Saturday, January 21, 2017

LIVE Round-By-Round Coverage of Bellator 170: Sonnen vs. Ortiz!

The other MMA promotion kicks off 2017 with a show that's part new school, part old school and - as to be expected from Bellator - WTF all over.

By: Jimbo X

Say what you will about Bellator playing the TNA to the UFC's WWE, but in my humblest o' opinions, I actually think that the Bellator 170 line-up is BETTER than the one for UFC 208. You mean to tell me you'd rather watch a bunch of broads not named Ronda Rousey spend 25 minutes trying to tag each other and constantly missing instead of watching CHAEL MOTHERFUCKING SONNEN come out of retirement to pound on porn star-fucker Tito Ortiz's Easter Island-sized skull like a bongo for nearly half an hour? Watching what's left of Anderson Silva's career wither on the vine is more enticing to you than watching some random Gracie who hasn't fought since 2010 come out of the woodworks to fight a French-a-nese kickboxer in PRIME TIME? Watching Ronaldo Souza and Glover Teixeira wailing on glorified tomato cans has more appeal in your eyes than watching Paul Daley and Brennan Ward whack each other in the head for 15 minutes straight, or witnessing Emmanuel Sanchez and some Armenian motherfucker risk lifelong CTE complications for a $500 purse? If you think paying money to watch Derrick Lewis fight anybody is better than watching Derek Campos and Derek Anderson duke it out on Spike TV at no charge, I reckon you need to set yourself an appointment with a CAT scan, pronto.

Sure, Bellator 170 may not have as much weight on it as UFC 208, nor do the fights themselves have that much relevancy in the grand scheme of things, but who cares? The Bellator card is engineered to provide us nonstop action from start to finish, while the UFC card is glutted with mismatches and bouts almost 100 percent guaranteed to result in lay-in-pray snooze fests. We may not be getting the most pertinent matches with Bjorn Rebney and company, but at least we know we're getting something that ain't going to put us in a coma 90 minutes in. And hey, did I mention this shit IS FREE ON CABLE, too? Really, there's no excuse to skip out on this one - I say order you a pineapple pizza, kick back in your favorite futon, flip it on over to Spike and enjoy the simple pleasures of washed-up fighters trying to recapture their former glory (and a big enough payday to keep their lights on in February) before a LIVE national audience

The fun and games begins at 9 p.m. eastern on Saturday, January 21. Be sure to bookmark this page and hit refresh early and often, 'cause we're going to be bringing you (sorta) LIVE updates after every round. And without further adieu, who's ready to get knee deep into Bellator 170: Sonnen vs. Ortiz? That's right ... every last damn one of us.

OK, know how earlier I said this was going to be LIVE? Well, I will probably pause the live feed to go to the gym for an hour, so never mind. But I WILL cover all these fights before midnight. I promise 'ya.

Our announcers tonight are ... I have no fuckin' clue, to be honest. Anyhoo, on to the fisticuffs!

Lightweight Bout
Derek Anderson (14-2-0-0) vs. Derek Campos (17-6-0-0)

All in all, the curtain jerker might just be the best fight of the night on paper. Anderson's been fighting professionally since 2011, and he's currently riding a two-fight win streak, with decision victories over Saad Awad and Patricky Pitbull. Campos has been a pro since 2009 and has been a Bellator stalwart since 2012 - he, too, is on a two-fight tear, having chalked up successive victories over Djamil Chan and Melvin Guillard. You can't really call either of these guys elites at the moment, and it'll probably be awhile before either man is in line for a crack at the 155 pound bout. Still, considering their backgrounds, this should be a pretty competitive matchup regardless, and the odds of someone having their skull split open like a cantaloupe does seems pretty high.

Campos comes out to the theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly while Anderson comes out to the American flag and fire and shit. Campos in blue, Anderson in red. Solid jab from Campos to being. Nice overhand from Anderson. Good jabbing from Anderson. This is a catchweight bout, by the way. This is confusing as fuck - the dude in red shorts has blue gloves and the guy in blue shorts has red gloves. WHAT IS GOING ON. Campos staggers Anderson with another overhand. Leg kick from Anderson. Anderson's mouth guard goes flying. time out so Anderson can put that germy shit back in his mouth. Anderson whiffs on a huge hay maker. High kick from Campos. Knee from Anderson. Leg kick from Anderson. Anderson tags him a few times. Another big shot from Campos. Another big overhand from Campos. Campos with the world's shittiest spinning kick as the first round concludes. Pretty hard one to call, but I would give the SLIGHT tilt to Anderson.

Round Two. Campos swinging for the fences early. Anderson with a solid kick to the midsection. Campos with a solid punch to the, uh, clavicle? Campos with another shit kick. Campos drops him with an uppercut and he briefly has Anderson's back. Campos smothering his foe up against the cage. Campos with a Superman punch, but Anderson manages to block most of it. Definitely Campo's round. 

Round Three. Campos smothering Anderson up against the cage, looking for a takedown. He doesn't get it, so he just keeps whaling on him instead. Campos bleeding on the side of the head a little. Campos with a running takedown and Anderson catches him with a guillotine choke for like, half a second. Both men back up again. OK, Campos is the guy with BLUE gloves. So just invert everything I've said up to this point. Anderson with a kick to the head. And he's working a guillotine now. Campos out. Ninety seconds left. Hey, Big John McCarthy is the ref. Campos in side control now. He's punching the shit out of Anderson's liver. About 40 seconds left. Campos looking for another choke. Anderson punching him on the ground. He bullies Campos up against the cage. The two trade insignificant blows as the bell sounds. Eh, I'd give it to Campos.

And Campos is declared the official victor. 

Oh hell, Bellator gloves are on sale on the Internet RIGHT NOW!

Tito Ortiz rolls into the building in a white Rolls Royce. Chael Sonnen showed up earlier. Ortiz brings his kid and his whore with him. All right. Walking a puppy. Be back in a sec.

Also - Ortiz helped a guy move his stalled car out of an intersection. FUCKIN' HERO.

Featherweight Bout
Emmanuel Sanchez (13-3-0-0) vs. Georgi Karakhanyan (26-6-1-0)

Since joining Bellator in 2014, Sanchez has amassed a 5-2 record, with wins over Justin Lawrence, Daniel Pineda and Stephen Banaszak. Georgi, on the other hand, is a journeyman fighter from Armenia who's been brawlin' for them dollar, dollar bills, ya'll since 2006. A Bellator staple since 2015, he's on a two fight winning streak at the moment, last seen beating Kirill Medvedovsky by shoulder injury at an event in Israel last November. While neither of these guys will probably ever be Featherweight Champion material, they at least have a steady track record of putting on entertaining, face-rocking fights - which, while bad for their medulla oblongatas, bodes really well for the TV audience.

Georgi is the bald one. The one that isn't is Sanchez. Georgi kicking that motherfucker like crazy. High kick from Sanchez. Kick to the midsection from Sanchez. Georgi bullies him into the cage. Georgi with the takedown. He has Sanchez's back. Now Georgi is just hugging him. Now he's kneeing him in the back. Georgi still trying to get the takedown. Now Sanchez has Georgi's back and is looking for a choke. I mean he is LITERALLY piggy-backing that fucker. Alas, Georgia survives. I'm giving it to the G-Man.

