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Bets and Bravery: Chapter 985!
You know what really grinds my gears? People ditching waifus they liked one season for another they fell for in another anime season. This utter lack of waifu loyalty simply disgusts me. And that's why I'm grateful One Piece is year-round so that seasonal waifus don't distract us here. Hrm? What's that? There was an oni girl with light-and-dark hair revealed in the latest One Piece chapter? Sorry, Pudding, but I've gotta go!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, and everybody in between, welcome back to...
Bets and Bravery!
Welcome one, welcome all, we're glad to have you! If you're new to Bets and Bravery, B&B is a weekly thread on this subreddit where users bet with fake currency, the Beli from in-universe, on what they think will happen in each week's chapter in a series of bets made by yours truly. I keep track of everyone's money in a giant Google Sheet, which is available in the links above. So, if you're new, enjoy your time! But, if you're a regular on this thread, we're glad to see you back at OnePiece's unofficial official pasttime! I hope you've all had a good week so far with whatever's been happening in your lives. If you haven't had such a good week so far, I'm wishing the best for you and hope I can brighten your day even a little bit with this post. Before we get started, let's refresh your memory of last chapter to get you back on betting track!
Last Time on One Piece
So let's talk about that chapter. In proper anime fashion, Page One and Ulti immediately get up completely unscathed from a big attack from our heroes and begin their chase after Luffy and Yamato. Meanwhile, Yamato fends off Luffy's attacks while trying to get him to come along and listen to Yamato's pleas, eventually managing an escape from the scene. Blending in alongside Kaido's men are numerous Kozuki samurai, Nico Robin, and Jinbe, who all decided having a quick drink would be more important than saving Momo from being executed. At the backside of the mountain, Law and the Heart Pirates' Bepo, Shachi, and Penguin use Law's room to teleport to Onigashima's rear shore alongside the Scabbards who stowed away on their ship. Meeting them at the back entrance are Nekomamushi, who now sports a gun on his hand to finally match the cat he was based on, Marco, who immediately dips as though his job at Wano is done, and Izo, who reunites with Kiku for the first time since leaving with Whitey-chan. Kaido and his All-Stars take the stage at Momo's execution to announce the "New Onigashima" Project, but more importantly we finally get some Short King representation with the man, King, himself, as he barely even reaches Kaido's shoulders. Back inside the castle, we learn that Yamato has become a devout Christian and devoted himself to the only God in the One Piece World, EnelUsopp Kozuki Oden, adopting his ideals after witnessing his execution and later discovering his journal. Then, what happens next shocks the world, Oda finally introduces another monster girl waifu in Kaido's oni daughter, Yamato, who declares her joining Luffy's cause. With that out of the way, let's get right into the real meat of the thread...
Chapter 985 Betting
The Bets of the Week
Making their surprise entrance at the Roast of Kozuki Momonosuke, which frankly was pretty disappointing so far with the biggest stingers being "this little whelp" and the classic "your dad's dead" jokes from Orochi, were Kaido and his All-Stars. Before entering the stage, Kaido asked where Linlin was, only to be informed that she was on her way there despite the very clear dramatic irony in that we know she's too preoccupied with her daily prayer to GoD Usopp to do so. Despite this clear plot hole from Oda, Kaido and his commanders take the stage, deciding to liven up the execution with an exciting announcement. The "New Onigashima" Project! Yep, that's all we get. Oda's blue-balled us again by cutting away to a different plotline. But this project of Kaido's could end up being something massive. Considering the Beasts Pirates already know about the Yonkou Alliance between Big Mom and Kaido, it couldn't just be a simple restatement of the fact. And the name's suspect too, "New Onigashima", what does it all mean? Considering Kaido asked for Big Mom, it possibly has something to do with her or her family please not another marriage, Oda. I don't want a repeat of WCI's plot nor could I handle romance when I'm dreadfully single. Either way, you all know the drill by now. Dear audience, what exactly is the "New Onigashima" Project?
A. The plan for the Yonkou Alliance's world domination! Odds 1:2
B. A massive restructuring of Onigashima and/or Wano! Odds 1:3
C. Yamato marries into the Big Mom family! Odds 1:9
D. Something to do with Onigashima's past and/or what it used to be called before! Odds 1:4
E. Something else entirely! Odds 1:2
Having breached the ocean currents around the wintry backside of Onigashima with the Polar Tang, Law, his most-trusted subordinates, and the Scabbards aboard the ship have finally reached Kaido's back door. Joined by Izo and Nekomamushi, the Scabbards have almost reunited completely for the first time in decades, and their goal of reclaiming Wano by killing Orochi and Kaido is within their grasp. The problem is, there's two pathways at Onigashima's rear, and Law believes the one up top "has to be the way to Kaido". Knowing Oda, that's probably not true, and it's especially unlikely that this plan will actually go off without a hitch. With swarms of Beasts Pirates all over the island, multiple branching pathways, a hefty surveillance system, Neko and Inu actually having to work together, and One Piece's curse against plans working as intended, there are plenty of obstacles preventing smooth sailing. Dear audience, will Law and the Scabbards be able to reach Orochi and/or Kaido without any troubles?
A. The infiltration team will successfully reach the keep completely undetected! Odds 1:4
B. The infiltration team will end up having to fight their way to the keep, but will remain hidden from Kaido/Orochi! Odds 1:3
C. The infiltration team will be reported to Kaido and/or Orochi before they can reach the keep! Odds 1:3
D. The infiltration team will run into Orochi, Kaido, his All-Stars, or Kanjuro before they reach the keep! Odds 1:2
E. Something else entirely! Odds 1:3
What's that? A new character has appeared in One Piece, is working parallel to or with the heroes, has a unique design, a backstory, and a dream that can only be fulfilled by working with the Strawhat crew? I guess it's time for another one of these bets, so without further ado, let's get right into it. Having witnessed Oden's execution 20 years ago, Kaido's daughter Yamato decided to carry on the deceased Kozuki's will. Finding his journal from his voyages at sea and adopting his style, Yamato became the Oden she so admired. She clashed with Ace years ago when he reached Wano himself, she wants to open Wano to the world at large, and she wants to join the Strawhat Alliance to make those ends come to fruition. Is Yamato's role temporary, or will she truly follow in Oden's footsteps and go out to sea just like he did once he found a suitable pirate crew? Dear audience, will Yamato join the Strawhat crew?
A. Yes! Odds 1:2
B. No! Odds 1:3
This bet is where you can bet how many pages Chapter 985 will feature! Note: Shounen Jump covers, fan art pages, or translator note pages from early scans or the official release are not counted here. Double page spreads are counted as two separate pages. Color pages and color spreads are counted. Cover story serials and fan-requested cover pages are counted.
A. 16 or less pages! Odds 1:15
B. 17 pages! Odds 1:1.3
C. 18 or more pages! Odds 1:10
Our final bet this week is about the main focus of this week's chapter! The chapter may cover multiple storylines, in which case, the correct answer will be whichever storyline the chapter gave the most attention to in terms of pages or panels, should it get that close!
A. Luffy and Yamato! Odds 1:2
B. Momonosuke's Execution! Odds 1:3
C. Other storylines, such as Law and the Scabbards, Kin and Denjiro's advance, the Strawhats and Big Mom, or something else outside of Wano! Odds 1:5
As is customary when I have no clue what the next chapter's going to be about, it's time for your regularly scheduled panel mini-game! Dear audience, I want you to guess how many panels will make up Chapter 985!
Criteria for WMG: It's a panel, in Chapter 985. What else?
Note: Shonen Jump covers will not count toward the total should One Piece make an appearance. The cover story serial or, if one should appear, a color spread will count toward the total. Panels that make up scene transitions are counted separately toward the total.
Guess 100% correctly on this, and you'll receive a whopping 1,500,000 Beli! If nobody guesses correctly, the closest answer receives 750,000 Beli! If multiple people guess correctly or are evenly close to the correct answer, the bounty is evenly split among them to the nearest 1,000 Beli!
End of Chapter 985 Betting
And with that, we've come to the end of another exciting week of Betting and Bravery! I hope you enjoyed what we had this week, as I enjoyed making B&B for you! Now, please listen to the following tutorial on how to play:
I can tell that you are very good at gambling... and you haven't even bet your hardest yet!! 200K on 390D! 500K on 391B! 10M on 392A! 2M on 393B! 250K on 394B! 74 panels for the WMG!
Notes and Reminders
Are you new to Bets and Bravery? If so, welcome, we're always glad to see newcomers! As a first login bonus, you'll get to start with 1,000,000 Beli to bet with however you want!
Are all your bets ending up missing the mark? Have your bets and Beli ended up frozen and left you penniless? Worry not, just for showing up each week you get 10,000 Beli for free which you can jump right back into the betting with!
Please bet in multiples of 1,000 Beli!
Please bet on only one outcome (A, B, C, etc.) per bet (170, 171, 172, etc.)!
Place all bets before spoilers drop for the chapter, cheating is a big no-no!
Have any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas for future bets? Send me a message and I'll get right back to you!
Thanks for Participating!
thanks to everyone out there who dropped by to read this thread, whether all the way through, just skimming, or just dropping by to see what this thread was. I'm truly grateful you all come by and support my work here as much as you do, so thank you. I hope I can keep living up to your expectations as host! I wish you all good luck on this week's bets, and I will see you all back later this week after the chapter drops and the results thread is out for you all to see how you did! Until next time! -MADKITTIEZ
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
We open with a ton of details on Steve Austin walking out on WWE last week, and the story took a darker turn this week when Austin was accused of allegedly beating his wife Debra. Looks like Dave is just going to run through the whole last couple of weeks first though, before we get to all that. No wrestler in the history of the business has generated more money than Austin has in the past 5 years, leading the way for WWE to become listed on the New York Stock Exchange and valued at more than $1 billion. Hulk Hogan, Antonio Inoki, Gorgeous George, Jim Londos....no one in the history of wrestling, even adjusted for inflation, has been a bigger money-maker than Steve Austin. Throughout it all, he had a reputation as a pro's pro, always working hard and being unselfish in trying to help the company and his co-workers grow. But over the last few months, things had changed. The company is nose-diving, Austin had become paranoid and distrustful of the locker room, particularly when the NWO guys were brought in. He refused to work with Hogan at Wrestlemania and wasn't happy about working with Hall either, and insisted on decisively winning their match and blowing off the feud. He went home after Wrestlemania, no-showing Raw the night after, but things seemed to be patched up soon after. When he came back, he still wasn't happy and spoke out publicly against the brand extension and the overall creative direction of the company. A lot of people in the locker room supported Austin, feeling he was completely justified in his complaints because everyone realizes the wheels are falling off the company lately. The Sunday night before Raw last week, Austin was told by Jim Ross that the plan was for him to face Brock Lesnar, with the idea that Eddie Guerrero would cost him the match. Austin pointed out the obvious: him vs. Lesnar is a huge money match that should be built up for months on PPV. Lesnar should go through the whole locker room before he gets to Austin last. No first, on free TV, with no build-up. Austin hated the idea and said he wasn't coming if that was the plan. Ross told Vince, who called Austin and left a voicemail. He told Austin to call him back, no matter what time. Austin did call back, at 2am, and they discussed the plan. According to Vince, Austin had reluctantly agreed to it. Austin evidently felt otherwise, because he showed up to Raw that day, found out the Lesnar match was still booked, and decided, "fuck that", got on a plane and went home with Debra.
Raw that night was mostly built around the angle where Ric Flair would have to be Austin's personal assistant after he lost their match last week. Because much of the show was written around that, they had to re-write the whole show at the last minute in a panic, abruptly turning Flair babyface again and ending the huge dual-ownership angle with no build-up (it really sounds like Vince was determined to give away something huge on TV that week without building it up. "Ok, fine, Austin walked out. What else can we ruin this week and throw away a perfectly good PPV money opportunity?"). Meanwhile, Austin was ignoring all phone calls until he finally answered one from Jim Ross, who told Austin he was being unprofessional and to come try and talk it out with Vince. But Austin refused, saying he refused to work with McMahon anymore, and hung up.
So then came the burial. Vince McMahon and Jim Ross taped interviews for this week's episode of WWE Confidential in which they completely buried Austin, with Vince vowing to never bring him back. Basically everything you can imagine: Austin turned his back on the fans, he betrayed the little kids with Stone Cold shirts and all the fans who made him rich. WWE invested so much in Austin only for him to turn his back on them and so on and so forth. Jim Ross in particular dumped a lot of dirt on Austin's grave here, which Dave seems taken aback by. Austin saved Jim Ross' announcing career by insisting that JR be brought back for his Wrestlemania 15 match with Rock. At the time, Ross was still suffering from Bells palsy and Vince had no intention of ever bringing him back, but Austin insisted and the crowd reaction led to Ross being brought back permanently. So for Ross to be burying his good friend like this seems to rub Dave the wrong way (for what it's worth, it rubbed JR the wrong way too. He's gone on record a million times since then saying he wished he hadn't done it and he's apologized to Austin profusely for it). Ross talked openly about some of Austin's personal business, like his previous divorce or when his kids went to live in England, and hinted that Austin's issues were more than just professional burnout. At the time this was being filmed, nobody knew just how true that was.
The night before WWE Confidential aired, at 4am, Austin's wife Debra called 911 to their home in San Antonio, claiming Austin had attacked her. Austin drove away in his yellow Corvette before the police arrived. When they showed up, they found Debra crying with a large welt on her face. She said Austin had hit her several times after an argument then left when she made the 911 call. She said she was worried about the call because of how famous Austin is and knowing word would get out. She also showed them several marks on her back where she said Austin hit her. Austin called the house twice while police were there and they spoke to him and advised him to come home. Austin was cordial to the officers on the phone but refused to come back home while they were there. Debra declined to press charges and because she refused to seek medical attention, under Texas law, the police pretty much consider it a dead issue unless she changes her mind. Austin later returned home after they left. The national news media didn't pick up on it until Monday, at which point it became a huge story. They even had a news helicopter following Austin driving around town (with an open beer in his Corvette), talking with his neighbors in his yard, and also showed him flipping off the news cameras (I can't find footage of any of this). Because Austin is a wrestler and play fighting is what they do, the media treated this very serious issue as if were almost a joke, which Dave seems disgusted by.
