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Lately, some of my friends asking me about the current status of WWE. Some of them are interested to watch WWE again. WWE was a famous show in Indonesia a few years ago. I was in elementary school that time, and WWE was an everyday talk at school. Me and my friends acted up like WWE (WWF at the time) superstars, performing painful and dangerous moves. As I grew up, I started to leave WWE, and starting to forget it. Until a few years ago, it came back. There is a guy who used to retweet an Indonesian twitter account who talked about WWE a lot. I read it, and I think the WWE is changing.
One of the reason I left the WWE at first is because most of the great charismatic stars like Stone Cold, the Rock, Big Show, Kane, Triple H, Shawn Michaels are either retiring or getting less vigorous with their performances. They are the prominent stars of the Atittude Era, which is arguably the best era of Wrestling Entertainment. Time changes, John Cena became face of the company with his weird spinner belt. I don’t like it. I don’t like John Cena. So I left WWE at the time. Even looking at the new stars in form of the Nexus, the Corre, I kinda hate it. I don’t really like invasion angle, like the one NWO used to do in WCW.
The other reason is simply because they are starting to censor WWE and in Indonesia, WWE is going off air thanks to kids getting too pumped up with their wrestling moves and hurt each other.
Now that there are new faces like the former SHIELD member; Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reings, the charismatic Finn Balor, Indie King AJ Styles, the Samoan Submission Machine Samoa Joe, or the atrocious heel Kevin Owens. They also have incredible tag teams like Enzo and Cas, Gallows and Anderson, the New Day, The American Alpha, or the Usos. They also have active legends (not on part time basis) like the newly returned Hardy Boyz, Chris Jericho, Triple H (as authority). Oh, and don’t forget to check the Women’s Division not only to see beautiful wrestlers, but also an actually great ones like Sasha Banks, Bayley, Alexa Bliss, Charlotte Flair or Becky Lynch.
Anyway, enough talking, here is my small guide if you want to enjoy the current WWE !
Raw, Smackdown Live, and NXT; The Regular Programs
Many Indonesian know the WWE programs as “Smackdown” here. Well, Smackdown is a brand. It is a part of many programs that WWE have. Currently, WWE have 3 ongoing weekly programs. Raw is on Monday, Smackdown Live is on Tuesday, and NXT is on Wednesday (all in US time). Raw runs 3 hours, Smackdown Live 2 hours, and NXT 2 hours, so, you have plenty of wrestling show there in a week. 7 hours of wrestling.
What are the differences of these programs ? Which one should I see ?
RAW is the main staple of WWE. It is the main program. It is where you watch WWE’s regular wrestling matches and promos, and it runs for 3 hours per week. Currently, Kurt Angle (and Stephanie McMahon, but she is injured now) acts as its General Manager, he is the one who decide who is facing who each week.
Smackdown Live is currently the second brand under WWE. Smackdown was made in mid 1990s as WWE’s way to counter WCW’s THUNDER in the Monday Night Wars. Around late 2000s, Smackdown and Raw have the same rooster, the only differences is RAW is being broadcasted live, while Smackdown is taped. This happened until 2016 when the new brand split is announced. So, currently RAW and Smackdown live have a different roster. Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon is current General Manager of Smackdown. They have the same role as Kurt Angle and Stephanie McMahon in RAW.
NXT is the developmental division for WWE. NXT is where the next WWE superstars trains. It is only shown on WWE Network. NXT used to be known as the FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) a promotion held by WWE that consist of wrestlers that is training to be the next WWE superstars. Around 2012, the concept changes, so that people can see how the future superstar developed. Now, thanks to Triple H, NXT consists of not only the future of WWE, but also the talents from indie promotions which include those from Ring of Honor, TNA, Lucha Underground, and even New Japan Pro Wrestling. I personally like the NXT better than RAW or Smackdown Live if I want to watch it on weekly basic, because it involves less drama, and more of good wrestling.
