New blets are probably going to be inevitable

I haven’t watched much wrestling over the last weeks months years, but when I heard about the latest NXT Worlds Collide show, I made a point to carve out an evening to watch it.  After finding out that NXT UK was being folded in preparation for the coming of NXT Europe, I was kind of sad because I actually really grew to like NXT UK in its short lifespan.  Their show really felt grassroots, and the roster size led to quick and exciting stories, and when they started doing their own Takeover events, they were always full of real quality matches, with always at least one broadway on them.

The rise of Jordan Devlin, Walter vs. Dragunov, and Kay Lee Ray vs. Meiko Satomura were some of the best things about NXT UK.  Even their midcard guys like Noam Dar and A-Kid were starting to really shine, and for a while I’d have said that NXT UK was my favorite program within the entire company; granted it didn’t hurt that everything else had moved to cable tv and I didn’t watch it, but still.

Anyway, none of the matches ended in any real surprises; Ricochet wasn’t going to win and take an NXT blet away from the show, same with Nikki ASH and Doudrop.  Pretty Deadly unifying the tag titles was a little surprising, but if the UK scene needed to have anyone thrown a bone to it, it was obviously the tag team championships, because in spite of how much I was hoping Tyler Bate was going to win, it didn’t seem likely that any of the Americans were going to lose the respective men or women’s NXT championships, which is exactly what happened.

But the thing is, Worlds Collide kind of acted as something of a bookend to me as far as all the NXT UK and even the NXT blets are concerned.  Obviously, the UK blets all have to go since the brand is effectively dead now, but it also doesn’t mean that the existing blets in NXT also aren’t on the chopping block either.  Save for some coloration being added to the plates, all of the blet designs were carried over from “old” NXT, and the designs of the blets don’t match the Cosby sweater new logo of 2.0.

Of course when NXT Europe drops in 2023, it’s inevitable that they will get an array of their own titles, that I hope will look great so I can get them, but also hope that they don’t look great, so I won’t be tempted to get them because I haven’t really been chugging out surveys like I used to, so my blet monies have basically evaporated into nothingness now, and I wouldn’t really have the spare cash to get them.

But I also anticipate that NXT 2.0, within the next 12 months, will probably debut some redesigns of all their existing blets, because with the unifying of their UK counterparts, now seems like as good as any of a time for them to drop the old Hunter-era NXT logo’d blets, and debut some brand new, 2.0’d blets.  Especially since the WWEShop really has caught up to every single active blet being available, and they need something to drop to keep blet nerds like me wet.

I guess I should get back on the survey train and start trying to earn back up some more blet money, because I feel like we’re on the cusp of some new shit being available sooner rather than later.

When did fanny packs become acceptable again?

While out in Las Vegas over Labor Day weekend, I couldn’t help but notice that there was an unusually large number of people who were wearing fanny packs all over the place.  Not only were they wearing fanny packs, they were all wearing them slung across one shoulder and chest, like people used to wear messenger bags.  And after seeing the 350th person wearing a fanny pack like a satchel, it begs me to ask the question that this post is titled:

When did fanny packs become acceptable again?

I choose my words deliberately, and I don’t say cool, because to me, fanny packs were never not cool at any point in my lifetime, but there’s no mistaking that there was a large swath of time in which they were just not deemed acceptable by popular social standards. 

When I was a kid, I rocked a fanny pack between the grades 2-4; not only was it a great place to keep all my cash on hand, but it was the perfect place to stash absolutely anything, anything at all, without having to burden my hands.  Cool rocks or sticks I found in the woods, my WWF or TMNT action figures, the metaphorical golden treasure to a fat kid that was candy and/or gum.  I always had shit on hand, thanks to the utility and convenience of my fanny pack.

But at some point in time, I began to get ridicule, and I was eventually branded some sort of nerd for having my fanny pack.  I wasn’t sure if it was the culture shift I had gone through moving from rural Virginia to prestigious northern Virginia, just the changing of the times, or asshole kids being bullies to me, but it got to the point where I stopped with the fanny pack, and short of zubaz-wearing professional wrestlers, they were mostly unseen for the next three decades.

Obviously living under the rock I do, I have no idea of when specifically they’ve suddenly become so acceptable again, but I’m just noticing just how everyone seems to be getting their hands on them these days, and amongst the kids of today, they’re being treated like some brand-new innovation of style and convenience.  I’m sure a fanny pack is perfect for holding your phone without bulking up your pockets or if you don’t have pockets because male rompers seem to be acceptable too.  Battery packs and charging cables because everyone is so glued to their mobile devices that a single day’s charge is insufficient are nice to be able to stash close to your person too.

