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Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ May 13, 2002
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...
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!
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…
TIFU by getting half my dick caught in my zipper on a double-date with her parents and meeting my mom's friend at the doctor's office.
This fuckup didn't happen today, it was back in 1992. But there’s a lot of stories about medical professionals and their quiet acts of often invisible heroism in the news right now. I thought that this week, I would share one of my own stories about them. Because while they are absolutely heroes in our midst, some of those life-saving stories and incredible acts come with a laugh or two along the way. These laughs, as they often do, come at my expense. It’s a price I gladly pay to give you a much needed moment to breathe in all of the hell we are enduring together throughout the world right now. Enjoy, Chris Yes, I know, I’m a complete fucking idiot. Let’s just get that out of the way from the start. My only defense was that I was a teenager in the 90's at the time, and my dick was doing most of the thinking for me. On the whole, I’m a reasonably intelligent guy. My dick however, is much like one of those morons you meet who is all balls, no brains. Despite the fact that thinking with my dick got me through highschool at the top of my class, it has proven itself repeatedly to have no memory, no conscience, and what I will simply classify as “questionable moral fiber”. An obscure, late 20th century English philosopher known for his ballistic dentition once said “Dicks have drive and clarity of vision. They’re not clever.” and he was correct. But like most people who are all balls and no brains, that kind of decision making invariably leads to collecting good stories, and occasionally being scarred for life. This is one of those good stories, and it’s about a scar. I was sixteen, vacuously stupid, and the world as I knew it revolved entirely around my radiant affections for one hell of an awesome girl. She was short, beautiful, built like a soccer player, and had curves in all the right places. Miraculously, she was also my steady girlfriend. We had a magnificent system that involved a standing weekly date. This almost always consisted of exactly three things: dinner, a movie, and the furious, passionate, awkward sex that only inexperienced young lovers can have in the contorsionistic confines of an automobile. Good times. On the right day of the week you could catch a 2nd run movie at the Alpine Twin for just a couple bucks. Urban sprawl hadn’t reached far enough yet to consume all the best spots for privacy, and we knew every one of them. It was a great time to be young and in love. God is not without a sense of humor, however, and one particular week fate would throw me a curve. A movie had just come out that her father wanted to see. In a tormentative moment of parental schadenfreude, they decided it would be a great idea to join us on our weekly movie night for a wholesome double date. I was trapped. I couldn’t say no, her dad was a towering giant of brooding scowls who instilled the fear of God in me. He was an incredibly kind and funny man, but he commanded my respect and there was absolutely no doubt he held the fate of my love life at his whim. I was a nerdy, country kid from the wrong side of the tracks and he made it very clear that I was dating his daughter only so long as both her and him deemed that acceptable. She adored me, he tolerated me, and it was my lowly position to be grateful for the opportunity. I was fine with that. I was spending every Saturday night with her sowing my wild oats, and going to church every Sunday with him praying for crop failure. So we all met at her house, the whole family piled into their car, and off we went. We didn’t go to our comfortable, low-budget, second-run theatre out on the north end of town with the thin crowds that encouraged sitting towards the back well away from anyone who could see wandering hands and notice the whispers of young lovers. We went out to the fancy first-run theatre, the gigantic cineplex and shining star of the lower west side, Studio 28, where we would be packed side by side with strangers and held to much higher standards of socially acceptable behaviour. Studio 28 was massive. Thousands of people filled its acres of parking lots and watched the latest movies on twenty different massive screens with reclining seats in air conditioned comfort. One movie cost more than what we would spend for a month's worth of dates at Alpine - including food. But her dad was funding the entire expedition and I was happy to just be with her. My lovely girlfriend however, was a hormone-driven, devious genius, and happened upon a simple idea that changed my life forever. She noticed that they list not only the start times of the movies, but the duration as well. It had never for a moment crossed my mind that we didn’t all have to go to the same movie. Studio 28 was so massive that not only did they have a ton of different movies playing, many of them shared the same start times. She found a completely different show to catch, sorted out the details with her dad, and off we went on our own. She had stared into the bleakness and brilliantly wrought forth for us the greatest commodity of young lovers who live with their parents: privacy. For such a monumental day in my life, I don’t even remember what the movie was. But I do remember spending an hour and a half in the dark getting each other as worked up as we dared. The lines of socially acceptable behaviour were a lot tighter back then, but we were enjoying them to the best of our youthful ability. Our movie got out, and we made the long walk to the back-forty of the parking lot hand in hand and hopped in the car. We had no concrete idea when her parents' movie would get out, so we were just hanging out, waiting, and of course sharing only the most chaste and pure of good Christian thoughts. Just her, me, and our collective sexual tension that burned with the power of a supernova. It really was only a matter of time before it all reached criticality. Because sitting in a glass bubble in the middle of a thousand cars is totally the best possible place to be doing such things. I was a little on edge, but that didn’t stop her. It certainly did, however, limit our options. The good news was that I at least had a clear line of sight all the way up our row, and would easily see anyone approaching from the theatre. I kept a watchful lookout, and she decided to take action. In a matter of a few seconds, she was sucking my dick like it was filled with her father’s acceptance. Not a moment later, I saw the crowd of people start pouring out of the theatre doors. It didn’t take me long to spot her parents, hand in hand. Her dad’s bright blue shirt stuck out in the crowd, even though they were still a quarter-mile away. And then, at that exact moment, is when I fucked up. That’s when I did one of the dumbest things in my entire life; I made a split-second trivial decision that would leave me scarred forever. Now, what I could have done is simply reach down, gently pull her head out of my lap, and have a mildly disappointing end to some fun, gone on with