The Best Football Betting Systems in 2020 - An Expert
The Best Football Betting Systems in 2020 - An Expert
Best Football Betting Systems
Recruitment of participants - Betfair Betting Systems
Three Soccer Betting Systems That Worked
Betting Systems That WORK in 2020 [Our Profits Revealed]
Get Acquainted With the Soccer Betting System
Gambling has globally transformed itself in to an industry where investors multiply or redouble their capital overnight or without waiting for long period of time. No doubt betting is a huge source of earning money and becoming a wealthy soul within a very short span of time nevertheless it requires an expertise which can be only achieved after a hard toil and then very timely making us of quick wit. Additionally, football/soccer has also become a great source of income for gambling. If you don't know about betting then you must read this article, it will help you in knowing many important things about betting and also many useful tricks and tips. In order to get aware of betting in soccer and the soccer betting system, internet is the major source from where you can get a lot of knowledge about it and can stay connected any time you long for. taruhan bola From internet you can not only get information and tips about betting but will also be able to know the flaws of your team on which you are going to bet and can work on those weaknesses in order to succeed. You also get to know the plus points of your team and take them into consideration for better understanding. You will be able to know the injured players and their substitutions and work on them so that the other team wouldn't be able to get any advantage of that upon yours. Another useful source is magazines because there are many articles about betting which are mostly from experienced and expert writers and that would help you even further in defeating your opponents. You need to get professional so that you are able to beat the other mates you are betting with exclusive of any problem or further difficulty. Teams also keep on changing their players therefore you will have to know every single thing about them, this will keep you up-to-date and increase your chances of winning. In newspapers there are many articles and they mostly include tips and tricks of betting from professional people and you can read them in order to become supreme in the system. A soccer betting system is not a difficult thing to learn or get professional on, you only need to gather as much information as you can from authenticated sources and the most important this for information is to be latest because it can be a problematic matter for you if the information you are carrying is old and the betting system is new which can prove to be unfortunate for you and your money. Also bookies and guides are available for the up-to-the-minute information you need to acquire.
“Must haves” for the ranked competitive mode in MW
The game needs a few fundamentals all of which treyach completely failed at in Bo4 1: it needs both individual and group ranks (like bo2) otherwise ranking is meaningless, if u are battling in a leaderboard with other single individuals then u should be rewarded as an individual. It makes no sense to base ur rank on team accomplishment (win/loss) when the leaderboard is separated by individual. Because at that point there is no incentive to play alone infact u are greatly punished for doing so, and despite u being ranked in relation to other INDIVIDUALS ur ranking is determined by something that is out of your control as an individual. Having an individual skill ranking also makes for better matchmaking too, its a win win. And then for group ranking u compete in a timed leaderboard with other set groups, bo2 did this individual/group system perfectly imo 2: more ranks, in bo4 there is what 4 different rank levels? Im a high level master and i still get teammates using a cordite in the little amount I’ve played bo4 league play dropping triple negative with no coms. Think about OW/Siege u have copper, iron, bronze, silver, gold, plat, diamond+ please make it like this so i can play with other players at my own level and low level players arent getting placed higher than they should and getting demoralised when they get destroyed or the players that are ranked correctly getting frustrated because they are doubling or tripling the next best on the teams score.
Comp support in league play. I draw your attention to Smite, smite promotes comp on their main menu and also has a feature in which u can in game choose your prediction for a winner on a pro game in advance and be rewarded in game if u choose it right (similar to a football/soccer betting system where u choose “optic to beat faze 3-0” and get rewarded with in game. As well as comp camos for guns and other support, lets get some more eyes on comp and grow the game already.
4: REGION LOCK WHEN SOLO QUEING. I am an eu player and i cant tell u how many times a game on ranked has been a loss from the outset because im on 200ping on an american server and im literally a free kill on the map, both at the pro and amateur level its either a rehost or a cancel if players are on crazy pings, it looks so casual to have ur competitive gamemode have players playing at 100+ ping. 5: give incentives, show my ranked rank on public match, that way even someone who only wants to play public might be drawn to the ranked gamemode in order to have that prestigious high rank displayed on their profile. 6: A stable release for ranked, a specific set date, that makes sense. Either at the start of the game or the start of the cwl season, not leaving us guessing for months if we will even get ranked, or the date for the release. 7: a good and consistent ruleset, the game just started franchising, at the very least match the ruleset in ranked with that in comp, im talking GAs and all, playing bo4 against double stock and ai streaks is so shitty, u wanna draw attention to ranked by having people be able to relate their watch experience in competitive and turn it into someone experiencing a similar gameplay experience in the game for themselves, this is only achieved through matching rulesets. If anything has anything else feel free to leave it below and ill add it below, these are just the things that come to mind for me atm.
I grew up a skinny little introvert in the suburbs. I had a few friends but usually just got lost in books. I went to summer camps, took piano lessons and enjoyed playing soccer. I did OK at school and the 4th, 5th and 6th grades all passed by as I grew into larger clothing and shoe sizes. My reality would splinter into unfixable fragments one summer when I was ten years old. I was playing soccer at the park with Jason, the one friend from school who seemed to take a liking to me. He was a stocky redhead who couldn’t get enough fart jokes and videogames. He had some crazy system that was very advanced, but I can’t recall the name. I had to twist his arm to actually get outdoors to play soccer with me. One day, Jason and I were out kicking the ball for about twenty minutes before he hunched over out of breath. He complained about being tired of playing and punted it hard and it soared over my head. “Asshole!” I shouted and I ran to get it, watching as it bounced high and barreled towards the road. I ran fast enough to catch up to it before it went into the street, but I tripped. By the time I heard the loud music, it was too late. I saw the chrome fender of a fast-approaching black car that was about to hit me. There was no way to avoid its course. Time slowed as I soared into the street and in front of that speeding car. There was an awful crunch and my ribs and skull pulsed with a shocking amount of pain. I felt a pressure inside my head, it felt like it had burst. I never felt such agony, and I wanted it to end. The world went black, and screams erupted before it all clicked off with a snap. I awoke to a telephone ringing, I was confused as to where I was. I was in a small strange room I did not recognize, and the stink of stale cigarette smoke and bourbon made me wrinkle my nose. “Jesse, take out the fucking trash!” The booming, gruff voice slurred the consonants. I sat up on the couch, feeling my head with my small fingers in confusion at the length and texture of my hair. I thought I must’ve been in a weeks-long coma. But I was alive. “Jesse, I said TAKE OUT THE TRASH you idiot!” I felt a sharp smack on the top of my head and yelped. I held my throbbing head and locked eyes with the strange man looming over me. He was talking to me. “Where am I, who are you?” I asked, feeling tears glaze my eyes. The red-faced man with gray-peppered stubble smirked an awful smile as he stooped to look into my eyes. His were bloodshot, bulging orbs above a bulbous nose and yellow-toothed grin. “You want me to put you back in a cast you little shit?” I rose and quickly scanned the interior of the trailer I found myself in, soon finding the overflowing garbage which was filled with crushed PallMall packs, empty flasks and styrofoam containers. I kneeled to the stained carpet and brushed stinking cigarette butts and food debris into the bag, twisting the top as I made my way outside the flimsy door. The sun was oppressive in the circle of old trailers rusting away. Was I kidnapped? I thought maybe there’d been a mixup at the hospital, and my mom was devastated and looking all over for me. I dumped the reeking trash into a dumpster buzzing with flies and then looked around. I needed to get help. I decided I was going to make a break for one of the other trailers to ask for a phone when I caught a glimpse of myself in the pane of a door window. I stopped dead in my tracks. There, staring back at me, was the face of a child who looked nothing like me. A shaggy-haired kid with freckles and scared eyes. I held up my hands as my brain swirled in confusion. I tried to think of my mom and only saw a chain-smoking woman with blue eyeshadow who was yelling at the red-faced drunk in the trailer. My head hurt as I struggled to remember what she looked like in the suburban house I grew up in. I could see her blonde ponytail, but her face was a blank oval of flesh. The house was a faint memory that degraded with each detail I fought to remember, like some dissolving recollection of a dream. My last name—previously on the tip of my tongue—slipped away from me entirely. I couldn’t remember it. All I could remember was the name Nelson. My name; Jesse Nelson. I then remembered trips with my drunk dad to the lake to go fishing, and Christmases with I.O.U’s written in folding cards under a plastic tree. Every sliver of clear memory was lost in a hazy cloud; fine brushstrokes of details lacking the big picture or even the canvas beneath. I kept a journal as I transitioned into this childhood as another person. I tried to recollect as many details as I could, thinking if I could piece it together, I might be able to get home. I endured my father’s endless insults as well as the negative attention from kids at school. I quickly learned if you can’t afford name brand clothing, you are a magnet for bullies. The insults were endless; Trailer trash. Thrift store reject. Redneck. Hick. School was hell, and home life was not much better. No video games, no TV. This new dad would bet on horses, and he’d usually lose. He’d then get really angry, and I quickly learned to leave and take walks along the highway to avoid getting hit. I struggled in school. The school system I was enrolled in was teaching different courses than my previous one. Despite the difficulty and distraction, I managed to do alright in high school. Flashes of a previous life would still occasionally come at odd moments. Memories of the metronome’s ticking as I sat still for piano lessons, or ice cream Sundays with a smiling set of parents. A grinning man behind a steering wheel. Each time the memories flashed into my head they would burn out, soon replaced with the new ones. Fresher memories of throwing rocks at beer bottles and my pop’s shouting matches with Mr. Nash; the nasty man at the end of the trailer park. They both argued about a woman. My missing mother, I presumed. Still, I learned to enjoy what I had in my new life. I even grew accustomed to my new face and modest new home. The bullying also became less intense the less I seemed to care. I developed different sets of interests which grew as time passed. I knew a bunch more about cars than I thought I did, as if the memories of this child and my own had merged in some slurry that was slowly taking form. I graduated from high school, and with a sweaty hug from my pops, I knew that was as far as my education would go. My grades were not good enough for a scholarship and dad was dead broke. I picked up a job at the gas station. That’s where I met my maniac of a best-friend; Ron. He was a few years older, a metalhead with a ratty mustache and a hilariously twisted sense of humor. He made life there manageable, actually pretty fun a lot of the time. I would drink beers with him and his buds on the weekend and worked hard, making my fingers calloused as I removed stripped bolts and struggled to save money. I eventually moved out of my pop’s place and into a small, cockroach-riddled apartment in the nearby town. I grew into a young man, having fun and enjoying my freedom as I saved up for a car. Something drew me to it, but I couldn’t quite say what. Its sheen and luster, the black powerhouse was in my sights for months before I put down that initial payment. “You get the car then you get the girls,” Ron always said. I soon was at the dealership shaking hands with a smiling salesman. I hopped into the new vehicle and smelled the fresh leather interior. I turned her on and my heart purred with the revving of the engine. My new black Mustang. I shouldn't have been drinking, and I know that. Ron had won $1000 from a scratch-off card, and I was now 21 and had my very own car; he wanted to party. I picked him up and we drank at a new spot downtown where he insisted all the ladies frequented. He was slurring, wagging a finger at the bouncer until we were kicked out. It was only around four in the afternoon and we were tanked. I was driving too fast, metal blasting as Ron shouted “RIGHT, take this RIGHT!” and the tires skidded as I pulled past a park. He lit a cigarette and I yelled at him, screaming not to smoke in my car. A glowing ember hit my arm as he tried to toss it. I didn’t see the kid tripping into the road before it was too late. I saw his face. A face I recognized immediately. My heart broke into a thousand pieces before the impact. I knew as soon as I stepped out of the car and saw his bloody head and twitching, broken fingers. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The sirens approached and I wept into my hands before the cuffs twisted my arms behind my back. It was me dead on the street. The real me. I’ve been in prison a few weeks now. Every day is the same. It’s rough here, but if you act tough and fight back, you don’t get eaten alive. But I can't unsee my own youthful face staring up at my fast-approaching car. I swear to it, just before the impact I saw it. That little boy was grinning a wicked little smile at me like I'd just lost a bet.
The truth behind Puskás Akadémia FC - How Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán stole a legend, built a stadium in his backyard and guided his team to Europe
The 2019/2020 season of the Hungary’s National Football League (NB1) – being one of the first leagues to restart play - came to an end on 27 June. If a casual observer (for whatever reason) decides to check out the final standings, he would be not surprised at the first two positions: record-champion Ferencváros defended their title, while regional powerhouse Fehérvár (Videoton) came in second. However, the third place team,Puskás Akadémia FCmight seem unusual and one could think that there is a story behind that. Is there a team named after Ferenc Puskás? Did some academy youths make an incredible run for the Europa League qualification? Well, the observer is right, there is a story behind all this, but it’s absolutely not a fun story. It’s a story about how one powerful man’s obsession with football stole a legend, misused state funds and killed the spirit of Hungarian football.(Warning: this is a long story, feel free to scroll down for a tl;dr. Also, I strongly advise checking out the links, those images are worth seeing). Naturally, political influence in football has been present ever since the dawn of the sport and we know of numerous state leaders who felt confident enough to use their influence to ensure the successful development of their favored clubs – Caucescu’s FC Olt Scornicesti and Erdogan’s Basaksehir are well-known examples of such attempts. However, I fear that very few of the readers are aware of the fact that Puskás Akadémia FC is nothing but Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán’s grandiose project for establishing his hometown’s club as one of the country’s top teams. Considering that Orbán managed to achieve this goal using state funds in an EU member democracy in the 2000s, one might even say that it might be one of the most impressive attempts of cheating your way through Football Manager in real life. Now that Puskás Akadémia FC escaped the desolate football scene of Hungary and is getting ready for the European takeover, I feel that it’s high time to tell its true story.
