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Static Rift EP 146

This week we open the show with more of the Pokémon talk, you have come to know and love from Static Rift. John and Jason talk about the all new trading and friends lists features that are changing the landscape of Pokémon Go as we know it. During the movie segement portion of the show our hosts talk about the bidding war between Disney and Comcast over the Fox movie rights. Then finally John ends the show with a fiesty wrestling take explaining why Braun Strowman is Roman Reigns Jr and should not be loved by fans, as well as why Smackdwn will always be a second rate show thats never on Raw’s level as long as Vince Mcmahon is at the helm of Wwe.

Report: It Looks Like Telltale is Shutting Down, and That Really

Per Game Informer:

A number of Telltale Games’ employees have posted on social media today indicating that they are looking for work, with many sharing both publicly and privately that Telltale has either closed its doors or is suffering its largest layoff so far.

We have reached out to Telltale for clarification, but did not receive anything back by the time of writing. It appears from the sheer number of developers that are seeking employment, however, that the company will have to make a public statement sooner rather than later.

This is such a bummer, and it really sheds light on how heartbreaking the gaming industry can be sometimes. Telltale has long been a polarizing studio based on the style of games that it produces. They are narrative-driven, graphically unimpressive stories that take the, “your decisions affect the outcome” concept to a whole new level.

Telltale games have received harsh criticism in the past for being ponderous and mentally taxing to get through. Their Game of Thrones series was a solid example of this. Personally, I played their Game of Thrones series and I can tell you that it leaves you feeling like no matter how carefully you make your decisions you will end up with a miserable, depressing, death-filled ending.

However, Telltale seemed to be on the comeback trail due to the success of their Batman series, which was released two years ago. Batman: The Telltale Series was a really enjoyable game and Telltale, I believe, did a fine job venturing into the Batman/DC universe and creating a unique, fun narrative to go along with it.

Unfortunately, it would appear that the last installment of The Walking Dead will serve as Telltale’s swan song to the gaming community. A skeleton crew of just 25 people is left to finish that project and after that, apparently, the doors will be closed for good at Telltale.

Hopefully, the 225 employees that were laid off this week will latch on somewhere else and continue to work in the industry that they love. Telltale wasn’t perfect by any means, but they still provided us with some fun, story-driven games that kept us entertained.

So long, Telltale, and thank you.

NXT Recap: Ricochet & Pete Dunne Put on a Dream Match

I tuned into NXT last night expecting to see the usual: an entertaining, hour-long show with a few high-quality matches and a hint of drama mixed in.

What I got was very different from that. Instead, I sat down and watched what felt like a New Japan Pro Wrestling main event, and I honestly never thought I’d say that about a WWE product ever in my life.

Before I get to the main event allow me to briefly touch on the women’s tag match that opened the show. It was Dakota Kai & Deonna Purrazzo vs. Aliyah and Lacy Evans. There was nothing overly spectacular about this match, but it did a nice job of showcasing NXT’s young, up-and-coming women’s division. Purrazzo and Aliyah are fairly new and look to be coming into their own as of late. It’s encouraging to see Purrazzo getting time on NXT while she’s still competing in the Mae Young Classic. Clearly, WWE is pretty high on her and she backs up the hype in the ring. Evans & Aliyah won the match despite Dakota Kai’s best effort to help her tag team partner. Kai’s massive babyface run continues with a hard-luck loss, and it’s becoming clear that she will likely become the top babyface of the NXT women’s division sooner rather than later.

We also got to see Jaxson Ryker in singles action this week against a youngster named Humberto Carillo. This was a squash match from the very beginning, but Ryker and Carillo actually had a pretty decent match. I’m unfamiliar with Ryker because I didn’t watch him when he went by the name, “Gunner” in Impact, but he looks like a promising heel character. His in-ring brutality reminds me of early-days Dave Bautista in that he’s a physically imposing force who hasn’t refined his craft just yet. There’s a lot that remains to be seen when it comes to Ryker and The Forgotten Sons, but so far they have me intrigued at the very least.