my day, and been just fine. Hell, given how far away they were, the hair-trigger of a teenage boy, and her skillful abilities we could have likely finished without pushing our luck. The problem with wisdom is that you don’t get it until five seconds after you need it. What I did, in a moment of youthful stupidity, was say “Your dad’s coming!” and sit up straight in my seat. And that, my dear reader, is the exact moment that shit got real. Please understand that what I’m about to describe is much like a car crash. It will take me far longer to describe it than it took to actually happen. All of this transpired in just a moment, but that moment is burned into my brain forever. I apologise now, that it shall be burned into yours. When you share this story with your friends, you’ll know they got to this part when you see them adjust themselves in their seat. No man is immune to this effect. In one smooth powerful movement driven by pure reflex and fear, without a moment’s conscious thought, she snapped her head up, bolted upright in her seat, and while making that transition from laying on me to sitting next to me she stuffed my dick back into my jeans and ran that fuckin zipper all the way home with the power of an angry linebacker. The problem is I had never unbuttoned my pants, and it was a lot smaller when it came out ten minutes ago than it was when she decided to cram it back in through, what was now, much too short of a hole. She fought it in there in half a second, it just wasn’t situated as well as it needed to be. Then, with the delicate touch of a bricklayer she had yanked that zipper though several inches of my most delicate sensitivities and made me one with my Levi’s. It happened in the blink of an eye. I was absolutely convinced I was going to die. The pain was far worse than what you imagine right now. It was radiant and consuming. She had caught roughly…very roughly...the entire front of the most sensitive skin I own and interlaced it down nearly the full length of the zipper. I could glimpse a thin line poking out the front, and there was nothing I could do about it but sit there with tears running down my face and her parents approaching. She immediately knew what had happened, subtlety is not a skill I possess even on my best days. I think it may be when I levitated, shooting to the ceiling, howling in pain that she got her first hint that something was wrong. She was mortified, I was in agony, and the shitshow had just begun. I untucked my shirt to cover the obvious injury, and wiped my tears. It was hard travel across the great prairies of the parking lot. I heard they lost five good men, and at one point had to start eating the horses to survive. But eventually, months later, her parents finally made it to the car. The first battle was the parking lot. Several hundred people had all gotten out when we did and had to find their way to the exit. It took half an hour of stop and start agony while we all shuffled into place and trickled out onto 28th street - a bustling busy main thoroughfare of the lower-west side. And the fun was just beginning. Florida makes oranges, Idaho makes Potatoes, and Hollywood makes movies. But Michigan, we make potholes. Northbound 131 is a washboard of suspension testing craters that can knock your teeth loose. Because of the complicated interaction of freeze-thaw cycles, capillary action of water retention in asphalt, and the fact that we run snow plows for a third of the year there is a regular pattern of patched sections on the highway spaced at predictable intervals for miles on end. And I felt every one of those sonsabitches as we launched and bounded from pock to pock, all along my dick. It took about thirty minutes to get from Studio28 to their house. That was the longest half hour of my life. I felt every bump in the road in between my own heartbeats as I throbbed in agony sitting awkwardly in the back seat. The only saving grace was that her and her mom were making small talk about the movies they had each seen and my opinion didn’t matter. I sat there sniffling and rubbing my swollen, red eyes. When her mom asked me if I was okay I uttered the only word I could manage on the entire ride home. “Allergies”. We made it to her parent’s house, said our goodbyes, and she walked me across the street to my car. It took more work to get into my mom’s old boxy beige Pontiac Grand Prix than it did to get out of her parent’s SUV, but I made it, tenderly. Mission two accomplished, her parents had no idea. So that crisis was averted. Now, I had to choose. I was on the edge of The City. If I went East, I could fight my way through traffic to the giant gleaming state-of-the-art hospital located right downtown and wait in line in the emergency room. If I went West, I was heading towards home and in my own small country town was a little Med Center staffed with only a handful of people whose main job was helping people with minor bumps and bruises, and keeping the critical patients alive long enough for the ambulance to get there and haul them off to one of the much larger neighboring cities. I headed towards home. It was farther, but faster. I hopped on I-96 and blasted into the night more scared of hitting a deer than being pulled over for speeding. I figured if any cop pulled me over, all I had to do was show him my situation and there wasn’t a man in the world who would fault me for being in a hurry. I had a much higher chance of getting a police escort to the Med Center than getting a ticket, so off I went as fast as Mom’s old Pontiac would carry me. I arrived without incident and walked gingerly through the front door. I’d never been to the Med Center before. My parents were on the rescue squad of the local volunteer fire department so anything short of a sucking chest wound in my house was dealt with by someone running for the jump-bag in Dad’s truck. Any sort of injury was handled on only the best of equipment: the kitchen table. Life’s different in a small town. That’s why I wasn’t even slightly surprised when I walked in the front door and the triage nurse at the front counter stopped typing, looked me straight in the eye with genuine concern on her face and said “Chris, are you ok?”. It was my mom’s friend. Not only did this woman know me, she’d known me since I had training wheels on my bike. I knew she was a Nurse. Half the women in my world were Nurses, my mom was a Nurse. She worked at a nursing home filled with other Nurses. How the hell was I supposed to remember that one of her best friends just so happened to work at the Med Center. I should have gone East. “No Ma’am” I said, and quickly added, wincing, “please don’t tell my Mom” “What happened, show me what you did” Now, I grew up around trauma and emergency medicine. Back then they were dispatched with one-way pagers the size of a brick that looked like walkie-talkies. There was only one channel for the whole county, and every department had its own unique series of musical tones that told us who the message was for. It squawked and whistled all day and night and you never even noticed it. But when the BEEDEEBEEDEEBEEDEEBEEDEE-DOOOOOOOOO-----DEEEEEEEEEEEE sound that designated our unit came over that radio, it would take you out of a dead sleep before they got to the “COOPERSVILLE UNIT TWO-OH-FIVE” part of the message and Mom, Dad, or sometimes both, were