April-May Wrestling Top 25

April-June

1)Katsuyori Shibata vs Kazuchika Okada-NJPW Sakura Genesis IWGP Heavyweight Title-Sakura Genesis IWGP Heavyweight Title Match *****
2)Dunne vs Bates-NXT Takeover Chicago UK Title *****
3)Authors of Pain vs #DIY vs The Revival-NXT Takeover Orlando NXT Tag Title *****
4)Ryusuke Taguchi vs KUSHIDA-NJPW BOSJ Day 11 5.29.17 *****
5)Kenny Omega vs Tomohiro Ishii-NJPW Dontaku ****3/4
6)Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Meiko Satomura-Sendai Girls April 6th ****3/4
7)Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tetsuya Naito-NJPW Dominion Intercontinental Championship ****3/4
9)KUSHIDA vs Will Ospreay-BOSJ Finals 6.3.17 ****3/4
10)Ricochet vs Hiromu Takahashi-NJPW Wrestling Toyo Kuni Jr. Heavyweight Title ****3/4
11)KUSHIDA vs Hiromu Takahahsi-NJPW Dominion Jr. Heavyweight Title ****3/4
12)Marty Scurll vs Ricochet-BOSJ Day 12 5.31.17 ****1/2
13)Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman-WWE Payback ****1/2
14)Fatal 5 Way-WWE Extreme Rules ****1/2
15)Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada-NJW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Title ****1/2
16)AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon-WWE Wrestlemania ****
17)Ricochet vs Will Ospreay-BOSJ Day 2 ****
18)Hiromu Takahashi vs Dragon Lee-NJPW BOSJ Day 1 ****
19)Marty Scurll vs Will Osreay-NJPW BOSJ Day 1 ****
20)ACH vs Volador Jr.-NJPW BOSJ Day 11 ****
21)Best Friends vs Leaders of the New School-PWG Good Boys (Don’t Play Rock n Roll) 3-18-17 (DVD released in May) ****
22)Dragon Lee vs Will Ospreay-NJPW VOSJ Day 8 ****
23)GOD vs TenCozy vs War Machine-NJPW Wrestling Dontaku IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles Dontaku ****
24)Corbin vs Nakmaura vs Styles vs Ziggler vs Owens vs Zayn-MitB 2017 Ladder Match ****
25)Asuka vs Ember Moon-Takeover Orlando NXT Womens Title ***3/4

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New Japan Pro-Wrestling Presents G1 Climax 27

It’s that time of year again. The summer of wrestling tournaments. In the US WWE is launching the womens tournament Mae Young Classic. Filming starts today, sadly episodes won’t be up until late August and finals in Fall. Super indy PWG launches their popular Battle of Los Angeles where almost half the talent is coming from the UK at the same time as CHIKARA heads to the country to launch their annual King of Trios. Mexico’s CMLL has a Grand Prix in several weeks and Pro-Wrestling Noah launching their Jr. Tag League.

The big one, however, is NJPW’s G1 Climax 27. The fourth of a total six, maybe seven and possibly only five, NJPW tournaments this year. This has been an incredible year for their tournaments so far. New Japan Cup featured a fantastic run by Katsuyori Shibata that lead to his beautiful, yet tragic, match at Sakura Genesis. Delivering a MELTZER RATED 5 STAR MATCH with Okada retaining and Shibata’s health problems catching up with him, effectively making that his final wrestling match. The premiere Best of the Super Juniors happened next featuring fantastic action and the final BOSJ of legendary Jushin Thunder Liger. In the finals it was Will Ospreay and KUSHIDA delivering another MELTZER RATED 5 STAR MATCH. Then, in the companies successful solo US debut, a single elimination US Title Tournament where Kenny Omega and Tomohiro Ishii delivered match after match and over delivered in the finals. Not a MELTZER RATED 5 STAR MATCH but hey! Naito and Elgin got one while Omega and Okada gave only the second MELTZER RATED 6 STAR MATCH and then later the only MELTZER RATED 6 1/4 STAR MATCH. Later this year we get Heavyweight Tag League at and maybe a single elimination Jr. Tag League before that. Possibly a Young Lions Cup for the young lions from the New Japan dojo. But before those two, we got this one, the G1.

So lets break it down. Twenty en split into two blocks, round robin style. 2 points to winner, 1 point a piece for a draw, 0 for he loser. Winners of matches get tiebreaker if their opponent ends at the same points. Block A and Block B winners face off in the finals and the winner claims the right for the main event title match at the next Wrestle Kingdom. Lets look at who we got.

The IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi (Stable: Taguchi Japan)-The Ace! The current Intercontinental Champion! Tanahashi walks into the tournament he’s won twice before to further prove he is still the top guy int he company. One of the most decorated champions of NJPW history and a living legend in wrestling already Tanahashi’s biggest opponent is his age. At 40 he’s seeing the wrestlers older than him fade out of the big picture and younger stars trying to, and in come cases succeeding, in eclipsing him. Expect Tanahashi to deliver quality matches night after night, play a bunch of air guitar to cheering crowds, and most likely winning at least 5. I don’t see him winning, nor going to the finals. Then again, no one saw him winning 2015’s tournament. Pay attention to his losses, because anyone who beats him might be in like for an IC title shot.
THE BIG MATCHES: Kota Ibushi, Tetsuya Naito, Bad Luck Fale

Togi Makabe-Makabe is interesting. He is in his mid 40s, a former G1 winner and IWGP Heavyweight champion, and a bit of a TV star. He has a small segment on some show where talks about and tries sweets. Makabe is a brawler and is capable of delivering good matches but he’s a solid mid carder right now so he has little chance of making it to the finals. Thinking four wins, tops.
THE BIG MATCHES: Tomohiro Ishii, Yuji Nagata, Tetsuya Naito

Yuji Nataga-Blue Justice Yuji Nagata is an elder statesman. At 49 he has declared this to be his final G1. He won in 2001 and like Makabe and Tanahashi he is a decorated champion. Nagata is not only losing, but will be lucky to get out with three victories. Last year NJPW vet and wrestling legend Hiroyoshi Tenzan’s final G1 did not include too many wins and Liger’s final BOSJ ending in one victory on the final Block A night. Still, Nagata usually delivers at least three star matches and there are some matches here I’m very interested in.
THE BIG MATCHES: Togi Makabe, Zack Sabre Jr, Hiroshi Tanahashi

