Thursday, May 3, 2018

Backlash 2018 Preview

Ah yes here we are and the co-branded pay per views are all over. What does that mean for me? Well it means less previews because both Raw and Smackdown will do these events together. And whew, your boy is quite pleased at this because he was struggling to keep up. With all that being said let's get down to the get down.

Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley vs Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
This is a kind of thrown together match. Owens and Zayn are two of the best in ring performers going. Braun Strowman should probably be Universal champ based solely on flipping an ambulance with his opponent still inside.
As for the 4th person in the match it gets tricky. As a babyface he's just a generic void of charisma. As a heel however, he is this perfect cocky ass clown you want to see get beat but it doesn't happen. If this leads to a Braun-Bobby feud I could be down but I fear this is just gonna be a squashington for my boys from Canada.
Winner: Strowman and Lashley

Daniel Bryan vs Big Cass
So I am torn here. On one hand I am super pumped to see the American Dragon tearing it up in the ring again and frankly I don't even care what the stakes are of said match.
On the other hand while I'm not so down on Big Cass, I'm not all the way there yet. I do think Daniel Bryan will work a match that makes Cass looks strong but also gives the people what they want becasue...come on, we've been waiting so damn long for his return. A good back and forth battle but in the end the fans get what they want and honestly the way it should as D-Bry gets the win.
Winner: Daniel Bryan

Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe
I have zero idea what they are doing with Roman Reigns. He probably should have won at Mania but he got nerfed. He probably should have won at the Greatest Royal Rumble instead they went with the dusty finish, so what do we do now?
"Joe's gonna kill you..."
Samoa Joe is now on Smackdown and while he is one of my favorites a loss here doesn't hurt him and conversely a win doesn't help him. In the case of Reigns he has lost every big match it seems for the last year at least. He needs this win if he is ever to be believed as a threat.
Winner: Roman Reigns

Charlotte Flair vs Carmella (Smackdown Women's Championship)
This one is hard to call. The women's scene in Smackdown has certainly picked up since the last roster swap and NXT call ups. You now have Asuka, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, to go along with some of the more established women like Becky Lynch, Naomi and the two ladies involved in this match.
Peyton Royce Hive assemble!
I would say some interference on behalf of Kay and Royce may help Carmella retain. I also have noticed that there seems to be seeds being planted for a women's tag team division? Which yes, please bring it on. And then give said title to the Iconic Duo because Peyton Royce forever.

Alexa Bliss VS Nia Jax (Raw Women's Championship)
This women's match however is quite easy to call. After a long slow build with an uncomfortable body shaming angle, Nia Jax finally got her title win at Wrestlemania. Firmly cemented as a top face on Raw she is going to continue as I believe she will get a lengthy dominant run building her up as a formidable champion only to probably drop that title to Ronda Rousey. But that's down the road. As for now let's all enjoy the glory of Nia Jax before Rousey is shoved down our throats.
Winner: Nia Jax

Randy Orton vs Jeff Hardy (US Championship)
I don't know if it's possible to care less for a match than this one. I like Jeff Hardy as much as the next guy but good ol' Orton here is not your boy's cup of tea. I mean a very good wrestler, but compelling he is not. I am to believe that a guy who will seemingly hit an RKO on anyone out of nowhere is to be cheered for? If he was a sadistic heel to Hardy's charismatic enigma then I'm all on board. Honestly I think I'd be more amped to see Shelton Benjamin in this role.

The Miz vs Seth Rollins (Intercontinental Championship)
Another match where the ending is kind of not in doubt. The Miz is now on Smackdown and given that Raw has to have a mid card title Rollins is the obvious winner. That being said I still think that this is going to be an amazing match.
Currently operating in a different stratosphere.
These two have a great chemistry and right now Seth Rollins is on another level. I think this is going to tell the story of Rollins being the superior in ring performer but the Miz using his wits to make this a more competitive bout than it should. Hopefully post match we get a pseudo heel turn from Finn Balor and he becomes more like his New Japan gimmick of the Real Rock 'n' Rolla. 

