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  1. Might be better suited for the retro thread, but... Finished playing Diablo the other night, so started on Diablo 2. My memory of both games has become really blurred in the years and years since I last played either, so I'd forgotten that all of Diablo takes place in essentially the same location while Diablo 2 is a bit more globe-trotting, but remembered much of the dialogue from Diablo and not from Diablo 2. In Diablo I employed probably the least nuanced strategy imaginable, as I just blitzed all my stat increases into strength and vitality, then proceeded to stock up on health potions and go in all guns blazing with no strategy whatsoever. Just blindly hacking and slashing my way through a bunch of demons and skeletons inexplicably stored in barrels. Diablo 2, I'm attempting a slightly more tactical approach, so playing as a Necromancer, so I can have some skeleton mates. It's already considerably more fun. I might invest in Diablo 3, just to see this through to its logical conclusion, though I've been warned it might not be so much my cup of tea.
  2. The absolute worst bit of music in WWE is the NXT theme. It's just shouting random nouns.
  3. When Undertaker was announced for Starrcast, some internet wrestling newz mug wrote an article headlined "Undertaker vs. Sting could happen in AEW". We'll still be talking about this when they're both on zimmer frames.
  4. I'm with you on all of this bar Undertaker/Flair - the build to that match was superb. Undertaker played a needlessly vindictive prick to perfection, and the idea of the retired wrestler being goaded out of retirement, and questions hanging over whether he could still go or not, is always a compelling story that WWE tend to shy away from as they prefer to pretend that aging wrestlers are always as good as they always were. That Flair as an authority figure really has to weigh up the implications of that role against being an active wrestler, and has to be effectively psychologically tortured into making that call, is so effective at putting over both roles, in stark contrast to "GM Shane McMahon books himself to enter a tournament in Saudia Arabia", for example. The Undertaker is an absolute dick at the time, so Flair - in his capacity as co-owner of the WWF - takes exception to his actions and tries to put him in his place. Undertaker wants a match with Ric, but he refuses because he's no longer a wrestler. So he sets out to do everything he can to antagonise Flair into accepting - not just giving David Flair a kicking, which I actually thought was a good angle, but jumping Arn Anderson while he's just doing his job, and threatening to keep targeting Flair's family until he gets what he wants. That David Flair got his one and only WWF match out of the deal is just an amusing aside, and gave us his iconic entrance video. They do a lawsuit/arresting angle, which I normally hate, but worked well here - Flair accidentally punches a fan, and Vince has him arrested for it. This allows Vince to call a meeting of the board of directors, who agree to suspend Flair as co-owner if he accepts the match - meaning Vince once again has total control, dovetailing the Flair/Undertaker feud into the broader Flair/McMahon programme (storylines that logically intersect, wha?!). With Vince in full control, he then has the authority to make the match No DQ, just because he can. I love that build, and it all comes to a head perfectly in one of my favourite Wrestlemania matches ever. Completely with you on all the rest of it, which was absolute bobbins, though. The nWo had somehow already just become part of the scenery by Wrestlemania, the truck crash angle was insane (I believe it was intended to be aired on RAW after Wrestlemania to write out The Rock, but they brought it forward to try and get heat on Hogan), Scott Hall was made to look like a fool by Rock and Austin from day one, and somehow Kevin Nash ended up not even on the card (he wrestled the following night on RAW, so he presumably was able to). I honestly think the nWo was a bigger own goal than the Invasion, in terms of WWE seriously fucking up a sure thing. I've made this point a thousand times, but the go-home episode of RAW featured The Rock & Steve Austin vs. Nash, Hogan & Hall. The nWo's first WWE match, Rock & Austin teaming together, the first time Rock and Hogan cross paths, the only time Austin and Hogan are opponents, the two biggest stars of the Attitude Era against the star of the Hulkamania Era, and two of the biggest names of intervening years. Austin 3:16 vs. the nWo in a battle of the most iconic T-shirts. A match that could main event any PPV from 1998 to 2018, and they spaff it on RAW, the week of the PPV when these guys could have been wrestling for the first time. They just didn't know what they had.
