Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Video Breakdown presents the Nissan Rogue

If there's one thing that annoys me to no end- it's car commercials. About a small fraction of them get it right. The other 99% try to seem incredibly intelligent (and fail) or they have the car perform wildly unrealistic maneuvers. The Nissan Rogue falls into the latter category:

:02- This car comes rolling up in San Francisco with NO regard for human life. Trolleys? F*ck it- pedal to the mettle.

May it also be said here that the song they use to open up this commercial initially sounds like Lady Gaga's "Applause":

Each time I hear the opening of this commercial, I either immediately mute the TV or change channels.Whatever the opposite of applause is, that's what this commercial gets.

:05- "We're going to be late," says the gentleman with the nice wristwatch in the tan windbreaker, orange shirt and orange tie. Points for orange- but please, you guys should have probably GOTTEN UP AND LEFT ON TIME. The woman doesn't even respond with words. She gives the open road "the eyes". Yeah, road- you're about to know...driven on...aggressively. If you know what I mean. 

:09- After beginning to excessively speed, the car veers from right to left towards a very conveniently-placed cement rampway. At the bottom of the screen it reads, "Fantasy, do not attempt."  No sh*t, Sherlock. I hope the coffee has a lid on it and is secured. If not, someone's about to be in a world of pain AND have to change their clothes. It is also revealed this female with no regard for human life  is wearing heels. Yep, couldn't possibly see anything going wrong here.

:10- The speedometer reads 30 miles per hour. BULLSH*T. So after going  "30 miles per hour", the Rogue magically flies through the air some 60-100 feet, managing to align itself right above a moving subway train. This subway train is likely going at least 60 miles per hour. I did the math- and that doesn't seem to add up. 

:15- The car lands without a hitch, as the biggest inconvenience is the strand of hair she flicks out of her way, as a smug smile permeates her face. 

:17- A message is at the bottom again: "Fantasy, do not attempt. CARS CAN'T JUMP ON TRAINS." Well- then why would I buy this car if it can't do what is being shown in an advertisement? At this point, they should probably put Spiderman on this subway and have her run him over. It would tie-in with the fantasy theme. 

:20- Somehow she has paced her turn correctly and knows EXACTLY when to bail, and the car manages to land once again without a hitch on the street, by a park bench. A second later, the car angles into a parking spot...and there is no park bench in sight. 

:24- "Oh, are we early?" inquires this maverick of a female driver. The person who wrote the dialogue for this commercial has it made. Also noted is  a third person in the back of the car, who has no lines but smirks because almost dying due to incredibly impulsive and illegal driving is always funny/cute. The wristwatch-wearing, lateness foretelling male in the orange can only reply with a disdainful chuckle.

The commercial ends with "Innovation that excites." I'm not sure who this car appeals to, but if you have no regard for laws, life or your co-workers' coffee, then the Nissan Rogue is the car for you.

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know on Twitter @SeanNeutron

Power Ranking the NBA Christmas Day Jerseys

When images surfaced of rumored Christmas Day NBA jerseys, my first thought was, "WHAT?" Soon after, I assumed they were just a prototype or a fan using photoshop. Then soon after, the NBA confirmed that these shirt-like jerseys were the actual Christmas Day versions. The Warriors first began the trend last season, and now the other nine teams playing today will sport their iterations as well. Some are markedly better than others.

I'll rank them from worst to best based off three things: how their logo looks (L), how they look on the court they'll be playing on (LOC) and overall creativity (OC). The total of those three categories will determine where the jerseys rank respectively.

10. Chicago Bulls       
L: 5    LOC: 2    OC: 3= 10
The Bulls break out their versions right away in the 12 o'clock game.  Silver seems to be the major theme outside of the sleeves and large logos. For some teams it works. For the Bulls- not so much. The shade of red in this image looks nice, but during gameplay it stands out- and not in a good way. Put it this  way: red should never be confused for orange. The second I saw them, I thought the Knicks were on the court. They come off looking very cheap, putting them very last on this list. This does not bode well for the other teams wearing red on Christmas Day.  

9. Houston Rockets


L: 6    LOC: 2    OC: 3 = 11
Like the Bulls, the Rockets will don a similar shade of red at 8 pm against the Spurs. The fact their jerseys already include silver make these jerseys look even less special. But their logo looks better than the large Bull- but that's just my opinion. These bottom two spots are essentially a toss-up.

