What’s the best way to totally croosh the major life trauma of severing a bond to another human being? Can one forget their supposed soul mate by losing themselves in another culture? Does seeking out the friends we know will indulge our bad habits (at least, for a little bit) actually help in processing grief? Is there peace to be found in forging a new identity, or pretending to laugh it off until it doesn’t hurt so much anymore? The answer, of course, is much more nebulous than that; as Diane realizes in “The Dog Days Are Over”, another powerhouse episode of BoJack Horseman, the only cure for a broken heart is the same cure for Todd’s frozen tongue – the slow, painful, haunting passage of time until the numbing effect of sadness slowly begins to subside.
Diane’s Ten Steps to Dominating Divorce, the backdrop of “The Dog Days Are Over”, is not an eternally self-defeating exercise, however. As Diane stumbles through the initial weeks of her breakup with Mr. Peanutbutter, BoJack Horseman slowly offers glimpses of a Diane coming to terms with the end of her marriage. The predictable crisis of identity presents Diane with the rare opportunity; to run away from the external problems of her life in Los Angeles, while still being able to fulfill a personal journey of self-definition she’s craved since the early days of season two (when she was negotiating to write a book about a self-gratifying war “hero”).
Or in the very least, attempt that journey: Diane certainly lost herself in Vietnamese culture, though, as she often did in her marriage to Mr. PB, she kind of let it happen to her. She couldn’t bring herself to wear the traditional garb she’d bought when she first landed in Hanoi, and instead just pretending to be a local to ignorant Americans wandering around the city (or shooting a Hollywoo action franchise film with Laura Linney, of course). Alone in a strange land, Diane found herself falling into old habits, allowing the world around her to define her, like last season when her position at Girl Croosh turned into her raging against the machine of her husband’s foolish run for governor. BoJack certainly wasn’t a very helpful guide in the days and weeks before her trip, but the lack of any sort of emotional anchor in Vietnam drove Diane right back into her worst tendencies, even though she was always acting with the best intentions.
As painful as it is to watch Diane struggle through grief (especially considering the note it ends on), Diane’s ultimate declaration that at least she’s able to survive alone strikes the kind of raw, honest tone only BoJack Horseman offers. As sad and low as that final moment feels, it’s also Diane’s first real moment of strength in the episode, the first moment where she stops letting others guide her, and she begins to build her identity in her own image. Knowing there’s not going to be a moment of clarity or happiness that involves Mr. Peanutbutter again is a dark moment we all experience with a lost love; and though it often takes a long time to process it, the simple knowledge of one’s ability to survive those traumatic moments are impact in rebuilding a sense of self.
Because that’s really what happens at the end of an important, lasting relationship: the phrase “two become one” is a laughable trope, but it rings true in human relationships, be it marriages, important friendships, or even casual acquaintances. The severance of those bonds, as inevitable and repetitive as they can be through our lives, are the destruction of the very things that define us. We often view ourselves, as people, in the context of those around us: there’s a comfort in the confirmation of self, the understanding the others see us as the way we see ourselves. The loss of that presents a crisis of identity; because after all, if we are who we thought we are, all relationships would last forever, right?
As Diane wanders through Vietnam, struggling to connect with her heritage, fellow Americans, and the people closest to her, the central thesis of “The Dog Days Are Over” slowly brings itself to the surface, offering a contrast to the popular ideal of the five stages of grief (aka humanity’s original shitty listicle). Like the rest of life’s challenges, there is no straight line from sad to happy: the cycle of happiness and sadness is a raging river of bullshit, and it is a supreme struggle to fight against those emotional currents, especially when the anchors, both physical and mental, are suddenly severed and gone. It’s why we often make terrible, damaging mistakes in the face of great traumas; processing these things is not as simple as a lengthy vacation across the world, or a haircut, or telling our closest friends that we’re just fine. Diane knows she’s making the right decision for herself; but as that truth becomes an idiom to repeat in her loneliest moments, it never makes the experience any easier.
