Ruthless Aggression - "Rey Mysterio Drinks Modelo"

Pierce Chris and Rob talk about that ridiculous Almas-Mysterio match from Smackdown, Balor replacing Braun in the Royal Rumble match against the Beast, the new women's tag titles, AEW and more!

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 503
Smackdown 179
Royal Rumble 2003

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This Week in WWE: When a TV match turns into an all-time classic
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Chris Novak: We kick things off, two weeks away from the Royal Rumble, with Braun Strowman. JK, first out of the gate is Vince McMahon!

Robert O’Neill: Vince is at Raw, complete with a limo arrival. Ominus? Maybe! Now here’s Strowman. He goes on about how he’s going to beat Lesnar and Lesnar is scared of him. But here comes Baron Corbin.

Chris Novak: Corbin agitates Braun, which leads to a chase. A Singh brother died on the way back to his home planet. Strowman remains in heavy pursuit.

And now, here’s Elias.

Robert O’Neill: He told Strowman where Corbin was, but he did it in song. And Corbin was hiding in the limo Vince arrived in!

Chris Novak: He yanks the driver out of the limo and then proceeds to bash the windows in!!! He then PULLS the door off. Corbin goes on the move once again and… oh, well, Braun RUNS INTO VINCE!! Vince is NOT thrilled either, by the looks of it.

Sure enough he’s not. He fines him $100K. Braun gets mad, and NOW… he’s OUT of the Universal Championship Match!

Ronda-Sasha/Nia-Tamina is next.

Robert O’Neill: Let’s see how this goes.

Chris Novak: That match… certainly went. It was fine. Right team won (Sasha and Ronda) right person got the fall (Sasha) and right person tapped out (Tamina). That’s fine. That was… fine.

Robert O’Neill: After the match they both got interviewed by Charly Caruso and Sasha took some exception to some things Ronda said about how she’s going to make her tap. That was a really good segment.

Chris Novak: Sasha and Ronda are STILL GOING after the commercial break. Bayley and Natalya try to play peacemaker and eventually send them to their quarters. That leads to an argument between Bayley and Nattie about who was in the right and wrong. Riott Squad come knocking on the door then and rabblerouse, as they are to do. Liv insulted Bayley by calling her a sad emoji. Much as I’m a Bayley fan, I’m a Liv fan, and that’s a great insult. They challenge them to a match and Nattie accepts on their behalf, but Bayley doesn’t seem thrilled by that. Big fan of this. Big fan of all of this.

Robert O’Neill: Lucha House Party are facing The Revival, however I am boycotting all tag team wrestling on the Raw brand until The Revival are rightfully awarded the tag team championship. Thank you for your time.

Chris Novak: Well, luckily for you tonight, Rob, The Revival picked up the win over The Lucha House Party.

Robert O’Neill: Vince is making his way to the ring to announce the new plan for the Royal Rumble title match. This should be interesting. Before he can start talking, JOHN CENA COMES OUT! He starts talking about how Stone Cold left and The Rock left and Brock Lesnar left but Cena never left! He missed birthdays and weddings and funerals but he’s still here and he wants a shot at his 17th world championship. Drew McIntyre is out here though and he doesn’t care what Cena has to say, he wants the shot. So does Baron Corbin. So does Finn Balor. Vince isn’t so high on the last one though, cause he’s little. Then chaos ensues, and McIntyre stands tall. Then Vince says they’re having a fatal four-way match in the main event to see who will face Brock. Whew.

Chris Novak: That was a hell of a segment. Cena cut a fiery promo. Finn brought some heat too. All of that ended extremely well too with Drew Mac coming out on top before the F4W announcement.

Jinder then shows up backstage and persuades Vince to let him in contention. So, apparently he’s facing Finn tonight. I’ve NO idea if this is entry to the F4W match… or if they just wiped that out tonight for this. I’ll have no idea for a few more segments until this is all resolved.

Six woman tag’s next. The partner that Bayley and Nattie picked is… NIKKI CROSS!!! So far, they’re acting as a cohesive unit. We’ll see if that disseminates into something later.

It might not surprise you, but the six-woman tag was a super fun match. Bayley got the pin after an elbow drop.

Robert O’Neill: That was awesome. I really liked adding Nikki Cross into the fold.

Chris Novak: I also really like how, no matter how many times these matches happen, they just win up finding new ways to make them better.

Finn vs. Jinder is next. We got clarity. The winner is in the F4W later tonight. These two turned out a very fun match. They’re clearly setting Finn up for something, after having him get beat up big time before the match started. He pulled off the win in the end with the Coup de Grace and stays in the F4W, which should own. Back-to-back great matches. Raw is starting to heat up right now.

IC Championship Triple Threat Match is next. This proved to be a really dope match. And to maybe some surprise… LASHLEY WINS THE IC TITLE!!! They kept Seth protected by having Dean get pinned. Another legit great match here.

I have no idea why they just did that segment with Alexa. Poor taste and then some.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah you can watch the video of this, it was really stupid.

Chris Novak: They then turned around and had her come out for A Moment of Bliss. And we get a SCOOP! THE WOMEN’S TAG TITLES ARE COMING AT ELIMINATION CHAMBER!! Bliss revealed them and GOOD LORD are they beautiful.

Paul Heyman, Bliss’ guest, then comes on out. Bliss and Heyman banter about Brock Lesnar and the four competitors in the F4W match. We then get the arrival… of… Otis Dozovic, who shows up being the weirdo that he is. Tucker Knight comes out to pull him back away.