8. Miami Heat

L: 7  LOC: 5  OC: 4= 16
The Heat might have finished first these last two NBA season as champs, but struggle here at 7. Their shade of red is more appealing, and the silver touch to their already dynamic logo leaves a big gap between them and the Bulls and Rockets. Overall, though, they aren't nearly as eye-catching as some of the other Christmas jerseys.

7. Brooklyn Nets
L: 7   LOC: 7  OC: 3 = 17
The combination of a simplistic silver logo and all black jerseys give the Nets a head up on the teams ranked up until now. While they aren't anything ground-breaking or fancy- sometimes less is more.
6. Los Angeles Clippers
L: 7   LOC: 8  OC: 5= 20 
The royal blue against the silver with the red and white trim give the Clippers' threads an advantage. Some may find them plain or too simple, but they'll look even better with the electric pace the Clippers will be forced to play against Stephen Curry and the Warriors. They'll certainly stand out against the Golden State's yellow court, another key factor in how jerseys from all ten teams will look.

5. Spurs
L: 7    LOC: 8    OC: 6= 21
The Spurs subscribe to the "less is more" theme just like the Clippers, except their less is more eye-catching. No words, just the alternate logo they use as the "U" in their logo. Like the Rockets, they already had silver in their logo, but it simply fits perfectly. Like the Nets- the jerseys will compliment their home court very well. 

4.  Thunder


 L: 8    LOC: 7    OC: 7= 22 

The already appetizing shade of dark teal-ish blue against the very fierce silver OKC logo puts them  high on this list and will look great at Madison Square Garden. 

3. Knicks
L: 9   LOC: 8    OC: 7 = 24 
As someone whose favorite color is orange, I suppose the Knicks had an unfair advantage in these power rankings. But hey- it's my list, so there. The silver is at it's finest here, syncing well with the orange and blue. While Carmelo is out against the Thunder and the Knicks' season is seemingly lost- at least they'll look good today.  

2. Lakers
 L: 9 LOC: 8  OC: 8= 25
What would Christmas Day be without the Lakers?  While they don't have Kobe Bryant and their season is not as they once hoped, fans of the yellow and gold can revel in the fact that they rank highly here. This takes their Sunday alternate idea to a whole new level- one I'd like to dub "Laker Stormtrooper". This is neck-and-neck with their brand new "Hollywood Nights" that debuted earlier this season. 

1. Warriors

L: 10    LOC: 8   OC: 9= 27  
For the Warriors to be first on this list while having yellow be the predominant color speaks volumes of how much I love these threads. I typically detest the color yellow outside of the use of honey mustard, but these uniforms #getit. Their logo looks good on their everyday home and away jerseys, but it really pops out with the silver mixed with yellow and complimented well by the blue. These are the best that Christmas Day has to offer. 

Newer is not always better. With these ones being put in order, I still love 2012's Christmas Day uni's  as a whole a lot more. 

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know @SeanNeutron




Sunday, December 15, 2013

All WWE Needs is a Little Faith

Was Monday night a sign of things to come, or just a mirage for those hopeful of  a Cena heel turn?
"Don't worry, Randy. We know exactly where our faith lies."

These words were spoken by on-air WWE COO Triple H when he "reassured" Randy Orton about his confidence in him on Friday Night Smackdown. This came three nights after Monday Night RAW that saw the head honcho being flanked by his wife, on-air WWE Director of personnel Kane, and World Heavyweight Champion John Cena. That collection of personalities followed a scrum which saw Stephanie collide with Orton "by accident". (I put that in quotations since it was scripted to happen for storyline purposes.)

The question is not does the WWE have faith in either Orton or company man John Cena- but do they have faith in themselves to execute what they implied Monday night: a full-fledged John Cena heel turn.

There is precedent for this, even if it involves three different situations. Back in 1998, Vince McMahon presented then-new WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin came out in a suit and tie, seemingly conforming to the ways of the dubious McMahon. It was all for naught, as Austin hit his finisher, the Stunner on the unsuspecting chairman. Later that year in November, McMahon  formed The Corporation- a stable designed to take out any sort of rebellious wrestlers. It's most notable feud was with  -who else- Steve Austin.

Then in 2001, following an assist from McMahon, Stone Cold Steve Austin made a full-fledged heel turn against the Rock at Wrestlemania X7 (17). Some may have questioned it's effectiveness and success, but that's not the focal point. The biggest takeaway from Austin's turn to the dark side is it was simply a way for him to test the waters. As much as physicality plays a huge part in wrestling, what creates characters and drives ticket/merchandise sales is the theater aspect of it all. Like an actor, it was a new method to becoming more dynamic for Austin. 

