Thursday, 4 January 2018


FREED OF THE SPECTACLE-CAPITAL/NIHILIST-FASCIST TYRANT'S YOKE OF ROYAL RUMBLES (I made a post about this; it is just below this one if you missed it; but that's really all I said; you're up to speed already) LET US INSTEAD TURN OUR ENERGIES AND ATTENTIONS AND READINESSES TOWARDS RUMBLES FAR NOBLER, LET US WITH HEARTS FILLED WITH LOVE AND COURAGE IN THE NAME OF CHRIST OUR KING (or in the name of whoever, I am not trying to boss you on this point) NOT ONLY READY OURSELVES TO RUMBLE BUT IN FACT TO NEW JAPAN RUMBLE AND INDEED TO NEW JAPAN RUMBLEMETRIC as we file into the yawning vastness, the fortress and fastness, of the 東京ドーム Tōkyō Dōmu aka TOKYO BIG EGG (nobody says that any more though our age yearns for poesy) for this preliminary and yet crucial contest that opened WRESTLE KINGDOM 12 in 東京ドーム 2018年1月4日 which you will have perhaps already noted is really just earlier today, that's wild. I have been up since pretty early! 

AND HERE WE GO IT IS KITAMURA who is as tanned as any Japanese person has ever been excepting only *possibly* Yoshihiro Akiyama but he holds Korean citizenship as well doesn't he but I don't see any point getting all that deep into that. Kitamura is as unspeakably swole as one might expect of a former national-level freestyle wrestler banned forever for his deep and abiding desire for performance enhancing drugs. He's great! He flexes his pectorals and I, here, whilst couch-sat, do the same to him as salute and silent tribute. Something else I like about Kitamura is that he shares his surname with a key figure in the history of Kodokan judo ne-waza and I feel pretty hard that they should do an angle about that. In next is BUSHI of the least governable faction in New Japan presently although it doesn't really work to say that does it as Suzuki-Gun is at least as ungovernable and in truth probably way more. I believe entrances are but one minute apart, an interval rendered all the briefer by the uncommon distance these græppzmen must traverse from the locker room (please bring your own locks everybody, they don't always have extra) to the ring several million miles away. There is very little time before DELIRIOUS who is indefensible enters and he is dressed like an awful lot of people you have seen wrestling at say the Lion's Club but he is the ROH booker if I am not mistaken so he comes by his æsthetic honestly. He is floored repeatedly by Kitamura as one would expect. And now it is the fairly tall LEO TONGA and as he approaches the ring I should remind you (and myself, frankly) that eliminations here occur not merely from over-the-top/to-the-floor hurlings but also by pinfall and submission which I actually really like as it lends a ファイヤープロレスリング Fire Pro Wrestling battle-royale feel to the proceedings and I acknowledge freely and openly that I am almost certainly confusing cause and effect and the primary and secondary worlds of creation and subcreation but I am going really fast here. MANABU NAKANISHI EATS AMAZING BREAKFASTS AND IS SUPER STRONG and people who mind how slowly he moves in recent years are not my kind of people, at least not in this regard. CHASE OWENS DESU and this guy has in a low-key way the worst physique in wrestling, just a shitty slopshow and this big dumb gut without actually having any size; his asslessness, despite all the stuff he's got sloshing around throughout his lower half, leads to a constant need to pull up his pants. It's really quite something. That anyone allows a man so clearly lacking in discipline to perform that gnar-looking package piledriver on them is beyond me but Delirious takes one now and is awkwardly pinned. Nakanishi racks Bushi and tosses him up and over as THE GREAT YUJI NAGATA enters and do you remember how last year Nagata and Nakanishi had an impossibly good match that one time? Bryan Danielson has said Yuji Nagata is the best wrestler he has ever worked with and I feel like I can see it. Also he has one of the greatest records in all of mixed martial arts: 0-2 with losses to Mirko Cro Crop and Fedor Emelianenko (the Cro Cop fight was a nice clean knockout, as I remember it, but the Fedor one was awful, though not at all long: Fedor hit him several times, and Nagata, though still conscious, pretty much couldn't believe how much it hurt when that happened; Fedor looked to the referee like "do I have to hit him more times?" and the referee was like yoshi and so he did and it was awful). NAGATAAAAAAAAAA

TAKA MICHINOKU has changed so little in all these years other than that his hair looks more like Astro Boy now than before. Nagata has craftily pinned Nakanishi in a crafty ura-gatame but immediately thereafter, like before that first osaewaza is even released, Nagata is rolled to his back and set upon by Kitamura and Owens (a staggering contrast in bodytype) and actually is held down by the weight of the eliminated Nakanishi too and that is a New Japan Rumble wrap on Nagata who if I recall correctly maybe won this same match at Wrestle Kingdom 9 and faced Shinsuke Nakamura (it's so weird that he just up and retired after WK10 and hasn't been heard from since; I hope he's well) for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship in a really good match the month after? There is no time to look this up as Owens has just package-piledriven and eliminated Kitamura which is an obscenity, Young Lionhood or not. Pull your pants back up over where an ass would be if you ever did squats Chase Owens. YOSHINOBU KANEMARU is in next so Suzuki-gun, who have sort of stunk up their portion of the midcard since returning from NOAH, holds a two-on-one advantage over Chase Owens of the Bullet Club, I don't know, c-team? And now it is DESPERADO so this is an extra bad scene for Chase Owens aside from just the physical fact of him which cannot be an easy burden. Kanemaru mists him (a colourless mist, this mist) and Owens is tossed. Who might stand against this triumvirate of Suzuki-gunnists?

WHO INDEED BUT JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER YES HIS MUSIC IS THRILLING TO EAR-BEHOLD AND THE PEOPLE NOT ONLY WELCOME BUT DEMAND HIM EAT SHIT EVERYBODY AND BY SHIT I MEAN SHOTEIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII AND OTHER SIGNATURE WAZA OF OUR AGELESS HERO who is getting stomped down in the corner now but that was great. They are trying to unmask him which is poor form but we have all seen old Stampede tapes; there are no real surprises to be had. Jushin Thunder Liger's little buddy TIGER MASK is next and say what you will about the current Tiger Mask (IV?) but the crowd is still in. They work to unmask him as well! But Tiger Mask nearly unmasks Desperado! What a turn! And now there is a trap beat and I don't know to whom it might belong. GINO GAMBINO is utterly new to me and this unfortunate sack of a man does not move well or with any real confidence, does he. In an interesting bit of business Tiger Mask and Desperado rip each other's masks off at the same instant! They cover their faces, naturally, but this is ineffective martially and they are rolled up and pinned. Oh no Taka got Liger too! Hirai Kawato, tracksuited young lion of ringside, high school judoman turned yungboi, takes the very shirt from his back and offers it to the maskless Tiger so that he might conceal his shame. Another young lion does this too but Hirai Kawato is my favourite one so it is him I wish to direct your attention to principally. So it's just Taka Michinoku and Gambino? 

A lariat later and it is but Gambino himself who awaits . . . a newly tribal Henare? Forgive me as I have not watched as many New Japan undercards of late as I have in the past so perhaps this new aspect Henare has taken up is news to no one but me. He's doing well as YOSHI-HASHI enters and he is the strangest guy in that I continue to have almost no interest in or opinion of him despite him having all kinds of totally good matches. His pants no longer say LOOSE EXPLOSION on them which seems like a step in the wrong direction but maybe he felt like he needed a new way to connect with people. He does some kicking until DAVID FINLAY sprints to the ring and he is an interesting case isn't he as he was allowed to grow his hair out and adopt furry boots after his young lion period *without* going on excursion. He has stunner'd Gambino and now Henare too is gone and now Yoshi-Hashi is craftily rolled up and pinned by this fiery young Finlay (his dad, Fit, seems like a * f a k e * tough guy to me but maybe I'm not right about that at all). In next is Yujiro Takahashi and his ladyfriend who wears a rabbit mask and little else and it is remarkable that Yujiro with his sexguy gimmick has nothing on the naturally weird sexual energy exuded by his tremendously better brother Hiromu; all Hiromu has to do is lick one belt one time and then it haunts you endlessly. CHEEEEEEESEBURGER DESU and the legends say that this like one-hundred-twenty-pound guy is pretty much Liger's favourite guy and lol holy cow this guy is over in the Tokyo Dome! Was he maybe the runner up to "Big/Internet-Disgraced" Michael Elgin in one of these? Maybe even last year? THE CHANT OF CHEESE-BUR-GER IS HERE AS THOUGH HE WERE MA-E-DA MA-E-DA YES GO CHEESEBURGER.  

KOJIMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA YES WE ARE ALL A BREAD CLUB ESPECIALLY ANDREW WHOSE BREAD HE LIKED ON TWITTER and Nick was right: Kojima has maybe the perfect ring gear: contemporary yet classic, functional yet not without true style. Kojima's G1 match with Okada was probably my favourite match all year just in terms of the feelings that I had from it. NO DO NOT FIGHT WITH CHEESEBURGER YOU ARE NATURAL ALLIES BECAUSE OF BUNS and here next is Tenzan, Kojima's truest and best friend. Remember two G1s ago where the story was Kojima gave up his spot in that, the greatest of tournaments, so that his friend Tenzan could have one final go at it? And then he would accompany him to all his matches and cheer for his friend? It was the story of the sumer: Kojima and Tenzan are friends. 