Part 1: Part time striker, part time PM
Our story begins in 1999 when the 36-year-old striker Viktor Orbán (recently elected as the country’s Prime Minister) was signed by the sixth-tier side of Felcsút FC residing in rural Fejér County. It might sound surprising that an active politician would consider such a side job, but given that Orbán has been playing competitive low-level football throughout his whole life and has always been known as a keen football enthusiast, people seemed to be okay with his choice for a hobby. Orbán spent most of his childhood in the village of Felcsút (population: 1,800), so it seemed only natural that he would join the team after one of his old-time acquaintances became team president there. Orbán’s arrival to the club seemed to work like a charm as Felcsút FC immediately earned a promotion to the fifth league. The Prime Minister’s busy program did not allow him to attend every training session and game but Orbán did make an effort to contribute as much as possible on the field – there is a report of a government meeting being postponed as Orbán was unavailable due to attending Felcsút FC’s spring training camp. The 2001/2002 season brought another breakthrough for the side as Felcsút was promoted to the national level of the football pyramid after being crowned the champion of Fejér County. Sadly enough for Orbán, he suffered a defeat on another pitch – his party lost the 2002 election and Orbán was forced to move to an opposition role. No matter what happened on the political playing field, Orbán would not abandon his club. Just before the 2002 elections, Felcsút was surprisingly appointed as one of the regional youth development centers by the Hungarian FA. Orbán continued contributing on the field as well (he had more spare time after all) but his off-the-field efforts provided much more value for the team as he used his political influence to convince right-wing businessmen that they should definitely get sponsorship deals done with the fourth-division village team. Club management was able to transform the influx of funds into on-field success: Felcsút FC was promoted to the third division in 2004 and achievedpromotion to the second division in 2005. Although these new horizons required a skill level that an aging ex-PM is not likely to possess, Orbán regularly played as a late game sub and even appeared in cup games against actual professional opponents. The now-42-year old Orbán did not want to face the challenge of the second division, so he retired in 2005 – but this did not stop him from temping as an assistant coach when the head coach was sacked in the middle of the 2005-2006 season. Success on the playing field did not translate to political success: Orbán lost the elections once again in 2006. However, this was only a temporary loss: the ruling party committed blunder after blunder and by early 2007 it became absolutely obvious that Orbán would be able return to power in 2010. Now confident in his political future, Orbán opted for the acceleration of football development in Felcsút – by late 2007 he took over the presidency of the club to take matters in his own hands. Sponsors seeking to gain favor with the soon-to-be PM were swarming Felcsút FC, so the club was able to stand very strong in an era where financial stability was a very rare sight in the Hungarian football scene, accumulating three medals (but no promotion) between 2007 and 2009. On the other hand, Orbán realized the value of youth development as well, and started a local foundation for this purpose back in 2004 that gathered funds for the establishment a boarding school-like football academy. The academy opened its doors in September 2006 (only the second of such institutions in the country) and Orbán immediately took upon the challenge of finding an appropriate name for the academy. He went on to visit the now very sick Ferenc Puskás in the hospital to discuss using his name, but as Puskás’ medical situation was deteriorating rapidly, communication attempts were futile. Luckily enough Puskás’ wife (and soon to be widow) was able to act on his incapable husband’s behalf and approved the naming deal in a contract. According to the statement, naming rights were granted without compensation, as “Puskás would have certainly loved what’s happening down in Felcsút”. However, there was much more to the contract: Puskás’ trademark was handed to a sports journalist friend of Orbán (György Szöllősi, also acting communications director of the academy) who promised a hefty annual return for the family (and also a 45% share of the revenue for himself). Ferenc Puskás eventually died on 17 November 2006 and on 26 November 2006 the football academy was named after him: Puskás Academy was born. Orbán shared his vision of the whole organization after the opening ceremony: “It’s unreasonable to think that Felcsút should have a team in the top division. We should not flatter ourselves, our players and our supporters with this dream. Our long term ambition is the creation of a stable second division team that excels in youth development and provides opportunity for the talents of the future.” Let’s leave that there.
Part 2: No stadium left behind
Orbán became PM once again in April 2010 after a landslide victory that pretty much granted him unlimited power. He chased lots of political agendas but one of his policies was rock solid: he would revive sports (and especially football) that was left to bleed out by the previous governments. The football situation in 2010 was quite dire: while the national team has actually made some progress in the recent years and has reached the 42nd position in the world rankings, football infrastructure was in a catastrophic state. Teams were playing in rusty stadiums built in the communist era, club finances were a mess, youth teams couldn’t find training grounds and the league was plagued by violent fan groups and lackluster attendance figures (3100 average spectators per game in the 2009/2010 season). Orbán – aided by the FA backed by business actors very interested in making him happy – saw the future in the total rebuild of the football infrastructure. Vast amounts of state development funds were invested into the football construction industry that warmly welcomed corruption, cost escalation and shady procurement deals. In the end, money triumphed: over the last decade, new stadiums sprung out from nothing all over the country, dozens of new academies opened and pitches for youth development appeared on practically every corner. The final piece of the stadium renovation program was the completion of the new national stadium, Puskás Aréna in 2019 (estimated cost: 575 million EUR). Orbán commemorated this historic moment with a celebratory video on his social media that features a majestic shot of Orbán modestly kicking a CGI ball from his office to the new stadium. Obviously, Orbán understood that infrastructure alone won’t suffice. He believed in the idea that successful clubs are the cornerstone of a strong national side as these clubs would compete in a high quality national league (and in international tournaments) that would require a constant influx of youth players developed by the clubs themselves. However, Orbán was not really keen on sharing the state’s infinite wealth with private club owners who failed to invest in their clubs between 2002 and 2010. The club ownership takeover was not that challenging as previous owners were usually happy to cut their losses, and soon enough most clubs came under Orbán’s influence. Some clubs were integrated deep into Orbán’s reach (Ferencváros and MTK Budapest club presidents are high ranking officials of Orbán’s party) while in other cases, indirect control was deemed sufficient (Diósgyőri VTK was purchased by a businessman as an attempt to display loyalty to Orbán). Pouring taxpayer money into infrastructure (stadium) projects is relatively easy: after all, we are basically talking about overpriced government construction projects, there’s nothing new there. On the other hand, allocating funds to clubs that should be operating on a competitive market is certainly a tougher nut to crack. The obvious solutions were implemented: the state media massively overpaid for broadcasting rights and the national sports betting agency also pays a hefty sum to the FA, allowing for a redistribution of considerable amounts. However, given that the income side of Hungarian clubs was basically non-existent (match day income is negligible, the failed youth development system does not sell players), an even more radical solution was desperately needed. Also, there was definite interest in the development of a tool that would allow for differentiation between clubs (as in the few remaining non-government affiliated clubs should not receive extra money). The solution came in 2011: the so-called TAO (“társasági adó”= corporate tax) system was introduced, granting significant tax deductions for companies if they offered a portion of their profits to sports clubs – however, in theory, funds acquired through TAO can be only used for youth development and infrastructure purposes. Soon enough, it became apparent that state authorities were not exactly interested in the enforcement of these restrictions, so some very basic creative accounting measures enabled clubs to use this income for anything they wanted to. Companies were naturally keen on cutting their tax burdens and scoring goodwill with the government, so TAO money immediately skyrocketed. Opportunistic party strongmen used their influence to convince local business groups to invest in the local clubs, enabling for the meteoric rise of multiple unknown provincial teams (Mezőkövesd [pop: 16,000], Kisvárda [pop: 16,000], Balmazújváros [pop: 17,000]) into the first division. Although it’s not the main subject of this piece, I feel inclined to show you the actual results of Orbán’s grandiose football reform. While we do have our beautiful stadiums, we don’t exactly get them filled – league attendance has stagnated around 3000 spectators per game throughout the whole decade. We couldn’t really move forward with our national team either: Hungary lost 10 positions in the FIFA World Rankings throughout Orbán’s ten years. On the other hand, the level of league has somewhat improved – Videoton and Ferencváros reached the Europa League group stage in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Too bad that the Instat-based top team of 2019/2020 Hungarian league consists of 10 foreigners and only 1 Hungarian: the goalkeeper.
Part 3: Small place, big game!
As seen in the previous chapter, Orbán did have a strong interest in the improvement of the football situation Hungary, but we shouldn’t forget that his deepest interest and true loyalty laid in the wellbeing of Felcsút and its academy. Now that Orbán had limitless means to see to the advancement of his beloved club, he got to work immediately. Orbán handed over formal club management duties to his friend / protégé / middleman / businessman Lőrinc Mészáros in 2010, but no questions would ever arise of who is actually calling the shots. First of all, no club can exist without a proper stadium. Although in 2011 Orbán explicitly stated that “Felcsút does not need a stadium as stadiums belong to cities”, no one was really surprised in 2012 when the construction of the Felcsút stadium was announced. Orbán was generous enough to donate the lands just in front of his summer home in the village for the project, locating the entrance a mere ten meters away from his residence. Construction works for the stunningly aesthetic 3,800-seater arena (in a village of 1,800 people) started in April 2012 and were completed in April 2014, making Felcsút’s arena the second new stadium of Orbán’s gigantic stadium revival program. The estimated budget of the construction was 120 million EUR (31,500 EUR / seat) was financed by the Puskás Academy who explicitly stated that they did not use government funds for the project. Technically, this statement is absolutely true as the construction was financed through the TAO money offered by the numerous companies looking for tax deduction and Orbán’s goodwill. However, technically, this means that the country’s budget was decreased by 120 million EUR unrealized tax revenue. Naturally, the gargantuan football stadium looks ridiculously out of place in the small village, but there’s really no other way to ensure that your favorite team’s stadium is within 20 seconds of walking distance from your home. Obviously, a proper club should also have some glorious history. Felcsút was seriously lagging behind on this matter as though Felcsút FC was founded in 1931, it spent its pre-Orbán history in the uninspiring world of the 5th-7th leagues of the country. Luckily enough, Orbán had already secured Puskás’ naming rights and they were not afraid to use it, so Felcsút FC was renamed to Puskás Academy FC in 2009. The stadium name was a little bit problematic as the Hungarian national stadium in Budapest had sadly had the dibs on Puskás’ name, so they had to settle with Puskás’ Spanish nickname, resulting in the inauguration of the Pancho Arena. But why stop here? Orbán’s sports media strongman György Szöllősi acted upon the contract with Puskás’ widow and transferred all Puskás’ personal memorabilia (medals, jerseys, correspondence) to the most suitable place of all: a remote village in which Puskás never even set foot in. While the off-field issues were getting resolved, Orbán’s attention shifted to another important area: the actual game of football. Although academy players started to graduate from 2008 on, it very soon became painfully obvious that the academy program couldn’t really maintain even a second division side for now. In 2009, Orbán reached an agreement with nearby Videoton’s owner that effectively transformed Felcsút FC into Videoton’s second team under the name of Videoton – Puskás Akadémia FC. The mutually beneficent agreement would allow Videoton to give valuable playing time to squad players while it could also serve as a skipping step for Puskás Academy’s fresh graduates to a first league team. The collaboration resulted in two mid-table finishes and a bronze medal in the second division in the following three seasons that wasn’t really impressive compared to Felcsút FC’s standalone seasons. It seemed that the mixture of reserve Videoton players and academy youth was simply not enough for promotion, and although Orbán had assured the public multiple times that his Felcsút project was not aiming for the top flight, very telling changes arose after the 2011/2012 season. Felcsút terminated the Videoton cooperation deal and used the rapidly accumulating TAO funds to recruit experienced players for the now independently operating Puskás Academy FC (PAFC). The new directive worked almost too well: PAFC won its division with a 10 point lead in its first standalone year which meant that they would have to appear in the first league prior to the completion of their brand-new Pancho Arena. Too bad that this glorious result had almost nothing to do with the academy - only two players were academy graduates of the side’s regular starting XI. Orbán did not let himself bothered with the ridiculousness of an academy team with virtually no academy players being promoted to the first division as he stated that “a marathon runner shouldn’t need to explain why the other runners were much slower than him”. Orbán also displayed a rare burst of modesty as he added that “his team’s right place is not in the first league, and they will soon be overtaken by other, better sides”. The promotion of PAFC to the first division made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. Supporter groups were united in hatred all along the league and not surprisingly, away fans almost always outnumbered the home side at PAFC’s temporary home at Videoton’s Sóstói Stadium (demolished and rebuilt in its full glory since then). One of the teams, however, possessed an extraordinary degree of anger against PAFC: supporters of Budapest Honvéd – the only Hungarian team in which Ferenc Puskás played – felt especially awkward about the transfer of their club legend’s heritage to Felcsút. Tensions spiked at the PAFC – Honvéd game when home security forced Honvéd supporters to remove the “Puskás” part of their traditional “Puskás – Kispest – Hungary” banner – the team answered the insult with style as they secured a 4-0 victory supported by fans chanting “you can’t buy legends”. Despite Orbán’s prognosis, other better sides did not rush to overtake his team, so PAFC, now residing in their brand new Pancho Arena, came through with a 14th and a 10th place in their first two seasons. Naturally, conspiracy theories began to formulate, speculating that government-friendly owners would certainly not be motivated to give their best against PAFC. However, as the league size was reduced to 12 for the 2015/2016 season, PAFC found themselves in a dire situation just before the final round: they needed a win and needed rival Vasas to lose against MTK in order to avoid relegation. PAFC’s draw seemed to be unlucky as they faced their arch-enemy Honvéd at home, but Honvéd displayed an absolute lackluster effort – fueling conspiracy theories – and lost the fixture 2 to 1 against a home side featuring four academy players. Vasas, however, did not disappoint, their 2-0 victory resulted in PAFC’s elimination and a very relaxed sigh all over the football community. PAFC’s relegation seemed to be in accordance with Orbán’s 2013 statement, so public opinion supposed for a while that Orbán’s project came to a halting point and the Academy would go on to actually field academy players in the second division (especially as rostering foreign players was prohibited in the lower leagues). However, if you have read through this point, you know better than to expect Orbán to retreat – obviously, PAFC came back with a bang. With a ballsy move, PAFC didn’t even sell their foreign players, they just loaned them across the league, promising them that they would be able to return next year to the newly promoted team. The promise was kept as PAFC went into another shopping spree of experienced players (easily convincing lots of them to choose the second division instead of the first) and easily won the second league. Orbán – now aware of his negligence – opted for the doubling the team’s budget,making PAFC the third most well-founded club in the whole country (only coming short to his friend’s Videoton and his party minion’s Ferencváros). With an actual yearly influx from TAO money in the ballpark of 30-40 million EUR, PAFC management had to really work wonders in creative accounting in order to make their money look somewhat legitimate. The books were now full of ridiculous items like:
Construction of a new tea kitchen for youth players for 650,000 EUR
Employment of a 45 person “cleaning and maintenance staff” for the academy.
Naturally, in the country of no consequences, absolutely nothing happened: PAFC went on with its spending and signed 35 foreigners between 2017 and 2020. They did so because they could not hope to field a winning team in the first league consisting of academy players, despite the fact that Puskás Academy has been literally drowning in money since 2007. This seems to somewhat contradict Orbán’s 2013 promise, stating that “Puskás Academy will graduate two or three players to major European leagues each year”. To be fair, there have been players who managed to emerge to Europe (well, exactly two of them: Roland Sallai plays at Freiburg, László Kleinheisler played at Werder Bremen) but most academy graduates don’t even have the slightest the chance to make their own academy’s pro team as it’s full of foreigners and more experienced players drawn for other teams’ programs. Despite their unlimited funding, PAFC could not put up a top-tier performance in their first two years back in the first division, finishing 6th and 7th in the 12-team league. Many speculated that the lack of support, motivation and even a clear team mission did not allow for chemistry to develop within the multinational and multi-generational locker room. Consistency was also a rare sight on the coaching side: club management was absolutely impatient with coaches who were very easily released after a single bad spell and there were talks of on-field micromanagement request coming from as high as Orbán. Even so, their breakthrough came dangerously close in 2018 as PAFC performed consistently well in the cup fixtures and managed to reach the final. Their opponent, Újpest played an incredibly fierce game and after a 2-2 draw, they managed to defeat PAFC in the shootout. Football fans sighed in relief throughout the country as ecstatic Újpest supporters verbally teased a visibly upset Orbán in his VIP lounge about his loss. Obviously, we could only delay the inevitable. While this year’s PAFC side seemed to be more consistent than its predecessors, it seemed that they won’t be able to get close to the podium - they were far behind the obvious league winner duo of Ferencváros and Videoton and were trailing third-place Mezőkövesd 6 points just before the pandemic break. However, both Mezőkövesd and PAFC’s close rivals DVTK and Honvéd fall flat after the restart while PAFC was able to maintain its good form due to its quality roster depth. PAFC overtook Mezőkövesd after the second-to-last round as Mezőkövesd lost to the later relegated Debrecen side. (Mezőkövesd coach Attila Kuttor was fined harshly because of his post-game comments on how the FA wants PAFC to finish third.) PAFC faced Honvéd in the last round once again, and as Honvéd came up with its usual lackluster effort, PAFC secured an effortless win, confidently claiming the third place. PAFC celebrated their success in a nearly empty stadium, however neither Orbán, nor Mészáros (club owner, Orbán’s protégé, now 4th richest man of Hungary) seemed to worry about that. While Orbán high-fived with his peers in the VIP lounge, Mészáros was given the opportunity to award the bronze medals (and for some reason, a trophy) to the players dressed up in the incredibly cringe worthy T-shirts that say “Small place, big game!”. Big game, indeed: in the 2019/2020 season, foreign players’ share of the teams playing time was 43.6% while academy graduates contributed only 17.9%. On Sunday evening, less than 24 hours after PAFC’s glorious success, György Szöllősi, now editor-in-chief of Hungary’s only sports newspaper (purchased by Orbán’s affiliates a few years back) published an editorial on the site, stating that “the soccer rebuild in Felcsút became the motor and symbol of the revitalization of sport throughout the whole country”. Well, Szöllősi is exactly right: Felcsút did became a symbol, but a symbol of something entirely different. Felcsút became a symbol of corruption, inefficiency, lies and the colossal waste of money. But, hey, at least we know now: you only need to spend 200 million EUR (total budget of PAFC and its academy in the 2011-2020 period) if you want to have a Europa League team in your backyard. Good to know!
