Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #9 John Cena vs. CM Punk (WWE Championship, WWE Money in the Bank 2011)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31359911/?contentId=&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=money_in_the_bank )

John Cena vs CM Punk from Money in the Bank 2011 fully deserves to be in the top 10 of the 100 Best Matches…List. It has all the components of a great match: an incredible build, a blistering crowd, an unbelievable match and John Cena. Of course, I jest about the latter. But I can’t deny he’s been in some great matches. This is probably his best (and Punk’s WWE best). Cena has always tried to outdo his “indie” opponents, and this trend started with CM Punk in this match. We’ve seen them fight before on the Best 100 Matches…List, at #62 (click here for my review), but that was an exchange of big moves. This match is a lesson in psychology, pacing, storytelling and high states. Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #10 Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE Title, 60 Minute Iron Man Match. WWE Wrestlemania XII)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31348419?contextType=wwe-show&contextId=wrestlemania&contentId=67696930&watchlistAltButtonContext=series )

Oh goodness, we’re entering the Top 10! My journey through the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To Watch Before You Die has taken me over two years…but I’m nearly there!

I’ve mentioned before during my reviews of the 100 Best Matches…List that the original version of a gimmick match is, more often than not, the best version of it. Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber, Ladder match…all the originals are superior to what came after them. Not only that, but they usually involve Shawn Michaels as well. However, Shawn Michaels failed to make the inaugural 60 Minute Iron Man Match better than what succeeded it. The Iron Man match between Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle, placed at #52, is far better than this one (click here for my review). It’s a match of two halves. The first half is as dull as waiting for a bus. The second half is action-packed, but the wait was so long for the action that it’s hard to feel excited for it. Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #11 Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat (NWA World Title, NWA Chi-Town Rumble)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31572841/?contentId=&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=chi-town_rumble )

We saw the concluding bout of Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat’s “Holy Trinity” of matches at #17 (click here for my review). We all are familiar with a trilogy: the first part is very good, showing lots of promise. The middle part is spectacular, the best of the trilogy. As for the final part: more often than not, it’s a disappointment in relation to the second part. Think of the great film trilogies: most end with a whimper, not a bang. However, #17 was something rather special. If that was the concluding part of the trilogy, the other two would have to be mind-blowing. Flair and Steamboat left little on the table in their first bout, but I still preferred #17… Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #12 The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (WWE Title, No Disqualification. WWE Wrestlemania X-7)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31599441?contextType=wwe-show&contextId=wrestlemania&contentId=69745716&watchlistAltButtonContext=series )

Is this the best WrestleMania main event ever? The 100 Best Matches…List would have you believe it’s Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII in an Iron Man match (placed at #10). I’m here to tell you that the Iron Man match is a borefest (if I remember correctly). The Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania X-7 is surely the best ‘Mania main event ever at the top of one of the best Manias ever. Austin vs The Rock had everything, from a good build, a clash of two top stars, drama, blood and a delicious twist. It represented everything great about the Attitude Era whilst signalling the end of said era. Continue reading

Review: Starship Troopers (1997) (B-Movie Trash, or Inspired Satire?)

“This year we explored the failure of democracy”

Starship Troopers is twenty years old this year! I mean the film, not the book. Paul Verhoeven’s adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s classic science fiction novel was greeted with critical disdain upon its release. Those fond of Heinlein’s novel disliked his interpretation of the text (and lack of power suits). Film critics disliked the fascistic overtones, bland acting, and simple plot. However, both parties misunderstood Verhoeven’s intentions behind directing Starship Troopers. He didn’t want to bow down before a science fiction classic. He wanted to be subversive and controversial. He wanted to turn the novel on its head and lace it with his own brand of brutal satire. In that respect, it was a success. Starship Troopers isn’t a classic science fiction film, but it’s pretty darn close. Continue reading

Review: Dark Star (1974) (Carpenter’s Supernova!)

Someday this tape will be played and then they’ll feel sorry.

