Top 8 WWE Tag Teams From The Mid-2000’s That Did Not Get A Proper Opportunity

8 02 2017

WWE Logo

When I started watching WWE in 2004, the Tag Team division (at least on Smackdown) were alight with some cool tag team matches. Around at the time were teams like The Dudley Boyz, as well as a string of other tag teams made up of singles wrestlers including the teams of: Paul London and Billy Kidman, Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio as well as Rene Dupree and Kenzo Suzuki. While it may not have been a golden period for tag team wrestling, it was still pretty good. Come a few changes in the line-ups (less than a year later) however, and the tag teams were pretty low in terms of quality. You had MNM on Smackdown engaging in competition every week with the supposedly ‘only’ tag team around at the time made up of Charlie Haas and Hardcore Holly, where as Raw was pretty much doing what Smackdown had done one year previously, creating tag teams made up of singles wrestlers such as Eugene and William Regal and William Regal and Tajiri.

Dudley Boyz

As 2005 started to round down however, things began to change, with a string of tag teams entering the company, not exactly made up of well-known single wrestlers, but teams specifically put together for the purposes of tag team wrestling before they debuted. This was a major move for the company as it was an opportunity to create new and potential future stars, as well as lighten up a division which had been pretty static all this time. Some of these did go on to achieve some success, even winning a few tag team titles; teams like the aforementioned MNM, as well as Deuce ‘n Domino, Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, Spirit Squad, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, as well as the rebooted L.O.D. made up of long time Road Warrior; Animal, and the fledgling Heidenreich (although this could have been done more to promote a recently released DVD). Some of the Tag Teams though that appeared during this time (and there were a decent few) did not really get an opportunity to shine, which was a shame as some of them were pretty good. OK, yes some were pretty bad too, the main ones coming to mind (at least in my opinion) being; The Dicks (the Heart Throbs were not too bad although they were pretty much near the same as The Dicks).

Those though that were at least pretty good to a point though did not get much of an opportunity to shine, many of them sometimes receiving tag team title shots, but in the end did not actually get them, and although some lasted a while, in the end most were either released, or broken up (which created numerous other problems which did not work out either). The thing is though, for me personally, I had high hopes for these teams, and still fondly remember them to this day, and so I wanted to do a post on these teams. Originally I was going to do a post with just the top 5, but I wanted to be as inclusive as I could be, so I thought about doing 7, then 8 because I remembered one other team. So here and now then are the Top 8 Tag Teams from the mid 2000’s in WWE that I fondly remember, as well as I feel did not get their justly right opportunities.

la-resistance

8. La Resistance (rebooted) – When WWE brought back the ECW promotion in 2006, I was pretty excited given what I had heard about the ECW brand. How wrong I was to be excited; it was basically more like an episode of Heat with a Hardcore match each week for about 3 weeks, and then it just became Heat. Anyway, there were some good things for a time on it, things like TEST, Marcus Cor Von and a rebooted La Resistance. La Resistance were a tag team on Monday Night Raw for a few years made up of members Rene Dupree, Rob Conway and Sylvan Grenier. They had some pretty good success and for a time was the main tag team on Raw winning the championship 4 times overall. The group though eventually split, and Conway and Grenier had some interesting time as singles performers. Just over a year after ECW returned, Grenier and Dupree were brought back together to fight on ECW. Given how much Grenier improved in singles competitions, plus both he and Dupree’s Tag Team pedigree; I was pretty interested (was a fan of Dupree on Smackdown too) to see the result. The problem though was that they were on ECW, a promotion that had no real Tag Team division, nor tag team titles. So they eventually just disappeared after no more than 1 match. It was a shame really; I can still fondly remember their entrance music.

7. The Pitbulls – The Pitbulls is a name that has been used for many Tag Teams in the past, but I am talking about the team of Kid Kash and Jamie Noble. Both of these wrestlers were in the cruiserweight division and had some success in singles competition; but when they formed together making the Pitbulls it was a pretty exciting moment. At the time they were very hot single cruiserweight wrestlers, and teams made of cruiserweight wrestlers (like London and Kidman) usually were good value. These two though were not plumped on ECW, No, they were put on Velocity. Heat and Velocity were the shows WWE put on before the big events like Pay-Per-Views, Raw and Smackdown, just small things to get the audience going.  But if you were on one of the main shows and then went to Velocity or Heat, it was nearly a career death sentence. Some people did alright from it like Val Venis, but most of the time, it was where guys went before they were released from their contract. The Pitbulls had a few matches on Velocity and were pretty good, but it all ended rather abruptly after Kid Kash was released. Jamie Noble still stuck around for a time though.

jesse-and-festus

6. Jesse and Festus – In many cases with Tag Team wrestling, it’s not uncommon for teams to be made up of one little person, and one big person. During this time in wrestling Val Venis (not saying Val Venis is a small person, but…) was paired up with Viscera. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; it’s just the case that it can sometimes look like one certain person is doing all the work. That was not necessarily the case with these two, but the way they worked it out it could certainly look like that. Jesse and Festus played the parts of two wrestlers supposedly from the Deep South. Jesse was like a cruiserweight, Festus was definitely a heavyweight. Jesse was the talker/spokesperson of the team, whereas Festus was the muscle (it doesn’t help does it). It was a strange tag team in all honesty, as Festus looked like someone who should have been more in singles competition. Basically, Festus did not do any talking at all. He stared blankly into the camera, but supposedly had some kind of condition, which made him change personality from this dopey looking figure, to an enraged monster: when he heard the bell ring. Despite the strangeness of the team and its issues here and there, they were pretty entertaining, at one point acting like a removal firm. They had some good back stage moments, and some good in ring matches, including a good one between The Undertaker and Festus. But like many good, and entertaining Tag Teams in WWE, the two were split up. Jesse tried to become a member of Cryme Tyme, while Festus went on to be a sort of hard man enforcer type for many wrestlers like CM Punk in his Straight Edged Society. Jesse was eventually released from the company, later followed by Festus. It’s not all sad though, as Festus has returned to WWE once again in Tag Team competition as a member of The Club with AJ Styles and Karl Anderson; albeit now being called Luke Gallows.

