Stop Denying It, Spider-man Is Your Favorite Super Hero

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Quickest way to get home. #SpiderManHomecoming

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Who’s your favorite superhero? More than likely you barely had to think about it before you answered. It doesn’t matter if you are a casual fan or a die-hard fan. If you read the comics or just watch the movies and TV shows. Or if you are new to the superhero scene or not. Everybody has their favorite. You can’t walk out the door without seeing a Batman t-shirt or Superman tattoo. Marvel superheroes have become an integral part of the zeitgeist at this point. So much so that the Marvel Cinematic Universe might as well be a sure-fire icebreaker for a conversation with anyone. But who is the greatest of all? Well, that would be your friendly neighborhood Spider-man.

I have a bad habit of being skeptical of things everyone loves. Music, movies, comics… if someone tells me it’s amazing my first reaction is “really? Is it that amazing?” It’s annoying I know and I try to keep it in check but if there is one superhero that has caught that ire the most it’s Spider-man. Sure Batman is more likely the superhero I roll my eyes at most, but Spider-man takes a lot of ire because, on paper, I should love the guy. And let’s be honest on paper he should be a lot of our favorites. There a lot of us out there who openly admit to loving the web-slinger but there is also a large group who chose the big badasses of the comic world. The Batmans, the Supermans, the Captain Americas. Reasonably there are good reasons for people to enjoy other heroes, and people are allowed to love whoever they want… but this article is not written from a reasonable place so let’s talk why he should be our favorite.

Accessibility. Peter Parker is arguably the most accessible superhero secret identity of all time. He’s a kid who was just a regular nerd who happened to get superpowers from a radioactive spider. Not an alien, a billionaire, former soldier, mutant, god, or supernatural being. Just some kid. He is excited about his powers and is constantly trying to grasp the prospect that he is, in fact, a superhero now. He struggles with his newfound responsibilities and balancing them with going to class and keeping a job. He’s surprised when the supermodel likes him and is extremely excited at the prospect of being an Avenger.  Being Spider-man is exhilarating for him, but also emotionally taxing. It’s not easy and he never pretends that its is. He struggles and he’s open about that in the narrative of the comic and/or movie. Parker’s most unrealistic personal trait is being incredibly smart. We can see ourselves in Peter, live through this fictional character and how it feels to become a superhero. He is the everyman of the superhero world. What’s another trait that grounds him in reality?

Imperfection. Peter Parker is amazingly and endearingly imperfect. He messes up, a lot. He tries to balance being Spider-man and a normal kid and fails. He literally tries to save his girlfriend and ends up accidentally killing her because he doesn’t understand his powers and panics. We are all imperfect. And we like to see that in our heroes. Or at least we should. Accepting the fact that even the strongest and bravest aren’t infallible makes it easier for the rest of us to soldier on. Characters like Spider-man show us that we can fail, epically so, and still be a bastion of good. A lot of us use comics and movies to escape from everyday issues, and when we see Peter bounce back from his struggles, it helps us all keep going. But the most important reason we love him is…

Fun. Spider-man is fun. Not in a dark brooding kick-ass way. Not in an overpowered demi-god way. Not in a foul-mouthed ultra-violent way. But in a light-hearted, passionate way. Peter Parker truly enjoys being Spider-man. Of course, there are moments when it becomes a lot to handle and he turns his back on his principles a bit (see the former paragraph…) but more often then not he finds so much happiness in helping people. He jokes and quips but doesn’t rely on vulgar terms or shock comedy to help it float. He somehow finds a line where he is both edgy but wholesome. We enjoy Peter as a person. He’s the kind of person you want to hang out with and you can see hanging out with you. Can’t really say that about Batman can you…

I have spent years resisting the fact that Peter Parker may be the most well-rounded character in comics. But it’s impossible to do anymore. The aforementioned reasons are plenty but to finish off this piece I’ll say the biggest reason he is one of my favorites now is… responsibility (no I will not be saying Uncle Ben’s quote). Many superheroes see their powers and mission as a burden or a requirement. I have to do this because of XYZ or whatever drives them. It’s not like that with Peter. He doesn’t have to. There isn’t a begrudging sense of servitude to a cause. Just a propensity to do the right thing. Which is what Peter Parker will always do. And what we should do… by admitting that Spider-man is our favorite superhero…

For more about Spidey check out our latest episode out now. Episode 17 is live on this website or on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify. And follow the podcast and hosts on Twitter and Instagram at these usernames!

Hold Up A Sec- @holdupasecpod
Alberto- @albietha1nonly
Andrew- @AndrewJDV

P.S. This was the last episode we recorded before Alberto got married, make sure to tell him congratulations!

