Views from The Baseline – Episode 17: The Last Dance Review Ep. 7 & 8

Chevall Kanhai is joined by stand-in co-host Chris Thompson to review episodes 7 & 8 of the The Last Dance documentary. The two give their thoughts on the darkest times of Michael Jordan’s career and share what they never knew prior to these episodes. Was Michael’s second three-peat more valuable than his first? Tune into find out what they dissect in Jordan’s motives for his second three-peat.

WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 Preview and Predictions

WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 Previews and Predictions

Roman and Braun Hell in a Cell

It has been a mixed bag of sorts heading into this PPV. On the one hand, it’s a Hell in a Cell PPV with only one title match in a cell. And then arguably the match that arguably needs it the second most, Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte isn’t scheduled to be inside the cell. Oh WWE your booking never ceases to amaze us. Here are our previews and predictions for Hell in a Cell 2018.

SmackDown Tag Team Championship — New Day (c) vs. Rusev Day (Kickoff Show)

Rusev’s Day has smoldered off of popularity as, much like so many others, WWE never took advantage while they were over. Rusev will likely survive to lose this series, but Aiden English on his current projection will likely flounder if they break up after this. New Day don’t need this win, and it would be nice to see the underdogs pull one out when it matters. But WWE is going to WWE, and because this is on the pre-show, I can’t see it having any critical impact.

Predicted Winners: Markus: New Day, Adam: New Day

Raw Tag Team Championship — Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose

I don’t think WWE will give The Shield all of Monday Night’s gold. However, Seth Rollins is carrying the IC belt and doesn’t even need to defend it on a PPV. Doing the hot potato with titles between Seth and Ziggler would be pretty stale booking for the past few months. I’d like to see Ziggler and McIntyre have a nice reign outside of having to go against The Shield. I know Raw’s Tag Team division has been booked into oblivion, so now’s the time to rehab a new team for them to go against.

Predictions: Markus and Adam: Ziggler and McIntyre

Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse

If Bryan and Brie don’t win, I’ll be shocked. You have to keep the feud going until at least the Rumble, so here we go.

Predictions: Markus and Adam: Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella

Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton (Hell in a Cell Match)

Jeff is going to Swanton Bomb off the cage. I’m not sure if Randy can RKO him out of it because of physics, but if they can find a way, they’ll do it. And I’m all for seeing it as well.

Predictions: Markus and Adam: Randy Orton

Raw Women’s Championship — Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Alexa Bliss

Squash match. Anything else would probably ruin the mystique of Rousey too soon. Maybe some interference or backstabbing by Natalya may give Bliss the win, but no way it’s a clean win for Bliss tonight.

Predictions: Markus and Adam: Ronda Rousey

SmackDown Women’s Championship — Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Becky Lynch

Ahh, WWE when will you sometimes learn to allow the fans to dictate the web and flows of stories.  You tried to paint Becky as a heel, and now you’re trying to slap the Stone Cold mantle on her? Yikes. There hasn’t been a consistent build for Becky heading into this. I think Becky needs this because her last year has been mostly forgettable. Charlotte should have to chase a title for a while, but with Evolution coming up this is probably a huge tossup.

Predictions: Markus and Adam: Becky Lynch

WWE Championship — AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe

WENDY! Samoa Joe has been cutting some great promos lately, and I’d like to see him leave tonight with the belt. They’ve been playing AJ’s title run up recently, which may mean he could be dropping it soon. Samoa Joe needs a title run on the main roster, and this more psychotic character would be an excellent precursor to a strong heel run.

Predictions: Markus: Samoa Joe, Adam: AJ Styles

WWE Universal Championship — Roman Reigns (c) vs. Braun Strowman (Hell in a Cell Match)

If WWE spent three years propping up WWE to give Roman a belt just for him to lose it in a month, then I don’t know what this company is anymore. There may be some shenanigans to put Braun over in this match, but I think Reigns needs a christening match. Beating the Monster in a cage after slaying The Beast would be a potent 1-2 punch start to a title reign. If only WWE’s endgame wasn’t so obviously written on the wall.

