Thursday, October 18, 2018

Throwback Thursday- The New Super Mario World (cartoon)

By Mark Rodriguez

With the world, or rather SEGA going 16-bit with their SEGA Genesis, it was time for Nintendo to break out their own 16-bit system to be able to compete. And thus we had the Super Nintendo, and with it came Super Mario World. The Mario 3 cartoon stopped airing reruns just in time for a new cartoon based on Mario's first 16-bit adventure.

The into looks pretty cool with vibrant colors... but then the cartoon starts...
 Roughly based on the game, this time Mario, Luigi, and the Princess take their adventures to Dinosaur Land which I assume is part of the Mushroom Kingdom. King Koopa and his brats are back to make more trouble as well. 

The cast is pretty much the same except Toad had been replaced by the new star of the game, Yoshi. Toad is never mentioned or referenced to at all in the series, I assume so as to not confuse the kids since he's not in the game. Yoshi is a big glutton and is kinda like the kid of the series. He talks in a childish innocent manner and refers himself in the third person cause he needs to learn some pronouns. There is also a caveman character named Oogtar who hangs with Yoshi. He's about as bright as you'd expect a caveman to me and he usually gets in trouble with Yoshi. Despite the game taking place in a heavily prehistoric themed area, there weren't any cave people to be seen, but the cartoon has all the common folk be cave people.

Mario, Luigi, Princess and Koopa all have the same voice actors from Mario 3 as far as I can tell. The characters act pretty much the same.. except this time the Princess comes off of more as the nagging voice of reason to everyone's antics. The Mario brothers also seem to take a bit of a babysitter role, mixing their usual adventures with also keeping Yoshi and Oogtar out of trouble.

The show keeps the flying blocks and new power ups like the Super Feather that gives Mario his cape. The music follows the new tunes from the game and we also get the new SNES version of the Mario jump and other sound effects. Also to follow the new game, the Koopa Kids don't have their wands anymore and Koopa now flies around in that Clown Car thing of his. His new castle now has KOOPA in neon lights, similar to how it says BOWSER in the game. 

This show was aired alongside Captain N as both cartoons were considered to be one show. Unlike The Super Show that was one long episode (a little short if you remove the live-action segments) or Mario 3 that showed two cartoons within that half hour, we get an episode of Mario World and an episode of Captain N within that same half hour. As a result of sharing the show and it only being a season long, there were only 13 episodes of Super Mario World. I almost consider them kind of an extra season of Super Mario bros 3 cartoon minus the unexplained absence of Toad. 

With cave people introduced, a new theme in a lot of the episodes is either the Marios or Koopa trying to teach or expose the cave people with modern things and the consequences that followed. With only 13 episodes, the Koopa Kids barely got enough airtime, or episodes to themselves. I remember the first episode was devoted to Kootie Pie, and one episode was all about one of the Koopa Wizards.

There are a few episodes I remember since it's been so long since I seen the show. One was about Koopa opening his own fast food restaurant, and the Marios couldn't stop him since he was earning money the honest way. Mario doesn't like eggs so he skipped out on the burgers and only ate the papaya fries, but Luigi and Yoshi loved them. Soon they were addicted to them, just like everybody else and Koopa would be making a fortune. Eventually Luigi and Yoshi started acting like chickens and would eventually turn into chickens if something isn't done. Koopa then planned to make a second fortune by opening a fried chicken restaurant out of his victims... which is kinda sick when you really think about it. Since Mario didn't eat the burgers (I guess they didn't add the secret ingredient in the papaya fries) he wasn't affected so it was up to him to save the day.

Another episode had a flashback of how Luigi first met Yoshi. Mario was captured and it was up to Luigi to rescue him. He finds the baby Yoshi and since he was there right when he hatched, he called him Mama Luigi throughout the flashback. Seeing that Yoshi was able to eat anything, Luigi was able to use his help to get past Koopa's forces and rescue his bro. It was a great episode and I liked the sight gags. Especially when a Thwomp crushed Mario into a cartoony paper thin version of himself Luigi actually rolled him up like he was a newspaper and used one of the P Balloons to turn him back to normal. Priceless cartoon physics there. 
Other episodes I remember off the top of my head were ones where Mario and Luigi invented cars for the cave people with consequences due to traffic jams, one where Koopa invented TV and it brainwashed everyone and even one where the Princess opened a school for Yoshi, Oogtar and the others.... But Hip and Hop Koopa would also enroll, so of course there would be a lot of mischief. 
Another ep I remember had Luigi scold Yoshi for eating something he shouldn't, so he runs away from home. He then finds some evil dinosaurs and joins a motorcycle gang. The ep had a horribly bad wannabe version of 'Born to be Wild' song in it called 'Born to Ride'.

As previously mentioned there was an episode with a Koopa Wizard as the villain. His name was Wisenheimer and he captured Mario, Luigi and the Princess and it's up to Yoshi and Oogtar to face their fears as they cross a haunted forest. I believe there was a running gag that no one pronounced his name right and it would piss him off.

The main setback to this show sadly is how badly the animation took a nosedive in this cartoon. I don't know what happened. Between Mario and Captain N being forced to share half and hour for only 13 episodes... the art style got really sloppy and rushed. You think Mario's big 16-bit break out would demand a show with more attention, but I figured the animators thought as long as it's Mario, kids would still watch. If you think this is bad... the Captain N designs almost hurt to look at, especially since their original designs were almost overly-detailed in comparison.

Sadly the series didn't last long and there wouldn't be any big Mario games coming out during that time that would inspire a new cartoon. While Super Mario World would come with the SNES, Yoshi's Island: Super Mario World 2 would come out near the end of the console's life span... and well, what kind of weird cartoon would that have been? I'd be curious how a series based on Super Mario RPG would have turned out, or at least some sort of TV special. Though seeing as how Toad was removed since he wasn't in Super Mario World, I kinda don't want a series without Luigi in it, since he wasn't in Mario RPG.

It took a while but the series was released on DVD, minus the Captain N episodes. It's good that both segments had their own intros because it would have confusing and awkward for today's kids to run into this show and see Captain N running around in the intro so many years later. I assume the songs were left intact since they didn't have any problems showing them on TV, even though later airings of Mario 3 were cutting them out. But man, did this one have some really embarrassingly bad songs. I know Mario is for kids, but back then even I thought they were lame.