Kota Ibushi-If you are a hardcore WWE fan you may be familiar with Kota from their Crusierweight Classic. Ibushi makes his official return to NJPW (he has been playing Tiger Mask X on several shows) and is the big guest for the tournament this year. Last G1 Climax tournaments he did he was under contract but this time he’s a free agent, traveling the world and doing his thing. There is much hype with his return as people want him to face off against his former partner and rival Kenny Omega who is red hot. Will NJPW blow a marque match on a sold out show? Probably not. Kota will be in the running, might make it to the finals, unless Goto spoils it on Block A’s final night.
THE BIG MATCHES: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Zack Sabre Jr, Hirooki Goto

Hirooki Goto (Stable: CHAOS)-Goto wins tournaments and chokes at the big match. Multiple time winner of the New Japan Cup and Tag League as well as winning his first G1 and making it to the finals last year. He does well in these. Goto has been positioned as a gatekeeper. this means he’s an upper midcard guy who can deliver in important spots but will not be one of faces of the company. I like Goto a lot, so I look forward to all his matches.
THE BIG MATCHES: Tomohiro Ishii, Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi

Tomohiro Ishii (Stable: CHAOS)-Ishii is the fucking man. The guy never takes a night off and at age 41 and working such a stiff style, it does kind of worry you. Ishii has had a strange year. A weird tag team with Yano which came and went in a few months. He went to the semi’s in New Japan Cup and the finals of the US Title tournament. So still not winning the big one and he won’t here. That does not mean he won’t bring the goods. Last year him and Okada had a MELTZER RATED 5 STAR MATCH that was amazing. People call him the best wrestler working today or the most underrated wrestler today. Either way you land, Ishii is amazing.
THE BIG MATCHES: Hirooki Goto, Zack Sabre Jr, Tetsuya Naito

YOSHI-HASHI (Stable: CHAOS)-Second G1 Climax, YOSHI-HASHI probably is looking to improve from last years where he got three victories. I don’t see him getting more than that because someone has to eat losses unless its Nagata who will be losing a lot. YOSHI is pretty good but he’s not the guy who knocks it out of the park night after night. It will be interesting to see how he does.
THE BIG MATCHES: Tetsuya Naito, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii

Bad Luck Fale (Stable: Bullet Club)-The Underboss and founding member of the Bullet Club is back. Some Western fans were saying BC had run their course but the recent US Specials and Hot Topic deal has show that to be untrue. BC is hotter than ever. That doesn’t mean much for Fale. Fale is another gatekeeper wrestler and since he’s a monster he will be booked strong. Might even make it to the finals like he did with the New Japan Cup this year. I don’t think he will, being spoiled on the last Block A night but expect four to five wins.
THE BIG MATCHES: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushii, Tomohiro Ishii

Zack Sabre Jr. (Stable: Suzuki-Gun)-The technical wizard, indy darling, and another Cruiserweight Classic competitor. In afct many thought it would be him and Kota Ibushi in the finals but neither signed contracts so that match did not happen. It will happen here. One of many first time meetings which makes ZSJ G1 debut a big deal with Western and European fans. His standing with the Japanese fans is hard to read, despite years working for Pro-Wrestling Noah, this is a different crowd. I am thinking at least three wins, maybe four.
THE BIG MATCHES: Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomohiro Ishii

Tetsuya Naito (Stable: Los Ingobernables de Japon)-BC may be the hottest stable outside Japan, but in the country NJPW calls home its all about LIJ and their leader Tetsuya Naito. The former tournament winner was the odds on favorite last year until Kenny Omega ruined his shot at the finals in a MELTZER RATED 5 STAR MATCH and then won the whole damn thing. That did not deter Naito’s success. He won and lost the IC title and is considered by some to be Japan’s biggest star today. Will Naito win his second G1? Will he go on and win his second Heavyweight title? But more importantly, will he get the Wrestle Kingdom main event that was ripped from him after his first G1 win by a fan vote? The vote that turned him from future superstar babyface Naito to midcard and falling Naito which lead to the Naito we have today. I think its his year but I thought last year was his year so what do I know? Still, no less than five wins.
THE BIG MATCHES: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto

Satoshi Kojima (Stable: Taguchi Japan, TenKoji)-Kojima returns after giving his spot last year to friend and tag partner Tenzen. Kojima is a legend in Japanese wrestling, a former G1 winner and decorated champion. That said, at 46, he’s probably not likely to go far. Maybe four victories? Despite this Kojima is still very good and can go with the best of them.
THE BIG MATCHES: Kazuchika Okada, Minoru Suzuki, Tama Tonga

Michael Elgin (Stable: Taguchi Japan)-Elgin made his NJPW debut at 2015 G1, the next year he was IC champion and finished close to the top of his block. This year has been a mixed bag. He lost his rematch against Naito, MELTZER RATED 5 STAR MATCH, and dropped out in first rounds in both the New Japan Cup and US title tournament. Woth his contract up at the end of the year, who knows what is going on. I still see four to five victories in his future and a contract renewal. NJPW know they got a talented wrestler so I expect bigger thanks after a renewal.
THE BIG MATCHES: Kenny Omega, Minoru Suzuki, Kazuchika Okada

Juice Robinson (Stable: Taguchi Japan)-Proof that you can succeed without WWE right here. Juice was jobber in their NXT developmental and left. In 2015 he joined NJPW and was working similar to a NJPW young lion, watching these matches at ring side. In 2016 they gave him more to do including being Tanahashi’s tag partner in the Tag League after Elgins injury. 2017 saw him get to the second round of the New Japan Cup and also be included in the US tournament. The fans in Japan and here love Juice. That does not mean he’s going far. Soemone has to eat pinfalls so I’d say maybe two wins, possible three? All the matches will be worth watching though.
THE BIG MATCHES: EVIL, SANADA, Minoru Suzuki

IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada (Stable: CHAOS)-Okada is on a tear. At 29 Okada is the company’s ACE. Two time G1 winner, multiple time champion. In fact, his current run, is legendary status. He has had a string of amazing matches since winning the title for his fourth time last year. His combined runs are close to eclipsing Keiji Mutoh (aka Great Muta) and shy of his rival Tanahashi. This is a big tournament for Okada because he’s not been beaten in a singles match since last years G1 as well as the fact anyone who beats him here might get a shot before G1. King of Pro-Wrestling is around the corner this tournament will give us a clue to who that will be. So why is the champ in a tournament like this? Its an honor to win, and if he does, he books his own main event of Wrestle Kingdom. Okada is winning at least five matches but the question is, can he beat Omega again? And in less than 30 minutes?
THE BIG MATCHES: Michael Elgin, Kenny Omega, Minoru Suzukia

Toru Yano (Stable: CHAOS)-The spoiler. A comedy wrestler who gives his opponents a night off. Look, I don’t like Yano but the native fans do. Western fans don’t see him winning many matches but he always gets at least four.
THE BIG MATCHES: Kenny Omega, Minoru Suzuki

IWGP United States Champion Kenny Omega (Stable: Bullet Club, The Elite)-The hottest talent in the world right now? Omega solidified himself last year. He went from top talent to Japanese superstar winning G1 Climax 26 then one of the overall best with his two matches against Okada. Losing one, time limit draw the other. His match with Omega at Block B finals is the big one and probably proof neither will go to the finals. This tournament may also give us a future US title contender. Keep an eye on SANADA as Omega recently called their upcoming match an easy win.
THE BIG MATCHES: SANADA, Minoru Suzuki, Kazuchika Okada

Tama Tonga (Stable: Bullet Club, Guerillas of Detsiny)-Entering his second G1, Tonga is looking to improve. His first run was a mixed bag but his tag team with brother Tonga Roa has become a great team. Tonga is a founding member of BC but only in recent memory been a premiere guy and with WWE rumored to be interested in him and his brother its possible NJPW gives him even mroe here. I don’t know, I still only see four wins.
THE BIG MATCHES: EVIL, SANADA, Michael Elgin

IWGP NEVER Openweight Champion Minoru Suzuki (Stable: Suzuki-Gun)-Making his G1 return after 2 years in Noah, Suzuki is a mean SOB. One of Japans MMA stars and a legit badass. He was on Omega’s list of guys to face so thats a first time match as is several other encounters. Suzuki is some peoples odds on favorite to go to the finals. Naito vs Suzuki is the general prediction and I can see it though its not mine. I think Suzuki will do great.
THE BIG MATCHES: Kenny Omega, Michael Elgin, EVIL

IWGP NEVER 6 Man Champion SANADA (Stable: Los Ingobernables de Japon)-Second year for the LIJ member that Western fans think will one day be groomed to be a top guy. He’s athletic, talented, and good looking. In fact, I agree and I got SANADA going to the finals as a surprise and a test run. He has quite the competition ahead of him including his trios partner EVIL on night one. Honestly I see SANADA losing early and then tying in points but holding the tie breaker. I’m probably wrong though.
THE BIG MATCHES: EVIL, Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada

IWGP NEVER 6 Man Champion EVIL (Stable: Los Ingobernables de Japon)-EVIL enters his second year. While the odds are on SANADA being the break out star EVIL will look good. He has risen to midcard guy and edging to upper midcard. I like him for his style which is similar to Goto and Ishii. He’s a bruiser with some incredible moves. Last year he went four and I don’t see less than that.
THE BIG MATCHES: SANADA, Kazuchika Okada, Juice Robinson

G1 Climax starts on the 17th with Block A and cotinues on the 20th with Block B then its rapid fire from there. It ends in August with three nights at Sumo Hall. The finals night will feature Heavyweight Tag and Jr. Tag title matches. There is a press conference on the 16th. Watch it all on NJPWWorld.com. Its around $9 a month and worth it.

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Podcasts I’m Listening To

Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. I’ve been busy (writing, reading, watching things, procrastinating, work). As such this, and my attempt at a Youtube Comic Vlog, have not been regularly updated. So I decided to do a quick review/run down on the podcasts I listen to.

ART OF WRESTLING: Pro-wrestler, comedian and actor was on the ground floor of podcasts, specifically in the world of professional wrestling. Started after being released from WWE Cabana’s podcast interviews wrestlers and personalities in the sport. They talk about training, getting into the industry, their journeys, and share stories. One of my favorite stories is about how Lance Storm and Hiroyoshi Tenzan were doing an excursion in Germany, neither spoke the language or each others language and were rooming together. Or listening to how Daffney Unger went from aspiring actress to the Scream Queen of WCW. This podcast is a great one if you are a wrestling fan. I jump in and out depending on the guest, which means I might miss some great stories. I also avoid the live recordings with multiple guests, sometimes they’re good sometimes shrug worthy. If you are not a wrestling fan, this podcast could give you an impression of the journey and sometimes struggles of wrestlers.

BIZARRE STATES: Only a few episodes into this and so far its okay. I started from the beginning and the format has been changing but the jist is they talk SPOOKY stuff. The first readers story episode was the last one I listened to and the best. A writer shared a haunting story which had a cameo from the famed Warrens from the Conjuring. I like the the two hosts but so far I can’t actually recommend this one.

CRIMETOWN: I’m four episodes into this true crime podcast about Providence, Rhode Island. The story follows several individuals including a mob boss, a lawyer turned mayor and a lot of other people. Including interviews and news clips form the people themselves. This is a deeply engaging podcast if you’re into organized crime. I still think about the one interview with a wiseguy who talks about being a D&D fan. Wow. The whole thing I believe is finished with them right now releasing bonus episodes.

HARRY POTTER AND THE SACRED TEXT: What if we read the books we love as if they were sacred texts? Both hosts have worked for Harvard Divinity School and bring a very fascinating read to the series. I’ve listened to the first two episodes, Book 1 Chapters 1-2, and I dig them. Especially the second chapter. If you like, or love, harry Potter you might want to give this one a listen. They are currently in the third book so I need to catch up.

