Coronavirus Slams Pro Wrestling

While many hoped the second half of the New Japan Cup could be salvaged, the remainder of the tournament has been canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Japan. The first half of the tournament was canceled last month, with the second half scheduled to occur between 3/16 and conclude on 3/21. Continue reading “Coronavirus Slams Pro Wrestling”

WrestleMania Begins to Takes Shape

We’re on the road to WrestleMania 36 as the “granddaddy of them all” goes down on Sunday, April 5, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. Several matches are confirmed, while others are all but official due to budding feuds on television.

Continue reading “WrestleMania Begins to Takes Shape”

AEW Revolution (Review)

It’s time to hop on my wrestling soapbox and discuss AEW’s latest pay per view offering, Revolution. The Chicago crowd was on fire for the entire show as they witnessed seven matches and one significant title change. AEW has had some hits and misses since their debut on Wednesday nights. Besides one match, this was a fun show worth the price of admission. Continue reading “AEW Revolution (Review)”

NJPW Returns to MSG in August

New Japan Pro Wrestling is returning to Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday, August 22, for an event called Wrestle Dynasty. New Japan’s official website wrote “stay tuned” for ticket information. Continue reading “NJPW Returns to MSG in August”

‘Transformative Changes’ Coming to the WWE Network

On Thursday’s WWE investors conference call, Vince McMahon revealed the company is in talks with major stream service providers to sell the rights to major events such as WrestleMania. McMahon cited the potential deal as “transformative” as distributing more content to “the majors”  could increase company revenue. It would also cannibalize the WWE Network. Continue reading “‘Transformative Changes’ Coming to the WWE Network”

NWA Means What Now?

The following is a personal story from my childhood that is wrestling related in the most unusual way imaginable. In hindsight, if you look at it from the perspective of a black nine-year-old who grew up in an all-white neighborhood, it’s quite funny.

Enjoy! Continue reading “NWA Means What Now?”

Drew McIntyre is a Made Man

Drew McIntyre won the 2020 Royal Rumble match on Sunday, which emanated from Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX. The big story going in was WWE Champion Brock Lesnar voluntarily entered the rumble match as the number one entrant. Continue reading “Drew McIntyre is a Made Man”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Review)

Welcome to my much-delayed review of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. I needed a lot of time before penning my thoughts on the film. Some people love the movie, and some people hate it. However, after multiple screenings, it ultimately came down to three things for me. Continue reading “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Review)”

Star Wars: Resistance Reborn (Book Review)

Written for and published by Forces of Geek November 2019

We’re about forty days away from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hitting theaters. The conclusion of the Skywalker Saga has everyone wondering about his or her favorite characters.

Author Rebecca Roanhorse is new to a galaxy far away, but that doesn’t stop her from producing a tale that firmly outlines the grim state of affairs for the Resistance led by General Leia Organa.

Resistance Reborn starts days after the Resistance’s harrowing escape from Crait, seen in The Last Jedi.

Once the band of wounded soldiers, led by Leia Organa, find shelter, three simultaneous missions begin to restock on weapons, ships, and supplies and gather soldiers and leaders to take the fight to The First Order.

The ending of Episode XI made it abundantly clear our heroes have their work cut out for them. However, Rebecca Roanhorse fills in the details on how far the Resistance is behind the eight ball.

The First Order expeditiously took over the galaxy due to star systems hoping to avoid the same fate as the Hosnian System. There is no narrative jump between episodes seven and eight, so this horrendous act of murder is still fresh in everyone’s mind. One of the little nuggets of information revealed in the book is why Leia’s message on Crait went unanswered. It’s a logical explanation, which I’m not going to spoil here.

Roanhorse does a fantastic job outlining how demoralizing it is for the Resistance to start from scratch. No world is willing to take them in, and anyone even allowing them to land will face deadly reprisals as The First Order is everywhere. Shelter is eventually found on the Twi’lek homeworld of Ryloth. However, the Resistance is on the clock as the longer they stay, the more likely The First Order will find out. Leia struggled with this because of the substantial risk involved, showing the real sign of a leader.

Finn, Rey, Rose, and Chewbacca all have roles in the book to varying degrees. However, this is Poe Dameron’s story.

Poe is haunted by the lives lost at his command during the evacuation of D’Qar, and his defiance of Vice Admiral Holdo aboard the Raddus. Poe doesn’t want their sacrifices to be in vain, which fuels him to become a better leader. Learning to think things through makes Poe realize he must be more than a hotshot pilot who blows things up. This comes with its own set of challenges as Poe learns and grows throughout the story. By the end of the book, Poe has a better handle on what leadership truly means; however, there is still some emotional baggage, which could be part of Poe’s character arc in The Rise of Skywalker.

Leia and Rey have some short but sweet moments together. While Rey’s time in the story is limited, there’s a sense that she’s still trying to “find her place in all of this,” as she put it when training with Luke Skywalker on Ahch-To. Leia can’t put her finger on it, but she knows there is something special about Rey beyond the obvious.

Leia urges Rey to embrace what makes her unique. In many ways, their developing kinship with one another provides Rey with the solace she hoped to obtain with Luke. There are some allusions to Leia’s medical condition due to her time spent in the vacuum of space, which could be expanded upon further in the upcoming film, giving readers a trail of bread crumbs regarding a possible narrative fate.

One of the new Star Wars canon criticisms is that the connection between films, cartoons, comics, and books that were promised is few and far between…Not this time!

Rebecca Roanhorse produces a full-on love letter to the current canon with significant connective tissue to various forms of content. Poe’s journey picks up directly after the Poe Dameron comic book series. Zey Versio and Shriv from the Battlefront II video game serve as major characters coming off their mission at the end of the game’s single-player campaign.

