“Gears of War” Review by Jesse Schaffer

Cut off the head of the snake, and the body dies. We will win this war. It’s only a matter of time. 

One of the things I wanted to do when Kevin and I started Pegboard was to incorporate video game reviews into our content. Not necessarily because I am an expert on the subject and am out to enlighten people, but rather that I just really admire games these days and think they are worth talking about. When I approached Kevin about the idea, I was convinced that he would share my enthusiasm for the project. “Yeah, you should take that,” he said. “It’s not really my thing.” Well then. So much for that.

However, you shouldn’t judge him based on that one exchange. The dude is halfway around the world right now, living the celebrity life and handing out his autograph everywhere he goes (no, I’m serious, ask him). He has more pressing matters at hand than to embrace his inner geek for the enjoyment of our beloved followers. I, on the other hand, have far more free time than a 24-year old man should and am happy to fill in the gap while Kevin is away. And now that the Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Wii U are fully entrenched as the current-gen consoles, I think it’s an opportune time to look back at some of my favorite games from the previous cycle and cherish the hundreds upon thousands of hours I spent playing them by myself while dating absolutely no one.

So here we go, come join me on this digital trip down memory lane. First up: Gears of War. 

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WWE: Tables, Ladders, Chairs, and… Boy, Did That Suck by Jesse Schaffer

My god, where do I even begin?

The last time I wrote about wrestling, Bray Wyatt had just screwed Dean Ambrose in his match against Seth Rollins at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. While many were not thrilled with the finish, I suggested that putting Wyatt and Ambrose together could wind up being best for both of them: Wyatt would get a chance to reemerge as a top heel and Ambrose could continue his ascension as the no. 2 babyface behind John Cena. Despite having just an okay match at Survivor Series and a lukewarm build towards the rematch at TLC, when WWE decided to put these two in the main event (over the much more hyped Cena vs. Rollins Tables Match) I thought that we might finally see my prediction come to fruition.  I was desperately hoping for something special.

Instead, WWE shat all over an otherwise solid TLC match with one of the worst finishes in recent memory. Ambrose wasn’t done in by a vicious and calculating Wyatt, but rather a malfunctioning piece of equipment. When Ambrose went to hit Wyatt with a camera, he forgot to unplug it first, it exploded in his face and Wyatt capitalized for the victory. What was that noise, you ask? It’s the sound of about 3 million wrestling fans farting in unison.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

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Broncos Lack a Championship Mindset by Jesse Schaffer

Sunday’s game against the Rams was a lot like your classic schoolyard fight, featuring the quiet pipsqueak vs the bully who beats up every kid who crosses him. No one gives the pipsqueak a chance, because well, he’s a pipsqueak. He has no business winning the fight and everyone expects another massacre, but then the fight starts and the pipsqueak walks right up to the bully and punches him in the nose. The bully is shocked, the other kids are shocked and even the pipsqueak can’t believe it, but that’s just the beginning. He keeps coming at the bully with lefts and rights and eventually the bully gives up, not because he is physically unable to win at that point, but because he is mentally psyched out.

If you have the stones to do so, go back and watch that game and that’s exactly what you’ll see. The Rams open up the first quarter as the aggressor; they take shots down the field in the passing game, pound the Broncos’ defense with their running game and relentlessly assault Peyton Manning with creative blitz packages. They take the lead, receive a huge boost in confidence and never let up for a second. Meanwhile, the Broncos do little to adjust and seem to believe that just because they are more talented, they will prevail in the end. What we have here is a severe oversight by the Broncos and a lesson that they should have already known – on any given Sunday, any shrimp can kick your ass if you don’t match his intensity.

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Walking Dead Rankings: Reunited and It’s been Pretty Damn Good

Kevin likes to joke with me that we’re basically a Walking Dead blog because this is the only thing we keep up with. Everything else, whether it be movie reviews or sports articles, gets pretty much left by the wayside and before we know it The Walking Dead is already back for its next season. As much as I hate to admit it, he does have a valid point; we don’t do enough for this site and there’s really no excuse for it. I’m not going to promise that we’re going to post more. I’ve done that time and time again. What I’d rather do is let my actions speak for me and the only way to accomplish that is to actually get off my ass and write some more. We’ll see what happens, but in the meantime we do have an obligation to keep up with our Dead Rankings, and this season that comes with a catch.

You see, Kevin’s life has changed a great deal in the past couple of months. He’s now a married man and has left the country for a while in order to seek adventure and indoctrinate children from other parts of the world into thinking that Survivor and the Denver Broncos are the two greatest things in existence. Point being, there’s no guarantee how often he will be able to catch the latest episode, much less contribute to our Dead Rankings.

In the meantime, I will be forced to improvise. My half of the rankings will still make it up every week from here on out, but Kevin’s might not always make it. Without further adieu, here we go!

