Monday, December 31, 2018

The Winners And Losers Of 2018

Happy New Year, everyone.

Before we begin, I'd just want to give everyone a heads up that I'll be taking this month off from material and that we'll resume this journey in mid-February. While 2018 has had some highs and lows on a personal front, I'm pleased to say that the blog and subsequent Internet presences have seen a significant boost in content and with material lined up for the future, things are looking up. But I need a cooling period, folks, so check back in about a month and we'll start things up again real soon.

This isn't a full-on "closure" of the site or anything. There will still be stuff coming up, like the Classic Wrestling Musings every Wednesdays and maybe one or two other things along the way, but it'll definitely be a much leaner month compared to the past few, which have been pretty heavy. Hopefully, things will be back to full force come February, where I hope to have a regular schedule of sorts, as it relates to content.

With that said, this list of 2018 is not fantastic and perhaps not as plentiful as previous years, but regardless, the stuff worth mentioning is listed here and the stuff that isn't... well, isn't.


All In
Whether you consider it a game-changer in the professional wrestling industry, one of the most important independent wrestling shows in recent years, or just a glorified indy show, you can't deny that All In has generated a lot of interest and sort of proved in its half hour sellout of tickets that wrestling fans are ready for alternates besides WWE. I don't know if I would call All In a big deal, but any show that manages to get me to spend money on their PPV and deliver the goods has to be a winner in my book.

Bryan And Vinny
The Bryan And Vinny recaps of WWE Pay-Per-Views have completely superseded my need to follow WWE PPVs on a monthly basis... not to mention their Retro Tuesday shows are fun stuff, mostly to listen to the pained reactions to watching these old RAW and Nitro shows. Well worth the monthly subscription; so much so that I even subscribed to the F4WOnline video service where I got to catch their incredibly hilarious Christmas show.

Impact Wrestling
After years of bad management putting out bad product and the only positive thing to say about the company being that they're still around, the former TNA Impact Wrestling organization is starting to put out a product that people actually like and even I'll admit that from the couple episodes I was able to catch, they seem more focused on putting out a good show rather than trying to push an agenda. Their PopTV woes might leave their future in doubt and their jump to an outdoors channel owned by parent compant Anthem probably won't do them any favors, but at the very least, they've got the Fight Network and they've got a good show. That's more than enough to upgrade their status if not for one year, I think.

Daniel Bryan Danielson
Once written off as never being able to wrestle again due to various concussion issues, Daniel Bryan Danielson proved the naysayers wrong and make a grand ol' comeback back in March... that fizzled out once he was stuck trying to make something out of Big Cass before that guy got fired. And now here we are; Daniel Bryan Danielson is WWE Champion and a wonderfully despicable bad guy. Welcome back, Bryan. You've been sorely missed from my television screen.

AJ Styles
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention what an incredible run AJ Styles has had over at Smackdown. Started the year as WWE Champion and held the belt throughout until last November when he got kicked in the nads by Daniel Bryan Danielson before losing the title. Now that I think about it, AJ should've been a loser on this list due to the general stubborness of not buying a cup for his private parts, but hey, he's had a good run as champion, his stuff has been fairly entertaining... and well...

THE MAN Becky Lynch
She went from forgotten white meat babyface to badass. At Summerslam, Becky "turned" on Charlotte and became a heel... or at least, that was the idea WWE Creative had. But because people were sick and tired of Baby Flair getting free shots, they ended up cheering Becky. And Becky ran with it, became one of the biggest stars in WWE that makes the product tolerable, and that's why she da man now, dawg.

Chris Jericho
A couple years ago, I added ol' Y2J on the Losers' list for introducing a stupid List gimmick that people liked because people are stupid. Let me rectify that by highlighting Jericho's best year yet, which includes a couple show-stealing performances at various New Japan shows and putting together that Rock And Wrestling Rager At Sea cruise featuring a bunch of wrestling matches and other stuff. I don't say this often because it's just repeating what others have said, but seeing Jericho pull all this stuff off at this point in his life and still keep going without losing a beat is an impressive feat that very few folks manage. The List is still stupid, though. Just saying.

Mega Man 11
A return to form for the Blue Bomber. Also helps that it's a great game to boot. I've done my bit in a prior video, but suffice it to say, this looks like the start of a renewed period of Mega Man newness... or it could be a one and done deal. Regardless, for a brief moment, Mega Man is back and better than ever... and that most certainly is... BETTER THAN NOTHING. Har, har.

Mega Man Maker
Getting my mileage out of Mega Man Maker. I did a video on this thing a year ago (and a short revisit just a short while ago) and all the various upgrades and additional material (for free, no less) has made this one of the best Mega Man fan projects I've come across. Hell, considering the amount of time I've put into this thing, it's one of the best games PERIOD that I've played. High praise for Mega Man Maker, let me tell you.

Castlevania Netflix Series
The first season from a year or so ago was a nice primer despite its short length, but then along comes the second season and I thought it was a pretty good show. Made by the same fellow who made that shitty fan film that I won't directly mention here, Castlevania on Netflix was a fine quality anime-like show... even if the constant swearing is off-putting.

Playstation 3
Specifically, the one I picked up back in August. Just the fact that I now own a PS3 (or rather a PS3 "Slim" to be precise... yeah, slim. Sure...) is enough of a mindfuck that it deserves a winner spot. I bought it for PS1 gaming exclusively (both on discs as well as on PSN), but lo and behold, the lure of Sonic 2006, Fat Mega Man, and Midnight Club were too strong for me to overcome and... well, congratulations, PS3. You get a spot on the Winners List despite being old.

