midnights might just be the best series of matches going on in North America right now.
Watch: NWA Pro March 26, 1988
NEXT WEEK: Wrestlemania and Clash of the Champions, Crockett in negotiations with Ken Mantell of World Class, Magnum T.A. gets physical on tv again, and more
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2020.09.01 14:51 kittehgoesmeow What A Day: Upping The Vigilante by Sarah Lazarus & Crooked Media (08/31/20)

"It looks like the virus is not as deadly as the mainstream media first made it out to be." - Deceased COVID victim Herman Caine's Twitter account

Bad Goon Rising

With President Trump and his most fervent supporters now locked in a steady feedback loop of glorifying and inciting violence, there’s only one reasonable conclusion for voters to draw: This guy Joe Biden sure loves violence.
The shooting in Portland came just days after Trump supporter Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two protesters in Kenosha, WI, acts of murder that Trump now defends.
Joe Biden summed up both the absurdity of Trump’s strategy and the stakes of this election in one simple question: “Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is re-elected?” We’re at the beginning of another dark week. What will you do to make it one of this administration’s last?

Look No Further Than The Crooked Media

The conventions are over and many states have less than one month to finish registering voters ahead of Election Day. Earlier this year, Vote Save America teamed up with PowerPac to launch the Every Last Vote fund. The fund supports aggressive, on-the-ground efforts to mobilize Black, brown, indigenous, and other marginalized communities who are routinely the victims of targeted voter disenfranchisement efforts. They support groups like Souls to the Polls in Wisconsin, the Florida Immigrant Coalition, and many more in the battleground states where we need to win. We want to raise $750,000 to help them do what they do—visit https://votesaveamerica.com/everylastvote to donate and learn more.

Under The Radar

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence will no longer verbally brief the House and Senate intelligence committees on election security. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe notified the committees that they would still receive written briefings, just not, you know, the in-person kind where intelligence officials have to answer follow-up questions, and might commit perjury by, say, downplaying illicit foreign efforts to help Donald Trump win re-election. Consider this another flashing neon sign that Trump has welcomed Russian meddling in 2020 with open arms. House intelligence chairman Adam Schiff said on Sunday it was possible the House could subpoena intelligence officials to testify on election threats instead.

What Else?

One of President Trump’s new pandemic advisors has pushed the White House to adopt a “herd immunity” strategy, since that worked out so miserably for Sweden. Anyway, the U.S. has now had over six million confirmed coronavirus cases, and colleges across the country have seen serious outbreaks.
The House coronavirus committee released a series of alarming White House coronavirus task force reports that the Trump administration hid from the public while downplaying the threat. At least Trump has finally buckled down and begun (checks notes) retweeting a conspiracy theorist questioning the official coronavirus death toll.
The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against Michael Flynn and the Justice Department in their bid to force a lower-court judge to dismiss Flynn’s criminal case without a hearing, overturning an earlier decision by two Republican-appointed judges that would’ve made it impossible to probe the corrupt relationship between Flynn and Donald Trump’s DOJ. That en banc court has similar work in its future—two more of its GOP-appointed judges just ruled, insanely, that the House can’t ask courts to enforce its subpoenas.
Nevertheless, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) said she plans to subpoena Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for documents related to mail delays.
GOP congressional candidate and QAnon maniac Marjorie Taylor Greene shared white supremacist rhetoric on Twitter, if that’s of interest to anyone in the Republican Par—no? Okay, for sure.
Melania Trump’s former friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff said she’s working with three different prosecutors' offices on their investigations of Trump’s inaugural committee’s shady spending.
In 2018, then-White House Counsel Don McGahn and then-Chief of Staff John Kelly were deeply concerned about Jared Kushner’s security clearance, based on the results of an FBI investigation into Kushner’s background. Trump intervened to make sure Kushner got top-secret clearance anyway. Cool cool emails cool cool.
Chadwick Boseman died Friday after a four-year battle with colon cancer. He was 43. We recommend reading or revisiting this piece, if you haven’t yet. Also, this clip.
Leonard Cohen’s estate might take legal action after the RNC played the song Hallelujah twice after having been denied permission, and has already filed one sick burn: “Had the RNC requested another song, ‘You Want it Darker,’ for which Leonard won a posthumous Grammy in 2017, we might have considered approval of that song.”

Be Smarter

The Justice Department secretly took steps to narrow the Russia investigation in 2017, to avoid fully examining President Trump’s financial ties to Russia. According to former law-enforcement officials, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein limited Special Counsel Robert Mueller to conducting a criminal investigation only, and not an investigation into threats to national security that the FBI had information about. Rosenstein never told then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe about that decision, and he assumed Mueller would be investigating Trump’s personal and financial connections to Russia as part of the inquiry. McCabe said, “If a decision was made not to investigate those issues, I am surprised and disappointed.” Can’t muster up much surprise, but we are right there with you on the disappointment, Andy!

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Is That Hope I Feel?

Democrats have outpaced Republicans in new voter registrations in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania since the 2016 election.
A federal judge has extended the deadline for absentee ballots to be returned in Georgia, ruling that they must be counted if postmarked by November 3 and delivered up to three days afterwards.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer confirmed that the House will vote to decriminalize marijuana and expunge nonviolent federal cannabis convictions.
The Progressive Turnout Project has launched a one-on-one voter contact and education program that aims to place 55 million calls and send 500,000 handwritten letters to voters ahead of the election.

Enjoy

Akilah Hughes on Twitter: "Wait. How did I know?"
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2020.08.18 04:22 welcometosouthapp Welcome to South App #4: "Outside 101"

