Monthly Archives: February 2016

Bray Quiet – Restoring the credibility of WWE’s cajun cultist

Bray was brought in to be the next Undertaker. He was to be this generation’s spooky, other-worldly phenomenon. Now, after a few years on the main roster, and as we approach his third WrestleMania, the question on the fans’ minds is: “What happened?” How did he go from being “the next Undertaker” to…whatever he is now. He’s basically a spookier Tugboat. He’s big, somewhat menacing, but no one buys him as a threat anymore. What happened?

Wyatt began his WWE career as Husky Harris. Pictured here:

husky-harris-nxt-bray-wyatt

As you can see, the name was apropos. The son of WWF’s I.R.S. was a thick country boy with a lot of upside but not a lot of immediate viability. He was sent down to Florida, to WWE’s developmental league FCW (the precursor to NXT) in order to improve his conditioning. Before leaving he promised Vince McMahon he’d see him again. Once in Florida, Harris did more than work on his cardio; he completely revamped his character, becoming the Cajun Cultist Bray Wyatt.

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Wyatt was a brilliantly conceived character, almost immediately. Wheras Husky Harris was awkward, Wyatt was instantly confident. Harris would work a big man style but his look never felt menacing. Even with a beard he had such a baby face, giving away how young he still was. As Wyatt, however, his look totally changed. A fuller beard, longer hair, that fedora and Hawaiian getup made him into a brand new man. And the crowds responded, which they never did for Husky Harris.

What’s interesting is the fact that Wyatt was sent to Florida to improve in the ring; WWE didn’t say anything good or bad about his character, but when he became Bray Wyatt, suddenly his character overshadowed his in-ring chops. When he went down with a pectoral injury Wyatt didn’t disappear from NXT TV. Instead he recruited Luke Harper and Eric Rowen to form the stable, The Wyatt Family. Bray was able to rehab his injury while perfecting his killer new persona.

Harper and Rowen won the NXT Tag Titles, with Bray acting as one part manager and one part stablemate. It wasn’t long before Vince and co. took notice and made plans to call Wyatt and his family back up to the main roster. The former Husky Harris was right: He had told Vince he’d make himself so good Vince would have no choice but to notice him, and notice him he did.

WWE ran vignettes hyping the Wyatt Family’s debut and finally revealed them to the worldwide audience in the spring of 2013. Wyatt began a feud with Kane that culminated in an Inferno Match at SummerSlam that year. The match was dog ugly and a few of the smarkier fans chanted “Husky Harris” at Bray, but it wasn’t too much longer that Wyatt won them over due to a magnetic personality and a very charismatic promo-style. He spent the fall feuding with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan before recruiting Bryan into his Family at the turn of 2014.

That led to one of the most memorable moments in Raw history, as Bryan turned on Bray inside a steel cage and led the entire arena in Yes chants.

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Still though, Bray defeated Daniel Bryan at the 2014 Royal Rumble and entered a feud with the Shield, facing them at Elimination Chamber in February. The match was arguably the best of the year and once again The Wyatt family was victorious, as Bray pinned Roman Reigns following a Sister Abagail. Wyatt looked unstoppable and his workrate had produced back-to-back match of the night contests, silencing all criticism that said “he’s a good character that’s bad in the ring.” With WrestleMania looming, Wyatt looked ready to cement his place as this generation’s Undertaker, a moniker that was already buzzing around him.

Enter Cena.

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This is the beginning of the end for Wyatt’s seemingly unstoppable forward momentum. It is here that the pattern for Bray Wyatt emerged, and that pattern has turned into a rut that he can’t seem to escape. It started with Wyatt drawing first blood against Cena, costing him the title in the main event of the Elimination Chamber PPV. It continued with a buildup to the big WrestleMania match, which would be Wyatt’s first as well as the first non-title, non-main event Mania for Cena since winning the title at Mania 21. A lot was at stake for both men, but especially for Bray. Though he’d been on a hot streak he was still a new talent and as such was very fragile. Wyatt of course lost to Cena, and vowed revenge at the next, and lesser-watched PPV. He got his revenge at Extreme Rules only to then lose the rubber match a month later. After Cena, and the booking around him, was done with Wyatt, the charismatic cult leader had lost a LOT of his shine.

He had a go-nowhere feud with Chris Jericho that summer that the crowd never really got into. He had a hot feud with Dean Ambrose that fall that ended in the most asinine way imaginable, with Ambrose losing via exploding TV. Remember that? Remember when Dean did something stupid?

gif-dean-ambrose-exploding-monitor

Yeah. That happened.

After that Wyatt had a big showing at the 2015 Rumble before he was ceremoniously dumped by the tandem of Big Show and Kane. To be fair, everyone who fans loved was eliminated by Big Show and Kane in that Rumble match. Best not to dwell on that one.