I’ve been having something of a John Carpenter binge lately, watching both Assault on Precinct 13 and The Fog (both of which I’ve never watched before!) I decided to take a look at Carpenter’s first film, Dark Star. Oddly, I was introduced to Dark Star during my first year of philosophy at university. The lecturer used to show us clips of science fiction films to explain certain philosophical concepts. He showed us the conclusion of Dark Star, where a man and a sentient bomb are talking about the meaning of life. It was only years later that I watched the whole film. While a rough piece of work, it’s still a great science fiction comedy. Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #13 The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (No Disqualification, Streak vs. Career, WWE Wrestlemania XXVI)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31294203?contextType=wwe-show&contextId=wrestlemania&contentId=66743884&watchlistAltButtonContext=series )

Sequels, who’d have them? Of course, there’s Terminator 2, Aliens, Godfather II…but those are the chosen few. There’s a great chance of disappointment when you watch a sequel, especially if the predecessor was something special. Some may call the first WrestleMania match between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels as the greatest match ever (I’m one of those people. And the 100 Best Matches…List agrees with me. It’s #1!). How could they possibly follow it up? At WrestleMania XXVI, the rematch was set: The Streak vs Career, Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels… Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #14 Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle (WWE Wrestlemania 21)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31305371/?contentId=31305371&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=wrestlemania )

Shawn Michaels vs Kurt Angle is one of my all-time favourite matches. It had all the elements in place: dream match, WrestleMania match, entertaining feud, and two of the greatest workers in the industry going one on one for the first time. It was a match I had hoped for ever since Shawn Michaels returned to the business. To say I was hyped about it was an understatement. Frequently, high levels of hype result in a disappointment. This did not result in disappointment, but in something exceeding my very high expectations. Continue reading

Review: Dunkirk (2017) (A Nail Biter? Or A Thumb Twiddler?)

“I’m English”

Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan’s latest film. You know, that guy who directed The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception? He’s kind of a big deal. But apparently he’s veering away from fantasy and science fiction with this film about the Dunkirk evacuation during World War II. According to Nigel Farage, Dunkirk is a move all youngsters should see. According to most critics, it’s a film all people should see. Yes, yet again, a Nolan film is receiving high critical acclaim. But does it deserve it? Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #15 John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar (Extreme Rules, WWE Extreme Rules 2012)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31357435/?contentId=31357435&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=extreme_rules )

Brock Lesnar’s returned to the WWE after ten years in 2012. It was a big deal. His first opponent was none other than John Cena. Of course, coming back and giving John Cena an F-5 made him a firm fan favourite. Who doesn’t like seeing Cena get beaten up? I was one of the many people excited for their match at Extreme Rules 2012. I loved every second of it (until the end). However, upon rewatching it for this review, I found myself bored to tears. Without the hype, it was just a plain match that meandered from spot to spot.

Lesnar’s return was fuelled by his success in UFC. It was a major selling point for his character. It also added a veneer of realism to WWE. However, it was clear that he wasn’t prepared for a wrestling match. Yes, he executes a German Suplex or three. But the majority of the match consists of Lesnar punching, elbowing, or kicking Cena. There’s not much else to the match! I remember this match being brutal, but my second viewing saw little brutality. Lesnar may make Cena bleed with a vicious elbow in the first few minutes of the match. That makes it stand out it my mind. But the match is stopped so the medics can stem the bleeding. It’s a sign that the PG era is alive and well.

A spot that would have been much more brutal if Lesnar would have used a chair…

Other flashes of brutality stayed in my mind, like the use of a chain. But all Lesnar does with it is wrap it around Cena’s legs and hang him from a ring post. Now, that does sound brutal. But Lesnar punches him a few times and frees him. Steel stairs comes into play later in the match, but only because Lesnar wants to execute the Kimura hold on Cena whilst lying on the steps. Where’s the sense in that? How does that accentuate the submission hold?

Maybe the sight of seeing John Cena get battered for most of the match made me enjoy it more than I should have done. If you want to see Cena get battered in an entertaining way by Lesnar, maybe watch their match at Summerslam 2014. But this match consists of Lesnar punching Cena for the majority of its duration. There’s the initial excitement of Cena being outmatched by an opponent, but that quickly withers away as Lesnar isn’t prepared for a WWE match. CM Punk’s match with Lesnar that was placed at #28 (click here for my review) should be in this place.

VERDICT: 4/10. If you want to see Cena get punched a lot, this is the match for you. If you want an exciting match, this match isn’t for you. The boredom creeps in after a few minutes and doesn’t leave the match.

Does this match belong in the WWE Network’s Best 100 Matches To See Before You Die? Leave your comments below!

Click here for my review of #16 Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (WWE Wrestlemania X)