Jul 19

WWE Battleground 2015 Predictions

WARNING: Potential spoilers abound!

WWE World Heavyweight Title Match: Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins
Neil Says: From what I hear, The Undertaker is returning. Logic says he’ll be going for revenge against Brock for taking the streak. Rollins is also rumoured to be set up against HHH, so for me, Rollins will lose the title, go complain to the Authority and end up getting schooled by HHH. Leaving Lesanr to take the title and offer the Deadman one last shot.
Debora Says: Seth.

WWE Tag Team Title Match: The New Day vs. The Prime Time Players
Neil Says: Without Kidd/Cesaro, these matches aren’t anywhere near exciting. The PTP will retain.
Debora Says: New Day (sucks!)

WWE United States Title Match: Kevin Owens vs. John Cena
Neil Says: WWE isn’t stupid. They know these matches are incredible and will want to continue the money makers. But this is round 3, the usual peak of the rivalry, how are they going to continue to write this story? Easy, Owens gets DQ’d giving Cena the win but Owens still wanting his rematch.
Debora Says: Cena.

Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
Neil Says: Again, spoilers here. More rumours suggest Sting is coming back too – talk about stacking SummerSlam! The logic suggests that he’s going to be going up against Wyatt, the two characters should fit together so I imagine Wyatt will go crazy on Reigns after being defeated and then Sting comes in and makes the save.
Debora Says: Bray

Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
Neil Says: Sorry, what? No one cares about Sheamus and poor Randy has been so underused. Cena was pushed out of the spotlight and yet he is giving some of his best matches ever…Orton, not so much. Sheamus being Mr. Money in the Bank n’all will probably get the win to try to make him look strong.
Debora Says: Orton

Battle for The Crown: R-Truth vs. King Barrett
Neil Says: More rumours suggest Barrett is going back to his Bad News gimmick – and about damn time too. Thus he’ll lose the crown and give R-Truth something silly to keep him going for another month.
Debora Says: Barrett

Jun 29

Initial Thoughts on WWE Tough Enough

Not that I am in any way bitter about not being selected for the return of WWE’s Tough Enough, the reality show where wannabe wrestlers perform a series of tasks week by week to earn a contract for the company, but I wasn’t blown away by its return.

In order to make the show modern and relevant, the executives have brought in a live aspect of the show, allowing viewers and fans to vote for their favourite superstar in order to save them from elimination. The problem lies in the execution of this live element, in front of a handful of people, probably students at Full Sail University, the contestants are “grilled” by the judges and those in the bottom three have thirty seconds to change our minds. What this leads to are boring, repetitive speeches on how each one of them is the best for this competition and how they will prove it to the judges and the world.

It remains to be seen if this is going to change as the weeks progress, but I cannot help but think the show would have been better off taking tips from one of the United States longest running reality shows – America’s Next Top Model. Here the show is all pre-recorded but still has fan interaction. Viewers can see all the photos that the models shoot online and then use social media to vote for their favourite. This score is then added to the judges total and the person with the least votes is eliminated. This could be easily modeled to suit Tough Enough, using WWE’s Network and YouTube to show the competitors in action.

Doing voting this way would also help to stop those not worthy actually getting through. In Tough Enough’s debut, contestant ZZ was shown not to have the physical capabilities or the stamina as he failed in the two challenges. (Authors Note: I don’t believe this wouldn’t make him Tough Enough, wrestlers are more than physically fit). But ZZ was shown to be funny in the clips, going commando in the hot tub and just being a little personality more than any of the other competitors. This is what probably led to his stonking 70%+ of the vote.

The first episode felt awkward, there were issues with the sound, not just in the live sections but also the video footage played the musical accompaniment much louder than the voices we were supposed to be hearing! If the show is lucky enough to get another season then I really hope it follows my advice above. Good luck to all competitors!

May 31

WWE Elimination Chamber Predictions

WWE World Heavyweight Title Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
Neil Says: I would love for Dean Ambrose to win here but Rollins will retain. Although having said that this is a PPV on the WWE Network, thus they may want people to think they’re missing something big if they don’t subscribe, so perhaps there will be a title change? I’ll happily be proved wrong but I think the Authority will interfere somehow causing Reigns to come out and make the save but mess up and cost Ambrose thus increase tension in those Shield members.
Debora Says: Tricky one…Dean Ambrose.