Ted Mosby: Hopeless Romantic Or Total Piece Of Garbage

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#himym

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Sit down kids, I’m going to tell you the story about how I was a total piece of garbage before I met your mother… The HIMYM fanbase is one of the most avid out there. I myself am currently on my 7th or 8th watch through of the show. What’s not to love? A tight-knit group of friends, lovable hijinks, feel-good moments, dramatic presence, its got it all! But maybe the most prevalent thing to come out of the show is the ongoing debate between fans on which character represents them best. They each represent a type, right? Marshall, the goofy but loyal best friend. Lilly, the protective and kind matriarch. Robin, the brave and assertive one. Barney, the fun-loving party guy. And of course, Ted the hopeless romantic and focal point of the show…but is he such a pure character?

Right from the get-go, Ted is painted as this lovesick hopeless romantic. We are supposed to feel sympathetic and connected to him. But who truly is he written for? He alienates the romantics with his antics with Barney but alienates the party bros with how he acts about the Mother and Robin.  A case can be made that this is an attempt to make him the everyman because he is constantly changing. But pardon me if I’m not on his side when he spent the entire time telling this story to his kids with the ultimatum of asking out Robin. Your kids seem open to a conversation… you could have just talked to them about how you were thinking of asking Robin out instead of making them relive the trauma of their mother dying. Also if this is the first time they are hearing the story of how Ted met Tracy, why is he using it as a segue to date someone else… But to be honest, Ted’s downfall can be summed up in one episode…

No Tomorrow. Season three, episode 12. Which episode is that? It’s when Barney convinces Ted to go out with him for St. Patrick’s Day. Ted seems to take the higher ground at the beginning of the episode but when Barney dangles the slightest bit of adventure with single ladies in front of him, Ted bolts to meet him. He proceeds to essentially ditch his dates, steal, and be a part in committing adultery, all in the name of living like there’s “no tomorrow.” He acts like a total dirtbag. In the end, Marshall shows him some tough love and gives him a wake-up call. Ted is ashamed of himself and vows he will be different. This was middle of season three… there were nine seasons. Ted recognizes how awful he can be… and continues to act on it for six years. I know what some of you may say? C’mon Andrew, he was engaged to Stella during season four, can you really count that time against him? Yes, yes I can…

Stella, the woman who crushed Ted. The woman who set Ted back. The woman who left him at the altar. Terrible right? Not so much. You know how their relationship started? Ted literally not taking “no” for an answer. Granted the storyline revealed she wanted to go out with him but she told him no in some form for 10 weeks. 10 weeks he strived to turn that no into a yes. Even Barney, misogyny incarnate, said there was no way to turn a no into a yes. That theme alone is off-putting, turning a no into a yes. Then they start dating, and it gets worse from there. At one point he feels it’s getting too serious and tries to break up with her. He only reconsiders after a near death experience. THEN goes the opposite direction and asks her to marry him. After all this, he assumes that Stella and her daughter are going to leave their full-size home in New Jersey to live in Ted’s apartment on the upper west side. And in the final moments of their relationship, she begs not to have their ex’s at the wedding, to which he replies by bringing both ex’s. There’s no excuse for leaving someone at the altar, but Ted had been causing issues for months. So isn’t there blame to go around?

I know there are a lot more factors to take into consideration. Don’t even get me started on the Zoe and Victoria sagas. I know Ted is a good person (or written so) but sometimes I feel we blindly follow him into the dark. Maybe addressing his negatives will help us take the journey with him. Maybe if we realize he is flawed it will make the character more human. Maybe it’s ok to identify with someone who can be somewhat of an asshole sometimes because can’t we all be assholes sometime? Maybe it’s just a sitcom and we shouldn’t put so much weight in what these characters say and do? If you know this cohost then you know that’s not how I roll (maybe I’ll address Scrubs on here one day…). I will continue to be emotionally invested in the characters and play through their stories. And at the end of the day isn’t that the mark of a solid show?

Check out more on Episode 16 where we talk all about How I Met Your Mother! Available here or on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify! Also, follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @HoldUpASecPod. Stay Passionate!

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Independent Wrestling Is Truly All In

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11 days away … #AllIn

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On September 1st, Cody and The Young Bucks turned an offhanded comment from Wrestling Observers own and star rating commandant Dave Meltzer into one the most historic nights in wrestling. After Meltzer inferred that Cody and his ragtag group of Indy superstars couldn’t sell 10,000 seats they set out to prove the journalist wrong. Well the 11, 263 in attendance at the Sears Centre Arena on the 1st were a pretty clear statement to the world. Things were changing.  “All In” harkened back to wrestling of old, tapping into slapstick antics and celebrity appearances while still looking forward, working in excellent technical wrestling and references to social media based shows and feuds. It was a perfect storm for wrestling fans.

