RADICAN'S TAKE RADICAN'S "THE PULL LIST" (Vol. 4) - step by step guide to social media and conduct, "Madden NFL 16" review, "Furious 7" Blu-ray w/The Rock & Ronda Rousey, more!
Sep 18, 2015 - 1:36:09 PM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
THE PULL LIST (VOL. 4)
”The Pull List” is a new feature column that will take a look at a mix of the most noteworthy topics in wrestling, comics, books, Movies & TV Blu-Ray releases, and videogames along with reviews and commentary in each category.
A STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO GUIDE TO SOCIAL MEDIA FOR CURRENT AND POTENTIAL NXT ROSTER MEMBERS
WWE doesn’t want you posting your racist, homophobic, or bigoted thoughts on Twitter, Instagram, or public Facebook if you’re signed to NXT and a prospect. Recently, NXT Diva Zahra Schreiber, the girlfriend of WWE World Champion Seth Rollins, was fired because of the pro-Nazi artwork she posted on her Instagram account in 2012 resurfaced thanks to someone that saved them after they were removed.
A short time later, word broke that someone had uncovered racist tweets that were posted on NXT Diva’s Nhooph Al-Areebi’s account in 2011 when she was still 16 and 17 years old. Many people expect Al-Areebi to be fired, but WWE investigated an issued a statement saying they had determined her account was hacked after a thorough investigation.
Al-Areebi’s twitter account had already set off several bells that brought about questions of her maturity and ability to survive in WWE, as she had posted many racy party pictures in the past featuring her and her friends. She clearly avoided a huge minefield between her racy party pictures on social media and then getting hacked back in 2011.
Many wrestlers have prevented themselves from getting a WWE contract just with their conduct on social media and by making appearances in specific types of matches that WWE frowns upon. With that in mind, here’s a short step by step guide to social media and conduct guide for prospective and current men and women looking to either get or keep a job in WWE.
1) If you’ve posted anything even remotely controversial on Twitter in the past, use TweetDelete.net and nuke all of your old tweets from Twitter and start fresh. Do this now and you’ll prevent someone from the past that wants to harm you’re career from being able to do so using your Twitter account to get you fired.
2) Delete your Instagram. If you’re a man or a woman, just start fresh and get rid of all those old party pictures that don’t exactly capture you at your finest moments.
3) Delete your public Facebook account and start over.
4) If you’re caught posting objective content on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, don’t defend you’re questionable social media posts publically, that will just get you fired. Instead, just claim that you were hacked even though it sounds absolutely ridiculous in many cases, it often works and saves your job.
5) If you’re a female wrestler wanting to get a WWE contract, don’t do intergender matches. On the indie scene. They will massively damage your chances of signing with the company.
6) If you’re a female wrestler wanting to get a WWE contract, stop doing customs, they will also hurt your chances of getting a wrestling contract.
Of course, in addition to having common sense, following these basic rules will guarantee you your best chance of either making or staying employed on the NXT roster. Good luck!
2015 MOTY TOP 10 LIST
This is a running list of the top 10 best matches of 2015. I still have things I need to catch up on and watch, so I will be adding new additions to this list throughout the year. I will eventually make a separate post of my entire 2015 MOTY list and keep it updated regularly. I will also update the top 10 list in this column.