To this date this has been the final Super Mario cartoon made for America. I'm surprised with the games like Mario Galaxy and Mario Odyssey no one pitched to Nintendo to make a new cartoon. Since Mario games comes out pretty frequently and there are now LOTS of new characters to work with. Similar to how Robotnik is now called Dr. Eggman, despite the fact that in Japan he was always Dr. Eggman, a new modern day Mario cartoon would now use Princess Peach and Bowser instead of Princess Toadstool and King Koopa.

If there was ever a new show I'd much rather it had a basic name like Super Mario Bros, or The Adventures of The Super Mario Bros or whatever, just so long as you don't name it after a particular game. This way the series isn't  limited to just the characters and power ups of that one game, and new episodes and seasons can expand with stuff based on the next Paper Mario game, Superstar Saga, or even if they ever make another Luigi's Mansion. An episode based on Mario Kart is a must.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Mae Young Classic 2018- Quarter Finals - October 17, 2018

By Mark Rodriguez

It's time for the quarter finals!!! Who will win between Rhea Ripley and Tegan Nox? Who will win between Toni Storm and Mia Yim? Let's find out!

First Match- Lacey Lane VS Meiko Satomura

Both started rather evenly matched with Lacey blocking all of Meiko's kicks. Meiko caught her leg, but was nice enough to let her go and offer a handshake. Lacey slapped her hand away and got kicked to the side of the head, followed by a spinkick while she was down. After trading some painful kicks, Meiko got Lacey into the Armbar until she was luckily enough to get her foot on the ropes to break the submission. Lacey got some kicks in and hit The Final Boss with a running knee to the face. She did a Crossbody off the ropes but Meiko till kicked out. With both women on shakey legs, Meiko clocked Lacey on the side of the head with a kick and then picked her up for the Death Valley Driver. Meiko secures the win and advances to the Semi Finals. Lacey bows in respect and shakes her hand.

Pretty good match at first with Lacey matching Meiko move for move, but after a bit it was clear there wasn't much Lacey could do against The Final Boss. The most offense Lacey pulled off was Crossbody, but other than trading hits, it was all Meiko. I loved seeing the Death Valley Driver again. I was expecting Meiko to win but was waiting to see if Lacey would surprise me. Meiko is the one to beat in this tournament.

Second Match- Io Shirai VS Deonna Purrazzo

Shirai and Deonna actually shake hands respectfully. Deonna got Shirai in a Hurricanrana but her opponent actually landed on her feet. After some flips, Shirai hit her with a dropkick. The Genius of the Skies does a suicide dive through the ropes and hits Deonna across the steel ramp outside the ring. Shirai got Deonna against the ropes, but The Virtuosa got out of the way before she could drive the double knee into her face. After a few attempted pins from both women, including Deonna trying a Jack Knife Pin, Shirai hit her with a stomp to the mid-section and arm of Deonna Purrazzo. The Virtuosa got Shirai in the Armbar but she rolled over so she could counter it as a pin, but Deonna kicked out in time. Shirai tried her own headlock submission, but Deonna would also turn over to turn it into a pin with Shirai kicking out in time.

Shirai hit Deonna with a 619 and a Missile Dropkick off the ropes, but she would still kick out of a pin. Deonna took Shirai to Suplex City and then went for the Armbar again. After several desperate moments of Shirai trying not to tap, she rolled over and got Deonna into a Crossface. After fighting off the urge to tap out, Deonna slipped out of it but Shirai hit her with a knee to the face. Shirai hit Deonna with a double-knee to the face and then finished her off with the Moonsaut off the ringpost. Io Shirai advances to the Semi Finals. Both women hug it out.

This was an epic match and both women gave everything they got. I didn't know who to root for because I loved both women. Even though I figured Shirai would win, Deonna came real close. I figured it was the end once Shirai got that last kick in, but it still looked like Deonna could have gotten out of the way of the Moonsault and kept the match going a while longer. Both the Armbar and the Crossface gave moments of tension since both women were far from the ropes and it was a real test of determination for them to not tap and muscle out of them. A spectacular match all around.

Match 3- Tegan Nox VS Rhea Ripley

As always Rhea refused to shake her opponent's hand. Tegan hit her with a dropkick and then did a suicide dive to plant Rhea on the steel ramp outside the ring. However, Tegan still had that brace around her bad knee and it seems this move re-injured her knee. Rhea would raise Tegan up high and just drop her on her knee. Some officials and the ring doctor came in to check on Tegan's knee. Tegan insists she's OK to continue the match.

The officials tell commentary that Tegan actually injured her good knee, not the one in the brace. The women trade chops and Tegan runs right into Rhea's dropkick. The bell is rung as Tegan no longer continue and the officials go check on her. Due to this, Rhea is considered the winner and she advances to the semi-finals. Staying true to her character, Rhea had a 'oh well, too bad' kinda look on her face and walked off. The officials helped Tegan leave the ring as she was crying in pain. The audience thanks Tegan for her performance.

Wow. I mean.. I was rooting for Rhea to win, but obviously not like this. I really thought Tegan was going to win this one since we've seen people overcome adversity and somehow muster up the strength to win despite injuries, and figured the steel ramp spot was part of the story. It seems Tegan actually broke her leg during this match, and I mean out of kayfabe. I can only assume Rhea either didn't know or couldn't break her heel character to show concern, and she did walk out in a hurry. Man, this was painful to watch. Regardless of whether or not Rhea was supposed to win, she will be facing Io Shirai in the semi-finals.

Main Event- Mia Yim VS Toni Storm

Mia was the first to start the offense with some knees and strikes until Toni hit her with a running kick and then a double knee in the face. Toni got her in a suplex and then started to stomp on the still injured hand of Mia Yim. Mia gets back in control, stomping all over Toni while she's against the ropes and getting her into a Sleeper Hold. Toni powered out but the Blasian Baddie got her in a painful submission that is basically bending her body back against both her knees. Toni turned this move into a pin but Mia kicked out and hit her with a dropkick. Toni breaks the attempted pin. Mia Yim is quick to get Toni in another grappling submission move.

Despite having Mia wrapped around her, Toni managed to get up, lifting Mia up and slamming her down in a spine buster. Mia would hit her with several kicks and palm strikes, but her opponent would still kick out of a pin. Toni kicked Mia in the injured hand and then gave her a headbutt. Both women went down. They would slap each other as they both got to their feet and Toni would get Mia in a suplex and then with a Hip Check up against the ropes. Mia got her in a Suplex Pin but Toni still kicked out.