headed out the door on a dead run before it stopped talking. If this happens while you’re out somewhere with Dad in the truck, you’re along for the ride. It was somewhere around age twelve when “stay in the truck” just didn’t work for me anymore. I’d learned where babies came from by watching a screaming Asian woman have one on the tailgate of a Subaru in the McDonald’s parking lot. I’d seen bodies mangled and I knew first hand why they called the people who ride crotch-rocket motorcycles “Organ Donors”. I’d learned the smartest and most heroic humans alive fly in AeroMed, and I knew that rescue crews have no problem working up to their elbows in your blood and then going out for pizza half an hour later. It’s just meat. I was also well aware that the strongest, hardest, most stoic, most unimaginably un-fucking-fazed woman you’ll ever meet, is a Triage Nurse. So I lifted up my shirt. And, for just a moment, I saw her humanity crack through her professional stoicism. I pray that you go your entire life and never once hear a Triage Nurse say “Oh Dear” when she looks at whatever injury you have. It’s up there with getting a prostate exam and hearing the Doctor behind you say “Aw, fuck!”. You don’t want any part of this situation. There was no paperwork, and my ass never touched one of the beige plastic chairs in the tiny waiting room. She stood up and walked me through the door behind the counter and ten seconds later I was sitting on the crinkly butcher paper of an examination table with my legs dangling over the edge. A Nurse who was only ten minutes older than I was came in just a moment behind me. Thankfully, I didn’t know her at least, but I’d have liked to under different circumstances. She held a BP cuff in one hand and a clipboard in the other and asked me how I was feeling and if I had any allergies. We chatted for perhaps a whole minute before she asked me what was wrong. I lifted my shirt. She took it well, just a tiny gasp before she got her shields back in place. But her blush betrayed her. She held tight to her professionalism and assured me that the Doctor would be right in as she stumbled gracefully backwards out of the room. However, I did notice that she never did get my BP, temp, or anything else. The Doctor was indeed, right in. I had been sitting there less than five minutes when he strolled into the room and said “So, I hear you’ve had an interesting evening.” He pulled up a little rolling stool, put on a pair of gloves, and scooted up for a front row seat between my knees as I sat sideways off the edge of the table. We discussed how I had gotten myself into this situation, and he surveyed the damage. I found it ironic that the one person who had shared this experience with me and who could truly appreciate what I was going through was the one person who was completely at ease with the situation. Of course…..it wasn’t his dick. It was also the first time I’d gotten a real look at things myself, and it was worse than I’d imagined. The skin on the bottom of my shaft was peeking out through the golden teeth of the zipper all the way from about a half inch above the bottom of the zipper to the top. There was way more blood than I had noticed at first and it had stained my pants several inches in every direction. The total zipped length was nearly five inches, and it was under tension on the inside because the standard response to pain is for your dick to shrink up like a stack of dimes. The added effect, because my brain is an asshole, was that the pain just intensified once I got a look at it. He pulled out a pair of trauma shears and we discussed what he was going to do about half a second before he did it with a running commentary. He planned on cutting my pants off around the zipper. I was fine with this, off is good, let’s get this off - free me from my golden restraints good Doctor! Deftly, gently, and with surprising ease the shears sliced right through the seams and folds of my jeans. He cut the bottom through several layers of denim and seams straight up to the base of the zipper, and sheared off either side about four inches away, leaving me with two flaps joined only by the teeth of the zipper and the button on top. He spun on his wheels, reached in the third drawer behind him, pulled out a pair of cutters like I would have in my toolbox, and snipped off the bottom half-inch of zipper entirely. It fell to the floor and landed with a wet plop. He gently unbuttoned what was now a much smaller piece of my pants, and examined it closely for a couple minutes with a flap held in either hand. Then he said something you never, ever, want to hear any manner of medical professional say to you. “We’re gonna go on three...” We’re…..WHAT!? Where? Whatthefuckare... “One” There was no motherfucking Two. Three was an outright lie. The way out was as blindingly fast and traumatic as the way in. The entire process was loud, a wild blur of motion, and terrifying. In what I have absolutely no doubt was a process he had experienced before, he tore apart the two halves of my zipper with the haymaker strength of a farm boy and kicked himself away from the side of my examination table with both feet to send himself rocketing backwards across the tiny room well clear of the wild reflexive punch I swung through the space his head had occupied a split second before. He landed in a heap, half fallen off his rolling stool, with a piece of my jeans in either hand and an accomplished smile from ear to ear. That all happened in less than a second. It took exactly the amount of time it took me to say “MOTHERFUCK-....eh?” The good side is, it didn’t actually hurt all that much when he did that. The bad side was, the blood was now rushing to my dick and it was throbbing with every heartbeat. It hurt like all hell. We both took a moment to compose ourselves and both spoke at the same moment, saying the exact same thing. “Are you alright?” I looked at the sad strip of hamburger laying in my lap, surrounded by a terrifying amount of dried blood in matted black hair. It looked like Edward Scissorhands had given me an old fashioned. “No?” I had visions of sutures, staples, and all forms of Spanish Inquisition cock torture that I was about to endure and was blissfully thankful that all he needed to do was clean everything off and tape a strip of gause to it. After the most unpleasant experience I’ve ever had involving my dick being cleaned, complete with being hosed down with Betadine, now it I just looked like I’d fucked an Oompa Loompa. I asked what would happen if I got a hardon, would I bleed to death or something? He assured me that the last thing I was going to get in the immediate future was an erection. After a few days it would be fine all on its own. I thanked him for saving my manhood, secured my pants with my belt, hid the giant square hole in front under my shirt, and headed home. I tossed my shredded jeans in the trash, took a shower that involved the creative application of a baggie and a rubber band that moments before had been holding the wing on my model airplane. He was right, I didn’t have any danger of getting a hardon for over a week. The throbbing pain became a dull ache that would hover just on the edge of being actively conscious of it. Sleeping was complicated, but I managed. After a few days it didn’t hurt at all, and a couple weeks later I