Friday, September 23, 2011

Pop Culture Roundup

We ordered WWE Night of Champions this past Sunday, because we wanted to be fully prepared for the next night. The concept of NOC is that every title is defended. That's it. So US Champion Dolph Ziggler retained in a Fatal Four-Way match, Divas Champion Kelly Kelly retained against Beth Phoenix, which was incredibly lame given the way they've been building up Phoenix and Natalie Neidhart as unstoppable angry actual wrestlers crusading against the Barbie doll ethos of the division. The tag champions Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston retained, but the tag division is nothing right now so who cares? Intercontinental champ Cody Rhodes retained against Ted Dibiase Jr. At this point in the PPV, I'm thinking, "Boy, no title changes...exciting stuff." Then Mark Henry came out and destroyed Randy Orton to win the World Championship. It was the most dominant I've seen anyone allowed to be against Orton in a long time, and besides that I'm happy for Henry: he's been in the WWE for 15 years and this was his first real World title win. Then Cena beat Alberto Del Rio to win his 4,529th WWE title in undramatic, totally anticipated fashion. The last match was CM Punk facing HHH (who honestly looked a little rusty and chubby), the stipulation being that if HHH lost he'd have to give up his position as COO of the company. Long story short, there was a ton of interference from guys who beat both of them up, and HHH pulled out the win. It was not the greatest PPV by any stretch: several titles should have changed hands that didn't and one title changed hands that shouldn't have, and the main event was meh.

So then Coffeewife and I attended Monday Night RAW the following night in Cleveland, she in her Cena shirt and I in my Punk shirt, the typical wrestling fan couple nowadays. We first saw a couple matches that were taped for WWE Superstars, and then of course RAW kicked off at 9:00. A lot of the show was fallout from the PPV, with HHH and Punk deciding that somebody else was trying to play them against each other. Del Rio eventually came out for a match where he totally manhandled John Morrison, playing up the anger at losing the title. Mark Henry came out for an interview with Jim Ross and basically said "In your face, haters" before putting Jerry Lawler through a table (the second time I've seen Lawler in person this year!). Apparently Lawler really was hurt by the move, as it didn't break away properly. Oh, and Hugh Jackman was there! Yeah, he was plugging his fighting robot movie that I'm not going to go see. But he had a natural presence alongside the wrestlers and looked like he was having fun, particularly as he helped Zack Ryder get a win over Dolph Ziggler, as you see above. The main event was a tag match between Punk/Cena and R Truth and The Miz. The Miz is from Cleveland, so he initially got some big cheers until he started insulting the city...he's a bad guy, he does that. Cena also got the biggest ovation of the night despite the dueling "Let's go Cena/Cena sucks" chants that happened all throughout the evening. After the match, HHH came out and fired Truth and Miz for their interference at the PPV, which also got some big cheers. We then watched them get thrown out of the arena. At this point, the show had gone off the air, but Del Rio came back out for a triple threat WWE title match as advertised. It really wasn't much to speak of, although there was a fun spot near the beginning where Punk and Cena took turns doing some old school moves on Del Rio such as the Bionic Elbow, the Earthquake Splash, and Rikishi's Stinkface. Then Punk and Cena had a little back and forth before eventually Cena pinned Del Rio. It wasn't a classic by any means, but it was fun. All in all, it was a great night. It was fun just to watch Coffeewife experience her first live WWE event.

The second season of Boardwalk Empire starts this Sunday, as Nucky will have to deal with three of his supposed biggest allies conspiring against him. The trailer really plays up that he won't be able to trust too many people this year:

Some big musical news broke this week, as REM decided to call it quits. I did enjoy most of their music ("Shiny Happy People?" Really?), and remember feeling bad for Bill Berry for having to quit due to medical issues. But my most notable REM memory is teaching myself to play the drumset by listening to "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" over and over:

I heard this song by Gary Clark Jr. on the radio this week, entitled "Bright Lights:"