tyson-tomko-and-gene-snitsky

5. Gene Snitsky and Tyson Tomko – This was another one of those cases where two mainly singles guys were brought together. Gene Snitsky had played the part of a large monster on Raw for a good long time and had scored a victory over Kane, and had been featured in a few main events including the main even at Survivor Series in 2004. But he began to dwindle after a time. Tyson Tomko was a big guy who could physically go, but spent most of his time acting like a bodyguard to Christian (much like Luther Reigns did for Kurt Angle), and we very rarely saw what he could do. So teaming these two together seemed like a good scenario, as two of the biggest and most imposing guys in WWE at the time would finally get an opportunity to show off. Well, to begin with you did not really get to see them, their main claim to fame was some kind of neck kink incident that John Cena walked in on. They did get one or two tag team title shots, but never really got it and then it just ended. It was a real shame; Tyson Tomko was one of these guys, much like Luther Reigns, who did have a good physical stance, but very little allowance to wrestle, and are instead hired to be bodyguards; Gene Snitsky meanwhile had proved what he was capable of, but this was never allowed either, and while this teaming up should have been a major move by WWE, it never went anywhere, and then they just disappeared.

the highlanders

4. The Highlanders – The Highlanders were a team of wrestlers apparently originating from Scotland who made a name for themselves mainly in Canada and in OVW. They came into WWE as two large, brutish wrestlers who had their own comedy and entertainment value and who in their first couple of weeks had shown what they could do, this swiftly ended with a loss to the Spirit Squad, and they just wandered for a long time. They became less a wrestling team, more a couple of guys backstage brought out for entertainment value, not wrestling value. This did change about a year later with a pretty good heel turn, which sadly did not last. When they first showed up they were very impressive and looked like ‘the team’; the ones everyone should look out for, the ones who got so hyped that they were going to be the tag team divisions next big thing, but sadly it never happened.

cryme-tyme

3. Cryme Tyme – For both Wrestling skill and backstage entertainment; no-one was better than Cryme Tyme. Cryme Tyme first appeared with a series of vignettes/promos where they appeared to be portraying a very stereotypical view on American street gangs. This view was shown by having two guys rob shops and beat people up, but in a way that was made to look entertaining. When Cryme Tyme finally appeared on Raw, they set the whole division ablaze with two wins against the Spirit Squad in a row. Their tag team skills in the ring were very good and they had some good finishers and good tactics (such as Shad Gaspard getting the pin, while JTG would distract the other team-mate). It was a good in ring team, but when they went backstage, they lit up the scene with a load of inappropriate sketches where they would greatly disrespect authority figures and rip people off. Their time as a team was sadly short, but they did get another go which went pretty ok too, but for a team that more than most showed they deserved a run with the titles; they never got them, and much like Jesse and Festus, they were split up in a move that was genuinely a bad move. Cryme Tyme were a fantastic team, and their combination of in ring skill and back stage antics made them one of the most memorable tag teams of that time if not more.

the mexicools

2. The Mexicools – The Mexicools were one of the first in the wave of teams that came about during this period of new tag teams. They were originally a stable made up of three very successful cruiserweight wrestlers; namely Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis and Super Crazy. The team was made to look like another group of stereotypes mainly that of Mexican immigrants employed to do house work. To this end the team would always come to the ring on a trio of Lawnmowers. The team originally started as just a group who would invade and disrupt matches, but soon would actually get involved with matches. This took the form of Juventud working as a singles wrestler and the group’s leader, and both Psicosis and Super Crazy in Tag Team competition. Within a short space of time, the group showed off with ease how good a team they were; displaying incredible tag team manoeuvres as well as spectacular single in ring performances including amazing high-flying skills. At the time, this team were more than obvious the ones who should have been getting title opportunities, and they did, nearly. Basically, the Mexicools got a shot at MNM’s tag team titles for the 2005 Armageddon Pay-Per-View.  The Smackdown before that said Pay-Per-View, Batista and Rey Mysterio won the Tag Team titles; so you would instantly think that come Armageddon, the Mexicools would face Batista and Rey Mysterio instead right? Wrong! Yes despite winning a shot at the titles; when the titles were won by somebody else, the team of Psicosis and Super Crazy did not fight that said team, but would fight MNM as usual, despite MNM not being the champions at that time. It was just stupid and ridiculous, and with the Mexicools finally on course to get something, they lose it for stupid reasons. The Mexicools hung round for a while after that, but Juventud had left, then Psicosis, and Super Crazy had a short singles run; until what became one of the most promising, and most deserving tag teams out there, became nothing!

the gymini

1. The Gymini – The Gymini were an interesting team. First introduced by Simon Dean on an episode of Smackdown, (with a cool entrance theme) one of them appeared followed by another. It was two rather large, muscled men who looked like a spitting image of one another. They showed no signs of being singles wrestlers pushed into one; they were in fact two real life twins also known as the Shane Twins who had some success in other companies. They came to WWE and quickly dispatched the hot tag team of the time; Paul London and Brian Kendrick, and they did this over a good few weeks. They stood out as a team; they both came with good individual in ring skills, as well as a series of team based moves which mostly involved throwing people in the air. They were as big as many singles performers and were dominant in every match. But again, were not given their just opportunity. They sort of stagnated and had one or two matches here and there, but instead of getting anywhere near the titles, they just dwindled, with the titles surprisingly being given to: Paul London and Brian Kendrick, the same guys the Gymini had destroyed on weekly occasions. It just did not make sense. The Gymini did not get a major full run compared to some other teams on this list, but for that very brief period in which they showed up and dominated the scene, they were in my opinion the best Tag Team of that period, and the one I wanted to see more of, and success brought too.