was back to normal. In the third week a full operational test proved that all repairs had been completed and that all systems were operating within nominal specifications. But it’ll be a cold day in hell before I let a woman zip me up again. I’ll take care of that on my own, thank you. The scar is considerable, tapering to half an inch wide at the base and running front and center along the bottom of my shaft up to the tip. It’s been the topic of more conversations and won more stupid bets than I want to think about. But it’s part of me, a part of my life, and I’m just thankful that despite the relentless abuse and poor decisions my dick has endured, that all in all, things are working just as they should thanks to the compassionate care of a young country Doctor and a small team of Nurses. Thank you to everyone in the medical profession, of any rank and stripe, for enduring all that you do to help us fumbling idiots live to see another sunrise. You are awesome. With my kindest regards, cb ---------Addendum Edit, Because holy shit my inbox. In the end, like all good stories, things actually worked out alright. Her and I resumed our weekly Pontiac wrestling match and eventually as we gained wisdom, experience and the seasons turned warmer, found several much more comfortable places to explore each other’s bodies. All in all we dated for a little over a year in total. Our relationship ran the natural course of typical highschool lovers, and ended just as it should have. We both ended up dating each other’s friends, such is life in a small town, and went on with our lives. Her Dad never really did like me all that much, and that’s ok. I was a shitty teenager and certainly didn’t have the best of intentions for his daughter. That’s ok, she wasn’t nearly the good little girl he thought she was. But we were, on the whole, decent kids and we came out alright. He was a good and righteous man and was worth my respect; though I wouldn’t learn the true depths of that until I gained a lot more maturity. He died years ago, far too young, from a heart that wasn’t worthy of the love he carried for so many people. She’s married now, with a couple kids and what I hope is a good and happy life. I haven’t talked to her in decades, but I sincerely wish her well. I healed up just fine. This all happened back in 1992. Over the years the scar has faded to being something that’s still there, but hardly noticeable. It looks more like a shadow now, or a slight discoloration. You can still spot it, if you look, but it’s something that doesn’t get mentioned by anyone unless we’ve been together for several months and they’re really exploring my cock. I have to think it’s fine now, as I’ve been complimented many times on it’s appearance. I’d like to thank the many people who have read this and commented on my writing. I’m just starting out on the path to being an author, and I’ve been posting my stories here on Reddit to see if anyone liked them. It turns out, you really do, far more than I imagined. With all of my heart, thank you. Your support and enjoyment of my dopey stories means far more to me than I can adequately express. I’m still learning how to find my voice, but you’ve certainly helped me along on the path. If you enjoy my writing, there’s much more of it out there, and even more coming. Check my profile and you’ll find half a dozen other stories scattered about the Reddit universe. You're welcome to follow me or friend me on here if you wish. I would be sincerely honoured and I'm working to earn an audience, and even someday a paycheck. You’ll also find my YouTube channel (I make science and technology educational videos as my day job), and my Patreon if you’d like to support my work. I’m a full time YouTuber now, and for the past year. Though after your responses to my stories lately, I think I’ll add Author to that as well. And for the ridiculous number of people who have begged for a goddamned pic, fine. Go to Imgur, it's /a/WbCHtEw it's VERY NSFW Yes, that’s really me. Yes, it’s real. No, I’m straight, but thank you. TL:DR - A bit of adventuresex at a movie theatre resulted in a blowjob and I get zipped up epicly. Had to go to the Dr and learned my mom's best friend worked there. I was scarred for life. It's a long story but worth your time, read it, you'll like it.
[META] How to build and buy accounts- the COMPLETE guide to becoming stacked AF.
Here's a thorough guide on how to find accounts and build them for cheap. However, before I begin, allow me to temper your expectations:
Your chances of finding an legitimate seller who sells accounts with a Season 1 skin are very slim. I don't even try.
Finding a Black Knight account that is full access is also difficult as well.
Most of the accounts you will find are usually NFA. That means you either cannot change the username or have email access to the account.
This guide works best if you play Fortnite on PC or Mobile, but it can be made to work with consoles.
Expect to build this account over MULTIPLE seasons. Building an account for an entire year is optimal.
This guide ABSOLUTELY requires a Paypal account.
All prices are in USD, this can be more or less pricey depending on your region.
Now that your expectations may be destroyed, let's get on with the guide. The first thing you want to do is to decide and find what type of account you want. Find out whether you want to prioritize having skins but little security or having security but not as much skins.
If you prioritize having account security over skins, you have two options (more will be detailed in later in this guide):
You buy/inherit an account from a trusted friend or family member.
You build a default account from scratch.
If you prioritize having a certain amount of skins without grinding or a specific unobtainable skin, your only option is to basically buy them off account-selling sites.
Now, let's get account finding:
Where do I get accounts? The best place to get accounts by far are sites where a third-party is in charge of account distribution and payments. There are three benefits to using these sites:
It's relatively easier to find accounts.
Seller has greater accountability due to selling under a third-party, so there are more protections for buyers.
It's practically an automated middleman/escrow.
Where else could I purchase accounts and why do you not recommend other sources so highly? Let's discuss these individually:
Account trading forums (EpicNPC, OGUsers, PlayerUp, etc.): My main concern with those sites is the lack of responsibility when finances are involved. If something happens to you and if you suspect that you got scammed, those sites cannot do much whereas if you buy accounts from a third-party, you usually will get some sort of guarantee or warranty where it would involve some sort of replacement or refund.
First-party sellers (Personal selling sites, Social media pages, shoppys/atshops/sellys, etc.): If you get scammed, the seller will take ZERO responsibility more often than not, so you would have to take your seller at your word.
Social media groups (Discord servers/Facebook groups, etc.): If you care about account legitimacy long-term, don't even try. Has all of the downsides of buying from first-party sellers, but it makes it easier for scammers to take advantage due to the absolute lack of protection on behalf of the buyer (and seller!).
