Thursday, April 1, 2010

'Give me Vaughn.' '...You mean RICK Vaughn?'

With the NBA season nearing conclusion, it seems like a good time for me to make another case for the Andersons as two of the best players in the league, this time using the plus/minus statistic. Since it's a very concrete way of evaluating a player's impact on the game - by looking at the relative scoring by both teams while the player is in the game - it can be argued that the +/- stat is the most comprehensive way of evaluating players' success. On the other hand, since bench players' stats are going to be undoubtedly inflated when they play most of their minutes against other bench players, it can also be argued that the +/- stat is useless. When used correctly, however, +/- can tell us a lot about players' impact on games. With that in mind, let's take a look at the league leaders in plus/minus per 48 minutes (or, the theoretical amount by which the player's team would win if they played the whole game).

1. Anderson Varejao............... 12.048

2. Lebron James...................... 10.464

3. Chris Anderson.................... 10.080

4. Dwight Howard....................... 9.552

Exactly as I suspected. Four quality MVP choices, but the Wild Thing has my vote every time.

Early last month when the Cavs came to Jersey to annihilate the Nets, I decided I needed to finally see the pride of Brazil work his magic in person. The only problem was, because of a run-in with the NJSEA security several years back, I am not legally allowed to enter the Meadowlands Sports Complex. Ever. Not even the fucking racetrack. They have a picture of me holding up the piece of paper that says this. But with the help of my friend (pictured), I was able to fly under the radar and get an up-close look at Andy's afro (it's pretty great). Unfortunately for the Nets, the Cavs' pregame warmups were much more entertaining than the game itself. Whammy!

Predictions for the weeks ahead:

Duke cuts down the nets.

Tiger goes into "fuck you" mode and takes another green jacket by 8+ strokes.

Lakers get swept in the first round. Please.
Monday, March 29, 2010

WrestleMania XXVI

The 26th annual WrestleMania emanated from University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday night, with an attendance said to be upwards of 72,000 fans. Sadly, the show needed saving. The first half of this show, in my opinion, was not even close to WrestleMania quality, and before the main events started I thought this was a pretty poor edition of 'Mania. That being said, the main events, in particular Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, saved the show, to the point that I would say it was decent. Was it worth the 64.95? Not at all, and if you missed the show I wouldn't worry about ordering a replay. The only match you really should see is 'Taker/HBK part II. As for the review, matches are rated out of 5 stars (*****).

1. Unified Tag Team Championship Match
The Miz (c) & Big Show (c) vs. R-Truth & John Morrison

Match lasted 3 minutes and offered absolutely nothing of value. It felt like a midcard Raw match. 'Showmiz' won after Show made a blind tag and punched Morrison. *1/4

2. Randy Orton vs. Ted Dibiase vs. Cody Rhodes

The buildup for this was absolutely horrendous, but I will say the match was better than I expected, but I wasn't expecting much. Crowd really did treat Orton like a huge babyface, which was funny to see, and everything he did got a big pop, especially the finish. Unfortunately, the finish was also a total burial, and Legacy came out of this looking like total jobbers. Match was fine though, but had no business being on a WrestleMania card. **1/4

3. Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Christian vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Evan Bourne vs. MVP vs. Kane vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Matt Hardy vs. Dolph Ziggler

This was a very good match. There were the usual ladder spots but they had some very creative ones as well, inlcuding Kofi using a broken ladder as stilts to try and climb up to the briefcase. There were some sloppy spots, but overall the execution of all the moves was solid, despite there being a lot of wrestlers working the match. Another thing of note is that Kane had NEW TIGHTS~!~! for the first time since September 2003. At the end Christian was about to win, but Jack Swagger slammed his head with the case, and in a moment where time stood still, took about 40 minutes to get the briefcase off the hook. Despite this botchery, the match was quite enjoyable. ***1/2

4. Triple H vs. Sheamus

This match wasn't anything special but it was better than I expected. Still, slightly above average matches were up and down this card and that has no place on a WrestleMania show. Another thing I did not like about this match was the outcome. There was no way Hunter should have won this match, and the fact that he didn't give Sheamus a big win says a lot. Match was fine though, and there were some pretty good near falls and the crowd got into it by the end. **1/2

5. Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk

Most dissapointing match on the show. For the amount of time they got, it was good, but unfortunately they only got 6 minutes, so great this was not. It wasn't their fault because they got cut on time, but this was very frustrating. Could have been one of the better matches on the show, instead it was merely OK. **

6. No Holds Barred Lumberjack Match
Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon

Oh. My. God. This sucked. It started when Vince came out with the rest of Bret's family, and said they were working against Bret tonight. Then, in a 'swerve,' his family turned on Vince and it turned out it was a set up again. So Bret screwed Vince. Yee Haw. His family then became lumberjacks. Match went 10 minutes, and it consisted of Vince being beaten up (badly) on the outside by the Hart family, and then Bret weakly hit him with a crowbar for a long time, and then hit him with a chair for a while, and then put him in the sharpshooter. The crowd, was utterly silent. When this was over, it made me wish Bret hadn't come back, because this sendoff was even worse than when he got screwed. Both guys could barely move. This was just sad. -*

7. World Heavyweight Championship Match
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Edge

Show started to pick up at this point, but not by a whole lot. Match was good but not at the level of a main event world title match at 'Mania. It built very slowly, but when when it was starting to get good it ended. Jericho retained (shockingly) after a belt shot behind the refs back and a codebreaker. Match was good but nothing special, would have been better had it taken place at another ppv and not the biggest show of the year. ***1/4

8. 10 Diva Tag Match
Michelle McCool, Layla, Alicia Fox, Maryse, & Vickie Guerrero
Kelly Kelly, Mickie James, Eve Torres, Gail Kim, & Beth Phoenix

This was horrendous. I mean, just an abortion of a pro wrestling match. Finish came when vickie did a frog splash off the ropes onto Kelly Kelly, and even though it was supposed to be the finish, the ref counted two and said that Kelly's shoulders were up (which they were, but Christ just count the pin anyway), and then Vickie stood up, went back down, and just pinned her again. Awful. DUD

9. WWE Championship Match
John Cena (c) vs. Batista

The most predictable match on the show (how shocking). I mean, if you thought Cena was going to lose this match you need your head examined. This was not pretty early. They managed to botch a suplex, and Dave nearly killed Cena with what was supposed to be a rolling DDT. They were also doing some sort of bear hug / choke spot that was baffling to see. Cena at one point did a 5 knuckle shuffle off the top rope, and missed Dave by about 10 feet to the point that it was hilarious. Well, would have been hilarious had this not been the biggest show of the year. That being said, the crowd was super into this match by the end it turned out to be pretty good, and they did have a good finishing sequence and traded some exciting near falls. One of those was the same spot they did at Summerslam 2008, where Cena jumped off the top into a Big Dave bomb. Unfortunately, when they did it this year, they totally fucked it up. I was wondering if Cena broke his neck again. Anyway, by the end I thought the match was good and the crowd enjoyed it, but it was predictable and utterly too sloppy for me to give this a higher rating than 3 stars. ***

10. No DQ Match "Streak vs. Career"
Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels

This match saved the show, and I wouldn't be surprised if this won match of the year for the second straight year. Just a spectacular match with two of the greatest of all time. I don't like comparing this to last year's match, but I'd say it was as good, but not better. Definately a match you need to see. At one point Shawn gave 'Taker a moonsault off the top rope through the announce table, which was utterly insane. There were some great near falls, both guys kicked out of each other's finishers. Just a tremendous main event, one of the better matches in WrestleMania history. After the match Shawn and 'Taker shook hands, and then Shawn had a nice moment standing in the ring to a standing ovation. Is Shawn's career actually over? Only time will tell, but if he had to pick a match to go out on, I can't blame him for making it this one. ****3/4

Do not pay $64.95 for this show. This was not an awful ppv, but I would not classify this as a good WrestleMania. The main event was the only thing worth rewatching on the entire show, and the rest was pretty forgettable. Who would have thought the the two oldest guys on the roster would save a show two years in a row? Unbelievable, I miss HBK already. Hopefully Undertaker doesn't soon follow.


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