Okay, now on to the main event. Ricochet vs. Pete Dunne in a champion vs. champion match with both the North American and UK Championships on the line at the same time. On paper, this looked like a dream match, and these two absolutely delivered.

The match was constructed exactly like one would expect: Ricochet was going to lean on his high-flying moves and speed to counteract Dunne’s slower, methodical, bruising technique. For a majority of the match, it was Dunne who had the upper hand with his strategy, holding Ricochet down on the ground and working him over with some gruesome joint manipulation that would have made the likes of Marty Scurll and Zack Sabre Jr. very happy to see.

However, Ricochet did not stay down forever, and once he found his feet again he turned on the afterburners and used his speed to overwhelm The Bruiserweight. It’s unlikely that Dunne has ever faced an opponent as fast and mobile as Ricochet, and these two did a great job of showing that in this match.

Ultimately, we would be left without a definitive winner due to interference from The Undisputed Era, which made the crowd extremely unhappy.

I actually really liked that ending, and I’ll tell you why: the only logical conclusion to such a closely contested match between two champions like that is either a draw or a no contest. The interference keeps it up in the air as to who would ultimately win a match between those two, which means we will likely get another match-up in the future. Also, it keeps The Undisputed Era relevant as the top heel faction in the company right now. Oh, you guys are having a great time watching this match? Too bad. We’re the best faction here, and we run NXT, not you.

Hats off to Ricochet and Pete Dunne, they may very well have put on the match of the Summer last night, and I can’t wait to see the next one.

Shawn Michaels Reportedly Set to Return to In-Ring Action At WWE Crown Jewel

Per WrestlingNews.co

It looks like WWE Hall Of Famer Shawn Michaels has one last match left in him after all. “HBK” has been retired from in-ring competition for several years since losing to The Undertaker at WrestleMania 26 in Arizona.

According to a report from Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio, Michaels will return to team up with Triple H against Kane and The Undertaker at the WWE’s upcoming Saudi Arabia show “Crown Jewel” on November 2nd. This became obvious after Monday Night Raw when Undertaker said he would have Kane in his corner for the WWE Super Show-Down.

Well, ain’t that a kick in the ass! Shawn Michaels, perhaps the greatest in-ring showman in WWE history, will be coming back out of retirement to wrestle with Triple H in a tag team match in Saudi Arabia.

Guess who isn’t even the least bit excited about this?

Look, I love HBK as much as the rest of you, but part of the reason I loved him so much was the way he handled his retirement. He walked away from wrestling at exactly the time he should have. Now he’s going back on that for… a tag match? In frickin’ Saudi Arabia?

I have a massive problem with WWE’s hypocritical stance towards putting on these big-money shows in Saudi Arabia to begin with. Don’t preach to us about all the amazing strides you’ve made for women’s wrestling and then put on these massive shows in Saudi Arabia, the most gender-segregated nation in the world. WWE is only doing it because some Saudi Prince wants it so that he can show off to his friends, and he probably won’t even be paying attention to the show at any point.

Anyway, as it pertains to Shawn Michaels I just really can’t get excited about a guy who hasn’t competed in 8 years getting back into the ring. His back still sucks, his hair is gone, it’s just not the same HBK that we all know and love.

The only positive to spin out of this is that he’s coming back in a tag match on a mid-afternoon show, so if he looks extremely rusty then it won’t be as jarring as it would be if it were on the main card at Wrestlemania or something.

Welcome to Smackdown Live: The Land of the Heels

If you haven’t been watching Smackdown Live lately then you’ve been missing out on what is, at the moment, WWE’s best weekly product. With RAW being centered around The Shield, Braun Strowman, and Ronda Rousey the 3-hour flagship show has failed to put together a consistent run of high-quality shows thus far in 2018.