Okay, That’s Interesting, Where Can I Watch Those Shows ?
WWE Network, but it is paid. You can see it on MNC Sports if you have indovision at home. You can also see the highlights from each show in WWE Official Youtube Channel. If you want to see the full version, well, you know…. Internet ?
Oh yeah, What Is PPV ?
PPVs are special shows promoted by WWE. It is called PPV (Pay-Per-View) since in the countries showing these shows regularly, you have to pay more for each PPV. PPV is once or twice in every month. Currently the PPVs are divided into RAW’s PPV, Smackdown’s PPV or simply the WWE PPV which consist of both brands plus the NXT. They usually have special matches like the Royal Rumble, TLC (Table, Ladder, and Chair) or the cage match or Hell in a Cell, and served as a culmination of a feud happening in the regular RAW or Smackdown Live. While NXT has its own special show called the NXT Takeover or NXT Arrival.
PVP Scheduled for 2017 are:
January: Royal Rumble (WWE)
February: Elimination Chamber (Smackdown)
March: Fastlane (RAW)
April: Wrestlemania 33 (WWE), Payback (RAW)
May: Backlash (Smackdown)
June: Extreme Rules (RAW), Money in the Bank (Smackdown)
July: Bad Blood (RAW), Battleground (Smackdown)
August: Summerslam (WWE)
November: Survivor Series (WWE)
It is worth noted that the grandest of them all is Wrestlemania, which always been the most extravagant moment of the WWE. While in Survivor Series, it is a tradition that the roster of RAW will face the roster of Smackdown Live in a team battle.
How About My Favorite Superstars Back Then, Are They Still Wrestling ?
Some of them yes, some of them no. But I can give some information about them.
Undertaker. The phenom has just announced his retirement yesterday after Wrestlemania 33.
Kane. He is now unmasked (sometimes) and is a more authoritative figure. He is currently injured, but rumors has it that he is going to run as a mayor in Knox County. I think he is going to retire soon.
The Rock. He is now one of the most popular actor in Holywood. He shows up in PPVs sometimes, when he is not busy with his moviestar career.
Triple H. The current authority figure of WWE. Almost like Vince McMahon in the late 90s. Wrestling part time against some of the younger wrestler. Still mainevent Wrestlemania in the last few series.
Chris Jericho. Still active full time on RAW brand, and still kicking asses.
John Cena. Still active full time on Smackdwon Live brand. Still champs sometimes. Nevertheless, I still hate him.
Stone Cold Steve Austin. Sometimes he host a podcast with current active wrestle. Also sometimes, shows up in a PPV event. Already retired as a full time wrestler.
Shawn Michaels. Sometimes shows up in a PPV event. The last time was when he assisted Triple H in defeating Sting at Wrestlemania 31.
Sting. Retired, and inducted to WWE Hall of Fame. Have his first and last moment as a part of WWE in a feud against Triple H and Seth Rollins.
Hulk Hogan. Currently on a bad term with WWE. Do not expect him to show up sometimes.
Kurt Angle. Is now the General Manager of RAW brand.
Edge. Retired at only 38 years old thanks to brain injury. He is okay now, and still hosting a comedic show with his former tag team partner, Christian.
Hardy Boyz. After leaving the WWE, Matt and Jeff became a big TNA Stars. Especially Jeff with his enigmatic persona. While in 2016, Matt Hardy developed a unique gimmick called “the Broken Matt Hardy,” which is weird, but successful. Thanks to that success, the Hardy Boyz is now back in WWE, and is the current RAW Tag Team Champions.
Dudley Boyz. Was quite dominating in the RAW tag team divison, although never really capture the title. The contract only run for 1 year, and now, D-Von has been retired in Insane Championship Wrestling, while Bubba Ray is performing as Bully Ray in Ring of Honor.
Chris Benoit. Has passed away in a tragic manner. Hanging himself after killing his wife and son. WWE is now never mention anything about him anymore, due to the condition before his death. RIP, Chris.