Predictions: Markus and Adam: Roman Reigns

We’ll catch you guys tonight on Twitter @TheHowPod. We hope WWE can deliver a good post-Summer Slam PPV. They’ve been slacking these last couple years. Peace.

Markus X. Murden, Esq.

Senior Editor and Host of The Heels of Wrestling Podcast. Follow me @MXMurden and @TheHowPod

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook BaselineTimes and The Heels of Wrestling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heels of Wrestling Interviews Nathan Crown

Interview with CWF Co-Owner Nathan Crown

Heels! This week we’re joined by Nathan Crown of the Coastal Wrestling Federation. Nathan Crown has always been a mega fan of wrestling, and now he looks to change the landscape of Florida wrestling along with his partners at CWF. Listen to Nathan as the Wrestling Royalty shares his journey and takes on WWE, NJPW, and more.

Markus X. Murden, Esq.

Senior Editor and Host of The Heels of Wrestling Podcast. Battle Rap aficionado. Follow me @MXMurden and @TheHowPod

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook BaselineTimes and The Heels of Wrestling.

Top 10 Rap Battles I Want to See

Top 10 Rap Battles I Want to See

Set’em Up

Every sport has their fans, and every fan has their dream matches. Some dream battles happen organically, while others need a little nudging to get things going. If we’re lucky, we get the joy of seeing these matches, and they end up living up to expectations. Take all-time great battles between Serena and Venus, Djokovic and Nadal, and Bird and Magic. These matches were all-time classics that can be looked back upon for ages.

In battle rap, we’ve been lucky to get a few dream battles. Hollow and Lux, Lux and Clips, and soon we get the long anticipate Hollow and Arsonal rematch on Smack Volume 2. So what more could I possibly want from battle rap? Well, these are the battles I want to see. No real particular order, just putting them down. I’ve also attempted to stay away from more universally desired matches like Mook and Surf.

10. Tay Roc vs. Pat Stay

I’d like to see Tay Roc go on a run of battles against some of King of the Dot’s best to offer and Pat Stay fits the bill. Pat put KOTD on his back for quite a while, and Roc is more or less the face of URL at this point. If there was a neutral battle league they could realistically be booked at I’d choose for them to go there, but I can’t think of any that could manage this battle. Rare Breed or UDubb could fit the bill, but even there I feel the crowd would lean Tay Roc.

I’d see Tay Roc taking this battle 2-1 but Pat has surprised me in the past, and if he can return to the top form he could topple Roc if he’s not on his A game. Charron did it and Pat undoubtedly can as well.

9. Charron vs. DNA (1 Round Freestyle Battle)

DNA is the best freestyler in battle rap. He may have some competition as the best at rebuttles, but in my opinion, he has the crown for just pure freestyling. On the other hand, Charron isn’t a slouch either. A one-round all freestyle battle could be entertaining.

I would prefer this battle to take place in KOTD just due to the gimmick of it. These two already faced off at that stage, and I think this would be much more welcomed on that platform. URL crowds could end up being harsh on this battle should things go south. However, substantial 5-minute rounds from both sides would make this a fun exhibition match to see. I’d have DNA in a close one.

8. Tay Roc vs. Hitman Holla

Whoooo. This one would be an instant classic. The old face of URL against the current look. If both bring their A game, this can and will be up there with all of their other classic bouts. The aggression in this battle would be crazy. Logic would say it all comes down to the third, with Hitman more or less owning round 1’s and Roc the king of the second round.

This battle can only happen in URL, let’s not even kid ourselves. I got Hitman Holla 2-1 in a bloodbath. If anyone can sap some of the momenta from a Roc second round, it might be Hitman.

7. Hollow Da Don vs. John John Da Don

Da Dinininon vs. Mr. Say it twice. The air needs to be sufficiently clear about what happened in that scuffle between them. I’m all for grudge matches with personal aspects to them whenever possible, and this one has two high caliber opponents behind it. John John has just started back spitting no the Bullpen stage, and Hollow has been back for a minute. This battle would work.