HOLLYWOOD & CRIME: True crime fans have heard about the Black Dahlia murder but do they know that there was other other women murdered around the same time? This addictive podcast looks at the lesser known murders. Kicks off with a two parter about Georgette Bauerdorf whose murder is still unsolved. The first part was so good I went right into the second part. I’m up to episode 5, and episode 6 actually looks at the Black Dahlia. I slowed down realizing it was only 17 episodes so far. This one is good for fans of unsolved true crime stories.

HOW DID THIS GET MADE?: I’m not much for reviews. It has to be reviews that bring something different to the table. This one brings the comedy as Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas with friends as they talk “bad” films. Some they love, some the hate, but all get ripped apart. Sadly this, and several other podcasts, are behind paywalls so you can’t just scour all the choice selections. Thats the podcast business I guess. I really dug Con Air, Face/Off, Super Mario Brothers, Bloodsport, Surf Ninjas, Street Fighter, The Shadow, Birdemic, and so many more. The live stuff is overall the best. the crowds into it and its cool when the interact with them. Plus the Amazon 5 Star reviews have to be heard. One of my faves. I got into it super late so I’ve only scratched the surface.

JAY & MILES X-PLAIN THE X-MEN: The only comic book podcast I listen. Formerly known as Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men, the pair do exactly that. They essentially summarize the important and noteworthy X-Men stories. I’m currently up into X-Men when Rachel Grey was with the team and them explaining New Mutants post Bill Sienkiewicz. Which means I’m a hundred episodes behind… Its a cool podcast if you are an X-Men fan and have not been in a position to have read a lot of classic X-Men and related works. it also introduces you to stories you may have missed, like a couple X-Men first class type series and runs. Sometimes guests appear and talk their contributions like Kurt Busiek explaining how the resurrection of Jean Grey developed. The group skip around sometimes but mostly it starts with the silver age, which they do skip through quickly to get to the All New, All Different era. If you like X-Men, try it out.

LORE: True life scary stories. Lore looks at real life crime, urban legends, scary stories, and hauntings. This is one that needs to be heard. I’m about half way through and loved the episodes on real vampires, Elizabeth Báthory, a creepy doll, an accused witch who refused to die, and more. This one by writer Aaron Mahnke is being made into a series on Amazon prime so expect to hear more sometime soon. Also, patreon users get extra mini episodes. I don’t donate (I’m broke! Most the time) so I can’t check them out.

MONSTER TALK: This one goes waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back to 2009 and I descided to start from the beginning so I’m barely into it. Its a critical analysis of cryptozoology. Basically they talk monsters and why they don’t exist. I’ve listened to episodes on bigfoot, Loch Ness monster and werewolves. Its a fascinating podcast that delves into the science and mythology as well as talks about the hoaxes and creationists work in the field. I like it but not sure I’d recommend it unless skepticism of monsters is your thing.

MY FAVORITE MURDER: The popular comedy-true crime podcast. This one is divisive. The ladies do not do the research that other true crime podcasts do. They also can spend upwards to the first forty minutes going on about anything but true crime. I like it. The stories are diverse set. Not just serial killers but all sorts of interesting crimes and criminals. I found much interest in the story of Mary bell or the Zankou Chicken Murders. They are up there with Rameriz and Bundy. The thing that really pops are the hometown murders like one from a woman who was at a sleepover when the girl throwing the parties older brother murdered their dad. After several episodes they started mini episodes dedicated to them.

THE BLACK TAPES: This one is a scripted faux-documentary podcast. The first season of which came off as almost very real to the point where I was even google searching to find out if the people involved were real. The second season feel into a couple of predictable outcomes. Anyway, a journalist named Alex Reagan is looking into paranormal investigators which leads her to skeptic Dr. Stroud and his Black tapes, which have not been fully debunked. I listened to all of it in two days and despite the failings of season 2, its still really good. Season 3, the final season, should be happening later this year.

THE DOLLOP: Comedian Dave Anthony explains a piece of American history, or a story, to his friend. That’s the set up. I’ve only started and will be picking the podcasts based on topics but I’ve listened to one about Christian Purity Balls and Competitive Endurance Tickling. Its pretty amusing. Not high on the list of favorite podcasts.

FACULTY OF HORROR: Two academics analytical and research study of horror films. Its an impressive film podcast as the two female hosts dig deep into the works with lots of research and great commentary. I’ve listened to most the episodes, skipping a few with movies I either haven’t seen or have no interest in, and its made me give a second look to some films and discover Candyman. I also need to rewatch Black Christmas. Sadly its a once a month podcast so episodes don’t come as often as one would like. I’m sitting on the last two and waiting for the next before I even listen. Urban legends episode (about Candy Man and Urban Legend), the two parter looking at the four Alien films, the first episode with Halloween and Black Christmas, definitely Battle Royale and Gremlins are among some great episodes.

UP AND VANISHED: Almost caught up with this true crime podcast (not counting the mini episodes). This one follows documentary film maker Payne Lindsey who looks into the disappearance of Tara Grinstead. Its great because as he investigates, with the help a former investigator on the case, there was an actual break. truthfully, the stuff before the break was the best and most addictive. The stuff after has been good, just different as Payne digs into the new details. Really digging this one.

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE: The popular scripted supernatural comedy podcast takes the form of community radio. Cecil lets you know whats going on in Night Vale from dinosaur attacks, the dog park no one is allowed to go into, the angels that live with Josie and more. This podcast one to listen to all in order. I’m only 40 episodes in and its very cool. Though I don’t have the desire to binge, I enjoy most the episodes. Some of which are incredibly creepy. Some more silly.

WOLF 359: Another scripted podcast. This one takes place on a space station. The cast is really only four people and the lead is kind of annoying. I listen to one a week, its pretty good. Yeah…

YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS: You like stories about celebrities of Hollywood? Classic Hollywood? Here you go. I’ve only listened to select episodes but I’ve been digging it. From the truth about Francis farmer to so-called box office poison Kay Francis to the cinephile love and love life of Madonna and Bogart before Bacall and Bacall after Bogart. This one is incredibly engaging. I have a ton saved to my computer including a series called Star Wars which I’m assuming details the battles certain stars fought. After that a whole lot tracking the notorious Manson Family. I might not be listening to them all but everyone so far has been gold.