Robert O’Neill: I feel like a lot of the NXT call-ups have been shoehorned in tonight, but I get it. If you want to have them be in the Royal Rumble, call them up this week, have them in matches next week, then you’re ready to rock and roll.

Fatal 4-Way is next.

Chris Novak: That match was awesome. Finn won after hitting the Coup de Grace on Cena. It wasn’t lost on me that Finn ate EVERYONE’s finisher but still stood tall. They are shooting that dude to the MOON, baby. Finn gets Brock at the Rumble. Cena had some really nice words for him afterwards, putting a bow on a huge night for him.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: This was a really good Raw. I didn’t like the Bliss backstage segment at all and thought it was completely unwarranted and unneeded. That being said, everything else really clicked. Once the second hour kicked in, this show was on a freaking high (despite the one aforementioned valley hit prior to The Moment of Bliss segment). Match quality wise, this was an awesome show. Raw’s getting back in gear, baby. B+.

Robert O’Neill: The Bliss backstage segment was bad, but aside from that, this Raw had two hours and fifty-nine minutes of things I liked. The matches were very good and Balor being the new top guy is really good news for us all. I can’t wait for his match with Brock Lesnar. A-

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Chris Novak: SmackDown kicks off with The Man. Becky responds to a question of if she’s ready for Asuka by saying she’ll answer it in the ring. On the way there she runs into Heavy Machinery and New Day. Otis made some sort of crazy concoction and Becky drank it and said it was “too weak.” Bex then came out to cut a promo and said it’s not easy to do what she’s done. She talked up Asuka and her hype, bringing up that she lost. She said she lost and fell off the radar. This brings out Asuka for a faceoff. Asuka says Becky’s all buzz but no sting “like a little bee.”

The IIconics come out and do their spiel, talking down Becky and Asuka and saying they need more dignity. Becky then says that she’ll take one of them on, and our first match of the night is about to commence.

Robert O’Neill: That was a really fun way to open the show. I like the NXT people appearing on both shows, as well. Becky got the victory over Peyton in a short match. Asuka got in the ring and was yelling at Becky and challenged Billie Kay and made her tap in much shorter time. I like it.

Chris Novak: I dug it too, to be honest.

Robert O’Neill: AJ Styles is on the concourse telling the fans that Daniel Bryan is wrong and they can eat hot dogs if they want to. But then Bryan comes through in a hoodie and attacks Styles! AJ gets the upper hand though and spinebusters Bryan through a table.

Chris Novak: Hey, that was pretty effective to keep this going. Have a feeling that match at the Rumble is gonna own.

Jimmy Uso got a rose from… well, you guessed it, Mandy Rose. Mandy wants Jimmy to come to his hotel tonight. Huh. Can’t imagine where this might go.

Joe vs. Ali is next. On Joe’s way to Gorilla, we have an Old Friend Alert as he sees EC3 admiring himself in a mirror. See the joke is they both were in TNA.

Robert O’Neill: HIlarious! Joe goes to the ring for his match and as Mustafa Ali is doing his entrance Joe throws him off the turnbuckle and beats him down around the ring. Vintage intensity from Joe.

Chris Novak: That was some good heeling by Joe. Ali got destroyed, selling his ass off in the process.

Mandy Rose was backstage with Sonya Deville. Sonya asked Mandy if it was really what she wanted to do, and she basically, outright said she wanted to break up their marriage. LOL, oh brother.

Joe is backstage and talks about how he’s going to win the Royal Rumble.

Robert O’Neill: Rey Mysterio vs. the newly-named Andrade up next.

Chris Novak: Well, these two messed around and had, in my book, the greatest SmackDown match ever. Just an unreal, 20-minute display of athleticism, high-flying moves and everything else that you can imagine. Good God. I can’t have more superlatives for this match. Almas won and pinned Mysterio.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah that was so good. Holy crap. Let these two fight forever.

Chris Novak: Mandy got Jimmy Uso in her hotel room… and it turned out that she just wanted to stage something to ruin Naomi’s life. Turns out… Jimmy had Naomi waiting. The two brawled in the hotel room but Mandy came out on top and then bolted.

Robert O’Neill: This was kinda weird but unlike the Alexa stuff the other night at least it continues a story and isn’t just shoehorned in. So that’s good.

Chris Novak: They did the segment with Shane and Miz for Shane’s birthday. They put together a well-produced Shane highlight reel and Miz gave Shane some Jordans. Shane put Miz over and said he was happy to be his tag partner. The Bar came out to interrupt, which led to an impromptu match between Miz and Sheamus.

Miz defeated Sheamus and then Shane went coast-to-coast (coast-to-cake, actually) and Miz and Shane were jovial in the ring at the conclusion of the show.

Robert O’Neill: This was a really fun main event segment/match. Shane doing the coast to coast into the cake was a neat spot, and I think the tag match at the Royal Rumble is going to be really solid.  

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: A very balanced, well put together show. Andrade/Rey was an all-timer as far as TV matches go and for Rey Mysterio’s career, as well. I’ve almost no issue with this show other than Carmella/Sonya being axed. As far as what was on the show? Another great one. A-

Robert O’Neill: Of the five hours of WWE TV I watched this week, four hours and 59 minutes were very good. I like those odds. I liked, again, what they did with the NXT people, having them in the background repeatedly. Mysterio/Almas will be regarded as a top Smackdown match of all time, and Styles/Bryan is already becoming one of my favorite feuds both guys have been part of. A

Don't make the same mistake walking into Avengers: Endgame that you did with Infinity War

10 years after Jon Favreau’s Iron Man kickstarted what would become the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios’ most ambitious crossover, Avengers: Infinity War served as the culmination of a decade of world-building. It’s the crown jewel for comic book fans and those who embarked on the cinematic journey from the beginning (If you weren’t in tune with the MCU but went through the first 18 films prior to seeing Infinity War, welcome aboard! It’s good to have you!)