That has not been the case with Smackdown Live. The blue brand has been knocking it out of the park with strong feuds, top quality matches, and new champions rising through the ranks on Tuesday nights. Obviously, being just a 2-hour show that usually features at least 3-4 legitimate wrestling matches certainly helps elevate Smackdown Live as a weekly show, but there’s more to it than that.

Smackdown Live feels more… dare I say… genuine? When I sit down to watch Smackdown Live I know that I’m getting a legit wrestling show with high drama and a lot of action. When I sit down to watch RAW I think to myself, “Okay, they’ll open up with Roman Reigns, he’ll get interrupted by a heel, and whoever the general manager is this week will come out and make a match. Then, we’ll have the Ronda Rousey ass-kissing segment (which I usually skip). Then, we’ll have some random, asinine squash match featuring a talent that we don’t care about but WWE wishes we would. We’ll also get way too many video packages, a promo for a WWE movie, and just more filler that doesn’t matter.”

Let me follow that up by saying that I don’t hate RAW, I just find it to be less genuine and more like one big WWE commercial for 3 hours. Smackdown Live is that antithesis to that. It’s what made us all wrestling fans to begin with. Dynamic characters, intriguing rivalries, and high-quality wrestling.

This week was no different. We had The Miz and Daniel Bryan continue their rivalry with a short, but solid opening segment. The biggest takeaway from this was the announcement that not only with Daniel Bryan and The Miz be facing each other in Australia, but that the winner will earn the right to face the WWE Champion. This could keep the hopes of a Daniel Bryan-The Miz Wrestlemania showdown alive. Their rivalry is too good and has been too long in the making to end it at a show in Australia. These two deserve a Wrestlemania main event, and with the WWE Championship entering the picture that possibility is now alive and well.

It was after this that the heels of Smackdown Live really took over the show. We were treated to Randy Orton barging into the production truck and forcing some poor sap to put together a collage of images from Orton’s match against Jeff Hardy from Hell in a Cell. Orton had this poor fellow by the neck as he sadistically admired his work, and promised to do even worse to his next victim.

Are we getting full-on psycho Orton now? Man, I hope so. Randy Orton, when he commits to the role, can be the greatest, most horrific heel in the WWE. I don’t know who his next victim will be, but if Orton keeps this up he could become the scariest heel on the Smackdown Live roster.

We were then treated to a heel turn in the form of… wait for it… this could be big…. it was…

 

Aiden English…

Look, I want to be excited about this because I actually think Aiden English is kind of cool. I know, I know, I might be the only wrestling fan who thinks that way, but he’s got a unique quality about him that separates him from the pack, and I like that. As for this feud? I guess I’m glad it will finally come to a head at some point, but I can’t tell you the last time I ever got jazzed up for a Rusev match.

Luckily Smackdown quickly refocused itself and we got one hell of a match after this. We got AJ Styles vs. Andrade Cien Almas.

This match was really, really good and, once again, Andrade Cien Almas showed that he can hang with the top talent on Smackdown Live. Styles would win a hard-fought, back-and-forth battle and would then swiftly be attacked by Samoa Joe. Styles managed to fight him off, but Joe is clearly still enraged about what happened at Hell in a Cell, and this feud looks to be far from over which is great news for all of us.

Billie Kay then had a match. Do you care? No? Neither did I. Let’s move on.

Smackdown Live closed out with Becky Lynch’s official coronation as the Smackdown Live Women’s Champion. I was thrilled about this even before the segment got started because it shows how highly WWE thinks of Becky Lynch. Having her close the show the first Tuesday after a big PPV is huge for Becky’s stock, which has been skyrocketing lately.

Becky did not disappoint and she cut a fantastic promo towards Charlotte. She played the cocky, confident, scoundrel type of champion and nailed it. She actually had me laughing at this part:

How awesome is that? Heel Becky might be the best version of Becky we’ve seen since she moved to the main roster, and she looks to be fully embracing the role.

Considering what Becky Lynch, Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton are doing right now it is not hyperbole to say that Smackdown Live currently has the best heels in WWE. Tuesday nights are about to become more deliciously evil and I am all about it.

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