The Bullet Club was smart in their approach to the card, spreading it’s members out wide throughout the night with four of them in singles matches and the groups resident tag team experts, The Young Bucks, fighting in a six-man bout in the main event. That match alone, the Young Bucks coming together with Kota Ibushi to be The Golden Elite, was a monster bout. It played into their strengths as performers and our overbearing sense of nostalgia by facing legend Rey Mysterio. Each BC match before this one told a different story to build one hell of a show.

Hangman Page found himself in a solid Chicago Street Fight that had comedic overtones throughout. It served as service to the fans of the Being The Elite YouTube series as it ended with a group of “Penis Druids” (go watch the match and see…) coming out to show that Joey Ryan, who Page had “murdered” in BTE, had come back to life and intended to get his revenge. After Page was incapacitated by Ryan, Page was carried off by the Penis Druids like he was Jesus Christ (no seriously, you need to go watch this match…)

Both Marty Scurll and Kenny Omega found themselves in dream matches. Scurll took on former IWGP Heavyweight Champion and NJPW superstar Kazuchika Okada in classic David vs. Goliath story. While Omega was pit against Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground mega star Pentagon Junior. While Scurll was unsucessful in his bout, one in which he already has an announced rematch at the sold out MSG show in April, Omega ended up with a win. But it was the events after the stellar match between Pentagon and Omega that proved why All In was the hit of an event it was…

Post Omega vs. Pentagon, the power went out in arena. When the lights came back on, Pentagon was standing again, but at this point began attacking Omega, when he stopped he began to pull off his mask… revealing it had been Chris Jericho in Pentagon’s place when the lights came back on! This was the shining example of why this show was such a sucess. It wasn’t just the fans who wanted to make a statement to the wrestling overlords, the wrestlers themselves were excited and eager to contribute. The list of moments was bountiful. Jericho showing up to his first North American appearance since venturing away from the WWE even though he immediately had to leave the arena, hop on a private jet, and fly to Kansas to play a Fozzy show THAT NIGHT. Jay Lethal reviving “Black Machismo. Stephen Amell wrestling Christopher Daniels and going through a table. THE F#$KING PENIS DRUIDS. These are just some of the stops that the line-up of wresters were willing to pull out. And I must say again, it made for one hell of a show.

The landsacpe of wrestling has truly changed. Yes, WWE is still the “Big Dog” (wink wink) but the entire wrestling community let one thing be emphatically known. They are not the only option, and a lot of people know it now. All In showed that wrestling belongs to the fans and the people who are passionate about it. On September 1st it didn’t matter if you were Bullet Club, Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, or unaffliated… fans and performers came together to create what we all love. A great show and a great night of wrestling. Thank you, Cody and Bucks, for spear heading this, all the wrestlers for helping make this happen, and the world for taking a chance on it. The future is bright for wrestling fans.

For more thoughts tune in to the next episode of Heel, Face, Shoot on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify!

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September 1st 2018 will live forever!

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Book Review- Star Wars: Bloodline

You know the old phrase never judge a book by it’s cover? Well, this book is a good literal example of that. When you first pick up Star Wars: Bloodline you see the cover has a contemplative Leia with a looming Vader over her as a squadron of X-Wing’s flying out into space. Seems epic right? What you actually get is more of a political process type of book. Leia is there, Vader is mentioned, and there is a grand total of one X-Wing. Now wait! That doesn’t mean the book was bad, quite the opposite. Author Claudia Gray does a fine job with this one, but it may be for a very specific audience of Star Wars fans…

Star Wars: Bloodline follows Princess Leia as a senator on Hosnian Prime, the planet that the Galactic Senate of the New Republic now meets. It’s over 20 years since the fall of the Second Death Star and the Galaxy finds itself facing another schism. The Senate of the New Republic finds itself splintered into two factions. On one side the Centrists, who believe there should be a stronger central government. So much so that certain members even romanticize The Empire. On the other, the Populists who believe governing should be left to the systems. While Senator Organa acts as a figurehead for the Populist she must cooperate with young up and coming Centrist, Senator Ransolm Casterfo, to investigate a rapidly growing cartel. But one of Leia’s deepest darkest secrets is about to come to light, just when the shadow of a new paramilitary group looms.

