Thursday, July 29, 2021

Baseball Review //
Record-Journal Expos 6, Bristol Greeners 1
@ Maloney High School, Meriden, CT

Additional photos can be found on Facebook here :::

With the weather (it's either been extreme heat or thunderstorms) and just being busy in general it had been a while since I had been to a baseball game.  This just did not seem like the summer for baseball, mostly because of the weather, but Quentin has also started a series of summer camps and so it isn't as easy as it was last summer to stay up late and sleep in.

This game was originally scheduled for 6pm at Maloney High School but started around 5:47 and I'm not really sure why anything is what it is anymore when it comes to baseball- it all seems to be happening as it happens, a moving train that you have to run to jump on if you want to be a part of it.

It's a little funny that of all the games I was able to make it to after a month or so without baseball this one has the Bristol Greeners playing.   Not only are the Bristol Greeners perpetually in last place but they blocked me on Instagram because I asked them why they weren't green.  And, in my defense, when I saw them play the Bandidos at home (at Bristol Eastern) they *were* green so I feel like it was a valid question.  Oh well.  In this game they were on the road so they weren't meant to be green.

In the first inning the Bristol Greeners played a little bit of that chess that I love about baseball.  They got a runner on and then hit him over to third and with a long flyball to right field he was able to score and put the Greeners up 1-0 right away.  Sometimes you might have to sacrifice some outs along the way but scoring runs is always the goal when on offense.

Perhaps one of the most bizarre plays I have ever seen in a long time came in the bottom of the first inning.  With runners on first and third for the Expos, the runner on first attempted to steal second.  It looked as if the runner was going to get run down between the defense players but while all the back and forth was happening before anyone could be tagged, Sebby Grignano (who was on third and had initially been walked onto first) ran for home.

At this point in time there is a choice you must make.  You either throw to home to try and save the run or you stay focused on the task at hand and get the out taking the runner off of either first or second base.   The Expos played this whole run down perfectly while the Greeners demonstrated why they are a last place team.   By the time that the throw was made to home in an attempt to save the run it was too late.  Sebby Grignano scored and tied the game 1-1.   What's even more so is that they couldn't get the ball back in time to get an out so the other runner was also safe at second.

If you are caught in a run down situation between first and second with a runner on third, you should either throw to home to keep that run from scoring (and basically give up second base in the process) or keep your eye on the prize and let the one score but get that out between first and second.   If you don't think the runner on third is going or it just becomes too late by the time you have a play, let the run score and stay focused on getting that out between first and second.  This felt like what happened here and the Greeners came up with nothing to show for it.

During the top of the second inning Expos pitcher Carson Coon managed to get three strikeouts.  In the bottom of that same inning, Charlie Hesseltine put up a double and then was able to score, giving the Expos that 2-1 lead which they maintained for the majority of the game.  The Greeners couldn't seem to figure out the pitching of Carson Coon and he just pitched a fantastic game with strikeouts in the double digits. 

The top of the third inning saw two more strikeouts for Carson Coon and the inning ended with a runner being thrown out trying to steal second base.  Why someone would try to steal when there are two outs is a question I simply cannot answer.   It felt at some point during the game like the Greeners were playing to lose and just out there doing the opposite of what was smart to see if it might work.

During the fourth inning the Greeners managed to get a runner all the way to third for a triple but left him stranded there.  In the sixth inning the Expos would also get out of a bases loaded situation without giving up any runs.  The Greeners were trying their best, but Carson Coon and the Expos were just better.

The fifth inning was when the Expos inflicted all of their punishment.  Up 2-1 a run would score before Jack Rich would hit a bases clearing double to put the Expos up 5-1.  Jason Sullivan would bring Jack Rich home, making the final score 6-1, with the Greeners only having two more chances to comeback but both would fall short.

In the top of the seventh there was a doubleplay to end the game.  The play at second was clearly an out but the throw to first was questionable.  It could have been a tie- I'm not sure and I was too far away to see it properly- but it had strong vibes of the umpires saying they were paid by the game not the hour so they were packing up and going home.

This was a rather short game, around an hour and forty five minutes, but it worked out with the timing of it all because right after the game a storm came through which lead to a number of other games throughout the state of Connecticut being suspended and ultimately canceled.  Had this game started at 7pm instead it would not have made it till the end so I certainly appreciate the timing of it all.  

Wrestling Review //
Invictus Pro Wrestling
Let Them Fight: Rising Star Showcase
@ Grace Hall, Ossining, NY

This show was almost three months to the day since Quentin and I first started going back to live wrestling out of the pandemic.  It was also our third Invictus Pro Wrestling show as our first one out of the pandemic was "In Bloom".   It's kind of crazy to look back at the last three months and the ride that they have been.   This was also, for the record, the first time that Quentin attended a live wrestling show in the state of New York, so Invictus and Quentin were making that history together.

One of the great things about living in New England is that you're able to drive places and they aren't always big cities.  We took a number of backroads it would seem to get to Grace Hall and any time we end up on a single lane road, going around sharp curves and such I feel like we're going into the middle of nowhere for an event and I kind of like it.   Grace Hall itself had pretty full parking when we showed up but we saw Gio Galvano outside, asked him where to park and he helped us out.

Grace Hall is one of the more interesting venues I've ever been at to see anything really.  To look on at the ring from the bar area (and from the vantage point of the commentary station) there is a stage with some seating on the opposite side of the ring.  On the left, there was one row of seats up against the wall and this was where we were sat.  On the right side of the ring though there were no fans.   The section in front of the bar was filled with the most fans and the way that they were able to open up the doors and let all of those people see the show as well made it feel bigger.

The first match saw Dennis Morgan vs Max Zero.  There was a door to the outside and curtains near us, but Dennis Morgan entered first and we don't really know where he came from.   Max Zero came out through those curtains though and everyone after that pretty much entered right near us and that was fun because we got to either cheer, boo or give them the "Who are you?" treatment.  

While I don't fully remember the match order I will just give some seemingly random thoughts about the matches as I remember them.    InZanely Rude is a tag team I have seen before in NEW and so having them make their debut against Art Of War was a lot of fun.  The crowd seemed really into InZanely Rude as well so I do expect them back at some point.   There was also a tag team match between The Building Fund (Brother Greatness & Angelo Carter) vs SIN, which was JS Hawthorne and a sloth.  

I've seen Brother Greatness in TOS and IWW so seeing him here was nice and he actually seemed to play the not-so-much-of-a-heel role as SIN was the obvious bad guys.  The sloth was a character that I just felt worked on so many levels.   He started off by being carried to the ring and then just sort of slept there for a lot of the match.  JS Hawthorne was going to tag him in at one point but realized he was still sleeping and didn't.

When the sloth did come into the ring he moved slowly until his mask and top half of his suit came down and then he just opened up the attack in a wild way.  I was yelling a lot for the sloth to be tagged in and Quentin loved him so despite the group of SIN trying to be heels I think that the sloth has star potential written all over him.

