WWE Power Rankings, revisited

While watching RAW, I was asking myself what the heck was there to look forward to after The New Day had finished their segment?  Needless to say, it’s a really dark time for the WWE right now.  With John Cena taking a well-deserved break from television, and the unfortunate timing of Seth Rollins’ injuries set to shelf him for almost a whole year, the sheer lack of depth in the WWE is being brutally exploited right now.

There are a lot of guys on the roster, but not nearly enough of them have been developed to the point where they could shoulder more television time and not bore the audience of start generating X-Pac heat, and it’s times like these where I’m curious just how big of a challenge it is to fill a three-hour block now.

With Sheamus cashing in Money in the Bank, the WWE has basically burned its biggest creative get-out-of-jail-free card, but I can’t help but feel that they jumped the gun on it just a little bit.  Ultimately, my opinion on the MITB case is that it serves as a hard-reset to storylines, just in case a storyline doesn’t go the way it really should have, and instead of trying to phase it out, simply pull the plug on it with the MITB; however, by Sheamus having cashed it approximately five minutes and fifteen seconds after Roman Reigns had won the World title, they basically pulled the plug on a title run that didn’t even have a chance to fail.

The bottom line is that Sheamus is the World Heavyweight champion now, and I couldn’t think of anyone on the roster that could be worse than him.  It’s not that he’s a bad worker or anything, it’s just the simple fact that Sheamus is fucking boring.  There is absolutely nothing interesting about him, and I feel as if putting the responsibility of shouldering the main event scene on him is a terrible mistake.  The difference is now, with MITB off the table, the company no longer has the capability to pull the plug on the Sheamus run, and will have to have the challenge of actually writing it out when it ends, presumably, by either the Royal Rumble the show after that, because the thought of Sheamus being in the main event of Wrestlemania is frightening.

Anyway, I thought that in light of current storylines and the state of the WWE, I thought it would be a good time to go back and revisit the power rankings, namely as far as the championship belts are concerned, because frankly there’s not much else besides championship belts worth discussing with the current state of the company.

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This is an example of what’s wrong with Atlanta

TL:DR: City of Johns Creek votes “full and complete opposition” to MARTA expansion into its city limits.

Johns Creek is often lost in the shuffle when it comes to the affluent, predominantly-white regions of the outskirts of Metro Atlanta.  However, much like Roswell and Alpharetta, Johns Creek is the oft-overlooked third member of the north Fulton “Milton” county region, that likes to stir the pot and raise controversy every few years about how they want to secede and become their own county, and not be lumped in with the rest of Fulton county AKA “where all the black people live.”

Make no mistake, when it comes to demographics, atmosphere, and sense of entitlement, Johns Creek is sparsely different than its neighbors in Roswell and Alpharetta.

Except when it comes to the acceptance of MARTA, and the stigma that comes along with MARTA.

Although it’ll seem like another lifetime before it actually comes to fruition, Roswell/Alpharetta have taken the risky plunge and provided it doesn’t fall through along the way, expansion into way-north Fulton county is the plan, providing the area with a means to transit their way into Midtown/Downtown Atlanta without having to sit in the parking lots of 400 and the Connector.

Johns Creek, however?  I would have assumed that the Gold line that ended in Doraville, would have been proposed to have continued to travel northbound into John’s Creek, adding anywhere from 3-6 additional stops along the way.

But that’s going to happen because Johns Creek apparently unanimously shot the idea down, because much like other detractors of MARTA like all of Cobb county, they don’t like black people.

Seriously, let’s not sugarcoat it, or act like that’s not the reason why places like Johns Creek and Marietta don’t want MARTA.  I’ve said it before, I’ve seen firsthand what could happen with the introduction of mass transit connecting urban areas to affluent suburban ones, and there’s little to no effort to even attempt to integrate.  It’s basically Charlie Wilson’s War, but on a slightly lesser scale, and resulting in only local violent organizations springing up, and not al Qaeda.

Now I don’t hide the fact that I love to criticize, glorify and take legions of cheap shots at MARTA.  It’s practically a national pastime for me, undoubtedly.  However, the truth of the matter is that as far as transit in Metro Atlanta goes, MARTA is really all we’ve got, and if Metro Atlanta wants to have any shot at actually being considered the world-class city they like to often boast about them already being, they’re going to need some fucking mass transit.