The critically-acclaimed film broke box office records, and became the talk of the summer on social media (today’s water cooler). But in accordance with the established, universal laws of enjoyment, there were some who didn’t obsess over the third Avengers film. I’m all for disliking things; healthy criticism promotes debate & it helps with the growth of any medium/artist, but it has to have merit. Which brings us to the most ridiculous condemnation of Infinity War…

“Why do I have to watch the other MCU movies to fully understand Infinity War?”

Let me start by being blunt… it’s a ridiculous question. You can’t complain when you chose to enter the saga 19 films in. Nobody said you had to be there from the beginning or spend every waking moment thinking about the universe, but to willingly ignore them before seeing Infinity War and using your lack of preparedness to complain is moronic. Keep crying about it. YOUR TEARS NOURISH ME!

I’m a firm believer that there’s an opposing reaction to everything. While I’m absolutely certain that a portion of those who subscribed to this asinine critique were actually ignorant enough to think they could drop in and be spoon fed everything, I also think there’s another reason this happened: people erroneously believed Infinity War was a direct sequel. It picks up in the timeline directly following Thor: Ragnarok and brings seeds that were planted as far back as 2012’s The Avengers. The plot centers around Thanos’ search for the six infinity stones, five of which have appeared in various MCU movies over the course of the last 10 years. Yes, sometimes sequels tend to contain quick re-introductions for all the base players but, again, INFINITY WAR IS NOT A SEQUEL; It is the 19th issue of an ongoing series.

The 18 that were released before it - a few stand-alone installments aside - were integral to the film’s completion. The MCU operates much like typical comic book crossover events that are set up by issues contained within individual character’s runs. There’s a list of specific titles that you can use to obtain enough surface level knowledge needed to understand Infinity War , but the full effect is only felt by having seen all of them. There is no logical reason to believe you’ll comprehend it if you’ve seen none of them, though. If you’re hell bent on considering a sequel, then the most honest way to do that is to believe it’s a sequel to every single film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that came before it. That holds infinitely more truth than it being a direct sequel to any one release.

Since I’m a humanitarian who genuinely believes in helping people and not because this entire “critique” has annoyed me far more than the narrative that Drake has classic album (editor’s note: Nothing Was the Same exists), I write this piece to all of you as an disclaimer. We are just months away from the release of Avengers: Endgame, which is intended to wrap up phase 3 of the MCU & close out important storylines 10 years in the making. It’s been rumored for a while now that there might be a time travel element to the film that will have our heroes revisiting previous incidents. If you haven’t AT LEAST watched the most vital entry’s in the MCU, then you’re gonna be even more lost walking out of Endgame. Please do not go see Captain Marvel and walk into Avengers because you think it’s the next one in line. I really don’t want to have this conversation again.

Ball Don't Lie - "Drew Brees Don't Know Choppa Style"

KOLR-10 sports anchor Dan Molloy joins Pierce and Scott this week to talk about the MLB hot stove and the White Sox pursuit of Manny Machado. Plus Dan's been covering the Kansas City Chiefs all year, so we'll get his thoughts on Championship Sunday, the Bears possibly signing Kareem Hunt, the trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home and much much more!

Topics:
White Sox offer contract to Manny Machado
Possible collusion in MLB
Odds Manny signs with White Sox
Bears end-of-season press conference
Chuck Pagano hired as DC
Cody Parkey's future in Chicago
Nagy not shooting down Kareem Hunt to Bears
AFC Title Game preview
NFC Title Game preview
Kyler Murray declaring for NFL Draft
James Harden having another MVP season
Kyrie Irving and the Celtics' woes
Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer
Goofy Mog of the Week


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The most anticipated movies of 2019

2018 brought some gems to the big screen, from box-office superhero smash hits like Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Aquaman, to critically-acclaimed films like A Star is Born, Annihilation and John Krasinski’s brilliant thriller A Quiet Place. 2019 brings even more buzz to the box office! Here’s the movies we’re looking forward to the most in the new year!

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Glass

Release Date: January 18, 2019
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Sarah Paulson & Anya Taylor-Joy
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan had an amazing comeback with 2017's Split, complete with a twist ending that revealed the movie was actually connected to his 2000 supernatural drama, Unbreakable, picking up right where Split left off. James McAvoy shined in Split, and I'm excited to see him act alongside Samuel L. Jackson & Bruce Willis.

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

What Men Want

Release Date: February 8, 2019
Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Aldis Hodge, Tracy Morgan, Erykah Badu, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tamala Jones & Josh Brener
Director: Adam Shankman

Our first film of the year with a primarily black cast is a remake of the 2000 romantic comedy, What Women Want starring Mel Gibson. Taraji P. Henson stars as a successful sports agent struggling to navigate her career in a male-dominated field until she mysteriously gains the ability to read men’s minds. The plot is a bit cheesy and has been done before, but this will be a fun watch with Taraji's energy on-screen.