The Rising Stars Rumble was a lot of fun and everyone involved in it put on a good show.  The highlights were Pancakes, Clipper Jones, J Boujii, Even Stevens, Phil Cardigan and PJ Savage cleaning house.   Quentin and I discussed this prior to the match but I said that- because of how close we were to the ring- if someone we liked seemed like they were going to get eliminated near us we would help to kind of push them back in.  This did happen- but only once- with Clipper Jones and we had our arms out to help him avoid elimination.

It was definitely fun to see The Stepdads inside an Invictus ring as well, even though while running to get into the ring Rad Dad kicked my knee and it's currently scabbing over and itchy.  Such a price to pay for hours of entertainment, right.   The crowd was perhaps most sad to see Phil Cardigan eliminated from this match and I most want to see J Boujii make his return to Invictus as I have seen him previously in TOS and think that in a one v one setting he could shine even brighter.

Aaron Rourke and Gio Galvano just put on this masterpiece of a match where they both really brought it to each other and it looked like at several different points either of them would win but then they didn't.   It was one of those matches you should go out of your way to see if you either don't know anything about either of these wrestlers or if you do then you definitely want to see this match even more.

My biggest problem of sorts with this show came with the match involving "Mucho" Chris Moljo.   MCM is a heel for the most part, this is true, but he does have this group of fans who show up to cheer him and wear his shirts.  To further the idea of "who is the heel and who is the face", MCM issued an open challenge, thought this TKO guy was coming out as the ref and then TKO took his ref shirt off and attacked MCM from behind to start the match.  In any other context, TKO would look like the heel here.

I feel like wrestling has evolved past the traditional "heel vs face" match to the point where you can have a match and not know who to cheer or who to boo but rather have to decide for yourself.  So when I say this is a problem it's a good problem to have.  For me, when we last saw TKO at Invictus he was doing the old Eddie Guerrero trick to let Vicki retain her championship over Riley Shepard.  So, as I see someone now and think that not only is he a referee but he's also a wrestler and doesn't know that Eddie Guerrero trick but I'm supposed to cheer for him?

It just makes that gray area where the people next to us were cheering for TKO because they were his family.  Some people were cheering TKO just because they don't like MCM.  And of course there was a section of the crowd cheering for MCM.  The fact that you can ask "Are you a heel or not?" to MCM and there really isn't an answer is what makes all of this so great.  You can make a case as to why MCM is a heel and why in this match we should have cheered for TKO (MCM did attack TKO when he was a ref at the last show) but as I have done you can also make a case for the opposite.

Perhaps my favorite match of the night (which says a lot because of how amazing this show was overall) saw ABBS take on Myles Millennium (w/ Chef Big Dust) in a Hell's Kitchen match.   Big Dust came out dressed like a chef and had a basket of food and other kitchen items which were used in the match.   This was what would look like a death match otherwise but instead of those Atticus Cogar skewers, for example, ABBS stuck spaghetti into the head of Myles Millennium.   Myles was also Raven in this match for reason I still don't fully understand but I went with it.

At one point during the match Big Dust hit ABBS with a spatula and it broke, the top part coming flying out of the ring near us.  I tried to grab it but it bounced off my hand and landed a few seats over.  The fan sitting there was kind enough to give it to Quentin and then we got it signed during intermission by ABBS, Big Dust and Myles Millennium.  What other form of entertainment could send you home which such a souvenir?

The main event of the show saw Vicious Vicki defend her Women's Championship against Abby Jane.  I'm not sure anyone has ever been booed so much in Invictus as Vicki has and cheered so much as Abby Jane.   I know I typed that part before about blurring the lines between heel and face but this match was that classic heel vs face deal and it was so great.  At one point, while on commentary, Quentin heard Big Game Leroy say "That is the viciousness of Vicki" and he started laughing.

What I loved about this show was that when I first saw it announced it was presented as a "Rising Stars Showcase" and I thought that it would be fun to go to because even if we didn't know the majority of the wrestlers on it that was okay because it's fun to see someone you've never seen wrestle before and become a fan.   But we did know a lot of the wrestlers on the show still and it was a roster where if you were going to start a promotion and these were the wrestlers that you chose you would be very successful.  

Wrestling Review //
Industrial World Wrestling
The Complex

During the pandemic wrestling promotions seemed to be creating cinematic style matches and even entire shows out of necessity.  Some of my favorite wrestling shows have been cinematic style (Killianvision comes to mind) and I do believe that if done properly it is a style which can help overall elevate the art of professional wrestling.  One of the promotions which did this and I can see some of it in IWW is Lucha Underground- that idea of making wrestling feel like a television show or movie rather than just a random string of matches.

I must also note that during the matches on "The Complex" there was no commentary but rather music in its place.  I've always felt this strong connection between music and wrestling.  You could arrange a card with matches in a similar style to how a musician would plan their album and song order.  But the tempo, the rhythm and even just the genre of music can help set the tone and pace for the match, as IWW demonstrated here with both classical and video game-like soundscapes.

Not having commentary on these matches also created two unique aspects to this show.  For seeming like a movie, not hearing commentary made this more like a live wrestling experience because if you're a good wrestling promotion you don't put your commentary over the speakers live.  The lack of commentary also forced you to pay more attention to the matches themselves because you didn't have anyone telling you what you were seeing: you simply had to see it for yourself.

When I first saw this show being advertised as debuting on IWTV I don't remember who I saw post about it first on Twitter but there is just no one on this show that I'm unfamiliar with and it's full of so many of my favorites.  It's that pick and choosing of did I see it posted first by Jordan Blade, Masha Slamovich, MV Young, Trish Adora, Kennedi Copeland or Logan Black because I seem to always see their tweets the most.  (If I had to guess though I'd guess MV Young)

What I liked about this show was that there was this running theme to it where Alec Price kind of went around causing trouble and it wasn't until almost the end of the show when he met the consequences for it by getting beaten up by Karen Bam Bam.   If you don't think that Alec Price or Karen Bam Bam are the future of professional wrestling then I can no longer take your opinion seriously.  I think their work speaks for itself.

"The Complex" opened up with Masha Slamovich training, TJ Crawford discussing her being back from Japan and then that leading to a match between them.  This is another one of those examples of what makes IWW different but also so much better because without commentary you're forced to have Masha Slamovich and TJ Crawford talk about each other.  But if there was someone on commentary just blurting out "Masha Slamovich spent a year wrestling in Japan!" as a viewer you might not take it as seriously, hear it correctly and overall it just doesn't have the same impact.

TJ Crawford has been tearing up wrestling rings to the point now where he's that guy you go to when you want to guarantee that you'll see a great match.  Masha Slamovich only seems to be more violent since returning from Japan but also has those technical skills.  This was- like many of these matches- something I didn't know I needed to see until I saw it and it's a hell of a way to start a show.

There were segments and music throughout the show which helped with the scenes and didn't make it feel awkward when going from one match to the next.   The second match saw The Kings Of The District take on The Mane Event and if you've never seen either of these teams before then you're simply missing out because I feel like both KOD and The Mane Event have been all over, especially post-pandemic, and so to see them wrestle against each other was definitely welcome.

In terms of matches I didn't think about but then realized were perfect Pinkie Sanchez, who often times portrays Jesus, took on Brother Greatness who is a preacher-like character that I've seen in TOS before.  These two just seem like they were made to wrestle each other- both in terms of character and their in ring work- and this was definitely a match that someone out there had planned to main event their show because it was that damn good.