Monday, August 17th, 2020
Winston Beavers was having a very bad day.
It all began at 5 AM when his phone alarm vibrated. He rolled over on his belly and silenced it before it could wake Tai. It was the first day of class, but Winston wasn’t rising early to drink coffee and read the student newspaper. Instead, he grabbed his trusty silk tie and used it to hang his tablet from the sprinkler head. He slipped his headphones on, booted up some porn, and got straight down to business with both hands.
Now his contraption was holding on by faith and faith alone. But Winston paid no mind. He listened to Irish redheads moaning in his ear while he arched his back and curled his toes. And with each passing second, the weight of the tablet began to wear on the old, rusty sprinkler head.
So, when Winston exploded, so did that sprinkler head.
“Fuck!” Winston yelled, choking on a mouthful of rusty water. He tumbled off the top bunk, landing square on his ass. He scrambled to his feet, grabbed a binder from his desk, and rushed out the room - slipping on the puddle on his way out. Tai was already in the hallway, naked and wrapped in a wet blanket.
“What the hell, asshole?!” Tai blurted out, shivering with his laptop and backpack in each hand. “I told you not to jerk off like that!”
“Save your breath, partner,” Winston reassured him. “This here binder is the only important thing in that goddamn room.”
As water seeped into the hallway, Winston reckoned his luck had finally run out. Earlier this week, the Asheville PD had informed him that his prized Single Action Army was nowhere to be found in evidence. But he still had his precious binder, with the letters BDE inscribed on the spine. And when the water was finally shut off, Winston stuffed the binder back in his desk and made Tai pinky swear to keep it a secret.
***
A few hours later, Tai sat on the sofa in a local Asheville coffee shop with a drink and a bible in front of him.
As your wing-woman, I shall provide some friendly reminders!” Gigi cheerfully told Tai over the phone. “Make sure you’re facing the door so you can see when he comes in. Oh, and remember the order of operations: turn a page, sip your drink, make eye contact. Turn, sip, eyes!
“Uh, are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Tai whispered, as sleepy, hungover students filed in.
“I’m setting you up on an impromptu date on a Monday morning, am I not?”
“And have you run this strategy by amateur wingman extraordinaire Winston Beavers?”
Gigi paused. “Winston and I are...no longer on speaking terms. Sorry! I do not consent to any conversation about the aforementioned obnoxious brute whatsoever. Good luck!”
Gigi hung up. So Tai, who had never touched a bible, flipped to Ephesians like Gigi had coached him before. In fact, she’d planned out everything down to the last detail: the NIV version of the bible, the iced caramel macchiato, and the red and white checkerboard Vans he wore.
But Tai’s mind wandered to a more interesting book that he also had not yet read. He wanted to know what the hell was in Winston’s binder.
Suddenly, Jacky California walked into the cafe. Showtime. His 7:30 coffee break was expected. (Gigi found Jacky’s schedule on Facebook, and a quick visit to this cafe before 8 AM Intermediate Spanish just made sense.) Check. Turn, sip, eyes. Jacky waited in line, wearing a slim-fit red Abercrombie polo, bleached holy jeans, and his prized red and white checkerboard Vans. And his shoe decision, yet again, was also expected. (Gigi discovered that Jacky had only two classes on Monday, influencing his choice in that comfy pair of shoes that he wore in his profile pic). Check. Turn, sip, eyes. When Jacky stepped up to the counter, he ordered an iced caramel macchiato. And, once again, Gigi predicted this move. (Whatever the weather, Jacky’s SoCal roots virtually guaranteed an icy, watered-down coffee approach. Not to mention, nobody drinks hot coffee after sitting in the tanning bed for 30 minutes. Which, according to Gigi’s sleuthing, Jacky partook in every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.) Check. Turn, sip, eyes. Finally, while waiting for his order, Jacky pulled out his NIV study bible and flipped to the Book of Acts. (This time, Gigi was only partially off-base. His Facebook modeling photos were actually captioned with Ephesians bible verses. Nothing a quick fix couldn’t remedy). So Tai flipped straight to Acts, took a long sip of his macchiato, and made direct eye contact with Jacky as he walked over.
“Bro, this is freakin’ gnarly!” Jacky said in disbelief, pointing out their matching shoes, bible, and drink. “This is some righteous Revelation-level prophecy if I’ve ever seen it. Hey, my name’s Jacky. Is this seat ocupado?”
***
“Oh no!” Claire exclaimed, stroking Winston's fuzzy beard. “I’m, like, totally sorry about my stud’s mishap this morning!”
“Thank ya, peach pie,” Winston said, shaking his head. “I reckon they’ll move my ass to the broom closet and hang me out to dry.”
Claire and Winston were sitting in the Rec Center courtyard in athletic gear, along with several other hungover students. This was the Outdoors Adventures Seminar, AKA “Outside 101.” For many, it was a breezy way to snag the required Health and Fitness credit hour. And that's exactly why Gigi and Frank were also in this class. They sat on the opposite side of the courtyard, quietly gossipping and shooting the occasional glance their way.
“Your friends over there are, like, totally ignoring us!” Claire piped up, tugging Winston’s sleeve. “That’s, like, so rude.”
“Don’t trouble yourself, puddin’ muffin. They just ain’t ready for us yet.”
“And, like, oh my God! Ryan flat-out told me those are, like, the two people who broke into the frat house and blew up his daddy’s ashes! They are, like, total thugs. Ew!”
“Ah, my sister explained to me that it was a big misunderstanding, bundt cake,” Winston replied, feigning interest.
“Well, you should totally talk some sense to that Asian friend of yours, or else this class is gonna be, like, hella awkward,” Claire suggested. “She has, like, a salt and vinegar chip on her shoulder! It’s, like, totally not my fault that I can pull off a sports bra while she’s wearing those baggy clothes!”
True enough, Gigi and Frank had been giving them the cold shoulder ever since the frat house raid. For Frank, this was because of Winston’s affiliation with Claire Dansby and the notorious fraternity she represented. As for Gigi, it was more simple and personal: the lap dance.
“Ahoy, ladies and germs!” greeted the rugged Australian instructor, decked out in bushman’s gear. “My name is Angus, and I want to welcome ya to Outside 101. While you shop different classes, I indeed hope you’ll choose to spend your semester with us. Today is the Gauntlet Challenge, where we’ll break off into groups and compete for a mighty fine prize!”
With that, Angus hurled an ax at a target behind the students. Bullseye. Everyone stood up to clap and cheer. “Now, everybody come up front and grab yourselves a fine ole’ nametag so we know who you are!”
Winston sprung up and headed for the front of the line. Gigi stood with her back to him, her long black hair draping over her Under Armor tank top. He cleared his throat. “Howdy. Looks like we’re gonna be getting a workout in today. So hey, can I have a word with ya in private?”
She spun around, showing him a forced smile. “I’m sorry, sir. I don’t consent to this conversation.”
With that, she grabbed a nametag and wrote “Gigi.” Winston cocked his head. “So, I seem to recall Sarah telling me that you’ve got a South Korean name that only your father calls you.”
“Ah, but what’s in a name anywho?” pondered Frank, stepping forward. “Sir Winston, I wish to extend a sincere congratulations to your acceptance into the Beta Delta Epsilon Sausage Club. And to that brazen bull of a woman under your thumb. Alas, a braver man than me are you!”
Gigi narrowed her eyes at Winston. “You don’t know my real name?” she stated matter-of-factly. “Do you even know me at all?”
Frank and Gigi walked back to their seat. The hair stood up on the back of Winston’s neck. But before he could retort, two late students entered the courtyard.
“Hey, what’s up dudes and dudettes?” Jacky greeted casually. “Sorry we’re late. We couldn’t find the-"
“Hellooo everyone!” Tai greeted the class flamboyantly. “Jacky-boy, I hope you’re ready for a totally fabulous time! Ready to sweat? Oh, will you look at the sports bra on that blonde gal over here! Looks like Victoria can’t keep her secret for long. Am I right, Tai? Hey, boo-boo! Yes, you in the sports bra. You are killing it!”
Claire giggled, thanking Tai. But he and Jacky wound up sitting next to Gigi and Frank instead, introducing each other. Winston watched from afar, shaking his head. So this is how my roommate acts when he’s no longer single, he thought. Then, when no one was watching, Winston reached into his pocket and pulled out a 20-dollar bill.
“Oi, Steve Irwin,” Winston whispered to Angus, slipping him the money. “I need ya to put me and my friends together in a group.”
Winston pointed out his four friends, scribbled “BAMF” on a nametag, and walked confidently back to his seat. Then, when Gigi was watching, he gave Claire a sloppy, wet kiss.
***
“First elimination challenge is ax throwing!” Angus announced, behind the wheel of a Volkswagen VW bus. “The world’s second-oldest profession.”
Per request, Angus had formed a group out of Winston, Claire, Frank, Gigi, Tai, and Jacky. Now, he was driving them to a deserted field at the base of Mount Pisgah in the Asheville wilderness. Once they arrived, he set up a huge wooden target, then tossed Winston an ax.
“Now you look like a bloke who’s done this before!” Angus remarked.
“Hell, my daddy had to put a lock on the shed,” Winston bragged.
“Winston is, like, totally a wild man when it comes to the outdoors!” Claire chimed in. “I’m, like, super-stoked for him to totally man-handle me in the bedroom.”
The other four cringed at each other. Then, Winston reared back and hurled the ax with two hands, hitting a large ring.
“Three points!” Angus called out. “Claire, think you can conquer this beast?”
Claire stepped forward and grabbed an ax. As a former high school cheerleader, she hid some muscles under her small frame. But what surprised everybody was how she tossed hers one-handed. She hit an inner ring: a five-pointer.
“This, like, ain’t my first rodeo, cowboy!” Claire teased. She brazenly grabbed another ax and under-handed it to Gigi. She yelped, but Frank stepped in and caught it.
“My stars!” he said to Claire. “A woman so supple, yet so brazen around the edges. A fine mistress you doth make!”
Winston walked over to Gigi and gave her a puzzled look. “In the words of Richard III,” he began. “It looks Frank would trade his kingdom for a whore.”
“Um...since when have you started dabbling in Old English plays?” Gigi asked, a bit uneasy.
“Looks like you don’t know me much at all yourself.”
Gigi blushed, either enraged or embarrassed. She left him to stand next to her boyfriend. Then, Frank performed a one-handed throw, landing an inner ring.
“Five points for Shakespeare!” Angus cheered. “Let’s see if Miss Hathaway can cut the mustard.”
Before Frank handed Gigi the ax, she was already tense. He helped her hold it with two hands in a beginner’s stance. “But soft!” he said, as Gigi took aim. “Plant it straight in the heart! Just like I shall soon plant my seed in your womb.”
Flustered and distracted, she heaved the ax for an outer ring.
“Oi, only one point,” Angus declared. “Better hope our last two competitors think off target!”
Jacky grabbed an ax and faced Gigi. “Bro, your boyfriend’s a perv. And so is that chick.”
Jacky pointed straight at Claire. She giggled obnoxiously, flicking her long blonde hair. Jacky rolled his eyes. “God, please bring this lost sheep home,” he quietly prayed. He flung it from over the shoulder, missing the target completely.
“Ah, I can tell you’re fancy a boomerang by the way you throw that bugger!” Angus chuckled. “Our first elimination. Last one, come on down!”
Before Tai could grab his ax, Gigi pulled him aside. “Um, as your fellow wing-woman,” she started, “I suggest you launch the caveman hunting apparatus into the margins for the express purpose of aborting and creating a more intimate scenario with your beloved wave rider.”
Now Tai had grown a little closer with Gigi ever since she matched him up with Jacky. But all he could muster was a blank stare. Gigi leaned in closer. “Lose on purpose so you can be alone with him!” she hissed.
“Oh, got it,” Tai whispered back. “Hey, Gigi? Do ya think I can borrow your room for a bit? There’s no way Jacky can find out I live in a flooded swamp.”
Suddenly, Jacky’s ax boomerang came twirling back around, heading straight for Tai. He jumped to the side with a shriek, watching the ax fly into a tree. “Righteous!” Jacky cheered, running back to fetch it. So with that in mind, Tai took aim and tossed his ax boomerang-style. As intended, it went flying far and wide past the target.