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Us

Release Date: March 22, 2019
Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright-Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II & Tim Heidecker
Director: Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele's back at it again with an ambiguous psychological-horror film in this year's Us. This is Peele's second film after his directorial debut in 2017's Get Out, which won him his first Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Get Out was definitely one for the culture and Us will be too. The cast is what excites me the most. Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke reunite, this time outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, alongside my favorite Handmaid, Elisabeth Moss. Shout out to Yahya for snagging a role in this film after appearing in the billion-dollar blockbuster Aquaman

It wouldn't be a Jordan Peele movie without a trailer leaving much to the internet's imagination; there are even people linking the two movies together. Gotta love twitter, right?

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

Pet Sematary

Release Date: April 5, 2019
Starring: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jeté Laurence, Hugo Lavoie, Lucas Lavoie & Obssa Ahmed
Director: Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer

Directors Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer brings us a reboot of the 1989 film based off the Stephen King novel of the same name with this year's Pet Sematary. The movie surrounds a family who lives near a pet cemetery that lies on an ancient burial ground, bringing its inhabitants back to life in creepy ways. When a child from the family dies and is buried in this spooky ground, he comes back for blood.

I'm really excited to see some quality scary movies this year, starting with this adaptation. 2018 gave us Stephen King's incredibly done Gerald's Game, which debuted on Netflix a month before 1922. Netflix is also coming with the heat with another Stephen King adaptation this year, In The Tall Grass

Marvel

Marvel

Avengers: Endgame

Release Date: April 26, 2019
Starring: Robert Downing Jr., Josh Brolin, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman & the rest of the damn Avengers
Director: Anthony & Joe Russo

Need I say more? We saw Earth's mightiest heroes get wrecked by Thanos, some even wiped away from existence with the other half of the universe's population in Avengers: Infinity War. Endgame will be the last time we see some of the characters we've come to love since the MCU debuted 10 years ago. I'm sure we'll still be left empty after some of our faves get killed...for good this time.

An interesting note here is the amount of money Disney is going to pull in this year. This is one of six Disney blockbusters coming out this year. I'm confident that EndgameAladdin, Toy Story 2, Frozen 2, Lion King will easily make a billion each. Disney’s really collecting checks like Infinity Stones in 2019, and I'm here for it.

Disney

Disney

Aladdin

Release Date: May 24, 2019
Starring: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzri & Navid Negahban
Director: Guy Ritchie

I am extremely excited to see one of my favorite Disney animated movies come to life in this live-action remake. Following the success of live-action versions of the animated classics like Cinderella and Jungle Book, Aladdin will be one for the books and a visually stunning movie to see.

I'm most excited to see what Will Smith will bring to the iconic role of the Genie. He's the perfect actor to bring a breath of fresh air to an already established role made famous by the late Robin Williams. Smith goes a little in-depth about the role in an Entertainment Weekly interview, and talks about recording the song "Friend Like Me" from the movie before he even knew he was accepting the role. Definitely expecting this to make it over the billion-dollar mark barring all positive reception.

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

Dark Phoenix

Release Date: June 7, 2019
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Sophie Turner, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters & Olivia Munn
Director: Simon Kinberg

If you know me, you will know I am a dedicated X-Men stan and will debated your granny about anything X-Men related. 20th Century Fox’s highly controversial re-doing of the iconic Dark Phoenix storyline follows Sophie Turner's Sansa Sta--I mean Jean Grey battling a dark force within her that she succumbs to and splits the X-Men.

Simon Kinberg, longtime producer of the X-Men franchise, will be in the director's seat for the first time, looking to right the wrongs of X-Men: The Last Stand that handled the Dark Phoenix saga so poorly. The Disney-Fox merger is expected to close in March, making Dark Phoenix the first X-Men film to release after the deal is completed. Some fans are happy that Fox will be done with the franchise and some are not. I for one am ready for another X-Men movie, and my hopes are high with Dark Phoenix.

Disney

Disney

Toy Story 4

Release Date: June 19, 2019
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Blake Clark, Wallace Shawn, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Keanu Reeves, Estelle Harris & more!
Director: Josh Cooley

When I found out we were getting another Toy StoryI wasn't initially here for it. Toy Story 3 came out a little before I went to college and was the icing on top of my childhood. Why mess with a good thing?

After a brief teaser was released, seeing my favorite toys come to life again had me sold. The movie will follow Woody & the gang on an eye-opening road trip, showing the toys just how big the world is. Add another billion in Disney's pockets with this one.

Marvel

Marvel

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Release Date: July 5, 2019
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, Samuel L. Jackson & Jake Gyllenhaal
Director: Jon Watts

The highly anticipated sequel to 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming seemingly takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Soooo spoiler, I guess Spidey makes it, huh?

The movie follows Peter Parker and his high school friends on a vacation to Europe where he meets and teams up with Mysterio, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, to battle the Elementals, four immortals with control over natural forces.

While I'm excited to see any role Gyllenhaal takes on, I'm a bit thrown off that his relationship starts off as an ally. My only guess as to why would be that it obviously ends up strained throughout the course of the movie, adding some depth to Mysterio's role and likely leading to his induction to the Sinister Six that the MCU seems to be delicately building. That would explain why Michael Keaton's Vulture is set to appear in the movie as well.

