Well now we’ve got an interesting situation at hand. I was trying to be objective and keep notes while over my buddy’s house for our annual Rumble Party (Twitter: @Griever2112 – Follow him, he’s good people). So between drinking, eating and attempting to be social with a laptop…well atop my lap, hopefully my notes held up.
I did miss the first couple Pre-show matches, so this will start at the official “KICKOFF MATCH” and move into the main card.
United States Championship Kickoff Match: Bobby Roode(c) vs Mojo Rawley
With Bobby Roode being as over as he is (due to music or what have you), it’s a little insulting to be on the Pre-show, but yes I can figure that two rumbles would make the time crunch very tangible.
To most people’s surprise, Mojo Rawley answered the Open Challenge, and I’m not mad. Mojo has shown a lot of good potential with this new heel persona, and this match was mostly just a diluted version of their tournament match, but still decent for a Kickoff.
Bobby Roode needed the victory to start building credibility and Mojo continues to put on good showings as a fairly new “re-imagined” character.
Rating: ** (Silver V)
WWE Heavyweight Championship 2v1 Handicap Match: AJ Styles(c) vs Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Kicking off with the WWE Championship is a little surprising, but it might play into the Rumble later.
So this started off very slow, a couple quick mind game tags don’t help the match quality early on. Instead of focusing on one, Styles did a little damage to each guy slowly. That strategy worked for the most part, however, the ending was controversial and gives and excuse to drag out the story. Styles did pull off a nice Asai DDT at some point
Sami tries to tag in Kevin, misses, and Styles throws Zayn out of the ring. When KO comes in to try and soften up Styles with a Pop Up Powerbomb, Styles counters it with a body scissors, and the pinfall. This allows the heels to claim the wrong man got pinned, but a segment after the match proved that Shane McMahon didn’t really care.
Rating: *** 1/4 (Gold IV)
Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship 2 out of 3 Falls Match: The Usos(c) vs Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin
So Chad Gable is a proven workhorse, The Usos put on fantastic matches and Shelton Benjamin is still very good, so this match has a lot of potential.
We get a nice long match before the first pinfall. The Usos block Gable’s rolling German Suplex twice, kick out of Benjamin’s Paydirt and each team tries to dodge the others’ signature moves. Eventually the Usos hit a few super kicks on Gable, keep Benjamin away and hit the big Uce Splash for the first pinfall.
At that point, Benjamin and Gable play the heels and go to take out one of the brothers before the second fall starts. They hit their tandem powerbomb, bulldog move and go in to take advantage of a 1 on 2 situation. But much to their chagrin, as soon as the bell rings, Benjamin gets rolled up, Gable is stuck climbing to the top rope, so they lose 2 falls to 0.
I don’t see how Gable and Benjamin can come back from this without a goofy plea to the powers that be. So here’s to hoping someone else gets a shot at The Usos, maybe Bludgeon Brothers?
Rating: *** (Gold V)
30 Man Royal Rumble:
So this was a surprise within itself that the classic rumble was relegated to the middle of the card. I have no issues with it aside from the fact that myself and friends figured it would hurt the following tag match, and yes it did. But that’s for the next match, not this one. So Rusev and Balor kick things off, crowd chants Rusev Day and they both last for a while. A few fun moments were Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas showing up and further cementing his main event ability. Copo de nieve es un gran fan del El Idolo.
Heath Slater becomes a heel punching bag when an eliminated Baron Corbin lays him out on the ramp, and that becomes a comedy storyline until Sheamus tries to toss him in for a cheap elimination, but Slater eliminates him instead. When Kofi is thrown over, he lands one foot on Xavier Woods and then Big E brings over a big plate of pancakes as a foot coaster, until they cheerleader lift him back in.
Fast forward to the final 6, Mysterio, Orton and Cena represent the old guard and Nakamura, Reigns and Balor are the newer guys. As they square off, we see for a change that the old guard goes out and we’re left with Reigns and Nakamura as final 2. Everyone was watching with bated breath on if Philly was gonna riot and murder puppies after a Roman win, or if the internet will collective rejoice for Nakamura.
And as we know, Nakamura and Reigns have a good back and forth but Nakamura comes out on top and the peasants rejoice.
Rating: *** (Gold V)
Raw Tag Team Title Match: The Bar vs Jason Jordan & Seth Rollins
The crowd was dead following an hour plus of Rumble stuff and a winner they didn’t want to kill.
