Wrastletoid returns for a third time, late on my part more or less due to life related things such as going with my dad for his first chemotheraphy session. I only just last night got around to catching up on Battleground and the latest RAW and Smackdown. With that said, I want to keep Wrastletoid going in the C-blogs for sure. At the same time however I'm expecting I'll have a lot of other priorities going forward, so I'm unsure how long I'll be able to keep posting this on a regular basis, but I'll damn well try.
With that out of the way, let's go into a brief Smackdown recap up until Battleground 2017.
As I mentioned back in Wrastletoid 2, AJ styles ended up winning the United States championship during a RAW live event at Madison Square Garden. Afterwards there was plenty of speculation and rumors flying around that Kevin Owens was injured in some capacity, but it seemed that simply wasn't the case. My best guess is they just wanted the crowd at MSG to have a big pop finish and to give this match at Battlegrounds some more intrigue – which I guess they achieved.
This isn't anything new either in recent times, Samoa Joe won his first NXT title against Finn Balor at an NXT live event just last year. I'm assuming WWE are trying more and more to drum up hype and interest for live events, as ticket sales have been steadily declining over the years and ironically being cannibalized by the WWE network.
Smacktalk was sadly canceled for what people speculate to be completely insane reasons, Maria returned and as did Rusev! Ru-ru came back during the 4th of July episode of Smackdown and challenged the returning John Cena to a “flag match”. What's a flag match you ask? Basically the first competitor to take down their respective flag from the corner of the ring and plant it into their respective podium at the top of the entrance ramp, wins the match.
But it won't ever be as cool as the turkey-on-a-pole match.
This year Battleground was hosted by the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia! A city that is way up there on the smark-scale in terms of crowds. (Thanks in part to a deep wrestling heritage with promotions such as ECW.) Which was evident, as the pre-show was hijacked a few times by the crowd. With lots of chants aimed towards commentator Jerry Lawler, with gems such as: “You've still got it!” and “one more match!” – Why they decided to have the kickoff show discussions this close to the crowd is still (like a lot of things) beyond me.
Starting things off was a solid match between the “perfect ten” Tye Dillinger (who last Wrastletoid I accidentally thought was Curt Hawkins in that random filler match, sorry again) against Aiden English, formerly of Vaudevillian fame, but now of George Surratt painting tights fame! With a singing gimmick no less, because those always put people over.
The match was a mix of the expected and unexpected, it had plenty of great British styling to it, with plenty of grappling as expected. But what was unexpected was Aiden English actually going over with the win.
Great stuff over all though, for a kickoff show.
Winner: Aiden English
This was easily the best match of the night and a great start for Battleground, between the incredible spots from both tag teams and just watching Kofi Kingston do his thing in general, this match was extremely fast paced and kept you guessing.
Smackdown was in dire need of some proper tag-team action and this delivered on it. Both tag-teams gave 100% and the match ended with a solid finish from Xavier Woods who gave one of the best flying elbow drops I've ever seen, giving us new Smackdown tag team champions. Despite being a bit on the short side and some piss-poor story telling for the build towards this match with that “rap battle” earlier in the month, this match was incredible.
Here's hoping going forward the feud ends on a good note.
Winners: The New Day and new Tag Team Champions
“This is a dream match-up” proclaimed JBL. If this is what WWE has in mind for a dream match-up with Shinsuke Nakamura, then I question their priorities lately. Despite this, the match was solid at first, it had plenty of Shinsuke's WWE stylized “strong style” and was a solid effort (at first). I'll also admit Baron continues to improve as well and is a fine example of WWE homegrown talent done right.
But what was the point of this match and finish? What was the point of this feud? Shouldn't Baron already be messing with Randy Orton or Jinder since he has the money in the bank briefcase? Why go after Shinsuke and then deliver a low-blow to him and basically deliver a throw away match on a PPV? They've completely thrown the fued out the window as well after the latest Smackdown, just adding to the stupidity of it.