Bloodline dives head first into the galactic politics of trying to rebuild a galaxy. At first, I felt the book was slow moving, it definitely gets started at a leisurely pace but later I found myself needing to know more about the growing situation and how the Senate will react to Leia’s secret bloodline. Admittedly the action scenes are few and far between with this book, it felt like it was page 200 before a blaster was even used. But Bloodline does an exceptional job building the framework of how the Republic could splinter so much so The First Order is able to rise to power. Gray took on the task that many writers would pass on, especially in the world of Star Wars. She essentially wrote a book that was entirely exposition for the world that we were thrust into at the beginning of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. If you’re looking for a non-stop thrill ride then Bloodline is not the book for you. But if you’re like me and love hearing the big and little things that build the world of Star Wars then definitely give Bloodline a read. It is a quality universe building book and reads very easy. Enjoy everyone!

Next Book: Star Wars: Lost Stars

Book Review- Kings of the Wyld

Last week I was lucky enough to finish Nicholas Eames fantasy comedy Kings of the Wyld. Based off a recommendation from former guest host Colin Albanese I picked up this read, which happens to be the author’s first book. What followed was an unexpectedly fun and action-packed fantasy novel. Usually when a friend sells a book, movie, or TV show so hard it usually never lives up to the hype. Well, Kings of the Wyld was more than I could have hoped.

Kings of the Wyld follows a former group of travelling warriors (in the book called a band) that went by Saga. We follow Clay Cooper, the heart of group, as he is approached by former front-man and best friend, “Glorious” Gabe. The once great frontman is weary and old. He tells Clay of a great horde lead by an ancient being that is holding a far away city siege. And who’s in the center of that dying city? Gabe’s daughter Rose, who went to the city to help the citizens with her own band. What follows is a quest to get the band back together to save Gabe’s daughter. They must get Moog, the eccentric and lovable wizard, Matrick, the drunk but skillful thief turned king, and Ganelon, the massive powerhouse of the band. What follows is adventure and danger with a group of new friends and enemies alike, all to save someone they love and in turn, the world.

Kings of the Wyld finds a perfect mix of action and Comedy. Eames find’s a way to write about the comedic moments so effortlessly it’s like they are playing out on a screen in front of us. Admittedly I am someone with a very weak constitution to violence but I never felt like this book crossed the line. It used just enough so the visuals would stir the reader but rarely ever crossed into needless. There has to be some exception when there is a nightmare horde of monsters waiting for the group in the story… I cannot recommend this read more. It feels like it goes by quick because you never want to put it down but remains intricate and builds a world that would make any D&D player go wild. It takes the classic form or fantasy and injects it with a modern energy. The use of music culture as a vessel for warrior groups is an intelligent and easy to digest concept for the audience. The book doesn’t lack emotion either. There is a wonderful sense of brotherhood between the men and it is all-inclusive, with one of the warriors lamenting the loss of his husband. This book is for everyone. And I highly recommend everyone go read it. I for one am looking forward to the sequel, Bloody Rose.

Cover Art for upcoming Bloody Rose:

Is Han Solo A Bad Friend?

Recently I was writing a post about Chewbacca for COED.com in anticipation of the upcoming Han Solo spin-off movie Solo: A Star Wars Story. I was excited to write about a character that meant so much to my brother growing up. Whenever we would play Star Wars I would always be Han and he would faithfully always be Chewie. Now Chewbacca is his favorite character and I was happy to put more info on the big hair oaf into the world…But it hit me when I was writing about Chewie’s piloting, and loyalty, and dependability, and selflessness, and a myriad of other things… did I actually get the short end of the stick when it came to characters? Now don’t get me wrong I still love Han and he will always be on of my favorites but there is a case to be made that he is the far inferior character to the massive wookie and is in fact, a jerk. Let’s look into it…

Piloting Ability

Han Solo is known as one of the best pilots in the galaxy. For Pete’s sake, he made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs right!? Well, it does help that he has the fastest ship in the galaxy… and Chewie by his side. Every time Han is at the helm he has his trusty friend Chewbacca with him. You know who consistently pilots the Falcon with a different partner or no co-pilot at all? Chewie that’s who. He is seen in the movies at the helm with Lando, Leia, Rey, and a Porg…  He is also the one in control during the asteroid field escape in Empire Strikes Back while Han is trying to repair the hyperdrive. The Corellian clearly has skills but we are not giving his Wookie partner enough credit.