That led Wyatt to regroup and call out the Undertaker himself. This is a year after both lost at WrestleMania. Undertaker, who was partially defined by his undefeated streak at the big event and Wyatt, who is often talked about as the next generation of Undertaker, were set for a match at the biggest show of the year. But since both lost the year before a lot of the sizzle was taken out of the contest. Not to mention the fact that Undertaker stayed off TV in the buildup, leaving Wyatt the task of having to carry the feud all by himself…which he did, masterfully.

And then he lost in a fifteen minute slog of a match.

After losing to Taker, and without any way of even getting his win back, Wyatt turned his attention Ryback. Talk about a step down. Even though Wyatt beat Ryback it was clear he had lost so much momentum he wasn’t the same superstar he had been. Certainly he wasn’t as hot as he was in the run up to WrestleMania 30. That loss to Cena really took the wind out of him and it took him a year to recover. Losing to Taker revealed him, in fans’ eyes, to be a paper tiger, all bark and no bite.

Wyatt meandered through the rest of 2015 without any clear direction. He feuded on and off against Roman Reigns before re-attacking Undertaker and Kane. That set up a match at Survivor Series, which—surprise—Wyatt lost.

As we approach WrestleMania 32 Wyatt currently lacks a feud, a direction, or even a place on the card. It looked for a time like he might take on Brock Lesnar but those plans were scrapped and now Lesnar is facing Dean Ambrose. At this point it looks like he might get stuck in the catch-all Andre The Giant Battle Royal. That would be a tremendous step down from facing Cena and Undertaker in back to back years.

After three years on the main roster it’s clear that Bray isn’t going to be the next Undertaker. At this point he’s barely the next Kane. If he’s lucky he’ll be the next Jake the Snake: A charismatic villain that is just credible enough to give a real superstar a decent win.

Or…WWE can make some changes. They can do somethings to rekindle the fire in Bray Wyatt and make him the new phenom he has the potential to be. What can be done? Here’s a few ideas…

RETURN TO NXT

This is a very unlikely solution, especially with so many legit names on the injury list; WWE needs as many “names” as they can get to work the house show circuit (which is the bread and butter of their income). The only way Wyatt would go to NXT is if they brought him back once a month for the TV tapings only. But as cool as that would be to see him return “home” it really wouldn’t help matters except to give him a fresh set of opponents. He wouldn’t work NXT’s touring, because he’d still be working on WWE’s house show circuit. He’d be like Zack Ryder who only tags with Mojo Rawley on NXT TV tapings. Still, if it were to happen, it might give him a chance to experiment with new ideas for his now-stale character. This would only be a short-term solution. Something still needs to be done with him on the main roster…

SIX MONTH PLAN

What Wyatt needs, is the same thing most of WWE’s top talent needs. He needs more than three hours’ notice on the direction of his character. Wyatt is a character that works best when he has a few months to build up to a feud. His feud with Kane, Bryan, Cena and Undertaker, though half of them ended in disappointing losses, still were all excellent “feuds” because there was enough time devoted to them to allow Wyatt the opportunity to cut sharp, focused promos. Wyatt is at his worst when he has no direction but is asked to cut a 10 minute promo nonetheless. He meanders and talks in circles, and the audience has wised up to that. On the other hand, when he has a clear focus, his promo skills are among the best today. Give him a multi-month plan and let him slowly get a feud over.

GIVE HIM A TITLE

Count me among those who thought Wyatt should have won the WWE Title at the Rumble. He would have been a great champion, even if his reign ended at WrestleMania (as all heel championship reigns should). Either way he needs something to give him some focus, and if its not a good guy to attack, it can be a title to defend. Some argue that Wyatt’s character doesn’t need a title, since his shtick is all about attacking and going on the offense, whereas having a title is literally all about “defending” that title. That’s a fair point but Wyatt can still work with a title, provided he makes it a prize that he knows the goodguys want but that he doesn’t want to give up.

DVD Review: NXT Greatest Matches – Volume 1

nxt-greatest-matches-vol-1-dvd

Certificate: 15
Running Time: 232mins (3hrs 52mins)
Discs: 3

Disc 1 – Chapters

  • It Started as a Whisper
  • Creating the Future
  • NXT Championship Finals: Seth Rollins v Jinder Mahal – NXT August 29, 2012
  • WrestleMania 31
  • No Disqualification NXT Championship Match: Seth Rollins v Big E Langston – NXT January 9, 2013
  • Chris Jericho v Bray Wyatt – NXT May 1, 2013
  • Women’s Wrestling is Back!
  • NXT Women’s Championship Finals: Paige v Emma – NXT July 24, 2013
  • 2 Out of 3 Falls Match: Sami Zayn v Antonio Cesaro – NXT August 21, 2013
  • William Regal v Antonio Cesaro – NXT December 25, 2013