Man, fanny packs sure are fucking cool for all the utility and convenience they provide without having to commit to an entire backpack or messenger bag!

But I have to question the part where they’re being worn around the shoulder, because fashion not-withstanding, that’s just a poor distribution of weight, and on the long-term, can have some physical detriment to the body.  I used to carry around a messenger bag, and wear all my duffel bags over the shoulder, but after long periods of time, that shit begins to wear on you, with all the weight they’re putting on a single shoulder.

It’s not lost on me just how bitter old man this all makes me sound like, but you have to understand that the backlash fanny packs got back in the early 90s was pretty fierce, to the point where they practically went extinct overnight in like 1991.

I suppose this is something that generationally, everyone eventually goes through at some points in their lives.  Perhaps in the near future, I’ll get to the backlash on fanny packs a second time, but as a judgmental bystander, and watch with smug satisfaction as all the dumb kids of today shamefully hang theirs up as discreetly as they can, and be sad that the sheep of the world don’t like utility and convenience anymore.

There’s lots of easy jokes about this 5K

I got this targeted ad for a local 5K run, because apparently one of the things I’m susceptible to clicking are virtual runs that offer medals for completion.  But from what I understand it’s a 5K run that takes place on one of the runways of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Latoya Jackson Intergalactic Wing Emporium and Nail Salon Airport, which is actually really cool if you think about it; running 3.1 miles on an actual airport runway, without having to fear heavily armed security chasing you and then gunning you down for federal trespassing.

However, there’s an extremely easy, low-hanging series of jokes about this run, seeing as how it’s taking place at Atlanta’s airport, which claims to be “the busiest” airport in the world as if that’s something to really brag about, but is also one of “the most criticized” airports in the world as well, with everyone thinking they’re a comedian when it comes to clowning on ol’ ATL.

Like for example, how no runner should expect to actually start the run on time, but the clock will obviously keep ticking, so this would be the run where the very opposite of a PR would occur, and most runners would undoubtedly be horrendously late when it comes to crossing the finish line.

Critical sections of the runway will obviously be under construction, because when it comes to ATL, there’s never no construction anywhere, and it’s always in the worst possible places, and in spite of being the size of the entire place, the flow of people traffic will be packed like sardines and make everyone miserable.

There will be one portable toilet for every 200 runners, to simulate the rest of the airport where no matter what time of the day you’re there, there’s always a line for the restroom, with it being longer commensurate to how badly you have to go to the bathroom.

And so on and so on, when it comes to the litany of memes that exist when it comes to the topic of Atlanta airport.

But all things considered, I really am interested in this race.  There’s a zero percent chance I’d actually do the live event, because even though it would be cool to run on a runway, ain’t no fucking way I’m trucking down to the airport and not actually going somewhere, because I don’t go anywhere anymore because kids, and it’s going to be a long time before I get to doing any in-person runs.

That being said, I am leaning heavily towards doing the virtual event, because there is a medal for doing this, and I feel like there’s a lot of jokes to be had if I could get a medal with the ATL airport logo on it.  It would be pretty awesome if the corresponding shirt leaned into the jokes, and it really was like Latoya Jackson Intergalactic Space Emporium, but that’s a pipe dream, but it’s alright because all I really care about are medals anyway.

Dad Brog (#096): Raising children without help is impossible

Now I’m sure any long-time parent who reads such a statement is probably like, duh no shit, and I’m not going to refute it reads as one of the more obvious statements that can probably be said, and most definitely nothing I haven’t already said in my life a hundred-fold by now.

But in my latest moment of despair, where I was trying to wrangle my two kids, where #1 is sick and screaming for attention, while #2 was getting into shit she shouldn’t be getting, all while I was logged into a virtual meeting at work because I’m still on the clock, but completely incapable of paying any attention to it, and the sitter had already gone home for the day because all paid help watches the clock, I just stood there for a few seconds, and the words formulated in my head, at just how shitty things can be sometimes and that I’m living at a very unsustainable pace, way longer than I probably should have, seeing as how my resolve crumbles so frequently sometimes.

All I could really think about was just how impossible it truly is to raise children without help, not just from a metaphorical standpoint, but how it truly is from all other ways, especially in this current state of the world where inflation is murder, greed and white people are endlessly fucking the country and America is still ‘Murica.

Like you hear about couples where one person quits their job to be a full-time parent; yeah, that shit is impossible now, and probably wasn’t really that ideal in any previous points in time, because unless one half of a couple makes a ridiculous, white man amount of money, let’s just say $175-200K plus annually, most American parents probably can’t afford to raise a child on top of surviving in a middle-class or better setting.