Shinuske Nakamura vs AJ Styles (WWE Championship)
Now this is a Shinuske Nakamura I have been waiting for. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed face Nak, but evil Shinuske is where it's at. Since Wrestlemania he has been an eccentric weirdo who kinda is sadistic and kind of addicted to punching to AJ Styles in the dick.
Pow! Right in the baby maker!
Now if they can keep Styles from trying to be funny the build up can be as awesome as I know the in ring is going to be. AJ driven by anger and his emotions, and Shinuske now unburdened from being a fan favorite. In the end I think Nakmura wins, but he wins by receiving a low blow from Styles and sets up a match at Summerslam.
Winner: Nakamura (By DQ)

Well there you have it, will any of these come true? Probably not. But hey again you come here for the free content and not the accuracy of said free content. Later people as we mosy down the path to NXT Takeover Chicago I think.

Monday, April 30, 2018

April's Sit Your Ass Down Award

You didn't think I was gonna let this month pass without telling ya'll who I have arbitrarily chosen to yell at via blog form to have a god damn seat did you? This month like previous month's was not short on contenders for the throne but since last week one group has zoomed to the top of the charts if you will. Without further ado....anyone who is still in the year of our lord 2018 still defending Bill Cosby, get your ass up here so you can sit your ass down!

For the uninformed, last week chickens came home to roost for a certain Quaalude distributing pudding pop spokesperson was finally convicted of sexual assault after decades of being punished with wealth, fame and a hypocritical sense of superiority. As soon as it happened people jumped out the woodwork sharing poorly worded memes about the man taking down a positive black role model. Allow me to mock a few of the dumber ones I saw.

"Bill Cosby was about to buy NBC." 
Probably the most famous of the dumb ass excuses and also one of the ones that is most easily debunked. Yes in the early 90s Bill Cosby asked about buying NBC, GE who owned NBC said it wasn't for sale. The end. It wasn't some cabal of villains conspiring to stop ol' Uncle pudding pop. He asked "hey that for sale?" And NBC was all like "Nah playa, thanks for asking tho."

"This is just an example of the man not allowing a BLACK man to prosper." 
Sigh. Ok, there are cases of racism preventing someone from reaching the full heights of their potential. (See: Kaepernick, Colin) This ain't one of those cases. Cosby got to have a full ass career and didn't answer for a damn thing till he was 80.
It may look like he's doing a stand up set but really he's being oppressed.
And while doing so he got to denigrate black people and peddle his respectability politics. So people like Faizon Love jumping to defend him, just know this Bill Cosby thinks he's better than you, and if you were on fire he wouldn't even spit in your direction.

"These women were just trying to get famous."
If you can name me one woman who has profited from calling out Bill Cosby for his past misdeeds I'll buy you a drink. I'm waiting.

"It's like a modern day lynching."
No. No it's not. This was not someone who was innocent, then killed just because he was black. Knock it off. This is a man who admittedly bought drugs to give to women for the sole purpose of having sex with them. Oh don't believe me? BAM! 

Well I am starting to get angry which is a good sign that I have made a good decision in this month's choice. So to you Bill Cosby defender, I extend to you a hearty go fuck yourself because the only injustice is that it took this long for him to see his day in court.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Puma Mock NFL Draft

Ah yes it appears we have reached that time of year where I get irrationally excited by the state of the Chicago Bears and this year is no damn different! Armed with yet another coach and set of coordinators I feel the Bears could be a surprise team. Then the draft will happen and boom, hopes dashed. (See: Bears trade up to get Mitch Trubisky, who was not getting drafted by any other team before Chicago.) So without further ado let's go ahead and get my predictions on the top ten picks so I can have my hope dashed and settle in for another 5-11 season. Now all of these are gonna be operating on the current draft lottery list, I am not going to try and predict trades. And away we go!

1. Cleveland: Sam Darnold, QB- USC
Do I think Darnold is the best quarterback in this class? Only if we're going solely on head size. Now I say this as a guy who is not a draft expert but a humble blogger who has watched him play quite a bit over the last few years, and while the highs are good, the lows are...yowza.
I can't help but see Matt Barkley every time I see this guy.

2. NY Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB - Penn St.
If the Giants are smart before Darnold has even gotten to the podium to put his hat on they will have run their card up to the commissioner with Barkley's name on it with permanent marker. Look up dynamic and well there's a photo of the Chocolate Puma, but in the second example there is a pic of Barkley.
Able to run between the tackles, bounce outside, line up as a receiver, return kicks, and I'm sure if you asked him to he could even whip up a mean creme brulee. Team him with Odell Beckham and maybe get a qb in the second round to sit behind Eli and learn and that offense is back baby!