Disc 2 – Chapters

  • NXT ArRival
  • NXT Championship Ladder Match: Bo Dallas v Adrian Neville – NXT ArRival February 27, 2014
  • NXT Women’s Championship Finals: Charlotte v Natalya – NXT Takeover May 29, 2014
  • Tyler Breeze “#MMMGorgeous” Music Video – NXT June 5, 2014
  • #WeAreNXT
  • Sami Zayn v Tyson Kidd – NXT October 16, 2014
  • NXT Championship Match: Adrian Neville v Sami Zayn – NXT Takeover: REvolution December 11, 2014
  • The Four Horsewomen
  • NXT Women’s Championship Fatal Four Way Match: Charlotte v Sasha Banks v Becky Lynch v Bayley – NXT Takeover: Rival February 11, 2015

Disc 3 – Chapters

  • Takeover: Rival
  • NXT Championship Match: Sami Zayn v Kevin Owens – NXT Takeover: Rival February 11, 2015
  • The Arnold Classic
  • Adrian Neville v Cesaro – Columbus, OH March 5, 2015
  • San Jose
  • Arena Cam: Hideo Itami v Tyler Breeze – San Jose, CA March 27, 2015
  • 6 Person Tag Team Match: Enzo Amore / Colin Cassady / Carmella v Blake / Murphy / Alexa Bliss – NXT June 17, 2015
  • Beast in the East
  • NXT Championship Match: Kevin Owens v Finn Balor – Beast in the East July 4, 2015
  • Takeover: Brooklyn
  • NXT Women’s Championship Match: Sasha Banks v Bayley – NXT Takeover: Brooklyn August 22, 2015
  • Long Live the Dream
  • Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Finn Balor / Samoa Joe v Baron Corbin / Rhyno – NXT Takeover: Respect October 7, 2015
  • The Future is Now!

OK, right off the bat, I’m going to go with my only complaint in relation to this compilation. While “Best of” lists are always subjective and every single person will have at least one match they don’t think should be on the set as well as at least one match they can’t understand has been omitted, the fact this release is under 4hrs long and is covering three years when (for example) the Best PPV Matches of 2015 only covered one year and ran for just under 9hrs.

It seems like NXT is being short-changed and as this is the same price as the aforementioned PPV collection, also seems like the fans are being jipped too.

Now that the complaint is out of the way, we can take a look at why this is still a great three-disc set.

Of course, this ignores the original version of NXT that was a glorified version of Tough Enough (before that too had a reboot), which was a good idea in theory, but left a lot to be desired in execution. That being said, anything that had Jericho at his peak v Daniel Bryan as their first main-event, then segued into the Daniel Bryan / Derrick Bateman awesomness of Season 4 cannot be all bad.

It also ignores the first few months of the revamped show and the collection kicks off with the finals of the Gold Rush Tournament to crown the first-ever NXT Champion as Jinder Mahal (of all people) taking on a pre-Shield version of Seth Rollins.

It’s a great start and also a wonderful “time capsule” moment to see where Seth has improved immensely from this moment until his unfortunate injury late last year.

There genuinely isn’t a match that goes below “really good” across the three discs, with second match also featuring Seth Rollins defending the title against a ridiculously over Big E. Langston (the “FIVE” gimmick should have came to the main roster with him), this time in full Shield mode. It’s a nice contrast, that’s for sure.

Including the 2-out-of-3 Falls Match between Zayn and Cesaro was a no-brainer as many believe that THIS was the match the elevated the entire brand from “just development” to “viable third outlet” for WWE and probably had a lot to do with the influx of top-name indy talent over the following two years.

The women also get a look in, with three all-female matches and a mixed-tag, which is only fair as the women in NXT have elevated the perception of what women can be in WWE if they are allowed to just wrestle. I mean, it’s not like the promotion didn’t know before (Lita, Mickey, Trish, Victoria, Jazz, etc, were all allowed to just wrestle), but they got so stuck in a rut of what a Diva should be, they forgot what a woman could be.

Outside of the television matches, there are also two untelevised bouts that are well worth a viewing as Cesaro takes on Adrian Neville in a belter of a contest and Hideo Itami battles long-term nemesis Tyler Breeze and… well if you haven’t seen it, I’m not going to spoil the finish for you here.

Triple H (as derided as he has been for his main roster work) deserves all the credit in the world for how he has moulded NXT into what it is today. From watching Breaking Ground and other behind-the-scenes videos, you can see how much this genuinely means to him and how involved he is in the process of moulding the talents to be better than what even they realise they can be.

This is evident with the advent of the Takeover events, which have evolved to become THE must-see WWE events. Partly this is because they are not every month, so truly feel special. Not everyone gets to compete on a Takeover, so when they do (again, referring to Breaking Ground and American Alpha’s elation at being on the Respect card) it’s a career highlight instead of just another PPV.

All of these Takeovers (where we saw the rises of Adrian Neville, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens for the men and The Four Horsewomen for the ladies) led up to inarguably the biggest night in NXT’s short history as they held a show in Brooklyn, inside the same venue as SummerSlam the following night and the post-PPV edition of RAW on the Monday. The fact that NXT, still a developmental promotion remember, drew only 113 less people than one of the flagship main-roster events inside the same building is a testament to the wrestlers on the roster, the marketing of the brand itself and that Triple H lets the guys wrestle, keeps the storylines simple and reaps the rewards.