Eddie Guerrero. Has passed away at 38 years old due to heart condition.
Chyna. Has just passed away in 2016 at 46 years old due to accidental overdose.
Wow. That’s like a history lesson. Okay, who is the current top wrestlers in WWE now ?
Here is the list of the champions of RAW, Smackdown Live, and NXT divisions:
The WWE Universal Champion: Brock Lesnar
The WWE United States Champion: Kevin Owens
The WWE Raw Women’s Champion: Bayley
The WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Neville
The WWE Raw Tag Team Champion: The Hardy Boyz
The WWE Champion: Randy Orton
The WWE Intercontinental Champion: Dean Ambrose
The WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion: Naomi
The WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champion: The Uso
NXT Champion: Bobby Roode
NXT Women’s Champion: Asuka
NXT Tag Team Champion: The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar)
WWE United Kingdom Champion: Tyler Bate
Whoa, that’s a lot of information ! Okay now, for the last one, can you recommend me some of the best current wrestlers ?
Seth Rollins (RAW): The Kingslayer. An acrobat master who is enjoyable to watch. Have some feud in the past with legends like Triple H and Sting. His wrestling style is a little bit reckless, but he is still fun to watch. His promotion is perfect as both heel or an antihero face. One of the former Shield member.
Sami Zayn (RAW): Ska loving nice guy. He is known as El Generico in his indie time. It is fun to see his fiery personality and fighting style. Have an eternal rivalry with Kevin Owens.
Kevin Owens (RAW): The true despicable heel. He is an evil, obnoxious person that everybody loves. He is the master of heel art. He knows how to be annoying, and it completes his powerful wrestling style.
Samoa Joe (RAW): An indie veteran. A big, menacing Samoan who can cut out your breath anytime. A master submission, with powerful finishers called the Muscle Buster and Coquina Clutch.
The New Day (RAW): A unique tag team under the freebird rule which consist of three very funny guys; Big E, Xavier Woods, and Koffi Kingston. Their fighting style might not be the best, but their promos are funny as f. Thanks to Xavier Woods’ geekiness, they bring things like the Little Pony to the wrestling scene. Oh, and they are WWE’s longest reigning Tag Team Champion ever.
The American Alpha (Smackdown Live): The former Smackdown Tag Team champion consist of two former amateur wrestler Chad Gable and Jason Jordan. Their style is a traditional wrestling style, combined with great athleticism. Always fun to watch.
Roman Reigns (RAW): The Big Dog. He is Vince McMahon’s favorite boy. Big, muscular with a handsome face. I don’t really enjoy his big and heavy style, his promos are bad, the crowd hates him, but he is always being pushed. He is Undertaker’s last opponent before the Deadman retired. Another one of the Shield member.
Cesaro (Raw): The Swiss Superman. One of my most favorite current wrestler. He is one of the strongest man in both roster. He once TOSSED THE BIGSHOW from the top rope in Wrestlemania 30. That’s one insane strength.
AJ Styles (Smackdown Live): The King of Indie. AJ Styles is a great technician, meaning he is a wrestler with many moves. Some of his move are dangerous and hard to execute. Became a legend in TNA and New Japan Pro Wrestling. Jim Ross once said that not signing AJ Styles during his youth is one of WWE’s biggest mistake.
Sasha Banks (RAW): The Boss. One of the best women wrestler in the world. Sasha Banks is armed with great moves and athleticism. Her promo as “the Boss” is not to be taken lightly.
Alexa Bliss (Smackdown Live): She is one of the most beautiful wrestler I’ve ever seen and she matched it with her talent. Her finisher the Twisted Bliss is a candy to the eye (seriously, it is a rounding moonsault).
Dean Ambrose (Smackdown Live): Welcome to Ambrose Assylum. Is what he said to anyone who oppose him. The Lunatic Fringe who will devour anyone if it is necessary for him. His brutal and insane fighting style is what made him lunatic. He is also the last former member of the Shield.
