I wonder if there’s any coming back this time

MomoCon was this past weekend, and I didn’t go at all, even despite future wife and I having free badges, courtesy of a friend who worked for the con.  We had a lot of wedding decorations to do over the weekend, which consumed pretty much the entire three-day weekend, but the thing is that even if we had no plans, I can’t say that I really would’ve gone anyway. 

I didn’t really know of that many people who were going that I’d have wanted to hope to run into.  And frankly, I had little desire to fight the traffic to go into Downtown Atlanta on a holiday weekend, and I didn’t really feel much desire or inspiration to get my camera out and take pictures of costumers.

The thing is, this time last year, I was in a position where I had wanted to go to MomoCon, but couldn’t, because I had to entertain guests in from out of town.  I had undeniable FOMO as the weekend trucked along and I wasn’t there and I was disappointed that I didn’t get to go when the weekend had passed.

However this year, I felt no FOMO at all, and I simply didn’t care that didn’t go.  I thought maybe it’s because my weekend was so booked up was why I felt that way, but as I said, there’s no guarantee that I would’ve gone in the first place even if I had the free time.

What I’m getting to is that I think I’m over conventions again.  I say again, because for those who’ve known me for a long time, might remember a stretch of time where I was kind of burned out on conventions, and I really stopped going and actively sought out alternative things to do during them so I could deliberately distance myself from them.  There was part of me that was just being a hipster about things growing in popularity, and there was another part of me that was growing jaded by the increasing notion that conventions were turning into vehicles for attention-starved narcissists to be fake, and some really unsavory clique culture forming.

I eventually got excited about them again, because I had a lot of friends who started becoming the people that ran them, and gave me a little bit of preferential treatment if I showed up to them, and that I also had other friends who were very inclusive of adding me to their costume groups and gave me real drive and objective to wanting to participate and attend.  For a couple of years, cons were fun again, and I was enjoying them again.

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Why I don’t really think AEW is a threat

Watching highlight packages of AEW’s company-launching pay-per-view event, Double or Nothing, I definitely thought the company has a pretty solid roster of wrestlers to build upon, but I couldn’t help but feel this suspicion of a lot of things that I think are going to hold them back or just be plain detrimental to their budding fed.

As much as the quality of the wrestling was fairly competitive to the talent in the WWE, ROH or NJPW, it’s mostly the way the company presents itself that makes me feel dubious that AEW has more possibility of being the next TNA and not the next WCW, as someone who really has a chance to stand up to the WWE and really compete.

And I don’t bring up WCW without reason, because as much as WCW really did rise and compete with WWE, in the end they still fell apart and ultimately suffered an end worse than defeat, which was being assimilated into the machine, getting purchased for pennies on the dollar, mostly so that the WWE could have the rights to their tapes archives over the vast majority of any actual living human talent.

But it’s because so much of Double or Nothing felt like they borrowed the WCW playbook for Monday Nitro #1.  From the very start of the show, with “Good ‘ol JR” Jim Ross welcoming viewers to the show, to Justin Roberts doing the announcing in the ring, it was the exact play WCW did using Bobby Heenan and “Mean Gene” Okerlund to be their voices and kind of trick casual fans into getting a feeling of familiarity and hopefully stick around.

Then came a really convoluted battle royale featuring their young and mostly lesser-known talent, peppered in with, former WWE guys like Tye Dillinger.  Even not knowing who 80% of the competitors in the ring was, it was still highly predictable to guess who was going to be the last few guys in the contest, and when Hangman Adam Page hit the ring, the winner was all but decided, because anyone who follows wrestling knows Adam Page is a part of the clique that basically made a mass exodus from New Japan in order to create AEW.

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What’s old is new again

Once upon a time, I got a replica of the WCW United States championship, and that was my first ever championship belt.  Then one day, I got a WWF European Championship, and then not long after that, I sniped an ECW World Championship on eBay.

Around this time, I made a goal for myself that five would be the number of belts I would aspire to get, because at the time, I had this perfect corner shelf for championship belts that had five spaces, and I thought it would look great with every shelf occupied.  Eventually, I tracked down an attitude-era WWF World Championship belt, and after one fortuitous trip to Las Vegas, my brother and I each got ourselves a WCW Tag Team Championship belt to signify our life-long unity.  The shelf was now full.

But then one of my best friends got married, and I just so happen to track down a set of WWF Tag Team Championship belts, so I decided to signify that life-long unity with another belt.  Then, I just so happened to be farting around on eBay, and stumbled across a WCW Big Gold belt replica.  And then for whatever reason I was on eBay again, and came across an ECW Television Championship and threw out a fairly low best offer, which was miraculously accepted.  And then Cody Rhodes bust out the white strap Intercontinental championship which inspired me to go look on eBay, and I came across an egregiously low-priced classic WWF Intercontinental Championship and it was unavoidable.

I actually don’t remember the context to what made me look for them, but I came across a pair of ECW Tag Team Championship belts, and I purchased them, and gave one of them to my brother.  I’m pretty sure it was as a birthday gift.