Round two. Georgi tries to get his back and we have a slug fest ensuing. Sanchez gets the takedown, and now he's pummeling da fuq out of Georgi. Sanchez hitting him with everything he's got. Sanchez has him flattened out on his back. Georgi not even trying at this point. The ref orders a stand-up. But he tells Georgi he has to go back to being flat on his ass on the canvas instead. Well alright then. Hammerfists from Sanchez. Jerry Rice - having put down his chicken helmet long enough to access the Internet -  is tweeting about Bellator. Sanchez sent to the corner for kneeing a "downed opponent." Well, that's going to fuck up the scorecards. Now Georgi is acting like he's half dead to get the free time off. Now a doctor is looking at hi and he says "OK, you're good to keep getting your ass kicked again." Georgi with a takedown but WHOOPS! Sanchez gets his back on the rebound. About 20 seconds left. Sanchez just cradling him as the round expires. I don't even know how the fuck to score that.

Round three. Georgi with the takedown early. Georgi trying to get Sanchez's back. He has it. Sanchez trying to fight out. Both dudes look gassed as fuck. Two minutes left. Not a whole lot happening here. Georgi with some punches while hugging Sanchez. OK, Georgi ALMOST has the choke. And he loses it. Minute left. Now the two are flail fighting on the canvas. Georgi holds on to Sanchez's waist and wacks him in the back of the head as it wraps up. This thing will almost certainly be a draw because of the shenanigans in round two.

So naturally, Sanchez wins it by majority draw.

Laila Ali in the crowd. So is Dan Henderson and some blonde ho. Scott Coker is hanging out with Demi Lovato, of all people. Now Matt Mitrione is talking about fighting Fedor. "He's just a guy I'm going to punch in the face for money," he says.

OK, the hosts are named Sean Grande (for real) and Jimmy Smith. Time for 20 minutes of filler, ya'll!

Middleweight Bout
Hisaki Kato (6-2-0-0) vs. Ralek Gracie (3-0-0-0)

Of course, what Bellator event would be complete without at least ONE freakshow attraction? This time around we've got a good 'un, as French/Japanese kickboxer Hisaki Kato - prolly best known for landing the Superman punches of all Superman punches against Joe Schilling a few years back - goes toe-to-toe with RALEK FUCKIN' GRACIE, who hasn't fought since 2010. So let's see - we've got an undersized karate man going up against a lumbering BJJ specialist who hasn't stepped into the cage for more than seven years ... honestly, what could POSSIBLY go wrong here?

Gracie comes out to that one song from The Last of the Mohicans because all Gracies must come out to that song or else. They call Kato "The Japanese Musketeer," which is easily the lamest nickname for anything ever.

Kick to the midsection from Gracie. Kato chases him down but doesn't land anything. Another shitty midsection kick from Gracie. Gracie falls down on a kick and Kato hits him with his pillow hands a few times. Gracie keeps lifting his leg up like a dog trying to piss as a feint. Gracie is like a really, really shitty version of Cung Le - way past his prime Cung Le. Lotsa' circling goin' on now. The crowd is starting to boo the inaction. Two minutes left. Kato looks like he's afraid to punch anything or it will give him AIDS. OK, Kato finally lands some punches. Gracie falls down after kicking Kato. KATO LANDS THE SUPERMAN PUNCH. He has 20 seconds to put Gracie away. He's back up with ten seconds to go. Gracie does the tard stomp one more time before the bell sounds.

Round two. Leg kick from Kato. Crowd booing again already. Another hard leg kick from Kato. Ain't shit happening now. Kato with a kick to to the midsection. The ref temporarily stops them. The (in)action resumes. Kato with some heavy shots up against the cage. Kato rushes him, gets a few good shots in and retreats. Two minutes left. More circling. Kato kicks the shit out of Gracie's leg. Gracie with a kick to the knee. Tard stomp from Gracie. Kato acts like he's going to punch him but he doesn't. Kato gets a high kick in and that's it for the second. Definitely a 10-9 for Kato.

Round three. King Mo, Wanderlei Silva and Fabricio Werdum are in the house. Kato with leg kicks. Fans booing the fuck outta' this one. Gracie with a knee to the head. Then a knee to the stomach. Gracie pushes Kato up against the cage. He is looking for a takedown. Kato with two solid kicks, then Gracie - amazingly - gets the takedown. He is in the full mount. Two minutes to go. Gracie still trying to find something. Minute left. Gracie in side control. He goes back to the full guard. Gracie looking for a choke, but there's not enough time on the clock to secure it. I'll give this round to Ralek, but Kato certainly won rounds one and two.

Shit, listening to the fans LITERALLY chant "fight, fight, fight" because the two men in the cage weren't is all sorts of hilarious. It's not quite as bad as last year's unforgettable Kimbo/Dada disaster, but it's definitely the early front runner for worst fight of 2017.

Kato wins it by unanimous decision. The main event for the March 31 show is King Mo versus ... wait for it ... RAMPAGE JACKSON. Oh shit, 2009 is going to be the best year in MMA history!

By the way, this is the last fight of Ortiz's career. Ortiz said he sacrificed his life for 14 weeks to give the fans the Tito they deserve.

Welterweight Bout
Paul Daley (38-14-2-0) vs. Brennan Ward (15-4-0-0)

Whoever wins this one can rightly claim a spot on the global top 10 Welterweight rankings - well, top 20, certainly. Sure, sure, we all know Paul Daley most because of that one time he sucker punched Josh Koscheck after the bell, but let's not overlook his career since - 15 wins and just 5 losses in no less than ten different companies. Conversely, Brennan Ward is a homegrown product who won their crappy The Ultimate Fighter knockoff a couple years back, who has collected a 10-4 record in Bellator since 2012. Considering the organization's slim pickings at 170, methinks the winner of this one is next in line for a title shot - and if you can actually NAME Bellator's Welterweight title holder as of the current, consider yourself A TRUE MMA nerd.

One announcer said this could be the most anticipated co-main event in Bellator history, although he carefully added "it won't be pretty" immediately after. Ward comes out to bagpipe music which turns into some sort of shitty techno-rap-rock song. An aside, but what the fuck does "Semtex" mean, anyway? Ward is actually from Connecticut, which isn't in the U.K., in case you didn't know.

The ref has Willie Nelson ponytails in his beard. Big leg kick from Daley. Ward tosses Daley on his ass. Both guys looking for the knockout shot early. Takedown for Ward. Both men back up. Big overhand from Daley. Punch to the midsection by Daley. Ward with another takedown. Ward trying to get Daley's back. Daley lands a spinning back hand and THEN HE FUCKING KILLS HIM DEAD WITH A STRAIGHT KNEE SHOT TO THE SCHNOZ.

The knockout came at 2:27 of round number one. He says he's going to knock the fuck out of Rory MacDonald, and that made me LOL.

Nate Diaz is in the crowd. Ortiz is in the back wearing a flaming wool knit cap that says "Punishment." Meanwhile, Sonnen is in the back, with water all over his face for some reason.

Jon Lovitz is in the house! Good, because this show stinks.

Light Heavyweight Bout
Chael Sonnen (28-14-1-0) vs. Tito Ortiz (18-12-1-0)

At the ripe old age of 41, Tito Ortiz is still fighting ... just not very well, as indicated by his 3-7 record since 2008. Still, he is 2-1 in Bellator, with wins over Stephan Bonnar and Alexander Shlemenko, so that probably counts for something. Meanwhile, this is 39-year-old Sonnen's first fight since retiring at UFC 167 all the way back in 2013, so yeah, there ought to be a whole lot of cage rust to shake off there. A FOTY contender this thing prolly won't be, but c'mon - you mean to tell me you don't want to watch two of the greatest shit-talkers in MMA history go at it? Hell, the post-fight interview possibilities alone more than justify this bout's existence.