“And Tai and Jacky have been eliminated!” Angus declared. “That means the rest of ya advance to our next challenge. And an impressive performance from the blonde bombshell and Italian stallion, I might add.”
Claire walked up to Frank and slapped his ass. “Looks like we pervs, like, totally got it going on!”
Winston and Gigi stared at each other in shock. But before they knew it, Tai’s ax boomerang came soaring back, nailing the side of Angus’ Volkswagen.
***
“FIX THE FUCKING AC,” growled Evelyn the RA in a low, demonic voice. “I WILL BURN THIS MOTHERFUCKER TO THE GROUND.”
In Sarah and Gigi’s room, Tai and Jacky had taken shelter from this emo demon, who was now stomping up and down the hallway. Sure enough, the AC was broken again. And after Tai had escorted Jacky up seven flights of stairs to “his” room, they’d found it virtually impossible to stop sweating.
“So let’s dive into Genesis 5 where we left off,” Jacky suggested, as they sat together on the futon. “It’s a little gnarly since it’s all genealogy. We’ll have to quiz each other when we’re done so we make sure we got it down pat!”
Jacky cracked open the bible, just as Evelyn screamed from the hallway. They rushed to the door and peeked out. Evelyn had let down her jet-black hair and had smeared mascara on her, sweating pale face. She locked eyes with the two young men. “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING HERE?” the demon within her tremored.
They quickly shut the door and got back to their bible study. “Well...anyway, this is the written account of Adam’s family line,” Jacky read. “Basically, this is gonna be a righteous heck-ton of funky names to remember. My youth pastor showed me an easy way to memorize them, where-”
Death metal blared in the hallway. Over the heavy muted guitar and the rapid-fire double bass, Evelyn released a primal roar.
“So yeah, an easy way to memorize the names is word association!” the sweating Jacky yelled over the screeching guitar solo. “For example, take Adam and Seth, who-”
“EVERYBODY BREAK SHIT,” Evelyn screamed, as the deafening breakdown began. Tai rushed to the door and peeked out again. This time, she was breaking off a long fluorescent light tube from the ceiling. Several of her female hallmates observed like visitors at a zoo. Evelyn reared back and smashed the wall, shattering the light into pieces.
“All right, bro,” Jacky finally sighed, shutting the bible and standing up. “Look, let’s just go to your actual room.”
“W-what?” Tai stuttered, closing the door.
“Come on brochacho,” Jacky said, slicking back his long blonde hair. “You think I didn’t catch on? There are the female girls in the hallway with the female devil incarnate. Not to mention the…dreadful taste in bedroom decor in whoever’s room this is. Come on, man. I wanna see the real you.”
They stared into each other's' cool grey eyes. Finally, Tai nodded and reached out to shake on it. Instead, Jacky held his hand and interlocked his fingers. They sneaked out into the hallway, and Jacky led the way to Tai’s room.
“H-how do you know where we’re going?” Tai asked.
“I’m your mailman,” Jacky answered, giving his hand a squeeze. “I know a lot more about you than you think. Heck, don’t even get me started on your roommate’s male enhancement subscription.”
As they descended the stairs, a herd of female students tried to restrain the spawn of Satan in the hall.
***
“Next up is the zip-line races!” Angus announced.
He drove the four competitors deep into the Pisgah National Forest with the ax still lodged in the van. He slowed to a stop in a green, tranquil meadow where sunlight peeked through the treetops. There, two huge zip-lines ran from the tops of starting platforms, all the way to a platform on the far side of the clearing.
Angus passed out a few safety harnesses, and everyone suited up. “Mine’s, like, a little too big!” Claire whined. “Gigi, you should totally trade with me since you have a tad more cushion for the pushin’! Hey, at least your boobs are smaller than mine! That, like, must be so convenient.”
Gigi ignored her, hooking herself to the lane behind Winston. Claire attached herself to the lane behind Frank. And Angus began the long walk toward the finish line platform. Now out of earshot, both groups began climbing the long rope ladders up to their platforms. Winston purposefully took his time. Halfway up the ladder, Winston stopped and looked down at Gigi.
“Hey, I know I’m being stubborn,” Winston said. “But I really wanna talk to you, if you’ll have me. Just give me a chance to explain-"
“She’s a total bitch!” Gigi hissed, surprising even herself. “If you’re dating her, we’re no longer friends.”
Frustrated and torn, Winston sighed. “Right. I reckon actions speak louder than words anyway.” He reached into his shorts pocket and pulled out a mini can of WD-40. Then, he proceeded to spray the shit out of both of their zip-line hooks.
“W-what the hell is wrong with you?” Gigi exclaimed, choking on the fumes.
“WD-40 is God’s lubricant,” Winston explained. “Now we’ll have a little speed boost when we race ‘em. Sorry, buddy, but I need us both to win so we have some alone time to sort things out.”
“You’re being absolutely ridiculous!” Gigi said, flabbergasted.
“I realize that. So I reckon I’ll make you an offer. When it’s me versus you at the finals, I’ll let you win so you get the Lazy Basil gift card. Deal?”
Suddenly, Gigi’s big, brown eyes shot open and her countenance sang a different tune. Lazy Basil was the finest Italian restaurant in all of Asheville - maybe all of North Carolina. And Frank would not be cooking her an Italian dinner until this Friday. After tasting a little bit of chocolate every day to prepare her body for cheese, she could not wait a day longer.
“Pray tell!” Frank suddenly yelled, looking down from his platform at the stragglers. “Art thou stuck on the ladder, Sir Winston? Mayhaps we require usage of a construction crane to haul up your portly frame.”
Winston grunted, then spat on the ground. “So what was that you were saying about my girlfriend being a bitch?” Winston asked Gigi.
Reaching the top of the ladder, Winston and Gigi stepped onto the platform. A perfect view of the bright green hemlock trees of the Pisgah National Forest. From the finish line platform, Angus pumped his fist. “Let’s get these wagon wheels a’rollin’!” his voice echoed across the forest. “Fellas up first!”
Winston made the mistake of looking down at the endless ocean of treetops. Stomach lurching, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Then, hands trembling, he moved his greased-up zip-line hook to the starting position.
Gigi tapped his shoulder. “Are you...afraid of heights?” she asked, more like a mother than a caring friend.
A sudden breeze caused their platform to sway ever-so-slightly. Winston hunched over and vomited his morning screwdriver into a nest of endangered birds. He wiped his mouth and looked up at Frank’s shit-eating grin. Winston simultaneously flicked him off while giving Angus a thumbs up.
“Ah, we’ve got ourselves a fighter!” Angus called out. “Ready. Set. Go!”
Winston and Frank kicked off their platforms, soaring over the forest. Sure enough, his WD-40 hack gave him the extra acceleration he needed. He held a clear lead over Frank as Angus’ platform grew closer and closer. Not even Frank’s Italian expletives could stop him.
“Wiiinston wins!” Angus cheered, as Winston whizzed up to the platform. And only a split-second later, Frank came in hot, landing gracefully.
“I underestimated thy aerodynamic stature!” Frank admitted. “Mayhaps I too require an uptick in fine American cuisine, say steak and potatoes?”
Back at the starting line, Gigi grabbed her hook and slid it into a starting position. She looked up at her hands, now slick with grease.
“I’m, like, totally sorry about being so rude earlier,” Claire said, making a pouting face. “Look, if you let me win, you get to leave class early with Frank, and I can have the gift card! And not to be totally awkward, but I think you could, like, have a super-hot figure without that Italian food in your diet.”
Two minutes later.
“Gigi wins!” Angus cheered, as she came careening to the finish line. A split second later, Claire came flying by - seething.
“Like, it’s totally not fair!” Claire cried, stomping her feet. “Gigi, like, totally called me a hashtag raging thundercunt! It, like-like-like-like-like, totally distracted me from the race!” Again, more crocodile tears while Claire buried her face in Winston’s shoulder.
“Woe is me!” Frank cried out, grabbing her shoulders. “Oh, the humanity! Alas, say you did no such thing!”
“There, there,” Winston said nonchalantly, patting Claire’s head like a dog. “I’m sure it ain’t that serious.”
Angus covered his mouth. “Oi, Miss Gigi: did you in fact call Lady Claire a raging thundercunt?”
Gigi politely crossed her hands in front of her waist, her messy black hair cascading over her pale face. And then: a tell-all smile.
“Well, you know we handle potty-mouths in Australia, right?” Angus asked. “We fuckin’ celebrate ‘em! And as for sore losers? We make ‘em walk the plank!”
Angus shoved Claire and Frank off the platform. They screamed until the cable pulled taut, leaving them dangling in midair.
“Congratulations, ya raging thundercunts!” Angus said to Winston and Gigi. “Now off to the finals we go. And doncha’ worry, ya blimey losers. My teaching assistant will come get ya down and give ya a comfy ride straight back to campus!”
Winston and Gigi climbed down the ladder and followed Angus out of the woods, leaving Frank and Claire as dinner for vultures. When the two were alone, Claire kicked off her tennis shoes and stretched out, showing off her flat stomach.
“I, like, always thought I had sex in every possible position!” Claire reflected. “Well, except for the Amazon position, since my fraternity forbids it. Awwwkward! But I’ve, like, totally never had sex in midair. Should we try it, Frank?”
***
It was a manic scene in the 700 Hall of Firewater. Hesitant to get the police involved, Evelyn’s roommates were in the process of summoning a Catholic priest to perform an exorcism. But she was no longer Tai and Jacky’s concern. The muffled screams, crashes, and bangs faded in the distance as the two guys entered the 300 Hall.
“We’re actually...not supposed to be here,” Tai cautioned, placing his hand on the doorknob to his room.
“How come, brotherman?” Jacky asked.
“It’s my roommate: Winston. There’s something in there that he doesn’t want me to know about. And he made me promise to not even let any visitors in our room.”
“So did he get it in writing, with a notary standing by?” Jacky joked.
“Pinky swear,” Tai corrected.
“Far out,” Jacky marveled. “That’s some next-level serious business.” Jacky chuckled, slicking his hair back. “So let me ask this about your roommate: would he rather us be in your room, or his sister’s room?”
Tai froze. Finally, he unlocked the door. “Touché.”
The mildew hit them like a freight train. The mattresses, rug, and futon cushion were all gone. Besides that, Jacky was standing in a typical college dorm. A football schedule and Megan Fox poster on Winston’s side. Video game and anime posters on Tai’s side. A dirty microwave and a mini-fridge, probably filled with light beer and leftover Chinese takeout.
Tai sat on the metal futon frame and patted the spot next to him. “So, what if we used flashcards to memorize some of those biblical names? It’s important for me to - WHAAA-!”
Jacky was frantically searching through Winston’s drawers. “Bingo, my man!” He held up the binder and read the spine. “What’s BDE anyway? Does it stand for big...uh, big-penis energy? Sounds like your roomie has some gnarly ego issues.”
Distracting himself, Tai opened the bible in his trembling hands. “So...uh...there’s Shem...Ham...and Japeth, the three sons of-”
Jacky plopped down next to Tai and opened the binder. “Dude! Do you know what this is?”
Tai looked down at pages upon pages of driver’s licenses in card sleeves. Every race, creed, and gender under the sun. And all featured photos that could pass for any young-looking 21-year-old.
Tai and Jacky had just uncovered Beta Delta Epsilon’s secret fake ID operation. Jacky searched through a few pages, and finally pulled out an ID that could pass for Tai. He removed it from the sleeve and placed it in Tai’s shaking hand. Then, he sat on his lap and held up an ID of a tan white guy with blonde hair. “I don’t wanna talk about Shem and Ham, my dude,” Jacky declared. “I wanna talk about our new legal names: Caleb and Demitri.”
“Ah, now I have an actual black guy’s name,” Tai chuckled, forcing a smirk. Suddenly, he slipped his hand up Jacky’s shirt, feeling his rock-hard abs. “I, uh...so do you want to roleplay...Caleb?”
“Not just roleplay, my dude,” Jacky whispered into Tai’s ear, nuzzling his cheek. “I want to help other people roleplay. Dude! What if we stole these fake ID’s and sold them to every underage student on campus? Think of how freaking righteous that money would be!” Tai’s heart raced as Jacky swung his legs over Tai’s waist, straddling him. Jacky ran his lips from his collarbone to his ear.