Summer Madness on URL. Just make it happen. If John John can get this booked on Bullpen, I’m sure he’d love that, but if Hollow would agree to that setting, he may just have something hot up his sleeves. I got Hollow winning 2-1 with him being able to angle just a little bit better than John John in the battle.

6. Bender vs. Soul Khan

No list could be complete without a hail mary pick, and here it is. Neither of these two has graced a stage in quite some time, so the odds are low, but if this could happen I’d be the first to sign up to watch.

Bender was on a killing spree when he was hot in KOTD. His multisyllabic style easily overtook those who were attempting the same but couldn’t keep pace. Soul Khan was one of the early greats in my opinion. Maybe Organik can hop in a time machine and put these two against each other on a KOTD stage in 2018. Soul Khan 2-1 in a show of good technical skill on both sides of this battle.

5. Math Hoffa vs. Charlie Clips

Another battle that probably should have happened about five years ago, we have the Brooklyn Bully against Harlem’s Clips. From what I can tell these two are close so the personals if this battle would happen, could be T-Rex battle levels. These two have more or less seen it all in URL; Clips was there in Cali when the Dizaster situation occurred, etc. This clash could be something special.

Another Summer Madness slot for this battle. If both come on their A game, this battle could be next level. In 2017 Clips showed he can still be a killer when it’s time to battle for three rounds. Math didn’t fare as well in the year, but this battle could bounce his stock back up if he performs well. My intuition tells me Clips takes this battle, 2-1 with a strong third round.

4. Nu Jersey Twork vs. Calicoe

MADNESS. Not since Calicoe is someone having such a substantial impact on the URL as a rookie. As a rookie, Calicoe’s influence was so keen to bring URL to Detroit. Twerk has taken the URL by force in 2017 with slogans and quotables for days. Calicoe and Twerk would stand toe-to-toe with each other in stature which would add another significant element to the battle.

Maaaaan this one is hard to call, but it definitely should be on Summer Madness. Twerk needs to redeem himself for his Summer Madness slip up, and having a classic or beating Mr. Summer Madness would solidify his already skyrocketing position in URL.

3. T-Top vs. Nu Jersey Twork

The best of the last class against the best of the new. Had the Ultimate Freestyle Fridays hadn’t gone under we may have got to see this match on BET. T-Top has a very natural laid-back style, while Twork is all energy and aggression. Both of them just came of convincing wins over JC, so this could be an exciting natural collision course.

In opposite of Hitman and Roc, I see this battle coming down to who snatches the crowd first. Coming back from behind isn’t either of these guys strong points, so having the crowd vibe with them is significant. T-Top has already gone against some of the legendary names, and this could be Twork’s opportunity to get into that echelon with him. I say have this battle in the DMV, Twork’s people will be there, and it’s close enough for Top to not be alone. This battle is another one that has instant classic written all over it, so it maybe should be reserved for Summer Madness or a Night of Main Events card. I got Top 2-1 with a closeout third like he’s grown accustomed to giving us on stage.

2. Geechi Gotti vs. B-Dot

West Coast collision course for the ages. It might be too soon for this battle, but it needs to headline a Traffic event by at least 5. A clash between these two can settle the debate of who is the new king of West Coast battle rap. And what a style clash it’ll be.

Geechi just makes me believe everything he says and B-Dot’s conviction in his bars are off the charts. B-Dot can try to take the high road in this battle and talk to Geechi, but can B-Dot check Geechi? Can Geechi somehow rip the holiness from B-Dot in the battle? B-Dot is a master at being personal in his battles, but I’m not sure what angles he can take with Geechi. If this turns into a bar fest, I will give the edge to Geechi. However, from just pure rapping ability, I’d have to give the edge to B-Dot. Either way, an instant classic that would show the West Coast is here to stay and evolve.