"Too Much Fun" for Chael Sonnen, as he comes out to a collection of some of his old school shit-talking highlights (with all the references to UFC fighters edited out, naturally.) Tito comes out wearing his flaming pants and carrying the half U.S./half Mexican flag. He's accompanied by a bunch of U.S. Marines. Pretty sure his walkout track is "Mosh" by Eminem, but I could be wrong. But probably not. And here come Chris Daughtry to do the National Anthem.

Huge pop for Tito. Milder pop for Sonnen. Both men slugging it out early. Tito with a takedown. Sonnen looking for a choke. It is deep. Looks like a D'arce. Tito fighting it. Chael transitions to a guillotine. Ortiz hanging in there. Tito pops his head out. Ortiz on top now and landing some solid elbow shots. Now Ortiz is looking for a choke. Tito has a rear naked choke in. SONNEN TAPS.

Ortiz does the grave digger taunt one last time. The official time was 2:03 of the very first round. "Ortiz rules!" Tito screams before his son lays his gloves down in the middle of the cage.

"He has not only raised three children," one of the announcers says, "he has also helped raise this sport." Oh, and the dude walks out of the cage wearing a Make America Great Again shirt, because fuck, why wouldn't he? He chugs a bottle of water in front of a jumbo video screen that reads "THANK YOU," and this show is all over, folks.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The First Episode of 20/20 from 1978!

It's a broadcast ABC execs thought was so terrible they fired damn near everybody associated with the program after its first airing. But is the legendary episode as bad as it's reputed and more importantly - is it really any worse than the stuff network news is puttin' out there nowadays?

By: Jimbo X

June 6, 1978. A date that will live in national broadcast infamy.

It was a Tuesday evening, and that night, ABC premiered it's "cutting edge" newsmagazine program 20/20 (also stylized as Twenty/Twenty because it was the late 1970s and marketers didn't really give a shit about brand continuity until at least 1995.) Today, it's remembered as one of the biggest flops in the history of mainstream TV journalism, and trust me - that's saying a whole hell of a lot. In fact, the suits at ABC hated the final product so much they shit-canned damn near everybody associated with its production, including its anchors. For decades, that one-and-done tape was purportedly locked up in the ABC vaults, with a giant sticker on it reading "do not air for any reason ever." Indeed, had it not been for some early VCR adapters, the infamous broadcast probably would remain "lost media" to this day. Fortunately for us, not only did someone have the good sense to record it way back when, it's even found its way on the YouTube in its entirety - complete with all of the original commercials!

So, what was it about this particular program that the ABC higher-ups thought was so god-awful? Well, howzabout we fire this sumbitch up and find it for ourselves, why don't we?

Our cast of roving reporters include Dave Marash, Sander Vanocur, Sylvia Chase, Carl Sagan (yep, that Carl Sagan), Tom Hoving and - hold onto your britches, folks - GERALDO MOTHERFUCKING RIVERA, back when he had a mullet haircut and a mustache that made him look just like famous Mexican rasslin martyr Eddie Guerrero. Our co-hosts are Harold Hayes and Robert Hughes. Hughes, an Aussie, talks about his credentials and Hayes asks him if he snuck into the country illegally. North Carolina native Hayes rolls out his resume and briefly discusses how much he cares about conservation. 

We get a quick preview of the night's stories:

  • Geraldo exposes the seedy secrets of the greyhound racing business - even if it means going undercover wearing the gaudiest red flannel jacket ever cobbled together by starving orphans in a Malaysian sweatbox somewhere.
  • We have a heart to heart with a teary Flip Wilson, who laments all the times he whooped the shit out of his kids (bonus: all of his kids are sitting on a couch beside him, crying their little eyes out, too.)
  • An exclusive interview with California gubner Jerry Brown VIA SATELLITE, back when that kind of thing was new, exciting and just a little erotic.
  • An in-depth feature on the possibility that ordinary Americans could make nuclear bombs in their backyards. 
  • And last - but certainly not least - a retrospective on the tenth anniversary of RFK's assassination.

Well, that sounds like an awfully respectable line up of material, so clearly, the fault isn't in the content, but the execution. And we get a preview of that historically bad execution with a segment called "The Wayward Week," in which Hughes and Hayes quickly rundown the following international happenings: 

  • A tanker in the British Channel gets blown to smithereens to prevent an oil spill
  • Jimmy Carter blasts the USSR and Cuba at a NATO meeting for monkeying around in Africa
  • The Cuban ballet performs at the Kennedy Center for the first time since Castro came to power
  • Our "tops" of the weeks? The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack is the best-selling record, the top rated TV show is a USO Tribute to Bob Hope, the top novel is Sidney Sheldon's Bloodline and out jock of the week is San Fran Giants slugger Mike Ivey, who bopped a grand slam to beat the Dodgers
  • They found an $11 million diamond in Africa, if that means anything to you
  • Feminists want to replace Lady Liberty on the $1 coin with Susan B. Anthony (sheesh, next thing you know, they'll be wanting the right to vote)
  • Inflation is causing beef prices to skyrocket. "Imagine," Hughes quips will pretending to yank a video cassette out VCR unit, "living to become a hamburger."

Geraldo Rivera, seen here back when he was Perro Aguayo's tag team partner.

Now in today's everybody's got ADD world, quick-hit material of the like is pretty much standard operating procedure for news programs, but back in '78, it was considered retarded as shit. Imagine that: the media powers that were criticizing a broadcast for reducing deep, nuanced global matters into pithy and semi-cynical sound bites ... only to embrace them as the only way to do business 40 years down the line. 

Hey, speaking of things that make you want to pluck your own eyeballs out, we've got a piece by Geraldo Rivera up next, and why yes, he looks just like that evil magician motherfucker from Frosty the Snowman made flesh. You don't need to be a vegetarian to understand the "cruelty" of using live bait for greyhound racing, he says. He lets us know that in 1977, the dog racing business generated a good $2 billion, which in 2017 dollars, is roughly $45 quibillionquizillion. The following segment is "graphic," Geraldo says, so parents my want to ask their kids to leave the room. Immediately afterwards, Hughes gleefully declares "let's watch it!" with the kind of juvenile enthusiasm usually reserved for 12-year-olds getting to see their first uncut Friday the 13th movie.

And we waste no time at all getting into Cannibal Holocaust territory, as we see a real rabbit getting its guts torn asunder by a greyhound. "Jackrabbits are good for nothing," one breeder says. "I don't think there's anything wrong with it, in any shape or form." Another breeder asks why the media gets so upset about "coursing" but don't none of 'em give a shit about all them people getting killed in drag races. In Kansas, we learn the National Greyhound Association hosts an annual "coursing week" - per most trainers, a dog needs at least three or four kills before they understand they need to chase the mechanical rabbit at the racetrack.

Meanwhile, there's this other breeder in Modesto, Calif. who think killing live bait is wrong with a capital "W" so he decided to build his own dirt track in his backyard where he hangs an old animal hide on this mechanical contraption that revolves 'round and 'round. The attraction draws more sensitive greyhound breeders from all over the country, Senor Geraldo tells us. 