Those three elements for the biggest babyface of the 90's have seemed to align in the current landscape of the WWE. You have a heel stable with plenty of power, a mega-superstar who would be the perfect instrument for enforcing and representing their agenda, and plenty of reason to finally turn him towards the other end of the "good guy/bad guy" spectrum.

John Cena at this point in his career has had a longer tenure (11 years) than Austin at the time he turned heel (5 years). In 2002 as part of his white rapper gimmick, he seemed edgy, cool and the next big thing (with all due respect to Brock Lesnar). Then once he obtained the WWE title in 2005, his character took a military-like theme, even though Cena has never served. Camouflage shirts, hats and dog tags became his trademarks. A salute to begin his entrance now joined his hand-waving antics
and "You can't see me!" battle cry. The "want some, come get some!" creed became allies with
"hustle, loyalty and respect." While it was a way to change his character, it all felt so forced and in later years it felt strained.

So you may be asking yourself- how has Cena's character changed since 2005-2006? Well outside of his colorful shirts that come out every few months- not at all. Even his entrance music is exactly the
same one he debuted in 2005. In 2013, it's a lot harder not only for the superstars but for the WWE as a whole to try new things. Essentially everything has been done- but that's why they have a "creative"
 team. It is their task to push boundaries, create new stars and keep the machine that is the WWE
chugging along. As I have always said, Cena as a bad guy is the final frontier for his character and
the the biggest storyline the WWE could run with and gain mainstream steam, bringing back casual
and lost fans along the way.

When Cena was out due to a grotesquely enormous left elbow, Randy Orton stepped in and played Daniel Bryan's foil as the new corporate champion. He had the backing of management, the proven track record full of titles and accolades, and the ability to make the Bryan supporters despise him.
The only problem? Only one man in the WWE can be vilified even more- their biggest good guy,
Cena.  Cena has made note of turning heel in the past few years, usually every few months when fans have seemed to grow tired of the same "goody two shoes"  shtick. He referred to it in tongue-in-cheek fashion after Wrestlemania, accompanying the phrase with an actual turn of his heel during a promo. He prides himself on being able to take the hate and keep coming at us like some sort of saint- doing everything for the good of the cause. He might think it is what fans want, but it's not what they deserve. From a performer capable of so much more, Cena is truly limiting his abilities. 

That's where faith comes in. WWE needs to have faith that making Cena a bad guy will be what's best for business. They must forgo their dependence on Cena as their go-to in every situation, and begin to rely on their younger talent. Common reasons also include not only Cena's merchandise sales and marketability, but also things like Make-A-Wish, for which he has done over three-hundred of. As smart as wrestling fans get these days (especially at younger ages), separating Cena's on-screen and off-screen persona shouldn't prove too difficult.

The other factor that makes TLC the perfect time for this long-awaited change? Daniel Bryan. Bryan is not only the one most capable of being the number one good guy- he's the only one the crowd will let be the number one good guy. It was not more evident than Monday Night, when in a ring full of 20-plus former World Heavyweight and WWE champions along with Orton and Cena (with Bryan off to the side), all the people cared to do was chant "Dan-iel Bry-an!" over and over. It wasn't a chant for the sake of getting attention, such as the "YES!" they chant throughout the night. It was the WWE Universe speaking their mind. Cena even had to bring attention to it, as it essentially halted the main event proceedings. Everyone in that ring could not ignore it- the fans want Bryan as champion, and they want it NOW. But the scrum would soon follow, and the symbolic alignment of the WWE's golden boy alongside the company's on-air authority figures took place as Orton lay in a state of confusion and shock in the corner.

There is no telling what  will happen Sunday night at Tables, Ladders and Chairs. If they want to begin to build a feud well worthy of main eventing Wrestlemania and going against their recent short-sided booking, then they have it right under their nose. It would be fitting that WWE would  set up their next big feud and go the more organic route of the "world's toughest vegan", Daniel Bryan versus what could be their biggest mega-heel to date....John Cena.

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know @SeanNeutron

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Red Skinned Indecision

It's not Robert Griffin's inconsistent play that is the culprit of the disappointing 2013 season for the Redskins. Neither is it the fault of a passing defense which ranks 27th in the league. It's not even their middle-of-the-road offense (outside of the the second-best rushing attack in the NFL) or porous offensive line which is to blame for a 3-10 campaign.

The onus rests on one man's shoulders: Mike Shanahan.