1. Gun Titles vs. Marvwon and Quest MCody

Welcome back home, Tsunami Surf! The battle rap world has missed you. I got a hot match for you and Roc to show you guys can hang with anyone as a team.

I don’t want this to be Surf’s come home battle though, that would be unfair to Marv and Quest. However, I think Marv and Quest would somehow be okay with the odds no matter what they are. They were the underdogs back in the day, and they’d still be now. This battle would obviously be a marquee matchup for Double Impact should they decide to book this.

Marv and Quest 2-1. People need to put respect on their name they deserve, and this could be the battle to do it for the new generation of fans. Marv and Quest 30’d Cake Lyfe in the first Double Impact, and I don’t see that chemistry letting up. Gun Titles were walking on water in their first battle but came back to earth in their second. This battle could be THE all-time two on two battle if it all goes well, but I still got the OG’s taking it, probably on cam. Please feel free to come @ me with your opinions on this.

Peace.

Markus X. Murden, Esq.

Senior Editor/Heels of Wrestling

@MXMurden and @TheHowPod

 

Top 10 Battle Rap NBA/Basketball Bars of all Time

Top 10 NBA/Basketball Bars of All Time

Heat Check

Continuing my anthology of some of my favorite sports-related bars of all time, we’re moving into basketball with this list. Basketball and hip hop have been linked forever and have influenced one another in a myriad of ways. Battle rap would be no exception as it’s essentially the street ball of rap. I don’t think there’s a battle rapper who hasn’t made at least one NBA or basketball reference in their career. I had to take a lot of time to consider what to put on this inaugural list. The top 3 could be in any order. Here we go.

Bars were chosen based on creativity, references used, and the uniqueness of the bar. I’ll be citing the battles the bars appear in, please check them out so these artists can get the love they deserve. Thanks to Genius.com for some lyrical clarity.

Honorable Mentions

“Ibaka, I make my living off taking blocks.” Goodz (vs. Aye Verb)

“He’ll be Isaiah Thomas: Detroit nigga pissed on (Piston) with 11 in his back.” Tay Roc (vs. Ill Will)

“Violate him in 5 seconds like the nigga trying to inbound.” Arsonal (vs. Aye Verb)

“Before the cut; Shumpert, after the cut; Beasley.” Gun Titles (vs. NWX)

10. B Magic – Back to the Cavalier (vs. Conceited)

Classic B Magic delivery made this bar stand out me. Plus I like the double wordplay.

Conceited gon’ catch every shell it contain
Then I’m running back to the Cavalier: LeBron James

9. Calicoe – Rajon Rondo’d (vs. O-Red)

Calicoe was on a killing spree against new jersey at this time, and this bar lead to a lot of Rondo bars against Surf going forward.

I show up to Rajon with a blindfold; get Rajon John Doe’d

Put a nine in Rajon Back and get Rajon Rondo’d

8. Jaz The Rapper – Get the Tech (vs. Official)

I love one-liner bars like this. It set the energy for the battle for Jaz.

I’m gonna talk crazy to Official…just so I can get the tech

7. Tsu Surf – Lakers Scheme (vs. Conceited)

There’s been a lot of starting 5 bars spit, and I think this one is the best. You know they say Surf’s cold but all he talks about is hoopin…

And if I gotta let it go then I’ma clap ’til he drop
POW! I felt like Kobe how word got back to the block after the shots… Pau, Kobe, Howard, back to the block

6. Hitman Holla – JR Smith Remix (vs. Aye Verb)

The very first remix that becomes Holla’s signature move ever since. It wasn’t the most complicated bar, but the performance and delivery upped this to a classic.
I come to one of Verb parties with the AR clip
And shoot soon as I get in like I’m J.R. Smith

 

5. Hollow Da Don – Timeout in Michigan (vs. Tsu Surf)

Personal and creative. Hollow’s return against Surf is anchored with this haymaker.

Hopin’ it gets better, playin’ Chris Webber
Tryin’ to forget that time out in Michigan

4. Ill Will – At the Rucker Game (vs. Tay Roc)

The second bar from this battle, it was aided by Will’s excellent performance of the bar. Not to mention you can see Hot Sauce in your head doing what Will said.