What sites should I use for buying accounts; i.e. what examples of websites would be considered as a third-party in charge of account distribution and payment?
IGVault is the best example of this as IGVault themselves are in charge of payments and deliveries (you pay IGVault and IGVault themselves deliver), however their price can be a little bit high. Another benefit is that you know what cosmetics are exactly on the account.
Kaleoz/GM2P/G2G are also usable, but you pay through these sites and these sites ask the seller to deliver the accounts on their behalf. Also, accounts tend to be more random on these types of sites than on IGVault.
What do I do so I don't get scammed or burned if I try to buy accounts somewhere else aside from those websites with a third-party in charge of account distribution and payment? The best answer is to be smart regarding who you're dealing with. Red flags are italicized.
ALWAYS TRADE WITH A MM/ESCROW IF YOU CAN. I can't stress this enough. A middleman works by holding the sellers account and delivering the account to you once payment is confirmed. An escrow holds the payment and distributes the accounts and payments themselves. If they refuse MM/escrow and ask you to pay up front or if they don't go first with the account, most likely not, you will be scammed.
REPS CAN BE FAKED.If they insistently show rep without you asking**, more likely than not they're giving you a false sense of security, but there are exceptions.** It's your job to deduce if their reputation is legitimate. Reputation faking can be done in a couple of ways:
Seller gets their alts/friends to "trade" with them; alts/friends say account is legitimate.
Seller delivers the account and then asks the buyer to leave a positive review then take the account back.
Seller steals reps from actual reputable sellers and claims them as their own.
If you are buying full access accounts,be wary of any sellers selling their accounts with a claim of changeable email in 90 days. This is a major red flag as they can recover the e-mail and get the email and Fortnite account back. If you do choose to buy an account with full access, always be sure to purchase an account with the email information instantly changeable.
If your seller primarily resells FA accounts and has a page, always monitor what they're selling Check and be vigilant if they put up accounts they have already sold.If you notice that they're selling the same account or very similar accounts**, its definitely a scammer.**
Trade using PayPal Goods and Services. Using PayPal Goods and Services protects your payment, and you can more easily access some services such as a chargeback/refund if your transaction goes awry. A good sign of appreciation is to offer to pay a little bit above the seller's price (enough to cover the fee for Goods and Services) and ask for PayPal Goods and Services. If your seller insists on Friends and Family or if they're asking for much more to go with PayPal Goods and Services (remember, it's not that much. PayPal's fees for Goods and Services are 2.9% + $0.30 USD), chances are they'll scam you.
Before you pay, get lobby proof/screen share proof and ask them to let you check Epic. Some proofs you can ask include:
Asking them to get a free game from the Epic store and allowing you to cross reference the invoice/invoice ID with the epic games payment history (this verifies email ownership because the invoice will automatically be sent to the Epic email address; only works with FA)
Running Skin Checker and cross-referencing the account inventory allowing prior to payment (works best with FA)
Be very wary of sellers only asking for non-refundable payment methods (gift cards, accounts, crypto, favors, etc**.)** This is a big red flag. As the name implies, all bets are off once you send payment. You'll most likely be scammed.
After you buy an account, be sure to use something like Easy Skin Checker to grab the account inventory, verify that you got what you received, and change the information immediately.
Don't say NGF (Not going first). This will point your seller to think of you as a scammer as buyers are expected to pay first, just like in a regular store.
[Reddit] Cross-reference scammer lists. Also, always cross-reference your seller's post history and deduce whether this seller will actually sell you the account or not.
Finally, use some common sense. No one who knows how much OG skins are worth will sell you a FA Renegade Raider for $20 with no strings attached. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Cross-reference offers for similar accounts on sites.
What is the best type of access to an account?
For having an account, having an account as full access is the best option. However, for buying accounts, unverified is the best option. If you buy an account and it is verified, it can be taken back more easily via e-mail. Here are some accessibility guidelines below: FA:
Use Easy Skin Checker to verify that your account has the cosmetics it says it has/guarantees.
CHANGE EMAIL AND EPIC GAMES PASSWORD IMMEDIATELY. If you have the wait for 90 days, try to block all unintended access to the email. If not, and if your account gets taken back, refund immediately.
Set 2FA if desired.
Use Easy Skin Checker to verify that your account has the cosmetics it says it has/guarantees.
Change epic games password immediately.
Check for activity. If they have current season levels and battle pass, it is indicative that the account is currently actively played. If it is, you can still commit/build if the original owner does not bother verifying. You have access to the Epic account after all.
Verified but NFA:
Use Easy Skin Checker to verify that your account has the cosmetics it says it has/guarantees.
Check for activity. If they have current season levels and battle pass, it is indicative that the account is currently actively played. If it is, buy another alt or do not commit/build.
Change epic games password immediately.
Unless you know the original owner of the account quit, do not unlink any console. It could be taken back easily as the account is verified.
Buy another alt if desired.
What accounts should I go for or avoid?
Assuming you have an account you can commit to/build, of course you want to aim to get a valuable account (has rare, in-demand cosmetics), but it may take a couple of tries. There's a couple of routes to get to rolling a valuable account, but some methods cannot be done without buying an account:
OG accounts (Season 1-3): Pay attention to the skins/emotes obtained from the battle pass. Accounts can be "OG" but not stacked in any way.
All accounts with Renegade Raider, Recon Expert, Aerial Assault Trooper, OG/Purple Skull Trooper, or OG/Pink Ghoul Trooper are AUTOMATICALLY worth investing into provided you have ensured continuing access to the account (unverified, inactive af and wont be taken back, fa etc.). There will always be some sort of demand for these skins, but it does not.
Season 2 is still OG, however having Royale Knight does not mean that the account would necessarily be that valuable. Black Knight (T100) in most cases would automatically be worth investing into, but it does not carry as much value as Season 1 skins.