Mia picked up Toni and slammed her down, but she would still kick out of a pin. With the crowd chanting 'THIS IS AWESOME', Mia would try for the Sole Food, but Toni would block her attempt and crush her injured hand. Toni got her in a German Suplex and then slammed her down with Storm Zero and secured the win. Toni Storm advances to the Semi Finals to face Meiko Satomura.

Well... there goes my top pick to win it all. The match was pretty intense and both women gave it all they got. Man, does Mia Yim have an amazing repertoire of submission holds, any one of those could have won the match. There was a strange segment where Mia was kicking Toni similar to the Yes Kicks and for some reason she paused after the second kick and looked at the crowd and the crowd laughed. I'm not sure what was going on, or if the crowd was doing something silly off camera that made Mia pause and think 'WTF?' to herself. Either way it was a great match, I guess I'm a bit disappointed that Mia didn't win, but I can't take away from the amazing talent and moveset that Toni Storm has well. Maybe sometime we'll see a rematch between the two without Mia having an injured hand.

Overall Opinions-

I do want to say I hope that Tegan gets a speedy recovery and commend her bravery for trying to finish the match despite her real life injury. These things happen and it is the risk you take when you consider wrestling (or sports entertainment) as a profession. Man, that was painful to watch.

The top matches were the Shirai VS Deonna and Mia VS Toni. I like Lacey, but I feel there wasn't all that much she could do against Meiko. I guess I can say my favorite match was the Shirai one since she won. I like Deonna too but I'm fine with Shirai advancing.

As for Rhea, I do wonder how she will do against The Final Boss. Will she shock us all and beat her, or will Meiko take the win? I guess it's too soon to predict here, but depending on how Toni does, the final match at Evolution just might be Meiko VS Shirai.

There is also the small chance that if we break kayfabe for a bit, Tegan was meant to win this match and advance but due to her injury Rhea had to take the win. We'll see what changes this causes if Rhea does indeed defeat Meiko. I cant wait for the next week. This is getting incredibly intense!!

I do have to say that aside from 205 Live and NXT, they also added NXT UK to the line up which gives you an extra chance to see some of the girls like Toni Storm and Rhea Ripley in some more action even after the Mae Young Classic is over.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

WWE Smackdown Episode 1 August 29, 1999

By mark Rodriguez

Now that we've seen the 1000th episode with all the old school callbacks, let's take a look at the very first episode that started it all. Before all the brand splits, Smackdown was just a second show when one night of WWE  a week just wasn't enough. The first episode aired August 29, 1999 and had some of the stars we still love today like The Rock and Triple H. Let's take a look at where the WWE was back in 1999.

Triple H Promo-

Triple H is the current WWF Champion with Chyna by his side and he starts things off by bragging about how he took down Mankind, Stone Cold, and The Rock.... which brings in The Rock ready to fight. Shawn Micheals is the new WWF Commissioner so he schedules a match between The Rock and Triple H for the title, and he will be a guest referee. Shane McMahon, owner of the WWF at the time, says he will also be a guest referee to keep an eye on Micheals.

Micheals says he can book any wrestler as he sees fit and since Shane fought in a special match in Summerslam, he considers him a WWF Superstar... so he pits him against Mankind. Mankind arrives and between him and The Rock, they take the fight to Triple H and Shane. We finally see our hosts Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross properly introducing the show.

Match 1-  Jeff Jarrett VS Mr. Ass

Even though Double J was the current Intercontinental champion, the title wasn't on the line. The promo showing why Jarret and Ass hate each other, we that Jarrett even slammed his guitar upside Chyna's head, taking her out.  The match was OK, but it got interesting when Chyna stepped into the scene. She grabbed Jarrett's guitar and smashed one of his valets down. Jerrett did manage to pin Mr. Ass and get the win, but Chyna would show up, get in his face, and sock him in the balls. She walked off as Jarrett laid there holding his junk in pain. Ouch, but hey, serves you right.

Match 2- Kane and X-Pac VS The Big Show and the Undertaker VS The Acolytes for the Tag Team Title- Triple Threat Match

Undertaker and The Big Show were the current Tag Team Champs at this time. Undertaker decided to basically sit this one out and hang with the commentators, leaving it all up to Big Show. This of course leaves him as a big target as the other 4 men would strike him down any chance they get. Undertaker smacked some sense into the giant, and he went back into the ring, fired up and started choke slamming everybody. Kane attacked Big Show with an off-the-rope strike but was taken out of the action. X-Pac managed to kick the Acolytes out of the ring, but this left him at the mercy of Big Show who would choke slam him and get the win.

Match 3- The Big Boss Man VS Al Snow for the Hardcore Title

I remember the Big Boss Man, but far from being a regular cop, now he seems to be wearing SWAT gear and he even stole Al Snow's chihuahua, threatening that bad things will happen to the dog if he doesn't bring the Hardcore Belt and put it on the line. Al Snow has no choice but to agree to a title match. The Boss Man does bring in the dog and leaves him with he commentators.

Al Snow cares more about his dog than the Boss Man, so he's distracted during the match. Being a match for the Hardcore Title, anything can be used and pinfalls can happen anywhere. Boss Man used a brightly colored blue ladder, and Snow managed to hit him with a chair. As Snow went to check on his dog, Big Boss Man clocks him with his nightstick and pins him outside of the ring. The Big Boss Man is the new Hardcore Champion... and he still runs off with the dog. What a jerk.

Match 4- Road Dogg VS Chris Jericho

Now this is the younger, crazy haired Jericho I remember from WCW and it seems this was his WWF debut. Pretty decent match here that could have gone either way. During the match while Jericho was on the ropes, a guy came over to give him an energy drink or something, but then he sprayed it all over Road Dogg and used that to his advantage. Then for whatever reason, Jericho decided to bring a table into the match even though using it would get him disqualified. He didn't care and still slammed Road Dogg through the table. He then put him in the Lion Tamer submission move from his WCW days, but it seems Lawler and JR didn't know what to call this move at the time. Jericho might have lost, but he did it with style.

Match 5- Ken Shamrock VS ???
This is a weird skit.... The same guy that helped Jericho with the sports drink is also a ring announcer, and Y2J gets him pumped up to be the best announcer he can be. The guy runs down the ring to the Ultimate Warrior's theme acting just as pumped up and out of control and gets into a fight with the regular ring announcer. He gets thrown out of the ring and Jericho arrives to get him out of harm's way. Just then Ken Shamrock arrives, ready to fight... but Jericho's buddy tries to pick a fight with him. Jericho lays out Shamrock with a steel chair across the back and leaves with his friend. Shamrock gets back and up and chases after them. That ends that, but we never even found out who his opponent was supposed to be.