So if he go for the steal, I’ll put one round his head
And tuck it back in the shirt like Hot Sauce at a Rucker game

3. Big T – Lebron James (vs. Deacon Frost)

Classic, classic bar. If you know old URL, you remember this bar.

Don’t let me hear  you cremating her

I’ll show up to your crib, and Lebron James the remains of her

2. Marvwon and Quest MCody – Gilbert Arenas (vs. Chess and Steams)

This is an all-time top bar. Marv and Quest are flawless on stage together, and this shows it. I get the stink face just thinking of this bar it’s so nasty.

Y’all called the right bluff, nigga pressuring us will make the pipe bust

I tell my niggas Gilbert Arenas if he actin’ type tough

Hold up you better break that down

That’s when you put a Gun on a PG, and fuck his whole life up

1. Murda Mook – Jordan Still won that game (vs. Yung Hot)

Mook’s scheme here could arguably be the most famous lines in battle rap. Years later people still allude to it. It’s hard to deny the levels to this scheme, and it goes to show why Mook is held in such regard for his pen.

I believe in the hype, that’s why every time you hear me, I compare me to Mike

Example: Remember when A.I. crossed Mike out his sneakers?

Seemed so much worse ’cause we ain’t think Mike had a weakness

All for that one move A.I. got his fame

They forgot Jordan had 35 and still won that game.”

Peace.

Markus X. Murden, Esq.

Senior Editor/Heels of Wrestling

@MXMurden and @TheHowPod

 

10 Best WWE Superstars of 2017

10 Best WWE Superstars of 2017

2017 was a rough year for WWE Superstars. There were plagues of injuries, subpar storylines, and pushes that halted. However, some Superstars did become brighter in 2017, and others kept their remarkable paces going. The Superstars on the list are a mix of the best in-ring matches, promos, storylines, and overall entertainment value of the wrestler. These are those Superstars.

Honorable Mentions

Rusev and Aiden English

Randy Orton

Asuka

Sami Zayn

Chris Jericho

10. Brock Lesnar

BROCK LESNAR. The man was so busy defending WWE against the Universe that he shows up when he wants. When he does, there’s usually carnage and a lot of big moves to go with it. Holding the red strap since Wrestlemania, the Beast Incarnate may keep the belt until mania, and there’s not much any mortal man could do about it.

Notable Match: AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar (Clash of Champions)

WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar

9. Kevin Owens

The former Universal Champion had a quietly excellent year in WWE. The breakup of him and Jericho was the story of WWE heading into Mania, and Chris left putting Owens over.  Ownes had a period of being saddled without a great opponent who could bring out his best in-ring work. He and Zayn have been fantastic together at the end of the year, and I hope he gets into the WWE title picture very soon in 2018. He’s probably the best heel Smackdown has at the moment in their single’s division.

Notable Match: Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon (Hell in a Cell)

8. The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro)

Collectively Sheamus and Cesaro have helped to keep Raw’s tag team division at a good caliber. The two European born stars have gelled into something great together. Their seemingly year-long feud with The Shield is hopefully coming to an end, but with the current booking, who knows?

Notable Match: The Bar vs. The Shield (Raw 11/7)

WWE Superstars The Bar

7. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins (The Shield)

After the brand shakeup in 2017, it was almost impossible to see one of these men without the other one. I thought about separating them on this list, but their best run was once they joined forces. Their matches against the Bar were tremendous and after the inclusion of their third wheel Roman Reigns, these two still shined together, especially in Reigns’ absence. Hope you come back stronger than ever, Dean.

Notable Match: The Shield w/ Kurt Angle vs. Braun Strowman, Miz, Kane, and The Bar (Summer Slam)

WWE Superstars Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins

6. Roman Reigns

The current Intercontinental champion Roman Reigns had a great year. At Wrestlemania, he beat the Undertaker being his highlight of the year. Roman’s being kept in the chamber so he can slay Lesnar at Mania and we all know it. However in-ring he’s had some great moments and his “This is my Yard Now” promo may be the best of his career.