Perhaps the only thing greater than fellowship is THE UWF THEME (it isn't better than fellowship) and we hear it next! OKAY even better than that extraordinary theme is that the seemingly eight-thousand-year-old KAZUO YAMAZAKI stands up from the commentary table and takes off his jacket to reveal not only a stylish scarf but his hunger for the fight but no it is not Yamazaki who is called today but instead 垣原 賢人 KAKIHARA MASAHITO who had cancer of some kind (this I will check: yes, malignant lymphoma) for kind of a while but I guess is better now and you will recall no doubt the KAKIRIDE 8/14/17 Korakuen Hall show that featured the following card: 

This is all to say that taste levels are dangerously high right now as he enters in a GERMAN SUPLEX THE EVEREST STYLE t-shirt (in support of the gravely injured Yoshihiro Takayama) atop a Kazushi Sakuraba WATER rashguard (it troubles me still that Sakuraba is no longer with NJPW and I wish it were otherwise). Tenzan and Kojima are just brutalizing people right now such as for example Yujiro, who is gone. Tenzan and Kakihara pair up in one corner whilst Kojima and Cheeseburger do the same in another and lol Cheeseburger tries to do those rapid-fire Kojima chops in the corner and it is a genuine delight. Ahahahahahah yessssss so when Kojima yells ICCHAUZO BAKAYARO and ascends the turnbuckle to drop his elbow, Cheeseburger just super slowly rolls away and Kojima is like "woah this is new" and everyone is having a lot of fun. Because of their generous hearts, both noble men of TenCozy make much of Kakihara's kicks and open-hand strikes, and lol Kojima has a very funny face on as Cheeseburger attacks! AHHHH HUBRIS as TenCozy charge recklessly towards their seemingly slight foes, who drop low, sending their burly pursuers over the top to their ruin



Kakihara, to his immense credit, dons once more his Takayama t-shirt and speaks to the crowd at least in part about his friend's horrible situation. Funds are being raised, like for instance through a downloadable Takayama you can get for Fire Pro (which, if you are reading this, there is a reasonably good chance you have [Fire Pro, I mean], and if you don't have it, you really might want to get it, unless your reason is that you already have a Fire Pro that is set up just too perfectly for you to ever truly love another, which I totally get, because the one I have for my little Game Boy is so pure) but of course if you are not in a position to offer support of that kind please spare a thought or prayer for Yoshihiro Takayama, whose physical destruction came in no small part because of either us or people like us. Please note that the back of this shirt says an amazing thing: 


Hey in addition to the New Japan Rumble I watched the rest of the Wrestle Kingdom 12 matches today and maybe you did too so let us speak briefly on them:

THE YOUNG BUCKS vs. ROPPONGI 3K was weirdly old-fashioned, in a way, and probably a best-case-scenario Young Bucks match that I think even those most firmly opposed to young bucking would have to be like "well, ok" about in that it was just a lot of great selling by young (non-buck) Yohei Kometsu as they went to town on his back. After that dive I thought he was really hurt for real! They fooled me, Jerry! Sho and Yoh were super good as young lions and they continue to be excellent in their new role where Rocky Romero shoots off fire extinguishers on their behalf. Meltzer Driver to Sharpshooter is a renraku-waza to be feared.  THE TRIOS GAUNTLET TAG MATCH was pretty good, especially when the poet-clown Toru Yano evaded Taguchi's tobi-buttstrike for the roll-up and also when Tomohiro Ishii hoisted aloft the fattest Bad Luck Fale we have yet seen. KOTA IBUSHI vs. CODY was an awful lot better than I thought it would be and I think Cody and Brandi Rhodes were a really good act, like a really good act, you know? Kota Ibushi remains a beautiful man obviously. EVIL & SANADA are my favourite tag-team and I can't think of anyone who has derived greater long-term benefit from an excursion than Sanada's journey to Moncton to study under/observe "shoot" skids. DAVEY BOY SMITH JUNIOR wears his father's No Mercy attire and LANCE ARCHER is a human so large that I haven't properly come to terms with it ever. Good match! I liked before the opening bell where Tiger Hattori admonished Lance Archer for not having his hair tied back. HIROOKI GOTO vs. MINORU SUZUKI was a really good one and don't be like "uhhh yeah it had Minoru Suzuki in it" because love him though we all do, that guy had some stinkerz last year, like some truly wretched G1 matches. But this was not one! The IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT FOUR-WAY was a sickening display of contemporary English wrestling shit getting the nod over Hiromu Takahashi, who is fvkkn bananas, and Kushida, who is my sweet boy. DUD. HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs. JAY WHITE was pretty good and I am always pleased to see Tanahashi do his big show matches but the Jay White(who I like)ness of the whole deal didn't really add a lot maybe?  KENWOOD OMEGA vs. CHRIS JERICHO was better than I expected it to be and I felt bad that Omega's cut didn't bleed more because I am sure he really wanted it to. He looked very stupid as a Sonic the Hedgehog dog-god or whatever. KAZUCHKA OKADA vs. TETSUYA NAITO was so shocking to me! I was stunned! That they ended it! The way that they did! But it was great! And now I very much look forward to New Year's Dash to see who will be next! Maybe Ibushi? Then Ibushi and Omega or something? 

WHO COULD EVER SAY OR KNOW however something I *do* know (do not at all know) is that there is really no way to account for Masahito Kakihara's New Japan Rumble win outside of the context of how my friends and I spent a bunch of time last year writing about shoot-style with such rigour and heft that we have shifted the entire discourse of fake fighting; NJPW understands this, and does not want to be left behind; this is natural. For more on this exciting new (very old) direction in the future (a past ever-more remote) of græppling æsthetics (it is impossible anyone but us could care about this), please consult the TK Scissors, Kick. Submission. Suplex., Kingdom of Shoot, and Hybrid Shoot blogs, and the expertly named Fighting Network Friends podcast.




Wednesday, 24 May 2017


HELLO FRIENDS it would seem I am unable to edit this blog's "header" right now, for whatever reason, so instead please see the revised one below, right after I thank you in all sincerity for your attention to and enthusiasm for this blog, which grew out of some writing I did for my CKC message board pals, to whom I owe extra thanks. Thanks!   



Monday, 30 January 2017


why *not* Randy Orton (middle)
(my thanks to my old friend Big White Tosh for bringing this picture to my attention)
FRIENDS AS WE BEGIN LET US FIRST AGREE that to have any interest, enthusiasm, or concern in any respect for the things or ways of World Wrestling Entertainment (its very name a dumbness) in this the year of our lord 2017 is an indictment against taste levels (or lvlz) from which few if any of us are likely to recover; to do so constitutes an ownage, indeed a self-ownage (we speak of these things less now but they are no less with us than in ġēardagum [yore-days]). What is there here beyond muck, shit, and despair? Entrances, I guess? Shame on those apologists or fools (one can be both) who thought Shinsuke Nakamura's arrival here last year (such as it has been, mired as he is in the three-hundred-seat house shows of Florida) would be anything but what it has been: a crime against art yeah against art. Do not speak to me of his match against Sami Zayn, Nakamura's worst singles main event in years, as a counterexample; do speak to me, though, of his bafflingly awful bouts with Samoa Joe, because we need to figure out how those have even been possible. "But A.J. Styles!" one will doubtless interject to defend this dreck, to which I will reply that yes his WWE matches have been uniformly excellent so far if you don't want matches to have the match part of the match. How has this all gone so poorly? How has WWE taken two of the top five (or at worst top ten) disingenuous græpplørz in all the land (this land of earth) and turned them to this? Thank you for asking, I think I know this one: it is because all of their ideas are terrible, and the wrestlers who wrestle for them are compelled to do so in a house style that is deliberately dumb and the worst and that runs counter to the precepts of real techniques + real emotion upon which all great art (in either the strong style or Romantic traditions which are in truth the same tradition which is in truth Tradition) is founded and through which it manifests. There is nothing here; this is un-art; this is anti-art; this destroys art.

BUT IT IS TIME TO RUMBLE IT IS TIME TO ROOOOOOOOOYAL RUMBLE YAAAAAHHHH THE NIHILISM OF THE CAPITALIST SPECTACLE IS WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE FOR EITHER YOUR SOUL OR THE WORLD DON'T BE STUCK UP IT'S GOING TO BE GREAT and actually last year's Royal Rumble proper (the match itself, I don't remember the other bits) was totally a good one so maybe this one will be too despite the reservations and indeed revulsions we should all have about and against all of this YAAAAAHHHH WELCOME EVERYONE YAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH

THEN NOW FOREVER Lord Christ I hope not but those are the words under which all that is to follow will follow THERE IS A PLACE UNLIKE ANY OTHER A PLACE WHERE ONE GREAT OPPORTUNITY HAS CREATED COUNTLESS LEGENDS A PLACE WE ALL REMEMBER YEAR AFTER YEAR MOMENT AFTER MOMENT MEMORY AFTER MEMORY WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER TONIGHT LIVE FROM SAN ANTONIO'S ALAMODOME WE'LL REMEMBER THE DEFINITIVE BATTLE WE WILL REMEMBER THE DOMINANCE WE'LL REMEMBER THE LINE IN THE SAND AND ABOVE ALL ELSE REMEMBER THE RUMBLE TONIGHT IT'S FRIEND VERSUS FRIEND FOE VERSUS FOE (that's not different that's just normal) IT'S EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF TONIGHT AN EVENT THIRTY YEARS IN THE MAKING FOREVER AND ALWAYS WE WILL REMEMBER THIS ROYAL RUMBLE oh wow okay I guess this is the thirtieth one isn't it but will it produce a moment on par with Stone Cold Steve Austin's look of horror and disbelief as Bret Hart strode purposively down the enormous aisle of this self-same Alamodome in a moment that seems not just recorded in but to have emerged out of the collective græppzconscious? Well probably not but let us remain hopeful. 

BAYLEY IS A HUGGER but hasn't been all that much of anything since she has come up, has she, it's sad. Please, again, before we go any further let me again reiterate that as I surely denigrate so much of what is to come (prove me wrong, 2017 Royal Rumble!) my quarrel is not with the calibre of the artists here assembled but rather with their shackled art. Bayley and her offset top-knottish ponytail connoting youthful innocence (she is I don't know thirty?) here faces Charlotte for the WWE Women's Championship which is signified by a large belt that looks like a Josten's class ring like the other WWE belts and we are supposed to understand this as a step up from the one that had butterflies on it but if you think class rings are superior to butterflies you have a lot to learn about the things you can think and still be okay. Of course the demise of the term Diva is welcome and long overdue but in my view its deletion serves only to mask how bullshit this all still is with its single-stripper-named competitors (I know some of them have two stripper names; I feel this only strengthens my claim) and overall aesthetic nonsense. There is nothing woke here, I subtweet now to Woke Wrestling Twitter (itself neither paradox nor dialectic but mere absurdity: woke enough to be woke, insufficiently woke to stop watching fvkkn WWE, please get either more woke or less), who seem enamoured of this sadness: to the extent to which you support this you are either the victim of false consciousness or in league with actual evil and either way the path to Truth and Light is through the Crush Gals versus the Jumping Bomb Angels. It is important for me that anyone reading this post here at RUMBLEMETRICS take a good hard look at themselves and also their views and then come away agreeing with my correct ones, thank you everyone who has thoughts that are different. Bayley does this springboard cross-body out of the corner that took longer to set up than it took me to admonish everyone just now, yikes, let's maybe drop a couple steps of it. Bayley hits a fine top-rope elbow, not on the level of Randy Savage or Shawn Michaels but roughly on par with Kazuchika Okada, I think, and obviously it is lifetimes of waza (technique) beyond the abomination C.M. Punk inflicted for years upon his foes but mostly upon us. That none of the people I have just now named has anything on the elbow droppery of Kairi Hojo is self-evident and hardly worth even noting. The finish comes on (or perhaps off) Charlotte's "Natural Selection" flipping little cutter on the apron and it's a way better move than when she does a figure-four and then bridges and we are senselessly told it is a figure-eight. 