Elimination Chamber for the Vacant WWE Intercontinental Title: King Barrett vs. R-Truth vs. Ryback vs. Sheamus vs. Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler
Neil Says: I can see Sheamus getting given the title here as a thank you for making yourself look like a complete tit. Although I really want Barrett to win, I’ll stick with the Celtic Warrior.
Debora Says: Sheamus

Elimination Chamber for the WWE Tag Team Titles: Los Matadores vs. The Prime Time Players vs. The Ascension vs. The Lucha Dragons vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd vs. The New Day
Neil Says: This is really a chance to showcase the tag division. They’ve had opportunities to do this sort of spectacle in the past but they’ve always dropped the ball on the tag division. This needs to be awesome and I think it might be, despite the real lack of star power. I expect The New Day (sucks) to retain.
Debora Says: The Ascension

Triple Threat for the WWE Divas Title: Paige vs. Naomi vs. Nikki Bella
Neil Says: Nikki isn’t doing anything and stories always work better when the face is chasing the title. I can see Naomi picking up the win, but again it’s not something I’m happy with.
Debora Says: Naomi

Kevin Owens vs. John Cena
Neil Says: This is interesting. No titles on the line so I think Cena may just lose here. He shouldn’t, he’s far more experienced than Owens but the crowd are baying for Cena to lose. Either Cena will win and then get the crap kicked out of him, or Owens will get a dirty victory. My money is on the latter.
Debora Says: Cena

Neville vs. Bo Dallas
Neil Says: Is Bo making a comeback? Nah, Neville will win here.
Debora Says: Neville

May 17

WWE Payback 2015 Predictions

Fatal 4 Way for the WWE World Heavyweight Title: Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
If Rollins fails to retain, Kane is fired from The Authority
Neil Says: Rollins will retain here. Probably reform The Shield which would be a mistake, Rollins has done well enough without them. Maybe Ambrose will turn on Reigns and they’ll go off and fight, but please just have Ambrose v Rollins as the headlining act. Let Reigns rot.
Debora Says: Orton.

I Quit Match for the WWE United States Title: Rusev vs. John Cena
Neil Says: Cena never gives up. He won’t give up here either. Lana will probably get involved again and then Rusev can go off and worry about someone else.
Debora Says: Cena

2 of 3 Falls Match for the WWE Tag Team Titles: Cesaro and Tyson Kidd vs. The New Day
Neil Says: Hoping Cesaro & Kidd can win back their titles here but The New Day will retain. Its a 2/3 falls match so they really need to keep this one interesting and there is none more interesting than Cesaro and Kidd at the moment.
Debora Says: Ceasro even though I hate him.

Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
Neil Says: Sheamus, you really do look stupid. Dolph beat him already and was then embarrassed in the ring, I feel he deserves the win here but Sheamus will probably get it setting up a third bout between them at the next PPV.
Debora Says: Sheamus

King Barrett vs. Neville
Neil Says: Neville has done well to establish himself and set himself firmly in the Intercontinental Title picture. But Barrett needs to get another win.
Debora Says: Bad News

Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt
Neil Says: I don’t know how this came about. Both men with such great promise forced to the lower midcard with no real story behind it. I don’t believe there is any fear here but Bray will win as he continues what I hope will be a slow and long rise to the top.
Debora Says: Bray Wyatt

Tamina Snuka and Naomi vs. The Bella Twins
Neil Says: Tamina’s return and the heel push of Naomi will run riot over the Bellas here.
Debora Says: The Bella Twins

Kickoff Pre-show Match: Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel vs. The Ascension
Neil Says: The New Mega Powers will beat the poorly pushed Ascension.
Debora Says: The Ascension.

May 12

The Holiday Blog: We’re Home

It’s Tuesday, we left on Monday. We’ve had little sleep but are finally home, even though I forgot to use the clutch when breaking after two weeks in an automatic car.

For our last day we had a bit of a sleep in before packing our bags. I nipped off to Starbucks for our breakfast which took a long time to warm up but was a tasty treat. Once packing was completed we checked out of Cabana Bay and checked into Universal Studios. It was still ridiculously hot, the other day was apparently the hottest day of the year so far and temperatures showed no signs of dropping.