Sense of Duty

General Solo. Hero of The Rebellion, Bastion of The New Republic. And a self-centered ass. In my Chewbacca piece for COED, I talk about a fan favorite moment in Star Wars. Luke is about to be gunned down in the trench of the Death Star by Darth Vader himself when out of nowhere the Millenium Falcon dives from the guise of the sun to clear a path for Skywalker to blow that thing! Awesome right? How great was it that Han came back to save the day? Well without Chewie he most likely wouldn’t have. It was, in fact, the Wookie who convinced the smuggler to return and help save the galaxy. This isn’t the only moment of selfishness shown by the Corellian. We don’t have the full story yet but when everything went wrong with his son Ben what did he do? Where did he go? Did he go after Ben? No. Did he stick around to be there for Leia? No. Leia kept fighting, Solo went back to smuggling, and from his interaction with rival gangs in Episode VII, still having to be bailed out by his big hairy partner. Granted the Expanded Universe may shed more light on this as it grows. At the time of writing this article, I’ve only read six EU books that are considered canon. Yes, he has his moments on Hoth and the Battle of Endor but at the end of the day, Leia and Chewie do what’s right no questions asked, Solo needs more poking and prodding to do so.

You Know, The Murder Thing

Solo is a carefree, charming smuggler, right? Sure, but he’ll also shoot you right in the face. This subject is no stranger to the HUAS guys, it was the subject of the first ever episode, but all I have to do is say one name… Greedo. This writer is on the outskirts of this debate but most fans vehemently agree that Han shot first. You know what that means? He straight up kills a guy in a bar and throws the bartender a credit to clean it… yay childhood hero… Yes, I understand that he did ‘what had to be done’ but our intro to a character that we are supposed to find loveable in a roguish way is a murder scene. Obi-Wan got in a confrontation, he maimed but did not murder… not Han though. Totally cool shooting a guy.

I could probably sit here and wax poetic about the flaws of this character for a long time. On the other hand, I could probably spend more time talking about how I love this imperfect person. That being said there are enough people out there telling you how awesome Han Solo is, time for one of us to play devil’s advocate–even if it means taking a stand against a childhood favorite. Regardless I am actually looking forward to the new Solo: A Star Wars Story coming out May 25th. Check out my Chewbacca article with COED and the trailer for the upcoming movie below.

https://coed.com/2018/05/08/chewbacca-facts-star-wars-interesting-secrets-fun-questions/

Adam “Hangman” Page Deserves A Singles Title

The Bullet Club is a juggernaut of the wrestling world. It started as a scrappy stable lead by Finn Balor. It then evolved into a major force in New Japan Pro Wrestling under the guidance of AJ Styles. Finally, it reached its zenith when Kenny Omega took control. Now it bolsters an insane line-up of wrestling talent. It has the Tag Team stalwarts in the form of The Young Bucks. They have the WWE expatriate turned king of the wrestling world with The American Nightmare Cody. And they have one of the best characters in the business with “The Villian” Marty Scurll. Though when you watch an episode of being The Elite there is one more man that people overlook. Adam “Hangman” Page. And he deserves more respect.

Stevie Woltz, better known by his in-ring name Adam “Hangman” Page is a good old boy from Virginia. He is a graduate of Virginia Tech who was a high school teacher full-time while wrestling on the weekends. He rose to prominence in Ring of Honor and truly began to gain steam when he was added to The Bullet Club. He spent a few years as a solo performer before joining the prolific club. When interviewed on Colt Cabana’s podcast he states how different he is from the Hangman character. He talks about how he is an overly nice guy, who happens to get to hang out with the cool kids. Isn’t Page just living the wrestling version of what we all wanted? But to say any success he has is attributed to being paired with the “cool kids” of independent wrestling would be a disservice to The Hangman.

The Bullet Club has transcended wrestling. With deals with Hot Topic and multiple cease and desist orders being levied against them, the BC has become a brand all their own. Anyone who becomes attached to them has an easy set-up for his career right? That could be said but Page has gone above and beyond. He cut his teeth as one-third of the ROH six-man tag team championship titles he held with The Young Bucks. Their team was lovingly known as The Hung Bucks. Since this time he has proved himself over and over again in countless combinations. Often tagging with the likes of Marty Scurll and Cody, he has racked up a bevy of wins and moments. He has proved he can perform with his standing flips and hard hits. I was personally present when he flipped off the balcony at Manhattan Mayhem this year and it was insane.  But when is teaming with members of BC going to get old?

Page often finds himself as the one-off partner of another member of BC. It’s time to let Page fly. The man is athletically up to the challenge and has grown leaps and bounds on the mic. He has found a great story feuding with Joey Ryan over their…packages. He may not be at the point where he can carry a promotion but the man deserves either the TV Title with ROH or the US Title with NJPW.  He is more than apt to hold the TV Title with ROH and has put in the time. I know he has had a shot at the NJPW US Title but lost to Jay White, now going by Switchblade, but he should have another shot. NJPW introduced the US Title at their American based event and it was won by Canadian Kenny Omega. It was then won by New Zealander Jay White. Nationality should play no part in your ability to win a title, but how great would the story be if this Virginia good old boy is the first actual American to win the US Title? And it helps that despite being a Virginia boy, he is an incredibly accepting person in a time of great turmoil in the country.