Stephanie and Test
Then Stephanie McMahon comes in, ready to speak to a wrestler named Test that proposed to her and has been waiting throughout the program for an answer. Surprisingly, she says yes... but then Shane and his Posse arrive to break it up and attack Test. Mankind arrives and takes out the Posse with a steel chair. He then says he's not going to leave and come back a third time... so he wants his match with Shane now. He even gives him a free shot with the steel chair, and Shane takes it, apparently laying Mankind out. However, he still gets up and starts smacking Shane with his own microphone.

Match 6- Mankind VS Shane McMahon

Shane tries to get away but Mankind smacks him all over the announcements table and then tosses him into the ring, now with a referee. The Posse would cause trouble for Mankind but Test and Stephanie would take care of them. Once Shane's goons are down again, Test takes Steph out of harm's way and they leave together. Mankind manages to slam Shane with a DDT and then attacks him with Mr. Socko (yes, his gimmick was to wear a stinky sock puppet and shove it down the opponent's throat). Suddenly Chyna and Triple H show up, and Hunter slams a steel chair on the back of Mankind that helps Shane win the pin. Triple H and Chyna walk off, helping Shane leave the building with a win.

Match 7- Ivory VS Tori- Evening Gown Match

At this time Ivory was the WWE Woman's Champion, but the title was not on the line. In this match whoever rips the evening gown off the other, leaving them only in their underwear wins, and even Lawler remarks that the viewers will win no matter what. With this rule in play though, it makes for a very short match. Ivory wastes no time in ripping off Tori's gown, and then continues to beat the crap out of her until Luna Vachon comes in to pull her off. Seriously, the match was over in seconds.

Main Event- Triple H VS The Rock for the WWF Heavyweight Title with Shawn Micheals as the special referee

This was a pretty good match with both guys being evenly matched. However, Triple H still had Chyna at his side, so whenever she saw a chance to sneak in a cheap shot at the Rock when he was out of the ring, she would take it. Micheals had enough and sent Chyna away from the match. After she left, Shane would come in and purposely distract Micheals whenever The Rock was close to pinning Triple H. The Rock manages to sock Shane out and then hit Triple H with the Rock Bottom. Ready to finish him off with the Peoples' Elbow... Micheals surprisingly hits him with Sweet Chin Music. Triple H takes the advantage and finishes The Rock off with the Pedigree, winning the match and keeping his title. Shane, Chyna and Shawn Micheals all celebrate alongside The Game leaving the fans and commentators confused as to Micheals' sudden betrayal.

My Overall Opinions

This was quite a trip down memory lane and an interesting view into what WWE was doing at the time. This sure was the Attitude Era with wrestlers named Mr. Ass and Tori being shown in her underwear. I'm surprised that so many years later, we're about to have a PPV that features Triple H and Shawn Micheals facing off against the Undertaker and Kane, and that it wasn't that long ago that Shane McMahon was throwing himself off of steel cages. It's insane.

Unfortunately with all the promos and skits, the matches themselves were incredibly short. I mean Jericho purposely disqualified himself from the match. The match between Big Boss Man and Al Snow was a title match, but since Snow was more worried about his dog, it almost didn't feel like a true title match where both guys pull out all the stops. The evening gown match was over before you knew it. At least the match between Triple H and The Rock was decently paced. I'd say of the matches I saw at least the Triple Threat Tag Match should have been a bit longer as well, especially with so many awesome guys involved.

As for Chyna, I have to say I'm surprised how often she was shown in this episode. It seemed she was all over the place, backing up Triple H but also having personal business with Jeff Jarrett. I'm still surprised they had a guy smash a guitar on the back of a woman's head.

This was pretty awesome, though I noticed after the fact that while this is in fact Episode 1 of Smackdown, I didn't realize there was a Pilot Episode. I might have to come back and review that one as well.

WWE Smackdown Live- October 16, 2018 1000th Episode

By Mark Rodriguez

This is the big one! Smackdown reaches it's 1000th episode! With all of these rumored guest stars including Triple H, Randy Orton, Ric Flair, Bautista and several others, I wonder if we'll see some actual matches tonight. Well besides the World Qualifier Match that brings back Rey Mysterio to face Nakamura!

Epic Intro- We have a cool extended intro featuring a lot of stars, new and old, including John Cena, The Rock, Eddie Guererro, and even Hulk Hogan as well as showing scenes like Booker T and Stone Cold fighting in a supermarket and the time Brock Lesnar slammed The Big Show and it literally destroyed the ring. Other bizzare events include Christian marrying Vickie Guerrero, Big Boss Man running off the Big Show's father's casket and Carmella winning the Money in the Bank. All weird events but they are all part of Smackdown's history.

Truth TV (R Truth and Carmella)

R Truth and Carmella start the show with a few dance breaks. They invite Stephanie as their guest and soon Shane also appears. The McMahons argue, with Shane on the side of the audience and Steph bad-mouthing them until Vince McMahon himself shows up. He says they should entertain the crowd and surprises everyone by going into a dance break. Everybody dances.

First Match- AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan VS The Usos

The match starts with Daniel and Jay Uso who soon tags Jimmy in so they could double team him. AJ is tagged in but he ends up stuck in the Usos' corner and attacked by the brothers, including being thrown into the ringpost. AJ caught Jay in the Calf Crusher and Daniel grabs Jimmy in the Yes Lock to keep him from breaking up the submission. Jay manages to grab the ropes.

Even the 1000th episode is not safe from commercial breaks as the match continues in small screen as the ads play. The Usos continue to double-team on AJ Styles as I see ads for Antman and the Wasp and Abreva. Jay managed to jumpkick AJ in the face, which AJ followed by a Pele Kick and both men were down. AJ gets up in time to tag in Daniel, which soon lands a missile drop kick off the ropes on Jay. Daniel Bryan uses the Yes Kicks on Jay but Jimmy breaks the pin.

Daniel accidentally runs into AJ Styles, and when AJ gets in his face, Jay does a Superkick to his face. Daniel Bryan turned in time to get hit by a Double Superkick by the Usos and they score the win. The Usos walk off in victory and Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles end up glaring at each other as they will be facing off at Crown Jewel for the WWE World Title.

There is a short segment of Paige dancing with Vickie Guerrero, Ted Long and Joh Laurinaitis. All the Smackdown General Manages get to hang.