The right thing often hurts like hell; the facade of Hollywoo (and Hanoiwoo) cinema lets Diane believe in the false prophet of narrative resolution, that there is a definitive light at the end of a long tunnel of depression and doubt. Masterfully, “The Dog Days Are Over” never reaches for that single, definitive moment; instead, it recreates the twisted, confusing mosaic of emotions and suggests that maybe, the best way for us to begin healing is to let shit just be ugly for a little while.
As effective as this episode is emotionally, however, it’s worth noting how often it attempts to engage with Diane’s Vietnamese heritage, but never feels like it can find anything tangible to tether it to. Though I’m not of Vietnamese descent, it’s clear “The Dog Days Are Over” wasn’t written with the intent of tapping into some deep historical knowledge of Diane’s cultural heritage; the score over the opening sequences are an unfortunate beacon of the hollow engagement this episode offers when it comes to portraying Vietnamese culture.
Admittedly, it’s not the goal of the episode to be a history lesson, but how often the episode teases and then immediately retracts from a more serious, honest engagement with the country and its relation to Diane, makes it feel a bit weaker as a framing device. Though this facade of knowledge almost works on a meta level, Diane’s carefully constructed mirage of happiness falling apart parallels the episode’s own struggles with a deeper, more complete understanding of Vietnamese culture, and how it is important to Diane’s journey (like, say, Diane’s various goals and identities waging war on her very soul, which both halves of Vietnam suffered through time and time again over the last 200 years).
Cultural shortcomings aside, “The Dog Days Are Over” is a strong character piece for Diane, a nice bit of redemption for someone who’d slipped into the background at various points during season four. It is always fascinating to see how BoJack Horseman explores very specific brands of grief and how they spiral into existential crises; the death of a marriage is but one of a long line of moments where BoJack’s understanding of humanity’s self-defeating nature crystallizes into poetic clarity. “The Dog Days Are Over” may not be the most effective example of this through the series, but the emotional roller coaster ride Diane experiences hits particularly hard, if only because it is the second episode of the season, which means there is still plenty of room for things to spiral downward from here.
– “That screen’s my supervisor” might be the most single terrifying line in the history of the series.
– Stefani Stilton calls Diane in the middle of her immersive 3D spin clas- oh wait, she’s just biking.
– interesting detail “The Dog Days Are Over” mentions, but never returns to: Diane’s father was a professor of history at Tufts University.
– “I need younger, newer, fresher words to FEED THE BEAST!”
– Todd’s subplot is the most inane, lazy subplot ever, and I absolutely adored it.
– “I’m a sad, sad girl with a terrible, dirty apartment.”
– we should not take the sight of Stefani “accidentally” exterminating the entire IT department lightly.
– “You learn that you can survive being alone.”
Star Trek: Picard: “Remembrance” Introduces a Different Picard
The question ‘which Star Trek captain is your favorite?’ is perhaps one of the easier questions to answer when discussing Star Trek. For all the charm of Captain Kirk and the intimidation that Captain Sisko imposes, none have been quite so complete has Captain Jean-Luc Picard; a role made much easier when the character is portrayed by one of the greatest living actors, Sir Patrick Stewart. So when Star Trek: Picard was announced, expectations were always going to be high, and when the first episode, “Remembrance” aired, expectations were delivered.
In Star Trek: Next Generation, there are some sublime performances by Sir Patrick Stewart that leave Captain Picard as one of the most emotionally distressing characters in the franchise as a whole. From his breakdown in Season 4, Episode 2, when he visits his brother after being detached from the Borg, to Season 6, Episodes 10 and 11, where Picard is interrogated by the Cardassians, resulting in his torture, there have been moments that have changed Picard resulting in the man we see in Star Trek: Picard.
