No Way Out actually had some pretty decent wrestling, as did Raw this week. I almost thought it was impossible for a show to top that. Then I watched Superstars.
4. Ezekiel Jackson vs. Hunico
All right, if anyone was going to make Jackson look good it was going to be Hunico. While this doesn’t live up to Hunico’s match with Sin Cara on Sunday it was decent and worth the one watch. Nothing special, but not bad.
3. Zack Ryder vs. Drew McIntyre
The main event tonight was incredible. The crowd was going crazy for Ryder and they decided to give him as an opponents Drew McIntyre. Okay, so you knew Drew was losing. Ryder was not losing with this crowd, despite the WWE’s obsession with having men lose in their hometown, there isn’t a man more over in his hometown. The two of them put on a match that has you on the edge of your seat if just to see what they are going to do next. McIntyre makes fun of Ryder’s “LI” hand gesture to the crowd and at one point walks across Ryder’s face. But, Ryder did win and the fans rejoiced.
2. Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. Tyler Reks & Curt Hawkins
The Kings of Change take on my favorite face tag team since, well, quite awhile. Surprisingly the match was a showcase of Reks and Kidd. Reks gets brutal with Kidd and Kidd tries to get brutal right back. I love Kidd’s ability but watching him try to put the very large Reks into a Sharpshooter was a bit funny. Reks also did a move he calls the Guilty Spark to Kidd, which had him putting Kidd over his shoulders and dropping him across the ropes. It’s much cooler than I described. However, at the end of the match Hawkins had to take the pin, but so far this is match of the week. Four incredible talents showing off their skills. Oh, and I can’t forget the brilliant, “Let’s Go Hawkins!” chant that started off the match.
1. Scott Stanford
Speaking of incredible talent, did you hear what he had to say this week? And Josh? What happened to Mathews this week? He seemed to be a whole different commentator who was engaged in conversation and the match and between the two they were not missing a beat. This was the best commentating job from the team since they first teamed up. I hope they both keep the momentum.
Scott Stanford’s best lines of the night:
“What have Reks and Hawkins done in a year of being a tag team? Both Kidd and Gabriel former champions.”
“I was trying to take the temperature, get into the core of what they were feeling.”
“Now Hawkins takes one right in the kisser!”
“The Tag Team division just sizzling right now in the WWE.”
“Hawkins and Reks told me they are still very proud of the People Power Era. They are going to continue to honor the John Laurinaits/Shane Douglas Dynamic Dudes tag team with those 80s neon ring gear.”
“Zack actually recording for Z True Long Island Story backstage just a little bit ago and McIntyre goes by and smacks the camera out of Ryder’s hands.”
“Right where the vertical and horizontal mats meet, right on Zack’s back.”
I’m going to get in so much trouble this week.
4. Zack Ryder vs. Heath Slater
I like Ryder, I was a fan of his when I first saw him on ECW when he was still rocking the one pant leg on his attire. As he grew I enjoyed him more. Even as he became a walking-catch-phrase I enjoyed him. But as someone else pointed out, he’s the lowest rung guy to have entered the Five Moves of Doom territory which made this match have not only a predictable ending, but a predictable story. Slater takes it all like a champ and Scott does his best to commentate some livelihood into it, but even Ryder seems to be frustrated as he does his, “What?” when it’s only a 2 count and instead of looking a the ref, or Slater, or anyone else, he kind of stares at the tron. People are losing interest in Ryder, but I fear it might be because he’s lost interest himself.
3. Kofi Kingston and R-Truth vs. JTG and Michael McGillicutty
Again, a terribly predictable ending, but the storytelling and match choreography is not as predictable. Kofi does his, “Boom! Boom!” and JTG makes fun of it outside of the ring with McGillicutty laughing beside him. McGillicutty and JTG actually have great chemistry as a tag team and move like they have been working with each other for months as opposed to having had a one-off sometime months ago. McGillicutty does a baseball slide and a flip to Truth that left me impressed and JTG gets a chance to not just be a comedic act in the ring. R-Truth is great, he has fun, but Kofi is the same ol’ same ol’. Luckily, Scott’s commentary keeps the slow parts of the match lively.