I am a proud supporter of Page and I know that he can excel past what he has already done. It is refreshing to have someone who is just a nice guy making a name for himself with the biggest stable in the world right now. Bullet Club may have a lot of members who deserve respect, but I will gladly be sitting in the crowd in the shirt with the noose around the skull. Hell yeah Hangman!

Is Bullet Club Fine? 5 Things to Keep an Eye On

The flagship youtube channel of the Bullet Club, Being The Elite, has been an absolute juggernaut the past year. A channel that merely started as the Young Bucks vlogging about the road and what all the travel of the busiest duo in professional wrestling entails blossomed into an entertainment outlet all on its own. Since then it has lead to Bullet Club shirts selling like crazy on ProWrestlingTees.com, a lucrative deal with Hot Topic, and most recently the BTE YouTube page hitting 200k followers. It’s golden right? Recent videos and matches would say otherwise…

Recently we have seen infighting on the channel and at live events. The spearhead of it all has been between current BC leader Kenny Omega and want to be leader Cody Rhodes. The incumbent is most likely the most popular wrestler outside of WWE. The argument could be made that he is, in fact, THE most popular wrestler in the world. Kenny Omega is the perfect mix of in-ring ability and on mic magic. Cody Rhodes (or as he legally has to be referred to on the indies, just “Cody”) is an amazing example of drive and talent. Not content resting on family laurels, being the son of the son of a plumber (I swear that makes sense), he asked for his release from the WWE to spread his wings on the indies. Since then he has flourished and has been absolutely killing it. Now these superpowers are facing off. But they aren’t the only ones to be involved in this. Bullet Club is a faction that is stacked with talent, so here are five storylines to keep an eye on going forward…

Kenny Omega vs. The American Nightmare Cody

Leader vs. Leader (?). We all saw this coming. The ruthlessness of Cody had to lead to this. Kenny Omega, the one time betrayer to the leader in the form of AJ Styles, has become the betrayed. Cody has worked hard to poison the minds of the rest of the BC and has caused a fissure in the stable. They have to fight it out to figure out who’s in charge. They have to fight for the future of Bullet Club…

On a non-story, more technical note these are two insanely talented wrestlers so this fight is going to be great. Both are amazing storytellers in the ring and can take a beating as much as they can give one. If you need proof and don’t get woozy at the sight of blood go look at Cody’s Instagram–the aftermath from their fight in NJPW is pretty grisly. These guys aren’t going to hold back at Super Card of Honor.

The Young Bucks vs. The Golden Lovers

If you saw Strong Style Evolved in Long Beach you’ll know that these four can go. Former (and still? Not clear yet…) close friends The Young Bucks, Matt and Nick Jackson, and Kenny Omega find themselves at odds. Currently, Omega is back with former tag partner Kota Ibushi. They have run together in the past as the Golden Lovers. When Cody turned on Omega, Ibushi was there to pick him back up. The Bucks, on the other hand, have found themselves at odds with both sides. Matt Jackson seemingly has more of an issue with Omega (we’ll talk about Nick next) and it was Matt who took the pin in Long Beach. There seems to be a strain but the Bucks refuse to give up on Omega

Outside of the story, you’re not going to get a more exciting tag match up. The Youngs Bucks super-kicks, Omega’s devastating knee, and Ibushi’s athleticism all mean that any time they would face off you could be watching a five-star match. Omega is a master storyteller in the ring. The Bucks, on the other hand, have often been criticized for lack of story in their matches, opting for more of a spot monkey approach. Flips and finishers abound, not much story. Recently though Matt Jackson has been working a story about his back being injured and how it’s affecting his matches. Add the fact that The Bucks are growing as storytellers (I never thought they were that bad at it to begin with) means these matches can only get better.

The Young Bucks vs. Cody

At the beginning of this rift it seemed that the Bucks were in Cody’s corner. But with him berating them at Strong Style Evolved, his antics trying to pit people against each other, and the recent attempt to “change the Bullet Club logo” to a much more Cody related image, one that the Bucks personally rejected on social media, has put that loyalty is in question. Asking us to believe that the Bucks would continue to feud with longtime friend Omega and stay with Cody was a long shot but by splitting the Bucks opinions on each of them, bought a little time for us to accept it. As much as it seems that Matt has been angry at Omega, Nick seems to not trust Cody at all and has got Matt’s ear after the last episode of BTE.