Notable Match: Roman Reigns vs. Undertaker (Wrestlemania)

WWE Superstar Roman Reigns

5. Braun Strowman

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUN. Talk about a breakthrough year for a Superstar. Strowman was let loose from the Wyatt Family and spent most of the year laying waste to Roman Reigns. After having his momentum halted by Brock, hopefully, next year brings some gold his way.

Notable Match: Braun Strowan vs. Roman Reigns (Ambulance Match) (Great Balls of Fire)

4. The New Day

After their historic title reign was ended by The Bar, The New Day seemed aimless on Raw. Then they were moved to Smackdown and had the feud of the year with The Usos. It’s only a question of whether The New Day should be separated or kept going, either way, all these guys are incredible talents, and I look forward to everything they do.

Notable Match: The New Day vs. The Usos (Battleground)

3. AJ Styles

It feels like AJ Styles spent most of 2017 in subpar feuds that ended up with fantastic matches. A run with Baron Corbin made him cool off a bit, but high level matches with Lesnar, Cena, Balor, and more established Styles was high on this list. Plus he somehow made Jinder look okay for 15+ minutes. The Phenomenal one is the current WWE Champion and I hope 2018 brings memorable feuds for him while he’s in this position.

Notable Match: AJ Styles vs. John Cena (Royal Rumble)

WWE Superstar AJ Styles

2. The Miz

The only reason Miz isn’t #1 on this list is that he didn’t have a remarkable match this year. The Miz’s mic work, in-ring psychology, and just overall wrestling business sense aren’t matched by many this year. Taking him off of Smackdown was a massive mistake by WWE, he owned that show and Talking Smack. I can only hope The Miz comes back, gets his IC Title again, and keeps his fantastic run going. Thank you, Miz.

Notable Feud: The Miz vs. WWE

1. The Usos

Welcome to the Uso Penitentiary! 2017 was the year of The Usos. At the beginning of the year, The Miz and The Usos made Smackdown the program to watch. Heel Usos have been the best makeover in WWE in quite some time. The rap battle promos, the matches with New Day, American Alpha, and others have solidified The Usos as my favorite Superstars of the Year. If WWE had any sense, they’d give these guys the main event match at a PPV. Every Smackdown PPV slumped after their matches, and they’d usually be the first ones. I’m all in on some Day One Ish, and I hope WWE gives them their due come Wrestlemania 2018.

Notable Match: The Usos vs. New Day (Hell in a Cell)

WWE Superstars The Usos

Agree or Disagree? Leave a comment below. Then head over to Twitter and Instagram to follow us @Baselinetimes and @TheHoWPod. Peace.

Markus X. Murden, Esq.

Senior Editor/Heels of Wrestling

@MXMurden on Twitter and Instagram

Heels of Wrestling Episode 18: WWE Clash of Champions 2018

Heels of Wrestling Episode 18: WWE Clash of Champions 2018

In this episode, your Hosts Markus and Bobby break down just how uninspired Smackdown’s last PPV of the year Clash of Champions was. We also touch on the historic Women’s Royal Rumble announcement.

WWE Clash of Champions celebration

Daniel Bryan celebrates with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

Sierra. Hotel. India. Echo. Lima. Delta….SHIELD!

The SHIELD is Back in WWE

History of The SHIELD

June 2, 2014, “The chair shot heard around the world.” With one swift motion, Seth Rollins destroyed his creation, and perhaps the greatest faction to ever walk the halls of WWE, the Shield. It was a shock. The group was at its absolute peak at the time, having just dominated Evolution during the last two WWE pay-per-views, but “all good things come to an end,” and so did the Shield. Since the breakup, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns have all gone on to have great success as singles competitors. All three men have held the WWE Championship, and all three have been vital members of WWE’s roster.