Evolution Reunion

Triple H, Ric Flair, Randy Orton and Bautista reunite and celebrate 1000 episodes of Smackdown. However, Randy Orton disses all of them and says he's the only one that is actually evolving now. Bautista says he's there for four reasons, to celebrate the 1000 episodes, the fact that they're in his home town, the fanbase whether they were cheering or booing, and to see the other Evolution members again. Bautista gives props to everyone sand says Triple H has done everything except beat him. Even though there was an awkward pause and a bit of a staredown, Triple H and Bautista hug it out.

Second Match- The Mizz VS Rusev- World Cup Qualifier

We come back to see Kurt Angle join commentary as Mizz and Rusev fight. However, Aiden comes in to pull Rusev off of pinning the Mizz. The Mizz sees his chance to score the win in one of the shortest matches ever. Aiden steps up to Lana, and Lana kicks him in the junk. Rusev attacks Aiden and throws him against the announcement table.

We see Curt Hawkins hanging out with Christian backstage. The Rated R Superstar has a segment of his own coming up.

Christian Cutting Edge- with Becky Lynch and Charlotte

Christian talks to Becky and discusses how she risks ruining her friendship with Charlotte forever. Becky says she loves herself and tells Christian to leave and not hurt his neck as he gets past the ropes. Charlotte comes in and Spears Becky down as both women go nuts. Christian stands back and referees come in to try to break it up. In the end Ric Flair comes in to pull his daughter back. Becky Lynch and Charlotte are set to settle this at Crown Jewel.

Third Match- The New Day VS The Bar- Smackdown Tag Team Title Match

Jerry Lawler and Booker T do commentary on this title match. Sheamus starts off with Xavier Woods. Cesaro lands a cheap shot from outside the ropes, and Sheamus drags Xavier to their corner for a beatdown. Doritos ads play as Xavier finally gets away from Sheamus so he can tag Big E in.

Big E grabs Cesaro with a series of Belly-to-belly Suplexes. He does a power slam on Cesaro but the Swiss Cyborg manages to kick out of the pin. Cesao is tagged in but he misses a Brouge Kick and gets stuck on the ropes. Big E spears Sheamus out of the ring. Xavier hits Sheamus with a Shining Wizard but he still kicks out of the pin. Cesaro manages to get Big E in the Neutralizer but Xavier comes in to break the pin.

After the break, Big E is in control of Cesaro, but Sheamus tags himself in and he manages to lift Big E. Cesaro jumps off the ringpost with an Uppercut. Kofi breaks up the pin, even tough he's not in the match and The Bar take care of him. Xavier jumps off the ropes but The Bar catches him and throw him into the barricade. Suddenly Big Show shows up.

Big Show glares at The Bar and they back off. Big Show acts like he's helping Kofi back up, but he then hits him with a Choke Slam through the announcer table. Sheamus takes advantage of the confusion and hits Big E with the Brougue Kick and scores the pin. The Bar are the Smackdown Tag Team Champs!

John Cena segment

Cena recalls how The Rock named Smackdown and how the show brought along Randy Orton and Bautista and Cena came up to slap Kurt Angle and say he was full of Ruthless Aggression. He thanks everyone for the 1000 episodes of Smackdown.

Fourth Match- Rey Mysterio VS Shinuske Nakamura- World Cup Qualifier

The guys trades some blows until Nakamura got Rey in a headlock. Rey managed to get out of that and also slide under Nakamura's running attack. Nakamura dodged Rey's attempt at the 619 but he did kick him to the mat. Rey ran and slid across the mat and splashed onto Nakamura. However, when returning to the ring, Rey got caught on the ropes and fell victim to Nakamura's kicks.

Rey jumps off the ropes and Nakamura hits him in the air. Nakamura hangs Rey on the ropes and hits him with a running knee. Rey manages to kick Nakamura up against the ropes. This time he is able to connect with the 619, and then lands a Splash on Nakamura and scores the win.

This means that John Cena, Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, Kurt Angle, The Mizz, Randy Orton, Jeff Hardy and Rey Mysterio will be at the World Cup Tournament.

Just then The Undertaker shows up. Undertaker says he has three words for D-Generation X at Crown Jewel- Rest in Peace.

The Highs of Tonight's Smackdown Live-

- Evolution returns- Not much to say, it was fun seeing the gang together again, but most of all, they even got Bautista back in the ring, even if it was just for a short moment.

All the Old School Cameos- The cameos were short and sweet, but it was nice seeing Bautista, Christian, Laurinaitis, Ted, and Vickie again, even though it some were for a very short time. Imagine booking a flight just to dance with Paige for a few seconds on screen, but a paycheck's a paycheck.

The Bar beat the New Day and become Smackdown Champs! Finally The Bar won the titles and beat the New Day! Not that I have anything against the New Day but they are so over with the crowd that they can afford to lose the titles and I just love the dynamic teamwork between Cesaro and Sheamus. Plus making them fight for the 1000th time on the 1000th episode just to have New Day win yet again would have been a waste of time. Then the Big Show's sudden appearance there made the win that much more of a surprise. It was also clever to have Big Show take out Kofi. Since he's not the legal man, his interference doesn't end the match in a disqualification.

Rey Mysterio VS Nakamura- It was a good match and Rey shows the crowd that he still has it. Nakamura is also a decent enough wrestler to also give Rey a good challenge with his strong strikes and speed. It's awesome seeing the 619 again.

The Lows of Tonight's Smackdown Live-

Mizz VS Rusev- What was the point of this? The commercial break just cuts to the random middle of the match and it's literally over in a minute. The focus is more on Aiden's feud with Rusev and creepiness towards Lana that we missed what could have been a good match up. I guess there wasn't enough time with all the segments and special guests but wow, I'd like to see Mizz and Rusev go all out at another time in a decent match.

My Overall Opinions

 As you can see, this episode was full of so much nostalgia that there really weren't any lows except for that joke a match between Mizz and Rusev. Even the opening skit that people might find cheesy was just the right kind of cheesy as we saw Vince, Shane and Steph again. The show also showed all sorts of pictures throughout Smackdown's history before and after commercial breaks, including King Booker, Hulk Hogan dressed as Mr. America and Bautista and Eddie Guererro coming in with the hydraulics. They even showed Chyna in one of the pics, which was almost as surprising as them showing Hogan again. Wow.

