In Loving Memory: Anton Yelchin

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I arrived home from work tonight to learn that Anton Yelchin, the actor who portrayed Chekov in the reboot Star Trek movies, died in an automobile accident at his home. He was 27. TMZ reported the news earlier today.

IMDB lists Yelchin’s acting credits, including The Smurfs and Terminator Salvation.  There isn’t a single piece of work in Yelchin’s filmography that I’ve actually seen. But I did see the Star Trek movies. And I enjoyed his performance as Checkov in both of them.

Yelchin’s Checkov is young, motivated and equal parts confident and unsure of himself. He’s unintentionally funny. And heartwarming.

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“Every life comes to an end when time demands it. Loss of life is to be mourned, but only if the life was wasted.”

We Star Trek fans do not mourn Yelchin’s passing. We celebrate his Life, his gift, his sharing of himself with all of us and finally his return to the stars.

Yelchin will be forever remembered and immortalized by Star Trek fans. With love and appreciation.

 

 

Too Sweet Demon Meets King of Friendly Style

 

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This week’s installment of NXT featured the former champion, “The Demon” Finn Balor, addressing the fans regarding his recent steel cage loss to Samoa Joe, the fact that he is no longer NXT Champion and the question of what is next for him.

The fans cheered. They asked him not to leave. They chanted for the “Balor Club,” to which Balor replied “Too sweet” while giving the too sweet hand symbol.

But what, Balor continued to wonder aloud, is next for him?

The lights fell. The crowd cheered. A familiar violin chord played over the loudspeakers, leading into a familiar theme song.

“King of Strong Style,” Shinsuke Nakamura headed to the ring. Without words, the two superstars acknowledged their mutual respect for each other. For years, their paths crossed in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Years later, both men are older, more seasoned, and met once again.

They smiled. They soaked in the fans’ cheers. They did each other’s poses and hand gestures.

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Too sweet.

Then, it was down to business. Nakamura talked about how while he was in Japan watching Balor on NXT. He referred to Balor as an icon. “If I want to be the champion, I have to beat icon,” Nakamura said. “I…have to…beat…You.”

The fans chanted “Yes!” in response. Balor considered his earlier question of “what’s next” to be answered. Finn Balor versus Shinsuke Nakamura.

In this meeting, Nakamura continued to act in what I have been calling “King of Friendly Style” — in each of his confrontations in NXT, he politely comes to the ring and challenges people, shakes hands and leaves. Completely chill.

Balor, meanwhile continued to be a fan favorite, cutting yet another compelling promo. His matches are always superior. Watch any of them.

Balor and are both the physical embodiment of passion and professionalism. They are two of the best in the sport of professional wrestling. Their match will be intense. With Balor on the way to being called up to the WWE’s main roster, the outcome of this matchup is likely predictable. Balor will put over Nakamura in order to leave NXT in the right hands.

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Passion. Professionalism.

The match itself will be a thing of beauty. I cannot wait.

They Won’t Go Breaking My Heart: The Club

They Won’t Go Breaking My Heart: The Club

What a swerve.

This is exactly how a heel turn should go.

Just last week on RAW, AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, former Bullet Club brothers, had an in-ring confrontation.

Styles had just complained that he could have beaten Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship if only it weren’t for the additional bodies in the ring: the Usos and his pals Anderson and Gallows. “Things have changed,” Anderson told Styles in reply. “You’ve changed!”

Styles reminded them that they aren’t in Japan any longer and that things are done differently in the WWE. Then The Club disbanded, AJ going his own way, Anderson and Gallows their own.

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Exaggerated recreation of my reaction to The Club disbanding.

With that, their unity was not 4 Life. I suppose I wasn’t surprised; when Styles left New Japan Pro Wrestling for the WWE, he was beaten up by his Bullet Club Brothers, including Anderson and Gallows. They left Styles laying in the ring and moved on with Kenny Omega as the new Bullet Club leader. Not long after, Anderson and Gallows themselves left NJPW.

For the three to suddenly be friends again in WWE was odd, considering the beatdown that occurred at their last on-screen meeting. Their time together in WWE wasn’t destined to last.

The beginning of Styles’ solo path was a “Money in the Bank” qualifying match against Kevin Owens. Which Styles lost.

Anderson and Gallows started their path without Styles strongly on this week’s RAW, attacking the World Tag Team Champions, The New Day. Not only did they attack The New Day, they decimated the trio.

Styles appeared later on in the show during John Cena’s triumphant return to the ring after months of recovery after a shoulder injury that required surgery.

A few words about John Cena are required at this point. Cena has been the same hero character for the past 12 years. He has widely been considered the “face of the company” due to fan support, particularly the children. Cena has also made more than 500 “Make a Wish” appearances.

His character’s motto is “Never Give Up,” which is admirable. Many fans dislike Cena’s squeaky-clean character. Whether you like Cena’s character or prefer to boo him, you have to respect him as a man. His contributions to the WWE and The Business itself are beyond measure.

In the midst of Cena’s return, Styles came to the ring to welcome Cena back to the WWE. The crowd cheered in a chorus of back-and-forth “AJ Styles!” “Let’s Go Cena!” chants. Both competitors stood silently in awe of this crowd reaction.

Styles spoke of Cena’s accomplished career and offered his hand in friendship, which Cena accepted after some reluctance. This handshake prompted Anderson and Gallows to come to the ring. They pointed out that with The Club going their own ways last week, they chose their path, which was to kick butt. Styles, they noted, chose his own path: kissing Cena’s butt.

Anderson and Gallows continued to approach the ring, ready for a fight. Styles removed his T-shirt, ready to go. Cena tossed his hat and T-shirt into the crowd, his regular routine. Styles and Cena, ready to fight together! The crowd roared.

Punch to the face! AJ Styles punched John Cena! Styles beat the living heck out of Cena, joined by Anderson and Gallows!

The Club disbanding was a rouse! They are, in fact, a solid unit. AJ Styles turned heel in the act of beating up John Cena. He kept beating up Cena while his buddies cheered on, getting some licks of their own. But the dominant force was Styles.

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Too sweet.

Styles left, came back, left, came back again. Three times beating the living heck out of John Cena. “That’s the AJ I love!” Anderson shouted in support. “That’s The Club!” shouted Gallows. Styles came off looking strong, a force to be reckoned with. He became a definitive force in a powerful trio.

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Highlights on YouTube? Still Too Sweet.

In the spirit of The Bullet Club, Styles, Anderson and Gallows — now The Club — can potentially run roughshod over the WWE. Anderson and Gallows as tag champs? Styles adding another notch to his storied career by winning over Cena? Anderson and Gallows have been clear villains since the day they arrived in the WWE. Fans in the WWE got used to hero AJ Styles. Let’s see how Styles does, embracing his villain persona from NJPW.

Now the question is, when will the merchandise for The Club be released? When it comes to AJ, Anderson and Gallows, I need some new gear.

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