Kevin Owens whose best matches are all behind him and none remain before defends his Universal Championship (this is a thing they have) next against Roman Reigns with Chris Jericho, who vacillates between person you are sadly tired of and low-key heel genius, suspended above the ring in Chekhov's shark cage. It looks like this is a no disqualification match, a genre I don't really like because without the law we are nothing ("Man must be governed," the RZA once said with sad wisdom), and also I don't like all the elaborate weapons set-ups like this pyramid of chairs Owens builds. He takes a moment away from this task to do his inverted cannonball or whatever against Reigns against the barricade and that's a move I think anyone could get behind. A powerbomb from the apron into the chairamid? No; no, not yet. A suplex into them? No again. Kevin Owens wears a shirt recalling the old RAW IS WAR logo atop the body of which he is plainly ashamed. And yet his ring gear is on the whole more revealing than Reigns', which is odd because one assumes that between the shoulders we can see and the drug failure we know about (what of those we do not?) there is every reason to believe Reigns probably looks good as hell out of body armour. He is a beautiful man with glorious Nathan Explosion hair and has proven to be absolutely no worse than "good" at this debased WWE main event style and at times "very good" at same; the only problem that remains for him, as I see it, is he an enormous and laughable döøf. Even that could be used in his favour with proper booking but it is not my business to care about that. Kevin Owens frog-splashes Roman Reigns through a table on the outside and the people enjoy it. 
The emerging convention of near-fall close-up crowd reaction shots of essentially the same moderately contemptible youngish man time after time is a bold step in the wrong  direction both for the presentation and for the culture and I fear for both. There is one such shot here (not the first, nowhere near the last, I am sure) just after Chris Jericho drops brass knuckles to his (best) friend Kevin Owens who then employs them in an übermensch punch that Roman Reigns kicks out of in the second match on this show (I understand there were matches on a "pre-show" but come on; come on). I am reminded of the last PWG show I saw, in which a burning hammer was kicked out of in the opening match and it was like "oh okay I just don't like this and will live a life free of it" and so far it has gone pretty well. 

SUPERPLEX INTO THE CHAIRAMID NO WAIT A SUPERMAN PUNCH INTO IT WHICH IS WAY LESS SIKK THAN WHAT HAD BEEN TEASED and which is a fairly cræftig "spot" in that falling into those chairs is way better than falling to the ground in the absence of those chairs, I don't care how well-developed your ukemi (I do care actually and hope your ukemi serves you well in every instance). Kevin Owens has been powerbombed through the table, also. Much is made of how lame it is when Reigns goes BOOOOOWAAAAAAAAA before he hits his move but to me, as bad as the BOOOOOWWWAAAAAAA is, it is the rope-grabbing back-scratch in the corner accompanied by a deeply false intensity that really gets me. We are spared this grim show in this instance when Braun Strowman, literally the worst name anyone has had, gets a hold of Reigns and brutalizes him, and a seemingly defeated Kevin Owens emerges the victor to the delight of his best friend Chris Jericho. One assumes there have been issues between Roman Reigns and this Straun Browman? And yet the announcers do not detail it. I am at a loss and yet feel no want because of it. 

Enzo and Big Cass are next and to Big Cass' surprise Enzo has conflated his desire for food with his desire for the erotic company of women.

Graves, Cole, and Saxton don't have a table now but have to look serious and it's difficult for them. It is somehow easier for Mauro Ranallo (who kindly authored a piece for the Total MMA PDF newsletter that preceded the Total MMA website that preceded the Total MMA book by my friend Jonathan) as his comically sonorous voice is oddly well-suited to this strange task. There is a cruiserweight division now/again, and its championship is to be contested between Rich Swann, who is definitely below the 205 lbs limit, and Neville, who I have my doubts about in this regard. Neville is mean now and it suits him. Is this "cross-face butterfly armbar" Mauro describes akin to the Rings of Saturn? In time perhaps I will learn. Rich Swann is good for sure and his flying flipping butt attack to the outside is choice but when Mauro says of him "sports entertainment saved his life" it is just a dark, dark thing to say or have said. Neville attempts his suplex where he picks his foe up off the mat and pauses with him in the front-pack position (BABYBJÖRNPLEX) but he does not hit it, to my disappointment. Yes okay it seems Neville's big move is indeed the Rings of Saturn and he is your new champion and it occurs to me I only watched like a week or two of the Cruiserweight Classic and was like oh man this is great I am going to keep up with this one! but I didn't and I probably should have, not because this match was great (it was fine, please do not mistake me) but because the show itself seemed really good, like just in the way it was structured.

JOHN CENA CHALLENGES A.J. STYLES FOR ANOTHER BELT THAT LOOKS LIKE A CLASS RING THIS SHOULD BE GOOD but let me reiterate that their (the) Summerslam match was a ruse and not merely in the sense that this is all a ruse but instead in the sense that only a few minutes in they started huge moves and near-falls and laying there to lure those of insufficient taste level into undo praise. Please do not be so fooled (unless it suits you, what do I care). This match is for the WWE Championship, not the Universal Championship as before, because they have gone back to having two different world titles to go with two different rosters on the two different weekly television shows it is hard to believe anybody watches but I don't know I don't think that worked out very well the last time they did it (I don't mean in terms of business, because what could be less interesting than to know that, but in terms of my enjoyment). 

When people decry A.J. Styles' hair as that of a soccer mom it is a tacit admission of how pretty they think it is and you know what, they're right, it is pretty, and ironed so flat that it flops around and creates an even greater impression of movement than would already be present due to how quickly A.J. Styles moves (he moves very quickly) but let me also note that like Tetsuya Naito the thing that makes A.J. Styles' quickness all the quicker-seeming is how willing he is to just slow down completely for long stretches (Naito takes this to an extreme that is perhaps best described as . . . ingobernable?). I am reminded of how I was not particularly keen to see A.J. Styles wrestle when he was scheduled to appear at a local show at the famed Halifax Forum where Leo Burke once challenged Rick Martel for the AWA Championship in a pretty much perfect wrestling match (that Leo Burke also challenged for the NWA title on more than one occasion is something we have discussed before), but my friend Pete was like no, really, you will like his wrestling, you should go see him wrestle, and I did, and as soon as Styles grabbed a headlock against the local headliner it was like my god. It was also neat that he brought with him the IWGP championship belt! I don't think it had been to the Forum before (or since). 

This match is building more slowly and in my view way better than their (the) Summerslam match in that instead of going to finishers and kickouts after like four minutes they have elected to wait like seven (all figures approximate). Styles looks like Manabu Nakanishi out there with his backbreaker rack (did you see Nakanishi's match with Nagata late last year? it was so good!) into a powerbomb; Cena looks like a vicious yet tactical gorilla of some kind when he clobbers Styles with an enormous lariat. Cena hoists Styles into the "electric chair" position and for an instant one is convinced we will at last see the One-Winged Angel Kentholomew Omega was unable to hit against the great young he-cat Kazuchika Okada in one of the finest bouts of what we might call the Wrestle Kingdom era (six stars seems like a lot but hey it was a lot of match). A nice little bit of katame-waza (grappling technique) from A.J. Styles as he rolls out of a fireman's carry into a hiza-hishigi (knee-crush/calf-slicer) which John Cena then counters with an STF and I would like to thank both John Cena and A.J. Styles for reading TK SCISSORS: A BLOG OF RINGS where I am watching all of the RINGS shows that I have and please believe me when I tell you I have pretty much all of them. This is the best exchange of matwork I have seen in a WWE match in years, certainly, and just now A.J. Styles has applied an ude-hishigi-juji-gatame (arm-crushing-crossmark-hold) and I notice for the first time the kanji on his tights (I cannot read it, I am subliterate, forgive me) only for John Cena to raise him overhead with daki-age (抱上) (high lift) and release him in a thunderous slam. They are doing super right now! Cena jumps off the top for the legdrop he should never ever do but Styles catches him for the Styles Clash which of course John Cena kicks out of and which of course leads to a crowd shot of some bro who is in disbelief and the spell that had been cast through real techniques and the attendant real emotion has been broken utterly and quite possibly irrevocably. Yeah okay John Cena just did a "code red" which is a move at least as stupid as the (really unbelievably stupid) Canadian Destroyer and I would like to just have a nap now. Cena uses a "catapult" into the corner but it's offline so Styles has to hang a right in order to go into the turnbuckles holy shit has this gone of the rails and I guess I mean my own specific rails because the crowd is still way in but I have fallen way out. Styles hits the always sikk ushigoroshi of Hirooki Goto (who has been really really good since joining CHAOS), Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment off the top rope, Styles hits another Styles Clash, they shoot each other with guns, whatever. Two more Attitude Adjustments chained together with a nifty little roll and John Cena is a sixteen-time world champion (they didn't talk that up as much as I thought they might?).  John Cena does not explode into joy but is instead reserved as he raises the belt and then finds a Make-a-Wish kid in the crowd and you know what it is entirely possible I am being trimmed like the merest mark but I think John Cena is probably shoot nice. 