Epilogue: What's in the future?
As there is no foreseeable chance for political change to happen Hungary (Orbán effortlessly secured qualified majority in 2014 and 2018, and is projected to do so in 2022 as well), PAFC’s future seems to be as bright as it gets. Although consensus opinion now seems to assume that Orbán does not intend to interfere with the Ferencváros – Videoton hegemony, we can never be really sure about the exact limits of his greed. One could also argue that entering the European theater serves as a prime opportunity for making splashy transfers who could be the cornerstones of a side challenging the league title. However, as all political systems are deemed to fall, eventually Orbán’s regime will come apart. Whoever will take upon the helm after Orbán, they will certainly begin with cutting back on the one item on Orbán’s agenda that never had popular support: limitless football spending. Puskás Academy, having next to zero market revenue, will not be able to survive without the state’s life support, so the club will fold very shortly. The abandoned, rotting stadium in Felcsút will serve as a memento of a powerful man who could not understand the true spirit of football. But let’s get back to present day, as we have more pressing issues coming up soon: PAFC will play their first European match in the First qualifying round of the Europa League on 27 August. We don’t have a date for the draw yet, but soon enough, a team unaware of the whole situation will be selected to face the beast. I hope that maybe one of their players does some research and maybe reads this very article for inspiration. I hope that the supporters of this club get in touch with Honvéd fans who would be eager to provide them with some tips on appropriate chants. I hope that other teams gets drawn as the home team so Orbán wouldn’t get the pleasure of walking to his stadium for an international match. But most importantly, I very much hope that this team obliterates PAFC and wipes them off the face of the earth. 5-0 will suffice, thank you. And if this team fails to do that, we don’t have to worry yet. Due to our shitty league coefficient, PAFC would need to win four fixtures in a row. And that – if there’s any justice in this world – is a thing that can’t, that won’t happen. Ball don’t lie – if I may say. TL,DR Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán redirected some 200 million EUR of taxpayer money over 10 years to fuel his ambition of raising a competitive football team in his hometown of 1,800 people. He built a 3,800-seater stadium in his backyard, expropriated football legend Ferenc Puskás’ trademarks and heritage and built up a football league where almost all clubs are owned by his trustees. His team, Puskás Akadémia FC was originally intended to be a development ground for youth players graduating from Orbán’s football academy, but eventually the team became more and more result-orianted. Finally, a roster full of foreign and non-academy players came through and finished third in the league, releasing this abomination of a team to the European football theatre. Please, knock them out asap!
Jul/3/2020 News: (1) Anti-corruption reform (2) Polls (3) Stray dogs (4) Constitutional Court (5) Corruption trial (6) COVID news, Loan vacations, Grandma's phone (7) Real estate (8) Beeline ISP (9) This lake belongs to me (10) Soccer league LOL (11) Mayors busted (12) Yerevan's $10mln garden (13)..
Anti-corruption background checks begin for public officials
The govt passed a law to require judges and officials to undergo "background checks" before being hired.
Additionally, asset forfeiture law was passed to confiscate embezzled property. A new prosecutors' department was created to handle asset forfeiture. These new prosecutors are also going through background checks before being hired.
New stray dog shelter and strategy to reduce numbers
In 2018, newly-elect Yerevan Mayor Marutyan vowed to end the practice of killing stray dogs. It wasn't just to be humane. City says mass-killings make the other dogs more aggressive, and research shows they breed faster. Not killing is a long-term strategy.
City took over the task of catching dogs from the private industry, which was mired in corruption. They began neutering, tagging, and releasing the non-dangerous ones.
City's dog-department has just launched its new facility. It has a clinic, surgery, post-surgery rooms, more cages, and soon a disease lab. They neuter 25 dogs per day. 1300 in 2020H1, twice more than last year. 4300 since 2019.
City says equally important is dog owners' behavior. They shouldn't dump pets on the streets. The law requires pet owners to register their pets, but only 400 out of 20,000 have done so.
If they were registered, the owners would less likely dump them, and if they did, the pets' micro-chip would allow City to find and punish the owner.
Parliament asks Constitutional Court to delay Kocharyan hearing...
... because Parliament wants time to discuss the opinions recently received from Venice Commission and ECHR on whether Kocharyan can be charged with the law he's charged with as part of March 1st case. Parliament asked CC to translate and send them the documents.
Kocharyan earlier withdrew his case from CC but that doesn't mean CC won't discuss the topic, especially since another entity had also asked CC to discuss the topic. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191689
ex-CC judge's entrance is blocked
Hrant Nazaryan is one of the three CC judges who was recently fired. Today he tried to return to his office but the security blocked his entrance to the building, citing the law that fired him.
Lawyers complain that NSS violated the attorney-client privilege by wiretapping the suspect when he made a call to the attorney. "The content of the call was later used as evidence," said lawyers. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191750
Healthcare Minister testifies as a witness in bribery case
Months ago the deputy Healthcare Minister Armen Davtyan was charged with accepting bribes. He denies wrongdoing. The person who gave bribes is Razmik Abrahamyan. He confessed.
A trial was held today. Minister Torosyan was called to testify as a witness. He spoke about the anti-corruption fight within the system and how he routinely spoke with directors of various institutes to make sure they don't even try to offer bribes to Ministry officials "because the old way of doing things is gone".
P.S. The bribe giver is the same guy who is also a defendant in a separate case about the extortion and trafficking of dozens of newborn children. He's the director of the Republican Childbirth Clinic. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191691
As of June 1st, banks gave loan vacations to 550k people and 17.4k businesses to ease their COVID burden. They reviewed $2.7 billion in loans.
Bank deposits shrank 1.1% but went back to pre-pandemic levels recently. Interest rates are unlikely to increase, says the president of banks union.
"Unlike the financial crisis of 2008 and 2014, today's situation isn't due to changes in economic fundamentals. This makes managing the problem harder. The parts of the economy that serve as engines are heavily damaged. We hope the govt, businesses, and citizens will succeed in overcoming it." https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191536
Grandma's cellphone / Medical worker disciplined
Context: a grandma's body was lost because of bad handwriting that led to confusion. Then her body was picked up by the wrong people who misidentified her. Her body will be exhumed and returned to the correct family.
St. Gregory Illuminator hospital says they've identified a junior nurse who allegedly took the dead grandma's phone and stole cash from her account, before grandma's family came to pick up her stuff. There is an investigation. He could be fired if confirmed. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191663
Earlier we learned how COVID affected housing purchase/rent market. All realtors recorded a drop in transactions.
One realtor saw a 3x decline in transaction numbers. While the prices remained stable at the beginning of the pandemic, in June it dropped by -5%.
Another realtor recorded a sharp drop in second-hand housing transactions, but no drop in the newly-built housing market. A noticeable drop was recorded in non-residential property lease prices. "Many landlords gave discounts."
Context: UCOM's co-founder was fired. He formed a new TEAM ISP. TEAM wants to purchase the financially troubled Beeline.
300 Beeline workers asked Pashinyan to suspend any merger because they're afraid that TEAM will replace them with TEAM's own workers. TEAM says they won't lay off anyone because they need the existing Beeline workers' experience. "It's a big company. We can't replace the workforce." https://factor.am/265961.html
update: Soccer tournament suspended over match-fixing
Last week we learned how Soccer Federation cooperated with INTERPOL, NSS, UEFA, sports betting agencies, and found that 5 teams were fixing the match results in the secondary league (not the main Premier League).
The entire secondary league is now suspended indefinitely. 45 people associated with those 5 teams are permanently banned. Another 13 are suspended.
In January, Hetq outlet published a report about fishy things going on around a fish business in Ararat province.
Prosecutors say: in 2004 a lease was signed for an 11ha land in Sis. In 2007 the company illegally built fish-breeding pools on 5ha. Sis's former and current leaders knew about this but ignored it. The former mayor cannot be charged due to statute of limitations, while the current mayor qualifies for Pashinyan's 2018's mass amnesty.
Sis was told to either destroy the facility or take it under public control. They chose the latter. The facility was recently sold for $230,000. Free money: https://hetq.am/hy/article/118996
infrastructure and road upgrades
Norakert has a 7km water delivery network. A govt subsidy will repair 2.5km this year, with the rest being repaired last year. It'll also help 60 businesses to get regular water delivery. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191666
Sevan is having 5 of its roads leading to residential complexes repaired. A $316,000 infrastructure project. It'll also renovate the curbs and water drainage. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191665
Top-5 documentary/biography books Yerevan residents read in May
5) Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. (about how other people will get rich but you won't) 4) D'une porte l'autre, by Charles Aznavour. (about why Marvel movies are nothing more than a theme park) 3) A subtle Art of Not Giving F, by Mark Manson. (about helping mark Manson to get richer) 2) Becoming, by Michael Obama. (about being black) 1) The monk who sold his Ferrari, by Robin Sharma. (about helping Robin Shirama to get richer) https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020395.html
$10mln Yerevan project for a new leisure center and park
Arabkir district's Komitas St. has a neglected park. It'll be renovated and a multi-functional center will be built. The works have already begun, with 30 budkas being removed from the area to clear the way. The main construction begins in 2021.
5,000 plants will be installed to close the large gaps. They'll be joined by an amphitheater and a fountain. This will allow concerts and theatrical performances to be held.
The nearby 'Arabkir' shopping area will be brought under a roof and turned into a modern center with food, Armenian wine-tasting, international cuisine, an area for kid's entertainment, and handmade product sales. The center's backside will be made out of glass and face the renovated garden. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020467.html
You've read 1894 words.
Disclaimer & Terminology
1) The accused are innocent until proven guilty in the court of law, even if they sound guilty. 2) Currency in Armenian ֏ unless specified otherwise. 3) NSS/SIS/SOC = law enforcement agencies. QP = Civil Contract Party. LHK = Bright Armenia Party. BHK = Prosperous Armenia Party. HHK = Republican Party. 4) ARCHIVE of older posts by Idontknowmuch: PART 1 ; PART 2 ; PART 3 ; PART 4 ; PART 5. 4) ARCHIVE of older posts by Armeniapedia.
If The Challenge had a Player Efficiency Rating system, Derrick’s Career PER would be at the very top. He’s one of the most consistent elite challengers ever.
Derrick has participated in 10 challenge seasons. He’s either made the final challenge or lost right before the final eight out of ten times. The other two times, he was sent home fifth. If you go back and analyze every individual Derrick performance, you’ll soon come to realize that he’s never had a bad season under his belt.
Missions Performance-Wise, Derrick was: 2nd best on Fresh Meat (after Evan), 2nd best on Cutthroat (after Abram), 3rd best on Inferno II (after C.T. and Landon), 3rd best on Gauntlet II (after Landon and Alton), 3rd best on Dirty Thirty (after C.T. and Nelson), 4th best on Inferno III (after Abram, Alton, and Johnny), and 5th best on the Duel (after Evan, C.T., Wes, and Brad). The Island had no missions, but Derrick was the clear-cut number one competitor (Ring Wrestle and Ball Buster are cold hard evidence). The missions on the Ruins were too team-oriented to determine a ranking system, but Derrick was at the very least top five and you can make an argument he was in the top three. That’s 9 out of 10 seasons where Derrick was a top five male performer.
The only season where Derrick wasn’t a top 5 male competitor was on his rookie season, Battle of the Sexes II. But even on that season, Derrick still left his fans with a career highlight moment in his short stay. And it was in his the first mission he’s ever participated in, Dangle Drop. In this mission, competitors had to hold on to a punching bag dangling above a lake for as long as possible. Derrick (alongside Abram) won the competition for the Guys, by outlasting everyone in his preliminary heat and then beating Coral and Rachel in the final heat. Young Derrick’s cockiness and drunken behavior didn’t rub off too well within the males team on the first day of Sexes II. If he would’ve just performed average in Dangle Drop, he was potentially the first boot. But Derrick proved to the rest of the team that he was a worthy competitor with a whole lot of fight in him. Derrick became a victim of Elimination Hill on Sexes II after the fifth mission (regardless of having outperformed Mike the Miz up to that point). Mike was an established veteran who had strong social ties to the Men’s team upper echelon, and because of this, he was saved.
Derrick’s showing on Dangle Drop (Sexes II) was a sneak peek to his ATG mental strength, Surf Torture (Inferno II) cemented it.
Surf Torture was the premier mission of Derrick’s sophomore season. In Surf Torture, pairs made within both the Good Guys and Bad Asses teams had to endure physical tests that were assigned to them by highly trained navy seals. The series of physical tasks ranged from wheelbarrows to having to lift heavy logs up and down the shore of a beach. When physical fatigue kicked in and the pairs were no longer performing the exercises in a sufficient manner, they were eliminated from the competition.
When Surf Torture commenced, pairs dropped left and right because of how physically demanding the tasks were. The final 2 pairs came down to Abram/Derrick (Bad Asses) and Landon/Mike The Miz (Good Guys). You couldn’t have written a better final showdown for a mental strength competition. Determination. Drive. Heart. Those four guys embody those intangible qualities better than anyone else in Challenge History.
Here’s what the four mental strength titans had to say during Surf Torture’s final showdown: “I’m dying, so I know they’re hurting just as bad as I am” (Abram). My hamstrings are starting to cramp up and I’m trying to get myself away from thinking about [the pain]” (Landon). “[My] whole mind is saying ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do this anymore” (Mike The Miz). “It’s coming down to the wire. As much as this mission is torturing us, as much as I’m hurting, I’m not gonna give up to the Miz or Landon” (Derrick).