The queue for Rip, Ride & Rockit was short and as it was the only ride Debora hadn’t been on, we lined up. It was a bumpy ride but I still like it, although the photo says differently, Debora hated every second of it. We then headed to Diagon Alley where we picked up some postcards and a magnetic notepad before hopping on the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade where we could get them stamped at the Owl Post. The journey wasn’t fun, there was a family that didn’t speak any English taking flash photography and videoing with a light on. I got my angry face on and told them to stop. Then there was the awkwardness.

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Back on the Hogwarts Express to Universal where we picked up our Rockit DVD and had a final look for gifts before headed back to the hotel for a spot of lunch. After a brief sit out by the pool, still ridiculously hot in the shade, it was time to say our final farewell to Cabana Bay. We drove to the airport, dropped off our car – I almost walked off with the keys – and sat around in the airport.

At security I was swabbed for traces of explosives before we finally boarded. I watched two episodes of 2 Broke Girls before Project Almanac which I really enjoyed. Then TMNT which was pretty terrible before trying to nap but failing. So I stuck on Into The Woods to listen to as we began to land. I thought the flight went by incredibly quickly which was fortunate as the exit row seats were rather snug!

Last year we drove back to Worcester straight after landing but this time we booked a hotel for half a day so we could nap and shower before driving. Was a great idea, we’re home now and feeling fresh…well, I am.

It’s hard to believe that it’s all over now, time does fly. Although it’s sad to be home, now begins a new journey. Having just bought a house it’s time to start a new adventure, at least until we can go back.

May 11

The Holiday Blog – Day Fourteen: Final Universal Day

For our final day we decided we’d stay on site and do both Universal parks one last time. We were up with the sparrows to head to Islands of Adventure for early admission. Straight to Hogwarts to ride Forbidden Journey and when it came to its end we were transported to the disabled access section. Oddly there was no one waiting to get on so we rode it again, bonus.

We cast some spells around Hogsmeade before jumping on the Hogwarts Express to Universal Studios where we waved our wand at more windows, including the two secret ones which impressed the other muggles around us. Gringotts wasn’t working so everyone was stood around disappointed but we didn’t let that stop us. We went for breakfast in the Leaky Cauldron, I had the oatmeal and fruit, Debora had the meat free pancakes. I also had the fizzy orange drink. The juice itself tasted like medicine but the cinnamon sugar rim saved it. I don’t think the Leaky Cauldron is finished to as high a standard as the Three Broomsticks which is a shame.

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We did the rounds outside Diagon Alley as the heat started to increase. First Men In Black and although advertised at a 5 minute wait, we were queuing at least 15. We overran on the locker but luckily the attendant let us off the three dollars when the wallet was locked away. Then it was onto The Simpsons and when we came out we bumped into Sideshow Bob so a photo had to be taken! More photos of the Delorean before waiting for Transformers. I still think that has the best 3D of all the rides.

With American Ninja still blocking most of the park we navigated our way to Twister to ride something that probably won’t be around the next time we come back. It’s so out of date I don’t think I’ll miss it, but I will miss Bill Paxman and Helen Hunt pretending to talk to each other with their hands held firmly on their hips. Onto The Mummy before getting our picture with Megatron. Final time on Shrek before heading back to Diagon Alley to ride Gringotts which was now up and running. The advertised wait time was 30 minutes but the queue went on for many twists and turns outside the rear of the bank, we’d never seen this part of the queue before! The line did move swiftly but I can’t imagine waiting any longer for that ride. After, it was across to Islands of Adventure on the Hogwarts Express.

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We didn’t stay in the other park, quick trip to the gift shop for some more badges for Debora’s new collection before heading through the stifling heat – now up to 34 degrees – to have lunch at Cowfish. This is a fusion of sushi and burgers, the vegetarian options are limited but we knew that going in. Debora had the vegetarian sushi that she’d been waiting for months before we flew and I had the vege-burger. We were both disappointed. My burger had no taste and Debora’s sushi tasted of onions. We thought we’d have to have a pudding to make up for it so went for the Yummi-Rolls, they were described deliciously after all. But these too were a bit of a disappointment, it was a collection of marzipan with a side of strawberries. Odd. Sadly, the best thing about Cowfish was the chance to make your own fish for the aquarium on the computer screens.