Winner by DQ: Shinsuke Nakamura
So the “Ravishing Russian” Lana is a wrestler now and another example of WWE attempting to turn a model/manager into one. Sadly the end result of her abilities at the moment was just her looking really confused at times and botching a fair amount during this match.
Thankfully Becky, Charlotte, and Natalya picked up the slack through out the match. Easily the spot of the match was Charlotte lifting Natayla out from that cross arm breaker into a sitting power bomb, followed up with a moonsault into knees from Natalya. If it were up to me, Charlotte would be holding that Smackdown woman's title very soon and for a very, very long time.
Natalya then delivered a dirty roll up to Charlotte with the back of her head going straight into the turnbuckle, followed by a pin and ending the match, which was only just starting to get damn good.
Winner: Natalya and new #1 contendor for the Smackdown Woman's Championship
This for me was my most anticipated match of the night, AJ Styles is without a doubt of the best wrestlers in the world right now and Kevin Owens I have a personal pro-Canadian wrestler bias for, also dare I say he is one of the best heels in the WWE going right now.
The match started with some grappling, followed up with a huge drop kick counter by AJ Styles. The battle then spilled outside of the ring, with Kevin Owens sending AJ Styles right into the post. From there we had plenty of brawling between the two inside the ring again and a fine example of AJ's strength, with an incredible fireman's carry neck-breaker.
Shortly later AJ Styles attempted the styles clash but couldn't manage to lift Kevin Owens due to a kayfabe injury, Kevin Owens countered by lifting him instead and tossing him straight into the referee. Afterwards AJ Styles attempted a calf-crusher on Kevin Owens who quickly reversed it into a cross-face hold, AJ then countered that by trying to put him into a neck-hold of some kind, without realizing his shoulders were touching the mat. Kevin Owens lifted AJ's leg and the 3 count was delivered, ending a decent match with a somewhat stale finish.
Winner: Kevin Owens and new United States Champion
Big-Match-John once again lives up to his nickname, as this match was an all out brawl right up the ramp. With the biggest spot of the match coming in the form of the finish. Which involved Rusev attempting to John Cena away with an accolade – only then to be countered with John Cena placing Rusev into a fireman's carry and delivering AA into some tables.
From there Big-Match-John planted the American flag in the respected podium and won the match. Other then that, it was a pretty run of the mill HURRAH AMERICA TRIUMPHS style of booking that you expect from WWE. The match went on for a good long while, because of course it will with John Cena in it. However it was enjoyable for what it was.
Winner: Amer- I mean John Cena
Will love triumph over Sami Zayne as did America over Bulgaria? Sadly, it seems it didn't. So much for the game of love, huh? This was the PPV debut of Mike Kanellis (otherwise known as Mike Bennett for you ROH marks) and obviously the return Maria (his real life wife no less).
I remember Maria for all the wrong reasons someone should remember them for.
As for the match itself, it was a pretty solid, yet short match. With technical wrestling you'd expect from these indie and ROH veterans. Finishing with Sami's iconic exploder to the turnbuckle and helluva kick.
Winner: Sami Zayne
The main event of the night, the big match with the BIG surprise. You could make a drinking game out of how many times the commentary talked about the 1.3 billion people of India. The whole goal of the
punjabi prison match is to simply escape and climb over both walls. The first layer of bamboo walls will have 4 doors for each side of the ring, once you ask for a door to be opened you have 60 seconds to escape it. If all 4 doors are closed, you'll have no choice but to climb over the first wall. However the match is also a no disqualification match.
So as expected, the dastardly Singh brothers came out to assist Jinder so he wouldn't be hindered and helped pull him through one of the doors. But that really didn't matter at all, because Randy then climbed over the first wall, made a big step towards the top of the second (defeating the whole purpose of the two wall idea, why have this if they're right next to each other) and they began brawling between both walls. Plenty of DDTs and things you'd expect, despite the fact it was a 3vs1 scenario, Randy Orton seemingly made quick work of both the Singh brothers and Jinder and began climbing the second wall.