The last physical exercise of Surf Torture was the upper body decimator, the wheelbarrow. The first mission of the season literally weighed on Derrick and Mike’s shoulders, chest, and arms (All Abram and Landon had to do was hold onto their partners legs). Derrick was far from an empty gas tank. He was maneuvering up and down the shore with at least a quarter of his inner drive left, nodding his head from side to side whenever the navy seal asked if he was ready to quit. The Miz was a whole another story. He was running on fumes. Derrick was on his hands in a push-up position, meanwhile Mike was dragging his entire body through the sand (elbows and belly touching the floor). Mike’s engine eventually shut down and the navy seals eliminated him and Landon, giving Derrick, Abram, and the rest of the Bad Asses the first mission win of Inferno II. Derrick’s drive in Surf Torture is a frontrunner for greatest display of mental strength in a Challenge ever.
Other than Surf Torture, Derrick was the shining star of two other Inferno II missions. (1) Time To Ride: Players had to drive miniature motorcycles through a zig zag course above water. Derrick posted the fastest time out of all seven males and the times weren’t close. Derrick - 57 seconds, Landon - 1 min. 49 sec., C.T. - 2 min. 50 sec., Darrell - 3 min. 16 seconds, Abram and Mike Mizanin DQ’ed. Derrick put on a clinic for other all-time greats. (2) Dodge Yer Balls: Derrick and C.T. looked like professional dodgeball players, whereas Brad, Darrell, Landon, and Mike Mizanin performed as they had just picked up a dodgeball for the first time. Derrick and C.T. wiped out the entire Good Guys Team all by themselves in easy fashion. Although it was a joint effort, production made an error in giving C.T. the life shield. Derrick deserved it as he eliminated four Good Guys as opposed to C.T. eliminating three, and Derrick also had two game winning catches (C.T. had none). So, in actuality, the life shield ratio between C.T. and Derrick on Inferno II should’ve been 5 to 3.
On the Gauntlet II, Derrick makes it known that when all is said and done, he’ll go down as pound for pound the greatest challenge player ever in America’s Fifth Sport.
For about the entire first half of his career, Derrick weighed in at about 150 lbs. In the Challenge, that’s the lightest weight to ever exist in the men’s division. The other notable names I can think of within Young Derrick’s weight class are Adam King, Ryan Kehoe, and Luke Wolfe. None of these guys hold a candle to what Derrick has gone on to accomplish in the first half of his career. The club of 150 pounders is always viewed as the bottom of the food chain for Challenge heavyweights to devour. The smallest guys every season are always called into elimination first and are picked off rather easily. Young Derrick was an exception to this design within the game. More times than none, he wasn’t the heavyweights prey. It was the complete opposite. He was the one who preyed upon those bigger and stronger than him.
On the Gauntlet II, Derrick went into five physical eliminations. Derrick was victorious in the first four. The opponents he feasted on were: 170 lb. Brad, 180 lb. Adam, 190 lb. Ace, and 220 lb. Syrus. He defeated Adam Larson and Brad in Name That Coconut (a trivia game and a physical battle mixed into one) and beat Ace and Syrus In Beach Brawl (a sumo wrestling contest on sand). The Derrick vs. Syrus elimination was highly believed to be “Derrick’s swan song”. However, the combination of Derrick’s drive and wrestling experience helped him shock the world as he came out on top against Syrus, 3-1. Derrick suffered season-ending defeat in his fifth elimination, versus a 200 lb. Timmy in the final male gauntlet before the final challenge.
Derrick’s one hell of a regular season on Gauntlet II earned him nickname “The Pitbull”. He also received a nod of approval from the most respected veteran in the game, Mark Long. Mark praised Derrick for “[having] so much heart, and being the guy who went against the monster every time and [slaying] the monster”. Mark Long declared retirement at the G2 reunion, but as he was doing so, he passed his signature bandana over to Derrick (to represent a passing of the torch). “From the First Road Ruler to the Last Road Ruler”, Mark knew that Derrick was ready to be at the front and center of the Challenge’s future.
After Gauntlet II, it was just a matter of time before “The Pitbull” would get his first challenge victory. The only question was when.
On Fresh Meat, Derrick was paired with Diem and they placed 4th overall out of 13 teams. Together, they won three missions (the second most out of any team behind Coral/Evan). They won Batten Down The Hatches (agility based), Jump Down Under (swimming based), and Deep Blue (tested ability of holding breath under water). Derrick continued to prove how well rounded of a competitor he was to add to his bulletproof mental strength and tip-top wrestling ability.
Derrick’s fifth challenge was The Duel. Although he was eliminated at the halfway point, he still gave us some moments to be proud of. Derrick did something we thought he would never do and that’s win a puzzle elimination. Derrick’s intelligence has always been his biggest weakness, so him winning Ascender vs. Tyler is a nice outlier experience we can appreciate in his long line of work. We also got traditional Derrick in Push Over, a mission where players, having their hands tied together, had to wrestle one another off a large plank that was attached to the end of the boat. Derrick did what Derrick knows best and that was get low and use leverage to push his opponents off. The mission was done tournament style with 8 male participants. Derrick managed to take out C.T., Big Easy, and Brad to win Push Over. I have Derrick’s low man execution in Push Over as the third best mission highlight of the Duel (behind C.T. in Flying Leap and Wes in Sunken Treasure).
On the next season to take place, Inferno III, Derrick gets called in as a replacement for C.T. who punched Davis the first night in South Africa. Derrick didn’t expect to be on the season, which probably means he didn’t do any prep training in the off-season and it best explains why his mission performances on the Inferno III were teetering more towards middle-of-the-road than being the number one guy on his team. He didn’t win a single life shield, but still managed to put up solid numbers in the mission stat sheet. Derrick’s finest showing on I3 was his Cornerball win vs. Davis, where he roughhoused Davis in a 1-on-1 game of rugby. After six valiant efforts, Derrick finally got his long awaited championship on Inferno III.
Throughout his career, Derrick’s pitbull mentality has piled up a phenomenal highlight reel. On the flip side, Derrick’s social mechanics are one of the best the game has ever seen.
In his ten season career, Derrick only had 2 seasons where he was at the bottom in terms of social positioning (Sexes II and Gauntlet II). The other 8 seasons Derrick has been on, he was at the top of the totem pole in terms of alliances. For example, on I2, Derrick/C.T./Brad/Darrell kept each other safe from ever calling one another out for the elimination. Three of four of these guys never saw an elimination and made the final (Derrick was one of them). This was the only secret alliance on the I2, as alliances were considered taboo during the Golden era. On Fresh Meat, the main alliance that ran the entire second half of the game was Derrick/Diem, Darrell/Aviv, and Theo/Chanda. On Cutthroat, Derrick was the most well-connected player on the Blue team, and could’ve gone without seeing an elimination the entire season had Ty never been such a catastrophe.
Derrick’s social game on his second and third championship seasons (The Island and The Ruins) were perfect.
On The Island, from the public perception, there were village leaders (Kenny, Johnny, Paula, Johanna, Dunbar) and the rest of the village were outsiders. Derrick was the only player on the entire island who was happily welcomed by the leaders group, but also had a great relationship with the rest of the outsiders. Derrick was great friends with Kenny and Johnny, but unlike the two of them, he never bullied Robin, Tonya, or Evelyn. These people were his actual friends who thought highly of him. For this reason, Derrick’s key was never in consideration to get taken throughout the entire season. You couldn’t say the same for Kenny, Johnny, Dunbar, and Paula (all of whom either had their key stolen or were in danger of getting it stolen). Derrick’s untouchable social game on the Island is best highlighted when he threw a face-off just to give Johnny a key. Late in the season, people without keys were jumping at each other throats to get into the face-off, but yet, no one batted an eye when Derrick who already had a key volunteered for a second time. Had anybody else done this, it would’ve been seen as cynical, but because it was Derrick, people genuinely didn’t seem bothered by it. The plan of Johnny getting his key worked, and Derrick won a 10-1 landslide vote versus Cohutta. Derrick was respected so much that Cohutta’s plea was him essentially telling everyone that Derrick was a better fit for the final boats.
On the Ruins, Derrick was the third member to the J.E.K. coalition. He was the silent partner in crime (hence his first name initial not being included in the alliance name). Derrick benefited from all of Evan and Kenny’s political moves without being seen as a member of the alliance. Derrick had the strongest social ties in the game (Along with J.E.K., he was great friends with all the old schoolers - Syrus, Darrell, Katie, Tonya, Veronica, and Ibis). Derrick had to conform with the J.E.K. political movement by sacrificing old school friends in order to get his way to the end. Derrick, however, was not punished for his actions, because after all he was just doing what was best for his game (Derrick was a respectful sportsman to everyone unlike the rest of his J.E.K. associates).
Derrick’s overall player qualities stood the test of time on Dirty Thirty.
When our beloved all-time greats come back from a grand layoff (5 season break or more), the narrative arc in their comeback season is always the same: They fall short of the final challenge. We seen it with Darrell on Invasion, Mark on Exes, Alton on Seasons II, and Brad on Vendettas. Derrick broke the curse on Dirty Thirty. Although he had been missing in action for nine seasons, Derrick made it all the way to second place behind his all-time great comrade Jordan.
Dirty Thirty was an extremely mentally strenuous season with all types of twists and turns. The season also has one of the most stacked male casts of all-time, but this didn’t seem to bring out a single ounce of ring rust in Derrick. He was the only male to never be sent to the redemption house. Derrick won three missions, an elimination, and was apart of the top alliance of the house (with Bananas/C.T./Jordan/Tony/Leroy). Derrick’s well-connected social game was best highlighted in Veronica going to bat for him by turning the vote towards Leroy in the greatest political move of the season.
Derrick is the true elimination king, not Wes.
Wes’ 14-8 elimination record is the most padded and highly overrated statistic in Challenge history. His win against Derrick in Pole Wrestle is praiseworthy, but his best wins after that are beating Zach/Zahida in Lights Out or Jamie in blindfolded soccer (those victories aren’t much to write about for a second and third best of a hailed “elimination king”). He also has five exile wins that are basically non-canon in these debates (as him and Casey had 40 lbs. less luggage to carry, per average, than their opponents). Wes’ seven other victories were versus: Chet, Nick Brown, Davis/Tyrie, Brandon/Ty, Nate/Priscilla, and Nate/Christina. In Wes’ 8 losses, he was dominated four times: twice to Leroy, once to Bear, and once to Big Easy (although he was at a large weight disadvantage). His four other losses were versus Bananas in a crapshoot, Dario in an agility contest, Cohutta in a strategy based elimination, and his stamina failed him in an exile where the luggage factor was no longer benefiting him (versus Luke/Evelyn).
Derrick, on the other hand, is 8-4, arguably 9-4 (if you count his mercenary win against Joss in Vendettas as an official elimination). Derrick’s three best elimination wins are (1) vs. Joss in Crazy Eight: The Pitbull came out of the doghouse one last time and it’s jaw was locked to the 8-figure that him and Joss were fighting for. There was no letting go, and after 20 rounds of back-breaking battle, Joss’ mental fatigue kicked in and Derrick prevailed in the Vendettas death match. (2) versus Syrus in Beach Brawl (3) and versus Bananas in Reel World. The other opponents Derrick has knocked out throughout his career were Adam Larson, Ace, Brad, Brandon, Davis, and Tyler.
Derrick’s four losses are the most honorable Challenge deaths imaginable and take nothing away from him as a competitor. (1/2) He lost to Timmy and Tyler in strictly weight based eliminations (otherwise known as eliminations that hold the least amount of weight in judging competitors, no pun intended). Derrick was at a 50 lb. disadvantage in both contests, and there was nothing he could’ve done to win. No physical contact was allowed. It was just push or pull with all of your body weight. (3) Derrick/Diem lost to Darrell/Aviv on FM1 exile. Derrick/Diem had 75 more lbs. of luggage to carry than Darrell/Aviv. They stood no chance before the elimination even began. Fresh Meat exiles, in general, are considered unlawful in all-time great discussions. (4) Derrick lost to Wes in what people call today, the most memorable elimination to ever go down in Challenge history. Derrick’s performance here is a moral victory. Wes, in his post-elimination confessional, said he wanted Derrick to be The Godfather to his first child because of how much respect he had for Derrick after their elimination.
Although a prime Wes beat Derrick head-to-head, Derrick is not only the one to have knocked out the bigger names throughout their elimination career, but he’s also won more beautifully and lost more honorably. This is why Derrick rightfully deserves to sit on the throne for Elimination King (only C.T. and Darrell challenge him for a seat).
Derrick’s Overall Assessment.
In the league of Challenge legends, Derrick is seventh best. Most challenge fans would probably disagree with having Derrick one spot ahead of Darrell. But in my eyes, the only thing Darrell really has over Derrick is championship belts. Derrick has had a more consistently efficient career with more competitive highlights. When you break down their careers side-by-side: Derrick’s best competitive seasons (Inferno II, Gauntlet II, Fresh Meat) are greater than Darrell’s best (Inferno, Fresh Meat, Invasion). Derrick’s best social game performances (Island, Ruins) are better than Darrell’s best social game seasons (Inferno, Inferno II). Derrick’s worst showings (Sexes II, Duel) are a whole lot more memorable than Darrell’s (Fresh Meat 2, Dirty Thirty).
Derrick has ATG mental strength, aggression, and wrestling ability, whereas Darrell has ATG physical strength and stamina. Both have poor intelligence. Although they’re both close competitively speaking, Derrick edges out Darrell by being more well rounded in other areas such as agility and balance (two areas Darrell is inconsistent in, since he’s afraid of heights).
In eliminations, you can’t go wrong with picking either or. In missions, I’d take Derrick. In a final challenge, I’d take Darrell, but the question is would Darrell even get there? Derrick has shown time and time again he’s in for the long haul, whereas Darrell has been sent on the first flight home one-fourth of his career. This, along with a more well-connected social game is why I believe Derrick is the slightly safer choice between the two.
Derrick’s ceiling is the 7th position. His highly questionable intelligence molds him as a second place finisher in Challenge finals today (Dirty Thirty is proof of this). To be in consideration for the Challenge Mount Rushmore, you have to be a betting favorite to not only make it to the end, but also win a modern final all by yourself. The rest of the six legends that have yet to be revealed have all shown to be more than capable of enduring an entire season and accomplishing a first place finish. They’re also a lot more independent in constructing their own destinies from beginning to end, whereas you can always argue Derrick’s winning legacy might’ve not been as decorated if he never would’ve joined forces with Kenny Santucci (Derrick’s three championships have all been with Kenny on his team, who was always politically in charge of the game’s operations).