2. Scott Stanford
Speaking of Scott. Yes, he’s number two this week, but in my heart you know he’s number one, but this week a match won out. Scott has great one-liners, as usual, and explains about his learning exactly what a “Honky Tonk Badonka donk” is as well as explaining that the reason Slater was eliminated first in the last battle royale is because no one wanted to take on Khali and that he was willing to do it, though in retrospect it might not have been the best idea. Scott lends his voice and storytelling to Superstars, as usual, and he awakens the two matches he sat in for. But one match stood out on its own…
1. Antonio Cesaro vs. Tyson Kidd
Yes, Cesaro won. Yes, it was predictable. Yes, I like Kidd more. BUT, and it’s a good one, this was an incredible match. Kidd can’t put on a bad match (when he’s not told to take the squash) and this time they are given the opportunity to use up their abilities on one another. Kidd makes Cesaro look good and Cesaro seems to either take things more seriously now that he’s been brought up, or his skill has grown in spades in just a few short weeks. Either way, this match shines out through the others. And Cesaro was accompanied by Aksana, which is always a plus.
And I’m blaming the fact that Scott didn’t wear a tie this week for the reason he is at number two.
Scott’s best lines of Superstars:
“The freshness of JTG with the ground and pound stylings of McGillicutty.”
“Truth working on getting Lil’ Jimmy a Championship belt.”
“JTG, he wouldn’t be a dinosaur, he would be a flynosaur.”
“That’s gotta do it! JTG to pick up the win here on Super- No!”
“Honky Tonk Badonka Donk.”
“You know, Flo Rida talks a bit game, I don’t know if he’d actually want to step into a WWE ring with Heath Slater.”
“So you don’t get Beyonce one night, you use Heath Slater.”
“You know what show I haven’t been on? Are You Serious with you and Road Dogg.”
“Broski Boot into your living room!”
The old adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” would have been the perfect lesson for the main character to repeat in his head through this book. What is it about a slick man promising a lot of money that people just jump at the chance of? Oh right, the promise of a lot of money.
The ending is predictable, which is likely why it’s left for the very end. The majority of this book is about Clay Carter’s rise to the King of Torts than it is about the inevitable fall he suffers once at the top. Which, of course, leaves a lot to be desired in the end for resolution.
This novel is less about the cases and the torts than it is about Carter’s life throughout the rise and fall. Carter’s relationships, his friends, how he spends his newfound money. However, despite it being about Carter, Carter as a character has no real depth. He admits to losing sleep or feeling bad, but none of it has any consequence besides him saying so. If Grisham really wanted a cost of being a millionaire story then this should have been given a little more in depth.
Reasons to Read:
- It’s John Grisham, his writing is still incredible
- Interesting look at lawyers who sue major drug companies only looking to settle
Reasons Not to Read:
- Flat characters
Well, of the WWE shows I watched this week this one was my favorite. Yes, even after a show that had Derrick on it and another that had Scott on it. FCW was my favorite. Here’s a bit of why:
4. Brad Maddox Goes a Little Crazy
Sure, he definitely had a Dean Ambrose thing going while he ranted about Steamboat and went off the deep end, but it shows Maddox is growing. He went from bland, to a little full of himself, to crazy. If he can balance full of himself and crazy he might find a unique character that is his own. That’s what FCW is for, developing your character and your talents. Maddox is finding his groove and he does a good job this week in doing so.
3. Leo Kruger vs. Bo Rotundo
Usually I would have Kruger higher, because, well, he’s Leo Kruger. But Bo… No Bo-Bo. The man has the weakest looking spear ever. I can’t take it as a finisher against a man like Kruger. The match itself was fine, not great, but fine, but that finisher…
2. Rick Victor vs. Richie Steamboat
Now, despite an ending that irritated me because Richie should not have kicked out after Sofia jumped in and took him down while the ref wasn’t looking, this was still a great match. As Chris said, and might be true, “Victor looks like he could be another Kidd, he has the moves he’s just not as polished yet.” Yup, that’s pretty much it. Victor has the moves and every time I see him he’s growing a little in his abilities, and let’s be honest, I haven’t seen that much of him yet. Steamboat is always a pleasure to watch, and I’m not upset he won, per se, I’m upset he won when he clearly should not have.
