Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Puma's Thoughts on the Confederate Flag and Monuments



I’ve debated writing something on this for quite a while and really kind of confused that this subject is even still a thing in the year of our Lord 2017. And that subject is the Confederate flag and Confederate monuments; its mind boggling to me that people are really fighting hard to keep these remnants of arguably the biggest L anyone has ever received in American history up for public consumption.
Much more appropriate
This isn’t to say we shouldn’t teach the history of the Confederacy but to hold it up as something to be honored is a weird thing to me. 

A little backstory here, the Puma grew up near a town called Stonewall in Mississippi. I didn’t really think too much of it as a child but I remember seeing a plaque in town speaking of the bravery of Stonewall Jackson, the man the town was named for. I did some digging (using encyclopedias because I’m old and this predates the Wikipedia you kids use today.) 
He probably hated slavery, so he's cool right?
What I found as a kid was a man who owned slaves, was gifted slaves, and then fought to protect the society that allowed him to do so. He owned people like me. That was a sickening thought for a young Puma who couldn’t have been more than 10 years old at the time. 

“But Puma, that flag and monuments are about heritage! Not hate!” I counter with those flags and monuments represent a heritage of hate. These monuments were not erected during the Civil War or even closely after the Civil War; they were built en masse in 2 waves. The first of the two waves being post Reconstruction in the Jim Crow era, and another uptick during the Civil Rights era, these monuments were built as forms of public intimidation and a reminder of Black people’s standing in society. 
During the late 1940s we saw the return of the Confederate battle flag when Dixiecrats protested against President Truman for having the gall to desegregate the armed forces and support anti-lynching bills. They waved the Confederate flags and enthusiastically did rebel yells. Now I want you to tell me why in the hell would I be like “oh cool, it’s just a flag! It’s just a statue!” No, it represents so much more. 

I've seen so many defenses begin with "my family fought for that flag and they didn't own slaves, what about their legacy?" To that I say with all due respect )so you know something wild disrespectful coming,) FUCK THE LEGACY OF FIGHTING FOR THAT FLAG. I have family who were terrorized with that flag. And I'm not the only person. So what about my family legacy? We have to be reminded of that terror just because people want to display history's version of a participation trophy? Fuck that noise. This isn't something that you need to hear both sides on, which side owned people? Cool, I'm with the other guys, end of discussion. 

Ok. I'm done. I promise I'll be back with wrestling or some snarky insults aimed at people I dislike. Or not, this is free content. You're welcome.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Summerslam 2017 Preview

Oh yes the event of the summer has arrived and sweet lord is this card going to be long as all hell. Seriously counting the pres-how there are going to be 12 matches on this card and is slated to be about 6 hours long. Now I love the wrestling but dear lord this is going to be a marathon. Now with no further delay let's just dive into this.

Neville vs Akira Tozawa (WWE Crusierweight Title)
Since returning from injury and moving to the cruiserweight division Neville has been on an absolute roll. His evil Neville persona has been a welcome change from the bland babyface with cool moves he was before. Since turning heel he rarely does moves the crowd loves because they aren't worthy. Akira Tozawa has been a fan favorite since he was in the Cruiserweight Classic throwing some of the best German suplexes I've ever seen.
This match will be an exciting one as these two have great chemistry and I look forward to this feud continuing.
Winner: Tozawa

The Usos vs The New Day (Smackdown Tag Team Championships)
Since turning heel the Usos have gone from being the act that I take my bathroom break when I see them to arguably the best act on Smackdown.
They're being much more aggressive and exuding just a coolness that can't be denied. As for the New Day they have always been entertaining so it's hard for me to make a choice. I would say the Usos will win it back just because the New Day don't need the title to be popular or successful.
Winner: The Usos 

Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs Cesaro and Sheamus (Raw Tag Team Championships)
The long drawn out reunion of Rollins and Ambrose finally happened on the last Monday Night Raw. So given the popularity of the two joining forces I would guess that they will take the titles off the hands of Cesaro and Sheamus. That said Cesaro and Sheamus have been one of my my favorite acts. Going from hating each other's guts to a begrudging respect to now being one of the best tag teams in the entire division and I look forward to them feuding with the (hopefully soon to be Broken) Hardys.
Winner: Rollins and Ambrose

John Cena vs Baron Corbin 
Now this match is going to be hard to call. For some reason Corbin cashed in his Money in the Bank contract but lost due to a distraction from John Cena.
I wouldn't do that if I was you.
Now rumors are swirling that John Cena is going going to be at the post Summerslam Raw so having him go over Corbin makes little sense. But Cena is not going to lose clean so I say Corbin wins but it will be under less than fair circumstances.
Winner: Baron Corbin

Finn Balor vs Bray Wyatt
 This feud has really been underwhelming but Balor announced that he will be doing this match as the Demon. Arguably one of the coolest entrances in all of wrestling it also means that he's not losing.
Someday...
Hopefully this leads to the Balor Club forming and Bray Wyatt getting some direction post Summerslam.
Winner: Finn Balor


Big Show vs Big Cass
This one seems pretty straight forward that Big Show wins due to some kind of help from Enzo Amore who will be suspended above the cage in a shark cage. I also would expect Big Cass and the Club to get some licks in on the Big Show before Enzo gets his redemptive moment and somehow saves the day. I'm guessing by some kind of spot from the cage onto all 3 of those assaulting the Big Show.
Winner: The Big Show

Randy Orton vs Rusev
Now if I was going with my heart Rusev wins this match in a squash. Unfortunately I'll be a little more rational. Randy Orton just lost three times in a row to Jinder Mahal and this "feud" was kinda cobbled together at the last minute. So Randy wins here and then probably takes a break because after this not really sure where a baby face Randy Orton goes.
Winner: Randy Orton

Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles 
Anytime you put AJ Styles and Kevin Owens in a match it has the opportunity to steal the show.
Throw Shane McMahon in as the guest referee and definitely has a shot to be the match of the night. Now I get the feeling that this match is going to lead to a Shane McMahon feud with Kevin Owens, I expect the Phenomenal One to get the win when Shane interferes and stops Owens from cheating to get the victory.
Winner: AJ Styles  

Shinsuke Nakamura vs Jinder Mahal (WWE Championship)
Now had I written this before Smackdown I would have had Nakamura winning. Give Baron Corbin's failed cash in attempt I will have to say that somehow, someway Swagsuke will not be successful in his first attempt at the title.
Next time sweet prince...
 That said I don't think it will be a clean win for Jinder but it won't weaken him by making him look like a total jackass.
Winner: Jinder Mahal

Sasha Banks vs Alexa Bliss (WWE Raw Women's Championship)
Over the last few months there hasn't been a better women's wrestler on the roster than the Boss. And while Alexa Bliss is miles ahead of her on the mic, in the ring Sasha shall shine. The wild card in all of this is Bliss' relationship to Nia Jaxx, and will she get involved. If she does and accidentally costs Bliss the title it could open a very interesting feud there and allows Sasha to feud with some of the more underutilized women talent (*cough* Emma *cough) or even call up Asuka for a pretty damn entertaining feud.

Natalya vs Naomi (Smackdown Women's Championship)
Naomi is probably the most athletic talented wrestler on the roster and in terms of pure mat based skill you'd be hard pressed to find someone more proficient than Natalya. This should be a good showcase of Natalya's technical prowess and Naomi's athleticism. In the end I think Natalya will end the reign of Naomi.
Winner: Natalya
But Then:
Carmella the winner of the Women's Money in the Bank contract will seize the opportunity to catch a celebrating Nattie slipping and cash in and win the title.
Winner: Carmella

Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe vs Brock Lesnar (WWE Universal Title)
And now the main event that should have you salivating. Braun Strowman has won me over. First of all he flipped an ambulance. I'll repeat that because it bears repeating. HE FLIPPED A DAMN AMBULANCE. Roman Reigns for all his faults, once he gets in the ring is a prime time player. Samoa Joe has been on a roll like no other, as he is a legit bad ass and delivers one hell of an intimidating promo.
Joe's gonna kill you...seriously.
And Brock Lesnar? Well he's a damn monster. People his size and age shouldn't be able to move with his speed and still possess that strength. I see Braun and Brock essentially taking each other out and as Roman spears one of the two and prepares to go for a cover Joe will strike with the Coquina Clutch and become the new Universal Champion.
Winner: Samoa Joe

Well there you have it. Not sure if any of these will work out as I predicted but like an idiot I will put myself out there and give it a shot. Alright kids, I am out. 
 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

NXT Takeover Brooklyn III Preview

Well the world has turned into some hot piles of burning trash well more so, so in an effort to distract myself from the ills of a society that has all of a sudden become concerned with the feelings of nazis, I will for the 3 to 4 people who read this and watch wrestling I shall give you my predictions starting with NXT Takeover on Saturday night.

But before I begin I must say that if you are a fan of wrestling then you must begin watching NXT sooner rather than later. If for nothing else it was announced this week that the brand has signed former Ring of Honor champion Adam Cole...bay bay!
Stealing the show with the Phenomenal One
Seriously look up some of his matches with fellow NXT signee Kyle O'Reilly and be amazed. Now I'm not about to delve into some fantasy booking so into the card as currently presented.

Johnny Gargano vs Andrade Cien Almas
Now that DIY has broken up we have Johnny Wrestling doing it on his own.
He is gonna be going against the newly revitalized Cien Almas who will have Zelina Vega (formerly Thea Trinidad in his corner...hey boo!) This could be the perfect match to start off the show, Almas' aggression with the plucky underdog style of Johnny Gargano will definitely be a great complement to each other. I think in the end Almas will ignore the direction of Vega and it will cost him the the match. This makes his character continually evolve and builds Gargano as a top babyface for when the Sicilian Psychopath himself Tomasso Ciamppa returns...and the Psycho is returning.
Winner: Gargano

Aleister Black vs Hideo Itami
I'll admit I was unaware of the work of the former Tommy End but hot damn he has been killing since coming to NXT.

And Itami since becoming a bitter jerk has shown the aggression and stiff kicks that made him famous all those years in Japan. I imagine that aggression will be his downfall however as Black has shown an eerie calm in the ring and can hit that Black Mass roundhouse kick from well anywhere. Plus it builds him to contend for the NXT Title sooner rather than later.
Winner: Black  

Sanity vs Authors of Pain (NXT Tag Team Championship)
When they first debuted I was not the biggest fan of the AOP, but every time they've gotten in the ring they've gotten better. Working with teams like the Revival and DIY didn't hurt but these two young guys certainly looked like they belonged.
 As for Sanity they aren't too compelling outside of the Beast from Belfast Killian Dain. That's not to say Alexander Wolfe isn't entertaining as the maniacal sidekick, just the story hasn't had a chance to build to a compelling crescendo yet. I expect The Authors to continue on to one more special as champs before dropping the title to Sanity and moving up to Raw or Smackdown.
Winner: Authors of Pain

Ember Moon vs Asuka (NXT Women's Championship)
Now this match could steal the show. Asuka has been dominant since arriving. In fact she has yet to be pinned. And the very subtle change in character from confident to very cocky has been amazing. As for Ember Moon, in the ring she is amazing. And her finisher has been built up as a definite night ender for whoever is on the receiving end.

I would say now is the time to pull the trigger and finally end the reign of the Empress of Tomorrow.
Winner: Ember Moon

Drew McIntyre vs Bobby Roode (NXT Championship)
This feud has been going on all of 2 weeks so I would not expect to see a title change here.