Disney

Disney

Lion King

Release Date: July 19, 2019
Starring: Donald Glover, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, John Oliver, Keegan-Michael Key, James Earl Jones, Alfre Woodard & John Kani 
Director: Jon Favreau

Much like Aladdin, Lion King is a live-action remake of the 1994 classic animated movie following the rise of young Simba to become the king of the jungle. This cast is unreal. I've already pre-pre-pre downloaded the highly-anticipated Donald Glover/Beyoncé duet of Can You Feel The Love Tonight. One thing's for sure, this is a Grammy and Academy Award-winning knock out that I can't wait to see. Add yet another billion to Disney's account with this one for sure.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures

IT: Chapter Two

Release Date: September 6, 2019
Starring: Bill Skarsgård, James McAvoy, Jay Ryan, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone & Andy Bean 
Director: Andy Muschietti

OK… maybe we do have some quality horror movies this year. It: Chapter Two will be a follow-up to 2017's reboot of the same name. This time we follows the adult version of The Losers Club, 27 years later when they return to their hometown to fight off Pennywise the Clown once and for all. We have an amazing older cast here to fill the big shoes of 2017's child-led cast. Additionally, the younger cast from 2017's It will return to reprise their roles as well.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures

Joker

Release Date: October 4, 2019
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen
Director: Todd Phillips

The Crown Prince of Crime is set to get his stand-alone origin film this year. I wasn’t sold on Joker until the first images of Joaquin Phoenix on-set came out. It's a very traditional/cynical take on The Joker from the looks of the photos. I'm not a fan of comparing actors who play the same characters, but Phoenix's rendition looks closer to Heath Ledger's take on the character. Random fact, but Joaquin Phoenix was almost Doctor Strange in the MCU.

Honorable Mentions

Shazam is here solely due to Aquaman's breakout success. There's also a Charlie's Angels reboot starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Elizabeth Banks, Patrick Stewart and Djimon Hounsou which has peaked my interest. Captain Marvel has generated quite the buzz as she's looked at as the end-all be-all against Thanos. Of course, the big release to end the year will be Star Wars Episode IX.

Comment or tweet me what movies you're excited for this year and check out more of my work here!

The Most Anticipated Projects of 2019
(Prince Williams/WireImage)

(Prince Williams/WireImage)

A new year brings a clean slate, and with that comes fresh new music. 2018 brought a doozy of releases; so much it was being debated that there was TOO MUCH new music on the streets. Still, fans are anticipating a bevy of new releases in 2019. Here’s the artists we’re anticipating to drop new projects to end the decade.

Schoolboy Q

It never surprises me that Top Dawg sets the tone each year, and this time around it’s Groovy Q’s turn to drop. Last we heard from him was back in 2016 with his sophomore album Blankface LP. He’s killed some features here and there, and Q was reported to be close to finishing his third major studio album before he pushed it back due to the sudden, unexpected death of his good friend Mac Miller.

Signs on Q’s Instagram point to him being ready to release some new heat, so we’re excited to hear what he has in store for us this time around.

Isaiah Rashad

Isaiah Rashad has been real quiet since the release of his sophomore album The Sun’s Tirade. Last August Top Dawg hinted at a few more albums on the way, leading to speculation a new project from Rashad was on the horizon. While we already know how Kendrick, Jay Rock, & SZA can roll, I’m real interested to see which direction is Zay is headed.

Dreamville - Revenge of the Dreamers 3

Following the Revenge of the Dreamers 3 sessions so far has been one of my favorite moments in the early stages of the year Watching the sessions from the outside-in via social media feels like an exclusive invite-only club with other artists, musicians and media members. Seeing the sessions unfold has been organically amazing to witness.

J. Cole - The Fall Off 

Cole teased The Fall Off during his KOD run. We haven’t heard much about its status lately, but Cole has appeared to be re-inspired, working in the studio more often and exploring different producers. It’s cool to see Cole expand in that way, and I’m anxious to see if it will play a part in creating his next album.

Future presents: The WZRD

2018 felt like a light year musically for Fewtch. He dropped four projects, including the curated soundtrack to Superfly, but his presence wasn’t necessarily felt last year. That all changes this weekend with the release of The WZRD.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Bandana 

One of the more underrated rappers in the game, Freddie Gibbs dropped two projects in 2018: the Curren$y-collaborated Fetti and his project with Kenny Beatz, Freddie. For the last few months he’s been teasing his follow-up to 2014’s Piñata with Madlib - Bandana. Expect more of the same heat from Freddie in the new year.

21 Savage & Young Nudy

Both 21 Savage & Young Nudy were making their rounds in 2018 with their respective solo projects, Nudy’s Slime Ball 3 and I Was  > I Am from 21. Both projects helped solidify both of their positions in the Atlanta rap scene. The two announced a collaborative project at the end of last year and have dropped a single for the project, Since When.

Chance The Rapper

Aside from the features and some loosies given to us, we haven’t received a full blown project from Chicago’s friendly neighborhood rapper since 2016’s Coloring Book. Chance has a few expected projects in the works, including his own solo album and two collaborative albums: one with Childish Gambino and the other with Kanye West. He’s been very tight-lipped about his next project, so stay tuned.

Pusha T

I don’t have many details yet, but i’ve heard through the grapevines that Pusha T would be releasing an album this year. There’s not a lot of information regarding this but at this point, anything is possible with the president of GOOD Music. 

First Black Champ - Triple H wants to Takeover the world

Lars Sullivan's anxiety attack delays his main roster debut. Is he wasting John Cena's time and business? We talk on that as well as Becky Lynch's Wrestlemania plans. Plus, an NXT and AEW conversation leads Cam into his three WWE Superstars that messed it up for main roster hopefuls who are only great wrestlers. Bang believes AEW is years away from being 1984 WWF and we encourage you to lie to execute your dreams on this week's #FirstBlackChamp podcast!


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Looking Glass #24 - "Ocean Master a Hotep"

Looking Glass is back with another episode covering the BILLION reasons to love #Aquaman, the new Captain Marvel trailer, #SpiderVerse spinoffs, and more this week.