GENEPOOL





Top 5 Films of 2016 (It’s Been A Funny Year)

11 01 2017

godzilla-resurgence (Toho Co., Ltd. - 2016)

Since a very young age, I have been a fan of the Two Ronnies. It’s a comedy love that I still carry to this day and continue to enjoy looking back on every now and then. But despite this love for two comedy greats, I have always struggled with Ronnie Barker’s sitcoms. I have seen numerous episodes of Porridge and Open All Hours, but in all honesty have never found them to be all that funny. I have watched plenty of episodes; maybe an odd wisp of laughter here and there, but on the whole, just did not get them. If anything, the only thing that would get a faint pant of air from my lungs would be the spring-loaded till in Open All Hours. Despite this lack of understanding on my part, one thing though that has shined on to me in a way is how sometimes on occasion, I cannot help but at the end of the day say; “It’s been a funny day”. Well, looking back on the movies of 2016, I now cannot help but say “It’s been a funny year”.

xa3

A Funny year is indeed how I feel this year has gone by in terms of movie releases. There have been several high-profile and low profile releases that have caught the eyes of myself and many other movie goers. We have seen live action remakes of animated classics, rebirths of classic comedy, and revolutionary new ideas in already popular genres as well as the usual treasure trove of sequels and heart-warmers. For me personally it’s been a weird one, with a lot of films that I wanted to see being released in the first half of the year, with the second half being a collection of films that I was wavering watching or not. Quite a few of these films were pretty fun and are included in this list, but there have been one or two disappointments. Firstly I did not get to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows or Kung Fu Panda 3 (not forgetting the new Japanese Godzilla film which nobody considers releasing for people living in the UK!), but the big disappointment for me had to be Dad’s Army. It was funny in places; but everything else was just boring by comparison with an acting pool not living up to their own acclaim and a story that was not worth bothering with!

GR1

There have been some high’s thankfully, some of which are unable to be featured in this list and just want to give a quick shout out to (in no particular order): Allegiant, X-Men: Apocalypse, Eddie The Eagle, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. But now the main event; as per usual: films will be rated in ascending order with Number 1 being my favourite and 5 being not as much my favourite but still a good film, and as always, the list applies to films that were released and shown on the big screen between the traditional 12 month period of January to December. So without dragging this on any further, here are my Top Five Favourite Films of the year (yes, this year it is actually 5).

ethel-and-ernest (Cloth Cat Animation - 2016)

5. Ethel & Ernest – Based on the Raymond Briggs graphic novel of the same name, Ethel and Ernest is about the life of Briggs’s own parents as they meet, date, marry and live their lives through the changing face of Great Britain. Originally meant to be shown on TV during Christmas 2016, special big screen showings were done in places around the country including at The Dukes in Lancaster. Before seeing this film I had no idea what it was about, thinking it was When The Wind Blows by mistake (having forgotten what that was called), then my Mam told me differently; a little unsure but still interested I decided to go see it, and really enjoyed it. I liked how it was less a film, more an animated slide show of the lives of an incredible couple living through the hardships of London life during WWII, to raising a son, to a new way of life compared to their own upbringing. I especially enjoyed the shots of WWII city life as most documentaries I have seen have mostly focused on evacuations and the front line, but this instead showed what life was like in a major city. Overall I enjoyed this film a great deal, from its unique form of storytelling to its charming and colourful animation style.

10-cloverfield-lane (Bad Robot Productions - 2016)

4. 10 Cloverfield Lane – If you are like me, then over the last few years you will have been calling out for a Cloverfield sequel since Cloverfield’s original released in 2008. For years I have kept tabs on it to see if such a film was going to happen or not, and so far no official sequel has appeared; a spiritual successor has though. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a very different film to the original Cloverfield. Whilst the first film was a found footage drama about a group of people trying to survive a monster attack on New York City; 10 Cloverfield Lane is about a young lady (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who finds herself in a bomb shelter with two other people, and begins to get cold feet surrounding the older of the two (John Goodman). The film in essence is both a psychological and science fiction horror as for the first good half you get the feeling that something is going on above ground as the characters get used to a new life underground, until the main character finds evidence that suggests that everything underground isn’t groovy either, eventually leading to a tense situation that culminates in a giant twist that makes you rethink everything you have just seen. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a one-of-a-kind film that makes you want to feel out for your Teddy Bear and grip it tight.