“That’s...illegal,” Tai moaned softly. “Not to mention a little ungodly.”
“Maybe so,” Jacky said, nibbling his ear. “But I follow God, not the world. Some people don’t know the difference.
“Caleb” and “Dimitri” rolled off the futon, kissing, biting, and scratching each other until the clothes flew off. And little did they know Evelyn was scouring the 300 Hall with a chef’s knife in her hand, searching for them.
***
“The grand finale!” Angus announced. “The rock climbing wall!”
Angus led Winston and Gigi to a huge rock wall on the face of the Pisgah Mountains. This time, there was no cheat code in the world that would work in Winston’s favor. While his upper-body strength toppled that of Gigi, he was simply hauling a much larger load.
“The rumors are true!” Angus chuckled. “There is a 50-dollar Lazy Basil gift card up for grabs for the first one to reach the top.”
He strapped Winston and Gigi to the climbing cables, then took a step back. The trembling Winston glanced over at the cool, confident Gigi. “It looks like it’s just me and you, buddy,” he said. “So, do ya reckon you can tell me what I can do to make things right?”
“Go, go, go!” Angus suddenly shouted.
Gigi, quick and nimble, jumped straight up and grabbed her first hold. With ease, she began traversing the wall like an orangutan. Winston chugged along, contorting his body in awkward positions just to keep from falling.
“Look, Gigi!” Winston called out. “I hate that it’s like this between us. Man, I just wanna know what I can do. Hell, you can have my purple V-neck shirt that you accidentally stole.”
No response still. She worked swiftly and calmly as she approached the halfway point. Winston caught a lucky break, catching some easy holds as he covered a few feet. But there was no way in hell he could match Gigi’s steady pace. Plus, the higher he got, the higher the screwdriver rose in his throat.
Desperate, Winston reached around with one hand and unstrapped his vest.
“Oi, what the fuck are ya doing, mate?” Angus spat from far down below. Winston slipped out of the vest and pushed it to the side. Now, he was climbing freely. Fear coursed through his veins, but so did adrenaline. He used that stress to heave himself up much faster than before. Gigi, now past the halfway point, looked down to see Winston’s pleading eyes looking up at her.
“Gigi, I’m sorry!” Winston yelled. “Look, I...I can’t honestly tell you that I’m sorry for meeting up with Claire at the house. Because I’m not. But fuck, I’m sorry you had to walk in and see it! And...I’m plum-fuckin’ sorry I didn’t consider your feelings for me at the time. I reckon that ship has sailed. But fuck, I don’t wanna lose our friendship over it, Gigi!”
Gigi smiled at Winston for the first time that day. She shut her eyes tightly, fighting to block the tears. When she opened them again, Winston’s white knuckles curled around a tough hold.
“I’m not sure how long I can hold on, partner,” Winston groaned, smiling weakly. Slowly, piss began running down his leg, trickling a long way down to the ground below. Gigi began quickly backtracking, holding her breath.
“Winston,” Gigi consoled him calmly, now by his side. “I need you...I need you to reach out and hold me. Don’t let me go.”
He took a deep breath, then wrapped his arms around Gigi’s slim waist. His legs dangled free, supported only by her. Breathing heavily, Gigi kicked off the rock facing. Slowly, they began to descend.
“My real name is Ji-hye,” she said, as they approached solid ground.
“Ji-hye,” Winston repeated, his heart pounding as he held her in a death grip. “So, uh...why did you wanna tell me that?”
“Um...because we’re friends again!” she cheered, as they reached the bottom.
But before he could release her, Angus yanked his collar and held a hunting knife to his throat. His hair and face were drenched in Winston’s piss. “Oi, I oughta gut you like a fuckin’ fish, ya blimey bastard!”
“Wait, it’s not his fault!” Gigi interjected. “Um...a yellowjacket got caught between his shirt and vest and stung him pretty bad. He’s allergic, so he had no choice but to take it off!”
Angus cocked his head, letting her words marinate like the piss in his hair. Then, a proper belly laugh. He gave Winston a shove and put the knife away. “Yellowjackets?! Why, you Americans and bonafide pussies, that’s what ya are! Oi, you wouldn’t last a second down unda!”
Angus reached in his pocket and pulled out two 50-dollar Lazy Basil gift cards. “Fuck it, take ‘em both. After all, that was a mighty impressive showing of teamwork up there!”
Winston cleared his throat and held his hand up. “Thanks for the offer, Angus. But I’m a proud conservative. And I don’t need no goddamn participation trophies.”
Gigi socked him in the stomach. “Accept the gift card or we’re no longer friends!” she hissed, salivating over her imminent cheese dream.
***
“YOU HAVE SOMETHING I WANT,” the demon growled in the hallway.
Evelyn slowly dragged her chef’s knife across the door of Room 309 - a knife much larger than Angus’. Tai stared out the peephole, then rushed to the futon to grab his bible.
“We need to perform an exorcism ourselves!” Tai suggested, wearing nothing but bright blue boxers with coconut patterns.
“RIghteous idea, my man!” Jacky replied, donning yellow pineapple briefs. “The word of God is an indispensable weapon during the end times that we live in!”
Tai stared out the peephole again. Now, a senile Evelyn gently tapped the door with the tip of her knife. “Hey, uh, Evelyn,” Tai called out softly. “Why don’t we comb through Genesis together? I sure could use your help in memorizing the lineage of Adam!”
“NO BIBLE. I WILL STRANGLE YOU WITH YOUR INTESTINES!”
Jacky gave a thumbs up from the frame of the futon. “See, it’s working! That’s the devil in her trying to resist. But no man, woman, or spawn of Satan could possibly resist the righteous infallible word of God!”
Tai chuckled, half-nervous and half-relieved. Then, he opened the door halfway. “Welcome to our bible study, Evelyn! So if you would have a seat on our super comfy futon, we can-"
Suddenly, Tai lept behind the door as Evelyn charged through the room with her knife held high. “DIE! DIE! DIE!” she shrieked, heading straight for Jacky. He swiftly rolled under the futon frame, as Evelyn began stabbing through it, aiming for the head.
“Fuck!” Tai screamed, frantically flipping to Genesis 5. “Um, um...let the power of Christ compel you with His holy word! Enoch begat Methuselah, and Methuselah begat Lamech, and Lamech begat Noah!”
“WHY CAN’T I HAVE WHAT YOU HAVE?” Evelyn screamed. While Jacky cowered in a fetal position, she reared back and stabbed a hole in the wall.
“Oh, Evelyyyn?” Sarah Beavers called out, stepping into the room.
Evelyn spun around to face her, tears and mascara running down her face. She dropped the knife. Then, she swiveled her head around the room, dazed and confused.
“Oh...no,” Evelyn whispered in her normal voice. “Sarah, I did something bad, didn’t I?”
“Shush, it’s all gravy,” Sarah assured her, while Tai and Jacky looked at each other in shock. “Boys, let this be a lesson to you. Envy possessed Evelyn today. Not only was she envious of your AC, but also of your totally-rad same-sex relationship.”
Tai and Jacky realized they were still half-naked, and that it was too late to hide it. Evelyn, moaning softly, crawled over to Sarah and lay her head on her lap. Then, she began playing with Sarah’s dangling dreadlocks. “Now, now - no touchy-feely of the genitals,” Sarah politely warned her. “An asexual chick like myself ain’t no lamp in a corner, ya dig?”
Then, Sarah spotted the BDE binder on Tai’s desk. Cocking her head to the side, she slowly stood up to take a closer look.
“Shit,” Tai whispered to Jacky. “What do we do?”
“We can’t let her know about our operation,” Jacky whispered back.
“So, if my inner chi serves me well,” Sarah began, flipping through the pages. “You two plan on stealing Beta Delta Epsilon's fake ID collection from Winston, in a grand scheme to sell them to underage students?”
“What in the H-E-double-hockey-sticks?” Jacky whispered to Tai. “A psychic hippie? What kind of friends are you rolling with, bro?”
“I can hear you,” Sarah advised. She sat down next to Evelyn and slipped out an ID of a brunette hipster girl with straight hair. “It’s a crying shame that Winston didn’t think to include any white girls with dreadlocks. Simple-minded if you ask me. Oh! Evelyn, I found an ID just for you. See, she looks just like the chick from The Ring.”
“I will eat your soul,” Evelyn said in her normal voice. Suddenly, she pinned Sarah down and started tickling the hell out of her.
“Wait, so you’re not mad?” Tai asked Sarah, watching Evelyn win the completely non-sexual “game.”
Sarah caught her breath from her massive tickle-fit. Then, she snapped the binder shut. “Mad? Are you high? I’m a broke college student too. As a matter of fact, if you’re going to be making crazy money, I want in on it too. Evelyn and I both want in. And nobody, I mean nobody, breathes a word of this to my brother.”
***
Nine outgoing calls. Zero incoming calls.
Gigi slipped her phone back into her purse, fighting the urge to make it 10. On that windy night, she stood in downtown Asheville in front of Lazy Basil, waiting for Frank to fall from the sky. She was dressed up in a black polka-dot maxi dress with a white bow in her hair, knowing that she would be turned away for so much as thinking about blue jeans.
She grabbed a menu and read through the appetizers. Tempura Fried Calamari? Maybe. Chunky Spinach and Artichoke Dip? Eh. And then, her big brown eyes widened when she saw it. Caprese salad: fresh buffalo mozzarella topped with local organic tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil leaves from our herb garden.
“So he stood ya up, huh?”
Winston leaned against the streetlight in a black suit and tie. He took a final puff on his cigar, tossed it, then walked over to Gigi to read her menu. And like always, the smell of tobacco was masked by Winston’s signature sandalwood cologne.
“I can’t decide if I want the loaded macaroni and cheese,” Winston pondered, “or the fried cheese logs with marinara. Hey, ya reckon we could order one of each and share?”
Gigi wiped drool from the side of her mouth and came to her senses. “Um...wait, you’re not here for a date with Claire?”
Winston took out his phone and showed her the screen. Sixty-eight outgoing calls. Zero incoming calls. “Reckon I should try to call her one last time?” he asked with a grin. “I mean, I don’t wanna come off like a simp or nothin’.”
Fifteen minutes later, they were seated at a candlelit table for two. While they sipped on large glasses of red Moscato, Gigi explained her lactose intolerance and Frank’s plans to introduce her to cheese for the first time.
“So let me get this straight,” Winston said, leaning in. “You consider this cheating on your boyfriend, don’t you?”
“Um...well, it has nothing to do with you!” Gigi laughed nervously. “It’s...well, it’s cheating if I eat that.”
The waiter came over with a platter of Caprese salad and a refill of red wine. Winston picked up a soft, fluffy cheese disc and tore it in half. “I’m not a betting man. But I wager if your boyfriend wanted to have dinner with you, he’d be the one sitting across from ya.”
Gigi stared into Winston’s pale blue eyes, then at the mozzarella. Slowly, she reached out and placed it on her tongue. Then, she closed her eyes as the creamy, silky flavor graced her palate. She swallowed, then grabbed another, shoving the whole disc in her mouth. Satisfied, Winston pushed the plate toward her. Then, he took out his phone and turned on the camera.
“Here’s to Gigi’s first dairy experience,” he announced, taking a photo. “And, I reckon, the moment before one of her many trips to the bathroom.”
She gasped, tossing her dinner napkin at him. They laughed, garnering the attention of a couple of older, quieter patrons. But Winston and Gigi lived in their own world, sipping refill after refill of wine as she alone cleaned that plate. Before long, the waiter returned with fried mozzarella logs for Winston and loaded macaroni and cheese for Gigi.
“So, all jokes aside,” Gigi started. She leaned forward, the candlelight casting a golden glow on her grinning, pale face. “In your old YouTube days...how long would it take you to eat everything on this table?”
“Son of a bitch!” Winston laughed, dunking a log into his marinara. “I knew my sister told ya about my eating channel! How much of it did you get around to watching?”
“Oh, you don’t want to know!” Gigi giggled, taking her first-ever bite of mac and cheese.
And while the two loyal friends shared stories and cheese dishes, their other friends betrayed loyalty that night. Sarah, Tai, Evelyn, and Jacky used Winston’s fake IDs to bar crawl all over downtown Asheville. And Claire sneaked Frank into the Beta Delta Epsilon frat house, where they rolled in the sheets all night long.
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2020.08.15 00:01 geo_rule Fireside Chat II!!