They are also connections to previous novels, most notably, Bloodlines. Roanhorse incorporates these elements to create a story that is full of well-executed fan service that augments the book. Readers will appreciate the story, whether they’re familiar with these characters or not. This is where a large part of the narrative’s strength lies. Zey and Shriv’s bond is explored without exposition, which will ensure the uninitiated won’t feel left out.

While I mentioned earlier that Poe is the main protagonist, the returning Wedge Antilles is very much the heart of the story. Wedge and his wife Norra Wexley are retired, and everyday farm life suits them well. Wedge recognizes he’s was lucky enough to survive the galactic civil war while so many of his brothers in arms paid the ultimate price. Duty calls Wedge back into the fight, and this is done with a delicate sense of caution since Wedge has earned his rest. Wedge is a character fans have been hoping to see in the sequel trilogy. His inclusion and the way his story ends suggest he could make an appearance in Episode IX.

There is one thing in the book that’s disappointing, while another was kind of boring. The Maz Kanata we got in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi came off as two different people. Unfortunately, we get the Rian Johnson version of the character who is more zany than wise and does something rather disgusting with cat feces.

Yep, you read that correctly.

We also meet a new character who is an administrative records keeper for The First Order. The whole getting to know him phase was a chore to read since there were way more exciting things happening elsewhere. Things pick up with his story once it’s revealed how he tied into the overall plot.

The three Resistance missions are fantastic, and I couldn’t get enough of them. Two of them occur on Corellia, with teams led by Poe and Wedge. The third mission is led by Shriv and takes place on planet Braka, which will play a large role in the upcoming video game Jedi: Fallen Order. Roanhorse goes back and forth between missions seamlessly as each one has its own highly satisfying stakes.

If less is more, Rebecca Roanhorse didn’t get the memo as she packs a lot of content in a rather short book of 298 pages. Nothing about the narrative felt rushed, and every story, subplot, and character got ample time to marinate.

The book’s events occur the week following The Last Jedi, which means there are still 51 weeks of Resistance activity that we don’t know about leading up to The Rise of Skywalker. This week was hell for Leia and company, and it will give readers more of an appreciation for how the Resistance can rebuild their ranks come December 20th.

I wouldn’t call this a must-read book to get ready for the upcoming movie. However, I would call it the book you’ve been waiting for if connections to the overall canon are something you crave. While this was Rebecca Roanhorse’s first step into a larger world, I hope it’s not her last. Obviously, she has a lot of love for Star Wars, and I’d be interested in seeing some of the other stories she might tackle in the future.

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Cards Revealed

New Japan Pro Wrestling has announced the cards for both nights of Wrestle Kingdom 14 on January 4 and January 5 at the Tokyo Dome. This will be the first time New Japan has held its marque event over two evenings.

The main event matches on night one will see Kazuchika Okada defend the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against 2019 G1 Climax winner Kota Ibushi and Tetsuya Naito challenges Jay White for the IWGP Intercontinental Title. The winners will face each other in a double title match on night two.

Wrestle Kingdom will also host the final two matches of Jushin “Thunder” Liger’s career. On night two, the legendary jr. heavyweight will team with Naoki Sano and square off against Ryu Lee and Hiromu Takahashi in a tag team match. Liger and Sano were past rivals, while Lee and Takahashi are contemporary rivals.

Hiroshi Tanahashi will take on AEW World Championship Chris Jericho on night two; however, there will be no mention of AEW on New Japan’s part. It’s good to see Tanahashi only wrestling once since his body is banged up. Keep him special while he’s still able to work at a high level.

It’s a shame that Tomohiro Ishii doesn’t have a more high-profile match in the Dome. He had a stellar G1 tournament and continues to put on great matches. It will also be interesting to see how Hiromu Takahashi performs in his first match back from a broken neck he suffered sixteen months ago.

Lance Archer defends the IWGP U.S. Title against former champion Jon Moxley in a Texas Death Match. Moxley was stripped of the title on October 14th due to travel issues, and Archer beat Juice Robinson on the same day to capture the vacant championship. Robinson will meet the winner in a title match on night two.

Wrestle Kingdom 14 will air live on New Japan World at 3:00 am est on 1/4/20 and 1:00 am est on 1/5/20.

 

Here are the full cards for night 1 & night 2

January 4:

-Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Heavyweight title

-Jay White vs. Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental title

-Will Ospreay vs. Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP Jr. title

-Lance Archer vs. Jon Moxley in a Texas deathmatch for the IWGP United States title

-Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa vs. David Finlay & Juice Robinson for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles

-Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano and YOSHI-HASHI vs. KENTA,, Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens

-SANADA, EVIL, Shingo Takagi, and BUSHI vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Minoru Suzuki, Taichi & El Desperado

-Jushin Thunder Liger, Tatsumi Fujinami, The Great Sasuke & Tiger Mask vs. Naoki Sano, Shinjiro Otani, Tatsuhito Takaiwa and Ryusuke Taguchi

January 5:

-Double title match for IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental titles

-Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Chris Jericho

-The two non-champions following the Intercontinental and Heavyweight title matches on January 4 will meet in a special singles match

-KENTA vs. Hirooki Goto for the NEVER Openweight title

-Zack Sabre Jr. vs. SANADA for the British Openweight title

-Juice Robinson will face the IWGP United States champion

-Jushin Thunder Liger & Naoki Sano vs. Ryu Lee & Hiromu Takahashi

-El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori vs. SHO & YOH for the IWGP Jr. Tag Team titles