Hello everyone, i thank you anticipated for your attention and help. Please bear with me since my English is garbage. I am from Europe, Romania. I am here because my father clearly told me to not contact any lawyer but i refuse to let this go without at least learning something from it. My brother (18 M) is a big fan of football (soccer). Since he was 14y he took football referee courses and sometimes gets to referee on tier 3-4 games. He watches tons of games, to the point it affects his education and social life. None the less, he seems to enjoy this. When i got home today i found out things are pretty loud. My father scolding one fool for losing over 3800 € . He was hiding this thing from us for a whole month. Only he and our sister knew about it, until today when our sister decided to speak out. What really happened, he got in contact with someone selling betting tickets for football games in European leagues. It had a facebook profile saying he's a former professional analyzing games. Basically you pay him 50-100 € money to get a ticket with the best chances at winning. Make no mistake, you can bet that ticket anywhere you want, like a specialized institution, with your own money. He bought one ticket for 100 € that he won next day by betting 75 € on it. He won 380 € by spending 175 €. Then the scammer got him into buying a monthly subscription for 1200 € . The subscription means that my brother would receive tickets every day for a whole month. My brother thought that 'since this guy has so much knowledge about football, if he follows his winning tips he may make more than he spend.' WRONG. First day in the subscription, the ticket was shit and it failed. Same goes for the second and third day. Then the tickets stopped coming in the fourth day. The scammer sends a message "i have some problems in my life, i made some mistakes and now i am out of money to buy such tickets send me 800 € more". My brother didn't want the 1200 € to be for naught and he sends 800 € more. This after they agreed it's just a loan and that as soon the scammer makes more money, he'd send them back. The scammer starts ghosting instantly. Wait one day, wait 10 days, send messages on messenger, no response. After over 2 weeks, the scammer responds with, "do you have more many in your account", that's all. I got so triggered when i read this message earlier. So, 1. the scammer did not respect his subscription agreement to send tickets everyday, even if they are shit he sent none so he broke that.
the scammer loaned 800 € from a boy that just turned 18 three months ago and now he won't give back shit.
There was no contract signed, no papers made. Only messenger chat discussion. There is the proof of the transfers through bank receipt, bills and everything else. There are all the payments made through credit card. We are a poor family. Terribly poor. 1800 € could be used to pay for his high school accommodation for 6-8 months. That's exactly what we saved all those money for. So he and our sister could get to high school in good conditions. Even worse he panicked and tried to recover the money by doing more betting, losing another 2000 € + before we found it out. That's of no consequence, but i want you to know this, he has a problem with betting. He is addicted. I am not excusing him no matter what. He will pay for his mistakes. I want to take legal action against this scammer first. My father wants to mark this thing as done and gone. It would shame his name and make everyone who helped us so far (like his boss) take us for fools. Even worse this person could be tied with dangerous people and having relations with corrupt police and politicians. That's a lot of danger to be exposed here. The system is really that bad. I would like to recover the money at best. Since the scammer did not respect the agreement of sending him tickets every day. And because he borrowed those 800 € and now it's ghosting never intending on giving them back. At least 1800 € . The subscription refund and the 800 € loan, minus 3 days in which tickets come. If that's not possible we already decided to give up on it. Instead i want the mdfkr who does these things to get caught and served, maybe our legal action could save some other fools. Because the scammer is still doing this kind of stuff on facebook with a different account. We know his face and name, they talked through a video call. Opinions and thoughts. What can I (21, M), legally do? If it happens to run in such cases later, what can i expect from the law?
Jun/26/2020 News: (1) Tsarukyan company's multi-million $ land fraud (2) Constitutional Court judges fired. Details. 3) BHK MP family's & Yerevan official's property fraud (4) COVID news (5) Armenian hackers (6) Medicine production in Armenia (7) Hamalir fire (8) Fixed soccer matches busted, 5 teams
Let's recap the developments around Constitutional Court
Parliament passed a bill to fire 3 Constitutional Court (CC) judges "for being above others". The bill was "approved" by Venice Commission, except for the part where Venice recommended firing the judges during a long transitional period. The Parliament said it's been "gradual enough" since the CC crisis began 1.5 years ago. Still, Venice criticized for ignoring that recommendation. President Sarkissian signed the bill. BHK desperately wants to kill the bill so the judges won't be fired. This would ensure that Kocharyan's crucial March 1st case is heard by these "pro-Kocharyan" judges. To kill the bill, BHK wants to send it to CC, so the CC judges can stop the law that is meant to fire themselves. To send the bill to CC, BHK needs to use a special law that allows Parliamentary parties to send a bill to CC. To be able to use this special law, BHK needs 1/5th of the MPs to join the effort. BHK is short 2 MPs. BHK asked LHK to join. LHK refused, saying they'll join the effort only after CC hears Kocharyan's case on July 7th. This infuriated BHK and the rest of Roboserj. After learning that BHK's effort has failed and the pro-Kocharyan judges will be fired before the July 7th hearing, Kocharyan pulled his case from CC. LHK argues CC can still hear the Kocharyan case, especially since Kocharyan's case was submitted to CC by two separate parties (Kocharyan and a lower court judge). If one party (Kocharyan) pulls it, the CC can still hear the other party's (judge's) petition about the same topic.
BHK got extra desperate last night and sent the bill to CC without getting the required 27 MP signatures. LHK responds: you need 2 more MPs. Your document has reached CC, but it cannot be accepted.
Non-fired CC judge Vahe Grigoryan said: The bill is now a law. Congratulations on this important day for democracy and human rights. 3 judges are no longer judges. I wish them strong health and peace; enjoy your earned retirement. Within 2 months, the govt, president, and Supreme Court will nominate 3 new judges. Hrayr Tovmasyan is no longer the president. Judges will elect a new president after 3 new judges are appointed. Right now we have 6 judges, which is enough to carry on CC's regular work. Since president Hrayr is demoted and second-in-command Gyulumyan is fired, the court needs a new president and deputy president. The temporary president will become A. Khachatryan per seniority. I sent a letter in June/26/2019 in which I spoke about the crisis in CC. Ever since I've been boycotting court sessions. I'm glad the crisis is resolved now. Full speech/direct quote here: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191144
Two CC judges go on vacation
Demoted but non-fired judge HHK Hrayr Tovmasyan, and non-fired judge Arevik Petrosyan are on vacation. CC claims Gyulumyan will become the acting president since president Hrayr is on vacation. However, Gyulumyan is already fired. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191155
Fired judge Gyuluman said:
I insist that the bill doesn't fire me because my 1st term doesn't count towards the 12-year limit. I'll enter the building now and take the role of the acting president because Hrayr went on vacation. If it comes down to "physical", I'll voluntarily leave, then I'll take the case to the European Court for Human Rights. A similar story happened in Ukraine when a revolutionary govt came and replaced judges but the next administration reversed the decision and brought them back. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191176
QP MPs respond to ex-judge Gyulumyan
QP Alen: Instead of giving empty interviews, the fired judges should empty their offices. QP Yeghoyan: Gyulumyan's term was going to end in 6 months because she turns 65. Since she mentioned Ukraine and expects "the next Armenian government" to re-instate her, does that mean she expects a change of govt within the next 6 months? [the MP is drawing parallels with Roboserj circles that say Pashinyan only has a few months left] https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191181 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191193
Parliament publishes a memo
Parliament released a statement: any judge with a combined 12 years in CC is terminated, including Gyulumyan. CC judges' personal files are kept in Parliament. We examined them and concluded that Gyulumyan served >12 years, Nazaryan 24 years, Tokhyan 22 years. Gyulumyan is no longer a judge nor president. Judge Khachatryan is the acting-president per seniority. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191195
Tsarukyan's Multi-Group's million-dollar land fraud in Arinj
Earlier we learned about land-related felony cases against BHK chief Tsarukyan's NYU company and Arinj mayor. NSS says similar shenanigans were done with Tsarukyan's biggest Multi-Group firm (pikachu face).
NSS says: Arinj mayorfalsified document to claim 88ha city-owned lands were of agricultural purpose and not industrial. As a result, the land's value went from $8.2mln to $52k. It was sold to Tsarukyan's Multi-Group during a phony auction. Then, a 0.2ha area was illegally re-purposed from agricultural to industrial land, so Tsarukyan could build a building on it. A felony case is launched. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191169
BHK MP and ex-Yerevan city official busted / Land fraud
The authorities say: In Aug/8/2002, the ex-deputy of Yerevan Urban Development falsified documents so BHK MP Ruben Grigoryan's daughter would illegally obtain land without an auction for a dirt-cheap price. A felony case is launched against the ex-official. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191163
Plot twist / Producer's assets arrested / HHK Minister
+759 infected. +814 healed. +13 deaths. 105k tested. 10.5k active. 12.1k healed. 0.4k deaths. Some eight BHK and QP MPs are infected.
Pashinyan: bros, we're hitting new anti-records with infections per-million population. This wouldn't be the case if the public took a more active role in fighting the pandemic. Fake news and ignoring safety remains a big problem. Yesterday a felony case was launched against a taxi driver who went back to work the day after being diagnosed. We'll begin to collect the $20 penalties for violating safety. We could also introduce new restrictions. The Healthcare system is not fighting against the pandemic, they are fighting the outcome of the pandemic. It's the public that has to fight the pandemic. [A man was invited to give an emotional speech about how his entire family got infected after not taking it seriously. The man is Antares publishing agency's director.] https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191149 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191197
Yesterday we learned that Azeri hackers published personal info of 1,000 Armenian citizens infected with COVID. Today Armenian hacking group Monte Melkonyan Cyber-Army published a similar database of Azeri patients, saying "it's only part of the data". http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/282388/
unified school exams
... will take place soon. Students in smaller than usual groups will enter a facility to give exams, 2 meters apart. Education Ministry prohibited parents (cheerleaders) from gathering outside the buildings. Exam officials will be tested first, while the students will take temperature checks before entering. 100 applicants outside of Armenia will be flown to Armenia so they can participate in exams. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191187 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191189
Armenia is a medicine exporter
50% of meds produced in Armenia are exported. The trade dropped during the pandemic. Exports: 81% to Georgia, 12% to Russia. Imports: 41% from Russia, 8% Germany, 7% France.
Likvor firm's glaucoma med exports +70% even during the pandemic. ArpiMed's anti-epilepsy and other drugs saw +40% growth. Their psychotropic drugs go to Georgia and Ukraine. Medical Horizon exports those little tiny things that you shove up your butt to solve problems. Top destination is [redacted, ամոթա]. Esko Farm exports mouthwash and nasal drops to Russia and Georgia. They began producing sanitizers recently. https://hetq.am/hy/article/118686
Turkish-Armenian MP Karo Paylan has asked the Tourism Minister to renovate and protect a 16th century Armenian St. Marinos church in Van. The MP accused the govt of deliberately ignoring theft and damage to Armenian cultural sights. https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30692312.html
Soccer Federation busted 5 teams with match-fixing
Soccer Federation cooperated with the law enforcement, UEFA, international betting agencies, and found that 5 Armenian teams were fixing their matches. The teams: Aragats, Torpedo, Masis, Lokomotiv, Yerevan. Their membership with Soccer Federation is terminated. "This is the beginning," says the Federation, citing its pledge to fight corruption after a December-2019 meeting with Pashinyan. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1019824.html
1) The accused are innocent until proven guilty in the court of law, even if they sound guilty. 2) Currency in Armenian ֏ unless specified otherwise. 3) NSS/SIS/SOC = law enforcement agencies. QP = Civil Contract Party. LHK = Bright Armenia Party. BHK = Prosperous Armenia Party. HHK = Republican Party. 4) ARCHIVE of older posts by Idontknowmuch: PART 1 ; PART 2 ; PART 3 ; PART 4 ; PART 5. 4) ARCHIVE of older posts by Armeniapedia.
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
Okay, look, here's the deal. The obituaries, as sad as they are, contain some of Dave's best work. But good lord, they are looooooooooong. And they never contain anything newsworthy that is relevant to 2002 or anything. But they're always super interesting from a historical perspective. But last week, Dave wrote a brief obit for Lou Thesz (only 5,000 words, ahem) and promised to go into more detail this week. So this week, we open with a 16,000+ word obituary for Lou Thesz and I just can't. Sorry. It's really good though, you should all go read it. But I've got, like, a family and a job and responsibilities and stuff. I can't recap this. It's an incredible piece of work though.
The World Wrestling Federation is no more. On May 5th, the company unveiled its new name, World Wrestling Entertainment. Dave recaps the history of the company briefly (was originally called "World Wide Wrestling Federation, or WWWF, until 1979 when it was shortened to WWF, which is has remained for the past 23 years). But as of this week, the company has been rebranded to WWE. The website domain was changed to WWE.com and all references to "WWF" were changed to "WWE." The scratch logo was also changed, with the F being removed, so now it simply looks like "WW" (which, honestly, never really did make much sense to me. Even though the logo has changed, it's still "WW" to this day). Anyway, this all stems from the World Wildlife Fund lawsuit over in the UK, in which the WWE lost every court case and appeal. They were planning to appeal the ruling in the UK's highest court, their final last-ditch effort to save their name, but the reality is, they weren't going to win that case. Vince McMahon and the company blatantly and repeatedly violated the agreement they signed in 1994. It was 1000% obvious they were in the wrong here and they had gotten spanked by every single court before, often losing their appeals by unanimous decisions. So they weren't going to win this final appeal either and they knew it. So they dropped the appeal and threw in the towel and finally agreed to just change the name. The WWE has until May 15th to remove all references to "WWF" from their shows and merchandise. Any merch with "WWF" on it can no longer be sold after that date. All video packages and posters will have to be changed and any "WWF" mention or logos after that time on television or in past footage will have to be censored. Last year, during the court case, the WWE claimed it would cost them more than $50 million to change their name and to deal with all the legal and rebranding headaches that come with it. But this week, they backtacked on that and said it wouldn't be that expensive after all. Who knows if that's true, but the idea of this costing $50 million was enough to make the shareholders shit themselves, so Dave says they claimed it won't cost that much in order to keep the stock from plummeting. Anyway, none of this had to happen. In 1994, Vince McMahon and the Wildlife Fund signed an agreement that the wrestling company would not use the "WWF" name for promoting itself outside of the U.S. (since the Wildlife group is based overseas) and that worked well for a year or two. But then Vince McMahon apparently decided, "Meh, who cares about agreements?" and began repeatedly and blatantly violating it, constantly, for years, at which point the Wildlife group finally got upset enough to file a lawsuit. Anyway, on the first Raw since the name change, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler repeatedly stumbled over the new initials, accidentally saying "WWF" multiple times. Gonna take time for everyone to get used to calling it the new name.
The buyrates for Wrestlemania 18 are in and it appears the event will have to settle for being the #2 biggest money show in wrestling history after it came up short and failed to surpass Wrestlemania 17. Final numbers aren't in yet, but latest estimates put it somewhere around the 800,000 buys range (ended up being about 880,000) which is quite a bit down from WM17. It was also #2 in total revenue from live gate and merch. Internally, it's actually being seen as something of a disappointment because with the power of the Hogan/Rock dream match, they were hopeful this show would top 1 million buys but unless something drastic changes with these buyrate numbers, it looks like the final total will be a good bit short of that.
NJPW's latest Tokyo Dome show is in the books. The show drew a sellout crowd of 57,000 fans, there to see the Masahiro Chono vs. Mitsuharu Misawa dream main event (which ended up going to a 30-minute draw). It was the biggest non-Jan. 4 crowd NJPW has drawn to the Dome in 2 years. So that's the good news. The bad news is that the show flopped in the ratings on TV. A big part of that is because the Chono/Misawa match didn't air as part of the show (due to the Asahi-TV/Nippon TV network issues discussed in past issues) so the televised show was built around the Shinya Hashimoto/Naoya Ogawa vs. Scott Norton/Hiroyoshi Tenzan match and man, the fans sure didn't seem to give a fuck about that. In fact, the rating was so bad that there's concern that this will be the end of pro wrestling on prime time TV in Japan for the foreseeable future. But there are justifiable reasons for the rating. The show went head-to-head with the Kirin Cup soccer tournament, which was a huge deal and did more than double the rating the NJPW show did. Unlike the U.S., wrestling and "real" sports in Japan have a major crossover audience, so having real sports competition severely hurt NJPW's show. Also, while Ogawa is a draw as a singles star, putting him in a tag match against Norton and Tenzan isn't exactly setting the world on fire. The show lasted 6 hours, which was way too long and the crowd was burned out before Misawa vs. Chono even started.