THIS MATCH IS INSTRUCTIVE I THINK at least for me in that I don't think contemporary WWE matches get better than that, and it would be very surprising to me if there is even a comparable WWE match all year, and I don't think there are wrestlers who wrestle WWE style any better than John Cena and A.J. Styles (I don't even really know who would be close), but the style is just fundamentally so dumb that the ceiling for my enjoyment of it is low despite the skill with which that style has just been articulated. That is probably maximum WWE right now, but would it be any better than the fifth-best match on the Wrestle Kingdom in which we dwelt only weeks ago? Plainly, in my view, it is not. And where it would fit into the rugged hierarchy of RINGS, I mean, please. If you say dumb things with perfect enunciation you are still saying dumb things. ANYWAY GREAT JOB JOHN CENA GREAT JOB A.J. STYLES.

lol "distracted by music" is the reason Seth Rollins is not in the Royal Rumble, Michael Cole explains, and I could not be any surer right now that this is not for me Michael Cole but thank you for trying to remove all doubt that is gracious of you  

AND NOW FOR THE ROYAL RUMBLE ITSELF AND THERE IS A LOT OF TIME HERE SO MAYBE THEY WILL EVEN STICK TO THE TWO-MINUTE INTERVALS MORE OR LESS LET US RUMBLE LET US ROOOOOOOOYAL RUMBLE and our first competitor is Big Cass and his methed-out bantam of a pal Enzo Amore comes out and says things that the cretinous sweathøggz in attendance chant along with because other aspects of their lives are insufficiently liturgical and this is how they find solace for that (it's pretty dark). This goes on for like a legit five minutes and it is unbelievably tedious. Ah yes lol so only two men have won from the number one position, one of whom is Shawn Michaels and the other we don't talk about as much as we used to I guess do we. Jericho is in at number two, presumably because he is a savvy veteran of this græppz-game and will be required to direct young galoots. This Big Cass, let me tell you, is well-named! What a big guy! Jericho bounces around for him pretty well for a man of a thousand years. Next in at number three is Kalisto who is super tiny and who would like us to chant LUCHA LUCHA (I don't but it is at least in part because people are sleeping). Jericho just chills in the corner for kind of a while whilst Kalisto runs all over.   

At number four we have Mojo Rawley who I don't think I have ever seen, but I feel like I have heard his name a lot as people discuss guys who are totally the worst (I am not making any such claim because again I think this is the first I have ever seen him). Jericho, we're told, has now been in the Royal Rumble more than four hours and longer than anyone else ever, a feather in his cap, I am sure. Jack Gallagher is a tiny Englishman with charmingly stripy trunks and for some reason an umbrella? I guess because England is rainy? But Jericho is from Winnipeg and it's not like they make Jericho come out with a frozen shithole (haha fvkkoff Winnipeg). 

MARK HENRY AT NUMBER SIX YESSSSSS man it takes a while for him to get to the ring and I guess it is the Alamodome isn't it and I love Mark Henry. Remember how everybody thought he was awful, and then a "Mark Henry is Actually Good" movement took shape I believe first at DVDVR, and actually I think just last year Vinnie of the Bryan and Vinnie show was like "remember when those DVDVR guys were like 'Mark Henry is actually good?'" and I could easily have some or all of this wrong but anyway I think Mark Henry is actually really good as he launches the small English fellow over the top, umbrella in hand. Braun Strowman is in next and man this guy is big as HEKK and there goes Mojo and Big Cass and Kalisto (onto the aforementioned two) and now Strowman and Mark Henry are face to face in a HOSSOFF and you know where my heart lies here noooooooo Mark Henry is out and I reject this. Jericho is still in the match but is laying very low.

SAMI ZAYN IS THE BABIEST FACE he consists entirely of vernix caseosa and ska. I am sure he has had a tonne of great matches since coming to WWE and it has been great for his art but right now he is being tossed around by a giant like he was just some goof, weird. An oddly lean Big Show is in next as lol yeah Jericho is just ducking out and looking shook whenever big people are around and it is delightful. There is talk of Big Show and Shaq at Wrestlemania, right? I understand Phil is Shaq's father (much respect to Phil). Two giant guys bumping into each other sounds like a good idea but can also be stupid as we are seeing right now. Jericho is in briefly and one's thoughts turn to the Jeri-Show era, do they not? Whaaaat, Big Show didn't even last two minutes!

In at number ten is "The Perfect Ten" Tye Dillinger and the sing-songy chumps of NXT say "ten" all the time when he does things so that is happening here as well. It is totally charming and not the worst, don't worry. James Ellesworth is next and I have not seen him wrestle but I did see the gif of A.J. Styles attempting a chinlock against him only for it to slip off because he has no real chin and that, to me, seemed great. THE CROWD ERUPTS FOR DEAN AMBROSE AT NUMBER TWELVE and I voted for Dean Ambrose in the Wrestling Observer Awards under "Worst Gimmick" because really what is going on with that guy. Ohhhh nooooo Braun Stroman just threw Ellsworth over the top and Ambrose didn't catch him or anything, he just landed right on his hip and he might not be ruined by that now but in the fullness of time he is going to feel that.  

BARON CORBIN at number thirteen and I identify with him in a number of ways including his wolf shirt (I have a wolf shirt), his long hair worn despite or perhaps because of/in spite of male pattern baldness (same), and his entry into the world of combat sports (wrestling for him, judo for me) after a successful football career (I am a 1991 Pee-Wee Tackle Football Provincial Champion). Dillinger is out, and woah ok Strowman is out as Corbin is also very very large. Kofi Kingston enters at fourteen and I worry that the pressure of elaborate Rumbling evasion technique must be getting to him; it's a lot to bear for any man. If I am remembering this right, it has been a couple of years since he has avoided elimination in a truly neat way, and maybe it is unfair of us to demand it of him each time, I don't know. THE MIZ is next and before entering the ring he lovingly touches the butt of his beautiful French-Canadian bride Maryse, not unlike the way in which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lovingly touched the butt of his beautiful French-Canadian bride Sophie Gregoire in VOGUE that time and if this is an allusion I salute its subtlety and wonder what it might auger. 

SHEAMUS and as you know I favour Sheamus despite what all of you think and not only because the Celtic cross that adorns his tights speaks to his desire for post-secular re-enchantment but not entirely not because of that either. Also, because of how often he "shoot" injures people it adds an air of drama and mystery whenever anybody stays down even slightly longer than you expect. Okay so Kofi's thing this year is to have been knocked from the ring-post but kind of catch himself just before touching the floor and it is quite nice! It is certainly unspectacular given several of his past feats but again maybe we should think about those less than we do. BIG E LANGSTON is kind of great and at once puts Miz in an abdominal stretch and spanks him (how does this play into the Trudeau thing). 

We are all the way up to eighteen and this hasn't been good BUT NOW RUSEV YESSSS HE IS A POET OF THIS AND HERE HE IS WITH LANA HIS BRIDE I WISH THEM ALL THE HAPPINESS THIS LIFE CAN HOLD and usually he is quite handsome to me but he is wearing a protective mask because of a recently broken nose, I am told, so we have been robbed of this. Rusev gives me the same kind of feeling that I used to get from Santino and while there are no doubt many more differences between the two than similarities this is about my feelings right now, please respect that. Cesaro is in now and he is putting everybody in the giant swing and at first I am delighted and reminded of hitting that move endlessly in the (excellent) Tecmo Wrestling of my youth (at the end you wrestle a demon!) but it very quickly diminishing returns as he can't really (giant) swing the bigger people he attempts to (giant) swing and the crowd is like "oh." The pleasant Xavier Woods enters at twenty and yeah this really has not been very good but there are still ten guys to go, and remember the year that it wasn't very good at all until Ryback of all people showed up and all of a sudden it got awesome? We can't rule that out (except for that it will not be Ryback). 

Bray Wyatt's look has changed a little since I have last seen him in that he has shifted from Southern Gothic to Southern Gothic Crust Punk, or Credible Touring Guitarist for Ministry or something. IT'S NOT AN URA NAGE (裏投) IF IT IS NOT A REAR THROW YOU ASSHOLES THAT IS LITERALLY WHAT IT MEANS IT IS A MA-SUTEMI WAZA A REAR SACRIFICE TECHNIQUE. Apollo Crews, in at twenty-two, is plainly so-named because of the depth of Vince McMahon's knowledge of black culture. Sheamus and Cesaro eliminate the New Day (all three), Jericho eliminates Sheamus and Cesaro, and now Sheamus and Cesaro are mad at each other or whatever. 

Randy Orton, who is good, and is Jerry Lawler's pick, is in at number twenty three and surely he has won more of these than just the 2009 one, can Michael Cole be right? I am not about to check. I did not mention that Jerry Lawler came out to announce this match but it's true, he did. Orton hits RKOs (RsKO) on a bunch of dudes as I learn that he is aligned with Bray Wyatt so this is Dark Randy Orton I guess. Dolph Ziggler, out next, has gone completely HBK in attire and also, it would seem, in his enthusiasm for the super kick. And now Luke Harper, who I have not seen much of of late (as I have not seen much of any of this of late) but who I recall to be excellent, turns on Bray Wyatt! Maybe this makes a lot of sense given recent things that have happened but I don't know about any of those so I am shocked by this! We are at number twenty six and this still isn't very good!

HOWEVER here is Brock Lesnar, and there are a lot of people still in the ring so one assumes this will be so many suplexes just so many of them yeeeeaaaaaaahhhh here we go he tosses Dean Ambrose out at once (good, he stinks) and then also Dolph Ziggler and then yeah it is just so many throws. You know what, I have never really liked the F5 as a finisher at all, his finisher in my view should just be extra suplexes. In at 27 is Enzo Amore and I guess the idea here is that this will be a bit of comedy where one would expect rising action but I think this match needs right now is all the rising action we can get because it has been a bit of a dud but here is Enzo in and out in like a minute and I like to think Pat Patterson would agree with me that this was an error (mostly I hope Pat Patterson is well, as he has earned his rest). Yeah exactly see here is Goldberg, why wasn't he in a minute ago in the interests of rising action and let me say that I have never been a Goldberg guy and not just because of the Bret Hart troubles (none of that helps obviously) and I didn't care for the two-minute Lesnar squash at the Survivor Series but it must be said that his entrance has always been quite sikk and the people clearly are super into him so who am I to complain. Woah he eliminates Lesnar at once! They will wrestle at an upcoming wrestling mania, surely. Goldberg approaches Jericho, which calls to mind the glorious tales of Goldberg getting into it with Jericho backstage only to find himself front-choked by a tiny shooter eat shit Bill Goldberg I watched an MMA show where you were a commentator and you kept putting over your own martial artistry but everybody knows *yeah everybody knows* Chris Jericho bested you once and would do it again in the name of Stu Hart and all of his terrible sons.  

The Undertaker is I guess number 29 and he squares off with Goldberg and they are like a hundred if you add it up aren't they? Goldberg does an awful job of eliminating Rusev because he's awful, Undertaker does away with Baron Corbin, Goldberg kind of makes a hash of a Luke Harper elimination (these are good, good wrestlers and Goldberg is just awful pushing them over the ropes) and then Undertaker tips Goldberg out and this is not very good. Sami Zayn and the Miz attack the Undertaker and Sami Zayn's punches are the worst ska-based punches ever and consider what that even means. There's only one guy left and I legitimately have no idea who it could be unless it is a super duper surprise of a guy but lol no it is Roman Reigns lol of course it is. 

