WWE Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania Predictions

So I’ve been watching an awful lot of WWE over the last few weeks. In fact,  as I’m writing this I’m watching the Big Show going ballistic on SmackDown. 

While I’ve enjoyed wrestling since pretty much this point in 2000 when I used to watch WWE Heat on Channel 4 (those were the days), I have an on and off relationship with actually watching what’s going on. Mostly that’s because WWE’s product flips between being good and terrible from year to year, and right now it’s actually worth watching.

Anyway, this Sunday is WWE’s Elimination Chamber event and after talking to fellow wrestling fan Colin Barr on Twitter I decided it was probably worth writing out some longer form predictions for the Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania. 

The titlular match for Elimination Chamber is the one I’m pretty much the most excited for, although it’s pretty disappointing that there’s only one Elimination Chamber match this year. I remember the hype that Eric Bischoff built up for the very first Elimination Chamber, and ever since it’s lived up to that hype. 

With Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Jack Swagger and Chris Jericho in the match it should be a good one, although I think it would have been better with Rey Mysterio in for Mark Henry, as the original line up was. I don’t think there’s really a high flyer in there now to give us some high spots, although Daniel Bryan’s probably got the chops to pull off something special.

I’m also not sold on having two big guys in the form of Mark Henry and Kane, it’s just obvious that we’ll see a side battle between the two of these and then probably see everyone else hit their finisher on Mark Henry to eliminate him. A combination of Jack Swagger’s Patriot Act (or ankle lock if you’re a normal person) and Daniel Bryan’s LeBell Lock/”No!” Lock would be a good way to end his time in the match and keep him locking strong, as WWE’s intention seems to be.

For me though the match comes down to Randy Orton facing off against Chris Jericho. I think we’ll see Chris Jericho come out with a clean pin here, giving him the title shot at WrestleMania. I mean honestly, why else do you bring him back? He’s going to have a big match at WrestleMania, and a World Heavyweight Championship shot would do that quite nicely.

The question then is who does he face? Personally I see Alberto Del Rio beating the Big Show to win the title, but he’s not walking out of there with the belt. It’s been made obvious that the match is going to be a war,  and I think Del Rio’s win is going to be a slim one with him selling injuries like a trooper. 

(Side note: I’m still watching SmackDown and I wish I could work out what the purpose of Fandango’s going to be. Is he going to get into a sweet dance feud with Brodus Clay? Because while that’d be awful I would watch the shit out of it)

With Del Rio likely in a weakened state after his match with the Big Show, it seems like the obvious time for Ziggler to cash in his Money in the Bank title shot. I mean it’s a pretty traditional time to activate the MITB clause, and they seem to be building Ziggler heavily for a WrestleMania appearance. 

That sets up Ziggler/Jericho for WrestleMania, and personally I could see that being match of the night. Those two have got the talent to really go at it, and if they’re given thirty minutes at the biggest show of the year it’s going to be great.

Obviously the other side of things is the WWE Championship, and there it seem pretty much a lock that we’re going to get a rematch of last year’s WrestleMania, with The Rock taking on John Cena.

The only bump in the road that has the potential to make things interesting is the freshly added stipulation for Elimination Chamber that The Rock can lose the title to Punk if he’s counted out or disqualified. When that kind of stipulation turns up then you can be confident of a twist, although it’d be lovely if WWE have just thrown it in to make internet smarks crazy. 

Regardless of the addition to the match I can’t see The Rock losing the match. Much like Jericho you have to question what The Rock is doing in WWE if he’s not going to be at WrestleMania. The only other option I can see is The Rock losing due to a DQ, setting up a Triple Threat at WrestleMania, with The Rock, CM Punk and John Cena facing off for the belt. That doesn’t seem likely though, and The Rock putting over John Cena at WrestleMania seems like the most obvious option, even if it probably isn’t the best one. I mean does Cena really need The Rock to put him over?

It’s much like the rumours of Punk getting the honour of wrestling The Undertaker at WrestleMania this year. Personally I believe the rumours that the Undertaker won’t be fit for WrestleMania this year, the guy’s banged up and he’s rapidly closing in on 50 - I don’t think you could blame him for missing a year.

However, even if he is there I’m not sure what’s to be gained by Taker taking on Punk. Punk has all the credibility he needs right now so there’s no point in him braking The Undertaker’s impressive streak, and I don’t know that Punk wrestling a likely injured Undertaker and losing does much for his career. Although I’m starting to buy into Punk’s statements that he’s the best in the world, I don’t know that even he could get a great match out of Undertaker at this point.

No, for me the obvious option is to give Randy Orton Taker’s yearly match. They’ve gone at it at WrestleMania in the past, and Orton’s enough of a blank slate right now that he can build character around a loss to Undertaker. 

So what do you do with Punk then? I think you set him up against Brock Lesnar. Triple H-Lesnar take two is possibly the most boring match I can imagine with stars of that calibre, whereas Punk and Lesnar could do something wonderful. Set them up in a feud as to who’s Heyman’s favourite or something like that. I mean right now it doesn’t seem like Lesnar is necessarily under Heyman’s control, so I think there’s real scope there for something. Maybe have Heyman set Punk against Lesnar to prove that he didn’t condone the latter’s attack on Vince McMahon.