The five way match might be the only time I saw a wrestler I hadn't seen before.   Robert Martyr is out there collecting limbs while Boom Harden pops up in my Instagram feed quite regularly.   Delightful Dan The God Damn Candy Man is someone I saw wrestle for the first time because of the PolyAm Parties and I (and Quentin) have a strong desire to see him live.  Vinny Pacifico has been in promotions such as Pro Wrestling Magic and I feel like Jay Vera might be the one guy in this match I didn't know.

It was interesting to see MV Young trying to get wrestlers to unionize and that leading to a match against Trish Adora.  I can't really explain it other than to say that for all of the times that I've seen MV Young wrestle and all of the times that I've seen Trish Adora wrestle I don't believe they've ever been on the same show.  So this was a match that I never really thought about happening because it felt like they were just running in different circles so you don't try and pair them up.

But the thing is, both Trish Adora and MV Young can out-wrestle almost anyone else.  They are both considered to be the best at what they do.   They both hit hard and are tough as hell.   This is a match that I feel like will be revisited one day but on a much larger scale (in front of many, many fans) and now we won't have to wonder why no one thought of putting them in the ring together before.

The main event felt like a true classic because you had Logan Black, as the old school hardcore vet, going up against Kennedi Copeland who is a newer hardcore style wrestler.  Logan Black made reference to this during their match and as a lifelong ECW fan it just felt like when one of the newer wrestlers would come in (like Steve Corino) and have to go through one of the roster members who had been around longer (like Tommy Dreamer)  These two beat the hell out of each other and it was a true lesson in how not to use a chair to sit properly.

If you asked me what I like about wrestling in terms of style I tend to like it all.  This show had that way about it where it felt like there was something for everyone but if you are a fan of just pro wrestling in general than this whole show is for you.   From tag teams to a straight up fight to the technical superstars to the entertainment value to the hardcore match it ended with, all styles were really on display, in their best form and delivering a show which is not to be missed.  

Friday, July 23, 2021

Music Review //
Lillias White
"Get Yourself Some Happy!"

Whenever I listen to music I consider two factors: how well is the music being played (does it sound appealing or not) and what is the vibe of the music itself.  On "Get Yourself Some Happy!", Lillias White has managed to knock both of these aspects of songs out of the park.  You simply could not ask for a better collection of songs played in a better way nor could you find a better album to amplify positivity and happiness.

A lot of your mood can depend upon your environment.  If you're sitting around, alone, in the dark sulking by yourself you might not be happy.  But if you open up those curtains, let some sunshine in and put this album on it is bound to help put you in a better mood.  I'm at a point in my life now where I've stopped trying to eliminate negativity from my life and rather decided to try and attract positivity.  This album can help with exactly that.

For me, music is also important in terms of the legacy it leaves.  Someone might care about a song now, but will they in twenty years?  As a child, under the age of 10, I was first really exposed to music through my first cassette: The California Raisins "Sing The Hit Songs".   This was important to me as a youth developing because many of these songs were from different genres yet they were all grouped together in a way which opened me up to Richie Valens, Elvis Presley, Billy Idol and Otis Redding.

As an adult now with a child I can only hope that someone is able to find "Get Yourself Some Happy!" at that young age where it turns them onto music they have not heard before, across different genres.  Everything from "When You Wish Upon a Star" to "Happy Together" to "The Twist" can send a young listener down a rabbithole of music which is both new and amazing to them.  I could only hope to have someone as talented as Lillias White as my guide if I was a child now.

Though I compare this with music of my past and the 1980's the fact is that I only do so because in thirty or forty years I hope that someone out there who is younger now but grows into an adult then will have a similar experience as I did.  Make no mistake about it though: this album is suitable for music listeners of every age, much like Disney movies, and regardless of your current mood when you listen to it I hope that it puts a smile on your face.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Wrestling Review //
Women's Wrestling Revolution
Pain For Pleasure
@ White Eagle, Worcester, MA

This was our third show with WWR+ since the promotion returned and it was the most difficult one to get to.   Traffic was pretty terrible all around, as the directions rerouted us to not take the Mass Pike and instead we took a lot of backroads (which meant the number of minutes was double the miles), there was flashflooding and when we got there the usual parking lot we use was taken over by a bunch of trucks.  We managed to find a public parking lot not that much further away and since it was Sunday it was free so that was a big plus.

When we got into the show and sat down, a few of the wrestlers even came in after us, just showing how bad it was out there.  The show still started with a lot of energy and though the first two shows were a lot of fun this one just had something electric in the air- you felt like it was a big deal and the crowd was really into it.   I love when wrestling shows go for the hot opener and this one did just that with Ashley Vox taking on Jody Threat.

One thing that I will admit plays out live in a somewhat confusing manner but translates on IWTV easier is how these first three matches flowed together.   After Jody Threat defeated Ashley Vox it made sense for Becca to come out because Delmi Exo, her opponent, was already out there, but I didn't know we were going into a match right then so it caught me off guard.  Then, as The Higher Society came out to taunt the Sea Stars and that turned into their match with The Outfielders I was a little bit more prepared.

Leave it to WWR+ to continue to blur the lines between heel and face as the first two matches didn't really have anyone get booed.  The crowd loves the Sea Stars but we also love Jody Threat and Becca.  It wasn't until The Higher Society came out that I heard the crowd begin to boo them and that is not just because they are such great heels (Please don't tell them that I said that) but also because the crowd just loves Boomer Hatfield and Molly McCoy.  Molly McCoy did the "two for flinching" bit which had Quentin nearly falling out of his chair laughing.

Though I've not thought about it before, I think of this show as being in waves- the matches being in blocks rather than one big show or a show made up of individual matches.  These first three matches felt like the first block and then the next two matches felt like the second block.  I only put these two matches together because they both had the element of surprise.  Veda Scott had an open challenge while the Rebecca Scott vs Kayla Sparks match was unannounced.

I really enjoyed the Veda Scott open challenge because not only did it involve someone who came as a complete surprise to me in Hot Scoop Skylar, but it also was just the match that both of these competitors needed to have.  On one hand, I felt like some of the crowd was unsure as to who Skylar was, but being part of the Blitzkrieg! Pro Faithful, Quentin and I recognized her right away.   Going right after Veda Scott and injuring that arm was something that was also unexpected but we need more unexpected in wrestling.  

By contrast the Rebecca Scott vs Kayla Sparks match was possibly the quietest part of the show.  I didn't know who either of these women were and I spent a lot of the time wondering whether or not this meant someone wasn't there and so one of the scheduled matches wasn't going to happen.  It was also kind of crazy that Kayla Sparks made her return to wrestling after fourteen years (!) and lost.  I did like how Rebecca Scott told the referee though that she was a flight attendant so she knew what she was doing, trying to outrank him.

In what would be the second block of matches I would consider the Kennedi Copeland vs RSP match to sort of be the main event there.   This was a wild match where at least once I thought Kennedi Copeland was injured and yet also more than once I thought she might win it.  I'm not sure where either of these two go from here but I will say that Kennedi Copeland did defeat Jody Threat the night before this in H2O so they are 1-1 against each other.  Perhaps WWR+ can host the Kennedi Copeland vs Jody Threat rubber match.  I'd also like to see RSP come back but against whom I cannot say.