3. NY Jets: Josh Rosen, QB - UCLA

Now this is the guy who I think is the actual best quarterback in this year's draft class. He's also stupid smart, comes from an affluent family and most egregious of all, he asks a lot of questions which apparently scares the shit out of the backward thinking NFL. Hard not to love this guy (at least hard for me not to love the guy), impeccable form, probably the guy who can get drafted and not immediately lose you a game this Sunday. He has some underrated weapons on offense but long term this could be the guy they have been waiting for.

4. Cleveland: Bradley Chubb, DE -NC State
The top rated pass rusher and for good reason. Team him with last year's number one pick Myles Garrett and hot diggity damn you got yourself a pretty fierce pass rush duo. The defense should be much improved with Jamie Collins and Damarious Randall, and if we're being honest, the defense did not play as bad as their record would indicate. So unless the owner built his front office on a Native American burial ground things should trend upward although kinda hard not to when you won zero games the previous season.

5. Denver: Josh Allen, QB- Wyoming
Here we go. This guy is the oddest damn draft prospect I have ever seen. He has a rocket for a arm but he isn't particularly average. But it's ok because he wins, except he really doesn't. Seriously, Wyoming has a 15-9 record with him at the helm. And on the topic of accuracy:

All that said someone is gonna draft him high without asking him to switch positions (See: Jackson, Lamar) and why not the Broncos. At least there he can sit behind Keenum and learn the intricacies of the position.

6. Indianapolis: Roquan Smith, LB -Georgia
Anyone who watched this guy knows he is going to be a problem for opposing offenses. On the field with the Crimson Tide this guy was one of the most electric on the field. I mean in a game against the team that regularly has the most prepared defensive players it was Smith who when you watched just popped off the screen.
He could drop into coverage, he could rush the passer and if you think you're running the ball his way? Forget about it. And if Andrew Luck is healthy it's gonna solve a lot of issues on that side of the ball but that defense was atrocious last year. This would be a massive help.

7. Tampa Bay: Derwin James, S- Florida St.
Offensively they should be much better than they were if they just play up to expectations. What you can do here to help immediately is grab the best safety in the draft who can do it all and improve the back end of the 20th ranked defense in the NFL last season. This will be a big help for a talented linebacker corp and aggressive line led by Gerald McCoy.

8. Chicago: Quenten Nelson, G- Notre Dame
This pick makes too much sense not to make. So knowing the Bears we'll trade down and draft Nelson from the Simpsons and thus begin a certain Puma's descent into madness.
With the 8th pick in the NFL Draft, the Bears select...
The Bears offensive line coach was his coach at Notre Dame, he is projected to be an All Pro who teamed with Kyle Long could give Jordan Howard and Mitch Trubisky a fighting chance back there. Given they have added Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton it's gonna be more important than ever to protect Frisky Mitch Trubisky and Nelson is probably the best fit.

9. San Francisco: Tremaine Edmunds, LB- Virginia Tech

Given the recent legal woes of LB Ruben Foster it would appear that the Niners may be in need of some help at the linebacker and who better to help out than the top LB prospect remaining. Edmunds combines size with speed and has been compared to Brian Urlacher with his ability to do it all. Can cover running backs and tight ends well and has the ability to rush the passer. Combined with last year's top pick Solomon Thomas and the addition of Richard Sherman things could be looking up in the Bay.

10. Oakland: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Safety- Alabama
With one of the best defensive players in the league in Khalil Mack and the steady Bruce Irvin up front the Raiders need to make strides in securing the back end.
What better way to do that than to add the dynamic Fitzpatrick from Alabama. A kid who once he gets the ball in his hands is a threat to take it back for a score as evidenced by his school record four interceptions returned for a touchdown out of his nine career picks. He's able to drop into coverage and in some packages even be used as a linebacker. A jack of all trades who would be a welcome addition to well any defense.

Well there you have it, I am sure I have gone 0 for 10 in my predictions but hey that's why you come to me. For my astute analysis! Keep it sleazy gang.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

To My Son on the First Anniversary of His Escape From The Womb

As I sit down to write this we're fast approaching the the first revolution around the sun for the Chocolate Cub.

Nothing in this world has ever come close to being his father. I joke often but it's true, every day I wake up it's like meeting a new dude, armed with something new that he is excited to show me.

