Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of #WWE #Raw

The Color RunMy girl and I did the Color Run, the happiest 5k on the planet, this past weekend. It was amusing to have someone douse you in colored corn starch (basically) at four different stations. We had fun people watching which always makes us happy. We will do it again since the proceeds go to Columbus Parks & Recs, of which we take advantage of for frisbee golf and dog walks amongst other things. Time to get to some wrestling. Let’s roll.

We start with Paul Heyman, CM Punk and Brock Lesnar recap. Then Cena recap. Brad Maddox introduces the show. This could be the world’s quickest turn around for a contract signing after the announcement of a match. Doesn’t this wait until the week before the event? John Cena comes out first. Maddox asks him why he chose Bryan. Maddox runs down Bryan’s look. Daniel Bryan comes out to answer the questions. Maddox goes after Bryan wondering why Cena chose him for the match. Cena talks up Bryan and his qualifications but then ends by saying he’s still going to beat him at Summerslam. Maddox interrupts Bryan when he’s ready to talk. Maddox has really flipped the switch from unsure of himself to being a smarmy ass in this segment. It was well played but his character changed way too much unless they explain it later.

Sheamus comes out sporting a serious bruise on his leg from the MITB match. Ouch. Alberto Del Rio is his opponent. The “What’s trending, Cole?” sign gets a laugh out of me. Why are they chanting his name now? JBL talks up Del Rio and in my opinion it’s deserved. Nothing like being left at the top of the card for two years before finally finding out what clicks for you. Awesome break with Sheamus forearming Del Rio outside. Del Rio took advantage of the leg during the break. Damien Sandow watches from the back, with a suit on so we’ve got nothing to worry about. Sheamus keeps making mini-comebacks but nothing sustained. Sheamus sells the bad leg on the Irish Curse back breaker. A Top rope enziguri only gets Del Rio a two count. Sheamus crumples, Del Rio rolls him up for the win. Nice match.

Anyone with a set of eyes knew that Vickie was getting a job with a quickness. I didn’t expect it on Smackdown. Booker T & Teddy Long argue like a bunch of girls. That’s all that break was. Woof.

Christian came out before the break but his opponent didn’t come down until after it. Titus O’Neil gets to take the Prime Time Players into singles competition. Wow, O’Neil tossed Christian back into the ring as Jerry Lawler described it “Like a frisbee”. Another ouch. Interesting that Lawler calls Christian an over acheiver. Pretty much code for “He’s stuck at being a fringe main event guy”. Killswitch. The Prime Time Players don’t start their singles reign well. Josh Matthews is joined by Ryback. He does enjoy bullying. He hates average. Good promo.

Mark Henry comes out and loves Texas. He calls out the Shield. They answer the call. The Usos come out to make the save. That was a weak save. But it makes it official that they want people to cheer Henry. John Cena talks to Daniel Bryan. He claims someone else is pulling the strings. Bryan asks him to politely not interfere in any of his matches. That always means a beat down is coming.

Darren Young is a much more obvious sacrificial lamb against Dolph Ziggler. I wouldn’t have been surprised if O’Neil won. The Prime Time Players couldn’t have been asked for better opponents. Both are great in the ring and sell really well. Flap jack for Young gets him a near fall. He argues with the ref. Zig Zag. Big E Langston slides into the ring. Dolph gets the upper hand but the power kicks in. Ziggler is starting to throw in even more athleticism to show off for real now. Good character change to make even more people cheer him. He could be an under control Kofi Kingston or Shelton Benjamin.

Miz TV brings us Total Divas and his hosting of Summerslam. I’ll have to talk to the lady for real about a column. Miz sounds too stern introducing the Divas. The Miz calls Jerry Lawler up because he’s an old horn dog. Eva Marie slaps Lawler. The Miz closes the segment with “Awesome.” How can the Divas be happy about that segment even if they’re getting their own dumb show? They just pooped on them.

HHH talks to Brad Maddox. Steph steps in like she wasn’t around when HHH just left. I can’t stop laughing at how that was filmed. I mean, did HHH & Steph not acknowledge each other? His office can’t be that spacious that there’s two separate doors not in view of each other. They love vignettes for the Wyatt Family.

Fandango come out with Summer Rae. It’s his birthday. Damien Sandow is on the head set. Cody Rhodes is Fandango’s opponent. A fun match is going on while JBL, Cool & Sandow argue. Cool with a knock out of a line when he says he gets evaluated every Monday night. Disaster Kick into Sandow on the apron and Fandango in the ring who got the briefcase more than the kick. Cross Rhodes for the win.

CM Punk gets to talk about his second replay of the night. Punk says that Brock Lesnar’s biggest weapon is the fear he generates. Punk is not afraid. Isn’t this the same reason he was going to beat the Undertaker? The Best vs The Beast. Interesting. Paul Heyman likes the salesman ship. Heyman gets around to accepting the match. Heyman ends by saying “The Beast is the Best”. Punk glares at Heyman.

Wade Barrett gets to lose to Rob Van Dam. Oh good gravy, they talk about the Royal Baby a second time. Barrett is looking tough early though. He got busted up too but I missed it looking at my email. Standard RVD offense. Five Star Frog Splash.