When the time comes that Cody will face off with them you’ll have to hope Cody can keep Hangman Page as loyal as he has been so far. Omega already has a tag partner with Ibushi but Cody doesn’t have a Tag partner historically speaking on the Indy scene. It seems as Adam “Hangman” Page is pretty firmly in the American Nightmare’s corner. But will the Hangman split from his friends and their six-man tag team the Hung Bucks? It would be fun to watch…

Hangman Page and Marty Scurll

Two of the newer members of Bullet Club have been a huge run the past year. Since joining BC Scurll has been one of the top-selling shops on Pro-Wrestling Tees and has a shot at the Ring of Honor World Championship against Dalton Castle at the very same event that is pitting Omega vs. Cody. Hangman Page enjoyed a long run as one part of the ROH six-man tag team champs with the Young Bucks. A team they lovingly called The Hung Bucks. While Scurll has been going the direction of being more frustrated through this fissure, Page has taken the stance of staunchly supporting Cody. If things come to a boil, where these two men fall will play a huge part.

The Rest of Bullet Club…

So for casual fans there are six faces you see a lot. The main cast of Being the Elite is Kenny Omega, Cody, The Young Bucks, Marty Scurll, and Hangman Page. But there are five other major members of BC based out of New Japan Pro Wrestling. All five members actually have longer tenures then both Scurll and Page with one, Bad Luck Fale, being the only original member of the BC left. The other five are Fale, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Yujiro, and Chase Owens. All of these wrestlers are talented. Tonga and Loa make up the monster tag team known as The Guerillas of Destiny and Yujiro is the first non-gaijin member of BC. These members have expressed displeasure with the focus on BTE and could be a major player in the outcome of how this ends. That would be great because more exposure for these guys in North America would be awesome.

Regardless of how this ends, Being the Elite and Bullet Club have put together some of the most entertaining moments in wrestling over the past year or so. So love them or hate them they make for great reviews, especially for the independent circuit.

The Theatricality of Wrestling

Theatre comes in many forms. From the big musical spectacle, to the small off-off Broadway start up; from improv comedy, to dramatic experimental projects; from Shakespeare to ground breaking contemporary pieces challenging things like politics, gender roles, and society in general. Yet there is often a forgotten form of theatre, wrestling. Yes, I am talking about the art of seeing two men or women, throwing insults and then throwing fists. We all know, or at least have heard of, the major mogul that is the World Wrestling Entertainment. Large characters, high priced pyrotechnics, and reality TV tie in shows. You can’t go five minutes in a WWE broadcast without being reminded that the WWE Network is now live and to “start your free 30 day trial today!” and how it’s only “9.99 a month!” While I love the WWE and everything it is there is something that I think countless people are missing out on, and the passive fan wouldn’t give a second thought to… They are missing out on really great live theatre…

 

Generally speaking we associate WWE and other major promotions by their weekly shows and more importantly their extravagant pay-per-view events. The WWE has succeeded in creating major television spectacles. High technical feats paired with creative camera angles to make all the anger and fights seem as real as possible. Even smaller major promotions like Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling have found success with major events and social media. Super group Bullet Club, that yours truly is a super fan of, has turned simple YouTube videos into fan devoured juggernauts. In an age where attention spans have hit an all time low, social media has become the best friend to the modern wrestler. A few years ago Zack Ryder put himself over through his own videos. The Jericho and Omega angle that ended with the Alpha vs Omega super fight “started” over a twitter fued. Things move fast. But what are we missing?

 

Last year former guest host Chris Dlando invited me to Manhattan Mayhem, a late winter/early spring pay-per-view held by the second largest wrestling promotion in North America, Ring of Honor. Of course I said “yes”. I was a big fan of the WWE and it would be fun to watch some live wrestling with my best friend right? I would learn later this was a major understatement. I knew somewhat of the ROH scene at that point. Chris had shown me Young Bucks matches and I heard about the growing popularity of Cody Rhodes, a former WWE superstar that requested his release to try and make it on the indie scene. That night I saw some of the best live performances I’ve ever seen. I saw Cody Rhodes tag with Adam “Hangman” Page. I saw the aerial assassin Will Ospreay take flight. Soon after all three would become some of my favorite wrestlers. I saw my boyhood idols the Hardy’s appear to take on the Young Bucks for the tag team titles and, admittedly a few adult beverages in, screamed my head off as I watched them win those titles. I  unknowingly snuck past security and accidentally tricked them into letting me get a free photo with them before telling them that my brother and I used to pretend to be them before I ran away before they realized I wasn’t actually a crew member (When all this happened I thought everyone was just being nice, turns out with the way I was dressed they thought I was crew. I learned this after the fact…) I felt alive and engaged. More than with most shows I was required to watch while getting my theatre degree. I became a super fan.