Indeed, “Remembrance” was entirely emotional from start to finish. This isn’t a Star Trek of the past but a drama for the future. From the ongoing suspense to the incredible orchestra to help define each moment, this is a different Star Trek to other modern adaptions such as Star Trek: Discovery, with a cliff hanger so intense that I’m not sure whether it’s the Romulans or the Borg to be worrying about.
“Remembrance” starts with Picard dreaming about playing poker with Data, only for the planet Mars to ignite in a series of flames and Picard waking up in the panic. Later on, it is shown that synthetic lifeforms attacked Mars previously, which led to a ban on artificial lifeforms in the Federation. This hindered the rescue efforts to save refugees after the Romulan star went supernova, resulting in Picard resigning from Starfleet.
It’s a lot of detail in a relatively short period of time, and Sir Patrick Stewart does a wonderful job of ensuring the mood remains mellow. In fact, it’s a testament to the writers themselves, who have managed to show the viewers the background story in remarkable detail without it feeling too heavy or forced. This sets up perfectly for Picard to meet Dahj, a synthetic lifeform whose life is in danger.
Isa Briones does a fantastic job of portraying the emotional distress that Dahj is in, particularly when her boyfriend is murdered right in front of her eyes. Her strengths are shown in great detail, with numerous small fight scenes with Vulcan assassins, right until her premature death. The problem is sometimes these fight scenes seem like they’ve been taken out of a Marvel film. While it’s great Star Trek continues to adapt to a modern audience, not every feature on TV needs to emulate Marvel; the less of Marvel we have the better.
On that note, it will be interesting to see which direction the series decides to take. Is it going to be more of Picard leading the way in space, or will the series divulge into a Marvel-esque series of action-packed fight scenes? The box has been opened and there are a lot of toys to choose from, let’s hope the writers chose wisely! Or if not, at least we already know Picard can guide the starship, no matter what peril might await us.
Worlds Collide: NXT vs NXT UK— Another Truly Great PPV
Worlds Collide as a brand has been subtly growing within WWE over the past year. The first edition happened on Royal Rumble weekend in 2019. It featured a 15 man tournament with stars from NXT, NXT UK, and 205 Live. The next round happened in New York over the 2019 WrestleMania weekend with matches pitting stars from all WWE shows against each other.
What happened on Saturday was the first Worlds Collide branded pay-per-view event. If you missed it, you missed out. It was amazing.
Build up started at NXT UK TakeOver: BlackPool II, when the Undisputed Era appeared and attacked Imperium as the show went off the air. Since then, matches have been booked that pitted some of the best talents both brands have against each other.
Kay Lee Ray vs Mia Yim
This match went down on the Worlds Collide pre-show but it was at main event quality.
NXT UK Women’s Champion faced off in a singles match against Yim, an incredible start to the rookie pay-per-view. Kay Lee Ray has proven herself to be an excellent heel champ while Yim is over with the fans.
While Yim lost, she looked great doing it. Ray cemented herself as a main event player in this match, as she always does. Yim is ready for the main event so it’s time to put her in the mix.
Finn Bálor vs Ilja Dragunov
For a lot of fans in the arena, Worlds Collide was their first introduction to Ilja Dragunov and they weren’t sure how to feel about him. Unless you watch NXT UK a lot, you’re not going to know him. The crowd didn’t really respond when he came out.
They sure knew Finn Bálor, though.
Despite the fact that Bálor has gone full heel, fans have not given up cheering for him. They were firmly behind Bálor for the bulk of the match. But as it went on, they got a better look at Dragunov and starter showing him some love.
It was a solid opening match, but not a super memorable one. Dragunov was an odd choice to face Bálor given the depth of talent on NXT UK. Watching him face Joe Coffey would have been better. The crowd really only came alive when Bálor headed for the top rope and finished Dragunov off.
Fatal 4-Way For The NXT Cruiserweight Championship
Bringing the Cruiserweight Division closer to the overall NXT brand is a great decision. Showcasing this title match on Worlds Collide was an even better one. Jordan Devlin, Travis Banks, and Isaiah “Swerve” Scott were all chasing Angel Garza for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.