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Back at the hotel to cool off we studied our purchases and I called to see if there were any lanes to bowl in. Our luck was in! Here you pay by the hour rather than the game so we had a whole hour to fit in as much bowling as we could. We managed three rounds and three frames and left with arms aching and fingers in tatters. Quick trip to the arcade where the most fun was had on the basketball game before we decided to call it a night. Our last day over, we fly tomorrow night. Farewell Orlando…

May 10

The Holiday Blog – Day Thirteen: Final Disney Day

We decided we’d try and squeeze some final Disney into our last Saturday here in Orlando. Straight to Epcot and walked onto Soarin’, unfortunately we were on the bottom row so you can see the bottom edges of the screen and peoples feet above you which takes you out of the immersion. I look forward to the update of this ride, hopefully they can put you in a full 360 dome.

We then went over to Test Track which was showing a 45 minute wait. It was less than that in reality, about 25-30. We tried to design the best all rounder car to try and make the leaderboard, but failed. It seems the trick is to be more speedy and powerful than efficient. Then we jumped on Mission: Space – the intense version – which worried me a little as I felt queezy after the less intense version last year. Luckily it wasn’t too traumatic, I focused straight ahead and kept my head straight and we made it to Mars unscathed.

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Then we sped off to Hollywood Studios to ride Toy Story one more time. As we stood in the shop cooling down from the intense sunshine to check our FastPass times I suddenly clocked the time, we only had ten minutes to get to Toy Story! It was a brisk walk but we made it in time and could relax inside in the cool. We both posted personal best scores but still hadn’t broken the 200,000 point threshold, I don’t know how anyone could have done that really. I assume accuracy comes into account when tallying the scores.

Onto Star Tours next, I tried to point Debora out as the rebel spy but the cast member chose a little girl instead to be displayed on the screen, she did have hair like Leia I guess. We got to experience the Death Star this time but have missed out on Hoth and the Yoda hologram message, save those for next time…by then perhaps Star Wars land will be built?

Popping into Muppet Studios one last time when we came out the FastPass line for the Frozen singalong was quite large. We got quite good seats but the man in front of me had ridiculous curly hair I couldn’t get a good shot of Anna or Elsa who actually weren’t in the show an awful lot, sadly. But I got to belt out some tunes which was fun for me, not for those sat around me!

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It was then time to bid farewell to Disney, after a final stop for some souvenirs – we spent forever trying to find something for our new house and settled on a steel Mickey face to put hot pans onto. It was a sad feeling to be leaving Disney behind for the last time. I’ll miss this happy place.

For dinner we headed to the YardHouse at the new I360 – where the Orlando Eye is. I’ve read good things and the menu lists a whole vegetarian section which got our attention. It was busy, we were lucky to get a table as people were waiting when we left. I had the Torta – no idea what that was but it was like a spicy chicken sandwich and Debora had the chicken strips. Although can people stop calling vegetarian meat substitutes by their meaty name please? It took a while to get served but the food was good and the service polite. The place did smell a little of stale beer as you’d expect with the hundreds of beers available. As two non-alcoholic drinkers we were looked at a little sideways when we asked for soft drinks.

Back to Cabana Bay for an early night ready for our last full day tomorrow which we plan to hit Islands of Adventure early and Universal for one more time.

May 09

The Holiday Blog – Day Twelve: Islands of Adventure & Magic Kingdom

Up late today and we headed to Islands of Adventure without breakfast! We were rather late to the park, around 10am and it was busy! It’s one of the grad-bash nights and so the park closes early for all the kids who are graduating to celebrate, but it seems they were all in the parks all day!

We took some scenic photos and gawped at the wait times of most of the rides, going on the shortest of them all – Storm Force Acceletron before heading to Forbidden Journey. The wait was 30 minutes but going through Hogwarts is never a bore, even if Salazar Slytherin repeating “Potter! Potter! Potter!” did get annoying. Then it was back to the spell casting in Hogsmeade which went much better this time around.

Spider-Man was next after walking back past the Kongstruction, a lot of the scaffolding has come down now and it looks incredible! We hit the Hulk and I dropped on Doctor Doom before we grabbed a Garden Burger at Burger Digs and then headed back to the hotel.

Grabbing a Starbucks we waited in the lobby for the character meet and greet, it was Scooby Doo. We were expecting more characters who apparently come out every half hour, but we couldn’t stick around. We had FastPass reservations to get to!

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We rushed to Magic Kingdom and jumped on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Magic Kingdom was just as busy as Islands of Adventure. We headed to Tomorrowland where we did Buzz Lightyear’s Ranger Spin before getting on the people mover.