Of course, Hunter didn’t do it on his own and one of the biggest influences on all of NXT was “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, who sadly passed away in June 2015. To honour him, a tag-team tournament was put together and ran over the course of a one-month period, leading to the semi-finals and final being held at Takeover: Respect, with the match between Samoa Joe & Finn Balor v Baron Corbin & Rhyno for the trophy also being included on the set.

It should also be noted that the best match on the card is also possibly the best (American) women’s match since the glory days of Lita v Trish and was arguably the best NXT match in 2015; Sasha Banks v Bayley for the title. The build-up to the match also helps immensly and is a perfect example of keeping it simple, telling a story and seeing it through.

That the two ladies came close to topping it at Takeover: Respect is a testament to both them and the faith Triple H has in them. While it’s not on this set, it will surely be on Volume 2 and is worth checking out if for nothing else other than Sasha’s heel masterclass in making Yzzi genuinely cry in the front row. It’s been a long time since a heel intentionally made someone cry and then milked it during the match, so to see it again was a highlight for me.

As has been touched on before, the value of this set will be in direct link to whether you have access to the Network or not. If so, there are still two matches on here you won’t have seen and it collates them all in one neat package for you. While for those who do not, this is your chance to get a brief glimpse into why NXT has been the phenomenon that everyone is talking about.

WE! ARE! N! X! T!

Blu-Ray owners will also receive the following extras -:

  • C.M. Punk & Seth Rollins v Antonio Cesaro & Kassius Ohno
  • Best 2 Out of 3 Falls Match: Adrian Neville v Corey Graves
  • Paige v Becky Lynch
  • NXT Womens Champion Sasha Banks v Charlotte
  • Apollo Crews v Tyler Breeze

Points: 9/10

Taken from:

DVD Review: NXT Greatest Matches – Volume 1

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: YOU VOTE on the 2016 LOP Hall of Fame Induction Class

Ladies and gentlemen,

For the fourth consecutive year, we at Lordsofpain.net are continuing our annual tradition of inducting a new class into the LOP Hall of Fame

The LOP Hall of Fame consists of professional wrestlers and professional wrestling matches that you, the readers of LOP, nominate and vote on. From March 28th until April 2nd, special “induction” columns dedicated to each inductee will be posted as part of our “LOP Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony,” a week-long celebration of wrestling’s past.

We would like you to nominate Two singles wrestlers, one Tag Team or Faction, a Manager or Other Personality, a Female wrestler or manager or personality, and Two Wrestling Matches.

The Nomination period will begin Monday, February 22 and last one week, through Sunday, February 28.

At that time, nominations will be compiled and an official “Hall of Fame” ballot will be put together for readers to vote.

Eligibility Requirements

1) A singles nominee must be at least 3 years removed from his final singles match. Note that we will round up for someone who is on the cusp of the 3 year cutoff.

2) The above cut off applies only to a major promotion. For the purposes of this Hall of Fame, TNA/Impact Wrestling will NOT be considered at this time. Suggested promotions to choose from include WWE, WCW- NWA (all major regions), AWA, and ECW (for its influence and popularity). You may also nominate someone from an international promotion such as New Japan or AAA.

3) Matches nominated must be from at least 5 years ago to allow for thorough and proper historical perspective to be gained and the test of time to be passed. **Note that these matches can include active superstars**

4) Wrestlers in factions or tag teams will be considered separate from their singles nominations, so if you want to nominate Edge and Christian, for instance, then go right ahead, as even though Christian is not eligible for singles induction, E&C has been defunct for over a decade.

We would like you to nominate, preferably below in the comments section, in the following format:

1) A Wrestler of Your Choosing
2) A Wrestler of Your Choosing
3) A Tag Team or Faction
4) A Manager or Personality
5) A Female Wrestler

1) A Match of Your Choosing
2) A Match of Your Choosing

Thank you and we look forward to your participation in continuing to make this a great yearly tradition.

On behalf of Lordsofpain.net,

-The Doc

(Note – If there are any questions, feel free to leave it in the comments. I will check periodically)

2013 Class

Ric Flair
Steve Austin
Bobby Heenan
The Four Horsemen
Trish Stratus
Steamboat vs. Savage from Mania 3
Austin vs. Hart from Mania 13

2014 Class

Hulk Hogan
Randy Savage
Vince McMahon
The New World Order
The Fabulous Moolah
HBK vs. Undertaker from Mania 25
Hogan vs. Andre from Mania III

2015 Class

Shawn Michaels
Bret Hart
Paul Heyman
The Road Warriors
Lita
Mankind vs. Taker Hell in a Cell
HBK vs. Bret Hart from Mania 12

Taken from:

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: YOU VOTE on the 2016 LOP Hall of Fame Induction Class

After finding its footing, Star Trek TNG was the best thing going

Almost twenty years after The Original Series was cancelled, Gene Roddenberry was able to parlay the success of the Star Trek movies (which, despite being marketed as action films, explored themes of the acceptance of aging and death, environmentalism, and the stubbornness of soldiers to let go of a war) into a new TV series. Dubbed “The Next Generation” Star Trek was reborn in a style more similar to Roddenberry’s original pilot “The Cage” than the remade “Where No Man has Gone Before.”