And not more stadiums.  Fuck more stadiums.

Sure, I’ve seen what transit can do to an unprepared area (RIP Springfield Mall).  But I’ve also been to places and seen what good having reliable mass transit can do, within the United States, and especially in cities in Europe.  It is absolutely incredible to be able to get from the airport into the center of Amsterdam within 30 minutes without having to worry about needing a car.  I was able to get from hotels located on the outskirts of Chicago and Boston to Wrigley Field and Fenway Park without having to spend a single minute in the crippling traffic that both cities are known to have on the roads.  I laughed at road ragers in Paris before slipping into the Chatelet station for the 50th time before hopping on the 4 train that basically took me everywhere I wanted to go in the city.  And only on rare occasions have I really ever needed a car to get anywhere I needed to go whenever I went into Washington D.C., when I could park my car in Springfield and Metro it instead.

Sure, there’s the obvious stigma and half-truths to the idea that MARTA is full of Africans being Moved Rapidly Through Atlanta, but I think it’s how the potential expansion sites handle the expansions and the influx of people, not just the blacks, that determines whether or not a place becomes another Springfield Mall, or flourishes like actual world class U.S. cities like Boston, Chicago or New York.

I mean, it’s easy for me to say, but I don’t know, create more jobs like security, reinforce the idea that MARTA expansion is still safe, and hope that it doesn’t deter but actually encourage more people to come to Johns Creek to leave their money behind, or perhaps expand, and possibly flourish?

The way Johns Creek xenophobia sounds, it’s like they believe a black person from like Riverdale county will hop on a bus to get on a train to College Park, where they will ride it all the way to Johns Creek, walk to the nearest affluent white neighborhood, bust down a door, steal a 60” television, walk back to the MARTA station, hop aboard a train with a 60” television in their arms, all the way back to College Park, take a MARTA bus back to Riverdale where they will successfully have heisted.

Doesn’t really matter though, I’m just one person, and Johns Creek is many.  But in a nutshell, this is what’s wrong with Atlanta.  The city wants to talk a big game about how they’re a world class city, but it’s full of segmented neighborhoods that want all the benefits of being lumped into a major market, without having to actually give the undesirable black people access to them.

The racism is abundantly transparent, regardless of what anyone says and until places like Johns Creek and all of Cobb county get over their inherent fear of black people, Atlanta as a whole will never be united, and with no unity, all hopes for true expansion and growth will always fall short.

According to wrestling logic, this is going to be an ugly finish

Honestly?  I thought Virginia Tech could’ve beaten North Carolina.  I know that North Carolina was ranked #17 going into the game and Tech was ranked somewhere between Pop Warner and Grambling State, but come on, it’s North Carolina; this wasn’t a basketball game, it was a football game.  And sure, UNC is known as the standard-bearer in bullshit student athlete ringers to field a football team, but still.

Either way, more often than naught I’m usually pretty plain when it comes to facing defeat in sports, but over the last few years, Tech games have climbed my ranks of “sports ball games that matter,” especially compared to my dwindling care of the Braves and my general lack of an NFL team to support.

The fact is, I was pretty disappointed in Tech’s overtime loss to North Carolina, mostly because of the magic comeback they put together to set up overtime in the first place, but naturally the main reason being that it was Frank Beamer’s last game in Blacksburg.

Coach slandering is pretty much the same thing as mom jokes; fans are allowed to make them, and fans will sound like the worst people on the planet when it comes to the subject of their teams’ coaches, but when the day is over, we still care, and we’re still melancholy when the time actually does come, when a long-time, revered coach decides to step down from their mantles.

I remember seeing Braves fans go through the same thing in the years preceding the retirement of Bobby Cox, but when the year final came where ol’ Bobby announced his impending retirement, the man could do nothing wrong.  The same thing basically occurred with Frank Beamer, except the fact that he sprung his retirement announcement up with three games left in the season, but since then, it’s been nothing but adulation and praise for the career that he has had.

Sure, I’ve said my share of critical things about how ol’ Frank’s coaching style is dated, and that a team whose reputation revolved around special teams meant that the teams were severely lacking in more primary areas, like offense or defense.  But the fact of the matter is that without a guy like Frank Beamer, there’s no telling that Tech fans would have enjoyed the luxury of having halfway watchable college football over the span of the last decade, with some particularly good seasons along the way.