So this saw a weird spot with Jordan getting slammed into the post and playing up head trauma of some sorts and being literally useless all match. Rollins was basically in a handicap match, puts up a damn good fight, but fails. Jordan had an amusing moment when he makes it back to the corner at the right moment to get a hot tag and win the match, tags in, gets dizzy, tags right back out, says he’s done and just sits on the stairs while Rollins gets dragged back into the ring and destroyed.
Well this either leads to the team implosion and cements the Jordan heel turn, or we see Jordan play up CTE or something to try and gain sympathy from Rollins, all in a way to slow burn his heelish ways.
Rating: * 3/4 (Bronze I)
WWE Universal Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Match: Brock Lesnar vs Braun Strowman vs Kane
Yay, chairs and tables and destroyed announce tables, also known as, everything they usually do with power guys.
This match happened, Brock potatoed Braun, Kane tried, Braun got relegated to the outside of the ring and Kane got F5’d through a table and Brock pins him in a match that no one was surprised about.
I’ve got nothing for this aside from maybe Elimination Chamber turns into a number 1 contender match and that’s where Reigns gets his win. I don’t know, I’m trying to hope this leads to something.
Rating: ** (Silver V)
30 Woman Royal Rumble:
I need the Spice Girls to cue up some Girl Power. This is historic, not only was it the first Women’s Rumble, it main evented the Royal Rumble, give me a Hell Yeah.
The match begins with Sasha and Becky, so that kinda already makes you a little nervous that two fan favorites are out so early. But the rest of the entrants were very fun and a nice combination of nostalgia, returns and showing some classic women can still go. One big comedy spot was Vickie Guerrero saying “Excuse Me’ like 90 times, getting all the women to stop and gang up on her and eliminate her fairly quickly.
Torrie Wilson, Kelly Kelly, Michelle McCool and Lita looked pretty terrible tonight. Ms. Jacqueline did her thing, Beth Phoenix had a nice power spot with Nia, Molly Holly looked amazing and Trish Stratus didn’t look like she missed too many steps and got the illustrious number 30 entry. Ember Moon also entered as a nice feel good moment since she only had one arm, plus the face off again with Asuka was a nice pop.
So the final four was odd since it was the two Bellas, Sasha and Asuka, but Sasha took charge of the Bellas in a very heelish way, until the Bellas took the opportunity to eliminate her. Nikki eliminates Brie, while her and Asuka go out to the apron and swing back and forth. Asuka drops, the crowd gasps, and then when Asuka kicks her legs out from under her…the peasants rejoice again.
Now no one asked Asuka who she wanted, both champions just came in the ring with her and Asuka was like a kid in a candy store of potential victims. Ronda Rousey debuts in full Roddy Piper, doesn’t say anything, infers a beef with Charlotte…but then leaves.
I guess this is one of those “Tune in Monday/Tuesday to see what happens”, but it seemed a little unnecessary.
Rating: *** (Gold V)
So yes the two Rumbles may have been a little spotty but over all they were fun, and the women’s rumble definitely came off as a more entertaining match. I also can’t complain since I won the two Rumble pools for the first time in the 12 years my friends have been doing this. So a little extra cash and my Empress of Tomorrow winning her title shot makes for a good night.
Sleepy time everyone, time for me to pass out.
BWN Nerds’ Movie Review: Godzilla vs Kong (2021)
Big boy monster throw down of the year! The Nerds return with a current movie review, and this one should be interesting. Is Dave too forgiving? Is Patrick taking his role as the German judge too seriously? Find out where the overall ratings lands between these two!
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Nerd Review! Every week the Nerds give you their take on a different movie from the Nerdosphere. This week Dave and Patrick review the fourth installment of kaiju cinematic universe Godzilla vs. Kong!
The Flick: Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
What’s it About: A researcher believes a hollow world beneath the Earth’s surface is the birthplace of the mighty Kaiju. He convinces and old friend to help him take the mighty Kong to find his birthplace even if it means incurring the wrath of the King of Kaiju Godzilla. The battle between the two alpha Kaiju could result in the end of all mankind.
Metacritic Score: 59
The Nerds’ Take on Godzilla vs Kong (2021):
Dave It is time for the Main Event of Legendary’s MosterVerse, the showdown we have been waiting for: Godzilla v. Kong. If you have been following along with our Nerd Reviews, then you knew this was coming. What you don’t know is whether we feel the climax to the series is worth your time or not. Well allow me to give you my take on that topic.