 

Fast forward to Monday January 22nd. Raw 25. The longest running weekly TV show. It promised to be a cavalcade of stars both past and present. Though it felt much of the time that the event was underprepared and rushed there was still one amazing thing about it. The crowd. Thousands and thousands of people chanting, sometimes completely unprovoked. It was like being part of one organism. Working towards the greater good, and trying to force out the things we felt didn’t belong. The characters were more vibrant. They weren’t performing for cameras, they were performing for us. If the playwright Brecht tried to alienate the audience then wrestling is the exact opposite. We are part of the show. We are a character. Superstars look to us for a give and take. We can hijack the show at any minute. And it’s absolutely beautiful. We feel the words of each combatant while also getting the visceral and cathartic expulsion of an “actual” fight culminating.

 

Many can say the last few years of the WWE point to a bright future. More and more superstars are beginning to represent different body types, ethnicities, and abilities. We all have someone we can look at in the ring and say “hey they’re just like me!” In January we had the fist ever women’s Royal Rumble match (which in my opinion far out weighed the men’s). In February we had the first women’s Elimination Chamber match which ended in one of my favorite post match promos by Alexa Bliss. Baiting us into feeling for her while she cried and spoke of what it meant to women and little girls everywhere. Just to turn on a heel and remind us why she’s an amazing heel herself and tell us none of us will every do what she did. Yanking us in and then cutting us down, because we’re part of the story. Wrestling is becoming for everyone. As much as I loved the Attitude Era, there was a sense of us against them from wrestling fans. Now the us against them feeling is based on who your favorite wrestler is, there’s one for everyone. These characters we love are created LIVE. And you get to see all the working parts live, you get to see the character unfold, you get to grow with the character.

 

I am clearly not a writer by trade. This has essentially been one long love letter to wrestling. That being said I truly believe that it is underrated as a form of theatre. I go to theatre to feel something. I go to theatre to enjoy myself. I go to theatre to take a journey. The same reason I keep coming back to wrestling. Go see wrestling live, you won’t regret it. As for me I recently went back to Manhattan Mayhem one year after the original event that caused me to go from a casual fan, to all in. Also remember… Bullet Club is f-f-for life….. except for AJ Styles.

 

Albie’s Journey: A New Hunter’s Tale

I never before played any of the Monster Hunter titles. It wasn’t for lack of awareness – I am aware of the Capcom series, and know also how devoted the fan base is. No, my reason for having skipped the first game came down to the fact that I was a sophomore in college when the game released in North American on September of 2004, and at that time I wasn’t as heavy into gaming as I was focusing on my studies…at least trying to anyway. On top of that, my brother didn’t let me take the PS2 away to school, so there’s that aspect to it.

Everything I learned about Monster Hunter came by way of articles and reviews written by games journalists. Having already skipped the first one, when Monster Hunters 2 and Tri released in North America in 2007 and 2010 respectively the boat had already sailed for me to get into the games; Furthermore the series is notorious for being an action RPG that is tough to get into with how mechanics heavy it is, and how much strategy is actually involved when playing the game. To take down some of the larger monsters, you actually need to gameplan. This is not a game one just picks up and hacks away at; That road will almost assure you a quick and painful demise. All of these factors combined to my oversight of Monster Hunter.

Fast forward 7 years to 2017. I am a grown ass adult with a steady, albeit boring, corporate job. I have decent income that affords me the privilege of owning a PS4 with some wiggle room to buy a new game every now and then. It’s the summer and the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 for you industry types, is going on and I am at my desk streaming the show in between bouts of work. Capcom announces the latest title in the Monster Hunter series and as I am about to tune it out and go back to work the reveal starts, and the game looks AMAZING. Those next gen consoles certainly make the game look extra pretty.

Fast forward again to 2018. Monster Hunter World releases worldwide in January to critical acclaim. I need to try this game. One of the big selling points to me now is how the game is being touted as one of the most accessible Monster Hunter games in the series, which means that it won’t be too difficult for someone like me to pick up; I buy the game February 7th and am instantly hooked. All the menus and stats and other figures don’t instantly scare me away, and I am actually understanding all of them, who would’ve thought? My Palico is the coolest Palico ever (fight me) and when the game opens and we are *spoilers* separated for a brief moment, I am so upset because my little cat buddy isn’t around. I find Tiffany (I named and modeled my Palico after my cat) though and all is right with the world.

So here I am, a new Monster Hunter player a week into his first experience and all this verbose prose was to introduce my running series of posts chronicling my run through this world of hunting beasts and crafting gear. I definitely suggest checking back every week or so for new stories in the ‘A Hunter’s Tale’ series as told by Alberto. It will definitely be a fun ride for all parties involved; and who knows, maybe I’ll actually learn to how to effectively use my insect glaive.