Posted in movies, podcast, podcasts, true crime, wrestling, x-men | Tagged | Leave a comment

Best of the Super Juniors XXIV Primer: 2017 Tournament

So New Japans second tournament of the year is upon us. Best of the Super Juniors is not only one of their most beloved tournaments but also one of their most popular internationally. A tournament that ahs had famous comepetitors and winners like indy stars Will Ospreay and Ricochet to WWE stars like Finn Balor and Gran Metalik to late greats like Owen Hart and Eddie Guerrero. So, because I need content on this blog, here is a primer on the tournament which started May 17th and runs into June 3rd.

The tournament is round robin between two blocks. Winners get 2 points, draw gives each competitor 1 point, and 0 points to the loser. Winners of their respective blocks face off for the top prize in the finals. Tie breaker decisions for blocks is determined by the winner of the two wrestlers match. For example is KUSHIDA ties with Volador Jr in points for block B, the winner of their match breaks the tie.


BLOCK A

The most stacked block of the tournament, this one will bring the goods with several stars. Including three of the worlds leading high fliers and the current Jr. Champion who has been a major buzz. The winner gets a neat trophy and a shot at the Jr. Heavyweight champion at Dominion, the big show before the G1 Climax tournament.

Dragon Lee-Not the original Dragon Lee but the one people are going to remember. This 21 year old madman is a shining star in CMLL and all of lucha libre. Fast, crazy, and a serious spectacle. The kind of guy who would be a highlight of Lucha Underground if he was on it. Lee’s status has risen in the States with his limited appearances in Ring of Honor and is also growing in Japan because of New Japan. Lee is going to deliver and be showcased strongly. Look forward to him reuniting his feud with Hiromu Takahashi as well as taking on last years winner Will Ospreay and the first time meeting with Ricochet. Lee could go on to win his block, maybe the whole thing.

Hiromu Takahashi-The Jr. Heavyweight Champion, member of the popular Los Ingobernables de Japon, and one of the most popular wrestlers in Japan today. Hiromu has returned to New Japan after a lengthy excursion which saw two years in CMLL in Mexico and several months in the states including Ring of Honor and PWG. Once back he was thrusted into the title picture and has not only risen to the occasion. Takahashi has yet to be pinned in a one on one encounter since his return so I expect him to lose the tournament overall but I expect him to still look like a star. Look forward to his rematch against Ricochet and his and Dragon Lees next attempt to kill each other. I also look forward to his first meeting (?) with Will Ospreay. The biggest match might be facing off against the legendary Jushin Thunder Liger who I will now talk about…

Jushin Thunder Liger-Perhaps the greatest Junior Heavyweight to ever wrestle and an all time legend. Liger has wrestled all over the world, faced off against so many legends. The three time winner of BOSJ, the man who not only put the tournament on his back but the junior division as well. Liger, at 52 years of age, has teased retirement and claims this is his last run in the tournament. He is many betters odds on to at least make the finals. Make no mistake, Liger can still go. He’s in the A block for a reason this year. I’m curious about his matches with the debuting Marty Scurll, Liger is an understated mat technician. Also taking on the champion himself, Takahahsi. Keep an eye on this man.

Marty Scurll-Making his New Japan debut is Ring of Honor TV champion, newest addition to the the popular Bullet Club, “the Villain” Marty Scurll. Marty will bring a style and personality to the tournament. Its a question of will his antics cross the cultural barrier when he performs in front of a Japanese audience, most of which will not be familiar with him. Marty will be one of the best mat wrestlers on the block for sure, and it will be interesting to see him match up with other mat technicians in Liger and Taka, two guys who use to be high fliers who’ve switched priorities with age. Also interesting to see him face off with his sometimes rival Will Ospreay. Admittedly, never seen the two go one on one. Very curious. Scurll will probably end up with at least 4 wins.

Ricochet-Former winner of the BOSJ three years prior, Ricochet’s back to be a two time winner. If you don’t know Ricochet then let me give you a crash course, one of the best working today. Prince Puma for Lucha Underground, multiple time champion in dozens of promotions, made a buzz last year with his match against Will Ospreay for the previous tournament-expect great things. Most people are waiting for Ricochet/Ospreay Round 2 (in NJPW, they’ve faced elsewhere) but me? I’m more curious about him and Dragon Lee or him versus Scurll. I don’t think Ricochet will win but who knows.

Tachi-Taichi is the worse. People in his hometown don’t know he’s form their hometown. A member of the heel faction Suzuki-Gun, expect shenanigans. including taking the bell hammer and using it as a weapon because he always does that. He has a fake popstar gimmick, comes out with a valet, rips his tear away tights, and has boring matches. Yet he will win at least 3 matches. he’s another block spoiler. If he goes to the finals, I’m going to break something. He won’t win, I can guarantee that.

Taka Michinoku-That Taka. Former WWE wrestler and mind behind Japanese indy promotion K-Dojo and New Japan freelancer. The veteran is one of the craftiest athletes even in his early 40s and brings a lot of personality to the ring. A member of the divisive Suzuki-Gun faction expect heel antics and possibly his buddies interfering on his behalf. Taka won’t win too many, he’s just there to be an asshole and a possible spoiler for some odds on favorites.

Will Ospreay-Last years winner, made his BOSJ debut and won it by defeating Ryusuke Taguchi in an excellent match. Ospreay, who is representing the stable CHAOS, is looking for a two-peat. If he achieves it he’d only be the second wrestler to have won back to back tournaments. It also put him on the short list of repeat winners (Liger, Tiger Mask IV, Finn Balor, Koji Kanemoto, the wrestler who can not be named) Ospreay is one of the best high fliers in the world, he’s got several major matches in front of him. I think its slim that he will win it, but if he beats Takahashi and Takahashi retains at Dominion, Ospreay would be the odds on to face him at King of Pro-Wrestling which is a major show down the line. Expect great things from this man in the tournament, but I wouldn’t put money on him winning the whole tournament.


BLOCK B

Less stacked and, from a narrative standpoint, possibly the more predictable block. Still, a number of talents and intriguing match ups.