  5. For worst, I kind of have to look at Wrestlemania 17, just for how vast the gulf is between the quality of the build and the quality of the show. They're doing Rock vs. Austin, with Austin's first Wrestlemania back from injury, Rock about to go to Hollywood, and building to Austin turning heel. And what do they do? Make half the feud about Debra. Triple H vs. Undertaker built up by restraining orders, kidnapping Stephanie McMahon, and Undertaker doing his "I'll make you famous" catchphrase on Triple H, while Kane gets involved only to end up dicking around with the Hardcore Title. Vince vs. Shane, built up by Linda being drugged, Vince macking on Trish Stratus, and Mick Foley having a magic box of contracts.
  6. I was putting together a chronological Scott Walker primer last night for a friend, so those of you keen to check him out. Listening to it in order, I find you notice the exploration of consistent themes taken to extreme lengths; I've put Amsterdam in there as an example of his Jacques Brel material - feel free to swap out for Mathilde, Jackie, or Next. It's always interesting who draws the line where, I've seen a few "essential" playlists going around today that would make you think he never recorded anything after Scott IV, and I know experimental music fans that won't touch anything before it. Personally, seeing that growth from the Walker Brothers' early days through to collaborating with SunnO))) is part of what makes him so fascinating.
  7. I've been assuming that Kofi's losing, because Bryan's on too much of a good thing with his title run, and Kingston losing would have more value as a genuinely heartbreaking, heat-garnering moment than Kofi winning would have as a "feel-good" moment on a show that will likely have a few more opportunities to hit that note (the entire main event, for example). But considering there'll be another Saudi show after 'Mania, if Bryan's still refusing to work them, maybe Kofi goes over?
  8. He always says that, he knows which side his bread is buttered. It's his stock answer that it's the only match he'd come back for, but he's perfectly happy either way. Wonder if it'll end up happening in Saudi Arabia, though.
  9. Someone on Twitter compared this whole mess to the Italian left's failure to effectively combat Berlusconi, who's probably the closest analogue to Trump in modern politics - they kept hoping for some legal or procedural process to allow them to take Berlusconi down, rather than focusing their efforts on strengthening their own case. You don't get into the position of a Trump or a Berlusconi without being a master of plausible deniability, having enough fall guys around you, and knowing how to get away with everything but actually breaking the law; enough proxies and go-betweens that you don't get your own hands dirty, enough shell companies handling the dirty money that no one can conclusively tie it to your own accounts.
  10. Perhaps more relevant to people reading this thread than elsewhere - Fight Club Pro's Dream Tag Team Invitational shows over Easter weekend have announced Jonny Storm & Jody Fleisch as the final team of the tournament. Between that and Ulf Hermann's comeback match, it looks like early '00s BritWres nostalgia is the next big trend.
  11. My favourite of these was watching an episode WWF Classics, where an in-ring beatdown from 1991 cut away to an audience reaction from 2000.
  12. I will say, regarding Bea Priestly, that more than once I've seen her use other people's finishers as transitional moves, even when that other person is on the card, and going over using that finish. That always leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and makes me more inclined to side with Toyota on this one.