Other notes from the NJPW show: it opened with an hour long 30th anniversary ceremony. They had a 10-bell salute for Lou Thesz and brought out a bunch of legendary NJPW names from the 70s and 80s. Then they did an angle where Antonio Inoki came out to give a speech, but he was attacked by Tiger Jeet Singh. But then Chyna made the save, attacking Singh, running him out of the ring, and challenging him to a match. Inoki's ex-wife, famous Japanese actress Mitsuko Baisho then made an appearance, getting a huge pop, and she and Inoki did his famous catch phrase to kick off the show. Minoru Suzuki of Pancrase (who started with NJPW as a pro wrestler) was also there. Jushin Ligher and Minoru Tanaka won the IWGP Jr. tag titles and then Liger challenged several NOAH wrestlers who were at ringside (most notably KENTA) and they all jumped in the ring and it ended with a staredown. The Steiner Brothers reunited to face Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kensuke Sasaki, with Chyna as the special referee. Tanahashi was working hurt, but he still worked. They did a spot where Tanahashi ran into Chyna and he went down off the bump instead of her and Dave seems annoyed by this since Tanahashi is a guy they really need to be pushing who can be a huge star for this company. Dave doesn't like him selling bumps for Chyna. Anyway, decent match but the Steiners basically steamrolled them and Tanahashi was pinned by Scott Steiner. Chyna then challenged several All Japan Women at ringside as well as Scott Steiner, Tanahashi, Sasaki, and even IWGP champion Yuji Nagata, saying she wanted a title match. Dave thinks this company has lost its damn mind. Speaking of Nagata, he retained his title in the next match. And then, of course, the main event. Usually during interpromotional matches, the crowd is always super pro-NJPW but this time, they went insane for Misawa and it was clear there were a ton of NOAH fans in the building. Chono did some Inoki moves and Misawa did some Great Baba moves, to kinda have a spiritual "Baba vs. Inoki" tribute in the match I guess. Ended in a draw and by the time it was over, no matter how big the dream match was, the crowd was burned out and weren't as hype for the match as you might expect once the entrances were done.
Goldberg has received a full buy-out of his WCW contract from Time Warner and as of this week, he is now an unsigned free agent. Goldberg did not request the buy-out, the decision was made by the Time Warner side after the most unprofitable quarter in their history. The company was looking to cut expenses, even at a loss, just so the books can look better in future quarters. Goldberg reportedly received almost all of his remaining salary (more than 90% of the nearly $3 million he was still owed) in order to get him off their books. When Goldberg realized he's going to be a free agent a year earlier than expected, talks with WWE started up. But as usual, they went nowhere. WWE (I feel like I'm having to get used to typing that all over again. Really does feel like 2002 again) has interest in him, especially given the way ratings continue to plummet lately. But Goldberg has always wanted more than WWE is willing to pay. Plus, they're feeling burned right now after signing Hall and Nash to big money, long-term contracts for part-time work, only to have Nash get injured and Hall likely to get himself fired at any moment (that moment is coming sooner than you think), and neither of them really getting over in any meaningful way. Even Hogan, who is also making big money for a reduced schedule, was hot for a minute and boosted ratings and buyrates. But after only a few months, that train already seems to be out of steam and TV ratings are back to floundering with Hogan as champion leading the shows. So WWE is kinda gun-shy on opening the checkbook and paying out the ass for these big stars, futilely hoping that one of them is the quick-fix that can stop the bleeding.
There's also the question of how Goldberg would fit within the WWE locker room. He hasn't been shy about his dislike for Triple H, dating back to WCW when Triple H trashed Goldberg in a radio interview and saying that even if Goldberg was available, they wouldn't want him (which, at the time, when WCW was still alive and Goldberg was the biggest star in the company, is just about the dumbest thing he could have said. In 1998, WWF would have gladly traded 10 Triple H's for Goldberg). Anyway, Goldberg took the comment personally and even confronted Triple H face-to-face at the Toy Fair convention in New York a couple of years ago, in a bit of an ugly scene where Goldberg was yelling at him and Triple H and Stephanie kept their heads down and said nothing. Goldberg also has a lot of dislike for Scott Hall, which is another of Triple H's good friends, so ya know. The latest on Goldberg is that he's considering working some in Japan but he's just fielding offers right now. Word is he's interested in working with PRIDE as well as NJPW. Of course, if he's looking to maximize his money potential, WWE is still the place to go if you want to make big bucks. If promoted right, matches against Rock, Austin, Triple H, and others could do huge buyrates. And if they keep Goldberg and Austin apart for a year and build to a match with them at Wrestlemania, well, needless to say, that show would set records. Dave talks about how Goldberg got nuclear hot in 1998 and even in 1999, he was the biggest drawing wrestler in the business. But by 2000, the company was dying, Goldberg was injured, and "Jesus Chris with an Etch-a-Sketch" couldn't have drawn in WCW. Dave again does the math and talks about how WWE should have brought Goldberg in for the Invasion angle. Yes, it would have cost them a lot of money and upset the salary structure, but he would have more than made up for it with the kind of buyrates he could have drawn with those dream matches and the Invasion angle might have had a chance. But alas.
And of course, who's to say how WWE would use Goldberg? They already have Brock Lesnar and they're currently giving him the unstoppable monster push. Lesnar is bigger, younger, and a more legitimate athlete (for whatever that's worth). And WWE probably isn't going to give Goldberg an endless string of jobbers to beat. In WWE, he's going to be expected to work longer matches, sell for people, etc. They won't book him the way WCW did so who knows how he'd get over in WWE? If they wanted to build to an Austin/Goldberg match, it would make sense that Goldberg first has to plow through guys like Triple H, Undertaker, etc. And politically, that just ain't gonna happen. Dave doubts NJPW can afford him for anything more than one or two big shows. As for PRIDE, he could probably make a lot of money there, but the problem is.....PRIDE is a shoot. They haven't had "worked" matches in a couple of years and doing so now would kill their credibility. Which means Goldberg would have to go into a legit shoot and one embarrassing loss there would severely hurt his future earning potential. In the end, Dave thinks it's inevitable that Goldberg will end up in WWE, but probably not any time soon. But he's certain it will eventually happen. There's too much money on the line for both sides and WWE's ratings woes are making them desperate, so it'll happen some day (yup, less than a year from this).
And the moment is here! For those of you who had "under 3 months" in the "How long will Scott Hall last?" pool, come collect your prize. Scott Hall was released by the WWE this week due to misbehavior on the European tour. Firstly, he went on a drunken binge during the entire tour and was even worse on the plane ride home (much more on that in a bit). Dave says this was inevitable. WCW fired him. Even ECW stopped using him when he got arrested at one point. And even though he was seemingly behaving during his Japan tours, even NJPW cut ties with him shortly before he went back to WWE because they were fed up with some of his antics. And now WWE has fired him. Dave talks about how Hall made a drunken spectacle of himself in the locker room on his very first day back in WWE, before the NWO even debuted on TV, then he showed up in Toronto for Wrestlemania in no condition to perform (later came out that he was hungover from the night before), which caused Austin to insist on ending their feud at WM (which was the plan, but Dave says Austin has continued working with Hall afterwards simply because they don't really seem to have any other credible opponents for him). Hall's match with Bradshaw at Backlash was an embarrassment and the night before that show, agents had to help him back to his hotel. Just endless incidents like this. In Europe, Hall was such a blatant drunken mess that even the other wrestlers were calling for him to be fired. Hall was 45 minutes late for the bus they all took to London and then passed out in the locker room during the show. On the plane ride back, he was starting fights with people and eventually passed out and it got to the point that people were worried about his health. When they got back to the U.S. for Raw, they literally had to wake him up from a drunken stupor backstage to send him to the ring to do his segment (and yes, he wrestled). After the show, they fired him. No one came to his defense, and even Hall's closest friends are now admitting that he simply can't handle the pressures of being on the road and being released is the best thing for him right now. Dave talks about how a lot of wrestlers have been fired in the last couple of years for drug and alcohol issues and that's all well and good, but the big problem is why hire them in the first place? Scott Hall's issues were not a secret. It wasn't like he cleaned himself up before he came to WWE. He was getting in trouble and collecting arrests like Pokemon all the way up until the day they brought him back. Anyway, Hall had a 2-year deal, believed to be worth $600,000-per-year downside for only 10 dates per month. So a really sweet deal, but it's gone now.
Hey, speaking of that European tour, turns out there was a bit of trouble on the flight back to the U.S. Perhaps you've heard of it. Most of the trouble wasn't even due to Scott Hall. Turns out Vince McMahon didn't make the trip and lots of people decided that was a good reason to cut loose and have fun. Plus, since everyone has seen Hall get away with being drunk 24/7 for the last few months, they figured nobody would get in trouble. So....folks got DRUNK. Among the various incidents on this flight: Goldust got on the speaker system and began drunkenly serenading his ex-wife Terri with love songs. Terri was extremely uncomfortable and begged him to stop and then Jim Ross had to go sit him down. Ric Flair also "started to get wild" but Jim Ross calmed him down as well (Dave doesn't seem to know just yet exactly what Flair "getting wild" entailed, but if you don't know, it involved getting totally naked except for his robe and started helicoptering his dick at flight attendants. And it gets worse if you feel like researching it. The flight attendants later filed a lawsuit against Flair and accused him of sexual assault). Curt Hennig was spraying people with shaving cream and he kept trying to get Brock Lesnar to fight him. Lesnar, being a newcomer, didn't know how to handle it and didn't want to get in trouble, but he ain't gonna let Hennig talk shit to him either. So anyway, Lesnar got up and basically annihilated Hennig, repeatedly taking him to the ground and embarrassing him because, well, of course he did. It's Brock Lesnar. At one point, Lesnar slammed Hennig up against the side of the plane, right into the emergency exit door, which freaked everybody out for obvious reasons. Michael Hayes got into a scuffle with Bradshaw and then tried to pick a fight with Hall (although everyone on the plane said Hall had it coming). Anyway, Hayes was apparently obnoxious as hell and annoyed everyone. But then he made the mistake of falling asleep and someone (believed to be X-Pac) cut his hair off. When Hayes woke up, he was furious and tried to fight several people. The next day at the Raw tapings, his entire mullet was in a plastic bag, pinned to the wall of the locker room for everyone to see. Gerald Brisco, Arn Anderson, and Hayes all caught a ton of heat from Vince afterward since they were the people who were supposed to be in charge. Anderson and Hayes especially, since their jobs are to keep the boys under control, but they were apparently having just as much fun as everyone else. Everyone's waiting to see how Vince is going to handle this situation. As noted, Hall was already fired and Hayes got an earful from Vince, Stephanie, and JR at Raw the next day, but there will likely be more fallout. Undertaker was also said to be furious over how out of hand everything got (I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this).
Anyway, while they were in Europe, WWE presented its latest UK PPV, Insurexxtion. As usual with the UK PPVs, this was little more than a glorified house show. They announced the show as sold out, but there were empty seats everywhere. RVD vs. Eddie Guerrero for the IC title was the show-stealer according to every report Dave heard, and was said to be far better than their Backlash match. Brock Lesnar teamed with Shawn Stasiak (lol wut) and lost to the Hardyz. Brock beat up everybody after the match. Triple H beat Undertaker in the main event and Dave doesn't know why since Undertaker is the one challenging Hogan for the title at the next PPV. The top rope broke during the match when they did an Irish whip into the corner and when the rope snapped, a metal piece broke off from the corner and flew into the crowd and barely missed hitting a small child in the face.
Smackdown on 5/2 drew the all-time lowest rating in the history of the show. Dave says that's the scariest thing to happen to WWF in the past 5 years. It was also the 3rd lowest rating for any Smackdown or Raw dating back to 1998. The rating was a full 18% drop from the week before, which was already scary. The rating was even lower than previous holiday episodes. So what was the problem? Well, it was headlined by Hogan defending the WWF title against Chris Jericho (as it turns out, the final time the "WWF" title was ever defended). Dave says the title has been meaningless for years now and Hogan's steam is running out. And Jericho hasn't recovered from spending the first part of the year being emasculated and playing second fiddle to Stephanie McMahon in the Wrestlemania feud. Add all that together and you've got a recipe for a shit ratings night. Among other things. Dave isn't blaming this all on Hogan and Jericho by any means, there's a lot of problems with the company as of late, from bad storylines to failing to make new stars, and it's all starting to come home to roost.
Keiji Muto wrestled a match in AJPW under his alternate gimmick of Kokushi Muso. Turns out "Great Muta" isn't his only other persona. The Kokushi Muso gimmick is basically like Hakushi in WWF, where he's covered his entire body in Japanese writing. He originally debuted the gimmick in Michinoku Pro last year, when teaming with....Hakushi (Jinsei Shinzaki, who occasionally brought back the old Hakushi gimmick in Japan). Anyway, same thing here. He teamed with Hakushi for this match, while using that gimmick (Muto would use that gimmick a handful of times throughout the years, always when teaming with Hakushi. It's like that was only his gimmick for that team. The last time he used it was in 2009, also in a tag match with Hakushi).
Former NOAH Jr. champion Naomichi Marufuji underwent knee surgery this week and should be out around 6 months (ends up being 9 months).
NJPW is doing an angle (according to Dave) similar to the Vince/Flair angle last year where Antonio Inoki and Masahiro Chono are battling over control of the company. Although it's more realistic. Inoki is in the press talking about how many of NJPW's shows aren't doing well and is pushing for them to use Naoya Ogawa more, while Chono doesn't want to. Inoki is also saying Chono needs to retire from wrestling and focus his energies on managing the day-to-day business of the promotion full-time. Dave says this is an angle, but it doesn't sound like much of one to me, and I think later years have kinda proven there was a lot of blurring between fiction and reality here, because there was a ton of behind the scenes turmoil in NJPW during this period.
Will Smith appeared alongside Antonio Inoki at the Japanese movie premiere for the film "Ali" based on Muhammad Ali's life. Crowd went absolutely insane for Inoki (I've tried like hell and can't even find a picture of them together. But then again, I can't find a single pic from the premiere at all).
When reviewing the recent Dos Caras Jr. shoot fight in Japan, Dave talks about the guy's potential as a wrestler. He has a strong amateur background, legit shoot skills, and a famous name. Dave thinks, if he's even halfway a decent worker, he can almost be a guaranteed star in Mexico (based on his name alone) and probably Japan too, if he decides to pursue that career (indeed he did, and indeed, he was fairly decent at it. Of course, he later became Alberto Del Rio, accused rapist and pretty much confirmed all-around piece of shit).
Former long-time WCW referee Randy Anderson passed away this week after a long battle with testicular cancer. Back when WCW was still around and he first got diagnosed, they did an angle out of it where Eric Bischoff fired him and then laughed at his wife and kids when they begged him to give Anderson his back. Of course, he was later re-hired when Flair became on-screen commissioner and continued to referee until 1999 when the cancer forced him to retire.