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Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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Boogie expects to start upon his return to the Warriors, but will he close out games?
Garrett Ellwood / Getty Images

Garrett Ellwood / Getty Images

DeMarcus Cousins is expected to return to the hardwood this week for the first time since tearing his achilles last January, this time as a member of the Golden State Warriors. He’s likely to start against the Clippers this Friday, but while it’s good news to most, it doesn’t solve all their problems.

Given the Warriors recent history of centers (Biedrins, Bogut, Pachulia), the promise of Boogie joining Golden State is definitely enticing. He brings a presence inside that the Splash Brothers haven’t been privy to, and that’s a scary thought. It’s not the only role that Steve Kerr has planned for Cousins though, given his newfound propensity to shoot from deep.

In his last two seasons, Cousins has averaged over five three-point attempts a game at a 36 percent clip. That spacing is an aspect of his game that the Warriors will feel immediately with Draymond Green’s defenders having abandoned him from deep. If an opposing center guards Draymond instead of Cousins, Green’s screening then become far more valuable, and similarly, Cousins will have a mismatch too.

Recently, Kerr told 95.7 The Game “We're not gonna slow down just for DeMarcus. So you can probably envision a fast break with us and DeMarcus trailing the play ... the ball comes back out, he's a guy who can spot up and knock down that 3-point shot." That game plan is far different from the one he had in mind when they first signed him. Bob Myers recounts Kerr saying, “I want [DeMarcus] on the block, we haven’t had that threat, we can give him the ball, we can play off of him.”

Kerr’s change in mindset is indicative of the mismanagement that he’s guilty of, but his change of heart in regards to Cousins coincides with how the team has played as of late. Kerr mentioned that Boogie will start upon his return. “After that, everything's on the table. We have to figure out what the rotations will look like, how many minutes he can play. We'll have to play around with the minutes, the combinations, the sets.”

Immediately inserting Cousins into the starting lineup may seem obvious, but it’s important to note that Kerr didn’t say he would finish games. Part of that is due to the quality production from Kevon Looney. Looney has been on the court at the end of most every game this season, despite Damian Jones starting until his season ending injury on December 1st. He’s the Dubs’ most solid role player, and like a metronome, he can keep his tempo steady no matter the rhythm of the game.

While Cousins is an upgrade over Looney, there is concern of how his ability to switch on defense will affect how the Dubs scheme their coverages. It’s possible Looney could continue closing games while Cousins returns from injury and gets use to the Warriors’ pace of play after almost a year off. There’s a chance he will also prioritize his energy on offense rather than defense; Boogie will return to the free agent market this summer and his numbers will mean something in that regard.

Perhaps they’ll just go small to close out games with Draymond at center. He’s by far their best defensive big, but going small means having Iguodala on the court as well, who like Green has struggled offensively. At least with Looney on the court, there’s a fourth scoring option, without sacrificing too much on defense. Perhaps Kerr will let the game become a shootout, and trust that the five All-Stars will work cohesively on the court.

The good thing is they’ll have three months to figure things out before the playoffs. Boogie’s return will be a breath of fresh air for the entire organization; like the gift that you know your parents got you, but you couldn’t open until Christmas.

Well, Christmas just came a little late in the Bay.

Ruthless Aggression - AEW news, 2019 predictions

The road to the Rumble continues as Pierce, Chris and Rob continue their Ruthless Aggression rewatch with the first year of 2019. Plus, news coming out of All Elite Wrestling's introduction rally, and our predictions for the upcoming year.

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 502
Smackdown 178

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
Follow Chris: @ChrisMNovak
Follow Rob: @RobertONeill31

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This Week in WWE: The Baddest vs. The Boss, The Empress vs. The Man are set

Rob and Chris recap the first full week of shows of the year 2019, as the road to the Royal Rumble hits a high gear.

Raw.png

Robert O’Neill: We’re back for the first live Monday Night Raw of 2019!

Chris Novak: And Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley are beating the pants off each other backstage! The fight’s spilling into gorilla. We’ve got people trying to separate them and it’s out into the arena now. That ended promptly and then John Cena came on out to the ring.

Robert O’Neill: His hair is dumb, but also it’s nice to see him! And he’s going to be in the Royal Rumble this year. That’s exciting.

Chris Novak: But HERE… COMES… DREW MAC! McIntyre is out here now and talks down on Cena and he says he agrees with Vince McMahon’s designation that Cena’s the GOAT. His point is that he has a reputation for taking out the greats, and invites John to do research. He calls himself the most dangerous man in WWE, and he’s come for John Cena now. Mac makes his approach, Cena talks up the start of the show, and then he says this happened and now he’s sad. Cena says it’s sad because Cena’s heard the same thing over and over and had to leave so maybe people would think of different things to say. He asks him what makes him different than anybody else?

Robert O’Neill: Oh my God, Lio Rush is here. Cena’s gonna run him down!

Chris Novak: But before Cena can even do that, Seth comes out and attacks Lashley AGAIN!! And then here comes Ambrose, but Cena’s here to be the cavalry! Mac attacks Cena! WHAT CHAOS!! AND NOW HERE COMES FINN BALOR!!! Finn goes after McIntyre, and then EVERYBODY else! I smell a six-man tag. And what do you know? That’s exactly what we get.

Robert O’Neill: This is a hell of a way to kick off the show. Not surprising given what else is on right now, but this match should be fun.

And it was! It lasted almost a half hour and Rollins got the pin over Ambrose but all six guys looked really good. That’s a hell of a good way to start the show. We see Triple H backstage talking to Sasha Banks and Bayley instead of paying attention to Rollins, which upsets him. He makes his way backstage and Triple H says he can face Ambrose later in a falls count anywhere match for the Intercontinental Title. 2019 is looking like yet another year of Seth Rollins, Iron Man.