Independence Day: Resurgence (20th Century Fox - 2016)

3. Independence Day: Resurgence – Much like number four on this list, if you are like me and absolutely love the Roland Emmerich science fiction film Independence Day, you will have also been hoping that maybe one day there might be a sequel to it; well (two decades later), one has indeed been released. Twenty years after the events of the first film, humanity has used the technology scrounged from the remains of the alien fleet to upgrade their own technology and bolster up defences of planet Earth. This however has not turned out to be all that fruitful however, as the once defeated alien empire has decided to enact a counter attack by sending in a much bigger force than the last one. The first film’s core cast (minus an obvious one) have returned to fight alongside a new cast of characters including (but not limited to); Liam Hemsworth, Jessie T. Usher and Maika Monroe. The film itself was once again packed with a jaw dropping cavalcade of special effects that once again bring the awe and fascination that the first film did so well, but does not content itself by making a simple remake, but a strong sequel that does things a little bit differently and contains several other genres, not just the basic few. Overall I was mightily pleased with the end result.

your-name (Toho Co., Ltd. - 2016)

2. Your Name. – If you look through the prolific catalogue of films produced by Studio Ghibli, there are many highlighted classics. Having recently become a major fan of the studio’s works, I am always on the lookout for new films to watch to add to my growing collection. Some of the films on show though that do not necessarily grab my attention however are the convoy of teen based romantic dramas. In most cases I actually try to avoid them as they don’t really appeal to me. Well this year, I saw a film which was along those lines (not released by Studio Ghibli) while also entwined with a Science Fiction enhanced story that within an instant became one of my favourite films this year. Your Name. is a Japanese Anime film directed by (Makoto Shinkai), which tells the tales of a boy and girl who have never met and live in completely opposite locations miles apart from each other, but for some reason get connected, as when they sleep, they dream the lives of the other, not realizing at first, that in reality they have in fact changed bodies. It is a strange film to begin with that leads to some really funny situations, but things take a sudden turn which causes one character to search out the other and come across a grim reality that makes them attempt to change the course of history. I must say I actually really enjoyed it. I was put off at first by its romantic idea, but upon finishing wanted to give it a standing ovation. It was so different, yet so unique that I was left gobsmacked for one that I enjoyed such a film that I would have normally tried so hard to put off. By failing to look round that I did not properly foresee the science fiction elements that I just so love and the two together created a potent mix that made me leave the cinema with a smile across my face. I absolutely enjoyed this film to its absolute core and it has made me rethink my earlier stance on romantic teen anime films.

deadpool (20th Century Fox - 2016)

1. Deadpool – Just bear with me for a moment as I get my head in the right frame of mind for this one…

With all the super hero related movies that are getting released these days, I think it’s good that we have at least one film that we as an audience can actually connect with. Saving the world is good and all, but what about when you return home and find out that some maniac has kidnapped your girlfriend, I think we can all agree that that is probably far more important! Deadpool is the next major spin-off in the X-Men Film Series and stars everyone’s loud mouthed mercenary as he sets out not to save the world, but rescue his girlfriend and hope he can receive some good plastic surgery in the process. Based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, Deadpool stars Ryan Reynolds in the lead role, backed up with the talents of Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller and Morena Baccarin in what has to be one of the strangest films of all time. Deadpool is not your run of the mill superhero movie, as Deadpool isn’t really a superhero, more just someone rather deadly you don’t want to offend. Deadpool comes wrapped in a neat pile of action, guns, violence, comedy, sexual antics and fourth wall breaking moments to create a truly incredible experience that will have other superhero movies (and super heroes) taking notice. Altogether this film creates a matchless form of cinematic awesomeness becoming not just the most standout film of this year, but also my absolute favourite film of 2016.

GENEPOOL (what was your favourite film of 2016?).





Top 10 Most Exciting Films of 2017 (First Among Lists)

4 01 2017

star-wars-episode-eight (Lucasfilm - 2017)

Jasper Fforde is a British bestselling Author whose selected works include the The Eyre Affair, The Last Dragonslayer and Shades of Grey.  He is something of an inspiration to me and someone I have not just met and had books of his signed, but have had the fantastic opportunity to have my work looked at and even edited by him; it was a wonderful opportunity and moment for me and still ranks as one of the best moments in my writing career to date. Anyway, I have been thinking a little bit about Jasper Fforde recently, mainly because of The Last Dragonslayer being shown on Sky 1 on Christmas Day, a book which was one of my favourite reads a couple of years ago.

The Last Dragonslayer (Hodder and Stoughton - 2011)

Anyway, to get back on topic, one of the books in his Thursday Next series is called; First Among Sequels. Well before I began writing this; (having awoken from a small nap on Boxing Day) I thought that it could be fun to give a personal touch to one of my early blog posts, in particular one of the early Top 5-ish posts where I talk about last year and this year in films. I was thinking that I should call it First Among Lists. Then I thought that this could be rather confusing for anyone who came along looking for a post on films, as the tile does not suggest anything along those lines. Then I thought; ‘why not’, and added it in brackets after writing this sentence. See. Just thought I would do something a bit more fun and a lot less like written uniform.

split (Universal Pictures - 2016)

2016 has passed, and 2017 has begun. Yes, it’s that time of year when we can break those freshly made resolutions and convert the newly acquired weight’s beach into a clothes horse. I prefer not to make such resolutions as I don’t see any real point in them. Why not, instead of making pathetic New Year’s Resolutions which you’re not going to complete, find something to look forward to instead, like; I don’t know – movies to be released this year? There are quite a lot of good-looking films to be released this year, including the possibility of a remake of The Empire Strikes Back, something to look forward to for many I’ll bet. As is something of an annual tradition for me and my blog now, I have had a good look through the (Wikipedia) movie release schedules and found a whole load of good-looking films to look forward to this year, and am keen to share this information with you all, including which are the Top 10 films I personally am looking forward to. Now there is quite a lot this coming year I have found, and not all could end up on my Top 10, so I just want to give a shout out to the following films: Wonder (the book is really good), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Alien Covenant, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Geostorm, Despicable Me 3, Split and The Great Wall. If there is anything you in particular are looking forward to this year but is not mentioned on here, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know; but for now, here is what I am looking forward to this year.

dunkirk (Warner Bros - 2017)