Sometimes when I wake up of course you're thinking, man another hour of sleep would be sweet but then I hear him without fail, usually standing and yelling "Dada!" It usually takes all my restraint not to excitedly run in and see my boy.
From day one this kid has been a dream. He was so laid back back that his mother didn't even realize she has begun to go into labor with him. I arrived to work, was remarkably bored and then boom, got the call, and was off. After an uncomfortable night on the couch in the delivery room (I'm sure my wife was sooooo comfortable), the boy made a fairly quick entrance on the day he was due. Say what you will but he is punctual if he's nothing else.
I got this baby or straight cash! 
He was so bright eyed and curious just being a few minutes old and it's a quality I am happy to say he has not lost.

I really can't express how amazing it has been to see him grow from a baby, that like all babies didn't have a particular personality, into a crawling, waving, laid back little maniac. It's crazy to see how much of those who came before him I can see in my boy. From his tell of rubbing the side of his head when he gets tired is eerily reminiscent of my grandfather and my own tic of playing with our shoulder when tired, or how my wife says he has the same overbite when he laughs as her grandfather, down to his obsession with cottage cheese like my mother. 

I am filled with excitement over the man he is going to be. I can already tell he is going to be taller than me, so I will get my games of one on one in early so I can retire from playing him undefeated and before he can dunk on me. I can't wait to share with him my love of comic book movies (I won't show him any before he's old enough to handle it Kari, don't worry.) I also look forward to him teaching me things. He's already taught me a few things. For instance, when he gets behind the wheel of his little red car, get the hell out the way, your shins are in danger.
"Get in loser, we're getting fruit snacks!"
But he has also taught me good things that I can apply to other facets of my life. Through him I have become a more patient man, taking the time to be more in the moment. To enjoy things as they happen. Something as simple as grabbing my hands and making them clap or riding around in a basket brings him so much joy which in turn brings me even more joy.

So I'm not sure if there is a real point to this other than I love my boy and I look forward to even more ridiculousness with him.
This may be my favorite picture of him.
So to you, my laid back, talkative, happy boy, I wish you the happiest of birthdays. You're supposed to be getting gifts today, but you are my greatest gift. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

NBA Awards Season (Puma Style)

The playoffs has already begun so I probably should have had the end of season awards already done. But then again you're getting free content so you should be grateful for what I do give you! This season was pretty damn entertaining I'll say. And did a season really come to an end if your boy young Lamborghini Stephenson didn't give you his arbitrary awards for this season? So without further ado, here we go.

Coach of the Year: Quinn Snyder, Utah Jazz
This one is gonna shock a few I know, but on the last day of the season I saw that the Utah Jazz not only made the playoffs but they were the 5th seed. Then I looked at the roster and other than Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert I can't think of any player on the roster I'd be super amped about and Mitchell was an unknown coming into the season. A solid group of guys but eh, not a team I'd expect to make noise. Snyder held together a team that traded away pieces, lost their best player in Gordon Hayward and had to navigate through the more difficult Western Conference.
Not bad for a guy who looks like the overworked scientist who eventually becomes a super villain.
Runner Ups: Dwayne Casey, Brad Stevens

Most Improved Player: Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
This is by far the easiest award for me to hand out. The first 4 seasons of his career he was just a guy. A totally serviceable starter but if he was "the guy" you may be screwed. After being sent to Indy in the Paul George trade, he had a renaissance.
He also gets an MVP vote for using the Black Panther mask.
Always a very good defensive player this season his offense caught up and he has been the man on a team that had no business making the playoffs. It also took a ton of pressure off Myles Turner to allow him to develop more before asking him to shoulder the load. Just a virtuoso performance this season.
Runner Up: Clint Capela

Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers
Lou Williams may legit be the NBA's version of the world's most interesting man and he has definitely taken the mantle of the most dangerous second unit scorer from Jamal Crawford. In fact Williams played so well this season that there was (rightfully) outcry when he wasn't named to the All Star team. It's not often a guy who doesn't even start for his team gets that kind of love. He wasn't just a dangerous scorer,  he averaged over 5 assists and a steal a game as well. Truly Lou-Will is a jack of all trades.
Runner Up: Will Barton

Rookie of the Year: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
This has for some reason become a controversial pick, given that Simmons was drafted 2 seasons ago and missed all last season. I say you haven't played one game then you're a rookie. That said, holy shit what a season.
I mean this guy literally did it all, and he did it without a jumper! 15.5 points, 8 assists, 8 boards and almost 2 steals a game. He has the best court vision of any rookie, and possibly better than any player not named Lebron James. And while Donovan Mitchell has been amazing it took time for him to acclimate to the speed of the game, with Simmons he was out the gates running early. Also he has given himself the nickname of "the Fresh prince" which is just delightful.
Runner Up: Donovan Mitchell