Titans (DC Universe)
An adult-oriented Titans show has had its share of skeptics and even fueled a couple memes here and there because of course it did, but truth be told, this was a damn fine show. Characters were true to the source, the story more or less made sense within the context of the universe they were, and there was a great season finale with a solid cliffhanger that left you wanting more. The violence is a little over the top and the constant swearing is laughable at best, but hey, it's a good show and I enjoyed it tremendously. So why does DC have trouble with its film properties but handle its TV stuff with ease? I'm at a loss.


2K Games
The Belgium Government bans the gambling mechanic known as lootboxes from video games, prompting 2K Games to beg their Belgian fans to petition their officials to re-instate this horrible game mechanic to a video game that you ALREADY PAID MONEY FOR AND THEREFORE MUST PAY MORE MONEY TO BUY AND FUCK RIGHT THE FUCK OFF, YOU FUCKING HACKS! It's also pretty telling that this has irritated me enough to not purchase the latest WWE 2K video game... which wasn't a difficult decision by any means considering how consistently rubbish they've been over the years.

Electronic Arts
Despite Belgian laws prohibiting these loot box mechanics, EA shipped a game with loot box mechanics and became the subject of a criminal investigation. This, along with plenty of other stupid decisions made by Electronic Arts, is enough to earn it a spot on the Losers List.

Lootboxes In General
They're fucking gambling. End of fucking story.

Power Rangers: Legacy Wars
A free-to-play game where you play a limited fighting game. For the mobile market, it's an adequate game on its own. But I spent a bunch of money on this thing for a game that I ended up not spending a whole lot of time on. I can barely remember the last time I played Legacy Wars... or even any mobile game for that matter. Let that be a lesson to not spend money on frivolous things like extra Street Fighter characters for your Power Rangers games.

Kyle Higgins And His JDF Fanwank
Kyle Higgins is a talented fellow, the guy responsible for giving Power Rangers its first truly respectable comic series under the Boom Studios banner. However, what could've been a nice little series taking the original Rangers and placing them in somewhat modern times ended up being a showpiece for Mr. Higgins' favorite character. Following a newly minted Tommy Oliver and his transition into the team was a good idea on paper, but then Higgins' Tommy wankfest continued by introducing a lame villain who happens to be another Evil Tommy. His promises of the series not just being about Tommy ended up being just about Tommy and no matter how hard he tries, he just couldn't hide his JDF Fankwankery. I had suggested that Mr. Higgins should have written an ending for his Shattered Grid event that featured a self-inserted caricature of himself giving JDF a good ol' blowjob. He didn't, so he's on the list of losers.

Playstation Classic Old Stuff
After the success of Nintendo's NES and SNES Classic Edition plug-and-play consoles, Sony decided to get in on that action by making their own Playstation Classic. Sadly, what they ended up releasing was a product with twenty games of some classics and mostly old games that haven't aged well, commanding a high price, and including European versions of certain games resulting in some performance issues. I've yet to sample the system myself and I had no reason to do so... but clearly if I want high-def PS1 action... I'm sticking with my newly acquired PS3.

After years of a shitty "Safe" filter that fails to filter out "naughty" pictures from their "Safe" searches, decides to fix the problem by banning all semblance of porn and "naughty" content. Because if you can't fix your shitty filter, ban all the offensive material. Good job, you tumblng twits.

Reboot: The Guardian Code
Full disclosure: I have not seen the series other than whatever brief snippets were available online, but regardless, this deserved a slot on the Losers list. From what I gathered, fans hate this because it has little to nothing to do with the original ReBoot, the quality is not quite up to par, and apparently, the creative lead behind this series is an asshole who can't accept criticism. I'd expect that from a Youtube creator, not someone employed by a big studio.

WWE's Main Television Product
On the one hand, they made a billion dollars with that FOX deal... but that only means that audiences who stick with the television product will have to endure even more of a terrible product. And when the product is good, nobody actually cares. WWE has given fans some horrendous television over the past year and it even started to fickle down to the Pay-Per-Views, which I've stopped watching for a while live and there's even a couple that I have yet to see... one of which got rave reviews, but I just didn't care enough (hence why it's not on this year's list.) Never mind all the Saudi shows that people hate as well as... well, I did say their main TV product.

It is rare for me to touch on MMA-related material since I'm not a fan of the sport. But with UFC's effort to protect their big star Jon Jones - a man whose had his suspension due to positive drug tests reduced and eliminated entirely - by going so far as to move their UFC event to another state when Nevada banned Jones from competing due to positive drug tests, just so that they could have Jones on the card. UFC may be holding real fights, but it's stuff like this that makes them seem more like a group of carneys running a professional wrestling promotion. At this point, it's hard for me to take anything out of the UFC camp seriously and if someone wants to suggest I give up the fake crap and watch real fights, don't point me towards UFC because it's stuff like the Jon Jones stuff that makes them faker than wrestling.

Entries that are neither winners or losers, but deserve special mention regardless.

Roman Reigns
After all those years of failed attempts at making him the next big thing and ultimately getting booed as a result, it took a revelation about a battle with leukemia to get people to cheer for Roman Reigns. This is going to be a controversial decision on the list, because the expectation would be that Roman on indefinite leave to combat his returning leukemia should've been an instant win. However, one real-life conflict does not and cannot be used as a "cheap ploy" for sympathy. The fact that Roman refused to have his first battle publicized and used as a cheap attempt for sympathy from the fans when all the other stupid booking failed to ingratiate him with the fans is something that I can respect Roman. And for that, he gets an honorable mention and a best wishes.

And that's it, folks. See you all next year.

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