Doubt has followed Shanahan all season. People wonder how he has failed to acclimate Griffin to his style of coaching. In reality, Shanahan- like any good coach- would have been better served to play to his quarterback's strengths all along. But that would require him to suck up his pride, and would also require the one thing that has been missing for some time: a firm decision. 

The red flag that signaled the unraveling for a once great coach came last year against the Seahawks when Griffin was put back in the game after limping off the field prior. The ACL/LCL tears soon followed, and number ten lay in a heap on the field. One question would haunt the head coach into the offseason and likely for the rest of his tenure in Washington: Why did he put RG3 back in the game? 

One may never know exactly why Shanahan did what he did that January night but recent accounts (courtesy of Adam Schefter) only decrease Redskins fans' confidence in him. Maybe Dan Snyder is a powerful persuader -but the decision to leave wasn't his. It was up to Shanahan to decide whether or not he wanted to stay on. He would be called a quitter by many, but he would have gotten to leave on his terms. But now the pressure mounts, and soon the decision will be out of his hands.

It never had to be this difficult. Mike Shanahan made it that way...all by himself. As radio host Steve Czaban (AM 980's The Drive with Cooley and Zabe) said, "Shanahan drove us [Redskins fans] out to the woods, kicked in the navigation screen, told us to get out and shot out all four tires." Shanahan wanted to take the team and fanbase down his road, convinced it would work.

It hasn't.

Now he is in a corner, forced to put in Kirk Cousins as starter against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. This decision is made out to be some sort of accomplishment likely influenced by Snyder. But in reality, it is a desperate move for a desperate coach. Not that I disagree with the starting of Cousins- I am all for it. But it shouldn't have taken fourteen weeks for him to start a game.

Coming off a major injury and playing in no preseason games, we can all safely say now that RG3 was not ready for action. Come hell or high water, Shanahan trotted him out  in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles. The 33-27 score is deceiving as it required a furious second half rally just to lose by six. The Eagles were like a fighter throwing a copious amount of punches early only to gas out in the later rounds. Yet the Redskins still could not manage a win at home. The slow starts and second half rallies would begin to become the team's calling card -but more often than not it would end in disappointment.

It wasn't until Week 2 when I truly doubted Shanahan's decision making. Down 38-7 to begin the fourth quarter, RG3 was still in the game attempting somehow to comeback at Lambeau to beat a healthy Aaron Rodgers and company. Play after play, Griffin was exposed to the defense whether it was a play-action pass or a quarterback draw. In a futile attempt to come back against daunting odds, Mike and Kyle Shanahan were only putting the future of their franchise further at risk.

But not even Kyle is defending his father's most recent "decision". Seeds of dissension are now planted, with Kyle and a host of others wondering what the elder Shanahan's agenda is. Is he trying to get fired by benching Griffin? If that's the case, why not just quit? I feel like this is groundhog day, and every time there is a crucial decision to be made, Shanahan goes against rational thought each time. Now he is at a crossroads, where the decision between being right and wrong is bleaker than ever. If he benches RG3, it is because he has an alternate agenda. If he doesn't bench RG3, he is holding on to some faint hope that last year's offensive rookie of the year will suddenly show everyone why they traded up to get him.

As Mike Wise of the Washington Post notes, the move from RG3 to Cousins is for all the wrong reasons. Instead of making this decision before the season, Shanahan only prolonged the inevitable. What's done is done. If Shanahan believed the questions and doubt would cease with this one move- then he's more oblivious to reality than we all thought.

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know @SeanNeutron

Friday, December 6, 2013

Rip City's Finest: Breaking Down the Blazers

Raise your hand if you had the Blazers making the playoffs. Ok, a few of you. Now raise your hands if you had Portland as number one at any point this season, let alone starting it off 16-3. Anyone? Put your hands down, Bill Walton and Rasheed Wallace. The questions are certainly there, so let's not waste any time delving into them.

Where the hell did the Blazers come from?

The short answer? Oregon- Portland to be exact. The long answer- well that takes a little more explaining.

Before this season started, a number of people had the Blazers out of the playoff picture altogether. If anything, they were fringe contenders sitting somewhere around 8-10 (and that's being generous.) I myself had them ranked 8th, right in front of the Denver Nuggets- another surprise team so far. Questions during the summer from people who needed storylines were centered around veteran big man LaMarcus Alridge wanting to be traded. The rumors proved thin at best, as he likely hadn't pushed very hard for it. Now that he happens to be on the #1 team in the ultra-competitive West?  Not a chance.

