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”The Pull List” is a 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 video games along with reviews and commentary in each category.
TAKE: Has WWE already given up on T.J. Perkins?
Let it sink in. WWE gave up on new CruiserweightcChampion T.J. Perkins before he even made it to television. Perkins, never known for his mic skills or charisma, was the only choice left for WWE when it came to picking a winner of the CWC, as we’ve detailed on PWTorch.com, as the other options of Kota Ibushi, Gran Metalik, and Zack Sabre, Jr. just weren’t feasible at this time.
The cruiserweights were introduced to WWE’s mainstream audience in the worst possible way this past week. Mick Foley gave a long and boring introduction and then threw to a throwaway four-way match to determine a #1 contender for T.J. Perkins. The problem was that Perkins was at Raw, but wasn’t shown on TV. Heck, he was only shown in a picture on WWE’s social media accounts.
Perkins didn’t watch the match at ringside, wasn’t on commentary, and wasn’t even shown watching the match backstage. The problem with the cruiserweight division is if WWE was going to make the wrestlers in the division matter, they should have been established as being just as good and as important as everyone else on the roster. The only difference being that they wrestle exclusively at the 205-pound weight limit. That would have given people a reason to care and would have enabled WWE to have a foundation to begin to create the various personalities of the wrestlers in the division.
The champion of the division not being shown on-camera or given any time to cut a promo backstage to establish his personality and his mission at Clash of Champions this weekend is a big tell that WWE has given up on Perkins. He might make it past Clash of Champions and have a two match feud with Brian Kendrick so that the title doesn’t seem instantly meaningless, but my prediction is that Kendrick wins the title this weekend on PPV.
If WWE had any interest in pushing T.J. Perkins, he would have been on Raw this week. Perkins has always been a good utility player on the independents, but he’s never been over big. He’s good in the ring and is capable of having good matches with just about any opponent, but his lack of charisma and inability to cut promos has always held him back. Perhaps WWE has seen that and has already put plans in motion to adjust accordingly at Clash of Champions and put the belt on what they consider to be a known commodity.
2016 MOTY TOP 10 LIST
This is a running list of the top 10 matches of 2016 ranked at ****1/2 or higher. This list is based on what I’ve seen so far and I will be updating the list as I catch up on my wrestling viewing for this year. I will eventually make a separate post of my entire 2016 MOTY list and keep it updated regularly. I will also update the top 10 list in this column.
(1) Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito, “G1 Climax 26: Night 18,” Aug. 13, 2016, (*****)
(2) IWGP Hvt. Champion Kazuchika Okada vs. Tomohiro Ishii, NJPW, “G1 Climax 26: Night 13,” Aug. 6, 2016. (*****)
(3) IWGP IC Champion & CMLL Lige Elite World Champion Michael Elgin vs. Kenny Omega, NJPW, G1 Climax 26: Night 8, July 30, 2016. (*****)
(4) Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn, NXT, “NXT Takeover: Dallas,” April 1, 2016. (*****)
(5) IWGP Hvt. Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada, NJPW, “Wrestle Kingdom 10,” Jan. 4, 2016. (*****)
(6) Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr., EVOLVE, “EVOLVE 58,” April 1, 2016. (*****)
(7) Kenny Omega vs. Hirooki Goto, “G1 Climax 26: Night 19, Aug. 14,” 2016. (****3/4)
(8) IWGP Hvt. Champion Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, “G1 Climax 26: Night 17,” Aug. 12, 2016. (****3/4)
(9) IWGP IC Champion & CMLL Lige Elite World Champion Michael Elgin vs. Katsuhika Nakajima, “G1 Climax 26: Night 18,” Aug. 13, 2016. (****3/4)
(10) Will Ospreay vs. Ricochet in a Block B 2016 BOSJ XII match, NJPW, “BOSJ XIII: Day 6,” May 27, 2016. (****3/4)
NEW MOVIE BLU-RAY RELEASE
“Neighbors 2” is the sequel to “Neighbors” and it features the main players from the original cast brought back for a second rounds of laughs.