This was an absolutely incredible match featuring talent from all over the world. While everyone looked great, Travis Banks, in particular, showed why he belongs in the main event picture. That’s regardless of the brand he’s performing on.
Similarly, Swerve continues to build his personal brand. A championship run is inevitably in his future as every match he has is better than the last.
Ultimately, Jordan Devlin picked up the surprise, but well deserved, win and became the new champion. It was a surprise simply because Garza won the belt less than two months ago. Plus, no one expected the belt to go to the UK on Worlds Collide.
Still, Devlin will make a great champion. It will be interesting to see how that belt moving across an ocean will play out in the long term.
#DIY vs Moustache Mountain
There was no championship on the line. There was no bad blood between them. This was just two truly great tag teams going at it in a match that stole the show on Worlds Collide.
Moustache Mountain’s Trent Seven and Tyler Bate are mainstays of the NXT UK. On NXT, the reunited members of #DIY, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, are core to the brand. Having these two teams face off was an incredibly meaningful moment.
The match was lighthearted at times, filled with moments that were genuinely funny. Once the match got rolling, each of the four superstars got to show why they are as respected as they are in the industry. They are truly four of the best in the business, in any company.
#DIY won but that almost didn’t matter. To borrow an apt cliche, those who watched were the true winners. After the match, the two teams shared an honest moment of sportsmanship, something fans rarely get to see in a wrestling ring.
Rhea Ripley vs Toni Storm
Worlds Collide was the first challenge for the new NXT Champion, Rhea Ripley. She was the inaugural NXT UK Women’s Champion but lost the title to Toni Storm. Ripley never had a rematch before moving to NXT.
During her NXT UK tenure, Ripley only lost two singles matches, one of which cost her a championship. Unsurprisingly, she wanted to redeem that by successfully defending her new championship from Storm, which she did.
The match was well executed but not particularly engaging. Storm got the title shot by asking for it, and without having to earn it through competition. There wasn’t really enough build-up to it to hook the audience in fully.
Fortunately, both wrestlers are great enough at what they do to sell anything in the ring.
Undisputed Era vs Imperium
NXT and NXT UK both have dominant four-man factions who have devastated the competition. It only makes sense to have them face off on Worlds Collide.
While the Walter-led Imperium is always looking to rule the ring, Undisputed Era was hungrier for the win. Keith Lee broke the UE prophecy when he took Roderick Strong’s North American Championship in an epic match the Wednesday before the pay-per-view.
But early in the match, Imperium found themselves a man down when Alexander Wolfe was legit knocked out. He took a rough shot from Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong. The ref stopped the match and the doctors took him to the back. Wolfe never returned to the match.
This left Imperium with a four to three disadvantage, which made their win even more impressive. Everyone looked great, but Walter stole the match as always. He brutalized everyone he was in the ring with and fans were firmly behind him. WWE would be well advised to make good use of him going forward. The man is a star!
After the pay-per-view was over, Triple H confirmed Wolfe’s injury but not the severity of it. Wolfe tweeted that he was fine, thanking the ref and medical staff for taking care of him. Hopefully, it’s nothing that will keep him down for long.
Greatest Royal Rumble Matches
One Versus All
WrestleMania may be regarded as the Super Bowl of the WWE but of the other three major pay-per-view events, The Royal Rumble has often given us better matches over the years. Yes, the Survivor Series and King of the Ring have had their fair share of moments, but the Royal Rumble is without a doubt the second-biggest wrestling PPV on the planet.
What makes the Royal Rumble so exciting is how it sets up the most prominent storylines on the programming for the remainder of the year. The Royal Rumble is simply put, the start of playoff season and a steppingstone for WWE superstars to prepare for their big moment at WrestleMania. It really is a seminal event on the WWE calendar and has often launched the wrestlers to superstar’s status.