The next four matches felt like the third and final block and that's because they were all main event worthy.  One thing that I love about WWR+ is that based on these last four matches here, I had no idea which one was going to close out the show.  I was partly expecting Willow Nightingale vs Tina San Antonio to do it since it was a grudge match, but then I also partly expected Trish Adora vs Ashley D'Amboise to do it because it's almost always Main Event Trish.

Riley Shepard and Kaia McKenna had a match where you just felt like every time you see them in WWR+ they show you a little bit more of what they can do.  After the match, Little Mean Kathleen came out and issued a challenge to Riley Shepard, who accepted.  I actually thought LMK might show up to answer the Veda Scott open challenge.  Earlier in the show, I had asked Quentin if he was going to be able to sit through the next WWR+ show and then stand through Americanrana on the same day.  He didn't seem sure, but when LMK came out to challenge Riley Shepard he got really excited and said "We have to see that match!"

Over the course of the first two shows, Tina San Antonio has stayed the most heelish of the heels.  She decided to get into it with Willow Nightingale, who is universally loved and adored, and so I feel like this was the perfect contrast in face vs heel match.   With special guest referee Damian Adams (who trains Tina San Antonio) this one broke down into the ref basically siding with Tina San Antonio and screwing Willow Nightingale out of the win.  Quentin was very heated.  As Tina San Antonio and company were leaving, Quentin actually got out of his seat to go closer to flip them off.

This is wrestling though.  It's supposed to make you feel things.  It's meant to be got into this passionately because the wrestlers feed off of that- I believe- and so it just makes everything more enjoyable overall.  It's not golf.   And so we go into our next match where Ashley D'Amboise, who is often cheered, takes on Trish Adora, who is quite possibly the face of WWR+ right now.  These two women had a great match and really there is nothing but respect for either of them after it.   Such good work and I'm not sure what is next for Ashley D'Amboise, but she seems ready to break out in WWR+.

The main event saw a shift in power of sorts.  Davienne had been booed in her matches against Delmi Exo and Trish Adora.   Now, Davienne was cheered for against Megan Bayne and it feels like it went the right way.   The power of Megan Bayne is just undeniable.   Seeing her go up against Trish Adora as somewhat of a super match is just going to be something else.  Both women are 3-0 with Davienne and Ashley D'Amboise being the women they both defeated (Megan Bayne has a victory over Riley Shepard while Trish Adora has one over Willow Nightingale) and it's just going to be so good.

Though this was only the third show back, I think WWR+ has really come into its own with the roster to the point where you just know who the wrestlers are.   It's a weird feeling but I haven't really felt it since I was watching WWE as a kid and then when I got into ECW.  I feel like since we don't really watch WWE (and Quentin doesn't like to watch wrestling on television) this is kind of like his version of WWE in the '90's.  Instead of having Diesel he has Davienne and instead of having Bret Hart he has Ashley D'Amboise.   It's just something a little surreal to think about but WWR+ really has become one of my favorite places to go.

Music Review //
Chase Bell
"Live Easy"


Right away the sounds of Chase Bell feel like a pop song but since there are guitars I think it has some rock qualities.  With the faster beats and way it can mix with the radio pop vibe of an artist such as The Weeknd or Walk The Moon I almost feel like this has a sound that the Beach Boys might have created if they were just coming up now and wanting to blend in with the radio crowd.  

The video itself is something which you can put on during a party and just has a calming way about it.   There are women- some dressed in swimsuits, some in more clothing than that- at the beach, dancing around and at one point one of them does a cartwheel.  It is certainly calming, even if just to see the visual of the ocean waves crashing, but what many would consider to be a look at women who are easy on the eyes also makes this a very visually pleasing video to watch which an equally pleasant song.

In terms of lyrics and content value I think that the title of the song and lyric which really is the hook in the chorus says it all: "It ain't hard to live easy".  I definitely enjoy the fact that the words "hard" and "easy" are in there, as opposites, as opposed to saying something like "It's easy living easy" because that just feels too messy.  I also like to think of this as being a great mantra because far too often life isn't made complicated by any of the events surrounding us but by us ourselves so we can control that.

Many facets of my life and music can be complicated.  I live with a lot of anxiety, which also tends to needlessly complicated things.  "Live Easy" is a great song to put on whenever you feel like life is just becoming too much (Which, for me, is a bit too often) and you just need something to relax you and remind yourself that life is what you make of it.  If life seems complicated, that's on you.   You can find a way to make it seem easier and regardless of what you're doing there should always be some end goal of happiness.  

Music Review //
King Soloman
"Take Out The Trash
(feat. 400nem, Renzo Gonzales)

One of my favorite things about music is how people have over time compared hip hop with Shakespeare.   Words have meanings and the way in which someone who makes lyrics for a rap can twist the words to have more than one meaning is really what all of music should strive to be.   This becomes obvious throughout the song "Take Out The Trash" as King Soloman considers not only the appropriate beats for a song but also the lyrics word for word.

Looking at the artwork on this one you see an ocean polluted.  Without ever even pressing play on the song, you might think it is simply about the problem of trash which we have in our world today as humans where we just litter.  I recently saw a young child take a piece of trash and throw it on the ground only for their mother to scold them and make them pick it back up.  Everyone needs that influence in their life of what goes on the ground (apple core and banana peel for example are okay) and what doesn't.

While keeping oceans, beaches, highways, the streets of our own towns clean is important that isn't as much of what this song is about.  To me, the lyrics are about cleansing yourself of that negativity in your life.  Is something holding you down?  Is something holding you back?  Get that out of your life and out of your way.   Don't let anything stop you from being the you that you are meant to be.  And I just think it's such a good reminder- especially coming out of the pandemic- that we have that choice to rid ourselves of the bad habits in our lives to make them better.

Though they couldn't really be more of polar opposites in terms of sound, I really think of "Take Out The Trash" as being an anthem in the same way Soul Asylum found mainstream success with the song "Runaway Train".    Although it was not their intention, that song managed to bring awareness to runaway children and even bring some of them back home.  I hope that King Soloman can find similar success and people can listen to this song enough that they not only do a personal cleaning but keep this planet clean.  

Monday, July 19, 2021

Wrestling Review //
Chaotic Wrestling
"Chaotic Countdown"
@ Gametime Sports & Fitness, Lowell, MA

Let me first preface this review by saying that I know "Chaotic Countdown" was being taped to air on the Twitch show for Chaotic Wrestling so my original plan was to write about this as best I could without any spoilers.  However, since Friday night I have seen results all over social media- many from Chaotic Wrestling themselves- and so I am just going to write this as I see fit and spoilers be damned.

For a little backstory here (because I enjoy a good backstory) the last time Quentin and I were at a Chaotic Wrestling show it was 2/21/20 and it was also at Gametime.  Oddly enough, Hammerstone was also there and he took on Anthony Greene in the main event.  That was not our first Chaotic show, but Quentin's first live wrestling show ever was part of the Chaotic brand on 12/13/19 so Chaotic has always been a special place for both of us.