The first installment of this comedy series, which featured Seth Rogan as Mac and Rose Bryne as his wife Kelly having just moved into their new home only discover that a loud and obnoxious fraternity lived next to them led by Teddy played by Zac Efron.
“Neighbors 2” didn’t seem to be a guarantee given the concept of the movie and the difficulty of imagining another fraternity moving in next to Mac and Kelly, so instead the writing team had a new sorority move in next door led by Chloe Grace Moretz as Shelby and this movie was nearly as funny as the original.
The movie hits the ground running during the early going, as the audience finds out that Teddy’s female chasing best friend has come out of the closet and kicks Teddy out of the house.
Meanwhile, Shelby and her friends want to party and decide to start their own off-campus sorority when find out that sororities don’t host their own parties. Shelby and her friends have a bad experience at a very sexist fraternity party, so they decide to try to find their own place and bring in pledges to help front the cost.
Mac and Kelly are about to have their second baby and are looking to move out to a quiet isolated house in the suburbs. They’ve already closed the deal on the house, but their current home is in escrow for 30 days. The setup for the rest of the movie is hilarious to watch unfold. Teddy gets kicked out of his apartment by his best friend, who just wants to live with his boyfriend. He ends up going to stay at his old frat house, which is up for rent on the market. Shelby comes by to check out the house and she and her fellow sisters meet Teddy, who is down in the dumps, but offers to act as a mentor.
One of the things about this script is that it delivers a wide variety of laughs. There are some gross gags involving tampons, Mac and Rose allow their infant daughter to play with a pink vibrator that they tell people that she’s playing with an anime doll. The best laughs come later in the movie once Teddy joins forces with Mac and Kelly after Shelby and her sisters decide he’s acting too old for their liking.
Concerned that their potential buyers will back out once they find out a sorority lives next door, Mac and Kelly call Shelby’s father, who is played by Kelsey Grammar in a hilarious cameo, to get her to stop the partying. From there the sorority, Kappa Nu, goes to war with Mac and Kelly.
As mentioned before, Teddy is eventually removed as Kappa Nu’s mentor and he ends up joining forces with Mac and Kelly to get revenge. Efron and Rogan have great chemistry together and as the plot advances, they have some tremendous scenes together, but the best part of the movie comes towards the end and involves a callback to the famous airbag in a chair scene from the first movie. The callback is amazing and if you laughed at Rogan being ejected from his office chair by an airbag in “Neighbors,” you’ll love how the airbag callback plays out.
The Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital HD combo-pack comes with some great bonus features. The deleted scenes are funny, which isn’t always the case when stuff from the cutting room floor is included as a bonus in the home release. It was smart that the writers didn’t have Shelby and Teddy pursue a physical relationship in the movie, as it would have seemed forced, but there’s a really funny deleted scene where Shelby tries to awkwardly come on to Teddy and keeps talking funny every time she says something dirty to him.
One of the best bonus features is a featurette called Nu Neighbors. It features director Nick Stoller and producers Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg talk about the difficulties of making a sequel to “Neighbors” and how “Neighbors 2” had to tell the next chapter in the lives of the main characters in order to be successful and worth putting out in theaters. There’s also some great shots of the actors doing improve during the various scenes to get the best results. Of course, I’m a big fan of feature length commentary and that is included with this release with co-writer/director Nicholas Stoller and producer James Weaver.
Overall thoughts: (8.0) – “Neighbors 2” is one of the best comedies I’ve seen this year. It’s right up there with “Central Intelligence” with The Rock and Kevin Hart in terms of the amount of laughs that are in the movie. Seth Rogan has great chemistry with both Zac Efron and Rose Bryne, which carried over nicely to the second movie. Chloe Grace Moretz doesn’t have the screen presence of her co-stars, but she holds up her end of the movie well. I give this release a strong recommendation based on the amount of laughs in the movie and the quality bonus features.
You can purchase the “Neighbors 2” Blu-ray, DVD, & Digital HD combo pack at most retail and online outlets.
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