(Side note: Swagger’s just absolutely crushed Zack Ryder. Can WWE not do something with Ryder? He’s popular, got mic skills and is a solid wrestler. He’s even made an absolutely horrid gimmick work incredibly well. At least give him the US Title)

Finally, switching back from WrestleMania to Elimination Chamber there’s obviously the question of The SHIELD. I really can’t call this. WWE seem to have reverted to Super Cena mode though, so it seems like he’ll probably be the one to win it.

The bigger issue is whether or not the match will be in the Chamber. If it is then there’s more scope creative booking in my mind, and probably allows a way to end the match without The SHIELD or the faces (Ryback, Sheamus and Cena) looking weak. Perhaps the best outcome though would be for a character change. Maybe turn Sheamus heel again. Then again I worry that expanding The SHIELD will turn them into nWo version I’ve-lost-count-of-nWo-clones.

And that’s it. Maybe I’ll write more wrestling stuff if WWE can keep me invested in the product. 

How To “Fix” Games Journalism

There’s been a lot of talk recently about what’s wrong with games “journalism” (I don’t always like the term journalism, but it works as a nice shorthand) and how it can be improved. Now I don’t necessarily buy that the field really needs much improvement, as with all forms of writing there are good and bad examples.

There is the problem that some of the worse examples can be picked out of the biggest sites, but that’s certainly true of more mainstream media (take the Daily Mail for example) so why wouldn’t it be true here?

However, if you want to try something genuinely new, something different then I have some pretty simple ideas.

You don’t need the backing of someone trying to form a new media empire, you don’t need to become part of one of the world’s most popular web comics and you don’t need to be told what to do by someone who runs a different web comic (albeit a pretty good one).

Hell you don’t even need to be told what to do by me, it’s perfectly possible to do something new without listening to me, but these are a few basic ideas.

  1. Don’t Cover the News - This may sound absolutely crazy, and, to be fair, I don’t mean ignore all the news out there. However there are sites out there who can probably provide better coverage you can on most things, and it can divert resources and attention away from your best pieces when you spend too much time covering the news.

    The simple fact is you’re unlikely to be the only site someone visits. They can get news other places if they want to. 
  2. When You Do Cover the News, Make It A Story - Like I said you shouldn’t ignore everything out there, there are stories worth covering. This is an element that sites like Giant Bomb do very well, and I have great respect for Patrick Kleppick’s ability to not just put out the same story everyone else is (at least generally) and to cover the news that “matters”.

    This doesn’t mean you should only cover the big stories out there, it simply means you should cover the interesting stories, the ones that let you dig deeper and show people something they may not have seen before. 
  3. Don’t Roll Over for PR - Let’s make it clear, the job of PR is not to help those writing about games. It may seem that way, and I’d say at least 75% of the time they’re attempting to help. However, their job is to make their game (or their client’s game, whatever) look as good as possible. They want it to get maximum exposure, that’s the simple fact at the end of the day.
    What a lot of people forget is that you don’t have to listen to them, it’s a choice on an article by article basis. A good PR will understand that, and won’t accept your co-operation on everything.

    Should you break embargoes and NDAs? No, of course not. Should you agree to ones you find unreasonable? No. If you don’t like the terms of an agreement then don’t enter into it. You’re guaranteed to lose out on coverage, but that’s not always the point.

    Publications have done this multiple times in the past, and have been cut off by publishers. I don’t know of anyone who’s actively cut TSA off, so I can’t speak as to if this type of decision is worth it, but losing the contact isn’t the end of the world. This flows over into my next point nicely:
  4. Don’t Take Review Copies - This is my most controversial point, and I honestly don’t actually know if it would ever work in the real world. It’s certainly not something I think we could do at TSA, at least not easily.
    Why is this controversial? Because many will assume that I’m saying current outlets are corrupt and the fact is that I don’t, I never have. There have been isolated cases where reviews have been “intersting”, but I honestly don’t think corruption is by any means widespread.

    What refusing to take review copies does is three things. Firstly, it lets you take away any suspicion of corruption. Would that change anything? I don’t know, but it’d be a fun experiment.

    The second element is one that I’m even more uncertain of. By removing review copies you remove any sub-conscious bias that may exist amongst reviewers. I have no idea if any bias exists, although I don’t think it does. I know I consciously don’t give a damn about where games come when I’m reviewing them, but I don’t know if that goes all the way down to my subconscious.

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it may establish more of a connection with consumers, the ones who are (hopefully) reading your reviews. You’re paying for the game, just like they are. It’s your money that’s gone out, and I do wonder if people would feel more aggrieved by bad games if they’d paid out their own cash for it.

So there you are, those are my thoughts. I’m not saying I’m write, I’m not saying this would really improve anything, and I’m not sure it would work for any site that currently exists.