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Hell in a Cell Fallout by Jesse Schaffer

Last night’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view was supposed to feature the culmination of the bitter feud between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, and when WWE allowed them to main event the program over John Cena and Randy Orton, the reaction from the fans was one of relief and pure joy. Not only were the more deserving superstars going on last, but finally Ambrose would exact his revenge against Rollins and go over clean in the biggest win of his career. And that certainly seemed to be where the bout was heading, only WWE and Bray Wyatt had other ideas. Just as Ambrose was set to deliver the final blow, the lights went out and lo and behold, along came a spider in the form of Wyatt to ruin Ambrose’s big night. Rollins stole another victory and just when we thought we were going to get some answers, WWE changes the questions.

That’s the second pay-per-view in a row where the main event has been tainted by outside interference, and this time it seems we have a bit of a mixed reaction. I wasn’t just being dramatic when I said that people wanted to see Ambrose beat Rollins fair and square. After all, Ambrose has yet to score a big win during this feud and the Hell in a Cell match seemed like his best chance to finally go over. It didn’t go down that way and some people aren’t very happy about it. While I certainly want to see Ambrose defeat Rollins once and for all, I think last night’s finish is a good thing for all involved. Here’s why.

First of all, let me be quick to point out that I thought the main event was outstanding. In an era where Hell in a Cell matches aren’t the bloody massacres that they used to be thanks to WWE’s PG rating, you have to get creative to make them feel special. Earlier in the night, Cena and Orton went out and had the same match they’ve had a million times, doing little to capitalize on the fact that this was the first time they’ve squared off in the cell. Ambrose and Rollins did about everything they could to make their bout memorable, including starting their match on top of the cell and careening off the side of it through the announce tables in the most badass spot of the night. Oh, and there was no shortage of steel chair shots and and tables once they finally made it inside, with Ambrose at one point elbow dropping Rollings through a table between the ring and the cell. It all felt very raw and visceral and it certainly stands out from everything else they’ve done.

This is a huge boost for Dean Ambrose, who fully delivered as the valiant hero and as the Lunatic Fringe that he so enjoyably portrays. The crowd so desperately wanted him to emerge victorious and when that was snatched away from him by Wyatt, I think it garnered him even more support. Moving forward, he isn’t only the no. 2 guy in the company, but is now a proven hand when asked to deliver in the spotlight. Even when Roman Reigns returns, it’s hard to imagine the crowd suddenly favoring him over his former Shield compatriot, and that could once again force WWE to improvise on the fly come Wrestlemania season. Can you imagine how epic it would be if Ambrose was somehow able to dethrone Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania, only to have Rollins cash in on him and steal the title? That would be a hell of way to reignite a feud which still hasn’t seen a definitive ending. I’m giddy just thinking about it.

Shifting my attention to the feud with Wyatt, Ambrose gets a break from Rollins and can enter a fresh program with an adversary that he already has some history with. The showdowns between The Shield and the Wyatt Family earlier in the year were awesome and this is something that’s worked for WWE before. Triple H and The Rock had a lot of chemistry together when DX took on The Nation, but it was their bouts after they left those groups when everything really came together. Some will argue that the heat Wyatt earned from the fans last night was directed more at WWE Creative than the character itself, but I think regardless it gave us a reason to be legitimately pissed off at Wyatt again. He sorely needed that after he was buried by Cena last month, and with the WWE Champion not appearing every week, there is plenty of room for Wyatt to become the monster heel that we all know he can be. If nothing else, the promos and segments between Ambrose and Wyatt will be innovative and captivating as all hell, and that will help solidify this as the most intriguing feud in the company for the foreseeable future.

As for Mr. Money in the Bank himself, Rollins scored another win thanks to help from others, which secures his role as the WWE’s resident slimy heel. My personal preference would be for Randy Orton to turn on the Authority and specifically target Rollins out of spite, and it certainly seems they could be heading that way after Rollins curbstomped the Viper to end Raw last week. However, with Cena not having much to do until Brock Lesnar comes back and Reigns likely returning himself sooner rather than later, those are two other options that would make at least some sense storyline-wise but ultimately would be far less satisfying. Just like Ambrose, Rollins proved that he can be a legitimate main-eventer last night and that should keep him near  the top of the card going forward. But seriously, please let it be him cashing in on Ambrose and not on Reigns next spring.

WWE doesn’t have the greatest track record for delivering satisfying payoffs for their top feuds and storylines, and I think that’s where part of the fan angst over how Hell in a Cell ended is coming from. They’ve screwed shit like this up before and could very well screw it up again. Personally, I’m taking the glass half-full approach and to me an Ambrose/Wyatt program will be more beneficial than hurtful for both of their careers. I think Rollins should do fine in feuding with one of those other guys and as long as WWE Creative can get the fuck out of it’s own way and just let Ambrose and Wyatt do their thing, there should be no problems. I know that’s probably a lot to ask, but hey, when you’re a fan of the Lunatic Fringe, anything is possible.

Mo’ Playmakers Mo’ Problems by Kevin G

Sports fans sure have changed. Before all fans did was cheer on the guys in their favorite team’s jerseys. These days though, it seems that everybody is an armchair GM. It is honestly my favorite part of being a fan. I love to imagine the decisions I would make if it were my team.

Of course being a fan I only have a limited amount of knowledge. I don’t pretend to completely understand all of the workings of the salary cap. And I am no expert when it comes to understanding all of the intricacies of building a roster. But I can pretend and that is what I am going to do here today.

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