(1) Tomoaki Honma vs. Tomohiro Ishii, NJPW, "G1 Climax 25: Night 16", Aug. 12, 2015. (*****)
(2) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, NJPW, "G1 Climax 25 Finals," Aug. 16, 2015. (*****)
(3) Kota Ibush vs. IWGP IC Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, NJPW, "Wrestle Kingdom 9," Jan. 4, 2015. (*****)
(5) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. A.J. Styles, NJPW, "G1 Climax 25: Night 17," Aug. 14, 2015. (*****)
(6) Zack Sabre Jr. vs Roderick Strong, EVOLVE, EVOLVE 45, July 10, 2015. (****3/4)
(7) Tomihiro Ishii vs. Hirooki Goto, NJPW, "G1 Climax 25: Night 14, Aug. 9, 2015. (****3/4)
(8) Katsuyori Shibata vs. Kota Ibushi, NJPW, G1 Climax 25: Night 7, July 29, 2015. (****3/4)
(9) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi, NJPW, G1 Climax 25: Night 1, July 20, 2015. (****3/4)
(10) British Cruiserweight Champion Will Ospreay vs. Matt Sydal, RPW, "Summer Sizzler 2015," June 14, 2015. (****3/4)
This review is based on the PS4 version of the game. This game is also available on Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360
EA SPORTS MADDEN NFL 16
“Madden NFL 16” from EA Sports is more than just a simple roster update for the longtime football franchise. The introduction of new passing and defense mechanics adds a whole new layer of strategy to this game making it one of the best installments in the Madden franchise in years. It is also worth mentioning that this is the best looking Madden to date as well. This game is so big that even former WWE wrestler A.J. Lee got in on the act making her first notable post-WWE appearance in the long-form game trailer, which is one of my favorite game trailers in quite some time most notably for Lee’s appearance and the excellent role given to Rob Gronkowski.
This game is also buoyed by being extremely accessible to players both new and old with a fantastic menu that’s intuitive and helps players both new and old leap right into the variety of modes in the game. The training mechanic, Gatorade Skills Trainer, is extremely useful for players of all skill levels, especially given the new passing and defensive mechanics that are in play. Between Ultimate Team, Connected Franchise, and the new Draft Champions mode, there’s a ton of gameplay options and they’re all fun.
Right off the bat, the new receiver catch mechanics take some time to master to along with the passing mechanics, which includes the introduction of the touch pass. You can do one of three things with your receiver after the ball is released with the press of a button, as you have the option to make a highlight real catch with the aggressive catch, run after the catch, or make a possession catch.
Each receiving option has plusses and minuses depending on the position of the defenders. The CPU will recommend, which catch mechanic to use while the ball is in the air, but sometimes you have to make a snap decision on your own. Once you get used to each catch mechanic, you’ll be pulling it off seamlessly, but you will also make mistakes at time that result in dropped passes or interceptions.
When you’re playing QB, the bullet pass and lob pass are back. You can also make high and low throws while using the shoulder buttons on your controller. The introduction of the new touch past brings a new dimension to the game this year. You can no finesse the ball between defenders when the situation presents itself. When teams are playing zone coverage, you’ll find yourself using the touch pass frequently for medium or short range passes.
On the other side, there’s new defensive mechanics as well. They take some getting used to, but once you decide how you’re going to play a pass, it becomes natural. The first option you have when the ball is in the air is to play the ball. The other option you have is to play the receiver.
Playing the ball puts your defender in the best position to make an interception, but if you’re out of position, the receiver will catch the ball and you won’t be able to tackle him. Playing through the game, I paid the price quite frequently for playing the ball in one-on-one coverage, so I would recommend only using this mechanic when help is nearby. On the other hand if you play the receiver you have a great chance to knock the ball loose or make the tackle almost every time, so there’s a big risk/reward factor depending on how you choose to play pass defense.
Another nice addition to the defensive side of the ball is that the gang tackling animations have been perfected to look nature, so you’re not going to get anymore odd looking animations when the defenders pile on to tackle an offensive player.
Playing through several scenarios, the deep ball is truly where the passing game gets fun, especially when a receiver goes for an aggressive catch and the defender plays the ball. If you’re using a superstar receiver matched up against an inferior cornerback, you’re likely to come up with a highlight reel catch fairly often, especially in one-on-one coverage, but there is a risk/reward factor, as a good percentage of the time I launched a deep ball to a premier receiver and there were two defenders or more in the area, the corner covering me would either come up with the pick or pop it up, which allowed the other defender in the area to make the pick.
No matter how you cut it, the new passing and defensive mechanics make this game a blast to play through. There are some fantastic catch animations as well with receivers pulling off one handed grabs and nifty sideline catches that look natural.
Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) is back and is a blast given all of the options you have. The lure is there to spend money to improve your teams, but if you play through the new “Ultimate Moments,” you can rack up some coins and card packs quickly in short order. Playing through the various scenarios is a lot of fun and it doesn’t take long to play through a specific situation from a real game that your team is dropped into. In addition to Ultimate Moments, there are solo changes and objectives that help you gain rewards packs and coins as well.
Draft Champions is a new mode that is complimentary to MUT. Its billed as a new look at a Fantasy Football draft. You start with a base team and ESPN’s Adam Schefter narrates your draft and reacts to your pick. Just like in MUT, you have to choose a coach and a playing style. You then draft through 15 rounds. During each round, you get to choose between three players and tough choices have to be made depending on the style of play you chose. Schefter cheers good choices and also comments on tough choices as well.
I noticed while playing through Draft Champions that you don’t always have the opportunity to draft players that fit your offensive and defensive play style. Once you chose your 15 players, which usually includes the opportunity to pick one legend, you are put into a 3 game challenge against the CPU or you can take your team into a 4 game challenge against other drafted teams online. I found this mode to fun and accessible, as you get rewards for MUT no matter how far you advance against the CPU or online. Of course, the further you advance the better the rewards are.
Connected Franchise returns as well and is largely the same with the exception of drive goals that update each time you’re on offense or defense. If the goals are completed your players on defense or offense get a boost in XP and confidence. The only downside to the drive goals came on the offensive side when you’re presented with a goal for the running game and it comes down to when you have to complete the task on the last play, which forces you to run when a pass is clearly more desirable or vice versa. The CFM is very easy to use when you’re not on the field as the menu makes it clear what you need to do when it comes to your duties to scout players for your team and other duties.
Overall thoughts: (9.0) – “Madden NFL 16” is a tremendous upgrade for the franchise. The new passing and defensive mechanics take gameplay to an exciting new level that hasn’t been seen in the past. The creative team deserves a ton of credit for taking the core gameplay in a new direction and making it more exciting and challenging.
The game looks and plays fantastic and is one of the most accessible sports games I’ve ever seen when it comes to the user-friendly menu. It literally tells you where to start if you’re new to the Madden series. The commentary can be a bit dull at times, but that’s a small quibble given the overall presentation of the game.
You’ll find yourself playing through several different game modes and never getting bored, whether it’s the Ultimate Moments in MUT, Connected Franchise, Draft Champions, or playing online there’s a ton of variety to the game that makes Madden NFL 16 a must-buy this year.
FURIOUS 7: EXTENDED EDITION (Blu-Ray,DVD, Digital HD combo pack)
“Furious 7” is a tremendous action movie from start to finish. The filming of the movie was extremely difficult to the cast and crew due to the untimely death of lead actor Paul Walker during filming. The cast and crew decided Walker would have wanted the movie to be completed, so with the help of his brothers, Christopher and Cody, they were able to complete the film.
F&F has become an iconic car-driven (no pun intended) action movie Franchise since the first installment came out in 2001 with a budget just short of 30 million dollars. This movie was marketed with the tag line “One Crew. One Last Ride,” but due to its tremendous success at the box office worldwide, they have $1.5 Billion reasons to make another movie.
This movie doesn’t have a deep plot and features some of the head shaking plot devices that are common in most action movies. It’s predictable in many ways as well, but this my favorite installment in the F&F series. New director James Wan and his crew did a tremendous job of putting together the second best action movie of the year behind “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
The movie casts Jason Statham as in the antagonist role as Deckard Shaw to match up against Dom (Vin Diesel). The movie begins with Shaw going after various members of Dom’s crew and eventually things hit home (literally) when Shaw blows up Dom’s iconic house where so many of the bonding members of the F&F crew took place.
Dom, Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker), and the rest of the crew quickly go into pursuit mode, but not before they pair up with Kurt Russell, who makes a fantastic addition to the movie in a supporting role as a covert government ops agent. The crew decides to help him track down a hacker that created an all-seeing tracking device called God’s Eye that can be used to track anyone quickly. In return for finding the device, Mr. Nobody will let them use it to find Deckard.