Most Important Player: Lebron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Look Jordan fans, we have got to stop being the fans we hated in our youth. It's possible to to think MJ is the GOAT (like I do) and recognize we're seeing something we've never seen before in LeBron. If you were to remove Bron from the Cavs let's be honest, this team is a lottery team.
No player is more important to the success of his team than him and I believe we have arrived at that territory where you can legit argue that every year he is worthy of the MVP.
Runner Up: Anthony Davis

Most Valuable Player: James Harden, Houston Rockets
Three things in this life are certain. Death, taxes and James Harden getting buckets any damn way he pleases. A few years ago I scoffed when it was announced he'd be playing more point guard and what did he do? He goes out and leads the league in assists.
Then they add Chris Paul and I think well his numbers are gonna drop, what does he do? Lead the league in scoring. Using his Euro step, step back and underrated crossover he has become one of the most unstoppable players in the league. Even if you stop him, he always finds the open man has evidenced by his almost 9 assists a game.
Runner Up: Anthony Davis

All Puma Team
G- James Harden
G- Damian Lillard
F- Lebron James 
F- Giannis Antetokounmpo
C- Anthony Davis

All Puma Rookie Team
G- Donovan Mitchell
F- Kyle Kuzma
F- Ben Simmons
F- Lauri Markanen
F- Jayson Tatum

Well there you have it, my opinion on this season's top performers. Now be like me, stay up far too late watching basketball and in an exhausted haze curse out Terry Stotts on your commute to work.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Wrestlemania 34 Preview

The grand daddy of them all has arrived and will probably be longer than the wait for the final season of Game of Thrones. But never fret my interweb friends, your boy Ol' Uncle Puma has watched more wrestling than a man with a wife and a soon to be one year old should have watched. So let's get to it.

Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon VS Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
I am conflicted on this match. Don't get me wrong, your boy is amped up for the return of the American Dragon and will probably cause a ruckus when 'Flight of the Valkyries' hits on Sunday, but I'm confused where this story goes.
I'm pretty pumped for this.
Daniel Bryan has to come out victorious in his return to the ring, but that also means no more Kevin and Sami on Smackdown, it's like they have written themselves in a corner with this story line. I think there is a finish where D-Bry gets the win, and during the celebration Shane goes full heel and attacks him, fires him as GM, and reinstates Owens and Zayn as his guys. Leads to a Summerslam match of Shane versus Bryan and you keep two of the best acts in wrestling on Smackdown. That's the only thing that makes sense.
Winner: Bryan and McMahon

Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey VS Triple H and Stephanie McMahon
Sigh, this one is going to get a very good spot on the card it's not deserving of. Actually of the 4 people in this I would only want to see one of them wrestle and it's not who the WWE would want that to be as they have built Rousey terribly. Awkward on the mic and in the ring, and it's not her fault. She should be down in NXT but she's learning on the fly. I'm not sure what the deal is with Kurt Angle, and no one ever wants to see Stephanie McMahon wrestle. I think Rousey will get the win in a short weird and highly choreographed affair.
Winner: Angle and Rousey

The New Day VS The Bludgeon Brothers VS The New Day (Smackdown Tag Team Titles)
I expect this match to be a very good affair. The New Day and Usos have an amazing chemistry, even before the Usos turned heel with their "Day One Ish" gimmick.
As for the Bludgeon Brothers, name and entrance aside, they have been built properly as monsters and it will lead to an interesting dilemma, do the Usos and New Day work together to take out the Bludgeon Brothers or will they take their eyes off the prize and take each other out. (Check out the triple threat match from Takeover Orlando for a classic example of this.) In the end I expect The Bludgeon Brothers to power through and capture the tag titles and hopefully get a lengthy run, I mean they have earned it from their time with the Wyatt Family.
Winner: The Bludgeon Brothers

Cesaro and Sheamus VS Braun Strowman & TBD (Raw Tag Team Titles)
This one is tricky, while I think a win for Braun is kind of needed, if he does it solo then that kind of buries Sheamus and Cesaro. On the other hand if the Bar wins then what was the whole point of the Tag Team battle royal.
Please let his partner be Brains Strowman
The big rumor is Rey Mysterio returns to be his partner and then you get the whole big guy, little guy dynamic that if done right can be quite entertaining. I don't really care who is partner is as long it does not bury Sheamus and Cesaro. Cesaro can put a classic on with anyone and Sheamus is a guy who doesn't get the credit he deserves . Given rumors of Sheamus' neck, a rest is probably warranted for him.
Winner: Braun and TBA