This was fun an a great episode. Most of the World Cup Qualifiers have been sucky or stupid skits if they didn't involve the SHIELD, but the match between Nakamura and Rey Mysterio was a good one. Looking forward to see how far Rey goes in the tournament.

It was just awesome. Where will the WWE be in the 2000th episode?

Monday, October 15, 2018

WWE Monday Night Raw- Oct. 15, 2018

By Mark Rodriguez

It's time for Monday Night RAW. This time the recently reunited D-Generation X, Triple H and Shawn Micheals await a response from The Brothers of Destruction, Undertaker and Kane. Also Ronda Rousey will address how the Bellas jumped her.

Braun Strauman shows up with Ziggler and McIntyre and start bragging it up. We see clips of how they won against the SHIELD last week and Dean Ambrose walked off upset. The team have matches with Rollins and Ambrose that will qualify them for the World Cup Tournament at Crown Jewel and Ziggler and McIntyre discuss how they might end up facing each other.

The SHIELD arrive, minus Dean Ambrose. Rollins assures their team is alright, and he will personally defeat McIntyre onight. Ziggler jokes about how Ambrose is missing. Rollins assures them that Ambrose operates at his own time but he will show up. He says he should start his qualifying match with Drew and he agrees.

Match 1- Seth Rollins VS Drew McIntyre (World Cup Qualifier) 

Drew got Rollins in a vice grip until he managed to get out and gain momentum. Rollins tried a suicide dive out of the ring but Drew slammed in a belly to belly slam. Drew exposed the steel under the ring apron but Seth managed to shove him against it instead. Ziggler came to distract the ref and Drew took this chance to crawl under the ring. Seth tried to pull Drew back out, but Drew yanked Rollins arm up against the steel under the apron and injure his arm.

After the break, Rollins managed to land a Superkick to the face of Drew to knock him down. Rollins lands a Blockbuster on Drew but he kicks out of the pin. Rollins got MicIntyre trapped on the ropes, but the Scottish Psychopath threw him off him. Rollins grabbed him before he could jump off the ropes and hit him with a Super Plex and a Power Bomb, but he would still kick out of the pin.

Rollins would get ready for The Stomp, but Ziggler would yank down the ropes to trip Rollins out of the ring. Just then Ambrose would show up and attack Ziggler. McIntyre would attack Ambrose but Rollins would hit him with The Stomp outside the ring. With time running out, Rollins managed to get into the ring on time to beat the ten count. Rollins will advance to the World Cup tournament.

There's a scene afterwards with Ambrose taking offense to Rollins saying he operates on his own time. He says they only need him to bail them out and he leaves.

Undertaker and Kane

After a replay of the events of Super-Showdown and the return of D-Generation X, we see a vignette of The Undertaker and Kane in a creepy area that would make Freddy proud. The accept their challenge and say D-Generation X will Rest in Peace.

Second Match- Ember Moon and Nia Jax VS Dana Brooke and Tamina

Ember Moon and Brooke grappled for a bit until Tamina was tagged in. Tamina would overpower Ember until Nia was tagged in. Now with the two powerhouses facing each other, they would try to out muscle each other. Surprisingly, Tamina was able to lift up Nia Jax and hold her up for a few moments before slamming her with a Samoa Drop. Brooke was tagged back in but Ember Moon hit her with the Eclipse and won the match.

 Afterwards, Tamina would get into Nia's face and surprisingly, Ember helps Tamina toss Nia over the ropes. Ember then tries to throw Tamina out but both women wrestle for control. Dana Brooke throws both women out of the ring and stands triumphant over all.

There will be a Battle Royale at Evolution with the winner getting a title match. The surprising this is that Torrie Wilson will also be taking part.

The WWE nostalgia trip continues!

Rhonda Rousey segment

Rhonda shows up to talk about how the Bella Twins betrayed her last week and she wants an explanation. The Bellas show up. The Bellas talk about how important they are to the Divas and how much they have done for the Women's Revolution, and how the belt Rousey wears is because of them. Rousey says they thought they were alright but now sees how talentless they really are. The Bellas say they have kicked down doors during their career. Rhonda mentions all the things she's went through to get to the WWE and says the only door Nikki kicked down was the door to John Cena , and now he's kicked her out of that door.

The Bella contain themselves from rushing into the ring to attack Rousey and instead hold back and send their own security guards after them. Rousey destroys the security guards and the Bellas run away

There is a small segment of Kurt Angle being welcomed back by some of the guys in the back. Corbin is not happy with him and sets him up in a handicap match against AoP.

Third Match- Dean Ambrose VS Dolph Ziggler- World Cup Qualifier

Dean would go for several quick pins and Ziggler would kick out of them. Dean tried to do a Colverleaf but Ziggler managed to kick him away before he could lock it in. Dean tried to jump off the rope but Ziggler would avoid it and grab him for a slam. It seems Ziggler hurt his leg during this move as both men are down.

After the break Ziggler did a Slingshot, throwing Ziggler face first into the ringpost. Ambrose finally got Ziggler in the Cloverleaf submission hold but Ziggler grabbed the ropes. McIntyre comes in to attack Dean and Rollins appears to take him down. Ambrose jumps off the post to take down McIntyre. Rollins tried to help him get back into the ring but Ambrose showed Rollins to the ground. As Ambrose climbed in, Ziggler hit him with a Superkick to the face and won the match.

Ambrose rudely shoves Rollins aside as he walks out of the ring. Rollins follows him and they both argue as Reigns tries to break it up between them. Corbin arrives and says to help the SHIELD hash out their differences, they will have yet another rematch with Strauman, McIntyre and Ziggler.

There's a backstage segment with McIntyre and Ziggler being excited to have the SHIELD divided. They tell Braun to focus on Rollins and Ambrose. Strauman says if Ziggler and McIntyre fail, he will come after them instead.

Fourth Match- Fin Balor VS Jinder Mahal 

Jinder outmuscles Fin but his opponent uses his speed and running dropkicks to his advantage. With The Maharaja down, Fin hits him with the Coup de Grace and wins in short order.

Just then Bobby Lashley arrives with Lio Rush. Lashley poses in Fin's face as Lio hypes him up. Balor and Bayley leave as Bobby prepares for his match.

Fifth Match- Bobby Lashley VS Tyler Breeze

Bobby would do a lot of poses as Lio cheers him on, with Breeze wondering if they're going to start the match or not. Breeze is no match for Lashley who is able to get him in an impressive one-handed Vertical Suplex. Breeze would try to fight back with some punches, but a few impressive slams was enough for Bobby Lashley to put him away.