Everything is far too expensive for the average parents to reduce to a single income without some tremendous pain, and expect to live life remotely comfortably.  Therefore, they must both work.  At least that’s the case between my wife and I, our combined income isn’t that bad, but it’s completely dependent on both of us working full-time in order to make ends meet, however that results in us requiring child care, which quite literally half of my paycheck goes towards every single month, because child care is fucking expensive and not at all that great, but still a very necessary evil to have to endure.

And let’s not even really bother to analyze single parents, they most certainly need all the help they can get, be it childcare or free care from family.

The point is, as obvious as it is, more so put out in writing, is that it is truly impossible for any family unit to raise a child without any help.  It’s often popularly said that it takes a village to raise a kid, to which truer words can’t really be said, but it just isn’t possible for those to do so without said village.  Logistically, mathematically, financially, there just isn’t a way to do it without some third party hands getting involved somewhere along the way.

Not bad, Utah

notbad.gif: Utah seeing massive uptick in child support payments after new law enacted that states those who fall too far behind in payments will become unable to acquire hunting or fishing licenses

Big kudos to the nerds who recognized the correlation between deadbeats who didn’t pay their child support and people who liked to hunt and fish.  And then good on the politicians who realized that the old system of simply arresting and throwing the book at them wasn’t working, and came up with a more effective means of penalization that is actually proving to be effective at keeping deadbeats from being deadbeats.

In all seriousness, I do commend this line of thinking, and think it should kind of serve as a model to the rest of the country that jail just isn’t always the right consequence for anything and everything negative.  Don’t get me wrong, I thought the fake Iron Bowl Tickets sweepstakes/sting to bust deadbeats done in Alabama was hilarious, but that was like 2011, and times have changed, and the context to the narrative has as well.

The impetus behind it seemed solid, and the results are speaking for themselves.  If the threat of jail and the consequences of having a criminal record is what people have to look forward to facing if and when they start falling behind on child support, then most people are just going to cut and run and stay hidden as long as they can, until they swirl down a downward spiral of failure, where everyone suffers, including the children they need to be supporting.

But hitting them in their hobbies and vices, that conveniently have license requirements that need to be renewed annually?  That’s pretty smart thinking.  It’s nowhere near as severe as jail, but it’s still seen as punishment enough, to where they won’t legally be allowed to partake in the activities that they like to do, and it’s proving to be enough of a threat to make them pony up and square up their debts so they can get back to the things that make them happy.  And the proof is in the pudding, with as much payment is seemingly coming back to Utah’s kids in the process.

Not much else to say about this, other than to once again opine, not bad, Utah.  Creative solutions to problems that never were getting better, and showing some improvement in the process.  The country could sure use a whole lot more of this.

Why it’s hard to take AEW seriously sometimes

I was watching some highlights from the latest Dynamite, because I was interested to see who won the match between Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia.  But during the match I couldn’t help but notice that the turnbuckle pads had something other than an AEW logo on it, and at one point, I had to scrunch my brow when I realized that it was literally the crest for House Targaryen.

Why was the House Targaryen crest on turnbuckles of an AEW wrestling show?

Well, the answer wasn’t hard to determine, because outside of any shot that wasn’t zoomed in to where you could see the turnbuckles, pretty much everywhere else in the West Virginia arena was like an explosion of Game of Thrones branding.  Since TBS is a Turner Network and Turner bought HBO and HBO owns the rights to Game of Thrones, naturally it was decided that AEW Dynamite would be the perfect venue to cross-promote the impending premiere of HBO’s House of the Dragon prequel series.

So instead of continually pushing awareness for AEW, or their shop’s website, or perhaps promoting any upcoming pay-per-views, all through the entire night was Game of Thrones shit, all over the place.

If I didn’t know what AEW was, and I was flipping channels and landed on Dynamite, I probably would’ve thought that some mega nerds* had created a wrestling promotion based on Game of Thrones, and I was watching some LARP of some Dothraki slave pit fighting instead of professional wrestling.

*I realize this is kind of an oxymoronic descriptor to describe Tony Khan, Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks

But this is a good example of why it’s hard for me to take AEW seriously sometimes.  No matter how genuinely good their wrestling product is capable of being, they just do so much shit on the business side or over social media or their performers, that just pumps the brakes on the progress they are totally capable of making, if they just didn’t get in their own way so much.

