Wrestlemania XXIX Predictions

Because nothing shows off an individual’s logic and reasoning skills quite like attempting to predict the outcome of a scripted sporting event.

Chris Jericho vs. Faaaaaaandaaaaaaangooooooooo – They couldn’t have given the Man of 1,001 Holds something a little bit better to do here? Surprisingly, this has been one of the better booked angles leading up to Wrestlemania; Fandango and Y2J have conveyed a genuine hatred for each other, and if given enough time they could probably manage a decent enough story in the ring, too. That said…yeah, that’s not going to happen. Both men will perform their fantastic entrances, then some sort of shenanigan will keep Fandango from making his debut once again. Jericho by disqualification.

Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls vs. Rhodes Scholars and the Bella Twins – Purists and smarks want to know just what the two dancing buffoons are doing on a Wrestlemania card, to which I must ask: have you watched Wrestlemania before? They always make room for some silly shit–and personally, I’m kind of looking forward to this particular silly shit, mostly because Damien Sandow is the man and I would give the Intellectual Savior of the Masses all of the belts ever if I were writing for WWE. Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls with the win.

The Miz vs. Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship – Here are two guys who could each be so much more. What could’ve been an excellent face turn for the Miz has been a bit ruined by the typical juvenile humor WWE forces upon all of their heroes. Wade Barrett’s been saddled with a shitty elbow finisher and an even shittier bare-knuckle fighter gimmick when they should just run the dude as an evil genius and have him Black Hole Slam people. The Miz gets the nod here, mostly because he’s never lost at Wrestlemania and I suspect WWE wants to go somewhere with that, at least for a little while. The Miz takes the belt and makes me smile like a little girl.

Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston for the Tag Team Championships – Kane and Daniel Bryan have been the best thing on WWE TV this year, and it feels like their dysfunctional gimmick still has some gas in its tank. Dolph’s one of the best workers on the roster and Big E’s an intriguing presence, but I don’t see the titles changing hands without a much more dramatic build up of tension between the champs. Team Hell No retains.

Ryback vs. Mark Henry – Straight up Hoss fight right here, people, and there ain’t nothing wrong with watching two behemoths repeatedly run into each other until one of them can’t get up. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to be the behemoth I prefer; I could watch Mark Henry whoop people and yell funny things all day, but Ryback’s younger, more popular, and likely in line for a big year. Ryback in a slobber knocker.

Randy Orton, Sheamus, and the Big Show vs. The Shield – Like the aforementioned Ryback, there’s no good reason to kill the Shield’s momentum with a loss here. A victory over this trio of decorated performers would open up a lot of eyes and point them right at Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns. This one doesn’t feel like it’ll end clean; one of the the big names is likely to turn on the other two and cost his team the match. The Shield by hook or by crook.

Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar – Meh. Triple H wins.

CM Punk vs. The Undertaker – Let’s say you’re building a prototype wrestler from scratch to get the rub of ending the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. You’d want…

  • A guy young enough and healthy enough to make use of said rub.
  • A guy who would actually benefit from beating the Dead Man.
  • A guy who lives and breathes wrestling and thus isn’t likely to run off to Hollywood in five years.
  • A guy who could believably beat the Undertaker.

There aren’t many wrestlers on the roster who fit all those criteria. John Cena doesn’t need it. The Big Show, Chris Jericho, Kane, and Mark Henry are too old. Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan, and Alberto Del Rio aren’t credible threats just yet. Randy Orton’s already violated the Wellness Policy twice. Ryback doesn’t speak well enough to make legitimate use of ending the streak. That really leaves two guys: Sheamus and CM Punk. I don’t think anyone’s ever going to beat the Undertaker at Wrestlemania because WWE is extremely attached to its statistics, but if someone were to do it, well, the Dead Man’s wrestling someone for whom it would at least make some sense this year, which makes the match that much more compelling. The Undertaker’s streak lives on.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for the World Heavyweight Championship – There are no words to express how annoyed I am that the conservative Swagger hasn’t shown up with papers proving that Ricardo Rodriguez, Del Rio’s awesome ring announcer, is in fact an illegal alien. Getting Rodriguez–perhaps the most sympathetic character on WWE TV–dragged out and deported would’ve done a lot to get Swagger over as a villainous monster. And Ricardo’s triumphant return just in time for Wrestlemania would’ve made the crowd absolutely explode. This shit writes itself. As does the outcome of this match, thanks to Swagger’s recent DUI and the progress the underrated Del Rio has made since his face turn. Alberto Del Rio retains.

John Cena vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship – Both men have felt like they’re just going through the motions since the Royal Rumble. There’s very little intrigue to this match; their feud feels impersonal and predestined, as does the outcome. Cena has to win, right? The entire last year of WWE programming has been about Cena’s attempt at redemption for last year’s loss to the Great One. On paper, this pick looks easy, but that’s the problem: it looks too easy. Wrestling Logic 101 makes it painfully obvious that John Cena is going to win this match. It’s a story that works. It’s a story that makes sense. It’s the vindication of the hero, the comeback of a (to some) beloved icon who fell on hard times. Something’s up. I still think Cena’s going to win, but how he does it could end up being very, very interesting. John Cena wins the belt.