ACH-ACH has worked hard to get to New Japan proper. He was able to head to Pro-Wrestling Noah when NJPW was associated with them, and won a tag tournament with Taiji Ishimori. The pair competed in New Japans Super Jr.s Tag Tournament. He returned briefly under a mask for an anime based exhibition match against Tiger Mask W. Now he’s in New Japan proper. One of the most charismatic athletes around, ACH is going to work his ass off. He’s been endorsed by KUSHIDA and their first encounter was buzzed about. I’m personally looking forward to him facing lucha libre star Volador Jr. as well as the silly hijinks of a match with Ryusuke Taguchi.

BUSHI-BUSHI is an oddity. He’s part of New Japans most popular stable (LIJ) and has his adoring fans yet he doesn’t quite rise to the occasion. Last year an odds on favorite he played spoiler and had several uninspired matches. I don’t know what to think. Great look, clean movements, and potential to be a superstar but seems stuck as mid level heel. I say this because I actually care, and generally like BUSHI. Looking at match ups, I dread seeing another match up with KUSHIDA again as he two have little chemistry. Expect *** matches top. I don’t think he’ll make it to the finals, unless they plan on him trying to spoil everyone’s chance at his stablemates title. Still, don’t expect a winner.

El Desperado-Suzuki-Gun member #4. Almost all Suzuki-Gun juniors are in except Zack Sabre Jr who wrestles against heavyweights thus far for the company. El Desperado has a great look, he’s pretty good in the ring, but he’s a pin eater. None of the Suzuki-Gun guys will rise above 4 wins. None! Still, a hell off with BUSHI, and matches against Volador Jr. and ACH will look good.

KUSHIDA-The former ACE of the junior division and one of the best wrestlers in the world. KUSHIDA is in a rut currently. he lost the title at Wrestle Kingdom against Hiromu Takahahsi, who then put him away in about 2 minutes in KUSHIDA’s rematch. B block might be the redemption arc. The problem is, too predictable. Still, since Takahashi/KUSHIDA III will not be needed to sell tickets for Dominion (the top 2 matches guarantee a sell out) I can see saving that for later. Maybe KUSHIDA/Ospreay III in the finals. Only way I see KUSHIDA advancing and Ospreay winning for a second time. Match ups to look forward too? Pretty much everything will be good to great with the exception of the BUSHI match.

Ryusuke Taguchi-Taguchi is divisive among non-native audiences. A veteran who has settled into a comedy based gimmick using his posterior as a weapon. here’s the thing, Taguchi is very good. I didn’t think much of him until last years tournament when he pulled out half a dozen great matches including the finals with Will Ospreay. Taguchi will dial the comedy down a bit (it’ll still be there) and dial up the seriousness. I look forward to his match with ACH, another round with KUSHIDA, and a first maybe Volador Jr. Maybe even pull out the best match with BUSHI as they’ve gone at it several times in the Taguchi Japan vs LIJ feud. Taguchi Japan is just Taguchi leading a team of non affiliated wrestlers against LIJ. I kind of want one of the track jackets…

Tiger Mask IV-For sake of history here is what you need to know. Tiger Mask was originally a manga/anime about wrestling that was adopted into the real world with the first wrestler. Tiger Mask and Dynamite Kid had a legendary feud. Tiger Mask II became more popular when he dropped the mask and went by his name, Mistuhara Misawa. The late Misawa is one of the all time greats. Tiger Mask III no one remembers and IV is… an okay wrestler. The only BOSJ winner to two-peat back to back. I expect ***1/2 being the ceiling. Nothing more, maybe a little less? he is the second oldest man in the match and nowhere near as good as Liger is. There is also a Tiger Mask W played by Japanese star and WWE Cruiserweight Classic stand out Kota Ibushi. Based on the current cartoon. Maybe W will be in G1 Climax?

Voaldor Jr.-CMLL superstar Volador Jr is one of the most popular luchadors with lucha libre fans. Does some crazy stuff, puts together some excellent matches. If I ever turn into CMLL I always look forward to him. Last year he was Block B runner up behind Will Ospreay. I don’t see him winning, but I can see him going to the finals. I wonder if New Japan would pull a Dragon Lee vs Voaldor Jr. finals. Never has two Mexican wrestlers headlined a NJPW show. I’ve made it clear I really look forward to his match with ACH and El Desperado.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru-At 40, Kanemaru is making his BOSJ debut. Started in All japan, went to Noah, left to the “new” All Japan, brought into Noah by New Japan and joined the invading Suzuki-Gun. Brought into New Japan. Guys been around. He’s okay. His matches will be fine. Another Suzuki-Gun guy who won’t win.

I have no idea who the winner can be but I’ll put money on Liger. Definitely someone in Block A.

Shows available at NJPW World. 999 yen which is around $9 a month and the sites in Japanese but Google chrome translates. Schedule and match line up at English site NJPW 1972.

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January Through March-Favorite Matches