Bray Wyatt (Smackdown Live): The Buzzards. He is suppose to be the next Undertaker. But it is too hard for anyone to replace such legend. Bray is a cultmaster of a woods people. His style of fighting includes scare tactics and scary movement like the spider walk.
Finn Balor (RAW): The Demon. Finn have two different personalities. The first one is the wrestler with rockstar/gangster style with leather jacket. The other is the Demon. The second one is the most interesting. With his body painted black-red-white, and claiming that he owns the power of the great Irish demon; Balor.
Shinsuke Nakamura (NXT): One of Japan’s biggest talent. The King of Strong Style. His unique style helps him to cement his name as one of the top NXT wrestler. He is a former NXT champion. His promo is fun to watch as he mocks everyone sarcasticly, while his greatest quality is in his wrestling, which consist of many punches and kicks.
All of these superstars have their ups and downs. No matter how good they are, if the creative booked them badly, they will always look bad. Anyway, that shouldn’t discourage you from restarting to watch WWE. If you have any questions, you can always contact me on my twitter, or any social media available. I’ll be glad to answer, and of course, I am always open for discussion about professional wrestling !
This is the fourth time I watch an incarnation of Beauty and the Beast. The first one (surprisingly) was a theater play a few years ago, the second and the third was the 1991 animation, and the fourth one was the newest incarnation of Beauty and the Beast released in March of 2017. The tickets sale are already selling high anywhere. No wonder, Beauty and the Beast is a timeless classic, it deserves such acceptance by many. The higher the tree, the harder the wind blow. As popular as it is, Beauty and the Beast (2017) was rigged with a gay scene issue, there are some protest regarding to such issue, and it was banned at some places. Buttttt, (thank God) it is not banned here in Indonesia.
So, how good is it ? Online reviewers give it around 6-7 out of 10 scales. Well, I wouldn’t say that it is bad, but it is definitely not better than the old one. You can find some of the reasons in this list I made, it highlights both the goods and the bads of this movie.
1. It sheds light to hardcore fans
My wife is a hardcore Beauty and the Beast fan. She saw the animation incarnation of it thousand times before. First time I saw it, some questions popped up in my head such as: “where are the Beast’s parents ?”, “why does no one notice that there is this gigantic castle in a forest with a growling beast inside ?”, or “where is Belle’s mother ?”, or “why is Beast such a horrible pers… Bea… Prince ?”. All of these questions are answered in this version. I kinda have a mixed feeling here, since, it is an adaption of the 1991 Disney version, correct ? Therefore, anything that happened here might or might not canonnical to the 1991 one. It is either an entirely new universe, or it goes deeper with the 1991’s myth. I will state my opinion in point number 2
2. Some character changes are acceptable
There are some changes to the characters spawned in this version. The easiest one to be spotted would be Belle’s father, Maurice. Maurice in the cartoon is one silly and clumsy scientist who went to the city to compete in an inventor competition. In this version, Maurice is a more classy craftman who fix small appliances that works with machinery. He is also a sentimental painter. It is a complimentary traits to the history of his family, told in this version only. There are also minor changes to Cogsworth and Lumiere, in which Cogsworth have less expression and have a more inferior role to Lumiere. For me, these changes are acceptable since they really are complementing the world this version sets in.
3. Addition of new characters make the cast more colorful
There are new characters exclusive to this version, most notably Cadenza, a musician in Beast’s castle who turned into a piano, also, Madame de Garderobe’s lover. The other notable (and surprising) new character might be Agathe, a village outcast who turned out to be the Enchantress. Cadenza make the cast more colorful since he makes beautiful addition to the music, while the Enchantress is there to compliment the backstory.