Now the thing about the Chaotic Countdown is the match itself is one big Rumble match and then there were three other announced matches for the show, all title matches.  I assumed we would do the non-Chaotic Countdown matches first, intermission and then the Chaotic Countdown and that was pretty much how it all went down.  I will say this now because it is perhaps the most important piece of this review: Every match on this show could have been a main event on another card.   You take any of the matches before intermission, put six or seven matches ahead of them and you got yourself a show.

This was our second Friday night in a row seeing Brad Cashew challenge for a championship and it was really special to see him win the New England Championship in a two out of three falls match against Adam Booker.  I have always felt that Brad Cashew has this star power because of that combination of athleticism that you simply cannot teach combined with a character that just resonates with the crowd.  If you don't yet know the name Brad Cashew, you will and this is just the first of many championships.

During the pandemic, Chaotic Wrestling was running a no fans show that they streamed weekly on Twitch for $4.99/month (a really good deal based on the quality) and I feel like that really helped to elevate a lot of the Chaotic Wrestling roster.  I believe this was the second Chaotic show back with fans but I could be wrong.   Seeing the character development was just such a big part of coming out of the pandemic for me, so I'm just really happy for everyone.  

Speaking of character development, JT Dunn has put together The Unit with Trigga The O.G. (who I last saw with Christian Casanova), Ace Romero and Danny Miles.   It's quite the faction and they are seemingly running things in Chaotic Wrestling right now.  I also enjoyed how their segments were in the ring and shifted from one match to the next on this show.   The Unit did an in ring promo before the second match, which was then revealed to be the TLC Match.

I searched my mind as much as I could and I do not believe that I have ever seen a TLC Match live before.  I've seen a lot of tables, ladders and chairs because of ECW, but never an actual TLC Match in person.   This match was crazy because Ace Romero and Trigga The O.G. were in it representing The Unit.  Then you had the team of Max Smashmaster and Mortar, who are both just so powerful and nearly killed everyone else in the match.  TJ Crawford and Love, Doug were also in this match- which is just a hell of a team- and this is all topped off by the Chaotic Wrestling Tag Team Champions MSP.

This was definitely main event worthy and it was only the second match!  I'm never sure how things translate from television to live and I also recognize that the way I feel about wrestlers isn't always the way that everyone else feels about them.  But I need to point out that during this match Love, Doug was over huge with the Chaotic Wrestling fans.  Chaotic Wrestling loves Love, Doug and rightfully so.  Having one of the best wrestlers in the world as a tag team partner in TJ Crawford also helped.

What is the best word to describe this match?  Carnage? Destruction?  There were so many broken ladders I didn't know how anyone was going to climb for the titles.   This match was just-- I'm ready to watch it back on Twitch that's how much I enjoyed it and also because there were so many people in it that I might have been focused on MSP when someone else was doing something else crazy on the other side of the ring.

Next was an in ring segment with Chase Del Monte and Becca which, long story short, saw the retirement of the Chaotic Women's Championship and the birth of the Chaotic Pan Optic Championship.   This brought out Aaron Rourke for a match and not to take anything away from what happened during the match but some fans in front of me were yelling when Aaron Rourke would get offense in about how he was a "woman beater" and it was a "domestic".  I don't really think those are things to joke about, but also it's like those fans missed the whole point of Chase Del Monte making the belt where anyone could challenge for it.  

I'm actually really excited for the Pan Optic Championship to come to Chaotic Wrestling.  It has literally only been a thing for a day and people on social media are already talking about it (good and bad) and I just feel like we need to let it play out though, see where it goes.  And Becca is the titleholder so I don't think it's going to go badly based on all of the Becca matches I've seen.  So can we get Effy back to Chaotic to challenge for it?  Perhaps Edith Surreal?  Veda Scott is another great choice.  Jordan Blade is a name I will also put out there alongside Avista Varlowe, Max the Impaler and Eddy McQueen.

The fourth match saw JT Dunn defend the Chaotic Championship against Hammerstone and when The Unit got involved, Chase Del Monte came out with Mike Verna to seemingly help Hammerstone but then Mike Verna ended up turning on Hammerstone and joining The Unit.  I don't know if Chaotic Wrestling has ever done War Games before but this might be leading to that style of a match and I'm really excited for it.

During intermission we took photos with Hammerstone and MSP.  It felt like a lot of the wrestlers weren't out selling merch but I think that was because they were all either getting ready for the Chaotic Countdown match or at least they wanted us to think that there was that possibility that they would be in it even if they weren't.  I had seen several people tweet about being ready for the match itself and being in it, but I never saw a definitive list of 30 competitors and preferred going into the show with them being largely surprises.  

The Chaotic Countdown match started with Ichiban at number one and Ricky Smokes at number two (heh number two)  We have seen Ichiban all over Test Of Strength, so I think at first the crowd was a little bit unsure but when you put him up against Ricky Smokes he's going to get cheered.   A lot of wrestlers came out during this match that I didn't know and they seemed to be students (which was a perfect way for them to be showcased) and several of them even came out, ran into the ring and then were immediately eliminated.

One of the bright spots of this match was seeing Brian Milonas fighting Ace Romero.  Ricky Smokes played the long game as he managed to stay in the match for most of it.  But Davienne was the workhorse of this match, staying in for nearly the entire time (I believe she entered around 6) and winning to get the title shot against JT Dunn and boy is there history there.  But it was a really fun match and it went by fast because I felt like I'd be watching something inside the ring- concerned someone was going to be eliminated- and then someone else would enter.  It didn't feel like a long wait between competitors and that was good.

This was a show of main events and I read on Twitter that it will air over the course of two weeks on Twitch.  I definitely recommend watching it when it does because even I am going to watch it back.  It's so crazy how back in 2019 I started going to live wrestling shows again (after 13 years of not) and because of IWTV and Blitzkrieg I knew who Ava Everett was, which brought me to my first Chaotic show and now it just felt like everyone on the card had such star power and it was just so many of my favorite wrestlers.   

Music Review //
"White Oil" //

While I'm not exactly sure what white oil is (I always think of oil as being black) I do know that KinetiX has a song about it which rocks enough to make it work.  Through beats and tones, this song is fairly chill at times.   It's a relaxing vibe, but also somewhat serious.  There exists a genre of electronic R&B on the radio which KinetiX might be able to fit into rather but they also have this way about popping up into the rock genre that you typically find an artist such as Neon Trees (who are always my go-to as a genre)

Throughout the feelings of rock mixed with pop and just the way that the synth moves into electronics with beats I can think of KinetiX as laying the groundwork for their style in a similar way of Twenty One Pilots, though I don't know how much the songs would sound the exactly unless you go back to "Vessel" and factor in that KinetiX does not have rapping involved.  Especially at the end of "White Oil..." though I can hear the synth just pick up into this big build which I really enjoy and feels like going out with a bang.