Season 3 being OG is subjective in itself. The only skin from the Season 3 battlepass worth getting is The Reaper (T100).
Special mentions: Omega with lights. Banners: Battle Bus, F, Paragon, YouTubers/Streamers, Lv100 season banners (any before C2S1).
Exclusives/Event/Seasonal/Collaboration cosmetics: Certain exclusive skin accounts automatically have and having enough event/crossover cosmetics can make an account very valuable (cue an unexpected tier list):
Galaxy: This skin can usually stand on its own in terms of value, but has a value similar to BK.
(Stealth) Reflex: One of the more obscure exclusives which came with a NVidia GTX 1050-1070Ti. Codes should still be redeemable. In time, skin will appreciate in value.
Wonder: Since Epic Games cancelled this skin, this skin has appreciated in value.
iKONIK: Somewhat valuable.
Honor Guard: Used to be somewhat valuable, but codes are cheap nowadays which hurts its value/standing as an exclusive.
PSN/XBL/Switch exclusives: Most are slept upon, but Double Helix, Eon, Rogue Spider Knight, and especially Royale Bomber carry some value. If you buy an account with a console exclusive, it WILL be linked to the platform of the exclusive skin which can hurt its value.
Glow Skin: Not very valuable as they were sold for absurdly cheap and were compatible over a wide range of Samsung devices.
Event skins: Having one isn't necessarily valuable, but having enough of them can make an account very valuable to the right people:
20XX yeacollaboration/ICON series cosmetics: Will usually only be in the item shop for one period of time before not returning to the shop.
Minty Pickaxe: Somewhat valuable.
StarteChallenge Packs: Since it's shown that some packs can return, they are not as important to building accounts.
Special mention: Paradigm
Seasonal skins: You can get most of the seasonal skins in a year's timeframe. These skins include (total: 13300 VBucks optimized for seasonal skins; $99.99 spending unoptimized):
Football skins (1-2 occurrences per yr, 1500 VB)
Soccer skins (1-2 occurrences per yr, 1200 VB)
Basketball skins (1-2 occurrences per yr, 1200 VB)
Love Ranger (2-3 occurrences per yr, 2000 VB)
Sgt. Green Clover (1 occurrence per yr, 800 VB)
Easter Skins (1 occurrence per yr, 800 / 1500 VB)
Halloween Skins (1 occurrence per yr, 1500+1500 VB (3000 VB))
Amount of skins: Self-explanatory but expect the following (variables italicized):
x to y amount of skins listings have accounts tending towards x amount of skins. This holds more and more true . Example: 50-100 skin listings tend to have a skins amount closer to 50 than 100.
If you're buying from a seller that has a listings such as "z\*1+ skin acc" and "z*\2+ skin acc" (assuming z\*1* < z\\2), you'll likely get an account with z\*1* to z\\2 skins if you buy "z\*1+ skin acc". It's highly unlikely you'll get over *z\\2 skins from "z\*1+ skin acc". *Example: If you have a seller that has a 50+ skin account listing and another 60+ skin account listing, if you buy from the 50+ skin listing, chances are you'll get an account with 50-60 skins and its not likely to get an account with over 60 skins.
100+ skins become much more expensive and much more scarce. A good middle area to start building is 50-80 skins.
As of C2S2, if you unlocked skins for every battle pass, you should have 82 skins. To determine how much you would need to invest in the item shop, refer to the seasonal skins above.
I bought an account/I decided to use a default. Let's build it up, but how?
Let's say you're a default or you're missing out on a couple of rare skins. What should I get first?
Battle Pass. Best way to get BR cosmetics Also a great way of getting V-Bucks but not necessarily the most consistent as there are little opportunities to get free V-Bucks past Tier 100.
Save The World. Logins and Storm Shield Defenses give out a pretty consistent source of V-Bucks, especially in the early-game of StW.
Exclusive/event/seasonal cosmetics. There are quite a lot of cosmetics you can get without V-Bucks.
Seasonal item shop skins. Refer to the seasonal skins list.
Item Shop skins.
How would I be able to build my account in the most effective way possible? The only two resources you will need to build a stacked BR account are exclusives and V-Bucks.
Exclusives: you can get these from GameFlip/Kaleoz/G2G/your favorite code site.
V-Bucks: USE CHEAP V-BUCKS FROM A TRUSTED SOURCE. This is a great way to save money on V-Bucks. However, using cheaper v-bucks can cause refunds in cases, and, depending on which method you use, may have additional requirements. You can get these from GameFlip/Kaleoz/G2G/your favorite site.
1000 VB: EGS : $9.99; 3P : $7.70 - $8.50
2800 VB: EGS : $24.99; 3P : $18 - $22
5000 VB: EGS : $39.99;3P : $28 - $31
13500 VB: EGS : $99.99; 3P : $66 - $76
I'm a Default/Mammoth/Christmas Tree and I really want to get a skin from the Item Shop, what should I go for first? If you are really impatient to get a skin, buy 1K V-Bucks and whatever starter pack is in the shop ($14.98 USD unoptimized) and grind through the entire battle pass as fast as you can. You earn net 550 V-Bucks from the Battle Pass alone. Unfortunately, from this, you will only get 1150 V-Bucks, so your only option is to main a starter pack skin, a battle pass skin, or an 800 vbuck skin.
Best luck is NFA/Unverified but if you can get FA it's very nice, but FA is much harder. Use common sense for avoiding scammers Get the 13.5K VB package; thats all you need for seasonals Max out some battle passes and do some stw
If you want to repost this guide, adapt it, or improve upon it, please credit me using my Reddit tag; u/CFlu, or my Discord (DM me) sauces taken from epicnpc, pinned post in this subreddit, and a year of building and trading accounts.
[Translation] Which La Liga club fits each Premier League team?