And the fact that with the departure of Frank Beamer, it really is kind of going to spell the end of an era, as well as a higher chance of difficulty in getting back to success.  Recruiting might become a little more difficult when Frank Beamer’s name isn’t involved in potential coaching, and barring the hiring of a fairly reputable replacement, it may become harder to draw some hotshot recruits over to the Hokies.  Either way, I don’t think I’m going to be holding my breath for any ten-win seasons any time soon, not that I have been since the bullshit loss to Michigan in the Sugar Bowl a few years ago.

Sure, the season is not over yet, with (at least) one more game left, for the Commonwealth Cup against UVA.  It might not be a home game in Blacksburg, but given the propensity of Tech travel, and the fact that it’s still within the state, there will undoubtedly be a massive warm reception for Frank in Charlottesville.

Yes, there’s been a ton of rhetoric about how Tech owns UVA in football, but if there was ever a time when the magic would run out, this is probably the year.  UVA fought to the last minute last season, and neither team is really that much different this year.  There wouldn’t be any more fitting way for Frank Beamer’s career to end in the same manner in which has so often been the case – falling just short, of that magical 23rd straight year of bowl eligibility.

And even still, say Tech beats UVA, finishes 6-6, and is invited to like, the Popeyes Chicken Bowl or something, they’ll inevitably get smashed by someone like Ball State or Bowling Green.  Because if there’s one thing that’s been consistent about Frank Beamer’s bowl performance, is that he’s always consistently lost most of them (10-12 actually, but still that’s under .500).

Wrestling logic, wouldn’t have it any other way, that no matter the prestige, no matter the accolades and the winning history, when the day is over, no one man is bigger than the business, and there’s no better way to show the business respect, than to go out with your back on the mat.

Anyway, here’s hoping for the best (two more wins), but kind of expecting the worst (demoralizing loss to UVA).  But that’s often the case with most Virginia Tech fans.

Paige, the WWE Divas and the progression of the industry

It’s funny; in my life, I’ve taken my share of whimsical flack, criticism and questioning the fact that I’m a fan of professional wrestling.  How it’s “fake,” which is true that all results are pre-determined, but the physical action is still very much real, and how it’s the equivalent of watching a men’s soap opera, which I also cannot really refute.

And that “it’s stupid,” because it’s a closed-minded good ol’ boys club where grown men in spandex tights bash each other in the heads with chairs in some rehearsed homoerotic dance that only rednecks like.

Now there was once a time and place where this was a more succinct description of the industry, but that time is in the past, and this is where I disagree such an assessment.

This line of thought came to fruition, when watching this past week’s episode of RAW, that ended with a segment featuring two female wrestlers, Paige and Charlotte.  The context behind their relationship is that Paige is the challenger to Charlotte’s Divas Championship,* but here’s the kicker; the segment wasn’t a match at all, but solely a contract signing, for their upcoming match at Survivor Series.

*I really hate the fact that it’s called such, and feel that it is metaphorically holding the entire division of women’s wrestling back as long as it’s called such, but that’s “their brand.”

To sum it up, the final segment to a television ratings juggernaut over the last two decades typically involving men beating each other up under the guise of wrestling, involved two female wrestlers who didn’t actually wrestle.

And they absolutely killed it – in that “that was pretty good” kind of way.

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Happy 30th, Calvin and Hobbes!

Honestly, I got nothing, when it comes to words to write today.  Just not feeling any sort of inspiration, motivation, or really want to even try and write as many words as I possibly can, even about something I love so dearly like Calvin and Hobbes.

I just can’t believe it’s been 30 years since the series started in 1985.  That would’ve made me three years old.  I didn’t discover the series until like I was 10, when I was snooping around my cousin’s bedroom, and I saw a spine entitled “Something Under the Bed is Drooling,” and it was my first foray into C&H comics.  Eventually, I would end up owning (almost) every C&H collection, and although I don’t have any of them anymore, somewhere in my house, I still have, framed, the final C&H comic strip (above), from The Washington Post.

Either way, in spite of my sheer lack of writing apathy today, I would be remiss if I didn’t post something about this, because Calvin and Hobbes was one of my most favorite comics, publication series and artwork that I can kind of attribute and claim inspiration to a lot of how I ultimately ended up in my life.  30 years, man that makes me feel old as hell.