No matter how much time went by though, and no matter who the three men feuded with, they were always drawn back to each other. The first time all three won the WWE Championship, it was by defeating another member of the Shield. Rollins pinned Reigns, Reigns pinned Ambrose, and Ambrose pinned Rollins. It’s been a beautifully told story throughout, and it’s finally reached the part we’ve all been patiently waiting for, the reunion.

Shield reunion on Raw

(c) WWE.com

What’s Next for The SHIELD?

It was always clear that the Shield would reunite one day. Everyone had their theory of how it would happen, and who they would feud against next. I was always a proponent of having them feud against AJ Styles and the Club, but that naturally didn’t happen. The way WWE chose to book the reunion might’ve seemed like a letdown on paper. After all, the MIz, Sheamus & Cesaro, Bruan Strowman, and Kane have no real tie to each other or the Shield, but so far it’s worked. Maybe it’s just the high of having the Shield back, perhaps the Miz is just that good on the mic, or maybe the formula never changed. Shield + any combination of WWE superstars= awesomeness.

My question is, what will happen to the “Hounds of Justice” once TLC has come and gone? Is WWE going to keep Raw’s top 3 performers in a faction? Will the Miz find new tag team partners and issue another challenge to the Shield? If the Shield ends up breaking up again, will Seth Rollins be a repeat offender? Or will one of his other Shield mates get their hands dirty?

Same Shield Story…Different Culprit?

As much as we all hated the fact that they had to break up in the first place, their initial break up ranks right up there with any team break up in wrestling history. Nobody saw it coming, and nobody had Seth Rollins being the one to defect from the group. Can WWE duplicate that success? I say they can, but only if they dare to turn Roman Reigns heel. I’m sure WWE is sick of hearing the plea from fans to turn Roman heel, but if there was ever a time to do it, it’s now. If Roman turns on his two Shield brothers, his level of heat would instantly skyrocket.

The most hated man in pro wrestling would become even more hated, except this time we’d all have a reason for hating him. Seth Rollins’ betrayal and subsequent heel run made him the most despised heel in WWE, but weirdly it also made fans reluctantly respect him. If WWE would steer into the skid and turn Roman heel, they might be able to rehabilitate his character, and finally, cash in on his great potential. The ball is in Vince McMahon’s court now.

The Shield is back

(c) wwe.com

Conclusion

For as many storylines as WWE has botched over the years, it’s moments like the Shield reunion that reminds fans why we tune in week after week. There is no telling where we’re going from here. Things could take a turn for the worse. WWE could somehow find a way to ruin the Shield, but for now, we’ve all got what we wanted. Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns, in combat gear, coming through the crowd, together, to the familiar sound of ” Sierra. Hotel. India. Echo. Lima. Delta…SHIELD!”

Read more by Wesly Avendano

New York Knicks 2017-18 Season Preview

NEW YORK KNICKS

Last Season: (31-51)

No Phil? No, Melo? No problemo. One could argue that the two aforementioned was the sole reason last seasons iteration of the Knicks was failing. Phil Jackson forcing upon his coach a system that has been outdated since the 2000’s isn’t the answer in today’s NBA. Not to mention the often uninspired play of Carmelo Anthony that seemed to stunt the growth of the younger players. Fast forward to this year’s roster and it doesn’t appear to be any better. However, you can definitively say that the New York Knicks are officially in rebuild mode. First, the frontcourt is a logjam after acquiring Enes Kanter in a trade that sent Carmelo Anthony west. He brings excellent rebounding and a knack for scoring around the rim but is also a liability on defense. He is competing for a starting spot with the likes of Kyle O’Quinn, Joakim Noah and high upside Spaniard Willy Hernangomez who did well last season when filling in. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis will be the focal points of the offense which isn’t very encouraging. Three six Latvia has to prove he can stay durable and play a full season before taking the next step into superstardom. Can new addition Michael Beasley who has been telling everyone who would listen that he’s a top player in this league be enough to put this team in the mix? This roster just feels like a ragtag bunch of players thrown together hoping for a miracle. In the end, this Knicks team will hover around or below .500 for most of the season-ending it the same or worse than last season.