Good morning lads and lassies of soccer. To celebrate that the Bundesliga finally comes back I bring you the transcripton/translation of a pretty interesting video I had watched some time ago, related (and literally titled) "Which La Liga team fits each team of the Premier League?" Now, I know the issue about fans that have simpathy for "second" teams is polarizing and as we all know after last year, it can become something completely vomitive, but this video is indeed trying to give fans of Spanish clubs reasons to like a particular English club, and with that said, tbh I believe at the end of the day most fans, plastic or not, do feel at least some simpathy for some clubs above others excluding their own. From the small town fan who supports their local club but also the "big" team that challenges for the league in the top division, to the Ultra that hates every club of their country that isn't his but do likes a foreign club of which he befriended their respective Ultras in the past, I'm pretty sure that most football fans do feel at least a bit of simpathy for some particular club of a foreign league. But well, that discussion shouldn't be the topic of this. The fact is that these Spaniards of the video do like particular English clubs and to guide other similar Spaniards analyzed the situation and created this "guidebook" about which Premier League club "currently" fits each La Liga club, and that is what will be shown here. With a last emphasis in the "currently", there's nothing else to say as preview. Just remember that these aren't my opinions and I'm only sharing what they decided.
Both have pretty big stadiums with almost the same capacity (52k and 53k respectively) that also coincidentally are in the center of their respectives cities, something that is laudable in these modern times where stadiums are being designed to be in the outskirts, and not few clubs are forced to traslate them from their original places because of the economical advantages.
And another thing that united them is that they are one of the few historical rich clubs that doesn't have a derby rival in their city. So, if you're born in Bilbao you better fucking support Athletic and there is no room for debate about it, and something similar happens in Newcastle. And in the same way, the derby that the clubs have actually have (Sunderland and Real Sociedad) goes beyond football and is a derby between the whole cities.
They faced each other in the 94/95 UEFA Cup Round of 16 and what highlights it was that it was an epic clash that ended in a global 3-3 draw where Athletic won thanks to away goals, and that in the second leg had a pitch invasion from Basque fans that after celebrating with their team, went to laud the away stand, as the English visitors had been great and even cheered for Athletic after the end of the match, thing that a lot of old fans from both clubs would remember forever.
That match would be so iconic for some that Rob Lee, one of the best Newcastle players of the last decades, would require his farewell match for the Geordie team to be... against Athletic. And such wish was granted.
Crystal Palace & Getafe
Both are clubs from the south of the metropolitan areas of the capital of their countries. Selhurst for London and Getafe for Madrid respectively.
Both are managed by tacticians with a similar ethos: Bordalás and Hodgson. The parallels of both teams are easily spotted when you watch both teams: strong rigid defenders, fast strikers, sitting back and counterattacks, the whole 4-4-fucking-2 package, et al.
Vicente Guaita played for both teams, and in fact was directly tranferred from Madrid to London.
Both have blue as their main colour,
Liverpool & Real Madrid
Both are the Europeanroyalty of their respective leagues. Real Madrid is just the most successful in history and nobody comes close, while Liverpool has the double of Champions Leagues than the second most succesful English team and only Milan between them and Real.
Both stand out for their mentality and comebacks. Istanbul and Lisbon, for example, are among the most dramatic Champions League finals in the whole history. One team comeback from a 3-0 in the first half, the other tied and later won a match that they were losing until the 90'+3.
Xabi Alonso, Steve McManaman, Alvaro Arbeloa, Dudek, Antonio Núñez, Rafa Benitez, Michael Owen, Fernando Morientes and the greatest of all, Nuri Sahin, served in both clubs.
Both stand out for being the best teams of the 20th century in their countries by far, which nevertheless suffered many years of drought after the golden years until they eventually achieved an epic again, being Mijatovic's goal and the penalty saved by Dudek, the final actions that crowned them for the first time in decades as European champions for the seventh and fifth time, respectively.
Norwich & Valladolid
Both won the league cup of their countries in the same years (84/85).
Both highlight for the atypical colour of their kits (violet and yellow/green).
Both are the biggest teams of relatively isolated counties.
The two smallest stadiums of each league. Dean Court has a capacity of barely above 11,000 in a league where the average is above 40k, while the Municipal de Ipurua has only... 8164 seats.
Likewise, both are clubs from pretty small cities that almost nobody would know if it wasn't for their football teams. Lets just say that Eibar isn't exactly in the same tier of the other Basque cities like Bilbao, San Sebastian or Pamplona, while Bournemouth only has 190k inhabitants and was founded as recently as the 19th century, something strange for English standards.
And finally and ringing the same bells, they are two small teams that were promoted to the top tier for the first time ever in recent years (2014-15) to the first division, and that also coincidentally, have never descended from that time despite their (lack) of historical status.
Burnley & Alaves
Both are extremely physical and defensive teams that also highlight for their lack of possesion (the lowest and second lowest of their leagues respectively).
Turf Moor and the Estadio de Mendizorroza have almost exactly the same capacity (20k).
Both are clubs with over a century of history, however, both are currently united by their quick promotions of recent years. Few clubs do it each season, but those who climb two divisions practically in-a-row, even less.
The English club was in the third tier of the English pyramid from 2013 to 2017, after which they won the promotion to the Championship after becoming champions with 100 points. After that, they finished 10th in their first season there, just to assure the promotion in dramatic tones after Leeds implosion in the late stages of the 18/19 season.
Meanwhile the island club was even more epic in their promotions. After failing to Segunda B (the third tier of Spanish football) for the first time in 40 years, they fired everybody but 4 players, but still were able to win their local group of the division and later compete in the final play-offs that gave the promotion spots, and in that they first assured a promotion spot and later become champions of the division. And then? they arrived to the Second Division with the hopes of not being relegated, but overperformed and in an epic way assured the last position that gave a spot to the play-off for the final promotion spot, and despite losing 2-0 in the first leg of the final, the won 3-0 the second leg and completed their return from the Third Division to La Liga in the fastest possible way.