AEW’s entire show was completely hijacked by Game of Thrones this week.  A few weeks ago when I went, the entire show was completely hijacked by Discovery/Animal Planet plugging the ever-living fuck out of Shark Week, to where they had a match where Jericho’s cronies were suspended in a diver’s cage.  And a little while back, just about every AEW show was paintbombed by Draft Kings logos all over the place.

I’m not sure if it’s Tony Khan’s choice, or if he’s being strong-armed by Turner Ben Afflecks, but AEW is basically this cheap vehicle to promote other things, completely sacrificing their own brand identity and integrity whenever they do.  They’re like a Tesla Model S, with a vinyl wrap for Juan’s Paint and Windows, and they’re required to drive it around in prominent communities and log a substantial amount of miles to justify the ad space. 

If it’s TK’s choice to allow his pet promotion to be pimped out to plug shit that isn’t his, then shame on him.  If it’s Turner being Turner and fifteen old white guys with VP titles are all jabbing their fingers into the AEW pie to try and make their mark, then that’s really nothing out of the ordinary for Turner’s modus operandi, and we can continuously count the days before AEW copies WCW in another manner; being managed to death by Turner.

But the bottom line is that it’s really hard for me to take AEW seriously when they participate in shit like this, and it’s got to be hard for even them to continuously try to declare themselves the alternative to the WWE, when they’re constantly being handcuffed by shit that makes it hard for people to take them seriously.  As much as the WWE is so often seen as this corporate soulless entity, they take their brand seriously, and they almost never cross-promote with anyone or anything, not without at least some substantial benefit to them. 

There’s absolutely zero benefit for AEW when they help plug Shark Week, House of the Dragon or Draft Kings, and until the company can grow a backbone and push back on bullshit orders to cross-promote, they’ll never be taken as serious as they should be capable of commanding respect.

A new metric for the vernacular: A WCW

One of my friends in a group chat turned me onto this keen observation, and I found that I liked it so much, I believe it’s worth integrating into my general lexicon, to casually drop into conversation and low-key hope to have the opportunity to mansplain it to anyone who risks questioning what I mean by it when I use it.

In 2001, Vince McMahon bought the crumbling remains of World Championship Wrestling for an estimated $4.2 million dollars; a tremendously far cry of a bargain, considering the company was about $30 million in the green just two years prior.  Fairly recently, in spite of my own general ambivalence towards the subject, there’s been a lot of hullabaloo over a WWE scandal in which it was revealed and continues to unearth, that Vince McMahon has shelled out over $20 million dollars over the years in hush money to hide his and his inner circle’s general sexual deviancy.

Frankly, it’s no shock or surprise that it turns out that Vince McMahon and his cronies did any of the things they’re being accused for at a rapid pace these days, because they’re rich, they’re white, they’re old money, and they’re in an industry where there are literal Playboy-caliber women that come and go.  As much as I respect Vince McMahon’s business acumen, I’m not the least bit surprised that he’s an asshole who wields his money and power for sex, because an endless parade of men in similar circumstances have been doing the same for eons now.  But when the day is over, there’s a whole lot of murky water in the sense that the money was accepted by their recipients, and in my legally uneducated opinion, I have to ask, what crimes actually occurred?

Regardless, the silver lining to it all is that the HeAT has forced Vince McMahon into the retirement that wrestling fans have been calling for, for years now, to actually occur, and in the aftermath of it, same with all of his cronies and stooges who were all implied to be complicit to his bad behavior, if they weren’t accomplices to begin with.  And with it, ushers in a new era of WWE, helmed by his more progressive daughter Stephanie McMahon and with her, Triple H is back into the fold, creating optimism and hope, considering his popularly lauded work with NXT over the last decade.

Obviously, most wrestling fans know that we’ve not seen the last of Vince McMahon, but as long as this scandal is continuing to unfold, we know there’s plenty of time for the company to move and evolve without him so frequently aboard the main cabin.

But anyway, back to the point of this post, the takeaway of it all is that the analogy was made that to date, Vince McMahon has paid out the valuation of 4.7 WCWs, in hush money for his sexual indiscretions.  WCW has become a noun, which is definable as an analogy for approximately $4.2 million dollars, and is applicable as metric in dannyhong speak moving forward.

  • Lionel Messi’s salary for 2022 is approximately 9.76 WCWs
  • Tiger Woods reportedly turned down anywhere from 166-190 WCWs from the Saudi-run LIV golf organization
  • Juan Soto rejected a 15-year/107.14 WCW contract from the Washington Nationals before they traded him to the San Diego Padres

Yep, metric checks out. Once the greatest threat to the WWE, now a unit of measurement to ironically measure stupid amounts of money to something more humorously.