Key Acquisitions – Tim Hardaway Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Jarret Jack, Michael Beasley, Enes Kanter, Jarret Jack, Doug McDermott, Ramon Sessions

2017-18 Season Prediction (28-54) 

WWE’s Aesthetics Need Desperate Help

WWE’s Aesthetics Need some Help

I remember when I was younger watching The Undertaker and Kane come down to the ring. Their entrances made me think these guys were talented, and more importantly, bigger than life. Whether it was the haunting silhouette of Undertaker skulking down the ring, or Kane igniting the arena, these entrances mattered. There was a point that WWE knew aesthetics matter to the business, and it’s now time for some changes in that department. A Superstar’s entrance can take the average and make it extraordinary.

Bring Back Pyrotechnics for Superstars

Shawn Michael's Wrestlemania Entrance

This entrance is completely different without the fireworks

WWE currently has some budget concerns for the company, and one of the first things to be cut was pyrotechnics for their superstars. No more mortars are going off during your ring entrance, a tremendous shame.

It’s awkward watching Superstars who once had pyro behind them pause at that moment, and nothing happens. Could you imagine the Dudley Boys coming down to the ring without their signature rocket going off? Goldberg just walking out onto the ramp, boringly? Well, I didn’t want to, but it’s 2017, and I’ve now had to experience these uninspiring entrances. It’s worse now that no WWE superstar comes down to the ring with fanfare. I can understand removing them from weekly shows. There have been burning, and fire incidents in the past and consistent use is expensive.

However, removing them from PPV entrances only plays into the feeling of normalcy that many of the B show PPV’s have felt like this year. No amount of neon computer graphics and L.E.D.’s can make up for the epic visage of coming out to explosions.

Bring Back Titantron Videos

WWE used to play video of their Superstars on the Titantron before their matches. These highlight reels could be used to remind fans of the greatness of their favorite superstar. They get people hype, so why take them away?

Plus they just reinforce the already iconic entrance of some superstars with their memories. WWE superstars are feeling more mannequin by the year, give them back some personal flavor in their entrance.

 

Move the Raw Announcers’ Table Back Ringside

WWE Raw announce table

Why is this over here now?

I don’t know whose idea it was to move the Raw announcers’ table to up and alongside the ramp, but they need to get the ax. The announcers are no longer near the action, the ring feels shallower, and now there’s a critical piece of the “ring” missing. Aesthetically speaking, ringside feels empty, and there’s a lack of depth to the arena without the table at ringside.

Putting someone through the announcers’ table is a great spot. Banging someone’s head against the announcers’ table is a great move, and brings the action closer to the crowd. Without the announcers’ table at ringside, the Raw ring feels a lot smaller. And now the action has to stop and walk all the way up the ramp for the same spots that used to feel organic? No thanks.

Let’s move the table back to its natural position and bring back some natural ringside interactions. The announce team doesn’t need to feel like a separate entity than the wrestlers and the action inside the ring.

Make Promotional Posters Fit the Event

I already know who these people are, I don’t need constant reminders.

There was a time when WWE put out promo posters that weren’t just pictures of the roster and a date on it. Facial recognition is probably at an all-time high in WWE. Everyone’s gimmick is themselves, so having a little mysticism about the event itself can’t be so bad.

Not every match on the card is a marquee affair, and cramming everyone on the poster means that nobody on the poster is exceptional. WWE is taking the Disney Marvel approach to making posters. It doesn’t take that far back to find creative posters for PPV’s like Judgement Day, Armageddon, and others that bring intrigue to the event.

Chris Jericho Armageddon Poster

Y2J Ending the World? I’m okay with it.

See? Why is Jericho pressing that button? Nowadays it would just be Jericho and the 15 other superstars on that poster. No intrigue, no theme, just the presentation of wrestling.

 

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Markus X. Murden, Esq.

Senior Editor/Heels of Wrestling

@MXMurden on Twitter and Instagram