The Undertaker takes down the straps of his singlet to communicate the extent to which it is on (this is counterintuitive) but given the shape of things and by that I mean the shape of his things this is a huge misstep. It is not his fault he is this old and broken but it is his fault that he took his shirt down. Miz is out, Zayn is out, Jericho has been in for fifty-nine minutes. It would be neat if he won, though I don't see how or why that would happen. The year Sheamus won and Jericho came second I was so sure it would happen! There were so many Codebreakers! Reigns just tipped the Undertaker over and they stare at each other a while so I guess that's a Wrestlemania match? So why did Braun Strowman attack in the title match before? I don't get it but I am also not trying hard and you literally cannot make me. Reigns eliminates Jericho with a superman punch noooooooooo so I guess it's Bray Wyatt, Reigns, and Orton and I remind you this is Dark Randy Orton (I have learned like fifteen minutes ago) so this is a distinct disadvantage for döøfwave underdog Roman Reigns. Oh okay there goes Wyatt so it's Reigns or Orton and just as I say that Orton catches Reigns coming out of the corner for a spear with an RKO (one can claim it is out of nowhere but I believe that neither philosophically nor theologically) in a pretty tidy bit of technique and then *boop* over the top goes Reigns AAAAAAND RANDY ORTON HAS WON THE ROYAL RUMBLE AND IT IS HARD TO KNOW WHY THAT MIGHT BE BUT HE'S PRETTY GOOD ESPECIALLY WHEN HE DOES THAT NEAT POWERSLAM WHERE HE KIND OF DISAPPEARS UNDER A GUY COMING OFF THE ROPES MAYBE HE WILL DO THAT ELSEWHERE ON THE ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA WHO CAN SAY BUT THIS ROYAL RUMBLE WAS NOT ALL THAT GOOD I HOPE YOU YOURSELF ARE WELL THOUGH PLEASE JOIN ME NEXT YEAR WHEN WE WILL DO IT ALL AGAIN WE WILL RUMBLE WE WILL ROOOOOYAL RUMBLE THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME WATCH FIGHTING NETWORK RINGS EVERYBODY GOOD NIGHT. 

Monday, 25 January 2016


The REIGNS community?
OF COURSE EMPIRICAL REALITY IS ALWAYS MORE COMPLEX THAN ITS UNDERLYING NOTIONAL STRUCTURE SO THAT ONE CAN ALWAYS PLAY THE GAME OF POINTING OUT WHAT IS IGNORED IN THE NOTIONAL GRASPING OF EMPIRICAL REALITY AS SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK HAS SAID AT LEAST ONCE AND MAYBE MORE TIMES but man the trend line on these Royal Rumbles has not been too fvkkn good for a while now has it like the last two in particular taken together have been a desolation and a curse and have made you think about how man is like to vanity/our days are but a shadow that passeth away and that is the way you get to feel right before bed because that is when the Royal Rumble ends. It has been bleak and the worst, and to even suggest otherwise is in my view the merest apologism and also unabidable. Longtime readers will need no reminder that last one that was really good was kind of a while ago now in that it was 2010 and I do not say that as an Edge partisan in the least, as much as it was wild when he and Lita simulated sensual acts on a bed in the ring on television one time and there was almost certainly a boob that got out (I am not endorsing that it happened but that it did happen and that it was a wild scene are just facts that offer no evidence one way or the other regarding my taste level which remains I assure you unusually high). However setting all of that to one side for a moment how can we not remain in some sense hopeful in the promise of transcendence (or maybe imminence, I don't know philosophy at all) offered by the ritual purity of thirty græpplørz (except when they do a different number) arriving in worked-randomized order at two-minute intervals (which they pretty much never do) until, in accordance with the greatness of His mercy, a king is bestowed upon us? Then shall the trees of the wood sing out! Whilst his foes eat the bread of sorrow! Unless it's fvkkn Roman Reigns again jesus christ or like a returning Batista or something; fvkk.   

I will also say by way of prefatory remarks (because there have not been enough of them yet as I see it) that eager though I always am as a Royal Rumble approaches (like the dawn) I do worry going into this a little because despite being our era's leading scholar of several very important things and also arguably the foremost figure in a particular kind of domesticity I have managed to watch no fewer than all five of the New Japan shows that have been on NJPW World so far this year (Wrestle Kingdom 10? more like Resplendent Kingdom 10; New Year's Dash? more like Take my Ca$h; Fantastica Mania 2016? actually that is a super good name for those ones) and they have all been legitimately excellent and so there is a very real possibility that I have just taken an extremely warm shower *in my enjoyment* and am about to enter a very cold pool *of something I might not enjoy as much in comparison* if you follow what I am doing now with tropes and figures. Hey speaking of NJPW (I love them they are perfect) it is really something how WWE is taking several of their best guys including AJ Styles who many seem to think will be here tonight and several of his (former) Bullet Club græpplepälz and also Shinsuke Nakamura my favourite wrestler in that he is an utterly singular figure! I'm sure that will all just be awesome and not a crime against art! But people should I guess do what they want to do even if it makes shows I like different.

THEN NOW FOREVER IT IS THE WWE and the image of John Cena is the first we see and one cannot help but reflect upon how pretty much everybody is out hurt, or at least John Cena and Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan who are probably the three best guys they have who aren't Brock Lesnar who is in a separate category for all kinds of reasons ranging from temperament to gargantuan shooting ability. The aesthetic to this year's opening video presentation is Classical Statuary and oh I get it is because of "Roman" Reigns haha ok TONIGHT AN EMPIRE OF ONE [they mean roman reigns I get it] MUST RISE AND LIKE THE GLADIATORS OF OLD FIGHT FIGHT AGAINST TYRANNY FIGHT FOR WHAT IS HIS FIGHT FOR SURIVIVAL THIRTY MEN ONE CHAMPION LET THE ROYAL RUMBLE BEGIN and amidst this voiceovering Roman Reigns is like "this is my life, and no one is going to take this away from me" and is like uh Roman he destroyeth the perfect and the wicked bro I am sorry to be the one to break this to you but there it is.

Our commentators tonight are Justin "Bradshaw" Layfield, Michael "Maggle" Cole, and Byron Saxton and let's be frank there is no reason to expect them to say anything good so why dwell on it (I will almost certainly dwell on it). Our opening contest is between Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose (have they mentioned he is . . . a lunatic?) and Kevin Owens (né Steen) and it is alas a Last Man Standing match (more like Alas Man Standing) which are not usually to my tastes in that I favour *scientific wrestling* perhaps due to the early influence of Leo Burke who I don't mind telling you again is praised lavishly by Bret "Hitman" Hart in his tremendous volume of autobiography titled "Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Professional Wrestling" and known colloquially as "Too Poor for Real Pants" and lol ok these guys are not wasting any time in diving out of rings and doing flipping cannonball maneuvers into barriers and hitting each other with kendo sticks (for some reason) and yes this *is* all being brought to you by Chex Mix that's *right.* FIGHT OWENS FIGHT is the chant here and I join them in that: I like Kevin Owens quite a lot in that I think he is really good on "the stick" and has excellent matches sometimes (have you seen the one he had with Nakamura?) and I don't really like Dean Ambrose matches very much not that I take any pleasure in saying that because Ambrose obviously works super hard and if I am remembering this right is the IRL beau of Renée Young who I have not kept up with but recall to be a literal angel in not just her beauty but her aspect. Also I think Dean Ambrose really liked Bret Hart when he was little? So I don't like not liking him uhhhhhhhhhhhh except that it turns out that when he ducks out between the middle and top ropes and comes back with a clothesline they call it a "wackyline" wooooooowwwwww. That is a dumb move (I don't even like it when Kyle O'Reilly does it and I voted for him in the category of best technical wrestler in this year's HerbMeltzerver Awards) but the move deserves better than that name; we all do. 

These guys are going like hekk! They are throwing each other all over the place and into things and then getting up before the referee's count of ten as the strictures of Last Man Standing require. I'm not nuts about elaborate setups for big spots (I find them tedious and cumbersome!) but I am pretty intrigued by the stack of tables Kevin Owens has been working on at ringside. Nothing has happened yet but this is for sure a Chekov's Stack of Tables situation. The crowd is pretty into this match and I get it! Ambrose has to wrestle in jeans and that must feel awful. Owens just did a *great* thing wherein he regained his feet at the count of nine by rolling out of the ring; that might not sound that great but it was subtly great which is often what Kevin Owens is I think (also sometimes he is very plainly great). Ambrose has just flyingly top-rope elbowed Owens through a table on the outside and I liked it a lot but can't stop thinking about the big stack of tables that is on the other side of the ring *it is still out there when are they going to go through it.* Owens is yelling "I hate you" at Dean Ambrose and it feels earned and true.

You are perhaps familiar with the "fisherman buster" suplex that Kevin Owens does sometimes? He just did it from the second rope through a table, and it was very good, and now he has Ambrose set up on some chairs as he ascends the opposite turnbuckle to do his astonishingly nimble (for so hefty a døød) jumping springboard moonsault when lololol Ambrose just kind of nudges him off and he plummets through the big stack of tables on the outside and do you see how skilled I am as a reader I totally knew once those tables got set up that eventually someone would plummet through them to his ruin *keep it locked* to for analysis of this calibre lol that was pretty great though!  

NOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo they are showing a clip from Raw (I don't watch it) wherein Chris Jericho destroyed the New Day's trombone whyyyyyyyyy that trombone was sikk nooooooooooo lol ok the New Day are out now and Big E Langston is telling the crowd (who want to love the New Day; who need to love the New Day) to pipe down as a moment of silence is observed for Francesca the trombone (I was not aware they had named her). And now Xavier Woods is out WITH A NEW TROMBONE as the New Day dances and while Kofi Kingston dances reasonably, Big E dances in a way that whilst deliberately comical cannot help but be legitimately sensual because Big E is just a sensualist and you can see it always. They are saying things about unicorns and ponies and I like all of it. I have heard that the New Day are all over Raw and it has become too much but because I am not all over Raw I don't care about that even a little AND HERE COME THE USOOOOOOOSSSSSS I like these guys a lot and like to think about their late father Fatu (he has not actually died) thrustkicking the good out of his foes in the middle parts of yore-day Rumbles; later he would be Rikishi, and put his butt on them. 