Zeb Colter is mad at people for chanting “Yes!” Daniel Bryan got a hand out from John Cena. Ha. Perfect heel schtick. Jack Swagger gets in the ring. The announcers point out that the opponents could be limitless. OU Sucks! Swagger drops Bryan going for a suicide dive. Yes Lock! The obvious second opponent is Antonio Cesaro. Break. Cesaro looking strong. The booing after Bryan’s false start of a comeback was hilarious. It was perfect because it made no sense to have that moment there. Bryan kicks out of a European Uppercut which was aided by Swagger tossing Bryan off the top rope. The announcers are blowing him too. Now that they’ve established a pattern, the earlier momentum shift made sense. Basement drop kick in the tree of Woe by Bryan. Cesaro countered a super side suplex. Bad choice of suplexes by Bryan. Cesaro pummels Bryan but he still kicks out. Another really long match. Bryan counters out of the Neutralizer. Suicide dive takes out both Swagger & Cesaro. Bryan counters a super upper cut into a small package. Wow, that was slick. Alex Riley reappears. Brad Maddox has another opponent in mind. I take it we get a Big Show return? Didn’t I see that floating around the internets this morning?

It is not. Ryback is the opponent. He gets to dominate Bryan. The crowd chants “You can’t wrestle.” Ryback has a chin lock on. That seems so wrong. Bryan counters into a single leg crab. Ryback takes over quickly. Knee to the jaw of a charging Ryback. Meat hook gets a two count. Ryback sets up a table. Bryan nails a suicide dive that drives Ryback into the announce table. Missile drop kick gets a two count. Yes Lock in the middle of the ring. Ryback gets the break. Ouch. Power bomb on the floor. Power bomb through the table for the Bryan DQ win. John Cena makes the save after the match. Cena challenges him to a tables match. Vince McMahon backs up Brad Maddox. Are we finally getting some traction on this family feud story? -Kevin

Stunt Granny Movie Review: The Conjuring

the-conjuring

There’s something to be said for being attracted to a movie on its own merit.  No research via movie magazines or internet sites.  No reviews or box office projections to color judgment or create expectations….just a simple trip to the movies based on a trailer and performers.  It’s a rare occurrence in today’s oversaturated environment of information & prognostication – it seems as though an opinion is fully formed before the movie even begins.  We decided to see the Conjuring because we wanted to see a horror movie.  And we were fortunate to see an entertaining film.

Based on “true events”, a demonologist & clairvoyant husband/wife team (Patrick Wilson & Vera Farmiga) travel throughout the eastern seaboard during the 1970’s to investigate paranormal cases.  In most cases, they find practical solutions to otherworldly problems (expanding pipes, creaky wood paneling, etc).  In other cases, they serve as actual ghostbusters, with the full sanction and backing of the Catholic Church.  Their most famous case was apparently the basis of the Amityville Horror – another recommended film for any fans of suspense & horror.  When they receive a call from a family suffering bizarre occurrences after recently obtaining ownership of a secluded cabin, they reluctantly begin an investigation, along with a camera technician and skeptical policeman.  You can make a reasonable guess as to what happens next.

It’s difficult to make an entertaining horror film these days due to the fact that every facet has been thoroughly examined and bought to life.  The plot is basically a child of the Exorcist, and this movie doesn’t reach that level.  But The Conjuring is an effective movie nonetheless, and succeeds based on its professional execution of story, setting and characters.  James Wan, who was the director of Saw and Insidious, is a master of using simple effects and pacing to build dread.  Unlike Saw and other gory films which bludgeon with violence, The Conjuring earns its thrills via proper use of implied fear.  Often times the fear of the potential boogeyman behind the closet or under the bed can be far more terrifying the actual monster and Wan uses this tactic in increasingly effective occurrences throughout the film.  There are pacing issues involved in the film; there’s a slow initial climb as well as some noticeable dead spots in the middle of the film.  But overall, the film does a solid job of presenting a story worthy of investment by the viewer.  And yes, it will definitely scare the taste out of your mouth, and not in a cheap way.

A large part of that success is due to the excellent casting.  Patrick Wilson (Watchmen, The A-Team, Lakeview Terrace & Insidious) is a perfect example of a utility actor.  He has an effective combination of non-threatening handsome looks, as well as range to play a myriad of characters in a believable fashion.  Watching him rock 70’s sideburns and a checkered suite while earnestly explaining the power of demons never felt like BS.  Vera Farmiga (Up In The Air, The Departed, Bates Motel) possess two qualities as an actress – grown-woman sexiness (which is always a positive) and soul.  She has a rare ability of allowing you to feel her emotion and witness her emotion on the screen, and believably plays the vulnerable yet determined clairvoyant.  The two also benefit from having wonderful chemistry together; the movie does a good job building their relationship, to the point in which you are emotionally invested in their plight.  The true stars, however, are the tortured family, in particular the doomed mother played by Lili Taylor. It’s always a slippery slope when portraying families in horror movies; either you don’t care or oftentimes you wish demise upon them.  But I could feel the pain of the father (Ron Livingston), as he slowly dealt with the deteriorations of his wife & five (yes, 5) daughters.  From skepticism to dread to fierce rebellion, the family effectively draws you in to their plight, without smarmy cynicism or overly precocious behavior.  By the end of the film, you definitely root for their survival, while still being terrified by the potential of failure.  That’s always a win in my book.

Bottom line – if you enjoy suspenseful horror movies light on gore (still wondering how it obtained an R rating) but heavy in mood, then The Conjuring is recommended viewing.  James Wan has transitioned from his earlier violence and gore to his current master of suspense & slow build.  If you can, try to watch this with a large group – you’ll definitely be scared, as well as have a few laughs.  And you will have a great time.  Just don’t go down any dark steps to explore a boarded up basement…. -Shahid

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