Jan-March
1)Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega-NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match**
2)Tetsuya Naito vs Michael Elgin-NJPW New Beginnings in Osaka IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match **
3)Katsuyori Shibata vs Hirooki Goto-NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 NEVER Openweight Championship Match**
4)AJ Styles vs John Cena-WWE Royal Rumble WWE Championship Match**
5)Hiromu Takahashi vs Dragon Lee-NJPW New Beginnings in Osaka IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match**
6)Kohei Sato and Shuji Ishikawa vs Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi-BJW Tag Championship Match*
7)Elimination Chamber Match: John Cena vs AJ Styles vs Dean Ambrose vs Bray Wyatt vs Baron Corbin vs The Miz-WWE Elimination Chamber WWE Championship Match *
8)Tomohiro Ishii vs Kenny Omega-NJPW New Japan Cup Round 1 Night 2*
9)Katsuyori Shibata vs Tomohiro Ishii-NJPW New Japan Cup Semi-Finals*
10)Matt Riddle vs Michael Elgin-Glory Pro Crowning Achievement Progress Atlas Championship Match*
11)Katsuyori Shibata vs Will Ospreay-NJPW New Beginnings in Osaka RevPro British Heavyweight Championship Match
12)Adam Cole vs YOSHI-HASHI-ROH x NJPW Honor Rising Night 2 for ROH World Title
13)Katsuyori Shibata vs Matt Riddle-Revolution Pro UK High Stakes British Heavyweight Championship
14)Briscoes vs Adam Cole & Kenny Omega-ROH x NJPW Honor Rising Night 1 2-26-17
15)Daisuke Sekimoto vs Hideki Suzuki-BJW World Strong Heavyweight Title 3-5-17
16)Tsukasa Fujimoto vs Arisa Nakajima-Ice Ribbon 3-26-17 (womens match of the year)
17)Hirooki Goto vs Juice Robinson-NJPW New Beginnings in Sapporo NEVER Openweight Championship
18)Hiromu Takahashi vs Ryusuke Taguchi-NJPW IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match
19)Cavernario & Volador Jr. vs Ultimo Guerrero & Valiente-CMLL National Parejas Incredible Final
20)Trent? vs Rey Fenix-PWG Only Kings Understand Each Other 2-18-17
21)Meiko Satomura vs Syuri-Sendai Girls 3.11.17
22)GOD vs War Machine-ROH x NJPW Honor Rising Night 2
23)Braun Stroman vs Roman Reigns-WWE Fastlane
24)Tiger Mask W vs Kazuchika Okada-NJPW 45th Ann Show
25)DASH Chisako & Chihiro Hashimoto vs Chikayo Nagashima & Nyra Rose-Sendai Girls 3-12-17
26)Katsuyori Shibata & Jay Lethal vs Cody Rhodes & Hangman Page-ROH x NJPW Night 1
27)Hiroshi Tanahashi vs EVIL-NJPW New Japan Cup Round 1 Night 1
28)Tomohiro Ishii vs SANADA-NJPW New Japan Cup Second Round
29)Kyuri & Maika Ozaki vs Command Bolshoi & Leon-Ice Ribbon 3-26-17
30)EVIL vs Bad Luck Fale-NJPW New Japan Cup Semi Finals
31)Daisuke Sekimoto vs Hideki Suzuki-BJW World Strong Heavyweight Title 3-30-17
32)Cassandra Miyagi vs Hikaru Shida-Sendai Girls 1-9-17 Show
33)Meiko Satomura & Alex Lee vs Hiroyo Matsumoto & Syuri-Sendai Girls 3-12-17
34)Curt Stallion vs Shiihiro Irie-Glory Pro Crowning Achievement Title Match Qualifier
35)Becky Lynch vs Mickie James-WWE Elimination Chamber
36)Cassandra Miyagi, Big Bang Nicole & Nyra Rose vs Hikaru Shida, Alex Lee & Konami-Sendai Girls 3.11.17

NJPW Matches-13, 4 co-promotion
Sendai Girls-5
WWE-4
Ring of Honor-4 co-promotion
BJW-3
Glory Pro-2
Ice Ribbon-2
CMLL-1
PWG-1
RevPro-1

PWG had a show in March but DVD has not dropped yet so…

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Comics For April and For Beyond

DCBS
All New Wolverine #19-Calling this the best Marvel book would be a lie because I don’t buy much of any Marvel. That said, this is a good book. Lets keep her Wolverine, screw the other guy.

Archie #19, Betty & Veronica #3-Archie is a blast and Betty & Veronica is good, when it comes out. This issue’s like 5 months late by the time it comes out.

Batwoman #2-The Rebirth special was… Okay? All I know is there is the possibility of Renee Montoya being supporting character and I’m in for that action. Love Renee.

Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #7, Doom Patrol #7-Cave Carson slipped past the cuts because of a dynamite issue… I think 5? Whatever it was good. Doom Patrol is now on hiatus so that order is getting canceled.

Deathstroke #16 & 17, Green Arrow #20 & 21, Wonder Woman #20 & 21-I’ve said it countless times, these 3 books are my favorite DC superhero titles. GA has lately been #3 but HEY! its still great. Deathstroke is getting moved to monthly which is a bit disappointing.

Detective Comics #954 & 955-Introducing my fourth favorite DC superhero title. Not counting Young Animals books. The title has been consistently good though I was confused if the entire League of Shadows is in this book since none of the issues listed a part 2. Weird oversight. Anyway the big sotry arcs been cool.

Empowered Soldier of Love #3, Empowered TP Vol 10-My favorite ongoing superhero title wraps up its run in April. Then in June I got the main course, volume 10. WHOOO! Since I get my packages weeks later I actually also ordered this on Tales of Wonder which, probably still won’t get soon enough… Empowered is the fucking best. You can read it for free at EmpoweredComic. Its serializing the entire main series (IDK about the specials yet) and is just wrapping up volume 2. Volume 3 is when it starts really getting good and volume 4 is when it becomes the best.

Gotham Academy Second Semester #8-Might be dropping soon…

Jem & The Holograms #26, Jem: The Misfits #5-Not happening in April as issues 24 of the main series is dropping and #4 of Misfits have not yet dropped. They want to wait for Misfits to end before they end Holograms. Expect a relaunch after some specials. Anyway, Misfits rule, Holograms suck.

Mother Panic #6-Favorite Young Animals book, 4th favorite DC superhero title. Okay… technically she’s not a hero and neither is Deathstroke but you get the point. Check out the newest masked vigilante of Gotham City.

Motor Crush #5, Motor Girl #5-Both excellent books. Crush is beautiful, Motor Girl is real good fun.

Old Guard #3-Issue 1 was great. But I really want Lazarus and Black Magick back, also written by Greg Rucka. Seriously there is no way he isn’t my favorite writer of 2017 with three image titles and Wonder Woman. Black Magick should be back in June, Lazarus… This month? sweet. Oh, one issue then Sourcebook 2 and then hiatus. I’m sure itll be a short hiatus. I forgot to order the Sourcebook though…

Paper Girls #13-A book I have mixed feelings about. I like parts of it but I’m not that into the cast which is effecting my enjoyment.

Shade The Changing Girl #7-Had to make cuts and this Young Animals book did not make it. A unique series, just not for me.

Silver Surfer #12-I guess the last issue that came out was #9, I can’t remember what happened in it. There are times where I love this book and other times I’m not feeling it and I guess the last issue or two follow into the later.

Superman #20 & 21-Yeah, good title.

Vampirella #2-This one is running only a few issues and I’m pretty sure the artists attitude is going to make it hard for him to get some work. The first issue was good. Or did I read a 0 issue? Whichever.

Wild Storm #3-Good first issue.