  13. I'm not sure if cutting away on impact is supposed to limit the risk of it looking "fake" in HD, or limit the risk of it looking "violent", and make them less culpable should a kid make headlines for mimicking wrestling moves in the playground and doing someone a mischief. Either way, it's bloody annoying. The biggest problem to me is that it's all completely lacking any sense of urgency. I watched Wrestlemania IX last night - hardly an example of an all-time great show, littered as it is with non-finishes, ref bumps, and Giant Gonzalez - and, despite being all that, and despite being more than 25 years ago, it feels fresher and more vibrant than anything I've seen from WWE in years. It has a unique venue that defines the entire visual style of the show. It may be a little hokey to dress everyone up in togas, or to stick the announcers in chaps and cowboy hats every time they run Texas, or dressed as spooky ghosts for Halloween, but it makes each show stand out. Running different buildings, with different sets, different visual styles, meant the shows felt varied, they felt interesting, and it didn't feel like you'd seen it all before. Even with the current standard LED screen set-up, they could use that screen so much more creatively with bespoke graphics and displays for every show. NXT doing single spotlights for title matches makes them feel significant, and make them stand out, in a way that matches on the main roster don't. It's just about making things feel different, rather than all looking the same. Another aspect I think is key, and was probably the turning point for a lot of this stuff - how often do you see wrestlers interact with the camera? It's clearly dictated to them not to do it. If you watch early '90s WWF or WCW, you'll see heel wrestlers pushing the camera out of their face, wrestlers posing toward the camera, talking directly into the lens, addressing the audience. But WWE want to be a "proper" TV show, so they pretend the camera crew don't exist, because you'd never see someone in Breaking Bad acknowledge the existence of a cameraman. Aside from leading to insufferable backstage "why are they even filming this, and why aren't the dastardly heels concerned that their conversation is being filmed?" segments, it makes the actual wrestling part of the show less immersive. Someone (I can't remember where I got this from, apologies) criticised Jurassic World's camerawork compared to Jurassic Park's, saying that in Jurassic Park the view of the camera is always at a human's eye level - straining to look up at dinosaurs, seeing them from roughly the perspective you would if you were in the scene. But in Jurassic World, you have cameras that fly around the T-Rex, circling it, shooting it from above, and from what possible "real" perspective is that representing? It goes from an immersive shot where you could easily be a character in the scene itself, to a view more akin to a kid playing with toys - able to see everything, but not themselves a part of the story. It's similar in wrestling - when the camera cuts every few seconds, you're not seeing it from any one perspective, so there's no sense of immersion, no sense that you're in an audience watching the show, so you don't feel a part of it in the same way. I think it started when TV became a more significant part of the business model than live events - the focus was no longer on producing a TV show that made you wish you were in that crowd of that wrestling show, the crowd were now secondary to making a TV show about wrestling.
  14. Sorry to hear that, Baz. Hope you're bearing up well. Scott Walker dying is pretty gutting. 76 isn't a bad innings, particularly for a pop star of his generation, though my list of musical heroes is looking pretty thin on the ground after the past few years. And his rate of production meant that you had to hope he'd live into triple figures just to get two more albums out of him. He represents an almost completely lost side of the music business to me, where someone could have the time and the scope to grow artistically from being essentially a member of a boy-band, into a brooding singer-songwriter, into an avant-garde maverick, and be (for the most part) left to his own devices in doing so. The Walker Brothers were a cut above most other bands of their ilk, his solo material on Scott I through IV is absolutely gorgeous, and a real exercise in seeing the development of his ideas. Even the "wilderness years" between Scott IV and Nite Flights, while mostly asinine covers, produced some quality hidden gems. Everything from Tilt onwards is utterly magnificent. When I heard Blackstar, which I think is Bowie's most challenging work, and amongst his best, my first thought was "Bowie's finally catching up to what Scott Walker's been doing since 1995". The first time I heard Tilt, and The Drift, I remember thinking that I was hearing the future of music, that this guy was 10-20 years ahead of the curve. I never found them difficult to listen to the way some did (On 30 Century Man, Marc Almond talks about how he found Tilt unlistenable). Then, on hearing Bisch Bosch, I found it genuinely a struggle, and genuinely hard work to make sense. At first I was a little disappointed, after having waited so long for new material, but later it dawned on me that what I was feeling was that same sense of unease that others had felt around Tilt, and that was actually quite an exciting thought, that Walker was now so far ahead of the curve that I was struggling to keep up. Interestingly, he claimed that Soused, the collaboration he did with SunnO))), was the closest he ever got to perfecting the sound he wanted.
  15. Ospreay also teased going for the move in a match after all this kicked off - so while Bea's usage of it could be considered potentially a faux pas, this one was just Will actively being a bit of a dick.
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