Last Update : 8/15/2020, 20:48 ET (see updates at bottom)
Okay, ladies and germs. I have no doubt this top post is going to change and expand several times over the next 24-48 hours as I remember more stuff, or comments below remind me of more stuff, or comments make me want to clarify what I wrote because I feel it’s clear I didn’t get across what I intended to get across.
That being the case, there will be a “Last Update” date and time at the top of this post. I will increment it if the update is significant. I have just a teeny tiny OCD problem with editing minutia (No, geo. You?) so I reserve the right to move a comma, correct a spelling, that kind of minor grammatical issue without incrementing the Last Update date and time.
If I feel it is what they call in the biz “material”, then I will update the day and time.
The meeting began at 1pm PT. There were eight participants (Sumit Sharma and Steve Holt from Microvision; SigPowr, ky_investor, gaporter, hotairbafoon, mvis_thma, and geo_rule from the retail investors) and at least one and possibly two observers –Dave Allen from IR, and I’m not 100% sure, but I suspect David Westgor might have been sitting in a corner of Sumit’s office thinking really quietly but possibly using hand gestures along the lines of “NO, NO, SUMIT, DON’T GO THERE!” from time to time if he felt Reg FD or an NDA might be about to get. . .um. . . bruised. LOL. Hey, the man has a job to do, let’s not criticize. But I don’t know that for sure anyway.
The tone was collegial. By that I don’t mean there weren’t disagreements, and folks didn’t “fight their corners” with passion and logic. Absolutely. But it was never bitter. It was never accusatory. IMO, I never saw anybody even CLOSE to the edge of “losing it” and starting a genuine “rant”. In short, it was professional, knowledgeable individuals “telling it like they saw it” even when they knew the message they were sharing would not be well received.
The first FC went something like 1:40? And folks, that’s not minutes and seconds. FC II went about 2:44, and that ain’t minutes and seconds either. Sumit offered at some future date to answer my technical questions, so perhaps FC III will be incremented in Days and Hours. LOL. I’d say “I keed”, but I’m not sure Sumit wouldn’t be willing to get into a “who cracks first and cries ‘enough!’ “ duel with me about talking about MicroVision technology. I’m not sure I’d win, but I’m up, Bubba –bring it.
First note. I can’t say it for sure scientifically, but it wouldn’t surprise me if fully ½ that time was taken talking about the proxy, the whys and wherefors, our retailer recommendations, and their responses and what their paid experts are telling them.
Second note: KY_investor is an effin’ bulldog. He kept coming back, and coming back, and coming back to how important it is to get that proxy just right and for management to help us in helping them win that vote. Hey, look, we ALL visited the subject more than once, but KY was relentless. If anyone wants to criticize the group as having been insufficiently eloquent and insistent about what we’re seeing out here in the general MVIS shareholder population, then I’m going to stand here and say “Bullshit. You weren’t in that room and I was; we went to the mat on the issue, time and time again, with KY leading the charge.”
We kept pointing out that the votes they had to win were not all “in the room”. That even if (I don’t know this, just estimating probably an over-exaggerated top-end to be conservative) that EVEN IF there were 10M shares in that room and they got them all in favor of the proxy as currently written. . . that probably still left them around 61M votes short of what they needed for passage.
KY pointed out (and I suspect Sig agreed), it wasn’t even “just us”. That some of the people in that room while “influencers” of other people in their investment group, they had to be able to explain to those folks why they wanted them to vote in favor, and they needed management’s help to get there.
Many alternatives were suggested. For example, I said I thought it would receive a more positive response than the current proxy if they upped their total “ask” to 70M shares and split it 10M for “equity financing + ESOP” and 60M for “M&A”, and that way they wouldn’t even be reducing their max M&A “portion”.
KY talked at length about how it’s not just about the reality of what they might do, but how the messaging of organized shorts will be used against the share price. More than once.
I thanked them for treating us like adults and dropping the proxy before the CC and talking to it at length at the CC, rather than waiting two days after the CC to "take out the trash" when they wouldn't have to talk about it. Others did as well.
By now you probably see where this is going.
While several alternative structures for the proxy were suggested by the retail contingent, Sumit and Steve were adamant their professional paid advisors are telling them it won’t work. That because they’re trying to achieve maximum flexibility in the face of the unknown they simply can’t limit the proxy without creating unacceptable risk that the other side of the negotiating table will be concerned enough about the limitations that they’ll be unwilling to consummate a deal. That it’s not just what sounds reasonable to them, it’s the concerns of the other folks lawyers that they have to take into account, and the people they rely on to “know this shit” are all unanimous in advising them this is the case.
Btw, that also included Board member Bob Carlile who is extremely experienced in these things. More on the contributions of the various Board Members below later in this missive.
If they had an actual concrete proposal or two in hand, perhaps they could craft the kind of bifurcated proposal the investors in the room were proposing. But because they don’t yet, they can’t, and the delay (60 days or more) in getting a second proxy to address a specific proposal could cause a deal to go south rather than consummate.
I don’t want to say they were “unsympathetic” to our concerns, because I don’t believe that is for a moment true. Sumit shared that when the feedback from the shareholders started coming back with this as a strong message, he went back to those advisers and told them what the shareholders are telling them and, more or less, “Can we do this?”. The answer he got was unanimously negative that it was a very bad idea.
They recognize they can continue to communicate and “modify” the proxy with more communications up until somewhere in the vicinity of Oct 1. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if after this meeting Sumit and Steve go back to those advisors “one more time” to share the messages they heard today. Having said that, I’m not terribly hopeful it changes anything material about the wording of the actual proxy.
Proxy related, but not actually proxy.
I got the sense that Sumit is more than a little frustrated that some shareholders seem to not believe that he and the BoD are completely serious about selling the entire company. Considerable time was spent on this. He is. They are.
Yes, they continue to talk about LiDAR development, but he feels strongly that people are misunderstanding WHY. For one thing, they’ve still got a couple dozen highly talented engineers and they want them WORKING ON SOMETHING WITH FINANCIAL VALUE TO THE SHAREHOLDERS not just sitting around getting paid to do not much. They feel AVR, I-D, D-O, and Consumer LiDAR techs are MATURE AND READY TO GO. This leaves Automotive LiDAR as the area where they can continue to “create value” for the company. Also, the lawyers and the SEC REQUIRE the company to cover all eventualities, including “what if none of this M&A stuff works, what will you do?” And that results in them talking about LiDAR.
That doesn’t mean he’s “secretly hoping” to continue as a going concern focusing on LiDAR. It just means he’s got his engineers working to continue to create value for the shareholders where it is most obvious they can do so.
Steve Holt made what to me was a very interesting point about the “counter-leverage” of having the engineers continue to knock down valuable milestones in LiDAR while waiting out the results of the M&A process. We all know, because we fret about it every day in public here, the kind of leverage the “other side of the table” can bring against MVIS.
What management feels we fail to credit and recognize, is that they are not totally disarmed in that fight. Every time their engineers continue to make progress on LiDAR, knocking down major economically valuable milestones that they believe no one else in the industry has mastered as elegantly and inexpensively (to manufacture) as they have, what they are ALSO telling “the other side of the table” is, “Hey, guys, guess what –‘the price of poker just went up.' The longer you delay, the more all this goodness is going to cost you“. Interesting point right there, IMO.
At any rate, Sumit made as many different points as he could think of as to why investors should not doubt that management and the BoD are dedicated to the proposition of selling this company in its entirety, whether in one sale (MUCH easier) or in pieces. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I believed him. The internal messaging as evidenced by the retention RSUs is the same as the external messaging. That MVIS has a core of the best engineers in the world to offer as a cadre to a much bigger organization along with mature IP, designs, trade-secrets, algorithms, manufacturing know-how, and the core engineers who understand what it all means, is all evidence they are entirely sincere about closing this thing out.
Some other stuff.
There was an extended discussion by Sumit about how the “IP” is not JUST the patents. I agree, of course. There’s a slide in the ASM deck that tries very hard to make this point as well. Re the “bankruptcy gets you to the same place” argument was met with the observation it doesn’t preserve the engineering core to deliver to the new owner. It’ll take months, and inevitably that cadre will dissipate and it will be extremely hard to put back together if that happens. He shared they’ve lost one engineer after the retention bonuses were announced, and he’s since been replaced with a new hire.
I rather enjoyed the discussion about the BoD. I asked Sumit why he hadn’t made more of a big deal about the addition of Dr. Mark Spitzer to the BoD. That this guy is the biggest “get” for the BoD since the addition of former Senator Slade Gorton in 2003 or so. His response was that first, Spitzer would have refused to let him use him as a marketing tool, because he’s not that kind of guy. That the collegiality of the BoD is such that you can’t single out one over another that way. Which then lead into how accomplished, active, and engaged the ENTIRE BoD members are. I found that a very interesting discussion, because we don’t usually have that kind of visibility. He was quite clear he genuinely respects the talents of all his Board Members, very much appreciates their support, and that they are all ACTIVELY engaged in this process. He used the example that when he sends out a text to the BoD as a group at 1AM, he quite quickly gets a response from all of them.
I’m sure there’s more I need to say about this meeting. But if you’ll excuse me, I’m effin’ beat now. Not only 2:44 of rather intense discussion, but over 2,000 words here describing it.
As I said, if/as I add more, I’ll update the Last Update date/time at the top.
But I’ll add again that one last Lt. Colombo moment from gaporter at the end. We all know that he’s super technically and detail inclined. What most of you DON’T know is he’s also a trained observer from a world class recognized organization of trained observers. I won’t out him in his day job. . . but take my word for it. We could talk movies made about it.
We also all know that the relationship of MVIS to MSFT IVAS program with DoD is intensely of interest to gaporter.
So gaporter didn’t say a whole lot during the meeting, but you could see he was watching very closely for the entire meeting. As we were wrapping up to end the marathon, finally he got what I call a “Lt. Colombo” look on his face, literally wagged his forefinger back and forth to get attention he wanted to ask a question, and when Sumit called on him, said “So, Steve [Holt], is that a US Army mug I see you using tonight?”.
I immediately burst out laughing. Hell, I hadn’t noticed Holt even had a mug, let alone a US Army one, and here gaporter was all over it. I said something like “Is that an IVAS mug, Steve? Huh?!”
I’ll let trained observer gaporter tell you what if anything he saw in Holt’s reaction. Not my skillset. LOL.
I may add more later tonight, but frankly folks, I’m beat.
Update: 22:08 ET
Sumit mentioned the two videos were done "in-house" in the 4-5 weeks before they were released publicly, for not a lot of money. I know some expressed interest in that.
Update: 22:15 ET
Dang my OCD. LOL.
Another interesting tidbit, was Sumit talking about how respected and acknowledged MVIS is in the tech world amongst the big boys. I know, some of you are hearing "Apple loves us" and the like. But his point was, and he's only been there about four years, is how remarkable and unusual it is for a tiny engineering tech start-up that when they contact the whales and say "We have something we think you will want to see". . . they GET THAT MEETING EVERY TIME. That just doesn't happen for most tiny tech engineering houses. But it does with MVIS. That lead into just a general description about how NONE of these big dogs dispute that MVIS tech, in its core competencies (i.e. LBS), is years ahead of the competition. None of them.
Update 22:33 ET
Steve Holt confirmed with a genuine ruefull laugh, backed up by his CEO, that's he's been "beating the bushes" for acceptable alternative financing options. . . .and just not finding them. This included an extended discussion of the already authorized 25M "Preferred" shares and why that is unlikely to be a fruitful avenue of approach.
Update: 1:00 ET, 08/15/2020.
D'oh. I can't believe it took me this long to report this.
Holt confirmed their current understanding is that selling 20% or more of the company to a single suitor would require a shareholder vote.
Good night.
Update 9:40 ET
Sumit Sharma on any concerns they might have about a potential minority partner being a Trojan Horse intent on sabotage:
"If you're afraid of sharks. . . .don't swim in the ocean." By that he meant management and a very experienced BoD knows all about sharks, but they are still "career ocean swimmers" and so while they'll be on the lookout for shark sign, they believe they know what to look for, and they also believe that any company who made a substantial enough investment to get in the door at a premium (and, yes, Holt said that would be their expectation if that model ends up being one they use) would be foolish to try to wreck the company and waste not only their own money but destroy the presumably even more valuable multi-year lead MVIS tech currently enjoys while others elsewhere work to catch-up.
Update 11:00 ET
Sumit: All the other participants in this M&A process are well aware of this sub-reddit and are regular viewers. They are all impressed by the depth of our DD and our passion for the company and tech. They also razz SS regularly for the amount of criticism he takes from his own shareholders here referencing specific comments or threads.
Update 11:30 ET
I’m going to try to describe a hypothetical scenario that Steve Holt described as an example of why their advisors are telling them a bifurcated proxy share authorization unacceptably limits their options in ways that are not in the shareholders best interests.
Do not run off with your hair on fire telling the world this is the model they’d use. It’s just an example that was raised to them as why they shouldn’t do a bifurcated proxy proposal.
So say big famous ultra rich Tier 1 OEM Googazon or Microfruit comes to them and says they’ll take a 5% piece at a premium, and here’s a contract that goes with it for a major development project that once you hit these designated milestones all sorts of goodness follows. Well, 5% is within the BoD’s authority to approve itself (so long as the share authorization is already available, of course). If Sumit knows he has his BoD behind him, at the point, right then and there, he can his stick his h/a/n/d/ elbow out and say “Deal!”.
But wait. . . oops, I left out a part. The deal is going to also require –of course, armed with the publicly known participation and blessing of Googazon to fund raise with—more development funds than the 5% equity participation will provide. That “bifurcated” proposal of the retail shareholders is now a stone around their neck. They’d have to come back to the shareholders for new authorization on a 60 days or more clock, and even if they felt confident they’d get it, that potential partner just decided aww, to heck with dealing with company executives who can’t actually make a deal, the moment passes, and the deal is dead.
In response, I tried to describe a potential third tranche proxy structure where if they raised at least $X dollars out of tranche 2 (M&A) that would unlock a certain number of new authorized shares in a third tranche for development funds tied to the second tranche fund-raise. I could hear the complexity of the structure myself as I tried to describe it, and the perceived vulnerability it could have to being challenged so far as the other fellows sharks looking it over and approving it.
Again, this is a “NO HAIR ON FIRE” zone. The purpose of the example is to show when they went to their advisors, including massively experienced M&A guy Bob Carlile to explore if the retailers bifurcated proxy proposal was workable, this kind of hypothetical deal proposal is an example of why they were told, “Don’t do it.”
Update 11:51 ET
The D-O licensee and termination of rights due to failure to perform on the annual minimums: Steve Holt said that license requires them to stay silent on the expiration date of the "initial ramp period" until after it passes so as not to create a competitive disadvantage for the licensee in all their possible competitors knowing when that trigger date is in advance. He didn't actually say it, but the implication would seem to be pretty clear that means that date is not yet in the rear-view mirror.
Update 14:22 ET
Sumit at different points talked about "the etiquette of our zip code" having an impact on the way certain things get done, and probably more importantly, don't happen. What he obviously meant by that was the Seattle Tech Community with all those big boys in a small area. It'd be interesting to ask him how that's the same or different for Silicon Valley, but that would have been a too large off-topic digression, I think, for an already massively long meeting. LOL.
A lot of those observations were around how you treat other people in the tech community, and how you just. . . don't. . . because the reaction would be a universal "Umm, that's just not how we do things around here, son." kind of thing. In other words, old fashioned peer pressure and fear of social sanctions. It was interesting to hear.
Update 17:20 ET
Links to FCII Participants thoughts:
Sigpowr
HotAirBaffoon --HAB
gaporter
KY_Investor
mvis_thma
These are of course, "provisional" and if any of these gentlemen ask me to link to a different later post of theirs on the subject instead, then I will of course do so.
Back later tonight with my thoughts. Yes, it's almost G&T time again, and I write better afterwards. LOL. At least if I keep it to one. ;)
Update 20:48 ET
Geo's thoughts
submitted by geo_rule to MVIS [link] [comments]