10. Dunkirk – Films set during World War II don’t really get my interest. World War 2 is an important event during the entire history of this planet of course, but the use of the subject matter in the media I feel has been rather overdone; you only need to look at Video Games set during WW2 to see what I mean. Why am I interested in this then, well because Christopher Nolan is directing it, and I feel that that is a good a reason as any to not write it off as of yet. A trailer has been released which I have yet to give a proper look at, and will probably do so when I edit this post in WordPress, the one thing we have to hope for of course is that the film is done right, and does not replace the British, Belgian and French Soldiers with American Ones for the sake of the film (America was actually still one whole year away from joining WW2 during the events of the Dunkirk Evacuation).

return-of-xander-cage (Columbia Pictures - 2017)

9. XXX: Return of Xander Cage – I am surprised how long it has taken to get this film made, as this should have been done nearly 10 years ago. The first Triple X film starring Vin Diesel, Marton Csokas, Samuel L. Jackson and Asia Argento was a film I really liked and was hoping for a sequel. A sequel was what we got, but without 3 of the previous mentioned cast members, try to guess which ones. The first one was a unique blend of modern and traditional spy films with the added bonus of extreme sports and stunts, creating what I think is still quite a cool little film. While this new one may be missing Asia Argento (and Csokas of course for those who have seen the original), I still feel quietly excited by this, and hope that the juices that flowed in the original will blossom once more and possibly create an interesting franchise; 14 years late.

thor-the-dark-world (Marvel Studios - 2013)

8. Thor: Ragnarok – The first Thor film was something of a surprise to me, as I had no idea what to expect, but absolutely loved. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has the feeling about it that it might have begun to start to come to a close as the series for one feels like it’s beginning to drag and feature less of its more prominent characters. I do feel sort of glad though that Thor gets one more solo outing before that happens, but it does come with a bit of un-nerve. I have not really been tracking its production, but it feels wrong that Natalie Portman is not going to be in it. I don’t know as to the why she is not in it, but when you have been using two previous films to create a romance between two characters, only for one to leave with no real reason and probably to be replaced, I feel that is something of a bad idea, because, that previous romance has been developed, this new one won’t be to an audience point of view and will come across as more confusing, than heart-warming. It has been done before, just look at Transformers: Dark of the Moon as an example. Anyway, I still have hope for Thor, as I want it to be just like the previous two films; proper fun, enjoyable films. While the love life maybe completely in the air, what isn’t is the male cast which still includes Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba and Anthony Hopkins, as well as newcomers to the Thor films in Avengers regular Mark Ruffalo, and more interestingly; Jeff Goldblum.

war-for-the-planet-of-the-apes (20th Century Fox - 2017)

7. War for the Planet of the Apes – The new Planet of the Apes film series has become one of the standout heavyweights of cinema, and has achieved this with only 2 films released so far. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a wonderfully thought out and brought together film which created truly marvellous moments (including the death of Draco Malfoy), this continued on with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which set man and ape against one another in a brutal fashion while also weaving in a thought-provoking plot. Now, things are set to get even deeper, as audiences have a heavy minded choice to make, as they decide whether to fight with humanity, or with the apes in a battle to decide who will be the new dominant species. Regular ape cast members are set to return, while humanity is represented by former District 12 Winner Woody Harrelson…..should be pretty interesting.

the-shape-of-water (Bull Productions - 2017)

6. The Shape of Water – In all honesty I don’t know much about this film. Wikipedia says its: “An other-worldly story, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963”. Why do I take an interest in this film you ask? Because Guillermo Del Toro is directing it! While it’s plot is currently vague with not much known about it other than production details including cast members such as Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones, it is hard to expect what it could be, but considering what this film sort of suggests, part of me wonders if this could be Del Toro’s next Pan’s Labyrinth?

the lego-batman movie (Warner Bros - 2017)

5. The Lego Batman Movie – When I went to see The Lego Movie, it was clear to me who the real star of the show was: Batman (voiced by Will Arnett). I loved the portrayal of Batman in the Lego movie, just could not get enough, so was super excited when I found out that he was getting his own movie, and this year it gets released. I can still hear his awesome self-crafted theme tune going through my head right now. Have seen a couple of trailers so far, and it’s hard to work out where it is going or what it is going to do, but as long as Batman is the Lego Movie Batman (which is by far the best Batman to date), then it should be awesome (pun intended).

Power Rangers (Lionsgate - 2017)

4. Power Rangers – Is it excitement or hope why I have put this film so high in this list? I am not going to get too detailed here about this; I made my views very clearly detailed back in September. What I do want to say is that I am excited but still very nervous about the Power Rangers movie due for release in the coming months. The film is not too far from release and the trailer does look pretty promising, but given what we have seen in the past when Power Rangers have taken to the big screen, I think my nerves are a reasonable reaction. I do want this film to work, and do feel that in the right hands and with the right execution, this film could become a worthy rival to the Transformers film series. The trailer and shots from production do look pretty good, but I don’t think any of us who intend to see this film can really hope to relax until this film actually gets released, then we can find out if a third time can be some kind of charm for the Power Rangers.

transformers-the-last-knight (Paramount - 2017)

3. Transformers: The Last Knight – I have been a fan of the Transformers films from day one. It is a series I have enjoyed throughout and have continued to do so to the present day. When Age of Extinction came out in 2014, I was unsure of where the series was heading for, but was blown away by a powerhouse of a film, my favourite entry to date and have been super excited to hear there is not just going to be a sequel, but also returning with the fantastic new cast of Extinction. While Nicola Peltz is a no-show at current, Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci and Josh Duhamel (from the first 3 films) are all confirmed for what is so far looking to what could be the most ‘confusing’ entry in the series to date (and I can’t help but wonder if the title is a reference to something that happens in the film, or is a reference to the status of the series director).