Lyrically this song explains little- to me- about what white oil is.  I actually did a search to see if maybe it was something that I was just unaware of and as it turns out there is a pesticide that is called white oil and if you search you'll even find recipes to make it to keep those bugs away.  However, when there are lyrics in here about the white oil dripping from you and you being smothered in it I tend to think this song is not about that type of white oil unless the song is about a fly.   Perhaps the white oil is a sexual reference, I really don't know but feel like it's just something fun to sing even if I don't know what it means.

From artists on the radio such as AJR and The Weeknd- who are so different yet share similarities- I feel like KinetiX would fit right in with that not quite rock but not quite pop vibe.  There is undoubtedly a bunch of energy to this song as well so it is good for feeling like you're driving through the future but also to put on first thing in the morning to get you up and going with that burst of energy also provided by coffee.  

Music Review //
Beautiful Lies ft. Zaya Malák


The music of Lánre can be described as R&B but there is also a definite hip hop vibe to it as well.  Just listening to the song there are melodies and beats which make me think of a modern rapper such as Drake but then it also tends to favor the singing over the rapping aspect of it so I'm not sure who to quite compare it with as a modern artist.  In terms of the past though, this has those similar vibes of Bell Biv Devoe or something from that time when hip hop and R&B had more of their lines blurred.

This video starts with the protagonist leaving a party and many of the lyrics reference drinking alcohol.  While you can have your opinion on drinking it can be somewhat similar to that of telling lies.  On one hand, we sometimes lie to not upset someone else but in general lying is thought of as being bad.  At the same time, you can think of drinking too much as being bad because of the health risks but then it can also make you feel good.  So I feel like it's really complicated within the lyrics of maybe I wouldn't have to lie to you if you didn't have a problem with my drinking (but yet also maybe there should be a problem with your drinking/lying)

During this video the vibe is set as something from the 1990's with a modern twist.  It has very distinct colors such as you would see in a video from DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince but it's also a video where it's mostly the singer singing and the feature rapping.  In the way that it's like a live performance but without a crowd it really reminds me of the Onyx video for "Slam" and I definitely enjoy that.

While this video has style you can say that the song does as well.  You can experience the melodies and debate about addiction at the same time.  The lyrics might more directly refer to consuming alcohol, but almost everyone has an unhealthy addiction and so even if you don't drink but have some other vice that your family or significant other doesn't approve of and you have to lie to them about it then this song is for you.  I feel like this makes "Beautiful Lies" universally relatable because we all either know someone with an addiction or we are that someone.  

Friday, July 16, 2021

Wrestling Review //
Paris Is Bumping
Solid Gold '21
Knights Of Columbus, Ridgefield Park, NJ


As I sit here, several days removed from Paris Is Bumping 2: Solid Gold '21, I feel like I am finally ready to type up some thoughts about the experience without giving too much away.   I'm going to try and stay away from too many match specifics and the such because I don't want to think of this as being spoilers for when it airs on IWTV in the coming weeks but rather as a way to gauge the crowd and what the atmosphere was like at this party.

When doors opened (on time) and Jess and I were let in, DJ Accident Report was already spinning tunes.   From the music to the lighting this gave away the impression that we had arrived at a dance party that just happened to have a wrestling ring in the middle of it.  I've always felt like music and wrestling mixed so perfectly- why not hire a band to play during intermission or between matches, for example- and this just felt like one of those touches that made Paris Is Bumping so special but also something every promotion should really be doing.  (That also seemed to be the theme for the night)

The wrestling on the show was there and it was really some of the best in ring work and storytelling you'll see.  I don't want this to be thought of as a ballroom style party if it means taking away anything that happened in that ring.  One of the things which made this show so remarkable was that it was able to provide entertainment on multiple levels.   Everything was just top notch and that included the wrestling aspect of it.

Things started in the ring with Felicia Rose and I don't think you could ever find a more perfect character to have inside of a wrestling ring.  Felicia Rose offers something that no one else can and she just has that it factor, that star power, when you see her inside that ring.  Wrestling (not this show) is full of people who could put on a hoodie and sunglasses and you wouldn't recognize them on the street no matter how many of their matches you had seen live.  This is simply not the case with Felicia Rose.   Felicia Rose is instantly recognizable in any situation she is in and you should book her everywhere (but mostly near me)

This show had a lot of star power because it had a lot of characters.   I don't want to feel like I'm calling out other promotions but there is a stereotype in wrestling for a reason where sometimes shows just have a lot of wrestlers with bad tattoos who all look the same.   They aren't the type of shows I go to, but they're out there.   But with Paris Is Bumping you don't see someone like Jared Evans and then confuse him with someone like Eddy McQueen.  Everyone on this show is just so distinguished and I love that about it.

Before the wrestling matches the participants had these contests to do and there were judges for that.  There were also times when someone such as Promise Juicy Couture would just come out and dance and it was wonderful.  One of the reasons why I wanted so badly to go to this show was because I knew it would be a wrestling show, yes, but unlike any other wrestling show I've ever been to and it certainly lived up to that and more.

I really have nothing bad to say about anyone on this show, but there are a few people I'd like to recognize in a special way.  First and foremost, let's talk about The High Society.  I've seen The High Society on my television but also they have been crashing WWR+ events (which I attend live) and I even saw them as recently as Friday night at Lucky Pro Wrestling.  I might boo the hell out of The Highers and talk a lot of shit to them on Twitter, but they have something special in what they do.   The team work in their matches and just the way they blend together and with their opponents is not to be overlooked.

Within the world of Paris Is Bumping, Jordan Blade and Eel O'Neal are heels.  I suppose they are heels most everywhere except in my mind.  I love Jordan Blade.  I have a healthy respect for and fear of Jordan Blade.  By proxy, I love Eel O'Neal.  I thought maybe this tag team match would be when fans actually cheered the Kings of the District because The Highers would pull heel shenanigans, but the fact that The Highers were actually cheered in this match was a bit crazy but I kind of sort of liked it.

I also need to give a special shout out to Washington Heights.   As a teenager, I was at ECW shows in CT and the surrounding area watching New Jack fight through the crowd with weapons.   If you had told me then that [redacted] years later I'd be seeing Washington Heights in the ring with an ECW shirt on during Paris Is Bumping I think... for one thing, I'd be a bit confused like "No way is that possible!" but I think it would also give me a lot of hope for the future.  I'd have that feeling of "You know what? Life is going to be all right".

From the non-stop energy of Gabby Ortiz to the way you could build an entire promotion around Eddy McQueen.   From wondering why Molly McCoy was a heel to Sahara shining like the star that she's going to be.  From seeing Karen Bam Bam again and watching a somewhat new audience open up to her to being able to once again boo Darius Carter.   I don't want to feel like I'm leaving anyone out so let me just say I also love Ashton Starr and Erica Leigh.

At one point before the main event match, Killian McMurphy walked past me and I asked him why he hadn't done that "SHOOTER!" part yet and he told me to shut up.  That was worth the price of admission alone.  But there was also a match with MV Young stripping the clothes off of Dez Monroe, PB Smooth and Myles Millennium.   Eel O'Neal also pulled double duty in that tag match and by having a singles match with Devon Monroe, who was a highlight of this show just the same.