This is a good tag team match but I worry that the crowd does not seem to like the Usos and I wonder if they have considered how this might make the Usos feel? Maybe it is just that the New Day are so compelling that you can't really keep them "heel" and so "faces" like the really very good Usos don't really stand a chance in there. PLAY FRAN-CESCA CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP is the chant and Xavier Woods seems as though he is going to acquiesce; but no, he is like I PLAY WHEN I WANT TO PLAY. One's thoughts turn to the time Johnny Mundo (who was great when he wrestled local hero Markus Burke at the historic Halifax Forum, where Leo Burke [no relation except for in spirit] more than once challenged for world titles but in the main arena part of the Forum not the Multipurpose Room where you would watch smaller events like say Ghostface & Raekwon for Pop Explosion) was on the Steve Austin podcast and was compelling and was like "the babyface gives the fans what they want to see, and the heel takes it away" and Steve Austin was like "I have never heard it expressed like that but yes that is it precisely and you are a wise cat for saying so." 

Big E's body is just *weird* in its enormous muscularity but he fully inhabits it, man. There is something about that guy. I think what just happened was a spear through the ropes to an Uso (who can say) who was standing on the apron and somehow neither of them are dead now but it looked close. An Uso (nobody knows) just splashed Kofi from the top but instead of covering him right away in a pinning combination (or "osaekomi") he floated over to pin him from the other side and it made no sense. Oh ok Big E has caught an Uso (don't pretend) in midair and hit his nice slam finish ("The Big Ending") and now dances in sensuous triumph. A good match!  

I guess the Wyatts are a Significant Heel Faction according to these clips from Raw and I say why not as Bray can talk some and work well enough and Luke Harper is excellent and Aaron Rowan at least has a spooky mask and the new guy with the just absurd name (""""""""Braun Strowman"""""""""?) could not reasonably be asked to be a larger human and perhaps most importantly here Southern Gothic is a legit aesthetic. It is useful to have four of them so they can claim to be War Pestilence Famine and Death as they have just now done.

OK next we have Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto for the United States Title and we are shown clips of Kalisto flying out through the middle rope to the floor and landing on his back which looked brutal and then another clip of the League of Nations (I really like that as the name of a Foreign Heel Stable) all just standing around him shoving him from one to another which speaks to our elemental fear of being bullied in so classic a fashion. Alberto Del Rio is a strange case as you all know, almost certainly better than I do: they wanted a Mexican hero but they stink so they couldn't make him one despite his obvious talents and then an office guy or something made a shitty anti-Mexican joke so Alberto slapped him in the face and got fired and became a Mexican hero and then went to Lucha Underground (and AAA but I will not pretend to have seen any of that because I have too much respect for you) to extremely excellent effect and they were like OMG WE NEED THIS GUY HE IS A MEXICAN HERO and then they got him back and things don't seem to be going all that much better this time around despite his shooter cred (legit Greco-Romanism; head-kicked by Cro Cop whilst lucha-masked), handsomeness, and tanned vascularity. I am told that he doesn't use the rolling ude-hishigi-juji-gatame (nobody calls it that BUT THAT'S WHAT IT IS) as a finisher anymore, which seems a shame.

This is a pretty good match, the story of which is that Kalisto is a very small luchador with a lot of heart and flips (and twists) whereas Alberto Del Rio is much bigger and mean and yeah very handsome. The crowd is chanting LUCHA LUCHA LUCHA which I guess is like chanting FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT or as they chant in Japan FAITO FAITO FAITO which I have read in a book by an English-speaker who lived in Japan for a while puts you in a weird position as an Anglo because on the one hand you don't want to be the guy not saying FAITO with his/her palz but on the other hand haha yikes.

Del Rio is chucking this lil fella around pretty well! Ooooooooh no Kalisto tried a weird move like a "code red" or something and just spiked himself, poor little guy. I don't know for sure that's what he was going for but I will say that I don't really like that one; one's thoughts turn to the realllllly good Kamaitachi/Dragon Lee match from the final night of Fantastica Mania (no YOU shut up) and how they had a bunch of moves in that one where it was like wait who is that one supposed to be harming I don't get it and some of them were I guess kind of like a "code red" (I do kind of like the one Hirooki Goto does out of the corner; he is a neo-samurai). Kalisto hit his "salida del sol" (which is "dawn?") and wins the U.S. Title (for the second time, I have learned) and remember when he did that one through a ladder a while ago? That was crazy!    

Renée Young is here with a panel consisting of Booker T in a stylish scarf, Jerry Lawler in an Affliction shirt (and now his soul is poured out upon him; the days of affliction have taken hold upon him, imo), and Corey Graves who I mostly know from panels, and oh Renée why do you adopt a different voice and say "Bookah TEEEE"; that is a mess to have done that. And yet she remains charming despite this? Or perhaps, perversely, because of it? There is something paradoxical (para-doxa, "overwhelming glory," as Millbank glosses) at work here. 

Paul Heyman and Stephanie McMahon are shown backstage standing at a 3/4 angle to a camera they are pretending either is not there or is not on and so their secrets are safe. This is one of the things that you are declared NO FUN for minding because it has been happening for so long that it clearly is never going to change so why make a thing of it but look art is important and this runs counter to art and I am not going to stop. 

"Moments don't last; they're . . . fleeting" Charlotte tells us in the video package that runs before her championship defense against Becky Lynch. Becky Lynch is pretty good (I reject her steampunk aesthetic obviously) but I am not all that sure Charlotte is. Obviously neither of them is Sasha Banks but that is an unreasonable standard to hold humans to. Sasha Banks and Bailey sure had a good one in Brooklyn! I think it was the second-best WWE match all year (don't be like mmmmmwwwwwwaaaaaactually it was an *NXT* match; you owe yourself more than that), bested only by the triple-threat title match at last year's Royal Rumble between John Cena and Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar! Neither of these matches made my ballot for the Meltz Awards obviously but these things can't be helped.

Woah ok Byron Saxton is just saying some normal things when JBL breaks in thusly: "Byron your obfuscation of the story is monumental, because Charlotte, what's going on here is that she is preordained for greatness. Not to be Calvinistic, but some people just have a date with destiny, and that is Charlotte."

I see you though

This match has been underway for a couple minutes and is pretty unremarkable until they spill to the outside and then Ric Flair, who has long claimed to be both kiss-stealin' and wheelin'-dealin', makes good on half of that by planting one on Becky Lynch and I guess when you see kiss-stealin' play out right in front of you like that it is a little bit less like "lol u cad" and more like "that was not that great." Also not great: this match ZING haha like everything looks super cooperatery and there is a moment of promise when an "electric chair" position is attained and one dreams of a "One-Winged Angel" like the GREAT Kenny Omega would do from here or maybe "Croyt's Wrath" (he names everything after video games but is somehow still the best) but nothing like that happens. Hey like a year ago I said to my pal Russ that I thought Kenny Omega would have more good matches in 2015 than Daniel Bryan and lol I wish I wasn't as right about that as I turned out to be! And Ric Flair has tossed his jacket on Becky Lynch, thereby distracting her, and Charlotte wins, and this was really not very good. 

EXCEPT SASHA BANKS IS HERE AND THE PEOPLE RIGHTLY LOVE HER MY GOODNESS noooo why is she attacking Becky Lynch what did Becky Lynch ever do to her (maybe lots of things idk) and now the hand of friendship is offered to Charlotte and they do a Fresh Prince-esque slapping of hands with a psssshhh AH HA BANKS STATEMENT CROSSFACE YESSSSSS NOW STOMP ON HER HANDS LIKE YOU DID THAT OTHER TIME IT WAS DISGUSTING BUT DO IT AGAIN well she didn't do it again but that was still worth it lol Michael Cole is like "SASHA BANKS MAKING A STATEMENT WITH THE BANKS STATEMENT" and yeah we get it Michael Cole it's ok and then Byron Saxton is like "FROM A BANKS STATEMENT TO A BOLD STATEMENT" lol jesus christ these guys are the worst. At least JBL has interests.   

Let's pause now to thank Chex Mix for making everybody's dreams come true; then they do the I guess now-annual thing where they share a bunch of "statistics" but this is trivia not statistics and utterly pointless even in the fairly absurd context of people pretending to fight. Actually I take that last part back a little because pretending to fight occurs at the intersection of græppling (so important) and the aesthetic (utterly vital), making it literally crucial. 

Lilian Garcia is kind of mangling the explanation here (I have no problem with her; this is a rare lapse) but the deal is that Roman Reigns, champion of the planet, is entering at number one and the WWE Championship, which still literally looks like a Josten's class ring, is very much at stake! This is a pretty good twist imo. Roman Reigns still enters through the crowd as a vestigial element of his time in the Shield I guess, but I think now it is supposed to signify that he is of the people, but they boo him without mercy as he makes his way through them in his awful ring gear. He had a very good match with Brock Lesnar (and eventually Seth Rollins) in the main event of Wrestlemania in which he and Brock hit each other really very hard and then the super slow motion replays revealed that yeah they hit each other *really* very hard and it was totally good (third best WWE match of the year? top five anyway) but I am not going to overlook the extent to which the guy remains a döøf out there. I am not immune to human beauty and can plainly see his icy blue eyes and impressive locks and the fine physique buried beneath his truly shitty ring gear but the guy remains döøfwave and if your objection is THAT IS HOW HE IS BEING BOOKED AND SCRIPTED I will of course concede the point but ask you in what truer way should I come to know him so as to not find him a big fvkkn döøf and why should this be work on my end. Here he is being deservedly booed, much as he was when Nick and I saw him wrestle a fairly shitty house show main event at the Forum (the Arena part, not the Multipurpose Room) against Seth Rollins, and I don't think Seth Rollins was necessarily the problem in that one, you know? HE'S NOT THAT BAD well no but he isn't that fvkkn good either is he. PPL BOO JOHN CENA ON THE BIG SHOWS TOO look John Cena is conservatively *ten* times the wrestler Roman Reigns is and the person I am arguing with who doesn't even exist is *embarrassing* himself right now BUT SEVERAL PEOPLE CHEERED WHEN THE BABYFACE WON THE TITLE ON RAW just stop digging bro stop digging.