Chris Novak: The Hogan segment happened. Here’s the Mean Gene tribute video to the right. That’s all that’s noteworthy here.

Robert O’Neill: Welp. It’s time. Bob Roode and Chad Gable against The Revival for the tag titles.

Chris Novak: That was… a match. The lumberjacks barely made much of an impact. And then it ended in a small package where Dawson had his foot under the rope. Very clearly. But the ref didn’t see it and the count was made. So Gable and Roode are still the tag champs. Match was… just okay.

Robert O’Neill: That referee should be suspended indefinitely without pay. That was a travesty!

Chris Novak: I’m glad that refs keep being incompetent, no matter the spot.

Here comes Elias now, who says he’s going to be in the Rumble. Baron Corbin interrupts this segment and talks down on the crowd, and wonders if everyone would like to disappear. Guess how the crowd responded? He says he’s not going to do that, will enter the Rumble and claims he’ll win and main event WrestleMania. And now, the previously announced match between these two is going down.

Baron Corbin won after a match that went pretty long. It was exactly what you expected it to be.

Robert O’Neill: BRAAAAUUUUUNNNNNN is here! He wants Brock Lesnar, who is also here. But Brock is backstage with Paul Heyman, who is on the titantron letting Strowman know that they’re not coming out there. But, surprise, Lesnar wants to go out there so they do go out. But they just circle the ring and then leave.

Chris Novak: That segment absolutely tanked.

We’ve got Jinder Mahal vs. Apollo Crews next up. Well… maybe some kind of a modification of that, because Ember Moon’s here. So I’d guess we get mixed tag action with Ember and Apollo against Jinder and Alicia.

Robert O’Neill: That’s fun! Keep the mixed match action going. I enjoy them.

Ember Eclipsed Alicia for the win, and it’s time for A Moment of Bliss. This is gonna be good.

It was going very well and Alexa showed a nice montage of Ronda’s first year, then they had a nice discussion and Ronda said she would like to face Sasha Banks, but here comes Nia Jax to ruin everything.

Chris Novak: Naturally. The two have an interaction, and Sasha then comes out. She says she’s honored by the words that Ronda said and said she’s going to teach her how to lose with dignity and class. Nia takes offense, Sasha calls her a bitch, and now we have a match between Nia Jax and Sasha Banks. The winner faces Ronda Rousey for the Women’s Championship at the Rumble.

Sasha and Nia have a crazy match with a lot of crazy spots. So, you know, a typical Sasha Banks match where she knows she has to go hard. Banks won via the Bank Statement. And now, Banks will face Ronda Rousey for the title at the Rumble. BIG MATCH! HUGE!

Time for Falls Count Anywhere.

Robert O’Neill: To their credit, they actually went all over the arena! Too often you get falls count anywhere matches that just go around the outside of the ring and the stage. This one went backstage and into the crowd and all around! Eventually Lashley came out and beat up Rollins as some revenge for earlier, and Ambrose got the win. Then Lashley and Lio Rush set up a table in the ring and spinebustered Rollins through to end the night.

Final Thoughts

Chris Novak: The show had its peaks and its valleys. For the past few weeks it’s been improving and this showed signs of growth for me. Hot start, hit a lull, picked back up. Rob will be the high man here. I’ll give this a solid C+.

Robert O’Neill: Was that a good Raw? Relatively speaking, yes. It kept my interest over what turned out to be a bad National Championship, so that was promising. Some of the stuff was a miss, like the Hogan part, Braun/Brock, and most of the Sasha/Nia and tag titles matches, but I think the six-man opener and falls count anywhere main event did enough to save the show for me. Plus, I haven’t watched the last two weeks since they were taped and it was the holidays, so a little break did some good for me as a viewer. B-

Smackdown.png

Chris Novak: SmackDown Live starts with Daniel Bryan up on the concourse. He derides fans for eating concessions at arenas and stadiums because of how bad it makes you feel. Honestly, unironically I do agree with him. Stadium food can be trash. Anyways, he continues on the way here, he derides more fans and gets to ringside. R-Truth then jumps him and we’re off and running with a match between Bryan and Truth!

Bryan won a quick match, which was as expected. Afterwards, Styles came through and beat Bryan up. The “real” AJ Styles is being put over here. He grabbed a steel chair but Bryan took off running after.

Robert O’Neill: Shoutout to Truth for still being very good in the ring in 2019 at 47 years old though. Truly a great career.

Anyway, we’re going right onto Mustafa Ali and Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe and Andrade “Cien” Almas. Whew.

Chris Novak: Good God this is all I could want out of a match right now. And holy hell, this match was incredible. Almas won after pinning Rey clean as a sheet in the ring. This is a must-watch match for anybody who may have missed SmackDown and will definitely be one of the best matches of the entire month and maybe the year, too.

Rusev came out to address what happened last week between he, Lana and Shinsuke Nakamura. Rusev was somber in talking about his wife getting knocked out. Rusev said he was addressing Shinsuke as a husband and wanted Nak to come out to the ring. Turns out Nak was in the production truck. Rusev then said he was going to bring the fight to him but it was a trap, as Nak attacked him with a chest and then took him off his feet with a knee to the face.

The Bar vs. The Usos for a shot at the Tag Team Titles is next.