There comes a point after shows like this where I want to say to book everyone on this show.  I want to see Mariah Moreno everywhere!  But, I also just want to see all of these wonderful people together again for the same show.   Switch the matches up, change the categories, but to keep all of these performers together is the way to sell tickets and it is the way to money (and the fact that the Knights Of Columbus was PACKED is proof of that)

On a final note, I just want to say that professional wrestling feels like a community.  I like to say that inside of social circles- whether it be at school or work or your family- it always feels like that one black sheep, that one weirdo, is the person who goes to wrestling shows and thus when we're at wrestling we fit in because we're all the outcasts.   That hit here on such a deeper and more personal level for me and to go from being a fourteen year old boy (ish) hearing fans in the crowd yelling the f-word to the Goldust character to what happened here on this night is just an experience you cannot put a price on.  Thank you, Billy Dixon.  Thank you, everyone.

Music Review //
Porter Block
"Clean Up The Living Room"

In a bit of comfort, "Clean Up The Living Room" begins with two songs I am familiar with as singles- "Say Something Nice" and then "I Don't Wanna Wait".   This album title does make me question why we call a certain space the "living room" when we should be alive in all aspects of our apartment/house/etc but also it makes me feel like the living room is where we spend the most amount of time so aside from the bathroom perhaps it is the room which needs the most cleaning.  By contrast, we really only sleep in the bedroom so it doesn't seem to need to be cleaned quite as often.

The sound of Porter Block remains sounding like a mix of Genesis and Blue October to me.  All of those right notes are hit in a style which makes this sound like something from that late 1980's/early 1990's era of MTV when Tom Petty had some of the best videos on there.   To some extent though, Blue October does also capture this sound and so I feel as if it is a shining example of bringing the past into the present to create music for the future.  I also would not mind to Porter Block recreating all of the songs from Pixar films (such as "Toy Story") as these piano-based songs can feel like a better version of them.

While listening to these songs can give off the vibe of a pop single or just something that might brighten your day in terms of the aesthetic, the lyrics tend to struggle with the idea of fitting in and interacting with other members of society.   This is something I have felt for most of my life but coming out of the pandemic (which the world is still slowly doing) I feel like it is something people will feel even more because it's like we've been away from each other for so long we don't know how to act now when we see someone we don't know.  I've grown somewhat spoiled on lockdown, as I've disassociated myself from society and now must ease my way back into it.  

Throughout these songs you will likely either be lead by the piano keys or the guitar notes.  "Taking The Boat To Water" has this dreamy way about it which also makes it feel trippy and that's something only Porter Block can accomplish.   "Mine To Control" feels like a more pop-based song and then "Fallen" comes right after it as a darker, almost western feel but part of that might just be the context within the album also as the songs could feel differently when listened to on their own or in a playlist alongside other moods. (For example: standing up against pure pop songs, "Mine To Control" might not feel as pop)

I keep going back to Genesis but there was just this wild time in music when artists were on the radio and television who fused together elements of rock, blues, jazz and pop to form one sound which is what I also feel Porter Block does here.  "Clean Up The Living Room" would be a stand out album in the early 1990's when this sound was everywhere but it is an even more exceptional album in the present tense.  

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Wrestling Review //
Lucky Pro Wrestling
Hudson-Concord Elks # 959
Hudson, MA 

There are many reasons why I might go to a wrestling show but when it comes to Lucky Pro Wrestling and "Reignited" I just feel like there were too many people on this card who I enjoy and really wanted to see so it became an event I couldn't possibly miss.  As we made our way to and arrived at the Hudson-Concord Elks, I realized this was the building in which Quentin experienced his first ever live pro wrestling show (a Chaotic event) and we had been here several times before.   One thing I love about pro wrestling is how I never recognize venues by name or location but rather when I show up.

Things started off on this show a little bit bumpy- with everyone coming in- but I think there was a good reason for that.   The deal was that you could either buy tickets in advance or at the door and they were only $15 each (or a four pack for $50!) so people really showed up!  As someone who bought tickets in advance though, I would have preferred having reserved seats (put my name on the chairs!) because it would have saved so much trouble which would come from trying to find a place to sit once inside.

I cannot say anything for certain because I do not know but this show felt like they sold x amount of tickets online in advance and so that was how many chairs they put out.  However, it seemed as if they had twice as many people buy tickets at the door which made quite the struggle to find somewhere to sit.  The staff was constantly putting out more chairs so the fans had a place to sit.  Again, this could have been easily avoided (for me at least) by giving those who paid ahead of time reserved seats, but it ended up not being as important in the long run and is just one of my personal gripes.

By paying your way into this show you were also given a photo opportunity / autograph with Impact Wrestling star Hernandez.   The line going into the building to take tickets fed into the line for Hernandez, so as we were waiting to meet Hernandez the seats filled up around us and it became frustrating.   Truth be told though, there isn't really a bad seat in the house at this Elks Lodge and the staff of LPW made it work.   If anything, the difficulty fans had finding seats as chairs were literally being brought out and set up should just go to show you how hugely popular LPW is.  This would have been a much different situation (and worse one) if they had, say, 50 chairs set up and a smaller number of that filled with fans.   This might have felt like a problem to *me*, but for LPW it was a good problem to have.

Going into this show I felt like I knew at least half of the people on the card- one in each match- and whether it was someone I had seen before or not, there were also a number of wrestlers on here I was looking forward to seeing for the first time.  The first match saw Elia Markopoulous defeat Swilly O'Brien.   Here is my MA-based wrestling knowledge in effect: Quentin and I saw Swilly O'Brien at a [redacted] show vs Darley Desamot (who will appear on the show later) while Jess and I saw Elia Markopoulous at Top Rope Pro.  I actually really enjoy the character of Elia Markopoulous because he plays a good heel but I also just like yelling "OPA!"

This felt like a hot opener and got the crowd going, which was what it was meant to do.  This then took us into an in ring segment which I felt kind of killed any of the momentum they had just tried to create.   This was my first LPW show and I'm not really involved with them the same way other people might be but someone named Vern Vicallo came out and I had no clue whether to cheer or boo him but he said "COME ON!" in that way wrestlers do to try and pump up a crowd so I assumed he was a face.   He cut an in ring promo saying he was injured but would be back soon and as someone who had never been to an LPW show before I just didn't care.  

The second match of the evening saw Darley Desamot defeat Ricky Smokes and I'm actually familiar with both of these wrestlers.  I saw Darley Desamot face Swilly in [redacted] as previously stated and I remember when Ricky Smokes was Ricky Archer.  I haven't seen him in quite some time- since either a Chaotic or Blitzkrieg show- but it truly is wonderful to see the way in which his character has grown from Ricky Archer to now being The Smoke Show and having a heel character which I just think couldn't possibly be better.   He is just doing his job so perfectly.

In a short-lived match, LPW Hard Knox Champion Sweat Boy defeated Ricky Mederios to retain the title.  There was supposed to be a different opponent challenging for the title but I heard he was scared so he didn't show up.   Jess and I previously saw Sweat Boy in Top Rope Pro and the crowd was fully behind him during this match.   It's crazy to me how wrestlers in the specific area (MA being this case) can just go around to different promotions to get their names out there, so you see them a few times and then they catch on and it just turns into Sweatmania.  I fully expect and would like to see Sweat Boy on every show I attend in MA going forward.