This put me at ten belts.  A nice round number.  It seemed like a good place to stop.  My shelf was long since full, and I’d actually been keeping an eye out for another one just like it, and had come close a few times at a few antique markets in my area.

But then one of my close friends gave me access to his WWE Network account, and I started watching NXT.  And then I saw Andrade Cien Almas vs. Johnny Gargano and suddenly I really wanted to get an NXT Championship replica.  Shortly after that, I started watching some New Japan stuff after hearing all these things about this guy named Kenny Omega, and the legendary match he just had with their world champion, Kazuchika Okada.  And then I really felt like an IWGP World Championship was something that my collection needed.

By now, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that there’s probably never going to be a formal “end” to my collection, and thankfully because I display them on the wall, there’s not going to be the same challenges of limited shelf space to limit the growth of my collection.

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It could only have ended poorly

When I was in the third grade, I used to “read” Choose Your Own Adventure books by deliberately making the worst possible decisions possible in order to get to a The End as fast as I could.  And as soon as I got myself killed, about to be killed, or in a position to eventually die, I declared the book “read” and entered it into my Pizza Hut-sponsored Book-It reading list, where every 4-5 finished books meant a certificate for a free Pizza Hut pan pizza, which meant a perfect excuse for my parents to take me to Pizza Hut, which undoubtedly contributed greatly to my childhood obesity.

I abused the hell out of this system, until my teacher caught onto my little system, and eventually prohibited me from reading anymore Choose Your Own Adventure books, at least as far as the Book-It program was concerned.  I eventually began reading them more thoroughly, and enjoyed a vast number of them throughout their publication, but the point is, the whole thing started with me reading like six pages of the book in total, and deliberately making all the worst choices, in order to get to an ending, regardless of if it were good or bad.

So that being said, Game of Thrones.  The series is now, officially over.  For better or worse, considering the putrid manner in which the series ended.  I’m still mentally deliberating on where GoT’s ending falls in comparison to other shitty endings out there, and I think I’m a place where it’s somewhere in between Mass Effect 3, and the series finale to Dexter.  Needless to say, that puts in pretty rarified air of being especially terrible, and a lot of it probably has to do with the fact that all aforementioned series’ churned along swimmingly at various points and collected large numbers of dedicated fans, sucking up emotions and commitment and dedication for several years, before taking all their hopes and dreams for a good ending, stabbing them in the heart, boating them into a hurricane and synthesizing them with machines.

I mean, I can’t say for a second that I didn’t see this coming.  Endings are the hardest thing in the world for any story, and the list of popular, epic and legendary stories that have shitty endings is longer than the equator.  Plus, the dumpster fire that episodes 4 and 5 steered the story going into the finale all but sealed the series’ fate as just another story with a shitty ending incoming, because they simply went past the point of no return in episode 5.  The question really was, how shitty the finale was going to be, because at this point, the vast majority of people I knew who watched the show had all resigned themselves to the obvious notion that it was going to suck.

And boy, did it ever suck.  I found myself predicting just about everything that occurred in the episode like 10 seconds before it happened, like particular characters saying certain things, doing certain actions, or predicting very obvious outcomes.  Getting back to the point of talking about Choose Your Own Adventure books, it legitimately felt like the entire season 8 was one live-action Choose Your Own Adventure story, where there was one linear plot that consumes the majority of the season, but when it comes time to start winding down, there was literally nothing but a whole bunch of shitty and rushed endings, where not a single one of them is capable of making the viewer not seem I’m not mad, just disappointed.

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lol the Knicks­­

As I’m sure I’ve probably said before in my brog, when I was a kid, I used to love the New York Knicks.  Starter jacket, baseball cap, Ewing jersey, always played the Knicks in NBA Live and NBA Jam, etc.  The worst moments in my sports fan life back then were when the Knicks lost to the Houston Rockets in the 1994 NBA Finals, and then when they lost to the Indiana Pacers in the 1995 playoffs when Patrick Ewing missed a fucking finger roll.

Needless to say, I eventually learned what just about everyone who ever follows the NBA eventually learns: there’s no team that symbolizes failure more than the New York Knicks.  Back in the day, it was the torture of having a competent team make the playoffs every single year, but then losing via the existence of Michael Jordan, or because simply they’re the Knicks.

Despite the fact that I only follow the NBA as much as ESPN and the news covers it occasionally, it doesn’t take a blind person to not see that the Knicks are still pretty much the living embodiment of failure in the NBA, except now they’re a shitty team that doesn’t even make the playoffs, and no matter what moves they make or whom they acquire in free agency, they can still never get over the hump and even sniff what a playoff chase even smells like.

To my understanding, the Knicks have tried tanking 350 times over the last two decades and at a quick glance, have finished under .500 like 18 out of the last 20 years.  Twice, they finished with 17 wins, which is futility that has to have effort put into it, because practically three-quarters of the league gets into the playoffs, it takes a conceited amount of effort to actively not make it.  Yet in spite of all these shitty seasons, the team can still never cash in on the draft, and they just continue to suck year after year.