Plot wise, it has been some five years since Godzilla defeated Ghidorah and things have been relatively quiet and peaceful. Meanwhile, on Skull Island, Monarch has created a dome like structure to observe and try and control Kong. Kong has developed a relationship with a little girl, Jia, who seems to be the last surviving member of her clan. Jia has, for lack of a better term, been adopted by Dr. Ilene Andrews. Jia is deaf and she seems able to communicate with Kong through sign language.
Halfway across the globe, Apex Cybernetics is engaged in some sort of experimentation that attracts the attention of Godzilla, who shows up and annihilates their facility in Florida. Godzilla’s attack shatters humanity’s notion that he is their friend. Bernie Hayes is an employee of Apex, but he also hosts a Podcast focusing on conspiracy theories involving the Titans. He is soon joined by Madison Russell (from Godzilla: King of the Monsters) who is a fan of the Podcast, and her friend Josh as they start poking around the remains of the Apex site in Florida. We soon discover that Apex is looking for a massive power source that they believe is located in Hollow Earth. Hollow Earth is really more of an Earth within the Earth (Middle Earth, perhaps?) and the quandary is how to survive the trip to Hollow Earth. Nathan Lind is a Hollow Earth expert whose brother perished in a prior expedition to Hollow Earth due to a reverse gravitational effect. But Apex has developed vehicles that can survive the voyage. They just need Kong to lead them there.
In the process of transporting Kong to Antarctica, which has an entry point to Hollow Earth, Godzilla senses his old rival and attacks. Godzilla definitely gets the better of this battle, forcing the expeditionary force to transport Kong by air to Antarctica to avoid detection by Godzilla. Kong gets the group to Hollow Earth and it becomes clear there has been an ancient rivalry between Kong’s ancestors and Godzilla’s. Kong discovers an axe made out of portions of Godzilla’s ancestor’s skins. Back on the surface, Bernie, Madison, and Josh have been whisked away to Hong Kong and they discover what Apex is really up to….Mechagodzilla. Mechagodzilla can be telepathically controlled and it is Dr. Serizawa’s son who is pulling the strings, using the severed head of Ghidorah to do so. The problem is that to utilize Mechagodzilla to its full potential, they require more power, much more power to be exact. This is where the search for the Hollow Earth power source comes into play.
Mechagodzilla is activated and this attracts Godzilla. Godzilla also senses what Kong is doing in Hollow Earth and he sends a blast of atomic breath from Hong Kong to, in essence, the center of the Earth. Kong and the Hollow Earth expeditionary force follow the hole made by Godzilla to the surface. Everyone emerges in Hong Kong for a massive fight between Kong and Godzilla. Kong fares better this time around but is ultimately rendered near death by Godzilla. At about this time, Mechagodzilla is imbued with the power source from Hollow Earth and he also achieves sentience. This leads to the big brawl between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla and it is a mismatch in favor of Mechagodzilla…. until Kong is revived, evening the odds in an enormously predictable moment. Godzilla supercharges Kong’s ax with his atomic breath and the two Titans take down Mechagodzilla. Godzilla and Kong show each other a sign of respect and go their separate ways. Apparently, there can be two alpha Titans after all.
Let’s talk about the good stuff first: the monster fights. They are all fantastic. The battles between Kong and Godzilla feel as big as you would expect. They are titanic clashes in every sense of the word. Godzilla fans will have bragging rights after watching this movie because it is clear that Godzilla whups Kong’s ass on more than one occasion. Kong fans save face though by noting that without Kong, Mechagodzilla would surely have triumphed. As for Mechagodzilla, his appearance in the movie was not a secret and he did not disappoint. The clash between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla was done very well to show just how much more powerful Mechagodzilla was and why it took the combined might of Godzilla and Kong to turn the tide. If massive Kaiju action is your thing, then Godzilla vs Kong is definitely your movie.
