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  1. Coming out of my younger days of music snobbery, 'Biology' is probably the song that snapped me out of it and made me say, "fuck me, there's something to this pop music lark after all".
  2. I wonder how much the backrooms of WWE appreciate this kind of thing. On one hand, it's everything they claim they love. The worker is being creative, working hard, showing what they're capable of and forging a connection with the audience. Hypothetically he's making the writer's job easier and should reap the benefits. On the other hand, WWE is about as nimble in its creative direction as an aircraft carrier. I can imagine some in creative thinking, "oh, for fuck's sake, what is Maverick doing? The plan was to use this to get Rawley* over enough so we can put out this action figure we commissioned. We'll just have to find a way to bury Maverick and get the attention back on Rawley". Obviously you hope it's more of the former, but it's an interesting balance they have to strike. It's hard to think of too many other industries that work with this kind of dynamic. *Just using him as a random example because he has a new look they could potentially be thinking of exploiting in new merch
  3. Yeah, I kind of instantly regretted my pedantry there. I do take the broader point. I guess I'd just say that there was surely never any expectation that this Sami thing was going to actually be a push, was there? It was a new wrinkle to his character that had (and I'd say still has) potential to elevate him slightly. Aside from that, he's in the mixer like everyone else. You go out there, grind through pinball booking, hope the fans take to you regardless and hope an opportunity eventually opens up for you. I mean, obviously things could be better, but I don't think he's too much worse off for losing a bunch. Almost everyone does. I wouldn't take it as a great signal of WWE's intent or attitude. They're ambivalent about pretty much everyone except maybe Roman, Brock, Seth and the McMahons themselves.
  4. Didn't he beat Braun Strowman last week?
  5. Before Brock had even left the ramp I was starting to rethink my reservations about him winning MITB. Goofy Brock is pretty glorious. I'm still not too pleased about him having the case really - ultimately Brock's already presented as a guy who can have a title shot whenever he asks for one - but seeing him here revelling in everyone's disgust was pretty excellent. I enjoyed the Ricochet/Cesaro and Usos/Revival matches. My dream for the 24/7 title now is that, at the start of every episode of Raw and Smackdown, you have four jobbers from the opposing show turn up in a Wacky Races scrum to use up all the wildcard places. I want Roman Reigns to show up on Raw to call out Brock Lesnar only to be told, "sorry, Roman, no can do... we have no time for you this week... the wildcard slots were taken by Apollo Crews, Bo Dallas, Epico and Mike Kanellis racing by in an indistinguishable blur... off you trot".
  6. I just don't know how to feel about Brock. On one hand, I'm a big fan. I know a lot of people hate his matches and the suplex-suplex-F5 formula, but I've always enjoyed them as something different in the mix. I'm generally happy to watch him and have him around. But that's the problem, isn't it? He's never around. He's a part-timer presented as a full-timer and it just hurts the weekly show. Even if you believe the "he's their only star" stuff, you'd be hard pressed to say Raw didn't suffer notably during his last title reign. I mean, what, pray tell, is the point of having a star if you're forced to spend 90% of the time lamenting the limits of their contribution? He's basically Mesut Ozil. It's absolutely fair to question whether his presence is a hindrance to the club overall, regardless of individual talent and value. I'm quite happy for Bayley. Her post-match celebrations with the fans were actually my favourite part of the show.
  7. I feel like my GoT nerdery peaked a while back and now I'm just glad it's over. Bran on the throne is a bit lame, but it's fine. There were no good happy ending options for the throne really. Sansa and Jon ended where they belonged. Arya obviously wasn't made for the throne. Being a Lannister means Tyrion would have been an awful shout. Bran is just the empty vessel that gives everyone else space to exist. My favourite and least favourite parts were in the same scene. Edmure Tully showing up and chancing his hand was pretty hilarious. The "Democracy? L0L!" bit wasn't. Even before the explicit suggestion from Samwell, there was a seeping vibe of it I could have lived without. It felt very ham-fisted and it took me right out of the show.
  8. textonly

    NJPW World

    In case anyone's interested, RevPro opened pre-sale today for their show that's happening the night before Royal Quest. No idea whether they'd do anything consequential, but you'd have to imagine there'd be some NJPW talent on show. Noon on Monday for general sale.