Finally but not less important, both have red in their kits.
Brighton & Levante
Both are small clubs from coastal towns.
Both won the promotion from the second division in 16/17.
Brighton logo shows a seagull and they're known as such.
Levante's coast has a record for having the biggest number of a certain breed of seagulls in the whole world.
Leicester & Villarreal
Both are clubs that are relatively small when it comes to historical status... and for the same reason both were part of some of the best underdogs stories of the world in recent decades.
Villarreal, the Yellow Submarine, comes from a small Valencian city of around 50k, and despite having a history of almost a century, they never reached the top division until 1998, just to be relegated in the same year. But they didn't gave up and came back to La Liga as quickly, and this time they stayed, and in what a way! Pellegrini's Villarreal spearheaded by Román Riquelme and Diego Forlán surprised Europa by ending third in La Liga just behind the Galacticos and Ronaldinho's Barca and won the right to play the 2005/06 Champions League, in what would end being their greatest moment in history so far by eventually reaching semifinals and barely losing the chance of playing the final in their first season thanks to some cursed penalties against the Arsene Wenger club. Even in defeat, the history that they made was epic as few others.
But one that actually was it even more was what Leicester did exactly 10 years later in the Premiership. From barely avoiding being relegated to win the whole league was a FIFA Career-esque story, and for the same it will be remembered forever.
And finally, what made even more iconic both legendary performances was the charisma of some of their players. Vardy, Forlán, Riquelme more precisely.
Southampton & Leganés
Southampton are called the Saints and their stadium is named St Mary's.
Leganes' stadium is called after a religious figure (Virgen de Butarque).
The Pozzo family: originally known from being the owners of Udinese in the Serie A, eventually the Italian family diversified their investments, first buying the small Spanish team in 2009, and later the English one in 2012. Because of financial reasons they sold their participation in Granada in the late 2016, aye, however, there was a timelapse that lasted years were both clubs where effectively in the same hands.
And for the same reasons, a number of players have been "property" of both clubs. Isaac Success and Adalberto Peñaranda the most iconic of them.
Chelsea & Atletico Madrid
Both are pretty big clubs in the capital but that have lived in the shadow of their historically bigger neighbour for more time than not, a certain Arsenal and Real Madrid respectively.
An impressive number of illustrious names have passed through both teams, and not few times from one to the other and even in some times back again: Fernando Torres, Diego Costa, Filipe Luis, Thibaut Courtois, Mateja Keman, Tiago Mendes, Maniche, Radamel Falcao, Jesper Grönkjaer, Hasselbaink, Morata, and more.
Both suffered for tragic defeats in the Champions League final, Chelsea in 2008, Atleti in 2014 (and 2016). One team had their captain slip and missed the crucial penalty, the other ended losing a final that was winning until the 90'+3. Coincidentally, all those finals were between teams from the same country.
Tottenham & Sevilla
Both have white jerseys.
Both were managed in recent years by Juande Ramos.
Both are famous because of their fierce rivalry with a neighbour, that makes them part of one of the most iconic derbies in their country.
Both are clubs that have a long history and that in recent years have had a pretty great period, but still weren't able to truly displace or replace the historically bigger clubs from their place.
Both are of the biggest clubs with the biggest fanbases of their country, and both are currently underperforming when you see their historical status, which enrages such fans.
Both have some of the worse owners that a big club that want sportive instead of just financial success could have, and that are one of the main causes of their decline in recent years: the Glazers and Peter Lim.
And fanbases of both clubs also hate the right-hand of their owners that is the most direct responsible of the sportive issues of their clubs: Anil Murthy and Ed Woodward.
Both are proud clubs with an illustrious history despite being the smaller club compared to their more famous neightbours, and also are clubs that these days suffer more time than not.
Both had their peak in the 80's, with Everton two leagues and one cup, exactly the same numbers than la Real. That decade would also be the last one when they had any major success, with Sociedad only being able to say that they ended second in the 02-03 La Liga and the Toffees with that they won a FA Cup in 95'.
Also of the first stages of the changes after the arrival of the Sheikh was the creation of a sports city for young players, imitating la Masia, probably the second most famous thing of the Spanish club.
And another was the bet for a female team, in what now both are powers, unlike their historical rivals that are shamefully far behind them on it despite their historical status.
Also beyond Pep there are other people that both clubs share: Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, financial director and sports director respectively of both teams in the past and now.
Claudio Bravo played for both, although with different kind of performances.
And finally, not a few Barcelona fans today complain that the closest thing to the Barca that touched the sky today is Manchester City.
West Ham & Espanyol
Both are clubs of a big city where there are bigger teams. West Ham is arguably the 4th biggest London club these days after Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham, while Espanyol are the second biggest but loyalist club of Barcelona, where there is a certain secessionist bigger Catalan club.
Both are clubs that have been almost all their history in the top division and yet have never won it. Likewise, both had their peaks and almost did it in the 80s, where both ended 3rd, in almost the same year (86' and 87').
Both were clubs that had an old stadium as traditional as loved (Estadi de Sarrià and the Upton Park) that were eventually replaced by stadiums built by the city for the Olympics (Espanyol eventually left his one though).
Both have never being relegated to the third division of their countries despite being some of the oldest clubs around.
Both are the club with most Mexicans of their league, Raul Jimenez vs Diego Lainez plus Andres Guardado respectively, what makes their teams far more popular than what they should in the CONCACAF giant.
Joey Guðjónsson and Alfred N'Diaye played for both clubs.
Six Portuguese have played for Betis in this century. Six Portuguese play for Wolves this season.
They played a friendly last year.
Aston Villa & Celta de Vigo
Both are related to the sky-blue colour.
Both clubs are characterized for having a player that is almost a demigod for the fans and club overall: Jack Grealish and Iago Aspas.
Those demigods are local players who have been fans of their club since they were children, and love them so much that played for them even in the second division.
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