With Austin being all over the news that day, this led to the unannounced surprise return of The Rock on Raw, after they spent the whole show teasing that Austin would show up. Rock wasn't scheduled to return until next month, to build for a match at Summerslam, but knowing the company was in a tough situation, Rock agreed to come back early. The plan appears to be for Rock to challenge for the WWE title at Fully Loaded next month. There's also been talk about Rock winning the title and then dropping it to Brock Lesnar at Summerslam, which is a surefire way to create a new superstar (indeed, that's exactly what happens). Rock's return, since it came as a complete surprise, was a flop in the ratings. If they had built it up just one week, they could have made some money on it, but not building up anything seems to be the M.O. for WWE these days. Between the Shawn Michaels return, the FlaiVince blow-off, and now this, that's 3 Raws in a row where they gave away major moments that should/could have been built up for bigger ratings or PPV money. Dave calls WWE a junkie pawning its $2,500 ring for $500 just to get a quick fix. And that's not even getting into the smaller details, such as the fact that Rock is a Smackdown guy, so why the fuck is he returning on Raw anyway? But again, the wheels are totally off the WWE train here in 2002. It's clear to see in retrospect how WWE was falling from their peak and Vince was desperately clawing at any idea he could think of to stop the bleeding.
So back to Austin. Even after the story broke, Vince went on Raw and changed his tune, saying he hoped Austin would some day come back to WWE but time would tell and for now, he's gone. Dave says if you think this is going to end Austin's career, look at Mike Tyson, Jimmy Snuka, Invader I, and Chris Adams. All of whom did even more heinous things than Austin and their careers were just fine. Dave is pretty sure he'll be back. Rock came out on Raw, gave a big rah-rah speech in which he also pretty much buried Austin for "taking his ball and going home" and did the whole "get the F out" tagline. And that's it on the Austin saga for now.
It's officially super-duper extra official now: the World Wrestling Federation is dead. WWE lost its final appeal in the UK's highest court in their battle against the World Wildlife Fund. Vince McMahon had already thrown in the towel and the company has already been renamed to WWE, but the final appeal was never dropped and was still going through the system. In the highly unlikely event that they somehow won the case, they planned to revert back to the WWF initials. But of course, they didn't win. Just like every single lower court before them, the court handed the wrestling company its final defeat. So WWF is dead. WWE it is.
Motoko Baba officially announced that she will be retiring as AJPW president at the end of September. It's expected that Keiji Muto will take over the role, which has been heavily rumored ever since he jumped ship from NJPW.
A rookie named Trevor Rhodes, who was trained by Harley Race, will be working the upcoming tour for Pro Wrestling NOAH (this would be future WWE star Trevor Murdoch).
NJPW held its annual stockholders meeting and Antonio Inoki couldn't even be bothered to attend. Masa Chono and Tatsuo Kawamura were named to the board of directors, to replace Riki Choshu. Speaking of, Choshu was also there and sold all his stock in the company and left without speaking to reporters.
In a radio interview, Jesse Ventura announced that he will not be running for a second term as Minnesota's governor. Ventura didn't go into all the reasons why, but he did acknowledge a recent controversy as playing a part. There's been some news stories this week noting that Ventura's 22-year-old son used the governor's mansion for a late night weekend party awhile back. Cleaning crew members of the mansion went public saying that when their parents are gone, this kid basically throws wild parties there that they have to clean up after. Ventura shot back, basically claiming his son is being slandered and denied it, but said the attacks on his family made him not want to run again. The news stories talked about some of the alleged damage and Dave actually sides with Ventura here. The damage doesn't sound that bad (some empty beer cans, a broken pool cue, and some tables that were scuffed up. "Geez, that's my house whenever there is a fight night," Dave writes. Doesn't sound like that wild of a party. A 22-year old brings his friends over to watch sports and drink some beer. Dave doesn't think that should be a huge controversy or anything. Neighbors near the mansion have said there's been no issue with noise or disturbances.
Major League Wrestling had its debut show at the old ECW Arena and the MLW championship was won by Shane Douglas. They did an angle where they basically tried to re-create the famous Shane Douglas/NWA title incident, where Shane was gonna throw the belt down, but they did an angle where he was told he'd be fined and suspended for life from wrestling if he didn't defend the belt. Angle didn't get over at all and most people there hated it and it led to pretty mediocre reviews for the show overall. Bam Bam Bigelow was supposed to work the show, but when he arrived, he found out they wanted him to do a job to AJPW wrestler Taiyo Kea in the first round of the title tournament. Bam Bam said fuck that and bounced. Steve Corino also managed to get a "fuck Paul Heyman!" chant going, in the ECW Arena nonetheless, which is an interesting note.
Sandman will be doing a celebrity boxing match in Philly soon, going against Tony Luke, who owns a bunch of sandwich shops in the area and is known as "The King of Sandwiches" in Philadelphia. Sure, why not?
There was a recent news story about Sputnik Monroe from a reporter who was in Memphis for the Tyson/Lewis boxing match. The reporter went to the Memphis Rock 'n Soul museum and saw the big display they had there for Monroe, including his ring jacket, trunks, boots, etc. Dave recaps the history of Monroe, who is credited with desegregating wrestling in Memphis during the Jim Crow days of the 1950s. Monroe was a white wrestler who hung out in the black part of town and, as a result, became the black fans' favorite wrestler. He was a huge draw in Memphis at a time when black fans weren't allowed to sit in the main seats, only the nosebleeds in the balcony. Monroe's popularity was so big that one week, they turned away more than 1,000 black fans even though they had room in the arena. Just not in the "colored" section. So Monroe told the promoter he was quitting if they didn't let in his black fans. And since Monroe was such a huge draw, the promoter caved, and just like that, black fans were allowed to sit with white fans anywhere in the arena. It actually had a domino effect, because it was the first sporting event in Memphis to desegregate and it led to other sporting and entertainment events in the city following suit. In the 50s and 60s, Memphis was one of the only wrestling territories in America that was desegregated like this (fun fact: I used to live in Memphis and just went to that museum back in 2018. For starters, I highly recommend it if you're ever in town. In fact, I have a million recommendations for anyone who ever visits Memphis. That city is my heart and soul. Also, the Sputnik Monroe exhibit is still there).
The TNA debut show hasn't happened at press time, but Ken Shamrock is expected to win the NWA title in the battle royal gimmick. If he doesn't, it's because there was a last minute change, but as of now, it's absolutely going to be Shamrock.
Good news for TNA, the company reached an agreement with Dish Network, which adds another 7-8 million potential homes to their exposure. The only PPV provider in the U.S. not carrying them now is Cablevision.
The TNA cruiserweight title has been renamed the "X" title. The idea is that it's not necessarily going to be limited to just small guys and will act more as a secondary title to the NWA belt, not exclusively a cruiserweight thing.
Disco Inferno turned down an offer to join TNA because they wanted him to change his name to Ad Man and have a gimmick where people print/draw ads on his body, like they do in boxing sometimes. Or like a NASCAR. The idea is he would be covered in ads and every week, he'd lose a match and a "sponsor" would drop out and eventually, he'd have no sponsors left because he keeps losing. Gee, hard to see why he turned that gimmick down.
Random other TNA notes: Ed Ferrara is involved in writing the shows along with Jeff and Jerry Jarrett (and, let's be honest, Vince Russo, though that's still top secret. Shhhh, don't tell anybody). Jeff Jarrett was in the pits for the recent NASCAR Kroger 300 race with Hermie Sadler, who is scheduled to be at TNA's debut show. Former ECW manager Sinister Minister will be part of this company, using his real name James Mitchell. K-Krush (Ron Killings, aka R-Truth) is expected to be one of the main heels in the promotion.
Okay, fine. Let's talk Russo. Officially, he's still not involved, but he has submitted a bunch of ideas, many of which are expected to be implemented on the debut show. But "officially" he's not part of the company (he's still gotta have a quick cup of coffee in WWE before they kick him to the curb again, at which point he finally decides to join TNA for real).
The WWA promotion is in deep trouble. They have a show scheduled for Ireland soon and ticket sales for that show are pretty decent. But every other show on their books looks to be dying. They have 3 shows scheduled for Germany next month and all 3 shows have less than 500 tickets sold each. The German promoters are wanting to cancel the tour but WWA promoter Andrew McManus has a contract that will result in a lot of financial penalties for him if the shows are canceled, so he's fighting it. Lex Luger is booked for the tour, which would be his first time wrestling since WCW went down. They're also still promoting names like Jeff Jarrett and other TNA contracted talent, but with their new plan of running live every week, it's going to be hard for any of them to get overseas, work the tour, and still do the TNA tapings.
XWF is making one last grasp to survive. Even though they've been saying this for almost a year now, the promotion is claiming once again to be very close to getting a TV deal. If it goes through, the plan is to hold a press conference to announce it and then tape 5 weeks of TV to air in Sept. and Oct., with plans to air a PPV some time in late-October. Dave says this sounds like desperation to him and he's not buying that a TV deal is close. Especially since they lost all their top stars, like Hogan, Curt Hennig, and Jerry Lawler, all of whom were involved at the beginning but have all since returned to WWE (though Hennig has since been fired by WWE again, so he's available). But even if this miraculously happens, most of the marketable names left out there have already signed short-term deals with TNA that will last through October, so they wouldn't be available either. So XWF will be struggling to fill a roster with names anyone even cares about (obviously this never happens).
UFC will make its TV debut as part of a 30-minute segment on Fox Sports' "The Best Damn Sports Show Period." It will be hosted by Fear Factor host Joe Rogan, who is a huge UFC fan and has a lot of martial arts experience himself. The idea is to show one full fight in its entirety (Robbie Lawler vs. Steve Berger), with highlights of other fights to fill out the rest of the time. Dave criticizes them for not putting Chuck Liddell vs. Vitor Belfort on the show, or at least airing highlights, but that's not the plan as of press time. Obviously, that's a strong PPV draw and that's where the money is, but you only get one chance to make a good impression and Dave thinks it would be in UFC's best interest to give TV viewers a taste of their best foot forward and try to get somebody like Liddell over with a new, large audience.
Dave says the Bob Sapp fight in K-1 that was talked about last week, in which Sapp basically mauled his opponent in such a way that he got DQ'd, was at least partially a work. Had it not been, Sapp would have been immediately fired, not given a rematch with the same opponent 6 weeks later. There's a pretty good chance that his opponent didn't know and that the people who ran in to separate them after the fight didn't know either, but Dave seems pretty confident that Sapp was instructed by someone higher up in K-1 to do what he did.
Rock's next movie, "Helldorado" is expected to film between September until around Christmas. WWE is hopeful Rock can make some appearances on TV during the those months in between filming dates, but that's going to be difficult to pull off (indeed, he never shows up during this time).
Speaking of Rock, he worked the Honalulu, HI house show over the weekend, which drew an easy sellout crowd, the first sellout for a house show in a long time. Due to Rock being on the card, tickets sold out in 2 hours and scalpers were making a ton of money. In fact, the show was such a big deal that a local radio station was giving away tickets for the craziest stunt fans could pull and 2 fans walked through downtown Honolulu completely naked in order to score tickets. Rock beat Jericho in the main event in a great match. It was WWE's first time there in 8 years (Dave corrects himself from before, when he said 14 years in a previous issue and someone here on Reddit called him out on it haha). Rock got a reaction like Antonio Inoki in Japan, he was basically a god in this city. A lot of his friends and family were there as well and backstage, Rock told people that the show was bigger to him than even his 4 Wrestlemania main events and called it the biggest night of his career. When talking about his grandfather, Rock got emotional and began crying and talked about his history promoting in Hawaii. Bruce Willis, for whatever reason, was in attendance, and during the match, they did an angle where Rock held Jericho for Willis to punch him which got a huge pop. Genichiro Tenryu and Motoko Baba were there as well, meeting with John Laurinaitis (Johnny Ace, who spent much of his career in AJPW). They were there to discuss doing business with WWE as well as to get some photo ops for the magazines back in Japan so they can get that WWE-rub. (Sure enough, here's an article from just a couple months ago where Rock says once again, to this day, that the match with Jericho in Hawaii was the most meaningful match of his career. I can't find any footage of the damn thing though, which is a shame).
Notes from Raw: X-Pac lost in a King of the Ring qualifier match to RVD and Dave says it's a good thing nobody in WWE pays attention to their own storylines because just a week or two ago, the story was that if anyone in the NWO loses a match going forward, they're out of the group. But of course, that wasn't even acknowledged or remembered here. Raven lost to Jeff Hardy in 3 minutes and Dave's not sure that Raven made the right move by giving up his safe commentary job because they sure don't seem to see much in him as a wrestler. The "Molly Holly is fat" storyline continued because fuck this company. Lawler even tried to get a "She's a fat ass" chant going. Backstage, X-Pac was shown crying after his loss, "sort of like real life," Dave jokes. They teased Austin showing up by playing his music and having Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit come out instead. They did a thing with Jackie Gayda teasing her being on the WWE Lingerie Special that airs next week and had Vince hitting on her backstage, making it very apparent why she was chosen to win Tough Enough over the obvious most deserving finalist, Kenny. And in the main event, Nash and Shawn Michaels were on commentary burying the match, making fun of Jim Ross, etc. And of course, the show closed with Rock doing his surprise return and promo where he pretty much buried Austin for leaving.
Coming out of Raw, a TON of fans still seemed to think the Austin thing was an angle. Vince's first promo, which was a total shoot about Austin being gone, didn't get over that way, with most fans in the arena expecting an angle and waiting for him to show up. There were constant "We want Austin!" chants and many people that Dave has heard from even thought the Confidential episode was all a work.
Notes from Smackdown: all the mentions of Austin on commentary weren't done live during the show, but were later dubbed in. Mostly it was just an effort to plug the Confidential episode about him, and it was such a last minute decision to do that episode that they had to edit the plugs in after the show was taped. The wall of security guards in the ring during the Triple H/Undertaker contract signing was copying the same thing they did before the Tyson/Lewis fight because it's a pretty cool visual. Nidia is doing a hillbilly gimmick now. Hurricane seems to be dropping his gimmick and going back to Gregory Helms. Word is most of the agents hated the Hurricane character for whatever dumb reason.
Dave talks about the upcoming Hogan vs. Kurt Angle match at King of the Ring and is curious to see how it goes. He thinks the most likely ending is Vince costing Hogan the match and Angle pinning him, but he's curious to see if Hogan is really going to try to put Angle over or is it gonna be another Kidman situation. That being said, WWE is protecting Angle and there's serious talk of giving Angle a run as the top guy, in the wake of Austin and Rock leaving and Undertaker and Triple H being so banged up. The idea is to put the belt on Angle and have him take on all comers, heel and face, like an old-school Lou Thesz-type champion. Either way, this Hogan match is going to be a test of how good Angle is because if he can't carry Hogan to a good match, then no one can. It's also going to be a test of whether Hogan is really the team player he claims to be now (yeah Dave's gonna be shocked at how this one ends I bet).
At the latest WWE tapings in Atlanta, Dusty Rhodes was backstage visiting and introducing his 16-year-old son Cody Runnels to everyone. Cody has been training with his father to be a wrestler. Good luck kid.