A Humane Society rep talks about how grossed out he was this one time a sixth grade teacher brought her entire class to a coursing field trip. Then we get a field shot of Geraldo rocking a plaid jacket and a crimson neckerchief. He shows us the oil fields of West Texas, ground zero for the nation's illicit jackrabbit trade (they usually go for about $6 a critter, in '78 dollars.) They run into this one jackrabbit trader, but he don't want to talk on camera. So, the usual scrupulous sorts they are, they get two cameramen to pretend to be interested in buying jackrabbits and Geraldo and pals hide out in the wilderness and try to capture the deal with night vision cameras. He tells them that as long as they mark the cargo boxes "for eating purposes only," they can ship the rabbits wherever they damn well please. Florida and Kansas are the largest consumers of jackrabbit - naturally, Geraldo just frees the rabbits he acquired back into the wild.

A USDA rep explains how, technically, coursing isn't the same thing as dogfighting, so the feds really can't do shit about it. Bob Dole says he backs a bill that would outlaw public coursing in Kansas, and my goodness, does he look awkward as fuck verbally fumbling to and fro on camera. Shirking objectivity, Geraldo says this is "a petty barbarism" he hopes Congress gets around to addressing sometime soon. 

20/20 is brought to you by American Express. Now who's ready for some vintage old school commercials? Gunther Gebel Williams hawks AmEx with a fucking cheetah on his book. "Michelob Light is what light beer is all about" because "good taste runs in the family."

Admittedly, I've fapped to worse things than nearly 40 year old over the counter drug commercials.

Back to the show. We're used to seeing Flip Wilson "funky and funny," but Hayes wonders why he dropped out of show biz about five years ago. Time for a catch-up interview with him and his three kids in Malibu - he won custody of all of them after a bitter break up with his wife, and every last one of them have the most uncomfortably vacant stares you've ever seen in your life.

"If women are going to be liberated, men have to liberate themselves, also," Flip says. Get ready for some creepy shit when he talks about watching his eldest daughter's "breasts grow," complete with pantomiming an expanding bosom. He also says some stuff about his daughter "asking where's the bubble bath," whose connotation I'm not entirely sure of but nonetheless fairly certain is something you DO NOT want a daddy saying about his daughter on national television.

He's only spanked his kids three, possibly four times. He says he was wrong two of those times. He lays out his spanking protocol (the other two kids are always present to be "judges") and he talks about waking up his youngest in the middle of the night and whipping her and making her recite an apologetic refrain, but since she didn't start crying, he KEPT beating the hell out of her. "It concluded with her saying 'daddy, when is enough?' and that was it. She never cried and I never spanked her again," he said. He just couldn't believe his kids were "that good," he concludes the interview.

Commercial break number two! We've got a Hartford Insurance ad with a deer walking around a worksite. Polaroid POLAVISION motherfuckers! How effective is Ban Roll-On deodorant? So effective you won't sweat while people take pictures of you dressed as a cheerleader at your college's fifth anniversary get-together (side note: good God, late '70s women are just the hottest.) Richard Dawson hosts the fifth annual Daytime Emmys on Wednesday afternoon and Hal Lindon reveals "Are You A Missing Heir" this Thursday at 10 p.m.!

The face of pure evil.

Our word of the week is "exegesis." Actually, they do a word of the week after every commercial break. For the Flip Wilson segment, it was "arcane."

"Building your own nuclear bomb - a fantasy on Spider-Man, but a reality to Joe Owens." Yes, they actually do include brief scenes from that long-forgotten live-action Spider-Man TV show during the intro. We learn about this scrawny mustachioed kid who threatened Orlando with a (non-working) nuclear device in 1970. Surprisingly, he only got a suspended sentence and court-ordered psychiatric help (if he was any shade darker than a Hershey's Cookies N Creme bar, we all know his ass would be sitting in Guantanamo Bay right now.) Owens explains how an unnamed sci-fi book gave him the idea and then there's an interview with former Orlando Police Chief Robert J. Chewning. He recounts getting letters about a dirty bomb and a diagram of a nuke. He sent it to an actual nuclear physicist and he said "yep, all the essential parts are there for a real bomb." Per another nuclear security expert, at least 8,000 pounds of enriched uranium ends up going missing in the U.S. each year. "You're going to need about 12 to 20 for an effective weapon," he said. "You divide that out of 8,000 and that makes an awful lot of potential for nuclear weapons."

There is a quick vignette about the Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST), whose job is to root out dirty bombs coast-to-coast. We see clips from a training simulation video on how to defuse atomic devices, and a recount of a threat in L.A. in the mid 1970s - and along with one more empty threat, those are the only incidents NEST has had to deal with (hooray for frivolous use of taxpayer dollars!) According to John Glenn, the problem isn't breaking the news without scaring the general public, but getting them to give a shit that some Iranian fella' might try to set a bucket of polonium on fire with a Bic lighter at the World Series. We'll be showing part two of the series next Thursday (although I'm not entirely sure it did air - I'm sure somebody out there on the Internet with more autism than me can give you the skinny, pending you know the right Google terms to plug in.)

Time for another commercial break! Fuck Aspirin, take Bufferin! Lose your wallet while on vacation? No worries, 'cause AmEx traveler checks will keep you from being thrown into an Egyptian prison and getting gang raped to death. And this Friday night, Ken Norton fights Larry Holmes LIVE on free network TV! Shit, you'd have to do a lot of stumbling through the live streams on Reddit ... I mean, pay the full $54.99 PPV asking price ... to catch a fight of that caliber these days.

We get a montage set to "California Dreamin'" with images of Charles Manson and a topless theater as a segue to an interview with Jerry Brown. They say he wants to run for President in 1980, but California tax reform threatens to shred the state budget by half. Roving reporter Sylvia is with this guy named Frank Lanterman, who has been a state assemblyman of California since the Aztecs got chased out of Sacramento. He says he's calling it quits because Jerry Brown is "the gay troubadour of rhetoric" who sometimes uses upwards of six buzzwords in one commercial.

Is Brown "too California weird?" We go to an interview with Brown's sister, whose married name is literally "Brown Rice." She also rocks this banging chrome pink lip gloss I really wish would come back into vogue. "Well, he is unusual," she says. "The interviewer asks if Brown's platform is politically dishonest sine he uses tautologies all the time - "statements that are true but devoid of any real meaning." Her reply? "I think there is a method to his madness."

Well, if you didn't already hate Jimmy Carter...

The reporters break the fourth wall constantly to talk to the audience. Next up? An interview with Jerry Brown's mama. She says she has "mixed emotions" about her son running for president, which has to be the most ringing political endorsement anyone has ever received: when your own mother is on the fence about voting for you, you KNOW your campaign is going to be a tough 'un. 

Another commercial break! Buy Fireman's Fund Insurance, because our spokespeople wear fireman hats. Here's that Michelob Light photo with all the rich white people on a boat again. Did you know that Red Lobsters has over 30 different choices, prepared just the way you like? And later tonight, ABC is airing Soap, which from my recollections of the reruns, sucked.

A projector screen falls down and here's that heavily hyped Jerry Brown interview - a total four minute snoozer. The best part had to be at the very end, when Brown is asked what he thought of his daddy's advice to NOT run against Carter in 1980 and he aloofly responds "you know, I think that's a good idea." Fuck, talk about anticlimactic!