At this point a mixed tag team match was announced and I was a little bit surprised because I thought that if this wasn't the main event it would at least be closer to the end of the show.   Still, it was the main event of the first half of the show and I suppose that was a good place to end the first half on.   Alisha Edwards came out first and was standing slightly in front of me.  Quentin and I were booing her, she turned around, saw us and got into our faces about how we were booing her and I told her Becca was going to beat her.   This was one of the reasons why I ended up not being so upset about the seating thing because Alisha Edwards got in my face and told me to go cry.

What was curious about the mixed tag match was that Alisha Edwards seemed to play the heel, which she does extremely well, and Becca seemed to play the face, which she can also do really well.   Their partners though... Hernandez got a lot of cheers and I think it was because he was that big attraction.   If you didn't know anyone else on this show, odds were you came because you knew Hernandez.   But then you had Jason Blade on the opposite side- who we recently saw at [redacted] as well- and I just feel like he was almost booed or didn't quite get a reaction because of Hernandez.

I love the fact that we live in a time when matches don't have to be "good guy vs bad guy" any more, but the fact that this tag match also blurred those lines between who was cheered and who was booed and within each of the four competitors (not just the teams) was even better.   This match delivered something unique and as much as fans cheered Becca and booed Alisha, it felt like when Alisha and Hernandez won the crowd was cheering because they were just so much behind Hernandez and nothing was about to change that.

During intermission the first wrestlers I saw was The Higher Society so I told them to go outside because no one wanted to meet them.   Quentin and I then found Isana (who I saw come out with merch but didn't know where she went at first) and went over to buy her merch and take a picture with her.   I will touch upon it more later, but seeing Isana wrestle live and in person was one of the larger factors playing into us going to this show.

After meeting Isana Quentin and I joined a line to see Alisha Edwards and let me tell you, dear reader, that when we joined that line there were probably about ten fans in front of us.   As we were waiting, at least double that many people joined the line behind us.  The fun thing about waiting in line though was that we could see Isana across the ring still and I kept looking over and seeing her moving around to take photos and sell merch.   Meeting Alisha Edwards was great and if nothing else from this review you should take the fact that you can be an amazing heel to the point where you're practically booed out of the building but also sell a ton of merch.   Yes, we boo her but that's part of the job so we also support her by buying merch because she is just so damn good at what she does.

Back from intermission and we started off hot.  There were seven announced matches for this show and we had three of them before intermission so I kind of knew what was still to come but not the order.   The first match was a triple threat with Marcos "The Pitbull" Santiago (who wore a mask like a luchador) taking on Shay Cash (who I feel like I've seen around online before in name only) and Armani Kayos, who is one half of The Highers.   Armani Kayos scored the win and it was odd for me to see him not in tag team action but still a win is a win and this could help him become a singles star in LPW and challenge for some gold (which would look good on him)

With two matches to go, The Highers were right back out as Paris Van Dale teamed with Jessie Nolan to take on Isana and Sarah Teller.   Going back to the mixed tag team match as an example, this match also felt a bit off in terms of balance of good vs bad.   Isana and Sarah Teller were the clear team to cheer here, but I also like Jessie Nolan and feel like she was getting some cheers even though Paris Van Dale stood as the only clear heel in the match.  I thought about this match a lot and couldn't come up with a better way to book it though (I thought about putting The Highers together and then put Jessie Nolan in the match before this one in place of Armani Kayos but then you have two mixed tag matches and that felt like too much)

This tag match came to an end when PVD peaced out and Jessie Nolan couldn't overcome the two-on-one advantage.   This actually left a lot of unanswered questions- which is great for matches going forward.  I would now like to see Jessie Nolan vs Paris Van Dale one on one as a bit of retribution.  I would also like to see Jessie Nolan vs Isana one on one because I think it is a match which would just be unlike anything else that you could see inside of a wrestling ring right now (I put it on my dream match list)  But also, since PVD walked out of the match it leaves the door open for her to vs either Isana or Sarah Teller one on one.    This really was my favorite match of the show with the way it played out but there also wasn't a bad match on this show overall.

In the main event we saw "R.I.O.T." Kellan Thomas defend the LPW Championship against Brad Cashew.  Recently, Brad Cashew has made this name for himself in Chaotic and Limitless, for example.  Quentin and I saw him quite a bit pre-pandemic (and he had a different first name) but it was so great to see him live again because between the time we last saw him and now I feel like he has just grown so much and become so much of the star I saw in him back then.  He also came out, kind of looked over the crowd and they didn't know how to react at first I think so I yelled "LET'S GET NUTS!" and he have me the fist bump.

I didn't know anything about Kellan Thomas going into this show but he put up a hell of a fight and just showed why he is the champion.   This was a great way to close out the show as there were many points in the match where it felt like Brad Cashew was going to win and if he did, that Elks Lodge would have just exploded because of the energy in that building on that night.   I'd say it was a sold out capacity crowd but I really feel like it even went above and beyond that somehow.   

This was such a great show overall- match for match- and the level of how much the crowd was into it all night just made it all so perfect.   Definitely a show where I was just happy to send a handful of the wrestlers. I would have felt justified in paying the $15 ticket charge and driving the two hours just to see Jessie Nolan and Isana, but the whole show was well worth it and really impressed me in a way which I didn't know I could be impressed.  If you have the chance to see this one stream or you can go see LPW live I fully recommend it.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Music Review //
Rascal Whack
"Maliveni" //

What you will hopefully notice throughout the album "Maliveni" by Rascal Whack is how the sound is not quite rock n roll and not quite metal but somewhere between the two.  There is an easy way out of referring to this sound simply as "hard rock" but what that term can encompass just feels like too many possibilities.   A need for a more specific type of sound arises, but to dive into that makes the way one would put this into a genre much more difficult.

At times, there are those elements of Metallica especially how in certain songs Metallica can tow that line of metal- where they don't flat out blow the speakers but you know that metal is underlying because they're Metallica (This also tends to happen in their later years)  While a song like "Raging Groove" can be on the heavier side, it also has this slower guitar solo (which somewhat grooves) and begins to throw off my perception of what this album is and how it relates to metal/rock.

While I can hear a bit of Ozzy Osbourne in here (the solo stuff) I also think that Rascal Whack would be a perfect fit for Ozzfest because it's just that type of heavy energy they seem to look for in an artist.   Through guitar solos and a lot of guitar work in general, this album just also has the drive of a band such as Bullets and Octane.  "Slipping Away" begins with these big, crunchy guitar chords as well which make me think of the song "Higher Ground" and so some of that classic rock can come into play here as well.

Lyrics such as "They said you’re free to go / But they chained my feet" come out in the first song and throughout the entire album you can pick out your own lines and lyrics such as this.  Back in the early '00s there existed a band called U.P.O. who went around the country opening for Sevendust and Creed (You can find their album on Spotify) and that's one of the best comparisons I can make with Rascal Whack, though I'm not sure how many people out there have ever heard of U.P.O.   So the fact that the only artist I can really think to compare this with properly is one I have a personal connection with from twenty years ago just tells you how often a band like Rascal Whack comes along.