A Brief History of the Royal Rumble
Credit for the Royal Rumble can be given to Pat Patterson who came up with the original idea when brainstorming an event that would be bigger and better than the Battle Royale. The concept was simple really; unlike the Battle Royale which begins with all twenty participants in the ring, the Royal Rumble would instead start with only two superstars and have the remaining participants join the match every two minutes thereafter. And to up the ante, instead of having only twenty wrestlers, the Royal Rumble includes thirty superstars who battle it out for a title shot in the main event of WrestleMania (except for in 1992, when Ric Flair won the WWE Championship by winning the titular match ).
If you had to choose just one reason as to why the Royal Rumble is one of the most anticipated pay-per-view events, it would be because you never really know what to expect. Aside from anticipating who’ll come out next during the main event— and guessing who will eliminate who— we’re also left wondering who’ll make a long-overdue comeback after being away from the WWE for months – sometimes years.
We’ve seen big men like Kane eliminate eleven opponents in a row, and a superstar like Shawn Michaels become the first wrestler to win the Rumble after entering first. We watched Undertaker get locked in a casket and set on fire and we witnessed The Rock and Mankind battle it out in an “I Quit” match that temporarily led to a power failure and left the entire arena in the dark. There’s just no shortage of over the top moments at the Royal Rumble such as Kofi Kingston’s creative ways to avoid elimination or the surprise entrance by AJ Styles. The Royal Rumble is where dreams are made, careers are ended, and over the years, fans have witnessed some of the most intense rivalries take shape at the event.
The Royal Rumble is without question, an important PPV and has been a part of a tradition dating all the way back to 1988. We’ve seen many of the most iconic wrestlers win the multi-man brawl, including Hulk Hogan (1990, 1991), Ric Flair (1992), Bret Hart (1994), Shawn Michaels (1995, 1996) Steve Austin (1997, 1998, 2001), The Rock (2000), Triple H (2002), The Undertaker (2007), and John Cena (2008), to name a few. And we’ve seen plenty more superstars come close, but ultimately getting eliminated at the very last minute. Yes, it’s a simple concept but the Royal Rumble is also incredibly exciting to watch.
Apart from the titular main event, WWE’s annual January extravaganza has also given us some incredible matches in the undercard. From surprising sleeper hits to fast-paced tag team action to hardcore matches and strange gimmick matches— the Royal Rumble has time and time again, blessed wrestling fans with the perfect blend of great storytelling and in-ring action. As such, the event has given fans some classic matches over the years and many have stood the test of time.
Whether it’s the rumble itself or a high-tempo singles match, the list of great matches that took place during the Royal Rumble is rather long. Below is a list of the greatest Royal Rumble matches to date, with links to the full review of each match.
Simply click on the links below to read about whichever match interests you most and let us know in the comments, what you think is the greatest Royal Rumble match of all time.
- Ricky D
The 10 Greatest Royal Rumble Matches
1) Royal Rumble 2003: Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit
2) Royal Rumble 1992: The Royal Rumble Match
3) Royal Rumble 2000: The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz (Tables Match)
4) Royal Rumble 2000: Triple H and Cactus Jack Street Fight
5) Royal Rumble 2001: Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit (Ladder Match)
6) Royal Rumble 1998: Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker (Casket Match)
7) Royal Rumble 1995: Diesel vs. Bret Hart
8) Royal Rumble 2004: Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels
9) Royal Rumble 1999: The Rock vs.Mankind (“I Quit” Match)
10) Royal Rumble 1994: Yokozuna vs. The Undertaker (Casket Match)
Royal Rumble 2007: The Royal Rumble Match
Royal Rumble 2015: Brock Lesnar Vs. John Cena Vs. Seth Rollins
Royal Rumble 2009: Jeff Hardy vs. Edge
Royal Rumble 1991: Sgt. Slaughter vs. the Ultimate Warrior
Royal Rumble 1991: The Rockers vs. The Orient Express
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