That's not to say we won't see a good match however. Bobby Roode is perfect as the arrogant champ who seemingly has bitten off more than he can chew before getting serious and finding a way to win. McIntyre has just come back to WWE as a man of the people babyface. He's a big guy with a very impressive move set and given time for a feud to develop and fans get reintroduced to him this could be the man to end the reign of the Glorious One. That time isn't now though.
Winner: Bobby Roode 

Well folks there we have it, my opinion on the latest Takeover from NXT. Perhaps if time permits I shall do one for Summerslam as well. I'm out. 


    




Thursday, August 3, 2017

NBA: I Truly Love You



Well free agency and the draft have passed for the NBA and all I can say is this off-season did not disappoint. From crazy ass trades, to superstars acting petulant and demanding trades in the most soap opera fashion imaginable this off-season has shown why the NBA is the best league out there and no this is not up for debate with me. So because the Chocolate Cub and I have spent most of our time together watching basketball, I shall share with you a few of my favorite and not so favorite moves of this off season.
Best Trade:
Minnesota trading for Jimmy Butler:
So long sweet prince.
 Let’s just go ahead and get this out the way. In Butler the young T-Wolves get a premier wing defender, reliable scorer and someone with a very attractive contract. All they had to give up was Zach LaVine who is coming off an ACL injury and Kris Dunn who they appeared to be quite low on. Thibs for the win.
Conversely…
Worst Trade: 
Chicago trades Jimmy Butler to Minnesota for LaVine, Dunn, and Lauri Markkanen.
Giving him a legend like Tyrus Thomas number...smh
 …Sigh. Had we not swapped draft picks as well I could have been convinced to like this trade. We give up Butler for unproven commodities in both Dunn and Markkanen, and a wild card in Zach LaVine. Bang up job there GarPax…just a bang up job.
Best Free Agent Signing:
This may seem like I'm cheating but the best signing during the free agent period had to be Kevin Durant signing for a discounted deal to remain with the Warriors.
You selfish s.o.b.
He could have gotten up to 10 million more per year elsewhere or in Golden State but he took a pay cut to allow the Warriors re-sign some valuable pieces and walk into the 2017 season as the presumptive favorites to win it all again.

Top Rookie of 2017:
Now here I am truly conflicted. From watching the Summer League there were three players that stuck out to me as potential perennial all-stars.

  • Jayson Tatum-SF, Boston: I wasn't too impressed with him while at Duke but he showed up ready to play. Clearly the most offensively ready player in the draft, he was able to score in a multitude of ways in Las Vegas. With a fade away already being compared to some of the game's best, the Celtics could be re-loading for a years long run at the top of the Eastern Conference.
  • DeAaron Fox- PG, Sacramento: The fastest player in the draft and already one of the 3 fastest players in the league. He is able to push the action with a controlled chaos much in the way John Wall does for the Wizards. If he can ever get a more consistent jumper Sacramento will have quite the player to trade away in 3 seasons to avoid going to the playoffs and stay in the draft lottery.
  • Lonzo Ball- PG, Lakers: Despite his blowhard of a father Lonzo has somehow become a very mild mannered, team first phenom.His vision is second to none in his class and while his jumper is not the most beautiful looking shot it is certainly effective. I hope he takes advice from Kobe on how to successfully navigate having an overbearing father.

Surprise Team of 2017:
Philadelphia 76ers:
Ya'll better trust the process.
Given the current weakened state of the Eastern Conference this pick may not seem like the best but with a core of Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz plus veterans like Amir Johnson and JJ Reddick this is a team finally worthy of being coached by Brett Brown who has been woefully underrated due to the roster looking straight basura the last few years.

Most Improved Team:
Minnesota Timberwolves
Play time...is over.
Without a doubt no team improved themselves as much as the Timberwolves did. Not only did they add Jimmy Butler, they added Jamal Crawford, Taj Gibson, and Jeff Teague to go along with a young impressive roster that already had Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Shabazz Muhammad. Tom Thibodeau for all his accolades as a coach definitely deserves some props for his front office work as well.


Well folks that's my time, now begins the long wait until training camps and preseason. If you'll excuse me I'll be getting myself pumped up for it.