The whole lottery system is something that I actually do love about the NBA, because it does actively attempt to deter teams from tanking, because unlike in MLB and the NFL, the worst record does not automatically guarantee the first pick in the draft.  Subsequently, the lottery has pretty much existed to troll the Knicks into having one additional layer for them to fail through, and it’s never been more prevalent than just this past lottery.

The big story in basketball over the span of the last two calendar years has been the saga of basketball phenom prodigy, Zion Williamson, from his rise in a South Carolina prep school, to his mandatory year in college, which ended up being the reviled Duke Blue Devils, the controversy of the sports century when his foot exploded out of his Nikes, injuring him, to his inevitable position as the very obvious first pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.

As Zion posted highlights after highlights for Duke, the NBA gave a college try for the first month of their own season, before the pretenders then immediately began a tanking spree, with the hopes of having the best odds in the lottery, which would increase their chances of getting the first pick, which was obviously going to be Zion Williamson.

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Pour one out for the real Silver King

If most people heard the name César Cuauhtémoc González Barrón, they’d have no clue to whom that was.  Frankly, if most people heard his ring name, Silver King, they’d probably have very little clue to who he was, either.  Then again, I am some lowly brogger living in America, and I’d wager to say that those who lived in Mexico, the names probably would definitely trigger more recognition than it would anywhere outside of the country.

Silver King passed away on May 11, 2019, inside the wrestling ring, while performing at a show in London, England.  Reports say it was due to a heart attack, but there’s still no official cause of death released, officially.  He was wrestling fellow luchador, Juventud Guerrera when this tragedy occurred, and it’s definitely a sad day in professional wrestling when one of the boys goes out so suddenly and unexpectedly.  Silver King was 51 years old, which definitely classifies as “way too soon,” especially considering he was still actively performing literally up until his death.

Although his career legacy is vastly greater and more colorful when you look at his accolades in Mexico and pretty much anywhere outside of the United States, I always remembered him the most from his time in WCW, when unfortunately he and many other Mexican wrestlers were primarily a part of the company to be jobbers and/or the guys to warm up the crowds, usually by jobbing.  But I’ve always had an affinity for the jobbers of wrestling, because most of the time, superstars are boring and one-dimensional, and it’s only by the strength of the guys doing the jobs to them, do they even look good.

I remember just about all of them from WCW; Silver King, El Dandy, Damien, La Parka, Psychosis, Villano IV and V, Hector Garza, Ciclope, Lizmark Jr. and Juventud Guerrera.  And it’s not just out of convenience to fit my narrative, but Silver King always stood out to me, because he was one of the few Mexican expats on the roster, that wrestled without a mask.  Furthermore, he was always a little on the tubby side of stout, yet in spite of his bulk, he was still as agile and high-flying any other luchador, which just added to the ironic entertainment value he brought to WCW.

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Let’s talk about Game of Thrones

Normally, I haven’t really posted much about Game of Thrones.  It’s one of those properties that I really love, and I often times don’t really write about the things that I really love until they’re over, be it being between books, seasons, or a definitive end of some sort.

But with the show winding down, and that we’re getting to the point where the remaining episodes presumably are all going to be epics in their own right if episode 3: The Long Night was any indication, I’m finding it difficult to contain all the things swirling around in my head about GoT, and by the time the next episode rolls around, I’ll probably lose my shit if I don’t take the time to do any writing about it.

Plus, speaking of writing, it’s pretty clear to me that George R.R. Martin isn’t actually ever going to finish the actual book series,* so as far as I’m concerned, the tv show is pretty much shaping the end of the series, definitively.

*Even if Martin finishes, I have little faith that the evolution of the show will mutate all of the thought processes that went into the original five books, to where he’ll deliberately alter and swing the story (and not in good ways) to keep book followers on their toes, and there’s no way he’s not going to be picturing Kit Harrington, Sophie Turner, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey or any other actor in his head when he’s writing key characters.  The books will DJ Tanner Wrestle tragically as a result, and it’s at this point where I’ll bust out the phrase “Dextering” again, named after the shitty way Jeff Lindsay steered the Dexter book series long after the television show started and ended.

SO, the Long Night – needless to say, this is where I write my disclaimer about how there will be spoilers, but also the fact that I’m still offline, and there’s no definitive timeline to when I’ll ever be back online, because I never have any time, and even if I did, by this point, I’ll have nearly four years’ worth of posts to back fill into the brog, which is a Sisyphus’ boulder in its own right.

SO, the Long Night – fucking incredible.  Kind of everything I had imagined the inevitable, eight-year build up to the battle between man and dead would be.  I can’t really think of anything that I was legitimately disappointed in, and despite the fact that a lot of my GoT death pool predictions did not come true, I still felt a sense of great satisfaction when it was all over.

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