I suppose this sounds like do as I say, not as I do, and maybe it is. But if a new site was to start up it could be interesting to experiment with some of these ideas, just to see if they do make any changes. Can you build an audience when your reviews are always going to be later than everyone else? I don’t know, but I’d like to see.

I’d also like to make it clear that these are my views, and really not the views of TSA or any other site. They’re just what I think, and as I said I don’t know if they’d really improve anything. They’re more a like a set of interesting experiments to see what would happen if you did this sort of thing.

Also props to Peter Willington for talking about some of these ideas with me in the past. He’s a very wise man.




Ian McKellen should be the voice of everything ever.

Probably the single most badass thing about this is that he doesn’t crack himself the fuck up. Not so much as a single traitorous, unbidden upturn in the corner of his mouth.

 You, Sir, you’re marvellous.

This is Ian McKellen, acting hero. Never fail.

Now, that is commitment, ladies and gentlemen.

Sir Ian, this is why you are the most quality.


My new favourite thing.

(Source: anotheralexandros)

58,997 notes


Full of rage at development.

This is all.

UPDATE: Actually that’s not all. I want to develop something. Just need to work out what. Where’s Daniel when I need him?

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There seems to be an interesting increase in the number of times I’m listening to the incredibly peaceful result of music being slowed down.

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Racers know Gran Turismo 5 is a simulator

Obviously, most critics didn’t get it. I knew going in they wouldn’t; one needs a fair amount of automotive and racing knowledge to accurately analyze the product. And if you’re looking for a video game, you might be disappointed. On the other hand, if you understand what GT5 actually is, you’d quickly see the unrivaled brilliance. This is part of the reason the game has sold so well thus far. And I got news for you- many of the same people who like Forza won’t like GT5…’cuz one’s a video game and one is a driving simulator. I still say GT5 might be the very last system-seller, though, just because if this one doesn’t convince you, and you haven’t been swayed by anything thus far, you obviously don’t want a PS3. And, as far as I’m concerned, you’re obviously not a gamer.

PSX Extreme, Ben Dutka: Ben’s Week In Review: December 12th [December 11th, 2010]

I’ve replaced the bold in Dutka’s quote with underlines, as Tumblr’s quotes are usually all-bold on the site anyway.

I’m tempted to just called Dutka a cockmongering thundercunt and leave it at that. I’m tempted to list a bunch of obscure but brilliant games from the 90s that he probably hasn’t played, followed by the statement that anyone who hasn’t played them or owned the systems they’re played on obviously isn’t a gamer. I’m considering sitting here and writing a lengthy article about why one tiny man’s comments on a PlayStation fansite do not dictate who is and who is not a gamer.

But I don’t think I need to do any of those things because, in the grand scheme of things, Dutka’s fanboyish nature doesn’t really matter to those who care about actual gaming, as opposed to those interested in playing the “My console’s dick is bigger than your console’s dick” game.

And honestly, I can understand why people like Dutka would want to make that justification. For some, once you’ve slapped down hundreds of dollars (or, in some cases, $599) you need to justify your own purchase by demonizing the other available options. You need to tell yourself that yes, you’ve made the right choice. Psychologically it’s not unprecedented behaviour. That doesn’t mean it isn’t childish, of course. That doesn’t mean it isn’t arse-over-balls retarded, and there is nothing more mind-bogglingly retarded than the notion that one must own a PS3 to be a real gamer

Sidenote: Do you have to play it to be considered a real game? Because I haven’t properly played my PS3 for months - not for anything that wasn’t a PS2 game, at any rate. Does just owning the thing make me a real gamer? Does having it sit under my TV gathering dust make me a real gamer? Does my dad’s ownership of a PS3 purely as a Blu-ray player make him a real gamer, despite the fact he doesn’t even play games on the thing?

Dutka’s words have less currency than an Irish bank. And this is because he’s a cockmongering thundercunt.

(via gamejournos)

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Best, Worst, Random: 14th Dec

Best Thing Today: Getting advice from my parents

Worst Thing Today: Feeling super ill

Random Thing Today: Room spinning, although I guess that couples with the worst thing. 

Best, Worst, Random: 13th December

Best Thing Today: Good conversations with a few people about various mildly secret things.

Bad Thing Today: Hurt my wrist at football again, will probably need wrist supports for when I play.

Random Thing Today: Having @colossalblue edit an article of mine to include a caveman reference. Bizarre. 

Best, Worst, Random: 12th Dec

Best Thing Today: Some of the writing I’m attempting to restart.

Worst Thing Today: Still tired. Balls.

Random Thing Today: Mucking about with JavaScript and HTML5 Video to see what I could do.

I know this is very late, and right next to my post for the 13th, but the original post didn’t actually post.

Best, Worst, Random: December 11th

Best Thing Today: Watching Toy Story 3 for the first time. Eating lovely Fajitas. Beating the Salt Factory on Super Meat Boy.

Worst Thing Today: Feeling incredibly tired.

Random Thing Today: The deceleration that I’m Rex from Toy Story.