Now for the bad: The people. Now, I know what Patrick is going to say. That the movie shifts the focus to the people too much and detracts attention from the monsters. I know he thinks the concept of humans using a defibrillator on Kong is absurd. I am OK with those points in a movie like this. The problem I have with the people is this: They don’t matter. Not at all! They are white noise in the purest sense of the word. 90% of the characters are wholly uninteresting and meaningless. They add little to the plot and just get in the way. So, to be real, Patrick and I are, to a certain extent, talking about different sides of the same coin. The exceptions to this involve Jia, who is quite important to the whole notion of establishing Kong as the “good guy”, and Bernie, who is a fun character and kind of represents a microcosm of conspiracy theorists that are quite common in the real world today. Bernie epitomizes the notion that just because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t watching you. But, beyond those two, the characters are quite dull and just felt very pointless.
As far as this being the series finale, I greatly enjoyed the movie. The dynamic between Kong and Godzilla is interesting and keeps you engaged, regardless of whether you are rooting for one, the other, or both. There are some interesting concepts in the movie, specifically how Hollow Earth is different than you might expect and much more interesting, no matter how far-fetched the idea might be. Interestingly, this movie really showcases just how bad ass Godzilla is. I am not sure why it took three movies to get it right, but I digress. Then there is Kong, who ends up being a multi-layered creature that is shown even more heroically than he was in Kong: Skull Island. As for me, I always favored Kong over Godzilla and I left the movie feeling fine with the outcome of everything. If there is a downside it’s that it appears the MonsterVerse has come to an end, just when it was getting really good. That’s too bad. As for Godzilla vs Kong, the awesome action sequences and special effects vastly outweigh the issues involving the people. This is a very good final installment (we think) in this franchise. It is the best of the movies involving Godzilla. I still liked Kong: Skull Island more, but this was a close second.
Dave’s Rating: 4/5
Patrick: Here we are again covering the fourth film in the Warner Brothers/Legendary produced Kaiju Monster universe. And once again this film somehow finds a way to mess up a simple concept. If you recall, in my review of Godzilla King of the Monsters I said good kaiju movies minimize the involvement of human beings in the film and let the monsters take center stage. Unfortunately, the folks at Warner Brothers still have not quite grasped the concept here in its fourth Kaiju film. The result is an uneven film that shines when the monsters are on screen and leaves me tuning out when the focus shifts to the little primates.
In this fourth installment, we learn that Monster research organization Monarch I closely monitoring Kong. Going so far as to create an enclosure around Skull Island so that he is safe from Godzilla. This of course will not last because, well, humans. One human in particular, a man named Nathan Lind comes with the backing of a mysterious tech corporation called Apex to search for “Hollow Earth.” Hollow Earth is a world beneath the surface of our Earth that is believed to be the birthplace of all Kaiju. Lind visits his friend and Monarch researcher Ilene on Skull Island. Lind believes Kong is the key to finding this hidden world. Despite knowing, Godzilla will attempt to kill Kong, Ilene agrees to embark on the expedition. Of course, Godzilla attacks and we get the first of three rounds of monster battling that we paid for.
Unfortunately, to get to round two and three, the audience has to sit through overwrought dialogue and subplots all in an attempt to help the audience connect to the experience. It’s all really boring. You know why? PEOPLE DON’T WATCH KAIJU MOVIES FOR THE HUMANS. But, I digress. Naturally the tech corporation Apex is not on the up and up with Lind. Color me stunned, but Apex turns out to be the real enemy to both Kong and Godzilla. I haven’t even covered the conspiracy theory guy and his gang of teenagers trying to expose Apex from the inside. Again, no one cares because, read it aloud…NOBODY WATCHES KAIJU MOVIES FOR THE HUMANS.
But this isn’t the end of the dumb. The audience is treated to an ancient history between Kong’s ancestor and the other Kaiju where we see Kong find the ancient axe of his ancestors. Because a monkey wielding an axe is cool looking. Did I mention Kong can charge the thing up with Godzilla’s radioactive breath? AWESOME? How about the humans using a high tech battery as defibrillator to revive a dying Kong? Just dumb on top of dumb followed by more dumb. And humans. All of the humans.
The cast for Godzilla vs. Kong is quite the list of names. Alexander Skarsgard essentially fills the role of human protagonist Nathan Lind. Honestly, he is the only human character given anything to work with. Kyle Chandler is back in his role as researcher Mark Russell, but if you blink you miss him. Millie Bobby Brown is also back as Madison Russell, but horribly wasted in a sidekick sort of role to the previously mentioned conspiracy theorist. She is limited to trying to discover why Godzilla has started attacking human cities. Someone of her talent could have and should have been used better. There are tons of other folks in this movie, and yet I struggle to understand why we needed them all. All they do is distract from what the audience wants to see which is GODZILLA and KONG FIGHT.