After we had a little sit and a think about what to do next, but Debora wasn’t paying attention, her focus had been drawn to the cuddly Bullseye pillow that was staring at her. After a moments consideration, he was now part of our family.

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We had about an hour to spare before the Main Street Electric Parade we had FP’s for started, so we were going to go on Pirates of the Caribbean, but spotted that Jungle Cruise was open, it was supposed to be closed for refurbishment. After a long queue we finally got on, not sure what they’ve changed exactly but things looked clean.

The Electrical Parade was good but the crowds were ridiculous. After we headed back to the ticket and transportation hub and watched the fireworks from afar, great views but you don’t get to hear the audio, a small price to pay for an almost private show.

Last couple of days ahead so going to try and fit as much in as possible, sadly, that means an early morning looms!

May 08

The Holiday Blog – Day Eleven: Florida Mall & Hollywood Studios

After breakfast at the Bayliner Diner again we made a trip out to the Florida Mall to see what it had to offer. The answer? Not much. We’re not big ones for shopping at the best of times and found no stores appealing to us at all, well, except for M&M World. It’s impossible to imagine the amount of things they have in there with the M&M branding.

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We bought some M&Ms and wondered if there would ever be another store which features just one brand of chocolate…like a KitKat World or the World of Whisper. I doubt it.

After we came back to the hotel for a brief siesta before heading out to Hollywood Studios. When we arrived we went straight onto Toy Story Midway Mania, still number one for fun ride. Despite my best efforts however I still couldn’t get a top score. I refuse to believe the highest score ever is over 500,000.

We watched Walt Disney’s One Man’s Dream to get out of the sun more than anything before going to Muppet Vision 3D and then off to Star Tours. I never realised they offered different experiences and after our tour I looked it up. There can be up to 54 variations! You have two opening scenes of which we’ve seen both followed by three middle scenes (we’ve seen two), three holo-messages and three endings. This experience saw us meet Chewbacca and Jar-Jar Binks (ugh).

Our final FastPass was for the Frozen Singalong but we would have got out around 8.30 and we didn’t want to end up not being able to get into Fantasmic. So we went to the theatre and sat for an hour until the show started. It was fun, got hot at times and I’d of liked to see more action than just video being projected onto a wall of water, but still, an entertaining show.

Late night back again with another late night planned for tomorrow. We need to get our sleep.

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May 07

The Holiday Blog – Day Ten: Animal Kingdom & Epcot

After yesterdays failure to stay awake past 8pm we made sure we had a long lay in this morning, not getting to IHop for breakfast…well, brunch…until 11am! I had the California Scrambled eggs, eggs with roasted red peppers, tomatoes and spinach with a side of hash browns and buttermilk pancakes whilst Debora had the strawberry and vanilla stuffed French Toast.

In the heat of the midday sun we ventured to Animal Kingdom and realised we probably made a mistake. Animal Kingdom doesn’t offer much in the way of shade and we were so hot and bothered early on. We met Doug and Russell, I loved that Doug made a licking noise when you hug him. Then we hit the Asian safari but only caught a tiny glimpse of a tiger relaxing in the shade.

We then rode Dinosaur again before going to watch the Festival of the Lion King, one of the only indoor spaces in Animal Kingdom. After this we went off towards Epcot as 4pm came and went. At Epcot I tried to cancel our reservations left from Animal Kingdom and put them at Epcot but somehow managed to fail. Instead we watched a preview of Tomorrowland before we went on Imagination with Figment – that was ridiculous.

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After getting our picture with Donald Duck in a sombrero, we took the boat over the lagoon to the other side of the World Showcase. It was about 7pm now and still hot, so we searched for some ice cream and finally found some at a cart in the American section of all places. We wandered into Italy and then into Germany before deciding that we had found a good spot for the fireworks. The problem was they weren’t due to start for around 90 minutes. But we were too hot to keep walking about so settled in and played with our new camera.

The fireworks at Epcot are still some of the best I’ve seen, although whilst we waited we agreed tomorrow we’re going to try and see the Hollywood Studios ones. These are based on villains of Disney so I’m quite excited for them. As we left Epcot the cast members told us we could ride Test Track before we left, so we did. It was quite good in the dark. We then left the park and headed back to the hotel where we grabbed a late night cookie and tucked ourselves into bed with CSI Cyber on the TV. Night all!

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