4. The gender and race issue
Controversial things are good. It makes people think. Although it makes the media writes something mad, it is a bless to academics to write something about it. There are two controversial issues you can spot in this version of Beauty and the Beast. First, let’s talk about the gender issue. You can find feminism and LGBT in this movie.
The first time ever I watch an incarnation of Beauty and the Beast, the most important message I acquired is not the Stockholm Syndrome, or the Don’t Judge Books by Its Cover. The first thing I realize about the message is about Beastiali… ehm, I mean, feminism, especially about women empowerment and patriarchal society. You can see how Belle, who is a women loves to read and the close minded village people dislike her, while the musclehead Gaston is a hero to the village. This is a loud voice saying that patriarchy sucks, and it is okay for women to be smart. Gaston did state that should Belle be his wife, she should stay at home and massage his feet after hunting for food. This is a very basic stereotyped gender role in a patriarchal society: men goes out as the breadwinner, while women stay at home with the children and serve the men after he come home. In this version, the voice got even louder. One of the scene depicts how Belle create an antique laundry machine with a mule as the main engine, and she does that by teaching a girl how to read –a thing that irritates the village people, and they’re saying this is not the first time Belle does so. Again, women should not be smart according to patriarchist, they are afraid of smart women.
The second gender issue I found in this movie is of course, LGBT issue. It has been around the news that Disney will depicts a “very gay moment” in this movie, even some places have banned the movie to such issue. How was the scene ? Well, one imgurian said that “if there aren’t any balls touching, it is not gay.” The movie doesn’t show any explicit LGBT scenes, but you can see how Le Fou is gay. He is depicted as a stereotypical gay (it is not depicted negatively though). You can see how Le Fou talks gently, or how he dances in the bar, or even how he touch Gaston during the bar dancing scene. Towards the end of the movie, Le Fou change allegation after Gaston betrayed him, I can see this as how Le Fou is a more sensitive male, usually being acredited to a gay character. Oh ! One more thing, Le Fou is not the only gay character here. One of Gaston’s minion is also implicitly gay. You can see it in a scene where Madame de Garderobe dress Gaston’s minion into females during the castle attack. While changing them, Madame de Garderobe screams in a high pitching voice “BE FREE ! BE FREE !” while two other minions ran away, the gay minion smile, and you can see him happy as he being fabolous. This gay minion shares a moment with Le Fou in the final dancing scene 😉
How about the race issue ? Well, you imagine France in the 17th century, slavery was still an issue in Europe. One of the best thing about this movie is that they depict an intellectual black man (well, this his highly debatable since this is a fiction, that might not be set in the real world, but hey, the line between reality and fiction is a blurred one). Yes. Père Robert is a black man who lend his book to Belle ! In the animation version, Belle got her books from a bookseller in the village, while in this version, Belle got his book from Père Robert, probably a priest (since there is a cross depicted in the place he lend Belle books) who happily lend his book. Père Robert is also a man sympathizing to Belle when the village people despise Belle for teaching how to read to the girl I mentioned before. This might be the Disney’s way to handle racism issue, since there are some black servants in Beast’s castle.
Belle is a wonderful woman. She is smart and just like her name, beautiful. Emma Watson is also smart and beautiful. Okay, so, Emma Watson should fit the Belle’s character description, right ? Not really. Whenever I see Emma Watson, I always think that she has a somewhat menacing prescence. You know, that feeling when you see Gordon Ramsay tasting a dish in a masterchef episode, like, he is scary, but you know what he is going to see is damn right, because he is so damn good at cooking. Belle is smart and beautiful, but she is not menacing. She is an independent women who have a more joyful and playful aura. While Emma Watson is an independent women who is more in the serious, menacing side. Again, maybe Disney alter the character a little bit to fit her background story –which related to her family history.
There are also some alteration that spawns more questions. One of the most notable and weird one is when Disney made the Beast more civilized –he is literate. Yes, Beast can read in this version, and he reads a lot of books. He even said that he had a good education. He can dance well. Funniest thing of it all ? He eats like a goat. You know, gobbling the plate directly. Like a beast. Funny how a well educated prince doesn’t know how to eat.
