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Isaac Sher
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Isaac's #Nerdy9th  Wrestling Primer, Part the Eighth:  Reality Creeps In.

Sorry for the delay since the last installment; it's been a hell of a week, but let's get right down to it.

As things stand right now, WWE is still unquestioned master of the pro wrestling world, and Wrestlemania is still the industry's "super bowl".  Over the last decade, John Cena rose through the ranks, slowly shedding his "white boy rapper" gimmick, and becoming the company's uber-dominant All-American Face -- a Hulk Hogan for the 21st century, if you will.  However, he's starting to slow down, and the WWE is clearly thinking hard about who is going to eventually replace him.  

Right now, the top two contenders are Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns.  It would've been top three, with CM Punk in the mix, but about a year ago, he apparently just got fed up with how he was being treated and quit very abruptly.  Fans would like nothing more than to see Punk return, and you still get "CM PUNK" chants from the arena crowds on a regular basis, but Punk's made it clear that at best, he needs a break from Pro Wrestling, and never wants to work for WWE again.  That being said, there have been more explosive real-life disputes between famous wrestlers and their companies that have eventually settled down, like with Bret Hart, so I wouldn't be shocked of Punk eventually made his way back.  Wrestling has a way of getting into people's blood, and even the most jaded fans and performers eventually turn up again.  

Of the two top guys left, Daniel Bryan is the clear choice of the fanbase.  He's brilliant in the ring, a seasoned veteran, seems more accessible and easier to identify with on account of being smaller than most wrestlers, and has nurtured a fantastic gimmick revolving around the "YES! Movement", where he's presented as the ultimate underdog, the little wrestler that could.

Unfortunately, Vince McMahon has a long-standing and well documented bias against smaller wrestlers, convinced that "big men" are the way to true mainstream fame.  Thus it became clear over the last year that Roman Reigns would be the company's first choice to become the new big hero.  Reigns is a staggeringly impressive physical specimen; he's tall, with long and muscular arms and legs, he's incredibly handsome, making the most of his rugged Samoan features, making him look like a cross between The Rock (who is his cousin) and Jason Momoa.  And he's great in the ring, but a little rough on the microphone.   The fans have made it clear that while they do like Reigns, they like Bryan more, and resent Reigns getting shoved down their throats, so where the WWE goes with this in the future is anyone's guess.

In the meantime, many hardcore wrestling fans are actually more interested in what's going on in the WWE's "farm league", the mini-fed known as NXT, based out of Full Sail University in Flordia.  The brainchild of Triple H, an Attitude-Era wrestler who ended up marrying McMahon's daughter and becoming one of the top men in the company boardroom (and still occasionally gets into the ring), NXT puts a greater emphasis on in-ring action over complex storylines (especially for women wrestlers), emphasizing wrestler's past work with other companies rather than pretending they've never been anything but under WWE contract, and being willing to experiment and take risks. 

This period in wrestling is referred to mostly as "The Reality Era", and is generally considered an upswing in quality overall.  The name comes from the fact that the WWE has gotten in on the Reality TV craze, not only in how some of its backstage segments are handled, but even having an actual reality show of their own, "Total Divas" -- and it's rumored that they'll be bringing back the "Tough Enough" competition show as well, that follows wanna-be wrestlers competing for a WWE contract.  The name also comes from the fact that the line between kayfabe and reality is exceptionally blurred these days, making the job of writing storylines for wrestling much more difficult than it's ever been, especially with the need to be able to change course on the fly if storylines don't go over as well as expected -- like the current Roman Reigns push.

There are other feds around, of course.  TNA is still limping around, although most of their best talent has jumped ship.  Ring of Honor is still out there, among a multitude of other small feds, and new ones are popping up all the time -- like Lucha Underground, produced by famed film director Robert Rodriguez, which meshes Hollywood-level production values with Mexican-style Lucha Libre wrestling, important many Lucha veterans and attracting a surprising number of former WWE wrestlers, like John Morrison, Alberto Del Rio, and even Matt Striker as their primary play-by-play announcer.  

Overall, the future of Professional Wrestling looks very bright.  It's anyone's guess as to where the Next Big Thing will come from -- if someone already working in the ring will suddenly capture the world's attention, or if some newcomer or new idea will rear its head.  
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I've been meaning to, but I never get around to it.  Got any specific suggestions as to shows or matches to look for?
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Azrael's back!  WOOOO!
Don't call it a comeback. I've been here for years. No, literally, I've been in Japan for 13 years now. 13! How did THAT happen? Seems like just yesterday I was a doe-eyed English teacher, running ...
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Isaac Sher's profile photoJ Merry's profile photo
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Which is fair. But bits like that make him very Not For Me...shrugs
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I am now caught up on THE EXPANSE.  And now I have to wait for the next episode like everyone else.  AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH.
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And the thing, at the end, with the people! Arg!
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So, I just watched the pilot for LUCIFER.  And I'm torn on it.

I like the actor who plays Lucifer, but he doesn't quite have enough of the unearthly charisma that the role really needs.  Granted, you'd need someone close to David Bowie's caliber to REALLY sell the role, and obviously such actors are pretty thin on the ground, so he's not bad, just not amazing.