Trish Stratus and Lita segment

Lita starts to hype up Evolution, but Alexa Bliss and Mickie James show up to talk trash. They comment on how Trish and Lita have been out of the ring for a long time while Alexa and Mickie have been wrestling all this time. Lita calls them out and Alexa and Mickie pretend to run into the ring, but decide to leave the fight for now.

There is a short scene of the Riott Squad picking on Bayley. It's announced that Natalya will be facing Ruby Riott next.

The Conquistador VS AoP Handicap Match

The Conquistador never stood a chance against these two. Kurt Angle couldn't do the Calf Crusher right and he was picked up by both men and slammed down for the win. Corbin enjoyed the show until AoP took off the mask, showing it wasn't Kurt Angle, but some random guy. Kurt Angle showed up and slammed Corbin down. Still wearing his vacation clothes, Kurt walks off as Corbin lays on the ground.

Seventh Match- Natalya VS Ruby Riot

Nattie announces she won't walk into the ring alone since Ruby has her buddies with her and brings in Bayley and announces the return of Sasha Banks to help her out. After a short match, Natalya got Ruby in the Sharpshooter, but before Ruby can tap, Sarah Logan runs in and attacks Nattie. Natalya wins due to disqualification and all of the women come in to fight each other. Sasha and Bayley are thrown out and all the Riott Squad attack Natalya. Sasha and Bayley come back, taking Liv and Sarah out of the ring. Ruby tries to attack but Natalya grabs her in a German Suplex. Natalya, Bayley and Sasha stand victorious.

Elias segment

Elias comes back out to play his music and talk trash on John Cena. Apollo Crews surprisingly shows up to interrupt him. He actually admits that since everyone seems to interrupt Elias, he figures it was his turn.

Elias tries to attack but Apollo hits him with a spinkick and then lifts him up for a press. He slams Elias down and the musician walks off.

Main Event- The SHIELD VS Strauman, Ziggler and McIntyre

Strauman insisted that Ziggler go first to prove his worth. Ziggler faced off with Rollins, but all three members of the SHIELD took a shot at him. Ziggler, while on the ground, managed to kick Rollins into Ambrose. Ambrose and Rollins got into each other's faces again and Reigns tried to calm them down. Strauman knocks all three men out of the ring. Ziggler almost got Reigns but he kicked out of the pin.

After the break McIntyre is in control of Reigns and Ziggler is tagged in. Reigns got out of his hold and McIntyre was tagged back in only to eat a Superman Punch. Strauman gets tagged in and keeps Reigns from tagging in his buddies. Strauman and McIntyre argue over who can get things done better and Strauman gets picked up by Reigns and slammed by a Samoa Drop.

Eventually Ambrose managed to get McIntyre with the Dirty Deeds and was set to do the pin. Ziggler pushed Rollins into Ambrose again, causing them to argue. During the fight, McIntyre accidentally did the Claymore Kick on Strauman. Ambrose returned to help Rollins and Reigns do the SHIELD Bomb on McIntyre and Ambrose would get the final pin to win the match.

The SHIELD are a unit again and they walk off in victory. Strauman is enraged and he grabbed Ziggler for a Power Slam. Just then McIntyre hits him with a Claymore, this time on purpose. McIntyre walks off making a new enemy with Strauman.

The Highs of Tonight's RAW

Rollins VS McIntyre- Pretty good match and it sets up the mood and the tensions between both teams which escalate to the main event.

-That Main Event- These guys still offer new after seeing the same match every time. This was almost a low because its the third time we've seen this match, but it was really good. What makes this work is the in-team dynamic, not just for the SHIELD but for the bad guys as well. It's exciting to see who will turn heel first, Ambrose or Ziggler, and despite everyone betting on Ambrose, McIntyre was the first to turn on his teammates. It's interesting to note that even though Ziggler gets on McIntyre's nerves, he is quick to attack Strauman whenever he attacks Ziggler.

Rhonda's bombshell on Nikki Bella- Despite all the talk, the Bellas fail to admit that the Evolution started to get rid of them, not to celebrate them. Rhonda tells it like it is, but the real bombshell was shoving her personal problems with Cena in her face. I'm not sure if the Cena/Nikki breakup is real or just kayfabe (this segment might just prove it's kayfabe), but still, Rhonda dropped some truth on those talentless Bellas. I only wish AJ Lee was here to further rub it in their faces.

The Return of Tamina, Sasha Banks and Apollo Crews- It's good to see them again, I just hope WWE does more with them. At least we got more of a Nia Jax VS Tamina match, but we really need to see these two go in a singles match sometime. 

The Lows of Tonight's RAW-

So much damn filler and pointless matches- What was the point of Fin Balor beating Jinder Mahal in about 2 minutes? Then Lashley posing in his face, with nothing coming from it. And him equally squashing Tyler Breeze? The Conquistador VS AoP, a total waste of AoP's time. Why not give Elias and Apollo a decent match? No wonder they focus so much on the SHIELD VS Strauman's team, it's the only feud worth caring about on RAW. Didn't we already see Alexa and Mickie talk trash to Lita and Trish last week?

Must both World Cup Qualifiers be related to the SHIELD/Strauman feud? Why not make the tournament so varied? It's now purposely set up for it to lead to Orton VS Jeff and Rollins VS McIntyre. Was there no one else they could have used for a qualifier? It's further proof the only feud worth caring about on RAW is the SHIELD/Strauman feud. 

The Riott Squad is useless- When are these girls going to pose a threat? They have much more skill than they're being allowed to portray here. Even now that they don't have to deal with the unstoppable Rhonda Rousey, Ruby can't beat Natalya? Sure, we got the return of Sasha Banks, but we could have still had Ruby beat Natalya and have Liv and Sarah keep Bayley and Sasha out of it. It makes the Riott Sqaud look more like annoyances than actual threats, they're basically the Team Rocket of the Women's Division. The commentary keeps saying that Ruby wants to be champion someday, let her show that she has the tools to do it. 

My Overall Opinions

The SHIELD feud is the most interesting story going on right now, but it sadly makes everything else seems unimportant in comparison. The main event was just awesome and I'm looking forward to see what will happen between McIntyre and Strauman next week.

They keep teasing the Ambrose heel turn and now that McIntyre turned, I hope they can back off of that for a while. Hopefully their feud with Strauman's squad ends at Crown Jewel and they can move on to other opponents before Ambrose finally does his much awaited turn, hopefully at something major like Survivor Series or Royal Rumble. I have to say, Vince's plan is working since people have been cheering Roman lately, even chanting his name to get out of Ziggler's hold.