Random news and notes: Bobby Heenan is said to be in good spirits and is especially excited because WWE recently contacted him about doing a WWE Magazine feature on him. Verne Gagne's wife Mary passed away from cancer this week. Goldberg will be appearing on this week's Wrestling Observer Live show to be interviewed. Mil Mascaras is releasing an autobiography (in Spanish of course) and man, I'd love to find an English translation of that because I bet it'd be interesting. Chyna appeared on "Sabrina The Teenage Witch" this past week.
Bruno Sammartino turned down an invitation to attend the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremony in New York (yes, that HOF existed and still does, in a different city now). Bruno did an interview with the local paper and said "Wrestling is how I made my living and supported my family, but it's over. I don't want anything to do with it anymore." Bruno managed to turn the discussion to the WWE, despite them not having any affiliation with this HOF and grumbled about how Vince McMahon blocked him from being inducted into the Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame. However, the new MSG owners have apparently promised Bruno he'll be inducted this year, since he sold the place out 200 times (Dave jumps in here to correct it and says the real number of sellouts is closer to 45. Bruno only main evented the Garden 127 times and by no means were they all sell-outs. But it's one of those myths that has been perpetuated for so long that Dave begrudgingly recognizes that people are always going to believe the 200 number is true, but it's not even close. He compares it to the claim that Andre The Giant was 7'4, which also wasn't true but people repeated the lie so often that it became accepted as fact).
Afa Anoa'i Jr., the son of the legendary Wild Samoan, is a star football player at his high school and is being recruited for Penn State. He also sometimes wrestles on his father's indie shows (that would be Manu, who was very briefly part of Legacy with Orton, Dibiase Jr., and Cody).
Former WCW announcer Scott Hudson will be doing commentary for Jerry Jarrett's new promotion, and Bob Ryder is said to be in a major front office position.
Jarrett has put out a press release saying that his new promotion has had talks with Randy Savage and Ultimate Warrior. Word is Warrior wanted a 15% ownership stake in the new company, which pretty much ended those talks right there. They're also apparently interested in Scott Hall now too, with the idea that since they're only doing 1 show per week, he won't be a screw-up here. Dave is skeptical. Anyway, currently Road Dogg and Brian Christopher expected to be some of the company's top stars and Dave's not optimistic.
XWF wrestlers were told last week that a television deal should hopefully be finalized this week. But Dave has been told no chance it's happening that soon. The rumors are that the deal is either with the FX or Fox Kids networks. Ted Turner had inquired about buying this promotion a few months ago, but when he learned how much it would cost to get them off the ground and make them competitive, he lost interest (TV deal never materializes, company is already dead, etc. etc.).
The Scorpion King slipped to 2nd place this week, falling to the new Spider Man movie which did a record breaking $114 million opening weekend. Randy Savage has a small role in that movie.
Speaking of, The Rock worked his first match in about a month at a Fort Lauderdale house show, teaming with Hogan to beat Jericho and Angle. After the match, Hogan tried to get Rock to pose with him, but Rock wouldn't do it. Rock thanked the fans for the success of Scorpion King and said it would likely be his last match for awhile. There was a ton of local media there, but Rock didn't talk to any of them. Basically, the house show was in his neck of the woods and he simply decided to show up and work it just so he could see his friends and hang out with the locker room, he had no interest in doing interviews. He was just there because he wanted to be. Backstage, Rock was telling people that Hollywood higher-ups have told him he has to leave the wrestling business if he wants to be taken seriously as an actor. Those in the company feel it's a certainty that Rock really is leaving and he's likely going to break out of wrestling into Hollywood and actually become a rare success story (yeah, you could say that).
Look how long this is already. Imagine if I had covered that Lou Thesz obituary in full. JUST IMAGINE!
Notes from Raw: Dave compares it to an episode of Thunder, with the crowd half-dead for everything. Also, the roster was exhausted after just returning from the Europe trip (and the plane ride shenanigans) and that was apparent too. Brock Lesnar won his match via pinfall instead of the usual ref stoppage and Dave says that word is Triple H got in Vince's ear and convinced him to end the ref stoppage gimmick for Brock. Sure, why not? Hogan was supposed to ride off on Undertaker's bike at one point, but then the motorcycle wouldn't start. It was one of those awkward live-TV moments where time stood still and nobody knew what to do. Flair finally turned heel on Austin, to a shocking lack of heat from the crowd. Nash returned, etc. Dave recaps the rest of this show and it sounds like a lot of bad WCW stuff, coincidentally enough with a lot of the same people.
The man who played the effeminate gay guy applying to be Vince McMahon's secretary on Smackdown a few weeks ago was new creative team member David Lagana. He recently joined the company and has written for several other TV shows, including "Friends" and has a strong knowledge of the industry (Dave says if you've been reading the Observer closely for the last few years, you're probably familiar with him, he's written in to Dave a lot over the years).
Dave goes on a brief rant about how to use older stars. In the past, everyone, even Vince McMahon, talked about how you should use guys like Hogan and Flair in small doses and how WCW's reliance on older stars like that is what made them less special. Dave talks about back in the day in Memphis, Jackie Fargo would come back once or twice a year and he was always the biggest star in the company when he did. Because he was used sparingly. But WWE has pretty much built its company around Hogan and Flair (and to a lesser extent, Vince and Undertaker) over the last few months and they've been totally overexposed because of it. Just 6 weeks ago, Hulk Hogan was getting some of the largest crowd reactions in the history of the business. Now, he and Undertaker are practically hearing crickets during their on-screen interactions.
Lita underwent neck surgery this week and isn't allowed to do anything physical for 9 months. Scotty 2 Hotty also had neck surgery and is expected to be out for about a year. Both are expected to make full recoveries though.
Jesse Ventura admitted this week that he received WWF stock options as partial payment for some work he did with them. Dave doesn't know if it's related to the Summerslam appearance a few years ago or the XFL announcing gig. Ventura says he has 10 years to exercise those stock options but wouldn't give any further details.
Scott Steiner told WWA he will work their next UK tour but after that, he's going to WWE. Dave is skeptical. Reports are that Steiner was in horrible pain after every match he worked on the last WWA tour and there's significant doubt that his body will hold up to a WWE schedule.
The new Steve Austin "What!" DVD has a lot of WCW footage, including the full Austin vs. Steamboat match from WCW Bash at the Beach 94. Dave doesn't say so, but I believe this is the first time WWE used any of the WCW library for commercial release after they purchased it the year before.
Someone writes in and asks Dave to stop spending so much time writing about steroid use in wrestling and instead says he should write a story about racism in the business. This person writes about the allegations from years back of Dusty Rhodes using the N-work with impunity, or the time DX parodied the Nation by wearing blackface. The WCW discrimination lawsuit, the embarrassing angles they've done with Mark Henry such as Sexual Chocolate, etc. This guy is asking why is it white wrestlers outnumber black wrestlers by 35-to-1 ratio in the U.S. (70-to-1 in Mexico and 80-to-1 in Japan). He wants to know why Dave isn't writing about that stuff. Dave responds and agrees that the blackface DX promo was racist, and it was racist when Buff Bagwell did it in WCW and when Roddy Piper did it in the 80s. Dave says wrestling, especially from the 70s through the 90s, had a horrible history of exploiting stereotypes and/or saying and doing racist things. You can argue it's gotten better, but no doubt the problem still exists. Dave lists some examples but he also pushes back on some others. For example, he's heard people complain that Booker T isn't being used properly due to his race and Dave disagrees. It's true that Booker T probably deserves a bigger push, but you can make the same case for guys like RVD and Jericho and Raven or DDP (when he first debuted, at least) and that didn't happen either, so Dave doesn't necessarily think Booker's lack of top-star push can be blamed on his race (we're less than a year away from Triple H definitively proving otherwise).
There's also 2 letters about the Rock/Hogan match at Wrestlemania and they couldn't be more different. One guy writes in and he can't understand why people are praising that match because if you put aside the hot crowd, it was awful, everyone's moves looked bad, it was embarrassing, etc. and says Hogan should have retired afterward. Then someone else writes in and says he was there live and, taken as a whole, Rock vs. Hogan was the greatest match he's ever seen. Basically the same "love it or hate it" opinion people have about that match to this day. Also, someone else writes in about the recent Low-Ki vs. American Dragon match from an ROH show and puts it up there among some of the greatest matches of all time (listing off several classic WWF matches like Shawn/Razor and Owen/Bret at WM10 for example). So there ya go.
NEXT WEDNESDAY:more fallout from the Plane Ride from Hell, more on the beginning of Jarrett's new NWA-TNA promotion, more on the NJPW Tokyo Dome show, and more...
OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – BAR FIGHT? NOT WITH DOC BIONICFINGERS! Part one.
That reminds me of a story. I’m going cooped-up crazy. Shacky-wacky. Hotel doldrums have set in. Yes, I know. Es and I just got back from a resounding tour of a shipbreaking yard in India. Flew way above First Class. Never had to even touch our luggage. ♫Oh, what fun it is to charter flights. Limos all the way. Hey! ♫. But, the hotel bars here are paling quickly. Quiet. Too quiet. Same old, dull, dazed, and dormant crowd. The Expat population in Dubai is dwindling mightily. The COVID craziness is a madness that is taking a heavy toll. Everything’s shut down. Everyone’s staying at home. I’m almost nostalgic for a good old Dubai 35 car pile-up and traffic jam. Es sees that I’m in a quandary. She had quite a few friends here in Dubai. The ones I had have all left due to cratering oil prices or they’re what’s considered an ‘essential employee’, and thus unavailable. “ROCK! QUIT YOUR PACING!” Es says in her most inimitable manner. “YOU’RE MAKING ME CRAZY!” “A thousand pardons, my darling. But, Boditek. I suffer! Klytus, I’m bored. Bored out of my fucking mind. I can only write so much on the Precambrian Hydrocarbon reservoirs of Eastern Siberia. Television’s a bust, there’s no Netflix, even Pirate Bay is blocked here, and I’m going spare!” I whimper. “Go then. Begone with thee. Go find a dark bar and grab a seat on Mahogany Ridge. You need a night off. Just take your fingers with so you won’t scare the locals. And be home before they open the borders. We want to be first in line when that happens” she says. “By your command!”, I say, grab her around the waist, give her a spin, a quick smooch on the cheek, and pat on the backside before I hit the stairs in our suite in a flat-out gallop to retrieve my now charged digits from their charging port on my nightstand. A few minutes later… Stately, plump Dr. Rocknocker came from the stairhead bearing three incredibly expensive technologically-derived Kevlar-ed digits. He was clad in his finest Desert Fox chino shorts, freshly cleaned and oiled field boots, a new pair of jade Merino Rannoch Luxury Country Socks, best new Hawaiian drinking shirt, a Blasting technician T-shirt and black, recently blocked, Stetson. He was so full of himself, that he actually stopped talking about his own self in the narrative in the third person. “Esme? Darling? I’m off!” I say with a lilt in my voice and a cheeseburger in my pocket. But that’s another story. “You’re off, all right”, Es chuckles. “Now Rock, remember. This is the first time in a long time I’m letting you off the chain, out unsupervised among the general population. Don’t break anyone if you can avoid it and even if someone needs a quick killing, remember, you’re on vacation. OK?” “Oh, my dear!” I chuckle and snicker, “You know me. I wouldn’t kill anyone here in Dubai. There’s no money in it.” “Still. Best behavior?” She admonishes. “I can’t guarantee anything, but I will try,” I reply. “Pinkie promise?” she requests. Damn. One of the few fingers of which left I have a natural set. Now I can’t say that it was just a Kevlar-coated contract. “But of course”, I say as we entwine pinkies. Hers nice, clean, and pink; mine keloidal, gnarled, and scarred. Yeah, it about makes me retch. But Es sort of enjoys these silly things now and again. I’m waiting in the hotel bar for my cab to arrive. I have a quick Long Island Iced Tea or three before I hit the streets. I’ve got this weird hankering for a sports bar. Don’t know why. I hate football, i.e., soccer, cricket, and those other weird forms of ball chasing they call sports over here. But I yearn to be in a bar full of leather, hewn wood, and smoke. Attended by the smell of manly men drinking as they see fit. In Dubai? Fat chance. I ask my driver, who has just arrived, and who will be with me all night; if he minds me smoking, having a drink in a plain brown wrapper, and if he knows of a decent sports bar in Dubai. No. Nope. Quantum Sports Bar. “It’s sort of pricey”, he tells me. My driver for the duration is one Roy Toisuta, an Indonesian chap who looks like he fell off a charm bracelet. In reality, I could make up three of him. But he’s affable, quick on the gas and bound to be a boon companion. He is wiry in that whipsaw sort of kill-you-with-a-paperclip-1000-different-ways sort of manner. Like the human personification of a gaunt wolverine. We’ll get along famously. He tells me he doesn’t drink for whatever reason. He announces that he would wait for me out in the car while I go in and do whatever one does in a Sports Bar in Dubai for a few hours. “Look, Roy”, I say, “I’m on retainer. C’mon in and I’ll buy you dinner and all the coffee, tea, or fizz water you could want. I just need someone non-judgmental. See, I have this affliction. I’m an alcohol-fueled carbon-based organism. I tend to drink a lot, but only to excess. You have any sort of problem with that?” “Well, Rock”, he says, “As long as we’re being honest, I have no problem. The way I see it, the more you drink, the looser your wallet becomes.” “I don’t suppose you’d care to lay a small wager on that conclusion?” I ask, leerily in that strange way I have that makes Komodo Dragons gulp in disbelief. “I’ll bet, after what you told me about your recent confinement, that I’ll be dragging and/or carrying you out of the bar tonight. “ he snickers, dreaming of my very loose wallet and its contents. “You’re going to be tying one on, I can see that.” “You can see me. But you can’t see my past” I think. “Well, you’re not drinking, so what’s in it for me if I win?” I ask. “A free driver for the next week?” he asks. “Want to make it a month? I’m really, really thirsty.” I sneer. “Make it a fortnight.”, he laughs. “Easiest money I’ve ever made. I can barely hold you back.” “Deal”, as we shake hands. He notices my gloves for the first time. “What’s that all about?” he asks. “Industrial accident years ago. Not terribly pretty.” I say. “Oh. OK. Ready to go?” He asks. “Gentlemen”, I announce, “Forward. Drink!” Roy accepts a cigar from one of my travel pocket humidors and we walk up to the entrance. “You be who?” asks the doorman. “Well, my good man, I am the Motherfucking Pro from Dover, and this is my able-bodied companion, Kato”, I say in my most affected Elliott Gould imitation. “What?” he asks trying to corral at least two functioning synapses. “Pardons. I’m Dr. Rocknocker and this is my trusty driver, Roy.” I continue. “Ah. What? Hmm? Who?” was the response. “Oh, I am sorry. Which word