The writing is sloppy, though.  The mystery seemed a little slapdash, and the gimmick of Lucifer being able to get people to tell him anything was used inconsistently, especially with regards to certain key suspects being questioned.  I may give it another couple of episodes, but it needs to step up its game.
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Raymond “OldGamerz” Terry's profile photoTheron Bretz's profile photo
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I saw it with my lovely wife and came to the conclusion that I am not the target audience. She will continue to watch it, I'll stick with "The Magicians."
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I can't take advantage of this... because I already have nearly everything in this bundle.  But seriously, if you are looking for amazing video games for your PC, I cannot stress enough:  GET THESE RIGHT NOW.
Get games like Civilization and XCOM while supporting Action Against Hunger!
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Less than a week before X-Com 2 is released.
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I understand that it's a time-honored tradition to rip other stories off pay homage to successful stories with similar ideas.  I get that this has happened for millenia, and will continue to happen until humanity goes extinct.

But for goodness sakes, could the anime industry at least wait a LITTLE while before hammering on the same tropes so blatantly and similarly, over and over again?

I watched the first episode of "Saijaku Muahi no Bahamut" today, and I feel like I've watched this exact same first episode half a dozen times in the last year alone.  You start with hapless generic hero dude, who on his way to a perfectly innocent errand, somehow blunders into the presence of a naked girl his age, who immediately freaks out, declares him to be a Pervert among Perverts, kicks his ass... and then turns out to be his classmate at the new school he's starting.  Then she challenges him to a duel, and because she's Mighty Tsundere Girl (and a literal princess), she normally kicks the ass of anyone who looks at her funny, but LO AND BEHOLD, Hapless Protagonist Dude just so happens to be SPECIAL, and despite the fact that everyone looks down on him and is convinced he ain't shit, he's actually some sort of God Prodigy Superstar, whose unorthodox methods totally catch his opponents off-guard.  

Oh, and he's got a stupid nickname that's a backhanded insult, which of course he'll have to overcome.  

So he beats the Princess in a duel, and she starts to warm up to the idea that she might actually want to get in his pants, because, you know, TSUNDERE, but then also because TSUNDERE, she immediately gets super self-conscious about the fact that she allowed herself to feel lust for a stupid boy, whereupon she feels obliged to clobber him while he's recovering from his wounds, and instead of labeling this young woman as "Don't Stick Your Dick In That", she only succeeds in getting him even more interested in her than he already was, because he's some sort of secret masochist.  

Oh, and he's surrounded by hot girls, because warriors of this type being taught at this school are always female for completely arbitrary reasons that don't hold up to critical analysis beyond "we wanted to draw more tits", and all the girls in this school will clearly be throwing themselves at him on account of being Different and being The Only Guy For Twenty Miles And I Have Needs.

To add to the Stupid Factor, the special combat method of this school?  Dragon-themed power armor suits... yes, sounds good so far, but bear with me... that DON'T ARMOR THE TORSO.  SO yeah, you've got these big beefy armored limbs, but the pilot is completely exposed and can be taken out by someone with a pistol and halfway decent aim.  WHAT THE HELL, YO.

#AYearOfAnime  
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I think this one is from a LN, they are the modern equivalent of the Penny Dreadful.

Just relax and watch something intellectual, like Osomatsu-SAN. Although Oshiete Galko-chan will do if you need a fix of girls being girls because girls.
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The ad copy for the XCOM 2 DLC said that you would get an extra NPC in your base... anyone spotted this yet?  I haven't.
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Isaac Sher's profile photoRyan Good's profile photo
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Yup thats the one I saw... I didnt realize there was anything that we got now. Hmm now... do I get it or not. My wallet hates me. 
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For some reason, I am unreasonably proud of myself for having found the "YoooooOOOOO!!! *DONK*" sound effect so common in Kabuki.
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Sounds justifiable to me!
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XCOM 2 is coming out this Friday.  If you would like one of my alien-hunting squad members to be named after you, let me know in this thread or by PM.  It's time to take the fight to the alien overlords!
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Incidentally, you can download "Jürgen Hubert" as an XCOM 2 character here:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bxgz8bn-uAEeakJjRWxOWVZ5a0E
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Damnit, I want to stay up and keep watching more episodes of THE EXPANSE.  But I have to work tomorrow.  ARGH.
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I like that show.
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I've been using a CPAP for about eight years, to help with my sleep apnea, and it's been doing a solid job of doing that.  However, the main unit was getting old and starting to lose some secondary functions, so my insurance decided to authorize a replacement.

This new unit is Super Fancy, and has far more intricate controls.  It's also a superior design in just about every way (Gretchen loves that it's much quieter).  But what really amuses me about it is that it has its own app, which is now installed on my smartphone.  And this morning, said app informed me a few moments ago that I had unlocked an Achievement called FIRST NIGHT, congratulating me for completing my first night with this machine.

They've gamified my CPAP.  Wow.  I mean, I used the thing religiously anyway, but it amuses me that some people might need the additional impetus to use the machine correctly.
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Island Vixen's profile photoMatt Widmann's profile photoAaron McLin's profile photoIsaac Sher's profile photo
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Mine's not a throat issue, it's entirely weight-based.  The sleep doctor I see says that once I drop most of this excess weight, that the apnea would go away.
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DRAARC ON TWITTER!  DRAARC ON TWITTER!  Happy sexytimes and snuggle-loves for all!
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"I GET NEW SPELL! IS BIRD!"

i love draarc forever
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