1. Antonio Cesaro vs. Kassius Ohno
Wow. Just wow. I guess it’s to be expected since these two worked together for so long but this was an amazing match. Cesaro and Ohno proved how well they can work in the ring and while I assumed Cesaro was going to lose because he went to Smackdown, as that seems to usually be FCW’s way, I was sitting on the edge of my seat the entire time. And Ohno did win, but only because Cesaro pulled a ref in front of Ohno, whom Ohno punched, on accident of course. Then other wrestlers ran out into the ring to break the fight up between the two. This was likely my second favorite match of the week
4. Tyson Kidd
Screw WWE for not only putting Kidd in a sqaush match against Tensai, but for putting a squash match on Superstars. “Superstars is about the wrestling!” Oh wait, squash. Okay, so it was not an out and out squash. Kidd got in some offense. But still, it didn’t last long and you knew Kidd never had a chance. Thank God for Scott, who commentates this like it’s the most exciting match he’s ever seen, as he does every match, or else I would have cried. Kidd gets the #4 spot for two reasons, though. 1) There were only 3 matches and we know who goes at #1. 2) Kidd sells this whole match brilliantly and keeps that determined look on his face, believing he has a chance, when he knows he doesn’t. Kidd’s a wrestling king.
3. Alex Riley vs. Heath Slater
Honestly, if I hadn’t known Ziggler and Swagger made an appearance on Superstars, I would have thought this would have gone at #2. Sure, there are tons of Slater Haters and people who want to say something not-so-nice to Riley’s face, but both have come a long, long, long way. Riley tosses Scott a wristband (and Josh laments that Scott always is getting things from the Superstars) and prepares for this match. The two of them wrestle like their lives depend on it and it makes for a good match. Not great, great was the triple threat on NXT and the Kassius Ohno/Antonio Cesaro match on FCW, but good enough I was entertained and did not recognize a botch. That’s still saying something.
2. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger vs. The Usos
THE USOS WON?!? After all Ziggler and Swagger put into this match the freaking Usos won. They did nothing but showcase the talents of Ziggler and Swagger and that was enough to get them to win. I don’t even hate the Usos, but Ziggler is another one of those wrestling kings and Swagger is so underrated it makes me want to scream. I don’t care why you don’t like Swagger, he can wrestle circles around most of the roster and he’s the one that gets pinned every time. Ziggler and Swagger have fun with it, though, because someone has to. It’s one of those, “Well, if we don’t have fun, we’ll cry,” because this match was awesomely tragic.
1. Scott Stanford
“Well, I’ve got a mind like a rock. … Whatever that means.”
“I had an airbrush tattoo of a butterfly on my ankle once at a state fair. Closest I ever came to a tattoo.”
You don’t know who is going to win just by listening to Scott’s commentary (doesn’t mean you don’t any, but it won’t be given away by Scott). He loves everyone in the ring and let’s you know why you should as well. Sure, he has bias towards certain guys, like Riley or Ziggler and of course Ryder, but he still makes you feel like Tensai is worthy of being a star and The Usos are the most explosive duo to face-off as a tag team. Whether it’s true or not, there’s no bias here, and he makes matches we groan at sound like they are the best thing you’ll ever watch, and at a time like this, well, we need a man like Scott.
For no reason at all, my favorite shots of Ziggler this episode:
When I go to watch Superstars I usually think, “Well, I already know how the top 4 is going to go,” and I don’t stress, though there are weeks I have refrained from writing one for a lack of being able to come up with 4 things. I try not to be a Negative Nelly when it comes to blogging, it won’t really help you want to watch the show! Which is what I want you to do! This week I wondered how I was going to be able to stick all of the things into a top 4 since there were actually four matches… and Scott Stanford! We can not forget Scott Stanford.