Former 50s-80s promoter Jim Barnett was also backstage at Raw and since it was his birthday, the McMahons got him a cake and orchestrated everyone singing happy birthday to him. Barnett was there because he was just hired as a consultant, which is curious timing. Barnett hadn't been officially hired by TNA or anything, but he had agreed to appear at their debut show as part of an angle with old NWA champions. So when WWE swooped in this past week and hired him, it got a lot of people talking but Dave says there's nothing to it. If Vince McMahon was trying to poach people from TNA, he wouldn't start by hiring a 78-year-old guy to be a consultant.
The local FOX station in Los Angeles, like everyone else, covered the Steve Austin/Debra story on the "Good Day L.A." morning newscast. The story was presented as a big joke, even using the headline "Smackdown At Home." Well, one of the anchors, Jillian Barberie, refused to play along, presenting the story as the serious issue it is and afterwards, criticized the station's writing team live on the air, calling them low class for making light of a woman being beaten by her husband.
Random WWE news and notes: Bubba Ray Dudley missed the UK PPV and TV this week due to the death of his mother. Edge and Chris Jericho have joined Kurt Angle as part of the Get Tough on Angina campaign that Angle has already been doing commercials for. A commercial for Summerslam was filmed this week with a bunch of guys chasing Trish Stratus in an ice cream truck.
Rey Mysterio made his WWE debut at a house show in San Diego, beating Chavo Guerrero. Mysterio was wearing his mask again and was said to be more impressive than anyone else on the show. The mask actually did come off by accident at one point though. Mysterio also looked substantially bigger than he did in WCW because, well, he's coming to WWE and you know how that goes.
NEXT WEDNESDAY:Bret Hart injured in bicycle accident, WWE re-hires Vince Russo, King of the Ring fallout, and more coverage of TNA's debut than you could ever possibly want, and a ton more...
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
PROGRAMMING NOTE:Some of you may have missed last week's post because I didn't do it on Wednesday. Ended up posting it Thursday instead, so it's there in the archives below if you missed it. I know this 2002 series of Rewinds doesn't really have the momentum or appeal that it had back when I was posting them 3 times a week for years on end. Sorry about that, like I said before, I just decided to post these on a whim when the virus started and didn't really prepare for it so it's all kinda haphazard. But just didn't want anyone to miss the one from last week if it flew under the radar.
Steve Austin walked out of WWE this week and threw everything into upheaval. As a result, Raw featured Vince McMahon challenging Ric Flair to a match for ownership of the entire company. It was the ultimate final blow-off to a huge long-term angle, and they did it with only 2 hours of build-up. With Vince now in charge of both shows, questions are swirling about whether this spells the end of the brand split, only a few months in. The reason this all happened is because, only 6 hours before Raw went on the air, Steve Austin showed up to the arena and found out he was scheduled to wrestle (and Dave thinks put over, though he hasn't confirmed that yet) Brock Lesner. Dave immediately points out the obvious, that an Austin vs. Lesnar match is something you should build up ahead of time, not throw it on free TV with no build up at all. Plus, he's still so new, he's incredibly green, and he's spent the last few months selling way too much for people like the Hardyz and Bubba Ray Dudley. Hell, before he debuted in WWE, he wasn't even the most over guy in OVW. He's nowhere near the level you'd expect for him to be winning matches with Steve Austin un-hyped on free TV. In fact, Lesnar should probably go through just about everyone else on the roster before putting him against Austin. That's a potential Wrestlemania-level match and Dave seems befuddled that they would just book it for Raw like this.
Apparently Austin felt the same way because he and his wife Debra left the building and flew home before Vince McMahon even arrived to the arena, the second time since Wrestlemania that he has walked out on the company. A source who was there when McMahon learned of the news said that, for the first time anyone could remember, Vince seemed to drop his "game face" and there seemed to be genuine panic about what to do. Rock has one foot out the door to Hollywood. Undertaker and Triple H are banged up and won't be around forever (bet). Business is already collapsing. And now the biggest star the company's ever had just walked out the door. Last time Austin walked out after Wrestlemania, he was only away for 2 weeks. This time, there's a feeling it could be much longer. Those close to Austin say he's been unhappy for months and this decision wasn't anything specifically to do with the Lesnar match. That just happened to be the final straw. Austin made news last week when he went on the WWE's Byte This show and voiced his frustrations with the company's creative direction. Plans had been put into motion over the last couple weeks for Austin to feud with Eddie Guerrero and then Chris Benoit, which he was happy about (he was enjoying his recent house show matches with Eddie and Benoit is one of Austin's favorite opponents) but that's out the window now. Austin and Vince McMahon reportedly haven't been on good terms for several months now and word is the night before Raw, the two of them had a very heated conversation over the phone that left Austin pissed off and frustrated even before this went down.
And that's the deal on Austin. He has more money than he'll ever be able to spend and doesn't have any financial need to wrestle. He only does so because he enjoys it. And if he doesn't enjoy it anymore, then by all means, it's his right to leave and he doesn't owe the business anything if he wants to hang up the boots. But Dave does feel like Austin owes WWE at least a few weeks to write him out of storylines since he's such an important piece of the company. Walking out from a live TV taping is unprofessional and it leaves guys like Guerrero and Benoit left hanging, thus screwing up their future plans and money-making potential too (yeah, that's something that doesn't get talked about much. Austin walking out fucked Guerrero over pretty hard here. It would take him another 2 years to get back into that main event scene that he would have been involved in here). That being said, pretty much everyone in the locker room sympathizes with Austin and agrees with his complaints about the creative direction of the company, but not many of them were defending the way he walked out. And given that this is the second time he's done it, the feeling is he shouldn't be allowed back without facing some actual punishment this time.
So anyway, the day of Raw, they went into panic mode and had to re-write the entire show. And with the feeling Austin won't be coming back anytime soon, Vince felt they needed to do something big. So they went with blowing off the dual-owners angle in a match that was designed to turn Flair babyface again and establish Vince as the heel owner of everything. There was also discussion of turning Undertaker babyface again, since he's been getting more cheers than RVD when they work together at house shows lately but they decided against that for now (they end up doing it in a couple weeks). So now Flair has been abruptly turned back, after only turning heel a few weeks prior. The brand split may or may not be dead. And there we stand.
In what would have been a major story during any other week, DDP has officially retired from wrestling at age 46. Unfortunately, Austin's walk-out overshadowed everything. The decision on DDP's retirement was actually made by Vince McMahon and Jim Ross, who pretty much made the choice for him after they got his medical reports. DDP has been advised by multiple doctors that his spine is shot and he needs to retire. For the company's own liability, WWE decided to listen to the doctors and DDP agreed. There has been talk of finding ways for DDP to work the remainder of his contract for the company in a non-wrestling capacity. (He obviously ends up wrestling a handful of matches in the years since, but for the most part, this really was the end of DDP's in-ring career as a full-time wrestler).
There were a couple of moments on Raw this week where Shawn Michaels was cutting a promo and made a comment about Austin "losing his top spot" and another comment later about Rock "stealing Triple H's spot." A lot of people in the company backstage were upset, feeling like this was the same ol' Shawn, going into business for himself and trashing on Austin and Rock and yada yada. Not the case. Those comments were actually scripted for Shawn to say because they want to get over the idea that Shawn on the mic is a loose cannon and you never know when he might start "shooting" and say something he's not supposed to. It's all very dumb, you see. Almost like Vince Russo is coming back any day now or something.
Dave gives a big preview and rundown of the Jarrett family's new NWA-TNA promotion, which has its debut show next week on PPV. Not all cable systems are carrying it, however. Cablevision and Dish Network both declined to carry it, but DirecTV is. This cuts down on the number of available homes for the show and probably cuts 20-30% off their potential revenue. The main PPV provider in Canada, Viewer's Choice, has also declined to carry it. Steep mountain to climb here. Dave expects them to do decent numbers for their first show but predicts an XFL-like collapse after that. By week 3, Dave is scared for their chances. From here, Dave gives the whole history of other promotions who've tried to make it on PPV in the U.S., with varying degrees of success and failure. UWFI, UFC, ECW, WCW, PRIDE, etc, WWF has even toyed with similar ideas. In 1991, they did the one-off Tuesday In Texas PPV as a test to see if they could run PPVs back-to-back (Survivor Series was only the week prior) and it was a flop. The original concept for Shotgun Saturday Night was for it to be a weekly Saturday night PPV with a similar >$10 price point, but that idea got scrapped before it got off the ground and it became just another TV show. Dave doesn't think TNA is going to make it without a TV deal. This PPV exclusive plan just has too much working against it. The Jarretts have talked about the millions of disenfranchised fans that stopped watching after WCW died, and it's true. Those people are out there. But those millions of fans all checked out between 1999-2001, and TNA isn't going to win them back by using the same people and the same concepts that ran those viewers away from WCW. All your wacky booking ideas, your Vince Russos, your Jeff Jarretts as champion, bringing in guys that even WWE won't touch (Scott Hall), etc. Those are all the same things that ran away those WCW viewers. Dave just doesn't see how this experiment can work in its current form.
Vince McMahon himself was the latest guest on WWE's Byte This show and needless to say, it was interesting. Vince denied the idea that the wrestling business is "cyclical" and said it's more like a series of peaks and valleys that have slowly been trending upwards over the years. Vince also admitted WWE doesn't always make the best decisions but says their batting average is good overall. Vince also said he's proud to have the word "wrestling" in their company name, which is a pretty big about-face from all the years he's tried to publicly claim they were "sports entertainment, not wrestling." He admitted things are rough right now but said there are huge changes coming soon that will change the entire industry but wouldn't elaborate on what he had planned (I think time has proven that the answer to this was nothing whatsoever. They had no idea what they were doing during this time and were just making shit up as they went along). Vince acknowledged that Austin has been frustrated lately and said Austin is the most demanding of all the wrestlers in WWE. Vince also said he pays no attention to the internet because everyone thinks they're a booker. He also complained that it's hard to live up to people's expectations because fans all think they know everything now. Acknowledged ratings being down and played it off like, yes, WWE is sick. But it's only a cold, not pneumonia or anything, so don't panic.
More notes from Vince on Byte This because huge unbroken paragraphs suck: he hinted at producing movies starring WWE talent. Dave thinks that's a bad idea. "No Holds Barred," anyone? Criticized backyard wrestling, which Dave actually agrees with him 100% on. Was asked about bringing Vince Russo back and said he hasn't given it any thought but he has an open door policy (see you next week, Russo! Jeez, it almost makes you wonder if Vince got the idea from this interview or something). When asked about the recent Jim Cornette/Ed Ferrara incident, Vince basically seemed disinterested but said he admires Cornette's passion for wrestling but felt spitting in Ferrara's face was unprofessional. When asked about NWA-TNA, Vince said he didn't understand how they could do it without television. Trying to get people to pay $9.95 a week for a 2 hour show (a minor league product at that, because anything other than WWE is basically minor leagues at this point), when they already get Raw and Smackdown on free television. Otherwise, he said he has no opinions on it because he hasn't seen it, but Vince seems to share Dave's opinion. He doesn't see this PPV model as sustainable and doesn't seem particularly threatened by it.
NJPW's latest Best of the Super Juniors tournament is in the books and was a disappointment, just like everything else in NJPW lately. Koji Kanemoto won a pretty boring tournament. There was only one new name involved, which was Michinoku Pro wrestler Curry Man (Christopher Daniels under a mask). He's talented and charismatic but he's not even that big a star in Michinoku Pro, much less to the NJPW audience. Otherwise, it was more of the same, with no real notable matches.
Zero-1 in Japan is hoping to put together a working relationship with NWA-TNA. Specifically, they're hoping they can do a Shinya Hashimoto vs. Ken Shamrock feud, perhaps over the NWA title.
While training for his comeback, Kenta Kobashi messed up his shoulder doing bench presses, because of course he did. Doctors have told him not to return too soon but he still plans to be back in the ring by next month. Because of course he does.
NJPW's latest show at Budokan Hall was a disaster. From photos Dave saw, he figures there couldn't have been more than 3,500 fans in the building. Even at its weakest after the NOAH exodus, AJPW never fell below 7,000 at Budokan and this show looked to be half that. It's likely the smallest crowd NJPW has ever drawn to that arena. The whole show was said to be terrible because of the depressing atmosphere of a building that was 2/3 empty.
This week's World Cup game between Japan and Russia did a 66.1 TV rating, making it the #2 highest rated sports broadcast in the history of Japan. This is notable because by doing so, it surpassed the Rikidozan vs. Destroyer match from 1963, which did a 64.0 rating, knocking it down to #3 (for what it's worth, it's believed that a Rikidozan vs. Lou Thesz match in 1957 was actually watched by even more people, but official ratings weren't kept as detailed back then, so it can't be counted for sure).
Dave has read some excerpts from the new Shaun Assael book on Vince McMahon called "Sex, Lies, and Headlocks." From what he's read, Dave says it's a very good and accurate portrayal of how the WWE has grown to what it is today. Vince's former close friend and VP of Titan Sports during the expansion era Jim Troy and Jim Barnett were both interviewed for it, among others. If you're a hardcore fan who's been following the Observer for years, there's nothing new here that you probably don't already know from a major story standpoint, but there's some interesting details at least that were new to Dave. But to the average fan, this should be pretty eye-opening. Dave expects to have a full review soon.
CZW held its second annual Best of the Best tournament at the old ECW Arena and the show got rave reviews. Particularly British wrestlers Jodie Fleisch and Jonny Storm, who tore the house down in their match. Trent Acid defeated Fleisch to win the tournament.
The Coen brothers, producers of the movie "Fargo", have had talks with Bobby Heenan about doing a movie based on his life (this pretty obviously went nowhere).
New Jack is no longer working with XPW and has jumped ship to work with a rival local promoter in Southern California. Perhaps not coincidentally, the last check New Jack received from XPW promoter Rob Black for $800 ended up bouncing. Dave says New Jack probably isn't the guy you want to write bad checks to.
NWA-TNA has changed its taping plans and no longer plans to tour, and they will now be live every week. The first two shows will be taped this week in Huntsville and after that, all future shows will be live from Nashville at the 9,000-seat Municipal Auditorium. Apparently the rent for that building is really cheap because a newer, more modern arena was just built nearby, so TNA can afford it. That being said, with as much trouble as they're having selling tickets for the debut show in Huntsville, Dave thinks it's pretty optimistic to start trying to run live tapings in the same 9,000-seat building every week. He thinks they would be much better off running a small 800-seat building every week, with a smaller, more intimate atmosphere that would come across a lot better on TV than a big cavernous arena that, inevitably, is going to be mostly empty (to this day, 18 years later, TNA/Impact has never once drawn a crowd of 9,000 fans. Never even really close actually).