This new Star Trek had a captain who was the kind of man to stand still and think before coming to a reasoned course of action, whereas Kirk was more of a “think while running because your first idea—punching—only angered the big brutish alien” kind of guy. Cpt. Picard was also, strikingly, bald, in what is probably the most meta difference between he and William Shatner’s Cpt. Kirk. This captain, unlike Kirk, wasn’t afraid to show the chrome dome.

star-trek-tng-logo

But really, the differences in the Original Series and The Next Generation come from the eras in which the shows were produced. The Original Series was filmed while the late-60’s social revolution was occurring. Its actors were largely progressive, but still came from an older generation, where certain things just simply were a certain way. Star Trek was a TV trail-blazer, but it had to hide those intentions behind a thick “sci-fi action” veil. The Next Generation certainly had it’s sci-fi cheese, but it—being on the other side of the 60’s social revolution—was able to be more open and frank in its social commentary.

It didn’t start out with a bang the way the Original Series did, however. Early TNG episodes are hard to get into. In fact, if the show hadn’t been a first-run syndication program (meaning the producers sold the show directly to TV stations, and not a network), it likely would have been cancelled after its second season. Looking back on the show as a whole it’s easy to mark the moment when the show “got good” as fans think of it. It was around the time the cast stopped wearing onesie pajamas with low necklines and started wearing something that more resembled a uniform. It was also around this time—season three—that the show finally found some continuity in the writers room.

Despite a few stand out episodes early on (one of which will be highlighted below), the show didn’t really find its stride until it found Michael Pillar. Pillar joined TNG in its third season as a writer but halfway through the season he was promoted to showrunner, which meant he would be the creative voice behind the direction of the whole writers room. There was still Rick Berman overseeing things, and his role continued to expand as Gene Roddenberry’s health failed him, but the voice of TNG was definitely Pillar’s.

Speaking of Roddenberry, his diminished influence over the show as it went on directly correlates to the uptick in quality of the show. Roddenberry was a great visionary mind whose big picture idea of Star Trek can’t be disputed. But that said, his ideas on the micro level were…hit and miss. The much-maligned first Star Trek movie is entirely his baby, while the universally praised Star Trek II was almost disavowed by Roddenberry, whose rejected idea for the movie would have seen the crew of the Enterprise go back in time to Dallas 1963 in a plot revolving around JFK’s assassination. His fingerprints are all over the first two seasons of The Next Generation but less so starting with season three (again, right as the show started getting good).

Eventually Star Trek would begin to run on fumes (Voyager, Enterprise, Nemesis) but there was a time when the creative juices were flowing and Star Trek-post Roddenberry was must see sci-fi TV. When it comes to The Next Generation there are three episodes that stand out which highlight how the spinoff was able to stand on its own as great television…

MEASURE OF A MAN

star-trek-tng-measure-man-data-brent-spiner-william-riker-jonathan-frakes

Even though this was a pre-season three episode (only the ninth episode of season two, to be exact), it offered the promise of what TNG could be, and what the show would eventually be known for: Brilliant social commentary. Measure of a Man, essentially, explores the nature of human rights, and whether or not those rights should be passed on to human-like beings, in this case, an android. The plot is very basic: A Starfleet scientist and engineer—Bruce Maddox—comes aboard the Enterprise intending to take Data (by force) for experimentation, in order to clone his hardware and “put a Data on every starship in the fleet.” Data is skeptical of Maddox’ research and doesn’t believe he has the knowhow just yet to duplicate him. Data fears if he becomes a guinea pig it could mean an accidental death on the operating table. He respectfully declines Maddox’ initial-friendly offer. In response Maddox declares that Data, as an android, has no rights and is the property of Starfleet to do with as it pleases. A hearing is called by Cpt. Picard to determine if Data does in fact have human rights.

What follows is a courtroom drama, not the first one Star Trek has ever done and certainly not the last, but in this case it is one of the sharpest and tensest courtroom drama in the franchise’s history. Cmdr. Riker is drafted by the prosecution to argue that Data has no rights. Johnathan Frakes delivers some of his best acting work, showing his conflict in doing his duty while also remaining Data’s friend. The nature of Data’s existence is debated and even though the outcome should not have been in doubt, the show did a brilliant job explaining how and why Data should be viewed as a being with rights. Star Trek is at its best when it forces the viewer to think and debate a social conundrum and this episode stands alongside the very best TV show episodes to explore the human condition.

THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

star-trek-tng-best-both-worlds-patrick-stewart-jean-luc-picard-borg

This two-parter comprises the third season finale and the fourth season premier. And although the second part does a good job wrapping up the plot and tying all the loose ends together, it is part one that stands among the best science fiction television ever. This episode is gripping, weighty, tension soaked, action packed, and sporting a cliffhanger that every Star Trek season from every Star Trek show since has tried to duplicate (to no success). The plot revolves around the Borg, the cybernetic-human hybrid species introduced in the previous season. The Borg seek to “assimilate” organic lifeforms in order to expand their collective knowledge and consciousness. They encountered the Enterprise when Q flung the starship to the far reaches of space—far beyond the limits of Starfleet’s exploration. Afterward Q returned the Enterprise back to their corner of space, but within just a year, the Borg—intrigued by the humans they encountered—made their way to the Alpha Quadrant with the intent to assimilate all of humanity.

The real hook of the episode comes near the end when the Borg attack the Enterprise and kidnap Captain Picard, but its the tense half-hour leading up to that point that makes the episode so great. The Borg encounter the Enterprise and demand that Picard surrender himself. When he refuses the two ships engage in a short firefight (in which the Enterprises is clearly outmatched). The good guys escape only thanks to some quick thinking by guest-star Lt. Commander Shelby (who spends the episode trying to push Riker out the door to take his place as first officer of the ship). While hiding in a nebula the Enterprise crew develop a device they hope will be powerful enough to destroy the Borg ship and all aboard it. Eventually though the Enterprise is captured, Picard is kidnapped and at the end of the episode he is revealed as Locutus of Borg, a half-Borg, half-Picard hybrid who demands the surrender (for assimilation) of the entire crew. The music swells as the camera zooms in close on acting-captain Riker, who calls for Lt. Worf to fire the Borg-destroying weapon.

Those final words (“Mr. Worf…fire.”) are accompanied by an imposing music cue, a fade to black and the dreaded “to be continued” flashing on the screen. It was very rare for TV shows to have cliffhangers that stretched across whole seasons. Star Trek may not have been the first to do it, but it did it most famously, and even took home multiple Emmy’s for its production. The Best of Both Worlds stands among the very best of Star Trek, especially part one, and shows how versatile the franchise can be.

THE INNER LIGHT

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Speaking of versatile, here’s an episode as far removed from The Best of Both Worlds as any show can be. Whereas the Borg-centric two-parter was all about action and tension, this episode is introspective, quiet, moving and dramatic. The plot device that kicks off the episode-proper is really a prop: The Enterprise encounters an alien probe that “attacks” Cpt. Picard. While he lies on the bridge convulsing, the probe somehow links with his mind and downloads the data of its entire civilization into his brain. That’s the sci-fi part of the story. Again, it’s a means to an end. The real meat of the episode follows Picard as he assumes the role of Kamin. At first he insists that he’s Picard of the Enterprise but as years go on he accepts his life as Kamin, raises a family and lives a quiet life of ease on his planet. Essentially he lives a life—a whole life—that Cpt. Picard chose not to pursue in order to be a Starfleet officer.

The episode works because it takes its actors seriously. Patrick Stewart plays the role with the gravitas of a stage actor (which, of course he is). The slow pace of the episode gives the audience time to grow used to Picard-as-Kamin, to sympathize with him and follow his life’s journey. It turns out the planet is dying due to their sun’s radiation but unfortunately the people don’t have great space-faring technology. They have only just begun launching satellites. Eventually, as they near extinction, they devise a way to store the memory of their civilization into a probe that they will launch into space, in the hopes that it will encounter someone who can learn about their people, in order for them to live on in someone’s memory. That someone is Picard, who—as Kamin—finally understands his role in the world’s history. At that moment the probe stops “attacking” Picard who wakes up, fully aware of the entire experience, and the entire life he lived in the blink of an eye.

The Inner Light can’t be done justice by a couple paragraphs of summary. The episode needs to be seen to be appreciated. It won the Hugo award given to the best science fiction dramatic presentation and is hailed by fans as among the best episodes in the history of the franchise. It is TNG’s “The City on the Edge of Forever,” transcending its parent show to be something appreciated by non-fans as well.

After the success (largely) of the Original Series movies, it was a big gamble to take Star Trek in such a new direction, but The Next Generation—once it found its footing—thrived to become a beloved Science Fiction TV institution. The franchise is celebrating 50 years in 2016 and CBS is preparing to launch a new TV show next January. It would do well to remember the lessons learned from The Next Generation: A confident head writer, a willingness to explore the human condition with fresh story ideas, and on occasion, having a dash of action/adventure, can be the recipe for another great series.