kong-skull-island (Legendary Pictures - 2017)

2. Kong: Skull Island – Soon after the release of Godzilla in 2014; Legendary Pictures announced that they were going to make some more Godzilla films, as well as possibly creating a shared universe which would also include King Kong. Well; King Kong is set to return this year with his very own reboot, as a stellar cast of actors including (but not limited to) Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman decide to explore an uncharted island occupied by a variety of horrific monsters, all of it overseen under the might of the Great Ape known mainly as KONG. So far the film is looking really good; Kong’s design especially looks terrific and while details of the story are still relatively unknown, the current premise looks pretty cool. How it will turn out is another thing, but so far, I am really excited for this one (let’s just hope Peter Jackson didn’t accidentally walk onto the set during production).

logan (20th Century Fox - 2017)

1. Logan – A lot of things have happened in cinema over the last 17 years, but one of the very few constants is the portrayal of Wolverine in the X-Men Film Series. Since the series began, Wolverine has been portrayed by Hugh Jackman, and has helped not just kick-start his movie career, but made him a household name. “But all good things must come to an end” many pessimistic people have said, and this appears to be true for the relationship between High Jackman and Wolverine, but the animal is not going to bow out without one last bloodbath. Set for release this year: Logan looks to tie up the loose ends of the series so far, as the X-Men head to bold new directions (especially with Deadpool looking set to become the series main star). Expect possible tears, as well as a lot of blood as Wolverine bows out in more ways than one, delivering potentially his final chapter, with support from his long-time friend and series heavyweight Patrick Stewart returning once more to play Charles Xavier, as they face one last enemy together, possibly in the rumoured form of Mr. Sinister.

GENEPOOL (Well that is my list, what movies are you looking forward to this year?).





The Apprentice 2016 Top 5 Candidates I Really Want To See Get Fired!

9 11 2016

the-apprentice-uk

The Year is 2016, and once again the BBC treats us to one of the major BBC Highlights of the year; a TV show where a bunch of Clowns attempt to prove themselves in a series of business based tasks in hope of getting some money to start a business with. Yes, The Apprentice (UK) is back on the box and is already in full swing this year. In the past the show has delivered some spectacular moments as well as presented a series of candidates as well as a select group of clowns who most of us would not trust with a ball of string let alone £250,000.

It is one of my favourite shows of the TV Calendar Year, and is both interesting as well as very entertaining, all the time creating near cringe worthy moments, and bits and bobs which are just too painful to watch. Every year when the show returns I prepare myself for the oncoming assault of dim-witted decisions being made by people who are supposedly by their own admission ‘successful’ or ‘expert’ business men and women. Every series that comes around also comes with a select group of Characters who are in their own unique way surprising; as they somehow manage to get any distance in the show. The one thing though that gets the most surprise from me is that many of them are already running their own businesses, so why they need to come onto the Apprentice is anyone’s guess? In all honesty after nearly 12 series of The Apprentice, I am surprised that I still get surprised by all this. I know these things are coming, but still get shocked when they happen. As I look back into past series’, its amazing how far we have come, but also how contenders from previous series look far better now than anyone in the last few years. The candidates of Series 5 for instance look like viable candidates for anything thrown in their way, while more recent series (series 12 especially), show a group of jokers who don’t really appear qualified to do, well…anything.

As series 12 goes; this to me looks like the biggest list of candidates who should all be fired immediately and get the show over with on the spot right now. There are maybe 4 people I can see going the distance and be good candidates for the role, but one of those; Aleksandra, decided to quit in task 4, so now we are left with; Alana, Jessica and Grainne. For me, that’s it; you may as well sack the rest right now and jump straight into the audience’s favourite task: The Interviews. Some people in this series though have shown themselves to be in a class of their own when it comes to being top joker at clown school, and for this reason, I present to you; the Top 5 Candidates I Really Really Want/Hope to see get Fired this year:

paul-sullivan

5. Paul Sullivan – Paul Sullivan is one of those candidates that can be a real surprise. Ones who are practical in any situation and can be potentially good candidates if you give them half a chance; so far though he has not really done anything like that. No offence to guys like this, guys who are not just good workers, but also possibly brilliant leaders if people would just give them a chance (or more likely just Shut Up!). They are hard workers and come from said backgrounds, and for that they are worthy of respect. Paul though while looking like he has come from said background, has only really acted like a bullish bull in a china tea shop. He has shown high levels of attitude and frustration to tasks. Now I can respect that as watching them on TV makes me want to do the same, but has not really shown any commendable acts either. He is professional, which is more than can be said about most, but he is not much else either. There is still some hope for him I feel…but he really needs to show that he can work upon it.

courtney-wood

4. Courtney Wood – Courtney is quite clearly the Snake in the Grass for this series. For an idea of what I mean by that, here is an example from a previous series:

Courtney has not really showed himself doing much, but given that he has never been called into the boardroom, his actions have never come into question. However, he did shed his cloak on a treat a few weeks ago. Whilst out playing Croquet with his new ‘friends’, he said “I know I can beat everyone in this competition, every week I long triple firing because it just makes my life easier”. Now while this is probably the secret dream of all Candidates in the process, the simple fact he said this out of no-where, and was pretty much the first thing he said this series, just makes me lose sympathy for him. I think we all look forward to a triple firing, not just because it makes You’re Fired interesting, but also because it removes the dead weight and horrible ones a lot quicker!