Various other TNA notes: Dave runs down the list of confirmed names for TNA's first taping. Rick Steiner, K-Krush (formerly K-Kwik in WWF), Konnan, Steve Corino, The Harris Brothers, Psicosis, and a bunch of others. Don Frye has talked to Jeff Jarrett about coming in to work a match with Ken Shamrock. Jackie Fargo is going to be there doing something. They made an offer to Shane Douglas but he only agreed to come in if they didn't hire Francine (some kind of falling out between them). TNA decided they'd rather have Francine. They're expected to be doing some kind of old school vs. new school angle so....yay. More latter-years WCW shit. Mike & Todd Shane are coming in as a tag team called Dick & Rod Johnson and will have costumes that apparently look like penises, just in case you were still on the fence about whether Vince Russo is involved. The top stars are basically making around $3,500 per week which is a pretty decent salary for one day's work every week. The guys without name value, on the other hand, are getting $300 per show and are covering their own transportation. Just in case you were still on the fence about whether Jerry Jarrett is involved.
Ken Shamrock did an interview and acknowledged that he hasn't done pro-wrestling in a few years and knows he's going to be rusty. He also said he's worried because with only 1 show per week, he won't really be able to get enough matches under his belt to get good again. He also said he's signed a 3 fight deal with UFC and will be fighting Tito Ortiz in September, which turns out to be a pretty huge damn deal.
Dave saw the K-1 match with former WCW developmental wrestler Bob Sapp vs. some dude. Doesn't matter. What matters is Bob Sapp is enormous ("makes Brock Lesnar look like Jerry Lynn"). And he mauled this poor guy. In fact, it looked like Sapp was trying to get DQ'd, as he started kicking and kneeing the guy while he was down and just treating it like a street fight, violating lots of rules in the process. He was DQ'd but then K-1 booked Sapp and this other dude for a rematch in July. That leads Dave to think this was planned as an effort to get Sapp over as a lunatic, but if it was a work, somebody should have told the other guy because Sapp fucked him right on up. "This was like everyone feared Mike Tyson would behave, but 1,000 times worse and from a man far more scary." Furthermore, Sapp came out in a full Ric Flair robe and to Ric Flair' ring music, and the arena went insane. Sapp has massive superstar appeal in Japan right now and promoting him as a violent psychopath who has no regards for the rules in a shoot fight appears to be getting over huge.
Edge will not need surgery for his torn labrum injury, so he'll only miss a few weeks of action instead of a few months. Edge is in the midst of the biggest push of his career and this is his chance to finally break through to the next level so needless to say, good news.
Notes from Raw: show opened with Vince walking out, which was unexpected since this is Flair's show. He said Austin wasn't there and made a point of saying Austin was too much of a coward to be there. Pretty well buried Austin and buried Raw as a bad show (blaming Flair in kayfabe for all the show's real life problems. Sorta like last year when they actually turned the bad ratings into a storyline by trying to blame it on Corbin. Some things never change). They're doing a storyline with Trish making fun of Molly Holly for allegedly having a fat ass because, again, some things never change. Former Tough Enough contestant Chris Nowinski debuted doing the Harvard grad gimmick like the heel jock in every teen movie. "The heel jock." Never change Dave. Shawn Michaels made his big return, cut his promo joining the NWO and turning heel on the fans before superkicking Booker T out of the group. So theoretically, this should mean Booker T should have to work his way through the entire NWO one by one before getting to Shawn at the end, in what should be Shawn's first match back. "I'm not holding my breath," Dave says. And of course, Vince beat Flair to take control of both shows. Horrible match but considering it was a last minute panic move, understandable under the circumstances. Lesnar ran in and helped Vince win the match.
Notes from Smackdown: during a big pull-apart brawl, several agents ran in to break it up. Among them were Dean Malenko and Fit Finlay, appearing on TV for the first time in their new backstage roles, and John Lauranitis who was also shown on TV last week. More gay jokes with Billy and Chuck and Rico, which Dave calls Russo-esque. Not quite yet. Jamie Noble was introduced with Nidia from Tough Enough season 1 as his valet, in a feud with Hurricane. There was a big effort to make Bob Holly a star this week, starting a feud with he and Kurt Angle and they really pushed Holly hard as a star and Angle busted his ass to try and get him over. And they did a show-long angle with Maven in the hospital (he's legit injured) and Torrie Wilson shows up, it's implied that she gives him a blowjob, and then Dr. Tajiri shows up, mists Torrie and beats up Maven. Dave is at least happy that they're trying to make an angle out of Maven's injury so he has a storyline to come back to, which is more effort than they put into most stuff these days.
Various WWE notes: referee Tim White suffered a torn rotator cuff in the Backlash Hell in a Cell match and will need surgery that will keep him out of the ring for months. Rey Mysterio is scheduled to debut on WWE house shows this week and, as of now, is expected to be wearing his mask again. Terry Taylor has been reaching out to get hired, but the company won't return his calls (they eventually re-hire him in September).
There's been a lot of praise for the new Spiderman comic "Tangled Web" which was written by Raven (I had to research this, but yeah. "Tangled Web" was a Spiderman anthology series that lasted about 2 years and had 22 issues. Each issue was written by different authors. Issue 14 was called "The Last Shoot" and sure enough, it was co-written by Raven alongside Brian Azzarello, who is the mind behind one of my favorite comic series of all time, 100 Bullets. And I had no idea. Wild).
The long-discussed plan of having Arn Anderson as Chris Benoit's manager seems to be off the table now. The thought is Anderson has been devalued so much in recent months (they pretty much wheel him out every time they need someone to take a beating for heat in a Flair feud) that he wouldn't be effective as a manager for a strong, serious heel.
Tough Enough II winner Linda Miles made her in-ring debut on Velocity, against Ivory. She was accompanied by fellow winner Jackie Gayda, who turned heel on her and cost Linda the match. Dave thinks it's waaaaaay too early to put these 2 women in a feud against each other considering how green they both still are.
The Rock, Vince McMahon, Undertaker, Jerry Lawler, Jm Ross, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Shane McMahon were all in Memphis at the Mike Tyson/Lennox Lewis fight last week. Rock could be seen on camera a few rows deep throughout the fight, while Vince was shown on camera as a celebrity in attendance before the fight. The others were never shown on-camera, but they were all there. The PPV is estimated to have done 1.8 million buys and grossed a record $103 million, which are numbers that WWE can only dream of. Prior to the PPV, Rock co-hosted a pre-show party with guests such as Halle Berry and Britney Spears.
NEXT WEDNESDAY:Steve Austin accused of abusing Debra, much more on that situation and Austin's walkout, Jesse Ventura not running for re-election, Rock wrestles in Hawaii, and more...
Traded up to 11.7 (ATH) at completion of merger, then covid took a shit on it down to $6, is it now back up. No hype price movement at the time of announcements
Leadership team Dean Metropoulos has been our Chairman since August 2018. Mr. Metropoulos has served as Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hostess since November 2016. Since 2013, Mr. Metropoulos has served as the Executive Chairman of certain subsidiaries of Hostess and a member of the Board of Directors of Hostess. Mr. Metropoulos also served on the Board of Directors of Pabst Brewing Company until 2014. Mr. Metropoulos has over 30 years of experience in acquiring and restructuring businesses in the U.S., Mexico and Europe, focusing on the food and consumer sectors. Mr. Metropoulos has been involved in approximately 80 transactions, including investments in Pabst Brewing Company, Utz Quality Foods LLC, Pinnacle Foods Group, Inc.(Swanson/Hungry-Man,Vlasic Pickles, Open Pit Barbeque Sauce, Duncan Hines, Log Cabin Syrup, Mrs. Butterworth’s Syrup, Aunt Jemima Frozen Breakfast, Mrs. Paul’s Seafood, Van De Kamp’s Seafood, Celeste Pizza and Lender’s Bagels), Aurora Foods, Stella Foods, The Morningstar Group, International Home Foods (Chef Boyardee, Pam Cooking Spray, Gulden’s Mustard and Bumble Bee Tuna), Ghirardelli Chocolate, Mumm and Perrier Jouet Champagnes and Hillsdown Holdings, PLC (Premier International Foods, Burtons Biscuits and Christie Tyler Furniture), among others. Mr. Metropoulos holds a B.S. and an M.B.A. from Babson College. Mr. Metropoulos’ business expertise, financial acumen and business industry contacts make him well qualified to serve as a member of our board of directors. Alec Gores has been our Chief Executive Officer and a member of our Board of Directors since August 2018. Mr. Gores is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Gores Group, a global investment firm focused on acquiring businesses that can benefit from the firm’s operating expertise. Mr. Gores implemented an operational approach to private equity investing when he founded The Gores Group in 1987 by operating businesses alongside management, or in some cases in lieu of management, to build value in those entities. Since then, the firm has acquired more than 100 businesses including a current portfolio of more than 20 active companies worldwide. Mr. Gores began his career as a self-madeentrepreneur and operating executive. In 1978, he self-funded and founded Executive Business Systems (EBS), a developer and distributor of vertical business software systems. Within seven years, EBS had become a leading value-added reseller in Michigan and employed over 200 people. In 1986, CONTEL purchased EBS, and Mr. Gores subsequently began acquiring and operating non-core businesses from major corporations and building value in those entities, a decision that ultimately led to the founding of what has evolved into The Gores Group today. Under his leadership, The Gores Group has continued to acquire businesses in need of operational and financial resources, while creating value and working with management teams to establish an entrepreneurial environment as a foundation for sustainable growth. This philosophy has served the firm well. Mr. Gores served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gores Holdings I from its inception in June 2015 until completion of the Hostess acquisition in November 2016. Additionally, Mr. Gores has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gores Holdings II (Nasdaq: GSHT) and Gores Holdings III (Nasdaq: GRSH) since their inception in August 2016 and October 2017, respectively. Mr. Gores holds a degree in Computer Science from Western Michigan University. Mr. Gores’ significant investment and financial expertise make him well qualified to serve as a member of our board of directors. Andrew McBride has been our Chief Financial Officer and Secretary since August 2018. Mr. McBride has served as Director, Finance and Tax at The Gores Group since February 2010, where he is responsible for tax due diligence and structuring of acquisitions, compliance, planning, financial management and portfolio company reporting. Mr. McBride served as the Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Gores Holdings I from January 2016 until completion of the Hostess acquisition in November 2016. Additionally, Mr. McBride served as the Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Gores Holdings II (Nasdaq: GSHT) from its inception in August 2016 until October 2018 and he has served as the Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Gores Holdings III (Nasdaq: GRSH ) since its inception in October 2017. Previously, from January 2008 to January 2010, Mr. McBride worked in the High Net Worth group at Ehrhardt, Keefe, Steiner, and Hottman, P.C.. From January 2004 to January 2008, Mr. McBride was with KPMG, LLP, assisting international corporations with tax planning, structuring and compliance issues. Mr. McBride holds a B.S. in Accounting and Finance from the University of Notre Dame and is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Colorado. Randall Bort will serve as a member of our board of directors upon completion of this offering. Mr. Bort is a Co-Founder of SandTree Holdings, LLC, a private commercial real estate investment firm since November 2012. Previously, Mr. Bort was an investment banker at Drexel Burnham Lambert, BT Securities, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Credit Suisse First Boston, The Mercanti Group and Imperial Capital. Mr. Bort has significant financial, transactional and capital markets experience across multiple industries and has worked both domestically and in Asia. Mr. Bort earned a B.A. in Economics and Mathematics from Claremont McKenna College and an M.B.A. in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Bort served as a member of the Board of Directors of Gores Holdings I from August 2015 until completion of the Hostess acquisition in November 2016. Additionally, Mr. Bort has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Verra Mobility Corp. (Nasdaq: VRRM) (formerly Gores Holdings II (Nasdaq: GSHT)) and Gores Holdings III (Nasdaq: GRSH ) since their inception in August 2016 and October 2017, respectively. Mr. Bort also is a member of the Board of Trustees of Children’s Bureau, a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles focused on foster care and the prevention of child abuse. Mr. Bort’s significant investment and financial expertise make him well qualified to serve as a member of our board of directors. Michael Cramer will serve as a member of our board of directors upon completion of this offering. Mr. Cramer has been the Chief Administrative Officer & Executive VP at Hostess Brands, Inc. since 2013 and the Founding Director-Texas Program in Sports and Media at The University of Texas at Austin since 2010. Mr. Cramer was employed as a Director, SVP-Business Planning & Development by The Pabst Brewing Co. from 2010 to 2014, and was previously employed as an Associate Professor by New York University, a Chief Administrative Officer & Executive VP by Pinnacle Foods Corp., a President & Chief Operating Officer by Hicks Sports Group LLC and President of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club and Dallas Stars Hockey team, an Executive Vice President & General Counsel by Morningstar Group, Inc., an Executive VP-Administration & General Counsel by Stella Foods, Inc., a Vice President by CDM Hostess Class C LLC, a Vice President by Fairmont Aviation LLC, a Principal by Ghirardelli Chocolate Co., and a Director & Executive Vice President by International Home Foods, Inc. He also practiced law for approximately 10 years in Wisconsin. He received his undergraduate degree from State University of New York at Albany and a J.D. from Marquette University Law School. Joseph Gatto will serve as a member of our board of directors upon the completion of this offering. Mr. Gatto has been a partner at Perella Weinberg Partners, L.P., a leading independent global financial services firm providing corporate advisory and asset management services (“PWP”) since 2012. Prior to his employment at PWP, Mr. Gatto was an investment banker holding senior roles in mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance at Goldman, Sachs & Co., Lehman Brothers Inc. and Barclays plc. Mr. Gatto has significant financial, transactional and capital markets experience, particularly in the consumer products and retail industries, and has worked with clients in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Mr. Gatto has also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a Fellow at Harvard University’s Advanced Leadership Initiative. Mr. Gatto holds an A.B. in economics and international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. He also holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Mr. Gatto’s significant investment banking, financial and strategic expertise make him well qualified to serve as a member of our board of directors. Positions: None right now, there's some time before we may see action. Currently commons are trading at $11 and warrants are at $2.2, the warrants are pricey right now. I'm in HCAC and SPAQ at the moment but this seems to be the next short term play after, long term for me would be IPOC or PSTH. I'm betting on the leadership. The bad: no real forward purchase or PIPE investors or any external funding, which is okay. could indicate that the team is confident in their strategy without the need for additional funding ($400 mil in their own investment) My thought process: if TWNK came out in this current SPAC market, would we see a hype? 1000% I think they can choose slightly above average known consumer targets and we'll see strong price action.