Read this article –

After finding its footing, Star Trek TNG was the best thing going

WWE Live Event Results From Cape Girardeau (2/27): NXT Stars Work Twice, Kane Headlines, Divas, More

– Thanks to Wade Altensen for the following WWE live event results from Saturday’s show in Cape Girardeau, Missouri:

* Neville defeated King Barrett with Red Arrow in the opener. Really strong reaction for Barrett for some reason, more than Neville. Nice back and forth match

* Bo Dallas and Heath Slater defeated Damien Sandow and Darren Young. Bo won for his team with a roll-up on Sandow, holding the tights. Huge pop for Sandow, he was really over

* Rusev squashed Fandango by submission. Lana was in demand again tonight and actually sang to Rusev but it was hard to hear

* Ryback defeated Rusev in a really physical match that came after Rusev demanded real competition. Ryback worked as a babyface and showed no signs of the turn he started on TV

* Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady with Carmella defeated The Ascension. Good pops for the NXT stars and good match. The Wyatt Family without Bray Wyatt destroyed them after but Big Show made the save

* Enzo, Big Cass and Big Show defeated Erick Rowan, Luke Harper and Braun Strowman. This was really good as far as in the ring goes and overall entertainment. Cool to see the NXT stars get props from Show after the match

* WWE Divas Champion Charlotte beat Becky Lynch to retain. Really good match, one of the best of the night

* WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day beat The Usos to retain. They had several comedy or dance spots but it was done well, very entertaining

* Kane beat Bray Wyatt in the main event. Wyatt dominated the whole match up until the last minute or so

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WWE Live Event Results From Cape Girardeau (2/27): NXT Stars Work Twice, Kane Headlines, Divas, More

Khan: Quigg's start too slow

Last Updated: 28/02/16 8:03am

The Sky Sports pundits all agreed that Scott Quigg got his tactics wrong and started to apply pressure too late in the fight

The Sky Sports pundits all agreed that Scott Quigg got his tactics wrong and started to apply pressure too late in the fight

The Sky Sports pundits all agreed that Scott Quigg got his tactics wrong and started to apply pressure too late in the fight

Amir Khan believes Scott Quigg only has himself to blame for losing his unbeaten record and WBA world title to Carl Frampton.

Quigg lost a split decision in the eagerly-anticipated showdown at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night.

Frampton vs Quigg

Book the replay of the Sky Sports Box Office event

While Khan was full of praise for Frampton, he felt the loser’s slow start ultimately cost him dearly.

“I think he gave Frampton too much respect too early on,” Khan told Sky Sports Box Office.

Scott should have given it his all for those early rounds. He just started too slowly.

Amir Khan

“Maybe Carl knew he was going to get tired later on so he knew he needed to get those rounds under his belt.

“But he also finished strongly. I know Scott had some gas left in his tank as well but he could have gone on through the 12th, 13th or 14th if he had to.

“I just think Scott should have given it his all for those early rounds. He just started too slowly.”

Scott Quigg is dejected after tasting defeat for the first time

Scott Quigg is dejected after tasting defeat for the first time

Scott Quigg is dejected after tasting defeat for the first time

Khan, who is moving up to middleweight to take on Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Las Vegas on May 7, admitted he couldn’t split Quigg and Frampton ahead of the unification fight.

But while the Bolton boy questioned Quigg’s approach to the biggest fight of his career, he offered high praise for the victorious Frampton.

Carl Frampton won a split points decision over Scott Quigg to add the WBA super-bantamweight title to his IBF belt

Carl Frampton won a split points decision over Scott Quigg to add the WBA super-bantamweight title to his IBF belt

Carl Frampton won a split points decision over Scott Quigg to add the WBA super-bantamweight title to his IBF belt

“He was taking full control, using his jab and using his distance,” he said.

“In fact, he was controlling the whole fight and that is why all the early rounds went to him.

Fight report

Frampton out-points Quigg to unify super-bantam titles

“[Quigg] just started too late, maybe one or two rounds earlier he might have got a bit more success and won the fight on points.

“But you can’t take anything away from Frampton. He had a great gameplan, he just out-boxed him, then stepped out of the way.”

Continued here –

Khan: Quigg's start too slow

WWE Live Event Results From Louisville (2/27): Kevin Owens Retains, Baron Corbin, Sasha Banks, More

– Thanks to Carrie Rauso for the following WWE live event results from Saturday’s show in Louisville, Kentucky:

* AJ Styles defeated Tyler Breeze in a fast paced opener. Very good reactions for Styles, who won by submission with the Calf Crusher.

* Sin Cara defeated Stardust in a good match. Sin Cara also got a big pop for some reason, although the crowd was packed with families tonight. Good heat for Stardust as he lashed out over “Cody” chants.

* Baron Corbin defeated Zack Ryder. Corbin controlled most of the match and won with End of Days. Corbin got a decent reaction but deserved better.

* R-Truth defeated Curtis Axel with Adam Rose. Nothing special here, Rose tried to interfere but Goldust came out and evened the odds. Goldust begged Truth to be his partner but Truth wouldn’t commit. Lame segment.