Rusev is in at number two! His real name is Miroslav Barnyashev (Мирослав Барняшев) and I hope he and Lana are happy together forever! I preferred it when he wrestled barefoot but I am not going to let that interfere now. Reigns and Rusev are going at it HAMMER AND TONGS YEAH ELIMINATE ROMAN RIGHT AWAY IT WOULD BE CRAZY no he went out through the middle rope and now he is back in and unleashed a truly döøfwave BWOOOOOHHHHAAAAHHHHH before hitting a spear and dumping Rusev over the top and this is an injustice, perhaps the first of many.  

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ STYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYLESSSSSUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU YEAAAAAAHHHHHHHH OK IF THIS IS HOW IT IS HAS TO BE LET'S DO IT I mean obviously I would prefer him to remain in NJPW and have ****+ matches every other month but he is here now and I am going to try to enjoy it as much as the people of Orlando (mb the Royal Rumble is a travelling crowd to a certain extent at this point?) are presently and that is a *lot* and I don't recognize this music but it is pretty sikk with its churchy organ sounds over a chill beat and I wonder if like his NJPW theme it will start saying "fvkk yr dreamz fvkk yr life" if you let it play long enough (try it, it really does start saying that; maybe you already knew but I didn't until Bryan's friend Vinny noted it). I am WAAAAAAAAAY into A.J. Styles as you would expect of a person such as me and if I may digress: I never watched any uhhhhhh "TNA" (to even type that is a difficulty) and for the longest time my only awareness of A.J. Styles was when he said "the GAY community?!?" on a Meltzer podcast and the time he got really mad at Mike Tenay because of how he came from a trailer park (Styles, not Tenay, and idk A.J. my first home was in a trailer park too but you don't see me getting mad at Mike Tenay about it); the first I knew of because of my near-fanatical devotion to Meltzer audio, the second, because the clip went viral (amongst the like dozen people with whom I talk about wrestling via computers). I assumed he was a superflippy X-Division guy and probably fine but not necessarily my kind of thing BUT THEN he got booked on some local Wrestlecentre indie shows (at . . . the Forum) and I was not especially thrilled about it but my friend Pete was like "no KS based on the kind of stuff you like you will like A.J. Styles, trust me" and I did I trusted Pete's judgement and he was *right* like the first time A.J. started working a headlock on decent-local-guy J.P. Simms I leaned over to my brother and was like "jesus fvkkn christ look at how good that headlock is" and if you ask my brother he will CONFIRM how into these græpplehøldz I was. This was around the time Styles was IWGP champion (HE BROUGHT THE BELT . . . TO THE FORUM) and having the MOTY w/ Minoru Suzuki in the G1 and the effect of like "pretty good local match, pretty good local match, good indie match with someone from away, BEST WRESTLER IN THE WORLD PRETTY MUCH" was *profound* and *major* (in the realm of græpzthetics) and now here I am; indeed, here *we* are.

While it is improbable that week after week A.J. Styles will be performing in front of rapturous crowds intimately familiar with his work of recent years with Tanahashi and Okada and Nakamura through their subscriptions to NJPW World, as far as first nights go this is a better response than could have been expected and YEEEAAH STYLES CLASH lol ok no as it turns out A.J. is not permitted to hit the Styles Clash on the WWE Champion in the opening seconds of his time here which if regrettable is totally understandable and now in at number three is Tyler Breeze who is sometimes referred to as "Prince Pretty" if I am not mistaken and he seems good and I enjoyed his match against Jushin Thunder Liger at the Brooklyn show (Liger had a deceptively sikk lucha-subz match against Virus at the last Fantastica Mania at Korakuen Hall if you are looking for the most recent sikk Liger match) aaaaaand there goes Tyler Breeze, held aloft by Styles and then punched over by Reigns and in at number four is Curtis Axel (son of Mr. Perfect, but in some ways it is hard to believe that) who is part of a faction called the Social Outcasts I guess? (Don't tell me about them though please.) A.J. hits an interfering Adam Rose with his flying forearm that always looks so good *and it looks so good* and then a moment later he clotheslines Axel out and it is back to just Styles and Reigns (this is pretty neat!) as the crowd is exhorted to BREAK THE WALLZZZ DOOOOOOOWN because it is Chris Jericho and he gets a great reaction oooohhh gaaawwwd what has happened to his body: it is as though it has liquefied with age and then resettled but not with the barrel-chested melted-butter glory of a pantsed-and-singleted-luchador in his latter days; instead he is just a mess, the poor guy. And he wears less gear in his forties than he did in his twenties. This is a nightmare. His physique has always fluctuated wildly but this is low ebb by a lot. He is a few years older than me and maybe this is what awaits me too once I catch up but I think (hope) there is something else at play here, something dark and unnameable. You might have a look at Chris Jericho right now and be like "lol that is some body" and then laugh it off and just go on with your day and your life but consider please that any time he wants to do anything, whether it be enjoy the tendernesses of his good lady wife or merely go for a swim, that is the body he has to do it in.

Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you

He also has a number of tattoos now which are new to me at least; I have seen it suggested that Jericho is an aging hipster dad but that to me is wholly inaccurate as he is plainly an aging *rocker* dad whose sensibility is demonstrably pre-hipster (in the contemporary sense) BWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOFFFF it is THE DEMON KANE in at number seven and while I do not understand why exactly he is no longer Corporate Kane I am more relieved about it than curious about it. He is, as one would expect, leveling döødz (lol they don't even try to hide that the hair is attached to the mask do they). The crowd responds very favourably to the arrival of Goldust at number eight which reveals the people of Orlando to be of taste and learning because Goldust is of quality. Just before he enters the ring though Jericho tries to headbutt Roman Reigns but gets the worst of it due to Samoanicity. 

The crowd chants A J STYLES which is how I feel from my couch also as things settle in here and this feels like way less than two minutes as RYBACK and his unfettered access to bodybuilding drugs and paraphernalia enters at number nine and do people still chant C.M. Punk at Ryback because of things C. M. Punk said about Ryback on the Colt Cabana podcast before choosing to cosplay as a martial artist? (p.s. run up when you see me Phil) 

It's a new day yes it is as Kofi Kingston enters at number ten and maybe he will redeem himself for his prrrrrretty lame spot last year where if I recall correctly he was thrown out but held up by the ravers who had fallen under the sway of Adam Rose on the grounds of how much E he had hoooooly cow A.J. got up *so high* on a back body drop from Ryback and then a few moments later does his springboard forearm from the outside back in; A.J. has been the best so far but that is not a stunning thing. Titus O'Neil is in and he is just chucking people which is fitting and right and OH NO Goldust is out well I mean he wasn't going to win it obviously but still. Here comes R-Truth at number twelve and he is grabbing a ladder from underneath the ring and setting it up in the middle of the ring and oh dear lord they are not ok yes they are ok: the gimmick remains that R-Truth is inexplicably simple so he climbs the ladder thinking there will be a belt there and there is not; I don't know if this is an improvement over last year's bit where in the absence of Devon he served as The Black One to Bubba Ray Dudley's The White One for a number of old Dudley Boys spots but either way the ghost of "Bad News" Allen Coage weeps bitter ghost tears.

This year's Kofi spot is that he went out over the top but landed on Big E Langston's shoulders and gets a ride around ringside and grabs a drink from a guy in the front row (there is a guy who offers the wrestlers fries at the Forum and the fries there are choice) and now Kofi is just kind of hanging out out there as Luke Harper enters and Luke Harper is enormous and quick and good and well-suited to the role of lead-hand in the cult he has joined.

THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS MY GOODNESS they are out here at Mr. McMahon's behest and they have dragged Roman Reigns out of the ring (under the bottom rope, though, which is less than ideal) and I like Del Rio and Sheamus so I am happy to see them but I am even happier to see Rusev back as his time here tonight seemed too short and aaaaaaaaahahahahahaha ok he splashes Roman Reigns through a table and begins exulting with arms overhead *while he is still lying down* man this guy GETS IT and by IT here I mean MY FULL SUPPORT. I have been told that Kofi Kingston has been eliminated but just how remains a mystery. That's pretty weird but this is pretty good!

Next in is the Big Show so this is the part where the announcers are like "who could ever eliminate this Show this really very Big Show?" but we know he isn't going to be around at the end and the best we can hope for is a repeat of that sikk part years ago where like six guys hit their finishers on him in a row and it was thrilling but they haven't done that one with him since; why not make *that* the annual Big Show thing? He eliminates Titus O'Neil and Ryback in short order. 

OK Roman Reigns is being helped to the back by Medical Personnel but he isn't selling it all that hard and he is totally just kind of walking up the aisle largely under his own power because the story here appears to be that Roman Reigns is SOFT and this is pretty dispiriting in that obviously he is going to come back and start throwing people out hither and yon and then win and it will STINK but I will say to the credit of the people of Orlando they are not into Roman Reigns at all and that is making me feel better about this otherwise dark scenario that now presents itself.

While I was complaining, Adrian Neville came in and although he moves beautifully it will not serve him here nor anywhere else in his WWE tenure (let us be frank) and here is the unbelievably large and improbably named Braun Strowman eliminating both Kane and the Big Show and purely by coincidence I was teaching kata gatame just tonight including the (largely useless but neat) standing arm triangle that Strowman mangles as finishing maneuver; it is aaaaaawfully loose when he does it but I guess in his defense if it is nice and snug it can come on pretty quickly and that would be a calamity were it to occur in a context like this (oh no the Big Show is out; also he has maybe "shoot" peed, etc).  

Kevin Owens drags his carcass to the ring at number eighteen and woah we are well into this now aren't we! Owens and Styles go at it and the people love it, especially a particular kind of the people (I am that kind of the people). Neville intrudes, only to be set up for a Styles Clash HOWEVER NOOOOOOOO Kevin Owens kicks A.J. in the face, yells "WELCOME TO WWE" and then chucks him out nooooooo but in truth this is wise: the very same kind of people I mentioned a moment ago (me) who will feel aggrieved that A.J. has been eliminated (still me) will take no small measure of solace in the fact that it was Owens who threw him out and not Reigns or like Ryback or Kane or someone (I really do feel ok). They have weighed all things to a nicety in the scales of their malice. 

Here comes the always-wet Dean Ambrose in jeans that have to be chafing outrageously; the crowd receives him warmly and also starts up nice little chants and cheers for the departing A.J. Styles and I worry (not all that much because who cares but still) that this might be the high point for A.J.'s run in WWE: a huge ovation for his debut and a promising first night in the promotion only to find nothing really there for him in the long run other than maybe a lot of t-shirt sales if they don't mess this up immediately (they will mess this up immediately). Will he ultimately be as the eunuch who embraces the virgin and sigheth, as his Lord said one time about another guy? Only time will tell (yes). 