Half way up the wall suddenly some music hit again...then out came The Great Khali.
The Great Khali for those who don't know is notorious for being part of some of the worst WWE matches and botches in recent years, he's basically a big dude for the sake of being a big dude – and that's about it in terms of ability.
In the end, Khali shook the bamboo wall, Randy took a fall, and Mahal was walking tall.
Winner: Jinder Mahal
So that was Battleground 2017! It was pretty solid over all, but still left that feeling of everything being unresolved and more of "stay tuned till Summerslam!" -- With that said, WRASTLETOID 4 will return sometime after August 20th for exactly that! So see you folks in the C-blogs then! Now it's time for blog-type things.
In my last major C-blog, I opened with a quote I've seen pop up on the internet a fair bit: “A blogger can be a freelance writer, but a freelancer writer cannot be a blogger.” Which left me wondering how I should approach things in the future. Well I guess I had that answered for me straight from none other than Papa Niero himself.
For those unaware, I've been given an opportunity that I don't know how I'll ever repay.
I still remember waking up that morning – or well – nearly noon, because my sleep schedule was messed up hardcore at the time. Walking over to my computer, hitting F5 to refresh the page and scrolling down to see the comments on that blog post. My initial reaction was pretty much pure disbelief, I went to make coffee re-reading the email like six times wondering if I was even awake. (Thankfully I was, I think? Maybe I'm still dreaming.)
As for the whole contributor at Destructoid happenings, I'm pretty damn excited – but also extremely nervous. I have that feeling of this being my “foot in the door” moment, yet being afraid of stumbling backwards out of it or looking like a massive idiot in general.
I already have a funny story to tell that I'll save for a future celebratory blog post one day, if I ever hit that magical 100 front threshold. I'm sure I'll have plenty more to tell by then as well, to make that hypothetical blog post worth-while.
I also decided to start using my actual name and do the whole gray-scale picture of myself for my display picture. But for those who for whatever reason liked my old Sonic in a suit avatar image, be sure to check out my new banner/billboard on my profile that a friend (with much better Photoshop abilities) whipped up for me.
As for an update I can give on the situation, you can obviously now see the gray-scale selfie I took of myself, so something is up with that and I have extra buttons I can press now. I have some ideas I've been sending in massive walls of text in email form to Papa Niero – who by now is probably having immediate regrets about this (jk). For now I'm waiting for more information, learning what I can, and excited to start pumping out front-page content.
Which is fine, as I'm sure Papa Niero is an extremely busy dude considering the fact he was in Japan hanging out with Cory Arnold living the VR dream recently.
Fun fact about Dan Roemer: I've been to Japan too!
...When was I like 8 or 9
Story time! My aunt at the time (around 2000 I think) was dating a Japanese dude who was a professional golfer, now retired. (Fun fact he shares the last name of a certain WWE superstar, for a hint if you wanna try and Google the dude.)
They both lived at the time outside of Osaka I believe. I don't recall a lot of the details because I was only a kid at the time, I just remember being bored out of my skull during the plane trip to visit them with my dad and having no access to my Game Boy Color. (You basically skip a whole day up in the air.)
But the memories that do stick out to me, were staying with him, my aunt, his sister, and her two kids. One of them was much older and already going to high school I assume, while the other kid was about a year older than me at the time. Despite this kid not speaking a word of English and me not being able to speak a word of Japanese, we had this weird universal understanding and love for Pokemon.
I still remember both of us being frustrated we couldn't trade or battle in Pokemon Gold/Silver because I think the link cables were region locked or won't let you play Pokemon together in different languages, I'm not sure. I just remember him constantly bugging his mom to try and figure out why and she wasn't having none of it and scolded him in Japanese.
I also remember going to the Pokemon Center in Osaka and just being awestruck by everything around me. Endless shelves of random Pokemon merchandise, we spent like an hour just checking out everything -- driving our parents insane.