* WWE United States Champion Kalisto defeated Alberto Del Rio to retain. Huge pop for Kalisto, bigger than Sin Cara and close to Styles. This was a really good match with some intense spots. Kalisto won with Salida del Sol after sending Del Rio into a turnbuckle he exposed earlier.

* Sheamus squashed Mark Henry. Sheamus took the mic before the match, saying he respects Henry and doesn’t want to embarrass him here in Louisville because of his history here. Sheamus got great heat here and offered Henry the chance to walk away. Henry threatened to kick Sheamus’ arse but Sheamus attacked him and ended up winning with a Brogue Kick.

* Sasha Banks and Summer Rae defeated Tamina Snuka and Naomi. Another huge reaction, this time for Sasha. Not much for the other Divas. Sasha made Naomi tap to the Banks Statement for the win. Sasha and Summer celebrated together after the match.

* Dean Ambrose defeated WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens by disqualification when Owens wouldn’t break a hold while the referee counted five. Ambrose got the pop of the night here and Owens got good heat all throughout. Awesome pay-per-view caliber action. Owens cut a promo after the bell but Ambrose came back with Dirty Deeds to end the show

Biggest Pops: Dean Ambrose, Sasha Banks, AJ Styles, Kalisto, Sin Cara

Best Heat: Kevin Owens, Sheamus, Baron Corbin, Stardust, Alberto Del Rio

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WWE Live Event Results From Louisville (2/27): Kevin Owens Retains, Baron Corbin, Sasha Banks, More

AJ Styles Talks About His Faith, Former WWE Star Opening Wrestling School, Samoa Joe WWE 2K16 Stream

– WWE Games posted this video of Samoa Joe’s WWE 2K16 Hall of Fame Showcase live stream from a few days ago:

[embedded content]

– AJ Styles recently spoke with Rapzilla about his faith and being a big fan of Christian hip-hop. The article pointed out how Styles tries his best to outwardly live his faith and how there are always things around that can distract, especially in the high profile world of WWE. Styles commented:

“There are some things that are maybe a little bit harder because there are attractive women around but you can’t forget who you are and what you have. I love my wife, I love my kids and at the end of the day is it really worth it to live with that guilt?”

– Former WWE Superstar Ezekiel Jackson (Rycklon Stephens) is opening his Bryckhouse Pro Wrestling School in Redwood City, California next month. Details are in the Instagram post below:

Tyson Kidd Retiring?, Who Was Recently KICKED OUT of the Locker Room?, Huge WWE PPV Changes Revealed?, Bad News for Injured Top WWE Star, WWE Heel Turn Plans Revealed, John Cena FINALLY Turning Heel?, Big Hogan – WWE Update, Vince – Bryan Story, WWE Very High on a Diva, Huge WWE – Goldberg Update, WM 32 Updates on Cena and Cesaro, Major Handicap Match at WrestleMania?, Must See New Lana & AJ Lee & Maryse, Lots of New GIFs & Exclusives, More

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AJ Styles Talks About His Faith, Former WWE Star Opening Wrestling School, Samoa Joe WWE 2K16 Stream

Weekend Menu on Sky Sports

Last Updated: 28/02/16 7:22am

What’s coming up on Sky Sports? Man Utd for mains and a side of silverware at Wembley.

We also have major action from other sports, all live on Sky Sports, to keep you occupied.

Get a Sky Sports Pass

Watch instantly from just £6.99 with NOW TV – no contract

So, here’s the what, when and where for the coming days…

Will Sergio Garcia claim victory at PGA National in Florida?

What: The Honda Classic

When: Sunday from 6pm

Where to watch: Sky Sports 4 HD

Sergio Garcia is in contention at the Honda Classic

Sergio Garcia is in contention at the Honda Classic

Sergio Garcia is in contention at the Honda Classic

Live PGA Tour Golf

February 28, 2016, 6:00pm

Live on

Can Arsenal win at Old Trafford for the first time in the Premier League since September 2006?

What: Manchester United v Arsenal, Premier League, Super Sunday

When: Sunday, 2.05pm (coverage from 1pm)

Where to watch: Sky Sports 1 HD, post-match reaction on Sky Sports 4 HD

Arsenal are looking for their first Premier League win at Old Trafford in nearly a decade

Arsenal are looking for their first Premier League win at Old Trafford in nearly a decade

Arsenal are looking for their first Premier League win at Old Trafford in nearly a decade

Man Utd vs Arsenal

February 28, 2016, 1:00pm

Live on

Who will claim the first piece of silverware at Wembley in the Capital One Cup final?

What: Liverpool v Manchester City, Capital One Cup final

When: Sunday, 4.30pm (coverage from 4pm)

Where to watch: Sky Sports 1 HD

Liverpool and Manchester City face off for this season's first piece of silverware

Liverpool and Manchester City face off for this season's first piece of silverware

Liverpool and Manchester City face off for this season’s first piece of silverware

Liverpool vs Man City

February 28, 2016, 4:00pm

Live on

How have Manchester City been transformed since