sofiane-khelfa

3. Sofiane Khelfa – Sofiane is one those guys that really needs to learn how to thread; just so then he can thread his mouth shut! He talks quite a bit, maybe not as much as Karthik in all likelihood, but he has this way of making and doing things his way and only his way, and he does this by talking so much that by the time someone can actually speak and either suggest their own ideas or debate his, there is not enough time to do so. He comes off as being rude, and has made some controversial announcements, comments and actions in the show, and could be considered more of an achilles heel to a team than a player. Someone who talks too much can be annoying, someone who talks too much but for the sake of lambasting and shooting his own opinion forward to the point where it appears like no-one else’s matters – that is just horrible; and for that he needs to get the finger.

samuel-boateng

2. Samuel Boateng – If this was any other series, Samuel Boateng could potentially be a really good candidate, but it isn’t and he has proved that he is definitely not. Given the task of doing a crowd-sourcing project, he made the consistently fatal apprentice mistake of suggesting that his past experience makes him a ‘pro’ at such things, once anyone does this, they may as well just be handed a shovel. In past episodes he has actually been quite quiet and it’s only recently that he has begun to really show himself. He is pretty vocal about his opinions and suggestions, and does fight his corner well, but in a very defensive position, and when presenting upfront could be a lot more descriptive rather than hoping everyone gets him, because I don’t think anyone actually does. However, his lack of being a good candidate really came out last week, and this all relates to what I have just described. If it wasn’t for him hopelessly describing what he was trying to get a bunch of actors to play out in the middle of a train station while rehearsing it, not even the audience watching at home would have got it! It would have been just a man enjoying a thumping good walk around a station and a bunch of people falling over whenever they got nudged in the shoulder, who then burst into dance. What that represents is, well…nothing other than his belief that reincarnation involves a west end musical moment. He thinks everyone is on the same page as him, and that everything is as clear as day, but in reality he’s as clear as a concrete bunker. He is obviously a very creative person, but what he needs to do is less work on the conception and put work more into the execution; and hope he does so before his business dreams meet the point of Sralan’s (sorry, Lord Sugar’s) Index Finger of Business Death.

karthik-nagesan

1. Karthik Nagesan – Every series of the Apprentice has at least one character, someone who stands out as more than just a candidate, someone who is unique by how much of a fool they are. This year it comes down to Karthik (or K as he wishes to be called) to fulfill this role. When a new series starts, many of these contestants like to share their own opinion about themselves; but you really have to worry for someone if at any time they suggest that they are like Napoleon or Alexander The Great and consider themselves optimistic enough of their chances to one day become Prime Minister of the UK. Basically, Karthik wants to be the UK version of Donald Trump (I’ll let that one sink in). It’s not his status though that makes me want to see the back of him sooner than later. On the BBC website, there is a quote which suggests that he believes himself to be firm yet polite. Now there is one key word here that is very possibly a complete lie; the word ‘polite’. Karthik has proven himself to be possibly the most untrustworthy person in the show’s history. He is someone who believes that no matter who the actual Project Manager is for a given task, that in actual fact it is him. He feels that his words should be respected no matter how much dribble they are, and that he should be able to do no matter what he wants no matter what others like the PM say. Now while he has since calmed down, week 2 of the process should have seen him gone. For one, his idea of being allowed to sit with the advert editor for 5 minutes just to do what he wanted without articulating to his team what he wanted to actually do was just absolute nonsense and should only be reserved for the audience, plus there was no need for that level of attitude! Then his latent disrespect towards Lord Sugar in the Board Room was beyond the pale. He talked down to Lord Sugar in the same manner as someone would talk down to a child. It was the pure personification of cringe worthy and one he should have been sent home for. But of course he has since calmed down, so he could consider that his lucky break, but given what he has shown himself to be like, I doubt he will be able suppress it for long; next he will be asking for 5 minutes alone with Claude Littner (“FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!”).

GENEPOOL (Who would you like to see get the Business Finger of Death – or Fired as its more widely known?)





Top 5 Warhammer Armies

12 10 2016

Warhammer Rule Book (Games Workshop - 2010)

During the last week of August, just after coming back from holiday, I was thinking about a game I received off my brother about a year ago called Dreadfleet. It’s a game by Games Workshop, the company that produces the tabletop games Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 and the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings Tabletop Games. Now while it may not be produced anymore, Dreadfleet is a game I fully intend to make and play at some point, as I really want to, but while thinking about it out of the blue, I decided to have a look at Warhammer 40,000 (40K) as I have collected Tau on and off for a number of years. When reading about it on Wikipedia, I decided to compare the dates of when 40k was released in comparison to the Warhammer Fantasy game series. I did not find out in the end as I became fixated on a more important issue: The Warhammer Fantasy Game; is no more!

Dreadfleet

Yes somewhat strangely and bizarrely; after about 3 decades of production, Games Workshop had decided to stop producing the Warhammer Fantasy game without any real reason provided as to why? This made me rather sad, as though while I have not collected that one for about 10 years now, the Fantasy Warhammer game has been an important part of my life. While I did not get to play Warhammer as much as I would have liked to, I have always considered myself as a fan. OK, maybe more a casual fan than anything else, but, no matter what form it came, Warhammer was an interest of mine. While I am more of a 40K player than the fantasy variant (and thankfully 40K is still going…..for now), I can still remember how much enjoyment the original Warhammer had brought me. It was my older brother who first got me involved in it, and I can remember all those Lizardmen I had bought through the years, as well as my brief period when I bought Dogs of War alongside Lizardmen including the purchase of a rather impressive Dragon. While in the end the fantasy battle game was probably not completely for me as I much rather fancied 40K, those memories are with me still to this day, remembering my first battle, my time painting my models with Mam and Dad, my soldiers, my hopes and dreams for the future as I looked into what I could maybe buy some day. I always pondered whether or not I would get back into it, but now it seems that I was too late.