Asuka VS Charlotte (Smackdown Women's Title)
This is a match with zero build, almost as if the whole signing of Ronda Rousey distracted Creative. Even with no story other than I wanna fight you, I am wild excited for this match.
Possibly the 2nd best match on this card
For as much as I love Sasha Banks even I have to admit that Charlotte has truly been Miss Wrestlemania. And what can I say about Asuka that I haven't said in previous previews. This is going to be a battle of the athleticism of Charlotte and the stiff strikes of Asuka. The Empress of Tomorrow will be pushed but in the end her streak will go on and she will become the new Smackdown Women's Champion.
Winner: Asuka 

Nia Jax VS Alexa Bliss (Raw Women's Title)
When you usually see a bigger athlete versus the smaller one, you assume the underdog is the smaller one. WRONG! Through a particularly uncomfortable body shaming angle they have turned the dimunitive Alexa Bliss into someone you want to see get destroyed. And who better to do the job than Nia Jax who while being dominant has shown some insecurities. In the end I would expect Nia Jax to get the win and begin a surprising run as a face champion.
Winner: Nia Jax

Rusev VS Jinder Mahal VS Bobby Roode VS Randy Orton (United States Title)
I should be more excited for this I really should. But if we're being honest, Randy Orton bores me to death and his actions make little sense. Jinder Mahal is just kind of shoe horned into this match based off a "top ten list" that they don't even use anymore, and Bobby Roode is woefully miscast as a face. He works best when he is a jerk who you want to see get kicked in his grill. The saving grace of this match is the 4th man who thankfully was added at the last minute.
Hopefully it will be a prosperous Rusev Day
No one (not named Daniel Bryan) gets the pop that Rusev gets and it's about time you reward the guy for making this Rusev Day gimmick work. I am choosing the winner here based solely on my heart as I am sure it will not play out how I'd like it.
Winner: RUSEV

Finn Balor VS Seth Rollins VS The Miz (Intercontinental Title)
The opposite of the US Title match is the multi-man affair for the Intercontinental Title. The Miz for well over a year has been one of the top performers, basically being the man tasked with keep feuds going when his opponents are not able to. Seth Rollins has been a man possessed trying to get back to the main event scene putting on some damn good matches.
Just give us this faction please! 
Finn Balor is starting to come into his own and when he was teamed up with Gallows and Anderson he for the first time looked truly comfortable. I think this match is gonna focus on Balor and Rollins one upping each other and the Miz using his wits to escape again. Given that his kid was just born I say the Miz has earned some time away. I also think Rollins goes to Smackdown leaving one man to hold the title.
Winner: Finn Balor

Shinuske Nakamura VS AJ Styles (WWE Title)
This is probably going to be the match of the night. Seriously go back and check out their match from Wrestle Kingdom 10 to see the magic these two can put on.
I have loved the psychological games played by Nakamura, particularly a few weeks ago teasing a Kinshasa only to stop and pat Styles on the head. Not to be outdone Styles teased a phenomenal forearm only to stop and return the pat. I think this is going to be the match that gets the casual wrestling fan unfamiliar with the awesomeness of Nakamura to get all on board. Styles has had some opponents over the year he had to drag to good matches but this is gonna be one that is worthy of his talents. In the end I think Nakamura will get the better of Styles to win his first WWE Title.
Winner: Nakamura

Roman Reigns VS Brock Lesnar (WWE Universal Title)
So we gotta do this huh? Alright fine. Brock has beaten the brakes off of Roman every single time they have crossed paths in the build up to this match. My problem with this is how Roman is presented, as some anti corporate guy when he comes across as the most corporate guy. I'm not one of those "Roman sucks" guys, but he definitely shouldn't be presented as an underdog. He should be this cocky heel who actually plays up his corporate connection. The match itself, will be fine. Probably a 10 to 15 minute affair that is gonna be end with a few Superman punches and a spear, maybe two and a whole new era of "Roman Empire" t-shirts. Yay.
Winner: Roman Reigns

Well there you have it, notably absent is whatever John Cena and the Undertaker are going to do because at the time I wrote this it wasn't officially a match so stop complaining. Also Bayley wins the women's battle royal, Samoa Joe will return and win the Andre the Giant battle royal and Cedric Alexander will win the Cruiserweight title. Alright, catch you humanoids later.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

NXT Takeover: New Orleans Preview

Ah yes, it looks like we have reached the biggest NXT show of the year and damned if William Regal and the gang down in Full Sail have not delivered another jam packed card. I honestly would not be surprised if this was the best show of the weekend and that includes the Ring of Honor show as well. Well enough of the formalities, let's jump right into it shall we?