And here's the infamous Jimmy Carter claymation "Georgia On My Mind" spot, complete with dancing peanuts. This segment pretty much single-handedly got the show's producers shit-canned and damn near got the entire program cancelled, and it's as bad as you'd imagine it to be. Hell, if you think it's weird watching a Play Doh president make out with the moon, just wait until you see him slake his jumbo-sized minstrel show lips on an anthropomorphized map of Georgia!

And here's one last commercial break! Use your "surprisingly affordable" Cannon AE-1 to take pictures of golfers. And here's the Fireman's Fund again. 

Time for a recap of the Arlington National Cemetery ceremony for RFK. Sam Donaldson chit-chats with ted Kennedy, back before he looked like a John Madden impersonator. "He moved mole hills and changed tides," Tedward recounts. "He like to challenged people to be better than themselves. The crappy editing is on full display here. Indeed, it really makes you appreciate Final Cut Pro - seriously, you can make a more professional looking video with iMovie in about five minutes.

"Courage, we're all in it together," Hughes signs off. A Claymation Walter Cronkite makes a paper airplane while the beyond horrendous 20/20 theme song plays, and that is all she wrote, kids.

I, for one, couldn't think of a more fitting backdrop for this particular broadcast.

Well, it wasn't exactly the best hour of hard hitting journalism ABC has ever produced, but with the exception of that gloriously awful Jimmy Carter skit, I really can't think of anything too offensive about the program. In fact, in many ways, its sardonic, quick-hit structure almost seems to portend the modern news program - all emotional appeals, all brusque sensationalism and barely enough information on anything to make anyone even remotely versed on the attempted agenda being set. Sure, compared to 60 Minutes it was a total turd, but compared to what flies for "news" on Dateline nowadays, it's difficult to find anything about this historically bad broadcast that I'd consider less professional than what's being jammed down our gullets right now. 

A holier than thou "outrage" piece engineered to make you despise a fringe subculture? A horribly butchered sit-down with a washed-up celebrity meant to display him as a has-been kook? A scare-piece that trudges up a non-incident from almost a decade earlier as an uneasy segue to discuss an incredibly unlikely national security risk? A catty, cynical profile of a political up-and-comer, clearly meant to break him down before he even gets his formal campaign up and running? All of that shit is part and parcel of what contemporary broadcast journalism is, and in that, the much maligned 20/20 debut - if absolutely nothing else - is noteworthy for giving us a glimpse into the far less scrupulous future of the medium a good half a century in advance. 

Of course, 20/20 continues to chug along today despite that hilarious faceplant of a debut. ABC immediately wedged in Hugh Downs as the show's anchor and with the help of longtime broadcast stalwarts John Stossel and Barbara Walters, turned into quite the reliable ratings grabber throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. While today it's more of a single-issue newscast than the old variety grab bag of yore, you can still feel the show's original spirit of half-assed sensationalism each and every Friday night - and every other night there's some kind of glib newsmagazine broadcast on the airwaves, for that matter. While nothing more than a blatant attempt to ape the success of 60 Minutes, one could argue that 20/20, in the long haul, has had a much greater impact on the business of broadcast news, in a way, setting the medium's current snotty template for info/propaganda delivery.

And to think - the Rosetta Stone of modern broadcast "journalism" has its roots not in the work of Edward R. Murrow or Mike Wallace, but this Shockmaster-level network TV disaster revolving around Geraldo, rabbit torture and claymation Jimmy Carters. Some legacy to be proud of, huh?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Let's Play Walmart Bingo (Printable Scorecard Included!)

Don't forget to bring along your copy the next time you get a hankerin' for Dr. Thunder at 3 in the morning!

By: Jimbo X

Walmart - whether you want to admit it or not and regardless if such is a positive or a negative - has long been the heart and soul of every exurban and rural-but-not-that-rural community in America. Lest we forget, Walmart is the No.1 private employer in America for a reason - and not just because they produce one of the world's top-rated red wines, neither.

It's not too hard to locate one of the 5,000 plus stores in operation in the U.S. Odds are, you've got one within a 10 minute drive of your home (you know, pending you don't live way out in the boonies of New Mexico or North Dakota or something.) It's just about the most ubiquitous construct of post-World War II modernity you'll find anywhere in America, the perfect example of how new wave corporate mercantilism and the need for cheaply produced goods connects the sweatshops of China and Vietnam to the dilapidated trailers and substandard section 8 housing of the good old U.S. of A. In that, Walmart doesn't just exemplify the contemporary globalist consumer state, it pretty much embodies it in brick, mortar and blue polyester employee vests

But Walmart, as a physical state, is more than just a temple of shoddily produced wares and nutritionally-deficient foodstuffs. Verily, Walmart has become the new "town square," the very epicenter of non-urban/non-suburban American culture. And as such, Walmart tends to draw a very particular type of consumer and - to a certain extent - appears to engender very particular displays of in-store behavior, no matter what region of the country you may live in.

Ever the astute sociocultural commentators, we decided to turn that unmistakable Walmart mystique into something of an observational hobby - think of it like bird watching, only with way more meth mouth. Remember playing Bingo on road trips when you were a kid? Well, the same principle applies to the official Internet Is In America Walmart Bingo game - you use your peepers to explore your surroundings, and if you happen to spot five things listed on the printable scorecard below in a row - horizontally, vertically or diagonally - you win! It's good, clean, wholesome fun for the whole family ... you know, pending your parole officer will let you leave the house on the weekend.

(remember kids: always ask your parents for permission before using scissors)

For those of you who need the "targets" explained a little more in-depth, well, here you go:

  • ICP logo on anything - shirts, tattoos, hats ... they are all fair game, just as long as it has the unmistakable Insane Clown Posse iconography emblazoned upon it.
  • Mullet (male or female) - the second most passe haircut anyone could have. If it's male, it's called "the Joe Dirt" and if it's female, the technical nomenclature is "the Melissa Etheridge."
  • Hate group tattoo - not up to snuff on the latest and greatest white supremacist insignia? Don't worry - the ADL has all your bases covered for you.
  • Jheri Curl (male or female) - and the absolute most passe haircut anyone could have. If it's male, it's called "the Lionel Richie" and if it's female, it's called "the bitch Lionel Richie."
  • Child abuse (non-felony) - basically, anytime an adult whoops the living shit out of their kids for misbehavin' in public. Includes backhands, but anything with more force than that is generally reserved for the felony-level spot.
  • Racist t-shirt - none of this implied racism bullshit, we're talking apparel with fucking Klansmen, swastikas and the n-word unashamedly plastered on it. In more urban Walmarts, anything with Nation of Islam, New Black Panther or Nuwaubian Nation of Moors iconography will suffice.
  • Crying child - if you don't see this within your first five minutes in the store, I'm afraid you accidentally wandered into a Costco instead.
  • Person vaping indoors - because nothing says "I'm a rebel" quite like getting flavored fog all over the merchandise.
  • Pool of piss on floor (bathroom doesn't count) - concerned that a puddle of yellow stuff next to the Nabisco crackers endcap might be spilled Mountain Dew? Trust me, you will know whether or not it's the real deal as soon as you get into sniffing distance.
  • An expired item still on sale - the more likely you are to get salmonella from it, the better.
  • Man with no arm - yeah, it's pretty hard to miss this one.
  • Fist fight (interracial) - when whitey and the black man (or whitey and the Hispanic man, or the black man and the Hispanic man) get to scrapping in public, for some inscrutable reason. 
  • Free space - go ahead, mark yourself an "x" on the page already! Don't you feel like a winner already?
  • Fist fight (intraracial) - white on white, black on black, Hispanic on Hispanic, Asian on Asian, Middle Eastern on Middle Eastern or Indian subcontinent on Indian subcontinent interpersonal violence is all acceptable. I'm still not 100 percent sure Eskimos and Native Americans should be considered the same ethnoracial category, so if you ever see an Iroquois coming to blows with an Inuit next to the Gobstoppers bin, just use your best judgement. 
  • Woman with no leg - about as difficult to judge as the man with no arm from above.
  • Any Madea DVD - trust me, there are going to be tons of these fuckers all over the place - hell, you might even find one or two in the produce section.
  • Ugly people making out - because sometimes, all that value makes the facially challenged want to play tongue lacrosse in front of God and everybody.
  • Person over 300 pounds - shit, I'd be surprised if you don't check this one off before you even pick up a shopping basket.
  • Visible ankle monitor - you'd think most people would try to hide these things during public outings, but buddy, you thought wrong.
  • Shopper open carrying - sure, some of you may scoff at those people who bring loaded handguns into Wally World, but the moment ISIS invades the cereal aisle, you'll be glad they're packin' heat.
  • Child abuse (felony) - the kind of stuff that not only gets DFCS called on you, but insures you'll be on a registry of some kind for the remainder of your days.
  • High school classmate (shopper) - and holy hell, have they gotten FAT
  • Adult less than 100 pounds - should midgets count on this one? I'm still not entirely sure.
  • High school classmate (employee) - they look more or less the same as they did at graduation, only with way more "I don't want to live anymore" palpable in their stare.
  • Employee with obvious developmental disorder - Feel free to brush up on the latest DSM-V findings - armchair diagnosing the mental deficits of Walmart workers is almost as much fun as pretending your stuck in the mall from Dawn of the Dead and all the other shoppers are brain-eating zombies (and let's be honest - a lot of times, it certainly smells like it is.)
So go on ahead, folks, feel free to print out a couple of scorecards for your nearest and dearest friends, too. Shit, why run around trying to catch make-believe Japanese gremlins on your smartphone when you can walk into a brick and mortar Walmart and hunt for the wildest of prey in flesh and blood?

And as someone who has spent plenty of time in Walmarts throughout the American South, I can safely say there's just one thing more surprising than how many of the things listed above you'll witness - on any given day - at the local Wally-World ... and that's how fast it'll take you to check them off. Hit a store up during a good sales period and there's a pretty good chance you can mark off every single square on the map - and of course, the first person to send my photographic evidence of a Walmart Bingo clean sweep will win a SPECIAL PRIZE culled straight from the coffers of The Internet Is In America.

So what are you waiting for? Fire up the printer, grab yourself a well-oiled inkpen and get to searchin', why don't you? And if anyone gives you any lip about loitering, just tell 'em what I'd tell them ... your just doing a little observational science for the betterment of American society.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega (01/04/17) - Is It Really THAT Awesome?

Some are calling the Wrestle Kingdom 11 main event the single greatest wrestling match ever. But is it really as great as the IWC would have you believe? 

By: Jimbo X

By now, you folks should know I'm a pretty big fan of the pro 'rasslin, particularly, all the great shit that was going on in the 1990s. That said - and I've said this numerous times before - I really don't know what's going on in any pro wrestling organization these days. In fact, I haven't watched a full pro wrestling PPV or super card - or even a single one hour cable TV broadcast - since 2007. Thanks to that great content aggregator/pirated source for all things multimedia called the Internet, I've stayed abreast of the absolute cream of the crop thanks to forums like DVDVR and ProWrestlingOnly and stellar sites like The Armpit (W.P.'s quadannual rankings of the best seasonal matches of the year is pretty much your one-stop shop for the best fake fisticuffs out there.) 

Of course, the authoritative voice on what's great and what's crap in the wrestling biz is still Dave Meltzer, the grand poobah of the long running dirt sheet Wrestling Observer. After being incredibly stingy with his [*****] reviews in the aughties (the dude didn't even hand out a single fiver between 2006 and 2011), the Meltz-man has been showering the modern New Japan product with so many snowflakes, NJPW head honchos Jado and Gedo are pretty much buried alive under a blizzard of paper praise. Think I'm shitting you? Since 2012, he's given no less than 12 NJPW bouts an A+++ "perfect" five-star rating - that's just one less that Mitsuharu Misawa (long considered the greatest fuckin' wrestler ever) throughout the entirety of his career

While Meltzer's ratings are generally considered the gospel by forum-dwellers, I've always been a tad skeptical of his methodology. Por exemple, this is the same guy who gave that dime-a-dozen DragonGate match in ROH in '06 a higher score than the after the fact consensus pick for MOTD, the chop-happy Kenta Kobashi/Kensuke Sasaki donnybrook from a year earlier. And this is the same guy who considered the terribly overrated Joe/Punk affair from 2004 a better bout than the hourlong Burning/Kensuke Office eight man masterpiece from 2008. And how in the hell he considered Michael Elgin/Davey Richards a better bout than anything FUTEN has put together is a mystery to me. 

Yeah, I know a lot of you casual readers are probably perplexed about what I'm talking about. And I don't care, either - I'm allowed to get autistically technical about niche shit from time to time. It's in the Bill of Rights or something.

So, long story short: Meltzer is a guy whose opinion, much like Roger Ebert, we can respect, but when he gets it wrong, by golly, does he get it WRONG

Which brings us to Davey Boy's latest "perfectly rated" bout: the Kazuchika Okada/Kenny Omega IWGP Heavyweight Championship main event at Wrestle Kingdom 11. Actually, per the Meltz, the bout was so great it LITERALLY broke his rating system, as he issued the Jan. 04, 2017 match an unprecedented "SIX STAR" rating (not to be confused with a six sided star rating - those are only reserved for Bill Goldberg matches.) In fact, D.M. dug the shindig so much he actually said it was quite possibly the greatest wrestling match of all-time. That's lofty, lofty praise, especially considering how great Abe Lincoln's worked shoots were reputed to be, but still - when a dude like Dave says something is arguably the best he's ever seen, that's code word for you to hit up the DailyMotion and start punching in some keywords pronto

All right, the background. Kazuchika Okada is pretty much the Ric Flair of his generation - he has flashy robes, he talks mad shit, and he's somehow able to have stellar matches against pretty much everybody despite having a repertoire limited to 11, maybe 13 different moves if you count punching variations. He's to NJPW what John Cena is to the WWE - he's expected to sell all the merchandise and bring all the outside media attention to the promotion and make as many other wrestlers look good enough to sell tickets for the next major TV spectacular. Kenny Omega is this American gaijin that's been working the Japanese indy circuit for damn near 10 years, cutting his teeth on absurd comedy matches like this one where he brawled out in the wilderness with about 20 other wrestlers for an hour straight and this one where he kicked the living shit out of a real 9-year-old girl. Well, after having a string of insanely great matches nobody really expected to be awesome against everybody in New Japan who wasn't named Okada last year, the suits at NJPW said "you know, what the hell, let's give this American kid who looks sort of like the bastard love child of Matt Hardy and Bobcat Goldthwait a crack at the belt ... I mean, shit, we can only do Okada vs. Tanahashi 500 times a year so many times before the locals get restless." And lo and behold, the table for the WK 11 main event is set

The challenger comes out first, introduced via a parody of The Terminator. If you haven't see this, you really should - dude comes out with the prop shotgun, leather jacket and shitty metal exoskeleton mask and everything. He is accompanied at ringside by his good buddies the Young Bucks, a tag team that looks just like members of The Screaming Trees circa 1993.