Robert O’Neill: Unsurprisingly, it was very good. They’re two of the six best tag teams in WWE history, so it really isn’t a shock that it was good.. The Bar got the win because Mandy Rose came out and distracted Jim Uso and Cesaro got the win. Then Miz came out and said since The Usos don’t get the tag title shot, he and Shane McMahon should get it.

Chris Novak: That was incredible television.

Robert O’Neill: We go backstage where Naomi is beating the shit out of Mandy Rose AND Sonya Deville, then they turn the tables and Jim Uso breaks it up.

Chris Novak: That was incredible television also. This is an incredible television show. Charlotte vs. Carmella vs. Becky is next.

Unsurprisingly, this match ruled. Some great drama at the end with a lot of great near falls. Becky emerged victorious after tapping Carmella out. We’ve got ourselves a hell of a match set now for the Rumble at the BoB. Becky vs. Asuka for the Women’s Title.

Robert O’Neill: The result was a little surprising, I have to say. I thought Becky would win the Royal Rumble and go to Raw and challenge Ronda Rousey. As it stands though, it was an excellent match.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: Just an absurd show from top to bottom. I personally went ***¾+ on three different matches, including **** on the Mustafa&Rey/Almas&Joe tag match. And Bryan-Truth got a low rating ONLY because of the time, and I could argue it was still very good. This was an excellent show that advanced angles and had great in-ring action. What more could you want? A

Robert O’Neill: What a show. In typical Smackdown fashion, it was loaded and everything had a purpose. That’s really all you could ask for. There was nothing I disliked and I can’t wait to watch again next week. A

Ball Don't Lie - The Show Must Go On

Dante sits in for Pierce and Flows to preview the rest of the NFL playoffs, and Wos joins the show to catch us up on everything going on in the NBA.

Follow Flows on Twitter: @Flowsandolini
Follow Scott on Twitter: @Scott_C-oh yeah...that's right nvm...
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79th and Halas - Heartbreak on the Lakefront

It's a sad day for 79th and Halas as Pierce joins Flows and Scott after the Bears heartbreaking loss to the Eagles in the Wild Card Round.

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AQUAMAN: A Sign of DC’s Future
Image courtesy of Popsugar

Image courtesy of Popsugar

When Warner Bros. and DC Comics announced Man of Steel it not only signaled another reboot for DC’s biggest superhero, but a restart on the entire universe. Emulating the cultural phenomenon Disney and Marvel has accomplished with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Warner Bros. sought to create their own crude, microwavable shared universe, putting faith in its two biggest names: Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne.

But after two lukewarm entries (the Zach Snyder-directed MOS and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice) and a critical failure in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, the DC Extended Universe came out of the gates on shaky legs. Despite the success of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, by the time Justice League arrived, the glow of Zack Snyder’s charm had worn off, replaced with a altered and overt Joss Whedon script, essentially marking the end of Snyder’s creative involvement over DC’s projects.

Just over five years after MOS debuted with lofty goals strapped on its back, the sixth installment in the DCEU - the James Wan-directed Aquaman - may have finally lit the flame on the rocket DC hoped to fire half a decade ago.

Aquaman may not be a great film, but it’s delightfullly-average, elevated by a fun script, truly spectacular visuals & an adrenaline-pumping third act. The film does suffer from cringe-worthy dialogue, a bloated run time and some plot points that at times feel convoluted, and at others feel so simple many of its key moments are telegraphed. It may not be better than Wonder Woman, but it’s a step in the right direction for the DCEU.

Aquaman may lay claim to a more important attribute: succeeding where the past failed while finding a way to stand on its own. As one of two films (along with SS) bearing no link to Snyder, it carried the distinct vision of its creative team (even WW’s aesthetic closely resembled MOS and BVS). Where Snyder’s films opted for half-baked, philosophical ruminations with the seriousness of a barium enema, James Wan went for an old-school, Sword-in-the-Stone tale of kings and heroes, approached with the light-hearted touch you need from Atlantis. Wan embraced the outlandish subject matter; instead of grounding it in gritty realism, he used what was at his disposal to take you to the furthest depths of the ocean. Ignoring the DCEU became Aquaman’s biggest strength.

The DCEU was in jeopardy just a year ago, with personnel and studio changes abound, but Aquaman has been the pivot DC desperately needs. It may not be one of the best movies of the last year, and it’s still unknown whether the universe will be scrapped completely or not, but Aquaman is a serviceable restart. After being lost in a mire for years, it’s more than DC could’ve hoped for.

The Looking Glass #23

Looking Glass returns from Holiday break with talk of the continued success of #Aquaman, the return of Young Justice, MCU Plans for the X-Men and more.

Follow X: @BlackIce392
Follow Church: @COFFINBORNEGOD
Follow Brandon: @derpdeviI
Follow Ken: @shadowcoon_

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Intro & Outro music: "I Just Wanna Vibe" - Pavy, ROLODX, SPKR

First Black Champ - "Let Me Tell You Something, Mean Gene"

Today we pay homage to the legend, the late great Mean Gene Okerlund, and what he truly means to Hulkamania. Then we talk about the "first" women's tag titles in WWE and the fresh start to false hope. Oh, it's Fuck Tye Dillinger and that's straight from the faces of the #FirstBlackChamp podcast.

Follow Cam Quotes: @ImCamQuotes
Follow JR Bang: @jrbang

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Three Man Rush CFP National Championship Game preview

Rob and Chris are back to recap bowl season, break down all the coaching moves, and take a look at Clemson/Alabama. Can the Tigers win, or will the Tide roll again?

The Counter Press EP 28

Josh and Vijay are back to talk January transfers and more!