Tommaso Ciampa VS Johnny Gargano (Unsanctioned Match)
This has been masterful storytelling. From Ciampa turning on his best friend at Takeover: Chicago and stabbing us all in the heart to Johnny Wrestling fighting his way to the precipice of a championship just to have the Blackheart Ciampa channel some of his old gimmick of the Sicilian Psychopath albeit a very measured and creepy psychopath.
What a dick.
I would expect this match to have quite a bit of brutality to it actually as this is the culmination to a story that has been going on for well over a year. In the end I think Johnny Wrestling gets the win and probably is sent up to the main roster leaving Ciampa to terrorize the NXT roster.
Winner: Gargano

Shayna Bayzler VS Ember Moon (NXT Women's Championship)
Bayzler has been perfectly presented as arguablyy the most unlikable heel in NXT women's history. Even when Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks were heels, they were kinda cool heels that you didn't mind winning. You really want everyone to put the boots to Bayzler, I mean who tries to injure Dakota Kai? Shes adorable!
You've gone too far now.
So I would expect Ember Moon to come in with some agression that we're not used to seeing but if we're being honest she is not really needed at NXT, I think that she will drop the title to Bayzler in a close contest and move on to the main roster. Possibly Smackdown where the scene has gotten a little stagnant and could use a punch in the arm.
Winner: Bayzler

Authors of Pain VS Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne VS The Undisputed Era (NXT Tag Team Titles)
Before Bobby Fish got hurt I would have said no doubt about it , Undisputed Era wins and we would be treated more of Kyle O'Reilly using the title as a guitar. Seriously look at it, he truly is in his happy place.
But with Fish out I think this is gonna tell three stories. The first being the sheer dominance of the Authors of Pain as I would not be shocked to see them show up Monday night or even at some point during Wrestlemania. The second being a star making performance from Adam Cole (Bay-Bay!).

He is going to be in the ladder match later, and by pulling double duty along with his appearances in the Royal Rumble and the ovation he got on the main roster I think we're about to see a big push. Finally the tale of Roddy Strong and Pete Dunne making it work will be brought to fruition as frankly they are the ones who need it most and they have been KILLING it in the ring.
Winner: Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong

Adam Cole VS EC3 VS Ricochet VS Killian VS Lars Sullivan VS Velveteen Dream (Ladder Match for Inaugural NXT North American Championship)
This may be the match I am most excited for of the entire weekend. It has a debuting Ricochet ( a favorite of 'ol Puma), the return of EC3, a future feud of Hoss supremacy with Sullivan and Dain, the electric Velveteen Dream, and of course the man who plays the best shitty heel in the biz, ADAM COLE BAY-BAY! I would say that the big men will take each other out to set up the hoss fight of the year. I don't think Ricochet would win as it is his introduction to the NXT universe and they may want to build to a title run. So that leaves EC3, Adam Cole, and Velveteen Dream. I could see all three winning to be honest so this is gonna have no real logic I guess in my prediction. If I use my heart I want Velveteen Dream to win, if I use my brain though I say EC3 wins. The pop he got when he came out 2 weeks ago was insane, and I could see the NX3 chants taking over.
The time draws near.
As for Cole, I think he is destined to win the NXT Title so I wouldn't be shocked if after this he becomes #1 Contender.
Winner: EC3

Aleister Black VS Andrade 'Cien' Almas (NXT Championship)
When he first debuted with his weird suspenders and hat I was not all that impressed with Almas. Since turning heel and aligning with Zelina Vega (hey boo), he has become someone I could see as a future world champion. Someone who from the first time he appeared on NXT TV I knew was going to be a champion was Aleister Black.
Extremely methodical and cerebral he has shown more of his personality in his last few feuds with Velveteen Dream and the Undisputed Era. I could see Almas being moved up to Smackdown so I think we are about to Fade to Black in NXT.
Winner: Aleister Black

Well there you have it, even if all of these are wrong I have zero doubts that I'll be left with any complaints.