Again, the other feuds just aren't that important. They just seem like random matches. And for the Mixed Match challenge, how many times are Fin and Bayley gonna face Jinder and Alicia before they can move on to another team? I know this was a singles match, but couldn't they face anyone else? With Owens out due to injury, there goes any chance of a feud against Lashley so they just feed Breeze to him, and thus he has no real direction now and no real feud. Bobby Roode only had a cameo talking with Kurt. They don't even bother to do anything with him.

I guess the only other feud to care about is Kurt Angle and Baron Corbin, but they gotta move on from all these cheesy antics and pranks. And what will happen to Corbin when he's no longer Acting General Manager?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Batman (2018) # 54

By Mark Rodriguez

Batman has now returned to one of his classic outfits that brings back the Bat-Trunks. Now we focus on an adventure that features the old days of Bruce and Dick, the original Batman and Robin as something from the past returns to affect them in modern day.

The Better Man starts with a flashback of the crowd reacting to the deaths of the Flying Graysons and wondering if the boy will be alright. We switch to modern day as the boy, now grown up as Nightwing is with Batman as they face Crazy Quilt. The villain says he will use his quilt of colors to hypnotize them both. Nightwing asks Batman is Crazy Quilt sews a lot and Batman tells him the quilt refers to hypnotic colors, while the ignore the villain. Crazy Quilt says he will hypnotize them but Nightwing says they can just close their eyes and jump over to him to punch him.

We get another flashback to when Dick was a child, now living with Bruce. He has a nightmare and Bruce is there to comfort him. We flash forward to sometime in the present as Dick hugs Bruce to offer support at him being dumped at the altar, but Bruce is not amused. Bruce says Dick's services as the replacement Batman are no longer needed and asks how long will he stay in Gotham. Dick says he'll stay as long as he's needed and Bruce says he doesn't need him.

Alfred steps in and says what they both need is lunch, and he made Dick's favorite, cucumber sandwiches. Bruce says he's working on the Freeze case and will take his lunch to the cave. We flashback to a young Dick Grayson refusing to eat and saying he hates cucumber sandwiches. He runs off in anger. Bruce tries to tell Dick to stop crying.

Flash foward and Nightwing is now crying in laughter as Batman faces the Condiment King. Batman says this isn't a laughing matter, and Condiment King has robbed seven grocery stories and killed three employees. Batman insists he is not depressed and is doing fine, and Nightwing says they can talk it about. Nightwing gets splattered with ketchup in the face and he says they can talk about it later.

Back to the past, young Grayson is on the ground after he tried to swing from a chandelier, which fell and smashed itself all over the floor. Dick says he's fine and ignores Bruce trying to console him. Dick says Bruce is just a rich kid that wants a new toy. Bruce explains that he lost his parents too and Dick yells that he's not a toy.

Modern day, there's a game playing and Dick calls Bruce over to join him. Bruce says they don't have time for the game but sits with him anyway. Dick jokes about one of the player always fumbling and that they could use Condiment King in case someone wants mustard, or maybe Crazy Quilt if someone rips their uniform. Then he jokes that he forgot that the quilt stands for quilt of colors. He also says Bane would be good at football if he could get past drug testing. Dick enjoys his potato chips.

Back to the past, young Dick Grayson enjoys eating chips and it seems to be the only thing he likes to eat. Alfred insists he needs a proper meal. Bruce says he doesn't like anything else and Dick says he liked football. Bruce and Dick watch football on tv. Bruce says he doesn't watch football because he's usually committed to other things, in this case, raising Grayson.

Modern day, Nightwing asks Batman to dare him to do something, and he says no. Nightwing takes that as the bet being accepted. Nightwing throws one of his sticks and it ricochets all over the Bat Cave and it manages to make 37 bounces. He says he won a penny, and want to take the giant penny that's always in the Bat Cave. Batman laughs at the joke and then has a little break down. Dick says he knows Batman is fine and he'll be there if he doesn't want to be fine. He says maybe they can go out and fined the Ten Eyed Man, with their third crazy villain they get a free Kite Man.

Back to the past, young Grayson is surprised that Bruce is doing a one handed handstand and joins him. Dick bets him a penny he can last longer than he can. Bruce says he does't bet and Dick says his parents used to do that a lot for fun. Alfred says when they're both finished, lunch is ready. Dick asks if they're cucumber sandwiches and says he'll hate them.

Batman and Nightwing swing out upon the nightly skies and Dick says he used to hate cucumber sandwiches. Batman remembers and says his father told him that he loved cucumber sandwiches. He was told not to give up on them and keep trying them again and again because they're worth it.

My Opinions

Well, this was kind of a charming little one shot. While having your would-be wife leave you at the altar is a very different kind of pain compared to losing your parents in a tragic accident, both are very difficult to get over. This issue mostly deals with Dick being there for Bruce, even though he makes it difficult and refuses his help, much like Dick did when he was a kid and getting used to living in Wayne Manor. It's pretty cool and pretty touching. I'm also glad this heartbreak is lasting for a while because being left behind at the altar is not something you can just recover from and have the next issue be business as usual.

We get a few cameo shout outs to minor villains of the old days of Batman comics. Crazy Quilt as well as the shout outs to Kite Man and the Ten Eyed Man were all Batman's cheesier foes that felt like they came out of the Adam West show. Condiment King first appeared in Batman the Animated Series though and later made his way into the comics. With Nightwing joking about the giant penny in the Batcave, that could have been a good chance to mention the Penny Plunderer, but I believe the comics eventually retconned it so Batman got that penny from Two-Face instead. It's kinda funny to see that in the dark and gritty world of mass murdering Jokers and whatnot we still got guys like Crazy Quilt running around.

I did notice that Bruce mentioned he was working on the Freeze case. It's a bit confusing since the comic jumps back and forth, but since Bruce said Dick doesn't need to be Batman anymore, this means this is after the trial and Bruce is working on trying to see who framed Mr. Freeze. I wonder if this will carry over to the next issue so we can finally figure out who set up Mr. Freeze.

Pretty good issue. The only let down is the art is wonky at times, especially with how young Grayson was drawn, and thanks to the cover I was expecting to see Batman and Robin fighting bad guys back in the day. It's weird how they're fighting these retro villains in modern day instead of in flashback sequences with the original Dynamic Duo. I hate that kind of false advertising.