Another alteration is how the Enchantress actually gave beast more than one magic stuff. In the 1991 version, the Enchantress gave Beast a magic mirror so that he can see the outer world through the mirror, while in this version, not only a magic mirror, the Enchantress also give Beast a magic book that enable him to teleport to other places by putting his hand on the book, and think –then feel about the place. Well. Why ? Why does the Enchantress gave such gift to Beast ? Anyway, this book is a complimentary to the background story of Belle’s family.
Those are things that I can point out from the new Beauty and the Beast movie. Overall, I enjoyed the movie, thanks to the values it teaches to the viewer. I don’t know if it can easily reach anyone who watch this, but of course, it would reach the young, new viewer of this story as old as time. The main message (don’t judge a book by it’s cover) would be nicely transmitted to these younglings. If someone ask me “would you like your kids to watch this movie ?” definitely ! But please, for one time only (musical drama is not my piece of pie).
Life is the funniest gift God gave to any human in the world. In my case, it is the pace of it that makes it funny. One day I am just a son of a great parents, the next day I am a groom, and a few days latter, I am going to be a dad. Imagine that. In only 3 months or so, I was a son, but then I am going to be a dad soon. Yes, my wife is pregnant. I never thought that it is going to be this fast. I mean, my parents waited for like 9 months for me, so I assume that I will going to wait as long as they were. But I was wrong.
It is a great thing, of course. The only thing that I can consider as something bad is that now I am jobless, although I’m sure opportunities are just right on the corner, a few more steps, and it will pop up, just like that.
Am I excited ? No doubt about it. I have seen like 7 or so, of my cousins growing up. The phase I like the most is when they are 2 years old or so. There are so many things you can pass on to them. But, since they are my cousins, I can’t meet them every day, so I can’t pass on my knowledge or anything fun to them everyday. Having a kid on my own means that I can meet him/her everyday. Play with him/her, teach him/her many things. Ah, it would be heaven on earth. Since teaching and sharing is also a learning progress.
Am I prepared ? Other than incomes, I guess so. It will be a countless midnight cries, midnight shits, midnight puke outs, and many other things, but those are no reason to get less excited in having a child. Why ? It happened to my parents TWICE and they didn’t go insane. Why should I ?
Am I worried ? Of course. The most worrying thing about waiting for the child is the wife’s condition. She is the pregnant one, and I am in full charge of her well being. So far, it has been bearable, I hope it would stay that way. Good thing that we got a very nice gynecologist, who is against the popular belief on many things restricted during the pregnancy. The best thing is, he included “to have fun” in a list of “to-do-things” in pregnancy. I think it is great to have the pregnant woman in a constant good mood, and of course it is important for the baby too, because I believe somehow the mother’s emotion will affect the baby.
Well, with that all being said, I really can’t wait for the next 9 months. It will be fun. In the end, I will meet the next one on my bloodline, I can’t wait to hold his/her little body on my hand, whispering the best adzan I will ever perform on his/her right ear, and whispering “I’M BATMAN !” on his/her left ear. It would be hysterically funny, and will be something to remember for. Lol. Kidding for the Batman part. But, seriously, if you are a boy, I can’t wait for you, Ananta Raja Kelana, if you are a girl, well, we haven’t thought about it too far, but we still have like 8 months to go, so don’t worry, we will get deep and philosophical too.
Did I just complete the Alolan legendaries ?
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So, it has been 8 days since we’ve been married. We’ve done our honey mooney time, and these are some pictures from our reception. We kept our marriage under the radar simply because we are on a very limited space to invite everyone dearest to us. So sorry for those we can’t invite, we do love you though, and we are not a couple of space benders, nor we do know one. And of course, thank you for everyone who came by and send us their prayers. Love, Bima and Fatia. – with Fatia
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