One question I had about Aldridge was "Where does he go this year?" Not in terms of actual location, but in regards to his potential. The answer is simple....up. The former Longhorn is posting his best career stats, with averages of 23.5 points and 9.7 rebounds a game. He has also upped in steals and has the lowest per game foul average of his career (1.8). We always knew the big guy was a star, but underrated indeed. With his refined post game, ability to drain free throws and long range jumpers along with his athleticism and shot blocking abilities- how could you not think of him as one? Aldridge is still only 28 in his eighth year, which only means good things for a big guy who rarely if ever gets hurt or misses games. He is the model of consistency.

The other piece to the puzzle of success for Portland would be second year point guard Damian Lillard. The Weber State alumni has increased his assists from last year (5.7 to 6.3) and his field goal percentage is higher. While his 37% behind the arc is down from last year's 40%, it's still solid considering his game revolves around including his teammates while also creating his own shots. He's only a point off last year's 20.3, but as a secondary star to Aldridge, that's all the Blazers need from Lilliard.

OK, well what else besides Aldridge and Lilliard make the Blazer so good?

Robin Lopez. Ok, you can stop rolling your eyes now. To me, I'd take his 8.7 ppg and 8.4 rpg over Brook's 19.3 and 5.8 any day.

Wait, what?

Robin doesn't need to be a scorer. He just needs to be effective and efficient and know his role. As a seven footer, he is still quite awkward and non-traditional. He hasn't made the progress you see with players such as Hibbert and Alrdidge- but he plays hard and has an impact on his team. While Brook has flashes of being a threat down low, he can never put together a full season or even string together a few quality games. For instance, on December 3rd against Denver, Lopez only had two rebounds. TWO. Yes, the Nets are awful, but Dwight Howard enters the game with two rebounds, or so it seems. Brook also has yet to post a game with double digit rebounds, recording 9 twice.

Nicholas Batum can also go off any given night. The lanky Frenchman has an incredible wingspan for defense, and can shoot the three. He is a terror all over the floor with 13.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 5.0 assists. He helps spread the floor for Aldridge and Lilliard. Rarely does the lane ever get clogged (unless they play Leonard and Lopez together).

But if you want a true three point threat, look no further than the team's third best scoring option, Wesley Matthews. His sole purpose on the floor is to score, although 4.4 assists is not too shabby.

Portland also had a really solid 2013 NBA Draft, picking up Allen Crabbe and CJ McCollum. While they aren't polished yet, it only adds to their overall depth and bodes extremely well for their future. Their second year big man Miles Leonard is still awkward, but does provide size in case Lopez or Aldridge get into foul trouble. The most underrated addition of the offseason happened when Houston traded Portland PF Thomas Robinson for literally nothing. The #5 pick of the 2012 Draft is at his third stop in the NBA, which is unusual at this point. But I believe it is because he is a victim of circumstances. The Kings had no business drafting him when they already had numerous big men at the time, and inexplicably moved him to Clutch City during the season. As much as Houston would have loved to keep him, they knew it was not financially possible with the addition of Dwight Howard.

Are they that good, or are the Blazers a fluke? 

I can confidently say today- they are not a fluke. Fluke teams might beat one, maybe two elite teams in one season. By my count, they have beaten three in nineteen games (OKC, San Antonio and the Pacers.) They also beat two very good teams (Warriors and Nuggets). Portland doesn't just scrape by, either. They beat those five teams by  an average of  9.6 ppg.

The most interesting part of their season is that their three losses are from two teams: The Houston Rockets and wait for it.....keep waiting....the Phoenix Suns- TWICE. The first two losses were against those two teams in the first four games, preventing the Blazers from starting 15-0.The Rockets at that point had yet to play a solid game together and still have issues with chemistry and health, so that loss for Portland was especially interesting.  The second loss to Phoenix prevented them from being undefeated, but was not even close, losing 120-106. So without losses to two VERY inconsistent teams, Portland would be 19-0.

What's their biggest weakness? 

Right now, I'd say their youth. Aside from Aldridge, the team is very young and lacks and real playoff experience. While playing hot is impressive in the early part of a season where no one pegged them to be anywhere close to the playoffs, playing well in May and June is exponentially better. 

Where will the Blazers finish at the end of the year?

This question will be the hardest to answer. You could literally have them anywhere from 1-8 based off how young the season is, and how wild the West can be. The fact that they have been so resilient in the face of pressure and quality opposition, along with their young, talented core make them a true threat this season. Combine that with their consistency, and I would have them finish 3rd in the West, bumping the Clippers and Rockets down a notch.