First, let’s talk about match length. Lately I have taken to timing matches, the parts that are actually seen. So from bell to bell, not counting commercial breaks. This particular 50+ minute episode of show had 25 minutes and 54 seconds of wrestling. What the Hell? What happened to the other 25 minutes? Oh right, Raw recaps and commercials that are embedded into the file. Next week I might start timing how long the Raw recaps take. Four matches in 26 minutes? Of course this was better than the last 3 hour Raw, which had 31 minutes of wrestling, and definitely more than four matches.
Okay, now to shake off my negativity and get to the top 4!
4. Alicia Fox vs. Natalya
Alicia Fox isn’t always the best in-skill worker, but Natalya, like her boyfriend, tends to be the controlling interest in a match. Natalya also shines in her new outfit with the cape that never received as much love as it deserved! The women put on an entertaining match and Natalya gets better at the Sharpshooter every time I see her do it. These two also always seem to have fun when they are facing one another, even if they are supposed to hate each other.
3. Ezekiel Jackson vs. Drew McIntyre
I grew bored with Jackson awhile ago, like, shortly after he came back from his injury, so why does this match gets a higher spot? Well, Drew, of course. Drew’s new hairstyle probably helps this a bit, because without it being completely pulled back, and having the braids, he’s even yummier. I don’t know what they are doing with Drew, but he can still Future Shock a wrestler and make me cringe. Yeah, this match made it to three based on McIntyre. I admit it.
2. Santino Marella and Zack Ryder vs. Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins w/ Scott Stanford
Oh yeah, I’m completely cheating. Scott commentated my two favorite matches of this show and I will completely claim that it was because of him that these were my two favorite matches. Sure, Reks and Hawkins are great wrestlers that can take on any tag team, even if they are constantly losing, but Scott helps! Who else has that enthusiasm in the matches, besides possibly Regal? Ryder and Santino were destined to win this match, though, and if you have already seen Smackdown you understand why, but it’s fun in the meantime. Reks also sells taking the Cobra like no one else.
1. Hunico vs. Tyson Kidd w/ Scott Stanford
Kidd is likely the best wrestler in the WWE right now, which is why he gets showcased on shows like Superstars and NXT. He has the skill and it’s better to get the chance to watch him wrestle than to throw him on some show that will have him getting squashed all of the time. Hunico proved a long time ago as the second Sin Cara that he has the skill to match Kidd, though at a slower pace. The two of them take this match to levels that the other shows should be showcasing as main events, and thanks to Scott Stanford (who explains to us the cost of the bike that Camacho and Hunico take out to the ring) it’s commentated like a main event.
See, I managed to get Scott into one and two, and slip in all four of the matches that in some way were worthy of the show that bases itself on the wrestling of the talent.
Every Wednesday my book club gets together and discusses what books we are currently reading. It’s an off day, where we could have had time over the weekend to finish that reading, or really get into a new book. It’s also a usual day where nothing too big is going on. I’d like to extend this so that I can discuss novels with anyone, everyone. Best way to find new novels are to discuss them!
I am about halfway through this book. My goal is to finish it by the weekend so that I can go and see the movie. I’m semi-obsessive that way. Excellent novel, but the problem with Nicholas Sparks is if you have read more than one, you probably get the formula and can predict what is going to happen. (The Last Song was so horribly predictable for me) It doesn’t make it any less amazing, and at halfway through I still can not be positive I am right about what I think is going to happen.
Again, about halfway through this novel, but it’s one of those I read to relax, so it’s going to go slower. End of the night I try to get 10-20 pages in of it. Intriguing and probably the first Grisham novel I’ve read since Runaway Jury, and I’m sure that was at least five years ago? With an average of 3 star rating on Amazon I’m wondering if something blows up in the story, because as of right now I would give it at least 4 stars.
This might be considered cheating slightly, since I have not technically started it, but I will have this finished by the end of today. Manga novels are easy to race through, even when absorbing every little detail, and boy to these have details. Okay, technically this isn’t manga, it’s manwha since it comes from Korea. Sorry for lying to you!
So tell me, what are you reading this Wednesday?
Welcome back to the Barrett Book Club! By now you should know the deal, so here is the book for the May discussion, which will be held on May 26th!