2013 MLB Preview: NL West and Playoffs

This is arguably the most entertaining division that isn’t the AL East; there’s talent here, but there’s also a slew of combustible elements liable to explode at any moment. Except, perhaps, for the Padres.

1. San Francisco Giants – If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it–and so the Giants stood pat, bringing back all of their key contributors from last season while foregoing any major additions. On the one hand, there’s definitely something to be said for stability; on the other hand, this isn’t the NFL, and keeping together a group of guys that’s comfortable with each other probably doesn’t matter nearly as much as a lot of analysts might try to lead you to believe. Regardless, Buster Posey’s the man, Matt Cain’s a legit ace, and the rest of the roster is stacked with seasoned professionals. I’m not particularly afraid of the regression monster here, especially given the competition.
Beer equivalent – Narragansett. Steady. You know what you’re going to get, and it’s probably good enough.

2. Arizona Diamondbacks (wild card) – GM Kevin Towers finally blew it up…mostly. The team is still loaded with swing-first-look-at-the-plate-second hitters. The rotation is solid if uninspiring. That said, they’re good enough to score some runs while stopping the opposition from doing the same. A quick exit in the wild card sounds about right.
Beer equivalent – Pabst Blue Ribbon. All of your friends will suddenly start drinking it a few months from now and you’ll wonder how you missed the trend.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers – Building a good baseball team means more than just spending money; it means making sure the left side of your defense isn’t a black hole of suck. Third base, shortstop, and left field are legitimate questions for the Dodgers due to injuries, a lack of depth, and what seems like general forgetfulness. The rotation beyond Clayton Kershaw looks deep at first glance…but who really trusts these guys?
Beer equivalent – Whatever will convince Robinson Cano to sign this offseason. Barring that, whatever Josh Beckett prefers with his fried chicken.

4. Colorado Rockies – An all-world shortstop and right fielder are flanked by…um…sure. A baseball team, I guess.
Beer equivalent – That last Harpoon IPA in a sampler box that’s now mostly full of Raspberry.

5. San Diego Padres – At least they should get something good for Huston Street at the deadline.
Beer equivalent – Water.

American League Champion: Tampa Bay Rays
National League Champion: Washington Nationals
World Series Champion: Washington Nationals

A Novel Idea for Sports Ownership

Few things have so thoroughly infected modern American life quite like sports. Sundays between September and February should be considered national holidays. Certain areas of the country consider a clean sweatshirt boldly declaring one’s allegiance to the local squad essential formal wear. Our language is rife with metaphorical sports references. Fans live and die with the fates of their teams. Like it or not, sports is important.

Sports is also a business. Although many fans treat their loyalty to their teams as something akin to religion, the teams themselves are focused on one thing and one thing only: making money. It just so happens that putting together a successful team that wins more often than not is a great way to make money.

A rash of ridiculous labor disputes has brought that focus on business into the limelight. The NBA lost almost 20 games due to a lockout last season. The NFL is using replacement officials of questionable caliber due to issues with their usual referees. And the NHL, a league that just recently pulled itself out of the years self-inflicted hell caused by their previous labor problem, just locked out its players. Watching billionaires clash with millionaires over a few million bucks is, quite frankly, disgusting, and such pettiness makes me wonder why the hell I should give a crap about (or any of my hard-earned cash to) these shitheads.

At the risk of sounding like just another fuck-the-wealthy crackpot, the problem lies solely on the out-of-touch rich douche bags that own our sports franchises. I’m all for paying people their due for services rendered, but what, really, do most franchise owners actually contribute to their products? Competent owners who exert positive influences upon their organizations are a rare breed. For every Mark Cuban or George Steinbrenner, there’s an entire league of James Dolans, Jeffrey Lorias, and Mike Browns. Many of these guys either inherited either their teams or the money required to purchase them. What the hell do they do to justify the ridiculous amounts of money they’re making? In a lot of cases, jack fucking shit.

“But Scott Colby!” you say. “These are the guys financing your teams!” To a point, yes. Guess who has to foot the bill for the stadiums and the infrastructure required to get fans to them? Taxpayers. You and me. We don’t like it, but we do it because we can’t imagine life without our favorite teams or because we believe that hosting a team is economically beneficial. They’ve got us bent over the sink with our pants down and we’re just begging for more.

The Green Bay Packers, the only community-owned professional sports franchise in the major American leagues, have it almost right, but they don’t go far enough. Put our sports teams under the umbrella of our local governments. Set a percentage of profit that goes back into improving the teams and their facilities, and set a percentage of profit that goes to useful things like schools, roads, and public transportation. Make sports franchises nonprofit entities that truly exist only to better the communities that host them.

And before all you capitalists jump down my throat and burn me to death atop a pile of Marx’s writings, let me say this: I’m not anti-capitalism, I’m anti-douche-bag. I’m sick of buying into an ideal and seeing it ruined by some twit’s greed.