2020.08.03 08:58 GrazeAnatomy Melbourne City 2-0 Sydney FC Analysed

Melbourne City 2-0 Sydney FC Analysed
Melbourne City was the last team to return to A-League action, kicking off their (short - three games only!) end-of-season campaign against the newly crowned premiers Sydney FC. Sydney had already played two games since the restart - winning one against Wellington Phoenix and losing the other to the Newcastle Jets - while Melbourne City had 132 days since their last game, which brought into question how match fit/sharp they might be against the league leaders.
https://preview.redd.it/t08nxx8ijqe51.png?width=3156&format=png&auto=webp&s=3897fcd390f4c783431d87346850042ae66c2c6f
Erick Mombaerts has had a bit of squad turnover since the suspension, with Markel Susaeta opting not to return to finish the season, Rostyn Griffiths still in quarantine for this game, while two rotation options left the club for pastures anew Dean Bouzanis (England) and Denis Genreau (Macarthur FC).
While there were indications that Curtis Good might be out with injury, he was fit to start, partnering Richard Windbichler, returning from his own injury sustained in January, in the centre of defence. This saw Harrison Delbridge (usually a centreback) shift over to rightback, rather than the first choice rightback Nathaniel Atkinson, who started on the bench. The rest of the selection was as expected - Scott Jamieson played on the left with Craig Noone in front of him, Jamie Maclaren and Lachlan Wales taking the other two forward positions, and the three first-choice central midfielders - Joshua Brillante anchoring behind Florin Berenguer and Adrian Luna.
Sydney FC played their standard 4-4-2, with Steve Corica having to make a choice with his fullbacks with Rhyan Grant out with a groin injury. The utilityman Paulo Retre started ahead of Harry Van der Saag at rightback, while Joel King took his place back from Michael Zullo at leftback. Anthony Caceres partnered Luke Brattan in midfield, with the expected front four of Adam Le Fondre, Kosta Barbarouses, Milos Ninkovic and Alex Baumjohann.
Key selection decisions were made surrounding both teams’ fullbacks and the four fullback choices would have a significant impact on the way the game played out.