The chase for God’s Eye and Deckard takes the F&F crew across the globe and results in some incredible action sequences with cards. The jaw-dropping sequence with the crew heading to Azerbaijan to rescue the Ramsey, who built God’s Eye, from a terrorist group begins with an incredible car drop out of the back of an airplane and ends with an insane stunt involving a bus going over a cliff with Brian running for his life on the top of the bus to get back to the edge of the cliff.
Wrestling and MMA fans will appreciate the contribution of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Ronda Rousey to this film. Johnson reprises his role as FBI agent Hobbes and the highlight of his appearance in the movie is a great fight scene with Shaw at the beginning of the movie that sees Hobbes hit Shaw with the Rock bottom at one point during the fight.
Rousey makes a brief appearance as the lead bodyguard for a prince in Abu Dhabi. She has a memorable fight scene with Letty played by Michelle Rodriguez. At one point Rousey locks in a triangle while working over Letty on the ground, which should delight fans of her work in the Octagon, although I suppose an arm bar would have been a little more appealing.
The movie comes packed with over 90 minutes of bonus features. There isn’t any director’s commentary to play while watching the film, but the Blu-ray special features do a great job of putting the filming of the movie into perspective. The highlight of the special features is “Talking Fast,” which is hosted by director James Wan. Wan talks over a fantastic computer display in front of him that he manipulates to get from talking point to talking point. Michelle Rodriguez and Tyrese Gibson also appear in this lengthy feature, which lasts a little over a half hour to help flush out the memorable scenes in the film.
It was a bit worrisome that the big stunts in the film were glossed over by Wan in “Talking Fast,” but the biggest stunts in the film actually get their own features in the extras that do an incredible job detailing what went into the biggest stunts with “Flying Cars,” which covers the crew dropping out of an airplane and onto a highway to rescue Ramsey from a terrorist group, “Snatch and Grab,” which covers Walker’s aforementioned bus stunt, and Tower Jumps, which gives behind the scenes insight into Walker and Diesel’s visually stunning jump through three skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi. Several members of the cast and crew appear in these special features in addition to the ones previously mentioned including Johnson, Diesel, and Ludacris along with writer Chris Morgan.
The strength of this movie is that it had heart and you can really tell the cast and crew pulled together after Walker’s death and put forth some great performances. In the “Back to the Starting Line” special features, several cast members discuss Walker’s death during filming and the decision to carry on. It’s really touching to listen to the crew speak about how Walker had become like family to them.
As a new director, Wan had to put his own stamp on the film, but perhaps the best thing he did was the incredible goodbye to Paul Walker at the end of “Furious 7.” It was handled perfectly and was incredibly touching. It’s hard to feel connected to characters in action movies, but the F&F pulled it off perfectly with the duo of Dom and Brian here.
Overall thoughts: (9.0) – This was a great action movie with an ending that will tug on your heart strings. The movie does a great job of casting compelling villains to match up against the F&F crew lead by Statham as Shaw. The car stunts in this movie are what make it memorable and this movie features some of my favorite action sequences in recent memory with the flying cars stunt being the highlight.
The build to Dom vs. Shaw is a lot of fun, but the characters in “Furious 7” make the ride to that point fun. A small quibble would be that the climatic action scene is a bit too drawn out, but other than that this is simply a great action movie with heart.
The Blu-ray extras seal the deal on making the Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD combo pack a must-purchase this week, a couple of minutes added to the film for the extended cut of the film don’t add much to the original cut. The highlight of the extras is the fun “Talking Fast” with director James Wan, who covers a lot of territory in this half hour length feature. What is lacking in “Talking Fast” in terms of what went into making the big car stunts in the movie is more than made up for in the other special features here that take you in-depth into the most memorable scenes in the movie. It’s great that the car drop, bus stunt, and skyscraper stunts all got their own special feature. Thumbs up!
Check out my Twitter account later today (Twitter.com/SeanRadican) for a giveaway for a free Digital code for “Furious 7.”
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