I've been following this thread for some time and I just have to say I absolutely love the stories here. I was hoping I could make a contribution then I remembered this little incident from back in my High School Days. Hope you guys like it. It sorta spills over to different topics including entitledparents, pettyrevenge, and entitledkids so I've also posted this story there with this little disclaimer in case you've seen this or this story sounds familiar anyway, on with the story. So back in High School, I was classmates with a kid who well.... wasn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. Take note, we were Sophomores (Grade 10) by now so our batch had been together for 10 years. It's a small private school so we were all pretty tight-knit. However his mom believed he was "The perfect little angel" who would outshine everyone else. In reality, he only got those since him mom would bribe their way through the system to let the kid have the benefits (ie, instead of trying out, the mom would pay their way into sports teams so he'd get credit only for him to be benched the entire game). The worst part was that as years went by (and to this day, honestly), the kid bought into his mom's narrative and believed he was superior to many of us with the mom making many outlandish claims. Among these tactics was something I'd noticed for a while. See in the Philippines, instead of dividing the academic year in Semesters, we had Quarters and within each quarter we had 2 Major Long Tests (hence forth I'll be referring to as LTs) then after each Quarter we had a Quarterly Exam (henceforth I'll be referring to as QEs). As each quarter progresses, the QEs would aggregate lessons from the Quarters that had passed along with that quarter's lessons. Anyway, for some time now, our class had noticed that this kid would call sick on the day of major exams and then the mom would call on the kids in the higher bracket grading who were supposedly close with the kid to ask for THE EXACT CONTENT OF THE TESTS so they could study it for the re-test. Now, I'm not exactly a star student (ok...not at all) but my grades were decent enough for her to consider me within that call list. I mean I hung out with the guy and he was nice enough until his mom began inflating his ego. So during the 3rd QE for Algebra, surprise surprise....the kid calls in sick. Now this was pretty expected since everyone had already been betting on it. Sure enough, by evening, the mom calls me up asking exactly what was on the test.. EACH. QUESTION. AND. ANSWER. I tell her off and she starts spouting on about "Grades are important" and "I'm just caring for the future of my child" and "He Deserves to be in the Honor Society" and "You should be more charitable!". Ugh ok, whatever lady. By this point, I'd had enough so...I comply... but with a twist. I end up giving her all the items....of our 2nd QE. Without a thought, she begins typing it down (I can her her frantic fingers on the keyboard through the phone) and begins taking down each and every word I say. Here's the kicker, our Algebra teacher did not even include lessons from past QEs! She thanks me profusely and how I'm "such a saint and a savior" to her son. Ugh, quit the sweet talk, lady. Anyway, kid comes in, takes the test and.... oh look.... HE GOT AN F! To add insult to injury, our teacher was one who'd put in the numerical percentage so we had a clear idea on how we did. Kid got a 35% The mom confronts me and says "YOU LIED! What you told me wasn't on the test!" I played the ignorance card and said "Hmmm...maybe he switched it up". THEY. NEVER. BOTHERED. ME. AGAIN XD He dropped from the Honor Society that year, people caught wind of the story, and started doing the same thing. Parents, never spoon-feed your kids! It NEVER works out well. We're in college now and all updates on the kid's college life are non-existent. We don't even know if he's in college. Every time we have a reunion, he's evasive on the topic, despite everyone openly talking about their ups and downs on Uni life. Last we heard, the mom was claiming her little Einstein was taking a double degree. We have a classmate who's uncle is a professor in the said degrees and he said he's never heard of the kid there. So that's my story XD Hope you guys liked it.
If The Challenge had a Player Efficiency Rating system, Derrick’s Career PER would be at the very top. He’s one of the most consistent elite challengers ever.
Derrick has participated in 10 challenge seasons. He’s either made the final challenge or lost right before the final eight out of ten times. The other two times, he was sent home fifth. If you go back and analyze every individual Derrick performance, you’ll soon come to realize that he’s never had a bad season under his belt.
Missions Performance-Wise, Derrick was: 2nd best on Fresh Meat (after Evan), 2nd best on Cutthroat (after Abram), 3rd best on Inferno II (after C.T. and Landon), 3rd best on Gauntlet II (after Landon and Alton), 3rd best on Dirty Thirty (after C.T. and Nelson), 4th best on Inferno III (after Abram, Alton, and Johnny), and 5th best on the Duel (after Evan, C.T., Wes, and Brad). The Island had no missions, but Derrick was the clear-cut number one competitor (Ring Wrestle and Ball Buster are cold hard evidence). The missions on the Ruins were too team-oriented to determine a ranking system, but Derrick was at the very least top five and you can make an argument he was in the top three. That’s 9 out of 10 seasons where Derrick was a top five male performer.
The only season where Derrick wasn’t a top 5 male competitor was on his rookie season, Battle of the Sexes II. But even on that season, Derrick still left his fans with a career highlight moment in his short stay. And it was in his the first mission he’s ever participated in, Dangle Drop. In this mission, competitors had to hold on to a punching bag dangling above a lake for as long as possible. Derrick (alongside Abram) won the competition for the Guys, by outlasting everyone in his preliminary heat and then beating Coral and Rachel in the final heat. Young Derrick’s cockiness and drunken behavior didn’t rub off too well within the males team on the first day of Sexes II. If he would’ve just performed average in Dangle Drop, he was potentially the first boot. But Derrick proved to the rest of the team that he was a worthy competitor with a whole lot of fight in him. Derrick became a victim of Elimination Hill on Sexes II after the fifth mission (regardless of having outperformed Mike the Miz up to that point). Mike was an established veteran who had strong social ties to the Men’s team upper echelon, and because of this, he was saved.
Derrick’s showing on Dangle Drop (Sexes II) was a sneak peek to his ATG mental strength, Surf Torture (Inferno II) cemented it.
Surf Torture was the premier mission of Derrick’s sophomore season. In Surf Torture, pairs made within both the Good Guys and Bad Asses teams had to endure physical tests that were assigned to them by highly trained navy seals. The series of physical tasks ranged from wheelbarrows to having to lift heavy logs up and down the shore of a beach. When physical fatigue kicked in and the pairs were no longer performing the exercises in a sufficient manner, they were eliminated from the competition.
When Surf Torture commenced, pairs dropped left and right because of how physically demanding the tasks were. The final 2 pairs came down to Abram/Derrick (Bad Asses) and Landon/Mike The Miz (Good Guys). You couldn’t have written a better final showdown for a mental strength competition. Determination. Drive. Heart. Those four guys embody those intangible qualities better than anyone else in Challenge History.
Here’s what the four mental strength titans had to say during Surf Torture’s final showdown: “I’m dying, so I know they’re hurting just as bad as I am” (Abram). My hamstrings are starting to cramp up and I’m trying to get myself away from thinking about [the pain]” (Landon). “[My] whole mind is saying ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do this anymore” (Mike The Miz). “It’s coming down to the wire. As much as this mission is torturing us, as much as I’m hurting, I’m not gonna give up to the Miz or Landon” (Derrick).
The last physical exercise of Surf Torture was the upper body decimator, the wheelbarrow. The first mission of the season literally weighed on Derrick and Mike’s shoulders, chest, and arms (All Abram and Landon had to do was hold onto their partners legs). Derrick was far from an empty gas tank. He was maneuvering up and down the shore with at least a quarter of his inner drive left, nodding his head from side to side whenever the navy seal asked if he was ready to quit. The Miz was a whole another story. He was running on fumes. Derrick was on his hands in a push-up position, meanwhile Mike was dragging his entire body through the sand (elbows and belly touching the floor). Mike’s engine eventually shut down and the navy seals eliminated him and Landon, giving Derrick, Abram, and the rest of the Bad Asses the first mission win of Inferno II. Derrick’s drive in Surf Torture is a frontrunner for greatest display of mental strength in a Challenge ever.
Other than Surf Torture, Derrick was the shining star of two other Inferno II missions. (1) Time To Ride: Players had to drive miniature motorcycles through a zig zag course above water. Derrick posted the fastest time out of all seven males and the times weren’t close. Derrick - 57 seconds, Landon - 1 min. 49 sec., C.T. - 2 min. 50 sec., Darrell - 3 min. 16 seconds, Abram and Mike Mizanin DQ’ed. Derrick put on a clinic for other all-time greats. (2) Dodge Yer Balls: Derrick and C.T. looked like professional dodgeball players, whereas Brad, Darrell, Landon, and Mike Mizanin performed as they had just picked up a dodgeball for the first time. Derrick and C.T. wiped out the entire Good Guys Team all by themselves in easy fashion. Although it was a joint effort, production made an error in giving C.T. the life shield. Derrick deserved it as he eliminated four Good Guys as opposed to C.T. eliminating three, and Derrick also had two game winning catches (C.T. had none). So, in actuality, the life shield ratio between C.T. and Derrick on Inferno II should’ve been 5 to 3.
On the Gauntlet II, Derrick makes it known that when all is said and done, he’ll go down as pound for pound the greatest challenge player ever in America’s Fifth Sport.
For about the entire first half of his career, Derrick weighed in at about 150 lbs. In the Challenge, that’s the lightest weight to ever exist in the men’s division. The other notable names I can think of within Young Derrick’s weight class are Adam King, Ryan Kehoe, and Luke Wolfe. None of these guys hold a candle to what Derrick has gone on to accomplish in the first half of his career. The club of 150 pounders is always viewed as the bottom of the food chain for Challenge heavyweights to devour. The smallest guys every season are always called into elimination first and are picked off rather easily. Young Derrick was an exception to this design within the game. More times than none, he wasn’t the heavyweights prey. It was the complete opposite. He was the one who preyed upon those bigger and stronger than him.
On the Gauntlet II, Derrick went into five physical eliminations. Derrick was victorious in the first four. The opponents he feasted on were: 170 lb. Brad, 180 lb. Adam, 190 lb. Ace, and 220 lb. Syrus. He defeated Adam Larson and Brad in Name That Coconut (a trivia game and a physical battle mixed into one) and beat Ace and Syrus In Beach Brawl (a sumo wrestling contest on sand). The Derrick vs. Syrus elimination was highly believed to be “Derrick’s swan song”. However, the combination of Derrick’s drive and wrestling experience helped him shock the world as he came out on top against Syrus, 3-1. Derrick suffered season-ending defeat in his fifth elimination, versus a 200 lb. Timmy in the final male gauntlet before the final challenge.
Derrick’s one hell of a regular season on Gauntlet II earned him nickname “The Pitbull”. He also received a nod of approval from the most respected veteran in the game, Mark Long. Mark praised Derrick for “[having] so much heart, and being the guy who went against the monster every time and [slaying] the monster”. Mark Long declared retirement at the G2 reunion, but as he was doing so, he passed his signature bandana over to Derrick (to represent a passing of the torch). “From the First Road Ruler to the Last Road Ruler”, Mark knew that Derrick was ready to be at the front and center of the Challenge’s future.
After Gauntlet II, it was just a matter of time before “The Pitbull” would get his first challenge victory. The only question was when.
On Fresh Meat, Derrick was paired with Diem and they placed 4th overall out of 13 teams. Together, they won three missions (the second most out of any team behind Coral/Evan). They won Batten Down The Hatches (agility based), Jump Down Under (swimming based), and Deep Blue (tested ability of holding breath under water). Derrick continued to prove how well rounded of a competitor he was to add to his bulletproof mental strength and tip-top wrestling ability.
Derrick’s fifth challenge was The Duel. Although he was eliminated at the halfway point, he still gave us some moments to be proud of. Derrick did something we thought he would never do and that’s win a puzzle elimination. Derrick’s intelligence has always been his biggest weakness, so him winning Ascender vs. Tyler is a nice outlier experience we can appreciate in his long line of work. We also got traditional Derrick in Push Over, a mission where players, having their hands tied together, had to wrestle one another off a large plank that was attached to the end of the boat. Derrick did what Derrick knows best and that was get low and use leverage to push his opponents off. The mission was done tournament style with 8 male participants. Derrick managed to take out C.T., Big Easy, and Brad to win Push Over. I have Derrick’s low man execution in Push Over as the third best mission highlight of the Duel (behind C.T. in Flying Leap and Wes in Sunken Treasure).
On the next season to take place, Inferno III, Derrick gets called in as a replacement for C.T. who punched Davis the first night in South Africa. Derrick didn’t expect to be on the season, which probably means he didn’t do any prep training in the off-season and it best explains why his mission performances on the Inferno III were teetering more towards middle-of-the-road than being the number one guy on his team. He didn’t win a single life shield, but still managed to put up solid numbers in the mission stat sheet. Derrick’s finest showing on I3 was his Cornerball win vs. Davis, where he roughhoused Davis in a 1-on-1 game of rugby. After six valiant efforts, Derrick finally got his long awaited championship on Inferno III.
Throughout his career, Derrick’s pitbull mentality has piled up a phenomenal highlight reel. On the flip side, Derrick’s social mechanics are one of the best the game has ever seen.
In his ten season career, Derrick only had 2 seasons where he was at the bottom in terms of social positioning (Sexes II and Gauntlet II). The other 8 seasons Derrick has been on, he was at the top of the totem pole in terms of alliances. For example, on I2, Derrick/C.T./Brad/Darrell kept each other safe from ever calling one another out for the elimination. Three of four of these guys never saw an elimination and made the final (Derrick was one of them). This was the only secret alliance on the I2, as alliances were considered taboo during the Golden era. On Fresh Meat, the main alliance that ran the entire second half of the game was Derrick/Diem, Darrell/Aviv, and Theo/Chanda. On Cutthroat, Derrick was the most well-connected player on the Blue team, and could’ve gone without seeing an elimination the entire season had Ty never been such a catastrophe.
Derrick’s social game on his second and third championship seasons (The Island and The Ruins) were perfect.
On The Island, from the public perception, there were village leaders (Kenny, Johnny, Paula, Johanna, Dunbar) and the rest of the village were outsiders. Derrick was the only player on the entire island who was happily welcomed by the leaders group, but also had a great relationship with the rest of the outsiders. Derrick was great friends with Kenny and Johnny, but unlike the two of them, he never bullied Robin, Tonya, or Evelyn. These people were his actual friends who thought highly of him. For this reason, Derrick’s key was never in consideration to get taken throughout the entire season. You couldn’t say the same for Kenny, Johnny, Dunbar, and Paula (all of whom either had their key stolen or were in danger of getting it stolen). Derrick’s untouchable social game on the Island is best highlighted when he threw a face-off just to give Johnny a key. Late in the season, people without keys were jumping at each other throats to get into the face-off, but yet, no one batted an eye when Derrick who already had a key volunteered for a second time. Had anybody else done this, it would’ve been seen as cynical, but because it was Derrick, people genuinely didn’t seem bothered by it. The plan of Johnny getting his key worked, and Derrick won a 10-1 landslide vote versus Cohutta. Derrick was respected so much that Cohutta’s plea was him essentially telling everyone that Derrick was a better fit for the final boats.
On the Ruins, Derrick was the third member to the J.E.K. coalition. He was the silent partner in crime (hence his first name initial not being included in the alliance name). Derrick benefited from all of Evan and Kenny’s political moves without being seen as a member of the alliance. Derrick had the strongest social ties in the game (Along with J.E.K., he was great friends with all the old schoolers - Syrus, Darrell, Katie, Tonya, Veronica, and Ibis). Derrick had to conform with the J.E.K. political movement by sacrificing old school friends in order to get his way to the end. Derrick, however, was not punished for his actions, because after all he was just doing what was best for his game (Derrick was a respectful sportsman to everyone unlike the rest of his J.E.K. associates).