Harrison Delbridge: A defensive option for City

Delbridge was an interesting choice at fullback. He’s certainly a much more defensive option, sitting in defence rather than continually bombing up and down the flank like the first choice Atkinson. This meant that in possession, City essentially formed a back three with Delbridge staying back as an auxiliary centreback, giving them a numerical advantage against Sydney’s front two and helped them keep possession quite easily. The front two of Sydney didn’t press, preferring to stand off and block passes into the centre, meaning that they had easy possession. The three defenders played a total of 91 passes between each other - 18% of City’s total passes - while 49% of all City’s lateral passes were completed in their own defensive third. The time on the ball meant that they had the opportunity to measure their passes - both short into the midfield, and long into the flanks or Maclaren.
The first half saw plenty of long balls from the centrebacks into Lachlan Wales targeting the space behind Joel King at leftback. City frequently built up their play focusing on the left side of the pitch, which meant that Sydney, playing their standard narrow defensive structure, would naturally shift over towards the ball. Wales would stay out wide on the right, and it meant that there was plenty of space that could be exploited when they played long balls for him to chase. He often found himself as a free player on the right, and was positioned very dangerously as a spare man. Unfortunately on both instances below, they weren’t able to work the ball through into the wide-open Wales. In these instances, it was a bit surprising to see Wales stay so wide rather than make a diagonal run towards goal as the ball made its way over.
https://preview.redd.it/l1bov3qljqe51.png?width=2002&format=png&auto=webp&s=65b8ed7a2e85a77793e4c5a95fdd88fa51f21947
https://preview.redd.it/hirdyypljqe51.png?width=2002&format=png&auto=webp&s=bc3745921d1ef05745b4e7b6fdfed270313f80a1
Wales benefited from having Delbridge behind him - Delbridge’s defensive focus meant that Wales could position himself more aggressively without having to worry about the space behind him being exploited on the counter, and his average positioning was furthest forward for Melbourne City, even further forward than the striker Maclaren.

Scott Jamieson: Providing flexibility to City’s midfield

Scott Jamieson presented a different challenge to Sydney. With three of his teammates covering at the back, Jamieson had the freedom to push further up the field, and he made the most of it by pushing up wide on the overlap or coming into the centre of midfield.
When stepping into the midfield, City would build up in a 3-2 shape, sitting alongside Brillante in midfield. When he positioned himself narrowly, he drew Baumjohann to his position, opening up the passing lane into the left flank for Berenguer or Noone to pop up into. On other occasions Jamieson would stay wide, with Berenguer finding space in the centre. They combined well with Noone further forward, with the three making moves to complement each others’ runs by making opposite runs and rotating between each other. Their continued rotations made it difficult for the Sydney players to organise their defensive coverage. As a player runs between zones, which player should cover which?

Melbourne City’s rotations meant that their players would pop up in between the lines in space. This was something that Yokohama F-Marinos managed to exploit well in their Asian Champions League tie a while back.
Berenguer pulls wide with the ball, dragging Caceres with him. Jamieson’s overlapping run from left back pins Retre, allowing Noone to come into space unmarked to receive the ball from Maclaren.

Sydney’s fullbacks: Difficulty in attack

Retre and King didn’t have as much of an impact on the game as their City counterparts. One of the reasons was that Sydney couldn’t keep possession well and dictate the tempo of the game. City pressed high and quite aggressively, meaning that Sydney couldn’t settle, and a lot of the early Sydney possession resulted in balls played long - for the first 15 minutes, 16% of their passes were long passes (compared with their season average of 8.59%).
When they did manage to get through the press, there was space to drive into midfield, with only Brillante holding the midfield. Baumjohann and Ninkovic managed to carry the ball forwards through the centre on occasion, and drew fouls that helped Sydney up the pitch. Set pieces were their main source of attack in the first half, but unfortunately, they weren’t able to make the most of these opportunities.
Retre ended up being the solution to playing through the press - the press would come hard and collapse onto the centrebacks, which meant that a ball could be played out to the fullbacks Retre and King, and the City fullbacks would have to cover plenty of ground in order to reach them.
Retre also popped up on decent positions out wide, but he lacks the directness and penetrative running of Grant, who would look to bring the ball further forward and continually drive towards the goal line. Instead Retre was much more conservative with his play, not positioning himself particularly aggressively and often seeking to retain possession. He and King would be in space out wide to cross the ball, but either they wouldn’t (Retre ended the game with 0 crosses) and looked to lay the ball off instead, or played crosses which were fairly easily dealt with by City.
Le Fondre and Barbarouses also struggled to get an impact on the first half, as their contributions mainly came down to pressing and chasing down long balls. They struggled to find much space in behind the defence, and also found it difficult to get onto crosses and passes from their attacking midfielders.
The Sydney gameplan in the first half appeared to revolve around getting the ball into Ninkovic and Baumjohann, and hoping that they could conjure up a bit of magic. This also proved difficult for them too - City’s midfield would energetically rush back once they had the ball, and they were able to make good fouls to prevent them from breaking away, or get back in time to win the ball cleanly.

Second Half - Sydney’s structure change

Sydney came out in the second half with a change how they built up their play, which had a huge impact on their success in retaining possession.
  1. The midfielders Brattan and Caceres dropped into the defensive line to help retain possession by providing a passing option
  2. The fullbacks pushed up higher, providing an easy out ball to evade the press. The City fullbacks would have to come out of defence to close them down.
  3. The attacking midfielders positioned themselves narrower to open space up for the fullbacks. Their positioning meant that they could be found by their teammates easily once they bypassed the press, and by being in closer proximity to each other, they could combine with each other easier.
  4. These movements opened up space for the strikers to use, with the fullbacks being drawn forward.
The increased numbers of Sydney players going forward also meant that City had to defend by bringing their wingers back, reducing their threat from direct counterattacks.
https://preview.redd.it/njklpm5wjqe51.png?width=3156&format=png&auto=webp&s=dc40e6495c91de981c96feed6fec39edf5fd5a26
This culminated in the best period for Sydney, with King getting forward to make a couple of good crosses, a series of chances falling their way with Le Fondre missing a header (but fouling the defender in the process), Barbarouses’ scuffed shot and an excellent cross from Le Fondre that wasn’t attacked.
However, right after their best chances, then went behind to a goal from a long ball that Retre misjudged and made it all the way through for Noone to go around the goalkeeper to score.
Sydney made their substitutions first, with Trent Buhagiar and Luke Ivanovic coming on for Barbarouses and Baumjohann respectively, and they were immediately welcomed to the game by Maclaren’s goal to make it 2-0, and unfortunately killed off any momentum that Sydney were building.
City responded by injecting with energy - Conor Metcalfe for Luna, and Nathaniel Atkinson coming on for Wales at right wing, followed soon after by Moudi Najjar on for Maclaren.
Sydney’s play after this point was quite uninspiring - Ivanovic provided some willing running, but didn’t have Baumjohann’s direct dribbling or creativity (not that Baumjohann’s output was particularly effective in this regard on the day), while Ninkovic struggled to get on the ball much as the game went on.
There was a bizarre passage of play where despite Sydney losing by two goals, they didn’t press the City defence, and City’s players obliged by just keeping the ball, passing it between themselves. With so much time on the ball, they were able to exploit Sydney’s midfield with the extra energy provided from substitutions.While City’s midfield runners start centrally, they both like to find space out wide - in the first half this was Berenguer pulling left, and Luna pulling right. This drew out the Sydney midfielders who had to track these movements, and opened up a huge space in midfield for Brillante (or Jamieson at times) to step forward into.

https://reddit.com/link/i2se8g/video/i2tmrlgyjqe51/player

Final Thoughts

A stylish Erick Mombaerts led Melbourne City to a stylish performance. While City weren’t able to score through their build up play, they definitely showed their multi-faceted attack in the game, and were unlucky not to score more against an in-form Redmayne. Their combination play was excellent, especially considering they’ve been out of action for such a long time, and if they can build on their play today, they will be very difficult to stop.
Sydney’s play seemed to be quite plain, which has certainly been a sort of theme over their recent matches and isn’t good as they enter the final games of the season. Based on their last two games, their play seems to be a lot more blunt when they aren’t able to rely on Grant to provide directness down the right. Sydney’s substitution options are decent squad players, but they don’t provide a different enough kind of option to help change Sydney’s style of play when the plan ‘A’ isn’t working. Buhagiar remains a counterattacking threat only, and with Brattan off the pitch, they struggled to find creativity from deep, which will provide challenges for when they find themselves in losing positions.
submitted by GrazeAnatomy to Aleague [link] [comments]


2020.07.31 03:17 TheBonesOfAutumn After Steve Snedegar’s daughter Lora was murdered, he vowed he would stop at nothing to find her killer. Did he mean even if that meant becoming a killer himself? With five disappearances surrounding Steve, the last being his ex-wife, he may have meant just that.