Unfortunately, this is one of those that is a bit harder to find. Right now there are a bunch of used copies on Amazon that aren’t badly priced. If I come across a copy to loan out I will let you know!
In the meantime, if you’ve read it or are reading it, feel free to let us know your discussion questions!
The official discussion questions are here! What I happen to love about these is even if you did not find a copy of the book, these are still questions with a lot of thought that can bring you into the discussion.
Discussion questions for the @BarrettBookClub May selection, “King of the Gypsies” by Bartley Gorman:
Queen of Dragons by Shana Abé
2 of 5 stars
The third novel of the series is about the woman who seems to be the strongest of the drakon race she is a part of. Traveling to Darkfrith to meet the other drakon for herself the story is about the troubles she meets along the way.
Plot: The plot is about a group of men that are killing off the drakon, though you do not actually realize what the plot is about until halfway through. Before that it seemed to be about how Maricara could possibly be destroying cattle and churches and… well, I do not really know.
Characters: Maricara is the main character, a princess with overly strong dragon powers. She meets up with Kimber, the man she is supposed to marry, at least he believes she is supposed to. Kimber is a pompous jerk and never really changes, but she falls for him anyway since this is first and foremost a romance novel. The romance was forced and the characters did not mesh well and all they ever talked about was how she was different but that they should marry for the better of his society.
What did I just waste my time on? I nearly gave this book 3 stars just because Shana knows how to write a sentence. But she knows how to write a sentence too well and most of the book is spent explaining how they turn to smoke, then to dragons. Like we don’t understand that from the first two novels, Shana instead decides to find whole new ways to describe it for us. She spends so much time on this aspect that the plot becomes disjointed and important questions are left unanswered. Like, how were they getting messages back and forth but when one tried to visit he would be killed? Seems that the forces working against them would have kept the messages away as well!
Reasons to read this novel:
3. You read the first two
2. You like historical fantasy romance
1. You like very detailed novels
Reasons not to read this novel:
4. More of a cliffhanger than the other 2
3. Too little happens throught it
2. Contrived romance
1. Poorly executed story
Confessions of a Virgin Sacrifice by Adrianne Ambrose
4 out of 5
A virgin is sacrificed once a year to a Volcano God who demands it. This is what happens when women do not sit around waiting to be sacrificed.
Plot: It is hard to explain what the plot of this novel is about without giving too much away. Extremely fast-paced and a very quick read by the time you apprehend one thing there is a new one. This does not make it a bad thing but it does make for a plot that is constantly fluid.
Characters: Point-of-view character Jezebelle proves, often, to be the smartest character in the novel. Which is actually rather scary considering she has her own dense moments where she should have stopped to consider things. However, her companions in travel, Dizeray, the actual virgin sacrifice, and Thor, a barbarian that Jez admits has a stupid name, seem to be that much… stupider. It is frustrating to a point, but entertaining to watch the group bumble their way through the plot. They are joined by a troll, Lestor, and Thor’s brother, Tul. Lestor has the most personality out of the group and might be verging on the next smartest, which is scary considering he is an idiot as well.
Why did I enjoy a novel filled with so many idiots? It was a well told mess of bumbling circumstances. It reminded me of an episode of a sitcom where everything just keeps going wrong as they try to make it to their destination. Jez and Diz keep stumbling their way along, not really sure where they are going or why, and enjoying the fight. They are joined later by a wolf named Puddin’ who I kept hoping would do more.
This is not a plot to take seriously. It is easily torn apart and questioned if you really wanted to think about it, but that is not the purpose of this novel. This novel is to entertain and allow the non-virginal women to embrace something new. We all have days where we feel like Jez, Jez is just unabashedly brazen about her attitude. When you come to the ending you realize this ending is so very much the character. What could you have expected?
4 reason to enjoy this novel:
4. Fast paced, easy read
3. Humor that pokes fun at the fantasy genre
2. Strong female heroine that does not want to be
1. Does not attempt to take itself seriously
4 reasons to stay way from this novel:
4. Plot could become incoherent if deliberately picked at
3. Definitely a book for women
2. No real descriptions for the sex scenes
1. Does not attempt to take itself seriously