Derrick’s overall player qualities stood the test of time on Dirty Thirty.
When our beloved all-time greats come back from a grand layoff (5 season break or more), the narrative arc in their comeback season is always the same: They fall short of the final challenge. We seen it with Darrell on Invasion, Mark on Exes, Alton on Seasons II, and Brad on Vendettas. Derrick broke the curse on Dirty Thirty. Although he had been missing in action for nine seasons, Derrick made it all the way to second place behind his all-time great comrade Jordan.
Dirty Thirty was an extremely mentally strenuous season with all types of twists and turns. The season also has one of the most stacked male casts of all-time, but this didn’t seem to bring out a single ounce of ring rust in Derrick. He was the only male to never be sent to the redemption house. Derrick won three missions, an elimination, and was apart of the top alliance of the house (with Bananas/C.T./Jordan/Tony/Leroy). Derrick’s well-connected social game was best highlighted in Veronica going to bat for him by turning the vote towards Leroy in the greatest political move of the season.
Derrick is the true elimination king, not Wes.
Wes’ 14-8 elimination record is the most padded and highly overrated statistic in Challenge history. His win against Derrick in Pole Wrestle is praiseworthy, but his best wins after that are beating Zach/Zahida in Lights Out or Jamie in blindfolded soccer (those victories aren’t much to write about for a second and third best of a hailed “elimination king”). He also has five exile wins that are basically non-canon in these debates (as him and Casey had 40 lbs. less luggage to carry, per average, than their opponents). Wes’ seven other victories were versus: Chet, Nick Brown, Davis/Tyrie, Brandon/Ty, Nate/Priscilla, and Nate/Christina. In Wes’ 8 losses, he was dominated four times: twice to Leroy, once to Bear, and once to Big Easy (although he was at a large weight disadvantage). His four other losses were versus Bananas in a crapshoot, Dario in an agility contest, Cohutta in a strategy based elimination, and his stamina failed him in an exile where the luggage factor was no longer benefiting him (versus Luke/Evelyn).
Derrick, on the other hand, is 8-4, arguably 9-4 (if you count his mercenary win against Joss in Vendettas as an official elimination). Derrick’s three best elimination wins are (1) vs. Joss in Crazy Eight: The Pitbull came out of the doghouse one last time and it’s jaw was locked to the 8-figure that him and Joss were fighting for. There was no letting go, and after 20 rounds of back-breaking battle, Joss’ mental fatigue kicked in and Derrick prevailed in the Vendettas death match. (2) versus Syrus in Beach Brawl (3) and versus Bananas in Reel World. The other opponents Derrick has knocked out throughout his career were Adam Larson, Ace, Brad, Brandon, Davis, and Tyler.
Derrick’s four losses are the most honorable Challenge deaths imaginable and take nothing away from him as a competitor. (1/2) He lost to Timmy and Tyler in strictly weight based eliminations (otherwise known as eliminations that hold the least amount of weight in judging competitors, no pun intended). Derrick was at a 50 lb. disadvantage in both contests, and there was nothing he could’ve done to win. No physical contact was allowed. It was just push or pull with all of your body weight. (3) Derrick/Diem lost to Darrell/Aviv on FM1 exile. Derrick/Diem had 75 more lbs. of luggage to carry than Darrell/Aviv. They stood no chance before the elimination even began. Fresh Meat exiles, in general, are considered unlawful in all-time great discussions. (4) Derrick lost to Wes in what people call today, the most memorable elimination to ever go down in Challenge history. Derrick’s performance here is a moral victory. Wes, in his post-elimination confessional, said he wanted Derrick to be The Godfather to his first child because of how much respect he had for Derrick after their elimination.
Although a prime Wes beat Derrick head-to-head, Derrick is not only the one to have knocked out the bigger names throughout their elimination career, but he’s also won more beautifully and lost more honorably. This is why Derrick rightfully deserves to sit on the throne for Elimination King (only C.T. and Darrell challenge him for a seat).
Derrick’s Overall Assessment.
In the league of Challenge legends, Derrick is seventh best. Most challenge fans would probably disagree with having Derrick one spot ahead of Darrell. But in my eyes, the only thing Darrell really has over Derrick is championship belts. Derrick has had a more consistently efficient career with more competitive highlights. When you break down their careers side-by-side: Derrick’s best competitive seasons (Inferno II, Gauntlet II, Fresh Meat) are greater than Darrell’s best (Inferno, Fresh Meat, Invasion). Derrick’s best social game performances (Island, Ruins) are better than Darrell’s best social game seasons (Inferno, Inferno II). Derrick’s worst showings (Sexes II, Duel) are a whole lot more memorable than Darrell’s (Fresh Meat 2, Dirty Thirty).
Derrick has ATG mental strength, aggression, and wrestling ability, whereas Darrell has ATG physical strength and stamina. Both have poor intelligence. Although they’re both close competitively speaking, Derrick edges out Darrell by being more well rounded in other areas such as agility and balance (two areas Darrell is inconsistent in, since he’s afraid of heights).
In eliminations, you can’t go wrong with picking either or. In missions, I’d take Derrick. In a final challenge, I’d take Darrell, but the question is would Darrell even get there? Derrick has shown time and time again he’s in for the long haul, whereas Darrell has been sent on the first flight home one-fourth of his career. This, along with a more well-connected social game is why I believe Derrick is the slightly safer choice between the two.
Derrick’s ceiling is the 7th position. His highly questionable intelligence molds him as a second place finisher in Challenge finals today (Dirty Thirty is proof of this). To be in consideration for the Challenge Mount Rushmore, you have to be a betting favorite to not only make it to the end, but also win a modern final all by yourself. The rest of the six legends that have yet to be revealed have all shown to be more than capable of enduring an entire season and accomplishing a first place finish. They’re also a lot more independent in constructing their own destinies from beginning to end, whereas you can always argue Derrick’s winning legacy might’ve not been as decorated if he never would’ve joined forces with Kenny Santucci (Derrick’s three championships have all been with Kenny on his team, who was always politically in charge of the game’s operations).
The Last Precursor is a brand new HFY-exclusive web-serial which focuses on the exploits of the last living human amidst a galaxy of unknown aliens. With his species all but extinct and only known as the ancient Precursors, how will Rodriguez survive in this hostile universe? Make sure to read Parts 1 and 2 first if you missed them! Previous Part Part 001 ....................................... Several kilometers from the Bloodbearer, aboard the Assault Ordinance Platform, 'Dragon's Breath.' Orgon the Unkillable paces back and forth on his ship's bridge. The Kraktol Fleet Commander reveals his impatience as he turns to his Chief Tactical Officer. "Officer Soren! What have you found?" The red-scaled Kraktol swivels in her chair to face her Commander. She pounds her chest and lowers her head. "Kyargh! Commander, I have completed my fifth scan. I am still unable to penetrate the Precursor vessel's hull. I know nothing of its occupants, nor its internal technology. The metal composing its body is far denser than any alloy we have on file." A flash of anger appears on Orgon's face. "Don't give me excuses. Give me results! I called off the attack on Tarus II for the sake of capturing that errant vessel. If we don't obtain that Precursor stealth craft, the Thülvik will have my head!" Behind Orgon, a slightly shorter Kraktol with bright yellow scales approaches him. "Commander." Orgon turns to look at the newcomer. "First Officer Megla. Tell me you have good news." His first officer nods. "I have calculated the age of the unknown Juggernaut-class Precursor ship. The scorch marks lining its shell appear both numerous and ancient. Preliminary readings show it has resided within this nebula for tens of millions of years." The Fleet Commander cocks his head. "Tens of millions of years? So... could that mean...?" "Aye, Commander. I believe the vessel is an unclaimed Precursor relic. If we are lucky, we might have a chance at obtaining it for ourselves." For the first time in an hour, Orgon's expression brightens. "Huhuhu... remind me to grant you a medal of commendation when we return. No! Three. Haha. This news is most fortuitous, indeed!" A gleam of greed appears in Orgon's eyes. He falls silent as his thoughts turn inward. Such an advanced piece of Precursor technology... if I obtain it, the Thülvik will surely promote me to the highest rank! Perhaps she shall even take me for her mate! Huhuhu... After a moment, Orgon frowns. No. Aren't I thinking too small? The Juggernaut warship is a thousand times more incredible than our best vessels. If I were to obtain it... why would I hand such a powerful and priceless artifact over to the Thülvik? Huhu... wouldn't it be better if I took it for myself? Even in the Core worlds, my might would be uncontested! Those damned Mallali haven't anything of comparable might. The Commander forces a neutral expression while noticing the look his First Officer gives him. I must keep such thoughts to myself. If the crew were to learn of my mutinous intent, they might turn against me. First, I should secure the vessel, and only then will I turn my attention toward those worthy to stay at my side. Commander Orgon harrumphs to clear his throat. "Graugh! Since the vessel is unclaimed, I believe now would be the ideal moment to approach. If we delay for too long, the fugitive Kessu may take over the vessel's control systems. The last thing we want are the descendents of the filthy Sky Cats to-" "Commander!" Officer Soren shouts, her voice rising an octave. "We're being hailed! The origin source is... the Precursor vessel. The Juggernaut!" Orgon's words halt in his throat. A sense of unease grabs him, making him turn to face the primary viewscreen, where his officers sit. "The vessel itself? Damn! Don't tell me the Kessu have already made their move! Everyone, return to your stations. Officer Soren, put the hail onscreen." "Yes, Commander! Kyargh!" Orgon's First Officer and the others nearby take to their seats, while Orgon himself remains standing. His crew turns to face the viewscreen, using their numbers as a show of strength. Click. The viewscreen shifts, revealing six bipedal aliens, all of them bald on their bodies, except for the tops of their heads. The one in the middle sports fur under his lips and around his chin, making the Kraktol all feel a sense of confusion. Hm? Orgon thinks. I do not recognize this species. They are not Kessu. Of the six assembled aliens, five of them wield highly advanced energy rifles, far mightier than anything aboard the Dragon's Breath. None of the Kraktol crew misses this distinction. "Greetings. I am Fleet Admiral Rodriguez, head of the United Terran Coalition, servant of the Divine Emperor Malathus the Third. Who are you, and why have you brought a fleet of battleships into my space? Are you planning to declare war upon me?" The bipedal alien speaks with authority, making all of the Kraktol bridge crew feel a hint of respect toward him. His voice does not shake, nor does his conviction waver. Orgon the Unkillable folds his claws behind his back. He straightens his posture while meeting 'Admiral Rodriguez's' gaze. "Graugh! I am Fleet Commander Orgon of the Kraktol, follower of the Thülvik. I am unfamiliar with your species, alien. Are you native to this region of space?" The alien doesn't respond for a moment. "...You could say that. My people are known as Terrans. Humans, if you like. I will repeat my earlier question. Why have you appeared before me with a fleet of death machines? Are you attempting to intimidate me?" The Kraktol Commander shifts his feet. Several questions pop into his mind upon hearing the Terran's words. Death Machines? Compared to the vessel these aliens control, my fleet can hardly be considered a nuisance. Why does the Terran pretend he is at a disadvantage? Damn. What is a Terran, anyway? I have heard of no such species in all my years! Don't tell me some scavengers from the Core stumbled upon this vessel before me! If they've taken over its weapon systems, I won't have a chance at seizing it for myself! The Thülvik will behead me for sure! Orgon casually raises his palm; the universal gesture for deference. "Ah, my apologies, Admiral Rodriguez! I was unaware the vessel you reside upon had already been scavenged. You see, I am a Rodak of many talents. I was pursuing a group of fugitives who stole valuable technology, when they entered this nebula and stowed away aboard your vessel! I wasn't certain if your Precursor vessel had been claimed by anyone, and now it seems my question has been answered. Might I implore you to hand over the thieves who took our technology?" Several seconds of silence follow. Admiral Rodriguez's eyes flick to the side, as if listening to someone else speak. Not long after, the Admiral blinks in acknowledgment. "I see. You were in pursuit of a species known as the 'Kessu.' Is that correct?" "Graugh! Yes, you are a very discerning Terran, Admiral Rodriguez. If you would be so kind as to return my stealth-craft, I will be on my way." "According to information I've just received, the 'Kessu' you speak of have not stolen any such technology. They claim that the vessel is theirs. Are you able to provide proof for your accusations of theft?" Commander Orgon's eyes flicker. "Hmm... the thieves stole not only the vessel, but many important documents related to its ownership. How about this? I can provide you with a substantial number of Core credits in exchange for the return of that vessel. You see, if I do not retrieve it, I will suffer a great humiliation. As one who is wise in the ways of negotiation, you understand what I mean, yes?" "Mmm." The Terran nods. "Certainly, I do." "Excellent!" Orgon says, as he clasps his claws together. "I can guarantee you a fruitful friendship with the Kraktol if you choose to cooperate with me today. Additionally, regarding your Juggernaut vessel, my people would be willing to offer a fortune in credits for the transference of its ownership. You need not rush to a decision, Admiral Rodriguez, but I hope you will consider my request! Why be a scavenger when you can live as a king?" The Terran frowns. "I am confused regarding a few matters, Fleet Commander Orgon. If you would be so kind, would you mind explaining a few things to me?" Orgon falters. "Graugh. Yes?" Admiral Rodriguez continues. "You keep using the term 'Precursor.' It might be that my translation interface is not working properly. Would you mind explaining what that term means?" Several question marks appear over Orgon's head. Is this alien not from a species our translator recognizes? Perhaps 'Precursor' means something different in the Terran's native language. "Ah, yes, of course! I will be happy to explain. Maybe your people have a different word which