ETA- Title error. Should read four disappearances not five.
ETA- Comment from the podcast “Down and Away:”
”For anyone interested, Season 12 of my podcast - Down and Away - is covering this case and we've recently begun posting. I worked closely with Lora Morris's daughter researching this case and combing thru documents. There will be 15 scheduled episoded - one a week dropping each Sunday morning. The first three episodes are already live.”
Podcast
This case is quite the rabbit hole. If you have the time, I can tell you its worth the read, but be warned, its a long one.
April 15th, 1982, was a typical warm Spring day in Arlington, Indiana. The rains had began to subside and the farmers were busy planting the fields.
A farmhand named Phil Bennett was plowing a field in northeastern Shelby County when he noticed something out of place laying in the field a few rows away. He hopped off his tractor and headed towards what he would later tell investigators he originally believed to be a dead deer.
When Phil got closer he realized that it was not an animal, but instead, badly decomposed human remains. Without knowing it, Phil had just ended an eight month long search for a missing woman.
However, the murder and disappearance of 22-year-old Lora Lynn Morris (Snedegar) would only be the first of four mysterious disappearances that surrounded Lora’s father, Stephen Snedegar.
Lora was found laying on her back. She was wearing a long white mens T-shirt, a pair of cut off jean shorts, and had several pieces of jewelry on. Several shell casings were collected at the scene, and it was determined that she had been shot multiple times in the head by 25 caliber revolver. Police believe she was killed in the location she was found, but the landowner was adamant that the body was not there when they had picked the crops the last October.
Lora’s family identified her by her clothing and jewelry, but later Lora’s identity would be confirmed using dental records.
A few days later Lora was buried in Chillicothe, Ohio, a short distance from where she born.
Lora had disappeared on the evening of August 10th, 1981 from her home on Shadeland Drive, just south of Greenfield, Indiana.
Lora’s parents, Stephen (Steve) Snedegar and Gertrude (Trudy) Snedegar, had moved to Astor, Florida in June of 1981 after selling their Greenfield waste oil business, however, Lora decided to stay behind.
Lora lived in her parents home for most of the summer. Earlier that year, Lora had divorced her husband, Bryce Morris, whom she had a 3-year-old daughter with named Brandy. The couple reportedly got along even after their divorce, and shared equal custody of their daughter. (Brandy was staying with Bryce for the month of August at his parents home in Goshen, Indiana.)
On August 10th, Lora’s mom, Trudy, flew from her Florida home to visit with Lora and her other daughter, Brenda Challis and her son-in-law Dan Challis, who lived in southern Indianapolis, Indiana.
Trudy landed at Indianapolis International Airport where her two daughters picked her up. After spending the day together, Lora and Trudy left Brenda’s and headed to the families home in Greenville together.
Once there, Trudy retired to the master bedroom while Lora lay on the couch, wearing a men’s white T-shirt and her underwear, watching television. That was the last time anyone would see Lora alive.
The following morning, August 11th, Trudy awoke around 6:30 a.m. to find the side patio door open and the television still on. Lora’s keys and wallet were laying inside, her bed was still made in her bedroom, and her car was still in the driveway, but Trudy’s daughter was no where to be found.
After an hour or so and still no sign of Lora, Trudy began calling various friends and relatives, as well as the local hospital, but none had seen Lora. At 1:30 p.m., Trudy called police.
Upon their arrival, police found nothing out of the ordinary at the home. The only indication that Lora’s disappearance was the result of foul play, was the fact that she hadn’t taken any of her personal belongings with her.
Lora’s phone records indicated she placed two calls that evening, both to her ex-husband Bryce. The first call was placed around 11p.m., the second placed shortly before midnight.
Police searched fields, creeks, and nearby fields for Lora, but found no trace of the missing young woman.
The following day, August 12th, Trudy received a strange phone call at her Greenfield home. An unknown man called and said to Trudy in a raspy voice, ”We’re gonna get ya, sucker,” before hanging up.
Trudy informed police who then set up a recording device at Trudys home. On August 13th, a second mysterious phone call was placed to the Snedegar home. This time, the caller was a woman, who was crying and saying sexually explicit things for roughly 10 seconds. Lora’s family believed that the woman on the other end of the phone was Lora, but it was never proven.
It was reported that Steve went to the police station and dumped ten thousand dollars on the sheriff’s desk. He said he knew his daughter was dead, he just wanted them to find her body and the person who did it. Steve told the sheriff he would go to “any means necessary” to find out what had happened to Lora.
Three weeks after Lora’s disappearance, another mysterious disappearance occurred involving the Snedegar family.
A businessman from Carmel, Indiana named Paul Anthony (Tony) Lambert had attempted to buy the Snedegar family waste oil business, but Tony’s financing fell through and harsh words were exchanged between the two businessmen.
Believing that he may have had something to do with his daughters disappearance, Steve Snedegar set up a meeting with Tony in New Orleans under the guise of a business meeting.
Steve claims he questioned Tony about Lora’s disappearance, but said Tony claimed to have no knowledge of his daughters whereabouts. Steve reportedly last saw Tony driving away with an unknown blonde woman.
However, rumors swirled that Steve, who was a private pilot and had flown to New Orleans by himself that day, took Tony on a “sightseeing tour” of the Gulf that afternoon. After the tour was over, and Steve landed his small engine aircraft, he was alone.
Tony Lambert has never been found.
In March of 1982, just two weeks before Lora’s remains would be discovered, an employee of the Snedegar’s would also go missing.
22-year-old Charles (Chuck) Darwin Smith worked as a truck driver for J&S Oil, the Snedegar family business, but his employment had been terminated for reasons unknown.
Chuck, who was then employed at a Kocolene Service Station in Greenfield, told Trudy that he had had an odd encounter with Lora the day before her disappearance.
He claimed that Lora regularly came into the Service Station where he worked, but on the day of August 9th, she had came in the store in the company of a tattooed “scraggly haired” man. Chuck claimed Lora looked scared.
Trudy asked Chuck to keep this information a secret, However Chuck told police anyways. He was given a polygraph and passed.
A short time later Chuck quit his job at the service station. Trudy went to the police station claiming she wanted Chucks phone number because she had a “job opportunity” for him. The police obliged and gave her the number.
A few days later Chuck received a phone call from a man who identified himself as John Rogers, owner of the John Rogers Trucking Company in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Rogers said he’d received Chuck’s contact information from Steve Snedegar and he was calling to offer Chuck steady employment and a complimentary bus ticket to Tennessee.
On March 28th Chuck’s father-in-law dropped him at the bus depot en route to his new place of employment. That would be the last time anyone ever saw Chuck.
Investigators later learned that the company “John Rogers Trucking Company” did not exist. Steve Snedegar was questioned, but denied having any knowledge of the trucking company or of Chuck’s whereabouts.
Investigators also noted that the man selling tickets at the train depot was named “John Rogers” and theorized that whoever was responsible for Chucks disappearance had read the ticket sellers name when he bought Chucks ticket for him.
Three years after Lora’s death another Indiana businessman named Tony McCullough, partner of missing person Tony Lambert, and former prospective buyer of J&S Oil, received a phone call from a man named Gary Stafford.
Gary who was a a self-proclaimed hitman, told McCullough he had accepted five thousand dollars to kill him from a man in Florida seeking to avenge his daughter’s death.
He told McCullough that he was going to receive twenty thousand dollars upon completing the job, but if McCullough gave him ten thousand dollars cash, he would let him live.
Tony McCullough immediately contacted law enforcement and ultimately Gary was arrested for extortion and sentenced to two years in prison.
While incarcerated Gary refused to identify the man who had hired him. Gary was never found to have any connection to Steven Snedegar.
A few years after the discovery of Lora’s body, yet another Snedegar employee went missing. This time, a man in his thirties named James A. Wilkes, who was Steve’s “right-hand man” at his oil business. Unfortunately, there is very little information available about James disappearance, other than he has never been seen again.
The final person to mysteriously disappear would be Lora’s own mom, Trudy.
Trudy and Steven had divorced in 1983 for unknown reasons, yet remained living together in Astor, Florida.
In the Summer of 1986, Trudy’s daughter Brenda came to visit her parents in Florida. Trudy confided in Brenda that for five consecutive nights she had awoken to find Steve pointing a gun to her head and threatening to pull the trigger.
The night after Trudy reveals this information, Steve offers to take her dancing at a country western themed bar. Trudy agrees and the pair head out.
That was the last time anyone has seen Trudy Snedegar.
Steve told Brenda that after an argument, Trudy left him that night and moved to Tallahassee. The day after Trudy’s disappearance, Brenda claims her dad came to her sobbing. He took her outside and opened the trunk of his Mercedes. Inside was piles of money that according to him, was more than a million dollars. He instructed Brenda to only retrieve the cash if he was arrested. After that, the cash was never found and Steve denied Brenda’s claims.
Suspiciously Trudy was not reported missing for almost a year after her disappearance.
Police discovered Trudy had left her purse, containing her money and credit cards, at home on the night of her disappearance and had never retrieved it. They officially filed a missing persons report, but no trace of Trudy has ever been found.
In 1989 police learned that Steve was dying of cancer. They once again approached him with questions about Lora, Tony, Chuck, James, and Trudy. He claimed that before his death he would leave a tell all confession behind.
However, the following year, Steve succumbed to the cancer. Police found no confession letter, however they discovered that only days before his death, there was a large bonfire spotted in Steve’s yard. Police do not believe this was a coincidence.
While cleaning out their fathers home in Florida, the Snedegar children (there were four in total including Lora and Brenda) discovered a map tucked inside of the guestbook from Lora’s funeral.
On the map a red X marked a spot on the Snedegar property. The map was turned over to law enforcement. They excavated the area on the map in the hopes that they would find one of the missing persons associated with Steve.
Unfortunately their investigation turned up nothing.
Years passed with no new leads. Then in 1994, a family friend of Trudy’s named William “Buck” Estes came forward claiming at the behest of Trudy, he had placed a black box inside of Lora’s casket on the day of her funeral. He said that the black box contained a letter from Trudy as well as several pictures.
Hoping the letter would hold valuable clues, Lora’s body was exhumed and the small black jewelry box was located. However, whatever was written on the letter was never released publicly as police claimed it had nothing to do with the case, and the pictures were simply family photos.
The murder of Lora Lynn Morris and the disappearances of Trudy Snedegar, Tony Lambert, Chuck Smith, and James Wilkes all remain unsolved.
Theories
There are many theories as to what happened. Some talk about Steve’s time as a supposed drug runner for Fidel Castro. Others, his time on the run from both the FBI as well as from police for his part in a tractor theft ring and the death of a deputy sheriff in Port Clinton, Ohio in the 70’s. He was arrested for the crimes in Houston, but for unknown reasons he was never charged. Yet another theory claims he made some BIG enemies during his time as an oil man.
However, the most widely accepted one seems to be, that during an argument, Trudy shot Lora. According to police it was discovered in 1994 that Trudy carried the same type of gun that was used to kill Lora in her purse. Soon after Lora’s disappearance, the gun disappeared.
The men who went missing, Tony, Chuck, and James, were killed by Steven in an attempt to avenge his daughter.
Somehow Steve later discovered that Trudy had in fact killed Lora, so he killed her.
(None of this is MY theory. Like I said, it just seems to be the most widely accepted one. All of this is speculation aside from the fact that Trudy owned a gun that was the same kind used to kill Lora.)
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Sources
Newspaper Clippings/Photos
ETA additional source showing distance from the Snedegar home to where Lora was found, as well as a picture of the Snedegar home. Map
Charley Project: Gertrude(Trudy)Snedegar
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