Okada's entrance starts off with planets floating around on the Jumbotron. Omega bounces off the ropes in anticipation of his arrival. The video segment zooms in on Earth, then Japan, then the Tokyo Dome, and the man himself comes out rocking his trademark multicolor robe, accompanied by Gedo (who looks pretty much EXACTLY what you would imagine the cast of Duck Dynasty to look like if they were Japanese.) Dollar bills - err, Yen bills, I suppose - start fluttering all over the arena. You know, because his gimmick is making it rain and whatnot [*coughWAYTOAPPROPRIATEBLACKCULTUREGUYScough*.]

Pulling English commentary duties are WWF castoff Kevin Kelly (you know, that guy The Rock used to call a hermaphrodite) and STEVE MOTHERFUCKIN' CORINO, who was awesome in ECW for approximately one year before vanishing off the face of the Earth (which, in wrestlespeak, means Vince McMahon wouldn't return his phone calls while he was making upwards of $200 a month 'rasslin for such illustrious organizations as Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling and Major League Wrestling.) 

Yellow yen notes (which I'm guessing aren't real Yen notes) are still flying all over the place. Omega picks up one of them and wads it up in his hand, because that's Japanese sign language for "fuck you and everything you believe in." While the IWGP title is on the line tonight (by the way, IWGP stands for 'international wrestling grand prix," if you are ever on Jeopardy!) this bout is really about deciding who the top dog in New Japan is going to be for the remainder of the year. Whoever wins this one is going to be the guy doing all the publicity stops and TV interviews and - obviously - making all of the big bucks. There's no goofy subplot like in 'Merican 'rasslin, where the two guys are scuffling because one of them killed the other guy's chihuahua or dug up his deadbeat dad's coffin or tried to shock his balls with a car battery to make him sterile. It's just two guys beatin' the tar out of one another to symbolically declare themselves the best of the best, just like it was in the good old days of Dory Funk and Mr. Wrestling II. That leads to a brief discussion about the ramifications of a non-Japanese wrestler representing the company (kind of a moot point, seeing as how Omega is actually fluent in Japanese in real life, per the Wikipedia), and our commentatin' duo says that the art of pro wrestling transcends all language barriers and that many non-Japanese speakers enjoy listening to the Japanese announcers call the matches even though they can't understand a single world they're saying (although it is fairly interesting to note that the Japanese word for "suplex" is "BRAINBUSTAAAAH" shouted at the top of your lungs.)

Believe it or not, this is actually one of the more mundane moments from the match.

After we get the linguistic metaphysics out of the way, it's time to RASSLE, dammit. We've got your standard collar and elbow tie up to begin. Okada works a hammerlock early. Omega and his sweet, sweet almost-mullet reverses it into an arm twist. Okada sweeps the leg and Omega counters with an arm bar. Okada in the full mount, with a segue into a headlock. Gotta dig those rainbow panties on the defending champ. Omega escapes and Okada responds with a shower of elbow strikes. Okada lands a European uppercut and Omega ripostes with a headlock of his own. 

Okada lands a backdrop, but Omega holds on to the headlock. Omega grabs his hair and flips out of a back suplex. The we have one of those old RVD/Jerry Lynn million-billion nearfall spots, complete with those ridiculous looking mid-air arm drags. Okada bullies Omega up against the rope. He feigns a chest slap but just pats him on the shoulders and cockily struts away. Okada with a shoulder tackle. Omega responds with some hard overhand shots. Omega looks to land his patented finisher, the One-Winged Angel (basically, an electric chair drop/Mexican flyswatter transitioning into a hook armed package piledriver ... yes, it does look pretty ouchy, in case you needed the visual) but Okada escapes. Omega rolls to the outside for a breather. Okada gives him a big boot to the face as soon as he gets back in the ring, along with a snapmare and a "basement dropkick" for good measure. Omega rolls to the outside again, and this time, Okada follows suit and throws his ass over a guardrail. He lands a SICK DDT using the rail for leverage. Omega sells it like he is half dead. Okada drags a table from underneath the ring and I can't help but laugh it just how much thinner it is than the particle board buffet tables we have over here in the States. Okada tosses Omega over the guardrail again. He lands a running crossbody and the two slide across the arena floor for a good five feet. Then the announcers hard sell their Facebook and Periscope apps, because WHAT A TIME TO SHILL, amirite?

Both men are back in the ring. Okada with a fallaway slam and a slingshot Senton (Do you capitalize Senton or leave it lower case? I think it's a proper noun, even though I'm not sure what the hell  a "Senton" is, exactly - my guess would be a Futon competitor.) And time for an extended chinlock segment, because who doesn't love those?

Swinging neckbreaker form Omega once the action resumes. It's just a two-count. Omega with a dropkick to the shin and a KILLER looking bulldog\churched-up Rocker Dropper hybrid move whose proper name I'm too lazy to look up. Now he's stomping Okada like a pissant hill. He follows that up with your classic Ric Flair\Ricky Steamboat chops and some very hard elbow strikes to Okada's spine. Omega jumps up and down on Okada's back (ah, the good old 1980s "spinal hump!") and lands a very vanilla body slam. Okada misses another Senton and Okada responds by elbowing the hell out of Okada's kidneys some more. The announcers keep putting over Omega's finisher as a one-hit insta-kill - so if he lands it, we know Okada is a goner. Okada with some good elbow shots of his own, but Omega puts his comeback down with a knee to the stomach. A hurricanrana (no joke, en Espanol that translates it into "hurricane frog," and all these years later I still don't know the context of the etymology) sends Okada flying over the top rope and the crowd starts stomping their feet to the tune of The Terminator theme and Omega lands a FUCKIN' ACE Swanton Bomb to the outside, nearly taking out the photog with the Nirvana shirt in the process. Omega body slams Okada on the edge of the mat (shit, why don't we see that spot more often?) and rolls the champ back in. Omega lands a killer missile dropkick to the back of Okada's skull which - if history is any indication - will probably make him kill himself and his entire intermediate family a couple of years down the road. And demonstrating something you would NEVER hear in WWE programming nowadays, the announcers actually crack jokes about Okada needing neck surgery after absorbing the previous blow to the head.

Omega with a Camel Clutch/STF hybrid submission. Omega has Okada in the piledriver position, but Okada sinks to one knee. Omega hits him with a ton of elbows and knees and out of fuckin' nowhere Okada lands a high angle suplex/brainbuster and Omega is (kayfabe) OUT OF IT. Omega miraculously recovers but Okada puts him right back down with a DDT. He kips up and hits Omega with another running European uppercut. Okada with a flapjack and an STF variation whose proper title Steve Corino can't remember. Omega gets a rope break. Okada goes up top, Omega roll out of the way on the splash attempt and Okada lands a SATANIC jackknife reverse neckbreaker - you just got to see this to grasp its awesomeness. Omega gets his knees up when Okada goes for the old Macho Man top rope diving elbow. Omega with a backbreaker and a dropkick that sends Okada flying to the outside and over a guardrail. Kelly asks Corino if he has any advice for the Japanese announce team and he politely responds "move the hell away." Omega does two full revolutions on a springboard moonsault to the outside. Okada acts half dead after the collision, gasping for air while rolling all over a bunch of electrical cables. Omega drapes the ridiculously small table over Okada and does a running double stomp at full speed - you KNOW that shit had to hurt for real. Omega retrieves Okada and throws him back into the ring. Omega hits him with back-to-back powerbombs but all he can get is a two. The Young Bucks set the table up on the outside, while Gedo just kinds of waddles around like a flannel-clad penguin with a mountain-man beard. The ref prevents Omega from doing whatever he was thinking about doing with the table, so he just wallops Okada with big knees and a couple of hammer fists to the back.