Games Workshop Logo

While the Fantasy game has now passed on and been replaced with something called Age of Sigma (whatever that involves); the memories of Warhammer will always be with me, and as my way of a tribute, I have decided to make a post about my favourite armies in Warhammer. Now, just to be clear; this post is in regards to the fantasy game, and the number that each army is listed by represents more than just what they are like in combat, it’s more what they mean to me rather than which is generally the best army. Sadly, much like war itself, there are some casualties in this list as I decided to base the armies on what they meant to me, rather than just who looks cool. So, just to provide a quick mention, armies not in the Top 5 include: Wood Elves, Beastmen and Warriors of Chaos. So yes, I now present to you, my Warhammer Fantasy game Tribute, and walk down memory lane as I let you in on who were my Top 5 Favourite Armies from Warhammer (in a philosophical sense).

Skaven

5. Skaven and Ogre Kingdoms –Even though I never once did collect them, or even got to play with them, these two armies were for a long time my two favourite picks, if I ever decided to A: Stop collecting Lizardmen and collect something else, or B: Collect one of them if I ever got back into it. Skaven were always something of a mini favourite of mine, I just liked the idea of an army made of rats. They were sort of like Lizardmen, (but Rats) and I just found the idea of them, and their look to be rather cool. I thought that in the case of me having ever decided to stop collecting Lizardmen, Skaven would be the ideal army for me to collect instead.

Ogre Kingdoms

As for the Ogre Kingdoms, they came in pretty late as the whole scene went, but when I first spotted them, I immediately grew to like them, and I even put them ahead of Skaven if it was the case that I ever got back into it. I like these armies both equally, and while I never really got to experience either (except possibly Skaven in Blood Bowl on Steam); they were definitely fore-core-favourites of mine.

Orcs and Goblins

4. Orcs and Goblins – (Not to be confused with the above paragraph, this is just one army) For me, Orcs and Goblins served sort of two purposes in my memories of Warhammer. The first is that, every time I had an intro game, every time I learned to play, and every time I learned to paint models in Warhammer, it was always done with Orcs. I don’t why, but maybe because they were just big and simple to learn from. I remember painting Orcs in the shop in Preston; I even remember having a battle with them during a Warhammer day in Preston when I was about 13/14. While it was never my intention to collect them, I was introduced a great deal to them originally. The other reason I remember them is that my brother collected them quite enthusiastically for a great many years, even at one point having several legions of these metal faced Black Orcs and a good number of trolls to back them up. There is also a third memory: when I was first introduced to the Blood Bowl Tabletop game, I played with Orcs. It’s more just memories, and fond memories at that for me when it comes to Orcs (and Goblins); but the thing is, in Warhammer you cannot go far without running into at least one Orc.

High Elves

3. High Elves – Much like the above, High Elves was not an army I collected, however they did serve a very important moment for me in the history of playing/collecting Warhammer, as it was with High Elves that I had my first battle. Basically, after months of collecting Saurus and not really getting anywhere, I really wanted to play a game, but I could not until I had a commander, but had no idea of how I did that either. Anyway to cut a long story short, my brother had his friends round to play a big game, a sort of triple threat match if you like. Cannot remember who won, but after the game I asked if I could have a quick game, and asked if I could play with the High Elf army. Not wanting to do a full-blown game, my brother’s friends, gave me a small game, me playing with a small group of High Elves, one of his friends playing with 3 trolls, and I can’t remember what the other army group was (maybe Goblins). Anyway, I spent the early part of the match taking down the Trolls only then to get massacred by the other army. I can still remember that game fondly when I think of High Elves, and that is why they come third, because without them, it would have been years before I actually got to play a game of Warhammer, instead just collecting it the whole time.

Asarnil the Dragonlord

2. Dogs of War – While I had been collecting Lizardmen at the time, I fancied changing tact and collect something else for a bit. While I wanted to collect Undead, my Parents did not think it was a good idea. My brother suggested Dogs of War. Originally I did not like the sound of it, because I did not fancy collecting an army made of Dogs, eventually I came round to the idea, and saw that it was not an army of dogs, but an army of Mercenaries, one which was pretty much made up of lots of armies within the Warhammer Fantasy universe. While this collection did not really go anywhere (I got 3 kits in the end), during my mini collection of Dogs of War I managed one of my first major purchases within Warhammer, that of Asarnil the Dragonlord. While I did not get him finished, nor get to play with him (I have no idea if he is still around or not), he still remains one of my all-time favourite Warhammer Purchases.

Lizardmen

1. Lizardmen – From the start of my Warhammer journey, to the last memorable point, Lizardmen have always remained a major part of the experience to me. From the early days of painting basic Saurus, to collecting the new and improved Saurus and starting my first real army in Warhammer; to begin with it was just a fun little thing, but many years later it became a major hobby for me and Lizardmen have always remained a part. I can remember when I first collected them, and had dreams about specific units to collect including Salamanders, Kroxigors and of course the mighty Stegadon. I did get a Kroxigor and Salamander (I think), and at one point had a commander riding on the back of a big lizard creature. While I may not have managed to get units I specifically wanted such as Tichi-Huichi’s Raiders, or more of course the mighty Stegadon or Carnosaur: Lizardmen were the corner-stone of my hopes and dreams for the future of my Warhammer collecting Hobby, and while it all sadly ended before I really ever got going with them, they will always be a proud and fond memory, quite possibly my favourite army in all of Warhammer, not just fantasy, but all versions.

Stegadon

GENEPOOL (OK; the recent depictions of the Stegadon weren’t as good-looking as the original Triceratops creature; that thing could terrify a Mumak).








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