confused you?” I asked, most deferentially. “You trying to be smart?” he asks. “Well, I reckoned that at least one of us should,” I replied. He sat there and fumbled with that reply like a nun in a warm bathtub fumbles with a bar of soap. You know the type, she has hope in her soul… As he struggles to come up with an answer, I offer him a cigar the likes of which I’m certain he’s never seen outside of a Hollywoo movie. “Here, my good man. My card.” I say as I hand over a large example of the perfection of the tobacconist’s art. He gratefully accepts the cigar and removes the rope barrier. “Have yourself a good time, gents.” He says. “Oh. We intend to”, I reply. “Ever need anything, just ask for Sandeep” the towering Nepali remarks with a smile. “Thanks. Have a night yourself…”, I reply and stuff another cigar in his shirt pocket for later. He grins wide as Dubai Creek and just as brown. He shoots me a wide smile and a universal thumbs-up sign. “Best to make friends rather than antagonize the locals”, I muse. “You’re an odd bird, Doctor Rocknocker.” Roy chortles. “Roy, it’s just ‘Rock’, OK? It’ll save both time and cuts down on CO2 exhalations. And I’m all for protecting the environment.” I smiled back. Roy chewed on that one for most the rest of the night. The Sports Bar was quiet. Fairly empty, with probably more wait-persons than patrons. One particularly buxom specimen of the female side of the equation welcomed us in an overtly and obviously affected mien. She wanted to show us to a table that was within the sphere of her waitressy influence. “No, thank you”, I said as I spied acres and acres of glistening unoccupied Mahogany with tens of unoccupied seats that both faced the long bar and the several large-screen televisions there. Seemingly bereft of people to wait and prey upon, she ignored us roundly. To her financial detriment as we would all find out during the course of the evening. I chose a likely looking seat at the bar and Roy joined me, cautiously, a seat or two away. “I don’t bite, Roy”, I said. “Social distancing”, he replied. “Ah. Well, I have a fully functional immune system as well as the hardest working liver in the galaxy. I assure you I’m in no way communicable.” I replied, slightly miffed. “Besides, after that cab ride here, whatever ætiology I have, you have as well, and vice versa.” He scooted over one seat but shuttled that seat back to the right about 15 more centimeters. “Some folks just don’t like their personal space invaded”, I surmised. I pulled out one of my cigar cases, a cutter, lighter, and a stack of currencies that I was going to try and get rid of that night. I had freshly minted UK Pounds, Euros of many nations, Indian Rupees, Russian Rubles, Japanese Yen, Chinese Renmimbi, some Uzbek Som, Afghani Afghans, Argentinian Pesos, down under Ozzian Dollarydoos, Mongolian Tugriks, Omani Rials, a few Samoan Tālā, and a bunch of US dollars. How I ended up with that last group remains a mystery. Roy goggled at the stack of weirdly colored and weirdly wonderful currencies of many nations. “Sorry, Roy”, I said, “No Indonesian rupiah. Haven’t been to Jakarta in a long time.” “What the hell are those weird ones there?” he asked. “Which ones?” I chuckled back. It was at that time our reverie was broken. The bartender, one Zac O'Madden, an Irish national currently working for the hotel to which this bar is attached, interrupts our nascent debauch and asks for our drink orders. “Not so fast there!” I say. “Introductions first. We’re not savages here.” Zac chuckles. “You’re obviously American.” “Вы уверены в этом? [Are you certain of that?]”, I say in return. Zac just stands there and laughs. “Та үнэхээр итгэлтэй байна уу? [Are you really certain?]” I ask in Mongolian. “Ĉu vi vere certas? Bạn có thực sự chắc chắn?” “You’re as Russian or whatever that was as I am Kenyan. Now I know it. You’re American.” He says assuredly. “And you have this nasty habit of being correct. I’m Dr. Rocknocker, call me Rock. This slight but solid fellow to my right is Roy, late of Jakarta and Krakatoa, actually west of Java.” I snicker. “And I am Zac O’Madden, of Dublin and points east. Nice to meet you all. What can I get for you?” he asks. After we shake hands in a very manly, indeed, manner, I ask Roy what is his pleasure. “A tall club soda with a twist of lime, on the rocks.” He replies offhandedly. “You’ve done this before”, I observe rather unnecessarily. “Zac, Roy gets what he wants tonight, my tab. I’ll have a Sazerac, hold the sugar. Actually several. You see, on the flight over, I sat through another showing of ’Live and Let Die’, and now I miss Mardi Gras, New Orleans, and Pat O’Brien’s. But I don’t like sweet drinks.” “Coming right up”, Zac says with a well-practiced swish of his bar rag. “Oh, but I’m not finished. I’d also like a beer chaser. A pint of…ah, do you have a beer menu?” I ask, looking down the long row of tappers. “Coming up”, he says, and races off to find me one. A few minutes later he returns with my cocktail, Roy’s fizz water, and a bar beer menu. I raise my glass to Zac and then to Roy. We clink and I say, “I like this guy. And I like this bar. We’re going to have us a large night.” I drain my unsweet Sazerac in one go. Hey. I was thirsty. Needs a scootch more absinthe I observe. Roy and Zac just sort of stare, wide-eyed, as I peruse the beer menu. Nice menu, nice diversity. Oh, very nice. “I’ll have the Asahi Kuronama Black if you don’t mind. Plus another Sazerac, a bit more absinthe if you please. You see, I have this genetic condition I need to keep in balance.” I grinned. Zac looked at me like I had some sort of adverse medical condition. “You OK, Rock?” he asked most earnestly. “Look, Zac, I just met you and you’re a hell of a tarbender, far be it from me to tell you your job, but you see, there is this…” I said, trailing off. “Yes?” His was a look of genuine concern. The genuine concern he won’t own that pile of currency on the bar in front of me by the end of the night. “Yeah. Genetics dealt me a weird hand. See. I’m an ethanol-fueled carbon-based organism…” Roy just rolled his eyes. Zac looked puzzled. “Yeah, I require alcohol in good-tasting and heroic amounts on a regular basis. I also have to smoke huge, black cigars in order to moderate the bioreactor.” I smiled, as I leaned back and fired up a heater. Zac looked at me. Chewed over what I said for a moment or two. He shrugged his shoulders, grabbed my empty glass, and said, “OK, whatever. Round two in moments.” Roy went to ask me something, thought better of it, and just leaned over and grabbed my Zippo from Irkutsk. He looked at the cameo-relief silver and amber city crest attached to the lighter, flipped it open, and tried firing up his cigar. “They draw better if you cut the end first,” I said, absently; and not looking, just hand him my V-cutter. Zac returns with a new Sazerac, a chilled bottle of Asahi Kuronama Black, a tall pilsner glass, and a new club soda for Roy. I puffed my cigar, drained another Sazerac in one go, tried the Japanese black beer, and found it to my liking. I leaned back to observe what sort of sports carnage they were observing on the big screens. Roy just looked at me with wide eyes but said nothing. The evening wore on. After a couple or twelve more Sazeracs, I decided it was time to teach Zac the finer points of mixology via premium vodka, bubbly citrus, ice, and lime wheels. I also found that they had a stock of Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844, from China. “PBR!”, I almost yelled, “Holy wow! I grew up on the stuff.” “Not this stuff, Rock”, Zac said, “Look at the price. We only got a small amount due to a shipping error. It’s not sold outside of China normally.” It was UAE 165 per bottle, about US$45, and worth every dirham. Zak was amazed when I told him to go ahead and have one on Roy and me. “Really, Rock?”, Zac exclaimed. “The usual buggers here are so tight, they hum when the wind blows. Hardly anyone buys me a drink. Except for you Americans. Finest kind.” “That’s me. An international ambassador of amity and alcohol,”, I say and toast in his general direction. “Crack tubes!” Roy was getting tired as a newt. Evidently not drinking, listening to old war stories, and watching recorded US Football games due to the COVID lack of anything live, can take its toll as well. I’m going strong as I’m asking Zac to explain what the fuck cricket is all about. “So, let me get this straight,” I say, ordering another double cocktail and a couple of PBR chasers for Zac and myself. “The guy on the mound runs up and pitches to the guy dressed in the body armor. He uses a bent 2x4 to defend the wicket, which, if I recall correctly, can be sticky. Then he keeps the aliens from stealing the stumps and burning them to ashes in Australia...” “God”, Zac exclaims, “You’re fucking hopeless.” “Everything I know about cricket I learned from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the galaxy.” I smiled proudly. “That was rather obvious…” Zac sheeshed. He left to attend to another patron, a loud and woozy Kiwi. I looked at the source of all the bad noise and in my inattention, just clicked my full beer glass. I inadvertently violated Rule #1 and spilled a small soupçon of expensive, imported beer onto my left hand. “Whoops!”, I said and stripped off my sodden left-hand glove. I used Zac’s bar towel to sop up the bar and dry my techno-digits. Roy looked not only at my ‘whoops’, but goggled my Japanese one-off, so far, electro-fingers. “Rock. What the hell, man. I mean, what the fuck. Are those for real?” he asked. “Yeah, they are a new prototype and I’m the lab rat.”, I said, waggling them and seeing that something as mundane a beer spill could never possibly injure them. By this time, Zac wanders back, sees I’ve used his bar rag, and looks at my hand for real for the first time. “What the fuck, Rocko? You some sort of cyborg?” he asks. “By definition; yes, I am. And my grandfather used to call me that. Thanks.”, I replied. “But, yeah, I’m an alcohol-fueled one at that,” I say, tapping and pointing rather pointedly at my currently unpopulated cocktail glass. Zac returns with a reload. He and Roy demand to know the whole story. “If you must pry…” I say. “Oh, we must, we must”, they reply in unison. So, I regale them with the tale of the Siberian rig. The blowout, fire, and the moderately overzealous Russian FNG. “Rock, I don’t know if that’s true, but by your appearance, it has to be. Let me buy you a drink.” Zac says. Roy asks for a Molson Light. “Roy! You old fraud.” I said. “I usually don’t drink. But after that story, I think I need something cold, wet, and with a little punch.” He said, staring at my hand. “Then you’ve chosen well”, as I down another Rocknocker, sip at my PBR and snip a new cigar. “Rock, can I ask you a question?” Roy asks. Zac is polishing our spot at the bar insistently. I think he has a question or two as well. “Sure. Go nuts.” I reply, puffing on my new cigar and sipping this lovely amber 1844 brew. He crouches conspiratorially and asks in a low sotto voce: “Is that why you drink as you do? To dull the pain? From the accident. That’s it, right? Isn’t it?” Roy asks, almost genuinely concerned. I laughed loud and long. I chuckled, snorted, and had to calm myself with gulps of my beer and cocktail. “Roy, Roy, Roy…I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m from Baja Canada originally. I’m a multiply-degreed petroleum geologist. I’ve lived and worked in Russia for many, many years. And, as I’ve said, I’m an ethanol-fueled organism. Quadruple perfect storm. My fingers don’t hurt. Or they might, I have no idea. I don’t even know where hell they are.” I laughed at my own witty repartee. Roy actually paled some. He took a long draught of his anemic beer and just stared at me. Zac had disappeared. He presently returned with a bottle of Beluga Gold Line Vodka. “Rock, after that, this one’s for you. On the house.” He said. “Only if you will join me. And let me pay for yours.” I said. Zac agrees. The shnozzled Kiwi from previous in the narrative staggers by and hears the tag-end of our conversation. He leans over to grab the expensive bottle of vodka and says “Don’t mind if I do.” “None for you, asshole. You’re lucky I let you stay here waiting on a cab” Zac growls, and grabs the bottle away. The Kiwi looks at Zac. He looks at Roy. Then he looks at me, my drinks, cigar, and the smaller pile of currency on the bar. He may have been loaded, but something swam upstream against his internal current of booze and made him decide that right now, discretion was the better part of valor. He toddled unsteadily away. “Asswipe”, Zac spits, “He’s here every other month. He pays for his drinks, but he can’t hold them. Never once tips or buys a round. General asshole. Still, management won’t let me toss nor ban him.” “Some people”, I distastefully agreed and poured Zac and myself a healthy double-tot of the fine, smooth, and icy vodka. “I weep for our species sometimes.” I insisted Zac join me. I asked Roy if he’d like a taste. “Thanks, Rock. But you’ve already been too much of a bad influence on me.” he smiled, and tipped his almost empty pilsner glass. “OK, no pressure. I may drink like a school of belugas, but if someone else doesn’t want to, I respect that all day long. Still, the offer stands.” I continue. “I’ll think about it, Rock. I’m still not over how you can just sit there and joke about your cybernetic fingers and how you got them. I’d…I don’t know. I don’t want to think about it. “ he shudders. “Want to see the scar on my leg where I got shot with a .45? Or the scar on my coconut from a hunk of falling ice on a drilling rig?” I asked. “Fuck no!”, Roy almost screams. “What the hell. You held together by scar tissue?” ”That. Baling wire and Duct Tape.” I laughed, “And people wonder why I drink.” “I thought so!” Roy exclaimed. “I drink because I chose to. I can stop anytime. In fact, I stopped smoking and drinking once; by nothing more than sheer force of will.” I said proudly. “Really?” Roy asked. “Yep”, I replied, “It was the worst 45 minutes of my life.” To be continued…
4 Proven Betting Systems That Work. I remember when I first started searching for a proven betting system googling the term “ betting systems.” There was all sorts of progressive staking systems, martingale systems, stop at a winner systems, progressive laying systems.The fact was though that none of these betting systems held up to any long term analysis and would normally blow your bank Low Key Soccer Betting. Aimed at betting on the over 2.5 goals and other related markets. Includes a book titled "Betting on Over 2.5 Goals: The Ultimate Guide", which includes 18 different systems and statistical analysis. The book explains the reasoning behind each of the systems and how they performed during testing. Get Your Free Betting System Here. Everyone knows that some of the best betting systems are in fact free, so don’t be fooled in thinking you can’t get quality information without getting your wallet out. This system is really easy to use and in fact made £1450 on premiership betting last season, not bad for a freebie. You can find an overview of the best betting strategies at our betting strategies main page. At the end of the day you are looking for a way to beat the bookie and having a plan in place, like a football betting system, is going to lend a big hand in that.Here we take a look at some of the most popular and simple soccer betting systems that punters to get started with. In-play betting allows a completely new way to think about betting on football. If you need a refresher, head to our guide on in-play betting which lays out everything you need to know. Unlike pre-match wagers, it’s not really possible to apply the same strategies or systems to in-play betting.
FOOTBALL BETTING STRATEGY: HEAVY FAV MEANS OVER 2.5 GOALS? (Market Correlation)
You take 2 games and if you only get 1 right, you win your money back ! If you would like to get some more inspiration for your sports bets, please check out my channel and the rest of my video's ... FRIDAY 26/06 - 1X2 BETTING FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS - SOCCER TIPS -FIXED ODDS - BETTING SYSTEMS - Duration: 1:17. BetSystemChannel 564 views. 1:17. 1X2 BETTING PREDICTIONS - EURO 2020 ... SATURDAY 13/06 - 1X2 BETTING FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS - SOCCER TIPS - FIXED ODDS - BETTING SYSTEMS - Duration: 3:03. BetSystemChannel 630 views. 3:03. WEDNESDAY 17/06 ... Say we start by betting one chip on Low numbers (1-18). If it doesn't hit after 1 spin, we bet 1 chip on 1st Dozen (1-12). If it doesn't hit after 1 spin, we bet 1 chip on Double-street 7-12. System that gives you a chance to win up to 1000 x your bet. Like my channel and subscribe as I will be releasing new systems soon DONATE TO HELP US CREATE WEBSITE FOR YOU: https://www.paypal.me ...