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know @SeanNeutron

Thursday, December 5, 2013

WWE Puts Its "Universe" in a Sleeper Hold

It is fitting that Randy Orton is half of the equation in the title unification match at Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) against World Heavyweight Champion John Cena. He is most known for his plodding style filled with plenty of restholds (moves designed to slow down the match and give it more pacing), especially the classic sleeper hold. But this time it's not Orton's opponent who is being put to sleep- it's the WWE Universe.

Over the course of the last few months, the WWE has gone from a white-hot Daniel Bryan screaming "YES!" along with the whole crowd. During that time, the tag team division seemed to flourish with the Shield, Usos and Rhodes brothers all putting on exciting matches that told a story in the ring each and every week. Dolph Ziggler and Damien Sandow were poised to make "the leap" from midcard fodder to main eventers. Daniel Bryan and the rest of the young lions in the WWE seemed ready to carry the ball for the WWE.

The key word being seemed.

Last month I brought up WWE's notorious nature of short-sided booking. A lot of times you watch HHH come out and bring the new talent down to Earth with some sort of ridiculous storyline aimed to test their will. Will they snap and be put further down the card? Will they grit their teeth and stay the course in hope of future glory? All the while, I sit there like many others thinking, "Wait and see where this goes."  Trouble is, I have waited before...and it has yet to truly pay off. Vince McMahon and his team of bookers and writers always seem to go back to the well- even when it is drier than a desert. When something new and trendy comes along- whether it is the Nexus showing up in 2010, Zack Ryder and CM Punk's respective risings in 2011, or Daniel Bryan's most recent run up until Hell in a Cell- those in charge seem to prematurely end it without any actual sense of closure or logical conclusion.

Bryan was randomly kidnapped following a match with The Wyatts and CM Punk, while his onstage and real-life girlfriend Brie Bella was too busy getting Michael Strahan's autograph. It was not until afterwards in a short 15 second Tout that she showed her concern...half-hearted at best. The promising part is that Bryan is involved with Bray Wyatt- a promo artiste on the mic. Wyatt is bent on Bryan joining him to bring down the machine- so while D-Bry could easily be in the title picture, at least Wyatt makes us wonder if he can align himself alongside the Bearded One.

As for Ziggler and Sandow, the duo has been resigned to facing each other in singles competition where two gimmick style matches led to a number one contender's match. Sandow came out on top and will now be in line to face Big E Langston at TLC. (Surely a regressive step, no?) Better than Dolph- who looks to continue his wandering minstrel impression, just showing up on shows guided not by incentive, but simply a paycheck for his troubles. Which, when you think about it, is not that bad...but Ziggler like a host of others is capable of so much more.

This time of year has always been known to be the doldrums for the WWE. It's that awkward time between Summerslam and Royal Rumble, when they have been known to go by the numbers and experiment with their titleholders. Last year they had Ryback to play with, but booked him so inconsistently that even Hornswaggle could pin him these days. The difference this year is by the way they have gone about booking possible moneymakers like Bryan and Ziggler and a host of others, they have to rely on old faithful- John Cena and Randy Orton. The problem? It seemed rushed, but also as I mentioned last week- no one cares. WWE tried to make us care by mentioning all the titles won by both star throughout the careers during the show (on at least 10 different occasions), but their efforts seemed futile. In an effort to make this match seem "epic" as the announcers and even an on-screen graphic showed, WWE has ignored the other storylines and put together one of the worst RAW shows I have ever witnessed. (The fact that it was three hours did not help matters.)

The one shining star throughout these last few weeks? Mark Henry. After his incredible tear-jerking, bait-and-switch promo on John Cena back in  June, he is back and balder than ever. He came up short in the summer, when WWE was too afraid to take the belt off their cash cow, but rumors have him in the runnings for the title very soon. Even if it's a life achievement award reign, it will still be satisfying, not only for Henry- but also for fans. Why? Because it would be different. Regardless of his age, Henry can still put on a show for the fans and with Vince's famous love of big men in the ring, why not?

But here we are, only days away from TLC. A card with two belts to be unified with the top two stars in the company in a gimmick match. It's a match that doesn't need the added stipulation, but will get one anyway. It's also a card that includes Bryan and Punk in separate 3-on-1 handicap matches, because we have never seen a handicap match before. (An all-too familiar crutch these days.)

If this  supposed "big match" between the company's two biggest stars fails- instead of blaming it on the alcohol, McMahon will have no one else to blame but himself.

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know @SeanNeutron.