  9. I kind of rushed through the TV version, but it just sounded a bit like they adjusted the levels to suit their needs. Lower volume for Roman boos, inflated volume for stuff they're happy with etc.
  10. I don't know if this belongs in here or in some kind of random thoughts thread, but I went to Smackdown this week. It was my first live WWE show in 12 years and it was an interesting experience to see how things are done at the moment. The most striking thing was that the crowd felt pretty flat the whole night and there didn't seem to be a ton of interest on WWE's end in changing that. I mean, I've been to a few TV tapings in my time - including a few wrestling ones - and one thing they tend to have in common is a genuine effort to get the crowd onside and a recognition of their importance to the show. If it's a comedy show of some sort, you'll often get a warm-up who doubles as an MC, keeping the crowd pepped-up; at some of the wrestling tapings I've been to, there'll be someone connected with the company acting as an MC and essentially appealing to/pleading with the audience to fulfil this crucial role they have in a wrestling show. This whole WWE taping, though, had this vibe like, "we're putting on our television show and you get to be here to see us do it, but we could take you or leave you". Considering how much WWE play up the importance of the WWE Universe on air, it was pretty surprising that they didn't make more effort to reach out to the crowd. We talk a bunch about ways WWE could make their show better and, as dumb as it sounds, a hype man of sorts working the live shows feels like it could make a notable difference to the atmosphere.
  11. Admittedly I'm a huge Usos mark, but I didn't feel this way. I was thinking, "wow, the difference between how Raw and Smackdown presents these guys is just unreal". I liked them here as I've liked them for the last few years. On Raw for the past two weeks they've been unbearable; an effortlessly cool, modern tag team transformed into a dated comedy act getting their material from a 1955 issue of MAD magazine Vince read when he was a kid. Looking forward to some new sustainably sourced Smackdown tag team belts.
  12. When Liverpool were down after the first leg, I was saying to my brother how, even though I thought they were most likely out, I wouldn't be shocked if they somehow managed the turn it around. Liverpool just have this weird knack for odd miracles unlike anyone else in football. These things seem to happen to them more than anyone else. It made me wonder about other teams and the things they have a weird knack for. Historically, I'd say United have been the example of a team who just have a knack for winning games somehow. It's a tight match, they haven't performed amazingly, but somehow, at the death, they'll find a goal or two to take them over the line. It's been part of their character for years. Then I thought, as an Arsenal fan, what do we have a knack for? What do we do that others don't with an unusual, almost unbelievable regularity? And sadly the answer I came up with was "lose by a cricket score to decent teams". What a shit knack. I'd be interested to hear if any other clubs have these habits that somehow feel unusually prevalent or completely unique to them.
  13. Obvious problems aside, one practical, easy thing they could do right now to make the shows better? Get some of their WWE.com content on TV immediately. It's frankly ridiculous how much of WWE's best stuff is hidden away online (and not even on the Network). I was watching this Daniel Bryan segment earlier. It's 10 minutes long and it's just excellent. How they can produce stuff of this calibre and not be irresistibly compelled to put it on TV is beyond me.
  14. For all the numerous disappointments that come with being an Arsenal fan these days, the one that makes me most consistently sad at the moment is our fans' refusal to embrace the 'Mah Nà Mah Nà' song for Aubameyang. We've always been one of the worst clubs in football when it comes to songs, we finally get gifted this great one - one that, by its nature, could help defuse some of the aggro, macho vibe around the place - and we throw it away. The true tragedy of the era.
  15. On a separate note, I would love to hear what someone like Zack Sabre Jr. thinks about all this. On one hand, he's very open about his progressive views and I expect he's fully on board with workers' rights etc. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine that anyone who's been about wrestling for a while hasn't dealt in some of this, and maybe they see some value in it despite how it looks from the outside. It'd be fascinating to hear. Cultural differences are interesting too. America's always been pretty weak on workers' rights, so I presume for a lot of the roster there's less expectation of protections we would take for granted. Japan's work culture is pretty notorious but I don't know what rights they're offered as standard. Maybe a UK perspective is way out of line with the norm (although I'd be pretty surprised, albeit pleasantly, to hear that our companies operate much differently).
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