refers to the former super-civilization that once ruled the Local Cluster. Most Core-worlders refer to them as the Precursors. They were the ones who created the ships you and I currently reside upon!" The Terran nods. "Ah, so that's what you mean. Yes, I believe I understand. You mean the species which perished many tens of millions of years ago, correct?" "Graugh! Yes, that is exactly right." Commander Orgon shakes his head inwardly. This Terran seems intelligent, but he does not even know the universal term for the Precursors! Perhaps his people are nomadic, merely flitting about from one dilapidated outpost to the next. Admiral Rodriguez narrows his eyes. "Next, you implied that I was a scavenger. What did you mean by that statement?" Orgon's internal laughter comes to a sudden stop. The Terran's cold expression chills his blood, reminding him of the one time in the past he screwed up and pissed off the Thülvik. Ancient Rodaks! The look on the Terran's face could freeze a star solid! Have... have I inadvertently insulted him?! The Kraktol Commander suddenly becomes acutely aware of how much more powerful the Terran's scavenged vessel is compared to his. Even if 99% of its weapons might be nonfunctional, the remaining 1% could atomize his fleet with ease. "...Ah! Perhaps there was another mistranslation! Graugh... what poor decorum of me to choose my words so flippantly! Let me rephrase my question, great Admiral Rodriguez! Ah... might I ask in which way you procured the vessel you currently reside? The Juggernaut Precursor ship, I mean." The Terran Admiral's expression doesn't change. "That is my business, and mine alone, Commander Orgon. My crew numbers more than fifty thousand. All of them are highly trained, elite warriors. We are not scavengers who obtained this ship through ill-means." Orgon's scales shiver as the Terran's eyes threaten to bore holes in his natural armor. "Y-yes! Of course. Naturally, I misspoke! Forgive me, for I know very little regarding the ways of your people, the 'Terrans.' For you to acquire such a priceless Precursor ship, I am sure you must have explored far and wide across the galaxy. It seems you would not be willing to part with it for a reward as trifling as credits, yes? Perhaps some form of equivalent exchange?" The Admiral's reply drains the blood from Orgon's scales. "My vessel is not for sale, Fleet Commander Orgon. As for the fugitives who have slipped aboard, they must have done so under the cover of the plasma storms pervading this sector. I will end our communication here and re-establish contact with you later. If I find that your claims are true, I will consider selling their ship to you for a fair price." Orgon's dampened spirits immediately experience a full revival. He clutches his claws together and nods politely. "Oh, yes! Yes, we will give you any sum you wish-" "But..." Admiral Rodriguez says, cutting off the Kraktol Commander. "...If I should find that your claims are false... only the Divine Emperor's command will save your fleet from my wrath. For your sake, I hope that you have not attempted to deceive me." Orgon's words jam in his throat. He quickly folds his claws behind his back to hide their shaking. "Y-yes... of course, Admiral Rodriguez." Without another word, the viewscreen turns black as the Terran disables the connection from his side. All of the crew aboard the Dragon's Breath remain perfectly still. The atmosphere becomes so tense that one could hear a pin drop. Still trembling, the Fleet Commander takes a few steps back and sinks into his seat. I'm finished. Commander Orgon's eyes turn vacant. If I don't retrieve the stealth-fighter, the Thülvik will behead me for abandoning our mission to annihilate the Kessu. If I don't retrieve the Juggernaut-class Precursor vessel, I won't have the power to make myself the new Thülvik. And if that Terran speaks to the Kessu aboard his ship, he's likely to find out the truth and destroy my fleet. He's... he's not a mercenary, nor a scavenger. The Kraktol Commander's eyes slowly close. He's a damned zealot. He must belong to a species that thinks of themselves as virtuous protectors of the innocent. Orgon raises his fist and smashes it against his chair's arm. "First Officer Megla!" Orgon roars. "Dig up every piece of information you can find about these damned Terrans... these filthy humans!" The First Officer jumps out of her seat and nods. "Kyargh! Yes, Commander!" "Chief Tactical Officer Soren! Draw up a plan of attack! If that Terran turns on us, I want a shot at seizing his vessel! I don't care how little!" The Tactical Officer nods. "Kyargh! I will do as you command." Finally, Orgon turns to his Chief Navigation Officer. "Gorlax! Send a report back to the Thülvik regarding what we've found! Encrypt it with the highest security! We must keep this vessel's existence a secret! If the Buzor learn of its significance, they might come here before us!" Gorlox, like all the other officers, merely nods. "Graugh! Yes, Commander!" Quickly, the whole bridge gets to work following Orgon's orders. As they do, the Fleet Commander leans back in his chair. A look of animalistic rage appears in his eyes. You dare to threaten me?! Filthy Terran. I'll wipe your whole species from existence! ....................................... After ending the call, Admiral Rodriguez exhales deeply. "Is there a problem, Admiral?" Irene, the blond-haired Bio-Entity asks. "Your discussion with the Kraktol designated Orgon appeared most fruitful." José nods. "Yes. Assuming that crocodile-creature's words were true... it seems humanity has, indeed, gone extinct. The chances of finding some long-lost colony are remote. Additionally, I've learned that the galaxy is aware of neither our appearance nor our proper species' name, or else the Fleet Commander would have recognized me immediately. At the least, someone aboard his bridge would have." "Umi," José continues, "keep an eye on the enemy vessels. If they move so much as a half-step closer, inform me at once. Additionally, monitor their transmissions. Something tells me the Commander isn't as meek and polite of a fellow as he pretended during our chat. I suspect he'll call for backup, and soon." "Orders confirmed," Umi replies. "Admiral Rodriguez, I have downloaded the data stores from the Kraktol vessel. Their primitive security measures were unable to prevent my access. Would you like to take a look at what I've found?" "Later," José says with a wave of his hand. "Right now, I'm curious about that stowaway vessel Orgon mentioned. Why didn't you inform me of its presence?" "You have only just awoken from stasis," Umi says. "Due to the nature of your hibernation, I deemed the refugees unimportant. The vessel they reside upon is a relic of the ancient United Terran Coalition war fleet. Its fleet signature identified it as an ally, and therefore, I decided it was a low-priority compared to the Kraktol fleet." Admiral Rodriguez turns away from the viewscreen. "I see. Bio-Entities, please return to the tasks I gave you. Umi, I want to know more about the 'Kessu' vessel. Who are the Kessu, and why were they fleeing the Kraktol? I don't intend to step between two warring factions, even if their technology is lightyears weaker than the Bloodbearer. After all, Ramma's Chosen must never interfere in the matters of other factions. We have been and will continue to remain politically neutral." Umi's voice softens. "You are the last living member of Ramma's Chosen, Admiral Rodriguez. For the sake of your mental health, I feel the need to remind you that there is nobody left who will punish or reprimand you for doing as you please. As you are the current highest-ranking member of the United Terran Coalition, I do not even technically have the right to refuse orders contradicting Ramma's creed." José nods. "I know, but keep those thoughts to yourself. I am unable to change my state of mind so easily. From my perspective, I was a mere Private amongst a strict military hierarchy only one day ago. This whole situation makes my mental state somewhat difficult to readjust." "Understood. I will not bring up this matter again unless I deem it a Priority One need. Admiral Rodriguez, do you have any further orders?" The newly minted Admiral strides through the Bridge's exit doors, leaving behind the five Bio-Entities. "I do. Pull up anything regarding the Kessu that you can find. Use the information you lifted from the Kraktol and cross-reference it with whatever news you've obtained from our stowaways. I want to quickly piece together the galactic situation outside this plasma cloud, as well as find out how much of what the Kessu and Kraktol have given us checks out." Umi beeps in confirmation. "Orders acknowledged, Admiral. The requested operation will take me fourteen seconds to complete." José smiles. "Good." ... Twenty minutes later, after José has strolled down the Bloodbearer's hallways while taking his time, he arrives at the rear of the ship, its hangar bay. The gigantic open area features five levels of interceptor and assault corvette storage space, with more than 200 miniature battleships already docked and room for another hundred. José steps through the entrance to the hangar and pauses as he glances around. Unlike many areas José has passed, including the mess hall, the hangar bay appears especially clean and pristine. Every inch of its interior sparkles and shines, making him frown. "Umi. How has the hangar bay maintained its cleanliness for 100 million years? Are the Bloodbearer's janitors still functional?" "Affirmative, Admiral Rodriguez. However, out of a complement of three hundred and seven Filth Expunger Units, only twelve remain functional. Five of them remain inside the hangar bay, where they have continued working since the crew entered stasis." "Hm. I'm not complaining. Better to have twelve than zero. Send a few of them to the dirty sections of the ship. I'll work on repairing the others when I have time." "Orders acknowledged, Admiral." With a satisfied nod, José strides along a catwalk some three hundred feet above the hangar floor. Its reach spans the length and width of the entire hangar, with multiple vacuum tubes at recurring intervals for reaching the levels above and below. "Seven hundred meters from your position, Admiral: That is where the Kessu's vessel resides. Turn seven degrees to your right and look for the arrow-shaped craft." José follows Umi's direction. After confirming his destination, he quickly strides across the catwalk and stops at a vacuum tube, intending to ride it to the bottom. However, due to a hundred million years of wear and tear, it fails to open, leaving him stranded. Umi speaks, her robotic tone containing a smidgen of embarrassment. "My apologies, Admiral. I did not realize the vacuum tubes were out of operation. There is a ladder one thousand and two hundred meters starboard of your current position. You may use it to descend-" "No need," José says, waving Umi's concerns away. "I'll just jump." The synthmind's voice jumps an octave. "Admiral Rodriguez, I understand that you are one of Ramma's Chosen, but a 300-meter fall will-" "It won't do anything," José laughs. Without another word, the human swings his legs over the guardrail and jumps off the catwalk. His body plummets to the metal floor below, where he crashes into it feet-first with a clang! José straightens his posture and shakes a bit of numbness out of his legs. "Hm. I'm a little out of shape." "Admiral..." Umi says, her tone revealing audible annoyance. "You are the last Terran. Please do not take such risky actions with your life. The effects of extended cryosleep can result in drastic weakening of both your muscles and bones. Had you broken a limb, I would have limited methods at my disposal to retrieve your body and transfer you to sickbay. My assistant bio-entities are presently few and far between." "Relax," José says. "I'm fine. I know my own strength. I once fought a group of Void Roamers on Ataraxia II, near the Third Spiral Arm. When they surrounded me, I leaped from a cliff ten times this height and survived. Don't underestimate Ramma's Chosen." "Those circumstances were different-" "I don't want to hear it. End of discussion. Now, please behave yourself as I introduce myself to the Kessu. I'd like to make a good first impression with our potential allies. We could use some influential connections in this hostile galaxy." "Admiral. Regarding the Kessu... they are not an advanced culture. You should temper your expectations." "Oh? Then why were the Kraktol acting as if the Kessu possessed a vessel lightyears more advanced than theirs? Perhaps you are underestimating our stowaways." Umi's tone shifts to one of exhaustion. "...Affirmative, Admiral. You are... possibly correct..." If José notices the discrepancy between Umi's words and tone, he doesn't mention it. Instead, the human saunters the remaining 100 meters toward the Kessu's ship. Once he nears it, he raises an eyebrow. "Oh? I thought you said this vessel came from the 14th Era? Its appearance mirrors craft from ten eras beyond. Were you, perhaps, mistaken?" "Negative, Admiral. The Slipstream is a specially designed craft capable of adapting its shape and appearance by borrowing the design elements of other advanced vessels. Theoretically, it could mimic many aspects of the Bloodbearer, given enough research time." José's expression shifts to one of surprise. "Ohh! An adaptive-type science vessel! I've heard of these! Supposedly, they can improve their programming and adjust their hulls over time to obtain ever-greater levels of utility. Admiral Baruchen mentioned the researchers at Rylon V made a few prototypes during our chats in the past. How fascinating. Well, why don't I introduce myself?" With a bit of a spring in his step, José strides toward the entry port of the Slipstream. As he nears, the craft's entry bay lowers, revealing its interior. Before José can jog up the ramp, a host of strange, cat-like creatures appear at the top. The Admiral slows to a stop, as do the unfamiliar aliens. Admiral José's heart skips a beat. These must be the Kessu! I bet they're also the 'Sky Cats' the Kraktol mentioned before. And no wonder! They look like large, bipedal breeds of various feline species from my era! Slowly, the Kessu shamble down the ramp while keeping their eyes locked on the hulking, nine-foot-tall human at the bottom of the Slipstream's ramp. As they draw near, a cat with colors resembling a panda, one who leans on a walking staff, raises his paw. "Nyarr mrow meow prraw?" A bio-chip embedded in José's brain translates for him. "Greetings. I am Nyoor of the Kessu." A shiver runs down José's back. These... these Kessu... they're... He swallows a lump in his throat. ...too damned cute! Next Part ....................................... Author Note: Klokinator here! I am also the author of The Cryopod to Hell. The Last Precursor takes place in the [Cryoverse] which TCTH spawned. You do not have to read TCTH to enjoy TLP. However, I highly recommend it if you enjoy HFY themes, but be warned it will take some 200 parts to get to the relevant HFY elements due to the nature of the story. (A similar structure involving very few humans fighting against vicious demons that have taken over the galaxy.) If you like this story, please consider subscribing to my Patreon! I am very poor and presently jobless due to Coronavirus, so every dollar helps. You get access to Cryopod artwork, and plenty of other exclusive posts, with more to come soon. Thank you!