(As a final word on A.J. I would like to note that while there is as yet no evidence that he is being booked, as my friend Neil has suggested, as Gay Teen Wolf, there is nothing definitive to suggest that he is not.) 

HEY IT IS SAMI ZAYN AKA EL GENERICOOOOOO AKA THE GUY WHO INTRODUCED STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN TO SKA MUSIC ("we're gonna have a good tiiiime, come along for the riiiiide, that's what it *says* to me") IN AT NUMBER TWENTY and he runs right after Owens because Owens put him out with a power bomb on the apron, right? That was the thing they did? Zayn eliminates Owens pretty much right away and that was pretty exciting! Who is left here ok it's Harper, Stardust, Zayn, Jericho, Ambrose, Strowman, Neville and uhhhhh fvkkn Roman Reigns having a lemonade somewhere that fvkkr.

Rowan, he of the legitimately creepy sheep mask, is in next and hoooooly god Neville took a great KO "flip bump" off of a Luke Harper clothesline that was *great* and now Stardust is out too so I guess the situation is that the Wyatt Family is taking over here as Braun Strowman (lol what a name) works over Jericho with the standing arm triangle and it looks much better this time around actually. 

May the lord bless and keep Mark Henry who is out next and how could anyone's problem be with him and remember when he was kind of awesome for a couple years there? When he was balding with the braids and kind of had everything figured out and worked a really good "program" with Daniel Bryan for the lesser of the world titles? Anyway the Wyatts put him out pretty much straightaway and there goes Sami Zayn too and I guess the deal is its just gonna be Wyatts dumping people until Roman Reigns comes back out and beats them all singlehandedly while going BWOOOOHHHAAAAHHHHH and hitting shitty superman punches ugggggggh

lol ok so what has literally happened is that I had legitimately forgotten about the existence of Brock Lesnar and maybe by the sound of the crowd here they had all kind of forgotten about him too and are pleased to be reminded because maaaaannnnn everybody is going nuttttzzzzzz and chanting suplex city and he is just suplexing the shit out of people in the most heinous fashion and jeeeeeeus christ he has decapitated Braun Strowman (lol that naaaame what the fvvvvvvk) and this is sooooo gooooood and Rowan is out and BROCK LESNAR IS OUT OF CONTROL MAGGLE

Longtime readers will perhaps recall that I am inordinately fond of Jack Swagger at least in part because he looks kind a lot like my late Aunt Sheelagh (may peace be upon her) but also because I don't know I just like him but none of this does him any good as he is in and out in seconds because Brock Lesnar is remorseless and relentless in his pursuit of throwing people places. Here is the Miz at number twenty-five making it back-to-back guys it pains you to remember they put a world title on given all that has followed and he chooses to join the commentary team rather than enter the ring and usually the Miz is pretty good at talking but he is not getting any of this out smoothly or well but what he is trying to do is an OK idea I guess like this should be amusing it just isn't for some reason.

That's it for Harper as he got suplexed (guess by who) and then eliminated just before ALBERTOOOOOO DEL RIOOOOOOOO and why didn't they bring back his little buddy who would do his introduction in Spanish? Ricardo or something? Del Rio comes in and fires a leg kick at Lesnar (because of shöøtskillz?) but Lesnar is not that concerned and shucks him off before eliminating Braun Strowman (lol it gets weirder the more you think about it) so now it is Lesnar, Jericho (doing verrrrrry little lol), Del Rio, and Ambrose, which would be a pretty compelling set of guys in the ring were we not haunted by the knowledge that eventually Roman Reigns is going to show back up. 

Bray Wyatt is in at the vaunted and coveted number twenty-seven position and he is like HOW MUCH MORE ABOMINABLE AND FILTHY IS MAN WHICH DRINKETH INIQUITY LIKE WATER only he says it all with his crazy eyes and he compels his followers to re-enter the ring and wail on Brock for a spell and this culminates in a Sister Abigail (an all-time great name for a move imo and if they have ever explained what that means please don't tell me as I choose to embrace the mystery here) and Brock is just gently dumped over by all four Wyatts like *boop* and the crowd is like ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh phooey. 

ZIGGLER AT TWENTY-EIGHT wait why doesn't anybody like Dolph Ziggler anymore he gets nothing from the people come on what gives does Dolph not bounce around like a fool anymore or what? He is met with no enthusiasm here at all and I am perplexed. When Nick and I went to a house show last year (at the Forum) Ziggler and Sheamus had a really good HALIFAX STREET FIGHT (presumably the day after a MONCTON STREET FIGHT) where tables were gone through in pretty dramatic fashion and fun was had by all (except them probably) and Ziggler was loved by all; WHAT GIVES. His look is kind of a mess right now; maybe that's not helping. I don't know why he would elect to dress more modestly now than he has in the past unless he is maybe trying to head-off a Jericho situation but that looks like it would be years down the road. I am mystified. The French braid is a tough call because I support braiding broadly but I miss the untamed locks which suited his . . . untamable ways. But yeah nobody gives a shit about him as he hits all his moves, and then the Miz finally hops in the ring just to hit Ziggler with his "skull crushing finale." These are dark days for Ziggler.

SHEAMUS at twenty-nine and I like Sheamus as he is a demonstrable hoss whose Celtic cross motif is emblematic of his desire for a postsecular reenchantment of reality OH FVKK OFF ROMAN REIGNS FVVVVVVKKK UGGGGHHHHH here he is superman punching a defenseless hoss from the blindside and this is stupid Reigns is running around like he is totally fresh and hadn't been for example so grievously harmed earlier in the match that he had to go to the back and have soup this is *stupid.* There goes Miz (no great loss), Del Rio (a very real loss), and TELLINGLY the first time the crowd cares about Ziggler at all is when it looks like he is about to eliminate Reigns (he does not) and YES they are booing Reigns vociferously as he downs people with his dumb offense and goes BOOOOOAAAAHHHH

YESSSSSSSSSS IT IS TRIPLE H AT NUMBER THIRTY DO IT FOR LEMMY DO IT FOR I GUESS KAISER WILHELM AS YOU ARE WEARING A LOT OF IRON CROSSES EVEN FOR YOU RIGHT NOW BUT LET'S SAY THIS IS ABOUT LEMMY AND ALSO ABOUT HOW ROMAN REIGNS STINKS AND WE ALL KNOW IT ok ok so actually "the sheets" by which I only mean Meltzer has been speculating that with everybody hurt the main event for Wrestlemania could very well be Triple H and Reigns and obviously you want "the strap" on Triple H for that right so Reigns can have his big win there or whatever? THIS COULD REALLY WORK OUT so ok the crowd is *completely* with Triple H and *completely* opposed to Roman Reigns right now which is probably a nightmare for their longterm planning but a genuine boon to my present enjoyment and guess which one I care about at all. 

Ziggler takes a run at TRIPZ but is cut off and pedigreed in the most summary of fashions; Wyatt heads for Reigns and is met with a spear and a BOOOOOWWWAAAAAAHHHH (please stop) and he is rightly boooooooed; who else is in there let's see ok just Ambrose and Jericho I guess. This is a glorious amount of booing whenever Reigns does anything, more than we could have asked for. Ah yes Sheamus at last enters the ring and is greeted by Bray Wyatt's "ura nage" as some call it but it isn't one and I don't want to go on and on about this (lol yes I do) but an ura nage is a sutemi waza; it's a "rear throw" that is a "sacrifice technique" so if you are just ducking under an arm while a guy jumps up like a *mark* (that term makes no sense here) and you push him forward while you keep your dumb feet I don't know what you're doing but it sure as shit isn't ura nage, pal. Jericho hits a lionsault and his corner dropkick and Ziggler hits a Zig Zag and I guess it is that time for people to hit all of their foremost moves and wooooah Triple H really did a great job teasing an elimination off a Ziggler superkick (like, so good that you forgot for a second there is literally no chance Dolph Ziggler eliminates Triple H in anything ever). Sheamus and Triple H eliminate Bray Wyatt, Reigns almost tips both out but mercifully does not, Jericho comes off the top with a splash on Ambrose and then hits Triple H with a CODEBREAKER before Ambrose sneaks up and tips Jericho over SO YOUR FINAL FOUR are Sheamus, Ambrose, Reigns, and Triple H and Ambrose is all but consumed by babyface fire!

OH HEY quite a cheer for Roman Reigns as he superman punches Sheamus out so I guess the people's contempt (misplaced in my view) for Sheamus exceeds their distaste for Reigns WHO HAS BEEN ELIMINATED BY TRIPLE H WHO FALLS TO THE CORNER IN AN UNGODLY FRENZY OF CROTCH CHOPPING YESSSSSSSSSS I DON'T EVEN *LIKE* CROTCH CHOPPING BUT THIS IS INCREDIBLE and lol woah that felt so much like the finish I forgot Dean Ambrose was still in there but I assure you that he is and the crowd is beside itself at the prospect of one of these two guys *they are totally into* winning and none of the guys who are Roman Reigns winning yessssssss 

LET'S GO AMBROSE is their spirited cry ugggghh fvvvvvk Michael Cole said "wackyline" again how could he poison this moment so crassly AND YES THAT'S IT TRIPLE H HAS WON IT HE IS YOUR CHAMPION AS LEMMY SMILES DOWN FROM HEAVEN AND KAISER WILHELM ISN'T SWEATING IT EITHER LET TRIPLE H RETIRE THIS INSTANT IF HE SO CHOOSES FULL OF DAYS AND RICHES AND HONOUR and you know what that was actually a really simple elimination that I don't think I've ever seen before: Triple H was on the apron and Ambrose took a couple of big runs at him to knock him off but Tripzzz got a knee up, stunning him, and then ducked in between the top and middle ropes and back-body-dropped Ambrose out. I could totally be wrong but I think that is the first time anyone has done this; it was elegant.

SO UH IN SUMMATION THAT *OWNED* and could not have been more different in both tone and incident from the absolutely brutal displays of the last couple years; there can be no question that this is the best Royal Rumble since at least 2010, and maybe a few years before that actually, so depending on whether or not you want to get cute about when decades start (please don't) you can say this is the best one this decade, easily in the top half of Royal Rumbles, and probably like top ten overall? But all of those things will become clearer in the fullness of time; for now, let us be thankful for our good fortune, and salute Triple H, for as Royal Rumblists he is on this day our representative on earth.

Yes, by all means, please *do* break it down.