On the ride home we opened up various “Pocket Monster” card packs and my dad even bought a small binder-thing for them as well, good times.
Eventually I definitely want to travel back to Japan someday, just to experience it all for myself and take in the culture, try the food, check out places like Shibuya and hit up that VR Mario Kart for myself. Maybe even try and play the MGS3 pachinko machine for a few moments and get real sad. Because of this, Pokemon and Japan has weird nostalgic memories for me.
But what about the digital influencing!?
As for Infinite Backlog, I still plan on continuing to do video reviews on there when I can, but depending on work load, I'll probably be cutting back on that big time. Recently I had a indie developer reach out to me over email asking me to review his mobile game known as Dawn of Crafting him and his brother made.
I always try to oblige review requests, so if you're an indie-dude or gal who wants an opinion on their game in video review form on YouTube, hit me up! It may take a good while, but I'll get around to it.
So once this is up, I'm gonna go grab my iPad and get to work recording and playing that. I think going forward I'll just put up the latest video reviews in the Qtoid as opposed to trying to dedicate an entire blog post to those, but while I'm here...
…This for whatever reason broke a 1000 views recently, I guess someone out there needed to know about those cool cycling games, glad I could deliver I guess.
But speaking of recording and back to the topic of Japan, earlier in the year I purchased a Nintendo 3DS with a built in capture-board all the way from the Japan-land!
Note the funky little (and crooked) mini USB port on my 3DS.
So now I can capture 3DS footage, so I definitely want to get my money's worth out of it and start doing some 3DS video reviews between other games I have planned. I've already began playing and recording tons of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but I think my first 3DS review will be Rayman 3D. (Which is a port of Rayman 2 on the Dreamcast, one of my favorite games on the system.) So I'm looking forward to that. I've also been playing Sonic Generations in my spare time, which is a fantastic port with some exclusive levels on 3DS.
I also found this odd game on the E-shop called "Ice Station Z" which is some sort of Day Z clone on the 3DS, which blows my mind something like this actually exists in hand-held form. It has plenty of people playing too!
I'm also gonna be recording a podcast later today, us Infinite Backlog boys started a monthly podcast on the channel last month, so I'll post that in the Qtoid as well when it goes up for those interested. You can check out episode 1 if you want a discussion about E3 2017 that you've already heard probably a million times already.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
A few weeks ago I originally applied to at a job that was maybe roughly 10 minutes or so away by bus, instead I ended up getting a phone call from the same place, but at a location on the other side of the city. But at the time I figured I may as well give it a shot at least.
So I hopped the bus down there, which took roughly about an hour and a half or so and had my interview. My interviewee was an older woman, I'd probably say mid 40s early 50s and sure enough – that question came up: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
For context, I always try to be as honest as possible in an interview, I've never believed in the concept of bullshitting your way through an interview in order to make yourself look better. So I played it straight and told her in the next five years I wanna be working in journalism. She seemed intrigued at first, telling me her niece wants to get into investigative journalism and is studying in another province and such.
I told her I wanted to be in video game journalism.
I don't think I've ever seen someone roll their eyes that hard at me in person before, I also never got that call back. So maybe next time I'll just do the bullshit-tactic of claiming I'll still be working right there in five years and hope they never read this.
Asides from that, a friend recently sent me a link from a podcast from those boys at www.videogames.com talking about the future of games journalism and all that sort of stuff, but one point of topic caught my interest.
They bring up how so few people within games journalism hit that 10 year mark. Most either find other work in a different field within the industry or completely leave it all together for something else. Personally right now in my life, I just can't ever see myself wanting to do anything else than this. I grew up watching my dad come home from work and he was miserable 24/7. He's been working the same gig now for over thirty years, he hates his job, and hates even talking about work in general.
After growing up and witnessing that my whole life, I've always set a goal for myself to be happy over anything else, including being happy with my work. Maybe things may change, but right now I don't see myself going anywhere anytime soon.
But for the first time in a long time, I'm excited what the future may bring.