Sure, it looks like it hurt like hell, but it's probably only the fourth or fifth worst thing that happened to Okada's skull throughout the bout.

Loud "OKADA!" chants echoing throughout the Dome. Okada takes a big back-first bump to a corner turnbuckle but makes Omega eat a big boot on the rebound. And another. Now Okada is elbowing the shit out of him. Okada with that old Ken Kennedy barrell roll thingy and a moonsault for a two-count. Okada has a huge gash on his back now. Okada hits Omega with a dropkick that sends him flying over the top rope and spiraling to the outside. Omega teases putting Okada through the table with his finisher, but he snakes his way out. Omega lands some stiff knife-edge chops, bounces off the rope and - of course - gets back body dropped a good 10 feet in the air before crashing through the anorexic IKEA furniture. The Young Bucks tend to Omega, but Okada says "fuck that" (probably in Japanese, though) grabs Omega and rolls him back into the ring. Omega eats a HUGE missile dropkick, but it's only good for a two. Corino lets the audience know that submission move he couldn't remember 15 minutes ago is called "Red Ink," if it was really bothering you that much. Okada with an elbow drop and a SUPER DUPER DRAMATIC CAMERA PAN OUT SHOT to let you know shit is about to get all kinds of real in this motherfucker.

Okada signals for his finisher, the Rainmaker (basically, a fat-assed short armed clothesline his opponents sell by doing 45 flips before falling down.) Omega counters and rams his head into Okada's back in the corner. He acts like he threw his back out trying to pick Okada up. Omega with some hard slaps and Okada fires back with some elbows that knock Omega off the top rope. Omega keeps clobbering him on the back and he KILLS THAT NIGGA' DEAD with a belly to back off the top rope that sends Okada crashing to the mat head first from about 10 feet in the air. And it's only worth a two count, if you can believe it.

Omega with a funky one-legged neckbreaker thingy. Okada retaliates with a high angle German suplex. Omega with a jumping knee to the face, and Okada hits a beautiful dropkick on the rebound. Okada whiffs on his finisher and Okada lands a reverse hurricanrana, dropping the champ on the top of his fuckin' head for about the sixth or seventh time in this match. He adds to the inevitable CTE damage with a stiff running knee to Okada's noggin. Omega looking for his finisher, but Okada reverses and tombstone piledrives that motherfucker. The crowd is MOLTEN at this point. OKADA LANDS THE RAINMAKER! But it's only a two. Omega is on his knees, throwing pillow-heavy punches at his foe. Another dropkick sends Omega flying 10 feet across the ring. Omega reverses another tombstone attempt into a package piledriver, but it's only a two count. Both men on their knees, trading winded elbow shots and slaps. "This is pro wrestling," Kelly says. Both men back on their feet. The crowd is shouting every time a shot lands. They do a brief homage to the old PRIDE Takayama/Frye slugfest and Omega lands a German suplex/running knee combo for a two count. Omega with another knee shot and yet another One Winged Angel attempt. Okada reverses it and lands another Rainmaker, but Omega is right back up, kicking the shit out of Okada's face. Okada's still holding onto Omega's arm though, and eventually, he murder-death-kills him with a third Rainmaker. Now it's time for a million billion feigned finisher reversals. Omega hits a dropkick and a GHASTLY knee to Okada's face. Okada counters the OWA again and lands a twirling Tombstone and one more Rainmaker, and THAT's what gets him the three count.

Happy Japanese fans with Yen throw towels jump for joy while women openly weep in the stands. Both men are temporarily laid out while Okada's music plays. Okada has his arm raised and immediately falls down. Omega rolls out of the ring and stumbles around a bit. Okada gets back up and has the IWGP title wrapped around his waist. In the post-bout interview, he says some stuff in Japanese - not quite sure what, to be honest, but if I know the Japanese the way I think I know 'em, he probably wasn't using the airtime to apologize for killing more people than the Nazis. And, as they say in Italy and Spain, that's all she wrote, folks.

Okada's shameless attempts to net a toothpaste sponsorship, however, has to be worth at least a 1/4 * demerit.

As Mr. T is oft fond of spouting, I pity the fool who thinks he's going to top this one in 2017. The same way Okada/Tanahashi at WK 10 set a standard no other match in 2016 could reach just four days into the new year, pretty much every match that comes down the pipes in '17 is going to be judged by the insanely high bar these two competitors set. It's definitely a MOTY candidate, and if we see anybody anywhere put on a better 'rasslin match then this one over the next 300-something days, we truly are some lucky motherfuckers. 

Alright, so there's no denying that Okada/Omega is one of the best matches of the decade, but is it really the kind of bout that ought to be bandied about as the single greatest of all time

From my stance, this thing is a SOLID [****3/4] match, teetering on the edge of being a legit [*****] effort. Of course, time is the greatest gage of quality out there, so I'll have to rewatch this thing around July to see if it still razzle dazzles me the same way it did just a couple of days after watching it en vivo on the livestre ... I mean, through the official New Japan World app, available for now for Android! I might change my mind on this one, but just initially, I STILL think last year's WK10 main event was the better of the two. Indeed, I might even consider that AWESOME Cena/Styles headliner from SummerSlam a superior outing, but like I said - give it time, young grasshopper, give it time

Of course it's a great, great, GREAT match, but Dave Meltzer must've been high on bath salts when he said this was a contender for GOAT. Uh, aren't we still mesmerized by the great Flair/Steamboat trilogy from '89, D.M.? Hell, for that matter, there's a ton of shit from Japan and Mexico older than that that still holds up absurdly well, like the MS-1/Sangre Chicana hair versus hair bout from '84 and the Maeda and Fujinami shit from '86. Of course, me being the '90s All-Japan mark I am, if I was pressed to pick the best of all-time, I can check off about 25 permutations of Kawada/Misawa/Kobashi that I believe beats the pants off Omega/Okada. Sure, 01/04/17 is absolutely tremendous, but in my books, it ain't even close to capturing the magic of 06/03/94. And for the record? I'm still torn between picking that absurd L.A. Park/El Mesias bout from 2010 and that goddamn masterful Ishikawa/Suzuki vs. Ikeda/Super Tiger II BattlArts bout from 2011 as this decade's best, if you were wonderin'.

So yes, if you consider yourself anything even remotely resembling a wrestling fan, you owe it to yourself to see Omega/Okada by any means necessary because this shit really is outstanding. It's definitely an early frontrunner for 2017 MOTY, but for those of you expecting something that makes Tsuruta/Tenryu look like a throwaway Sunday Night Heat Crash Holly match from 2001? Eh, it's good, but I don't reckon it's AS good as the dire, desperate Internet hordes have convinced themselves it is.