Ok. So what’s good about this film? Well, the Kaiju. The special effects team outdid themselves crafting these battles. Kong and Godzilla’s bouts all feel epic. I was also impressed with how much more well lit some of the night scenes were. As Kong and Godzilla battle at night in a Chinese city, everything is well lit without appearing phony. The choreography of the battles are terrific, albeit a little silly at times. Again, radioactive monkey axe. But the joy of Godzilla vs Kong is in these epic clashes. I watched the movie on HBO Max, I can only imagine how amazing it would have appeared on an IMAX movie screen with Dolby sound shaking my eardrums.
I came into Godzilla vs. Kong with pretty low expectations. I want to stress that I loved, loved, loved the action sequences involving the Kaiju. Unfortunately, you have to sit through an inordinate amount of human exposition to get to those epic moments. That’s not to say the humans and their stories need to be gone entirely. The audience does need a guide and some context. But Godzilla v. Kong would have been so much stronger with a pared down human side of things and a focus on the monsters. It seems Warner Brothers and Legendary pictures still haven’t learned the key to Kaiju: it’ all about the monsters.
Patrick’s Rating: 2.24/5.0
Overall Nerds’ Rating on Godzilla vs Kong (2021): 3.12/5.0
NXT Minus 6: Stand and Deliver…After
Brad breaks down the NXT Takeovers and his favorite matches! Do you agree?
These are the six best matches from Takeover week, plus a new bonus feature!
6. Jordan Devin versus Santos Escobar, 4.3 stars Devlin turned in a star making performance. His moonsault off the ladder was absolutely perfect and batshit crazy. Escobar is technically so sound, everything he hits looks great, and he’s top notch on the mic. But he’s not a cruiserweight, and I will never forget that fact. Still, an exciting match that surpassed my expectations.
5. Tyler Bate versus Noam Dar, 4.3 stars This match was a blast. Both guys have such a wide array of moves, you’ll never see the same match twice from either of them. The only thing holding this back was the Heritage Cup format. I like it, but it’s hard to have the sustained exchanges necessary to elevate a match to greatness. The breaks slow things down right as they are speeding up. Give these two a straight 20 minutes for the NXT UK championship #1 contender, and you’re look at a MOTY.
4. Gauntlet Match, 4.4 stars Another match that was just pure fun. Leon Ruff continues to prove he’s not a fluke champion. Cameron Grimes is 100% working the rich hillbilly gimmick. They made the right call by getting L.A. Knight and Dexter Lumis out quickly. And in another star making performance, Swerve Scott started the match against flyweight Ruff and ended it against Bronson Reed. That kind of versatility is enough to earn my #3 Star of the Night.
3. Io Shirai versus Raquel Gonzalez, 4.5 stars
This was the intense, inspired Shirai I don’t think I’ve seen since her match with Dakota Kai at Takeover 30. If this was her last match, as some are speculating, then she’s leaving on a high note worthy of her greatness. As good as Gonzalez was in ring, her performance after the match was even better. You could tell she kept flipping from “Holy crap, this is real and I couldn’t be happier” to “Yes, I’m a bad ass and I’ll power bomb every one of you chumps.”
2. MSK versus Legado Del Fantasma versus Grizzled Young Veterans, 4.5 stars
Some other federation might be on their level, but nobody does tag teams better than NXT. All three teams got considerable time to shine. In a match stuffed with terrific action & individual performances, Wes Lee shined the brightest. His hot tag was Cesaro-level awesome, and his athletic ability rivals Ricochet. He is a star in the making, and his performance earned him my #2 Star of the Night.
1. WALTER versus Tommaso Ciampa 4.7 stars
I gave Ciampa about a 1% chance of winning. Despite the lack of necessary drama, these two told a masterful story with near flawless execution. Something about WALTER brings out the best in whoever he faces. He did it with Tyler Bate and Ilja Dragunov. He did it with Ciampa. This was easily his best performance since his return from neck surgery. People say he’s a brawler, while guys like Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong are known for their gas tank. Ciampa showed that he can run with the best. His effort against WALTER earned him the respect of Imperium and my #1 Star of the Night.
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