South American Wishlist: A very long post on my hopes for post release Cultures from Pre-Columbian South America
(Long post alert) Yello. I think it's uncontroversial to say that so far, humankind's representation of Pre-Columbian cultures is just fine, apart from the fact that it's unexistant outside of Mesoamerica, luckily, this problem will probably be one of the first addressed by DLC, but for now, as someone from two Latin American countries, I think I'm somewhat qualified to give some opinions/recommendations about what could be added later (or at launch in some cases), or at least what I think could/should be added Note 1: I'm not indigenous, I don't speak any indigenous language and I'm not an expert on indigenous subjects, I'm using knowledge from wikipedia, school, and my knowledgeable dad Note 2: I won't be addressing First Nations representation, someone that actually knows anything of note about them could do a much better job than a total rando Note 3: I don't wanna come off as negative, I'm really hyped for the game (which you can probably notice by my 3 posts yesterday), I just wanna give les gars chez amplitude (and the fans) some ideas Introduction When I learned about Humankind I was really excited about being able to play as precolumbian civs, in a lot of other games, the only thing we ever get is the aztecs, and maybe the inca and maya if the devs are feeling generous, maybe even a first nations culture if they're feeling extra representative, of course, this isn't bad representation by any means, the problem is how cliché it has become to include the aztec and inca in particular, specially compared to Europe over there getting like 4 or 5 times the civs compared to other places (including South America). Following this you can probably see that I was kinda disappointed when there wasn't anything precolumbian outside of central america, the cultures they chose are actually great (albeit very expected) and they nailed their traits and special abilities (apart from maybe not giving the aztecs the little rafty farms), the problem comes from the lack of anything else, the fact that the *NEW WORLD* has only three peeps is a weird design decision, specially considering how many gamers there are in Latin America, now I'm expecting to see at least Mexico and Brazil later down the line, maybe even Argentina and Colombia as well, which is swell, but if the players are anything like me they'll be kinda sad to not be able to be american apart from the mesoamericans. Now, considering that the Andes are the sixth cradle of civilization, I'll mostly be focusing around them, mostly because A. there were a lot more kingdoms/empires here than anywhere else on the continent, B. we know a lot more about those people that lived there, C. I live in the Andes so I was taught about these guys at school and D. there are actually still indigenous people here, making studying them a lot easier than say, Uruguay. Also I'm only going to be talking about deconfirmed (for now) cultures, from the ancient, classical and medieval eras, because there could easily be some indigenous boys waiting for us in early modern, and I find it more interesting personally to talk about something less possible Ok, let's get into the meat of this, who are the dudes that we (and by we I mean I) want in the videogame. Here's my narrowed down list of options
(I'm also expecting either the Mapuche or Guaraní for early modern, so I'm excluding them from this list) First up you'll probably see that all of these cultures are andean, I'm not kidding with the sixth cradle thing, it's like if you took the avengers, but instead of Thor you picked War Machine, and Iron Patriot, and a lot of other dudes whose names I don't know because I'm not a marvel fan (looking at you MENA), all of these cultures were important and left their mark on future andean societies, plus I think they could all be relatively unique and different. You might be asking yourself, why is the Andes so prosperous? The answers are simple, a. the mountains give freshwater, b. relative isolation, c. the only domesticated animals in the Americas (llamas and alpacas), d. good food, that's a recipe for cvivilization right there. (I've excluded a couple of cultures, mainly Chavín, Chimu, Moche, Nazca and Moxos, these in particular could still very easily be added) A big thing that makes this weird is the time frame, the american continent uses a different method to mark the different periods of its history, there was no bronze, or copper, or medieval, or renaissance ages here, we use a system divided into pre-ceramic and ceramic halves, the latter being subdivided into formative, intermediate and horizon eras. I'll try to go off this model and the time frame set by the mesoamerican cultures, so if it's a bit sloppy then I'm sorry (mind you that's still hard, because the mayas have existed for a veeeeeery long time, so being honest idk), taking into account that the ingame the "early modern" era has the dutch and the "medieval" has the aztecs, I'm choosing to interpret "early modern" as colonial in America, I'm classifying these cultures in this order. Ancient: Norte Chico Classical: Wari, Tiwanaku Medieval: Inca, Muisca I know it doesn't line up the best with the rest of the world, here specifically I'd really like some criticism from people who know about this stuff about not only the eras but the cultures chosen, thank you in advance. The Cultures
Caral, built around 3500 BCE, home of the oldest known civilization in the Americas, possibly even the most densely populated area in the world at that time, rivaling northern China, all of this according to Wikipedia of course. It's honestly surprising that Norte Chico isn't already in the game, it beat out the olmecs by 2000 years yet they beat out our dear Little North to Humankind, oh well, we can still dream right? Some info on them, they relied a lot on fish and other seafood because they lived next to the ocean, had a distinctive lack of visual art and pottery, liked to build mounds, probably had a theocratic society (the first signs of the staff god, a famous religious motif are found here) and engaged in what is known as "ecological steps" trading, where a tribe from the shore, would trade for goods from the mountains, and those mountain folks would trade with guys from the jungle for their stuff, creating a chain of trade where people could acquire food and valuable items from completely different biomes, this continued until the conquest by the spanish and portuguese, this was essential for life in the Andes, and most big andean cultures used this strategy, including all of the ones I've chosen for humankind (except maybe the Muisca I'm not sure), a lot of interaction between different andean peoples was caused by this. EDIT: u/pachakamaq01 showed me some sources showing that the Norte Chico did indeed have some sort of visual art, in this html article right here Mechanically I'd say their best bet is Builder for their focus, but it could be all other ones but militarist and expansionist, it's pretty hard to place such a different society to that which we're used to into this honestly, for their emblematic quarter, it will be a **mound** for sure, their emblematic unit on the other hand is hard to choose, mostly because we have found no real proof of violence related to the Norte Chico, it'd probably be something like with the olmecs, where it's a big, important predecessor weapon to posterior cultures, so it'd probably be a slinger in this case. Before we close this out, can we talk about how badass these guys were? They made seats out of whale vertebra and flutes out of pelican bones, they originated the famous quipu (or at least a prototype) a system of knots and cords that can be thought of as an alternative to writing, used to store information coded in the length, color and placement of the knots (they're really interesting I'd recommend you reading up on them), and did all of this without using pottery?! like damn these guys were metal as hell.
I'm a bit biased here, but can you blame me? The archaological site of Tiwanaku is 2 hours away from where I live, and I've visited it a couple of times, it's a pretty nice place (and there's llamas walking around over there), if my memory serves me, the site was a place where many people from different cultures all came together, in a sort of pilgrimage, that was where Tiwanaku's power came from, as we haven't really found evidence of weapons there, the "empire" of Tiwanaku had territories from southern Peru, to western Bolivia and northern Chile, and had political power far from it's center near lake Titicaca. These guys made amazing architecture, their stonework is honestly jawdroping, the (probably) most famous structure from the main site is the "Gate of the Sun" featuring our good old friend the staff god, there were also a number of monoliths (or stelas), probably of previous rulers, that curiously represent certain crab motifs, showing us the effect of "ecological steps" trading. A large temple called Pumapunku (quechua and aymara for "Puma door" or "Door of the Puma"), that sadly is kind of in ruins and the sunken platform kalasasaya, where the alien guys from history channel went once to argue that some of the heads in the structure represented martians. The tiwanakotas (demonym of someone from Tiwanaku) even exported high quality stone from quarries kilometers away for their buildings, their building style incorporated big grafts of stone and bronze in the shape of the letter H, that could lock together in order to mantain the integrity of the structures where they were used. In game they'd probably be either aesthetes or builders, I'm leaning more towards the former myself but they could really be either, their emblematic quarter could be a monolith (the unique structures should be reserved for wonders in my opinion) and once again we are at a crossroads for an emblematic unit, but it'd probably be some sort of monk or other religious figure. Of course I didn't pick them just because of my personal circumstance, but because I could easily see them being DLC along with Wari in particular, their relationship was compared to that of the US and USSR in the cold war, so I feel like they could be compelling choices for new cultures if they came together, speaking of Wari...
Wari, also called Huari, were a culture and empire that ruled in western and southern Peru, just north of Tiwanaku, these two together were part of the middle horizon historical era, their dominance can be attributed to the spread of knowledge of agriculture and communication, most notably some of the first definite usage of terrace farms, quipu and the mit'a system where instead of currency there would be a system of reciprocity, where if you helped your neighbor shear her alpacas, she would help you harvest your corn when it's due for example (oh and taxes would be handled this way too), all of these would later be adopted by the famous Incan empire. Peru in particular has a lot of choices for cultures, I chose Wari mainly because of their heritage from cultures like the Moche, Lima, Nazca, and ironically Tiwanaku, their rivalry with the latter, and their successors, like the Chimor and the kingdom of Cuzco, who would later become our friends the Incas. You can correct me if I'm wrong, since I'm neither peruvian nor an expert on peruvian history, but I feel as if the Wari could be a good representative for pre-Incan Peru in general, kind of like how the Teutons represent the HRE and medieval Germany as a whole. The Wari themselves were famous because of their textiles, that featured highly abstract representations of things such as good ol' Staff God, they also were great at metallurgy, utilizing metals such as gold and silver. In the last millennia or two since Norte Chico the andean cultures learned how to do pottery, and they were absolute masters of it, ceramics being some of the most common objects left behind by these mysterious people, being used to make pots, vessels and containers for chicha (corn beer), the latter specifically being smashed after their contents have been drunk as part of a ritual. I would like to mention Moche ceramics in particular, one time I had the pleasure of going to a museum in Lima, and there was a temporary exhibit showing their ceramics and other art forms, and my god they were horny, very very horny, a lot of jerking off and things like that. Moving on, their focus could be agrarian, my reasoning is that they would have the terrace farms as emblematic quarter, the Incas could have them as well, but when we get to them shortly I'll explain why I'm giving them something else, plus originating the technology is a pretty good case for having it in the game, contrary to our previous two cultures these guys have proof of combat, there isn't much info on it on the web, but I could find that they used clubs and slings, both of those would work well. Now for the moment you've all been waiting for...
Do these guys need an introduction? yeah probably, the Inca empire was the largest empire in Pre-Columbian America, their contributions include steamrolling all other cultures in the Andes, and being the final users of many of the Andean technologies and techniques I cited before, seriously, these guys were beasts, they controlled territory in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, and they did all of this without the wheel, draft animals or western writing, very deserving of a spot if you ask me. Some more info on these guys, the "inca" people still exist! they're called the quechua (inca means king or ruler in quechua), I even know some of them, such as my grandparents' maid/housekeeper, and their language is still alive too, thanks to efforts by the Peruvian, Bolivian and Chilean governments. The Inca empire was divided into 4 "suyus": Chinchaysuyu to the north being the most populous "suyu" where a lot of empires were conquered and reaching up to southern Colombia, Antisuyu to the east lying in the high Andes, Kuntisuyu to the west being located mainly in the southern peruvian coast and finally Qullasuyu, named after the aymara speaking Qulla people and the largest "suyu" by area, encompassing the Bolivian altiplano down to the southern Andes of Argentina and Chile, the whole Incan empire being known as Twantinsuyu. The Inca believed in a pretty well known mythology, including Viracocha, the old man upstairs, Pachamama, literally "Mother Earth" and Inti, our favorite sun god, the Inca being the "son of the sun" and an absolute monarch. They were pretty good builders too, with that whole Inca Road System and Machu Pichu and whatnot. They also carried on the traditions of textiles and ceramics. They could record information, including calculations in Quipu and solve them using Yupanas (basically abacuses) (abaci?)), they were also good at skull surgery and chewed a lot of coca, this plant was revered as sacred and was used in many religious and medical ways (and still is). And they even had two calandars, one for the sun and one for the moon. But now we'll really look at the main part I wanna focus on for the Inca, their army The incan army was their main asset, you ain't getting the biggest empire in the continent without some blood, sweat and tears, even though not all of their territory was gained by conquest, a lot of it was. Their equipment consisted of javelins, slings, bolas, maces, spears, bows, axes and their most common weapon, the macana, a blunt weapon made of stone or obsidian (EDIT: u/Affectionate_Phase98 helped me correct this mistake, they didn't actually make obsidian weapons) in the shape of a star to maximize force when attacking, capable of breaking bone. Their armor consisted of shields, helmets and body armor, made of wood, leather and sometimes copper. Their armies were amazingly organized, having comparable roles to modern armies, such as generals, liutenants and captains, and it's said that their armies could reach 100 000 people, but their main advantage came from their road network and the mit'a system. Shelters called "tambo" and storage silos called "qullqas" were situated 1 day's traveling distance apart from each other, that way an advancing or retreating army would always have fresh equipment and a place to rest relatively nearby, this coupled with the mit'a system being able to enlist any capable male of age into the army meant that the Inca always had potential soldiers that could be enlisted and equipped very fast, solidifying their status as "empire" Mechanically, there's no way they aren't expansionist, I've seen some people say agrarian or builder, and from an outside perspective that might make sense, but looking a but deeper it's difficult not to make them expansionist, their emblematic quarter would be the Inca Road System, allowing the player to build it in segments in order to help advance their army and solidifying the Inca's playstyle. Their emblematic unit could be a guy with a macana, idk if they have a specific quechua name but yeah, another possible unit could be a chasqui, fast and agile messengers that were essential in the organization of the Empire, being charged to deliver quipus, messages and gifts through the road network, either way if they didn't at least have the road they'd really not feel like the Incas. EDIT: u/Pachakamaq01 showed me some possible names for the macana wielders in quechua, being Maqaq (the one who beats), Maqanayuq (the one with the Maqana) or Maqana Kamayuq (the Maqana specialist) From personal experience most people don't know too much about the incas, apart from the fact they lived in the mountains and had llamas and farms, I hope I explained what made them so interesting to me and cleared up some misconceptions. Finally, last but definintely not least
After the wall of text that was the Inca I'm kinda tired, I just wanna preface that I know way less about the Muisca than the previous guys, so this part in particular is very vulnerable to my mistakes, if any of ya could review it to check that there are no errors that'd be lovely. The Muisca were, according to some faceless expert, the fourth "advanced" civilization of the Americas (implying that other cultures in the Americas weren't advanced *grumble* *grumble*), these guys weren't an empire or a kingdom, they were a confederation of sovereign states, subdivided into tribes lead by chiefs or caciques, they were also not as big as their contemporaries in size, but they stood up very well in terms of impact and what they produced, a couple of years ago I went to the museum of gold in Bogotá, and there were some absolutely beautiful golden Muisca artifacts, they are honestly some of the most aesthetically pleasing things I've ever seen. P.S. If you ever go to Bogotá please go there, it's amazing Anyhow, their society was mostly based around the agriculture of coca, quinoa, yuca, and looots of different kinds of fruits and the extraction and refinement of emeralds, copper, coal, salt and most importantly **gold**. Most of their legacy is cultural, they had a heraldry system, a complex religion that we know a fair bit about, a sport that still survives to the modern day (*cries in mesoamerican ball sport*), a calendar and they even inspired the myth of "El Dorado". Aparently they also had complex art, cuisine and mummified people, like I said I'm not very qualified to talk about them, but there's a lot, and I mean a **lot** of info out there about them, so you're completely free to use up an afternoon studying them. Mechanically I'd personally make them aesthetes, not only would that give us a medieval aesthete culture (*doots*), but from what I've read it could really show their "non-empire" status and celebrate their heritage of gold crafting. Their emblematic unit would be the güecha warriors, a carefully selected group of young men that fought with clubs, darts, bows, spears and slingshots. As for their emblematic quarter, from what I read they didn't construct large stone structures and a lot of what they did build was destroyed, their living quarters (a.k.a. houses) were called "bohíos" and that could be a candidate for their EQ, if not that then some sort of temple or religious structure would be ideal.
Wow, that was a thing, this took around 8 hours of work including research, I did this because I really want this game to as good as possible, so I'll try to contribute to it in any way I can, I'll probably make a second post on other south american things that could be implemented, like resources and wonders, also like I said, I'm expecting either the mapuche or some guaraní culture for early modern, as well as argentina and colombia for late and brazil for contemporary so mark my words if (and only if) I'm right. I greatly welcome any criticism, if an expert on any of these cultures is here then I'd love it if you could correct some of my mistakes, even if you know as much as me (not much) I welcome your suggestions and thoughts. Peace! Olivia the bored person
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20 MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENTS IN SPORTS ! NEW SPORTS FAILS
We use science and explosions to remake our wonderful solar system, from Sol to Earth. Obviously much is cut, simplified, or unable to be simulated by a game - but it's still a good summary! Use ... Kurt Long gives us an overview of the basics of the most common strategies and systems. Includes: - -BETTING THE MIDDLE -ZIG ZAG BETTING THEORY -MARTINGALE. From the statisticians forecasting sports scores to the intelligent bots beating human poker players, Adam Kucharski traces the scientific origins of the world's best gambling strategies. Watch ... Las Vegas sports betting legend Bill Walters has never had a losing year - a winning a streak that's made odds makers call him the "most dangerous sports bettor in Nevada." Lara Logan reports. Speech Therapist Johnathan Chase is still trying to figure out how in the world my systems are so accurate hitting winner after winner.