X-Men Blue #1 & 2-Hopefully Marvel can get its shit together and MAKE THE X-MEN GREAT AGAIN. Not holding my breath…

Amazon
Sunstone Book 1-The Hardcover collection.

Posted in batman, comic books, dc comics, fantasy, female superheroes, green arrow, image comics, independent comics, marvel comics, scifi, superhero, superman | Tagged | Leave a comment

31 Days of Sci-Fi and Fantasy Final

March 27th-Amitage III: Poly-Matrix from 1997 (Director: Hiroyuki Ochi, Writer: Chiaki J. Konaka, Stars: Keifer Sutherland and Elizabeth Berkley, Runtime: 95 min)

Two cops on Mars are looking for the origins, and killers, behind Third Type androids. Scifi-cyberpunk anime. Looks good and music cool. The dub version is… lackluster. Never really realized this. Though Berkley tries hard with Naomi Armitage, whereas Sutherland is terrible. Like he didn’t want to be there. I don’t know if it was the direction or what. Story… Okay… its an interesting concept. Humans vs machines is not a new thing before this but the idea of the Third Types being androids that can have children is fascinating. It plays well into the reason as to them being killed. With feminism having discussions of inclusion and inter-sectionalism, the idea that their being killed due to the Earth Government being a Feminist Government and the Third Types challenging their definition of female-is pretty deep. The little I know about feminist history has shown there has always been a “get in the back” attitude to certain woman. First women of color, then later LGBT. That said, while the explanation is great, the pacing in the film is too quick and not exactly thrilling through out. But-I had seen this movie years ago and felt it fell apart in the end but now I see the ending being one of the strongest parts of what really is a, at most, an okay anime.

[Trailer]

March 28th-Redline from 2009 (Director: Takeshi Koike, Writers: Screenplay by Katsuhito Ishii, Yōji Enokido, and Yoshiki Sakurai with Story by Katsuhito Ishii, Runtime: 102 min)

The greatest race movie ever made. Pompadour sporting Sweet JP burns out on the Yellowline race as Sonoshee McLaren wins, advancing to the famed Redline race. However thanks to a few drop outs, due to the race being put on Roboworld, JP is voted in. Now its a big race on a planet where the government is actively trying to kill them. This movie looks great, is quick and entertaining, and ridiculous. Its awesome! Thats it. I also watched the dub, and the dub was great. Seriously. Its the copy I got, its the copy I watched and was thoroughly entertained by the whole lot. Love the flashback reason why JP races. I had heard the hype, I believe it now.

[Trailer]

March 29th-Patlabor: The Movie from 1989 (Director: Mamoru Oshii, Writer: Kazunori Itō, Runtime: 98 min)

A mecha/scifi anime where Tokyo is in a major redevelopment and certain Labors (robots) are going haywire. The police have to figure out whats going on. This movie, was kind of boring. Looked good. I lost interest pretty quickly. Not much to say.

[Trailer]

March 30th-Macross: Do You Remember Love? from 1984 (Directors: Shōji Kawamori and Noboru Ishiguro, Writers: Screenplay by Sukehiro Tomita with Story by Shōji Kawamori and Based on The Super Dimension Fortress Macross by Shōji Kawamori, Runtime: 115 min)

The film is about the soldiers of Macross, a super space fortress housing tens of thousands of people. They are finding themselves in conflict with a race known as the Zentradi. Anyway, the movie is basically the core story of the first 36 episodes of the original Macross series. I never saw that, but saw Robotech’s first season which is an Americanization of said series. The film has several more plotpoints regarding human music to the aliens, the Zentradi’s lack of understanding of culture and men and women coexisting as their women are battling them (the lady aliens are named Meltrandi). Then there is the sort of love triangle going on between pilot Hikaru, popstar Minmay, and Misa*. The movie is pretty good. It pretty much knocks out all the main points of the anime. There is a slight misogynistic streak in it but, you know, the times. I did find the aliens fascinating, wishing there was more to them but the movie was more a summary then the full thing. It was good. Might not ever watch t again, but kind of curious about watching the original anime Macross now.

*The Robotech show changed Misa to Lisa, claiming she’s white. Hikaru also became white, Rick Hunter. Minmay stayed the same, mixed race Japanese/Chinese. In fact, Robotech pretty much erased most Asians which is weird because the original anime was in retrospet more diverse with several American characters including a black woman (who dated a white guy in the show) and Minmay being mixed which for some native Japanese is a sore spot.

[Trailer]

March 31st-Ghost in the Shell from 1995 (Director: Mamoru Oshii, Writer: Kazunori Itō Based on Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow, Runtime: 82 min)

The classic anime based on the classic cyberpunk. Major Kusanagi and Section 9 are on the case of the Puppet Master, a famous hacker. Yeah… Lots of talk about identity in a world where cyborgs exist. Um… Rewatching this for the first time in years (I had to rip the case apart to get to the damn DVD. So I haven’t watched my DVD copy ever) and I remember that its kind of whatever. Great looking, haunting music, and a story that I don’t engage all that well with. I much rather prefer the Stand Alone Complex series. That was great. Anyway, there’s a live action movie out which you may not have known. Anyway, okay film. Visually stunning and more complex than most scifi movies but… empty. Still feel like its more aesthetic than anything else.

[Trailer]

1. Logan
2. Planet of the Apes (1968)
3. Redline (2009 anime)
4. Kong: Skull Island
5. Pete’s Dragon (2016)
6. Power Rangers (2017)
7. Flash Gordon
8. Radioactive Dreams
9. Dragonslayer
10. Time After Time (1979)
11. Macross: Do You Remember Love?
12. Forbidden Planet
13. Rock and Rule
14. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
15. Armitage III: Poly-Matrix
16. La Planète Sauvage (Fantastic Planet)
17. Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure
18. I Married a Monster from Outer Space
19. Stardust
20. Fantastic Voyage
21. Patlabor: the Movie (1989)
22. Weird Science
23. I Come In Peace (aka Dark Angel)
24. Arcade
25. Deathstalker
26. Golden Voyage of Sinbad
27. Omega Man
28. The Sword and the Sorcerer
29. Sorceress
30. Wavelength
31. Nemesis

Week 1 , Week 2 , Week 3 , Week 4ish

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